TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
DATE: JULY 1996
HELD AT: PRETORIA
NAME: JEAN PIERRE DU PLESSIS
ADV RHOODE CALLS:
JEAN DU PLESSIS: (Duly sworn, states).
EXAMINATION BY ADV RHOODE: Mr Du Plessis, you are the applicant in this matter, you have made a formal application in terms of the Act on National Unity and Reconciliation?
MR DU PLESSIS: That is correct.
ADV RHOODE: The form has been given to you by an attorney from Pretoria, you have read it and you have signed it.
MR DU PLESSIS: That is correct.
ADV RHOODE: It was properly sworn to. Are you happy that the content is correct?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, Mr Chairperson. There is just one point which isn't entirely correct. That is where it is stated that I belonged only to the National Socialist Partisans.
ADV RHOODE: We can deal with that, that is point 7(a).
MR DU PLESSIS: That is correct, yes.
ADV RHOODE: Yes, well, I will lead you on that later. Do you then confirm that the application is correct and you would like it to form part of the proceedings?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, I do.
ADV RHOODE: Thank you. Mr Du Plessis, I would like you to begin with yourself. Tell this Committee who you are, your background, and what led you to do what you did. Begin with your parents and your younger days.
MR DU PLESSIS: Right. I shall begin with my early youth, I think perhaps I should begin with the divorce of my mother and my father when I was six. That is just before I went to school. At that time I went to live with my father. My father had supervision over me and my mother left home. I can remember that from that time how my father began to discuss political issues with me.
ADV RHOODE: Just before you continue, could you just identify your father?
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Armand du Plessis.
ADV RHOODE: Continue.
MR DU PLESSIS: I stayed with my father for about two or possibly three years. Then I went to live with my grandmother. At the time I would spend one weekend with my father and the next with my mother. At that time my mother became involved with another man. And that was a fairly liberal home that my mother had. On the other hand in my father's home, we argued about politics regularly and when I went to my mother I always had to echo my viewpoints. When I went to my father I didn't necessarily try to convey my mother's viewpoints, but during my arguments, there were points that I couldn't - I put these arguments to my father and then he would offer a solution or an explanation, and he would solve that problem. In this way this is how my political thinking grew.
ADV RHOODE: Before you continue, tell us a little about your parents' background, the home languages, their education and so on.
MR DU PLESSIS: The mother was English-speaking. She came as a small child from England. She went to Kenya and in her early twenties she had to flee from Tanganyika as Tanzania then was, and she came to South Africa. My father was Afrikaans-speaking and he came from a very conservative home and a very politically-oriented home.
ADV RHOODE: The mother, is it ...
MR DU PLESSIS: That is my father's mother.
ADV RHOODE: What was her name?
MR DU PLESSIS: Voga du Plessis.
ADV RHOODE: Is this the woman with the red and blue jersey?
MR DU PLESSIS: That is right.
ADV RHOODE: Please continue.
MR DU PLESSIS: At that time, as I said, we began to debate on political issues. At a stage I became alienated from my friends, because I couldn't communicate with them on a youthful level. And then in about '83, my father moved to Durban and then I went to stay with my mother for about six months. My mother committed suicide and for a few months I then went to live with my grandmother and then I moved to join my father in Durban.
ADV RHOODE: Did you move voluntarily?
MR DU PLESSIS: No, I didn't want to go to Durban. I had begun to make friends and I wanted to stay with my friends here in Pretoria, but my father forced me to move to Durban.
ADV RHOODE: The kind of education and upbringing you got from your grandmother, could you talk about that, please.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, Mr Chairperson. Also from my grandmother I was given a great deal of information about our history. My grandmother also told me a great deal about what had happened in the then Rhodesia, with pamphlets, with photographs, photographs of people who had been murdered by the terrorists in Rhodesia. These things of course had a great effect on me. I also often discussed the situation in our country with her, the war in South West Africa and Angola. And increasingly began to feel emotional about our country and our country's security.
ADV RHOODE: Is it true that your grandmother also had to leave Kenya after the country was taken over by the democratic government there?
MR DU PLESSIS: That is so. She also grew up in Kenya and I think it was with her sister, she had to leave the country at the take-over then.
ADV RHOODE: And they had been well-off people there with large tracts of land?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, I think apparently there is even a town named after her maiden name.
ADV RHOODE: These stories of fleeing from Kenya and other African states, did this have an effect on you?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, in fact, I was firmly convinced that the same things which had happened in Angola and in the Congo, in Mozambique, in Kenya, I was convinced that these would happen in South Africa as well. I must add that at that time I had a rather one-sided opinion. The information that we got, of course, all told us that Africa was being taken over by the Communistic monster, and that the countries which had been taken over from Whites and put in Black control, that there had been a great slaughter of people. For example, I saw photographs "Africa for the Wolves", in which Untag under Genl Prem Chand in the Belgian Congo, had killed people, innocent people and helped in the process of giving the country to the Black people. I believed that the CIA played a great part in this process. For example, that they had murdered Tshombe, because he wasn't a communist, and I felt all the murder, the death which had happened in other African countries, was going to happen here in South Africa in precisely the same way here. ADV RHOODE: And if we continue, what was the effect of your mother's suicide on you personally?
MR DU PLESSIS: Initially I felt that I should now take my mother's viewpoint and protect that. It is before I left for my mother. At that stage I rebelled against my father. Although this rebelliousness probably lasted about a year and a half, and over time I was not particularly socially acceptable at school and my schoolwork deteriorated considerably. Then when I eventually stopped this rebelliousness, I became, I actively became involved in my father's way of thinking. I also supported him in all his political activities and ideas.
ADV RHOODE: Did his personality play a part in your being persuaded again to play a part in these processes?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, my father was a fairly determined political thinker and he believed very firmly in certain policies. And of course, in my young days I couldn't really resist my father's dominating opinions.
ADV RHOODE: What was your father's attitude towards race? In what ways in his political thinking did he convey to you in regard to people and race?
MR DU PLESSIS: My father believed that the White race was an exalted race on the earth. He believed that all the other races were mud races. Essentially he believed that all other races in fact were sub-races, and didn't really have a right to exist in terms of evolution. His belief was that the fittest should survive.
ADV RHOODE: Was he convincing as far as you were concerned?
MR DU PLESSIS: My father is probably the most logical people that I know. When one debated with him on the level of logic, one could seldom defeat him.
ADV RHOODE: When did you become actively involved in the political expression of your ideals?
MR DU PLESSIS: That was at about the end of Std 7 that I began to attend AWB meetings with him. I also obtained an AWB flag that I kept in my room. I attended various meetings of the HNP, the Conservative Party and other smaller groupings.
ADV RHOODE: Was your father involved in any political movement?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, I think he was an enroled member of the AWB, but he never became terribly involved with the AWB. In around 1987/88 - no, '87, he became a member of the Blanke Bevrydingsbeweging, a White liberation movement.
ADV RHOODE: What did they advocate?
MR DU PLESSIS: The BBB was similar to the AWB, apart from the fact that it stood for all the Whites in the country.
ADV RHOODE: Do you mean Afrikaans and English?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, that means Afrikaans and English. The European antecedents of our culture, this is what they felt, should not divide us, and they felt that the country should be deliberated from various factors which in their view actually dominated the country. Apart from the National Party Government, they felt that the financial powers behind the scenes, also had a great influence on the country. That they were in control of the media and that there was a hidden agenda which was at its aim to drive out the Whites in this country. It was essentially a resistance movement or a liberation movement, which wanted to free Whites from these influences, and basically to establish a White country.
ADV RHOODE: What did you do, what was your role?
MR DU PLESSIS: At that stage I wasn't really actively involved, seeing I was still at school. However, my father was an organiser in Durban for the Durban district of the BBB, and he compiled documentation pamphlets and distributed them for the BBB. I helped him of course. My father often asked my opinion about the documents he compiled.
ADV RHOODE: Did you actively believe in what was there?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, very firmly.
ADV RHOODE: What became of the BBB in '87/88?
MR DU PLESSIS: During that time the organisation was banned and Dr Schabot, Prof Schabot was put under house-arrest. Prof Schabot was the leader of the BBB.
ADV RHOODE: What did you then feel about this banning?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, the security police came to our house and they confiscated all the documentation we had regarding the BBB, and we were told in essence that we should stay, keep quiet about the BBB, because it was not a banned organisation. This motivated me strongly, and even at that time, when I was in matric, that this inspired me to believe that the only solution would be an underground organisation, seeing that we had been banned.
ADV RHOODE: Before you go on about the political aspects, tell us about your further education. Did you write matric?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, I wrote the matric exam, I virtually wanted to leave school and join an underground organisation. However, my father told me I should first finish my matric before I carried out plans of that kind.
ADV RHOODE: And then what did you do? What was your matric symbol?
MR DU PLESSIS: I passed matric with a university exemption.
ADV RHOODE: And then immediately after matric, what did you do then?
MR DU PLESSIS: I moved back to Pretoria and I immediately joined an underground organisation. We didn't really have a name for that. It was an organisation under the leadership of Horst Klenz. We went to the then South West Africa, Namibia. At that time it was still known as South West Africa.
ADV RHOODE: Before you continue. For the benefit of the Committee, who is Horst Klenz and where is he now?
MR DU PLESSIS: Horst Klenz, as far as I know at the moment he is in detention. He is a German, a fairly old man, who moved to South Africa with the aim of founding an underground organisation, to prevent the coming into power of a Black government here as well as in South West Africa.
ADV RHOODE: Did you go with him to South West Africa or Namibia?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, I went to Namibia with him, and there I became involved in an underground organisation.
ADV RHOODE: Who else belonged to this organisation?
MR DU PLESSIS: I know that Mr Keith Brown was also a member. Keith Brown was the son of Mr S T D Brown who was the editor of the South African Observer.
ADV RHOODE: What did you plan, what did you want to achieve, what did you achieve?
MR DU PLESSIS: The idea was to destabilise the United States troops there, and destabilise the entire electoral process so that Swapo could not come into power.
ADV RHOODE: Ultimately, were you involved in any of these activities?
MR DU PLESSIS: I began to help with operations, but at one stage I saw that things were beginning to look as if they were going off the rails and I didn't have a great trust in Horst Klenz's leadership. In any case I had to come back to South Africa to report for my national service in August. I decided I would withdraw, after which I had to report to the Army.
ADV RHOODE: Tell us briefly about the influence the Defence Force had on you.
MR DU PLESSIS: I enroled at Phalaborwa, and then I was transferred to Oudsthoorn, where I went on an officers' course. That's when I met Jurgens Matthew White.
ADV RHOODE: That was the White who was involved in the whole matter involving Mr Van Wyk.
MR DU PLESSIS: That is correct.
ADV RHOODE: That we discussed yesterday.
MR DU PLESSIS: That is correct. I received my training in various martial activities and techniques, in training of firearms, and during this period I and a number of other recruits who were undergoing training with me, who were also on the officers' course, I began to talk to them about my political views, and my ideas and thoughts regarding what was going to happen in this country.
ADV RHOODE: What did the Defence Force teach you about people, about arms, about the struggle?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, during that period the South African Defence Force was still engaged in a struggle against the so-called Communist monster, and we were taught that the enemy should be destroyed, and that the Communists were a great threat for this country.
ADV RHOODE: What was the Defence Force's attitude towards human lives?
MR DU PLESSIS: As far as our own forces were concerned, we obviously had to protect our own people, but as regards the enemy, they had to be destroyed at all costs, we had to destroy them.
ADV RHOODE: Did you ever become involved in any action against freedom fighters at any stage?
MR DU PLESSIS: While I was in the Defence Force?
MR DU PLESSIS: No.
ADV RHOODE: Were there any consequences, people being shot, being encountered?
MR DU PLESSIS: Not in my Defence Force capacity, but where I lived in Amanzimtoti, which is adjacent KwaMakutha, there was violence. There I had experienced it, but not in the Defence Force.
ADV RHOODE: Didn't any of your friends or their families suffer any harm in the so-called terrorist attacks which were launched at that time?
MR DU PLESSIS: When I was still in primary school, a friend of mine, Pieter, his mother, with the Silverton Bank siege, occupied by terrorists and my friend's mother was killed by a hand-grenade there.
ADV RHOODE: At this officers' course, did you play a leadership role in the Defence Force?
MR DU PLESSIS: I did my junior leader's course and from there I was transferred to Natal Command, but I didn't fulfil any particular leadership position while I was in the Defence Force.
ADV RHOODE: At school did you have any roles of leadership?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, I was the - what does one call it? President of the chess club.
ADV RHOODE: In the Defence Force, what unit did White belong to?
MR DU PLESSIS: After I was transferred to Natal Command, White was transferred to 32 Battalion.
ADV RHOODE: What sort of battalion is that, for the information of the Committee?
MR DU PLESSIS: 32 Battalion was the Defence Force's main offensive fighting unit.
ADV RHOODE: What sort of training did soldiers there get?
MR DU PLESSIS: Basically infantry training, an infantry unit, but did also have a special forces subsection.
ADV RHOODE: Special forces?
MR DU PLESSIS: Better known as the Recces.
ADV RHOODE: Was White a Recce?
MR DU PLESSIS: I can't be absolutely sure about that. The security police told me that he was, but we didn't really discuss that.
ADV RHOODE: From your own experience, training that these Recces got, what kind of attitude were they taught about in the lives, particularly the lives of the enemy?
MR DU PLESSIS: Basically there was a total contempt for the lives of an enemy, absolute contempt. They were trained to eliminate the enemy.
ADV RHOODE: To kill people, the methods of killing? Do you know what they were taught?
MR DU PLESSIS: Certain tactics, hand-to-hand combat methods, they were trained in knife-fighting, small arms fighting, demolition, explosives.
ADV RHOODE: So that people could be killed fighting with knives?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, that was part of the training.
ADV RHOODE: Now let's return. After your training, where did you go then?
MR DU PLESSIS: From Natal Command I moved to Pretoria and then I decided - excuse me, to go back. While I was in the Defence Force, White and I decided that we wanted to establish a similar organisation in South Africa to the one which we had had in Namibia. That was that as soon as we left the Defence Force we would actively begin the planning and organisation of that organisation.
ADV RHOODE: What became of these plans?
MR DU PLESSIS: I came to Pretoria. I found a job, because we needed funds so that we could begin to do what we wanted to do. To set up this organisation we needed funds and so I got a temporary job until the beginning of 1991, I enroled at Pretoria University, where I began to read political studies.
ADV RHOODE: What was your attitude to religion at that stage?
MR DU PLESSIS: I was an atheist at that stage. That was also part of my father's philosophy. Since I was about three years old, I have been an atheist.
ADV RHOODE: Did you believe in no god or did you believe in nature, a natural force?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, I believed that there was no spiritual God. I believed that nature sets an example that we should follow, that the laws of nature were the supreme laws, and that the White man represented the highest level of the ladder of evolution.
ADV RHOODE: Did you have anything to do with the Church of Creator at that stage?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, that was also the view of the Church of Creator. As Mr Van Wyk testified, this originated in Ben Claassen's White man's Bible.
ADV RHOODE: Did you attend these services or meetings?
MR DU PLESSIS: When I arrived in Pretoria, I regularly attended the services of the Church of the Creator.
ADV RHOODE: Did that church have any influence on your political education?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, an important influence. Initially while I was in the Defence Force, the organisation we wanted to found would have been called South African Partisans. After I had contact with the Church of the Creator, and also the contacts that I began with foreign groups, in France and in Belgium and in Italy, I increasingly began to believe in a nationalist socialist philosophy. I began believing that the philosophy that the national socialists or the Nazis as they called them, adhered to in Germany, was a more acceptable philosophy. Basically a continuation, projection of what I already believed in.
ADV RHOODE: Just as a matter of interest, what was your attitude to the allegations that 6 million Jews and others had been killed by the Nazis during the Second World War?
MR DU PLESSIS: As long as I remember from the time that I was discussing politics with my father, I believed that 6 million Jews had never died in the gas chambers. I had a lot of documentation to prove my theory and for example, in my matric year, in the history assignments dealt with Auschwitz and that I believed that I had proved that not one single Jew could have died there in the gas chamber. Allegedly 1,5 and 2 million Jews died there in the gas chambers, but I had photographs of the gas chambers and aerial photos, there was a video cassette of the place that I had, and it was part of this assignment that I was doing, that proved that no Jews had died in gas chambers during the Second World War.
ADV RHOODE: As an adherent of national socialism you foresaw and envisaged that if you came to power one day that you would have a policy of racial purification?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, we believed that the White race was exalted above other races and that essentially the White race only had the right to existence.
ADV RHOODE: Now continue, tell us what happened at the University of Pretoria.
MR DU PLESSIS: I joined the Afrikaner Studentefront and I was part of the management committee.
ADV RHOODE: What is the Afrikaner Studentefront?
MR DU PLESSIS: The Afrikaner Studentefront was a far right-wing students grouping, student organisation, under the leadership of Donald Pols. It was a reactionary group in the sense that we attended political rallies, rallies held by our political opponents, for instance the ANC and we tried to disrupt these meetings.
CLLR ERLEIGH: Give us some examples?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, amongst others, we disrupted the meeting attended by Minister Org Marais in Waterkloof, a meeting attended by President Mandela, who was then the leader of the ANC, we disrupted his meeting, which was held on campus of Tuks.
ADV RHOODE: What did you actually do during the President's meeting?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, beforehand we decided that Mr Nelson Mandela would not hold a meeting on the campus of the University of Pretoria and we decided that we would disrupt it, by violent means, if necessary. The situation was such that it wasn't necessary for us to follow the first option. There was a Mr Claassen who went on stage and when Mr Mandela's bodyguards, it seemed as if they wanted to assault him, and we all then stormed onto the stage and the meeting never took place.
ADV RHOODE: Please continue with your development.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, at that stage I felt that we should urgently establish an underground organisation. I felt that the National Party was giving away the country to the ANC, and that we should prevent this at all costs.
ADV RHOODE: Now what was wrong with the existing organisations, the existing right-wing organisations?
MR DU PLESSIS: I felt that the leadership of these various right-wing organisations, was such that it wasn't dynamic enough to lead the country to liberation. The only person I believed had the necessary dynamics was Prof Schabot. I went to see him regarding this. I wanted to revitalise the BBB, because the BBB had been unbanned at the same time as the ANC had been unbanned. I believed that the BBB could make a positive contribution and that we would be able to achieve something by means of this organisation. At that stage I also felt that what I then regarded then as the enemy, it was so powerful that we would in any event have to establish an underground organisation. I felt that just as the ANC had a military wing and a political wing, and the ANC and Umkhonto weSizwe, we would also, using the same model, divide the BBB into a political wing and the BBB would be the political wing and the National Socialist Partisans would be the underground organisation with a possible separate military wing, which White wanted to name Skuzapo, based on the Selous Scouts.
ADV RHOODE: Now what was Prof Schabot's reaction to your approach to him?
MR DU PLESSIS: I think that at that stage Prof Schabot was a little bit shocked still because he had been placed under house arrest for so long, he had been under a lot of pressure by the security police, and he felt a little bit wary and felt that it wasn't the time yet to re-establish the BBB. But I had contacts with other members of the BBB, for instance, Leunis van Rooyen, who was one of the founder members of the BBB. I approached him and asked his opinion. He felt that it would be a good idea to re-establish the organisation. I asked him whether he would join our organisation, but he couldn't do so as a result of other commitments.
ADV RHOODE: Excuse me, just for chronological clarity. When did this take place, what was the year?
MR DU PLESSIS: That was during 1991.
ADV RHOODE: And the month?
MR DU PLESSIS: I went to see Prof Schabot on more than one occasion, but I think it was between April and July.
ADV RHOODE: And apart from Leunis van Rooyen and Prof Schabot, did you have contact with other right-wing leading figures?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, I had contact with Mr Robert van Tonder of the Boerestaat Party. The idea was that by means of our underground organisation, we would use various well-known organisations to continue the struggle, and we wanted to unify the various right-wing organisations, but these known right-wing organisations had to continue operating as front organisations and I tried to approach people who were active in these organisations and who I might trust, so that I would have a finger and a contact in each of these organisations. For instance, I had contact with Mr Dries Alberts in December 1990.
ADV RHOODE: With what purpose in mind?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, at that time we wanted to establish the South African Partisans as the underground organisation and then we wanted to have a public organisation as well.
ADV RHOODE: Now when you refer to "we", who exactly are you referring to?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, at that stage it was White and myself. Although I knew of various people who supported us, but I hadn't yet confronted them with the idea of an underground organisation. Mr Anton Terblanche was also approached by myself.
ADV RHOODE: Now who was he?
MR DU PLESSIS: He was a member of the Church of the Creator and also a member of the Boerestaat Party. He was one of Mr Robert van Tonder's confidantes and he was very active in leading the Boerestaat Party.
ADV RHOODE: And Mr Dries Alberts, is that Andries Hendrik Alberts?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, that is correct.
ADV RHOODE: And what was his role, why did you regard him as important?
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Dries Alberts was part of the AWB's leadership structure earlier on, and he still retained many contacts with the AWB and various other right-wing leaders. I felt that as a result of all his experience in the AWB and his political knowledge, and also because I had learnt from other people, that he was a very trustworthy right-winger, I felt that I could approach him for support and for guidance and advice. I also felt that he could perhaps act as a public figure for us and to lead the South African Republican Organisation, SARO.
ADV RHOODE: Now where were the finances to come for for these ...
END TAPE 1 - DAY 4 - SIDE A
TAPE 1 - DAY 4 - SIDE B
MR DU PLESSIS: ... but that was just to get us started. Later on we contemplated obtaining money by means of robberies, from armoured cars, banks and also have an idea to establish a diamond smuggling operation in the same way as for instance, Unita, financed itself by means of diamond smuggling, and we felt we could do the same.
ADV RHOODE: Did you hope that some of these right-wing leaders such as Mr Alberts and Mr Van Tonder, that they would assist financially?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, Mr Dries Alberts was a successful businessman, Mr Anton Terblanche, Mr Leunus van Rooyen, they were all very successful business people and would have assisted us financially, to some extent, in any event.
ADV RHOODE: What was your justification of robbing armoured cars and banks?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, I believed that the financial powers were robbing our country, by establishing very strongly capitalistic systems, which plunged people into debt and that people were selling their souls to the banks. For that reason I felt that to rob the banks, to rob their money, was justifiable because it was for the struggle and for the liberation of White people in this country and also world-wide.
ADV RHOODE: Mr Du Plessis, you have associated yourself it seems to me, with a number of different organisations, AWB, BBB, et cetera. What was your attitude regarding the fragmentation of these organisations?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, I felt that we should establish a core group with a very good communication and information system, which would infiltrate the various organisations and do recruiting. We also supported the general objectives of some of these organisations.
ADV RHOODE: What was your ideal, what kind of organisation?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, I believed that we should diversify this grouping, because the security police's information network was excellent and the more diversely we operated, the more difficult it would be for the security police national intelligence to infiltrate us and to keep tabs on us.
ADV RHOODE: What was your attitude towards National Intelligence, Military Intelligence and the security police at that stage?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, I believed that they were the enemy. I believed that they were controlled, for instance National Intelligence, they were controlled by the financial powers themselves. I had information which proved to me that National Intelligence was established by John Vorster's government and that Dr Verwoerd was strongly opposed to this. The National Intelligence was based on the model of the CIA and was also established by means of advice from the CIA. Verwoerd prohibited John Vorster from continuing with the information organisation, after which John Vorster went underground with national intelligence until after the assassination of Dr Verwoerd.
ADV RHOODE: Now at that stage you were barely 20 years old. Is that correct? You were 20, perhaps 21 years old?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, I was 20.
ADV RHOODE: Mr Du Plessis, what made these leadership figures in the right-wing organisations, what caused them to believe you and to have discussions with you, as such a young man?
MR DU PLESSIS: I was extremely motivated, to fight for our aims. I had a very clear vision at the time, a very clear vision of where we were going to and what we were fighting for. I think that I can debate very well and I am well able to convince people of my point of view.
ADV RHOODE: Do you consider yourself to be a leader?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, I think I am quite a strong leader.
ADV RHOODE: What effect do you have on people around you normally that take up a subservient role, or what is your experience?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, for instance, I can say that, I can refer to something which happened recently during the time I was in prison, when I was transferred to maximum security. A friend and I established a church, a Christian church and I took a leading role in this church. I started delivering sermons and preaching, and it was called the United Christian Mission. We felt that Jesus Christ was the only hope and salvation of this country.
ADV RHOODE: Right. I just want you now to go back to the history of the establishment of the nationalist social partisans.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, at that stage we needed to establish the organisation. I drafted various planning documents. In 1990 I started planning the organisation, it was then called the South African Partisans, and round about June/July I changed the name to the National Socialist Partisans. I was basically looking at a 25 to 30 year plan, during which we wanted to liberate this country from the National Party, and from any possibility that the ANC would take over and we also had international objectives.
ADV RHOODE: Well, at that stage who knew of your planning at that stage?
MR DU PLESSIS: I felt that the more secrecy there was, the greater our chances of success and White was the only other person who had access to all my documentation, because he was the deputy leader of the organisation.
ADV RHOODE: Now did you discuss the principles of these organisations with anybody?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, I discussed it in part with Dries Alberts and where necessary, I also discussed it with Mr Van Wyk, Mr Jurgens Grobbelaar, and also partly with Mr Anton Terblanche of the Boerestaat Party, and also with Mr Leunus van Rooyen, because I hoped he would later join the BBB.
ADV RHOODE: Did you at that stage try and establish an international contacts?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, I made contact with Mr Oliver Matthie.
ADV RHOODE: How do you spell that Matthie?
MR DU PLESSIS: I am not exactly sure.
ADV RHOODE: M-A-T-T-H-I-E?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, I think it is correct.
ADV RHOODE: You may proceed.
MR DU PLESSIS: He came to South Africa because things were getting quite difficult for him in France, he was a French citizen. He was a right-winger and had strong nationalist socialist leanings.
ADV RHOODE: Did you discuss any tactics or planning with him?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, I saw him as somebody that I could trust. I saw him as somebody that I could trust, confidante. He went back to Europe with this information which we discussed, so that he could establish a similar kind of organisation as we had established here in South Africa. He then had contact with various people in France and Italy. I know that he was a very well-read person and also a very well-travelled person.
ADV RHOODE: Did you receive any correspondence from him?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, I did.
ADV RHOODE: In Mr Van Wyk's application for amnesty, if you look there at Annexure Z11.
MR DU PLESSIS: Number 4, Z11, number 4, if you look at that, you will see a letter from Mr Oliver Mathie which he sent me, during 1991.
ADV RHOODE: What was the essence of this letter, what information did it convey?
MR DU PLESSIS: He told me that he had already recruited five Italians to join us and that they had already started with their training and that he was looking forward to our coming to Europe.
ADV RHOODE: Now what was the purpose of that training?
MR DU PLESSIS: Basically we wanted to establish a protest organisation in various countries in Europe, and we hoped that it would then extend also to Britain and America, and we felt that if we declared a White country and nation in South Africa, we would experience great resistance from the United Nations and NATO countries.
ADV RHOODE: How was this organisation in Europe supposed to assist you?
MR DU PLESSIS: They would contribute to the destabilising of the United Nations forces as well as destabilising of the United States forces should we declare a White country here. They also had as an objective, the independence of certain groups such as the Basque group in Spain, in Corsica there is a liberation movement who wanted to secede and we felt that in a global right-wing organisation, underground organisation, we would be able to contribute to the national striving, nationalist socialist strivings of the various right-wing organisations and countries.
ADV RHOODE: Right. Could you tell us about the establishment of the NSP and your initial activities.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, White drafted a document which would serve as an oath. We then swore a blood oath.
ADV RHOODE: What is a blood oath?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, you basically pierce your skin and then place your blood on a document, and we then swore that we would be faithful unto death to the Nationalist Socialist Partisans and also faithful to our objectives of liberating White people worldwide, in South Africa and worldwide from the Jewish and financial powers.
ADV RHOODE: Continue with the establishing of the party.
MR DU PLESSIS: I felt at that stage we should establish a very small core group, keep it as small as possible. It would function along the lines of a cell, until such time as we had gained enough support, as well as logistic support to establish a full-scale organisation. The four of us, namely White, Grobbelaar, Van Wyk and myself.
ADV RHOODE: How did you regard yourself, as fanatics, as committed?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, we saw ourselves as one hundred per cent committed. We felt that the people of this country were being deluded. That people do not want to see what was happening in this country, and that those few who saw the truth weren't doing anything about it. I felt that it was my responsibility to do something about this matter. To do something about communism and the Black powers threatening to take over the country and to prevent that.
ADV RHOODE: What was your role models in the history of the Boer people?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, I had great respect for Jopie Fourie, for Capt Danie Theron and also for Genl De Wet. I felt that these people believed very strongly in their "volk", in their people and they were prepared to sacrifice everything for their people.
ADV RHOODE: Is it just coincidental that all heroes died in a violent way, they were all shot?
MR DU PLESSIS: I felt that to die for the struggle was to die a noble death.
ADV RHOODE: Right, would you continue with the NSP? What did you do then?
MR DU PLESSIS: We then decided, or I decided that we would launch our first operation in order to obtain weapons. Part of our plan was to initially collect some weapons, sufficient to equip a group of about 20 men, to the tune of about 20 men and then to launch our next operation to raise funds. We then wanted to establish an Army base in South West Africa and I also envisaged establishing training camps in Mozambique and in Botswana and in Zimbabwe as well.
ADV RHOODE: Continue?
MR DU PLESSIS: We then borrowed a vehicle from a person well-disposed towards us, we also received money and we ... (intervention).
JUDGE WILSON: Who was this person?
MR DU PLESSIS: It was Mr Anton Terblanche.
ADV RHOODE: Was he aware or rather how much money did you receive?
MR DU PLESSIS: It was about R2 000,00.
ADV RHOODE: And was he aware of what you were planning to do with the money and the vehicle, broadly speaking?
MR DU PLESSIS: No, Mr Terblanche wasn't aware of what the operation entailed. He simply believed in us and in our objectives to liberate the country. I felt that the less he knew and the less anybody knew, the safer it would be for us and for them.
ADV RHOODE: Do you think Mr Terblanche knew that it was probably going to be used in some illegal way and to promote your underground objectives and organisation?
MR DU PLESSIS: I think the thought probably crossed his mind, yes, but he couldn't have been sure, because I didn't inform him of any of the detail.
ADV RHOODE: Did you accept therefore that the BBB was supporting to you financially, morally?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes.
ADV RHOODE: Continue with the operation.
MR DU PLESSIS: We then executed our first operation in Louis Trichardt at the civilian base camp. White was responsible for all the planning. He knew the base very well. He did the reconnaissance and drafted the commands. We had a lecture before actually executing the operation. We ran through all the various possibilities and it was I think during August, that we went to Louis Trichardt to try and obtain weapons and equipment, such as two-way radios. We wanted to go and steal these.
ADV RHOODE: Then what happened?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, we arrived there. We reconnoitred the area very briefly and we moved into the area round about midnight. We moved into the area and across the road there was a small field, and that's where we took up position initially. We then realised that a caravan was parked on that field, which hadn't been there before. I was also aware of the fact that the Army had become aware of people tampering with the locks during the previous weekend. I felt that they had possibly established certain precautionary measures and that the caravan could be connected to the police in some way, and I felt that it was dangerous to enter the area. At that stage, as it was we were in our infancy, I wanted to avoid confrontation as far as possible. We simply couldn't afford it.
White was very upset about this, he was very familiar with the place, far more so than I, and he felt that despite the caravan, we should still enter the area and I however said no, it was far too dangerous.
ADV RHOODE: Did he listen to you?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, he had to at that stage, yes.
ADV RHOODE: Mr Du Plessis, how were you armed during that operation?
MR DU PLESSIS: We were armed with two pistols, as well as an Ak-47 and an R1 rifle, and a Molotov cocktail or petrol bomb.
ADV RHOODE: Where did you obtain this AK-47 and the R1?
MR DU PLESSIS: White, the R1 was White's commando weapon and apparently White at some stage obtained the AK-47 in Nelspruit, he bought it.
ADV RHOODE: Don't you think you were well-enough armed to confront the people at Louis Trichardt, should they attack you?
MR DU PLESSIS: Please just repeat?
ADV RHOODE: Didn't you think you were well-enough armed to defend yourselves in Louis Trichardt? Why did you have to retreat?
MR DU PLESSIS: I felt that any contact, any unnecessary contact with security forces, had to be avoided at all costs. Especially at that stage when we were such a small core group. I felt that we weren't armed that well and we didn't have enough men to really counter any police action. I felt as a result of my Army training that we should at least we should at least have had an RPG7 and we should have had another section of men in order to frighten the police in any way.
ADV RHOODE: Did you have enough ammunition?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, we had a reasonable amount of ammunition, but not really sufficient.
ADV RHOODE: So you retreated there. What was the next operation?
MR DU PLESSIS: We retreated and then we went to Pretoria. For a while we separated while I was trying to find more funds. At some stage I had to take the vehicle back and we decided to steal a car. That was the Golf that has been mentioned already.
ADV RHOODE: Just for the record, what was the date of the abortive operation at Louis Trichardt, and on what date was the Golf stolen?
MR DU PLESSIS: The Louis Trichardt operation was about August.
ADV RHOODE: Which year?
MR DU PLESSIS: 1991. The Golf was stolen on the 20th or the 21st of September.
ADV RHOODE: So what did you do with the Golf, did you change its appearance in any way?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, it was a white Golf and I bought a compressor and we sprayed it red and we corrected one dent, where it could easily have been identified. So we basically changed the appearance of the Golf and the number plates.
ADV RHOODE: So you put it in a better condition than it had been when you had stolen it?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes.
ADV RHOODE: Good, then the next operation that you planned?
MR DU PLESSIS: From there we went to Durban. Because I couldn't get hold of any funds and we needed money for the next couple of operations, my plan was to rob a shebeen. I also a canister of Mace in Durban, because I felt that we could use that to enter and use the Mace to immobilise the people there.
ADV RHOODE: Is that a highly irritating gas?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, it was what was referred to yesterday as tear-gas, it is similar.
ADV RHOODE: Continue.
MR DU PLESSIS: After we had done our reconnaissance, we felt that it was too dangerous and that there were too many people and that possibly people might be injured, innocent people.
ADV RHOODE: Mr Van Wyk was a little vague yesterday about the details of the planning that you have just referred to.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Van Wyk was not part of the plan, he didn't himself participate.
ADV RHOODE: Who did the planning?
MR DU PLESSIS: I did some of the planning and White did some of the planning. The military operations as such, there White was more of an expert than I was, because of his military background. Perhaps I could mention that at that time he just completed a captain's course in the Defence Force. So he was really more the military adviser and leader. However, I also participated in some aspects of the planning.
ADV RHOODE: Now the planning for the tragic incident at the farm in Louis Trichardt, were you also involved in that?
MR DU PLESSIS: Please repeat yourself?
ADV RHOODE: The planning of the incident, the modus or the planned robbery, theft at the farm in Louis Trichardt, involving the Roux family, were you involved in that planning?
MR DU PLESSIS: When we had returned from Durban, after we again failed in our operation, White said it was of cardinal and crucial importance that we should obtain more weapons. What we contemplated was to break into the Oudsthoorn military base, although we felt it was too dangerous considering the number of weapons we had, and that we also needed more specialised weapons, automatic weapons. Then White came up with the proposal that he knew where to get hold of an R4 and a ,22. Apparently the ,22 had a telescopic sight and a silencer, and that could be used in subsequent operations. He said he knew the people who owned it, it could be found at a private residence.
ADV RHOODE: Good. So did you have anything else to do with the planning?
MR DU PLESSIS: No, at that stage I felt that so many times I had rejected operations, stopped them after we had begun with them, so I felt that no, I would allow this, although I was not really part of our modus operandi to break into private dwellings. Because our view was that we should involve innocent people as little as possible. I felt that the police, the security forces, the financial powers could be held responsible for the situation in our country, and that as far as possible we should not involve private individuals.
JUDGE WILSON: Did White say these people were friends of his?
MR DU PLESSIS: White did tell me that he knew the people well.
ADV RHOODE: Could you tell this Committee what your perception, your feeling was when you realised what had actually happened at that farm?
MR DU PLESSIS: I was very shocked. The Monday afternoon Van Wyk came to the flat, that was the 14th of October. He came to tell me that White was waiting in the park downstairs, he was a bit too scared, he didn't want to come upstairs, because he thought it was possible that my flat was being watched by the security police and that things had gone terribly wrong. So I went down to the park in Burgerspark and there I talked with White. He informed me that things had gone terribly wrong, that there had been a shooting and that three people had died, three people at the house had died. He also told me that Mrs Roux had been shot dead. Of course he was shocked. I was also shocked. In truth I was so shocked, that I couldn't any longer give leadership, not at that moment. White was angry about that because he had come to seek leadership from me at that stage.
JUDGE WILSON: Did he tell you that he had slit the throats of these people? Did you know that?
MR DU PLESSIS: I found out at some stage that their throats had been slit, but I can't remember if he told me that day.
JUDGE WILSON: But you knew it?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, at a later stage I certainly did know.
ADV RHOODE: Mr Du Plessis, did this shocking incident, did that have any effect on you, on your motivation and enthusiasm for going ahead with this organisation?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, it wasn't part of my planning, in particular not at that stage, that innocent people should die. Particularly, that our own people, White people should have died. That I felt was another tragedy. I felt that we would never be able to justify that, to people who were expecting to support us at that stage. I tried to wish it away. I tried to tell myself that this was the fate of war, but it upset me terribly. Naturally I became very concerned, and I couldn't give as a strong a leadership as I wanted to.
ADV RHOODE: Weren't you concerned that White could perhaps become uncontrollable?
MR DU PLESSIS: I had known him since Defence Force days and I knew that he could become terribly angry, but I felt that I would do everything in my power to keep him under control. I thought that he was becoming too radical, too desperate to achieve our aims, and that he was beginning to lose his objectivity. I also felt that he should take as little part as possible personally in military operations. He should be involved in the planning, but not so much his own personal involvement. As a result of our particular situation we were obliged to carry out further operations as a group.
ADV RHOODE: Let's continue a little more quickly. What was the operation at Potchefstroom where you broke in and attempted at one stage and another you did steal weapons. Did you take part in both operations?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, I was part of the reconnaissance at Oudsthoorn, because I knew the base myself and I was with White. I also participated in the planning of the operation and then we broke in there. Of course, we found no arms because they had been moved. We then retreated. At a later stage at the Potchefstroom military base, I and Van Wyk did the reconnaissance. Then I left White and Grobbelaar at the holiday resort which we were using as a temporary base. White and I did the planning of that as well. We broke in there and there we did find quite a quantity of ammunition and explosives.
ADV RHOODE: And the ease of which you carried out this operation, did that surprise you at all?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, I thought that military security was very poor, but I was familiar with that. Oudsthoorn military base, their security was better than Potchefstroom, because it was a more prepared base, a more alert base, but I felt that operations of that kind with good planning, good clandestine execution were possible and would be possible in any military base.
ADV RHOODE: Just one last question before the tea break. What made you decide to continue with your limited weaponry, to continue with this breaking-in?
MR DU PLESSIS: After the death of the three people at Louis Trichardt, we felt that we had gone beyond the point of no return. People had been killed. The police were after us and we couldn't turn round, we had to go ahead at all costs. Even if it meant that we were placing ourselves and the organisation in the greatest of danger, we had no choice. To achieve our goals, we had to continue.
ADV RHOODE: Thank you very much. Chairperson, I understand it is time for tea at this stage. I have been advised.
JUDGE MALL: Yes, we will take a short adjournment at this stage. Thank you.
ON RESUMPTION AFTER TEA:
MR DU PLESSIS: (Still under oath).
ADV RHOODE: Mr Chairman, my colleague has a request.
ADV PRINSLOO: Mr Chairman, I just want to request that I sit there, it would give my colleagues more space to work, while I am not busy with the cross-examination or anything.
JUDGE MALL: Certainly.
EXAMINATION BY ADV RHOODE (cont): Thank you, Mr Chairman, sorry for the delay. Mr Du Plessis, just before we proceed to Wahlmanstal. The envisaged attack or robbery at the shebeen in Durban, in that connection, did you contemplate any other operation in Durban?
MR DU PLESSIS: At that stage we contemplated removing weapons from the guards at Natal Command. But things just felt wrong to me then and we dropped the idea.
ADV RHOODE: Who took that decision?
MR DU PLESSIS: Again, I had made that decision. It was too dangerous at that stage to confront people directly. Because really we didn't have time to do proper planning for that operation.
ADV RHOODE: Was that a kind of spur of the moment suggestion?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, it was proposed on the spur of the moment.
ADV RHOODE: Briefly, tell us about the robbery at Wahlmanstal? What was the motivation there and who planned it?
MR DU PLESSIS: After we had got the ammunition and rifle grenades, and weapons of that kind, we needed R4 rifles so that we could use the ammunition we had and also to be able to operate the rifle grenades and things of that kind. So then we decided that would have to acquire some automatic weapons and rather quickly, so that we would be able to go on our next operation, which was to steal money.
ADV RHOODE: These two guards, just for the record, were they injured in any way, these two guards who were robbed?
MR DU PLESSIS: One guard, one sentry was apparently lightly injured, he was admitted, he was taken to hospital but was discharged that same evening.
ADV RHOODE: How was he injured?
MR DU PLESSIS: Apparently he had an injury on his hand and I think his lip was also hurt.
ADV RHOODE: Was this from physical blows?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, there was a fight, a scrap when we went in. It was all dark and confused, I am a little hazy about it. I and Grobbelaar went into the base, White waited across the road and Van Wyk was driving the car. I went in, I squirted the canister of Mace at them. Then the one sentry launched himself at me, I saw the sentry behind him was reaching for his R4. I wasn't particularly concerned about the sentry who was running for the door behind me, so I let him pass, hoping that Grobbelaar would be able to stop him. I was more concerned about the sentry with the R4. So I tried to squirt the can of Mace into his eyes. Then we came to blows. He struck me with the R4, and then we were fighting. I think we were tumbling over the beds and the cupboards and in the course of that struggle, I tried to hit him with my fist. I think it was then that his lip was injured. Grobbelaar then came in. We tried to take the R4 away from the sentry, and I can't remember if Grobbelaar hit him or kicked him on the hand. I think at some stage his hand, he tried to put his hand against the tent pole to loosen the grip on the rifle.
ADV RHOODE: So the guards didn't come succumb as quickly as you had expected?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, there was much more of a fight than we had expected.
JUDGE WILSON: You said that you obtained ammunition. Where did you obtain that ammunition from?
MR DU PLESSIS: That was during the previous operation at Potchefstroom where we acquired, we stole a large quantity of ammunition and explosives.
JUDGE WILSON: So from there you went to Wahlmanstal? This was the - how many days beforehand had the Potchefstroom operation taken place?
MR DU PLESSIS: I think it was about three days earlier.
ADV RHOODE: Thank you. Just so that we can clarify the chronological order of events. How long after the murders at Louis Trichardt, did these two house break-ins and the robbery take place?
MR DU PLESSIS: These happened in quite short succession. With these murders in Louis Trichardt, that completely disrupted our planning. So we attempted to carry out these operations as soon as possible so that we could obtain the money we needed with which we would purchase and equip the base in Namibia. After which we would be able to leave the country in our personal capacities and return with false passports and false identities.
ADV RHOODE: Mr Du Plessis, how did it transpire that you and Mr Van Wyk became alienated from Grobbelaar and White?
MR DU PLESSIS: After we had carried out the robbery at Wahlmanstal, and taken the weapons, we returned to the holiday resort, which was called Utopia, and we decided, or rather I decided, that we should go on to the planning and preparation of the robbery of the money. I then tried to obtain explosives for that purpose, and I then had to leave the group. I thought perhaps I would try and approach somebody who knew about mining operations, so that I could obtain the explosives from such person. That was on the Monday morning that I left. I hitch-hiked from there, because the other members needed the vehicle. Then on Wednesday I returned, and the base had been left behind. The premises that we were renting were empty and there was nobody there. So I returned to Pretoria and coincidentally I bumped into Van Wyk in the street near Sunnypark. I asked him whether he knew where White and Grobbelaar were. He said Grobbelaar and he had been in Sunnypark the previous day.
JUDGE WILSON: Where?
MR DU PLESSIS: Sunnypark is a shopping centre in Pretoria.
They became separated from each other. They were meant to meet again that afternoon. Grobbelaar never turned up. So he and I then returned to Utopia where the holiday resort was. He then said that they had made arrangements that should something go wrong, they would meet in the bushes near Buffelspoort Dam.
ADV RHOODE: Was he not there?
MR DU PLESSIS: For two evenings in succession we went there and we didn't find anything. That was the Wednesday evening and the Thursday evening. On Friday morning then Van Wyk and I were arrested in my flat.
ADV RHOODE: Didn't it seem strange to you that they left on their own? Because I understand from the police report that those two, White and Grobbelaar didn't have a cent on their bodies when they were found. The police said no money was found there.
MR DU PLESSIS: I would have expected there should have been about R500,00 there.
ADV RHOODE: Mr Du Plessis, to sum up. Regarding the arrest. This organisation, did you see them as part of the right-wing resistance or did you see it as a totally separate element?
MR DU PLESSIS: No, we very clearly adhered to the general right-wing sentiment. We felt that particularly with regard to the Boerestaat Party and certain ideas of the Church of the Creator that we were supportive of those ideals and that we were working in support of those ideals.
ADV RHOODE: Just for the sake of interest, why weren't you impressed by the AWB?
MR DU PLESSIS: At that stage I thought we could perhaps recruit from the ranks of the AWB because there were a number of young people there who were reasonably convinced of their right-wing views, but I felt that the AWB was infiltrated by the security police and I didn't have much faith in the leadership of the AWB.
ADV RHOODE: How did you plan to expand your organisation, would you found more cells or would you simply enlarge the existing cell?
MR DU PLESSIS: What we planned, was that after stealing the money, we were intending to go to Namibia, and buy a large farm there. We planned to steal between 500 000 and R1 million.
ADV RHOODE: Proceed.
MR DU PLESSIS: Which some of that money we would have used to buy the farm and then together with other people that we had previously approached, White would then have established the base there, and Van Wyk and I and perhaps Grobbelaar would then have gone to Europe to establish a similar organisation there and also to recruit. There were a number of students and ex-colleagues of mine from the Defence Force who I envisaged as possibly joining us. There was a group of about 20, 30 people we were hoping to train initially, and then we would have gone to Pomfret where there was a large military base, to get military equipment, weapons, ammunition and so on. We would then have been able to work as a larger group. But what was planned, was that from that point we would have established houses, plots, locations throughout the Republic, jumping-off points as it were, where we would establish one-man or five-man cells. I think in Van Wyk's application for amnesty some of the planning is set out there. They would have operated in cells, military cells.
I had planned in my own capacity to return and help with the political front, the establishment of that political front and White would have taken care of the military wing. That was the original plan.
ADV RHOODE: Now briefly, the arrest. How were you treated -I just want to deal with that briefly, your treatment at the hands of the security police and the investigating officer.
MR DU PLESSIS: On Friday morning, at six o'clock, the 8th of November we were arrested or rather, there were approximately nine security policemen who entered and began interrogating us about Christine Bussart, who was a French citizen, and that was that they were investigating a case of abduction regarding Christine Bussart, an illegal immigrant. Under that pretext they asked us to accompany them to the security police offices, where they wanted to ask a couple of questions.
ADV RHOODE: Were you intensively interrogated?
MR DU PLESSIS: From the morning when I arrived there, I was intensively interrogated. At first by one policeman, and then later on I was moved from that office, I was interrogated in another office by a police woman and another policeman. However, I was only moved there after I had begun to give them and co-operate with them after what had happened in the first office.
ADV RHOODE: How long were you kept away from legal advice and your legal representatives during this whole period?
MR DU PLESSIS: From the time I arrived and I had realised that they were not questioning me about Christine Bussart, and that they wanted to know what my activities had been the preceding days, weeks and possibly months, and the fact that they confronted me with White and Grobbelaar and concerning firearms, at that point I said that I wasn't prepared to answer their questions and I insisted on first calling my attorney, before I answered any questions.
ADV RHOODE: To summarise, were you allowed to establish meaningful contact with your attorney?
MR DU PLESSIS: No, not at all.
ADV RHOODE: The interrogation and detention, was that traumatic?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, when I refused to co-operate and before seeing my attorney, they threatened me with Section
29 and they began to break me down psychologically. I do not know if I may mention the person's name?
ADV RHOODE: Yes, please mention it.
MR DU PLESSIS: Col Roelof Venter came in and told me that White and Grobbelaar were dead. Then he left the office. At that stage I still was refusing to say anything at all. They made me stand. The one policeman shouted at me, ordered me to stand up and I had to stand like that for a long while. Later he left the office and another young policeman came into the office. He spoke to me in a gentle way. He left. The first policeman, the older one came in, I can also mention his name. I think it was Warrant-Officer Tjaart Fourie. He shouted at me and asked me who had given me permission to sit. He made me stand up again, and just sat and stared at me in a very intimidatory fashion.
ADV RHOODE: Let met interrupt you. Were you given any evidence that White and Grobbelaar were indeed dead?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, at one stage Col Venter came in again and asked me did I still not believe that White and Grobbelaar were dead. Then he - I think it was two pieces of paper with photographs on them of their faces, very seriously mutilated faces, depicting where they had been shot dead at Nunipoort.
ADV RHOODE: What was your reaction when you saw these gruesome sights?
MR DU PLESSIS: When I saw that all my resistance crumbled, I began to cry, and then I sat down and then I gave my full co-operation.
ADV RHOODE: Then you left on bail. Mr Du Plessis, did you at any stage going through a period where you formally renounced violence as an option?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, during my first amnesty application, I think it was 1992, I formally renounced violence as an option for the purposes of achieving a political objective in this country.
ADV RHOODE: Mr Du Plessis, in 1994 when government changed in this country peacefully, what were your feelings, what were your perceptions about this development?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, it was unbelievable to me. At that stage I was involved in Radio Pretoria, and there was, for example, a Mr Da Silva, who regularly broadcast on that station. He was of Portuguese extraction. He regularly told of what precisely had happened in 1974 with the take-over in Mozambique and how people were murdered in the streets and I believed firmly that something similar was also going to happen in this country, and that basically there would be a kind of uhuru in this country. When nothing happened, I was amazed.
ADV RHOODE: Did this bring about any change in your attitude, in your perceptions, this peaceful transition?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, it made me look anew at my entire attitude regarding our country, regarding what I had been taught throughout my life and it made me question many things. It just before my trial was due to begin, and I was more involved in my court case at that stage.
ADV RHOODE: You were found guilty, you were convicted and sent to prison as indicated in your application. Tell us what your attitude is today, how did your political and religious convictions change or grow?
MR DU PLESSIS: In September 1994 I was found guilty and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment. By about December 1994, my wife and I began to experience serious problems in our relationship. At one stage I just lay on my bed in my cell and cried for three days. I didn't eat, I didn't drink for those three days. At the end of the third day, the Lord spoke to me and said to me, Jean, all that is wrong in your life now is that you haven't yet given your heart to Jesus Christ. Then I gave my heart to Jesus Christ. That was the beginning of a complete reversal, a complete about turn, a process which has lasted for two years until now.
ADV RHOODE: Do you now regard yourself as dedicated to Jesus Christ? What do you to express your Christianity?
MR DU PLESSIS: In February 1996, I was transferred into maximum security. I befriended a Coloured person there and we decided that we should establish a church in the maximum security prison. We began to preach, first in the cell, for three days solid, we preached and then too many people attended. Then we went to the chapel in the prison and from there the church grew. Every day at half past 12 we held a service, and initially just he and I preached. But as the church grew other people came in who made themselves available to preach and at the moment I preach once a week.
ADV RHOODE: Do you have any support from chaplains or other religious people?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, my pastor, Pastor Jack Armstrong sees us every Sunday or every second Sunday rather, and in liaison with him and various other clerics.
ADV RHOODE: How big is your congregation, if we can call it that?
MR DU PLESSIS: It is between 20 and 30 people active.
ADV RHOODE: Does it give you satisfaction?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, immensely. It is actually the only outlet in prison, when you are trapped in the flesh, you need to be free in spirit. The feelings of guilt which wracked me, the feelings of reproach about the people who had been killed, all those negative emotions towards other political parties and other races which I had experienced, all those things I am released from by getting to know Jesus Christ.
ADV RHOODE: Now what is your attitude towards racism and the relationship between nations and cultures?
MR DU PLESSIS: In the year we started up this church, it was only Black people who were prepared to come to our services and as I grew in Christ, I came to realise that to be a child of God, has nothing to do with do culture, race or language and that anybody who gives his heart to Jesus Christ is reborn into a spiritual nation. That is the nation I am now striving for.
ADV RHOODE: What are your political convictions these days?
MR DU PLESSIS: I feel that our country's problems cannot be overcome politically, I do not believe that with the politically economically or militarily our problems can be solved. I believe the way to peace and reconciliation in this country is through Jesus Christ.
ADV RHOODE: Right. What do you intend to do with the rest of your life? Are you studying?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, I resumed my studies. I enroled for a BA, but I stopped that to study information, political science and communication law.
ADV RHOODE: Did you pass your first year?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes.
ADV RHOODE: Are you contemplating completing the degree?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes.
ADV RHOODE: And what career are you contemplating when you leave prison?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, I studied Development Administration last year and I will continue with that. I believe that I can make a contribution in this country by building up the people and to try and alleviate ignorance and poverty, especially as regards - ignorance regards religion. I would like to rectify that. I am thinking of doing missionary work, although I am not hundred per cent sure about that yet.
ADV RHOODE: Mr Du Plessis, I know that it is painful for you to talk about this, but your relationship with your wife. How was it and what is it like at the moment?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, we went through our darkest hour during the time I was in prison. But on the other hand it was only a blessing that I was sent to prison, and perhaps we would never have found out our marital problems, if I had remained outside prison, because I was extremely obstinate in my views. We grew apart quite badly but during the last couple of months by means of a lot of prayer, God has brought her back to me and we now have a more wonderful relationship than ever before.
ADV RHOODE: Are you satisfied that you will make a success of this marriage?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, I firmly believe that.
ADV RHOODE: Will she be able to wait for you if you have to serve a long period of imprisonment, will she wait for you?
MR DU PLESSIS: If that is what is necessary, I hope so, I trust so, but it will be very difficult for her.
ADV RHOODE: Mr Du Plessis, if you cast your mind back, with the knowledge and experience which you have now, would you have done what you did which caused you to land up in prison?
MR DU PLESSIS: I certainly wouldn't. I have now given my heart to Jesus Christ and that has changed my entire vision and my convictions.
ADV RHOODE: Do you want amnesty?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, of course.
ADV RHOODE: Mr Du Plessis, is there any purpose in staying in prison as far as you are concerned, is there any reason why you should still be punished or rehabilitated?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, I am not part of the constitution-making process, but I firmly believe that there should be a system which evaluates people, as regards their process of growth in prison. Some people can stay in prison for 20 years and they won't change at all. When somebody else might be in prison for only one year and transform themselves completely. I believe that during the two years I have spent in prison, and I am very grateful that I spent that time in prison, because without that I wouldn't have gained the deeper insights which I have. I believe that these two years have changed my life entirely and I can now make a positive contribution to society. I don't think there is any reason for me to continue to stay in prison.
ADV RHOODE: Lastly, a suggestion has been made in the media that some of these applications for amnesty is simply to release people from prison and not simply to release people from prison and not because there was any deep change in people's political convictions. Would you agree with that?
MR DU PLESSIS: No, in my case definitely not. I know for a fact that I have changed, one can see that from my letters, from my conduct in prison. There has been a total transformation in my life. Of course, there has been a - my father and I have grown apart quite drastically, because he still holds the same views as he has done in the past, although he is no longer actively involved. He has isolated himself from the world, but I can't see the sense of my remaining in prison any longer, because my views, my attitudes have changed so radically, my attitude towards society and the world at large.
CLLR ERLEIGH: Lastly, it has been mentioned, that Jurgen Grobbelaar's mother was very upset about the influence you exercised over her son. Could you tell the Commission a little bit about that, please?
MR DU PLESSIS: A while ago after I saw Mrs Grobbelaar testifying at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, I felt such empathy for - I saw the pain she was going through, the pain of losing a son, and I felt terribly responsible for his death. Because I was the leader of the organisation and I recruited him to work for the organisation. I then wrote a letter to her in which I apologised to her and asked for her forgiveness and I tried to support her in her hour of need. Yesterday I had the opportunity to hand the letter to her. She did not receive it very well yesterday and this morning she came to me and put her arms round me and told me that she forgave me.
ADV RHOODE: Thank you, Mr Chairperson, I have no further questions.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY ADV RHOODE
JUDGE MALL: Mr Mpshe?
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR MPSHE: Thank you, Mr Chairperson. Mr Du Plessis, you can put on the mike because I am going to put questions to you in English. First I am going to refer you to your documentation attached to the application form, that is Annexure B to your application form.
MR DU PLESSIS: I haven't got a copy.
ADV MPSHE: Even if you don't have it, I will read it out.
MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you.
ADV MPSHE: I want to read to you here from page 3 of Annexure B, Mr Chairman, paragraph one, the last sentence. I will quote it:
"After a time the two of us decided that we should establish an underground organisation as soon as we had left the Defence Force, which would have certain political aspirations, and which a soldier (weerman) would have as one of his main pillars."
What do you mean by "weerman"?
MR DU PLESSIS: I think that is a spelling mistake, it is supposed to be "Weermag".
ADV MPSHE: Oh.
MS KHAMPEPE: Excuse me, Mr Mpshe, what page of Annexure B are you reading from?
ADV MPSHE: Page 3 of Annexure B.
MS KHAMPEPE: Thank you.
ADV MPSHE: The first paragraph, the last sentence.
JUDGE MALL: What is that document headed?
ADV MPSHE: It is just headed Annexure B "Geweld, deel van regse politieke denke".
JUDGE MALL: Annexure B of my papers is something entirely different. It is Annexure B to the applicant Mr Van Wyk, the same document?
ADV MPSHE: No, Annexure B to the application of Mr Du Plessis.
JUDGE MALL: Mr Du Plessis himself?
ADV MPSHE: Yes, Mr Chairman. Mr Chairman, not to take the Committee's time, I am not going to be referring to it any more.
JUDGE MALL: Very well.
ADV MPSHE: There will only be one question but I will quote that and that will be the end of it.
JUDGE MALL: All right.
ADV MPSHE: To save time. So Mr Du Plessis, you are saying that is a mistake, it should read "wat 'n weermag as een van sy hoof steunpilare sou hê"? (The Defence Force would have as one of its main supporting pillars).
MR DU PLESSIS: Defence Force.
ADV MPSHE: What did you envisage by that "Weermag"?
MR DU PLESSIS: A military wing, like the Umkhonto weSizwe was a military wing of the ANC, we envisaged a military wing or a "weermag" for our organisation.
ADV MPSHE: And would I be correct if I said that a military wing was going to be one of the pillars of your intended organisation, that you did foresee the loss of human life during your operations?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, yes, in war time that is what happens, people die. We thought that we should create an army as one of the pillars of the organisation in order to be able to defend our people against the communists and what we believed to be terrorists, and to be able to offensively take this country to a freedom for the White people, which meant, could have been a revolution.
ADV MPSHE: You testified that some of the political leaders you met, amongst others it was Van Tonder of the BBB, Anton Terblanche of the BBB as well, and Dries Alberts. Did you attend meetings with them or did you just casually see them?
MR DU PLESSIS: No, we had meetings, I can recall specifically a meeting with Mr Dries Alberts, where I actually took documentation with on various occasions, discussing with him certain plans about a military wing for the organisation, about our political objectives, as well as the long-term planning for this organisation.
ADV MPSHE: Did they or did you tell them about the establishment of the NSP then?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, at this time that I went with Mr Dries Alberts, I hadn't changed the name to the NSP yet, the Nationalist Socialist Partisans, it was still the South African Partisans at that stage.
ADV MPSHE: Yes, but did you disclose this to these leaders, your modus operandi?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes.
ADV MPSHE: Can you say that they knew your organisation, they knew how you are going to operate, they knew everything about it?
MR DU PLESSIS: No, they didn't know everything about it, because of security reasons, I couldn't disclose all information. However, the broad outline I did disclose to them, to Mr Anton Terblanche, Mr Leunis Van Rooyen and as well as to Mr Dries Alberts.
JUDGE WILSON: Was this that you would form a military wing and take over the country by force? That's just summarising it.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, basically, yes.
JUDGE WILSON: Thanks.
ADV MPSHE: Would I then be correct Mr Du Plessis, to state that the knowledge of the NSP was to a very, very limited number of people. It was very restricted? It was not publicly known?
MR DU PLESSIS: At that stage it wasn't publicly known because we had to work underground due to fear of security police intervention, but we envisaged a growth substantially, but the military wing was always to be an underground organisation, which meant that its activities and its people would have been unknown and as far as possible anyway.
ADV MPSHE: Now would you then agree with me that from the beginning of your operation up to the time you got arrested, you did not have a movement then but you have a political belief to establish a movement. Would that be correct?
MR DU PLESSIS: No, it was definitely a movement, although it was in its infant state, it was definitely a movement. That is why we had conspired to certain objectives. The first members had already put their names to it, and had - we had decided to follow a certain modus operandi with certain objectives. It was definitely an organisation with certain supportive structures from the other organisations. So I wouldn't say it was just a group of people coming together and doing something. It was definitely the beginning of an organisation.
ADV MPSHE: But is it not, Mr Du Plessis, that your modus operandi and the collection of arms and money, this was a process towards establishing a movement, which to my mind never got established. You were still attempting to establish it, you were still trying to concretise your political belief.
MR DU PLESSIS: I was still - what about my political beliefs? Sorry?
ADV MPSHE: Your modus operandi, the collection of weapons and other things and the support, the previous support that you had, you did all this as a process towards establishing a movement. In other words, at that time you were still trying to concretise a political belief.
MR DU PLESSIS: No, the political belief was already concretised. And the movement was already founded. We originally founded the movement as the South African Republican Organisation, that was to be the public organisation, which would have been open. This was in December, the 16th of December 1990. With a military wing called the South African Partisans. After that I had changed, we had a bit of contact and I had changed the name to the National Socialist Partisans, in order to accommodate our international ties as well, with Europe and possibly with America later on. The organisation was already founded. We had already our structures. We had already a very sophisticated and well thought out plan, but we were in the beginning stage of the organisation, of organising it, it had already been founded and it was on its way.
JUDGE WILSON: Four people?
MR DU PLESSIS: No, the four people was the nucleus, but there were already many people who I had confronted who seemed that they would be interested in joining with us, but because of a lack of funds, because of a lack of the premises, to do the training, we couldn't accommodate everybody all yet. So we had to first do the preliminary organising for the military wing. But the organisation had already been founded.
JUDGE WILSON: When you say lack of training, do you mean military training?
MR DU PLESSIS: That's correct.
JUDGE WILSON: What you were concentrating on was military training?
MR DU PLESSIS: No, we initially wanted ... (intervention).
JUDGE WILSON: But that is what you have just said.
MR DU PLESSIS: We initially wanted a military training, to be able to defend ourselves and the organisation, and then from there we would have done information training, propaganda training and communications training.
ADV MPSHE: Mr Du Plessis, besides the four of you being members of NSP, can you give us any - can you give us a number of other people who were members to the NSP?
MR DU PLESSIS: As I said, that was the four of us, were the written in members, thus far.
ADV MPSHE: And the rest of the people just showed interest, they never at all became members of the NSP?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, as I said, we had the support of many groups, and it was an unspoken agreement that they would support us and that we were to support them. However, they hadn't officially been sworn in.
ADV MPSHE: Can you say
MS KHAMPEPE: Excuse me, Mr Mpshe. The unspoken support which you had, where people would belong to their own political movements, is it not so?
MR DU PLESSIS: That's correct.
ADV MPSHE: Can you say, in your NSP was there a commander? Can you speak of a commander?
MR DU PLESSIS: A military commander? Or a ...
ADV MPSHE: A person who could have been said to have been a commander in the NSP amongst the four of you?
MR DU PLESSIS: Right. I was the leader of the organisation. Because of the youth of the organisation, we hadn't been able to define everybody's role yet. But the initial planning was that White would become the military commander and I would go myself into the political field.
ADV MPSHE: Right. Now you just said the initial planning. Do I understand you correctly to be saying that you were only four people who came together to do something that never took off?
MR DU PLESSIS: I wouldn't say that. It wasn't just four people who came together. There had been a lot of planning, a lot of correspondence, the Mr Oliver Matthie had already left for Europe. I suppose one could describe him also as a member because he - even though he wasn't a sworn-in member, he was a member of us. And the people that he got in Europe, specifically in Italy at that stage, one could also see as members of the organisation.
ADV MPSHE: Yes, you may have had a contact overseas, you may have handled correspondence and everything and taken an oath, but what I am saying is, all this you did towards forming a movement which was never formed.
MR DU PLESSIS: The organisation was already formed. It was busy growing and it still had to grow into a much larger organisation. Yet, the organisation was already formed.
ADV MPSHE: Now let's move to the "Kerk van die Skepper". How often did you attend their meetings?
MR DU PLESSIS: It was once a month. They used to come together once a month.
ADV MPSHE: And what is the duration of the meetings?
MR DU PLESSIS: A couple of hours.
ADV MPSHE: What do you mean by a couple of hours?
MR DU PLESSIS: Maybe three or four hours on a Sunday morning.
ADV MPSHE: And during that three or four hours, what was being discussed, what was the main issue?
MR DU PLESSIS: It was usually political speeches by various people, plus the philosophy of the Church of the Creator.
ADV MPSHE: Did you have any leadership role to play in this organisation?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, we formed what was called the leadership institute and I was an active member there. I had also given a couple of speeches at that stage.
ADV MPSHE: Mr Du Plessis, you knew, you said actually you planned the collection of weapons in Louis Trichardt, where unfortunately people lost their lives. Did you foresee or indicate - no, did you foresee that loss of life would take place?
MR DU PLESSIS: Excuse me. I didn't foresee the death of any people. When White had given me the - well, when White came to me with the idea that he wanted to steal those weapons, I told him I can go along with that, I can agree with it, but he must make sure that nobody is in the house, and therefore it would be a simple theft, because he assured me that it was a simple operation, that there would only be a theft of weapons. I didn't foresee, unfortunately I didn't foresee the death of anybody at that stage.
ADV MPSHE: Would you then agree with me that the killing of these three innocent people was not at all part of your process towards reaching your objectives?
MR DU PLESSIS: No, it wasn't part of our planning at all.
ADV MPSHE: And in fact, you said earlier in your evidence that "die dood van die drie mense, dit kon julle nie ..." The death of the three people, you could not justify that.
MR DU PLESSIS: I didn't know how to justify it at all. It was a very unfortunate thing that took place. And I couldn't justify it at all. I thought that White had been very - well, he hadn't thought about what he was doing when he went in there and did, and they did what they did, and I felt that this actually jeopardised our chances of success greatly.
ADV MPSHE: And would you agree then with me further, that when you say I couldn't justify, you are actually referring to NSP, that NSP cannot justify the death of the three people?
MR DU PLESSIS: That's right, we couldn't justify it. However, because the people that were involved in the killing, was a part of the organisation and because they went on that operation to achieve goals of the NSP, namely to get weapons, I felt to a certain extent responsible for it.
ADV MPSHE: Ja, but still following up on the fact that the NSP could not justify the three deaths, then it would mean to us that the three deaths had absolutely nothing to do with the objectives of the movement?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, it had nothing to do with the objectives of the movement and it was, had nothing to do with the planning either.
ADV MPSHE: The NSP to my mind, and if I am wrong you must say so, was known to a very limited part of the community, that very few people know about it. Is that correct?
MR DU PLESSIS: That's correct, yes.
ADV MPSHE: Now when did you - that question has been answered. No further questions, Mr Chairman, thank you.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR MPSHE
JUDGE MALL: Mr Grimbeeck, have you any questions to put to this witness?
CROSS-EXAMINATION ADV GRIMBEECK: Thank you, Mr Chairman, I would like to put a few questions to the witness. Mr Du Plessis, just to return to your background. You mentioned to us that your mother and father were divorced when you were still very young and you then went to live with your father. You also testified that your mother later remarried, quite a liberal person. According to my understanding he was also Jewish, is that correct?
MR DU PLESSIS: That is correct, she went to live with him but they didn't actually marry.
ADV GRIMBEECK: Right. So as I understand it that fed your father's hatred towards Jewish people in general?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, I was absolutely torn apart, because I felt very close to this Jewish man when I went to stay with my mother and my father of course, despised Jewry entirely and that contributed to my tension and conflict.
ADV GRIMBEECK: Well, you then went to Amanzimtoti and there you met Mr Van Wyk. You testified that your father indoctrinated you and that he presented certain convictions to you and tenets to you and that you eventually came to believe in these political convictions. What was Mr Van Wyk's involvement?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, because my father and I regularly discussed politics, that was the main theme of our discussions and because Mr Van Wyk was my friend, my best friend at that stage, and often came to visit us, eventually participated in these discussions.
ADV GRIMBEECK: How did Mr Van Wyk feel after a while? He started thinking and feeling like yourself and your father?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, initially he just chatted to my father about politics in my presence, but after a while he and my father started discussing politics at length even in my absence, and I think there were certain instances when Mr Van Wyk came to look for me and I wasn't at home, and he then would chat to my father.
ADV GRIMBEECK: Now you were bosom friends with Mr Van Wyk, during your school years and even after you left school. How would you describe his political views and attitudes?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, he had largely the same beliefs as I had and my father, in fact they were identical his views, and he was also strongly convinced of his views, namely these views which were the same as ours.
ADV GRIMBEECK: Now the relationship between yourself and Mr Van Wyk at school, could you tell us a little bit more about that, and more specifically, which one of you would you have regarded as the leader?
MR DU PLESSIS: I was the leader.
ADV GRIMBEECK: Could we then say that Mr Van Wyk held you in high regard?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, it is difficult to say, because we were friends, but we had a great respect for each other, but it is possible that he had a very high regard for me, held me in some awe.
ADV GRIMBEECK: You then came to Pretoria, went to the Army and you met Mr White. Tell us a little bit more about Mr White. What type of person was he?
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr White, when I met him in the Army, had very strong military views, militant views, and he had a friend who came from Zimbabwe, and the two of them had very strong aspirations to place Zimbabwe under a White government once again. That, of course, fitted in very neatly with my ideas. Mr White had a strong personality and he was very determined.
ADV GRIMBEECK: As regards Mr White's views on violence, could you elaborate on that? Was he a pacifist, did he believe in solving matters through violence?
MR DU PLESSIS: When I met him initially in Oudsthoorn, when we shared a room, he was already quite militant, but in reality he wasn't a violent person. I never saw him involved in any fights, but his ideas were very militant.
ADV GRIMBEECK: How would he have confronted when confronted and provoked? Would he have run away or would he have stood his ground and fought?
MR DU PLESSIS: No, White was not a person to run away.
ADV GRIMBEECK: So he'd rather have fought his way out of a conflict situation?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, White was a big strong man, not only physically but also mentally, he was mentally strong and that's one of his qualities which I found very attractive, and he would definitely not have turned his back on a fight and run away.
ADV GRIMBEECK: Now as regards your great friend, Mr Van Wyk, how would you sum him up as regards violence?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, he wasn't quite so militant initially, but he was prepared to stand his ground whenever necessary and when he was confronted.
ADV GRIMBEECK: As regards loyalty?
MR DU PLESSIS: I experienced him as a very loyal person, especially towards our objectives and aims.
ADV GRIMBEECK: You further testified that White and yourself decided to establish an organisation. You also swore an oath, a blood oath. Could you tell us a little bit more about this blood oath?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, it was a long time ago and I can't remember the exact wording of this blood oath, but it basically said that our loyalty to the organisation and towards the White people in this country, and towards the White race internationally, it declared our absolute loyalty towards the White race and it also declared that we were prepared to fight to the death for the liberation of the Whites in this country.
ADV GRIMBEECK: What I find important here, is were any penalties provided for, if a person should betray the organisation? Was that aspect covered at all in the oath?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, it was agreed that if anybody should betray the organisation, that such treason was punishable by death.
ADV GRIMBEECK: What would you consider to be treason?
MR DU PLESSIS: If somebody disclosed our names and activities to the Police or basically revealed what the organisation was up to.
ADV GRIMBEECK: As regards disobeying orders, what were your views on that, did you view that in a serious light?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, because we were so sensitive at that stage and so small and vulnerable, we had to act in a very disciplined way, which meant that orders had to be complied with down to the last detail.
ADV GRIMBEECK: Right. What was the structure of command in this organisation, what was your position, what was Mr White's and Van Wyk's and Grobbelaar's, what was your respective positions?
MR DU PLESSIS: I was the leader of the organisation. White would originally have held the rank of captain. He was the military leader and Grobbelaar and Van Wyk were just the ordinary soldiers. At a later stage Van Wyk would have joined the information wing, because he had a very good computer background.
ADV GRIMBEECK: Now who would have given orders to Mr Van Wyk, should you find yourselves in an operational situation?
MR DU PLESSIS: He would have taken his orders from me, except if I wasn't present, he would have had to take orders from White.
ADV GRIMBEECK: You testified that you initially planned an operation for Louis Trichardt. You wanted so steal arms from a military base but that did not materialise. After that you contemplated robbing a shebeen in Durban and that also did not materialise, and then you wanted to steal R4s on the spur of the moment at another base. That also did not occur. Now at that stage, or as I understand it from you, you in all these cases had said that it wasn't safe and that you shouldn't continue with these actions.
MR DU PLESSIS: That is correct.
ADV GRIMBEECK: What was White's attitude after the third operation had been postponed and cancelled?
MR DU PLESSIS: He became very frustrated and he felt that we were not prepared to take sufficient risks. He felt that we were going far too slowly.
ADV GRIMBEECK: You have heard what happened during the murders at Louis Trichardt. Do you think that White was seeking an outlet for his frustration? Could that possibly explain what happened?
MR DU PLESSIS: I could only speculate on this, I can't really tell you. I do know he was frustrated because we had cancelled three operations, and particularly, frustrated after the first operation was cancelled, because he had put a lot into it, a lot of planning and thought. He became desperate for weapons.
ADV GRIMBEECK: As regards the second operation in Louis Trichardt, where these murders took place, I understand that a lot of planning also went into that operation.
MR DU PLESSIS: Just repeat that?
ADV GRIMBEECK: In Louis Trichardt, during the second operation, a lot of planning went into the operation, surveillance of the premises.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, my knowledge of this is not very much bigger than your own because I didn't take part in the operation, I did approve it, but because I was away on holiday for a couple of days, I went to my aunt's wedding, I left all the planning and the detail thereof to White.
ADV GRIMBEECK: You further testified that your heroes, Jopie Fourie, Danie Theron and Genl De Wet, that these were your heroes, and to die for the cause was to die a noble death.
MR DU PLESSIS: That is correct.
ADV GRIMBEECK: Is it so that the organisation would have gone all to extremes to pursue its objectives?
MR DU PLESSIS: We were extremely determined to achieve our objectives. We thought and believed that what we were doing justified our objectives and we thought that the preservation of the White race was the alpha and the omega and that anything which contributed to that, whatever the price, we felt was justified.
ADV GRIMBEECK: And even if innocent people had to die in the process?
MR DU PLESSIS: If there was no other way, we felt that yes, even if innocent people had to die, as it must happen during any war, we felt that that would then be justified.
ADV GRIMBEECK: As regards the actions in Louis Trichardt, under cross-examination by Adv Mpshe you said that you couldn't justify it, the murders committed there.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes. I felt that as a result of our actions that innocent people should not die by our hand, and especially White people should not die as a result of our actions. But I believed that at a later stage when a full-scale war had erupted, that innocent people would then die, because it was unavoidable but it wasn't justifiable. It is permissible but not justifiable. It will happen, you must accept that it will happen, but I couldn't justify it.
ADV GRIMBEECK: You also testified that you experienced a lot of guilt and reproach about the fact that people had died.
MR DU PLESSIS: That's correct.
ADV GRIMBEECK: Why?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, I should have foreseen that people could be killed on that day in Louis Trichardt, I should have foreseen that and I didn't. I should have realised that if there was the possibility that innocent people could be killed, I should have aborted the operation, but I didn't. Not only the three people who died at Louis Trichardt, but also White and Grobbelaar who died. This really upset me, and I suffered agony about this and I feel responsible for their deaths as well, in that I was the leader of the organisation and I recruited Grobbelaar for the operation.
ADV GRIMBEECK: As regards the murders in Louis Trichardt, would the organisation accept and assume responsibility for those?
MR DU PLESSIS: I don't know, the organisation is no longer in existence and as I said, personally I feel responsible to some extent for their deaths, because I agreed to the stealing of the weapons and because I did not foresee that people could be killed, and I should have foreseen that.
ADV GRIMBEECK: Did you not reconcile yourself with that possibility, by staying on in the organisation after the murders were committed?
MR DU PLESSIS: Pardon?
ADV GRIMBEECK: Had you not to some extent reconciled yourself with that possibility, by staying on in the organisation after people had been killed?
MR DU PLESSIS: You see, the murders which took place in Louis Trichardt were unacceptable to me, but our objective was far more important to me than anything else. We simply had to continue, irrespective of what happened, we couldn't stop. We were in any event bound by the blood oath we had sworn and we simply had to continue.
ADV GRIMBEECK: You see, you also testified that the murders ostensibly had nothing to do with the objectives of the NSP?
MR DU PLESSIS: that is correct.
ADV GRIMBEECK: Now after what you have just testified, can you still justify such a statement? You see, it is commonly known that the operation, the aim of the operation was to obtain weapons. So can you still say that it had nothing to do with the aims of the operation?
MR DU PLESSIS: The attempt to get hold of weapons, certainly was linked with the objectives of the organisation, but the deaths of the people, that could not contribute, as far as I am concerned, to the aims of the organisation. I believe that the people panicked and that is why these people were killed. Possibly because they were afraid of being identified, I don't know, but I cannot justify these deaths. I cannot do that.
ADV GRIMBEECK: Now seen globally in the bigger context of your aims, I would like to put it to you that what happened can be reconciled with the aims of the organisation, that the organisation did foresee that innocent people might be killed?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, the possibility was present in our minds, the possibility that innocent people would die at some stage. As I said, in any war innocent people could die and I believed that we were heading a situation of war, but that we should go, personally go and kill innocent people, that was not part of our aims and objectives.
ADV GRIMBEECK: No further questions.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY ADV GRIMBEECK
JUDGE MALL: We will take the usual adjournment at this stage and resume at 14:15.
JEAN DU PLESSIS: (Still under oath).
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR PRINSLOO: The aims and the objectives of the National Socialist Partisans, deviate in any way from any of the goals of other right-wing organisations?
MR DU PLESSIS: No, Mr Chairperson. I feel that the Nationalist Socialist Partisans' objectives were totally in line with those of various right-wing organisations, and were also intended to further the general goals of these organisations.
ADV PRINSLOO: The objectives of the BBB, the Boerestaat Party, did you adhere to those principles yourself?
MR DU PLESSIS: That's correct.
ADV PRINSLOO: Did you also - let me put it this way rather, if your movement had grown to the point at which action could have been taken, would you have been able to achieve your aims through acting only as the Nationalist Socialist Partisans or would you have had to involve other parties?
MR DU PLESSIS: No, the NSP were not designed to appear in public as such. The whole aim was to remain an underground association. So without the co-operation of the other organisations it would have failed utterly, because in the end we would have had to mobilise the people of the country.
ADV PRINSLOO: Thank you very much, Mr Chairman, I have no further questions.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR PRINSLOO
JUDGE NGOEPE: Mr Du Plessis, I assume that - or let me put it to you this way. The vehicle that was stolen, was it going to, was it envisaged that it would ever at some stage be returned to its owner?
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, we envisaged that in the end of the day, just like there was done during the Second World War when for instance, German tanks went into France, IOUs were given at the petrol stations. I envisaged that full compensation at the end of such a war would be done to anybody who made sacrifices or who lost some of their possessions or whatever.
JUDGE NGOEPE: But you didn't know the owner thereof, did you?
MR DU PLESSIS: I beg your pardon?
JUDGE NGOEPE: You did not know the owner of the vehicle?
MR DU PLESSIS: No, I didn't know the owner of the vehicle.
JUDGE NGOEPE: How would you have compensated him?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, our end objective was to take control of the entire country, which would have meant that we would have been in a position of power, which would have meant that we would have had the media and various other aspects to our disposal, and to those means we would have been able to contact all the people that were damaged through these operations.
JUDGE NGOEPE: Is the truth not that you simply regarded him as one of those people who might fall victim in the process, must become victims in the process of your struggle?
MR DU PLESSIS: Is the truth ...?
JUDGE NGOEPE: Is the truth not that you simply regarded the owner of that vehicle to be one of those people who must become victims to your struggle?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, I did feel that it was a price that somebody had to pay, to help us along with our objectives. However, I did envisage that some time if we did get to a position of power, we would be able to compensate them.
JUDGE WILSON: Didn't you say that you thought that would take 25 to 30 years?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, the ... (intervention).
JUDGE WILSON: Isn't that what you said in your evidence? That's when you thought when you would, how long it would take?
MR DU PLESSIS: The plan internationally, was a 25 to 30 year plan, that is correct.
JUDGE NGOEPE: And did you really have to steal somebody's car?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, Mr Chairman, without that car we would have been without any transport and would not have been able to do any of our further operations, because we could not get hold of somebody to donate a car to us at that stage.
JUDGE NGOEPE: The various points that you visited prior to the theft of this car, what were you using?
MR DU PLESSIS: We only went on one operation prior to the theft of that car and we used a vehicle that one of the supporting people had borrowed to us, had lent to us.
JUDGE NGOEPE: Now earlier on when some questions were put to you, you suggested that the death of the people in Louis Trichardt was not contemplated by yourself or that it could not be justified.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes. I feel that the people that died there, died unnecessarily and that they were innocent victims and because they are innocent, it cannot politically be justified. However, the organisation was to as an organisation to an extent, responsible for those deaths.
JUDGE NGOEPE: But you also said that you envisaged that in the course of what you said will be a war situation, you expected that victims or rather civilians could be killed?
MR DU PLESSIS: As an unfortunate event in all wars, innocent people do die.
JUDGE NGOEPE: And at the time of the killing of the three people at Louis Trichardt, a war situation had not yet materialised?
MR DU PLESSIS: That's correct.
JUDGE NGOEPE: When would that materialise?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, we thought that once a Black government would come to power or once we could get to such a position where we could actively start mobilising the White people in general, that there would become such a great conflict situation, that one would be able to call it a war, a civil war.
JUDGE NGOEPE: Why did you - why were you against this operation?
MR DU PLESSIS: Why was I against the theft of these weapons?
JUDGE NGOEPE: Yes. Yes, I thought you said when White suggested stealing these weapons from this particular place, you were against this idea but later you felt that you had turned down previously a few of the suggestions, and this time you felt that you would let him go ahead with hit. Is that what you said?
MR DU PLESSIS: No, what I said was that on three occasions I had turned down the operations. I had stopped the operations before we went over to the deed, and I felt under obligation at that stage. When White came to me with the idea that these weapons should be stolen, I gave in to the idea and I gave my approval that these weapons should be stolen.
JUDGE NGOEPE: Yes, but initially you said you were reluctant?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, I felt reluctant in the sense that it was civilians and as far as possible we wanted to only steal and direct our operations towards the security forces and what I called the money powers.
JUDGE NGOEPE: Wasn't one of the reasons why you initially were reluctant, the realisation on your part that civilians might be - in that particular house, might be injured or killed?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, when I asked White whether it would be a difficult operation, he gave me the assurance that it would be a very simple operation, where they would just be able to go in, steal the weapons and come out. And that took away my fears that anything could go wrong.
JUDGE NGOEPE: Yes, just tell us what your views are as of now, with regards to the use of violence?
MR DU PLESSIS: I am totally against any form of violence.
JUDGE NGOEPE: Thank you, Mr Chairperson.
JUDGE WILSON: Mr Du Plessis, you told us, I think, that White was a very big strong man physically.
MR DU PLESSIS: That's correct.
JUDGE WILSON: An easily recognisable man.
MR DU PLESSIS: That is correct.
JUDGE WILSON: And he was on very good terms with the people of Louis Trichardt?
MR DU PLESSIS: That is correct.
JUDGE WILSON: He visited their home and he knew that the guns would be found?
MR DU PLESSIS: That's right.
JUDGE WILSON: And they lived on a farm or smallholding.
MR DU PLESSIS: That is right.
JUDGE WILSON: And I put it to you, Mr Du Plessis, that it is the invariable custom in this country of ours, that on farms and smallholdings, Blacks are employed about the house.
MR DU PLESSIS: That is correct.
JUDGE WILSON: So White would have been going to a house where there were Black servants who may well have seen him before?
MR DU PLESSIS: That is possible, yes.
JUDGE WILSON: It was certain, wasn't it? Unless there had been a change of servants just before.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, I wasn't thoroughly familiar with the exact details of the place, and of the people.
JUDGE WILSON: You know the practice in our country.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, I am well aware of that.
JUDGE WILSON: Yes. And we know that the plan was for White to go there during the daytime.
MR DU PLESSIS: That is correct.
JUDGE WILSON: And the servant would have recognised him and your whole plot would have come unstuck, if she was left alive or he was left alive?
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, wearing camouflage uniform and having a balaclava over your head, plus gloves, I believe you become totally unrecognisable.
JUDGE WILSON: Nobody has told us about balaclavas over the heads or gloves. You weren't there, were you?
MR DU PLESSIS: No, I wasn't, but that was our modus operandi.
JUDGE WILSON: And we were told that they were going to take, if they found a woman there, they were going to take her into the laundry or somewhere and tie her up, very close contact.
MR DU PLESSIS: That is correct.
JUDGE WILSON: I suggest to you that it appears that the planning was reckless as to whether this person would be or any servant who was unlucky to be seen by these people, would be killed or not, and that that is what you agreed to?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, as I said, it was a mistake of mine to have allowed the operation in the first place. I have deep regrets about it. But I don't think that they would have been recognised in any circumstances, because wearing that balaclava, wearing the gloves, wearing camouflage uniform, I believe makes on totally unrecognisable.
JUDGE WILSON: Walking outside a - 150 metres away from a hotel in the morning, dressed like this? That's what we were told it was.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, well, our modus operandi was to be do all movements very clandestine. That is why we used to wear camouflage uniforms so that we would move in the bushes.
JUDGE WILSON: You have also referred us during the course of your evidence to a letter or letters of Olivier.
MR DU PLESSIS: Oliver Matthie, that's right.
JUDGE WILSON: Yes, there are three of them, aren't there?
MR DU PLESSIS: That is correct.
JUDGE WILSON: Are they all addressed to you?
MR DU PLESSIS: The name that is on there is Jean Pierre du Toit, which was a false name, but it was directed to me.
JUDGE WILSON: Because they seem to be mainly worried about his relationship with Christine and contain very little indicating any political relationship between you, do they?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, the part that was in Z11, number 4, I think it is underlined, I don't know whether it is underlined in your copy, shows that there are five men that he had ... (intervention).
JUDGE WILSON: Oh, he had found some Italian boys who would come out but he would only come out with them if he didn't see Christine in June?
MR DU PLESSIS: No, I think ... (intervention).
JUDGE WILSON: That's the underlined portion -
"And I will come only if I don't see Christine in June. The five Italian boys too."
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes.
JUDGE WILSON: Christine again. The next paragraph is -"I don't know what is the game of Christine."
MR DU PLESSIS: That is correct. We did not write much about politics and our objectives at that stage, because of fear of interception by the security police. However, he was feeling very bad about Mr Van Wyk that had taken off his girlfriend from him.
JUDGE WILSON: Yes, that was his prime concern in writing to you, wasn't it?
MR DU PLESSIS: That was ... ... (intervention).
JUDGE WILSON: And which Mr Van Wyk was that?
MR DU PLESSIS: My co-accused.
JUDGE WILSON: So he was angry, he says he would never want to meet your co-accused again and yet you say he was working with you and your organisation.
MR DU PLESSIS: That is correct, we were working together.
However, there was this internal problem between the two of them. However, I felt that our overhead objectives would have been put ahead of personal feelings.
JUDGE WILSON: He doesn't seem to agree in his letters, does he?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, at that stage he didn't.
JUDGE WILSON: Yes. Thank you.
MS KHAMPEPE: Mr Du Plessis, in your evidence you mention that White had assured you that the operation would be carried out and it was a simple operation to carry out.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, that is what he ... (intervention).
MS KHAMPEPE: With regard to the Louis Trichardt incident.
MR DU PLESSIS: That is correct, that is what he had assured me of.
MS KHAMPEPE: And you had participated in the planning, you had been advised of the details of the plan by Mr White?
MR DU PLESSIS: No, I wasn't part of the planning. He had only told me that he knows of these weapons where he could steal them, at a private holding, and he knew the people, that he knew the whereabouts and that it would be a simple operation.
MS KHAMPEPE: But then you approved of the plan, you must have been told of the plan?
MR DU PLESSIS: I approved in principle that they - the weapons could be stolen there. However, I did not have access to the detailed plan because I wasn't present when the detailed plan was worked out.
MS KHAMPEPE: But was the plan not discussed with you?
MR DU PLESSIS: No, the plan was not discussed with me. I was on holiday with my family at that stage when the final detailed plan was set up, I presume.
JUDGE WILSON: Well, you say what the detailed plan was, you were told it was perfectly simple, they were going to go to the house, walk in and take the guns. What are you now talking about final detailed plans?
MR DU PLESSIS: Our modus operandi was to draw a plan of a place to decide what the entrance way would be, what the access way would be, and it was done in a military fashion.
MS KHAMPEPE: Mr Du Plessis, did you not give Mr White your gun for the operation?
MR DU PLESSIS: I left my firearm at home, as he had asked, because we moved all our operations fully armed.
MS KHAMPEPE: Yes, you knew that - did you know that there was a likelihood of them using a gun?
MR DU PLESSIS: The firearms was put to their disposal and we used to take firearms with us. In the event of security force intervention.
MS KHAMPEPE: Now this was a simple operation. This was what was conveyed to you, but you gave them your gun?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, we would never have known where and when the security force might be able to intervene.
MS KHAMPEPE: With regard to the car incident, were there any means made to ascertain the ownership of that car by you, before the car was stolen?
MR DU PLESSIS: Was there any ...?
MS KHAMPEPE: Did you make any means to ascertain the identity of the owner of the car that you intended to steal?
MR DU PLESSIS: No, no, we didn't.
MS KHAMPEPE: And your intention was never to have had your own people?
MR DU PLESSIS: As far as it was possible for us, I would, I didn't want to harm our own people, no.
MS KHAMPEPE: Was there any urgency which presented itself that resulted in you having to steal the car then and there, without having conducted any kind of investigation to, with regard to the identity of the owner of the car?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, we decided that we must, we need a car and that it would inevitably have to be stolen. We felt that at a later stage it would be possible to find out such things. However, we didn't have the infrastructure to investigate such things, at that stage.
MS KHAMPEPE: Would it have been an impossible thing to do though?
MR DU PLESSIS: I don't know whether it would have been impossible, but it would have been very difficult at that stage anyway.
MS KHAMPEPE: You had a movement formed on the 16th of December 1990. That's SAPAT?
MR DU PLESSIS: That is SARO.
MS KHAMPEPE: SARO?
MR DU PLESSIS: The South African Republican Organisation, yes.
MS KHAMPEPE: What is the difference between that movement and the one which was later formed? SAPAT? Which one came first? SARO or SAPAT?
MR DU PLESSIS: No, SARO would have been a political wing of the organisation where SAPAT would have been a military wing. The idea of SAPAT had started while we were in the Army, while White and I were still in the South African Defence Force, and then later on I had decided to change the name of SAPAT to the National Socialist Partisans.
MS KHAMPEPE: How many members belonged to SAPAT, before it was changed to NSP?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, we hadn't officially taken in members. What we had done, we were five, five people at the founding of SARO under which Mr Dries Alberts was one of them. And we would have exactly the same as the National Socialist Partisans, tried to make it grow from there.
MS KHAMPEPE: Yet you are the only one who took a decision to change the name from SAPAT to NSP.
MR DU PLESSIS: That's correct, yes.
MS KHAMPEPE: Would you regard that organisation as having been a public organisation, Mr Du Plessis?
MR DU PLESSIS: No, it hadn't had the opportunity to become a public organisation yet.
MS KHAMPEPE: So you would agree with me that it was a private movement?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, we had a public objectives, but it was still known to a very few people.
MS KHAMPEPE: Nevertheless, it was a private movement.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, I am not quite sure how to define between public and private in this circumstance.
MS KHAMPEPE: It was not known to the general public as such?
MR DU PLESSIS: No, it was not known to the general public.
MS KHAMPEPE: It was not known to the Afrikaans community.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, it was through Mr Dries Alberts, it could have become known to certain leader elements within the Afrikaans community.
MS KHAMPEPE: But at that stage it had not been known.
MR DU PLESSIS: Not that I know of.
MS KHAMPEPE: You have mentioned that there was a penalty for refusal to carry out an order of a member of the NSP. Do you remember? That's what you said in your evidence.
MR DU PLESSIS: No, I said that there was a penalty for betraying the organisation.
MS KHAMPEPE: Was there a penalty for refusal of carrying out of an instruction by a member?
MR DU PLESSIS: I hadn't come to that amount of final detail in the planning of the organisation, where a code of conduct had officially been set up yet. I was still busy with the setting up of such a code of conduct. However, we would, I would have thought we would have to have had a, some form of penalty for anybody that did not obey a command.
MS KHAMPEPE: So what we are saying is that at the time of the commission of the incident at Louis Trichardt, where three people were dead, your movement had not at that stage pronounced any conduct with regard to the refusal of carrying out of an order by the members of the NSP?
MR DU PLESSIS: No, I hadn't.
MS KHAMPEPE: To be a member of the NSP the only qualification I heard you mentioning, was that you had to swear to the blood oath.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, the only qualification that you had to have was that you had to be loyal to the White race and to our objectives of freeing the White people in this country.
MS KHAMPEPE: And you had to then cement your membership by the swearing of the blood oath?
MR DU PLESSIS: I had to what ...?
MS KHAMPEPE: You had to cement your membership by the swearing of the blood oath, you had to take the blood oath, to confirm your membership.
MR DU PLESSIS: All right. To the military in part, because of the sensitivity of the operations, it would be of vital importance for somebody to take that blood oath. However, for the political wing it would not have been necessary.
MS KHAMPEPE: Even the members who were there at the time of your arrest, have they all taken the blood oath?
MR DU PLESSIS: Myself, White, Grobbelaar and Van Wyk had taken the blood oath, because we were all involved in the military aspect of the organisation.
MS KHAMPEPE: Who did not have to take the blood oath of your total membership?
MR DU PLESSIS: The people who did not partake directly in operations and who did not have access to the finer detail of operations.
MS KHAMPEPE: And who are those, are you able to mention them?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, these would be people that supported our ideas, our ideologies, like Mr Terblanche and Mr Van Rooyen.
MS KHAMPEPE: Were they members of the SNP?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, as I said, the people didn't take a blood oath. So I couldn't say, I cannot say that they were active members, no. Mr Van Rooyen had also indicated earlier that he could not actively become involved with us.
MS KHAMPEPE: They were not members of the SNP? There is no evidence that they were members of the SNP, either from you or from Mr Van Wyk.
MR DU PLESSIS: They were not officially written-in members, no. We didn't take, we tried to refrain from that amount of documentation also.
MS KHAMPEPE: Now why ... (intervention).
JUDGE NGOEPE: Sorry, but the fact, if I may just ask you on that. The fact that notwithstanding your approach to them, the fact that despite the fact that they sympathised they did not sign up as members. Isn't that a sign of rejection of your organisation and a clear expression of their unwillingness to become members of your organisation?
MR DU PLESSIS: No, Mr Chairman.
JUDGE NGOEPE: What must they have done to show that they didn't want to become members of your organisation?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, in such a case they wouldn't have given us financial support or the use of vehicles. They would have totally refrained from any activity concerning us.
MS KHAMPEPE: Mr Du Plessis, the reason that you proceeded to steal the car was because you couldn't get a car from any of your supporters. Is it not so?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, at that stage I couldn't get another car again, but the first time I did get a car.
MS KHAMPEPE: Including Mr Terreblanche, he couldn't give you further use of his car?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, seeing that he was using it himself as well, we couldn't permanently use it and we needed a vehicle that we could permanently use.
MS KHAMPEPE: Is it possible that you could have got financial assistance from your supporters, if you had asked?
MR DU PLESSIS: We did get some financial support. However, it was because they were not multi-millionaires, it wasn't, it was inadequate for our aims.
JUDGE NGOEPE: For how long did you remain only four?
MR DU PLESSIS: I beg your pardon?
JUDGE NGOEPE: The life-span of your organisation?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes.
JUDGE NGOEPE: How long was it?
MR DU PLESSIS: A couple of months.
JUDGE NGOEPE: About six, 12?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, from the stage that we actively started doing operations until we were arrested, was about three months, three, four months.
JUDGE NGOEPE: And it remained constantly four all the time?
At all times it was just the four?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, at that stage until we had established a base, the nucleus, the cell that was supposed to do the preparations for the expansion of the organisation, had to stay only four.
JUDGE MALL: At what stage did you think that the political wing of your organisation was going to be brought into existence?
MR DU PLESSIS: As soon as we had attained a large sum of money and we had established the military base, and we were out of public circulation, Mr Speaker.
JUDGE MALL: Can I understand from that - yes.
JUDGE WILSON: This is set out, isn't it, in Annexure B, do you know Annexure B to your application?
MR DU PLESSIS: I haven't got it in my memory.
JUDGE WILSON: It begins "geweld, deel van regse politiese denke" -
"Violence, part of right-wing political thinking. Unfortunately I and one of the supporters of the organisation were arrested before we could go over to phases 2 to 10."
It sets out there 10 phases that you had to do.
MR DU PLESSIS: That's right.
JUDGE WILSON: And that's just what you have told my Brother here, the first phase is collection of weapons, the second collection of money, and you set out the 10 phases in that report.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, if I can remember correctly, the first phase was as you said. The second phase would have been getting the money, a third phase establishing the base and getting the people together. Then there were a number of phases until the end of the entire plan.
JUDGE WILSON: Well, the political comes as number eight.
MR DU PLESSIS: That's right.
JUDGE MALL: So apart from a nucleus of four people, who had operated under your leadership at that stage, no political organisation was brought into existence. Is that right?
MR DU PLESSIS: We hadn't brought into existence a public political organisation, no. But we had the support of political leaders and the objective was to become part of the overall political objective.
JUDGE MALL: I understand the objective. My question really related to whether that support had reached a stage where you had formed a political organisation, and it seems that that was stage eight. You hadn't reached that stage. So whilst you may have had political persuasions and a philosophy to guide you, and maybe the other members as well, a political wing had not yet come into existence as such.
MR DU PLESSIS: When I speak about a political wing in the documentation there, it is referring to an openly political wing that could operate openly and in public.
JUDGE MALL: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: But I feel that our organisation was already a political organisation, because if it wasn't for the political aspect of it, there would have been no organisation.
JUDGE MALL: But I understand that your political objectives could only commence once you have gathered together a sufficient amount of money and arms, recruited enough people, trained them. In the meanwhile, I understand you made contacts with influential people belonging to other political organisations. You might have received some measure of moral support, or agreement with your views, but it hadn't reached the stage where this political wing had in fact come into existence.
MR DU PLESSIS: No, the political wing hadn't come into existence at that stage, the openly political wing, no.
JUDGE MALL: Thank you.
JUDGE NGOEPE: Sorry, Mr Du Plessis, when you were asked about why you made your pistol available to Mr White, you said that you people had to be armed at all times in case of intervention by the security.
MR DU PLESSIS: That's right.
JUDGE NGOEPE: In which case apparently you would shoot?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, we felt that if the security police was to intervene in any way, that we should shoot.
JUDGE NGOEPE: What if the intervention was by civilians? What would happen if it was to be a civilian intervention?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, I am not, I am not quite sure. We had planned for political, for police or Defence Force intervention. We didn't feel though that if we had proper planning, if we had planned our operations properly that any civilians would intervene.
JUDGE NGOEPE: Well, isn't the position that given the determination on your part, and even if it were to be civilian intervention you would be prepared to shoot your way out or to get whatever you wanted to get?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, as I said before, we were very motivated and we had decided that the aims justifies the means, and we had decided that nothing was to stop us from achieving our political objectives. That is correct. However, I did not envisage at that stage in any way, that civilians would have to be put into any danger.
JUDGE MALL: Are there any questions that you gentlemen would wish to put from what has been said now?
ADV MPSHE: Not from me, thank you, Mr Chairman.
NO QUESTIONS BY ADV MPSHE
ADV PRINSLOO: Neither from me.
NO QUESTIONS BY ADV PRINSLOO
ADV RHOODE: I have no further re-examination, Sir.
NO RE-EXAMINATION BY ADV RHOODE
JUDGE MALL: Thank you very much.
MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you, Mr Chairman.
WITNESS STANDS DOWN
MR RHOODE CALLS:
ANDRIES HENDRIK ALBERTS: (Duly sworn, states).
EXAMINATION BY MR RHOODE: Mr Alberts, would you please give your full names and identify yourself?
MR ALBERTS: Yes, Andries Hendrik Alberts, adult person, self-employed and I reside at Hartebeespoortdam.
ADV RHOODE: Would you describe yourself as financially independent?
MR ALBERTS: Yes.
ADV RHOODE: Please proceed and tell us about your political involvement?
MR ALBERTS: In the years 1980 to 1989 I was intensely involved in right-wing politics. I was a member of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbewering, the AWB. Soon after my joining the AWB I was promoted to the position of head of propaganda and information. I was also involved in acts which led to the foundation of the Conservative Party. In fact, I also worked with Dr Connie Mulder, his then National Conservative Party which later became part of the Conservative Party. I was together with people like Dr Albert Hertzog, Genl Cockroft and Dr Connie Mulder. Together with them I was a founder member of the AWSA and another movement at the time.
ADV RHOODE: What do these stand for?
MR ALBERTS: AWSA is for Action to Save White South Africa. It was a new political body which came into being in the early Eighties. As the name indicates it was to save White South Africa from the Communist onslaught, as the perspective in right-wing ranks in those days was. In the early Eighties I began to act as an activist at political meetings, disrupting political meetings. This resulted inter alia in a situation in which for the first time since 1948 when the National Party came to power, that in the Transvaal we could introduce successfully a motion of no-confidence in the Minister of the National Party. On occasions I also disrupted the meetings of Minister Hendrik, Minister Fanie Botha at Groblersdal and Marble Hall, to the extent that they were unable to hold a meeting.
Actions of this type that resulted that we continued to prevent National Party Ministers from appearing in public. It led to an offensive in Brits where Minister Louis Nel was literally chased away and prevented from holding his meeting.
At that stage actions of this kind grasped the imagination of the supporters of right-wing politics. I prevented Mr Kobie Coetzee from holding a meeting at Nylstroom. This had a snowball effect. Until at Pietersburg we prevented Mr Pik Botha from holding a meeting. I think it is important in the development of right-wing politics in these time to note, and I want to say this in the context of the fact that we now have to deal with the NSP and organisations which began with four members. Unfortunately their arrest shortly after their establishment still consisted only of four members. With the AWB of which I was a member, if not a founder member, but that was founded with seven members.
At the time of this incident at Pietersburg, the tremendous extent it attained, it is difficult to say how many, but there were more than 6 000 supporters from right-wing ranks at this occasion, and we took over the Jack Botha hall, and we were eventually driven out there by the police with tear-gas.
This was prominently mentioned in the media and the AWB became an important factor in right-wing politics. In the days following that, we couldn't cope with the applications for membership and our membership grew up to the 100 000s.
It is important to make the point that we began with seven and then we literally grew by hundreds of thousands in these years.
It was really all about ideology, a liberation ideology. I think that to a degree the ideology had its origin in the National Party, the early days of the National Party. Then the National Party frightened us with the total onslaught, which was presented to us as manifested in Central Africa and the liberation phase of Central Africa, films which were displayed here as was mentioned here yesterday, Adios Africa, for example, Afrika Adios, in which there was an emphasis on violence. The national media in the early Sixties showed many photographs of the violence in the Belgian Congo and so on.
In right-wing circles, I believe there was a psychosis of fear, a fear that incidents of this kind would repeat themselves here, particularly if we found ourselves at the mercy of a Black Communist government. I think that also provided the basis for the entire right-wing resistance movements as manifest in the AWB, the BBB, the Boerestaat Party, AWSA and numerous such like right-wing movements. Many of which sprang up, which perhaps weren't as well-known. But there was an all-encompassing right-wing feeling of resistance.
Actually, as I said it was a psychosis of fear which manifested itself. The fear that we would find ourselves at the mercy of similar unfortunate situations as had occurred in the rest of Africa.
As part of my resistance, as early as 1987 in the May election, I placed a full page colour advertisement in a local newspaper, to warn against this trend, a political trend of that time. In essence, the main theme of this advertisement was that nobody had done more to promote the interests of the ANC and the Communists in South Africa, than the National Party at that time.
In numerous conversations and discussions that I had with Minister Adriaan Vlok, with whom I was closely befriended in those years, I expressed my concern to him about this trend and their failure as police to act against the Communists in the propagation of a Communist policy in South Africa.
It went to such an extent that I threatened him with certain action, because the police failed to act - and I am referring to August 1987, but this is an approximate indication, when Mr Joe Slovo was allowed to appear on South African TV for about three quarters of an hour in a discussion, while in fact technically the ANC was still a banned organisation. The National Party and the Police failed to act.
You see, in right-wing circles this made us feel that we were already then thrown to the mercy of this, the mercy of a Communist system was already happening. In fact, this is how we experienced it.
I and Minister Vlok had a debate which lasted some time about the people who had gone to Dakar to hold discussions with the ANC. This included Dr Van Zyl Slabbert, Alex Boraine, that group. I led the demonstration at the airport, to prevent this kind of thing, and some of our people were arrested there.
I am telling you this so that people can see that it wasn't simply an emotional swelling of resistance. It was considered and deliberate well-thought out intention and act in the right-wing circles, to resist a process that we saw happening.
Discussions between me and Adriaan Vlok dealt with the fact that I said that these people were traitors. At that time according to the National Party the ANC had been identified as the enemy of the people.
Now if one goes and has discussions with the enemy then that's high treason. But there was no action. No action was taken here.
As I said, in my own capacity as a political activist, I showed my resistance at political meetings. At a meeting at which Mr P W Botha appeared, I asked many questions and held the views that I didn't accept the appointed chairperson. He chastised me. I laid a charge at the South African Police which was investigated. A charge of crimen injuria. The investigation proved that I did have a well-founded case but didn't go any further. The Attorney-General refused to prosecute.
However, I used this situation specifically as political propaganda against the National Party, in order to discredit the National Party.
At another time I publicly objected at a meeting of Minister Louis le Grange who was Minister of Police at that time and I objected to the misuse of the security forces at political meetings. This had become an institution at National Party meetings. I said that I would not apply for bail because I didn't want to try to buy my freedom, because I couldn't exercise my democratic rights in this country.
ADV RHOODE: Could you perhaps get to Du Plessis and Van Wyk a bit more quickly so we can see about your involvement there.
MR ALBERTS: Mr Jean van Wyk and I held certain discussions during 1990, at which we talked about these political views.
ADV RHOODE: Was Mr Van Wyk alone?
MR ALBERTS: No, sorry, this was Mr Du Plessis. It was an error when I said Mr Van Wyk.
Just to give the background. At that stage I had left the AWB. The leadership had been discredited. I personally and in our discussions with Jean du Plessis, we agreed that there wasn't any hope of realising our political aspirations through the AWB. This was to offer resistance to the Communist onslaught and the Black take-over of our country. We discussed new methods of achieving a liberation organisation to liberate us from this Communist take-over. We had several discussions. We talked about the fact that it should be an underground movement, that we should function in cells, that we would begin small, that our aim should be to amass weapons. We foresaw that we were involved in a war, on account of the acts of terror that had already taken place. Incidents such as the Pretoria bomb, the McBride bomb and many others.
We saw that in fact we were involved in a war. On numerous occasions I stated this clearly in public and in the international medial. I appeared on television in America and England and I conveyed the view that we were involved in a war and that it related to a retention of what was one's own in the establishment of a self-governing volkstaat.
We could predict that violence would have to be combated with violence. We could see that we would have to obtain arms and ammunition and we would have to have money to achieve our aims.
We made plans to gain access to Defence Force arsenals or magazines. I took the initiative of acquiring keys from individuals of magazines. We also discussed the principle of the fact that if somebody did not need to have information on an operation, or needed to know who was involved, that he only had to know what was necessary for him to know. We discussed the principle of the blood oath, and I personally felt very strong that if anybody betrayed our cause, that he would have to be killed. I said that I felt that this was a necessity that people joining our organisation should know that we were serious and that we were committed to our cause and would not allow ourselves to be undermined by treachery.
The point was also that if anybody from the security forces should try to infiltrate us, and betray our cause, we would have to act drastically.
ADV RHOODE: In what period did these discussions take place?
MR ALBERTS: They took place over a couple of months. Before December 1990, on the 16th of December 1990, Jean Kruger du Plessis and I and the other applicant, Mr Van Wyk and two other persons who were only known to me as White and I think the other person's name was Graham. This was at a holiday resort in the Northern Transvaal. That's where we met to discuss further the establishment of this underground organisation. We discussed various elements. I recall specifically that Mr Van Wyk, the other applicant at that stage wasn't strongly in favour or very enthusiastic. I don't know, I don't know if he didn't trust me. I wasn't acquainted with him, but we discussed these things very earnestly. We talked about the question of unconventional methods and specifically we talked of robbery from financial institutions to obtain funds, because we knew that we would never be able to obtain adequate or sufficient funds simply by relying on donations and so on.
And so we discussed the use of other conventional methods of acquiring funds in order to achieve our aims and objectives ideologically.
ADV RHOODE: Excuse me, Mr Alberts. Were you a member or a supporter of any political organisation or group at that stage?
MR ALBERTS: My membership of the AWB, that I had terminated. In fact, I terminated it after a difference of opinion I had had with Eugene Terre'Blanche. I didn't feel that I ought to join another political organisation at that stage, because I would then be able to act as an unidentified person. I worked very closely with Johan Schabot of the BBB. I was very closely involved in the Boerestaat Party with Robert van Tonder. I had strong links with some of the leading figures in the AWB, and also with the BWB, which was established by Prof Alchemar Swart and Jan Groenewald. But I didn't become a member of any political grouping or party at that stage. Precisely because I wanted to operate independently. I had found in my years of involvement with the AWB that if I did anything in public then it was Dries Alberts of the AWB, and I didn't want to implicate a political organisation or be linked to that. I wanted to operate on my own.
ADV RHOODE: Did you associate yourself, identify yourself with a specific political philosophy?
MR ALBERTS: Indeed, yes. I was a proponent of the right-wing ideology of an independent self-governing volkstaat. That was the ultimate aspiration. I think that was reconcilable with the BBB, with the Boerestaat Party, with the AWB, with the BWB, with the political objectives of those groupings.
I saw myself as a political activist with a view to realising these aims in my fatherland.
ADV RHOODE: Were you well enough known and respected in political circles to be listened to by these political organisations?
MR ALBERTS: I think I enjoyed a degree of respect and integrity in right-wing circles. I think everybody trusted my bona fides and knew that I was very honest and sincere in my political aspirations.
ADV RHOODE: What is your opinion of these four young men that you met at that stage?
MR ALBERTS: I thought ...
ADV RHOODE: Did you think they could get such an organisation going?
MR ALBERTS: I had the highest regard for Jean Pierre du Plessis. In the period preceding my discussions with him and even during those discussions I had worked together with other young people on campus. I had even written a play with the idea of having the Afrikaner Student Front perform it on the Pretoria campus, because it is on the theme of Slagtersnek. It was precisely intended to deal, to awaken political emotions about subjugation to foreign authority. I had great trust in these young people. Particularly these young people that I met on that day. On the 16th of December at the holiday resort.
I had great regard for them. In fact, I was proud to be involved with four such dedicated young men. And particularly, Jean du Plessis I saw as a man who had the qualities of leadership, and could bring those aims of ours to fruition.
ADV RHOODE: At that stage did you think there was room for such an organisation in right-wing politics? An organisation of the kind which was envisaged by these four young men?
MR ALBERTS: Mr Chairperson, I would prefer to put it more strongly. I don't think that there was a place for them, I think there was a necessity. There wasn't really a momentum in right-wing ranks at that time. It was as if the spirits had flagged and the AWB had truly degenerated. To me it was as if Jan Schabot either couldn't or didn't want to get going with the BBB again. There wasn't really anything dramatic happening in right-wing circles. There was a need for something to happen, and even if it had to begin in a small way, it was really vital that such a thing should happen in right-wing circles.
ADV RHOODE: Your view of the organisation, the underground organisation? Did you envisage the underground organisation, would you have regarded it as a politically based organisation or a military activist group?
MR ALBERTS: No, definitely a political activist group, there was no way in which I could see it as isolated. These people were obsessed with the political ideal, purely. There is no other motive involved.
ADV RHOODE: What were the plans when you spoke to them for the last time on the 16th of December? Did you arrange to contact them again?
MR ALBERTS: I was already disabled at that stage. I had stood up after three and a half years in a wheelchair and I couldn't personally participate in any physical operation. So the understanding was that these four fit young men would form the nucleus of a cell which would then control the activities. I had enough trust in the leadership of Jean du Plessis and although we didn't make a specific appointment for a particular time, the understanding was that in due course we would continue. In the longer term I would take charge of the propaganda of a more political wing of such a movement because that was my strong point.
ADV RHOODE: Mr Alberts, if you would have to venture an opinion regarding the distinction between Barend Strydom's Wit Wolwe (White Wolves), just an obscure little organisation, and this organisation which Jean du Plessis wanted to bring, what would you say politically was the more justifiable one, the one that complied more with the true desires of the conservative Afrikaner, the right-wing Afrikaner?
MR ALBERTS: To the extent to which I knew Barend Strydom and still do know him, he was as it happened, involved in me in a project in which I devised a way of approaching the Voortrekker Monument one night in order to propagate the ideal of a volkstaat. I would say he was also a very emotional and spirited person. I think it is still my view that there I had to deal with another quality. There was an integrity of absolute dedication and commitment to aspire to an ideal and to realise that ideal of political independence for Whites. I think that was above suspicion entirely.
ADV RHOODE: Who is this?
MR ALBERTS: I am talking of Jean Pierre du Plessis.
ADV RHOODE: Thank you, Mr Chairperson, I don't have any further questions. Could I then just ask you. You were involved for many years in right-wing politics, it seems to me over a period of about 30 or 40 years. If I understand your story correctly - you must just correct me.
MR ALBERTS: Yes, well, I was actively involved for the past 20 years in right-wing politics.
ADV RHOODE: So you saw it develop, the period of 1990/91, could you elaborate on that period, did that differ in any way from the previous 20 years in right-wing politics?
MR ALBERTS: You know, to me there was a revitalisation since the Eighties. I took a personal leadership role in the spreading of propaganda and the dissemination of speeches by Connie Mulder, et cetera, and I was aware of a new spirit in the movement and as a result of my cultural involvement in theatre and so on. I became aware that there was a new life for Afrikanerdom and it seemed to me that this increased during the Eighties, the disruption of meetings, et cetera. This inspired people and made them aware of a culture of resistance, if I could call it that, but it seemed to me that by 1990 and especially after the discrediting of Eugene Terre'Blanche, and the division of the leadership after Groenewald left, the leadership, and Prof Altemaar Swart, et cetera, it seemed to me there was a period of stagnation. I then tried to unify the right-wing movement, but I wasn't successful. As soon as I saw any signs of success then there was new discord. So I regarded it as essential that something had to happen during 1990/91.
I felt that it was urgent because it felt to me as if the whole political situation was moving towards a new phase, wherein the National Party was taking a stand quite openly regarding the unbanning of the ANC, et cetera, and we saw that period as a large-scale threat.
ADV RHOODE: Would you say that right-wing political doctrines have changed since 1991, until today?
MR ALBERTS: That is a very broad question, and it is very difficult for me to react to that. You are asking about right-wing political thought.
ADV RHOODE: Well, let me rephrase it. Do you think there is still a necessity for an organisation such as the NSP today?
MR ALBERTS: I would be very hesitant to make a statement on that. You know, I have undergone a complete change of thought. So I would say that today I would not be able to reconcile myself with the policy of violence. So it is a totally subjective opinion, I can't tell you. I know there are people out there who are probably as fanatical as they were in 1990, but personally I have undergone a political transformation. So I am not in favour of violence any more and I rather rely on negotiation for change, but that is my personal view. In fact, I started being of this view during the 1994 election and I tried to convey this message to right-wing groups.
ADV RHOODE: Thank you very much.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY ADV RHOODE
ADV PRINSLOO: Thank you, Mr Chairperson, we have no further questions.
NO QUESTIONS BY ADV PRINSLOO
JUDGE MALL: Adv Mpshe?
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY ADV MPSHE: Thank you, Mr Chairperson. Mr Alberts, could you please comment on your views regarding the current government?
MR ALBERTS: That is an interesting question, and it is also a very broad question. But I would like to say firstly, that I have a great respect for the current President. He was in prison for 27 years as a result of his political convictions, and I cannot detect any signs of vengeance or hatred in his conduct. He seems to be walking the road of reconciliation. I think the present Government has a very difficult task at hand. It took over a very badly managed enterprise and they are facing a huge challenge to make a success of this country. At this stage I am convinced of the Government's bona fides to make a success and for that reason I can also associate myself with the politics of reconciliation. Some of my colleagues have in fact served on the Volkstaat Council and are currently still busy with work for the Council, so yes, I think the Government can be said to be bona fide in trying to allay the right-wing fears and also to listen to the desires and aspirations of certain Afrikaner elements in respect of the Afrikaner Volkstaat idea. They haven't simply closed the door in their faces as far as that is concerned.
ADV MPSHE: Thank you, Chairperson.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY ADV MPSHE
JUDGE MALL: Are you still actively involved in analysing political situations and making comments thereon publicly?
MR ALBERTS: No, Sir, this is the exception, Mr Chairman.
MR RHOODE CALLS:
JEANETTE THERON: (Duly sworn, states).
EXAMINATION BY MR RHOODE: Mrs Theron, would you identify yourself, please, your full names, your training and your current position.
MRS J THERON: My name is Jeanette Theron. I am a social worker for the Department of Correctional Services. In 1976 I graduated with BA (Hons) and for the past 19 years I have worked as a social worker.
ADV RHOODE: In whose service are you currently employed?
MRS J THERON: For the Department of Correctional Services.
ADV RHOODE: At which prison?
MRS J THERON: Pretoria Central.
ADV RHOODE: Have you got to know the two applicants in your time at the prison?
MRS J THERON: Yes, I met them in 1974.
ADV RHOODE: 1994?
MRS J THERON: No, 1974.
ADV RHOODE: In 1994, they went to prison.
ADV MPSHE: I mean in 1994.
ADV RHOODE: Mrs Theron, please tell us about them, what are your views regarding the two applicants?
MRS J THERON: Well, if it pleases the Committee I will give a short version which I have also handed in in written form. I confirm that as a social worker in the Department of Correctional Services, I have got to know Mr Van Wyk and Mr Du Plessis both in prison.
When a person is admitted to prison he is orientated in respect of the services available and he then decides for himself whether he wants to interact with these services.
I would like to mention that as social worker in the Department of Correctional Services, I am in a non-judgmental position and relationship towards my clients, and what is important is rehabilitation of the prisoners so that I can thereby render a service to the community to place a person back in society, a person who will no longer be a threat and an asset to society.
Both Mr Van Wyk and Mr Du Plessis, shortly after they were imprisoned, made a request to be involved in the services and since 1994 they have been involved in rehabilitation programmes and in individual therapy.
What must be mentioned is that the two people concerned early on confirmed that they were misled and they had been manipulated and it was clear that their immaturity and personal insufficiency had been exploited since a very young age. Their feelings of guilt which they were dealing with in respect of their offences, came out prominently in my talks with them and remorse which they expressed were genuine. Very sources in prison were utilised by them in order to deal with these feelings of guilt.
From my talks with them, both Mr Van Wyk and Mr Du Plessis confirmed that they had renounced all political doctrines and that even before they were incarcerated they had come to gain greater maturity.
My experience of them shows that they are now far more self-sufficient, that they were quite naive to believe that they could achieve anything by means of violence.
Mr Van Wyk and Mr Du Plessis confirmed on numerous occasions that they realised that a change could only be effected through negotiation and talks. What must be emphasised is that the two people concerned were very negatively influenced at a very early age, during puberty. Research by various people show that the state of puberty is a stage at which rebellion can be expected. Young people at this stage are usually in rebellion against all views and norms. It is a period of a search for identity and adolescence often elevate a person or persons to ... (intervention).
ADV RHOODE: Will you please slow down a bit, the interpreter is finding it difficult to keep up with you. You may proceed, please.
MRS J THERON: That must be seen as the main cause of these very unnatural situations in which they were ... (intervention).
JUDGE MALL: Just a moment. Please give the interpreter a chance to catch up. I think it may be if she is reading out a statement which she has prepared, maybe she could hand that in and just elaborate on the points that she wishes to.
ADV RHOODE: Mr Chairman, I will have it typed out. She only wrote it out during the course of the day.
JUDGE MALL: Oh, I see.
ADV RHOODE: I will submit it in due course. I suggest that she then just complete it. She is nearly finished, I think.
JUDGE MALL: Sure. Proceed, please.
MRS J THERON: It must be said that the two people as far as their changed views are concerned, that this did not happen upon their incarceration, but that these changes already started manifesting themselves before their incarceration of prison. These changes just developed further during their time in prison. From a social work perspective, I can say that their prognosis is currently very favourable and that their rehabilitation has been successful up to date.
ADV RHOODE: Mrs Theron, the first time that you had dealings with Mr Van Wyk and Mr Du Plessis and realised that they were quite genuine in their changed views, was there any mention of amnesty at that stage?
MRS J THERON: No, not at all, because I think at that stage they also did not realise that I would be utilised as a possible source in future. They simply saw me as a neutral person, somebody who could listen to them, and could possibly advise them and also be a liaison with the outside world for them.
ADV RHOODE: So you know both of them. Would you be able to say whether their rehabilitation has reached such a stage that they would be able to be absorbed into society with good effect?
MRS J THERON: Yes, I am very positive about that. You know, for the past 19 years, as I have said, I have worked as a social worker and I worked with people in prison, but also outside of prison, and I believe that if you look at their general development, and the fact that they are intellectually well-developed, that there has really been a change in their conduct, and the development in their insight is of such a nature that they could be of great benefit to society.
ADV RHOODE: And their family structures, the structures to which they will be returning, would that assist them in becoming positive assets for society?
MRS J THERON: Yes, I believe that. As a result of consultations and talks with both families, I could see that there are very sound family ties, their support systems are very healthy, there are very good opportunities for both of them, not only as far as housing is concerned, but also as far as work is concerned, the prognosis is good.
ADV RHOODE: Mr Du Plessis has had serious problems in his marriage, of which you are aware. Would you be able to say that it would be necessary for him to pay a lot of attention to his marital relationship?
MRS J THERON: Yes, it would have been very good if he could have the opportunity to re-establish and strengthen his ties with his wife, in the outside world. It is an unnatural situation for him to be in prison, in restricted circumstances and to only to be able to see his wife very infrequently and for very short periods at a time, about 40 minutes per week. These circumstances are very impersonal. There is always a lot of people around. It is therefore not always easy for a person in prison to maintain his marital relationship. It is very difficult.
ADV RHOODE: Thank you. Just one question. Are you able to express these opinions with safety, as a result of your training?
MRS J THERON: Yes, I think that as a result of my years of experience and also my post-graduate studies, that places me in a position to voice these opinions with authority.
ADV RHOODE: Thank you, Mrs Theron. Mr Chairman, I have no further questions.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY ADV RHOODE
NO QUESTIONS BY ADV GRIMBEECK
JUDGE MALL: Adv Mpshe?
ADV MPSHE: Thank you, Mr Chairman, I have no questions.
NO QUESTIONS BY ADV MPSHE
JUDGE WILSON: Could you tell me when Mr Du Plessis was arrested, was that in November 1991?
MRS J THERON: I think so, but I am not quite sure. I got to know them after September 1994, when they were admitted to prison, after being sentenced.
JUDGE WILSON: When was he married?
MRS J THERON: I think he was married about three months before being taken to prison. He was admitted to prison in 1991 and he got married shortly before that.
JUDGE WILSON: Was he on bail during that time?
MRS J THERON: Yes.
JUDGE NGOEPE: Mrs Theron, I am not sure whether you said in your evidence that you got the impression that the two applicants had been manipulated or used?
MRS J THERON: You know, during my discussions with prisoners, I try everything possible to obtain information from them so that if they speak to me openly and honestly then - because that would be the only way in which I can promote a person's rehabilitation. And from many discussions with both applicants individually, because I never spoke to them jointly, I could very clearly discern, and also from other sources, such as speaking to their families and court reports, I could very clearly see that Mr Du Plessis senior had a huge influence on these two young people, and as I have already said, also from my experience as a social worker, and my experience with children in general, I could say that a child during the stage of puberty is very vulnerable to outside influences and is easy to manipulate, especially when the person is very dynamic and has a very strong personality such as the case of Mr Du Plessis senior. For that reason I said that it was clear to me from my research, that they were indeed manipulated. They confirmed that to me.
JUDGE NGOEPE: But from their evidence I got the impression that they were intellectuals on their own and in fact, I got the impression that they were very strong personalities and determined in what they wanted to do on their own and setting their own objectives and goals.
MRS J THERON: I refer specifically to the stage of Std 6, whilst they are still young. It is undisputed that they are intelligent, but a child in Std 6 is still very vulnerable to influences and one can still shape him at that stage and shape his thought patterns in the way you would like to. Especially if you are more mature at that stage.
JUDGE NGOEPE: Sorry, are you saying that their state of mind as at the time when they committed these various offences, could be traced back to the age of six?
MRS J THERON: Std 6.
JUDGE NGOEPE: Std 6?
MRS J THERON: Std 6. I think that was the basis, that's where it started, the foundation was laid during that stage, the basis for the influencing. I am convinced that that played a major role in their gradual and later development.
JUDGE NGOEPE: Thank you.
JUDGE MALL: Do you draw a distinction between inspiring people and manipulating people?
MRS J THERON: Inspiring?
JUDGE MALL: Yes, do you draw a distinction between inspiring people and manipulating people?
MRS J THERON: I do think there is a difference. To inspire somebody you can actually encourage him to act and think in a certain way. But manipulation can be seen in a positive or a negative way. If you look at psychopathy in general, where we often refer to a manipulated psychopath, we can say that that is negative, because such a person then uses his manipulation in a negative way to cause that person to think and act in the way you would like him to think and act. So I do think there is a difference between inspiring and manipulating.
JUDGE MALL: I understood your evidence to mean that they were manipulated from what I have taken down, that they were manipulated by Du Plessis senior. Are you still of the view that he manipulated them rather than inspired them with ideals?
MRS J THERON: Yes, I think both, I think manipulation is a very delicate thing, but I think they were also inspired, yes.
JUDGE MALL: I understand inspiring being something that happens before manipulation. But quite clearly, in this case I do not think that the evidence shows that Mr Du Plessis had anything to do with the planning of whatever they were doing, telling them what to do and how to go about it.
MRS J THERON: I agree with you. I am still only referring to my evaluation of the two applicants after the early stage of Std 6 onwards, when they were still in their puberty, but I believe that Mr Du Plessis senior had a major influence on their thought patterns at that time.
JUDGE MALL: He may have influenced their thinking and inspired them with his own ideas, but the only reason I ask these questions, is because you used the word manipulated, and I am not too sure whether you really meant that.
MRS J THERON: I think if you refer to their later conduct, when they were a bit older and during the commission of the offences, I think their thinking had already been shaped and they already knew what they were doing. But the influencing had started earlier. That took place at an earlier age.
JUDGE MALL: That is very much like the influencing that the father has over his children in relation whether they should go to church, which church and how to pray. That kind of thing, isn't it?
MRS J THERON: I think that when we look at Mr Du Plessis senior's thinking, it was very radical and not quite acceptable to society. For that reason I am specifically referring to what I regard as negative and manipulative.
JUDGE MALL: What were the negative features?
MRS J THERON: I don't think it is acceptable to influence children from Std 6 onwards in such a political way, that it has the consequence that that is all they talk about. For that reason I think it is negative. I think children in Std 6 should still be participating in sport and that kind of thing, and be involved with friends, and it seems to me from my talks with the two applicants, that that was the main theme, namely politics. That's why I regard it as negative for a child's development.
JUDGE MALL: Any other questions?
JUDGE NGOEPE: You see, Mrs Theron, what troubles us about the - it might have been an unfortunate choice of words, but it was a choice of words anyway, such as manipulation. What strikes one here is that these two applicant, both of them were born in 1970, I think. Are you aware of that?
MRS J THERON: Both of them?
JUDGE NGOEPE: Were born in the year 1970?
MRS J THERON: That's correct.
JUDGE NGOEPE: And when this incident happened, they probably would have been adults, 21.
MRS J THERON: That's correct.
JUDGE NGOEPE: And it is against that background that I questioned you, I asked you about and my Brother also asked you about the question of manipulation.
MRS J THERON: Yes.
JUDGE NGOEPE: Somewhere along the way when we become adults, don't we have to become adults?
MRS J THERON: That is correct. I did say that when they committed the offences they were already knew what they were doing, they were adults then. They were not completely adult yet, but they were already old enough to make certain decisions on their own, but when I refer in my statement to manipulation, I specifically referred to the ages when they were still in Std 6, when they were still capable of being influenced. I think later on Mr Du Plessis senior did not play such a major role, although it seems to me that there wasn't that much contact later on. So my reference to manipulation is due to their ages in Std 6. For me as a social worker that is a very sensitive stage in a child's development.
JUDGE MALL: So when any father tries to teach a religious ideas and principles to a child who is in Std 6, encouraging the child to attend church and other activities, do you regard that as manipulation?
MRS J THERON: No. No, then I wouldn't refer to manipulation. I am specifically referring to the extremely radical negative way as far as politics was concerned. Mr Du Plessis was conveying this on a regular daily basis to these two young people. That is what their discussion centred on.
JUDGE MALL: Thank you very much.
MRS J THERON: Thank you very much.
ADV RHOODE: Thank you very much, Mr Chairman and members of the Committee. That is the evidence I will be leading in support of the application for my client.
JUDGE MALL: Thank you.
ADV PRINSLOO: Chairperson, that is also Mr C J van Wyk's case, there will be no further testimony.
JUDGE MALL: Mr Mpshe, what is the position?
ADV MPSHE: Mr Chairman, thank you. I intend calling two witnesses to lead very short evidence, and I would apply that we continue to call them today.
JUDGE MALL: Please do.
ADV MSPHE CALLS:
STEPHANUS MARTHINUS ROUX: (Duly sworn, states).
EXAMINATION BY MR MPSHE: Mr Roux, if you will just please switch the microphone on. Thank you. Mr Roux, you are an adult and you are currently residing in Louis Trichardt.
MR ROUX: That is correct.
ADV MPSHE: One Maria Claudine Roux was your wife?
MR ROUX: That is correct.
ADV MPSHE: And one Morella Dubene and Wilson Thubane were your employees, is that correct?
MR ROUX: Yes.
ADV MPSHE: And these three people were killed in October 1991, is that correct?
MR ROUX: Yes, on the 14th of October, yes, 1991.
ADV MPSHE: Mr Roux, you listened to the evidence today. It was evidence presented in order to obtain amnesty for the two applicants, Mr Van Wyk and Mr Du Plessis.
MR ROUX: Yes.
ADV MPSHE: Evidence was led that on a certain day an operation was launched to obtain weapons and ammunition at your home.
MR ROUX: That is correct.
ADV MPSHE: Could you please tell the Committee whether you had any weapons or ammunition in your possession?
MR ROUX: Yes, I had weapons and ammunition in my possession.
ADV MPSHE: What kind of weapons and ammunition?
MR ROUX: I had a 207 hunting rifle, a 6 mm hunting rifle, a ,22 rifle, that one was fitted with a telescopic sight and a silencer and I had a ,22 revolver, but at that stage I did not have a military weapon. I had resigned from military service and I had handed in my weapon. So I had no military weapons in my possession at that stage.
ADV MPSHE: So the firearms which you have just mentioned, where are they?
MR ROUX: I still have them today.
ADV MPSHE: Did you lose any of your firearms at any stage?
MR ROUX: Never.
ADV MPSHE: Sir, you have heard of one Jurgens White? Are you familiar with him?
MR ROUX: Yes.
ADV MPSHE: Could you tell the Committee about this Jurgens White?
MR ROUX: I knew Jurgens White since primary school, his primary school days. He was a friend of my daughter's.
ADV MPSHE: A friend of yours?
MR ROUX: He often came to our house and he always came to visit us and greet us and there was never an occasion when he left the town without coming to say good-bye. He was a very close friends of ours.
ADV MPSHE: Were you aware of Jurgens White's political affiliations?
MR ROUX: No, but once I heard him mentioning that he might undergo weapon training in France.
ADV MPSHE: What else did he say? What else did he say?
MR ROUX: Well, that was all.
ADV MPSHE: Did he say anything about establishing a political party?
MR ROUX: No, at all.
ADV MPSHE: Mr Roux, I am terribly sorry, but I must ask you the following question. On the day on which your wife died, what did you find when you arrived at home that day?
MR ROUX: Well, when I arrived there, there were helicopters and police dogs all over, lots of policemen and my two employees had been shot dead outside, The woman's throat had been slit and I found my wife in a cupboard, in a wardrobe. She was dead. The ,207 rifle was next to her and the barrel was full of bullets?
ADV MPSHE: Apart from muddy tracks in the house, there was nothing else amiss?
MR ROUX: The telephone connection had been disconnected but nothing was missing.
ADV MPSHE: You told us Mr Roux, that you had certain expenses relating to your wife's funeral and the funerals of your two employees?
MR ROUX: Yes, I paid for my employees' funeral and obviously also for the funeral of my wife.
ADV MPSHE: What did that cost you, if you can remember?
MR ROUX: I would estimate round about R7 000,00.
ADV MPSHE: Now when I spoke to you about compensation, you told me that you were not certain whether you wanted it or not. Could you elaborate on that?
MR ROUX: I didn't hear the question?
ADV MPSHE: When I spoke to you during lunch-time regarding the reparation or compensation, you said that you weren't quite sure whether you wanted it or not. Could you comment on that?
MR ROUX: Yes, I don't want any compensation for that.
ADV MPSHE: Mr Roux, the two applicants, and especially Mr Van Wyk, I am specifically referring to him, they are applying for amnesty before this Commission. What are your views on this?
MR ROUX: Yes, it is very difficult for me. You know, my wife, I knew her for 32 years, we had been married for nearly 26 years and to lose a wife in such a manner is not easy. We virtually grew up together. So I don't want to say the Committee they must grant him amnesty, but if he does get amnesty I will have to learn to live with it and I will abide by that.
ADV MPSHE: The two applicants apologised to you yesterday and today. What is your reaction to that?
MR ROUX: I accept their apology.
ADV MPSHE: Are you saying that you also accept the possible reconciliation between yourself and them?
MR ROUX: Yes.
ADV MPSHE: Thank you, Chairperson, that is the evidence.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY ADV MSPHE
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY ADV RHOODE: Mr Roux, on that particular day, now if I can remember correctly, you testified during the Supreme Court matter that you and your wife usually left home at the same time.
MR ROUX: No, we never left home together, I always left first. But the big problem that particular morning was or happened as a result of the fact that we had been away for the weekend and the bakkie was parked in the garage and the car parked behind the bakkie. I always drove the bakkie and my wife drove the car. Now on that particular morning I shouted to her through the window that she must drive the bakkie, I am taking the car, because my daughter was late for school. And I then took the bakkie, or rather I took the car and then Jurgen and them saw the car leaving, they thought it was my wife leaving, but as it happened, it was myself and not my wife.
ADV RHOODE: So somebody who knew the set-up there would have thought that you and your wife had both left the house.
MR ROUX: Yes.
ADV RHOODE: Now in regards to the four firearms in your house, I understand that there was also an R4 in your bedroom?
MR ROUX: Yes, that was the military weapon which I had to return. And Jurgens knew about that because he knew the lay-out of the entire house.
ADV RHOODE: Now are you saying now that there were 270 guns next to your wife, your deceased wife when you arrived there. The fact that nothing else had been taken from your home, does that not cause you to think that perhaps the person had taken fright after they had killed your wife and then fled?
MR ROUX: Yes, I think so too, but I didn't hear Mr Van Wyk's testimony yesterday because I didn't know the case was proceeding, otherwise I would have been here. But what I found strange was that they first had to shoot the servants, so my wife must have heard the shots. That's what I think, and my wife must have heard the shots and then hid in the cupboard. In other words, I am not able to say what they did first, but my feeling is that when they saw the Black people they just decided to shoot them. And when they ran out of bullets, because that's what the post-mortem also said, then they killed her with a knife. Because the shots that they fired at her would not even have caused her to be crippled in any way.
ADV RHOODE: Now as far as Mr Jurgens White is concerned, you say that the two of you were good friends. Do you know anything about his military background?
MR ROUX: I only knew that he had a Army training and that he was a Recce and he had been in the Recce Reconnaissance Division, but I heard a rumour that he wasn't quite successful in that, but that is all I knew.
ADV RHOODE: The Recce, is that now the special forces?
MR ROUX: Yes.
ADV RHOODE: Mr Roux, one last question. You remarried?
MR ROUX: I remarried in April 1992. I am not solitary person.
ADV RHOODE: Thank you.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY ADV RHOODE
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY ADV PRINSLOO: Just one question, Mr Chairperson. Mr Roux, this is a process of reconciliation. Do you think that this process that we are all going through has some value? Has it any value for you?
MR ROUX: Has it got value for me?
ADV PRINSLOO: Yes.
MR ROUX: Yes, certainly.
ADV PRINSLOO: Are you glad that there is such an openness and that it is happening?
MR ROUX: Yes.
ADV PRINSLOO: Talking about reconciliation, do you think you will ever become reconciled within yourself?
MR ROUX: That is the case.
ADV PRINSLOO: Thank you, Mr Chairperson, no further questions.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY ADV PRINSLOO
MS KHAMPEPE: Sir, we share our deepest sympathy with the loss of your wife.
MR ROUX: Thank you very much.
MS KHAMPEPE: Before the incident happened, which resulted in the loss of your wife, when had you last seen Mr White?
MR ROUX: It was, I think it was on the 25th of October.
MS KHAMPEPE: 1991?
MR ROUX: Yes.
MS KHAMPEPE: 25th of October you said, 1991?
MR ROUX: Yes. Hold it. September, sorry, September.
MS KHAMPEPE: And how often did he use to visit your family?
MR ROUX: Very often.
MS KHAMPEPE: Approximately in a week, how often would he pay you a visit?
MR ROUX: He was not permanently in Louis Trichardt, but when he was in town, he always came to visit us.
MS KHAMPEPE: Was he aware of the type of weaponry that he kept in your house?
MR ROUX: Yes.
MS KHAMPEPE: And was he also aware of where the weapons were kept?
MR ROUX: Yes.
MS KHAMPEPE: Was it kept in any of the cupboards in your house?
MR ROUX: No, I fixed brackets against the wall and then the rifles were put away on those brackets.
MS KHAMPEPE: Were these brackets fitted in any particular room of the house?
MR ROUX: No, there was one in my room and one in my daughter's room and one in the other daughter's room.
MS KHAMPEPE: Would you want to be afforded an opportunity to speak to the two applicants and to accept that opportunity if one was given to you?
MR ROUX: Yes, I think so.
MS KHAMPEPE: Thank you.
JUDGE WILSON: Does this mean that your wife must have taken the gun or probably took one of the guns to the cupboard with her, although she didn't use it?
MR ROUX: No, it was in the cupboard.
JUDGE WILSON: It was kept in the cupboard?
MR ROUX: Yes.
JUDGE MALL: Do I understand you correctly to say that as far as you are concerned, she did not receive any serious injuries as a result of being shot at?
MR ROUX: Certainly, yes.
JUDGE MALL: But the cause of her death was the fact that her throat had been slit, her throat was slit with a knife?
MR ROUX: No, she had knife wounds in the chest.
JUDGE MALL: Knife wounds in the chest?
JUDGE WILSON: Many of them?
MR ROUX: I think they referred at the post-mortem to in the order of seven or 13, I am not quite sure.
JUDGE NGOEPE: Mr Roux, did you say that there was a firearm found next to your wife's body?
MR ROUX: No, the rifle was in the cupboard. It was built against the wall inside the wardrobe.
JUDGE NGOEPE: I see, thank you.
JUDGE MALL: Thank you very much.
MR ROUX: Thank you.
ADV MPSHE CALLS:
ALETTA MAGRIETA ROUX: (Duly sworn, states).
EXAMINATION BY ADV MPSHE: Magrieta, where do you live?
MS ROUX: I live in Louis Trichardt. I am currently living in Louis Trichardt.
ADV MPSHE: There was evidence given that there was a relationship between you and the late Jurgens White.
MS ROUX: That is correct. Jurgens had been known to me since 1979. We were at primary school together and at high school he attended in CBC in Pretoria while I went to school in Louis Trichardt and we had a relationship up to December 1990. I ended the relationship because at times he was away a lot of for many days at a time I didn't hear from him, and I heard talk of his going to France for five years or so to join something like the Foreign Legion.
ADV MPSHE: I didn't understand that.
MS ROUX: He wanted to go to France to take part in some movement or other, such as the Legion of Soldiers in France itself.
ADV MPSHE: Did you know of his activities?
MS ROUX: No, I had no knowledge of them. There were parts of his life that he kept, he was very secretive about and I accepted that the movements that he began or while we were still friends, it was something that he kept to himself, for reasons of security.
ADV MPSHE: Did he perhaps at any stage reveal his political views to you?
MS ROUX: I had also known that he was a right-winger, but I never realised that he was so far to the right.
ADV MPSHE: It has been testified that he was a member of an organisation, the SNP. Do you have knowledge of that?
MS ROUX: No, I had no knowledge of that.
ADV MPSHE: At lunch-time you informed me that you wanted to tell something to this Committee. Could you tell it to us now?
MS ROUX: Could you just repeat the question?
ADV MPSHE: At lunch-time you informed me and you said to me that you wanted to talk to the Committee. I invite you to proceed.
MS ROUX: Yes, there are a few things I would like to say. In view of the applications from the applicants. I don't think anyone can realise what an impact the deeds that they committed had on our family, our friends and the whole community of Louis Trichardt. My mother was a much loved person who wouldn't have harmed a fly. And to establish a movement which in the first place was underground movement. If you want to go as far as establishing underground organisation, it must perhaps warn you that these things that you are doing are wrong. It was a nightmare the 14th of October 1991. Just when we thought we were over the worst, the court case began and took place over six weeks in Pretoria. The trial was disposed of, sentence was given, we accepted.
JUDGE MALL: Tell us what sentence was given?
MS ROUX: Judgment was given and then we felt it is over. Now at last we can carry on with our lives, and yesterday afternoon we were called and told to be here. Now we were told that the case was being brought up again. I think at this stage, we all simply feel that it should just be over, whatever the result, whatever the verdict, we will have to reconcile ourselves with that. Just so that we can carry on with our lives. The nightmare that has disrupted our lives so much, we want to put that behind us.
The applicants are saying that they are sorry. I believe that, I believe that they are sorry. But then I think it is unfair of them to expect us to give them back their lives, who is going to give our lives back, who is going to give our mother back? Who is going to give my father back his wife? Is that fair? To give them amnesty, to free them of deeds that they committed and then to leave us with the loss that we have suffered in our lives, and that we will never be able to get back.
ADV MPSHE: Is that all?
MS ROUX: That's all, thank you.
ADV MPSHE: Thank you, Mr Chairperson.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY ADV MPSHE
NO QUESTIONS BY ADV PRINSLOO
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY ADV RHOODE: Ms Roux, you are aware Mr Du Plessis was found innocent of the murders or any involvement?
MS ROUX: Yes, I am aware of that, that he was found innocent, but he was the leader of the organisation, indirectly he did play a part in the events which occurred on the 14th of October in Louis Trichardt.
ADV RHOODE: So wouldn't you say that if his attitude is that they should serve their full sentence, wouldn't you struggle to find ... (intervention).
MS ROUX: I beg your pardon?
ADV RHOODE: If your attitude is that as I understand you, that particularly Mr Van Wyk, if your attitude is that they should serve their sentence in full, will that give you peace?
MS ROUX: Well, I feel from any Christian viewpoint it is a factor that one does forgive, but at the end of the day one wants justice to happen. My feeling is that justice will not be done if after they have only served two years, that he should now be freed already.
ADV RHOODE: Even if it is determined that he has remorse and that he is fully rehabilitated?
MS ROUX: I am terribly sorry, but my views about this whole situation that we are talking about today, this looks to me like a back door. Anybody who has committed a crime or done something wrong, just to say "look, I'm sorry" and then two years later that opinion might have changed. It is unrealistic. Somebody who had the convictions that they had, and now to reverse that completely in less than two years and to say now my political convictions are different. What's going to prevent them after another two years to reverse the opinion again. Has it been proved that people who do damage to our society, is it right to put them back into the public arena?
ADV RHOODE: Is it also your view that people who are in politics such as the President and other highly placed office-bearers who committed crimes, is it your view that they also shouldn't have been released?
MS ROUX: Yes, that is my view.
ADV RHOODE: Thank you, I don't have any further questions, Mr Chair.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR RHOODE
JUDGE MALL: I am really not asking you any questions. I just think that maybe I should explain this to you, that if you are not aware that in fact, during the trial, when the two accused were tried in the Supreme Court, Mr Du Plessis was found not guilty or was not convicted on the three murders, it was only Mr Van Wyk. The application for amnesty, any application for the three murders is only really in respect of Mr Van Wyk and not Mr Du Plessis.
MS ROUX: I am sorry if I did not state that clear enough. As far as I am concerned, what Mr Du Plessis said today is truly acceptable to me. I think my main concern at this stage is about Mr Van Wyk.
JUDGE MALL: Did you know the two workers who were killed on that day?
MS ROUX: Yes, I did.
JUDGE MALL: And did you know whether they had family or relatives nearby?
MS ROUX: I know some of their relatives do live in Venda, but we were never introduced to each other. As you know the custom is, you know, they just come to work and go home. We never really see their families, but I definitely know that they did have families.
JUDGE MALL: Have you seen any of them?
MS ROUX: No.
JUDGE WILSON: How long had they worked for you?
MS ROUX: You know, as farmworkers come and go, I think, but they really worked for us a few years, I think more or less four years.
JUDGE WILSON: Thank you.
JUDGE MALL: Thank you very much.
MS ROUX: Thank you.
ADV MPSHE: Mr Chairman, that concludes the evidence of the next-of-kin.
JUDGE MALL: I understand arrangements have been made amongst counsel that instead of addressing us in open court, they will make written submissions. Is that correct?
ADV RHOODE: With the leave of this Committee, we would appreciate if that indulgence could be granted us. Because we believe there are intricate questions that we would like to address to you.
JUDGE MALL: Yes, but the only point on which I would like some clarity is by what time you are thinking that should be done?
ADV PRINSLOO: I would need about a week to have it here, Mr Chairman, I am from Ladysmith and I am doing a case in Kimberley tomorrow and I will be able to work over the weekend.
JUDGE MALL: Yes.
ADV RHOODE: Mine would also be liable to be ready within a week's time.
ADV PRINSLOO: Mr Chairman, also in agreement with Mr Mpshe, we have certain documents that will be attached to the submissions which have not been lodged yet, such as the heads of argument of the State advocate on the trial of the two applicants which have some relevant arguments in it as well.
JUDGE MALL: You may do so.
ADV PRINSLOO: Thank you very much. Thank you, gentlemen.
JUDGE WILSON: Sorry, there is one point that I would like to clear up. We don't want the heads delivered here.
ADV PRINSLOO: No.
JUDGE WILSON: If you will make arrangements with Mr Mpshe that he can get them and ensure that they are properly forwarded to us.
ADV PRINSLOO: Sorry, to the Cape Town office?
JUDGE WILSON: Yes.
JUDGE MALL: Ladies and gentlemen, that brings to an end then this particular sitting of the Amnesty Committee. Those of you who may not know, there was another matter which was due to have been considered by us, but for certain reasons and difficulties, it has been arranged to hear that application on another occasion. Thank you. We will adjourn.