DATE: 14-07-1997




CHAIRPERSON: Ms Inthanga, are we ready to proceed? Yes?

MS INTHANGA: Yes, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Will Counsel place themselves on record?

ADV COOK: Adv Gustav Cook for the applicant.

MR PAPIER: My name is Tasmil Papier, from the firm Papier Charles and Associates, appearing on behalf of the Kriel family, opposing the application and I am assisted by my colleague, Vincent Saldanha from the Legal Resources Centre.


ADV COOK: I would like to refer you to page 1 of the application, that is the application of Mr Benzien. The first page is only the formal information which is before you and I would like you to turn to page 2 and I will start with paragraph 8(b).

I will ask my client the questions and then he can answer it. Captain Benzien ...

CHAIRPERSON: Has he been sworn in?

JEFFERY BENZIEN: (sworn states)

EXAMINATION BY ADV COOK: Mr Chairman, may I proceed. I refer you to paragraph 8(b), Mr Benzien. Would you please read that out for the Committee, your force number and your date of appointment and then your personal particulars. I think there is a problem with his microphone.

MR BENZIEN: Chairperson, my force number is 0080113/5, my date of appointment in the South African Police was the 31st of December 1976. I was a student in the police, it is now the Police Services, from the 1st of January 1977 to the 1st of June 1977.

I attended the Training College of the South African Police from 1 June 1977 to 31 December 1977. I was initially attached to the Uniform Branch in Cape Town from 1 January 1978 to 1 June 1978, after which I was transferred to the Detective Branch in Cape Town, where I was from the 1st of June 1978 to 1 June 1979.

I was then transferred to Murder and Robbery Unit, stationed at Bishop Lavis, from 1 June 1979 to 1 June of 1986 after which I was transferred to the then Security Branch in Cape Town from 1 June 1986 to 1 June 1990.

During my service with the Murder and Robbery Unit in Bellville, I apologise, from the Security Branch, Cape Town I was retransferred to Murder and Robbery, Bellville South, from the 1st of June 1990 to the 31st of December 1992, and after that, I was transferred to the Police in Stanford as a Station Commander, and that was from the 1st of January 1993 to the 31st of March 1994, and I am currently employed at the Airwing of the South African Police Service, Cape Town and I was promoted to the rank of Captain with effect from the end of May of this year.

ADV COOK: Chairperson, before we continue, there is something which my client would like to say to the Committee and to all people whom he has harmed. It is an introductory statement that he would like to make before we continue, and I am asking for your time and your patience so that he can read it out to the people.

CHAIRPERSON: He may do so.

MR BENZIEN: Thank you Mr Chairperson.

JUDGE WILSON: Have you got copies of it?

ADV COOK: No, these are not copies that I want to hand in.

ADV DE JAGER: Mr Cook, the reason why we are requesting copies, is that we now have to take notes, and this is a document which he is reading.

If you can give us copies, it just expedites our work, otherwise we have to sit here and take notes of everything that he says whilst he reads from a document.

ADV COOK: I understand your problem, unfortunately I haven't made copies because it isn't really a document which I want to submit.

It is actually if one can call it that, a speech which he wants to make, which forms part of the application.

CHAIRPERSON: You may proceed.

MR BENZIEN: Thank you Chairperson. Before I start with reading out of my application, I would like to mention the following:

Firstly, I apologise to any person or persons whom I have harmed and I specifically apologise to the families of Ashley Kriel for the death of their son and brother. Although I deny that I killed him unlawfully and wrongfully, he did however die as a result of an action on my part and for that I apologise.

Life is precious and judged ex post facto, and based on today's political situation of reconciliation, his death was unnecessary.

Further I also apologise to the people whom I assaulted during interrogation, namely Peter Jacobs, Ashley Forbes, Anwar Dramat, Tony Yengeni, Gary Kruse, Niclo Pedro and Allan Mamba.

Director, Gary Kruse contacted me last week and we talked about reconciliation. In the position which I am sitting here today, the persons whose names I have now mentioned, have come to me and have shaken my hand and wished me all the best and I think Mrs Forbes, I know her as Mina Pandy, I would like to thank her very much for her attitude. It has strengthened me in this difficult position which I find myself.

ADV COOK: Mr Benzien, before you continue, please slow down for the sake of the interpreters.

MR BENZIEN: I will do so. According to what I heard this morning and last week, I believe there is no question of any bitterness amongst these people. As Director Kruse mentioned, Jeff, we are all now on the same side.

They also told me that they wouldn't oppose my application and I will be eternally grateful to them for that. It is now reconciliation, forgive and forget at its best.

It should also be mentioned that about a year ago, Jeremy Vearey who is now a Senior Superintendent in the South African Police Service, Information Unit, he approached me and asked me to join his Unit.

My answer to Senior Superintendent Vearey was I would consider it if it has nothing to do with politics. In my application I apply for amnesty for perjury in that I hadn't spoken the truth during the court proceedings and also as a result of the assaults which I have committed on Gary Kruse, Mr Yengeni and the rest, excluded the Ashley Kriel incident.

The question which could now be asked is why my application now should be believed? Superintendent Liebenberg and myself are the only members of the Terrorist Tracking Unit who applied. I was the first one and I did that voluntarily.

I cooperated with the Truth Commission from the outset. On the 8th of April of this year, I met members of the Truth Commission and I approached them of my own free will and I wasn't subpoenaed to attend proceedings.

I cooperated with the Investigation Unit, that is the Investigation Unit of the Truth Commission and was interrogated or questioned by them almost a whole day and I have declared myself to be willing to provide further information. A further date, the 23rd of April, was arranged with my legal representative and that date did not materialise and that was not due to my fault.

In letters to the Truth Commission, I declared myself willing to, should I be provided with the necessary information, to further assist the Committee. Unfortunately that never happened.

The fact that Director Kruse is not opposing my application also indicate that they forgive me and accept my version as correct. Since Ashley Kriel's death, I stand by my version of the fact that his death was an accident, a formal judicial inquest was held and there my version was accepted.

During the inquest Ashley Kriel's family were represented by one of the top Advocates and evidence was led on their behalf. A Pathologist appointed by the family, could not contradict my evidence and I stand by my version and I say that it was true and correct.

To conclude, I would once again like to say to the family and all the men and women whom I harmed, I would like to apologise to them, thank you Chairperson.

ADV COOK: Mr Chairman, I refer you to the application, page 2, paragraph 9(a), there the applicant distinguishes between two periods, namely (a), his period at Murder and Robbery at Bishop Lavis from 1986 and (b), his period at the Terrorist Tracing Unit, from the middle of 1986 to 1990.

If you turn to page 3, under A, period at Murder and Robbery at Bishop Lavis. When the application was drafted, my client made it very clear in his application and I am sure you would have gone through it, mentioned that due to a lack of recollection and the fact that he received no information from the Truth Commission, he was not able to give the Committee enough information and that he could not apply for amnesty for any incidents which include any delicts.

Mr Brink, who is to the right of me here, gave me a transcript last week, this is a transcript of the Sithlahya incident and you will see the nature and particulars on page 3 and following pages, once again, that incident my client cannot remember and therefore he cannot apply for that.

After studying the transcript of the Sithlahya matter, there is only one sentence on page 2 where Mr Knipe is mentioned as having been involved in the assault on Mr Sithlahya. My client is not implicated in any way in that transcript of Mr Sithlahya.

This information came to the fore during the questioning by the Investigating Unit of the Truth Commission and there it was mentioned to my client that he was implicated.

You will see in the application, second last page, I applied for a copy of any statement which implicates my client, which the Investigating Unit might have in its possession. I don't know why, but they never provided me with any particulars, until Mr Brink read the application and saw that we had problems with information and he then gave us the transcript.

I accordingly want to bring it to your attention that this whole period during which my client was at Murder and Robbery, had nothing to do with politics. So there is no question of my client applying for amnesty for any delict committed with a political objective in this period.

He denies categorically that he assaulted Mr Sithlahya in any way, he categorically denies that in this period at Murder and Robbery, he assaulted anybody, whether with a political motive or a common criminal.

So I would like to ask you to ignore this period so pages 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7, we can actually delete.

JUDGE WILSON: Page 3, 4, 5, 6 of what?

ADV COOK: And 7 of the application, we can scrap that. We will continue with the application on page 7, under B - Period at Terrorist Tracing Unit Security Branch.

MS KHAMPEPE: Should we therefore disregard the whole of A and only concentrate on the period B?

ADV COOK: Indeed, yes. If we all have the correct place, I will continue. On page 7, under B, 9(a)(1). Mr Benzien, during your period at the Terrorist Tracing Unit, for which deed or deeds are you applying for amnesty.

MR BENZIEN: Chairperson, assaults, tortures, perjury committed during this period mentioned below, vis-a-vis suspects who were arrested and questioned as well as the death of Ashley Kriel.

I also now apply for the cases which due to lack of recollection, I can't remember. If I am given sufficient information by the Commission, I would like to help the Commission. The period relevant here is the middle of 1986 until 1990, when the ANC was unbanned.

The places, the whole of the Peninsula.

ADV COOK: If we turn to page 8, subparagraph (4), Nature and Particulars.

MR BENZIEN: I start there with Ashley Kriel. I stand by my statement which I made in the inquest, 23/87 and dated the 15th of July, 1987.

The reason why I am now applying is as follows: This is an open and democratic forum in the new Republic of South Africa and I hope that I will be able to convince the families that I am speaking the truth.

Hopefully this forum will convince the family that I am speaking the truth.

ADV COOK: Chairperson, I am told that we first have to deal with the assaults and the torture, namely number 2 and then we can deal with the incident of Ashley Kriel at a later stage. I don't know what the reason for that is, but if it pleases you, then we can continue like that.

CHAIRPERSON: I think you should do it the way it is most convenient to you and your client.

ADV COOK: They didn't give me a reason why we should do it the other way around. Perhaps if she can tell you, I would like us to continue based on this format, otherwise we are going to be jumping around, but if she can tell us the reason why, then I will abide by that.

CHAIRPERSON: Ms Inthanga, is there is any reason why you think you should proceed on that basis?

MS INTHANGA: The victims Mr Chairman, asked that the torture incidents be heard before the Ashley Kriel incident, but if it is going to be convenient for Adv Cook to go ahead in that manner, then he can proceed.

CHAIRPERSON: Let us proceed.

ADV COOK: I don't have a problem with that, we can continue along those lines. As far as point 2 is concerned, dealing with the assaults and the torture, you can then start reading that.


"Due to a lack of recollection, inter alia due to a lapse of time, I can't remember exactly who, where and why I arrested and questioned people.

As far as I can remember, the following terrorists who were trained abroad were arrested and questioned by myself of the Investigating team. Peter Jacobs, Ashley Forbes, Anwar Dramat, Tony Yengeni, Gary Kruse, Niclo Pedro and Alan Mamba.

If I may just mention here that trials of Tony Yengeni, I am not sure about Gary Kruse's trial, the case was stopped and the other people were in fact sentenced.

If I have omitted to mention certain names, it is due to a lack of recollection and in no way to avoid responsibility.

I accordingly also apply for the cases which I can't remember. If I am given sufficient information as my legal representative, Adv Cook, repeatedly requested, I would like to be able to help the Committee.

The modus operandi of the Unit including myself, was as follows: The Unit received information from a Safety Information System, regarding a member or a liberation movement who was in the Peninsula.

I received direct information from my Commanding Officer, Lieutenant, now Superintendent Liebenberg, to trace this person and to arrest him. This had to be done expeditiously to prevent any further act or acts of terror being committed.

All those persons arrested by us, had weapons of terror in their possession, or possessed information about acts of terror or gave us information about their hangers-on or sympathisers.

Therefore my instructions from my Commanding Officer was that I had to act urgently and to make use of unconventional questioning methods. This included inter alia the wet bag method, whereby a wet bag is placed over the suspect's head to disorientate him and to make him think that he is being suffocated.

Very few suspects were assaulted, using an open hand. We did not make use of fists, because we did not want to leave any physical marks. In this way we ensured that no evidence aliunde was collected against us.

All the abovementioned members of the liberation movement provided us with the necessary information within one session, which never lasted longer than half an hour.

Ashley Forbes was subjected to two sessions. The last case was to extract new information from him. Peter Jacobs is the only one which was subjected to the wet bag method for longer. If I say "longer" here, I mean longer than half an hour. After they gave us the necessary information, the suspects pointed out their hangers-on as well as weaponry. Most of the suspects were arrested within hours after we received the information that they were in the Peninsula.

After the weapons were pointed out to us, or the sympathisers were pointed out to us, they were detained in terms of Section 29 of Security Legislation.

The Security Branch then received the docket and took the matter further. The following, excluding Ashley Forbes, the next occasion which I had any contact with the suspects, was in the courts. There the suspects, then accused, raised the defence that they were assaulted and or tortured which I denied under oath. I then told lies regarding the assaults and the tortures on the orders of the Security Branch.

I questioned Ashley Forbes for plus minus six months. Apart from those two occasions where I questioned him in an unconventional way, we built up an excellent rapport and he provided me with extremely valuable information and I then gave that through to the Security hierarchy.

In conclusion I must add that the pointing-out of weapons indicated that the suspects were terrorists, who wanted to commit acts of terror in the Peninsula.

According to my knowledge, only one civilian, a Black man died as a result of an act of terror by the terrorists.

I believed bona fide that due to my expeditious and unorthodox conduct, we made a big difference in the combatting of terror".

ADV COOK: 9(b). Captain Benzien, was any person injured, killed or was any property damaged as a result of your acts?

MR BENZIEN: As far as I can remember nobody, except for Ashley Forbes who sustained a bloodied nose and damage to his eardrum, was injured.

ADV COOK: 9(c)(1), the names of the victims?

MR BENZIEN: Ashley Kriel.

ADV COOK: And 2?

MR BENZIEN: Peter Jacobs, now a member of the South African Police Service, Security Branch Cape Town. Ashley Forbes, unknown, I don't know where he is working now. Anwar Dramat, a member of the South African Police Service, Security Branch, Cape Town.

Tony Yengeni, ANC MP. Gary Kruse, Director Commanding Officer Ministerial Security S.A. Police Service, Pretoria. Niclo Pedro, whereabouts unknown and Allan Mamba, member of the South African Police Service.

ADV COOK: Mr Chairman, if we can turn to the next page, to page 11, 10(a). Captain what political objectives did you want to achieve by means of your acts?

MR BENZIEN: The protection and maintenance of the previous government and constitutional dispensation and to prevent the community losing confidence in the government as a result of intimidation and fear.

The averting of the onslaught from the ANC/SACP alliance which was aimed at overthrowing the previous government by violent means and destroying the constitutional dispensation.

As a member and/or supporter of the National Party, everything was done to promote the confidence of the voters in the National Party and to prevent the ANC/SACP alliance and other organisations who wanted to overthrow the government by violent means, to prevent these from enlarging their political power base.

And further to combat the threat posed by the communist expansionism and to ensure that the Security or the South African government and Security Forces, not be overwhelmed by those elements.

To fight for the continued existence and preservation of what I saw as a normal Western democratic lifestyle, to protect South Africa against a communist take over or alternatively to prevent the country and its people being overcome by a series of attacks, both military or political in nature for instance, international sanctions, boycotts and isolation.

These were also seen as being aimed at taking over the country and the government. To fight for the right of myself, my family and the general public to continue to live in South Africa in the way that our forefathers lived, with special reference to our heritage, background, culture and political lifestyle.

And to try to preserve everything created on the South African soil mainly by Whites, to preserve this and to maintain the status quo in terms of what we in the Security Forces, saw as the normal South African lifestyle.

ADV COOK: Page 12 (b). What was your motivation why you regarded these acts as an act associated with an political objective?

MR BENZIEN: Until the middle of 1986, I was a Detective at Murder and Robbery at Bishop Lavis. I was temporarily transferred to the Security Branch in Cape Town. My Commanding Officer at Murder and Robbery gave me instructions to go to the Security Branch and report there.

There I acted as an investigator of people contravening the emergency regulations and I was involved there for plus minus one year. During this period, the need arose in the Security Branch for the tracing of terrorists who had been trained abroad and who were operating in the Peninsula.

I did not take part in the decision making process due to my junior rank. I only learnt of these things from my Commanding Officers. I was informed by Brigadier Strydom, then Head of the Security Branch, Cape Town, that I would be permanently transferred to the Security Branch and specifically the Terrorist Tracing Unit.

The Unit was stationed at Culemborg, Cape Town. The Commanding Officer was Lieutenant, now Superintendent Liebenberg.

The Unit consisted as an Investigating Team of myself, Warrant Officer, now senior Superintendent Nel, Sergeant J.P. van Zyl and Sergeant Kotze.

Lieutenant Liebenberg explained the purpose of the Unit to us as being the expeditious tracing and arrest of terrorists, collection of information and intelligence and the confiscating of weapons and arrest of hangers on.

The modus operandi of the Unit is as was set out above in paragraph ((a)(4) on pages 8 and 9 above.

On the 8th of June 1989, I received a certificate and a medal from the South African Police for my service in the combatting and tracing of terrorists and this confirms my believe that my seniors condoned my acts.

ADV COOK: Yes, Chairperson, if you look at the amnesty application, right at the back, there is a copy of this certificate which the applicant received.

MR BENZIEN: The acts which I committed were indeed acts committed with a political objective because as a member of the Security Forces of the State, I within the cause and scope of my duties and within the cause and scope of my express or tacit authority, acted in a bona fide manner with the objective of combatting the ANC, especially the ANC's onslaught against the country and the government and its attempts to make the country ungovernable.

Alternatively, on reasonable grounds I believed that I was acting in the cause and scope of my duties and within the cause and scope of my express or implied authority. The acts which I committed I answer, based on the following criteria as contained in Section 23 (a) - (f) of Act 34 of 1995.

The motive why I committed these acts was to, in respect of terrorists who were trained abroad and attached to the ANC or MK, to trace these people to arrest them, to collect information, weaponry and also to arrest hangers on.

This prevented further acts of terror int he country and in the Peninsula. The context for these acts was in reaction to political insurrection or disturbance of the ANC. The ANC tried to overthrow the government by military means.

These terrorists trained abroad and were active in the Peninsula, were instrumental to the objectives of the ANC who tried to make the Peninsula ungovernable by means of acts of terror.

The legal and factual nature, as well as the gravity of the offences were per se unlawful and serious. Nobody was however seriously injured or sustained lasting physical or mental harm or damage as far as I know. Ashley Kriel, unfortunately was killed.

The objective of these acts, it was aimed against the political opponent, namely the ANC. The acts were committed on the orders of my immediate Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Liebenberg.

The Security Forces served the government of the day and the National Party of which I was a member. I also acted on behalf of or with the express or tacit approval of the Security Forces and or the National Party.

The mere fact that the Terrorist Tracing Unit continued to exist for five years until the unbanning of the ANC, in 1990, and I received a medal and a certificate for my service, I believed on reasonable and bona fide grounds that I was acting within the cause and scope of my duties and within the scope of my express or implied authority.

The relationship between the acts and the political objectives pursued are defined and described more particularly in (9(a) and 10(a) and (b) above.

ADV COOK: Mr Benzien, did you benefit in any way financially or otherwise?


ADV COOK: 10(d), not applicable. 11(a), was the act or acts committed in the execution of an order of or on behalf of or with the approval of a particular body or organisation - that will be the South African Police?

MR BENZIEN: Yes. This act was carried out on behalf of the relevant Security Force, namely the South African Police and by implication the then government of the day.

I believed on reasonable grounds that I was acting in the cause and scope of my duties and within the scope of my express or implied authority because I received the order or approval for the act from a senior member of the Security Forces.

ADV COOK: 11(b). The name of the person who gave you the order?

MR BENZIEN: My immediate Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Liebenberg.

ADV COOK: 12, not applicable. 13 is unknown. Chairperson, all that now remains is the application in respect of the death of Mr Ashley Kriel, but I will stand by what I have now said and I will hand over to my colleague and she can then do the questioning in respect of that. We have decided to split it up into two parts.

CHAIRPERSON: I think Mr Cook, you better just complete your version, your clients case so that we don't split this case into two parts unnecessarily.

ADV COOK: As it pleases the Committee. I ask you to return to page 8 of the application. Nature and Particulars - 1. Ashley Kriel.

The applicant says that he stands by his statement which he made in the judicial inquest, 23/87, dated the 15th of July. What was the outcome of the inquest, Mr Benzien?

MR BENZIEN: The Chairperson of the then judicial inquest found that I was not liable in law for Ashley Kriel's death.

ADV COOK: Mr Ashley Kriel's family, were they represented at all by a legal representative during the inquest proceedings?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct. If I remember correctly it was Adv Jeremy Gauntlett.

ADV COOK: Did Mr Gauntlett adduce any evidence on behalf of the family?

MR BENZIEN: He cross-examined me and he also led the evidence of an independent Pathologist and an independent ballistic expert.

ADV COOK: The evidence of these two experts, did it contradict your evidence in any way?

MR BENZIEN: I can't remember exactly but I think it was in line with the evidence adduced by the State.

ADV COOK: If you can look right at the back of the application, document A1, Athlone GDO23/87. If you have that, then I would like to ask my client to read it out.

Captain Benzien, please continue with reading out your statement there.

MR BENZIEN: Chairperson, I would like to mention that this statement was taken down on the 15th of July of 1987, so that there are some minor particulars which aren't strictly correct, I am no longer Detective Officer. May I continue?


MR BENZIEN: I am number W80113K, in the South African Police, Detective Warrant Officer, stationed at Cape Town.

On Thursday, the 9th of July 1987, at 13h35 I was on duty, I was sober and clad in civilian dress. I was accompanied by number K173415M, Sergeant A.D. Abels of the Security Branch in Cape Town. On the instructions and orders of our Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Liebenberg, Sergeant Abels and myself went to Albermarle Road 8, Hazendal, Athlone.

Our task was to do surveillance of the grounds there, to determine whether the trained ANC terrorist, Ashley Kriel, was hiding out there. We only had information to the effect that the abovementioned terrorist could be in the house or in one of the adjacent houses and therefore Sergeant Abels and myself, approached the house on foot whilst other members of the Security Branch waited out of sight of the house.

Upon arrival at the abovementioned address, I saw that there was a gate in front of the door and this gate was locked with a padlock. Sergeant Abels and myself then walked around the back of the house to the back door. I requested Sergeant Abels to knock on the door to determine whether anybody was home.

After a couple of minutes, a Coloured man opened the door. The Coloured man held a jersey and a towel in front of his trousers, his right hand was covered with this jersey and a towel and his left hand was pressed against his covered right hand.

I immediately recognised this person as the wanted terrorist, Ashley Kriel. I identified myself to Ashley Kriel as a member of the South African Police. Kriel immediately made an upwards motion with his covered hands. At the same time, he tried to run into the house.

I threw both my arms around Ashley Kriel's arms and chest, trying to pin his arms to his body. He resisted furiously and battled to free himself. I suspected that he had either a firearm or a handgrenade in his arms under the jersey and the towel.

Sergeant Abels assisted me and we managed to restrain Ashley Kriel, who resisted. During this struggle the towel and the jersey fell and I saw Kriel holding a firearm with both his hands in front of him, and he tried to raise it.

We had already fallen to the ground during the struggle, and we tried to pin down to the ground. I succeeded in getting the firearm from, loosening it from his grip, it was an automatic pistol and I hit him on the forehead, quite a heavy blow and this wound bled freely.

Kriel released his grip for a moment whilst he was laying on his back, and we pinned him down to the ground. I was in a crouching position on his right hand side and Sergeant Abels to the left of him, at his head. I still held this firearm which I took from Kriel in my right hand and with my left hand, I took my handcuffs from my pocket and I handed them to Sergeant Abels, with the instruction that he should handcuff Kriel's hands.

Just after Sergeant Abels had placed the one cuff around Kriel's right wrist, Kriel jumped up into a sitting position and grabbed my right hand in which this firearm still was.

I grabbed my right hand with the firearm out of his grip. He turned to his left, whilst he was still in a sitting position in order to free himself and get up. Sergeant Abels, meanwhile tried to restrain Kriel. I however, realised that Kriel was getting into an upright position and from my position at that stage, which was behind him, because he was turned away from me, I jumped on his back in order to pin him down to the ground once again.

With me on his back, he thrashed in all directions and tried to enter the house. At some stages we were on the ground and other stages we were kneeling or - it as during this stage that I heard a shot. I realised that it was his firearm which was still in my right hand which had gone off.

I realised that Kriel had been wounded and I noticed blood at his mouth and nose. I immediately instructed Sergeant Abels to cuff the deceased's left hand as well, and to guard him whilst I immediately went to my vehicle to get help on the radio.

The struggle couldn't have lasted for more than a minute. At no stage did I cock the weapon and in the struggle, I didn't notice whether it had been cocked.

However, I am of the opinion that the deceased must have cocked the weapon before opening the back door of the house and had concealed the weapon underneath the towel and the jersey.

When I returned to where Ashley Kriel was, it was clear that he was dead. During the search of the deceased's room in Albermarle Road 8, a handgrenade was found under his pillow. This was found by Warrant Officer Nel of the Security Branch and the explosives expert seized this handgrenade.

I seized the deceased's firearm, a .22 star, self loading pistol, number F739725 with seven rounds in the magazine and one round in the chamber of the pistol.

Next to the body, there was one .22 pellet which I seized. After the incident, I secured the weapon myself. I pointed out the relevant points of the official police photographer as well as members of the video unit.

The handcuff on the left hand wrist had been loosened to indicate the position of the handcuffs during the struggle and the body was then taken from the scene by ambulance.

During the incident, my glasses, the left lens of my glasses had been damaged and I sustained light chafing wounds to my elbows and arms and bruised my right knee. I did not receive any medical treatment for my injuries and there then follows the details regarding the oath.

ADV COOK: Captain Benzien, do you admit then that you are aware of the contents of the statement and you've signed it on all the pages?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

ADV COOK: Is there anything else which you would like to add?

MR BENZIEN: If I may mention it once again, I would like to say to the family of Mr Kriel, now that I am older and perhaps know a bit more about the politics of those years, I believe that Mr Kriel acted very courageously.

My purpose was to arrest him and not to kill him. Although his death was a tragedy for his family, I am very, very sorry that he had to die, but the tables could very easily have been turned on that day, the outcome could have easily been very different and it could have left myself and Sergeant Abels being wounded or killed.

And once again, I apologise to the family for his death and I thank God that I, who also have children, also a daughter who is 22 years old, that I was not the person who was killed on that day.

ADV COOK: Thank you Chairperson.


CHAIRPERSON: Mr Papier, are there questions you wish to put to this witness?

MR PAPIER: There are Mr Chairman. May I proceed?

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, you may do so.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR PAPIER: Thank you. Captain Benzien, I see in your amnesty application it is dated the 8th of May 1997, in Malmesbury, is that correct?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, that is correct.

MR PAPIER: Who compiled it?

MR BENZIEN: My Advocate.

MR PAPIER: The Advocate appearing here?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR PAPIER: It was signed by you, is that correct? Did you swear or was it an affirmation?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct. That is correct.

MR PAPIER: What was it, did you swear or was it an affirmation?

MR BENZIEN: I took the oath.

MR PAPIER: Or can't you remember?

MR BENZIEN: I took the oath, but I see here the certificate was not entered.

MR PAPIER: I see. Where did you sign this?

MR BENZIEN: I signed it with my Advocate.

MR PAPIER: And the Advocate sent it to the Amnesty Committee?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, that is correct, I brought it in by hand.

MR PAPIER: I see that regarding Mr Ashley Kriel, on page 8 of your application, you simply just say that you abide by the statement during the judicial inquiry?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR PAPIER: Where did you make this affidavit?

MR BENZIEN: It seems to be that it was the late Lieutenant Segal.

MR PAPIER: Mr Desmond Segal?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR PAPIER: To which Unit did Mr Desmond Segal belong during this time?

MR BENZIEN: I see that he was part of the South African Unit in Guguletu.

MR PAPIER: Was he involved in the investigation of Ashley Kriel or the activity, the incident of the 15th of July? Was he involved in this incident of the investigation thereof?

MR BENZIEN: As far as I know he was an Investigator after the incident, after this incident, he investigated it.

MR PAPIER: What do you mean, what was his association with the Ashley Kriel incident?

MR BENZIEN: The shooting incident was investigated by a member other than a member of the Security Branch.

MR PAPIER: According to your statement, this Desmond Segal was stationed at the Guguletu police station, is that correct?

MR BENZIEN: According to the certificate, yes.

MR PAPIER: What did the Guguletu police have to do with this whole matter?

MR BENZIEN: Mr Chairman, about this incident, I can only speculate that this had to be investigated by a Unit not associated with the Security Branch. It was just by chance that he had to partake in this investigation.

It is general practise that during a shooting incident, this incident is not investigated by a member associated with a specific Unit.

MR PAPIER: Your statement of 1987, did you discuss it with anybody before or while making this statement?

Let me help you, specifically with Rudolf Liebenberg or Sergeant Abels?

MR BENZIEN: Possibly not the statement per se but the incident, yes, I think we discussed it.

MR PAPIER: You discussed it?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, possibly.

MR PAPIER: And the other two colleagues, Liebenberg and Abels, also made statements during the judicial inquiry and they were used after you had discussed that?

MR BENZIEN: Yes. If we did discuss it.

MR PAPIER: Captain Benzien, if you look at your statement, this is the judicial inquest. Your Advocate indicated that at the top it says Athlone GDO/23/87, is that correct?


MR PAPIER: Did you make this statement with a view of an informal judicial inquest?

MR BENZIEN: It is possible. It is difficult to say now. I could not determine whether it should be a formal or informal inquest.

MR PAPIER: This number, does it say anything, there is no CR? I just want to determine whether you knew at that stage or whether you have tried to organise that there should be an informal judicial inquest?

MR BENZIEN: From this incident, there should have been a formal judicial inquest. Whether it should have been formal or informal or whether I would have been able to influence it, whether it should have been formal or informal, that was not in my hands.

MR PAPIER: Would you please just listen to three extracts from these three affidavits. Yours, Liebenberg's and Abel's. In paragraph 6 of Lieutenant Liebenberg's statement and I quote ..."1987/07/09, W80113K, Benzien and K173431, Sergeant Abels, I instructed them to go to Albermarle Street 8, in Hazendal, Athlone and to determine whether Kriel really has returned."

This is what Liebenberg said. And I quote in paragraph 3 of your statement as you have already said ..."under instructions of our Commander Lieutenant W. Liebenberg, I and Sergeant Abels went to Albermarle Road 8, in Hazendal, Athlone." Paragraph 3 of Abel's statement and I quote said ..."under instruction of our Commander W. Liebenberg, I and Benzien went to Albermarle 8, Hazendal, Athlone."

Now, would you agree with me that the impression created by these three statements is that Abels, you and Abels were instructed by Liebenberg to go directly to Albermarle Street in Athlone to determine whether the deceased had returned. Would you agree with me?

MR BENZIEN: Mr Chairman, the impression created by these typed versions, but if I can assist the Commission in this regard.

MR PAPIER: Captain, I just want to know yes or no, would you agree that this is the impression created by these statements?

MR BENZIEN: This is the impression, but it is a wrong impression.


JUDGE NGOEPE: We do not have copies of Mr Abels and Mr Liebenberg's statements.

MR PAPIER: I am sorry, Honourable Judge. I might be able to arrange that the investigating team submit that statements, it is part of the inquest proceedings and I assumed that the Honourable Committee would ...

JUDGE NGOEPE: No, we don't and that is why some of us, perhaps don't fully appreciate the point you are trying to make. I suppose somebody will attend to that.

MR PAPIER: If it pleases you Judge.

JUDGE NGOEPE: To the extent that you think you will be able to take us along with you, even though we don't have copies of those statements, you may continue.

MR PAPIER: Thank you Judge, I will do my best. Captain Benzien ...

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Papier, how long will it take you to prepare these papers if we take a short adjournment at this stage?

MR PAPIER: I imagine Honourable Chair, that it is just a matter of photocopying these documents and it shouldn't take longer than five minutes.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, we will take the customary short adjournment at this stage and you will call us in as soon as you are ready. We will take the customary break for 15 minutes.

MR PAPIER: As it pleases you.


CHAIRPERSON: Just to avoid causing confusion, these documents will now go in as Exhibits, and we will mark them as Exhibit A and Exhibit B.

MR PAPIER: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Is there any choice you have?

MR PAPIER: I have no choice, Honourable Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, which one do you want? Do you want Abels' to be Exhibit A.

MR PAPIER: Exhibit A.

CHAIRPERSON: And the other will go in as Exhibit B.

MR PAPIER: As the Chair pleases.


CHAIRPERSON: Just hold it. You may proceed.

MR PAPIER: As the Chair pleases. Captain Benzien, I have referred you to paragraph 6 of Exhibit B, and that is the statement by Lieutenant Liebenberg.

And then I also referred you to paragraph 3 of your statement and your statement is part of your application, and I have also referred you to paragraph 3 of Exhibit A, and that is Constable Abels' statement.

And this, you will remember is related to the instructions you received to go to Albermarle Road 8, in Hazendal, Athlone. My question is therefore did it happen like that?

Did you receive direct instructions to go to number 8, yes or no?

MR BENZIEN: It is very difficult to answer yes or no because if I look at my statement paragraph 4, that is the statement just after number 3, our task was to survey the area around this place, to see whether this trained ANC terrorist was not hiding there, because we had information that this terrorist probably could be in this house or one of the adjoining houses.

And we approached this house by foot. I want to explain here and say, that during the formal inquest this point was repeatedly under investigation and discussed.

MR PAPIER: And the address Albermarle Way 8, after this shooting incident, was that the address which was relevant?

MR BENZIEN: For example, and this was through evidence, we did not go directly to Albermarle Way 8, we came to the house adjoining that house, I don't know whether it was number 6 or number 10.

MR PAPIER: Yes, Captain, my question is, if you look at those three statements and the Commanding Officer gave you instructions, that is what he said in his statement, go to number 8 and you wrote that in your statement, we went to number 8, you corroborated the fact but you also state in the first sentence and say "our task was to survey the land around the site as well as this whole site".

We want to ask what site? I want to say that that was number 8.

MR BENZIEN: I quote again, the address which was mentioned after this incident, was number 8, but there was no information available that we had to go to number 8, in the first place.

We went to the house next-door at first.

MR PAPIER: Thank you. Is it correct to say that your instructions were to survey that area and to determine whether the deceased was not there?

MR BENZIEN: We had to see whether the deceased was in one of those houses.

MR PAPIER: Your instruction was not to go directly to number 8?

MR BENZIEN: If I can give more clarity. They said to - the houses in that street is on one side of the road and I had to go from house to house to determine whether he was there.

It was just by chance that the deceased was in number 8.

MR PAPIER: What I want to put to you is that according to your statement, that is an inaccurate version of what precisely happened there. That is regarding that instruction?

MR BENZIEN: Mr Chairman, I want to put it in this way. I did not go there by myself. I did not go there of my own accord. I acted under instructions to survey that area.

If I had to go to number 8 specifically and not any other houses, I believe that the person who sent me directly to that house, that was Lieutenant Liebenberg, that he would have been sure that that was the correct house, and there would have been a completely different activity.

MR PAPIER: I understand your explanation. Why do you not say that in your statement before his Commission?

MR BENZIEN: I am saying this now.

CHAIRPERSON: Is there anything really material that turns on this?

MR PAPIER: I will be submitting Honourable Chair that a number of other inconsistencies will be pointed out to the Honourable Committee.

CHAIRPERSON: Are they material?

MR PAPIER: I submit, yes, Honourable Chair.


JUDGE WILSON: And you will bear in mind that this statement was not, as you've just said, prepared for this Committee. This statement was prepared in 1987?

MR PAPIER: Indeed Honourable Judge and I submit with respect with regard to that, that a statement should have been prepared for this Honourable Committee but the applicant has elected to present a defective statement to his Honourable Committee.

CHAIRPERSON: I think we must look at the real contents of the case. Proceed.

MR PAPIER: As you please, Honourable Chair, thank you. Captain, we will continue then. You and your colleague, Abels, what were you wearing, what were you wearing?

MR BENZIEN: We were wearing overalls, from the Cape Town Municipal Sanitary Services.

MR PAPIER: You were disguised?


MR PAPIER: Are you saying that in your statement?

MR BENZIEN: I said we were wearing civilian clothes.

MR PAPIER: Are you saying that you were wearing Municipal overalls and that you were disguised, you are not saying that?

MR BENZIEN: No, I am not saying that in my statement.

MR PAPIER: According to your statement, it appears that the reason why you did not go to the front door, was because there was a trellis door with a lock, is that correct?

MR BENZIEN: If that was the reason why I did not go to the front door, I accept it.

MR PAPIER: I am asking you. That is what you were saying in your statement, I am trying to understand. I am sorry, paragraph 5.

MR BENZIEN: Mr Chairman, this happened a long time ago. I said that there was a trellis door attached to the front door, I see nowhere that I did not approach that door.

MR PAPIER: Did you go to the front door then? Your evidence before this Committee was that you went to the back door, isn't that true?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, it happened. This incident happened at the back door of the house.

MR PAPIER: I want to establish why you did not knock at the front door? The basis of your evidence is that you only wanted to gain some information, is that correct?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, that is correct. Today I can't even remember whether that trellis door was right in front of the front door or whether there was a little stoep attached to that, where you could perhaps not approach the doorbell at the front door.

MR PAPIER: Right, Captain, the vehicle which took you to these premises, were they also disguised?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR PAPIER: Which vehicle did you use?

MR BENZIEN: I used a little police van with usual registration plates and I also used a label of the Cape Municipality Sanitary Service, Cleansing Branch.

MR PAPIER: Did the Municipality give you assistance, did they provide it to you?

MR BENZIEN: The Municipality did not know what my plans entailed. I maintain that it was only a reconnaissance activity and therefore I borrowed these overalls from the Municipality.

MR PAPIER: They knew you were a policeman from the Security Branch?

MR BENZIEN: The person who provided these overalls to me, was a member of the Municipality. I knew him, I approached him for these overalls, but he did not have any further knowledge.

MR PAPIER: Who was he?

MR BENZIEN: It was a Mr Sterrenberg.

MR PAPIER: Is it correct to say that you were armed with your service pistol, a spade and a piece of pipe when you went to this house in number 8?

MR BENZIEN: At this stage, I would like to say that I carried my side pistol, which was attached to my pants with an overall over that. I had a spade, yes, which was used to clean the manholes and unless I understand you wrong, I can't say that I used the spade as a weapon.

I used this to uncover the lids of the manholes.

MR PAPIER: Did you say this in your statement, yes or no?

MR BENZIEN: I read through this and I see that I am not mentioning the spade. I did not mention the pipe either. I don't know where this pipe story comes in.

MR PAPIER: I am putting it to you that you and Abels went to this house in a fraudulent way, to number 8. Do you agree with me?

MR BENZIEN: I cannot agree with you.

MR PAPIER: Was it in an honest way?

MR BENZIEN: I was busy with the execution of my duties. I was disguised.

MR PAPIER: You wanted to pretend that you were not from the police, but that you were coming from the Municipality, the water department?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR PAPIER: Was it like that?

JUDGE WILSON: How does that become fraudulent? A policeman who is looking for what he suspects to be a terrorist, and you are now suggesting it is fraudulent that he should wear some cover up?

MR PAPIER: Honourable Judge, I am submitting or I will submit at the end of the day that the statement before this Honourable Committee is not a true and honest disclosure of what happened on that day. I submit with the greatest amount of respect that this is a different forum and the families, my clients have come to hear the truth.

The applicant before this Honourable Committee has elected to once again, I submit, place facts before this Honourable Committee which does not amount to the truth with regard to what happened on that day.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Papier, one understands that, but what my brother is saying to you is that perhaps you know, I mean to speak of fraudulent basis, it is a very technical term. I mean fraud is an crime which consists of a number of elements and your argument pre-supposes that the applicant's conduct met all the essential elements of a crime of fraud and that is not necessarily so. Perhaps what you wanted to say to the witness was that when you went there, you purported to be what you were not.

MR PAPIER: Thank you Honourable Judge. The Afrikaans translation is a bit of a problem. Thank you.

Captain Benzien, would you agree with me that you went there to create the impression that you were from the Municipality, that you were there to do maintenance work to the drains and that that fact does not appear in your statement before the Committee today?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, I will concede that. I will concede that I went there in disguise and with all due respect I once again refer to the inquest proceedings, where that was also mentioned.

MR PAPIER: I understand that you then gave Constable Abels orders to go knock at the back door, is that correct?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, that is correct.

MR PAPIER: You were busy looking into the drains?


MR PAPIER: He had to go and knock twice, is that correct?


MR PAPIER: And it was on the second occasion when the back door was opened, correct?


MR PAPIER: How far were you away from the back door?

MR BENZIEN: I will concede the statement which I made was not a detailed version of what happened, minute by minute. If I remember correctly, we moved along the side of the house, opened a manhole cover next to the side of the house. Everything seemed to be closed. I looked through, I think the kitchen window, the curtains were nearly down to the window cill, it was dark inside the house and I think that I saw a movement inside the house.

There where the manholes are, next to the house and passed the back door, not in line with the back door, was a garage and next to that or behind that, was another manhole which we opened.

Abels knocked, we moved further. He knocked again. I brought it to his attention that I thought I had seen movement in the house, I wasn't sure and whilst we were standing some distance away from the door, the door opened.

The distance between ourselves and the door, here I have to rely on my memory, it could possibly have been two paces, if I remember correctly.

MR PAPIER: Captain, I am referring to paragraphs 7 and 8 of your statement and I quote ..."after a couple of minutes a Coloured man opened the door. The Coloured man held a jersey and a towel in front of his trousers and his right hand was covered with this jersey and the towel whilst his left hand was pressing up against his concealed right hand."

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR PAPIER: Was that your first image of what you had seen?

MR BENZIEN: Yes. If I remember correctly we knocked and we stood back from the door, we discussed the situation - there was anybody in the house, was anybody going to open. Whilst we were still talking the back door opened and I then saw that the deceased was standing at the door, and his hands were in front of his body with the jersey and the towel covering his hand?

MR PAPIER: So you didn't actually see the door opening?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct. It wasn't as if we knocked and the door was then opened.

MR PAPIER: You see, I want to put it to you that that is not at all the impression which your statement creates to the Committee, it tells a different story.

MR BENZIEN: Well, I don't know what other story it is telling.

MR PAPIER: My instructions are, perhaps you can confirm or deny this, that that door had a handle and also a little lever on the inside?

MR BENZIEN: I can't comment on that.

MR PAPIER: If a person wanted to open that door, he would in all probability have had to use both hands?

MR BENZIEN: I concede that.

MR PAPIER: I want to put it to you that if that was indeed the case, then it would be highly improbable that you could have seen the image which you have stated in your statement?

MR BENZIEN: Your Honour ...

CHAIRPERSON: Unless this stable or whatever it was holding that door, had not been fastened at that stage?

MR PAPIER: Maybe the applicant would be able to assist us with that My Lord.

CHAIRPERSON: Unless there was a witness inside the house who is going to come and tell us what happened?

MR PAPIER: I would leave that there, Honourable Chair. According to your statement Captain, you then said that you identified yourself to the deceased, Ashley Kriel.

MR BENZIEN: Perhaps the statement doesn't read correctly. After I identified him, I didn't immediately then say I was a member of the police. He first came out of the house and I recognised him.

I wasn't sure whether he recognised me. I said a whole lot of things about drains and sewerage blockages and so on. It is difficult to explain to the Committee or to anybody who wasn't in that situation, I had to make a snap decision as to how I was going to act.

Was I going to walk away from the scene knowing that this man was a trained terrorist or freedom fighter. He had something in his hand and the way in which he concealed his hand, was unnatural.

Had I walked away and he recognised me, or became suspicious, he might have if he had had a handgrenade in his possession, used this handgrenade, thrown the handgrenade and if he had a pistol, he could have shot us dead.

That was the worst scenario which I could imagine. You must remember that these are thoughts which flash through your mind in a fraction of a second.

Mr Chairman, may I try to sketch the situation to the Committee. The second alternative was that he would recognise me, that he does not act against us in any way, but as soon as we leave the scene, he then leaves his hiding place and we would lose track of him.

The third alternative, I had to consider as a trained policeman, was must I now as a policeman, irrespective of the risk continue with my arrest of this man and that decision was taken by me in a split second, to try and arrest this man, irrespective of the danger which the situation clearly posed.

I moved to the door, the deceased stepped back a pace. He was standing in the doorway and I tried to squeeze him. At that stage he turned towards me. I was convinced that he realised at that moment that this was not a worker from the Municipal Cleansing Branch.

When I then grabbed him, I told him I was a member of the police and that I was arresting him. I had hoped that he would subject himself to the ... (tape ends)

MR PAPIER: You said that you feared that he might have a handgrenade or a firearm in his possession? Surely that was not the reason why you killed him?

MR BENZIEN: At that stage and at no other stage, there was the intention, I never had the intention at that stage or any other stage to kill him, I wanted to arrest him.

MR PAPIER: You then succeeded in taking away the deceased's firearm from him?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, that is correct.

MR PAPIER: Your colleague, Abels, was present there, he was assisting you, is that correct?

MR BENZIEN: Yes. He helped me to apprehend the deceased.

MR PAPIER: What did you do with the spade?

MR BENZIEN: If I remember correctly, the spade was laying on the ground or I in fact now have a better recollection of the spade, as possibly leaning up against the garage wall where the back manhole was.

MR PAPIER: So if I understand you answer, you don't know what you actually did with the spade?


MR PAPIER: Is it possible that you still had the spade with you?

MR BENZIEN: No, no. I am very clear about that. I didn't at that stage have the spade in my hand.

MR PAPIER: Captain Benzien, you hit the deceased against the head intending to render him unconscious, is that correct?

MR BENZIEN: Hopefully to render him unconscious, but in any event to put him out of action and I hit him with his firearm.

MR PAPIER: You are big, you are sturdily built, would you agree with me?

MR BENZIEN: As well as old an unfit.

CHAIRPERSON: I am sure he is referring to the period 10 years earlier than now?

MR BENZIEN: Ten years ago, with respect Your Honour, I was 40 years old, 39 or 40 years old, ten years ago.

MR PAPIER: Yes, but your build hasn't changed much, has it? Perhaps you have become older, but at that stage you were probably more fit than you are today?

ADV DE JAGER: I see he is actually glancing at his waistline, Mr Papier.

MR PAPIER: However, were you bigger than the deceased?

MR BENZIEN: In length no, in build yes.

MR PAPIER: And Abels?

MR BENZIEN: Abels could have been the same height, perhaps also a little bit more sturdily built. The deceased was in his early 20's I would estimate and if my information is correct, he had just come from military training camp, so I don't think he was as plump as we were.

MR PAPIER: So he was laying on the ground, and if I understand your statement, you then jumped on him and you sat on him?


MR PAPIER: And your colleague ...

MR BENZIEN: I don't know whether I actually said I sat on him?

MR PAPIER: Perhaps you can tell the Committee what happened there, irrespective of what appears in your statement.

MR BENZIEN: To write a statement of what happened during a fight and to actually do so in detail, is very difficult. You have to rely on your memory.

With respect I don't know how many people have been involved in a struggle or a fight, especially of this nature, it is a continuing act of rolling around and there is a lot of motion, and it is very difficult to describe the events in the exact order in which they happened.

I know that we attempted to handcuff the deceased. And a blow which I delivered to the deceased's head, the intention of that was to render him unconscious, but how hard do you hit a person, not to kill him if you are using a firearm?

To answer your question, we were on the ground. I had hoped that he was unconscious and we tried to handcuff him.

MR PAPIER: Yes, and you were sitting on him at that stage?

MR BENZIEN: Next to him, I don't think it was on top of him.

MR PAPIER: And your colleague, Abels, was trying to handcuff him, is that correct?

MR BENZIEN: I've just glanced briefly at point 14, this is from a statement which I made about seven days after the incident, point 14 of my statement - "Kriel relaxed for a moment whilst he was laying on his back and I took up a position, a kneeling position on his right and Sergeant Abels to his left, at his head, and we pinned him down to the ground."

I don't mention that I actually sat on him.

MR PAPIER: Can you still remember this incident, or can't you remember it?

MR BENZIEN: I rely to a large extent to the statement which I made then as well as my memory. And I am doing that to the best of my ability in order to assist the Committee.

MR PAPIER: Was it possible for you to actually throw the firearm away or throw it to one side?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, I am sure I could have done that.

MR PAPIER: Why didn't you do it?

MR BENZIEN: At this stage I was grappling with a terrorist. The only weapon which was available in this split second action, was the weapon which I had to hand. I don't think that anybody in similar circumstances should consider actually throwing the weapon away, what purpose would that serve?

MR PAPIER: Yes, well, perhaps Mr Kriel would still have been alive today.

MR BENZIEN: I don't want the Committee to gain the impression that I am cynical. Learned Advocate said that perhaps Mr Kriel would still have been alive, had I thrown the weapon away.

As I said earlier when I apologised to the family, if the tables had been turned on that day, I could have been dead today and not Mr Kriel.

MR PAPIER: Yes, you will agree with me that there was no weapon except for the other weapon which you had in your possession, which was in issue if the original weapon, Mr Kriel's weapon, hadn't been used in the way in which you used it?

MR BENZIEN: I don't think I follow the question.

MR PAPIER: I would try and clarify that. I am putting it to you that Mr Kriel had no other weapons in his possession.

MR BENZIEN: At that stage I couldn't foresee it.

MR PAPIER: And at this stage, is that the case or not?

MR BENZIEN: At this stage I know that he didn't have a firearm anywhere on the premises, but an F1 handgrenade under his pillow in the bedroom.

MR PAPIER: How far away was he from his bedroom?

MR BENZIEN: That handgrenade could as well have been in his pocket.

MR PAPIER: But it wasn't. Let us continue.

JUDGE NGOEPE: Sorry, before you do that. To a question by Mr Papier, you said that what purpose would it have served to throw away the deceased's weapon, but what purpose did it serve to keep it in your hand in stead of throwing it away?

MR BENZIEN: Your Honour, at that stage I was the policeman on the scene, making the arrest. I have just disarmed a person with a firearm. With hindsight and knowing how this tragic experience developed, I could say yes, yes it would have been the best thing to throw the firearm away, but I don't think anybody and I say it with all respect, who is in a situation like that and comes into the possession of the threat's weapon, throws the weapon away to equal the playing fields.

At that stage it was not a case of a boxing or wrestling match.

JUDGE NGOEPE: I understand you, but I thought that you needed the use of your hand badly to overpower, to physically grab this person. It is not a question of actually throwing his weapon away, you put it out of his reach, by just putting it a distance away because you wanted to use both hands to grab this person. Didn't you need to use both hands?

MR BENZIEN: Your Honour, I was fighting him with the firearm still in my hand, in my right hand. My left hand ...

JUDGE NGOEPE: That is what I can't understand. How can you fight somebody with a firearm in your hand? You fight better, to grab him better, if the firearm is not in your hand.

If you put it a distance away, you use both arms to grab the man. You handicap yourself by clinging onto this firearm. This is what I don't understand. Unless, of course you wanted to use the firearm?

MR BENZIEN: Your Honour, as I explained, and with all respect, this whole turmoil was not taking minutes, it was seconds. Why I kept the firearm at that stage, in all probability because then I had the edge on him.

JUDGE NGOEPE: Did you not keep the firearm with the view that you should shoot him?

MR BENZIEN: I don't think at that stage at all, Your Honour. But what was to say, I know we are debating this now and I am - the firearm out of my control could surely just as easily by some or other method, especially if he had somebody else in the house, which it would have not been the first time that two terrorists share the same abode.

JUDGE NGOEPE: Thank you. I understand.

MR PAPIER: Thank you Sir. And you Captain Benzien, you were also still armed with your personal pistol?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR PAPIER: Was Abels armed?


MR PAPIER: Abels was standing next to you, that is after you had knocked Ashley Kriel to the ground, unconscious and Abels was busy putting the handcuffs?

ADV DE JAGER: I think it is incorrect to state that he was knocked unconscious, that is not said anywhere in the statement that he was knocked unconscious.

MR PAPIER: Thank you Advocate. According to you Captain, was the deceased at that stage rendered unconscious, was he knocked unconscious?

MR BENZIEN: Not judging by his responses and reactions. He might have been unconscious for a split second.

MR PAPIER: He was laying on the ground after you hit him?

MR BENZIEN: He was laying on the ground and I was standing to his right side and Sergeant Abels behind his head and his two hands were flat on the ground as indicated by the speaker.

MR PAPIER: According to your statement, he then jumped up again. Did he then assume a sitting position?

MR BENZIEN: When Abels was able to put the cuff around the right wrist and tried to pull the left hand closer, he came upright into an upright position, with the cuff still attached to his right wrist.

MR PAPIER: Did you attempt to hit him again, to knock him back again to the ground? Surely that is possible?

MR BENZIEN: It is possible, I can't explain that.

MR PAPIER: Abels was standing there, he could also have hit him or kicked him or pulled him down?

MR BENZIEN: Abels was behind him. There was an element of surprise present. I had hoped that he was unconscious, we were least tense, I don't know if that is the correct expression or word, but perhaps we were not as alert.

We were all on the ground. He sat upright and I assume that if Abels could have reacted quickly enough, he could have done something, I could have jumped on him, but at that stage, it didn't actually happen.

MR PAPIER: Let us move from there Captain. A shot went off?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, that is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Just a minute. Before we get to that, Captain you hit the man intending to render him unconscious or out of action?


CHAIRPERSON: And you succeeded in that because he relaxed for a moment?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: And he was on his back?


CHAIRPERSON: What did you do then? The man was laying on his back and is out of action, exactly as you had set out to do? Why wasn't he handcuffed?

MR BENZIEN: It was at that stage when I took the cuffs from my overall pockets, gave it to Abels and that Abels started putting the handcuff around his right wrist.

His hands were on both sides of his body and Abels managed to get the cuff around the right wrist, and it was when he attempted to get the left hand closer to the right hand, that the deceased sat upright again and pulled the cuff away from Abels so that he only have the one cuff around his right wrist and the whole struggle started again.

CHAIRPERSON: Now the man wasn't even standing, he is laying on his back on the ground? And you said he was pinned down to the ground, on his back and there were two policemen standing on either side of him and the man's body relaxed, surely that would have been the ideal moment to finally restrain the man?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, that's what we tried to do, but we didn't succeed in doing that.

CHAIRPERSON: But I am baffled, why couldn't you succeed in that? The man's body had relaxed, he is on his back?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, I immediately then took out my handcuffs and told Abels handcuff him. He only succeeded in putting the handcuff around the right wrist and it was then when the deceased assumed a fighting position again.

If we managed to handcuff his other arm, then we would have succeeded.

CHAIRPERSON: Now, how many policeman would you have needed to actually restrain this man, a man who is laying on his back and whose body had already relaxed?

MR BENZIEN: It is very difficult to say how many policemen would have been necessary. But I can guarantee you that experience have taught me that to handcuff a person who does not want to be handcuffed, is no easy job.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but the issue is not necessarily the handcuffing, the issue is to restrain this man.

MR BENZIEN: This person didn't want to be restrained.

CHAIRPERSON: But that is exactly why you hit him on the head? We are not arguing about that?

MR BENZIEN: And it did not have the desired result.

CHAIRPERSON: That is exactly what I can't understand. Thank you Mr Papier, you may continue.

MR PAPIER: Thank you. Captain Benzien, can you tell the Committee how many policemen took part in this operation, in its totality?

MR BENZIEN: I can't give an exact number but the people who participated in the Tracking Team, all gathered at Athlone. I would estimate that apart from myself and Abels, there might have been about six members.

MR PAPIER: And they were all part of this operation?

MR BENZIEN: Yes. Part of the operation, if I could elaborate, they were placed at strategic positions. Not in our direct vicinity because bearing in mind that we didn't have the exact address. If these people were in the immediate vicinity, then they could have scuppered the whole operation.

MR PAPIER: Captain, a shot went off?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR PAPIER: Where were you at that stage?

MR BENZIEN: On the deceased's back, whilst he was on his feet and trying to enter the back door.

MR PAPIER: So you actually jumped onto his back with your sturdily built body?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, when I say his back, I mean that I was on his back, my feet was still on the ground. I don't actually know of a better way to express this.

On and over his back.

MR PAPIER: Yes, but you were behind him?


MR PAPIER: Will you agree with me that you could easily have hit him to the left or right side of the head, hit him with your feet or Abels could perhaps have done the same? Would you agree with me?

MR BENZIEN: Not in those circumstances, no. We were in or just a little bit before the doorway, my firearm was in my right hand and I held him with my left hand.

I tried to get him to enter the house. I wasn't sure what danger still lurked inside the house.

MR PAPIER: You are right handed?


MR PAPIER: Why didn't you hit him on the head with the firearm, that was possible?

MR BENZIEN: I could have hit him on the head with the weapon, I am sure. At that stage and with the necessary powers at my disposal, I could not only have hit him but also shot him.

MR PAPIER: And that is indeed what you did?

MR BENZIEN: The weapon went off in my hand. As crude as it may sound, I believe that when schedule 1 offence is committed, I believe that a court would have found or probably would have found, that I was entitled to shoot him.

MR PAPIER: We are not talking about the court judgement Sir.

MR BENZIEN: Yes, that is so, but it was put to me why didn't I hit him on the head again. I suppose I could have hit him on the head if I wanted to. But it is hard to say what possibilities flash through your mind.

CHAIRPERSON: At that time, did it occur to you that you could have hit him and decided that you were not going to hit him on the head?

MR BENZIEN: Mr Chairman, with all respect, I don't know what I was thinking at that stage Sir.

CHAIRPERSON: Do carry on.

MR PAPIER: Thank you Honourable Chair. Did you at any stage aim the firearm at the deceased?

MR BENZIEN: It would be mere speculation on my part. I can't exactly think of that, but it would have been very strange if I hadn't aimed the firearm at him.

MR PAPIER: So you are speculating?


MR PAPIER: You are not in a position today to give the Committee a version as to how you dealt with the firearm there, am I correct?

MR BENZIEN: On the contrary, I am prepared to tell the Committee to the best of my ability how I used the firearm without speculating.

MR PAPIER: And you were also not in a position to give the inquest proceedings this explanation, is that not so?

MR BENZIEN: I am not quite what this insinuation is.

MR PAPIER: It is a question, can you answer it or not?

MR BENZIEN: The question is whether I could or couldn't give an explanation to the inquest court. I repeat to the best of my ability, I explained the circumstances to the inquest court, to the best of my abilities and I am doing so here again.

MR PAPIER: You were sitting on Ashley Kriel's back, a shot went off. You felt his body relax?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, that is correct.

MR PAPIER: You were convinced that he was dead, is that correct?

MR BENZIEN: I don't know whether it was immediately, but I believed that he was wounded. After a while I was able to determine that according to my opinion, he was dead.

MR PAPIER: When the shot rang out, were you still sitting on the deceased's back?


MR PAPIER: Did you pull the trigger or did you not pull the trigger?

MR BENZIEN: The firearm was in my hand and I am assuming for the Committee and for the family that my finger must have been on the trigger and if that is the case, the shot went off whilst the firearm was in my hand and for that firing of the firearm I must take sole responsibility.

MR PAPIER: Must I repeat the question, did you pull the trigger or did you not pull the trigger?

MR BENZIEN: I don't know whether I pulled the trigger. If I could perhaps rephrase it, not consciously pulled the trigger.

MR PAPIER: Well, you are still sitting on the deceased's back. What happened after the shot had gone off?

MR BENZIEN: The deceased relaxed and once again I asked Abels ...

MR PAPIER: No, before we come to asking Abels, the deceased relaxed. Did he fall on the ground, you are still sitting on his back, did you also fall to the ground, on top of him?

MR BENZIEN: To the best I can remember, I also fell on the ground.

MR PAPIER: What did you feel, how did his body feel, was it completely relaxed, did it go limp?

MR BENZIEN: It relaxed, yes.

MR PAPIER: Did you foresaw the possibility that he was dead?

MR BENZIEN: Not immediately, because I asked Abels to handcuff the person.

MR PAPIER: That is precisely what it boils down to Captain. The weapon went off, you are sitting on his back, his body went limp, he fell to the ground. Why would you now instruct Abels to handcuff him? Does it make any sense?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, it made sense at that stage. A few minutes, a half minute before that, I knocked him against his forehead, his body went limp, he fell to the ground and we tried to handcuff him.

MR PAPIER: Was that not something which he tried, you shot him in his back and he fell to the ground, he was laying there and you told Abels go ahead, handcuff him?

MR BENZIEN: If you want to put it in that way.

MR PAPIER: Handcuff him.

MR BENZIEN: Yes, we handcuffed him.

MR PAPIER: Was there any reason to handcuff him at that stage, he was laying there?

MR BENZIEN: But half a minute before that he was also laying there when we tried to handcuff him. There I could not decide whether he was dead when he was laying there, all limp, we decided to handcuff him. I couldn't determine whether he was dead or not.

MR PAPIER: Could you only just be standing there, did you kick him, did you knock him, did you keep him down? There was no movement or was there?

CHAIRPERSON: Did everything happen so quickly?

MR BENZIEN: Everything happened so quickly, Your Honour. To handcuff him would have meant less violence. If I understand the person asking the question correctly, his body went limp. Why did you want to handcuff him, and he asked why didn't you kick him?

MR PAPIER: Your evidence is that you were using the minimum violence after having used the maximum violence?

MR BENZIEN: I used the minimum violence according to the situation.

MR PAPIER: You were convinced that he was dead after Abels handcuffed both his hands, isn't that true?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, that is right. I am not in a position to give an expert opinion, but as a layman I was sure that he was dead. He never moved after that again.

MR PAPIER: Why Captain did you give the instruction that they should remove the one handcuff? That happened, not so?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, that is correct, it happened like that. That is correct. It was only for documenting this incident.

MR PAPIER: Which documentation are you referring to?

MR BENZIEN: The police or the other Units came to the scene. A video recording was made, photographs were taken, the whole scene was put on film for future court procedures.

MR PAPIER: So why did you not take off the handcuffs completely and you just removed one handcuff?

MR BENZIEN: You would see that it was the left hand handcuff we removed. Directly after this incident, after he was knocked down and the first handcuff was on his hand, then the struggle took place.

If that was wrong, I apologise, it must have been an error of judgement.

MR PAPIER: It makes no sense to the family.

MR BENZIEN: Your Honour, I can't react to that whether it makes sense or not, I only can give evidence to what had happened.

MR PAPIER: Was any attempt made from your side to get medical assistance?

MR BENZIEN: Medical assistance for?

MR PAPIER: Surely not for yourself Captain, for the deceased?

MR BENZIEN: I think an ambulance was called, that was the normal procedure.

MR PAPIER: But you did not arrange that?

MR BENZIEN: It was possible that I could have. During a radio call, where people were informed that a shooting had taken place, an ambulance was called, that was standard procedure.

MR PAPIER: Captain, to which police Unit did you belong at that stage?

MR BENZIEN: I was a member of the Security Police.

MR PAPIER: Were you at that stage aware of the Bonteheuwel military wing of the ANC?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, I knew about that.

MR PAPIER: Were you anyhow part of a special investigation branch under the command of Captain van Braekel?

MR BENZIEN: No, never ever.

MR PAPIER: Never? According to my information you were part of the Unit and you were indeed number 12 on this list. Do you deny that?

ADV COOK: There should be substantiated which document you are referring to. I want to object on behalf of my client. I want to see this documentation.

CHAIRPERSON: What is the relevance of all this Mr Papier?

MR PAPIER: Honourable Chair, the defence is just trying to in fact end off by placing some background before the Committee.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but this background doesn't relate to this incident, it is something else, isn't it?

MR PAPIER: As the Committee pleases.

CHAIRPERSON: I think we must try and avoid all that.

MR PAPIER: As the Committee pleases.

MR BENZIEN: With respect Mr Chairman, if it will help the Commission in any way, I have never worked under the directorship of Lieutenant or Superintendent Van Braekel.


MR BENZIEN: Van Braekel.

CHAIRPERSON: Have you finished Mr Papier?

MR PAPIER: Just one last question, if you would permit me Honourable Chair.


MR PAPIER: I just want to determine Captain, your Advocate wrote a letter in answer to a question and he says and I quote, he addressed a letter to the Commission and this is regarding your application ..."he applies for application for the death of this person, but he had a justifiable grounds, namely lack of unlawfulness or mens rea."

The instruction was only to determine whether the named person, whether he was hiding in this specific environment, is that correct?

MR BENZIEN: Once again I say that the reason why I am approaching the Amnesty Committee, the Commission, the family or anybody else, if they could attach any other interpretation to this situation of Kriel and I see myself as the person responsible for his death and that is something with which I have to live with and I hope the family can forgive me for that.

JUDGE WILSON: That letter you have written, who was it addressed to?

MR PAPIER: To the Commission, Honourable Judge. It is a letter that is addressed by Captain Benzien's legal representative, the Honourable Advocate, addressed to the Amnesty Committee.

JUDGE WILSON: To the Amnesty Committee, because we haven't had it put before us?

CHAIRPERSON: What is the date of that letter?

MR PAPIER: The 5th of June, 1997.

CHAIRPERSON: Any way, have you any other questions?

MR PAPIER: Just one ending statement Honourable Chairman. Captain Benzien, I am putting it to you that this application and your version put before the Committee, does not form part of this amnesty application. I thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Was that correctly translated from Afrikaans into English?

MR PAPIER: I didn't hear the translation, Honourable Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: I understood the interpreter to say that you are putting to him that his version did not form part of the amnesty application?

MR PAPIER: No, no. May I repeat that in English?


MR PAPIER: I put it to you that your version of events does not seem to disclose an act with a political motive and in the view of the family for which you are entitled to receive amnesty.

CHAIRPERSON: I understand.

MR PAPIER: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: That is a legal submission.

MR PAPIER: Thank you Mr Chairman.


CHAIRPERSON: Do you have any questions to put to this applicant?

MS INTHANGA: Yes, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Please do so.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS INTHANGA: Mr Benzien, would you be able to tell us as to whether throughout the struggle, did you at any time enter the house or did it take place outside the house?

MR BENZIEN: Excuse me, could you just repeat? Enter...?

MS INTHANGA: I want you to explain to the Committee as to whether throughout the struggle that you had with Mr Kriel, did this take place outside or inside the house, where exactly did this take place?

MR BENZIEN: In the proximity of the - the whole incident took place in the proximity of the back door and at the furthest just through the threshold, Sir.

MS INTHANGA: When the family visited the house on the following day, blood was found in the kitchen, on the kitchen walls and in the bathroom. Could you explain how this could have occurred?

MR BENZIEN: I have no idea where this alleged blood was found, if any was found, Sir. If I may, but it would be a speculation.

Maybe the defence would know better, wasn't that house still under police guard for a number of days after the time for investigation purposes? It is speculation Mr Chairman. Maybe the parents of family could say if they had been in that house within a day of the incident.

I am not sure.

MS INTHANGA: Understanding from your evidence that you have given before the Committee, you never intentionally killed Mr Kriel, is that so Mr Benzien?

MR BENZIEN: That is absolutely correct, Mr Chairman.

MS INTHANGA: Would you then say, you at the time, or after the incident, you regretted the death of Mr Kriel?

MR BENZIEN: I have regretted the death of Mr Kriel from that day until now.

MS INTHANGA: There is also evidence that a poster with Mr Kriel's picture was hung in your office with a cross marked on his face and the words "one down to go". Do you recall that poster Mr Benzien?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct Your Worship.

MS INTHANGA: Do you remember when did you ever use that poster or did you refer that poster to any of the people you interrogated?

MR BENZIEN: I acquired that poster, somebody brought it to our office. During the period running up to the funeral of the deceased, those posters were displayed on the poles.

I had a reputation to live up to when interrogating the terrorists, freedom fighters. I admit that it was surely in very bad taste to have it up there, but in a certain sense it also helped with my interrogation to instill fear into the persons who I interrogated.

MS INTHANGA: Okay. How can you reconcile the use of that poster with the fact that you say here today, you regretted the death of Mr Kriel?

MR BENZIEN: For the death, excuse me, of any human being and in this case, Mr Kriel, that is something to be regretted.

The poster as I say was in bad taste. When I think about it, it should not have been there and to do that, I did not portray the professionalism that I should have had as a policeman.

MS INTHANGA: Mr Benzien, what is this reputation that you had to live up to?

MR BENZIEN: Excuse me Ma'am?

MS INTHANGA: What is the reputation that you had to live up to?

MR BENZIEN: As a member of the Anti-terrorist Unit, employed in many interrogations, the - I tried to portray as a hard, callous person.

MS INTHANGA: Okay. During your introduction speech, you mentioned to the families that they must understand that during the incident of the struggle you had with Mr Kriel and when Mr Kriel got shot, that the tables could have been turned on that day. What did you mean by that?

MR BENZIEN: In a nutshell, the result could have been very much different and I could have been the person, or Mr Abels, could have been the persons that were killed.

ADV DE JAGER: At that stage, do you know what the policy of the ANC was towards policemen?

MR BENZIEN: All policemen were legitimate targets Sir.

MS INTHANGA: In that statement would you agree with me that the shooting or the killing of Mr Kriel in that incident, prevented your deaths or any injury to you and Mr Abels?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, I concede that.

MS INTHANGA: Okay. You mentioned that you worked with six other members on the investigation of Mr Kriel. Were there any other police on that day during the time you entered Mr Kriel's house, were there any other police around the area or in the vicinity of his house?

MR BENZIEN: As I understand it, they were in the proximity of the scene, but not in the immediate proximity.

MS INTHANGA: That would be besides the six people you mentioned here?

MR BENZIEN: No, I am referring to those, the rest of the team.

MS INTHANGA: Oh, okay. Thank you Mr Chairman. No further questions.


CHAIRPERSON: Any re-examination?

ADV COOK: No re-examination Mr Chairman.


MS INTHANGA: Excuse me Mr Chairman, the victims of torture by Mr Benzien would like to put some questions to Mr Benzien, if they can be allowed by the Committee?

CHAIRPERSON: Who would like to do that?

MS INTHANGA: The six victims, they have attended the hearing and they would like to put questions. Victims who were tortured by Mr Benzien.

CHAIRPERSON: Would they like ...

MS INTHANGA: To put questions to Mr Benzien.

CHAIRPERSON: Would they like to do that through you or would they like to do it themselves?

MS INTHANGA: They would like to do that themselves.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, do they have a spokesman, is there somebody here who speaks on behalf of the victims?

MS INTHANGA: They will speak themselves individually.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Let them come forward one by one and put their questions to Mr Benzien. What is your full name?

MR YENGENI: My full names are Tony Sitembiso Yengeni.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, Mr Yengeni, you may put your questions.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR YENGENI: The first question I want to pose to you Mr Benzien, is can you tell the Commission the circumstances surrounding my arrest and subsequent transportation to Culemborg?

MR BENZIEN: If you an bear with me, dates and times, I cannot remember correctly. I know you were arrested in the evening near the, I think it is the Western Province Tennis Club, near Rondebosch police station. You were in a telephone box.

MR YENGENI: Can you remember the identities of the policemen who apprehended me?

MR BENZIEN: I think I was the first person at the telephone, if I am not mistaken. Where you were in the telephone, there was another person in the passenger seat of the motor vehicle, that you reputedly arrived with.

At that scene was Liebenberg, then I think Sergeant Bellingham. I was there. I think Goosen. I am speaking under correction.

MR YENGENI: Why were you there and what was the purpose of you being there at that time at that particular place?

MR BENZIEN: As members of the Anti-terrorist Unit, we had received information that you would be in that proximity on that evening.

MR YENGENI: Where did you receive that information from?

MR BENZIEN: From Lieutenant Liebenberg, who was my Commander.

MR YENGENI: Can you tell the Commission where Liebenberg got that information from?

MR BENZIEN: Your Honour, I was never privy to the methods or where the information actually came from.

MR YENGENI: Okay. Now, when we got to Culemborg police station, do you remember then what happened?

MR BENZIEN: I know that I interrogated you and I placed the wet bag over your head and I smothered you.

MR YENGENI: Before you put the wet bag on me, do you remember what else happened Mr Benzien, other than the wet bag? Do you remember my being molested by yourself and Liebenberg and other policemen?

MR BENZIEN: That may have happened, yes, but I was under the impression that I was interviewing the other gentleman, but if you say that I assaulted you that day, I will concede that I did it.

MR YENGENI: Now, you have given the impression that your torture expertise allowed you to get information from your - those who were being tortured by you within 30 minutes.

MR BENZIEN: With respect, sometimes sooner, but not necessarily longer than 30 minutes.

MR YENGENI: Was this an expertise you acquired through practise or were you trained for this expertise?

MR BENZIEN: I was never trained officially of it. I had heard about it and whether a person can say you can apply this method well or not well, I would surely have to say myself, that I applied it well and with caution. I was very cautious of the method and tried not to have party to somebody else doing it in my presence.

MR YENGENI: Why did the Security Branch choose you specifically to apply this method on MK guerillas? Why you and not somebody else? Why are you the consistent factor in applying these factors to MK guerillas and Commanders?

MR BENZIEN: Mr Yengeni, today in a new South Africa I can sit here and tell you in all honesty, that I was used by the then Security Branch.

Members of my Unit received recognition for their services rendered. When it came down to getting the job done, I was the person who did it. Maybe I was to patriotic, to naive or anything else that you would want to call it.

But I think even you and the rest of your people sitting there, would admit that I was the person that rightly or wrongly knowing that the information that I could glean from you and your members, could take especially explosives out of the community, which would be used against the public at large. Mr Yengeni, with my absolutely unorthodox methods and by removing your weaponry from you, I am wholly convinced that I prevented you and any of your colleagues and any one of them that ever had an explosive device in Cape Town, I may have prevented you from being branded murderer nowadays.

The only person I can unfortunately not say to, is one of the comrades here whose methods led to the death of an innocent Black person who was foraging in a dirt drum for food. For what I did to you and your comrades, I apologise. I sincerely apologise.

But in the spirit of reconciliation, we lived in a different era, we were enemies then. I have not fled the country, run away from the Police Force, I am still a policeman and trying to serve my community to the best of my ability. And that is the reason why I out of my own free will have approached this Commission to see if we can't build, and forget about the hardships.

I know you've got hardships, the people in this hallway believe and now that I am older, I believe that you had - it was illegal, it was not sought for, each person had to have his place in the sun in South Africa and I sincerely hope that, but if I may just indulge the Commission for a further few minutes- I am married and have two children.

Since my son was in Sub B, he was a little boy of six years old, my daughter was in standard 5, I think she was about 12, for weeks my children could not play in the normal ambit of other children. Because of my work with the Security Branch, they had to travel under police escort to school, they could not play on the playground with the other children. They had to be put in the principal's office all the time, under guard.

My house windows had to be barricaded with cupboards. Every night a wet blanket had to be put in the bath, available where my younger children could get hold of that in the case of grenade attacks. You are surely aware that I was transferred as the Station Commander at Stanford because not only were my nerves shot, my wife threatened divorce if I did not get out of Cape Town.

That was after the African Youth League threatened to have demonstrations on my front lawn. Yes, Mr Yengeni, I did terrible things, I did terrible things to members of the ANC, but as God as my witness, believe me, I have also suffered.

I may not call myself a victim of Apartheid, but yes Sir, I have also been a victim.

MR YENGENI: What kind of man that uses a method like this one of the wet bag, to people, to other human beings, repeatedly and listening to those moans and cries and groans and taking each of those people very near to their deaths, what kind of man are you? What kind of man is that, that can do that kind of, what kind of human being is that Mr Benzien?

I want to understand really why, what happened? I am not talking about now the politics or your family, I am talking about the man behind the wet bag? When you do those things, what happens to you as a human being? What goes through your head, your mind? You know, what effect does that torture activity done to you as a human being?

MR BENZIEN: Mr Yengeni, not only you have asked me that question. I, I, Jeff Benzien, have asked myself that question to such an extent that I voluntarily, and it is not easy for me to say this in a full court with a lot of people who do not know me, approached Psychiatrists to have myself evaluated, to find out what type of person am I.

There was a stage when this whole scene was going on, that I thought I was losing my mind. I have subsequently been, and I am now still, under treatment, where I have to take tablets on a regular basis.

I have respect for every cadre of Umkhonto weSizwe as I know the situation now. The times when we were adversaries, was a different time. I had the fortune or misfortune of growing up in a White environment in Cape Town.

I did not either through my own stupidity or ignorance as long as I was one of the Whites, the privileged Whites who had an education, who had a house, I couldn't see it being taken away. If you ask me what type of person is it that can do that, I ask myself the same question.

Bearing in mind for want of a better explanation, if you had a bad foot and the surgeon had to cut it off to save your life, then maybe I am trying to soften my conscience by saying that is the person who I was, irrespective how dirty, how mean, how horrible it was, I would do that and it was not and I think, you and the rest of the accused, could say that for the initial interrogation that I did, the day after or the day after that or the day after that, I did not interrogate any one of you with a bad method.

And I think all of you can say that in honesty. My application Mr Yengeni, please tell me if I am right or wrong, my application of the wet bag method was at the initial arrest, until such times as you had against your will, revealed who your contacts were or where your arms caches were. Could you please answer me that, is it correct? Is it correct Mr Yengeni.

MR YENGENI: No. Now, let me proceed.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Yengeni, could I just disturb you for a minute. Are you going to be some time still, because it might be convenient to take an adjournment at this stage?

MR YENGENI: Yes, Mr Judge, I still want to ask a number of other questions still.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Very well, we will adjourn and resume at two o'clock.



CHAIRPERSON: Members of the public ought to be informed that the delay in commencing at the appointed hour of two o'clock was occasioned as the result of a large number of documents being placed before the Committee for urgent consideration, relating to matters of the work of the Amnesty Committee.

They had to be attended to and that has caused the delay and unfortunately we could not start at two o'clock. Mr Yengeni, I am sorry if it has inconvenienced you. You may begin.


Thank you Sir. This black bag that was used for torturing me and other people, I note that even if you read the press it is being used extensively, or was used extensively by the police, including in criminal cases to get information.

Now, before you joined the Security Branch you were involved in investigating criminal cases.

MR BENZIEN: That is correct, Mr Chairman.

MR YENGENI: Did you in any of these investigations, ever use this method to get information?

MR BENZIEN: No, Your Worship.

CHAIRPERSON: I take it that is in non-political matters what you are talking about?

MR YENGENI: Yes, in non-political cases. Now, this black bag, was it a property that was issued by the police to you?

MR BENZIEN: It was not property issued to me, but normally it was referred to as a prisoners' property bag, Your Worship. In other words, a bag used at police stations for putting loose articles of prisoners' property in.

MR YENGENI: So it was the property of the police?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, it was property of the police.

MR YENGENI: But the Security Branch used it for a different purpose from the one that it was initially, originally made for?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct, Mr Chairman.

JUDGE WILSON: Am I right in assuming therefore that these would be available in just about every police station? Every police station who had police cells in them?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct, Sir.

MR YENGENI: Now, you used this method on me, but before you put the black bag on my head, you blindfolded me. Is that correct?

MR BENZIEN: I am not hundred percent sure, but I could have, yes.

MR YENGENI: Now, I was blindfolded and then the bag was used on me. The point, the question that I want to ask you is I have never seen this bag being used myself on any other person, even when it was used on me, I never saw it.

And I think it would be in the interest of the public and the Commission for you to demonstrate the use of this bag.

MR BENZIEN: Commissioners, it was a cloth bag that would be submerged in water to get it completely wet. And then the way I applied it, was I get the person to lie down on the ground on his stomach normally on a mat or something similar with that person's hands handcuffed behind his back.

Then I would take up a position in the small of the person's back, put my feet through between his arms to maintain my balance and then pull the bag over the person's head and twist it closed around the neck in that way, cutting off the air supply to the person.

JUDGE WILSON: When you say stand, did you stand astride him with your feet on the ground?

MR BENZIEN: Initially feet between the arms.

JUDGE WILSON: Getting the arms spread out?

MR BENZIEN: That's right.

JUDGE WILSON: And your feet ...

MR BENZIEN: And if I sat down and I put my feet out, I could then maintain my balance.

JUDGE WILSON: But your feet weren't, you didn't stand on the person, you stood on the ground and then sat on him?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct, Sir.

MR YENGENI: Now, is it possible for you to do a demonstration of how, I as a victim I would want to see what happened to me.

CHAIRPERSON: When you say demonstration, I mean, has he not described it satisfactorily to you?

MR YENGENI: I also want to see it with my own eyes what he did to me.

JUDGE WILSON: Well, I think the first problem is Mr Yengeni, you have to find a volunteer to play the part of the victim. There are some people behind you indicating they will assist.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, Mr Yengeni, you have got somebody who would be prepared to assist.

MR YENGENI: If there is somebody prepared to assist, that is fine. I think Mr Benzien, I would want him to demonstrate to me how, because as he explains it to me, I can hear his explanation, but I would want to be given the opportunity by the Commission to see what he did to me, with my own eyes.

MS KHAMPEPE: What are we going to use for the bag, the black bag?

MR YENGENI: Somebody has put a pillow in front of me, that can be used as a bag.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Will you make somebody available Mr Yengeni. Mr Benzien, you are required to show Mr Yengeni.

MR BENZIEN: I am willing to show Sir. Secondly I have not got a set of handcuffs and I may not be as ...

CHAIRPERSON: Please may we have some order here?

MR BENZIEN: I also may not be as agile as what I was then.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Yengeni, could it be done here in front of you.

MR YENGENI: Yes, a little bit further, there in the middle, so that I can see.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Will you lie down on your stomach please and Mr Benzien, will you show us the position you occupied.

MS KHAMPEPE: We can't see Mr Benzien.

CHAIRPERSON: We will just have to stand and have a look. Bring that bag. Mr Yengeni, can you see?

MR YENGENI: Yes, but what I want to ask just as he is in that position, at what point does he release the bag for more air? How does he know that now I am about to loose, to die, then he releases the bag?

CHAIRPERSON: The question, not what point, how he releases it?

MR YENGENI: Yes, how he releases it?

CHAIRPERSON: Will you just show how you release it? Put it on again. Yes, and now you must show how you release it.

MR YENGENI: How you release it.

JUDGE WILSON: Sorry, could we put on record, I think you pull the bag down and then tight about his neck?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR YENGENI: Release it.

MR BENZIEN: You would ask him to speak and if he shook his head ...

MR YENGENI: Thank you.

JUDGE WILSON: But when you released the bag, you didn't in fact take it off his head, you just let it go slack around the neck? Is that so? So you could tighten it up as you ...

MR BENZIEN: Sometimes off, sometimes left it there.

MR YENGENI: But the question that I want to ask is at what point do you release the bag to give the person who is tortured, more air? Is there something, are you counting time or is there something that you feel and then you release the bag? What happens, what makes you to release the bag?

CHAIRPERSON: I imagine that when you are in that position, you are asking questions?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct Sir.

CHAIRPERSON: And you are expecting answers?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct, Sir.

CHAIRPERSON: And whether you release it and when you release it, would depend upon whether you are getting answers from this person?

MR BENZIEN: Answers and also you would, or I would, release it - the intention was never to (indistinct) somebody, but the possibility, the real possibility was always there Sir. I did realise that.

MR YENGENI: But where there any, was there any physical condition that would make you to release the bag on the part of the person who is tortured?

MR BENZIEN: On occasions people have I presume, and I say presume, lost consciousness, they would go slack and every time that was done, I would release the bag.

MR YENGENI: How did I react and respond to you at the bag?

MR BENZIEN: I think you can bear with me that individually I cannot say how you reacted, I know that after the method was applied, you did take us to the house of Jennifer Schreiner where we took out a lot of limpet mines, handgrenades and firearms. In other words, your reaction as far as if I understand it correct was, was you told us where your weaponry was.

MR YENGENI: The question Mr Benzien is, myself and others if we are under that kind of wet bag and we are being choked by that bag, how do we react at that point? How do we react, what is our physical reaction?

CHAIRPERSON: What happens to the person why he is being choked? Can you describe?

MR BENZIEN: I presume, excuse me Your Honour, the actions of somebody who was suffocating.

MR YENGENI: Can you describe those reactions?

CHAIRPERSON: Would there be any movement?

MR BENZIEN: There would be movement, there would be head movement, distress, all the time there would be questions being asked do you want to speak or what have you and as soon as an indication was given that this person wanted to speak, the air would be allowed back to his person to say what he wanted to say.

MR YENGENI: Would the person groan, moan, cry, scream? What would the person do?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, the person would moan, cry, although muffled, yes, it does happen.

MR YENGENI: And you did this to each and every one of us?

MR BENZIEN: To the majority of you, yes.

MS KHAMPEPE: Sorry Mr Benzien, if you say you did that to the majority of peoplewhat was then the criteria which would be used to determine who would qualify for the wet bag system and who wouldn't?

MR BENZIEN: Ma'am, some of the arrestees at that stage would voluntarily give the information. Those who did not give the voluntary information, I used this method on.

MR YENGENI: Was Liebenberg aware of this system of torture, Your Commander?

MR BENZIEN: I am sure he was, Your Worship.

MR YENGENI: You are sure he was?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct. Although he was not, I must say, available or present on each occasion.

MR YENGENI: Who was present in my occasion?

MR BENZIEN: As before the lunch adjournment, I know at the time of your arrest, was Liebenberg, myself. I am not sure if Nel was there, I know Sergeant Bellingham was there and I think Sergeant Goosen.

Members of the Commission if I may say this at this stage, this (indistinct) method that I used, I normally or as far as I can remember, would do it alone, with my victim in a room. The reason for that was that inadvertently at a trial it would be brought up as evidence which I would deny and if I had nobody doing it with me, then it would have been my word against the complainant.

MR YENGENI: Now, you said that Liebenberg, you are sure that he knew about this method. How did he know about this method?

MR BENZIEN: I am of the opinion it was common knowledge.

MR YENGENI: Common knowledge to the police, you mean common knowledge to the police people and the members of the public? What do you mean by that?

MR BENZIEN: Common knowledge to the members of the Anti-terrorist Unit.

MR YENGENI: Who was above Commander Liebenberg, who was controlling him?

MR BENZIEN: There were different Officers commanding Liebenberg. You had Officers working in Intelligence, you had Officers working Regulation 29, like ...

MR YENGENI: Who were they?

MR BENZIEN: I must just get my priorities correct here. As I say there were numerous facets in the Security Branch. In charge of Terrorism at one or other stage I would say was, it started off as Major Smit, who became a Lieutenant Colonel. He was the man that signed your Regulation 29 detentions and so forth.

I would presume that would be Liebenberg's direct Commander.

MR YENGENI: You said there were two, who was the other one?

MR BENZIEN: That was as far as Liebenberg was concerned. At a previous stage there was an Officer who retired. I think it was a Colonel Viljoen, if I am not mistaken.

MR YENGENI: So since you said this was common knowledge, so I take it that even the seniors to Liebenberg knew about this method?

MR BENZIEN: I would be surprised if they did not know, Your Honour.

MR YENGENI: So I take it that what you are saying is that the police in this Unit and those that were in charge of them, knew about this method?

MR BENZIEN: It is speculation and I say again, I would be surprised if they did not know it. As our instructions were to immediately after an arrest, to (a) find out if the person in detention has any contact people, arms cachets and that had to be found as soon as possible, because Mr Yengeni you will surely know that you people always operated with a cut out time. If you could answer me on that, and you know that a cut out time worked from 10 minutes to 30 minutes to a day or two.

If you did not rendezvous with one of your compatriots, at a certain cut out time, then they were not to meet at the designated place, but to meet at a pre-arranged day or two or whatever was arranged, just between the person and his immediate cut out.

MR YENGENI: Now, if in terms of your explanation, you were a policeman to uphold the law, why did you do these things? I mean all these illegal things, things that were against the law? Why did you engage in it, in a criminal activity?

MR BENZIEN: Sir, as a policeman and I put it to this Commission today, in the unfortunate position I surely could have said no, but my task as policeman and upholder of the then law of the country, I had to prevent and I say it now in retrospect, I had to prevent deeds of terrorism.

Because as I am being maybe judged today of using barbaric or unorthodox to put it lightly, methods of interrogation, my sole purpose was to (a) take the weaponry which consisted of mostly SPM land mines, mini limpet mines, SPM limpet mines, mini limpet mines, handgrenades, AK47's and what all, from the freedom fighters that were going to use those weaponry to the public at large, not just military targets, and the public at large were the innocent people in Cape Town.

That was my sole objective. If it was unorthodox, we have to think of it in the context of the time we were living in then. My greatest fear at that stage and I hope the people here could see the predicament that I was in, if a SPM limpet mine had to be detonated in the Golden Acre at that stage of which we had information, that would have been catastrophic.

Cape Town, thank God, did not have the terrorist or freedom fighter actions of a Bloed Street, Church Street, Magoo's Bar and one of those places. As I've earlier said that Cape Town as a whole as a result of a pure deed of terrorism, there was only loss of one life, which attributed to a mine and handgrenade explosion and that was one unfortunate Black man.

I am not trying to condone my method of operation, I am trying to convey to the Commission the circumstances under which I was working at that stage.

MR YENGENI: So in other words in terms of your understanding of the law, this method was sanctioned by the law. It was something that was lawful. By torturing people, using this method, you engaged in lawful activity as a policeman?

MR BENZIEN: I was engaged in a lawful activity, using unlawful, unconstitutional methods, yes Sir.

MR YENGENI: Now, you said that there was Sergeant Bellingham in this group of people? Who is Sergeant Bellingham?

MR BENZIEN: Sergeant Bellingham was a member of the South African Police Security Branch who from time to time, came to Cape Town with members or with Black members of I understood it to be rehabilitated or the word was used, rehabilitated or askari policemen.

I was led to understand that these had been cadres who had been trained, originally as terrorists and were then used by the South African Security Services.

CHAIRPERSON: Where did he come from?

MR BENZIEN: He came from Pretoria Sir and the name had been bantered around. I would be naive to say that he did not come from the notorious Unit, called Vlakplaas.

MR YENGENI: If he did not come from Vlakplaas, then how was he able, why was he the one who brought these askaris to Cape Town? What was the link between him and these askaris?

MR BENZIEN: I do not follow the question Sir. He definitely came from Vlakplaas. He was stationed at Vlakplaas.

MR YENGENI: Oh, okay. Now, when you were arresting me, how many askaris did you bring down from Pretoria, from Vlakplaas?

MR BENZIEN: I am unable to answer that question. I didn't bring any askaris down from Vlakplaas. The connection there was normally between, in actual fact I think it was always between Lieutenant Liebenberg and the Pretoria component.

I am not even sure if there were askaris there that evening. I know Bellingham was there, but not necessarily askaris. I am standing under correction, if I can get more information on this, I may get more clarity on it.

MR YENGENI: Well, I think you must remember that there were many askaris when I was arrested, who were part of the operation and there was one tall, Black chap with a bald head called David. He was very, very active. Can you remember him?

MR BENZIEN: I can remember on the occasions and then again for clarity in everybody's minds, the askaris were handled by a handler of which Sergeant Bellingham was one. They rarely were seen in daytime. They were contacted at different venues and I am trying to think, I have known an askari by the name of David, I am sure it is the same person I am thinking of.

But at the time of your arrest, it does not come to mind that there were askaris. I concede there may have been, but I can't honestly remember.

MR YENGENI: I expressly remember askaris and specifically David. What would be their role in such an event?

MR BENZIEN: Excuse me?

MR YENGENI: What would be their role, the askaris' role in such an event?

MR BENZIEN: The way I understood the task of the askaris were to move around in especially the then Black townships and considering that they had, as I understood it, undergone terrorist training, to identify terrorists.

Gentlemen, I must - excuse, I am using it in the context of the time that I worked at the Terrorist Detection Unit, to identify them in the locations and where also.

MR YENGENI: Now, you are still a member of the police, yourself?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct, Sir.

MR YENGENI: And is Mr Bellingham still a member of the police?


MR YENGENI: Bellingham?

MR BENZIEN: I have not seen Sergeant Bellingham in six years, if I am not mistaken Sir. I am not aware, he was transferred back to the Transvaal and he actually came from the Transvaal. I am not aware if he is still a member of the police.

MR YENGENI: Mr Liebenberg, your Commander, is he still a member of the police?

MR BENZIEN: Until recently, I had a telephonic conversation with Mr Liebenberg on Friday past, I understand he is either in the process of being discharged medically unfit or he has already been discharged medically unfit.

MR YENGENI: You said in the morning, when I was asking you questions that you feel that you were used by your colleagues. What did you mean by that?

MR BENZIEN: I will surely not be the most popular person in the Police Force after this, but then I am not here to be the most popular person in the Police Force.

It was my contention that the Security Branch were using me to do the dirty work and what my motivation, I tried to explain just now, could be patriotic to the then South Africa of the day, as much as I now realise that you gentlemen must have been just as patriotic to your country of birth.

But whether I was under a false sense of bravado or for want of a better word, I was willing to go the extra mile irrespective of the consequences for my beliefs.

I think this was latched onto by members of the South African Security Branch who then allowed me to do this and by so doing, not dirtying or bloodying their own hands as regular members of the Security Force, for security reasons.

CHAIRPERSON: What you are saying is that, when you say that you were used by the Security Forces, your superiors, you weren't exactly a reluctant recruit?

MR BENZIEN: Participant?

CHAIRPERSON: Participant? Because your own beliefs such as those that you had, convinced you that you were doing the right thing?

MR BENZIEN: No, Sir. Absolutely Sir.

CHAIRPERSON: But because you were so thorough in your job, you found that you were required to do more than you would have done on your own?

MR BENZIEN: I believe so Sir, and considering that nobody actually prevented me or did the same, because with the amount of persons arrested, I could do the interrogation or initial interrogation without any other member of the then Security Police having to do this.

And the reason why I say used is, I would like the Commission to know at this stage if they don't already know it, the Security Branch per se of the South African Police was a very, very powerful organisation.

Few people even for the four years that I worked for the Security Branch, was never really taken into the confidence of the day-to-day running of the Security Branch.

MR YENGENI: Do you believe that what you did was right, of torturing myself and other members of MK?

CHAIRPERSON: I think he said he did. He has answered that. He was convinced that he was doing the right thing.

MR YENGENI: Is that correct, Mr Benzien?

MR BENZIEN: At the time, given those circumstances, how heinous it may sound, I was convinced I was right.

MR YENGENI: And now?

MR BENZIEN: With hindsight Sir, I realise that it was wrong and for that I apologise. I must also admit at this stage with a new dispensation and the new constitution and the now way the country is being run by a new set of Ministers and especially the Honourable State President, from a position that I was in, I can only say I am extremely amazed and very happy to still be in South Africa today and I am still a patriot of the country.

To serve the public at large as well as the government of the day.

MR YENGENI: Now, so if now with the benefit of hindsight, you believe that you were wrong, so in other words you are then saying that not only were you wrong, but that everything that you stood for, was wrong?

MR BENZIEN: Mr Yengeni, yes.

MR YENGENI: Can you, Mr Benzien, look me straight in the eye and say to me that you now as you are sitting there, believe that the Apartheid system was evil and was wrong?


MR YENGENI: Now, I want to ask you the second last question. The first is you have indicated that you have tortured me and others, you have accepted having assaulted me and others, you have accepted having lied to courts of law, you have accepted having even killed Ashley Kriel. Now if you have done all these things, tortured, assaulted, lied, killed, how are we sure that we should trust what you are saying and how can we believe what you are saying to us no, if you have done all these things throughout your life?

MR BENZIEN: Mr Yengeni, Mr Chairman, at the very beginning of my testimony I requested the Honourable Commission to listen to a submission that I made.

I realise the predicament or the dilemma that this court has now. All I can say is and that is on trust, that yes, I did commit perjury, I did lie to the courts as far as assaults and things like that went. The rest of my evidence in the courts of law as to the recovery of weaponry were fact and I think even Mr Yengeni can admit that, that it was for the recovery of certain materials of war.

I have asked this Commission to believe me. I have tried to be sincere. I was never subpoenaed to speak to the Investigation Unit of the TRC, I voluntarily went there and I voluntarily helped them as far as I could with questions put to me.

I am hoping that the Commission and with respect to the Commission, even more so the persons who I have done this injustice to, that they should believe in what I have to say here today.

Because without trust it is going to be very difficult for truth and reconciliation to take place. Therefore I beseige anybody and everybody who I have done an injustice to, to let's go forward and let history then determine if I had been truthful or not to the Commission or to you gentlemen.

MR YENGENI: The last question I want to ask you Mr Benzien is, I am seeing you for the first time since the days of my torture. And I am still trying to recover after seeing you this morning. But what, why do you think I should support your application for amnesty?

MR BENZIEN: Mr Yengeni, that is a very difficult decision, considering what I have done to you. I presume it is a difficult decision for you to come to. I can only implore you, without wanting to influence your personal position, I felt very humble, exceptionally humble and there was almost as if there was a spark inside me again, because if I can point to the people sitting mostly in the front row, when I came into this Commission this morning, Mr Forbes, his wife, Peter Jacobs and numerous, I think all of these gentlemen and lady, who I had belittled and hurt, put their hand out and shook my hand.

And if I may say it, not without singling out anybody, especially Mrs Pandy. I think if that is what the majority feels, and wished me luck and hope to God that we can make this country work, then so be it Mr Yengeni.

MR YENGENI: Now, just as a last if you may allow me Mr Judge.

CHAIRPERSON: Last after the last question?

MR YENGENI: No, this is the last. I think that when you spoke this morning, you indicated that you have reconciled with us and we have reconciled with you.

I wish to indicate that it is very proper for me to follow this thing correctly. But before I and my colleagues can express ourselves on supporting or not supporting your application for amnesty, we should be and must be convinced that you are speaking the truth, not only speaking the truth and by that you want the country to know what exactly happened. And until then, it is going to be very difficult for me and my colleagues to express ourselves on whether we support the application or not. We are prepared to support the amnesty application only on the basis of full disclosure and I am not sure that at this stage, we are ready, or I am ready to say that you have made a full disclosure.

I am aware that my colleagues would also want to ask some questions from you and at this stage, I must thank the Commission, thank you.



CHAIRPERSON: What are your full names?

MR FORBES: Ashley Forbes.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, Mr Forbes.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR FORBES: Captain Benzien, can I maybe put it to you that the statement that you handed to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, that particular statement comes nowhere near to a full disclosure of the truth.

And I think even from the previous, the person that - Tony Yengeni that has addressed the Commission that there are a number of aspects that fall short in terms of the statement which you have made and details which we seem to have to struggle about to reveal.

MR BENZIEN: Mr Forbes, as I told the Commission earlier today, that I have to the best of my knowledge tried to convey to the Commission what I know. In the light of us not getting more detail, I am willing now to answer any aspect to which I have not referred in the application to the Truth and Reconciliation Committee.

MR FORBES: In terms of the torture and the process of interrogation that people may have been put under, would you say that in your statement you refer to the wet bag method and that you have used an open hand on people, so would you then say that there are other methods and things that you may have done to people, but that in your statement you only referred to two, but that if we were to address you on certain other aspects, that you would be able to reveal other aspects that you may have done to people?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR FORBES: Will you agree that Section 29 was an institution then that was designed to extract information and to ensure that people could be tortured and abused?

MR BENZIEN: Although I think Section 29 of the then Security Act was the (indistinct) legislation, I do not per se think that it was used for the torture of people in such as physical abuse.

The detention could have led to mental abuse, the long times in solitary confinement, but there was safeguards in the Regulation 29 article where I think the detainee was visited by the Inspector of Detainees every 14 days, and District Surgeons and so forth.

The abuse of a detainee normally took place within the first 48 hours of arrest, before the person was detained in terms of Section 29 because one of the procedures were that that person had to be examined by a District Surgeon.

Am I correct in answering that? Is that what you are asking?

CHAIRPERSON: I think what you are really trying to say is that Section 29 did not itself say that people who are detained may be tortured.

MR BENZIEN: It emphatically said there was to be none,sir.

MR FORBES: I think the motivation is that I think with reference to the statement, we seem to be under the impression that we are dealing with half an hour or 48 hours, or that immediately once people are arrested, that you are quickly debriefed or tortured so as to get information.

I think it is my assertion that the entire process, the entire legislation that surrounded Section 29 was designed to ensure that even if it took six months, that that was the time and the institution which the State had to be able to torture people and I am going to assert and go through it a little bit more slowly that it is not a half an hour, that it is not 48 hours, but that it is a systematic and protracted process that people are subjected to.

CHAIRPERSON: In which he was involved?

MR FORBES: That is correct Sir.

JUDGE NGOEPE: Could we then Mr Forbes, if you don't mind, lay a proper basis for it by saying, instead of saying that the Act was specifically meant for the torture and the like, would it satisfy you perhaps if I were to frame this question as follows:

Section 29, in the way that it was framed, did it lend itself to abuse of detainees in the way that the police, like yourself, were able to abuse the detainees?

MR BENZIEN: Your Honour, I presume like anything, or any legislation, it could have been used, be abused, but my idea of Section 29 and more specifically in Mr Forbes' case, after the initial arrest and interrogation, yes he was detained in terms of Section 29. I am speaking specifically of myself. After the person who had been detained, had been to a District Surgeon who had already then noted any injuries or what have you, he would have been, what I am trying to convey to the court is, even your interrogation methods were not to have any marks or hurts on that person.

So as for - I am not quite following Mr Forbes. If he means Section 29 per se, if I can speak Section 29 as far as Mr Forbes is concerned, then I think he is the only person detained Section 29, who I then practically lived with for six months, for his duration of his 29.

And that was, I did all his questioning, day in and day out. Taught him to smoke, took him on a trip in the country. I don't want to elaborate on that if I am not on the right track. I would like to get clarity from Mr Forbes.

JUDGE NGOEPE: No, my question was actually that Section 29 was such that it was susceptible to abuse by the Security Police and they did in fact exploit that.

MR BENZIEN: I am quite sure that could have been exploited Sir.

ADV DE JAGER: You could have kept him from sleeping for days and nights on end?


ADV DE JAGER: You could have kept on interrogating him for hours and hours after starting?


ADV DE JAGER: So, wouldn't that be a torture (indistinct), not leaving marks, physical marks, but mental torture?

MR BENZIEN: I am sure it could be.

CHAIRPERSON: I think he did say that.

MR BENZIEN: I could concede that could be, yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, Mr Forbes?

MR FORBES: Can I ask again if you perhaps remember the 16th of April when I was arrested. That was in my situation the black bag method was also used?

MR BENZIEN: I concede yes.

MR FORBES: Do you also remember, maybe ...

MS KHAMPEPE: Mr Forbes, may I interrupt. What kind of method did you say was used on you on the 16th?

MR FORBES: Oh, the wet bag.

MS KHAMPEPE: The wet bag.

JUDGE WILSON: Of what year, 16th of April?

MR FORBES: 1986. Can I also ask that when I was arrested, do you remember saying to me that you are able to treat me like an animal or like a human being and that how you treated me, depended on whether I cooperated or not?

MR BENZIEN: I can't remember it correctly Sir, but I will concede, I may have said it.

MR FORBES: Do you remember that when the wet bag method was used, that people are also undressed? That I was undressed, that my pants was pulled towards my ankles and that in that way, and thereafter the wet bag was pulled over my head and suffocated?

MR BENZIEN: I cannot remember it specifically, but I am willing to concede. If you can remember that aspect, I may concede, yes.

MR FORBES: These are things that I understand, maybe there are many aspects, details that you can't remember, but most of these things, they stand out vividly in my mind, so most of these things are things that I can remember.

Can I then also just ask if you remember that while I was laying on the ground, that somebody inserted a metal rod into my anus and shocked me?

MR BENZIEN: No, Sir. As heinous as it may sound, I used an electric generator on one person and then did not use it, it was on Peter Jacobs, not on you.

MR FORBES: This is something that I do remember.

MR BENZIEN: I am sitting in the position Sir, where I cannot remember that, but if I can remember I am not trying to squirm away from my responsibility.

You I can remember especially because I think that the two of us after weeks of your confinement, really became quite close. I may be mistaken, but I think we became relatively, I wouldn't say good friends, but on a very good rapport.

MR FORBES: Can I then also ask that if you remember that why the date is significant, is that always on the 16th it would be the day that the assaults would happen? That although the first time this type of assault took place, was the day of my arrest, but that after that, whenever it came to the 16th, that it would either be the threat or actual assault on me.

That it didn't perhaps take place once, but it took place at least three times?

MR BENZIEN: May I just ask a moment here. You say you were arrested on what date?

MR FORBES: The 16th.

MR BENZIEN: And if I understand you correctly, you are saying subsequently the 16th of each month, I would assault you?

MR FORBES: The 16th, not of each month, yes, but on each month, that that would be the day on which I was to expect an assault?

MR BENZIEN: Sir, in the spirit of reconciliation and I have been trying to be as honest with this court as I can, I deny and Mr Forbes, if I am denying this, then one of us two are lying. Because after you initial arrest and your initial interrogation, I concede on the Saturday I assaulted you. I then assaulted you I think it was on the Monday evening, that was after that we went for the steak, am I correct?

After that, I took you on investigation to the Eastern Cape. Whereas to refresh your memory, and I am not saying it flippantly, as you said it was the most Kentucky Fried chicken you have ever eaten. Either after that or prior to that, we attempted to go to the Western Transvaal where you were going to do some pointing out.

Could you remember the time that you had seen snow for the first time? Can you remember what happened in the snow? The husband and the wife and the two children who were taking photo's of you playing in the snow along the N1?

Your trip to Colesberg, where you braaied with me that night and with the rest of the Unit, therefore Mr Forbes, in the spirit of honesty and reconciliation, I am sure you are making a mistake about the 16th of every month was the day that I would assault you.

MR FORBES: Mr Benzien, maybe I will take you through the next time that I was assaulted and I will just see if there are aspects of that torture that you may remember.

For example on the second occasion do you remember that I was wrapped in the carpet?

MR BENZIEN: That was the Monday, the Monday night.

MR FORBES: Do you remember for example that my clothes were removed and that the wet bag method was again used on me?

MR BENZIEN: I would concede it could have happened.

MR FORBES: Do you remember after that, putting me onto a chair and then saying to me that you are going to break my eardrum and then hitting me against my ear?

MR BENZIEN: No, Sir. Not saying I am going to break your eardrum. I gave you a smack that evening on your ear and days later you told me that you think your eardrum was broken. You were examined by a District Surgeon in Queenstown if I am not mistaken, but you had also been sitting at the open window in the vehicle.

MR FORBES: Do you remember saying that you are going to give me a blue eye and then hitting me against my eye?

MR BENZIEN: No Sir. If I can again, please emphasise to the court, at that stage Mr Forbes had not been placed under Regulation 29 yet. I knew he had to be examined by a Doctor.

MR FORBES: Do you remember saying that you are going to break my nose and then putting both your thumbs into my nostrils and pulling it until the blood came out of my nose?

MR BENZIEN: I know you had a nose bleed. I thought it was as a result of the smack I gave you.

MR FORBES: Do you remember choking me and then knocking my head against the wall until I was a bit unconscious? Till I lost consciousness?

MR BENZIEN: No Sir, I am not aware of Mr Forbes loosing consciousness at all.

MR FORBES: You for example had spoken to ...

ADV DE JAGER: What about the knocking of the head against the wall?

MR BENZIEN: Sir, I doubt if I hit his head against the wall, because all this could have led to marks.

MR FORBES: I would just like to say that these are all occurrences that I can clearly remember. But then to continue could I then ask Mr Benzien, apart from I think the impression that you are giving this Commission is that we went on these joy trips in the snow and for braais and so forth, can I put it to you that it was always after an assault of this nature, that we would be taken on these trips and that the intention of these trips was to ensure that the injuries would heal and that I would actually not get into contact with the District Surgeon?

MR BENZIEN: No, Sir, I deny that, because at the place of detention, while travelling with a Regulation 29 prisoner, he had to be examined by the District Surgeon of the area where he was brought.

JUDGE WILSON: So would there be records available of these various trips you have told us about, of examinations by District Surgeons at all of them?

MR BENZIEN: There should be, Sir.

MR FORBES: Mr Benzien, you seem to say that you are very dedicated to finding out where the arms were and who were the other people who may have been involved in military activities. Why is it that these kind of things, why would you not want to take responsibility for knocking my head against the wall, when you clearly say that you may have used the wet bag method, you may have smacked people, but then why is it that knocking my head against the wall, is not something that you would take responsibility for? Is it not that you would have done anything to have gotten the information, come short of killing people, if need be?

MR BENZIEN: As I explained before Your Honour, my method was not to leave marks.

MR FORBES: Can I then ask at this point, what you mean when you say you take responsibility for half an hour, that the interrogation or that the assault took place within half an hour.

Is that the period in which the wet bag was used or is this referring to the entire process of interrogation? That may have included smacking, threatening, knocking peoples heads against the wall and so forth?

MR BENZIEN: Mr Chairman, right in the beginning of my submission, I mentioned the fact that the methods used by me normally took no more than half an hour, except in the case of Mr Forbes and Mr Jacobs. I specifically made reference to those two gentlemen. By that I meant it took longer. I hope my memory isn't failing me, but Mr Jacobs was arrested on the Saturday morning and he was interrogated right through the Saturday morning, till approximately two o'clock, actual time.

Why I say actual time is that knowing we were working against the cut out, we had set our watches and dubbed Mr Jacobs into saying that it was almost two o'clock or something. Or almost four o'clock, where in actual fact it was almost two o'clock. That is the one where I took longer and Mr Forbes, I am not even sure if he was interrogated on the Saturday afternoon, but well on the Monday evening.

MR FORBES: Mr Benzien, after about three months in interrogation, I tried to commit suicide, just before the 16th, I think it was of July. As from my perspective I would have seen that particular act it is something that I have never thought of before, even after - something that I wouldn't ever think of doing, but under those conditions, after three months in your hands and just prior to the 16th, I had tried to commit suicide.

Could you perhaps from your perspective try and explain or try to help the Commission to understand why I would have come to that point to have tried to commit suicide?

CHAIRPERSON: Were you aware of the fact that he tried to commit suicide?

MR BENZIEN: I was so informed Mr Chairman. What actually led to that, I cannot say, except that I concede the method of detention was a draconian law instituted by the then Nationalist Government, Sir.

If I may elaborate on this point, Mr Forbes will surely also concede that at a later stage, he had been moved to Milnerton police cells and it was while at Milnerton police cells, if I can remember correctly, that Regulation 29 detainees or Article 29 detainees, were only allowed a Bible of their choice.

Mr Forbes used to read Western novels. Could I just ask Mr Forbes if he can remember the times that I contrary to police regulations, brought him Western books to read? Do you remember it? Excuse me Mr Forbes, I can't hear you?

MR FORBES: I think the question was, the question that should be asked is why did I for example at, just after my suicide ask or complain to the Psychiatrist, then Mr Zabouw, that in all the three months that I had been under Section 29, that I had not been able to get a Bible or even a Khoran into my cell. And that he had said that he would try and persuade you to give those books to me.

MR BENZIEN: Mr Commissioners, it was a regulation by the then South African Security Branch to foresee every detainee with at least, excuse me, a Bible of their choice. That was left to members whose sole purpose was to visit the detainees.

The point I am trying to make here, irrespective of what Mr Forbes says now, I am asking him and he is evading the question, that I not on one occasion, but out of my own, contrary to police regulations, took him Western books to read. I used to go visit him on a Sunday afternoon, sometimes at Milnerton I would bring you fresh fruit.

At that stage you were smoking, am I correct? I can even remember at one stage in my office, where I was almost chain smoking and you said that I have taught you to smoke again. And after that you used to get cigarettes from me, correct?

MR FORBES: Mr Benzien, if you could just focus on the suicide for a moment and I think, at this point I am still just a little, not satisfied in terms of your explanation to actually try and help the Commission and us ...

CHAIRPERSON: Just formulate the question again, about suicide.

MR FORBES: Why is it, why does Mr Benzien think I may have tried to commit suicide after three months, just prior to the 16th when he for example says that he was only with me for half an hour on two occasions?

MR BENZIEN: Sorry Sir, the half an hour, Mr Forbes is putting out of context. I said and I said it in - that I had spoken to them on occasions, up to 14, 15, 16 hours a day after the initial interrogation that I did, we sat and worked out pages and pages and pages of documentation, that you told me about.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Forbes, can I come in here. I think the question is, you see Mr Forbes put to you earlier on that you either assaulted or threatened to assault him on the 16th of every month, which you denied and now what really he is saying to you is, why if that is the case, why if you did not on the 16th of every month either assault me or threatened to assault me, why would I on the fourth month, just before the 16th, what would have pushed me, what could have pushed me into committing suicide? If you did not on the 16th of every month not assault me or threatened to assault me? I think that is the question he is asking you, or part of it?

MR BENZIEN: Unfortunately Sir, I cannot say what motivated him to do that. What I am definitely saying is that he is making a mistake about this every 16th of the month.

I have tried to jog his memory by saying the way I treated him, but whatever drove him to suicide, I can understand the method of detention and being cut off from humanity and that, could surely cause a person to be suicidal.

CHAIRPERSON: But on your version, you developed a fairly good relationship with him and you seem to have seen him, visited occasionally, bringing him books to read, cigarettes to smoke, why then all of a sudden, what drives him to this drastic decision of taking away his own life?

MR BENZIEN: I wouldn't know Your Worship. The books I think came after, he had first been at Sea Point, my memory is vague here, but then he went to Milnerton and after that we had done a couple of trips through the country and at Milnerton I think it was, where I started giving him books and that, that was after the suicidal attempt. Correct?

CHAIRPERSON: I am not able to reconcile this, the drive you had. You yourself said that you did hear that he wanted to commit suicide.

I can't reconcile that with the description you gave us of a person who was taking us to braais, go around building up some snow men and all that sort of thing. Why would a person who was treated in that fashion, be driven to committing suicide, I can't reconcile this.

MR BENZIEN: Your Worship, this came as a surprise also because after my initial assault on Mr Forbes, he was then at Sea Point if I remember correctly, when this suicidal attempt came.

What drove him to it, I can only think as I say, but I have got no, maybe the hospitals or that could say why.

ADV DE JAGER: Were you the only policeman seeing him at that time, assaulting him and torturing him or were other police also involved?

MR BENZIEN: No, there were other people that would visit him, like the Duty Officers, the Inspector of Detainees, District Surgeons. What policemen visited him, I know I visited him, he accompanied me on trips into the country and mostly after his detention in Milnerton, I visited him.

And as I say, that used to be on a Sunday afternoon more or less. During working hours, because we had this good rapport, he was telling me things about Umkhonto weSizwe, how the whole set up worked and what have you.

And that was in sometimes, he would get paper, he would go write, he would come back and we would work on this.

ADV DE JAGER: Was he distressed because of giving you information about his colleagues after being assaulted and knowing that he is sort of betraying his comrades?

MR BENZIEN: Your Honour, it is a long time ago. I seem to recollect that on times he was down. If I say down, I mean depressed, but then again I can also remember on occasions when he was jovial.

MS KHAMPEPE: Mr Benzien, having regard to the fact that you had a reasonably good relationship with Mr Forbes, did you after hearing that he had attempted to take his life, discuss that with him?

MR BENZIEN: Excuse me, after I heard that he had taken ...?

MS KHAMPEPE: He had attempted to take his life, did you discuss that aspect with him?

MR BENZIEN: Madam, it is a long time ago. I can't really remember. In the context of him being a Regulation or Article 29 detainee, I think that the book business and that was more to keep his mind occupied because with all the detainees in solitary confinement for that long time, they had really nothing to apply their minds to.

I can't specifically remember discussing the reasons or the methods or what have you. If I can remember correctly, he was being treated by the District Surgeon for some or other disorder and he accumulated the tablets or something that was given to him, is that correct? I am not sure.

CHAIRPERSON: Can we move on to some other aspect of the matter now, Mr Forbes.

MR FORBES: Maybe I can just ask also about after I was, after I tried to commit suicide I was sent to the hospital and do you remember trying to use the black bag method on me again when I was in hospital or the wet bag method?

CHAIRPERSON: When you were in hospital?

MR FORBES: That is correct, after the suicide attempt?

MR BENZIEN: Your Honour, it shocks me and causes me to be sad to presume or that I had presumed that this meeting is truth and reconciliation and that Mr Forbes now puts it to this Forum that I tried to put a bag over him while he was in hospital and he was detained in Groote Schuur hospital at that stage.

I think it is, I don't know what to think Your Honour, I am exceptionally disappointed.

MR FORBES: Do you remember that I was first kept in the kind of communal ward and thereafter I was moved to a single ward after there was some, after the families tried to visit me and that I was taken into a room or into a hospital ward where I was alone in one room? Do you remember that Captain?

MR BENZIEN: I remember that he was moved from the communal ward to a single ward and I know that his parents had been, or his mother actually, had been informed that he was in hospital. But being a Section or Article 29 detainee, he was by law not allowed to communicate with anybody and that was the reason he was moved to another ward.

MR FORBES: So maybe within that context, can I just ask again if you remember threatening to use the wet bag method on me again?

CHAIRPERSON: Was that whilst you were in this ward by yourself?

MR FORBES: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: About how many months after you were arrested, could that have happened?

MR FORBES: This was in the third month, just after I tried to commit suicide, I was taken to hospital and this is where it happened.

JUDGE WILSON: Did he threaten or did he actually do it?

MR FORBES: He threatened, he had the wet bag again and the idea was that I could maybe also ask if Mr Benzien remembers saying that I may have tried to commit suicide because there are things that I am still not talking about and that he basically want to continue with the interrogation and find out a bit more. And that was when the threatening and the wet bag was brought into play. Do you perhaps recollect any of those incidents?

MR BENZIEN: Your Honour, I do not recollect this, because I do not think it happened at all.

MR FORBES: Maybe at this stage ...

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Forbes, what was the nature of your complaint for which you were in hospital?

MR FORBES: I tried to commit suicide.

CHAIRPERSON: And you injured yourself?

MR FORBES: No, I took I think it was for some reason or other arranged that I was to get tablets every day. I never used to take the tablets and prior to the 16th, I took an overdose of Pethidine.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, do carry on.

MR FORBES: Members of the Committee, maybe at this stage, I would just like to say in conclusion maybe that I personally share the view that many people or victims that went through Captain Benzien feel, in the sense that we are prepared to consider the aspect of amnesty, but I think it is only on the condition that there is a full disclosure.

I think within this case, I mean I can't say that I feel satisfied. I mean there are aspects, basic aspects of the assault and the process of interrogation that I would have been subjected to, that I would almost think that Captain Benzien would agree to and help us to understand what is the kind of processes that many people in the country may have been subjected to.

Now, at this point, I am not a qualified Judge and it is not easy for me to extract the information from Captain Benzien, but I think at the end of the day, I can't say that I feel satisfied that he has been telling the truth about what exactly had taken place. So that is a bit disappointing at this point and I don't have any further questions, except to thank the Commission.


JUDGE WILSON: Oh, could I before you stop, find out, how long were you in Section 29 detention for?

MR FORBES: Six months?

JUDGE WILSON: That would be up till October?

MR FORBES: October.

JUDGE WILSON: And did you go on these trips that he has been telling us about?

MR FORBES: That is correct and the way I understood it, it was always after an assault and the idea was that like I said, for the injuries that may have been sustained, to heal. And I think even with the suicide, the Doctors that came that morning, actually discovered some of the medicines that were bought at the chemist.

That is on record and I think those were things that were bought and we were doctored in a sense, during these trips to various parts of the country, and until such times your injuries healed, you would be brought back to go and see a District Surgeon. He would discover no wounds and things would appear as if things were okay.

JUDGE WILSON: How long were the trips for, one day, two days, one weeks, two weeks?

MR FORBES: About a week or sometimes more.

JUDGE WILSON: And did you stay in police stations?

MR FORBES: I think on most of the occasions it was in police stations, although it was in police kind of, sometimes it was in the police quarters, so it would just be probably Captain Benzien, maybe somebody else and myself in the barracks area.

JUDGE WILSON: And were you seen by District Surgeons at these places?

MR FORBES: Usually not, no.

JUDGE WILSON: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, your full names please.

MR KRUSE: Gary John Kruse.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes Mr Kruse, you may proceed.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR KRUSE: Jeffery, I think I want to first, before dealing with my case, I want to deal with the methods you people used generally, within the Protection Services, within the Security Branch.

I am a bit fortunate in a sense that I am in the Police and I know how the systems work now. And I am also aware that most of your systems are documented. And I know you are only part of a broader system.

And I think for us in a new South Africa, we would like to know what system, I would want to know what systems were used, so that they are not continued to be used in the future.

We know the issue of physical torture was only one of the means you and your team used to extract information and get evidence before courts. The first thing I want to know is who was your team? Who did it consist of? I read the document, it left out many names which I don't think it can be difficult for you to remember, who you operated with.

So I want to know who the complete team was and the command structure of that team?

MR BENZIEN: The command structure was Lieutenant Liebenberg.

MR KRUSE: Who did Captain Liebenberg report to?

MR BENZIEN: As I already said, to Major Smit.

MR KRUSE: Major Smit, it is now Commissioner Smit at the moment?


MR KRUSE: Who did he report to?

MR BENZIEN: I presume to the Commander of the Security Branch at that time.

MR KRUSE: Who was that?

MR BENZIEN: There were numerous Commanders?

MR KRUSE: At that stage, who was the Commander?

MR BENZIEN: I am thinking that it was Brigadier Strydom, it could have been Strydom at that time.

MR KRUSE: And he would report to the Provincial Commissioner?

MR BENZIEN: I presume so.

MR KRUSE: And National Commissioner?

MR BENZIEN: I presume so.

MR KRUSE: State Security Council?

MR BENZIEN: Concede.

MR KRUSE: You see, what I want to know is whether these methods you used, was sanctioned by the State Security Council and the Government of the day, that is the first thing I want to know?

JUDGE WILSON: Can we go back a minute. This Smit you were talking about, you said now Commissioner Smit?

MR KRUSE: He is presently Assistant Commissioner in the Police.

JUDGE WILSON: That is not Basie Smit?

MR KRUSE: No, that is not the same.


MR BENZIEN: I would be mere speculation to say that these people knew or did not know about these methods.

As you rightly know Director, the foot-soldiers did the work, the hierarchy kept their hands clean at all times.

MR KRUSE: Jeff, you are applying for amnesty.

MR BENZIEN: That is correct Sir.

MR KRUSE: There are certain preconditions I think, for amnesty if I understand the Act correctly. I am not an expert, but I think one of the factors is that there must be a political motivation.

MR BENZIEN: Correct.

MR KRUSE: And I assume that if you apply for amnesty, that would have been policy, the torture would be part of the policy, but from what you are saying that there was no official policy that came down in terms of the Act, but you acted on your own will. You thought that there was a need for you to do this?

MR BENZIEN: I think that anybody, if I may just sketch a scenario, a person like you, Mr Yengeni, or any other one of the cadres, that had left the country for military training, then infiltrated with a specific reason to overthrow the government of the day, to convince any one of those persons after arrest to throw his whole life and doctrine and his train of thought or his way of life and what he had given up for by leaving the country, by speaking to a policeman for 10 minutes and then all of a sudden saying I will go and fetch my ammunition, and my weapons and all my cadres because you have politically motivated me within 10 minutes to change my views and what I would want to do with myself.

Unfortunately Sir, those methods were used by me as a foot-soldier. I don't think anybody of average intelligence could not see that some or other form of duress was being used.

MR KRUSE: I come from a Security background too, I was involved in our military structure and in our Security structures. We had a policy as an organisation, we have a policy as a military organisation and a policy as a Security organisation, and we act within that policy.

Anything outside of that policy, you are on your own. You would not be able to say that you had political motivations when you acted out of the policies of the organisation you represent. Now, what I am trying to get at is, I heard leaders of the National Party speak on the issue.

I have heard the leadership of the Police on the issue and what comes out to me is that there was no clear instructions that people should be tortured. Now, I am trying to get in my mind clarity, where does the political motivation come from?

If there was no authority on the issue, how do you now say it was politically motivated?

MR BENZIEN: Sir, blame it then on my ignorance, because I can definitely say there were no written instructions in police manuals, that said this is what you can do. I do know and as I have tried to explain before, that the mandate of the foot-soldier was to glean that information as soon and as fully as possible, by let's say the unwritten word of any method.

MR KRUSE: So the means justified the ends, it didn't matter?

MR BENZIEN: In a nutshell, yes.

MR KRUSE: Thank you. Now, I want to come to the system you people used, because you seem to testify to say that people were tortured for half an hour, they were taken for nice drives. You create the impression that we had, Section 29 was quite nice.

I mean if I just listen to you on the evidence and I was not there, it would be the impression that it was quite a holiday. I mean most people would want to go there. And I don't think that is the correct impression that should be created here, I think?

MR BENZIEN: Mr Commissioners, I think when I spoke about that, was the special relationship I was trying to convey, between me and Mr Forbes. I don't think anybody else went on a trip anywhere with me.

MR KRUSE: But you see ...

ADV DE JAGER: Wasn't this a, sorry, wasn't this a method in fact to convince people, listen I have assaulted you now, but if you cooperate, look I can be nice? And to convince him to cooperate with you?

MR BENZIEN: Methods like that had been used Sir.

MR KRUSE: But is that not your system you used, the good boy (indistinct) tactics? The issue I am always saying to people, if you don't cooperate, you have a choice to be treated like an animal or like a human being, it is constant throughout your interaction with all people that I have met, including myself.

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR KRUSE: So either you take us out and we must speak to you. If we don't do that, our choice is we go back to our room with a wet bag, those are our choices?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct, Sir.

MR KRUSE: Okay. You spoke about your reputation which you had to uphold. What reputation is this and where does it come from?

CHAIRPERSON: His reputation as an effective operative, in other words he did his job so well, that everybody in his Police Force recognised him as being an effective interrogator.

JUDGE WILSON: I think it was the other way, wasn't it? The impression he created on the people he was interrogating, it was that because that was the reputation you were asking about, wasn't it?

MR KRUSE: Yes, and to produce that Judge. What I am trying to get at, I know and it is common knowledge in the police, what reputation Jeffery Benzien has. He is an expert at torture, it is common knowledge that he is an expert at torture, and that is the reputation I want to get from him.

We are not talking about effective interrogation, I know what interrogation is about and investigation. He is an expert at torture. He never investigates any case. He gets information through force.

And I want to know how he managed to develop that relation, but I don't think you can, he mentions four, five people here, I don't think you build a reputation by putting a wet bag over four, five people, because in the police it is a general thing, wet bagging, it is not a new thing, so you would not develop a National reputation if you did it to four, five people. I want to know where does the reputation come from?

Maybe I can assist him if he doesn't know? But I would like you to answer the question.

MR BENZIEN: As I explained before Sir, there were difficult times and difficult methods had to be used. I have put it to this court, I have used those methods.

MR KRUSE: Maybe let me pose the question, the question was earlier, when you were at Bishop Lavis you said you never used this method on anyone, is that still your evidence?

MR BENZIEN: As far as I can remember correctly.

MR KRUSE: Were there any court cases in which common law criminals accused you of using that method?


MR KRUSE: There were?


MR KRUSE: And you lied to the court and you said you did not use the method?

MR BENZIEN: To which court?

MR KRUSE: In those cases, those cases of common low criminals while you were a Detective at Bishop Lavis?

MR BENZIEN: Those allegations were made yes, normally by run of the mill criminals.

MR KRUSE: Are you suggesting, and when you testified in my trial within a trial against torture against me, is it not true that you also denied the allegation that you used the wet bag method?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct Sir, I denied that I used that method.

MR KRUSE: So you were consistent whether you were in the criminal cases or political cases, you consistently denied using that method?

MR BENZIEN: Because of the ...

MR KRUSE: No, I want a yes or a no, did you consistently deny this method?

MR BENZIEN: I denied it in your case, that is one of the reasons I am asking for amnesty.

MR KRUSE: Have you denied it in criminal cases?

MR BENZIEN: Gentlemen, I don't know how to approach the court at this moment, I have been sitting here and I have gone through a jug of water.

CHAIRPERSON: Will you be very much longer with this witness?

MR KRUSE: I think I have got a lot of questions still.

CHAIRPERSON: Have you got a lot of questions to ask?


CHAIRPERSON: Very well, this might be a convenient stage to adjourn. We will resume at nine o'clock tomorrow morning.



CHAIRPERSON: Will the photographers please leave, we are about to leave now? My attention was drawn this morning to an unfortunate incident, which developed at some stage after the proceedings closed in the afternoon.

Counsel for Mr Benzien and Mr Benzien were subjected to humiliating treatment by some members of the audience. Now, one can understand people's anger and annoyance caused by the distressing evidence that they have heard, those were the victims of what has happened, one can understand their anger as well. But I am sure they will appreciate that we are here as a Committee. It is in their interest that a fair hearing be given to Mr Benzien and anybody else that appears before this Committee to apply for amnesty and the due respect must be shown to counsel who appear before us, to do the best they can to assist the Committee in the task that we have to face.

I therefore appeal to those who were directly involved in these proceedings and their friends and associates to try and restrain themselves from any future unpleasant conduct directed at counsel, not necessarily only just counsel in this matter, but counsel generally and Attorneys that appear before us and applicants and witnesses.

Please try and observe a measure of decorum so that a difficult task that we have to fulfil is done without unnecessary difficulties presented to us by supporters and friends and people amongst the audience.

Are we ready to proceed now?

MS INTHANGA: Yes, Mr Chairman. I would like to state for the record that we will be continuing with Mr Gary Kruse's evidence or questioning.


JEFFERY T. BENZIEN: (still under oath)


Thank you Mr Chairman. Before I start, just on behalf of the group of victims who are appearing, we would like to extent our apology to Adv Cook and Mr Benzien for the behaviour of our supporters and we feel there is a Forum to deal with the issues of the past and it is not necessary for our supporters to act in that manner.

We also give the assurance that we will speak to them before the end of the day so that that would not occur again. Thank you.


MR KRUSE: Jeffery, I just want to start again. I had a long think last night about things and I was actually very disappointed at the end of the day yesterday, so before I start where I left off, I just want to go back into some other things.

About two years ago I came to visit you at your office.

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR KRUSE: And the nature of my visit was for me to deal with my problems and you itself.

CHAIRPERSON: I didn't hear that.

MR KRUSE: The purpose of the visit was to deal with my own problems I had after the torture. I also stressed to you that I think the important thing is for you to reconcile with the families who you abused.

MR BENZIEN: Mr Kruse, that may have been your intention, but the visit to my office - I remember making coffee and you had been on your cell telephone from approximately the time you walked into our tearoom at the police airwing at Ysterplaat to do with one or other strive amongst the police in Durban, and I am not even sure if you drank your coffee.

By the time you had had your coffee, you left and I think the words you said to me were, or to the other Colonel that was with you, words similar to that I had assaulted you during your arrest and I think my answer to that was, while we are on this topic, you were in charge of logistics for the West Cape machinery of Umkhonto weSizwe, and in the spirit of reconciliation, have you perhaps produced all the weaponry that had been hidden in the Western Cape? Your answer to me was I don't know what you are talking about.

MR KRUSE: Any way, I just want to say I came there and I spoke to you about it, maybe I was interrupted by things, but the purpose of my meeting was to come to you and say to you - probably it is easier for me to deal with the things, but I think our families are going to have bigger difficulties and you should come and think about reconciling with that issue. But if you don't remember it, that is fine, I just wanted to make that point.

MR BENZIEN: On that point Mr Chairman, I was also contacted telephonically towards the end of last week by Mr Kruse, who I know is a Director with the South African Police Services, and I stressed my willingness to meet with the people who I tortured and I really thought that we could clear the air and in an informal manner, discuss our differences and then as I understood it, to go forward in a new South Africa.

I telephoned Director Kruse on Saturday morning at approximately ten to ten on his cell telephone. He was not available. I also said I am at my office, he can phone me at his pleasure and I left my office at three o'clock the afternoon and I had not gotten a return call. I duly conveyed this to Director Kruse yesterday morning, prior to these conversations carrying on, and I said that he said he was in transport, he could not return my call.

I accept that. What I am trying to say is I was willing then to discuss this, also with other members of the then (indistinct) Unit that we worked for. Until this stage it has not materialised, but I am still willing, more than willing, to meet the gentlemen in an informal manner and convey my apologies to them.

MR KRUSE: Is it not true that the essence of my conversation was that I want to discuss with you, besides the fact of us working in one Service, but the fact that I want you to tell the whole truth here? And that I wanted to get a guarantee from you beforehand that we will not oppose it on the basis that you are going to reveal everything that you know?

MR BENZIEN: That was one of the suggestions that you made. In actual fact I was surprised to hear here yesterday, that you are opposing my application because I was left to believe by your telephonic conversation that there would be amends and we will - you would not oppose.

You also said, you did mention the truth and I am here to tell the truth and I have been trying to the best of my ability and recollection of things that happened ten years ago, to give the truth.

If I may add at this stage, I am not sure of the procedures here, but I would like to know from Mr Kruse as well as the other gentlemen that have given evidence, Mr Tony Yengeni and such, if they had applied to give evidence to this Commission or is it as a result of names that I supplied to the Commission? Those were the names that I could easily remember in this period and specifically those of the gentlemen who I wanted to apologise to in public?

MR KRUSE: Jerry, I think you had your time to give evidence. I think I want you to answer my questions now.

You see the point I am trying to make is that our position firstly on the issue of whether we will support amnesty or not, is still the same. From the time I spoke to you two years ago to now, it has not changed.

We are saying, I have said to you on more than one occasion, they are very willing to go on amnesty or support your amnesty application, on the basis that you reveal the truth. You have said yesterday that you had been used by the Security Branch.

And I accept that. But the difficulty I have, you seem to remember very flimsy things like Kentucky and things which I would have thought you had forgotten, but things which stand out more permanently in terms of our interrogation and our experience, you don't seem to remember?

And I want to know are you not being used again here to be the fore guy for the rest of the Security Branch? Because that is the impression I am getting.

CHAIRPERSON: The question are you holding back information or trying to protect other members of the Security Branch?

MR BENZIEN: No, Sir. What I am disappointed in is that there are fewer members of the Security Branch, maybe people in a more senior position that could spread more light on this as far as the hierarchy and the incidents that were happening at that time.

I approached the Truth and Reconciliation because it is something that I have got to sort out with myself. Everybody has had the occasion to do it, and what I find hurtful that in the absence of more people of the Security Branch who could possibly help this Commission, that I have been left out on a limb.

MR KRUSE: I think that is our difficulty. Let me put it to you this way. We will put it to you that and I will do that at a later stage when I deal with my interrogation itself, that there were seniors members of the police who participated in my assaults and abuse in your presence. Are you willing to testify against them in a criminal case?

MR BENZIEN: Should there be a criminal case and I know who those people are that has been alleged to have done this, I can only answer on that, it is a bit wide-spread to say senior people who participated.

MR KRUSE: Okay, we will come back to that later.

ADV DE JAGER: But I think he is asking you whether any other persons in fact participated in your presence in assaulting some of the victims?

MR BENZIEN: Your Worship, although my modus operandi was to do these interrogations, or shall I say ...

CHAIRPERSON: I think that we must try and just answer the question, we are taking up too much time by lengthy answers. The question basically is if your attention is drawn to the fact that other people were engaged in assault on the witness here, in your presence, would you give evidence against them in a court of law, in a criminal trial?


CHAIRPERSON: That is all, that he is after. Thank you.

MR KRUSE: We want to go back to the issue of your reputation which we ended up on yesterday and you probably had time to think about it.

I was raising the issue of in criminal cases, I am not a lawyer so I haven't done the necessary investigations, but I remember in my trial specifically we had evidence, and I can't produce it, but I remember specifically there was evidence of another trial we were going to use to prove that I was tortured, where a case was kicked out, a confession was kicked out on the basis that they used similar methods against another criminal. Do you remember that case?

MR BENZIEN: I cannot remember that case, Sir.

MR KRUSE: Can you tell the Commission on how many occasions have criminal cases been contested, confessions been contested against you, on how many occasions? You can just give a rough estimate?

MR BENZIEN: Unfortunately I cannot give a rough estimate, Sir.

MR KRUSE: But quite a number, more than one?

MR BENZIEN: There were, yes, there were such allegations.

MR KRUSE: About ten?

MR BENZIEN: It is difficult to say, Sir.

MR KRUSE: But you said there were a number?

MR BENZIEN: Excuse me?

MR KRUSE: You said there were a number of those occasions?

JUDGE WILSON: Can I go back for a moment. It was put to you that there were senior Officers, more senior Officers present when the questioning took place, then there was a certain other discussions and you said you would give evidence against them.

Do you know the names of those senior Officers? Or is the question I know the names of the senior Officers?

MR KRUSE: In my case specifically, his immediate Commanding Officer Superintendent Liebenberg, then Lieutenant Liebenberg was present.

JUDGE WILSON: Liebenberg was present, what do you have to say about that?

MR BENZIEN: It could have been possible Sir. I am not trying to evade the answer, but it could be possible.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, proceed.

MR KRUSE: There was Superintendent Smit in the case of Peter Jacobs who will put it to you, he was present with his assault, who is now Assistant Commissioner Smit.

MR BENZIEN: I cannot distinctly remember Commissioner Smit being there, Sir.

MR KRUSE: But this is my difficulty. I mean you can remember Kentucky and books, and simple things, but being with a senior Officer, I find it, this is my difficulty with finding out whether you are really telling us the truth. Whether you can make it easy for me to forgive you, this is my difficulty.

I get the impression that you are deliberately keeping out the names of your superiors?

MR BENZIEN: Sir, it will prove no point or mean nothing, I could gain nothing from protecting anybody at this Commission.

But interrogations took different methods. I couldn't say that Commissioner Smit or somebody else interrogated a detainee in an office by speaking to them. My method of interrogation was torture. And I doubt if any of those Officers would have gone as far as to be in that office, that is why I am making the discrepancy here about the methods of interrogation.

MR KRUSE: Okay. Let us deal with the black bag treatment itself.

CHAIRPERSON: I hope you are not going to go over it all over again, because we've had a fair amount of evidence in that regard already.

MR KRUSE: My line of question will be different to Yengeni's.


MR KRUSE: It is very common known treatment in the police, more so in the Murder and Robbery, and as you know, you need quite a bit of experience to carry it out.

The chances of somebody dying, it is a matter of seconds. I know, and my experience tells me if you don't give me air at the right moment, someone could die.

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR KRUSE: Where did you get the training to do this, I don't think you can acquire that training on your own, all of a sudden just take a bag and acquire that? I want to know where does that method come from?

It couldn't have fallen out of the air.

MR BENZIEN: You are aware that before joining the South African Police, I had been with the South African Air Force. Part of the aircrew training of which I was one, part of your escape and evasion, the method of a wet bag was used on flying crew members to make them aware of the different types of interrogation, during the Bush War, if they were captured, how it could be used.

So in theory, I knew how to use it and I was aware of it and I learnt to apply it at the Anti-terrorist Unit and whether I was to use a word, good at it, I think yes, but I would not entrust it to anybody else to use it.

MR KRUSE: Who was your first victim?

MR BENZIEN: I think Peter Jacobs.

MR KRUSE: Let's go to your team, and team of command. I think yesterday, you were a Warrant Officer at that stage, in 1987?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR KRUSE: At that stage it was quite a senior member in the police, unlike now?

MR BENZIEN: Excuse me?

MR KRUSE: It was quite senior, you had quite a lot of authority as a Warrant Officer at that stage, unlike now?

CHAIRPERSON: What is the question?

MR KRUSE: I wanted to know if, therefore he should know what type of structures, because at that stage there were very few Officers in the police, and the Warrant Officer was the person in charge of all operations, basic operations.

CHAIRPERSON: Put to him on that basis, that as a Warrant Officer, you were in charge of a number of people, is that the question?

MR KRUSE: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Put it to him. Is that correct?

MR BENZIEN: As a Warrant Officer, I was in charge of Sergeants and Constables.

MR KRUSE: How big was your Unit?


MR KRUSE: Six? Can you give me the names of the members please?

MR BENZIEN: Lieutenant Liebenberg, as Commander. Warrant Officer Nel, who was a senior Warrant Officer to me, myself, a Sergeant J.P. van Zyl, a Sergeant Kotze, if my memory doesn't fail me and during the period of the Terrorist Detection Unit, lower ranks did change at times, were transferred and others came in. But the Commander stayed the same and Warrant Officer Nel and myself stayed the same.

MR KRUSE: Let me put it to you that the most brutal person besides you, was Constable Goosen, then you seem to leave him out at every moment, why is that Sir?

MR BENZIEN: I have not left him out Sir, I said it changed at times. At the beginning of the Anti-terrorist Unit was the beginning, they changed. Goosen, was on the Unit at the time I think of your detention.

MR KRUSE: I think the two of you are probably the closest in the whole Unit at the time of my arrest. You operated jointly, but you didn't mention his name even in your submission. I find it very strange that you didn't mention his name?

MR BENZIEN: I gave the original names of the Unit. As you say close to Goosen as a person, it is personal. I am not very close to him. What I do know about Goosen is that he was very conversant in the Xhosa language.

MR KRUSE: And very brutal too.

MR BENZIEN: I would concede that Sir.

MR KRUSE: You spoke about a Tracker Team, who would that Tracker Team be? The same members you mentioned earlier?

CHAIRPERSON: I didn't hear that, what team was that?

MR KRUSE: Tracker Team.


MR KRUSE: He speaks about a Tracker Team in his evidence.


MR BENZIEN: I hope I am giving the right information here. We didn't have, or it wouldn't be called a Tracker Team, I know that one of the Intelligence Units had a Surveillance Teams.

These Surveillance Teams, who they consisted of exactly, I couldn't say, but I was aware of them and on very rare occasions, you would meet them, because I think this is the Unit that did not operate from Culemborg, for the specific reason, or at least from 112 Loop Street, where the Headquarters was, as that not very many security members knew who they actually were.

MR KRUSE: There was also a group of Black policemen working together with you.

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR KRUSE: Who are those members and what were their roles?

MR BENZIEN: I am just trying to think of the names now. There was a Constable Siali.

MR KRUSE: His first name, sorry? Patrick Siali?

MR BENZIEN: Patrick, Patrick Siali and I nearly had his name now.

CHAIRPERSON: How many were there?

MR BENZIEN: At one stage there were three that I can distinctly remember Mr Chairman. But one took a transfer off the Terrorist Unit after a very short time of being there and he was normally the gentleman that visit the detainees and so forth, but there is another member, I am trying to think of his name now, besides Patrick Siali. It was a tall chap.

MR KRUSE: Okay, what was their role, I want to understand that?

CHAIRPERSON: Wouldn't you be able to put the name to him, if you knew the name?

MR KRUSE: I don't remember the name. We were never introduced to them, they were just around there.

CHAIRPERSON: I just thought maybe you had heard the name and whether you could refresh his memory if you knew the name.

MR KRUSE: I don't recall the name myself.

MR BENZIEN: It may come back to me within ...

MR KRUSE: Can you just tell me what their role was at Culemborg?

MR BENZIEN: Their role was to go to the different police stations, to enquire about things needed, clothes needed and so forth, that was their main task.

MR KRUSE: They had no police functions besides that?

MR BENZIEN: Well, that was, as I say that was their priority role.

MR KRUSE: Did they also act as informers in our communities?

MR BENZIEN: I would concede that that was also part of their task Sir.

MR KRUSE: Was that gentleman Matunzi, the tall one, Sergeant Matunzi?

MR BENZIEN: That is the name I am thinking of, yes.

MR KRUSE: Now, there was a team, called the A-Team which came down to crack the Western Cape Units, do you recall that?

MR BENZIEN: I was of the impression that they referred to the Anti-terrorist Unit in Cape Town, as the A-Team.

MR KRUSE: Do you recall there was a group of members down from Pretoria at the time of our arrest?

MR BENZIEN: Are you referring specifically to the - teams came down from Pretoria to interview or interrogate detained terrorists, as far as photo albums and that, there was a coming and going of Pretoria personnel for quite a while.

If you could give it to me more specifically.

MR KRUSE: One of those members, I think Mr Yengeni mentioned yesterday, was David, he is a policeman in the Security Branch in the Internal Security still at the moment, in Pretoria? He headed one of the teams?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, now David's team were the then, what I referred to yesterday as the rehabilitated terrorists or askaris.

MR KRUSE: So they were called the A-Team?

MR BENZIEN: If they were called the A-Team, I concede they were called the A-Team.

CHAIRPERSON: We have heard evidence that rehabilitated MK people were also called askaris.

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Is that correct?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: You have heard of that?

MR KRUSE: I have heard of that. Now, the A-Team, the askaris, what was their role in the Western Cape, besides looking at photo albums?

MR BENZIEN: At the detention, when they were in Cape Town, the detained freedom fighters were shown to these askaris, seeing that the askaris had also had MK training and were in different parts of the country and the world as such, to see if they could make an identification.

One of their other roles were to move around in the Black townships to see if they could perhaps see a terrorist who was still at large.

As far as my information goes, these Units were requisitioned and controlled locally at Cape Town, by Lieutenant Liebenberg, they were also billeted at different placed. Where I as an ordinary member of the Security Branch, did not have contact with them, normally.

MR KRUSE: What do you mean normally, when did you have contact with them?

MR BENZIEN: When information was glean that a specific terrorist could be operating in a certain area, and these people were sent in and there was a possibility of them making a contact, then the Terrorist Detection Unit used to become involved in the operation.

These were also men that would infiltrate drinking halls, shebeens and try as I say, to glean information about terrorists.

MR KRUSE: Now, they stayed at the base Vlakplaas, was that correct?

MR BENZIEN: Excuse me?

MR KRUSE: They were based in Vlakplaas in Pretoria?

MR BENZIEN: The majority of them were, to my knowledge, at Vlakplaas. I also heard that a branch had been established somewhere in the Eastern Cape.

MR KRUSE: Were they not under the command of Bellingham here in Cape Town?

MR BENZIEN: On the occasions that I had seen them, Bellingham was, I took Bellingham to be their Field Commander.

MR KRUSE: There has been, I think, various denials about the Vlakplaas connection in Cape Town in various other cases I think. Were they involved in any other cases in Cape Town as far as you know?

MR BENZIEN: I am not aware specifically in which cases they were involved, but I know on occasions the Unit did come down and operate in Cape Town.

MR KRUSE: Do you know if they were involved in the Guguletu event?

MR BENZIEN: If you are speaking about the Guguletu...

MR KRUSE: Seven, yes?

MR BENZIEN: What is referred to as the Guguletu 7, I was not involved with the Security Branch, so with the result is, what I know of that, is what I have also read in the newspaper.

MR KRUSE: I am in the police and I know the culture of the police. You seem to say that you don't know about things, that is not how the culture of the police works.

You were part of a very sensitive Unit in this country.

CHAIRPERSON: What is it that you think he is holding back? Why don't you put it to him?

MR KRUSE: I want to put to him, the way, the nature of the Intelligence Unit and I am referring to the way it operates, that to keep the trust of all members, you will have a small circle and the six people you operated with in that small circle, I think would have shared all the information in terms of that, for you to be, there is no way you could have been used to a level of torture, and not being given any other information.

I just find this very difficult. And you know how it works in the police, what you do in Cape Town, they know in Pretoria. When you torture people today, tomorrow it is known in Pretoria, that is how the circle works within the Security network. But you were a Warrant Officer at that stage, which was fairly senior, part of a very small confinement and you don't know anything that happened in that Unit? I find it very strange you know.

MR BENZIEN: That I didn't know that was happening in my Unit, or that I didn't know what was happening in the whole of the country?

MR KRUSE: These askaris operated under Liebenberg, that is what you are saying. Liebenberg was your Commander.

You see new people coming to your office, you don't ask, he doesn't inform you what the role of those people are?

MR BENZIEN: Very, very rarely, any of those askaris came to our Unit at Culemborg.

MR KRUSE: They were there when I was there?

MR BENZIEN: How many, it may have been David. The whole exercise of the askaris were not to be identified. We were under the impression that the Intelligence section of the ANC at that time, definitely had our Security Officers under observation. Therefore I would not deny that the askaris may have come to Culemborg at times. People like David who was, I think, I think he was a regular policeman, would have been the group leader of the askaris.

Sergeant Bellingham, would be the Commander in the field and the liaison would be Lieutenant Liebenberg.

MR KRUSE: Okay, let's move on the point. You said that your Unit disbanded in 1990?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR KRUSE: When in 1990?

MR BENZIEN: After the unbanning of the ANC, PAC and South African Communist Party.

MR KRUSE: In 1991, I think it was late 1991, I am not sure of the time, we deliberately as the ANC Intelligence, leaked misinformation about illegal arms going with us to our National Conference, via the telephones.

Do you remember the event when you pulled off our buses on the highway towards Cape Town, towards Durban when we left Cape Town?

MR BENZIEN: No, I am not aware of this.

MR KRUSE: May I refresh yourself? Goosen, Nel, Liebenberg, most of the members you spoke about as a Unit. You were disbanded, but in 1991 based on misinformation, your whole Unit pitched up to pull our buses off?

You see, I don't understand what type of truth you are telling us. It is very selective, your truth, you see.

MR BENZIEN: I definitely do not remember this incident. After the disbandment of the Anti-terrorist Unit, members stayed at Culemborg, and I think they became then known as the Illegal Firearm Unit.

I at that stage, and I don't mean this flippantly, because it amazes me how the Security Branch minds worked at that time, I was transferred to the Security Branch Head Office, 5th floor, Thomas Boydell Building, where I became the Desk Officer for the far right desk.

Therefore I say I was not on that exercise, of pulling buses off.

MR KRUSE: I clearly remember you putting myself to the ground with a gun against my head.

MR BENZIEN: I honestly cannot remember this incident. As I say, I may be out with my date, but on the disbandment of the Anti-terrorist Unit, I was transferred to Security Headquarters, Cape Town.

After that, I did not participate in any operations in the field.

MR KRUSE: So, when was I lying?

MR BENZIEN: I wouldn't be that adamant, that you are lying Sir, with respect, I cannot remember this incident. If you can tell me more or less where these buses were pulled off, because I honestly cannot remember it?

MR KRUSE: I think it was in the Hex River Valley Pass, we were going through the pass, we have many buses. There are many, many other members, but the point I just wanted to prove, I don't think that you are telling the truth. This is the point I am trying to make. You said you were disbanded, and I was aware, and we were aware as our Intelligence, that you were not disbanded as a Unit, that you were still operating as a Unit. We were aware and one of the things we regularly fed misinformation over the phones to see how you operated and that is why that is something you would definitely remember I think, in your mind. Where a group of buses are stopped by you as a team and we were all put to the ground. We were taken out of the buses, particularly myself, Bongani Jonas, Wally Roode, David Fortuin, Jamie Vearey, all members, people who went through your hands at some stage, we were deliberately taken off the buses and put to the ground?

MR BENZIEN: Mr Kruse, I am willing to put my head on a block, I was not on that exercise.

MR KRUSE: Okay, we leave it there. The next question I want to ask you, you said yesterday in your testimony that you lied in court.

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR KRUSE: The first question, under whose orders did you lie? You said you were given instructions to lie, so under whose orders did you lie?

MR BENZIEN: I could say it was under the orders of Lieutenant Liebenberg.

MR KRUSE: Sorry, not could, I mean I think this is very clear, you get an order, you get an order from someone, it is a police, it is paramilitary instruction, you get an order from someone to lie. I want the name of the person, and I would like the Commission to hear the name of the person.

MR BENZIEN: As I said I could easily say Lieutenant Liebenberg, but it was ...

MR KRUSE: Sorry, did you get an order or did you not get an order, put it that way?

MR BENZIEN: It was a known fact, under certain circumstances you had to lie, and under those circumstances when it was my testimony that could put a bad light on the Security Branch, I lied. It was an accepted method.

MS KHAMPEPE: But the question, Mr Benzien, is did you lie on orders of Captain Liebenberg or somebody from your office, or was it something that you did on your own?

MR BENZIEN: It is time that came over a long period Ma'am. And as I say, I can say Liebenberg, I can say anybody else, but it was a known fact, so in other words, it wasn't necessary for somebody to say, you are going to go give evidence today, lie about it.

MS KHAMPEPE: The question is quite simple. The question is did you lie on orders from anyone or you did not get any orders from any one to lie on that occasion?


CHAIRPERSON: I understand your evidence to mean that whenever you thought that the Special Branch would be thrown into a bag light, you would lie if you thought you could prevent that from happening?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Without being told by anybody to do so?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct, Your Worship.

CHAIRPERSON: There were times, however, where you think you might have been told by somebody else, specifically, to lie? You say that you might have been told by Liebenberg?

MR BENZIEN: I might have been told, but this was not a one off situation, we had been giving evidence in numerous trials and as soon as, especially when it came to things like torture and things like that, it was a (indistinct), you lied about it, you did not concede.

MR KRUSE: Your evidence is that you lied and your tortured without any orders?

MR BENZIEN: No, I did not say that Sir.

MR KRUSE: Yesterday I asked you who gave you orders to torture, you said, you didn't need orders to do it?

MR BENZIEN: I don't think I said that. I think ...

MR KRUSE: Who gave you orders to torture, that is the case?

MR BENZIEN: Lieutenant Liebenberg. Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Are you talking about a general order, or specific orders from time to time?

MR BENZIEN: Your Honour, these orders would not be for a specific person, go in now and torture that person. This had also come quite a long while, that is why I said in my evidence yesterday, that senior Officers, I am sure could not have been privy to this.

This was the order of the day, when interrogating a terrorist, you got your information as soon as possible, by using any methods to your disposal. And in my case, it was torture.

MR KRUSE: Now, how many people, when you lied in court and people got convicted, in terms of law they were convicted illegally, is that not true because the evidence was obtained illegally if I understand the law correctly?

MR BENZIEN: If I may answer that, I have never tortured a person to make a confession. The torture that I used was to get weaponry and the rest of the cell of that machinery.

Once you had the weaponry in a court of law, at the trial, you didn't actually need a confession, because then that person had to explain to the court how he came into possession of this weapons of war.

MR KRUSE: Captain Benzien, I think you are an experienced Investigator. You know that the torture was only part of a system which I was trying to show yesterday and this is my experience too, that when you are interrogated later by other people, they would use the good boy, bad tactics and whenever someone would not cooperate, you would be standing at the door, is that not true?

MR BENZIEN: Not to my knowledge, Sir.

MR KRUSE: You have a very selective memory, but any way, that was the modus operandi of the Security Branch.

You would be tortured by Jeffery Benzien, Goosen and Liebenberg, from there you are handed to people who are not based in Cape Town, most of the times, there are two people, one would be very harsh, one would be soft. And from time to time, when you don't cooperate, you will appear at the door, is that true or not?

CHAIRPERSON: That is a statement which you are making. Is that a statement?

MR KRUSE: I am asking is that the modus operandi. I am putting it to him whether that is true or not?

MR BENZIEN: No Sir, that is not the modus operandi, but that after the initial interrogation, I concede that the people were passed along to the Investigation Unit who then started documenting the evidence and putting it up for trial.

MR KRUSE: And at the trial within a trial, the onus was put on the State to prove that I was not tortured and the Attorney General decided to withdraw the charges against me from sentence, is that not an indication of if they could have proved torture, that it would be very difficult to get a conviction?

CHAIRPERSON: I don't think we have to worry about that aspect of the matter really. The fact of your torture and the torture of others, is being admitted. What is the purpose of the question?

MR KRUSE: The purpose is I think many people have gone to prison.

CHAIRPERSON: One can understand that, as a result of

(indistinct) evidence?

MR KRUSE: That is right.

CHAIRPERSON: We understand that.

ADV COOK: I would like to object to this line of questioning. It is the Attorney General himself who took the decision. And it is not my client who made that decision. The Attorney General should be called to come and explain why he made that decision.

CHAIRPERSON: I think we can understand that many people have been convicted as a result of (indistinct) evidence given by the police, who denied that they tortured or exerted force on witnesses to get confessions and admissions.

I don't think you can necessarily go further along those lines. We are aware of that.

MR KRUSE: Okay, thank you. Now, is it also not true and the legal system itself, the fact that you people go around to it, did it not protect you people?

Were you now aware that the legal system was protecting you? That you were dealing together with, I am making serious allegations, but I think it is true, that you were dealing with the AG's office and you were working in conjunction with the AG's office and others, during that times?

MR BENZIEN: It is correct that we worked with the Attorney General's office and so forth, but even the evidence put to them, and I have the highest respect for our legal system, they were also lied to about certain aspects.

MR KRUSE: So there were no cooperation between you in terms of trying to get convictions, you and the Attorney General's office? Was there any?

MR BENZIEN: Not in a mala fide way, Sir.

MR KRUSE: Do you know Bongani Jonas?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, I know Bongani Jonas.

MR KRUSE: Were you part of his arrest?

MR BENZIEN: Not the immediate arrest of Bongani Jonas.

MR KRUSE: Did you partake in any interrogation of Bongani Jonas?

MR BENZIEN: I was at the interrogation of Bongani Jonas, yes.

MR KRUSE: Did you assault him in any way?


MR KRUSE: Are you sure about that?

MR BENZIEN: I am sure about that, I was in the office when he was assaulted.

MR KRUSE: By whom was he assaulted?

MR BENZIEN: By a man by the name of Barnard.

MR KRUSE: What was his rank then?

MR BENZIEN: I think he was a Sergeant at that stage and part of the then Reaction Unit of the Cape.

MR KRUSE: Where is he based now and what is his rank now?

MR BENZIEN: Bongani Jonas, as far as I can remember is a Colonel ...

MR KRUSE: No, I am sorry, where is this Barnard person?

MR BENZIEN: Sergeant Barnard was killed during a house penetration in Vishoek when a hostage situation developed and he was shot to death.

MR KRUSE: Who was with Barnard at the time of the interrogation?

MR BENZIEN: I think it was only Barnard and myself in the office.

MR KRUSE: Are you suggesting to me that you never partook in the assault on Bongani Jonas, knowing you as a person?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR KRUSE: Is it not true that you jumped up and down on his leg, which he was shot in?

MR BENZIEN: No Sir, those allegations were made, but it was not true. Barnard did tramp on him. At that stage and he was never, the wet bag method used on him.

Bongani Jonas had been wounded at that stage.

MR KRUSE: And you jumped on the wound?

MR BENZIEN: I did not, Your Honour.

MR KRUSE: What about your reputation Jeffery, I mean you were there with Barnard, and you would stand and not assault the man when he was there for the taking? What happened to your reputation then, didn't you have to live up to it there?

CHAIRPERSON: Maybe Barnard was doing a sufficiently good job at that stage and didn't need his assistance?

MR KRUSE: He seems to think he has a reputation which he has to live up to.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but his reputation didn't depend on that one incident.

MR KRUSE: Do you remember, I noticed yesterday afternoon you wanted to go to the toilet, when we were at Mannenberg police station, when I asked you to go to the toilet. Do you remember that incident? It was also put to you at my trial?

MR BENZIEN: Not specifically.

MR KRUSE: Do you remember handcuffing my hands behind my back?

MR BENZIEN: Not specifically, but in all probability I would have handcuffed your hands behind your back.

MR KRUSE: And put me in the toilet?

MR BENZIEN: I am sorry, the finer detail I cannot remember Sir.

MR KRUSE: Can you explain to the Commission my arrest and what happened at the time of my arrest?

MR BENZIEN: If my memory doesn't fail me, I think you were arrested near a bioscope or it was a bioscope, a road, correct me if I am wrong, could the bioscope have been in College Road?

MR KRUSE: That is correct.

MR BENZIEN: There was a road running out of College Road.

MR KRUSE: What happened there?

MR BENZIEN: I think we had staked out that area, waiting for you and you were eventually arrested, but I don't think, you weren't arrested by the team in my car.

MR KRUSE: You personally arrested me Captain Benzien. Yourself and Piet Goosen, do you remember?

MR BENZIEN: It is difficult to remember Sir. I will concede if Mr Kruse says it was me, but I don't think I was the one who arrested you.

MR KRUSE: You put me in a combi yourself, Goosen and Liebenberg and drove me to Culemborg.

MR BENZIEN: I am not sure, but I am willing to concede. Your memory will be better than mine on that aspect, but I am definitely not sure if I was with on that arrest. I may have been in the area, I know I was in the area, but I can't answer that in all honesty, but I will concede, if you say I was there, I was there.

MR KRUSE: Is it not true that you and Goosen assaulted me throughout the trip?

MR BENZIEN: As I say I cannot remember the arrest, but if you say we assaulted you in the combi, then I would concede that in all probability I did, I don't know how though.

CHAIRPERSON: Have you finished?

MR KRUSE: Explain to the Commission what happened at Culemborg when we arrived there?

MR BENZIEN: Mr Commissioner, as I said to Mr Kruse, I cannot specifically remember this arrest. I concede if he says I was the person in the vehicle and that he was assaulted, I concede that, but if he can give me more clarity of what happened at Culemborg, I will try to remember as best I can.

JUDGE NGOEPE: I think the question is, whether or not you arrested him, eventually he was taken to Culemborg and the question is what happened there to him?

MR BENZIEN: Sir at Culemborg, and please bear with me, I am conceding it could have happened, in all probability he would have been assaulted and no doubt by me.

MR KRUSE: You and whom?

MR BENZIEN: You are saying Piet Goosen was there, so I presume it was Piet Goosen.

MR KRUSE: Who else?

MR BENZIEN: I honestly cannot remember. If you give me the names, I will concede that they could have been there, Sir. I do not just want to pull names out of a hat, I really cannot remember this specific incident.

MR KRUSE: Was Liebenberg there?

MR BENZIEN: If you say Liebenberg was there, I would concede Liebenberg was there.

MR KRUSE: Did he partake in my assault, didn't he?

CHAIRPERSON: I think you better put it to him, tell him that.

MR KRUSE: Liebenberg was also part of the assault?

CHAIRPERSON: That Liebenberg in fact took part in the assault on you, put it to him on that basis. If you are clear in your mind that Liebenberg did, so that you can afford him an opportunity to answer.

MR KRUSE: I put it to you Liebenberg was also part of the team who assaulted me.

MR BENZIEN: Probably I concede. If I could perhaps know what method of assault was used on you?

JUDGE NGOEPE: Sorry, before you get there. I think, how many times did you arrest or did you take part in arresting Mr Kruse? How many times?

MR BENZIEN: Your Worship, as I said to the court, as a part of the team I was out that afternoon, but my memory fails me that I was actually in the vehicle that carried out the arrest or he was put in the vehicle.

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, Mr Kruse, when did this happen?

MR KRUSE: The 21st of September, 1987.


MR KRUSE: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Were you present during any arrest of Mr Kruse, other than his arrest on the 27th of September 1987?

MR BENZIEN: As far as I know Your Worship, he was arrested only once, and my personal recollection of this, and I may be totally wrong, is that I was in an ordinary sedan motorcar, parked in one of the side streets. The whole area had been saturated.

CHAIRPERSON: Well, I accept that.

MR BENZIEN: And that is why I in my own heart, I can't remember actually being in on the arrest. I have participated in a lot of actions.

CHAIRPERSON: Can I move on to something else, because you've already testified about that. Would you have assaulted Mr Kruse only on one occasion, that is at the time of his arrest, the 30 minutes of his arrest of September 1987, would that have been the only occasion on which you assaulted him?

MR BENZIEN: I think not, because it comes to mind that early one morning, it was the morning that I was looking for his passport, I did assault him that morning also.

And that is why I will accept that I assaulted him the afternoon on his testimony that he says so.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Kruse, in your own understanding was a prominent member of the MK, wasn't he at that time?

MR BENZIEN: I think the information that we had at that time was that he was a Logistics member who had to see the weaponry come into the Western Cape and then put it away.

CHAIRPERSON: That may be so, my question is did you not regard him as a prominent member of MK as a result thereof?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, Sir. Yes, Sir.

CHAIRPERSON: That is just my question.


CHAIRPERSON: Now did you not regard his arrest as a big cache?

MR BENZIEN: Yes. With all respect, Sir, I am trying to make a thing with myself, did I or didn't I?

CHAIRPERSON: I know that, I am trying to help you, I am trying to find out, because this thing, some things are quite puzzling to me. You regarded him as a big cache, you caught a prominent member of MK?

MR BENZIEN: And that is why I concede Sir, that if he says he can remember the incident more clearly, if he says I assaulted him, I say yes.

CHAIRPERSON: I can assure you it will make things better if you keep to my questions and restrict your answers to my questions. It would make things a lot easier for you.

So the arrest of a prominent person must have been a memorable occasion? Wasn't it?


CHAIRPERSON: And yet, you don't even remember whether you in fact took part in this memorable occasion and actually arresting him? You don't remember it?

MR BENZIEN: I don't remember it, but I will concede. Definitely gentlemen, I will concede if he says it was me.

CHAIRPERSON: Wouldn't you have regarded yourself as having accomplished an important task in apprehending Mr Kruse?

MR BENZIEN: Important task in the aspect that he was not supposed to be part of the military machinery as a (indistinct), he was supposed to be a Logistics man, but be that as it may, still an important catch.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. And furthermore you told us that normally you would assault detainees or people arrested, within the first 30 minutes of their arrest and get the information. Did this happen in his case as well?

MR BENZIEN: I would concede, yes, it happened.

CHAIRPERSON: You would concede that this happened, and of course you interrogated him only once in your whole career, you interrogated Mr Kruse only once after this particular arrest?

MR BENZIEN: That comes to mind, if it was that afternoon and definitely on a morning. Mr Kruse could perhaps bring me closer to this and that morning was to find his - that I can remember distinctly was to find the whereabouts of his passport.

CHAIRPERSON: Do you remember details of the assault on him? How you assaulted him?

MR BENZIEN: On the morning I used the black bag method on him, Sir.

CHAIRPERSON: Is that now the 30 minutes period that you are - are you referring to that or are you referring to the day when you were looking for his passport?

MR BENZIEN: That was very early the morning for his passport.

CHAIRPERSON: Now the 30 minutes after his arrival at Culemborg ...

JUDGE WILSON: Could I intervene at this stage? Did you say that you assaulted someone within the 30 minutes of their arrest or did you say you assaulted them for a period of 30 minutes?

MR BENZIEN: I think the point I was going to try and convey Sir, was not longer than 30 minutes. It may have been 30 minutes after the arrest if the person had to be brought to the office, it could have been shorter. But that was normally ...

JUDGE WILSON: For a period of 30 minutes.

CHAIRPERSON: But the interrogation would have to commence as soon as possible because you wanted information very quickly. You explained why you wanted information very quickly?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct Sir.

CHAIRPERSON: So the person, the interrogation would commence once the right moment comes?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Now, do you remember how you assaulted Mr Kruse that day, after his arrest?

MR BENZIEN: I can't remember Sir. I doubt if it would have been a bag method if he says that we were travelling in a vehicle. If Mr Kruse could perhaps put more light on this.

ADV DE JAGER: But he asked you about the arrival at Culemborg? You've travelled a way, you are at Culemborg, you are at the police cells now, what did you do to him there?

MR BENZIEN: I presume I would have put a wet bag over his head, and interrogated him Sir. That was my modus operandi and I didn't detract from that method.

ADV DE JAGER: And if that was so, then you used the wet bag twice on him, because you had just told us that you used it on the early morning too?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct Sir.


MR KRUSE: You see this is my difficulty why I am so angry. You are consistently lying. When we arrived at Culemborg, do you remember you hung me up?

MR BENZIEN: Hung you up? What you remember as hanging you up, is that handcuffing you to the burglar proofing ...?

MR KRUSE: So that he may not touch the ground?

MR BENZIEN: I may have done it, Sir.

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, I did not hear Mr Kruse, what is it that you said ...

MR BENZIEN: I concede I might have done it Sir.

CHAIRPERSON: What, I didn't hear? Hanging him?

MR BENZIEN: Handcuffed him to the burglar proofing on the windows.

CHAIRPERSON: What do you exactly mean, what do you mean you might have done that?

MR BENZIEN: Once again Sir, I cannot specifically remember it, but I would concede that the victim would remember this better than me.

CHAIRPERSON: Are you implying that you might possibly have forgotten about it?

MR BENZIEN: I have forgotten Your Worship, but I do not want to try and convey to the Commission that when I do not want to admit to something, I can't remember.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but you rarely used that method? The method that you mostly used was the wet bag method?

MR BENZIEN: The wet bag method, but the grill on the window used to also be kept as a place of detention. If we had to leave the office, you would handcuff the person to the trellis work. So yes, that was done, but it wasn't a method of shall I say torture. If Mr Kruse says ...

CHAIRPERSON: Was it a comfortable position?

MR BENZIEN: Well, if he sat on the chair and he was handcuffed, it would have been a comfortable position. If he had to stand without a chair, it would have been an uncomfortable position.

CHAIRPERSON: What you really are saying, it wasn't done for questioning?


ADV DE JAGER: Couldn't it have been a hanging position, handcuffing him high up at a bar, so that his feet couldn't reach the floor for instance?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct Sir, it could be utilised to do that.

ADV DE JAGER: Now, was it utilized to do that?

MR BENZIEN: I cannot remember, but I will, if Mr Kruse says, and that is in all honesty I am not trying to impress Mr Kruse, then I would say yes, I suspended him from the trellis work, Sir.

MR KRUSE: And beat me in my stomach?

MR BENZIEN: Excuse me?

MR KRUSE: And beat me in my stomach?

JUDGE WILSON: And what me in my stomach?

MR BENZIEN: I concede, I might have done that.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Benzien, you see, I think Mr Kruse has some problems in expressing himself. And I think that some points need to be cleared.

This hanging a person in the way that you have told us, you have confirmed, as explained by my colleague Mr De Jager, surely that is meant to torture a person? It is not being done for the purpose of nobly immobilising a person, preventing him from running away?

MR BENZIEN: I agree with you wholeheartedly Sir. Could I ask Mr Kruse this, he says that it was me, Goosen and Liebenberg.

MR KRUSE: And some askaris.

MR BENZIEN: Is he sure it was me doing this?

MR KRUSE: I can't be more than that.

MR BENZIEN: Sir, if he says I did it, I apologise for this. That is one of the methods that I did not put in my amnesty application, it has absolutely not come into my mind.

MS KHAMPEPE: Was it not a common practice Mr Benzien?

MR BENZIEN: Excuse me, Ma'am?

MS KHAMPEPE: To suspend, was it not a common practise, to your knowledge to suspend people on bars?

MR BENZIEN: No, Ma'am, it was not a common. I am just thinking of the handcuffs would leave marks and assault in the stomach could cause injury, and we have to bear in mind that my methods of interrogation or torture was not to have marks left on anybody.

MS KHAMPEPE: So if you had actually done this, it would be something that you would be able to remember?

MR BENZIEN: I am sure of it, Ma'am.

MS KHAMPEPE: So you are saying you never actually suspended him?

MR BENZIEN: I am saying that I cannot remember it now. But in fairness to everybody, I will concede if Mr Kruse says I did that to him, I will concede I did it.

CHAIRPERSON: Now, you see if you concede to something that you feel and you are convinced you haven't done, you might think you are being fair to everybody, I am not so sure whether you are being fair to yourself. You need also to be fair to yourself.

MR BENZIEN: Sir, I have done so many heinous deeds in the name of interrogation, that I cannot remember individually certain aspects.

MS KHAMPEPE: I can appreciate Mr Benzien, that you can't remember all the details with regard to all the torture or assault that you must have committed on numerous detainees, but what I find puzzling is that in this case, you are able to remember if in the area where Mr Kruse was arrested, you seem to remember that he was arrested next to the bioscope near College Road, but you cannot remember the details of the assault that took place immediately after he was arrested at the places that you seem to remember so well.

MR BENZIEN: Madam, I also initially said I am not wholly convinced that I was in the vehicle that transported him from the scene, but I will concede. If Mr Kruse says so and I believe his memory of this incident, is better than what my memory is of this incident.

Therefore if he says I did this to him, having a better memory of that one incident, I will concede I did it and that is what I then apologise for.

MR KRUSE: Jeffery, it is unfortunate Niclo Pedro is not here, but if he was here, he would have testified that he experienced the same thing.

JUDGE WILSON: Who is he?

MR KRUSE: Niclo Pedro, one of the victims that is unfortunately not here, but he would have testified to a similar thing.

CHAIRPERSON: Carry on, put your questions. Wally Roode would testify by a similar thing, not by you, by some other people, so it is a method, it was commonly used. I am surprised that you don't know about the method.

CHAIRPERSON: I think you must just confine your remarks to what you want him to admit about his activities.

MR KRUSE: Isn't it true my arms were bleeding?

MR BENZIEN: Excuse me?

MR KRUSE: My hands were bleeding, my wrist?

MR BENZIEN: I concede your wrists could have been bleeding, yes.

MR KRUSE: I think it is recorded in the statement by the Magistrate.

MR BENZIEN: I am not sure of that Sir.

MR KRUSE: I am telling you it is recorded in the statement by the Magistrate.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, do carry on.

MR KRUSE: Is it not true that I refused to speak on that night?

MR BENZIEN: Excuse me?

CHAIRPERSON: While Mr Kruse is still putting himself together, can I ask you this. You said a short while ago that hanging people from the burglar bars, was one of the methods that you used which you forgot to mention to us. Is that what you said?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, Sir. The burglar bars as I can remember, was in an office as you came in to our section at the Terrorist Unit. It as sometimes used as a waiting room. Not having detention facilities at our Unit, if you had to go away for a while or leave the detainee, it was common to handcuff one hand to the bars or maybe both hands to the bars, but then those persons would have had a chair to sit.

CHAIRPERSON: No, we are not talking about the same thing. I am talking about hanging a person from the bar in such a way that he will be dangling?

MR BENZIEN: Your Honour, in my case, I don't know if any other tortures took part, but that was and this is the point I am trying to impress to the Committee, no wounds so in other words, to suspend somebody on that would be uncomfortable, but it was not my method of operation. If I did in the context of the reason that I am here for, I would acknowledge that I did that, Sir.

CHAIRPERSON: But if you had to handcuff somebody if you had to go out to the toilet, that is acceptable, there is nothing irregular about that.

MR BENZIEN: There is nothing?

CHAIRPERSON: There is nothing irregular about that, I should imagine, to handcuff somebody to a burglar bar, sitting on a chair so that you could go out for a while. I am sure that is acceptable.

MR BENZIEN: I agree with that Sir.

CHAIRPERSON: Why did you think you should have told us about it as a way of torture if you never did it as a way of torture?

MR BENZIEN: A way of torture would be to handcuff a person arms above his head, with his feet either just touching the ground, but any weight on it would then have the weight on his arms. Then it would be used as a torture method.

CHAIRPERSON: No, you don't understand my question. My question is why did you think, why did you say earlier on that you forgot to, when you told us about the way people were tortured, why did you say that you forgot also to mention the fact that you used to handcuff people in a particular way if in fact that was never a method to torture people?

MR BENZIEN: That was never a method, until Mr Kruse mentioned it to me now, Sir.

CHAIRPERSON: After he mentioned it, it became a torture method?

MR BENZIEN: I would presume it to be a torture method, yes.

CHAIRPERSON: I don't understand.

ADV DE JAGER: Can I ask the question in Afrikaans. I put it to you that Mr Kruse said as I understood it, that he was suspended. And you then said he might have been handcuffed. Then I asked you is it possible that he was handcuffed in such a way that he was actually hanging, that his feet weren't touching the ground and you said yes.

Now, what we would like to know from you is, did you in respect of Mr Kruse or any other prisoner, did you suspend them by their arms?

MR BENZIEN: Not as far as I can remember. Not that I can remember.

ADV DE JAGER: Now my problem is, if it happened, why can't you remember it?

MR BENZIEN: In Mr Kruse's case, it happened once, if he says so and it was not part of my general modus operandi, and that is why I forgot about it.

ADV DE JAGER: Well, it might not have been your modus operandi, but you were present and if you didn't do it, you were at least present when it was being done? If you accept that it was done?

MR BENZIEN: I can't be any more specific, I can't remember this incident without any further particulars.

ADV DE JAGER: The particulars he gave you were that his wrists were bleeding and that it was also noted by the magistrate before whom he made a statement?

MR BENZIEN: That might have happened, but I am not aware of it. I can't remember it.

ADV DE JAGER: You said that you received psychiatric treatment?


ADV DE JAGER: Who did you consult? Which Psychologist?

MR BENZIEN: Doctor Kotze. I went twice.

ADV DE JAGER: Did you only go for treatment at two different occasions or were you under treatment for a period of time?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, for a period of time.

ADV DE JAGER: Did they find anything wrong with your memory?

MR BENZIEN: Not as far as I can remember, no. I was under stress.

MS KHAMPEPE: Mr Benzien, I appreciate the difficulty in which you are in not remembering the details of the assault that you administered on Mr Kruse. To your recollection, how many times did you assault Mr Kruse?

MR BENZIEN: Definitely the once early in the morning, Ma'am.

MS KHAMPEPE: Now, apart from the day you assaulted him whilst you were looking for his passport, you are saying you never had an opportunity to assault him?

MR BENZIEN: I am sure I would have had an opportunity to assault him.

MS KHAMPEPE: If you think you had such an opportunity to assault him, did you in fact use that opportunity to assault him?

MR BENZIEN: I would have had an opportunity Ma'am. What I am trying very desperately to tell this Commission, is that where with the rest of the then trained terrorists, in Mr Kruse's episode, I don't think I had very much to do with Mr Kruse and that can possibly be my lack of recollection.I think Mr Kruse could perhaps concede that I had very little to do with him.

MS KHAMPEPE: He was a high profile activist?

MR BENZIEN: Excuse me?

MS KHAMPEPE: You have conceded that he was a high profile activist?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, I would concede he was a high profile.

MS KHAMPEPE: And his arrest was actually pre-planned?

MR BENZIEN: Was pre-planned - I cannot remember the exact procedure, but he was supposed to be walking down a certain road at a certain time.

MS KHAMPEPE: And who had been authorised by Liebenberg to effect the arrest?

MR BENZIEN: Captain Liebenberg was in charge of the operation.

MS KHAMPEPE: You were not in charge of the operation?


MS KHAMPEPE: Do you know if Mr Liebenberg assaulted him?

MR BENZIEN: I honestly cannot remember the arrest that afternoon, Ma'am. I am of the opinion I was not in that vehicle.

MR KRUSE: I just want to go back to Niclo Pedro, maybe that can refresh your memory.

In the Forbes trial after Ashley Forbes and Peter Jacobs were arrested, the flow of information was very limited, because there was no link further down, is that correct?

MR BENZIEN: Could you repeat the question please?

MR KRUSE: After the arrest and interrogation of Ashley Forbes and Peter Jacobs, the flow of information downwards was very limited, because there was no one else to follow up the chain of command, you never arrested anyone else?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct, yes.

MR KRUSE: And to continue that chain, you had to arrest Niclo Pedro, is that not correct?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR KRUSE: So, that would be a very pertinent arrest, probably more pertinent than my arrest, would it not be so?


MR KRUSE: And would you remember what happened to Niclo Pedro at that day at least?

MR BENZIEN: Niclo Pedro was arrested on the border with ...

MR KRUSE: Yasmina Pandy, is it correct?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, I think, Yasmina was with him.

MR KRUSE: Now do you remember the torture methods you used on Niclo Pedro?

MR BENZIEN: I have just got to get this into perspective. He was arrested by the Security Branch, Aliwal North. I think it was on the border with Lesotho, at (indistinct)

MR KRUSE: When he came to Culemborg, what methods were used on him?

MR BENZIEN: I used the black bag method on him too.

MR KRUSE: Besides the black bag? That is a pertinent, I am sure you remember, it was very important for you to get the rest of the people.


MR KRUSE: So you should remember. I put it to you that Yasmina apparently will tell you that she saw you doing the same method you used to me, on him. She saw you doing that, hanging Niclo Pedro up.

MR BENZIEN: It may be possible Your Honour, although Niclo Pedro and them were brought down by the Eastern Cape ...

MR KRUSE: That is not the question, the question is she says at Culemborg when he was in your hands, when you were interrogating him, you hung him up in a similar fashion, and you should remember that because that was a pertinent arrest? You remember that day, don't you?

MR BENZIEN: I think the hanging up and handcuff to the trellis, maybe interpreted differently by different people.

MR KRUSE: I think we are quite intelligent people, we know the difference between handcuffing and hanging up. I think we made the distinction. My hands would not have bled if I was just handcuffed to the trellis.

MR BENZIEN: It is 10 years ago Sir, I am battling, but as far as Niclo Pedro is concerned, I am almost sure that he had come down early the morning with Aliwal North's people and he was kept in that room as a confinement and not as a torture.

MR KRUSE: I will continue with myself. I mean, at the end of the first day after about an hour or so, your people were called out and you received no information from me yet, at that stage, is that correct?

MR BENZIEN: I am not sure, I worked your interrogation after your arrest.

MR KRUSE: You were heading my interrogation, I am telling you now. You were heading my interrogation.

MR BENZIEN: Okay, and you say we got no information from you?

MR KRUSE: I only gave you misinformation on someone's address, which you went to and find no one there, is that correct?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, we went to an address where we couldn't find the person. He lived there, but he wasn't there.

MR KRUSE: No, he didn't live there, his granny stayed there.

MR BENZIEN: Okay. Isn't that true that you then took me to Sea Point police station?

MR BENZIEN: I cannot remember the sequence of events Sir.

MR KRUSE: Is it not true that you told them not to book me into the register, so I can't re registered there?

MR BENZIEN: I am not aware of that.

MR KRUSE: I think Sea Point registers will indicate that I was not booked in there that night.

MR BENZIEN: I am not sure, I am honestly not sure.

CHAIRPERSON: Perhaps this might be a convenient stage to take a break. We will adjourn for 15 minutes.



CHAIRPERSON: Do you know where Mr Kruse is?

MS INTHANGA: No Chair, I don't know. I can go and check where he is.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Brink, will you ...

ADV COOK: Mr Chairman, can I make one remark. During the break, I consulted a Psychiatrist, Dr Kotze, she is a Psychiatrist and she will prepare a report which would be submitted to the Committee tomorrow. She will fax it tonight and it amounts to this, because of the trauma experienced by my client, and all the various experiences, there was a psychological block and therefore he cannot remember certain incidents.

And it is not because my client is not cooperating fully, but there were certain mental blockages.

ADV DE JAGER: Will she be available to give evidence, to be cross-examined?

ADV COOK: She has a problem with that, in the sense she is fully committed, and she did not know beforehand that she had to be available, but she is prepared to provide you with a full report.

But it is a general psychiatric condition in any case. This results from trauma.

CHAIRPERSON: We will consider the report and we will have to decide how much weight to attach to its contents.

ADV COOK: As it pleases the Committee.

CHAIRPERSON: What is happening Mr Brink?

MS INTHANGA: We have been informed that he is on his way up, Mr Chairman.

MR BLACK: I think they get taken down, I think it is the 7th floor, for briefing and that sort of thing.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but I think that they should be told that there is a break, when we adjourn for 15 minutes, we try to resume within that time.


CHAIRPERSON: Mr Papier, are you aware of how many other people would be asking questions of this witness?

MR PAPIER: I don't have any instructions with regard to these matters, but we would still be calling the two sisters of Ashley Kriel.


MS INTHANGA: Chairman, I would like to advise the Committee that I had been approached by one of the speakers from the victims of torture, and I have been informed that Advocate Donen will be speaking on behalf of Mr Anwar Dramat and Niclo Pedro who are unable to attend today. Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Kruse, I hope you have a very good reason for keeping us waiting.

MR KRUSE: Sorry Chairman, we went down with the people of the TRC and they brought us up, but I didn't know the time. We get lost in the building, so we had tea and they just spoke to me to calm me down and then I came back.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, we have a lot to do and when we say we want to adjourn for 15 minutes, we try, we try.

MR KRUSE: I apologise.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, you may resume putting questions to this witness.

JEFFERY T.BENZIEN: (still under oath)

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR KRUSE: (continued) I think we were at the stage where we were at Sea Point police station, Chairperson and do you remember what happened at Sea Point police station?

MR BENZIEN: No, Your Honour, I do not.

MR KRUSE: Were you in a sober state of mind at that stage?

CHAIRPERSON: At what stage is that?

MR KRUSE: At the stage, after torturing me and taking me after an hour or so to the Sea Point police station?

CHAIRPERSON: He says he cannot remember actually whether he took you there?

MR KRUSE: That is why I am asking if he was in a sober state of mind, he doesn't seem to remember anything.

JUDGE WILSON: If he can't remember you going there, how can he remember what state of mind he was in?

CHAIRPERSON: It is 10 years ago.

MR KRUSE: The question I want to know, let me put it to you this way, when we came to the police station, I was put in a cell and not entered into the register.

Do you concede to that?

MR BENZIEN: Mr Chairman, I cannot remember going to ...

MR KRUSE: I think the registers at the police station will reflect that. Do you remember giving instructions to the guard at the gate not to allow me to sleep that night?

MR BENZIEN: I can't remember going to Sea Point police station, Sir.

MR KRUSE: You don't remember fetching me the next morning, early, either?


MR KRUSE: Do you remember the morning you used the black bag treatment on me?

MR BENZIEN: I remember a morning where I used a black bag on you, yes.

MR KRUSE: Where did you fetch me from before you gave me that black bag treatment?

CHAIRPERSON: Where did you?

MR KRUSE: Where did he get me from to bring me to Culemborg to apply that method?

MR BENZIEN: I was under the impression somebody else brought you from Sea Point, if you were at Sea Point.

MR KRUSE: Is it not true that Liebenberg said to you that I am "hardegat" and I am refusing to speak and you must deal with me?

MR BENZIEN: It is possible that he could have said that, yes.

MR KRUSE: Is it not true that you and Goosen then started punching me in my face?

MR BENZIEN: I am not aware of the punching. I am aware if it is this specific morning we are speaking about, is that I put your head into a wet bag.

MR KRUSE: I don't think, you first tried to talk and get me to speak without a wet bag. Is that not correct?

MR BENZIEN: The exact sequence of events, I cannot remember. I do presume this is the morning we went to look for your passport?

MR KRUSE: That is correct. Now, do you remember blindfolding me?

MR BENZIEN: Not, specifically, but I could have.

MR KRUSE: Do you remember tying my legs?

MR BENZIEN: Tying or handcuffing?

MR KRUSE: Tying my legs, I don't know if you used a belt or something to tie my legs?

MR BENZIEN: Not specifically, but I could have.

MR KRUSE: Do you remember handcuffing my hands behind my back?

MR BENZIEN: As I say, in all probability yes.

MR KRUSE: Now, to do that, who was present with you?

MR BENZIEN: I cannot remember. You say it was Goosen, was there, I concede Goosen could have been there.

MR KRUSE: Liebenberg?

MR BENZIEN: I am not sure, he may have been there also.

MR KRUSE: What was the reasons for blindfolding me?

MR BENZIEN: Was this prior to putting the black bag over you or for transporting you to look for your passport?

MR KRUSE:Prior to the black bag method you are so notoriously known for.

MR BENZIEN: I cannot remember it specifically, but I can't give a reason for why I blindfolded you.

CHAIRPERSON: But you have told us that that was your procedure.

MR BENZIEN: Of putting the black bag over a person's head.

CHAIRPERSON: Blindfolding a person and then putting the wet bag on, then.

MR BENZIEN: Not in all accounts, but I would concede that I blindfolded him. Why I did it on that specific time, I cannot say Sir.

MR KRUSE: Mr Benzien, you stated you were an expert at the black bag method. I don't understand you used the methods and you used a certain sequence in the method, surely there is a reason for everything.

I mean that is not an event which you can't remember. It is a method you used, which you yourself confess to be an expert at. I want to know why you blindfolded me before you put the bag over my head. There has to be a reason for that, isn't it?

MR BENZIEN: I haven't got a reason to offer the court.

CHAIRPERSON: what is the reason normally, why do you do that in the first place? Not necessarily to him, but we have heard evidence from you that you put a blindfold over the person, and then you put the bag over his head.

The question is what is the purpose of blindfolding the person?

MR BENZIEN: Disorientation, Sir.

CHAIRPERSON: Disorientation?


MR KRUSE: Wouldn't the bag do that without a blindfold?

CHAIRPERSON: Or is it necessary for you to worry about that?

MR KRUSE: Sorry, I want to put it that the reason why he blindfolded me was that he didn't want me to see the people around who were with him while doing that method. I think that is the reason why they blindfolded.

CHAIRPERSON: Well, you must put it along those lines.

MR KRUSE: But I want to get there.

CHAIRPERSON: It is put to you that one reason, or the reason why you blindfolded him, was because you didn't want him to see who else was in the room. Is that the reason why people are blindfolded?

MR BENZIEN: It could quite be a possible reason, Your Worship.

MR KRUSE: You testified yesterday that when you went to court, that you would be the only person against the accused, and there would be no other witnesses, is that not correct? When they contested their confessions around assault?

MR BENZIEN: Are we speaking about in the criminal courts?

MR KRUSE: But you would go there when they would accuse you of torturing, you would be alone with the accused and it would be your word against the accused, and no other witnesses?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct, Your Worship.

MR KRUSE: In my case, although I could not see, I could hear Liebenberg and Goosen present when you applied the method.

MR BENZIEN: That is possible, Your Worship.

MR KRUSE: Were they there or weren't they there?

MR BENZIEN: I cannot specifically remember.

MR KRUSE: Were they there in any of the tortures, were you never with anyone at any given stage, I mean you tortured numerous people, were you always alone?

MR BENZIEN: In most cases, yes.

MR KRUSE: How is it possible to tie someone's feet, people are normally resisting, tie their hands, put them on their stomach which is quite awkward, climb in between their legs, or climb in between their arms which you normally do, so that you can feel the tension of the body, on your own?

You know it is not possible to do that on your own?

MR BENZIEN: It can be done. And I also concede on certain occasions I was helped to get the person into that position, but the actual bagging was done by me alone.

MR KRUSE: Which people ever helped you, can you remember anyone who ever helped you at any occasion?


MR KRUSE: Any other people?

MR BENZIEN: Not specifically, these specific incidents.

MR KRUSE: But do you remember any other names? I am sure you - you testified that you had this reputation, you had done this thing so many times, I mean you are close to certain people, I am sure you can remember on certain times these people were present. They knew about your events?

MR BENZIEN: They were aware of my events, but when it came down to this type of work, there weren't many volunteers, to put it that way.

MR KRUSE: Jeffery, they never had the expertise of you with the bag, but surely they would not require expertise to stand and watch you doing it or assist you doing it?

MR BENZIEN: It used to transpire in a closed office where it would just be the victim and myself and it is possible, once a person is handcuffed, to get him onto the ground. To tie the legs is then just a formality.

MR KRUSE: Do you remember Smit being there, at any given stage, Superintendent Smit, now Assistant Commissioner Smit?

MR BENZIEN: During your torture?

MR KRUSE: Mine or any other person's?

MR BENZIEN: Not to my knowledge Sir, they were in a complete different building to us.

MR KRUSE: They would never come in when a new accused was brought to Culemborg?

MR BENZIEN: Not to my knowledge.

MR KRUSE: Was Liebenberg present at any time that you can remember?

MR BENZIEN: Liebenberg was, considering we were in the same offices, were there on numerous occasions.

MR KRUSE: While you gave people the black bag treatment?


MR KRUSE: Thank you.

MR KRUSE: Now after the black bag treatment, you remember we went to look for my passport?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR KRUSE: Do you remember where we went to?

MR BENZIEN: I think we went to Kensington.

MR KRUSE: That is correct. What transpired there?

MR BENZIEN: You alleged your passport was being held by a lady and you pointed out the house and we recovered the passport.

MR KRUSE: How many people were present in the house?

MR BENZIEN: I think the lady in question and I can't remember how many other people.

MR KRUSE: Was there a small kid in the house, a toddler?

MR BENZIEN: There may have been, I can't remember.

MR KRUSE: Was there another women present in the house?

MR BENZIEN: Could have been there, I can't remember.

MR KRUSE: What was your attitude towards the occupants of the house?

MR BENZIEN: I demanded your passport.

MR KRUSE: What was your attitude besides demanding, what type of behaviour, were you abusive, were you nice to them, did you act in terms of how a policeman would ask for a passport?

MR BENZIEN: It is difficult to say, I am not even sure if the passport was handed over immediately or not. If it was handed over immediately, I suppose my action would have been different than a demanding way, if it was not handed over immediately.

MR KRUSE: I wonder if you can ever act in a normal way?

CHAIRPERSON: I am sorry I can't hear your question?

MR KRUSE: I say I wonder whether he ever can act in a normal way because as bad a state of mind I was, I remember and I could hear him abusing people in the house.

CHAIRPERSON: Well, that is how you must put your questions, you know. Just telling him that.

MR KRUSE: I remember as bad as I was, that you were abusing people in the house, in front of the kid.

CHAIRPERSON: The question is did you abuse the people in the house at the time you went to ask for the passport?

MR BENZIEN: Could we define the abuse here?

MR KRUSE: Verbal abuse.

MR BENZIEN: It is possible, yes.

MR KRUSE: Can you tell the Commission what state of mind I was in at that stage?

MR BENZIEN: Impossible to say Sir.

MR KRUSE: You don't remember. You kept me awake the whole night, you gave me a black bag, you beat me up, you don't know what state of mind I was in?

MR BENZIEN: I cannot answer the question as to your state of mind.

CHAIRPERSON: We will assume that you were very, very distressed. Whether he remembers or not.

MR KRUSE: He is the person who put me through this, doesn't he know what he is doing, what does he expect me to be like at the end of that treatment?

CHAIRPERSON: I am just saying that whether he remembers or not, we can assume that you must have been very distressed?

MR BENZIEN: I would concede this.

MR KRUSE: But this is my difficulty. He seems to remember nothing. I think if I tortured someone, even 20 years later, I would know the state of their mind after such treatment I had given people. This is the thing, I just don't find him answering the questions or wanting to say anything.

JUDGE WILSON: Doesn't it depend on how often and how many people you assaulted whether you can remember a particular individual?

MR KRUSE: But I think anyone taken through a systematic way of torture, which he works in a very systematic way, would end up in more or less the same state of mind. Just the level of the state of mind would differ.

JUDGE WILSON: Can I ask another question at this stage, about another matter. What was the importance of this passport?

MR BENZIEN: The information was that Mr Kruse was the Chief Logistics, or the intelligence that we had at that stage, the Chief Logistics person for acquiring weapons of war to come into, especially the Western Cape and then hiding them at specific places to be recovered at a later stage by MK soldiers.

CHAIRPERSON: How would a passport help that? How would his passport throw light on that?

MR BENZIEN: It would possibly show us his movements through which border posts, Sir.

JUDGE WILSON: Yes. It would show you that, but it wouldn't show you where he had hidden the weapons which were going to be used, would it?


JUDGE WILSON: And that would, as I understand your evidence, that was the most important function you had, as soon as you arrested somebody you question them to find out where the weapons were or where there other colleagues were?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct Sir.

JUDGE WILSON: Now, you seem to be able to remember questioning about a passport, you remember going to a house to see a passport, but you remember nothing whatsoever about questioning the Chief Logistic Officer, Chief Logistics person to find out where he had concealed all the weapons he had brought in, how is that. Why have you got such a complete blank memory on that aspect?

MR BENZIEN: It is possible that somebody else interrogated him, but if I had interrogated him Sir, he did take us to an address which he has now conceded was a false address of one of his assistants.

MR KRUSE: Jeffery, let me refresh your memory perhaps on the issue. Is it not true that you failed to get any information on where I had arms?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct, Sir.

MR KRUSE: Is it not true that you failed to get any of the structures under me?

CHAIRPERSON: Say that again, because I have difficulty?

MR KRUSE: He failed to discover any of the structures under me. No one else was arrested because of my arrest.

MR BENZIEN: That is correct, Sir.

MR KRUSE: But is your method not as the Judge is pointing out, the purpose of your methods, where you hung me up and gave me that, to get exactly that, what that not the purpose of you?

MR BENZIEN: That was the purpose of the exercise, but in your case, we didn't - we may have got certain information to who your assistants were, but we did not get any weapons of war or your detention did not lead to another arrest, if my memory does not fail me.

MR KRUSE: Is it true that the only thing you got, was UDF pamphlets?

MR BENZIEN: I think with your interrogation, we were also taken to an address where I think a number of women stayed and pamphlets were found there. I may be confusing this with the other issue, but I also think we found a post office box at Athlone post office, if I am not mistaken.

MR KRUSE: That is correct. What happened at the post office?

MR BENZIEN: The post box was searched.

MR KRUSE: How did you get access to the post office?

MR BENZIEN: By way of the Postmaster.

MR KRUSE: What was found in the post box?

MR BENZIEN: I really can't say what the contents of the documentation was.

MR KRUSE: Isn't it true it was literature too? Literature, books?

MR BENZIEN: Possible.

MR KRUSE: Now, I want to know by you, if you say you have a specific task, was it justified in using your methods to get pamphlets?

MR BENZIEN: I think once we had the post office located, we were looking for intelligence in that post box.

MR KRUSE: The question is your methods you used, the level you went to to acquire UDF pamphlets and some literature, were those methods justified?

MR BENZIEN: It is difficult to say justified. There were so many banned organisations at that time, any literature or things to that effect would be passed on to other Units who could perhaps glean some or other information from it.

MR KRUSE: So you say anyone who had access to literature, which was not even banned literature, should have been tortured?

JUDGE WILSON: He has explained and I thought you had agreed that what they were looking for in the main, was the guns you had brought into the country. They didn't torture you because of literature, they tortured you because of guns and as I understood your questioning a few minutes ago, you said you didn't find any of my guns, didn't you?

MR KRUSE: They never found any of the organisation's guns, because I never had, at that stage I had no guns on me.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, well I mean the torturing wasn't done in order for him to get pamphlets from you, you know.

MR KRUSE: But if someone is arrested, with all due respect, and just based on how they operated, if the intelligence was wrong, they would subject any person or civil society to that things, based on the fact that they thought they had intelligence?

It is very clear, I mean, they don't even know what my position was at that stage. It was clear to me from the time of arrest. That is why I could even bluff them most of the time, they were not clear, the information was not very clear.

So any person of civil society could have been taken because they thought some informer gave them the information and therefore be subjected to the torture. And this is my problem with this.

JUDGE WILSON: The question you were asking him was, was it justified to torture you like this to look for pamphlets. The point my brother has just made to you is that they didn't torture you like this to look for pamphlets, they tortured you on the basis of the wrongful information they had, that you had firearms.

CHAIRPERSON: They were hoping to get firearms as a result of doing that to you, but they didn't. That is the purpose of the torturing.

ADV DE JAGER: Perhaps you could tell us, did you have firearms for the organisation at that stage?

MR KRUSE: I don't think I am under cross-examination here.

ADV DE JAGER: I am only trying to test your evidence that you are putting to him, whether in fact the facts are correct.

MR KRUSE: I am not under oath here, so I don't think I have to answer any of these questions.

ADV DE JAGER: Okay, we realise that you are not under oath.


MR KRUSE: Anyway, actually I just want to show that how truthful he is. I got information that the Truth Commission has a document in their possession, issued by Brigadier Van der Westhuizen in 1986, I am not very clear on the date, which has a list of police Officers who were part of an unrest team.

ADV DE JAGER: When you give your evidence, you can put all that in.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. For the time being you must put your questions to this witness.

MR KRUSE: What I am trying to get at, yesterday a question was posed to the witness that he was part of an Investigation team into BMW, The Bantu Military Wing, which he denied. I would like the witness to look and maybe the Commission's Investigator can make it available, because I believe they have a copy of it too, a document where his name is listed on that and what the task of that team was.

CHAIRPERSON: I know you are not a trained lawyer, the purpose at present is for you to put your questions to this witness.

MR KRUSE: I want him to look at the document.

CHAIRPERSON: Well, show him a document and put questions that you wish to put, arising out of that document. What is this document headed, what is it called Mr Kruse?

MR KRUSE: It is Investigation Team for Unrest, dated 1986-07-07.

MR BENZIEN: Excuse me, the date, I haven't got it here.

MR KRUSE: If you read under the heading, there is a date there.

MR BENZIEN: Not on mine.

MR KRUSE: Under the heading.

CHAIRPERSON: Put your questions to him Mr Kruse.

MR KRUSE: If you look at number 12.

MR BENZIEN: With respect Sir, could I just peruse the whole document?


MR KRUSE: Can I proceed?


MR KRUSE: Do you recognise the document?

MR BENZIEN: No Sir, this is the first time I see this document.

MR KRUSE: Number 12, is that referring to you?


MR KRUSE: Do you recall the functions of this Unrest Investigative Team?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, Your Honour.

MR KRUSE: What were the functions?

MR BENZIEN: I think this date, depicting 09-07-1986 is very close to the date of the first or second emergency, National emergency in the Republic. Following the names of people on this list, you would see many of them are not Security Branch members. Units or members were drawn from various Units, myself included from the Murder and Robbery Unit to either look for people that were listed as activists who had to be detained under the then Emergency Regulations and then these people were normally detained, I think it was Victor Verster and these teams went through to Victor Verster to interview these members.

MR KRUSE: Was part of the functions to investigate the BMW Unit in (indistinct)?

MR BENZIEN: At that stage I did not know who the BMW where, it was only later that that came to my knowledge.

MR KRUSE: So at any stage, were you part of the team that investigated the BMW?


MR KRUSE: I have another document which I want to give to the witness, which I believe is also in the possession of the TRC. It is the follow-up document to this further instruction. The heading - it is from Brigadier Acker, the heading is this is regarding the unrest situation in the Western Province.

ADV COOK: Mr Chairman, I want to place on record that I have received the first document. I did not receive the second document. I repeatedly sent faxes to the Investigative Unit and Mr Robin Brink, and that they did not provide me with any documents, apart from the first document and the Sithlahya investigation and he assured me that no other documents was submitted and it was not necessary for me to receive those.

Certain documents are submitted here which I could not peruse and this is unfair.

MR BRINK: I think, Mr Chairman, answer that if I may, I confirm that I spoke with Adv Cook about that, but he was sent as far as I recollect a copy of this document. The rest of it seems, with respect, not highly significant, because it merely deals with the formation of an investigation team and the steps to be taken to investigate unrest and to detain if necessary and how the things was to be worked, but I don't think there is anything sinister in itself in the document which has just been handed in.

CHAIRPERSON: Well I think if Mr Cook hasn't seen that document, let him see it now. This is a two-page document that we are talking about, isn't it?


CHAIRPERSON: It is a letter, dated 7th of August 1987. Mr Cook, you haven't seen that before?

ADV COOK: No, I have never seen that before.

CHAIRPERSON: All right, let him have a look at it.

MR BRINK: But you will realise that we haven't introduced this document into evidence, but that it has been done by Mr Kruse.

CHAIRPERSON: We understand that.

MR BRINK: But certainly we can have a copy of that made available, with the greatest of pleasure.

JUDGE NGOEPE: Mr Kruse, what point or points do you want to make with this documents. Perhaps we need to know that so that we could help you if you need any?

MR KRUSE: Yes, there is just one point which I want him to, to me it is important because the terminology has been used in other instances before and we know because of that terminology, people had been eliminated in previous cases. The Goniwe trial for instance.

It is at point 3 under point 1, subpoint 3, which says information network necessary to identify people in the community and to eliminate them and to act pro-actively.

I just want to know from the witness what does that mean, because there had been a lot of speculation about the terminology and what has happened to people because of that terminology.

ADV DE JAGER: Can somebody perhaps ...

CHAIRPERSON: Let's just first ask him whether he knows anything about the document?

MR KRUSE: Did you know that this was the instructions to your team, I would assume?

MR BENZIEN: I was never aware of this document, Your Worship.

ADV DE JAGER: Sorry, could somebody perhaps tell me, this would be Exhibit number? I don't know whether it is being handed in. Do you propose handing it in as an Exhibit?

MR KRUSE: It can be handed in, I don't know the procedures.

CHAIRPERSON: If you hand it in just for the sake of handing it in, is there a purpose? If the purpose can be achieved without handing it in, let's do it.

MR KRUSE: I just want to know from him, even though he hasn't seen the document, how would he interpret that sentence itself in terms of police or security structures terminology at that given time?

MR BENZIEN: My comment Sir?

CHAIRPERSON: He wants your interpretation of that paragraph 3 on page 1.

MR BENZIEN: To develop information networks, systems of intelligence, to identify leaders, I would presume that is to identify leaders of these groups; to remove them from the community, I would presume in this case, detain them in terms of the Emergency Regulations and act pro-actively, in other words remove the hierarchy of these movements and this was during the times, if I am, I am speaking under correction, 1987, there was still Emergency Regulations, and I would like to emphasise to the Commissions Sir, please, that is my personal interpretation. I have never seen this document before.

MR KRUSE: Is it not true that that terminology was also used to get rid of, eliminate people, kill them in those times?

MR BENZIEN: Sir, I am not at liberty to comment on that.

MR KRUSE: Was that used as a terminology at any given time in your services both in Rhodesia and here?

MR BENZIEN: I have heard terminology that has been used in other commissions, but not the word "remove". I think it was suggested the word to take away, to remove.

MR KRUSE: Is this maybe not part of the instruction why you had to kill Ashley Kriel?

MR BENZIEN: Definitely not Sir, as I again say, I do not know this document, I was never, ever given instructions to eliminate Mr Kriel.

MR KRUSE: I just want to come back to a few things earlier. Bongani Jonas, you remembered him earlier?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR KRUSE: And you saw him in the lift, is that correct?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR KRUSE: I just spoke to him and he confirmed to me again, because you were colleagues at that time, that you were the person who stood on his leg and he is prepared to give evidence to that effect in front of this Commission?

MR BENZIEN: I emphatically deny that. The person ...

CHAIRPERSON: Let's not traverse this again please. If Bongani Jonas wants to say that, he must come and say so.

MR KRUSE: He will say that in front of the Committee.


MR KRUSE: I think the last thing I want to say to the witness is, this is a statement.

CHAIRPERSON: Please put your question.

MR KRUSE: I am finished with questions, I want to say something.

CHAIRPERSON: No, you will have an opportunity to address the court or to give evidence if you wish to.

MR KRUSE: Okay, I think that is all, I thank the Commission, thank you.


MS INTHANGA: Mr Chairman, Bongani Jonas will be taking the stand to question Mr Benzien.


ADV COOK: Mr Chairman, I want to make the following remark please. My client has repeatedly asked the Commission for information concerning the various incidents he is referring to. He came on his own behalf to the Commission and he mentioned these names at the Investigative Unit. Not one of these victims made statements. If, should there be statements, we could have prepared ourselves and we could have assisted the Commission. And the idea should not be created that he is hiding something.

Now, here comes somebody whom we do not know. He comes and he asks questions. We do not know to which period he is referring, this is an absolute surprise.

The Appeal court judgment ...

JUDGE NGOEPE: Sorry, let's just clear that up. Are you saying that your client is not listing Mr Jonas as one of his victims, specifically?

ADV COOK: No, he can't remember it. In his application it is written and I want to refer you to page 8 and he mentions the names Peter Jacobs, Ashley Forbes, Anwar Dramat, Tony Yengeni, Gary Kruse, Niclo Pedro and Alan Mamba and he says I do not know, do not remember, other names. I have forgotten them, therefore I also apply for the cases I cannot remember. If the information is supplied which I have requested repeatedly from the Commission, I would gladly assist the Commission.

JUDGE NGOEPE: Now, are you saying that your client does not want amnesty in respect of his assault on Mr Jonas?

ADV COOK: No, this is not what I am saying?

CHAIRPERSON: I think Mr Cook, you must understand that the Amnesty Committee did not have the information to furnish to your client about other deeds. Do you understand?

I think that you must appreciate that there are people here, whose names have been mentioned. One of the names that had been mentioned is Mr Bongani Jonas. If Mr Jonas wants to put some questions to your client, it is for your client to tell us whether he is prepared or unprepared to answer those questions at this stage, and wants more time. Do you understand?

ADV COOK: I understand, the only problem that I have we want to assist the Commission. If we had a statement from this person, but the impression is created....

ADV DE JAGER: Mr Cook, we just want to get clarity. We do not have access to all the people's statements. It is not necessary for a victim to give a statement to the Amnesty Committee. He may provide it to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and to the Violation of Human Rights Commission, but we should not be aware of that. We have received more than 6 000 applications.

As far as we know about that, we will assist you, but it is not the duty of this Commission to provide information when you apply for amnesty. When a person has committed an offence, he must know what he had done wrong and that is what he will apply for, amnesty for.

ADV COOK: I understand the problem that you are not supposed to get information, but the Investigative Unit and the leader of evidence, they have to present the evidence to the Commission and they should provide me with the information.

ADV DE JAGER: I am sure if Mr Brink and the Investigative Unit had the information, they would have provided it to you.

ADV COOK: I am not objecting to this, but I am just conveying to you that my client is not aware of this incidents. If he knew about that, if he remembered that, he would have applied for amnesty.

ADV DE JAGER: It might be that when seeing this person, his memory could be refreshed and then he could remember.

ADV COOK: I understand, that is the point I wish to make. In the Appeal court judgement it is said until it had furnished the appellants with such facts and information by way of witnesses' statements and or other relevant documentation, as might reasonably necessary to enable the appellants to identify the events, incidents and persons concerning, which or whom it was proposed to present or allow evidence which might detrimentally implicate the applicants. Do you understand where the problem is?

ADV DE JAGER: If we ask you to come and explain, we should provide you with information, that is concerning the Human Rights Violation Commission. When they call a person to come and explain what he or she has done, we did not ask your client to come and explain what has happened. With amnesty, the person comes to the fore by himself. We do not ask him what he had done, he comes here and he tells us what he had done.

ADV COOK: This is what I was trying to convey. But it should not be insinuated that my client in this case, denied that he had done this and we are surprised now by this incident and I would have liked to advise my client in this respect.

ADV DE JAGER: If you are surprised and if you want to consult your client, do you wish the case to stand down?

ADV COOK: I do not have a statement from this person. I don't know what he is going to ask.

ADV DE JAGER: We don't know either.

ADV COOK: How can I advise my client?

JUDGE WILSON: If you look at the provisions of Section 19 of the Act, it clearly provides in paragraph 4 (b) that the persons, that is victims, have the right to testify and adduce evidence, which is what they are doing. We are not leading it, the leader of evidence is not leading it, the victim is adducing evidence having testified.

CHAIRPERSON: I don't see your difficulty. If your client does not know anything about this witness, your client will say so. On the other hand, after he has put questions, if you want to consult with your client, you may do so.

ADV COOK: I will appreciate that.

CHAIRPERSON: This person, Bongani Jonas, is not giving evidence, he is a victim, he has come here to oppose this application and he wants to question the applicant.

ADV COOK: I am not objecting to that, I am just placing it on record.

MS KHAMPEPE: Mr Cook, I don't think we are on the same page. I don't think Mr Jonas here, really can actually form part of the pool of the people that you client cannot remember having assaulted, because he has already responded to questions put by Mr Kruse about Mr Jonas' incident. He has remembered specifically about Mr Jonas and the fact that he never actually trampled on Mr Jonas' wounded leg when he was assaulted by Mr Barnard. So it is an incident which really is within his recollection.

ADV COOK: I do not have a problem with that, that the person is asking questions. I just wanted to place on record which problems I am experiencing.

CHAIRPERSON: We understand your difficulty, but Mr Jonas is not giving evidence, he is just putting questions. So the fact that you haven't been furnished with a statement beforehand, of all the people who want to ask questions, there is no such procedure whereby we can furnish you with statements, we don't have statements of these people who have come here pursuant to an advertisement that an application for amnesty is being made, those who feel aggrieved are entitled to come here and put forward and ask questions.

Mr Jonas, do you wish to put some questions to this witness?

MR JONAS: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Or have you come here to give evidence?

MR JONAS: No, I will ask some questions, thank you.

MS INTHANGA: Mr Chairman, can I proceed? Before Mr Jonas asks questions, can I just state for the record that we are not in possession of any statements from the victims who have testified here, including Mr Jonas, that includes the Investigative Unit. Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Jonas, do carry on.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR JONAS: Captain Benzien, good afternoon.

MR BENZIEN: Good afternoon.

MR JONAS: Do you still remember my combat name?

MR BENZIEN: Give me a minute to think - Thabi?

MR JONAS: Thabi, yes, and that was more than 10 years ago?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR JONAS: Thank you. I hope your memory will be sound throughout. Are you a professional policeman Captain?

MR BENZIEN: I try to be a professional policeman.

MR JONAS: Do you uphold the professional ethics and norms of policing?

MR BENZIEN: To the best of my ability, yes.

MR JONAS: Has that been your standpoint throughout your experience in the police?

MR BENZIEN: To the best of my ability, yes.

MR JONAS: At the time of my capturing, did you or your colleagues use the normal conventional methods of arresting a suspect or did you use unconventional methods?

MR BENZIEN: At the time of your arrest?

MR JONAS: Yes, at the time of my capturing or arresting.

MR BENZIEN: As I understand, you were shot at and wounded.

CHAIRPERSON: Were you involved in it?


CHAIRPERSON: Now, shouldn't you ask him questions about what he knows about your arrest if he was at all in it.

MR JONAS: I think the question is relevant to what I want to drive to.

CHAIRPERSON: Well, put your question.

MR JONAS: The question is did they stick with the conventional methods of policing or did they apply unconventional methods?

MR BENZIEN: Unless I am not answering the question incorrectly, please stop me. The method of your arrest as I remember it, was that Mr Tony Yengeni was already in custody and detained at Milnerton police station. He was supposed to that evening have a rendezvous with you in Athlone. The specific area where he told us to take up position for your capture or ambush, was pointed out by him. Subsequently, Mr Yengeni had been transported in a police vehicle from Milnerton police station when they passed you in your vehicle on the N2.

The people who were escorting Mr Yengeni, either them or the Unit that they called for backup, then pursued you to the area nearby the airport where it is alleged that you tried to evade escape and you were shot at.

Now if the unconventional means was shooting, I don't see that as unconventional, and I do not see it as unconventional that an informant for the South African police at that stage, had identified you to the police at that stage.

MR JONAS: I am afraid Captain, you do not address my question. My question is, did you use conventional methods of policing or may I put it this way - do you use ...

JUDGE NGOEPE: Sorry Mr Jonas, but isn't the point which was raised by my brother, quite relevant? Was he there or is he expected to tell us what he was told by other people as to how he was arrested. Was he there during your arrest?

Shouldn't you start there, because if he was not there, surely he is just going to tell us what was told by the other people as to how you were arrested.

MR JONAS: I will come to that because I can put it to you that he was part of the team because he led the interrogation and it was a preplanned operation. Whether at the spot, he was not there, but an operation is planned and he is part of the planning. Though he may be tasked on a specific part of the whole operation, but in the orders group of the operation, he was part of.

JUDGE NGOEPE: Were you present when Mr Jonas was arrested?


JUDGE NGOEPE: Were you told as to how he was arrested, later?


MR JONAS: Did he know about the operation to arrest me beforehand?

MR BENZIEN: I was aware of it, as I explained to the court, Sir.

MR JONAS: Was he part of the team for my arrest? Were you Mr Jeff Benzien?

MR BENZIEN: I would have been part of the team as such if you had made the rendezvous that Mr Yengeni had told us that you were going to make. Being in position in the Athlone area, I was part of the complete operation, but not after he had been seen driving on the N2 by Mr Yengeni and then a pursuit took place.

MR JONAS: The question I asked earlier is not being addressed, of the conventional methods. Because when I was shot, a citizen's car was used in the ambush, it was not a police car and he has acknowledged himself if we listened properly that an ambush was set up, that is why I want to know is it a conventional method that was applied or was it a preplanned method?

JUDGE WILSON: But isn't that a perfectly conventional method when you think somebody is coming to an area, to set up an ambush to catch him there?

MR JONAS: Come again?

JUDGE WILSON: Isn't that a perfectly conventional method that if you think a criminal is coming to a certain spot, to set up policemen in plain clothes there to arrest him when he arrives at that spot?

MR JONAS: Sir the constitution limits the parameters of policing as well as the ambit of the military because the primary aim of the police is to effect an arrest and in my case, it was visa versa, it was an ambush, shooting, then an arrest. That is why then I see ...

JUDGE WILSON: That is not as I understand the evidence that this man has said - they received information from Yengeni that you were going to Athlone. They surrounded that area and set up a arrangement to capture you when you arrived at Athlone, perfectly conventional policing.

Quite by chance you were seen travelling in a vehicle and identified and they then set off in pursuit of you.

MR JONAS: Was I identified in Athlone?

JUDGE WILSON: No, driving along the N2.

MR JONAS: N2, by chance? Tell me then ...

MR BENZIEN: Excuse me, was that a question - by chance? It was not by chance. Mr Yengeni was in transit from Milnerton police station where he had already been under arrest, under escort to the point of the stakeout or ambush or whatever we want to call it, and while travelling from Milnerton on the N2, they drove passed Mr Jonas. Had Mr Yengeni not said to his escort, "but there is Mr Jonas", in all probability Mr Jonas would still be on his way to wherever he was going, but definitely not to the point of ambush.

MR JONAS: Okay, that is not the point I want to drive to. What role did you play after I was arrested?

MR BENZIEN: After the information was made that you had been arrested and you were taken to Culemborg Unit, I arrived there. There were numerous other people there already. You were placed in an office and you had been wounded.

MR JONAS: Did you arrive after or did I meet you there?

MR BENZIEN: Well, I arrived - as you were arriving, as you got there, or just shortly afterwards. I am of the opinion I arrived there within minutes after you being there.

MR JONAS: If I say that on my arrival, in fact I was taken from there to the spot where the ambush was set up, and then from there to Athlone police station and I was delayed for about 45 minutes, then from there to Culemborg. And as I was taken out of the car, you were standing just outside and you welcomed me. In fact I was surprised because you knew my combat name which I have just asked you. Do you still remember the people that were there?

MR BENZIEN: Not everybody.

MR JONAS: Was it all policemen?

MR BENZIEN: As far as I was concerned, it was all policemen, yes.

MR JONAS: Do you consider the askaris as police?

MR BENZIEN: At that stage they were employed by the South African police, yes.

MR JONAS: Are they police in the true sense of the word "police"? They were utilised.

CHAIRPERSON: They were agents used by the police.

MR JONAS: They were utilised.


MR JONAS: Mr Benzien, do you still remember when I was carried out from the car, I can still recall some of the askaris.

MR BENZIEN: Possible.

MR JONAS: Stan Quishi.

MR BENZIEN: I wouldn't know.

MR JONAS: No, he is Morne. His real name is Morne. Stan Quishi, I've just met him in December, former askari.

MR BENZIEN: I don't know.

MR JONAS: Both of them, they were holding both of my hands and you jumped onto my leg?

MR BENZIEN: I deny that Your Honour.

MR JONAS: Do you deny that?

MR BENZIEN: I deny that.

MR JONAS: Maybe the court records may reveal otherwise. Tell me then, you are now famous of this 30 minutes method. Are you aware of that? You have seen the newspapers, it is there?

MR BENZIEN: I have not looked at any newspaper since this morning, just briefly.

MR JONAS: Okay. Do you still remember the time I was shot Mr Benzien?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR JONAS: What time was it?

MR BENZIEN: I think you were shot in the early evening.

MR JONAS: Half past four in the afternoon?

MR BENZIEN: No, I think it was later than that.

MR JONAS: It was half past four.

MR BENZIEN: It was later than that, I am sure of it. You would know the time more exactly, I do not, because after taking you to Culemborg, we took you to I think it was Khayelitsha or Nyanga, one of the townships ...

MR JONAS: I haven't asked you about that, I am just asking about the time.

MR BENZIEN: No, I am trying to get the time in.

MR JONAS: Okay, maybe you were not there, it was half past four. Because you first met me at Culemborg.

MR BENZIEN: I would concede that, but I was under the impression that the shooting incident was much later the afternoon than that.

MR JONAS: Okay. Do you still remember the time then that you took me to hospital because you were personally there?

MR BENZIEN: I personally escorted you to hospital.

MR JONAS: What time was it?

MR BENZIEN: I was under the impression it was ...

MR JONAS: Past eleven in the evening?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, just before midnight, just after.

MR JONAS: Okay. Did you stick to your 30 minutes or did you have intentions of getting information from me, or breaking me? Was I a vital source to get information from?

MR BENZIEN: Mr Yengeni ...

MR JONAS: I am not talking about Mr Yengeni, I am talking about myself.

MR BENZIEN: Yes, sorry, Mr Jonas.

MR JONAS: Did you consider me a vital source when you arrested me?


MR JONAS: Did you stick to your 30 minutes? Was it standard the method of getting information, 30 minutes, if maybe you have arrested a crucial person? Or maybe you would even go beyond the 30 minutes to get information?

MR BENZIEN: No, it was crucial to get the information from you as soon as possible.

MR JONAS: Then why did you delay then taking me to hospital for so many hours?

MR BENZIEN: I concede that during your, you had been wounded and you were promised medical attention as soon as you had removed your weapons cache which was then done. We took, I cannot remember, where in the location, but we went through to there and we removed the weaponry, I think which consisted of grenades, AK's and ...

MR JONAS: You never found any AK from me?

MR BENZIEN: Excuse me?

MR JONAS: You never found any AK from me.

MR BENZIEN: Grenades, SPM's.

MR JONAS: No SPM's from me.

MR BENZIEN: In any case, there were weapons, weaponry was found from you.

MR JONAS: So do you agree then that the pre-condition for me receiving medical help was to get the satisfying answers or response from me? Was that a precondition?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct Sir.

MR JONAS: So my medical fate was depended on my cooperation with you?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR JONAS: As I have asked you earlier, do you apply the conventional methods of what you call interrogation, if a person has been captured and in your mercy and injured, is it not a standard norm then even if it is your enemy, to apply the necessary first aid?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, the wounds on you at that stage were not bleeding profusely. A pressure bandage was applied to you, if I am not mistaken.

MR JONAS: No, you are mistaken.

MR BENZIEN: I also realise that I was the person who accompanied you to hospital and only during the X-rays it was found that both your femurs had been shattered, if I am not mistaken.

MR JONAS: Okay. You only realised then that my femurs were fractured?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR JONAS: But how was I transported from the time ...

MR BENZIEN: In a blanket.

MR JONAS: In a blanket?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct, Sir.

MR JONAS: Did you not maybe have any form of curiosity as to find out why is this man not able to walk and had to be transported in a blanket?

MR BENZIEN: Sir, ...

MR JONAS: If only then your first impression was when I had X-rays in hospital?

MR BENZIEN: In retrospect, you were wounded.

MR JONAS: Seriously so

MR BENZIEN: I would consider seriously, now knowing the injuries, but what was more serious to us at that stage, excuse me, was to get your weaponry.

MR JONAS: And not my life as well?

MR JONAS: Your weaponry was more important than my life?

MR BENZIEN: At that time, at that time, and I ask forgiveness for it, your life came second to your armament.

JUDGE WILSON: Now, you both know what you are talking about, perhaps you can explain to me. When you say carried in a blanket, do you mean lying in a blanket with people carrying the corners?

MR JONAS: Of course, because I could not walk.

JUDGE WILSON: Were you lying?

MR JONAS: Yes. Do you know Mr, it was Warrant Officer Barnard? Barry Barnard?

MR BENZIEN: Barnard, yes.

MR JONAS: What role was he playing?

MR BENZIEN: We used numerous personnel to cordon off the area where the ambush should have taken place.

MR JONAS: What role was he playing specifically in. I understand you have mentioned him earlier?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct. He was one of the Reaction Task Force of the police.

MR JONAS: Was he in the forefront of the Security Branch operations because he belonged to another department, not so?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR JONAS: So was he in the forefront of this operation and the Security Branch, secondary?

MR BENZIEN: I don't think I follow the question absolutely.

MR JONAS: It was a Security Branch operation?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR JONAS: And other departments assisting?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR JONAS: Now, how did it come about that he was in the same vehicle with me when I was shot?

MR BENZIEN: I wouldn't know, I wasn't there when you were shot.

MR JONAS: So you wouldn't not know how he became to be there in the same vehicle and sat on my leg throughout from D.F. Malan airport to Culemborg?

MR BENZIEN: I wouldn't know Mr Jonas.

MR JONAS: I have met one of your former team, the askaris this morning and in fact he confessed to me about you jumping on my leg, on that day. I met him at a funeral in Pretoria. Do you still deny?

MR BENZIEN: I deny it, Sir. I think you are making a mistake between me and Barnard.

MR JONAS: No, no. I know you. I know Barnard. In the past you did testify that I could not walk and I had to be carried in the blanket.

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR JONAS: What were your feelings about this helpless, injured person at your mercy?

MR BENZIEN: It was twosome. I realised your injury, I realised that I had a duty to participate in the removal of your weaponry and once that was removed, I was the one who accompanied you in the ambulance to Woodstock hospital where I was the one who assisted the Radiologist to move you around as peacefully as possible, to get your X-rays taken.

MR JONAS: When you took me on a small car from Culemborg to Khayelitsha and back to Culemborg and kept me for hours. Did you transport me peacefully? Did you put me in an ambulance or a comfortable vehicle or did you just throw my leg around in the car, a small car?

MR BENZIEN: I don't think I was in the vehicle that transported you back to Khayelitsha.

MR JONAS: But you took charge immediately I was brought to Culemborg.

MR BENZIEN: I could not take charge Sir, Lieutenant Liebenberg was in command of that operation.

MR JONAS: Yes, but who did the introduction, who welcomed me? You told me about the weaponry that you want from me on that day, specifically in exact numbers, what you wanted. Do you still remember?

MR BENZIEN: No, I think we even knew the exact numbers we were supposed to get from you.

MR JONAS: Did you know what was in my possession?

MR BENZIEN: Specifically as you said numbers was, no.

MR JONAS: So then did you know that I had weaponry in my possession?

MR BENZIEN: There was a strong possibility that you had weaponry in your possession.

MR JONAS: But then how do you put it as a precondition that I must take you to get my weaponry if you didn't know what I had?

MR BENZIEN: I can't say that I knew exactly how much you had Mr Jonas.

MR JONAS: Did you know that I had anything, because when I was shot, there was nothing in my possession.

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR JONAS: So then how did you put it as a precondition to get something from me, when you did not know what I have?

MR BENZIEN: Mr Jonas, that was our task at that time. The crux of the matter is that after you took us, as I said I can't remember the exact place Khayelitsha or Guguletu ...

MR JONAS: But you can still remember my combat name?

MR BENZIEN: Military equipment was found. Could you just tell me if I am correct there or not?

MR JONAS: No, the question I am asking you is how did you put it as a precondition to get something from me of which you do not know whether I have that something in order for me to get treatment?

MR BENZIEN: I don't ...

MR JONAS: You don't get what I say?

MR BENZIEN: I am not getting the drift of the question.

MR JONAS: The question if you ...

CHAIRPERSON: Did you have information, did you have information that he is likely to have weapons?

MR JONAS: Because he put it as a precondition ...

CHAIRPERSON: Just hold on.

MR BENZIEN: Yes Sir. We knew he was back in Cape Town. The Intelligence section had already passed on this information to Captain Liebenberg in all probability. How many specific weaponry there was, I wouldn't know, but he was a trained cadre and I think that the information I am speaking under correction, was that he was the new Commander of the Western Cape machinery.

MR JONAS: If I may ask you another question. The role that you were playing in my arrest, because initially you have mentioned that you were not there when I was shot and incidentally you came at the same time with me, and you were not in charge of my interrogation, how did it come about then that you were in charge of accompanying me to hospital and the others taking the background and you come to the forefront only when I go to hospital?

MR BENZIEN: Mr Jonas, at that stage, you were an arrested terrorist. You were under police guard. Me as a member of the Terrorist Detection Unit, while arrangements were being made for your detention under custody in hospital, I had been tasked to accompany you in the ambulance.

MR JONAS: Was that the only role, to accompany me in an ambulance?

MR BENZIEN: As far as I am concerned, yes.

MR JONAS: Is that the only role that you played?

MR BENZIEN: As far as I am concerned, yes.

MR JONAS: Were you present when I was taken to Khayelitsha?


MR JONAS: Were you present?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, as a member of the Anti-terrorist Unit, yes.

MR JONAS: You played no role?

MR BENZIEN: I think I helped in the search of the premises.

MR JONAS: Were you in the foreground or were you in the background?

MR BENZIEN: Foreground, background, I was in the ...

MR JONAS: No, of the operation to Khayelitsha?

MR BENZIEN: It is difficult to say foreground, background, I was part of the operation.

MR JONAS: Who else was there then, who was in charge of the operation?

MR BENZIEN: I would say Lieutenant Liebenberg was the Commander of the operation.

MR JONAS: And then how did it come about that then you become the leading person when you have to take me to hospital?

MR BENZIEN: I was not the leading person that took you to hospital, I was one of the persons that took you to hospital.

MR JONAS: Who else was there in the ambulance with me and you?

MR BENZIEN: I cannot remember.

MR JONAS: Were there more than one person in an ambulance with me or was it only you?

MR BENZIEN: I honestly can't say.

ADV DE JAGER: Did Liebenberg instruct you to take him to the hospital or did you decide to take him to the hospital after ...

MR BENZIEN: It may have been an instruction, Sir. This is finer detail that I cannot remember why.

MS KHAMPEPE: If that is so Mr Benzien, why do you use the word I was tasked to accompany him?

MR BENZIEN: Excuse me?

MS KHAMPEPE: If you were not instructed and it was an act of your own accord to accompany him to the hospital, why do you use the word task, why should you say you were tasked to accompany him to the hospital?

MR BENZIEN: As it happened, my task was to accompany him in the ambulance. I may not be using the word task in the absolute correct sense, but I was his escort to the hospital.

MS KHAMPEPE: At whose instruction?

MR BENZIEN: It could have been a direct instruction, I am not sure. The fact of the matter is I was his escort.

MR JONAS: Okay. Is it a normal police norm to take the detainees to the mortuary, whenever maybe there has been a bomb blast or a suspected terrorist shot?

MR BENZIEN: Not to my knowledge.

MR JONAS: Not to your knowledge?


MR JONAS: That is not a normal, it is a flagrant violation if a detainee is taken there - to the mortuary?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, I would say definitely.

MR JONAS: Why was I taken to the mortuary on more than one occasion?

MR BENZIEN: Excuse me? May I ask a question here, by whom?

MR JONAS: You were there. I can recall incidents. There was a person that either shot himself or was shot in Guguletu, Nyanga, he had a bullet wound here and you said it was a Makarov, he shot himself through the mouth and the exit was here.

There is a person that was killed by a bomb in Wynberg. I think it was a vagrant, initially you suspected that it was a terrorist and that was the news, only to find out that it was a vagrant later. Why was I taken there amongst those corpses?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, Mr Jonas. I initially did not understand your question. At a stage, you surely remember when you started helping the Security Police in Cape Town with the identification of not only persons suspected of being terrorists and killed here in Cape Town, but you were also taken other places if I am not mistaken.

Because I was not your handler, because that is the name that was given to a person who was having the help of the detained terrorist, I seem to remember that you were taken. I did not take you to the mortuary. I think somebody else took you.

MR JONAS: Who was it?

MR BENZIEN: I don't know what inference you are trying to draw of going to the mortuary, but that was the time that you were helping the Terrorist Unit, Cape Town, with the identification of people who could possibly be deceased terrorists, you were also being used to identify certain people who we were not sure of.

As a matter of interest, I think I should stop here, and just answer his question.


MR JONAS: Come again.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Jonas, I think we will take the adjournment at this stage. We will adjourn and resume at two o'clock. Try and be here in time.



CHAIRPERSON: Mr Jonas, are you ready to proceed?

MR JONAS: Thank you.

JEFFERY T. BENZIEN: (still under oath)


Captain Benzien, I understand that the shot that killed Ashley Kriel was a misfire, am I correct?

MR BENZIEN: Not a misfire.

MR JONAS: Was it intentional?

MR BENZIEN: It was not intentional.

MR JONAS: Not intentional?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR JONAS: And you are of the opinion that he should receive medical treatment as soon as possible? You tried your utmost best to call an ambulance?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR JONAS: How would you reconcile that then with the case of a person who was deliberately shot, shooting of which was planned and injured but then the treatment or the calling of an ambulance was delayed by almost six hours, do those reconcile?

MR BENZIEN: There was a delay in getting medical attention in your case, but the injury to you did not appear at first, to be as serious as in the case of Mr Kriel, where I think his shot was lethal or fatal.

MR JONAS: But you have mentioned earlier that you only became aware of the extent of the injury, only when I was taken, I mean the X-rays were taken from me, is that correct?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

MR JONAS: Had I died in the process of delaying the medical treatment, would I not have died maybe under the same conditions as Ashley Kriel?

MR BENZIEN: The only wound that could be seen in your upper leg, did not appear to be bleeding profusely. I am not trying to act as if I know medicine, I must concede with hindsight that it could have been a very serious injury, but at that stage, you were alive and the weaponry that you could perhaps show us, was of cardinal value.

JUDGE WILSON: Once again, you must know what you are talking about, we don't. Where was the wound on your leg?

MR JONAS: Come again?

JUDGE WILSON: Where was the wound on your leg?

MR JONAS: Okay, it was on the upper right femur, I mean upper left femur.

JUDGE WILSON: Right up there, high up the top of your leg?

MR JONAS: Yes. I still have the bullet on the other leg.

JUDGE WILSON: Thank you.

MR JONAS: If I may ask Captain, you were not aware of the extent of the injury? Are you aware of the fact that my clothes even the T-shirt that I was wearing, all of it was covered in blood as well as my pants? And I didn't bleed profusely as you claim.

MR BENZIEN: I remember there was blood. The decision that was made was that the wound was not either rightly or wrongly, serious, so serious that you could have died. It might have been the wrong decision, in this case you did not die, but the finding of your weapons was an absolute priority.

MR JONAS: So then if the finding of the weapon was an absolute priority over my life, would it be wrong then if one goes away with an impression that the same attitude maybe might have prevailed in the case of Ashley Kriel, that his life was not of utmost priority?

MR BENZIEN: Life is always dear Sir. The circumstances relating to your shooting incident and Kriel's circumstances are not the same.

MR JONAS: In my case life was not so dear. It was the weapons that were so dear. Am I correct?

MR BENZIEN: If you put it like that Sir, I have to concede, yes.

MR JONAS: I will pass on that and ask another question. When did you start to know about the askaris, or do you know about the askaris presently?

MR BENZIEN: When did askaris come to my knowledge, that there was a Unit referred to as askaris?

MR JONAS: Askaris, the term askaris?

MR BENZIEN: Or the specific evening that you are referring to?

MR JONAS: No, the askaris, the Units, or the word askari?

MR BENZIEN: In the time of me being in the Terrorist Detection Unit.

MR JONAS: Come again.

MR BENZIEN: In the period that I was at the Terrorist Detection Unit.

MR JONAS: You knew about that?

MR BENZIEN: I had heard about them, yes.

MR JONAS: If I can just remind you, did you not deny in the court of law, that you know anything about the term askari because I was the first person in fact, even before Mamasela to mention about the existence of askaris. Do you still recall and you denied knowledge of that?

MR BENZIEN: I am not sure about this.

MR JONAS: So if you are not sure, what did you tell the court about the askaris?

CHAIRPERSON: Did you want to know whether he knew something about the askaris, or do you want to know whether he had heard about the term askaris? Which is it?

MR JONAS: Both. Both are applicable.

CHAIRPERSON: But he may have known about the term askaris, without having known about how they worked and details of that kind. He may have heard the word askaris earlier.

MR JONAS: Both are applicable.

CHAIRPERSON: Your questions are in respect of both?

MR JONAS: The question is did he know about their existence or the name, is it new or was it familiar to him in the event that maybe he did not know about their existence.

CHAIRPERSON: Well, let's break that down. When did you first hear about askaris?

MR BENZIEN: Once I had become a member of the Terrorist Detection Unit, Sir. But as on what occasion, what year, I am not sure.

MR JONAS: But you were a member of that Unit before you came to the court to testify in my case, not so?

MR BENZIEN: I was a member of the Terrorist Detection Unit, that is correct.

MR JONAS: And you denied to the court of law any knowledge of askari, the term askari? Am I correct?

MR BENZIEN: I can't remember the specific incident, but as I have referred to the Commission, that the askaris are later found out to be under the field direction of Sergeant Bellingham and originally from the place referred to as Vlakplaas.

ADV DE JAGER: The question is did you deny in the court knowing anything about askaris?

MR BENZIEN: I can't remember. I do not know in which context this is put to me, I don't know which context it is put in the court.

ADV DE JAGER: This had to do with Mr Jonas' prosecution. It was in your case, when you were prosecuted, am I correct?

MR JONAS: Come again?

ADV DE JAGER: When he denied knowing about askaris, was it when you were prosecuted yourself or in somebody else's case?

MR JONAS: It is when I refused to testify and then the State had to come in and then the State also, the witnesses were cross-questioned and he was one of the witnesses.

JUDGE WILSON: Were you the accused?

MR JONAS: Initially I was an accused, but in this instance it was an inquiry into why I refused to testify.

JUDGE WILSON: It wasn't a trial?

MR JONAS: Come again?

JUDGE WILSON: It wasn't at your trial, you say it was an inquiry?

MR JONAS: It was an inquiry within a trial as to find out the reasons why I refused to testify. You may call it a trial within a trial.

MR BENZIEN: If I may help the Commission. Mr Jonas originally would have been a witness for the State and then withdrew his testimony to be a witness. And then he had to explain to the court, but I don't know if askari came up on numerous occasions, I am not sure if it was on that occasion, that I said I did not know them or that I did know them, but it is possible, I will concede, that I could have perhaps said I do not know them.

ADV COOK: Section 205 of the Criminal Procedure Act, this is the one always used by journalists.


MR JONAS: I would like to ask another question, Mr Benzien. It is normal practice to take a detainee and introduce the askaris into the detainee when he is supposed to be under, what do you call, protection or what do you call it, under the State, detention laws? Is it normal practice?

MR BENZIEN: I wouldn't know if it was normal practice, but for a while, I am not sure how many months, it was that you had indicated to the Security Police that you would be assisting them and giving evidence for the State and I am not totally aware of you meeting askaris, but that could possibly have taken place at Culemborg, because as you will remember at Culemborg you practically had free reign of the building.

MR JONAS: Only at Culemborg?

MR BENZIEN: Culemborg is all I can remember. I think there were other places too.

MR JONAS: Where maybe could I have met the askaris?

MR BENZIEN: If I wasn't there, I wouldn't know where, but I know for a fact that at Culemborg, at our offices, you had the free reign of the offices. You were allowed into practically, well into any section. So if you had met with the askaris, I would say it wasn't a normal procedure, but in your case, you were helping with the identification of people and ...

MR JONAS: What was the role of the askaris, if then I would be helping with the identification of people? Were they not in a better role than myself being a detainee?

MR BENZIEN: I suppose it could be put that they were in a better position, but as you rightly know that you were also being shown, people were coming from Pretoria with photographs of arrested terrorists, or people supposed to be terrorists and these photographs were being shown to you to do identification. In actual fact you were helping with the build up of Intelligence dossiers on other people.

MR JONAS: If I may ask you that maybe you used the askaris to get more information about myself, those that you thought that know me, would I be wrong?

MR BENZIEN: No, I wouldn't be wrong. I am sure that that would have been done. The same as we used you to get information about other people.

MR JONAS: Okay. Do you know anything about the death of Temba Dubeni Tsabulani at Faure? He was arrested some time in March, April 1987, on a Friday and then he died on a Sunday in your hands? Do you know anything about that?

MR BENZIEN: That is an absolute lie.

CHAIRPERSON: How do you spell that name please? Themba?

MR JONAS: Themba Dubeni from Transkei.

CHAIRPERSON: From Transkei or Tsabulani.

MR BENZIEN: I know the name Tsabulani.

MR JONAS: Tsabulani was arrested on a Friday afternoon. You got an AK47 from him. You got a cassette, a video cassette from him. You got an F1 handgrenade from him on a Friday, that was just 45 minutes after he was arrested, long before we were arrested, he died, he was shot on Sunday morning.

MR BENZIEN: I understand.

MR JONAS: Is that a lie?

MR BENZIEN: What you said that he died at my hands, is an absolute lie.

MR JONAS: No, when I say in your hands, you and your colleagues, in the police' hands.

MR BENZIEN: Sir, then you are phrasing your question incorrectly.

MR JONAS: Okay, in police hands. Do you accept that?

MR BENZIEN: Because I had heard about Tsabulani, I think it was the first terrorist ever arrested. He was not arrested by me or my group. I understand he was arrested by askaris. We did remove weaponry in Guguletu?

MR JONAS: In Nyanga.



MR BENZIEN: And I am aware that this person, Tsabulani died under the circumstances, how I heard it, was while opening an arms cache. Tsabulani at the afternoon when this was supposed, you say the morning, I was told the afternoon, I was not on duty and not near where Tsabulani was.

MR JONAS: Who was in charge of Tsabulani's Unit that arrested Tsabulani and who was in charge at the time of his death?

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Jonas, before you answer questions, perhaps I must just remind you, he is applying for amnesty. You have to give reasons why you are opposing the grant of amnesty in respect of his conduct, not the conduct of what other policemen that might be involved.

MR JONAS: I beg your pardon?

CHAIRPERSON: We are not concerned about the conduct and the activities of other policemen, he is applying for amnesty for his deeds and if you are opposing his application for amnesty, then you should try and frame your questions in such a way to assist us in knowing why you are opposing the grant of amnesty to him, please. Otherwise we will be asking questions at random in all directions, about other policemen and not him.

MR JONAS: Sir, it is my belief that an individual is part of a team.

CHAIRPERSON: The team is not here for amnesty.

MR JONAS: Yes, but when one asks for amnesty, it is my belief that he has to give testimony as to the people who gave him orders and to the people to whom he gave orders.

CHAIRPERSON: If your questions are about who gave him orders, those are valid questions. In other words who did you instruct, those are valid questions.

MR JONAS: That is coming. But it was the Unit where he belonged. They don't work as individuals.

CHAIRPERSON: I think you must try and direct your questions to his activities, please, otherwise we will take a whole week in this matter.

JUDGE NGOEPE: Can I just add something there. Obviously we realise that you are not lawyers and in fact most of you have been allowed to ask questions which had you been lawyers you would not have gotten past those questions. But we definitely leant backwards to try and accommodate, because we understand these are matters of great sensitivity, but at the same time, we are trying to balance a very difficult situation. We are trying to get to where we should really get.

Perhaps, you know, Mr Jonas, what you should do really is, what you must remember is that you oppose his application for amnesty, in respect of the assault on yourself. You know, basically that is your interest in this proceedings, because you are a victim and as I understand you, you are not happy that the applicant has made a full disclosure, but when you look at that question as to whether or not the applicant has made a full disclosure, bear in mind that it should be in relation to the assault, basically the assault on yourself.

It may be that he is not applying for amnesty in respect of certain matters, maybe he knows he won't get amnesty about those matters and therefore for somebody else who knows about those other matters, to come in and put a lot of questions to this witness, it won't be taking us anywhere, because after all as I say, maybe the applicant is not asking for amnesty in respect of those other matters which you may regard of some interest to the public, but which in fact are not before us.

What is before us is his application for amnesty in respect of the assault on yourself. That should be the parameters of your cross-examination. Thank you.

MR JONAS: Okay, let's come back to the hospital. What orders then did you give to the people who guarded me in terms of the treatment in the hospital after then you became aware that I was critically injured?

MR BENZIEN: I am not sure if I understand the question, what treatment you were supposed to be given?

MR JONAS: Okay. I want to just remind you that I was guarded by nine police, 24 hours a day for the whole period I was in hospital and I was not entitled to go into any conversation with the medical orderlies and the other leg, whilst the one injured was in traction, the other one which was not as critical as the other, was chained with a chain and a padlock on the bed. Is that normal practise of an injured person to be treated like that for the whole period I was in bed?

MR BENZIEN: You would remember that I did not visit you too many times in hospital, but if that was the arrangement for your detention and under the circumstances, I think it would have been correct.

MR JONAS: Who then would arrange that if maybe as you were the person that took me to hospital. Who would then have arranged for those conditions?

MR BENZIEN: The custody and wellbeing of you in hospital would have been delegated to some or other persons not directly attached to us. I think the policemen that guarded you, if I am not mistaken, were from local police stations.

MR JONAS: There were eight uniformed police and one Security Branch police, right through.

MR BENZIEN: I can't answer this.

MR JONAS: And the police were just there to guard and interrogation was only done by the Security Police who was specialists in that field.

CHAIRPERSON: Very well, carry on, that may be so.

MR JONAS: Come again?

CHAIRPERSON: Carry on, that might be very well so, what you are saying that there were so many policemen guarding you.

MR JONAS: And police were instructed, because they are not trained in security matters, not to enter into any conversation with me. If I have to talk to anybody, it is the Security Branch police that is there and you visited me in hospital on more than one occasion, would you agree?

MR BENZIEN: As I have already said, I have visited you there.

MR JONAS: Is it a correct procedure then to have someone injured, who is in traction and medication, with nine policemen guarding him, armed also be chained to a bed with a chain, naked chain?

MR BENZIEN: I wouldn't know if there were nine policemen all at one time or at Units that made up a total of nine, but that was out of my hands. I was not the person ...

MR JONAS: The numbers of the police is not the issue at hand. The question is about the use of the chain. Even if it is three police, those are professionally trained people.

What I am asking is, is it a normal practice to chain a person, a human being with a naked chain given the circumstances?

MR BENZIEN: Given the circumstances of an identified terrorist in hospital, I think it could be the normal norm.

MR JONAS: Is it the doctrine of the SAPS, or I mean of the then SAP?

MR BENZIEN: Excuse me, I didn't hear?

MR JONAS: Was it a doctrine of the then SAP to chain even if a person is an identified terrorist, because in hospital I am a patient?

MR BENZIEN: With all respect, Mr Jonas, I cannot answer for what the procedures are or were laid down by somebody else. I was not the person who laid down the procedures.

MR JONAS: But you were the person who brought me to hospital - where does your role ...

CHAIRPERSON: Did you give instructions to the hospital authorities that he should be chained to the bed?

MR BENZIEN: No, Sir. But I know he was chained to the bed at a stage when I visited him.

MR JONAS: Where does the role, I mean I want to establish, he took me, he was not in the foreground when I was tortured, he was at the foreground when I was taken to hospital, he was with me. Where does his role play and who took over from him? Definitely no one can just come from the blue and take over. He must be introduced in. If he took me to hospital, then the authority would have handed over to the second person. If he never gave orders for me to be chained, whom did he give orders to then to take over my incarceration?

MR BENZIEN: That I find difficult to answer this question, I may perhaps enlighten the court - on the first night of Mr Jonas' detention, I doubt if he was in chains. He refers to chains, I presume it is footcuffs. But both his legs were incapacitated if I am not mistaken. One was in traction and I doubt if the first night, I am speculating if he would have been shackled to the bed. Maybe as he became more stronger, those instructions would have been given.

CHAIRPERSON: The question is directed at you whether you gave instructions to somebody that he should be so shackled?


JUDGE WILSON: When he was detained in this hospital, presumably some police authority would be responsible for him?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

JUDGE WILSON: I take it that would be the police station under whose jurisdiction the hospital fell?

MR BENZIEN: In normal situations, yes Sir.

CHAIRPERSON: Can we move on Mr Jonas?

MR JONAS: I have no further questions, thank you.



MS INTHANGA: We would like to call to the stand Mr Peter Jacobs, Mr Chairman.

MR JACOBS: Good day.

MR BENZIEN: Hallo Peter.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR JACOBS: Good day, my name is Peter Anthony Jacobs, for the record. There would be a request from my side that the panel be fairly patient with me. Firstly I stutter, secondly this is a fairly traumatic experience, so I would ask the questions and if you are not clear, please refer again. I will try and be as clear as I can.

Firstly, I know it has been in detail explained the wet bag method. Now, I would want it again to be explained by now Captain Benzien, who used to be Inspector Benzien or Warrant Officer Benzien, because I am going to basically come to a point to say that he is not telling all the truth about what had happened on that particular day and therefore I would want you to explain exactly what you did to me when I was arrested.

Maybe I will give you an initial point. Firstly I was arrested in Athlone, from there I was taken to Mannenberg police station and then from there, I was taken to Culemborg.

Then there was questioning, then I was tortured. I want him to explain the particular, the torture that he did to me and then I will be able to ask questions to him.

CHAIRPERSON: At Culemborg ...

MR BENZIEN: At Culemborg offices you were handcuffed. You were asked where you were staying. In your case you said under a bush. It had rained the previous night, the normal interview with you carried on for quite a while and you were giving evasive answers. It was also asked of you where Ashley Forbes was. I am not very sure if it was Ashley Forbes, but I know you gave the name of Josef. It was obvious that you were playing for time and then I resorted to using the wet bag method on you.

I also think that during the sessions with the wet bag, we were not getting the desired results. Time was going on and I think I applied electric shocks to you by means of a hand generator.

MR JACOBS: Now, if I can come to that. You say that we were not getting the desired results. Who are the people you are referring to in your "we"?

MR BENZIEN: The members who were at the Unit that morning. I almost think, I know Captain Liebenberg was there, although he says he was not in the office. I think it is possible that Sergeant Kotze, I think helped me on that occasion. I hope I am not giving the wrong name in this case.

MR JACOBS: In your evidence you would suggest that only the two of you were busy questioning me whilst I was having this bag over my head?

MR BENZIEN: As far as I can remember, but the wet bag effort was not used all the time. It was removed from period to period and you were then interviewed without the duress of the bag.

MR JACOBS: Okay. You then also say, I am going to go through the detail of the questioning as well, a bit later, but you also say that at some point you added electric shocks to me. Where did you add those shocks in your evidence? In which parts of my body, to be more clear?

MR BENZIEN: I am not exactly clear on this, but if you told me I could refresh my memory.

MR JACOBS: Yet, that is very strange to me, you see. Yet you could now explain exactly what had happened when I was brought it, I was handcuffed, yet when it comes to asking specific parts, you are not, you see that is the question I want to get to if the Commission allows me.

That it is only when one provides him with information, then he says if that is so, I would concede, and that is where I am a bit concerned and therefore not very, and a bit disturbed that it is probably going to distress me more that you begin to only add when we provide you, then you say.

So I am going to say again, there was a person you have never mentioned throughout the past few days, a Nortje was also.

JUDGE NGOEPE: Sorry, before you get there, let's sum up what you were trying to put to the witness. I think Mr Jacobs is saying to you that you were able to remember the details, the questions that you asked me for example that you stayed under the bush and so on and so forth, but when it comes to exactly where on my body did you apply electric shocks, suddenly you don't remember. That is what he is saying. And he is asking you how do you explain that?

MR BENZIEN: Sir, if I said to Mr Jacobs I put the electrodes in his nose, I may be wrong. If I said I attached it to his genitals, I may be wrong. If I put a probe into his rectum, I may be wrong. That is why the specific methods I could have used any one of those three.

ADV DE JAGER: Did you during your service, use all three methods?

MR BENZIEN: In the case of Mr Jacobs, yes, Sir.

MS KHAMPEPE: Mr Benzien, have I understood your evidence to be to the effect that you applied the wet bag method for quite a longer time with Mr Jacobs than with any of the victims that you have mentioned before this Committee?

MR BENZIEN: Excuse me Ma'am?

MS KHAMPEPE: Have I understood you to be saying that you applied the wet bag method much longer than on any of the other people that you have mentioned before the Committee?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct Ma'am. If I may, without preempting Mr Jacobs' testimony, why I say longer with Mr Jacobs, is I think, Mr Jacobs was arrested around ten o'clock the morning.

MR JACOBS: Five past nine, in the morning.

MR BENZIEN: Five past nine in the morning, the intelligence that we had was that he was travelling in all probability with Mr Forbes.

With every method we tried, Mr Jacobs gave evasive answers. We could not get around to it. It was obvious that he was playing for time.

In a nutshell the only way we got him to speak was, by doing a rouse with the watch. I don't know if you gentlemen, lady are aware of the watch story? We had removed our watches and moved the time onto four o'clock the afternoon.

And I was standing in the passage outside the office and I said, we are getting nowhere with this, it is four o'clock, I am going home. And immediately Mr Jacobs heard the time four o'clock, which in actual fact, I think was around about twenty to two, Mr Jacobs then said, no problem I will take you to where I was living. We drove directly to that place and en route he said, yes, the cut out time was two o'clock. It was in actual fact quarter to two and we went to this house and we arrested Mr Forbes. But I do concede that the torture of Mr Jacobs was robust and very long.

MS KHAMPEPE: How long was it when you say it was long. I know you have already given evidence that it would take you about 30 minutes to apply the wet bag method? With Mr Jacobs, how long did it take you to apply that method?

MR BENZIEN: The method was not applied continuously over those hours. There was taken away on a conventional way of speaking, question, answer, question, answer, trying to get to him. And we weren't getting anywhere with this questioning. But that he was intensively molested, abused, I concede of all the people, he was the longest.

JUDGE WILSON: Have you used electric shocks on any of the people you have questioned?



MR BENZIEN: I think just on Mr Jacobs.

JUDGE WILSON: And yet you have difficulty remembering what you did, or what order you did things in, although that was the first time you did it, is that what you are saying?

MR BENZIEN: I am saying that Sir.

JUDGE WILSON: Where did you get the generator from?

MR BENZIEN: I had acquired it by some or other telephone mechanic person.

JUDGE WILSON: But you had never used it, you just kept it?

MR BENZIEN: I kept it, Sir.

JUDGE WILSON: And you say you used all three shock methods on Mr Jacobs?

MR BENZIEN: I don't think all three shock methods, but I could have used it in one of the three or a combination.

JUDGE WILSON: But although you cannot tell us which one, although that was the first time you had ever done it?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

JUDGE WILSON: But yet you can remember that it was 1:40, when you said in the passage outside it is four o'clock, I am going home, that you have no difficulty remembering?


MR JACOBS: Which is where my problem, if I may enter, this is where my problem then comes into the picture. For instance you are saying that you tortured me, you added - firstly in your application, you say you used the wet bag method. You don't mention anything else. When pushed, you do that, which is - now my question is, if you look at the photo's of how you showed it to us yesterday, it is impossible for, I consider it impossible for you to have done that and then add the wet bag, have the wet bag slightly removed, obviously a person who is in distress, who is for the first time probably in a few minutes, gets fresh air, I would have then been very agitated and very energetic, I wanted to get out, how is it possible that you could add these electric shocks?

And I would add that you put it up my rectum and in my ear. So how is it possible that you were doing that alone, throughout the past two days you were saying you were doing that alone?

MR BENZIEN: I said on most of the occasions with the wet bag method I could do it alone. I have already conceded with your interrogation, it took longer. I could remember I think it is Johan Kotze, you mention Nortje. It is possible that Nortje also helped there.

MR JACOBS: Can you then explain to us and I would like to know why you haven't mentioned his name? Because I remember he was the one Kotze was there, putting the electric shocks on. I remember his voice saying should I do it here or there, where should I put it?

And then you held the bag down and then Nortje was shouting the questions down my ear. Now how come you don't remember him and I was supposedly your first victim?

JUDGE WILSON: First shock victim I think he said?

MR BENZIEN: I also think he was the first victim, Sir.

MR JACOBS: Do you know or do you think, let us hear. Let us hear that clearly, first and then you answer my second question as well.

MR BENZIEN: I will concede that Nortje was with and Kotze and then again, I am relying on memory, the insertion of the electric wires as by Mr Jacobs' own account was attached by Kotze. Therefore Sir, to go back to that other answer, if it was in the ears or in the rectum or where, it would appear it was the ear and the rectum.

MR JACOBS: Now, would you then, so obviously now this group, this Unit that you belonged to, it seems to get bigger by the hour. Initially there was you and Liebenberg, then there was Goosen, then there was Nel after the questioning and then J.P. van Zyl, then Kotze and now there is Nortje. Who else was there? I will assist you potentially later on if you could try and remember harder this time, who else was there?

MR BENZIEN: The initial Unit as in my statement is Liebenberg, Nel, myself, Kotze, Van Zyl. Goosen and I have told the Commission that some members left and others came along.

Mr Yengeni spoke about Goosen, that is correct. Sergeant, then Sergeant or Warrant Officer Nortje was not a regular member of the Terrorist Detection Unit.

MR JACOBS: Yet, given that he was not a regular member of the Terrorist Detection Unit, your evidence earlier was that you would act in a manner alone so as to avoid unnecessary exposure in court, you allow an irregular member into this group to do the torture physically and be part of this inner circle as it were, how do you explain that?

MR BENZIEN: It wasn't that he wasn't a regular member of the Security Branch, he had been a member of the Security Branch for a much longer time than me and he was also very much a companion of Lieutenant Liebenberg and Nel. He also if I am not mistaken, was a member of the Investigation Team who then also became at a stage the Investigating Officer for your case.

MR JACOBS: Now tell me again, I would say that you are not telling us all the truth in terms of who was all there, because on the day when I was brought in, it was Goosen specifically who said this man is laughing and then Liebenberg's words were don't worry, they will all sing like birds later.

Now I want to hear you saying, if I was the first torture victim, how could Liebenberg have said that? ... (tape ends) ... before me, could have been tortured?

MR BENZIEN: I am now aware of this Sir.

MR JACOBS: But do you concede that Liebenberg had said that?

MR BENZIEN: Not in my presence.

MR JACOBS: And you were with me from the time I entered into Culemborg, you were there with the whole group. There were about six, seven of them around me, do you recall that?

MR BENZIEN: The finer detail of this, I honestly cannot remember.

MR JACOBS: How come you remember that I was twenty to two, was the time that you had set me up in terms of the watch rouse, but you can't remember, as Mr Kruse said earlier, it is an inner circle, you do things. Remember you are confronting supposedly these dangerous terrorists, you trust those people around you. How come you don't remember those people who were all there, who were ...

MR BENZIEN: On numerous occasions, there were people. I am trying to the best of my knowledge to remember which people and not just pull names out of a hat and say - to let my story look better and say so, so and the other person was there.

On your part of the twenty to two, your cut out time, if you can remember correctly, was 14h00, that is how I remember it was approximately twenty to two or approximately twenty to two when we left.

MR JACOBS: I would also then suggest that there was about 15 people when I was brought in. Remember there was a group of Coloured policemen who arrested me, seemingly deployed on the scene of my arrest, at the door of Culemborg, they were told they could leave then all of the other which has happened to me, White men came into the picture. There was also Colonel Smit, was also there. Do you remember him?

MR BENZIEN: I do not remember Colonel Smit being there. He may have been there, but if my memory does not fail me and this is a one incident that you are thinking of. I had numerous, I don't think I was at Culemborg at your time of arrival.

Am I correct, or did I arrive at Culemborg after you had been brought to Culemborg?

MR JACOBS: No, when I arrived there by the door, then when they brought me there, put it that way, all of you, the door was opened from the inside and there was a group of men there. You were one of that group, standing there and it was where I was then smacked firstly by Liebenberg.

MR BENZIEN: That may be so Sir, I cannot remember.

MR JACOBS: That may have been so? Now see, every time it happens that you say, you see, that is where my problem, the Commission can allow me just to make this point.

We had indicated earlier that obviously it would be in national interest for us to support an application for amnesty if the whole truth is told, not just a part of the truth and every time when I ask you, when others have asked, when new evidence is set, then you say that might have been so. You have never earlier spoke about the shock treatment. But let's just go to the shock treatment. Why was that necessary given that you were saying that the bag and all of that, I mean what would that make a difference?

MR BENZIEN: I was using any means at my disposal to get you to tell us where your friend or compatriot was hiding.

MR JACOBS: Now, the question is then anything to get me to talk, is that what you are saying, anything?

MR BENZIEN: Anything short of killing you, yes.

MR JACOBS: So, when I was - after a few times what had happened, you would undress me, tie my blue belt around my feet, throw me on the ground, put the handcuffs which was this round, I think it was the handcuffs with the cloth over my arm to prevent me from having, because of the struggle you will do that and that will happen quite a few times, but at some point, I think it is about the fourth time, when I thought I am dying, you woke me up and you said, Peter, I will take you to the verge as death as many times as I want to. But here you are going to talk and if it means that, then you will die, that is okay. Do you remember that?

MR BENZIEN: I concede I may have said that, Sir.

MR JACOBS: I want you to know, I want you to tell me, because this is important for me. The Truth Commission can amnesty, but this is important for me, did you say that?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, I did say that.

MR JACOBS: So, now how come you are saying earlier that I would concede that it might be so, that is so. Because I would remember my own torture very detailed, it is a very personal experience.

MR BENZIEN: I said that Peter, and without trying to justify my cause, under the circumstances I had to make a person think that his life in our hands could be taken. So that you could think the only way to survive is to tell us what we wanted to know.

MR JACOBS: No, but your words were you are not going to die here, now, remember that? Do you remember that?

MR BENZIEN: Not specifically, but maybe yes.

MR JACOBS: And then further you added, I will take you to the verge of death as many times as I want to. And that is the power that you had over us, do you remember that?

MR BENZIEN: I concede this, this question was asked to me before and I think I did say to you yes, I will honestly concede that I said that.

MR JACOBS: Now obviously the issue comes, if you can accept that, do you then - why was this not mentioned in your amnesty application, what you did detail? You are talking about general wet bag method and then mine was potentially longer. Because I mean, we want full disclosure of what you said, because remember everything in court you denied and therefore the Judge dismissed it. Which means it was not true what I said then, now you are admitting.

Why did you not say this earlier, so that we could have started this process from a very solid and honest foundation?

MR BENZIEN: If you are referring to the court of law, you were then being tried for terrorism. I could not admit to that and now in this Commission, the using of the electric shocks I couldn't bring to put on paper, but I have approached the Commission and the shocks have not been drawn out of me, I have told this to the court.

MR JACOBS: You have told this to?

MR BENZIEN: To the Commission.

MR JACOBS: When was that?


MR JACOBS: After I had told you what had happened, or after Ashley Forbes had questioned you about it, then you said. You didn't give it out of your own, will you concede to that?

MR BENZIEN: Ashley Forbes, if I can remember correctly said that I had shocked him and I denied that and said only Peter Jacobs.

MR JACOBS: Why would, if I may, would Ashley Forbes remember the carpet that he was wrapped up in the carpet, he was tortured in exactly the same method and then he adds an additional thing that wouldn't have been necessarily far more worse, because already all the others were just as evil, why would he then add something else to it and then you deny that? I mean that to me doesn't make sense. Could you explain that?

MR BENZIEN: Because I am of the opinion that I did not apply shocks to Ashley Forbes, I have applied shocks to only one person, and that is you and for that I apologise.

MR JACOBS: So now, so in your okay, in your, let's go on to, so whilst I was being tortured, there was Kotze, there was Nortje, Liebenberg was in the room as well, then there were the other people in the area. I could hear there were many voices there. What were they doing?

MR BENZIEN: I haven't got a clue. As you will agree, most of the time, I was in the office with you.

MR JACOBS: I think I am going to come back to this point. Firstly, maybe firstly let us just go to the torture thing again. I was your first survivor of this torture method of you, you would concede that, you say?


MR JACOBS: When I looked at what you did to us and then I was one of them yesterday, it was exactly the same you did with me as well. Yet, you appeared very effective at what you were doing, how come given that you have had no experience before that, supposedly, how come you were able to do it that effectively?

MR BENZIEN: I can't answer that how effectively it was.

MR JACOBS: Are you a natural talent at this, I mean, do you think? Because it is the first time, you admitted yesterday?

MR BENZIEN: I wouldn't know if I have got a natural talent for it, it is not a very nice talent to have.

MR JACOBS: Okay. It is not a very nice talent to have? If it is not a very nice talent to have, you went on, if you say from nine o'clock till two o'clock, which is quite a few hours, you went on for long with something you are not very comfortable with? How do you explain that?

MR BENZIEN: Mr Jacobs,the method employed by me is something that I have to live with and no matter how I try to interpret what I did, I still find it deplorable. I find it exceptionally difficult, sitting here in front of the news to everybody, I concede that no matter how bad I feel about it, what was done to you and your colleagues, must have been worse. Believe me, I am not gloating or trying to prove that I am somebody who I am not.

MR JACOBS: Now then, to go to the issue you were saying you concede as well, there were other people busy with that, which means it was an official method that was authorised and approved that you were using?

MR BENZIEN: I don't know if I am following in the right context of other people being busy.

MR JACOBS: Which is Nortje, somebody else was holding down my feet. I couldn't recall who that was. Nortje was shouting down my ear and screaming at me with questions. Kotze was administering the electric shocks when the bag was removed, you were holding the bag. And Liebenberg, I heard him around.

Earlier and after when I was dressed again, I saw Colonel Smit, who is now Commissioner Smit also around. Which means they were all there, which means your actions were authorised high up, because a Lieutenant is an Officer, a Commissioned Officer.

MR BENZIEN: Mr Jacobs, you are saying you saw these people there. I am trying to categorise and not shift the blame off anybody, if anybody is to blame, it is me and I cannot see how not implicating anybody else, I can strengthen my application to the TRC.

CHAIRPERSON: I think the question complicates a somewhat simple question and the answer just makes it worse. The question is simply was the method of torture authorised higher up?

MR BENZIEN: Not writtenly authorised, but condoned.

CHAIRPERSON: There is the answer.

MR JACOBS: Yes, which then deals with, that to me will then become a particular bone of contention that if it was not authorised and acted with the support of the senior officers, it means there cannot be a context, a political context and therefore and with authority acting with authority, therefore he cannot qualify then for amnesty. In other words he was a lone ranger and which now he is conceding he wasn't a lone ranger, there were other people involved. I want to now ask about the structures that provided the support for you, to allow you to do all of these things.

CHAIRPERSON: I think if you can just simplify your question instead of asking him for the structures. You really want to know whether you were acting on somebody's orders and if so, whose orders, isn't that what you want?

MR JACOBS: Yes, but Your Honour, if I may explain that I think there is a, what to me is becoming, yesterday morning I think we, as Mr Benzien had indicated, we greeted each other, and all of that and we came here with the idea that hopefully we will get the full truth and the full truth means how the system worked to which will then create the environment within which Captain Benzien can operate and can do certain things by which information is extracted from us and then the Investigating Officers or they then go further to get other arms, to get other people, which the Investigating Officer then provides.

Now, my torture, him applying here for me is very strange alone and yesterday when I heard him, I got the distinct impression that he, there is an organised attempt to make Captain Benzien and his conceding to it, the fall guy. So why is he being the fall guy and for who is he being the fall guy here, because he wasn't alone when they tortured me? Yet, all the time he was saying he was alone.

JUDGE NGOEPE: Mr Jacobs, you can go on if you want to ask him questions on structures, but I am happy you say you were here yesterday, you will recall Mr Kruse spent an hour on that very issue.

MR JACOBS: But you see, I will concede with that as well. He didn't answer some of the questions. I am presently a member of the South African Police Service and I have a fair idea of how structures, the police structures normally work. And yesterday when he was asked who was the Commander of the Security Branch, he hesitated and he wasn't sure and he said, I think it is Colonel Smit. Yet, you know as I mean, I know as a police member and as an Officer, when a senior Officer, like him being a Warrant Officer and a senior Officer, like Colonel Smit calls you which they from time to time would do, to his office or he is around, you jump up sky high, you do all of those kind of normal authority, and you know that this man is your superior in terms of the line function. How come he couldn't remember that? And therefore when I thought about it, I thought I should ask those questions again, maybe in an attempt to refresh his memory or then if not, he can maybe then tell us that there has been a discussion around how he is going to approach his amnesty and that he will be the fall guy.

That is what I want to know, are you the fall guy Mr Benzien? That is what I want to know and I am going to ask you questions around that.

CHAIRPERSON: Try and avoid a repetition of a great deal of what we have heard.

MR JACOBS: I will try as far as is possible.


MR BENZIEN: I hope to God I am not the fall guy, Sir. I have made application to this Amnesty Committee, because I think it is right and just. It is free for any other member who so desires or could apply for amnesty to have done amnesty. It will not be in my favour to try and cover for other people in the extent that I do not get amnesty and then have to face the full burden of my misdemeanours.

I am sure that if there are senior Officers or Officers above my rank or even below my rank, that felt that they should do this, they should have done it. It can never be in my interest to place a gamble on this Commission to take the rap myself.

MR JACOBS: Would you agree that in the public profile of three, remember this is three cases, they were three prominent cases in the Western Cape in which your name appeared all the time which is of Leio Bright, Ashley Forbes and the Yengeni trial?

CHAIRPERSON: That merely proves once again of his own participation in all these matters.

MR JACOBS: I would agree with what I am saying. What I am saying is that he was the obvious weak link in the structure, he was exposed too much. It would be appropriate then in terms of the way I think, the way it appears that to have - therefore I am asking the question of him being, is he the fall guy and is that an organised, a caucused position?

CHAIRPERSON: You see, he has explained to you that his chances of getting amnesty are reduced if he says he was taking instructions from others and that others really were responsible. Why should he take a chance, why should he do that when his chances for amnesty would be reduced if he put the blame on others? I think it is a factor that you must take into account and move on to some other question.

MR JACOBS: I will do that.

JUDGE NGOEPE: I just want to say to you that a number of you have been asking questions and very important questions, make no mistake about it, some questions were very important and have been very helpful. And we are pleased that you did ask those questions, but at the same time, there was a great deal of overlapping, perhaps there is a misconception. The fact that six people come and repeat the same point six times, doesn't make that point six times stronger than it was.

MR JACOBS: I see what you are saying. I would in my further questioning consider that very seriously and thanks for the direction which you are putting this as well. I am busy winding up.

Is the issue of where was this the torture and the treatment recorded? You were a policeman, you weren't an Officer, so you had to have a pocket book, where is that pocket book?

MR BENZIEN: No records as such as official records were kept. For all purposes the interrogation handed out to you and your colleagues were never recorded as an official business, in actual fact it was denied that it ever happened.

ADV DE JAGER: It was denied and concealed that it ever happened?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct, Sir.

MR JACOBS: Now, so in other words you are saying again, which brings me back to this further point, that there was no record kept because we heard earlier there was in the case of Mr Kruse also about the Sea Point police station issue, so it means that in that environment anything could have happened which brings us back to the question of treatment of people when injured, when caught - do you see what I am saying?

Now, the question is therefore it comes back to is the structures that operated in this which you mentioned earlier, was surveillance team which you haven't mentioned who is - at least the surveillance team I know is a covert structure, but at least the Commander is known and that person liaise with other people. Who was the Commander of the surveillance team at that time?

MR BENZIEN: Mr Jacobs, I don't know what position you hold in the Security Branch now, but do you - okay you are asking me the questions. I do not know who the Commander of the Surveillance team was at that time.

MR JACOBS: Do you know who the Commander of the Western Cape Security Branch was then?

MR BENZIEN: The main Commander was Brigadier Strydom.

MR JACOBS: Brigadier Strydom? Now you come up with that name. Okay. Then the Anti-terrorist Unit was Captain Liebenberg, or Inspector Liebenberg, Lieutenant Liebenberg?

MR BENZIEN: Lieutenant Liebenberg.

MR JACOBS: Then the askari squad in Cape Town was Sergeant Bellingham?

MR BENZIEN: The Field Commander, yes.

MR JACOBS: The Field Commander? Who is in charge of the Intelligence section?

MR BENZIEN: Excuse me?

MR JACOBS: The Intelligence Unit that provided the information.

MR BENZIEN: I haven't an idea who the Commander of the Intelligence Unit was Sir.

MR JACOBS: You see, therefore the fact that all of this, and there was no record kept of any of this, you said very candidly information was provided to you from, to you and to the Unit, the Anti-terrorist Unit about where people were at, you would do your ambushes and prepare. Yet, you don't know any of these senior people. I am not asking, I understand if the other junior people are not known, because that is how modus operandi, but you normally know the front people. So for me the concern, why I ask also if the Commission can understand is, it appears to me that the structures are still then in place.

Because you are not mentioning them, you are not prepared to mention any of them. And if they are still in place, they would imply a serious danger to the present State.

MR BENZIEN: If I may answer in this way Mr Jacobs. I have not been at the Security Branch in surely more than seven, eight years. You are presently a member of the Security Branch. You would know how many different Units are attached to the Security Branch now. And I wonder if you could tell me which Units are under who.

MR JACOBS: Now, you see I am talking about the structures being in place that wanted to maintain apartheid that even whilst there is a new State, might be in the State or might be out of the State, and is still keeping those linkages in place. It was in that light that I asked the question. You see why I am making the point that you potentially could have been the caucused fall guy, because it might be that you are covering for the others, either there is structures in place or then they have something more on you that you have to cover for.

MR BENZIEN: With respect Sir, I don't think I am following this question at all.

MR JACOBS: Maybe I will attempt to be clearer. You see if you are not the fall guy for a bigger structure, it is for me apparent that you are covering for other people. Now, is it possibly because that they have something more hidden on you. You said earlier I have done many heinous things in my life and that that might come out and that therefore you are prepared to cover for them?

CHAIRPERSON: He said he is not covering for anybody already.

MR JACOBS: But now he hasn't, Your Honour, if I may, he hasn't mentioned what those other heinous things are, besides he said the torture and those things, he said I have been involved in other heinous things. Then what are those, Your Honour?

CHAIRPERSON: No, it is a different question.


CHAIRPERSON: It is a different question altogether. We are dealing with the question of covering up for others now. Let's get done with that, he has already told you he is not covering up for anybody. I think you should move on to something else.

MR JACOBS: Okay. So Captain Benzien, what other heinous things is it that you have done that you have indicated earlier? He has admitted to the torture of the people, he has admitted to being involved in the killing, but he says there were many other things when he was asked about hanging people, which he was forced to come out with. So we want to know those other things.

CHAIRPERSON: Is there anything else in addition?

MR BENZIEN: Mr Chairman, I don't know if I said other heinous things. I consider what I have given evidence in this place, as heinous.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, do carry on.

MR JACOBS: I think I will round up and basically say it was - this is probably the first time after the court appearance that I explained what had happened to me. Benzien hasn't come up for me in my mind and the Commission is probably the legal experts and can give legal arguments, for me he hasn't come up with the whole picture, because there were other people there, he is insisting that it is not. There were other people there, I explained that. And he is not explaining how they operated, how they worked and the detail of - he explained he tortured me, he added electric shocks, that came after a lot of pressure for him to talk about it.

I am very unhappy with what he has been coming out with. I would end up with that. I would later, if the Commission would allow me, make a submission in far more detail and explain what I consider to have happened at that time. Thank you.


MS INTHANGA: Mr Chairman, Adv Donen will be taking stand on behalf of Mr Niclo Pedro and Mr Anwar Dramat.

ADV DONEN: May I begin.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, please. May I have your names please?

ADV DONEN: My name is Michael Donen.

CHAIRPERSON: And you are on behalf of?

ADV DONEN: Of Niclo Pedro who was accused 5 at the trial of Ashley Forbes and others and I understand that only very recently on behalf of Mr Dramat, who is present but for personal reasons, I understand he finds it very difficult to ask these questions.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, you may proceed.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY ADV DONEN: Mr Benzien, you testified at some length at the trial of Mr Yengeni and others, is that correct?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct, Your Worship.

ADV DONEN: And you were cross-examined at some length on what you did to Mr Bongani Jonas?

MR BENZIEN: Correct.

ADV DONEN: So it was no surprise to you today to hear the allegations that you had injured his leg or you applied pressure to his leg?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

ADV DONEN: So your counsel was mistaken when he suggested it or if he suggested it earlier today?

MR BENZIEN: My counsel was not aware of Mr Bongani, it is one of the names unfortunately I forgot, a name that I should have remembered quite well. I wasn't aware that Mr Bongani Jonas was going to approach the Commission. The names that I have given to the Commission, are the names that I could remember at that time.

ADV DONEN: But you understand now in retrospect that you should have given his name and described your relationship and interaction with Mr Jonas?

MR BENZIEN: Definitely.

ADV DONEN: You recall too that during the trial of Mr Yengeni and others, the question was raised or the allegation was specifically made against you that you had committed crimes against humanity.

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

ADV DONEN: In other words the allegations were not limited to crimes that you had committed in South African domestic law, but crimes in international law which not only this country, but other countries have a duty to punish? Do you recall that?

MR BENZIEN: I wasn't aware how far, but the statement was made.

ADV DONEN: Do you remember when that allegation was made and how it was made?

MR BENZIEN: I am not absolutely sure.

ADV DONEN: I am also not sure,but I have an article from the Argus which seems to be dated the 21st of November 1989 which suggests that the allegation had been made the previous day by Adv De Villiers. Would that be more or less the correct time?

MR BENZIEN: I would concede it could be that time, I am not sure.

ADV DONEN: Can you remember the context in which the allegation was made?


ADV DONEN: Well, if I put it to you, perhaps I can refresh your memory. It was put to you that certain allegations had been made and charges of various kinds involving crimes against humanity had been laid against you, abroad. These suggestions were made to you by Mr De Villiers while he was cross-examining you, is that correct?

MR BENZIEN: As far as my memory goes, it was just that the allegations about crimes against humanity. I was not aware of abroad.

ADV DONEN: Sorry, the charges had been laid abroad, because it is futile to lay them in South Africa, do you recall that?

MR BENZIEN: Laid or were going to be laid?

ADV DONEN: One or the other. And you were asked to consider your position because you were warned that it may be that the answers you gave in that court, after this warning, might incriminate you at some time in the future.

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

ADV DONEN: And you were given an opportunity to stand down to consider your position. Is that correct?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

ADV DONEN: And you stood down and you considered your position?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

ADV DONEN: And you were offered an opportunity to proceed with counsel or with legal assistance if you wanted it?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

ADV DONEN: And you elected to carry on being cross-examined without legal representation?

MR BENZIEN: Not legal representation as such, I was still a witness of the Attorney General's office.

ADV DONEN: You had no private legal representative protecting your interests?


ADV DONEN: That was your choice? And you elected to carry on answering these questions that were put to you involving torture and crimes against humanity?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

ADV DONEN: And did you continue to lie?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

ADV DONEN: After that time, did you change the methods of obtaining information that you had used previously?

MR BENZIEN: I am not sure while a member of the Anti-terrorist Unit, I still used it. I have never used that method after leaving the Terrorist Unit.

ADV DONEN: Sorry, I didn't get that. The issue is really, once you were warned that you had been committing crimes against humanity, did you continue to use the same methods of interrogation that you had used before?

MR BENZIEN: I am not certain Sir, but I never used it after leaving the Security Branch.

ADV DONEN: When did you leave the Security Branch for the record?

MR BENZIEN: I think it was sometime in 1990.

ADV DONEN: Now, was there a specific reason why you were chosen to perform the interrogations that you performed and of which you had given evidence? Was it because you were very capable of eliciting information by using torture?


ADV DONEN: Was that your role in the Anti-Terrorist Unit?

MR BENZIEN: Not necessarily my sole role.

ADV DONEN: What about the other members of the team. First of all, how many members were there in the team?

MR BENZIEN: Initially six.

ADV DONEN: And who were they and essentially what were their roles?

MR BENZIEN: Lieutenant Liebenberg.

ADV DONEN: He was the Commander.

MR BENZIEN: The Commander.

ADV DONEN: He would have instructed you and or been aware of the methods that you used.

MR BENZIEN: Correct.

ADV DONEN: And your speciality? The other members?

MR BENZIEN: Warrant Officer Nel.

ADV DONEN: What was his role?

MR BENZIEN: He was a member of the Terrorist Detection Unit.

ADV DONEN: Was he an interrogator?

MR BENZIEN: As far as questioning was concerned.

ADV DONEN: And did he assist you in interrogations that you performed?

MR BENZIEN: Verbal interrogations, but not physical abuse that I was aware of.

ADV DONEN: Sorry, are you saying you can't remember whether he assisted you or he did assist you but you weren't aware of it at the time?

MR BENZIEN: As far as my recollection goes, Warrant Officer Nel in my presence, never used physical force against anybody. I don't think he has it in him.

ADV DONEN: I am asking you, sorry perhaps my question is unclear, I am asking you whether he assisted you while you were using the methods?


ADV DONEN: Who were the other members and what were their roles?

MR BENZIEN: On most occasions as I have told the Commission before, I used to do it alone, except in the Peter Jacobs, Kotze, myself and Mr Jacobs has told me that he was sure that Nortje was there. There were other occasions, I cannot remember the other occasions now off hand, Sir.

ADV DONEN: Can we just briefly clear up who the other members were and what their roles were? I have three so far as I understand.

CHAIRPERSON: (Indistinct).

ADV DONEN: As I understood it, Nortje wasn't a member of the team originally, he was brought from outside. Is that correct?

MR BENZIEN: That is the evidence I gave here, yes.

ADV DONEN: So the original six, who were they and what were their roles?

MR BENZIEN: Liebenberg, Nel, Benzien, Kotze and Van Zyl.

ADV DONEN: And what were the roles of Kotze and Van Zyl?

MR BENZIEN: They made up the team of going to look for terrorists and so forth. As I say on occasion with Peter Jacobs, I am sure that Kotze gave a hand. Van Zyl was more a fetch and carry type of person, made up numbers.

ADV DONEN: Did any of the others ever assist you in carrying out torture?

MR BENZIEN: Kotze, in the case of Peter Jacobs and I have been through so many incidents now Sir, I cannot remember where any more.

ADV DONEN: These other persons, they must have known your role?

MR BENZIEN: They must have known their role, yes.

ADV DONEN: And they must have exploited it to get information?

ADV DE JAGER: Not their role, they must have known what you were doing?

ADV DONEN: Mr Benzien's role.

ADV DE JAGER: That was the question.

MR BENZIEN: That is correct, Your Worship.

ADV DONEN: Let me just lastly put to you some of the allegations that Mr Pedro has made which I would like you to confirm if you agree with them.

MS KHAMPEPE: Mr Donen, may I interpose. Wasn't Mr Benzien, Mr Goosen a member of your team?

MR BENZIEN: Excuse me?

MS KHAMPEPE: Mr Goosen, wasn't he a member of your team as well?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct Ma'am. I couldn't remember it right now, but it was mentioned earlier before.

ADV DONEN: Mr Smit, what was his position?

MR BENZIEN: Excuse me?

ADV DONEN: Mr Smit, I think he was the person in charge or a person of a very high rank, I thought I heard Mr ...

MR BENZIEN: That is correct. Colonel Smit was at a stage the Officer who wrote out the Section or Article 29 detentions.

ADV DONEN: But he must have also been aware of the methods that you were using?

MR BENZIEN: As I have explained to the Commission Sir, I would consider it naive if he did not know.

ADV DONEN: Thank you that is very frank of you. Let me put to you what Mr Pedro said and it has been put to you previously in a court, but on the previous occasion you denied it, so we would like to get some clarity on this occasion. And it is in Afrikaans. He says after the policemen, he is talking about when he met you in August of 1987, he was brought to Culemborg and he says "That there the first Security Policemen that arrived there, was Warrant Officer Benzien and Warrant Officer Nortje. When he arrived it was you and Nortje".

MR BENZIEN: It may well be, I concede it could have been that, Sir.

ADV DONEN: ".....Benzien immediately told me that I was deep in shit and that they knew everything regarding me".

MR BENZIEN: I concede.

ADV DONEN: "At the same time a number of other policemen arrived and they moved out of the room and made all kinds of remarks. I can specifically remember that one said I was now with the Special Branch and they killed people without anybody knowing anything about it".

Is that the kind of tactic and remark that your Unit would make or specifically made?

MR BENZIEN: It is possible, Sir.

ADV DONEN: "Benzien also asked me whether I knew Ashley Kriel. I said yes and Benzien then told me that it was him who shot him and that I was fortunate that I was still alive today".

MR BENZIEN: It is possible I used those words, Sir.

ADV DONEN: "After the policemen moved in and out, Benzien undressed me. I was naked and he handcuffed my arms above my head so that my feet were just barely touching the ground. I was cuffed to the bars in front of a window.

During the process whilst he was undressing me, he started slapping me in the face".

That is while he was hanging on the bars?


ADV DONEN: Are you saying you can't remember or are you saying it never happened?

MR BENZIEN: Firstly I cannot remember it and secondly, I refrained from hitting people and leaving marks.

ADV DONEN: So could you have hit him without leaving marks?

MR BENZIEN: It is difficult, people bruise very easily Sir.

ADV DONEN: But would you remember it better if you hit him without making a mark, then if you hit him with making a mark?

MR BENZIEN: Mr Donen, being in front of this Commission and wanting truth and reconciliation, if Mr Pedro is telling the truth then, then I handcuffed him to the grillwork and smacked him around.

ADV DONEN: Insofar as the personnel that were present were concerned, he says that Nortje was with you and that both of you were asking different questions. They related to a certain Anton Fisher and to detachments.

MR BENZIEN: In all probability, yes.

ADV DONEN: He says that at about 11:30 in the morning, on the first day of his "interrogation", that Colonel Smit arrived while he was still handcuffed, naked and he gave instructions that Mr Pedro should be released, sorry that the handcuffs and the other paraphernalia with which he was tied up, should be taken off. And they were duly taken off and his clothes were put on.

MR BENZIEN: I would concede.

ADV DONEN: So, then Colonel Smit must have known absolutely what you were doing, do you concede that as well?

MR BENZIEN: Believe me, it is a long time ago. I cannot with all certainty remember.

ADV DONEN: Now, the interrogation continued through the day, but here is an addition as far as I know to your repertoire.

"During the afternoon Mr Nortje wanted to know from me whom I was to meet in Lesotho. I told him that I didn't know who this person was that I was to meet and I said that the letter containing this person's name, that I had swallowed this".

Can you remember that?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct, Sir.

ADV DONEN: "Benzien then stopped interrogating me about the detachments and then wanted to know what the letter contained. I told them that I didn't know what was said in the letter".

do you remember that?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct, Sir.

ADV DONEN: "Benzien then took me to the toilet and inserted a stick into my anus and said that he would extract this letter from my stomach".

MR BENZIEN: Yes, Sir, that was put to me in the trial too. It is a lie about the stick in his anus. It was a lie then, it is still a lie now. What I really wanted was the unpleasant task of him to squat on a piece of newspaper to pass a stool when necessary, the message that he had swallowed could perhaps be found.

ADV DONEN: And did you assist him in passing the stool?

MR BENZIEN: I doubt if it is possible.

ADV DONEN: Well, I know of well-known medical means. It might not have been as quick, but did you use any other means?

MR BENZIEN: No Sir, that allegation was made during the trial and I think it was a far fetched as what it is now.

ADV DONEN: So you wanted the document which he had swallowed?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct Sir, and he indicated that he wanted to go to the toilet. And as shocking as it may sound, I wanted the document that he reputedly had swallowed.

ADV DONEN: Did he tell you that he wanted to go to the toilet at the same time he told you he had swallowed the document?

MR BENZIEN: No, no. The document had allegedly been swallowed at the time of his arrest. If you will remember correctly he had been arrested on the, I think it was the Saturday morning on the Lesotho border near, I can't think of the border name now, Telabridge if I am not mistaken, sorry.

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, can I just get in there. What do you mean you caused him to squat on a piece of paper?

MR BENZIEN: To pass a stool, Sir.

CHAIRPERSON: Where was that, in the office?

MR BENZIEN: No, in the toilets.

CHAIRPERSON: And did somebody stand next to him to await him to deliver?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct Sir, it was me.



CHAIRPERSON: Did he try to get the process going?

MR BENZIEN: I can't remember if the process happened Sir. I don't think we got the note.

CHAIRPERSON: Now, were you seriously, were you engaged in a serious attempt to try to recover the piece of paper or was this just a way of trying to intimidate or humiliate him?

MR BENZIEN: No Sir, it was the note that he had swallowed. The note may have contained intelligence.

CHAIRPERSON: You believed he had swallowed that piece of paper?

MR BENZIEN: I was told he had swallowed that note.

CHAIRPERSON: By somebody else?

MR BENZIEN: By the people from Aliwal North who had arrested him at Telabridge.

CHAIRPERSON: And what happened eventually, if this was meant to be a serious exercise to get the paper back?

MR BENZIEN: I don't think either it was dissolved in the body or I don't think the note was found at the end. This process was only, or waiting for it, only happened once and it wasn't found.

CHAIRPERSON: You mean, did he relieve himself?

MR BENZIEN: Excuse me Sir.

CHAIRPERSON: Did he relieve himself there in the toilet?

MR BENZIEN: Not in the toilet, we didn't want to lose it. On a piece of paper at the toilet.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, well, did he do that?

MR BENZIEN: I think he did, yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Well, what do you mean? This must be something peculiar. I thought you would be able to remember that straight away?

MR BENZIEN: Sir as peculiar as what it may be, I cannot remember that the note was recovered.

CHAIRPERSON: Well, what did you do? The man delivered there, did you do anything?

MR BENZIEN: The faeces was examined by me.

CHAIRPERSON: In his presence?

MR BENZIEN: In his presence.


ADV DONEN: Thank you. I think the other aspects are best left for argument. I have no specific instructions from Mr Dramat, may I just ask? Thank you, Mr Benzien.


CHAIRPERSON: Do you have any questions to ask of this witness?

MS INTHANGA: I would like to allow Mr Tasmil to present his questions for his victims, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: No, I thought he is calling witnesses. They were going to question Mr Benzien, but I can proceed if he can't do that now.

CHAIRPERSON: He has already questioned Mr Benzien.

FURTHER CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS INTHANGA: I will go on with my questions, Mr Chairman.

Mr Benzien, in your interview with our Investigative Unit, you mentioned that before you proceeded to Mr Kriel's house or to the house where he was residing at the time of the incident, you had a meeting at the backyard of Athlone police station. Will you please inform the Committee as to the purpose of that meeting and who attended that meeting?

MR BENZIEN: It was in the back of the Athlone police station. The observation team or part of the observation team was there. Lieutenant Liebenberg was there as well as members of the Anti-terrorist Unit. I arrived with the police bakkie. I there attached the logo of the Cape Town City Council to the doors and also requested a person to help me with the reconnaissance and it was decided that Sergeant Abels, I think he was a Sergeant at that time, being a Coloured member, would accompany me and we changed into our overalls.

CHAIRPERSON: Does that answer your question?

MS INTHANGA: Yes, it does Chairman.

JUDGE NGOEPE: Sorry, you did cross-examine the applicant.

MS INTHANGA: Yes, I did.

JUDGE NGOEPE: About the Kriel matter?

MS INTHANGA: Yes, I did Judge, but I made a request to the Committee to be given an opportunity to cross-examine him again on some aspects that came out during the cross-examination by the victims.


MS INTHANGA: Mr Benzien, will you give us the names of the people who belonged to the observation team and the Anti-terrorist Unit that you say they attended that meeting?

MR BENZIEN: Besides Constable Abels that was with me, I cannot remember the names of the observation team. I think there was a Simon Pembi, now Senior Superintendent Pembi, but I may be wrong with this. Lieutenant Liebenberg was there. Warrant Officer Nel was there and in the backyard there was a member standing there, I didn't specifically say hallo to each one of them. I explained to Lieutenant Liebenberg what I was going to do and he agreed with me and either he or somebody, one of the other people were going to post members at different strategic places while Abels and myself drove out of the police station.

I think the spade was acquired at the police station to open drains and we picked up a type of cactus bush laying on the field, which we also threw on the back of the vehicle to make it look more authentic.

MS INTHANGA: Do you know the names of the people who were placed at the strategic places that you mentioned?

MR BENZIEN: Excuse me?

MS INTHANGA: Do you know the names of the people who were places strategically in the vicinity of the house where Mr Kriel was killed?

MR BENZIEN: The only people that I am almost sure of, was on the other side of the train line, let me just look for the name of the road, I cannot pronounce it - Albermarle Road runs next to the train line at Athlone.

Further up the road was the main Athlone road bridge, near the police station and I understood that Sergeant Goosen, I think it was Sergeant Goosen and members were in a vehicle on the other side of the train line in the area called Crawford.

When I say that the rest of the crew or Unit or helpers, I don't know if the observation team had withdrawn or who was placed where, but when I say in the proximity of the house, it is relatively far away.

MS INTHANGA: Do you remember exactly how many people were placed in those areas?


MS INTHANGA: So far all the people that I have asked you about, you have only mentioned Sergeant Goosen, who were the other people next to the train line?

MR BENZIEN: It is only Goosen that comes to mind at this stage. I did mention Lieutenant Liebenberg and Warrant Officer Nel, they normally operated together.

MS INTHANGA: All right. And where was Lieutenant Liebenberg at the time you were at Mr Kriel's house?

MR BENZIEN: I couldn't see where any of these people had been placed. To my disgust and this is hearsay, I was informed that after the shooting incident, that when I radioed for help, it would appear that Lieutenant Liebenberg and Nel had gone into a fish and chips shop to buy lunch.

MS INTHANGA: I would like to know from you whether in regard to the Ashley Kriel matter, you have ever worked with Mr Van Braekel and in what capacity?


MS INTHANGA: Do you know if Mr Van Braekel worked on the Ashley Kriel matter?

MR BENZIEN: I am not very sure, but if it may be of assistance, Mr Van Braekel worked the then shall I say, activists unit in the Bonteheuwel area. I am sure Mr Van Braekel knew about Kriel.

MS INTHANGA: For how long were you assigned to the Ashley Kriel matter prior to the day of the 9th of July, 1987? When did you receive assignment on that matter?

MR BENZIEN: A few days before the incident, intelligence was gathered that Mr Kriel was reputedly in Cape Town or at least in the general Cape, but staying presumably at an address in the proximity of Albermarle Road.

MS INTHANGA: And can you explain to the Committee as to how is the information from the intelligence conveyed down to you? How did you get hold of that information that Mr Kriel was residing in that house?

MR BENZIEN: Lieutenant Liebenberg had acquired the intelligence and because the address could not be pin pointed, he had arranged with the Intelligence team to stake out that area and it was their task to try and identify which house he had been in.

MS INTHANGA: Did Mr Liebenberg have direct contact with the Intelligence, or did someone superior to him have contact with the Intelligence to get that information, according to your knowledge?

MR BENZIEN: The up and down move between him and the Intelligence Unit, I would think that the rank he had, he had to either do it through his Commander or through somebody on the Intelligence Unit.

MS INTHANGA: Can you paint a picture or give us information as to how the command structure ran in the Western Cape at that time? Because as I believe, you were below Mr Liebenberg and would you give us information as to who was above Mr Liebenberg at that time?

MR BENZIEN: I think at that stage it was still either Major or he could have been Lieutenant Smit at that stage.

JUDGE WILSON: Well, Lieutenant or Lieutenant Colonel?

MR BENZIEN: Lieutenant Colonel, excuse me Sir.

MS INTHANGA: Would you agree with me when I say above Major Smit, he was a major at that time, would you agree with me when I say that above Major Smit was General Griebenauw, do you remember that?

MR BENZIEN: I know a General Griebenauw, but I am not sure if General Griebenauw was in Cape Town at that stage as the Commander of the Security Branch.

MS INTHANGA: Would you say Major Smit could have known about the investigations around Ashley Kriel at that time?

MR BENZIEN: It would be mere speculation, Ma'am. I wouldn't know if Lieutenant Liebenberg was on a day to day basis passing the information through.

MS INTHANGA: Mr Benzien, I am still going to focus on the structures that operated against trained activists who were in the country at that time. Would you be able to give us structures that were operating in the region, who you were cooperating with or working with in trying to identifying people?

MR BENZIEN: Ma'am, with respect, could you repeat the question please?

MS INTHANGA: I would like to get the structures that were in operation at the time you were investigating Mr Ashley Kriel. Who could have known about your investigations or whom were you working with at that time?

CHAIRPERSON: Don't we have that information already?

MS INTHANGA: No, Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: ... the names yourself?

MS INTHANGA: I am going to put it to you Mr Benzien, that in your interview, you mentioned that you at one time were involved in a meeting at Trevits. Can you explain to the Committee what Trevits is?

MR BENZIEN: May I just bring the Committee into the right context here. While at the Investigation Unit, the day I spoke to them, the word Trevits came up, but not at all in the context of the Ashley Kriel business.

MS INTHANGA: In our understanding of the Trevits operations, they were a counter-revolutionary structure, which specifically worked on, it was an anti-trained activists unit which helped identifying people and it would have information on all trained activists who were in the country and that information would be given to people who worked in the particular regions where this people could be found.

In an interview you had with our Investigative Unit, you mentioned that you were at one time at the meeting of Trevits?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct. The way I understood Trevits and if I can get the name correct, it think it is an Afrikaans for Anti-revolutionary Task Force Group and I may be wrong that they were also for in-country exercises. The way I was made to understand it and I only attended two Trevits meetings ever. It was for the exchange of information to target certain places or individuals outside the country.

MS KHAMPEPE: When did you attend those two meetings at Trevits?

MR BENZIEN: Excuse me Ma'am?

MS KHAMPEPE: When did you attend the two meetings that you have referred to at Trevits?

MR BENZIEN: Towards the end of my period at the Anti-Terrorist Unit.

MS KHAMPEPE: What year would that be?

MR BENZIEN: I am thinking that I left the Anti-terrorist Unit round about 1990, it could have been in 1990 or 1989. And then I request the Committee that this is purely on memory, I may be wrong with the years.

MS INTHANGA: A lot of people were mentioning by the victims you tortured. Their names appear on the document you were given by Mr Gary Kruse and in that document there is a page which deals with a list of people who belonged to the Special Interrogation Team.

MR BENZIEN: I presume it is this one, Ma'am?



MS INTHANGA: The list goes to 15. I would like you to look at the names and try to refresh your memory as to whether - were any of those people present when you tortured the victims who were trying to get you to give information as to who else was present during their tortures? Have you recognised any name Mr Benzien?

MR BENZIEN: I see a Kotze here as a Detective Constable, possibly and then there is a Constable Van Zyl, Uniform Branch as well as a Sergeant Van Zyl, Uniform Branch.

CHAIRPERSON: What is your question?

MS INTHANGA: Mr Chairman, I was trying to get Mr Benzien to identify any other names other than the ones he mentioned here.


MS INTHANGA: In the event of their names coming up with his name again in other incidents of torture, on information that we have in the Investigative Unit. My next question to you Mr Benzien is, on the inquest of Mr Kriel, I will ask a question on this based on the information you submitted here yesterday. When you brought in the inquest as the strength to your application. In that inquest you were found not to have wrongfully killed Mr Kriel.

I will like to ask if you remember the evidence given by Dr Klatzow at the inquest?

MR BENZIEN: I was there when Dr Klatzow gave evidence.

MS INTHANGA: Do you remember what his opinion was of the facts you gave of how the accident occurred?

MR BENZIEN: No, Ma'am. I cannot remember his findings, but in all fairness to the Kriel family and to the Truth Commission, approximately a week after the Kriel inquest, after Mr Klatzow, with all respect to the gentleman had informed the court that he had done experiments on the heads of pigs using the same material that came from the deceased, Mr Kriel, he gave that as fact to the court, I was phoned by a gentleman having the shooting range under the Groote Schuur, next to the Groote Schuur church in Cape Town, and he had read this in the newspaper and he said that Mr Klatzow did the tests on the Saturday morning in that gun range, using cloth that he had used for cleaning firearms.

The point I am trying to make here, with all respect to Mr Klatzow, and this is on not written authority, is that I know Mr Klatzow had contrary beliefs to the State ballistics expert and it would appear that Mr Klatzow had then slightly tailored his evidence. But maybe I was out of order putting this to the Commission.

MS INTHANGA: Do you know what those beliefs were Mr Benzien in regard to his conclusions about the Ashley Kriel matter?

MR BENZIEN: No, Ma'am, not.

MS INTHANGA: Can I put it to you that Dr Klatzow submitted that he found your facts of the incidents improbable on the grounds that if you had shot Mr Kriel at short range, the muzzle that comes our of a gun, would have been on the victim's body, and the clothes would have been torn in the manner it was torn, it was just a hole. Do you remember that information?

MR BENZIEN: Ma'am, I cannot remember that I read scientific results. What I do know is that the inquest was conducted by a Magistrate assisted by numerous experts and the court came to the conclusion of the experts. I am not unfortunately, I cannot elaborate on this any further.

MS INTHANGA: Thank you Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Cook, tomorrow morning we will commence and afford you an opportunity to re-examine your witness?

ADV COOK: I will appreciate it Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. We will adjourn now and resume at nine o'clock tomorrow morning. Mr Papier, you will be able to call witnesses tomorrow after we have finished.

MR PAPIER: That is correct Honourable Chair. I just have one request to make. I have a sum total of four questions that the family would want me to in fact put to the witness and I would beg leave to in fact ask the witness those four questions tomorrow morning.

CHAIRPERSON: I am going to rely on your professional integrity in this regard and I will not allow you to ask questions that had already been covered in some way or the other.

MR PAPIER: Indeed.

CHAIRPERSON: If it is something that has not been covered, I will afford you that opportunity, but then Mr Cook, you will re-examine your witness after that.

MR PAPIER: As the Chair pleases, I am indebted to the Committee.

CHAIRPERSON: And remember it was four questions.



JEFFERY T. BENZIEN: (still under oath)

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Papier, are you ready to proceed with your questions to this witness?

MR PAPIER: I am Honourable Chair.


FURTHER CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR PAPIER: Captain Benzien, there are just two aspects I would like to clarify with you. You have indicated under oath that the area where the entire incident took place with regard to Ashley Kriel, took place outside the house or at least in the doorway. Is that correct?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct, Your Worship.

MR PAPIER: And after you had shot Ashley Kriel and slumped to the ground, was his body moved at all by you?

MR BENZIEN: From the, if I can remember correctly, from the doorframe to slightly back. He initially, initially collapsed in the doorway.

MR PAPIER: Was there any activity for example torturing or assaults or any incident that could cause the shedding of blood inside the house?

MR BENZIEN: Not at all Your Worship.

MR PAPIER: More specifically in the kitchen, down the corridor, the passage leading into the bathroom?

MR BENZIEN: Not at all, Your Worship.

MR PAPIER: I put it to you that blood was found in the kitchen, down the corridor as if someone was dragged down the corridor, leading to the bathroom where blood stained clothes were found in the bathroom after the incident. Can you shed any light on this?

MR BENZIEN: Not at all Your Worship.

CHAIRPERSON: When the ambulance arrived to remove him, were you present?

MR BENZIEN: Yes, Your Worship.

CHAIRPERSON: At that stage, where was he removed from? Was he removed from somewhere inside the house?

MR BENZIEN: No, no, Your Worship, from the time of the shooting, he hadn't entered the house at all.

MR PAPIER: I have no further questions, Honourable Chair and I am indebted to you for the opportunity to ask these questions.


CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Papier.

JUDGE NGOEPE: Mr Benzien, you were given instructions according to your statement to go to that address to go and establish whether the deceased had returned or was there.

MR BENZIEN: Your Worship, not directly to that address, although the statements mention that specific number, it is in that area.

JUDGE NGOEPE: Yes, in that area. Yes, but the crux of my question is that you were supposed to go and see whether the deceased was there?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct Your Worship.

JUDGE NGOEPE: Why didn't you do just that? Why didn't you remain within the framework of the instructions?

MR BENZIEN: The situation changed once the deceased opened the door Your Worship.

JUDGE NGOEPE: Was Abels a Security Policeman as well, I gather?




JUDGE NGOEPE: What did he take the handcuffs for?

MR BENZIEN: It was part of my issue Your Worship. I had the handcuffs in my pocket. I also had my side-arm internally on my pants under my overall.

JUDGE NGOEPE: I may not know much about the activities of the Security, members of the Security Branch, but I thought they normally didn't go about with handcuffs on them?

MR BENZIEN: It varies from person to person, it is part of the official issue, Your Worship.

JUDGE NGOEPE: Did you - how did you actually, if you say your instructions were to go and find out whether he was there, perhaps I should ask you first. Did you know this deceased?

MR BENZIEN: I had seen photographs of him Your Worship.

JUDGE NGOEPE: How exactly in your mind, were you going to establish whether he was there without provoking a confrontation?

MR BENZIEN: Your Worship, in previous investigations for example in the Forbes and the Jacobs situation, people who had an outside room, would hire it to people after advertising it in a newspaper or so forth. I was hoping that the same situation possibly, that somebody was renting the place to people not knowing that they were involved in terrorist activities. So it was on a hit and miss basis that I went to these places.

JUDGE NGOEPE: And because you had seen his photograph, when he emerged after you knocked at the door, you immediately recognised him?

MR BENZIEN: I recognised him, Your Worship.

JUDGE NGOEPE: At that stage, he was not aware yet that you were in fact a member of the Security Branch, rather you thought you were an employee of the Municipality?

MR BENZIEN: That was part of my charade Your Worship. I couldn't be sure that he hadn't perhaps recognised me from photographs.

JUDGE NGOEPE: Which photographs?

MR BENZIEN: My face has appeared in the news print on numerous occasions.

CHAIRPERSON: What you are really saying is you don't know if he recognised you or not, he may have?

MR BENZIEN: He may have recognised me, Your Worship.

JUDGE WILSON: I thought you said sometime yesterday and I can't find my notes at the moment, that you thought he had recognised you?

MR BENZIEN: At the point of arrest Your Worship, when we looked each other in the eye and we were then at a distance of merely faces apart, I realised that he knew that the charade wasn't correct.

CHAIRPERSON: In fact, you said you asked him whether he was Ashley Kriel?

MR BENZIEN: No, I don't think I said that Sir.

CHAIRPERSON: Well, he opens the door, you see him and he sees you and immediately you recognise him.

MR BENZIEN: That is correct, Your Worship.

CHAIRPERSON: Well, what then, why didn't you go on with your charade and put it into practise?

MR BENZIEN: I went on with the charade Sir, to the effect that there are drainages blocked somewhere and we presumed it may be in the house, with an attempt to cut him off from the doorway. He had initially stood in the doorway, came out maybe a step from the door. I then went forward and when we were next to each other, I went over to an arrest mode and that is where the whole struggle started then.

CHAIRPERSON: An arrest mode?



MR BENZIEN: I decided to carry out or attempt to carry out an arrest.

CHAIRPERSON: You were not asked to go and arrest him, why did you want to do that?

MR BENZIEN: Your Honour, with respect, as I explained to the court, that in that split second of decision making, I had seen it is Mr Kriel, he had something over his hands which I presumed because of the way it was held, that it could possibly be a firearm or a grenade.

It was then the scenarios I can either walk away from this and he recognised me and he goes over to the attack.

JUDGE NGOEPE: At that stage, I don't discern any serious attempt on you to try and diffuse the situation for example by saying I am an employer of the Municipality. This is a place where we had been called to for example and he says no and you try to walk away.

I don't see this attempt on your part to try and resolve the situation in accordance with your instructions to avoid that confrontation?

MR BENZIEN: Your Worship, this all transpired in split seconds. As I was trying to explain, I had to make a split second decision at that stage. Primarily I am a policeman. Here was a known terrorist, I had to or I thought the best option at that stage was to effect an arrest.

JUDGE NGOEPE: Mr Benzien, we are aware of incidents in the past where if the Security Police wanted to arrest a so-called terrorist, it would be a spectacle. Three, five police vehicles would go to that place and there will be so many policemen to arrest one person.

MR BENZIEN: That is correct, Your Worship. That is the normal procedure. That is why I emphasise that my exercise was a reconnaissance which led to a face to face confrontation with the deceased and I went over to do an arrest.

JUDGE NGOEPE: Didn't you become over-eager once you saw your prey or the person you are supposed to look for? Didn't you become over-eager to go into an arrest mode?

MR BENZIEN: I don't think it was over-eagerness Your Worship. I was exceptionally scared.

MS KHAMPEPE: But Mr Benzien, there were six if I recollect, from what has been said previously by you, there were six Security members which had been placed at strategic places on that day in preparation of an arrest which Liebenberg had planned to take place later, after you had managed to locate the whereabouts of Mr Kriel. Is it not so?

MR BENZIEN: Excuse me Ma'am, with respect I don't think you understand this correctly. There were people placed at strategic places, not to effect the arrest but as backup and the arrest would not under normal circumstances, be carried out with the Intelligence team. There would have been a plan devised with members of the Reaction Unit or the Special Task Force or somebody like that to do the actual arrest.

MS KHAMPEPE: So the six people were from the Intelligence Unit?

MR BENZIEN: They were the people that were at Athlone at the time and they were utilised. I presume also to keep lookout. Their task was to try and identify where he was staying. They hadn't identified him.

MS KHAMPEPE: So they were doing the same job as you were doing, trying to locate the whereabouts of Mr Kriel?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct, Ma'am. Their close proximity would appear was not as close as what a person would have liked it to have been.

MS KHAMPEPE: I fail to understand why you decided to effect an arrest when you saw Mr Kriel coming out of the door with something in his hand. What was so fearful in seeing someone having something in his hand?

MR BENZIEN: I had recognised him as a person who had been identified on intelligence as being a trained terrorist. At other venues where arrests were made, there could have been more than one person in the house, he could have had a handgrenade in his hand, he could have had a firearm in his hand. If he had recognised me or seen through the charade, there was the possibility that he would have used which ever weapon I presumed to be in his hands, and which in fact turned out to be a pistol and thereby he could have either caused my death or my accomplice or both of us.

MS KHAMPEPE: Were you not in a position at that stage to turn your back and use your radio to alert Mr Liebenberg and the other backup members who were in the vicinity?

MR BENZIEN: Ma'am the radio was put in the vehicle that we were driving around in.

MS KHAMPEPE: And you couldn't turn your back against Mr Kriel in case of him shooting you, is that what you were scared of?

MR BENZIEN: At that stage I was so scared, you cannot believe how scared a person can be.

CHAIRPERSON: So you say you believed he must have recognised you because your face had appeared several times?

MR BENZIEN: No Sir, I did not say I knew he recognised me. I was scared that he would recognise me.

CHAIRPERSON: It makes no difference to my question but that suggests, or it doesn't, it suggests that you surely must have been alive of that possibility even before you went to go and locate him?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct Sir, in the back of your head, there is always the possibility of this confrontation. You hope it never happens in a situation as it happened there.

JUDGE NGOEPE: Now, when you went there, when you were given this order to go and try and locate this person, you knew that he might recognise you given the fact that your picture had appeared elsewhere?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct, Sir.

JUDGE NGOEPE: And I wonder didn't that trouble you a little bit if the purpose in fact was just to locate him and then come back, didn't the fact that he might recognise you, didn't that trouble you?

MR BENZIEN: Your Worship, the possibility was always there. But I was a policeman on duty, having to do my duty to the best of my ability. I can make it quite plain to the Committee and everybody else, that if there was any way that I thought that I could leave that position and be sure he was there and then help with the planning of an assault on the house at a later stage, I would gladly have done it. My options that I had, as I say, were few and the option that I in that split second, decided was to effect an arrest.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I appreciate that, but you see, I have no problems in you carrying out the job, what I don't understand is you are a popular face and you are saying to us you went there to go and see if he is there and then come back?

MR BENZIEN: If I can sketch a different scenario Sir. If it was as normal that there was for argument sake a room at the back of the place or somewhere, the normal or the occupants of the house normally were not aware of people's political activities as in the case of Mr Forbes and Mr Jacobs.

The people of the house were not aware of their political objectives. With the result is that is why there was knocked on the door, we are already in the grounds. I thought I had seen somebody in the house. If he had not opened the door with hindsight, and we had gone to the next door house, and it was still, we still didn't find him, I am sure that I would have conveyed that the most probable house would have been the address where we were. Then we would have ...

CHAIRPERSON: No, that is not what I am asking you. Mr Benzien, when you go and locate a person, you expect to find that person there. You may not find him, but the mere fact that the purpose is to go and locate him, that mere fact indicates that you expected to find him there, so you must have expected the possibility to find the deceased there?

MR BENZIEN: The chance of finding him there, correct Sir.

CHAIRPERSON: And let me take it further from there. You are a popular face, you expected him to know you, you expected him to recognise you and the chances are that you might find him and he might recognise you, what then? What else did you expect after that?

MR BENZIEN: There was the possibility that he could recognise me.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, and what were your plans about the fact that you may find him and he may recognise you?

MR BENZIEN: I had no pre-plan Sir. I had no intention of being in confrontation with Mr Kriel that day.

CHAIRPERSON: Well, I am not so sure whether - I am asking this thing because I am not so sure whether given that scenario whether the true purpose was just to look at him and then come back unless you tell me what contingency plans you had upon finding him and him recognising you.

MR BENZIEN: Sir, the main plan was to try and determine where he was staying, staying in the back room, being a boarder or what have you.

CHAIRPERSON: It is not (indistinct), what was the only order you were given?

MR BENZIEN: To do a reconnaissance Sir.

ADV DE JAGER: But you are doing a reconnaissance and you come across a suspect in any case, in any policing activity, you are looking for a murderer or a thief.


ADV DE JAGER: You are doing reconnaissance and here you find him. What do you do? What would be expected of you, to go back or to arrest him?

MR BENZIEN: To do the arrest Sir, which I duly did.

ADV DE JAGER: Isn't the answer then that in fact you went there to see whether you could find him and arrest him and not only to do reconnaissance and drive back to your station?

MR BENZIEN: Sir, it is difficult to explain to somebody who hasn't actually been in this. To arrest a terrorist was normally carried out on the full scale method with people who could do house penetration and things like that. I would have been absolutely stupid to go to a specific address knowing that he is in that house and then attempting to do an arrest on my own. It would have been stupidity.

ADV DE JAGER: But that was why six people sort of accompanied you on this?

MR BENZIEN: Sir the six people were placed at positions, they were the Intelligence team. They were not Reaction Force.

ADV DE JAGER: What were they doing there, what was the purpose of sending them there? Was it to surround the place, what was the purpose of them being there?

MR BENZIEN: They were on the parameter of this and as far as I understood, they were there to see if he didn't walk in the road or what have you. But if the Security Police had sent me to that address, knowing that he was there, and there were only two of us, not even heavily armed, I would call it suicidal Sir.

ADV DE JAGER: On the other hand, if it was only reconnaissance and you were a well-known face, because of your activities and I don't know at that stage, whether you were so well-known as you are known today, but today obviously everybody in the street would recognise you, why didn't they send some unknown person to do the reconnaissance?

MR BENZIEN: Sir the reconnaissance team had been working there for a week and they were getting nowhere.

CHAIRPERSON: If he had emerged from the door in a normal way and without his arm being concealed in any way, would you have just walked away from there, carried on with your charade and left to go and report to your superiors that he is in that house?

MR BENZIEN: Sir, knowing myself, I think I would have still carried out the arrest.

CHAIRPERSON: Well, now, that brings ultimately to the question my brother here, has been asking you, that your instructions were to ascertain whether he was there, but as far as you were concerned, you had made up your mind, that if he was there and if you knew he was there, if it were possible, you were going to arrest him.

MR BENZIEN: I would think I would have done it again, Sir.

CHAIRPERSON: Now, then what about this whole story you put before us that he might be a terrorist, there might be others in the house, there might be arms in the house? We want to get all that, how does that fit in?

MR BENZIEN: Sir in this case, it transpired, as it happened, I had to think on my feet. If he had not been armed, I am sure a different approach may have been taken, but we would have still with hindsight, I still think I would have carried out an arrest.

CHAIRPERSON: I understand.

JUDGE WILSON: You've told us the reconnaissance team had been there for a week and had gotten nowhere?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct Sir.

JUDGE WILSON: You had arrived on the scene and you found them there?

MR BENZIEN: I found them at Athlone police station.

JUDGE WILSON: Surely the obvious thing to do is to arrest him immediately?

MR BENZIEN: We didn't know where he was Sir.

JUDGE WILSON: But you found him, he has opened the door, he is standing right in front of you?

MR BENZIEN: If I understand you correctly, with the whole reconnaissance team.

JUDGE WILSON: No, you saw him come out of the door, surely your immediate reaction to that would be now is the chance to arrest him and that is what you did?

MR BENZIEN: That is what I in fact did, Sir.

JUDGE WILSON: You've been telling us a story about how you had this agony if you could turn your back on him and he might do this and he might do that. We are suggesting to you that it is far more probable that you went there looking for him, and when you found him, you decided to arrest him.

MR BENZIEN: Sir, when I saw him, he had these things over his hands. As I say, firearm or grenade, at the worst scenario a grenade. If at that distance that I approached him, and he dropped that grenade, none of us would have been here. That is why I tried to cut off his escape back into the house by saying the mistake can perhaps be by the toilet and when we were next to each other, I was then close enough to grab hold of him.

And then the whole fight started.

MS KHAMPEPE: Mr Benzien, when this thing happened, had you acquired a particular reputation that you have testified you had to live up to? When this thing happened?

MR BENZIEN: Excuse me Ma'am, I can't follow?

MS KHAMPEPE: When Mr Kriel was shot, by that stage, had you acquired this reputation that you always had to live up to?

MR BENZIEN: I don't know.

MS KHAMPEPE: And from what you are saying, which I think is much more probable, is that you would have effected an arrest, notwithstanding and in fact contrary to the instruction of Mr Liebenberg to merely locate Mr Kriel and report to him, if you found him, you would have effected an arrest, whether he was armed or not. That is what you are saying and to me that sounds more probable?

MR BENZIEN: If circumstances allowed that and this is what in fact happened, I effected the arrest, Ma'am.

MS KHAMPEPE: Not because he posed a threat, but because you had managed to locate this terrorist who other people had not been able to locate within two weeks?

MR BENZIEN: As a policeman I effected the arrest, the compounding of the danger was that he was armed.

MS KHAMPEPE: But you would have effected that arrest whether he was armed or not?

MR BENZIEN: With hindsight Ma'am, I am not sure. If he was not armed and Abels and myself were armed, the situation could perhaps have changed that we could have got hold of him. In this case, we were up against, right up against the person who already had a side arm in his hand.

MS KHAMPEPE: Were you instructed by Mr Liebenberg to wear a disguise?

MR BENZIEN: No, Ma'am, it was my idea.

MS KHAMPEPE: Thank you.

JUDGE NGOEPE: Sorry, that I started this, but you see Mr Benzien, the way that I understand your evidence is that had the deceased not posed a danger, you were in fact even if you had recognised him, you were in fact according to standing practise, not allowed to arrest him, because the arrest of a terrorist was supposed to take place in a particular way?

MR BENZIEN: No Sir, I am not aware of a particular way.

JUDGE NGOEPE: Well, I thought you said there must first be penetration and all that sort of thing?

MR BENZIEN: Depending on the circumstances.

JUDGE NGOEPE: All right, I accept that, thank you.

JUDGE WILSON: Can I ask you about something completely different. You struggled with him and he tried to get into the house, and he got, as I understand your evidence as far as the door of the house?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct Sir.

JUDGE WILSON: Was he facing in towards the house?


JUDGE WILSON: And you were behind him with your arms around him?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

JUDGE WILSON: And the shot went off?

MR BENZIEN: That is correct.

JUDGE WILSON: Where was he shot?

MR BENZIEN: In his right shoulder, Sir.

JUDGE WILSON: His right shoulder?


JUDGE WILSON: From behind or in front?

MR BENZIEN: From behind, Sir.

JUDGE WILSON: But I understood you had your arms around him, in front of him?

MR BENZIEN: I had my left arm around him and it was at that stage, where the right arm came up, the shot went off in his right shoulder, Sir.

JUDGE WILSON: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr Cook, I presume that you would like to reserve re-examination of the applicant, is that the position?

ADV COOK: Indeed so Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Very well. It seems your counsel would like to proceed with your re-examination after he has made certain enquiries relating to this matter. You may stand down.

MR BENZIEN: Thank you Your Worship.

CHAIRPERSON: You are excused from where you are.

MR BENZIEN: Thank you Sir.



MR PAPIER: Thank you Honourable Chair. At this stage we call Michelle Ashua, she will be providing the Committee with evidence.

CHAIRPERSON: Your full names please?

MICHELLE ASHUA: (sworn states)

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, you may be seated.

MS INTHANGA: Chairperson, the Kriel family has made a request that they would like to be allowed a moment of silence and possibly to sing the Anthem before they give their evidence.

CHAIRPERSON: I don't understand. What is it what you are saying, who has asked that?

MS INTHANGA: The Kriel family, the two sisters.


MS INTHANGA: They have requested that.

CHAIRPERSON: Well, their counsel hasn't said that to me?

MS INTHANGA: They made a request to me Sir, I got a note just now.

CHAIRPERSON: What is the position Mr Papier, counsel most certainly has no objection Honourable Chair. I don't have any firm instructions on it, but if those are their wishes, then I would request that the Honourable Committee considers that to happen.

CHAIRPERSON: What is it that they want done?

MR PAPIER: I understand from my colleague that there has been a request from the sisters to have a moment of silence and sing the National Anthem if I understand it correctly.


CHAIRPERSON: I cannot adhere to their request in that form. If they would like to observe a moment silence and sing the Anthem, then the Committee will adjourn and during the adjournment they can sing the Anthem. Do you understand?

MR PAPIER: I understand Honourable Chair.


MR PAPIER: It might be appropriate to do that after the evidence.

CHAIRPERSON: It may be appropriate at that stage, thank you. You may now proceed with your questions.

EXAMINATION BY MR PAPIER: Mrs Ashua, you are the sister of the late Ashley Kriel, is that correct?

MS ASHUA: That is correct.

MR PAPIER: Now, at the time of his death, it was on the 9th of July 1987, is that correct?

MS ASHUA: That is correct.

MR PAPIER: How old were you at that time?

MS ASHUA: I was 23 years old.

MR PAPIER: And Ashley?

MS ASHUA: Ashley was 20 years old.

MR PAPIER: 20 years old?

MS ASHUA: That is correct.

MR PAPIER: Now you've seen many reports saying that he was 22 years old, is that incorrect, the reports reflecting his age as 22?

MS ASHUA: That is correct.

MR PAPIER: And his actual age is in fact 20?

MS ASHUA: That is correct.

MR PAPIER: Now on the 10th of July 1987, that is the following day, you were visited by members of the police, is that correct?

MS ASHUA: Yes, it is.

MR PAPIER: Who visited you?

MS ASHUA: A certain Captain Van Braekel and Mr Strydom.

MR PAPIER: And where did they visit you?

MS ASHUA: At my mother's home where I was residing at the moment.

MR PAPIER: And the address there?

MS ASHUA: It is 54B Flamboom Road, Bonteheuwel.

MR PAPIER: Okay. What was the purpose of their visit, what did they say to you?

MS ASHUA: When they came in, they came looking for Ashley.

MR PAPIER: And you informed them that Ashley wasn't there?

MS ASHUA: That is correct.

MR PAPIER: What happened after that?

MR BENZIEN: They also questioned me about the certain Mr Jacques Adonis?

MR PAPIER: Yes? And thereafter?

CHAIRPERSON: Can I just have that name again?

MR PAPIER: Mr Jacques Adonis.


MR PAPIER: I understand that they proceeded to search the house thereafter, is that correct?

MS ASHUA: That is correct.

MR PAPIER: And downstairs in the lounge you had a discussion with them?

MS ASHUA: That is correct.

MR PAPIER: What was the nature of this discussion?

MS ASHUA: First of all they wanted to know where my mother was working and I just told them that my mother was working in Observatory.

They then asked me who can go with me to go and identify him and then I asked who is him, and they responded by saying your brother Ashley.

And they then said and I quote in Afrikaans "your mother didn't want to listen, now we shot him dead."

MR PAPIER: What happened thereafter?

MS ASHUA: I then asked them what happened to Ashley.

MR PAPIER: Were they able to answer that?

MS ASHUA: They refused to give me any information, they just said unfortunately they can't disclose any information and that I had to contact Captain Schuller at the Athlone police station, which I did.

Mr Schuller then referred me to the Salt River State mortuary. That is where I went to identify Ashley.

MR PAPIER: Now you also managed to ascertain the address at which this incident had occurred, is that correct?

MS ASHUA: that is correct.

MR PAPIER: What happened thereafter?

MS ASHUA: I then decided to go to this address at the evening of the 10th of July.

MR PAPIER: And I understand that was number 8, Albermarle ...

MS ASHUA: At 8 Albermarle in Hazendal.

MR PAPIER: Yes. What did you observe when you got there?

MS ASHUA: We entered the house through the back.


MS ASHUA: And when I got to the back of the house, just before I entered on the house, I saw there was some blood stains on the back stoep of the house.

MR PAPIER: Yes. Now Ms Ashua, I have some photo's here, my learned colleague has seen them, he has no objection to me handing it in.

I will show you these photo's and then you could just in fact indicate and explain to the Committee in relation to these photo's, okay?


MR PAPIER: If you take a look at a photo marked Exhibit G1, is it G1 or G11 on top?


MR PAPIER: Oh, sorry, G7. Now, I see that there is blood at the entrance to the house, is that the blood that you noticed when you arrived at that door?


MR PAPIER: Okay. What happened thereafter? I have just arranged that it be handed in Honourable Chair.

Now, there would be a whole range or series of photo's we would be handing in, maybe with your leave, I could just arrange with one of the officials to show it to the witnesses and then hand it in to the Honourable Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Let's try and have a proper serial number for each photograph.

MR PAPIER: If I understand it, that would be Exhibit ...

CHAIRPERSON: Did you mark this Exhibit G7?

MR PAPIER: G7, Honourable Chair is the photo's that have been used at the official inquest and the numbers that appear on top of the document, is the inquest Exhibit number.

CHAIRPERSON: I beg your pardon? So we will give them a number here, now. Apparently the only Exhibit that has been handed in up to now, is a letter.

MR PAPIER: And the two affidavits.

CHAIRPERSON: I am sorry, Annexures A and B.

JUDGE WILSON: Do these still form part of the inquest record?

MR PAPIER: It does, Honourable Commissioner.

JUDGE WILSON: I don't think we should mark them.

CHAIRPERSON: Well, are you going to return them?

MR PAPIER: I understand from my learned friend that at some stage, they would be handing in the inquest record. If that happens and if the original inquest record is handed in, then this would form part of that record. If not, Honourable Chair, we could keep the inquest record intact and just refer to these photo's.

CHAIRPERSON: For the time being, you have shown a photograph which is numbered G7 and the witness has identified and we have seen that. So we are going to record that the witness has identified a photograph numbered G7 and leave it at that.

MR PAPIER: As the Honourable Chair pleases.


MR PAPIER: Now, Ms Ashua, what did you do after you saw the blood at the door?

MS ASHUA: I then entered the house and at the entrance of the house was, I first entered through a door which led me into like a little lobby and then through the lobby, I entered into another door which leads me into the kitchen of the house.

JUDGE WILSON: Was there anyone at the house at the time you went there?

MS ASHUA: Yes, Your Honour.


MS ASHUA: I believe it is a sister of the owner of the house.

CHAIRPERSON: We might perhaps just as well get the name of the owner. Whose house was it?

MS ASHUA: A lady by the name of Thelma Ismail.

CHAIRPERSON: She was the occupant? Did she live there?

MS ASHUA: Yes, Your Honour.

MR PAPIER: If we could just clarify that, Ms Ashua. When you got to the house, you found a lady at the house?

MS ASHUA: Yes, that is right.

MR PAPIER: Did you know whether that occupant, that lady stayed there or did she in fact, or what was the purpose of her presence?

MS ASHUA: She introduced herself to me as the sister of Thelma and she wasn't staying at the house.

MR PAPIER: Is that what she said?


MR PAPIER: And did she say what she was doing there?

MS ASHUA: She was busy cleaning up the - she was there to clean the blood and the place after the incident.

MR PAPIER: The house, yes? And so fine, now, let me show you a photo marked LA1. Does that photo somewhat indicate the lobby that you spoke about?

MS ASHUA: Yes, it does.

MR PAPIER: And there is a second door leading off the lobby?

MS ASHUA: That is right.

MR PAPIER: Okay, and where does that door take you to?

MS ASHUA: Into the kitchen.

MR PAPIER: Okay. If I understand you correctly, you proceeded through two doors. The first door, the entry door and then the second door into the kitchen?

MS ASHUA: That is correct.

MR PAPIER: What did you see in the kitchen?

MS ASHUA: There is something that immediately attracted my attention, first of all I saw blood on the kitchen floor. And it is actually a thick trail of blood on the kitchen floor, and then I also immediately noticed on the left side, on the left hand side of the kitchen, I also noticed blood splattered on the walls, on the left hand wall.

MR PAPIER: And is this the left hand wall in the kitchen?

MS ASHUA: In the kitchen.

MR PAPIER: What did you do thereafter?

MS ASHUA: I then followed the blood trail, which led me into the bathroom.

MR PAPIER: What do you mean when you say you followed the blood trail? Was there more blood on the floor than the blood you saw in the kitchen?


MR PAPIER: And can you describe this blood that you followed? The trial that you followed?

MS ASHUA: In the middle of the kitchen was blood that was thick.


MS ASHUA: And then a thinner trail led me to the bathroom

MR PAPIER: Was it just drops of blood that you followed or not?

MS ASHUA: No, it wasn't drops of blood, it was like a trail, like dragged, something that has been, blood that had been dragged.

MR PAPIER: Dragged?

MS ASHUA: To the bathroom.

MR PAPIER: And when you got to the bathroom, did you find anything there?

MS ASHUA: When I got to the bathroom, I found some blood stained clothing in a laundry basket which consisted of a shirt and a trousers and a towel. And on the shirt the blood stains appeared on the front of the shirt and the front of the trousers. And it appeared as if it was like blood, drippings of blood on the clothing and at the back section of the collar of the shirt.

MR PAPIER: Now, Ms Ashua, I would show you a series of four photos, marked G1, G2, G3 and G4 and I would like you to comment as to whether the blood you have now described, was in any way near this vicinity on the photo? If you look at those photo's, can you describe who you see on that photo, on the photo's?

MS ASHUA: I see my brother Ashley.

MR PAPIER: And he is laying on the ground there, is that correct?

MS ASHUA: That is correct.

MR PAPIER: Is that anywhere close to the vicinity that you have now described to this Honourable Committee?

MS ASHUA: Can you just repeat the question for me please?


CHAIRPERSON: Where is he laying in that photograph?

MS ASHUA: He is laying outside on the back stoep of the house, Your Honour.

JUDGE WILSON: Which number is that, which photo?

MS ASHUA: G1, G2, G3 and G4.

MR PAPIER: I beg leave to hand it in. Now, you then took possession of those clothes, is that correct?

MS ASHUA: That is correct.

MR PAPIER: Now, Mr Ashua, you have been present throughout the proceedings. How do you feel about the proceedings or about the evidence that you have heard about Ashley Kriel, your brother, thus far?

MS ASHUA: I feel bitterly disappointed.

MR PAPIER: And why is that?

MS ASHUA: Because what I have seen on that premises in that house on that day, I had reason to believe that some information is still being withheld from the family. We are here today at the Truth Commission - in fact we came here with the hope that we were going to hear the truth as to what happened that day and we are still in the dark. We are still left in the dark.

MR PAPIER: Has the applicant at any stage approached you or other members of the family?

MS ASHUA: No, he didn't.

MR PAPIER: Your mum is not here today?

MS ASHUA: No, she is no longer with us.

MR PAPIER: And when did your mum pass away?

MS ASHUA: She passed away two years ago.

MR PAPIER: Was any explanation ever given to her?

MS ASHUA: No, she died without knowing the truth.

MR PAPIER: I have no further questions, thank you.


JUDGE WILSON: Can I just clear up one point please. You said a moment ago, you took possession of the clothes. What clothes were those?

MS ASHUA: The clothes of my late brother, Your Honour, the blood stained clothes.

JUDGE WILSON: The ones you found in the bathroom?

MS ASHUA: Yes, Your Honour.

JUDGE WILSON: Were those the clothes that he was wearing in this photograph?

MS ASHUA: No, Your Honour.

JUDGE WILSON: Photographs G1 to G4?

MS ASHUA: No, Your Honour.

JUDGE WILSON: Did you recognise the clothes you found in the bathroom? Did you know them?

MS ASHUA: Only the shirt, Your Honour. The fact that we didn't see my brother for two years, we weren't familiar with the clothing that he had worn during that time, but the shirt I remembered, a shirt which my mother bought him.

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, do you know the name of the lady that you found in the house?

MS ASHUA: I can't remember the lady's name, but I am sure we can find out what the name is, Your Honour.

CHAIRPERSON: Was she alone in the house at the time that you were there?

MS ASHUA: Yes, Your Honour.

CHAIRPERSON: Do you know whether she was there on the occasion when the shooting occurred?

MS ASHUA: I don't know Your Honour. At the time when we found her there at the house, apparently the occupants of the house had been detained.

CHAIRPERSON: So you wouldn't know who was in the house at the time of the shooting?

MS ASHUA: No, Your Honour.

CHAIRPERSON: When you said you were disappointed with these proceedings, were you talking about the manner of these proceedings or are you disappointed with some of the evidence that has been given?

MS ASHUA: Certainly not with the manner, with the evidence that has been given, Your Honour.


CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR COOK: Thank you Mr Chairman. Mr Ashua, have you made a statement in 1988 relating to this incident of your brother?

MS ASHUA: Yes, I did.

ADV COOK: To whom did you make that statement?

MS ASHUA: To the Attorneys E. Moosa and Associates.

ADV COOK: I am going to show you your statement, is this your statement? Particularly would you look at the signature, is that your signature on both pages?

MS ASHUA: Yes, this is my signature.

ADV COOK: If you could just glance through the statement, is that the statement that you have made to Mr Moosa?

MS ASHUA: If you can just allow me to read through it.

ADV COOK: Chairperson, at this stage I would like to mention that we are trying to make photostat copies, and you would be provided with copies.


ADV COOK: I didn't have any copies. I have just now received a copy.

JUDGE WILSON: It appears the lady sitting next to the witness is also reading the statement and making comments from time to time.

MR PAPIER: As the Honourable Judge pleases, that is the other sister and she is sitting there purely for the purpose of comforting her sister. May I with your leave request her not to make comments, as the court pleases.

ADV COOK: Have you finished Ms Ashua?

MS ASHUA: Yes, thank you.

ADV COOK: Were you satisfied with Adv Gauntlett and Mr Moosa, the Attorney's handling of the inquest on behalf of the family?

MR PAPIER: I object to the question Honourable Chair. The witness is being requested to express an opinion with regard to - that requires an in depth legal analysis of the proceedings of the inquest and I submit that they are not in a position to express an opinion with regard to the performance of their legal representatives at the time.

JUDGE WILSON: She is being asked to say what she felt, not whether he performed competently.

ADV COOK: Can you answer the question?

MS ASHUA: Yes, Your Honour, I was satisfied.

ADV COOK: Isn't it so in that statement, you never made mention of the blood stains in the house? Isn't it correct?

MS ASHUA: The blood, it is not mentioned here, but I did mention it to the lawyer, I certainly did.

ADV COOK: You did mention it where?

MS ASHUA: To the legal representatives at the time of the inquest.

ADV COOK: And they didn't put it in the statement? Is that what you are trying to say?

MS ASHUA: We certainly did question that matter afterwards.

ADV COOK: So despite your instructions, they didn't put it in the statement?

MS ASHUA: It might have been a slip, they might have been at fault, but I certainly did mention it to them.

ADV COOK: I will also mention it to you, in the inquest it was never raised by Advocate Gauntlett that there was any blood stains in that house. He is a very accomplished lawyer, why would he have slipped that up?

CHAIRPERSON: I don't think that she would be able to answer that.

ADV COOK: Okay, that is a statement.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, that may be that the statement itself, the documents before him did not contain the information and that is why he probably didn't mention it. We don't know how these blood stains got there, because she saw the blood stains later that evening.

JUDGE WILSON: The next day.

CHAIRPERSON: The next day rather, we don't know how many people walked in and out of the house when the police arrived there to see the body, when the photographers arrived there, we don't know who went into the house and who didn't.

ADV COOK: I am only trying to make the comment or a statement that she didn't make mention of the blood stains.

ADV DE JAGER: Yes, that is really a matter for argument.

CHAIRPERSON: She can't say that she didn't make mention, she says that the statement does not record it. The Attorneys may have thought that it may not be relevant for that matter, but at any rate she admits that on the statement there is no reference.

JUDGE WILSON: Well, you said she never said it, but did she give evidence at the inquest?

ADV COOK: A statement was handed in.

JUDGE WILSON: A statement, but she never gave evidence, that is what I am asking? She never gave evidence, so she - it is not a question of not saying anything at the inquest?

ADV COOK: Yes, but certainly My Lord, her Attorney or her Advocate if he ...

JUDGE WILSON: It is just the word said that I am querying, you said it was not said by her. She didn't say anything at the inquest, no.

ADV COOK: No, mentioned. I am trying to indicate that she didn't mention it in her statement, yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Admitted that it doesn't appear in the statement.

ADV COOK: Yes. Okay, I have no further questions for her but I just want to put on record, you know about the incidents regarding the verbal abuse directed at myself and my client which was placed on record yesterday and the fact that the family made certain remarks to my client.

My client of his own accord went to the seven victims and shook their hands and I asked Mr Papier to tell the family that my client wanted to speak to them and he said that he would discuss it with them, but that the emotions were still running too high.

The impression created here, and I want to place that on record, is that my client was quite prepared to do that but due to the emotional factors, it did not actually happen.


ADV DE JAGER: I would like to warn that one shouldn't in a place like this where emotions run high, try and pursue reconciliation and achieve that.

I think the difficult moment and painful moments that are being relived here, and I think that some of the people involved in Reparation and Rehabilitation etc, that reconciliation is something which comes with time, it cannot be forced on people, and legal representatives must please bear that in mind.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Papier, you were about to make a comment.

MR PAPIER: Thank you Honourable Chair, I was just about to confirm that I was approached at this forum, informed that the applicant wants to approach the families - it was 11 years later and I confirm that I am sure that the family would be happy to speak with him after the proceedings.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, thank you. Are there any questions you wish to put to this witness?

MS INTHANGA: I have no questions, Chairperson, thank you.


CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Mr Cook are you going to hand the statement in as an Exhibit?

ADV COOK: I will reconsider my position and in all probability I will hand in the whole inquest later on.

JUDGE WILSON: But you have put a statement to this witness, you have asked her to confirm the correctness of it, the signature and what have you, you have already made comments on the contents, don't you think it is only fair that we should see the statement?

ADV COOK: I just want to state, this statement can go in at this stage.


ADV COOK: But the rest of the inquest, I will reconsider my position.

JUDGE WILSON: I am only referring to this statement, that you said copies were being made for us in fact.

CHAIRPERSON: Oh, there they are. May I just ask you a question about your statement, in paragraph 10, you make mention of a name Himtias Ismail, as being the person who was present at the house, do you recall that?

MS ASHUA: I only afterwards now, I realise that I do remember. We came to the house and then we met this women there and I think, he came afterwards.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, Himtias seems to be, it is the name of a male.

MS ASHUA: Yes, when we came out, when we left the house, we found him there.

JUDGE WILSON: Because this statement, as I understood from your evidence in chief, your brother was shot on the 9th of July and on the 10th of July, you were visited by the police and that evening, that is the evening of the 10th of July, you went to the house? Is that correct?

MS ASHUA: It was on the evening of the 10th.

JUDGE WILSON: Evening of the 10th?


JUDGE WILSON: Because this statement refers to a visit to the house on the 11th of July, the next day. Did you go there again the next day with your sister, your husband and a friend, Robert Adams?

CHAIRPERSON: Have a look at this document, maybe it might assist you to answer the question. Just pass this on to her.

ADV DE JAGER: Mrs Ashua, we have already mentioned. You don't discuss the matter with your sister while answering the question, it could create a wrong impression.

CHAIRPERSON: We are just trying to clear up, your brother was killed on the 9th. That statement in that paragraph says that you went to the house on the 11th?

MS ASHUA: I just recall, we actually went there to the house to go and get his personal belongings and with this whole, this terrible scene that we saw at the house, I think, we just left with the blood stained clothing.

CHAIRPERSON: The question is the date that we are concerned about.

MS ASHUA: And that is why we went back the next day to go and fetch his other belongings.

JUDGE WILSON: So this statement doesn't mention the visit on the 10th of July at all?

MS ASHUA: No, it doesn't.

JUDGE WILSON: But who told you that your brother had personal belongings at the house?

MS ASHUA: I assumed that seeing that he was staying at this house, he should - surely his personal belongings would have been there Your Honour.

JUDGE WILSON: Well, who told you he was staying there?

MS ASHUA: I got this address at the mortuary Your Honour.

JUDGE WILSON: They said that is where the body had come from?

MS ASHUA: Well, I assumed that he was shot at that house and that was where he was living, Your Honour.

CHAIRPERSON: What work did your brother do?

MS ASHUA: My brother was a matriculant.

CHAIRPERSON: He was a matriculant at the time?

MS ASHUA: At the time when he left and he didn't complete his matric due to police harassment he had to leave. In fact he left, we weren't aware of where he had gone to and as I am saying, after two years and in fact during that two years, we never had a word or a letter or a phone call, no contact whatsoever with him until the day I had to go and identify him as a corpse.

CHAIRPERSON: I understand, thank you very much.


CHAIRPERSON: Yes. This affidavit will go in as Exhibit C.


CHAIRPERSON: Mr Papier, are you calling any other witness?

MR PAPIER: That is all our witnesses, thank you Honourable Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Well, we are about to adjourn now. We will take the short adjournment and we will resume in 15 minutes. During that time, if your clients wish to observe silence and to sing the Anthem, they may do so. We will adjourn for 15 minutes.



JUDGE WILSON: Did she say what colour shirt she took from the bathroom?


MS INTHANGA: Thank you Chairman. I would like to call Senior Superintendent Jeremy Vearey to take stand Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Vearey is it your intention to give evidence or have you come here to make a statement?

MR VEAREY: It is my intention to make a statement regarding my name being mentioned.

CHAIRPERSON: What are your full names?

MR VEAREY: Jeremy Allan Vearey.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, Mr Vearey?

MR VEAREY: I got feedback from some of my colleagues who were attending the hearing on Monday that an allegation was made that I had offered Captain Benzien a job and my statement is to address that particular thing as I see that it is an attack on my particular integrity as a person and as a police Officer.

Could I ask Your Honour, that the exact record perhaps be read of that particular statement. I was not present here, I would just like to have an idea of what the exact wording was and what was said in particular?


MR VEAREY: By Mr Benzien.

CHAIRPERSON: Can you recall in what context Mr Vearey's name was mentioned.

ADV COOK: Mr Chairman, I am reading, Senior Superintendent Jeremy Vearey approached me a year ago to ask for a transfer to the Intelligence Unit of the South African Police, to assist them. I asked him whether it was in connection with politics and if it was the case, I was not interested. These were only two sentences.

MR VEAREY: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: You have heard that Mr Vearey?

MR VEAREY: Yes, that is correct. I deny that I have made any such requests to Captain Benzien.

When I did see Captain Benzien about a year ago, early in last year, I was at that time busy with an investigation into some crime family in the Northern Suburbs and I was informed given his past experience in Murder and Robbery, he would be able to make a substantial contribution to some information that I might require in relation to that inquiry.

I do recall that at that occasion, I did tell Mr Benzien - raised some issue regarding whether or not I feel comfortable with the past that the two of us had together, that past being the fact that he was part of the team that arrested me in 1987 and he was also part of the team for the first session, that actually questioned me.

In that regard I told him at that particular occasion, when I met him last year, that I have no personal grudges, I bear no personal grudges against him. Those are the two references to our only conversation we have had in early last year.

I want to add that I was neither in a position at that point in time, in the South African Police Service to have offered him a position at all in any rational way.

CHAIRPERSON: Is there anything else? Is that all you wish to say?

MR VEAREY: That is all I wish to say Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Well, your statement is recorded, thank you.

Mr Cook, I understand that it is your intention to make an application at this stage?

ADV COOK: That is indeed the case. I spoke to you in Chambers this morning and I told you what the situation was. I would like to place it on record. I would like to confirm it without going into the full particulars, but just to make it part of the record, at this stage, I request a postponement on behalf of my client to be able to place certain documents before the Commission and to call certain witnesses.

What it amounts to is that I would like to put before the Commission, the chain of command. Several questions were asked by the victims and documents were handed in as Exhibits and my client was expected to answer certain things which he was not able to do by virtue of his junior rank at the time and by virtue of the fact that he didn't have access to this privileged information and policy forming.

I consulted a Senior Officer last night, a Senior Officer in the South African Police, he is a General and he is prepared to come forward and to admit that there was a chain of command which came from the top. And that unconventional methods were indeed used, or could be used and that they were authorised to do so. It is important that my client be given that opportunity to place that information and evidence before the Commission. At this stage he is being left out on a limb and it is only fair that the Senior Officers must now realise the consequences of their actions and that they come forward to face those.

The second part of my application deals with the fact that I wanted to submit a psychiatric report. The Psychologist told me that she could not at this stage, provide the Commission with the necessary information apart from a short summary and she would like to have follow up consultations with Mr Benzien to be able to provide the necessary background information and a properly formulated finding.

I think that it is in the interests of truth that this information be placed before you and I therefore request you to adjourn these proceedings to give my client that opportunity. Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: This request obviously involves the matter which is set down, or was about to be set down in connection with the application of Mr Liebenberg as well?

MS INTHANGA: Yes, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: You did indicate a date to which we might postpone this application?

MS INTHANGA: Yes Chairperson. The matter will be heard from the 17th of October and it will continue to the following week.

JUDGE WILSON: That is Friday the 17th? Why do you propose starting on the Friday?

MS INTHANGA: It is because we will be hearing hearings in that week Chairperson.


MS INTHANGA: We will be having hearings on the Guguletu Seven from the 13th which is on Monday, to the 16th.

CHAIRPERSON: Oh, I beg your pardon, yes.

ADV COOK: Chairperson, I am not available on the 17th of October, I am in High Court. If you could adjourn it to the 20th, the next week, that would suit me.

CHAIRPERSON: That is the Monday?

ADV COOK: The Monday, yes.

MS INTHANGA: That will be fine with us as well, thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. This doesn't clash with any other matter that is set down for the 20th of October, does it?

MS INTHANGA: No, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Very well. This application is adjourned. Mr Papier, you have an interest in this matter?

MR PAPIER: I do Honourable Chair, and we have no objection to the postponement.

CHAIRPERSON: No objection to the postponement? This matter is now postponed and we will resume on the 20th of October, 1997 and we will continue until we have finished it.

MR PAPIER: As the Chair pleases.

ADV COOK: As it pleases the court.

CHAIRPERSON: There are people present here who have been implicated who have asked questions of Mr Benzien -can I have your attention please, those who were involved in putting questions to Mr Benzien.

You have heard what has been said and I want to tell you that this application is now postponed until the 20th of October and we will try and dovetail this application in such a way that Mr Liebenberg whose name has also been mentioned and who has applied for amnesty, that that application will also be considered as soon as we can immediately after Mr Benzien's application.

So this is notice to all of you who may be interested to attend the matter will proceed now on the 20th of the October.

If they are not here, if the interested parties are not here, and I don't know whether they are, Mr Papier would you kindly assist in conveying this to them.

MR PAPIER: I will indeed do my best Honourable Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Will the evidence leaders make sure that all the implicated persons are told. Mr Papier and Mr Cook and Miss Lulama, it is likely that a number of documents may be used at the resumed hearing and we suggest that a convenient be fixed with counsel so the equivalent of a pre-trial conference is held so that documents may be handed in by consent without the need to call relevant witnesses and where possible to eliminate the need to call witnesses if their evidence is good, it can be handed in by consent.

Mr Cook, will you endeavour to sort that out?

ADV COOK: Indeed My Lord.

JUDGE NGOEPE: So in the process of doing so Mr Cook, let us be careful not to denude the official record of the inquest and let us not find ourselves destroying it or in some way causing it not to be there where it should be because in the process of building up our own records, we shouldn't destroy other official records.

ADV COOK: I am aware of that.

JUDGE NGOEPE: I am sure that will give us enough time if you want to hand up any documents, to duplicate them.


JUDGE WILSON: In furtherance of that, I have just given my secretary the photographs from the inquest documents that were handed in. If you could put them back into the official record.

MR PAPIER: I am indebted to your Lordship.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Very well, unless there is something else to be said, I am now going to adjourn the sitting of this Committee in respect of this matter until the 20th of October 1997, at this venue.



























DATE: 14-07-1997 - 16-07-1997

DAY 1, 2 and 3



Examination by Adv Cook 1 - 22

Cross-examination by Mr Papier 22 - 55

Cross-examination by Ms Inthanga 55 - 58

Cross-examination by Mr Yengeni 59 - 82

Cross-Examination by Mr Forbes 82 - 100

Cross-examination by Mr Kruse 100 - 171

Cross-examination by Mr Jonas 176 - 205

Cross-examination by Mr Jacobs 205 - 228

Cross-examination by Adv Donen 228 - 240

Cross-examination by Mr Papier 250 - 251

Examination of Ms Ashua by Mr Papier 266 - 275

Cross-examination by Adv Cook 276 - 280

Statement by Jeremy Vearey 284 - 285