TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
APPLICATION IN TERMS OF SECTION 18 OF THE PROMOTION OF NATIONAL UNITY AND RECONCILIATION ACT, NO.34 OF 1995.
CHRISTOFFEL PIERRE VAN DER WESTHUIZEN
(AM6499/97) FIRST APPLICANT
JOHANNES LODEWIKUS GRIEBENAUW
(AM5182/97) SECOND APPLICANT
The Applicants apply for amnesty in respect of any criminal activity they may have been involved in with regard to their participation in the operation which was code-named "Katzen".
Operation Katzen was formulated during 1986. At that time Christoffel Pierre van der Westhuizen ("the 1st Applicant") was a member of the South African Defence Force ("the SADF") holding the rank of brigadier. He was the Commander of the Eastern Province Command, having been appointed to that position on 1 January 1983. He was also chairman of the Joint Management Centre ("the JMC") of the Eastern Province. The JMC was a pro-active body with the responsibility of, inter alia, monitoring the security situation and addressing regional problems. In his capacity as chairman of the JMC the 1st Applicant was accountable to the State Security Council ("the SSC").
Johannes Lodewikus Griebenauw ("the 2nd Applicant") was, during 1986, a member of the South African Police ("SAP"). He held the rank of Colonel and was initially the Deputy Commander and then, from 1 October 1986, the Commander of the Security Branch of the Border Region.
During 1984 and 1986 political unrest in the Eastern Province increased. Political violence and riots became the order of the day and the security situation, from the government's perspective, was threatened and undermined.
One of the instructions the JMC received from the SSC was to:
"provide for the co-ordination of long term planning with the aim of developing the well-being of particular communities to the optimum as well as contingency planning to control the security situation by having in place short term plans to deal with bottlenecks and grievances which can be exploited by the enemy".
In order to fulfil this instruction the 1st Applicant appointed an advisory board to assist in the formulation of a plan. The end product was Plan Strelitzia. The objective of Plan Strelitzia was, in general, to create organs to replace existing management organs and to introduce anti-revolutionary government structures for the Eastern Cape. The plan was submitted to the SSC but was, on 12 June 1985, rejected.
Both the State President, P.W. Botha, and the Minister of Defence, General M. Malan, personally ordered the 1st Applicant to ensure and safeguard the security of the region. The Minister of Defence visited the Eastern Province Command on 20 August 1985 and on 26 September 1985 and on both occasions demanded that the 1st Applicant see to it that the Eastern Province be stabilised.
This led to the 1st Applicant, with the assistance of two senior officers, to formulate a further master plan for the region. The 1st Applicant submitted this further plan to Lieutenant General A.J. (Kat) Liebenberg for his consideration. The plan was finetuned and given the name "Katzen", being a derivation from the names "Kat" Liebenberg and van der Westhui"zen".
Katzen was an unconventional plan which, if accomplished, would have had farreaching effects in the Eastern Province, Ciskei and Transkei. It, in brief, envisaged the establishment of a Xhosa Resistance Movement ("the XRM") which would ultimately lead to the political unification of Ciskei and Transkei and the incorporation of the so-called "White Corridor" into a new state called "Xhosaland".
The plan was to be implemented in four phases. The first phase included the establishment of the XRM, the freeing of Charles Sebe from the Middledrift Prison and appointing him as the leader of the XRM, the image-building of the Ciskei People's Right Protection Party ("the CPRPP"), a coup d'etat in Ciskei involving the overthrow of Lennox Sebe and his government and the conclusion of a security alliance between the SADF, the Transkei Defence Force and the Ciskei Defence Force. This phase was to be concluded by November 1986.
The second phase involved the setting up of an Eastern Cape Confederation of States. The Eastern Cape would acquire provincial status and second-tier government and would form part of the confederation together with Ciskei and Transkei according to the Kwa-Zulu Natal concept. This phase was to be completed by January 1987.
The third phase involved the political unification of Ciskei and Transkei. This phase was to be completed by June 1987.
The fourth phase involved the incorporation of the corridor resulting in such area together with that of Ciskei and Transkei becoming a State known as Xhosaland, the recognition by South Africa of Xhosaland as an independent State and the holding of a general election in Xhosaland. This final phase was to be completed by December 1987.
The stated objective of the plan was to attain "a condition of permanent normality in the Easter Cape" and to establish a model to permanently clamp down on the revolution in the Eastern Cape.
After the plan was submitted to General Liebenberg by the 1st Applicant it was, during July 1986, presented to General J. Geldenhuys, the head of the SADF, at a meeting which was, inter alia, attended by General J. Coetzee, the Commissioner of Police, and Mr Holl and Colonel More. General J. Coetzee expressed a lack of enthusiasm in the plan and Dr. N. Barnard indicated that his Department would not partake in its execution but requested to be kept informed of developments.
The 2nd Applicant also, on the instruction of his superior officer, Brigadier Schoon, attended a meeting in Port Elizabeth where he was appraised of the plan. He too expressed a lack of enthusiasm for the plan.
Also during July 1986 a meeting was held by 1st Applicant with Mr G. Matanzima, the Prime Minister of Transkei, Mr L. Maqoma, the leader of the CPRPP, Mr Namba Sebe and Mr N. Nomoyi. They all approved of the plan. It was agreed to establish the XRM under the name Liso Lomzi Movement with its head office on a farm in the Elliot district. Nambe Sebe indicated that he was prepared to train members of the XRM. It was also recommended that Charles Sebe be sprung from prison on the night of 25/26 September 1986. It was also decided that Kwane Sebe, the son of Lennox Sebe, should also be removed as he was the head of the Elite Unit of Ciskei.
On 31 July 1986 monies in the amount of R15 000,00 were paid over to Messrs Maqoma and Namba Sebe to assist them in the establishment of the XRM.
The 2nd Applicant was instructed to gather information relating to the Middledrift Prison and, in particular, the identification of the cell in which Charles Sebe was incarcerated. He in turn instructed operatives under his command to obtain such information. This was done and the 2nd Applicant relayed the information, including photographs of the prison, to one Joe Verster of the Special Forces of the South African Army.
During the night of 25/26 September 1986 Charles Sebe was freed from the Middledrift Prison in an operation conducted by a special unit. He was then taken to safe sanctity in Transkei.
On 29 September 1987 Kwane Sebe and his second in command, one Ngwanya were abducted. The 2nd Applicant, gave instructions to policemen under his command to take up positions along a route in order to assist taking the abducted persons to Transkei. Both Kwane Sebe and Ngwanya were released two days after this abduction in accordance with a court order.
The training of XRM members took place in Transkei and a campaign to discredit Lennox Sebe and his government was undertaken. The method used in such campaign included the dropping of pamphlets from an aeroplane.
On 10 November 1986 a meeting was held at Msikaba, Transkei. Those persons at the meeting included the 1st Applicant, Namba Sebe, Charles Sebe and General Reid-Daly of the Transkei Defence Force. The 2nd Applicant did not attend the meeting but was represented thereat by his colleague, Major van der Merwe. At that meeting it was, inter alia, decided that Namba Sebe should go into hiding. It was also reiterated that Lennox Sebe should be "removed" and that his son Kwane be rooted out and supporters of the Sebe regime be removed from office. The 1st Applicant testified that it was stresses at this meeting that South Africa would only supply support and that Transkei would be responsible for the removal of Lennox Sebe.
The 1st Applicant states that during or about December 1986 he received verbal instructions from General Liebenberg that Eastern Province Command should no longer participate in Katzen. The 1st Applicant was thereafter, with effect from 1 January 1987, promoted and transferred to the Witwatersrand Command. He states that the SADF did not participate in the failed raid on the home of Lennox Sebe which took place on 19 February 1987 and that such raid was not a part of Katzen, notwithstanding the fact that Katzen contemplated the removal of Lennox Sebe. He says that after such raid Katzen died a natural death. The SAP withdrew their participation after the meeting of 10 November 1986.
After considering the evidence and documentation before us, including the affidavit that was submitted by General R. Reid-Daly after the hearing of this matter, we are satisfied that the actions of the 1st Applicant in the formulation of Plan Katzen and in the partial execution of such plan were acts associated with a political objective as contemplated by Section 20 of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, No. 34 of 1995 ("the Act"). He had received direct instructions from the highest sources to expeditiously stabilise the region under his command. He, in an endeavour to comply with such instructions conceived and formulated the plan. There is nothing whatsoever on record to suggest that he acted out of malice, ill-will or spite or for personal gain in so doing. The plan was submitted by him to his senior officers and, from there, other departments became involved and the implementation of its first phase was sanctioned.
Plan Katzen was highly ambitious and far-reaching. While it may be described as being diabolical and misconceived we accept the 1st Applicant's averment that its creation was an attempt to combat the revolution that was taking place in the region under his command. It is clear that the execution of the plan would involve the commission of various unlawful acts and crimes including, for example, aiding and abetting escape from lawful detention, the abduction of persons, covert training of persons for a resistance movement, conspiracy to overthrow a government, etc. The plan was a desperate measure to counter the ever increasing intensity of the revolution.
We are also satisfied that the 2nd Applicant was acting under instruction in the performance of his duties when he assisted with the execution of phase one of the plan by gathering and supplying information and by rendering assistance after the abduction of Kwane Sebe and the said Ngwanya. He too, was in our view, acting with a political objective as contemplated by the Act.
We are also satisfied that both Applicants have made a full disclosure of the relevant facts and that their applications comply with the requirements of the Act.
In the circumstances the applications succeed and the Applicants are GRANTED amnesty in respect of all criminal and delictual acts committed by them arising out of their involvement in Plan Katzen.
DATED at CAPE TOWN this day of 2000.
JUDGE S M MILLER
ADV. N SANDI
MR J B SIBANYONI