CHAIRPERSON: We're commencing this morning, before we commence with evidence, I wish to apologise most sincerely for being late. Some personal problems held me up. If anybody wants to know the details thereof and really wants to know, they can approach me in Chambers and I'll tell them. Mr Berger.

MR BERGER: Thank you Chairperson. Chairperson the first person this morning, he is going to make a statement Xolile Mini, X-O-L-I-L-E M-I-N-I. He is the brother of Nomkhosi Mary Mini. He has elected not to give evidence under oath. I've explained to him the consequences of that and he would like to just make a statement. He will be speaking in Xhosa.


I would like to thank the Chairperson and the Committee for giving me this opportunity that today I am here, I know what happened on that particular day in 1985. At least by now I know who the killers are.

Secondly, I cannot help it, I felt the pain when I heard that some of the killers didn't even bother to give full explanation. In my opinion I think that Mr de Kock and his followers were the killers. The reason for me to think that way, it's because after killing the seven victims in the very first house, I think that they were supposed to take a step back but they went ahead to the other house to kill Leon Meyer, that shows that they didn't have any sympathy for him because he was left alone because all his colleagues were killed, that is Leon Meyer.

It is not nice for me to say that one of those people who were killed on that day was my sister, Nomkhosi Mini. She was killed in a gruesome manner, that one cannot even imagine because of the laws that were in existence during those times.

My sister was one person who was fully committed in fighting for the freedom in this country. She was brought up by the parents so that she could be a full citizen. She was a daughter of Wesilo Mini, who was a well-known ANC member and who was also an CP member. She was committed and she even paid with her life in what she wanted, because she wanted to fight for this country, fighting for people like me, who wanted their rights to be recognised. I am saying Nomkhosi followed in her father's footsteps.

Among all the people who were responsible for this, they received awards, but unfortunately Mr McCaskill did not get any of those.

Chairperson and the Panel Members, I appreciate this because at least today I know the killers and I know their faces. Thank you very much.

CHAIRPERSON: Is there anybody who would like to ask Mr Mini any questions?

MR BERGER: Chairperson, his evidence is - he's just making a statement, he's not giving evidence.

CHAIRPERSON: No well that may be so, he's elected to do so. Mr Mini are you from Port Elizabeth?

MR MINI: Yes, I was born in Port Elizabeth, I grew up in Port Elizabeth.

CHAIRPERSON: Was your father a member of the Workers' Union?

MR MINI: Yes, that is correct Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: In the 1960's?

MR MINI: That is correct, Chairperson, he was sentenced ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Ja, I know, I know.

MR MINI: He was hanged in 1964.

CHAIRPERSON: Well for what it's worth, the advocate that appeared for your father, still is troubled by that conviction up till today. I thank you for your statement.

MR BERGER: Thank you Chairperson. The next person I wish to call is Mrs Dawn Botha.



MR BERGER: Chairperson, Mrs Botha is the sister of the late Leon Meyer and she's just indicated to me now that she is prepared to take the oath and to give evidence under oath.



CHAIRPERSON: Mrs Botha, I assume you wish to speak English?

MS BOTHA: I will be speaking Afrikaans, but I am also prepared to answer questions in English.

CHAIRPERSON: Very well. Whatever is most convenient for you. If it is convenient for you to speak Afrikaans, then we can proceed in that language. Do you have any objection to taking the oath?

MS BOTHA: No Chairperson, I do not.

CHAIRPERSON: Please rise.

DAWN BOTHA: (sworn states)

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. You may be seated.


Chairperson, I wish to thank you and the Amnesty Committee for the opportunity to open my heart here this morning. We appreciate all the attempts that have been made and would like to mention to you that it does not go unnoticed to us.

I wish to make a statement before the Amnesty Committee of the TRC regarding the amnesty application of Eugene de Kock and others, pertaining to the Lesotho Raid of December 1985, during which, among others my brother, Leon Meyer and his spouse, Jacqueline Quin were killed.

Early on the morning of 20th December 1985 we received a telephone call from my brother Ivor in which we were told that my brother Leon had been shot late the previous evening. I can recall that I asked whether he was seriously injured and Ivor's answer was: "They are dead, both of them, Leon and Jackie." A few days previously their daughter Phoenix had turned one year old.

At that stage we had been living on the West Coast, two hours drive from Cape Town. I recall that I climbed into the vehicle and drove to Cape Town. That afternoon I managed to get a late edition of the Cape Argus and there was a report regarding the death of Leon, Jackie, Larry Mini, Ndantile Joseph Nyone, ... Mohatle, Boyu Motau, Amelia Lesenyelo. Two days later we departed for Maseru. My brother Chris waited for us because he had to identify the bodies. At Leon and Jackie's house, the most gruesome of scenes awaited us. Apparently Leon had been in the bathroom when the house was invaded. Jackie was murdered first, apparently. We could clearly see the signs of how Leon had tried to rip the burglar bars off and how he had bent the bars in the process. We saw clear bullet holes in the walls in the bathroom. The floors and the walls were covered in blood and body tissue.

They left Leon for dead, but he hadn't died immediately. It is well-known that he struggled to his neighbour and he told her that the boers had killed his wife and that he also told her that the attackers spoke Afrikaans.

My brother and his wife did not deserve to die without dignity. We knew him as a loving and caring person. He cared for his fellow man and was very concerned from a very early age about the inhumane apartheid system. It is unacceptable to us that his brilliant life was cut short by brutal murderers, just so that the status quo of apartheid could be maintained.

This in opposition to the lives of the murderers and those who gave the orders, who continue as if nothing has changed, they still receive pension, knowing full well that the oppressed people of South Africa still contribute richly to it.

From a very early age Leon had been very concerned regarding the injustice of the apartheid society and posed many questions regarding it. Since 15 years of age he had been regularly interrogated by the East London Security Police. He was also tortured and tormented. Our parents were also regularly tormented by them. Often their houses were searched, furniture was toppled over and clothing was ripped out from cupboards. I recall how he and some of his friends one morning, on a Sunday before Church, were picked up by the Security Police for questioning, he was only 15 years old. At 16 he had been detained for the umpteenth time. Once he was even detained whilst preparing for the matric exams.

Shortly after his matric exams, he left the country and joined Umkhonto weSizwe. Subsequently he went to Angola, Tanzania and Zambia. Leon was a committed soldier and went for further training in Cuba, Yugoslavia and the former East Germany.

We are proud of him and we still admire him and Jackie for the love that they shared for each other. The fact that they planned and had a baby, to me is evidence of the fact that they had hope for the future, despite the odds. I hate you because you murdered them. He was a freedom fighter, he was a freedom fighter and he would have entered the country and he had previously entered the country to train people in order to topple an evil and unfair government. I admire Leon for his courage in giving up a normal life in the search for justice. I honour and salute him for his courage in leaving his fatherland in a sincere quest for justice for everyone in South Africa, for the oppressed people as well as for the oppressors.

I express my appreciation for the TRC's attempts in exposing the truth and attempting to achieve reconciliation. However, I find it difficult to reconcile myself with the TRC Act in which equal status is granted to the freedom fighters of Umkhonto weSizwe and people who wanted to maintain an unfair regime with murder and bloodshed.

Reconciliation is defined in a dictionary as follows and I quote:

"To eradicate contradictions".

The other day someone described reconciliation as follows to me. To accept the truth, to reconcile yourself with the truth. I am prepared to reconcile myself with the truth. However there is serious doubt as to whether there has been a full disclosure of the truth during these proceedings. As long as this is the case, as long as the victims of apartheid have the feeling that too many things have not yet been disclosed, it will be very difficult to achieve true reconciliation and particularly not if certain people have not even attempted to ask forgiveness for pain, disruption and sorrow which has been brought to the next of kin of victims, something which they have experienced and continue to experience.

We have had the politicians here and they deny any involvement. We have serious questions. Was it simply a whim of Van der Merwe's that led to this bloodshed in another country or did he really receive orders from above? It is difficult for us to believe that the South African apartheid regime was not involved in this. If Pinochet from Chile would have to account for acts of terrorism, why can the previous government not take responsibility for that which took place during their period of government?

I believe that my brother was murdered by Joe Coetzer who still refuses to testify before the TRC Amnesty Committee. Two days ago, in the presence of next of kin and victims, he loudly said to somebody that he wouldn't be testifying and I had the feeling that we as the next of kin of the victims more than once during these proceedings were knocked in this way.

The consequences of my brother's murder on the 19th of December 1985 will remain with me for the rest of my life. I will never be able to forget it. I was three months pregnant when Leon and Jackie were murdered. On that day, or at least not on that day but when we arrived in Maseru, I, my sister and my sister-in-law and a friend went to scrub away the blood and body tissue from the floors and the walls and once we left the house, despite all the ammonia that we had used, the blood, the stench of blood still hung in the air. The murder of 19 December 1985, will remain with me for the rest of my life. Why then should I be able to forgive you at all?

I thank you Chairperson.


CHAIRPERSON: Any questions?

MR HATTINGH: Thank you Chairperson, I have no questions.


MR VISSER: Visser on the record. No questions thank you Honourable Chairperson.


MR LAMEY: No questions thank you Chairperson.


MR CORNELIUS: Cornelius for the record. No questions, thank you Mr Chair.


MR JOUBERT: Joubert for the record. No questions thank you Chairman.


MS PATEL: Same here, thank you Honourable Chairman.


CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mrs Botha. Before you go Mrs Botha, could I just ask you, can you tell us who all were killed on that day?

MS BOTHA: I have the names, as I obtained them from the documents, the same documents that are in your possession. Leon Meyer, Jacqueline Quin, Nomkhosi Mary Mini, Lulamile Ndantile, Joseph Mayoli, Mankayele Mohatle, Wema Matau, Amelia Lesenyelo, Vivienne Matthee from Paarl.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you know all these people?

MS BOTHA: No, I did not know them.

CHAIRPERSON: How many of these persons did you know?

MS BOTHA: I knew Leon, my brother, when they were married I wasn't present but the rest of my family did know Jackie. I had not yet met her personally.

CHAIRPERSON: Do you know whether Jacqueline was a member of the ANC?

MS BOTHA: I don't know whether she was a member.

CHAIRPERSON: You would not be able to say anything regarding the others, or regarding whether they were ANC members or not?

MS BOTHA: I can only rely upon the TRC records.



MR BERGER: Chairperson, the next person I wish to call is Mrs Maree Carolissen, she is the mother of Vivienne Stanley Matthee. She asked me to convey that she wanted the applicants, unfortunately there are only two applicants present today, but she wanted the applicants to know who she is and to know that she is the mother of Vivienne Matthee. She doesn't want to give evidence under oath and she doesn't know even if any words are going to come out when she speaks now, but she just wanted to be introduced.

If she speaks, she will speak in Afrikaans.

CHAIRPERSON: Mrs Carolissen, I understand that it would be very difficult for you to speak and whatever you say will not bring your child back, but sometimes it is necessary to express things and I've often found that it helps to speak and if there is

an opportunity during the time for you to speak where you may need to rest or to stop, please tell me.


I would just like to be here so that the persons who did this to my child and so that I can hear what happened during that time. If I think back to that time it was very difficult and sad for my mother and I for we received the news very late. It was only by the 26th of December that we received the tidings from Lesotho. It had been on the news, but we didn't know that it was Vivienne who was involved in this and that is why it was very sad for me particularly during the holidays and we had to go to great lengths to get to Lesotho. It was very sad for me as a mother to go there. We had many problems in getting there. We had problems crossing the border and it was very sad for me to witness the brutal circumstances of his death and I'd also like to say that Vivienne was a very loving child, but he was no terrorist. But I feel very glad in knowing today who did this. I am not here to judge, but I would like to say the brutal person who did this will have to live with it because this person will have to account for it one day.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Berger is that it, or shall we wait?

MR BERGER: No, Chairperson, I'd like to call ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Is she finished?



MR BERGER: I'd like to call Ms Anna Mohatle, she is the sister of Mankayele Mohatle. She has indicated to me that she will be prepared to take the oath.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you say she is the sister of the deceased?

MR BERGER: She is the sister of Mankayele Mohatle.

CHAIRPERSON: What language would she prefer to use?

MR BERGER: She will be speaking in Sotho.

CHAIRPERSON: Is she Ms Mohatle?


My name is Anna Mohatle. I am from Maseru in Lesotho. I was born in Lesotho. I'm here because of my sister who was murdered on the 20th of December 1985, who was murdered in Maseru where Mr McCaskill was staying.

At that time she was 27 years old. She was working at K International. She had twins. At that time those children were 7 years old.

I want to thank the Truth Commission because as a family we did not know the murderers of my sister. We knew that they were killed at Mr McCaskill's house. We thank you for that, that the murderers are now known to us.

What is most important is that my sister was not a member of the ANC. She went to a party just like any other person who would attend a party. I'm still asking myself as to whether Mr McCaskill did not open the gates and the doors, so that any other person is welcome to the party, particularly his neighbours, because my sister was staying next to him. I'm still asking as whether, if he did not want Lesotho residents to be involved in that incident, why did he not bar them from entering? Why did he not arrange that the targets would be murdered during their regular meetings at his place, without arranging a party where anybody can attend.

Mr McCaskill knew that if many people would be murdered at his house, he would get a lot of money and that is exactly what he did. He did that deliberately, that even Lesotho residents would be involved in that incident, so as to get more money. What I'm still asking myself again is that if the murderers had known the identity of their targets, why did they kill each and every one who was in that house? My sister was not an MK member and she was not armed, she was peaceful and then she just attended the party like any other person. It was unfortunate that the senseless murderers have killed her.

The murderers together with their informer, have undermined the sovereignty of our country by entering there and killing citizens of Lesotho. My sister was the breadwinner in the family, helping my mother. At the time my mother was a domestic worker, earning R170 per month and my sister was the one who was able to support us and paying our educational costs, together with her children. After her death we were supposed to leave school.

I, after some years, am working for few years, I started to attend school at night and work during the day. Even today I'm still doing the same, but her twins, they were not able to complete matric because their mother was killed and my mother, who was a domestic worker at that time, now is no more working, she's not able to do anything to raise these children. Our life has since changed after the death of my sister. Her children did not enjoy the warmth of the mother like other children and my sister was denied the opportunity to live. All of us at home, we are not in the position to forgive the applicant because she was not a member of the ANC. I'm saying so because I was staying with her, I shared a bed with her, a bedroom with her.

Thank you Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: I have no questions, thank you Mr Chairman.


MR VISSER: Neither have I Chairperson.


MR LAMEY: No Chairman, no questions. Thank you Chairperson.


MR CORNELIUS: Cornelius for the record. No questions thank you.


MR JOUBERT: Thank you Chairperson, no questions.


MS PATEL: No questions thank you Honourable Chairman.


CHAIRPERSON: Ms Mohatle, what are the names of those children?

MS MOHATLE: Relebohile.

CHAIRPERSON: Can you spell that please?


CHAIRPERSON: And the other one?


CHAIRPERSON: What are their sexes, or gender?

MS MOHATLE: They are boys.

CHAIRPERSON: Both of them?


CHAIRPERSON: Who looks after them now?

MS MOHATLE: Mainly it's myself, because my mother is no more working. I'm taking care of them and together with the whole family. My other four siblings and their two twins, we are staying in the same house.

CHAIRPERSON: They are now over 21, correct?

MS MOHATLE: That is correct, Chairperson, they are now 22 years old. They will be 22 years old on the 2nd of November.

CHAIRPERSON: If we should want to contact them, what address would that be?

MS MOHATLE: My address is P O Box 382 Maseru 100 Lesotho.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes thank you.

MS MOHATLE: Thank you Chairperson.


CHAIRPERSON: Mr Berger, I omitted to ask similar questions of the other witnesses that you called. Would you be so kind as to find out that information?

MR BERGER: Chairperson ...(intervention)

MS PATEL: Sorry Chairperson, we are in possession of all the addresses for all the victims. I will give you a list of them.

CHAIRPERSON: Ms Patel, my previous experience indicates that I must take the trouble of finding it out straight from the witness. Mr Berger, if you could possibly be so kind as to do that.

MR BERGER: Contact addresses?

CHAIRPERSON: Names of children, if possible the next of kin and wives or whatever.

MR BERGER: Yes, Chairperson. At the start of the proceedings I gave a list, I read it into the record, but we'll produce a list.

CHAIRPERSON: Oh, did you do so?

MR BERGER: I did yes.

CHAIRPERSON: We need it for the particular reason of finding out who the victims are in terms of the definition as applies to amnesty, not the general definition pertaining to the Act.


CHAIRPERSON: That's why I went to the trouble of finding this out.

MR BERGER; Well, we will give you again a list of all the dependants as well as contact addresses.

CHAIRPERSON: Well that's the point. For the purposes of rehabilitation, not all dependants may be regarded as victims in terms of the Act, either a wife, or the children, or both. In their absence perhaps a parent, or that type of thing and we need to know the relationship as well.

MR BERGER: We will specify the relationship as well.

CHAIRPERSON: Have you got another witness?

MR BERGER: Yes, Chairperson. The next witness is not here, but her name is Lydia Mayoli. I'm just looking for her details. She is the wife of Monwabise Themba Mayoli and she has a son from Themba Mayoli. The son is Nkululeko Mayoli. At the start of the proceedings I pronounced his name Nonkululeko Mayoli and I was severely reprimanded because he's a boy and not a girl, so if I can spell it, it's N-K-U-L-U-L-E-K-O Mayoli. She handed me or my attorney a written statement the last time she was here. She hasn't managed to come through again and she's asked if that statement can be read out. I have handed it to the interpreters. It's in Sotho and I've asked them if they wouldn't translate it into the record. I can hand this statement in, if it's necessary. It won't be under oath, it will just be a statement.

CHAIRPERSON: They can read it.

MR BERGER: Thank you Chairperson. If I could ...


INTERPRETER: This is the statement of Lydia Mayoli, it reads as thus:

I have a problem with my child who keep asking me about her father. She is still young and needs her father's love, that is why it is difficult for me to forgive these cruel criminals. I will never forgive them ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Interpreter, the word they refer to there may be boy or girl. You may have heard the advocate complaining that he was reprimanded. The child is not a she.

INTERPRETER: Yes, I hear that Chairperson.

I will be happy to see them locked in jail for the rest of their lives. They had no right to kill my husband. They have done a good job for their masters. I will ask this man to help maintain my child the way his father would have done. I need help with my daughter who is still at school. I know that by doing this my husband will not rise from the dead again. He was a responsible man who worked hard for his family as well as his country. I was expecting a lot from him and nobody will ever do what he did and would have done for us.

I wish to thank this Commission for the wonderful job they have done for us. After 15 years of not knowing what happened to Monwabise Themba Mayoli, we are grateful to the Commission for coming to us and offering us the opportunity to see and hear the killers of my husband.

Themba Mayoli was 23 years old when I met him for the first time in 1980 in Maseru. I was only 18 years old. We got married on the 27th of September 1985. On the 19th of December 1985 we were invited to a party that night. I was not feeling well that day and I decided not to go to the party, but my husband went alone. He would come to see me after an hour. The last time he came to see me was at about 11 o'clock at night and I told him not to worry much about me and should stay at the party until it is finished. This was the last time I talked to my husband.

The following day, that is on the 20th of December 1985, I was expecting my husband to return home. I went to town to attend to family matters and while in town I heard rumours that there were people who have been murdered by the boers.

It was becoming late when I started to panic and became worried about him. At half-past five that afternoon, my mother arrived. She looked troubled and spent about five minutes before she could talk to me. She did not answer my questions. Ultimately she broke the news to me and told me that my husband is one of the people who were murdered by the white soldiers the previous night. I was terrified and thought that I was dreaming because at that time I was three months pregnant and three months married to him.

Every time I look at this child, she reminds me of her father who never got to see her. My daughter knows that she once had a father, but he was murdered by coward white men. I repeat and say that these men are cowards. You killed people at night, who could not see you. You are bloody cowards who entered Lesotho illegally with arms.

I thank you.

Lydia Mayoli.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Berger, I think you better check up again as to whether the child is a male or female, because according to this statement ...(intervention)

MR BERGER: Chairperson, I don't know if you remember, but in all the previous hearings he used to sit right in the front row, a little boy sitting next to his mother, Lydia Mayoli.

CHAIRPERSON: No why I say so is that the statement even says daughter.

MR BERGER: No, it doesn't.

CHAIRPERSON: Oh it's one of those words that ...

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: ...(indistinct - mike not on)


MR BERGER: I don't want to take issue with the interpreter, but I venture to suggest that it's gender neutral.

CHAIRPERSON: One of those words that ... ja.


CHAIRPERSON: We don't know what the age of the son is, or do we?

MR BERGER: Well if she was three months pregnant in 1985.

CHAIRPERSON: Almost about 14.

MR BERGER: Born in 1986, 14, 15. 14, yes he would be the same age as Mrs Botha's, Dawn Botha's child.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes and the deceased, was he a South African citizen? Don't know?

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: He was South African, Mr Berger.

MR BERGER: He was South African. I'm looking at the details. His family comes from Gugulethu.

CHAIRPERSON: I know that, but ...

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: I think according to the list that you initially submitted when we commenced our proceedings, it was reflected that he was South African.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, who's next?

MR BERGER: In fact Xhosa-speaking South African.


MR BERGER: Chairperson, the last person I believe will be Mr Nico Botha.

CHAIRPERSON: Weren't you going to call five witnesses?

MR BERGER: I beg your pardon?

CHAIRPERSON: You're only calling four witnesses plus the statement from Lydia.

MR BERGER: Seven. There was Jane Quin yesterday.

CHAIRPERSON: Oh, oh sorry, ja, I forgot that. Five, Jane six and the statement seven.


CHAIRPERSON: Who did you say this was, or is?

MR BERGER: Mr Nico Botha. He will be taking the oath. He is the brother-in-law of Leon Meyer.

CHAIRPERSON: Are you satisfied that he should testify?

MR BERGER: Yes, I am.

CHAIRPERSON: I'll be guided by you. Is he going to make a statement or testify?

MR BERGER: No, he's going to take the oath.

CHAIRPERSON: And what language is he going to use?

MR BERGER: He's going to speak English and he said at times he may need to express himself in Afrikaans.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Botha which language would you prefer to use, which would you be comfortable with?

MR BOTHA: Chairperson I would try to present the ...

CHAIRPERSON: No don't try, whatever you are comfortable with, we need your ...

MR BOTHA: Well I'm comfortable with both so I will, the bulk of my presentation will be in English, but I will switch to Afrikaans from time to time. Is that acceptable?

CHAIRPERSON: Well why don't you do it all in Afrikaans?

MR BOTHA: I've prepared in English so it would be extremely difficult to ...


NICO BOTHA: (sworn states)

EXAMINATION BY MR BERGER: Mr Botha, you indicated that you wanted to give evidence, first as someone who knew Leon Meyer very well and secondly because of the work you're doing at the moment, is that correct?

MR BOTHA: That is correct, yes.

MR BERGER: And what work is that?

MR BOTHA: Well I'm wearing at least two caps, the one is that I'm heading the department, the faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at Unisa. I'm holding the Chair in Mythology and I'm at the same time working on a part time basis in the Uniting Reform Church of Southern Africa, Pretoria Congregation and then that is the perspective, Chairperson, from which I would like to present my statement.

MR BERGER: Please continue.


Well, let me for starters convey a word of thanks to the Amnesty Committee for giving me this opportunity to make a statement. I would also like to thank the family members for allowing me into this. I'm very, very proud Chairperson, to be involved with the Meyer family. It's a very, very strong family, a family who has over the years tried to uphold important values and that explains, for example, why after 1994, they've not rushed to the ticket office in an attempt to get a ticket for the gravy train. So I'm very proud to be part of this family. I want to pay tribute especially to Chris who has relentlessly commuted between East London and Maseru in an attempt to keep contact with his brother Leon. I can remember quite clearly that Leon's mother and father and other family members also went out of their way to keep contact with him and they did so fearlessly. It's a kind of a family that would not bend themselves, it's a kind of family that would face issues fearlessly and I'm very proud to be part of this family in a sense and I want to pay tribute to them.

As I've already - thank you Mr Berger, apologies Chairperson. As I've already indicated, my statement is a kind of a theological perspective. It's not the theological perspective but a theological perspective and I would like to start with the issue of truth, reminding you of the very striking story from the New Testament about Pontius Pilate being confronted with the person from Nazareth, raising the very, very pertinent question: "What is truth?" The problem for and of Pontius Pilate was that in the face of the truth, in the face of the embodiment of truth, he was still not sure what truth is, what it was and therefore he raised the philosophical question: "What is truth?"

We've heard a lot about the truth, or telling the truth, during the entire TRC process. The truth of Christ, the truth of the person from Nazareth is the truth about how He related to the poor.

MR BERGER: Mr Botha, can I ask you when, in your comments, to try and limit them to the facts of this amnesty application. I know that given your work there is a tendency for you to try and you know enlarge upon it, but I'd like you please, if you can, to limit your remarks to the Leon Meyer you knew and to this process, otherwise I can see we're going to go off on a tangent.

MR BOTHA: I'll try my utmost to do so, Chairperson, my apologies. I'm trying to develop and important argument, but perhaps I should try to say what the argument is that I'm attempting to develop.

For me the fundamental question about truth within the context of the amnesty hearings is whether the truth being told by the applicants, whether that means anything to anybody, whether that means anything to the poorest of the poor in South Africa or only to themselves. Whether it is the truth, or so-called truth that is being told only in an attempt to save their own skins, or whether once again it means anything to anybody and that's why I raised the issue of truth pertaining to the person from Nazareth. His truth was a truth that happened in the context of the lives of people, real people, the poor, the down trodden, the oppressed, the sick, the marginalised and the fundamental question for me as a theologian, and I want to round up the argument, is whether the so-called truth that has been told during this amnesty hearing, whether that has got anything to do with the poor and the down trodden and the oppressed and the sick and the marginalised of our society.

MR BERGER: Mr Botha, can I ask you to turn to Leon and to talk about the Leon Meyer that you knew and say the things that you wanted to say about him in this hearing? Because, I understand where you're coming from, but as I've said, you know, we can't keep it that broad. I see - you have certain remarks, I see you have four points and I see you were on your first point, perhaps if you could just summarise what the second point was and then move on to Leon.

MR BOTHA: Well the second point was on reconciliation but, let me try to be brief. The argument that I'm trying to develop there is what we are dealing with here in the amnesty process is a very reductionist and cheap kind of reconciliation, whereas as a Christian and a theologian, my understanding of reconciliation is that it is pretty pricey, it has cost Jesus Christ his life, it has cost Leon and the other comrades their lives, but let me not dwell on that, let me go straight into how I remember Leon Lionel Meyer.

I remember having met him for the first time at the beginning of 1976 in East London, when he was about 16 years old. I remember quite clearly how he came across as a brilliant young boy. I remember how during that same year, 1976, Leon has had an experience at Genadendal where we were having a camp for our youth, the kind of experience that in terms of a pietistic understanding, boiled down to an existential encounter, an existential decision for the Lord Jesus Christ. Now this is the pietistic understanding of what it means to be saved. I'm mentioning this to indicate that the paranoia of the South African State about Leon was completely - we couldn't understand why all the paranoia about a young boy who has just gone through a very pietistic experience, he was harassed tremendously, he was detained several time, he had no life as a young boy, there was no time to go to parties like an ordinary youngster, to play football, to go to the cinema, to go around with girlfriends, to steal fruit from the neighbour's garden, there was no such thing. So there is a sense in which Leon was killed even long before the 1985 raid in Maseru, Lesotho.

He was forced out of the country, he had to run, he had to skip the country. I remember having had conversation upon conversation with Leon and I remember quite vividly Chairperson, how one day we were discussing the different influences as he experienced them at the time, on the one hand there was the influence of the Black Consciousness Movement. As you might know the present chairperson of the Human Rights Commission, Barney Pityana is from the Easter ...(indistinct) from that part of the country, Leon spoke about Barney Pityana, he spoke about Steve Biko and the impressions their ideas made upon him. At the same time he was reading the very famous book by Martin Luther King, "Why we can't wait", in which Luther King expounds brilliant ideas on non-violent resistance. At the very same time, Leon showed me a small booklet with the very interesting title of: "The war of the flea" and what I hated most about apartheid then and even now, was the fact that Leon was forced into a situation where he had to opt, not for non violent resistance, but for the war of the flea.

I remember having had numerous discussions with him on the ideals of the Black Consciousness Movement, I remember how he differed from me when I said: "Well, we are on our own. As black people we are on our own." I remember how I quoted Malcolm X when he said white people are not to be loved, neither are they to be destroyed, they are simply to be ignored. I know how Leon resisted those ideas, telling me that he stood for non racialism, that the struggle for national liberation was not about polarising black people and white people even further, but about reconciliation and about bringing black people and white people together, it was fundamentally about creating a non-racist, non-sexist democracy.

So the important thing for me, and I think for all of us as family members Chairperson is, it is immaterial whether the truth has been told here or not, it is immaterial whether that reconciliation comes about between family members and the perpetrators who've applied for amnesty. What is important is for us as family members to remember the ideals, ideals for which Leon and the other comrades paid the supreme price. The ideal was to create a non race, non racist, non sexist, just and equitable democracy. I would like to plead with the family members to hold on to the vision of creating such a society, a society which is qualitatively new, difficult as it might be, amidst continuing violence, difficult as it might be amidst corruption, difficult as it might be amidst institutionalised racism, difficult as it might be amidst greed, amidst resistance to change and transformation, they should hold on to the vision of creating this new society.

In conclusion, Chairperson, I would as a pastor, plead with the family members to try and get on with their lives, to try and build their own lives and to try and make a contribution to the new South Africa.

And finally, finally, my little statement is dedicated to Phoenix, whose name quite symbolically in this situation, means that out of the ashes, ultimately there will arise a reality which is qualitatively new. I thank you, Chairperson.

MR BERGER: Thank you Mr Botha.

MR HATTINGH: No questions, thank you Mr Chairman.

MR VISSER: A question please, Mr Chairman.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR VISSER: Mr Botha, could I ask your counsel to show you volume 2 of the record before the Committee.


MR VISSER: Bundle 2, Chairperson and I'm referring to page 1. Have you got that in front of you, Mr Botha?

MR BOTHA: Yes, that's my statement. I know if by heart.

MR VISSER: Is that the statement that you made?


MR VISSER: All I want to ask you is just this, do you confirm the truthfulness and the correctness of what you say in this statement?

MR BOTHA: Chairperson, the whole process is about the truth. I have got nothing to hide. Leon Meyer was a member of Umkhonto weSizwe, we are proud of that. He was a freedom fighter. We've got nothing to hide as far as that is concerned.

MR VISSER; Alright. Will you then just - then you shouldn't have a problem answering this question. Do you confirm the correctness as far as you're concerned, of this statement.

MR BOTHA: Ja, only if I can make the following clarification. You see what happened was the investigator, as I was speaking, wrote down the statement, so I cannot take responsibility for the formulations as they appear in front of you, but in terms of the content of the statement, I stand by it.

MR VISSER: Thank you. Thank you Chairperson.



MR LAMEY: No questions thank you.


MR CORNELIUS: I have no questions thank you Mr Chairman.


MR JOUBERT: I have no questions thank you Honourable Chair.


MS PATEL: No questions thank you.


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

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: No questions, thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Botha, your counsel I think, correctly cut you short on the beginning of your statement but certain issues did arise then which I think I want to raise with you. The Commission has found itself ever since it started to operate in the position where it had to try to bring different people together, to really establish a nation outside apartheid and you mentioned and a man in your position and that's why I'm talking to you, has the means to help the situation but you referred to the concept and definition of truth. Now we are not able to indulge in debates about truth in the Biblical sense etc., we are confined to the truth as we find it embedded in legal consideration, I hope you appreciate that.

Secondly, you refer to Christianity and I've got nothing against any religion, but you must accept that we deal with all types of people who come from different religious backgrounds, and that is why we can't make decisions in terms of Christianity or the Jewish sect or whoever, we've got to do it in terms of what is stipulated in the Act. I just hope you understand what I'm trying to say. I'm not going to ignore what you've testified, but at the same time, one gets the feeling that, you know, you are in the position to talk to other people and we are aware of the criticisms that have been levelled against the Commission and I can understand that, but and you've helped me understand it even more, that people have all these other machinery to make their own definitions and understand what this Act is all about, with all its imperfections and I just thought that I needed to raise those issues with you, not to argue with you, but just to draw your attention to the problems that we have.

I like the idea also of your support for non racialism because many people have forgotten that the race classification Act is now repealed and we still go about life compartmentalising people into different sects as the Nationalist Party labelled us at the time, I think we were all born in South Africa, we should be South Africans.

I thank you for your testimony.

MR BOTHA: I would like to briefly respond in Afrikaans. Thank you very much Chairperson. I think you have touched upon very important issues here and the last one that I had written down I would like to start with that one first, your reference to the issue of non-racialism. Maybe the time is much too limited, but I would like to mention that I myself went through a phase where, and you have to keep in mind that in the beginning of the 1970's I had registered at the University of Western Cape and that was at the time of the heyday of the Black Consciousness Movement, I sat at the feet of persons like Themba Sono, Jerry Modisane, Steve Biko and I was very strongly under the influence of the Black Consciousness movement, but then already there was the understanding that the Black Consciousness Movement would be in determined phases, which we had to go through in our search for our identity and our search of self-determination and if I may be brief, I would like to put it clearly that to me it was a great extent, that was a phase that was behind me and the slogan of Malcolm X where I had, for example referred, is a slogan that will not help much in solving the enormous problems that we have today. I am therefore, as far as it is possible, in bone and marrow, I am a non-racialist but I have to add this to it, that it is incredibly difficult in terms of the heritage of apartheid and in terms of the institutionalised racism and in terms of the situation where many people do not even know that they are racist in their actions and it's not only about their conduct, it's about in particular about the fact that racism leads a material existence and this means simply that racism is part of the institutionalised, like for example at Unisa, from all the staff members are approximately 85% of the academic staff are still white people, then that constitutes as such a situation of institutionalised racism.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Botha, I understand what you are saying and when I made these remarks I did not expect us to get into a debate, I only made use of the opportunity of mentioning certain things to you, because you are in a position to put these things straight in your own way.

MR BOTHA: I actually am trying to put you at ease Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: I accept that you will do this. It is only with regard to the definition of truth, I want everybody to understand that the Commission is limited to the Act and the definitions with regard to the truth in terms of the Act. There are many other definitions of the truth and I apologise, we cannot consider all those definitions and similarly in religious terms.

MR BOTHA: That is why, Chairperson, if you would allow me just briefly, I will not waste your time, I would just like to put you at ease with regard to the existence of more than one religion within the South African reality. I lecture a course about inter religious dialogue and one thing I am trying to teach the students is the dual approach of commitment on the one hand and openness on the other hand. I speak as a Christian in an exclusive fashion. I'm open to whatever comes to me from whatever other religion. Just to remind you Chairperson, during the days of the struggle I stood side by side with Mulana Faried Essak, who was quoting from the Koran and I was quoting from the Bible. We had no problem with that. I stood side by side with Imama Hassim Solomons. In the Cape I was shouting ...(indistinct)

CHAIRPERSON: Please Mr Botha, you're not on trial, I just raised certain issues here because ...(indistinct - speaking simultaneously) into a position, in a hope that you could contribute to reconciliation.

MR BOTHA: No, but it's interesting Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: I have my own ideas about what religion does to reconciliation. Thank you.

MR BOTHA: Thank you Chairman.


MR BERGER: Chairperson, I have no further evidence, thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Is that the end of the evidence? I understand that we're setting aside one and a half days for argument. What do you say, Mr Berger?

MR BERGER: That my silence shouldn't be construed as consent.

CHAIRPERSON: No, I'm not asking you for your consent.

MR BERGER: Or agreement.

CHAIRPERSON: I'm trying to reconcile everybody here with what is required. Look to be quite honest, we don't really need argument, but I'm granting that because the understanding was from the very beginning of this matter, that there would be argument and rightfully so, because it's been a long hearing, a lot of evidence and I think there's quite a few aspects that we require to be dealt with, but on the other hand I must also say that we're not looking for theses, we're looking for short heads of argument, which I can't imagine taking longer than a day, but we're prepared to go one and a half days and maybe if you want to negotiate, we can negotiate thereafter, but let us aim for a day and a morning, perhaps, is that okay?

MR VISSER: Chairperson, you're looking at me, Visser on record, and I will therefore have to reply to you.

CHAIRPERSON: I didn't invite a reply by looking at you Mr Visser.

MR VISSER: Well, I'm going to give it to you anyway, Chairperson. Apparently four days have been set aside to complete this matter. I personally would have thought, Chairperson, that it might be prudent to stick to two days and not to try and chop it down to one and a half days, because the alternative might be that we find ourselves at the end of one and a half days not quite finished and where we could have otherwise finished, we might then have to postpone the whole thing. I would suggest, with respect, that you should give consideration to two days, but there's another aspect which I wish to mention to you Chairperson, if we are going to postpone, the week in which the matter will be heard has as its Monday the 25th of September a public holiday and I was going to suggest ...

CHAIRPERSON: You also have personal problems that day?

MR VISSER: Yes Chairperson, but it seems that all of my Learned Friends that I spoke to, also have the same problem as I have Chairperson, and I would suggest that we start on the Wednesday and do it the Wednesday and the Thursday.

CHAIRPERSON: What day is the 27th?

MR VISSER: That's the Wednesday, Chairperson, Wednesday the 27th of September.

CHAIRPERSON: Ja. Can I negotiate with you? Have I an undertaking that it's two days, that we make bookings in terms of when we start and when we end?

MR VISSER: Chairperson, I can tell you that we will present you with the thesis that you had in mind, on paper, and why we want to do that, why we're going to do that is in order precisely to try to shorten proceedings by not having to go through everything, but simply to deal with those matters which might be contentious, so that we don't have to argue things that are on paper already.

CHAIRPERSON: I'm going to hold you to that.

MR VISSER: Yes, absolutely, you can.

CHAIRPERSON: Where you're going to skip most of the pages.

MR VISSER: Absolutely. I can tell you now as I've got it up to page 44, I'm not going to deal with, but the rest of the 120 I will have to deal with. No, I'm just joking, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Berger, you said two days?

MR BERGER: I'm in agreement with Mr Visser. I think if we try and get all the arguments finished by lunchtime on the second day and for some reason there's been a delay or something, to come back again would just be ...

CHAIRPERSON: We'll aim for lunchtime and have the rest of the day in reserve, whatever, but we certainly won't go to the Friday.


CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So we can make our arrangements like that. I want to appeal - I've got a request and this is merely a request, if it can't be done then tough luck, is it possible for the Panel to be furnished with those heads a few days beforehand, or is that impossible? I see Mr Visser is almost at page 50, so he's half-way there already.

No, I'm - it's a request, it will facilitate us understanding.

MR VISSER: Chairperson, can I make you a promise that we'll certainly try, but we'll have to work in what has happened this week, etc, and if we can possibly do so, yes, we will.

CHAIRPERSON: Well at least one witness I don't know if you're going to work too much on that.

MR VISSER: No, that is so, that is so. We will certainly try to do that.

CHAIRPERSON: Gentlemen, please try and if it can't be done, it can't be done, but we'd really appreciate it.

MR VISSER: Well, in that circumstance, we'll try harder.

CHAIRPERSON: The other thing is and I'm going to make a request to you Mr Berger, to ask your clients that they be present when you argue, please. I think that's important.

MR BERGER: Yes, they want to be present.

CHAIRPERSON: Well then there's no risk of them not being present?

MR BERGER: No. So are we postponing to the 27th and the 28th of September?

CHAIRPERSON: Ja. You look a bit perturbed. What's wrong? I don't want to come here on the morning of the 27th and you say: "Look here, I've got to handle another problem". You're happy with the 27th and the 28th?

MR BERGER: Yes. No, I'm happy. What time are we starting on the 27th?

CHAIRPERSON: Half past nine. We'll adjourn then till the 27th of September 2000.