DATE: 29TH JULY 1998



DAY : 8

--------------------------------------------------------------------------CHAIRPERSON: Shall we try again Mr Visser?

MR VISSER: ...[inaudible]

MR SIBANYONI: Your full names please?

JOHAN HENDRIK LE ROUX: (sworn states)

MR VISSER: Thank you Mr Chairman. The witness is Johan Hendrik le Roux. His application in appears in volume 2 at page 131.

CHAIRPERSON: ...[inaudible]

MR VISSER: Certainly Mr Chairman.


EXAMINATION BY MR VISSER: 131. I draw your attention Mr Chairman and Members of the Committee, to the fact that there is a covering letter starting at page 125 also originating from this particular witness. We are not going to refer to it, it is there for you to read Mr Chairman, it's part of the application. It's a cover letter which was directed to the Chairman of the Amnesty Committee in Cape Town in December 1996. We will not be referring to that in detail Mr Chairman.

General le Roux, you are an applicant and you are asking the Committee to grant you amnesty for any unlawful acts or delicts which might have been committed by you or any omissions committed by you connected with an explosion at a theatre in the Highgate Shopping Centre at Roodepoort on the 29th of July 1988, is that true?


MR VISSER: That explosion was in connection with the showing of a film by the name of Cry Freedom?

GEN LE ROUX: That is correct.

MR VISSER: You filed an application which is contained in Volume 2, page 131 to 136. Do you confirm the truth and correctness to the best of your knowledge of the contents of that document and do you ask that be incorporated into your evidence?


MR VISSER: You also ask that the evidence which was submitted by way of Exhibits P45, 46 and 47, I'm not going to repeat what they all are, that these are also incorporated into your testimony in light of the fact that you agree with that and you confirm that?


MR VISSER: General, you were born in Potchefstroom and you went to school in Vereeniging. You come from a conservative home and background. You joined the South African Police and your career in the police is summed up on page 127? I think that's correct, yes indeed, page 127 and that is in the covering letter which you drafted and addressed to the Chairperson of the Committee?


MR VISSER: Do you confirm the contents of that letter from page 125 to 130 of Volume 2 as true and correct?

GEN LE ROUX: Yes, I confirm it.

MR VISSER: General, if we could then turn to the Cry Freedom issue. Could you tell the Committee - Mr Chairman, that is at page 132 of Volume 2.

Could you tell the Committee the facts regarding this matter?

GEN LE ROUX: Chairperson, the film Cry Freedom was a film on the life of Steve Biko. General Jaap Joubert of head office phoned me and gave me the order to prevent the showing of the film by means of controlled explosions. There was not sufficient legal base on which to prevent the showing of the film?

MR VISSER: Yes, we know that the legal methods were actually exhausted at that stage.

GEN LE ROUX: Yes. My own view was that the showing of the film would cause the revolutionary climate in the Republic to escalate, dangerously so, and I immediately agreed with this proposed unlawful action.

The judgement of mine must be seen in the context of the situation of unrest, violence, mass demonstrations and ungovernability which reigned at that time. The revolutionary climate could reach a climax with catastrophic consequences.

MR VISSER: General, you listened to the evidence of former Minister Vlok and General van der Merwe regarding the revolutionary climate and the surrounding political circumstances at the time, that is now in 1988. Do you associate yourself with that evidence as also constituting your views and opinions of the time?

GEN LE ROUX: Yes, I think so. If there should be bomb threats, the people showing the film would perhaps become aware of possible problems which could have resulted and that would possibly have caused them not to show the movie.

MR VISSER: So what you're saying is that your conduct or action, the action which was suggested, it was not clear that it would have the desired effect but that was what was envisaged? That is what you tried or thought that you would effect?

GEN LE ROUX: Correct.

MR VISSER: You were at that stage a Colonel and also the Divisional Commander of the West Rand Security Police?

GEN LE ROUX: Correct.

MR VISSER: Were you in Krugersdorp or Randfontein?

GEN LE ROUX: I was in Krugersdorp.

MR VISSER: When you received the order from General Joubert and agreed for it and said that you would carry it out, what did you do thereafter?

GEN LE ROUX: I can't remember this Louw's rank, JCWK Louw, he was an explosives expert on my staff and I ordered him to come and see me. He made arrangements with Lieutenant C Heineke who was also an explosives expert, and they both came to my office to come and talk to me.

I told them that the order in respect of bomb threats come from head office and my discussion with them included the following: namely, that the showing of the film should be stopped, that they should use a harmless copy of an explosive device which would not endanger life or property and that they should plant this device, that telephone calls should be made on the pretext that it was from right-wing groups and that these telephone calls should convey warnings to the theatre group and that when the police were called, the police would then dispose of these harmless copies of a bomb, they would be defused.

MR VISSER: Now you were not involved in the practical execution of this enterprise, did you receive a report as to what happened?

GEN LE ROUX: Yes, that's correct.

MR VISSER: Just tell us brief what was reported to you.

GEN LE ROUX: Louw reported to me that he had put a dummy bomb in a toilet in the theatre complex during the morning and Heineke made the phone calls to the manager of the theatre and after that somebody phoned the police. It was also reported that Heineke then went to the scene and he found this counterfeit harmless bomb and he "defused" it. After that I also went to the scene myself.

MR VISSER: What did you find there?

GEN LE ROUX: That this counterfeit explosive device which I could say was one which was taken from an exhibition board used during presentations to the public. He took this harmless device to a parking area behind the theatre where delivery vans made their deliveries and he buried it in a heap of sand and then detonated it by means of a thunder flash.

MR VISSER: You're saying a notice board, you're talking about a notice board. Is it true that at this time in the country there were often in public notice boards and it was the intention that the members of the public should take note as to what explosive devices looked like so they would be able to recognise these if they should come across it?

GEN LE ROUX: That's correct. What he also did was the following: in busy times we also held lectures in shopping centres so that people could be made aware of explosive devices.

MR VISSER: Now when you refer to a bomb which was made from one of these notice board bombs, was this what you're referring to? Was this cut out and then planted?


MR VISSER: So what must be inferred from your evidence is that there was no danger whatsoever for any life or property involved in this operation for which you gave the authorisation?

GEN LE ROUX: That's correct.

MR VISSER: And the thunder flash which you are mentioning, that is a device which explodes and burns and it is classified by law or in terms of the Act on explosives as an explosive or is it something else, I'm not quite sure. It is an explosive device I think.

GEN LE ROUX: Chairperson, I myself am not an explosives expert but that is what I believe. I've been told that it is an explosive device.

MR VISSER: But that in itself also does not pose any risk to life or limb or property?

GEN LE ROUX: That's correct.

ADV DE JAGER: What offence are you actually asking amnesty for?

GEN LE ROUX: There was a bomb threat made and if you look at the total picture of explosions which took place in this whole series of Cry Freedom explosion, it's very clear that in many cases although in it this particular case, that damage was caused. In this particular instance Chairperson, the damage was extremely limited. There was conceivably a risk of injury as a result of the thunder flash device being used but that risk was negligible and to the extent that there was a collusion that ...[intervention]

ADV DE JAGER: So we're talking about a bomb threat? Right.

MR VISSER: Yes, and everything which followed subsequently because for instance there was a cover-up of the whole operation. So there were a couple of unlawful acts here or delicts ...[intervention]

ADV DE JAGER: And also false implication of right-wingers?

MR VISSER: That is also so. The General will also tell you now that the attempt was so successful that the showing of the films did not proceed.

CHAIRPERSON: Are thunder flashes the things that are sometimes used at Guy Fawkes, fireworks?

MR VISSER: It's not entirely the same thing. It works on the same principle I understand but this is not entirely the same thing. This is a little more potent.

CHAIRPERSON: It is something that merely makes an explosion which causes light and noise?

MR VISSER: Yes, Mr Chairman. I'm similarly also not an expert ...[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: I think there was a nod from behind you.

MR VISSER: My attorney - I need to tell you that if it goes off in your hand of course it's going to injure you, we know that. But what the real effect is Mr Chairman, I'm afraid I'm not qualified. If it's of interest to you we could ask someone and I can tell you later.

CHAIRPERSON: No, I think it's just to confirm what the witness has said, it was something that is not used ordinarily in the sense of what one uses explosives for.

MR VISSER: I think that would be the correct description Mr Chairman.

What was the result of this whole operation General, was the showing of the film continued with?

GEN LE ROUX: No, the show was stopped.

MR VISSER: A docket was opened, is that correct?

GEN LE ROUX: That is correct, yes.

MR VISSER: And this docket was marked: "Untraceable - Finalised"?

GEN LE ROUX: That is correct.

MR VISSER: General, Louw and Heineke, are you aware of whether they also applied for amnesty?

GEN LE ROUX: Both applied for amnesty for the same incident.

MR VISSER: And they will testify as to the practical issues and their role in the incident?

GEN LE ROUX: That's correct.

MR VISSER: You've testified that you received this order and you carried out and you also testified that you agreed with it?

GEN LE ROUX: That's correct.

MR VISSER: Your political motives of objectives associated with your action, that you explain in Volume 2 from page 133, is that correct?

GEN LE ROUX: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Visser, hasn't he really already dealt with this in his evidence, that he has told us that there was no legal basis to stop this but he believed that in the revolutionary climate that existed in the country at the time if they were allowed to proceed with this it might have caused all sorts of problems?

MR VISSER: Indeed Mr Chairman ...[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: ...[inaudible]

MR VISSER: I'm sorry for having interrupted Mr Chairman. No, I wasn't going to lead evidence, I'm simply going to refer him to those pages for your benefit.

ADV DE JAGER: But he's already confirmed the whole application so we will be repeating the same thing.

MR VISSER: Thank you Mr Chairman, I have no further evidence to lead.


MR HUGO: It's Hugo on behalf of Mr de Kock. I have no questions Mr Chairman.


MR BOOYENS: Booyens Mr Chairman, I have no questions.


MR CORNELIUS: Cornelius on behalf of the applicant NJ Vermeulen. My client is not involved, I have no questions.


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


MR DU PLESSIS: Roelof du Plessis, I've got no questions Mr Chairman.


MR BOTHA: Hannes Botha, I have no questions.


MR POLSEN: Graham Polsen Mr Chairman, I have no questions.


MR ROSSOUW: Rossouw Mr Chairman, I also have no questions.


MR LAMEY: Lamey, Mr Chairman, no questions.


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


MR RADITAPOLE: Raditapole, no questions.


CROSS-EXAMINATION BY ADV MPSHE: Mpshe, some questions.

Mr le Roux, will I be correct to conclude that you accepted the order or the instruction to do what you did on the basis of what you believed in and on the basis of what you have mentioned on page 133, 10 (a) of your application? That will be under:

"Political Object"

GEN LE ROUX: That is correct Chairperson.

ADV MPSHE: Will it further be correct that Steve Biko was not a member of the ANC, neither was he in any way aligned to the ANC?

GEN LE ROUX: I stand to be correct but I don't think he was a member of the ANC.

ADV MPSHE: Neither was he in any way aligned to the ANC?

GEN LE ROUX: As far as I know he was not.

ADV MPSHE: Good. Now how do you relate the first paragraph under 10(a) to film Cry Freedom or particular to the life of Steve Biko? I will read to you what you say here in paragraph 1, for convenience:

"The political objective which I wanted to achieve was to maintain the previous government and constitutional order at all costs. We wanted to maintain it and to protect it so that the community would not as a result of intimidation and fear lose confidence in the government"

The important thing comes now:

"This amounted to the averting of the onslaught from the ANC/SACP Alliance"

How is it related to Steve Biko?

GEN LE ROUX: Chairperson, this is a statement which was of general application. The film would not only have been viewed by people of the black forces, it would have been seen by the broader public and there was a massive onslaught against the government at the time. So it could have been, it could have had an over-arching general effect.

ADV MPSHE: If we restrict your political "oogmerk" and in fact we have to do that, we're restricted to the Cry Freedom incident, then this would not be applicable, am I correct?

GEN LE ROUX: I still stand by what I said, namely that the film would have been seen by everybody and that would have had the consequences which we tried to prevent.

CHAIRPERSON: It was the film that would have upset people, not Steve Biko?

GEN LE ROUX: Yes, that is so.

ADV MPSHE: Yes, it is the film that would have upset the people but in your paragraph the target actually here is the ANC/SACP Alliance and you acted on instruction because you believed in this particular thing, that you're fighting the ANC and SACP and Steve Biko was neither of these parties, he was BCM.

GEN LE ROUX: That is so. Once again I must say that at that stage the onslaught came largely from the ANC/SACP Alliance.

ADV MPSHE: In your studies, because you mentioned on page 135 of your application that you did attend security courses, in your courses did you ever learn that BCM was also involved in communistic espionage?

GEN LE ROUX: No, as far as my knowledge goes and my recollection, no.

ADV MPSHE: Would I then be correct that the showing of the film pertaining to the life of Steve Biko would have nothing to do at all with communism or advancement thereof?

GEN LE ROUX: No, definitely not but it would have exacerbated the revolutionary climate and that is why we wanted to prevent it.

ADV MPSHE: Just a moment for me Mr Chairman.

Did you see the film?

GEN LE ROUX: I didn't see it, no.

ADV MPSHE: And you believed that it would have cause a revolutionary climate? Even if you did not see it, you were told about it. Is that what happened?

GEN LE ROUX: Chairperson, head office had a very definite view on this matter and which I agreed with. The mere fact that the name of a film was: "Cry Freedom", in my view even though I wasn't an expert, was aimed at escalating the revolutionary climate in the country.

ADV MPSHE: It is what you think could have been in the film.

GEN LE ROUX: That is what I believed.

ADV MPSHE: Perhaps let me be direct with you on this issue of communistic espionage, how - sorry, I hear a remark, what is the remark? I can respond to it.

MR VISSER: I responded to my attorney's question to me, it's not a remark.

ADV MPSHE: Oh, I see, I see. In what way would the show of this film indicate or show any communistic espionage?

MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, where is communistic espionage mentioned in the application ...[intervention]

ADV MPSHE: Paragraph 2, under 10(a) Mr Chairman. I will read for convenience:

MR VISSER: Thank you Mr Chairman.


"It was especially necessary to, in respect of the threat posed by the communist expansionism, to fight this"

MR VISSER: That's not espionage Mr Chairman, with respect.

ADV MPSHE: Alright. Communistic expansionism then. It's still the same. My questions still stands.

GEN LE ROUX: Chairperson, communist expansionism was a global trend at the time, it was spreading across the globe and that is what specifically fought against in that time.

ADV MPSHE: Was it spread by the ANC and its allies?

GEN LE ROUX: Yes, that's correct.

ADV MPSHE: And not by the BCM?


ADV MPSHE: That's all Mr Chairman, thank you.


CHAIRPERSON: You were asked whether the film dealt with the life of Steve Biko, did it also deal with his death?

GEN LE ROUX: I didn't see the film myself so I can't comment on that.

CHAIRPERSON: Re-examination?

MR VISSER: None, thank you Mr Chairman.


ADV DE JAGER: We've heard evidence as to how Shirley Gunn was innocently involved and implicated to cover an act committed by the police. Here you've testified that right-wingers were also involved in order to cover up an act committed by the police.

GEN LE ROUX: That is correct Chairperson.

ADV DE JAGER: Were there any grounds for that accusation at the time?

GEN LE ROUX: All that I can imagine is that that was just a handy excuse for us at the time.

MR SIBANYONI: Mr le Roux, did you personally make any telephone threat as if it was from the right-wing?


ADV MPSHE: Who made those telephone calls?

GEN LE ROUX: I think it was Heineke.

MR SIBANYONI: Thank you, no further questions.






DATE: 29TH JULY 1998



DAY : 8


MR VISSER: Thank you Mr Chairman. The next witness is General Steyn.

CHAIRPERSON: ...[inaudible]

MR VISSER: Oh, I'm sorry.

CHAIRPERSON: ...[inaudible]


CHAIRPERSON: The applications that we are going to hear, we wish to make it clear that we intend insofar as possible, to dispose of now all the Cry Freedom Applications. We understand that one or two applicants may not be present at the present time but arrangements can be made for them to be hear tomorrow or Friday, preferably tomorrow.

If we have gone on with some evidence we will interpose the Cry Freedom applications to dispose of them. The reason for this is that it appears possible, if not probably, that the hearing will not be completed by Friday and it seems ridiculous that people who are only involved in the Cry Freedom applications, that they and their legal advisors should have sat here for two weeks and that they should then have to come back for a further hearing. So to avoid that we will now proceed with the Cry Freedom ones.

MR VISSER: Visser on record. General Johannes Albertus Steyn. You will find his application in Volume 2, page 226 and following. May I immediately at this juncture Mr Chairman, draw your attention to the fact that part of his application which ought to be before you has fallen out after page 230. We made photocopies of the rest of that paragraph 10 which ought to be before you and we ask you to include those in his application in the bundle as pages 230(a) and 230(b), the two pages which my attorney has placed before you Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: ...[inaudible]. Very well.

MR VISSER: The General is available to give evidence.

MR HUGO: Mr Chairman, just before this witness gives evidence, may I just request, as I understand the ruling now we are going to have three or four cry freedom people giving evidence and that will probably last at least until after the lunch adjournment as I foresee it because I've gone through the applications, it doesn't seem as if that in fact has any link to my client at all. May I be excused for the part of Cry Freedom part, if I may call it that?

CHAIRPERSON: You may but I don't guarantee that it will last till lunch time. ...[inaudible]

MR HUGO: Mr Chairman, I would like to back your estimate then and then I would in that case not excuse myself beyond return.


EXAMINATION BY MR VISSER: General Steyn, you were a member of the South African Police. You're also an applicant before this Amnesty Committee where you are applying for any unlawful deeds or omissions which were committed by you regarding an explosion at the Metro 2 theatre in West Street, Durban in 1988, with regard to the film Cry Freedom, is that correct?

GEN STEYN: That is correct.

MR VISSER: Your application appears on page 226 and goes on till 236 of Volume 2 and two pages have been included in that, page 230(a) and (b). Do you confirm the correctness of the content of the facts which you have set out in your amnesty application?


MR VISSER: You also request that in your case the documents which are Exhibits P45, P46 and P47 which have been served to the Committee, be included in your application, is that correct?


MR VISSER: Were you born on the 30th of September 1939 in Viljoenskroon in the Free State?

GEN STEYN: Correct Chairperson.

MR VISSER: And did you grow up in a conservative environment and later join the South African Police, is that correct?

GEN STEYN: That's correct.

MR VISSER: You have given a short and concise summary of your service in the South African Police, and that appears on page 227 of Volume 2, is that correct?

GEN STEYN: That is correct.

MR VISSER: General, can we go directly to the issue of your share in the Cry Freedom film screening. Could you tell us what your share was in that?

GEN STEYN: Chairperson, on the 29th of July 1988 ...[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: Which date?

GEN STEYN: 29th of July 1988.

MR VISSER: I should have referred you to page 231, I'm sorry Mr Chairman.

GEN STEYN: Chairperson, while I was the Divisional Commander in Durban I received a telephone call from the Security Head Office in Pretoria. I received an order to cease the screening of the film Cry Freedom, about the life of Steve Biko, by means of a controlled explosion which would occur at theatres. I was also to make anonymous bomb threats to the theatres in order to prevent the film being screened.

MR VISSER: General, you say on page 232 at the top, that you don't know who it was who phoned you?

GEN STEYN: That's correct, I can't remember who phoned me.

MR VISSER: Very well, proceed.

GEN STEYN: My order was that should the film be screened it would increase the existing revolutionary climate of that time.

MR VISSER: Were you informed regarding the content of the film and why it would increase the revolutionary climate?

GEN STEYN: At that point it was told to me that the content was of the nature that if it were to be distributed and seen by a number of people it would definitely influence the already existing climate of violence and unrest and that it would have a definite effect on it.

MR VISSER: Apart from the fact that you received an order from the Security Head Office, what was your view regarding factors which could possibly increase the revolutionary climate of that time?

GEN STEYN: Any screening, for example in the case of a film wherein which racial hatred would be aggravated or where reference would be made to circumstances of the past which at that time were in effect, would be interpreted by the audience that this would be a further aspect of the oppression of that time, the so-called oppression and this would lead to further acts of violence being committed by those who saw the film.

MR VISSER: In other words you received an order and you agreed with the content of the order and that is why you undertook to perform the order?

GEN STEYN: That's correct.

MR VISSER: As you understood the order, what did you do as a result thereof?

GEN STEYN: After I received the order I went to the then Major MC Botha who was the head of the division explosives in Durban and gave him the order as I had received it from head office.

I said to Mr Botha that he should stop the screening of the film by means of a small charge explosive and that he should prevent any deaths or injuries and cause minimal damage.

MR VISSER: Was that part of the instruction that you received from Head Office?

GEN STEYN: That is correct.

MR VISSER: Were you kept up to date?

GEN STEYN: Yes, Mr Botha kept me up to date. I later received a message from him that an explosion had taken place. I myself went to the scene at the theatre, Metro 2. I saw that damage had been done to the theatre and I took note that there had been no injuries or deaths.

MR VISSER: Apart from this matter and you evidence thusfar, is there anything else that you can say which would take the matter further for the Committee?

GEN STEYN: Regarding the actual circumstances surrounding the explosion, that is all.

MR VISSER: Mr Botha will testify regarding that.

GEN STEYN: That's correct.

MR VISSER: Would you allow me a moment Mr Chairman. I've got no further questions.


CHAIRPERSON: I think rather than us going all the way round as we did before we adopt a different system. If anybody has any questions would they kindly indicate so. Once again Mr Mpshe.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY ADV MPSHE: Mr Steyn, did you see the film?

GEN STEYN: No, I did not see the film.

ADV MPSHE: Now you testified that you were told that the showing of this film will cause an escalation in the revolutionary climate, who told you this?

GEN STEYN: The person from whom I received the order from head office.

ADV MPSHE: Did he tell you this over the telephone?

GEN STEYN: That is correct.

ADV MPSHE: How long did the conversation take?

GEN STEYN: I can't recall for how long we had this discussion.

ADV MPSHE: And you believed what he told you over the telephone about the film?

GEN STEYN: I believed him.

ADV MPSHE: And deemed it fit to act on the base of that information to destroy property?

GEN STEYN: That's correct.

ADV MPSHE: No further questions Mr Chairman.


MR VISSER: No re-examination Mr Chairman.


MS GCABASHE: General, have you told us who this person is who instructed you?

CHAIRPERSON: I take it that anybody who phoned you from headquarters to instruct you to do something would somebody of a fairly senior rank?

GEN STEYN: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Somebody senior to yourself?

GEN STEYN: Definitely.

MS GCABASHE: And then in that conversation, did he say

anything about the types of cinemas you were to target? Was there any distinction at all, because at that time you'd have cinemas owned by so-called Indian businessmen and cinemas owned by white businessmen. Did they say anything at all about that?

GEN STEYN: Chairperson, it was about those theatres in which the film Cry Freedom would be screened.

MS GCABASHE: Thank you.

MR SIBANYONI: General Steyn, was it supposed to be the actual bomb blasting or merely a bomb scare? What was the type of order?

GEN STEYN: It was of a dual nature. There had to be a bomb threat as well as a small charge explosive.

MR SIBANYONI: No further questions Mr Chairman.





DATE: 28TH JULY 1998



DAY : 8

--------------------------------------------------------------------------MR VISSER: I beg leave to call Director Matthuys Cornelius Botha. He is incidentally the person that was referred to by General Steyn a moment ago.

CHAIRPERSON: ...[inaudible]

MR VISSER: I'm sorry, Volume 1 Mr Chairman, page 187, well it's 188, Mr Chairman.


EXAMINATION BY MR BOTHA: Mr Botha, you are applying for amnesty for any unlawful deeds, delicts or omissions regarding any action taken at the Metro Theatre in West Street on the 29th of July 1988 when an explosion was caused.

MR BOTHA: That is correct.

MR VISSER: Your application appears on page 188 or Volume 1 and extends until page 194. Do you confirm the truth and correctness of the content thereof and do you request that the information contained therein be incorporated with your evidence before the Committee today?

MR BOTHA: Yes, that's correct.

MR VISSER: You also request that Exhibits P45, 46 and 47 be incorporated in your application and your evidence, is that correct?

MR BOTHA: Yes, that is correct.

MR VISSER: You were born in Springs on 4th of June 1949 and you joined the South African Police, and that you have set out on page 188 until page 189?

MR BOTHA: That is correct.

MR VISSER: Could we go directly to the incident. You have just heard the evidence of General Steyn, that he gave an order to one, Matthuys Botha, is that you?

MR BOTHA: That's correct.

MR VISSER: With reference to page 189 in Volume 1, could you sketch your recollection of the incidents to the Committee?

MR BOTHA: On the 29th of July 1998, Colonel Steyn requested me to see him in his office and that is where he briefly explained the situation surrounding the film Cry Freedom to me and said that an order had been received from head office in Pretoria, that the screening of the film inasfar as possible be stopped by means of bomb threats and explosions. He also gave me the order to make telephonic bomb threats to the two local theatres where the first screening of the said film would take place that day.

If the theatres reacted to that I should see to it that I myself go to one of the theatres and see to it that a small charge of explosives be placed there. The charge would then go off, with the clear instruction that it only cause minimal damage and no loss of life or injuries.

MR VISSER: Continue. Perhaps I could just cut it short here. You were kept up to date regarding the political and unrest situation in the country and specifically in Durban and the surrounding environment, is that correct?


MR VISSER: At that stage when you received the order, was it your viewpoint that anything which would increase the revolutionary climate be prevented at all costs?

MR BOTHA: That is correct.

MR VISSER: You received the order and what did you do then?

MR BOTHA: I took a small charge of explosives and fabricated a small device, very simple.

MR VISSER: Was this taken from supplies which you legally had in your possession?

MR BOTHA: Yes, these were supplies which I could use when we were to create harmless explosives which we could use in case there were problems with bombs which were to be rendered harmless.

MR VISSER: Could you just briefly explain how these explosives were used in order to render a bomb harmless?

MR BOTHA: In cases where we found bombs or explosives which had been placed and there were quite a number of these in KwaZulu Natal and Durban, and if we were not sure how to render this device harmless and there were cases where the device had been removed from the premises where it had been placed and a small of explosives had been detonated.

MR VISSER: In other words the explosives would be used to set the bomb off, not to destroy it?

MR BOTHA: Yes, that is correct, under certain circumstance.

MR VISSER: Continue.

MR BOTHA: After the small charge of explosives had been put together I made some phone calls to the cinemas where I warned the people there that bombs had been placed as a result of the screening of Cry Freedom.

MR VISSER: Let's just achieve certainty. You have the one explosive device in your hands, it hasn't been planted?

MR BOTHA: That's correct.

MR VISSER: And then you made phone calls to say that bombs may be planted?

MR BOTHA: That's correct.

MR VISSER: Good, continue.

MR BOTHA: After a while I received a telephone call, and I can't remember exactly who called me, but this person said that a bomb threat had been received at the relevant theatres and I myself went to one of the theatres and sent other members of the SAP to the other theatre which was also in Durban city.

As I arrived at the theatre I and other members searched the theatre and while I was searching the theatre I didn't check to see if there was actually a bomb but I tried to find a place where I could detonate a small charge.

I found an appropriate place in a side passage of the theatre, I beg you pardon, we removed the people from the theatre, those who were going to the theatre and the management and after that I placed the small charge in a side passage of the theatre, detonated it and the other police members who were busy searching were informed by me that I had found a device and were told to leave the premises. After they had left the charge detonated.

MR VISSER: A docket was opened regarding the matter?

MR BOTHA: That's correct.

MR VISSER: And that docket was later closed as unsolved?

MR BOTHA: That is correct Chairperson.

MR VISSER: And for your role in this situation you are thus applying for amnesty?

MR BOTHA: That's correct.

MR VISSER: Thank you Mr Chairman.


CHAIRPERSON: The same again, has anybody got any questions?

FURTHER EXAMINATION BY VISSER: I'm sorry, there's one thing I did neglect to ask.

Were there any injuries to any person or was any person killed as a result of this action?

MR BOTHA: No person was injured, no person was killed and the damage was minimal.

MR VISSER: I'm sorry Mr Chairman, I forgot that.




Mr Botha, will you agree with me that the film was about the life of Steve Biko?

MR BOTHA: That's correct.

ADV MPSHE: Will you further agree with me that Steve Biko belonged to BCM, Black Consciousness Movement?

MR BOTHA: That's correct, he belonged to that movement.

ADV MPSHE: And do you further agree with me, I believe that the BCM was not an alliance of the ANC/SACP?

MR BOTHA: That's correct.

ADV MPSHE: Would you again further agree with me that the film about Steve Biko would deal with the doctrines and the convictions of BCM and not ANC/SACP Alliance?

MR BOTHA: Chairperson, I myself did not see the film but if you put it that way I could agree.

ADV MPSHE: Are you telling us Mr Botha, that you prepared this explosive to cause damage to the building, without yourself ascertaining whether this was justified?

MR BOTHA: Chairperson, I received the order from a then Colonel Steyn who told me that it had come from head office and I had the fullest confidence in this order and that is why I executed it.

ADV MPSHE: What made you believe in him, to make you carry out the instruction? Is it the way he explained it to you, convinced you and told you that this is what I know about the film or what?

MR BOTHA: Chairperson, yes. At that stage during the 1980's, we experienced a tremendous spate of unrest, acts of terrorism, general dissatisfaction among various political groups and political intolerance. That which was told to me was that this screening would definitely aggravate the climate of unrest and the potential for unrest, and in order to prevent this I had the utmost confidence in that which was told to me and I performed the task.

ADV MPSHE: So all this was told to you by Mr Steyn?

MR BOTHA: That which Colonel Steyn said to me was that we were to stop the screening of the film and that this screening would definitely increase the potential for unrest in the KwaZulu Natal area.

ADV MPSHE: Did Mr Steyn tell you that he was also told by somebody else, somebody unknown to him for that matter?

MR BOTHA: General Steyn told me that the order had come from head office.

MR VISSER: He did not give evidence to say that it was somebody unknown to him, he gave evidence that it was ...[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: He could not remember.

MR VISSER: ...[inaudible]

ADV MPSHE: I stand corrected.

Now Mr Botha, perhaps a last question, how do you connect then the BCM doctrines and convictions to the doctrines and convictions of the ANC/SACP Alliance? Perhaps to be fair to you, as put on page 191 of your application, paragraph 6 thereof.

MR BOTHA: Chairperson, as I have stated I myself did not see the film Cry Freedom before the time and at that stage I could not, as the question has been posed, connect the BCM with the ANC/SACP Alliance.

ADV MPSHE: Was BCM pushing any - was BCM involved in any communism or the taking over of the government by communists?

MR BOTHA: Chairperson, it was resistance movement, the BCM. I wasn't very well informed regarding the activities of the BCM but I knew that it was a resistance group.

ADV MPSHE: What do you mean by: "weerstandsgroep"?

MR BOTHA: A movement that exercised opposition towards the government or the former government.

ADV MPSHE: You see I'm asking you because a particular sentence, the first sentence on paragraph 6, that the only evidence and the only knowledge some of us may have about people who were involved in communism and wanted to take over the government through communism is ANC and SACP, but you're putting here this aspect in respect of BCM which was not involved in communism.

MR BOTHA: That's correct, but even the screening of the film as such could have led to further unrest in KwaZulu Natal.

ADV MPSHE: I'm not talking of the unrest, I'm talking about communism specifically.

MR BOTHA: Could you please repeat the question, it's possible that I didn't understand it correctly.

ADV MPSHE: We've agreed that BCM was not involved in communism, it's only ANC and SACP and that is the organisation, ANC and SACP that wanted to take over the government using communism, and not BCM. Are we together so far?


ADV MPSHE: Good. Now how do you connect the beliefs and the doctrines and convictions of the ANC to BCM as per first sentence of paragraph 6?

MR BOTHA: Chairperson, my knowledge of BCM was not very extensive at that stage. As I have mentioned in my evidence, at that point I was more involved with explosives, I was an inspector of explosive and therefore I worked at the desk which specialised, for example in the objectives or I did not work with the objectives of the BCM.

ADV MPSHE: Finally, then it would mean you're given an instruction by Mr Steyn to go and place a bomb on information given to you and without verifying you went ahead and did that?

MR BOTHA: That's correct, I had the utmost confidence in General Steyn and the order as he had received it from Pretoria head office.

ADV MPSHE: If you've already answered what I'm going to ask you, please bear with me. What did General Steyn say to you?

MR BOTHA: General Steyn gave the order to me that I should stop the screening of Cry Freedom by means of a light explosion without causing any injuries of deaths and that only minimal damage be caused.

ADV MPSHE: Well I'm more interested in the reasons for that.

MR BOTHA: The screening of Cry Freedom could have increased the potential for unrest in KwaZulu Natal.

ADV MPSHE: Thank you Mr Chairman, no further questions.


CHAIRPERSON: I take it you've got no re-examination?

MR VISSER: I have no re-examination Mr Chairman.



MR BOTHA: Thank you Chairperson.


MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, I'm going to hand over to one of my successors now but I need to make a statement at this stage. It appears that from the side of the Commission, the issue of the reasoning behind acting the way the Cry Freedom people did is now being placed in dispute.

We certainly considered this to be a Section 19(3) application all along and apart from that, we certainly never considered to present you with evidence in regard to the Black Consciousness Movement simply because we perhaps incorrectly but because we considered Mr Chairman that it didn't matter where the impulse came from, it could have been Donald Duck for all that one cares, as long as it could be related to a potentially

dangerous situation or inflammatory situation and this is the basis upon which we've approached these applications and the basis upon which we've presented them.

We'll have to consider now Mr Chairman, whether we should present you with evidence, ask you to view the film. I'm not certain how it can be relevant and where it will take us Mr Chairman but I'm concerned about the questions which are being put by an official of the Amnesty Committee to these applications in this regard. I must tell you that we will have to consider it and decide what we have to do about that.

ADV DE JAGER: Every witness that testified said that he did this because it could have increased the revolutionary climate. You must decide whether or not this fulfils the requirements of the Act. It's for you to decide. The Committee's decision at the end of the day will be whether or not the deed was associated with a political motive, because that's what the Act says.

Unfortunately we can't provide any advice for people because each one of you has enough experience to understand what the Act is about.

CHAIRPERSON: ...[inaudible] probably enjoy watching the film. Has anyone seen it, who is able to say: "The film was of such a nature, I have seen the film, it would have stirred up feelings"?

MR VISSER: ...[inaudible] question. I did see the film but I'm not going to give evidence.

CHAIRPERSON: Before or after the explosions?

MR VISSER: Before Mr Chairman. I actually saw the film when it was before the Appeals Board.

We don't have any further witnesses available at the moment, we would gladly hand over to somebody else now Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: It is in fact due isn't it, you have the two applicants who have arranged not to be here at the moment but will be here?

MR VISSER: Yes, hopefully tomorrow morning first thing, yes, Mr Chairman.

MR POLSEN: Mr Chairman, I think the only other witness that is involved in the Cry Freedom situation is my client, Colonel Kendall. I have spoken to him and he's on his way here, he's not here yet. I don't think we must delay the proceedings of the Committee and perhaps we should continue and I suggest that we interpose his evidence for 10 minutes after the lunch break.

CHAIRPERSON: Where is he coming from?

MR POLSEN: From Bronkhorstspruit. I have spoken to him about half an hour ago so he ...[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: How much longer will it take him to come here, because to interpose and interpose I think is undesirable. If he's going to be here within the next 10, 15 minutes, we will take an adjournment.

MR POLSEN: I can't confirm that without phoning him. I think perhaps it's a good idea that the Committee continues.

ADV DE JAGER: Has he got a cellphone?

MR POLSEN: ...[inaudible] whether he's got a cellphone.

ADV DE JAGER: Well try and find out.

MR POLSEN: I will, thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Who would the next applicant be?

MR HUGO: Mr Chairman, Mr de Kock will be the next applicant.

CHAIRPERSON: We are going to have to interpose tomorrow morning. I don't think it right that we should do so more often than necessary. What are your feelings on the matter?

MR HUGO: I'm ambivalent as far as that goes Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: I think we will taken an adjournment to await the arrival of your client.




DATE: 29TH JULY 1998



DAY : 8




MR HUGO: Thank you Chairperson. Chairperson, before I begin with the leading of evidence of the witness, can I just tell you that the application of Mr de Kock was placed somewhat fragmented before you as a result of administrative oversights. His application is replaced in Bundle 2, pages 237 to 250.

In bundle 3 you will find the transcribed evidence of Mr de Kock in the matter of: S v PW BOTHA and the balance of Mr de Kock's application is then found in bundle 5, pages 1 to 167.

ADV DE JAGER: Which bundle are we going to start with?

MR HUGO: I'm going to give some general background first in respect of Mr de Kock's history. That is contained in bundle number 5. I will deal with that very briefly, I won't deal with each and every page.

CHAIRPERSON: We have only have a very small portion of his application for amnesty. I take it that you're satisfied the application is in order. We have not seen the relevant portions dealing with Mr de Kock's personal affairs. That has not been included in the bundle has it?

MR MPSHE: It doesn't Mr Chairman, but the copies thereof were given to the Committee Members last week in bundle 5. That contains the background of Mr de Kock.

CHAIRPERSON: I'm talking about the technical details of the application for amnesty.

MR MPSHE: The application for amnesty is in order Mr Chairman.


MR MPSHE: Thank you Mr Chairman.

EXAMINATION BY MR HUGO: Thank you Chairperson.

Mr de Kock you are in applicant in this matter and you are applying for amnesty in respect of two incidents known as the Cosatu House and Khotso House.

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HUGO: Do you confirm the content of the application and that you read it through, that you understand it and that it is true and correct?


MR HUGO: Is it also correct that you ask for amnesty for all incidents relating to the Cosatu House and the Khotso House incidents and also offences arising from that?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct.

MR HUGO: Mr de Kock, you are currently a prisoner at C Max Prison in Pretoria, after having being convicted in a criminal of a whole number of offences?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct.

MR HUGO: Can you also tell the Honourable Committee, the current applications before them about Cosatu House and Khotso House, was that part of the criminal trial?


MR HUGO: And then at the outset I would like to ask you, were you, during the relevant period May 1987 till the end of August 1988, were you a member of any political party?

MR DE KOCK: No, I wasn't.

MR HUGO: You were however attached to the South African Security Police during this period?


MR HUGO: Is it correct that in bundle 5 you attach copies of expert report from a Professor du Plessis and also from a Doctor Novelo which outlines your background and it also deals with the psychological position in which you found yourself and in the last case, Doctor Novelo also dealt with post-traumatic stress syndrome?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that's correct.

ADV DE JAGER: Mr Hugo, I don't want to interrupt you but as far as this Act is concerned, do those factors play a role in any way? Are those not mitigating factors which would play a role in a criminal trial but which has nothing to do with an amnesty hearing?

MR HUGO: Indeed, but I'm only mentioning it as background, I won't proceed with it.

Mr de Kock, you were born in 1949 in George in the Cape, is that correct?


MR HUGO: You matriculated in 1966 at Voortrekker High School in Boksburg?


MR HUGO: And then you did your basic Defence Force training in 1967 at the Gymnasium in Pretoria.

MR DE KOCK: Correct Chairperson.

MR HUGO: Then in bundle 5 you also discuss your political convictions and principles and how these were shaped and influenced.

MR DE KOCK: Correct.

MR HUGO: After your basic training you also then did police training at the Police College in 1968?

MR DE KOCK: Correct.

ADV DE JAGER: Mr Hugo, it would help us if you could perhaps, even though you're not actually giving evidence you're only incorporating it, but if you could refer to a page now and again it would help us.

MR HUGO: I will try as far as possible Chairperson.

Could I just say that I'm now going to deal with Mr de Kock's experiences in Rhodesia in Koevoet and that is also just to sketch a bit of background. I won't deal with it in any depth.

Mr de Kock, you were then stationed at the uniform branch in the East Rand?

MR DE KOCK: Correct.

MR HUGO: And since 1986 you took part in many excursions of the South African Police in the former Rhodesia?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct.

MR HUGO: How old were you when you took part in the first operation in Rhodesia?

MR DE KOCK: I was 18.

CHAIRPERSON: Can I ask, is this part of his original amnesty application?

MR HUGO: Yes, Mr Chairman, it does ...[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: Well we were given copies of it, we will have all this information.

MR HUGO: It is in fact contained in that bundle 5 that we're referring to.

CHAIRPERSON: What page? As Mr de Jager asked, where?

MR HUGO: Sorry Mr Chairman, it's page 21, more specifically paragraph 14.

Mr de Kock, you also state, or rather before we get to that, you were then later appointed as Station Commander in Ruakana in Ovamboland.

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HUGO: Were you also a founding member of Operation Koevoet?


MR HUGO: And in how many situations of armed conflict were involved during this period?

MR DE KOCK: In total and including covert actions not forming part of the record, it would be approximately 400.

MR HUGO: Mr de Kock, after you left Koevoet in 1993, ...[intervention]

MR DE KOCK: 1983 that should be.

MR HUGO: You arrived at Vlakplaas?


MR HUGO: Who was the Commanding Officer at Vlakplaas at this stage?

MR DE KOCK: Lieutenant Colonel Jack Cronjè.

MR HUGO: And just for elucidation, at your arrival at Vlakplaas you immediately started taking part in covert operations.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, about three months afterwards I took part in my first cross-border operation and shortly afterwards there was the incident relating to hand-grenades supplied to activists with a zero device, ignition device.

MR HUGO: Now these incidents form the subject matter of your other amnesty applications?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that's correct.

MR HUGO: Now after the war situation in Rhodesia, when you left that behind and you were re-transferred to South Africa, did you receive any psychological counselling?


MR HUGO: I think it's general knowledge that on the 1st of June 1985 you took over as Commanding Officer of Vlakplaas.

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HUGO: Until when did you remain as Commanding Officer?

MR DE KOCK: The end of March 1993.

MR HUGO: Is it then correct to say that you were at Vlakplaas for more or less 10 years of which approximately 8 years you were the Commanding Officer?

MR DE KOCK: That's right.

MR HUGO: Mr de Kock, I'd like to refer you to Exhibit F, would you please look at that. Have you got it in front of you?


MR HUGO: Is this an organogram which you drafted of the Security Police's structures as you understood it at the stage when these incidents happened?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct.

MR HUGO: Would you just like to tell us briefly what Vlakplaas' function was within this structure?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, the primary agenda was the tracking down of terrorists and the physical identification of terrorists, the infiltration of terrorist cells or purported terrorist cells and then evidence given by former members of the ANC or PAC in our service.

The second agenda and it was a more covert agenda, was in the cross-border operations and there were also operations inside the borders of the country which included the destruction of facilities or the taking of lives.

MR HUGO: We've already dealt with this in cross-examination, is it correct that you virtually never attended security meetings such as for instance took place in the Sanhedrin(?)

MR DE KOCK: No, never.

MR HUGO: Did you at any stage attend meetings held by Trevits?


MR HUGO: Is it correct that you also did not carry any files or dockets yourself?


MR HUGO: Mr de Kock, you also heard that General van der Merwe testified that C1 or Vlakplaas was seen as the police's operational unit, was that your perception as well?


MR HUGO: One further aspect, there was evidence regarding security reports that were circulated from time to time, did you read these reports, did you know about them?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, we received daily reports and we received a daily survey, a weekly survey and a monthly survey of security aspects and that was then distributed to all members at Vlakplaas and they had to initial it after reading it, just to keep them up to date with what was going on.

MR HUGO: Could you tell the Committee about these security reports that were circulated from time to time and also came to your desk? Did you ever as far as you can remember, receive any information about Cosatu or Khotso Houses?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, the reports and especially the weekly and monthly reports were a combination of the broad spectrum of security matters such as Trade Unions, Churches and input by the PAC desk, the ANC desk but as Vlakplaas members we concentrated on the aspects of terrorism, infiltration where incidents took place and information relating to our field of operation.

MR HUGO: Then I would like to proceed Mr de Kock, to Cosatu specifically and the incidents which preceded it. Could you please tell the Committee, because it wasn't included in your amnesty application because we weren't sure of the date, did the explosion take place on the evening and early morning hours of the 6th/7th of May


MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, that is also my recollection.

MR HUGO: When did you for the first hear that you had to be involved in this operation?

MR DE KOCK: It was about a month or five weeks, approximately 5 weeks before that we had to actually launch this operation.

MR HUGO: Who did you hear this from?

MR DE KOCK: I got the information from Brigadier Schoon who was the head of Unit C.

MR HUGO: What did Brigadier Schoon tell you, what was the purpose of this operation?

MR DE KOCK: He didn't actually tell me what the purpose was but I asked him who this order had come from and then he said it came right from the top. I asked him: "How high"? and he said: "From the President", and I said: "Well is that the State President"?, and he then said: "Yes".

MR HUGO: After he told you this, what happened next?

MR DE KOCK: Within that period, and it was still in his office, he then took his jacket and Brigadier Schoon and myself and Captain Jan Meyer then drove in Brigadier Schoon's car to Honeydew to a safehouse of the Johannesburg Security Branch.

MR HUGO: When you arrived in Honeydew, who did you find there?

MR DE KOCK: I can remember that we found Deon Greyling there, a Captain Deon Greyling, later Colonel and not long afterwards, General Erasmus arrived. He was a couple of minutes late.

MR HUGO: What was discussed during this meeting?

MR DE KOCK: The group there were told that Cosatu House should be blown up, that the order had been given, General Erasmus had already known about that. It wasn't necessary for Brigadier Schoon to repeat that. There was a general discussion as to how we would do this. I can't recall all the details and the full discussion. At the end of the meeting Deon Greyling was appointed to liaise with me as Liaison Officer.

MR HUGO: Preparations were then made for this operation by yourself?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that's correct.

MR HUGO: Could you please take us through it step by step, what preparations did you actually make?

MR DE KOCK: Initially Sergeant Bosch and I, Sergeant Bosch was from my unit, he was the head of my technical department, we started with observation at Cosatu House. Where it was situated was pointed out to us by a member of the Johannesburg branch, I can't remember who it was. I myself did not know where this place was.

During the day and in the evenings, especially early in the mornings, we had an observation post there and kept the area under surveillance. Photographs were taken of the building from the street level and from all angles.

We also used a video monitor which we built into an attaché case. We recorded video material of the building and the vicinity. That was however very difficult.

MR HUGO: Before you continue, can I ask you where the technical expertise came from to for instance install the video equipment into an attaché case?

MR DE KOCK: Bosch did it himself but it was expensive equipment and the video monitor was only a part of a much larger technical surveillance system which we had and it was ordered and it was allocated to Vlakplaas.

MR HUGO: I'm sorry, I've interrupted you. What further arrangements did you make?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I could find an entrance where we could enter with the minimum risk of identification or observation and the outcome of that was that we decided to use a helicopter for aerial reconnaissance. We used the Security Police's helicopter which was registered in the name of a private company.

MR HUGO: Who were the passengers in this helicopter when these aerial photographs were taken?

MR DE KOCK: My recollection is that it was the pilot obviously, myself, Brigadier Schoon and Sergeant Bosch.

CHAIRPERSON: Could you please repeat that? Yourself?

MR DE KOCK: Myself, Brigadier Schoon, Sergeant Bosch. There might have been somebody else present but I have no recollection of that and I don't want to speculate.

MR HUGO: What happened to these photographs and the video material after the operation was completed?

MR DE KOCK: It was destroyed about two or three days afterwards, burnt.

MR HUGO: You've said that Mr Greyling was present in Honeydew and he had to assist you, now what help did you receive from him during the preparatory phase?

MR DE KOCK: I can remember that he gave me a sketch, a hand-drawn sketch of the basement area of Cosatu House, not according to scale but there were no other plans that I received. There were no other plans of the building but it would in any case not have been of much use.

MR HUGO: I'm referring to architects drawings and plans. Was there any mention of the printing press which allegedly was in the building?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Colonel Greyling mentioned to me that there was a printing press which had arrived at the building about a week before, it had been donated by one of the Scandinavian countries and he added that it weighed about three and a half tons, so we couldn't actually carry it away. That was one of the targets if possible, that should have been rendered out of action or unusable. I would like to just mention - well, that will actually come later.

MR HUGO: Did you continue buying certain equipment that you wanted to use during the operation?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, balaclavas were bought and knives, torches and other articles as well. A piece of rope was bought, a fairly thick piece of rope to enable us to climb, do any climbing if it needed to be done and then we also bought a bolt cutter. It was a heavy duty bolt cutter because we needed to cut through certain chains to gain access to the Cosatu House.

MR HUGO: Can I ask you whilst we are on this point, how was purchasing of these bits of equipment done?

MR DE KOCK: There were two methods, the one was that the funds came from the secret fund, that was a closed account. The other option was from the advance, the current advance which was an open account but within the Security Branch, and that was done by means of false claims.

MR HUGO: Did you also make any preparations with regard to any weapons which you wanted to use?

MR DE KOCK: Yes. In the first place, before carrying out any operations and before notifying people I attended to a couple of aspects and the first one was the selection of personnel and they were then given the opportunity to withdraw if they didn't want to take part in the operation. It wasn't a question of somebody being unwilling, but not all of us are equally strong and sometimes some people actually withdrew.

Secondly I announced a dry period. Between 24 and 48 hours nobody was allowed to use any alcohol or drugs apart from prescribed medication, tea or coffee. The weaponry such as firearms which we needed, depending on the nature of the operation, would have been cleaned. The nature of the ammunition needed would be determined and the weapons would be tested by firing it, by firing off two or three shots just to make sure that it was in good working order. When necessary silencers would be fitted and one made sure that all the equipment was in good working order. I just also want to mention that we also obtained quite a few radios for interpersonal liaison.

ADV DE JAGER: Now Mr de Kock, are you saying here this was the general modus operandi before an operation, this does not relate to your preparations for the 24 hours before the Cosatu House incident?

MR DE KOCK: This does actually relate to Cosatu House but before all operations this was the procedure. You tried to actually minimise any problems on a 0 to 10 scale but that wasn't always possible, but that's what one tried to do.

MR HUGO: Mr de Kock, just to get back to the weapons used, what type of weapons did you use or did you prepare to use for this operation?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, as far as I can remember the people in the mini-bus that would penetrate the building, they were armed with AK47s. I'm not sure but I think that that was the case because if a fight should erupt inside the building, which we expected as a result of information which we had, we would not use police weapons such as 9mm or R1's which were police issue. Whatever happened inside the building weapons and ammunition found inside the building would have to be used and specifically used by the people in Cosatu House.

MR HUGO: Can I ask you where these weapons came from, these weapons to be used in the operation and were actually used?

MR DE KOCK: When I arrived at Vlakplaas in 1983 there were already weapons there fitted with silencers and this multiplied and as Vlakplaas grew and the needs grew I obtained AK47s from the Security Branch in a safe. It was a safe belonging to Security Branch head office and I think there were between 150 and 200 AK47s and more specifically the AKM which had a collapsible butt.

MR HUGO: And what procedure followed to be able to draw these weapons from Security Branch head office?

MR DE KOCK: We made an application and we would motivate it and that went to the head of the unit, Brigadier Schoon. I assume that he would have discussed that at a higher level, he couldn't just operate in a vacuum.

MR HUGO: Regarding the charge of the explosives which were used, what can you tell us regarding that?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, one of the aspects was that the explosive had to be from east block to east block, in other words it was either ration or somebody who had manufactured it under license. No South African explosives could be used.

When the investigators would do acetone and other tests it had to appear that the explosives were the property of Cosatu House or stored there, and then have been detonated.

ADV DE JAGER: Mr de Kock, who determined that? Who planned it that it had to be that sort of explosive? Did you receive an instruction from somebody that you were to use that explosive or was it part of the initiative which you had to apply in the execution of the plan?

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson, that had already been discussed during the first meeting at Honeydew when Brigadier Schoon and Erasmus and Greyling and myself attended that meeting.

MR HUGO: Mr de Kock, what did you decide upon the size of the charge to be used?

MR DE KOCK: That was one of the dilemmas because I'm not a physicist and I'm also not an architect or a mechanical engineer, but what I did in deed know and I'm

speaking from previous experience in Ovamboland where this wasn't a strange aspect although the buildings were not as high, the building has to be entirely disrupted and rendered entirely unusable. However, and this was more of application to the public that were not involved, it was important that there should not be loss of life on the public side.

I was difficult, and within my own ability and observation I would say the total weight that was used was between 40 and 50 kilograms, probably closer to 50 kilograms. I would just like to qualify, that includes the charge which was used for the printing press.

MR HUGO: Mr de Kock, could you tell us, in the preplanning and reconnaissance stage of the environment, could you perhaps give us a more detailed description of the environment, pedestrians and any other buildings in the area?

MR DE KOCK: By nature of our observation I found that especially late at night, after 12 there would be virtually no movement, it was very limited. If I have to categorise it I would say that it was outside the central business district as one would know Johannesburg, the square kilometres thereof.

There were buildings around it and all the buildings had glass windows, especially one large building or apartment building. It was also an area from which one could very easily escape. If the traffic department or any other department would find you one wouldn't be caught there, except for those in the bus who would be inside the building.

MR HUGO: You heard that I put to the Committee that you would testify regarding a so-called disco.

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, personally I did not see any disco or any strobe lights which indicated the presence of a disco. I think that it would have been one of the more informal types which didn't fulfil to all the requirements of the law or have a licence, but I never saw a disco or regarded a disco.

MR HUGO: Just an aspect which I might have touched upon earlier regarding the initial planning ...[intervention]

ADV DE JAGER: I beg your pardon Mr Hugo.

Mr de Kock, when did you become aware of the fact that there was a disco?

MR DE KOCK: That was after the explosion Chairperson. This might be a bit tongue in the cheek, but one of the users or patrons of the disco after the explosion when the police found him in his vehicle completely inebriated, he had been asleep and he hadn't even noticed the explosion.

His vehicle had been severely damaged by a large piece of cement which had landed on his vehicle and he was just as surprised as the rest. And even after that I couldn't place the premises at all.

MR HUGO: Mr de Kock, regarding the preparation for the operation, one of the applicants, Mr Mogoai referred to the fact that beer had been purchased and spiked, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes. If I hadn't been reminded of that I wouldn't have mentioned it today because I didn't recall it. Just before we left Vlakplaas, and I don't know whether this was me and I wouldn't want to involve anybody else in it, we took four to six bottles of beer and mixed it with spirits.

This would have been for the possible influence of the guard working at Cosatu House. I had people who would attend to him as well, who would divert his attention. If he wanted to have a drink it would have been even better for our plans. I wasn't sure if it would work but it was a definite attempt.

MR HUGO: While are busy with this point, you are aware that we are acting on behalf of Chris Magopa, and his version is that it was the other person's task to provide this beer to the guard?

MR DE KOCK: I would agree with that Chairperson.

MR HUGO: Mr de Kock, initially, I'm back at the decision for launching the operation, who was the first person at Vlakplaas who was notified that he would be part of this operation?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, according to my recollection it was only Sergeant Bosch. I kept it rather limited. I know that he and I from there worked constantly in that area. I don't know about anybody else at the moment. I know that we worked over a long-weekend.

MR HUGO: At which stage did the other members who were involved come to know about the operation?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, the group which I selected, and I would like to allow myself the space for the days before that, but I would say that it was approximately a week before the time when I finally informed the group and told them who would be going and then obviously had the discussion regarding their specific tasks.

MR HUGO: Did you then call the group together and hold a meeting with them?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that would have happened. I don't have a precise recollection but I'd just like to mention this, I might have taken Warrant Office Nortjè in as well because he would have been able to determine what we would have needed to move through the bars and he was also mechanically oriented.

MR HUGO: Can you remember if any of the black members of Vlakplaas were present during the submission that you gave at Vlakplaas a week before the operation?

MR DE KOCK: No, I would have given them much shorter notice on a need to know basis. The reason for that is because they were not involved in the explosion itself and I had a different task in mind for them, and that was to deflect persons working in that environment, to deflect them away from the central point of operation.

MR HUGO: Is it correct that the other persons whom we are appearing for, Mr Radebe, Eric Sefade and Captain Letsatsi, as well as Chris Magoba, is it correct that they were not notified before the time regarding information which was given to them in terms of what they were supposed to do?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct.

MR HUGO: Mr de Kock, before the operation physically took place you first gathered at the smallholding in Honeydew, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: No, we first got together at Vlakplaas, all the members who were involved and once again a final check of weapons and equipment because we had to pick up another device at Honeydew as well and the security unit at Honeydew would be the point of departure. We would also meet General Erasmus, Deon Greyling and make our final arrangements there and that would involve third party discs, swopping licences, we needed a ladder for those who were not as fit as the others and members would also have to remove their Certificates of Appointment, the items of jewellery, anything which could identify them or remain behind.

MR HUGO: Can you tell us, apart from the members at Vlakplaas which other members of the police were represented during this final submission?

MR DE KOCK: The Charge Explosive Division was present and represented by Mr Hammond and Mr le Roux who would place the explosives and also conduct the synchronisation of the electronic mechanisms so that we could achieve a simultaneous detonation if possible.

MR HUGO: And apart from General Erasmus, were any other members present from the Johannesburg Security Office?

MR DE KOCK: There was another person but I can't place him at all, not with a name. I know that we borrowed his ladder, it was an aluminium ladder and that remained behind and I later had to repurchase it for him because we had lost his ladder, but I cannot place this person at all and I wouldn't like to unfairly include anybody in this matter.

MR HUGO: You have given evidence that Mr Greyling was given the instruction to maintain contact with you, to the best of your knowledge and recollection what was his task during the operation?

MR DE KOCK: Mr Greyling's purpose was to be in possession of various radio equipment pieces and he would maintain contact with me on my radio frequency. A second radio would have tuned into the Johannesburg Traffic Department and then Captain Greyling would also have tuned into the other frequencies of the SAP, such as Murder and Robbery, Uniform Investigation and the Dog Squad as well as the Flying Squad.

MR HUGO: Regarding the physical execution of this operation, you left Honeydew and can you tell us which vehicle you used and who was with you?

MR DE KOCK: The group who would conduct the penetration of the building and manage the weapons would be, among others, Nortjè and various other members but I can't remember all of them.

In my vehicle it was me, Brigadier Schoon as well as another member. I'm sorry, this is not selective memory but I can't remember who the driver of the vehicle was. Schoon was in the car as well and I was there as the controller, as well as the chief operational commander.

MR HUGO: Can I once again ask you regarding the black members, where were they when you left Honeydew for Cosatu House?

MR DE KOCK: Mogoai and Magopa had to approach the guards or the guard who would be at the front door. Approximately 30 metres away from the front door in an eastern direction two other black members sat in a mini-bus where they were in view of the front door.

Then on the street corners, west, on both sides, I had some more black members who were equipped with batons in order to deflect anybody who wanted to pass through our operational area, in other words they had to chase them away and if necessary by means of violence and this did in fact occur. I did not observe this but the Sergeant did report it to me later and if there were repercussions of that I would have to see to it.

A third circle around this group of black members of mine included another vehicle and I think it was Colonel Baker, Beeslaar and Meyer. In this case, and I've seen this in his application and it also makes sense, it peaked my memory, he had his Appointment Certificate and a service pistol.

Primarily his function would have been to warn us if any vehicles were approaching, police vehicles or traffic vehicles. They were just as dangerous because they were ex-policemen and if any conflict had originated on any of the corners, they would have handled it as if they were members of the Police Force. That is how I recall it.

MR HUGO: And upon your arrival at Cosatu House, where did you park your vehicle?

MR DE KOCK: My vehicle was parked with the front side facing in an eastern direction right across the parking grounds where the mini-bus had driven in and right across from the mini-bus itself.

MR HUGO: And what did you observe from the position in which you were parked?

MR DE KOCK: The instruction for the mini-bus was to make a sort of a U-turn and face the back end towards or against the border wall of Cosatu House and to lift the back door.

From that limited space the bars were cut, the ladder was let through and the members were also let through into the basement division. They infiltrated, placed their charges and then exited.

MR HUGO: I'm assuming that you are speculating in terms of the placing of the charges because you couldn't observe that from where you were placed?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct from a legal, technical aspect.

MR HUGO: How long did this activity take, climbing over the wall, placing the charges and then returning?

MR DE KOCK: I'll be rather liberal and say that it was four minutes Chairperson.

MR HUGO: And then the persons returned and climbed back into the mini-bus, what happened after that?

MR DE KOCK: The mini-bus left and the instruction before the time was for them to move back to Honeydew. I also gave instructions to Lieutenant Moss and Lesatse to leave.

The same instruction would have gone to those members on the sidewalks who also had radio contact. They would remove themselves and then Colonel Baker would be the last person to leave the area of his operation.

MR HUGO: Very well. Then you met once again at Honeydew?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct.

MR HUGO: And what took place there?

MR DE KOCK: All weapons and equipment were handed back and placed in my vehicle. Number plates were once again changed, as well as the licence discs, the balaclavas, the gloves, the weapons, the ammunition, the knives and the torches. All the equipment was handed back and I took possession thereof. After that a submission was made.

MR HUGO: Can you tell us where you were when you heard the sound of the explosion?

MR DE KOCK: I didn't hear the first sound but on a freeway which was to the east of Cosatu House, when we passed on that freeway parallel to Cosatu I turned the window down and I heard the second explosion. I also saw the dust clouds because the building was rather visible from that point.

MR HUGO: What happened later to the rope and the balaclavas which you used during the operation?

MR DE KOCK: I cannot remember specifically but I did have the habit of destroying balaclavas and certain other items after having used them by burning them because I didn't want them to be used in a second incident as hair samples may be found and more than one person could be connected to different incidents. That's the forensic background that I have but I didn't want to leave anything to chance.

MR HUGO: You heard when General van der Merwe testified that under certain circumstances it was expected of operatives to act independently while busy with an operation. Is that also what your experience was?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, because ultimately the person who would make the decisions would be the person who was standing right there on the ground and he would definitely have to make decisions which he would have nightmares about for the rest of his life. Unfortunately this is unavoidable because we can't think for other people with regard to the action they should take. Without exception there would always be something unavoidable about a certain operation. Whether it's a Sergeant, a Constable or a Colonel, he would definitely have to act independently from within his position and his sphere of responsibility however unpleasant it may be.

MR HUGO: And then you also heard the evidence regarding persons who were detained in Cosatu House and killed, do you have any knowledge of that?

MR DE KOCK: In the daily reports these incidents were mentioned, however I received most of the information about this in media reports from all newspapers. Something which one would have to approach with caution but was Intelligence Services on its own ...[indistinct] media.

I also knew that people were later killed by means of the necklacing method and I know that certain people were killed on the Heidelburg road.

MR HUGO: Did you ask General Erasmus about this incident and what you should do if you were ever confronted by members of the SAP?

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson. By nature of the observation which was conducted and the time period which we had at our disposal, the advantage which we had of the various times of movement, to determine a convenient time when the public would not be as present or not really have a reason to be there, with that advantage I didn't have any problems.

The geographical environment also made it easier should we be discovered, that all of us or most of us would have been able to withdraw and escape. The area was reasonably open and there were quite a number of hiding places.

MR HUGO: Mr de Kock, in the applications of the other applicants and specifically Mr Mogoai, he alleges that he received an amount of R200 after the operation, what is you recollection thereof?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I have no recollection thereof, however I will not deny this because that is Mr Mogoai's recollection. I will say, and this will also be speculation because this makes sense to me, along with the celebrations which were held after the incidents the black members were not present and specifically not at the braai which was held after the Cosatu House incident.

And then, I may have remunerated him and the others so that they could hold their own braai or have their own gathering, however I'm not offering this as an excuse. It would not have been remuneration for that sort of work because it would have been way too little and by nature of the matter we did not do this for commercial reasons.

MR HUGO: Mr Chairman, I want to go over to the Khotso House. Maybe this is a convenient time to take the long adjournment.

CHAIRPERSON: I have one further personal request. We have a number of members of the press here and I wondered if any of them could be kind enough to ask their newspapers if they have any photographs available of the two buildings. We have not been able to get any so far and I think it would assist the members of the Committee if we could see what the buildings looked like before the explosion. It's a long time ago and they may not be available but if any of your papers still have a picture we'd appreciate a chance to look at one.

We now adjourn till a quarter to two.





Mr de Kock, we now proceed to the Khotso House incident. You would have noticed that in your application we also did not insert the date of this incident but it was the 31st of August 1988.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that's correct.

MR HUGO: Can you tell the Committee how it happened that you became involved in this incident?

MR DE KOCK: My recollection Chairperson, is somewhat vague but I'm going to try and make it as clear as possible.

I was working in the Piet Retief area and I received a call at the Security Branch, at the offices there in Piet Retief, that I was required at Johannesburg for an operation of a serious nature. The nature of the operation wasn't mentioned on the phone, and then you realise that it is more than usually sensitive. I met Mr Zeelie, I can't specifically say how, but I met him with one my members at the Johannesburg Sun, a hotel in central Johannesburg and he was accompanied by somebody but I also can't place that person. He then requested me as to whether I could assist in the blowing up of Khotso House. Now I didn't know what Khotso House was.

I said to him that I could help him if his Commanding Officer, General Erasmus could clear it with Brigadier Schoon as I couldn't circumvent that channel.

MR HUGO: When Mr Zeelie told you that you must assist them with the blowing up of Khotso House, did he give you a reason as to why Khotso House should be blown up?

MR DE KOCK: He might have but I can't recall that, and to now make something up would be wrong but obviously he wouldn't have approached me with something like that simply because he had the need to do that. I'd had previous experience about this type of action.

MR HUGO: After you told him that he should contact your Divisional Commander, what happened then?

MR DE KOCK: It was about a day later when Brigadier Schoon informed me when I went to see him, that I should help Johannesburg with a task which they had to carry out.

As far as I can recall he didn't mention the name of the building, he just said: "a task" and that it had the same dimensions as Cosatu House and that I should contact General Gerrit Erasmus.

MR HUGO: Were you surprised when you received this instruction from Brigadier Schoon?

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson, I wasn't surprised. When I got the first instruction regarding Cosatu House I was surprised in the first case but not about Khotso house, no.

MR HUGO: How long after the physical blowing up of the building did this discussion take place?

MR DE KOCK: Between the discussions and the blowing up of the building I think it was less than seven days. What I could observe from conduct and demeanour, there was an element of haste, of urgency but I can't link it to a specific phrase or something.

MR HUGO: So you were requested to liaise with General Erasmus, did you do that?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I did.

MR HUGO: Could you please tell us how it happened and where it happened?

MR DE KOCK: As far as I can remember there was a briefing session about two or three days before the destruction of Khotso House and this information session was done by General Erasmus.

MR HUGO: What did he tell you? What reasons did he give as to why the operation should be carried out?

MR DE KOCK: Well in summary it was that the building was being used as a storage place for weapons and for explosives. Furthermore, that it was a transit facility for terrorists, and it would then be the PAC or the ANC.

MR HUGO: Can you recall whether anybody else was with you during these briefing sessions?

MR DE KOCK: There would have been but I can't remember who they were. I really can't recall.

MR HUGO: You then continued preparing for the operation, would you like to tell us what that entailed?

MR DE KOCK: The building was pointed out to me by Captain Zeelie and what was pointed out to me as well was an entrance next to Khotso House, on the western side of Khotso House and which gave access to the back yard of that specific block of flats. From there one would be able to scale a wall of about six feet high and then you would find yourself in a side passage on the southern side of Khotso House. There was a single door there which gave access to the cellar or the basement area.

MR HUGO: Did you go there and monitor the area?

MR DE KOCK: I might have been accompanied by certain other members and colleagues but I can't recall. I'm not trying to protect other people, I simply can't remember, but yes, I noticed and the other members would have as well, I noticed the flow of traffic and pedestrian traffic as well, movements of visible policemen, those clothed in uniform and police vehicles, what kind of access could be gained to Khotso House with as little risk of resistance as possible, the condition of the building and surrounding buildings. We wanted to determine the inhabitation of the surrounding flats etc., and whether there were actually people in Khotso House who lived there permanently.

MR HUGO: During this observation phase, more photographs taken or more videos made?

MR DE KOCK: Not photographs but a video was made and photographs were also taken from the helicopter. I once again made use of the helicopter as in the previous case of Cosatu House. It was a Security Branch helicopter. As far as I can recall I was accompanied by Brigadier Schoon and Sergeant Bosch but I can't remember other members.

MR HUGO: As far as the explosive charge was concerned, did you change it in any way in terms of the size?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, there was a request and I could link it to emotion or the zero tolerance culture existing at the time between us and the enemy, there was a request for between 130 and 150 kilograms of explosive, of military explosives.

I have a clear recollection that there were eight rucksacks packed with the explosives. They were just a little bit bigger than the so-called day-packs and each one contained about 7 to 10 kilograms of high explosives of military origin that came from the East.

MR HUGO: And was the possibility of a loss of life foreseen in the planning of this operation?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I foresaw that. Just as with the Cosatu House incident I also foresaw it in this case. In the case of Khotso House the scale actually increased for more than in the Cosatu House incident.

MR HUGO: Why did you foresee the possibility of a loss of life?

MR DE KOCK: The flow of pedestrian traffic was very high in that area of Khotso House and that continued until the early hours of the morning. On the one hand those were pleasure seekers and on the other people those were people who rose early to go to work, but there was a permanent flow of human traffic. You might perhaps have got an hour when the traffic decreased a bit.

There were also blocks of flats in the area, especially block of flats on the western side, in other words as you enter Khotso House it would have been on your right-hand side. In the courtyard from where we deployed to reach the basement there was also the back of a block of flats and the access passages actually went in the direction of these flats.

There were also guards at Khotso House. I couldn't determine how many guards there were. There were lights burning in Khotso House which indicated that there were possibly or probably people working in the building or living there for a period of time.

This was not a case as with the IRA, where we could cordon off an area by means of posting members on certain corners because the volume of the pedestrian traffic was of such a nature that we could not have exercised control.

MR HUGO: Now if we could proceed to the further physical planning after the observation phase. When did you start tasking your members to take part in this operation?

MR DE KOCK: When I arrived and after I spoke to Mr Zeelie I had already placed a group of men on the alert. I have such a recollection, that I already had a group on standby. We obviously wouldn't have started arming ourselves or buying clothing because that would have had to actually adapt to the environment in which we were to operate.

MR HUGO: Now the members who took part in the operation, were they also armed as in the Cosatu House incident?

MR DE KOCK: Yes. As far as I know, the mini-bus with a backup group consisting of members who also carried these rucksacks containing explosives stopped right in front of Cosatu House. They had radios with them and as far as I know they also had AK47s with silencers. That would have been our direct support group. That is Khotso House.

The group who then entered the building, of them I left three or four members in the backyard of the block of flats where we moved through to cover the passages of the flats. That was our frontal view. We didn't know who might be watching us and who might be reporting to the police.

MR HUGO: Could you tell us once again where the weapons came from, the weapons that were used in this operation?

MR DE KOCK: It came from Vlakplaas and those weapons were there on a permanent basis to be used for internal operations or cross-border operations.

MR HUGO: As far as the carrying out of the operation is concerned you once again as with Cosatu House gathered at Honeydew?

MR DE KOCK: Correct.

MR HUGO: Could you tell us what happened there?

MR DE KOCK: There was another briefing session. Once again it was a question of each and every member knowing exactly what he was about to do, what his task was, when he should withdraw, what his withdrawal route would be. Radio communication was checked and clothing was handed out, like balaclavas and then the normal equipment for this type of operation, such as daggers, batons, leather batons, coats etc.

MR HUGO: During this meeting was there any mention made of the purpose of the operation and against whom it was aimed?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, it was directed at members of the terrorist movements who were using Khotso House as a transit base or for re-provisioning or for rest and recuperation purposes and that there were weapons and ammunition in the building.

MR HUGO: Who was the main speaker at this meeting?

MR DE KOCK: It was General Gerrit Erasmus.

MR HUGO: From other evidence it became clear that much reliance was placed on the fact that General Erasmus made certain allegations about policemen, can you recall that?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I asked a very pertinent question which in the case of Khotso House was a dilemma for me. Before I get to that I just want to say that I heard no discussion in which he threatened policemen and said that he would shoot them. The policemen who were there were there because they were trusted and obviously you wouldn't warn somebody if you were going to shoot him.

MR HUGO: Please continue, what did he say about these policemen?

MR DE KOCK: The dilemma which faced me was, and I'm quite clear about this, was that during the observation of Khotso House I noticed policemen on beat, uniform policemen, and particularly black policemen. I don't know exactly how many there were in private dress but I'll concentrate on the uniformed ones. My question was: "What would happen if we were apprehended by these policemen"? and his answer was: "Shoot them".

MR HUGO: When he told you that how did you understand that, in what light did you see that?

MR DE KOCK: I interpreted it literally. I might have been wrong because obviously General Erasmus is a forceful person. Maybe I interpreted it incorrectly but I sought advice.

MR HUGO: But in your own mind, did that create the perception that in your mind that you could simply willingly shoot any uniformed policemen who stopped you?

MR DE KOCK: No, definitely not, it would depend on the man on the spot, as to how he would react in the circumstances. It wasn't a question of: "You will shoot a policeman", it wasn't as if he had a desire for us to do that, we would be incorrect to say that.

MR HUGO: Is it correct that the shooting dead of a policeman was seen as an absolute last resort?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, because you must also realise that depending on what the police reported or what the members of the public reported or the policemen on the beat, the policemen would not approach you as a member of the police, he would approach you as being a terrorist carrying a gun with a silencer on.

In the country there were two instances, Natal and Johannesburg with their civilian force who were extremely ready to act. I could accept that if a policeman got information about twelve armed men he would actually approach them with a pistol in his hand and there wouldn't just be one of them.

MR HUGO: After this briefing session at Honeydew, what happened subsequently?

MR DE KOCK: We then got into our respective vehicles as we were allocated and the group then moved to Khotso House. We arrived there and as arranged we moved in formation.

We found a person there, it was a Mr Beyers and he then led us into the building. He was followed by a Mr Kock of the Technical Department. I requested him to accompany us just in case there might be padlocks that had to be opened. That was one of his skills. Then I followed and then the rest of the members with the explosives and the weapons.

MR HUGO: The initial planning in respect of the placement of the explosives, where was that supposed to be?

MR DE KOCK: Initially in order to create the impression that it was Khotso House property or that it had been left there for storage purposes, the idea was that it would be placed in a vehicle, in the boot of a car.

Whilst we were busy actually taking off the rucksacks and gathering them, a black uniformed member walked past the grill which gave access to the cellar area, the basement area to prevent normal access by members of the public, and he actually peeped into the basement.

Now although it was dark in the basement, I can't imagine that he couldn't have seen anything. I often also did foot patrols. I then decided to expedite the whole operation and not to take further risks. I requested that all the rucksacks be placed at the two lifts in the middle at the dividing wall between the two lifts.

The other aspect of importance is, if we placed the explosives in a car and we moved away we would lose control of anybody who might approach.

MR HUGO: How was the explosive device detonated?

MR DE KOCK: The devices were activated by two electronic time devices, time switches. They were made and used by the ANC and we used two ignition devices. You always used two because if the one fails then the other one is a backup but obviously all these things are tested before they are used.

MR HUGO: Now after you activated the explosive devices, what did you do then?

MR DE KOCK: We then withdrew from the basement and the others also started leaving the scene in reverse as it were and started moving to various vehicles.

MR HUGO: After you got into the cars, where did you go?

MR DE KOCK: Myself and some of my members, I think almost all of them, moved in the direction of Hillbrow to reach as high a level as possible in central Hillbrow and we waited for the explosion.

The reason for that was if the detonation should not take place we would have to go back and reactivate the device.

MR HUGO: You then withdrew to Honeydew and there you regrouped?


MR HUGO: What happened then?

MR DE KOCK: The normal procedure of handing in of clothing, switching of number plates etc., took place and then it was a matter of reporting back that the explosion had indeed taken place. I'm not sure whether we met Gerrit Erasmus there, I can't remember that clearly.

MR HUGO: And from there you went back to Vlakplaas?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, yes. I just want to add for clarity, that during that operation I did carry my appointment certificate which said that I was a Major in the SAP.

One of my plans which I had, that's not something which I thought up, but something which a master of espionage when they operated in the late '70's came to light with, when they were stopped or apprehended by a policeman after having set a certain bomb firing pamphlets, the policeman was taken to Security Branch and immediately he was asked to sign an oath of secrecy, of official secrecy.

Now I had a problem because if nine of ten policemen or officers with a higher rank than my own approached us I would then in that sense have a problem. The construction of the buildings at Khotso House was of such a nature that we would not be able to run away, we couldn't escape in any other way. We would literally have to fight our way out of it physically.

MR HUGO: Mr de Kock, just a couple of general aspects, I just want to refer you to Exhibit N. Let me just read to you what it says in Exhibit N which is a document handed in by the applicant Michael Bellinghan. Paragraph says:

"During the period 1984 to 1986, myself and a few others compiled dossiers on premises of certain organisations such as Khotso House"

Were any of these dossiers ever given to you?


MR HUGO: The Mr de Kock, just a couple of aspects relating to General van der Merwe and Minister Vlok and their evidence. You heard that Mr Vlok testified that the government's policy was based on a so-called: "holding action", can you recall that?


MR HUGO: Was it ever made known amongst the members of the Security Police, in any event as far as you know?

MR DE KOCK: No. It was clear to us that we would fight it out to the end and not by talking but physically and by means of the weapon.

MR HUGO: And with regard to General van der Merwe and Mr Vlok's evidence in respect of the position of operatives in the Security Forces, you are presumably in agreement with them as to the way they testified?


MR HUGO: Then I would just like to ask you what you think the consequences would have been of Cosatu and the Khotso House incidents if the Security Forces had been caught in the act?

MR DE KOCK: Firstly it would have led to a great embarrassment and revelation that a clandestine arm of the Security Police was busy, not only with counter-insurgence or counter-terrorism but also terrorism itself, in other words state sanctioned terrorism or police vigilantism, which of course would have damaged, not only damaged but destroyed the image of the police because it's about confidence and for Vlakplaas to go over from counter-insurgency to insurgency was inadvisable.

MR HUGO: Regarding the Shirley Gunn matter, what perception did it create with you and your soldiers that someone was being falsely implicated in an incident?

MR DE KOCK: I cannot speak for my soldiers. I didn't know her at all. All that I knew was that I was the physical witness of a frame and it was quite effective.

MR HUGO: Regarding the function attended by Mr Vlok at Vlakplaas, could you give us some more details regarding that?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson. He congratulated us and he expressed his support of these types of actions, not that more actions should be taken but those which had already been executed.

There were members of two other branches who were not involved with us and I don't know why they were congratulated, however I don't want to speculate any further regarding that.

In other words it was the norm to support the constitution of that time in an unconstitutional way if the law did not allow you.

MR HUGO: Just a further aspect with I'd like to address, and that is the culture which existed regarding the giving and taking of orders to launch unlawful operations. Could you tell us what sort of culture existed amongst the Security Forces, and specifically Vlakplaas?

MR DE KOCK: With Vlakplaas and the Security Forces I could say in daily police language that it clearly was regarded as an honour if one was allowed to participate in an action. I am aware of a level of fist fighting almost to be first in line and now it would appear that the fist fighting is to be at the back-end of the row, but it was a question of: "We're all going to stand together, fight together and fall together".

MR HUGO: Can I put it to you in the following way: was there a culture of questioning in terms of where the orders were coming from, why and so forth?

MR DE KOCK: No, there wasn't. However, at certain occasions I did ask why, it must be my personality. As an Operational Commander I found it strange that in 1980 or '81 a bomb was detonated in the ANC office in London and then later on in Lusaka. To me it was a shift of borders and that's not an excuse. For me to prepare for the future I had to have more information but that's just to give you a framework of the thought pattern of the operatives because ultimately they were on the receiving end of the ammunition which was coming their way.

MR HUGO: And now with the advantage of retrospect, would you say that there was a so-called cover-up of the higher ranks or members regarding the Cosatu House and Khotso House incidents?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, because if Commissions of Inquiry had been established, it wasn't just what they were asking you and what you were denying but that which you knew and which you weren't disclosing and by this time we know that the Commissions are legendary in that aspect.

MR HUGO: Could you tell the Committee if after the explosion when you entered Khotso House, you found any ammunition or weapons in Khotso House?


MR HUGO: Then Mr de Kock, I would just like to discuss an aspect which emerged from one of the affidavits of one the other applicants and that is Mr Snyders, that's Volume 1. He is applicant 10 and that is on page 210. He said that he found calculators which came from Khotso House and that he gave you the calculators after the time, what is your commentary regarding that?

MR DE KOCK: Approximately a month or a month and a half later five or six calculators arrived at Vlakplaas. They were brought there by some of the members who had worked in Johannesburg during that month. However it was left at Vlakplaas and used there. Most of the people there had their own calculators and this was not a question of placing anybody at a greater disadvantage than another.

MR HUGO: Just a further aspect, among your members, what did you understand when the politicians used words such as: "neutralise, eliminate, destroy, make a plan, destroy the situation"?

MR DE KOCK: Well exactly what it says, that you were going to kill this person because by the time it reached us it was a sort of final solution action and you wouldn't call someone to abduct another person with the idea to identify yourself, that person had to be killed.

MR HUGO: You will also notice that during cross-examination it was suggested that there was a nation-wide campaign against specifically Cosatu and its affiliated powers, can you comment on that in any way?

MR DE KOCK: I had insight to I think Exhibit G where if we take away all the police explosions in such incidents there will be quite a number which can probably be ascribed to the military but I wouldn't want to speculate.

In any state any explosion would be vigorously investigated, whether it be left-wing, right-wing or from a neutral or religious faction. The fact that the police or the Defence Force or the State Security Council broke their backs, did not bother to find out who was behind these bomb explosions indicates that they knew that the Security Forces were involved and that this was acceptable.

MR HUGO: But you personally, would you say that this sort of campaign was launched from Vlakplaas to attempt to blow up or destroy or damage any Cosatu buildings throughout the country?


MR HUGO: Then you also heard that Mr Vlok gave evidence that every instance of loss of life which came their way was properly investigated. Do you have any knowledge of such investigations which were launched and in which you participated?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, where I was involved and those which came to me or at least those which I heard about on a regular or direct basis, for example the Japie Maponya incident, the shooting incident in Chesterville where four or five or six people were killed. I can think of one or two others, and then there are numerous others such as the Neil Agget incident where security members were involved.

MR HUGO: Then you also heard Mr de Kock, that it was suggested that the Security Police had a culture of fighting violence with violence without taking consideration of whether or not this was a political opponent, what is you opinion on that?

MR DE KOCK: Not as far as I know, not according to my opinion because I believe that that would have resulted in large scale slaughtering. I can only say from within my unit and the weapons which had, the capacity, the tactics, the explosives, the operational background, it could have led to destruction in certain cases.

MR HUGO: And what is your comment regarding General van der Merwe's evidence, and I put this to you in a broad sense, that he said that the Security Forces including Vlakplaas were extremely disciplined, what do you say about that?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, it was like that. One would at certain occasions and very rarely find that things got our of hand. The unit itself was a controversial unit to begin with. The members there were ...


MR DE KOCK: ...[inaudible] or think. If one was incapacitated, the other one would take over. But the unit, and I'm going to say it once and for all today and rectify it so that we don't have a problem with this ever again, the unit was not a rogue unit because if it was a rogue unit then it would have developed the atom bomb and probably have used it as well.

So the members who were there were not rogues, they were subjected to intense pressure, they had to support one another, they naturally experienced domestic problems that spilled over to me, I experienced my own such problems. I say this with compassion for all women. However, if I had been my wife I wouldn't have married me or not under those circumstances at least.

MR HUGO: If General van der Merwe had testified, once again in the broad sense, that in the Security Forces there was also not the tendency to ask questions, what would you say about that?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HUGO: And when he testifies that there was a strong relationship of confidence between the people at that stage?

MR DE KOCK: Yes. Loyalty was not questioned, it was not up for discussion.

MR HUGO: And that the principle of need to know was largely applied?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HUGO: And is it correct Mr de Kock, that you truly believed when you became involved in these operations and the execution thereof, that you were doing this in order to deter the onslaught of the so-called freedom movements?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, because the only reason why one would go over to those steps is an absolute commitment and a belief in what you are doing and the correctness of what you are doing, and that you form a part of this alignment against anarchy and violence and the possible destruction of social structures which had been established. It couldn't be taught to you, you had to believe it.

MR HUGO: And what did you think was the purpose which you achieved, the political objective which you achieved by means of these two operations?

MR DE KOCK: Although it may have been temporary, it led to a complete disruption of whichever groups were in those two buildings and then it took away a safe place for their vehicles and their weapons and so forth. It also halted certain actions for at least a few months, which would have led to acts of terrorism or the damaging of property.

MR HUGO: I've got no further questions, thank you.


MR VISSER: Thank you Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Put yourself on record.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR VISSER: Visser on record. Mr Chairman, it's not my cellphone ringing.

Colonel, I have sat here listening to your evidence and I've heard that in 1966 as a young man you passed matric, how old were you then?

MR DE KOCK: I was 16 years old, 16 or 17, or no, I was 17.

MR VISSER: And how long after that did you go for your military training?

MR DE KOCK: The 3rd of January 1967 I was taken up in the military colleague.

MR VISSER: And in that year you became 18?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct.

MR VISSER: And when did you participate in your first excursion in Rhodesia? When was your first exposure to warfare?

MR DE KOCK: In 1968, not directly in the form of physical combat but shortly after that these realities came home to me and it became gradually worse.

MR VISSER: If you look at your life from that day until now, how much time did you spend not involved in some sort of warfare?

MR DE KOCK: Only the time that I spent at home and that wasn't much.

MR VISSER: So it actually appears to me as if you haven't really had much of a normal life Mr de Kock, a normal life in the sense that you went to school, you went to university, got married, had children, got up in the morning, went to work, came home, heard your wife complaining, that kind of thing?

MR DE KOCK: My wife had many complaints but regarding the rest of the aspects, one didn't have any kind of social life, one didn't fit in anywhere.

MR VISSER: Isn't it true Colonel, that this life which you led had an effect on you, a psychological effect after a while?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I wouldn't have noticed it but I'm sure that I wasn't the only person. There were many of us because in the Afrikaner house you grew up like that, that you would be a survivor to the bitter end.

MR VISSER: If people who are interested in you say so would you accept it, that they noticed that you are not okay anymore?

MR DE KOCK: I wasn't insane and being not okay is as a result of indoctrination. The more unconventional and abstract your thoughts, the more effective your action against other people.

MR VISSER: I'm simply trying to understand the context in which you acted. From what we've heard and from what we already know about your conduct and due to the circumstances you were indoctrinated from all sides. You were indoctrinated regarding communist take-over of South Africa, is that true?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR VISSER: You were indoctrinated regarding the most terrible things which were going to happen to the whites in the country if a black government took over?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct.

MR VISSER: And everything that went along with it?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct.

MR VISSER: And over and above that you saw the reality of the blood which flowed in this political struggle?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, South Africa was not in a vacuum. I don't have any tertiary academic background but I believe that I would qualify for an M because I'm a veteran of lost ideologies.

I went through Rhodesia, I observed the Mozambican situation from a very close position, I saw what happened in Southern Angola and I was intensely involved in the war in South West in all its fascists, not only the counter-insurgency but also the other side in the shadows.

Coming back to South Africa, it just continued and then it was almost exclusively a war of shadows and there your moral values are of utmost importance because there are no rules.

MR VISSER: Is there anything "good", if one has to put this in quotation marks, which emerged from your experiences? Would it be that it gave you the dubious advantage of being an expert in warfare and more specifically the destruction of people?

MR DE KOCK: I know that there are people that are better than I am, especially in the Defence Force, but within my own context and where I found myself I believe I would have been regarded as average to above average.

MR VISSER: If I might just refer to the incidents. In Volume 3 there is evidence of yours and this was taken from the trial of Pieter Willem Botha, and I want to refer you to page 509 thereof. Here it is about the question of the discussion and the content thereof between Willem Schoon and yourself with regard to Cosatu House.

Your recollection today as well as your recollection when you testified during the Botha trial was that Brigadier Schoon would have said to you that this order came from the State President, that's your recollection?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, that's my clear recollection.

MR VISSER: As I've read your evidence you are reasonably convinced in that recollection?

MR DE KOCK: I'm completely convinced.

MR VISSER: However, this is the evidence of Brigadier Schoon before this Committee and in his amnesty application, that his recollection however is that he said this to you during the Khotso House incident. Do you see the difference?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I see the difference and if I think about it immediately, there are three answers for that and the Committee will have to decide about this. You must please excuse me here because the last thing that I would want to do is to accuse the legal profession of unethical conduct but there is something such as tactic. The first answer would be to say: "Let's make de Kock a liar later so we'll say it's Khotso and then he will say it's Cosatu". The second is that Brigadier Schoon is not correct, he is confused and the third, and I would say that this is actually logical, is that PW Botha gave the order for both Khotso House and Cosatu House.

MR VISSER: You see Colonel, I'm not sure whether I understand the basis for the first answer but let's leave it at that. It appears as if the body of your evidence is that orders which were issued by the State President had to do with Khotso House and this is the evidence ...[intervention]

MR DE KOCK: Could you please excuse me for a moment. My apologies, I just wanted to make sure about something.

MR VISSER: I will repeat. It appears as if the body of your evidence is that which was issued by the State President had to do with Khotso House and not Cosatu House because this is the recollection and evidence of ex-Minister Vlok as well as General Johan van der Merwe and Brigadier Willem Schoon.

Now I'm not trying to count heads, I'm simply asking you once again, isn't it possible that you in your recollection have neatly exchanged the two, the discussion which took place between you and Brigadier Schoon?

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson. I will say this once again with compassion to Brigadier Schoon because he is one of the officers for whom I'm willing to lay down my life, I will not prejudice him in that respect, my only reaction without opposing Minister Vlok and Mr van der Merwe's evidence is that PW Botha gave the order.

MR VISSER: The reason why I've asked you this question and invited you to say that it's possible that you might have made a mistake is because we know that you are confused and this appears from page 466. Please look at page 466 of Volume 3. It actually begins on the previous page, page 465, the final sentence:

"As a result of Brigadier Schoon making this statement to you, what was your reply or how did you react to Brigadier Schoon, what did you tell him in regard to Khotso House"?

And your answer was:

"I was well, extremely surprised because it was the first time on South African property that we had to go to an extreme like this"

Do you see that?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I see it.

MR VISSER: But that's clearly an indication of confusion because the first time that you went to such an extreme was with Cosatu House, not Khotso House.

MR DE KOCK: That is entirely correct.

MR VISSER: But then I'm simply asking you, and I don't want to take the issue too far, but isn't it possible, won't you make the concession that Willem Schoon said to you that the order came from the State President in the case of Khotso House and not in the case of Cosatu House?


MR VISSER: You don't wish to do that?

MR DE KOCK: No, it's not about not wanting to do it, it would be wrong of me to do that.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Visser, is there a prospective mistake here? If you look at page 462 the Prosecutor there questioning says:

"Now with regard to the Cosatu House incident, you say you were involved there too"?

"That is correct"

"And who gave you the orders, Cosatu House"?

and: "on"

then there was an interruption ...


at page 463, 464 and then on 465 they go back to it. They're being questioned about Cosatu House and the Prosecutor uses the word:

"Khotso House"

but the witness has been questioned about Cosatu House. Isn't it clear, the Prosecutor had said we were going to talk, as I said at page 462, turning to the Cosatu House incident?

MR VISSER: Yes, Mr Chairman, I just wanted to ask the witness whether he concedes that he could have made a mistake in his recollection and if I'm wrong in my interpretation of this, I just looked at the literal words but you may very well be correct, then I leave it there Mr Chairman.

Colonel, you spoke about video equipment which was purchased for Vlakplaas and which you used for the purposes of recording or taking photos of Cosatu House, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Not only of Cosatu House, it was for general use.

MR VISSER: Well that's actually my question. The evidence is not that it was specifically purchased for Cosatu House, it was equipment which you needed for the execution of your duties and that is why you purchased it for Vlakplaas?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct.

MR VISSER: The issue of the helicopter, and I'm just going to be jumping around here. I haven't got that much to discuss with you, I'm just trying to point out certain issues of difference.

The issue of the helicopter flight, do I understand that with both Cosatu and Khotso House incidents a helicopter was used in order to make a video recording or take aerial photos of the building?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct.

MR VISSER: You must have heard Brigadier Schoon's evidence that he was in the helicopter along with you and Bosch, as you also testified, and he said that this was relating to Khotso House and he himself didn't have anything to do with a helicopter reconnaissance flight which had to do with Cosatu House. Is there any room in your recollection that he may be correct in that?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, I'll make room for that.

MR VISSER: I don't think that you said that he was present at the Khotso House flight or did you?

MR DE KOCK: I said that he was present at both.

MR VISSER: But you said that you're willing to concede that your recollection might be wrong.

Now regarding the taking along of firearms to Khotso House and Cosatu House, is my impression correct that what you're actually saying is that when you went on an operation you went prepared and it was part of the general preparation to see to it that you are appropriately or properly armed in order to deal with a situation of combat should it arise?

MR DE KOCK: Just by nature of this sort of service,

the circumstances which one might find in opposition or by nature of the operation would prescribe the type of weapons or equipment which you would take along.

MR VISSER: If you look at the weapons about which you testified earlier, the weapons which you took along with you - I didn't think that it would be necessary to go into the this, I don't have the exact place in the bundle, but in your evidence you spoke about rocket launchers, ...[intervention]

MR DE KOCK: Grenade launchers.

MR VISSER: Oh, grenade launchers. I read it incorrectly. Let's remain with the grenade launcher, did you really foresee that in the middle of Johannesburg in a building you would actually need a grenade launcher?

MR DE KOCK: Probably yes, because I carried one myself. The reason for that is that at Khotso House there were two apartment blocks, the backs of which faced us and I didn't know or have any information that these apartment blocks belonged to Khotso House or whether a large proportion of the personnel lived there. Then of course there was the allegation that there were terrorists in the building, we could have expected it.

MR VISSER: So your explanation which sounds very reasonable regarding the grenade launchers is that if there were to be an instance where a bunch of heavily armed men jumped out at the back of Khotso House, you would be able to use this equipment to defend yourselves?

MR DE KOCK: The reason for using the grenade launcher would be, that specific grenade launcher, the 40mm grenade, would have let off a certain type of shrapnel. We wouldn't have used 20mm grenades.

MR VISSER: The Russian weapons, the uzzis, the AK47s, I think you've said this but in case you didn't, it was probably aimed at whether you became trapped in that building or you had to leave weapons there, it would appear as if these were not police weapons or Defence Force? Was that your intention?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that's correct, especially the AK47s. The uzzis were generally available and an extremely popular weapon, especially in the organised crime world. The ammunition for the uzzis however was Chinese and Russian and I personally saw to that.

MR VISSER: Once again I want to ask you regarding the withdrawal of AK47s which you said were available at head office. I'm not going to argue with you, I just want to know, did Vlakplaas get these weapons every time they were going somewhere or were they retrieved in order to cover foreseeable future needs and later if the situation changed you would either retrieve more weapons or take some of them back, what was the situation?

MR DE KOCK: No, the weapons were kept in stock because at 1 o'clock in the morning you could receive a telephone call and at 6 o'clock you'd be moving over the Swaziland border.

The moment that a weapon like that was used in an internal operation, it would be completely cut up and melted down. The only thing that we would keep behind would be the silencer.

INTERPRETER: The speaker's microphone is not on.

ADV DE JAGER: Colonel, you didn't receive an order regarding which weapons you were supposed to take along, you didn't receive an order which told you to take an uzzi along, you only received the order to blow up the building?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct.

ADV DE JAGER: The rest was left to your discretion and that's how you planned it, how you were going to execute the operation?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct. Within the context of the environment and the number of people there, the level of resistance to be expected and so forth.

ADV DE JAGER: And that you did after you had conducted an inspection and attempted to determine what the circumstances were, and these were all aspects which you regarded as necessary but for which you did not receive a specific instruction, especially pertaining to what you had to take along, which weapons and so forth, that was left up to you?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, because when everybody had said: "De Kock, the operation is yours", I accepted it as mine, and they didn't want to hear what your problems were.


MR DE KOCK: Because it would be incorrect not to give you this image, in the normal procedure of destroying explosives, 20 kilograms of explosives whether commercial or not, when they were to be destroyed the security distance would be 500 metres. You're moving into a city centre and you're taking along 80 kilograms and the people who would nearest past that would be approximately 20 steps away so it's therefore obviously a very difficult and ...[intervention]

ADV DE JAGER: A very difficult task for you to undertake?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, because people who had absolutely nothing to do with this could be injured or killed and you were be the one to bear the burden of this ultimately, that would be the norm.

I'm not trying to present myself as a victim to the Committee, but I'm just trying to convey this image to you.

ADV DE JAGER: And it was never your intention to kill children who might be passing by?

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson, not at all.

MR VISSER: Thank you Commissioner, that was actually my following question but it has been handled.

Just allow me Colonel, just to make the remark by the way, that it appears that what you are saying is that the situation of those who were on ground level and those who were on a higher level, the difference between the two in insight and the result of actions such as explosions indicates a very difficult task for you?

MR DE KOCK: What the President or the Minister had ordered if they had to order something like a meal they would know what they were getting but with a bomb explosion the explosives are very unpredictable and it's basically the release of a high level of energy and it would have to go in the direction that offers the least resistance.

We didn't have enough details regarding which direction this energy explosion would take, just to put it to you very briefly.

MR VISSER: And to apply this to Cosatu and Khotso House it was said to you: "Render the building unusable, see to it that nobody's seriously injured or killed", but the execution of this order was a completely different story. Is that what you're saying?

MR DE KOCK: Ultimately the execution if it involved the injury or killing of somebody it would have been my responsibility.

MR VISSER: And mercifully nobody was injured or killed?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct.

MR VISSER: I beg your pardon, just one more thing. I haven't received your answer now in the matter of the issuing of AK47s or fetching it at head office. Did you go and do that for every occasion or did you go and fetch equipment for the foreseeable future, how did it work?

MR DE KOCK: No, it was a standard issue at Vlakplaas. It was always ready and you could at any time, day or night you could draw these weapons. We had a recoilless canon for instance and rocket launchers and we had these ready and available at Vlakplaas.

MR VISSER: But my question is, you said that it would have happened via Brigadier Schoon. In other words you as Commanding Officer would have said to Brigadier Schoon on one day: "Look I need six AK47s", he would have arranged that it be drawn at head office and handed to you.


MR VISSER: And you would then have kept it at Vlakplaas.

MR DE KOCK: It would have remained in my care. What I did do is I would also issue pistols such as Makorov or Tokarevs to the members and these were fitted with silencers because Vlakplaas also had to distribute to other places, like members in the Cape or Natal.

Say a situation arose in Swaziland I would either fly the members down there, they would carry out the operation and move back to a base, so they were always ready in all respects.

MR VISSER: Thank you. By the way, I'm just following your evidence in the chronological sequence in which you gave it, did Brigadier Schoon actually tell you as far as Khotso House is concerned, that the instruction came from the State President?

MR DE KOCK: No. He said to me that I should liaise with General Erasmus and that it had been cleared with him already.

MR VISSER: So that meant, clearing it with General Erasmus meant via Schoon?


MR VISSER: I think you have already given the answer. General Erasmus testified here that he couldn't remember everything in detail but that if you say that he said or rather that he said when you asked: "What must we do if the police stop us"?, that he said: "Shoot them", that he would not deny them and I might add that this is surely just the way in which he talks but, I think you're already answered the question, but did you think for a moment that there was an order from above that entailed you killing citizens and other members at the scene, that that was the ambit of the instruction or order?


MR VISSER: And we in fact know that there was a policeman, a uniform policeman who had actually peeped through the bars into the basement of Khotso House and he was not shot.

MR DE KOCK: That's right.

MR VISSER: In your evidence if I recall correctly you said he was a policemen and a member of the public or somebody dressed in civilian clothes.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, the impression which I got was that it was a student and that I'm basing on experience because I had been in the uniform branch as well.

MR VISSER: If it's of importance Chairperson, I will just see if I can find the reference. I think it's on page 457 ...[intervention]

ADV DE JAGER: Mr Visser, is it of importance if it was a student or a Minister or what? What is important is that a person passed by there and he wasn't shot. He doesn't know who it was, he's speculating.

MR VISSER: Did you see any people that night in Khotso House? I now mean other people other than Security Police members.

MR DE KOCK: No, except for the backyard of the building which we used as a passageway, I think on the fourth floor there were two men walking with carrier bags and a group of my men were actually observing that area and these men were looking at us all the time and that seemed to indicate to me that we would have to actually fast-track the whole operation, to expedite the whole thing.

MR VISSER: My question turns on this, did you observe anybody there whom you thought might be in immediate danger if there was an explosion?

MR DE KOCK: No, but if somebody had walked past that basement area then the recoil might have injured or killed that person, I have no doubt about that.

Just for further clarity, if there had been somebody in the lifts I can virtually guarantee that they would not have survived.

MR VISSER: Yes, but just the general picture of the building that evening, what time was it more or less when you planted the bomb?

MR DE KOCK: It was approximately 12 o'clock, between 12 and o'clock. We used the pedestrian traffic at the time to assimilate, in other words to be able to enter the building.

MR VISSER: That was outside the building?


MR VISSER: You testified that you found no weapons in the basement of Khotso House, weapons or explosives. My question is, did you actually go and look for these things?

MR DE KOCK: No, we went there to blow the place up.

MR VISSER: So for all you know there might have been a car bomb, did you investigate?

MR DE KOCK: No, and that was also not our task.

MR VISSER: As presently advised Mr Chairman, those are my questions.


CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR BOOYENS: Thank you Mr Chairman. Booyens.

Mr de Kock, as far as Cosatu House is concerned, Mr Bellinghan, Mr Rian Bellinghan, says in his application which I assume you read, that is task was to return with the mini-bus and to pick up people and he was armed with a .22 with a silencer and a "kosh" sorry I don't know what that is ...[intervention]

MR DE KOCK: That's a leather baton.

MR BOOYENS: Do you have any dispute with that statement?

MR DE KOCK: No, not at all, that would in fact be correct.

MR BOOYENS: As far as the role of Mr Japie Kok is concerned as far as Khotso House is concerned, Mr Kok says the way in which he became involved is that he heard from his Commanding Officer, Mr Wahl du Toit, that he should assist you and that he use his lock picking equipment or bring it with him to open motor cars. Can you recall how you obtained Mr Kok's services?

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson, but I wouldn't have been able to obtain his services without contacting Mr Wahl du Toit and I fully concede that I would have done it in that way because he was the unit commander and you can't co-opt his men without his permission.

MR BOOYENS: Mr du Toit says that he can't remember, it was a long time ago, but there would have been a request or if there was a request that a person of his staff with lock-picking equipment go with you, that that would have been a reasonable request.

MR DE KOCK: It would have actually been an obligation to take such a person with us.

MR BOOYENS: Yes, but I'm talking from his perspective, it would have been a routine request.

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, I accept that.

MR BOOYENS: Then a couple of other aspects. You mentioned the financing of this operation and you said that it would have been done via the secret funds or a current advance by means of the submitting of false claims.

Now these false claims are not really false but well, you couldn't actually write on a claim that this was money to be used for Khotso House, you would have had to make up some other excuse, that it was for instance for the payment of an informer or something like that, something which would apparently have been totally lawful?

MR DE KOCK: Yes. There was also another method and that was to recover a weapon or an explosive device and that the total claim paid out for that would then cover the entire operation. That was one of the ways which we used.

MR BOOYENS: Oh, I understand. I think we're talking about false claims but maybe we should call it covering claim. In other words it's a claim that seems to be for something else but in essence it is actually false.

MR DE KOCK: In essence it's fraud.

MR BOOYENS: I don't want to debate whether it is fraud or not. Mr de Kock, in my questions to General van der Merwe and to Mr Vlok I asked them about the mindset which existed in the Security Police at the time. Now the mindset in your unit at Vlakplaas, was it the same mindset of a belief that you were waging a war?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, there was no doubt about it. With forward planning which I was already busy with, the commanding officers would probably a nucleus for cross-border operations and also internal operations and also with matters relating to Renamo and Unita.

MR BOOYENS: And I suppose it is also so that as neither the Minister nor the Commissioner of Police, that nobody expected a security man to stand back and say: "No, no, we can't do this", because that mindset was present, the people were prepared to do these things as a result of their loyalty. They thought they were acting in the best interests of the country and to promote the security of the government, so people wouldn't have stood back and said: "No, we can't do this because it's illegal". It didn't happen and you also didn't think it would happen?

MR DE KOCK: No, but there is a qualification. Look, rape and that kind of thing, that wasn't in our line but within the combat zone no, we would not have had any doubts and we would not have asked any questions.

MR BOOYENS: Another thing Mr de Kock, I don't know whether it appeared clearly from your evidence but my clients say that as far as Cosatu House is concerned, that when they were involved in this group you probably just conveyed to them the information which you had and the why and the how of the operation, in other words why Cosatu House was attacked. In other words they were given a very concise summary of why it was necessary?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, the motivation was the most important of all because from an operational point of view you might have a person who for instance has some kind of premonition about something, that that particular evening is just not a good night for him to go out and do an operation and then you would replace that person. I gave them the opportunity to come to me quite openly. It was never held against anybody. It also did not place in any doubt his courage. Some people can take 10 battles or operations and others can take a 100 and then it's the end of your resistance.

MR BOOYENS: So for instance you're talking about battle fatigue?

MR DE KOCK: Well you can give it many other names and it still wouldn't be good enough.

MR BOOYENS: You were an operational unit Mr de Kock, information which you conveyed to your people such as Khotso House or Cosatu House is being used base for terrorism or such things, you were an operational unit not an intelligence gathering unit so you had to rely on the reliability of the information which you got as to the motivation for the operation, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct Chairperson.

MR BOOYENS: Similarly your members relied on what you told them and they were also not in a position to check and verify this. You worked on a position of total trust, that the information given to you was entirely correct.


MR BOOYENS: Just a small matter Mr de Kock, Mr Baker tells me that in your evidence you said it was Meyer and Beeslaar and he says it was as far as he can remember, it was him, Beeslaar and Bosch who went with. Steve Bosch knew the area and that is why he went with, is that possible? Is it possible that you're just a little bit confused with Meyer and Bosch?

MR DE KOCK: I will concede that, yes.

MR BOOYENS: He also says that you're correct, he did have his ID with him because he had to play the part of a policeman. Just for clarity, the reason why people's ID cards were handed in was this, when you were doing a penetration and you found yourself in an area where you're not allowed to be, it just prevented the possibility of an ID card being dropped and found by somebody else.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that's correct.

MR BOOYENS: In other words that would have been your penetration group, the ones whose ID cards were taken in?

MR DE KOCK: Generally speaking I asked everybody to hand in their ID cards, everybody who would not play the part of the policeman because in general the names are on the back of the cards and people also wore wedding rings and we were working with explosives and stuff and a gold ring is an extremely good conductor, so that was also a good idea from an operational point of view.

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


CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR PENZHORN: Chairperson, for the record, Penzhorn.

Mr de Kock, my highly friend at the top of the table has already referred to the evidence which you gave at George in the case of Mr PW Botha. I wonder if you would turn to page 466 in bundle 3.

Now arising from the Chairperson's remark, unfortunately the sequence of cross-examination or the sequence of evidence was interrupted there by the intervention of the Prosecutor and the TRC's advocate and also Mr Botha's advocate but however that may be on page 462, reference is made to. Reference is made to, there's a reference to Cosatu House and the Cosatu House incident, and then on page 466 at the top ...[indistinct] Khotso House.

Now in all fairness to you, perhaps you can just read the third paragraph from the top where it says:-

"Well I said I would do this and now we went along and we did reconnoitre this Cosatu House for about a week."

It seems to me that, with respect, the Chairperson was correct, that it was probably just a mistake on the part of the prosecutor, Advocate Morrison, this reference to Khotso House is right at the top of the page, but, however, I would just like some clarity on your version. As Advocate Visser indicated to you, it differs just a little from the versions which we've heard from General Van der Merwe and Brigadier Schoon, and to a certain extent Mr Vlok. As you remember the events, and I want to make it very clear that these events took place ten years ago and from your evidence and the evidence of others, it seems that these two incidents were very similar in nature, to such an extent that we even got confused in this committee.

MR DE KOCK: That's correct.

MR PENZORN: Can I just say this, according to your recollection, as far as the Cosatu House incident is concerned, there's no question that that was the first incident?

MR DE KOCK: It was the first, yes.

MR PENZORN: It was the first incident, and that Khotso House followed afterwards. Do I understand your evidence correctly that it was with relation to this first incident that you were given the order by Brigadier Schoon directly and he told you, "Right from the top"?

MR DE KOCK: That's right.

MR PENZORN: Now as far as the second incident, the Mr Khotso House incident, is concerned, in that case there was the call which you got to come back and you received your instructions from General Erasmus and Schoon?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR PENZORN: Now, the Cosatu incident, the first one, in regard to that, were there any orders given to you as far as the injury or death of people were concerned, bystanders?

MR DE KOCK: Brigadier Schoon was, by virtue of his personality, not a bloodthirsty person, he really thought twice before he would move in this direction, he told me that there should be no injuries. I knew that there was no other way and that the probability of injuries on a scale of one to ten would be 9,5, the other ,5 I would concede because nothing's perfect, we might just have been lucky not to get any injuries, but the scale was heavily loaded against injuries not taking place.

MR PENZORN: In other words, what you're saying is that Brigadier School would instinctively utter a sort of a cautionary warning to you that you should limit injury and death?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, but not only that, he was also a very highly cultivated person, it wasn't in his nature to cause pain and suffering.

MR PENZORN: So he didn't say to you, "Look, remember the instruction right from the top is that we should blow up Cosatu House and that the order came right from the top that nobody should be hurt"?

MR DE KOCK: No, no, that was Brigadier Schoon's opinion.

MR PENZORN: Now, as far as the second incident is concerned, the Khotso House incident, as I understand your evidence, it was during a debriefing session at Honeydew where the detail of the operation was discussed and where General Erasmus was present?

MR DE KOCK: Is that Khotso?

MR PENZORN: Yes, Khotso House.

MR DE KOCK: Could you please repeat?

MR PENZORN: In that case you were not told, as far as you can remember, that, "Look, this order comes right from the top", you regarded it as an order from General Erasmus, in other words from the Johannesburg side?

MR DE KOCK: No, General Erasmus would not have been able to decide by himself to blow up Khotso House. To me it was simply an extension of the previous year's order. I may be wrong, but I assumed that it came from the same source, same chambers, namely right from the top, because we're not talking here about malicious damage to property, like breaking a car window, what we're talking about is a high level of terrorism.

MR PENZORN: Mr De Kock, I think the question put to you was to convey to you the following, in this case it wasn't put to you expressly that the order came right from the top, but you simply assume that?


MR PENZORN: But it was never put to that the order came right from the top, but you simply assumed that?


MR PENZORN: But it was never put to you in express terms, you just assumed that?


MR PENZORN: On the basis of what happened the previous year?

MR DE KOCK: Yes. And also, for instance, we talk about international terrorism in London, I'm not trying to aggravate matters, I'm trying to give you an indication of what my perceptions were, the way I experienced things.

MR PENZORN: Now just something else, at the trial in George you also testified that you were asked by the Johannesburg Security Branch to intervene, because they had already attempted to do it and that the landmines were placed in a Checkers bag and the Checkers bag broke and the landmines rolled out onto the street. Just to place it in context for me, was that in the case of Cosatu or in Khotso House, where did the Checkers bag play a role?

MR DE KOCK: As it was conveyed to me by one of my members in Intelligence, it happened at Khotso House, but you always have to temper this, and I often find this in the Security Branch, that there is this thing such as jealousy and it might have been one of those cases. That is my opinion.

MR PENZORN: In your evidence you've already said that Khotso House and Cosatu House were not the only two explosions in which you were involved and I'm assuming that it also wasn't the only two sensitive operations which you were involved in in your career?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct.

MR PENZORN: As far as sensitive operations are concerned, where would you normally receive your orders from?

MR DE KOCK: It would obviously come from Brigadier Schoon. Here and there it would not come from him but via another channel such as from General Coetzee, Johan Coetzee, in one case, in other cases there would be a request from a divisional commanding officer or branch commander, which I would then refer, in the case of a branch commander, he would have to approach his divisional commander and the divisional commander would have to clear it with the security head office, and most of these cases we heard nothing more about it. In some cases permission was granted and the actions were then carried out successfully.

MR PENZORN: In view of the chain of command which you operated in, if you received an instruction from Brigadier Schoon to carry out a highly sensitive operation such as this, you would regard that as sufficient authorisation, you would never have doubted Brigadier Schoon's authority, or that he had the necessary authorisation?

MR DE KOCK: Brigadier Schoon and I had an extremely good relationship, it was an open and honest one and I would never have had any doubts on that score, and I'm not trying to put any blame on him for anything.

MR PENZORN: Is it correct then to say that for an operation such as this, it wasn't necessary for you to know from exactly how high up this order had come? If Brigadier Schoon's order to you or instruction to you was to carry it out and it in any event came from above, whether above meant General Van der Merwe or whether it meant the commissioner of police or whether it meant Minister Vlok, that was not important to you?

MR DE KOCK: In the case of Cosatu House, it was very important to me, because as an operational commander on the ground, it was a change in tactic and you would also have to go and look at things like training, more staff or less staff, more or less weapons, and I'd like to refer you to page 466 of bundle 3, right at the bottom, when Brigadier Schoon asked me why the place had not yet been blown up, I then said, "If P W Botha wants to blow the place up himself, then he can do it himself. I can't bungle the job."

MR PENZORN: You never received any orders from Mr P W Botha in his capacity as State President?

MR DE KOCK: No, I was never allowed to move at that level.

MR PENZORN: Did you ever meet him?

MR DE KOCK: No. No, except at George.

MR PENZORN: That was a couple of weeks ago, during the criminal trial?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct.

MR PENZORN: You've been present here for the past couple of days when Mr Vlok and Mr Van der Merwe testified and you heard that in respect of Cosatu House the evidence led her, and I may add it was also what Mr Botha's view is, that as far as Cosatu House was concerned, he never gave that order and that he in fact didn't know about it, in other words, and that is also the evidence of Mr Vlok and Mr Van der Merwe, that if Brigadier Schoon had told you this, he must have made a mistake, in the light of what we've now heard from Van der Merwe and Vlok?

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson, I can't comment on that, I leave it in the hands of the commission to make a finding on that, I can't do that.

MR PENZORN: The other aspect is this, may I ask you, the types of orders and documents which you received, I think you referred to a daily report, a weekly report and also a monthly report, these reports were documents prepared by police head office, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, but I must just qualify it, it also contained information from the National Intelligence and from the different directorates of Military Intelligence.

MR PENZORN: And that information from the other intelligence services was contained in these daily, monthly or weekly reports from the police?

MR DE KOCK: Not in a separate folder or file, it was all put together, collated.

MR PENZORN: Can you recall whether there were any minutes of meetings of Cabinet or State Security Councils included in these documents?

MR DE KOCK: No, I never saw such a thing.

MR PENZORN: And did you at any stage got to see any of the documents of the State Security Council, you were in an operational unit, but did you ever get to see, as far as you can remember, any documents or minutes of the State Security Council?


MR PENZORN: Or Cabinet minutes?


MR PENZORN: In other words, what I am referring you to is a statement made by my learned friend, Mr Visser, I apologise, it's not Mr Visser, it's your own legal representative, with regard to words used by politicians, "eliminated, neutralised" and so forth, are you not referring to first-hand knowledge which you received from the State Security Council documents? This should have then emanated from police documents.

MR DE KOCK: I had no access to the State Security documentation, but the references, and I can tell you that to take a person out would not have meant to entertain the person, and I'm also referring to the following, I will never forget it, when Minister R F Botha said, after an attack in Botswana, and I sat watching television as it was broadcast, that we would follow them until we find them in their nests and we would destroy them. I hope the SABC still has some of that material.

CHAIRPERSON: Who was that?

MR DE KOCK: It was Pik Botha, R F Botha.

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


MR CORNELIUS: Chairperson, Cornelius, for applicant N J Vermeulen, just a few questions.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR CORNELIUS: Mr De Kock, my client, Mr Vermeulen, says that after the Khotso House incident, when the charges were planted, they moved in the mini-bus to the back of the Braamfontein Hotel, they parked there and waited. Can you recall that?

MR DE KOCK: I can't recall it, but it was probably like that.

MR CORNELIUS: And then they remained there until the explosion had taken place and eventually went back to Vlakplaas?

MR DE KOCK: I will concede that.

MR CORNELIUS: Then, Mr De Kock, Advocate Booyens questioned you regarding the mindset, and I want to put it to you that there was in effect also a political mindset. Your policy was the maintenance and protection of the former government's political dispensation in its struggle to oppose the political onslaught of the ANC/SACP alliance and other liberation movements, with the objective of over-throwing the political order. Would you agree that that political mindset was very strongly conveyed to your subordinates?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that's correct.

MR CORNELIUS: And that would have created a very strong political motivation for them to carry out their tasks?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that's correct.

MR CORNELIUS: Then, in light of the political and ministerial expressions of gratitude and logistical support, your credibility was never a question of dispute among your colleagues?


MR CORNELIUS: When General Van der Merwe was cross-examined, I came across the following, I'd just like to distinguish between the emotion that a soldier experiences when he has to distinguish between an order and an operation, if he had some kind of premonition, he was allowed to sit out of the operation?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct.

MR CORNELIUS: But if you had given him an order, and if he had not complied with the order, would you agree with the following which Van der Merwe said, and I quote from page 72:-

"That a person who refuses to carry out an order, it is obvious then that such person would be removed from the unit. Nobody would have wanted to work with such a person if that person was not willing to participate in a task with the rest of the unit."

Would you agree with that?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, yes, to a certain extent, because there was expertise at Vlakplaas which one wanted to keep there, but it wouldn't have been necessary to keep him in a dormant position, but it could have placed this person's career at a disadvantage. What I do in fact know is that where others had committed offences, they were transferred to other branches, transferred to offices and basically taken out of the system where they could pick up further information which might place the State at a disadvantage.

MR CORNELIUS: I think that General Van der Merwe's answer on page 73 says:-

"For the fact that I think in general such a person would have a difficult life in the South African Police, yes, he would have been branded by his fellow workers."

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, he would have been isolated, and as the information took its usual course, his colleagues would have found out that he is unreliable.

MR CORNELIUS: Consequently it was seldom the case where an order was not complied with?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, those persons who were at Vlakplaas were there because they wanted to fight. We didn't have a gang-pressing system to get people to Vlakplaas, we had to keep them away.

MS GCABASHE: Colonel De Kock, would this apply to Askaris as well, both propositions, that one, they would simply be sidelined, they needn't fear for their lives, and secondly, that they were there to fight, they were committed to that and nothing else, you've just said those two things?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, this aspect regarding the Askaris has been coming along for a long time from the German occupation of South West, from Tanganyika and from Zimbabwe, and it was carried over to here and it was also used in the Koevoet exercise, they were there to fight, and there were different categories. For example, there would be the coward who had walked over or defected because he had no moral values and only thought about himself. Then there was the category with which I had tremendous empathy and sympathy, and that was the category of the truly good people in the ANC who had been abducted from Swaziland, who were here against their will and couldn't return, and the reason for that would be his fear for Mkodu(?). They were more afraid of them than what they were of us, and that's why they remained, and then they were also in the minority. There was a third category who truly came over because they believed that things were not being done in the right way and that they wanted to learn something and serve their people. I had a problem with the last two categories, because they never pointed people out, they never identified people, they refused to testify against them and I valued that at most. We know about people like Judas Iscariot and nobody has time for somebody like that. There were these broad categories. I'm sorry if I'm boring you, but I'm trying to give you an impression of Vlakplaas.

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


MR NEL: Chairperson, Christo Nel.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR NEL: Colonel, I'm appearing for the men in the mini-bus, Frank McCarter and Larry Hanton, both of them were also at Koevoet, as you may well know. May I ask you if your choice to place them in the mini-bus was made because of your particular confidence in them?

MR DE KOCK: It was because of my complete confidence in them.

MR NEL: And you said that the political objective, amongst others, was to achieve the overall disruption of Khotso and Cosatu House and to stall terrorist activities emanating from Cosatu House and Khotso House. Did you also convey these objectives to them when you chose them as the mini-bus men, if I might put it that way?

MR DE KOCK: I believe so, because complete submission would be given to the operatives in terms of what could be expected, what they had to watch out for, what they were to do if they were approached by somebody, I believe that I did, I just don't have a clear recollection thereof.

MR NEL: Might I take it one step further then, you said that you were totally indoctrinated and your opinion of, for example, Larry and Frank, were they also indoctrinated to take up the struggle?

MR DE KOCK: I don't know, I think we'll have to ask them that, but I had enough, or sufficient confidence in them that they would not let me down with this order, and that they wouldn't talk about it to anybody else afterwards. They were allowed to feel negatively about it afterwards.

MR NEL: Just a further aspect, both of my clients, in their applications for amnesty, Mr McCarter was involved only with the Cosatu House incident, while Mr Hanton was involved in both incidents, but both with regard to Cosatu House named a person by the name of At van Niekerk, who was there, and now that both of them have thought about it and heard evidence here, they have told me that this is incorrect. Do you agree that At van Niekerk was not present there?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, because I can't remember At van Niekerk. I know that we underwent an officers course together, but I can't place him at all.

MR NEL: Just one further aspect, you spoke about Eastern explosives, Mr Hanton, in his application for Khotso House, spoke about landmines, these explosives, were they landmines, as he put it? We know that he is also a trained explosives person.

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, in general what we would do, it was possible to make a landmine out of a cake tin, you just had to place the explosive inside. We would remove the covering and then we'd have the pure TNT, so that no metal debris could be picked up and forensically identified as a landmine, because nobody would plant a landmine in the middle of Johannesburg, it could be used as a device, but it wouldn't have been logical at that stage.

MR NEL: Thank you.


CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR DU PLESSIS: Mr De Kock, let's just briefly discuss the atmosphere of that time. I know you've been asked quite a number of questions about this and in the future you will be questioned again regarding this issue, I foresee that I will be in a position once again to ask you questions about this, so I'd just like to ask you the questions now that I won't be asking in the future.

MS GCABASHE: Sorry, Mr Du Plessis, it's useful for the transcribers to know who's talking. So just... (intervention).

MR DU PLESSIS: Oh, I beg your pardon, it's Roelof du Plessis, I act on behalf of Mr George Hammond, Pierre le Roux and Hennie Kotze, Gert Beeslaar and Michael Bellinghan. Mr De Kock, the existence of Vlakplaas was widely known within the Security Branch?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, strangely enough, not. There were members within the Security Branch and even branch commanders and it would appear divisional commanders, who didn't know about Vlakplaas, and some of those who did know were not completely aware of the activities or the resources which could have been made available. I'm saying this in light of a conference held at Oudtshoorn in the late eighties, when there were still three or four such Vlakplaas units to be formed. The commanders and divisional commanders with right wanted immediate 24 hour availability for their own purposes.

MR DU PLESSIS: Okay, Mr De Kock, I don't mean that it was that widely known that every single person who worked with security necessarily knew exactly what was going on there, but what I mean is that there were members all over the country at the Security Branch, and also more senior members, who knew what Vlakplaas was there for, who knew what was happening at Vlakplaas, and who also enlisted your help from time to time with certain operations?


MR DU PLESSIS: And is it correct to say that your help was enlisted just about all over the country?


MR DU PLESSIS: On a national basis?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct.

MR DU PLESSIS: Because I know about incidents during which Vlakplaas was used in the Western Province, in the Eastern Cape, in Natal, right across Transvaal, I'm not aware of anything in the Free State, and also in cross border operations.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that's correct.

MR DU PLESSIS: And one could surely accept that the commanding officers and officers of higher rank would more probably have known about Vlakplaas and its activities?

MR DE KOCK: If it was of relevance in his area, and if he had direct interest in it. I would just briefly like to tell you that the structure was of such a nature, that if somebody left Vlakplaas or Pretoria and went to work in a region such as Bloemfontein or the Free State, then that group would fall under the command of the divisional command of Bloemfontein for the purposes of discipline and application, that was one of the irrevocable stipulations.

MR DU PLESSIS: And these divisional commanders in the regions where Vlakplaas groups were used for operations, they would then have been aware of the operation itself, most of the time, what was happening, and there would have been feedback to them in general?

MR DE KOCK: Could you please repeat the question?

MR DU PLESSIS: I am asking, if a Vlakplaas unit had been used in another region and there was a commanding officer who had requested the use of Vlakplaas there, and those members, those Vlakplaas members, had acted under his command, one could accept that they would have known about the operation and what the outcome thereof was?


MR DU PLESSIS: I'm asking you these questions, because I want to ask you the following question, during your time at Vlakplaas, after you had taken over from Brigadier Cronje until 1990, was there ever any question or inquiry directed at you by any commanding officer in the security police throughout the country who occupied a rank higher than yours regarding operations which Vlakplaas was involved with, and more specifically illegal operations?


MR DU PLESSIS: Can you give us an indication in which cases and how many cases there were?

MR DE KOCK: Is that before or after 1990?

MR DU PLESSIS: That's before 1990, I'm not speaking of the Harms Commission and all those things that happened.

MR DE KOCK: I just wanted to refer you to that precisely. A person on the level of a general would not have been involved in the management of the Harms Commission, they stayed away from us.

MR DU PLESSIS: Please limit your answer to the time before 1990, because that was my question.

MR DE KOCK: Do you want the names of the officers?

MR DU PLESSIS: No, I'm asking you if, before the Harms Commission and before questions arose from F W de Klerk and his government, before that time, I want to know if any inquiries regarding operations came your way, in other words did officers phone and say, "I just heard from my co-officer that Vlakplaas was involved in an illegal action. What's going on here, what are you doing at Vlakplaas, why are you involved in these things?"

MR DE KOCK: I don't have a recollection of that at the moment, but I would, in either event, have refused to discuss something like this on the telephone with someone. These issues were handled on a personal level. I wouldn't say that it didn't happen that way, but I don't have any recollection thereof. However, if anybody were to refresh my memory, then I'd be able to be of assistance.

MR DU PLESSIS: Well I'm not able to peak your memory, because I don't have any recollection of such case myself, but it would appear to me that those who were aware of Vlakplaas operations, and that would include all officers and officers of high rank in various regions of the country where Vlakplaas had been involved, who knew about Vlakplaas operations, would simply have let it go and never directed inquiries regarding what was going on there, or they wouldn't have had a problem with it at least, am I correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I would accept it like that.

MR DU PLESSIS: Mr De Kock, is it also true, with regard to the cross-examination and the questions that I asked to Mr Vlok and Mr Van der Merwe, they testified consistently that there were no direct orders, but that a culture of acceptance of these operations, of these illegal operations and the elimination of people, had developed?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that's correct.

MR DU PLESSIS: And just to take the question a little further, I accept then that there were never similar informal or formal requests coming your way from any minister or politician?

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson, and there's a definition for that, and I say this with compassion, presidents on a global level have no problem with taking human lives as long as their involvement in it is never known.

MR DU PLESSIS: Well that makes me think of the quote by Mark Twain, and it is also correct that the Vlakplaas unit at various occasions was congratulated for their operations by senior officers and politicians?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR DU PLESSIS: And is it also correct that during those congratulatory statements, there was never any mention of reprimand?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR DU PLESSIS: You yourself received medals?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR DU PLESSIS: Among others, for foreign cross border operations?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR DU PLESSIS: And is it also correct to say that these questions that I've asked and these answers that you have given include the cross border operations in which you were involved?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR DU PLESSIS: Mr De Kock, the orders which you received, and I'm speaking in general, the orders which you received with regard to illegal operations, as well as these operations which we are busy with, were these orders given to you in detail, or did it fit in in general with what Mr Penzhorn said, that orders were generally given on the basis that it was said what was to be done, but not how it was to be done? Would you agree with that typification of orders which came to you, where it was said what you were supposed to do, but not how you were supposed to do it?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, here and there there was a qualification, but I trust that when we discuss those aspects in future, I'd be able to provide you with more details. However, I will agree with you.

MR DU PLESSIS: Would you also agree that the approval of which you were aware, which was given by senior persons and politicians, in this case your own objective view was that P W Botha had approved the operations, as well as other operations, at least then Cosatu House, and also regarding other operations such as the hand grenades, did this contribute to the view that illegal operation by Vlakplaas was acceptable?


MR DU PLESSIS: The reason why I'm asking you this, and the reason why I said that I would once again ask it in the future, was because those aspects have previously been discussed before the members of this committee and have been discussed by members such as Judge Wilson and Mr De Jager with regard to Brigadier Cronje's evidence in that regard.

MR DE KOCK: To give you a broader idea of the mentality, the RSA, with right, had three of the best intelligence services in the world, that would include the South African Police, the National Intelligence Service and the 11 or 12 directorates of the South African Defence Force. If the police bombed a building such as Cosatu or Khotso House, it would be obvious that the president would say, "What information do you have for me? How is it that you are spending all these billions of rands, but you can't tell me who blew up this building?" If somebody could blow up Khotso House, then somebody could also blow up the Union Buildings. I'm just trying to give you my viewpoint, because if I was the president, I would say, "Get them all now". That indicates to me that everybody knew exactly what was going on, to the extent that two days after Khotso House, a short telex arrived from Spieskop, from the Special Forces, to say congratulations, and when the CCB asked me if it was us, I said, "No", they said, "Well it has to be you, because it definitely wasn't us". So that kind of liaison on ground level existed.

MR DU PLESSIS: You also heard the evidence of Leon Wessels, that according to him, they didn't want to know, they had the suspicion, but it suited them not to ask any questions and not to know. Do you agree with that?

MR DE KOCK: Then Leon Wessels and Adrian Vlok would be the only two former MP officials who are honest.

MR DU PLESSIS: Well Roelf Meyer said during that same submission something very similar to what Mr Wessels said.

MR DE KOCK: I will refrain from commenting on that.

MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, I see it's four o'clock, I have a few further questions, I don't know if you want me to finish or... (intervention).

CHAIRPERSON: I don't think so. I would like ...[inaudible] I think arises from what you've said. Now Vlakplaas was under what jurisdiction, if one can call it that, Pretoria?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that's correct, it was in Pretoria, but the security head office... (intervention).

CHAIRPERSON: And if you went to operate elsewhere, as we've been told, the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape, Natal, your unit fell under the local commander?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that's correct.

CHAIRPERSON: And he was responsible for what they did?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that's correct, amongst others for discipline and application.

CHAIRPERSON: So if he wanted to make inquiries about unlawful acts, he should ask the unit who was there under his command?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that's correct, Chairperson, but he would have to clear it out with Brigadier Schoon, or if he had asked me, I would have cleared it up with Brigadier Schoon. There were such requests and Schoon's response was a simple, "No", and that would be the end of it as well, but things could have taken place of which one wouldn't have known within that specific political framework and I can understand that.

MS GCABASHE: Could I ask, in those circumstances, if the mission itself then occurred in yet another province, would that divisional commander again have to be informed that "our chaps are coming to your particular area to do certain things", so you could have a Vlakplaas unit move from here to Eastern Cape, from Eastern Cape up to Mpumalanga?

MR DE KOCK: Yes. The basic principle was that the divisional commander, for example in Port Natal or Western Transvaal, would, by means of a telex, request head office for a group of Askaris, then we'd have to select Askaris who came from that area and determine what the commander wanted and then send them, and on short notice it could be decided that a clandestine operation was to be executed, and then it would be done. I will concede that such things were done, if I listen in retrospect to other information.

MS GCABASHE: If Port Natal said, "I want you to go and do X in the Free State", they would have to inform the divisional commander in the Free State that they're coming to do certain things there, or did he not have to know that this unit was coming to do things in his region?

MR DE KOCK: No, he would have had to know, and it would have to be cleared out with Brigadier Schoon and with me, because I would supply the equipment. It wasn't a helter-skelter type of operation.

CHAIRPERSON: 9 o'clock tomorrow morning.