CHAIRPERSON: Who is accompanying you Mr Motsepe?

MR MOTSEPE: I am accompanied by my two daughters.

CHAIRPERSON: They are welcome.

MR MOTSEPE: Mrs Jacqueline Masebilanga and Tamaria Mosepe seated over there.

CHAIRPERSON: They are welcome.


CHAIRPERSON: I hope you will relax too, feel at home. I will leave you over to Wynand. Thank you.

MR MALAN: Good morning Mr Motsepe.

MR MOTSEPE: Good morning Sir.

MR MALAN: Would you like to have your other daughter also sitting up with you? She is very welcome to join you.


MR MALAN: If she is comfortable with that. Nice to see a family together. Before we start would you mind taking the oath? If you will just raise your right then.


MR MALAN: Thank you very much. You may take your seat. Mr Motsepe, you were for some time representative of the ANC, the informal Ambassador to the Benelux countries. You had some experiences abroad. It is a different setting in which we get further information relating to gross human rights violations and we will appreciate it if you will share with




us basically what you have disclosed in your statement to us. Thank you for being here. We will gladly be listening to you.

MR MOTSEPE: Thank you. Yes, I was appointed the ANC chief representative. First and foremost in 1979 I was in Algeria and whilst I was in Algeria the ANC asked me to leave for Europe the following year to go and establish ANC missions in Western Europe. So I set up the ANC office for the Benelux countries based in Brussels. This office covered Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. Then I also went over to France to set up the ANC office in Paris at the instruction of ANC headquarters in Lusaka.

As soon as I was ensconced in Belgium, immediately I noticed that I was being constantly tailed by what subsequently turned out to be South African agents. Firstly, they used, what I would term, phycological warfare against me. I would get to the office in the morning and find that they had opened the office overnight and searched through documents, but nothing would be stolen except, perhaps, one time when I found photographs of young white South Africans who were draft dodgers who wanted to join the ANC, I found that their photographs had disappeared in my office. Then at times I would secure my apartment where I was living in Brussels with my family. We would go away for a weekend. I would go to, perhaps, to Amsterdam to a meeting and when I come back I would find that they had opened my apartment. They would even leave the windows open, had rifled through the desks in the house, rifled through everything, but nothing would be stolen, you know, valuable things like typewriters or television or so. I reported these things to the Belgium authorities and as time went on the intimidation PRETORIA HEARING TRC/GAUTENG



became worse and worse and worse.

I remember exactly one night when I came back from a meeting and I got back to my house, to my apartment. I just could not open the door of my, you know, apartment which was on the third floor and I was wondering what was happening because my family was inside. When, eventually, my late wife opened, I found that she was very, very, very terrified because she said that she had received these phone calls in which she was being threatened. They were even swearing at her, using all kinds of profanity to tell her that they know she is there alone and they can come there and get her. These kinds of things went on and on and on and in the mid-1980's it just became worse.

There were about four assassination attempts made on my life. The last two were the only ones which got much publicity in the newspapers. I have here with me press cuttings from Belgium and, you know, Flemish and French language newspapers because it was very, very highly publicised. This was on the fourth of February 1988. It was on a Friday evening and I was working late alone in our office. There was some work which I wanted to clear which was very urgent. I had to send off telexes to Lusaka concerning some important issues. So I decided to work late all by myself. Everybody else had left. Then somebody rang our doorbell. When I answered at the intercom I could hear somebody with a very heavy accent trying to speak French saying that he was from a local Belgian newspaper and he wanted to interview me. Now having lived in Belgian for quite some time and having dealt quite a lot with the media I knew that there was no Belgian newspaper man who would just come out of from the blue at night and say that he




wanted an interview. Most of the newspaper men that I knew, people who were in the media, they would phone you during the day, they would introduce themselves properly to you, tell you who they were, which newspapers or which television station they worked for. So I immediately said to this person at the door that, no, anyway I was not interested in the interview. It was late, I was tired and I wanted to go home. I was not in the least bit interested in having an interview. So I forgot about the whole matter and went back to what I was doing.

After about ten, 15 minutes or so I went over to the, to our front office, you know, sort of like our reception which looked over into the street. I stood there and I was looking into the street. I was just thinking what, you know, what was I going to eat because by then I had packed off my wife and children to London because they were so terrified of living with me. These threats had taken a very serious toll on my wife and I was all by myself in Belgian at the time because I wanted them to be in safety. So as I was standing there, one man wearing a, you know, wearing something like a skull cap and a, something like a raincoat with the flaps turned over this way, rushed to the window and he fired two shots at me. I was very, very fortunate in that I dove out of the way and I lay flat on the ground, but a splinter from the bullet had hit me over here and I was bleeding a little bit. So the authorities came, they took ballistic tests and the press were there. It was quite a commotion and I was in a real state of shock at that time. Statements were made and the Belgian authorities immediately, I think they even contacted Interpol and so forth, you know, to help.




Then on the 27th of March which was a month later I was woken up the Belgian authorities very late, in the early hours of Sunday morning. When we dashed to our office with them we found that a 17 kilogram bomb was placed on the door of our office just in the entrance to the building. Our offices were on the ground floor and they had put it there. Timed to blow us up on Monday morning at nine. I was usually in my office at about nine in the morning. The secretaries and other people came earlier to open up, but I would usually turn up at nine. All the neighbourhood in that area which was a densely populated, you know, area were woken up. They were evacuated by the bomb squad and the bomb was removed by these bomb removal machines which blew it up somewhere very far away from our office. Even the Belgian authorities were shocked at this kind of behaviour because they said to me, we cannot understand what kind of people are these who want to kill you alone, but they are prepared to sacrifice the lives of so many people. That 17 kilogram bomb would have blown half the neighbourhood to pieces.

Two days afterwards on the 29th of March, that is when our chief representative, Ms Dalcy September was shot to death in Paris. So it seemed as if this was the same hit squad which was travelling around Western Europe at that time trying to eliminate all ANC people or activists. Subsequently I was told by the Belgian authorities that when this hit squad was in Britain, Scotland Yard tipped off the Belgian authorities that there was a group of very dubious characters from South Africa who were leaving for the continent, who were coming across and they had even sent photographs of these people and their names because




apparently one of them had been with the South African embassy in London and the British drove him away as persona non grata because of activities which were not related to his diplomatic status. So they called me over and they showed me a photograph of this man and this was exactly the man I saw that night when he shot at me because for a split second we looked at each other when he came running to the window and he stood there and I stared into his eyes and he stared at me just for a split second before he drew and he shot. That photograph tallied with the description that I had given to the Belgian authorities. They had made an identikit that same night and it tallied with the photograph and they told me his name. I know his name, I know who he is and we also found out that he came back to South Africa, he was a Sergeant at the time. For these nefarious deeds he was promoted. He is a Captain and he lives in Cape Town. I am not sure whether he was given a golden handshake, he is retired or what, but we know that he lives somewhere in Cape Town as a Captain whose name I haver here with me.

Now, the harassment which I had suffered caused me a lot in health wise. I lost a lot of weight because I could no longer sleep in one place. I was moving from place to place. I could not eat properly, I could not sleep properly and the most terrifying thing of all for me was that these people knew who I was, I did not know who they were so I was scared of anybody that I saw. Anywhere, in the bus, in the tram, in the streets. I did not know who they were, but they knew me. So this gave me quite, you know, quite a traumatic experience. I developed a disease called shingles which hospitalised me in the UK for quite some time. It was very, very painful. The doctors told me that it was caused




by having lived in an extremely stressful situation for a very long time that your health just deteriorates completely and your nerves are almost on the end of, you know, their tether.

Worst of all, this kind of experience affected my late wife far more deeply than we suspected because after we had gotten back home here through all the stress that she had been through, she developed a brain tumour which led to her untimely death because she had become very, very terrified. Even when we were back home here she was still very, very terrified, she could not even accompany me to an ANC meeting here at home. When she saw the police coming with guns, especially 1990 when we arrived, she was so terrified that she just could not. So, briefly, I think that would be my statement.

I would very, very much want to know why did these people want to eliminate me. I was not carrying any guns, I was just like a diplomat, I was just putting the case of our people across. There was never a time when I intimidated the members of the South African Embassy. In fact the irony of it all is that I even stopped some terrorist groups who wanted to blow up the South African Embassy in Belgian and in the Netherlands. I stopped them because they came to enquire from me and I said to them, no, this is not what we are about and yet, I mean, I became the very person that the State, the apartheid State waned to eliminate and for what reason. I was, as I say, I was not carrying any weapons at all. I was, I had never ever made any threats or anything. All I was doing, I mean, was diplomatic work, going to meetings, convincing millions of people in Western Europe about the evil of apartheid and




calling for economic sanctions against South Africa. So I really want to know who was it, I mean, who sent these people to try and eliminate me, to make my life virtually like hell. I mean I, from day to day I never knew whether I will come back home alive. They had made my life, you know, I could even feel at times that I was walking next to my grave. So this is what I would really want to know and I feel that those kind of people, really, they do not belong in a New South Africa. They ought to be locked up as far as I am concerned. Thank you.

MR MALAN: Mr Motsepe, thank you very much. You also alluded to two incidents in your statement which you do not have to share with us, but you broadly describe them in terms of a state of mind where you do not know who your attackers are or who the people are that you perceive to be a threat and that therefore you respond to every stranger as if that could be an enemy or an assassin. We understand that and thank you also for sharing that in the written document.

If I may ask the first question as a follow up to where you ended where you said I want to find out why did they threaten me, why did the want to eliminate me because, you said, you were only, sort of, exposing the evil of apartheid and calling for economic sanctions. The Act enjoins us to look at the perspectives and motives of all perpetrators, but also at the perspectives of victims. Now I am going to ask you to, I mean, you must have had your mind exercising this in the past, why did they want me out of the way. Why do you think, how do you think their minds worked. Those people that either did threaten you or those people that instructed some to threaten you. What do you think their




perspectives were or their motives? Do you have any thoughts on that?

MR MOTSEPE: Yes, well, I am afraid I cannot place myself, you know, in their psyches, but I know that I was involved in very, very high profile, you know, political activity. I met the kind of people that they would never ever, they could never ever meet and I moved in circles that they could never be admitted and everything that they tried to achieve in pursuit of apartheid, we always made it misfire for them. I mean to quote only a few incidents. I was invited by the Mayor of Culemborg, where Jan van Riebeeck comes from, and they were tearing down statues of Jan van Riebeeck. They contributed a lot of money towards the ANC coffers. They, the Mayor of Culemborg even showed me letters from the South African Embassy in Holland, in Amsterdam pleading with them, saying that Jan van Riebeeck was the father of the nation of South Africa. They should not, please, tear down these statues. So I think those were some of the things which caused those, you know, people in top positions to say that, no, I have to be eliminated at all costs. I do not know. Maybe that might be one of the reasons.

MR MALAN: I hear you saying that, in a sense, you were very successful with your work and that presented a threat to their world or the way they understood the world.

MR MOTSEPE: I think so, yes. I think so.

MR MALAN: Okay. May I ask you just one or two brief follow-ups. You also talked about the bomb that was discovered on the 27th of March at the entrance, at the reception area. Was there a time mechanism attached to the bomb? Did you have any further information on that?

MR MOTSEPE: Yes, in fact, why the bomb was discovered in




time was that a group of young Belgian students were sharing a flat at the top of the building where we had an office. So they were coming back from a discotheque very late at night and as they were passing there they heard this ticking sound, you know, in a sports bag because this bomb was put in a sports bag. So they heard this ticking, you know, in that sports bag and they were mentally alert, you know, to call the police because they knew that the previous month there was a shooting in our office. So it was only discovered because they rang the police station. Otherwise it would never have been discovered and it was because of the ticking in the sports bag which alerted them.

MR MALAN: You never found out for what time that mechanism was set, when it was?

MR MOTSEPE: It was, I was told by the Belgian bomb squad that it was set to go off at nine Monday morning and, as I said previously, this was usually the time that I arrived at our office. So, obviously, somebody must have been watching our office. There was a restaurant at the corner opposite our office and we could see sometimes some very strange people sitting there watching, you know, our office as we go in and out.

MR MALAN: Just an observation and sharing with you. You refer to this person who an identikit was done of, matched with the photograph and that you recognised. You chose not to mention the name at the moment, but you did disclose that to us in the, in your statement and there will certainly be a follow-up of this. In terms of how our system works we would have given notice already to this person asking for his comments. You alluded to the fact that he was later promoted within the force. I just want to tell you that




this seems to be almost par for the course. We will have further evidence, too, today, not only within the forces of acknowledgement of people who did commit gross human rights violations within the ambit of this total belief and defence of a world or going for an ideal and that is certainly something that the Commission will have to apply its mind to when we go forward and coming to recommendations to the President, thinking of our report. The acknowledgement or not of people who were involved either in the struggle or defence of the old system, believing what they were doing, committing gross human rights violations and even acknowledged post. It is a very touchy issue and I want to share that with you and we really need to apply our mind, but from my side, for the moment before I hand you back to the Chairperson, thank you very much for a crisp and clear setting out of your experiences. I appreciate it.


CHAIRPERSON: Any questions? Ally. Are you deferring.

DR ALLY: Mr Motsepe, if I could just ask a few questions and this relates to some of the research work that the Commission is actually doing. Part of the research work is to look at the activities outside of the country, cross-border activities and also in Europe and you do mention that you suggest very strongly that there is a link between what was happening to you in Brussels and what happened to Dalcy September in France in Paris. Could you just, if it is possible, to share with us some of your perceptions or observations as to how these hit squads were operating in Europe, how they were able to move from one country to another, how you think they were supported, that they could actually carry out activities which they were carrying out. PRETORIA HEARING TRC/GAUTENG


What are your observations on this?

MR MOTSEPE: You see, my observation at the time was that they were able to operate freely because in Belgian, for instance, we found out that they were doing all these evil deeds because they were in collusion with certain members, right wing members, of the Belgian security forces. The ample instances where we were able to find out, you know, that the Belgian Security Forces or some members of the Belgian Security Forces were actively aiding and abetting, you know, these hit squads. To site only one example. You know the Belgian Security Forces were not really very keen in their investigations. We had to actually supply them with, you know, a lot of our own investigative, our own investigations because they were not really very keen and at one time when we suspected very, very strongly that they were still in Belgian, they said to us that we must, they said to me, in particular, that I must not give any press conference because I would alert them that, you know, they were on their trail. We later, subsequently found out through some investigative journalist that they gave them a chance to escape from Belgian.

DR ALLY: Who gave them a chance to escape?

MR MOTSEPE: The Belgian Security Police. You see they tricked us into not making a lot of noise about the hit squad which was still at that time in Belgian. We listened to what the Belgian Security Police told us, you know, and we did not issue any press releases or anything and yet this was when they were giving these people time to get out of the country. These matters were raised in the Belgian Parliament, they were raised in the newspapers. A lot of Belgian investigative journalists, you know, wrote articles




corroborating, you know, that there was tardiness on the part of the Belgian Security Police on these issues. So that is why they were able to operate. How did they, for instance, how did they manage to bring a 17 kilogram bomb into Belgian? How were they able to bring these guns and, incidentally, the ballistic test showed that the gun that they used, you know, to shoot at me, it was a Russian made Markroff. So immediately, you know, somebody leaked to the media that this was one faction of the ANC fighting against another faction because the ANC were the ones who are using Russian made, you know, guns and ammunition. This was all, you know, part of the ploy by these right wingers, you know, to denigrate us.

DR ALLY: And your own security and the security of other people like yourself in Europe, how was that provided or was there security? Was the host country responsible or did you provide your own security?

MR MOTSEPE: You see that also is another reason why, you know, I think that there was a lot of collusion between some Belgian authorities and the hit squads because we had tried to bring in our security people from Lusaka and they were not given permission to come in. I, myself, had applied, you know, to the Belgian authorities to have a weapon for self-defence. They would not allow me. So you see, I mean, they had put us in a very, very invidious position. They had made it impossible for us, you know, to defend ourselves, but they allowed these people to come in, you know, with weapons, to move freely inside the country which is what we could not understand.

DR ALLY: Just one last question. You speak about this person who you mention at one stage being in the embassy,




South African Embassy, in London and being forced to leave

there. What are your observations about the role of the embassies in all of this?

MR MOTSEPE: Well I must say, at the time, the role of embassy was far from being, you know, a diplomatic embassy. This was, I mean, these embassies were like dents of iniquity. They had all sorts of characters whose job descriptions, you know, you could not make up what they were for.

DR ALLY: Thank you very much.


MR LEWIN: Mr Motsepe, if I could just continue along those lines and ask from your perspective now, as a member of Foreign Affairs in the new South Africa. I just want to confirm firstly about the legitimacy in European countries of activities like that. Was it completely against the Law there or it recognised activity by embassy officials?

MR MOTSEPE: No, it was completely against the Law. That is why very serious questions were asked in the Belgian Parliament, for instance. There were very, very heated debates as to how could the Belgian authorities allow, you know, their territorial sovereignty to be trample over, you know, by foreign hit squads. How could they have been allowed to bring in weapons into the country? There were really, I mean, you know, there were very, very, very serious debates going on concerning this issue. It was totally against Belgian Laws.

MR LEWIN: And I believe, for instance, against Swiss Law, the same thing happened.

MR MOTSEPE: Yes and in French Laws also. The same thing happened.




MR LEWIN: Where would the authority for that sort of activity have come from knowing, as you do, the workings of the Civil Service? Where would authorities for that, would it have come from Foreign Affairs or would it come from somewhere else?

MR MOTSEPE: I think it would have come from somewhere else. I do not think that, you know, the Foreign Service, as far as far as I can tell now that I am inside, as a Director, I do not think that they have the authority to issue that kind of command to anybody.

MR LEWIN: Thank you very much.

PROF MEIRING: Mr Motsepe, it is a rare opportunity to have you here and to ask questions. Can I take you on completely another track? As you know the Act under which we work today also asks of the Commission to prepare proposals for the President, through the President to Parliament on reparation and rehabilitation. Moving away from the question of monetary compensation we do think that there is also room for symbolic acts like monuments or days of remembrance or any other way of alternative reparation. Do you have ideas on that? Have you given that some thought? The possibility of a monument or whatever which you would like to share us.

MR MOTSEPE: Yes, I think some kind of institutions should be built around the country for the victims of apartheid where counselling should be given to them and where, perhaps, even some form of therapy should be given because I must tell you it is a really traumatic experience. I use to wake up in the middle of the night screaming because I could see this man approaching me, shooting at me. Even today I cannot sit, I cannot sit next to a window. If I go




to a restaurant I sit very far away from the window because I just, I cannot. If I sit next to a window I start, you know, getting serious tremors in my heart. I start imagining all sorts of things. I become very, very nervous, I become very anxious. So I am sure there are a lot of other people who have, perhaps, even suffered far more than I have who would need that therapy, you know, very, very much, you know.

PROF MEIRING: Thank you. I can assure you that we are working very hard on proposals along these lines, providing therapy and getting a support system going for victims and survivors. The question of monuments, from your experience, travelling through Europe. Has that crossed your mind?

MR MOTSEPE: Yes, I have seen, you know, monuments, yes, in Europe especially to the victims of Nazism. I saw them in many parts of Europe because as an ANC chief representative I travelled quite extensively with some of the leaders or ANC as they were coming around, but I must say, you know, I have not applied myself very seriously to the question of monuments for South Africa. Perhaps they might be necessary. I am not sure, you know.

PROF MEIRING: Thank you very much.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Motsepe and your daughters or your family, we are very grateful for what you have shared with us and you can be assured that the TRC will do the best it can to address that very issue of who these people were who were roving the western world through hunting the people down. You have said that some of them can still be located, but over and above, it is this whole trauma that has occasioned your family. The loss of the wife, you know, is characteristic of this kind of effect of being followed and




being hunted down. We are just too grateful that they have never succeeded to shoot you, to kill you, but we are saying we are with you, we share your trauma and thanks for even hazarding this incidents example of what could be done for reparation and rehabilitation which is what this Committee is all, what the TRC is mostly about. We thank you so much. We will, we hope we will still get your co-operation in other fields relevant to your experience to discover, to unearth some of these people. Thank you so much.