DATE: 23.07.98





BRIG W F SCHOON: (sworn states)

MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, because we anticipate that Brigadier Schoon's evidence will be very brief, we have not prepared any documentation for you. You will find that it will be presented in a very brief form.

EXAMINATION BY MR VISSER: Brigadier Schoon, you applied for amnesty in accordance with the law for any illegal or irregular actions by you that has any relevance to the explosion at Cosatu House on 6th/7th May 1987 and Khotso House on the 31st of August 1988, not true?

BRIG SCHOON: That is true, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: You request the honourable committee to incorporate with your testimony in this application the foundation of equality before the law, Exhibit P45, and the submission of General Johan van der Merwe, Exhibit P45, and attached to it a statement by the former generals, P47.

CHAIRPERSON: P45, Van der Merwe?

MR VISSER: No, no, Van der Merwe is 46, Mr Chairman.


MR VISSER: If I said 45, I'm mistaken. His application appears in volume 1 on page 137, Brigadier Schoon's application, it's in volume 1, page 137 and following. Brigadier, is it correct that you have already, in several instances, testified verbally as well as in writing before the investigation team of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and so forth, is that correct?

BRIG SCHOON: That is correct.

MR VISSER: On the 19th of November 1996, you appeared before the investigation team of the TRC and you made a written submission and you testified as well?

BRIG SCHOON: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: You also received notification that you were implied in the amnesty application of Captain Dirk Coetzee, and in that case you liaised an affidavit and you testified on the 9th of October 1997 in Cape Town before the Human Rights Violation Commission of the TRC in a trial, or in a hearing that became known as the Armed Forces Hearing?

BRIG SCHOON: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: And all that testimony is on the record?

BRIG SCHOON: That is correct.

MR VISSER: Brigadier Schoon, you were born on the 31st of March 1931 in Nongoma in Kwazulu-Natal, is that correct?

BRIG SCHOON: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: In your application on page 138 of volume 1 of the commission's documents, you have a brief summary, or you gave a brief summary of your service in the South African Police Force, which started on the 6th of September 1949?

BRIG SCHOON: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: And ended on the 31st of October 1989, when you retired from the Force, with pension?

BRIG SCHOON: Yes, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: And you give a description of your movement through the ranks and in all the departments you were in the police and that is on page 139?

BRIG SCHOON: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: Brigadier Schoon, you have heard the testimony of former minister Adrian Vlok and of former Commissioner General Johan van der Merwe concerning the political background and factors relevant to the struggle in this country during the 80's. Do you agree with what they put there and their summarising and their perspectives that they have put before this commission?

BRIG SCHOON: I wholeheartedly agree.

MR VISSER: And is it so that that was also your perspectives?

BRIG SCHOON: Yes, Chairperson, but not in such good language.

MR VISSER: In your language then, on page 144 or in attorneys' language on page 144 to page 148 of your application in volume 1, you give a brief summary of the chief moments of the political background as you saw it, is that correct?

BRIG SCHOON: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: Do you confirm the contents of your application, of your written application for amnesty that we have referred to now?

BRIG SCHOON: I confirm it, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: Mr Schoon, can you just, I will immediately want to continue then to the incidents of Cosatu House and Khotso House, and maybe just to emphasise the point at this stage so there is no confusion, you were not involved with the Cry Freedom incidents, am I correct?

BRIG SCHOON: Yes, you are.

MR VISSER: Now concerning the Cosatu House of 6/7 May 1987, I wish to put this question to you, it is in 1987 and as we have heard you were the chief of C Section?

BRIG SCHOON: I was, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: And C Section had, amongst others, incorporated in it C1 and that was Vlakplaas?

BRIG SCHOON: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: And at that stage General Johan van der Merwe was chief of security?

BRIG SCHOON: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: Now what I want to ask you is, according to the exchange of intelligence, is it correct that, concerning the general unrest situation in the country at that time when you were in the service of the South African Police, there was a network of intelligence-gathering and exchange?

BRIG SCHOON: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: Daily meetings was held where information that addresses the general unrest situation, where it was discussed?

BRIG SCHOON: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: Intelligence documents were drawn up and circulated?

BRIG SCHOON: That is correct.

MR VISSER: For example, there was a morning conference that was known in police circles as a Sanhedrin?

BRIG SCHOON: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: And this was a daily gathering of interested parties in the unrest situation, and this included the Railway Police, the National Intelligence Security Branch people, Defence Force and members of Intelligence?

BRIG SCHOON: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: And today can you say, as you recall it, the information that General Van der Merwe put in terms of Cosatu House and Khotso House, according to your knowledge and memory, is in accordance with the information that you remember of those days?

BRIG SCHOON: I can do that, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: I would like to take you back to the date when you heard that Cosatu House was to be attacked.

BRIG SCHOON: Yes, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: Can you tell the commission how you remember you heard about it?

BRIG SCHOON: Yes, Chairperson, the instruction in terms of Cosatu House came from General Johan van der Merwe. On one morning he gave me the following words, he asked the Minister if we couldn't do something with Cosatu House and the idea was that I had to arrange that Cosatu House, as like in case of Khotso House, had to be rendered obsolete using explosives.

MR VISSER: Is that what he said to you?

BRIG SCHOON: No, the two was added together here, this was Cosatu House in 1987 and Khotso House in 1988.

MR VISSER: Excuse me, but I'm referring to the question if General Van der Merwe told you that to be damaged with explosives?

BRIG SCHOON: That was the only solution, we couldn't damage it otherwise.

MR VISSER: And did he add anything else?

BRIG SCHOON: And he said it had to be done in such a manner that no lives were endangered.

MR VISSER: When this instruction was given to you, Brigadier Schoon, did you hesitate to comply with it, or what was your position?

BRIG SCHOON: Chairperson, it seemed strange to me at that stage that such an instruction came directly from a politician, but it was not actually strange, because we all knew of the unrest in the country and we had to do something drastically, because apparently the other methods that we had used did not have the necessary effect and consequently I agreed with it.

MR VISSER: What did you do with this instruction?

BRIG SCHOON: I immediately contacted the then Major De Kock and I conveyed the instruction, as such, to him and told him he has to continue with the arrangements, necessary arrangements, and I informed him that I will arrange with the Explosive Unit if they were needed when you have to use explosives, and furthermore he had to contact General Erasmus' people in Johannesburg.

MR VISSER: And did you tell him that this instruction came from, in quotation marks, from "top"?

BRIG SCHOON: Yes, I told him it came from the top.

MR VISSER: Now, as far as your participation, did you have anything to do with the planning or the practical execution of Cosatu House?

BRIG SCHOON: No, Chairperson, I left it in the capable hands of Major De Kock and from time to time he told me what the progress was and amongst others on a good day, I visited Vlakplaas and I saw a video that was taken and if I recall correctly I would say that this was a video of Cosatu House that was taken from the street as far as possible surrounding the building that would be of assistance in the planning, because why I say this is, the front view, it was clear from it that it was taken from ground level, because there were slogans like Viva Cosatu, Freedom, Viva Freedom, and many other slogans that were on the walls of the building.

MR VISSER: This instruction that you received from General Van der Merwe, when would this have happened, according to your recollection?

BRIG SCHOON: Chairperson, it had to happen as soon as possible.

MR VISSER: But the date on which General Van der Merwe had discussions with you, how long before the 7th of May was it?

BRIG SCHOON: I cannot recall specifically, but it could have been a month before that.

MR VISSER: Very well. Is it correct that you indeed attended a meeting at Honeydew with a so-called safety house where arrangements was made in terms of the explosion at Cosatu House?

BRIG SCHOON: Chairperson, I can recall it vaguely.

MR VISSER: I wanted to ask you right now, your recollection of this incident, you tell me it is possible, but you don't remember all the particulars?

BRIG SCHOON: I suspect that I was there, but I can't recall, because the arrangements of the act itself, I left that to Major De Kock and he had the assistance of the Explosion Unit in Johannesburg.

MR VISSER: Well we know now and it's history that during the night of the 6th and the 7th of May 1987 there was an explosion that was the responsibility of the South African Police that rendered the building obsolete?

BRIG SCHOON: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: And as far as you know, was any person or persons killed or seriously injured in this explosion?

BRIG SCHOON: As far as I know, no persons.

MR VISSER: And the damage?

BRIG SCHOON: The damage was great.

MR VISSER: I don't know if I've led you about this, but the question of death or injury to people, was this mentioned by General Van der Merwe to you during the instruction?

BRIG SCHOON: It was, Chairperson, and I conveyed it to Major De Kock.

MR VISSER: What did General Van der Merwe tell you?

BRIG SCHOON: He said that it had to be executed in such a manner that there was no loss of life.

MR VISSER: Yes, and if it was foresaw that injuries was to happen, what would be done then?

BRIG SCHOON: No, he did not give such an instruction to me, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: Now you say that consequently the instruction that was given to you by your superiors, you executed it?

BRIG SCHOON: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: And you were informed that the instruction came from Minister Vlok?

BRIG SCHOON: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: How did you feel, what were your feelings, how did you motivate your actions to execute that instruction?

BRIG SCHOON: Chairperson, in that time and seen in the situation of the revolutionary onslaught, I believed that the instruction and my action was relevant to my duties as a policeman to protect the government and to protect the interests of the National Party.

MR VISSER: Can we continue with Khotso House?

BRIG SCHOON: Chairperson, before we continue, I would just like to mention that on the evening of the explosion, this was the 6th/7th of May 1987, I accompanied Major De Kock in his vehicle, I think somebody else was with us, I don't know, I can't remember who it was, and we went to Honeydew, to the house where the planning took place, and from there everybody was deployed. I accompanied him and we went past Khotso House and we drove on further.

MR VISSER: Just a minute, are you dealing with Khotso House?

BRIG SCHOON: No, with Cosatu House. We were several kilometres away from Cosatu House in the early morning hours of the 7th of May 1987 when there was the explosion. We were reasonably far and consequently we barely heard the explosion, and afterwards we went back to Vlakplaas from where I telephonically informed General Van der Merwe.

MR VISSER: Very well. Now concerning Khotso House, can you address the committee as to your participation in the Khotso House incident?

BRIG SCHOON: Chairperson, during the beginning of August 1988, General Van der Merwe once again approached me and said that the then State President, Mr P W Botha, gave instruction that we had to make a plan with Khotso House and the use of explosives was also mentioned here and also, in this instance, I conveyed the instruction verbally to Major De Kock and informed him that he had to contact with members of the Security Branch at Johannesburg and then make the necessary arrangements, and General Van der Merwe would then - and Brigadier Erasmus would then make the necessary arrangements.

MR VISSER: Was anything mentioned of the possible death or injuries?

BRIG SCHOON: Yes, he did, he said that in this instance we had to make sure that there was no loss of life or injury to people.

MR VISSER: What did you tell Colonel De Kock and did you participate further? 

BRIG SCHOON: Yes, Chairperson, in this instance the explosives man, I think it was Colonel Hattingh, I called him in and informed him, I just have to mention here that we used him in - I called him in with the Cosatu House as well and the request of Major De Kock would have been conveyed to him.

MR VISSER: And did you have a look at the building?

BRIG SCHOON: Yes, Chairperson. Since the instruction came directly from the then president, I decided that we had to do it as quickly as possible and we arranged that the Security Branch people made the helicopter available to us and it was about a day or two before the initial instruction from General Van der Merwe that I contacted Major De Kock and I think it was then Sergeant Steve Bosch, I accompanied them on a reconnaissance tour to Khotso House in Johannesburg. The helicopter pilot made a wide circle around Cosatu (sic) House and Sergeant Bosch made a video recording of Khotso House that would serve later to help us in the planning of the act.

MR VISSER: Except for that, did you also attend a meeting there in that case?

BRIG SCHOON: I suspect I did, Chairperson. But once again, because I left the preparations to Major De Kock and his Johannesburg equals, I cannot remember very well what happened.

MR VISSER: As one of the other co-applicants, Mr Johan Meyer, if he says that he can remember that he took you by car to a meeting in Honeydew, then you are saying today that you cannot remember it, but you do not deny that it happened?

BRIG SCHOON: No, I do not deny it.

MR VISSER: As far as you are concerned, was there any death or serious injuries which happened?

BRIG SCHOON: As best as I know, no.

MR VISSER: And your considerations politically and otherwise in the case of Cosatu House the same, Khotso House, I apologise, the same as that in the case of Cosatu House? 

BRIG SCHOON: Yes, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: And you confirm also the evidence which was given earlier by ex-Minister Vlok and General Van der Merwe with regards to the background and circumstances surrounding Khotso House?

BRIG SCHOON: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: I have no further questions.


CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR HUGO: Brigadier, the daily meetings you attended at the Sanhedrin, as it was mentioned, the contents of these meetings, did you ever convey that to C1, Vlakplaas that is, and specifically to Mr De Kock?

BRIG SCHOON: Not as far as I know, Chairperson, but the daily review was circulated and it was available.

MR HUGO: Brigadier, and I accept that you agree with General Van der Merwe's evidence when he said that C1 was considered to be the operational arm of the South African Police Force at that stage?

BRIG SCHOON: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR HUGO: Brigadier, let me just put it to you, and this is Mr De Kock's recollection, he says that when you gave him the instruction initially, and I'm talking about Cosatu House now, his recollection is that you initially told him that the instruction came from above and that he then asked you how far from above and then you said in reaction, "From the State President". Is it possible that you could have said this to him with regards to Cosatu House, the first incident?

BRIG SCHOON: I cannot remember that, but if he says that, Chairperson, I'm not going to dispute that.

MR HUGO: Then, Brigadier, you've already conceded this, I think it differs a little bit from your oath or your affidavit initially, but you say that the instruction of General Van der Merwe came a month beforehand, and once again I refer to Cosatu House, is that correct?


MR HUGO: And necessarily then a lot of planning had to be done in this month, or the time before the explosion took place?

BRIG SCHOON: That's correct.

MR HUGO: Now, Brigadier, in this instance Mr De Kock also remembers that before the attack on Cosatu House, you made use of the Security Forces helicopter to take aerial photos, etcetera, can you remember that?

BRIG SCHOON: Chairperson, no, I carry no knowledge with regards to that, but like I've already said, I saw a video and that gave me the impression that it was taken from street level.

MR HUGO: Brigadier, once again this is Mr De Kock's recollection, and I'm talking about the Cosatu incident, his memory says that this meeting which you might have attended at Honeydew, indeed did take place directly after you've given him the instruction, in fact on the very same day. Is that possible?

BRIG SCHOON: That is possible.

MR HUGO: Mr De Kock's recollection once again is that at that first meeting which preceded that explosion, the Cosatu explosion, Mr Meyer drove with you and in fact he was driving the car in which you drove to Honeydew?

BRIG SCHOON: That is possible, Chairperson.

MR HUGO: Brigadier, with regards - before, sorry, before I go to Khotso House maybe I just want to ask you something else, you testified that it was said that the loss of life should be restricted as far as possible, or must be prevented rather. Some of the members or the men who joined you on this operation, were they armed?

BRIG SCHOON: I believe they would have been armed, Chairperson.

MR HUGO: And can you recall what kind of weapons they had?

BRIG SCHOON: No, Chairperson, I do not know.

MR HUGO: Brigadier, with regards to Khotso House incident now, and maybe I'm asking you something which does not fall within your own field of experience, but Mr Kock is going to testify and he's going to say that the first time he received a request or an instruction to become involved with that was when Mr Zeelie contacted him and asked him to be of assistance to them with the blowing up of Khotso House. I accept you do not know about that?

BRIG SCHOON: I do not know about that.

MR HUGO: Mr De Kock will testify that he then told Zeelie that he did not rec - he cannot receive instructions from Zeelie and he must contact you directly and that he must further that with yourself. Do you know anything about that?


MR HUGO: I have no further questions.


CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR PENZHORN: Brigadier Schoon, just a few aspects. With regards to the Cosatu House incident and the instruction which you received in that case, I think your evidence was that it was informed, you were informed that this instruction came from the ex-Minister. Now you also testified that it was strange to you that such an instruction came directly from a politician. Why was it strange?

BRIG SCHOON: Chairperson, because it was the first so-called instruction which came down to myself.

MR PENZHORN: So, in other words, it was the first time that a Minister intervened with operational matters, is that the essence thereof?

BRIG SCHOON: As far as I'm concerned, yes, Chairperson, as far as I know.

MR PENZHORN: Now in the past, in other words, the strangeness behind this was that the instruction was given by the Minister, it was not strange in the sense that, the nature of the task was not strange?

BRIG SCHOON: Well, in a sense, yes, that as well.

MR PENZHORN: In which way?

BRIG SCHOON: To such an extent that it had to happen internally, inside the country. Previous instructions like this was usually with regards to operations outside the country.

MR PENZHORN: The extent of this task, if we compare this to the Khotso House task, in your mind is there any difference in extent or the nature of the tasks with regards to Khotso and Cosatu House?

BRIG SCHOON: Chairperson, as far as I'm concerned, none.

MR PENZHORN: In the case of Khotso House, and in an analogy to the Cosatu House incident which happened a year before, would you have acted on an instruction or an instruction of General Van der Merwe with regards to the Khotso House incident?

BRIG SCHOON: I would have, Chairperson.

MR PENZHORN: Now if I understand your evidence correctly, you were told that a plan had to be made with regards to Khotso House, I think those were your words, "We have to make a plan with Khotso House", is that correct?

BRIG SCHOON: That could have been the case, yes.

MR PENZHORN: That of which you were informed, when you got your instruction, wasn't that the instruction came from above or from the State President at that stage, that the State President wanted the building to be destroyed by use of explosives, a plan was to be made?

BRIG SCHOON: Is this Cosatu or Khotso House?

MR PENZHORN: No, Khotso House.

BRIG SCHOON: Yes. The instruction which I received was to render the building useless, and I'm almost convinced that General Van der Merwe also mentioned that it had to be done by using explosives.

MR PENZHORN: But General Van der Merwe did not tell you that the State President would have said that you had to use explosives, that was General Van der Merwe's plan?

BRIG SCHOON: That's correct.

MR PENZHORN: Now, in accordance with a question my neighbour here asked me, your evidence is not that Cosatu House instruction and that, which you were informed about at that stage, was not, that it was also an instruction from the State President?

BRIG SCHOON: No, Chairperson, as far as I know the State President's name was never mentioned.

MR PENZHORN: I have no further questions.




CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR DU PLESSIS: Brigadier Schoon, was there any request ever directed to you from above to cause the bomb explosions at Khotso House or Cosatu House, or rather to investigate them and to find out who's responsible?


MR DU PLESSIS: Did any politician ever ask you about this? 

BRIG SCHOON: No, Chairperson.

MR DU PLESSIS: And do you carry any knowledge of any politician or any other security person who was asked about this?

BRIG SCHOON: No, Chairperson.

MR DU PLESSIS: And am I therefore correct if I say there was no repudiation with regards to the behaviour of the Security Police with regards to politicians?

BRIG SCHOON: No, Chairperson.

MR DU PLESSIS: Now you've heard the evidence, Brigadier, of both Van der Merwe and Minister Vlok with regards to the general situation which prevailed with regards to the giving of instructions, the atmosphere which was created, the background against which instructions were handled and the fact that there was a tacit authorisation with regards to the commanding officers and security forces, you were present, not so, when they testified about this?

BRIG SCHOON: Yes, Chairperson.

MR DU PLESSIS: Do you agree with the evidence which was given by Mr Vlok and General Van der Merwe?

BRIG SCHOON: Yes, I agree with that.

MR DU PLESSIS: Now there's one further aspect I'd like to ask you about, Brigadier, and right at the beginning I'd like to say that I think that it's not a problem and probably is in your memory, and this regards the actions at Khotso House. My clients, George Hammond and Pierre le Roux, sorry, Kotze and Hammond in this instance, are going to testify that with regards to this incident, their commanding officer, General Hattingh, called them in with regards to this operation and he discussed this with them and the told them that there was instruction from headquarters and he also said that the instruction came from very high up. He also said that one of the reasons for these actions is the disruption of municipal elections, and he also said that, "You'll have to work together with Charles Zeelie from the Johannesburg Security Branch", with regards to this operation that is, and they continued and they made preparations for an operation. Preparations were made and they went one night to do this operation.

MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, with respect, can we do this piecemeal, otherwise we're going to have to repeat the whole thing, this witness can't possibly in one reply answer all the questions that are rolled into one now.

MR DU PLESSIS: Well, Mr Chairman, this witness wasn't involved in this, I'm relating the story, I'm not asking his comment, I'm putting the version and I'll ask his comment when I get to the part where he is relevant and which he knows about.


MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you, Mr Chairman. Brigadier, and during this operation, Kotze decided, because of the dangerous situation which was prevailing in Johannesburg and in the streets, to leave this operation, to abort it, and they returned with the idea to contact Mr De Kock, or Colonel De Kock, to obtain his assistance with regard to the operation, and they'd testify that they made contact with Colonel De Kock, that they discussed this with him, and then that he said that he cannot act without your instruction. Up to now, you're still not involved.

ADV DE JAGER: Do you know something about all of what he's just said?

BRIG SCHOON: No, I carry no knowledge of this, Chairperson.

MR DU PLESSIS: They'll also testify that they then contacted Colonel Hattingh and he said that he'd take up the issue and that Colonel De Kock half an hour later said that you gave authorisation that he can be involved in this operation and that the operation could continue with the assistance of Vlakplaas and members of Vlakplaas, and specifically Colonel De Kock. Can you remember any of that?

BRIG SCHOON: Chairperson, this request or instruction, I only conveyed this once to Colonel De Kock, I'm not aware of the fact that I did it twice.

MR DU PLESSIS: No, I do not say that you did it two times, what I am saying or asking of you is, your evidence was that you gave the instruction to Colonel Hattingh and you gave an instruction to Colonel De Kock with regards to this operation?

BRIG SCHOON: That is correct.

MR DU PLESSIS: And like I understood you, it was at different times, you gave this at different times, it was not at the same incident that you did this? 

BRIG SCHOON: Yes, that's correct.

MR DU PLESSIS: Is it possible, and this is all I want to know from you, is it possible that you gave the instruction to Colonel Hattingh before you gave this instruction to Colonel De Kock, in other words that a certain amount of time lapsed between the two instructions?

BRIG SCHOON: I do not believe so, Chairperson, I think I would have informed them both as soon as possible.

MR DU PLESSIS: Because you see, Brigadier, if it's possible, or if it was possible, then the recollection of Mr Hammond and Kotze is completely correct in the sense that the instruction was first given to Hattingh, and after they made a request that De Kock become involved, the instruction was then given to De Kock?

BRIG SCHOON: Chairperson, I'm afraid I can't be of assistance here.

MR DU PLESSIS: Very well, all I'm asking you, Brigadier, is if there is such a possibility?

BRIG SCHOON: Yes, there is such a possibility, I concede that.

MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you, Mr Chairman, I have no further questions.





CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR LAMEY: The rank from which you resigned, was that Brigadier?

BRIG SCHOON: That is correct.

MR LAMEY: Brigadier, what was the role of the Johannesburg Security Branch in the execution of this order?

BRIG SCHOON: Chairperson, like I've already said, the planning and the execution I left in the hands of Colonel De Kock, and he made the necessary arrangements with them.

MR LAMEY: We will accept that what you mean with that is that the detailed, let's call it technical execution of the operation, happened together with the Explosive Unit?

BRIG SCHOON: Yes, the planning thereof.

MR LAMEY: What role would the Jo'burg Security Branch have played?

BRIG SCHOON: They would have played an assistant role.

MR LAMEY: Now can I also accept that the Johannesburg Security Branch, it was their jurisdiction area, Cosatu House, and this is about Cosatu House now, that they have information with regards to physical aspects of the building, etcetera, rather them than Vlakplaas?

BRIG SCHOON: Chairperson, that is why they had to work together so closely with the Johannesburg Security Branch, because of the fact that the Security Branch in Johannesburg had the necessary information with regards to what was happening in the building and also other necessary detail which was of importance for the planning of this operation.

MR LAMEY: Very well. And the very important instruction was that no people had to be killed or injured?

BRIG SCHOON: That's correct.

MR LAMEY: And that's why, the evening of the 6th or the 7th of May was chosen, because on that Wednesday there was an election. I just want to ask you if you know that in order to comply to that instruction, that is to make sure no-one dies or are injured, the placing of the explosives in the building or the locality of the placement of this explosive, would have been really important, do you know something about that?

BRIG SCHOON: Not much, Chairperson.

MR LAMEY: Would that be in the hands of Colonel De Kock?

BRIG SCHOON: Yes, the experts.

MR LAMEY: Do you also know specifically, and I'm not saying it was the main objective, I'm just, let's call it incidental objective, and it was in the execution of the operation to blow up a press in the basement of the Cosatu which was used to distribute pamphlets, they wanted to damage that?

BRIG SCHOON: Yes, I knew about that, Chairperson.

MR LAMEY: Then I'd like to ask you, as far as the objective is concerned, I accept that you were functioning on a higher instruction level than those of the people at Vlakplaas and that you were in discussions with General Van der Merwe, is that correct?

BRIG SCHOON: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR LAMEY: And the detail thereof was not conveyed to everybody on grassroots level, as was the total motivation with regards to every subordinate?

BRIG SCHOON: No, Chairperson, not the detail, they were not given the detail.

MR LAMEY: Was there a supplementary objective with regard to the Stratcom Division, in other words that Stratcom, as a division, would also gain benefit with regards to their objectives, looking at disinformation and the cause of confusion amongst the Cosatu people?

BRIG SCHOON: That is possible, Chairperson, but I personally carry no knowledge of that.

MR LAMEY: It may be automatically during this incident?

BRIG SCHOON: I believe so, Chairperson.

MR LAMEY: The reason I'm putting this to you is, the influence which Mr Nortje made specifically is that confusion was to be spread amongst the members of Cosatu and that played a really important role, also in the Alliance and also in Cosatu, among Cosatu's people. Would you, as far as you are concerned, would that be in line with your actions?


MR LAMEY: Just a moment please, Chairperson. I have no further questions.


CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR JANSEN: Brigadier Schoon, if you can just tell me if the following statements are correct or not. The evidence that you left the operation in the hands of Major De Kock also entailed that you did not concern yourself with his instructions to the operatives with regards to which fire weapons they must take with them?

BRIG SCHOON: No, Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: And as far as their instructions were concerned with regards to what they had to do if they were discovered by say other police or civilians?

BRIG SCHOON: No, I carry no knowledge of what instructions he gave to them.

MR JANSEN: Yes, but you were not interested in that?

BRIG SCHOON: No, Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: So in a sense you were only a mouthpiece of General Van der Merwe, you only said, "Destroy Cosatu House with explosives, make sure no-one gets hurt"?

BRIG SCHOON: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: As it pleases Mr Chairman, I have no further questions.


CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR MAFOJANE: Brigadier, I want to refer you to the conversation between yourself and Mr Van der Merwe upon your receipt of the instruction to bomb Cosatu House. Now, as you are well aware, this was an illegal act, I'm sure you... (intervention).

BRIG SCHOON: That is correct.

MR MAFOJANE: Yes, and that is accepted. Now what assurances were there - of in this type of activity, did the General give you any assurance in order to encourage you to, not turn the offer down, but to rather participate?

BRIG SCHOON: No, Chairperson, he did not give me any assurance.

MR MAFOJANE: You did not want any assurance, surely that's strange?

BRIG SCHOON: We expected everything would go along fluently, and if there were any problems, the people who were responsible for this would help us out.

MR MAFOJANE: Can you please repeat that, Brigadier?

BRIG SCHOON: We trusted that those people who was responsible for this, or responsible for the instruction, that if something happened to us, that they would help us out of the hot water.

MR MAFOJANE: Now in your mind at that point, who were these people? 

BRIG SCHOON: At that time, Minister Vlok and General Van der Merwe.

MR MAFOJANE: But, Brigadier, certainly they were not the government, you know they were two individuals, the Commissioner of Police and a Minister, did you find their assurances enough to ensure that you actually went ahead with this activity?

BRIG SCHOON: They gave no assurance, Chairperson.

MR MAFOJANE: Yes. Now I want to further refer you to your conversation between, the conversation between yourself and Mr Eugene de Kock, Colonel De Kock, certainly when you conveyed this to him, and again I'm saying that would be common sense, he would have asked you, you know, where this instruction came from and of course there are suggestions that he did indeed ask you where this instruction came from, am I correct?

BRIG SCHOON: That is correct, Chairperson, and I told him it came from the top.

MR MAFOJANE: Now, and did he just accept this, that the information came "van bo af", that the instruction came from "bo af", what else was discussed?

BRIG SCHOON: As far as I know, that was the end of it.

MR MAFOJANE: Now, this "van bo af" that you are referring to, Brigadier, who was it, was it General Van der Merwe and Minister Vlok only, or were there other people that you were referring to?

BRIG SCHOON: No, I referred to General Van der Merwe and the Minister at that stage.

MR MAFOJANE: Now, with reference to the Khotso House bombing, Colonel De Kock has testified, I think it was at the (indistinct) trial, that they were armed with, amongst others, Uzzi sub-machine guns with low velocity bullets, with AK's 47 and with a silenced pistol, and you will admit that this is quite a substantial amount of arms? Now the reason I'm putting this scenario to you is, you actually received, you said, you know, that you received instructions that there was to be no loss of life and General Van der Merwe and Mr Vlok has said so much. Now, I just want to understand why then would it be necessary for the people who were on this mission to be carrying this arsenal of weapons and - okay, just answer that part?

BRIG SCHOON: Chairperson, I was not there when the men were deployed and then I would not know what type of weapons, if any, they had with them, I cannot comment any further on that.

MR MAFOJANE: But weren't you there at the Honeydew house when they left for Khotso House, weren't you there at the safe house?

BRIG SCHOON: No, Chairperson, I was not there, I was only, in the Cosatu House incident I was there.

MR MAFOJANE: Oh, I'm sorry about that. Now, subsequent to these bombings, did you receive any other instructions, and now I'm referring both to the Cosatu and Khotso House bombings, did you receive any instructions to go on other bombing campaigns, and I'm saying this because on two previous occasions, that is Cosatu and Khotso House, whenever the authorities needed something to be sorted out, "deur middel van bombe", you were the person that they actually, you know, contacted. Now, are you aware of any other instructions that were issued to any individuals to conduct any other bombing campaigns?

BRIG SCHOON: No, Chairperson.

ADV GCABASHE: Or general, or to yourself, not just other individuals, to yourself as well?

MR MAFOJANE: Thank you, commissioner.

BRIG SCHOON: No, Chairperson.

MR MAFOJANE: Now, Brigadier, you said when you were being cross-examined by my learned friend, I suppose it was Mr (Indistinct), that one of the aims, is it - oh - that one of the aims of these bombing campaigns was to sow confusion amongst Cosatu members, do you remember that part of your evidence?

BRIG SCHOON: I recall that.

MR MAFOJANE: And would I not be correct then, Brigadier, in saying that that actually was the point of the bombings, that indeed I do agree with you, and that it had nothing to do with the storage of weapons and aims of destroying those places where the weapons were hidden so that you could, you know, stop those activities, but that indeed it was to sow confusion amongst Cosatu members, amongst members of the South African Council of Churches, amongst the public and to create fear and insecurity, and basically that, you know, it was what has been described as an act of State terrorism, will you agree with me?

BRIG SCHOON: Amongst others, that was one of the objectives, but it was more than this one objective.

MR MAFOJANE: Apart from the objectives that have already been mentioned, you know you've just admitted to this one and the objective of rendering the building useless, the buildings useless, so that they can't be used for any other activities, were there any other objectives apart from those two? 

BRIG SCHOON: Yes, Chairperson, as Minister Vlok mentioned previously, I don't know if you know, if I have to repeat their testimony in detail.

MR MAFOJANE: You don't have to repeat their testimony in detail, but perhaps, Mr Vlok actually mentioned the question of weapons and ensuring that these buildings would no longer be used for those purposes, and that was the other objective I was referring to, and the second objective was the one mentioned by yourself, to sow confusion and terror, and I wanted any other objective apart from those two.

BRIG SCHOON: Well the meetings that was held there, the intimidation of people in Cosatu House specifically and the torture of people and the eventual killing of people by burning them.

MR MAFOJANE: I think those are the very same objectives that we took up with Mr Vlok and General Van der Merwe, and which I have already placed on record, our client strenuously denies and takes exception to. I thought there were any other objectives apart from those, and as a result, Mr Chairman, I... (intervention).

MS GCABASHE: Can I just ask for clarity, Brigadier, did you have information at your disposal on all of those objectives, had you seen reports on all of the things you suspected happened at Cosatu House and at Khotso House?

BRIG SCHOON: Daily I saw reports, and I attended conferences at security head office and this is where all reports were conveyed to me and afterwards there would be a security overview or review, all departments were informed, and it was circulated countrywide to all security branches.

MS GCABASHE: Now specifically dealing with these particular incidents, that's really the question.

BRIG SCHOON: This specific subject came to the fore daily.

MR MAFOJANE: Thank you, learned commissioner. You see this doesn't make sense to me and not that much of what happened in the past really made sense. We have a situation here where you say, you know, you don't need Cosatu, the SACC, to organise and hold meetings and that, you know, you want to deny them the platform from which they can do that, i.e. their offices and, you know, as a way of doing that, then you have to bomb the offices. Then, of course, the offices are bombed, but the natural result is that they simply relocate to other places, as they indeed did, and I'm referring here specifically to Cosatu, relocated to other offices and which were, by coincidence, subsequently bombed, which is why I wanted to know whether this was part of an ongoing campaign, or what?

BRIG SCHOON: Chairperson, I think it was clearly put by General Van der Merwe and Minister Vlok that these actions was only a temporary measure to temporarily stop the onslaught and we worked hard to find permanent solutions for the problem.

MR MAFOJANE: I have no further questions, thank you, Mr Chairman.


CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR THULARE: You testified earlier on, Brigadier Schoon, that before you received instruction to destroy Cosatu House, you had received several reports, you attended conferences, where the problems, as you perceived them then about Cosatu House were discussed, did you at any stage before you received the instruction to destroy the building, ever contemplate taking such an illegal step against Cosatu House and Khotso House?

BRIG SCHOON: No, Chairperson.

MR THULARE: In your capacity as an operational policeman, did you at any stage before you received the instruction, did you at any stage consider that it might be necessary to take such an illegal instruction, I mean to take such an illegal step by destroying the building?

BRIG SCHOON: No, Chairperson.

MR THULARE: You've also testified that you found the instruction rather strange, firstly because it came from a politician, and secondly in that it concerned illegal action against organisations operating within the country that it was going to be an internal operation. Am I correct in understanding that in your view illegal actions of this nature were only justified if they were cross-border actions at the time?

BRIG SCHOON: Up to that stage it was just aimed at cross-border operations, the tasks that my unit executed.

MR THULARE: You didn't have problems in dealing with the internal situation in a legal manner, you didn't need to resort to these illegal actions, did you?

BRIG SCHOON: Not as far as I was concerned.

MR THULARE: It was suggested earlier on that one of the motives for destroying Khotso House was to disrupt the South African Council of Churches' opposition to the municipal elections in that year, is that correct?

BRIG SCHOON: That is correct, Chairperson. I think it was also mentioned that other affiliates of Cosatu and of the unions were housed in Khotso House.

MR THULARE: Which affiliates, are you able to name them?

BRIG SCHOON: No, I cannot name them.

MR THULARE: The opposition to the municipal elections was, I put it to you, peaceful and completely legitimate opposition. I put it to you that the opposition to the municipal elections was a peaceful and completely legitimate action. Was it necessary to counteract such an action through the illegal means that you resorted to?

BRIG SCHOON: Chairperson, I don't know if the election had anything to do with Khotso House, not as far as I know.

MR THULARE: Well correct me if I'm wrong, I just put it to you earlier on that it was suggested that one of the motives, one of the objectives of bombing of Khotso House was to disrupt the opposition to the municipal elections in that year, and I thought, if I understood you correctly, you said yes.

MR VISSER: I'm sorry, Mr Chairman, that's not entirely correct, if I may place the correct perspective? Brigadier Schoon said that he can't gainsay it if the person on behalf of whom the statement was made thought so, but certainly no evidence was given by Brigadier Schoon that it was in order to disrupt the elections. In fact it was after the elections, the elections was on the 6th and the bombing took place - scratch that, Mr Chairman, I'm wrong, but Brigadier Schoon did not say that it was one of the objectives.

CHAIRPERSON: I had an idea that a minute or two ago it was put to him that this was one of the objectives and he agreed it could have been.

MR VISSER: As I understood it, Mr Chairman, and I may be wrong, he said that he can't gainsay it if somebody says that he thought so, because that was the basis on which the question was put.

CHAIRPERSON: But then he gave a second reason, a possible second reason.

MR THULARE: The question to you, Brigadier Schoon was, in your view was it necessary to resort to such drastic and illegal action against peaceful and legitimate opposition?


MR THULARE: You have said earlier on that you agreed with the reasons and the motives that were given to this hearing by General Van der Merwe and Mr Vlok for destroying Khotso House. I'm instructed to put it to you that my clients deny that any illegal actions took place at Khotso House, the kind of actions that were alleged by Mr Vlok and Van der Merwe to have taken place there?

BRIG SCHOON: Chairperson, Mr Robb and his assistant, it is their right to argue it.

MR THULARE: My name is Mr Thulare.

MR THULARE: What's your response to our clients' denial that such actions took place?

BRIG SCHOON: I can't respond to that, sir.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you have any knowledge of such actions, you yourself?

BRIG SCHOON: No, I did not, Chairperson.

MR THULARE: Despite having received several reports, attending conferences on the security situations, you didn't have knowledge of such actions, am I right?

BRIG SCHOON: The actions that you are referring to, can you spell it out for me?

MR THULARE: Well, for the purpose of not repeating them, was to, not to unnecessarily prolong this testimony. You were asked by my learned friend, Advocate Visser, during your examination in chief, whether you agreed with the reasons and objectives for taking out this, carrying out this action, which were given to this hearing by Mr Vlok and General Van der Merwe, some of them being allegations that terrorists operated from that building, that weapons were being hidden there?

BRIG SCHOON: Chairperson, that is how I recall it. They testified that there were instances where weapons were stored in the building at times, and there were persons who left the country who visited there to receive assistance and receive funding, and there were even cadres of MK who received further assistance when they returned, as well as financial assistance, and it was not only the election that would have been disrupted by this action, but it became a whole afterwards.

MR THULARE: Thank you, sir, what I'm putting to you is that my clients deny those allegations, they deny that their building was used in the manner that you just described, and what's your comment?

BRIG SCHOON: I have no comment to that, Chairperson.

MR THULARE: Do you accept that... (intervention).

CHAIRPERSON: How big was this building?

BRIG SCHOON: Chairperson, it was not a very large building, but it was surrounded by other blocks of flats in the centre of Johannesburg. I would say, if I have to estimate, it was about 50 x 50 square metres.

CHAIRPERSON: And how many people or organisations occupied that building?

BRIG SCHOON: I have no idea, Chairperson.

MR THULARE: At the point when you destroyed Khotso House, or received the instructions to destroy Khotso House, did you ever think that it was necessary to take such illegal actions against Khotso House?

BRIG SCHOON: Chairperson, the information, as mentioned by General Van der Merwe and Minister Vlok, and the political climate at that time, I believed it was justification for that action in the time period that we lived in there and if we look at the political circumstances.

MR THULARE: Was your unit, we have heard testimony that part of the government's strategy at the time, and in particular in the security forces, was to spread disinformation, propaganda, divide the opposition, was your unit involved in such endeavours?

BRIG SCHOON: No, Chairperson, there were special units who were responsible for that, the spreading of disinformation and propaganda.

MR THULARE: But you were aware that such activities were taking place?

BRIG SCHOON: Yes, I was aware of it.

MR THULARE: And I'm sure you were aware that subsequent to the bombing of Khotso House, the public was basically told, was misinformed as to who was responsible?

BRIG SCHOON: That is possible, Chairperson.

MR THULARE: Now, having been part of that security apparatus, where disinformation was the order of the day, how do we know that that disinformation is not continuing, that the motives that have been given to this hearing are just an extenuation of that disinformation campaign?

BRIG SCHOON: Chairperson, I was not directly involved in those actions and consequently I cannot comment on that furthermore.

MR THULARE: I have no further questions, Mr Chairperson, thank you.



MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, the next witness I intend to call is Mr Erasmus.

MS GCABASHE: Brigadier, I have a couple of questions, just to clarify some of the evidence you have given. Were you given a timeframe within which to complete both missions, Cosatu House and then later Khotso House?

BRIG SCHOON: Chairperson, if I recall correctly, the request was that it had to be done as soon as possible.

MS GCABASHE: That was it, nothing else?


MS GCABASHE: Then on the question of the possibility of injury to persons, were you expected to use your own discretion in terms of that, and did you then leave it to your men to decide on whether they would execute the mission on that particular day?

BRIG SCHOON: Chairperson, that was one of the requirements or conditions, that there had to be no deaths or injuries.

MS GCABASHE: Yes, but what did you then pass on to your men, you know, you had no timeframes, you knew you did not want to injure persons, that was the instruction, when would this have to be done to make sure that these things in fact did not happen, you know, people were not injured?

BRIG SCHOON: Chairperson, at the earliest date, when the instruction was executed to the letter.

MS GCABASHE: The bombing of Cosatu House, I think it's when Mr Du Plessis was cross-examining you, he asked about any investigation of the bombing of Cosatu House, was it ever investigated, to your knowledge?

BRIG SCHOON: Yes, I think it was.

MS GCABASHE: And would you know who would have investigated that bombing?

BRIG SCHOON: This would have been done by the Security Branch at Johannesburg.

MS GCABASHE: And again, in your opinion, if they had done a thorough job, would they have found out who the real perpetrators were?

BRIG SCHOON: If it was a good policeman, he would.

MS GCABASHE: Now we have heard of cover-ups and we know that that was part of government policy, to put it broadly, would you say that there was then a deliberate cover-up of any police investigation that did take place, just your opinion?

BRIG SCHOON: I was not involved there, Chairperson, but it is not far-fetched to think so.

MS GCABASHE: You were then, a slightly different aspect, you were also asked about giving instructions to both Colonel De Kock and I think it was to Hattingh, yes?

BRIG SCHOON: Yes, Chairperson.

MS GCABASHE: What was the purpose of giving these two individuals separate instructions, the same instruction but at different times?

BRIG SCHOON: Chairperson, they were part of different units and this was not part of my component and to bring these two together, I had to give both of them the same instructions, so that they could work together.

MS GCABASHE: Now, it would appear there was a bit of confusion in relation to who did what, when. You agree with that?

BRIG SCHOON: I agree with that, Chairperson.

MS GCABASHE: Who should have co-ordinated this operation to avoid that confusion?

BRIG SCHOON: At that stage, I appointed Major De Kock as the co-ordinator and to make the necessary arrangements, and he would have been the one to co-ordinate the whole operation.

MS GCABASHE: Are you suggesting, and please if you're not, say so, are you suggesting that the Hatting team, I'll call them that, pre-empted the real team, the people who were really authorised to co-ordinate and execute?

BRIG SCHOON: I don't know what happened there, Chairperson, it is unknown to me what exactly happened there.

MS GCABASHE: And then one final question, a different aspect again, you've been asked about the decision to carry out an illegal operation, had you been consulted, not instructed, would you have recommended the bombing of Cosatu House, the bombing of Khotso House? 

BRIG SCHOON: If I recall, I would have done so.

MS GCABASHE: Despite it being an illegal action?

BRIG SCHOON: Yes, Chairperson, in that time period.

MS GCABASHE: So from that I can conclude that under no circumstances would you have said, "No", you know, "I will not participate in this particular activity"?

BRIG SCHOON: That is correct, Chairperson.

MS GCABASHE: Then, as part of this last round of questions, you would then not expect your junior officers to flout an instruction like that, if you set a particular example, they would follow that example?

BRIG SCHOON: Correct, Chairperson.

MS GCABASHE: Thank you. Thank you, Brigadier.

ADV DE JAGER: You referred to the ex-Minister. Who's the oldest, you or yourself?

BRIG SCHOON: I think I'll give him seven or eight years, sir.

CHAIRPERSON: You've been asked about, I think it was Colonel Hattingh?

BRIG SCHOON: Yes, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: What part did he play in the bombing?

BRIG SCHOON: Chairperson, at that stage, he was the commanding officer of the Explosive Unit of head office, and he, well it was his priority to, or his prerogative to appoint people who would be of assistance to Major De Kock.

CHAIRPERSON: Did he work together with Major De Kock?

BRIG SCHOON: Yes, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: I'm sorry, Mr Chairman, maybe there's a bit of confusion now. Hattingh worked together with De Kock, but not in the same section?

BRIG SCHOON: No, Chairperson, only in the sense that he provided the necessary assistance when it came down to the provision of explosives people and the necessary explosives in order to fulfil this task, only in that aspect.

MR VISSER: I have no re-examination and no questions emanating from questions emanated from the committee, Mr Chairman.




DATE: 23.07.98





Mr Chairman, I next call General Erasmus to give evidence. We have prepared a document, Mr Chairman, it will be EXHIBIT H.

MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, while the witness is shuffling into the witness chair, his application you will find in volume 1 at page 129 and following.


MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, just for the record, this is one of those cases where an application for amendment had already been allowed, and I just draw your attention to the fact that it has been amended to provide that paragraph 7(a), at page 129, should read, "National Party" and paragraph 7(b) has been amended to read "supporter". There is, however, one further amendment which I must seek, Mr Chairman, and that refers to page 131, paragraph 9(a), there is a reference, Mr Chairman, at the bottom of that page, to the words "submission of General J G van der Merwe dated the 21st of October 1996" it incorrectly refers to the "submission", Mr Chairman, whereas in fact it should be referring to the amnesty application. It's a very minor detail, but it's not the "submission" and we simply want to point to this fact in order not to confuse, it's the amnesty application.

EXAMINATION BY MR VISSER: General Erasmus, you're applying for amnesty for any omission or offence which was committed by yourself with regards to the preceding events and the events surrounding the explosions which was brought about at Cosatu House and Khotso House, and for any other possible offences with which you can be connected afterwards?

GEN ERASMUS: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: Before, you've already given evidence to amnesty committees of the TRC and shortly, if it's necessary, in case someone's interested in this, you testified in the Mtimkhulu and Madaka amnesty applications, as well as the Kondile application?

GEN ERASMUS: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: And except for that, you also testified in the Bopape amnesty application? 

GEN ERASMUS: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: And in all those applications and also today, you are asking that in your evidence as an incorporated, be considered incorporated into your application, P45, P46 and P47. We know what they are and you mention them on page 1 of Exhibit H, that the evidence you've submitted, that that would be the exhibit number?

GEN ERASMUS: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: I'm quickly going to deal with you, your career in the South African Police Force, you sketched that in Exhibit H on page 2, and on the 3rd of January 1957 you became a member of the South African Police Force and you gave service in Pretoria, you became a detective and then you were transferred to Cape Town and indeed in Umzimkulu in East Griqualand you've also done service, and eventually, since 1963, you ended up at The Graze here in the Transvaal and eventually you became the section commander of the Security Branch in Johannesburg after you were in Natal and in the Eastern Cape, and this happened at the end of 1988, we are referring to page 3 now of Exhibit H, paragraph 2.19 and 2.20, in May 1989, you were appointed as division commissioner and in '90 to '92 district commissioner, and you were promoted to the rank of general major, and that's also the rank you resigned from the police in on the 30th of November 1992?

GEN ERASMUS: I confirm that it was 1992.

MR VISSER: General Erasmus, at all the previous occasions you testified, as you also testify here on page 4, about your personal background, how you were brought up, where you were brought up and also the political background out of which you come, and with the permission of the committee, in order to save time, I'm not going to ask you to not address the committee about this completely again, if anyone is interested in that, your evidence is on record and here it is again in Exhibit H, but it comes down to the fact that you grew up in a very conservative Afrikaans household where your parents were members of the Reformed Church, Dutch Reformed Church, and you were also supporters of the National Party, including the National Party's apartheid policy, is that not correct?

GEN ERASMUS: That is true.

MR VISSER: It was your experience that during your youthful years, there was very few influences on you from the side of church or political utterances, the school, or opinions of very important people, such as teachers, reverends, which made or indicated to you that the policy of apartheid was wrong, is that not true?

GEN ERASMUS: That is true.

MR VISSER: Indeed, like you've said, it's your experience that in those years most of the people you came into contact with did in fact support the policy?

GEN ERASMUS: That is true, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: Now, with regards to your service as a police person, you had certain experiences, you came to certain insights and you set it out, and I'm quickly going to refer to this, but in paragraph 4.9 you mention that there was no reason for you why people in the South African Police Force would criticise the State or their policy, that State that they had to protect, and you also referred to speeches and utterances of politicians, the same way ex-Minister Vlok referred to, and this also as an encouragement to the police to support the policy of the government and the State and to maintain that. The police and yourself, in your official capacity during the struggle, and you are saying that on page 5, paragraph 4.12, you saw that as the last line of defence against total chaos and anarchy and disorder. So I'm leading the committee now very quickly, in order to save some time, but you could even do it faster.

GEN ERASMUS: If you are happy with that, Chairperson, then we do it that way.

MR VISSER: The only reason why I do read a little bit of this is because my learned colleagues around the table only see this document now for the first time and maybe it's a fit unfair for them to start immediately with the cross-questioning if they don't know what's written in here, but I'll go very quickly, Chairperson. General Erasmus, you also admitted in your previous before committees and also in this piece that you've just submitted now, which is Exhibit H, that there were impulses which worked on you, which had an influence on you and brought home a specific sentiment with the fact that you really wanted to take up the struggle in order to protect the government as well as the public and you set it out in paragraph 4.15, practical experiences, and you referred to the mass marches in Cape Town, plundering of business, the death and injury to people, the incidences in 1961 and also sabotage incidences which you yourself experienced in 1963/64, and also the Park Street station bomb, which became known as the Harris bomb, and you were also involved with that, and all this time you say that, in Exhibit H, there was a lot of pressure coming from above in order for you to normalise the situation and also to maintain the government of the day, to protect that government against the pressure which was there because of the revolutionaries, is that not true?

GEN ERASMUS: That is so, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: Your political objectives and background, you sketch this from page 6, paragraph 5, going on to the next page, there's nothing that I'd like to read here specifically, but you go up to page 9 at the end of paragraph 5.22. Do you confirm what you've said in Exhibit H?

GEN ERASMUS: Yes, I do. I do so, yes.

MR VISSER: And the same for paragraph 6?

GEN ERASMUS: Yes, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: Now if we can continue, General - well Chairperson there is just one aspect which I've just forgotten about. My attorney indicates to me that on page 10, right at the top of the page, there's a reference which should not be there. That's a reference to Bopape, and the reason for that is because this was also the submission which served in the Bopape the Bopape case, and this reference to Bopape is faulty, even though the actual extent of the paragraph is correct, but the reference to Bopape should be ignored or omitted. Sorry. General Erasmus with regards to Cosatu House, can you quickly, in your own words, tell the Committee what the essence of that is, what did you know about that, against the background you've just given us in Exhibit H, and what your actions before and during and after the Cosatu House explosion entailed?

GEN ERASMUS: Chairperson, I listened to the evidence of Mr Vlok and also that of General Van der Merwe in this trial where they deal with this incident and I confirm their versions as true as far as it's relevant to myself and as far as it falls within my own personal knowledge thereof. I also ask the Amnesty Committee to look at the amnesty application of Deon Greyling where he's dealing with this incident, it's volume 2, page 19 to 27, because I also agree to the correctness thereof.

During 1987 I received an instruction from the then head of security of the South African Police, General Johan van der Merwe, to by means of my members and of my division, give the necessary information to the C Section of headquarters in Pretoria, who received instruction to render Cosatu House useless by means of explosives, and that's so that the people who occupied this place couldn't use it. When I refer to information, it's not with regards to information of what happened there exactly, I'd just like to repeat that with information, I want to make it clear that this was concerning the locality, the structure, the surrounding area, and also the certainty that there was no-one in that building when this explosion would then take place.

The head of my trade union desk, then Mr Deon Greyling, was then given instruction, because of his personal knowledge of Cosatu House and of what happens there, to contact, for him to contact Eugene de Kock of Vlakplaas and Eugene de Kock was then told, was given the task to execute this operation in assistance with the members of the Explosives Unit in Pretoria.

General Van der Merwe told me that the instruction came from the then minister, Mr Adrian Vlok, and made it clear that the building was to be made useless or rendered useless, but that no lives should be endangered in the process.

I realised that the execution of this order would come down to the committing of an offence, but it seemed to be the only remaining alternative to address the problems regarding this specific building.

I was involved in this issue because the operation would have been executed within my command area. Me, myself, was not personally involved with the execution of the operation, but from time to time Greyling kept me up to date of the progress thereof.

On the 6th of May 1987, Greyling informed me that the operation would happen that specific night and in the early morning hours of the 7th of May 1987 he contacted me and told me that it was executed successfully. I immediately left for the scene, where from the outside I could see the damage which was caused to the building, the damage which was considerable, but I saw no injured people and I was also informed that there were no injured people.

This incident, I'm referring to the explosion now of Cosatu House, was investigated in the normal course of events, and as far as I can remember a dossier was concluded as untraceable. That means the guilty parties were not found.

For as my stayed quiet about my information with regards to this operation, I made myself guilty of further crimes, including perjury. I here acted in the execution of an order as a senior officer and consequently I accepted that the operation was officially authorised and therefore I felt that I was doing my duty and I was acting within the extent of my capacities. The execution of the operation and the motivation thereof I also agreed to with my own personal view of the circumstances which surrounded Cosatu House.

The South African Police, and more specifically the Security Branch, was tasked to make sure that law and order was maintained, as well as internal security, and the execution of this operation was directly connected to that.

MR VISSER: General, as we see and very often see in amnesty applications of the members of the South African Police Force, the situation deteriorated to such an extent that at the end of the day there were certain situations during the struggle which could not be handled in any other way but in an illegal way?

GEN ERASMUS: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: And the paradox here is, in order to maintain law and order, you were forced to break laws?

GEN ERASMUS: That is so, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: You referred to Deon Greyling, who was working at the desk of the trade unions, what was the situation with regards to the conveyance of information from Deon Greyling to yourself, on what basis and how often did this happen?

GEN ERASMUS: As was in the case of head office, we had our own morning conferences where information was exchanged.

MR VISSER: So what you are saying basically on a daily basis you spoke about all sorts of issues?


MR VISSER: And also this includes the cases or the incidents like for example Khotso House and Cosatu House, you discussed this?


MR VISSER: Can you please carry on with Khotso House and can you tell us what you know about that?

GEN ERASMUS: I am advised that there might be an extent of contradictions in the applications of the different applicants who are dealing with this incident, and I think you will agree that there is a bit of confusion, and I'd also like to say that I'm no less confused with regards to the situation when we are dealing with the situation, even though I know that we are here to - that we had to deal here with an official instruction from head office and that the operation was successfully executed, me myself do not remember all the small particulars, but I shall try to give you my version as I can remember it.

Just as was the case with Cosatu House, I received an instruction from General Van der Merwe and it basically came down to the same thing. I cannot remember if he specifically mentioned that the instruction came from the State President or the Minister, but he did say that it was approved. There were further discussions between General Van der Merwe and myself and also between myself and other men under my command, and as far as I can remember, at a certain occasion I also had discussions in Pretoria with members of the Explosives Unit under the command of Paul Hattingh. At one such occasion I also met Brigadier Schoon in Johannesburg, where other members were also present, and we discussed the planned operation.

The reason for the visit to Paul Hattingh I'd like to explain to you as follows, because I think there's a bit of confusion surrounding this: it was to make sure that he makes preparations in order to do this task, because you know preparations had to be made, they needed the necessary explosives and they had to contact the correct people, etcetera, and that's the reason why I visited him at that point in time.

MR VISSER: Can you just stop there for a second? Did you finish with that aspect?


MR VISSER: My alarm tells me it's one o'clock.

CHAIRPERSON: (Indistinct) quarter to two.





Paragraph 8.4 of Exhibit H. General, before the lunch interval, you had informed the commission or the committee concerning the instruction that you received from General Van der Merwe in terms of Khotso House and you started saying that there was confusion amongst the different applicants in terms of the circumstances and you also said that you are not so clear yourself as to what facts adds up to, or belongs to which incident, but you can recall that you spoke to General Van der Merwe in Pretoria and members of the Explosion Unit under the command of Paul Hattingh, do I have that correct?

GEN ERASMUS: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: And you ended where you said, as you recall, the reason why you approached Paul Hattingh at the Explosives headquarters was to inform him concerning the information that would help him to help with the execution of his task?

GEN ERASMUS: That is indeed so, I had two persons with me who had knowledge.

MR VISSER: And who were these two persons?

GEN ERASMUS: This was one of the applicants, Mr Zeelie, and a person with the name was then Beyers.

MR VISSER: Is that B E Y E R S, Beyers?

GEN ERASMUS: That's correct.

MR VISSER: Can you just tell the committee, according to your recollection, what was General Van der Merwe's instruction to you?

GEN ERASMUS: General Van der Merwe's instruction to me was that Khotso House had to be damaged, and in this process there had to be no injuries or had to be attempted that there had to be no injuries to anybody or no loss of life.

MR VISSER: Continue with 8.4?

GEN ERASMUS: General Van der Merwe's instruction came to the point that Brigadier Schoon's unit from Vlakplaas had to work with the Explosives Unit in the operation and from my division had to receive assistance.

MR VISSER: Can I just interrupt you, you mentioned that that support entailed the provision of information according to the location, etcetera, in this building and the movement of people?

GEN ERASMUS: Yes, we had to establish, or Beyers had to establish and he had to ensure what the movements in that building was, in the evening, on certain days, on weekends, and what would be a suitable time to execute this operation.

MR VISSER: Just to interrupt you once again, Beyers, what was his function under your command in Johannesburg?

GEN ERASMUS: He dealt with the desk concerned with church affairs and organisations who were in Khotso House, that was his function.

MR VISSER: The last sentence in paragraph 8.4?

GEN ERASMUS: The instruction entailed furthermore that we had to ensure that injuries were limited and if it was not possible, they had to stop the operation, or abort the operation.

On the evening of the execution of this operation, I was at the safety house at Honeydew, where I spoke to the relevant members and I emphasised that lives should not be endangered, and I deny the statement where Mr De Kock said that outsiders had to be shot at the scene and members who spoke of the operation would be shot, and I want to say that people who came to Vlakplaas, they were there to provide protection, and that could be explained better by Mr De Kock, so I cannot see why people would have been shot and the good fortune was that nobody was shot that evening and that would be in contrast with the direct instruction from General Van der Merwe and I was not there to give instruction, people already had their instructions.

MR VISSER: By the way, just another aspect, General Du Toit, what was his position in Johannesburg at that stage?

GEN ERASMUS: General Du Toit was my second in command, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: Was he present at this meeting?

GEN ERASMUS: Chairperson, this was not a meeting, we were just standing around and we were just talking and people left. General Du Toit, then he was Colonel Du Toit, he was not there at that time. I was telephonically informed that the people arrived at the place and I lived close by and I drove from my house and spoke to them there and wished them good luck for their difficult task.

MR VISSER: And in the execution of the instruction of General Van der Merwe to be of assistance to Vlakplaas and the Explosives Unit, did you task General Du Toit to do anything in terms of Khotso House?

GEN ERASMUS: No, Chairperson, I did not involve him in this instance.

MR VISSER: Can you then continue?

GEN ERASMUS: I was not at the scene during the explosion, and I was not part of later investigations. I did visit the scene after the explosion. My keeping quiet in terms of the real facts of the operation was perjury.

A few months after the incident I was at Vlakplaas where Mr Vlok addressed some members and thanked them for their good work. I expect that the involved members thought that they were being congratulated and thanked for their work at Khotso House.

Concerning this operation, myself and the other members acted in accordance with instructions from head office and this was in accordance with our task in maintaining law and order and internal security.

MR VISSER: That is the evidence in - I'm sorry, Mr Chairman.

GEN ERASMUS: Mr Visser, there were many questions asked, many questions were asked concerning what happened in this building and since I was in Johannesburg myself, I wish to tell you what we called the Unrest Unit at that time, on a daily basis, and on a weekly basis, and continually, they were deployed to these buildings and this specifically where there were big meetings held in Khotso House, in the basement, and in this basement there's a huge hall and there the organisations, especially during lunchtimes, had meetings and it was necessary that the Unrest Unit had to be ready to control chaos and maintain control and the same went for Khotso House.

MR VISSER: Thank you, Mr Erasmus. That is the testimony, Chairperson.


CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR BOOYENS: In this instance I am just going to cross-question in terms of my client, Mr Hattingh. If you look at page 14 of Exhibit H, how do I interpret this sentence, you said that you spoke to Mr Hatting himself or to members of his unit, or are you not sure that you spoke to Mr Hattingh himself?

GEN ERASMUS: Chairperson, it was Mr Hattingh's personnel,

myself and Zeelie was there, I don't know if he was there.

MR BOOYENS: Because Mr Hattingh is in the same position as you, he says he does not remember that meeting, but he says he saw many people and it's possible that he was there, but he's not sure himself. When you say that, you would not

say that he was lying if he says he can't recall it? 

GEN ERASMUS: No, I won't fight with him because of that.

MR BOOYENS: Thank you, Chairperson, I have no further questions.


CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR HUGO: Hugo, on behalf of Mr De Kock, Chairperson. General, firstly I would like to ask you, you heard that the question was put to Brigadier Schoon and he confirmed that directly after Mr De Kock received the order, there was a meeting at Honeydew, do you remember this meeting? I'm referring to the Cosatu incident.

GEN ERASMUS: I know there was a meeting. You see, there's confusion between the two incidents, but I believe, I would not argue with that point.

MR HUGO: Let me put it to you, concerning Khotso House Mr De Kock would testify that there was the meeting directly after the instruction at Honeydew, and that there was no such similar meeting in terms of Khotso House?

GEN ERASMUS: I cannot argue with that as well.

MR HUGO: General, Mr De Kock will also testify that, concerning this first meeting, he attended it and you were there as well, Mr Greyling from your unit was there as well, and Brigadier Schoon was there, and Mr Meyer, who was a member of C2, was also present?

GEN ERASMUS: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR HUGO: General, once again concerning Cosatu House, Mr De Kock will say that the evening before the operation, they were at Honeydew, before they were deployed and executed this operation, and that you were present there?

GEN ERASMUS: I cannot recall it, but I will not argue it.

MR HUGO: Mr De Kock will also further testify that at the first meeting, and at the second meeting at Honeydew, and I'm trying to limit myself, I want to limit myself to Cosatu House, the motivation was put to them as to why Cosatu House had to be bombed, do you recall that?

GEN ERASMUS: I would believe that we would have discussed the whole incident, yes, Chairperson.

MS GCABASHE: Can I just, I missed something there, sorry Mr Hugo, is it Cosatu House or Khotso House?

MR HUGO: Mr Chairman, sorry, it was Cosatu House.

MS GCABASHE: And did you establish who gave this motivation? No?

MR HUGO: Mr De Kock will testify that General Erasmus gave some of the motivation.

MS GCABASHE: Thank you.

MR HUGO: And then, General, I'm not sure if I understand you correctly, correct me if I am wrong, but concerning the Khotso House incident, I understood your testimony to the fact that, did you discuss the incident with Brigadier Schoon at Honeydew where other members were present, is that what you testified?

GEN ERASMUS: Yes, I did.

MR HUGO: Under these circumstances, I'm not sure if it did happen that way, because you see, General, Brigadier Schoon says he was not with you on the second incident and he did not attend the execution, he was only involved in the deployment of the first incident.

GEN ERASMUS: I've understood you wrong then, I meant with the deployment I was there and Brigadier Schoon was not there.

MR HUGO: This was the evening of the execution of this task?

GEN ERASMUS: That's correct. Yes, I just missed the question.

MR HUGO: And then, General, Mr De Kock will testify, as close to his recollection, it is indeed so that the evening at the house at Honeydew, and I am limiting myself to Khotso House, he did ask you what would happen if police members confronted us in this operation, and then you said they would have to be killed?

GEN ERASMUS: Chairperson, I could assume that he did ask me what they had to do, but if I did say that, then I did not mean it in that sense.

MR HUGO: Do I understand you correctly that this reference, as you put it, with the question what would he do if police officers caught them there and wanted to arrest them or wanted to have a hand in it, and under those circumstances they had to shoot their fellow police officers?

GEN ERASMUS: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR HUGO: I have no further questions, Chairperson.





MR DU PLESSIS: Chairperson, it's Roelof du Plessis, and I have mentioned on whose behalf I act, for Hammond, Pierre le Roux, Hennie Kotze, Michael Bellinghan and Gert Beeslaar.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR DU PLESSIS: General, can I ask you, you were present when Mr Vlok and General Van der Merwe referred to the situation that was prevalent, the background in which the security forces acted and the general testimony that they offered in terms of tacit orders. Can I ask you the same question then, do you agree with them?

GEN ERASMUS: I agree with them, Chairperson.

MR DU PLESSIS: Now, General, can I just put it to you, with reference to Khotso House, Hennie Kotze and George Hammond, they were involved there, and I wish to put it to you that they will testify that you are correct when you say that there was a discussion with Paul Hattingh, their commanding officer, they were at the Bomb Disposal Unit, there was a discussion between yourself and Paul Hattingh, where the incident was discussed?

GEN ERASMUS: That is so, Chairperson. As I've said, when Mr Hattingh asked me I cannot recall exactly, but I was in their offices and we had the discussion there.

MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, and they will both testify that they are not both sure if they were present at the discussion, but they remember that there was a discussion with Paul Hattingh, but it is possible that they were present?

GEN ERASMUS: I'm sure that I remember Kotze there.

MR DU PLESSIS: Now, General, previously you heard what I put with reference to the incident at Khotso House, that there were two operations, the first one was - Colonel De Kock was not involved there, and the second one they were involved in, do you have any knowledge of that?

GEN ERASMUS: The first instance where they just went and had a look and did nothing, I cannot imagine that and I cannot recall if Zeelie or Beyers ever reported this to me. I cannot recall if I was present there and if I'm wrong, then I am sorry, but since these two, the real action and let's call it the attempted action, if I was there, then I would recall it.

MR DU PLESSIS: Can I ask you in this manner, do you concede that there was a possibility that it could have happened?

GEN ERASMUS: Yes, there is a possibility that it could have happened.

MR DU PLESSIS: Because you see, as I read Mr Zeelie's answer, and I do not act on his behalf, but he confirms that there was a second operation, and if I read Colonel De Kock's application, then it is confirmed that Mr Zeelie informed him in this manner and that there was a first operation and a second one?

GEN ERASMUS: I do not dispute that.

MR DU PLESSIS: And it is possible then that Mr Zeelie never reported it to you?

GEN ERASMUS: Can I just explain in this manner to the committee, there was an instruction that Cosatu House had to be bombed. Now the instructions stands until it is executed and I believe, with my background and my knowledge of the Security Branch, that people took, or used their own initiative. You see with Khotso House was something other than Cosatu House, Cosatu House was a building that was on a corner, it's easier to gain access there and to ensure that people are not hurt there, it is relatively easier. Cosatu House was a difficult operation, and therefore I have appreciation when these men say that they went there, they drove past, they saw there were many people in the street and they aborted their attempt, they did not continue, nothing happened.

MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you, General. And then I'd like to ask concerning another aspect, it seems this is going to be disputed in this hearing, and that is the South African Council of Churches, the manner in which they do their cross-examinations and the previous statements made, can I just ask you concerning this? These meetings that took place in Khotso House, do you remember, was it political meetings?

GEN ERASMUS: Well it was enciteful political meetings, and that building, the DPSC was also there, the Detainees' Parents Support Committee and other people were in that building. Large meetings was held there. If I tell you that there was at least 1 000 people at that building, then I am not exaggerating.

MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, General, let me put it to you in this manner, Michael Bellinghan, you remember him?


MR DU PLESSIS: He was a captain in your unit, and he was under your command until the end of 1986 when he was transferred to headquarters. He was transferred to headquarters before the Khotso House incident, but can you recall that he was used specifically in terms of the surveillance and gathering of information as to what happened in Khotso House?

GEN ERASMUS: That would have been one of his tasks.

MR DU PLESSIS: And, in other words then, you would agree that he was in a good position to inform the committee as to the end of 1986, as to what happened in that building?


MR DU PLESSIS: And I wish to put it to you now that what he will testify to that effect, he will testify that organisations who, amongst others, were coloured politically, he can recall who was in that building to the end of 1986 was, amongst others, the Black Sash, he will testify that the UDF had offices there, and he will testify that the so-called Education Opportunities Committee also had offices there, this is the organisation who supplied bursaries to black students, that the SA Council for Higher Education had offices there, and that there was a journalists' organisation who was also politically involved, with the names Afripix and Afriscope?

GEN ERASMUS: I cannot remember them all by name, but Michael Bellinghan would be in a very good position to say who was there, the UDF, the DPSC, the Black Sash and the Afripix, now that it is mentioned, I can recall it.

MR DU PLESSIS: And he could testify, General, that the problem with Khotso House was, in the first instance, the propaganda aspect. He will testify that from Khotso House and specifically from the World Council for Churches, there was international propaganda against the Republic.

GEN ERASMUS: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR DU PLESSIS: And this happened via the organisations that the World Church Council had contact with internationally and he will also testify that of this journalist organisation, from the offices in that building, sent information into the world by using faxes and photos in terms of the actions of police in South Africa?

GEN ERASMUS: I cannot recall all the detail, I don't have documentation to that effect.

MR DU PLESSIS: I am just putting it to you and you know that the committee and representatives of the SACC would know what Mr Bellinghan is going to testify to, and he will furthermore testify that they observed that trained terrorists entered and exited the building?

GEN ERASMUS: There was information to that effect, Chairperson.

MR DU PLESSIS: And he will also testify, we heard yesterday in terms of the classification of information and a large amount of the information was A1 information?

GEN ERASMUS: We had very reliable sources.

MR DU PLESSIS: And he will further testify that they had information in terms of weapons that was taken in and out of the building.

GEN ERASMUS: That is so, Chairperson.

MR DU PLESSIS: And he will testify concerning the municipal elections, that attempts were orchestrated from this building to, amongst others, disrupt the elections.

GEN ERASMUS: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR DU PLESSIS: And I don't know if you can recall the million signature campaign to release President Nelson Mandela?

GEN ERASMUS: That was the Free Nelson Mandela Campaign.

MR DU PLESSIS: And he will testify that this was partially done, orchestrated from Khotso House and that people like David Webster was involved there and was often seen entering the building.

GEN ERASMUS: I will not argue with him, Chairperson.

MR DU PLESSIS: And he will testify that academics, and he cannot remember exactly who, but a wide variety of academics from time to time entered the building, as well as representatives of unions and politicians.

GEN ERASMUS: I could not argue that point, I was not there myself and I cannot recall that far back.

MR DU PLESSIS: And then, in the last instance, General, he will testify that, according to his recollection, and according to their information, there was very few of the representatives of the South African Council of Churches who were aware of what happened in that building?

GEN ERASMUS: I cannot comment on that.

MR DU PLESSIS: And he will testify, as far as he can recall, according to their intelligence, they operated on a need to know basis, where the persons who were politically active in the building and that this does not mean that every representative of the South African Council of Churches knew what happened there.

GEN ERASMUS: I would agree with him.

MR DU PLESSIS: No further questions.


MR BOTHA: Thank you, Chairperson, Hannes Botha, I appear for Snyders.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR BOTHA: General, just a few aspects which I'd like to clarify with you in order to be complete about this. I'd like to refer you to my client's amnesty application, page 323 of volume 1. This is applicant P C Snyders, and I would like to refer you to the paragraph at the top on that relevant page, the last sentence thereof, where mention is made to the fact that:-

"General Erasmus put it quite clearly that no-one was to speak about this incident afterwards, and if anyone did that, he personally would kill that person, he'd shoot him to death."

Would you comment on that?

GEN ERASMUS: I've looked at this paragraph, Chairperson, and I think I put it very strongly across to them, somebody spoke to me recently and said that what I also said there was that those people who now decided to turn back and who do not want to take part in the organisation must do so, and if I put it that way as it's written here, and these people all know me, then I meant that no-one, but no-one, was supposed to talk about it, that was the intention, and I didn't mean physically, I'm not that brave to take those strong men on.

MR BOTHA: I'll accept that. I see quite a few applicants spoke about it afterwards and they're all still sitting here. So you do not deny that you did not say words to that extent, but let's accept that you did not seriously mean it, you only wanted to make sure they understand how serious the matter was?

GEN ERASMUS: Yes. If he understood it that way and if I had said something like that, I did not mean it in that sense, as in the case with Mr Vlok, I didn't mean it in the letter of the word. These people know how I talk.

MR BOTHA: Then I refer you to the paragraph just after that, the second sentence in that paragraph, which says that:-

"Everybody was armed, everybody gave (sic) the instruction that if anybody gave alarm, they would have to be shot."

And I would just like to get a bit of clarification because of that. It was put to them that if anything indicated to the point that this operation might fail, or that if something like that happened which might jeopardise the whole operation, then they would have authorisation to shoot, as a last resort. Can you just give us comment on that?

GEN ERASMUS: Chairperson, I wasn't in charge of the operation. Some of the people said this at the safety house. They were all under the charge of Mr De Kock, and I believe he's a responsible person. Where this is coming from is where these people's lives would have been in danger, then they would have shot, but you can think for yourself, Chairperson, if you're going to shoot therefore, then you're denying your own purpose. They did the security work and they only made sure to give a warning if other people appeared there, but the people who were inside the building, there's only a small group of people inside the building who were actually committing the actual deed, if at least then they'll be careful and they'll know what to do to get out of the building or to disappear and get out of the building then, so I do not think there was an actual intention to kill people on that scene, Chairperson.

MR BOTHA: No, we also accept it as such, there was no instruction given, it was initially the fact that, instruction that no-one should be killed, but the extent of my statement is that if it was absolutely necessary to save the situation, people could have been killed?

GEN ERASMUS: That is so, Chairperson, people, they went there armed, so it was different, but they went there to defend, they went there armed to defend themselves, so we have to accept that they could have come across anything at that time in those days, and when such an operation was planned, information concerning that could have leaked out and one does not know who might have been the source in the organisation who could have given the information, so maybe you arrived there and there's a whole group of people waiting for you there, so you have to be ready.

MR BOTHA: Thank you, Chairperson, no further questions.


MR ROSSOUW: Thank you, Mr Chairman, Rossouw on behalf of the applicants that I've already indicated.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR ROSSOUW: General, just the last point, let's call it the conclusion, that people could have been shot if such a situation came into being, my instructions is that Mr Van Heerden made this inference from Mr De Kock, or he confirms this, this statement by De Kock, and (indistinct) what you meant with it, but it's also my instructions to put it to you, General, firstly, with regards to Cosatu House, did you tell the Bomb Disposal Unit under your command beforehand that there might be such an operation, and then afterwards, when they had to visit the building, they'd know about it?

GEN ERASMUS: I cannot remember.

MS GCABASHE: I'm sorry, Mr Rossouw, "beforehand" meaning when, they said "beforehand" here?

MR ROSSOUW: Mr Chairman that was, indeed, before the operation, the question was whether the general informed the personnel of the Bomb Squad that there was going to be an explosion, seeing that they would obviously attended the scene afterwards.

MS GCABASHE: You are distinguishing before the operation from before the instruction was given to him, that's what crossed my mind and that's why I want a bit of clarity, so that I can understand the answer?

MR ROSSOUW: No, no, I'm just referring to prior to the operation, but obviously after the instruction was given. General, as far as Khotso House is concerned, you said you heard that I had put it to General Van der Merwe what Mr Zeelie's recollection is with regards to the negotiations or the meeting which took place in Pretoria. Would you concede that if Mr Zeelie testifies that he and Beyers accompanied you at a specific occasion to Pretoria?

MR ROSSOUW: Chairperson, I think I testified to that extent, we went to the Explosives Unit, I did say that, indeed.

MR ROSSOUW: You did not say that in your chief evidence, but in cross-questioning you said that you and Mr Zeelie afterwards went to the Explosion Division, and that's indeed the testimony of Mr Zeelie, and my instructions are that at that occasion you spoke to Mr Hattingh and afterwards Mr Kotze and Hammond was also involved?

GEN ERASMUS: I believe so, yes, I think Mr Kotze was there, as far as my recollection is concerned.

MR VISSER: Mr Rossouw, I think you're wrong, my notes are that he did say that "Zeelie and Beyers went with me", and that was in his evidence in chief and not in cross-questioning.

MR ROSSOUW: Chairperson, then I apologise, then I made a mistake. I specifically noted that during cross-questioning it was mentioned that he and Zeelie visited the Explosives Division. Maybe I was under the impression that that meeting only refers to the visit at General Van der Merwe's office, but I might be wrong. I accept it. General, and then, lastly, as far as the Khotso House incident is concerned, and specifically the first futile attempt or failed attempt, my instructions are that that specific evening also before the operation you were at Honeydew with the other personnel, but you did not actually drive with them to the building, but you were present at Honeydew, can you remember that?

GEN ERASMUS: Chairperson, I already tried to explain that.

You said yesterday it was a day before the actual incident. Now if it was a day before the actual incident, it's impossible that I cannot remember it, and I cannot remember that I was there and that someone informed me about it. Like I've said, there was an instruction given that this place must be blown up, and I believe Zeelie and those explosives guys are people with initiative, and certainly they might have gone around there to have a look and to see if there might not be a gap for them after Beyers might have told them that there aren't people around or inside the building, but then they met too many people there in the street, I do not know, it's an inference I'm making, I cannot be of assistance to you.

MR ROSSOUW: Thank you, General. It wasn't only a day, it was a few days.

GEN ERASMUS: But I'm using the words you used yesterday. Yesterday you said it was a day, that was your own words, not mine.

MR ROSSOUW: Very well, General, but you cannot remember that at such an occasion you were there, or do you deny it?

GEN ERASMUS: I cannot remember at all that I was there. MR ROSSOUW: Like I've said what Mr Zeelie's and Mr Van Heerden's evidence would be. I've got no further questions, Mr Chairman.


MR VISSER: Before my learned friend finishes, may I refer him to page 108, paragraph 1.9, also, Mr Chairman, which appears at volume 1, which appears to support the fact that the evidence of Zeelie was that it was the night before when there was the attempt and the following night they all went back to Khotso House, so it also seems to suggest one day prior to the actual event, 1.9 at page 108, unless there's a different explanation for this evidence, it certainly, on the face of it, seems to suggest that. It starts, I should have mentioned, it starts at page 107, paragraph 1.7 and 1.8 and then it goes, concludes at 1.9.

MR LAMEY: Excuse me, Mr Chairman, I thought that my learned friend has got still further questions, just for the record Lamey on behalf of Mr Nortje and Mr Mogoai.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR LAMEY: General, you are sure that with regards to the Cosatu House incident, there was a meeting shortly before the operation, at Honeydew? 

GEN ERASMUS: I cannot remember. Are you talking about a meeting, are you talking about when they went to execute their duty, or was it a meeting beforehand?

MR LAMEY: Yes, it was a gathering during which instructions were given at Honeydew.

GEN ERASMUS: I cannot remember with regards to Cosatu House, I do not know if I was there.

MR VISSER: Mr Lamey, just to clarify for us, is this a month before the operation, or is it the evening with the operation, or when was this meeting supposed to have happened? Was there only one meeting at Cosatu House, at Honeydew, or were there more meetings, let's just know, let us know exactly what you've got in mind here?

MR LAMEY: Thank you, Chairperson, same evening when the operation was executed, shortly before the actual execution thereof, there was a presence of members of the Security Branch at Honeydew.

GEN ERASMUS: I accept that, but I'm saying in this Cosatu House incident, my person who represented me, that was Deon Greyling, and he was walking along with this all the time and he reported back. I do not know if I was there. If I was there, I was there, but I cannot remember though.

MR LAMEY: My question is in general, not you so much, but what I'm trying to say is, if I understand your evidence correctly with regards to Cosatu House, there was also a motivation given at that specific occasion by the Security Branch in Johannesburg with regards to the reason for this operation, or did I misunderstand your evidence?

GEN ERASMUS: I did not testify to that extent, it was put to me in cross-questioning.

MR LAMEY: Yes, but was it your testimony under cross-questioning that there was a motivation for the operation given during that gathering at Honeydew?

GEN ERASMUS: You're talking about Cosatu House?

MR LAMEY: I only represent people with regards to Cosatu House, I've got nothing to do with Khotso House.

GEN ERASMUS: I do not even know if I was there, my person, the man who represented me was Deon Greyling, and Deon Greyling was capable of covering the whole spectrum around Cosatu House.

MR LAMEY: But did I understand your evidence correctly that you said that the motivation or the whole operation was given during that gathering at Honeydew?

MR VISSER: The words were "it would have been discussed", that was the sentence the general used.

MR LAMEY: Thank you, Chairperson, I thank my learned colleague. If that's your evidence then, so you accept they would have been given the motivation, but you're not sure whether you were present, and you cannot say with certainty if it happened in that way?


MR LAMEY: Because, you see, I just want to put it to you that Mr Mogoai, his recollection is that, now I must point it out to you that he refers in his application to Midrand, but since then my instructions have been that he made a mistake about the place and he's convinced that it was Honeydew, not Midrand, but during that gathering there, it was a very short meeting as far as he remembers, he says that round about 20 minutes, it lasted about 20 minutes, and instructions were only given with regards to the executing of this operation and nothing to do with the motivation for the operation. He was an Askari at that stage.

GEN ERASMUS: Chairperson, can I just put it this way, I am almost 99,9% sure that I was not there. I believe the people only got together there and from there, maybe they stayed there a little while, but from there they went to go and do this thing. I don't think at that stage it was still reason to give, it was still necessary to give instructions or motivation or anything, because they already had their instructions and they were tasked and they had to go and fulfil their task, so I cannot see what would have been the purpose of giving instructions then.

MR LAMEY: No, I'm just trying to clarify certain aspects. His version would be that some of the motivation came from Colonel De Kock. If you'll just give me a minute? General, then, and this is the same as I've asked Brigadier Schoon, and this is specifically with regards to the memories of Mr Nortje, and that is that Cosatu House was actually the problem of the Security Branch in Johannesburg, it fell within their jurisdiction?

GEN ERASMUS: That is so.

MR LAMEY: And even though the instruction came to Brigadier Schoon, in essence it was Vlakplaas who gave assistance to the Johannesburg Security Branch with regards to the execution of this order?

GEN ERASMUS: You put it strangely. I think it was an operation where Johannesburg gave assistance.

MR LAMEY: Let me just clarify this with you. Cosatu House problem, the security problem, was a problem which fell within the jurisdiction of the Security Branch in Johannesburg?

GEN ERASMUS: Yes, of myself, yes.

MR LAMEY: And this problem had to be addressed by means of an explosion, and I accept that it was decided at Vlakplaas to execute this, is that correct, with the assistance of the Security Branch in Johannesburg?

GEN ERASMUS: Yes, Chairperson, they received such an instruction.

MR LAMEY: But because it was in essence a problem which fell within the jurisdiction of the Security Branch in Johannesburg, Vlakplaas’ behaviour in broader terms, is actual assistance to the Johannesburg Security Branch?

GEN ERASMUS: I suppose you could put it that way.

MR LAMEY: It's also correct to accept that information, and here we're talking about General Greyling's application, that information with regards to access to the building, etcetera, that would also be the role of the Johannesburg Security Branch to convey that?

GEN ERASMUS: That's correct.

MR LAMEY: Can you remember of a specific task with regard to the press and that a press in the basement of the building had to be destroyed?

GEN ERASMUS: That's positive.

CHAIRPERSON: (Indistinct)?

GEN ERASMUS: That is so, Chairperson.

MR LAMEY: And is it also the idea created in Mr Nortje's mind, one of the motivations was that advantage would have been gained from this operation for Stratcom purposes, and that is the confusion amongst the members in the ANC, would that be a supplementary or a secondary motivation?

GEN ERASMUS: I think the direct result of this explosion was confusion.

MR LAMEY: Very well.

GEN ERASMUS: What one could do with that later, or what Stratcom could do with that later could be advantageous to them.

MR LAMEY: How did you see it, as divisional commander at that point in Johannesburg, you who were concerned with Cosatu House?

GEN ERASMUS: I think the explosion itself caused great confusion, because the people had to move, they had to find other accommodation, they had to set up new offices, some of, like for example the press that they relied on was destroyed, so yes, great confusion was caused.

MR LAMEY: But also confusion in the sense that, as far as Stratcom is concerned, that here's an explosion at a trade union, and wouldn't it cause confusion to the extent that the perception might be created amongst the general public that there might be other factions who do not see eye to eye with the countrywide strikes and the disruption of Cosatu?

GEN ERASMUS: I agree with that.

MR VISSER: Mr Lamey, what's not clear to me, you say Stratcom would have thought this and this and this, was Stratcom informed about this before the time, about this operation, that is, so that they could have known that this is an objective or whatever, or was it something that Stratcom could deal with later, here's a result and now they must handle it and they must blame someone because it might be strategically advantageous to them either this way or another?

MR LAMEY: Chairperson, I can only put it this way that my client does not really know if an operative at the ground level, he doesn't know what the objectives was, these inferences come from his supplementary application. This was actually a Stratcom operation. Thank you, Chairperson, I have no further questions.


MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, before we step away from Mr Lamey, I wonder whether you would indulge me in referring you to the piece of evidence to which Mr Lamey has referred, that really came out of the cross-examination of Mr Schalk Hugo on behalf of Mr De Kock, and if I may refresh your memory, the evidence there was that there were two meetings according to Mr De Kock concerning Cosatu House, one earlier and then one on the evening just prior to the operation, and then it was put to General Erasmus, "At the first and the second meeting, this is what De Kock says, motivation was given to them in a broad manner", and I'm saying this because I mentioned it earlier and I'm not entirely correct, which I wrote down as "I believe we would have discussed the issue", so I just want to rectify if I mis-stated the position before, Mr Chairman. I'm not certain how important this is, but just for the record.

MR JANSEN: Mr Chairman, on behalf of applicant Ras, I have no questions.


MR MAFOJANE: Thank you, Mr Chairman, Mafojane on behalf of Cosatu.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR MAFOJANE: General, the million signature campaign to which Mr Du Plessis referred, and basically which was the collection of signatures calling for the release of President Nelson Mandela, would that have justified the bombing of Khotso House?

GEN ERASMUS: I wouldn't say that, Chairperson, it was part of the whole incitement and the making people dissatisfied, I'm talking about the majority of the black people.

MR MAFOJANE: The Detainees' Parents Support Committee, which was a committee established to support detainees who were, amongst others, detained under section 29 with no access to legal representations and under very difficult conditions, would such a committee also justify the bombing of Khotso House, the fact that it was housed in that building?

GEN ERASMUS: It's again also only a part of the greater whole of the organisations who were resident in that building and it's important, it depends on what they kept themselves busy with, or what they were busy with.

MR MAFOJANE: Would the same go for the Black Sash, an organisation of white ladies of liberal leanings, very gentle souls, whose offices were also housed in Khotso House, would that justify the bombing of that building because of their presence there?

GEN ERASMUS: Chairperson, I don't think we acted against them, as such, but they were, they had their headquarters there and the question is who had their headquarters there, that was the question.

MR MAFOJANE: And I would also refer to the EOC, which provided bursaries and the South African Council of Higher Education, but I don't want to go ad nauseam into all these components, but are you saying... (intervention).

CHAIRPERSON: Let me ask a few others, the Church of the Province had its headquarters there, that is the Anglican Church in South Africa, correct?

GEN ERASMUS: I assume so, Chairperson, I do not carry exact knowledge of the fact that they were there, I can't remember all the organisations who were there. I'll assume so, I'll accept that.

CHAIRPERSON: Were they targets?

GEN ERASMUS: No, Chairperson.

MR MAFOJANE: But invariably, General, if they were not targets, invariably the bombing of that house would have also inconvenienced them, wouldn't it have?

GEN ERASMUS: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR MAFOJANE: Now, General, you, as the person who was responsible for the Witwatersrand area from January 1984 to December 1988, if I'm not mistaken, according to your - yes.

GEN ERASMUS: That is correct.

MR MAFOJANE: Yes, you were obviously in control of the security situation in the Witwatersrand area, particularly Johannesburg, and you would have had more access to information relating to events that occurred at Khotso House as well as at Cosatu House, and I'm referring here specifically to illegal activities, alleged illegal activities, where you say weapons of war were stored in these places and acts of war had been planned from these places, but you placed reliance on sources. Would you care to reveal who those sources are, these sources were sensitively placed?

GEN ERASMUS: Unfortunately, and it's my policy also, that I could never reveal any source, and me personally did not handle the sources, Chairperson, so I would also not know at this stage, I can't be of assistance to the committee at this point in time.

MR MAFOJANE: I also didn't expect you to reveal the sources, but you see my question actually just accentuates the dilemma that certain actions are undertaken, illegal actions are undertaken on the pretext that particular activities are going on, and the whole thing begs the question, because then the person who relies on the context of those activities going on cannot reveal their sources, and you know that is the difficulty that we sit with now at this point. Do you understand my dilemma?

GEN ERASMUS: Yes, I understand that, Chairperson, but nowhere in the world would you find that a security organisation would ever reveal its sources, because then that person's life's worth nothing, especially in this country, even still today.

MR MAFOJANE: Well, with the fall of East Germany, many files were made available to the public and people were shocked to find that their friends and family members were spying on them, but maybe because it was a communist country, I don't know... (intervention).

GEN ERASMUS: Probably a lot of people here will also be shocked.

MR MAFOJANE: I will leave that issue, General, and move on. Now, by virtue of your having been in command of the Witwatersrand region, if events like bomb explosions went off, you would be charged with investigating those events, even if you were not personally involved, but wouldn't you be charged with seeing to it that those events were investigated and that the people responsible for those acts were brought to book where it was possible?

GEN ERASMUS: That is so, Chairperson.

MR MAFOJANE: So now, with regard to this incident, the Khotso House incident and the Cosatu House incidents, and they happened during your tenure there as head of the Security Branch in the Witwatersrand area, who conducted these investigations?

GEN ERASMUS: Chairperson, bomb explosions was investigated by the Security Branch, the investigative unit of the Security Branch.

MR MAFOJANE: Did you in any way direct these investigations?

GEN ERASMUS: Not at all.

MS GCABASHE: Could I ask, I know Captain Zeelie was in charge of, or high up in the Bomb Unit, would he have been involved in this particular instance, instances, the two, specifically?

GEN ERASMUS: Chairperson, his participation or his involvement would have been at the scene to render a report at the incident in terms of the extent of the damage, they had to find what kind of explosive was used that could serve as an exhibit, the extent of the damage and all those things, that would have been his task. He would report it to the person who handled the dossier then.

MS GCABASHE: And did he in fact do that in these two instances? I don't know if you know, if you have this information at your disposal?

GEN ERASMUS: I don't know, but I would believe that he was there.

MR MAFOJANE: Now, General, I just want to refer you to the Khotso House incident as well, the preparations leading up to the incident and the instructions that were given out to the operatives who were going to execute the act there, you will agree with me that this was a top secret operation, wouldn't you?

GEN ERASMUS: That is so, yes.

MR MAFOJANE: Now, and I'm still going to harp on the same question, I think, that has been belaboured by everyone else, but just for clarity's sake, you said earlier on that instructions were that if the operatives who went there found people, and I think it's with regard to Khotso House, let me be fair and specific here, with regard to Khotso House, if they found people there, they should abort the mission, do you remember saying that?

GEN ERASMUS: I recall, yes.

MR MAFOJANE: Now let us go beyond, let us go beyond the stage of their arrival there, supposing now they're already, supposing now that these people are already in the building, as they were, and are busy, you know, with the operation itself, and lo and behold they are chanced upon by members of the uniformed branch, and let us accept that, you know, the various members didn't know each other really, you know, the members of the uniformed branch who used to patrol in the streets and catch bag snatchers and, you know, they wouldn't really know who the members of the Security Branch were, because this was a highly specialised elite unit, and they chanced upon there and these people in good faith believed that here are people, you know, with explosives in the basement of Khotso House and probably they are MK operatives, they could have even been mistaken for that, white MK operatives, and the members of the uniformed branch draw their guns, you know, what would have happened, what were these people who were there supposed to do, was any consideration given to that fact?

GEN ERASMUS: I think so, Chairperson, the manner, I think Mr Zeelie can help me out here, because I was not at the building myself, but the manner in which they entered the building, it is highly unlikely that any police person would find them inside the building, there was no way, he would have seen the people outside on the street, but there was no way that he or any other police person in uniform would find them there, because he would not have had access to the building.

MR MAFOJANE: But supposing, General, that he did have access, supposing, you know it's a hypothetical question, let us suppose that such a policeman or policewoman did have access and found those people there, what were the operatives supposed to do, what were their instructions, because if they were caught, it would have severely embarrassed the government?

GEN ERASMUS: It is impossible for me to say, because as I have stated, there was no possibility, and I cannot speculate on improbabilities.

CHAIRPERSON: But if someone in the neighbourhood had seen people going into the building and had phoned Bishop Storey that people were going into the building, which is perfectly possible, isn't it?

GEN ERASMUS: It is possible.

CHAIRPERSON: And he had driven there and met a squad car in the next street, he would have asked him to come with them?

GEN ERASMUS: That is so, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: So you would have then had ordinary uniformed police on the presence with Bishop Storey with a key to the building?

GEN ERASMUS: That is so, Chairperson, but they made preparations that men who was outside the building, covered the outside of the building, would warn the people inside the building, if something happened like that, they would get away.

CHAIRPERSON: And if they're coming running out of the building and the uniformed police see them, they would attempt to arrest them, wouldn't they?

GEN ERASMUS: I believe so.

CHAIRPERSON: And what would happen then?

GEN ERASMUS: Chairperson, it would have been left to the initiative of these people to talk themselves out of that then.

MR MAFOJANE: And this, of course, makes sense, it makes sense and gives credence to Colonel De Kock's version that they were instructed to shoot, if anything came in their way they were instructed to shoot, would you agree with me there?

GEN ERASMUS: I cannot argue with Mr De Kock, if I said something like that, I did not say it in the sense that "Kill police officers", but I knew that the manner in which they entered the building would not attract attention of police officers, it was late at night, there was a very small chance that movement would have been noticed, and these people would have just driven away if there was any other movement there.

MR MAFOJANE: Just bear with me, Mr Chairman? Thank you, Mr Chairman, I've got no further questions.


Thank you, Mr Chairman, it's Moshe Thulare on behalf of the South African Council of Churches.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR THULARE: Mr Erasmus, I think it has been put in this hearing, and if I'm incorrect I'm sure my learned colleagues will correct me, that (machine goes dead), can you hear me now? What I wanted to put to you was that, I think some of my learned colleagues here have said that there will be testimony to this hearing that the initiative to bomb Khotso House might have actually emanated from your subordinate Zeelie Beyer and you then approached General Van der Merwe to get his approval and eventually approval was obtained from Mr P W Botha. I know you have testified that you don't really remember what happened in that regard, but is that possible?

GEN ERASMUS: It did not happen in that way. I received an instruction, and among my subordinates they must have discussed it, that I cannot deny. This place was a thorn in the flesh. The possibility was discussed, I will not deny it, but this is not what happened.

MR THULARE: You state in your application, Exhibit H, in paragraph 8.2, page 18, that you do not remember if... (intervention).

CHAIRPERSON: Referring to the application in bundle 1 or to the exhibit?

MR THULARE: It's the exhibit, Exhibit H, paragraph 8.2. If I may read it, it says:-

"Just like as in the case of Cosatu, I received an instruction from General Van der Merwe and the extent was basically the same. I cannot recall if he specifically mentioned if the instruction came from the State President or the Minister, but he did say that there was approval for it."

GEN ERASMUS: That is correct.

MR THULARE: The suggestion that it was approved, is that the suggestion that the initiative came from lower ranks and approval was obtained from higher authority?

GEN ERASMUS: It means what it says there, whether the Minister or the State President approved it is not known.

MR THULARE: And what did they approve, in specific terms?

GEN ERASMUS: The damaging of Cosatu House, or Khotso House.

MR THULARE: So your evidence is that, as far as you recollect, they approved the bombing of Khotso House, either the State President or the Minister?

GEN ERASMUS: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR THULARE: And you were asked in cross-examination whether the Anglican Church, which was one of the churches which had its offices at Khotso House, whether it was one of the targeted churches, organisations, and you said no. May I put it to you that at the time of this bombing, those organisations which one can say had an explicit political motive, like the UDF or even perhaps the Detainees Committee, had been restricted in terms of the emergency regulations, had been restricted in February of that year, is that correct?

GEN ERASMUS: It could be so, I cannot recall.

MR THULARE: So that at the time when this bombing took place, those organisations that you would have regarded as having an explicit political motive, had been restricted, went along operating, and only charitable and church organisations, sorry for that, only charitable or religious organisations were operating in that building at the time?

GEN ERASMUS: Can I just tell you one thing, to restrict organisations did not serve any purpose, they just continued.

MR THULARE: And with respect to the Cosatu House bombing, one of the objectives was to destroy the press that was in the basement there. In what regard did that press machine give you a problem?

GEN ERASMUS: The printing press, where the thing was placed, it would have been blown up as well.

MR THULARE: Yes, but one of the specific objectives of carrying out this operation was to destroy the press?

GEN ERASMUS: That printing press was not used by them, but they used to print enciteful pamphlets and other things.

MR THULARE: And you had good evidence substantiating that?

GEN ERASMUS: Yes, I did, we had a good information network there.

MR THULARE: Why didn't you simply confiscate the press, as I believe you were entitled to in law?

GEN ERASMUS: I don't know how we would have done this.

MR THULARE: I think you probably would know better?

GEN ERASMUS: I don't believe so. Something authorised me to confiscate this printing press.

MR THULARE: If I recollect correctly, there was mention that at Cosatu House, one of the allegations was that weapons were there, were stored there, including explosives, is that correct?

GEN ERASMUS: That was information that we received from there. I cannot say, I don't think that we ever found it. At the time when we had an opportunity to enter there, I wish to tell you, if you know Cosatu House, it was closed in front, it was difficult to get in there without anybody else coming out from the back with a weapon.

MR THULARE: Excuse me, I meant Khotso House, not Cosatu House.

GEN ERASMUS: Oh, you meant Khotso House. The impression that I got from the testimony that was mentioned here, weapons were stored there for a short while until the operative collected it and took it further. It was not something as I understood it, and it came from the source that it was a continual thing, that there was an arsenal there, but it was brought there and the people took it away again.

MR THULARE: The building was kept under constant surveillance by members under your unit?

GEN ERASMUS: It was not possible to keep it under constant surveillance, we did not have the manpower for that.

MR THULARE: Well I think there was testimony earlier on that the building was kept under surveillance on a daily basis.

MR VISSER: That was Cosatu building, Mr Chairman.

GEN ERASMUS: I think what you understood from there was that during the meetings that was held there, we used the Unrest Unit to monitor the situation there.

MR THULARE: So the Unrest Unit only monitored it during meetings?

GEN ERASMUS: That is correct, Chairperson, the uniformed persons, when they are present there, nobody would carry in weapons.

CHAIRPERSON: Would that prevent people, after they left the meeting, from damaging property, damaging vehicles, and things of that nature?

GEN ERASMUS: That was the purpose of the presence of these people there, to limit damage or to prevent damage.

MR THULARE: Did you have any security policemen monitoring the building and, if so, how regularly did they monitor the building, what was the basis of their monitoring?

GEN ERASMUS: I cannot say how often, but one of the people who participated in this instance, and he used other people, it was Mr Beyers, but I cannot tell you at this stage.

MR THULARE: The allegations that terrorists used to operate from that building and weapons were stored there is denied by the South African Council of Churches.

GEN ERASMUS: I said the information - I don't believe they are correct that they operated from there, I think what was said in testimony was that they visited there and possibly received finance from there, probably picked up weapons from there, I don't believe it was a terrorist operational base, that was not the idea that I inferred.

MR THULARE: Well I'll rephrase my question, the allegation that so-called terrorists visited the building for the purposes that you have just stated, including collecting weapons, and that weapons were stored there, is denied by the SACC.

GEN ERASMUS: We say that our information was to that effect.

ADV DE JAGER: Is it also denied that they received money there or any assistance?

MS GCABASHE: But, hold on, for what purpose, I think, to be fair?

ADV DE JAGER: For the purpose of the struggle.

MR THULARE: Well my instructions are that the only people who came there to receive financial assistance were legal persons in the country, who were being helped by the charitable organisations that were operating there, and... (intervention).

ADV DE JAGER: (Indistinct - not at mike), then put it to him that no person received money for illegal purposes or in support of the struggle, as such, but that they obtained money for welfare and whatever it might have been.

MS GCABASHE: If I might just interject here, the problem, as I see it, is... (intervention).

ADV DE JAGER: Could he answer the question, or could he put it and you could put your question then.

MR THULARE: I will just put it as I have been instructed. That as far as the South African Council of Churches is concerned, that building, the terrorists as you have alleged did not visit that building for the purpose that you allege they went there for and that no weapons were stored in that building - that building wasn't used for those illegal activities that you allege occurred.

GEN ERASMUS: I do not find it strange that they would deny it. I said our information was to the effect that it did happen as I have offered it here.

MR THULARE: So essentially what they are saying is that your information was incorrect.

GEN ERASMUS: What I say, I'm saying is our information was correct.

MR THULARE: Are you able to prove that?

GEN ERASMUS: I believe we can prove it.

MR THULARE: And it will be proven during the course of this hearing I suppose?

GEN ERASMUS: I believe so.

CHAIRPERSON: I see Mr Wagener is nodding his head then so I presume he has the evidence which he will be leading?

ADV GCABASHE: General, if I might just put my question to you. I understand part of the problem being that of what the State may have interpreted as a illegal act on the part of terrorists, how they would have interpreted terrorists, vis-a-vis how any other member of the public who did not subscribe to the State's interpretation might have interpreted that. So it's quite possible that your interpretations of what an illegal act was, what was or was not going on in that building, you know whether it was a social justice issue or part of a terrorist activity - those interpretations will differ which is why you might not be able to agree with some of the propositions put to you, I don't know.

GEN. ERASMUS: Well I would assume, Chairperson, under these circumstances where these people formed part of the larger struggle, they did not see the people as terrorists but as liberators, if that is what your question is.

CHAIRPERSON: But we have been told, as I understand the evidence, that people called at this building and were given money to leave the country to undergo training outside the country or that people who had received such training returned to the country, would call at this building where they would again be given finance. Has there been a single prosecution of a person who left the country in this way or who came back in this way where it was proved that they received their money at the South African Council of Churches? Because we have numerous prosecutions over the years of people in this position.

GEN ERASMUS: Chairperson, I cannot give you a direct answer or an example to that effect but I don't know if people who were prosecuted who went there but that people were arrested and there were trials, that is true.

MR THULARE: I'm instructed that there were indeed prosecutions relating to allegations that certain of the office bearers and church ministers had harboured terrorists and those prosecutions failed, can you confirm that?

GEN ERASMUS: I cannot recall.

MR THULARE: You wouldn't deny that evidence, would you?

GEN ERASMUS: No, I won't deny it, but I'm saying I can't remember it.

MR THULARE: Earlier in your evidence it was put to you that you had instructed at the preparatory meeting or meetings before the bombings that if uniformed police, if anyone obstructed the team that was going to damage these buildings they should be killed and you said that you didn't mean it in the literal sense and it was also put to you that you had told some of your subordinates that if they ever spoke about these incidents they would be killed and you said that you didn't mean in that sense.

GEN ERASMUS: That is correct, that is exactly what I meant.

MR THULARE: I put it to you that it is very strange that you'd use such language in the context of planning very violent activities and not mean it?

GEN ERASMUS: Chairperson, I want to explain it in such a way. We are talking about really tough policemen and we speak our own language and you must accept it like that. If I said it like that I did not mean it like that.

MR THULARE: What did you mean?

GEN ERASMUS: What I meant was that in the case of confrontation, like I've said, these people could have been confronted by terrorists and they could have been shot at and they had to defend themselves and the other thing which you were saying that if somebody talks about this that he has to be shot I only meant again - I just emphasised how absolutely secret this operation was.

MR THULARE: Thank you Mr Chairman, I've got no further questions for the witness.



MR VISSER: No questions at this stage thank you Mr Chairman.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR MAFOJANE: Mr Erasmus, I heard you saying it may have happened that the subordinates discussed the question of bombing Khotso house before an order was given. Did I understand you correctly?

GEN ERASMUS: Yes, Chairperson, I said it's possible. It is possible.

MR MAFOJANE: Is it perhaps also possible that after - I'm now referring to Cosatu House - after Cosatu House was bombed and it happened that Cosatu occupies different buildings that your members will take the initiative of following them wherever they are going?

GEN ERASMUS: I cannot comment on that but there must be a possibility. I know that in Johannesburg, it's an easy place for all organisations to come and do their things and that happened. Other organisations outside of the Police, that is.

ADV DE JAGER: What my learned friend means is you set an example, you blew up Cosatu House, your subordinates know that you've given the instruction and there was approval. Now he sees

we've just destroyed Cosatu House, now they open another place. Those subordinates would they then not have acted on their own initiative and maybe also blow up the next building?

GEN ERASMUS: I'm saying it's possible, Chairperson, but I do not know of that.

MR MAFOJANE: And last question, Mr Erasmus, talking about the sources - you said you won't reveal the sources but isn't it that as an amnesty Vlok has said that he went to De Klerk and said can I break the oath of secrecy. Is it not perhaps so that even here before the TRC you have to tell us everything in accordance with the doctrine of the full disclosure?

MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, I'm going to reply to that question. That is not part of what the Act expects, there is no question that it is expected from any handler of any informer in the past to divulge that identification and if this is going to become an issue, Mr Chairman, I would ask to address you fully on that issue. It's not a requirement of the Act to make full disclosure, to also disclose the identity of your informers.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes but the General's objection is based on the fact that if he were to disclose the identity of the informer, even today, they would be axed immediately.

MR VISSER: It was more, Mr Chairman, it's really academic because the General wasn't handler of any informers anyway.

CHAIRPERSON: If he were to disclose it might be a general disclosure but these were people working at somewhere and doing something which put a number of people at risk.

GEN ERASMUS: That's correct Chairperson.

MR VISSER: I don't have any questions arising from questions from the panel, Mr Chairman. May the witness be excused?





DATE: 23.07.98





MR VISSER: And I call ...[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: I have no doubt that like all the other witnesses he's available to you?

MR VISSER: Yes, they'll be available.

Mr Chairman, the next witness I propose to call is General Du Toit. His application you will find in Volume 2 at page 72 - 78, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: ...[inaudible]

MR VISSER: Yes certainly, I'll repeat it in a moment, Mr Chairman. I I think. J?

Mr Chairman, the application now before you is that of General Du Toit. His application appears in Volume 2 at pages 72 and following. We have prepared although we also anticipate his evidence to be very brief, he only applies in regard to Cry Freedom, one incident in Cry Freedom and we have prepared a document in any event Mr Chairman, which is before you now and you've suggested that it be marked EXHIBIT J.

CHAIRPERSON: What we haven't got in fact is his Amnesty Application have we?

MR VISSER: I'm going to come to that I was just wondering whether Mr de Jager wants to swear him first?


ADV. DE JAGER: Mr Visser, is it correct he's not applying for Cosatu or Khotso House, it's only in connection with Cry Freedom.

MR VISSER: As it pleases you, Chairperson. I would like to submit to you that these cases of Cry Freedom are very, quite evidently, under the intention of the legislature of the nature of incidents which is really - which should be handled administratively and with that we are not criticising the use of your discretion with regards to incorporating this into the trial but the reason why I'm mentioning this is because we're going to deal very briefly with this type of evidence.

MR PENZHORN: Mr Chairman, if I may just interject with your permission at this stage. I just want to make quite sure, the document that has now been handed to us as J on page 3 refers to Stanza Bopape. I just want to make quite sure that this is the document which my learned friend in fact wishes to produce at this stage?

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, where?

MR VISSER: If that is so, it is an oversight, I thank my learned friend Mr Penzhorn. I can tell you that is quite possible because this is a document that was produced for the Amnesty Committee Hearing of Bopape and was handed in by General du Toit and which formed the basis of it. So if my learned friend has found a reference to Bopape which I may have missed, Mr Chairman, I will be very pleased if you could point it out to me.

MR PENZHORN: Mr Chairman, it's the last three pages or four pages I think.

MR VISSER: No, no, I'm sorry. Mr Chairman there's a confusion which I know exactly how it happened. What you have as an annexure to this document, EXHIBIT J, is an extract from the original application form of General Du Toit because that has been omitted from your volume, Mr Chairman, paragraphs 10 (a) and 10 (b) so as far as a reference is made to Bopape at page three of the annexed paper, that is not relevant. That is not relevant. The only relevance of it is from paragraph 10 (a) down through that document to page 6 at the end of paragraph 10 (b) and before paragraph 10 (c). The reason why we've done so, Mr Chairman, is simply to provide you with the relevant part of the original documentation which was filed as part of - as the application which has been left out of Volume 2. All that you've got before you is an addendum. You see, Mr Chairman, General du Toit made application for Bopape initially and later by way of an addendum which is now in your bundle at page 72.

ADV. DE JAGER: So this could be page 72 (a) (b) and (c)?

MR VISSER: Precisely Mr Chairman, you could either do it that way or deal with it as an attachment to the exhibit. Previously, Mr Chairman, you will remember we had the same problem in Port Elizabeth and at that stage we dealt with it on the basis as Commissioner de Jager suggests, as by simply adding it in as the next page (a) (b) (c) (d) and (e) or whatever the case may be so whatever way you want to deal with it is acceptable, Mr Chairman and I would suggest if you want to deal with it that way, Mr Chairman, it would have to be before page 74 because 74 really is already the addendum which deals with incidents. So it will have to be dealt - well wherever it's convenient, Mr Chairman. There's really no hard and fast rule as to ...[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: I take it somebody has satisfied themselves that there is an Application for Amnesty lodged and that it is in order?

MR VISSER: Well, Mr Chairman, my submission is that it is so, it's for somebody to say that it isn't so I suppose.

CHAIRPERSON: Well what do you suggest, do we keep it as part of the bundle you've just given in or do we put it in as part of page 73 (a) (b) (c). I think it's perhaps safer to keep it as part of the bundle you've handed in.

MR VISSER: As part of the exhibit.

CHAIRPERSON: Part of the exhibit.

MR VISSER: The problem that we foresaw, Mr Chairman, is that your bundles are ring bound and it's very difficult ....[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, you can't just add something.

MR VISSER: Yes but whichever way is convenient, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: I think keep it as part of EXHIBIT J but perhaps make a note of it, if anybody else has to look at it, on the top of page 3 at the back. This is portion of the original application.

MR VISSER: Yes, that will be on page 3 immediately following page 10.


MR VISSER: Thank you Mr Chairman.

General du Toit, you are an applicant and in this instance your application is in connection with an explosion which took place in King's Theatre in Alexandra, Johannesburg on the 29th July 1988 during an attempt at showing of the film Cry Freedom and you're applying for amnesty for all the offences or omissions you've committed before during all - anything in connection with that explosion afterwards. Is that not true?

GEN. DU TOIT: Yes, Chairperson, that is correct.

MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, I may also refer you to paragraph 1.1 of EXHIBIT J where it is just noted that the amendment to paragraph 7 (a) and (b) had already been granted. In this case in the Bopape Amnesty Application by Justice Miller.

And once again you incorporated P45, 46 and 47 and we already know what they are, General?

GEN. DU TOIT: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: And on page 2 you set out your career in the South African Police and it started on the 22nd December 1955 and it ends on the 28th February 1994 when you retired from the Police, with pension; and then your personal particulars in 1937, the 14th December you were born at Boshof in the Free State and you grew up in a very conservative household and your parents were members of the Dutch Reformed Church, supporters of the National Party. That's the way you grew up and very few influences on you taught you that the policy of the National Party was wrong, is that correct?

GEN. DU TOIT: That is correct.

MR VISSER: On page 4, paragraph 3.8 you refer to the fact that the friends you had when you were a child were black kids and workers on the farm and with regard to politics after the second world war you became aware of the political emotions between the Nats and the Saps and it's only a long time after that that you got to deal with the wave of black nationalism.

GEN. DU TOIT: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: You confirm the content of EXHIBIT J in as far as - well everything is concerned and you also refer to your experiences and insight which you've gained whilst being a policeman and you've explained a lot of that and you also described to us your evidence in J how you were motivated because of your experiences to do as much as you can to fight the struggle against those who wanted to undermine the government of that day.

GEN. DU TOIT: That is so, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: We've already heard in this trial of Mr Vlok and all the others how there was a lot of pressure and the Amnesty Committee members heard this and in the past they've also heard from other applicants how they were under great pressure to solve problems. Was this also - are you saying that this was also your experience that in order to maintain law and order and to ensure the safety of public and members of the public you found yourself in a situation where you were forced to act illegally?

GEN. DU TOIT: That is so, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: In those circumstances for which you have applied for amnesty, we are talking about in general?

GEN. DU TOIT: That is so, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: If we can go directly to page 9 please. This is of EXHIBIT J. Would you please give the Committee the perspective with regards to your participation in the explosion at King's Theatre in Alexandra on the 29th July 1988?

GEN. DU TOIT: Chairperson, by July 1988 I had the rank of Colonel and I was Commander of the Security Branch, Observing Commander at Security Branch and my office at John Vorster Square.

MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, I'm sorry, I gave you the wrong reference, the witness is now referring to page 75 of Volume 2, sorry. The reference is in fact at paragraph 6 at page 9 and I'm sorry, he's reading from page 75 of Volume 2, the second paragraph.

GEN. DU TOIT: In that capacity, Chairperson, I received an instruction from the then Head of Security, General van der Merwe that at a high level it was decided that certain theatres all over the country caused bomb explosions at these theatres where the film Cry Freedom would be shown. He motivated the instruction properly and he told me why these actions would be necessary, it was in order to maintain law and order in our country. In accordance to the mentioned instruction Captain van Huyssteen, I gave him the instruction to give his co-operation with the explosive expert who was also part of our personnel, that was Lieutenant Zeelie, to organise explosions where this film would then have been shown.

He, van Huyssteen, mentioned to me that the film would be shown at the King's Cinema in Alexandra and that he would make sure that the necessary would be done. The same goes for Lieutenant Zeelie, I gave him the instruction to work together with Van Huyssteen and to provide him with the necessary explosive device. My instruction was to identify someone who would be able to keep this order and especially to ensure that no lives would be endangered in this process. The explosion was to be of such a nature that - and I think there's an amendment here, it's a typing error Chairperson - the resistance of white conscientious groups who were opposed to the message that this specific film depicted.

MR VISSER: Yes, General, at the moment it's written that it indicates to black conscientious groups who were opposed against this and that's faulty. It should be white.

GEN. DU TOIT: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: Because the message was that of black conscientious groups.

GEN. DU TOIT: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: Please continue.

GEN. DU TOIT: This would come down to the creating of a climate of resistance from amongst our own people, that is the community in that vicinity. I received feedback from them, from Van Huyssteen to the effect that they successfully executed the order and specifically by one of his personnel members, Constable Mdaba and that no one was injured or killed during the explosion.

MR VISSER: General, let me just try and understand what you are saying, are you saying that you got instruction from Van der Merwe, you spoke to Captain van Huyssteen and you told Van Huyssteen that he must receive the explosive device from Zeelie and Zeelie gave this to Van Huyssteen, is that correct?

GEN. DU TOIT: That is correct.

MR VISSER: And then Van Huyssteen must identify someone who would then set off the explosion?

GEN. DU TOIT: To go and place in the cinema, that is correct.

MR VISSER: With the thought that no lives would be placed in danger in this process?

GEN. DU TOIT: That is correct.

MR VISSER: Was that part of the instruction of General van der Merwe's to you?

GEN. DU TOIT: That is correct, as part of his instruction to me.

MR VISSER: Now yesterday or the day before you gave me a message which I conveyed to the Committee that this Van Huyssteen, this person told you that he's applying for amnesty for his contribution in this specific case?

GEN. DU TOIT: That is correct, him and Constable Mdaba, Sam Mdaba.

MR VISSER: And this Sampson Mdaba, is that the person you refer to in your statement, this was the person who was identified to go and place this bomb?

GEN. DU TOIT: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, I am not sure whether any information has come to light about this from Mpshe and the data base which he referred to, perhaps we can just find out from him?

MR MPSHE: Mr Chairman, as I indicated the other time that through the help of the current witness and the applicant Mr van Huyssteen, we traced that the documents were sent to the Johannesburg office and this - I've sent the necessary documents to Cape Town and Cape Town indicated that they have now traced the applications and then I then subsequently, that is yesterday, got in touch with their advocate, Advocate Louis van der Walt - Louise van der Walt, I'm sorry, who is now currently busy in the Ermelo Hearings and she informed me that the two people have applied for Cry Freedom only and she would have no problem if their applications are not dealt with hear but in chambers and I must confer this to the Committee. I did tell General du Toit.

CHAIRPERSON: We certainly can't hear them now, they haven't been given necessary notice and what have you. I think rather let's leave the matter and we'll consider the papers when we have them and see if we can deal with them without the necessary ...[inaudible] prefer the public hearing. Mr Visser?

MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, would you allow me, I know I'm busy leading a witness but it seems to be very relevant and pertinent at the moment. We have another three witnesses - another two witnesses also only in regards - in fact three witnesses Mr Chairman, another three applicants apart from General du Toit, only in regard to Cry Freedom. They're going to give evidence, they're here, they've got nothing to be afraid of but the question is, Mr Chairman, if you're going to deal with some of the applications in chambers the question is don't you just want to deal with all of them in chambers?

CHAIRPERSON: You see we've had the advantage now that we had evidence of the senior officer, now your other two are for another incident I take it?


CHAIRPERSON: They have not been mentioned by the General.

MR VISSER: Yes. No they haven't.

CHAIRPERSON: So they've been set down, there may be other people who although strictly speaking are not victims, may be interested parties to listen, so they have been noticed let's carry on with them but these two, nobody has been notified they're going to be heard here so we can quietly put them somewhere else.

MR VISSER: But then Mr Chairman, there's only one further point and that is that as far as General Du Toit's evidence is concerned, there may contradictions as regard to precisely what happened in regard to this particular incident and we are informed, Mr Chairman, that the evidence presented by Mdaba and by Van Huyssteen are in support of what General Du Toit says but there may be other applicants here who may have a different view for example Lieutenant Zeelie as he was then. The point being this, Mr Chairman, it seems to be relevant to have those applications before you at least at the time when you make a decision ...[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: Well that I think we would certainly do.

MR VISSER: Thank you Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: I think the purpose - we would so far as possible deal with them together.

MR VISSER: We will attempt to get some papers and perhaps place it before you and address it in due course, Mr Chairman, thank you.

ADV. DE JAGER: May I just mention for the information of the public that the only reason why we can deal with it otherwise is because we're not dealing with a gross violation of human rights in this particular application, nobody was injured so the act allows us to deal with it on paper and not at a public hearing.

MR VISSER: Yes, Commission de Jager is quite correct Mr Chairman, I neglected to mention that. In fact I may mention that in not one of single of the incidents wherever it occurred was there any question of a gross violation of human rights.

General du Toit, you've stipulated your political motivations. The fact of the matter is you received an instruction from a higher officer and you executed that order, you obeyed it and now what I want to ask of you is you could have refused to obey this instruction because it was expected of you to do something illegal. Why did you anyway decide to still obey this order and not object to it?

GEN. DU TOIT: Chairperson, I identified myself with the view of General van der Merwe and the like thereof and the circumstances which prevailed at that time. I accepted and I did what was expected of me.

MR VISSER: And you're saying in paragraph 7 and page 9 of EXHIBIT J your own perception of the circumstances was it was a very low political atmosphere and there was constant pressure from abroad on the government to change it's policy. There were sanctions which put the country into difficult spots, there was unrest, there was violence on local level and that you had to take precautions against any catalyst which could turn these circumstances into a bloodbath?

GEN. DU TOIT: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR VISSER: I have no further questions, Mr Chairperson.


MR BOOYENS: Booyens. No questions, thank you Mr Chairperson.

MR HUGO: Hugo. I've got no questions, thank you Mr Chairperson.

MR PENZHORN: Mr Chairman, Penzhorn, I have no questions for this witness.

MR CORNELIUS: Mr Chairman, Cornelius for the applicant N.J. Vermeulen, I've got no questions.

MR NEL: Mr Chairman, Christo Nel, I have no questions.

MR DU PLESSIS: Roelof du Plessis, Mr Chairman, I have no applicant who was involved in this incident for once, Mr Chairman.

MR BOTHA: Hannes Botha, Meneer die Voorsitter, ek het geen verdere vrae nie.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR ROSSOUW: Rossouw on behalf of Mr Zeelie and Mr van Heerden for this particular incident, Mr Chairman.

General, I just want to put a few things to you and it's not necessarily that there's a difference. You would have noticed if it was put to you by Advocate Visser that Mr Zeelie said that the instruction to prepare the explosive he received from a person by

the name of Van Wyk and he says that he would concede he discussed the issue with you but he discussed the issue with Niels van Wyk. Can you recall this?

GEN. DU TOIT: Chairperson, I can just mention that I'm sure and it would come from the testimonies and it would be able that you could say that Captain van Huyssteen would say that a person by the name of Van Wyk who was the overhead commander of that unit. He was not present in other words he was on leave or he was somewhere else and Captain van Huyssteen was in his place and he was the man that was called in.

MR ROSSOUW: Mr Zeelie said that is his recollection in so far as it concerns Mr van Huyssteen and he indeed worked with Mr van Huyssteen and that the apparatus was prepared by him and he took it to the offices of Colonel van Wyk. At that stage Mr van Huyssteen was also present and the apparatus - maybe we are using different technology here - but it was not handed over but it was made available and Mr Zeelie will testify that as the bomb expert he would not give an explosive to a person who did not know how to deal with it so he made it available, he kept it with him and it went with them to the bioscope where it was handed to the person who would go and plant it.

GEN. DU TOIT: Chairperson, I will not argue that but to my knowledge Lieutenant Zeelie gave it to Captain van Huyssteen and from there they went to the cinema. If Zeelie was there I cannot confirm at this stage so I have to accept what he says.

MR ROSSOUW: General - maybe just on this point, Mr Chairman, the General is not applying for amnesty for any other events. There is one incident where the General's implicated by one of my clients. I am merely going to put it to him at this stage simply because he didn't - he's not applying for amnesty and it might not even be relevant as far as that's concerned.

CHAIRPERSON: What is the relevance - why do you want to put it to him?

MR ROSSOUW: Mr Chairman, it is on the papers before the Committee that the General is implicated and that certainly cross-examination for Mr van Heerden who is the applicant who is implicating General du Toit, will be cross-examined on that point and at this stage although it might not be relevant to his application for the Cry Freedom incident at least the version of Mr ...[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: But is this Committee hearing that other application?

MR ROSSOUW: Mr Chairman ...[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: If not, what is the relevance of evidence here?

MR ROSSOUW: Mr Chairman, it relates to the Khotso House incident.

CHAIRPERSON: Oh, one of their matters before us?


MR VISSER: May I react very briefly, Mr Chairman? My submission to is this is not an inquisition, if General du Toit has chosen not to apply for amnesty for Khotso House and there are others that think he should have then so be it but it's for the Attorney General to take up the matter and it's not for them to use this forum, Mr Chairman, to place evidence on record in cross-examination as to whether or not he should have applied for amnesty whether or not he is guilty of any ...[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: No, I understand what they want to put on record. It's their client's version so when their client gives evidence in relation to this applications before us, it cannot be suggested to him that he ...[indistinct] this up that it hadn't been raised - is that the problem?

MR VISSER: No, I've got no problem, in fact I was nodding my head when my learned friend said he wanted to put it on record.


MR ROSSOUW: Mr Chairman, indeed, I'm not going to cross-examine General du Toit on that, I merely want to put it on record.

General, it is just that Mr van der Merwe's recollection is that after the successful operation at Khotso House when they returned to the safe house in Honeydew that you were also present there?

GEN. DU TOIT: Chairperson, no I was not involved at Honeydew or any other planning in terms of Khotso House.

MR ROSSOUW: Mr Chairman ...[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: So I understood what you put to him was that he wasn't there at any planning, it was after the operation, was it?

MR VISSER: Sorry, Mr Chairman, if you look at Volume 1, the references are pages 170, 1,2,3,4,5 lines from the bottom:

"We went to a house in Honeydew and we say that General Erasmus and Piet Du Toit was also present as skeleton members of John Vorster Square as well as two members known as Kotzen and Hammond from explosive unit in Pretoria was also present"

It's before, it's prior, clearly. Yes and at page 176 you have the same situation, Mr Chairman.

ADV. DE JAGER: It was put to General du Toit by the advocate that it happened after the time. His verbal statement was it was after.

INTERPRETER: The speaker's mike is not on.

MR ROSSOUW: Mr Chairman, that was my instructions, that was not from the record for the sake of Mr Visser and my instructions specifically are that that is the recollection of Mr van Heerden afterwards. It will be dealt with as far as the record is concerned, I presume when it comes to his cross-examination.

MR VISSER: I'm terribly sorry, could my learned friend just put the question because I don't understand what the question is?

MR ROSSOUW: Mr Chairman, I'm not putting a question, I'm merely repeating what I've placed on record that the recollection of Mr van Heerden is that after the operation at the safe house at Honeydew that General du Toit was also present.

MR VISSER: I see, thank you, I did not understand that. At the safe house in Honeydew, General du Toit was afterwards he was present. Thank you Mr Chairman.

GEN. DU TOIT: Chairperson, I cannot recall anything like that. I was not involved with the planning of any of those ...[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: It's not the planning, it's afterwards.

GEN. DU TOIT: As far as I can recall I was not there.

MR ROSSOUW: I've got no further questions, Mr Chairman, thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Any questions?

MR JANSEN: Mr Chairman, Jansen on behalf of Ras, no questions.

MR MAFOJANE: Mafojane on behalf of Cosatu, I've got no questions.

MR SOLARI: Solari on behalf of South African Council of Churches, I have no questions, Mr Chairman.

MR MPSHE: Mr Chairman, I'm not putting any questions either but just for record purposes, the owners of the three cinemas were informed and served with notices and the owner of King's in Alexander called me. He said he may come to listen but he does not intend doing any opposition. The owner of the Roodepoort - the cinema in Roodepoort said that he is not interested because he said the insurance has paid him and the owner of the Durban cinema, the Metro 2 has not contacted me at all. Just for record purposes.

ADV. DE JAGER: And the insurers didn't they want to attend?

MR MPSHE: I didn't want to cause a prolonged hearing.

CHAIRPERSON: ...[inaudible] I take it you have no further


MR VISSER: No, Mr Chairman, only a request. Mr Chairman, my attorney instructs me that - to ask you whether we could see you all in chambers after the adjournment.