TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
DATE: 22ND FEBRUARY 1999
NAME: MS GILL MARCUS - WITNESS
DAY : 1
(NB: ALL INDISTINCTS THROUGHOUT THIS RECORD ARE DUE TO NON-USE OF MICROPHONES)
CHAIRPERSON: Right, what are we beginning with today?
MR BIZOS: May it please you, Mr Chairman and Members of the Committee, we call Ms Gill Marcus.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, may I perhaps just deal with a preliminary point? I have come to realise this morning that a specific document, it doesn't seem to be a very long document, was provided to my learned friends, Mr Wagener and Mr Visser on Friday, explaining which witnesses would be called and giving a short explanation of their evidence. The witnesses referred to in that letter differ to the list that we received previously. I have not received such a letter, I have not seen it. I have only been told of it, I think 10 minutes ago. I haven't had a chance of studying that letter, Mr Chairman. I would have expected that - I think Mr Levine is in the same position, he also did not receive such a letter, that we would have been afforded the opportunity also of having such a letter. I have an e-mail address which is published as part of the Pretoria Bar under all the addresses of legal practitioners on the internet, it would have been easy to do it.
CHAIRPERSON: I received it 20 minutes ago. It will take you two minutes to read. If you want to you can borrow my copy.
MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you, Mr Chairman. If I could perhaps be provided with a copy.
MR BIZOS: Mr Chairman, I ...
MACHINE SWITCHED OFF
MR BIZOS: ... on Friday. But as you say, Mr Chairman, we should try and avoid taking up too much time with preliminary points. The witness is here, it's two lines and two words. And what the witness has to say was put to witnesses given by, called by the applicant, so there can be no element of surprise.
MR DU PLESSIS: I'm not saying that I'm surprised, Mr Chairman, I'm not surprised with the document, that's what I'm saying, I'm not surprised with the document. Now I have looked at the document, it's not a problem, Mr Chairman, thank you very much.
May I just then deal with one other point, Mr Chairman, and that's the point that has been raised previously about the calling of witnesses in respect of an application which is not opposed, Mr Chairman. I see that on the list one of the witnesses who will be called will be Gill Marcus, and if she is going to be called in respect of the London bomb incident, I wish to refer you to the problem we raised previously in that regard, pertaining to the question, can somebody who doesn't oppose an amnesty application call a witness in a hearing such as this.
MR BIZOS: ...(no sound) Mr Chairman. We are calling the witness in order to show the conduct of Mr Williamson, which cannot be isolated to any particular incident. We are not calling her as evidence against the applicants who are applying only for amnesty for the London bombing. We have been through this before and the Committee has already made a ruling in that regard, Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: Carry on.
MR BIZOS: Thank you, Mr Chairman. We call Gill Marcus. Ms Marcus will affirm to tell the truth, Mr Chairman.
GILL MARCUS: (affirms and states)
EXAMINATION BY MR BIZOS: Ms Marcus, you are the Deputy-Minister of Finance?
MS MARCUS: Yes.
MR BIZOS: Did you leave South Africa to go into exile?
MS MARCUS: Yes, I left in 1969.
MR BIZOS: Did you become a member of the African National Congress whilst you were in exile?
MS MARCUS: Yes.
MR BIZOS: Did you for a number of years, work at 28 Penton Street, the headquarters of the African National Congress at the time that a bomb exploded there on the 14th of March 1982?
MS MARCUS: Yes, I was working at 28 Penton Street at the time.
MR BIZOS: Could you tell us whether you are the author of a plan which has already been handed in and marked Exhibit NN, which shows the layout of the ANC office in London and its environs?
MS MARCUS: Yes.
MR BIZOS: Do you confirm the correctness of that drawing?
MS MARCUS: To the best of my recollection, yes. Obviously that I redrew from memory, but yes, as far as I can recall.
MR BIZOS: Now we also have a photograph, Exhibit DD, of 28 Penton Street, is it a photograph of the ANC offices and adjoining buildings?
MS MARCUS: Yes, that's clearly the photograph of the offices prior to our moving into them.
MR BIZOS: Any material changes after you moved into them? - on this photograph.
MS MARCUS: I don't think they would be material to the external, there would be some adjustments internally and obviously some reconstruction internally, but the external remained very much as that picture indicates.
CHAIRPERSON: I assume you would have taken away the notice saying: "Take-away Service"?
MR BIZOS: Was that a residential area?
MS MARCUS: It was residential in terms of both the environment around it, as well as that particular street, including the building itself. In our initial renovations, as I recall the top floor as well as two rooms of the second floor were residential as well. We had I think both residential offices on the ground, on the first and on the second and the floor was residential for people who were working in the office.
MR BIZOS: Was there any school of any kind in the immediate vicinity of the ANC offices?
MS MARCUS: My recollection as best is certainly, I think there were two but I can definitely confirm the one. If you looked at Exhibit NN, I've indicated there as the White Lion free school, which was really just on the other side of the road on White Lion Street. I wouldn't be absolutely sure, but I seem to recall there was also a school behind at the empty yard. One of the buildings adjacent to that empty yard was also a school, but I wasn't absolutely sure and I didn't put it in, in terms of not being 100%, but my recollection was that there was a school there as well.
MR BIZOS: What sort of school was this free school?
MS MARCUS: It was a school that children who were perhaps having some difficulties in normal schooling, so it was in a sense a facility for children who would be there all the time to actually come along, who were ...(indistinct), to actually look at the kind of schooling that they could assist with. So it was an active place for children to attend.
MR BIZOS: Did they attend that free school during regular school hours or were they present more frequently?
MS MARCUS: My recollection of that school was that it was regular school hours, but that in the environment on a weekend there would often be activities involving children in that area.
MR BIZOS: Was there a market anywhere near there?
MS MARCUS: Yes, indeed. The Chapel Street Market, in actual fact from White Lion Street if you went one block to the left on the map to the west, that whole street is a market street and if you went down to sort of the block that our block is in, the street that would be parallel to that, I think it might have been Baron Street, but I wouldn't swear to that, it was also a market. So on a weekend it was a very, very busy area., you had fruit, vegetables, all kinds of things. It was a particular weekend market, known as the Chapel Street Market.
MR BIZOS: Did this market operate on Sundays?
MS MARCUS: Yes.
MR BIZOS: What time did the operations start?
MS MARCUS: They would normally start early on a Saturday or on a Sunday. It was something that by 9 o'clock everybody was, 9, 10 o'clock, 8 o'clock, it depended on what you were selling. But it was a very busy area for that market. It was a very popular market and the area around that would be where people parked their cars to go to the market.
MR BIZOS: Please tell us what the nature of your work was for the ANC at that time.
MS MARCUS: My responsibility was in information, I was the Deputy-Secretary of Information for the ANC, and my particular responsibility was the production of a weekly news briefing, plus any other information that the ANC required.
MR BIZOS: And what were your working hours?
MS MARCUS: Whatever the work required. So in essence, given the limited resources that we had and the amount of the workload, I would say if you wanted hours, probably starting at six in the morning and finishing whatever time, eight or nine in the evenings and weekends.
MR BIZOS: Did you work on Sundays?
MS MARCUS: Always.
MR BIZOS: Was that generally known?
MS MARCUS: I would think so, yes. I think everybody knew if you wanted to find me you went to the office, you didn't try my house.
MR BIZOS: Were there every Sunday morning?
MS MARCUS: I was there every Sunday morning except the day of the bomb.
MR BIZOS: From what time to what time?
MS MARCUS: On a Sunday I'd usually go in a little later, usually at about eight. I would be there at about eight until the work was finished for that day.
MR BIZOS: Did you know Mr Williamson?
MS MARCUS: I knew of him certainly, and I recall having met him once in our Penton Street office where he was in the reception to the Penton Street office.
MR BIZOS: You say you know of him, did you know whether he was an occasional or regular visitor at the ANC offices?
MS MARCUS: My understanding was that he certainly interacted with particular people in the ANC, he came to the ANC office. He was working at that time, to the best of my recollection, with the IUEF and was dealing with scholarships and therefore had interactions with people in the ANC. I certainly had no direct dealings with him but I know the IUEF was a recipient of the news briefings.
MR BIZOS: Have you any reason to believe whether or not he knew where your office was?
MS MARCUS: I would very surprised if he didn't. I mean, it was a small building, people knew what went on and we printed from that office so it made a noise. So I don't think anybody didn't know what was going on there because your printing machine was there.
MR BIZOS: Yes. And if anyone, as we are told was done, conducted a thorough surveillance before a bomb was put against the wall of your office, would they have known about your working habits?
MS MARCUS: I would think it would be very hard for them not to have known, they were very regular, the routine required in producing a weekly publication is very set and there were certain routine and practices that were, how you conducted your work. Certainly I think any surveillance would have shown when you worked, where you worked and where you were.
MR BIZOS: Would you have been there on Sunday the 7th March, the week before?
MS MARCUS: I'm sure I was.
MR BIZOS: And would you have been there the week before that, the 1st of March?
MS MARCUS: Well as I say I wouldn't know the dates. My understanding and ...(intervention)
MR BIZOS: I'm merely working back on Sundays from that day.
MS MARCUS: Sure, sure. As far as I know I worked every Sunday except that Sunday, so certainly each of the previous Sundays I would have been there.
MR BIZOS: Yes. What were you busy doing on Saturday the 13th of March?
MS MARCUS: On the 13th we'd actually gathered quite a number of people for two reasons, there was going to be a demonstration and a very big rally on the Sunday and we had put, a number of ANC members had come to the office to help prepare the placards and the banners that we would carry in that march. So that was the one component which we participated in. And secondly, we decided that those of us who were working on the news briefings having sort of got the banners and things done, to try to complete our work that day so that we would in fact be free on the Sunday. And I think - we certainly worked into the evening of the Saturday to complete the work. So we completed the banners and completed the news briefings work so that we wouldn't have to be there on the Sunday.
MR BIZOS: Casting your mind back, when would you say you might have left the office on the Saturday.
MS MARCUS: Probably about 9 or 10 o'clock at night. It would have been well into the evening.
MR BIZOS: What was the demonstration to be about?
MS MARCUS: My recollection is probably an anti, a pro-sanctions rally. It was a very big rally at Trafalgar Square, a lot of work had gone into it and it was a big mobilisation in support of anti-apartheid.
MR BIZOS: Would anyone keeping the office under surveillance the week before, including the Saturday of the claimed efficiency of Mr Williamson as an intelligence gatherer, would this be generally known or was it a secret operation?
MS MARCUS: No, it was very well-known. I mean if one looked at it - if I recall there were even big banners on Nelson's column, it was that was very widely publicised. In fact my recollection is that it was a very big rally, it wasn't a small rally. You know it wasn't a couple of hundred people coming along, there were thousands of people there, as my recollection. And it was a Trafalgar Square rally which was usually well-known. And obviously in relation to that, the ANC makes its own preparations for the ANC people who participate. That would be your banners and so on. So anyone watching that would know the activities leading up to that weekend.
MR BIZOS: Did you go to the office on the Sunday morning, the 14th?
MS MARCUS: I received a phone call at my house - we had actually had a number of people meeting at my house before the rally, I received a phone call there asking me to - first of all I think they were trying to find out whether I was there or whether I was in the office. I don't recall who the phone call was from, but it was saying can you come there, there's been an explosion at the office and I went straight up. That was shortly after 9 o'clock on the Sunday morning.
MR BIZOS: Where the banners that were to be used for the demonstration?
MS MARCUS: If you looked at Exhibit DD, those stairs leading up, that was a kind of foyer there and we had piled all the banners there in that front part so that when we came to fetch them we'd easily be able to load them. My recollection is that we had put all the work that we had done there in the front. That would be just inside the entrance. That foyer and the first office there where the window is would have been the reception and we would have put all the things we'd prepared there so that we could easily load them into the car. That's the only entrance or, into the building is through that door.
MR BIZOS: Who was going to pick up those banners?
MS MARCUS: I don't recall the specifics, but probably myself and others who had been part of preparing them. We would have a team who would be part of collecting the banners and distributing them at the march.
MR BIZOS: What did you find when you went to the ANC offices?
MS MARCUS: Well it was sealed off. The police were there, they wouldn't let us in. And in essence, they had cordoned off the area and we could just see, because then we went around the side, you could see the damage at the back, but they just said there'd been an explosion and that there was a lot of damage and they would not let us into the building. So we couldn't take our banners at the end of day anyway.
MR BIZOS: Could you please tell us what damage you saw that had been done, particularly in relation to the office that you would have been in had you gone in on that Sunday morning.
MS MARCUS: They first of all had to look at the soundness of the building to let us in, and I'm not sure if it was one or two days later when they let us in, it wasn't that day.
When I went back to my office - perhaps if one looked at Exhibit NN, which is marked mine there, there was a window, not the full length of my office, the part marked "exit" was a sort of kitchen which had a steel door at the back, there was a little yard at the back which was back space, it was just a few feet, and there was a sort of broken down fence there. At my office there was a window and in front of that window in the office would have been my desk and behind my desk would have been the printing machine, more-or-less in the middle of the office.
There was an enormous crater in the office, the printing machine had been thrown right into the other office, it had been pushed right the way through and my desk was sort of, it was a metal desk, it wasn't a wooden desk, and it was sort of quite twisted and there was just this big crater where I would have been, either at my desk or at the printing machine, but there was just a crater there.
MR BIZOS: Could you give us some indication of the dimensions of the crater?
MS MARCUS: Bit hard to describe. Probably if one took the - I would say, probably two or three times the size in diameter of the footrests here. So if you looked at it, about three times that size. Two or three times that size, of how the bottom of the camera is spread out.
MR BIZOS: Did you say twice or three times? Between two and three times?
MS MARCUS: Something like that, ja.
CHAIRPERSON: What footrest, Mr Bizos?
MR BIZOS: The footrests of the television camera.
CHAIRPERSON: The one in front here?
MR BIZOS: The one - between twice and ...
MS MARCUS: If you moved that out about three times, I would say that's roughly the size of the crater.
MR VISSER: I suggest that's about a metre, Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: And three times would be three metres.
MR VISSER: Three metres, yes.
MR BIZOS: I couldn't tell how deep ...(indistinct). It was certainly deep. The floor had been a concrete floor, so it was something where you actually just looked into this hole. It was deep, I wouldn't be able to tell you.
There was just a question perhaps, in thinking back at that time, something that, if you looked at that you just looked and said well, I don't think what, if I would have been there, I don't think there would have been much of me left to see. It was quite a sort of, it's quite an experience to actually stand and look at a hole that you would have been in.
MR BIZOS: What other damage had there been done to installations, windows, in the neighbourhood?
MS MARCUS: The damage again was quite extensive. In the empty yard the windows from those building were blown out, the Italian deli had another part attached there, that in fact had, the one wall had fallen down and that had to be demolished. We ourselves in our office had to do structural repairs because the whole walls of the entire building had shifted, and we had to do structural repairs from the basement up to actually make the building safe and available for habitation again. Our own office, or my own office I was never able to reoccupy.
MR BIZOS: In relation to the school, what damage was there, if any?
MS MARCUS: The main damage seemed to be blowing out of windows and a lot of glass.
MR BIZOS: Was there anyone in the building in which the ANC was housed at that time?
MS MARCUS: Yes. There was a young man by the name of Vernet Mbatha. Vernet Mbatha was an ANC member who lived in the top floor. As I said it had been residential. Previously two additional people had lived there, then one had moved out, then the third, the one person had remained. At that point in time, Vernet was the only person still living in the top of the building. My recollection is that the bomb in fact threw him out of his bed.
He knowing that I would normally be there, actually came down the stairs trying to find out whether I was downstairs. And I know that from when I arrived at the building he was just really totally shaken and saying "Gill, thank God, I came looking for you but thank goodness you weren't there. I was just worried that you were in the downstairs."
MR BIZOS: Shortly after this explosion, did you receive a postcard?
MS MARCUS: Yes. It was posted from Botswana.
MR BIZOS: And to whom was it addressed?
MS MARCUS: To me, at Penton Street.
MR BIZOS: What was written on it?
MS MARCUS: To the best of my recollection it was: "Oh, you are still around. Craig."
MR BIZOS: Did you have any friends called Craig, in Botswana?
MS MARCUS: No, I don't know any other Craig at all.
MR BIZOS: How did you interpret this biledo from Craig?
MS MARCUS: I was actually quite angry I must say, because I felt that, if I could give my expressions on the bomb, I don't think the bomb was ever intended for me personally, I think it was a bomb of the ANC. I think that if they had got me as well it would have been a nice to have, but that's about all.
I don't think it mattered one way or the other. But what this indicated was a callousness and a personal agenda that one was really a bit annoyed about, to put it mildly. It's quite callous and cynical, it's very cynical.
MR BIZOS: Had there been publicity about your habits and where you office was and where the main damage had been done, after this blast?
MS MARCUS: Yes, I think it wasn't particularly about my habits, but certainly there was in a photograph an indication of the damage done to the office and that it had occurred at the back of the office. And therefore, in terms of anti-apartheid circles they would have certainly known it was my office.
I don't recall if there was anything that indicated that that was where the news briefings were published from, in publicity terms or about my movements in particular.
Certainly people were well aware because the, we had to make alternate arrangements to produce the news briefings and our view was that we were going to be sure that we did not miss a week, we hadn't up to then and we were not going to, and therefore we needed a lot of assistance to produce it, which we got from different organisations in, different British organisations who gave us office space, allowed us or assisted us with access to printing equipment, their printing equipment and typesetting and other opportunities. And therefore we continued to produce the news briefings without any break.
MR BIZOS: Thank you, Mr Chairman, we have no further questions.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR BIZOS
CHAIRPERSON: Who is to commence questioning?
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR LEVINE: It seems I've been nominated.
Ms Marcus, you don't have a copy of this postcard do you?
MS MARCUS: No.
MR LEVINE: And you don't have the original available?
MS MARCUS: No.
MR LEVINE: What did you do with it when you received it?
MS MARCUS: I think I probably threw it away, I don't recall.
MR LEVINE: And it merely had the very terse words: "see you're still here" or something of that nature?
MS MARCUS: You're still around is what I recall.
MR LEVINE: You're still around.
MS MARCUS: Craig.
MR LEVINE: And Craig?
MS MARCUS: Yes.
MR LEVINE: Was it in manuscript?
MS MARCUS: Sorry? Was it handwritten?
MR LEVINE: Yes.
MS MARCUS: Yes.
MR LEVINE: And was the Craig a signature or merely
MS MARCUS: Just C-r-a-i-g.
MR LEVINE: Plus printed on the envelope, on the card?
MS MARCUS: On the card.
MR LEVINE: So ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: Was it printed or written?
MS MARCUS: It was written, it was handwriting.
MR LEVINE: Perhaps, Mr Chairman, was it printed in manuscript?
MS MARCUS: It was handwritten.
MR LEVINE: In manuscript? Printed in manuscript?
MS MARCUS: Well I'm not sure what you mean by "printed". To me a postcard, if you handwrite I can see, it's written by hand, it's not printed from some machine and it's done by hand in a person's handwriting. That's what I understand you're asking and that is how it was, it wasn't from a machine and it wasn't printed, it ...(indistinct)
CHAIRPERSON: Well was it the word Craig or was it
MS MARCUS: If I was writing my name I'd write it
MR LEVINE: And that's exactly what I had there, was
CHAIRPERSON: ...(indistinct) small ...(intervention)
MS MARCUS: It was upper and lower case and it would the same way as you would write your personal name.
MR LEVINE: It wasn't in any form of signature or anything like that?
MS MARCUS: I wouldn't know how Craig Williamson signs his name, but it is handwritten C-r-a-i-g, as you would write your name. It was not a signature in terms of signing off as I might sign a letter, which would be different from if I wrote Jill.
MR LEVINE: Did you ever previously receive a note or a letter in manuscript from Mr Craig Williamson?
MS MARCUS: Not that I recall, no.
MR LEVINE: So you were not able to identify it as being something which emanated from him?
MS MARCUS: No, I would not be able to say it was Craig Williamson, but a question of getting a postcard from Botswana in 1982 with the name of Craig on, there's very little other conclusions that one could draw.
MR LEVINE: There could have been any number of Craigs who might have written it.
MS MARCUS: Well I would want to know how you would decide which Craigs would write to me from Botswana. I mean there is only one Craig who was involved in anti-apartheid, the bomb had just occurred and yes, any number of Craigs could have written, but I'm not quite sure what they would be doing sending postcards from Botswana to me.
MR LEVINE: Well I have the same difficulty as you, any number could have written. Thank you very much, Mr Chairman.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR LEVINE
CHAIRPERSON: Any other questions?
CROSS-EXAMINATION MR VISSER: Thank you, Mr Chairman. Perhaps I should ask a few questions, with your leave.
I can't see you, Ms Marcus, and you can't see me so we'll just have to feel our way around toward each other, if you don't mind.
MS MARCUS: As long as that's not literal.
MR VISSER: Ms Marcus, you said you went into exile, did you say 1969?
MS MARCUS: Yes, during 1969.
MR VISSER: But at the time you were not a member of the ANC, as I understand it?
MS MARCUS: The ANC during the period if you recall was banned and its membership was clandestine and there was a restricted political activity in the country. Membership was not formal in that sense in the country at that time. Obviously there were people who were members and who regarded themselves as members. Certainly in terms of formal joining, I went to the UK and I joined the ANC shortly after I arrived, formally.
MR VISSER: Well please stop me if I'm wrong, must one understand then your evidence to mean that you went into exile because you were aligned with the ANC at the time, but you couldn't join the ANC because it was a banned organisation and you went to the UK where you joined the ANC, is that more-or-less what you're saying?
MS MARCUS: More-or-less correct. In 1969 I was a student at the, well, 1967 and '68 I was a student at the Wits University and I had felt that I wanted to see what was happening and look at the kind of roll I could play. I did not feel that I could do it within the country.
I left the country in '69. My entire family left in '69 and we, I became a member of the ANC, linking up with them shortly after my arrival in the UK.
MR VISSER: Ms Marcus, what did you study, what did you qualify yourself as?
MS MARCUS: I hope - the university qualified me as a BComm graduate. I did two years which I passed at Wits, I then completed my studies through correspondence at the University of South Africa because they gave me credits for my two years at Wits. So I completed a BComm with particular emphasis on Industrial Psychology and Economic History.
MR VISSER: Yes. I'll tell you why I ask you the question, it's because I wanted to know whether your qualifications was what qualified you to become the Deputy-Minister of Finance. I take it the answer would be yes.
Coming to the two schools, Ms Marcus, which you referred to, the one that you remember, the other one that you obliquely remember. Do I understand your evidence correctly, that on Sundays as schools normally would tend to be, there was no activities going on at these schools?
MS MARCUS: There would not have been school activities, but my recollection is that those schools had sort of extramural activities in which the children were involved, and there were often children, that they would gather for different purposes organised by the school in that area. They were often there on a Sunday, and you could see the kids and hear the kids.
MR VISSER: And it was a very busy area over weekends, with markets and people parking their cars and walking along the sidewalks, not so?
MS MARCUS: Certainly Chapel Street Market is a very famous, was, I'm not sure of its status now, but at that time was a very famous and popular market for the people to come shopping on a Sunday.
MR VISSER: And you yourself was a person who worked every Sunday as you can recollect, and as Mr Berger stated, for many years in that office?
MS MARCUS: Yes, unfortunately I have a reputation of being a bit of a workaholic.
MR VISSER: Yes. For many years?
MS MARCUS: Yes.
MR VISSER: On Sundays?
MS MARCUS: Yes.
MR VISSER: Except this one?
MS MARCUS: Yes.
MR VISSER: Yes. So ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: Well you would have been working to some extent, elsewhere on this Sunday, wouldn't you?
MS MARCUS: Yes, indeed, I mean it wasn't a day off, it was just a different form of activity which was outside the office.
MR VISSER: So either the perpetrators of the bombing were extremely fortunate, very lucky or it was an extremely well planned operation, wouldn't you agree?
MS MARCUS: I would have thought it's me who was lucky and I would have thought that, I don't think it mattered, because the question is about their well planning, is that we were still coming to fetch those banners and we could have equally have been there earlier at that time.
The only reason why we were not was as I said, we had people meeting at my house and we were going to come later to do that. We could as easily have come at that time. And if anyone had been watching the building if it was carefully planned, on the Saturday, they would have seen that when we come and do this kind of work which was common for the ANC, we do not have child-care facilities, there would have been children in the building, the members who were coming to work on it would have come with their children. So to me it was something that it really didn't matter whether people were killed or not. And I think it was me who was lucky, not the perpetrators.
MR VISSER: Well there are people who would say, Ms Marcus, that it does really matter whether people were killed or not, and there weren't any people killed or seriously injured, isn't that correct?
MS MARCUS: That is correct.
MR VISSER: And isn't that really the end of the matter?
MS MARCUS: I would be quite shocked if the end of the matter was that you plant a bomb and because nobody's killed, that's the end of the matter. I think the risks to people and the question of the callousness of planting a bomb in a busy area, in itself speaks volumes.
And I think that the question of actually having no-one killed is a plus for those of us who could have been, but I don't think it absolves the perpetrators by any means.
I mean, what would have happened if somebody had been at the back there, I mean it would as likely as not, from what I would be able to tell. I don't think it's the end of the matter at all.
MR VISSER: Yes, I'm not suggesting at all that bombing the building wasn't a serious matter, Ms Marcus, what I'm suggesting to you is that quite clearly the people who did the bombing had taken great care to ascertain and make absolutely sure that nobody was seriously injured in the blast, and they succeeded.
MS MARCUS: Well I'm saying differently. Vernet Mbatha who lived in the building, I mean on what basis do you say that he was secure? I don't know if the blast had gone slightly differently you're that guaranteed that a person on the top floor wouldn't get killed in that building? How do you know the damage wasn't so structural that in coming down he wouldn't have been killed?
I think those are not issues that one can ignore and I think that it would be wrong to dismiss the question that Vernet Mbatha's life was worth less than anybody else's. The fact that he wasn't injured was fortuitous and we're very delighted at that, but I don't think that any bomber could have been able to guarantee that that would be the outcome.
MR VISSER: So please assist me, Ms Marcus, what is the point of your evidence here today? Is the point then to come ...(intervention)
MR BIZOS: Mr Chairman, is the witness being asked to argue the case for the applicants? We will do that, Mr Chairman, it isn't a matter for the witness.
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, it's a perfectly permissable question to ask the witness.
CHAIRPERSON: You have been asking her these questions and getting the answers, Mr Visser. They are largely argumentative, aren't they? You will continue to argue that it shows great care in planning, that nobody in a busy street on a day when there were markets there, was injured.
CHAIRPERSON: ... you are not going to accept, are you?
MR VISSER: No, that is so, Mr Chairman, but the question that arises now is, may I ask the witness what she intended with her evidence for this Committee to believe?
CHAIRPERSON: To tell us what she thought the facts were, so we can then come to a decision.
MR VISSER: May it please you, Mr Chairman. I take it then my question is not allowed.
CHAIRPERSON: I think it is pointless, Mr Visser.
MR VISSER: The nature of the work that you were doing, you were talking about a news letter, did I hear you correctly? - a news briefing. What were you referring to?
MS MARCUS: It's a news briefing. Basically my task was to produce a weekly news briefing on events in South Africa. In essence, that if one wanted to understand the content of that one could go into details about it, but it was to inform the wider public in the world about what was happening in South Africa, taken directly from South African newspapers. It was produced on a weekly basis and went to, at that time I wouldn't know the exact circulation, but its circulation grew to about
5 000 organisations worldwide.
MR VISSER: And you were sitting in the same room where the printing press was you've told us?
MS MARCUS: Yes, with the printing press, my office, filing, everything else, all in one space.
MR VISSER: And as the printing press was churning out pamphlets, news letters or whatever, did you normally read what was printed in that room where you sat and worked every day of your life?
MS MARCUS: Of course, I mean I did the printing as well. We didn't have much sort of personnel power, so one learnt to print as well. So I read it and I printed it and quite often typed it and distributed it as well.
MR VISSER: Did you make any input in the contents of what was printed in the Setchabas, for example, printed in that same room where you were working?
MS MARCUS: No, Setchaba is a different publication, it was not printed there. Setchaba had its own printing facility, quite separate from this and I did not make inputs into Setchaba unless I wrote an article for them. It was a different publication altogether, it was not produced from that office, it had a different office.
MR VISSER: What was exactly printed in that office then?
MS MARCUS: That office was responsible for printing matters that were public for the ANC. It would print news letters to members, it would print the news briefing, it would print leaflets, it would print pamphlets, whatever was required for the ANC. It was it's UK printing office.
Obviously it wasn't the only printing done by the ANC, it's what we did, it was our in-house printer. Like most organisations, they have two types of publications, those they do in-house and those that they take out to agencies to do either printing or producing. This was the in-house publication then, or print facility of the ANC in London, it wasn't the only one.
MR VISSER: Was any matter printed in the room where you worked, regarding instructions to persons within South Africa as to what to do in the struggle?
MS MARCUS: As I said, we produced leaflets, we may well have produced leaflets that would have come to South Africa, yes.
MR VISSER: For example propagating the killing of policemen and Security Force members?
MS MARCUS: I'm not quite sure what that's got to do with the question of bombing the office, but in terms of whatever the ANC policy was on issues I wouldn't be able to tell you which leaflets, because as I said this wasn't the only one.
The internal publicity for the ANC was actually done from other offices in Africa, and mine was concentrating on the external publicity of the ANC and what was required for public consumptions. There may have been occasions when we did do leaflets in support of what needed to be done at home, but I wouldn't be able to tell you which ones. Primarily the task of that office was external, not internal.
MR VISSER: Thank you, Mr Chairman, I have no further questions.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR VISSER
CHAIRPERSON: I don't quite understand this external and internal. You say the task of that office was external?
MS MARCUS: Yes, Judge, the question is that as you know, I'm sure if you went back to the 1980's and before, the ANC also produced information that was part of its publicity inside the country, so therefore in terms of that, that publicity was a different unit, it had nothing to do with me in terms of my responsibilities. My responsibility in the department was the publicity of the ANC in terms of interacting with the world environment.
MS MARCUS: External.
CHAIRPERSON: ...(indistinct) the country.
MS MARCUS: External to South Africa.
CHAIRPERSON: ...(indistinct) confusing me. You had just told us that your office was the in-house printing, and I couldn't see the similarity between in-house and external, but I now understand it, thank you.
Any other questions?
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you, Mr Chairman.
Ms Marcus, we haven't met, I'm Rulof du Plessis. I act for Jerry Raven who planted the bomb. Ms Marcus, in respect of that specific area, would you say that that area at night was a busy area, was there lots of nightlife there?
MS MARCUS: Not particularly, no. It was a residential area, a lot of people lived around there, there were - you know London doesn't have this vast separation between who lived and what happened, so the houses on the next sides could be living, but it wasn't in a sense of nightclubs and cafes and busy in that sense, but it was a normal residential area of London that would have the normal activities in terms of a residential area, not sort of city centre. The market was a day market, it wasn't an evening market.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright. One could have expected people to have returned late at night from a night out on a Saturday night in that area?
MS MARCUS: ...(indistinct)
MR DU PLESSIS: And Ms Marcus, the market area, can you just explain to me on Exhibit NN, exactly where the market was that we are talking about.
MS MARCUS: I'll try to. If you move westwards we've got White Lion Street, as you can see now, if you went one block parallel, that would have been Chapel Street and that's the market street. And if you took, say where we've got the, the first block that you would come to, just as we've identified one block here, if you took the next block, that street, as I said my recollection is, and I may be wrong, that is was Baron Street, but it might not be that, that street would also be part of the market.
So the market would come up to, and you would have some stalls, almost up to the point of White Lion in that street there, and that would link into, so the street parallel to White Lion Street is Chapel Street, that whole street is a market street.
And the market street in the UK is, you put out your stall and you've got your fruit and your vegetables and whatever else you're selling, a very, very busy market, both sides all the way down the street, including that street there.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright. You indicate while you're testifying - if I can explain it in this way, you indicate that the market would have stretched up to the left-hand corner of the page that we've got, the top left-hand corner of the page, is that where the market would have ended, if I can put it that way?
MS MARCUS: No, the market street, the actual street of Chapel Street goes much further down. What I'm saying is that - and if you went down further you'd find the diagonal if you want, the block up from Penton street. So the diagonal that would be parallel to Penton Street on or quite a way down you'd also have markets in those diagonals. But Chapel Street itself began at the top of Penton Street because that's where, if you were on the west there, your Chapel Street, Penton Street, the corner of Chapel Street and Penton Street would be where the market started, it would have gone down very extensively, virtually the whole length of Chapel Street.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright. I just wanted to ...(intervention)
MS MARCUS: It started in Penton Street.
MR DU PLESSIS: I just want to determine if I understand you correctly, there is a block between White Lion Street and Chapel Street ...(no sound) There would be a block of buildings between White Lion and Chapel Street, you would walk in Penton Street, cross White Lion Street, walk down the block and then reach Chapel Street, is that correct?
MS MARCUS: You would have two access, one down White Lion Street and then across, or in Penton Street at the top and into Chapel Market. But what I'm also raising is that the market wasn't restricted to Chapel Market, if you went to the Italian deli on the corner right next to our office on a Sunday, you would have found that a lot of people would have packet out the Italian deli, it was their busiest day of the week.
So you would look at it in a sense that that, it wasn't sort of that you went to Chapel Street and you didn't do something else. The Italian deli would have been extremely busy on a Sunday and on a Saturday, those were their main days, and as I said people would have been walking and parking and moving around here to get into Chapel Street.
No cars would go into Chapel Street on a market day, you go there on foot and you park somewhere else because you have barrows in the street, you've got your walkway between, and it would have been a very, very busy thoroughfare.
CHAIRPERSON: One other point if I could just for clarity, and I want to make it quite clear I'm not talking about Sunday morning now. From the Plan BB if appears, you were asked about whether it was busy at night, there was a pub in White Lion Street near the Penton Street corner, is that so?
MS MARCUS: Yes, but the question with Britain is that I think it would be quite hard to go past any block that didn't have a pub. So it's that - you know in a sense that when I'm saying residential area, it is the normal activity in a residential area, you'll have your pub, you'll have this, and people go and do those kinds of things in their residential areas, the pubs are always there.
CHAIRPERSON: And in the plan Exhibit BB it also shows the police in Penton Street.
MS MARCUS: I don't have plan BB in front of me, I've got - yes, the police were opposite our offices, more-or-less, but I, that one if I recall, I may not be absolute, but I recall that was mainly traffic fines and things like that, that was the office where you went and paid your fines. So it was a police station that dealt with traffic offences and things like that. I'm sure they had a police station there as well, but it was mainly related to paying traffic fines. That's my knowledge of it because I had to go there and do it a couple of times myself.
MR DU PLESSIS: Right. Ms Marcus, then you would agree with me that, and that is my experience, is that shops open in London round about 10 o'clock usually, in the week, isn't that so? I'm talking of shops specifically.
MS MARCUS: No, definitely not.
CHAIRPERSON: Week or weekend?
MR DU PLESSIS: Let me phrase it like this, Mr Chairman. Over the weekend round about 10 o'clock, and I think in the week 9/10 o'clock.
MS MARCUS: Not the London I know and certainly not on weekends. If you're a market, a market, about a market is that it starts early.
MR DU PLESSIS: I'm talking about shops.
MS MARCUS: Shops vary, but I would have thought that by 08H30 most things are open, certainly by nine, it's certainly not 10 o'clock. I'm not aware of shops starting in London at ten. I mean I know that they, that that may be sort - I mean I'm certainly not aware of shops opening at ten.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well Ms Marcus, we can look at that, I have plenty of books at home indicating the opening times of markets and shops, tourist books. So we can independently establish that.
CHAIRPERSON: Well I can say I lived in London for some years and I don't know of shops opening in London during the week at 10 o'clock.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well Mr Chairman, at least not earlier than 9 o'clock.
Do you agree with me, Ms Marcus?
MS MARCUS: I think it depends on the nature of the shops. I mean it depends what you're shopping for. Stores that would be like John Orrs or something like that would have opening hours of eight thirty or nine. Different shops that you would looking at, you want to go into a cafe or you want to go and get - I can give you my own example if you like, is that before I started working with the ANC I used to work in a cafe and we started at six and we would be busy from six onwards, so it was a shop, the shops around us were open, so I don't know where the 9 o'clock or 10 o'clock started. Certainly all the customers who were coming in, who were going into the offices and the shops, came in well before eight.
MR DU PLESSIS: And what time were you saying did shops open generally on Sundays, Ms Marcus? At the same time, 9 o'clock, 8 o'clock? Is that what your testimony is?
MS MARCUS: I would actually have great difficulty being the authority on when shops open in London. I think London has - it's very different from here because I mean, a lot of shops are open 24 hours and a lot of shops have late-night shopping, so really, I'm not an authority of when shops open. I was never a great shopper, I'm very poor at it. Perhaps if you ...(indistinct) with the money I had in London, I'd have a better idea of what I could buy, but I wasn't a great shopper.
In terms of Chapel Market, those kinds of markets would be early, I mean there by eight or certainly by 8 o'clock on a morning. Your markets are busy, they're fruit, vegetables, people come there for the morning, and 10 o'clock, I don't think they would be opening by ten, I think that's very late for that kind of activity.
CHAIRPERSON: But ordinary shops wouldn't open on a Sunday, would they? Not in 1982, because Sunday opening is a recent development, isn't it?
MS MARCUS: As I said I really would have difficulty being an authority because it wasn't a pastime of mine.
MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you, Mr Chairman, I was coming to that.
Ms Marcus, you will recall, or maybe you won't recall, that there was a big dispute in Britain, I think in the beginning of the 1990's, maybe the late 1980's, about shops opening on Sunday, can you recall that?
MS MARCUS: You know, I remember there being a dispute. When I was in the UK, and I left in 1990 when the ANC was unbanned, shortly after that I was asked to come home and I was in Lusaka for some time, so anything that occurred after the beginning of the 1990's I would not be able to answer.
Prior to that there was a dispute because obviously in a country, I think in any country there's discussions around religious sensitivities and Sunday openings.
It would not have been something that was very uppermost in my mind at all, it was very peripheral to the kind of life I was leading or the work I was doing. So yes, it may have been taking place, but it wouldn't have been something I would have been engaged in particularly.
MR DU PLESSIS: Ms Marcus, the only point that I want to make and that I want to know if you agree with me is that on Sundays at that time, shops did not open.
MS MARCUS: No, I cannot agree with you because I think that you'd be able to do this very scientifically, you could go to the management of London's council, I'm quite sure that, there is Lincoln Burrough(?) who would be able to tell you the opening hours of Chapel Market.
MR DU PLESSIS: I'm not talking of markets, I'm getting to the market, Ms Marcus, I'm talking of shops.
MS MARCUS: Equally I think that they would give you rulings on what can or can't open and what can and can't be sold on a Sunday. I would be able to tell you that in terms of where I was working the Italian deli opened early, beyond that I wouldn't be able to tell you much. I was not somebody who went shopping the mornings, I couldn't tell you what time they opened.
MR DU PLESSIS: And Ms Marcus, do you also agree with me that Oxford Street is not bustling, even today, at
8 o'clock on a Sunday morning or even 9 o'clock on a Sunday morning? Not Oxford Street, not Regent Street, not any of the main shopping streets in London. ...(indistinct). Ms Marcus, I'm putting it to you, Sunday morning is a quiet morning in London, especially in respect of shopping, and I'm talking shops, not markets.
MS MARCUS: As I said, I'm not an authority on how shops open or who does their shopping on a Sunday. I can't help you more than that. My particular area of knowledge would be what would happen around where I was working, and that is what I can answer on, but in terms of generally in London, I think you need a person who is a London expert.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, well we will see about that, Ms Marcus, maybe we will call somebody as a witness.
CHAIRPERSON: ...(indistinct) you would like us to go over for an inspection, Mr du Plessis.
MR DU PLESSIS: I was getting to that, Mr Chairman.
ADV DE JAGER: Well seeing that we've got the Deputy-Minister of Finance here, perhaps you could work out a budget.
MS MARCUS: No, no, it would never be allowed for tax reduction purposes I can assure you.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright, Ms Marcus. And then in respect of the school, you would agree with me that any school activities over a weekend would be the normal extramural activities, isn't that so? - like sport and things.
MS MARCUS: I wouldn't - yes, I mean generally that would the case, and I wouldn't be able to comment on the specific of the type of activities that these schools conducted, I just know from my working there that there were often on a weekend and on Sundays, children gathering in that area for different activities. What they did or how their schools performed or related to that, I really did not have knowledge about. But certainly, given that I worked there regularly, there were certainly children in that area at that time, on a regular enough basis that one would be aware that there were children there.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, Ms Marcus, but you would also agree with me that in all probability there wouldn't be a, it would be more probable to have expected children there on for instance a Saturday morning or a Saturday afternoon and a Sunday morning 8 o'clock/9 o'clock. Do you agree with me?
MS MARCUS: Generally speaking probably, yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes. And the same probability is applicable in respect of the shops, Ms Marcus.
MS MARCUS: No.
MR DU PLESSIS: It is more probable - just give me a chance, isn't it more probable that you would have had many more people on the street, 11 o'clock, 12 o'clock right through to 3 o'clock on a Sunday doing shopping, than people doing shopping between 8 o'clock and 9 o'clock on a Sunday morning?
MS MARCUS: It depends whether you view the people who work at those stalls and who work in those shops as dispensable and not counting when you look at the number of people around. I mean if you going to a shop or you're going to go to a market, people have to set that up, the goods have to be delivered, it's fresh on that day. So that happens very early on a day if you're setting up a market.
You know I would say yes, if you looked at it to say well there might be more people at eleven or twelve, that may be true but it certainly would not be empty. And to me the critical question about this is that you have a market that is busy, that is known to be busy, that people set up their stalls, they are in the vicinity, and I think that when one looks at this, I mean I don't go beyond the value of one person you know. I think if you're weighing these up, do you weigh it in one, do you weigh it up in ten, what's your acceptable limit of injury.
As far as I'm concerned the whole thing is a disgrace that it happened because you're in an area that innocent bystanders are there. So you know the question of how busy it is, I mean the implications of what you're saying for me is that there's an acceptable level of death. There's no acceptable level of death.
MR DU PLESSIS: No, Ms Marcus, I'll get to the argument. The point is, Ms Marcus, how many people at this very busy market at 8 o'clock on a Sunday morning doing their weekly shopping at 8 o'clock on a Sunday morning, - as we all know the practice in South Africa apparently and in London is as if you want to indicate to us, how many people were injured by this blast, who were at the market?
MS MARCUS: There was no-one injured in this blast at the market. There was no-one injured in the blast other than sort of shock issues for Vernet Mbatha. I don't think that's the issue. If you want to look at it, I have no doubt that there is Lincoln City Council, can give you statistic for White Lion Street in 1982, when it started, when it was busy, how many stall holders, because they would have that kind of information.
MR DU PLESSIS: No, you see ...(indistinct)
MS MARCUS: ...(indistinct) busy popular ...(indistinct)
MR DU PLESSIS: I'm sorry, Ms Marcus, your last words were: "It was a very busy popular market." Now Ms Marcus, you see the point is nobody was injured in Chapel Street at the market because it was planned. And that was the evidence of my client, Mr Raven, it was planned that the damage would not go as far as that. The second point to this, Ms Marcus, which I'm trying to establish and which I will argue, is that in respect of the shops around the ANC's offices, that the probabilities that those shops were open at 9 o'clock on a Sunday morning are really very small, and the probabilities of people walking around in White Lion Street and Penton Street on a Sunday morning are very small.
MS MARCUS: I can't agree with you, the Italian deli would certainly have been open in my view, and second of all the question is were there people in the office itself. So I think that what you're saying is that well, if there were people in the office, they were expendable.
And if you looked at it in terms of what happened in terms of what happened in terms of the Italian deli ...(indistinct), if you went there and you saw how busy they were you'd know what we're talking about. It was a very, very popular shop, it had won awards as one of the best importers of Italian food. It was a point of destination on a Sunday for shopping, and certainly my recollection. As I said in terms of if you wanted to verify it, I've no doubt you could go back to the records, but it was not a late opening event. Sunday markets were not late.
MR DU PLESSIS: Ms Marcus, and what did this Italian deli sell?
MS MARCUS: ...(indistinct) Italian foods, cheeses, salamis, pastas, all imported from Italy and it was a very popular deli.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well what I'm trying to establish, did it sell pasta which you buy and then take home and cook or did it sell food that you can buy there, like a restaurant?
MS MARCUS: No, it wasn't a restaurant it was a deli, but you could eat in the sense that you could have rolls and things like that. So people would go in and buy their rolls, put salami that they would choose and make their sandwich, they could do that. But there was no sitting down, it was a deli in which you bought and took away.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright. And it seems to me, Ms Marcus, that you are saying to us that the probabilities are overwhelming that lots of people on a Sunday morning at 8 o'clock would go to the Italian deli to buy pasta, that's what you're saying to us.
MS MARCUS: That's my recollection. It was a very popular deli, yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes.
MS MARCUS: It's food was very good, I can testify.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, it sound very probable to me, Ms Marcus, I will however argue the opposite. And I'm putting it to you that I will argue that from all the times that could have been chosen, pertaining to when a bomb should be placed here, a Sunday morning between
8 o'clock and 9 o'clock was the best time for anybody to decide to place a bomb there with the least possibility of people being hurt.
MS MARCUS: You know there's two things about that that offend me, first of all you're asking me to comment on when was a suitable time and when there would be least injury, really that's got nothing to do with me. As far as I'm concerned, the fact that people actually sit and calculate these things is part and parcel what they have to account for.
Second of all, you're also asking me as a person who would have been in that office right, and it was one time in my life that I was not there and you're asking me to say this was a suitable time. Well yes, it might have been very suitable to everybody else, I think I'm just lucky to be here and not there sitting in a grave in London somewhere. So quite frankly I think it's really obtrusive of you to actually ask me whether I think that's a suitable time. I don't think that that's an acceptable question to me.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well Ms Marcus, irrespective of the fact that you may have been in the office or that you could have been in the office, the point is you were there. You were called as a witness before this hearing to come and testify to this Committee about the circumstances, and you have tried to portray to this Committee how busy this area on a Sunday is, you have tried to explain to us how many people buy pasta at 8 o'clock on a Sunday morning, you have tried to explain to us how many children go to school on a Sunday morning. The point I'm trying to make to you in answer to your evidence, Ms Marcus, is I'm putting it to you that of all the possible times these people could have decided to put a bomb there between 8 o'clock and 9 o'clock on a Sunday morning, according to their evidence, was the best time with the least risk of people being hurt, injured or killed.
CHAIRPERSON: Was it better than ...(indistinct) seven?
MR DU PLESSIS: Now the question is - Mr Chairman, or early on a Sunday morning, if I can put it like that. ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: You didn't, you put it specifically 8 to 9 a.m.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well let me make it early ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: ...(indistinct) suggest to you that this is a matter for argument surely.
MR DU PLESSIS: But Mr Chairman, she was there, with respect.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, and what she said is she disagrees with your 8 to 9, because she was normally sitting in her office between 8 and 9. And one can understand her feeling this was not a safe time.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well Mr Chairman, my next question was, what other times were there, Ms Marcus, when that area was much more quieter?
MS MARCUS: Perhaps Mr Williamson should have asked me for the times when we would evacuate and he can go and do a bomb with absolute surety. I don't think that that's the kind of question that I'm willing to answer. I think the question here is, if they were weighing up when it would be suitable, the question is, whose lives were you willing to risk and how far were you willing to go in a country that is not your own and to take innocent lives. I mean the question is, you may have a disagreement with me because I was a member of the ANC or the ANC because it was a liberation movement that you didn't like in South Africa, it had nothing to do with London and therefore the question that you are asking me, I'm saying that I don't think it is my responsibility to answer what would have been a suitable time. A suitable time would be never because you had no right to put a bomb there, at any time. And therefore the question for me here, what I've tried to do in terms of coming here today is to say this was an environment in which there was risk, this was an environment in which you planted a bomb which for my good fortune I must say I was not there at the time.
The question that arises for me is the callousness because as I said I don't think this bomb was intended for me at all, I think it was intended for this office. I'm saying I don't think it mattered whether we were there or not.
And the question of sending me a postcard from Botswana after that, indicated that there was a clear awareness about what the consequence was. So really I think your points that may be in the interest of your client, that he took the least risk possible and he has acceptable levels of risk and acceptable levels of death, that's up to you and your client. As far as I'm concerned there is no acceptable level of death, there was no right to place that bomb or to assassinate people.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, Ms Marcus, however you supported the ANC's armed struggle, isn't that so?
MS MARCUS: Absolutely, and we've got the democracy we have as a result.
MR DU PLESSIS: And do you suppose ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: Are you going on to a new aspect, Mr du Plessis?
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, maybe I should return to this point. I will get to that aspect just now.
CHAIRPERSON: Well we'll take the adjournment ...(indistinct)
GILLIAN MARCUS: (s.u.o.)
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR DU PLESSIS: (Cont)
Ms Marcus, in respect of this last point, I've decided not to debate with you the difference in callousness between a bomb on a Sunday morning, injuring nobody and a bomb on a Friday afternoon, injuring and killing hundreds of people. So I'm not going to debate that with you.
Now Ms Marcus, you testified that you were responsible for the intelligence section, if I can put it like that, of that office, is that correct? - the ANC.
MS MARCUS: Absolutely not, not ...(indistinct)
MR DU PLESSIS: Now can you tell me what your responsibilities were?
MS MARCUS: I think there's an enormous difference in an intelligence office and a publicity information office. My publicity information office dealt with information that was public, it primarily related to taking South African newspapers and putting them into some form that made them accessible to the world about what was happening in South African in its own words, and making available documentation or publications that were produced legally in South Africa, they were not illegal documents. Obviously once those documents had the ANC label on it they became illegal, but the content was all from legal sources.
Secondly, it was about publicity and information. Publicity and information is communicating to an anti-apartheid worldwide network, bodies such as the United Nations, the US Congress Senators, British Parliament, bodies like that throughout the world in most parts of the world, that were looking to know what was happening in South Africa, what role they could play in support of the anti-apartheid struggle, and that was communicating in that regard, that type of information. That is very different from my understanding of an intelligence office.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright, alright. So you were not responsible for any publications advancing the ANC's cause, advancing the anti-apartheid cause, explaining the struggle, enhancing the struggle, explaining the reasons for the armed struggle? You were not responsible for those kind of publications?
MS MARCUS: No, I am saying that - I would not draw the distinction for that, I'm saying that there's a difference between information about what the ANC stood for, including its armed struggle which was part of publicity, for instance if one signed the UN Geneva Conventions about conduct of war, that would have been a statement made by the President of the ANC, Oliver Thambo, that statement would be reproduced and I would certainly be part and parcel of ensuring that that statement was available to people who wanted to know about it.
So ANC's policies absolutely, one was there as part and parcel of an information network to the world about what was happening in South Africa so that people could know what was going on and support the struggle against apartheid.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, Ms Marcus, so it goes a little bit wider than simply reprinting what was printed in the South African press legally? It goes wider than that.
MS MARCUS: It certainly goes wider than that, but what I'm saying is that, you asked me what my primary task was, my primary task was the production of an ANC news briefing which collated and conveyed that information.
MR DU PLESSIS: Ms Marcus, you were responsible for the propaganda programme of the ANC, isn't that so?
MS MARCUS: I was one of the people certainly, involved in information, conveying the positions, the policies, the views of the ANC. You might call it propaganda, I would not necessarily do that, propaganda for me has an element of distortion and opportunism in it. I don't think that that's what we conveyed, I think we conveyed information.
MR DU PLESSIS: Ms Marcus, and that was the ANC's main office in the world, isn't it? That was the office of the ANC.
MS MARCUS: No, not at all.
MR DU PLESSIS: The most important office.
MS MARCUS: Not at all.
MR DU PLESSIS: Where was the most important office?
MS MARCUS: The ANC's head office at that time was in Lusaka, prior to that, it had been in Lusaka for some time, it's head office was in Lusaka, it had offices around the world. London was perhaps its major one in Europe but not the only one in Europe, but certainly because of the historical reasons that that was the first office that was set up in Europe, an important office, certainly not the main office. The ANC's headquarters were originally in Tanzania and then in Lusaka.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes. Now Ms Marcus, Setchaba was printed on that printing press, isn't it so?
MS MARCUS: No, it was not printed on the printing press at all.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well that is what Mr McPherson testified and that was the intelligence that the South African Security Forces had. Are you saying that that was wrong?
MS MARCUS: Well I would think that - absolutely wrong. If they read Setchaba, which I know they did because they used to actually subscribe to it as well, it would indicate where it was printed, it was a solidarity printing by the GDR, I've forgotten, was it Dresden I think that they printed on, and that was printed on the document, printed in the GDR on these presses as a solidarity gesture for the ANC.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright.
MS MARCUS: So it was not printed there at all. Setchaba Editorial Board was in the UK, its content was produced by the editorial team of Setchaba, which I was not part of, but it was an ANC team of journalists who produced the content of Setchaba, but its printing was done in the GDR.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright, Ms Marcus. And your, the work that you did in that office, that was totally directed towards the enhancement of the struggle of the liberation movements against the apartheid South Africa, is that correct?
MS MARCUS: Absolutely.
MR DU PLESSIS: Every little minute you spent on that, on your work?
MS MARCUS: Yes, indeed.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright. And you were also a member of the ANC.
MS MARCUS: Yes, indeed.
MR DU PLESSIS: And a member of the South African Communist Party.
MS MARCUS: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: And you're still today a member of both.
MS MARCUS: No, I'm not a member of the Party, I am a member of the ANC.
MR DU PLESSIS: You're not a member of the South African Communist Party?
MS MARCUS: No.
MR DU PLESSIS: And when did you resign?
MS MARCUS: I didn't resign, it was a question that when one, when the Party and the ANC were legalised in South Africa, it was a question then of joining that Party, and I didn't do that. So I'm a member of the ANC and I did not join the Party when we came back to South Africa.
MR DU PLESSIS: Are you saying to us today that you are not a member of the South African Communist Party in South Africa? Is that what you're saying?
MS MARCUS: I'm not a member. I'm not quite sure what you're asking me. Am I saying that I'm a member of the part, of the ANC certainly, I'm a card-carrying member of the ANC and very proud of it, I have been for 30 years almost. A member of the Communist Party, I'm not a member, I fully support what they stand for and their right to exist and I would defend that absolutely.
MR DU PLESSIS: And therefore you're a communist, is that right?
MS MARCUS: Not at all, I'm a member of the ANC. Because I recognise the right multi-democracy, a multi-party democracy in the country does not make me a member of that. I would certainly respect the right of the Freedom Front to exist or the National Party to exist, but I'm not a member of either.
MR DU PLESSIS: Ms Marcus, I'm not going to debate with you how communism and multi-party democracy have reached each other in this whole strange fiction of things, I'm not going to debate that with you.
Now Ms Marcus, on that Sunday morning ...(intervention)
MR BIZOS: May I suggest with the greatest respect, that if he doesn't want to debate he shouldn't start it, when he gets the wrong answers, and these are questions more suitable by prosecutors during the apartheid regime.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, I don't know if Mr Bizos is angry now and if that is the reason why I'm making this statement. Can I carry on please?
CHAIRPERSON: Carry on.
MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you, Mr Chairman.
Now Ms Marcus, you testified that there were banners at the offices that had to be collected that morning.
MS MARCUS: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: Is that correct?
MS MARCUS: Correct.
MR DU PLESSIS: And where were these banners?
MS MARCUS: Basically when you have a march, what we would do is make placards so that people could walk along where you've your slogans or what you want to say or your posters, you put them on a stick and you can walk along carrying what the message you want to convey. We had made a whole lot of these. My recollection is having made them we had piled them up, if you looked at Exhibit DD, you went in these front stairs there, there's a little foyer there and the reception room to the left and we had piled them all up there for collection. That's the exit point of the office, and it would have been where we'd put them so that we could load into the cars or whatever was fetching them, to go the rally as easy as possible.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright. And that morning, Ms Marcus, you say you had a meeting at your house, is that correct?
MS MARCUS: That's correct.
MR DU PLESSIS: With whom did you have that meeting?
MS MARCUS: Other ANC members.
MR DU PLESSIS: And what was the meeting about?
MS MARCUS: I don't actually recall.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright. Can you recall ...(intervention)
MS MARCUS: I actually think it might been our unit of ANC members who'd met at my house.
MR DU PLESSIS: And when was the march scheduled for, can you remember?
MS MARCUS: It was either mid-day or, probably by mid-day or early afternoon, maybe 12 or 2, somewhere around there.
MR DU PLESSIS: And you would have gone to the office, collected the banners and then gone to the march, is that correct?
MS MARCUS: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: So that would have happened if it wasn't for the bomb and everything went smoothly, that would have happened late in the morning, isn't that correct?
MS MARCUS: Not necessarily because one could have - I mean the question was one's looking at a series of circumstances. The fact that the people had the meeting at my house meant that we would have gone perhaps slightly later, if we had not decided to have the meeting at my house we would have gone earlier. I'm not sure whether the people who planted the bomb knew we were having a meeting at a house and therefore wouldn't be there early. I don't know if they knew that. So normally it would not have been the case. You would have gone there whatever time was convenient to load it up and to make sure you were there at the assembly point on time with the banners, so people arriving would be able to get their placards.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but if the meetings, the demonstration was at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, you wouldn't be arriving at Trafalgar Square with banners and things at 10 o'clock in the morning would you?
MS MARCUS: Not necessarily, but people would gather fairly early and those who would be preparing where you would assemble would come with goods. It would also depend who was collecting and the number of vehicles you had, it's not you know, it would not have been first thing in the morning necessarily, but he banners may have been collected earlier and not necessarily taken straight to Trafalgar Square. You would collect them, you may be doing other things, you may have even gone shopping.
MR DU PLESSIS: Now Ms Marcus, but you had the meeting that morning.
MS MARCUS: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: So you knew that that meeting, that morning specifically - I'm just trying to determine your behaviour that morning, you knew that you would have had the meeting so you would only have gone for the placards after the meeting, is that right?
MS MARCUS: Yes, I would say so and I think that, at the best of my recollection we'd have probably gone about 11 or something around that time.
ADV DE JAGER: But would you have been responsible for the collection of the banners, or could somebody else collect them and take them? Was it your responsibility or maybe someone else who would have gone and collected it?
MS MARCUS: It could have been someone else as well, but the likelihood, given that it would have been me meeting people there, it would not have only been myself collecting them, but the likelihood would have been that I would have been there to see that the office was open and that they were able to be distributed.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes. And Ms Marcus, you consulted with Mr Bizos about this?
MS MARCUS: How do you mean?
MR DU PLESSIS: About everything that you testified about today, you consulted with Mr Bizos, isn't that right? - beforehand.
MS MARCUS: In terms of ...(intervention)
MR DU PLESSIS: Before today.
MS MARCUS: Well not everything. I didn't anticipate some of these questions.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, no, no, no, I'm talking mainly of your evidence-in-chief.
MS MARCUS: Certainly I made it, I was asked questions around, or I raised the question that this is my experience of what occurred and had a discussion with Mr Bizos about that.
MR DU PLESSIS: And when was that, Ms Marcus?
MS MARCUS: Last year sometime. I don't remember exactly, it was last year sometime.
MR DU PLESSIS: It must have been before Mr Bizos cross-examined Mr Williamson.
MS MARCUS: I don't recall.
MR DU PLESSIS: Because Mr Bizos had to put your version, isn't that so?
MS MARCUS: I don't recall. I haven't been following the processes of when Mr Bizos cross-examined Mr Williamson.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well from reading the record, it's clear that he had instructions from you.
MS MARCUS: Well if it has been cross-examined and this placed on the record, then that would be correct that it was before.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, because you see at page 838 of the record, Mr Bizos asked the following question to Mr Williamson:
"Was it reported to you that a number of young people worked during those days to make placards and posters for the rally, was that reported to you?"
And he says:
"Yes, there were people making preparations for the rally yes, Mr Chairman."
And then Mr Bizos said:
"Yes, and that they were expected at about 9 o'clock to come and collect from the ANC office all those placards and posters and handouts that had been prepared throughout the week for the purposes of going to the rally with them as a group."
That's what Mr Bizos put in cross-examination to Mr Williamson. It differs substantially from the evidence you've given us now.
MS MARCUS: In what way does it differ substantially?
MR DU PLESSIS: It says that the people were expected to fetch the placards and the posters for the rally at about 9 o'clock.
MS MARCUS: Well that could well have been the case. As I said, I mean the question of when you went depended on whether we were at the meeting. The fact that we were going in the morning to fetch those placards, as you're saying as I'm saying now, it was me, we would have had the meeting, we would have fetched it slightly later. I don't see a major contradiction in that at all. The question is that on the morning before the rally the placards would have been fetched.
MR DU PLESSIS: No, you see Ms Marcus, that nowhere in this evidence, ag, in Mr Williamson's evidence during cross-examination was it put that you were at a meeting and that only after the meeting the placards would have been collected. I'm trying to determine why does Mr Bizos' version and your version differ.
MS MARCUS: Well I can't answer for that in the sense, what I'm saying is that to the best of my recollection if I was involved in collecting those placards which I would have been part of, in all likelihood it would have been after the meeting, if other people were coming it may well have people coming earlier and fetching. If you recall Mr Vernet Mbatha lived in the place and if people came to fetch, they could have come earlier.
MR DU PLESSIS: But, Ms Marcus ...(intervention)
MS MARCUS: I don't recall if I was the only one fetching.
MR DU PLESSIS: Ms Marcus, so your evidence about 11 o'clock just now must then have been wrong.
MS MARCUS: No, I'm saying that if I was the one fetching, I would have fetched it after the meeting, which would have been around 11 or slightly later, slightly earlier. We had a meeting at my house which would have finished in time for us to get to the rally in order to ensure that all the preparations were done.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well where would Mr Bizos then get the 9 o'clock from?
MS MARCUS: Well perhaps in my discussion we said that was the time when we were going to go and fetch it. I'm not quite sure whether the 9 o'clock would have been an absolute. The question I'm raising and saying that if it was me who was fetching, it would have been slightly later. I'm not sure that I'm the only one who was fetching. I don't recall the detail about whether I was the only one fetching or not. If other people fetched, they could have fetched at anytime.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, you see ...(intervention)
MS MARCUS: There's somebody on the premises who was able to let people in to fetch the placards.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, Ms Marcus.
MS MARCUS: It wouldn't be one vehicle that those placards would fit in.
MR DU PLESSIS: Ms Marcus, the point is if the people were expected at about 9 o'clock, that's exactly the time the bomb would have gone off. So it seems that it was important to place the possibility of people collecting the placards at about 9 o'clock.
MS MARCUS: Well they certainly could have been collected then. I don't think that the question of saying it would have happened or not happened, the question of - as I'm saying also, the meeting is totally fortuitous. I'm not quite sure, and perhaps the people who planted the bomb can tell us whether they knew we were having a meeting, and therefore that was part of their consideration. I don't think that that would have been the case, because that would have been something that was very, determined a very, very short time before the meeting itself.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well Ms Marcus, do you concede the possibility that they may have had information about this meeting?
MS MARCUS: Depends what they were tapping and not tapping in those days. They would be the only ones who'd know.
MR DU PLESSIS: No, but do you concede the possibility, do you concede the possibility?
MS MARCUS: Whether they knew about that meeting?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes.
MS MARCUS: Um ...(intervention)
ADV DE JAGER: Mr du Plessis, we had, as far as I recollect, no evidence about them knowing about it.
MR DU PLESSIS: I know, Mr Chairman, there was no evidence but one must remember, Mr Chairman, that we're talking of 15 years ago. So it is possible that it is something that nobody could remember. I'm just talking about possibilities, Mr Chairman, and I'm just asking the witness if she concedes that possibility.
MS MARCUS: I would say that there is a possibility, depending how widespread their networks were, about who they were surveilling and not surveilling and if they were there could have been a question of us having that meeting. But it may or may not be relevant because as I said, the question of who collects was not simply related to me, other people could collect those placards as well.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright.
MS MARCUS: So the people in my meeting were not necessarily the people collecting the placards. I would have been, but not the only one.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, Ms Marcus, we will argue on what you testified and the fact that you are testifying now that other people could have collected the placards, whereas you didn't testify that previously. I'm not going to argue with you about that now.
MS MARCUS: No, no, but you are arguing with it and I am saying and I said right at the beginning, was that there were placards there and there's no way that they would just fit in one vehicle, certainly not in just in mine.
MR DU PLESSIS: No, no, Ms Marcus, if ...(intervention)
MR BIZOS: Mr Chairman with respect, a Member of the Committee asked the witness if she was the only one that was likely to pick them up and her answer was:
"Probably be, but not necessarily"
And that was before the counsel for the applicant read the portion that I had put.
MR DU PLESSIS: No, but Mr Chairman, I asked specifically at what time would the placards have been fetched, she said that would have been after the meeting and she said 11 o'clock. And now ...(intervention)
MS MARCUS: Yes, but I'm saying that related to me collecting them, but not necessarily if somebody else was also collecting them.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well Ms Marcus, you didn't testify to such an extent that you said that somebody else may have collected them. There was ample opportunity for you to testify that and to say that to us, and you didn't. Now that ...(intervention)
MS MARCUS: But I am answering your question.
MR DU PLESSIS: Now that the problem has arisen, now you are telling us about that.
MS MARCUS: No, I'm answering your questions, I don't, I'm trying to answer your questions as best as I can recall. You asked me about what I would do and I said there would certainly have been my involvement in collecting those placards, that I was at a meeting and it would be after that meeting that they would be collected. But I also indicated that there were a lot of placards and it would not necessarily have been only myself who would have been collecting.
MR DU PLESSIS: You see Ms Marcus, I'm going to argue that this is indicative, as well as your refusal to agree with me on the probabilities of the present, it is indicative of an attempt to try and portray this whole situation, and that is what I'm going to argue, the whole situation there at the ANC offices as a place where the planting of the bomb was a grave risk to human lives. For instance a 9 o'clock issue was an attempt to place people, the possibility of people at the office there at the time the bomb was designated to go off. I'm going to argue that. What is your comment on that?
MS MARCUS: Well you can argue. I don't agree. I mean the question is very simple. I would have thing you'd want to look at why thy chose 9 o'clock, I don't think it relates to necessarily who is present. I think the question should, that you need to ask and what is available as to why they chose 9 o'clock, where were they when the bomb went off, were they watching? Did they look to see whether there were people around, did they have a remote on that bomb which wasn't there, it was set for a timer.
So the question to me is if you're presuming certain things, perhaps there are other presumptions that should be where were those who planted the bomb, to see whether there would be damage, who was in the vicinity and to look at the results of their handiwork. Where were they at the time? Then we would know what the point about 9 o'clock is.
MR DU PLESSIS: Ms Marcus, there's been ample and complete evidence about what happened and what the involvement of these people were.
Can I put to you what Mr Raven testified about how he placed the bomb. He testified that he placed the bomb in such a way that, and he testified that they knew that Mr Mbatha, they didn't know who he was, but that there was a person living on the top floor, he testified that the bomb was placed in such a way that it would not result in injury to the person living on the top floor or to injury of people in the surrounding areas. Do you want to comment on that, can you dispute that?
MS MARCUS: I'm not an expert bomb placer.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, so you can't dispute ...(intervention)
MS MARCUS: So I can't comment on whether the bomb was placed in a manner that, to cause minimum injury. I think the results of the devastation that it caused is visible for everybody to see. If Mr Raven felt that he had chosen a time that he was guaranteeing safety and that one person in the building didn't really matter, and he could guarantee his safety, I think he must obviously be a very expert bomb placer. Because you know you've got wonderful guarantees that you build in. Obviously his guarantee didn't include whether I was there or not because that was not, that was pure chance and that was a decision taken at 10 o'clock the night before, it was not a decision taken earlier than that.
MR DU PLESSIS: When was the decision taken about the meeting?
MS MARCUS: About me not ... no, no, no, the meeting was held at my place, but the decision about me attending was whether I finished my work. The meeting held at my place has got nothing to do with whether I'm present or not. The decision ...(intervention)
MR DU PLESSIS: No, no, but what was decided at 10 o'clock?
MS MARCUS: Whether I - that I - that the decision of the day before I'm saying that his ability to know whether I would be in that building or not was not something they would have been able to pick up from anywhere or from any conversation or from any surveillance because while the meeting is held in my house there's absolutely no reason why I would necessarily be there.
The contingent factor of me being in that meeting was whether I finished my work on the Saturday. And that we had progressed as well as it was and I decided to stay on the Saturday night to finish, enabled me to attend the meeting. And that's the question around presence on the Sunday. It was pure chance. There was the question that we would have the meeting, I would certainly try to make the meeting, the ability to make the meeting depended on me completing the work on the Saturday.
MR DU PLESSIS: Is there anything you want to add still to this, Ms Marcus? You've added now a substantial part of evidence which you haven't given us before, is there anything else about this meeting that you want to add? ...(intervention)
MS MARCUS: I'm responding to your questions, your questions provoke or elicit a certain response.
MR DU PLESSIS: No, the question ...(intervention)
MS MARCUS: You're asking me, did they have surveillance as to whether that meeting was taking place. I can't answer that.
MR DU PLESSIS: No, but Ms Marcus, ...(intervention)
MS MARCUS: Was there a question of the meeting taking place, absolutely. We had taken the decision that we would have the meeting on that morning and they would be at my house.
MR DU PLESSIS: No, Ms Marcus, ...(intervention)
MS MARCUS: The question of my participation in the meeting would be to the best of my ability having completed my work on the Saturday. I'm relating it to your question about knowing who would be present. I'm saying that they would have had no way of knowing whether I was in that office on the Sunday or I would not be in the office on the Sunday, because the environment may have indicated that there would be other meetings taking place, the decision was dependant on me completing the work on the Saturday.
MR DU PLESSIS: No, Ms Marcus, the only point I'm trying to make is I find it strange that suddenly now after you've conceded the possibility that the Security Police may have had information about the meeting, that you are trying to discount the fact that they may have had information about you attending the meeting, that you are doing it now.
MS MARCUS: No, I am not.
MR DU PLESSIS: I'm finding that very strange.
MS MARCUS: I'm not quite sure that - I mean I can't help what you find strange or what your parameters of thinking are ...(intervention)
MR DU PLESSIS: No, but why didn't you tell us right from the start this whole thing about the 10 o'clock.
MS MARCUS: It wasn't an issue. I'm responding to your questions. Look I can go into a whole diary of my life if you want.
MR DU PLESSIS: No, no, no, but this is important, Ms Marcus. It's important because what you are now saying to us is that nobody, the Security Police or an informer in that office couldn't or wouldn't have known that you would have been there the Sunday morning or not. Now that's quite important.
MS MARCUS: No, I'm saying they wouldn't have known I would not have been there. There's a very big difference, that if they were conducting ...(intervention)
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, but they ...(indistinct) have information about it. ...(intervention)
MS MARCUS: ... they would not have known by surveillance that I would not have been there. They might have assumed I would not be there because there was an alternate meeting taking place, but they would not have been able to know because it was a contingent of my completing work on the Saturday. I certainly had every intention of meeting that obligation of being in the other meeting on the Sunday morning.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well Ms Marcus, I still fail to understand why an important fact such as that was not tendered in evidence-in-chief, was not tendered when I cross-examined you and ...(intervention)
MS MARCUS: But you're busy cross-examining me now.
MR DU PLESSIS: No, no, no, when you ...(intervention)
MS MARCUS: As you're asking questions so you're ...(indistinct) further.
MR DU PLESSIS: Please give me a chance, please give me a chance. When I asked you about the possibility of people having information about the meeting and your presence there, and that it is suddenly tendered now out of the blue. And I will ...(intervention)
MS MARCUS: I hardly put this out of the blue.
MR DU PLESSIS: Ms Marcus, I will argue, and I put it to you, I'm not going to take this matter further, I put it to you that you are trying to change your evidence so as to indicate to this Committee that nobody could have had information about your whereabouts on the Sunday morning.
MS MARCUS: I'm not changing my evidence, I'm replying to your questions. And I object to you actually calling me a liar. I can't help the limits of your thinking.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well Ms Marcus, if we ...(intervention - laughter)
MR DU PLESSIS: Have you said something funny, Ms Marcus?
MS MARCUS: I'm not aware of that.
GAP IN TAPES
MR DU PLESSIS: ... very funny, I don't know if there is anything..
MS MARCUS: Well perhaps you need to cross-examine Mr ...(indistinct)
ADV DE JAGER: Could we kindly proceed?
MR DU PLESSIS: I will proceed. Now Ms Marcus, this postcard that was sent by Mr Williamson, how did you receive it, in the normal mail?
MS MARCUS: Yes, it was - as far as I can recall it was in the mail that would have come to Penton Street, the mail marked for me would be given to me on a daily basis and it was in the mail.
MR DU PLESSIS: And who did you speak to about this postcard, who did you tell?
MS MARCUS: I can't recall, I might have shown it to a number of people, I'm sure I did, but I wouldn't recall the specifics about of who I ...(indistinct) to.
MR DU PLESSIS: But don't you think this was quite an important postcard? This clearly indicated exactly who was responsible for this blast.
MS MARCUS: You know perhaps you need to look at it from a slightly different angle. It doesn't indicate necessarily who was responsible, it indicated a person's thinking about you as an individual because this is not about a bomb, this is about you. This about you surviving or otherwise an act which he may or may not have been responsible for. I didn't know he was responsible for the bomb and it's only in evidence now subsequently under the TRC, that we know who was responsible.
What that postcard indicated was that whoever sent the postcard, and as I said that postcard was signed in handwriting, Craig, and therefore in my mind it was from Craig Williamson, the only Craig I know, posted in Botswana, was that somebody had some of their own thinking about you. To me that question is, and it may be something that's personal in relation to those things, was not the first, in my time in the UK, it was not the only incident around security activities of the South African Police, either for myself or for the ANC. You either let it become part of your thinking and you keep this postcard around and you put it there and you let that person intrude in your thinking and in your life. I don't function that way. I would take that postcard, and I have no doubt I would have taken it, perhaps discussed it or shown it with one or two people, and thrown it away because I would not allow that kind of intimidation to effect me.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well Ms Marcus ...(intervention)
ADV DE JAGER: Well that could have been a piece of evidence that you could have handed to the police.
MS MARCUS: I think you might need to think about what was going on in South Africa in 1982, police about what?
CHAIRPERSON: The English police, about a bombing in London.
MS MARCUS: It was subsequent to that and I certainly didn't relate it to handing in in terms of evidence. I did not think about it in that way.
MR DU PLESSIS: But Ms Marcus, that postcard could clearly have been interpreted in two ways, either it could have been sent by Craig Williamson, as you say you made that deduction, because he knew you were working at that office, or it could have been sent by him because he was the mastermind behind this whole operation, and that's how I understood your evidence you thought about it. Now if that was the case then this postcard could have been of great assistance to the British Police, because they didn't know up to this hearing, who was responsible for that blast.
MS MARCUS: Well neither did I. I read that postcard as something intended for me by the person who may or may not have had anything to do with the bombing.
MR DU PLESSIS: Goodness gracious, Ms Marcus, but if the postcard related to somebody who had something to do with the bombing then clearly that must have been of utmost importance, it could have discredited the South African Government immensely.
MS MARCUS: I didn't the South African Government needed assistance, but I think that the whole question about this bombing which was covered in the press, certainly in my sense of it, it was a card that I'd received from Craig Williamson, it was post the bombing, I did not hand it to the British Police, it was not something that I had ...(indistinct).
MR DU PLESSIS: Well Ms Marcus ...(intervention)
MR SIBANYONI: Excuse me, Mr du Plessis.
Ms Marcus, did you read the message as relating to the London bombing of the ANC office or not?
MS MARCUS: I read it around, about myself in relation to the bombing, yes.
MR SIBANYONI: So to you it was not something which can assist the British Police in their investigation as to who was behind the bombing?
MS MARCUS: No, it didn't - I didn't relate it in that way, and I certainly did not hand it over to the British Police.
MR SIBANYONI: Thank you.
MR DU PLESSIS: So Ms Marcus, do I understand you correctly, are you saying that you didn't think that Craig Williamson was behind the bomb and that he sent the postcard as a result of that, you didn't think that?
MS MARCUS: I didn't think he was necessarily behind the bomb, I think he sent the postcard as a result of it yes, but I didn't think he was necessarily behind the bomb. I would not have known.
MR DU PLESSIS: Is that what you're saying now?
MS MARCUS: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright. So the possibility of you thinking that he may have been behind the bomb or that he may have wanted to kill you, we can discount that possibility, from what you thought?
MS MARCUS: I'm saying that at the time I did not know who was behind the bomb, and I indicated very clearly that I did not think that the bomb was related to me individually. The fact of Craig Williamson sending a postcard of that nature was to me something about intimidation, something about an approach that said; we're keeping an eye on you. Whether it would relate to a particular assassination or not, I was not relating it in that way.
That was not - and I think that perhaps if one wanted to look at that, maybe the Security Police should look at all the activities in the '70's and the '80's in the UK, because that was the way I read it. It was intimidatory, it was certainly something that drew attention around myself in relation to a particular person who sent that, by the name of Craig.
I did not think it was something that would help the British Police particularly, I thought it was really something directed at me.
MR DU PLESSIS: And Ms Marcus, do you have any explanation why this postcard would have been sent from Botswana?
MS MARCUS: No.
MR DU PLESSIS: Why would it have been sent from Botswana if it came from Craig Williamson and he wanted you to know that it came from him?
MS MARCUS: You'd have to ask him that, I'm not sure where he sent his postcards to, or maybe he sent it to other people as well.
MR DU PLESSIS: I just find this whole version very strange that's why I'm asking you about it, because I'm trying to struggle to find ...(intervention)
MR BIZOS: Mr Chairman, Mr Levine who acts for Mr Williamson did not put to this witness, nor did Mr Williamson deny that he had sent such a card, he said he may well have done so.
MR VISSER: No, he said he couldn't remember.
MR BIZOS: He couldn't remember whether he did it or not. Well we'll put it ... And he also said, I'm reminded, it's one of the things that he would have done, could have done or would have done. Nevermind ...(indistinct)
MR VISSER: It's page 829.
MR BIZOS: ...(indistinct) talking about the same piece of evidence, but the point about this, Mr Chairman, is that a person who is not acting for Mr Williamson wants to take Mr Williamson's case further by challenging the credibility of this witness, than the attorney for Mr Williamson and Mr Williamson himself were prepared to take it. Is such cross-examination permissable by someone not appearing by Mr Williamson. He's not prepared to deny it, and here we have the credibility of a witness challenged, Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: I don't think Mr du Plessis, you can put it on the basis that no such postcard was sent. You have no instructions to that effect.
MR DU PLESSIS: No, I'm not doing that, Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Williamson in his evidence said:
"I could not deny it. And the sending of such a card would in my opinion be the type of psychological strategy that could well have been employed."
MR DU PLESSIS: I accept that, Mr Chairman, and I know that was the evidence. I am just pointing out, and that's the only purpose of this cross-examination, Mr Chairman, even though Mr Williamson testified about that and he testified he can't remember if he did it, the improbability thereof, in the light of the fact that we do not have any concrete evidence about the fact that it was done ... but I'll leave it there, I'm not going to pursue this matter further, Mr Chairman.
MS MARCUS: No, you can't leave it there. With respect, ...(intervention)
MR BIZOS: Mr Chairman, how dare my learned friend say that there is no concrete evidence? There is evidence of this witness which the person that is said to have sent it is not capable, is not prepared to deny. What is my learned friend up to, Mr Chairman? On what basis is he conducting this cross-examination?
CHAIRPERSON: Well you have indicated he has no basis.
MR DU PLESSIS: No, Mr Chairman ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: He's testing the witness' credibility, but that he has no information himself on that point.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes.
CHAIRPERSON: That is so is not, Mr du Plessis?
MR DU PLESSIS: That is so, Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: You are testing what the witness has said.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, but surely I am entitled eventually, after this evidence, to argue that the improbabilities of this witness' evidence, not just in respect of on issue, but in respect of all the issues, should make you careful of ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: Yes. But you have Mr Williamson's evidence again saying that:
"The purpose of the bomb as I made very clear, was to psychologically destabilise, to strike fear into the hearts of the ANC, and such a postcard might well have been a continuation of such processes."
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, that may be so, Mr Chairman, and if ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: It will appear to indicate that Mr Williamson thought such a postcard might well have been sent, and we have had the witness saying she received such a postcard. I don't see that you can take the matter any further, Mr du Plessis.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well I wasn't intending ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: ...(indistinct) wasting time.
MR DU PLESSIS: I wasn't intending to go any further, Mr Chairman.
MR BIZOS: ...(indistinct)
CHAIRPERSON: Well let's continue now with any other questions you have.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, Mr Chairman, will I be allowed to ask any further questions, with respect.
CHAIRPERSON: If they are relevant.
MR DU PLESSIS: If you will bear with me, Mr Chairman, please.
Right. Now Ms Marcus, Exhibit NN is an empty yard, that is indicated on NN, is that correct?
MS MARCUS: That's correct.
MR DU PLESSIS: Was that only an empty yard or what was that? Was there anything else there?
MS MARCUS: My recollection is that there were certainly buildings around it, but there was a yard here that had, that was an open space there. Where these walls are and so on there were other buildings, but that yard was behind us and that was empty, as far as I can recall.
MR DU PLESSIS: Was there a parking lot there anywhere?
MS MARCUS: It was used as a parking lot sometimes. It was sometimes used as a parking lot in itself in that empty yard.
MR DU PLESSIS: The empty yard itself?
MS MARCUS: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: Now you see what I find particularly strange is, on page 835 Mr Bizos put the following to Mr Williamson:
"Now you that what you described as a parking lot was in fact a play area of a school which is called a free school, an informal school at which people in the neighbourhood could go and play in and also teachers on an informal basis go and keep them off the streets. That's why it's called a free school."
Do you know of what school Mr Bizos was talking here?
MS MARCUS: I'm not sure what you're referring to. As I said, if you looked at this document you would see White Lion free school is on the other side of the road.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, yes.
MS MARCUS: This yard was certainly used for children which was there. And as I said in the beginning, I can't remember absolutely but my recollection was that there was another school, that one of these perimeters to this yard was a different school. I did not include it in this because I said at the time I couldn't be absolutely certain about it. The yard was used as a parking lot sometimes, it was used for children to play in, it was that kind of facility.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well if was stated here, Mr Bizos stated that this was a play area of a school. Now that clearly is not correct.
MS MARCUS: Play area - no, that may, it depends how you determine play area of a school. There's a school there - as I said, this is White Lion, it was used by children from the school to play in. That was definitely the case.
It's a not a play area that is the play, that is the school are built in in a perimeter fence of that school, but if you looked at the structure, if you looked DD you'll see how building occur in Britain. There isn't much room and yards around and therefore a yard like that would be used as a facility in terms of a school for children to play.
MR DU PLESSIS: Now Ms Marcus, was the other school also a free school, called a free school?
MS MARCUS: No.
MR DU PLESSIS: It wouldn't have been.
MS MARCUS: As I said to you regarding the other school, I did not include it because I was not absolutely certain where it was. My recollection is that there was a school behind there and the nature of that school would have been an ordinary school. The free school itself is indicated on the other side of the road.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes. So we can accept that if Mr Bizos spoke about a school he would have spoken about the White Lion free school?
MS MARCUS: I'm assuming so. I was not present and I don't have the ...(indistinct)
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, I'm just trying to determine this. And if Mr Bizos put that the parking lot was in fact a play school, play area of a school which is called a free school, he was wrong?
MS MARCUS: No, the free school used that play area as well.
MR DU PLESSIS: Oh did they use that play area as well?
MS MARCUS: The kids there were used from the school. The kids from the free school or the other school - as I said I'm not determining the other school, that yard was used for playing in.
ADV DE JAGER: What is referred to here as an empty yard was in fact walled and fenced in.
MS MARCUS: It was walled, the fence itself was not necessarily a firm fence, it had a gate and people could walk in and out.
ADV DE JAGER: Ja. I think we had evidence that taxis used to park there.
MS MARCUS: I'm not sure about that. I know there was occasion that it was used as parking. It wasn't a parking lot in that it was packed, it was something that was occasionally, that people would park their cars there. I don't know, there may have been taxis there, there may not have been particularly.
ADV DE JAGER: Well I may be wrong about the word taxis, but cars parked there. I see that some people are in agreement that there was evidence that taxis were parked there.
MS MARCUS: They may have been, I'm not absolutely sure. I know that that was a yard that was used by children to play in. It was also used periodically as a parking lot, or places where people can park their car rather than a parking lot, if you want to draw the distinction.
MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you, Mr Chairman, I have no further questions.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR DU PLESSIS
MR JANSEN: Thank you, Mr Chairman, Jansen in respect of the London bombing incident on behalf of Mr John Adams, I have no questions.
NO QUESTIONS BY MR JANSEN
MR CORNELIUS: Cornelius on behalf of Vic McPherson, I don't have any questions, thank you Mr Chairman.
NO QUESTIONS BY MR CORNELIUS
MS PATEL: Thank you, Honourable Chairperson, I don't have any questions either.
NO QUESTIONS BY MS PATEL
MR BIZOS: Thank you, Mr Chairman, no questions.
NO RE-EXAMINATION BY MR BIZOS
MR SIBANYONI: Just one question, Mr Chairman.
Ms Marcus, I heard you say repeatedly that the bomb was not intended for you, and help to understand this, you are also saying this was the only Sunday when you were not there which means had you been there you could not have survived the bomb. Now what makes you believe that it was not intended for you, but for the ANC?
MS MARCUS: I think you're correct in that if I had been there I don't think that it would have been possible to survive. Whether it was directed at me and why I think so, because I think that the thinking was pretty much as you've just read out - I was not familiar with Mr Williamson's evidence particularly, but as you've read out, that I think the intention was to try and intimidate the ANC, to try to have a psychological warfare against it. And why I'm saying I don't think it was, the bomb was not there directed at me personally. I think that whether I was there or not didn't matter.
The question was that if you were there it would have been perhaps a cherry on the top for them, if you weren't well, it was part of the psychological warfare that was being waged. And the way I did read that bomb was that it was intended to see whether it could destabilise the activities of the ANC and I think that the approach that the ANC took at the time was to say that in no way are we going to allow ourselves to be intimidated or allow our work to ceased, and we proceeded to do precisely that.
MR SIBANYONI: The message "so are you still around?", did you read it as showing a surprise that you are still alive?
MS MARCUS: I read it as callous. I read it as part and parcel of the same approach, which was, and that's why for me it was about saying you're still around, yes well it didn't get you that time, but it was to me very much about trying to intimidate and trying to say that people were watching.
MR SIBANYONI: Thank you, Mr Chairperson, no further questions.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
MR BIZOS: May the witness be excused, Mr Chairman?
CHAIRPERSON: ...(indistinct) that the witness has certain other duties to carry out. Have any of got any objections?
Thank you for having been here and I hope you have
you a pleasant flight back.
MS MARCUS: Thank you very much.
MR BIZOS: Mr Chairman, the next witness will be Ms Bridget O'Laughlin.
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, in the letter which my learned friend, Mr du Plessis referred you to which we received from Mr Bizos' attorney there is reference this person, this witness who is now being called, Briget O'Laughlin, and it is stated: "in this regard I confirm that you are in possession of a statement from Briget O'Laughlin, which you have made available to the other legal representatives. I just want to say, Mr Chairman, that we haven't seen such a statement. This is obviously addressed to Ms Ramula Patel. I don't know whether there is such a statement floating around and if so, whether we can't possibly see it.
MR LEVINE: Mr Chairman, I received such a statement some time in October of last year.
MR VISSER: It still doesn't help me, Mr Chairman, I haven't seen it.
MS PATEL: If I may confirm, Honourable Chairperson, that letter was indeed faxed to all the legal representatives last year, but I can make a copy available for my learned friend.
MR LEVINE: I have a copy here, Mr ...
MR VISSER: I'm not saying - it's quite possible that we had it at some stage, Mr Chairman, we've got thousands of pages of paper here. It is possible, but I certainly haven't seen anything like that. I'm not blaming anybody.
CHAIRPERSON: Are you the only person who hasn't got a copy?
MR BIZOS: The witness will affirm to speak the truth, Mr Chairman.
BRIDGET O'LAUGHLIN: (affirms and states)
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
EXAMINATION BY MR BIZOS: What is your occupation?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I'm a lecturer at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, in Development Studies.
MR BIZOS: And did you yesterday come to give evidence in this matter?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I arrived Saturday night.
MR BIZOS: Where were you in 1979?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I came to Mozambique in 1979 to take a job at the Centre for African Studies in Edwardo Mundlang(?) University.
MR BIZOS: And for how long did you stay there?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I stayed until January of 1992, first at the Centre and then in the Faculty of Economics.
MR BIZOS: What department in that university were you working in?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: In the Centre of African Studies until 1990 and then in the Faculty of Economics from 1990 to 1992.
MR BIZOS: Would you tell us who the other members of that department were at that time.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well it changed quite a lot over time. When I arrived the Director was Aquino de Bragança ...(intervention)
MR BIZOS: Perhaps you should spell that name for the record so that we don't get any strange spellings.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ja, and then I'll refer to him always as Aquino afterwards if that's okay.
MR BIZOS: Ja.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Aquino is: A-Q-U-I-N-O D-E
B-R-A-G-A-N-Ç-A. (C with a sedilia)
MR BIZOS: With a little twirl under the C.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I forget what you call it really in English.
MR BIZOS: Yes. Yes, you gave us about Aquino.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Aquino was the Director, Ruth was the Director of Research and Investigation.
MR BIZOS: Ruth First?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ruth First was the Director of Investigation. Mark Welz(?) had just come in from economics to the Centre. He was a regular researcher. Louish and Ulale de Brito, Mozambicans who were in the Centre. Alfius Mangezi who was in the History Department, but was also working with the Centre. Kurt Habermeyer who was an Anthropologist, as I am by training, who was working there. Then in subsequent years Alashan Drino Jose(?), another Mozambican etc. We had a lot of staff.
MR BIZOS: Changes, yes.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: A lot of changes, yes.
MR BIZOS: Now what was the main function of this department of the university?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: It did two things, it ran something called the Development Course, which was a one year course for worker student. That meant people who were employed in ministries and whatever in development studies. And it had - the idea was that people should be trained in doing policy work, to be researchers. So it was applied research, basic political economy, but combined with study of Mozambique, Mozambican history, a lot of emphasis on Mozambican rural economy, and in emphasis on locating Mozambican experience within the regions. So quite a lot on southern Africa and Africa more generally.
And then we also did applied research for Mozambican ministries on various topics, migrant labour for the Ministry of Labour on the structuring of cotton production. For the Ministry of Agriculture on communal village set-up for the communal village centre. On the restructuring of the port for the Ministry of Transport. Tee - I mean we did a lot of work.
MR BIZOS: Yes. And was Ruth First actively engaged in this work?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Very much so. In the first place she was a person of such energy. In those years in Mozambique we didn't have, we began with very little equipment or anything, there was a building and we didn't even have paper.
So Ruth both did the recruitment, she got funding for it, she lectured, she negotiated our right to do research, which was quite a sensitive area within Mozambique at that time, she did the books in the beginning. You know she did everything. Aquino was very important as the person who linked into the wider Mozambican structures, and he was himself an entertaining and good lecturer, but the everyday organisation of the Centre depended on Ruth. And also the intellectual, a very strong intellectual input.
MR BIZOS: Yes. Did you and Ruth become good friends?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes, we did become very good friends. In this experience of working out new courses, writing research, doing research and writing it collectively. It was a very work oriented friendship, but it was a very strong friendship.
MR BIZOS: Did you know Mr Joe Slovo?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes, I did because he wasn't always in Maputo, but he was often in Maputo and of course Ruth and Joe were living together, so I knew him well.
MR BIZOS: When he was in Maputo?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: When he was in Maputo, ja.
MR BIZOS: Where were they living?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: When I first arrived they were living on Julius Neyarere in a flight in a high-rise building above the cinema and one of the main roads in Maputo.
MR BIZOS: Did they change?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes, I can't remember exactly when the change took place, Gillian might remember better that I, but sometime after Matola the Mozambican Security Services suggested that they move to a house that was sort of at the edge of a protected zone. There was an area where the Ministers and high Frelimo people lived and it had a kind of entryway, well at two ends, where there were guards so the security was thought to be better there.
MR BIZOS: Did you know that Mr Joe Slovo was the Commander-in-Chief of Umkhonto weSizwe?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Chief-of-Staff, yes I did.
MR BIZOS: Did they, Mr Slovo or Ruth First discuss their secrets with you, you know the work?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, they did not, they were very careful. Of course long-term political issues, things like, that we talked about, we discussed politics and debates but they were very careful not to discuss things in front of me, and frankly I was also very careful not to know.
MR BIZOS: Why was that?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Because it seemed to them dangerous to involve people in work or what was going on, and it seemed to me quite important not to know.
MR BIZOS: Was Ruth First concerned about her personal security?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well of course I think everyone in Maputo was concerned about security. You must remember that in 1979 there were still bombs going off in the city that had to do with the war in Zimbabwe, so Mozambique was a place where there was, apart from the ANC issues, lots of issues of security. But Ruth was there during the time when we were there as somebody working for the Mozambican Government in a Mozambican institution as university lecturer, and it was very, very important to her that she was not there with any kind of special status, so she led a normal life.
You know if you went with Joe he checked his car, he changed his car, it was quite tight. Ruth did not check her car, and I never felt anything about that. She lived a normal public life of a Mozambican lecturer.
MR BIZOS: Let's move to the protected part of Maputo, for whose benefit was that?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well the Mozambican Security Service asked that Joe do it. I think they felt that, they did not want to be embarrassed by any situation and they felt they would be better able to protect Joe in the security zone.
MR BIZOS: How did Ruth feel about the work and the independence of the work done at this university department?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: It was very important to her because you know at the time given her relationship to Joe and our relationship to South Africa, Mozambique's relationship to South Africa at that point, there of course would be Mozambicans who might say look, those are South Africans, that's not a Mozambican institution. And we saw ourselves as doing creative, critical analytical work within a marxist tradition and it was very important, that was politically difficult within the context of Mozambique, it was very important that this be treated as Mozambican work, not as South African work. So Ruth was very careful and cautious about this, to make sure that everyone understood that this was a Mozambican institution and our focus included, we did work on Southern African, on South Africa but the objective of that was to bring Mozambicans into a fuller regional understanding of what the issues were.
MR BIZOS: What was the attitude of the Mozambican authorities to any use of the university or of that department for the promotion of the South African struggle for liberation?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well they were concerned about it, because of course Mozambique's formal position was support for the ANC and for the struggle, but they felt themselves very vulnerable both economically and militarily, so they wanted to be sure that we were not in any way involved in Umkhonto weSizwe activities or in strategic planning for the ANC. This was very, very important. And Ruth guaranteed this both to Aquino de Bragança who was politically accountable for us and to the Rector of the university who was also a high-ranking Frelimo person who was also politically accountable for us.
MR BIZOS: Do you know whether Ruth took any positive steps in order to ensure that she was not seen there as a South African connected with the struggle for liberation in South Africa?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, she - excuse me, she was a South African connected with the struggle for liberation in South Africa, that was you know, that was part of her identity. But what was very important was that the work that she be doing be academic work, this teaching work, and investigation and research publications, that was the focus. And it is what she did. And she made sure that people who were working in the Centre also understood that clearly.
MR BIZOS: Did she - did Joe Slovo consider himself as a target for assassination?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes.
MR BIZOS: Did Ruth consider herself as a target for assassination?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Not in the same way. I mean she of course knew that there was a risk, but as I said she didn't take the kind of measures that Joe took. And frankly I live to regret this understanding but we thought there was a kind of unwritten law that since what Ruth was doing there was Mozambican work in a Mozambican institution, that this was accepted by South African Security.
This sounds very naive and innocent in retrospect, but at the time we thought that was so, that that distinction between Joe's MK work and what Ruth was doing was accepted. So she wasn't living in a high state of alert. We weren't, you know we went to the cinema, we went to the beach you know, whatever. I mean you know we didn't act as if she were a target of assassination, no.
MR BIZOS: Were you present as a friend of both of them when there were political discussions between them or amongst you?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Sure. Yes, I was.
MR BIZOS: What was it like, what were their ...(intervention)
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well everybody knows they were really fierce arguers. I'm sure that most people have heard that anyway. It could be that - you mean their topics?
MR BIZOS: Yes.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well one normal topic was what kind of position you took on the Soviet Union and the level of suspicion as to Soviet involvement in Communist Party control and activities. Ruth was quite suspicious of the Soviet Union, she thought that independence was quite important and she tended to feel that Joe wasn't, that Joe in his concern with discipline and unity didn't object enough and wasn't careful about that.
They also, she sometimes - I think that both of them considered the armed struggle just to be an instrument, they were both very concerned with the fact that in South Africa it was the political struggle that mattered, it wasn't going to be Frelimo, something like that. That was not the view that either one of them had of the liberation of South Africa.
But Ruth probably put a greater emphasis on the importance of developing mass political organisations, alliance, she was more open and she tended to be somewhat critical of, within the ANC she felt that sometimes there was too much emphasis on ...(indistinct) internal organisations and having them line up. So there would be debates around those things as well.
MR BIZOS: Was Ruth a member of the ANC?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes.
MR BIZOS: Were you?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I was not.
MR BIZOS: Did she attend meetings from time to time?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: She attended meetings, I mean that's how you know I know. She went to Woman's League meetings and she went to regular branch meetings.
MR BIZOS: Do you know whether she was a member of the Communist Party?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I never asked her. I guess I sort of assumed that she was, but since I knew this was an area of tension, it was one of those areas that I specifically did not ask about.
MR BIZOS: In their political work, did Mr Joe Slovo and Ruth First live common or separate lives?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I think in all areas of their life they lived very separate lives. I don't mean they weren't friends and lovers and everything, I don't mean that, but they had separate political lives, they had separate work lives and they had separate social lives to some extent too.
MR BIZOS: Did Ruth First get lots of mail?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes, because the Centre was a place, she was building this Centre, she was writing and trying to get lots of mail, I mean that was part of the objective to it all. She was writing to aid organisations, to Sarac(?), to Norad(?) and Evos(?), to whatever you know. I mean she got tons of mail.
MR BIZOS: How, from your knowledge of her, how would Ruth First have reacted to a mail article addressed to Joe Slovo, to be delivered at the university?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: It would have been absolutely, I think impossible because since it was so important that this distinction between the ANC and the Centre for African Studies be maintained, she would never have accepted that Joe get mail. And we had our own postal box and everything through the university. I would be, I mean it's not in any way an easy slippage to get mail, she wasn't using her own personal box. Ruth's mail at the Centre came through the university box and then through a special Centre for African Studies box, so it's not possible.
MR BIZOS: How, from what you knew of the situation, would she have reacted if an article came addressed to Joe Slovo, would she have opened it?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, she would never have opened it because it would have been so suspicious, so odd, so strange.
MR BIZOS: Would anybody - well, how would she have reacted if an article was addressed to Joe Slovo c/o Ruth First at the university?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: The same thing. It mean it was - you have to understand, this kind of importance that Frelimo gave to having the Centre be independent, this was, we considered this really, really important, it couldn't be done, it wasn't acceptable, she would not have, she wouldn't have accepted it.
MR BIZOS: I want to turn to the day on which Ruth First was killed. Where were you on that day?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well on the day itself I came in late, we were, theoretically we were having time off from after a big conference that we'd had, but there was going to be a drink for someone who was leaving, a Canadian, John Saul, who had been teaching at the university and was leaving. So I went in in order to go to that drink and he was slow, he was held up at one of his other farewells, so after a while I drifted down to Ruth's office just to chat, and Pallo Jordan was already there, he'd come for the social science conference and he'd stayed on, and he was sitting talking to Ruth, and I came to ask when John Saul was actually going to come, and then just stayed on a bit to chat.
MR BIZOS: Where was this chat taking place?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: In Ruth's office.
MR BIZOS: You were asked at a consultation yesterday to draw a plan of the room and Ruth's ...(indistinct). May we hand it in as the next exhibit number? It would enable the witness to describe more accurately the last minutes of ...
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Bizos, can't you do better than that, next exhibit number?
MR VISSER: AAA, Mr Chairman.
MR BIZOS: I'm sorry, I should have asked. Experience taught us, Mr Chairman, that the judge's registrar was the best source of information in regard to exhibit numbers, we became spoilt.
Is this what the interior of the office looked like?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ja, I'm not such a great drawer, but this is it.
MR BIZOS: Alright. Now what discussion was there about the arrival of mail for Ruth before she came back into the office?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well what happened was that Aquino de Bragança, Aquino, he came in after me, so Pallo Jordan was sitting where he, this PJ is on this map more-or-less in a chair, and I was standing closer to the door and that's sort of dark but I was standing up, and Aquino came in sort of you know, running in late and he swooped and he said to Ruth, who was sitting then in her own chair, where it says "Ruth's chair", she was there, and he said: "Ruth you've got mail, you've always got mail and I never get anything". And this was funny because Aquino like Ruth got lots of mail, but it meant that something had arrived or that she didn't get something because she checked her mail when she first came in, so she just beamed, she smiled and she said: "Oh where?" and he said: "In Adalina's office." Well that was the former secretary's office and it was well, anyway ...(intervention)
MR BIZOS: Down the passage?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Down the passageway. So she got up from her chair to go and get that mail.
MR BIZOS: And did anybody go and sit on her chair?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ja. Then Aquino went and sat down in Ruth's place, ja, and started to chat.
MR BIZOS: And did Ruth come back?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ruth came back and she entered the room, she stood for a moment but Aquino didn't get up from her chair, he stayed there. So she stopped a moment and when she did that she put her mail down on the desk and ...(intervention)
MR BIZOS: Is this, there is a triangle with ...(intervention)
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ruth. That was her first position ...(intervention)
MR BIZOS: When she came in with the mail?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ja. And so she was standing next to me, this is the desk, and she had with her two identical letters which were US Government style normal letter envelopes from this ABC thing that was distributed through the US Information Service. They looked - from my point of view they look like junk mail to me sort of, so this wasn't a prized thing and it wasn't, in those days in Mozambique it wasn't very prized to be getting mail from the US Information Service anyway. So it was kind of funny and she said to him: "Aquino, you did too get mail, you got the same mail as me", and she threw him across the desk that letter, and we were all laughing about you know, that he did have mail but it was from the US Information Service. And she then picked up her mail and moved around ...
GAP BETWEEN TAPES
MS O'LAUGHLIN: ... I thought was a packet or a parcel. I looked at it, I thought oh well that looks better, that must be the real mail. I thought it was a book or it was something nice you know, I thought maybe the proofs or something. It was not - the other envelopes were the kind that American manilla and that yellowish brown and this was more tan.
Anyway she took her mail and went over and stood at this corner, but Aquino started ...(intervention)
MR BIZOS: The corner, the other triangle on the top left-hand corner where Ruth is ...
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Where the other triangle is. Ja, ja. But you know Aquino was laughing about this letter and he started to open his letter and I was looking at him and I think Pallo was looking, we were you know, he was the centre of attention. And then he hadn't even pulled the letter out I think, it just, that was it. There was an explosion or well I thought there were three, I heard three, but I think there was only one. And I thought I'm going to die and then I realised no, you know you're alive, you thought that. I didn't fall or anything like that, but when I, it was slightly like being unconscious but not really. And when I - I was over closer to this table at the back, I was blown back and to the left as you're looking at it here. It was very silent after these three, you know it was totally silent and the air was full of haze.
I saw Pallo first and he started, he was bent over, he was you know, he'd flopped over but he started moving his head back and forth so I knew that he was alive. Ruth was sprawled, she was face downward. I didn't try to go past Pallo to touch her or anything.
She - it didn't - afterwards people described it, I didn't see all of this horror, she was wearing this red blazer that she'd worn all during that Social Science Conference, that made her feel good and she this same white skirt and these Italian shoes she was always so proud of, but she wasn't moving at all, she was totally still.
Aquino was flopped down, totally silent, he wasn't moving either. I didn't actually know what it was, I thought maybe we were being fired on from outside. I didn't know if it was from inside or outside so I waited, it seemed to me time, but it couldn't have been much time because other people hadn't come yet and they all were running down the corridor. ...(indistinct) we're not being fired on, and I went out the door screaming "ambulancia, Aquino hurt, ambulancia". This is you know, totally stupid like a child. There weren't any ambulances in Maputo at all. Anyway, that's more-or-less what I remember.
MR BIZOS: I want you to please return to when Ruth came in and she had apparently three items of mail. You've told us that the two were United Stated pale yellow manilla envelopes and the other was beige ...(indistinct). Now did you see the size of that, of the container, of the envelope or the paper which was not the American yellow manilla size?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ja, I mean as I said I thought it looked like a book. It could have been no bigger than this in size, but it was ...(intervention)
MR BIZOS: You are holding an A4 ...(intervention)
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ja, an A4, something like that. There were no strings, I remember there were no strings. I remembered a return address on it you know, a written return address and a written address. That's what I remembered at the time when I tried to think about it, and no strings across the top, but I saw it as a packet or a, I thought it could hold a book, you know it was big enough to hold a book.
MR BIZOS: A book or something else?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I suppose so. At the time you see - you have to remember I tried to remember when I was in hospital and I, so I thought back to the moment and I thought oh ja, you thought it looked like something interesting like a book, well. You know we thought books were interesting, right.
MR BIZOS: Now try and remember what you saw on, written on the envelope, on the envelope or the paper.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: That was put down on the desk?
MR BIZOS: Yes.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: You know I tried at the time and I couldn't remember and nobody came to ask me, nobody helped me. It's always bothered me, but you know there's no way now that I could ever recover what I couldn't even recover right after the thing when I tried to remember.
What I did remember was that I thought it looked, you know it didn't look like junk mail, it looked like something more personal, unlike these two envelopes.
MR BIZOS: Can you say whether the address was in writing or printed or typed?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I remember it as being in handwriting like, you know like with ink or whatever, not a printed label. That's what I remember. I can't - you know as I said it's 16 years.
MR BIZOS: Can you remember whether there was a logo on it?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I didn't see any logo, I didn't - that's one thing I remember, it didn't look official to me, it looked you know, a handwritten sending address, a handwritten you know address.
MR BIZOS: Could you say who it was addressed to?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well not absolutely but I looked at is, so I'm pretty sure it was addressed to Ruth because if it had been addressed to anybody else, it would have been bizarre. I looked at it, you know I'm nosy. I looked at it, it looked interesting and I'm sure it was addressed to Ruth.
MR BIZOS: Had it been addressed to Joe Slovo or to Ruth c/o Joe Slovo, would you have expected Ruth to receive it or open it in the presence of the people there?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, because even though among other things, number one it would have been very bizarre to get it. First off, I would have noticed if that's what it had said, that would have been really bizarre. Secondly, if that had happened it would have immediately made it a very suspect parcel, but besides that Joe was supposed to get all of his parcels controlled, Joe was not supposed to open parcels himself.
MR BIZOS: How did you know that?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: He said and Ruth did as well, you know that Joe's parcels were not to be opened.
MR BIZOS: Can you tell us how thick this was?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I can't be sure beyond telling you that you know, as I said it looked like it could have a book in it, so it looked it would be like this, not big but you know ...
MR BIZOS: Yes, you indicate about 2cm or 2½ cm?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, I'd say you know, 2½ is an inch ja, right, so ja, maybe a little bit more.
MR BIZOS: And you still ...(intervention)
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I'm not very good, even after this time in Europe I can't do it very well.
MR BIZOS: And you told us that this article was completely different to the two United States envelopes.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes.
MR BIZOS: Besides the colour, what other distinctive features were there in relation to ...(indistinct)
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well the other - these US envelopes, it wasn't pale yellow by the way, it's that American official yellow, it's not really pale. Anyway, but they were standard you know like this. You know this American size envelope, like that, the long ... that was the size they were more-or-less, a bit longer this way. They looked like letters, the other thing to me looked like a packet. It could have been an envelope, but to me it looked like a packet, like a book mailer or a parcel or ... And it was a brown khaki coloured paper. That's what you say in Portuguese actually.
MR BIZOS: When you demonstrated the two envelopes you bent an A4 into three? - so that we can have on record what the size was.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ja.
MR BIZOS: It may be a convenient stage, Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: Very well, we'll adjourn until 2 o'clock.
BRIDGET O'LAUGHLIN: (s.u.o.)
EXAMINATION BY MR BIZOS: (Cont)
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes, I wasn't badly injured, my eardrums were blown out, both of them and I had a cut on the cornea, which was at the time a serious injury but it's been fine. I couldn't - I wasn't at Ruth's funeral, I had to stay flat without moving so that I wouldn't lose the eye. And then I, you know just had sort of odd burns and things, not anything very bad.
MR BIZOS: Thank you, Mr Chairman, I have no further questions.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR BIZOS
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Levine?
MR LEVINE: Thank you, Mr Chairman. I don't know if Mr Visser who is before me has got questions to put.
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, Visser on record, I'm not involved in the Ruth First matter at all, and therefore I have no questions, Mr Chairman.
NO QUESTIONS BY MR VISSER
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR LEVINE: Thank you.
Ms O'Laughlin, did Mr Aquino open his letter at the time of the explosion?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes.
MR LEVINE: You did see him opening the letter?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Pardon?
MR LEVINE: You did see him opening his letter?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: That's what I was looking at, was Aquino. I didn't see it all get opened, he was opening it and the there was the explosion.
MR LEVINE: Thank you. And the beige container that you saw, what was on the written address?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I think it was addressed to Ruth, but the problem is that I can no longer be sure. I'm quite sure that if it hadn't been addressed to Ruth, I would have notices, but you know like I don't remember even if it said which box number it had or you know, I can't remember that. And I tried, afterwards I tried to remember what the sender's address was, what had been at the top and I couldn't get it back, I couldn't see it.
MR LEVINE: So you don't have any recall other in the vaguest of terms as the to address on the envelope, ...(intervention)
MS O'LAUGHLIN: And the sender's address.
MR LEVINE: ... or the sender's address?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ja.
MR LEVINE: You said that the envelope did not look official to you.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes, it didn't have a logo or printed stationary or you know, it was handwritten.
MR LEVINE: Now had Ruth to your knowledge ever received any mail that was addressed either to Joe Slovo c/o of Ruth or to Joe Slovo and Ruth?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Never to my knowledge did she receive such mail, and I said to Mr Bizos, if it appeared at the Centre, it would have been highly suspect and she wouldn't have opened it.
MR LEVINE: I think you used the work "bizarre".
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Probably, ja.
MR LEVINE: Do you recall that?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes.
MR LEVINE: Now if you cannot recall a letter ever having been addressed to Joe Slovo and Ruth refusing to open such a letter, how do you know that this would have been her reaction?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Because what I told you about the importance of making sure that the Centre within Mozambique was not viewed as an ANC, in particular no an Umkhonto weSizwe front or a planning unit or a research centre, it was very important. And therefore there was no mail for Joe that Ruth would receive there.
MR LEVINE: Well you say that as a fact. Had any of these things ever been discussed or stated as a fact to you? You see what I'm trying to establish is whether you are speculating about this or whether you are speaking from hard facts of what was put to you or told to you at the time.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Obviously if it had never happened in my knowledge, ja?
MR LEVINE: Yes.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: With what you are saying, how can you know that it would never happen.
MR LEVINE: Correct.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Now that's - I understand that, but that's, all I can say to that is it never did happen and Ruth strongly insisted on receiving only mail in her name through the university box that was part, you know Centre of African Studies Edwardo Mundlang University.
MR LEVINE: But you cannot say as a fact that she would have refrained from opening a letter that might have been addressed to Joe and her?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: You're saying, you're deducing that and that's correct, I am deducing that, but I also know that Ruth told me that no ANC communication of any kind would go through the Centre.
MR LEVINE: Did the letter in fact, the letter in question, come through the university mail box?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: That's a good point. It is possible that it didn't because if it were left by someone in the wrong place it could have not come through the university post, but what you asked me and what I responded to was, did Ruth receive things at the Centre that came to Joe care of her, and I said no. Most of that mail - as I said the standard way of getting mail was through that postal box.
MR LEVINE: But you cannot ...(intervention)
MS O'LAUGHLIN: You are right that I would say by extension that any object that appeared, even more so if it had not come through the standard post, that appeared addressed to Joe care of Ruth, none of Joe's parcels were to be opened, period.
MR LEVINE: How did you know that?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ruth told us, Joe told us. And to be honest Samora Machal came to me in, well not to me, he visited people in the hospital you know, I mean afterwards, and he said to me: "I know how you must feel, I know how guilty you must feel, you should never have let her open that, no-one should ever have been allowed to open that." So the standard view in Mozambique was that parcels were generally you know, possibly suspect for everyone, I mean you know, parcels. But Ruth opened them, she opened - we got a lot of mail and she opened things, but she wouldn't have opened something addressed to Joe.
MR LEVINE: Well you drew a plan AAA, do you have it before you?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ja.
MR LEVINE: Where were you standing at the time of the explosion?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: You know where this circle is, there's a BLL thing, that's me. I really - I got pushed back by the explosion but I, during the time there I didn't change my position, I was standing at that sort of, standing up at that corner of the desk.
MR LEVINE: Would you say that that was next to the door?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ja, it was - you know if you come in the door, it was the first available space, ja.
MR LEVINE: But were you standing next to the door?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well yes, you can see the door - ja, I'm bigger than that spot you mean, yes. But front from the door, the desk was not, it was a little bit back from the door right, so I was standing right in front of the ...(indistinct)
MR LEVINE: Yes, how far back from the door?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Probably not more than a metre.
MR LEVINE: And you say you drew this?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I've made no claim, I wrote here not to scale. I'm not very good at drawing.
MR LEVINE: But it was drawn yesterday.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I just did it yesterday, ja. They asked - I tried to draw it and I didn't do very well so I went home and I tried to do better. I realised it's still not very good.
MR LEVINE: After how many years?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: 16.
MR LEVINE: Yes.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I have of course been back to the room many times since then.
MR LEVINE: It's since changed in format.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: The, you know where the desk was or whatever. I'm quite sure about the placement of Ruth's desk, the placement of the table, those things.
MR LEVINE: You said that Ruth went out of the room to the former secretary's office.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well I said that that's where Aquino said this package was. So I didn't move, so I can't tell you for sure where she went you know, that's true. I don't know where she went, but Aquino said: "You've got mail in Adalina's office."
MR LEVINE: I think your evidence was quite clear in that you said that Ruth had gone to the former secretary's office.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well if I misstated it, I must say then that I think that what I wanted to say was Aquino said: "There is mail for you in Adalina's office," what used to be the secretariat, and Ruth went I assume to that office and returned with this mail.
MR LEVINE: What had become of this office?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: What has become of it since?
MR LEVINE: No, what had become of it to make you call it ...(intervention)
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Oh the former secretary's office. We were turning, we took another room at the far end of the hall and made that into the secretariat and this room became a room for clippings and files, it was going to be part of the, we were overflow from the Documentation Centre, so this room was supposed to be turned into the current clippings and current files from the Documentation Centre.
MR LEVINE: Yes. Now Ms O'Laughlin, you signed an affidavit in the Hage.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ja.
MR LEVINE: On the 15th day of September 1998.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes. I didn't bring ...
MR LEVINE: May I give you a copy?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, I've got the copy I took off the computer. I know it's the same statement, I just don't have the affidavit date on my copy.
MR LEVINE: Well let me give you one so that we're all talking about the same thing.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Thanks.
MR LEVINE: Is that your signature?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes, it is.
MR VISSER: I don't believe, Mr Chairman, this has been given an exhibit number, perhaps one should number it BBB.
CHAIRPERSON: This will be Exhibit BBB.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: It's really the - you can have it back, I've got the same thing just without the stamp, it's fine. Do you need it?
MR LEVINE: ...(inaudible).
CHAIRPERSON: Do we have copies of it, Mr Levine?
MR LEVINE: ...(inaudible).
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well I wrote the statement on a computer and my copy, what I've said is before leaving the Hage, I printed it out again but the format and everything I checked, it is the same as your copy so I can follow.
MR LEVINE: Did you prepare this statement?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes.
MR LEVINE: On your own?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes.
MR LEVINE: And does this statement reflect precisely what appears in the draft which you took off the computer?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes. You mean is the copy you have equal to the one I have in my hand, yes.
MR LEVINE: No. What I meant is, is this your own creation in its entirety?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes.
MR LEVINE: And did you go to the notary, Mr van Keesel to affirm or to take the oath or to confirm the contents of what appeared in this document BBB?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes, I did.
MR LEVINE: Who accompanied you to Mr van Keesel?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I went by myself.
MR LEVINE: On your own?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Pardon?
MR LEVINE: You went on your own?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I went, I just went alone, yes.
MR LEVINE: What occasioned the preparation of this affidavit or statement that we have before us now?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well I was told about the TRC and I think in fact it was probably Gillian Slovo who told me that Ramula Patel, who I think is you, was trying to get hold of me because I could be considered a victim under the terms of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission ...(intervention)
MR LEVINE: A victim.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: ... and would I prepare a submission. Well I in fact didn't know what a submission to the TRC was really, and I still don't really know. This is what I did. So that's the you know. I'm sure there could be other things that would be better, but I really didn't know what a submission like this was.
MR LEVINE: You were just asked by Gillian Slovo to prepare a submission?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well the thing was that there was - she also said, and I think Ramula asked if I could possibly be there but the timing was not clear, and I teach so I can't plan things if I don't know when the timing would be, so then I just wrote this and sent it in.
MR LEVINE: You wrote it on the 31st of August 1998.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ja.
MR LEVINE: And you signed it on the 15th of September, some two weeks later?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ja. I first just - well I had it notarised then because I didn't know I had to have these things notarised. I faxed if off earlier. So this was faxed originally but then I, as I said I didn't know you, you know, I didn't know how legal this all was, so I didn't go to a notary and have it notarised then.
MR LEVINE: To whom did you fax it?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: To Ramula Patel.
MR LEVINE: Do you have a copy of the telefax?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, I'm sorry I don't, I haven't asked for it.
MR LEVINE: Well perhaps I can enquire of Ms Patel as to whether she has that telefax.
MS PATEL: I'll have to check my correspondence file, I can't give it to you immediately.
MR LEVINE: Did you receive comments on the telefax which you had sent.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: From Ramula Patel, no.
MR LEVINE: From whom?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I earlier sent this statement to Gillian and said: "This is what I thought of writing", and she said - on a first draft, not this one, and she said: "Put more in about your injuries" because I hadn't included you know, about my eye or that I was pregnant or whatever.
MR LEVINE: That would be the fourth and firth paragraphs on page 1?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Fourth. I think the fifth was already there. The fourth I think I included. I think that was the inclusion.
MR LEVINE: Yes. Did you receive any other comments from Gillian Slovo?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, and I would like to have had some advice from people on what looked like as a matter of fact, but I was going off to Mozambique and I wanted to get this done so I did it.
MR LEVINE: Did you receive any input from anyone else, other than Gillian Slovo?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No.
MR LEVINE: Not?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No.
MR LEVINE: And when the revised draft was ready and signed, who did you send it to?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, this was already the revised draft, I didn't revise again before the signing. I think I sent everything in that phase to Ramula Patel.
MR LEVINE: And did you send it with a covering letter or were you in conversation, discussions with Ramula Patel, and was she then expecting such a document?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I think our only correspondence was e-mail. No, the signed version - wait a minute, I'm sorry I take all this back, the signed version I had, I sent by registered mail. That wasn't - it's this version that had not been signed by the notary that I faxed. I couldn't fax the - I sent the notary version by registered mail. So you're right, and I correct my testimony please.
MR LEVINE: Yes. And did you receive an acknowledgement in respect of that notarised version?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I'm not entirely sure.
MR LEVINE: Well after that version was received, you were asked to be in attendance, but as you said there was no definite time that was stipulated.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: That was actually before I sent this one in, that was at the beginning ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: She didn't say after the - she did not say after the signed version was received.
MR LEVINE: Mr Chairman, I understood that, and I thank you for pointing it out to me.
When did you learn that your presence at this hearing was necessary?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: For this session right now?
MR LEVINE: Yes.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: It would have been, I'm not entirely sure, the week before last maybe, just now recently.
MR LEVINE: Who contacted you?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: First Gillian sent me an e-mail saying that the lawyer, Corine Norval might get in touch with me because Pallo Jordan who was also there would not be able to testify and they would like to have somebody who was present that day to be here.
MR LEVINE: And you responded by voicing your agreement?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, I responded by thinking about it very hard and, because I, it was, I'm teaching, I took holiday time and I paid for my own ticket and I wanted to know if it would make any difference. So I thought about it quite a long time, I didn't respond immediately. And then it took me even more time to find a cheap ticket so that I could get back in time.
MR LEVINE: You wanted to know whether it would make any difference.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Mm.
MR LEVINE: I assume you're referring to ...(intervention)
MS O'LAUGHLIN: My presence.
MR LEVINE: ... your evidence.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: My presence to give evidence as apposed to ...(intervention)
MR LEVINE: As apposed to the statement?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Just a written submission, ja.
MR LEVINE: And you made mention of the fact that you paid for your own ticket.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Mm.
MR LEVINE: Why did you consider that significant?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well I'm not rich, it's a lot of money from The Hague to here. And of course taking holiday time is also an extra expense.
MR LEVINE: As I understand you then, you forego certain earnings because of the holiday time that you've taken to come here?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ja, sure.
MR LEVINE: What was the cost of your ticket?
CHAIRPERSON: Is that relevant, Mr Levine? We're going on and on and on about this sort of thing. I fail to see the relevance completely.
MR LEVINE: Well Mr Chairman, you considered it relevant when Gillian Slovo was asked a line of questioning similar to that, why should there be a difference?
CHAIRPERSON: Because this witness has explained that two weeks ago she was told that Pallo Jordan couldn't be here, could she be here, she said she wanted to try to get a cheap-rate airfare. We all know approximately what airfares to Europe cost, what is the relevance of finding out precisely what she paid for her ticket? Tell me, Mr Levine.
MR LEVINE: I wish to test that, Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: To test the price of her ticket? Have you any evidence whatsoever to suggest she didn't pay for her ticket?
MR LEVINE: None, but I'm entitled to test it.
CHAIRPERSON: So you're just fishing?
MR LEVINE: I beg your pardon?
CHAIRPERSON: You are not entitled to test what you like, Mr Levine, we are here holding an inquiry.
MR LEVINE: Are you suggesting ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: I'm suggesting you are wasting our time deliberately, Mr Levine.
MR LEVINE: Deliberately?
MR LEVINE: Well that's on record, Mr Chairman, and I know ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: It is, Mr Levine, so are your questions.
MR LEVINE: Yes, and your remarks.
CHAIRPERSON: Carry on, Mr Levine.
MR LEVINE: What was Mr Pallo Jordan doing in Mozambique at the stage of the bomb?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: He'd come in the preceding week. There's been a Unesco sponsored conference on social sciences in Africa, so there were Africanists from all over the continent and other countries as well. There was some idea that a Unesco sponsored centre on social sciences in Africa, which was supposed to be in then Zaire, could be moved to Maputo. And that conference - Ruth had been asked by the rector to organise that conference and Pallo Jordan had been invited as one of the leading intellectuals of the region.
MR LEVINE: And did he speak at that conference?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ja, there were a lot of seminars and stuff, yes. I don't actually remember anymore what he said, but I'm sure that since he was there he spoke. Harold Walby was there. Among South Africans, I think those were the only two but there were lots and lots of people there.
MR LEVINE: So do you know in what capacity Pallo Jordan attended?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes, as an intellectual of the region. Everyone there was somebody who was in the social sciences, working in Africa.
MR LEVINE: Was Sue Rapkin in Mozambique at the time of Ruth Slovo's death?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I'm not - she was certainly in Mozambique during that time. I can't - I'm sure she was but I can't really remember exactly if she was present during that week, but I assume she was. You could ask her.
MR LEVINE: Well I could have but she's not being called.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, what I'm saying is, that would be the best answer for that, I can't absolutely say.
MR LEVINE: Do you know for whom she was working at the time of the death?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes, I do. Yes, she was working for Umkhonto weSizwe.
ADV DE JAGER: Could you kindly repeat? She was working for?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: She was working for MK, she was an ANC person but specifically working within the area of operations.
MR LEVINE: You presently reside permanently in Holland?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: More-or-less, ja.
MR LEVINE: When you prepared your statement, did you refer to any notes to refresh your memory?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, I don't have notes.
MR LEVINE: And the only contact you had in regard to this statement initially was the communication from Gill Slovo? Sorry, the machine is not going to pick up your nodding.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes, yes.
MR LEVINE: Yes. In your affidavit or your statement you pose several questions, what was the purpose of posing those questions?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well as I said I made up my statement, I wrote my statement without reference to anybody else or to this process and so I asked, I thought about questions of truth, I figured well I'm not South African, the part that's reconciliation, I can't contribute to very much, but truth I could and so I asked, I wanted, things that I wanted further information on.
MR LEVINE: And dealing with the first question, you say:
"The bomb probably did not come through the regular mail"
Is that an assumption which you made?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I think I - of course this, no, I wouldn't say it's exactly an assumption, I'd say it was a deduction and I cannot absolutely know. It's because Aquino came and said: "Ruth, you've got mail, I never get any", and when she asked him where it was he said: "In Adalina's office". I assumed that because these two letters from USIS, he hadn't seen or he would have picked them up, that he was referring to the other object. So I assumed that that object was indeed in the, I deduced that that object was in the former secretariat, but of course I cannot absolutely know.
ADV DE JAGER: Didn't she go and pick up the two letters and the parcel together?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: She came back with them together, but because I didn't watch her, she could have continued on down the corridor and got something else. The reason I made this deduction is that I think that if, since Aquino came in and didn't have those, the letters that included one for himself then, he would have brought them along the first time. So ...
ADV DE JAGER: So it seems as though the letters as well as the parcel weren't sent by ordinary mail?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: The letters - you see in this Mozambique system, things like embassies and stuff like that, they didn't trust the mail, so if it came through the US Embassy they had a system, I don't know, these are things I don't know in English, but you messengers, internal mail within Maputo between embassies and things was delivered by people and they could deliver at any time of day. So those two letters that would have come through USIS could have not come through the regular mail as well. But I don't think they were in the same place as the parcel, or Aquino would have brought them with him when he came in.
MR LEVINE: I think you said that Mr Aquino did not bring anything with him and that it was Ruth who went out somewhere, you assume the secretary Adalina's office, and came back holding two letters and a parcel?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ja, three things.
MR LEVINE: And she could have gone to collect it from anywhere down the passage?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Pardon?
MR LEVINE: She could have gone to collect it from anywhere down the passage?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes, because I ...
GAP BETWEEN TAPES
MR LEVINE: Now you seem to be somewhat critical of the investigation of the bombing by the Mozambican Security, why is that?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I think it's more-or-less what I said in the affidavit, that I had expected to be interviewed at the time and I wasn't really.
MR LEVINE: And therefore you concluded that that was a perfunctory investigation?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes.
MR LEVINE: And you suggest that this might have been because there were contacts between members of Mozambican and South African Security Services?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: This on my part is what I think you would call pure speculation and without any further input of evidence here, I have nothing more to back this up. That was a question for me. What is true is that there were connections. You know here I think about George Grasser(?) who was a well-placed Mozambican in security who we said, I don't know what you say, at the time we said he defected in South Africa. So there clearly were connections between the Security Services.
MR LEVINE: And you say that, or you query as to why media reports have obfuscated the fact that Ruth was the intended victim of the bomb.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes, I said that at the time there were media reports that quite disturbing to Aquino, in which it was said that he managed to toss a letter at Ruth and this was deeply, deeply disturbing for him, and most people tried to point out to him that it was impossible but there were reports.
And then I indeed read, I read the weekly Mail & Guardian on the internet, and I read that similarly in this discussion when Mr Williamson talked about it, that again there was stuff about its being addressed to Joe, so I became quite concerned about why there was so much emphasis on the bomb not being in an object addressed to Ruth.
MR LEVINE: Now the use of the word such as "perfunctory", "obfuscate", anomalous, are these your normal everyday words and ...(intervention)
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I'm an academic, I excuse myself for these words. I mean you know my daughter would probably get at me too, but I'm sorry I wrote this statement, yes, those are my words.
MR LEVINE: No, I don't ...(intervention)
MS O'LAUGHLIN: They may not be the best, but ...
MR LEVINE: I don't criticise you at all, I just wanted to know if these were the normal words which you used.
ADV DE JAGER: Could you kindly help me, why was there speculation that the bomb was intended for Mr Aquino?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I don't know, that was one of the questions that I had hoped somebody might answer for me sometime. I didn't understand it but I, and Aquino was himself deeply, deeply upset by this bomb, he was not psychically in control. And I was told afterwards that members of Mozambican Security had suggested this to him. I wasn't there myself, I could only report this, ja, and I wondered about it.
MR LEVINE: When you read over your statement before you signed it, was there anything you did not agree entirely with?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, I tried to write the best statement I could out of what I could remember and wanted to raise. But as I told you I didn't know what a submission to the TRC was, so I couldn't know whether this was correct, or not.
MR LEVINE: And with hindsight, is there anything in your statement that as at today you do not agree with or may wish to amend in any way?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, because it's my submissions, so I won't take it back. I think that some of my questions you're not going to address, but that doesn't, I'm not going to, you know. I don't see any reason to change for that, but I think another kind of statement might have been more effective for your purposes, I don't know.
MR LEVINE: I'm only interested in your statement. Had you had previous experience in a situation of gunfire or explosives detonating around you?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, that was - you know of course afterwards, many, many times because I continued on in Maputo, but that was the first time, I'd never experienced that before.
MR LEVINE: So you were open to speculate as to whether you were being fired on from outside or blown up from within?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes. Do you think an expert would have known right away? I don't know. You know you're pretty buffeted, you can't hear, there's these after shocks, I don't think this is just expertise. I mean maybe somebody would have known right away, but I was in shock.
MR LEVINE: Yes. So these were one of the two possibilities that you envisaged?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I felt - I tried to write a statement that told you what I thought at the time.
MR LEVINE: Yes.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: How it felt.
MR LEVINE: You mentioned in your statement that there were many strange stories circulating about the bomb.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes, well I think the South African media suggested that Joe had blown Ruth up, they didn't get along. People in Maputo said that I had lost my eye and one was being imported from Portugal. There was a huge amount of speculation, there wasn't - you know that's what I meant, lots and lots of stories.
MR LEVINE: Were they all strange stories?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well I thought they were strange, some of them, ja.
MR LEVINE: And when Gillian e-mailed you, was it with a specific purpose of your making a submission to oppose the application for amnesty?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, she asked me, she said you can be considered a victim, she told me that they were going to oppose, but she left the position up to me.
MR LEVINE: And you elected to do what?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well I said I had no objection to amnesty if the truth were found, so I felt there were areas where we did not know the truth and I would like those to be addressed, so I opposed amnesty on the basis of not knowing the truth about how it happened, why it happened, who did it, the wider context.
MR LEVINE: I realise as I said now, that you won't be hearing evidence on all of those wider questions.
ADV DE JAGER: But at that stage you weren't acquainted with the evidence that's been led before us, or that would still be led before us.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, I only knew what - I mean to be, I really only knew what I read in the weekly mail. I'll be honest about it. I knew that were these stories about the bomb being addressed to Joe or to Ruth and to Joe, which I thought were highly improbable. I welcomed the chance for some of things which are a long-term part of the history of Mozambique and South Africa, I thought well maybe the Truth Commission will find out some of what we don't know. So I thought this was a good idea.
ADV DE JAGER: Thank you.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I thought Mr Williamson probably knows much more than he's said.
MR LEVINE: Have you read the record?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Not all of it. I arrived Saturday evening.
MR LEVINE: Yes.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I'm sorry, I couldn't actually see who was speaking to me. I still have hearing difficulties, I'm not good on orientation. Anyway ...(intervention)
MR LEVINE: Please ask me if you'd like me to repeat anything.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, no, that's okay, I didn't see it was you who was speaking, I don't have good right/left balance. Anyway, could you repeat your question now that I've messed it up?
MR LEVINE: Yes, did you read the record?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, I only read part of it. I arrived Saturday and last night I read part of the record.
MR LEVINE: Because you said you assume that Mr Williamson would have known more, where does that assumption stem from?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: It stems from over the years knowing that people would say quite early on, Mr Williamson is at the Polana, Mr Williamson's at Angola and Mr Williamson himself has made you know, considerable revelations, so I considered himself a person with a long history in South African Security, somebody who is well located within the region, who knows a lot. And I think it probably would be useful to know more than we know. And in particular in my case I'd like to know more about the sequence of things in Mozambique, so that's why I included it.
MR LEVINE: But you hadn't read that record ...(intervention)
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No.
MR LEVINE: ... and you came to make such a statement such as you've now made.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: What you're asking me - that's was when I wrote this statement, I couldn't have read the record.
MR LEVINE: Have you read the record now?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, I told you I only arrived Saturday, ja.
MR LEVINE: So this is just another speculative essay of yours? - the last answer, not the statement per se. When you say "I assume Mr Williamson knows a lot more.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, I was trying to characterise my feelings when I wrote this statement, about why I thought he would know more, that's all.
MR LEVINE: But you do not know as a fact whether he knows more or not?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Absolutely not, I don't know, I'm not a member of any security establishment.
MR LEVINE: Were you interviewed by many members of the media?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No. I kept waiting for Mozambican Security to interview me, so I refused to talk to any journalists. I was naive.
MR LEVINE: So in the end result Mozambique Security did not interview you?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: They interviewed me, I think I put it in this statement ...
MR LEVINE: Very briefly?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well no, somebody - the person who spoke to me in the emergency room very briefly was in fact not part of Mozambican Security per se at that time, and he asked me only about the things that you've asked me about, the packages and the letters.
MR LEVINE: That was a Mr Raphosa Perreira?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Raphosa Perreira. But as far as I knew at the time he wasn't in Mozambican Security, he was part of the Ministry of Interior, as far as I knew. Many months later, after the birth of my child even, so you know much later, they did a reconstruction in the office, but after it had all been repaired and everything.
MR LEVINE: In resolving to oppose the application for amnesty, which applicant or applicants do you refer to?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: On the matter of to whom the bomb was addressed, it applies to both. To whom the bomb was addressed, how did this work? That applies to both, and I think it can be clarified by both. My wider questions applied only to Mr Williamson, but I don't think they're likely to be answered.
MR LEVINE: What was your wider question?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: The questions we've been discussing about the relationship between Mozambican and South African Security.
MR LEVINE: Assume Mr Williamson didn't know about ...(intervention)
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, I'm not assuming anything, I'm assuming they're not part of the corpus of material that you're really dealing with. May I say the other ground which applies to both?
MR LEVINE: Yes.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: It's the issue of the legitimate target.
MR LEVINE: Yes, let's deal with that.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well I think there are two basis' for refusing amnesty, aren't there? One is that you don't know the total truth and one is on the issue of appropriateness of a target. And I don't think it was appropriate that Ruth be treated as a military target.
MR LEVINE: Well ...(intervention)
MS O'LAUGHLIN: And I also don't think it was appropriate that a university, institute which houses the Anthropology Department, the Archaeology Department, the Head Librarian's office, the worker's cafeteria, as well as the Centre for African Studies, should have been exposed to a bomb.
MR LEVINE: Well let's test that. You say that this mail could have come from anywhere?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Pardon?
MR LEVINE: You said the mail could have come from anywhere?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes, but Mr Williamson and Mr Raven have said they sent the bomb.
MR LEVINE: And you didn't know what Ruth was involved in?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I worked every day with Ruth, I know what Ruth was doing. That's precisely the basis on which I am arguing against the legitimate target argument.
MR LEVINE: You see it is quite possible is it not that Ruth may have had a private life and private avenues along which she was working, which you were never made a privy to?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: It's a possibility, but listen, Ruth, in Mozambique we started work at seven thirty, Ruth was religious, she got into that car and at seven thirty she was at the Centre. She left you know, at six or seven. We generally had lunch together and we often went to the cinema or had a meal together or whatever. She didn't have much time. Occasionally we went to the beach. She wrote The Olive Schreiner Book, she wrote most of Black Gold, she learnt Portuguese and did lectures in Portuguese, prepared teaching texts. You know she was a super human person, a really special person, but she didn't have any other time. What you can't admit is that she considered that work so important. Maybe that's hard to accept, but she did.
MR LEVINE: What about after she left the university at night, can you account for what she was doing?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: As I said not the total amount of time, but you've got to look at the profile of her life and see what more, what else could she be doing? She had to prepare lectures, she read, she was working on these books. She put a huge - you know, she treated this Centre, I guess her kids probably could have been jealous, she treated this Centre like her child, she put everything into it. She did field work with us. We went often to rural areas in Mozambique and traipsed through these fields and measured how they ...(indistinct). She didn't like it you know, I rather like, she didn't like it, she did it all.
MR LEVINE: You didn't know whether Ruth was a member of the South African Communist Party?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, I knew it was a point of conflict, so I never asked.
MR LEVINE: So you never satisfied yourself that she wasn't working in furtherance of the pursuits?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well not all members of the South African - wait a minute, you're not saying that every member of the South African Party, Communist Party, was a legitimate target?
MR LEVINE: I am putting to you that you cannot exclude that she wasn't working in the pursuits of furthering the South African Communist Party.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: But being a member of the South African Communist Party is not being a legitimate target for a bomb, in a military sense. The other thing I've tried to tell you is how she was spending her time, and secondly that the terms of existence of this Centre, the reason we could continue to work, were as long as it was not regarded as an ANC front.
MR LEVINE: Well the legislature on this particular matter may be at variance with your views, but I'm not going to debate that with you at all.
Is it my understanding that you indicated that Joe Slovo and Ruth had secrets that you really didn't want to know about?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Of course, I'm sure they did. And the thing is that you know what Joe's position was and you know that Joe and Ruth lived in the same house, ja?
MR LEVINE: Yes. So you cannot say definitely that she was excluded ...(intervention)
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, no, no, wait a minute. To say that Ruth knew what Joe is doing is not the same thing as saying that Ruth was doing it.
MR LEVINE: You cannot exclude, on your own version, that she was working to further the aims of both the Communist Party and/or the ANC?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well this is for the Truth Commission to decide.
MR LEVINE: Yes.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: But frankly, if indeed working to further the aims of the ANC and the South African Communist Party makes you a legitimate target, then there were an enormous number of legitimate targets. I have understood that you wanted to make a distinction between those who were involved in military operations and MK operations and others, and I'm trying to explain to you why Ruth could not be involved in those operations given the terms of her work within the university.
MR LEVINE: But you haven't catered for the hours of six in the evening unit ...(intervention)
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, six in the evening I was often there. Six in the evening we often had dinner together you know, and irregularly, not every single day but without, - no, no, no, I can account for an awful lot of Ruth's time, it's true.
CHAIRPERSON: Do I understand from what you say, that when Joe wasn't there you and Ruth would go out together in the evenings?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ja, sometimes even with Joe, you know go out for a meal or go to a film, ja.
MR LEVINE: Are you saying that Ruth did not do any political work to further the aims of the ANC or the South African Communist Party?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Absolutely that is not what I am saying.
MR LEVINE: You cannot exclude that?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ruth was a political person, she believed in the liberation of South Africa, she was against apartheid, you know that. It was a very important part of her. I'm not saying that she had no political identity, but I repeat my point, if your definition of a legitimate target is anyone who politically opposed apartheid in South Africa, you have a huge number of legitimate targets. And I don't think it would be a good way to sort out moral responsibility around these issues.
MR LEVINE: Ms O'Laughlin, I have no further questions, thank you.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR LEVINE
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you, Mr Chairman.
Mrs O'Laughlin, how do you pronounce your surname?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: That's pretty good, O'Laughlin, ja.
MR DU PLESSIS: O'Laughlin?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ja. I don't really pronounce it right either you know, it should have one of those grr things in it.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright. Can you perhaps just explain to me again, I didn't understand your evidence very well when you testified about the moment she walked into the office with the mail that she got. What did you see, what did you notice about the mail and everything surrounding that? Could you just explain that to us please?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Okay. She walked in and stopped because I think she expected Aquino to get up and he didn't, he just sat, so she stopped for a minute and she put her mail down on the desk. That was this packet and her ...(indistinct) yellow letter, and she took this other one from Aquino and said: "Here" and then picked up hers with one and his with the other. She flipped this one across to him and said: "Look you and I got the same mail from the US Information Service", and she laughed. And that's when - those were two, from my point of view, identical, you know the same kind of logo and printed addresses. The other thing that I saw was this - I was just looking out of the corner of my eye, I mean it wasn't, and that was what seemed to me no string brown paper. I saw it - I remembered it as a parcel.
MR DU PLESSIS: Anything else?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No only those three things.
MR DU PLESSIS: What about that, let's call it a parcel, even though it wasn't a parcel ...(intervention)
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well I don't know you know, I mean the thing is when Raphosa Perreira asked me right at the time of the, when I was lying in that emergency room, and he said: "What was there?", I said to him: "two letters and a you know a packet", in Portuguese. So I saw it as that. You now it could have been something else but that's what I remembered it as.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well let's refer then to the large envelope. What did you notice in respect of the large envelope?
CHAIRPERSON: She hasn't for a moment suggested it was an envelope, Mr du Plessis. ...(indistinct)
MR DU PLESSIS: Then I'll call it a parcel, then I'll call it a packet. With respect, I just want to distinguish it from the two letters.
What shall I call it?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes, do it that way. The thing is I can't - I did not see it as an envelope, I saw it as a packet.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright, what do you want me to call it, Mrs O'Laughlin?
CHAIRPERSON: Call it a packet.
MR DU PLESSIS: As it pleases you, thank you, Mr Chairman.
Now what did you see on the packet, what did you see in respect of the packet?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: As I said I looked at it out of the corner of my eye and I saw that it, to me it looked like it might have a book or something like that in it, and I saw the sender's address as being handwritten and also the address as handwritten, so I thought of it as something personal, I thought of it as something nice.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright. You testified that you saw, I suppose at the back of the packet, the sender's address ...(intervention)
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, no.
MR DU PLESSIS: ... or was it all in front?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, no, no, what I saw was in front and that's all I - she put it down on the desk like that.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes. You saw the sender's address, was that in handwriting?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: That's what I remember, but it's been ...(intervention)
MR DU PLESSIS: And the address probably of the university, I don't know. What else did you see of the address?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, I don't, I can't tell you anymore. The thing - what you have to remember is this is 16 years ago, but the reason I know about this, what my idea is, is that right after it happened as I lay in the hospital I tried to see that packet, ja, and I know that if it had not been her name I would have noticed, it would have been odd, but I couldn't remember what you know, what postal box was written there and I couldn't remember the sender's address or name, which really bothered me.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright. But you saw in handwriting, if I understand it correctly, two addresses, the one is the middle address and where was the sender's address?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: In the left corner.
MR DU PLESSIS: Left top corner?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: And I can't remember the, I couldn't remember the postage either. I couldn't remember if it was franked or not or whatever, I couldn't remember.
MR DU PLESSIS: And both these addresses you saw were in handwriting?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: That's what I remembered at the time.
MR DU PLESSIS: And you also testified that it didn't look like junk mail, it looked more personal, is that correct?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: And then you also testified:
"I'm sure it was addressed to Ruth"
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Because I figured that - but this is a deduction, I figured that if it had been addressed to Joe it would have been so odd that I would have noticed, but it is a deduction.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright. Now Mrs O'Laughlin, when deposed to this statement, Exhibit BBB, did you take it personally to the notary?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ja, I did.
MR DU PLESSIS: And was that everything you wanted to include there? Was it your statement?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: This was my statement. As I said I didn't really know what a statement was supposed to be so.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, and you affirmed or you confirmed it to be correct at that time?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: In front of the notary, ja.
MR DU PLESSIS: And you do that today as well?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes, I do.
MR DU PLESSIS: And it includes all the evidence that you've given? Does it accord with your evidence today?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: As far as I know, yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: It should?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ja.
MR DU PLESSIS: Now what I find strange of the evidence you've given now about the envelope and what you saw of the envelope - ag, the packet, if you turn to the second page of this exhibit, there are four points under number two, four marked points with little dots, do you see that?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ja, I do.
MR DU PLESSIS: Now on the third point you say the following:
"Ruth put her mail on the desk next to where I was standing. I glanced at it and noted nothing. If it had been addressed to Joe I think I would probably have noticed because that would have been irregular."
Now why did you say when you drew this statement, that you noted nothing but today in elaborate detail you explain to us two handwritten addresses you saw specifically on this packet and you can distinctly remember they were in handwriting. Explain to us that.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, I agree with you. I think that this - what I meant was I noted nothing bizarre. I stick by my evidence today and it would have been more complete to have put that in. That was the one thing I really tried to get after the bomb, I really tried to see that packet. So it was - I should have put that in in more detail.
MR DU PLESSIS: That was something very important for you, to try and determine.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Because I thought that that was what - I had decided, I don't have any evidence, I had decided that that must have been the bomb. I don't know about explosives so I didn't think a bomb that size could have been in a USIS envelope.
So I thought it was in the packet and I therefore tried to remember, because it, I couldn't understand why Ruth would have opened it. So it seemed like it must have been something that she expected or that was personal, that she really wanted, so I thought that if I could concentrate, you know that I would see, I would know. That is why. So it's not that I invented this memory today, but I didn't get anything more than what I've told you today.
MR DU PLESSIS: No you see, Mrs O'Laughlin, that's why I asked you specifically about this statement and why I asked you again and gave you an opportunity again to explain your evidence, so that I could be sure, so I don't make deductions which are not warranted.
Now I've gone through this statement as well and I don't find any other reference in this statement, and I must say it's quite a detailed statement, about this. And I must put it to you that I find it very strange that something as important as this, something which you thought about for a long time and something which would really have had a bearing on this matter, was not included in this statement and only comes out in evidence now.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well I guess that I didn't, I should have included more detail, but I also didn't understand that this would be the focus of both of your interest. Because you know the truth is that thinking, I didn't come up with much did I?
MR DU PLESSIS: I beg your pardon?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: When I concentrated on this packet, I didn't come up with much.
MR DU PLESSIS: You didn't come up with much, yes.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: That's what I was trying to tell you. I said I think I would have noticed if it were Joe because I looked at the packet.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, but then ...(intervention)
MS O'LAUGHLIN: But the rest of it, your caring whether it was addressed in hand or whatever, I didn't know you thought that was important. I didn't know that was important.
ADV DE JAGER: Was Mrs Slovo known as Ruth First?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Only as Ruth First, ja.
ADV DE JAGER: So you didn't see any Ruth Slovo name for instance, as far as you could recollect?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, that's this thing personal separation as well. I mean Ruth, it was very important to her, not just as a writer, really as a person, that she kept her name, that Ruth First was hers. And she was never referred to as Slovo in the university or in the Centre, it was always as Ruth First.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright, Mrs O'Laughlin. And then on that second page of Exhibit BBB, in that same paragraph where the four points are, you say in the third sentence:
"I think that Ruth would not have opened mail that was not specifically addressed to her."
And then you give the reasons why you think so. So that is really speculation based on other facts that you knew about her behaviour and what she would have done?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: And the context, yes. I've tried to be honest with you about this. I cannot say you know I saw, I remembered and I wrote it down, and I tried to do so at the time.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright. Now have you had any consultations with Mr Bizos or Mr Berger?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes, I spoke to him yesterday.
MR DU PLESSIS: And before that?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well, Mr Bizos?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, no.
MR DU PLESSIS: And Mr Bizos' attorney?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I don't know so much of your system. I had e-mails from Corinne but I haven't had anything about this statement and I actually hadn't had any consultation with them. I was feeling very much at a loss actually about this whole process.
MR DU PLESSIS: And with Gillian Slovo?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Only those - she gave me a, she sent me an e-mail which was a sort of a rough summary of you know, what her testimony had been and stuff, about a page. I read that.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes. You didn't have personal discussions with, telephonic discussions?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, I didn't phone or anything, no.
MR DU PLESSIS: Right. Because you see what I find very strange, on page 991 of the record, during cross-examination of Mr Williamson. 991, right at the bottom of the page Mr Bizos said the following to Mr Williamson:
"Now if I were to tell you that there will be, if need be, evidence from Mr Pallo Jordan, Mrs Sue Rapkin and Bridget O'Laughlin who were there when it was opened, that is was addressed to Ruth First, would you be able to deny it?"
Why would Mr Bizos have said that it was addressed to Ruth First, do you know?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well I think you must ask Mr Bizos that question.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well I'm asking you if you could resolve it. Mr Bizos is not testifying.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I can't. But then that's pure speculation. I've told you I spoke to him yesterday. The record must have been, when was that from? I haven't seen your record.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, no, that was quite a while ago. I think it was last year.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Right, so there's no way. You'll have to ask Mr Bizos about that.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, you see because that's my problem, Mrs O'Laughlin, and I understand that you can't answer it, but we are faced here with quite a lot of, I wouldn't say different versions but the versions changes it seems like it. In cross-examination it was stated that you inter alia would testify that it was addressed to Ruth First. Then we got this affidavit saying that you glanced at the mail and noted nothing, and then today you come here and you explain to us in elaborate detail the two addresses on the packet, the one in the top left corner, the other one in the middle, you saw it was in handwriting, but you're not sure if it was addressed to Ruth. Now that sounds to me difficult to reconcile. I don't know if you agree with me.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Look, what I have tried to tell about this was, and to be honest, I cannot say more than that about the written form, but I've tried to tell you the rest of the reasons why it is impossible from my perspective that Ruth would ever have opened a package addressed to Joe.
MR DU PLESSIS: Can you give us the reasons again?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: So it's as much ...(intervention)
MR DU PLESSIS: Give us the reasons for that again.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: One, Joe was in Maputo, he would open his own mail. Two, Ruth never opened Joe's mail, and Joe certainly didn't open Ruth's mail. And they would regard it, I mean it's impossible. Three, that Joe wasn't, it would be completely inappropriate from the point of view of Frelimo, the Rector of the University, Aquino, it would be betrayal of that confidence if Ruth had been getting mail for Joe through the university. And finally, this last one which I think is weak, I agree with you, I would have really liked to know and to be able to tell you much better exactly how that thing was addressed.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: That's it. I don't have anything more to ...(intervention)
ADV DE JAGER: Could you kindly explain to me, they were living together.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ja.
ADV DE JAGER: You knew it and the people at the university knew they were living together and they were transferred even to a safer region. So everybody knew, or many people knew at least, that she was living with the Commander of MK. Why would it be so strange if everybody knew it in any event, to receive a letter addressed to him but sent to her university address?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Because it would - you see, it was very important that were a Mozambican institution, that we were not an ANC outlet, or whatever the right term would be. That, it couldn't be.
ADV DE JAGER: But she attended meetings of the ANC you told us, she lived with the Commander of the ANC.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: But - listen you know, I mean it would actually be kind of interesting, I don't suppose there are people here, but sincerely I thought that South African Security also accepted that division and Ruth thought they did. You know, that you could recognise that Joe could be a target and that she wouldn't be, because what she was doing was not military and wasn't linked to MK.
ADV DE JAGER: Sue Rapkin who was an MK soldier visited her at the university, Pallo Jordan visited her there.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well Pallo came for, as I said for this conference of social sciences. Pallo you know has a, he's a well-known academic, I mean he isn't just an ANC person, he's a theoretician etc., so he's an academic stature. Sue was of course a friend, and I'm sure that she probably did visit, but she didn't make a habit of going back and forth to the Centre, no. But certainly they were friends. Joe was deeply fond of Sue.
MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you, Mr Chairman, may I carry on?
CHAIRPERSON: Very well.
MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you.
Now Mrs O'Laughlin, you testified that, and did I understand you correctly, I wrote it down, you said:
"They didn't ..."
... that was Joe and Ruth First.
"They didn't discuss their work with me, they were careful. I was careful not to know."
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No.
MR DU PLESSIS: That's what you testified.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Okay, what I meant was what you were talking about was Joe's MK activity which Ruth knew about.
MR DU PLESSIS: No, no, no, you testified:
"They didn't discuss their work with me"
That was what you testified.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well then that was very poorly done on my part and I would like to correct it, because the whole spirit of my testimony was to tell you that there was a difference between what Joe was doing in Maputo and what Ruth was doing in Maputo. And if I was impreciseing my language, then I was wrong, but I don't think that that's, that what you're saying is fair to the spirit of my testimony which I tried to be very clear about.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well to me it's ...(intervention)
MR BIZOS: No, in fairness to the witness the question was, did you discuss their secrets with them?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, Mr Chairman, I wrote here, my note says the answer was:
"They didn't discuss their work with me"
Their work, not ...(intervention)
MR BIZOS: What was the question?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well I don't know, Mr Bizos, I didn't take it down, I took down the evidence and that is the evidence. Now I don't know if you are saying that that was not the evidence. May I carry on please, Mr Chairman?
Now Mrs O'Laughlin, are you saying that Ruth First didn't do a single little bit of work pertaining to the ANC in her time in Mozambique?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, no, no, wait a minute. I've told you already, she went to ANC Women's League meetings, she went to ANC meetings. I'm not saying she didn't do anything.
MR DU PLESSIS: What else, what else did she do? - concerning the ANC.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: As far as I know that was - generally what she did, I know she felt guilty that she didn't go to more Women's League meetings, that she felt like she should do more and she didn't, she just didn't have time.
Of course I can't, you know I'm not going to claim that I saw every moment of Ruth First's life. I tried to tell you that it was very important when she was in Maputo, that the work that she did in the Centre was for Mozambique, that it was not ANC work, that we were not an ANC think tank, that we were not an ANC Intelligence Unit, that that was not what we were doing. But of course I can't say everything that Ruth did.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well was she supportive of the armed struggle?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: You mean was she engaged in it? As far as I know not. Was she opposed to it, did she think it was wrong, no.
MR DU PLESSIS: Was she supportive, that is my question. Was she supportive?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, that's what I'm trying, no I will say supportive if you and I have the same meaning of support, ja.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Did she agree with it, yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: Did she agree with the Church Street Bomb or not? - it's as easy as that.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. Can I - do you think that Joe agreed with all of it either? There were many mistakes made in particular actions. Did they believe ...(intervention)
MR BIZOS: Mr Chairman ...(intervention)
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Did they believe ...(intervention
MR BIZOS: Mr Chairman, Mr Chairman, I'm sorry to interrupt the witness.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Sorry, yes.
MR BIZOS: This Church Street Bomb was after Ruth First's death.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes, good point.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, that is correct, Mr Chairman, and the question therefore was unfair and I withdraw it.
Now Mrs O'Laughlin, did she agree with the fact that, or with the decision of the ANC to wage an armed struggle, a people's war? Was she supportive of that? That is all I want to know, and I find it strange that you don't want to say yes.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, no, no, I think you're absolutely wrong, I think I have answered it. You might think that I haven't and I don't agree. I answered it, I told you "yes".
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright, thank you. Thank you.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: But secondly, - wait a minute, wait a minute, can I get to say my rest? Which is that in her view of the armed struggle it was very important that she did not conceive of it as being a military struggle of the kind say that there'd been in Mozambique, with Frelimo occupying a part of the country, establishing zones, trying to establish something like a regular army.
And for her it was very important that for South Africa the armed struggle had to subordinate to the political struggle. And there were a lot of discussions about what that meant, between Ruth and Joe about what should be done.
You know she was a critical person, she had a lot of ideas. For her the essential thing for South Africa had to be a political struggle, but she did not oppose, she did not say that there did not have to be a role for armed struggle within that strategy.
MR DU PLESSIS: You didn't know what she was involved in on behalf of the ANC, did you?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well as I said ...(intervention)
MR DU PLESSIS: Because you testified that they didn't discuss their work with you.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: What I tried to tell you is - no, I said - you went back, I've tried to correct that if I've said it. I told you their work was quite different in Maputo, they had two different kinds of work.
MR DU PLESSIS: Would you have regarded Ruth First as a leader of the liberation movements, as a leader of the ANC?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I think she - well, she wasn't in Maputo doing any leadershiperal stuff in the ANC, I think she was a leading figure in the anti-apartheid movement, absolutely.
MR DU PLESSIS: Would you have regarded her as a well-known worldwide figure which was at the forefront of the liberation struggle?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes, I think it's fair to say that she was a, yes, I think she was, and as I said I don't think that being part of the liberation struggle makes you a legitimate target.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, Mrs O'Laughlin, then I come back to the question. You partially agree with me she was a leader, isn't that so?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Of the movement.
MR DU PLESSIS: Of the movement, yes.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Which is not being a structure ...(intervention)
MR DU PLESSIS: No, of the movement.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: ... because the movement had no structure.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, of the movement.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Alright.
MR DU PLESSIS: She was regarded as a leader, she was regarded as a leading personality.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well that's not the same thing as being a leader in the sense of having a structural position within a hierarchy.
MR DU PLESSIS: I'm not asking you it as if it's the same, you've already agreed with me she was leader.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well it does a lot in terms of, in terms of determining legitimacy of targets your organisational role does matter.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well may I ask you this, would you say that her death had any negative influence on the ANC or the liberation movements?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Of course. I think she was a wonderful person, I think the work she did in Mozambique was central. I think that in this whole region all of us would have been better off, you too, if Ruth hadn't been killed, absolutely.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well I'm not going to argue with that, but I disagree with you on that.
Can I refer you to page 70 of the ANC's first submission to the Truth Commission, page 70.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I haven't actually got a copy with me, but you can read it carefully, ja.
MR DU PLESSIS: I'm going to read it, I'm going to read it to you. It's the second submission, I beg your pardon, Mr Chairman. I'm sorry, it's the second submission, page 70. It deals with the Church Street Bomb ...(intervention)
ADV DE JAGER: ...(indistinct)
MR DU PLESSIS: I think so, Mr Chairman.
ADV DE JAGER: ...(indistinct)
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, yes, the 12th of May one.
It says - this is now the Church Street Bomb, it says:
"This operation came in the wake of a cross-border raid into Lesotho in which 42 ANC supporters and Basotho were killed, and the assassination of Ruth First in Maputo. The objective was to carry out a highly visible attack which was impossible to cover up against military personnel in uniform. No direct operations had previously been carried out against military personnel, except for a number of skirmishes between MK cadres and the Security Forces, usually in the remote border areas."
So one of the two reasons for the Church Street Bomb was the assassination of Ruth First in Maputo. Now I put that to you, that according to the ANC's own submission to the Truth Commission, the assassination of Ruth First warranted a reaction of a bomb planted or placed in a civilian street in Pretoria, injuring more than 200 people and killing approximately 20.
Now what I want to put to you is that obviously the ANC regarded Ruth First and the assassination of Ruth, Ruth First firstly, as a leader and an important leader, and secondly the assassination of Ruth First as something they ha to retaliate to. Do you agree with me?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well, number one, I haven't read the whole submission on the Church Street thing and I don't know what the cross-examination was and I don't know what role, I'm not part of the ANC, I don't know who made the decisions and on what basis they made the decisions. So you've read me a selected part of their submission.
I can't provide - no, all I'm saying, I have no context, I'm not part of the ANC leadership, I wasn't then and I'm not now, so I can't do that. It seems to me that Ruth First was a charismatic teacher, an important person, a wonderful person. And if a group of people within the ANC felt that they wanted to retaliate on the basis of that, I don't see that that tells you anything about her being post facto a legitimate target. You can't decide on the basis of a later action that a previous action was legitimate.
MR DU PLESSIS: No, Mrs O'Laughlin, all I'm saying is that she was a high profile target, obviously, otherwise there wouldn't have been such a reaction from the ANC. Are you saying ...(intervention)
MS O'LAUGHLIN: But high profile, well-known, does not make you legitimate.
MR DU PLESSIS: No, no, no, ...(intervention)
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Would it have been legitimate to send a bomb to Tutu? ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: It is ...
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Sorry.
CHAIRPERSON: It is not your function to decide who or not is legitimate targets. I know that you feel strongly about it and I can appreciate and sympathise with you, but that is a matter that we have to decide on the evidence before us. And I don't think you should repeatedly come back to that point.
MR DU PLESSIS: As it pleases you, Mr Chairman, I just want to make one further statement, if you would allow ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: I'm talking to the witness.
MR DU PLESSIS: Oh, I'm sorry, Mr Chairman, I thought it was my turn again.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: It's because he's also doing it, if you see the point. There it is.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mrs O'Laughlin, well let me not belabour this point. All I want to put to you is, or let me just ask you this one question, would you accept Mr Nelson Mandela, President Nelson Mandela as a person who would be able to identify the people who were leaders of the struggle?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: Would you accept that?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: Because at his address at the 50th National Conference of the ANC on 20 December 1997, he listed Ruth First amongst names such as Braam Fischer, Moses Mabida, Joe Slovo, Helen Joseph, Jusaf Dadu, Oliver Thambo, Moses Kotane and a few others, I think about 10. That clearly indicates that he regarded her as one of the leaders of the liberation movement and the struggle.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yep.
MR DU PLESSIS: Do you agree with me?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes, I agree with you.
MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you very much. Now may I just put some of the evidence of Ms Gillian Slovo to you and ask you if you agree with that?
In Ms Slovo's book which she published, she stated on page 17:
"The targeted her ..."
The bottom of page 16:
"They targeted her because of who she was"
And then she says:
"It was the work she was doing. It was dangerous to them."
And that is what she says her father said, Joe Slovo.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes, actually that I think refers to, I can't remember if it was the first or the second anniversary of Ruth's death, and Joe posed this same question: why did they kill her? And his conclusion was that in the then South Africa there was a real fear of an approach to political and social analysis that was marxist, that was realistic, creative, aimed at building something in Mozambique.
And that was that lecture, and I think that was what Gillian was referring to in that talk, so it would be worthwhile for you to get that lecture and see what indeed it's about. It also mentioned how important it was for Mozambique to understand South Africa, and the importance of that work.
So that was the sense, and I think - you know I did read Gillian's book, I don't remember the exact context, but I do remember when Joe said that, it was in a talk in Maputo.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well Gillian was cross-examined about this and she didn't mention the lecture, but that is neither here nor there.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ja, okay. Well anyway that's what I remember.
MR DU PLESSIS: It was also testified that she mobilised anti-apartheid forces. It's also on page 31 in this book. Do you agree with that?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Look Ruth was a long-term anti-apartheid activist in South Africa. I think I'm here to testify on her activity in Mozambique.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, well do you know if she mobilised any anti-apartheid forces in Mozambique?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Well Frelimo at that time had declared itself against apartheid, it - she wasn't doing separate political work.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright.
"She was a devastatingly effective critic of apartheid"
That's what Gillian Slovo testified.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I think she was, ja.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Don't you think that's okay?
MR DU PLESSIS: I think that makes her a target, that's what I think.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: To be a critic of apartheid?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Any critic. I'm sorry, I'm back to your problem, Mr Chairman, but you see that he also provokes.
MR DU PLESSIS: I participate, Mr Chairman, I won't provoke any further.
Can I put to you the evidence? Mrs O'Laughlin, just react to that and that's the end of it. There was testimony that she was a member of a unit in Mozambique and there was some testimony about the meaning of the unit. Do you want to comment on that?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: As I said, I am not and I was not a member of the ANC. She certainly went to ANC meetings in Mozambique, ja.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright. And then there was testimony that she was:
"a brilliant and seasoned revolutionary"
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ja, I think she was a brilliant revolutionary.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright. And that:
"her death was a loss for the ANC"
I think we've covered that already. Do you agree with that?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ja, I do.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes. And then:
"She was well-known and respected throughout the world as an anti-apartheid activist"
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I agree with that too.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright. Thank you, Mr Chairman, I have no further questions. Thank you, Mrs O'Laughlin, it was much easier here at the end.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR DU PLESSIS
CHAIRPERSON: Any questions?
MR JANSEN: Thank you, Mr Chairman, Jansen on behalf of applicants Dirk Coetzee and John Adams. They are not involved in this incident, I have no questions.
NO QUESTIONS BY MR JANSEN
MR CORNELIUS: Cornelius on behalf of McPherson, also not involved, thank you, Mr Chairman.
NO QUESTIONS BY MR CORNELIUS
MS PATEL: Thank you, Honourable Chairperson, I have no questions for the witness.
NO QUESTIONS BY MS PATEL
MR BIZOS: Thank you, Mr Chairman, we do not have any questions.
NO QUESTIONS BY MR BIZOS
CHAIRPERSON: This gentleman you have referred to as Aquino, sorry you gave us his full name later.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Yes.
CHAIRPERSON: Did he have any other names, was he an ANC leader?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: No, he was a Mozambican of originally Gowan(?) origin, and he had been quite active in the struggle against Portuguese colonialism, and he was invited to set up the Centre of African Studies in Maputo. He died with Samora at Mbuzini. He survived this bomb, but he died in that crash.
CHAIRPERSON: I asked the question because I have had evidence of an ANC leader known as Aquino.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Ja, actually I've met him too. It was kind of charming that he took that name, wasn't it, ja, but a very different person.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
ADV DE JAGER: Aquino, did he visit you there in Mozambique?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Aquino?
ADV DE JAGER: Ja, the one, the ANC member?
MS O'LAUGHLIN: I remember him being on the beach, but long - you know, I don't remember much, but I definitely met him, yes in Mozambique. Sorry.
MR SIBANYONI: Thank you, Chairperson, I've got no questions.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: From what you've told us earlier, I don't know if you intend to have a protracted stay here or whether you want to leave us, but whatever you want to do, I'm quite sure you don't want to come and sit here tomorrow. Does anybody have any objection to this witness being released? Very well, you released from further attendance, and thank you for having ...(intervention)
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Thank you very much, Mr Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: And I think we should all thank someone who has taken the trouble to come here at their own expense to contribute towards the findings. And on behalf I think of all the legal advisors here and the other person, we thank you for your effort.
MS O'LAUGHLIN: Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: We've had a fairly long day, and one of the Members of my Committee has been suffering in silence here for the whole of the day. I think we'll take the adjournment now. What time would suit you gentlemen tomorrow morning? I don't want to be thought to be unduly optimistic, but as this matter has been set down for two weeks, it seems we are not unduly pressed for time, half past nine or earlier or later? Half past nine? Or are you coming from afar?
MR BIZOS: We can be here at half past nine, but 10'clock I think would give us some opportunity ...
CHAIRPERSON: 10 o'clock would suit you better. Very well, 10 o'clock.
MR BIZOS: Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: We will now adjourn till 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.