NAME: DEREK GROOTBOOM
APPLICATION NO: AM5868/97
MATTER: ACTS OF SABOTAGE AND VARIOUS
--------------------------------------------------------------------------CHAIRPERSON: Good morning. We want to start the proceedings, for the record it is Wednesday the 20th of October 1999. It is a hearing, a continuation of the sitting of the Amnesty Committee in Cape Town. The Panel is constituted as has been indicated on the record earlier. The application before us this morning is that of Derek Grootboom, reference number AM5868/97. Mr Williams, do you want to put yourself on record, for the applicant?
MR WILLIAMS: Thank you Mr Chairman, members of the committee. My name is Peter Williams, I am appearing on behalf of the applicant, thank you Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Williams. Ms Patel?
MS PATEL: Thank you honourable Chairperson, Ramula Patel, Leader of Evidence. I am also appearing on behalf of the victim Heinrich Martin Tarentaal and wish to place on record at this stage, that my client does not oppose the application. Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Ms Patel. Yes, Mr Williams, is there anything else that you wish to put on record or do you want to present the evidence of your client?
MR WILLIAMS: I would like to present the evidence at this stage.
CHAIRPERSON: Very well. Won't you just switch on his microphone? Yes. Mr Grootboom, would you please stand and give your full names for the record.
MR GROOTBOOM: My name is Derek Grootboom.
DEREK GROOTBOOM: (sworn states)
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, please be seated. Mr Williams?
EXAMINATION BY MR WILLIAMS: Thank you Mr Chairman. Mr Grootboom if you look at pages 1 to 7 of the bundle of documents that we have in our possession, is it correct that your formal application is contained on those pages?
MR GROOTBOOM: That is correct.
MR WILLIAMS: Were you legally assisted when you drafted this application?
MR GROOTBOOM: No, I drafted it myself.
MR WILLIAMS: Okay. Then is it correct that you also drafted a supplementary statement which is dated the 18th of October 1999 in Cape Town, and that we have handed that to the Committee this morning?
MR GROOTBOOM: That is correct.
MR WILLIAMS: Would you mind going through that statement and reading it into the record?
MR GROOTBOOM: I, Derek Grootboom ...
CHAIRPERSON: Sorry Mr Grootboom, just a moment, that we will call Exhibit A.
MR GROOTBOOM: Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: You can go ahead.
MR GROOTBOOM: I, Derek Grootboom, applicant before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Amnesty Committee, reference number 5868/97 hereby wish to state as follows:
I was born on the 24th of August 1966 in the rural Eastern Cape town of Klipplaat as the eldest of five children from the union between the late Wilbur Grootboom and Sarah Williams. My father was Fengu and my mother a coloured. I grew up with my family in the coloured part of town, Kaap Lokasie, whereas my grandparents on my father's side, resided in the African part, named Green Point. My family moved from Klipplaat in the late 1970's.
CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, I am going to interrupt you again, I just want to check with the interpreters whether it is necessary to interpret, because if it is not necessary then you can keep up with that speed, but if it is necessary to interpret, then you might have to slow down a bit. Not? Very well, no then it is fine, then you can continue and perhaps you can just bring the microphone closer to yourself, then we can hear you more properly. Thank you, please go ahead.
"My family moved from Klipplaat during the late 1970's and settled because of my father's illness in the then newly developed town of Dysselsdorp, 20 kilometres from Oudtshoorn in the Southern Cape. I spent most of my teenage years in this town, besides attending part of my primary schooling in Port Elizabeth, staying with my aunt on father's side in the suburb of Galvandale. During 1985, while I was residing with my family in Dysselsdorp and attending high school in Oudtshoorn, I was arrested, convicted and sentenced to seven years imprisonment. My family moved after my release from Dysselsdorp to Oudtshoorn where we reside today.
My appearance before this Committee relates to my application for crimes committed against apartheid State. These are;
(1) my conviction with one co-accused, Derek Basson, during February 1986 on a count of sabotage in the Knysna Regional Court,
(2) my conviction with 48 others Dysselsdorp ANC Youth League members during June 1991, on a count of illegally occupying and other charges relating hereto, the Dysselsdorp police station. We all received suspended sentences. I motivated to appear before this Committee as the relevant TRC structure with my application for the following reasons:
(1) because I recognise the TRC as the only legitimate body created through a democratic process for the purpose of revealing the truth in our endeavours to reconcile our nation and healing our damaged lives,
(2) to motivate the political nature of the acts which I have committed and for which I wish to be pardoned in so far as my request is for it to be deleted from the official State record as crimes committed.
I will motivate the political nature of the listed acts hereunder by giving you an exposition of my political awareness and political activism, the first which precede the letter. My political awareness as a young person came about through my family history as Africans who in search of employment changed their identity to become coloureds, ridiculed and the actions of white South Africans to me and my family and the black community as a whole as lesser beings. For the record I wish to state from a young age my mother, uncles and aunts would make sure that we know that we were from proud Fengu descent who is sitting in the royal house of Dalingebu, that my family used to be a very affluent one with two farms in the Junctionville area and as a transport company, my grandfather used to transport goods with between the mining fields near Kimberley, that from my grandfather onwards, Afrikaans was enforced on my family's part of our earlier nation from who we are, by apartheid and its exponents, the Afrikaner. My father although he complained about treachery in black politics because of his own previous involvement, always inspired me with the dignity he carried himself with. He lost his temper only once in my presence when an Afrikaner acted in a racist way towards us.
In brief, the above was my political awareness when I started high school in Oudtshoorn during 1983, when my actual political activism started. My mother prompted me to become active in youth activities in Dysselsdorp, specifically at the Dysselsdorp library which was also the meeting place of the Youth Organisation, BABS, Build A Better Society. I got involved in its activities, but because of its close links then to the local town council establishment, my attention was diverted to more politically orientated activities of the youth in Oudtshoorn, where I attended high school.
It was my attendance of Brichan Senior Secondary High in Oudtshoorn which gave the final spark to my political activism. It was at this school that myself and fellow high school students from Dysselsdorp decided to launch our own political youth group in our home town. Because informants were abundant in the government and the agents were constantly on the lookout for political groupings, our advice from comrades in Oudtshoorn was that we should not reflect any political affiliation in our youth organisation's constitution, but that such constitution states that we as the youth would look critically at our society.
Dysselsdorp Youth Organisation, DYO, on its founding day in the local civic hall proved to be the largest and the most popular youth organisation, starting out with approximately 100 members. I was elected its first Chairperson. It was difficult politically because Dysselsdorp then was firmly in the grip of the establishment regime and its Forces. Parents and the elderly was opposed to political involvement out of fear because of the brutal oppression of their revolt during the mid-1970's when the entire community was moved from the land under the Group Areas Act. Many with their children openly became informants of the apartheid State and government. Myself and my colleagues did not have much political education, but for our experience of racial discrimination, references to the community's forced removal, following the public campaigns of the United Democratic Front, literature on the American civil rights campaigns in identification of community issues, such as the eviction of families from their houses, by the town council. The then South African Police and Defence Force made their presence felt to our members, including myself being picked up, assaulted and some turned into informants. The SADF went so far as to instigate members of the organisation to bring a proposal to the table that we attend the SADF so-called Leadership Camp with BABS and a Labour Party affiliated youth group, a proposal which threatened to split our organisation. DYO attended this camp with two other youth groups, it was however clear to us from the beginning that the purpose of the camp was to interrogate our members on our political affiliation and to brainwash them with video's of cruelty depicting the ANC, SWAPO and Frelimo as evil terrorists. This camp however did DYO good in that a stronger nucleus was formed who identified more closely with the struggle for liberation. Those who instigated the camp soon split with the organisation to find their own which died soon thereafter.
The launch of the UDF and subsequent attendance of its meetings in Cape Town or in Oudtshoorn by myself and other members of the organisation, propelled us into the option of violent attacks in Dysselsdorp on government buildings and or associated entities. Similar attacks in Oudtshoorn lent support to our campaign. Our first target which was identified by myself was the Rent Office which administered the evictions of poor and helpless families. We attacked this office on the 30th of October 1985 with a petrol bomb. This attack resulted in our conviction on a count of sabotage in the Knysna Regional Court, on 05 February 1986.
My father died soon after my conviction, having suffered a stroke. He tried to visit me while I was awaiting trial, but the police and prison warders deliberately would give false and or wrong information to him and my mother, which made it impossible for him to ever see me again. My mother who was the sole breadwinner of the family of five with an income of R190-00 per month, suffered starvation for the sake of myself and my siblings as well as physical harassment by the police throughout my prison term. During one such incident, the police set the dogs on my mother while she was unsuspectingly carrying her groceries to a taxi. News like this would usually reach me in prison. Besides Robben Island Maximum Prison where I joined the ANC, at all the other prisons I was held in the Western Cape, warders tried their utmost best to turn us into gangsters and or to have gangsters to sodomise us. Approximately four of the five years I have been in jail, was with common law or criminal prisoners. It was difficult but still we survived against the police and warders' wishes. Others did not. My prison experienced convinced me much more than before, that apartheid must be destroyed and that ultimately the struggle for liberation will be victorious.
The first sign of victory dawned upon me with my release from prison on 11 April 1991 after having served five and a half years of the seven years. The struggle however continued and as a dedicated member of the ANC I heeded the call to return to Dysselsdorp to build the ANC and to mobilise the people behind the popular demand for the establishment of a constituent assembly. In Dysselsdorp we focused again our attention on the youth who was inspired by our return. One of the issues around which we mobilised was the accessibility of the local civic centre to the youth and the abuse of power by the local police as well as their political affiliation to the local apartheid structures.
The ANC Youth League, Dysselsdorp Branch, previously DYO, who was then involved in a dispute with the local town and divisional council on the usage of the civic hall for a fundraising event, found itself at loggerheads with the local police who interfered in what we believed was a political issue. A decision was then taken by the Youth League to occupy the police station and to submit a memorandum to the relevant councils and the police about our grievances and demands. As a group we entered the police station late in the afternoon and took control of it for approximately six hours.
After submitting our memorandum, we decided to leave the station peacefully. We were then arrested and assaulted by the police, we were later charged and convicted in the George Regional Court. Two police officers were injured during our action, namely Sgt Murray and Cons Tarentaal. Tarentaal was notorious in the local community for assaulting members of the community as was most of his colleagues who operated with impunity. Many of these police persons are still in the service today in Dysselsdorp and Oudtshoorn. Not much changed for them.
In concluding, I wish to state the following
(1) apartheid and its exponents viciously and deliberately without any feeling or regard, transformed my family from a proud, independent and prosperous family, into a poor, humiliated and desperate existence,
(2) my involvement in the struggle for liberation although taken very personal, was never for any personal gain,
(3) I am not sorry and do not regret anything I have done in my small contribution to the struggle for liberation, but because I have compassion for humanity, I do regret any pain and or suffering I may have caused the two police officers and or their families who sustained injuries during the relevant incidents. I say this with a deep sense of conviction despite being aware of the fact that those who terrorised my family and assaulted me, many of them still in the police and prison services, never extended a hand to me. I forgive them because I believe in forgiveness rather than hate and in reconciliation which must transform our country into one nation at peace with itself and positive about its future. It was signed by me on the 18th of October 1999 in Cape Town."
MR WILLIAMS: Thank you. Mr Grootboom, is it correct that you drafted and typed this statement without assistance?
MR GROOTBOOM: That is correct.
MR WILLIAMS: Now before I deal in more detail with the incidents, I first want to put on record that certain facts, is it correct that you are applying for amnesty for an act of sabotage committed in October 1985 as well as for the offences listed on page 15 of the bundle of documents as well as for any other offences which may be inferred from the facts which you present to this Committee today?
MR GROOTBOOM: That is correct.
MR WILLIAMS: Now, I am going to take you through the incidents and I want you to give us a more detailed background and exposition of the incidents itself. Let's go to the first incident, the one of sabotage that was committed in 1985. Can you briefly tell the Committee what the motivation was behind that attack and also the actual events of that day?
MR GROOTBOOM: The general political call to us at that time was to make the country ungovernable. In Dysselsdorp the youth were involved in running battles with the police. The police without provocation would stop us from going to the shops or being in the street, hitting us with shamboks and batons, they terrorised us. There was furthermore to us no division between the police and the Town Council, members of our Youth Organisation who was evicted with their families from their houses, the Town Council used the police to enforce this. Many of our members would leave for school from the street and returned from the school to the street, opposite their empty houses. In DYO our organisation at the time, we in line with the general political climate took the decision to attack government and State institutions in our contribution to help to make the country ungovernable. To us apartheid could not be transformed and it had to be destroyed. This was also the political understanding in the UDF which we followed as our leading organisation then.
MR WILLIAMS: Is it correct that this act of sabotage was aimed at the Rent Office or the Civic Centre and can you explain to the Committee why this particular target was chosen?
MR GROOTBOOM: This particular target was chosen because the Civic Centre and the Rent Office used to be to us visibly the structure of apartheid who oppressed us, who did not have any regard or empathy for our people. I remember myself personally, how some of our members, how we would sit and talk how to get people back into their houses, because they didn't have employment, they didn't have an income, there wasn't jobs and for us it was important to attack the Rent Office because it represented itself to us as the structure of apartheid who then enforced apartheid in our community.
MR WILLIAMS: Can you deal with the actual incident itself?
MR GROOTBOOM: Now, we used to make contact as this group of leaders in DYO, at a certain shop in Dysselsdorp known as Aunt Kate's Shop and from there we would then decide, after making contact where we would have a meeting. On the 30th of October, we decided to have that meeting at Dysselsdorp Junior Secondary School's ground and we proceeded to these grounds and we had this meeting in a toilet, a dark toilet in the school yard, and we identified then there the Rent Office as the place to be attacked. We left the meeting with the petrolbombs already made by ourselves and we proceeded to the Rent Office. At the Rent Office we, I threw the petrolbomb through the window of the Rent Office which is located within the Civic Centre. The police were already there, it seemed then to us, it appeared because after throwing the bomb, police lights at the back of the Civic Centre just went on, so we deducted from that that there must have been an informant amongst us. We ran away and was then after that, arrested.
MR WILLIAMS: Was anyone injured or did anyone die as a result of this attack?
MR GROOTBOOM: No, nobody died or was injured, because it was at night and there was no one in the Civic Centre or in the Rent Office.
MR WILLIAMS: Was any damage caused to the institution?
MR GROOTBOOM: Minimal damage was caused because the police were on standby, so the fire was immediately quelled so there was not a lot of damage.
MR WILLIAMS: How many petrolbombs were actually thrown at this place?
MR GROOTBOOM: Only one petrolbomb.
MR WILLIAMS: Did you have more petrolbombs in your possession at the place or at the time?
MR GROOTBOOM: We had two petrolbombs and we ran away with the other one.
MR WILLIAMS: Now, were you a member of a political organisation at the state, at the time of this incident?
MR GROOTBOOM: I was the Chairperson of Dysselsdorp Youth Organisation and our political affiliation amongst us as members, was to the UDF.
MR WILLIAMS: And is it correct that the people that were also involved in this incident with yourself, also belonged to this organisation?
MR GROOTBOOM: That is correct.
MR WILLIAMS: You were sentenced to a prison term of seven years and you completed five and a half of that sentence, is that correct?
MR GROOTBOOM: That is correct.
MR WILLIAMS: Now, did you receive any financial benefit as a result of this particular incident?
MR GROOTBOOM: No, I received no financial benefit.
MR WILLIAMS: Was this incident, did this incident take place as a result of malice, any malice or ill-will or spite on your side?
MR GROOTBOOM: No, this action took place because of the politics of the time, the political situation and our objective to destroy apartheid and its structures.
MR WILLIAMS: Is it correct that the ANC at that stage also identified Rent Offices as legitimate targets for attack?
MR GROOTBOOM: Yes, that is correct.
MR WILLIAMS: In their effort to make the country ungovernable?
MR GROOTBOOM: That is correct.
MR WILLIAMS: I don't know if there is any addition with regard to this incident which you wish to place on record at this stage, before we deal with the other incident?
MR GROOTBOOM: No.
MR WILLIAMS: The second incident in respect of which you are applying for amnesty relates to an incident where you occupied a police station and the resultant actions thereof. Would you mind telling the Committee the motivation behind this incident as well as the actual incident that occurred on that day?
MR GROOTBOOM: After my release from prison, we met, myself and Derek Basson who was my co-accused and who served with me the seven years, comrade Chris Hani at Cowley House in Woodstock and what he asked us to do was to return to our towns and to mobilise the people there because we still didn't have a vote. One of the demands or one of the campaigns around which we had to mobilise the people was constituent assembly. Now, when we returned to Dysselsdorp, we were taken up in the ANC Youth League again and I became the Chairperson and Derek Basson the vice-Chairperson. To mobilise the people around the constituent assembly which would have been responsible for getting us to the democratic system of one person, one vote, was to use local issues and these local issues was for instance that we still had the local Town Council which was in government in our town and our attention was directed to the local Town Council, our attention was directed to the police brutality and also the interference of the police in our campaigns to mobilise people around the constituent assembly idea. In our mobilisation of people around these local issues, because of the police interference time and again, Dysselsdorp's ANC Youth League Branch decided occupy the police station and to hand a memorandum to the police, as well as to the Town Council and the Divisional Council about our grievances and demands. We had a meeting on the day that we occupied the police station as the ANC Youth League, where we decided upon this and from where we proceeded from that meeting, to the police station where we occupied it, until the Divisional Council, Town Council's representative did then appear to receive the memorandum as well as the police.
MR WILLIAMS: Firstly, can we just deal with the date. Is it correct that this incident occurred on the 21st and 22nd of June 1991?
MR GROOTBOOM: That is correct.
MR WILLIAMS: Okay, you can continue.
MR GROOTBOOM: When we arrived at Dysselsdorp police station, there was only one police person there, Cons Esau. We entered, the leadership, the Executive of the ANC Youth League entered the charge office while the rest of the 48 others of that group, waited inside the police yard. They later also, we sent Mark out to call them and they entered the police station and then we started to occupy the police station. Inside, later Sgt Murray and Tarentaal appeared. Sgt Murray ran away as well as Esau and we did then keep Tarentaal inside the police station with us.
MR WILLIAMS: Is it correct that Sgt Murray was injured by members of the group?
MR GROOTBOOM: Yes, when they came in, members of the Youth League was still entering the police station, so a scuffle broke out and he was injured.
MR WILLIAMS: Okay, continue.
MR GROOTBOOM: While we were waiting on the police, a Colonel or high ranking officer as well as the Town Council persons, one Swart, the Youth League started to interrogate Cons Tarentaal because he was one of the police persons at the time, who was notorious in our community for assaults on members of the community and we also regarded him as part and parcel of the apartheid regime and that he was to us, one of those persons who worked for them actively in trying to oppose us to get to the point where South Africa can be a democratic country.
MR WILLIAMS: Now, is it correct that he was also not allowed to leave there, by the group?
MR GROOTBOOM: Yes, that is true.
MR WILLIAMS: Okay. You can continue.
MR GROOTBOOM: However, I think I must put it on record that our occupation of the police station was never to harm or injure anyone in the station, it was plainly to go in and to make it clear to the police that we do not like them to interfere in what we thought then was plainly political issues. And also that we did have problems with them being brutal to members of our community.
MR WILLIAMS: Was a list of grievances handed over to Mr Swart?
MR GROOTBOOM: Yes, a list of grievances was handed over to Swart and one Colonel from the police and after handing over our list of grievances, we decided to leave the police station peacefully. We were then arrested and assaulted by the police and later then convicted in the George Regional Court.
MR WILLIAMS: I see in the bundle of documents that one of the statements also says that one of the group members asked one of the policemen to hand his gun to him. Do you have any knowledge of this incident?
MR GROOTBOOM: Yes, that is true. I must also state that when we decided to occupy the police station, we were aware that one of the members in the Youth League was a police informant and he was then also with us in the police station at that time, so - Farrel January - so we actually asked him to take the gun from Cons Tarentaal, to make it safe and to hand the gun then to Derek Basson who had to keep it in his possession for safety purposes.
MR WILLIAMS: What was the purpose of taking the gun from him?
MR GROOTBOOM: Because we didn't want any violence or that he, Tarentaal, used the gun to injure anyone.
MR WILLIAMS: Okay. Is it correct that you were charged as a result of this incident?
MR GROOTBOOM: Yes. I was charged with the group as a result of this incident.
MR WILLIAMS: And that you were given a suspended sentence?
MR GROOTBOOM: Yes, that is correct.
MR WILLIAMS: You have also stated that you were a member of a political organisation at the time of the incident?
MR GROOTBOOM: Yes, I was a member of the Dysselsdorp ANC Youth League Branch.
MR WILLIAMS: Did you benefit financially from this incident?
MR GROOTBOOM: No, I did not.
MR WILLIAMS: Did you do it because of malice or for reasons of ill-will or spite?
MR GROOTBOOM: No, it was plainly for political reasons.
MR WILLIAMS: Is there anything else that you think is important, that you wish to bring to the attention of the Committee members?
MR GROOTBOOM: No. Not at this stage, no.
MR WILLIAMS: Okay. Mr Chairman, that is then the testimony of the applicant.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR WILLIAMS
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Williams. Ms Patel, any questions?
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS PATEL: Thank you honourable Chairperson. Just for the sake of completeness, Mr Grootboom, Mr Tarentaal stated in his statement that was made just after the incident that after you and Mark Cronje, or after he told you and Mark Cronje that you are not allowed at that specific part of the police station, that he says you and Mark had then pushed him around a little bit, can you recall this, would you like to comment on that?
MR GROOTBOOM: I cannot remember specifically that I pushed him around, but that might have happened.
MS PATEL: Okay fine, he also states further that later in the evening he was told that he should sit down and that he was also told that unless he does as he is told, he will be assaulted, can you comment on that?
MR GROOTBOOM: Please repeat that.
MS PATEL: Later in the evening after he was taken hostage, he states that he was told by some of the people there that unless he sat down, he would also, and behaved as he was told, that he would also be assaulted if he didn't do as he was told. Can you recall this?
MR GROOTBOOM: No. No, I cannot recall this. It is not possible because for us, safety was very important, that is why we, and not to assault him or anyone in the police station, but yes, I can definitely not recall that.
MS PATEL: Okay. Thank you honourable Chairperson, I have no further questions.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MS PATEL
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Ms Patel. Has the Panel got any questions?
ADV BOSMAN: I have no questions, thank you Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Any re-examination Mr Williams?
MR WILLIAMS: No re-examination Mr Chairman.
NO RE-EXAMINATION BY MR WILLIAMS
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
MR WILLIAMS: That is the case for the applicant.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, Mr Grootboom thank you. You are excused from giving further evidence.
CHAIRPERSON: Ms Patel, is there any other evidence which you wish to tender?
MS PATEL: Thank you honourable Chairperson, not on the merits of the case, however Mr Tarentaal would like to place something on record. He is Afrikaans speaking.
MS PATEL: (Microphone not on)
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, you will have to. I will administer the oath to him in any event. We will see what his statement entails.
MS PATEL: Okay.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Tarentaal, just switch on your microphone. Would you stand please. Give your full names for the record.
MR TARENTAAL: Heinrich Martin Tarentaal.
HEINRICH MARTIN TARENTAAL: (sworn states)
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, please be seated. All right, you want to deal with it?
EXAMINATION BY MS PATEL: Thank you honourable Chairperson. Mr Tarentaal, you may proceed with what you have to say.
MR TARENTAAL: Chairperson and members, thank you for this opportunity where we can talk and get rid of some issues of the past and can build and try and shape a new vision for a new society. I would like to make use of this opportunity to just sketch what the consequences of this incident on me personally were and to mention this to the Amnesty Committee. The applicant in this matter, I share his sentiments and I have some sympathy with it and he succeeded in what he tried to achieve. The incident at the police station in which I was directly involved, effected me as follows - at the time that I was left alone in the police station without any of my colleagues being with me and with only the members occupying the police station present, I was afraid. I felt threatened, I had been threatened by members of the crowd and I was more afraid at the stage where I was asked to hand over my firearm. I did it because I was afraid of attacks and further trouble. I was also requested to hand over the keys for the safe, the firearm safe, but I avoided handing over the keys, I said I did not possess the key. At that stage my fear was exacerbated because I was actually in possession of the keys, but I subtly hid the keys on my person, I hid them in my boots. I was very emotional during this period, it took about five hours. It lasted for five hours, but it felt like eternity at that stage. After this incident, I was very depressed and I had no powers of concentration for some time. I experienced some psychological emotions, but I did not receive any psychological treatment and I was never assisted by my employer, the South African Police, in this regard at all. As a result of my poor powers of concentration, I couldn't perform my police tasks fully and I was regarded as a problem for the Police Service and specifically for the Oudtshoorn Commissioner's office, Col Maree of that office. He regarded me as a problem and transferred me to Bellville South. My representations against my transfer were ignored, even Col Barkhuizen victimised me and he mentioned to me that I had been with this group who had occupied the police station and that was the reason why I came off virtually scott-free and did not suffer any physical assault at the hands of the attackers. My relationship with the community also caused further questions to be raised by my employers, because they were all white people, my superiors. Because the area in which I worked, in Bellville, was larger than in Oudtshoorn and there was a lot more criminal activity, I often had to deal with gang related activities and I applied to be retransferred back to Dysselsdorp. Once again this was refused. The police forced me to ask for a discharge or to take discharge from the Police Force and I had to do that in November of 1993. At times I still experience these emotions, especially when I drive passed the police station or when I have any contact with the police station. I am trying to involve myself in community police activities to try and come to terms with these memories and emotions, because I never received any psychological assistance and I was never placed on any psychological programme, I tried to motivate myself, to try and persuade myself to rehabilitee myself. This I did by becoming more involved in the community of Dysselsdorp and the first step I took in that direction, was when myself and the applicant, Mr Grootboom served on the same committee, the Management Committee of the Dysselsdorp Community Action Group. Currently I am the Chairperson of the Taxi Association and of the Women's Project Committee of Dysselsdorp, I am also a Sunday School teacher, I am the Deputy Chairperson of the Land Claims Committee of the Dysselsdorp area and by moving in this direction, and taking all these steps, I have rehabilitated myself and I believe that after today we will be able to close the book on the past, to erase it. Vague recollections will obviously still be carried in our hearts, but I believe that ultimately these memories will be erased completely. Because I believe in forgive and forget, and to carry on and to do something new, a new future, then I believe if you have made a mistake in the past, you have to acknowledge it and ask for forgiveness and then start afresh and not constantly hark back to the past and to be confronted by mistakes in the past, and it is as a result of this, and this attitude of mine, that I never even considered to oppose the applicant's application. Thank you Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Tarentaal.
MS PATEL: Thank you honourable Chairperson, that is all.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MS PATEL
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Ms Patel. Mr Williams, do you have any questions?
MR WILLIAMS: I have no questions.
NO CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR WILLIAMS
CHAIRPERSON: Does the Panel have anything? Thank you very much. Thank you Mr Tarentaal. You are excused.
CHAIRPERSON: Does that conclude the further testimony?
MS PATEL: It indeed does, thank you honourable Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Mr Williams, do you have any submissions on the merits of your client's application?
MR WILLIAMS IN ARGUMENT: As it pleases the Committee. Mr Chairman, I will submit that in essence what is required of the applicant is that he should make a full disclosure of the incidents in respect of which he is applying for amnesty and that it should be politically motivated. Your Worship, I think it is common cause that full disclosure had been made. One of the victims in one of the incidents, are here today and he does not dispute the, he does not dispute the facts as portrayed by the applicant. With regard to the other incident, the sabotage incident, there is nothing to controvert the evidence of the applicant in that regard. It is also clear from the applicant himself that the incident was not driven for financial reward or because of spite, ill-will or malice. It is also clear from the applicant's testimony that they pursued a political agenda. Mr Chairman, I want to submit that the fact that the targets here, the chosen target was a Rent Office or the Civic Centre in the one instance, and in the other instance, it was a police station involving police officers and also the Regional Services Council, that does not detract from the fact that his actions were politically driven. It is on record that the ANC during the time, or before these acts were committed, made a call for its members and supporters to make the country ungovernable and they specifically included institutions like the Rent Office, the Civic Centre as legitimate targets for attacks, and I think that is also contained in their submission or the further submission to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In as much as the applicant and the members of his political organisation heeded the calls to make the country ungovernable through these measures, the same is a political objective. The call for better facilities or access to certain facilities cannot be separated from the general apartheid institution, because the resultant effects of apartheid was that it (indistinct) certain facilities to the vast majority of the population and that is then also why the applicant and his fellow members, decided to mobilise around bread and butter issues in order to generate support for themselves in the community. In conclusion I wish to state that the applicant participated in these incidents in a bona fide manner, pursuing political objectives and as a result thereof, amnesty should be granted to him. Thank you Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Williams. Ms Patel, have you got any submissions?
MS PATEL: Thank you honourable Chairperson. No, except to state that we support the submissions made by my learned colleague, thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Ms Patel. I assume you wouldn't have anything further to add, Mr Williams?
MR WILLIAMS: That is correct Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Yes. This concludes the evidence and the formal proceedings in this application. The Panel will formulate a decision and will communicate that to the parties as soon as it is available. We will under those circumstances then reserve the decision in the matter and conclude by saying that it is encouraging to note the attitudes of both the applicant and Mr Tarentaal and we express the wish that your participation in these proceedings today, would serve to further strengthen this attitude and possibly assist in enhancing the similar attitude on the part of those people with whom you are in close contact in your circumstances in Dysselsdorp. We thank you for participating and Mr Williams as well, thank you for your assistance.
MR WILLIAMS: Thank you Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: Ms Patel, I was told that the other matters that we have, the other matter that we had on the roll for, initially for tomorrow which we had hoped that we would be able to bring forward to today, has presented some difficulties and it looks as if we are in a position where we will have to deal with that tomorrow morning?
MS PATEL: That is indeed so honourable Chairperson. I have endeavoured to try to bring that matter forward to this afternoon, but without any success.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Thank you very much for your efforts in that regard in any event, but we understand that it is not always possible to rearrange these things at very short notice. That would then conclude the matters that are on the roll for today?
MS PATEL: That is correct honourable Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Well, under those circumstances we will have to adjourn the proceedings. We will deal with the remaining matter on our roll tomorrow morning when we will reconvene here at nine o'clock. We are adjourned.