TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
SUBMISSIONS - QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
DATE: 11 JUNE 1997
NAME: CHRISTIAN PETER MEYER
CASE: EC117/96 - MDANTSANE
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you June. We are starting our hearing of the third day. We thank those who were patient from yesterday when we did not finish our list. We will first hear those people and then we will start with today's programme after that. If Ms Maya could read us the order of the day.
MS MAYA: Thank you Mr Chairperson. I am going to read a list of people that are going to appear before the Truth Commission. I will read from, that we did not finish from yesterday. Reading the witnesses name, the victim, the incident and the place of the incident, also the year of the incident. Mandla Tobezweni will be talking about himself, tortured in Mdantsane in 1987. Mandla Engelani talking about himself, severely ill-treated in East London in 1985. Mxolisi Monakali will be talking about himself, attempted murder, Mdantsane, 1981. Christian Peter Meyer will be talking about Leon Lionel Meyer and Jacqueline Anne Quinn who were killed in Lesotho, 1985. Joseph Cochran will be talking about himself, ill-treated in East London in 1989. Nomakhosazana Mavubengwana will be talking about Geoff Meke Mabena, killed in East London in 1988, requested if she could speak today.
Today's list, Bongani Nondula will be talking about himself, tortured in Mdantsane in 1977. Nomvuyiseko Forosi will be talking about herself, tortured in Mdantsane in 1977. Mtutuzeli Sibewu will be talking about himself, ill-treated in Mdantsane, 1978. Michael Nothwala will be talking about himself, severely ill-treated in Mdantsane in 1977. Philda Nomvula Roxiso will be talking about Deliswa Roxiso, killed in Mdantsane in 1981. Nokama Violet Njoli will be talking about Princess Njoli, killed in Mdantsane in 1988. Galelekile Ngaki will be talking about himself, tortured and severely ill-treated in Zwelitsha, 1977 to 1991. Zweliyazuza Gwentshe will be talking about Mzwandile Gwentshe who was tortured on Robben Island in 1964 and Alcott Skwenene Gwentshe who was will killed in East London, 1965. Amos Diko will be talking about himself, severely ill-treated and his property destroyed in East London, 1985. Vuyani Mngaza will be talking about himself, tortured and ill-treated in East London from 1963 to 1967. Mncedisi Mapela who will be talking about himself, tortured in East London, 1964. Sthembiso Zorro Njoli will be talking himself, severely ill-treated in Duncan Village, 1990. Trayishile Samuel Zwelibanzi will be talking about himself, severely ill-treated in Zwelitsha, 1984. Mike Basopu will be talking about himself, severely ill-treated. Vuyani Sokupa will be talking about himself, severely ill-treated in Mdantsane. Shumikazi Sara Sijako will be talking about herself, tortured in East London, 1963. Thank you Mr Chairperson. That is all.
CHAIRPERSON: We are going to remember those who passed on. If we could get up please. Deliswa Roxiso, Princess Njoli, Alcott Skwenene Gwentshe, Qolwana Pali may they rest in peace and give them eternal light, Lord. Amen. I would like to read the alleged perpetrators names. The notices I have here of submissions. Donald Card is going to give a statement. He does not want to appear before the Commission. This is in connection with Zweliyazuza Gwentshe, Vuyani Mngaza. Donald Card also connected to Vuyani Mngaza, number ten. He does not want to appear before the Commission about that matter either. Also Donald Card alleged perpetrator Mncedisi Mapela. He is going to give a written statement there as well.
Also alleged perpetrators were Shumikazi Sara Sijako is concerned, going to give a written statement there as well. If there are people who would like to appear before the Commission who had Section 13 notices, please come and approach the panel. We will try to accommodate you. Christian Peter Meyer please.
REV XUNDU: Can I swear the witness in Mr Chairperson? Christian Peter Meyer, will you stand up please.
CHRISTIAN PETER MEYER: (Duly sworn in, states).
REV XUNDU: Thank you. He has been properly sworn in.
CHAIRPERSON: We thank you Mr Meyer for coming. I understand that you need to go back to school quickly and we will ask Mr Ntsiki Sandi to direct to you a few questions on behalf of the Commission.
ADV SANDI: Thank you Mr Chairman. Mr Meyer, you have made a request to appear before this Commission and talk about Leon Lionel Meyer and Jacqueline Ann Quinn. Is that correct?
MR MEYER: Yes Sir.
ADV SANDI: Can you say briefly what is the relationship between yourself and these two people?
MR MEYER: Yes, Leon Meyer is my brother, my late brother, who died in Lesotho in 1985. He was married to Jacqueline Anne Quinn in Lesotho. She was a teacher in Lesotho at the time. He was a MK member and I think his status was a political commissar and a commander in Lesotho.
ADV SANDI: I understand you have prepared a statement which you will read today as your submission. Is that correct?
MR MEYER: That is correct Commissioner.
ADV SANDI: Do you have a copy for yourself, of that statement?
MR MEYER: I do have one.
ADV SANDI: Can I now give you an opportunity to go through that statement?
MR MEYER: Yes Sir.
"I wish to testify before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission about my late brother, Leon Meyer's early life and events leading to his leaving the country, his life in exile, his assassination in exile and the consequences of his untimely death. I am aware, Commissioners, of the fact that the Truth Commission Special Report of 16 June 1996 as well as my sister, Dawn Botha's, testimony on 13 August 1996 contains detailed reports of events leading up to and until the death of Leon Lionel Meyer.
An earlier detailed account of my brother's activities states clearly that he was definitely regarded as an enemy to the apartheid regime. My late parent's house was frequently visited and on some occasions searched by the East London Security Branch policemen. They would then parade in an intimidating manner in Melbourne Road, Buffalo Flats where we resided, wearing camouflage uniforms and waving heavy calibre weapons.
A 15 year old pupil subjected to such inhuman treatment bears testimony to the motives of the previous regime. As was mentioned in previous testimonies, Leon was regularly interrogated and detained without charge and/or trial by the East London Security Branch. This continuous harassment including threats by the Security Police resulted in him and Cliffie Brown leaving the country and becoming an ANC exile in Lesotho on completion of his matric exam in 1978.
With Leon temporarily out of reach of the Special Branch the harassment of my parents, who were both suffering from Cancer at the time, took on a new dimension. Intimidation in the form of early hour visits at my parent's home seemed to be the order of the day. This action proved extremely successful as it led to less frequent visits by visiting family members who were subjected to the same harassment.
Despite all these negative and demoralising actions of the Special Branch, our parents continued to be mentally strong. Through their example we remained focused and refused to submit to the Security Branch and harassment at Maseru Bridge border post on our numerous trips to Maseru. We stood firm and fearlessly, withstood allegations such as collaborating with communists and terrorists from the security policemen stationed at the Maseru Bridge border post. We were often asked why we kept on crossing the Maseru Bridge border post when we knew exactly what treatment lies in store for us.
Honourable Commissioners, I wish to mention the names of people who can vouch for what we went through during our visits to Lesotho. Mrs Phyllis Naidoo, a truly comforting friend of my mother's who my mother knew personally and who often corresponded with my mother when she was in exile in Lesotho and London. Mr Andile Ngcaba, present Director-General of Post and Telecommunications and a great family friend. Major Winston Harper and his wife, Sandy, who were also warm and comforting to my family on our trips to Maseru.
Allow me to bring to your attention, honourable Commissioners, that on the day of my father's burial on 28 May 1983, a strong police presence outside our house was noticeable. Some of which actually succeeded in invading our house and disorientating mourners. An even larger contingent policemen were visible at the grave-site on the same day. It was clear to me that our misery was intensifying. They could well have thought that Leon would make his appearance at the funeral.
The 1982 raid into Lesotho by the South African Defence Force troops resulted in the death of a number of exiles as well as Lesotho citizens. Leon miraculously escaped death during that raid.
Two years after this raid his daughter, Phoenix, was born. She was named after the mythical bird, Phoenix, meaning or symbolising rising from the ashes or to rise from the ashes.
My mother passed away on July 1985. Leon and his wife were soon to follow five months later during that fateful 20 December raid in Lesotho. A friend and border at Leon's and Jackie's place, Mr Vivian Matthee from Cape Town, using the MK name of Trevor, was also killed earlier the same evening. We were informed of the tragic death by the Principal of the high school where Jackie was a teacher.
Upon hearing the sad news I arranged to travel to Lesotho. I was not harassed at all when I entered the RSA side border post at Maseru Bridge which was unlike what happened on our previous visits to Maseru. When I arrived in Maseru I immediately identified myself to the police of Lesotho who accompanied me to the house where the massacre took place. The house reeked of raw blood and human tissue was lying all over the place. I was overwhelmed by the unpleasant smell and blood spattered walls.
The Maseru Police then took me to the lady who was awakened by Leon as he crashed through the patio door and fell to the ground, blood pouring from his wound in the lower left abdomen. The police allowed me to question the lady who described to me how he smashed through the patio door with his boots calling out in an ailing voice, we have been attacked by the Boers. They killed my wife. Please call an ambulance. The pain is unbearable, give me some painkillers.
In Pretoria News 17 September 1979, 1996 Eugene de Kock disclosed the following.
"The instruction for the December 1985 raid in Lesotho was given by Brigadier Willem Skoon and approved by, the then Prime Minister, P W Botha as well as Police Commissioner Johan Coetzee and General Johan van der Merwe. Whilst de Kock and Nortje attacked the first house, the other bandits proceeded to Leon and Jackie's house. Jackie opened the door after she presumably recognised the voice of the police agent who led the squad to their house. Jackie grabbed the gun barrel and was shot by him. The two operatives then shot Leon and thereafter locked Phoenix and her Black child minder up in a room.".
"This statement contradicts the lady from the lady in whose house Leon died. After the raid the killers proceeded to Ladybrandt from where they informed the police about Phoenix. De Kock also acknowledges that each member of the hit squad received a Police Star Award for bravery from General Basie Smit.
Warrant Officer Willie Nortje, former member of the police hit squad based at Vlakplaas, testified the following under oath to Gauteng Attorney-General Dr Jan de Oliviera.".
"The raid was planned and co-ordinated by Colonel Eugene de Kock, Commander of Vlakplaas. They were assisted by a police agent who stayed amongst ANC members in Lesotho. Intelligence sources within ANC ranks identified the police agent as Macascow, a brother-in-law to a MK soldier by the name of Dick.".
"This information was given to me by an ANC source in Lesotho at the time.
The other Vlakplaas hit squad members involved were Steve Bosch, Wessens Guide, Snor Vermeulen and an unknown number of askaris. The following Ladybrandt security policemen were also involved. Joe Koetzer, Anton Adamson and Doe Willemse. Nortje claims that Koetzer, Adamson and the police agent were responsible for the murder of Leon and his wife. Nortje further states that all policemen involved in the raid received the Police Star for bravery from General Johan van der Merwe. De Kock claims that General Basie Smit allocated the awards.
Given that high profile State security agents like de Kock are on record as having said that the then South African Government was directly involved in the Lesotho raid, the raid had been sanctioned by senior SAP officers, Generals and Government officials, an agent within the midst of the ANC in Lesotho played a major role in the whole scenario, agent known in certain intelligence circles as Macascow, I, Chris Meyer, brother of the late Leon Meyer, a brother-in-law to Jacqueline Quinn-Meyer and uncle to Phoenix and, lastly, a South African citizen committed to peace and reconciliation, humbly urge the Truth and Reconciliation Committee to establish why nobody ever mentions the name of the police agent, interview the woman who informed the police about the killing of Leon and his wife, contrary to what de Kock would let us believe, that he phoned Maseru police from Ladybrandt, supposedly informing them about the orphaned child, trace the link that de Kock and his bandits had with Lesotho and find out from him about the Lesotho raid and any other activity or involvement in these acts.
Lastly, I would like to point out to the honourable Commissioners, everybody present and South Africa as a whole that the requests I have made here are not driven by vengeance or a desire for revenge, as a point of departure, it should rather be seen as a quest for reconciliation which is truly possible with full disclosures.".
I would like the Commission to allow me to add something onto this testimony, if possible.
ADV SANDI: You may proceed and do so. Thank you.
MR MEYER: Thank you Commissioner. The question I would like to ask is why were these people not tried in South Africa, all the members that were involved in the hit squad activities. I understand that Eugene de Kock was tried for other atrocities in Pretoria and then we have not noticed that the perpetrators had shown any remorse for what they did during those raids, the raid in Maseru and, furthermore, honourable Commissioners, I would like to know if it is by any means possible for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to establish whether there is an extradition agreement with Lesotho and find out whether this, these people can stand trial in Lesotho for what they did. They, according to my opinion, they completely disregarded Lesotho as a Sovereign State and they grossly violated the human rights of that country. I thank you Commissioners.
ADV SANDI: Thank you Mr Meyer. You have prepared a very detailed and thought provoking submission. I have got no questions to ask you. Maybe my colleagues would like to ask you some questions for clarity in regard to one point or another. Thank you Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Meyer, thank you very much for appearing before the Commission today and for taking our eyes and our minds back to this event that struck the whole world, really. You have related the story again with dignity and have given us all the details and you have raised at the end of your statement very difficult questions which the Commission must try and address. I have been particularly touched by your last paragraph where you say that you are not being driven by vengeance and a desire for revenge, but you are gladdened to coming before the Commission, because you have got this quest for real reconciliation, which real reconciliation can come out with full disclosure of the truth. You have touched us and I suppose that all who have listened to you this morning are going to be equally, are being equally touched by the spirit in which you have made your submission. I do not know whether we will be able to find out the whole truth, but at least you have challenged us and those who come before the Amnesty Committee on these matters will no doubt have to face the points that you have raised here and they have to take them into consideration when they come before the Commission. Thank you very much Mr Meyer and thank you for the spirit in which you have made your submission. Thanks.
MR MEYER: Thank you.