CHAIRPERSON: Because there may be various people who are going to be questioning you and you feel you are all right?
MR ZWANE: I will answer any question.
CHAIRPERSON: Right, thank you. Hanif?
MR VALLY: Thank you Archbishop. Mr Zwane, you face 38 counts of very serious charges, you were found guilty of 9 counts of murder and we heard you say that you were not responsible for the deaths of Miss Dudu Chiliís niece and that the confession was forced out of you.
MR ZWANE: Yes, Sir.
MR VALLY: Are you saying youíre not guilty of the other 8 murders as well?
MR ZWANE: I will answer you - as Iíve stated before, Iíve been an MK cadre ...(tape ends)
MR VALLY: You say besides the death of three policemen, you are not responsible for any of the other murders?
MR ZWANE: No.
MR VALLY: Let's go on. It's already been put to you that Mrs Mandela said you stayed occasionally at the house and you deny this?
MR ZWANE: Yes I deny.
MR VALLY: Your reference Mr Semenya, second Section 29 page 148. Are you called Bobo?
MR ZWANE: Yes that's my nickname.
MR VALLY: You say you were trained by an MK member called Vusile?
MR ZWANE: Yes.
MR VALLY: He is also got a nickname, do you know his nickname?
MR ZWANE: Yes I know it.
MR VALLY: What is it?
MR ZWANE: Mshoshovi, the other one is V.
MR VALLY: V for Victor?
MR ZWANE: I don't know, I just call him that.
MR VALLY: Do you know his surname?
MR ZWANE: I don't know his surname.
MR VALLY: If I say it's Sefako would you disagree?
MR ZWANE: I will not disagree because previously when the MK guys usually meet us they never told us their name and their surname, we will just be told the name which you should call him by, that's all.
MR VALLY: You've never gone into exile for military training have you?
MR ZWANE: No I just undergone a crash course inside the country.
MR VALLY: So you got crash courses within the country?
MR ZWANE: That's correct.
MR VALLY: You say you were trained by Vusile and later on by Oupa Sehere?
MR ZWANE: That was a further training because Oupa Sehere was another cadre.
MR VALLY: And you met Oupa Sehere at Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's house?
MR ZWANE: That's correct.
MR VALLY: Where did you meet Vusile?
MR ZWANE: I met Vusile, Mkotcho made a contact for me with Vusile.
MR VALLY: I am sorry I missed that answer, where did you meet Vusile?
MR ZWANE: My other comrade by the name of Mkotcho got me into contact with Vusile.
MR VALLY: What's Mkotcho's first name?
MR ZWANE: Wilson Sedlwane.
MR VALLY: I beg your pardon?
MR ZWANE: Wilson Sdelwane.
MR VALLY: You were a member of the Mandela United Football Club?
MR ZWANE: No.
MR VALLY: You moved around with the youths who were members of the Football Club?
MR ZWANE: No.
MR VALLY: Did you ever move around with the youths who used to be at Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's house?
MR ZWANE: To answer that question, while we were still trying to form the Mandela Football Club, as I have already stated that I was arrested during the formation of the Mandela Football Club in the process of the formation of the Mandela Football Club, it's then I got arrested for my activities.
MR VALLY: Which year was this?
MR ZWANE: That was in February 1987.
MR VALLY: You told us you never stayed at Mrs Mandela's house, she said you stayed there occasionally. You say you did not hang around with the youths, yet you happen to meet Mr Oupa Sehere there at Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's house and he offered you further military training. Can you explain this to us?
MR ZWANE: Ja I can explain to this. If I said I never stayed at Mrs Mandela's place that - I don't think that implies that I never visited Mrs Mandela's place. I was denying that I have stayed at Mandela's place, but I usually visited Mrs Mandela's place, not stayed there.
MR VALLY: How often did you visit her?
MR ZWANE: Oh if I've got the chance not having so much school work, because I was attending school by then, then I will go there because some of the guys I knew they were hanging there, I will go there spend some times.
MR VALLY: Regularly at weekends?
MR ZWANE: No, no, no, no even during the week when I've got the chance just go and see the friends there, I will go there and see the friends.
MR VALLY: So you knew the people who hung around by Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's house and you joined them?
MR ZWANE: I knew them very well, people who I know hung around Mandela's place were my members, as I have stated, they were members of the Soweto Youth Congress.
MR VALLY: Did you ever travel around with them in a group?
MR ZWANE: Before they hang at Mrs Mandela's place while we were still....
MR VALLY: I am talking about when they were at Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's place.
MR ZWANE: No, I spent most of the time in prison, I never...
MR VALLY: No the question I am asking is, you said when you had spare time you would go there, you knew the people well.
MR ZWANE: Thank you.
MR VALLY: Did you ever move around with them elsewhere?
MR ZWANE: Move around?
MR VALLY: Go to funerals, go to parties, go to birthdays.
MR ZWANE: No I can't recall moving around with them parties, birthdays and ...(intervention)
MR VALLY: Go to shebeens?
MR ZWANE: Shebeens we usually go, we grew up going together.
MR VALLY: So you have gone to shebeens with them?
MR ZWANE: Yes I have.
MR VALLY: Have you ever worn the tracksuit of the Club?
MR ZWANE: Yes I did.
MR VALLY: Often?
MR ZWANE: No I wore it once and I was arrested and it was taken by the security police.
MR VALLY: Was that the only time you wore it?
MR ZWANE: Ja, I think once, that's the only time I wore it, once.
MR VALLY: And when your friends moved around, those friends who stayed in Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's house and you went to a shebeen with them ...(intervention)
MR ZWANE: Could you repeat your question.
MR VALLY: When your friends went to shebeens did they ever wear these tracksuits?
MR ZWANE: I can't say no, I don't know, I never ...(intervention)
MR VALLY: When you were with them.
MR ZWANE: No, they never wore their tracksuit when they ...(intervention)
MR VALLY: Did you ever go to any funerals with them?
MR ZWANE: With the Mandela tracksuits?
MR VALLY: Did you ever go to funerals with your friends who stayed at Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's house?
MR ZWANE: Only once.
MR VALLY: Did you wear a tracksuit then?
MR ZWANE: I can't recall if in that funeral I attended with them we wore ...(intervention)
MR VALLY: Is it possible you wore a tracksuit then?
MR ZWANE: I cannot say because I (...indistinct) that I cannot recall.
MS SITA: With respect Mr Chair, if I may just interject, I do believe that Mr Vally is pushing this point a bit too far. He might have worn the tracksuit once and he went to Mrs Mandela's house occasionally to visit with his friends, I cannot understand the line of questioning.....
MS SOOKA: Miss Sita with respect the witness is testifying and I think Mr Vally should be allowed to pursue this line of questioning because it's very important in terms of the evidence he's giving and the fact that he says he's been sentenced and convicted unfairly.
MS SITA: Thank you.
MR VALLY: I want to put to you, and I want to go further by the evidence you've given us that you were a lot more involved than you claim. You first tell us that you were arrested when the Club was being formed so you were there at the very inception.
MR ZWANE: Can you repeat that please.
MR VALLY: You were there at the very inception of the Club, when the Club was being formed, that's when you were arrested.
CHAIRPERSON: You were there at the beginning, you are using a word that might ...(intervention)
MR VALLY: Oh I beg your pardon Archbishop, you were there at the very beginning.
MR ZWANE: Ja.
MR VALLY: Is that right?
MR ZWANE: That's right.
MR VALLY: You've worn the tracksuit at least once.
MR ZWANE: Once, after coming from prison, as I have stated to you that I was arrested in the process of the formation of the team.
MR VALLY: What were you arrested for?
MR ZWANE: I was arrested for the murder of Xola Makulane one other....
MR VALLY: When was he murdered?
MR ZWANE: That was February 1987.
MR VALLY: When was the Club formed?
MR ZWANE: The Club was formed, the process of the formation of the Club started late, it was December or November 1988 the process started.
MR VALLY: 1988?
MR ZWANE: 1986, I am sorry.
MR VALLY: Let's go on. Did you ever meet Vusile at Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's house?
MR ZWANE: I never met Vusile there.
MR VALLY: You have never met him at Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's house?
MR ZWANE: I never met Vusile there.
MR VALLY: I will come back to that. You met Oupa Sehere at Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's house?
MR ZWANE: That's correct.
MR VALLY: Now let's talk about the story of when Mr Oupa Sehere came to borrow your Scorpion because his AK was too big to take with him in the taxi, do you carry a Scorpion around with you? We are talking about a machine pistol Archbishop.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, I was.... (General laughter)
MR ZWANE: No I don't carry the Scorpion always, I didn't carry it always.
MR VALLY: So what were you doing with your Scorpion machine gun at Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's house?
MR ZWANE: In fact the same day which I was in possession of the Scorpion at Mrs Mandela's place we were coming from the funeral of one of our comrades ...(intervention)
MR VALLY: Uhuh, so you were coming from a funeral from one of the comrades and did you go there with the Mandela United Football Club members?
MR ZWANE: By then, if I recall well the Mandela Football Club, as I have stated, was still in the process of its formation. It wasn't yet formed.
MR VALLY: When was this?
MR ZWANE: Whew I cannot recall when.
MR VALLY: Alright so this Club was starting to be formed in 1986, late 1986 and by the time the Scorpion pistol - and between 1986 and the time of the Scorpion machine pistol being found on you, you had already received two sets of military training inside the country?
MR ZWANE: Yes of course.
MR VALLY: One by Vusile who you did not meet at Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's house, and the other one by Mr Oupa Sehere who you did meet at Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's house?
MR ZWANE: That's exactly.
MR VALLY: Alright. Now you happen to be at Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's house and you happen to have a machine pistol, a Scorpion machine gun with you. You were starting to explain to me you had come back from a funeral, with members of the Mandela United Football Club ...(intervention)
MR ZWANE: Then I will not say with the members of the Mandela Football Club because at that stage there was no Mandela Football Club as I am stating. It was still in the process, it wasn't formed.
MR VALLY: Alright, it was still not formed, fine. You were about to tell how you came into possession of that machine pistol, the Scorpion machine gun.
MR ZWANE: How?
MR VALLY: How did you come into possession?
MR ZWANE: I was given by Vusile.
MR VALLY: Where was this?
MR ZWANE: We were guarding, in fact the comrade which we were burying was killed by some of the gangsters at our area and we feared that they might come as there was that culture that during the night vigil people will come and attack and you ...(intervention)
MR VALLY: So you were given this machine pistol by Vusile?
MR ZWANE: I was given it by Vusile.
MR VALLY: Where was this?
MR ZWANE: This was at the night vigil, because we guarded the night vigil.
MR VALLY: Where was the night vigil?
MR ZWANE: It was at Orlando West.
MR VALLY: Near Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's house?
MR ZWANE: It's in Orlando West but in another block of Orlando West but it's not far from Mrs Mandela's place.
MR VALLY: And then you were at the night vigil, Vusile comes and he says Bobo, did he call you Bobo?
MR ZWANE: Ja he called me Bobo.
MR VALLY: Bobo here's a machine gun pistol, guard this night vigil?
MR ZWANE: No in fact it wasn't me and Vusile alone, we were a couple of guys there, it was me in that night vigil, Vusile, Oupa Sehere and another unknown person to me.
MR VALLY: Fine. And then what happens?
MR ZWANE: We guarded the funeral, the night vigil until late and the following day we went to the funeral and I had the Scorpion it was kept in the executive pack when we were going to the funeral. After the funeral I went to Mrs Mandela's place with the other guys and my friends Tembiso and it's then I became to be in the possession of the Scorpion at Zinzi's bedroom.
MR VALLY: Alright, so we have now moved from the night vigil, he leaves the Scorpion pistol with you, you take it the next day to a funeral of who, can you tell me quickly?
MR ZWANE: I know this guy, I can't recall his real name but we usually call him Pontsu.
MR VALLY: Say it again?
MR ZWANE: We call him Pontsu.
MR VALLY: Can you just spell it for us please.
MR ZWANE: It's P-O-N-T-S-U.
MR VALLY: Right. You don't know his full name?
MR ZWANE: I have forgotten his real name and surname.
MR VALLY: Okay. So this is 24th, 25th of January 1987 that period?
MR ZWANE: Ja it's, I can't recall the exact date but assuming that, but I can't recall the ...(intervention)
MR VALLY: Right, well it was that period. You then come back from the funeral, did you take the executive bag with to the funeral?
MR ZWANE: I was with it from the deceased's home to the funeral it was always in my possession.
MR VALLY: So you carried the executive bag with the Scorpion pistol in it?
MR ZWANE: I did.
MR VALLY: Okay. And now you are in Zinzi's bedroom with this executive bag with the Scorpion pistol?
MR ZWANE: I can't hear your question.
MR VALLY: You are now in Zinzi's bedroom ...(intervention)
MR ZWANE: Ja with the same ...(intervention)
MR VALLY: With this executive bag.
MR ZWANE: That's exactly.
MR VALLY: How well did you know the family?
MR ZWANE: Ooh well I would say I knew the family as we came to Mrs Mandela's place, fighting each other and I came to know the family as I usually visited the friends there and they would get used to Zinzi first because she was still young by then and there was ...(intervention)
MR VALLY: I thought the young people who stayed at Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's house stayed in the back rooms, how did you get into Zinzi's bedroom?
MR ZWANE: Zinzi's bedroom, in fact her ex-boyfriend became my friend because he came there as a visitor and I was always close to him.
MR VALLY: Who are you referring to?
MR ZWANE: That was Tembiso Buthelezi.
MR VALLY: I see. Was Sitembiso Buthelezi there at the time?
MR ZWANE: He was there at that time.
MR VALLY: So you were with him, with your executive bag, still with your Scorpion pistol?
MR ZWANE: That's correct.
MR VALLY: Vusile hadn't taken it back from you?
MR ZWANE: No.
MR VALLY: I see. Now in your statement you talk about a number of police raids on Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's house, wasn't it irresponsible of you to go in there with the Scorpion machine pistol?
MR ZWANE: Once V told me that the place which one thought is not safe it was the most safest place so I usually live like that.
MR VALLY: I see. So you thought because Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's house is the one that is raided so often it will be more safe than any other place?
MR ZWANE: I thought that with that Scorpion.
MR VALLY: Okay. So this is why you took your Scorpion machine pistol in your executive bag there?
MR ZWANE: That's exactly.
MR VALLY: Did Vusile ever tell you that you had to return this machine gun?
MR ZWANE: No if he wanted to meet me there were ways, as my Commander if he wanted to meet me or he wanted that firearm back there were ways to contact me and get the firearm back.
MR VALLY: So you are sitting in Zinzi's bedroom, what are you doing there?
MR ZWANE: Oooh we are having some drinks with her friends, Sitembiso.
MR VALLY: You and Sitembiso are drinking?
MR ZWANE: Yes.
MR VALLY: And then what happens?
MR ZWANE: While we are still sitting there some guy ...(intervention)
MR VALLY: Right.
MR ZWANE: Yes, he sat with us in the house there, he had a parcel when he entered but it was wrapped, I can't recall with what ...(intervention)
MR VALLY: Some guy entered, do you know his name?
MR ZWANE: By then I didn't know his name.
MR VALLY: Now?
MR ZWANE: Now the name is Oupa Sehere, Alex Oupa Sehere.
MR VALLY: So you didn't know his name at the time?
MR ZWANE: Yes I didn't know his name.
MR VALLY: But he had given you military training already?
MR ZWANE: Of course.
MR VALLY: But he had given you military training but you didn't know who he was?
MR ZWANE: He gave me training at that day. When he entered the room I didn't who was this guy.
MR VALLY: He gave you military training that same day?
MR ZWANE: Of course, not military training as such, he taught me the use of an AK-47, not a military training as ...(intervention)
MR VALLY: You are sitting in Zinzi Mandela's bedroom and a man turns up with a wrapped up parcel and he gives you military training with an AK-47?
CHAIRPERSON: Order please.
MR VALLY: Your story is very improbable Mr Zwane, I really would like to pursue it further but we have got time pressures.
CHAIRPERSON: Can I find out Mr Vally, how much more have you got?
MR VALLY: Archbishop I am trying to drag things out of this witness and it's worrying me you know, there may be certain things which are true, certain things which are not true, what's worrying me is I want to get to the bottom of his role, what we know is he has been convicted of nine murders, he says that at least one murder, oh no, at least six murders he had the confession forced out of him. He's admitted responsibility for three murders which he says were politically motivated ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: All I am trying to find out is ...(intervention)
MR VALLY: I need to pursue this Archbishop, yes.
CHAIRPERSON: Answer the question - how much more, because I mean ...(intervention)
MR VALLY: Ten minutes Archbishop, is that too much?
CHAIRPERSON: I think, I mean because Mr Semenya and then we've got all of the - alright, try.
MR VALLY: Alright. It's sounding very improbable but you got armed training that day on usage of an AK-47 by Oupa Sehere, he just came with a parcel, did he know you?
MR ZWANE: Oupa didn't know me.
MR VALLY: He didn't know you.
MR ZWANE: Ja he didn't know me ...(intervention)
MR VALLY: Immediately in Zinzi's bedroom he offers you military training with an AK-47?
MR ZWANE: No he never entered and that happened.
MR VALLY: Explain to me quickly what happened.
MR ZWANE: Alright.
MR VALLY: I am sorry I am saying quickly but we have to do it fast.
MR ZWANE: Oupa entered the house and he sat there and it looked like (...indistinct) because he greeted us he sat there, Sitambiso came with a glass for him and we drank cold drinks with him, he put the parcels there. At a later stage they were talking to Sitambiso, not me, he asked Sitambiso who I am and he told him I am Hlovo and I told him my other name and he unfolded the parcel of which he was in possession of and he asked me if I was in a position to use this. I said no I wasn't taught of the use of. Then he started dismantling it showing me how is it dismantled and how is it used and that was all.
MR VALLY: So now in this house which is constantly raided by police we have a Scorpion pistol in your executive bag, we have an AK-47 being shown to you in Zinzi's bedroom by Mr Oupa Sehere who has met you only the first time on that day.
MR ZWANE: Ja.
MR VALLY: And he tells you how to dismantle it, how to use it, alright.
MR ZWANE: Alright.
MR VALLY: What happens then?
MR ZWANE: And then as I have stated I had the Scorpion ...(intervention)
MR VALLY: In your executive bag, yes.
MR ZWANE: In my possession, and seeing the AK-47 on Oupa and hearing them talking with Sitembiso I realised that this was one of the MK guys.
MR VALLY: Fine.
MR ZWANE: And I showed him the Scorpion I was in possession of.
MR VALLY: Okay so you were preparing guns, what happens then?
MR ZWANE: And then Oupa said, because he was going to travel with taxis to the area called Zola, which was the distance from Orlando West, he said the AK-47 was not going to be comfortable ...(intervention)
MR VALLY: This is the first time you have met this man.
MR ZWANE: That's right.
MR VALLY: You assume he's an MK guerilla because he's got a gun, an AK-47?
MR ZWANE: I never only assumed, they had talked with Oupa Sehere ...(intervention)
MR VALLY: Who is they?
MR ZWANE: It's Sitembiso.
MR VALLY: Sitembiso Buthelezi is the person you've described as Zinzi's boyfriend?
MR ZWANE: That's correct.
MR VALLY: So he knew Oupa Sehere?
MR ZWANE: It looked like he knew Oupa Sehere because ...(intervention)
MR VALLY: He looked like he knew Oupa Sehere.
MR ZWANE: Yes.
MR VALLY: So because he looked like he knew Oupa Sehere you assumed he was a comrade or a guerilla?
MR ZWANE: With the conversation ...(intervention)
MR VALLY: Fine, okay, I have to move on, I am sorry, I know I need to drag this out a bit longer but I can't. He says he's going to go in a taxi please give me your Scorpion machine pistol you'll keep my AK in the meantime, is that what happened?
MR ZWANE: That's what happened.
MR VALLY: So the person you met for the first time who looks like he was an MK guerilla gives you an AK-47, he goes off.
MR ZWANE: That's correct.
MR VALLY: He then comes back and he says someone has stolen your Scorpion machine pistol.
MR ZWANE: He was robbed not stolen, he was robbed.
MR VALLY: It was robbed off him, okay. And then he takes you with him?
MR ZWANE: Yes.
MR VALLY: Now how many of you did he take with him?
MR ZWANE: It was I, Sitembiso and about six other guys who were seated at the garage.
MR VALLY: So there were six people in the garage, there was you and Sitembiso ...(intervention)
MR ZWANE: No, no, no, I never said there were six people in the garage, I said it was I, Sitembiso and other about six boys who were at the garage. There were not six at the garage.
MR VALLY: Okay let's go on. There's the two of you, there's the six people seated at the garage, six boys, that's eight of you, how many people did he come with, this Oupa Sehere, when he told you he had been robbed?
MR ZWANE: He came with two people.
MR VALLY: That gives us now ten people.
MR ZWANE: Exactly.
MR VALLY: So there's ten of you now. He came in his own car, is that right?
MR ZWANE: That's correct.
MR VALLY: And then the other car you used is Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's car?
MR ZWANE: That's correct.
MR VALLY: Where was Mrs Madikizela-Mandela and her daughter Zinzi when all this was happening?
MR ZWANE: Zinzi came at a certain stage in the room while it was I and Sitembiso and he left ...(intervention)
MR VALLY: While you and Oupa Sehere were comparing guns?
MR ZWANE: No before Oupa arrived. He once came there ...(intervention)
MR VALLY: Before Oupa.
MR ZWANE: Yes.
MR VALLY: And you didn't see her again?
MR ZWANE: No I didn't see her again.
MR VALLY: And where was Mrs Madikizela-Mandela?
MR ZWANE: I don't know where she was.
MR VALLY: She didn't know you had a gun in the house?
MR ZWANE: No she didn't know.
MR VALLY: Wasn't irresponsible of you to come into her house with a gun, wouldn't you have been putting her in danger?
MR ZWANE: Putting her into danger?
MR VALLY: Putting Mrs Madikizela-Mandela into danger, if someone has got arms on them in those times when Security Branch was raiding her house all the time like you say.
MR ZWANE: I didn't think so.
MR VALLY: You didn't think it was putting her into danger?
MR ZWANE: No I didn't think so.
MR VALLY: Do you think she would be offended if you had a gun in the house?
MR ZWANE: No I didn't think of anything, I just thought I had the gun on my person and it was safe.
MR VALLY: Fine alright. Who got the keys for Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's car?
MR ZWANE: Sitembiso.
MR VALLY: Did he go and ask her?
MR ZWANE: I don't know.
MR VALLY: Fine. So you are in Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's car, now not only do you have an AK-47, you are going to look for this Scorpion machine pistol.
MR ZWANE: That's correct.
MR VALLY: What other weapons did you have?
MR ZWANE: I don't know other people, I was in possession of two handgrenades.
MR VALLY: Where did you get those two handgrenades from?
MR ZWANE: As I have stated before I was an MK, so such things I was usually in possession of them.
MR VALLY: Do you walk around with handgrenades in your pocket?
MR ZWANE: If necessary, not always.
MR VALLY: Where did you get it from?
MR ZWANE: From my commander.
MR VALLY: Vusile?
MR ZWANE: Yes of course.
MR VALLY: Fine. You then go to a shebeen?
MR ZWANE: Not a shebeen, to a house, a known house to me.
MR VALLY: Alright. Let's say you go to a house. You shoot open the door of this house?
MR ZWANE: No, can you repeat yourself?
MR VALLY: You shoot open the door of this house?
MR ZWANE: No.
MR VALLY: At some point you shoot a door of a house, "I shot one shot at the door and it opened".
MR ZWANE: Oh at some point.
MR VALLY: At some point.
MR ZWANE: Alright, that's correct.
MR VALLY: I am just trying to move forward. What gun did you use to shoot this door with?
MR ZWANE: The Scorpion sub-machine pistol?
MR VALLY: So you found the Scorpion sub-machine pistol by this stage?
MR ZWANE: Yes I have already found it at that stage.
MR VALLY: And you have still got your two handgrenades with you?
MR ZWANE: I was also in possession of the two ...(intervention)
MR VALLY: And the other nine people were they armed?
MR ZWANE: I don't know whether they were armed, I know only Oupa because he was in possession of the AK-47.
MR VALLY: Please, please Mr Zwane you either know a person has got a gun in his hand or you don't. Did any of them have guns in their hands?
MR ZWANE: I didn't see.
MR VALLY: You didn't see guns?
MR ZWANE: I didn't see what they had.
MR VALLY: Did they have something in their hands?
MR ZWANE: I didn't see clearly.
MR VALLY: You didn't look at them?
MR ZWANE: I didn't look at them.
MR VALLY: How many of you sat in the Audi?
MR ZWANE: In the Audi we were about six.
MR VALLY: And you didn't know if they were armed?
MR ZWANE: No I didn't know.
MR VALLY: When you got to the house and these two men ran away and shot open this door of this room you didn't see if they had arms?
MR ZWANE: The people who were accompanying me?
MR VALLY: That's right.
MR ZWANE: I didn't see.
MR VALLY: Okay. I have a version that when this door of this house was shot open there were two people in there, do you confirm that?
MR ZWANE: No. When I shot the door it never opened, I shot the door and Oupa pushed the door and he entered the room and I retreated then.
MR VALLY: Well I have a version that when you people got into the room it was you who dragged two people out of the room, is that correct?
MR ZWANE: No that's not correct.
MR VALLY: And Oupa Sehere was the one who shot them up.
MR ZWANE: That's lies.
MR VALLY: I see. Where did you get the handgrenades from?
MR ZWANE: From Vusile.
MR VALLY: When did he give it to you?
MR ZWANE: I can't recall when, it would have been - I can't remember when.
MR VALLY: Did you regularly take weapons into Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's house?
MR ZWANE: No.
MR VALLY: Did Mrs Madikizela-Mandela ever see you with weapons in her house?
MR ZWANE: No.
MR VALLY: Did Zinzi Mandela ever see you with weapons in the house?
MR ZWANE: No.
MR VALLY: So you did all the things behind their back?
MR ZWANE: I came at one occasion with (...indistinct), it wasn't a continuous thing.
MR VALLY: I want to ask you one last question, sorry Archbishop more than one last question, three last questions, the one question I want to ask you is this - you say you heard about the clash between the Chili family and the Mandela United Football Club, were you ever present at a meeting where the death of Maxwell Madondo was discussed?
MR ZWANE: A meeting?
MR VALLY: Where the death of Maxwell Madondo was discussed.
MR ZWANE: I don't know of the meeting itself.
MR VALLY: Were you present at any time when the death of Maxwell Madondo was discussed?
MR ZWANE: When it was discussed?
MR VALLY: That's right.
MR ZWANE: I don't....
MR VALLY: Even informally?
MR ZWANE: I don't know anything.
MR VALLY: You knew that there was a fight between Sibusiso Chili and the Football Club?
MR ZWANE: That's exactly.
MR VALLY: What did you know about this?
MR ZWANE: I just knew that until I went to Sibusiso and to hear from him and he told me that he was having a fight with the guys and I can't recall the details of our conversation with Sibusiso.
MR VALLY: Alright, one last issue. Sorry I said two questions Archbishop. Tell us quickly about your evidence regarding the death of Toli?
MR ZWANE: When Toli died I was already in prison by then.
MR VALLY: You were convicted of the death of Finky Tsitsomi.
MR ZWANE: That's correct.
MR VALLY: And you say that confession was tortured out of you?
MR ZWANE: That's correct.
MR VALLY: That you were not involved in the attack on that house at all?
MR ZWANE: I was never involved.
MR VALLY: Were you in court and when you were charged with this incident I've described to you where this man who gave you training on the AK-47 and then came back and borrowed your machine pistol, you know the story Oupa Sehere?
MR ZWANE: That's correct.
MR VALLY: Right. You were charged with that matter?
MR ZWANE: Which matter?
MR VALLY: You were charged in that case.
MR ZWANE: Of the ...(intervention)
MR VALLY: Oupa Sehere.
MR ZWANE: That's correct.
MR VALLY: Was Mrs Madikizela-Mandela a state witness in that matter?
MR ZWANE: I cannot recall really, I cannot recall.
MR VALLY: Do you not recall Mrs Madikizela-Mandela and her daughter Zinzi coming to court?
MR ZWANE: I cannot recall, even my lawyer asked me that question, I told him I cannot recall.
MR VALLY: Your statement says so. "Mrs Mandela attended the court case...." page 8, "but never testified". When you say "never testified" does it not imply that you expected her to testify?
MR ZWANE: The question, can I answer the question?
MR VALLY: Are you aware that Mrs Madikizela-Mandela was at court and that she was due to be a witness in that matter? Are you aware of that?
MR ZWANE: Of?
MR VALLY: That Mrs Madikizela-Mandela was supposed to be a state witness in your trial?
MR ZWANE: I know that she was supposed to be a state witness ...(intervention)
MR VALLY: You are not aware of it?
MR ZWANE: And I am not aware.
MR VALLY: I put it to you that you did know. Your statement says,
"Mrs Mandela attended the court case but never testified".
MR ZWANE: Ja because I was asked.
MR VALLY: I see, fair enough.
MR ZWANE: If Mrs Mandela was a witness at that time, I said Mrs Mandela attended the trial court but I was answering to the question.
MR VALLY: When Mrs Madikizela-Mandela was asked, page 99, first Section 29 Inquiry, regarding the matter of Oupa Sehere.
"Well the question is that there is a suggestion that there were weapons in your house, a Scorpion pistol and an AK-47, do you have any knowledge of that?"
MR ZWANE: Of my house?
MR VALLY: No this doesn't relate to you. Mrs Madikizela-Mandela answered,
"No I have no knowledge of that Mr Chairman. They would not have left me alone. That would have been one time the police would have had an excuse to arrest me. I was arrested even for asking the price of chickens before, if that had been true I would have been hauled before court".
Were there weapons found in Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's house when they raided her house in connection with the Oupa Sehere case?
MR ZWANE: Did they found any weapons at Mrs Mandela's place?
MR VALLY: When they raided her house in connection with the Oupa Sehere case.
MR ZWANE: What I recall is that the boys were arrested because I never got out of the house, I was seated in the sitting room watch the TV with Kita, he never got out to find out what was going on.
MR VALLY: Because it may have been your very Scorpion pistol that was found there? It may have been your very Scorpion machine gun that was found in the house, is that possible?
MR ZWANE: No it's not possible.
CHAIRPERSON: I think you should be ...(intervention)
MR VALLY: My last question Archbishop.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
MR VALLY: We have a press clipping Archbishop regarding Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's court appearance in court on that day with the photograph and we've got a statement from the court stating that Mrs Madikizela-Mandela that she was a state witness....
MR SEMENYA: Sorry, that she was a state witness or she was on a list of ...(intervention)
MR VALLY: She was on a list of state witnesses, she attended court and after admissions made by the accused it wasn't necessary to call her.
MR SEMENYA: Ja but to state that she was a state witness Mr Vally, with respect.
MR VALLY: Archbishop maybe I should make it very clear for the record. She was cited on the list of state - as state witness in the matter. She was in court at the time, there was photographs of herself and Zinzi Madikizela-Mandela, Zinzi Mandela, I beg your pardon. They did not have to give evidence because there were certain admissions made in that court case. In the court transcript and I am talking at page 320 Mr Oupa Sehere testified and pointed out certain weapons that were kept in Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's house.
My last question is this, and you have been convicted of nine murders, we haven't had time to probe all these murders, why did you make certain admissions in court when initially you pleaded not guilty, at some point you made certain admissions in court, did you make those admissions in court to protect Mrs Madikizela-Mandela?
MR ZWANE: What happened, well I was still young by then, I should think I was of the age of 16 years. I was advised by the advocates that I never killed, because they got the statements from me that I never killed Oupa, (...indistinct) never denied that he showed those people there, so I thought that the admissions were made in that regard because no one said I don't know anything. Oupa admitted having shot the people. I admitted having accompanied Oupa, everyone agreed, so I for one thought the admissions were made in that respect in the court of law.
DR BORAINE: Thank you Mr Vally.
MR VALLY: So you did not do this to protect Mrs Madikizela-Mandela?
MR ZWANE: No I did this because I was arrested after Oupa Sehere and the other guys and when I got into the (...indistinct) everyone had confessed already that we were there, we shot, so I had no option I also followed them and confessed that I was there.
MR VALLY: And the day that you made this confession was Mrs Madikizela-Mandela and Zinzi Mandela in court?
MR ZWANE: When I made the?
MR VALLY: When you made this admission regarding the weapons, when Mr Oupa Sehere made his admissions that he shot certain people, was Mrs Madikizela-Mandela and Zinzi Mandela in court?
MR ZWANE: I cannot remember.
MR VALLY: Thank you Mr Chair.
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much Mr Vally.
DR BORAINE: Mr Semenya.
MR SEMENYA: Mr Zwane maybe in the minds of people this might be difficult to understand not having been to the house, we are talking about the house in Orlando West is that right?
MR ZWANE: That's correct.
MR SEMENYA: The one which is a two-roomed house in the conventional sense, right?
MR ZWANE: That's correct.
MR SEMENYA: And Zinzi's bedroom is in the outside is it not?
MR ZWANE: That's correct.
MR SEMENYA: Now I think the perception might be created that you are going inside one single house into the bedroom where - then Mrs Mandela didn't see you. I have no further questions to the witness.
DR BORAINE: Thank you. Any other - Mr Richard.
MR RICHARD: One question. Sir, I represent Mr Richardson, do you know him?
MR ZWANE: Yes I know Jerry Richardson.
MR RICHARD: What did he do at Mrs Mandela's house?
MR ZWANE: I don't know what he was, what was his work at Mrs Mandela's. I met Jerry Richardson I think twice if I am not mistaken while visiting Mrs Mandela's place.
MR RICHARD: What was he doing?
MR ZWANE: He was moving around, and the second visit if I recall we sat together there, we drank some cans together there in the sitting room.
MR RICHARD: No further questions.
DR BORAINE: Thank you. Any other questions? Please go ahead.
MR JORDI: I represent the (...indistinct). You have told us about an incident when you went to a shebeen, there was a fight at the shebeen and thereafter it was decided to go, I think, to Mohlome's place and there was a handgrenade blast, do you know about that incident?
MR ZWANE: I know about that incident.
MR JORDI: Were you found guilty of any criminal activity in respect of that blast?
MR ZWANE: No I was acquitted.
MR JORDI: You were acquitted. Did you hear the handgrenade go off?
MR ZWANE: I heard the handgrenade go off.
MR JORDI: Did you see the handgrenade go off?
MR ZWANE: I never saw the handgrenade go off.
MR JORDI: Right. Did you know that a handgrenade was going to be thrown in the house?
MR ZWANE: In fact I didn't know that the handgrenade was going to be thrown, there was no plan there, the handgrenade blast came about in a fight. I was fighting with another guy there and my commander intervened because I was being overpowered and dispossessed of the knife I was in possession of.
MR JORDI: And did the handgrenade go off immediately after you were dispossessed of the knife?
MR ZWANE: No after I was dispossessed of the knife Sonabo tried to intervene but the bodyguards of the shebeen get hold of him and they beat him and he got angry and he pulled me out of the yard and he took out a handgrenade and he threw it.
MR JORDI: So it happened right close to you?
MR ZWANE: Ja I would say I was always close to him.
MR JORDI: So you didn't see the handgrenade go off?
MR ZWANE: I didn't see it go off.
MR JORDI: Okay.
MR VALLY: Sorry Mr Jordi I just think he may not have understood you as I understand that he was found guilty, you may or may not be aware of it, of the death of Finky Mhlome. This is the second issue but you started off with that issue.
MR JORDI: No I didn't start off with that issue. Did Winnie Mandela know your proper name, did she know that you were called Charles Zwane?
MR ZWANE: I cannot say but usually I was called Bobo or Slovo, maybe she knows one of those names.
MR JORDI: Were you always called Bobo or did she sometimes know you as Charles Zwane?
MR ZWANE: I was never called - I was only called Charles Zwane at school. At the township and friends they usually call me Slovo.
MR JORDI: Slovo.
MR ZWANE: Yes.
DR BORAINE: Is that it?
MR JORDI: No. In the trial I understand that you were represented by an advocate, is that right?
MR ZWANE: That's correct.
MR JORDI: And it must have gone on for quite a few days, there were a lot of charges against you?
MR ZWANE: That's correct Sir.
MR JORDI: So your advocate had an opportunity to speak to you every day, is that right?
MR ZWANE: No in fact what happened I got the advocate from the organisation which is supporting the MK cadres and their activities in the country when they were arrested, but they - in fact in the process they said they can't represent me because they were having the problem with Mrs Mandela and this was case was consisting of Mrs Mandela's name somewhere, somehow and I was forced to get the state's advocate to represent me in the case.
MR JORDI: So you had a pro deo advocate you say?
MR ZWANE: That's correct.
MR JORDI: But the trial went on for a number of days.
MR ZWANE: That's correct.
MR JORDI: During tea, during lunch, before the hearing, perhaps before the trial even started, after the hearing you had an opportunity to speak to your counsel, am I right, your advocate?
MR ZWANE: Ja we had some occasions where we spoke together but he wasn't frequent.
MR JORDI: Right. So you were able to tell your advocate the story and give him your instructions about how you wanted to handle the case, is that right?
MR ZWANE: I didn't have a knowledge of the law when I got arrested, I was at the age of 19 years old. I expected the person who is defending me to advise me. The only thing I had to do was to tell him my story and he was the one to advise me what ...(intervention)
MR JORDI: Right, so you told him your story, am I right?
MR ZWANE: That's correct.
MR JORDI: Right. I put it to you, I am going to tell you something and I want you to tell me whether it is right or wrong.
MR ZWANE: That's correct.
MR JORDI: During the trial you were charged with the death of Finky Msomi who was a 13 year old girl who was shot with an AK-47 and then burnt to death in the Dudu Chili house, and your advocate and the state's advocate agreed that your attack on the Chili household had been motivated by revenge, on your part, for the death of Maxwell Madondo who was a resident in Winnie Mandela's house. What do you say to that?
MR ZWANE: No I don't know of anything like that.
MR JORDI: Alright. I have no further questions for this witness. Thank you.
DR BORAINE: Thank you. Is that concluded? Ms Sita.
MISS SITA: Thank you Mr Chair. Charles have you applied for amnesty for your crimes?
MR ZWANE: I applied amnesty for the killing of three policemen only.
MISS SITA: Alright. Just to clarify certain issues did the MK cadres at your time during the struggle, did they carry ammunition with them?
MR ZWANE: I beg your pardon?
MISS SITA: The MK members, you probably knew some MK members because you were an MK cadre yourself?
MR ZWANE: That's correct.
MISS SITA: Did any of your MK friends carry ammunition with them at any time?
MR ZWANE: Ja, most must be in possession of at least of a pistol or a handgrenade, not just a fighter just walk around like a civilian, he must be in possession of some ammunition. We were not living like ordinary civilians.
MISS SITA: Thank you. Were you Sibusiso Chili's friend?
MR ZWANE: Oh I would say so, we grew up together with Sibusiso. I knew his place very well. I knew the family. They were also my comrades not only friends.
MISS SITA: Did you bear any ill feelings, bad feelings against the Chili family at all?
MR ZWANE: No they have done nothing to me. I don't have any bad feelings for them.
MISS SITA: Thank you Charles.
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. Mr Zwane thank you very much for appearing before the Commission. You may stand down please.
MR ZWANE: Thank you very much.
DR BORAINE: I beg your pardon, would you please take a seat, my apologies, one of our Commissioners would like to put a question to you. Please go ahead.
MR MGOJO: Mr Zwane I am referring you to your submission on page 9, again I want to follow this thing about Sibusiso Chili. In your statement here you say that he was your friend and he was involved in politics.
MR ZWANE: That's correct.
MR MGOJO: But not in the Football Club.
MR ZWANE: That's correct.
MR MGOJO: Did you know anything about the Football Club? You seem to be comparing two things here, he was involved in politics but not in the Football Club.
MR ZWANE: In fact the question was asked by me how do I know Sibusiso and I explained that I knew because we were all members of (...indistinct) and I was asked was he a member of the Mandela Football Club, I said no he wasn't a member of the Mandela Football Club, I only knew him as an activist I would say, I'll put it in that way.
MR MGOJO: Okay what I am trying to say, did you know yourself what was happening in the Football Club?
MR ZWANE: The activities of the Football Club I read, I heard them in the newspapers there in prison because I spent most of my life in prison. I heard everything that they alleged having done by the team, I was in prison, I heard from the TV, from the radios in prison.
MR MGOJO: Thank you.
DR BORAINE: Yes.
MR JORDI: Mr Chairman may I just take an opportunity to read from the court record in the case of State v Charles Bongani Zwane, just for the purposes of the record.
DR BORAINE: Go ahead.
MR JORDI: I am reading from page 628 of volume 7 of the record of the Supreme Court of South Africa, Witwatersrand Local Division trial in case no 108/90 and it says on page 628 at line 20 to 30:
"Then as far as the third incident is concerned the accused said that by March they attacked a house in Orlando West, Sonwabe with an AK-47 and he with petrol bombs and that a member of the Winnie Mandela Club had been murdered and they had to avenge themselves."
DR BORAINE: So you've read that for the record. Mr Zwane thank you again. I am sorry I let you go earlier than you should have but now you can go. Thank you very much for your attendance.
MR ZWANE: Thank you very much.
DR BORAINE: We call Paul Erasmus and John McPherson.
MR VALLY: I was told that we were having Gift Ntombeni next.
DR BORAINE: I am sorry could you hold that for a minute.
MS SOOKA: Is Gift Ntombeni's lawyer here? No. Could we please find out if Gift Ntombeni's lawyer is here please. Mr Khoza. His lawyer is not around.
DR BORAINE: I don't think we can waste the time of this Commission any further, could we have order please. Please take your seats. Thank you very much. So I call Paul Erasmus and John McPherson. Thank you. Welcome gentleman. I know at least two of you, I am not too sure about the third but my colleague Yasmin Sooka will ask you to state your names for the record and administer the oath.
PAUL FRANCIS ERASMUS: (sworn states)
JOHN LOUIS McPHERSON: (sworn states)
MR CORNELIUS: Wim Cornelius, an attorney from Pretoria acting on behalf of the two clients.
DR BORAINE: I was wondering if it wouldn't be easier for you to lead your clients if you are facing them or are you comfortable there?
MR CORNELIUS: This is fine thank you Mr Chair.
DR BORAINE: Please proceed.
MR CORNELIUS: It starts in the order of - my learned colleague would prefer me to sit on the other side.
DR BORAINE: I think it would be better if you have no objection.
MR CORNELIUS: I have no objection.
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. Would you mind repeating your name when you start just for the record and then please feel free to continue.
MR CORNELIUS: Thank you Mr Chair, I am Wim Cornelius from Kruger Attorneys in Pretoria acting on behalf of Mr McPherson and Paul Erasmus.
I would like to begin with Superintendent McPherson if possible. Mr McPherson what rank do you hold at present?
MR McPHERSON: I presently hold the rank of senior superintendent in the South African Police Service and I am in office as the head of administrative services for the area of Johannesburg. I have 30 years service in the South African Police Service and have gained extensive experience in the security branch, intelligence unit and covert strategic communications.
In the period 1985 up until after 1988 I was the section head of the Africa Desk. The desk comprised of general intelligence work in Africa. In the period October 1988 up until 1989 I was the section head of the foreign desk specialising in general intelligence abroad.
In the period 1989 up until 1990 I was the head of covert strategic communications known as Stratcom. In the period 1990 up until 1992 I was a staff officer with crime combatting investigations known as CCI. On the 18th of May 1992 I was transferred to a unit known as International Liaison. This unit was especially established to draw South Africa back into Interpol. The unit was successful and South Africa was accepted as a member of Interpol. I was appointed deputy director of Interpol South Africa. Commissioner John Wright was appointed as director.
In 1994 I was appointed deputy district commissioner for Johannesburg North. In 1996 I was appointed as area head of negative discipline. This post comprises the control of discipline in the police force. In 1997 I was appointed in my present post.
I accept that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
requires my testimony regarding the period 1989 up until 1990 when
I acted as head of covert strategic communications known as
Stratcom. Now to understand the concept of strategic
Communication it is necessary to present the commission with a
general definition of strategic communications.
Strategic communications is the planned coordinated execution of a
deed and/or the presentation of a message by means of various
communication instruments to -
1. change the attitudes, values and views of individuals
and/or a group of persons and/or to create the required
attitude and/or to maintain an existing attitude;
2. to neutralise hostile propaganda and/or to utilise hostile
3. to reach national objectives.
Stratcom can be seen as political warfare as utilised in the Republic of China or psychological warfare as utilised in Europe or civic action as utilised by the Americans or active measures as utilised by the old Soviet Union.
Stratcom was a covert operation and was conducted in secret. Stratcom was part of the national management system which came into operation on the 1st of August 1985. The branch, strategic communication which coordinated all projects on a national basis functioned directly under the State Security Council. Authorisation for a project was obtained by presenting a project per memorandum to the Minister of Law and Order and when authorised the project was registered with the branch for strategic communication, which as I said formed part of the State security council structure. All registered projects were presented on an annual basis to the State President for evaluation and authorisation of secret funds.
Mr Gelberg, a national investigator with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission presented me with five documents and indicated that I will be required to testify about the contents and my knowledge thereof. When I studied these documents it became clear to me that the documents related to Operation Romulus and Operation Ram.
As to amplify the above operations it is necessary to explain the operational structure of Stratcom, the Department of Law and Order through the security branch of the South African Police acted in the following three areas, the educational field, the labour field and the counter-revolutionary field.
Operation Romulus was approved nationally under the counter-revolutionary field incorporating Operation Ram. The operation was directed against all individuals and groups within South Africa advocating violence or were considered as revolutionaries and persons against peaceful change. The objectives of Operational Romulus were the following:
1 To question the credibility of the ANC;
2. the promotion of disunity between the ANC and the SACP;
3 the promotion of moderation and South Africa's interests in general.
These were the broad objectives of Operation Romulus and Operation Ram.
I will now testify to my knowledge of the documents presented to me and my interpretation will be in general because these actions took place after I had been transferred from Stratcom.
If we then look at Annexure A, I would refer the honourable Truth and Reconciliation Commission to the document with the heading "Operation Romulus. Dissemination of suitable material, re Winnie Mandela abroad - discrediting of the ANC".
This document was signed by the section head on the 20th of June 1991 and I can only interpret the relevance of the contents of this annexure in the light of the objectives of Stratcom. I was not the author of the document.
The objective as amplified in the annexure falls within the scope of the objectives of Stratcom. The subject, Winnie Mandela, was considered as a revolutionary. I say the name now, it is Mrs Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, but in the document they still talk of Winnie Mandela. One of the methods utilised by Stratcom was to disseminate information obtained through intelligence to the media which was in fact the case in this instance. I have no knowledge of the details that were disseminated in this instance, in other words I haven't had access to the actual news reports that I can say what the contents were of the articles.
If we then look at Annexure B, the heading is "Top secret Romulus incorporating Operation Ram". This appears like a report-back document from an operator. The document is undated and I was not the author of the annexure and I have no personal knowledge of the contents thereof. The document clearly states that the objectives of Operation Romulus and Operation Ram are almost identical.
The method applied in this document was to prepare certain information gained through intelligence and then to present it to the local and international media. The issues addressed were in line with the objectives of Operation Romulus.
If we then look at Annexure C, sorry for the spelling mistake, it's "Intended media release regarding the ANC's undemocratic policy, ethnic division in the organisation and the existence of and the conditions in the Mbarare detention camp in Uganda".
The annexure dated the 8th of November 1990 pertains to arrangements for the return of two exiles. They were brought back under the auspices of an organisation called "Returned exile coordinating committee", also known as RECOC. I was personally involved in establishing this organisation.
The purpose was to have a media conference to discredit the ANC for their undemocratic policy and to disclose the circumstances in the ANC Uganda camp. This action again fell within the objectives of Operation Romulus.
Then if we look at Annexure D a telex, "Project Romulus, covert ad hoc action to exert pressure on the ANC/SACP". This annexure is unique in that a national action was launched and conducted under Operation Romulus. The instructions were that several aspects had to be addressed, for example an analysis of the latest election of the National Executive Committee and the influence of the SACP, that is the Communist Party, the National Executive Committee, the NEC. I was effective in the placing of an article in the Citizen with the heading "37 Reds elected to top ANC body". See copy of the article annexed to Annexure D marked Annexure D1.
And then the last document is Annexure E, "Commendation for exceptional work no.W87873B W/O P F Erasmus". This document dated the 20th of May 1991 had, after I had been transferred from Stratcom, I am not the author and I have no personal knowledge of the contents at all but this document is a recommendation for excellent service and outstanding performance of Paul Erasmus, who is sitting next to me, who was employed as a Stratcom operator in the Witwatersrand. It was common practice to recommend policemen for outstanding performance and this is a typical example of a letter of recommendation.
I am prepared to amplify the above here at this meeting.
MR CORNELIUS: Mr McPherson, for the clarity of the Chair and the members of the Commission can you generally, shortly explain how Stratcom operated, gathering of intelligence reports and how it was utilised.
MR McPHERSON: Stratcom had to act on intelligence gathered by the security branch. Stratcom in itself formed just another section also within the security branch. Now to obtain intelligence we speak very easily of intelligence but intelligence is actually a process and the process is firstly, the gathering of information and there you have to use different sources, you use human sources who are basically like agents and you also use technical sources, that is the tapping of telephones and post and photography and so forth, and then of course through interrogation you obtain information and then there are many open sources like the newspapers, SABC and other types of documentation that you can lay your hand on.
All this information is sent to head office security branch where the information is collated, it's analysed and we can get confirmation of the information through sources and so forth and only then the final product can then be regarded as intelligence.
This intelligence again is then passed back to the different branches and the regions and is then being received by the Stratcom operators on the ground that then apply or do something with the intelligence that they have received.
MR CORNELIUS: Thank you. Is there anything you wish to add?
MR McPHERSON: No thank you.
MR CORNELIUS: Thank you Mr Chairman.
DR BORAINE: I think this would be an appropriate time to break and have an adjournment for tea. I'd be grateful if you could be back here by twenty past four. Thank you.
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. Yes.
MR PIGOU: Thank you Chair. Mr McPherson you gave us a definition referring to page 5 of your statement, end of page 4 beginning of page 5, of what Strategic communications, Stratcom was, could you tell the Commission where that definition comes from?
MR McPHERSON: Mr Commissioner the definition was worked out by the branch of Strategic Communications under the structure of the State Security Council and I can tell you it took us weeks to come to this definition because every country has got its own definition and its own matters to address through Stratcom and so this is the end result of communications then you can say between the different departments, defence, foreign affairs, national intelligence and then law and order. All of us that worked on Stratcom we came to this definition.
MR PIGOU: Mr McPherson could you tell us whether you have in your possession any documentation which actually sets out that definition of what Stratcom is and whether if you do have that documentation you would be prepared to make it available to the Truth Commission?
MR McPHERSON: Yes I do have a lecture on Strategic Communications, covert strategic communications and this definition is in this lecture and in fact I have already made it available to Mr Gelberg.
MR PIGOU: Thank you. I want to turn now to Operation Romulus and one of the objectives that you have put down there on page 8 20.2 is the promotion of disunity between the ANC and the SACP. I would then like to refer to your annexure A point 7 where you are referring to Mrs Mandela, or the document is referring to Winnie Mandela abroad, discreditation of the ANC and I quote:
"Of cardinal importance and interest is the fact that all the reports indicate that the information is perceived to have been leaked by elements within the ANC and it is clear that a vast amount of suspicion and conflict has resulted within the ranks of the ANC and most importantly within the executive itself".
Would you agree that the definition that has been provided on page 8 of your submission referring to 20.2, the promotion of disunity between the ANC and the SACP that in fact that should also read Promotion of disunity within the ANC as well?
MR McPHERSON: That is correct Mr Chairperson.
MR PIGOU: Thank you. In terms of the objectives of Operation Romulus that you have mentioned, it seems to have been a very broad operation. According to your knowledge in what way did Mrs Mandela fit inside this operation?
MR McPHERSON: Mr Chairperson to understand it I think, or to put things properly in perspective each department, like the department of law and order we received certain areas as I explained that had to be addressed through Stratcom. Now as I said the three areas were the educational field, the labour field and the counter-revolutionary field. Now we had projects, these basic three major projects registered and it was Project Jackal, that was on the educational field, and then it was Project Omega, that was on the labour field, and then Project Wigwam which was on the counter-revolutionary field.
Now you can look at it is like an umbrella project incorporating different operations then sub-operations. Now Operation Romulus was one of those sub operations under Project Wigwam. In other words in the counter-revolutionary field. Now Operation Romulus was a national operation it was directed at the whole country, not to a specific or at a specific individual, and it is so that Mrs Madikizela-Mandela was one of the what we can say major subjects within the Witwatersrand/Soweto area and therefore she did receive prominent attention through the Stratcom, but then there were hundreds of others over the rest of the country that also received similar attention through Operation Romulus.
MR PIGOU: So it wasn't uncommon though, even though you were dealing with hundreds of potential targets for disinformation that someone as prominent as Mrs Madikizela-Mandela would come under specific attention within Operation Romulus as evidenced by the document that is attached in your annexures?
MR McPHERSON: Yes these examples I think indicate very well that she was a prominent subject with regards to Romulus and she received prominent attention from the Stratcom section in Soweto and the Stratcom section here at the Witwatersrand.
MR PIGOU: In your statement that we obtained from you on the 27th of October of this year you stated that if there was a Stratcom operation directed towards Winnie Mandela I was not involved in that, can you explain that statement?
MR McPHERSON: Mr Chairperson we from head office, and I was the head of Stratcom I was more involved in setting strategies there and coordinating Stratcom operations throughout the country. So I personally did not get actively involved in Stratcom operations against Mrs Madikizela-Mandela, but we had people, as I said, Stratcom section at Soweto and the section here at Witwatersrand that dealt on her matters personally.
MR PIGOU: In your experience Mr McPherson, was there Stratcom involvement in criminal investigations in order to falsify information or evidence to involve people in criminal activities of any nature?
MR McPHERSON: Not as far as I know Chairperson.
MR PIGOU: And based on the same question was there any experience from yourself in terms of Operation Romulus, was it used to intervene in criminal investigations in order to falsify information or evidence to involve Mrs Mandela in criminal activities such as kidnapping or the killing of Stompie Seipei?
MR McPHERSON: Mr Chairperson that would not fall within the ambit of the objects set out by Operation Romulus. I think I can't see any necessity of falsifying criminal information and so forth, because criminal facts must speak for itself.
MR PIGOU: Could you tell me what section of the Security branch Stratcom fell under?
MR McPHERSON: Within the last days it was under Section D, but it changed names, before that it was Section G.
MR PIGOU: What was the relationship between Section D and Section C, the operational counter-revolutionary unit of the security branch?
MR McPHERSON: You see we did the gathering of intelligence, Section D was the intelligence unit of the security branch and when it came to Section C we would supply them, when I say "we" then it is the intelligence unit, would supply them with relevant information about subjects whether they are in Africa or abroad or internally.
MR PIGOU: In your personal knowledge do you have any information regarding Section C operations against Mrs Mandela?
MR McPHERSON: No not that I am personally, I am not personally aware of any.
MR PIGOU: Did you receive any information from Section C?
MR McPHERSON: We - all the sections used to have a morning meeting, we called it the Sanhedrin and there we of course exchanged information and intelligence on a daily basis and then we had also a week, a Friday weekly meeting where everybody presented a document or we presented a document that went for the rest of the country on intelligence gathered for that specific week. So of course we did receive information from C Section as we would receive information from say the PAC desk or the ANC desk and we would receive information from all over the country from the different branches and regions.
MR PIGOU: Did you use Unit C for the execution of any operations at all, yourselves, in Section D?
MR McPHERSON: No, no, no.
MR PIGOU: Were you aware in Section D, yourself, of what Section C members were doing as you will know from the experiences in the last year or so and the numerous amnesty applications involving members of Section C they were involved in all sorts of heinous crimes, were you in Section D aware of this and what they were doing?
MR McPHERSON: Yes and if you read the statement of Eugene de Kock, Dirk Coetzee and other people, of course you will become aware that things were happening.
MR PIGOU: And was this sort of a common knowledge within the security branch, within all the various sections or was this reserved for specific sections dealing with counter-revolutionary activities and intelligence gathering?
MR McPHERSON: Yes we worked in compartments if you can call it that way and we worked on the need to know principle, therefore not everybody knew what we were doing and not everybody knew what C section were doing and in fact it was not good to try and find out what another section was doing. You don't ask questions because in the intelligence game if somebody starts asking questions who are your sources or what are you up to you start thinking he is a spy in your midst.
MR PIGOU: But in your experience Mr McPherson there was a general understanding although people may not have known the specifics, there was a general understanding that people knew that assassinations were taking place, evidence was being falsified in court and so forth, was there a general awareness of this?
MR McPHERSON: I wouldn't say, I would say no, not a general awareness.
MR PIGOU: Were you aware of this?
MR McPHERSON: No, no. When I say - okay you are talking about the falsification of ...(intervention)
MR PIGOU: Well what, if I may just butt in, what I am driving at is that it's become clear in the course of the last year and a half within the submissions to the TRC that people did lie under oath in court, gave testimony against people implicating them in things that they didn't do, I am trying to find out whether Section D, and yourself in particular as head of Stratcom Section D, whether you knew these things were going on? I am not asking whether you were involved in them, I am asking whether you knew that they were going on?
MR McPHERSON: Well shall I put it this way, yes, we were aware but I haven't got information on any specific incident.
MR PIGOU: You've mentioned to us that the security branch in Soweto ran their own Stratcom operation.
MR McPHERSON: That's correct Mr Chairman.
MR PIGOU: Could you tell us at the time that you were head of Stratcom in 1989, 1990, who was head of that operation in Soweto?
MR McPHERSON: It was Dickie de Jager, his first name is Louis.
MR PIGOU: Is this the same man that was then transferred down to the Western Cape in 1990?
MR McPHERSON: That's correct, ja, he was transferred to Cape Town.
MR PIGOU: Thank you. Did you participate in or did you ever hear about discussions related to any plans to start a Stratcom operation directed specifically towards Winnie Mandela or the Mandela United Football Club in Soweto?
MR McPHERSON: No. Can you just repeat the question again?
MR PIGOU: Ja. Did you participate in, or did you ever hear about discussions relating to any plans to start a Stratcom operation directed specifically towards Winnie Mandela and/or the Mandela United Football Club?
MR McPHERSON: No.
MR PIGOU: Now could the Soweto or the Johannesburg branch have taken their own initiative to start such a Stratcom operation towards Mrs Mandela?
MR McPHERSON: No.
MR PIGOU: So they wouldn't have been able to operate independently?
MR McPHERSON: No because all operations, I mean the funds are being controlled from head office so they'll have to have permission first to obtain funds to become operational.
MR PIGOU: Are you aware of any specific directives given by your superiors within the SAP regarding information related to the Mandela United Football Club or to Mrs Winnie Mandela?
MR McPHERSON: No. The operations we had going like Operation Romulus it was wide enough to address Stratcom then related to Mrs Madikizela-Mandela.
MR PIGOU: I just want to finish off with one aspect and that is in the statement dated the 27th of October that you handed to us. You stated that Mr Fred Bridgeland was one of your informers that you handled from the security branch head office and that you also met him on a number of occasions, is that correct?
MR McPHERSON: Yes I think it's not correctly quoted Mr Chairman.
MR PIGOU: Can I read for you?
MR McPHERSON: Ja, ja.
MR PIGOU: I do beg your pardon if I've given the inference because Mr....
MR McPHERSON: No I will tell you the story now.
MR PIGOU: Mr McPherson has provided us with categories of people that they were dealing with from Stratcom in terms of within the media, those that were fulltime paid-up members, those who received payment on an irregular basis and those who they regarded as sort of friendly journalists, and Mr McPherson has said on paragraph 7 that -
"Fred Bridgeland was considered as a friendly reporter and I even had his telephone number. Our relation was however very limited since he never provided us with any information. I can't remember any occasion when I took the initiative to contact him. He contacted me and asked about information concerning a specific issue, I gave him then the feedback which was produced by the Security Branch on the basis of a general information related to the issue".
You also say, well let me just finish on that particular point with regards to the issues that you dealt with you say on paragraph 7 that you never received any questions from Fred Bridgeland related to Mrs Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's activities.
But I want to go back also to paragraph 5 Mr McPherson where you say that -
"In the late 1980's I had a few meetings with Fred Bridgeland, it could have been about three or four meetings in which I provided him with information on his request about different 'terrorist activities'. The meetings with him took place in my office in Pretoria. Of all the people I dealt with within the media he was the person that I dealt with least".
Now just on paragraph 5 did you meet with Mr Fred Bridgeland in your office in Pretoria?
MR McPHERSON: Mr Chairperson if I can explain what has happened here. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission they have questioned me about the fact or the possibility, thinking of my past, that I was involved in the book of Katiza's Journey, and that's where Fred Bridgeland's name came up and I had more than 40, I had all my list of people, agents, contacts and then friends within the media I had with me, and they asked me do I know Fred Bridgeland which I then said yes and in any case he wasn't an agent or an informer, as I put it a friendly reporter. But what has happened here on Wednesday Fred was sitting there and I heard somebody saying "Vic McPherson" and I walked over to him and I said Fred Bridgeland, and he said but you don't know me, I've never seen you before. And I said yes, I've never seen you before but I have your name, I have your particulars, I had it in my own handwriting, so then I realised I mistook him, there was a person that came a few times to my office in Pretoria, another English reporter, and I thought that was the person. But I said to him and I will say it again, I am very sorry if I misrepresented it to the Commission but I know he is somewhere probably in the audience and I said to him I will put the record straight.
MR PIGOU: Mr Chairman I approached Mr Bridgeland about this allegation and Mr Bridgeland has provided me with a two paragraph, very brief two paragraph response which he has requested that we be able to read into the record, and I am asking your permission to do that.
DR BORAINE: Ja go ahead.
MR PIGOU: "Until Wednesday of this week in this very hall I had never met Vic McPherson. The TRC official pointed him out to me, I walked up to him and offered him my hand but he did not know who I was. I told him my name and told him I had never seen him before. He conceded that but said he had spoken to me by phone. I said I could recall no such phone conversations and he could provide me with neither dates nor subjects of these conversations. As with his smear campaigns against distinguished South African journalists Max du Preez, Jacques Pauw and Philip van Niekerk defamed variously by McPherson as military intelligence, national intelligence service and CIA agents, I believe this is a sordid little smear attempt against me. It results from the strong attacks against the security police throughout my book, Katiza's Journey, notably the bizarre and reprehensible behaviour of such colleagues of McPherson as Fred Dempsey, Henk Hesslinger and Hoothra Moodley".
I think Mr McPherson should be able to have the opportunity again to respond to that.
DR BORAINE: ...I think we're going to end on that note then. Would you care to respond to that?
MR ERASMUS: Well I of course deny the allegations that I have a smear campaign against these gentlemen. Mr Philip van Niekerk I know very very well, the editor of Mail and Guardian and the other people I know them and I am not involved in a smear campaign against them.
DR BORAINE: Thank you. No further questions Chair.
DR BORAINE: Mr Semenya.
MR SEMENYA: Thank you Chairperson, may we state that the statement read off Mr Bridgeland in our view is not enough, he must come and confirm that because we have information we believe goes against the essence of the statement he has made but for now I will continue with my questions Sir the senior superintendent. How do you prefer me to address you Sir.
MR McPHERSON: You may call me Vic.
MR SEMENYA: Well Sir, you tell us that you were the head of Stratcom at a particular point. Am I correct?
MR McPHERSON: I was head of Stratcom.
MR SEMENYA: You say, "in the period '89 up to '90 I was head of Covert Strategic Communications known as Stratcom"?
MR McPHERSON: That's correct Mr Chairperson.
MR SEMENYA: And we know that one of it's, as you call it major subjects was Mrs Madikizela Mandela.
MR McPHERSON: That is correct Mr Chairperson.
MR SEMENYA: Can you tell us of incidents that you know of that were said about her which were false?
MR McPHERSON: Incidents that I know of?
MR SEMENYA: Which were said about her which were false in this ...(intervention)?
MR McPHERSON: No I think perhaps it might be better to put those specific questions when it comes to the detail to Mr Paul Erasmus next to me because he was more actively involved with the actual applying of Stratcom on the ground level.
MR SEMENYA: No I'll get to Mr Erasmus, I'm saying you as a head in charge of an operation, some of it's primary motives is to discredit Mrs Winnie Mandela, are you able to tell us of one single event that was said about her which was false or no?
MR McPHERSON: No the way we have trained our people and instructed our people is usually to work on an actual or a factual incident or event and then perhaps add on and that will eventually lead say to disinformation or false, something extra to a story, but I can't recall a specific incident at this very moment.
MR SEMENYA: Seriously as head of Stratcom, you have one of what you call the major subject for which prominent attention was paid and you do not recall one single story about this prominent subject.
MR McPHERSON: There was a book that was written by Emma Gilby in America but there it again it wasn't about disinformation, it was just that we assisted Emma Gilby in supplying her with specific information about financial matters of Mrs Madikizela Mandela.
MR SEMENYA: Just tell us about them, what were you saying about her financial status?
MR McPHERSON: She, this is now Emma Gilby, had access to Mrs Madikizela Mandela's file where she needed to verify certain information. I think it was the time that her house burned down and she needed money to repair the house and the money was coming in I think from Cuba and other donor countries and I can't recall the exact detail but Emma Gilby already had this information but she just wanted to confirm it.
MR SEMENYA: You know when I read the objectives or what you have as 12.1.1 to 12.1.3, to me they appear like lawful objectives. You know they appear lawful objectives that are here. Were you about pure lawful objectives.
MR McPHERSON: Which paragraph did you refer to again.
MR SEMENYA: Stratcom, let me refer you to Strategic Communication is, you see that's paragraph 12 I guess.
MR McPHERSON: Which page?
MR SEMENYA: Page 4.
MR McPHERSON: You mean the definition of Stratcom?
MR SEMENYA: To me what you define there are things which appear lawful. Were you just doing lawful things and nothing covert, nothing "not so lawful"?
MR McPHERSON: You know if you're busy with disinformation or say you're busy with pamphlets, distributing pamphlets, or whatever with say a half truth or so. Of course it can't be lawful with say a half truth or so. Of course it can't be lawful but that's why the operation is covert and it is because of the circumstances the country found itself in, a psychological warfare became necessary and these were the methods that were used.
MR SEMENYA: Ja but exactly what I'm saying there is nothing around that paragraph which says part of what you do is disseminating disinformation, you just neutralise hostel propaganda but there is nothing like dissemination or disinformation there.
MR McPHERSON: Yes but then we come to specifics. This is the general definition of Stratcom. It's the, how you must see Stratcom in general but when it comes to specific operations, say there were about 30 operations, each operation had it's own objectives. So you will come to an operation and there it will be about disseminating information by means of pamphlets or fronts. So then the word dissemination will come into that strategy of that specific operation.
MR SEMENYA: Now I'll move from this point but are you able to indicate to me what in this paragraph could constitute dissemination of false information.
MR McPHERSON: Paragraph 12.1.1 where it says, where you use different communication instruments to create the required attitude.
MR SEMENYA: To do what?
MR McPHERSON: To create the required attitude or to change attitudes. We use the method of dissemination and through that you create the change in a group or a person's attitude.
MR SEMENYA: But to create the required attitude may be moving an article from an unlawful one to a lawful one does not necessarily mean the reverse.
MR McPHERSON: Yes in fact what we were doing is to influence people that were busy with unlawful acts that were into violence or that were into what we can say, illegal acts, to influence them to change their attitudes.
MR SEMENYA: Now I'm trying to get you to tell me were here I would read anything which is again "unlawful conduct", or were you just about lawful conduct?
MR McPHERSON: No there were unlawful...(intervention)
MR SEMENYA: So they were not done in the context of these parameters?
MR McPHERSON: You can, you see when you do Stratcom then certain illegal methods will also creep in because by spreading a rumour against a person to say disunite certain people in a group, that can never be legal or lawful.
MR SEMENYA: Yes now in the specific question put to you that Stratcom would concern itself with the dissemination of issues on the Mandela Football Club or, I don't know what was the other example called, you said that would not fall within the ambit of the objectives. Now I'm trying to look at the objectives and to see these illegal operations in terms of which objectives does it fall, or did we have another list of objectives?
MR McPHERSON: No there's this objectives, you're talking about the definition. What are we talking about now?
MR SEMENYA: What is 12.1.1 to 12.1.3?
MR McPHERSON: Ja this is the definition of Stratcom.
MR SEMENYA: Was Stratcom doing things which fell only within the definition?
MR McPHERSON: Yes all the operations were approved within the definition.
MR SEMENYA: Where is this information now, I can't see it in the definition?
MR McPHERSON: In paragraph 12.1.1 where we say, "to change the attitude, values or views of individuals and/or a group of persons", to create the required attitude I can see in that.
MR SEMENYA: Are we able to get all the complete files of Stratcom?
MR McPHERSON: I believe it has been destroyed.
MR SEMENYA: When were they destroyed Sir?
MR McPHERSON: I wouldn't know, I wasn't there when it was destroyed, I had already left Stratcom.
MR SEMENYA: Did Stratcom have a, or the operation which you had, did it deal with informers?
MR McPHERSON: Did we deal with informers? Yes, yes.
MR SEMENYA: What were the informers to do?
MR McPHERSON: They were agents of influence and we had several agents, informers, friends and so forth.
MR SEMENYA: What were their functions Sir, I'm asking.
MR McPHERSON: Some of them were running fronts.
MR SEMENYA: Some of them?
MR McPHERSON: Fronts, they were running fronts.
MR SEMENYA: Like?
MR McPHERSON: They were controlling fronts, they were like an organisation.
MR SEMENYA: And some of them were running publication houses, is that right?
MR McPHERSON: I'm not aware of a publication house that we ran.
MR SEMENYA: What do you mean you're not aware, was there a publication house funded out of the unit which you headed?
MR McPHERSON: I can't recall now.
MR SEMENYA: Well we know that at least my information is, one of the books published by Bridgeland in 1990 about the South African offensive with the Cubans was published by that house out of proceeds of Eschel Rhoodie ...(indistinct).
MR McPHERSON: Oh that's the old Department of Information. We had nothing to do with that.
MR SEMENYA: You didn't have anything to do with that?
DR BORAINE: Are you going to be much longer Mr Semenya?
MR SEMENYA: (Speaker's microphone is not on)
DR BORAINE: Thank you.
MR SEMENYA: Just two aspects Chairperson.
I have a newspaper here but I'm advised that the TRC has a list of friendly journalists that you had. Are we able to access this list of friendly journalists and people to...(intervention)
MR McPHERSON: Mr Chairman I will like to object if I can. We came to an agreement with the TRC, the Investigators that that list will not leave the offices.
DR BORAINE: And perhaps I could say yes that was the nature of the agreement, and I could say that the people sitting up on this panel from this side of the Investigation Unit to Mrs Madikizela Mandela have not got that list. It is within the hands of only certain people within the Truth Commission.
MR SEMENYA: Chairperson my difficulty is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and we are told that things are going to be transparent and open. There is a list of issues which related relative to my client for which we must prepare defence. I don't know what would be compromised in the objects of the Commission if that list is made available.
DR BORAINE: Mr Semenya I take your point entirely. I'd be grateful if we could have time in order to discuss this and to hear full argument on this but I promise you an opportunity will be given to do exactly that. It may help you to know that I haven't seen the list either nor has the Chairperson, so I'm caught slightly off guard, we'd like to consult to come back to that.
MR SEMENYA: I have no further questions.
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. Are there any questions. Yes Mr Richard?
MR RICHARD: I believe that I'll be asking the wrong person but I'll ask the questions none the less. Do you know anything about Mr Richardson, my client?
MR McPHERSON: No only what I read in the newspaper but I don't know him personally and I wasn't involved with the investigation whatsoever.
MR RICHARD: Well the next question is, who would be the appropriate person to ask questions about his involvement if any involvement?
MR McPHERSON: I would say the intelligence section of the South African Police service from the Security Branch. I would say the people from Soweto, the intelligence section of Soweto.
MR RICHARD: Thank you Chairperson, I think I've gone as far as I can with this witness, thank you.
DR BORAINE: Anyone else? ...(indistinct) Panel, no alright, alright. Yasmin Sooka.
MS SOOKA: Mr McPherson I just want to clarify besides journalists, you also had sources and informers. Was any member of the Mandela Football Club one such source?
MR McPHERSON: I would say that under no circumstances, well I can't say under no circumstances but to recruit somebody from the Football Club for Stratcom operations. I can't see it falling within the ambit and objectives of Stratcom.
MS SOOKA: So am I to understand that the passing of information to journalists who would perpetuate a particular view point, was considered to be part of your mandate?
MR McPHERSON: Yes I had an operation that was registered and approved just around the media, just around the journalists, that's the media people.
MS SOOKA: And in terms of that you are quite certain that the explanation you've made in terms of Mr Fred Bridgeland, I'm not clear about it because from your evidence it's clear that you passed on information to him, is that correct?
MR McPHERSON: No I said here in my statement. Yes okay I thought he was the person I passed information to but I spoke to him and I can't specifically recall under what circumstances I made contact with him. I said it was possibly by telephone, you know I had contact with many people at the media in those days. But I said to him I would not have written down his name on my list if I, it could have been at the Media Conference but, or it could have been a telephone call to my office where I took down his name but I cannot recall the very specific incident.
MS SOOKA: I'm sorry I just want to get this clear. What you're saying to us is that his name would not have been on your list if you had not passed information over to him.
MR McPHERSON: No no you must understand, some of the people on my list were policemen in the media, other people were paid informers and agents. Then there were the majority of the people on my list were like what you can say just friends and I would pass on certain information to specific groups within the media, the groups. So but I didn't say I passed information over to him specifically and as it appears to me now, I probably just had a phone call or an enquiry. I said to him perhaps there was an incident like sabotage and he needed information but on a professional, like a professional call through the work, through his work, do you understand?
MS SOOKA: No I'm sorry I'm not happy with that explanation. You see I'm worried now that you were prepared to allow that information in fact in your statement to stand until such time as you were confronted with Mr Bridgeland and it seems as if you or you didn't recognise him and he then challenged you about it and that's what has led to a kind of retraction, so I would like to be satisfied when you actually leave here that I know exactly what that relationship was?
MR McPHERSON: I would say it was just like on a professional basis. You know I, in my position I had contact with many many people, well journalists from the media and due to my contact on a very general basis I must have come across his name and therefore I say that I don't think you should read anything into the fact that his name was on the list because there are many other people on the list that never worked for me but they were just friendly towards the police and they contacted the police in a professional way.
MS SOOKA: May I just try one more time...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: One more chance.
MS SOOKA: One more chance, sorry. Would it be fair to say that even those journalists on your list and you use the words, were sympathetic to the police, and if you were sympathetic to the police in those days you would be perceived as being on the other side...(intervention)
MR McPHERSON: Well it depends how...(intervention)
MS SOOKA: Your side then...(intervention)
MR McPHERSON: It depends who is looking at the situation.
MS SOOKA: The side of the State, sorry Mr McPherson, the side of the State.
MR McPHERSON: No not necessarily. There were people, I'm not talking about my list but there were people that had close contact with the police and they were not friends if the police but they needed the information on certain acts and things that happened in the country during that period.
MS SOOKA: But the information that would be passed on would be negative to the people on the other side of the stairs.
MR McPHERSON: No not necessarily because what has happened in the past was that many of the newspapers were not at ease to present certain facts or say success of the police in their newspapers. We had to say then make friends with certain journalists to see that to it that our reports successes of the Security Branch gets reported.
MS SOOKA: Would Mr Bridgeland be considered to be in that category of friendly..?
MR McPHERSON: Well as I said I met him on Wednesday. We haven't had time really to talk, I can't judge his attitude, okay?
DR BORAINE: Thank you, Ms Mkhize.
MS MKHIZE: Thank you Chairperson, really I just want clarity regarding what you said. In page 22 of your document, I don't know whether it's page 9 under paragraph 22.3 you say the objective is amplified in the annexure falls within the scope of the objective of Stratcom. The subject Winnie Mandela was considered as a revolutionary.
Then when asked about the Mandela Football Club you said no they wouldn't fall under this, because there would have to be approval for that project. But my question is once you have approved, let's say there's a budget for Stratcom agent to work on a subject, would they have to come to you whenever they're investigating that person? I thought the subject would be enough to get an approved budget.
MR McPHERSON: Mr Chairperson the question was, would we put agents, I think it was Ms Sooka, the question was put, would we put Stratcom agents within the Football Club and that's what I said why I said no it will not fall within the ambit of the objectives of Stratcom operations because it will serve no purpose to put a person in there because Stratcom was more aimed at influencing and it would be like positive organisations that will bring out say stories or attitudes towards the State for the State and not like with the Football Club which will be against the State.
MS MKHIZE: My last question really is a statement which I will still like your reaction to it. You remember myself and the Commissioner next to me, we said during the Media Hearings, you spoke under oath, you came prepared and you specifically said to us you met on, if my memory serves me well, on two, you had two official meetings with a Mr Fred Bridgeland and I don't think that was an incidental comment on that day for you to say when you saw him that was a mistake. It's difficult to accept that.
MR McPHERSON: Ja it's a mistake. Yes.
DR BORAINE: Dr Randera has one question.
DR RANDERA: A quick question Mr McPherson. Am I right in saying that in this period that we're looking at and we're looking at talking about 1987, 1988 and really the very early part of 1989, that you had nothing to do with Stratcom?
MR McPHERSON: Yes some other Brigadier MacIntyre was the head of...(intervention)
DR RANDERA: No I'm asking about you, I'm not asking about anybody else, about you?
MR McPHERSON: Yes - no at that stage I was with the intelligence section of Section D and when you say did I have nothing to do, I put it that's what you're asking, with Stratcom, I cannot say I did not have anything to do because we from D Section supplied the intelligence to Stratcom which was then Brigadier MacIntyre. So indirectly we would have had something to do with Stratcom.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Ntsebeza.
MR NTSEBEZA: Thank you Chair. Mr McPherson do I understand your operations as having amongst other things involved disseminating half truths and in some instances, false information that obviously would have the effect of destroying not only the organisation that people represented but also their personalities? Like for instance in the case of Mrs Madikizela Mandela.
MR McPHERSON: Yes firstly you know when we trained our people we always taught them rather go for the truth and mostly in the cases it was the untold truth. Things that people didn't want to hear and we made sure that information gets disseminated. A half truth or if you go for false information, direct false information, people can very often clearly see through it and it doesn't have the same effect, and also half truths doesn't have the same affect than to disseminate the truth. As I said I haven't got specific information on any specific incident about Mrs Madikizela Mandela, perhaps Paul Erasmus might be in a position to say, what concerns her.
MR NTSEBEZA: Now do I understand you to be saying there never were instances where you deliberately spread untruths about Mrs Madikizela Mandela?
MR McPHERSON: No I don't say there never were such incidents.
MR NTSEBEZA: Let's confine ourselves to those instances that you know of where disinformation or information that was obviously false, deliberately false, known to you as an operation to be false, was disseminated about Mrs Madikizela Mandela.
MR McPHERSON: I can't think of a specific incident now but I'm sure that the Soweto people and Witwatersrand people disseminated information in forms of pamphleteering through their fronts and as you've seen books that were written and I think through news reports.
MR NTSEBEZA: No I was not asking for specifics. I'm simply wanting to understand whether you as a person who was in charge of Stratcom are prepared to accept under oath and say so if you are able to say so that you are aware that false information about the character of Mrs Madikizela Mandela was spread by your operation in the knowledge that it was untrue? Are you able to?
MR McPHERSON: I am sure that there would be some incidents that would have been untrue.
MR NTSEBEZA: And on that basis do you concede that to the extent that that was untrue, it is the sort of thing that has done incalculable harm to her?
MR McPHERSON: It depends what the incident was. I can't judge it now because I don't know what specific incident or incidents you are referring to.
MR NTSEBEZA: In general terms Mr McPherson, when you are spreading a falsehood about a person who's a national figure, do you concede that when it is false, whatever aspect it is, it does incalculable harm to her?
MR McPHERSON: It can do incalculable harm, that is true.
MR NTSEBEZA: Now have you ever as a person considered going to Mrs Madikizela Mandela and say this is what in my employment I was involved in, I'm sorry about it?
MR McPHERSON: I can't say, I'll go and speak to her yes but I am not going to say I'm sorry. The reason being, this Stratcom operation was started as a counter for similar operations that the African National Congress and SACP were also running, so therefore if you look at the Sechabas and the Nkhululekus, and the African Communists and so forth, so this was as we would say, was war and it was necessary for a psychological war and many other political figures on the other sphere or other side within the previous government also there bore the brunt...(intervention)
MR NTSEBEZA: Well it is something that you did on behalf of the government of the day on behalf of the Nationalist Party.
MR McPHERSON: No it was part of the government of the day.
MR NTSEBEZA: There never was another government, the government of the day was the Nationalist Party.
MR McPHERSON: Ja it happened to be the ruling party.
MR NTSEBEZA: Yes thank you.
DR BORAINE: Mr McPherson you'll be relieved to know that you are very nearly at the end. But I, without I hope abusing the chair, would like to ask you just one or two small questions. Would you consider if you think back when you were heading up Stratcom, would you consider Archbishop Tutu as someone who advocated violence?
MR McPHERSON: Yes Archbishop Tutu was also one of our subjects. I'm saying this because I believe that Mrs Madikizela Mandela I was told felt that this operation Romulus was just directed at her but as I said in my earlier statement it was directed at quite a broad spectrum of people. It was from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town, to the whole country.
DR BORAINE: It was right throughout the country and very fair but well you didn't answer my question. I asked you if he was one of your subjects as you put it, was it because he was advocating violence?
MR McPHERSON: No.
DR BORAINE: Was he then revolutionary?
MR McPHERSON: Let me look at my.
DR BORAINE: You must know sure..
MR McPHERSON: No I would rather place him in the category of persons against, well you must see it in those days' context, persons against peaceful change.
DR BORAINE: You thought he was against peaceful change therefore you had an operation against him. Would you say the same about opposition members of parliament during that time?
MR McPHERSON: No, this...(intervention)
DR BORAINE: Why was I on the list?
MR McPHERSON: Mr Boraine, Mr Chairperson you wouldn't believe it, I think you were in Durban at one time.
DR BORAINE: I was in Durban but my name was on the list in terms of the State Security Council while I was in parliament.
MR McPHERSON: In which category then?
DR BORAINE: Stratcom.
MR McPHERSON: Pardon?
DR BORAINE: On the list of subjects under Stratcom. Anyway it's not material, I just wanted to try and test the definition you gave us which you suggested was that this was an operation directed against all individuals and groups within South Africa advocating violence, considered as revolutionaries, persons against peaceful change. It must have been a very very long list.
DR BORAINE: Anther question and that is, and perhaps I should put this to your colleague but let me find out if you know. Was there such a thing in Soweto as and I'll use the phrase without any disrespect, a Winnie Mandela Desk within the Security Branch?
MR McPHERSON: No at head office we did not have a desk on individuals. We had a desk on the African National Congress, a desk on the South African Communist Party, a desk on the Pan Africanist Congress. Then we had a desk for intelligence, we had intelligence gathering and we had a desk that controlled the secret funds and an administrative desk but we never had a desk on an individual.
DR BORAINE: Thank you. My last question, my colleague the Chairperson has a question as well, I may allow him to ask that, but let me just finish quite quickly. To your knowledge, is there anything like Old Stratcom in terms of your definitions, in any form within the police service today?
MR McPHERSON: I don't think so.
DR BORAINE: I hope you're right. Archbishop Tutu.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Chairperson. On page 11 of your submission relating to Annexure C, you are talking about something that happened on the 8th of November 1990, page 11.
MR McPHERSON: Ja the annexure is dated 8th of November.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes I don't want you to refer to the annexure itself because I'm interested in the fact that you speak about the formation of this Return Exile Coordinating Committee and then you have 24.2 which speaks about the purpose for the establishment. I'm just interested in the date.
MR McPHERSON: Yes the date...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: No no I'm interested in the date.
MR McPHERSON: 8th of November 1990. Yes, this is the date, they had to get approval, Stratcom had to get approval to use Bikock and this is the information note that was sent to the General for approval for the conference.
CHAIRPERSON: Ja I just want to ask that question. The question is, this is after February the 2nd.
MR McPHERSON: After the President was released.
CHAIRPERSON: After the ANC and all of those organisations are unbanned.
MR McPHERSON: And negotiations...(intervention)
DR BORAINE: Could you just listen to the question.
CHAIRPERSON: Please yes.
DR BORAINE: I'm protecting you.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes. I'm interested, you see you have on your admission agreed that you were operating on behalf of the previous government which was the Nationalist Party and that this operation, after the unbanning of these organisations, is set in motion by yourselves working for the Nationalist Party in order to make it difficult, even impossible. You say there, you say the purpose is to discredit the ANC. Now I hope you will believe me, I am not a member of the ANC, but I would like to know how you people could justify as professionals, how you could justify this particular kind of operation when there is no war now.
MR McPHERSON: Mr Chairperson, it's a very long answer.
DR BORAINE: Try and be very brief but I'm quite sure you can if you tried.
MR McPHERSON: Basically in 1989 when State President F W de Klerk took over the cabinet, we had to represent all our projects and our operations again to him at the Union Building for new approval and we had to change, we had to make changes to the definitions or the strategies or the objects and the whole angle then changed from like aggressive applying Stratcom. When I say aggressive, it's figuratively speaking and then changing the attitudes of all the people rather towards peace, so the theme changed to influencing people towards peace, towards negotiations and towards the new government. So that what has happened is the people that were for the armed struggle, people that were for violence, they still were addressed through these operations and people that were for peace, they whenever a leader within the ANC spoke about peace, we would see to it that statement or whatever he feels, that that gets put out to the people. So the whole situation changed and in I think it was February 1990 President F W de Klerk again asked for the different operations to be put before him and he was worried certain people were turning and were beginning to expose some of our fronts, so he was worried that it would come out and I had to give him the assurance that not any of my people would walk over to the other side, and I couldn't. So all these projects were scrapped.
Oh yes in February they brought fro about 30 operations I think they were just left with about 10 operations.
DR BORAINE: Can I ask you a follow-p question on this because I think it's a very important issue. This was on the 8th of November 1990, and you were personally involved in and you know all about it, you say, "I was personally involved in establishing this organisation"
MR McPHERSON: Yes I established it in 1989, this is...(intervention)
DR BORAINE: So it continues until the 8th of November 1990?
MR McPHERSON: Yes according to this document, I...(intervention)
DR BORAINE: Did that happen to be approved?
MR McPHERSON: Well it falls within the ambit of Romulus.
DR BORAINE: So it had to be approved on an annual basis by the State President.
MR McPHERSON: That's right.
DR BORAINE: So it was approved by Mr de Klerk.
MR McPHERSON: Not this specific - this is like an hoc incident you can say and President de Klerk himself will not have personal knowledge. As long as what they do and that is why it must be presented to the head of the Security Branch for approval. He must see that this action gets approved. He can approve it on an ad hoc basis as long as it falls within the objects of Operation Romulus.
DR BORAINE: I'm tempted to take this further, but I will restrain myself. Ms Sooka wants one final question and then we can stop.
MS SOOKA: I'm just puzzled you see because if this is set up almost exactly at the time that the Committee was set up for the repatriation of South African Exiles and right from the beginning that body had to contend with destabilisation from this body, they even took them to court at one stage. So at the same time that you were talking peace negotiations, you were quite intent on wrecking the other side from being able to participate properly in negotiations.
MR McPHERSON: Yes that's difficult to answer now.
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. Thank you very much for coming. You may step down now. If you like, if you want to keep your colleague company you're very welcome to do so.
Right please proceed.
MR CORNELIUS: Thank you Mr Chairman, I see we're pressed for time, Mr Erasmus I think you should read your statement into the record.
DR BORAINE: Mr Erasmus.
MR ERASMUS: Chairperson I state under oath the following:
My name is Paul Francis Erasmus. I was a member of the South African Police...(intervention)
MS SOOKA: Sorry Mr Erasmus I can't remember, I can't remember, did we take an oath?
CHAIRPERSON: Yes we did.
DR BORAINE: Please continue. Ms Sooka there's little time.
MR ERASMUS: My name is Paul Francis Erasmus, I was a member of the South African Police from 1975 until 1993 when I was medically boarded for post traumatic stress. I served as a field intelligence officer in the Security of the South African Police from 1977 until the 31st of May 1993 when my service was terminated. From the time that I joined the Security Branch I was involved on various occasions in activities over a very wide sphere being conducted against the perceived enemies of the State. These types of activities included harassment of suspects, the dissemination of information amongst the left wing community and many of these activities which could be described as dirty tricks. In 1984 or thereabouts a formal Stratcom unit was created after a full cabinet and the State President had met together with senior politicians, department heads and members of the security forces. A formal Stratcom Unit was then set up was then set up at Police Headquarters at Pretoria and over the following years I and members of the Security Branch participated in Stratcom activities, myself on an informal or ad hoc basis and during which time I also prepared graphic art work for the Stratcom unit.
From 1985 to 1986 I participated in a major Stratcom type initiative after rumours in circulation at the time had indicated that Mrs Winnie Madikizela Mandela had a close association or friendship with Mr Chris Ball who was then MD of First National Bank or Barclays Bank as it was then known. I and other members of the Security Police or the Security Branch spread the story very widely that the friendship was in fact an affair and went to considerable lengths to put pressure on both Mrs Mandela and Mr Chris Ball and the bank, the idea being to create the perception amongst Mrs Mandela's power base, that is the radical black youth, that she had sold out to white capitalism and was having a sexual relationship with a man who epitomised white capitalism.
This type of operation was many in which we used accurate intelligence as well as fabrication in order to discredit the target person.
Later in 1989 and 1990 it was decided that formal Stratcom units with full-time Stratcom representatives be created at all security branches all over South Africa prior to the creation of a formal or full time unit Stratcom units were coordinated in Johannesburg by a few individuals who were given this task but the gist of Stratcom activities were in the Johannesburg area were conducted from Pretoria. In October 1990 I attended a formal Stratcom training course held at Esselen Park Johannesburg, that should actually read the East Rand. During this course we were introduced to the various operations and/or projects including Project Wigwam which was the biggest project and which encompassed in full the national objectives of Stratcom, the counteracting a neutralising of the threat from ANC/SACP/COSATU alliance, the PAC and the extreme right wing. Most of the actions carried out were, I just wish to point out that should be conducted and not concluded, were conducted under it's one and only project Romulus which can be defined as any ad hoc actions to further the aims of Wigwam, ad hoc referring to not only impromptu actions but to covert actions of an illegal nature on occasion.
I was on completion of the course appointed to head Wigwam, Romulus in the Johannesburg area. We were inter alia informed on the course that Stratcom's aims were to reduce the ANC to just another political party within four years. Radical elements within the ANC had been identified as targets. The National Party believed that it could negotiate successfully with the moderates and radicals like Mr Chris Hani, Mrs Winnie Madikizela Mandela, Mr Steve Tshwete, Mr Peter Mokaba, Mr Tony Yengeni, Mr Joe Slovo and others had to be neutralised at all costs and obviously by any means possible.
In the ensuing months after the course I was involved in many, especially Romulus type activities against not only the Tri-partite Alliance but the radicals I've mentioned above. Using the existing intelligence Stratcom network, I turned a massive information or negative propaganda on a wide variety of matters. As a basis for this disinformation I relied on intelligence reports including surveillance reports, telephone tappings, postal deceptions, hearsay and rumours and the media. President Mandela was the obvious target, but due to his impeccable integrity it was difficult to target him in a Stratcom sense and personally. We however put out the message that he had little control over the radical ANC cadres and SDU's. There was a power struggle within the ANC hierarchy, he was going senile and had little control over his wife who was running rampant in the townships with a Football Club who inter alia were intimidating the local population.
From time to time I received intelligence reports from colleagues in Soweto to the affect that the Mandelas were not sharing a bedroom and argued continuously. When a report for example stated that Mrs Winnie Madikizela Mandela had guests around for drinks I turned out information that she was an alcoholic. When I heard rumours and received information about her association with activist lawyer Dal Mpofu, I put out the word that she was a nymphomaniac and for good measure her daughter Zinzi was also a nymphomaniac and also had a relationship with Mr Dali Mpofu.
Some of this information emanated from agents' informers within the Mandela circle and specifically the Football Club and occasionally it was possible to deduce with some accuracy who the informer was. One of the reports I recall reading for example concerned Mrs Mandela, her daughter Zinzi and Jerry Richardson going to some or other meeting. I deduced that Richardson had supplied the information although it is of course possible that he may have related it to another person who was an informer, though I also heard that Richardson's handler was Sergeant Pretorious of Soweto Security Branch. I also heard from Colleagues in the Soweto Security Branch that most of the Mandela Football Club were informers were glue sniffing marijuana, that is dagga-smoking youngsters and who were easy to recruit as informers. In some of the negative propaganda that I put out I introduced further fabrications to the effect that Mrs Mandela and Zinzi were also using marijuana, that is dagga and apart from factual evidence, like Mrs Mandela's earlier statement that the ANC would liberate the country with the necklace method, a statement which would be used with great effect in a Stratcom sense.
On another occasion I spread the fabrication that the President had personally authorised the necklace method and which I believed was widely reported on international media. Apart from spreading the information locally and nationally and especially via contacts in the intelligence community in the written and electronic media, I was able to recruit an agent in Glasgow, the United Kingdom, Britain who immediately gave Stratcom Johannesburg an international capability. Within days I was forwarding masses of Stratcom value material to him by fax, postal service and courier and telephone and not only by myself but via other agents and co-workers. This agent had a massive conservative contact internationally including politicians, senior journalists, media representatives, intelligence contacts and so on. Almost immediately dirt on the ANC and including matters relating to Mrs Mandela's activities and other relevant matters began to appear in the international press and of greater importance, in a Stratcom sense were forwarded ultimately to inter-alia the Conservative Party members and the British Prime Minister Mr John Major himself, whom so I heard was horrified with what he saw.
A similar operation also came to effect as the doors opened in the United States and I was able to claim success with for example an article in Vanity Fair magazine entitled, "How bad is Winnie". For these activities I received two commendations from the Security Branch hierarchy who were ecstatic with what was being achieved.
I terminated my service from the Stratcom community in October 1991 when after I had been hospitalised for stress I applied for a transfer to the Security Branch Mossel Bay. At the time of my departure the Stratcom unit in Johannesburg was headed by Colonel Bruwer with a Captain Erasmus as second in command. Our supreme commander in Johannesburg as it were responsible for Stratcom and intelligence was Brigadier Gouws and all our activities during the whole period I've discussed here fell under Section C.1 of the Security Branch head office. Stratcom being headed for a time by Colonel Victor McPherson. In command of C Section was Brigadier Alfred Oosthuizen and the section fell under the command of General P J Viljoen.
Stratcom activities throughout were conducted on behalf of clients, that is the State President, the Cabinet, sister intelligence departments and the Department of Foreign Affairs and other State departments, for example the Department of Education. All projects and activities were carried out with the full knowledge of and approval of the relevant ministers who received details thereon from the Stratcom component of the State Security Council. There was a regular flow of intelligence and on occasion Stratcom value material between different Security branches. I received information for example on the Mandelas from Security Branch Soweto especially as I developed the international capability and was the best placed person to utilise this information. I was however only given information on a regular basis although I did recall that I requested but never received detail of for example the death of Stompie Seipei.
Much of the information that I received was further not of possible Stratcom value and concerned the normal day to day activities of the target group. My work load was too much for me to bear alone and much of the incoming information was handled by other Stratcom and Intelligence Unit operatives. I do not know specific actions carried out by the Soweto Stratcom unit which was headed by Colonel de Jager. My contact person in Soweto Stratcom Unit was a Sergeant Badenhorst, although I did have a lot of contact with Col de Jager at seminars and meetings.
Stratcom operations were carried out with all the security branches in South Africa at the time. In the Soweto Security Branch personnel deal with Stratcom operations worked in tandem with Intelligence Unit. I'm not sure in which manner Stratcom operations were related to Mrs Winnie Madikizela Mandela or the Football Club were carried out by the Soweto Security Branch but I am reasonably certain that they involved Stratcom intelligence personnel.
I thank you.
DR BORAINE: Thank you Mr Erasmus.
MR CORNELIUS: That is our evidence Mr Chair.
DR BORAINE: Piers.
MR PIGOU: Thank you Chair. I just want to refer you back to your statement page 3 paragraph 5 where you refer to President Mandela as being an obvious target but due to his impeccable integrity - the next sentence I just need that to be explained to me a little bit more. "I/we put out the message that he had little control over the radical ANC cadres and SDU's, there was a power struggle within the ANC hierarchy, he was going senile" and this is the point that I perhaps explain to me. "..and had little control over his wife who was running rampant in the townships with her Football Club who were inter alia intimidating the local population". Now the subject of much the discussion for the course of this week has been about his wife who was running rampant or alleged to be running rampant in the townships with the Football Club who were inter alia intimidating the local population. Were you spreading disinformation about the Football Club and Mrs Mandela as to what they were doing in the townships or were you spreading information over the fact that he had little control over his wife who was running rampant in the townships. Do you understand the difference that I've got here, I just need you to explain that to me.
MR ERASMUS: I find it a little bit to distinguish between the two. I would answer yes to it. As I've explained and I think my former colleague and unit commander explained, Stratcom operated on a mixture of or various aspects of intelligence gleaned, some of it intelligence reports, media reports, rumours hearsay or whatever,...(intervention)
MR PIGOU: And factual information...(intervention)
MR ERASMUS: And factual information.
MR PIGOU: So what I'm trying to establish in the course of the Mandela United Football Club activities, was the information that you received about this factual or was this information that you spread as disinformation, that it wasn't actually information that was actually happening at the time or were these factual reports that you were receiving?
MR ERASMUS: Some of the reports were factual.
MR PIGOU: Could you give us a sense Mr Erasmus because you seem to have ben quite close to this process, although I know you became only full time in 1990 from my reading of your statement of those particular things. Sorry I'm mixing you up with Mr McPherson, could you give us sense of how much of the material that you were receiving around the Football Club was factual information and how much was actually stuff that you had to rework so to speak.
MR ERASMUS: I think I must maybe just explain that Mrs Winnie Madikizela Mandela and after the President's release were obviously the most heavily targeted people in the Security Branch in the Stratcom sense in the country. Mrs Mandela all the years, I'm very aware of it and I'm on safe ground if I say was under 24 hour surveillance. The telephone was tapped, the house was bugged, here movements were monitored on a 24 hour basis and I cannot think of any other circumstance or situation in the South African Police Security Branch where more attention was given to anything than Mrs Winnie Madikizela Mandela's situation. Now with the advent of Stratcom in Johannesburg to get to your question, I began to receive intelligence reports and especially after this international capability that we had, had opened his doors to us, I began to receive reports but not on a regular basis. There was some bureaucratic bungling or whatever but I received reports on an almost daily basis sometimes about the goings on within the Mandela home. These reports were incredibly accurate. What time the President got up, for example, literally what he had for breakfast, what Mrs Mandela was doing. A lot of it was absolutely innocuous which wasn't of value to me in a Stratcom sense although I was exhorted on a day to day basis and given these reports and said do something with it as if I was a machine that could turn out a dirty trick for every occasion, I wasn't able to do it.
I also received verbal reports about, I had never specialised and had little knowledge of the Mandela United Football Club. I did at times in Stratcom seminars and at meetings and at braais and with regular contact that we had with people at Soweto was given information verbally on the goings on and ...(intervention)
DR BORAINE: Mr Erasmus can you just make your replies a little shorter and little more precise please.
MR ERASMUS: I am sorry but I am just trying to put things in perspective. I did receive information about the Mandela United Football Club as mentioned here for smoking dagga or marijuana, the glue sniffing kids and were uncontrollable, intimidating other residents in Soweto and so on.
MR PIGOU: Could you tell us, I just want to get this clear,
according to a press release that I have a copy of here that you
made on the 9th of September 1990 it says that -
"One of the major Stratcom operations code named Romulus
included in this definition many ad hoc activities aimed at the
ANC, SACP Cosatu alliance and from 1990 onwards I headed the
application of Operation Romulus in the Johannesburg area on a
fulltime basis. ".
You weren't working on Romulus on a fulltime basis during the period which has really been under question here, end of 1988 or shall I say 1987 I think we've been listening to cases today through to mid 1989, we're mainly looking at disinformation, you were talking about disinformation from 1990 onwards, is that correct?
MR ERASMUS: That is correct,
MR PIGOU: And the nature of the allegations that you seem to be talking mostly about are matters which don't fall within the purview of this Commission is that correct?
MR ERASMUS: That is correct.
MR PIGOU: What we are very interested in is the so-called rampant running around in the townships of the Football Club and the reaction to that by the security branch. Now you've indicated that there was heavy surveillance of Mrs Mandela, her residence, physical surveillance and telephone tapping and so forth.
MR ERASMUS: Correct.
MR PIGOU: Would it surprise you then that criminal activities could go on inside the Mandela household or emanate from the Mandela household and nothing would be done about them by the local police, security branch or other policing structures?
MR ERASMUS: That wouldn't really have surprised me.
MR PIGOU: Why not?
MR ERASMUS: I think at the time during the latter years anyway Mrs Mandela, although she was under heavy surveillance and so on was almost feared by the state, any move against her would really have upset the political apple-cart. There was many times that we questioned why Mrs Mandela I think, the security branch questioned why legal actions weren't or prosecutions weren't taken against Mrs Mandela but the general feeling was that she should be left alone as far as possible and that after statements like the necklacing thing she would be digging her own grave anyway and counter-productive to the ANC's ...(intervention)
MR PIGOU: Thank you. Would you say it was also quite useful for the security branch to have the kind of activities that were emanating out of the backyard in Soweto from Mrs Mandela's house, that this was actually very useful propaganda material for you?
MR ERASMUS: Most definitely.
MR PIGOU: So would you be saying then that much of the information or some of the information, I don't want to put a figure on it, or a percentage or whatever, proportion of the information that came out about the activities of the Football Club was indeed factual then, it was actually happening it was happening out of that back yard in Soweto?
MR ERASMUS: A lot of the information yes, was correct. I never specialised, I must just point out, Mrs Mandela even at the height of these activities was one of many people that I dealt with, I didn't have the time or the opportunity or in fact the capacity to make a full study of a given situation. My work load was just too heavy to do it.
MR PIGOU: Thanks. Are you aware of any, well within Operation Romulus, because I am not sure if there were any other operations, perhaps you could tell us were there any other security branch Stratcom operations against Mrs Mandela, were you aware or to your knowledge was Operation Romulus used to intervene in criminal investigations in order to falsify information or evidence to involve Mrs Mandela in criminal activities such as the Stompie Seipei killing and the kidnapping?
MR ERASMUS: Well I think what I said about just the use of dagga is a clear indication of that type of - oh of evidence in ...(intervention)
MR PIGOU: Yes I mean we are talking now about falsifying evidence which could be used for criminal prosecution.
MR ERASMUS: No I am not aware of that.
MR PIGOU: Okay. Returning to your document very quickly, end of page 3 again paragraph 5 you refer to Sergeant Pretorius as the handler of one Jerry Richardson would that be the same Sergeant Stephanus Pretorius who died in Jerry Richardson's house on 9 November 1988?
MR ERASMUS: That is correct.
MR PIGOU: I just want to talk briefly now through some of the reactions that we had during the course of the in camera Section 29 hearing, this is 1989 so you may not have had direct knowledge as you weren't working fulltime on these Stratcom operations but you may well have had insight into these kind of things so we will appreciate whatever information you can give us about this. We have been referring in the last couple of days to a Mandela Crisis Committee document which was sent, according to the Crisis Committee members who sat here, to Lusaka in early 1989. During the course of our in camera hearing Mrs Madikizela-Mandela when asked about this document basically said that it was a Stratcom or she had been informed that it was a Stratcom document, I beg your pardon, do you have any knowledge as to whether this was a Stratcom document?
MR ERASMUS: I have no knowledge whatsoever. At that time my involvement with Stratcom if I can just point out, was very much limited, there wasn't, as I have mentioned in my statement, there wasn't a formal unit on Johannesburg although there were people that were given certain Stratcom or strategic communication tasks.
MR PIGOU: Thank you. Going on to the next page, page 67 if you want it for your reference of the second Section 29 in camera hearing we asked the question, my colleague Mr Vally -
"Are you aware of the statement issued by what was then called the Mass Democratic Movement and reported in the press on the 17th of February 1989?"
and the response was -
"Yes a statement was issued by Murphy Morobe as part and parcel of that Stratcom exercise".
Are you aware wether the MDM statement was a part of a Stratcom exercise?
MR ERASMUS: I have a vague recollection of the statement but I have no knowledge of whether it was a Stratcom exercise or not.
MR PIGOU: We then follow it up in saying, asked Mrs Mandela whether Murphy Morobe is part and parcel of the Stratcom operation, and the response was -
"What we subsequently established was that from the very onset when the so-called Stompie affair broke out the media had amongst its fraternity reporters who were working for the system at that time. You have all seen the media presentations that have been made to you. My subsequent information throughout the years has been that the first reporters who broke the so-called Stompie affair...."
and I am not going to name the names, I am going to withhold those,
"....were in fact part of the informers who were planted in the media and that statement to my information thereafter was that it was part of the exercise that was influenced by Stratcom".
Are you aware at the beginning of 1989 whether the first stories and subsequent stories - but let's confine ourselves for your answer now to the first stories, the initial batch of stories that came out around the Stompie Seipei incident, do you have any information as to whether these were part and parcel of a Stratcom exercise?
MR ERASMUS: The only information that I can give you Chairperson and that was that the media were obviously heavily targeted by the security branch. I personally handled agents who contact and had contact with the media over the whole duration of my career, but I have no specific knowledge of the situation regarding information being given to the media in the Stompie case.
MR PIGOU: So once again that would be a situation would it that the information, factual information would come to you and there would be something that you could utilise at a later stage or was utilised at a later stage.
MR ERASMUS: At a later stage, that is correct.
MR PIGOU: Were there any other Stratcom operations related to Winnie Mandela?
MR ERASMUS: Not that I am aware of.
MR PIGOU: Who did you deal with in Soweto, who was your contact person in Soweto in the Stratcom unit there, who were you receiving information from?
MR ERASMUS: It was a Sergeant Badenhorst that gave me information from time to time and I had quite a lot of contact with the unit commander or the most senior person involved with Stratcom that was Colonel Louis de Jager, or Colonel "Tickey" de Jager.
MR PIGOU: Were the intelligence reports that you received complete? In other words were the transcripts of the telephone tampering covering 24 hours every day or were you receiving just snippets as to what Soweto or other units in the Witwatersrand would want to give you?
MR ERASMUS: From time to time I did receive full intelligence reports when and if Sergeant Badenhorst or Colonel de Jager whoever at Soweto thought it might be of use. As I mentioned before a lot of the information was useless, absolutely useless to me, there was nothing that I could do. Sergeant Badenhorst also gave me information telephonically and from time to time just brought me up to date by virtue of an intelligence report that gave me something of an overview of the situation.
MR PIGOU: Thank you. Just a couple more questions very quickly Chair, I will be finished....
DR BORAINE: I was about to ask you.
MR PIGOU: I could see that was coming. You've talked about informers in the Football Club, do you have any concrete information about informers inside the Football Club?
MR ERASMUS: I don't, it was never security branch policy although we always used to within our own ranks play spot the agent type of stuff, it was just curiosity to try and deduce from reports who the agent was and it was something of pride that you could see a colleague and say I know who your agent is or I figured it out or whatever.
MR PIGOU: From your lengthy experience inside the security branch would you be surprised if the security branch in Soweto did not have informers inside and around the Football Club or the youths that frequented the Mandela household?
MR ERASMUS: I would have been amazed if that was the case.
MR PIGOU: Could you just tell us one last question now, what was the reason that you who were based at John Vorster Square carried out Stratcom operations directed towards people living in Soweto?
MR ERASMUS: As I mentioned before it was because of the international capability that I had with agents in Britain and the agent network that was set up in Britain that I was given that type of information.
MR PIGOU: No further questions Chair.
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. Mr Semenya.
MR SEMENYA: Thank you Chairperson. I have just heard something to this effect that would you be surprised that there were no informers within the Mandela Football Club, as a matter of fact, I don't know whether the TRC ...(intervention)
MR PIGOU: I think Mr Semenya I said would you be surprised if there were no......
MR SEMENYA: (...indistinct)
MR PIGOU: Yes that's what I said.
MR SEMENYA: Ja but on what basis do you put the question?
MR PIGOU: I am putting a theoretical proposition to him that on the basis of his experience when you have someone like that in that situation would it be surprising if there weren't informers being used around.
MR SEMENYA: But Chairperson my difficulty is this. I am surprised that a TRC official does not put the question, would you be surprised that there were informers, every time why state it in the negative. I mean it represents a particular position and I think the responsibility is to be as neutral as possible.
MR PIGOU: I think we have tried to demonstrate that today Mr Semenya.
MR SEMENYA: Mr Erasmus you say in your report, in your statement rather, page 4 paragraph 6,
"This agent has a mass of conservative contacts internationally including politicians".
that's in the middle of the paragraph. And you go on to say-
"Almost senior journalists, media representatives, intelligence contacts and so forth - almost immediately "dirt" on the ANC and including matters relating to Mrs Mandela's activities and other relevant matters began to appear in the international press and of greater importance in the Stratcom sense were forwarded ultimately to inter alia Conservative Party members and the British Prime Minister".
Now we know that Emma Nicholson was a member of the Conservative Party in the UK, do you know if she was one of these Conservative Party members in Britain.
MR ERASMUS: I cannot recall, I have a list of names that I received at that time from the agent, a faxed list which I have given to the TRC and which is I believe in the TRC offices in Cape Town, I cannot state with any certainty if Miss Nicholson's name is on that list or not. I cannot remember all the persons on that.
MR SEMENYA: Chairperson again I am going to have for this list which has been given to the TRC and which may be of assistance to our task and we are not getting it. And maybe I must request that really we be furnished with all documents relating to these hearings. It becomes very difficult to execute my mandate.
DR BORAINE: I note that - what I'd like to say to you doesn't help you very much but you are in very good company, I haven't seen it either. We will make the necessary instructions. Thank you.
MR SEMENYA: Now are you able to help us with the concept of informers, now we know that Jerry Richardson was an informer within the Mandela Football Club ...(intervention)
MR RICHARDS: May I object there, it must be recorded that Mr Richardson denies and disputes that he's an informer and it has not been proved. For my learned colleague to make an assertion of fact is most irregular.
DR BORAINE: Do you want to rephrase that?
MR SEMENYA: I will rephrase it. Now we know according to the information of the national Commissioner of Police ...(intervention)
MR RICHARDS: The national Commissioner of Police has offered no proof whatsoever and again it's an over-statement and a misrepresentation to which I object.
DR BORAINE: Mr Richards would you please conduct your enquiries through me rather than directly to your learned colleague.
MR RICHARDS: I apologise Mr Chairperson
DR BORAINE: Thank you. Please rephrase it.
MR SEMENYA: The national Commissioner of Police has told the Commission that he has information that Jerry Richardson was paid R10 000 as a police informant, now if that information is correct how would he handle the information he has with his handler?
MR ERASMUS: I think each situation regarding an informer was unique. You had different categories - I must first maybe just point out to you, he had two way of recruiting informers, two basic ways. Firstly a direct approach where I would, for example approach somebody and say I am from the security branch I would like you to work for us. That would be the one type of scenario.
We also made wide use of a tactic which was known as false-flag type of operations where you would pretend to be somebody else and then approach somebody and that person would be the unsuspecting victim of giving information to a person that wasn't what they believed that person to be.
And then on the informer network itself I cannot comment on a sum of R10 000, it sounds a lot of money to my experience. Our top agents during the time that I was involved in Stratcom received expense monies and the highest salary that I am aware of is the one offered to the principal agent in Britain at the time when we brought him to South Africa and that R6 000 a month apart from his expenses. I cannot comment on why somebody would be given R10 000 I really cannot make an assumption.
MR SEMENYA: Yes the assistance I was probably aiming to obtain was if an informer has information that an offence, particularly an offence like murder is going to be committed, how would you expect that informer to handle that information?
MR ERASMUS: He would give that information obviously to his handler and be rewarded accordingly.
MR SEMENYA: So if it turns out that Jerry Richardson knew that Dr Abu-Baker Asvat was going to be killed, it is reasonable to make the inference that he would have given this information to his handler?
MR ERASMUS: I am quite certain with a serious matter I mean information like that would have been conveyed to his handler.
MR SEMENYA: If we ...(intervention)
MR ERASMUS: Although I don't know, I must just add, I don't know anything about that particular murder or the situation.
MR SEMENYA: Yes, I am clearly soliciting what I would later state to the reasonable probabilities. Would it be a reasonable probability that if he had committed the murders like that of Stompie he would have reported those type of things to his handler?
MR ERASMUS: I am quite certain that he would.
MR SEMENYA: And if he committed the type of murders that I am told he is applying for amnesty for he would have reported those types of things to his handler?
MR ERASMUS: I should imagine so.
MR SEMENYA: Now one of the activities of Stratcom was to disseminate a lot of pamphlets is that correct?
MR ERASMUS: Pamphleteering was a major part of Stratcom activities.
MR SEMENYA: And we recall one dissemination of information depicting Mrs Madikizela-Mandela hugging with the Chairperson of the TRC Archbishop Tutu where it was suggested that there was a romantic relationship between Archbishop Tutu and Mrs Madikizela-Mandela, would that have been a typical Stratcom activity?
MR ERASMUS: That type of action would have been a typical Stratcom activity.
MR SEMENYA: I have no further questions Chairperson.
DR BORAINE: Mr Richards.
MR RICHARDS: Yes I apologise for not addressing you. Mr Erasmus as you must have gathered I represent Mr Jerry Richardson. Now in your evidence-in-chief you made the assertion that the Mandela households were under 24 hour a day surveillance, and were one of the most closely observed and analysed pieces of information that you could get, is that not correct?
MR ERASMUS: That is correct.
MR RICHARDS: Now it is also correct to say that you were the person to whom the information was fed?
MR ERASMUS: No that would be not an accurate representation of the facts, I worked outside Soweto Security Branch, I was never stationed at Soweto. The information that I received was for Stratcom purposes. I didn't receive all of the information, I wasn't party to it. There was a time that I did request additional information which if I recollect I never received.
MR RICHARDS: However, if you had so-to-speak a disinformation coup of the magnitude of the Stompie Seipei murder it would have been fed to you to make maximum use of.
MR ERASMUS: I did request information, additional information on the Stompie situation.
MR RICHARDS: And as I gather it you did not receive it?
MR ERASMUS: I did not receive it. One of my colleagues could well have received it. I used to handle, as it were, every morning during the entire time that I was at Stratcom a veritable heap of intelligence reports and information that came in from various quarters, instructions from head office, information from other security branches and so on.
MR RICHARDS: So that means that indeed the use that it could have been put to for your ulterior motives never happened?
MR ERASMUS: I don't believe in many situations that we maximised or obtained the maximum effect out of given situations, simply we were too hard-pressed for time and there was too much pressure to do so.
MR RICHARDS: Now to turn to the second of these three or four points I presume I have time to cover, the information which you assume that Mr Richardson is an informer, I refer you to paragraph 5 of your statement page 3. For the sake of time I am not going to read it out. Would you agree that your information was a matter of speculation?
MR ERASMUS: I would say deduction. I would be very hard-pressed that either Mrs Madikizela-Mandela was giving information to the Security Branch on her own activities or her daughter's so the deduction was obviously that the third person present would have.
MR RICHARDS: But when it comes to the identification of the source on what basis do you make these assertions? You, in your statement say as much that you had no direct information.
MR ERASMUS: I did not have direct information.
MR RICHARDS: And if I ask you questions as to who gave you the information you made your so-called deductions from, you wouldn't be able to give me the names?
MR ERASMUS: I received verbal information at the time and I received intelligence reports but on the intelligence reports one never mentioned the name of the agent anyway, the agents had code numbers to protect their identities from possible leaks within the organisation and so on.
MR RICHARDS: Now by the same token in that group of 20 or 30 people living at a particular property it could have been any one of a number of people?
MR ERASMUS: I would agree with that.
MR RICHARDS: So that means the reliability of the information contained in the last portion of page three is extremely low and suspect?
MR ERASMUS: I was asked about that by the members of the Commission and it's for that reason that I've included it in the statement which I made on Wednesday.
MR RICHARDS: I do note that this statement was made on the 27th of November which is contemporaneous and to a large degree it's a reconstruction of various questions that have been put to you, is that not so?
MR ERASMUS: That's correct.
MR RICHARDS: In other words it's only reliable as your memory is as to matters nine years ago?
MR ERASMUS: That's correct.
MR RICHARDS: Which is entirely unreliable.
MR SEMENYA: I don't think the statement can ever be put like that. As a lawyer ...(intervention)
DR BORAINE: I am sorry I must ask you to do exactly what I asked, if you wish to address the Chair I would be grateful if you would.
MR SEMENYA: Chairperson I think my learned colleague is putting the most untenuous proposition that since the information is nine years old it's unreliable. At least I remember my age and I must be many years away from nine years.
DR BORAINE: Mr Richards would you like to comment?
MR RICHARDS: My reply is nine years is a significant period ago and ...(intervention)
MR ERASMUS: Seven years if I may correct you Chairperson.
MR RICHARDS: And for a long and complicated set of facts, I need say no more.
DR BORAINE: Thank you. That concludes your questions?
MR RICHARDS: Oh, it concludes that question.
DR BORAINE: You have got many more though have you?
MR RICHARDS: Is it correct that on the 9th of September 1997 you made a press statement to some organisation, the identity of which I don't know?
MR ERASMUS: At the request of Mrs Madikizela-Mandela's attorneys and at the request of Mrs Madikizela-Mandela herself, that is correct.
MR RICHARDS: And on the last page of that statement, page 3, you make the statement -
"As regards Stompie Seipei I heard at the time in official circles that he was murdered by Jerry Richardson after he, Seipei had found out that Richardson was working for the Security Branch and had threatened to expose him".
Now on what basis do you make that allegation?
MR ERASMUS: That was widely held, I think, within the entire security branch community within the Witwatersrand and in Soweto.
MR RICHARDS: No the ...(intervention)
MR ERASMUS: Sorry to interrupt you, the other ex-security policemen would be able to confirm that.
MR RICHARDS: On what basis would those opinions be formed?
MR ERASMUS: I beg your pardon?
MR RICHARDS: On what basis would those opinions be formed? What factual ...(intervention)
MR ERASMUS: I think, I can't speculate on it, that is the information as I had it.
MR RICHARDS: So it's speculation and hearsay yet again?
MR ERASMUS: I wouldn't be able to prove anything with prima facie evidence, but that is what I was asked about and that is the version of events as I gave them, to the best of my knowledge.
MR RICHARDS: In other words you don't say that prima facie this is even validly asserted?
MR ERASMUS: No.
MR RICHARDS: No more questions.
DR BORAINE: Thank you.
MR JORDI: Mr Erasmus my name is Peter Jordi, I act for the Sono family and the Shabalala family and the Chili family. I see from your affidavit that you worked as a member of Stratcom, I think, as a field intelligence officer in the security branch of the South African Police from January 1977 until May 1993 and you were apparently involved in dissemination of information amongst the leftwing activity and so on. From what period was that?
MR ERASMUS: From the outset, from the time that I ...(intervention)
MR JORDI: From the outset. So you have been involved in the dissemination of Stratcom information since what, 1977 to 1993?
MR ERASMUS: Well a bit later - those years it wasn't known as Stratcom, the word Stratcom I don't believe existed, that was a term that was coined or a term that came into being in 1984 but it was part of our day-to-day work in the intelligence community, most certainly we sewed disinformation it was part and parcel of the intelligence field.
MR JORDI: Right. So you had worked for a long period in the distribution of unreliable information and you must be an expert in strategic communication and communication warfare, is that right?
MR ERASMUS: I would not regard myself as an expert, I have read a lot and I've learnt a lot and at the times I worked very hard on....
MR JORDI: Well you must be very knowledgeable in the field even if you're not an expert.
MR ERASMUS: I regard myself as being reasonably knowledgable, yes.
MR JORDI: Reasonably knowledgeable, although you worked there for something like, how many 12 years or so?
MR ERASMUS: I was in the security branch for 16 years in total.
MR JORDI: 16 years. And that period was spent in activities related to Stratcom even if it wasn't directly Stratcom ...(intervention)
MR ERASMUS: Not entirely, we had various functions on this security branch. I was a field worker, and yes very much of it would have been the handling of agents and the handling of information and gathering of information.
MR JORDI: But you are clearly knowledgeable in the field as far as distribution of this kind of information is concerned?
MR ERASMUS: Yes.
MR JORDI: It is true to say that given the evidence of Mr McPherson that the best information that could be distributed by Stratcom or, as far as Stratcom related activities could be concerned is factually accurate information, is that right?
MR ERASMUS: That would be the ideal formula, yes.
MR JORDI: And I suppose in cases where the information was not entirely accurate it had to have some basis in truth, is that right?
MR ERASMUS: The ideal, if my memory serves me correct on Stratcom course we were told that the ideal ratio would have been 70:30.
MR JORDI: Yes and you ...(intervention)
MR ERASMUS: 70% truth and 30% fabrication.
MR JORDI: That's right and you quoted to that effect in the Weekly Mail of 21 November 1997.
MR ERASMUS: That's correct.
MR JORDI: Now I note that from your affidavit you say that you found it very hard to distribute this kind of information against President Nelson Mandela and to quote you, "because of him impeccable integrity", is that right?
MR ERASMUS: Yes. What I mean by that was we had nothing on him personally apart - nothing personally, no contentious statements, no statements like his wife had made for example with the liberation of the country ...(intervention)
MR JORDI: Yes his wife was a different category altogether, is that right.
MR ERASMUS: Different, she was easy to target because she was controversial ...(intervention)
MR JORDI: She was easy to target, that's right.
MR ERASMUS: That's correct.
MR JORDI: Because there was a lot of factually accurate information in the hands of the security police available about her, is that right?
MR ERASMUS: Well I wouldn't say in the hands of the security police, I think the media and generally everybody was ...(intervention)
MR JORDI: Everybody knew, is that right?
MR ERASMUS: That's it, that's correct.
MR JORDI: And even if it was not entirely accurate you could still have the 70% reliable information which you could mix with the 30% unreliable information, is that right?
MR ERASMUS: I never consciously actually, and I don't know of anybody that actually stuck to that point but that was the ideal formula, some of the things were total fabrication, some of them were 100%, some were half true.
MR JORDI: So in the case of Winnie Mandela you say there was a lot of information available, I suppose the ratio was much higher than 70:30, say 90:10 or a 100%?
MR ERASMUS: I couldn't speculate on figures but certainly a lot of it was fabrication.
MR JORDI: A lot of it was fabrication?
MR ERASMUS: Total fabrication.
MR JORDI: Well you say here 30:70, a lot of reliable information, you have told me reliable information was available, now you say a lot of it was fabrication.
MR ERASMUS: That is correct. The information, for example, about Mrs Madikizela-Mandela being a nymphomaniac was total fabrication. The dagga smoking was total fabrication.
DR BORAINE: Mr Jordi can I just say that you are taking a very long time to get to this point, could you get to the point please.
MR JORDI: You say that as far as Mrs Mandela was concerned that you could spread information about her that she was running rampant in the townships with her Football Club who were inter alia intimidating the local population. As far as I know I think you also say something here about her misusing drugs and there were also aspects of information related to marital problems. Was that based on factually accurate information, for example the drug running?
MR ERASMUS: The drug running was a total fabrication on my part.
MR JORDI: On your part. Well I put it to you ...(intervention)
MR ERASMUS: I added, if I may just add on just to what I've said there a total fabrication, was that the information that I received, factual information, was that the Mandela United Football Club were using dagga or marijuana and it was a logical extension to say that Zinzi and Mrs Mandela were ...(intervention)
MR JORDI: Okay. Then I have the question for you, were Stratcom-type activities being carried out in 1995?
MR ERASMUS: 1995?
MR JORDI: Ja.
MR ERASMUS: No, not to my knowledge.
MR JORDI: You are absolutely sure they weren't being carried out in 1995?
MR ERASMUS: Chairperson I left the police, was boarded in 1993 and I've had little contact after that with anybody of my former colleagues, I moved to another area, I was pretty much isolated. I cannot comment on that at all.
MR JORDI: Alright. I have here an investigation diary, it says "Spesiale ondersoek", I can't give you the CR number but it looks like it's from 24 April 1995 and there's a reference here, it's on page 23 I think of the investigation diary, I am just going to read it to you.
DR BORAINE: I am sorry to interrupt you but the witness has just said that he was not there, he left in 1993, I don't see any point in pursuing this.
MR JORDI: It's got to do with the factual basis for the allegations regarding the misuse of drugs because there's a reference in this occurrence book to drug running related to Winnie Mandela.
DR BORAINE: Yes, but the witness knows nothing about that.
MR JORDI: Yes but he has knowledge of Stratcom activities, well the 1980's related to allegations that Winnie Mandela was misusing drugs, or the drug-running was - or the misuse of drugs was taking place in her household in the 1980's.
DR BORAINE: Could you come to the end of your questions please.
MR JORDI: You say that during the 1980's Winnie Mandela was monitored on a 24 hour basis, a kind of unprecedented monitoring of her activities, do you know who were the security policemen responsible for the monitoring of her activities, what are their names?
MR ERASMUS: Colonel de Jager that I mentioned earlier would have been one of the staff members. I mean Soweto was a big security branch staff, I cannot say accurately who - Sergeant Badenhorst was another, but who the other people were I can only speculate, so I don't know how their branch operated and who was assigned to whichever tasks.
MR JORDI: Thank you. I've just got one isolated issue to deal with you. You say in your affidavit at paragraph 9 -
"I was however only given information on an irregular basis although I did recall that I requested but never received detail of, for example, the death of Stompie Seipei".
Now it must have been an obvious issue in respect of which to get information. So you didn't get any detailed information and we've established that you had a thorough knowledge of misinformation. Then there's the press release from, which is dated the 9th of September 1997 and it deals with Jerry Richardson's involvement in the killing of Stompie and there's this version here that Jerry Richardson, after he had found out that Richardson was working for the security - well Stompie Seipei was killed by Jerry Richardson after Richardson found out that Stompie was working for the security branch, it seems to me that this link of between the death of Stompie and the supposed information that was received by Jerry Richardson has no basis in fact. We haven't heard anything about it in the evidence so far and I put it to you that this is an example of disinformation. What do you have to say about that?
MR ERASMUS: Are you saying that this is an example of disinformation from me?
MR JORDI: Your press release, yes.
MR ERASMUS: I can only state Chairperson that I can tell the truth only as I know it Sir and I am not involved in disinformation I am totally objective as I sit here today and I have tried to be objective right through this process.
MR JORDI: I put it to you further that in the Weekly Mail article of the 21st of November 1997 it said that you have become friendly with Winnie Mandela and that during Winnie Mandela's divorce action you were in fact called as a witness for her but that the Judge declined to hear your evidence after the President said, who we know is a man of great integrity, that he would, to quote, "reveal facts which might damage her image and bring a great deal of pain to my children and grandchildren", what do you have to say about that? No further question.
MR ERASMUS: I have met Mrs Madikizela-Mandela on, I believe about five or six occasions. I am aware that earlier this week an allegation or somebody alleged that I have had some sort of relationship with her which is absolute rubbish and which is in itself a Stratcom attempt, I believe, to discredit me. Mrs Madikizela-Mandela has been in contact with me and my family on at least two of the five or six occasions and at other times I have been in contact with her in the presence of her lawyers and bodyguards and other people. I can't think of a time when I have been alone with Mrs Madikizela-Mandela.
DR BORAINE: Thank you. No, wait a minute, no, no, no ...(intervention)
MR JORDI: I never suggested you were involved in a relationship with her. Thank you very much.
DR BORAINE: Thank you. It's very late and people are very tired. I have suggested to members of the panel that they restrict their questions, that they be as precise as possible. I would invite the witness to be as short and as precise as well because you two have been under questions now, so the remaining questions will be posed by the panel, but we will try and be as brief as we can. Dr Randera.
DR RANDERA: Mr Erasmus I just want to come back to your statement and particularly paragraph 3. You state there that in October 1990 -
"I attended a formal Stratcom training course in Johannesburg and part of that was again the entire issue of destabilising the ANC, the SACP alliance, PAC, rightwing organisations".
now it's related to the question that the Archbishop asked earlier on to your colleague. We are talking about October 1990, Mr Mandela has been released already, am I to understand that this was done with the full understanding of the structures in operation including government, because I think earlier both you and your colleague made the point that there was an annual audit to Cabinet, or is this part of what we have come to understand of third force activity? Were you acting outside at that particular time, the ambit of established government structures or was this part of third force activities?
MR ERASMUS: It will be hard to distinguish. What I can say is that Stratcom training, as I was aware of it, increased after the release of the President. We were informed on Stratcom course and in various forums that we had four years, the accent was laid on this statement, we have four years to reduce the ANC to just another political party. A lot of our training was that we had literally laissez faire to carry on activities and nothing should be turned aside which would hinder us in achieving these aims. The last Stratcom operation that I know of that was implemented was as late as I believe about April 1991 which was an operation aimed at SADTU which used terms like sabotage of the organisation and which in documents which I have given to the TRC which are in Cape Town, bore the authorisation of the then Minister of Law and Order.
DR BORAINE: Mrs Mkhize.
MS MKHIZE: Thank you Chairperson. In one of your responses you indicated that information about the death of Stompie will be very useful for your propaganda. My concern is if your informant understood what you stood for there is very little positive propaganda that they will give it to you because they will feed to what they think you are looking for, so I just put it to you to test that, because I doubt whether you will ever get any positive information. People will give you what they thought you were looking for.
MR ERASMUS: I basically my knowledge of the Stompie issue at the time was based on press reports and on verbal information received from other security branch members in various formal forums or informal forums.
DR BORAINE: Mr Ntsebeza.
MR NTSEBEZA: Thank you Chair. Mr Erasmus I sat through the Media Hearings and now I listen to you and I get the blurring picture of shifting eras the more I listen to people who did the sort of work that you did. Now there is just one question that I want you to assist us with in order for us to be able to make a fair assessment of your evidence. When Mr Semenya asked you whether the alleged rumour of a romantic link between the Archbishop and Mrs Madikizela-Mandela was a typical Stratcom operation you said yes, that was it. Now in your own admission you confess to the knowledge of a rumour that links you romantically with Mrs Madikizela-Mandela and you say that is also a typical Stratcom operation. Now the question I want to know from you is would there be any reason why there should be that sort of Stratcom operation? Why would those who you left be keen to perpetuate disinformation about you because you say that is total rubbish, absolutely unfounded?
MR ERASMUS: I can't speculate why people would make allegations like that against me apart from the fact that I find it shocking.
MR NTSEBEZA: In the way it was shocking for you to talk about Mrs Mandela being a nymphomaniac, Zinzi being a nymphomaniac and all those sort of things ...(intervention)
MR ERASMUS: I have come to realise the horror of what I have participated in.
MR NTSEBEZA: You see what I am trying to get at Mr Erasmus you had a reason to spread all those rumours and I just don't know, first it is 70:30 in terms of ratio then it is 100%, I mean it's shifting, it's shifting sand, now but whatever it is you had the reason, you were serving the Nationalist Party, you were serving the government of that day.
MR ERASMUS: That's correct.
MR NTSEBEZA: Now you want us to accept and believe that a rumour that links you romantically with Mrs Madikizela-Mandela is a typical Stratcom operation, two things, are you saying Stratcom still exists and that is what it is doing?
MR ERASMUS: No most definitely not. I merely mention that it's - I cannot but help see the irony in a situation where I spent many years of my life trying to destroy people like Mrs Madikizela-Mandela, the Archbishop and many, many other people that were perceived enemies of the State and now having to (...indistinct) in front of a truth commission, in a forum like the Truth Commission being accused of something like that I find very ironical. I am not saying at all that Stratcom still exists.
MR NTSEBEZA: And you say it's an attempt to discredit you?
MR ERASMUS: I believe that it's an attempt to discredit me or throw some bad light on the relationship which I have enjoyed with Mrs Mandela which has been on a friendly, reconciliatory basis of forgiveness and decency.
MR NTSEBEZA: Have you ever gone to her and apologised for all the harm that you had done to her?
MR ERASMUS: I have apologised to her and many other former adversaries of mine in the time of the struggle.
DR BORAINE: Archbishop Tutu?
CHAIRPERSON: I just have one small question and I think you have already maybe answered it in the course of your answering Dumisa Ntsebeza's question which is, how did you feel when you were telling the kind of stories that you were telling, when say you say Zinzi or whatever, I mean the kind of stories that you told, when you got back home what did you say to your wife? I mean I suppose you have a wife - your family, I mean what did you say, I have had this or that kind of day in the office sweetheart? I have told the world that Winnie Mandela is a nymphomaniac and the world has believed me, how did you feel just as a human being?
MR ERASMUS: Chairperson at the time I saw it, the actions that we carried out and the things that I did as part of a psychological war. I saw it as justified. My personal conviction was that I was fighting satanic, godless communism, that people like Mrs Madikizela-Mandela and yourself and many other people were instruments of this totalitarian system which was approaching in South Africa. I believed also that we were doing it for many years, and I've since seen the light, that we were doing it, fighting a religious war, almost a Jihad on behalf of Christianity to oppose people like yourself and the liberation movements. It was only in fact after the release of President Mandela where the myths that we had grown up with and everything that we had learnt and that that the bubble started to burst and I, and many of my colleagues started to see the other side of the coin.
DR BORAINE: Ms Sooka.
MS SOOKA: Mr Erasmus I would just like you to confirm that you've worked for the following people in Soweto at the so-called security branch in Soweto. Colonel - General E Coetzee?
MR ERASMUS: I know him, I can't recall that I have ever had direct dealings with him on a personal basis.
MS SOOKA: Brigadier Nienaber?
MR ERASMUS: I know his name but once again I have no personal dealings with him.
MS SOOKA: Major Jan Potgieter?
MR ERASMUS: I know his name but no personal - I've met him.
MS SOOKA: (...indistinct) du Toit?
MR ERASMUS: It doesn't ring a bell.
MS SOOKA: Thank you.
DR BORAINE: Mr Erasmus ...(intervention)
MR SEMENYA: Chairperson may I just before conclusion make one single request.
DR BORAINE: You may but I was just about to ask him a question and as soon as I have I will recognise you. Thank you. I know it's unusual but I am actually acting chair. Mr Erasmus page 2 of your statement, paragraph 4 you state that it was after your course in October 1990 and President Mandela was already out of prison so it took you a while to come to see the light because you actually describe him as one of the things you were doing was describing him as being senile and that he had no control over the radical ANC cadres and so on, but that's beside the point. You state on paragraph 4,
"Radical elements within the ANC had to be identified as targets"
and you give the names, then you say,
"....and others had to be neutralised at all costs and obviously by any means possible".
Now those are very strong words, loaded words, target, neutralised at all costs, obviously by any means, now do you mean that?
MR ERASMUS: Most definitely within the context of propaganda yes, anything went. There was times that I was involved not even in the discreditation of people in the liberation movements, of a serving member of Parliament for example, for which I was congratulated from above. So it was a matter of striking out at random and using whatever information was available or whatever means possible to discredit people and I was involved in a lot of activities which I can recount involving these people including others as I have mentioned.
DR BORAINE: Thank you. Mr Semenya.
MR SEMENYA: Chairperson it is the very first time we hear that Mr Richardson will deny that he was a police informant. May we request that the Commission obtains sworn statements from police officers Brett and Grove who we are told handled this aspect of the R10 000.
DR BORAINE: Mr Vally.
MR VALLY: Mr Chairperson as far as I understand it we will be calling certain policemen namely Mr Moodley, Mr Hesslinger, Mr Dempsey will appear to have first hand knowledge of this matter and they will be testifying under oath and this proposition can then be tested. It may not be necessary to subpoena the other people but should we find it necessary we can, in liaison with my learned friend arrange a subpoena, since we are only due to run to next week Wednesday it will have to be for another occasion. Thank you Mr Chairman.
DR BORAINE: Sorry I am still recognising - do you want to respond to that?
MR SEMENYA: Chairperson even if it's only a sworn statement and we don't have an opportunity to have him subpoenaed and called for the hearing we would find it very useful, somebody with direct evidence having spoken to Jerry Richardson himself.
DR BORAINE: Thank you. We have taken note of that.
MR VALLY: We have noted it but as I say those three policemen we are calling will be able to give this kind of direct evidence that Mr - or will possibly be able to give it, I don't want to prejudge what they will say, but the information that Mr Semenya wants should he not be satisfied we can follow it up further.
DR BORAINE: Mr Richards.
MR RICHARDS: My only comment is that I find it surprising that my learned colleague is taken by surprise that the allegations are denied, they have never been admitted. Thank you Chair.
DR BORAINE: Thank you. I just want to confer for a moment. Mr Erasmus my apologies. Do you wish to redirect?
MR CORNELIUS: I have got no reexamination.
DR BORAINE: Thank you. Thank you very much indeed for your attendance and for your statement. Thank you. You may step down.
Because it's raining and none of you want to go home, I am delighted to tell you that we have one last witness tonight for those of you who wish to stay and I crave the indulgence of all concerned who have been sitting here for a very long time. This is a young man who has been hanging around the whole day waiting for his lawyer, his lawyer has not arrived I gather - I am talking about Mr Gift Ntombeni. I am assuming that he is still here. His statement was given to us I think yesterday, so he is....
MR SEMENYA: Chairperson I don't know whether I should address the objection that I have about this witness. If Chairperson you recall the list of witnesses there is a Gift Mabelane who is there, not this particular witness and when the name Gift Mabelane was called this witness volunteered to come there without a statement and the information that we have is that this witness believes he is going to be given money for testifying.
DR BORAINE: He's got a hope.
MR SEMENYA: Now it might take us time to verify this data. Maybe if this witness can stand down, let's investigate the information and so that I am able to deal with it.
DR BORAINE: Mr Semenya if we could do this I personally would be very grateful. I would like to consult my learned colleague.
MR VALLY: Mr Chairperson there are two issues here, the issue of Gift Mabelane and Gift Ntombeni, there is a Gift Mabelane he was one of the accused in the matter of Stompie's assault and abduction, that is not the Gift Mabelane we had, there was a bit of confusion. I have a Mr Gift Ntombeni, as can be seen from the statement we have given my learned friend, has got first hand information regarding Mandela Football Club. I certainly have no knowledge and I doubt if any member of this Commission, other than what is set out in the published regulations regarding (...indistinct) of allowances for travel and accommodation for witnesses would have made any such offer. The reason we want to call him now and hear the matter is that we already have a long schedule and the more witnesses we can complete the better. Having said that I still need to make a statement apart from this but I will wait for a direction.
I have just sent Miss Groenewald to ask the witness about this supposed offer for money and he has advised Miss Groenewald that no one has ever offered him money for testifying.
MR SEMENYA: Chairperson may I obtain the information from my learned colleagues whether this witness was contacted by the TRC or was contacted during the sitting of this Commission during the course of the week because it would be important to explain why he has just sprung up.
DR BORAINE: Mr Hanif.
MR VALLY: Certainly Mr Chairperson. In our trying to seek out Mr Gift Mabelane as an accused who absconded we then came across Mr Gift Ntombeni who had direct information and this was the time of issuing of subpoenas regarding Mandela United Football Club and we thought that his information would be crucial and necessary for this hearing. So it wasn't during the course of this hearing but that it was in the course of issuing subpoenas, yes.
MR SEMENYA: Then surely we deserve Mr Chairperson an explanation why the statement was only taken after he moved from the (...indistinct).
DR BORAINE: Mr Hanif.
MR VALLY: I understand that there was a statement taken, however, I haven't seen that statement and there have been a number of other witnesses that we are aware of that statements were taken either because they didn't give us statements or because of our own bureaucratic problems, however we have undertaken both to the Commissioners and to our learned friends that no witness will appear before a statement is taken and this is not the only witness where a statement was taken later, a formal statement, but this does not mean that there wasn't a discussion and a consultation with him by our investigative unit.
DR BORAINE: I am going to become extremely unpopular and rule that we will not hear the witness tonight. We will hear the witness and consider your comments and hear the witness if necessary on Monday.
I have to say - I want to say to Mr Ntombeni I apologise to you again Sir, we have messed you around a great deal. It's very late and we have decided that it's too late to hear you tonight so I would be grateful if you would be in attendance on Monday. Thank you very much.
Mr Hanif wants to make a very important statement. Mr Vally wishes to make a statement which I think is of import to everyone, it's very short, but I will ask him to make that statement now.
MR VALLY: Thank you Mr Chairperson. It relates to the last witnesses that we have had in terms of the role of the security branch in Soweto, it also relates to other matters involving the security branch in Soweto. We believe that their information would be crucial, we have been having negotiations with some key senior security branch officials of Soweto as well as their lawyers, having had discussions with them, having supplied them with information we have received a letter from the attorney for some of them, a Mr Jan Wagener who advises us that having received all the information, having had discussions with them that they will not (...indistinct) a friendly request to give evidence here.
Now it's very important for us to note that this is incomplete work pertaining to our mandate which ends on the 14th of December, this is the mandate of the Human Rights Violations Committee. We note that a client of Mr Wagener has previously taken us to the Appellate division and the same client has subsequently admitted to the Amnesty Committee that he had lied to the Appellate Division. So I want to make it absolutely clear that this is incomplete work and therefore we will have to issue subpoenas for the security branch and arrange for them to come before us at a public hearing. It may not happen before December the 14th but it still falls within the mandate period as set out in our Act. Thank you Mr Chair.
DR BORAINE: So we will not be able to hear them during the course of this specific hearing even though we wanted to very much and tried very hard to get them but we will have to, the TRC that is, to arrange a public hearing for the security branch policemen to be heard but that will have to be in January.
Now the Commission is adjourned. We will start again at 8:30 on Monday morning. Have a wonderful weekend.