CHAIRPERSON: Good morning. We want to start the proceedings. For the record it is Tuesday 1st August 2000. We are continuing with the amnesty application at the JISS Centre in Johannesburg. The Panel is constituted as would be apparent from the record. The matter that is on the role this morning is the amnesty application of Ronnie Kasrils. The amnesty reference number is AM5509/97 and the application relates to the incidence that formed the subject matter of the applications that we heard yesterday from De Lange and two others, so this would be a continuation of the hearing into those incidents.

The appearances are virtually the same as yesterday but just for the purposes of the record I'm going to ask the legal representatives to put themselves on record again, starting with Mr Koopedi.

MR KOOPEDI: Thank you Honourable Chairperson, my name is Brian Koopedi, I'm appearing for the first applicant, Mr Ronnie Kasrils.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Koopedi. Mr Coetzee?

MR COETZEE: Mr Chairperson, Honourable Panel, I'm appearing on behalf of the victims. As I have promised you yesterday I will give it on to the record the full names of the victims that I appear for. First of all it is Gertruide Magdalena

Neethling, she's the wife of the bus driver of the Benoni bus, who has since deceased. Amanda Goosen, the daughter of the bus driver. Schalk Neethling, the son of the bus driver and Jacobus Johannes Bezuidenhout, also a son of the deceased from a different marriage. Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Coetzee. And then the leader of evidence?

MS MTANGA: Thank you Chairperson, I am Lulama Mtanga, the Evidence Leader for the Commission.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you ma'am. Mr Koopedi, is there anything that you want to put on record or do you want your client to take the oath?

MR KOOPEDI: Nothing to put on record at the moment, Chairperson. Mr Kasrils will affirm.

RONALD KASRILS: (affirms and states)

EXAMINATION BY MR KOOPEDI: Thank you Chairperson.

Mr Kasrils, I'm showing to you a document, page 1 Chairperson, of your bundle of documents. It's an application form. Is this your application form for request for amnesty?

MR KASRILS: Yes it is.

MR KOOPEDI: And on page 11 of that document just above the word "deponent" there is a signature, is that your signature?

MR KASRILS: That is.

MR KOOPEDI: Now as you have been advised we've heard or this Honourable Committee has heard evidence from Damien de Lange, Ian Robertson and Susan de Lange and it was stated that they were a unit of Umkhonto weSizwe inside South Africa which was under your command. Would you confirm that?

MR KASRILS: Correct.

MR KOOPEDI: I am referring you to page 6 of your amnesty application form, it's page 6 even on your bundle, Chairperson. And you have the title there "The De Lange Unit" which then came to be the Brooderstroom Unit. Would you confirm what you have stated in that application?

MR KASRILS: Yes indeed. The Brooderstroom Unit, the name was the name given to them by the press, it wasn't actually their military name.

MR KOOPEDI: And this unit was or asked for amnesty for two incidents, as one of them being an explosion at a communications tower at Linksville Ridge and the other being a bomb attack on military bus in the East Rand. Did you know, was this reported to you after these operations or did you ever get to hear about this from your co-applicants?

MR KASRILS: Yes, I was based outside the country on the High Command of Umkhonto weSizwe as well as on the National Executive Committee of the ANC. I was in close contact with this unit, at any time they could in fact communicate with me by a variety of means including radio connection with Lusaka and they did inform me, they reported formally to me about these operations soon after they were carried out.

MR KOOPEDI: Now you were also advised of the evidence, the evidence they gave yesterday. Do you confirm what you were told?

MR KASRILS: Yes indeed.

MR KOOPEDI: And perhaps finally, the actions in which they, that is your co-applicants were involved in, under your command, do you regard those actions as having been politically motivated?

MR KASRILS: Absolutely, at all times. One hundred percent.

MR KOOPEDI: How would you say they were politically motivated?

MR KASRILS: Because they were carried out by a formal operational unit of Umkhonto weSizwe, set up by the Umkhonto weSizwe command. They carried out their operations including these two actions in terms of their general orders which devolved from the ANC's political policy position and its strategy and tactics of waging a just war to reinforce the political struggle against apartheid and thereby to attain a free democratic South Africa. Nothing they did was for personal gain whatsoever. Everything was related to political objectives and I believe one of the reasons why the struggle was carried out in a discipline fashion was because all cadres of Umkhonto weSizwe were taught that the political objectives were paramount and that the armed actions were secondary and had to reinforce the political goals.

MR KOOPEDI: You've stated that there was nothing which was of personal gain to them, but was any of their actions of personal gain to you? Did you benefit anything materially out of commanding this unit?

MR KASRILS: Nothing whatsoever.

MR KOOPEDI: Now regard being had to your application form, the evidence you've just given and the evidence given by your co-applicants yesterday, do you regard yourself, together with this unit, as having complied with the requirement of full disclosure, as having told this Honourable Committee the whole truth about the relevant facts on these two incidences?

MR KASRILS: I can confirm that exactly, yes.

MR KOOPEDI: Chairperson, that will be the evidence-in-chief.


CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Koopedi. Mr Coetzee, have you got any questions?

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR COETZEE: Thank you Chairperson, Honourable Panel, I do have some questions.

Sir, the guidelines that were given to the cadres during training and orders, were they informed specifically what type of targets that they were supposed to look for and to attack?

MR KASRILS: Yes indeed.

MR COETZEE: And can you, perhaps just broadly without going into specific detail, explain what the specified, identified targets were that the cadres were to concentrate on?

MR KASRILS: The enemy was identified as the apartheid regime. Not the population of South Africa of whatever racial group, the apartheid regime, the apartheid system and therefore what was identified were all the personnel and the institutions that worked for that system, that worked for that regime. That would be political leaders, that would be security forces of all kinds, military, police, intelligence, commando units in the rural areas, reserves, collaborators and informers who were working against the liberation struggle in support of the regime and the system. And then there were the inanimate objects which enabled apartheid to function and those inanimate objects are the regular understandable ones of the communication system of the country, its economy, its industry and even its agriculture. Anything that could weaken the resilience and the capacity of the apartheid State. But what was drawn as a very firm line against operations was simply action of a race nature or simply for the sake of violence.

MR COETZEE: Yes. Were there specific indications as to possible injury or damage to civilian residents in these areas because as we heard yesterday, there was damage to businesses and houses in the vicinity. Were there specific instructions regarding that?

MR KASRILS: Can I first of all say in relation to this, because this was an issue which preoccupied our minds over a long, long period of time, the possibility of inflicting any injury on ordinary civilian citizens. At the outset, when Umkhonto weSizwe was established in 1961, the approach was to avoid the loss of life at all costs, be that life personnel directly in the service of apartheid like police or military or otherwise. So the approach was to avoid any injury to human beings. And that actually remained the case for a long time, in fact. It's quite remarkable that over a period from 1961 to at least 1976 there was no known incident where a citizen, a civilian was injured or killed. There were a few cases which were accepted in that period of informers being eliminated and that happened in a very few cases.

After 1976, given the intensity and the savagery of oppression carried out by the apartheid regime and its personnel against members of the liberation movement and against the civilian population, Black people of the country, there were a considerable amount of debate in the ANC and the liberation movement and Oliver Tambo at the Kabwe Conference of 1985 made the point that the armed struggle should be intensified, taken into the White areas, because the conflict was basically taking place in Black areas and the approach to loss of life was changed, that it was understood that if our cadres, our membership, were to intensify the armed struggle, that in that intensification it would be impossible not to guarantee injury to people on the sidelines, to civilians.

So that became accepted as a political position and a policy position, that such casualties could take place and would take place. In military terms the parlance is caught in the cross-fire. This wasn't a term that we employed over much though, but we understood that it was impossible to intensify the struggle and thus shorten the life of apartheid and therefore shorten the misery and the oppression people were undergoing if we restrained our people. It doesn't mean that they were unrestrained, care was still taken and people were requested to take care as far as they could.

Now we're talking about civilians on the sidelines. What is clear is that we encouraged the intensification in order to weaken the military and Security Police personnel of the enemy and were intent on destroying that capacity which meant destroying the lives of security personnel and those who worked with them.

MR COETZEE: Sir, if I understand it correctly with the MK structure, it was a complete military outside and inside the country with a chain of command and proper ranks and files as one would get in a normal army, just the fact that it was, under the circumstances of apartheid, not allowed inside the country to freely operate?

MR KASRILS: Yes, I wouldn't quite put it that way, Mr Coetzee, because it was an irregular force. In Spanish the term guerrilla meaning irregular force, so because Umkhonto weSizwe was an irregular force it couldn't operate in the same way that a regular force could, which was the South African Defence Force. So we didn't have that kind of rigid rank system, we didn't have that degree of communication command and control that you have in a regular force. A great deal of initiative in an irregular army in a guerrilla struggle is left to the guerrilla units.

MR COETZEE: Yes, what I'm actually trying to refer to is that there was some control over your cadres, some discipline to control so that they also had to adhere to the policy guidelines that were set for them, they could not recklessly go and with impunity of the MK itself, go and do as they please outside the guidelines that was laid down by the structure in the party?

MR KASRILS: Yes but it was a moral force and a political awareness that maintained and sought to maintain that kind of control because they were beyond the immediate command of their superior officers.

MR COETZEE: You could not hold ordinary court martials?

MR KASRILS: Nothing of the kind. You might never see such people again even if they so chose to disappear because they were purely volunteers.

MR COETZEE: And were you satisfied that this Brooderstroom Cell, as they were later dubbed, when they planted these two bombs, which they asked, that they were in fact within the guidelines laid down by the structure?

MR KASRILS: Yes certainly. Purely and quite clearly within that.

MR COETZEE: Thank you, Chairperson, Honourable Panel, I've got no further questions.


CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Coetzee. Ms Mtanga, any questions?

MS MTANGA: Thank you Chairperson, I have no questions for Mr Kasrils.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Has the Panel got any questions?

JUDGE MOTATA: Probably one for clarification.

Mr Kasrils, whilst the cadres on the ground were to use their initiative and use their own discretion in for instance selecting targets, the material they would use to undertake such an operation would also be within their discretion. Would I be correct in that?


JUDGE MOTATA: Like initially when you say the ANC and Umkhonto weSizwe High Command were at pains, for instance, to avoid the taking of innocent lives like civilians and subsequently 1985 when the then President of the ANC said that the struggle should be intensified. That discretion was not taken away that where as far as possible where you are targeting say in this instance, Benoni, the airforce, you should minimise human life. That discretion was still there, that you should minimise if, for instance, you have identified your target like airforce members who were travelling in the bus?

MR KASRILS: Sir, the approach was to attempt to avoid injury or death to innocent people, to bystanders, but I would say that there was instruction and encouragement and I was party to this. In terms of intensifying the struggle, to intensify the elimination which of course I'm talking about the taking of life if possible, of the apartheid military and security machine, that if a unit had succeeded in eliminating members of the South African Defence Force, South African Police or Security Services, they would be highly commended and they would be regarded as they were by the people in this country as heroes, worthy of great honour and merit. This is the context of the time and the struggle against an absolute hated and evil system and I must say to you quite clearly, I greatly encouraged those under my command as did all our commanders, political or military in intensifying the struggle to attempt to eliminate enemy personnel in the firm universal belief of all liberation struggles that the sooner you're able to weaken your opponent by the elimination of his number, the sooner you will reach your objective. Our objectives, of course, were the noble objectives of freedom and democracy, peace and prosperity for our country.

JUDGE MOTATA: Returning to the bus at Benoni, what I've seen is just what I've deemed from the court record that there was massive destruction, even properties which were in the vicinity and what goes on in my mind is that the detonator device used there, was it not like something like fishing trout with a TNT?

MR KASRILS: No, with all due respect, I wouldn't agree Sir, because in fact the occupants of the bus managed to escape with very little injury and in that kind of situation, although timing was one aspect and perhaps it was mistimed, a more sophisticated and more powerful explosive device could have wiped out all the occupants of that bus which would certainly have been within the aims and objectives of the armed struggle and since it didn't, I would say that you know your premise there doesn't follow.

JUDGE MOTATA: Because I'm looking at the proportionality because timing would have been of the essence, that probably precaution should have been taken that if we miss our intended target, for instance, we would minimise damage to even ordinary civilians who were resident in the vicinity?

MR KASRILS: Yes, I think the test of that is the fact that no bystanders or people in the vicinity were in fact injured and that would have been the primary consideration for the timing of the attack, that if property had been affected in the process, we wouldn't have viewed the operation as one in which excessive amount of explosive was used.

JUDGE MOTATA: Thank you Chairperson, I've got no further questions.

ADV SANDI: I don't have a question, Chairperson, thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Mr Koopedi, re-examination?

MR KOOPEDI: I had thought, Chairperson, that Mr Raditapole has joined us, he might be given an opportunity to ask questions if he has any?

CHAIRPERSON: Oh, has he joined us? Are you formally appearing, Mr Raditapole?

MR RADITAPOLE: I am formally here, Chairperson. I must apologise, yesterday we didn't clarify the issue of time so I arrived here quite early before 9 and there was not a soul so I assumed we'd be starting at 10 and came back late. So I don't apologise for coming early but for coming late.

JUDGE MOTATA: You didn't see me. I was around when you came.


CHAIRPERSON: Yes, we've got first hand evidence against you there but you're off the hook this time. Alright, have you got any questions?

MR RADITAPOLE: Well Chairperson, I really don't have any questions. I understand the interests of second to fourth applicants remain intact. However, I'd just like to place for the record, just to remind the Panel that yesterday in relation to the question asked by Judge Motata, that yesterday the question of the care taken in the carrying out of this exercise at Benoni was described in detail, the timing that it was early in the morning, the Wimpy was not closed, the nature of the wall surrounding the residential properties was described. So just to remind the Commission that that was dealt with and certainly a lot of care was taken and to avoid injuring civilians and the point was made that it was a huge junction as well. That is really all from my side, Chairperson, thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes and was it a home made device that was used in this explosion?

MR RADITAPOLE: It was a home made device. As you recall the evidence was that nails were also used as shrapnel to try and achieve maximum impact on the bus. I think that was described in great detail, Chairperson. Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Then we're with you, Mr Raditapole. Thank you.

Yes Mr Koopedi? Any re-examination?

RE-EXAMINATION BY MR KOOPEDI: Thank you Chairperson. Perhaps not a re-examination but I would ask the applicant: Mr Kasrils is there anything you would want to add to the testimony you have given?

MR KASRILS: I'd just like to say this, your worships, that although as I've made clear, our approach with the intensification of the armed struggle in order to weaken apartheid by destroying its material base and eliminating its personnel, that now in our peaceful, politically peaceful, secure democratic South Africa, obviously we would have wished no injury and no harm to anybody. We never got involved in the armed struggle because we were people who were infatuated with violence. The contrary was the case in the liberation movement. The people who became involved in the liberation movement were in fact people motivated by love of principle, of truth, of peace, but of course not peace at any price and having to take up arms, that decision took place after decades of a non-violent struggle which ended with the Sharpeville Massacre where the leadership of this movement saw that the possibilities of peaceful change were not possible, that the regime would not talk about change and had to be forced to do so and if we had to take up arms to do so, so be it, which is exactly what so many different peoples in this world had in fact done in their quest for freedom.

So after the fact, of course we would have wished it different. We're just very fortunate that fewer lives were lost through the way we waged our armed struggle than has been the case in other countries and I would say this shows the concern for the sanctity of life and from that point of view, the ANC and members of its armed wing have always unreservedly stated that we regret that people had to die. Even our worst enemies were guilty of death and destruction. We would have preferred that different but of course that's an ideal world. One has to break eggs to make an omelette, as that saying goes, and we certainly had to do that in order to achieve the freedom and the democracy that we have today. Thank you for permitting me to state that.

ADV SANDI: Yes, but Mr Kasrils, is it not the position anyway that throughout human history that whenever things get to the stage of an armed struggle, you'll always have civilians getting caught up in cross-fire? That has been the pattern of human history?

MR KASRILS: Thanks very much, I totally agree. You've put in a very pithy way, it's what I've been trying to say. It's something that unfortunately when you take that decision you realise it's going to happen but you get involved for the greater good of all the people which is exactly what's been the case in South Africa.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes Mr Koopedi, anything else?

MR KOOPEDI: Thank you Chairperson, that will conclude the application for Mr Kasrils, we're not calling any other witnesses to corroborate his evidence.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, thank you Mr Kasrils, you will then be excused. Thank you very much. You said you're not going to present any further evidence?

MR KOOPEDI: No, we will not be giving any further evidence.


CHAIRPERSON: Very well. Mr Coetzee?

MR COETZEE: We're not calling any evidence, thank you Sir.


MS MTANGA: Neither do I, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Have you got any submissions on the merits of the application?

MR KOOPEDI IN ARGUMENT: A very brief submission, Chairperson, on the merits.

Chairperson, Honourable Committee Members, it is my submission that the applicant before you has complied with the requirements of the Act for him to be considered for amnesty. Chairperson, Honourable Committee Member, evidence was led before you yesterday by his co-applicant who - excuse me, Chairperson, his co-applicants who carried out operations under his command.

The evidence that was given to you, Chairperson, Honourable Committee Members, suggested to me that this was almost a classical unit that you heard. In all operations proper reconnaissance was done. In all operations there's no evidence of any civilian dying and in all operations although the Commander was not inside the country, the unit reported back to the Commander.

Finally it is then my submission, Chairperson, that all the applicants have given evidence in a satisfactory manner. There were no contradictions, Chairperson, even though these are incidences that happened over twelve years ago and I therefore submit, Chairperson, that there has been full disclosure before you, there hasn't been any personal gain by any of the applicants and finally that all their actions were politically motivated. Thank you Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Koopedi. Mr Raditapole, is there anything else that you wanted to say?

MR RADITAPOLE: I have nothing to add, Chairperson, thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. We have noted your submissions yesterday in regard to the remaining applicants.

MR RADITAPOLE: ...(inaudible) Mr Chairperson.



CHAIRPERSON: Mr Coetzee, have you got any submissions on the merits of the application?

MR COETZEE: Mr Chairperson, Honourable Members of the Panel, as I stated it yesterday, I just want to reiterate the fact that my instructions from the family, the victims that I'm representing, is not to oppose this application and therefore I also do not oppose it. I believe that the Panel will in fact make a ruling in this which will be just and fair. Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Coetzee. Ms Mtanga, any submissions?

MS MTANGA: Chairperson, I have no submissions to make. If the Committee will allow me, I've just received a letter from the victim pertaining to the application of Maselo which was heard on the 25th July, that was last week Tuesday. If it pleases the Committee, may I quote the contents of this letter?

CHAIRPERSON: Is that in connection with the Maselo matter? Yes, does it impact on this one or can we just dispose of this one first?

MS MTANGA: We can dispose of this one that we're dealing with here.

CHAIRPERSON: Well let's dispose of this first. Yes, Mr Koopedi, anything else that you wanted to add?

MR KOOPEDI: Nothing that I'd want to add, Chairperson and we will ask to be excused as soon as you can, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, thank you very much. You're excused, Mr Kasrils you're also excused and we're indebted to the legal representatives for your assistance in this matter. Thank you very much.


CHAIRPERSON: You have in the Maselo matter?

MS MTANGA: Yes Chairperson. Thank you Chairperson. The letter states as follows, it's dated the 31st July 2000:

"I am the daughter of the late Mr Guerrino," Guerrino is spelt G-U-E-R-R-I-N-O, Zilio is the surname, Z-I-L-I-O.

"I have today returned from an overseas trip. I was notified that an application for amnesty was made by the person who murdered my father. This act of murdering my father in the most violent, horrible and painful manner was in my opinion most definitely not political but simply a criminal act. I therefore wish to inform you that I totally oppose the application even though I believe the hearing took place on the 24th July 2000. I regret the delay in contacting you but as explained, I have only this morning returned to South Africa from overseas. Kindly keep me informed at the following address: Club Orama, No 10 Fairway Street, Waterkloof, 0181. The writer is Mrs Loridana Hofman. Her contact numbers are 0832638810 and her fax number 012-3471968."

That is all, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: We have noted that. Will you contact the writer of that letter and indicate to her that you have received the letter, you have placed it on record before the Panel and that we have taken note of her attitude towards the application.

MS MTANGA: I will do so, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Very well. Ms Mtanga, is there anything else on the roll for today?

MS MTANGA: Chairperson, that is all we have for today.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, my colleagues are very disappointed to hear that but there's nothing we can do. We've had some difficulty with some of the matters that were on the roll for today and in the circumstances we will adjourn the proceedings. Indications were given to me that the victims in tomorrow's matter, which is quite a large number of people, will be brought in the course of the day or in the evening to ensure that they are available first thing in the morning to deal with that matter, so hopefully we shouldn't have any difficulty with that one and we will then adjourn the proceedings and reconvene here tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock.

MS MTANGA: That is fine, Chairperson, with me, thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: We're adjourned.