CHAIRPERSON: Are you ready Mr Bizos?

MR BIZOS: Yes, thank you Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: I hope the machine is able to stand up to you today.

PETRUS JOHANNES COETZEE: (still under oath)

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR BIZOS: (continued) For the sake of safety, I will repeat the questions that I was asking towards the end of your examination General, yesterday afternoon.

You will recall that I read to you a sentence from page 60 of the Armed Forces hearing, shall I read it again so that we can be sure that the record is - you said at my level, I never gave and it was not required of me to give any illegal within the country, any operation of an illegal nature, at my level. Did you say that? Page 60.

Can I show you our copy and satisfy yourself that it is a correct, it is page 60, General Coetzee's evidence, towards the bottom of page 60 in which this statement appears, at my level, I never gave and it was not required of me, to give any illegal within the country, any operation of an illegal nature at my level. You said that? Bottom of the page?

MR COETZEE: Yes, the second last paragraph?

MR BIZOS: The second last paragraph. Yes?

MR COETZEE: That is correct sir.

MR BIZOS: Could we give this bundle of pages that the Committee asked for, Mr Chairman, a number?


MR BIZOS: Thank you. If you please turn to page 48, yes, it is the middle of the page, Gen Coetzee. Yes, Mr Chairman, I know of one incident, I personally know of one incident. I know that we have already discussed that, my legal counsel, over border operations. I have got serious doubts whether that was, that could per se be described as legal operations, but there was no pattern of illegal operation ever authorised that I am aware of sir. Did you say that?

MR COETZEE: Yes, that is correct Mr Bizos.

MR BIZOS: And then, if we can go to page 49. By the Security Council sir, have you got that?

MR COETZEE: Yes, I've got it sir.

MR BIZOS: I am not aware of any illegal operation and I am not referring now, I am placing that in parenthesis, in brackets, I am not talking about cross-border operations, but inside the country. I am not aware of any illegal instruction being given by the State Security Council, that illegal operations should be embarked on. Did you say that?

MR COETZEE: Yes, that is correct.

MR BIZOS: Then if we go to page 60, so I say what I say to you sir, is that at my level, at my level, I never gave and it was not required of me to give any illegal within the country, any operation of an illegal nature at my level. It is really a repetition, but you agree with that?

And then at pages 72, bottom of page 72, top of page 73, you say no, not at all sir. It doesn't really matter, it is your answer that is really important, the question isn't really of any substance, but it can be looked at by your Counsel. A culture is something that is all encompassing, a culture is something else. First these cases, although I am not in complete agreement that some of them are to me, if you could put the two into me, personally repugnant, morally, personally repugnant, but there was never a culture existed in the South African Police that any Policemen or any of the Branches of the South African Police could go and kill people at will, at their own motivation or anything of that nature.

That is a culture. That is an all encompassing thing of discipline or (indistinct), etc, that never existed sir. CHAIRPERSON: Indiscipline in my version, not discipline.

MR BIZOS: I beg your pardon, indiscipline, I am sorry, did I read it wrongly. I am sorry. Pages 72 to 73, it is actually on 73, is that correct?

MR COETZEE: That is correct sir.

MR BIZOS: And then on pages 76 to 78, the following appears: No, no, I think sir, one should look upon this whole matter in its whole situation. Are you with me General?

MR VISSER: I haven't got a page 76.

MR BIZOS: Page 72?

CHAIRPERSON: Page 76 is not included at all.

MR BIZOS: I beg your pardon, it is at the end, page 76 to 78, I beg your pardon.

MR VISSER: We haven't got a 76.

MR BIZOS: Well, actually could we go to, have you got page 78 there or 77? When I became aware sir that a certain Constable has shot a person through the head, have you got that?

MR COETZEE: I've got that sir.

MR BIZOS: You've got that? I am only interested in that passage, when I became aware sir, that a Mr, a certain Constable has shot a person through the head, that he was interrogating, I could have if I wanted to sir, and the ex-Attorney General is here, I could have I said no, no, no, wait, this man's father was an Officer in the Police and he was very annoyed that his young son was used to what he described to interrogate a person, that sort of inveigled him into this situation.

MR COETZEE: Inveigled.

MR BIZOS: Inveigled, is that how you pronounce it, thank you.

MR COETZEE: Yes, that is what it is meant to be.

MR BIZOS: Yes, thank you. That Policeman sir, went to prison for 10 to 15 years. His father was a colleague of ours. That type of thing wasn't condoned sir, I can go on and on and on with these incidents if it is necessary.

Departmental trials regularly, but you must understand the atmosphere, the climate in which things occurred, a war situation sir. Was that said by you?

MR COETZEE: Yes, that is correct.

MR BIZOS: Now having got that on record, and having listened to your evidence, I am going to put certain propositions to you. Would you please respond so far as you can, with a yes or no or as briefly as possible, but we will examine them later.

Is it your case General, that you never committed any unlawful act as Deputy Head of the Security Police, Head of the Security Police or as Commissioner of the Police within the borders of the Republic of South Africa?

MR COETZEE: Yes, that is my case.

MR BIZOS: That is your case? Is it your case that you only became involved in your capacity as Head of the Security Police and or as Commissioner in only four extra-territorial crimes?

MR COETZEE: If it constitutes a crime.

MR BIZOS: If it constitutes.

MR COETZEE: If it is so, I was involved in that sir.

MR BIZOS: So in order to avoid a debate as to whether it is a crime or not, let us refer to them the four events.


MR BIZOS: And for the sake of absolute clarity, would you please just place on record unequivocally which four events are you referring to?

MR COETZEE: I am referring to a raid into Botswana, a raid ...

MR BIZOS: Date please?

MR COETZEE: I beg your pardon?


MR COETZEE: I do not remember.

MR BIZOS: We will establish it, don't worry.

MR COETZEE: Whilst I was ...

CHAIRPERSON: Could you tell us who by?

MR COETZEE: It was by the South African Defence Force sir, but I served on the State Security Council Mr Chairman.

A similar situation sir, when there was a raid by the South African Defence Force into Lesotho. A similar situation sir, when there was a strike by the South African Air Force in Matolo or Maputo and I referred there, what I meant there was I referred to the London incident, because I regarded that as State authorised, and the discussions went further sir, I said I was uncertain about one incident which I refer to there, which I refer to and which we debated then there sir, was the case of the so-called prime handgrenades.

MR BIZOS: The prime handgrenades?


MR BIZOS: That was inside the country?

MR COETZEE: That was inside the country.

MR BIZOS: So we must amend, we must amend your answer that you were never involved in anything illegal in relation to within the country, except the prime handgrenades in which young people lost their lives.

MR COETZEE: No, I didn't say that Mr Bizos, you misunderstood me.


MR COETZEE: I say that in the line of command, a memorandum was submitted by the then Chief of Security, through my office, to the Minister.

I missed it, this document is not before Court, it wasn't before the TRC at all. This particular document, so what it contains, we don't know. How it is formulated, we don't know, but I said that in the circumstances, it could have in its eventual culmination constituted a crime, whether that was an incident that could be highlighted, I don't know.

MR BIZOS: Let's leave that one aside, let's deal with the four beyond the borders.

MR COETZEE: All right, thank you sir.

MR BIZOS: Yes. We have the three you have given us and of course the one that you are applying for amnesty for, the London bombing?

MR COETZEE: That is correct so yes, thank you.

MR BIZOS: All right. Now General, let us take the three raids. How many people were killed in those raids?

MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, with all due respect, allow me to come in here, Visser on record, I don't quite understand the line of the cross-examination of my learned friend.

We start off first of all by my learned friend informing you at the inception of this hearing, that he appears for the Slovo family, members of the Slovo family and the Schoon family.

We are now, he doesn't appear in regard to the London bomb, except presumably in so far as there may be issues is that incident, which might relate to the interest of his clients, in the other incidents, and that is why I haven't been objecting at all.

But with all due respect, we are now with the Botswana raid, the Lesotho raid and the Matolo raid, and one has to ask oneself the question, how much lenience does my learned friend expect of this Committee? How far is he going to be allowed to go on the all encompassing basis apparently of credibility?

With all due respect Mr Chairman, the evidence now brought out in cross-examination, is in any event out of proportion and it bears no reality to the background. The background here Mr Chairman, and the witness has tried to explain it, was that at the inception and even today, there is a debate going on as to what was legal and what was illegal.

That is his dilemma and what he says, is that at the end of the day, I was advised that as far as the Matolo raid, the Botswana raid and the Lesotho raid was concerned, I didn't commit any wrong, therefore I didn't apply for amnesty.

What the point is of going into details and particularly the last question, how many people were killed, I believe that my learned friend, with respect, has a duty to tell you where he is going, and how this is relevant to the present enquiry, otherwise we are going to sit here for weeks listening to matters, which have nothing to do with the incidents before you Mr Chairman.

I strenuously object to this line of cross-examination.

MR BIZOS: I agree that the Committee and my learned friend are entitled to an explanation of what the purpose of this is.

I will make it clear as briefly as I can Mr Chairman. Mr Williamson and according to our case, and we will prove it, we submit, and this witness, are jointly responsible for the deaths of the two, three people that were killed, and that the one is covering for the other.

We are in possession of information of evidence, which I will put to this witness, which will show clearly that Mr Williamson, who admits that he killed our clients' relatives, would hardly ever have done anything against the wishes or the knowledge, without the knowledge of his mentor, Gen Coetzee, who recruited him, promoted him, covered him, allowed him to lie, allowed him to infiltrate the student movement, that they were absolutely inseparable and we will show that Mr Williamson is not telling the truth when he says where he got the orders from to kill our clients' relatives.

Therefore, everything that this witness knows or denies of knowing, which we may prove, is relevant to whether or not Mr Williamson has made full disclosure as to whether, full disclosure as to how our relatives were killed.

Therefore and let me illustrate with the last question, because my learned friend and the Committee are at a disadvantage Mr Chairman. I am going to suggest to this witness, when he tells me how many people died in these raids, whether he considered that he had blood on his hands.

Because Mr Chairman, there will be evidence from Mr De Kock, that after a raid authorised by this witness into Swaziland in order to kill people, at or about the time of the bomb in London, there was another bomb in Swaziland and that Mr De Kock, went at half past five in the morning to Mr Coetzee's home, to report on the success of the operation.

The answer was, I don't know whether I should touch your hand, because your hand is full of blood. I want to show Mr Chairman, by cross-examination and I submit that this case cannot be justly decided without investigating precisely the relationship between Mr Williamson and this witness, and I am going to also Mr Chairman, ask this witness many questions about his knowledge and his investigation in his capacity as Chief of the Security Police and as Commissioner, about numerous murders within and outside the country.

Not only that he did nothing about it, but that he appointed sweepers in order to bury the evidence that would show the Police complicity Mr Chairman, so that I am afraid that my learned friend without knowing what we have in our possession, may have done his client some service by objecting, but we will submit that there is no doubt whatsoever that we are entitled to show, not on a matter of credibility only, but that one of the main issues in the case, is Mr Williamson, telling the truth when he says where he got the orders from, when we will prove in our submission, as a result of recordings of Mr Williamson ...

CHAIRPERSON: I think Mr Bizos, that you have said enough at this stage, for us to say that you should continue with your cross-examination.

MR BIZOS: Thank you Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: It appears that you are seeking to obtain information from this witness, not about the London bombing, but about the other matters that are to come before us.

MR BIZOS: Yes, and the relationship Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: With other applicants?

MR BIZOS: Yes, if the witness knew about the London bombing Mr Chairman, is it likely that he did not know about the bombing in Swaziland at or about the same time?

Now let me just, you say you didn't remember the dates or the number of people that were killed?

CHAIRPERSON: He didn't say that he did not remember, there was an objection to the question.

MR BIZOS: Do you remember the number of people that were killed?

MR COETZEE: No, I don't.

MR BIZOS: Oh, well yes, okay. Let's just get it on record. I am sorry, I was going to - during the period, where were you in 1980, what was your position General?

MR COETZEE: I was Mr Bizos, I had just taken over command of the Security Branch.

MR BIZOS: Of the Security Police? And you were Commissioner until 1987. We will deal with the incidents from 1980 to 1987. I may say General, that you complained bitterly at the hearing when you were examined by Mr Goosen, that Mr Goosen was not given you any specifics. We are ready to give you specifics and ask you to respond to them General.

MR COETZEE: Thank you sir.

MR BIZOS: Yes. If you will give me just one moment Mr Chairman. People were killed in the three raids, were they?

MR COETZEE: I am aware sir that people were killed in the Lesotho raid, and I am aware that people were killed in the Botswana raid. I am unaware whether people were killed in the Matolo raid.

MR BIZOS: Surely, surely General, surely, didn't you bother to find out whether there was, whether people died in the Mozambican raid?

MR COETZEE: I've got no recollection that it was ever reported to me that people had died.

MR BIZOS: Well, what were the newspaper reports or don't you rely on them?

MR COETZEE: No, I can't remember after nearly 20 years, what newspapers reported about ...

MR BIZOS: As to whether people were killed on a raid of which you had a part in authorising?

MR COETZEE: Mr Chairman, I do not want to sound callous about people dying. I think that would be completely wrong, but for me to know the specifics of all these raids in statistics, is impossible.

CHAIRPERSON: We are not talking about all these raids, we are talking about two raids by the Defence Force and one raid by the South African Air Force.

MR COETZEE: The one Mr Chairman, in Matolo, I cannot remember that it was ever reported to me, or I was ever present when a report was made, either to the State Security Council or to me as Commissioner, how many people had died there.

Subsequently I was the Chairman of the Security Commission with Mozambique, where this raid was also discussed with the Mozambican authorities and I don't even remember that there, this issue was ever raised about how many people had died.

MR BIZOS: Yes. Well, there were 14 people killed. Would you accept that?

MR COETZEE: I don't dispute that.

MR BIZOS: Yes, and also once you mentioned this Commission that you were, who was your Deputy on that Commission, or your colleague on that Commission?

MR COETZEE: My co-Chairman was the Deputy Chairman of Mozambique.

MR BIZOS: No, representing the South African side?

MR COETZEE: There were different, at different times, during the period that I was.

MR BIZOS: Was Mr Williamson a member of that Committee?

MR COETZEE: He attended some, but he was not a Deputy Chairman.

MR BIZOS: How many meetings do you remember him attending, because some important things were said there that I am going to put to you in due course, please try and remember how many meetings Mr Williamson attended with you of this joint Commission?

MR COETZEE: I remember that he attended two or three as far as I remember.

MR BIZOS: We will deal with that in due course. Did you feel personally responsible for the spilling of the blood of those people?

MR COETZEE: Of what people sir?

MR BIZOS: Of the 14 people that died?

MR COETZEE: In the Matolo raid?



MR BIZOS: Why not?

MR COETZEE: Because sir, I am advised that it was not illegal to have a pre-emptive strike over the border. I am always sorry if any person dies. So in that sense, yes, but that I have a particular guilt feeling about the people that died in the Matolo raid, I haven't that feeling.

I feel that the whole war situation was wrong that developed, the intransigence of people was wrong, but for me, for me personally, I don't feel any personal guilt about that raid sir.

MR BIZOS: Can you quote one reputable lawyer who would say that there was nothing wrong to killing people in their beds, in a neighbouring country?

MR VISSER: What does that question mean Mr Chairman, with respect? The witness is asked to comment on what lawyers may or may not ...

CHAIRPERSON: I think it is a question because he has just said he does not feel any personal guilt, because he was told as I understand his evidence, the pre-emptive strikes over the border, were legal.


CHAIRPERSON: He is now being asked about the pre-emptive strike and the result and whether any lawyer said that a strike of that nature, was legal. That is as I understood the question.

MR VISSER: Is legal, oh, that is a different matter. I thought the words that were used was that it was morally wrong. I have added morally, but wrong was what my learned friend said.


MR BIZOS: Can you quote one lawyer of any standing, anywhere in the world, who says that it is illegal for a country - that it is legal for a neighbouring country to bomb people to death, whilst they are asleep at night?

MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, I am going to object. Where does this evidence come from? This witness didn't give the evidence of people being bombed to death at night.

CHAIRPERSON: He can say so, it is not necessary for you to say so.

MR VISSER: Yes, but Mr Chairman ...

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Bizos, has not said anything to show that this did happen. He is putting a question and you client is quite at liberty to say I know nothing about it.

MR VISSER: As it pleases you Mr Chairman.

MR BIZOS: What is your answer General?

MR COETZEE: My answer Mr Bizos, is morally, morally naturally I would be guilty, but legally I don't feel that I am guilty.

MR BIZOS: Right. Would you if I were to put to you that the blood of those people, is on your hands, would you agree?

MR COETZEE: No sir, in a war situation, which I have tried, perhaps imperfectly Mr Chairman, to describe, you don't feel that if you shoot at the enemy, that you've got personal guilt about it.

MR BIZOS: As an Officer and a gentleman, you wouldn't shoot people in their beds, would you?

CHAIRPERSON: We have heard nothing about people being injured in their beds Mr Bizos. We have merely heard of an air strike at the enemy at a neighbouring territory.

MR BIZOS: Yes, if the so-called enemy in the neighbouring territory is sleeping?

ADV DE JAGER: Like all the people in Japan were sleeping when the atom bomb were thrown on them, would that be illegal?

MR COETZEE: Well, I wouldn't know sir, but I know that just contemporaneously, the United States' pre-emptive raids, air raids against what they considered terrorist bases and the people must have been killed, and I am not sure that President Clinton or his Officers, feel personal guilt about it.

MR BIZOS: You think that there is a parallel?

MR COETZEE: Well, I think there is a parallel.

MR BIZOS: Yes, well, we will leave it at that for the moment. 42 People were killed in Lesotho. Are you able to admit or deny that?

MR COETZEE: No, I would agree to that, I think that would be more or less the situation.

MR BIZOS: More or less? And you were party to that?

MR COETZEE: I had a particular part to play in that sir, which was to inform the Lesotho government that the raid was not intended against its sovereignty, but it was intended against the ANC terrorists in the country, that was my job as far as that particular incident was concerned. My particular job.

MR BIZOS: Did you know anything about the 12 people that were killed on the 14th of June 1985 in Gaberone by South African Forces?

MR COETZEE: I am not sure that I am referring to into Botswana, is the one of that date. There were more than one of that sir, I am not sure that this is the particular one that was discussed at the State Security Council and which I agreed ...

MR BIZOS: In your application for amnesty, you say that in your capacity as Commissioner and within your authority derived from the Security Council presumably?

MR COETZEE: I have said and I've got the Act here sir, if you are interested, I said that the State Security Council was a Committee or a sub-Committee of the Cabinet and it had to advise, it had to recommend. That was the law, to Cabinet and they had to take the final decision.

MR BIZOS: I don't want to have legal arguments with you General, please turn to page 94 of your application. 11(b), second paragraph. At all relevant times, I was as Officer Commanding the Security Branch, or as Commissioner of Police, was acting within the cause and scope of my employment and my authority as such as set out above, this was usually done either as directed by Minister or the State Security Council.

MR COETZEE: Yes, the circle must be completed.

MR BIZOS: I beg your pardon?

MR COETZEE: The circle of command of responsibility, must be completed.

MR BIZOS: Listen to my question please. Which of the four actions that you have admitted you were party to, were authorised by the Security Council?

MR COETZEE: None was authorised or recommended sir. If you want to be absolutely pure about the language, all was recommended and I have to the TRC, at length set out how the structures where I was concerned in, operated, how my eventual authorisation came through my Minister.

MR BIZOS: You say my authority, this was usually done either as directed by a Minister or the State Security Council. You chose to make a distinction. Please tell me, out of the four, which were authorised by the Minister and which, which we give as an alternative, were authorised by the Security Council?

MR COETZEE: The one was authorised, not authorised, commanded, structured by the Minister, and we know which one that is.

MR BIZOS: Yes, we know which one that is.

MR COETZEE: The other three discussed, to go through the whole application and my evidence, it is very obvious that it was discussed there and then I have in this application of mine sir, set out how it then went further, how it was done.

MR BIZOS: Please you answered the question that I asked you up to now, three were authorised by the Security Council?


MR BIZOS: Right, let's take them one by one.

ADV DE JAGER: No, he said three were discussed by the Security Council.

MR BIZOS: Well, did they discuss it as an academic exercise, or did they discuss it for the purposes of giving authority to the Security Forces to execute it?

MR COETZEE: No sir, it was meant to advise Cabinet.

MR BIZOS: To execute it?

MR COETZEE: Yes, to recommend to them.

MR BIZOS: Yes, never mind the steps. They recommended that these raids should take place?

MR COETZEE: That is right, but the final authorisation could only come through your Minister, from Cabinet.

MR BIZOS: Right. Now can we just call it recommendations, the words don't matter.

Which meeting of the Security Council at which you were present, was the Mozambique raid authorised, recommended?

MR COETZEE: No, I don't know sir. Unless I've got the minutes before me, all the minutes, I won't be able to. I know from my personal recollection that it was discussed there and recommended.

MR BIZOS: I see, right. Who was present, which members, the Security Council wasn't such a large body, who was present at the Security Council meeting which authorised the Matolo raid?

MR COETZEE: No, sir, there were people not present at particular meetings, but I can tell you who constituted the State Security Council.

MR BIZOS: You know General, for a person with a Masters Degree and your experience in the court room, I would suggest that you are deliberately attempting to evade answering the question.

I didn't ask you who the members were, I didn't ask you who was absent from time to time. I asked you who was present when the Matolo recommendation was made, please answer the question.

MR COETZEE: I cannot remember.

MR BIZOS: Please try and remember some. You were there, who was sitting next to you on either side when this momentous occasion took place.

ADV DE JAGER: In all fairness, Mr Bizos, can you remember who was sitting next to you 18 years ago in a Bar Council meeting or even in a court room where you appeared?

MR BIZOS: If I had ordered the murder of people, I would have, Mr Chairman.

ADV DE JAGER: He didn't order the murder.

MR BIZOS: If I took part in the recommendation ...

ADV DE JAGER: There was no evidence that he ordered the murder.

MR BIZOS: If I took part in a recommendation that people should be murdered Mr Chairman, I would have remembered who was present at this weighty decision, this recommendation that would be made.

He was only party to four in his whole lifetime, three of them at the Security Council. I would submit with the greatest respect to the Member of the Committee and the witness, that a failure to answer the question, is a deliberate evasion.

CHAIRPERSON: He has answered the question, he has said I don't remember. That is not a failure Mr Bizos. You may argue that he should remember.

MR BIZOS: Yes. Well, let me try and refresh your memory. Was the meeting held on a Saturday afternoon?

MR COETZEE: No, I've got no recollection sir on what date it was held. I know it was usually held every fortnight.

MR BIZOS: Was the final decision to execute the Matolo raid on a Saturday afternoon?

MR COETZEE: I don't know sir, because the authorisation from the Cabinet would not have come to me, because I was no longer involved.

MR BIZOS: All right. Now this was going to be an act with important diplomatic repercussions?

MR COETZEE: Yes, I would say so that there would have been diplomatic repercussions.

MR BIZOS: Would the presence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs have been absolutely essential for an input as to what the diplomatic fallout would be of taking such an act?

MR COETZEE: I don't know whether that would be essential for him to be at the State Security Council meeting. Perhaps it is necessary for him to be present at Cabinet, when the recommendation is finally put to the Cabinet.

MR BIZOS: At the meeting at which you were when this recommendation was made, was Mr Pik Botha there or not?

MR COETZEE: I don't know, I cannot remember.

MR BIZOS: Which other Ministers were members of the Security Council?

MR COETZEE: As far as I remember, the then either Prime Minister of State President, I don't know when he became Executive State President, but he would have been the Chairman, then a senior Minister which would have been as far as I remember, Mr Schoeman who was the senior Minister.

MR BIZOS: I think that Mr Schoeman, I don't think Mr Schoeman was on the scene at this time, but try again.

MR COETZEE: But Mr Botha perhaps, Mr Fanie Botha perhaps. I think he was before Mr Schoeman, then the Minister of Justice.

MR BIZOS: I am sorry, which Schoeman are you speaking about?

MR COETZEE: Mr Schoeman who was ...

MR BIZOS: Not the old Railways man?

MR COETZEE: Mr Hendrik Schoeman.

MR BIZOS: Oh, Hendrik Schoeman, oh yes, perhaps.

MR COETZEE: He was the senior Minister in Cabinet sir, who had sitting, or had a seat on the State Security Council, the Minister of Justice.

MR BIZOS: Would that be Mr Coetzee at that time?

MR COETZEE: Yes, I think he was Minister of Justice at that time, sir.

MR BIZOS: And your own Minister?

MR COETZEE: Minister of Law and Order would have been there sir. If there was ...

MR BIZOS: That was Mr Le Grange?

MR COETZEE: Yes, usually it was also attended, I don't know in what respect, by Mr Gerrit Viljoen. He was a member of the State Security Council, Mr F.W. de Klerk was on many occasions attending.

MR BIZOS: In what capacity?

MR COETZEE: I don't know sir. And then various officials as far as I remember and at some stages, even Deputy Ministers were called upon by the State President, to come and address the State Security Council.

MR BIZOS: Were you present when the Lesotho raid was recommended?

MR COETZEE: Yes sir.

MR BIZOS: Which Minister was there?

MR COETZEE: Again sir, I cannot remember which of the Ministers that I have mentioned, in particular attended the meeting. I mean one could have asked to be excused and I won't remember that sir. It wasn't my job to keep a list of the people present.

The Secretariat had to do that.

MR BIZOS: Yes. And were you present when the Gaberone raid was recommended?

MR COETZEE: Yes sir. If it is the same one that we are referring to, one of them, I was there.

MR BIZOS: The first one.

MR COETZEE: Where the catalyst was, and I want to try and get the dates right sir. The catalyst for it, or the trigger for it was an attack by the ANC on the house in Cape Town, of a member of the House of Representatives. That was ...

MR BIZOS: Yes, that was - never mind, there was only one before the Security Council?

MR COETZEE: That was the one that I attended.

MR BIZOS: That you attended?


MR BIZOS: And which Ministers were there?

MR COETZEE: Well, the same answer sir, that I cannot say that this one was here and this was one was there or not. What I do remember sir, that in the case of the Botswana deliberations at the State Security Council, Mr Botha was not there, because at the end of this, Mr Pik Botha, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, he was not there, and I remember this sir, because I was instructed afterwards by my Minister, after he had attended Cabinet, to inform Mr Botha who was on a visit somewhere in the Transvaal, personal visit to friends of his.

To inform him that this was envisaged and whether he would have any objection to it. I then directed Gen Van der Merwe, who was Chief of Security, to do it. He reported back to me, I reported back to my Minister.

MR BIZOS: Yes. I am going to suggest to you General, that this amnesia as to who was present at Security Council meetings, is a self induced one, because you are not prepared to name the people who were involved in illegal activities at that time.

MR COETZEE: No, Mr Chairman, I take umbrage to that statement because all that I am trying to do, is only from recollection. No documents before me relating to these incidents, only from recollection, my personal recollection after nearly 20 years, not for instance to implicate people into matters about which they would know nothing about.

I don't know, I cannot remember after this period, who attended particular meetings, and I must add sir, that at that time the State Security Council meeting was not the only type of meeting which I attended. I attended, every day I attended meetings and sometimes thrice a day in different parts of the country.

MR BIZOS: I take it that the others didn't concern killing people?

MR COETZEE: It all concerned the - many of them sir, concerned the onslaught against the country.

MR BIZOS: Let us turn to this, did you or did you not ...

CHAIRPERSON: Are you going onto something different?

MR BIZOS: No, related but not ...

CHAIRPERSON: Perhaps I could clarify one matter for myself, I don't know if I missed it. State Security Council, was the Minister of Defence not a member?

MR COETZEE: Yes, that is quite correct sir, I have omitted to mention that.


MR SIBANYONI: Another issue, General Coetzee, I would like to try to ask you this question. Mr Coetzee, are you with me?

MR COETZEE: Sorry sir.

MR SIBANYONI: I want to ask you in this fashion that normally in a meeting when you are debating an issue like a possible raid into Botswana, you may recall who was there by what inputs that particular person made. Is it completely difficult for you to even recall what so and so said in a particular meeting?

MR COETZEE: Mr Chairman, the procedure or Mr Commissioner, the procedure was that the Secretariat would give before, that is usually the procedure, would give before the meeting a security overview, a security briefing about the security situation, because in fact the duty of the Security Council was to discuss and to advise about security matters.

So coming from its own Secretariat, there was an overview given of the security situation, and that overview could contain many aspects, many pieces of information.

This was then discussed and certain recommendations were then made. So, in many cases, you could have the situation that only the briefing was given and then one Minister would for instance say, I recommend this, and no one else would speak about it.

In another case for instance, the Minister of Foreign Affairs having a particular portfolio, would object to a recommendation, and say no, I do not agree with the situation. I am not referring to specifics, this is your position.

So for me to say now which of the Ministers and which of the officials partook in particular discussions and what their particular points of view were, unless it is a matter like the one into Lesotho where I was given a particular job, it was recommended that I do a particular job, I would not be able to remember that.

MR SIBANYONI: Thank you General.

MR BIZOS: Again on page 94 on your authority, you have told us clearly I think, that you would not have ordered or associated yourself with the London bombing if your Minister did not instruct you to do so?

MR COETZEE: No sir, I didn't say that.

MR BIZOS: Did you yourself have authority to decide to do it, without reference to your Minister?

MR COETZEE: No, not at all. I have had no authority whatsoever to order either within or outside the country, an illegal act, and if the London bomb was illegal by international law, I would have had no authority.

Obviously I haven't got that authority.

MR BIZOS: No, let's deal with the facts and not with the legal argument. Had your Minister not directed you to participate in the London bombing, would you have associated yourself with it or not?

MR COETZEE: No sir, because I wouldn't have known about it. The directive, the impulse came from him.

MR BIZOS: Had ...

MR COETZEE: Sorry Mr Bizos, I did not come to the fore with a suggestion that perhaps we should do this. I think that the first time that it was spoken about, was the one where the then Commissioner was present, he said this is what is felt.

MR BIZOS: Right, let us just get clarity on this answer. Did you feel that you had no authority on your own, as Commissioner of Police, to initiate an attack on the London ANC office?

MR COETZEE: No, I didn't have that authority.

MR BIZOS: You did not have the authority? And therefore, a fortiori, neither would Mr Goosen?

MR COETZEE: That is correct sir.

MR BIZOS: A fortiori, neither would Mr Williamson?

MR COETZEE: No one would have particular authority in law in South Africa sir.

MR BIZOS: No, we are not talking about law. Did anyone, did you have authority to initiate the London bombing, yes or no without the recommendation of your Minister?


MR BIZOS: No? Therefore neither did Mr Goosen, neither did Mr Williamson?

MR COETZEE: That is right sir.

MR BIZOS: That is right. So that we can have two possibilities if you are telling us the truth about how these weighty matters were decided.

In relation to the killing of Ruth First, which according to Mr Williamson was directed by Mr Goosen, you say you knew nothing about it?

MR COETZEE: That is quite correct sir.

MR BIZOS: So that, and Mr Goosen didn't have authority to do it?

MR COETZEE: That is quite correct.

MR BIZOS: But we now know from Mr Williamson that if he is telling the truth, that Mr Goosen told him, Mr Williamson, to go and kill Ruth First?

MR COETZEE: If you say so, I accept it. I don't know what his application is sir.

MR BIZOS: Surely General, you are co-applicants, you are co-applicants General, for amnesty in the same hearing. Surely you took the trouble to say what your brut protégé says about the death of Ruth First, whom you knew?

MR COETZEE: Mr Chairman, what I am saying is that I have not co-ordinated my evidence through my legal advisor, with Mr Williamson and his legal advisor. I haven't discussed it with him, I don't know what his is, except what I have read in the newspapers about it, at the time.

MR BIZOS: You haven't seen Mr Williamson's application?

MR COETZEE: No, I haven't seen it sir.

MR BIZOS: Very well, let me then say to you, and accept from me, that he says that Mr Goosen authorised the killing of Ruth First?

MR COETZEE: Yes. If he says so, that is within his knowledge.

MR BIZOS: Within his knowledge. If he is telling the truth, Mr Goosen did not have the authority to kill Ruth First without authority from above, because he couldn't have had greater authority than you?

MR COETZEE: Well sir, I hadn't that authority, I couldn't give it. No one had authority to do that.

CHAIRPERSON: The question is fairly simple isn't it, that this was a more junior Police officer than yourself, he would not have authority to initiate murders?

MR COETZEE: No, that is quite correct sir, (indistinct), that is the position.

CHAIRPERSON: That is the point Mr Bizos is asking. And we are not only talking about law, we are talking about the position within the South African Police Force at the time.

MR COETZEE: That is correct, and according to the Police Act and Regulations, apart from common law, he had not such authority.

MR BIZOS: I am sorry, Mr Chairman, I didn't hear the last answer.

MR COETZEE: I said he had no such authority under the Police Act sir.

MR BIZOS: He had no such authority? So that there are two possibilities.

Either they acted on a frolic of their own without authority from above, or Mr Williamson is not telling the truth and as Mr Goosen is dead, we can't ask him. Which of the two do you consider more likely?

MR COETZEE: I consider sir, that there maybe a third possibility which is relevant in terms of amnesty. I consider that, I don't say that is legally the position sir.

In the situation which I, imperfectly sir perhaps, tried to sketch, to demonstrate to Court, people and I have said that at the initial hearings and I still maintain that that is the truth, could have been bona fide under the impression that they were authorised to do this.

It would be wrong to legally for me personally, I did not believe that. As a member of the State Security Council, I stated again and again, I was never given instructions to commit an illegal act in South Africa or outside South Africa, except for those which I have mentioned.

But I say that in the climate which developed, in what was basically sir a 30 year war, mindsets were moulded and refined and then it is for every applicant sir, every applicant to put his case to the Amnesty Committee and for them to decide whether he acted in good faith or whether he acted mala fide, it is not for me.

He did not have authority from me, he didn't request authority from me, I could not give it to them, it is as simple as that.

MR BIZOS: Thank you General, let's become a little more specific. Mr Goosen and Mr Williamson, had direct access to you.

MR COETZEE: In which case are you referring to?

MR BIZOS: At the time that you were Commissioner or Head of Security?

MR COETZEE: I think I can fairly say sir, that when I was Head of Security after Mr Williamson's return to South Africa, I perhaps saw him once in three, four, five months.

MR BIZOS: Well, there will be evidence that you had direct access to him, do you deny that?


MR BIZOS: That he had direct access to you?

MR COETZEE: No sir, he could ask to see me, he could make an appointment through my secretary, my Staff Officer to come and discuss matters with me, that is quite correct.

MR BIZOS: And he was in Section C?

MR COETZEE: I don't know the Sections, I don't remember the Sections.

MR BIZOS: You don't remember the Sections? Was Section C the only - D, was it D? D, I beg your pardon, Section D. Was Section D in which Mr Goosen and Mr Williamson were, the only one that had joint Heads alternative Heads so to speak, both with access to you?

MR COETZEE: Alternative Heads sir?

MR BIZOS: Yes, that either Mr Goosen or Mr Williamson managed the affairs of the Section?

MR COETZEE: No, as far as I recollect sir, the position was that Mr Williamson worked under his Section Head, which was Colonel Goosen.

MR BIZOS: I just want this from you, Mr Goosen was a discredited Policeman, wasn't he?

MR COETZEE: I don't know about that sir.

MR BIZOS: Well, didn't he have, wasn't he known as Biko Goosen?

MR COETZEE: Yes, that maybe so sir, but I've got to go sir, by the - first let me say, I have had nothing to do with the Biko situation.

MR BIZOS: That is not quite right that General.

MR COETZEE: No, no, that is quite right sir.

MR BIZOS: Well, I will remind you of things, but please finish.

MR COETZEE: Yes sir, I have given evidence at that inquest sir, we are getting side tracked now, but at that about a telex message which I received as a Staff Officer at Police Headquarters and which I handed to my Commander.

That is the only involvement that I had with the Biko affair. But I have to look sir, I personally, have to look when I was transferred to Police Headquarters, Mr Goosen was already a Staff Officer there. I didn't transfer him to Police Headquarters.

When I was there, he was there serving as a Staff Officer. And I had to look only at the verdict of the inquest.

MR BIZOS: Mr Prins' three minute judgement?

MR COETZEE: He delivered judgement yes.

MR BIZOS: Three minutes, yes, but have you heard more recently that Mr Goosen on the Saturday after Mr Biko's death, collected everybody and instructed them to file false affidavits?

MR VISSER: Mr Chairperson, may I ask how this is relevant to what my learned friend has told us, his questions are going to be, are we going to reopen the Biko case now? Is that the case?

MR BIZOS: No, we will not do that Mr Chairman.

MR VISSER: And not having Brigadier Goosen here, who is deceased, to answer, where is this going Mr Chairman.

MR BIZOS: Well, the next question will make it clear Mr Chairman, if I may. In relation to beyond border assassinations, who was more knowledgeable, the man who had come up from Port Elizabeth and against whom there was an outcry as a result of the Biko happenings or Mr Williamson, who had this vast experience and wallowed in his description as a "super spy"?

MR COETZEE: Mr Chairman, we've got an extravaganza of words here with great respect, and I don't know what to answer, which has got more experience the one coming from Port Elizabeth as an Operational Officer and a Commander there, I think a Divisional Commander and a reputation was developed around him, or Mr - the "super spy", which was also a term coined by newspapers, not by myself sir.

So I mean, for me to comment on that sir, I must ...

MR BIZOS: No, no. The gravamen of the question, the gravamen of the question was, who had greater experience in relation to beyond the border assassinations?

MR COETZEE: I don't think anyone of them whilst I was associated with them, had any, any experience sir, about across border assassinations.

MR BIZOS: Right. Did you have authority to plant a bomb in Lusaka for the purpose of killing Joe Slovo?

MR COETZEE: No sir. No.

MR BIZOS: I understood your evidence yesterday to say that I would have authorised that. Did you say that or did I mishear you?

MR COETZEE: Yes, I said that I would, but I would have gone through the channels, eventually to the State Security Council, recommended it there, and to Cabinet before I would take a decision like that, because it could have diplomatic repercussions and I also mentioned sir, that at that very stage, at that very stage, I was involved in diplomatic overtures to Zambia.

MR BIZOS: Yes, no we know about that General, and I think that you know about that, but let's leave our personal knowledge out of this.

The killing of Mr or Mrs Slovo would have been, particularly Mr, let's deal with Mr Slovo first. Between Mr Slovo and Ruth First, would have been a matter which one would have expected diplomatic fallout if it happened in a neighbouring country or any country other than South Africa?

MR COETZEE: It depends upon which country sir.

MR BIZOS: Well, Zambia for instance.

MR COETZEE: Yes, we had no diplomatic relations with Zambia, but there could have been a protest to us, if it was proved that we were involved.

MR BIZOS: Yes, there is more to life than formal diplomatic representation?

MR COETZEE: Yes, I agree with that sir.

MR BIZOS: And you, yourself, have said that trying to kill Slovo whilst there were undercover attempts at finding common ground, settling our problems, would have been completely counterproductive.

MR COETZEE: Yes, that is so. I would have thought so, sir.

MR BIZOS: And also, killing an academic like Ruth First in Mozambique, wouldn't have enhanced the position of South Africa in the world?

MR COETZEE: Mr Chairman, I can only speculate about some of these matters. I can't give you an answer and say yes, what would have happened. The fact of the matter is sir, that at Police Headquarters there was information collected, collated into files with the sources being informants, surveillance and particularly the interrogation of returned terrorists, and which there was a mountain of information which was then summarised and made available to Section Heads.

Now, in this what I am saying sir, I want to say two things and I don't want to be supercilious about it, as far as - what I am saying as the first aspect sir, is that in this climate that I have tried to describe to this Commission, there must have been more attractive targets somewhere, depending on the available information than others.

Now sir, if I was requested to go to the State Security Council, to authorise on, I would get that information to myself. That is the first aspect sir.

The second aspect, and I do not say this at all to excuse myself, in the case of Mrs Slovo, I personally, would never ever for personal reasons, have acquiesced in her killing.

MR BIZOS: This question of the death of Ruth First, was taken up with you at the Commission, at the joint Commission, was it not?

MR COETZEE: Yes, it was discussed there sir, and I there were tape recordings made of those discussions.

MR BIZOS: And there you said that it was a mistake?

MR COETZEE: Yes, a mistake in the sense that as far as I am concerned ...

MR BIZOS: It should never have happened?

MR COETZEE: It should never have happened.

MR BIZOS: Yes. It should never have happened? Why should it never have happened?

MR COETZEE: I have said sir, also that more than one dimension to it, also because of personal reasons which I do not think, I need to spell out here.

MR BIZOS: Yes, well, that is fair enough. You knew her as an academic, because you, yourself had academic pretensions, or ambitions?

MR COETZEE: I knew her well sir.

MR BIZOS: You knew her well?

MR COETZEE: I knew her well.


MR COETZEE: And I personally, although I am sure at that stage, that she was involved, and I knew my whole life that she was involved in politics, in leftist politics and communist party politics, I know that, I am aware of that, I have been through her and her husband as a Policeman in Johannesburg, Security Branch Policeman in these matters. I still would not have authorised that bombing.

MR BIZOS: Yes. Now, the conclusion that we must draw then, is that in your office there were two junior Policemen to yourself, who behind your back, made elaborate plans to involve other junior members of your Police Force, to obtain explosives, to subvert their postal authorities, to manufacture bombs or a bomb, behind your back?

MR COETZEE: May I, before I answer sir, may I just ask, what year was this, this particular year?

MR BIZOS: 1982.



MR COETZEE: They were on my staff, not in my office sir. It was a big staff, a big personnel.

MR BIZOS: Yes, Compol.

MR COETZEE: Yes, yes sir.

MR BIZOS: We know Compol was big.


MR BIZOS: Or Waghuis?

MR COETZEE: I was in Compol sir, I was the Head of Security at that stage, but they were not in my office, it was a big building, with very many departments under Section Heads, Group Heads and eventually a Second in Command, and then eventually to me sir.

I do not want to mislead the Commission to think that the three of us were sitting in one office, at all.

MR BIZOS: No, I didn't suggest that. Surely, I didn't mean geographically, geographical space sir, General.


MR BIZOS: Now, both Goosen and Williamson were answerable to you?

MR COETZEE: As far as their actions were concerned?


MR COETZEE: Yes sir.

MR BIZOS: And you yesterday told us that Min Le Grange would not endanger his future, his political future by not getting authority from above. Why did these two Officers, Goosen and Williamson, if Williamson is telling the truth and if you are telling the truth, have confidence that their Police careers would not have been in ruins if it was found out by you, that they without authority from you or anyone else, had taken it upon themselves to kill Ruth First?

MR COETZEE: That, the answer there is twofold Mr Chairman. In the first case, as far as Mr Le Grange was concerned, I said that knowing him well, I do not think that he would place his political career in jeopardy by authorising a venture which he had not cleared out with his colleagues or whoever he thought he must clear it out.

As far as the second situation is concerned sir, it was not cleared out with me. He, Mr Williamson or Mr Goosen, must in the circumstances, if they had done that and it came to my knowledge, I would have disciplined them. If it was necessary, I would have charged them.

I have on occasion in very similar circumstances, seen to it that Policemen are charged before Courts and convicted, when the evidence was available. I must add this rider Mr Bizos, their, they may have, I don't say they did, I don't know, my job, my duty here is to describe to the best of my ability which I have tried to do, the circumstances which prevailed at the time.

How they understood it, how they interpreted it, how they analysed it and how they eventually decided to act, was their affair.


MR COETZEE: But legally, I could not authorise them, there was no way that I could do it.

MR BIZOS: General, you say that you knew Mr Le Grange?


MR BIZOS: You were very close to Mr Williamson, you left the business of the Commissioner's office unattended in order to try and rescue him when he was about to be exposed as a spy.

MR COETZEE: Wrong sir.

MR BIZOS: Oh, what is the truth?

MR COETZEE: I was Mr Williamson's Desk Officer when we were both at Johannesburg sir, when I was there.

When I was transferred to Pretoria, long before I became the Commissioner sir, there was a leak in another Security organisation, about the possibility that he could be compromised, he was travelling all over Africa and Europe and I thought it my duty to go and ascertain at first hand what the real situation was and to bring him back to South Africa if it was necessary, which I did.

MR BIZOS: I am going to put to you that you knew what he was busy with at that time, did you not?

MR COETZEE: At that time?


MR COETZEE: Yes, oh yes.

MR BIZOS: Was he in contact with Mr Mac Maharaj?

MR COETZEE: I would suppose so sir, yes.

MR BIZOS: And if the evidence is going to be that obviously with your knowledge, his purpose in all this was to try and get Mr Maharaj into a country such as Seychelles or Swaziland or other countries where you had access, for the purposes of assassinating him, what would you say?

MR COETZEE: I would say nothing like that was ever reported to me in his briefings, which came in writing sir.

If it was reported, if Mr Maharaj came to a country like Swaziland, there would have been a request for authorisation to extradite him.

MR BIZOS: Extradite him?


MR BIZOS: For a political offence?

MR COETZEE: Well sir ...

MR BIZOS: How many did you manage to extradite to South Africa General, it couldn't have been a serious answer.

MR COETZEE: Mr Chairman, up and until the Pillay case, the South African courts held, I think the decision was by Mr Justice Howard in Pietermaritzburg, that they were not concerned with how a person came before the Court.

There were occasions where you could by Police co-operation, government co-operation and I have dealt with cases like that as far as Mr Matanzima is concerned sir, when I was with Foreign Affairs, where the government tried to persuade another government to persuade a person to come to South Africa. There were that type of situations sir.

A whole (indistinct) of incidents sir.

MR BIZOS: Well, you would have done to him what you did to Mr Ebrahim Ebraim, kidnap him?

MR COETZEE: I don't know, when was this sir?

MR BIZOS: For the top Policeman in the country that tracked down the people in the ANC General, you seem to have a poor memory.

MR COETZEE: But that is your opinion sir, you are entitled to it.

MR BIZOS: Yes. Mr Chairman, I don't know whether you consider it an appropriate time to adjourn. Thank you Mr Chairman.

MR VISSER: Perhaps Mr Bizos can just tell us when the Ebraim case was, if his memory is better than that of the General, because we also don't know.

MR BIZOS: It is a reported case Mr Chairman.

MR VISSER: But when, the question is when. When was this?

MR BIZOS: I can't remember.

MR VISSER: Oh, he also doesn't know, thank you sir.

CHAIRPERSON: We will now adjourn till eleven o'clock.



PETRUS JOHANNES COETZEE: (still under oath)

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR BIZOS: (continued) General Coetzee, before the adjournment you told us that you did not authorise the murder of Ruth First and that if you had any knowledge of it being prepared beforehand, you would have stopped it presumably.

MR COETZEE: Yes, that is what I said sir.

MR BIZOS: And that if you found out that any of, any members of the Security Police including Brigadier Schoon and Mr Williamson, you would have dealt with them for committing this unauthorised act?

MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, with respect, Brigadier Schoon's name is totally incorrectly applied here by my learned friend. I don't know whether he has evidence or that he is going to suggest that Brigadier Schoon was involved.

MR BIZOS: No, I am sorry, I beg your pardon, it was a slip of the tongue, Goosen, I beg your pardon.

You would have dealt with Goosen and Williamson?

MR COETZEE: If I had evidence to that effect sir.

MR BIZOS: Yes, or admissions from them to that effect?

MR COETZEE: Evidence, evidence.

MR BIZOS: Admissions would have been evidence?

MR COETZEE: It was confessions yes.

MR BIZOS: Yes. The conclusion that we must come to is that they kept it away from you, their involvement away from you?

MR COETZEE: I became only aware of the deaths by South Africans of both the Schoon's and Mrs Slovo, about ten years after my retirement sir.

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, are you saying you only became aware of their deaths ...

MR COETZEE: By agents of South Africa, Mr Chairman.

MR BIZOS: Yes. Well, when did you hear about Ruth First's death?

MR COETZEE: Soon after it happened, it was in the newspapers, I must have read it there.

MR BIZOS: Didn't you have a meeting every Monday morning?

MR COETZEE: Yes sir, that was quite possibly so.

MR BIZOS: And was not the death of Ruth First reported at that meeting?

MR COETZEE: Yes, that is quite possible that - I don't remember whether I was a Chairman of that meeting, it could have been my second in charge, but I remember that there was a notification or a mention, it was well known, it was in the newspapers that day and it was said that she had died as a result of a bomb explosion.

MR BIZOS: Did you ask any questions about it?


MR BIZOS: Why not?

MR COETZEE: Surely Mr Bizos, whoever did it, would not confide in me. Who would I question there?

MR BIZOS: You were at the time the Head of the Security Police?

MR COETZEE: That is right sir.

MR BIZOS: Ruth First was at least a troublesome member of the liberation movement?

MR COETZEE: The position was also Mr Chairman, that not only the Security Police, but Military Intelligence, National Intelligence, other organisations in the world, Intelligence organisations, personal enemies, etc, etc, could have been involved.

I had no knowledge or intimation at that stage, that one of the people in my department, was involved. I would not say, what could I say, I wonder who did it?

MR BIZOS: Well, did you ask that?

MR COETZEE: I suppose I did, I wonder who did it.

MR BIZOS: Was Mr Williamson there, he says he was?

MR COETZEE: Well sir, I suppose if he was there, he would have, I don't think he would have told the whole gathering, listen it was me, I did it.

Because if that was so, I would immediately have taken steps.

MR BIZOS: Right. Well, didn't your Security Police say who is this efficient person, can't we find out if he or she or they are prepared to kill Ruth First, they may be useful people for us to recruit. I mean, Security Policemen, it must have been a matter of grave importance that they can actually kill Ruth First.

Didn't you ask that?

MR COETZEE: Are you really suggesting sir that I should if someone is assassinated in the world, who is an enemy of South Africa, I or I must send a circular to my members and say, please find out who did it so that we can recruit this person as one of our agents? It didn't work that way sir.

MR BIZOS: I didn't suggest that you should send a circular, you had your top command of the Security Police, in one room.

MR COETZEE: No sir, I didn't do it, because it was unnecessary to do a thing like that.

MR BIZOS: I am going to suggest to you that the reason why you didn't ask any questions, was because you well knew who had done it.

MR COETZEE: Well, I unequivocally stated to this Commission sir, that I did not know, and I have given my reasons.

MR BIZOS: Yes. In relation to internal matters, you also say that you never gave any order.

MR COETZEE: That is correct sir.

MR BIZOS: To anyone to kill anybody, either as Commissioner of Police or as Head of the Security Branch, or as Deputy Head of the Security Branch or as Head of the Security Branch at John Vorster square?

MR COETZEE: That is correct. I never gave an instruction that someone should be assassinated or killed.

MR BIZOS: Yes. Either inside or outside?

MR COETZEE: You referred to inside sir.

MR BIZOS: But I am extending the question, either inside or outside.

MR COETZEE: You are extending?

MR BIZOS: Yes. The question is extended to you deny that you gave an order to anyone to kill any individual inside or outside the country?

MR COETZEE: That is correct sir.

MR BIZOS: Yes. I want to draw your attention to a extract from Mr Eugene de Kock's book about you and your involvement of the killing of individuals, and I want to ask you a few questions about it. There is a copy for you, well firstly for the Committee three copies, the cover page and the relevant pages only Mr Chairman.

MR VISSER: Are we not going to be afforded copies?

MR BIZOS: I beg your pardon? Yes, I am going to give you a copy.


MR BIZOS: I am going to give you a copy, I am sorry that an insufficient number of copies were made, and I was not going to leave you without it, here is mine.

As I have no copy, I will ask you General ...

MR VISSER: I don't want Mr Bizos' copy, I want my own copy Mr Chairman.

MR BIZOS: Yes, it is going to be your copy, it is going to be your copy, but because ...

CHAIRPERSON: Haven't you bought a copy yet?

MR BIZOS: Yes. Perhaps you should read it General, as I haven't got a personal copy that I gave up to you and your Counsel, please read it yourself, the marked page.

MR COETZEE: In May/June 1986 Captain William Timol Coetzee, Captain Anton Pretorius and I, were involved in an operation in Swaziland. Colonel Tiekie de Jager was also involved.

Coetzee and Pretorius said that they had succeeded in infiltrating an ANC cell in Swaziland. The cell was involved in transporting weapons from Mozambique to Swaziland and distributing them in the Republic.

It also gave short courses on how to plant limpet mines. Our specific target was an ANC terrorist, whose MK name was Pansu Smith, who operated from a house near Mbabane. The attack team was made up of members of Vlakplaas. We moved into Swaziland to organise the attack.

Major Chris Deetliefs was present, there could have been one or two members of the Piet Retief Security Branch. It is noteworthy that the South African Police always involved Vlakplaas in its operations, mainly to plan them and carry them out. There is little doubt that the majority of the Security Police thought of Vlakplaas as the strike arm (slaan arm) of the SAP.

We were ordered to carry out this operation by Schoon and Colonel Schalk Visser. We were ordered to wipe out everyone in the house, so that the informer would not be identified later.

We were also ordered to bring back all the documentation that we could find. Both Schoon and Visser waited for us near Oshoek. Three people were killed in the attack. Pansu was shot by me and Anton Pretorius.

I also shot someone when he opened the door and tried to close it again. I used a silenced weapon and was the first person to shoot, killing ... (tape ends) ... Majola. We found a number of bomb-making manuals, ideological material, two or three demolition chargers and limpet mines.

We brought all this equipment back with us when we crossed the border again that night. Schoon and Visser were waiting for us. Members of the Eastern Transvaal and Soweto Security Branches were involved in the attack.

We drove back to Pretoria that night and arrived at Gen Johan Coetzee's house in Brooklyn, Pretoria, early the next morning, about 5:30 am. Coetzee was the Commissioner of Police at that time. All the Officers went into his house to report on what had happened.

Coetzee shook everybody's hand. I remember that he was in his dressing gown. When he got to me, he said that he did not know whether he should touch my hands, since they were covered in blood. Coetzee was given a full report.

He was told who had been shot dead. Schoon, Visser, Deetliefs and De Jager were all present. It was clear that Coetzee was very pleased with the operation.

MR BIZOS: That is the end of the quotation, thank you. May I put it in as an Exhibit Mr Chairman.


MR BIZOS: Do you live in Brooklyn, or did you live in Brooklyn at the time?

MR COETZEE: I did live in Brooklyn, sir.

MR BIZOS: Did Mr De Kock with other Officers ever come to you at 5:30 in the morning for any purpose?

MR COETZEE: I remember sir, that Brigadier Schoon and other members woke me up one morning and Brigadier Schoon made a report to me, and he had documentation. It is the first time that I heard about this operation.

MR BIZOS: You heard about this operation?

MR COETZEE: That is right.

MR BIZOS: And that the people had been killed?

MR COETZEE: He told me that there was a fire-fight. That there was a fight, it was termed a fire-fight.


MR COETZEE: Not a fire, but a fire-fight means that there was a fight with firearms.

MR BIZOS: Oh. So the people really acted in self defence, is that it?

MR COETZEE: No, no, I didn't say that. They didn't report that to me at all.

MR BIZOS: What did they report?

MR COETZEE: They said that there was a fight between a contingent of Policemen, some of them were - my wife was making coffee for them, and some of them waited outside the house. There was a fight, and that they had succeeded in shooting some of the ANC terrorists and that they had seized certain documents, and they showed, Brigadier Schoon showed the documents to me.

MR BIZOS: What do you say to Mr De Kock's version, that this was a deliberate setting out in order to kill people?

MR COETZEE: I was not aware of the operation at all, but sir, to place a proper perspective on this type of situation, I will have to explain our situation vis a vis Swaziland completely, and that will take quite a long time sir, if it is necessary.

MR BIZOS: I am sure that your Counsel will lead you in re-examination if he considers it necessary. In the meantime, I will continue asking ...

MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, to interrupt my learned friend, I won't do that, because this is totally irrelevant to what you are busy with and I must again object.

MR BIZOS: (Indistinct)

MR VISSER: But Mr Chairman, I must again raise an objection, because of the total irrelevance of the line of questioning which my learned friend is directing at this witness.

MR BIZOS: May I proceed Mr Chairman?


MR BIZOS: Thank you. If Mr De Kock's version is correct, as a matter of State policy, the South African Police were prepared to go and to use their aphorism, terrorise the terrorists.

MR VISSER: I am sorry, could my learned friend just refer to this Exhibit E, where State policy is discussed and terrorising terrorists Mr Chairman?

MR BIZOS: I am putting to you, I said Mr Chairman, that if Mr De Kock's evidence is correct, that this was a deliberate mission in order to kill ANC people, then it was in furtherance of State policy in the aphorism used by the Security Police at the time, terrorise the terrorists.

Have you got any difficulty with the question General?

MR COETZEE: I've got no difficulty with the question sir, but I cannot answer it objectively unless I describe what our situation was, vis a vis Swaziland.

MR BIZOS: I am merely asking you, was this a deliberate and planned attack on people in Swaziland or not?

MR COETZEE: I must answer it in the following way Mr Chairman. I did not authorise the incursion into Swaziland.

CHAIRPERSON: You have told us that. The question simply was, when Schoon reported back to you, was it clear that this was a deliberate attack on people in Swaziland?

MR COETZEE: It was not, Schoon did not report ...

CHAIRPERSON: Terrorists in Swaziland?

MR COETZEE: Yes, it wasn't reported by Schoon to me that it was done in Swaziland. It could have been along the borders, it could have been in portions of Swaziland which the government of Swaziland has requested us to police for them, all those matters come into issue here.

CHAIRPERSON: You mean he came and told you at 5:30 in the morning about this fire-fight, the documents that they have recovered, and never told you where it was?

MR COETZEE: They said as far as I recollect Mr Chairman, it was along the border with Swaziland.

MR BIZOS: The last sentence says it was clear that Coetzee was very pleased with the operation. Is that as a statement of fact, correct or incorrect?

MR COETZEE: I would have, I did congratulate them. What they reported to me, what I knew about it, I said it was a job well done.

MR BIZOS: I want to read to you from page 129 of Mr Williamson's evidence at the Armed Forces Hearing, which you may not have a copy and we haven't made copies for the Committee, it is a short extract Mr Chairman. May I read it into the record please.

Major Williamson, the praise came from our superiors and from the politicians.

MR COETZEE: Sorry sir, I missed that, the what came?

MR BIZOS: The praise.

MR COETZEE: Oh, the praise, yes.

MR BIZOS: The praise came from our superiors and the politicians. I think that if I can give an example, that it was 1983, the Pretoria bomb, 1983, certain of these incidents caused huge pressures on the Security Forces, because they were seen to be failures.

It was not the ANC's success if it was our failure. And there was I would say for example, and also attacks like the one on Koeberg and Voortrekker incident, caused great anger, especially right at the top. I am talking now about the Prime Minister, later the President, and it was based on failure.

On page 130, I don't want to pursue this unduly, but when you say praise from your superiors, also from politicians, who exactly do you mean, do you have in mind? Was this just the general feeling that the government of the day was pleased? Yes, and reflected in the media Mr Chairman.

Okay, thank you, the other question on page 10, the second paragraph about that, the liberation movements and their members were never seen as fellow citizens of our society, we regard them as an alien enemy which threatened our society, our job was to eliminate the threat.

Would you agree with what Mr Williamson told the Commission there?

MR COETZEE: The second portion sir, I have included in my own application, so obviously I agreed with that.

MR BIZOS: You agreed with that, yes.

MR COETZEE: The second portion. That was the feeling amongst the Security Branch in particular, and amongst the Security Forces in general.

MR BIZOS: But what about the praise of successes against ANC cadres?

MR COETZEE: Yes sir, I have said at the TRC meeting in my evidence, that praise came not only from the top brass in the Police and or the Army, but also from politicians. I said it was in and our of parliament that this was done.

MR BIZOS: You have told us that you never authorised anything in relation to the death of people, either inside or outside of the country.

I want to ask you this, did you ever suspect as a - perhaps the Afrikaans word "bekwaam", is probably appropriate, as a "bekwaam" senior Officer, did you ever suspect that the deaths of so many ANC people in and outside the country, may be, may have been eliminated by your Police Force?

MR COETZEE: No, I did not suspect that the Police Force was involved sir, but and I have said it also at the TRC meeting sir, I do not want to be like the three monkeys, like some people now, who deny that they should have suspected.

Surely sir, and the situation which obtained then, the period when I was there, I cannot talk about the situation outside that period, the period, the early 1980's when there was in fact a war on, and people got killed in various places in the world, outside of the country and inside the country, surely I thought that someone, someone, somehow was killing people.

MR BIZOS: If you had to draw up a list of suspects, who would be the number one suspect, organisationally?

MR COETZEE: I don't know sir.

MR BIZOS: You are one of the most experienced Policemen the country has ever produced General. Please tell us.

MR COETZEE: Mr Bizos, it could be anyone. It could be an outside agency that was involved in the East/West situation. The East/West, you know there were very many allegations made against for instance sir, I am not making it, against the CIA.

They had, the South African Communist Party was part and parcel of the Cold War situation on the side of Soviet Russia. They may have thought that they were going to do it, I don't know. I didn't investigate that.

What I do know sir, is that other Intelligence agencies, other of other countries, killed and assassinated people in this country, and I couldn't even do anything about that.

MR BIZOS: Well, let us just see by giving you specifics that you asked of the Commission when you gave evidence, how hollow your answer may sound.

Did you ever reflect how many people were assassinated in South Africa or in the neighbouring States between 1980 and 1987? That is from the time that you became Head of the Security Police and you retired as Commissioner of Police. Have you ever bothered to think here I am, the man responsible for the lives of all the people of South Africa, and possibly some people in the neighbouring countries, how many people died, how many people were assassinated?

Did you ever ask yourself that question?

MR COETZEE: No sir, I didn't.

MR BIZOS: Why not?

MR COETZEE: Because it was impossible for me to investigate, statistically who died where and when and under what circumstances.

Whether it had a political motivation, whether it was an enemy of the State, whether it was an ordinary murder, there was never any such investigation conducted by the Police.

MR BIZOS: I am glad that you used the expression "enemy of the State" first, but did you try and ascertain how many people were assassinated during your stewardship as the Top Cop of the country?

MR COETZEE: Just as little as I know how many people were killed at this stage in ordinary murders sir, they must have run into thousands.

MR BIZOS: Yes, you had a very special function in the Security Police from 1980 on, and because of your background, you have been in the Security Police from the 1950's General, you were a hands on Commissioner, in relation to Security matters, were you not?

MR COETZEE: If you say so sir, I am prepared to accept the compliment.

MR BIZOS: Thank you, but it is based on truth.

MR COETZEE: I beg your pardon?

MR BIZOS: It is based on truth, it is not just - you accept that, that you were a hands on Commissioner of Police, you didn't let the new Head of the Security Police in the lurch, you gave him all the assistance you could, because of the importance of Security matters?

MR COETZEE: I could not, he attended conferences with me sir. I didn't give him particular training, he was the chap that became my successor in office at Security, he was for very many years a Security Branch Officer in Natal and I needn't have given him any specific or particular instructions.

MR BIZOS: In 1980 ...


MR BIZOS: Yes, did you hear of the assassination of Patrick Nkosi and Patrick Makau who were killed on the 4th of June when - by a bomb, did you hear about that?

MR COETZEE: No sir. I may have heard then about it, but I cannot at this stage say that I remember that incident.

MR BIZOS: They were ANC cadres. Would the Security Police of which you were Head at the time, want to know who assassinated these enemies of ours in Swaziland?

MR COETZEE: I don't know about that sir, I don't know about the incident at all.

MR BIZOS: Well, was it a matter that went unnoticed in Police, Security Police intelligence and newspapers, in discussions, here were two ANC cadres killed in a neighbouring country? Surely the Security Police here even if it didn't, if you think that they didn't do it, which is now admitted that they did do it, but leave that aside for a moment, you would want to know who is, or who are the persons that got rid for us, these two enemies?


MR BIZOS: Why not?

MR COETZEE: In the first place, I would have had no authority to investigate a matter outside of the country. There was a strict need to know code or principle in the Police, no one reported to me a suspicion of that nature, so I wouldn't know.

I couldn't act on a newspaper report at that stage.

MR BIZOS: You had people cutting newspapers up as part of their job General, we know that, and you know that.


MR BIZOS: And what was the purpose of that, in order to inform you? To inform the Security Police?

MR COETZEE: No sir, the purpose of collecting information from newspapers in the Intelligence world, is so that 90 percent of the information that you need in the Intelligence world, comes from open sources, the newspapers.


MR COETZEE: That shows you tendencies, that shows you development, that shows you the stories of people and persons, and in many times, organisations, their principles and their developments in that respect.

Cuttings are not made specifically for me to say well, this should be investigated in Swaziland.

MR BIZOS: Right. Now you see, here we have one example of cadres being killed and you as Head of the Security Police, don't ask any questions.

Let's go on. In 1981, Mr Joe Kirby, the chief representative of the ANC in Zimbabwe was assassinated, did you know about that?

MR COETZEE: No sir. I know Joe Kirby, but I don't know that he was assassinated.

MR BIZOS: Oh General, please. The chief representative of the ANC in Zimbabwe is assassinated, and the Chief of the Security Police in South Africa knows nothing about it?

MR COETZEE: No sir, there was a war raging in that country at that stage and as far as I was concerned, it could have been the Rhodesian Security Forces or it could have been anyone else.

MR BIZOS: In 1981?

MR COETZEE: I don't know sir.

MR BIZOS: Was there a war in Zimbabwe in 1981 General? Try another story. Was there a war in Zimbabwe in 1981?

MR COETZEE: There was unrest, there was problems in Zimbabwe throughout my career sir. I cannot pinpoint them by dates to say this happened this, and this happened then.

But I am unaware of that.

MR BIZOS: When did you learn that Mr Joe Kirby was assassinated?

MR COETZEE: Well, I have heard it today sir. I may have heard it 20 years ago or 1981, that is 19 years ago sir, I may have heard it then. It may have been reported to me then and I may have thought, I may have thought sir, that an enemy of my enemy is my friend. I may have thought so.

But I had no information, no evidence that Policemen were involved.

MR BIZOS: And as far as you are concerned, the Security Police that you headed, was not sufficiently interested to inform its Head that the ANC representative in Zimbabwe was killed?

MR COETZEE: I don't know, I suppose they did it sir, through ordinary Police channels.

MR BIZOS: You didn't ask who are these allies of ours that killed such an important person so soon after he came out of Robben Island and probably had lots of information from the prisoners there, and he became the Chief of the ANC mission in Zimbabwe, a very important person in a most neighbouring country, unfriendly to the then South African government? No enquiries were made about that assassination?


MR BIZOS: Did the death of Sizwe Kondile come to your notice, an ANC activist captured, detained and now admitted to have been tortured by the Security Police, that he was killed in October and burnt to avoid a second Steve Biko incident in the Eastern Cape?

MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, with all due respect, really you sat in that hearing, what my learned friend puts to the witness, is factually incorrect.

It has never been admitted for example, by anyone, that we know of, and we were in that hearing, that he was tortured, for example. My learned friend puts it as a fact.

My learned friend puts it as a fact that his death was to avoid a Steve Biko incident.

CHAIRPERSON: As I understood him, he said the burning was to avoid, they wanted to destroy the body.

MR VISSER: Those were allegations that were made, they were not admissions that were made Mr Chairman.

MR BIZOS: Did you hear about the circumstances of Mr Sizwe Kondile and that the Security Police now admit that they were responsible for his death and the burning of his body?

MR COETZEE: They didn't admit it then sir, and they didn't report it to me then.

MR BIZOS: Did you as the Chief Law Enforcement Agent in the country, in relation to the security of everyone of us here living in this country, at the time that a person had been captured, detained, I will leave out the word tortured because of the objection, and that he was then, he then disappeared at the time, did that send a message to you that here is yet another example of an ANC person disappearing, who makes our enemies disappear?

MR COETZEE: Not at all Mr Bizos. Where I sat, where I sat at that stage, there was a Desk that dealt with the detention of detainees, why they were detained, they had to motivate it.

There was at that stage a section in the Department of Justice, to which you had to report about these detainees. So what I would have sir, is that the person with that name had been detained and eventually released.

At that stage, there was no report that he had disappeared or that he had been tortured or anything of that nature. At that stage sir.

MR BIZOS: So yet another fraud was committed on you by members of your Force?

MR COETZEE: Yes sir, if they did it, they didn't tell me.

MR BIZOS: Yes. That didn't make you suspicious?

MR COETZEE: But I didn't know.

MR BIZOS: As the number goes on, we are testing your bona fides General. As the number goes on, you can tell us when you became suspicious that there must have been someone that eliminated over 200 of your enemies by persons unknown to the efficient Security Police in South Africa.

Let's carry on. Sizwe Kondile was an ANC activist in 1981. Sorry, we have dealt with that. Peter Dlamini and Vuyani Mavusa, both ANC activists. Did anybody ever report to you anything about them?


MR BIZOS: When did, if at all, did you learn that Dlamini handed himself over to the Security Branch, he was taken to Vlakplaas and both - the other one was captured and brought there as well - that both shot and burnt in October 1981.

Another two important ANC activists that some unknown friend of the Security Police, or possibly the CIA had managed to eliminate? Did anybody tell you about that, or did you hear about it, did you read about it in the newspapers, did that arouse any suspicion in you that the members of your Security Police were defrauding you and keeping vital information from you?

MR COETZEE: No sir, I didn't know about it then, at that stage, so I couldn't have become suspicious.

MR BIZOS: You couldn't? When did you become suspicious, only afterwards, when people spoke about it, when the conspiracy of silence broke after 1990?


MR BIZOS: When did you?

MR COETZEE: No, I - throughout the years it became obvious and I said so, I have said so, that someone, some organisation, now it is a difficult answer to formulate because sir, on the one hand you said I am responsible for that, but I am also responsible for 20 million people in this country on a criminal level sir. I don't know, I personally don't know about everyone that is murdered, about everyone that is assassinated, about everyone that committed suicide or anything of that nature.

But as allegations continued, obviously I must have thought someone, some organisation was responsible and even at this stage, I do not think that the South African Police or members of the South African Police, only them, were responsible for some of these things that had happened.

MR BIZOS: Well, let's go on to the next one.

CHAIRPERSON: Before we do, I understood that you were being asked now about the period when you were the Head of the Security Police?

MR COETZEE: That is right sir.

CHAIRPERSON: Not responsible for the whole public of South Africa, but of the Security Police, of the enemies to the State?

MR COETZEE: That is correct sir.

CHAIRPERSON: Who were primarily the ANC at the time?

MR COETZEE: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: So wouldn't it be reported to you when any ANC activist, any known activist was detained?

MR COETZEE: Yes. Any detention sir, had to be recorded Mr Chairman. There was full instructions by the then Commissioner about how he should be treated, they were inspected.

CHAIRPERSON: I am not talking about treatment, I am talking about you as the person in charge of the Security Police, being interested in finding what information these people had.

MR COETZEE: Oh yes, sir, oh yes.

CHAIRPERSON: That is what you would want to know surely?

MR COETZEE: I would want to know sir, what statements, the statements came to Police Headquarters, the information and I said it before, was then collected, collated and used, but about the person personally, it was dealt with by a Desk and they were responsible to a great extent to the Department of Justice, about the motivation for detention ...

CHAIRPERSON: When they started disappearing after interrogation by the Security Police, surely you made enquiries? You have been told by Mr Bizos, that he is asking about that sort of incident.

MR COETZEE: I only know as far as my information, my recollection goes sir, I only know of one incident where it was reported to me that after detention, the person had disappeared and there were allegations by the family, that the person had been murdered.

That was in the case of Mr Mthimkhulu and I then had the case investigated sir, and sworn statements taken from various people about this matter, and handed it to the Minister, who dealt with it, dealt with it in Parliament.

So when I became aware of incidents of that nature, where it was reported to me, I did the investigation.

MR BIZOS: Just by the way, in relation to your investigations, there will be evidence that the Security Police, or the deaths suspected to be at the hands of the Security Police, were often investigated by specially appointed sweepers, who were appointed by the Commissioner in consultation with the Detective Branch, in order to bury evidence, rather than bring out the truth, did you know anything about that?

MR COETZEE: That is completely false sir.

MR BIZOS: Well, there will be direct evidence about the sweepers, some of whom, during your reign General.

Let's go with the next matter. Did you know Mr Griffiths Mxenge?

MR COETZEE: Griffiths Mxenge?


MR COETZEE: Yes, I know about that incident.

MR BIZOS: Yes. Now he was an enemy of the State, wasn't he in your eyes?

MR COETZEE: In a certain sense, yes.


MR COETZEE: He was formerly on Robben Island, he was convicted ...

MR BIZOS: Yes, he came out and you didn't know him as a sort of person that would give up the struggle?

MR COETZEE: I didn't know him, he was down in Durban sir, I know him on record.

MR BIZOS: Yes, but as Chief of the Security Police, did you get information that he continued with his ANC activities?

MR COETZEE: I would have gotten information of that nature.

MR BIZOS: Yes, and then you see that he is killed.

MR COETZEE: Yes, sir, I saw that he was killed and it was reported to me that it was as a result, probably as a result of the disappearance of Trust money out of his Trust Account. That was reported by an Accountant sir, by an Accountant appointed by the then Department, I do not know what government department, but who had to oversee Attorneys other than whites, who were employed in so-called white areas.

He, that Accountant, reported that and when the death occurred, the CID there, of course it was constructed like an ordinary robbery or a murder or something like that, reported that perhaps the allegations of that nature, in that situation was the cause of the assassination.

MR BIZOS: Who is the person who defamed the late Mr Griffiths Mxenge in this manner?

MR COETZEE: That would be on file, it was on file in the Police Headquarters.

MR BIZOS: The Security Police were masters at "dekstories", weren't they?

MR COETZEE: "Dekstories", cover stories?

MR BIZOS: I beg your pardon?

MR COETZEE: Cover stories?

MR BIZOS: Cover stories, yes. Yes, like that Mr Slovo killed Ruth First?

MR COETZEE: I don't, I can't comment on that sir.

MR BIZOS: Well, you will have to when we present you with some evidence General, but let's leave it over for the moment.

Were the Security Police masters as creating defamatory cover stories about their victims?

MR COETZEE: I am unaware of what that means sir, if it means Stratcom, that in the Stratcom situation information was placed at the disposal of newspapers and so on and so on, which in ordinary circumstances would be slander.

MR BIZOS: Would be?

MR COETZEE: Slander, libel.

MR BIZOS: Yes. Defamatory?

MR COETZEE: Defamatory, yes, we did it about the leaders of Mozambique when it was a country led by Marxist communists?

MR BIZOS: Yes, you would put out lies as the causes of death?

MR COETZEE: (Indistinct) yes, I would say sir.

MR BIZOS: Well, what is the difference between giving a false, making up a story like Mr Slovo killed his wife, which the Security Police were responsible for and an outright lie?

MR COETZEE: I am not aware of that sir, you are asking me another question about the former question.

MR BIZOS: I think you know what I mean General. What is the difference between (indistinct) and a lie, when you say that Mr Slovo killed his wife, Ruth First?

MR COETZEE: I didn't say that sir. I said it was investigated.

MR BIZOS: Yes, we will come to it. We will come as to what you know about that "dekstorie". Now, let's take the next matter also in 1981.

On the 18th of December, when most people were busy with their Christmas shopping, a bomb exploded above the conference room of Zanu Headquarters in Harare where Prime Minister Robert Mugabe and his Cabinet were due to meet. Seven innocent civilians were killed and 125 people were injured.

The Director of Closed Security at Zimbabwe Centre Intelligence Organisation, Jeffrey Price fled to South Africa after the bomb blast and joined the Security Branch. It was later established that he had set up a South African spy that was allegedly responsible for the killing.

The only question of fact that I want to ask you about, did Mr Jeffrey Price flee Zimbabwe and was he recruited into the South African Security Police?

MR COETZEE: Not to my knowledge at all sir, it is the first time that I heard about this particular ...

MR BIZOS: You may not have known about it, very well.


MR BIZOS: Would a blow against Mr Mugabe in 1901, be something praiseworthy for the Security Police in South Africa?

MR COETZEE: That was during the Anglo Boer war, 1901 sir. I suppose you are referring to 1981.

MR BIZOS: Forgive me, yes. Take the obvious as correct, neither you nor I were there during that war.

MR COETZEE: Sir, I was personally involved sir at that stage, in trying to make peace with that particular country, and I am unaware of the fact that Mr Mugabe was a particular target of South Africa.

He may have been of the Rhodesian authorities, they were not yet independent at that stage, but not ...

MR BIZOS: Can I just check something please. When did Zimbabwe become independent General?

MR COETZEE: I believe someone said 1980 or 1982 sir. No one seems to know that.

MR BIZOS: It was 1981, so the Rhodesians were on their way out, they came to South Africa and joined the Security Police?

MR COETZEE: I know of only one ex-member of the Rhodesian Security Police, no two, who joined the South African Police. One was subsequently employed in the Commercial Branch and one was subsequently posted by me as a Liaison Officer to the Swaziland Police.

MR BIZOS: Yes, let's go on.

MR COETZEE: And I don't know Mr Price.

MR BIZOS: Let's go on. Petrus Nzema and Jabu Nzema, the ANC representative in Swaziland when their motor car was blown up by three askaris. Did it come to your knowledge that the Swaziland ANC representative was blown up?

MR COETZEE: It must have come to my knowledge sir. What year was that, I beg your pardon?

MR BIZOS: 1982.

MR COETZEE: 1982? Yes, it must have come to my notice.

MR BIZOS: Yes. Well, who did you think the fairy godmother that got rid of yet another ANC chief representative in a neighbouring country, was responsible?

MR COETZEE: It could have been someone in Swaziland sir, we had very good relations with them, they could have thought, it is a possibility. I am just venturing into indulgence now, but it could have been Military Intelligence, it could have been National Intelligence.

There were fights between opposition people in South Africa and the Swazi authorities, the Swazi government by itself, they had an opposition party here, a very active opposition party.

MR BIZOS: Did it occur to you ...

MR COETZEE: In this whole potpourri of occurrences and people and organisations interlocking and so on, it could have been one of many instances.

MR BIZOS: Including the Security Police?

MR COETZEE: Including the Security Police.

MR BIZOS: And whose motive was the strongest to get rid of chief ANC representatives?

MR COETZEE: It could have been the Security Police, it could have been.

MR BIZOS: It could have been? The same year, Mr Z. Mbale, ANC representative in Lesotho went missing on the 27th of June. He was shortly thereafter found decapitated. Who would, if you were to be the efficient Detective that you are, who would have been responsible, or the likely killers of the chief representatives of the ANC in neighbouring countries?

MR COETZEE: In what year was that sir?

MR BIZOS: 1982.

MR COETZEE: It could have been anyone sir. At some stage in Lesotho there was rivalry within the ANC, the so-called Africanists, there was the PAC, they were fighting amongst one another. It could have been done by them.

It is impossible for me at this stage sir, to say well, I think now, thinking back with hindsight, it could have been Policemen, it could have been anyone at that stage. I didn't order it, that is all that I can give a guarantee.

I was not involved in any conspiracy to do it, or I didn't ...

MR BIZOS: We are not dealing with that aspect of the matter. You in your application, you told us about the wrongdoing of the ANC terrorists?


MR BIZOS: You filled Robben Island as a result of your efficiency and other jails in the country. What we are examining is how come that you were so inefficient for you to detect murderers surrounding you, that is what we are busy with, and whether you can be believed in saying that you didn't know it.

That is what we are dealing with.

MR COETZEE: No sir, what I said naturally to place these two matters in - to (indistinct) that position, that we were primarily employed to safeguard the security of the State, that was our primary job.

That is what we had to do, that is what we spent our energies on. My duty was not, my duty was not to investigate especially outside the country, especially outside the country, the deaths of people who were part of this conspiracy against us. It was not my particular job.

I, surely I took notice of it, surely in some instances I took cognisance of it, but in any event, I couldn't do anything about it. Even if I wanted to.

MR BIZOS: You fail ...

MR COETZEE: I was never approached officially, I was never approached officially by the authorities of that country, who must have had, must have done their own investigations, to investigate these matters.

MR BIZOS: We will show that you were equally unsuccessful in relation to detecting the murderers of the ANC people internally General, but let's proceed.

In the same year, 1982, Ruth First was killed with a letter bomb on the 17th of August and we know about that.

Now, let's go on to 1983. You are still Commissioner? What month were you Commissioner?

MR COETZEE: I think the end of June or the beginning of June, I became the Acting Commissioner?

MR BIZOS: Acting Commissioner? Right. But, nevertheless, Security was still a matter of your concern, as indeed ...

MR COETZEE: A matter of my concern, but no longer could it be uppermost in my mind.

MR BIZOS: Yes, Keith McFaden and Zwelaki Nyanda, shortly after you seized being Head of the Security Police, on the 22nd of November, were attacked in an ANC house and killed?

MR COETZEE: Where was that sir?

MR BIZOS: In Swaziland, 22nd of November.

MR COETZEE: Yes, I was then Commissioner.


MR COETZEE: I doubt whether it would have been reported to me at all as Commissioner.

MR BIZOS: And then the first act in 1984 ...

MR DU PLESSIS: Excuse me Mr Bizos, sorry, Mr Chairman, may I just for purposes of clarity here, ask Mr Bizos if he has any information if Keith McFaden was a member of the ANC?

MR BIZOS: No, I said ANC members, shot dead in an attack on an ANC house.

MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, as I understood it, you said Nyanda and McFaden were members of the ANC?

MR BIZOS: No, in an ANC house. I have no specific information, my note is in an ANC house.

MR DU PLESSIS: All right, thank you.

ADV DE JAGER: It has been dealt with in the ANC's submission where they give names of people and they - in this submission it is stated comrade McFaden.

MR DU PLESSIS: McFaden's name is mentioned there, I know that Mr Chairman, I just wanted to make sure if there were any other information.

MR BIZOS: I don't know Mr Chairman. I really don't.

ADV DE JAGER: I am telling you ...

MR BIZOS: I am indebted for the information, but for the purposes of my questioning, for the purposes of my question I will put it on either basis, but you say you knew nothing about it?

MR COETZEE: That is correct sir.

MR BIZOS: In 1984 Jeanette and Katryn Schoon in Angola?

MR COETZEE: I was Commissioner sir, I know nothing about it.

MR BIZOS: Well, we will put specific information to you that you did know something about it, in due course, but for this purpose, for this purpose ...

MR COETZEE: You can place it before me sir.

MR BIZOS: Yes, we will place that information and what you had to say then as part of a cover story General, we will leave it over for the time being.

Now, Bongani Khumalo, Secretary of the Soweto branch of the Congress of South African Students who was shot dead outside his home.

MR COETZEE: No, I don't know about it.

MR BIZOS: You don't know about that? Alex Pilani, in 1985, an East Rand member of Cosas who was abducted and beaten to death in April?

MR COETZEE: I don't know anything about it.

MR BIZOS: You don't know anything about it? Vernon Nkadimyn killed in a car bomb explosion in Botswana?


MR BIZOS: Another SADF raid in Botswana, not the previous one on the 14th of June 1985, where 12 people were killed in Gaberone by commando's, South African commando's.

MR COETZEE: If it was the one discussed at the State Security Council, I would know about it sir, otherwise I wouldn't know.

MR BIZOS: Well, you only heard about one?

MR COETZEE: I was only involved in the discussion at the State Security Council, about one sir.

MR BIZOS: Yes. In 1985 whilst you were Commissioner, Matthew Goniwe, Sparrow Mkhonto, Ford Calata and Sicela Mhlawuli? You know about that?

MR COETZEE: I know about that sir, and in regard to that I want to say because there was a public outcry which manifested also in the press. I instructed Gen Van der Merwe, who was in charge of Security at that stage, to go to Port Elizabeth and to make sure that none of his people were involved.

MR BIZOS: None of his people were involved?

MR COETZEE: Yes. That was 1986, is that right?

MR BIZOS: 1985.


MR BIZOS: Yes, well you were Commissioner, they were your people as well?

MR COETZEE: Yes, but they were under his particular. This is the Cradock 4, but one of those cases, I instructed him particularly because I was worried, and I said this is in South Africa, he must make sure that this is not in any way a Police operation, or Police act or Police crime.

MR BIZOS: And you were reassured that it was not?

MR COETZEE: He came back sir, and he will vouch for it, he came back and he said he had spoken to the CID there, they are investigating it properly, and that he had been given assurances by them there that they were in no way involved.

MR BIZOS: Right. Now you see General, this is a case you were actually dealing with it at the time, and you signed a memorandum about the Cradock 4, three or four days before their death, do you remember that?

MR COETZEE: I signed a memorandum sir, I think applying for either their detention or their banning in terms of the Security Legislation.

MR BIZOS: Yes, but let me remind you about some other facts. You were Commissioner of Police?

MR COETZEE: That is right.

MR BIZOS: On the 6th of June 1985 ...

MR COETZEE: 6th of June 1985?

MR BIZOS: You were Commissioner?

MR COETZEE: That is right.

MR BIZOS: There was a meeting presided by Deputy Minister Vlok, are you prepared to accept that?

MR COETZEE: Yes, if you say so, I am prepared to accept that.

MR BIZOS: The Police, both the Security Police and the Commissioner's office, was represented at that meeting because it was a joint, what were they called at the time, joint operations, they had a long name, Management Committee.

MR COETZEE: Where was it?

MR BIZOS: In Pretoria.

MR COETZEE: In Pretoria?

MR BIZOS: Yes, I think so if I remember correctly, but we will get the minutes. I just want to put to you how blind this Police were in relation to the murders committed by their own, by putting these facts before you which were known to you.

The Security Police was represented, the Commissioner's office was represented, at which Mr Vlok appointed a Committee to investigate the fate of Mr Goniwe and Ford Calata, do you remember that?

MR COETZEE: No, I didn't attend personally that meeting.

MR BIZOS: I know, but the persons, the Commissioner's office was represented at these meetings, particularly an important one that was presided over by the Deputy Minister of Police? Correct?

MR COETZEE: I didn't attend that meeting sir, so the position was it must have been attended by a senior officer from the Commissioner's office.

MR BIZOS: From your office, yes. And he must have reported to you that the situation in the Eastern Cape is very serious and that Minister De Beer, recommended that in order to bring peace to the Eastern Cape, Goniwe who had been kicked out of his job as teacher at the school in Cradock, should be put back in order to bring peace. Was that reported to you?

MR COETZEE: No, what was reported to me sir, was that there would have been a meeting in Cradock itself, at which the Minister, Min Le Grange and various other Ministers, including the then Deputy Minister of Health, which was Dr Morrison, and other office bearers, the so-called Management Committee, would meet and they would discuss all the issues as far as the activities of the so-called Cradock 6, or Cradock 5 or the Pebco 4, sorry, it is a long time ago.

MR BIZOS: No, it wasn't the Cradock 4, I am sorry if I misled you by my finger, it became known later as the Cradock 4. The main person was Mr Goniwe and the secondary person, Mr Calata.

MR COETZEE: Yes, it was reported to me and I attended that particular meeting sir.

MR BIZOS: Which meeting?

MR COETZEE: The meeting in Cradock.


MR COETZEE: I attended that meeting.

MR BIZOS: On what date?

MR COETZEE: Well, I will tell you what date it was, because on that date Mr Barend du Plessis, whilst we were attending that meeting, was appointed the Minister of Finance of South Africa.

That I remember and I remember that from there, I took him to Bloemfontein airport.

MR BIZOS: Good, we will check that.

MR COETZEE: At that meeting sir, at that meeting, there was serious concern expressed by the politicians and the office bearers there about the security situation in the Eastern Cape.

It was decided that a banning order, a banning order would be served on Mr Goniwe. That was one of the decisions taken there, and in that regard, I submitted a memorandum recommending that to Min Le Grange.

MR BIZOS: Oh, but so if the undisputed evidence supported by documents, is that there as to be a sub-Committee of the State Security Council's Secretariat in order to investigate what should happen to Mr Goniwe, you say that it was decided in another forum?

MR COETZEE: It must have been decided then after his death. This was, the meeting that I attended sir, was before he was killed or assassinated or whatever happened.

MR BIZOS: Now, let me just ...

MR COETZEE: That is what I recommended to my Minister.

MR BIZOS: Yes, I will tell you what you recommended to your Minister, I will tell you. You are partly correct what you recommended to the Minister, but let's skip the other facts.

The meeting was on the 6th.

MR COETZEE: In Cradock?

MR BIZOS: No, the meeting presided over by Mr Vlok was on the 6th, wherever it may have been. As far as can be remembered, in Pretoria.

On the 7th, the signal recommending the elimination, the permanent removal from society of the two Goniwe brothers and Mr Calata is recommended to Gen Van Rensburg, the Secretary of the Secretariat of the Security Council.

Now, what I want to ask you is this, the resolution passed at which Mr Vlok was present, was to decide the lot of - what is a good translation - the fate, the fate of Mr Goniwe. The next morning, a Brigadier from Port Elizabeth sends a signal to a General, who is the Secretary of the Security Council Secretariat, requesting a death warrant.

MR VISSER: Can we just make that clear, whether that was a Policeman or somebody else Mr Chairman?

MR BIZOS: No, it was a Brigadier in the Army. No, we are going to, we will give you the full picture, we will give you the full picture, because we want to show what sort of co-operation there was between your Police Force and the Army at the time.

We know that you signed a memorandum about three or four days before Mr Goniwe's death on the 27th of June.


MR BIZOS: Which you sent to your Minister in no great hurry because he got it sometime in July and he wrote on it, "oorlede", and signed it. We also know from the amnesty applications that at the same time, three weeks before the death, if the applicants are to be believed, they got instructions from Major Snyman in the Security Police, Colonel Snyman in the Security Police and to prepare for the elimination of Goniwe "en sy trawante", his hangers on.

Remember the dates, three weeks before their deaths, a signal on the 7th. As an Investigating Officer, if you were to investigate this matter, would you consider that a mere coincidence? Recommendation by Vlok on the 6th, signal for a death warrant on the 7th, direction to Van Zyl and others three weeks before the death, they couldn't remember the precise date, kill Goniwe "en sy trawante". Would that be coincidental or would you agree that there was close co-operation between the Army and the Police in relation to the elimination of activists?

MR COETZEE: Mr Chairman, it was with great respect towards Mr Bizos and I respect him very much, he is a very proficient cross-examiner sir, it is a long, long statement rather about which I will have to analyse it portion by portion to comment objectively on it.

But in a nutshell sir, the co-operation between the Police and the South African Defence Force was created by the Security Management System which developed throughout South Africa.

I have, just to answer that one question sir, I have given evidence about that, and I have placed before the TRC, my views about that co-operation. It had positive aspects, but it also had very negative aspects. I do not want to embroider on that, but one of the negative aspects was that your line function command became in jeopardy.

I wasn't the only person of that opinion, Mr Chairman, so was very many others, Directors General of Departments, and we submitted in that regard, a petition to the State Security Council and said this Management System has got this particular negative aspect that we were no longer solely in control of our Departments. That is the one aspect sir.

The second aspect that you must bear in mind before you seek a conspiracy sir, is that as far as my recommendation is concerned, I would be completely unbalanced that from my information, what the Security Police tells me, their recommendation, didn't come from me personally, it came from them. From them there, that same Colonel Snyman and he says this man must be banned.

MR BIZOS: You are quite wrong General, you had a document that was sent to you dated the 23rd of May from Snyman saying "nooit ooit moet hy aangestel word", that is what your man in Port Elizabeth said. That is what your man in Port Elizabeth said. "Nooit ooit".

MR COETZEE: Sir, you must look at my recommendation. I said this man should go back to his job, but he should be confined in the evenings, to his home, so that he could not participate in politics. That was my recommendation as far as I recollect.

MR BIZOS: Yes. What I am going to put to you General is this, firstly let me ask where there Policemen working on the Secretariat of the Security Council in 1985?

MR COETZEE: Whether Policemen working on the ...

MR BIZOS: Seconded to the Secretariat of the Security Council?


MR BIZOS: Yes. How many?

MR COETZEE: And the moment sir, that you are seconded, you are under control of that Department. They are no longer responsible to me sir.

MR BIZOS: No, no, how many Police Officers?

MR COETZEE: It may have been two or three sir.

MR BIZOS: Two or three? And was there a Colonel MacDonald?

MR COETZEE: Yes, there was a Colonel MacDonald.

MR BIZOS: Was he seconded or was he there as your representative?

MR COETZEE: I don't, I can't remember sir, I think he was seconded as far as I remember, I can't remember that. But that was not sir, with respect, if I may explain sir, the position was throughout the country, throughout the country there were, what was termed in the old Rhodesia JOC's and in these structures, which was the logistical support systems of the Security Management System, Policemen with representatives of other government departments and the South African Army sometimes even the Navy and the Air Force, they sat together and they discussed the problems in their areas and probable or possible solutions and that went up, directly into, that was fed directly into the Security Management System, and eventually to the Secretariat.

This was the complaint that I had.

MR BIZOS: What would have persuaded Brigadier Van der Westhuizen that sent the request for the death warrant to the Secretariat, that the Policemen at the Secretariat would keep quiet about it?

MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, Visser on record, I am not, I am just going to do this one more time.

But really Mr Chairman, I am just astounded at the leeway which this Committee is giving Mr Bizos comparing similar situations which we found ourselves, where we cross-examined. If one looks at the questions which are being asked here and you ask yourself a simple question, what has that got to do with the London bomb? With all due respect ...

CHAIRPERSON: You must remember Mr Bizos isn't interested in the London bombing, as I understand it.

MR VISSER: I would have hated to see what would have happened if he had been interested Mr Chairman.

MR BIZOS: Mr Chairman, may I proceed?

CHAIRPERSON: We have spent rather a long time on this haven't we Mr Bizos?

MR BIZOS: No, on the Goniwe matter because of the specialised knowledge Mr Chairman, but I am rounding the Goniwe matter off because the question was, with what confidence would Brigadier Van der Westhuizen that made the request for the death warrant, to persuade him that the Policemen on the Security Council Secretariat, would keep quiet that there was a request for a death warrant?

MR COETZEE: I have got no idea sir, I suggest we ask Colonel MacDonald why he kept quiet, if he had kept quiet.

MR BIZOS: If he did yes, or the others that were there? Or the other Policemen that were there?

MR COETZEE: I don't know whether he was seconded to a position on the structures of the Secretariat, where he knew about it, I don't know that.

MR BIZOS: Mr Stemmet?

MR COETZEE: There was a Policeman by that name yes.

MR BIZOS: Stemmet?


MR BIZOS: Who was seconded to the Security Council Secretariat?

MR COETZEE: Yes, that is right sir.

MR BIZOS: According to Gen Van Rensburg in one of his versions, he gave that warrant for the request for a death warrant, to Mr Stemmet?

MR COETZEE: Sir, the moment that you are seconded away from your Department to another Department, you become responsible to that Department, that component that you are working with.

So it wouldn't have been his job to come back to me particularly and to inform me about this.

MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, just to indicate the confusion which is caused. Stemmet wasn't a Policeman even. I wonder whether Mr Bizos knows that. Because certainly, my witness now believes that he might have been, and in fact he wasn't, he was from National Intelligence.

MR BIZOS: Well, then I made the same mistake as the witness, but did you expect National Intelligence people to report crimes to you, General?

MR COETZEE: Sir, I expect them to do their job, which was to inform eventually the State Security Council, to brief them about the security position in the country.

In the process many of them could have felt their duty to do this or that or report this or that ...

MR BIZOS: But you never suspected anything?

MR COETZEE: But their first loyalty was to the structure, the component to which they were seconded.

MR BIZOS: Yes. May we then in relation to the Goniwe matter, cover story was put out that Azapo killed them?

MR COETZEE: No, I don't know about that.

MR BIZOS: You don't know? And that your top Investigator, who is later said to have been a sweeper, Suiker Britz, made a very good job in persuading the - or putting a lot of evidence before the Magistrate that Azapo was the likely killer of Goniwe and his Lieutenants?

MR COETZEE: In the first place sir, I must say that as far as I am concerned, and my knowledge of I think who is now a General in the Police, Suiker Britz, was a very proficient and a very efficient Investigator and I think to my mind sir, derogatory to refer to him as a type of sweeper.

In any event sir, I am unaware - I never gave him any instructions to go and do a cover up job. If that is what is meant by a sweeper, at all.

MR BIZOS: Also a senior Officer, Krappies Engelbrecht, went and removed the evidence from the Public Prosecutor's office that parking tickets of Police vehicles, the Police vehicle that was burnt out, purporting to be Goniwe's, and they were removed and disappeared after Krappies Engelbrecht went there.

What confidence ...

MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, with respect, I was involved in that application as my learned friend was. The evidence was not that it was a Police vehicle that was burnt out, the evidence was that it was Mr Goniwe's vehicle that was burnt out.

MR BIZOS: Mr learned friend is quite right, with the number plates of the vehicle that the Security Police had got many tickets of, which would have connected them with the murders and which Mr Engelbrecht, Krappies Engelbrecht went and removed. What confidence did a senior Police Officer have to do that, that he would not be found out and nothing would happen about it?

MR COETZEE: Sir, I am unaware of this, that this was led in evidence, during my term of office.

MR BIZOS: Yes, well the death was in 1985?

MR COETZEE: The death - the inquest and the investigation was after my retirement.

MR BIZOS: I think the first one was during your time, 1987? It could have been 1988. The Goniwe yes, there were three inquests and that is perhaps the reason why.

MR COETZEE: Yes, as far as I am concerned sir, I know nothing of these investigations and matters that you are speaking of.

MR BIZOS: Right. Victoria Mxenge, an Attorney, the wife of Griffiths Mxenge in 1985, during your Commissionership, was shot dead. I beg your pardon, she was stabbed to death outside her home after she made a fiery speech at the Goniwe funeral.

MR COETZEE: I don't know about that.

MR BIZOS: You don't know about that?

MR COETZEE: I know nothing about that.

MR BIZOS: Batandwa Ndondo an ANC activist, student leader, shot dead on the 24th of September by two South African and two Transkei Security Policemen.

MR COETZEE: When was that sir?

MR BIZOS: 1985. It never came to your notice?

MR COETZEE: No, I don't know about it.

MR BIZOS: In 1986, a hand grenade was thrown into the home of Ester Masuku. Do you know anything about that?

MR COETZEE: No, not at all sir, I don't know who did that or...

MR BIZOS: Sophisticated bombs, not petrol bombs thrown into the (indistinct) home of Joyce Modimoeng, who was fighting against the forced removal. Do you know anything about that?

MR COETZEE: When was that sir?

MR BIZOS: 1986. If we change years, I will tell you.

MR COETZEE: No. I beg your pardon?

MR BIZOS: When we change a year, we will tell you.

MR COETZEE: All right, thank you. I don't know anything about it.

MR BIZOS: You don't? Were there any attacks in the Palana suburb in Mozambique during 1986 by South African agents?

MR COETZEE: No, I am unaware. I am aware only of that one strike sir.

MR BIZOS: We know about Pansu Smith in 1986, Sipho Dlamini and Vusi Majola on the 2nd of June 1986. That was reported to you, to your house, that is your house, we have dealt with that.


MR BIZOS: Yes. Stanley Mhlapo who in 1986 was kidnapped by the Kwaggafontein by the Security Force members and his body was found in June in the Bronkhorstspruit mortuary. Do you know anything about that?

MR COETZEE: No, this is the first time I have heard about that, it is the first time I hear about this.

MR BIZOS: Matsela Polokela was killed when agents went into Botswana in 1986. Do you know anything about that?

MR COETZEE: 1996 sir?

MR BIZOS: 1986, I beg your pardon?

MR COETZEE: Agents of what organisation?

MR BIZOS: Well, South African agents? Joseph Motopeng, abducted on the 19th of June and murdered on the same day?

MR COETZEE: Where is this, in South Africa sir?



MR BIZOS: You know nothing about that? Mtutu Khanile, Joseph Mtembu, Sandile Kwalula and Russel Mtupulu. They were killed by Mr De Kock, was that brought to your notice?

MR COETZEE: No. Mr De Kock never worked under my command sir.

MR BIZOS: Yes, but he will say what he knew about it, and what you said and things, so we will come to it.

MR COETZEE: That is in order sir.

MR BIZOS: Yes. Sidney Msibi was gunned down after his release from detention?

MR COETZEE: From detention?



MR BIZOS: Sidney Msibi.

MR COETZEE: Where was this sir?

MR BIZOS: In Port Elizabeth, no, I am sorry, I haven't got the place. We could find out, but it doesn't mean anything to you?

MR COETZEE: No, the name doesn't ring a bell sir.

MR BIZOS: Incidentally, all these we suggest, were ANC activists. We are not giving you names of people who were unconnected with the ANC, so just take that as a given in relation to each name.

MR COETZEE: You are giving me the information a bit late sir, thank you.

MR VISSER: Is Mr Bizos acting for the ANC here, may I just ask him Mr Chairman?

MR BIZOS: Mr Chairman, that is a completely uncalled for remark. I announced who I am appearing for, I have explained the purpose of my cross-examination and I will repeat it for my learned friend's benefit, in order to show that this witness cannot be believed when he says that he had no knowledge of the assassination of hundreds of ANC activists, and did not suspect it.

I think that it is quite uncalled for, for my learned friend to make a remark of that nature.

MR VISSER: Well, I don't withdraw it.

MR BIZOS: I didn't expect him to. Where was I? Sidney Msibi, oh, I've done that yes. Sonwabo Ngala, found stabbed and shot near Port Elizabeth, do you know anything about that?

MR COETZEE: No sir, sorry.

MR BIZOS: Vusile Lupuwane, burnt to death in August? Do you know anything about that?

MR COETZEE: Where is that?

MR BIZOS: I am sorry, I haven't got a place.

MR COETZEE: No, I don't know anything. The name is unknown to me sir.

MR BIZOS: Walter Lewaba, died on the 19th of September when an explosion dropped through his home in Atteridgeville in Pretoria?


MR BIZOS: Don't know anything about that? Fabian Ribeiro and Florence Ribeiro?

MR COETZEE: I know something about that sir.

MR BIZOS: They were gunned down in their home in Mamelodi on the 1st of December 1986, during your period?

MR COETZEE: That is right sir, I was Commissioner then.

MR BIZOS: You were Commissioner at the time. Did you suspect that any Police Officers or other agency which co-operated closely with the Police, were responsible for their death?

MR COETZEE: Sir, right from the commencement of the death of Dr Ribeiro, there were articles appearing in the press where the relatives of the deceased, I don't know whether his wife was also killed, but whether she was included in the assassination, but alleged that Military Intelligence was responsible for this operation.

I spoke to the Chief of the CID at that stage and it was properly investigated, as far as I am concerned, and the investigation, I must say sir, that the initial investigation was hampered by the fact that although these allegations were made, none of the eyewitnesses were prepared to make statements to the Police.

I eventually had to issue a statement that unless in terms of Section 205 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, unless they speak, this will be applied to them, so that we can get to the bottom of this, did they make certain statements.

As a result of that, it was properly investigated sir, as far as I am concerned, and the dossier was handed to the Attorney General and he decided that the preparatory examination be held into this death, where everyone including the lawyers and the legal advisors of all parties, could examine that, and as far as my knowledge of the law goes sir, a preparatory examination is meant to get to the bottom of a matter. That is my involvement in that case sir.

MR BIZOS: They were in fact killed by a Police Officer?

MR COETZEE: It would appear so sir, but those self same, or one of them ...

MR BIZOS: Or people in the Security Forces in co-operation with Policemen?

MR DU PLESSIS: Yes Mr Chairman, I have to come in here ...

MR BIZOS: Yes, I think that my learned friend appeared for Mr Cronje ...

MR DU PLESSIS: And Hechter, who were not involved in the killing, but they testified who were involved in the killing, so if you put the question as Security Force members, you are right.

MR BIZOS: Yes. So again, justice was cheated, they were not discovered?

MR COETZEE: I did what I thought was the only way to get to the bottom. I did not, I was not in a position at all to control a preparatory examination before an independent Magistrate and the different legal advisors and Advocates, I wasn't. I let the law go its course, irrespective of the outcome.

MR BIZOS: Well, the law went its course in many cases, where people were Security Force people, were exonerated, because they and their superiors were prepared to commit perjury, when now, when the chickens came home to roost, they admit that they did it.

The question that I am putting to you General is, how was it that the Security Police and the Detective Branch was so inefficient that in hundreds of assassinations of ANC activists, there was such a poor record of ascertaining the truth?

MR COETZEE: Mr Bizos, with respect sir, you have mentioned that during my term of office, hundreds of people had been killed by the Security Forces?


MR COETZEE: You are not referring in riots and ...

MR BIZOS: No, no.

MR COETZEE: Sir, you have read about 10 or 20 now.

MR BIZOS: No, I have read many more, and I will ...

MR COETZEE: In South Africa?

MR BIZOS: And I will tell you this, let me tell you the number as summarised, together with the raids that during between 1980 and 1987, 48 people were killed in South Africa and 113 inside South Africa according to the list given by Mr Pauw who has made a thorough investigation. If you add to those - my learned friends are amused Mr Chairman, if you add to those, what we asked the Commission to give us and they are busy on their computers working it out, the number of people that have been admittedly killed by the Security Forces, you will find that the hundreds is not an exaggeration General.

MR COETZEE: Because you have mentioned now in South Africa 48 during my ...

MR BIZOS: No, those in Mr Pauw's book, because we have asked and we have tried for the purposes of completeness, to count the number of victims in respect of which Security Policemen or others in the Security Forces, have applied for amnesty for, in order to give an adequate figure.

I am telling you that having regard to the information that is presently available, and having regard to the number of people that have applied for amnesty for eliminating ANC activists, your Police Force, which you Headed for seven years of this period, either in the Security Police or as Commissioner, hundreds of people were killed, and you failed to identify anyone responsible for their deaths.

CHAIRPERSON: What was the number 48 that you gave us Mr Bizos?

MR BIZOS: This were inside the country before the amnesty application process really started Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: So you had a number of 48?


CHAIRPERSON: For a seven year period?

MR BIZOS: Yes, and 113 externally.


MR BIZOS: Externally.

CHAIRPERSON: Explosions?

MR BIZOS: Externally, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Externally, outside?

MR BIZOS: Outside the country, yes. But Mr Chairman, I am hoping that by the, the Commission Mr Chairman, the person that really runs this computer was apparently on vacation, but we submit that it is a relevant figure for this purpose, and we will place it before the Committee in due course Mr Chairman.

MR COETZEE: Sir, you have asked me a question about this.

MR BIZOS: Yes, how come that you had such a poor record?

MR COETZEE: Sir, I think we must place this in violent South Africa, into proper perspective. This is about - the 48, how many people would over a long weekend be killed in Soweto.

I would also be responsible for investigating that sir.

MR BIZOS: Yes, we are not talking about the

MR COETZEE: Ordinary crime, sir?

MR BIZOS: No, no, what we are talking about is, we are talking about the victims that your Security Forces now admit that they made it their business, to kill. We are talking about the dozens of people who have come forward and admitted that they killed ANC activists, and other liberation movement activists, deliberately as part of State policy. That is what we are talking about.

The question is General, how is it that you had such a poor record in detecting the real perpetrators of these murders?

MR COETZEE: I can only compare it again sir, with ordinary crime statistics, which in South Africa you saw, serious crime I think between two and three, out of ten, and that is a reasonably good track record for a Police Force.

But apart form that, apart from that, I see you are now speaking about dozens. What I want to say to you sir, when this process commenced, the Generals of the South African Police, including myself, after discussions with Deputy Presidents and with the President, and after we had been assured that it is an equitable, even handed process, we took the initiative, we took the initiative to tell Policemen at conferences and other places, listen, if you have committed anything which you deem to be a gross human rights violation, now is the time, as the President said to me, to clean the slate.

I took the initiative, sir, I was one of those that took the initiative.

MR BIZOS: The question was, can you explain that poor record? You have given an answer, do you want to add anything else?

MR COETZEE: No sir, thank you Mr Chairman.

MR BIZOS: You don't have to, you don't want to, very well. Now, let us just see. We want to go over to the Jeanette Schoon situation.

When did you first hear about Jeanette and Katryn Schoon's death?

MR COETZEE: When were they killed sir?

MR BIZOS: In 1984.

MR COETZEE: So I was Commissioner, I would not have had information except when there was eventually a report by the Security Branch to me, or a reporter would have phoned me or something of that nature.

MR BIZOS: When did you say you found out?

MR COETZEE: I suppose sir, it was reported in the press shortly after the occurrence.

MR BIZOS: And other than the press report, did you have any other knowledge?

MR COETZEE: Yes, I suppose that the Security Branch would in the normal communicae which they are sending, briefing which they are sending to the Commissioner, so and so has been killed, was killed or was ...

MR BIZOS: Did you have any information as to who might be responsible for it?

MR COETZEE: No, not at all.

MR BIZOS: Did you try to find out?

MR COETZEE: No, I cannot remember whether I did ask the Security Branch Commander at that stage specifically, have you got any knowledge about it.

MR BIZOS: But if he told you anything, you don't remember?

MR COETZEE: No, if he had told me, I won't remember now.

MR BIZOS: And you didn't do anything about it?

MR COETZEE: Well sir, it was somewhere in Botswana.

MR BIZOS: But you didn't do anything locally in order to set the record straight for the South African public?

MR COETZEE: Sir, what could I do sir? A man or a person is killed in Botswana.

MR BIZOS: It was actually Angola.

MR COETZEE: Angola sir.

MR BIZOS: Any way, you have told us you didn't have any specific information about it.

MR COETZEE: I say I don't know whether I, but I didn't have information that South African agents or a South African agent had been involved. I didn't have that information at all.

MR BIZOS: Yes. And you didn't have any information as to who might be involved?

MR COETZEE: No, not at all sir.

MR BIZOS: Not at all? Now, in the Rapport newspaper of the 1st of July 1984 - a strong possibility exists that the letter bomb murder of the South African exile, Jeanette Schoon, aged 35 and her daughter Katryn, six, in Angola is connected to a power struggle in the inner-circles of the African National Congress, ANC. This was heard by reports yesterday on good authority.

MR COETZEE: I could have said it, I could have said it. That could have been a report to me, by the Security. I could have told a journalist that.

I believe now it was in Angola. Angola sir, what place in Angola?

MR BIZOS: Lubombo.

MR COETZEE: Lubombo?

MR BIZOS: Yes. Lubanglo.

MR COETZEE: Lubanglo sir, that was where a war was then fought at that stage sir.

MR BIZOS: Between whom and whom?

MR COETZEE: Between the forces of Mr Savimbi and the forces of the MPLA. The ANC cadres there were involved in this fighting sir, and there were some of them very much dissatisfied with their position in Angola ...

MR BIZOS: Is this where Mr and Mrs Schoon and their children were?

MR COETZEE: Well sir, I say what was happening in Angola, I didn't geographically know exactly where this place was, but I know what was happening more or less in Angola.

MR BIZOS: Do you recall speaking to any reporters about this incident?

MR COETZEE: No, I won't recall that sir. They could have phoned me.

MR BIZOS: You see, I am going to suggest to you that you took the initiative in spreading a false story about the death of Jeanette Schoon and their child. Would there be any truth in that?

MR COETZEE: No, not at all.

MR BIZOS: Two days after it happened, two Rapport reporters found themselves in your office, can you remember that?

MR COETZEE: No, I can't, but who are they?

MR BIZOS: Mr Johan Botha and Mr Jacques Pauw.

MR COETZEE: No, I can't remember that, but I take it that it is true, because reporters from time to time visited me. They came to speak to me about matters. It was discussions, it wasn't a press communicae.

MR BIZOS: You see I am going to put to you that as a matter of course, the Police put out false stories as to who was responsible, they called them "dekstories" and usually it was worked out before they actually killed the people.

Did you know anything about that?

MR COETZEE: No, it this respect sir?


MR COETZEE: I don't know anything about it. I haven't, the procedure is Mr Chairman, if there is a press release by the Commissioner, it is in writing and it goes to SAPA, that was the - no, if reporters approached me, asked for an interview, it was obviously just a discussion.

A discussion in which I speculated who could have, and they participated. They know the situation as well as I do, I could have speculated. Perhaps it is so and so.

I didn't issue, if I wanted to build up a cover story sir, I would have issued a press release in that respect.

MR BIZOS: Mr Pauw says Coetzee told me that the Security Police had information that Jeanette and Katryn had been killed by the ANC as a result of an internal struggle within the organisation. Is that true or false?

MR COETZEE: Sir, let me say this. Mr Jacques Pauw has said many things about me, without - all lies, many lies, without ever approaching me personally and asking for verification or otherwise.

I am not very impressed with that particular journalist and I want to say it openly sir. Secondly sir, what - if I had wanted a cover story, I would have issued a communicae. That could have been attached to me personally. This was obviously a discussion about possibilities.

It is true sir, that the Security Chief in 1985, must have been either Gen Schutte or Gen Van der Merwe, could have said to me, you know there is such a possibility. It is all that it entails.

MR BIZOS: That would have been if there was the, let's deal with it piece by piece, Coetzee told me that the Security Police had information that Jeanette and Katryn had been killed by the ANC as a result of an internal struggle within the organisation. Had information, the Security Police had information. Did you say that or not?

MR COETZEE: I could possibly have said that sir, on the strength of the information which the Security Police has furnished me about defectors from the ANC in that vicinity, about the presence there of Cuban forces and their activities, and the ANC vis a vis the Cuban forces, and the Quattro camp and all those matters.

MR BIZOS: The question is, is the recorded sentence on page 194 of Mr Pauw's book, correct or not?

MR COETZEE: I don't know sir, but I say I have personally as a result of my personal experience, very little faith in what Mr Pauw says about me, so ...

MR BIZOS: No please, you are not called upon to make broadsides against people who are in a profession General. You are asked a simple question and I think that you have already conceded that you may have said that the Security Police had information that they were killed by the ANC?

MR COETZEE: Yes, I said so sir.

MR BIZOS: Thank you.

MR COETZEE: That could have been said.

MR BIZOS: Then the broadside was completely unnecessary?

MR COETZEE: No sir, I said that I must put my, I don't by yes or no want to take up time, but I don't want a yes or no to convey to this Commission a falsehood.

MR BIZOS: Can you recall whether they came to you by chance or whether you called Mr Johan Botha in?

MR COETZEE: I don't recall that at all sir. I don't know the gentleman personally. I wouldn't have called him as a friend, so he would have, I would have - the ordinary procedures would have developed.

MR BIZOS: Was it, once you were Commissioner and you said this, apparently agreed that you said it, why couldn't it be, why would you have asked them not to be quoted and why would they have to say that is what Rapport heard yesterday on good authority?

MR COETZEE: That I was not sure about it, and I said this is a possibility. I mean why would I comment in the newspapers. This is a common thing that you tell newspapers, please don't quote me, I am not sure. These are what is being investigated, these are some of the allegations. That doesn't mean anything. It means that there is a whole range of allegations, now they take one of those, and it places, takes it out of its proper perspective and you say, because of that, it seems to me you imply that I was busy with a cover story, which wasn't so at all.

MR BIZOS: Well, we know that it was false in fact?

MR COETZEE: We know now sir.


MR COETZEE: I didn't know then.

MR BIZOS: Yes. Well, we also know that a false story was put out that Mr Slovo had killed his wife. When was that false story circulated General?

MR COETZEE: I don't know sir, but I was Commissioner.

MR BIZOS: I am sorry for the interruption, please carry on.

MR COETZEE: When I was Commissioner and serving on this Commission between South Africa and Mozambique as co-Chairman, a journalist in Cape Town, phoned me and told me that his information from Mozambique was that I have not in the formal Commission, not in the formal Commission, but whilst we were at a tea table enjoying our tea break, made such a comment.

I afterwards went to that Commission sir, and if the minutes are available with Foreign Affairs, it will be there, I said that such a story circulating, I am not the origin of that. I denied it to that particular journalist who phoned me. I think he was from an overseas publication and I said that I have got no comments on that, I've got no information of that nature.

MR BIZOS: You see, in the Star of the 14th of July 1984, two weeks after the false story about who was responsible for the Schoon deaths, we read in the Star that Mr Slovo was responsible.

MR COETZEE: With respect sir, do they say I said so?

MR BIZOS: No, we are trying to find out, and I think that the path may be pointing in your way General, but let's just do this.

Do you say that the fact that this false story was written by a journalist, two weeks after the Schoon death, when two years had elapsed between the death of Ruth First and this false story?

MR COETZEE: I am sorry sir, I missed the question. You have made a statement.

MR BIZOS: Yes, is it a coincidence that whoever placed the false story about Jeanette Schoon, also placed the false story about Ruth First?

CHAIRPERSON: How can you say that Mr Bizos? You say is it a coincidence that the person who placed the false story about the Schoon, placed the false story about Mrs First? There is no evidence to that? How can you say it is the same person who placed the false story?

MR BIZOS: No, I asked whether it is a coincidence ...

CHAIRPERSON: That the same person did it, that is what you are asking.

MR BIZOS: That the same person did it.

CHAIRPERSON: Is there anything at all to suggest that it was the same person?

MR BIZOS: There is something to suggest it Mr Chairman, that there is no false story put out for two years, but when the second woman is, when the second woman and the child are killed in the same manner as Ruth First was killed, a false story now appears.

CHAIRPERSON: Is that the first time that the false story appeared?

MR BIZOS: Yes Mr Chairman. So that what we are saying Mr Chairman is that whoever was providing the press with false information in relation to Jeanette Schoon, found it convenient in order to create a falsehood in the mind of the people of South Africa and elsewhere, because of the similarity in which they were killed, to make yet another false story in relation to Ruth First.

That is what I am putting to you.

MR COETZEE: Mr Bizos, with great respect sir, and to the Commission, there is a big flaw in your argument, and this relates to the fact that I haven't said that I have put out a wrong story. I knew at that stage that the story that I was discussing or the possibilities that I was discussing with journalists, was wrong.

I discussed this with the knowledge at my disposal, that it was correct. So I couldn't at that stage, have intended to mislead the press and then be the same person that does that two years hence about another matter.

MR BIZOS: No, no, two weeks sir.

MR COETZEE: Oh sorry.

MR BIZOS: About an event two years earlier.

MR COETZEE: Two years earlier?


MR COETZEE: So as far as I am concerned, the information that I had about Mrs Schoon was the information, if I did say that, that was a conversation long ago sir. Long ago, but if there was such a conversation and I did make that remark, amongst other possibilities and probabilities of who could have done this, then I was genuinely under the impression then, that I am speaking the truth to those journalists. I wasn't busy with a cover story.

MR BIZOS: Well, let me then put it one level below you General. That is you were misled when you were told that the death of Jeanette Schoon and their daughter, was by ANC dissidents. You accept now that you were misled?

MR COETZEE: I accept that Major Williamson at that stage, never spoke to me about it. I was Commissioner at that stage and the only person that could have spoken to me about it, was Gen Van der Merwe.

MR BIZOS: Well, whether it was Mr Williamson or anyone else, you accept now of necessity that we have heard your protégé admit to the killing, that you were misled?

MR COETZEE: If I had said sir as a statement of fact, that the position of Mrs Schoon was that she was killed as a result of rivalry in the ANC, if I had said that as a statement of fact, which I didn't ...

MR BIZOS: Yes, no, you said that you had information to that effect.

MR COETZEE: Yes, and I could have, at this stage, all that I can say is that the Security Officer in charge, I could have asked him at a conference, we had regular conferences which inter alia was attended by the Chief Chaplain of the Police, and I could have said have you got any information General, about this occurrence, and he could have given an explanation.

That could have been the day before, it could, I am indulging in possibilities sir.


MR COETZEE: And I could then have said to this journalist quite honestly the Security Police thinks this is the situation.

MR BIZOS: This is the information that the Security Police ...

MR COETZEE: This is that information.

MR BIZOS: Their information?


MR BIZOS: So that the information given to you about the Schoon deaths, was misleading to you?

MR COETZEE: The information - whoever did it, gave to their particular Head, was misleading.

MR BIZOS: Misleading? So the Security Police, members of the Security Police that had knowledge of the killing, misled you?

MR COETZEE: Misled their Chief, who in turn gave me what he thought was a correct version and I acted on that.

MR BIZOS: Let us accept for a moment unwittingly misled through the press the public in South Africa?

MR COETZEE: I didn't mislead them, I said this is a possibility sir, a possibility.

MR BIZOS: Yes. Now would it be the same person who two weeks later in order to explain the apparent coincidence of women being killed by postal bombs, have been the same person that started the false information in relation to Ruth First?

MR COETZEE: Mr Chairman, in the realm of possibilities, anything is possible.

CHAIRPERSON: I take it you will be some time Mr Bizos?

MR BIZOS: Yes, we do have a considerable amount of information to put to the witness more.

CHAIRPERSON: Gentlemen, do you think you can be here by quarter to two?

MR BIZOS: Mr Chairman, we will try, but we will have to go without refreshments then, because the only place here, is there, and perhaps Counsel should be given priority. We will try and arrange something about that.

CHAIRPERSON: Two o'clock.

MR BIZOS: Thank you Mr Chairperson.



PETRUS JOHANNES COETZEE: (still under oath)

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR BIZOS: (continued) Thank you Mr Chairperson. Gen Coetzee, you have applied for amnesty in relation to the London bombing.

MR COETZEE: Yes sir.

MR BIZOS: But you have not applied for amnesty for the other three extraterritorial events that you participated in?

MR COETZEE: Yes, generally speaking that is correct sir.

MR BIZOS: What is the reason of applying for the one, and not caring to apply in relation to the others?

MR COETZEE: The reason is Mr Bizos, that as far as the London bomb to use your term, is concerned, that was as far as I understand it, I understand it, not a conspiracy between for instance myself and the other members on the State Security Council, it was obeying an order, an instruction, a command of my Minister, which I knew, I knew could not be lawful. I knew it.

I would have in that sense, have to apply in South Africa, for that action of mine of conveying that command to my subordinates. The case of the State Security Council for instance, the case of Matolo, I doubt whether I even spoke a word during that State Security Council meeting, and apart from that, that is the structure that State Security Council meeting and advising the Cabinet, that is the structure as far as I am concerned, that should be followed, that should be followed if extraterritorial actions are planned or executed.

So basically, it is one of legality as far as I interpret it, but I must say that I may be quite wrong.

MR BIZOS: Did you seek legal advice sir, on this or did you make your own decision?

MR COETZEE: I spoke to various people sir.


MR COETZEE: Inter alia I work as a consultant at a firm of Attorneys where there are various Advocates.

ADV DE JAGER: Mr Bizos, with all respect, wouldn't this be Attorney and client, the advice that he received from his Attorneys, wouldn't that be privilege?

MR BIZOS: Generally speaking yes, but he has told us that he has acted on the legal advice and if he discloses that he acted on the legal advice for his actions, then he waives privilege by the ordinary, we want to know ...

CHAIRPERSON: Why do you say that? The man says I am pleading not guilty, I have consulted my Attorney. Do you now say you have waived your privilege for what your Attorney told you?

MR BIZOS: No, no, no. Mr Chairman, with respect, that is the parallel.

CHAIRPERSON: That is the same thing, he is acting on legal advice.

MR BIZOS: The parallel Mr Chairman, between the person pleading not guilty and acting on legal advice, is different to a situation that where he says I did this because I believe that it was lawful, I did this because I believed that it was lawful and I therefore did it even though you say that it is unlawful, in that instance, you are entitled to say well, what facts did you give your lawyer and what opinion did you give, in order to test the reasonableness or otherwise of the advice that was given, and whether it should or should not be accepted.

But I don't want to pursue the matter and become involved in lengthy arguments, there is enough material. Because you see your concurrence on the Security Council, that it should be recommended that these raids should take place, evidence is your agreement that these events should take place in which people were killed, is it not?

MR COETZEE: Yes sir.

MR BIZOS: Yes. And why did you think that the mere fact that you carried out Mr Le Grange's order in the one instance, and that you yourself made a party to the recommendation that there should be these events, made a difference?

MR COETZEE: I have tried to explain it sir. The one was a command to me personally, which I conveyed to another Officer and to other Officers, knowing full well, I knew full well that he could not give me such a command.

MR BIZOS: Nor could the Security Council give, make a decision to recommend that people should be attacked in their homes by South African Security Forces, whilst they were sleeping in Botswana?

MR COETZEE: That is where the difference of opinion about the legality of the issue is concerned sir, which I have discussed with Advocates. I have discussed it, when we spoke to the President of this country, his Minister of Justice was there, we sought his advice. I have discussed it sir, with the Chairman of the TRC and with the vice-Chairman. I sought advice wherever I could about this matter.

For me now, under those circumstances, to say Mr Chairman, that I have now studied international law, starting with (indistinct) and the development of international law about this, and whether I was entitled and who could order pre-emptive strikes and cross-border operations, I think with great respect sir, I cannot get myself involved in that, because I don't know.

MR BIZOS: You are right about (indistinct), it is a pity that whoever gave you that advice, didn't read him properly, but anyway, let's proceed.

MR VISSER: Well, Mr Chairman, I didn't even want to say something, but it seems to me I must now say something.

Is my learned friend really putting to this witness authoritatively that it is international law that hot pursuit operations are illegal and attack on enemy installations across border, that those are illegal?

I just want to make sure what we are busy with. Is that what my learned friend is putting to the witness?

MR BIZOS: I thought I made it clear what facts I was relying on. In Botswana, people in the middle of the night, in their homes, whilst they were asleep, if that is hot pursuit then somebody including my learned friend, had better read (indistinct), Mr Chairman. May I proceed please?

MR VISSER: I must say Mr Chairman, we will deal with this argument in argument, for what it is worth.

MR BIZOS: Yes. When there was this medal decorating people for the London bombing, you were there General?

MR COETZEE: That is correct sir.

MR BIZOS: And you knew the people that had taken part in the London bombing?

MR COETZEE: I was informed that that was the contingent that had been involved in that bomb explosion.

MR BIZOS: Did anybody make a speech?

MR COETZEE: The Minister of Law and Order made a very short speech.

MR BIZOS: What did he say?

MR COETZEE: He congratulated them.

MR BIZOS: On what?

MR COETZEE: On a job well done.

MR BIZOS: What job?

MR COETZEE: He didn't say, he didn't spell it out, but he said that under the circumstances, they must understand that they are not receiving the ordinary citation which goes with the medal, they must understand that and then as far as I remember, he shook everyone's hand and we had tea. That is as far as I recollect sir.

MR BIZOS: Now, I want you to please remember that there were three other people there, other than those that took part in the London bombing, do you recall that?

MR COETZEE: No, what I have said sir, that as far as my memory goes sir, I thought the Commissioner was present, I thought so.

MR BIZOS: No, no, other recipients of medals.

MR COETZEE: No, I do not recall that.

MR BIZOS: You don't recall and if there is evidence that Colonel Paul Hattingh was there, would you be able to deny it?

MR COETZEE: No, not at all.

MR BIZOS: And if there is evidence that Captain Jan Coetzee was there, would you be able to deny it?

MR COETZEE: No, not at all sir.

MR BIZOS: And if there is evidence that Paul van Dyk was there, would you be able to deny it?

MR COETZEE: No, I won't deny it sir.

MR BIZOS: Now, if that evidence is correct, perhaps you would like to tell us, once you were there, why did they get medals?

MR COETZEE: Surely they must have received citations of some kind sir, they must have been in motivation for that matter.

MR BIZOS: I am asking you that you find yourself in the presence of the Minister of Police, decorating the men that went and bombed the ANC office in London and you concede that there probably were three other people there that received medals.

CHAIRPERSON: Well, he hasn't conceded that. As I understand his evidence, he said he cannot deny that they were there. That is not conceding that they were there.

MR BIZOS: Thank you Mr Chairman. On the assumption that the Committee accepts the evidence that there were these three persons there, should it not have occurred to you what are these people getting medals for?

MR COETZEE: Mr Bizos, I have also with respect towards you sir and to the Commission, explained that in my Police career, I have attended literally hundreds, hundreds of medal parades, in offices, on formal parades, in all kinds of ceremonies, and never did I ask specifically why did you get your medal. I know why I got my medal. That was spelt out on a parade and I got a citation.

But on the parade nothing was said about the citations, afterwards I got a citation. You are getting this medal for this.

MR BIZOS: Who signs the pieces of paper for the citations?

MR COETZEE: As far as I am concerned, for certain types of medals the Minister himself or perhaps even the State President.

MR BIZOS: Not the Commissioner, doesn't the Commissioner counter sign it?

MR COETZEE: There is Mr Bizos, a hierarchy of battles, which starts with what I would personally consider, but it may not be in the order of medal, or heraldry, it may be wrong, a medal about duration of service, which I would consider to be a very low medal, of a lower grade, and that would be signed by for instance, a Deputy Commissioner, and so it develops and it evolves and the Police Act describes that this type of medal will only be bestowed for instance by the State President of the country.

This type of medal can only be bestowed by the Minister, acting on behalf of so and so and so. This is the situation, depending upon what medal they got, it is impossible for me to comment on this.

MR BIZOS: Will you please have a look at the names of the people who were decorated on that day and what the notice purports to say as to who awarded them. May I hand it in as an Exhibit Mr Chairman.


MR BIZOS: Thank you Mr Chairman.

MR COETZEE: Yes sir, I have seen it.

MR BIZOS: Now, could you please tell us what that document is?

MR COETZEE: It is a force order sir, it is an order which is distributed in the Police Force to make certain facts known.

ADV DE JAGER: Could we kindly have copies so that we could follow what is going on.

MR BIZOS: I am sorry, it has just been handed to us by the Leader of the Evidence of the Commission. We will make the necessary copies, but if I may be permitted to ask further questions.

CHAIRPERSON: Can you wait.

ADV DE JAGER: Ms Patel please, if they are going to hand in documents, could we have copies so that we can follow what is going on. It is no use giving it and we haven't got anything in front of us to follow what is going on.

MR BIZOS: Mr Chairman, in fairness to Ms Patel, I don't think with respect, that she could have anticipated that I would have raised the question.

ADV DE JAGER: Mr Bizos please, inform her then so that she could be properly prepared and furnish us with copies.

MR BIZOS: I didn't know about this document Mr Chairman. I put the names on information received by me, from Mr De Kock and it only shows how accurate he is Mr Chairman. If I knew that there was a document, I would have used the document.

I wouldn't have put the information that I had from Mr De Kock.

MR VISSER: Just to avoid any possible confusion, may I ask through the Chair, whether my learned friend Mr Bizos, will just clarify whether he will be relying on Exhibit F to say that those people mentioned, they were all present at the same parade in the same room?

MR BIZOS: No, that is not what I said. I said on the information that I had from Mr De Kock.

MR HUGO: Mr Eugene de Kock?

MR BIZOS: Yes, I don't know that there are more than one in here.

MR VISSER: There are many De Kock's in South Africa sir.

MR BIZOS: I don't know of any other De Kock that was at that parade. Who is that document signed by, may I proceed Mr Chairman?

MR COETZEE: The document bestowing the ...


MR COETZEE: By myself sir.

MR BIZOS: By yourself. Now why did those three get a medal and you signed the document to verify that the medal was bestowed on them?

MR COETZEE: Not the faintest notion sir, because this is handed to me as acting Commissioner, together with literally thousands, literally thousands of Policemen getting medals sir, which I sign.

MR BIZOS: This wasn't an ordinary ceremony, this was a highly secret ceremony in which the Minister himself came to hand them over and to congratulate them.

What were the persons other than those who took part in the London ANC office bombing, being decorated for General?

MR COETZEE: Sir, I suggest with great respect, we ask them. I don't know. They would have been informed.


MR COETZEE: There is no indication here on this paper, why it was bestowed.

MR BIZOS: Yes, well, let me tell you why and you must have known it at the time, otherwise you wouldn't - well, let me ask you a question before that.

You say that people are recommended for medals?


MR BIZOS: Don't you have to check that what there is being claimed, is worthy of the medal which is being awarded?

MR COETZEE: Sir, that is done by the Medal Section at Police Headquarters. They prepare all those matters, they receive all the instructions, they know all the instructions, and they do that.

All that you require is to put your seal of approval on that.

MR BIZOS: And would the information that they had caused a bomb to explode in Swaziland, at or about the same time as the bomb that exploded at a London office of the ANC, would that have been made, the information, been made available to the Medal Committee?

MR COETZEE: The people recommending sir, recommending to the Medal Committee, are Divisional Commissioners, Commanders and so on, and it is the job of the Medal Section to see that what is written to them, what they are informed about, merits this type of medal.

Then it comes to the Commissioner, and I was acting Commissioner at that stage, that it comes to him and he signs it.

MR BIZOS: You are not able to admit or deny that the three persons who were decorated, placed a bomb at or about the time of the London bombing, under a car in which there were activists of the ANC and two of them were killed?

MR COETZEE: I am totally unaware of that sir.

MR BIZOS: Did you ever become ...

ADV DE JAGER: Just explain to me, you said the recommendations go to the Medal Committee?

MR COETZEE: That is right sir.

ADV DE JAGER: Is that the position if a person is recommended by an Officer, say I know he did this, he caught this thief or this murderer or he did this, placed a bomb or whatever it may be, but once it is coming from the Minister, would there also be a motivation to the Medal Committee or would it be accepted as a concluded decision that he had decided to give the medal and there is no memorandum being sent and motivation for giving the medal?

MR COETZEE: No, I haven't come across a case Mr Chairman, as far as my own recollection goes, where there was not a citation.

The citation coming from the Commander of that particular person. Whether it is an explicit detailed citation, is not really necessary. In my own case, I have received a very similar medal and all that it says is for the duties that you did at the Silverton Seige, for your actions there. That is all that it says.

It was recommended by the Officer Commanding the Police in Pretoria, who was there, it was his job, the Divisional Commissioner. He recommended it, it goes to the Medal Section. They've got Officers in charge, they look at it and they decide that this merits this, and that merits that, upon the recommendations made by the various Commanding Officers.

Now obviously sir, there are in Police Force orders and Police orders and regulations, rules laid down under what circumstances and what type of duty that you have done, what type of duty, without specifying particularly, for instance, in the Laingsburg emergency, one would say for your actions during this situation, not spell out you went to the old age home and you did this and did this and you saved lives.

This goes to them. Where it comes to you as Commissioner, there is none of that, this is what you have, this is recommended and this is what the Medal Section says and you sign it. They have checked it, they are the screening system to make sure that the correct medals and decorations are handed to the correct recipients.

ADV DE JAGER: Would they screen an award of the State President for instance, a letter from the State President's office, I am awarding medal to Mr X. Would they ...

MR COETZEE: No, I suppose there would be cases where someone did some meritorious duty on behalf of the State President, and he decides some type of medal and he decides on his own, and you get instructions.

ADV DE JAGER: As I understand it, Mr Le Grange decided to give medals to these people?

MR COETZEE: That is correct yes. I understood it also.

ADV DE JAGER: So would there then be a screening by the Medal Committee?

MR COETZEE: Obviously then, you know, that is an instruction.

MR BIZOS: You know, with respect General, and let me place on record, that what you did in Silverton was something that I have always admired, in fairness to you, it was well known that you put your life on the line in order to save hostages and other people. That was a well known fact.

It was all over the newspapers, photographs of you, what you did there. Obviously any President in any country, wouldn't have required any Medal Committee to decorate you for that purpose.

But here we have a situation where three people were apparently decorated who were not people who had taken part in the London bombing.

We accept, I haven't checked it against what I could, I am informed that they are there, the three names that I put, are there. Is that right, Hattingh, Coetzee and Van Dyk?

MR COETZEE: Yes, I see that their dates differ, the dates of the issuing of the decoration, differs from those other ones.

MR BIZOS: It may be, but I am putting to you that they were at the same ceremony to be congratulated.

MR COETZEE: I have already said I can't remember.

MR BIZOS: Right, assume that that evidence is correct, who and assume that the Swaziland bomb under the car, was not authorised by Mr Le Grange, assume that for a moment, who would have conveyed to Mr Le Grange without your knowledge, why these three gentlemen were being decorated?

MR COETZEE: It could be the Officer Commanding Security at that stage sir. It could be. You say I must suggest, so this is a possibility.

I was at that stage acting Commissioner of the South African Police, it was 1982. At that stage I suppose that the Commissioner was on leave and they have decided that I should be the acting Commissioner for a period.

So I was removed from the office of the Security Branch and for that period of his illness or his incapacity, I am elsewhere. So there is an acting Chief of Security again.

MR BIZOS: No Commission, no Minister of Police would have decorated anyone would he, if he was not told what that person had done in order to deserve the medal?

MR COETZEE: No sir, not at all. In 99 percent sir of the medals bestowed and decorations bestowed on Policemen, I think that the Minister had no notion what they had done and whether it is because of the length of their service, whether it is a particular meritorious deed, whether it is ...

MR BIZOS: No, those are matters which are given as a matter of course. Who would have told if he were told, the Minister the truth or the Head of the Security Police or you, the Commissioner, who would have said these are people who killed two ANC activists with a bomb under the car?

MR COETZEE: No person, it wouldn't be necessary for anyone to inform the Minister particularly that this is the situation. He accepts after it has been through the screen ...

MR BIZOS: All right, in this particular instance, who do you suggest recommended them to be decorated?

MR COETZEE: I don't know who was acting Security Branch Commander at that stage, I can't ...

MR BIZOS: Who succeeded you when you became acting Commissioner?

MR COETZEE: No, no, but there is a difference sir, Mr Chairman. Gen Steenkamp succeeded me, but this seems to be a Force order in 1982, before I was formally transferred, so it must have been during a period of incapacity by the Commissioner and I was during the period that I was in charge of Security also from time to time, seconded, not seconded, that is wrong, transferred to the Office of the Commissioner, to act as acting Commissioner.

This must have been during one of those periods and in which period there would then have been an acting Commander of the Security Police.

MR BIZOS: I am going to suggest to you that the obvious answer is that the persons responsible for suggesting the decoration, must have known what it was for and that the decoration as Mr Williamson said in his evidence, praise was bestowed on those who committed these acts.

MR COETZEE: I cannot, you know, once I have said I don't know, I think it is wrong for me to ...

MR BIZOS: Well, somebody perhaps, somebody can perhaps come along and tell us who misled you, or rather who got you to sign the document without knowing anything about it General.

MR VISSER: Again, I am just confused by the questions. I just want to place on record that Exhibit F was not signed by this witness. I am not sure whether it is suggested or not suggested, but ...

CHAIRPERSON: He said it was.

MR COETZEE: No, I said that it was issued by me, but on top you will see there is - whilst I was Commissioner sir, this Force Order was issued.

CHAIRPERSON: My recollection and my notes says the document was signed by me.

MR COETZEE: The document recommending sir to the Minister, the citation.

CHAIRPERSON: The document recommending? Not the document Exhibit F, but you say the document ...

MR COETZEE: No, that wasn't signed by me.

CHAIRPERSON: You say the document recommending them for the medal was signed by you?

MR COETZEE: By me in the sense sir, that I was acting in a certain capacity.

ADV DE JAGER: I am a bit confused. You signed the document recommending medals for the London contingent, is that correct?

MR COETZEE: Yes, what happened sir is that there was a recommendation, there are recommendations from various sections of the Police, and I was acting Commissioner at that stage.

Now, the recommendation for a certain type of medal must come through the office of the Commissioner to the Minister, and from the very nature of that line, I must have signed that, that recommendation for the eventual medal. I issue, afterwards I issue a Force Order to the Police, to say why these people are entitled to wear these particular medals.

This particular document sir, is a Force Order in which I make known to the Police that these people are entitled to wear these particular decorations.

CHAIRPERSON: As I understand it, the documents would come to you from the Medal Committee?

MR COETZEE: That is right sir.

CHAIRPERSON: And then you would just sign and pass on, so this is a formality that you would sign and pass on to the Minister? You would not verify the award?

MR COETZEE: That is right. Well, they wouldn't give me the information Mr Chairman, because there are literally hundreds of these recommendations.

I would then eventually after these medals have been bestowed, issue a Force Order to make it known in the Police, that this man is entitled to use or to demonstrate that he's got this particular medal. That is what that is about. That is after the occasion.

CHAIRPERSON: There are two dates. Are those the dates of the event for which they were granted the medal?

MR COETZEE: No, it is not the incident itself Mr Chairman, it is when the medal was granted.

CHAIRPERSON: Was bestowed?


CHAIRPERSON: Well, then it would indicate the medals were bestowed on two separate occasions?

MR BIZOS: If this witness' evidence is correct, which we will dispute Mr Chairman, that those dates are the dates concerned. May I have the document Mr Chairman, because I didn't have the benefit of - may I have the document please.

We, our evidence will be and we persist in it, that both groups were there at the same time Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: It seems to me that it would be quite probable that the date on which the medal is formally bestowed, is not in fact the date on which the medal is handed to the man? It could be a formal decision taken on a date, and then a week or two later, they have, when it is convenient they have a gathering.

MR BIZOS: The Minister doesn't come twice, the Minister doesn't come twice Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: No. The Minister may not have been available...

MR BIZOS: Yes, the three that we have mentioned is the 9th, the others are on the 16th Mr Chairman, and we will persist in this.

But General, you know I am perplexed about the answers that you had given to the Honourable Members of the Committee. Who recommended them for this medal, the London people?

MR COETZEE: I would suggest sir, that if at that stage I was the acting Commissioner, this is what I can only suggest from what I hear in the Commission today, that the acting Commander of the Security Branch at that stage, would have been either my second in charge, who would have been either Gen Steenkamp or Brigadier Du Preez, one of the two must have recommended it as far as I, from the procedure, judging from the procedure.

MR BIZOS: Well, did Steenkamp know about this operation?


MR BIZOS: Did Du Preez know of the operation?

MR COETZEE: Not that I am aware of sir.

MR BIZOS: But now how could they recommend them for an event which was only on need to know basis and they were outside the need to know loop, to quote Mr Williamson in another context?

MR COETZEE: Mr Bizos, I have tried to explain to you that you don't go into detailed particulars into your recommendation. I have tried to explain that to the Honourable Members there.

What happens is that the Officer Commanding could perhaps just say that on this occasion there was meritorious service and you take his word for it, he is a Commander, he knows.

CHAIRPERSON: But if he doesn't know that the incident took place, as I thought you had just told us, you said that Steenkamp or Du Preez would not have known about this incident, how can he then recommend them if he doesn't even know that anything has happened?

MR COETZEE: No sir, he may get, Mr Chairman, he may get a recommendation from a Commander.

CHAIRPERSON: Well, that is what you have been asked by Mr Bizos, who would have recommended them?

MR COETZEE: I suppose Brigadier Goosen recommended them, to his Commander.

MR BIZOS: But you, without discussing it with you?

MR COETZEE: Yes, why would he discuss it with me?

MR BIZOS: Because you went over the Head of your Commissioner, you were the "voorbok" so to speak of this operation. Surely one of your juniors wouldn't recommend them for something that he knew nothing about, and do them the honour of having a special ceremony, attended specially by the Minister, without discussing it with you General?

MR COETZEE: Mr Bizos, the position is I have tried to explain that, the position is that Commanders in the Police has got authority to recommend throughout the length and breadth of this country, to recommend the granting of medals to Policemen under their command.

They need not spell out in particular, they need not spell out in particular what this particular duty entailed. Their word is accepted for it, they are Officers Commanding Policemen and they are members, senior members of the Police Force. They recommend it. When it comes to the Medal Section, they must based on this recommendation which is of a certain nature, which says we recommend that, we recommend that, then it comes to the Commissioner, who signs it and it goes to the Minister, who says yes, grant it, I grant this.

It is unnecessary for anyone to go to the Commissioner or the acting Commissioner and say amongst all these, these are for this, these are for this, these are for this, because there are literally if you go through Police Force Orders, you will find thousands of medals being bestowed, being granted.

MR BIZOS: Yes, we are not talking about long service medals, we are not talking about serving a particular Police station for very many years, we are talking about extraordinary activity.

Would this activity have been reported to the Medals Committee or not?

MR COETZEE: No, I don't think it would have been reported to them.

MR BIZOS: It would certainly not.

MR COETZEE: There would be a recommendation sir, there could have been a recommendation to the Medals Committee, but these people, these five, six people has done some meritorious duty efficiently.

MR BIZOS: Without the Commissioner knowing? Without the Minister knowing, and the Minister will bestow a medal?

MR COETZEE: Mr Bizos, the Minister from his discussions with Colonel Goosen, obviously knew who the other people were, that came to his office.

ADV DE JAGER: Mr Coetzee, if there was a recommendation, it could have come from you, because you knew who was involved, you were the senior officer?


ADV DE JAGER: It could have come from what is his name, Goosen?

MR COETZEE: That is right.

ADV DE JAGER: Goosen, would he have recommended himself for instance to get a medal? I would suppose, somebody above him, would recommend him, but let's leave it, let's accept that he could recommend himself.

MR COETZEE: Yes. No, no, he can't, that would be infra dig, he wouldn't be able to do that. He would go to his Commander and say that these people, under my command, has done a very important piece of work.

ADV DE JAGER: So it could have come from either you, if there was a recommendation, or Goosen?

MR COETZEE: Or the Officer Commanding the Security in my absence as acting Commissioner.

ADV DE JAGER: Yes, but he wouldn't have known that they have carried out the job in London?

MR COETZEE: No, he wouldn't know that.

ADV DE JAGER: So, he can't recommend that?

MR COETZEE: Yes, no, he would recommend it on the basis that the ...

ADV DE JAGER: Could I just put it, as far as I could see it, it must have been either you or Goosen or the Minister out of his own accord, one of the three of you?

MR COETZEE: Those are possibilities sir.

ADV DE JAGER: And isn't that the only possibilities?

MR COETZEE: Well, it could only be Goosen who recommended it, or he could have gone to his Commander and said these people under my command, did a job which is confidential, he could say that, which is confidential, but which the Minister knows about and I am going to recommend them for this particular decoration.

In the circumstances, I doubt whether the Officer there, the Commanding Officer would start questioning him, because he would accept his word.

CHAIRPERSON: Surely before he recommends Goosen, he would question him and say well, what part did you play, what did you do?


CHAIRPERSON: Because you have told us that Goosen does not recommend himself.

MR COETZEE: That is quite correct sir. You can't, but he needn't spell out the details of the job, or the assignment that he has been done on. That is done every day in the Police, there are recommendations, lists and lists of recommendations without specifying particularly what someone has done.

CHAIRPERSON: So medals are just dished out in the Police Force, senior Officers have never bothered to check what people have done. If somebody recommends them, they just sign and pass them on, is that what you are telling us?

MR COETZEE: No, I am not.

CHAIRPERSON: Well, then what is it?

MR COETZEE: The position is sir, that you as a Commander must make sure that your recommendation, if you are questioned about it, that it is a valid recommendation and that you are sure of your facts.

CHAIRPERSON: Well, you were the Commander, what did you do?

MR COETZEE: No, I was the acting Commissioner at that stage.

CHAIRPERSON: The Commander of the Security Force, who would have signed this?

MR COETZEE: It must have, the recommendation sir, the recommendation must have been signed by the acting Security Commander.

CHAIRPERSON: And you have just told us that he would have had to have satisfied himself that it was justified?

MR COETZEE: Yes sir, yes in a general sense without the particulars.

MR BIZOS: General, I am going to put to you that these highly improbable answers that you are giving, are given because you cannot speak the truth and that is that you knew what the people did in London, and you knew what the people did in Swaziland, and because they had operated in the same way with the bomb, it was an opportunity to decorate them together.

MR COETZEE: No, it is not so.

MR BIZOS: Can you tell me, can you give me any example in relation to any important matter, other than the one in this instance, where the Commissioner was not listened to and you were by Mr Le Grange?

MR COETZEE: No sir, I never said with respect that I differed from the Commissioner at that initial meeting that I mentioned. I didn't say that I agreed with that point of view.

The Commissioner placed his point of view before the Minister, and subsequently the Minister said well, irrespective of your, I understand your problems, but irrespective of that, I am adamant, you must do the job.

That doesn't mean that I recommended it, went to him and said I am ad idem with you about this.

MR BIZOS: How did the Commissioner dissociate himself from this act?

MR COETZEE: At the meeting where it was first, as far as I am concerned, discussed, this particular retaliation, for want of a better word. Now, this doesn't mean sir, that before that, there wasn't discussions about the attack for instance on Voortrekkerhoogte and there was very many discussions about the presence in the United Kingdom of what we considered, terrorist...

MR BIZOS: Let's confine ourselves to recommendations to take action, not the motivation for the taking action.

MR COETZEE: No, but I am trying to explain that after many or several, rather several discussions with the Minister, the first time as far as I am concerned, that the subject was broached, that now we will have to retaliate, and one of the ways that we could do that, was to do something in London and then the Commissioner's attitude was as I have stated, he said this is, he couldn't go along with it, and to attack buildings or the ANC in London, was a risky venture and especially serving Policemen must not be used for that assignment.

That was his view.

MR BIZOS: And he was not asked to do anything about it once he expressed that view?

MR COETZEE: I beg your pardon?

MR BIZOS: The Commissioner was not asked to take any further steps once he had expressed that view?

MR COETZEE: No, subsequent meetings I discussed it or Mr Le Grange told me, without the - with the Commissioner not being present, government has decided, you must do it, irrespective of your complaints or objections.

MR BIZOS: The question was, Mr Geldenhuys the Commissioner, was not asked to do anything about it?

MR COETZEE: No, he was the Commissioner of Police and it was my particular job to do it then and I had the command, it was the Minister's prerogative ...

MR BIZOS: He refused and didn't have to resign?

MR COETZEE: I beg your pardon?

MR BIZOS: He refused to carry out the Minister's order and didn't have to resign?

MR COETZEE: I did not refuse, I said I objected.

MR BIZOS: No I said he, he, the Commissioner refused and he didn't have to resign?

MR COETZEE: No sir, if that is how you understood it, it is not so. He raised objections at that meeting, it wasn't said to us all right General, you are objecting now, but I am ordering you. It was left at that stage and at subsequent meetings, he told me that irrespective of your, your, my and the Commissioner's objections to this thing, the government is adamant, we've got to do something.

MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, Visser on record, I will not do my duty unless I speak Mr Chairman, with respect.

My learned friend has told you he has no interest in the London bomb, he is not appearing for any client in that bomb attack on the ANC premises, he has told us who he appears for, it does not include the poor people who were allegedly blown up in Swaziland.

I don't understand the basis of his locus standi to ask these questions Mr Chairman. Perhaps my learned friend can again explain it to me.

MR BIZOS: May I respond Mr Chairman? I would have thought that it was patently clear that if the people that placed the bomb in Swaziland, were decorated by the Minister and together with the other evidence that will be led and has been projected here, it becomes apparent on the probabilities that the witness is not telling the truth as to whether or not he authorised the Schoon and First bombings, it has a vital fallout for the evidence of Mr Williamson, who apparently from his application, will associate himself with the suggestion that he exculpates the General of any knowledge of this. This is the basis upon which all this questions are being asked, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: I take it, or as I have understood it Mr Bizos, your questioning about these decorations is because your suggestion is that the two groups were both recommended by the present applicant, that he had knowledge of the attack in Swaziland and he hasn't applied for amnesty in respect thereof?


CHAIRPERSON: And that he claims to have no knowledge of, and you are seeking to show that he is being untruthful?

MR BIZOS: Yes, yes Mr Chairman. General ...

ADV DE JAGER: Mr Bizos, I am in agreement but I would like you to consider the fact that he didn't apply for amnesty for instance for the Swaziland thing, it is a matter of argument.

You have put the basis for the argument now, and whether he will be prosecuted for that, that is not the business of this Committee at this stage. We have only got to deal with the application. He is only applying for amnesty for the London bombing.

As far as his credibility is of importance for a decision on the London bombing, your questions are relevant.

MR BIZOS: Yes, but not only in respect of that. That is the lesser part of it Mr Chairman. That is the lesser part of it.

ADV DE JAGER: Yes. And you want to say if he is not, if we can't rely on this evidence in this connection, we can't rely on his evidence, his denial as far as say the Schoon's application.

MR BIZOS: But I take it even further than that with respect sir. What I say is that this bit of evidence in relation to the decoration of the people that will be shown by evidence led before you to have blown these people up in Swaziland, then he must have had knowledge of other extraterritorial events, such as Ruth First and the Schoon's, and in so far as Mr Williamson is going to say that he did not get orders for First and Schoon from this witness, both are not telling the truth.

So that it impinges upon both these witnesses' application for amnesty in relation to the London bombing, but more particularly as far as we are concerned, it is destructed of Williamson's application for amnesty, because he is not fully disclosing that the Head of the Security Police and the Commissioner in the person of this witness, actually directed these operations and the whole purpose of the questioning is that he cannot be believed when he says that he did not have knowledge of them.

That is the whole purpose. Thank you Mr Chairman. General, were you given a firearm by a visiting group of Police Officers from the United States?


MR BIZOS: Do you know Captain Louis Koekemoer?

MR COETZEE: Yes, I know him.

MR BIZOS: Was he your Staff Officer?

MR COETZEE: He was a Staff Officer concerned with Financial Affairs on the Security.

MR BIZOS: Is there a technical division in the Police Force?

MR COETZEE: There is quite a few, but I suppose you are referring to the one at Security Branch Headquarters.

MR BIZOS: Was a special firearm given to the technical division, given by you to the technical division as a result of receiving it from any foreign mission?

MR COETZEE: No, not at all sir. I never received from a foreign mission a firearm.

MR BIZOS: Would Mr ...

CHAIRPERSON: I take it, as I understood it, there were two questions, and you never gave the firearm to the technical division?

MR COETZEE: I didn't give it to them.

ADV DE JAGER: There are two questions. You didn't receive a firearm from foreigners?

MR COETZEE: Neither the Americans, nor any other visiting ...

ADV DE JAGER: Yes. Now, have you ever received a firearm from somebody locally and have you given that firearm to the special unit?

MR COETZEE: No sir, I have received in South Africa and for instance from the Commissioner of the South West Africa Police, firearms which I have imported and paid duty on, into South Africa, but that I never gave to the technical section.

MR BIZOS: Were you aware of a gun in the possession of the technical section, which could be fired from a concealed position in a bag?

MR COETZEE: No, I wasn't aware sir. I saw that for the first time in my life on a James Bond film sir.

MR BIZOS: Well, maybe that some of your men tried to emulate James Bond? You knew Mr Marius Schoon and Jeanette Curtis as she then was, from their student days?

MR COETZEE: I didn't know Mr Schoon well. I knew his first wife, I think her name was Diane. I knew her reasonably well.

MR BIZOS: And Jeanette Curtis who became Jeanette Schoon?

MR COETZEE: No, I've got no knowledge that I knew them particularly well. They may have been in Johannesburg, they may have been student activists and I am there, and I am dealing with 2 000, 3 000 people that I am concerned with.

MR BIZOS: Let me refresh your memory General, from the time that I think you were not so highly, not of such a high rank.

Part of your Desk was the student movement in the 1970's whilst in the Security Police in Johannesburg?

MR COETZEE: I was overall in charge sir.

MR BIZOS: Yes. And infiltrating ...

MR COETZEE: In the late 1970's.

MR BIZOS: I beg your pardon?

MR COETZEE: In the late 1970's, 1977 to 1979 I think. I said I was overall in charge before that.

MR BIZOS: I have a very good recollection, the Nusas trial was in 1975 and you were there hot in pursuit.

MR COETZEE: The what sir?

MR BIZOS: The Nusas trial. The Nusas leadership trial. That was in 1975.

MR COETZEE: Yes, I gave evidence there.

MR BIZOS: Not only did you give evidence, you were actively involved in mounting that unsuccessful prosecution.

MR COETZEE: No, I wasn't the Investigating Officer.

MR BIZOS: Yes, but you know the Investigating Officer can be the man that carries the docket or the intellectual who was really, who had really made it his business to destroy the student movement.

MR COETZEE: I didn't make it my business to destroy the student movement. I collected evidence.

CHAIRPERSON: Okay, shall we continue if we can.

MR BIZOS: Yes, you demurred at the suggestion that you attempted to destroy the student (indistinct), you were about to say something General. You didn't agree with the proposition that you tried to destroy the student movement, and you were cut in mid sentence I think when the equipment failed us.

Do you want to complete what you wanted to say?

MR COETZEE: I wanted to say Mr Bizos, that my job was to see that everyone in South Africa obeyed the laws. I suspected that in the student movement, there were people actively concerned with organisations, with activities which was illegal. I had to investigate that, which I did.

MR BIZOS: Well in pursuance of that, in pursuance of that, you managed to get two Policemen on the student's representative council ...

ADV DE JAGER: Mr Bizos, are we really going to investigate NUSAS too?

MR BIZOS: No. No Mr Chairman, the relationship between the witnesses, between the witness and Mr Williamson is relevant, and it is (indistinct) to the question and the topic upon which my questions are being asked.

CHAIRPERSON: The relationship between the witness and Mr Williamson, what has that got to do with 1975 student movements?

MR BIZOS: That is when he was recruited Mr Chairman, that is when he got his instructions. That is when the relationship between Jeanette Schoon and Mr Schoon came into being, between Mr Williamson and through him, the witness Mr Chairman.

May I proceed? You've got two members, two Policemen on the University of the Witwatersrand student representative council.

MR COETZEE: I know of one Mr Williamson. I do not know of the other one, if he was also a Policeman or a serving ...

MR BIZOS: Mr Brune, he in fact became the efficient Treasurer of the students' representative council as a Policeman.

MR COETZEE: Who, who was that sir?

MR BIZOS: Brune. Brune.

MR COETZEE: It is the first time I have heard that word sir.

MR BIZOS: He gave evidence in the NUSAS trial?


MR BIZOS: Brune.

MR COETZEE: Brune, yes sir, he was also on the students representative council as far as I am concerned.

MR BIZOS: Yes, he was the Treasurer and Mr Williamson was the vice Chairman whilst Mr Glen Moss was the Chairman.

MR COETZEE: Yes, that is a recognised Police procedure sir, to have informers, to have agents placed in target organisations.

MR BIZOS: Yes. I want to ask you, did you know that your Policeman Mr Williamson, volunteered to become the best man of Mr Charles Nupen whilst he was supplying you with information of what Mr Nupen was doing of NUSAS?

MR COETZEE: Well, I didn't know that sir, but what I do know is that he would have to act with, to be in such a way that he is acceptable within that particular organisation. If that entailed offering himself as ...

MR BIZOS: As a best man at a solemn marriage ceremony ...

MR COETZEE: If that entailed that, if his association with that particular gentleman was such, then it was part of his legend, it was part of his infiltration process.

MR BIZOS: Right, perhaps more importantly, because I think that his credibility and his morality may be an issue here, during the course of the trial, he attended the trial and he engaged the accused, our clients, in conversation about the defence.

MR COETZEE: I am unaware of that sir. I didn't see that.

MR BIZOS: You didn't see it?

MR COETZEE: I didn't see it.

MR BIZOS: If it did happen, did you know that it would be defeating the ends of justice?

MR COETZEE: If he spoke to them about their defence, and it was out of the context of his association with them, and then I would have considered it irregular.

MR BIZOS: Would it have been part of his job whilst they were on trial, to make improper suggestions to them, to do improper things on the suggestion of a friend, that is Mr Williamson, so that they could be trapped in matters which would have jeopardised their defence in the trial?

MR COETZEE: I am unaware to what you refer. I don't know what you are referring to, what he was supposed to have done, but nothing was reported to me that he was involved in that trial in the sense that he caused ...

MR BIZOS: He acted irregularly?

MR COETZEE: Yes, to influence the course of the trial.

MR BIZOS: Yes, well, we may have to clarify that.

MR COETZEE: I warned all my agents, many of them appeared in courts and given evidence, to act as so-called agents provocateur.

MR BIZOS: I am sorry, I didn't hear that properly.

MR COETZEE: I say sir, that I have warned time and again all the agents that I have had, which have infiltrated certain organisations, against acting as so-called agents provocateur.

MR BIZOS: No, it is the word against that I hadn't heard the first time. Jeanette Schoon was a student leader, was she not?

MR COETZEE: I don't know, I can't remember.

MR BIZOS: So was his brother?

MR COETZEE: Her brother?

MR BIZOS: Her brother, Jeanette Curtis' brother?

MR COETZEE: I don't know who that is sir.

MR BIZOS: When the Schoon's married and they went to Botswana, we know, you don't have to disclose any secrets, they are in the Byabuya Centre, that you had cracked the method of communication of the Schoon's with people that they had contact with in South Africa? Do you remember that?

MR COETZEE: No, I don't.

MR BIZOS: Surely, the document show that no letter was written to Schoon and no letter was sent to Schoon without an agent summarising it, and classifying it and putting it somewhere that obviously missed the shredders. You didn't know about that?

MR COETZEE: No, I am not aware that - was it a coded message, did we decode it?

MR BIZOS: No, no.

MR COETZEE: Ordinary ...

MR BIZOS: Straight forward, they would intercept the letters, they would copy them, they would pass judgement on people and they would send them on.

MR COETZEE: Who would do that sir?

MR BIZOS: The Security Police.

MR COETZEE: In Johannesburg?

MR BIZOS: In Johannesburg and in Botswana or in Botswana and everywhere that everywhere where Schoon had correspondence with.

MR COETZEE: Sir, as far as I was concerned, if there was interception of postal communication between people, it was done in terms of the law. That is as far as I am concerned.

If in the process, someone did something else, or misused it or misdirected it, I didn't know about it.

MR BIZOS: Well, whether in terms of the law or not, what I am going to put to you that what the Schoon's were doing in Botswana, was an open book to the Security Police in South Africa.

MR COETZEE: No, I don't know that sir.

MR BIZOS: You don't know?

MR COETZEE: I don't know if they are there involved in political matters and eventually they are involved in Angola, I heard, then I can only suggest that they were involved in illegal pro ANC activities.

MR BIZOS: Did you know that Mr Williamson went to stay with them?

MR COETZEE: No sir. That is possible that he did it. Where did he stay with them, in Botswana?


MR COETZEE: No, I cannot recollect that he did that, it is possible sir.

MR BIZOS: Now, did you hear of a plan to assassinate Mr Schoon whilst you were a Security Policeman?

MR COETZEE: I have heard yesterday Mr Chairman, that there was an allegation on record here, that there was such a plan, but that I stopped it, which also isn't true, because I don't know anything about it. It was stopped by Brigadier Du Preez as far as my memory goes, and he said to the operator or the operative, that it was on my instructions.

My comment on that was, then he misused my name. I am unaware of a conspiracy in South Africa to go and assassinate Mr Schoon at that stage, when I was ...

MR BIZOS: I am going to put to you that in the circumstances that will emerge in the evidence, you probably stopped it because you knew either from Mr Williamson or from someone else, that Mr Schoon was of greater value to you as a source of information than in a punitive death?

MR COETZEE: No one ever suggested anything like that to me sir, but my recollection as far as I have heard, was that and I don't know whether that is relevant before this Commission, my recollection as far as that is concerned, that it was alleged that at the time that I stopped it, I was already planning the assassination of Mr Schoon.

I thought it would be too dangerous to do it in Botswana and I had other plans. It appears that there is a time factor of about two years between ...

MR BIZOS: Leaving that aside for the moment.

MR COETZEE: That is what I have heard.

MR BIZOS: I am going to put to you that Mr and Mrs Schoon, it is true, were loyal and active members of the African National Congress. Unbeknown to them, your Security Police had infiltrated their circle and valuable information, unbeknown to them, was coming to you and that is probably why you stopped it.

MR COETZEE: No, not at all sir, that is improbable, because I got valuable information from many sources, inside the country, outside the country, and it was one person, one person as a source, either to decide to destroy him or not to destroy him, that would not be a consideration.

MR BIZOS: I want to ask you whether you personally, knew anything about what the Schoon's did or did not do in Angola?

MR COETZEE: What I, if I wanted to know sir, I would have to go to, at that stage I believe I was the Commissioner of Police?

MR BIZOS: 1984, yes.

MR COETZEE: Yes, so if I had wanted to know anything about it, I would have gone, I would have had to go to the Security Police and ask them for their file, it was their job to update their file about everyone that was considered to be of Security interest to South Africa. I didn't do that. I never did it.

MR BIZOS: In redefining murder in 1986, the Head of the Army, defined it as follows: Killing the enemy with unconventional weapons which - and the death will not boomerang on the State, is not to be considered murder. Did you hear that?

MR COETZEE: I didn't hear it sir, but I would disagree completely with that type of approach. As a matter of fact, it is well known, I have made speeches and some of them are on record, for instance the C.R. Swart lecture in the University of Bloemfontein where I stressed that the solution to South Africa and South Africa's problem lies in a legalistic approach.

That we had to act legally, we had, we did not have, we must not loose the moral high ground.

MR BIZOS: You couldn't have said anything else at a public platform, could you General?

MR COETZEE: I have said it also at Commissions investigating the Security organisations.

MR BIZOS: Well, you couldn't have said anything in the opposite to Chief Justice Rabie for instance, whom you assisted to do his report.

MR COETZEE: I have also said it sir to conferences of Divisional Commissioners of the Security Police. There are minutes of some of those where I stressed that everything that we do, had to be legal. That type of definition which you gave is so obviously, so obviously illegal that I could never agree with it.

MR BIZOS: Right, but then in relation to your protestations as to what you said in some places, people who commit murder, often speak with more than one voice?

MR COETZEE: Then sir, it will be contra productive if I go and speak to the senior Officers, to the public, to selected audiences and I tell them this is my attitude. I have stated it quite explicitly sir, in the Rabie Commission, when I gave evidence there for quite a while.

I stated that my approach is that even if it is draconian laws, abnormal laws, for abnormal situations, abnormal situations, you require abnormal laws, legislation. This is over a broad spectrum of legislation.

I have stressed it there, everywhere in confidence, when I spoke to my own men, and I stressed it when I spoke to the public, and I stressed it when I spoke to academics.

If that was not my attitude, how could I then go to my own people that I command, and say listen man, I have made that speech there, but you know, I am just talking for public consumption. It is not really what I mean. It isn't so sir, this is what I meant.

MR BIZOS: What was heard in the Goniwe case was that to the wise, less than a half word is enough General.

MR COETZEE: Yes, I have heard about the story of body language sir, which you can interpret as you like.

MR BIZOS: And also you can interpret permanently removed from society as an innocent request for detention?

MR COETZEE: You can use the word and say that this man must be removed from society in the context that you mean that his influence, that he personally, must be detained, or alternatively that he must be banned.

MR BIZOS: Or permanently, was there a permanent detention?

MR COETZEE: Yes sir.

MR BIZOS: Or permanent banning? But anyway, I am getting side tracked. You can answer if you like.

MR COETZEE: There was detention for long periods, depending upon - five years, etc.

MR BIZOS: The point that I want to make General is that even the Head of the Army, warned against the use of weapons or manner of murdering which would be counter productive if they injured innocent people because they would boomerang against the perpetrators and they would be counter productive.

MR COETZEE: That will be I suppose sir, in the operational area or place like South West Africa where the South African Defence Force had a motto which said the hearts and minds of the people had to be one. I suppose that would fall into that category, but I cannot speak on behalf of the Head of the Army sir.

What he means by that sir, he didn't clear that out with me. He didn't discuss it with me, I don't even know when this was said and by whom.

MR BIZOS: Would you, it is an affidavit of Gen Joubert, who produced the minutes where it was said, and if need be, we will put it in in due course, General, but would you consider sending the Schoon family, mother, father, a young girl and an infant a letter bomb?


MR BIZOS: Even if we operate within the known culture, not the culture that you spoke never existed, the known culture now of eliminating people, would you agree that sending a letter bomb to a family, is a cowardly and despicable way of killing a person or persons, even though you may consider them as a political enemy?

MR COETZEE: I never had in the past to consider that possibility. For me many years subsequent to this event, to get from me a type of authoritative reply, I cannot give that to you, but to me personally, that is reprehensible.

MR BIZOS: Was there an explosive department in the Security Police when you were its Head?

MR COETZEE: Yes sir, when I was the Officer Commanding the Security Branch, the office of the Chief Inspector of Explosives, was closed down, it was attached to Commerce and Industry, it was closed down, because they had not budgeted and on a particular day, on a particular day, I was told that by the then Commissioner, that the Police had to take over the whole Administration, the whole Administration of Explosives, Arms and Ammunition in South Africa.

We then transferred the existing three Inspectors, the Chief Inspector and he had two assistants, to the Police. One of their jobs up till that stage was to defuse for instance, the bombs planted all over South Africa, and it then became the job of the South African Police, to do that also. To gradually take over the whole Administration which included inspection of - throughout the country of arms and explosions, etc.

That is why that department was created.

MR BIZOS: Mr Raven, could Mr Raven be described as a bomb maker working for the Security Police?

MR COETZEE: I do not think that he is a bomb maker, that his job would only be a bomb maker, I think he is an explosives expert and he had many duties to do, ordinary duties to do in connection with explosives and the identification of explosives. He was trained, an explosives expert.

MR BIZOS: Did you know that he was making bombs?


MR BIZOS: According to his statement, you said to him in idiomatic Afrikaans if I remember correctly, that he laid another rotten egg or words to that effect, after the London bomb explosion.

MR COETZEE: Mr Bizos, the position was that Brigadier Schoon, Brigadier Goosen and Major Williamson had to do the operational work around the London bomb.

I did not know, I wasn't informed, it was not part of my duty to go to them afterwards, after you have got senior people there and say who has made the bomb for you? This could have been in jest, if I had said it. I could have said it. They thought that they should approach him to make the explosives available.

If they had thought that, they have done that, not I.

MR BIZOS: The question is, did you know that he could make or did make bombs?

MR COETZEE: I know Mr Chairman, that any explosives expert, can make bombs and so incidentally sir, can any person with a little bit of knowledge of physics.

MR BIZOS: Let's confine ourselves to Mr Raven. Do you admit or deny that you either in jest or otherwise said to him that he had made another rotten egg immediately upon his return from London?

MR COETZEE: Well, it wasn't a rotten egg, how could I have said that sir?

MR BIZOS: That would have been the joke, wouldn't it?


MR BIZOS: That would have been the joke with a smile, you knew that he had made the bomb that blew up the ANC offices?

MR COETZEE: Yes, I must have been informed by the people that went.

MR BIZOS: Yes, but a little while ago you said that you were not concerned as to who made it? The question that I want to ask, a definitive answer on General is this, we know about the bomb in London, we know about the bomb on Ruth First, we know about the bomb of the Schoon's, we know of the bombing of the motor car in which Justice Sax was almost killed, we know of a number of other bombs that were made.

Who paid this bomb maker?

MR COETZEE: If he had made those bombs, I don't know whether he did.

MR BIZOS: Well, who did?

MR COETZEE: I don't know sir. But he was an explosives expert, he was trained as that. If he acquiesced in making bombs for other than the London bomb, of which I was aware in the sense that I was told even if I wasn't told verbally, but I knew he went along, I knew he was an explosives expert, I knew that that would be as an explosives expert, that would be his job, I realised that. If a list of the people going to London was presented to me, I would have known but this is one of the explosives experts.

In that sense I would have known about it. I never discussed it with him personally. When he came back, I may have said but you have laid a rotten egg, knowing that he went there, but I didn't know, I wasn't aware that he continued or was requested to do any other bombs for assassination purposes.

MR BIZOS: How could bombs be made within the Security Police structure, without senior law abiding officers such as yourself, as you say, questioning what are you making bombs for?

MR COETZEE: I can easily explain that. In the process of training explosives experts, the former Chief Inspector of Explosives and his men demonstrated to us time and again how to defuse the communist bombs, some of them primed to go off earlier than what they were supposed to do, killing Policemen when they tried to defuse them.

It was demonstrated to us to that particular section, how these bombs worked, what the mechanics was, how explosives was identified and so on, and I at one stage remember, that I was requested, I was requested to make a speech at one of the graduation ceremonies of a group of explosives experts that was then sent throughout the country to do service there, in particular to defuse the bombs and the limpet mines which appeared all over the country.

That is why they developed the knowledge, they had to have the article, the had to have the apparatus, so they became acquainted with it. But it wasn't meant for a sinister purpose as far as I am concerned.

MR BIZOS: I didn't ask you about communist bombs that were examined and dismantled. I asked you about Apartheid, the Apartheid State's bomb makers, did any law abiding officer in the Security Police such as yourself, question the bomb makers what was the bombs that they were making, for?

MR COETZEE: I didn't know that they were, how could I question them sir, as far as I am concerned sir, they are busy with legitimate training and legitimate work, as far as I am concerned.

That was their primary job. If they abused that knowledge, that is not my ...

MR BIZOS: Also, working in the Security Police in making bombs ...

MR COETZEE: I beg your pardon sir.

MR BIZOS: Working in the Security Police and making bombs, unless a very substantial number of Security Policemen were privy to the wrongdoing and that they would overlook it and turn a blind eye, must have been a horrendously dangerous occupation for a bomb maker to use the Headquarters of the Security Police, to make bombs?

MR COETZEE: Sir, I have tried to explain what the aim and the function was of that particular section, why they were trained, what were their job description and if they abused that, I am unaware of it and that is the end of the matter as far as I am concerned.

MR BIZOS: Well, we know that they abused that because they made bombs, which admittedly killed Ruth First and the Schoon's.

MR COETZEE: I didn't know about those bombs.

MR BIZOS: No, but the questions are General, how confident were they of the complicity of the people working in the building, walking in and out of their offices that the bomb making secrets would have been kept secret and that some honest Policeman would not be found to say hey, bombs are being made at the Security Police Headquarters?

MR COETZEE: As far as I recall sir, the so-called technical branch which included this one, had a separate section where they worked behind closed doors and that was that.

That is where they worked, because they were working in a building with dangerous substances. That is how we created that because of the collapse of the explosive experts with the Department of Commerce and Industry.


MR COETZEE: We had certainly to police the whole country Mr, police the whole country as far as an explosives act was concerned. That included inspecting every well that was created with an explosion, permits had to be issued, people came every day, first to Headquarters, then to a separate building that we rented in town, to the Explosives Section, because their job was to create, to administer the whole Explosives Act.

MR BIZOS: By the way, now that it has come to mind, I don't want to leave it over until tomorrow, when you were at the Mozambique/South African joint commission, was Mr Pik Botha with you from time to time?

MR COETZEE: No, I cannot recall that he was present when we created the Nkomati Accord, he was one of the - formulating that.

MR BIZOS: At the signing ceremony, he was there?

MR COETZEE: Yes, he was there, and may I say that I am one of the architects of that Accord.

MR BIZOS: No, I know you were there at the signing?

MR COETZEE: I was there at the signing.

MR BIZOS: Yes, it is a pity that it was insulted and never acted upon.

MR COETZEE: It was a pity?

MR BIZOS: That it was insulted, the Accord was insulted and never acted upon by the South African side?

MR COETZEE: No sir, that is not true. As far as I am concerned, my instructions from the Ministers concerned and from the State President was that I must endeavour to do everything in my power to see that both sides keep to their part of the bargain. This is what I attempted to do for the period when I was the co-Chairman.

MR BIZOS: Yes. At the time of the signing, you were next to Mr Botha as the architect and the formal signatory?

MR COETZEE: No, I wasn't the formal signatory.

MR BIZOS: No, no, you were the architect and he was the formal ...

MR COETZEE: I was one of the architects.

MR BIZOS: One of the architects, but you were there next to Mr Botha?

MR COETZEE: It is possible that that is where I stood.

MR BIZOS: Yes, and one of the leading negotiators from the Mozambique side, who was a friend of Ruth First, asked how could you chaps have killed my friend Ruth First, do you recall that?

MR COETZEE: No. At that ceremony?


MR COETZEE: No, I do not, we did not - they stood on a separate side and we stood on a separate side as far as I am concerned. I think we took photo's, but I cannot recall that at that ceremony ...

MR BIZOS: I am being corrected by the people behind me. I am being corrected, not necessarily at the ceremony, but there was a dinner and there was social interaction as a result of the signing of the Accord, and that sort of thing, during that period?

MR COETZEE: There was a dinner afterwards and I sat with Mrs Helen Suzman at the same table.

MR BIZOS: At the same table? And with Portuguese, Mozambican representatives?

MR COETZEE: I afterwards met and became co-Chairman with a Mozambican gentleman who was a Deputy Minister of Security then.

MR BIZOS: Be that as it may, during the course of the entering and celebrating the Accord, did someone who was a friend of Ruth First, asked you why did you South Africans kill my friend, Ruth First?

MR COETZEE: I was told, I can't remember that particular incident, I remember that at and I have said so sir, that during one of the meetings in Mozambique of the Security Committee, my co-Chairman whilst we were having our tea break, said to me why did South Africa kill Mrs Slovo and I said, he never presented evidence, if that was so, it was a mistake. It is still my view.

MR BIZOS: Yes, but it is also an admission that the South Africans did it, because that will be his evidence.

MR COETZEE: No, it is subjective mood sir, I said if.

MR BIZOS: If? No, no, you didn't say, you didn't say, you say you admitted by clear implication that the South Africans had done it and that you said it was a mistake.

MR COETZEE: No, I didn't say that sir, I said if it was done by South Africans, as a matter of fact sir, they never ever presented me whilst we discussed this issue, with any evidence, with any evidence to indicate that they were accusing us. That was just a casual remark while we were having tea together.

Afterwards, and I have said so, a journalist I think from the New York Times approached me and he said that I have said that we have committed a mistake, is that true, and I said I didn't say that and the first meeting thereafter of the Committee, I went on record to say that listen, if what I have said is construed in this way, you must remedy it. I never said that we had done it. I don't know anything about it.

MR BIZOS: So the suggestion that you admitted came how long after - your notice to this journalist, how long after the entry into the Nkomati Accord?

MR COETZEE: It must have been, well at least a month or two months after that. After a few meetings of the Accord and may I say that every word said at the Accord was minuted sir and countersigned at the next meeting.

MR BIZOS: I corrected myself that it was not at the Accord, it was during social interaction. Do you remember that I ...

MR COETZEE: I said that it was at a meeting of the Committee, afterwards.

MR BIZOS: When you raised the objection? When you raised the objection?

MR COETZEE: Oh, that was a subsequent meeting of the Committee.


MR COETZEE: When I had been phoned by this particular journalist who said to me that he understood, he understood that South Africa had admitted at the Committee meeting, that we had killed Ruth First, or Ruth Slovo. That is what he understood and I said that was never said. I must tell you not to print an accusation or an allegation like that, because I have never said that and with the first subsequent meeting of the Committee, I told the whole Committee please don't, this is rumour mongery. Don't go along with this story because I have never said it, and I don't mean it and I have no information about it.

MR BIZOS: You have heard that Mr Williamson admitted the murder of Ruth First?


MR BIZOS: That you so much regretted?

MR COETZEE: I beg your pardon?

MR BIZOS: That you so much regretted?

MR COETZEE: Yes, I regretted that.

MR BIZOS: Did you ask him how could you have done this?

MR COETZEE: No, I didn't.

MR BIZOS: Why didn't you ask me, I would never have allowed you to do this? Did you ever ask him?

MR COETZEE: I never knew that he did it sir, how could I ask him?

MR BIZOS: No, no, General please. When you learnt that he admitted that he did it, did you go up to him and say how dare you have done such a terrible thing, which I would never have authorised whilst you were my subordinate?

MR COETZEE: I did, when I heard about it, which was about 10 or 15 years subsequent to the event itself. And I was already on pension for 10 or 15 years. I read an article in the newspaper in which it was alleged by a journalist that he had made this submission.

The first time that I saw him after that, which I don't know where, because we are not in regular contact with one another, I asked him but you know, was this true.


MR COETZEE: And he said yes.

MR BIZOS: And what did you say?

MR COETZEE: I said well, you know, that was against my views and I said it time and again.

MR BIZOS: Were you angry when you spoke to him, that he went outside the policy of the South African government and committed a murder, contrary to the policy of the South African government, contrary to the wishes of the Commissioner of Police?

MR COETZEE: I think he is, Mr Bizos, quite aware of the fact that I first spoke to him, that I was not happy with the situation. I couldn't ...

MR BIZOS: There is a difference between not being happy, he didn't make a mistake of not being of good manners at a tea party, he had committed a murder of a person that you did not approve of, of doing, of killing, contrary to a policy, he betrayed you?

MR COETZEE: Mr Bizos, let's get our facts straight. I never acquiesced in the assassination of any individual. Everyone in the Security Branch will tell you that.

Every senior person will tell you that. I was never approached to approve anything like that. When I first heard of this, and the first time that I saw Mr Williamson, which may have been two, or three, or four, or five, six months after that, because I live in a Karoo town and when I saw him, and I said to him but you know, why was this done, I am completely unaware of this, and he said yes General, you were not informed.

MR BIZOS: Try and come to terms with the question. Did you trust Williamson?

MR COETZEE: I was his Desk Officer for quite a number of years.

MR BIZOS: Did you trust him?

MR COETZEE: During that period, trust developed between us because we were on similar assignments and I was his Desk Officer and we did what I think and still think, some remarkable assignments together.

MR BIZOS: The question, the answer is yes, I trusted him?

MR COETZEE: Yes, I trusted him.

MR BIZOS: Did you trust him when you became higher than his Desk Officer, and he continued working for the Security Police overseas?

MR COETZEE: I was still his Desk Officer sir, when he was overseas.

MR BIZOS: I see, and you trusted him then as well?

MR COETZEE: Yes, I visited him there in the United Kingdom and in Europe.

MR BIZOS: And when he returned and he was put into this particular section in co-leadership with Mr Goosen, you still trusted him?

MR COETZEE: He wasn't in co-leadership, he was just in a section, he was creating a new section and my intimate association with him, from that point weaned, like it weaned with every Policemen that I served with before in Johannesburg, it is just a natural occurrence.

MR BIZOS: Did you trust him then?

MR COETZEE: At what stage?

MR BIZOS: At the stage when your relationship weaned?

MR COETZEE: Yes sir, I trusted him.

MR BIZOS: Doing behind your back an unauthorised murder, was a betrayal of the great trust that you had bestowed on him?

MR COETZEE: Sir, I have said that I would never have acquiesced in that. I think he and other Police Officers will testify to that.

Now, I didn't know, I didn't know ...

MR BIZOS: Perhaps you don't understand, I am sorry to interrupt you, but I don't think you understood the question. May I repeat it and then you can say whatever you wish.

Committing a murder in killing Ruth First was a breach of the trust that you placed in Mr Williamson?

MR COETZEE: Not only in him sir, in everyone who did it.

MR BIZOS: Let's deal with Mr Williamson please.

MR COETZEE: If anyone including Mr Williamson did that, it would have been against my wishes and my style of command.

MR BIZOS: No, we are talking about trust. This was a man whom you trusted. He breached that trust be committing an unauthorised murder.

MR COETZEE: Of which I became aware 15 years later.

MR BIZOS: Yes, it doesn't matter, when you became aware you realised that there was a grave breach of trust that you would never have expected from a trustworthy Officer?

MR COETZEE: That is correct sir.

MR BIZOS: Right. Did you tell him that not only you could not trust him any longer as a result of what he did, but also you would have nothing to do with him, you would not associate with him, you wouldn't speak to him again, if that is the sort of Policeman that he was, that he would go off without consulting you and committing a murder?

MR COETZEE: I didn't use those words because he was already long time, when I heard about it, he was a businessman, I had no association whatsoever with him. I didn't meet with him, we are not friends, house friends, so the first time that I met him and I told him that I am absolutely unhappy with that - hearing about this.

I told him that directly, I said that I am unhappy about it.

MR BIZOS: Well, did you ...

MR COETZEE: I couldn't tell him that I am not associating with you no longer, because in any event I am not associating with him. I couldn't tell him I am not trusting him any more - he told me but about what.

MR BIZOS: Can we turn to the Schoon's. Were you shocked by the death of a six year old girl and ...

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Bizos, how long will you be on this topic?

MR BIZOS: (Microphone not on)

CHAIRPERSON: You won't finish today?

MR BIZOS: (Microphone not on)

CHAIRPERSON: We will take the adjournment now. One of the members of the Committee has a problem tomorrow morning, we will not start until ten o'clock.