DATE: 15TH MAY 2000




DAY: 2

-------------------------------------------------------------------------- FIRST 60 MINUTES OF TAPE HAS NO RECORDING ON IT

CHAIRPERSON: We'll now proceed to hear the matter of Mr Sampina Hendrik Bokaba, in the incident known as the killing of an unknown cadre in Boputhatswana. The application number is 5460/97. I take it that Mr Roux, instructed by Strydom Britz, is still appearing for Mr Bokaba.

MR ROUX: That is correct, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: And Mr Steenkamp as the Evidence Leader.

ADV STEENKAMP: Correct, Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: And the Panel comprises myself, Mr Wynand Malan and Mr Ilan Lax. Mr Steenkamp, is this matter opposed?

ADV STEENKAMP: Madam Chair, there's no opposition to this application.

CHAIRPERSON: Were notices served on Mr Hechter and van Vuuren?

ADV STEENKAMP: Madam Chair, indeed. I also discussed this matter with my learned colleague, Mr Swart, who is present here today, who was appearing for these applicants previously. They are still his clients, I'm informed. Thank you, Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: As well as Brig Cronje.

ADV STEENKAMP: That's indeed correct, Madam Chair.


MNR ROUX: "Mag dit u behaag, mev die Voorsitter. Ek is gereed om die getuienis te lei van Mr Bokaba."


CHAIRPERSON: You may now proceed, Mr Roux, with your evidence-in-chief.

EXAMINATION BY MR ROUX: I apologise for being in such a hurry. Thank you, Madam Chair.

Mr Bokaba, you've had the opportunity to go through this bundle, can you just look at the contents of page 3 to 10 thereof, which is the general background of this incident. Can you confirm the contents?

MR BOKABA: I do, Chairperson.

MR ROUX: Furthermore, can you look at the contents or the information on page 12 to 17, with your signature at the end of page 17, and can you also confirm this information?

MR BOKABA: I do, Chairperson.

MR ROUX: Furthermore, you read the applications of Hechter and van Vuuren, that is from page 22 up to and including page

53, do you have that information? Do you also reconcile yourself with the contents thereof, as far as it's got to do with your case?

MR BOKABA: I do, Chairperson.

MR ROUX: Did you also have the opportunity to look at the records of the proceedings where Hechter and van Vuuren testified, that is from page 53 onwards, and do you also confirm any evidence that mentioned you?

MR BOKABA: I do, Chairperson.

MR ROUX: That is up to page 77.

MR BOKABA: I do, Chairperson.

MR ROUX: Is it correct that you held the rank of Constable during the period 1986 to '88?

MR BOKABA: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR ROUX: Was it during this period that you had this rank, when this incident of this unknown person occurred?

MR BOKABA: That is correct, Chairperson, I was still a Constable at that particular time.

MR ROUX: Is it correct that Captain Hechter was your Commanding Officer during this particular period?

MR BOKABA: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR ROUX: Is it also correct that as you testified earlier on, that you as a Constable, followed the instructions of the officers above you and had no authorisation to question these instructions?

MR BOKABA: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR ROUX: In this incident, can you remember who this unknown person was who was killed in Boputhatswana? Do you have any information, his name?

MR BOKABA: I did not know his identity and I don't at this time.

MR ROUX: The information that you received from van Vuuren and Hechter, did they have any information concerning this person or his activities?

MR BOKABA: What I was told by Hechter and van Vuuren was that that particular person who was killed, was involved in Mr Sefola's cell, which I've already testified about, who was also killed.

MR ROUX: Who arrested this person?

MR BOKABA: This person was brought by W/O van Vuuren and Joe Mamasela. They were driving a station wagon. That is a Peugeot 505, which was green in colour. I, Dennis Selatle and Capt Hechter were driving a minibus. We were outside Mamelodi. If I remember well, we were somewhere in Watkloof(?) and Silverton, and we were waiting for them there.

MR ROUX: What happened then?

MR BOKABA: When they arrived, W/O van Vuuren took this man and put him in the minibus which we were in. The minibus was driven by Dennis Selatle. From there I, together with Capt Hechter and Dennis Selatle and that person who was unknown, proceeded to the kombi and W/O van Vuuren and Joe Mamasela followed us. We went to our offices in Compol building. When we arrived at our offices, W/O van Vuuren and Joe Mamasela joined us in the kombi. If I remember well, that person was next to me in the back seat, from the driver's seat. From there we took him towards Boputhatswana. I don't remember well as to whether which particular place we were in Boputhatswana, but it was in the direction towards Gabalatsane or somewhere there.

When we arrived there, Capt Hechter had a discussion with that unknown person. While they were interrogating him, he did not respond to questions to Capt Hechter's satisfaction, then Capt Hechter instructed myself and Dennis Selatle to - I myself and Dennis Selatle tried, but we were afraid to deny him some air. I don't remember well as to whether between van Vuuren and Dennis Selatle, who took the wire and tied it around his neck and fastened it.

After some time at that particular spot, he died. After they saw that he died ...(intervention)

MR ROUX: Mr Bokaba, if you could just stop here. Were you given instructions by Hechter and van Vuuren, where you sat next to this person to hold him?

MR BOKABA: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR ROUX: Very well. Can you remember who tied the wire around this person's neck and who suffocated him?

MR BOKABA: I remember that W/O van Vuuren, on the record, but in truth it is Capt Hechter who tied the wire around his neck. But I would also say, W/O van Vuuren helped Capt Hechter whilst we were still in the kombi.

MR LAX: Can I just interpose for a moment. What kind of wire was this? Was it fence wire, was it - we haven't got a clue.

MR BOKABA: It's a wire like a hanger.

MR LAX: Thank you. Please continue, Mr Roux.

MR ROUX: Did this person die in the kombi because of the suffocation, or the strangulation?

MR BOKABA: Yes, he died in the kombi because of suffocation.

CHAIRPERSON: How do you know this?

MR BOKABA: Chairperson, I observed that because at the time in the kombi there was no sign of movement or any sign of life after that. He was strangled for a long time, then I observed that there was no sign of life.

CHAIRPERSON: How long would have estimated the strangulation to have taken place, more than 10 minutes, more than 5?

MR BOKABA: I would estimate 10 minutes, Chairperson.

MR ROUX: Did this person provide any information during the strangulation?

MR BOKABA: Chairperson, I don't remember well, because I was scared by this incident, then I don't remember as to whether there was any information given by this person during the strangulation.

CHAIRPERSON: Why would the fact that you were scared by this strangulation, cloud your memory, why wouldn't you be able to remember whether there was any information that this man was able to give at the time of the strangulation?

MR BOKABA: This thing happened a long time ago and then I don't remember as to whether there was any information provided by the person during the strangulation.

CHAIRPERSON: And your faulty memory cannot be attributed to your fears, can they?

MR BOKABA: I would take it that way, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Proceed, Mr Roux.

MR ROUX: Thank you, Madam Chair.

After this person died, what happened with his body?

MR BOKABA: It was during winter time, the place we were at that particular time, it was dense with grass. What happened is, he was taken from the kombi by Capt Hechter and van Vuuren. They took him out and went a little bit further in the bush. There was a tyre behind the kombi, and petrol. Van Vuuren took the petrol container and the tyre and put it on his person, then thereafter petrol was poured on his body and then they lit, then thereafter the bush caught fire and then again he caught fire. When he started burning and the bush started burning, then we entered the kombi and left the scene.

CHAIRPERSON: Was this person taken out of the kombi after he had been strangled to death?

MR BOKABA: When he was taken he was still inside the kombi and then they took him out of the kombi, then he was put outside the kombi and then they went further, deep in the bush and they took the petrol container and a tyre, they put the tyre on him and petrol and then they lit fire there.

CHAIRPERSON: Where was he strangled, was he strangled inside the kombi?

MR BOKABA: Yes, he was strangled inside the kombi.

CHAIRPERSON: And you did not assist at all in removing the body from the kombi to where he was ultimately burnt?

MR BOKABA: No, Chairperson, the body was removed by van Vuuren and Hechter.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr Roux.

MR ROUX: Mr Bokaba, what would have been the purpose of putting the tyre around the head, or the upper part of the body and then to set it alight?

MR BOKABA: It was to remove any trace of his identity, of that particular person who was burnt with the tyre.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you say you did not know, or it was done that way? Did you know this as a fact, or you suspect that was the reason why a tyre was used around this person?

MR BOKABA: I think it was done that way, but I don't say it as a fact.

CHAIRPERSON: I think that's what you said in Sotho.

MR BOKABA: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR ROUX: The burning of the body, was this a general practice in the working of the Security Branch? That was done by Hechter or van Vuuren.

MR BOKABA: Chairperson, I regard that as not a practice. It was for the first time I saw it done on that particular day, by Hechter and van Vuuren.

MR ROUX: Did you reconcile yourself with everything that happened there on that specific day, from the murder up until the burning of the body? In the light of the situation you found yourself, or acted upon.

MR BOKABA: Yes, Chairperson, I associate myself with the whole incident.

MR ROUX: Do you know to this day, or do you have any idea who this person was, or did you find out who he was?

MR BOKABA: Chairperson, even up to now I don't know the identity of that person.

MR ROUX: Did you know what the purpose was of the abduction? That is now by Hechter.

MR BOKABA: What I heard from van Vuuren, is that this person was involved in Harold Sefola's cell, who was killed earlier, before this person was arrested.

MR ROUX: Madam Chair, I did not quite hear what the interpreter said, could he just repeat it.

MR BOKABA: What I heard from Mr Hechter, was that this person was involved with Mr Sefola's cell, who was killed earlier.

MR ROUX: Now I understand the answer, thank you.

Was the purpose to get information from this person? Or let me put it this way, did you know what the purpose was why this person was abducted? Did they mention it to you? Was it to gather information, to eliminate him, or what did they want to do with him?

MR BOKABA: What van Vuuren explained to me is that they wanted to abduct this person to interrogate and eliminate him.

CHAIRPERSON: And when was this conveyed to you?

MR BOKABA: Chairperson, that was conveyed to me before this person was arrested.

CHAIRPERSON: And was this at about the same time when you were instructed to participate in this incident, by Capt Hechter?

MR BOKABA: May you please repeat your question.

CHAIRPERSON: Did Mr van Vuuren explain the objective of the abduction to you, at about the same time when you received instructions from Capt Hechter, to participate in the operation, in the abduction of this unknown cadre?

MR BOKABA: That was explained to me before Joe Mamasela and him left and before I and Capt Hechter and Selatle entered the kombi.

CHAIRPERSON: And was this after you had been instructed by Capt Hechter to be part of the operation that was going to abduct this unknown cadre?

MR BOKABA: Chairperson, let me explain it this way. The people who went to fetch this person, was Paul van Vuuren and Joe Mamasela. We knew about this operation because we were waiting in a kombi somewhere in Mamelodi, with Dennis Selatle and Hechter. We knew about this operation at that particular time that van Vuuren and Joe Mamasela went to fetch, or to abduct a particular person. At the time when we left with our cars to that particular place somewhere in Mamelodi, Hechter explained to us inside the kombi about this operation.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr Roux, you may proceed.

MR ROUX: Thank you, Madam Chair, that concludes the evidence.


CHAIRPERSON: Are there any questions that you wish to put to Mr Bokaba, Mr Steenkamp?


Mr Bokaba, maybe I've missed it, but what exactly was your function? You were a Constable there, what exactly were you told was your role or your responsibility? Why did they take you along?

MR BOKABA: As I was a Constable, we were operating as a group with the people I've already explained I was with. Hechter was our head, or our Commander. In many instances during operations of this kind, we were not told fully as we were junior officers, as to whether what we're going to do on a particular day, we were told at a particular time, then from there we would start with the operation. You'd find out when you received those instructions. You'd be given instructions and at a particular time when the person was put in the kombi, then we would be told to arrest a particular person, then you'd be forced

to execute that particular operation. So my role in short, was that I was given immediate instructions at that particular time during the operation and then immediately I would execute those operations.

ADV STEENKAMP: Thank you, Madam Chair, no further questions.


CHAIRPERSON: Mr Lax, do you wish to put any questions to Mr Bokaba?

MR LAX: Just one small aspect, Chair.

Did I understand the thrust of your evidence to be that you held this person while they were interrogating him and while they were throttling him?

MR BOKABA: At that time when he was strangled, the instructions from Capt Hechter, from the time we left he was between us, then I was instructed to hold that person up to the point where we stopped in Boputhatswana, and from there the kombi was stopped, then I was given another instruction, that's I and Dennis Selatle, because when we arrived at Kompol building, van Vuuren took over to drive the minibus, then Dennis Selatle came to sit with me at the back and then we took that particular person to be between myself and Dennis Selatle. Then we left. When we arrived at that particular spot, we were instructed to strangle that person. We strangled him and then

Hechter saw that we were afraid to do so, then he came to continue with the strangulation.

MR LAX: So you strangled him by - how did you actually do it, what did you do? Did you each hold one end of the wire and pull?

MR BOKABA: He was between us. For example, myself as the applicant, and my attorney and then the man from Boputhatswana is like my advocate, then he would do it, grab the wire on both ends and tie it.

MR LAX: And so when they saw you couldn't do the job, they took over?

MR BOKABA: That is correct, Chairperson, they took over.

MR ROUX: And that was Hechter and van Vuuren?

MR BOKABA: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR LAX: And where were you at that stage? Were you out of the kombi, were you still in the kombi?

MR BOKABA: We were still inside the kombi.

MR LAX: Thank you, Chairperson.


MR MALAN: No questions, thank you, Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Bokaba, we have had previously a difficulty with this matter, simply because it is very difficult for the Committee to grant amnesty in a situation where a victim cannot be identified, and also for your own protection in the event that any criminal action be instituted against you. Think it really would ordinarily help the Director of Prosecutions, to know precisely in respect of which offence in relation to the victim, you have been granted amnesty for. We have heard previously from Mr Hechter and Mr van Vuuren, that they have not been able to give a graphic description of the exact location of the place where this cadre was killed.

I am now going to appeal to you to give us some detail with regard to the location, in view of the fact that you are from Pretoria, or at least from those parts of Pretoria next to Boputhatswana, and your knowledge might be better that Mr van Vuuren and Mr Hechter, insofar as trying to identify the location where this person was killed.

Now you've mentioned that you went towards the direction of Gabalatsane, would that be the same direction which is towards Warmbaths?

MR BOKABA: Chairperson, let me explain this way. I'm not quite familiar with that area in Boputhatswana. Even when I mentioned Gabalatsane, I'm saying it's near Gabalatsane. I'm just saying it's somewhere in Boputhatswana. To speak the truth before this Committee, the place where we were is not somewhere in Warmbaths, in the direction towards Warmbaths, because I know that area because I come from Rust de Winter and further down in the East. I come from Gasiabe, which is in Mpumalanga.

So the direction towards Jericho and then on the west of Rust de Winter and Warmbaths road. I'm not familiar with those areas, because I grew up in the direction towards Settlers. But it's not towards Warmbaths, but it's on the east from that road towards -it's on the west towards, or on the road to Warmbaths.

CHAIRPERSON: Now how far from Gabalatsane?

MR BOKABA: Chairperson, even if I mentioned Gabalatsane, I just speculated, I'm not saying actually it's near Gabalatsane. We just stopped somewhere in the bush. The person who was from that area and who knew that area is Joe Mamasela, because he was staying in Letlabile. That is the person who knew those areas and that is the person who was giving directions to Hechter and van Vuuren to those areas, because he was staying in Letlabile.

CHAIRPERSON: So you are not in a position to assist with regard to the exact location of where this person was killed?

MR BOKABA: Chairperson, if I knew that area I would not hesitate to inform this Committee about the actual place, but I don't want to commit myself about something that I don't know.

CHAIRPERSON: Are you in a position to enlighten us with regard to the months, in terms of Mr Sefola's death? I know this incident occurred shortly after Mr Sefola had been killed by your colleagues, are you in a position to say how many months after Mr Sefola's death was this cadre killed?

MR BOKABA: Chairperson, it is difficult to give the actual duration, but as I've already explained it was during winter, that is why the grass caught fire. So the period between the two deaths, to explain that duration, it will be difficult, then I'll be committing myself.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr Roux, I take it that you don't have any re-examination?

MR ROUX: None, thank you Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: In that case, do you wish to proceed to address us?

MR ROUX IN ARGUMENT: As it pleases you, Madam Chair.

I do not wish to waste the time of the Committee, I've a very simple argument. All the requirements of the Act have been met, with regard to disclosure, the motives for the action, the command structure, the rank structure, how things operated, and I submit with respect, that I have listed the offences previously, the offences which may be applicable to the applicant, and I submit that amnesty should be granted for the following offences:

1. Abduction, in as far as Mr Bokaba associated himself with the actions of Messrs Mamasela and Mr van Vuuren.

2. Murder.

3. Mutilation of a body.

4. Arson and;

5. Conspiracy, with regard to the aforementioned offences. And then the final item is:

6. The all encompassing any other delict which may emanate from the facts which have been disclosed.

CHAIRPERSON: Why conspiracy?

MR ROUX: He associated himself, Mr Bokaba associated himself with the order which Hechter issues to him, and the murder was clearly disclosed to him by Hechter, by means of instruction beforehand and therefore it is my submission that conspiracy to murder, to abduct this person, to commit arson, can be inferred from the facts in terms of his association with the actions of all his colleagues at that stage.

CHAIRPERSON: Do you really require conspiracy if the actual act was ultimately committed?

MR ROUX: No, once again it might be overly circumspect on my behalf, perhaps it might not be necessary because the other offences were committed and were indeed executed.




MR ROUX: That then concludes my argument.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Steenkamp?

ADV STEENKAMP: Madam Chair, if I look at the evidence, there was never an inquest record opened, neither was there any police investigation opened. It looks on the facts of the - that the desecration of the body was actually done to hide evidence. I would suggest maybe to include "defeating the ends of justice" as well.

CHAIRPERSON: Where would that evidence come from, that the reason why the body was burnt was intended to cover the ...(inaudible)

ADV STEENKAMP: I think the applicant testified it was done to hide his identity.

CHAIRPERSON: But was the actual evidence adduced by the people who actually burnt this unknown cadre?

ADV STEENKAMP: No, Madam Chair, it was only suggested and I think ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: He was speculating, we cannot rely on the applicants speculation. He was not the person who took the decision to burn the body, so we do not know the reason why the body was burnt. It might have been part of the elimination process.

ADV STEENKAMP: Correct, Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Judgment is reserved. Thank you very much.

MR ROUX: As it pleases you, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Steenkamp, this brings us to the end of today's proceedings?

ADV STEENKAMP: Correct, Madam Chair, that will be the roll for today.

CHAIRPERSON: We'll then adjourn ...(intervention)

ADV STEENKAMP: Till Wednesday morning, Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Till Wednesday morning at half past nine.