TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
Transcript of the AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS Party Political Recall in Cape Town - 12-13 May 1997.
CHAIRPERSON: Good morning! Yes, I actually mean for some kind of response "good morning". Thank you very much, yes. Goeiemore.
I want to welcome you all to this first public meeting in the recalling of the political parties. I want to welcome all of you to this first in the series of party recalls and Mr Deputy President, we want to welcome you particularly, and all of your delegation, and the people present here today.
May I on behalf of us and perhaps on behalf of very many people in our land, commend you very warmly, Sir, on the work that you have been doing with your colleagues in seeking to bring a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Zaire.
The different political parties made submissions, initial submissions and in accepting those submissions, we indicated to each of the political parties, that we would hand their submission to our research department, which would then provide a series of questions that we would direct to each of the parties as arising from their submissions. This has been done and we are going to be dealing with the first of these, as it were, return matches, where each of the parties will have responded in a second submission to the questions that have been put to them.
Clearly, whoever might have doubted that we were even-handed, will begin to doubt that particular position because each single party that has received our questions, has complained; has complained about the nature of the questions, which must indicate that for once we probably got it right. The questions are not meant to be unduly sharp or nasty. They are pointed questions, because we want to indicate to all and sundry that we are not engaging in a charade, we are not playing games, we are seeking to establish the truth about what took place in our land and elsewhere, so that we can fulfil the mandate given to us to give as complete a picture as possible of gross human rights violations that happened as a result of the conflict of the past.
We are determined to ferret out the truth, if need be. We have succeeded through other means to get information that has lain hidden from our nation for decades. So when questions are posed, it is not so that we are awkward, but so that we may ascertain the truth for purposes of healing and reconciliation.
We want to express our appreciation to you, Sir, and the party that you represent, and the fact that, one, you have such a high profile delegation accompanying you, but also the response that your party has made to the amnesty provisions under which we operate.
Premier Phosa told me or told us at a meeting that we were going to be surprised at the sorts of applications that would be coming. I do want to say that yes, we are indeed, I think surprised, given some of the problems that we have encountered in the past, it is nice to be able to say nice things.
We would like to indicate that we have in looking through your second submission, been very impressed at the answers that have been given. Also impressed, I think, by the spirit in which many of those answers have been given. At the end of this process I hope, I mean, that we will be able to be a little more detailed in expressing the good impression that we have received.
We will, after your submission, Sir, immediately you have finished your presentation, we will ask one of our staff, and I will be introducing our delegation, will be the person who is going to lead the questions.
We have noted in your submission certain requests that you have put to the Commission. We are passing all of those to our investigative unit, having taken account of them.
We hope that we will be able to finish earlier than the time that we have budgeted. The last time you were very skilful in making your presentation, that where we had thought we were going to be here up to all sorts of ungodly hours you showed a wonderful capacity - we hope you will be able to emulate your first effort and that we will be able to finish as quickly as we possibly can. We are aware that you yourself would - and your colleagues - benefit from having, as it were, extra time.
May I introduce our panel: Dumisa Ntsebeza, who is head of our investigate unit, is a Commissioner; Dr Alex Boraine, the Deputy Chairperson of the Commission; Ms Hlengiwe Mkhize, Commissioner and Chairperson of the Reparations and Rehabilitation Committee; Wynand Malan, Commissioner, Deputy Chairperson of the Human Rights Violations Committee; Rev Mgojo, Commissioner, member of the Reparations and Rehabilitation Committee. Then we will ask Hanif Vally eventually, of our staff, who is a Director of our Legal Department, he is our national legal officer.
INTERPRETER: Your microphone is not on, Archbishop.
CHAIRPERSON: I thought I was the Chair here. (Laughter). Thank you very much for letting me - I think, Mr Deputy President, if we could then hand over to you. I am asking the Deputy Chair, as you know ... (indistinct - microphone not on).
DR BORAINE: Mr Mbeki, I would be grateful if you would stand, please.
DEPUTY PRESIDENT THABO MBEKI: (Duly sworn, states).
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. Please be seated.
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: Thank you very much, Chairperson. I, being a slave of tradition, I would like to do what is traditional to hand over copies formally to the Chairperson, of our submission.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Yes. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: Chairperson, thank you very much for those words of welcome. Perhaps I should also start by introducing the people who are sitting on this front desk, there are some others who are sitting behind me, who might also participate in the process of answering the questions. On the extreme left is Ronnie Kasrils, member of our National Executive Committee; Joe Modise, also a member of the National Executive Committee; Jacob Zuma who is our national Chairperson; also a member of the National Executive Committee, Mac Maharaj, a member of the National Executive Committee also; Joe Ntlhanthla (?), also a member of the National Executive Committee and Matthews Phosa, a member of the National Executive Committee.
As I was saying, Chairperson, there are some other people behind me that we might - depending on how difficult the questions are, we might abandon this front desk and move them to the front to deal with those. (Laughter).
The Chairperson said this is the return match. I suspect that we won the first match - two/nil. I think we won two/nil.
We trust, Chairperson, you will be kind enough this time to allow us to win again.
I don't know, Chairperson, if this is allowed, but some of my colleagues asked that I should ask whether they could take off their jackets, in case it gets a bit hot. (Laughter).
CHAIRPERSON: No, I think actually, I mean, that we will dispense with that Western encumbrance. (Laughter).
DR BORAINE: Chairperson, could I ask that you retain your cassock, please. (Laughter).
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: Thank you very much, Chairperson. We would like to thank the TRC for giving us this opportunity to make these further presentations and we hope in the spirit in which you, Chairperson, have indicated, the search by the Commission for the truth, and without treating this process as a charade.
First of all I would like to indicate, Chairperson, the variety of documents that we have submitted this time round. If you will allow this, I will read part of this document which will indicate our approach to this second round of our presentation.
"In our first submission we concentrated on providing the TRC with an overview of ANC policies, strategies and tactics, within the context of the struggle for national liberation in the country. We paid particular attention to these issues which are central to the mandate of the TRC, in our belief, the nature, the causes and extent of gross violations of human rights as defined in the Act which brought the TRC into being. The questions we have received from the TRC in response to our first submission, indicate that at present your primary areas of concern include a clearer understanding of ANC policies, of the ANC's structures and lines of accountability and who was responsible for ensuring that ANC policy was adhered to by the general membership of the ANC. Several questions indicate the related concern of the TRC to establish a better understanding of what actions were taken by the leadership of the ANC, to deal with instances where there were deviations from policy.
Concern has been indicated regarding the need for better understanding of the ANC's policies, with regards to Inkatha - the IFP, particularly in the context of the violence in KwaZulu/Natal since 1984, and the post-1990 explosion of violence in Gauteng.
In addition to several questions reflecting these key areas of concern, the TRC has asked for detailed information on the activities of Umkhonto weSizwe and our former department of national intelligence and security.
More information on the activities of the former apartheid regime has been requested, particularly with regard to the national coordinating mechanisms, mechanism and other covert activities.
Our response to this major areas of concern is presented as follows:
1. A submission concentrating on questions concerning ANC policies, structures of accountability within the ANC, other relevant institutions and procedures, and actions taken by the leadership to halt deviations from policy. Our responses to questions from the TRC relating to the activities of the former apartheid regime, are also included in the documents.
2. There are two operational reports which aim to provide the TRC with a clearer understanding of the mandates and activities of Umkhonto weSizwe and the Department of Security and Intelligence and Security.
We wish to emphasise Chairperson, that this is a supplement to, and not a substitute for the main submission presented to the Commission in August, last year. As such there are many areas regarding ANC policy, our general approach to struggle, the context in which our actions took place, the policies and actions of the apartheid regime, which are not covered in this operational report. The two submissions should there be treated as complementary.
In instances where there is insufficient detail, this is either because information is not available or because the relevant issues would be covered appropriately and adequately in individual applications for amnesty."
I should add to that, Chairperson, that apart from the documents I have just handed to you, as you are aware, there are other documents which we have submitted, but have not made available for general circulation, for purposes which, Chairperson and the Commission, I am sure, you will understand. These would include reports which deal with for instance, names of cadres of Umkhonto weSizwe who died as a result of beatings; names of cadres of Umkhonto weSizwe who were executed for murder or for rape; names of agents who were executed on orders of our tribunals; names of mutineers who died in 1984, when the camp in which they mutinied was recaptured; available documents from the proceedings of the military tribunal in 1984 and so on.
These documents, as I was saying, Chairperson, we have submitted and are not included in these documents which will be public. But it was important that we should submit these and other documents to the TRC in pursuit of this objective of trying to establish as much as possible, the truth.
The Commissioners asked us, Chairperson, as you know, to make a statement on -
"Our views, motivations and perspectives on the nature of the South African conflict.
What were the values that inspired the leaders of our organisation over the years?
What inspired the sacrifices which many of your followers made?
And what drove those, who were responsible for the Commission of Human Rights?"The answers to these questions, Chairperson, we believe, are contained in our first submission. Nevertheless, we make additional submissions, dealing with these issues as contained, among others, in the section at the beginning of our main document, headed:
"Manifesto: Nature of the South African Conflict.
The conflict, Chairperson, arose out of the colonial and apartheid domination and super exploitation of the Black majority by the White minority. The oppressed majority, therefore, engaged in struggle to liberate itself from this domination and super exploitation, to give birth to a South Africa which belongs to all who live in it, while the oppressor minority fought to maintain and entrench its domination.
The objective which has inspired and guided the leaders, members and supporters of the ANC throughout the 85 years of its existence, has been the establishment of a society based on the precepts of democracy, non-racialism, non-sexism, respect for every person's human dignity and fundamental rights, equality among all citizens, the rule of law, peace and prosperity.
The gross injustice, the daily and grievous insult and humiliation represented by the system of apartheid, could not but evoke resistance by whose who were its victims. Deriving their inspiration, even to make the supreme sacrifice from the promise of the prize of freedom and liberty. In much the same way as all oppressed people throughout history have been moved to lay down their lives in the struggle to be free from oppression."Chairperson, the Commission has further asked us for -
"Further clarification of the ANC's definition of a justified target."
We did, Chairperson, deal with this matter in our previous submission. Further comments are contained in the second set of documents we have just submitted.
We believe, Chairperson, with your permission, that once more it is necessary to contextualise the armed struggle in which we engaged.
"At the beginning of 1961, after a long and anxious assessment of the South African situation, I and some colleagues came to the conclusion that as violence in this country was inevitable, it would be unrealistic and wrong for African dealers to continue preaching peace and non-violence when the Government met our peaceful demands with force. Umkhonto was formed in November 1961. Umkhonto was to perform sabotage and strict instructions were given to its members right from the start, that on no account were they to injure or kill people in planning or carrying out operations.
It is a fact that for a long time the people have been talking of violence, of the day when they would fight the White man and win back their country. We, the leaders of the ANC had nevertheless prevailed upon them to avoid violence and to pursue peaceful methods.
When some of us met in May and June 1961, it could not be denied, that our policy towards achieving a non-racial state by non-violence had achieved nothing, and that our followers were beginning to lose confidence in this policy, and were developing disturbing ideas of terrorism." These two paragraphs I have just read, Chairperson, constitute a statement that was made by Nelson Mandela, explaining the origins of the armed struggle and addressing in that context this question which the TRC, seeks to address the question of "targets".
Let me read another statement, Chairperson, in this context:
"The many trials that are going on in South Africa ..."
This is a statement made in 1964 -
"The many trials that are going on in South Africa and the thousands of Africans who are being detained, either under the 90 day no trial law, or under Transkei Proclamation 400/1960, testify to the fact that a radical change is in process in the attitude of many Africans towards the possibility of bringing about political change by ordinary political processes.
They also show the determination of the government representing the White population, to crush with every means at its disposal, both legal and military, every movement among Africans for their liberation. The dilemma confronting African leaders, as well as those who have their welfare at heart, is whether they should continue to urge their followers to stand by the methods of persuasion and discussion, in the face of increasing and relentless force with which their attempts at the amelioration of their lot, are met by the government.
When the flower of African youth, represented by such men as Mandela and Dr Neville Alexander are being sentenced to long terms of imprisonment during peace time, for fighting for their legitimate rights in what they believe to be the only ways open to them, can we say that the Christian thing to do is to advise them to acquiesce in their present situation and wait Macawber-like for something to turn up".
That statement, Chairperson, was made by the late Prof Z K Matthews, in addressing a conference which had been convened by the World Council of Churches in the then Northern Rhodesia - Zambia - in May 1964. A historic conference, which I am sure the Chairperson will remember. It had some implications also by the Dutch Reformed Church at that time.
This statement, Chairperson, I am saying, made by Prof Z K Matthews, an outstanding leader of our people, known to everybody as an adherent of the policy of non-violence, and an organiser for the pursuit of those policies of non-violence. But he says:
"Can we say that the Christian thing to do is to advise them to acquiesce in their present situation and wait Macawber-like for something to turn up."
The American Declaration of Independence of 1776, Chairperson, as you know, contains the following observation, which easily describes a particular stage in our own struggle. It says:
"In every stage of these oppressions by the British Crown, we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms. Our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury."
It goes on to say, Chairperson -
"A prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people."Earlier it says:
"We hold this truth to be self-evident that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are lively ...(indistinct) in the pursuit of happiness. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new governments.
When a long train of abuses and ...(indistinct) patience, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty to throw off such government and to provide new guards for their future security."
Clearly, Chairperson, it answers the question that Prof Z K Matthews posed whether people should wait Macawber-like for something to turn up. It says no, faced with despotism and tyranny people have a right and a duty to throw off the tyrannical government.
We would like to make the point, Chairperson, that in the end the right to rebellion against tyranny is the ultimate guarantee of liberty.
In August 1974, Chairperson, the South African Council of Churches adopted its famous resolution on conscientious objection. Here are excerpts from this Resolution. It said:
"The National Conference of the SACC acknowledges as the one and only God, Him who mightily delivered the people of Israel from bondage in Egypt, and who, in Jesus Christ still proclaims that he will set at liberty those who are oppressed. He alone is Supreme Lord and Saviour and to Him alone we owe ultimate obedience. Therefore, we must obey God rather than man in those areas where the government fails to fulfil its calling to be God-servant for good, rather than for evil and oppression.
In the light of this, the conference maintains that Christians are called to strive for justice and the true peace which can be founded only on justice. It does not accept that it is automatically the duty of those who follow Christ, the Prince of Peace, to engage in violence and war, or to prepare to engage in violence and war, whenever the state demands it. Reminds its member churches that both Catholic and Reformation theology, have regarded the taking up of arms as justifiable if at all, only in order to fight a just war.
Points out that the theological justification of a just war excludes war in defence of a basically unjust and discriminatory society."
That's the end of the excerpts from this particular Resolution, Chairperson.
The Commissioners will of course be familiar with the further evolution of this argument within the Christian church in our country and region, where the publication of the Kairos Document in 1985 and the WCC convened meeting in Lusaka in May 1987, whose Lusaka statement recognised that the nature and conduct of the apartheid regime -
"Compels the liberation movements to the use of force, along with other means to end oppression."
These processes, Chairperson, acknowledged the linkages from the identification of a government as tyrannical, to its characterisation as illegitimate and to the forfeiture of its moral right to govern and thus the acquisition by the people who are the objects of this tyranny, of the right to resistance and rebellion.
We have reiterated these arguments, Chairperson, to make the fundamental and critical point that there are just and unjust wars, and ours was a just war. We make this assertion to address a number of issues. These being:
1. That the armed struggle waged by our people to resist the colonisation of our country and to emancipate our people from apartheid oppression could never in themselves be viewed as a violation of human rights but as an imperative of last resort to restore to the people their human rights.
2. We believe that for the process of national reconciliation to succeed it must in part recognise the legitimacy of the struggle of the oppressed and welcome it as a central contributor to the creation of a just and peaceful society.
3. We must avoid the danger whereby by concentrating on those particular and exceptional acts of the liberation movement, which could be deemed as constituting gross violations of human rights, we convey the impression that the struggle for liberation was itself a gross violation of human rights.
4. We must recognise the fact that war by definition implies death and the destruction of property, and avoid the temptation to superimpose on the conduct of a military conflict, the expectation of the non-lethal consequences of a peaceful non-violent struggle.
5. In our effort to sustain the image of a South African miracle, we should not seek to impose conditionalities on the South African armed struggle which aim at making it miraculously different from guerrilla wars fought even in this century, by many peoples on all continents, without exception.
In our presentation, last year, Chairperson, we drew the attention of the Commission to various features which distinguish a guerrilla war from regular warfare, with specific reference to our own experience. We will not cover this ground again, but return to one point only.
This point is that precisely because a liberation movement takes up arms to advance the interests of the people, because its strength and success depend on popular support, and because it necessarily has to pursue the objective of the greatest possible isolation of the oppressor regime from the people as a whole, it conducts its military campaigns in ways that seek to win the allegiance and support of the people. In actual terms for us this meant not only that we were engaged in a just war, but also that we should conduct that war in a manner consistent with humanitarian principles governing the conduct of the war. This being an inherent feature of the definition of a just war.
It was in this context, Chairperson, that we acceded to the Geneva Protocols, dealing with this particular matter, of the humanitarian principles governing the conduct of war.
However, Chairperson, this does not mean that aberrations did not occur. We have not sought to hide these instances, but rather attempted within the context of our possibilities, to provide the whole truth relevant to such occurrences. We have not attempted to argue that because our struggle was just, this fact justified resort to unacceptable methods of struggle.
The documents we have submitted, Chairperson, include a list of military operations we have carried out during this period under the purview of the Commission. In itself, Chairperson, that list answers the question about justified targets in a practical way, in the sense that it tells a story of what actually happened. And what happened is that principally we directed our attacks against the apartheid forces of oppression, government installations, the apartheid state system and strategic economic objectives.
What we have said, Chairperson, to contextualise the conduct of the armed struggle should also clarify the point that the only military policy, a question which the Commission put to us, the only military policy we could and did have with regards to Inkatha, was that members of this organisation were not, by virtue of such membership, legitimate military targets. Accordingly at no stage did the leadership of the ANC take a decision or give instructions to conduct an armed struggle against the IFP.
I should say in this context, Chairperson, that as a matter that has been raised repeatedly in the past, that there was a plan by the ANC at that stage, to assassinate Dr Buthelezi. With regard to that particular issue, it is true that a unit of the ANC did at some point take a decision to carry out an operation of that kind. When the ANC headquarters found that out, it countermanded that decision and that operation was never carried out.
It is also true, Chairperson, that especially the Department of Military Intelligence made it its business to sustain the story that in fact there was an ANC decision to assassinate Dr Buthelezi, when there wasn't, and did all manner of things to make sure that Dr Buthelezi was convinced of this and so that they could take particular measures in response to what was then seen as a trap, but which as I say, Chairperson, a threat which, in fact, did not exist.
I am making the point, Chairperson, that we could not -we did not regard the IFP, its members as legitimate military targets. Therefore, at no stage were any decisions taken to attack the IFP as IFP.
"In the period after 1990, when the defence units, the SDUs were established, some of those SDUs did indeed act, they did indeed act in the context of the ongoing conflict then in KwaZulu/Natal and Gauteng Province, in defence of the people, not against the IFP, but against people who were seen as warlords and people who belonged to military groups or groups that were engaged in violence on behalf of the IFP."
We will come back to that particular question, Chairperson, of the SDUs.
We believe, therefore, Chairperson, that the documents deal in detail, and hopefully in a satisfactory manner with all the questions which the Commission posed around the various matters affecting the choice of targets.
The Commission also posed questions to us relating to excesses against cadres and captured agents. We have provided an extensive account of our activity, our activities in response to this query.
But we would like to make a few points with regard to this issue, Chairperson.
The first of this is, that our security organs made a sterling contribution to the effort to defend the democratic movement, both inside and outside the country, to enable this movement to discharge its responsibilities to secure the liberation of our people.
The second is, Chairperson, that on our own and without any prompting, as a movement we took exceptional measures, not common among organisations involved in guerrilla warfare, to institutionalise a system of justice, informed by the objective of the rehabilitation of traitors, rather than retribution.
Questions have also been put to us, Chairperson, about what has been called the ongoing conflict in the period from 1990 onwards.
The Commission says correctly that in our submission last year, we clearly stated that the violence was largely due to Third Force activity and the Commission says that while this may be true, indications are that members and cadres of the ANC were involved in the ongoing conflict, and it asked the question what level of responsibility should the ANC leadership take for these actions.
Unfortunately, Chairperson, the Commission did not quite explain what it meant when it said that it had indications that our members and cadres were involved in the ongoing conflict.
Further, the Commission commented that our first submission showed limited focus on the 1990 to 1994 conflict."
I would like to, again, with your permission, Chairperson, read some paragraphs from the documents you have, to deal with these particular questions.
We feel, Chairperson, that certain misconceptions which may have arisen, should be addressed. Firstly, our first submission did not show, we believe, limited focus on the period in question. A careful reading of our document will show that considerable care was taken to highlight the anatomy of state repression in the 1980's, in describing the concept of counter-mobilisation which underpinned the thinking of the security establishment, in identifying critically important covert projects, such as Marion and so on, and it is as precisely as possible indicating the key structures tasked with the work of this nature rather than producing endless examples of the tactical expression of these strategies.
The section on the post 1990 violence, should be read as a continuation of the earlier section on the 1980's. We concentrated on identifying key features of this period, such as the continual existence of the national security management system, renamed the national coordinating mechanism. The continued existence of covert fronts and projects carried over from the 1980's in some cases, and what we know of the activities of key units, such as the Directorate Covert Collection, rather than giving many examples of the thousands of acts of brutality which characterised this bloodiest period of South African history, in which around 12 000 civilians were killed.
We stated unambiguously, Chairperson, that we believed the violence was in essence a continuation of the violence of the 1980's and exhibited many of the features of the violence during that earlier period, as described above in the submission, although it is now projected as political intolerance or the work of a mysterious Third Force, which was supposedly against both the state and the ANC intent on derailing negotiations.
We want to say, Chairperson, that the ANC was not engaged in ongoing conflict. Nor were the majority of people on the ground embroiled in ongoing conflict. They were being attacked by covert units operating in accordance with the wishes of the apartheid regime and by organised armed vigilantes which had, with the assistance of the National Party's intelligence and security forces, established informal military bases in several hostels, from which to launch attacks on civilians in their homes or trains, or at bus and vigils. This was fully in line with the original objectives of Project Marion, and the determination of the De Klerk administration to maintain control over the pace and content of the negotiations process.
We would further like to say, Chairperson, dealing specifically with the matter of the SDUs.
The SDUs were established in communities under attack as a joint project between the ANC and the communities concerned.
It should also be noted, Chairperson, that the legitimacy of the SDU structures was recognised in terms of the National Peace Accord. As we stated in our first submission, some members of Umkhonto weSizwe's military headquarters, were asked to attend to issues relating to the SDUs, their organisation, training and the provision of weaponry. The draft document for the sake of our lives, clearly states that allowing units of this nature to operate, with party political buyers, would be highly dangerous and should be avoided at all times.
A full copy of this document, as requested by the TRC, is part of the documents that we have submitted. The units should have been controlled by the communities in which they operated, but many communities were entirely destabilised by low intensity violence, and organised structures at grassroots levels were almost non-existent.
It was made clear, Chairperson, that the overall control of SDUs was to remain with community structures and MK cadres were to participate as members of the community. MK command would itself not play a leading role.
Various clandestine units for the training and organisation of the various SDUs were set up and some cadres were asked to provide weaponry where possible. We do not have records of MK's role in SDUs, since they were not headquarter controlled structures.
It is in that context, Chairperson, that I was saying earlier, that the same SDUs, in areas, for instance like KwaZulu/Natal and the Gauteng Province, responded to such violence as may have come from people who had identified themselves as IFP.
Therefore it was not an ANC policy, as I was saying earlier, to treat the IFP as a military target, but in the instance that there was this conflict at that time, the SDUs, some of the SDUs acted in the way I have just indicated.
Further to this, Chairperson, we would like to recall that during 1990 we suspended armed action to contribute to the process of negotiations. At no stage after that suspension did we order the resumption of a general offensive on the part of our military cadres, despite the fact that many in fact had returned to the country and others had been released from jail.
Centrally, the response of the ANC to the ongoing conflict was the mobilisation of the people to engage in peaceful mass action against political violence, the suspension of negotiations to put pressure on the apartheid regime to deal with this violence, negotiations with the Pretoria regime, as well as the IFP, the Bophuthatswana and Ciskei administrations and the Afrikaner Volksfront, to end the violence, the negotiation, conclusion and operationalisation of the National Peace Accord and the mobilisation of the international community, including its premier multilateral organisations to intervene to help us end the deadly offensive against the people, our members and our cadres.
Our documents, Chairperson, also include our own comments on the important matter of the reparation and rehabilitation of victims.
In terms of my presentation now, we have no further comments to make on this matter at this stage. Save to say that we all have the responsibility never to demean those who fought for our liberation by suggesting that their reward for having sacrificed to achieve the emancipation of the people, can be measured by resort to pecuniary values or that now that they have served, their consequent destitution and suffering is not a matter of deep and abiding concern.
We have tried to the best of our ability, Chairperson, to provide the Commission and the country at large, with the truth that is an essential part of the process of building national unity and reconciliation.
Fighting as a liberation movement and not a state, we would not and did not have the means to maintain full records of everything that happened. A margin of error must therefore be allowed, which itself was impacted upon to some extent by the use of disinformation by our opponents as an important weapon in their counter-revolutionary arsenal.
When we made our first submission last year, we undertook to the Commission that in our second presentation, we would detail our operational activities, which derive from the historic, strategic and tactical perspectives, contained in that first submission. In this second presentation, therefore, Chairperson, we have sought to live up to that undertaking.
So as you will have seen Chairperson, this includes as complete a record as is possible of the operations that Umkhonto weSizwe carried out. It also includes, as we indicated earlier, a report of our department of Intelligence and Security, particularly with regard to the discharge of its functions as to detect police, enemy agents, to interrogate them and subsequently if found guilty, to guard them where they were detained.
We deal with both of these matters, we believe, Chairperson, in detail to address what the Truth Commission had sought to achieve, not only broad presentations but the detail presentations of what happened, some of which undoubtedly would be considered gross violation of human rights.
As I indicated at the beginning, Chairperson, there is further information surrounding these operations which we have given to the Truth Commission, which contains further detail, including names of people who died, and in what circumstances they died and so on.
The Amnesty Committee, Chairperson, will also hear further detailed information from our leaders and cadres, as our further contribution to the provision of the truth, which the Commission seeks.
As a movement, Chairperson, we are deeply concerned to help achieve the objectives of national unity and reconciliation for which this Commission was established. We believe that whatever may have happened and will happen during the proceedings of the Commission, the focus must remain on the achievement of the goals fundamental to the future of our country and all its people, of national unity and reconciliation. We will therefore beg your indulgence, Chairperson, to submit a further document to yourselves at a later date, reflecting our views on the matter which we believe is of critical importance, of the importance of the Commission to the promotion of national unity and reconciliation."
The panel of representatives sitting in front of you Chairperson, of the leadership of the ANC, is ready to respond honestly to such further questions as the Commission may put.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. I wonder, before I ask Hanif to ask questions on our behalf, whether people might want to have a stretch. It is warm, and if you want to, you have sort of two minutes to stand and ...
DR BORAINE: Can I ask everybody to please take up their seats now, we would like to make a start. Thank you very much.
CHAIRPERSON: May I just introduce the people sitting on that side. It is Alison Stent and Janet Cherry, Francis Matthews and Hanif Vally. Hanif is going to be the one who leads you. Thank you very much.
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: Excuse me, Chairperson, I notice that the Deputy Chairperson of the Commission made me take an oath earlier this morning. In the event that other people on the panel have to answer questions, what do we do?
CHAIRPERSON: They can't speak unless they have given us the guarantee that they are going to speak the truth. (Laughter).
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: Maybe we should just allow them all to stand and give that guarantee, Chairperson.
DR BORAINE: Could I ask the colleagues of Mr Mbeki to stand, all together, any of those who are likely to answer any of the questions. Okay. There is one other coming. I am going to put the question for those of you who have any problem about using the "in the name of God", obviously you will simply make an affirmation. I don't want to impose anything on anyone, the choice is yours. So I ask you - if the Chairperson will stop laughing, I will ask you this very serious question.
OATH/AFFIRMATION ADMINISTERED TO PANEL OF ANC
DR BORAINE: Thank you, will you please be seated. Mr Mbeki, if for any reason anyone else needs to be called by you to ask a question, we will obviously take that separately, but I think we seem to be covered now.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Hanif Vally.
MR VALLY: Thank you, Archbishop. I just want to start off by thanking the ANC team and the research team for their detailed response to the questions that we submitted to them. It gave us lots of fruitful thought and as well as raised a number of questions which we need to pose.
I want to start off with a general question, Mr Mbeki. Since the 1980's the ANC has accepted the pre-emptory force of customary international law of - since the beginning, which includes a completely non-derogable ban of torture, genocide, systematic racial or ethnic or religious discrimination, disappearances, forced labour. In the sad history of South Africa, the South Africans had believed that superior orders, be it police, military, revolutionary councils or whatever, is an acceptable defence against individual criminal culpability for these crimes.
What measures has the ANC put into place or planned to put into place so that each soldier, police officer or anyone in the position of authority, is trained and held responsible for any such violation of human rights? I am talking about customary international law.
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: I presume you are talking about the past? Because the ANC has no intention of training any soldiers from now onwards.
MR VALLY: Well, that's regarding soldiers, but especially regarding soldiers as ANC is the government, but the principle being, what is your position regarding customary international law and its applicability, both before the elections and subsequent to the elections?
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: Well, I think your assessment is correct. The ANC has, throughout its existence, accepted those particular precepts. We referred for instance, to the instance in which we acceded to the Geneva Conventions governing the humanitarian conduct of war. It was consistent, consistent with our adherence to those particular principles.
In the ordinary normal regular training programmes of the ANC, in all our military camps, ever since we have had Umkhonto weSizwe, these matters about the purpose, the purpose for which people take up arms, the attitude to persons, the attitude to life - I am sure, Mr Vally, you have also done some military training, even the detail of the manner in which a soldier should approach the handling of weapons, of explosives, this kind of thing, because these things cause death and should not cause death incidentally, unintentionally and so on.
So I am saying the entire training of our cadres focused in part on this particular issue, because you wanted a soldier, a combatant, who was a combatant who was at the same time a representative of the organisation, a representative of the humanitarian traditions and perspectives of the organisation. So I am quite sure that if we had the possibility - I don't know whether we have done this - to provide manuals, to provide you with manuals of our training, you would see that this element in terms of our work was contained.
In pursuit of this, we also had interaction with the United Nations Commission for Human Rights, to look at what they do in terms of their own teaching, with regard to police forces, military forces, to incorporate within those sorts of cultures, these notions about human rights and as I say the precepts that you pursue.
So as the ANC, we clearly would want to ensure that that kind of tradition continues into government now. I am sure that even in the conduct of the police service now, in particular, because of its interaction with the people, there would be less incidence of torture.
I know of certain instances when the Minister of Safety and Security has arrived at police stations without warning, precisely to check on this matter, to talk to detainees as to what was happening to them during the course of their interrogation. MR VALLY: Thank you, Mr Mbeki. What I want to do is, go directly into the issue of alleged human right violations in ANC camps, when the ANC was still in exile.
We had a look at the annexures you kindly provided us with, the Stewart Commission, the Skweyiya Commission, the Motsunyane Commission. We also had a look at the Douglas Commission. We are aware of the ANC's position regarding the Douglas Commission, but we thought it is important to look at this Commission to compare the information contained therein with regards to the allegations set out therein and compare it to the other commissions.
I want to ask you some questions, firstly, regarding certain details given to us in your second submission. In your confidential appendix there is reference to 22 members of the ANC who were executed between 1982 and 1985, on orders of a tribunal. Now relating to this, I need to ask a number of questions. Firstly, what evidence was required, what prima facie evidence was required before such a person would be accused of any offence of this nature, which will result in that person possibly being executed?
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: I am not sure that it will be possible to answer this question in general because nobody was accused in general. There would be specific instances. You might find an instance for instance, where the intelligence, security organs discover that somebody had infiltrated poison into food or water, in a particular camp, for the purpose of killing people. When obviously such a person was identified, then the person would of course be apprehended and a process of interrogation would take place. The tribunals would then hear such evidence as would be presented to them. The person accused would have a defence lawyer, some of them are present in this room who played that role. Then the tribunal then would have to be satisfied that from the evidence presented, as it were, by the prosecution, there's a substantial case. That would be a particular thing.
Or you might have, as we have indicated in some of those lists, people who were executed for having committed murder and/or rape. Those are people who would have been caught doing that, and evidence collected from other people, including victims in the case of rape. So as we would collect that evidence as normally as is possible, and as extensively as possible, and therefore present it to the tribunal.
So I am saying that with regard to the issue, what prima facie evidence would be, I think it would vary from case to case.
Certain cases of mutiny, when people actually mutinied, but beyond mutiny, participating in that mutiny, actually kill other soldiers and commanders in the camp. The evidence is them shooting and killing other people, and the whole camp will say this is what happened and this one was shooting and so on. Again, which evidence would again be brought in front of the tribunal.
So in all instances there would be an effort to present a case to a tribunal, which was independent of the political structures, acted on its own, took its own decisions, therefore to present such evidence as would convince the tribunal that indeed that the accused person is guilty.
But I think one would have to deal with each individual case to answer the question, what prima facie evidence existed, because it would vary from individual to individual.
MR VALLY: Thank you. I want to focus on the 22 people I have referred to, who were executed for mutiny. How was this tribunal constituted, the one which condemned them to death?
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: I am trying to see which one of my lawyer friends has got the best memory. You see there were different tribunals, so I am asking Penwill Maduna who participated in this process as to give some of this detail, which I suspect is also contained in this document. Penwill?
MR VALLY: Just to get some clarity, I am talking about before the Code of Conduct, in 1985. I am talking about - I am afraid there is no numbering on this page, but in the confidential index there is a list of people, starting from 1982 to 1985. This is what was called the "Confidential Index". Unfortunately there were no page numbers. It is headed -
"Agents executed on order of tribunals."
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: You have, we don't.
MR VALLY: Oh, I see. About a third of the way through, I think it should be marked in there. Is it marked? It is headed:
"Agents executed on order of tribunals."
CHAIRPERSON: Please switch on the mike?
MR MAHARAJ: Is that the one from '82 to '85?
MR VALLY: That's correct.
CHAIRPERSON: May I just warn you that when we are alive on radio and so on, so when you are whispering amongst yourselves it would be prudent to switch off.
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: Thank you. Thank you very much.
MR MAHARAJ: Chairperson, I have just looked at the list of names. To the best of my recollection I was in the Revolutionary Council at that time, and one of the first names there then is able to give me some guidance. I have just been exchanging views with Comrade Mhlanthla who was also in the Revolutionary Council.
This particular set of individuals were apprehended at different moments as a result of coming across information as to their activity. We were actually surprised by the level of activity. It was the first massive evidence of infiltration in our ranks. To the best of my recollection we certainly sent at least one member of the Revolutionary Council to Luanda. I recall one of the Revolutionary Council members as we apprehended each one in different parts of Africa, we accompanied them to Luanda, so that they could be tried there.
This was the beginning of the process of setting up tribunals. I cannot remember the precise names of those who were in charge of the operation. Certainly at least one member of the Revolutionary Council went to Luanda to participate in confronting these alleged enemy agents with the evidence and then determining what should happen to them.
The information on the list of names in 1984/1985 would begin to reach a period where we were most - were beginning to move towards a settled form of tribunals. Again, it is possible that '84, '85 had James Stewart involved in that, because the Revolutionary Council would have sent him there. Moses Mabida would have been in the early batch and John Motsabe would have been in the early batch of Revolutionary Council members who were sent to Luanda. '85, I am not able to remember those names.
Part of the problem is that we are just looking at these names straight off the cuff, and sometimes I remember them under their student names rather than the names that are presented here.
MR VALLY: My question is, how was a tribunal constituted? The reason I am asking this question is, you have advised us there was one senior member from the Revolutionary Political Council. There is a reference in the original submission on page 21. I am sorry, this is a second submission, I beg your pardon. That's correct. The left-hand column, the third paragraph from the bottom. I will read it to you:
"A military tribunal was appointed and convened on the 22nd of May 1984."
"Available documentation on the liberation of the tribunal have been submitted to the TRC."
MR MAHARAJ: I was addressing, first of all, the list of names who feature in that list as 1982. The 1984, as I said, would be the period when we began to settle towards a structure of the tribunals. 1982 was the first, the cases of the first major evidence, and in 1982, I am saying that we sent individuals from the Revolutionary Council to Luanda, to constitute together there on the spot, tribunals to attend to the matter. By 1984, having the experience of 1981/82, we began to settle on that structure.
Now on the 1984 case the available documentation has been submitted to the TRC. Again, I would need to refer to that particular documentation. The 1984 one would be the mutiny one, and that one clearly had constituted from Lusaka as to their names.
MR VALLY: Let me understand this. Prior to the mutiny there were ad hoc tribunals which consisted of one senior person from Lusaka and how many other people and where were they appointed from?
MR MAHARAJ: It would be at least one from Lusaka, it would often be more than one. It would also take into account, Mr Chairperson, the practical realities that we were facing. As a Revolutionary Council our task was to prosecute the struggle at home. Now we would look at who is available, whose schedules of work enabled them to be freed and sometimes we would have to cancel their schedule of work. There were also at times senior members present in Luanda or visiting, and we would intercept them and say stay on longer there. We would send one or two people, sometimes more, from Lusaka. I am reminded now also that the Revolutionary Council would work under the NWC and they were constituted then by the NWC. The majority would be from the NECRC structures.
MR VALLY: The NWC would be the National Working Committee. Was it ever any requirement that there would be legally trained people on this tribunal, this ad hoc - we are now talking about ad hoc tribunals, the first tribunal you had?
MR MAHARAJ: I don't think that the '82 had a legal representative to defend those who were brought to book.
I need to just go on to one other matter. The '81 discovery of the incursion into our ranks, was actually information that quite shocked us as well, as to the degree of that incursion. For example, the leader had been found out for activities that he had conducted, not only in Angola, but he had been intercepted and found out at a point where we were considering sending him home. Other members of his group, when they heard that we had picked up this particular individual, fled Lusaka. One of them, if I recall, went as far as Botswana, and we had no powers to simply arrest a person in Botswana. We had to lure him back. These people were being assembled as they began to talk, in different parts of Africa, and we were busy taking them - we then took the decision to then send them to Angola. It is in that context that we had to address this particular problem of '82, on an ad hoc basis.
I can now say for certainty, as I am recalling the events, and looking at the number of people that were arrested in different parts of Africa, that at least two members of the Revolutionary Council, in addition to anybody else from the working committee, were sent to that tribunal.
MR VALLY: What were the rights of the accused at these ad hoc tribunals?
MR MAHARAJ: On an ad hoc basis the accused were confronted with the information that we had gathered. As I say, the one who had fled, who I knew personally, certainly made his confession on the plane from Luanda, from Lusaka to Luanda, to his escort. When he realised that the game was up, he immediately began to speak freely on the plane, giving information as to his activities and his contacts.
So they were confronted with that information and they were given the opportunity to explain the events and the information that they had transmitted.
In fact, one of the leaders actually had a tape recording in his possession that he had made of discussions that had taken place in one of our transit houses in Lusaka. So that was part of the evidence, tangible material evidence, together with their confessions that they were confronted with.
MR VALLY: What I am talking about is generally the rights of the accused. We are talking about 22 executions. Some of them were potential or alleged infiltrators. Other people who were party to the mutiny. Generally, besides being told what the charges against them were, did they have a right to someone defending them and did in fact anyone defend them?
MR MAHARAJ: I think, Chairperson, we need to be, to separate the 1982 incident. The majority of the names on this list are 1982. They are more than half. 1984 has a number and 1985. Our supplementary submission today, the page that Mr Vally has referred me to, specifically says in 1984 a tribunal was constituted. 1982, what I am saying to the best of my recollection, we made no provision for legal defence of the accused. What we did, was to present them with their confessions, the material evidence, for example, including things like one of them caught with a stack of airplane tickets. All this was put to them and they were given the opportunity to explain. This was the first major incursion I must emphasise. So therefore, I don't believe that we had yet reached the point where tribunals as a mechanism, where the mechanisms of the rights of the accused were gone into in detail as we did by 1984.
MR VALLY: There is enough evidence before us to suggest that - sorry, maybe I should preface this question with the following question.
The people who were responsible for convening the tribunal and for gathering the evidence, was the Department of Intelligence and Security, would that be correct?
MR MAHARAJ: No. The people who constituted the tribunals would be the National Working Committee, which is the body in-between sessions of the National Executive, that is in overall charge. It would do so in consultation with the Revolutionary Council, which was the body charged with the conduct of the struggle at home, which was the body charged with the training of cadres, which was the body where the underground political heads and the military structures sat together. So the National Working Committee would constitute that.
MR VALLY: Who would gather the evidence of the charges?
MR MAHARAJ: The evidence would have been collected first and foremost in 1982 by the national intelligence and security department.
MR VALLY: I see it is also commonly referred to as NAT, N-A-T. Maybe I should do so, unless it creates problems for you, Mr Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: I am not quite sure what people think as they listen on radio, I think that there might be a confusion. There are NATS and Nats.
MR MAHARAJ: We took that title, that abbreviation for political reasons. MR
VALLY: The head of the department of intelligence and security was Mr Mzwai Poliso.
MR MAHARAJ: That is correct.
MR VALLY: So the evidence placed before this ad hoc tribunal, would be the evidence gathered by Mr Poliso's department.
MR MAHARAJ: Maybe, yes.
MR VALLY: It may?
MR MAHARAJ: Mainly it would - I say primarily from the intelligence and security section, but access to home information as to what was happening, would come also from the military structures and the political structures.
MR VALLY: I say this because I am looking at the Skewiya Commission of Inquiry, which is the annexure to the first report, on page 21, specifically where Mr Poliso, and I am looking at the last paragraph, the second sentence - the third sentence, I beg your pardon.
"Mr Poliso candidly admitted his personal participation in the beating of suspects in 1981. A plot to assassinate certain ANC members had been uncovered and suspects were interrogated over a period of two weeks. These suspects were beaten on the soles of their feet in Mr Poliso's presence. The soles of the feet were specially chosen, according to Mr Poliso, because other parts of the body `easily rupture'. Mr Poliso justified this treatment on the basis that he wanted information and he wanted it in his words, `at any cost'."
So could you trust the confessions obtained by Mr Poliso and his department?
MR MAHARAJ: We were not relying simply on confessions. I think that Comrade Poliso made an honest statement to the Motsunyane Commission and acknowledged that he had been party to such practices in '81. I would like to emphasise that the '81 incident was an incident of immense importance to the survival of our struggle. The agents who were uncovered, were people who had been sent by the enemy as far back as 1976, with the instructions to infiltrate our movement. One of them proved in the camp situation in the early part, to be exemplary in his conduct. It was precisely because his conduct began to - suddenly saw an aberration that we began to be suspicious.
So what we were facing as we began to uncover this plot, was what seemed to be an extremely serious threat to the survival of our organisation. It was the first evidence of such an incursion. I believe that Comrade Mzwai in Luanda was reacting on that understanding. So that is the context.
I don't believe that we relied solely on the confessions. We relied, as I say, on other material evidence.
In the case of one, I raised the question of tapings, cassettes, of the briefings that we were giving in Lusaka to cadres returning home. In the case of another I can instantly recall, the bunch of tickets, because he occupied a central position in Lusaka airport despatches of cadres throughout going home, travelling abroad, going to other forward areas. So he was privy to that sort of information, and it meant that this infiltration had reached the high level where a person could become the commander of a camp and now being specially prepared as a special unit to be sent home, it meant that people at home in large numbers would be in danger, all our forward area structures and command structures would be in danger, and our entire leadership would be in danger. This was the threat we faced and as we began to get more information, it began to look larger and larger. So we acted in that context. And the confessions played a role. I think our experience has shown us, our training told us, that confessions forced from people could not be relied on.
But you will notice that even our screening procedures by 1981 had begun to become more sophisticated, and those had given us a clue to interrogation methods that would give us reliable information. But Comrade Mzwai in his statement to the Motsunyane Commission says that what we were faced with from his point of view, was a threat that was immediate and massive. That is the context in which his conduct was explained. But I do not think that we relied ... (microphone switched off).
MR VALLY: Would you justify torture in the circumstances you have mentioned?
CHAIRPERSON: Has he been sworn in?
MOUNTAIN XHOSO: (Duly sworn, states).
MR XHOSO: I wanted to add, in particular, on Comrade Mzwai Poliso issue. I think Mr Vally, if you notice, on the very same page, page 22, the "at any cost", referred to by Mzwai Poliso is referring mainly on specific cases. Here there is mention of a Keith McKenzie, that we needed have information at any cost at that particular time, because Keith McKenzie had been involved in a number of deaths inside the country, until he was later led out of the country. Whilst comrades were busy trying to interrogate him, the car he had used to cross from South Africa to Botswana exploded and it killed a number of Botswana citizens. Then the comrades had to get information from him as soon as possible, and at any cost. That's what Mzwai is referring to. It is not referring in general to all cases, but to cases whereby we know that this person is involved in certain activities, and he knows but he doesn't want to come up with further information. That is what I wanted to add.
MR VALLY: My question still remains, would you justify torture in the new circumstances?
MR MAHARAJ: Sir, as a recipient of torture, in 1964, I could never justify the use of torture.
MR VALLY: Let's go on to the next tribunal. We have had ad hoc tribunals. The next tribunal we refer to is the military tribunals. The military tribunal was established after what was referred to as the Pango Mutiny. Would that be correct?
MR MAHARAJ: That's correct.
MR VALLY: How was this tribunal constituted?
MR MAHARAJ: That seems to be in the confidential document about the tribunals. If we can just look through that. Chairperson, may I ask Mr Vally, in the confidential documentation the names don't appear.
MR VALLY: I see a document here which talks about the military tribunals, tribunals' composition. I will just read the positions:
"The Chairperson representing the HQ, representing the region, representing the region, representing the recording department, representing the commissariat."
Is that the document? The names are there.
MR MAHARAJ: To trace the document in the file that I have just been handed - could you read out the names?
MR VALLY: I do have the names, but it is your confidential document. I don't know.
MR MAHARAJ: Oh, I see. Could somebody just give me sight of that document so that I could quickly find it on this file.
MR VALLY: Well, let me pose my question there, were there any legal people on this tribunal? Once you see which document it is.
MR MAHARAJ: No, Sir, there were no persons with legal training on that tribunal of '84.
MR VALLY: Were they all military personnel?
MR MAHARAJ: Revolutionary Council, they would have all have undergone military training, but they were deployed in different tasks. For example, the very first name was at that time chief representative in one of the neighbouring countries.
MR VALLY: How was (microphone switched off ...) weighed up in this tribunal? What was the burden of proof required?
MR MAHARAJ: In 1984, Mr Chairperson, was the mutiny. This was the tribunal established around the mutiny. And therefore the evidence would have related to witnesses of what had happened during the mutiny. I think that our main submission, if I may just look at page 22, then talks of the number of witnesses that were called before the tribunal. There are 66 people who testified before the tribunal.
MR VALLY: Sorry, which page are you looking at?
MR MAHARAJ: Page 21 of the further main submission that we have made today. Immediately after the paragraph where it says -
"The military tribunal was appointed."
The next paragraph says:
"66 people testified, of these the tribunal recommended that 16 mutineers should receive the death penalty, while others were either recommended for demobilisation or acquitted and referred to the camp disciplinary committee to face lesser charges."
MR VALLY: Was the evidence required on a balance of probability beyond reasonable doubt or some other test?
MR MAHARAJ: Sir, I wasn't present at the tribunal, but as a member of the Revolutionary Council we would have required beyond reasonable doubt.
MR VALLY: Were any of these people allowed legal defence?
MR MAHARAJ: I don't recall at that stage that we had reached the point where we began to provide legal defence. I think that legal defence then became, we began to provide for that shortly thereafter.
MR VALLY: How was the severity of punishment decided? Who decided and on what basis was the decision made who lived and who didn't?
MR MAHARAJ: That, the question of the punishment, the sentence, was at the discretion of the tribunal members, based on the nature of the offence and their level of involvement in the mutiny.
MR VALLY: I ask this question because if you look at your first submission on page 71, where you talk about the Pango Mutiny, and you actually say - alright, on the left-hand column, the second paragraph from the bottom:
"None of the second group of eight was executed, despite the fact that one of the mutineers had hunted down wounded comrades the morning after the mutiny began and finished them off."
So how did you decide who was executed and who wasn't? He was in fact released.
MR MAHARAJ: First of all, we had at that stage the code of conduct regulating the conduct of members of our organisation. Secondly, the facts of the mutiny. But as you know a tribunal acts in its own judgment on the basis of the evidence presented to it. And we have drawn attention in this submission to the one individual who was not executed, even though the information had indicated that he had participated at that level.
MR VALLY: What I am driving at, is that there were no fixed rules of procedure. It seemed an ad hoc arrangement. Some people would be executed and some people wouldn't be, who seemed to have committed the same offence, and I understood that at this stage, there was no code of conduct. The code of conduct came in in 1985, after the Kabwe Conference. MR XHOSO: Well, I wanted to add on this. It is true that it was no code of conduct then, but it was already starting to circulate in preparation for the Kabwe Conference. But there were rules and regulations of the army and rules and regulations of various camps. In this particular instance of this individual, actually more people were sentenced to execution by that tribunal. Then the first seven were executed, but the leadership of the ANC had sent a message to say that we should hold, there should be no more executions. That is how then they escaped, they were not executed, but there were actually sentenced also for execution.
MR MAHARAJ: I think that there is a reasoning that went on now that Comrade Mountain has reminded me of the two batches and the intervention by Lusaka. When we looked at the incident in Lusaka we realised that agents being sent by the regime were Black and they were sent in ways where the regime was not caring for their lives. It enhanced the capacity we would have to rehabilitate such persons.
Also, we were concerned in Lusaka that the first trial, the first batch, had been executed and we felt that those - that that process of tribulation decision in regard to executions should be governed also by a review process. That we felt that this was not an incident of just one person being executed and then us having some space to decide on a proper mechanism. Here were a group of people executed, another group were coming up for trial, and we said we cannot go this way, we need a review process.
MR ZUMA: If I can say something as well on this one.
CHAIRPERSON: Can I just say again for the sake of the radio audience, Jacob Zuma.
MR ZUMA: Thank you very much. The point I wanted to make here or probably an observation, is that there are general understood rules in military institutions. I think the question of mutiny is usually dealt by the army itself, on the basis of what the soldiers have done. Here, the reason why this was a military tribunal, because it was being dealt with at that level, and decisions were taken at that level by the military tribunal, on the basis of the mutiny that has caused the kind of damage as reflected in the evidence. Now there might be in the world of human rights, probably a possibility of the legal people coming to deal with such situations, but situations in the army are not the same, because it might depend where the mutiny is committed. Also, the armies themselves are not of the same, you are looking here - the Deputy President has dealt with the guerrilla war and the situations where these armies are situated. So it was in that context that the military tribunal was set up, and the report was given to the leadership, when action had been taken on the basis of the convictions that have been made.
The important point is that the leadership then intervened and said hold on, even if there are those rules, given the adherence of the ANC to the principles of human rights, it may be necessary that we do the review.
I may add that other national liberation movements in fact do not enter into such elaborate arrangements. Once an enemy agent is discovered, he is dealt with immediately. We went into elaborate arrangements to try to deal with the human rights and give the right to such people. Normally in any national liberation movement that you could study in the world, they don't go through such procedures. Once an enemy agent is discovered undermining the struggle, is dealt with. We went the other way. That's why even a person who did such brutal murdering, cold-blooded murder, even finish off people that he had not seen during the night, but his life had to be spared. I just thought I should make that point, because it is an important point.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
MR MAHARAJ: Chairperson, may I add something on the question of the code of conduct. The document that you are referring to as a code of conduct was adopted after Kabwe. But before that, we did have a set of rules, not called a code of conduct, which was later refined, and after Kabwe adopted as a code of conduct,
The second point I would like to make about the two groups, the one executed and the one group not executed. Again, it is important to realise that the problems at Pango didn't interrupt just in this mutiny. There had been earlier dissatisfaction where comrades in the camp had mutinied. In particular, there was, I think around December 1983, there was a mutiny in Pango, and the Revolutionary Council had arrived in Luanda, just about the time of the mutiny. The Angolan government were the first to alert us, our President, that such an event had taken place. President Tambo then changed the nature of the meeting of the Revolutionary Council and we met all night. We took a decision by about three o'clock in the morning, after having debated all the options and based on the reports we were receiving, including the fact that the camp - the regional commander had travelled by road over a distance of more than 450 kilometres, through hostile territory to come and give us a first-hand report. We took a decision to send three comrades from that meeting, if I remember, three comrades from that meeting, to travel overland, leaving that morning at five o'clock, with the instructions to go and resolve that mutiny without the use of force. That was the expedition that was led by Comrade Chris Hani and Comrade Mhlanthla was in it. Indeed, they went there.
The mutineers were fully armed and the delegation sent by us put the - went in unarmed and when they assembled all the comrades, asked them all to put out their arms outside the meeting place, otherwise the meeting would not start. So the matter was resolved in that way in a political way.
But the matter was not left at that point. President Tambo then insisted that the rest of us, including himself, should travel by a special plane that he arranged with the Angolan government, and all of us were required to go to the camp to address the comrades in the camp, politically. We reached the first camp by plane. Drove a certain distance. And at that meeting President Tambo asked each member of the Revolutionary Council without preparation, to address the camps. He spoke last. I see a number of my colleagues are here who were at that meeting.
This I have sketched because having thought we had begun to address the problem politically, when the second mutiny took place, and it resulted in the death of almost the command structure in the camp, that is when the first sitting - group were executed.
The second group were then intercepted, as I have explained, and said we do not think that we should just be proceeding this way, we need to re-examine the tactics being used by the enemy.
MR NHLANDLA: Maybe just to complete what my comrade Mac has said. We had gone to Angola for a very high meeting of the Revolutionary Council, and found that a mutiny had started in the east. At about three o'clock a decision was taken that Chris Hani, myself and Lambert Moloi, should proceed. We were asked if we needed any escort in terms of, I mean, of army and so forth. We said no, we are going to see our people.
We had a meeting that lasted almost the whole day, with the comrades, indicated to them that mutiny in terms of army, of military code of conduct is a very serious offence, but that we understood the problems facing all of us, and particularly in Angola, and therefore we were going to make a recommendation to the leadership in Luanda. We thought then that they were still in Luanda, they had not flown as Mac was saying. And we agreed with all those comrades that we are going to make a recommendation for the leadership not to treat the incident as a mutiny, but that there are problems, and then that the movement should set up a - I mean, some commission and so forth.
I think that was how the Stewart Commission was gone. And that was agreement at that meeting with the comrades that had mutinied. I must say that it was a - it was quite a regiment of comrades who were protecting a particular wing in the east. They were armed to the teeth because they had to protect themselves. It is the time when the Angolan struggle in the south was intensifying and more and more of the Angolan troops were going to the south and MK had to protect itself.
But what I want to emphasise is that we got to the leadership, afterwards reported at the meeting that we had and the leadership agreed that the matter will not be considered as mutiny. And that a commission was going to be set up and we thought that was the end of the matter.
So I am trying to say ANC did not arbitrarily take any disturbances as mutiny and resorted arbitrarily to, I mean, to execution. It was unfortunately after, days after - when we had even returned to Lusaka, myself and Chris, that we got a message that there has now been a flare-up and unfortunately there was now - they were marching towards Luanda, and the government of Angola of course had to say it cannot tolerate that kind of situation.
But so all that happened, leading to execution, should be understood. On the basis of the second, not the first. The first, the leadership, I mean, of the ANC, which was gathered in Angola, agreed and reported back to the leadership in Lusaka and the leadership in Lusaka agreed that this matter should not be treated as mutiny but as some dissatisfaction and so forth. A commission was to be set up, representatives coming from all over. Some of the people who participated in the commission came from London and other places, to make it as neutral as possible.
DR BORAINE: Could I just intercede at this stage and say Mr Nhlandla, thank you very much. Unfortunately I was not able to ask you to make your name known, again for the radio listeners. I would be grateful if anyone who participates, if they can start, even if they have spoken before, by giving their name, just so that everybody knows who is who. Thank you very much.
MR VALLY: One of our mandates in terms of our Act is to determine the whereabouts of people who have disappeared, and I just need clarity on the issue of whether the families....
CHAIRPERSON: Sorry. Could we just hold there. I mean, you have sort of dealt with your first section as it were, the questions on human rights violations in ANC camps. I just want to find out from my colleagues here, whether there are any who want to ask supplementary questions before you go on to the next one. Dr Mgojo?
DR MGOJO: Mr Chairperson, I think the question which I was going to ask is the one which Hanif Vally was going to ask. That in terms of our Act, the families are saying that some of their children, sons and daughters, got lost somewhere in exile.
CHAIRPERSON: Dr Mgojo, I wondered whether you would confine it to the whole question of human rights violations.
DR MGOJO: Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: In the camps and then disappearances will come as next.
DR MGOJO: Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: You have - Dr Boraine?
DR BORAINE: Thank you, Chairperson. I refer to the report that was submitted earlier today, and on page 20 on the left-hand column, paragraph 2 from the top or it may even be paragraph 3, if you take the first words. I want to read the sentence which starts, that:
"These exposed allegations that a serious mutiny was put down by troops trained in the GDR and the cadres were subsequently ill-treated by Ronnie Kasrils, as deliberate disinformation, typical of the propaganda in the report of the Douglas Commission, a STRAPCOM exercise, covertly funded with taxpayers' money."
This is a very serious allegation, and I am wondering if you can substantiate it in any way in terms of the Douglas Commission. Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Deputy President Mbeki?
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: Thank you, Chairperson.
According to our information, Dr Boraine, the Douglas Commission was established principally through a man called Russel Christa, who was an agent of military intelligence. I don't know if he still is, and is also currently a member of the National Party in the Gauteng Province.
Most of the report of the Douglas Commission derive from information or misinformation, as the case may be, given by one Mowesi Twala, at the Braamfontein offices of the Freedom Foundation, which was itself a front of military intelligence and was headed by Russel Christa. Those are the origins of the Commission. That's how it gathered its information. That is why this statement here, because it clearly from all the information we have, was set up as part of the activities of military intelligence.
DR BORAINE: Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Ms Mkhize?
MS MKHIZE: Just one brief question. Going through this document and having heard briefly what the Deputy President said about gender specific human rights violations, I would from our human rights violations hearings, we have heard quite a number of people appearing before us, saying in the ANC camps outside the country somehow women's rights were neglected, and in quite a number of instances, they have referred to gender specific human rights violations, which I think as this Commission, if we fail to capture, would not have done justice in the quest for truth, especially when thinking about what should be done in future in making sure that these experiences are not part of our history again.
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: Thank you very much, Bishop. We will ask Joe Modise to deal with this question.
MR MODISE: Well, I think the allegations in many instances are true. The African National Congress, because we believe in gender equality, took steps to correct this. It was a very serious problem, which resulted in the top leadership of MK visiting the camps and instructing the camp commanders, camp commissioners to put an end to this practice.
Unfortunately this kind of problem is a very difficult one. It is the kind of problem that manifests itself in places such as camps, very far from home, isolated, in hostile areas, and the difficulty of young men going out into the towns to go and look for young ladies, was rather limited, because there were ambushes also on the way. Unita was very active in those areas. Now the confinement of men and women sometimes result in this problem.
There was also information to the effect that some of the camp commanders took advantage of their positions and started asking or pressurising some of the young ladies to do them favours. I think it is understood what type of favours I am talking about. Some commanders had been removed for this. So it was a problem that was addressed by the movement and its armed personnel. I thank you.
MR MAHARAJ: Chairperson, Gertrude Shope would like to make a comment on this question, with your permission, but she probably needs to be sworn in also.
MRS SHOPE: (Duly sworn, states).
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. Please be seated.
MRS SHOPE: Yes, Chairperson, I thought I should explain that the question of women being looked down upon or being mishandled, I think it is a global question all over. It did not only mean that it was the women specifically who were in the camps, who suffered these problems. Women as a whole are supposed to be the fair sex as it is always regarded. It is the duty of the women to make sure that they fight for their own rights and to be recognised as equal power within their community.
So in this particular case the Women's League, the Women's Executive Committee took turns in visiting our camps in Angola and wherever they were, to go and see our women, to go and solve some of their problems, to go and discuss with the command within the camps, how best we can work out these problems. I think we did that and to a very great extent, we did succeed.
But I want to say that the climax of this problem was solved on the 2nd of May when the women's section pressed hard to the executives of the ANC to put their position vis-a-vis the women in the document. As a result we have a document of the 2nd of May whereby the ANC made its position very, very clearly, how it respects its women, how it expects everybody else to take women as equal partners in the country. That only did not mean just by treating them, it also meant that whenever there were delegations, women should be considered. Whenever there was postings, even abroad, outside the country, women had to be considered, within the executive women had to be considered. Because we believe that the women of our country played a very important role in the struggle for liberation, and I think it is also in addition to their contribution, that today we are enjoying the dispensation in which we are enjoying today. Thank you.
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: Mr Chairman, Ronnie Kasrils would also like to comment on the same question.
MR KASRILS: Yes, Chairperson, I would like to first of all say that in the ranks of Umkhonto weSizwe, right from its inception in 1961, we had women combatants, women had - we had great respect for women in Umkhonto weSizwe. This was the case right throughout. I am stressing this because obviously Ms Mkhize is focusing on an area which did exist, but we are focusing here on would like to bring this to your attention that any oppression that might have taken place or abuse of women, was not part and parcel of the everyday occurrence. This was something that would have been hidden.
Women, as I have said, had a position of very high respect in our camps. When it became noted, it was brought to our attention that certain abuses were taking place behind the scenes, as Comrade Joe Modise has pointed out, action was taken. It culminated with Comrade Gertrude Shope and others being brought in to assist in dealing with something that we would not tolerate.
The councillor has also asked, as I understand the question, as to what we have done to ensure that the right of women is recognised, and this should be in the military, I presume.
We are talking here about the ANC and the ANC has taken great steps within its ranks, but the Ministry of Defence, this government, ANC-led government, have taken very definite steps in this regard. We have had a gender conference within the defence force, to focus on these issues.
We have an Equal Opportunity Affirmative Action Directorate to look at the issue, not just of gender question, but of the whole total problem. We have an educational programme within the defence force which deals with civic education, including the need for gender sensitivity. All of that has been brought about through our experience within Umkhonto weSizwe over the years. Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. MR MALAN: Thank you Chairperson. If I may take you back to the discussion we had a little earlier, page 22, the statement accredited by Mzwai Poliso about discovering the information "at any cost". There are three bullets or points there, and this is really a question for comment, but I want to follow it up with a second question. That is, is this contextualisation of torture, not virtually universal in all cases of torture? Especially the second and the third bullet, that people say but we need to obtain the information quickly, or remember these people who claim that they have been tortured or might have been tortured, have been uncritically portrayed as innocent victims, although they have done atrocious things. I am asking this, because we find this also in our human rights violations hearings, which is the build-up to my real question, that people come before us as victims of torture, but on occasion, and the structure is not such that we can really get to the various roles or dual roles of people who were both victims and perpetrators, that we do find on follow-up questions that people admit, for instance, to having participated or actively led a necklacing, but come before us as a victim of torture.
Now the question really, I think, I will follow through again when we get to reparations and concept of victims, but I think it is relevant at this stage, is to whether people referred to here, that were subjected to the kind of treatment on which it is commented here, would the ANC see them as victims? Because in terms of the Act, I would read them indeed to be victims. But at the same time, they might be seen as perpetrators of human rights violations.
If there is - if the delegation is not in a position to comment now, I would urge that where they talk, promise the follow-up presentation, that they look at the reconciliation also with regard to this dual role which I think we find much more than we care to admit at this stage. But if there is a comment at this stage I would be happy to hear that.
CHAIRPERSON: Matthews Phosa?
MR PHOSA: Well, I think if you took the particular case you are referring to of McKenzie and many others, and you check from where he came from, and you have heard that the car he was using had a bomb in it, which exploded in Botswana, which killed people, now if you trace his steps back you find that he has got a trail of victims who are entitled to appear here and who will submit, you need to take their cases as those of victims, before you even begin to define him, and people like himself, who ended up in this type of situation.
Now again, in our hands he becomes a victim, to the extent of which there have been violations. He becomes a victim. But he has got dual capacities. He is a perpetrator of the worst kind and a victim too.
CHAIRPERSON: Mac Maharaj?
MR MAHARAJ: May I just make an observation. In the documents we have supplied, there is a case study number 5. I think it would be important to look at that case study to try, in the light of the questions raised by Mr Malan, because you will see there that before the person came into our hands, he had carried out harassment, petrol-bombing and killing of a large number of people inside South Africa. Now how should we see him? A victim recruited by the security branch under duress or a person who is the perpetrator of gross violations, because he killed for no reason, except that his superiors said kill and some I don't believe even his superiors told him to kill them, he just killed them?
But we in general, the framework in which we examine the problem, is that we said some of the people that have come as agents have themselves been brutally treated by the apartheid authorities. We need to take that into account. Secondly, we said we need to take into account that the overwhelming number of informers being sent into our ranks are sent so ill-prepared, and that meant that the enemy did not care for Black lives that it was sending to us. Some of them were even told I think you will be found out. They were sent on the most reckless missions. Now to anybody sending them it would appear obvious that they would be apprehended by us and discovered to be informers.
We are to say it is important for us not to lose sight of the politics of our struggle. That is why we did rehabilitate so many people who were confessed agents. So the question you have raised of perpetrator or victim maybe leads to a problem, but we do accept that we need to help perpetrators to be rehabilitated, to correct themselves. But we believe that the victims need reparations, and maybe the Commission has to make this judgment in particular instances. But I think in general it would be a bit problematic in the context of our struggle to find a clear guideline. There are clear cases and there are grey cases where the issues are a bit more dubious.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Hlengiwe.
MS MKHIZE: Just to go back to the question on gender. I will just make a request that we really appreciate your co-operation in terms of giving us the specifics. Like, we know and we accept that women were abused, not only outside but also here, but whilst it is important to have specifics like specific methods of torture used, gender specific methods of torture used, there are many other methods which were used and were unique to women, but that is not necessarily for today.
My last question really is to ask a general question, whether you would sincerely say you have opened the camps to the people of South Africa. From our human rights violations hearings the question of what happened outside camps, of what happened outside, that is in the ANC camps in particular, is like a dark cloud which is just hanging over us. We find it difficult to give the victims the specifics and they have appeared before us, and we accept what we have been given. My question is whether there are any other, from your documents, policies, practices or whatever, which the people of this country need to hear about the camps?
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: Let me say to that, Chairperson, that this is a - the Commission has got certain specific tasks. One of them is the discovery and exposure of gross violations of human rights. When we introduced this document, Chairperson, we tried to draw attention to a danger that lurks somewhere underneath the surface with regard to that, in that because the Commission has to deal with those matters, that is its mandate and must deal with that, and therefore doesn't have to deal with the issues of non-violation of human rights. You could then get an impression such that all that happened was violation of human rights.
You see Joe Modise here and Gertrude Shope, Ronnie Kasrils did say yes, indeed, there were instances of the kind of abuse of women that you referred to, but the fact that we talk only of that, does not mean this is the only thing that happened to women. In the majority of cases, and I am sure you can talk to all the women, cadres of Umkhonto weSizwe, that they would say that they have never had any such experience. This does not mean that - let us take me for instance, hypothetically, it doesn't mean necessarily that I couldn't have said to Geraldine oh, you look beautiful today, can we go dancing together. But I am saying the danger of the work that - which I think needs to be guarded against consciously, of the work that we were doing, is that the Commission is attending to, is that because you are looking specifically for this violations, which is what you must do, then an impression can be given that all that happened was violation of human rights, and it is not true.
With regard to, it is also reflected in the question that the Commissioner raises about opening up the camps. There were thousands and thousands of men and women who went through these camps, over a number of decades. There are people who joined Umkhonto weSizwe from the beginning. We went through a particular period in our history at the point of extreme repression in the sixties, in the sixties in particular when the machineries of the ANC within the country were destroyed to all intents and purposes. Many thousands of people arrested, imprisoned and all of this. In reality what remained of the ANC as an organised formation was outside.
We would say in 1976 when larger numbers of people began coming into the ANC, that if the generation that joined Umkhonto weSizwe at its beginning and stayed with the organisation despite all the difficulties, there would not have been an ANC for those young people in 1976 to join. I am talking about people who were with Umkhonto weSizwe from 1961 and have just been demobilised now. They would not have stayed in an army which was characterised consistently by human rights abuses.
Nor would these thousands of young people have stayed, come and joined this army, stayed in it, been inspired to come and fight, the Solomon Mhlangu's and the others. They wouldn't have taken this position if this army was characterised by gross violation of human rights.
So there isn't anything to hide about these camps. There ought not to be the notion of a dark cloud as the Commissioner was saying, because you have a sense that there was something that was hidden, that we should be ashamed of, that needs to come out during these hearings. The overwhelming majority of these South Africans who joined Umkhonto weSizwe, whether they went out of the country or stayed in the country, were not traitors. They were not traitors. They didn't sell out, they didn't become subject to investigations. They didn't become subject to abuses either, of being beaten and tortured. I am saying the overwhelming majority of these people.
So I would plead that we should not, in the pursuit of this particular set of issues which must be pursued, gross violations, then begin to develop an impression that what we are about was gross violation of human rights.
My colleagues here, Mr Vally, were whispering to me that they would like us to go beyond the earlier period of those military tribunals, 1982 and so on, that you asked questions about, because again what happens, is that when we leave the matter there, it is as though that is all that happened with regard to the administration of justice in the ANC, whereas in fact, because we learnt many things, we are clearly caught unawares by the extent of the infiltration of the movement. We hadn't understood it. If I had time, Bishop, I would explain some of what we have got to understand.
Many of us who had gone into exile for longer periods, only understood very late the extent to which values of money and material goods had taken hold of the minds of our youth. It is because we hadn't had that experience and then discovered that in fact you could get this flat(?) simply on the promise we will buy you a Mercedes-Benz when you come back. It took us by surprise, that you could have so many young people corrupted as extensively. We reacted in a particular way, inadequately at first, because this thing suddenly hits us as a flood, and then the things improve.
But I was saying, Mr Vally, that my colleagues here were saying too, it is necessary that you ask the questions that you ask, it is necessary that we provide honest answers, but it is also necessary to say that there was continuous improvement in our treatment of those people, including declarations of our own amnesty. So I was just responding to Commission Mkhize. I think we need to maintain a certain balance.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. I think, I mean, that my colleagues at the moment are satisfied and perhaps they will try and bear in mind your plea. Hanif?
MR VALLY: Thank you, Mr Mbeki. I note what you say. Unfortunately the Act was given to us. Our mandate is to find out the gross violation of human rights, not the upholding thereof.
I just have two more questions on this issue. The first question which Dr Mgojo also tried to ask, was have the families of the people who were executed been notified? And do we know where the people who were executed, were buried?
CHAIRPERSON: Matthews Phosa?
MR PHOSA: Thank you, Mr Chairperson. I thought the question was about whereabouts, now it is changed to whether or not the families have been notified. I would like to deal with both, because I think they are related.
If you go back you realise that there was a war going on in Angola, in particular, and go back, it was not easy for any South African, inside the country, to go out and meet the ANC and hope to come back and have a happy return. Those are facts.
Given all those situations, it was not easy - at a certain time, if they were expelled before 1985, for many families to be informed promptly or even to attend funerals. But later it became much easier as we had delegations even going to Lusaka of many people, for many families to attend funerals outside and to be informed promptly of the death of their children.
Since we came back, as we are re-establishing the organisation inside the country, we formed, what we call the Bereaved Family Desk, headed by Mrs Msumang, who is a veteran in the organisation, and a number of others, who have been compiling information about all these sort of things we have been talking about, and also taking steps to visit families or cause visits to take place, and we have got a lot of information about their work and where there have been executions, a number of families have been informed. There are those who have not been informed. There are a number of objective and subjective factors why some families were informed and others were not informed. If you take the KwaZulu situation. A lot of families have been displaced and it is very difficult to trace a lot of people, to give that particular example. Yes, we have been informing families and yes, we have informed families with regard to some of the people who were executed. Thank you.
MR MAHARAJ: May I just add there, that even in exile, we had also set up a similar committee, in the secretary-general's office to help trace families inside South Africa, whose relatives may have died abroad. So that effort was being made even from exile conditions. Although conditions have improved since 1990 for that work to be more effective. But we had managed to contact particular relatives. In certain instances, we actually arranged for the relatives to come over to Lusaka, either to visit their relative or to come to the funeral or to be informed of the circumstances of the death of their loved one. So those steps were being taken already in the mid-eighties from exile, and if not a little earlier.
MR VALLY: Sorry, there is a second part ...
CHAIRPERSON: Perhaps since he had wondered whether he might - Dr Mgojo.
DR MGOJO: Well, thank you. I am pleased about that information. But I wish whatever strategy is being used is very pastoral to the families. There is a general complaint which we receive in these hearings, that some of your offices which are dealing with this, they are not very sensitive to the families. Then it causes much hurt to the families, already hurt by the missing of their children, where they don't know where they are. I just want to caution that though I hear, let us not make more victims of the people who are already victims. Thank you.
MR ZUMA: I think we will take that seriously and we will have to follow up with respective offices. But I must mention that in certain instances, if you take the case of Barney Mulukwane, a very respected MK commander, we are struggling to identify the correct grave. We have gone to the police and say please show us the correct graves. They don't want to show us, they pretend they don't know. It happens in many operational areas as far as we are concerned, Komatipoort, Botswana borders. The police have not been co-operative in showing us the correct graves, even with the Barney Mulukwane, we wanted to take the family there. We could not with certainty say this is the grave. I think the Commission should also pay attention to that. CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Dumisa Ntsebeza?
MR NTSEBEZA: Thank you, Chair. It is just a follow-up and a request that you should possibly look into. I hear all the reasons that the tribunal said but some of the Commissions that have dealt with these violations, have - certainly the Motsunyane Commission, have indicated that at least six detained ANC members were summarily executed or beaten to death. Now this seems to have spanned over a period of time, from 1981 in one case to 1989 in the other case. The names have been given and the Motsunyane Commission gives this from page 151 to page 158, I think, of the Commission. It is quite disturbing to find that even in spite of the fact that there was a Code of Conduct, certainly from 1985, you have the 1989 incident where a person apparently was beaten to death during the course of the night. It doesn't appear that both in your august submission and the second reports, both public and confidential appendices, you have dealt with the names mentioned by Motsunyane on pages 151 to 156 of his report. The names are Ntombe Kombukane, Jimmy Parle, Philip Mangena, otherwise Drake Shilwane, David Dumela, Nthlapo Kenneth, Solisi Beko and Thabo Twala. I am not expecting you to sort of give us an answer right now, but it is something that would complete our picture if you could - if you give attention thereto.
MR MAHARAJ: We will certainly look into those lists and respond to that properly.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Well, I think we should probably still go on. We hope to take lunch at one, one to two o'clock, so perhaps you might continue.
MR VALLY: Thank you, Archbishop.
My final question is directly related to the amnesty applications we have been receiving. We have got a series of amnesty applications on Saturday, the 10th, from the ANC and a number of them referred to allegations of torture and human rights violations in other camps besides Angola. We have got copies of these applications here. It would not be correct to mention their names at this stage, because the hearings haven't taken place, and was any investigation done, like the Stewart Commission, regarding camps in Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda?
MR MAHARAJ: Chairperson, first of all, we didn't have, on a continuous basis, camps in Zambia. Secondly, other countries, Tanzania, we had the Solomon Mahlangu School and I think our submission explains how one of the farms came to be perceived by some people, alleged by the Douglas Commission, to be a detention centre when it was not. Then there is Uganda.
Now there is no commission but it underlines the point made by the Deputy President, that in general no major problem had arisen. However, we would like to co-operate fully with the TRC and that if we are provided with any of those questions, we would straightaway look into the matter and respond. But without the information before us it is difficult to respond thereto. We don't know whether the allegation is real or not real. So we would like to co-operate with you in that spirit. MR VALLY: We will let you have a copy of the amnesty applications that were given to us.
Sorry, I thought it was my final question, but the one question I want ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: Alfred Nzo. You did take the oath?
MR NZO: Yes, I was amongst the first.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
MR NZO: Well, what I wanted to add is that you know, during the course of our stay and work in exile, there were instances when some members of the African National Congress got involved somewhat in transgressing laws of the countries in which we were. Now in those instances the African National Congress had a policy that the law of the country in which such transgression takes place, must take its full course. We would not protect them in that regard.
Of course, in the course of detention in some of these countries, we received ourselves you know, complaints of harsh treatment by the local police officials, of those that had been detained, having transgressed against the laws of the country in which we were. Well, of course, we don't know whether in the course of the rule applying, they would also want to mention those as though the African National Congress there was responsible for them. I just merely wanted to warn against that.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
MR VALLY: I am sorry, Mr Chair, I thought I was finished. There was a very important question I haven't asked, which is where - is the African National Congress in a position to show the TRC or the families who have been executed as to where they are buried?
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: The answer is yes.
MR VALLY: Mr Chair, I am finished with this section now.
CHAIRPERSON: Which section are you talking about?
MR VALLY: Section 1.
CHAIRPERSON: Disappearances in exile?
MR VALLY: No.
CHAIRPERSON: Human rights.
MR VALLY: I am not finished with the camps. I haven't finished with the camps when you assumed I had.
CHAIRPERSON: Oh, I see, I see. You should make it clear for me to understand that you have. Alright. I mean, I asked my panel and I think that the panel has asked the questions that they wanted to ask.
I wonder whether this shouldn't be regarded as an appropriate point. Because of the constraints of finances that come from the treasury, we will not be able to feed everybody. So we would like to invite the official delegation. Now you have to perhaps you will have to say who the official delegation is, and it may, it may be that points are stretched. Thank you very much. We return at two.
CHAIRPERSON: I think we want to resume. Mac, I am so loud and you can't hear me. Perhaps we should resume. Thank you very much. There is a question that the Deputy President wants to make.
DR BORAINE: Thank you, Chairperson. Mr Mbeki, and to members of your delegation, you will know that in terms of the Act submissions are heard in public and that is why we are meeting like this for the sake of transparency Parliament decided that that is how the Act should read and of course we are in total agreement with that.
We find ourselves now in an awkward position in that part, one part of the submission made by the ANC is an annexure which is referred to as "For the TRC only", for our eyes only and not to be made available. Now in normal circumstances we have to make available anything which comes to us, because we are a public commission appointed by Parliament. I would like to ask why this has been designated secret and confidential, and whether we can't find a way through this, because certainly it is our normal intention to make available whatever is submitted to us, to the public, on the basis of the right to know.
So I wondered if either you, Mr Mbeki, or any of your colleagues would like to speak to this now. Maybe that we will have to look at it again, but at least we have flagged it. Thank you.
MR MAHARAJ: You will notice from our submission, that even in the handling of confessed enemy agents, we were guided by a policy of rehabilitation. The result is that a number of confessed agents were left to live normal lives, others were assisted to be rehabilitated and this was a policy that ran through our whole practice of how to bring discipline in our organisation. The result is that we are very sensitive about putting names in the public arena. It is a matter that perhaps the Commission would need to look at towards the conclusion of its work.
We are mindful that there are people who worked for the enemy, who were rehabilitated, who came back and settled in this country and are leading normal lives. We would not like to contribute to a culture where people who have made honest confessions are then punished for the rest of their lives, told to leave their jobs and denied the opportunity to become or to remain honest citizens. So that is one particular problem.
The second one is that we believe where agents have not confessed, we believe that they should make their applications through the Amnesty Committee of the TRC, and that they should be dealt with in that spirit and in that way, rather than just throwing a name into the public arena, having public reaction. I don't even want to go and sketch out a scenario that says public revenge may visit some people. But I am talking about a large number of people who were sent into our ranks as enemy agents, who were inefficiently prepared, who didn't manage to do substantial damage and who responded to our treatment. So that's the context in which we have approached this problem.
To emphasise, this was the culture in which we brought up everybody in the ANC. The same approach was adopted in dealing with bona fide members of the organisation. The same approach was used even in most difficult circumstances, almost approaching battlefield situations. So that's the reason why we have put this before the Commission in a confidential set of documents, so confidential that some of us, as you would have noticed this morning, some of us hadn't seen it ourselves. Because we thought this is not the type of information that should be just leaked and leaked without a process to manage it.
So that's my explanation, Sir, and I hope the Commission will find some way, certainly we would support the view that towards the end of its work the Commission while looking at the victims, should look at those who wereperpetrators of human rights violations and how they are disclosed to have committed those violations without necessarily destroying their future lives. DR BORAINE: Mr Mac Maharaj, thank you very much. Obviously the Commission is very, very sensitive about divulging names who may be at risk, in particular, the one point that you made.
We as a Commission and as a panel have not had the opportunity to consider and to weigh up your reply, and you will appreciate that we will have to do that now that we have got that explanation. We will do this as a matter of some urgency. We have to keep in mind victims of gross human rights violations who are extremely critical of any information that is withheld from them, which may explain some of their own situation. You will appreciate that we have to be extremely careful as far as that is concerned and secondly, obviously the transparency of the Commission is fundamental, not to the loss of life of course, but that certainly is a very important factor. I don't want to delay the proceedings now, but we will certainly have to meet and come back to you. Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. MR ZUMA: Could I just ...
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, thank you, Mr Zuma?
MR ZUMA: Thank you. We think that we might, probably outside of this problem later in the day, just do a bit of an exchange on this one as well, so that the Commission is with us in terms of understanding our motivation. I just wanted to make an example of this in a different context and Commissioner, Dr Mgojo is aware that one person was called to testify in public, the proceedings were disrupted by people who entered and wanted to squeeze his neck totally. I later had some occasion to talk to the Commissioner here, that we needed to balance between what we are doing to bring about reconciliation and also what we do that could open up fresh wounds, to those who are aggrieved and to those who are victims. So it is a question of how do we balance this and how to deal with it. Because if we are just going to say as long as the information is demanded, irrespective of the consequences, I think that will be a rather callous way of dealing with it. So we think we needed to have a way to discuss it from our point of view, so that you could understand what our kind of feeling is. I was just adding the point that it might be useful, to have an exchange again confidentially so that you understand our feelings.
CHAIRPERSON: Wynand Malan?
MR MALAN: Chairperson, if I may, when you discuss this, also suggest that you take into account the earlier demand from your organisation, that the names of those referred to as informers at one of the amnesty applications be disclosed, that you look at it in a global sense because I think to a large extent the same principles apply.
CHAIRPERSON: We are going to, I think we would have to deal with it as the Commission and we have our next plenary session on Thursday. We are going to be governed by the principles that have always governed us, which is that we do not sit as it were, hatching plots with different groups of people.
It is quite crucial for the integrity of this operation that we are the ones who take the decisions about what information we are going to disclose. We take into account all sorts of factors in this regard and one of them would be that we would need to have some substantiation of allegations that people did such and such and such or were enemies of, rather were agents of the old system and also the fact that we would require to give such people, if they are still alive, for instance, the opportunity of being able to respond in terms of the Appellate Division decision. That is a decision that we took as the Commission, but we would in this particular instance have to be weighing again, but those are the principles and I have to say that I mean, we would need a fair degree of persuasion to withhold information rather than share the information.
MR MAHARAJ: May I Mr Chairperson, I am sorry to hold you up, may I just mention one other factor that needs to be taken into consideration. That is our request that informers in the Cabinet be made known. This is a high office. The government needs to enjoy the confidence of the people, and allegations have been made and we need to take into consideration the high office that people may be occupying, because then I think that it is appropriate that with due consideration of the person being named, that the matter could be made public because I think it serves to reinforce the process of building ...(indistinct).
MR VALLY: Thank you Archbishop. I am going onto a new topic which is "Disappearances". I am not going to go into it in detail. We thank the ANC for the list that has been provided to us of those members who died in exile and those who died in combat. However we've got a number of requests at our hearings regarding family members who believe that their family members may be with the ANC or may have been with the ANC. In some cases people claim they have information from the ANC that the family members died and they don't believe them. In other cases it's possible the family member died in combat or it's also possible that the family member was in exile but not with the ANC. But because these requests are on-going I think it will be best if we submit it to the ANC in writing. No purpose will be served in presenting it to you now.
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: If I may Chairperson, I appreciate the point that Mr Vallye is making because indeed there have been many instances of people coming directly to us in the firm belief that their relatives were with us when in fact they were not. There is one very well known case - there's that famous picture of a student carrying the body of Hector Petersen, now that student ended up in Nigeria, I was with him in Nigeria when he came there as a student. He was in that group of students but he was not in the ANC, and when the students left, completed, he vanished there, but the belief that he was with us and so you will see - that kind of thing keeps happening. The point that you are making that in many instances many or some of these people anyway went with the ANC, the assumption that they were is wrong. So it would indeed help if we had these names so that we can track as best as we can. We would be willing, and this has happened before, also to assist with regard to those people who were not with us and to the extent that we were able to participate in helping in that search we will certainly do that.
MR VALLY: Thank you very much. Let's go to a new subject. The issue I will discuss now is under the broad heading "Military Operations", but I want to start off by looking at the Geneva Convention, specifically Protocol 1, additional to the Geneva Convention of the 12th of August 1949 relating to the protection of victims of international armed conflicts 1977. This was the Protocol which was signed by the ANC and I believe they are justifiably proud that they were the first liberation movement to sign it in 1980. I want to just draw the ANC's attention to certain sections which are relevant to the questioning in this area. I refer specifically to Article 51,
"51.2 The civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians shall not be the object of attack, acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror amongst the civilian are prohibited.
51.3 Civilians shall enjoy the protection afforded by this section unless and for such time as they take a direct part in the hostilities.
51.4 Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited. Indiscriminate attacks are:
a. those which are not directed at a specific military objective;
b. those which employ a method or means of combat which cannot be directed at a specific military objective; or
c. those which employ a method or means of combat the effects of which cannot be limited as required by this protocol, and consequently in each such case are of a nature to strike military objectives and civilians, or civilian objects without distinction".
Now those are the particularly relevant sections I want to deal with when I come to the issue of bombing, planting of bombs by the ANC.
If one looks at the first submission by the ANC, page 52, and the resolutions taken at the Kabwe Conference, President Tambo, on page 52, first paragraph, left-hand column, I will just read the last sentence, if there's any other sections that you want to draw our attention to please feel free, made a statement at a press conference;
"The distinction between "hard" and "soft" targets is going to disappear in an intensified confrontation in an escalating conflict".
The direct result of the resolution taken at the Kabwe Conference, and there are a number of other quotes by, amongst others, Chris Hani, on the issue, resulted in a lot more bombs being planted closer or near residential areas. My first question, and I say this because of the ANC's own position later on, my first question is, wasn't this blurring of the distinction between "hard" and "soft" targets in direct contravention of those subsections of the Geneva Convention, Protocol 1 of the Geneva Convention which I just read which the ANC signed in 1980, bearing in mind that the resolutions from the Kabwe Conference were taken in 1985?
MR MAHARAJ: We signed the Geneva Convention after very careful consideration in all seriousness. But Mr Chairperson we were conducting a struggle in a real situation. It was not our choice that we resorted to the armed struggle, and in the same way, to the extent what could be called by Mr Vallye "a blurring" of the lines occurred. It was against our choice.
I would like to deal with the question of the actual situation. We were a guerilla army and unlike a conventional force where planning takes place at headquarters level, our planning had to take place at the unit and individual level where decisions sometimes had to be taken on the feet. We trained our cadres to first and foremost think and act politically and not alienate those we were seeking to bring onto the side of our struggle, even in the White community. But the apartheid regime never, never till we ended the armed struggle accorded our people any treatment as prisoners of war. In fact when I went to prison in 1964 we were called just "Bandite", ordinary criminals, not even terrorists, terrorists came later. So they never accorded us prisoner of war status. They never supported any international convention.
Our cadres also had to operate in the political context where sometimes they reacted with anger as to what they saw happening to our people on the ground. And 1984 was a particularly horrendous chapter in our country where thousands of people were dealt with in the most brutal fashion.
Then the gathering of intelligence was also the responsibility, tactical intelligence was the responsibility of the units on the ground, and here particular difficulties arose. Sometimes the information was wrong but at other times the information showed that the prime military targets were located in the heart of commercial and civilian areas. I myself came into the country, the 7th Battalion headquarters is located in a residential area on the way to Johannesburg Airport, and yet it is located at a point where there is a large open ground on the fourth side and I was sorely tempted, when I looked at political circumstances in the country to sometimes deviate from my mission and attack that headquarters, even if some of the houses were raised to the ground, and I went so far as to look at the houses and try and investigate who was living there. I was so sorely tempted that I had come to the conclusion that most of the houses were occupied by the top officers from that battalion. So I am saying how that was another particular difficulty when you came to adhering fully to the Geneva Convention.
Then at times our operations had to take place on the ground in support of the campaigns and struggles of the people. Again you had to locate yourself within the community and so this was another practical condition.
Then there is the reality that there were very long and insecure lines of communication, command and control, and the question of how we maintain discipline in a guerilla army, a political force. It's not the way it's done in a conventional army, by straight rules and regulations whereas in a guerilla force we rely on discipline through self-understanding and commitment to the objectives of the cause that we are serving.
So when President Tambo made that remark after the Kabwe Conference, he said very clearly that we were meeting at Kabwe two days after a massacre in Gaberone, and the essential point he made, not because he was unmindful of our signing the Geneva Convention, but because he was very mindful, he said when Gaberone was attacked we did not complain that soft targets were being hit because they have been hitting them all this time. What we did was to re-commit ourselves to intensifying the struggle, to saying that some of the restraints that we had placed on ourselves as to how we conduct the struggle would need to be relaxed. And in particular I would say then that where a military installation was in a commercial or civilian area, that restraint that we placed on ourselves had to be relaxed. But still, as I illustrate from my own case, we had to think very carefully. So those were the circumstances.
And I would say that like human rights was uppermost in our minds and that we were fighting for a society which would establish individual human rights for the first time in our country, in the same way we were very, very mindful that the tactics of the apartheid regime were drawing us into a morass where the rules of the games were likely to reduce an honourable struggle and besmear it, and we tried to avoid it.
So our commitment to the Geneva Convention was in that context a very real commitment and one which we constantly strove to measure up to. We could not follow other rules. We could not follow rules that said we should wear uniforms when we walked into the country and engaged in combat, we had to wear civilian clothes. The people were our protection.
CHAIRPERSON: Which one of you is it, Ronnie Kasrils?
MR R KASRILS: Thank you Archbishop. I would just like to add to what's been said. I think that we really need to very finely analyse what the late Comrade Oliver Tambo had to say in context, as well as Chris Hani, the late, on that very page, because these statements that they both made form part of a major statement to the press. And the question that's been put looks at the Geneva Protocol and we thank the presenter for that. In terms of that Geneva Protocol I think what's salient is that 51.2, "Civilians should not be the object of attack and there should not be indiscriminate attack", Archbishop.
Now if you examine what Oliver said and what Chris Hani said they both are saying the opposite to this. Chris Hani says Umkhonto is a revolutionary army and is not going to embark on mayhem against White civilians. Oliver Tambo is constantly throughout the period saying we will not see civilians as the object of the attack. And if we look at his statement to the press he's talking about soft targets, but he's saying over the past nine to ten months there have been many soft targets hit by the enemy. He's using it that way. What they are both saying is that the struggle is intensifying, it was intensifying before all our eyes, at that time. It was going to intensify. We were taking the struggle to the White areas in the sense that this is where military and police personnel were, economic targets etc, and in that process obviously there were going to be casualties, but civilians as such would not be the object of attack and the attacks would not be indiscriminate.
So we are dealing with a very fine area. Very often politicians of all countries at war, from Churchill to everybody else, to Roosevelt, to those in charge today where wars take place, there is the talk about the crossfire. It's a very euphemistic term, we all know it, but we know that within wars of conflict this does emerge, and in that sense Tambo and Hani, I would contend, are no different to the kind of statements that would be made by leaders of the civilised world whose bombs were dropping at Churchill's or Roosevelt's behest where you had thousands and tens of thousands of people dying, actual civilians, because of a war effort. I am just basically saying that we must see every single statement within the context here. And I would like to respond that way. Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Is there any one else? Matthews Phosa, Premier.
PREMIER MATTHEWS PHOSA: Thank you Chairperson. I would like to start by saying that in fact in waging the armed struggle we broke very few eggs to make a huge omelette. If you look at section 51.2 and look at the policy of the ANC, you look at 51.3 and the following subsections, I think in the difficult situation of not being government, not having the certainty of the lines of command and control, the ANC tried as far as possible to live up to its commitment under the Geneva Convention. Chairperson we could have used anti-personnel mines, but we did not. We used the three, the heavy ones which could not be detonated by merely stamping of a foot. We had seen this in Angola and Mozambique, up to this date there is still an effort to try and sweep out those mines. Now if we had wanted to be indiscriminate there will have been nothing to have stopped us from using anti-personnel, but because we wanted to avoid being indiscriminate we avoided using things like anti-personnel.
And Chairperson if you, as you go along, will listen to the application for amnesty, you will listen to the cadres of MK how they had to restrain themselves walking around this country, avoiding schools, churches, civilian residences, searching under difficult conditions for the Koeberg plant and other military stations, an effort by our cadres to avoid getting involved in an indiscriminate armed operations. Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr Modise?
MR MODISE: Thank you Mr Chairperson. Mr Chairperson when conflict intensifies then the targets begin to blurr. The difference between ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: You are too cultured, you want to speak a little more loudly - speak directly into the microphone.
MR MODISE: My fear is that if I do Mr Chairperson then these microphones will tear apart. I was saying Mr Chairperson when this struggle intensifies, when war is in the increase, then casualties are going to be high, not only amongst the people who themselves are engaged in conflict, innocent bystanders will also be affected. I think when the statement was made that the struggle is going to intensify and the difference between soft targets and hard targets is going to blurr. What was actually meant was that the country must prepare itself for this type of casualty. It must prepare itself for a situation where the armed struggle was going to be escalated to the point where quite a number of innocent people will also be caught in this conflict.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr Zuma?
MR ZUMA: Yes probably we think it's important to emphasise this point. I don't think we could say there has been a war in the world that has been fought wherein those who were fighting were able to avoid the casualty of what you would call civilians. In some wars towns have been bombed to ashes by the most civilised nations in the world because it is in the nature of the war and the nature of that particular war that you are able to fight that particular war.
I think what should be taken into account here, the ANC President then was being questioned on the ANC policy. You will recall that we carefully waged the armed struggle at the beginning and this was articulated by the Deputy President here. That there was a very clear instructions as we started sabotage in 1961 that no life must be lost. That indicated a level and stage of our armed struggle. We had reached a stage where the war had taken different levels. All what President Tambo was saying we were no longer going to carry the struggle as we did in 1961. We had reached a stage of a war wherein it's going to be difficult to avoid the casualties of innocent people. That was just a statement. It's not in contradiction to the Geneva Conventions provisions and I think we should understand this in the context of any other war that is fought, and I think we were still being clear and careful, but admitting the fact that we have reached a stage where the intensity of our struggle had reached a point where it would be difficult to avoid such casualties, because we are now going to go out to look for targets wherever they were, unlike at the beginning where we would go for the pylons somewhere in the bush. I just thought I should also underline that point.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Sorry Dr Boraine.
DR BORAINE: Chairperson for me the crux of this matter is not - is he going to continue on that one, okay.
MR VALLY: I am sorry about that.
DR BORAINE: I will come back if you don't.
MR VALLY: Certainly. I just want to follow this thought through, because I want to refer to the first submission of the ANC on page 60, the second last paragraph left-hand column, 60.
"The much publicised case of the car bomb explosion at the Magoo Bar and Why Not Bar on June the 14th 1986 provides another example of an operation in which civilians were victims in the context of the intensification of the armed struggle. Three civilians were killed, 69 injured..."
and it talks about McBride. I want to go onto the next column, the second paragraph,
"This attack was in line with the ANC's attempts to take the struggle out of the Black ghettos and into the White areas".
then it talks about the Why Not Bar. How does this accord with what you were saying? And I also defer to Dr Boraine now.
MR MAHARAJ: I thought I had indicated that the enemy forces were often located in commercial or civilian areas. In this particular case whatever was the actual outcome the fact of the matter was that the comrades who acted on this target had intelligence, tactical intelligence suggesting that the security forces when on off-duty congregated at this venue. So that was the basis on which they had acted. And if they had acted on that basis then they were in line with the practical problems that I had outlined that we were facing in the country.
The same problem, Chairperson, is highlighted in Church Street, because it was the Air Force target. Had that bomb gone off at 16H30 it would have caught the majority of the people would have been - the overwhelming majority would have been from that place. But it went off prematurely and it had been carefully reconnoitred. So there was our problem. And the target was selected, not directed at the civilian population but at the security force members.
DR BORAINE: Yes if I could - do you want to say something?
MR R KASRILS: Ja, thanks, sure. It's just to reinforce what Comrade Mac has said, because if Mr Vally had continued with the quote you would have had the key phrase,
"The attack was in line with the ANC's attempt to take the struggle out of the Black ghettos into the White areas..."
but then you omitted Sir was,
"The Why-Not Bar was targeted precisely because it was frequented by off-duty members of the security forces".
Now apologies have been stated over and over again by Robert McBride, by our movement, precisely in line with what Mac Maharaj has just said. There was a mistake that occurred, that particular evening it wasn't as filled with the security force members as had been seen in previous reconnaissance, they believed that the bar would be full which was very often the occasion. So what we have been consistent with is the targeting of the security forces. In the same way as Church Street. But in war, in conflict of course one can't always be 100% efficient, effective in an operation, and that's what obviously occurred in relation to this one. But we are consistent here in terms of our principle and approach.
DR BORAINE: Mr Chairperson the point I wanted to make was slightly different and that is that precisely because violence begets violence, because in wars civilians, innocent people are hurt and killed people avoid war. I think we all agree on that one. None of us like war. In terms of the Geneva Convention, to take it one step further, provision is made for movements whose cause is just to engage the oppressor, to use shorthand because I don't want to be too long on this. But it goes on to say, and it's a convention which the ANC had signed, it goes on to say that even though that is allowed for where human rights violations take place, which includes the killing or injuring of innocent people, civilians, that movement has to accept both moral and political responsibility for those actions.
Now my understanding is, which means that I think we ought to actually move on, because my understanding is the very fact a number of your leading people are applying for amnesty is not to say that the liberation struggle was wrong, but to acknowledge that in the pursuit of that mistakes are made, tragedies occur, and all I am concerned about, I think the Commission is concerned about, is that there is an acceptance of responsibility where it does occur and that there is accountability, because that's what the Commission is there to try and establish.
I would have thought that the whole thrust of this is really that the ANC, both in its first submission and its second and in its willingness to apply for amnesty is saying yes, we accept accountability for that, and if that can be confirmed I would be grateful so that we could make some progress.
PREMIER MATTHEWS PHOSA:(?) Chairperson I thought our further submission deals with exactly that, where we re-state our policy and we say in such cases where there are obvious violations we regret, which it's there in black and white in our submission. And I want to go back to give you another example of the bomb which exploded outside the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court around 1986, and you look at the sequence of events there, and you tell me if this is a type of soldier who is up to an indiscriminate bombing. He explodes a very small charge to attract the members of the security force to come to the big charge there, they converge there, and then he explodes a big charge and he causes a certain amount of damage. Now that is not a terrorist operating that operation, it's a person whose politics are correct, who understands that the targets are not civilians but the people who are enforcing an evil system. I am giving you that example for the record because it's a classical example in the history of our armed struggle which shows the care which was taken where this man could have just exploded both bombs and killed civilians.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Maharaj.
MR MAHARAJ: In case there is any misunderstanding, the African National Congress unreservedly apologises to all civilians who lost their lives, whether in cross-fire or any other circumstances our aim has never been to attack civilians. And whatever the intensity of the struggle where civilians have died, we believe that it is appropriate that in our country today, in the interests of reconciliation and unity that we should apologise, and we do so.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very, very much.
MR VALLY: I want to talk further about the two lists. It's in the second submission, Appendix 4 page 72, list of MK operations, and Appendix 5 page 102. And I want to specifically talk about Appendix 5, page 102.
"Armed actions for which target category and/or responsibility is uncertain".
there is first a research note, and then the sentence goes on,
"In addition we are uncertain as to whether these attacks were carried out by bona fide MK cadres. Some appear to be the result of the operational difficulties, others very probably false flag operations".
I am reading the head-note to that, it's on page 102 of the second submission. Surely the ANC can at least indicate which bombs it is responsible for and which bombs may be the work of, as is put, "a false flag operation"? How can there be such a broad band of uncertainty? In this period we are talking about limpet mine and bomb attacks in 1985 in department stores in Durban, nightclub in Umlazi, a tourist kombi in central Durban. There were a number of other explosions in 1986, the Carlton Hotel, other hotels, nightclubs, supermarkets, shopping centres, Wimpy Bars, bus terminuses, this whole series of attacks and the response we've got is, we're not sure. It may be just agent provocateurs or it may be our cadres. Bearing in mind that there were command structures in each province, can't we get more certainty?
MR MAHARAJ: Chairperson I appreciate the question, but until a few weeks ago I believed that the three comrades who perished on the Phoenix railway line in 1988 perished while they were out on their way to an operation, all three died. It is through the work of this Commission that we have recently learnt that those three comrades had been apprehended by the Security Branch, shot in cold blood and taken to the railway line and then blown up with explosives. It's now clear, only now, almost nine years later through the work of this Commission that that operation was not an operation on the railway line. Yet if today we had not learned that information we probably would have listed the Phoenix railway line attack as an attack falling in category A of our list. That's one example. I could multiply that so many times over, but I am illustrating one aspect of the problem.
I want to give you an example that illustrates another side of the problem. Again through the work of the TRC Pila Ndandwe was kidnapped from Swaziland in 1988 was the acting commander of the Natal machinery, therefore she was privy to the knowledge of many individuals in the country and many operations which we would have never heard about because she disappeared in 1988. Even if she had a chance to meet one of us personally she may not have told us of some of the operations, and she left in circumstances where it appeared that she had gone to meet people from home. It is through your work, in fact after her disappearance reports were carried in the South African media suggesting that she was now an askari, and therefore the family and the ANC, many in the ANC lived in the belief that she had deserted the ANC to work for the enemy, it is through your work today we know that she died refusing to work as an askari and that she had been kidnapped from Swaziland.
Again you would say to me what was there in Swaziland in 1988? In Swaziland in 1988 we were operating in great secrecy. We knew we were being hounded by the enemy. We were at times operating in that territory as if it was part of South Africa. We have handed you reports that suggest a degree of collaboration between the South African forces and at one time the head of the police in Swaziland. Those were the circumstances we were operating. Inside the country I did not, even though I had a hot line to President Tambo, I did not list every bit of my activity, and if I had ended up the way Charles Sindaba and Mbusa Tshabalala ended up, as you have found, nobody would know what we had done. And many actions would be attributed to us.
The next point "false flag", Chairperson you now know through your work and through the work of many trials that an act that was portrayed throughout the world media and television which was a gruesome act, which was televised as the necklace murder was now, is now known to have been carried out by the regime's forces, but it was televised throughout the world as an ANC operation. The perception was there, until today, even when I speak to some people they are not aware of the finding and the confessions that show who did it.
The same thing has happened with many bombings and we are not sure. So what we have done is that we were prepared to say here is list 1, we are clear. List 2 we have described as uncertain. We are not sure whether it's bona fide, but we are saying that in any case if a bona fide ANC member says I am applying for amnesty I did this, we would look at that matter and try to verify the incident. So that's the cooperation we would like to offer you, that if at any time any applicant says I acted on the orders of the ANC we have given you over time the structures and the personnel who manned the leading structures and we will do everything to verify the particular act. But I thought I should explain the context in which these operations took place without going too long on the operational realities and the realities with regards to lines of communication.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Maduna.
MR ZUMA: Chairperson you know it's interesting that until we all got to know who were responsible for the bombing of Khotso House the powers that then were were blaming it all on the ANC, and assuming they hadn't come forward one Shelley Gunn would be behind bars maybe still today though she was very innocent, and two the ANC would have been blamed even today for attacking Khotso House. We now know that it was none other than a former Minister, Adrian Vlok and police officers whose main responsibility in this society was to ensure that all of us were safe who participated in attacking and bombing Khotso House.
The same applies to the Eikenhof operation. We now know who were behind it. So it goes to show that as we dig deeper into the truth a whole lot of these are indeed going to become clearer to all of us as a society.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr Kasrils.
MR KASRILS: Thank you very much. I just want to add a little bit about the statistics, because if you look at the numbers here Archbishop, there are approximately 95 listed operations under Appendix 5, that's about the number and that's over 11 years, 11 years in a major struggle which was becoming more and more intense. We've got the other list and that list is approximately 500 operations. So my arithmetic makes it approximately 16%, 15, 16% of operations here which we are very honest about - we are just not sure.
Comrade Maharaj has pointed out the difficulties we operated under and just to keep this in context for ourselves and what we at headquarters in Lusaka or from a forward area, be it Botswana or Swaziland were faced with in terms of keeping track and contact with our operatives who could be anywhere in the country infiltrated back some explosive material and arms, given an operation to carry it out over a period of a year or more to try and set up other cells, try and find ways of keeping in communication with us, it just broke down, and very often we weren't sure. And that is the case till today. And that's why we put this list in the way it is.
CHAIRPERSON: Okay. You are not going to say everything I wanted to say has already been said but I'm going to say it.
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: Not at all. I think there is an important context I would want to add here, which I think is important to look at why other operations would be described as uncertain. There was a very clear strategy from the regime, one, to distort some of the operations, in some cases to carry some operations themselves and pretend they were carried out by us, and one example was a very intense interference with operational material, so that it exploded prematurely, it kills cadres, it hits wrong targets. But also due to their infiltration to influence particular operations, to hit wrong targets deliberately.
There are two points that I would just like to make an example of, a car bomb in Durban wherein the police became part of the planning of that operation, to divert it from a military legitimate target ended up killing three civilians. At the beginning before we knew the information we thought it was a mistake, but later we got to know that it in fact it was deliberately planned by the police, and that two agents were operating, reporting to them differently on the same matter. So whilst instructions were given on a very legitimate target but they were able to influence the final results of it because of the information they had. And we could give a few of such.
Now I think it is important to take that context as well. It was not just because these actions were not known in the majority of cases, that in fact some of the operations you hesitated to claim if there was no clarity because of the interference that was done by the police. That was the addition I wanted to make.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I had wondered whether we should let - Wynand Malan.
MR W MALAN: Just a brief follow-up on this. The difficulty that I for one has, is that these kind of statements are being given to us all through your documentation about this kind of influence to re-direct the target from a legitimate to an illegitimate target, but the police as an amorph entity is being mentioned, never the names, so it's exceptionally difficult for us to check and control this and we have to go with the statement. Is there any way that you can help us with any of the so-called "false flag" or this type of operation to give us names through your operatives. Surely they must have told you who they dealt with?
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Mac Maharaj.
MR MAHARAJ: To the extent that it would be possible on particular cases we will seek to help the Commission. Our problem is that we have given, for example, the document dealing with the National Security Management System and even their structure after 1990 which continued. We are aware of the various arms, sometimes we are not aware of who were particular people manning those particular arms, but otherwise we also have some information on that. So we have tended to feel that we need to be cautious on this matter. We want to be sure that what we put on record we can verify. And we will make every effort, Chairperson, to verify anything that you bring to our attention.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Hlengiwe Mkhize.
MS MKHIZE: Thank you Chairperson. I just want to check one thing. In your latest submission, page 14, 15 in particular we get quite a number of abstracts from your leadership coming out of the conference whereby a resolution was taken to engage in an armed struggle, but are there documents which will assist us with the policies which you formulated so as to be able to see whether they were monitoring mechanisms, controls, real policies besides what is said here, the statements which were made through the media and so on.
MR MAHARAJ: Can we just have the reference, the page number?
CHAIRPERSON: 15, 1-5.
MS MKHIZE: There is an abstract from O R Tambo, right on top and Chris Hani in the beginning, it's like you had quite a number of conferences, but we would like to hear more about your policies, actual policies which were put in place.
MR MAHARAJ: Chairperson we have submitted a set of documents commencing from the Umkhonto Manifesto. There is one document that we have not submitted but which is on Internet because we have drawn it to your attention, the famous Green Book, so that too is available. So all the documents, conference resolutions etc, even of Kabwe, are available, and we have given all that we could give. Where we have had a gap we have said so, that this material has not been available, but I think we have given all that.
Now when you refer to Chris Hani's broadcast obviously that would be a typescript from a broadcast. As for President Tambo's statement again it was at a press conference so there's a record of that. So all those - and if there's any particular document that the Commission feels is missing we would make an effort to cooperate in finding that. And some are of course in the archives at Fort Hare, but we will be prepared to look for those documents, any particular one that interests the Commission. We think we have submitted all the basic documents.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Mr Hanif...
MR VALLY: Thank you Archbishop. Mr Zuma it's interesting you advised us that you found out about that "false flag" operation because we have had a request from a family who has come to us, the son, his parents Anamali Daya(?) and Lelaviti Rangasami(?) were killed in a bomb blast in the Esplanade in Durban on the 3rd of April 1994 and we've been specifically asked to give them some information as to who was responsible for that bomb blast. So if, not now, but maybe as soon as possible give us further information we would like to forward this to the family.
I want to move on to what falls classicly under the section of the Geneva Protocol which states,
"Those which employ a method or means of combat which cannot be directed at a specific military objective..."
and I'm talking here about landmines. Landmines were planted in rural areas and according to the figures we have and the evidence you have given before the Commission, by far the majority of the people who were injured and killed were civilians. How does the ANC justify the usage of landmines on public roads in view of its having signed the Geneva Protocol?
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Modise.
MR MODISE: Landmines were used in areas that were extensively patrolled by the South African Defence Force and also by the area protection units commonly known by the term "Commandos". Most of those operations, mine-laying operations were in the border areas, the areas that were patrolled very, very effectively. I think it is common knowledge to the Commission here that part of the fence was electrified and in most instances it was on the lethal mode and there were gaps, and where they didn't have the fence that's where most of the patrolling took place. The idea was to try and impede, reduce the intensity of these patrols.
There was, however, another landmine that was placed in Mamelodi. That was very deep into the country. The cadres carried out extensive reconnaissance. They actually studied the movements of the caspir and they laid their mines and the caspir was hit. So basically the idea was to try and reduce the intensity of the patrolling because those patrols had also resulted in the killing of a number of cadres who were getting into the country.
I must also point out most of the casualties that were publicised were civilian casualties. The caspir was reported because it was in the township, it could be seen by everybody. The military vehicles that were used on the border, many of them, casualties there have not been reported.
Yes, the African National Congress realised that after the few incidents where civilians were caught the President called us in and asked us to put a stop to this method of operation. I gave the instructions to all our forces to stop using the landmines. This was done out of the problems that were created by the mine because sometimes though the mines were directed at military personnel, particularly in the areas which they frequented civilians were also caught. The African National Congress, out of its humane policy, ordered us to put a stop to this. Though the cadres that we were sending in through those areas suffered casualties and sometimes those who were caught were terribly brutalised.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Maharaj.
MR MAHARAJ: Chairperson I would merely want to add by drawing to the attention of the Commission the question how should we have perceived the farmers in the border areas? They had been encouraged to remain, to become part of the defence force line. Their farms in terms of the Promotion of Density of Population in Designated Areas Act no.87 of 1979 these farms were managed according to SADF directives, all White farmers in the areas had to undergo military training. They had to be members of the regional and area commandos. They had to make themselves available to the SADF and the Department of National Security to carry out reconnaissance and intelligence tasks whenever called to do so. They were all linked to the commando system of part time SADF forces and the military radio network known as Marnet. Many of the farm buildings were even constructed in such a way as to constitute a chain of defence, strongholds along the borders already used by the SADF. We debated this question many times in the ANC, agonised over it, and we came to the conclusion that they were members of the security forces, on the basis of the facts. Of course, as my comrade Modise says, when we saw that the bulk of them were civilian casualties we had to examine the problem. But I want to emphasise MK never used a single anti-personnel mine. An anti-personnel mine can be triggered, as we all know by ordinary human weight. We used anti-tank landmines. They could only be triggered by a minimum weight of 300 kilograms. But what we found was the cause of the casualties is that often the farmers transported many of their labourers on these vehicles. The result was that the vehicle had the request weight and the casualties were ordinary people. So these were the problems that we had to confront. And the moment clear recognition came around that we were facing a problem we brought it to a stop.
But I wanted to emphasise that the farming population along these border areas had been subsidised in terms of the Act that I've referred to by a minimum of R100 million to stay in these areas and encouraged to stay and to become part of this network. And they were part of the military forces as far as we were concerned and this is another problem when you look at the Geneva Convention, because we had to ask what is the real fact. It doesn't matter whether the farmer was wearing a khaki pants and a veldskoon.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Hanif? MR VALLY: I am through with the issue of bombings and landmines if the Commission wants to ask any questions.
CHAIRPERSON: But we are still with the military operations. What about 3C are you coming to that?
MR VALLY: Yes. CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
MR VALLY: What we'd like to know is who exactly did the ANC consider legitimate targets for killing, for example off-duty policemen, policemen's families, girlfriends of policemen, families of councillors, families of vigilantes, political leaders, part of the government, were these regarded as legitimate military targets?
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Maharaj.
MR MAHARAJ: Chairperson this is a matter that the Commission had put a specific question to us and in our submission it is dealt with on pages 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 up to page 12. So I hope I can refer the Commission to that presentation there, unless there are specific questions arising from that presentation.
MR VALLY: Just to follow up, I think the pages Mr Maharaj refers to justifies the attacks on policemen and councillors, but what I am asking him about is their families and their homes and the girlfriends, etc, were they also as a result all legitimate targets?
MR MAHARAJ: No they would not fall within our definition of legitimate targets, although the context in which we have explained how some attacks took place in the country spontaneously, how we saw those matters, and clearly when you begin to carry out operations without adequate military training, without a clear understanding of the explosive devices that you are using, explosives by their nature are indiscriminate but in the hands of an untrained person become even more indiscriminate.
MR VALLY: I am now ready to move on Mr Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. I just wanted to find out from my colleagues here whether under that particular category - Dr Mgojo.
DR MGOJO: In the context of our situation and the context of the old South Africa, what criteria was used when you were using policemen as targets? Because just to put it blank it confuses in some instances because there were many policemen and in the context of our country you couldn't just dress those policemen under the same garment, so what was the criteria, what did you look for when you were using the policemen as the targets?
MR MAHARAJ: Chairperson I think that the starting, the premise from which we must start is the political premise that the ANC put forward and adhered to in all its political work. It made repeated appeals and sought all sorts of means to mobilise those in the security forces, in particular the police to cross over and join the forces of liberation. At certain moments we used terms such as "turn your guns on those who order you", so that was the political basis of the appeal.
Number two, we even made this appeal to the White policemen, and we have always sought to bring them in, both in overt forms and in clandestine forms. If it had not been for the success of our clandestine forms our intelligence services would have been far slower on the ball than we have been so far. Policemen stood out in the community when they acted harshly and brutally. Before the community those who brutalised the community were well-known. And all of us, the thousands of us that went through detention all had our own stories to tell about individual policemen. So that's the context. We were not indiscriminate about policemen. We were politically guided that we needed to win them over because we knew that even at the level of warfare whilst you can kill one you could win 100 over by propaganda and organisation and we wanted to win the 100. But I'll let my colleague Joe Modise continue with that.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Modise.
MR MODISE: Thank you Mr Chairperson. I think we need to understand exactly how the police were used in this country. They were actually serving in the front line of oppressive forces. Amongst them you found the most brutal, in fact they were leading insofar as torture and brutality was concerned. This brutality was not only confined to those who were opposing them with arms in hand, but even the ordinary Black public was terrorised by these policemen. In fact they were the main agents of the oppressive regime. Soldiers fought against us. Sometimes soldiers were also made to brutalise the population in the townships, but key amongst these forces of repression were the police. It is true an attempt was made to try and win some of them over. We directed propaganda against them to try with the hope of winning them over, but we have not been very successful. Neither were we able to try and get them to change their ways against the population. It is for that reason that they were targeted.
CHAIRPERSON: Wynand Malan.
MR W MALAN: This last statement, does that apply across the board for all policemen or are you referring to specific policemen?
MR MODISE: Unfortunately the good policemen were blurred by the actions of those who were brutal. In fact all policemen were given the task of finding us and eliminating us. If we were not arrested and taken to what's his name, sometimes the executions also took place even before you could reach the cells. So in short the police themselves with their activities created a situation where they were regarded as the enemy. They behaved like enemies against those who were struggling against oppression, they also behaved in that manner against their own people. They were the ones who were kicking down doors at night. Apparently there might have been some who were more vicious than others, but in the eyes of the people, worst of all in our eyes they were the enemy.
MR W MALAN: May I just follow up on that. You make a similar statement with regard to the councillors that were also targets saying that you did not identify them as enemies, they placed themselves there, they put themselves up as enemies of the people. Now that's very difficult to -either you did identify them as targets or you did not, but the rhetoric over these four, five pages that Mr Maharaj referred to uses both approaches. I don't know exactly what the position of the ANC leadership is on this.
CHAIRPERSON: The Premier Phosa.
PREMIER MATTHEWS PHOSA: Before you come to the councillors, still on the police, I am sure my other police can respond to the one of the councillors, the police were the front line of the counter-mobilisation strategy against our offensive. They were that front line. But talking about the police and the other question raised earlier on whether it was all the police, there are certain police who we managed to recruit and who came to the side of the liberation forces and I think it is appropriate to mention officers like Officer Mgabodi who used to work at Compol, who under difficult conditions turned around and supported the cause of justice and truth. And in the army you had one like, I think it was a colonel or a brigadier, Niemand, who also turned his back against injustice and supported the cause of truth. Now in talking about policemen you find that there are many examples like the Mgabodi's and Niemand who had the commonsense to realise that apartheid was wrong. Now I just wanted to add to that answer on policemen.
CHAIRPERSON: I was getting a little concerned at Mr Modise's reply that it went counter to much of what you have been saying where you were making distinctions, I think that that answer is one that would, as it were, throw out of the window, the fact that you were making distinctions and it is almost the crux of your argument, and if his answer is your answer then I think you should throw this submission also out of the window.
MR MAHARAJ: Chairperson I think perhaps Mr Malan in dealing with this section recognised a tension, but the tension arises in the operational reality. The security forces, including policemen were at the front line of the counter-mobilisation strategy, were in the front line of the preservation of apartheid and in breaking the resistance waged by the people. But at the same time politically we understood that if we left that terrain entirely to the apartheid regime we would be making a fatal strategic mistake in how we defined the system.
A similar tension arises with the councillors because the council structure that was erected by apartheid was a key structure which even Magnus Malan recognised for the perpetuation of apartheid. But they were mainly composed of Black people, from the oppressed community. So we had to engage in a dual strategy which took into account the position they occupied in the counter-mobilisation and in the breaking of our resistance movement as well as the need to draw them politically. It is that that required, the decisions were not made in Lusaka about who we should act against. Many of those decisions were taken on the ground in the context of particular struggles and what the communities were undergoing.
Now yes, if we look at the Black councillors who were attacked, whilst the ANC did not order such attacks it took no pleasure in the loss of life, but certainly it did not condemn them in principle. You will find an illuminating reference to what Comrade Chris Hani said in the context of necklacing, which sets the matter in a proper context. Both as to how we approach this matter from the point of view of our political responsibility and at that time from the vantage of that moment we saw it, Chris says, as a weapon devised by the oppressed themselves. We now know the reality was different. He goes on to say that we want revolutionary justice but we want it to be devised and handled in a revolutionary way and democratic way. So here was the tension that we faced. It is part of the type of problems that I certainly confronted, together with my comrades like Simpi Winyanda and Ronnie Kasrils, that part of that operation was designed to locate increasingly leadership figures so that we would work together with the leadership on the ground in ensuring that adequate guidance was given to the struggle.
So I believe that there is a tension if you look at it from one or particular angle, but it arises in an operational context.
MR W MALAN: May I just ask two follow-up questions on this. The first is the necklacing. Now whether we do know differently now or whether the first one was indeed from grassroots or from the regime as an example, or whether all of them might have come from the regime, the fact is that ANC leadership, if I read the submission, I want to know whether I'm correct, took the line all along that they were not to subscribe to the population. There's even reference to the traditional methods of justice referring to necklacing. For quite some time there was no intervention.
The second question following on this is on your page 15 of your second submission, your responses, on the left-hand column, can you reaffirm the second last paragraph,
"... MK cadres conducting crash courses to eager volunteers inside the country".
but you say that they were never thoroughly under the discipline of the ANC and the MK. So was it not expected all through that these kinds of, what you refer to as aberrations or mistakes, would continue to happen?
MR MAHARAJ: No they would not continue to happen. Yes we gave crash courses. There's one of two ways that you could choose to go but we went across the board. We took out people for training, but the necessities of the struggle required that they needed to be turned round quicker because if a person had stayed long outside the country they had lost contact with the conditions on the ground. So we had to turn them around first. But if you move towards crash courses you have to send in more of the leadership figures to be in command on the ground, and our record shows that that's a direction in which the ANC was working. But in general what we were drawing attention to in this paragraph is that crash courses were given both outside and inside the country and they too differed in the calibre of what was given.
We have indicated the other type of problem that a unit comes in, begins to operate in the country, it needs a support base. It utilises a person to drive today but in three months time, as a result of that performance, the person is given phased training, and it depends at which point in the person's training something happens. So training is not a terminal process when you are looking at that situation.
I actually believe that Comrade Chris Hani in his response on the question of necklacing states a very interesting proposition. In principle there were developments at home which we did not condemn, because he said we have a problem. When something happens in the country which appears, at that time he stated it more categorically in the context of it, as
"....something devised by the oppressed people to defend themselves against repression. How do you exercise your political responsibility and your leading role?".
We had to do that by first looking at the problem, getting reports and discussing it with our cadres inside the country by long roots of communication, to get that understanding of the problem and then to discuss it through.
But in the case of the necklace, for example, a point was reached where President Tambo personally chose to meet a very important delegation who had gone to the Children's Conference in Harare, to meet the people from home at all levels to specifically address them on this problem, and to say this is a form of action that we need to desist from. So we took steps. We took steps in different forms, first quietly which would never be observed, but one thing we did, we did not want to abandon the role that fell on us as the leading political organisation of this country to guide the people in the struggle.
MR VALLY: Thank you Archbishop. I still want to tackle this issue of necklacing. We in the TRC have been told a number of times by people who have made presentations to us that a certain climate was created by the ANC which condoned the practice of necklacing. Examples give to us, for example, was the statement by Mr Tim Ngubane, the ANC representative to the United States, 10th of October 1985, I quote,
"We want to make the death of collaborators so grotesque that people will never think of it".
Statement made on the 13th of April 1986 by Mrs Winnie Madikezela-Mandela, and I quote:
"Together with our boxes of matches and our necklaces we shall liberate this country".
Statement made by Mr Alfred Nzo, 14th of September 1986, and I quote:
"Whatever the people decide to use to eliminate those enemy elements is their decision. If they decide to use necklacing we support it".
The practice of necklacing was later outrightly condemned. I am not sure of the exact date, I think late 1986 or early 1987 by the then President Oliver Tambo of the ANC.
The question remains, why did it take the ANC so long to condemn the practice of necklacing? We have been given figures by General Magnus Malan, for example, where he says there were 406 people necklaced between 1984 and December 1989. We've also got a number of applications for amnesty by ANC members who were involved in necklacing in the 1980's.
And there's a quote in one amnesty application, because of the climate created around the issue of necklacing, because there wasn't an outright condemnation of this method, and I quote:
"As beginners in the struggle against apartheid we had a copycat mind whereby we used acts which were used by other comrades in the late eighties, acts of necklacing, when we thought it was the right way of dealing with culprits".
I am going to add one more bit to this question because - then we can move in bigger chunks forward. There is an argument to be made that a just war encompasses two elements, not just the end result which must be just, but the means to that end result must also be just. If necklacing was at any stage part of the struggle doesn't it, in itself, defeat the idea of a just war? Thank you.
MR MAHARAJ: Chairperson I hope that Magnus Malan when he gave evidence before you acknowledged that the first necklacing was carried out by the apartheid forces. But I want to take the question very seriously. On hindsight if we delayed, in the judgement of any person, too long in appealing for the end of this practice and to condemn it, then on hindsight, yes, we made a mistake, we should have done it earlier. But the question re-arises again about the realities in which we were struggling.
From the period of the Rivonia arrests to 1973, it is from 1965 to 1973 repression reigned rampant in this country and there was hardly a single overt form of resistance sustainable within the country. 1973, with the strikes and in the context of various efforts by the African National Congress to re-group in exile, to train and to send missions into the country which were very quickly intercepted by the regime, the strikes of 1973, the uprising of 1976, brought back the reality that we could truly found our armed struggle on a political struggle and on mass action.
And the masses in this country need a huge tribute to be paid to them for where we are today, because by and large again, just as we focus sometimes on the violations and the larger picture disappears, and it appears as if the entire struggle of the masses was characterised by necklacing, it is the strikes, the demonstrations, it is the youth fighting with sticks and stones against saracens and tanks that has been an indispensable ingredient of where we are today.
So the ANC in its efforts to reach home needed to interact with the masses in motion and it needed to appreciate anything that they did even if it looked to us from a distance to be a form that we did not like. It needed to locate its appreciation in that context. The result is both the necklacing and various other activities that took place could not be reacted to by immediately having the benefit of the knowledge that the enemy was perpetrating those acts and seeking to discredit us. It had to be reacted to as something that the masses had taken up under conditions of extreme brutalisation and repression. And then you sought to channel that energy into proper forms of political action and unity with the armed actions that we were undertaking. So that explains the approach that we had to take.
It would be an extremely foolhardy leader of the ANC of 1984/85, '85 I think is the period of the first necklacing, to have stood up and said this is wrong, out with it. I know some people had the courage, but we had to balance the need for that understanding with a proper appreciation of what was happening at home, and we were always mindful that being so far from home needed for us to temper our judgements by a better understanding of what was happening on the ground. It was not for dassies and Cape wine that we sought to intercept every South African colleague in any part of the world, to sit down and talk with them and understand what was happening at home. Political leadership cannot be acquired simply from the textbooks, it needs to be located within the context of people as they are living and working and labouring and struggling. So that's the explanation I have.
And I think that it is an explanation that allows for us to say that if some people say our condemnation was made too late we can say, in all honesty that yes, it is possible to make that judgement from hindsight, but it would not be a judgement that would be very wisely made, and should not be too lightly made.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Ronnie Kasrils.
MR KASRILS: I would just like to address myself to the very last statement that Mr Hanif Vally made where you focused on the two aspects internationally, the question of just cause in terms of a just war, is the one approach, and with it, and linked to it is what internationally is called justice in war, and that is that you wage your war in terms of humane conduct, so you don't invoke a just war and totally ignore your behaviour and your conduct. You might have a just cause and you wage a war and you resort to every means possible in terms of the ends justifying the means, necklaces, terrorism, indiscriminate slaughter and so on, and goodness knows we've seen a lot of that happening in this poor old world of ours today and in the past, but what of the ANC led armed struggle? We are looking at that struggle waged over virtually exactly 30 years.
Was it a just cause? Was our war about a just cause? Certainly. There is no ambiguity about that. I think everybody agrees.
How did we conduct that war? We are not looking at conduct by MK that was about wholesale indiscriminate terror. Over 30 years what can our critics point at in relation to that? There is the landmine issue. Mr Modise has referred to that. He has told you how a very legitimate approach of using landmines and not anti-personnel mines, we withdrew from that when we saw that we didn't have sufficient control, we withdrew from using that method.
The question of necklaces, Comrade Maharaj has dealt with that and the facts are that we issued this call to our people and we said hold on, necklaces should not be used.
What does that leave us with? In terms of the loss of human life one doesn't easily like to say well just a few car bombs, or just a few bombs that led to civilian deaths which weren't part of our policy as we've shown here, but in fact it was actually quite minimal. And in terms of that you must judge then the way we conducted this war. Where we made mistakes over 30 years we've apologised and we regret it profoundly, and I would say, Mr Vally, on that basis we fought a just war for a just cause and our justice in that war, the way we waged it, our conduct was extremely good. And I don't think you find many struggles that can compare quite frankly. As has been said here today, if we wanted to resort to terror bombing in this country it would have been very, very easy indeed, very easy, and you never saw that from the ANC and MK.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Hanif.
MR VALLY: Thank you Archbishop. I want to just move on to the next sub-point under the heading, which has got to do with Mrs Winnie Madikezela-Mandela. In the mid-1980's when popular struggle was at its height and the ANC was banned Mrs Madikezela-Mandela was seen as the public representative of the ANC. There have been two cases which have come to our Human Rights Violations Committee. The case of Lola Sono who was allegedly abducted and the complainant was the father, Mr Nikodemus Sono, and the case of Mr Siboniso Anthony Tshabalala and the deponent is his mother Mrs Nomsa Tshabalala, also a case of alleged abduction.
I have a number of questions in relation to this issue which I will put together and maybe the answer can be a composite one. Was Mrs Mandela acting as an ANC member during the 1980's? And if so was she subject to any organisational discipline? Were any attempts made to bring her position in line with ANC policy? Did the ANC make any attempt to establish contact with her to assert some sort of control over her in view of the fact that she was perceived as a public representative of the ANC, or in fact to dissociate the ANC from her actions?
MR MAHARAJ: Chairperson, Comrade Winnie Mandela was a member of the African National Congress, was perceived to be a member, but the reality was post-1964 the movement had extreme difficulty in establishing lines of communications with home. And many people that it contacted, whom it knew were members of the ANC pre-'94, pre-Rivonia arrests, the facts were as cadres were infiltrated into the country they'd often get arrested, and we had to raise concerns whether they were not already surrounded by the security forces. But matters were not static. New spaces opened up for struggle by a combination of factors, and as those spaces opened up there was a regeneration of the mass struggles in the country. So we also know that many of the people identified by the regime as known ANC people were also surrounded by agents of the enemy in order to get people to come through those channels into the ANC. This was another dimension of the problem.
Clearly many of us, different individuals carried out and performed, carried out activity in the country and outside which not all of us were happy with all the time. But I think that we need to be clear that in the period that we are talking, that you are raising these issues, it would be important that these matters are brought to us so that we can present our ...(indistinct), so that we can look at what were the facts. We need to also be mindful that there was one court action already.
So those were the conditions under which they were operating, and she amongst others, in very harsh conditions. The organisation did try to reach her from time-to-time. At times by couriers, at times through other cut-outs, and certainly at other times through all forms of telephonic contact that had opened up. I certainly am aware that those contacts were even made when I was in the country in '88, but I was clear, that if I went close to any of these people of that calibre our mission would have to be aborted or we would be captured because the enemy had surrounded us.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Nzo.
MR NZO: Mr Chairman I just wanted to get back to what had been said earlier on the question of necklacing which has been debated very hotly by my colleagues. At one point I thought that it was not necessary for me to say anything in spite of the fact that somehow a quote had been made, attributed to me, on the question of necklacing.
Now, the whole issue of necklacing when looked at in the context of what the people were facing from the apartheid regime at that time and suddenly they discover that that regime was employing hundreds of informers against them, and spontaneously on the ground they decide what they did. It doesn't explain there that it was not possible from the very beginning, although of course attempts were being made subsequently to that, to try and see to it that they understand how wrong this is, but you don't stand up from the very beginning and shout without having to demoralise people who are trying to resolve a problem.
Now one thing of course that must be known here is that no African National Congress at any time sat down and decided as a matter of form of struggle that a necklace must be used. That did not happen at all. It was a spontaneous action by people who were facing what they were facing at the time, and it had to be treated very sensitively in order for it - and of course we must really congratulate them for having, in the end, listened to what the African National Congress had to say, which was doing so - at the beginning we have heard that our President Tambo was in fact saying to others, no - to people that he met, that look this thing had better stop, and eventually people listened, and they stopped. And I think they ought to be congratulated because it was a response for having listened eventually to the ANC. They were doing this in a response to a situation that was very difficult on them and of course I mean we couldn't, by the very next day when they were doing this say, no, no, no you are wrong, especially when they were saying that they are targeting the enemies of the struggle that were assisting the apartheid regime.
But as I say the matter has been explained adequately by my colleagues earlier and I thought I should just merely say this because I happened to have been quoted.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Modise.
MR MODISE: I think it is correct to respond to the questioner positively. I think the President, our late President Oliver Tambo took steps to send a message to Comrade Winnie and got - I say it is true - it is correct for me to point out that the late President Oliver Tambo did send a message home intended to reach Comrade Winnie and others, to get them to distance themselves from this method of dealing with enemy agents.
CHAIRPERSON: Jacob Zuma.
MR ZUMA: Yes, without adding much, what I would just want us not to lose sight of that the whole question of the necklace originated from the regime. They were responsible for it, they used their agents to portray it as if it actually emerged from the people in general. At the beginning I think people did not know, nor did we know, but I think it is now an established fact. I am just hoping that with all the questions that are being posed we don't lose sight of that fact, that in fact it was a deliberate tactic used to show that people were doing inhuman things in South Africa, by the regime. I just wanted to underline that fact.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Dr Boraine.
DR BORAINE: Just first a comment. I think whoever originated it in terms of the people who have come to the Commission and have told us their stories and have claimed membership of the ANC, they have made it clear that they were involved in necklacing. That's straightforward fact.
I think, and I want to choose my words very carefully here, that many of us say things for which we have profound regrets later on, in the heat of the moment, and I think that perhaps when one does do that, when the appropriate time has come is for us simply to say look, I was wrong, I apologise. Some things you can't explain away and to say well if people decide to use the necklace method well then we support them is something which I think one simply has to deal with and move away from because that was not, as I hear you, what your former President and you yourselves have claimed.
The other point I wanted to make is a further question and that also arises out of a hearing that was held by the Commission when the mother of Stompie Sepei came to us and asked us to assist her in trying to resolve a number of questions which she felt were still outstanding. As in all cases we said that we would do our very best to do that. And in the other instances referred to by Mr Vally I would just like to add this one as well for your comment. CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
MR MAHARAJ: Chairperson in the instance of necklacing and even the councillors I think that the position that we have tried to put was to give an understanding of the time when positions were taken by the movement, not subsequently, and in the context of the responsibility we had of leading the struggle.
With regards to necklacing applications, certainly it would be our duty if the TRC approached the African National Congress and said here is an applicant claiming to have done this as a member of the ANC, for us to look into the matter as the ANC and indicate some form of verification, because the question of membership must be understood in the context of underground ties, just as today there isn't anybody left in the country who was pro-apartheid. There are many, many people who simply say I was a member of the ANC. I mean we know the case of Lucky Mhlaza. He made a statement saying that he had done a necklacing and got out and was released, yet he was a bank robber and had not been a member of the ANC. So I think we would like to offer our cooperation. Certainly it is a matter of pain that things happened in the struggle, such as even the case of Stompie, and to the extent that we can play some facilitating role we would like to play that role.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Hlengiwe Mkhize.
MS MKHIZE: Thank you Chair. I will ask that we go back to what was said by Mac Maharaj. You indicated, when the question of Winnie Mandela was raised, that at a certain point she was surrounded by the enemy and it was difficult to access her directly. What I would like to know from the delegation is whether given the fact that she was well-known as a member would you cooperate with us in terms of giving us more information around certain social formations like the Football Club, because when the leader started he referred to the case of Lola Sono, Siboniso Tshabalala, those are people who have appeared before the Commission linking - their parents have appeared linking the disappearances of their sons to the Club that I have referred to? So our request is to get your understanding of the Club, its structure, if what is said is true? How many people disappeared or died in the hands of that Club? Or whatever information which might enlighten our understanding of human rights violations in that context.
MR MAHARAJ: Chairperson we certainly will cooperate with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Hanif.
MR VALLY: I want to move on to another issue which is inter-organisational conflict. We've had a number of people who have come to our hearings complaining that in the mid-eighties there was very bitter fighting with deaths between supposedly ANC-supporting youth and AZAPO and PAC. This happened in Soweto, in Port Elizabeth, in other Eastern Cape towns, in Fort Beaufort, in Mpekweni in Paarl, and one example is two AZAPO members in Port Alfred allegedly killed. The question we are asking is did the ANC intervene in such conflicts either through its underground structures or through its propaganda to limit the violence that occurred and discourage its supporters from such confrontations?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir. We sought to intervene because it has never been the policy of the ANC to foment inter-organisational rivalry amongst the oppressed. Our entire history, from the formation of the ANC was to seek to build unity between the organisations. Even in 1962 when President Mandela went out after we had launched the armed struggle, it is he who stood before the meeting of ...(indistinct) Addis Ababa and requested the recognition of the PAC and motivated for it. So we have always been clear that we need unity. And whatever our differences we have wanted to resolve those differences by discussion and by seeking to mobilise the people in such a way that they are not misled as to the nature of our oppression.
When the inter-organisational rivalry hit the scene in the mid-eighties we treated it as a development of the inter-organisational rivalry taking place in the context of heightened repression and brutality by the regime. And as a manifestation - as something happening in that context we sought to tell our cadres to intervene and to resolve the matter by discussion. But it was not very long after which we began to detect a pattern which indicated that the regime's national security management system was trying to manipulate these inter-organisational rivalries.
We have given you extensive reportage of our view of the information we've had which led us to what was happening, our understanding of what was happening in the Eastern Cape, what was happening with the vigilantes, and how in many instances, for example the case of Reverend Ebenezer Maqcina, it was initially portrayed as a fight between the Chartris(?) and AZAPO. Reverend Maqcina was part of the Joint Management Committee, brought there by the security forces, paid by the security forces and helped to equip himself with the vigilante team. So while we sought to address it in a political framework of being resolved by dialogue and discussion we became aware gradually that this inter-organisational rivalry was taking a form which was being exploited by the regime through injecting the vigilantes into it.
That presented us with new problems but we never gave up the hope of bringing about inter-organisational understanding. Even when we were legalised in 1990 one of the first major acts we undertook was to call the Patriotic Front Conference to which we had invited every democratic organisation to participate to establish a common front to bring about majority rule and democracy to our country. So that is the context in which we - we can give you where in our submission we have the names of the various vigilante groups that operated in various parts of the country where we have information clearly linking them to the regime's manoeuvres, but the roots of that rivalry descending into violence must be traced into the manipulation by the national security management system.
We did inform AZAPO, for example, about Revered Maqcina. Where we found that somebody was working with the enemy forces and part of this violence rivalry we sought to inform the other organisations about what was happening so that they could take their own steps in order to discipline their members.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Premier Phosa.
PREMIER PHOSA: Thank you Chairperson. Just for the record we will want to underline the fact that some of these organisations were part of what we called earlier on "counter-mobilisation" to undermine the UDF, the ANC, the PAC and AZAPO in some cases. And although we have set it out in our submission it's important that we all rather repeat it here. You had the Three Million Gang in the Free State which played a particular role which was very destabilising to organisations there. You had the Black Cats in Ermelo which even from the hearings in Nelspruit last week it was very clear you have someone saying I was paid by the police to kill an ANC member. I am a member of the IFP. You can see exactly the trend of trying to destabilise organisations. It's on your own record. You had the Masinyora(?), you had the A-Teams and then you had the AMAFRIKA, you had the Veduka(?), all of them part of the counter-mobilisation strategy of the police, to a very large extent, aimed at destabilising legitimate organisations of the people. CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. MR VALLY: I am through with this section. CHAIRPERSON: I want to find out from my colleagues - have you got? I must invite you Dr Mgojo.
DR MGOJO: Thank you. I have listened here with interest especially when you are dealing with this inter-organisational conflict. I just want to hear from the members of the ANC, I know that attempts are being made now, I'm speaking about the ANC and IFP, I think Zuma and Mdhalose have played a very good part in trying to resolve some of the issues. But my concern is that why did you people have to wait for such a long time that much of the blood had to be shed, old people died, innocent people who knew nothing about politics, children etc, and you came at this last hour? A very simple question.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Zuma.
MR ZUMA: Thank you Chairperson. No, we did not wait. I think history will indicate that even before the ANC was unbanned there were very vigorous negotiations between the UDF on one side and the IFP on the other. And when the ANC was unbanned we have continuously done so. My brother will remember that we had one of the big meetings in 1991 between the IFP entire executive and our delegation and also we even established committees which we have called "Twelve A-side". We actually went to a lot of discussions, leaving aside the local agreements that were reached at a number of places. I think it was a question of time that we were not in a position to succeed then. We had been continuing with the discussions and negotiations, and I think given time and the changing situation in the country probably that is what has led to the kind of initiatives to look like they were new initiatives. Probably we are debating matters from a different angle. We have approached the matters all the time from different angles. It just couldn't work out at one point or the other.
I remember between the IFP and the UDF there were in fact specific agreements but which could not be honoured. Some of them could not be respected by certain people. So I would say that we haven't waited. We have always tried. We just succeeded in the recent past, probably by the grace of God.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Any other questions from the panel here?
We would like to say thank you very much. We haven't finished. I had hoped that we were going to have finished today but perhaps let us try to find out, if we were to have begun at nine is it possible to do that, to begin at nine tomorrow? I would have thought that maybe two hours at the outside, two hours would enable us to complete. You want to surprise us and arrive again at about.....
I thank you very much. I will have closing remarks tomorrow, but we are very grateful for the manner in which the meeting has gone and the sorts of answers that you have given.
We adjourn until nine o'clock tomorrow morning. Thank you very much.
ARCHBISHOP TUTU OPENS THE HEARING WITH A PRAYER
CHAIRPERSON: Good morning. We resume. Can we start, Dumisa Ntsebeza says he has one or two questions before we go on to ask Mr Hanif Vally to continue. Dumisa.
MR NTSEBEZA: Thank you Chairperson. I would really like to go back to an aspect that was raised yesterday over actions associated with Mrs Winnie Mandela, and I would like to raise the questions in perspective because it is increasingly becoming important because she is just no ordinary person. She is the current President of the Women's League, and we may or may not call her to answer these questions for herself, but I think from an organisational point of view we would like to know, firstly, whether the claims that have been made in the TRC and I'm talking about in the Human Rights Violations Committee last year by particularly the relatives of Lolo Sono and Siboniso Tshabalala, who are youths who disappeared or are alleged to have disappeared and with whose disappearance Mrs Winnie Mandela is associated. Now I would like to know whether from an organisational point of view this is something that has been raised with her, and whether the organisation is doing something about that. That's the first question.
The second question, in view of your commitment to assist the Commission, there is a name that was always associated with the Stompi Sepei saga, one Thebe Khulu who was at one stage reported to have been in Lusaka in Zambia. Now the question I'd like to know is whether the organisation, as an organisation have any knowledge of the whereabouts of Thebe Khulu, and if they have whether they could use their good offices to facilitate our access to him? Those are the questions I would like to pose.
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: Thank you very much Chairperson. First of all let me apologise for Jacob Zuma. He said we should extend his apologies. He's had to go back to KwaZulu Natal, the Provincial Legislature there is discussing something, and as leader of the opposition, a position to which the ANC is not quite accustomed (general laughter), but nevertheless he had to go back as leader of the opposition.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much Deputy President. DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: I don't know, my colleagues might know where Thebe Khulu is. What I would like to say about that is that when we got the information that he was in Zambia we were in contact with the Zambian Government about this to say that as far as we are concerned he needs to come back. What the Zambian Government said to us then was that he was saying that he was afraid to come back, and the efforts that they had made to get him to return were frustrated by that fear. And we had said to them that there wasn't any problem, there was nothing for him to fear.
So at that particular point there were problems about getting him to cooperate with regard to his repatriation, and in the end, at that particular point we left the matter because he couldn't be moved and was then going to be dealt with by the UN High Commission for Refugees in Zambia. I don't know, as I say my colleagues might know something more specific about where he is now. I really wouldn't know.
With regard to the other questions that Commissioner Ntsebeza is raising, we - my colleagues I presume would have said this yesterday, President Tambo was in contact with Winnie during this period when all of these reports about all sorts of things happening, to advise for one thing, against the continuation of the existence of what was called the Mandela Football Club.
The ANC as an organisation, both the structures inside the country and the structures outside did not deal with that Football Club and people associated with it as elements within the structures of the ANC, and so there may be things that may have happened there which do not have anything to do with the ANC as I say, because these were not structures of the ANC. But certainly at that time we felt that the behaviour of the Mandela Football Club and people associated with it was harmful, and these were things that needed to be discontinued. As I said to that extent we encouraged her to part ways, as it were, with that Football Club. I don't know the specific names, Sono and Tshabalala. Matthews Phosa will add something to this.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Premier Phosa.
PREMIER MATTHEWS PHOSA: Thank you Chairperson. In addition to what the Deputy President has just said about this matter regarding the Lolo and Sibosiso, we have been approached by the families first and we have also been approached by your investigating unit, and we have been cooperative. And given the status of the Club, as viewed from the ANC we can only undertake to continue to cooperate with you in your investigations. We will suggest that the members of the Club be approached and then collect as much evidence as possible, because it's also a dark area from our side. We have sent correspondences to Comrade Winnie with regard to this matter as well.
CHAIRPERSON: Wynand Malan.
MR W MALAN: Thank you Chairperson. I want to revisit the subject that we addressed yesterday, but not this specific issue which is the case of the Hallmark bomb in Vermeulen Street in Pretoria. That incident occurred on the 28th of July 1990 where the police found 114 kilogram bomb in a taxi parkade in the garage. The size of this bomb is allegedly about three times that of the Church Street bomb. On that same day the bullet-ridden body of a Mr David Shongwe, a part-time taxi driver was found on the Pelindaba Hartebeestpoort Dam Road and there was some link to this. Under the Indemnity Act of 1990 and the Regulations, a certain Sipho Elias Mabena applied for indemnity. He was arrested already in February 1991 in Pretoria on this issue and charged with the count of terrorism, alternatively with the count of murder and robbery. The indemnity application was put forward by the ANC, according to our records, and at the time the submission was made by Premier Phosa, who was then the ANC legal representative. Indemnity was indeed granted on the main count of terrorism but refused on the murder and robbery issue.
Now the question is really what more information can the ANC give us on this? This bomb was discovered a few days before the signing of the Pretoria Minute, was it an operation that was planned and sanctioned? And against the background of the indemnity application it seems as if there was indeed a link. Can any further light be shed upon this incident to us?
I may also say that we had at some of our HRV hearings we had victim statements made but the issue is still confused as to really what was the situation and we need to investigate this further especially because we have the links now from more than one side.
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: Matthews Phosa, Chairperson, will deal with this question.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
PREMIER MATTHEWS PHOSA: Thank you Chairperson. This is a matter which we are going to urge you to investigate rigorously. At the time when we were submitting that application we were convinced that it was Sipho Mabena who planted the bomb, and on the basis of the motivation he gave to us we felt he qualified for indemnity at the time. And of course we need to apologise for the death of the David Shongwe and convey this to you, and through you to the family of David Shongwe.
We did further investigation in this matter which suggests a number of disturbing things and one does not want to make judgement calls now. What we will do, if you accept, is to avail names of new witnesses to your investigating unit who are all located in Pretoria, and who I think must be listened to, because if you listen to those witnesses you might arrive at the conclusion that it may have not been Mabena who planted the bomb. Or it may have not been Mabena who killed Shongwe. But I'm saying it's not the time to make judgement calls. We are urging you to investigate this matter further and we will give you the names of witnesses.
MR W MALAN: May I just on a follow-up there ask Mabena did say that he planted the bomb, is that still the position of the ANC, because that is what was disclosed at the time that he accepted responsibility for the planting of the bomb.
PREMIER MATTHEWS PHOSA: Yes that is correct, but you see one of the witnesses is saying that he may have been tortured to agree that he put the bomb in some trade-offs which is very strange which as you investigate you might find that it's not him, it's someone else. So that's why I am saying, investigate, we will cooperate with you.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Hanif.
MR VALLY: Thank you Archbishop. Where we reached was the 1990's and we ought to focus initially on self-defence units after 1990. Now if you look at your first submission on page 65 the left-hand column, the second last paragraph, first submission, page 65 first submission, left-hand column, second paragraph. I am quoting now,
"Some members of MK Military Headquarters were tasked to attend to issues relating to the SDU's their organisation, training and the provision of weaponry. It was, however, made clear that the overall control of SDU's was to remain with community structures and MK cadres were to participate as members of the community. MK Command was to play a secondary role. Various clandestine units for the training and organisation of the various SDU's was set up and some cadres were tasked to provide weaponry where possible".
This is repeated in the second submission as well. I won't quote it again. In the second submission on page 30 the right-hand column, the second paragraph, I will just quote the last sentence, it repeats the same statement but it goes on,
"We do not have records of MK's role in SDU's since they were not headquarter controlled structures".
The question is this, does the ANC not think that it was irresponsible to arm and train a force over which it did not exercise control?
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: Ronnie Kasrils will deal with this.
MR R KASRILS: I thank you, I will gladly Archbishop. I think that as we pointed out yesterday it's one thing sitting here today, it's another thing when we look back and need to understand the context of the time. So we need to remember what was happening in our country in that period when the ANC took this decision and felt that we had to do everything possible to come to the assistance of people in the townships, the communities who were having to face this awful violence. At night the Boipatong's and so on. On the trains, the sudden attacks and the killings. And it was in that situation that the decision was taken, and who could possibly assist the people? It was MK that was given the responsibility as the first statement indicates.
But if you read this statement and you read the annexure "For the sake of our lives", the document which attempted to give guidance to people in this situation, it was made perfectly clear that the people who needed to be defended were not ANC people, it wasn't a party issue, it was the community. And the community had to be shown and helped how to defend itself, not as an ANC organisation, but it was MK people who could bring this assistance, and to whom the community pleaded and made demands and at times were extremely angry. And people said, they accosted MK people who were well-known, come and defend us or show us what we need to do. So it was a very, very problematic situation and one could say at times extremely confusing.
In that situation we did the best we could. People were tasked to give that assistance, to provide training, to show people how to organise themselves but on a community basis across political affiliation, non-sectarian approach. The second statement that's been read I'd like to address in relation to that context and if Mr Vally could just indicate where, he said it's on page 30, we are trying to find the exact paragraph.
MR VALLY: Sorry, page 30 the second paragraph from the top, the last sentence.
MR R KASRILS: That's with regard to SDU's?
MR VALLY: Yes, it repeats the statement I made earlier that was made in your first submission.
MR R KASRILS: Oh is that the second column.
MR VALLY: The second column on the right, right at the top.
MR R KASRILS: Okay, it was made clear, right. So,
"It was made clear that the control was to remain with community structures. MK members were to participate as members of the community".
I've focused on that.
"MK command would not play a leading role for the reasons I've given. Various units for the training etc were set-up. Some cadres were tasked to provide weapons where possible.
We do not have records of MK's roles in SDU's since they were not HQ controlled structures"
this is the sentence that you focus on Mr Vally?
MR VALLY: That's correct.
MR R KASRILS: What is your problem with that sentence in the light of what I've said? We did not keep records and in terms of the situation during the illegal period we didn't keep records the way a State would and in terms of the situation that then developed we didn't list names of people, we didn't keep records of that nature.
CHAIRPERSON: Excuse me Mr Kasrils. I thought the question is fairly straightforward. What he is saying is didn't you, the ANC, think it was irresponsible to arm people over whom you had no control?
MR R KASRILS: We did the best we could. I think it's easy with 20-20 eyesight looking back, Archbishop, we did the best we could. We responded to a plea from the community. We responded to a volatile and dangerous situation in which people were being slain and we believed that our people, our own members from MK, giving instruction, giving training, providing that handbook would be able that way to direct people in the best possible way. The situation obviously developed in different ways. I don't always want to refer to infiltrators and place the blame there, and I'm certainly not intending doing that now, but that also is a fact of life.
So a situation then developed in which certain mistakes and problems emerged, but we did the best we could and we gave very, very firm instructions, and our people who were involved with the communities attempted as best they could to control the situation when there was a breakdown in discipline or when certain people did their own thing. But I wouldn't say that it's irresponsible in the light of what happened. I mean obviously that's a judgment that can be made, that should be made, but we attempted as best we could to provide leadership and to provide control.
CHAIRPERSON: Can I just say I have not been intervening because I should be even-handed and a characteristic of what happened here yesterday and with your submission which is something that I would seek to underline is the fact that there has actually been very little self-justification. I mean I think the noteworthy saying has been that when Hanif or somebody asks a question and it is clear that there was something wrong, on the whole what has happened on your side has been an acknowledgement. You've said yes.
There was a question about women's rights in the camps and I think what I am trying to say is it would be a very good thing to continue to point out that you aren't infallible. And it will be for us, a new atmosphere that is created of people saying if there is a mistake, even if you are saying it is with hindsight, if you say yes, you think it is a mistake or, then in fact whoever may be wanting to clobber you is going to find it very difficult to do so. But if you have an egg-dance then it becomes problematical and I just want to make that as a comment, that you are not infallible, you have never set yourselves up as being infallible, and if wrong things have happened the introduction into the discourse in our country of that kind of acceptance of moral responsibility which seems to have characterised your submission is something that people would say they admire.
MR R KASRILS: Can I answer you Archbishop. I thank you for pointing that out and I apologise if I came across as performing an egg-dance. We unreservedly regret that any of our actions led to problems, led to abuses and led to deaths. We were shocked in Thokoza when the case emerged of a member of an SDU who took the law into his own hands and fired on a group of hostel dwellers who were on a march. And I think if we all remember it was horrific, it was ghastly to say the least, something like 46 people were killed and injured, and that individual was clearly somebody who had obtained weapons and had been part of the SDU's. That is absolutely regrettable and obviously it emerges out of the kind of situation that I described. So we are not infallible, and this clearly is a case, the whole context of this is an example of what could go wrong in very, very problematic situations. What I was simply attempting to do was to show how we attempted to intervene to assist people who were being killed which is why the document we issued was called "For the sake of our lives". So I really accept the points you've made.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: If I may Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes Mr Mbeki.
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: With your permission Chairperson let me attempt a scrambled egg dance. The very short history about this which would explain some of the background which Mr Vally is asking about, we discussed this question of self-defence units with the then government when we were negotiating what in the end became the D F Malan Accord I think it was called. And the issue that we were raising was that the police and the security forces were not protecting people in the light of all of that violence, that is was necessary that something be done. And we were of the view that self-defence units should be established to carry out this work as authorised, authorised organisations mandated by whatever was needed to mandate them in terms of the law. It was a long discussion. In the end General Magnus Malan who was at the time Minister of Defence, said why don't we then establish self-protection units. He said the word "defence" gave a rather wrong impression. Why don't we establish self-protection units and we all agreed.
He went on to say that what would then happen from their point of view would be that because there was agreement at that stage already about what to do with the arms caches that we had in the country, that we could then take some of those weapons and get them licensed and so you would establish self-protection units which would carry licensed firearms. And therefore, it was important that those self-protection units should not be party political instruments, but should, as we say, should be based on communities and be representative of communities.
You would therefore have a situation in which the people who carried the weapons would have been identified as specific weapons licensed to specific persons, so that if anything went wrong you would know what happened. So we agreed to that. And therefore the conceptualisation of the self-protection units was that they would indeed be community-based within the ANC.
We started discussing linking up with the IFP in areas where you both had the ANC and the IFP to discuss this matter so that when these units are established they would indeed, they would come under the general supervision of all of these forces that would be relevant in any particular area. That was the conceptualisation.
So they would not be controlled by particular parties because then they would become party-political partisan, whereas you wanted them to protect the community against anybody who was attacking the community whether it was ANC people or IFP people. Of course a number of things went wrong after that. One of them was that in fact the process of the licensing of weapons for such units did not take place. In the meantime the violence continued, the consequence of which was what we are describing in the document. So we then responded in a particular way.
There was a basic assumption, which again may also have been wrong, there was a basic assumption to the approach which was that there would be in these communities local political structures, local structures of civil society strong enough to be able to constitute these committees that would then take charge of the self-protection units. I'm saying that was an assumption. But certainly once the matter was then dealt with by the ANC on its own via the supply of weapons, not licensed necessarily, some of them would have been licensed, of course it changed the character of what had been discussed, originally.
You will remember Chairperson that there was also provision in the National Peace Accord for self-protection units. It was arising from that discussion and agreement that we'd had at the airport here in Cape Town for the establishment of such and the control was always visualised as non-partisan, vested in communities on the assumption which may have been wrong, that there would be sufficiently strong structures within those communities to be able to handle these units.
I think it's clear that when the thing changed in character because some of the steps that were necessary like the official licensing of firearms to particular persons within such units, when that didn't happen and we moved in a different direction, it's clear that we should perhaps have reviewed the matter of that control but we continued to proceed as though you could as ANC armed the units and surrender them to these local civil and political structures to control. So that's the background to it.
But in the end as Ronnie Kasrils was saying they developed in various parts of the country. An attempt was made to keep an eye on them. I am talking now from the national leadership, from headquarters, and there are instances where we had to intervene when there were all sorts of crazy things that were planned.
But as you are saying Chairperson, it may very well be that we should recognise that the situation having changed from the original conception we needed to have taken steps in terms of a control and so on which would be consistent with the changed circumstances, but there was a carry through of a particular concept of self-protection units which was perhaps then not founded on reality with regard to the control and so on within those communities. Thanks Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Dr Boraine.
DR BORAINE: Chairperson I want to take this just a little further, slightly different emphasis though and I want to do it against the background of the Commission's fundamental commitment to reconciliation on which there is no difference at all between us.
One of the grave disappointments that many of us acknowledge is the on-going violence, and in particular crime, criminal acts which seemed to defeat the very best interests of well-intentioned ministers, officials, police, everybody. None of us can say we've got the answers to it, it's an overwhelming problem. In discussing this with a number of people who have come to the Commission who today are in security, one of the factors which is always mentioned is the free supply of guns, of arms, not from one quarter or another but just from everybody, from every side. They are very cheap, they are very available and they are very destructive. And it was suggested to us on one occasion that one of the major problems is that a lot of young people in the townships who were part of the struggle, to use that phrase, are now almost on the margin because we have a democracy, we have elections, we have nominations, we have local government structures, provincial structures and national structures and there's not the same impetus to participate against something which united them.
I'm just wondering if the ANC has any view on this. Certainly we view it as a matter of enormous concern as to how we can help in any way from the Commission in terms of its recommendations, in terms of its activities, its exposure to harness the raw energy of commitment which is there, which has, I think without any doubt in my own mind at least, is in danger of becoming destructive rather than building up and reconciling. It stems from a time I think when people were in opposition, they had access to arms and a lot of that is still the same but the pattern of struggle has changed completely and I just wondered if you had any comment on that.
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: I don't know how much time we have to discuss the issue. You are quite correct. I think one of the problems we face as a country is the availability of weapons to many, many people, illegal weapons, and even in the instances where they are legal weapons, theft and loss of these weapons, the temptation to raid a house in order to look for weapons and so on, there's a pool there in saying even the legals, somebody else goes to try and access that pool. It's true there is a problem about too many weapons.
There is a problem about trade in illegal weapons throughout the region of Southern Africa. It's a serious problem, and in many instances they are really very cheap to buy. You have a problem of certain people among the licensing authorities with regard to weapons. Only last night, Chairperson, I had a meeting with the Minister of Safety and Security and some of his police officers and they were reporting about licensing of firearms to gangsters. I am saying problems among some of the licensing authorities. I am saying therefore it is correct that there are too many of these weapons around and the sources are many and various.
There was not a big massive distribution of weapons by the ANC or MK to ordinary cadres, there wasn't. We, as that violence from 1990 onwards was mounting one of the strongest demands that came from within the constituency of the ANC was arm the masses. Many of us sitting here had to do very stormy and rowdy and heated meetings contesting that, saying that there are no masses that are going to be armed. But it was a demand to say here we are, you people in the midst of all of this violence you decide to suspend armed action and therefore you demobilise or deactivate MK, and then here we are being killed, and where are the weapons, arm the masses so that the masses can defend themselves. As I say, that many of us sitting here participated in many public meetings where this demand was made very strongly and then we said no, there are no masses that are going to be armed because we are concerned about the consequences of arming everybody.
So I am not saying that members and supporters of the ANC did not gain access to weapons other than weapons that might have come directly from us. They may have and most certainly would have, but as a movement we resisted the notion of arming too many people.
When weapons were distributed by people from MK in the way that Ronnie Kasrils and his documents have explained, when those weapons were distributed they were in fact distributed to specific people. It was not like sort-of handing out sweets in the street, and clearly the people to whom those weapons would be given would be people that in your best judgement are people who have got the necessary political capacity and the discipline to handle those weapons properly. There wasn't a general distribution of that kind. I'm not saying that people did not gain access otherwise to these weapons.
I think you would notice Dr Boraine, if you looked at the local government campaign, '95 whenever, in the rallies leading up to those elections you would find a lot of young people in the rallies. After you passed that period I'd go around into meetings, one of the things that have struck me is the presence of older people, and part of the reason for that is of course you are campaigning for these elections, you are distributing leaflets, you are going mobilising people you must go and vote for our candidate and all that, it's work, it's something that you do and it's exciting and it engages you and so on. I'm saying that if you see the political participation of the youth it doesn't at all suggest that they are getting marginalised from these political processes and would want to intervene rather with guns. I'm saying I don't see it myself. This might be a limited personal experience.
But I think that generally the youth it would be I think incorrect to draw a conclusion that there is a trend, even if it's limited, the trend of the kind you describe.
I should have said also earlier we agreed with the then government about when we said we are suspending armed action, we agreed that we would continue to hold on to our arms caches and then instituted certain measures in order to bring them together in the common national armoury. And in fact big quantities of these weapons were then handed in to the State armoury. So as I say I am not sure that the situation that you describe is correct.
There is a problem which I think we raised in earlier submissions. We were saying, Chairperson, that we believe it is important to dismantle what was called the national security management system and later the something coordinating, that was necessary to really get into that to dismantle it, because we were still convinced that elements of that system remain.
If you take for instance, I am sure the Commission would have followed the Shobashobane case. That Shobashobane case will tell you a story some of whose elements are the following. That the extreme White right-wing is armed and continues to think it can use weapons to change the situation. It will say that there are police officers who are related to all of this and would take measures or not take measures in order to enable this kind of violence to continue. Specific Shobashobane evidence would also say that there are people who certainly wear IFP T-shirts whether they are genuine members or not I don't know, but anyway accepted, seen, viewed as members who in reality have been assassins for a long period of time. People in this group, the Shobashobane group there are people who had murder cases stretching into the eighties. It's a particular group and the reason a person whose got 13 murder charges but each time he gets charged for murder he gets bail, gets arrested again, charged, gets bail and none of the cases was moving, none. It's because the police, elements within the judiciary where you have this particular person for instance arrested and charged with his eleventh murder and the police officers say you can't release this person on bail, this particular time he was arrested for possession of illegal weapons and all of the other previous alleged murders had been carried out with firearms, he's caught with illegal weapons, the arresting police officers say you can't give this fellow bail. The magistrate agrees. Two days later the magistrate has released the fellow on bail.
So I'm saying it's a network and it's clear that that network is not a new network, it was not a 1995 network, it's an old network of the 1980's, armed can do all sorts of things.
So including what my colleagues were describing yesterday as counter-mobilisation, including the involvement of the youth in this violence, I think critically and it's also obvious the other element I should have mentioned with regard to this kind of grouping that you see in the Shobashobane case are just ordinary criminals, all integrated, IFP people, criminals, police, magistrates, White right-wing, all part of one collective, in terms of carrying out certain political violence.
And I think that's one of the matters that it would really be very important if the Commission focused on, to uproot these structures. I am certain somewhere, I don't know where, I am sure somewhere there are records of these structures who was in these national security management structures. And there were people, for instance, in hostels who were part of these structures. Now if you get the rogue policeman, if you get a rogue policeman who was part of these structures, who knows that induna so and so in a particular hostel was part of this and his role was to supply guns and to incite people to do particular things as that rogue policeman I can go to this person again and say let's get back into the field to do whatever.
So I think that that's an important element in this. But more generally I think the point is well made that the Commission would obviously have to look at the question, what is it that it can contribute further to cultivate a climate of free political activity, peaceful unarmed and to inspire the youth by saying here is a bad example of the past when we used guns and here is the experience, and this is the direction we ought to go. I think that is obviously one of the things that would be important. But we also need to get at the structures which produce this violence, both political and criminal.
CHAIRPERSON: You want a brief response yes, and then Hlengiwe.
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much Mr Deputy President. We could, as you say, discuss this for a very long time and I certainly have no intention, there are many other questions I am sure that we want to entertain. Let me just say one quick word in response.
Perhaps I did not make the point clear, the one point which I feel so strongly about, and that is that, and let me say this from my heart, that when we listen to people coming as victims or survivors of atrocious treatment over many years, I think some of us, let me speak only for myself, can handle better the older and especially the women who have come with such courage and such strength that you almost think they are helping you, but when we listen to young people who have been very badly tortured for example, who have been blinded, been shot in the face, who are helpless, and you can't see any future for those people then inevitably you start thinking of a whole lot of other young people, many of whom have no jobs.
And that's the point I was trying to make, that somewhere along the line we as a Commission, in a very small way, you as government in a major way have got to, and I'm sure you've started to do that, but it's a huge problem, tackle the whole question of making, helping young people to feel that they are part of this new South Africa and are not going to resort to alternative means or crime or whatever, out of their hopelessness and their hunger, that's I suppose the point I was trying to make. But I'm sure you agree with that.
CHAIRPERSON: Hlengiwe Mkhize.
MS MKHIZE: Thank you Chairperson. Mine is first of all a statement and then a question which aims at assisting us as a Commission to understand your policy thinking at the time when these SDU's were formed. The first statement is that according to our data base really SDU's as a political formation, I do not agree with you when you say they were community endorsed. In our understanding they were a militarised group of young people linked to the ANC and their alliance. Okay.
Secondly, I just want to get the benefit of your understanding about the right of children to participation as well as to protection in times of armed conflict. The second one we are asking for the first time but it's very, very important for us because at this point in time we are taking a careful look and people's thinking about that in the past with a view of cleaning up our future.
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: Chairperson we would agree very much with the Commissioner that the SDU's were linked and aligned to the ANC and the alliance, we haven't contested that at all. She - also the point she makes that they were not "community endorsed". We have not made this accession and therefore there is nothing to disagree about. What we are saying is that was their conceptualisation, that's how they should have been but because of particular sets circumstances they came as she describes them. So there's no disagreement about that.
On the matter of protection of children - yes I presume that we are talking about in periods of conflict. I'm not sure that there's very much more we can say on this in addition to what we've said.
You know I'd like to repeat this to the Commission, that the view of the ANC about the observance of humanitarian principles in the conduct of warfare was a very, very serious matter. There are many instances when we had discussions about targets and as I'm sure you would not be surprised, there were many instances when people said but when are we going to abandon this policy because - and some of the examples were given were of children, because you have White schoolchildren who travel in a bus in a morning to go to a White school. It's an easy target, it's there, there's not a single Black child who is going to be hurt because these are segregated schools, why don't we just hit these things? Let the White population feel this pain. Any number of times that these matters would come up and people would argue this and we would always say, no, no, no, no, it can never be done, because it's wrong.
So I am saying that in the conduct of the struggle these principles were very, very strong and very firm. The matter we were discussing yesterday, similarly, there would be a lot of discussion about you know why don't we just go and blow up one of these IFP things. There they sit in their legislature at Ulundi, easy, can be done, and we would always so, no.
The protection of children, we, after 1976, we got quite a lot of young people, 12 year olds, 13 year olds, 14 year olds who left the country and very inspired by the notion of taking up guns to fight for the liberation of their country, in all instances we would say back to school. Very difficult in certain cases.
The certain point when we discussed the position establishment of a boy scouts movement, something similar, I remember he was in those discussions was in those discussions to deal with the question of these very young people who are inspired by this notion of carrying out a gun, as I was saying, to liberate their people, and we were saying no you cannot be a soldier you are too little, but they wanted to fight. So we thought perhaps the best way to handle the thing let's set up something like a boy-scouts movement, they will go there and they will put them in some uniform, they run up and down, you will give them a compass and so on, they feel like soldiers, in the meantime they are going to school.
But I'm saying Chairperson that I don't really think there is anything in particular we can add on this, the treatment of children fell within this general broad approach with regard to this question of humanitarian conduct of warfare.
CHAIRPERSON: Wynand Malan?
MR MALAN: Thank you Chairperson. I have a major interest in understanding the dynamics of conflict and especially the spiralling level of the escalation of conflict. Can I just summarise what I've heard, sort of main moments that there indeed was a discussion about a need. You quoted General Magnus Malan at the time, the self-protection units, the licensing, some form of civilian joint control some way or another. It's not implemented, what happens is because of the pressures from grassroots the ANC goes ahead, unlicensed, make available to people that they don't control, non-partisan but party loyalties on the side, surely there must have been some understanding on General Magnus' side that this was double-crossing him in terms of what he perceived to be a joint understanding?
At the same time the SDU's go out, or some of the individuals in the way Mr Kasrils has described and generally also I think somewhere in your submission on page 13 in a different way you refer to community preemptive attacks as a need for self defence, which also happens, it should, this is really the question, the same way as questions are being put to the previous government, should this not have been foreseen?
And isn't in that sense at least, the organisation guilty by omission?
Wasn't this a logical development that should have been expected?
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: I don't know whether General Malan felt double-crossed or whatever. As I was saying one of the problems, I can't quite remember the details around it was, there was no movement on the part of the government with regard to the licensing of these firearms and that presumably would have felt like double-crossing on our side. The thing did not work out in the way that it was thought it would work out certainly.
Now, yes when you look at the matter later, indeed you would say quite correctly what you've just said, but if you looked at the matter at that particular period, you wouldn't necessarily come to this conclusion because here are these ANC cadres, these are good ANC comrades. Let me give you an instance. I get a message from good ANC comrades and they say to me, we are part of a chain of SDU's, our responsibility is to receive the weapons, distribute them to particular persons, keep a record of where the weapons are and with whom, that's all we do. So I say okay, don't tell me where they get the weapons from, I have some guesses but they don't tell me, I say okay. They say the reason we've come to talk to you is because we have discovered that one of these SDU's wants to blow up a hostel on the East Rand with explosives, mainly Zulu-speaking, and they say, you can't allow this thing to happen. So I say I'm not in contact with the SDU's, they say, please you've got to intervene, this thing is wrong and irresponsible. We did intervene and that thing didn't happen.
Now I'm saying that's at the time, it reinforces my confidence in these good ANC cadres. They received the weapons responsibly and when one or some among them are going to do an irresponsible thing they seek a way of intervening to stop that. So I'm confident, I say no the matter is being handled properly because we've got these good cadres. Indeed it may very well be that six months later things begin to go wrong and we say perhaps we should have had a better system of control. But I'm saying that at that particular point, I don't think there would have been many among us who would have been wise enough to say the confidence and trust and system of contact and control will not be sufficient tomorrow. I think there would have been very few wise enough among us to have come to that conclusion at that stage.
CHAIRPERSON: Dr Mgojo?
REV MGOJO: Thank you Sir. This is a contextual problem. I want to take it on the context under which it falls. Dr Boraine has rightly asked a very genuine question about the young people, some of them behaving in the way which is not acceptable because they have nothing to do. Let's not forget that some of these young people were what we call, community comrades without really being entitled ANC cadres.
The question which is a problem, which raises a problem especially in the townships, is that some of these young people, they said because we don't have any jobs, let us become criminals, let us criminalise ourselves so that we can go to jails and the reason being that they say that this ANC government is the government for the criminals. Criminals are having more advantages than an ordinary law- abiding young person in the township. They say that they have got all the facilities which we don't have, we have fought for this liberation through mass action but now we are left with nothing. The criminals in these jails are having everything, privileges, education and now they are speaking about free health services, and they say that the best thing for us to do is to become criminals.
How do we deal with such a situation? Especially that it has been said that they don't have any jobs and of course people with no jobs, they become criminals, because they are not occupied fully. How can you assist us in that problem, you people especially with the youth in the township?
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: I want to agree with Dr Mgojo that the question that the Vice Chairperson raised was an important and a correct question. It's one of the principle challenges that the country faces in terms of what we have to do to effect, to achieve this transformation in the society. I don't know Chairperson if it's allowed that I put on my government cap for now to respond for now to respond.
CHAIRPERSON: I will rule you out of order at the end.
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: Chairperson the matter of youth development is one of the areas that the government thought would be one that it should focus on, find a way of attending to and find a way of measuring youth development, to be able to say are we making progress in terms of addressing these matters that you have raised. The government therefore decided, one of the things that needs to happen is that we need to have an institution within government which deals specifically with the youth. There was a lot of agitation among the youth who wanted to establish a ministry of youth affairs and we said no to that and said that rather we should get the President to be the Minister of youth affairs, it's better because in that way you can intervene in all structures of government with regard to this matter. If you had a minister of youth affairs, one minister is equal to another minister and may not be able to say, what are you doing in defence with regard to this matter of youth development. So you do indeed therefore have a unit or we are in the process of establishing one, a unit in the presidency, so that we can deal with this matter of youth development throughout government.
Now there are many things that need to be done in this regard. The matter of job creation is one of them. I'm mentioning this really merely as an example. You might remember that in this budget this year, when the Minister of Finance presented the budget he spoke among other things of a sum of R300 million, I'm giving this purely as an example, a sum of R300 million which he said would be used for purposes of upliftment of the women and the youth. That's supposed to be targeted in an exceptional way in those sorts of areas, there's other things that are happening in government with regard to youth development, but that's an example of the sort of focus that we're trying to pay, create this space to be able to deal with this matter.
Joe Modise as Minister of Defence has established a National Service Corps, and the idea was we do two things. When we demobilise soldiers to give them different skills so that when they get into the community they don't run this problem of also sinking into crime because they become unemployable. We extended that to say it must not only deal with soldiers but also deal with the unemployed youth, to bring as much of that youth in to train them, to reintroduce them, those who are outside of such a system, to reintroduce them to some kind of disciplined life, to give them some skills so that indeed they can then enter the normal labour market.
So financial constraints all of that, but that national service corps has started working with regard to the training, so there will be various elements like this from the Government side which would aim at finding the quickest possible ways to absorb the greatest possible numbers of these young people in useful work.
You will have seen that the Minister of Labour has published a green paper on this whole question of training. We've been looking at the training processes and facilities that fall under the Minister of Labour, to say are they relevant to these economic challenges that we face, but also what is their capacity to absorb this kind of person in our society that we are talking about. So as you know there's some discussion that is going on about this now, publicly after the publication of that green paper.
Again one of the areas of focus is this one.
You will also see that there've been changes, various matters announced by the Minister of Education. If you take Curriculum 2005 and what needs to be done with that why how you change the approach to education and achievement. Again in part is to open the sort of space so that you are able to absorb into the education system greater numbers of people.
The South African Qualifications Authority was established in order also to deal with this question, to create a space for the greatest possible mobility of people within the kind of trained cadre in the country, so that you can then get this young person, who is out in the streets, take him to a trade school, or take them to the National Service Corp, graduate them into a trade school but so that get the qualifications so that they are integrated with other qualifications in the country. So that you may indeed come via that process in the end end up in a technikon.
I am saying, Chairperson, there's a whole variety of measures, educational and so on, from the point of view of the State which aimed to address this matter. Now what should happen is that then from the Presidency, I'm talking now about the State system, from the Presidency would then be able to watch the entirety of government, including the provinces, to say what indeed are they doing with regard to this matter of youth development.
Of course critically important, Chairperson, in this respect is what happens with regard to the general question of creation of jobs as a result of growth in the economy in the private sector to create the sorts of jobs that would help us to reduce these levels of unemployment, and as I was saying, from the government side there's an important need to help to train these people so that indeed as the economy grows and begins to look for such people you have people who have got some skill to do whatever work.
There is work going on, as I am saying that to see we do, at least we are supposed to, publish an annual - it's called a Poverty Study, it's more than a Poverty Study, it would then be able to say at the end of the year what progress have we made in a measurable way. What progress have we made in terms of that youth development? What progress have we made with regard to the reduction of poverty among children, all of that. So we are coming at it, the problem, in the same way that your Commissioners, Chairperson, are indicating the serious concern about youth, quite correctly.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Thank you. Hanif.
MR VALLY: Thank you Archbishop. We want to move on from SDU's now and raise the issue of violence in the then homelands. I want to apologise regarding specific questions because we didn't have these questions in our initial submission although in broad terms the area was covered.
We note that in the submission to us, both the list of MK operations and in the list of operations in which you say you are uncertain who was responsible, certain incidences in the Ciskei are not mentioned. We have had a number of applications, both regarding human rights violations and regarding amnesty, regarding conflict in the Ciskei. Just to briefly quote from the Network of Independent Monitors in a report entitled "Violence in the Ciskei 1992, 1993", it states:
"During 1992 evidence of stepped-up MK activity in Ciskei mounted. The ANC conceded there were armed MK soldiers in Ciskei but denied they were involved in an unprecedented assault".
We have then a whole list of incidents that happened in the Ciskei, and although it's certainly not clear that these were all MK operations, but we are talking about 48 handgrenade attacks, 23 AK47 attacks, limpet mine incidents with regard to headmen and ADM members, Ciskei police officers etc.
Our question is that to what extent, and I want to make it clear we are not talking about the Bisho Massacre here, we've had a separate hearing about that, to what extent was there organised MK activity, again Brigadier Gqozo's rule, which may or may not have been launched from the Transkei, and against structures within the Ciskei, we are including the ADM and the headmen? That's my question.
MR R KASRILS: To the best of my knowledge there was no organised operations from any MK structure at headquarters. It's clear from operations that were conducted arising out of the oppression in the Ciskei that former MK cadres were involved in hitting back, in responding, but this was never discussed at the MK command level. Mr Modise is unfortunately not with us at the moment Archbishop, he's been called to speak to the President on the phone, as far as I'm aware there was never any report or discussion concerning on-going operations for the Ciskei. So my answer would be that this was something that had developed within that area by those on the ground. I think once Mr Modise is back perhaps at some stage we could refer to him.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: Mr Maharaj would like to add something here Bishop.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
MR MAHARAJ: Chairperson my acquaintance with this issue arises from the negotiating process. What was clear in that period was the degree to which the structure imposed by Brigadier Gqozo's regime had reached the point where even villages were organised and legitimate headmen had been removed and others imposed on these communities. There was an atmosphere of extreme repression and intimidation. I think that context needs to be understood. Clearly from our side we did not engage in armed activity. We sought to mobilise the masses in political activity and it is therefore a matter which we would like to again offer our cooperation to the TRC. If there are any cadres who claim to be ANC, who say they want amnesty for some activity such has been put in the question, we would offer ourselves to quickly verify, on the background that they may have acted spontaneously and we would come back to you to facilitate your addressing their amnesty applications.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
MR VALLY: Thank you Archbishop. I want to move on to another issue now. This issue relates to certain amnesty applications. We have had four amnesty applications from persons serving long sentences for acts like murder and armed robbery, who have quoted the then ANC Youth leader, Mr Peter Mokaba's statement, "Kill the Boer, Kill the Farmer" as political justification for their acts.
What we need to know is was this ANC policy? And what steps did ANC take to neutralise possible consequences of Mr Mokaba's statement?
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: No, the Chairperson, we need to talk about African tradition, there is no such thing as - this was not a statement, it's not a statement of any kind, and wouldn't be read by any of these African youth as a statement. In Xhosa this particular form of art similar is called EKWIJO(?), and Ekwijo is not a statement, it's not a political statement, it's a chant. You use it to - for instance amakwengwe(?), you know when they are going over long distances they would be doing this thing, it's not a statement. You see part of the problem with this is that somebody who comes from outside of that African culture interpreted it and indeed when you then write there Peter Mokaba said, "Kill a Boer, Kill a Farmer", he didn't in the sense of a statement which represents policy. And it would not have been taken as a statement that represents policy. So there is no ANC policy which says "kill a farmer, kill a Boer" and all that, but there would be amakwejo(?) of all sorts. You have a Zulu song, not quite ekwejo but it's traditional songs, (sings in Zulu). Now that's not a statement, it's not a statement I'm making that I will never visit Zululand, it's a song. I don't think we really - I really don't think that this, certainly, I don't know whether Peter is here, he likes doing these things and you could do different ones and you could translate them. There are different chants, and they will be saying different things, different things about the struggle. This particular one was picked out, as I say, and interpreted from outside of African culture and presented as a political statement, it never was.
MR VALLY: The reality is that whether it was a chant ...(intervention)
PREMIER MATTHEWS PHOSA: Chairperson before he proceeds when we were handling the indemnity applications we did come across these sort of things where someone applied for indemnity for having raped the child, the daughter of a councillor and in his motivation he was saying because of apartheid. Now I would like to describe those type of applications for amnesty which are trying to pin down Mokaba in that particular manner, as the same one as these ones, of a person who goes to rape a child of a councillor and he says because of apartheid and I'm asking for indemnity.
In addition you had a lot of freedom songs which had this line, "kill the Boer", which was meant merely to motivate our soldiers, in many freedom songs they are there, it's not belonging to Peter Mokaba, and I think we need to make that very clear. The people who said it belonged to Peter Mokaba were the farmers and again it was a shift of perception after the death of Chris Hani when the pressure was no the government, after the death of Chris Hani there was a shift of perception which put pressure on Mokaba in particular as we were chanting and toyi-toyiing.
MR W MALAN: May I just follow on this because I think it's a very important statement that was shared with us now from the Deputy President. Would I be correct in saying that what you have communicated to us is more-or-less what we have in most traditional cultures, also Afrikaans songs, like Simbamba Mamma se Kindjie, Draai sy nek om gooi hom in die sloot, trap op se koppe, is hy dood, but you rock the baby to sleep, that's what you are saying to us? Or Rock-a-bye-baby in the treetop, when the wind blows, cradle will fall, down will come baby cradle and all. Are you saying there is no meaning to be read in the words at all, that it's simply a chant?
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: Absolutely no ANC policy to kill farmers, absolutely none.
MR W MALAN: Like it's not Afrikaner policy to kill their kids when they rock them to sleep. (General laughter)
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: Absolutely. Or the calypso song, Brown skin girl, throw away the brown - the damn baby, there's no Caribbean policy to throw away babies.
CHAIRPERSON: Dumisa Ntsebeza.
MR NTSEBEZA: Thank you Chairperson. I agree entirely with African culture as far as that goes, but there are also some songs that are perpetuated even today which may have had a certain political context. For instance at funerals even today we still have the refrain that goes like - (speaks in African language), and it's just a song, but what do you say about that?
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: No we actually - there has been some discussion about this informally to discourage it, this particular song. There has been some informal discussion to discourage it because I think everybody is sensitive precisely to the point that you are making, but again as people sing it they know that it wouldn't carry the meaning today that it would have carried in the past.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Hanif.
MR VALLY: A very brief follow-up. I note the statement that it was never ANC policy to state that what had happened in reality is there were a number of attacks on farmers in this period. We are talking about after the truce. And I also know there was a lot of controversy around this issue which led to Mr Mokaba then saying "Kiss the farmer, kiss the Boer", which led to Afrikaans papers asking which was worse. But the important thing is the question has been answered that it was not ANC policy.
If we could go on. I want to move on to a new section now. Unless you want to take tea first or should we go on?
CHAIRPERSON: No, no, I am trying to preside over this, thank you very much. MR VALLY: Let's go on. We are now dealing with the ANC conflict with the Inkatha Freedom Party. I first want to deal with the conflict during the 1980's, and this was primarily between Inkatha and the UDF. We note what was said yesterday by Mr Mbeki that there was never an ANC plot at national level to kill Mr Buthelezi, and when they were aware of a plot at lower level they immediately stopped it.
But I want to quote some statements made in ANC magazines. For example in the MK journal, Dawn, in 1983 in response to the killing of students at Ngoya the following was said, I quote:
"Gatsha and his ilk are on the same side of the battle lines as the murderers of Mxenge and countless others. Let those who excel at swinging the two-edged sword for the enemy be warned. The strong of popular patience is over-strained and the slightest swish will snap it, unlatching the sluice of popular anger. As for us the combat ranks of our people's army we remain committed to an unyielding offensive against the oppressor. We are prepared to break through this barricade, right to the seat of racist power and feed it to the flames of revolution. To battles comrade! To battles! Death to the puppets!".
In the African Communist of 1986 and I quote:
"It is no accident that in the eyes of the people Buthelezi has come to be identified with the enemy whose stand on the armed struggle and sanctions he supports..."
and further on they go on,
"Buthelezi should be reminded in the eyes of the people whose cause he is betraying he is a suitable case for treatment".
These are just an example, I mean you will know many more examples of statements made regarding Mr Gatsha Buthelezi, now could these statements, oh I beg your pardon, Mr Mangosuthu Buthelezi, could these statements not be construed by supporters of the ANC or UDF as a call to see both Mr Mangosuthu Buthelezi and Inkatha as the enemy and thus as legitimate targets?
PREMIER MATTHEWS PHOSA: Chairperson I will make an input here and then to be followed by other inputs. I cannot comment authoritatively on the article which you have just read but there were certain things which were happening in this country and we talked yesterday about this whole counter-mobilisation against liberation movement, and I think unless you have that understanding you are going to miss the point. You are going to see the ANC fighting against the IFP. The UDF fighting against the IFP, that's how superficially you will end up, and with respect I think we should go beyond that and much deeper.
There is enough evidence in various commissions like the Goldstone Commission and others, the well-known slush fund which was used by a Minister of Law and Order, Vlok at the time, to fund certain political activities of the IFP, rallies and things like those. If you look at the statement made by Louis Botha, Colonel Louis Botha, if you look at the statement made by Eugene de Kock, you understand exactly what we are talking about when we talk about components of counter-mobilisation against the liberation movement.
Now you tell me who was regarding who as the enemy? We prosecuted a struggle in the name of the people to liberate all the people of South Africa, whether they were Inkatha or not Inkatha members; whether they were National Party or not National Party members, but all along we came across this counter-mobilisation which used surrogates, and I must put it upfront, surrogates, and yesterday I tried to indicate to you Sir and Madam, the role played by the Three Million Gang in the Free State; the role played by the Black Cats in Mpumulanga, in Ermelo in particular and all those highveld towns; the Masinyora; the A-teams; the Amafrika in the Eastern Cape; and the Veduke in many parts of the country, you will need to follow exactly those organisations and trace back who formed them, who funded them. You will find that the same persons who were funding certain elements in the IFP, and I'm not saying the whole IFP, certain elements in the IFP for the purpose of weakening the liberation movement particularly the ANC were involved in forming this organisation, funding them, directing them against liberation movement. Now therefore we are very reluctant to see ourselves having had the IFP as such as the enemy. We think the enemy, in our definition at the time, was the government of the day, the system which they were running and of course if you, they say in Afrikaans, if you mix yourselves with the pigs then you get soiled. And this is exactly what happened which could have led to an article like the one in the AC, that the strike - the IFP will not have been a military opponent, it would have been a political opponent, that we are prepared to - up to today, they stand in opposition to a lot of things we stand for. So you could not graduate a mere party which is a political opponent to a military opponent such that we would want to have an onslaught against the IFP.
I think the Deputy President expressed himself very clearly yesterday on the other questions, I don't want to go back to them. But we are saying there's a broader political context of the formation of counter-mobilisation forces in the country which were aimed at undermining democratic forces, and that some elements of the IFP allowed themselves to be used in a particular way including the way in which organisations which we have mentioned were used.
If you take the Black Cats for example, we referred yesterday to a case of Keswa who said I am a member of the IFP, I was given money by the police to kill a member of the ANC, and I say again, it is on record. Now, it's not only with the Black Cats, it's with the rest of them.
You take the Three Million Gang there's a guy called Witi, and you can read about Witi and see who was working with Witi - he worked with the police. There is a lot of evidence to prove that Witi worked with the police.
If you take Ama Afrika, what was going on there where they were operating, it was like AZAPO fighting the UDF and at the end it didn't turn out to be exactly what it appeared to be.
Now we want the Commission to focus on and analyse the counter-mobilisation strategy of the National Party against the liberation movements, in particular the ANC, because we think people who ran this counter-mobilisation are still alive, P W Botha and his cabinet, Mr F W de Klerk and his cabinet, they must come here and explain to you, because we all must tell the truth to the extent which we know the truth, how was that organised? How did they use this to strengthen their hands during the negotiation process and to try and weaken those who were negotiating with them in good faith? Now that would be my input on that.
In conclusion saying that a construction which says Buthelezi was a military enemy of the ANC is false, but if you say he was a political opponent, yes, he was and he still remains one like de Klerk is one, in the same manner, normal political relationships or parties.
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: Jewel Natchitanje(?) Chairperson would like to say something on this matter. He was sworn in yesterday.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
MR NATCHITANJE: Thank you Chair. I thought we should come in particularly with reference to the articles that were quoted by Mr Vally.
First and foremost to characterise the journals that he was referring to, the African Communist and Dawn, to say that these were forums for debate amongst ANC members and cadres and party members, and not all the statements or articles found in those journals represented ANC policy, and to the extent that you could find articles which were arguing that Inkatha should be seen as a military target by the ANC you would also find articles saying that that should not be the case.
And ultimately, as was elaborated yesterday it is ANC policy that finally prevailed as to what our approach as a movement should be towards Inkatha, and therefore reference should not be made to articles by individuals in the process of debate as reflecting ANC policy.
As indicated yesterday there was debate, even within the policy-making structures of the ANC about how to consider, not only Inkatha but all the other parties and organisations in the Bantustans, be it in the Ciskei, Transkei, Venda, Lebowa and so on and so forth, but ultimately policy prevailed that they would not be considered as military targets of the ANC. We should not forget that the main enemy resided in Pretoria and that's where the concentration of ANC policy should be.
But from time to time there were individuals in these structures, be it in the community councils or in the Bantustan structures who behaved in such a manner within communities that they defined themselves as targets to those communities, and amongst those communities you would from time-to-time find MK cadres who would have responded to such attacks and provocations. Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. I wonder that whilst Hanif is trying to get to his seat I see Minister Modise is back and you had suggested that he might have information with regard to the Ciskeian situation.
MR MODISE: Thank you Mr Chairperson, I have no information about the Ciskeian situation.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, that is said very solemnly.
MR R KASRILS: Chairperson I just want to come in on the answer that I gave to Mr Vally which was about the fact that to our knowledge there were no instructions given to the MK people on the ground etc, we did provide weapons for the purpose of self-defence to that area, in that period. That I'm aware of.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Dumisa Ntsebeza.
MR NTSEBEZA: Thank you Chairperson. This morning I listened to AM Live and Dr Buthelezi was being interviewed on the statements by the Deputy President yesterday and I have to be careful how I put it, it appeared to me that he was calling into question the veracity of the statement that there was a countermanding, not in so many words. He seemed to suggest that he finds it very difficult to accept that there was a countermanding of that kind because, as I understood him, there wasn't one plot to assassinate him. And though he, in fairness, he seemed to say to your credit Mr Deputy President you may not have been aware of what other members in the hierarchy of the ANC were up to,
He again said he finds it difficult again to find - coming to songs again that there were chants emanating from within the ANC which were actually calling for his elimination and how that then cannot be associated with ANC policy to achieve that end and be treated only at the level of chants, is something that baffles him.
So I don't know whether you have anything to add Mr Deputy President to what you said in the light of what I hope I am recalling the AM Live interview to have been this morning.
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: No Chairperson I really wouldn't be surprised that Dr Buthelezi would have taken a position of that kind. Because as we indicated yesterday the secret service structures in the country, military intelligence included, wanted to sustain the notion that Dr Buthelezi's life was under threat from the ANC in order to position him and the IFP in a particular place relative to the ANC. And I'm quite sure, I'm quite sure that they fed him with a great volume of stories which he believed, obviously, not that I'm blaming him for believing them because in the instance that he got to know of an actual operation that had been discussed by somebody in the ANC, if I come back tomorrow to say to him there's another one that's coming because you are proceeding from what happened really, you might very well believe. So I really wouldn't be surprised that he would indeed believe, he was deliberately fed misinformation in order to make sure that, as I was saying, as part of that counter-mobilisation thing the IFP is positioned in a particular way relative to the ANC.
But I would like to repeat this, it really was a very, very firm position of the movement that no such thing should happen to Doctor Buthelezi, no assassination should be made, that it would be wrong, it would be incorrect from every point of view. And I'm certain Chairperson some of this information will come back to you as a Commission as to what the secret services did, apart from the information that came out during the course of the Kwamakutha trial, what the secret services in this country did to position the IFP in a particular way, and as I say I am quite certain that they would have fed in the story continuously that there were plots on the part of the ANC to assassinate him.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Yes Dumisa Ntsebeza.
MR NTSEBEZA: Thank you Chair. Talking about secret services, would that, the activities of the secret services in that regard, just looking at another point, would you, as leader in the ANC and also as a person, attribute the activities of the secret service in that regard also to the conspiracy theory that has developed around the murder of Chris Hani in which there is an inference that is made that certain leaders within the ANC were part of that conspiracy to have him associated because it would have been in their interests if this were so?
Now I am saying this particularly you did indicate in your last submission that this is an area which needs to be investigated by the TRC. And I'm not asking you to give an indication of what your conspiracy theory would be, but to get an opportunity to hear from you what your views are with regard to a conspiracy theory that seems to suggest that certain leaders within the ANC were standing to benefit from the elimination of Chris Hani. Would you attribute it in the same way as you have attributed it to military or other intelligence services to be the position also in that regard?
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: Yes, I indeed yes. Let me say that if you look at a lot of the assassinations of high profile people what would happen as part of that plot is that a story would be prepared beforehand to explain the killings. You see some of the evidence now with regard to the Mxenge case. Let us look at the possibility of saying that Mxenge was misusing money that he had got from the ANC from Lusaka as a result of which the ANC got angry as a result of which it killed him. You heard the story of Joe Qlabe(?), Joe Qlabe was assassinated in Harare. The Citizen four days after Joe was assassinated, the Citizen carried a story, an editorial in which they said Joe Qlabe had quarrelled with Nelson Mandela in Robben Island and had joined the Tambo faction of the ANC, and when he came out of jail and into exile, Joe Qlabe, that is why he was able to progress so quickly into senior positions of the ANC because he belonged to the Tambo faction.
Now the Mandela faction was very concerned about this as a result of which the Mandela faction killed Joe Qlabe. That was the Citizen four days after the assassination.
Of course we were all puzzled as to how the Citizen knows all of these intimate facts about all of this. The Zimbabwean police officer who was doing that investigation was a man called Varkevisser. Varkevisser, I know some of this because we had to work with them to try to get to the bottom of this, Varkevisser says to us, when two of us were sent in from Lusaka to work with the police on this, Varkevisser says we know that on Robben Island there was a division between Joe Qlabe and Nelson Mandela. Varkevisser relates the same story, we didn't know at that point of this article in the Citizen editorial. He repeats this whole story and says therefore this thing as the CID, the Zimbabwe CID really the leads that they will seek to pursue are leads about a conflict within the ANC.
Then a Captain in the Zimbabwe Army gets arrested for spying for the South African secret services. Varkevisser is still the investigator. Varkevisser takes this Captain from Chikurubi Prison, maximum security one morning for further interrogations and they take off to the east of Zimbabwe, board a light plane and fly to South Africa because Varkevisser was an agent of the South African Special Branch. So Joe Qlabe is killed by the regime, a story is prepared, it's fed to the Zimbabwean investigating officer who happens to be a South African agent of South African Special Branch, it's put into the Citizen to convince the public this is what the truth is and carried in an editorial, not a newspaper report, the editor himself puts all these things there. So the package is prepared. Joe is killed as a result of an internal fight. I am saying you will find in all of these major cases of assassination of this kind that the assassins would also prepare a story.
The story was prepared for instance about the assassination of Ruth First, that it was done by Joe Slovo because he was dissatisfied about their marriage or something. So I wouldn't be surprised at all that this is the same case with regard to all these things that are said about the death of Chris.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Hlengiwe.
MS MKHIZE: Thank you Chairperson. I just want us to go back to the ANC conflict with Inkatha Freedom Party. Much as we accept that there was an element of the third force as the Premier has said, I just wanted to look at whether there are any other factors which might have contributed to this which the ANC should have had control over, like the culture of intolerance within the organisation; lack of a human rights culture, so I just want us to look internally at what else might have contributed to an escalation of violence over years between these two parties besides the third force.
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: I don't know if there is anything besides a third force. I am quite certain that the overwhelming majority of members of the IFP have never been involved in this violence, didn't like it, didn't want it, in much the same way that the overwhelming majority of members of the ANC would not want this violence.
I think you will remember yesterday that Jacob Zuma made some observations about the amount of effort that had gone into trying to knock together agreements with the IFP. We started with this thing from the mid-eighties, UDF and COSATU and ANC and so on and really battled very hard to get this thing to happen, the leadership of the IFP too, but somehow it would not work. And the reason it wouldn't work is because there were people who did not want it to work. It was not, I don't think, an absence of will among genuine members of the IFP and genuine members of the ANC.
I think that the information, some of which people might have been guessing at, but information which came out certainly during the Kwamakhuta trial, some of the information that came out of the Shobashobane trial and so on, would have pointed to the problem. It's not, there wasn't a situation in which two members of the ANC in Kwamashu or one member of the ANC, one member of Inkatha, one stands up and says, I, member of the IFP I am in favour of a federal South Africa, and the ANC one says, no, no, no, we don't like this federation business I am in favour of a unitary South Africa. They disagree and then they draw guns on each other and shoot. No such thing. Organised gangs, political, were responsible for this violence.
One of the reasons that it's taken such a long time to deal with the question of this political violence in KwaZulu Natal is because the police abdicated their responsibility and to some extent we must be to blame for that, because we ourselves said it's absolutely critical that we engage the IFP and reach political agreements in order to reach this, in order to deal with this question of violence. So the approach developed that this was not really a law and order enforcement problem, it was a problem that the political leaders must solve. And you tried desperately hard to find an accommodation and we never could, even when you reached agreements because somebody would pop up and shoot.
So I'm saying the police said this is defined as a political problem, not a law and order enforcement problem and didn't do anything. I see Commissioner Malan is shaking his head - it's true. We had to put in special units into KwaZulu Natal. We had to put in special units actually to arrest to say you never mind what the politicians are doing talking peace and trying very hard to do so, do your work, we had to bring in special units into that province, five of them, before any arrests took place. And indeed arrests took place. Many arrests have taken place over the violence and it goes down. And we all say glory hallelujah to the political leaders, but I also say glory hallelujah to the police. They did a tremendous job there. They had left this matter because we ourselves encouraged that the political solution is the way to go.
We have to arrest these people, I was saying earlier, just look at the records of the Shobashobane thing, those assassins who participated in the massacre in Shobashobane in Christmas '95 I think it was had been killing since the eighties and they were not interested in any peace agreement between the IFP and the ANC, not in the least, and nor were their controllers.
So I don't think you have an original problem, an original problem of intolerance that these political organisations are defined by intolerance. What happens is that as the conflict persists over a period of time and the IFP is defined in the mind of a community as essentially a terrorist organisation, it might not be the IFP, various elements in it, but as that persists and indeed here thousands of displaced people, so many people killed, you can't hold meetings and so on and so on, of course in a situation of conflict like that indeed there is a response which would translate among other things into that culture of intolerance. But I am saying there is no original culture of intolerance within the organisations, but the situation would produce that. So we can't treat it as cause, that because as the original sin of intolerance within the organisations this therefore led to this. I am saying it was a consequence of the on-going conflict.
And I am absolutely certain that the reason that these battles for ten years to establish cooperation, peace and so on between ANC, UDF, COSATU on the one side and the IFP on the other, the reason they didn't work is because there was somebody that was interested that they do not work and therefore would shoot, on both sides, and go and shoot an ANC person, put out a story that the IFP has shot this person and do it the other way round, and there were are again back in a big battle, provoked Black on Black violence, all this kind of nonsense.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Dr Mgojo and then Wynand, and then we'll come back to - before you - can I just indicate, we were supposed to be going to break for tea at 11 but Hanif indicates that really he is about to finish the questions and we want to give an undertaking that we think we would finish by 12, it will be much better not to break and let's just go on and finish the whole caboodle. All of us must be brief.
DR MGOJO: Thank you.
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: Excuse me Dr Mgojo, Ronnie Kasrils was saying is it not possible just to have a five minute break, just so that some people can dash to the smallest room in the building and ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: Don't give us all the gory details. (Laughter) Yes maybe let's have a five minute, I am going to be very strict.
CHAIRPERSON: Dr Mgojo.
DR MGOJO: Thank you Sir. Mr Chairperson I am sorry that I have to revisit Mr Hanif had his question based on that article which was read. I listened carefully to the Premier and I agree with most of the things which he has said, but I find that they are very general. They are not specific. The article which was read was associated with ANC, whether it was put out by an individual, to me that is not important, because there is a saying in Zulu which says (quotes in Zulu), whether it was one person from the ANC circles but the article (...indistinct) and this article has caused a lot of problems in the context of KwaZulu Natal because wherever we go, we are accused, of course in some circles it is said that the Truth Commission is the ANC baby, and this thing keeps on coming. They even said we killed Mxenge but we have not heard any apology from them whoever said it, that we didn't kill Mxenge. The new revelations have come out clear that the IFP didn't kill Mxenge. Now how do we go over that cloud which keeps on cropping up supported by the new revelations that Inkatha did not kill Mxenge?
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: Chairperson the ANC has never thought that the IFP killed Mxenge, or the Mxenges, has never, ever thought that without evidence. We always knew that it was the Pretoria regime that had done that. I don't remember, I don't know what would have occasioned a belief within the IFP that we believed that they killed Mxenge, we never did. And certainly I don't know why the Truth Commission would be blamed, even if there was that misperception about what the ANC thought. I don't know why the Truth Commission should be blamed for that, for the sins of the ANC.
But I think we have to accept that it happens today, political parties in the process of a contest, even a peaceful contest, will characterise one another and denounce one another if possible. The ANC is incompetent, it's failing to deliver, it's soft on crime and you know all sorts of things, that's part of a normal political process. The ANC will say other things about other parties.
The IFP was set up at the instance of the ANC. We had a number of discussions with Dr Buthelezi about this and felt that it was necessary to establish a political organisation to take advantage of whatever legal space existed within the homeland system, to be able to organise people to engage them in struggle. It took a bit of time to discuss this. In the end it was agreed. Dr Buthelezi was one who suggested that it should be called Inkatha, because he said there had been such an organisation earlier, it would be easy to argue that this is really in context with what the regime was arguing, these traditional things, you are going back to your roots to say this thing had been there. I think King Dini Zulu(?) had set it up and so it would just resurrect. It would be easy to sell it.
ANC people, Harry Gwala and the others refused to establish it. They were taking a very strong militant position to say we are not going to dirty our hands with bantustan politics. We tried, Dr Buthelezi tried, we tried to say no it's necessary to have this organisation. In the end we couldn't move them. Dr Buthelezi came back, said look these people are not moving let me, shall I go ahead, we said yes, and indeed he did. He came to Lusaka, went to Tanzania to look at the experiences of the political parties, they were facilitated those visits as part of the process of building this organisation which would help to mobilise people.
There's a sharp break which took place in 1979. We met in London, discussed major strategic questions and agreed on all these major strategic questions, actually agreed on sanctions, on armed struggle, on all of these things.
Later the public announcements that were made, these things that are mentioned in this article as Mr Vally read it, anti-sanctions, against the armed struggle, all manner of things started happening, attacks on the Black Consciousness Movement, and so on and in a context like that, in a situation like that, clearly one of the things that would happen and did happen, was we then sat down and said, but what kind of animal is this, because clearly it was not what was intended at the beginning. What kind of animal is this? So there would therefore be a characterisation. It has thrown in its lot with the apartheid regime, it's running a Bantustan system, whatever might have been said. And I think that's a normal political process and I think that must be accepted.
And to the extent that it might have conveyed an image of itself as an organisation which terrorises those people who refuse to abide by its own positions, that will be said, you can't avoid it. It has to be said, they would say certain things about the ANC, communist dominated, ally and agent of Moscow, terrorist organisation, antichrist, seeks to nationalise babies and swimming pools, all of that kind of thing. So that will be said.
It may very well be that the fact that had that character, in fact never mind it may very well be, this man was involved in the Trust Feeds, Brian Mitchell, during his trial he said that the characterisation of the ANC, conveyed to him the image of an antichrist, he used that phrase. It carried to him the image of an antichrist and therefore when they engaged in those activities for which he's now being indemnified or granted amnesty, he said in his trial that I was convinced I was destroying the antichrist, but I'm saying it was part of that political struggle for the opponents of the ANC to define it in a particular way so as to defeat it, and to the extent that was possible, they would use something, pure invention sometimes and sometimes something which, the ANC has an alliance with the communist party, therefore it's believable to say it's an agent of the Communist Party.
We would do characterisations of all organisations and to the extent that the IFP came across as an organisation that was using terror against the people, we would describe it as such. Now you cannot say you should not have done that because the consequence of it would be as follows. I'm saying that I think we need to accept that, that would be the normal part of any political process even now without guns, organisations will characterise one another and it's not in the nature of political organisations to be complimentary about their opponents.
But certainly I think the Truth Commission is made up of very outstanding people who have the possibility vigorously to defend their independence from the ANC.
MR W MALAN: Chairperson I think that's true that this holy war rhetoric we found on all sides of the conflict. And I think that statement of the Deputy President is something that's appreciated and understood in the political context. But I still want to get back to an observation that the Deputy President made that I was shaking my head, I was trying to come to grips with the statement seeing that I'm understanding it correctly, that I think the comment at the stage was that we don't think there was anything other or in addition to a third force in this conflict in KwaZulu Natal.
Now I don't think in terms of my experience and understanding before and in the Truth Commission, we all come with our baggage because we come with a history and an exposure and perspective, there's no gainsaying of the activity of a third force or third forces loosely coordinated or uncoordinated on occasion, but I find it exceptionally difficult to believe that there was no active involvement or participation in conflict, not necessarily at a central level, but certainly in the broader struggle going down, that people in the same way did take initiatives at local level. There was reference made to the unit that indeed did devise a plan to eliminate Minister Buthelezi, then the Chief Minister at the time.
We had the information here that that plan and decision resolution was countermanded at national level. Now I have no recollection of this position ever having been publicly made known, in other words acknowledging the plan, the resolution at a lower level and then really publicising the countermanding of that at a higher level. I can only recall a refuting of the statement.
Now am I correct or is my recollection wrong? Wouldn't it have been the prudent way to say yes it did happen at a lower level, no it should not have taken place and we emphasise this, but we had the denial all along. That's my recollection, is it a wrong one?
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: I am sure that it wouldn't be terribly difficult for us to put together a whole number of statements, when we've made this point before that there hasn't been, there isn't on the part of the ANC any intention to assassinate Dr Buthelezi. I'm sure we've said that many times. To address a specific question whether we are threatening to do such a thing and we responded and we thought that that was adequate.
The earlier question I was talking about, Zuma yesterday spoke about 12 A-side meetings. You had in the IFP like Dr Mdhlalose, Ben Ngubane, Chief Mgubane, Chief Gumede, Viti Zulu, CJ Mtetwa, all sorts of people, and we'd really seriously sit and engage these questions, what do we do? What I was saying, we would make progress in those discussions and we are quite convinced that this leadership of the IFP with whom we're interacting, in great detail about many things, language, what kind of language should be used, what kind of language is permissible or not, what sort of language incites violence, let's set up a committee there and have a look at that kind of thing.
This question of organising public meetings, how do we organise public meetings in localities so that there is freedom of political activity for everybody but we handle it in a manner sot that you don't have conflict. I'm saying all manner of detail of this kind.
Where there are the SDU's and SPU's, how do we go back to the original concept, merge these things, let them protect communities and so on. We are quite convinced that the people sitting across the table from us were being quite serious about all of this and wanted this violence to end, and there was no suggestion at any point that they believed that we, the ANC side to these discussions, was not being serious.
Let's institute a programme of action therefore, to go down, to talk to the communities, let's start with rallies that shall be addressed by Mandela and Buthelezi together and then here is a program which we - that kind of detail. Invariably trouble would flare up somewhere, the thing collapses, doesn't move. I'm saying that we had absolutely no reason to believe that this leadership of the IFP with whom we were discussing was not really seriously engaged and being honest about these processes, but somewhere, and it might start in any particular way in a locality, as you are saying it might start in a locality, something erupts in a locality, it's not ordered from above by these because they wouldn't order it in any case. But somebody else who doesn't have an interest in the resolution of this conflict starts it.
There's a police officer who was serving a prison sentence, he was telling Penwill Maduna and myself a story about I think '93 or '94, beginning of '94 about one of the Johannesburg townships. He was a Special Branch officer, they managed to infiltrate a civic association in one of the African Townships around Johannesburg, infiltrated it and really basically ran it or sought to run it with their agents within the civic association, but it kind of ran away with them and the ANC became too strong within it. So they decided no the best thing to do is to create an alternative civic association. So they created it, split this one and created a second civic association and of course, elements of conflict began to brew.
And a second one was developing, was also beginning to look like it is going to run away with them, the ANC political influence generally in the township is too strong and people tend to drift in that direction. So they had to think of an alternative plan, what do we do? Let's split this one again and create a third one. You know that kind of thing.
So, now when trouble then erupts between these it's seeming trouble between two political factions who are basically ANC but are fighting each other for power, but it was Special Branch. But I'm saying it looks as though there's something that's popped up on its own in this particular locality as a result of these political rivalries. It wasn't, it was Special Branch. I'm saying in this particular instance, precisely that kind of thing.
This person who sits in a hostel as an induna, who actually belongs to these old State structures of the National Security management System and so on, is then prompted, now you go and do this thing because this progress towards peace is coming on too strong, so there was a thesis amongst some of the White intelligence officers, I don't know if they've abandoned it, that if you had - you see you have this proposition. The ANC is Xhosa, right, a Xhosa organisation, Inkatha is Zulu, what you need to do is to make sure that under no circumstances should these two organisations get together, because once you've combined the Zulu and the Xhosa, you have permanent one party domination in this country for ever and ever, amen.
So make sure that this doesn't happen. This is part of what underlay the conflict, the sustenance of the conflict between the ANC and the IFP, to make sure in this very foolish perception, that you don't allow the Xhosa and Zulu organisations to get together. So nobody's going to stand up and say, I started that particular conflict in Kwamashu on the 1st of March as perpetuation of this problem, it will come across to you and I as being part of this intolerance that has not been addressed whereas it was very, very organised to achieve a particular purpose.
So that's why I'm saying the people, the leadership and even at lower levels, the membership of the IFP and ANC really tried very hard to engage this question of peace between themselves but couldn't succeed until you took the elements organised to cause violence, until you dealt with them as a law enforcement problem, that creates a space to find a political settlement.
MR VALLY: Thank you Archbishop. What I'll do is I'll include all my questions regarding Inkatha, I'll set them all out once and then the ANC can answer as I go on.
My first question relates to still the 1980's period. Did the ANC send in cadres in the conflict between UDF and Inkatha? And the reason I'm asking this question is in this document given to us, under the heading, Report on the Activities of the Natal Machinery During the Period 1983 to 1988 when it was in the command of Musi Ngwenya, alias Tami Zulu, there's a statement, we can let you have a copy of this if you don't have it readily available, but let me just read it to you first. It says, I'll give you my highlighted copy after I have read it.
"On a number of occasions correspondence to TZ (that's Tami Zulu) after December 1987, and again his briefing in April emphasised the need to infiltrate smaller groups to deal with Inkatha warlords".
Then the paragraph further down it says:
"The realisation of these plans was to be militated against by both objective and subjective factors both in Swaziland and Maputo."
Now it's not clear if cadres were infiltrated or not and that's the question I want to put to you, that this issue was discussed and what was the decision taken?
Going on into the 1990's and this issue has been raised with us by other political parties as well, the ANC leader Mr R Gadebe on the 4th of May 1992 in Pietermaritzburg made the following statements:
"The South African Police and Inkatha are perpetrators of the violence, they are our enemies. We will kill the South African Police, we will kill the SADF, we will kill the Kwazulu Police, we will kill all our enemies".
The Nationalist party amongst other parties has claimed that the ANC and others are now attempting to dismiss all violence that occurred in the conflict between various black groupings, including its struggle against the IFP, as a result of third force activities. This is patently absurd, bearing in mind that kind of quote.
My final question regarding the IFP is the IFP has asserted that between the period 1990 and 1994, the leadership of the former Transkei government allowed its territory to be used as both a sanctuary as well as a spring board for attacks on IFP personnel in KwaZulu Natal, and would the ANC like to comment on that?
Those are my questions.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Modise.
MR MODISE: The question that was put to us now which relates to correspondence going to Tami Zulu requesting him to send in small groups to deal with Inkatha warlords. This has not been brought to the knowledge of Military Headquarters.
One other thing that needs to be known is that cadres of MK were briefed within certain parameters, the targets that they were to deal with were clearly spelled out. And also in the training of cadres, and I think this was said yesterday, the policies of the movement, particularly military policy, was clearly set out and instructors dealt with it, put it across to the what's the name, so when officers went out and also cadres they were supposed to operate within this broad framework within the parameters that have been worked out by the movement.
But there was a lot of flexibility because we did not have this two-way process where instructions are given directly to forces on the ground and there is a response on the ground, because of the problems of security also. There were areas where we used radio communication but it was used very sparingly. Telephone messages were sent cryptically but we suffered a lot of casualties also through this method because the telephones could be intercepted and then they would lead to areas where they came from and who used them.
So we had those problems. So units of the African National Congress, of MK in particular, were given these broad instructions. Commanders on the spot took decisions but those decisions were expected to fall within the broad frame work.
So this correspondence to Tami Zulu that he should send in units to come and assist with the warlords, was not conveyed to Headquarters and as a commander on the ground we expected him to, he's got the latitude to act. Warlords were a special type of people within the country, we had this problem at Rayton and I think, I don't want to believe that they have completely, the situation has subsided but I don't think that the warlords, have completely disappeared, some of them might have gone underground. Warlords were a group of people who organised units under them, or groups under them or gangs under them that would go on the rampage and begin to attack those that were perceived to be their opponents.
In situations like that it's understandable if Tami had responded to requests from the people who were being slaughtered by these warlords and their units, it's understandable that he would have responded positively to that request. But I want to repeat that this particular incident of Tami Zulu was not brought to our notice.
CHAIRPERSON: Matthews Phosa.
PREMIER MATTHEWS PHOSA: Thank you Chairperson, I heard that you made reference to Mozambique and I want to state very clearly that Mr Tami Zulu was also a member of our command structure in Mozambique. We never discussed a matter like this one. I never even saw as a person who was in charge, a request of that nature, I'm hearing about it for the first time here. So I must speak for my colleagues as well who were with me in Mozambique at the time.
CHAIRPERSON: Have they answered all your questions? MR VALLY: No they haven't Archbishop. They haven't answered the question on Transkei, they haven't answered the question on allegations that all the activities were third force activities are not true based on, amongst other things, Mr Gadebe's statements.
CHAIRPERSON: Ronnie Kasrils.
MR KASRILS: Mr Vally, thank you Archbishop, the statement attributed to Reggie Gadebe, what date was that?
MR VALLY: That was on the 4th of May 1992 in Pietermaritzburg. MR KASRILS: According to the statement he talked about:"We will kill the SAP , SADF" and?
MR VALLY: And we will kill the KwaZulu police, we will kill all our enemies. Shall I repeat that question?
MR KASRILS: No, no we've got it now. Reggie Gadebe was an ANC leader, secretary in fact in the Midlands and he's made this speech, I can't remember any statements being made to distance the ANC from that speech. I can't remember the speech. Your question is do we sanction that kind of statement?
MR VALLY: No my question was that the NP for example stated,
"The ANC and others are now attempting to dismiss all the violence that occurred in the conflict between various Black groupings, including conflict between with the IFP as a result of third force activities. That this is patently absurd".
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: Chairperson, you will be aware that the ANC has recently expelled one of it's members in the Natal Midlands, a Mr Sphiso Nkabinde(?), who the ANC is convinced has been working with the old South African Special Branch for some time, and we are convinced that he continues to work to this day with elements within South African Police Service. He was very involved in this conflict in the same area where Reggie Gadebe was in the Natal Midlands. I'm saying we know that he was working directly as an agent of the South African Security Police, we knew precisely what he was doing, who were directing the activities, who stood out as one of your most militant ANC fighters against the IFP, a police agent.
There are people in the IFP who are what are described as warlords who are in precisely the same position, agents of the old secret services involved in this violence, militant fighters against the ANC but agents of the old South African Secret Service, on both sides.
The first thing, you see it doesn't help, it doesn't help for anybody to say that the ANC is crying too much about a third force and not looking sufficiently at itself to say what contribution did it make. We would be very, very. very happy Chairperson if this matter could be dealt with.
Let's identify who has been whom in this conflict. When Eugene de Kock talks about these huge quantities of weapons that they shifted to the IFP, what happened to those weapons, where are they? Whom were they arming? Were they arming some neutral Black as a result of which there was Black on Black violence, politically neutral Black or not? In that particular trial, I don't know what is going to happen in the consequence of it, various names of very well known IFP people were mentioned by de Kock as people with whom they worked, political leaders of one kind or another.
I was saying Chairperson I was relating a story about a Special Branch officer who was busy setting up civic associations in Johannesburg, that same officer related to Penwill Maduna and myself how they used to supply weapons to particular persons in the leadership of the IFP around Johannesburg, to arm them, who were agents of the Special Branch who would go out and then do this violence. They come back, a political noise is made, it is decided, I'm talking about the '90's, this post-1990 period, ANC makes a lot of noise, this and that and that, he then decided to raid, he says it was part of his responsibility to raid hostels, he said it was part of his responsibility to go and alert these people. He would go and say there is a raid that is coming tomorrow at such and such a time, they would put together these weapons, he would collect them, this police officer, and go and store them in a police station. They would leave two old rusted weapons there, the police would find them, television cameras would be called, we found these two weapons, the go away. A couple of days later he would transfer the weapons back to the hostel.
Two known leaders of the IFP was identified, militant fighters against the ANC but I'm saying they had militant fighters in the ANC against the IFP. That's in the entirety of this conflict which was described as a conflict between the ANC and the IFP. This matter was very fundamental. Why does the State transfer these hugh volumes of weapons to the IFP, train people in the Caprivi, do all manner of things? And that cooperation continues, I'm not talking about cooperation between the government and the IFP, I'm talking about between the secret services and particular persons in the IFP.
And then when you've done all this damage, you've put people on both sides, they are both your agents, and you say fight it out, we are going to present it as Black on Black violence. You then step back and say ah ah ah, Black on Black violence. I think it's irresponsible.
They need to tell the truth because this problem will be a continuing problem until we uproot these structures which they established. I am not saying, I'm not in the least saying that there was no conflict between genuine members of the ANC arising out of the sustained problem and they start shooting. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying to minimise the deliberate provocation, deliberate provocation of this conflict by the then State system, would be to make a grievous mistake in terms of understanding what is the nature of this conflict. And that's real, and that's very real.
Look at the entirety of this history, UWUSA, how does UWUSA get established? Is it some workers who stand up and say we align politically to the IFP and therefore we are going to set up UWUSA in contradistinction to COSATU, no. It's the bloody State, sorry, sorry. They set this thing up and they do all manner of things to provoke this conflict among the trade unions and then turn around and say, Black on Black violence.
We, I would not claim, that we understood the nature of this problem then as much as we understand it now. I wouldn't say for instance we understand as much then as we do now, there's linkages between particular persons in the leadership of the IFP and people in the secret services. We understood some of the roles of this kind of agent in our own ranks. For instance we've been talking about this question about IFP, you would find that in many instances your most militant, the person who presents the most militant positions against the IFP or AZAPO or PAC, let's take action to destroy these, I'm saying in many instances you'd find later you'd catch this person, this person is a police agent, he's an agent of the system, deliberately seeking to provoke, to move the organisation to take a particular position.
So it is necessary to get to the root of this, who in fact conducted this violence? Among the IFP I am saying, it's not the general membership of the IFP that was engaged in this violence, it's particular units. It's particular units that were involved, there is no general Black on Black violence. The particular units which were involved in this violence which were armed and trained and motivated in a particular way to achieve particular political purposes. There were people in the ANC, I'm saying like Sphiso Nkabinde, who was a great militant fighter against the IFP on the instruction of the Special Branch. It's not Black on Black violence, it's Special Branch violence against Black people.
There would have been, you see, a question - If there was something inherent, endemically wrong within the ANC and the IFP, what we should expect is continuing political violence in KwaZulu Natal. Levels of intolerance are inherent within these organisations, this culture is not there, I'm saying you would get a continuing problem, you won't get it, and the reason you won't get it is because serious progress has been made to smash these particular units which were armed and trained, prepared, motivated to perpetuate the violence. If they had not been there there would never have been this Black on Black violence.
That's where it comes from, it doesn't come from branch secretaries, one of the ANC here and one of the IFP deciding to box each other because they disagree about federalism, it doesn't, it came from somewhere else and people were prepared in the conduct of the armed struggle, as Jewel Natchitanje was explaining just now, we took a deliberate position on members of the National Party, never mind the IFP. We said you cannot treat the National Party as National Party as a legitimate military target. You can't go and blow up a National Party branch meeting.
So there would not have been inserted into the process of the political struggle the notion that you can use military force to crush a political party as such, if that hadn't come in from somewhere else. Or may be it might have come in to some extent, it would not have spread as much as it did, but we would contest very, very strongly the notion that among Black political organisations such as a level of intolerance, a lack of understanding of democracy, that inevitably you have Black on Black violence. It is wrong, we would contest that. This was deliberately done, this violence then gets explained as Black on Black violence and I'm saying Chairperson, it has to be dealt with because these people who were organised to carry out this violence, described as Black on Black violence, I'm talking about the organised units. They come from somewhere and they continue to exist, the persons, and some of those networks continue to exist. I'm absolutely certain, Chairperson, that in terms of some trials that are coming up, it will come up, just now in KwaZulu Natal all of this what I'm saying is going to be very clear, that even now 1997, we're dealing with instances of violence which happen because certain police officers, certain of their agents, even within the ANC who've been linked since the 1980's continue to be active. We need to uproot all of this.
So it's important that the National Party should cooperate to deal with this question. Let it assist all of us by coming forth with this information as to what structures existed, what persons and all of this, who got involved as organised units in this violence, so that we can deal with this matter once and for all, it's important. It doesn't help to be having some petty political battle with the ANC, why does the ANC not admit its own involvement in this Black on Black violence as a mechanism to hide the real killers who are carrying the guns? It is wrong, it's irresponsible and I think that the Commission should really make a very serious effort to get them to come out with the truth. It's coming out Archbishop in bits and pieces, it's coming out. You have this trial and then you have another trial, I'm quite certain that in some of the amnesty applications some of this information will come out, I'm absolutely sure about it, it's coming out in bits and pieces, but these bits that have not yet been found continue to do bad things.
Somebody, somewhere knows about all of this. It was all recorded, it was all nicely done, why is this truth not being told so that we can deal with this continuing existing problem and not hide behind some notion that you can perpetuate this concept of black on black violence and I'm saying by that means, continue to protect and hide the people who are the real killers?
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: Ronnie will deal with the Transkei.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
MR R KASRILS: The Transkei certainly provided sanctuary for both ANC, MK, PAC, APLA people, particularly in the period where a military council operated, pre-'90 and then obviously post-'90 a lot of our people were there, and at some stage Chris Hani was there, if you remember, when his indemnity was withdrawn, instead of leaving the country or going underground he was able to stay in the Transkei from approximately June 1990 to approximately June '91, thereabouts. So sanctuary was possible.
As far as a base is concerned there was no base, we didn't set up a military command to organise operations out of the Transkei against any part of South Africa, including let's say the IFP or its administration in KwaZulu Natal. But that military council allowed certain degree of military training for both MK and APLA to take place in the Transkei. To a certain degree this was fairly open. We had MK and APLA people at times parading there, but in a sense you had that elsewhere in South Africa as well. We would see MK people, particularly, in all parts of South Africa and there would be parades or marches and assistance given at various funerals or rallies together with marshals. The Transkei was clearly a place where it was possible to provide weapons from a sympathetic structure in the Transkei.
We've talked earlier quite openly about the fact, and not only here today but in the past, that with the development of self-defence units to protect people through MK assistance was given throughout South Africa. Clearly some assistance was provided through the Transkei. I think in terms of that it's obviously for the administration of the Transkei to respond to that aspect of your question. But we never, as ANC/MK, set up a base there as a place to attack specific targets.
Now it's quite possible that individuals who were MK in that particular area could have taken part in some activities out of the Transkei and one might perhaps see this in the amnesty applications. But I'm repeating again there was nothing set up by way of a military command as such under MK headquarters, from Shell House, in that respect with instructions going out to our people in the Transkei. So a base from which to launch operations, no, sanctuary, yes.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
MR KASRILS: On the Reggie Gadebe issue I think, well Matthews Phosa is just making a point about it here, that I think that the Deputy President had referred to this, not by name.
MR VALLY: My final question, Archbishop.
President Mandela in April this year said inter alia during his budget speech,
"It is not Afrikaners in general who are being called to account because as with other languages in cultural communities it is not in the nature of the Afrikaner as such to be brutal to others".
He went on to say,
"All of us, as a nation that has newly found itself, share in the shame at the capacity of human beings of any race or language group to be inhumane to other human beings".
What is the position of the ANC regarding this issue? What message does the ANC have, both to its own supporters and to the country at large, regarding building this bridge to the new South Africa which will encompass the issue of reconciliation?
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Modise.
MR MODISE: Thank you Mr Chairperson. I think President Mandela has spoken for the African National Congress, we share that view and we support every word that he has uttered. We have never really attributed inhumanity and brutality to a special race. It's always individuals in various races that would proceed along those lines, and some individuals can organise groups around themselves who share that view. But our view has always been that all South Africans are committed, there are good South Africans throughout our races, all our races. The MK had both Afrikaners, Englishmen, Portuguese, Zulu, Xhosa, Venda, Shangaan, and all of us fought for the same cause, and we think that humanity will be found amongst all races. The President was absolutely correct, we share that view and it's a view that we will strive for. We will work towards the success of this approach.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Mbeki.
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: Thank you Chairperson.
Very briefly I want to follow on what Joe Modise said. I would like to say in that context, Chairperson, we may have said this before, in the course of our preparations last year and continuing into our preparations to appear before the Commission we had quite a long discussion about the manner of the approach, that we could come to the Commission and make some brief statements, submit brief documents and all that, or we could take a different approach even to answer questions we have not been asked, always a dangerous thing to do. We thought it was necessary, Chairperson, to be comprehensive and to be really as open as is possible.
I would like to take note of the remarks the Chairperson made, which I thought were well made when you said earlier this morning that we should not resort to self-justification. I thought that was an important remark to make. You would understand that sometimes that would happen to any human being, to share the little bit of the guilt to say I'm not as guilty as you think I am, I'm justified to this extent, but I'm saying that would only be a natural thing. But otherwise we have tried, Chairperson, to be as cooperative as possible.
I'm saying this because during the course of our presentations, both yesterday and today, it became clear that there would be some additional information that would be required from us and we did say, at various points, that we would be prepared to cooperate with the Commission with regard to that. I want to reiterate that we are very willing to do that and we will try as best as we can to cooperate.
I must say about the other list of documents which we gave to the Commission, which are marked "Eyes of the Commission Only", again we respect the position that the Chairperson of the Commission indicated yesterday, we agree with that. This Commission will take its own decision within the context of its own guidelines. We shall and we bear in mind Chairperson that it was said that the Commission as a whole will meet in plenary session, I think Thursday, and so you did indicate that you would of course listen to any substantiated argument, but the decision rests with the Commission to decide what it wants to do within its guidelines. As I say, we respect that. We will try and come back to you on that point, Chairperson, before Thursday. We don't want to compromise a life of the Commission by doing things which become difficult. So we will do that in the context, Chairperson, as I was saying, of our cooperation.
There are clearly certain things which we would have wanted to say more about and I think you heard some of that yesterday, Chairperson, for instance the questions that were raised about camp life. Because again, as we are saying, an image can be created out there that camp life had to do with detention camps, torturing of people, beating up of people, abuse of women and all of that, but in our presentation last year we did to some extent cover this matter, just to give a description of camp life of what it was about. Questions like that and what happened in the post-Kabwe period with regard to the institution of a more stable substantial system of justice to deal with punishment, discipline and this kind of question. Indeed certainly we would have wanted to have dealt with those questions to give a more global picture because there's an image out there which also needs to be addressed while the urgent matters that you have to deal with are also dealt with.
That of course, Chairperson, as you would understand, would include from us a continuing assertion, if that is the right word, of the correctness of a people denied all other possibilities of change by a tyrannical regime to correctness not to submit, not to submit to say no, to stand up and say we'll fight for our liberation. That is not an excuse for human rights abuses in the context of the conduct of such a struggle.
I am making these remarks in part Chairperson, therefore to conclude in this way, that we are absolutely certain that at the end of these processes the Truth Commission will make an important contribution to this matter of reconciliation, these issues that Hanif Vally is raising, raised in this statement by President Mandela, it seemed to us that one way of assisting in ensuring that you achieved that objective of the greatest possible contribution by the Commission to this objective of reconciliation was to enable the Commission to do that, to empower it, to give it the capacity, by making sure that we, ourselves, cooperate with it as fully as is possible.
The matter of that national reconciliation is fundamental to the future of our country, and we, as a political organisation, as a political organisation, this might sound even strange to you Chairperson, we have even, informally perhaps in the past, spoken even to the National Party to say it is in its own interests we said then, that it stays in government, in its own interest to remain a viable force to assist in this process of national reconciliation. They wouldn't listen.
We are engaged in discussions now with the Freedom Front which continues to raise, perfectly within its rights, questions about the right of self-determination of the Afrikaner people, with all the controversy there is about that we are discussing this, because we believe it is important to find solutions, to address those kinds of questions seriously. The ANC might have a philosophical problem about that, but they are part of the political reality that has to be addressed seriously too. I am saying in the practice we, all of us, try to add more of these bricks to make up this edifice.
Therefore, Chairperson, good luck to the Commission. We will continue to cooperate with the Commission as best as we can. Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. There is just, before I close there is one point that Hlengiwe Mkhize wants to ask.
MS MKHIZE: Thank you very much Chairperson. One of the legacies of the Commission is the question of the survivors of human rights violations, individual survivors, can we have your comments on that?
CHAIRPERSON: Yes Wynand.
MR W MALAN: May I add my little bit to this too. The ANC addresses this on page 32 under Reparation and Rehabilitation. A few questions because earlier in the presentation the ANC refers to reparations to all victims wherever they may be coming from. Here is simply a reference to victims of the system of apartheid, which I assume is the total conflict still.
Secondly, the ANC refers to "sustainable reparations approach" and it quotes a few approaches in a broad outline which, to my mind, is fine, but I want to raise, I think, three approaches or categories that may pose problems.
The first is what I referred to yesterday as the "dual capacity of perpetrator-victim". We have this in various areas, I could take an example of the warlord who happened to be shot up but still is a survivor, responsible for other human rights violations, but in terms of the Act is a victim at the same time. Or the youth participating in a necklacing, being detained as a result and tortured, in terms of the Act he is a victim. So it's the difficulty of approaching that, because the system does not allow for fully identifying all those. We are hearing victim statements and hearings and we have amnesty applications but they are not matching all through.
The second is an approach, now this is clearly a kind of human development approach, the sustainable reparations, services of the State and so on, but the approach where cash could enter the picture, whether one needs to look at some kind of a sliding scale; does the morality enter the game; does the severity of the violations be taken into account, how would you approach that?
So it's really these questions, and you don't have to respond fully to them, but they are serious questions that we are grappling with and we are not sure that we can necessarily fully follow and apply your approach in terms of sustainable reparations.
CHAIRPERSON: Can I just intervene here by saying you actually don't need, Mr Deputy President, to respond now. It's quite deep questions that require, I think, a fair degree of reflection, unless you had a "blitzerig antwoord", you needn't do that now, because I had given a half-commitment that we were going to try and finish at 12. We don't need to be pushed by that, but I'm saying you are free, in this free country, to say can I give you a response, a written response later.
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MBEKI: Yes thanks, Chairperson, that's essentially what I was going to say.
We have been looking at this question ourselves and all of these problems and we thought ourselves further work needed to be done on it, we'll come back to you on it.
I must say also that we are also hoping that there would be the interaction between the Commission and that Committee of National Ministers who were selected to deal with this question, because it's necessary also to look at the actuality in terms of the capacity of the State in whatever respect, whether it's cash or sustainable and so on. We had hoped also that would also come with some answers and we trust that something is happening with regard to the interaction with that government, that government committee.
I must also just say briefly, Chairperson, that there was a report in one of the newspapers yesterday which said we are calling for a Reparations Tax. We didn't. Clearly the writer of the story read something into what we said, but we haven't called for a Reparation Tax. We may very well do that in future, but not yet. (General laughter).
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
I want first of all to express our appreciation to you and your delegation, and I will be saying a little more about this.
To thank all who have attended for behaving as well as they have, not giving me too much trouble keeping them in order.
To say thank you too to the Interpreters.
To express my own appreciation to my colleagues on the panel here, and to Hanif and his team.
And then to thank Wendy Orr who is our regional convenor here, and her staff Ruth Llewelyn and Lewin and all her colleagues for the preparation that they put in to ensuring that our hearing goes as smoothly as it has done.
I want to revert to what I said as an interpolation when Ronnie Kasrils had responded. I do want to say that the impression that we have had has been of a submission that has sought to be open, and certainly the impression that I got, especially yesterday and perhaps to some extent today, in the responses that have come from yourselves have been the sort of responses that take the process of reconciliation forward.
Ultimately it hasn't to do with legalities. It hasn't to do with that side of it. It has to do ultimately with the spiritual values of goodness, of compassion, of caring. It has to do with the creation of an atmosphere in this land where people are ready and openly are able to say that they made mistakes, that they are sorry for what they may have done, because that opens up the opportunity to a future.
Forgiveness is not just a nebulous entity. Forgiveness opens a window to the possibility of a future. Without forgiveness there is no future, and that takes us beyond justice as narrowly understood, beyond, as I said, just legality, and it is in the creation of that atmosphere that a presentation such as yours, and the subsequent interaction between yourselves and us here, it is in the creation of that that we are going to find the value of this thing.
But it is possible from here to be able to move forward, because there is an openness and an acknowledgement that we are human, and because we are human we have the capacity to go wrong, but because we are human we have the capacity to be noble, and it is possible for the healing to happen in this land.
We just want to express appreciation for what has taken place here since yesterday until now. We want to wish you very well and God speed as you travel to these other places.
THE HEARING IS CLOSED WITH A PRAYER