STATEMENT BY COMMISSIONER DUMISA NTSEBEZA, HEAD OF THE INVESTIGATIVE UNIT OF THE TRC
The TRC intends to ask the attorney-general of the Western Cape, adv Frank Kahn, to lay charges against former Civil Cooperation Bureau (CCB) treasurer, Wouter Basson, after he and his attorney failed to appear at an investigative inquiry today.
A transcript of the opening proceedings of the closed section 29 Inquiry, where it was found that the subpoenaed Basson and his lawyer was not present, will be sent to the attorney general with a copy of the subpoena within days. The investigating panel waited half and hour for Basson and his lawyer to arrive before the decision was made. It was established that the lawyer was tied up in a different legal matter, but failed to inform the TRC that he and his client will not arrive.
Failure to respond to a subpoena is a criminal contravention of the law governing the TRC's work and carries a possible sentence of either two years imprisonment or R2 000 or both. The Commission will ask Adv Kahn to lay charges in terms of the relevant section of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act.
The Investigative Unit (IU) of the TRC has subpoenaed two former CCB members to appear at separate investigative inquiries this week. Both testified in closed inquiries, conducted in terms of Section 29 of the act governing the Commission, in August last year, and were warned that they may be recalled.
Former CCB Managing Director, Mr Joe Verster appeared on Monday and Tuesday and its treasurer, Mr Wouter Jacobus Basson, alias Christo Brits, was due to testify today. (Basson is not to be confused with Dr Wouter Basson of the former SADF's Seventh Medical Battalion.) They were requested in terms of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act to give evidence and/or answer questions in relation to various matters under investigation by the TRC's Investigative Unit.
Among the alleged violations they were questioned on are
- The bombing of the Early Learning Centre in Athlone in August 1989;
- The death and role in the CCB of Mr Edward "Peaches" Gordon, and
- Alleged cross-border atrocities, such as the 1989 assassination of Namibian activist, Adv Anton Lubowski and the parcel bomb that maimed Father Michael Lapsley of the Anglican Church in Harare in 1990.
During their last appearance, Verster, Basson and former CCB member Abram "Slang" van Zyl, were warned to answer questions on the CCB's foreign operations and operatives. When they refused, transcripts of records of the inquiries were handed to the Western Cape Attorney General with a request by the Commission that charges be laid against them. The TRC's previous complaint is still under investigation by the Attorney General.