DAY : 14

--------------------------------------------------------------------------CHAIRPERSON: Yes, can we proceed? Who is next on the list? Who is going to give evidence next?

MR JANSEN: Mr Chair, Jansen on behalf of Ras. Ras is the next applicant that will be testifying. With your permission however, Mr Chair, I need on behalf of Ras to put certain issues to Mr de Kock which relate to the herd boy. These were issues that were really canvassed after I had cross-examined yesterday. If I can have your permission. I won't be long.

CHAIRPERSON: Are you suggesting that there were issues that arose after you cross-examined, that you couldn't foresee?

MR JANSEN: Well, the controversy relating to the herd boy was certainly accentuated to a far greater extent after I cross-examined. Maybe it was an omission from my part, Mr Chairman, maybe I should have dealt with it.

CHAIRPERSON: Well I'm going to allow you to put certain questions to Mr de Kock, but strictly on the basis that it's narrowed down to that aspect.

MR JANSEN: Yes, thank you, Mr Chair.



FURTHER CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR JANSEN: Mr de Kock, Mr Ras says that the person who was shot at the scene, the person who was 15 years old, this herd boy that was referred to, was ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Before we carry on with that, we're referring to this person, or two people at least, as "beeswagters", is it common cause that they were "beeswagters"?

MR JANSEN: Well they have ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: There's a suggestion at best at this stage that they were.

MR JANSEN: Okay, maybe I should then start one step before that.

Mr de Kock, Mr Ras says that he knew of the presence of a young person who by just looking at him seems to have been a herd boy and he reported this in his report at that stage, can you remember something like that?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, yes, there would have been a situation like that. As I mentioned before, there was a young man who acted as a herd boy and did surveillance of the border. That is my memory of it today. I cannot really elaborate on that because I cannot remember.

MR JANSEN: Mr Ras also adds that this person was indeed this young boy that was shot that evening of the operation.

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I'll have to accept his word for it, I cannot really take it further.

MR JANSEN: Furthermore, Mr Ras says that at a certain stage while they were busy with the surveillance he arrested this boy when he came or walked across to the South African side and that he interrogated this child for a period of time, and Mr Ras says that the contents of this interrogation would have been part of his report. Can you remember something like that?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, it would have been part of his report. It was afterwards that I can remember that a person was caught on the South African side, but I cannot testify about it because it became ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Do you agree that it was part of the pre-report?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I agree with that. Or let me put it this way, it would have been part of the report but we cannot know how complete it was.

CHAIRPERSON: But can you remember that it was part of a report?

MR DE KOCK: No, I cannot remember.

CHAIRPERSON: I think this is how I understand the question. Can you comment on it, if there was a report and the contents of it mentioned the crossing of the border of this person and that he was arrested and as a result of the interrogation that ensued, certain information was gathered?

MR DE KOCK: No, I cannot remember that report, but I do accept that that information was incorporated.

CHAIRPERSON: Do you yourself have knowledge of the fact that there was a transgression of the border at that stage?

MR DE KOCK: No, only afterwards did I find that out. CHAIRPERSON: Did it come under your attention?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, it was yesterday that I heard about it.


MR DE KOCK: No. That is why I cannot testify about it today.

MR JANSEN: Thank you, Chair, that's all.


CHAIRPERSON: Mr de Kock, with that new evidence - I do not want to open a very long discussion on this, but it is very important now because the evidence changes a bit, not yours but the image. Yesterday I was under the impression that these two people were killed outside the house, now it seems as if one of them had time after you started the attack, to go over the border and there was time to catch him and arrest him and to interrogate him. How long did the attack last at that stage, from the time that you arrived there and planted the bomb, acted, took photos and retreated? ...(transcriber's interpretation)

MR JANSEN: Sorry Mr Chairman, could I - I apologise for interrupting, but I think you understand the context completely wrong. The incident that I was referring to, the arrest of this boy, happened long before the actual incident. That was part of the observation, it was during the process of observation.

CHAIRPERSON: Oh okay, so it's not the same person?

MR JANSEN: No, it is the same person, but he was arrested a while before. During the period of observation he was arrested, interrogated and then released again.

CHAIRPERSON: And then found again on the night of the incident?


CHAIRPERSON: Okay, I misunderstood you then, I'm sorry. Thank you, Mr de Kock.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: With your permission, Chair.

Mr de Kock, to your recollection would this be the person that you have referred to in your written application, as well as having touched upon yesterday during your viva voce evidence?

MNR DE KOCK: "Voorsitter, ek aanvaar dis dieselfde persoon, want in die tyd wat ek daar by die dam was, wat ons vir hierdie operasie nou voorberei het, was die persoon nie gevang gewees nie, of was die persoon nie aan ons kant gevang gewees nie."

CHAIRPERSON: Just to get a complete answer on that, when you sat there and did surveillance did you see or observe a person that looked like a herd boy?

MR DE KOCK: No, I was never at the surveillance point myself, certain members did that.

CHAIRPERSON: At what stage did you realise that there could be a person who was a herd boy?

MR DE KOCK: That came out of the information reports that were given to me by Lt Ras.

CHAIRPERSON: Was that after the incident?

MR DE KOCK: Well before we launched the attack.

CHAIRPERSON: Although you did not see it you did know that there's possibly a person who was a herd boy.


CHAIRPERSON: Can you remember if it was mentioned to you "Look, that guy that we now see there, the guy who is keeping watch, is a guy who was arrested a while ago and we know him"?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I do not have any independent memory of it. I really do not have an independent recollection of it.

CHAIRPERSON: But wouldn't it have been an important fact, "We do know this person, why did we release him if he's possibly an informant? Must we kill him?"

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I would like to help you, I would like to help Mr Ras' attorney, but I cannot help you in this.

CHAIRPERSON: But if it was mentioned to you at that stage, wouldn't you expect that you would have asked him about it? "What is the status of this person? This herd boy that you arrested and then released, what is his status in the operation?"

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, in terms of the interrogation that took place and the attempts that followed on that concerning this person, I believe it would have been incorporated in the written report. In other words it would have been there. I cannot unfortunately give you the hard facts concerning this, although I would like to.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, you are excused.

MR DE KOCK: Do you have further questions?







CHAIRPERSON: Mr Ras, which language would you prefer to use while testifying?

MR RAS: Afrikaans please.

MARTHINUS D RAS: (sworn states)

CHAIRPERSON: Please be seated.


Mr Ras ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Just hold it, Mr Jansen, I just need to get some air into this room. Thank you, Mr Jansen.

MR JANSEN: Thank you, Chair.

Mr Ras, is it correct that you apply for amnesty for the incident at Ramatlabana - it appears on page 109 up to 116 of the bundle, or rather, to page 117?

MR RAS: That is correct, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: What do you apply for?

MR RAS: For murder.


MR RAS: Two, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Do you know the names of the victims?

MR RAS: No, Chairperson. As well as terrorism in another country, in that we detonated a bomb in a house across the border.

CHAIRPERSON: And two people died because of the explosion.

MR RAS: No, Chairperson, I personally shot them both.

CHAIRPERSON: Any other charges? Mr Jansen, you can help with that.

MR JANSEN: Mr Ras, concerning this there's seems to be uncertainty as to how many persons were killed that night. If it does appear that more people died that evening in that operation and that other offences were committed in which you part, do you also apply for amnesty there?

MR RAS: Yes, Chairperson, that is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Jansen, then you must argue now. How can someone apply for amnesty for something that he doesn't know about? There's not a question of amnesty for culp, let us say?

MR JANSEN: No, Chairperson, I would like to limit the applications for amnesty to aspects or the fact that the person did not know of certain incidents, because he had a certain perspective on this operation. In other words, just like any of the other operators he did not know exactly what the others did at a given moment, but there is no doubt that in the broader spectrum or view of the incident, they do agree that there is a common purpose.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, they had a plan to detonate a bomb, they do have knowledge, they do foresee that people will be killed in the process that may be in the way, in the execution of this plan. This I can understand. Do we include that?

MR JANSEN: Yes, Chairperson, it could also go further, which did not happen here, but if a person goes on an operation like this they definitely foresee that they could come across a patrol of the Botswana Defence Force or the police and that a shooting could take place. ...(transcriber's interpretation)

VOORSITTER: Om die plan te bewerkstellig is daar 'n moontlikheid dat ander klagtes of ander verkeer aksies gedoen word in die naam van die plan."


CHAIRPERSON: But it does not include other charges that are not necessarily part of the execution of the plan.

MR JANSEN: Yes, if something happened that did not apparently seem part of the plan of such an operation rather, yes then definitely that must be excluded. I'm struggling to think of an example, but one could probably think of if an operator for example raped somebody in such a situation, then it would definitely fall outside of the frame-work of the initial plan or understanding in the beginning.

CHAIRPERSON: Let's say they move past a place where somebody is selling fruit and they kill the person who is selling the fruit and take the fruit to eat.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, that would definitely also fall outside the objective of that ...

MR RAS: Chairperson, can I just mention there that we went in with a specific plan and at short notice it changed at that scene and at that stage we would have, and the plan was then, that we would kill all the people at the scene and those who escaped. According to myself I would then also have to apply for attempted murder for those who got away.

MR JANSEN: Could we just leave that aspect for argument.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, yes. In other words, Mr Jansen, how many applications have been made then?

MR JANSEN: Chairperson, unfortunately in the application itself ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: You see, my problem is that if we have to decide on this and write it out and we have to give amnesty, we have to give amnesty for deeds that are related to the murder of such on such on that specific day, we cannot come and say we give amnesty for five murders and leave out the detail.

MR JANSEN: Chairperson, the way in which I understand the practice in this and as the process developed over the last few years, it is that most of the applicants have got the problem that their specific charges or offences are not very well described in their applications and what their legal advisors then do is, just before argument a formal wording of the terminology in which amnesty is asked for is given. And I would foresee that in this situation, amnesty will be applied for the murder of two people, and then any other people ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: After the evidence?

MR JANSEN: Yes, after the evidence, Chairperson. And according to myself it became practice to add an umbrella aspect. It is not without controversy however, but it seems as if because we have so many statutory offences and potential judicial offences, it does seem as if there's no reference to specific offences regarding the main incident.

CHAIRPERSON: I think that that judgment of the Western Cape is wrong, but I am tied to it. There's nothing like blanket amnesty. The practical problem that we experience is more important than that statement, but we do have it.

MR JANSEN: Yes, we will deal with that, thank you.

Mr Ras, in the hearing you went again through your application as it was set up initially, is that correct?

MR RAS: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: Except for the qualifications and the supplements that you are going to give now in your oral evidence, do you confirm the contents of it as far as it is related to your political motive as well as your version of the facts as it appears from page 112(a)?

MR RAS: That is correct, yes.

MR JANSEN: You are also aware of the fact that at the start of the de Kock cluster, there was evidence given about Vlakplaas in general.

MR RAS: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: You also then wish that that evidence will be added in your current application.

MR RAS: Yes, that is correct.

MR JANSEN: Concerning the application, is it correct that apart from this incident you also applied for amnesty for approximately 20 other incidents?

MR RAS: Yes, that is correct.

MR JANSEN: You were stationed at Vlakplaas from 1984 up to 1992.

MR RAS: That is correct, yes.

MR JANSEN: What was your rank in 1988 when this incident occurred?

MR RAS: I was a Warrant Officer.

MR JANSEN: When did you become an officer?

MR RAS: In 1990. It was December 1989.

MR JANSEN: Could you just in short explain to us what the circumstances were under which you applied for all the incidents. How did it come about that you - or first of all, who helped you to apply or make your applications? What were the circumstances surrounding this?

MR RAS: Chairperson, before the TRC was in place I was charged with an incident that occurred in Port Elizabeth, the Motherwell incident, I came back, I was found guilty and then I contacted the Investigative Officers and made a full disclosure. They took down statements of all the incidents that I was involved in. Adv McAdam helped me with my statements, affidavits, and in that way I submitted my applications to the TRC.

MR JANSEN: At that stage did you have any documentation that could help you to refresh your memory concerning these incidents?

MR RAS: No, Chairperson, I did this by myself without assistance from anybody else, I couldn't really contact anybody else.

MR JANSEN: That was just my next question.

CHAIRPERSON: That case of the Motherwell, were you a suspect in that?

MR RAS: Yes, I was a suspect and I was found guilty.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you apply for amnesty for that, or have you received amnesty?

MR RAS: We did not receive amnesty and we are applying for a review.

MR JANSEN: At the point of your compilation of your applications, did you have any contact with your previous colleagues in order to refresh your memory with regard to the various incidents?

MR RAS: No, Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: Among others you have also applied for a similar incident, namely an operation which was also executed in Botswana against the Chand family, is that correct?

MR RAS: Yes, that is correct.

MR JANSEN: And in your application you have also stated that the children of the Chand family were also young when you compiled the application according to your recollection?

MR RAS: Yes young, in the vicinity of 20 years of age.

MR JANSEN: Which part of the country did you work in primarily, when you were stationed at Vlakplaas?

MR RAS: Primarily Botswana. There were other times during which I worked in other areas, but my primary area of concentration was Botswana, as well as the structures within Botswana and Zambia.

MR JANSEN: Who was your direct Commander in 1988?

MR RAS: Eugene de Kock.

MR JANSEN: Very well. Can you explain to the Committee and elaborate somewhat on the events leading up to this incident at Ramatlabana.

MR RAS: Chairperson, it actually took place over a period of time of approximately six months. While I was working there, there was much talk of the transit house in Botswana which was applied by members of the ANC for overnight accommodation. It was also used for when they returned to the other side. However, it wasn't possible to identify the place and none of the ANC members could identify the place for us.

MR JANSEN: Where did you get this information?

MR RAS: From members of the ANC who were arrested and also from reports at head office of persons who had also been arrested. I had also interrogated some of the arrestees and there were also reports from persons who had infiltrated from Botswana and who described the house, but they couldn't really pinpoint it. I could say that the reason for that was that the persons would arrive there at night or late afternoon most of the time and would also infiltrate at such time. The place which was observed showed that persons very rarely left the rooms. I had a sketch of the place which was made early this morning, which we will submit later.

MR JANSEN: Therefore you would wish to say tot he Committee that you identified a place at some point which you would have referred to as the transit house. How did that happen?

MR RAS: We went over the border, I also made use of a chopper from Botswana, I made a video recording of the entire border fence and that material coupled with the material which was taken from persons that we interviewed, as well as sketches of the premises, led us to a comparison which ultimately assisted us in identifying a place which was approximately 20 kilometres away from Ramatlabana, approximately one kilometre into Botswana. That is the place that we began to monitor.

CHAIRPERSON: How far was it from the border?

MR RAS: Chairperson, I would say that it was about 800 metres in, it was very close to the border.

MR JANSEN: These premises, were they isolated or part of some small settlement or village?

MR RAS: Chairperson, it was a rural area where houses were distributed about 8-900 metres away from one another. The premises was divided into three parts, namely the part where the family lives or at least the persons to whom the place belonged, they lived there. As far as we could determine there was a man and a woman and this young person who lived with them in the house. Then there was a rondawel behind the house which we couldn't really observe from our point of observation, and then there were also two rooms which were constructed of cement. These two rooms were used primarily by the ANC members as such.

MR JANSEN: Could you explain to the Committee from which position you conducted your surveillance and what your surveillance routines involved.

MR RAS: Chairperson, when we identified the place we looked for a position from which to conduct our surveillance. It was very difficult terrain because there were many shepherds in the vicinity, so it made it difficult for us to move around freely. The terrain was quite open. We identified a bushy area of about two to three metres. Although it was the Bophuthatswana border, it was patrolled by the South African Police. I went to TIN and I said that we were busy with surveillance for possible border crossings ...(intervention)

MR JANSEN: TIN, could you just explain to the Committee, what does TIN stand for?

MR RAS: That is the Counter-Insurgency Unit of the police, which conducted the border patrols. At a certain stage they were also used in South West and on other borders as well. Now they were responsible for the border patrols, not Bophuthatswana at that stage. I went to see them and we made use of their facilities because early morning, before the light of day, we would drive with the Casspir to the bush which was next to the road where we disembarked and went into the bush, where we would be picked up again in the evenings.

For the three months prior that I had spent observing the place we were never observed or picked up inside the place. Many of the shepherds and the cattle came close to the bushy area where we conducted our observation from and nothing was ever noticed.

MR JANSEN: Very well. And what did you learn from your surveillance?

MR RAS: After the house had been identified I requested permission to destroy the premises, to kill the persons and to destroy the premises.

MR JANSEN: Now before you get to that, the information that it was a transit house, was this confirmed in some or other way or not?

MR RAS: It had already been confirmed at that stage, due to the all the information that we had from persons whom we had interrogated, the sketches and so forth. All of these things assisted us in identifying the place. That is when Brig Schoon had said that the place had been positively identified. Brig Schoon and the others would have also returned and they told us that the Defence Force refused to attack the premises.

MR JANSEN: Just a minute. Did you observe any activities there which looked as if they were connected with infiltrations?

MR RAS: That is exactly what took place, Chairperson. I was then instructed to observe the place and to determine whether or not we could arrest any of these persons. When we began to observe the place on a daily basis and I began to give feedback. From dawn to dusk we would patrol, we began to conduct patrols to see whether or not we could arrest these persons. I must just add that there was quite a lot of traffic from the Botswana side to the RSA side, although it was not a border post, it was one of the places where there was a bridge over the border fence which the local population used. There was a bus and taxi activities some distance from that point and the population made use of these services.

We began to identify the persons. I received binoculars from the Navy, which stood on a tripod. I also received a camera with 1000mm lens, I think it had a two-time converter as well which would double the size and due to this one couldn't identify the persons' faces, but what did occur was that I could take photographs which would have observed the clothing of the persons.

And while we were busy with the observation we arrested two persons in Vereeniging. I went through and interrogated them and when I walked in with the photos that I had, I saw that the clothing that the person was wearing was the same. I showed him the photo and said "I took a photo of you while you were still in the transit house." His face went pale and he wanted to know how we had managed to do this.

He further gave descriptions of the place, which confirmed that the persons who had dropped him off were Sebata and Noga, who were both members of transit within Botswana.

Then we came to a point ...(intervention)

MR JANSEN: Now this Sebata and Noga, are these MK names?

MR RAS: Yes, these are the MK names of persons who were ANC members in Botswana, who were responsible for the transportation and accommodation of ANC members in Botswana.

Then at that stage we arrived at the point where we could see that there were persons inside the house. One would usually emerge from about 9 or 10 o'clock, walk around and go back into the house. Although we had all these patrols, we couldn't arrest the persons. We then saw the shepherd or the young person who appeared to be very nervous, especially if there were persons at the house, he would go over the fence, and the next day the people would be gone. The following day he came over the fence again and I grabbed the person and I interrogated him ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: ...(inaudible)

INTERPRETER: The speaker's microphone is not on.

MR RAS: Chairperson, it was probably two months before the time of the attack. We interrogated him and at first he didn't want to say anything ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: I am referring to the person, he was a shepherd as you've said, what was he a shepherd for?

MR RAS: I could deduce that he also did odd jobs at the house and that he guarded or looked after the livestock.

CHAIRPERSON: Is that all?

MR RAS: That is all that I could observe. I also saw that from time to time he would go to the door. There were two doors that we observed, which were used by those rooms. If there were people at the house he would take things to the rooms and also from that point onwards we saw that he would sometimes cross the fence, stay away for a few hours and then return. And for that reason we decided to see if we could not detain the person and interrogate him in order to obtain more information about the house, especially those persons who would leave.

And it appeared from his interrogation that these were indeed ANC persons who were armed and that he was not actually permitted to go into those two rooms, that persons were being dropped off with a Toyota bakkie, that these were ANC persons who were armed who entered the country and his parents were not the persons from the house. He showed us a house near Mafikeng, whether this was true or not, I don't know, but his parents were supposed to have resided in that city.

I then recruited him as a source and told him that we would meet with him at certain times when we knew that he was there, so that we could determine the information. The person never returned. It is possible that this could have been that due to the fact that if the information indicated that he was an informer, he would have been killed because it would have created suspicion. But it was very clear that he didn't say anything about his arrest or his interrogation because the circumstances continued.

The information that he also conveyed to us at that stage and which was confirmed by other ANC members who were captured in the country, was that one of the persons who acted as a courier made use of a red Corona Mark II vehicle. We also put people on the road until we traced the person and detained the person and he later admitted that he was acting as a courier. We also tried to recruit this person at that stage, to act as an informer for us, to tell us when there were persons who were entering the country, so that we could arrest such persons. This also didn't work because this person later obtained an interdict against me, so that I could not get any access to him. I actually cannot recall what happened later with that case.

I later returned to Brig Schoon and to Eugene de Kock and told them that at that stage there were approximately 30 ANC persons who entered the country, according to our observations. We could not arrest these persons. At some or other point during the night they had entered the country and simply disappeared, they were no longer at home and we could go directly to the point where they were crossing the border fence, due to footprints.

I could not monitor that point from our point of observation because there bushes and plant growths in-between. If we had walked there the footprints would have been picked up by the shepherds or the local population and we decided against it.

I then submitted a thorough report - it was one of the rare occasions upon which I submitted a report, recommending the destruction of the premises on the other side, with reference to the persons who were infiltrating. I gave this to Brig Schoon who would then personally clear this with the Defence Force.

The following day he returned to me and said that they couldn't do it, or at that stage approval was extended upon the precondition that the Defence Force would do it themselves. They wouldn't allow for us to enter the house and shoot these persons dead, due to the fact that two of the Defence Force members at that stage were being detained in Botswana and they were afraid that if it appeared to be the Defence Force's actions once again, these two persons would once again be assaulted or be more gravely assaulted, and they wanted to see to the interests of these two detainees. They wanted to place a device which would make it appear as if the persons were busy with a bomb, made a mistake and consequently detonated themselves.

Then along with Brig Loots, Craus and members of Special Forces we met at a farm at Nietverdiendt in order to plan such an operation in Botswana. I went with the Special Forces member to Botswana, where we would have placed the device next to the house that night, particularly next to the two rooms in which the ANC members resided. Unfortunately it was raining to such extent that night, it was very dark, we couldn't really use that night, I couldn't find the place and we gave up.

We then returned and formulated a plan to approach the place in the same manner at a later stage, but then Vlakplaas members were approached. The place was continuously under observation because we were afraid that the tracks that we had left that night would be observed by members of the local population or the shepherds or any other people there, who would have realised that there were people going to that house from the RSA's side. I think that the tracks were removed that night by the rain. We saw that the activities still continued.

And then at the ...(indistinct) dam we conducted the planning. There were Vlakplaas members and Mr de Kock was also there, three members of Special Forces were also there. We formulated the plan. At that stage we were monitoring the place on a 24-hour basis. We saw that there were people inside the building.

That night when we were certain that there were persons inside, we went into the house with the explosives. At the house I myself, Snor Vermeulen and Basie Riekert went to the house, we went directly to the side of the house, the others remained some distance back. Basie carried the explosives and I was responsible for providing the protection for him.

CHAIRPERSON: What is his name again?

MR RAS: Basie Riekert from Special Forces.

CHAIRPERSON: He is not an applicant?

MR RAS: No, Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: Chairperson, you will note on page 112(c), three of the Defence Force members' names are mentioned and not one of them are applicants.

MR RAS: I went through - I will give you the sketch later. I went through to the side of the room where I saw the person who spent the night in the house. The light was still on. While the other person was busy preparing the explosives, a person emerged from the house.

While the person was emerging from the house - he must have taken about five steps past, I gave him a chance, hoped he did not to see me, but he returned and when he returned we were approximately a metre away from each other, perhaps two metres maximum. I saw that there was no other way out, other than to shoot the person, but when I wanted to shoot my weapon stalled. I tried for a second time to cock the weapon and the person ran into the room.

At that stage I realised that there was big trouble. I ran back to Snor Vermeulen, who was laying the explosives. We were approximately 20 metres away from the charge in the open field. We had not other choice, I told them to detonate, which then took place. But before we conducted the detonation a second person emerged from - the second person started shooting at us from the left-hand room. We drew direct fire from that side. There was no other choice, I told them to detonate the charge. This did indeed take place, and when the explosion went off, I ran in and passed the house and I realised that what we had originally planned wasn't viable because there was already a shooting and we had to fall back on the initial plan, meaning that we would kill the persons who were in the house and destroy the premises.

I ran into the house where the persons were living as well. I only saw one person who had acted as a courier, or at least the young boy, and I shot him. While I came from the house he was shot inside the house, the thatch roof house. As I turned around the person from the left-hand room threw a handgrenade at me.

CHAIRPERSON: Why did you shoot him?

MR RAS: Chairperson, at that stage I knew that he was already involved, I tried to recruit him as an informer. He had already given me information and at that stage I returned to plan A when I realised that this person was an ANC member and regardless of his tender age, he was a sympathiser and so also those persons who lived in the house.

CHAIRPERSON: But Mr Ras, you yourself said that you believed that he did not go to those people and tell them that he had been arrested and interrogated and the like, because you reasoned that these things continued as if nothing had happened.

MR RAS: That is the point, Chairperson, he didn't know that we were lying in wait in the bushes, he was still going to ...


MR RAS: ... the persons that he had identified and the information that he had given to me was still being contacted. Everything continued unchanged despite the fact that we had contacted. Despite the fact that he had been told to give us information, he continued. The same with the persons who lived in the house.

INTERPRETER: Could the applicant ...(double taping) it is somewhat difficult to follow him.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Mr Ras, they are trying to translate, so we are being to requested to request you in turn to speak at a pace that will enable the translators to translate and also to enable us to take down what you are saying.

MR RAS: I beg your pardon, Chairperson, I will speak slower, Chairperson.

And when I returned to plan A, which I had originally wanted to conduct with regard to the original facilities of the ANC members and with regard to killing the persons on the premises, I went into the house, saw one person there, shot him and then left the house. At that point I saw one of the ANC members who was on the left side room, he threw a handgrenade at me, the handgrenade exploded next to me against a stone. I was tossed aside, I was not injured, but I went into the room and shot the person as he was still standing next to his AK47.

I then went through to the other room, the other members at that stage came to join me. We didn't find any other persons at any other places. I heard that there was someone who had been found underneath the wreckage of the building. I heard that it could have been an MK member who was asleep in the room that night. I then took a photograph of the ANC member who I had killed in the room, which I later showed the askaris in Pretoria, and the person was identified as an ANC member.

I must also mention that at that stage the members of the Defence Force wanted us to withdraw rather quickly. The photos - after the time no documentation was sought after. What I did see was that there were handgrenades when we entered the room, there were also AKs. The person who I killed had an AK47 in his hands. And the photographs after the time indicated that there was cupboard against the opposite wall. It looked like a bank cupboard. We didn't search any further. We withdrew at that stage.

MR JANSEN: I beg your pardon, Chairperson.

Mr Ras, you were aware of the information system within the Security Police at that stage, is that correct?

MR RAS: Yes, that is correct.

MR JANSEN: And to give a brief summary of that, on a daily basis information was sent through various channels from the various units and the various specialised divisions to a central point at head office, all the time.

MR RAS: Yes, that is correct.

MR JANSEN: And the incidents and so forth were discussed at these daily meetings which were referred to as the Sandhedrin.

MR RAS: Yes.

MR JANSEN: Where the senior staff officers would be present.

MR RAS: That is correct.

MR JANSEN: Now the fact that with the exception of Brig Schoon, who you consulted personally, the fact that there was an operation in Botswana and that persons were killed in Botswana, according to your knowledge, would this have come to the knowledge of the head of the Security Police at that stage?

MR RAS: Chairperson, at a later stage I received a commendation from Gen van der Merwe for our actions in Botswana pertaining to this incident. This is also in my application. Before the second operation took place there were discussions. It was discussed at a high level.

MR JANSEN: This was also not the first incident in which you were involved, during which persons were killed, is that correct?

Earlier in 1988, approximately during June, you were involved in a shooting incident in the Piet Retief vicinity.

MR RAS: Yes, Piet Retief and Swaziland.

MR JANSEN: You've already testified in that amnesty application with regard to the matter.

MR RAS: Yes, that is correct.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: May I interpose, Mr Jansen.

When you say that this incident was discussed at a high level, what do you mean?

MR RAS: Chairperson, that in the first instance, Brig Loots and the Defence Force had discussions. It was the first time that I had to put down the details of an operation on paper. All the other operations, such as the Chand matter and so forth, were conducted verbally, and here I had to put down on a document what had taken place, what we had observed, what we found with the observations, how many persons infiltrated or entered, what we could find out from other persons and other documentation.

Brig Schoon cleared this on another level, so in the first instance it was that it was on a much higher level and secondly, I could not obtain a personally undersigned certificate from Gen van der Merwe if the others didn't know about it. The other is that Brig Loots had approached members of the Defence Force for an operation in Botswana, while it was known that some of their persons were already in the jail in Botswana. This was handled with tremendous sensitivity. So this wasn't taken up very lightly, the decision was not taken very easily to conduct such an operation and persons on a higher level had to have known about it. The highest that I know is Gen van der Merwe, Brig Schoon and Brig Loots. All three of these persons would have known about it.

With regard to Bophuthatswana, they knew that we were working there, we worked there with their permission, but they didn't want us to launch the operation as a result of the fact that they didn't want us to use their territory. Mr Mills and Mr Esterhuizen didn't know about the operation, we cut them out.

MR JANSEN: A part of the information or the gathering function of the Security Police was amongst others, to study reports in the newspapers from abroad and internally and what information you can gather from that.

MR RAS: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: So although you did not have personal knowledge of who Brig Schoon contacted, the specific detail of what the knowledge was of the people above Mr Schoon, or what they knew, that was only an inference you just made.

MR RAS: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: You say it was a reasonable inference based on the knowledge you had of the information system at that stage. Except for Gen van der Merwe who - that certificate that you, or that was part of the documents, does not specifically refer to Ramatlabana, but it does refer to an incident in 1988, where under very dangerous circumstances you acted in an operation. Could this have been something but the Ramatlabana incident?


MR JANSEN: Did anybody say directly to you that it's got something to do with this incident?

MR RAS: Yes, when I got the certificate - I think Brig Schoon handed it over, I may be wrong here, Eugene de Kock also said it was for the Ramatlabana incident when he applied for these certificates.

MR JANSEN: Somewhere in your application you do refer to the weaponry that was found at the scene and there's specific reference to the RPG, could you just place this in context please.

MR RAS: Chairperson, that RPG went with us to the other side. The purpose of it was that we weren't sure if people get there with a vehicle or maybe leave with a vehicle, we would have used it for that purpose then. Because we left it there I cannot say.

MR JANSEN: At that stage I did not carry it, but insofar as it created the impression here that it was something that you found there - that is wrong, you brought it with you or you took it with you.

MR RAS: Yes, we did. And specifically what I saw where it was left behind, when I took a photograph of the room, everything was full of dust and I saw that the RPG was clean, without dust on it, and I think any person who would have appeared at that scene at that stage would have asked how it got there because everything was full of dust except for the RPG. It bothered me, but there's nothing that we could do at that stage.

MR JANSEN: In your application, or in the general background of what your perceptions were of the political situation at that stage you included the following - or what was your perception of infiltration and of the ANC cadres. Did you think it had anything to do with acts of terror in South Africa?

MR RAS: Chairperson, most of them, those who were rearrested came in with weapons, those who did not come in with weapons we arrested or they took us to places where they kept the weapons. It definitely related to it.

MR JANSEN: Did you believe that the actions of people to kill people in other countries will help in preventing other people being killed in South Africa?

MR RAS: Yes, definitely.

MR JANSEN: This incident, did you believe that it was directed at the enemy of the day, namely the ANC?

MR RAS: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: Did you receive any remuneration specifically for this, except for the certificate that you received?

MR RAS: No, Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: The people who lived in the houses at that day, who were present there, did you know them in any other way? In your workings as a policeman, did you know them apart from that?

MR RAS: No, not at all.

MR JANSEN: Thank you, Chair, that's all.



CHAIRPERSON: First of all I have a note here on this table that there's sets of keys that have been found and they're looking for the owners of these keys. Here they are.

Secondly, - and I'd like especially the relatives of the victims to listen to this, that through circumstances beyond our control, coupled with compassionate grounds, we are going to allow applicant Radebe to intervene in the evidence of Mr Ras and testify, so that he get treatment as I understand, for his condition. I'm given to understand that it is so urgent that we need to take these steps. I hope everybody understands the situation.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------CHAIRPERSON: Mr Radebe, which language would you prefer to use?

MR RADEBE: I'll speak Sesotho.


SIMON MAKOPE RADEBE: (sworn states)

CHAIRPERSON: Please proceed, Mr Hugo.

EXAMINATION BY MR HUGO: Thank you, Mr Chairman, we indebted to you.

Mr Radebe, you are the applicant in this matter, your application appears on page 349 and further of the bundle, is that correct?

MR RADEBE: That's correct.

MR HUGO: You went through the oath, do you confirm this again that this is a true version of what you remembered about what happened during that incident?

MR RADEBE: That's correct.

MR HUGO: In the supplementary application you gave an explanation of the political background and the reason why you got involved in operations like these, is that correct?

MR RADEBE: That is correct.

MR HUGO: Just for clarity's sake, you acted on the instructions of your Commanders and you thought that you were struggling against the terrorists at that stage, is that correct?

MR RADEBE: That is correct.

MR HUGO: And you then apply for amnesty for the offences that we will present to this Committee, is that correct?

MR RADEBE: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR HUGO: Thank you, Mr Chairman, that's the evidence.


CHAIRPERSON: Mr Lamey, have you got any questions?

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR LAMEY: Thank you, Chairperson.

Mr Radebe, I would just like to discuss one aspect. Have you been with Mr Ras or did you go with Mr Ras when they monitored the house? This is now long before the ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Lamey, he says so in his application.

MR RADEBE: No, I wasn't with him.

CHAIRPERSON: What would be the point of the cross-examination?

MR LAMEY: Chairperson, I'm not sure the observation that he refers to refers to the period immediately before operation was launched, or whether it was some other time which Mr Ras has referred to.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Just how material is that evidence, Mr Lamey? I don't think ...(indistinct - no microphone) bearing in mind the arrangements that we came to in chambers with regard to the opportunity which is being given to Mr Radebe on compassionate grounds, to make this evidence.

MR LAMEY: Chairperson yes, I will perhaps deal with it with Mr Ras. As it pleases you, Chairperson.



MR MARIBANA: Thank you, Mr Chair, I've got no questions for the applicant.


MR JANSEN: Jansen on record. Thank you, Mr Chair, no questions.


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


MR VAN DER MERWE: Thank you, Mr Chair. Francois van der Merwe, no questions.


MR CORNELIUS: Thank you, Mr Chair. Wim Cornelius, for applicant Vermeulen. I've got no questions.


MS PATEL: Thank you, I don't have any questions either.


ADV BOSMAN: Thank you, Chairperson, I have no questions.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: I have no questions for Mr Radebe.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes thank you, you are excused.

MR HUGO: Thank you, Mr Chairman.




MARTHINUS D RAS: (sworn states)

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr Jansen, for your client's indulgence.

MR JANSEN: It's a pleasure, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Where were we now?

MR JANSEN: We were finished with the chief examination, Mr Chairman. I just in the break had the opportunity to have copies made of the little sketch that Mr Ras said he had drafted this morning. It's not according to scale, but it's a fair reflection of the three structures and the different points as Mr Ras remembered it. It consists of two pages, the one being the sketch and the next one, the next page, a description of the relevance of the different points marked A-J, as written by ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: What shall we mark this? A?

MR JANSEN: A1 and A2, Chair. And then Chair, there was one issue which I had not dealt with in-chief, it just relates to the death certificate of the young child, which I just want Mr Ras to comment on if I may. Thank you, Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Where would I find that?



Mr Chair, it was in the addendum, I think Addendum 2, indexed bundle 2, Mr Chair, page 4, there's the death certificate.

Mr Ras, the death certificate of the young boy, Mr Thika, ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Well Mr Jansen, you have ...(indistinct)



MR JANSEN: ... gives the reason of death as asphyxiation due to burns. I think the right translation would be "'n versmooring". Can you comment on this fact as it is given here?

CHAIRPERSON: In comparison, Mr Jansen, to be fair.

Mr Ras, you had an interview with that person to whom you referred to, this boy. What was his name?

MR RAS: I cannot remember, Chairperson, I cannot. I would have liked to have helped.

CHAIRPERSON: Is this the same person that you shot?

MR RAS: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Where in his body did you shoot him?

MR RAS: I think I shot him in the head and chest.


MR RAS: Yes, it happened very quickly, it may have been three or four.

CHAIRPERSON: How old was the person approximately, would have guessed? The person that you shot.

MR RAS: I would say 15 or 16 years old.


MR RAS: No. The other one could have been 30 years old, I shot two persons, the other one could have been in the 27s or maybe a bit older.

CHAIRPERSON: And your advocate is now talking of the death certificate of the 15-year-old, the person who according to the death certificate was a male 15-year-old child. Now we know we are talking about that specific person. He said or you said that the reason of death was asphyxiation, according to the certificate, what is your comment on that?

MR RAS: Chairperson, I knew that I shot that person, there - nothing before that.

MR JANSEN: Was there a fire at the scene?

MR RAS: Yes. I do not know how the fire started, I did not ask.

MR JANSEN: It could have been because of the explosion.

MR RAS: No, I do not think so because directly after the bomb exploded we went into both rooms, they had thatched roofs and I still shot one of them in the room. I don't know who set it alight. It could have been mentioned it to me why somebody set this alight. I cannot say it was so and so who did it.

MR JANSEN: Did the thatch roof burn?

MR RAS: Yes.

MR JANSEN: That's all, thank you, Chair.



CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR LAMEY: Thank you, Chairperson.

Mr Ras, during the break we received the sketch you made and the key of this sketch says -

"At the point where we were lying to detonate the explosives"

Who would have been there, the point that you refer to?

MR RAS: Chairperson, this plan I drew within five or ten minutes, that is point F. It was myself, Vermeulen and Riekert.

MR LAMEY: Is it correct or possibly so that there was a very large tree ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: I'm sorry to interrupt you, Mr Lamey.

Mr Ras, I don't have the plan and the A2 very well because it was just handed to us, but look at both please, look at point A specifically, are there any changes that you'd like to make?

MR RAS: No, Chairperson, that is how I remember it, which was the residence where ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Point A is the point where the boy was killed.

MR RAS: That is correct, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: In the family house?

MR RAS: That's correct, yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Not in the two-roomed building?

MR RAS: No, Chairperson.


MR RAS: As I have said before, Chairperson, at that stage the first plan was to plant the bomb next to the two rooms that was used by the ANC members. My first plan right at the beginning that I presented was that as soon as we find that there are people at the house, we would kill them at this place because they were scared -or the Defence Force members were in jail at that stage, and that was the only reason why they did not want to go ahead with that plan. So much so that at a later stage they gave permission to continue with this plan and that's why we had to kill the people in the house even though they were not ANC members but only those who assisted them. And immediately after the shooting occurred at the house, plan A with the bomb was not logic anymore because the shooting already occurred and we immediately reverted back to the previous plan.

CHAIRPERSON: Please continue.

MR LAMEY: Mr Ras, just to come back, can you remember if there was a tree - this plan doesn't have north-east or south or west directions on it, I would just like to confirm, Mr Chairperson, A1 is the sketch plan and A2 is the key.

MR RAS: That is correct.

MR LAMEY: Right at the bottom if you look at F in line but more towards the bottom of the page, can you remember if there was a large tree?

MR RAS: Yes, there was.

MR LAMEY: And there were also members who were either behind that tree or in that area.

MR RAS: We were only three of them who went up to the house, the rest of them waited there.

MR LAMEY: There?

MR RAS: Yes, at the tree.

MR LAMEY: And what was the distance more-or-less of the tree, or from the tree to the house?

MR RAS: It was approximately 40 to 50 metres.

MR LAMEY: Yes, that does agree with what I was instructed.

Now out of that position from the tree it is more at a diagonal line towards the front door of that outside building.

MR RAS: That is correct.

MR LAMEY: The sequence - or could I just put it like this, the planning was - we are now talking about the two buildings or the two rooms outside, the plan was - it was a brick building, to detonate a bomb and then destroy this building, is that correct?

MR RAS: Yes, that is.

MR LAMEY: And can you remember, on the evening of the incident when you started executing this plan, what was the expectation, how many people would have been in the house, how many people did you expect to be there according to your observations?

MR RAS: If I remember correctly there would have been at least three people.

MR LAMEY: My instructions from Mr Nortje was that as far as he can remember he had four people that you expected in the building.

MR RAS: Chairperson, as far as I can remember there were, with the observation, there were three people at the house with the two rooms plus the man and the woman and the child in the house. It was in total six people, but three people who used the rooms.

MR LAMEY: Then I want to ask you, what would you have done, would you have destroyed the building by detonating a bomb and then killed the people who were at that stage in the building in the process, who you expected to be MK members?

MR RAS: Chairperson, the Defence Force did not want to have a shoot-out, the whole idea was that we had to plant the bomb, detonate the bomb and if it was detonated, withdraw. There as no shooting planned. And they stood with that until they started to shoot at us and the whole plan changed.

MR LAMEY: So the shooting did start because of the circumstances that occurred there, it was not in the initial planning?

MR RAS: No, Chairperson.

MR LAMEY: Also concerning the shooting that happened in the family house?

MR RAS: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR LAMEY: You see this also agrees with my instructions. The sequence of the events at the scene, it was not quite clear to me what happened first - very well, you explained that a person walked out of the building and he walked close past you.

MR RAS: That's correct, Chairperson, it was about 11 o'clock that evening.

MR LAMEY: You then tried to shoot him and the weapon stalled.

MR RAS: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR LAMEY: Your weapon was a silenced weapons with a silencer.

MR RAS: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR LAMEY: And just from there could you just explain the sequence of events, how quickly after this did what happen? Did a shooting first take place and then the explosion, or was the explosion the first occurrence that took place?

MR RAS: No, Chairperson, directly after the person went into the room I shouted before I got to the detonator or the explosives, before we could detonate it he started shooting from the left-hand side out of the building and with this shooting we detonated the bomb.

MR LAMEY: During the shooting?

MR RAS: Yes, it was during the shooting that we detonated the bomb.

MR LAMEY: The bomb was then detonated at a stage or a position where Mr Vermeulen, according to my instructions, had to move very quickly and he wasn't in a very ideal or safe position.

MR RAS: Well I cannot say it was safe. It was an open area and it was 30 killogrammes of explosives that we used. There was no protection between us and the bomb, the only protection was by lying down flat on the ground and we still continued to detonate the bomb.

MR LAMEY: According to - let's talk about the time when the bomb was detonated, we are talking about fractions of seconds.

MR RAS: Chairperson, it's difficult to say, it felt as if it was a long time but it was only a few seconds, I would say about 30 seconds from when we moved the wiring from the house and then detonated the bomb because during that stage they were shooting at us the whole time.

MR LAMEY: But the shooting you said happened - or they shot at you from the window on the left-hand side, it was the left back room.

MR RAS: I would say it was the back window if you stand in front of it. It was from that window that they shot at us.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Ras, did Mr Nortje just do what he did because of instructions or commands that were given to him?

MR RAS: Well at that stage, Chairperson, he was basically the support group. He was with Maj de Kock and the group at that stage was part of the Special Forces.

CHAIRPERSON: I'm not asking what he did, I'm asking about his participation in this whole affair, it was because of commands or instructions that he received and he followed them, is that correct?

MR RAS: Yes, that is.

CHAIRPERSON: Please continue.

MR LAMEY: In other words, after the explosion you shot the person in the building.

MR RAS: That is correct.

MR LAMEY: Was that at a stage before the support group, like Mr Nortje, reached the house?

MR RAS: Well both people were killed before anybody arrived there.

MR LAMEY: There was a time or a period of time before the support group of which Mr Nortje was part, arrived at the scene.

MR RAS: Chairperson, it is part of a surprise element, as soon as the explosives went off nobody can really recover, you immediately move in and within seconds I went into the first room, a handgrenade was thrown at me and I went to the second room and I killed both of them.

MR LAMEY: You do not know at what stage Mr Nortje arrived?

MR RAS: Well right at the end when everything was completed.

MR LAMEY: But that is what I want to clear up because I've got specific instructions that when everything calmed down, when everything was calm at the scene, that was only when the support group like Mr Nortje arrived at the scene.

MR RAS: Yes, there was another person from the support group that arrived, it was Mr Hoffman.

MR LAMEY: My instructions from Mr Nortje is that the explosion destroyed the wall on the right-hand side - or let me put it this way, the bomb that was made was a pipe-bomb, it had a metal point, is that correct?

MR RAS: Yes, that is.

MR LAMEY: And it destroyed the wall on the right-hand side and the roof on that side of the building collapsed.

MR RAS: Chairperson, the right-hand or the right room was destroyed and then also the middle part of the wall had a lot of damage.

MR LAMEY: It brings me to the following. Mr Nortje's recollection is - he does agree with you that after everything calmed down and the dust settled, he went to the outside building and my instructions are also that after he looked at the sketch that you drew he confirmed that he found a person dead at point B, approximately where you indicated on the map.

MR RAS: Yes, as far as I remember, Mr Nortje kept him up so I could take a photograph.

MR LAMEY: That is correct. You also say in your statement that afterwards there was identification by means of an askari, is it of that person?

MR RAS: Yes, that is correct.

MR LAMEY: Then Mr Nortje's recollection is that there were two people dead in the right-hand side of the building. I do not know if you went into that side of the building or what your observation was there.

MR RAS: No, Chairperson, that was flattened. Somebody mentioned that somebody was lying behind or underneath the rocks or rubble. I did not see him personally, but there was talk of somebody's hand that they saw sticking out from underneath the rubble.

MR LAMEY: And then the stage where the young boy was hot in the residence of the family, was this after the explosion?

MR RAS: Yes, it was immediately after the explosion.

MR LAMEY: That was just before the members of the support group arrived at the scene.

MR RAS: Yes, that is correct.

MR LAMEY: Thank you, Chairperson, I've got no further questions.


CHAIRPERSON: Mr Maribana - wait, let us go through the others first.

MR NEL: I have not questions for Mr Ras, thank you.


CHAIRPERSON: Mr van der Merwe.

MR VAN DER MERWE: No questions for Mr Ras.


CHAIRPERSON: Mr Cornelius.

MR CORNELIUS: I act for a footsoldier in this issue, I've got no questions, thank you Mr Chair.



CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR HUGO: I wish I could say I was acting for a footsoldier in this matter, Mr Chairman.

Mr Ras, can you remember what Mr de Kock's rank was in 1988, during December?

MR RAS: Chairperson, you might help me, I think it was a Major.

MR HUGO: Yes, it's my instructions that his rank at that stage was Major. Is it correct that Schoon and Loots' ranks at that stage were that of Brigadier?

MR RAS: Yes, I think Schoon was definitely a Brigadier, Loots I think was a full Colonel at that stage. I could be incorrect, that he was a Brigadier, but I think he was a Colonel.

MR HUGO: Whatever the case is, both Loots and Schoon were Mr de Kock's seniors, if you look at the rank.

MR RAS: Yes, that is correct.

MR HUGO: Then I just want some clarity regarding the introductory aspects. You say that you were stationed at C1 head office, my recollection or knowledge is that you were actually at Vlakplaas and that there was a general office at head office which you would visit on a daily basis.

MR RAS: Yes, that is correct.

MR HUGO: Did this then have the effect that you had regular liaison with Brig Schoon?

MR RAS: Yes, Chairperson, in this particular case I very regularly brought the reports through to him and gave him feedback.

MR HUGO: Because it would appear to me - please assist me if I'm incorrect, but it would appear to me as if this particular case is somewhat unique in the sense that on a soldier level there was direct liaison with Brig Schoon, which was not the ordinary case.

MR RAS: Yes, this was completely different, this was the first time that things were handled in this way. Mr de Kock was involved, but it would have been his instructions to clear this directly with Brig Schoon and Brig Schoon cleared this with the Defence Force at that stage. So it was different.

MR HUGO: Yes, we'll come to the information later, the information which was given to Mr Schoon, but let us just agree then that Brig Schoon was consistently brought up to speed with the information which was collected and what exactly was taking place.

MR RAS: Yes.


MR RAS: I personally informed him every time regarding the progress.

MR HUGO: And then, did it occur from time to time, that Mr de Kock would sort of not be present - or if I say that he wasn't really informed, it wouldn't be the correct expression, but reports were submitted to Brig Schoon of which Mr de Kock didn't have first-hand knowledge?

MR RAS: It could have occurred that I may have returned from Mafikeng or from that area and I believe that it did happen when I would return and Mr de Kock would not be available, where he was perhaps not in the office, and I would take the reports to Brig Schoon directly. Yes, this did occur.

MR HUGO: Can I then ask you, when did the idea originate that military action should be taken against this transit house?

MR RAS: Directly after the identification of the premises.

MR HUGO: Very well.

MR RAS: We searched for quite a long time due to the persons who resided in the premises and we could not identify them. Once we had positively identified the persons and the place, the idea originated to destroy the premises and to kill the persons.

MR HUGO: These reports which came to your knowledge, this would be with the initiation of this operation, when the idea originated, where did these reports come from?

MR RAS: From arrested ANC persons who had mentioned a premises very close to the Botswana border, also by means of interrogation and activities conducted by C2 with regard to ANC persons, and reports which came through which assisted in the identification of the house.

MR HUGO: And these reports which came to your knowledge, did this occur in the regular routine fashion, by means of the circulation of information by the Security Branches and you who were tasked with the Botswana area and the Western Transvaal area, came to hear of this?

MR RAS: Yes, there was such a file and if one returned to Pretoria head office one of the first things that one would do would be to study the reports that had come in and to determine what the latest information was that one could glean from these reports.

MR HUGO: And would you agree with me that at Vlakplaas there was compartmentalisation in the sense that Mr de Kock who was the Commander, would allocate certain regions in the country to various other officers, which might not be strictly speaking the right word, but some of his more subordinate soldiers, which would probably also not be the correct terminology, but the point is that certain regions were allocated to certain persons and they would work in these regions.

MR RAS: That is correct.

MR HUGO: And Mr de Kock was the overall Commander of all of this.

MR RAS: That is correct.

MR HUGO: And would you then agree with me that from Mr de Kock's perspective it was impossible to visit every single region which was cordoned off and allocated when it came to the planning of operations?

MR RAS: Yes, it is a question of impossibility. It is impossible for one person to visit every area. I for example spent six months working on the project, it was easier for me to remember everything. In terms of the time that Mr de Kock was directly involved, he wouldn't be able to remember everything in such detail.

MR HUGO: Therefore, out of necessity it would also lead to a situation where information from certain situations would be conveyed to him cryptically, in the sense that the person on ground level who was involved in the operation, would have detailed information and this would be cryptically conveyed to Mr de Kock.

MR RAS: That is correct.

MR HUGO: And even more so the case with this particular case where you had direct liaison with Brig Schoon.

MR RAS: That is correct.

MR HUGO: May I just ask you, can you recall any other case in which had direct liaison with such a senior officer at Security Head Office?

MR RAS: No, Chairperson.

MR HUGO: Now you have mentioned in your written application that the reports were compiled and that research was also conducted, do I understand you correctly that other persons were also involved in the compilation and research into these reports, or do you limit this specifically to your own share?

MR RAS: It is my own share, however it is as a result of reports which other persons compiled by means of their informers from Botswana and Western Transvaal, and also as a result of C2, who had interviewed arrested ANC members, along with information that I had obtained from Bophuthatswana, who also had a group of former ANC members working for them, who also had established their own informer network and I had access to such documents.

MR HUGO: Do you know whether there was ever any source who conveyed information with regard to this specific transit house which was allegedly used by the ANC?

MR RAS: No, Chairperson.

MR HUGO: Was any attempt made to establish such a source, with the exception of the shepherd who at a later stage was attemptedly recruited?

MR RAS: Yes, a young person was indicated to me, the person had transported the persons with the red Corolla Mark II, it was however unsuccessful and I do not know of any other persons who were specifically tasked with this. According to my knowledge the ANC persons would arrive there primarily at night and depart also primarily at night, so it was very difficult to point out the place.

MR HUGO: Wouldn't it also be correct to say that this was the first step that you considered before considering violent action? In other words, you first considered establishing a source.

MR RAS: Yes, I considered many things. Apart from the establishment of an informer I also went as far as to see whether or not we could have a full-time patrol of the border and those roads at night, to see whether or not we could arrest persons at such times, but these were all unsuccessful attempts.

CHAIRPERSON: Where was this?

MR RAS: On the road between Ramatlabana and the settlements. It was a large road which was a carriageway for buses and taxis and public transport, there were also side roads. There were so many roads in such an intricate network that it was difficult to monitor on a full-time basis, one would have been lucky if one could have managed to arrest somebody under such circumstances with roadblocks.

The problem was also that the person would enter and pick up the people, then he would be able to see if there was movement and as such postpone the plan for a night or two. It was very difficult to establish any real plan of action.

MR HUGO: Then I would also like to discuss the participation of the so-called askaris, this would be with regard to the initial observation period. You state in your affidavit that initially the observation was conducted with a group of askaris and then you refer to two Radebes and Eric Sefade. And then for the purposes of the record I would like to correct this and say that the one Radebe I would accept is Simon Radebe who has just testified.

MR RAS: That is correct.

MR HUGO: You would agree with me that Mr Radebe was never an askari.

MR RAS: That is correct.

MR HUGO: And then the other Radebe, according to my instructions, is not Bheki or Jacob Radebe, Simon's brother but another Radebe.

MR RAS: Yes, that is correct, there was another Radebe who infiltrated from Botswana, who knew the people on the other side and this was very easy for me. The reason why I sued them, although I cannot recall all the names of the persons that I used in observation, the binocular that we used was much stronger and clearer than any other photographs that we could take and this would facilitate the process of observation and identification. That is how we identified some of these ANC members at the house and that is what enabled us to say yes, this is the correct person, it is "klein" Radebe, it's not Bheki.

MR HUGO: The incident took place - the killing of the victims took place on the 11th of December 1988, we know this from the documents which have been submitted, how long before this date did the first observation process begin that would indicate your observation along with Sefade and the two Radebes?

MR RAS: Approximately three months before, although we had already started searching for the place or the facility or the house, six months before. The actual observation that we conducted on a daily basis, must have started about three months before the attack.

MR HUGO: So do I understand you correctly that there was an initial search for the specific house, which took a certain period of time and once the house had been identified, the observation took a further three months?

MR RAS: Yes, that is because we took photographs of all houses from the Casspir, all the houses that were close to the border, we made use of a helicopter, we also made video recordings, all of these things took place in the first period of time, then we identified the house after which a three month period of observation ensued, where we also attempted to destroy the premises with the assistance of the Special Forces members, after which there were two weeks which elapsed and then ...(intervention)

MR HUGO: Very well, we will get to that part. I just want to ask you, you had crossed the border with the helicopter and made other enquiries, were you satisfied after this that the house was indeed the transit house that you were looking for?

MR RAS: Yes.

MR HUGO: May I just ask you, where were you stationed, or from which point at least, was the observation conducted by you and the askaris?

MR RAS: From the RSA side, from a bush - if you look at the sketch which I made, it was approximately a kilometre to the right-hand side, from the house on the RSA side.

MR HUGO: Now we know from the evidence that later a trench was dug out and camouflage netting was also used and so forth, was this used from the very beginning? That would be with the initial observation when you and the askaris were there?

MR RAS: No, we didn't really use the trenches, what happened there was that the bushes were very thick and we had managed to arrange a situation there with a shadow-net, so that we could use this as a point of observation.

MR HUGO: And that was used from the initial stage?

MR RAS: Yes, that is correct.

MR HUGO: Did you ever consider crossing the border to be completely certain of the nature and scope of the activities which were taking place ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Hugo, wouldn't it be better just to say that you wanted to make sure?

MR HUGO: Yes, to make sure.

MR RAS: We were sure, Chairperson, the places had been positively identified by other persons who had already been arrested. As I've already stated, with the binoculars I had askaris with me who had identified the ANC members who had assisted them in infiltrating the country, I had already taken photographs of persons standing outside the house, who later admitted that it had been them who were on the premises. I was completely sure that this was the correct premises.

MR HUGO: The fact of the matter remains that if you had indeed crossed the border, you would have placed yourself in the territory of a foreign power, is that not so?

MR RAS: But the problem I had was that I couldn't walk around and leave tracks, any person such a shepherd or someone who lived in the veld, or a farmer, would at any time be able to pick up any foreign tracks and this would be suspicious to such a person, I couldn't afford it at that stage. We basically climbed out of the Casspir next to the bushes and we didn't walk around in that area.

MR HUGO: Isn't it correct that if you had indeed crossed the border and quite obviously been busy with your activities, you would have shipwrecked the operation to a greater extent?

MR RAS: Definitely, it would not have been a success.

MR HUGO: And then you also mention the groups of men who arrived at the transit house, can you indicate to us how they arrived at the transit house?

MR RAS: Chairperson, I must also state that they arrived primarily with a Toyota bakkie along with Sebata, who brought these persons there. I must just state that after the time when I used the helicopter, for approximately a month the activities ceased at the premises, we didn't pick up or notice any activities and thereafter it came into use again. Perhaps during that period they had become suspicious and thought that we could be conducting observation of the place.

MR HUGO: Did you tell us how they arrived there?

MR RAS: In a vehicle, yes. As far as I can recall it was primarily by means of two Toyota vehicles, one of which was a bakkie.

MR HUGO: And I accept that you observed this by means of binoculars and the camera.

MR RAS: Mainly the binoculars because they were stronger than the camera.

MR HUGO: And the occupants of this vehicle, where did they stop and where did they go?

MR RAS: If one studies the plan, it would be approximately where the X has been drawn, that is where the vehicle would have stopped, in that vicinity. It is difficult, or it was difficult to see precisely where the vehicle would stop because it was at night, because one would see the vehicle's lights approaching and see the vehicle stop and then it would be very difficult to figure out exactly what was going on.

MR HUGO: Did you ever see any of these occupants disembark from the vehicle and then move into the residence of the family, where A is marked?

MR RAS: No, as I stated, when we conducted observation at night we would see the vehicle's lights approaching, we would hear the voices and the sounds carrying and we would then see that these persons emerged from those two rooms and we would then know that they had spent the night there.

MR HUGO: These persons who disembarked from the vehicles, did they carry any baggage with them or any other items that you can recall?

MR RAS: No, Chairperson, I do not recall anything like that. As I've said, every time that they arrived there it was primarily at night.

MR HUGO: Did you ever see any weapons?


MR HUGO: Very well. These persons who would then arrive there in the vehicles, did you ever see that they crossed the border back to South Africa?

MR RAS: Yes, Chairperson, at a certain stage, I think it was when Mr Hoffman was with me and we were busy with surveillance when we saw three men approaching. The TIN unit arrived and left something there and the men ran back. One of them had a bike, he just left the bike there and they returned to the house.

MR HUGO: And did you ever see that any of these men departed back to the Botswana direction from this house?

MR RAS: No. Many activities took place at night and it was quite problematic to observe exactly what was going on. The only time that one could really determine the identities of these persons was during the day when Sebata and the other person would arrive or if any of these persons came out of the house during the day, but most of the time they remained in-doors.

MR HUGO: And this equipment, how sophisticated was it?

MR RAS: No, it wasn't very strong, I couldn't really use it at the time, it would depend upon the light, the moon and so forth.

MR HUGO: Perhaps you've already answered this question, but can you recall what exactly they kept themselves busy with all the time, from their of arrival until their point of disappearance when you no longer saw them there?

MR RAS: I'm sure that they slept a lot, it must have been discipline that they maintained with regard to remaining in the rooms at all times. I did notice that the young man would from time to time if he went to a room, take a package or some food to someone inside on of the rooms. That is what we could surmise with the binoculars, but they didn't really hang around outside. I know that on one occasion it looked as if they were having a party, that was when there was a bomb incident in Potchefstroom, and on that night others arrived there and it was clear that they were having a party on the premises.

MR HUGO: You know the crux of this matter is in my opinion, with respect, the fact whether or not an innocent person was killed during this incident. Was there anything according to your observation, which indicated that this place was used as a regular residence?

MR RAS: Yes, the rest of the complex, along with the overnight facilities, was also used as a residential complex.

MR HUGO: And you recall that there was a man and a woman living in the house, along with a young child and then there were also the persons who made use of the two rooms.

MR RAS: Yes.

MR HUGO: I might be rushing ahead somewhat, but which steps did you take during the initial planning stage which would actually have boiled down to the fact that this building would be blown up in order to prevent that the persons in the adjacent family residence would be injured during the explosion?

MR RAS: We did not take any steps, the entire premises was a target because those persons were collaborators, they assisted the ANC, they fed them, they were directly involved. It is not a question that they didn't know who these persons were and no other provision or no other measures were ever taken. There were no other houses nearby belonging to independent persons who would have known who these persons were and why they were injured or killed.

MR HUGO: Very well, I will return to that. You state in your affidavit that after three weeks you once again reported to Brig Schoon, that would be after the initial observation, was this a written report?

MR RAS: I'm not certain. Originally when I submitted the report it was three months before the final report, there were consistent reports on those who were infiltrating and my final report when I said that we couldn't carry on like this, must have been three months after we commenced with the observation.

MR HUGO: Mr Chairman, if you'll just bear with me, I'm just looking at his affidavit.

Whatever the case may be I cannot find it right away. Can you recall whether all the reports were written or whether you made verbal reports from time to time?

MR RAS: I think that initially there were verbal conversations that I had with him, but the big moment arrived when I told him that there were X amount of persons infiltrating, that there was nothing that we could do about it, and that is when Brig Schoon requested a proper report from me so that he could submit this to the other authorities.

MR HUGO: And these reports which were submitted on a consistent basis to Brig Schoon, on what basis was Mr de Kock brought up to speed with the progress?

MR RAS: I think that as far as we could get to each other, we would inform one another of what the situation was. He was my direct Commander and I did inform him about the matter upon the occasions that I saw him. He would in either event, have asked me what was going on, it wasn't that he wasn't interested or anything like that.

MR HUGO: Can you recall whether Mr de Kock at that stage was involved in any other operation throughout the country?

MR RAS: As far as I can recall he was, I may be incorrect but I think that he was. Throughout the month he would have to visit all the persons who were stationed throughout the country and it wasn't only a question of one operation that we had planned and executed.

MR HUGO: Very well. You made the written submission to Brig Schoon during which you explained in extensive detail what the information was and if I understand your evidence in your affidavit, Brig Schoon's reaction was that this was the ambit of the Defence Force, and on the grounds of that he refused to take action.

MR RAS: Yes, that was what took place the first time, I was instructed to continue with the observation of the place and after we found that there were so many people infiltrating the country via this route, I returned to him and to Mr de Kock and said "listen, we cannot carry on like this, these persons are infiltrating and we cannot manage to arrest them", and that is when I submitted the thorough report and he said that he would clear it with the Defence Force and then the operation was planned.

MR HUGO: We will come to that, I'm actually interested in Brig Schoon's reaction as the Commander of C1 at that stage. What did you say to Brig Schoon, what was your proposal pertaining to these activities of the ANC that you had to combat?

MR RAS: Firstly, I told him that I had worked for approximately three months in identifying the house, after the house had been identified I suggested that we eliminate the persons within the house and destroy the premise. That is when Schoon said ...(intervention)

MR HUGO: I beg your pardon, I just want to establish the so-called mind-set of Brig Schoon, if I may use that phrase. When you told him that you thought it advisable to destroy the house, wasn't his reaction to the effect of "we cannot do this, it is unlawful, it is illegal"?

MR RAS: No, he simply said that this was within the ambit of the Defence Force's activities and that we couldn't take action in this regard.

MR HUGO: Didn't he say that you could never launch such an attack and that innocent people would be killed in the process?

MR RAS: No, he didn't say that to me, he only told me to continue with the observation and to see how things progressed.

MR HUGO: And I might be rushing ahead once again, but did he tell you at any stage that it was dangerous, that you could never launch such an operation?


MR HUGO: You state in your affidavit that Schoon's reaction was that it was the area of the military and that you couldn't take any action within such a situation and that you had to continue further observation, which then took three months.

MR RAS: Yes, that is what we did and we noticed how many people were infiltrating the country.

MR HUGO: Did you once again make use of Vlakplaas members and askaris to assist you with the observation?

MR RAS: Yes, that is correct.

MR HUGO: And if I understand your evidence correctly, you gathered further information and also obtained further confirmation of your suspicions that this was indeed a thoroughfare house.

MR RAS: That is correct.

MR HUGO: This second report, the written report which you then submitted to Brig Schoon, if I understand the spirit of your evidence correctly it was a form of despair from your side because you felt that serious acts of terrorism were being planned here and that the police didn't want to do anything about it.

MR RAS: That is correct.

MR HUGO: And there was a sense of urgency with you.

MR RAS: Definitely.

MR HUGO: And did you make a written report to him?

MR RAS: Yes.

MR HUGO: And can you recall, just in general terms, what exactly was contained within this report?

MR RAS: After I spoke to him he wanted all the facts regarding the periods of time, the persons who had come in, the information that we possessed, persons who had identified the place, the photos that I had. I gave him everything and he went to the Defence Force with this, so that an operation could be planned. This did indeed take place and that was unsuccessful.

MR HUGO: Did he tell you at that stage he wants to liaise with the Defence Force?

MR RAS: He did say that, Chairperson.

MR HUGO: Did he mention any members of the Defence Force that he would have liaised with?

MR RAS: He may have, but I cannot place any names of persons that he allegedly contacted.

MR HUGO: And was this the first operation with regard to you as a member of Vlakplaas, in which you found that there was cooperation between C1 and the Defence Force?

MR RAS: Yes. In the future, thereafter, there were similar situations but this was my first experience of something like this.

MR HUGO: This report that you submitted to Brig Schoon, I accept that it contained much detail and particulars, as you have already testified.

MR RAS: Yes, that is correct.

MR HUGO: Did Mr de Kock have any insight into this document?

MR RAS: Yes, as far as I recall he did.

MR HUGO: May I just ask you once again, I think I have asked you already, but upon this occasion you apparently liaised directly with Brig Schoon, why did this occur as such?

MR RAS: I gave feedback to Mr de Kock at that stage and he told me to liaise directly with Brig Schoon. There was a point at which we could not plan or execute any cross-border operations without Brig Schoon's permission and these were orders that we had to have signed first before we could be deployed.

MR HUGO: And after the submission of this report, Brig Schoon told you to liaise with the Defence Force and to continue with the operation.

MR RAS: He told me to liaise with Brigadier or Col Loots in the Western Transvaal, who would then liaise with the Defence Force and that we would meet each other at the farm Nietverdiendt.

MR HUGO: And in this written report did you make any suggestion or proposal regarding how this threat could be combatted? Or let me just express myself clearer, this would be the report to Brig Schoon in which you set out the details and now I ask you, did you offer any solution to him for this problem?

MR RAS: Yes, my suggestion was to wait until there were MK members at the premises and my proposal was for us to wait until Sebata and Noga were the house, after which we would kill the persons and destroy the premises.

MR HUGO: I beg your pardon, I did not hear you?

MR RAS: We would then kill the persons at the premises and destroy the premises. But I wanted as a result of the fact that Noga and Sebata were the main persons who at that stage were transporting persons in Botswana, the idea was to eliminate them as well.

MR HUGO: And Brig Schoon's reaction when you proposed this?

MR RAS: He said that it would have to be cleared with the Defence Force.

MR HUGO: But did he object to this in any way?


MR HUGO: Did you accept that he had no problem with your proposed action of killing these persons?


MR HUGO: Did he at any stage tell you that you could not launch such an operation because innocent persons could be killed or injured in the cross-fire?


MR HUGO: You then liaised with the Defence Force. May I just ask you, when for the first time did you liaise with Colonel or Brig Loots personally?

MR RAS: It was probably a day or two later or probably the same day that Brig Schoon returned to me and told me to liaise with Brigadier or Col Loots - I cannot recall what his rank was at that stage, which I then did and Loots told me at which time I should be at the farm at Nietverdiendt, which they used as a safehouse.

MR HUGO: Rank-wise, Col Loots was the junior to Brig Schoon.

MR RAS: That is correct.

MR HUGO: And where was Col Loots stationed or based at that stage?

MR RAS: Potchefstroom, Head of Security, Western Transvaal.

MR HUGO: And when you arrived at Col Loots, what did you discuss?

MR RAS: When I arrived there the members of Special Forces were already there and it was mentioned to me that they would do the premises that evening, but that it had to be done by means of a bomb, that it would appear that the premises were destroyed.

MR HUGO: I'm sorry, you're moving a little too fast for me. You said that when you arrived at the farm the members of Special Forces were there, who were they?

MR RAS: As far as I can recall the first evening that we went through to the premises, the one was JC, I cannot recall the names of the others, I know that JC Erasmus was involved the first time.

MR HUGO: And can you recall whether or not your written submission to Brig Schoon was in the possession of Col Loots?

MR RAS: No, I don't know whether he had it in his possession or not.

MR HUGO: Was your submission discussed at any point during this meeting?

MR RAS: The meeting in Western Transvaal?

MR HUGO: With Col Loots, the first meeting.

MR RAS: Well that is where I conveyed everything verbally, I didn't put anything in writing to Col Loots.

MR HUGO: Very well. And I accept that you gave him in broad terms, the same information that you conveyed to Brig Schoon, you reconveyed this to Col Loots in verbal form.

MR RAS: That is correct.

MR HUGO: Along with the other members of Special Forces who were present.

MR RAS: That is correct.

MR HUGO: And what was their reaction?

MR RAS: Well the plan was already for us to plant the bomb at the premises that night.

MR HUGO: Would it be fair of me to say that for you it appeared as if there had already been a decision between Brig Schoon and Col Loots that this operation would be launched?

MR RAS: Yes, definitely.

MR HUGO: And that you had basically been confronted with a fait accompli in the sense that a decision had already been taken and that it was only the mechanics of the operation which had to be discussed?

MR RAS: Yes, and I wasn't satisfied with that because if one planted a bomb it didn't necessarily mean that one would kill anybody, however they maintained that this was the only method to use at that stage.

MR HUGO: And at that stage did Col Loots and/or the other persons make any mention of the possibility of innocent persons being killed in the course of the operation?

MR RAS: No, those premises stood separately from other premises around them, that is what everybody was aware of.

MR HUGO: And how did they plan to launch the operation?

MR RAS: The plan was for the bomb to be prepared, we would then place the bomb next to the house and withdraw and the bomb would then detonate after 25 minutes.

MR HUGO: May I interpose, Mr Hugo.

When you refer to the house, do you refer to the main house or to the two-building structure?

MR RAS: No, the ...(indistinct) structure next to that. That is where actually ANC people were living.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Yes, thank you.

MR HUGO: I would accept that the bomb had been manufactured by them already.

MR RAS: Yes, by Special Forces.

MR HUGO: And what was the size of the charge?

MR RAS: Approximately 30 killogrammes.

MR HUGO: And was the bomb and the ensuing explosion aimed only at the two-room building or was this also a case of the entire complex that had to be destroyed?

MR RAS: It was discussed. It is very difficult to deal with the whole premises, it had to appear as if they were busy trying to make a bomb and that their own device had exploded on them. That is why it was decided to place the device next to the one wall of the two-room building, so that only that section would be destroyed.

CHAIRPERSON: Was that the plan from the point of departure of South Africa?

MR RAS: Yes, the reason for that was they didn't want to have a shooting and they were also afraid for their friends who were in jail.

CHAIRPERSON: And everybody who was involved understood this.

MR RAS: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: In time, could you tell us how long before the 11th of December 1988 did this operation take place?

MR RAS: Approximately two weeks before the time.

MR HUGO: Was there any other member of Vlakplaas who was involved in this operation?

MR RAS: Not as far as I can recall, not with that one. I think there may have been one person who wanted to go along, but the Defence Force refused, they didn't want to take any other persons with them. But I cannot recall who the person was.

MR HUGO: Would it then be correct to say that for the purposes of this specific operation you had been co-opted by Col Loots and the Defence Force?

MR RAS: That is correct.

MR HUGO: Was Mr de Kock informed about the planning with this specific operation, the first one?

MR RAS: There were no operations that I was involved in that I did not inform him about. It is such a long time ago, I believe that I must have, but if Mr de Kock denies this I would have to concede that I did not inform him, unless he was not available at that time.

MR HUGO: You heard his evidence, if I am correct he states that he was completely unaware of the operation at that time, that he would have found the house that night if he was involved that night. I'm just putting it to you that Mr de Kock states that he was unaware of the operation.

MR RAS: Well I cannot thing so because the same guys were used two weeks later. Perhaps has forgotten about this because the same person, JC for example, participated in the operation two weeks later and I don't understand how Mr de Kock could not have known about this, especially if the second operation took place two weeks later. It must have been discussed. I cannot find any reason why I would not have informed him. If there was something circumstantial that led to the fact that I did not inform him, it was purely accidental.

MR HUGO: Col Loots, would you say that he was the person that took the lead during the planning of this operation?

MR RAS: Yes.

MR HUGO: Did he offer any input with regard to the detail and the ground level planning pertaining to the operation?

MR RAS: No, but as a result of information which Western Transvaal had obtained on a permanent basis and the members of Special Forces and the Defence Forces who had operated in Swaziland and had obtained such information, he was the middle man among all the relevant parties.

MR HUGO: Let me then refer to the abortive attempt then. Did Brig Schoon know that the operation would be launched?

MR RAS: Yes, he was the one who told me to contact Loots in order to continue with the operation.

MR HUGO: And according to your knowledge, Brig Schoon knew precisely what this operation would entail?

MR RAS: Yes, that is correct.

MR HUGO: And after the operation was aborted, did you liaise with Brig Schoon and tell him that it had been aborted?

MR RAS: Yes, I returned and then we decided further to conduct further observation on the premises to see whether or not any tracks had been left, to see whether or not the premises were still being used for infiltration and then to base further action on such information.

MR HUGO: And what was Brig Schoon's reaction?

MR RAS: At that stage when we returned I think that Brig Schoon and Col de Kock became involved on a full-time basis in the operation and I think that there was more liaison between the two of them, and after that I began to take more orders from Mr de Kock in this regard.

MR HUGO: Did you at that stage drive back to Pretoria physically to report to Brig Schoon, or was it done telephonically?

MR RAS: No, I did this telephonically and the following day I was back in Pretoria, after which further feedback was given.

MR HUGO: And then you have also mentioned a third observation which was conducted along with Mr van Blerk and you refer specifically to a party which was held on the premises after the bomb incident in Potchefstroom. Would this be on the same day of the bomb explosion?

MR RAS: Yes, the previous night a bomb exploded and the following day or the following evening at least, a party was held at the house on the premises. I think that the bomb was planted at a police station or something like that.

MR HUGO: And were there civilians on the premises who participated in the festivities or were there only men?

MR RAS: It was late afternoon/early evening ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Men are also civilians.

MR HUGO: Yes, you are correct, Chairperson.

MR RAS: Chairperson, as far as I know there was a group of people together there. It was difficult to determine according to observation, who all the people were who were there, I just know that the Toyota bakkie was there.

MR HUGO: And the persons who participated in the party, did they also enter the family residence or was this only the two rooms?

MR RAS: It was at night, one couldn't really see anything, one could only hear that there was a party under way.

MR HUGO: Mr Chairman, I see it's about 1 o'clock, I'm still going to be a while.

CHAIRPERSON: We will then adjourn for the lunch hour.






Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Mr Ras, just before your lunch break we completed the abortive attempt, that is the attempt that was cancelled because you couldn't find the house in the rain. That was approximately a week before the 11th of December when you executed the operation.

MR RAS: I would say it was approximately two to three weeks.

MR HUGO: In this period of time I assume that you also continued with your monitoring.

MR RAS: Yes, that is correct, one of the Defence Force members came with us and also monitored.

MR HUGO: Can you tell me what Mr Simon Radebe's role in this period of time was.

MR RAS: He accompanied us in the last bit of the planning. We took him with us to do the observation. We worked in shifts.

MR HUGO: Very well. Did he know what the purpose was of this observation and that he would then in the end or ultimately take part in the operation?

MR RAS: Yes.

MR HUGO: Is it correct to say that Mr Radebe's position was that he executed your instructions and took part in the operation because of the command that you gave him?

MR RAS: That is correct.

MR HUGO: Concerning the observation during this time, if I understand your evidence correctly, Mr de Kock then appeared on the scene.

MR RAS: Yes, we worked from Desaneng Dam, we worked in shifts and then observed or surveyed the house for 24 hours.

MR HUGO: And if I understand your evidence correctly, that of earlier this morning, Mr de Kock's role was not that of an observes, he did not physically go and observe.

MR RAS: No, he did not.

MR HUGO: And would it be correct to say that Mr de Kock concerning the observation and the information that was gathered, mainly relied on the information that you gave him?

MR RAS: That is correct.

MR HUGO: Can you just tell us, during this time, this is now the two weeks before the operation, what was Brig Loots' participation or role in this operation?

MR RAS: Well they were informed - Brig Loots was not part of it as such, he was not part of the Vlakplaas component or the Defence Force on that basis, he was just informed that on that specific night we would then execute or launch this operation.

MR HUGO: And would you say that Brig Loots felt and urgency to launch this operation or to execute it?

MR RAS: Yes, because of the amount of people who according to the information that we provided them with and the observations we did, came into the country or infiltrated the country and no arrests were made. It was therefore very urgent that we do continue as planned.

MR HUGO: Then you also testified that on the evening of the operation it was raining, it was very dark.

MR RAS: Yes, as far as I can remember.

MR HUGO: And would it be correct to say that it is possible for somebody to arrive at the scene without being noticed, although you did observe the area?

MR RAS: Yes, it is possible, but the people usually arrived with a vehicle.

MR HUGO: During the day?

MR RAS: No, but also during the evening. It was mainly in the evenings.

MR HUGO: Very well. Then I would like to go back to the planning. Is it correct, and this is Mr de Kock's recollection and version, that the idea was never that this whole premises had to be destroyed and all the people in the house or all the people in this area should be destroyed?

MR RAS: I must say that Maj de Kock, when he became part of the operation, at that stage the Defence Force was in charge and the planning that they did was to plant a bomb at the premises.

MR HUGO: I would just like to refer you back to Exhibit A1. For me as someone who is not an expert in this area, the placing of the bomb was done in such a way that the two-room building would be the only building to be destroyed and not the surrounding rondawel or the family house.

MR RAS: Yes, that was on my recommendation.

MR HUGO: So that the innocent in the household would not be injured.

MR RAS: I do differ with the innocent people and I also in other operations I did in the past, the only reason why we planned it in this way was because of the danger that the Defence Force members in Botswana could have been assaulted or attacked. There was a previous incidents where the Defence Force were prepared to attack a transit house and to kill the occupants in the house. This specific instance we only decided on the bomb because they did not want it to seem as if it was a Defence Force operation.

MR HUGO: But on the possibility that you would have placed the bomb there - you said it was a 30 kilogramme charge.

MR RAS: Yes, that is correct.

MR HUGO: Would the rondawel and the household be damaged?

MR RAS: No, not at all, the idea was to make it seem as if they built the bomb there and it went off by mistake.

MR HUGO: Then concerning the herd boy, if I understand your evidence correctly you did in your report to Brig Schoon make mention of this herd boy.

MR RAS: Yes, that is correct, in the sense that after we interrogated him and the information that we gathered from him, that he was a person that acted as a courier and drove the Corona Mark II vehicle.

MR HUGO: Just for my own clarity, I'm not quite sure that the person who died, this young boy, was the herd boy that you observed or if it was another person. Could you just help us with that?

MR RAS: Well I was under the impression and I still am today, that it was the same person, the person that I arrested. Although I heard yesterday the family said that it was not the same person, or the attorney of the family said that it was not the same person, I'm still under the impression that it was the same person who lived there.

ADV BOSMAN: Mr Ras, could you positively identify this person under those circumstances and say it was the herd boy? It was evening, I do not know what the lighting was in the house where you shot and killed him, but can you say today that you positively identified him or is it just an inference that you made that it was the same person?

MR RAS: No, Chairperson, at that stage when we entered the house, shooting occurred, the whole circumstances changed, we cannot continue as planned, we went in and within seconds - we didn't know who was going to shoot at us, they were already shooting at us, and the person who I killed was according to the build and the age, was approximately the same, but I couldn't say and I cannot today say. No photographs were taken, we couldn't identify him that it was the same person, I just believed that it was.

ADV BOSMAN: My question was, at that stage did you believe it at that stage or do you believe it now?

MR RAS: I still believe today that it was the same person.

ADV BOSMAN: But you also believed it then.

MR RAS: Yes, on that day I did believe it.

MR HUGO: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

You testified when you gave a description of the scene and the area around it, that is consisted of three parts. I'm just interested in the house ... (end of tape 2 side A)

... this young person that you refer to now, is this the herd boy that you are referring to or is this another person?

MR RAS: This is the person I refer to, who also carried food and parcels to the house or to the double-room house where the ANC people stayed.

MR HUGO: Then if you can recall Mr de Kock testified that a catalyst for this shooting that occurred was the person that walked out of the building and urinated, can you remember something like that?

MR RAS: Yes, he came out, but it wasn't the catalyst that started it all - yes it could have been that everything happened from there, but just before we detonated the bomb they started shooting at us from inside the house.

MR HUGO: And that changed the situation and that resulted in a chain reaction and a change of plans.

MR RAS: After they shot at us everything changed, what we wanted to prevent, the shooting changed the circumstances.

MR HUGO: Can I just ask you in this way - I have to apologise for asking this again, but according to your recollection how many people were killed? You said you killed two.

MR RAS: Yes, that is correct.

MR HUGO: You now heard that Mr de Kock testified that he heard that the working part of the AK47 was cocked - I'm not technically correct now, but the AK47s were cocked, AK47s, that's actually the relevant point. Did you hear anything like that?

MR RAS: Chairperson, I'm going to differ there because I was closer to the house than they were. They could have cocked the weapons but what I heard in the next - it was when I met the person at the door, was the shooting that occurred. They were shooting at us in our direction, because I had a torchlight fastened to the rifle that I had at that stage, but they were firing directly in our direction.

MR HUGO: The point that I would like to make is that according to Mr de Kock's recollection there was more than one person who knew that an AK47 weapon or weapons were cocked.

MR RAS: I only heard the shooting and there definitely was shooting. I did not hear the cocking of the weapons.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: May I interpose, Mr Hugo.

Just how far were you from Mr de Kock at that time? You say you were nearer to the house than Mr de Kock.

MNR RAS: "Ja, ons was seker omtrent 30 treë van hulle af, 30/40 treë vanaf mnr de Kock hulle af, en ek was van die huis af omtrent 25 treë, 30 treë maksimum."

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: So you were the one who was nearer to the house than Mr de Kock.

MR RAS: That is correct, yes.


MR HUGO: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Can you remember if there were any other people or persons in this two-room building that fled the scene after the explosion occurred?

MR RAS: No, Chairperson, all that I can remember - or the person that I found outside of the building that was about a metre or two from me, ran back into the house. I cannot say that he ran out or escaped or that he was still in the house, but some of the people said that they saw the hand of a person underneath the rubble. I do not know of a person who ran away, I only know of the person who started shooting at us because I was on the opposite side of the house as to where the doors were, I was in the back where the windows were, that's where we were lying and Mr de Kock was on the side of the door. It could have been that somebody ran out of the house.

MR HUGO: You now testified that the shooting was not part of the plan and you were now confronted suddenly with the unexpected turn of events and that is why the boy was shot. What did you think would have been the result if you did not shoot him and he observed what happened that evening?

MR RAS: Chairperson, at that stage I did not know, because the shooting already ensued I did not know from where they were going to shoot next. There were people who ran away or the person who ran into the house, I do not know if somebody else ran away and I wanted to - let me put it this way, safeguard the area as soon as possible, went into the house as soon as possible within - and you kill and shoot everybody in the room, otherwise they could shoot back at you.

MR HUGO: Then just one final aspect that I would like to get clarity about. Your evidence is very clear that the RPG launcher that you took with was not taken with to be planted as part of the weaponry that the ANC kept.

MR RAS: No, Chairperson, not as far as I know, according to my knowledge we had to take it with us in case a vehicle arrived and we had to shoot at the vehicle.

MR HUGO: Thank you, Mr Chairman, we've got no further questions.


CHAIRPERSON: If you wanted to destroy that house, why didn't you use the RPG launcher or couldn't you use it?

MR RAS: No, Chairperson, if you use an RPG launcher it is mainly, you use it mainly to halt a vehicle, it can go through a vehicle, it can kill people in a direct way or the shrapnel that is a result of the explosion. You can shoot through a wall but only if the person is in direct line of fire and he would be killed then in the room.


CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR MARIBANA: Thank you, Mr Chairperson. JC Maribana on record.

Mr Ras, I just want us to start from the period of the surveillance of the transit house. Tell us, within that period of six months, how many people will you say, or members of the ANC did visit the said house?

MR RAS: Chairperson, I would just like to rectify this, it was not six months that we observed this house, the total period of time in three months was first of all to identify the scene or the house and the three months was the period of observation and that was before the first attack on this house. There were more, according to my information, just more than 30 people who possibility infiltrated the country.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you see any person who infiltrated the country?

MR RAS: Chairperson, it is unfortunately very difficult. As I've already testified most of the time in the evenings you see a vehicle appear and the next day you see them started to use the house, ten or eleven they come out of the house, walk around the house maybe and go back in. Some of them we identified as ANC members, except for the time when I said we saw people coming in through the gate, the TIN vehicle, and then ran back into the house. I didn't see people who infiltrated directly.

CHAIRPERSON: You did not see anybody?

MR RAS: No, Chairperson, it was one of our biggest problems, you see people arrive at the house, you see them move around, the next day they disappear. With

roadblocks and everything we could not arrest them.

CHAIRPERSON: You say that your surveillance point was approximately 80 metres from the house.

MR RAS: No, Chairperson, it was about a kilometre or 1.2 kilometres from the house.

CHAIRPERSON: I beg your pardon. How is it that you, because you observed so closely, you did not see one single person of that house infiltrate the country?

MR RAS: Chairperson, what I did not add in the picture, the place where the bridge is over the fence is through a bush. Let us say it is tree-like bushes, it was without our - it was outside the range of our observation point. It must have been that many of them infiltrated in the evening. I did not have the equipment to do it.

CHAIRPERSON: You see what worries me is that you are talking in the sense that it did occur, can you today tell us that it did happen?

MR RAS: Yes, Chairperson, one of the persons that was arrested in Vereeniging, of whom I took photographs, and I also heard after the hearing that people from Botswana was arrested and the person who had the same clothes on and I confronted him with, it was all correct and they were dropped off during the evening and they did infiltrate that evening or during the evening.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you not find out what specific area or what area of the fence they crossed?

MR RAS: I think specifically where the bridge was, I think that's where they infiltrated the country. It was no possible to observe that point because we would leave footprints. We just couldn't do it. It is a rural area, Chairperson, there is no way in which you could. If for example they saw that we were observing the house - directly after we used the helicopter that house was not used for a whole month and we could not identify any new people or see them use the house as a transit house.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, Mr Maribana.

MR MARIBANA: Thank you, Mr Chairperson.

Mr Ras, if I understand you correctly you just received an information that there was a transit house and these people they didn't point out to you where was it, is that correct?

MR RAS: That is correct, Chairperson, not one of the them could tell us where exactly the house was and that is why we used a video camera to photograph all the houses in that area, to take video footage and in the description of the people who were arrested, or the description they gave us concerning the layout of the house, we in the end could identify the right house.

MR MARIBANA: If I understand you correctly you only managed to identify the said house by use of photographs.

MR RAS: Yes, and people were arrested and the interrogation that ensued. In the reports that they gave us of the area, what it looked like, we could identify the house and afterwards through observation we saw people coming to the house, spending the night there, spending a period of time there and then leaving. It was also confirmed that at the end of the day with the boy that we arrested, that it was the house that was used. It was confirmed by the person who was arrested in Vereeniging, through the photographs, also the courier that we arrested and who I attempted to turn as an informer. We made very sure that it was the correct house.

MR MARIBANA: And in your examination-in-chief you made mention of the fact that a chopper from Botswana was used. I can say in the search of the said house, so I just want to find out, did you after gathering those photos and the information from those people, did you maybe use a chopper in order to make sure that the said house which you heard about and it was identified by ANC people who were arrested, is the same one?

MR RAS: It was not a helicopter from Botswana, it was a helicopter from Bophuthatswana, and the video material was used.

CHAIRPERSON: I think Mr Ras, with regard to this question, I think it would be helpful in covering the interests of the clients of Mr Maribana, you say that you planted a bomb to destroy the two-room building and the residents of that building, to kill them, do I understand it correctly so far?

MR RAS: You understand correctly, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: And that was the intention - according to your information this two-room building was a house where ANC members resided, is that correct?

MR RAS: Yes, that is, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Why was it then necessary to go to the main house in the first place after you killed the people in that double-room house?

MR RAS: Chairperson, as I already mentioned the whole plan was that - or there are other transit houses that were attacked by the Defence Force and whoever was in the house were killed and the people who executed these operations would have done it differently, they would possibly have gone in as well. The planning was, and it was also said, that if it wasn't for the people in jail we would have gone in and killed all the people and destroyed the scene or the building on the scene. We just wanted to protect our people. They were assaulted to such an extent in jail that the information was that they urinated blood.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Ras, I do not want to sound strange or flippant, I've many times cross-examined police officers and always they gave very long or elaborate answers, let us talk like a new South African policeman. I asked a very simple question. Why did you see it necessary to move from that double-room house after you detonated the bomb, after you killed all the people in the house and destroyed the building itself, why was it necessary to go then to the main house? That is all that I'm asking.

MR RAS: Chairperson, with respect, the plan initially was to kill the people who were involved with the infiltration of the people and the danger in that plan was that they saw it as an operation - they would have seen it as an operation of the Defence Force. The moment when they fired shots at the house, it immediately turned or became clear that it was an attack of the Defence Force and as a result of that the whole situation changed, that which we planned in the beginning could not be executed and we had to revert back to plan one and that was to destroy the transit house with the people who helped them with the infiltration, to kill them all, and then we could go over to the second option.

I was the operational Commander who did the planning and I did planning amongst others at a later stage with the Chand house where all the people in the house were killed. And it was exactly the same circumstances, where the people were giving residency, they infiltrated the house, the house was used for that purpose. And at that stage there was no other danger, we went into the house, we destroyed the house, and to kill the people in the house.

CHAIRPERSON: Up to this point you haven't testified that you had observed the main house, is that correct?

MR RAS: That is correct, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: What would have happened if that evening you went there and you found people who visited the main house, would you have killed them as well? Because they wouldn't have been people who helped the ANC. How would it have happened?

MR RAS: Well Chairperson, we did it at that stage - the period of time that we did it was after eleven at night, we saw that there were no other people in the area. If somebody slept over that evening - and in the previous incident that we testified, the Chand incident, some of - a person died that evening who came from the Republic, under the circumstances. You cannot go into a house - if I infiltrate a house or penetrate a house, I cannot ask who is there at that stage at the Chands and run the risk of being killed myself. That is why I go in and I believe that they will shoot at me. And at that evening I almost died twice, or killed twice, because they shot at me and they missed. They threw a handgrenade at me and it wasn't successful.

CHAIRPERSON: What would have happened to the people who would have visited that night there?

MR RAS: They would have been killed.

CHAIRPERSON: I'm talking about the main house.

MR RAS: We observed the house during the day, if they were there during the day we would have killed them.

CHAIRPERSON: But according to your evidence you didn't know who was there, but you were just afraid that they would shoot at you.

MR RAS: From day one, and I also testified today that I knew that there was a father or an uncle, a mother as well as the child and I knew of three others who were there that evening. I also testified that the father and mother who assisted them I would have gone and killed them, but because of what happened they would have probably ran away.

CHAIRPERSON: And in that main house, if there was somebody else there who visited them?

MR RAS: It wouldn't have been possible to distinguish who is the right person or not.

CHAIRPERSON: So that person would have been killed?

MR RAS: Yes, he would of. I wouldn't have been able to identify who is there and asked them "who is this visitor" at that stage. I would have continued because our observation said that there were only six people, three in the main house and three in the double-room house.

CHAIRPERSON: Carry on, Mr Maribana.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: May I before you carry on Mr Maribana? I'm a little confused by what you've just conceded when the Chair put to you that you had not observed the main house. This is not my understanding of your evidence so far, I thought you had also had an opportunity to observe the main house to an extent that you knew exactly who was occupying the main house, that it was the man and a woman as well as a child.

MR RAS: Chairperson, let me just put it clearly - if I could just put it more clearly. The entire complex had about a metre's difference between the two rooms and the other house, it was actually one complex, the buildings were not situated far from one another. The family that lived in the house were supporters, it was their own house which incorporated these two rooms that the ANC activists lived in.

So it was part of their house that they made available to the ANC infiltrators. And due to the fact that they provided food and that the ANC must have paid them by inference, to feed them. It was observed that specifically the one person went to the rooms with parcels which must have contained food, once again by inference. So their premises was made available and it was one complex, even though there was simply a metre's difference between the structures.

CHAIRPERSON: Is that your inference?

MR RAS: Chairperson, what are you referring to?

CHAIRPERSON: That the parents made their premises available to the ANC. Or do you have specific proof to substantiate this? Is that an inference that you have drawn?

MR RAS: No, that is what I observed by means of surveillance.


MR RAS: That among others the son took them food. I cannot understand how it would be possible that I would spend such a lengthy period of time watching persons being allowed by the ANC, such as Sebata, Noga, known ANC persons, these persons were being dropped off at a house, they were staying overnight and then infiltrating the country, what other excuse could this family offer if asked "why did you give these people food and allow them to stay before they infiltrated the country?" We could obtain their real names and find out if they would be willing to testify.

ADV BOSMAN: Mr Ras, I don't think that you have answered Judge Khampepe's question directly, her question was to you whether or not she understood you correctly because her impression is that the Chairperson has another impression, that you observed the entire complex and not only the two rooms.

MR RAS: As I've just explained, Chairperson, the whole complex is built on a much smaller scale, there is only a metre's difference between the structures.

ADV BOSMAN: Then the question is, did you observe the main house as well?

MR RAS: Yes. Well from our position you couldn't really see the part of the main house, you could see the two rooms and see the persons coming in from the back section. The persons that one would observe there would clearly be associating with one another as well, it wasn't a question of this structure being completely separate and only used for those persons.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: So in short you are saying you still stand by your earlier evidence that your observation included the entire complex.

MR RAS: That is correct, Chairperson.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Yes. And that is not the impression I gathered when you were responding to a question which was put to you by the Chair, that you had not initially observed the main house. Do you recall when that was explored with you by the Chair, and you simply conceded? I simply wanted to put the record straight and for my own sake get clarity on your version because that's not what I understood your evidence to have been.

MR RAS: Chairperson, I don't know how to explain this anymore.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: No, you have explained it, I'm just explaining to you why I had to ask that question.

MR RAS: As I was observing I would observe one premises.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: And that's how you were able to note that the young person was leaving the main house to bring food to the two-room structure.

MR RAS: Yes, he would go to the other side, go to the back, open the door and give them the food. That was an inference that I drew, that it was food because they were in the house all the time and - I wasn't close enough to see that it was food, but I believe that it must have been food.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, Mr Maribana.

MR MARIBANA: Thank you, Mr Chairperson.

Mr Ras, after your research and the identification of the said house, when you lastly managed to identify the house, did you maybe be in a position to observe as to how many people actually were living in that house? I'm just referring to the whole complex.

MR RAS: Chairperson, if one had to observe the place throughout the day one would see which persons wore which clothes, one would see them enter and exit buildings or rooms - I may be wrong in terms of the distance, one would observe these persons as such and then draw the inference in terms of who would be at the house.

MR MARIBANA: And so if I understand you correctly, let us - you can't be able actually to tell this Committee as to how many people were there living in that house?

MR RAS: Chairperson, that is the inference that we drew, if I'm incorrect please assist me, but that was the conclusion that we drew, that there were two persons living there, two persons plus the young person, on a permanent basis.

MR MARIBANA: And will you agree with me when I say that the said house was used as a permanent residence?

MR RAS: That is not the inference that I drew, but unless it was the case that it was used as regular dwelling, then the inference that I drew about persons who were not ANC members, could actually be because they were persons who lived there from time to time and sometimes occupied the two rooms because they were part of the house.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: I don't understand you, Mr Ras, your evidence is that this house was kept under surveillance ...(intervention)

INTERPRETER: The speaker's microphone.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Your evidence is that this house was kept under surveillance for quite a long time, I'm not sure whether you said three months or six months, but it was for a period longer than three months and for the entire period longer than three months, you saw a man, a woman and a child staying there. I mean, what conclusion did you reach when you see the same persons whenever you conduct your observation, staying in that house? Doesn't that to you indicate that the house is being used for permanent residence? Wouldn't you say it's something that would be reasonable to infer?

MR RAS: Chairperson, I never saw that the man or the woman or the child used the two rooms. The question was put to me ...(intervention)

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: No, I'm talking about the main house, I'm talking about the main house.

MR RAS: Chairperson, as I've already explained, the question which was put to me by the attorney is that the entire complex was utilised as a main house, that is what he has just put to me and that is why I have said if that be the case, then I did not see the man or the woman or the child use that section consisting of the two rooms.

If he tells me that it was used as part of the regular main house, those two rooms, then it is possible that the persons whom I thought might have been ANC members at that stage, because I identified some of them I could see that this one is an ANC man because the ANC members who conducted the observation with me, recognised some of them but not all of them. It could be that some of them who arrived there from time to time, were friends of the family who used those rooms to stay in. That is a possibility.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Yes, I understand that. Let me then pose this question to you, was it your impression that the main house was used as a permanent residence?

MR RAS: That is not the impression that I had, my impression was that the two rooms were used primarily for ANC members.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: I'm now talking about the main house, I'm not talking about the two-roomed structure. Mr Ras, in terms of your sketch there is a two-roomed structure and the main house, now my question only relates to the main house, not the two-roomed structure. Was it your impression that the main house which is shown in terms of Exhibit A1, there is this family residence, was that your impression that this house was used as a permanent residence? I'm now not referring to the two-roomed structure which is part of the complex, I am only confining myself to the main house.

MR RAS: Chairperson, it was my impression that that section was used primarily as the section for the family.


MR MARIBANA: Thank you, Chair.

Mr Ras, just to take that matter further, because I could you hear that you want to make a distinction between the main house and the two houses surrounding the main house, if I understand you correctly your observation was that members of the family were only or solely using that main house and not the two outside rooms, is that so?

MR RAS: That is correct, Chairperson, that is what I observed.

MR MARIBANA: And as a result thereof, you came to a conclusion that the two ...(indistinct) houses are used mainly by the ANC people, is that so?

MR RAS: Correct, Chairperson.

MR MARIBANA: And Mr Ras, I've got specific instructions that that - let me say the main house consists of the two houses who were used as permanent residential(sic) by the ...(indistinct) family, what would be your comment on that?

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: You mean the two-roomed structure?

MR MARIBANA: That is correct, Chair.

MR RAS: Chairperson, I've already attempted to explain this a while ago. If you were to tell me that the other sections were also used by the family, I would not know about it. I have already stated that we knew that the father, the mother and the son did not use that section, but if they had used it then the persons whom I thought to have been ANC members, could possibly have been friends or family who were visiting them and who used that section of the dwelling as a normal part of the dwelling.

MR MARIBANA: Thank you, Mr Ras. On that point, if I understand you correctly, you don't dispute the fact that even the two houses were used by members by members of the family, is that what I understand from you, or from what you have just said?

ADV BOSMAN: Mr Maribana, would it not be clearer if you referred to it as the two rooms and not the two houses? I think it's a bit confusing it you refer to it as the two houses.

MR MARIBANA: Thank you, Madam Chair.

Mr Ras, as Madam Chair has just put it, let us say the two rooms as well ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Let us get clarity here. On this plan A, let us mark what is referred to here as "family dwelling" as X, and the building referred to as an ANC facility, as B - sorry, sorry Y. Or maybe Y would be -so that will be X and Y, we'll refer to it like that.

MR MARIBANA: Thank you, Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Do we understand each other, Mr Ras?

MR RAS: Thank you, Chairperson. Then it would confirm this for me. If the family alleges that I thought that the ANC facility was part of their main residence, I have facts based upon what I observed and that is that ANC members stayed in Y. What the family's attorney has just told me is that the family also made use of this structure, all the more then the family was directly involved in collaboration with the ANC, because they used part of their house and not two separate sections, but part of their house for ANC members who were ex-filtrating and infiltrating.

MR MARIBANA: Okay, Mr Ras. So you've just stated that, let us say members of the ANC who were going to that house in the evening, some you could identify them and some not, is that not so?

MR RAS: No, Chairperson, all that I said was that I identified some of them by means of photographs and other persons who had been arrested, what I observed, photographed and saw directly, the persons whom I also interrogated who had made use of these rooms. The persons who were killed in Y had AK47s with them, there were also handgrenades. A person from that room fired at me. It was clear that this structure was indeed used by the ANC.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: May I interpose, Mr Maribana.

You've also continuously made mention of two prominent ANC members, Mr Noga and Mr Sebata, that you have said you frequently saw coming into the structure Y and not X, am I correct?

MR RAS: Chairperson, we must not view these things separately, X and Y formed part of one complex, they are buildings that are situated together. But I did see them there. We identified them as such and at a certain stage we also requested permission to eliminate these two persons who - or at least it was refused to us at that stage.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Were you able to identify Mr Noga and Mr Sebata using or entering the alleged transit house, by means of the telescope or was it by means of the informers who were able to point them out from the photographs that you showed to them?

MR RAS: Chairperson, I identified them, they also arrived there during the day, I identified them by means of the binoculars, I had ANC persons with me who had infiltrated from Botswana, I myself had photographs of Noga and Sebata, I also had descriptions of them and the members who were with me also identified them positively, that they knew that it was for example Sebata who was there. I do not have their real names at the moment, I will be able to obtain them if it is necessary.


MR MARIBANA: Thank you, Chairperson.

So Mr Ras, again on that point actually I just wanted to find out - or maybe let me just put it in that way, were you in a position by use of the binoculars, to identify each and every person who visited or who went to the said house?

MR RAS: Chairperson, to a large extent I wouldn't be able to say every one of them, it would depend upon the time of day or night. If it was at night I wouldn't have been able to see them, during the day we tried to have a permanent person on duty for observation, but we are referring to approximately a kilometre's distance of observation through binoculars, but as far as possible I was able to see. There were some persons that I could identify positively and others of whom I could only notice their basic features.

MR MARIBANA: And now let us move maybe to - or let me just say, after observing that structure X, which is the family house, after you've noticed that there was a man, a woman and a boy, did you maybe include that in your report, that is the one you reported maybe to Mr de Kock or Loots or Schoon?

MR RAS: Chairperson, my reports were in general very complete and detailed. Even if people arrived there and arrived in vehicles, I also mentioned it in my report. I would have mentioned it.

MR MARIBANA: The reason why I'm asking you if you did include that in your report, if I remember very well is it a Mr de Kock actually maybe he didn't have any information as far as man, a woman and a boy who were living in that house, or let us say in structure X. What is your comment on that?

MR RAS: Chairperson, all that I can mention there is that the whole time I worked with it, Mr de Kock was involved in this operation only for 10 days, or directly involved for 10 days. We're talking now about something that occurred 12 years ago, I do not think he could remember all of it, he could have forgotten it, but it would have been mentioned, there's not a question, that the person who came back every day and who was there, they would have reported it, they had to report it. Certain things that he forgot, for example the shooting that occurred.

I could just add it to the human circumstances of the situation, that one cannot remember everything. And the person who over a longer period of time worked with it, would have been able to remember it better. It was reported and the members who did the observation with me had to and also did report this.

ADV BOSMAN: Mr Maribana, can I just interpose here for one moment.

Mr Ras, I would like to clarify this for my own sake, did you not mention that some of the reports you gave directly to Brig Schoon?

MR RAS: Yes, the question was why Mr de Kock couldn't remember it and I just explained that he was only there or involved, directly involved, in the last 10 days of the operation. And out of the reports or the final report was also given directly to Brig Schoon, but the result of the boy who was there and in the 10 days that we did the observation of the house, Mr de Kock was there, the people reported back daily, not to me but also to Mr de Kock about what happened at the house during that day or the days. There's no question that you observe a place and not familiarise yourself with who lives there and what the movements are of the people who frequent the territory.

ADV BOSMAN: So what you say is that even if some of the reports were made directly to Brig Schoon, Mr de Kock must have known of the boy.

MR RAS: Yes, Chairperson, we are talking now about 10 days, people reported back to us, if he was with me at the Desaneng Dam, the members wouldn't have come back to me to report but they would have gone to him to report back, but I would have been in his presence when they did that.

ADV BOSMAN: Thank you, I do have clarity now.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Ras, that is what worries me now, you mentioned that you were the head of the operation, is that not true?

MR RAS: Chairperson, Mr de Kock the role of an observer and he did give guidance in this, but they reported back to us both. They will not circumvent him to go to me, he was there to give guidance and to help with the planning. But he was there.

CHAIRPERSON: The thing that is confusing is that you infer that they had to provide him with the information. I am here and I wonder if it is the truth, or if it happened like that, that you on your own evidence were the head of the operation in this case.

MR RAS: Chairperson, with this specific operation I did the planning, yes, but I also had more than 10 years of experience, work experience, with Mr de Kock, there's no way in which I can say that any person who goes with a person to execute an operation - what Mr de Kock would have done is he would sit in and they would report back what the circumstances were and I would have kept him informed the whole time of what was going on at that stage.

I do know him, for more than 10 years we worked together, planned together and there's no member that would have gone to me alone and not to him as well.

MR MARIBANA: Thank you, Mr Chair.

Mr Ras, on that point there's something which I don't understand. As you've been explaining just now, will you agree with me that there was a man, a woman and a boy, it was so important to such an extent that Mr de Kock, if you did report to him, he couldn't have forgotten about it?

MR RAS: Yes, Chairperson, because if you plan to attack a place you do know who the people are, what does the buildings look like, where the doors are, you get all the information you can about this place. It is a necessity.

MR MARIBANA: And I can say one of the main reasons for keeping that house under surveillance was to establish whether indeed it was used as a residential home or as a transit house, is that not correct?

MR RAS: Well it was confirmed over and again that it was used as a transit house, we just wanted to establish if we could find ways to arrest people who infiltrated the country. We also established more roadblocks to try and catch the people, but it took sometimes three or four days for the people to leave the transit house, they stayed there for that period of time.

MR MARIBANA: And I've got instructions, Mr Ras, that actually the woman whom you saw there, she was a visitor, in actual fact she was not the wife to Mr Tawana. What is your comment on that?

MR RAS: Chairperson, if that is the case she stayed there for more than three months.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Are those your instructions, Mr Maribana, that this person who allegedly was a visitor had been there for a period longer than three months?

MR MARIBANA: Thank you, Mr Chair.

Chairperson, it is my instructions that that woman she's a relative of Mr Tawana, she used to visit the Tawana family on a regular basis, but I don't have instructions that she stayed for a long period at the Tawana's family. Unless I'll confirm that with my clients.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Yes, probably be instructive to do so, so that we can put a pattern and question in that regard. It will deal with the evidence of Mr Ras about having observed this person for a period much longer than three months.

MR MARIBANA: Thank you, Chair, I'll take instructions later on that point.

And Mr Ras, let us proceed. Now about the herd boy you've been referring to in your examination-in-chief, how many boys actually did you observe in the vicinity of the said house, or maybe between the border and that house?

MR RAS: Chairperson, as far as I can remember it could have been one of two instances that I cannot remember, that maybe some of his friends came to visit him or played with him, but as far as I remember it was only just the one.

MR MARIBANA: Mr Ras, the reason why I'm asking you that question is because I've got instructions that the ...(indistinct) boy by the name of Pundukani was a close friend of the boy who was killed on that day or on the night in question, who is Rapula.

MR RAS: Chairperson, I would just like to know how often this person came to visit where at the same time we could observe two of them. It is not possible to say for me. That evening I couldn't say that it was him or not, I assumed and believed that it was the same person that we observed there. I cannot say - or the family could say maybe how often he was there, how often they played together. There could have been a few instances where somebody else was present, another child.

MR MARIBANA: And okay, let us proceed on that point. You were saying that a herd boy was once arrested by you and he was interrogated, did you maybe try to find out the name of the said herd boy?

MR RAS: Yes, Chairperson, I would have asked his full names. As far as I can remember I took the person to the house where his mother lived in Mafikeng, I cannot remember, we are talking about 12 years here.

MR MARIBANA: And in your examination-in-chief you made mention of the fact that you might have inferred that that boy whom you have arrested you might not have, or maybe you inferred that after that interrogation it seems like he didn't tell anybody about it because the situation remained as usual, is that correct?

MR RAS: Yes, as far as I remember the situation stayed the same, we observed the people who visited the place or resided there.

MR MARIBANA: And I've got specific instructions that actually the boy whom you have arrested is Pundukani, is Tawana's son, and that after you have released him from interrogation he did inform MK Sebata about your interrogations. What is your comment on that?

MR RAS: Chairperson, it is very insightful that he did inform him and it is surprising that they still used the house.

MR MARIBANA: I've got instructions, more in particular from the family who were in contact with MK Sebata whom you said you managed to identify him actually, is that after or immediately after they've received an information from the boy that you interrogated him, they stopped members of the ANC from coming to the Tawana's family for a period of two to three weeks. What is your comment on that?

MR RAS: Yes, there were periods where it was very quiet but at a certain stage, it is now admitted here that the family was known and that they did assist the ANC, provided residency, and it's also very clear that the house was used at a later stage because it is now admitted that the person who was killed in the house was an ANC member and AK47s were found as well as handgrenades.

MR MARIBANA: Okay, Mr Ras. And you actually made mention of the fact that, or you still believe that the boy whom you interrogated on that day, on one occasion, was the same boy who was shot on the day of the incident. Do you still stand by your belief?

MR RAS: Yes, I believe so and if the opposite can be proved to me - I believed that it was the same person and I believe the person that I found at the house and the person whom I shot dead, were one and the same person.

MR MARIBANA: Mr Ras, I've got instructions - or maybe just to assist you, that actually on that evening the boy who was shot was Rapula Thika and he was never interrogated by you or any person as far as the said is concerned. What is your comment on that?

MR RAS: If that be the case, then I find the circumstances regrettable. I will take responsibility for that and I would also like to place the responsibility at the door of the parents who knew that they were using the house for the ANC's purposes, which rendered the complex a target, yet despite all these facts they continued to expose themselves and innocent person by allowing ANC persons to reside in the house. There were previous cases during which the army attacked houses in Botswana and we cannot be the only ones to carry the blame because we shot dead innocent persons in a house, while the parents knowingly allowed the ANC to use the house as a facility, yet despite all these circumstances they choose to blame us only, yet I think that the parents should also carry some of the responsibility for the situation.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: May I interpose with your permission, mr Maribana.

Mr Ras, how long before this operation was carried out, had you conducted an interrogation of the alleged herd boy? Can you give us an estimate in terms of which days?

MR RAS: Yes, Chairperson, I've already done so in my evidence today, I said it was about two months before the time.

MR MARIBANA: Thank you, Chairperson.

And as I've just indicated to you about my instructions about the boy who was shot at on that day, it was my further instructions that that boy was went there to visit his friend, Pundukani, and that he knows nothing about the politics or the ANC. What is your comment on that?

CHAIRPERSON: Which boy is this now?

MR MARIBANA: Pardon, Mr Chair?

CHAIRPERSON: You say this boy, which boy?

MR MARIBANA: The boy who was shot at.

CHAIRPERSON: What is his name?

MR MARIBANA: It's Rapula.

CHAIRPERSON: Was he not the so-called herdsman?

MR MARIBANA: Chairperson, if I can just assist the Chairperson here, the instructions I have is that Rapula was a herd boy as well as Pundukani, that is Pundukani is Tawana's son and even Rapula Thika, Mr Chair, was a herd boy as well. They were of the same age and then they were herding the cattle together in most cases.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: But you've just put it to Mr Ras that he was visiting.

MR MARIBANA: Thank you, Chairperson. Now I'm putting to Mr Ras the reason why this boy, or Rapula was found in the house of the Tawanas, he just went there to visit.


MR MARIBANA: I'm not referring to a situation - the Chair can remember that it was in the evening when this operation was executed. I'm not referring to a situation whereby these boys were looking after the cattle or whatever stock. So what I'm putting to Mr Ras was, the reason why this boy Rapula was found at Tawana's house in that evening, it was the fact that he went actually to visit this other boy, his friend Pundukani. That is the reason why he was found at the said house.


MR MARIBANA: And that is why, Mr Chairperson, he was shot dead. I'm just putting to - I'm putting the version of the family, to the effect that the boy actually didn't go there for any other purpose except to visit his friend Pundukani.

MR RAS: Chairperson, if that is the case, then I have tremendous sympathy for the family, it was not foreseen and we didn't know that this would happen. The attorney for the family has stated today that the other son was indeed involved, this is what I believed at that stage and up to now as well. I'm sorry, it is tragic ...(intervention)

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Why do you say the victims' lawyer has stated that this young person was involved? That's not what he stated, he only said after you had interrogated him he reported your interrogation to the ANC or the MK members, as it was put to you.

MR RAS: Yes, and the case was that the information that he gave me about the ANC, about the courier, the fact that he returned to the ANC and still assisted them. What is tragic here is that an innocent person has been shot dead, a person who was not part or participating in the activities that were going on there, an innocent unforeseen person was killed, it was not foreseen from my side that he would be there at that stage, I believed that it was the other person. What is indeed the case is that I can be held responsible for this, but the family must also remember the fact that they were responsible in the sense that they allowed the ANC to use the house, with the knowledge that the Defence Force could have attacked the house at any stage and so doing have killed or injured people.

MR MARIBANA: Thank you, Chairperson.

Mr Ras, let us proceed. According to your recollection, how many people were in the structure Y on your Exhibit A1. How many people were there at that time when you executed your operation?

MR MARIBANA: Mr Maribana, ...(indistinct)

INTERPRETER: The speaker's microphone is not on)

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: We have X and Y, we don't have 1 and 2. Do you want to use the same numbers that we have on Exhibit A1? You've referred to structure 1.

MR MARIBANA: Thank you, Chairperson, I've said structure Y, maybe I wasn't audible enough.


MR MARIBANA: May you answer my question, Mr Ras, or should I repeat it?

MR RAS: Chairperson, earlier I testified that according to my information there were three persons in X and three persons in Y.

MR MARIBANA: Mr Ras, the reason why I'm asking that question, I've got specific instructions that - okay let us say you ...(indistinct) that in structure Y there were three people, but in structure X, I've got instructions that there were four people. What is your comment on that?

MR RAS: Chairperson, unless I made a mistake, my observation of X and Y was correct, unless there was something which I did not observe, which is a possibility.

MR MARIBANA: Okay, and in your evidence-in-chief or maybe during cross-examination by other colleagues, you said that you didn't see any person escaping of running away from let us say either structure X or Y, is that so?

MR RAS: That is correct, Chairperson, it was quite confused, the explosion that took place, the shooting, the handgrenades. It is logical that persons must have run away, but I didn't see them.

MR MARIBANA: And I've got instructions that actually Mr Tawana and the wife - or let us say ...(indistinct) Mankleko and Pundukani, that is Tawana's son, they've managed to run away immediately after the explosives were detonated. What is your comment on that?

MR RAS: It is possible, and according to observation persons had to have had escaped because I have referred to one person under the rubble, the rubble of the second room and then there were two persons who were shot, and if there were six in total to begin with, three must have escaped.

MR MARIBANA: And as yesterday during Mr de Kock's evidence was that - if I may just verify it, it was the fact that one of the people who were in the Y structure managed to run away, that's why it was his word that they didn't feel safe afterwards, they have to make it their point that they vacate the premises as soon as possible, did you maybe not ...(indistinct) that person from structure Y?

MR RAS: Chairperson, I was in the back of the house at that stage. Directly after the explosion I ran right back, I did not see any person running away. It is possible, I believe it is, but I didn't. When I stood there at Y or the right-hand door, I saw how he ran back into the house, I ran to the back and I did not see when anybody else ran away.

MR MARIBANA: And with regard to the shooting Mr Ras, will you maybe be able to tell us here, was there a shooting from - I can ...(indistinct) from both sides, or was a shooting only from your side?

MR RAS: Chairperson, as far as I can remember or what I could see at that stage was that they only shot from one side. And if you look at Y from the front, the left back, they shot from that window. Or fired from that window.

MR MARIBANA: Which side are you referring to here, Mr Ras?

MR RAS: If you look at Y, the left room, the window in the back towards point F.

MR MARIBANA: No, I'm not referring to this structure. You are saying that there was a shooting from one side, I just want to find out, it's either from you people or from ANC people?

MR RAS: It was from the ANC's side, they fired shots at us.

MR MARIBANA: And Mr Ras, the reason why I'm asking you that, it is the evidence of Mr de Kock that actually the shooting came from your side only. What is your comment on that?

MR RAS: Mr de Kock is wrong.

MR MARIBANA: Okay, Mr Ras. Now I just want you to, just to give us a clear picture, after - okay, let us say after you have arrived at that building this person appeared and he went to urinate, what was your first reaction then?

MR RAS: My first reaction was to hope that the person does not see me. He did turn around and saw me and then I realised we have to adjust our plan, I am going to shoot this person. My magazine wasn't attached to the rifle properly. This person panicked and started laughing and I tried to fire again, but once again I misfired, he then ran into the house, I ran up to point F when shots were fired from the house towards us or in our direction.

We then detonated the explosives, I then immediately got up and ran to X. Inside X I found the one person and I shot him, as I have already mentioned, and when I ran out of X, at approximately point C, a person threw a handgrenade from Y towards me. This handgrenade exploded. I was not injured. I ran into the house, where I met up the person who threw the handgrenade and I killed him.

Afterwards the others arrived. I quickly took a photograph of the person in the house and Mr de Kock told us to withdraw, which we also then did.

MR MARIBANA: Okay, if one understands you correctly, from point F on Exhibit A1, you ran from that point passed structure Y and shot a person in structure X, is that so?

MR RAS: That is correct, yes.

MR MARIBANA: If one may just - Mr Ras, even from your structure, you've indicated that structure A was a family house, what made you actually to pass this structure Y where you know that ANC are living in it, and go to structure X?

MR RAS: Chairperson, I think you just swopped around X and Y, but as I've already explained a few times today, at that stage the shooting already ensued, we had to adjust the plan and we then referred back to plan B, because of the shooting that occurred, to also kill the people who assisted those in the transit house.

MR MARIBANA: Okay. In your examination-in-chief you made mention of the fact that - if I may just say, your main purpose was to explode the said transit house and not to kill people who were in it, is that so?

MR RAS: Chairperson, I have already explained there was a plan to eliminate the people in the facility, but because of the fact that the people were in jail, they did want it to seem as if it was a Defence Force attack. And then immediately I realised that it was not a success when they started shooting because we had to withdraw or we had to refer back or fall back on the other option or the first plan, and we then went in to eliminate the people.

MR MARIBANA: I see. And this person whom you're saying you shot, personally shot in structure Y, how far was he from you?

MR RAS: Approximately two to three metres.

MR MARIBANA: And I heard you saying that you took photos or a photo of the person whom you shot, from which structure actually did you take that photo?

MR RAS: In Y, Chairperson.

MR MARIBANA: And then you're saying that person was later identified as a member of the ANC, is that correct?

MR RAS: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR MARIBANA: Did they maybe give you the name of the said person?

MR RAS: Yes, at that stage they did, but I can just say that I was involved with various arrested, a lot of people were eliminated, I cannot remember that person's name.

MR MARIBANA: I just want to find out from you, you're saying you left RPG weapon at the premises, is that so?

MR RAS: No, Chairperson, I said I took it with and somebody left it there, it was not me who left it there.

MR MARIBANA: Was there any other weapon which was left there, besides the RPG?

MR RAS: Yes, Chairperson, weapons that we found there we didn't take it with us, there were handgrenades. ...(indistinct) walked in to the left room there were a lot of handgrenades beneath the things. The person that I shot had an AK47 with him or on him.

MR MARIBANA: Chairperson, I'm just checking a few things, I'm just about to finish. Thank you, Mr Chairperson, I've got no further questions.


CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS PATEL: Thank you, Honourable Chairperson.

Mr Ras, there's just one aspect that I really would like clarity on. It seems to me that you waited six months at best three months before this operation was executed and the premises were observed for at least on a continuous basis, for at least three months and you state further that the 24 hours before the operation was executed, that the premises were in fact reconnoitred so to say. Can you explain why after having allowed people to move in and out, according to your evidence, from that premises for such a long time, what was the urgency in executing the operation on the date that in fact took place?

MR RAS: Chairperson, the urgency of the operation was that within three months we established that approximately 30 people disappeared whom we could not arrest, who infiltrated the country. We could not stop them in any other way. And it was established that it was a transit house that was used by the ANC.

MS PATEL: The main purpose would have been at least at very best, to destroy the structure, not so?

MR RAS: That is correct, Chairperson, that's how I testified. After we identified the scene we were told to destroy the building itself and kill the people because it was a Defence Force area. The urgency came later on because the facts were because a lot of people infiltrated the country from this house.

MS PATEL: According to your information at the time, you say you expected at least three ANC persons in structure Y, what information did you have about these three ANC persons at the time?

MR RAS: Chairperson, the only information that I had at that stage was that the vehicle had been observed dropping the people off, it was identified as a Toyota vehicle if I recall correctly, and the conclusions that we drew were that these were ANC members who arrived there the day before.

MS PATEL: Do I understand you correctly, Mr Ras, that you weren't even sure whether they were in fact ANC members, you assumed that they were because they were dropped off there by a specific vehicle and that you had no other information on those persons who were present in that house according to you that evening?

MR RAS: Chairperson, it is solely the fact that the vehicle we observed was a well-known vehicle belonging to the ANC, which they used to transport persons, that in itself gave us reasonable surety that the right persons were there and with all the other facts at our disposal, it was basically sufficient information for me to believe that these were ANC persons in the house at that stage. There was no other way for me to get closer in order to see who exactly the persons were in order to determine who precisely they were before we went on with the operation.

MS PATEL: So then on the basis of urgency you can't give us any specific information as to what these persons who had been dropped off there, what their plans were whatsoever?

MR RAS: Chairperson, my information was principally based upon observation and information which I obtained from already arrested ANC members. I didn't have an informer there. It would have made more sense to me and it was part of my proposal that if Noga and Sebata arrived at the house we would eliminate them and therefore disrupt the entire structure in Botswana, but this was abandoned due to the concern for the two arrested persons in Gaberone.

MS PATEL: That evening according to your observations, the evening of the operation, were Noga and Sebata at the house, at the structure Y?

MR RAS: I cannot say that they were there at that specific time, I cannot say today. I know that upon other occasions we observed then together and I could not carry out an operation at that stage because they wouldn't grant me permission to do so.

MS PATEL: So according to your observations they were not there that evening? It's a simple yes or no, Mr Ras.

MR RAS: It isn't that simple if one considers the period of time. I cannot say whether they were there or not today.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: May I just make some enquiry, Mr Ras, about something that is not clear in my mind. The reason that motivated you to execute this operation or to at least call for permission to proceed with this operation was when you saw the Toyota vehicle which was usually used by the ANC to drop people in the transit house, arriving a day or two prior to the execution of this operation, is it not so? Is that so?

MR RAS: That is correct, Chairperson. I beg your pardon, I didn't listen to the question that thoroughly. I've already testified a number of times today that according to me there were three persons who lived in the house, three were there that evening. I assumed that one may have been Noga who remained behind. The vehicle had already left. We had observation during the day which indicated that persons had made use of structure Y and the method of their operation required that they remained indoors all day long, and that gave us more assurance that there were indeed ANC members there.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: That's exactly my confusion. I thought your observation had indicated a continuous presence of three alleged ANC members using structure Y, but now what you have stated in response to Mr Patel's question is that a day or two prior to the execution of the operation three persons were seen being dropped from a Toyota vehicle that was used by the ANC to drop people in the transit house.

MR RAS: I beg your pardon, Chairperson, if I did not put it clearly enough. It is also not logical that the three persons who lived there or who were picked up with the man and the woman and the child, there were others who were dropped off there. It wasn't a question of arriving today and leaving tomorrow, they would often be waiting for something such as transport. As far as I can recall three persons, or at least apparently three persons were using room Y, or using section Y, they would come out later at 10 or 11 o'clock, for the rest of the time they remained in the house. That was what our observations indicated to us.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: And they remained in structure Y for quite a long time.

MR RAS: Two to three to four days. I think they arrived there the previous evening or least late afternoon, and the following day they were observed. There were people in the house, they were observed and the operation was launched.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Oh, I see. I thought originally you had stated that there were three persons continuously residing in structure Y, but now I understand your evidence. Thank you.

MS PATEL: Thank you, Honourable Chairperson. I'm sorry, I seem to have lost my train of thought, if you could just grant me a moment.

Can I just get this right, the three persons that were in the structure that evening, were they dropped off that day or were they dropped off a few days beforehand?

MR RAS: No, I think it was on the previous afternoon that they were dropped. As far as I can recall it was the previous afternoon.

MS PATEL: Okay, and you observed them for a full period of 24 hours before the operation was launched?

MR RAS: No, we couldn't have observed that evening. The next day during the day the observation was conducted and that is how we established that there were three persons there, that's what we counted during the day, and the next evening we launched the operation.

MS PATEL: Alright. Just on that point, can you, just for the sake of clarity, tell us exactly who was involved in the observation of that house? Let's start off with which of the applicants here. For that period of three months or whatever it was.

MR RAS: Chairperson, the three-month period was basically me, Hoffman, Simon Radebe, Klein Radebe and some of the other askaris. I cannot recall precisely today who assisted me in surveilling the house. Then we get to the 10 days complete observation where we relayed one another, that was Riaan Bellingan, John Tait, me, Willie Nortje - I would just have to give this some thought, I think I may have stated in my application who the persons were that participated with us in the operation and they took turns two-by-two to surveil the premises.

CHAIRPERSON: I just want to find out if I understood the previous evidence correctly. That it is Mr Ras' case that he had reason to believe that on that property was a structure that was allowed to be used as a halfway house as it were, for infiltration by members of the military wing of the ANC, and that one of the deceased at least was closely connected to the ANC. Does that not support the conclusions that Mr Ras made about whether that house was a target of not? Or let me put it more accurately, does it not support Mr Ras' conclusions that that house is a house owned by some people that support the ANC and is harbouring members of its military wing, who will later infiltrate the country? Did I understand that correctly?

MS PATEL: That is how I understand his evidence, Honourable Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Now I'm not trying to stop you, but I don't understand then the enquiry as to who did the observations and why and for what period, if we're in agreement that his conclusions were close to being correct.

It is another matter whether his actions following his conclusions were justifiable in terms of the Act, that is another matter, but I don't know if any questions as to who and for how long the observations and the surveillance were carried out, is going to change the fact of the matter is that's it's been admitted that the owners of that property or the people that lived on that property were quite aware of the fact that they were harbouring members of the military wing and that at least one of the deceased was closely connected to the ANC. I don't know, maybe you've got some other reason for asking the questions.

MS PATEL: I'm not sure whether Mr Maribana was clear when he put his clients' version to Mr Ras, whether in fact the house was being used as a transit house. The only thing he put as far as my recollection goes, to Mr Ras, was that after Pendukani was arrested and interrogated, he came back and reported to them and they then in turn - I'm not sure if it's they in turn, or whether Pendukani himself then went and spoke to MK Sebata about his arrest and interrogation. There was no admission as far as my recollection goes, that the house was in fact used as a transit house, Honourable Chairperson.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Maybe I may assist, Ms Patel. Mr Maribana then proceeded further and stated that at least two to three weeks thereafter they stopped using the house. You see, that then to me gave me the impression that that was an admission. That was a clear admission that the house was being used as a transit house, there can be no doubt about that.

MS PATEL: Alright yes, no I concede that. My apologies. But my enquiry really, Honourable Chairperson, goes to the question of the urgency with which the operation was carried out and eventually to the question of proportionality. If it is conceded that ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: No, isn't that the other matter that I'm talking about? The fact of the matter is that your enquiry touches the question of whether his conclusions were correct or not. In my mind, and I talk for myself, their admissions no matter which way we look at it, fortifies Mr Ras' conclusions. Surprisingly enough. But that is the fact of the matter. I'm saying that the justifiability of his subsequent actions is another matter.

MS PATEL: Alright, okay.

Then Mr Ras, perhaps you can explain to us, you've stated that as part of your observation and surveillance and the background work you did you also interrogated persons who were arrested, who gave you information about this transit house, you say that on one hand and on the other hand you have stated to us at great length how difficult it was in fact to arrest these persons who had moved through the transit house. Now can you explain to us under what circumstances the persons that you interrogated, who in fact gave you the information about the transit, were then arrested?

MR RAS: Chairperson, these were not persons who were arrested with infiltration, these were the persons who had already reached their destinations within the country, where they had planned to commit acts of terrorism, who had been arrested as a result of information gleaned from the public. Some were specifically arrested in Vereeniging because a person had exposed the information and these persons were then arrested as a result of such disclosure.

MS PATEL: I'm sorry, Mr Ras, are you saying that the parties whom you interrogated were arrested as a result of information that you received from sources on the South African side? Did I understand you correctly? I'm sorry, if you can just clarify that for me.

MR RAS: Chairperson, the information that we possessed was obtained by means of observation. We attempted to stop people from infiltrating, but these persons were apprehended by means of informers in the RSA, not my informers but informers from other branches and with their arrests I was notified and I went through and interrogated these persons in connection with facilities and so forth in Botswana. I didn't have specific informers who gave me information about these persons who were arrested.

MS PATEL: Did the Bophuthatswana Intelligence Service not have informers operating in Botswana at the time?

MR RAS: Yes, they did and from time to time they would have known where Sebata and the others were moving about, where their vehicles were, but the territory that they infiltrated there I had almost first-hand information that they were going to use that house, I just wasn't certain when they were going to leave. And we had not managed to arrest these persons within the three-month period of observation while they were orchestrating the infiltration.

MS PATEL: Are you saying that your sources were not in a position to give you that information as to when they would be infiltrating the country and where?

MR RAS: No, Chairperson, I've already stated, we knew where they were going to infiltrate, it just was problematic to apprehend them because we didn't know exactly when they were going to do this. We were in a rural settlement, to spend three months in such an environment without being noticed was an almost impossible task, but yet we managed to do this.

If we had been noticeable they would simply have used another transit house and crossed the border at another point. We had to very circumspect so that we could prevent these persons from infiltrating the country.

CHAIRPERSON: What did you think was going to happen after you bombed the house? Of course they would have another facility.

MR RAS: Chairperson, no, it didn't happen as such, what happened was that for the next six months infiltrations from Botswana virtually ceased because the persons who had to devise the route were much more cautious, it was more problematic and they were frightened because they'd almost lost their own lives because they had assisted persons in infiltration.

MS PATEL: I want to put it to you, Mr Ras, given your testimony that your main target was the elimination of the structure because it was indeed the structure that supported the infiltration route according to your information, that it wasn't necessary for persons to be killed during this operation. Because you also, by your very own admission, had allowed at least 30 other people to infiltrate the country during that three months that you were observing the place and you also didn't have any specific information about the three persons who were in that house, in structure Y that evening, about what they were planning and what danger they posed to the country. What is your comment, Sir?

MR RAS: Chairperson, I do not know, I've covered this point a few times. I was like an informant, I observed a place, saw them arrive, who according to all indications were ANC members, which at the end of the day showed that I was right. I couldn't just go ahead and stop them, we had to plan, we had to take certain precautions. Others will hear about what would happen there and they wouldn't be involved, or they wouldn't get involved in the end.

MS PATEL: Thank you, Honourable Chairperson.



Mr Ras, in the three months while you observed or monitored the house, before you got the final approval for this operation, where was Mr de Kock stationed at that stage?

MR RAS: At Vlakplaas, Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: And where were you most of the time stationed?

MR RAS: I was at Vlakplaas, I worked in the Western Transvaal.

MR JANSEN: How much time did you spend at the border in the Western Transvaal?

MR RAS: Approximately 23 days a month.

MR JANSEN: The information that you were gathering at that stage, that was for the purpose of the ANC activities or to confirm the activities of the ANC.

MR RAS: Yes, that is true. We already confirmed it, but we wanted to try and arrest some of the people.

MR JANSEN: You then submitted a report, what was the purposes of submitting the report? First of all you got instructions to submit a report.

MR RAS: That is correct, but what then happened is that because they said it was a Defence Force area we're only supposed to observe it and then an urgency was created.

MR JANSEN: But what was the purpose of submitting the report, was that trying to get approval for the attack?

MR RAS: Well to try and explain to them that the amount of people who came or infiltrated the country in the last three months and to then get approval for the attack.

MR JANSEN: Did Schoon then give the approval or permission?

MR RAS: What he did after I gave him the report is that after I come back from the Defence Force I reported back to him and he said that I must contact Brig Loots, which I did and then we continued with the operation.

MR JANSEN: What did Loots say to you, what were his words?

MR RAS: It was that we had to destroy the structure with a bomb and that it would be a Defence Force operation. The only reason why I could go with was because of the fact that I knew where the place was.

MR JANSEN: Very well. At that stage, was that when there was an initial attempt that was aborted?

MR RAS: Yes, that is correct.

MR JANSEN: Was it afterwards then that Mr de Kock arrived at the scene? Mr de Kock and the other applicants who arrived at the scene.

MR RAS: Yes, we then decided to launch a joint attack in coordination with Vlakplaas.

MR JANSEN: Was Mr de Kock then also permanently stationed at the border post?

MR RAS: That is correct, yes.

MR JANSEN: Now the information that you gathered at that stage, the surveillance of the house, was that for operational purposes?

MR RAS: That is correct, yes.

MR JANSEN: At the stage when Mr de Kock arrived and stayed there permanently, who would have been in charge of the day-to-day commands, the receiving of operational information etcetera?

MR RAS: Chairperson, Mr de Kock trained us all individually. The people would have reported to me but also always in his presence and to keep me up to date about what I was doing was right and we did it on that basis. He would have given advice where I did something wrong or where something didn't work out.

MR JANSEN: The facts that you included in your report to Schoon, was that according to you a reasonable accurate reflection of your observations and conclusions and inferences that you made at the terrain?

MR RAS: Unfortunately I do not have it today, it had photographs of the territory and the area.

MR JANSEN: Thank you, Chair, I've nothing further.


ADV BOSMAN: Thank you, Chairperson.

Mr Ras, there's only one aspect around a question that Mr Maribana put to you, that it felt to me that you did not answer in full. Mr Maribana put to you that your evidence was that they fired at you from structure Y and his question to you was, why did you then move to structure X.

MR RAS: Chairperson, it seems as if, in retrospect it seems as if it's different sections but it's only one structure. After the bomb detonated and from the direction from which I ran, that area was almost completely destroyed. I did not think that anybody could survive that and I immediately moved round to X and what happened then was that a person did survive in Y and then threw a handgrenade at me. I did not foresee it at that stage, and that could have cost my life.

ADV BOSMAN: Thank you. I also have clarity about that. Just one more question. You took a photograph of the deceased in Y, why didn't you take a photograph of the deceased in structure X?

MR RAS: In Y I wanted to identify and I believe in X it was the person who helped with the - it was the son who helped or assisted to ensure that the route was clean and to help the ANC. I heard today that I was wrong. In Y I wanted to identify which ANC member it was, that is why I didn't take the photograph. I also positively identified him at a later stage. I cannot say who it was then.

ADV BOSMAN: So you do accept that you made a mistake in X, concerning the identity of the person?

MR RAS: Yes. The facts were given to me that another person was killed and not the person that I arrested and interrogated. That is was another person.

ADV BOSMAN: Thank you.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: I'm only interested in your justification for the killing of the young person of 15 years old, who was in structure X, and I'm trying to understand why that person had to be killed. We have already heard evidence from Mr de Kock what the original plan was for the execution of this operation. We have yesterday and today heard evidence from you again about the original plan for the execution of the operation, and there appears to me to be a dichotomy of versions with regard to the original plan, as well as the nature of the alleged premises, being the transit house in question. But I'm not so much interested in the other portion, the dichotomy, with regard to the nature of the transit house, as I am with regard to the original plan. I want to understand your evidence because it's possible that I might not have understood you properly. Are you saying that the original plan was that you were to detonate the charges around the two-room structure of the premises and not to detonate the main house as well? Was that the original plan?

MR RAS: Chairperson, I would like to put this clearly. The original plan we had a crisis with the people coming into the country, we wanted to stop it. The Defence Force had a crisis in the sense that they did not want to allow it to look like a Defence Force operation. We couldn't place two bombs at the two houses, it had to seem - and that was the main idea, to place the bomb in such a way that it would seem that they made a mistake in the preparation of making the bomb themselves, the bomb then detonated and the people died or killed themselves in the process. If it wasn't for the people who were in jail in Botswana, that it was an open Defence Force operation, we would never have used that plan because you cannot really judge what was going to happen, you cannot really say how many people will be in the house, how many had to be killed, then we would have just destroyed the premises, the buildings and those who were there. And immediately when things went wrong, the first plan, that is now to make it seem as if it was an accident, people would then know that it was not made by themselves, it was a bomb that was used by the police or the Defence Force, there was a shooting, people that would have been able to convey the information to the outside. So those who assisted could have been killed in the process. That's why I went on to the next stage.

And I would just like to add, I did not know where they came from. If I did the penetration then go into the house or a room, the chances are very big - and I didn't quote it here, how many people who had transit houses did have training about the use of weapons, they knew what it entailed, they can use weapons. I don't know what or who can come out of that room and use a weapon against me.

And as I've already testified, I would have - if they did come out, I would have found the owner in the house, I would have killed them there in the house. Then I moved over and changed plans, I went to plan B because the first one did not succeed, because they will realise that it was a Defence Force operation and that's why I reverted back to plan B.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Let's stick to the original plan for now. So the original plan did not include using weapons after the structure had been detonated? I'm now talking about the Y structure.

MR RAS: No, Chairperson, the first plan was - and that is the first time that we went in with the Defence Force - and I think it wasn't a very safe and good plan, but they also prepared a detonator with a "25 minute vertraging meganisme ingesit", and we would have left the bomb there and then leave. We didn't really care who was then at the house or what happened, they would have been killed in the process or in the explosion. But with the purpose that no-one can point a finger at the Defence Force. The second time we did send people with, we detonated the bomb with wiring, everything went wrong and we had to go to plan B.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: But was it your intention at planning stage to use weapons if plan A, which does not - I'm not talking now about the plan that involved the Defence Force, when I'm talking about the original plan, I'm talking about the original plan that included Mr de Kock who was the overall commander, in the planning of the execution of the operation. Now do I comprehend your evidence properly when I say that the original plan which included Mr de Kock, did not in your testimony - well in your testimony did not include the use of weapons, you did not intend to fire any weapons because you were interested in safeguarding those persons who had been arrested in Botswana and were in detention in Botswana and were members of the Defence Force. You wanted to control the involvement of the Defence Force, hence it was not your intention to use any weapons for that operation. If things had proceeded well it was not your intention.

MR RAS: Chairperson, that is correct yes, the original planning that I gave through, and that was after we identified the house, was that we originally asked to go in, destroy the house, but as I testified Brig Schoon said it is a Defence Force area, we cannot do it. Then the Defence Force came with their plan and said it had to be a bomb and that was their plan right from the beginning and we had to stick to that plan and at the end of the day we couldn't stick to it.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: No, I'm talking about the plan that included Mr de Kock, I'm not talking about the original plan as you would have interpreted it to have been the original plan that included Brig Schoon and the Defence Force, but did not include Mr de Kock. That plan was aborted, isn't it, when you couldn't locate the house? The plan I'm referring to is the one that included Mr de Kock. Was it part of your plan to use weapons for this operation after the explosives had been detonated around the Y structure?

MR RAS: Chairperson, I think I misunderstand, I can also say that there's always a second plan. If we didn't have the plan to use weapons, it was not the idea to use weapons, we did not foresee it, then one of two of us would have gone in only with the bomb and would have withdrawn, but we did foresee or make provision because Mr de Kock issued each one of us with an Uzzi and silencers. So we did make provision that if the first plan did not succeed we will use weapons. But it was not the first plan.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Yes. Now this is the plan that I've been trying to get your response to, because I did not understand your version to have been that if was always your intention to use weapons in the event of there being any survivors after the detonators had been charged. This is what I wanted to put straight, because it wasn't clear in your evidence. That being so, it created inconsistency between your version of the original plan and Mr de Kock's version of the original plan. Do you understand my problem?

As a matter of interest, whatever happened to the two persons who were members of the Defence Force after this came to light that the members of the Defence Force as well as the police were involved in this operation?

MR RAS: As far as I know they were not assaulted - no information was conveyed that they were consulted, it was just provisions that we made. It could have happened, but as far as I know nothing drastic happened to them. I think after a while they were released.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: The other problem is of course the version of Mr de Kock with regard to the structure that had to be destroyed and that house of the alleged ANC members. Is it your firm evidence that Mr de Kock was privy to the reports, either from yourself or from your members, about the structure as indicated in Annexure A1? I just cannot fathom why Mr de Kock did not refer to the main house in his testimony throughout his evidence before us.

MR RAS: Chairperson, the same evidence that I've given, I think it was the circumstances under which he was, the period of time and he wasn't involved with it the whole time, he was only there for 10 days while I was there full-time writing reports. I was there for approximately, or a bit more than three months that I worked with this. And I think you can even ask the family, am I wrong with the sketches that I made? I had a very clear perception and idea of what it looked like. We have been 10 that was involved in the operation, I do not even know if some of the other members would have been able to make this sketch just to give clarity.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: In any event, he was present during the operation, he must have seen the structure as you have sketched before us. You have stated that the reason why you went to structure X was because of a handgrenade that was thrown next to you.

MR RAS: No, the reason why I moved to X was I believed that the people who were in Y were killed and were eliminated because of the explosion and I only knew that in X, that the premises at that stage were not damaged. The mistake I made was that I moved past Y, the second room. That person still had his AK47, he then came out of X and he threw the handgrenade at me and I then shot him. And I'm talking now about three metres. He could have shot me but because of an explosion he could have been confused, or he may have been confused.

ADV BOSMAN: Mr Ras, just for the record, I think you made a mistake here, you are saying that the person came with the handgrenade out of X, did you mean Y?

MR RAS: Yes, I meant Y. That was a mistake I made.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: That's how I understood your evidence to have been, that the person came from X.

MR RAS: I'm sorry, no.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: What really motivated you to kill this young person who was using X, which really didn't pose a threat to you.

MR RAS: Chairperson, at that stage I also went for X, I immediately realised that there was a shooting going on, I didn't specifically focus my attention on him, it was more on the two older people, those who were, the rest of them who were in the house, and when I got into the room this person was standing right in front of me, I fired a shot at him. You do not think, you just do. There was no-one there and when I left this room this handgrenade was thrown at me. I went to that person in X because of their participation in it and that's why I went in to eliminate them. And at that stage they already left the house and escaped.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Who had escaped?

MR RAS: Ja, they did.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: I didn't catch the translator.

MR RAS: The people who lived in the house, they all escaped except for the child.

CHAIRPERSON: Did they run away or they just weren't there?

MR RAS: Well that was the family's attorney that said that they ran away. I did not see them, but I did testify that there were four in the house and all of them ran away except for the child and he came up towards me - as I came into the house he was on his way out and I shot him then. It was only a few seconds or a fraction of a second. You just do what you do.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: And at that time you believed this person that you had shot to have been the person that you had interrogated some time ago and the person that you have stated that you had recruited as a source for your unit?

MR RAS: That is correct, Chairperson, I still believe that it was him.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Let's suppose he really was the person that you thought you had recruited, was it customary for your unit to kill or eliminate people who had been used by your unit as sources?

MR RAS: No, Chairperson, if he turned and worked as an informant and operated for me, I would have approached it differently, then I would have known when other people would arrive, then we could have arrested them, he could have given us the information, the time when they would climb over the fence and we could have arrested them or killed them at that stage. I could have known the information or gathered when Sebata would be at home. I could have entered, leave a limpet mine under Sebata's vehicle, when he'd driven off it would have exploded. There were many things that I could have done, but unluckily or luckily for some, he was not willing to become an informant.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Why do you say he was not willing to become an informant? I thought in your evidence you stated that you had recruited him.

MNR RAS: "Nee, ek het hom probeer werf. Hy't gesê - hy't sy bereidwilligheid verklaar om my, as 'n beriggewer te wees. Hy moes op 'n sekere tydperk - ek kan nie vandag sê hoe lank nie, ek dink die volgende dag of die dag daarna, moes hy op 'n sekere punt waar ons hom sou ontmoet het - een van my persone wat saam met my gewerk het sou hom daar gesien het, en hy't net weer nooit opgedaag nie. So hy was nie bereid om vir my as 'n beriggewer op te tree nie."

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: So he was never your informer?

MR RAS: I tried to recruit him to get information from him he said he would and that was the reason why I left him at that stage. I let him go in the hope that he would be able to be of some use in terms of information. He did give information though about the couriers, and this person I did not immediately arrest, or I just detained him, interrogated him, who also gave his willingness to become an informant, to the arrest the people who come into the country, and this person also disappeared and he was also not willing to help me any further.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Was the shooting of this young person reported to Mr de Kock?

MR RAS: Yes, he knew about it.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: And he knew that the person that you had shot is the person you believed you had once interrogated in connection with the house being used as a transit house.

MR RAS: Yes, I did give him that information, we did talk about it.


CHAIRPERSON: Mr Ras, after the incident, do I understand your evidence correctly, up in the higher ranks, did the people - was it brought to their attention, those with higher ranks?

MR RAS: Yes, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: I think you were asked or you said that that was one of the opportunities where you were asked to submit a written report.

MR RAS: Yes, that was before the incident. The written report was for Brig Schoon to then go over to the Defence Force.

CHAIRPERSON: Was that before the incident?

MR RAS: Yes, it was.

CHAIRPERSON: I also didn't understand you that clearly, did you testify that weapons were left in building Y?

MR RAS: Yes, in the left building. As I've stated, I took photographs after the time of what remained. I found AKs at the place, I cannot recall if it was one or two, I found the handgrenades as well.

CHAIRPERSON: Why was that weapon left there?

MR RAS: No, those weapons belonged to the house, those were ANC weapons that they had there, those were not our weapons. What ensued then, when I developed the photographs and saw that there was an RPG7 that was not brought back.

CHAIRPERSON: But then I don't understand, when I asked you I said that I wasn't sure whether or not I understood your evidence correctly and I then asked whether or not you testified that any weapons were left behind in building Y, and then you said yes, you said in one of the two rooms.

MR RAS: Yes, the ANC weapons that we found there, we didn't bring that with us.

CHAIRPERSON: Oh, is that what you mean when you say that you left weapons there?

MR RAS: Yes, we left them there, we didn't bring them back with us.

CHAIRPERSON: Now this specific weapon that you referred to, it wasn't covered with anything?

MR RAS: No, that is what we took with us, that we carried there, and according to me was supposed to have returned with us. I don't know why it was left there, I don't know whether it was left there in the rush or what exactly took place, but when I saw the photograph I saw that one of our weapons had been left behind. It was a weapon of communist origin, so the RPG 7 was a rocket launcher or Russian origin, but you could quite clearly see that it hadn't been there when the explosion took place.

CHAIRPERSON: The idea was that when you went there on the evening of the operation, Mr de Kock was with you.

MR RAS: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Was he at the scene immediately before or after the incident?

MR RAS: Yes, he was there after the two persons were shot at the scene.

CHAIRPERSON: And during the incident?

MR RAS: No, Chairperson, it took place in a matter of seconds. I was with one of the Spes Forces members and the other was ahead of us, I couldn't shoot as a result of my weapon which stalled and then shots were fired at us, we then detonated the charge and immediately after the detonation I ran in to observe the inside of the buildings and shortly thereafter the others followed me.

CHAIRPERSON: You went into building Y.

MR RAS: The left room if I recall correctly, the one where the window was, the entire right-hand side was flattened, if you stood in front of it ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Did you go inside?

MR RAS: If one looked at the back part of the wall it was also partially gone. I didn't look in because it looked as if it was flat, that is why I simply ran past.

CHAIRPERSON: After the bomb exploded, Mr Ras, did you enter any part of building Y?

MR RAS: Yes, I entered the left room.

CHAIRPERSON: Was this before or after you went to building X?

MR RAS: This was after I had been at X.

CHAIRPERSON: Who shot you first, the person in building X or the person in building Y?

MR RAS: Chairperson, the person in X never fired at me, the one in Y fired at us through the window before the shooting. After the explosion I thought that everybody in that place was dead, I ran completely past both rooms to X, where I ran into the boy and shot him. I re-emerged from X next to Y, the person inside the one room was still alive and he tossed the handgrenade at me. I then ran back through the open area and I shot the person dead.

CHAIRPERSON: When was the first time that you noticed Mr de Kock at the scene?

MR RAS: It must have been seconds after the incident took place. He was already there.

CHAIRPERSON: Was it after the bomb exploded or the shooting?

MR RAS: No, after I fired twice.

CHAIRPERSON: So as far as you are concerned he wasn't present when you fired?

MR RAS: No. One of the persons arrived there later and that was Hoffman.

CHAIRPERSON: Your plan was to detonate building Y and to kill the occupants of the building. That was the plan when you went there.

MR RAS: That's correct.

CHAIRPERSON: And you testified that at a certain stage the plan was changed and plan B was set in motion.

MR RAS: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: And I understand that plan B included the killing of everybody on the premises.

MR RAS: Correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Not only the buildings which had to be destroyed but everything on the premises?

MR RAS: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: At which stage was the first plan changed to plan B?

MR RAS: Directly after we were shot at.

CHAIRPERSON: Who changed the plan?

MR RAS: I changed it.

CHAIRPERSON: Who was in control of the team?

MR RAS: I had to use my own initiative with that and tell them to continue because they could have shot at us.

CHAIRPERSON: That's not the question, the question was who was in control.

MR RAS: The senior officer or person there was Mr de Kock.

CHAIRPERSON: Didn't you have to go back to him and tell him "listen we have to put plan B into action"?

MR RAS: Chairperson, if one finds oneself in a combat situation and if one cannot think independently of what action to action to take next, especially in the light of circumstances which were not foreseen, if it wasn't for the circumstances we would have gone in and put the bomb down and detonated it and run out. We had the guns with the silencers in case we had to go through to plan B. There wasn't enough time to ask "can we act or not?"

CHAIRPERSON: You testified when Mr Hugo asked you, that at a certain stage you conveyed cryptical information to Mr de Kock.

MR RAS: Yes, that's correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Please assist me with this. My experience with this sort of hearing is that on several occasions evidence has been given that this cryptic conveyance of information was planned firstly, was intention secondly and always to persons that you wanted to keep out of the plan. Do you understand me? Is that the case here with regard to Mr de Kock?

MR RAS: No, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Then why cryptical information?

MR RAS: The only time, as I've stated, why a written document was given - I've stated this today, I have applied for more than 20 incidents before the TRC, I did not request written permission for every operation that I worked on, everything was verbal, that is how it was explained. This was done specifically to convince the Defence Force of the urgency of the matter and Brig Schoon regarded it as necessary for himself to convey this. I believe it was conveyed verbally. He took it in himself and conveyed it as such to the army.

CHAIRPERSON: Well at least the two of us understand the word "cryptical" differently, what do you mean by cryptic?

MR RAS: Then I must have misunderstood you. There were certain things that I conveyed briefly, in cryptic form to Mr de Kock.

CHAIRPERSON: What do you think the question is? It has been put to you that at a certain stage, I don't know how many times, you gave cryptic information to Mr de Kock and you say yes.

MR RAS: Chairperson, the idea that I had there was not to admit to anything, I just sketched the circumstances for him and what had taken place. I didn't give him a written report every single time.

CHAIRPERSON: But cryptic means something else.

MR RAS: And he was present at all times during that time. For 10 days before the operation he was with us all the time.

CHAIRPERSON: If someone says cryptic, what do you think it means?

MR RAS: It would be short and relevant.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, it's brief and there wasn't much information in it, you would have to guess. It's like some form of cryptic crossword clue where you would receive clues and you would have to work out the answer and that is what I think Mr Hugo meant. Perhaps you may have misunderstood him when you said yes.

MR RAS: All that I meant there was that I didn't give him any written notes, and as I've stated, I spent more than 10 years working with Mr de Kock.

CHAIRPERSON: Then I have to put it to you what Mr Hugo put to you and I would like to grant you the opportunity once again to respond. Now that you understand the meaning of the word "cryptic", did you at any stage give Mr de Kock cryptic information about this incident?

MR RAS: Chairperson, with this incident Mr de Kock was present at all times. I've already explained this. There was no time that anybody reported to me and I didn't report back to him. The question about Mr de Kock is not a case of him simply accepting what I've said, he would want to know whether or not what I told him was correct and what my proposed actions would be and if those were correct, and if they were not he would instruct me to make the necessary corrections or amendments. Ten days before the operation he was consistently present.

CHAIRPERSON: But Mr de Kock was somewhat higher than you in rank, wasn't he?

MR RAS: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: I always thought that in the Defence Force and in the Police Force one would have to work by means of rank and obtain orders and instructions according to rank, but recently I've determined that that isn't really the way it works or least the way it used to work in the former police service. How did it come to be that you arrived at Schoon without at least going through Mr de Kock?

MR RAS: I've already testified, with respect Chairperson, I said that Mr de Kock told me to go to Mr Schoon to give him my report and then it emerged that the main report was only given through once the Defence Force had to be convinced to go through with the operation.

CHAIRPERSON: You see, when he gave evidence here it appeared to us at this stage that he knew very little about the planning and the facts of the operation and he himself said that you were the person who would be the head of operations with regard to this, do you have anything to say about this?

MR RAS: Mr de Kock did place me in control of the operation, to conduct the planning and to send everything through and I gave him feedback and he agreed with it.

CHAIRPERSON: He relied quite heavily on your information.

MR RAS: That's correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Would you agree under the circumstances that he was in a position just like the others, for example Nortje, Bellingan, Tait, Hoffman, regardless of his rank, with regard to his participation and the information that he had, that you gave him. He was in the same position.

MR RAS: No, Chairperson, much more was reported to him and from the beginning of the operation I knew that I had to submit monthly reports when I returned, or at least convey these reports to him verbally for six months. I knew what I was doing. He was the overall commander, one didn't simply go out for 23 days, return, tell him verbally and then go back and do your work the next week. If there had been a report to him it would have contained exactly what I was busy with. The other person were appointed at the final stage to accompany us on the operation, but the difference is that I worked with it all the time and Mr de Kock had to deal with all the other groups throughout the country who were also reporting back to him. And that is why I might have more knowledge about this at this stage.

CHAIRPERSON: Let me put it this way. Personally I was quite surprised that you could arrive at Schoon, make decisions and submit reports and take direct orders from Schoon. You yourself stated that the order was actually an order to continue with the operation and that this order came to you from Schoon in the sense that you also had to liaise with Loots.

MR RAS: That's correct.

CHAIRPERSON: And amid this it is the evidence of de Kock that he didn't know that much and it would appear to me - I just want to know who was the big boss.

MR RAS: He was.

CHAIRPERSON: How long did you spend at Vlakplaas?

MR RAS: Eight years.

CHAIRPERSON: I always wanted to know how the farm originated as a military base for the police.

MR RAS: It began primarily as a result of ANC and PAC members who were arrested and who had to be accommodated and applied back against the ANC and the PAC.

CHAIRPERSON: How did the idea of Vlakplaas or any other such structure originate? Why did a farm have to be used?

MR RAS: No, it was just the appropriate premises to use and it was acquired initially by Brig Viktor in the beginning. He used it from the beginning. Vlakplaas wasn't the only place, in Bophuthatswana there was something similar which was operated from a house, Durban also had a similar type of structure, which also operated from a farm. In the Cape, in Port Elizabeth, in East London there were all similar places that operated according to the same line.

CHAIRPERSON: And what happened to the regular inhabitants of those farms?

MR RAS: Chairperson, the farms were sold. If I'm not mistaken the Secret Fund carried the cost at that stage. I know that Daisy was purchased by means of monies which Craig Williamson at that stage obtained or generated back from the ANC into the Secret Fund in order to purchase Daisy.

CHAIRPERSON: Do you know from whom it was purchased?

MR RAS: No, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: One further aspect. The reason for the change of plan, if you say now that shots were fired, did you have to make it appear as if it was the Defence Force which launched the attack?

MR RAS: It was generally that it would appear as if it was the Defence Force.

CHAIRPERSON: Then why were you so upset about it if you had good relations with the Botswana authorities?

MR RAS: No, we had good relations with Swaziland, not with Botswana.

CHAIRPERSON: So the fact that you were afraid that the two soldiers would be assaulted in jail flew out by the window, they just had to be assaulted, never mind the circumstances.

MR RAS: No, the circumstances stated that they would do it in either event and we had to go over to plan B.

CHAIRPERSON: I see. And the reason why you had to make it appear as if it was a Defence Force operation was in order to protect the police of South Africa.

MR RAS: No, it was not that we definitely wanted it to be a Defence Force operation, because Mr de Kock also testified at a certain point that the members of the Defence Force said that they had conducted such a good operation and then there was conflict between Gen van der Merwe and the Defence Force. What they really wanted was for it to appear as if the ANC members had made a mistake with a bomb that they were trying to manufacture.

CHAIRPERSON: And then it was decided to go over to plan B and this involved the idea that the people had to think that it was the South African Defence Force.

MR RAS: Either the South African Defence Force or the police, but the police didn't really conduct any operations there, that was the only thing, we didn't have any operations there.

CHAIRPERSON: So the idea that it was their mistake went out the window because shots were fired and now it had to appear that it was the Defence Force and this also involved your entering building X and shooting the people in there, because that would be the custom of the Defence Force.

MR RAS: I wouldn't say that it had to appear as if it was the Defence Force, we had an operation in Botswana as well where we killed the Khan family, which was a police operation. It wasn't about it being the Defence Force. The best thing at that stage was to kill ANC collaborators and sympathisers and this would serve as a tremendous deterrent because people would think twice before they transported persons from the ANC to such a place close to the border.

CHAIRPERSON: I thought I understood your evidence earlier that the reason why plan B was established was in order to lead people to believe that it was the Defence Force and everybody on the premises would be attacked because it was the custom of the Defence Force.

MR RAS: No, Chairperson, the Defence Force had launched similar operations, especially when they left landmines in Gaberone. What they did with transit houses was to shoot people in transit houses dead. It wasn't that we definitely wanted it to appear to be a Defence Force operation, it was just what was best for everybody.

CHAIRPERSON: You see what I don't understand is that if you were fortunate enough to follow through with plan A, what then of all these other persons who would have assisted the ANC, because the people in house X would not have been attacked, how do you explain that?

MR RAS: The persons in house X, if we had gone in and executed the other plan, nobody would have survived.

CHAIRPERSON: If it was your objective to stop the infiltration by these persons in some or other way, and this is why you state that you entered X to kill whoever you found there, you would have killed others if they were there, I understand that, but your initial plan was plan A, that only building Y would be blown up and that you would make it appear to be the error of the persons themselves who had made a mistake with the bomb and that caused an accident. What would have happened to your fear that these other persons who would assist the ANC, would continue to assist them? Didn't they have to be obliterated? How did that fit in with your plan?

MR RAS: I'd like to come back to my first point. The Defence Force was very sure about the point that they wanted to execute their plan and this is what had to happen. Their reason was only the two people, there was no other reason for them, "we cannot do it because of this or that", the only was, or the reason that they'd given us was "this is how it should be done but because of the people that were in jail, we cannot do it this way, we want no fingers pointed at us". When it changed and we felt that they were shooting at us we just changed it, or I changed it at that stage.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I know. If they didn't shoot or fired at you, would you first of all detonate the bomb and blow up the building?

MR RAS: Yes, we would have done it that way.

CHAIRPERSON: And as a result thereof people would have been able to survive, those in building X, although they did assist the ANC.

MR RAS: Unless the people walked outside, they could have been killed then.

CHAIRPERSON: But they were not supposed to have been killed.

MR RAS: Not in that way, no.


JUDGE KHAMPEPE: May I just find out one question emanating from some of the questions which were put to you by the Chair. We've already heard evidence from Mr de Kock that you were given much leeway in terms of the planning and the execution of this operation as the Operational Commander, because he was grooming you to take over as the Commander of Vlakplaas. Did you know that? Were you aware of that?

MR RAS: No, Chairperson.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: So that was never indicated to you by Mr de Kock?

MR RAS: No, Chairperson.


FURTHER EXAMINATION BY MR JANSEN: Thank you, Chair. I know it's late but just something that follows directly from the question you asked. I'll restrict it to two questions. Thank you.

Mr Ras, the initial limitations of only using one bomb and you cannot use other weaponry that could indicate that it was an attack from the South African Defence Force, who placed those limitations on this operation?

MR RAS: It was the Defence Force.

MR JANSEN: If you yourself were in a position to make the rules for that operation, would you have done it?


MR JANSEN: So am I correct then that if I summarise your evidence that that operational limitation was when your presence was made known or they found out that you were there, that you found that that limitation was irrelevant?

MR RAS: At that stage yes, it stopped because the only reason why they said it was so they do not find out that the Defence Force did it, but now it was clear that it was an attack and then all limitations fell away.

MR JANSEN: Thank you.


CHAIRPERSON: We adjourn till tomorrow half past nine.