TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION

AMNESTY HEARING

DATE: 26TH SEPTEMBER 2000

NAME: WOUTER J BASSON (CONT)

MATTER: CCB HEARING - PART HEARD

DAY: 15

--------------------------------------------------------------------------CHAIRPERSON: We are resuming with the so-called CCB Hearing. I welcome everybody back. Is the legal representation as before? No changes. When we adjourned, Mr Basson was being questioned by Mr Kahanovitz. Mr Kahanovitz, are you in a position to proceed?

MR KAHANOVITZ: Yes, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: We've also just been handed a bundle of photographs, I don't know if everybody is in possession of these photographs. I think we may as well deal with them now. Is there any objection to these being handed in as an exhibit? There's an obvious error in the affidavit, it was signed on a date that doesn't exist, two weeks, referring to events that took place weeks after the date of the signature thereof, I'm sure that's meant to be the 31st of August, not September, '89. And also, if one reads that paragraph it looks like it should be two dates, because "we were there in the evening and then the next morning", so it's probably the 31st of August '89 and the 1st of September '89, but I don't think much hangs on that.

MS COLERIDGE: We'll call it Exhibit K, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Exhibit K. Each of the photographs are numbered, so we'll call it K and then when we refer to a particular photograph it will be K1, 2, 3 whatever one is being referred to.

Mr Basson, I think we'll take the oath again seeing it was so long ago since you took the last one.

WOUTER J BASSON: (sworn states)

MR KAHANOVITZ: Mr Chairman, just two procedural matters. There is another legal representative and maybe that should be placed on record.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr Kahanovitz.

MR STIPP: Good day, Your Worship, my name is Riaan Stipp, I'm here for Mr Hardien, my firm is De Klerk and Van Gend Attorneys.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Is that S-t-i-p-p?

MR STIPP: Yes, Your Worship.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr Stipp.

MS COLERIDGE: And Chairperson, just before we proceed, I'd just like to place on record the extra documentation which is bundle H, I and J. Bundle H and I are the transcripts, Chairperson, and then bundle J would be the copy of Wouter Basson's diary.

CHAIRPERSON: Does everybody have a copy of these bundles? Thank you. Yes, Mr Kahanovitz.

MR KAHANOVITZ: The other issues relate to errors in the typed record. Might I suggest in the interests of progress, that I just point out the page and the error and then one could ask the other representatives at some later stage during the day, whether they agree that those are indeed errors?

CHAIRPERSON: Certainly, Mr Kahanovitz. We'll start with bundle H.

MR KAHANOVITZ: At page 147 of the record there's a quote from the finding of Judge Harms, at the bottom of the page there's a reference to:

"Verster, Brand, Cillier and Britz"

Judge Harms' finding refers to:

"Verster, Braam Cilliers"

is what should be typed there, not Brand, Cillier.

Then at the very first line at top of page 154, Mr Bizos is putting a question to Mr Verster and he's asking whether a certain person was a member of the inner core, that person's surname starts with an "M", Meerholtz, not with an N.

Then in, I think it's been called bundle H, at page 1006, the very last line of that page Mr van Zyl is quoting from his own statement and the sentence reads:

"would involve the elimination of a man by the name of Gavin Evans"

Mr van Zyl's statement actually reads:

"Michael Gavin Evans"

Then at page 1129, I'm reading from ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: 1129?

MR KAHANOVITZ: I'm reading there from the statement of the bomb export, sorry bomb expert, where I say:

"I determined that the explosive device was detonated"

it says 10H35, it should read:

"20H35"

MR MARTINI: Sorry, Chairperson, why should it read 20H35?

MR KAHANOVITZ: Because that's what his statement says.

CHAIRPERSON: It's a quote from the statement.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Those are all the errors that I noticed in reading the record.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you very much, Mr Kahanovitz, you may now proceed with the questioning of Mr Basson.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR KAHANOVITZ: (Cont)

Mr Basson, you've already testified that in October 1989 you were told to shift the emphasis of your work from co-ordinating Region 6 to co-ordinating Region 2, you recall that evidence?

MR BASSON: Yes, I think that is what I said.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You recall the context was as to why people with the names of Nick and Theo became involved in the Omar project at the time that the poisoning plan was being implemented?

MR BASSON: Yes, that is correct, it was after Mr Botes resigned.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Now your evidence was also that you had worked on Region 2 projects before you became involved in Region 6.

MR BASSON: That is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: And just for purposes of the record, Region 2 is Mozambique and Swaziland.

MR BASSON: That is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I take it that you were involved in Region 2 activities in 1988.

MR BASSON: Foreign operations.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Yes by definition, Mozambique and Swaziland are outside the country. My question is, were you involved in Region 2 activities in 1988?

MR BASSON: I cannot recall specific operations or incidents, however I was a Co-ordinator for a period of time, I was a Co-ordinator of Region 2.

MR KAHANOVITZ: What period? For what period in 1988 were you the Co-ordinator of Region 2?

MR BASSON: I think it was, and I'm speaking under correction, but I think it was the first six months of 1988.

MR KAHANOVITZ: So I take it that in April 1988 you were the Co-ordinator of Region 2?

MR BASSON: I think so, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Would you care to tell the - or let me preface the question this way. Pieter Botes says that at that stage he was the Regional Commander of Region 2, is that correct?

MR BASSON: Perhaps I should just clarify that the moment when Mr Botes was recruited for the organisation, from that moment onwards my duties fell away as the Co-ordinator for Region 2, and I handed over all the administrative and other projects of that time to him. I just cannot specifically recall the time when this took place.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Can we just clarify here. Mr Botes says he was the Regional Commander, or the other word that has been used here, the Regional Manager, in other words he occupied a position similar to that of Staal Burger vis-à-vis Region 6.

MR BASSON: Correct, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: In other words, he wasn't the Co-ordinator, is that correct?

MR BASSON: I am not certain how his structure functioned, he was also a Co-ordinator and he was never really viewed as the Regional Manager, due to his lower seniority to the rest of the Regional Managers he was viewed as more of a Co-ordinator enjoying the functions of a Co-ordinator but he was also someone who managed projects in that capacity.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Would you care to tell the Committee about some of the CCB projects in Mozambique in 1988, that you were involved in?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, once again we are with foreign projects and I don't know if I will have to repeat myself regarding my sentiment and viewpoint regarding this.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Let me put some - so you're saying you, if I understand it in line with what you have previously said, you are unwilling to tell the Committee about your involvement in CCB projects in Mozambique in 1988?

MR BASSON: That is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I just want to place before for your comment, certain things that Pieter Botes has to say about CCB projects undertaken in Mozambique, both in 1988 and in 1989.

Mr Chairman, with your leave I'd like to hand up excerpts from the book by the journalist, Jacques Pauw. It's been previously referred to. It's called "In the Heart of the Whore", the story of apartheid's death squads. It was published in 1991. I have for the convenience of all concerned, drawn a line down the margin of the specific paragraphs that I intend referring to.

CHAIRPERSON: This document that's just been handed to us, Mr Kahanovitz, will be Exhibit L.

MS COLERIDGE: Chairperson, I just want to get these exhibits right. We had an Exhibit L previously. I'm just checking my ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry then it's my fault, I was just working on the fact that the photographs were K.

MS COLERIDGE: Can we make those photographs M, Chairperson?

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry about that, if we can just revisit the photographs which we called Exhibit K this morning. Is it Exhibit M?

MS COLERIDGE: M, that's correct.

MR P DU PLESSIS: Is it N for Nellie or M for Mother?

MS COLERIDGE: M for Mother.

CHAIRPERSON: Then this document will be N.

MS COLERIDGE: N, correct, Chairperson.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Might I proceed? Thanks.

Mr Basson ...(intervention)

MR LAX: Sorry, before you do. We already have an M and that is the diary. I thought so, I was just ... The diary was called M, that front page with sort of archaic man with his quill. We called that M at the end of the last hearing, so we should proceed from there onwards, I'm afraid.

MS COLERIDGE: I'm afraid I've got all the exhibits, incorrect. Sorry, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Alright. The photographs will then be N for Nellie and this extract from the work of Mr Pauw will be Exhibit O. Mr Kahanovitz?

MR KAHANOVITZ: I want to refer you to page 173 for a start. You will see here that the author of the book relates certain information that was conveyed to him by Pieter Botes and the context in which this is being discussed concerns the attack on Albie Sachs in Mozambique on the 7th of April 1988, and what the long and the short of what Mr Botes has to say is, you'll see in the middle of the page 173, Botes said that:

"The instruction to kill Sachs had come from a senior member of the CCB and was signed by Joe Verster. As Co-ordinator for Region 2 he was responsible for carrying out the operation. There were South African and Mozambique operatives, both conscious and unconscious, in the three teams of six each that infiltrated Mozambique through the Namacha border post between Swaziland and Mozambique. They used false passports and cars with false registration papers and number plates. To maintain security, none of the teams knew each other or why they were doing the work. Botes was in Swaziland to monitor the whole operation, using a phone box to communicate with his men in the field."

Then he details, that's Pauw, what the routine was that was used and how the plan was devised and he quotes Botes, who says the following:

"Sachs had been on our assassination list for a long time and we did extensive surveillance on him. We knew exactly where he lived and worked, who he mixed with and what his movements were. I knew that it would be easy to blow him up. I chose a highly intelligent and very dangerous black member of the CCB to plant the bomb."

Maybe you can just read for yourself onto the following page up to the end of that paragraph. You'll see Botes says that the man was paid R4 000 for blowing off Sachs' arm. You with me?

MR BASSON: Yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You read that.

MR BASSON: I'm reading it.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Well what do you have to say about Botes' claim that the attack on Albie Sachs was a CCB operation authorised by Joe Verster?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, I do not know about this operation, I was not a member of it, and if Botes maintains that he did it, then it is most probably so, but I wasn't part of it and I don't know anything about the operation.

MR KAHANOVITZ: So you're not in the position to confirm what he has to say and you're not in the position to contradict what he has to say?

MR BASSON: That is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Then if you go to page 183 of this document, if you could read from page 183 through to the point that I've marked at page 186, which deals with a plan that was formulated to assassinate an academic by the name of Robert Davies, in Maputo in July 1989.

Mr Chairman, in the interests of progress, I don't ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I was just going to ask, perhaps if you could ask whether he knows anything about it, instead of us waiting for him to read the three pages now and he can read them later.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Do you know anything about this project?

MR BASSON: No, Chairperson.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Except you agree that you were involved in Region 2 activities in July 1989.

MR BASSON: Just to correct myself, Chairperson, as I've stated I was not aware of when Mr Botes arrived at the scene or on the scene, I did not work with him. If I said that this was the period in time, I was mistaken. Ten to one it was the last six months of 1987. However, during this period I was involved with Region 2.

CHAIRPERSON: So Mr Basson, are you saying that you were at some stage the Co-ordinator of Region 2 and then when Botes came in you stopped?

MR BASSON: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Was there no transition period or hand-over period where you had to work together, show him the ropes, as it were?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, only the handing over of directly aware staff and from there onwards he continued his own activities without notifying me, and it wasn't necessary to involve me any further with Region 2.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Maybe just to complete the picture for the Committee. As I understand the situation, Mr Botes and Joe Verster had an argument which led to Mr Botes being dismissed, could you just sketch the context for the Committee.

MR BASSON: Chairperson, I was not present during the physical argument, what I did hear was that there was a disagreement between Mr Verster and Mr Botes. What the precise scope was, I don't really know.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Maybe I can help you, Mr Botes says Mr Verster accused him of misappropriating funds.

MR BASSON: Very well, then it is most probably like that.

MR KAHANOVITZ: But you don't have personal knowledge?

MR BASSON: No, I did not observe or hear the argument as such. Mr Botes became upset and he got into his car and drove away and from there on, by means of the Chairperson who was Gen Joubert at that stage, they tried to mediate the matter. Or Gen Webb then.

MR KAHANOVITZ: But the consequence for you was that because Mr Botes had been fired or had resigned or whatever the situation was, you were brought in to take over his activities.

MR BASSON: Yes, I think it was the most logical step, because I knew the people and because they would be basically leaderless I was called in to co-ordinate the region once again.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Did that also include taking over activities that Mr Botes was involved in, in Namibia?

MR BASSON: No, Chairperson. I did not take over any of his existing projects. It was also not a long period during which I was involved with Region 2, but the objective was to re-examine what was going on in the region, to rationalise and basically to start looking at what we could do from the beginning again because at that stage some of the agents or some of the indirect persons who had been used by Mr Botes had been influenced to such an extent that they could no longer be applied for CCB activities.

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, Mr Kahanovitz. If you could just explain to me, I might have forgotten, Region 2 was Mozambique and Swaziland, now you're talking about projects of Mr Botes in Namibia. Is that at the same time that he was in Region 2?

MR KAHANOVITZ: That is so. This is in the context of - you will recall there was an early evidence about, at the stage of the Namibian elections a lot of regions were ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: That's right, I remember now, thank you.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Mr Basson, can I ask you during the tea break to read through this, because Mr Pauw says in his book that he was given a copy of what we've called in these proceedings, what appears to be a "voorstudie" and he quotes at length from that document. I just want you to have a look at that document and to tell us whether that looks to you like the kind of information that would usually be set out in a pre-study.

MR BASSON: Where precisely is it, Chairperson?

MR KAHANOVITZ: It starts at the top of page 184 and runs through to the penultimate paragraph at page 185. You'll see where it says "end of plan", at the bottom of page 185. He has not put it in inverted commas, but it might as well have been.

MR BASSON: Very well.

MR LAX: Mr Kahanovitz, may I just interpose on something? You've just mentioned something that I was concerned about and you said that, this is how you were quoted anyway, you said some agents had been influenced to such an extent they could not be applied any longer, what do you mean by that?

MR BASSON: There were rumours that Mr Botes in his actions against Mr Verster and against the CCB, would not make his structure available to the person or the organisation who would then possibly continue with activities, and if I recall correctly he used some of the persons to strengthen his case against the Defence Force.

MR LAX: This was that civil case that he brought?

MR BASSON: I think that is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Mr Basson, wasn't that civil case brought a long time after these events?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, I do not know about the time, but I'm under the impression that he assumed control of his indirect persons, he was aware of them, he could control them, no-one else could continue with it.

MR LAX: You see, you've explained that these people were leaderless and that you were called in to take over.

MR BASSON: I'm referring to indirect members, possible agents in Mozambique and Swaziland. There were also the conscious members. I'm referring to those.

MR LAX: You see, to me what just doesn't make sense in what you're saying is, if you're called in to take over from someone else who has left in a hurry and there's a bit of a dark cloud hanging over the issue, you would need to be briefed, find out what - because you've already said you didn't have any knowledge what he was involved in. How could you do that without being briefed, without actually finding out what projects he was involved in, so that you could take the necessary steps, whether it was to shut them down, whether it was to continue them, whatever it might be?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, I cannot recall specifically, but projects which were already taking place were not conveyed to me, or I was not notified about them. If there were projects which had not come to execution yet, they would probably have been handed over to me, but the fact of the matter is that with all his pending or existing projects no continuation was made, everything was ceased. I don't know whether Mr Verster issued this as a direct order, but not much detail was handed over to me, with the exception of the available persons who were still available and the possible continued application of such persons.

MR LAX: But then there was nothing for you to take over.

MR BASSON: Primarily administrative, Chairperson, at that stage.

MR LAX: Ja, but what were you going to administer if there were no personnel, there were no projects, there was nothing going on?

MR BASSON: There were numerous conscious members and I think that their plan or instructions would have been to continue re-examining the development of a structure, a continuation of this and not to use Mr Botes' persons.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Basson, could you give us some indication of how long Botes acted as Co-ordinator or Manager, whatever it was, of Region 2?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, I'm not certain when he commenced, perhaps if somebody could indicate to me when he left.

CHAIRPERSON: But you can't just sitting here now say whether he was there for a year of 18 months or three months or whatever?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, if I were to rely on my recollection, I would say that he was there from the beginning of 1989 to approximately October or November in 1989. So by nature of the course of time, there wasn't much time for me to become actively involved in Region 2 before the activities were ceased.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Kahanovitz?

MR KAHANOVITZ: Mr Basson, we've heard evidence about operating on the need-to-know basis, you appear to be giving evidence on the premise of the need-to-know-nothing basis. Now just before we go off this subject, why were two people brought in to take over your role as Co-ordinator in Region 6?

MR BASSON: Could you please repeat the question?

MR KAHANOVITZ: Your evidence has been that two people, Nick and Theo, were brought in to take over your function as the Co-ordinator of Region 6, I'm asking you why two people were brought in.

MR BASSON: If I recall correctly, Nick would have been the person who would have performed the typical coordinative role in terms of administration and so forth and Theo would have been more involved in the intelligence function of the region. In other words, the region would have been extended more. I was still involved with Region 6, but I also had the added function of the further co-ordination of Region 2.

MR KAHANOVITZ: What were their full administrative names? What was Nick's administrative surname? Is it Nienaber?

MR BASSON: Yes, that is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: What was Theo's administrative surname?

MR BASSON: I cannot recall, perhaps you could mention a name to me.

MR KAHANOVITZ: What was Nick Nienaber's real name?

MR BASSON: Tillie Smit, if I recall correctly.

MR KAHANOVITZ: And Theo's real name?

MR BASSON: I think it was De Jager or Vernon. I don't know what his real surname was ...(intervention)

MR KAHANOVITZ: Mr Burger mentioned a name Vernie de Lange.

MR BASSON: That is correct, that is his name.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Is it Lange or De Lange?

MR BASSON: Lange.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Okay. Well let's just call them by their real names to prevent confusion. Tillie Smit was going to take over the classical Co-ordinatorís role, is that correct?

MR BASSON: That is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Vernie Lange was going to perform some sort of information or intelligence related function.

MR BASSON: Correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You've said in your evidence that one of the things that you did was that you used to co-ordinate with Chris Nel.

MR BASSON: Correct. It was before the appointment.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Alright, so was Vernie Lange's job was going to be to co-ordinate with Chris Nel on intelligence matters?

MR BASSON: That is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: But what you're also telling us is that the plan at that time was in fact to expand the activities of Region 6.

MR BASSON: Yes, I think that the support staff would have assisted in the increase of activities.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You were bringing in more manpower because somebody somewhere seemed to think that Region 6 was a good thing.

MR BASSON: It is an inference, but ten to one that is the case.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You'd also draw that inference, from what happened at the time?

MR BASSON: Yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: That's a yes. Well what was the context, why did - what was said to you as to why Region 6 activities were going to be expanded?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, it could also be that as a result of my additional duties regarding the Region 2, that the workload would have been so much that I would not have been able to attend to it, that is why my load was lifted by introducing two more persons directly to Region 2, so that they could assist with the activities that I could not manage.

MR KAHANOVITZ: But I'm unclear as to what it is, what function were you now going to perform in relation to Region 6?

MR BASSON: I would think that I would have become a Project Manager in Region 6. In other words, if one looks at the hierarchy I would still have been below Mr Burger, with the other two members below me.

MR KAHANOVITZ: What would a Project Manager do?

MR BASSON: A Project Manager would know of all projects, he would assist the Regional Manager regarding preparations, presentations and so forth.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Now I assume that as a member of the CCB's inner core, you knew something of Joe Verster's personality.

MR BASSON: Yes, I must have.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Did you know something about Gen Webb's personality?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, I did not have much to do with Gen Webb, as a result of my role and my appointment. Save for the number of occasions upon which I saw him, I cannot really recall any social occasion that I spent with him, but anyone could become aware of another person.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I just want to put something to you that Mr Botes told to Mr Pauw, for your comment, it's at page 178 of Exhibit O. What he says, this is starting at the second paragraph, you'll see the pencil marking, he says:

"Before the transformation of the CCB, the organisation was an integral part of Special Forces."

By the way, you've already given evidence on that, you agree with that.

MR BASSON: That is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: He goes on to say:

"It operated more openly and the Commander of Special Force, Gen Joop Joubert, was directly in charge. Verster managed the operatives and made an assessment of operations before referring them back to Joubert for final approval. During the assessment all relevant intelligence information was collected from the various intelligence services."

So far so good, do you agree?

MR BASSON: It would appear to be correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: He goes on to say:

"Under its civilian guise, things changed dramatically. In practice, Verster was now in charge, his men had to work through him. Even Verster himself was not allowed to go to Special Forces. Joubert and later Gen Eddie Webb, had to go to him."

Do you agree with that?

MR BASSON: Yes, that is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: He goes on to say:

"When Eddie Webb became Commander of Special Forces and the Chairman of the CCB in January 1989, things became chaotic. Botes describes Webb as a good conventional soldier, who had little knowledge of the secretive warfare employed by the CCB."

And then he quotes Botes, Botes is saying the following:

"Verster exploited the situation. He told Webb what he thought Webb should know. A situation developed where the tail wagged the dog. Webb had to come and see Verster, who misinformed him on certain projects and operations. Verster became a primadonna, blinded by his new-found power.

I was supposed to have a meeting with him every fourteen days. I had to wait for hours to see him. I did not see him for two months, because of this Verster lost touch with his operatives in the field. He gave unauthorised instructions that Webb didn't know about. Not all operations were referred to Webb for approval."

Do you agree with the general sentiments expressed there?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, I cannot speak on behalf of Mr Botes' sentiment at that point when he spoke to Mr Pauw. You must understand that Mr Botes was an embittered man, perhaps he was falsely accused by Mr Verster and he wanted to clear up his side of the matter and perhaps he said things that weren't exactly so.

I don't know anything about operations which Mr Verster launched on his own, I was always under the impression that there was authorisation from Gen Webb. I was never under the impression that Mr Verster was a primadonna and that he decided to do what he wanted to do. I never had that impression.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I assume that within the corridors of the inner circle it would be necessary for the purposes of your work, to do your job properly, to have discussions with other people in the inner circle as to the relationship between Verster and Webb and what was really going on.

MR BASSON: Yes, I think it must also have happened.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I mean if there was a problem, if there was a question mark as to whether authority was being obtained for projects, you'd need to know about that?

MR BASSON: Well only the project in which I was physically involved.

MR KAHANOVITZ: For instance, you wouldn't want to find yourself in a situation where you were told by Verster that a project had been approved by Webb, but in truth and in fact it hadn't happened?

MR BASSON: Well Chairperson, I cannot say that Mr Verster is lying if he says that he had authorisation. It wasn't my place to be present with a presentation to the Chairperson. If Mr Verster gave the go-ahead after he told us that he was going to consult with the Chairperson about it, then I would accept that he did indeed do so. I have no proof today that he did so or not. I have no physical evidence which would confirm that he did so.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Where did the real power lie? I suppose that's what I'm asking you.

MR BASSON: The Chairperson, who was the General, he was the person who was aware of all plans, projects and presentations and no project could be executed without his approval.

MR KAHANOVITZ: But you'll agree that what Botes says is correct in the sense that Webb would rely entirely on what Verster told him about the projects?

MR BASSON: Yes, I would assume so.

MR KAHANOVITZ: So if Mr Verster wanted to manipulate the situation, he would have been in a position to do so, do you agree with me?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, I cannot say whether Mr Verster manipulated the situation.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I'm not asking you if he manipulated, I'm asking you, he would have been in a position to do so if he had wanted to, do you agree with me?

MR BASSON: It is certainly possible.

CHAIRPERSON: And also from Gen Webb's evidence he gave the distinct impression that he spent the vast majority of his time with Special Forces, the other operations of Special Forces, and as far as he was concerned, the CCB was just a component of a far larger operation or ...

MR BASSON: Chairperson, that is so, General Webb came from a conventional unit, I believe that it was strange to him to view the working method of Special Forces and the CCB, but it is also a fact that Gen Webb was completely informed and on a weekly basis he co-ordinated with Mr Verster at a facility which we called "Skape te Koop". So it is not the case that Gen Webb was left by himself, there was regular liaison between Webb and Verster.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Can I just clarify something. I got the impression from your diary that one of your functions was to actually set up meetings between Webb and Verster, is that so? Remember we were asking you questions about the Gavin Evans case and you have a diary entry?

MR BASSON: Yes, Chairperson, it doesn't mean that I had to consult directly with the Chairperson, I did not telephone him directly, that was not my function, but I should think that its function was to determine or to remind Mr Verster that he would have to arrange for a meeting tomorrow, for example. It could also be that I had to activate Mr Burger to attend the meeting as well. But I never had any direct liaison with Gen Webb.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Well let's take the Early Learning Centre as an example. Gen Webb said Verster asked to meet with him on an urgent basis, how would that meeting have been set up?

MR BASSON: Mr Verster would contact the General directly, he was the person who had direct contact or telephonic contact with the General, and only he would do so.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Alright. So you personally would never contact either Gen Webb or a member of his staff, to set up a meeting between Webb and Verster?

MR BASSON: No. I must just add that Mr Verster also had a person who was his personal assistant, so to speak, ...(end of side A of tape)

MR KAHANOVITZ: ...(inaudible)

MR BASSON: ... upon an occasion ...(intervention)

MR KAHANOVITZ: Is that a real name or an administrative name?

MR BASSON: It is his real name.

MR KAHANOVITZ: It's a real name.

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, how do you spell Phaal?

MR BASSON: P-h-a-a-l.

MR LAX: Please repeat that.

MR BASSON: P-h-a-a-l.

MR LAX: Mr Kahanovitz, there was one thing you said earlier that I just wanted to follow up on quickly while it's still alive. You said something to the effect that if Verster gave the go-ahead after he said he would go and get the go-ahead from Gen Webb, then you assume that he had got it.

MR BASSON: Yes, that is correct, there was always a lapse of time, it wasn't a question of us doing something at 11 and then at 12 o'clock the person would call and say go ahead, there was always at least a day or two before we were contacted and told that it had been cleared or that we could continue.

MR LAX: The questions is really, did you always know that Verster, did he always say to you "Look, I'll take this matter up to Webb and I'll find out what he thinks", and then come back and say "Yes, he said yes"?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, it was actually an unspoken rule, my Commander did not have to tell me "Listen, I'm going to my next Commander and then I will get back to you". It may be that if he returned and he spoke to me or Mr Burger, that he would say "the Chairperson has approved it, continue, but these are the limitations", or "you may not continue, make another plan and make another presentation."

MR LAX: You see, the purpose of my question is to actually test that assumption, are you just assuming that when Verster considered a matter and then there was a lapse of time, are you just assuming that he went to Webb to get higher authority, because that's what he should have done, or do you know for a fact that he actually did it, or did he tell you that he would do it? There are three distinct possibilities there.

MR BASSON: Chairperson, as I've stated, yes, I accept that he would clear it with the Chairperson, I cannot confirm that he did so, but I cannot recall specifically that he returned and said "listen, the Chairperson has approved it, continue", or if he said "listen, that presentation that you made two days ago, you may continue with it." So it is very difficult for me to give you a specific answer to this question. If you understand what I mean.

MR LAX: I do, it's just that you gave me the distinct impression that you had been told by Verster that he would get his permission and that was the sort of modus that you followed, and clearly I got the wrong impression from what you said. You're not at all sure as to whether you did in fact, or were in fact told that Webb would approve it or not and that Verster would go to him.

MR BASSON: Well as I've stated, Chairperson, I was not present and today I cannot bring you a file and say "this is what the Chairperson signed", or whatever the case may be. It is difficult for me to respond to this question, I cannot give you any better answer than this.

MR LAX: You see, the other thing is you've just said that, and you made this as a very positive ascertain, you said Webb was completely informed, as far as you were concerned he was completely informed. They met on a weekly basis. Again, are you making assumptions? Do you know for a fact that they did actually meet?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, let me put it as follows. There were weekly meetings with the Chairperson and it wasn't only during those meetings that Mr Verster communicated with him, and I assume, gave him thorough feedback regarding every region and the progress and the situation and so forth.

It could also have been that with the exception of those meetings, he could also just have called him and arranged to meet him somewhere and then briefed him regarding a project that was going to take place. So that could also have taken place, but I was never present during such meetings.

MR LAX: You see it's just that Webb gave us the impression that this was a tiny part of his duties and he certainly didn't meet as often as once a week, often he had other duties, he couldn't possibly do that, and you're saying as far as you're concerned that was a definite, once a week they met.

MR BASSON: To test my questions you would have to get hold of any other Co-ordinator, a person from the inside who would be able to confirm my statement, no-one else can confirm or deny it.

MR LAX: My point is a simple one, do you know for a fact they met, or are you just again making assumptions?

MR BASSON: I was aware of meetings which took place, because the Chairperson came to the facility physically, and we saw them meeting, because we were always there.

MR LAX: That's very helpful to know on what basis you made that conclusion, thank you.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Mr Basson, let me put a hypothetical proposition to you for your comment. Let's assume that Gen Webb wasn't very keen on the idea of people being assassinated inside the borders of the Republic. Let us further assume that Joe Verster thought it was a very good idea to assassinate people within the borders of the Republic. If the power relationship between the two of them was such that Joe Verster wasn't particularly interested in what Webb's views were, wouldn't Verster then just go ahead and just do things? He's not scared of the General.

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, it is a hypothetical statement, but it is against the work ethics of the organisation to act on your own.

MR KAHANOVITZ: We know it's against the rules of the organisation, but what we also know is that this organisation consistently broke the rules, because that's what we've heard in the evidence. You've also heard Gen Webb's evidence here, Gen Webb says in terms:

"It's quite clear to me now that I look at things in retrospect, that I wasn't fully informed."

You heard his evidence.

MR BASSON: Yes, that's correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: He says it's quite clear to him that he was not fully in control of the CCB, that was his evidence. Did you hear his evidence?

MR BASSON: I heard it, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: So if - Gen Webb also gave some very interesting evidence when he said it was never explained to him in terms, that internal assassinations could be authorised by him. Did you hear his evidence?

MR BASSON: I cannot recall everything, but I do accept that it is so.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Now as regards the transition from the PW Botha regime to the FW de Klerk regime, what significance, if any, did that have for the CCB, according to you?

MR BASSON: Well what I can remember is that I did not attach a lot of value to the differences, I allowed myself to be led by my Commanders, but what I can remember was that there was, or we definitely looked at the consolidation or the reorganisation, I cannot specifically recall the correct word, of all projects, in co-operation with the Chairperson. In other words, if I recall correctly there was a consolidation amongst all the projects and it was again presented to the Chairperson ...(intervention)

MR KAHANOVITZ: Let me put to you what the evidence has been, because it's highly contradictory and maybe you can help us. We have the evidence of Mr van Zyl, Mr van Zyl says that when FW de Klerk assumed power, they as the operatives were told that all internal operations were being suspended. Do you recall his evidence?

MR BASSON: Yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: He says that the reasoning or explanation that was given to him was that FW de Klerk did not know about the nature of the CCB's activities. In other words, he was suggesting that PW Botha was fully informed about the nature of the CCB's activities, but FW de Klerk wasn't. Does any of this ring a bell?

MR BASSON: I do not know, if you could just remind me of when Mr de Klerk took over, in what time period was it.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Well in relation to the activities that we're dealing with there, Mr van Zyl's evidence concerned the Omar project, and I think we were dealing with the period, I'm open to correction, but September 1989 when the plan reached the stage where he was told by Staal Burger to tell Peaches that the project had been abandoned - just give me a moment Mr Chairman, I can't find the reference - oh, here it is, bundle A page 127, paragraph 63 - no he just talks about, he gives the date there, that in September 1989 he said that the country already had a new State President. But the evidence, I would have to check the reference of his evidence, where he said that at a particular point in time they came and they said that because of the transition ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: I don't think as far as Mr Basson is concerned, correct me if I'm wrong Mr Basson, that whether he's told it was August or July or September is going to make any big difference to his answer. I think what you've said already, Mr Basson, it was at the stage where Mr van Zyl said that they were told to terminate the Dullah Omar project, about that time.

MR BASSON: Chairperson, it is possible ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Because there was a change now in the government.

MR BASSON: It is possible and I have looked at my journal to see if I can find something out and I can see on the 3rd of October, in the journal there's an entry:

"In-house presentation. Rationalising."

and then 13.10 there's another entry, and what happened here is as far as my recollection goes, Mr de Klerk's appointment, I cannot really say what was said in the Defence Force circles up to Webb's level, but the instructions that we received were that we had to rationalise the projects and come forward with a new presentation. That appears on the 3rd of October.

Then if I page to a further entry on the 16th of October, that the rationalisation process then took place with the Chairperson. If that can assist you. So you can accept that the projects were all terminated at that stage. I am not aware of specific instructions that came from the system of the Defence Force to us, but what I do know is that basically we had to reveal all projects and possibly with the establishment of a more long-term project or goal in mind.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Can I just understand your evidence. What, if anything then, did the cessation of these projects have to do with the fact that FW de Klerk had become President? Or was nothing said to you at the time about that?

MR BASSON: As I have Mr Chairperson, I am not aware of the plan that came from the politicians to the Defence Force, from the Force to the Special Forces and the CCB, and it could be that they've already decided then that the negotiation process will begin and that all physical projects had to be terminated. I was not part of that council.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I'm not asking what inference you draw, I just want to know, did anyone ever directly come and say to you "PW Botha knows what we are doing, FW de Klerk doesn't know what we're doing"?

MR BASSON: No, I cannot remember that, no.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Kahanovitz, would this be a convenient time to take the short tea adjournment? We'll take a short 20 minute tea adjournment at this stage.

COMMITTEE ADJOURNS

ON RESUMPTION

WOUTER J BASSON: (s.u.o.)

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR KAHANOVITZ: (Cont)

Mr Basson, did you have an opportunity during the tea break to read pages 184 and 185 of Mr Pauw's book?

MR BASSON: That's correct, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Does that strike you as being the general sort of information that one would find in the kind of study that the CCB would have compiled?

MR BASSON: That is correct, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: So you have no basis to suggest that what is set out in there is not from an authentic document?

MR BASSON: I cannot say anything about the correctness of this document, but if it is a pre-study preparation I would say yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Then just to go to the issue that we were talking about before the tea break, if I might refer the Committee to pages 961 and 962 of the record, the cross-examination of Abram van Zyl. I was asking Mr van Zyl at that stage about his evidence to the effect that he had handed

R10 000 back to Nick, which had previously been handed to Van Zyl in relation to the Omar project, and I asked him why he gave this R10 000 back. You will see in the middle of the page he says:

"I was requested to do so because as I have already testified, as a result of the fact that the then President PW Botha, had suffered from a heart attack and Mr FW de Klerk had become the new President, our internal projects were all brought to a halt and all funds that were at our disposal we had to give back to the organisation. And this is the reason why I flew up to give him the money back and also to get the powder back from him."

And then you'll see on the following page I put another question to him, I say:

"Mr van Zyl, the evidence that was given at the Harms Commission was something along the following lines. It was said that PW Botha knew about the CCB and their activities, but FW de Klerk didn't. So that when FW de Klerk became the State President, until such time as he was informed, the CCB would not, as far as internal activities were concerned, would not conduct any further internal activities. Was that your understanding?"

and his answer is:

"That is correct."

Now what comment do you have to make about what Mr van Zyl says here?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, once again it is Mr van Zyl's words, it was never said to me directly that Mr PW Botha knew and that Mr de Klerk did not. The further inference that all projects had to be terminated, could be the truth, yes, because as I referred you back to the entry in my journal when we talked about the presentation and the rationalisation, this would then spell out our further applications.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Mr Basson, I'm a bit confused as to why you are so unclear, it would seem to me that if your superiors had come to you on a particular day and said "Gentlemen, all internal projects are now being stopped", for the reasons that Mr van Zyl mentions here, that would have been a memorable event. Do you agree with me?

MR BASSON: Yes, it would be so, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Excuse me?

MR BASSON: Yes, it's so.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Yet you don't remember such an event having taken place, your evidence appears to be if I understand it, that you infer that it might have happened, on the other hand you're not really sure.

MR BASSON: To tell you the truth I cannot recall if those were the specific words, that all projects had to be terminated. I cannot recall it. What I can recall is that all projects had to be reviewed and re-applied in the rationalisation process.

CHAIRPERSON: But just talking now about Region 6, Mr Basson, the impression that I certainly get is that Region 6, it took some time for it to become operational, people had to set themselves up, etcetera, you had quite a few direct members and very few actual completed projects, bearing in mind the time that it had been in existence. It would seem strange then that those few projects that had got off the ground and were in the process, should be terminated or consolidated or re-organised, or whatever it is. Because from what you've said and other applicants have said here, there wasn't a great deal of activity in Region 6.

MR BASSON: That is correct, Mr Chairperson, at that stage there were no real operations that had to be terminated. So that is why I do not recall the fact that everything had to be terminated, because there was nothing outstanding, nothing had to happen.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Kahanovitz.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You see your evidence has been, projects now had to be taken back to Gen Webb for reconsideration, correct?

MR BASSON: That is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: In other words, until Gen Webb had reconsidered the project and given his go-ahead, no steps were to be taken, no further steps would be taken in relation to internal projects, is that correct?

MR BASSON: That's correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You surely, as the Co-ordinator who'd been responsible for previously obtaining authority and approval for certain of those projects, you'd want to know why, why is this being done.

MR BASSON: Yes, Mr Chairperson, I think that with the political dispensation of Mr de Klerk that ...(intervention)

MR KAHANOVITZ: Can I just stop you, I don't want to know what you guessed or inferred. My question to you is, at the time you must have asked somebody "excuse me, you're telling me we must now go back to Gen Webb, why?" You must have asked someone.

MR BASSON: Because Gen Webb had to review the application of Special Forces or the structure that was created at that stage had to be conveyed to the political people involved.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Who told you that the projects must be resubmitted to Gen Webb?

MR BASSON: It could have come from Mr Verster.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I assume he gave you a reason.

MR BASSON: Can you just repeat?

MR KAHANOVITZ: I assume Col Verster came to you and he said to you "Mr Basson, all projects must be resubmitted to Gen Webb for the following reason."

MR BASSON: Can I just say that the whole CCB structure, that is not only our section, it was the whole CCB that had to rationalise.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Can you answer the question, what did Col Verster tell you, what reason did he give to you as to why all projects had to be resubmitted?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, I cannot specifically recall what the reason was for it. It could be that the political dispensation changed and that what existed had to be conveyed to the new dispensation. I cannot specifically recall what he said.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You see, Gen Webb says that the transition from Botha to De Klerk, had no impact whatsoever on his approach to operations. He said, and he was asked about that, he gave absolutely no evidence about projects having to be resubmitted to him because of the change of State President, and his attitude in his evidence was that this was not a relevant factor, he doesn't know where Van Zyl got this from. Now if Gen Webb knows nothing about this, how could Joe Verster have come to tell you that all projects must be resubmitted to Gen Webb?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, as I've said before and I do not want to repeat myself, that is what I understood, that the rationalisation had to take place and we had to convey this to the Chairperson.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You'll agree with me someone's got to be lying?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, I cannot answer you further on that.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Do you agree with me somebody has to be lying? The two versions are entirely inconsistent.

MR BASSON: It does seem like it, yes. I'm telling you that I got instructions like all the other districts that we had to rationalise and I cannot specifically recall if it was presented to the Chairperson or not. I made certain entries in my journal, also where I crossed it out, we had to postpone the date every time and then on a specific day it mentions rationalisation and I do believe it occurred on that day. If somebody denies it, it's got nothing to do with me.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You don't if by any chance this evidence was evidence that was also, further evidence that was manufactured for the Harms Commission, in order to protect FW de Klerk?

MR BASSON: I do not understand the question, can you please repeat it.

MR KAHANOVITZ: We know that a considerable amount of evidence was manufactured for the Harms Commission, you were party to that process. Correct?

MR BASSON: Partly, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Yes. Was there any discussion at the time as to 'let's blame this on PW Botha so that FW de Klerk can be given a clean bill of health'?

MR BASSON: I do not know, I was not part of those inner circle discussions or arguments.

MR KAHANOVITZ: On the same page 961 to 962, maybe as the Co-ordinator of Region 6 you can also explain to me whether Mr van Zyl's evidence about the Omar project makes sense. You'll see I put it to him at the bottom of page 961 that his evidence about the Omar incident is entirely contradictory. I said to him:

"If all projects were being stopped, how could you be continuing with the execution of a project to murder Adv Omar?"

and his answer is:

"I had permission to continue with that project from the Regional Manager because it was an authorised project. I think you must understand that no new projects were being submitted that could have been executed. No new submissions were made from the 1st of September."

Now according to your evidence, if every project had to be resubmitted to the Chairman, well van Zyl would not have been allowed to continue with the execution of the Omar project until such time as Webb had given fresh approval.

MR BASSON: That's correct, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: And if we follow your version, it is inconceivable that Webb - well I suppose we must go back one step because Webb says he didn't approve this project in the first place, but Van Zyl's evidence, can it be true where he says that the Regional Manager told him that even though all projects had been ceased, he could continue with this project because it was a previously authorised project? Do you see his evidence?

MR BASSON: Yes, I can see it.

MR KAHANOVITZ: That can't be so, if we follow your evidence.

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, I was part of the initial presentation on the murder of Omar, but at the stage when the alternative or the different methods were discussed, I was not part of that. With the methods that were supposed to be used, I was not part of that, I was more involved in Region 2.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You know Mr Basson, I'm going to argue at the end of this case that every time I ask you a question where the answer that you have to give is one that would contradict of your co-operatives, you immediately give an evasive answer.

MR P DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman with respect, this has been Mr Basson's evidence all along, that at a certain stage he was involved with Region 2 and that there were other people, and we also find that in the evidence of other witnesses, that there were other persons involved as Co-ordinators. How can Mr Kahanovitz ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, I think Mr Kahanovitz said that that's what he's going to be arguing and now you're arguing back, perhaps we can keep this argument to when there's ...(intervention)

MR P DU PLESSIS: But what Mr Kahanovitz is putting to the witness is not correct and he cannot do that.

MR LAX: With respect to both of you, the witness hasn't answered the question yet. The question was of a general nature, it didn't relate to specific projects. The question was, in the light of what Van Zyl says here and in the light of what you say, there are two incompatible versions in essence.

You're saying that you were told to evaluate all projects and that was the instruction you knew of, correct?

MR BASSON: That's correct, yes.

MR LAX: What he says is that all authorised projects had to be completed, only new projects couldn't be commenced, well that's completely different to your understanding, isn't that so?

MR BASSON: That is so ...(intervention)

MR LAX: And it doesn't - listen to the question before you answer, and it doesn't make any difference whether you were personally involved in projects or not, it's a general statement. Do you see my point?

MR BASSON: I can see your point, yes, but once again I cannot specifically recall at what stage all projects had to be terminated or reviewed, it could be that this project was still supposed to continue at a stage when it did, or was terminated.

MR LAX: So are you saying there might have been two instructions given at different stages?

MR BASSON: What I'm trying to say, Mr Chairperson, is that it is here about the lapse of time, that the termination of operations was given or the suspension of operations was given after what Mr van Zyl said continued ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, but what Mr van Zyl says here on page 961 is that he had to go and give the money back etcetera, but he was given special authority for the project from the Regional Manager, because it was an authorised project. He talks about the "staking" of projects, but this one seemed to be an exception.

MR LAX: It goes further than that, at the bottom on 962 which is the portion that Mr Kahanovitz read to you last:

"That is what I'm telling you, my understanding was that all projects that had been approved up to the 1st of September, had to be finalised and that no new project after the 1st of September would be presented until FW de Klerk was informed of the existence of the CCB."

So there's no space here for confusion, it's a general instruction that he understands, isn't that so, and you spoke about a general instruction of a different nature, your instruction was general rationalisation of all projects, his instruction is, 'no problem, continue with all the ones that were already authorised, it's the ones that are being planned but not yet authorised that cannot go ahead.'

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, it is possible that it is so, but I say again at that stage I was not so actively involved in Region 6 activities. If you look at Mr van Zyl's evidence where the district Chairperson told him to continue, I do not even know if I knew about it at that stage. But what I do know for a fact is that, and maybe because I now seem not to make sense is because I was involved in Region 2 and there was definitely a limit placed on the continuation of operations. I cannot say that this person is lying, it is possible that certain operations did continue and that I was just not aware of it.

MR LAX: Can I just clarify something with you. These diary entries that you referred us to that talk about "rasionalisasie", are you sure in your own mind that those are in fact a reference to this process that you've described? Are you sure that they don't refer to something else maybe?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson no, I would like to say yes, I'm quite sure that it was as a result of the political process that changed.

MR LAX: Sorry I didn't hear you correctly, are you saying you're sure now?

MR BASSON: No, I'm saying that - well it is quite a few years ago, but I would like to think that the presentation of the rationalisation at that stage specifically dealt with Mr de Klerk taking over.

MR LAX: Now you would have had to prepare for that "in-huis", isn't that so?

MR BASSON: That is correct, yes, all the district or region Commanders had to deal with their members' projects, they had to look at it, see if they can rationalise it, see that there was an in-house presentation, that would have been Mr Verster, and then there would have been a presentation to Gen Webb. Once again, if this presentation took place or not, I cannot specifically say, I cannot recall it.

MR LAX: Now the reason I'm asking this is, rationalisation means lots of different things, depending on the context, what was your object of this exercise?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, I cannot specifically remember the guidelines. If one had files, one could definitely be able to find out. I cannot say to you what the purpose was, the purpose was possibly to inform persons of ...(intervention)

MR LAX: Can I stop you because your speculations of what it might have been about, frankly don't help us a great deal, you know, and you could be influenced by all sorts of things you've heard in the interim. If you can't remember, just say you can't remember. That's a lot safer for everybody.

MR BASSON: Very well, I do not recall.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I want to move on to a new issue. Mr van Zyl testified about a meeting that took place at the Rosebank Hotel where he heard you and Mr Maree discussing Lubowski. Mr van Zyl's evidence was - and I'm not here referring to his Section 29 statement, I'm referring to his qualified evidence that he gave when I cross-examined him, Mr van Zyl said that he was curious as to why Maree was working on Lubowski, he said he asked you and you said to him "it did not matter." If I understand his evidence it didn't matter to him, it had nothing to do with him. Van Zyl says he then left the room. What do you have to say about that evidence?

MR BASSON: I deny that I discussed Mr Lubowski. It did not take place. Mr Maree was not involved.

MR KAHANOVITZ: So is your evidence that at no stage in your capacity as the Co-ordinator of Region 6 did you ever discuss Lubowski with any operative? Is that your evidence?

MR BASSON: No, that is not my evidence. Specifically where Maree was involved, Mr Lubowski was never discussed.

MR KAHANOVITZ: In other words as I understand your evidence you concede that you were involved in the operation to monitor Lubowski during his presence in South Africa?

MR BASSON: That is correct, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You however deny in terms, that you at any stage had any discussion with Maree concerning Lubowski?

MR BASSON: That's correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: And therefore Van Zyl's evidence on this score is a complete pack of lies?

MR BASSON: It's not true.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Excuse me?

MR BASSON: That's correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You say he's telling lies. Alright. Now what Calla Botha has to say is the following, he says that -let me go back one step ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Just let's try to go forward Mr Kahanovitz, rather than back.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Do you agree with the evidence that has been given by more than one witness, that Donald Aitchison was recruited as an unaware member of the CCB?

MR BASSON: He was recruited, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Do you agree with the evidence that Chappie Maree was his handler?

MR BASSON: That is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Now at page 7 of bundle B, Calla Botha ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Is that B or D? B?

MR KAHANOVITZ: B.

... Calla Botha makes a statement about what transpired within Region 6 after Aitchison's arrest. Maybe if you could just read - have you had an opportunity to read this before?

MR BASSON: I think I have read it once, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: The crux of what he says is the following. He says that after Aitchison's arrest an emergency meeting was held at the Indaba Hotel or the Rosebank Hotel. He says there was chaos at the meeting, everybody was worried about Aitchison's arrest, particularly Maree and Burger. It was then recommended that Maree must lie low, and Botha says he was also told to lie low. Now let's just stop there. Was any CCB meeting ever held to discuss Aitchison's arrest?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, I think it is possible that there was a meeting, maybe not specifically about Aitchison's arrest, it could have been a scheduled meeting. That is possible, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I'm sorry I don't understand your answer at all. My question was, was any CCB meeting ever held to discuss Aitchison's arrest?

MR BASSON: Yes, it could have been part of a general meeting.

MR KAHANOVITZ: What else was discussed at that meeting?

MR BASSON: Project matters.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Why were you discussing the fact of Aitchison's arrest at that meeting?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, Mr Maree recruited Aitchison and he applied him and then suddenly this person was arrested, it is a reason to be concerned about.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Alright. And you were aware that Aitchison had been arrested in connection with the assassination of Lubowski?

MR BASSON: That is correct, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You were aware that the CCB had recruited Aitchison, so you had every reason to be worried?

MR BASSON: That is correct, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You were also aware that Aitchison was at that time in Windhoek on the instructions of the CCB?

MR BASSON: That's correct, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: What was Aitchison doing in Windhoek?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, if I can recall, Mr Maree's purpose was to use Aitchison as a long-term plan to establish him there and mainly to create his cover to such an extent that after independence he can then still be of use to us. So his specific function would then be the establishment of his private life.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Why was Maree specifically appointed as Aitchison's handler, as opposed to Van Zyl or Botha or anybody else?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, I cannot specifically give a reason for this. I do not know. Mr Maree was maybe the most suitable person at that stage. I cannot recall if there was a specific reason.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I think you know what I'm asking you, it was a Namibian operation, we were told that Mr Maree, generally speaking, operates, was hired, recruited to operate within the borders of the country.

MR BASSON: That's correct, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: ...(indistinct) in that context, why was he being made ...(end of side B of tape)

MR BASSON: ... or one of his tasks was to concentrate in foreign countries and on the possibilities there, and it could be one of the reasons why he was given Namibia at that stage.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Now you'll see Mr Botha also says that he received an instruction to steal the guest book at the Royal Ascot Hotel and he drew the inference that the reason why he had to do this was because Aitchison and Maree had had a meeting there. You recall this?

MR BASSON: That is correct, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: His evidence is true?

MR BASSON: That's correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Did you personally have any dealings with Aitchison?

MR BASSON: No.

MR KAHANOVITZ: But you were involved in the process that led to his recruitment.

MR BASSON: Yes, I was aware of it.

MR KAHANOVITZ: We've heard evidence about a so-called CV that was obtained.

MR BASSON: That is correct, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: And do you also confirm the evidence that the - I think you've already given evidence to the effect that you were aware that Aitchison fancied himself as a hit man.

MR BASSON: That is correct, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: So this man comes to you and he says "I'm a hit man, please offer me work", you send him to Namibia. It would be logical to infer that one of the reasons you send him to Namibia, is to assassinate people.

MR BASSON: Maybe it seems logical to you, but for me it's not. I'm not saying that we would not have used him in the future, but at that stage it was not his instructions.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Now Aitchison gave a statement to the South African Police after he was released from detention in Namibia, in that statement he says that he met with Maree on more than one occasion in Windhoek. Are you in a position to confirm or deny that?

MR BASSON: I cannot recall when Mr Maree saw or where he saw him.

MR KAHANOVITZ: But in general terms you are aware that Mr Maree was travelling to Windhoek from time to time.

MR BASSON: Mr Maree was at certain stages in Windhoek, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: And being Mr Aitchison's handler, one of his functions would be to meet with Aitchison.

MR BASSON: Yes, he had to meet him there.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Now Mr Aitchison says in his statement that one of the tasks he was given was to monitor the Editor of the Namibian newspaper, Gwen Lister. Are you in a position to confirm or deny that?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, I cannot recall whether it was an instruction for him to do so, what I do recall is that he had to establish himself in the country physically. I cannot recall whether at that stage he had received specific instructions.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Well he says that he was told that there was to be a project to poison Gwen Lister.

MR BASSON: I don't know about it. I would have known about it, but I don't know about it.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Mr Aitchison also says that he was instructed by Mr Maree to monitor Adv Lubowski's movements.

MR BASSON: I would have known about it. I deny it.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Do I understand your version to be the following as regards the assassination of Adv Lubowski. There is no doubt whatsoever that the CCB, at an early stage in that year, was for its reasons, interested in Adv Lubowski and for that reason you monitored him during the time that he was in South Africa?

MR BASSON: That is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: And if I understand your version, the purpose of that monitoring was not reconnaissance for the purposes of doing him harm, but pure intelligence gathering?

MR BASSON: Correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: And if I understand your version further, that notwithstanding the fact that all the evidence has been that the CCB did not engage in pure intelligence gathering, this is an exception to that rule?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, one cannot make an assumption that it was the only person regarding whom intelligence was gathered, intelligence was gathered regarding many persons. That is not a correct assumption.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I don't want to waste time, I don't accept your answer, let me move on. However, when it comes to the CCB's activities in Namibia, you are now disinterested in Adv Lubowski.

MR BASSON: Chairperson, I never received an instruction for anything to be done to him. I received an instruction to monitor him internally. That was done. There was an instruction which came through the channels but no further instruction came for something to happen to him in Namibia.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Where you given an instruction to pay Donald Aitchison's legal fees?

MR BASSON: I was never given such an instruction.

MR KAHANOVITZ: But what happens now is that low and behold this man gets assassinated, low and behold Donald Aitchison, who is handled by Chappie Maree, gets arrested as the prime suspect. So far we agree. The CCB is so worried about this that they go and attempt to destroy evidence that could link them to Donald Aitchison. So far so good?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, it is a possibility that if he were to have been guilty, that there was concern that Mr Maree would be involved or would be implicated with him and it was a logical conclusion for us to try and see whether we could avoid his involvement.

MR KAHANOVITZ: So you're telling me what you were worried about was that Aitchison off his own bat, might have killed Lubowski and therefore you wanted to destroy the links between Aitchison and the CCB?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, it is possible, yes. I don't know whether he did it or not, I don't know whether he was used by anybody else, I cannot say, but if he were to have been guilty, it would have appeared as if Maree was directly involved.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I understand that. Now I assume that the CCB must have conducted their own enquiries in an endeavour to establish who had assassinated Adv Lubowski, because now you're terribly concerned about this possible link. Correct?

MR BASSON: That is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: And what did those investigations reveal?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, as far as Region 6 was involved pertaining to Mr Maree, we could not determine what could possibly have taken place because there was never any instruction for Mr Aitchison.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Alright. Let's start off on the premise, the hypothetical premise that if wasn't Mr Aitchison and it wasn't Mr Maree who were involved. Now you're carrying out your investigations and you're asking yourself 'who is it that has done us the favour of eliminating our enemy on our behalf?' To whom did the finger point?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, I don't know whether it was Mr Aitchison.

MR KAHANOVITZ: But if it was Mr Aitchison - we all know Mr Aitchison, well maybe we don't all know, but Mr Aitchison was not the kind of person who would assassinate someone without an offer of remuneration, you agree with me?

MR BASSON: Certainly.

MR KAHANOVITZ: He wanted to be paid for his work, okay. So are you postulating that someone else, unconnected to the CCB, offered Aitchison money to assassinate Adv Lubowski?

MR BASSON: I cannot say that, Chairperson. Once again, I don't know whether Aitchison is the guilty party, I simply know that Region 6 was not involved and no money was paid out to them, as far as I know.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Who besides Mr Aitchison - your investigations revealed the names of, I then assume, some other suspects or were the names of no other suspects revealed?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, on my level I was not aware of any other high level investigations into the incident, my involvement was with Region 6 and I'm not aware of any allegations or investigations which were conducted on any other level. I cannot answer that question.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Mr Basson, Judge Levy, after having heard a considerable amount of evidence during the inquest, came to the conclusion that Region 6 of the CCB was involved in the conspiracy to assassinate Adv Lubowski, and you are aware that your name was one of the names mentioned in that inquest finding, as being a person who was involved in that conspiracy, correct?

MR BASSON: That is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You now have the opportunity to clear your name, but in order to do so one would expect that you could come along and say "I know there is a considerable amount of evidence pointing to Region 6 and the CCB's involvement, but I want to tell you that it was in fact Vlakplaas or Eugene de Kock or this person or that person, because we made our enquiries at the time and it revealed the following." Do you wish to make use of that opportunity?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, I cannot do so because I have no substantiation for accusing any other person, organisation or institution. I understand the accusations to our side as a result of the handling of Aitchison, but I deny that Region 6 or I myself was ever involved in it. I'm using this opportunity to deny it.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Why was Maree told to go and lie low?

MR BASSON: Certainly as a result of his connection with Aitchison.

MR KAHANOVITZ: But he was entirely innocent of any involvement in the Lubowski assassination, why is he going into hiding?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, I cannot answer that question.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Well I know you can't answer the question, because you agree with me you know that's the conduct of a guilty man.

MR BASSON: I beg your pardon, could you repeat that?

MR KAHANOVITZ: It's the conduct of a guilty man, do you agree with me?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, not necessarily.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I just want to put something else to you. Mr Chairman, I'm just referring here to the reported judgment in the matter of State vs Aitchison 1991, Vol 2, SA805 in the Namibian High Court. Now Mr Aitchison you will recall was released from arrest and detention in Namibia and no trial ever took place. You're aware of that.

MR BASSON: Yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Now an application was brought for bail to be given to Mr Aitchison, and in that reported judgment they deal with the circumstances as to why the Namibian Police were experiencing problems in prosecuting, in bringing Mr Aitchison's case to court. Now the Judge, Mohamed AJ as he then was, summarises some of the evidence that was placed before the Court. This is at 810 next to the letter D. He says the following. He points out that Aitchison was served with a formal indictment charging him with the murder of Lubowski. Paragraph 8, the Judge says the following:

"On the 2nd of February 1990 and before the independence of Namibia which took place on 21 March 1990, Col Smit procured warrants for the arrest of one Burger and one Maree, who he suspected of complicity in the murder. He could not locate these persons before the date of Namibia's independence, notwithstanding the apparent co-operation of the South African Police. After the independence of Namibia, Burger, who is the former head of the Brixton Murder and Robbery Squad of the South African Police, has surfaced openly within South Africa, but has apparently taken the view that he is not amenable to the process of a foreign State."

Now you'll agree with me, one of the reasons Col Smit was unable to find Mr Maree and Mr Burger to serve warrants for their arrest, was because they had gone into hiding.

MR BASSON: Certainly it must be so.

MR KAHANOVITZ: In other words a plan was adopted to make sure that Col Smit would not be able to find these people.

MR BASSON: It must be so. I don't know why he didn't perhaps examine other persons who may have been involved.

MR KAHANOVITZ: But these entirely innocent people, Mr Burger and Mr Maree, if I understand your version, went into hiding for several months to avoid arrest.

MR BASSON: I think that that is the reason why they did it.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Because they were innocent?

MR BASSON: Well yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I'm moving onto a different issue now. I want to ask you about - now this is a general question about the nature and the quality of the information that had to be received before a plan to kill somebody could be approved. I want to ask you first about the quality of the information and I'm going to put to you a proposition that I'm just drawing from the evidence of some of the other witnesses here, and I just want to ask you whether you as a member of the inner circle and as the Co-ordinator, would agree with these propositions.

The first one is the following. The CCB, according to its own internal practices, could not take offensive steps against someone until the CCB was satisfied that all reasonable precautions had been taken to ensure that the intelligence it had received was both accurate and reliable. Do you agree with that?

MR BASSON: That is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: So if you were going to target Mr X to burn his car, before such a plan could be approved you'd have to be sure that the intelligence which you had received about why Mr X was an enemy, was both accurate and reliable.

MR BASSON: Yes, if the information was available.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I don't understand your qualification, what do you mean "indien dit besikbaar was"?

MR BASSON: If a presentation came that a person's car, for example, had to be burnt out and this car perhaps did not belong to the person but it wasn't possible to determine this, but the person who was suspected of owning the car was confirmed as an activist, then the car could be burnt and then later it may even appear that it wasn't even his vehicle. If you understand what I'm saying.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Let's just talk about - let's just restrict ourselves to a plan to kill someone. You'll agree with me that the CCB would be the Judge, the Jury and the Executioner.

MR BASSON: With the necessary authorisation.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Yes, but you had awesome powers and your powers were, you receive the information and you decide on the basis of that information we are now going to kill Dullah Omar.

MR BASSON: That is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You agree with me before doing that you were under a duty to make sure that the information or intelligence that you'd received was both accurate and reliable?

MR BASSON: That is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Do you agree?

MR BASSON: Yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Now working from the premise we now have this accurate and reliable information, I want to properly understand what criteria had to be present in order for a plan for that person's elimination to be approved. What I've heard from the evidence so far, and you must tell me whether I'm understanding this correctly or not, in order for a plan for someone's elimination to be approved it wasn't good enough that that person must merely be against apartheid. Is that correct?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, it would depend upon his profile or the activities that he was involved with, whether his attitude was for or against apartheid. If he was viewed as a threat to the sovereignty of the State, ...(intervention)

MR KAHANOVITZ: Can I just tell you what, maybe try and short-circuit this, because some of the other witnesses have said the following. Being against apartheid wasn't good enough, or being against the National Party wasn't good enough, or just being left-wing wasn't good enough, or just being an ANC sympathiser or supporter wasn't good enough, there had to be something more. You'll recall the evidence, there was cross-examination to the effect of, say in the case of Mr Verster, you'll agree that whatever, 60% or 70% of the population supported the ANC. You weren't going to murder all of them. And you'll remember his answer was "That is so." Do you recall this evidence?

MR BASSON: Yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Alright. The evidence as I understood it was that in order to be targeted for elimination the person had to be personally involved in military activities, right, or what you might have called terrorism, or they would have to be the kind of person who was giving physical support to terrorists, in other words driving them around, transporting weapons, hiding weapons and so on. Is my understanding correct, that unless you fell into that category, you couldn't be targeted for elimination?

MR BASSON: I don't know if that was the only criterion, Chairperson, but what you have said there is definitely a criterion.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Alright. If that's not the only criteria, can you explain to us your understanding as a member of the inner circle taking the case of someone who is not personally involved in military activities or giving physical support to such people, in what other circumstances might approval be given to elimination?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, it isn't always necessary for me to examine specific criteria to which a person must fulfil, I have an instruction and I have a list of names, I would send it through, persons would obtain information, the information would be presented. I would not decide whether these criteria would comply with the requirements, I would be told yes or not, continue or you're on the wrong track. I would accept that if the presentation is done and approval is given, that the person would comply with the criteria, so that he would be viewed as an enemy of the State at that stage.

MR KAHANOVITZ: But Mr Basson, we've all agreed in these hearing that just to be an enemy of the State didn't qualify you for assassination. You agree with me?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, I am simply putting a general statement for when a person is an enemy of the State. What I mean is, the full criteria or the full disruption process or the full subversion which took place with regard to that broad framework.

MR KAHANOVITZ: But Mr Basson, to do your work properly you'd have to have some understanding, somebody would have to have given you guidelines to say "Look here, these kind of people you can break their windows, these kind of people we might burn their cars, these kind of people", Joe Verster in those cases as a matter of principle would be prepared to authorise their elimination. Now it's the third category that I'm trying to understand. What are the circumstances under which Joe Verster might be willing to approve the elimination of a person. What did that person have to do?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, I am responding to instructions, a study would be done and it would be presented to Mr Verster ...(intervention)

MR KAHANOVITZ: Sorry, can I just cut you short, I don't want to hear again about the "voorstudie", I don't want to hear evidence to the effect that "I left it up to somebody else to decide", I want to know from you as someone in the inner core, in what circumstances might Joe Verster have been willing to authorise the elimination of a person. What ...(intervention)

MR BASSON: Chairperson, I cannot answer on behalf of Mr Verster.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Okay, forget about Mr Verster, in what circumstances might the CCB have been prepared to eliminate someone?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, it is not up to me to decide and I cannot speak on behalf of the entire CCB.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You know Mr Basson, I've read now over 2 000 pages of evidence, we've been sitting here for weeks, this question is central to these proceedings and I want you to think very carefully about giving us an answer that we can all understand. We've heard lots of evidence about what was said on the training course and we've heard lots of evidence to the effect of 'don't ask me, ask the guy who was below me or ask the guy who was above me.' I just want to understand the principle, I don't understand why you might be prepared to burn Mr Rosskamp's car but you want to murder Gavin Evans. I want to understand what it is that Mr Evans was involved in as a general principle someone like Mr Evans or someone like Adv Omar, that qualified them in terms of your own internal criteria for elimination and what it was that disqualified someone like Anton Rosskamp for elimination.

MR BASSON: Chairperson, directly or indirectly the person's involvement with the ANC which was a forbidden organisation at that stage. There was available information, for some more than others, that is why there were persons who enjoyed a higher priority than others. The decision to eliminate or to burn out a car did not reside with me.

MR KAHANOVITZ: And you can't help us in the least to explain why one person's car might be burnt and another person might be killed?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, it was based upon information, what was genuinely available, what did we really know about the person.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I'm asking this question on the basis, you now know everything you need to know about this person, right, assume that for the sake of this question, you have all the information in the world, what must be in that report, what must that report tell you about that person to say "I'm going to kill this person, I'm not going to burn his car"?

MR BASSON: It shouldn't only be hearsay, it should be confirmed information which had been verified ...(intervention)

MR KAHANOVITZ: Assume for the sake of the question that it's all verified, it's a hundred percent accurate, it's a hundred percent true, no, you have got no concerns, tell me now what it is that's going to, what information would you then look for that says 'this guy, we must take him out'?

MR BASSON: Even if he was indirectly involved in actions which were aimed at assisting others in executing military actions, for example an allegation that Mr Evans moved quite frequently in African countries where he acted as a courier, where he was involved in military planning actions. I cannot recall everything that there was, but that would render such a person a target.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Yes, but we'll come back to where we were 15 minutes ago, I put it to you that I understood the evidence of others to be to that effect, either you're personally involved in military activities or you're giving physical support to people who are involved in military activities and you said no, it goes beyond that, and I asked you to explain in what circumstances does it go beyond that.

MR BASSON: Chairperson, if we return once again to Mr Evans, the ISSE(sic) was used with other front organisations to disrupt and lower the moral of the South African Defence Force. Perhaps he wasn't involved in direct military actions against the Defence Force or the State, but due to the role that he played he was viewed as an enemy which had to be eliminated.

MR KAHANOVITZ: In other words, you're saying you did not have to be directly or indirectly involved in terrorism in order to end up on the CCB's list of people for elimination, targets for elimination, it wasn't essential.

MR BASSON: Yes, one could say that.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Is that your answer?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, I am trying to explain the broader spectrum to you, not only military but also morally, indirectly, whatever the case may be, where the death of such a person would have a tremendous affect positively on the interests of the State.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Well what about - why not target Helen Suzman then?

MR BASSON: I cannot answer the question, Mr Chairperson, maybe she wasn't part of the CCB's projects.

MR KAHANOVITZ: No, I'm just wanting to know as a hypothetical proposition, could she have ended up in the CCB's list of targets for elimination, would she have fitted the criteria?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, I'm not qualified to give an answer, I never received any information that implicated her. I cannot give you an answer.

MR LAX: Can I just interpose.

You see you're answering these questions on the basis that you didn't make any decisions, but we know that isn't so, we know that isn't so in this basis, that you and your colleagues proposed projects, you prepared feasibility studies and pre-feasibility studies, in those studies you suggested and recommended certain kinds of conduct, correct?

MR BASSON: Correct, yes.

MR LAX: Now the question Mr Kahanovitz is asking you is, on what criteria did you decide what to suggest? In other words, on what criteria did you base in your own mind, as a Co-ordinator, right? On what basis did you decide that you were going to recommend this upwards, as an action that should be taken against A or B or C, whoever they might be? You had to exercise a certain evaluative capacity, a certain discretion, a judgement. Now what he's asking you is very simple, and it's not good to say "Well, I didn't make the decision", because you exercised a judgement and he wants to know on what basis did you exercise that judgement.

MR BASSON: If it can assist you, the role that the individual played, whether it's directly or indirectly in co-operation with the ANC and its front organisation in the interest of the State.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Yes, but I still don't understand why that would exclude someone like Prof Van Zyl Slabbert, Helen Suzman, or are you telling me conceivably the CCB might have also assassinated people of that ilk?

MR BASSON: I cannot answer the question, it is an unfair question.

MR LAX: Could I just ask this. In all the projects that you worked on, where you were involved in proposals to do something to somebody, did you never choose the individuals as the individual targets, or were you given a list of names from which to choose targets? How did it work?

MR BASSON: In most cases a list of names was given and there would already have been various forms of information available on these persons, that's why there were profiles on these persons, and the information was of such a nature that they would be listed as priority persons, based upon the relevant criteria.

MR LAX: And you only worked from those lists, you didn't choose other targets for yourself?

MR BASSON: No, that list was used in the specific case of Mr Evans, but I think that with regard to Mr Omar, I am not certain whether his name was on the list, but his case was taken from Mr van Zyl's level upwards. I cannot recall whether his name was on the list.

MR LAX: Where did these lists come from?

MR BASSON: It was an intelligence document which I received from Derek, I forget the person's real name. Chris Nel.

MR LAX: And do you know the source where that list had been compiled?

MR BASSON: I'm drawing an inference that it came from the military structure within Special Forces, or from the broader intelligence system within the South African Defence Force.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Can I just remind you about the evidence that you gave about Mr Evans. You said you got this list of names, you said you were given this file that was, I think it was said 9 inches thick, you read through the file, you and Mr Burger, after reading through the file you went to motivate - I'm not saying you personally, but - no I think it was you personally, went to motivate to Mr Verster why Mr Evans should be targeted. Remember your evidence?

MR BASSON: It was words to that effect, but I must mention that the information at our disposal would be presented and I'm afraid to use the word "pre-study" because you don't want to hear that, but at that stage Mr Verster would have said "Proceed and prepare a plan for elimination."

MR KAHANOVITZ: Yes, but you had a reason for going to Mr Verster and say Mr - in effect you were saying to him "Mr Verster, we've been given this list of names, I'm recommending that we concentrate on this guy, 'cause I've read his file and it says A, B, C, D, E and F about him in his file.

MR BASSON: Yes, I would motivate my reason for the presentation.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Yes, and the reason you do that is because you are aware in your own mind that there are certain criteria that the person must fill before you're going to go off to Mr Verster and say ....(intervention)

MR BASSON: Yes, that is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Right. So we're agreed that you in your own mind are aware of the existence of such broad criteria, and you've told us already what one set of criteria are and let's call it, for shorthand, terrorism or terrorism related activities. The other category that I understand you've put forward is, if the person was an important figure in the anti-apartheid movement, we might have targeted such a person for elimination, irrespective of whether they had any links whatsoever to terrorism.

MR BASSON: It is possible.

MR KAHANOVITZ: No, I don't want to know it it's "moontlik", I want to know, was that your understanding at the time? In other words, you could read through the file, there's not a shred of information that links this person to military activities that notwithstanding, your understanding was that one could go off to Mr Verster and say "Mr Verster, I think we should do a "voorstudie" on this person.

MR BASSON: Yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Now, I want to go back to your evidence about the fact that you had to take all reasonable precautions to ensure that your intelligence was accurate and reliable, I'm assuming that answer that you gave, it doesn't matter whether we're talking about the elimination of a person or a bombing of a building.

MR BASSON: That is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I want to put to you certain examples about the degree of caution that you in the CCB exercised in relation to the selection of your targets. Evidence has already been led that a plan was approved to burn down a printing press that didn't exist.

MR BASSON: Correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: But you're telling us that all reasonable precautions were taken to ensure that the intelligence that you received about that printing press was accurate and reliable.

MR BASSON: It is correct, I cannot recall specifically what I discovered regarding the printing works, I don't know if I specifically went to a person and discovered this.

MR KAHANOVITZ: No but I mean we must infer from the general nature of the evidence that this went through the intelligence structures.

MR BASSON: Yes, I would assume so.

MR KAHANOVITZ: And they came back and they confirmed that this printing press existed and it was a legitimate target.

MR BASSON: I would assume so.

MR KAHANOVITZ: We also know that money was then paid to burn a printing press that didn't exist and that Van Zyl left the CCB hierarchy completely in the dark as to the fact that money had been paid out in these circumstances. You'll recall his evidence was:

"I didn't tell Verster that we'd been duped."

Remember that evidence?

MR BASSON: Yes, I recall that.

MR KAHANOVITZ: And the CCB would have been none the wiser about this fact until, it would seem, the time of the Harms Commission when Mr Verster said in his affidavit, he revealed for the first time that the CCB had been duped. You agree with me?

MR BASSON: Yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Alright. So this intelligence and verification system was for several months unable to ascertain or to discover that money had been paid out for the burning of a non-existent printing press.

MR BASSON: Correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Then we also know that money was paid out for the burning of a kombi which was never burnt.

MR BASSON: Correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: And the intelligence structure never drew it to the attention of anybody that this had occurred, correct?

MR BASSON: Correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: We also know there was a plan - and this is what Mr van Zyl was told, Mr van Zyl was told, and he says so in terms in his affidavit, that:

"There existed a plan to murder someone by the name of Michael Evans."

MR BASSON: No, it's Gavin Evans.

MR KAHANOVITZ: No, I know you say that. Mr van Zyl says that the first name of the person that he was told to kill was Michael Evans.

MR BASSON: No, I think that Mr van Zyl confused the names, he thought it was Gavin Michael Evans but it is not two persons.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Mr van Zyl made this affidavit in its original form while he was in Section 29 detention and then this affidavit that we have here was the one that was settled by senior counsel and handed in at the Harms Commission. At the time that he deposed to that affidavit he was still under the impression that he'd brought his operatives up to Johannesburg to assassinate somebody called Michael Evans.

MR BASSON: That is not true.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Excuse me?

MR BASSON: His interpretation is incorrect, it was not Michael Evans.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Now we know that Michael Evans and Gavin Evans were brothers.

MR BASSON: Correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: We know that Gavin Evans' second or third name is not Michael, there was no scope for confusion there, we know that both bothers were involved in political activities, how is it conceivable that Mr van Zyl could even have gained the slightest impression that his target's name was Michael Evans.

MR BASSON: I don't know, Chairperson, I don't know why he says that.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Can we just picture the scene. Mr van Zyl must now sit with, I forget if it was Peaches or Gakkie, and explain to them who it is that they must go and stab and he must give them the name of the target, the intended victim, one would imagine there should be no doubt whatsoever in Mr van Zyl's mind what the first name of the victim is?

MR BASSON: That is correct and there was also an available photo at that point.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Yet it appears that Mr van Zyl was very confused. In fact, you'll recall your evidence has also been that notwithstanding the fact of this 9 inch print-out, you didn't know where Mr Evans lived. Remember your evidence?

MR BASSON: Yes, I think there was an address but ten to one it was an old address or something like that.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Yes, but what your evidence came down to was the following, you said you didn't know his address, Mr Maree was tasked to find his address. He took several months to come back because he was busy on other projects. Remember?

MR BASSON: Yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Then these people were brought up to Johannesburg and what Mr van Zyl says is that they were given the wrong address.

MR BASSON: I don't know whether it was the wrong address or an old address.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Either way it's the wrong address, the man - Mr van Zyl says:

"They couldn't find their target because the information about the address was wrong."

Are you still suggesting that the CCB was acting on the basis of accurate and reliable information?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, if you have information and you ask somebody to confirm it and he does so, then you would accept his word.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Then there was also a plan to kill somebody by the name of Bruce White, correct?

MR BASSON: There was not a specific order, there was an order to gather information on him.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Alright. You were doing reconnaissance?

MR BASSON: Correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: In the light of a possible subsequent plan to murder him.

MR BASSON: It is possible, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: It turns out the man's name is Roland White. Wish to comment?

MR BASSON: I don't know, is it the same person?

MR KAHANOVITZ: I don't know, you tell me.

MR BASSON: I'm under the impression that it was a Bruce White, that was the name which was on the list along with Gavin Evans.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You see, because the only person who - you were targeting him for EC, End Conscription related activities?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, I cannot recall what his activities were.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I think this might be an appropriate time.

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, just before lunch, as far as you can recall, Mr Basson, was there only one project relating to a Mr White, whether it be Bruce or Roland?

MR BASSON: Yes, there was only one and it was Bruce White, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. We'll take the lunch adjournment now until 2 o'clock.

COMMITTEE ADJOURNS

ON RESUMPTION

WOUTER J BASSON: (s.u.o.)

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR KAHANOVITZ: (Cont)

Mr Basson, could you please turn to your amnesty application which is at bundle A, page 33. Let me ask you a general question, you don't need to look at the application to answer this. You've admitted, you've already admitted in-chief that you and Staal Burger copied each other's statements, correct?

MR BASSON: That's correct, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Did he copy yours or did you copy his?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, we were led by the legal team or our legal team in the incidents where we were involved together and the applications would be then appear the same and we did it on those grounds, it was not a case where it was mine or his, we were basically led that they would be the same.

MR KAHANOVITZ: So you both consulted with your legal representative and the product of that was those two statements?

MR BASSON: That's correct, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You've also already admitted in your evidence-in-chief that your statement contains the same untruths as Staal Burger's statement.

MR BASSON: That's true.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Do I infer from that that on each occasion on which I asked Mr Burger "Is such and such a sentence in your statement untrue" and he said "Yes, it is untrue", you agree with all the answers that he gave?

MR BASSON: That is correct, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Right. Let's go to page 36, paragraph 8(b) you're asked ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, what page? It's page 34 on my documents. 8(b).

MR KAHANOVITZ: ... the capacity and period which you were in the service of the State, or served in the Security Forces, in number 2 you say that you were in Special Forces: Co-ordinator, 1987 to 1991. Is that meant to be a reference to the time that you were in the CCB?

MR BASSON: That is correct, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: But as I understand the evidence you left SADF Special Forces in order to join the CCB.

MR BASSON: That is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: So therefore that isn't correct, it's not correct to say that you were in SADF Special Forces between '87 and 1991?

MR BASSON: The CCB was a branch of the Security Forces.

MR KAHANOVITZ: But all the evidence has been, and your evidence as well, that at a particular moment in time it was converted into a civilian organisation.

MR BASSON: That is correct, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: And that you had to leave the SADF, to break off your ties with the SADF in order to join that civilian organisation, correct?

MR BASSON: That is correct, you had to resign.

MR KAHANOVITZ: That's right. What year did you resign from the SADF?

MR BASSON: It was around 1988, I cannot specifically recall the date.

MR KAHANOVITZ: So between 1988 and 1991, you were not in Special Forces.

MR BASSON: I was in the CCB, which was a branch of the Special Forces.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Alright. I don't necessarily agree with your answer, but I'll deal with it in argument.

Now at page 35, paragraph 9(b) you were asked to say whether any person was injured, killed or suffered any damage as a result of your acts or omissions, and you know that the answer that you gave there is wrong and I accept, having read your application, that you set out in your application that there were in fact both injuries to people in the Early Learning Centre blast and you say in your application that the bomb blast caused damage. You with me?

MR BASSON: That is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: So why, that being so, did you fill in the answer "No" at page 35?

MR BASSON: I cannot say at this stage why it states "No", there was definitely the damage of property at the Early Learning Centre.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Then at page 37, paragraph 11(b), it asks you to state the particulars of the order, the date if known and the name and the address of the person who gave the order or approval, then you say that you got an order from the Chairman of the CCB, Joe Verster, that's quite obviously wrong, 'cause as I understand it the Chairman of the CCB was Gen Webb.

MR BASSON: That is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Similarly the statement below that, that Gen Webb is the Director of the CCB, that's also wrong. Correct?

MR BASSON: That is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: How could you possibly have made a mistake like that?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, there was no specific reason why I made this mistake or why I would like to have made this mistake, it could be that it seemed correct at that stage and I accepted it and read it as such, but if you look at the hierarchy you would say that a Chairperson is a person who is a Chairperson of a group of people and then that person directly resorts under a Director who is above that person, but in the CCB's language the General was the Chairperson and Joe Verster was the Director-General or the CCB.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Then page 42, paragraph 2 you say:

"I was a member of the CCB and in that capacity I was the Co-ordinator of the internal region of the CCB, namely Region 6."

Correct?

MR BASSON: Correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You were also at a time, the Co-ordinator of Region 7, correct? Zimbabwe.

MR BASSON: That's correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You were also at a time, the Co-ordinator of Region 2.

MR BASSON: That's correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Why do you make no reference to that in your amnesty application?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, I'm sorry but at this stage I did not know what was going on, I was led and I read through this application and it seemed to be correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You'll agree with me, anybody reading that paragraph would get the impression that your only job was Co-ordinator of Region 6?

MR BASSON: That's correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Now when you deal with the Early Learning Centre, pages 43 through to 44, this information to the effect that the Kewtown youth was planning to start a big fire in the Khayelitsha squatter camp, you with me?

MR BASSON: Yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Top of page 44.

MR BASSON: Yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Now your evidence thusfar has been that normally you verify your information via Chris Nel, did Nel verify this information?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, if I can recall correctly, Chris Nel was not informed about the Early Learning Centre incident. I cannot recall specifically why, if he was not available or not, but if there was not a person with whom I could verify this information, then Verster would then contact Webb.

MR KAHANOVITZ: So when was the first time that you heard that this plan to start a fire in Khayelitsha was part of the motivation for the Early Learning Centre blast?

MR BASSON: I cannot specifically recall, but it could be that in the presentation of Verster to Webb, that it was mentioned there.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You were there?

MR BASSON: Yes. I cannot specifically recall if I heard it there.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I thought you never ever went to those presentations.

MR BASSON: Except for this presentation, I was there, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Oh, I see.

MR BASSON: I mean I was never there.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You think you heard about it them, or you...?

MR BASSON: The information did not come from Mr van Zyl.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Yes, that's what he says.

MR BASSON: That's correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: So if I understand your evidence you say 'Well, I must have heard it somewhere and the only place that I can think I could have heard it was at the presentation to Webb'?

MR BASSON: That's correct, yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, Mr Kahanovitz.

So why wouldn't he have heard of it earlier? Wouldn't you have had any dealings with Mr van Zyl regarding the Early Learning Centre operation prior to the actual presentation of the pre-study to Webb?

MR BASSON: Yes, Mr Chairperson, Mr van Zyl came with other information, it was written information, it was typed and people signed it, I cannot recall who signed it, and there it stated certain plans to disrupt the elections through certain actions, but specifically the planned arson was not part of that information that I received from Mr van Zyl.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Kahanovitz.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Why was an exception made here for you to attend the meeting with Gen Webb?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, I cannot specifically say why it was different, a possible reason could be that with the upcoming elections and the information was of such a nature that we had to act very quickly, where at that stage I was involved in the presentation.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I don't understand the connection between the two. Why if urgent steps had to be taken, would you come to the meeting? What role could you serve there, what function?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, I cannot specifically say. I was at the scene where Mr Burger did not pitch up and we had to look at what we had to do and the mechanism that had to be prepared, maybe they thought to involve me so that I can continue with it. I cannot specifically say why I was there coincidentally.

MR KAHANOVITZ: But wasn't it the rule that you were never supposed to be at those meetings?

MR BASSON: It was not a written rule, no, I was there by coincidence and I was told to become part of the presentation.

MR KAHANOVITZ: This evidence about a sudden decision having to be made, I must just put it to you that it's completely at variance with Mr van Zyl's evidence, Mr van Zyl's evidence is about a process that was evolved over a period of time where there was a "voorstudie", evidence was collected and so on and so forth, you heard his evidence, yet you're saying some decision had to be made on an urgent basis.

MR BASSON: That's correct, in my journal I do refer to - I refer to certain entries in my journal about discussions that took place over three to four days where we received the information up to the execution of the plan.

MR KAHANOVITZ: But Mr van Zyl's evidence is that this information had been collected a long time before that.

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, it could be that information was available, but not to the effect that it led to the physical disruption of the election, it would have been a place of meeting and this is an organisation involved, general information, but specifically what is planned now concerning the elections, took place at a later stage.

MR KAHANOVITZ: No, that's not Mr van Zyl's version. Mr van Zyl's version, I might remind you, is that he received direct information that members of the Kewtown youth had been involved in bomb explosions and were preparing to explode further bombs on the eve of the election and he received that information long before the actual blast.

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, I cannot correlate this. I went back to my diary and I looked at specific entries:

"Get limpet. Contact Chairperson."

and this was approximately over a period of three days.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You see what's very strange here is that Gen Webb was told that this was what he referred to as a "geleentheidsteiken", right, an opportunity target that had arisen that wasn't known about before. Remember that evidence?

MR BASSON: That's correct, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: But we know from hearing Mr van Zyl's evidence, that that can't be so, this was no last minute bit of information that suddenly arrived on your table and you therefore had to act fast.

MR BASSON: I viewed the information as such.

MR KAHANOVITZ: How did you see it?

MR BASSON: As information that is available to us now and that people must now focus on what they want to do and that is why a counter-action had to follow.

MR KAHANOVITZ: But you authorised Mr van Zyl to do the "voorstudie" weeks before then, how can your evidence make sense?

MR BASSON: I do not agree with that statement.

MR KAHANOVITZ: What part don't you agree with?

MR BASSON: That I started weeks before the presentation and that I was already busy with it.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Well that's how I understood Mr van Zyl's evidence, I don't remember it being put to him that he wasn't telling the truth.

MR BASSON: Well this is what I say, Mr Chairperson.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Now you at the very latest, at the time of the Harms Commission, were aware that Gen Webb's version was that he had never authorised the Evans project and the Omar project, correct?

MR BASSON: I am aware of it, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You were aware at the time of the Harms Commission?

MR BASSON: That's correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Why do you say in your amnesty application that Gen Webb authorised for which you are claiming amnesty, which include Omar and Evans?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, because I believed bona fide that he was aware of it.

MR KAHANOVITZ: But you don't even mention in your application that there's any debate or question around this, you just state in quite categorical terms that Gen Webb authorised these projects. You don't qualify your answer, your statement.

MR BASSON: No, I didn't.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Why not?

MR BASSON: I see it as necessary. I was led by a legal team that I accepted and I accepted what they told me as the correct way to follow.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Then page 45, also dealing with the Early Learning Centre, this evidence about the source who wasn't prepared to reveal his identity and for that reason no police action was possible, I take it that you agree with Mr Burger that that evidence is false?

MR BASSON: That is correct, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Just to make sure there's no uncertainty here, police action was never on the agenda, correct?

MR BASSON: That's correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Then page 46, you talk about what happened on the night of the 31st of August, I just want to make a general comment about everything you say here about the Early Learning Centre. You will agree with me that you don't mention for instance, Mr Botes' role in the bombing. His name doesn't appear at all.

MR BASSON: That is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You don't state at all what your own role was. For instance, we know from evidence that you've given elsewhere that you procured the landmine from the EMLC, correct?

MR BASSON: That is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: If you read your application you don't deal with your personal role at all.

MR BASSON: Correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Are you claiming that you made full disclosure?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, once again I will repeat myself and say that we were dealt with as a group by a legal team who prepared the document and it was also said that during the indemnity hearings the particulars will be disclosed in detail.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I'm not talking to you about detail, I'm talking to you about really basic stuff, who planted the bomb, who got the bomb?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, if I had to prepare my application alone I would have done so, but I did not do so, I was led by my legal counsel.

MR KAHANOVITZ: And these lawyers said you must supply as little detail as possible.

MR BASSON: No, I cannot say that, Chairperson, I don't know what the reason was.

MR LAX: Sorry Mr Kahanovitz.

Are you saying your lawyers told you to put incorrect facts in this thing?

MR BASSON: No, I'm not saying that.

MR LAX: Then why did you put those incorrect facts in, like the police action story? Surely you understood you had to tell the truth in this application.

MR BASSON: Correct.

MR LAX: Well then why did you lie in it?

MR BASSON: I cannot give you a specific reason, perhaps it was to create the idea to justify the deed, but I'm telling you the truth today.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Alright. On that theme, are you prepared to concede that the object of this project was to kill the members of the Kewtown youth who were in the hall at the time?

MR BASSON: No, it was not part of the planning.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Mr Chairman, in the interests of progress I'm not going to take this witness through the same sort of cross-examination about all the intricate details, I don't think it would serve much purpose at this stage, unless his representative insists that I do so.

MR P DU PLESSIS: No, Mr Chairman, my learned friend can do as he pleases, I can't advise him what to do or not to do.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Dealing with the Evans project I'm going to put it to you once again, if you read through what you have to say in paragraph 4.2, you mention Mr van Zyl's name, you don't however mention the names of Mr Maree, do you agree with me?

MR BASSON: That's correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You don't mention your role and Mr Staal Burger's role in this project.

MR BASSON: It does seem like it, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Why would you tell the Committee that the "voorstudie" was done by Van Zyl? I take it we've also agreed, I think it was stated that's not true by the way. This is at page 48, near the bottom of the page.

MR BASSON: That is not quite correct, the pre-study was done by myself and Mr Burger.

MR KAHANOVITZ: But now why would you want to point the finger at the unfortunate Mr van Zyl, while leaving your name out and Mr Burger's name?

MR BASSON: Can you just repeat your question please?

MR KAHANOVITZ: Mr Chairman, maybe we can just - there's a noise going on.

CHAIRPERSON: I don't what it is, perhaps if somebody can look.

The question was, if Mr van Zyl was not involved in the pre-study and as you say you and Mr Burger were involved in that study, why do you say on page 48, second last sentence, that it was Van Zyl?

"Van Zyl executed the plan"

Sorry, it's the one before that:

"The pre-study was done by the mentioned Abram van Zyl."

MR BASSON: Chairperson, I cannot give a specific reason why it was indicated as such in the document, but the fact remains that the pre-study was not done by him. He was told to, with the means at his disposal, to continue and to execute this task. It was there - it was for no other reason that he is mentioned there.

CHAIRPERSON: Was there any sort of fallout between Mr van Zyl and yourself or Mr Burger or ...?

MR BASSON: No, Mr Chairperson, there was never - like I've said it could just be the wrong choice of words, but it is not true.

MR LAX: But - sorry, it's not a wrong choice of words, it's a lie and it's a total untruth.

MR BASSON: If you want to see it in that way, yes it is, but at that stage it could be that I just couldn't recall, or we couldn't recall how it happened, if Van Zyl was involved in the pre-study or not, because we didn't have any documentation in front of us to refresh our memories and that is a mistake that was made.

MR LAX: And you could have said you weren't sure in this document.

MR BASSON: That is correct, I could have said it.

MR KAHANOVITZ: On page 46 under the heading:

"The Gavin Evans Incident"

you'll see in that first paragraph you say you decided to monitor Evans in order to establish if he was involved in activities which undermined the security of the State. Now ...(intervention)

MR BASSON: That's also not correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: In fact it's plainly false.

MR BASSON: That's correct, there were already indications that he was involved.

MR LAX: Why did you say that? What was your objective? You see we're sitting here to try and understand why you said that and you're obliged to explain to us why you lied in your amnesty application.

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, it was not the intention to lie, at that stage it was written in such a way. I cannot tell you if it was for a specific purpose or not. If you testify about something at a later stage you accept that it will be the truth, but I cannot tell you why there are so many mistakes in the application and it also seems to me that it does not appear very well.

MR KAHANOVITZ: At page 48 down at the bottom you say:

"After the project was approved and set in motion, (you say that) Evans couldn't be traced and accordingly the plan was not set in motion and no attempt was made to eliminate him."

You with me?

MR BASSON: Yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Yet we know from Van Zyl's evidence that can't be true because an attempt was indeed made to kill him, tot he extent that the murderers were flown to Johannesburg and sent out to go and stab Evans, correct?

MR BASSON: That's correct, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: So your statement isn't true.

MR BASSON: That's correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ:

"No attempt was made"

that can't be true. What's your answer?

MR BASSON: That's correct, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: What's correct, your statement is untrue when you say that no attempt was made?

MR BASSON: That's correct, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: The next sentence is also untrue, where you say:

"As a result of this we decided to terminate the project"

because you've already admitted when I cross-examined you about the diary, that the project was not terminated.

MR BASSON: That's correct, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: And I assume once again you're not in a position to explain why you told those lies in your application? You've got no idea why?

MR BASSON: Just repeat the last one.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I said you don't have any idea, you don't want to put forward any explanation as to why you told these two lies.

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, except for the fact that as I've said, the application was prepared and I saw it as the truth and I accepted it.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Then dealing with the Omar incident, once again, last paragraph page 49 you say:

"A decision was made to monitor him to establish if he was involved in activities which undermine the security of the State."

Once again that's not true, correct?

MR BASSON: It's the wrong choice of words.

MR KAHANOVITZ: It's false, it's not a incorrect choice of words.

MR BASSON: That's correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Then the following page, page 50 the middle paragraph you say you received this information that Mr Omar was indeed involved in radical political activities and once again you repeat the lie that this information couldn't be placed before a court of law, correct?

MR BASSON: That's correct, it's not true.

MR KAHANOVITZ: And for that reason the CCB had to take action against him, that's also untrue. Then you say:

"The decision was then taken that Omar must be eliminated."

Now who made the proposal that Omar should be eliminated?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, I cannot specifically remember this ...(intervention)

MR KAHANOVITZ: Maybe can I help you, because Mr van Zyl says that you, it was your proposal.

MR BASSON: Well I will deny it because in my capacity I was not authorised to make such a suggestion, there was a Regional Chairperson who had to take the lead ...(intervention)

MR KAHANOVITZ: I didn't ask you whether you made the ultimate decision. Maybe I can read Mr van Zyl's evidence to you, this is at the Harms Commission, pages 800 to 801. He says, he's talking about the Omar case, he says:

"The suggestion of elimination came initially from the Co-ordinator. I had to do a pre-study as a result of that suggestion."

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, I cannot give an instruction to Slang van Zyl while there's a Regional Chairperson present. I deny that I gave this instruction.

MR KAHANOVITZ: He was asked who proposed - you see he says he got this information about Omar, then he was asked who proposed Omar's elimination, he says - on the basis of this information, and he says it was you. I'm not asking you whether you - we know you didn't have the ultimate authority to approve the project, all I'm asking you is, was he telling an untruth to the Harms Commission where he says that the proposal that Omar be eliminated, originally came from you?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, it is possible that in our discussion with Mr Verster he may have mentioned to us to continue and that I could have then said to Van Zyl that because of the circumstances, because Mr Burger was not present, this is also possible, but the initiation did not come purely from my side. It could be that I conveyed it as a message from Mr Verster, but once again it had to be conveyed to Burger, so that he can continue. I cannot say that he's lying. I do not know.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Now this evidence, sorry this averment in your statement, page 51, that the project, one of the reasons why the project had to be terminated was because it was found that the so-called Coloured person was sympathetic towards Mr Omar, you with me?

MR BASSON: Yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Now we've already heard Mr van Zyl said he never said anything of the sort, he never suggested that Mr Hardien had become sympathetic towards Mr Omar, he said he was unreliable - sorry, not Hardien, Peaches.

MR BASSON: My recollection is that that statement is the truth.

MR KAHANOVITZ: So in other words you're saying Mr van Zyl, cause it could only have been Mr van Zyl, came to tell you that he believed that Peaches had become sympathetic towards Mr Omar.

MR BASSON: That's correct, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Now you seem to be - read the last sentence there, you say:

"Insofar as my participation goes concerning this project and it can be interpreted as a conspiracy to kill Mr Omar, I therefore ask for indemnity on such charges."

You seem to be in some doubt as to whether your conduct amounts to participation in a conspiracy to assassinate Mr Omar, I'm just wondering what the source of your doubt was.

MR BASSON: It was not my specific words, although I did approve this statement and signed it.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Is it true that you handed over R15 000 to Van Zyl, that Van Zyl could use to pay the killers?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, in various instances I handed over money to Van Zyl, but I cannot recall this specific instance.

MR KAHANOVITZ: He might be telling the truth but you're not sure.

MR BASSON: I do not know, it is possible, I cannot deny it or admit it.

MR KAHANOVITZ: But if he says that is so, you have no reason to dispute it.

MR BASSON: That's correct, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: And I assume that's something that you might very well have remembered at the time that you drew up this application. I mean you're lawyer's asking you "Now what's your role in the conspiracy Mr Basson?" I imagine you would say "Well I actually gave the man R15 000 to pay to the killers."

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, such a question was not put to me and I've got no illusions concerning the facts that I am responsible for or guilty of conspiracy to murder in this case.

MR LAX: Do I understand you correctly - while Mr Kahanovitz is looking for something, that you have no recollection of paying Van Zyl money in relation to this matter?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, I cannot specifically recall it, no.

MR LAX: And you have no recollection of him bringing money back to you?

MR BASSON: I do not know if there's some confusion now concerning the Nick person who received money, I cannot specifically recall it.

MR LAX: Because he goes into elaborate detail about how he put the different bits of money together and how it had to come back at the point at which things were being suspended and ...(intervention)

MR BASSON: That money was paid back to Nick, if I'm not mistaken.

MR LAX: I'm just trying to jog your memory, so you don't recall this at all?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, it is possible that I did give the money initially, but if I received money back, I cannot specifically recall, no. I actually want to say that it wasn't me.

MR LAX: But the most important thing for me is whether you - 'cause you would have had to draw the money and take it to him in some way or other.

MR BASSON: Yes, it was myself or Nick.

MR LAX: And it was in cash?

MR BASSON: That's correct, yes.

MR LAX: It's quite a lot of cash, bearing in mind the denominations of the time.

MR BASSON: Oh well, it's so.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Now I just want to read you some of the evidence that you gave while you were testifying in-chief. I want you to just confirm that you're sure that this evidence is one hundred percent true.

At page 2154 of the record you'll see towards the bottom of the page you're being led by Mr du Plessis and you'll see he says to you:

"You confirm your involvement in the procurement of a weapon."

Are you with me?

MR BASSON: That's correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You answer:

"Yes, I confirm that was the initial plan that I form part of that planning. I just want to add that with the change of plan to the toxic substance plan, I was not present when those proposals were made and the planning in that regard, I was busy disconnecting from Region 6 to some extent because a void had been left by Mr Botha's departure and my responsibilities then once again included looking after Region 2, so those two other people were brought in."

I assume that's Botes, it should be B-o-t-e-s.

MR BASSON: That's right, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I just want to confirm, are you sure that you were not present when the proposals were made regarding the change of plan to what you've called the toxic substance plan?

MR BASSON: I was not present.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Excuse me?

MR BASSON: That's correct, I was not present at the presentation.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You're sure?

MR BASSON: Yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Then you deal with Nick and Theo having been brought in to fulfil certain functions, then Mr du Plessis asks you a direct question:

"But you didn't deal with or procure the toxic substances or tablets."

And your answer is:

"No."

Are you're a hundred percent sure that that answer was correct?

MR BASSON: That is correct that I was not aware of it, but if I look at the question:

"But you didn't deal with or procure the toxic substances or tablets?"

then I had to answer "yes". What I'm trying to say is that the question is a bit ambiguous and if I can translate it very quickly. I was not present with the handling or the handing over of these substances.

MR KAHANOVITZ: No, I don't think the question that was put to you was at all vague or ambiguous, you see what your lawyer thought you were telling the Committee was, if you look at the context you were telling us in essence that although you knew about the change of plan you were not in any way involved in its implementation because you were disassociating yourself from Region 6.

MR BASSON: That's correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: And then he just wanted to make sure that he understood your evidence properly, he asked you:

"So what you're saying is you didn't with, neither did you deal with and nor did you procure the toxic substances or tablets?"

MR BASSON: That's correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: And your answer is:

"No."

but you're telling us now the answer should be "yes"?

MR BASSON: What I am trying to say is, it doesn't matter if we have to ask the question again or not, the fact is that I said that I was not involved in the dealing with this substance or the handing over of it.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Sorry. So your evidence is you did not deal with the tablets, let's just leave it at that, you didn't deal with these tablets?

MR BASSON: That's correct, that's what I meant.

MR KAHANOVITZ: And you didn't procure these tablets?

MR BASSON: Did not. That is correct. Where the question should have been "Yes, I did not", you can say "No, I did not."

MR KAHANOVITZ: Alright. Okay, I understand.

MR MARTINI: Chairperson, just to correct an earlier version put to this witness, in fairness to this witness because I did see that it affected Mr Lax's thinking slightly on the amount of money. In fairness to this witness, according to Mr van Zyl at page 116, the R10 000 was given back to Nick, not to Mr Basson, because Mr Lax seems to have the impression that 'surely it was a lot of money, you can remember'. So I think the version that was put was incorrect, that Mr van Zyl gave it back to Mr Basson, which is not correct, Mr van Zyl's evidence was it went back to Nick and this witness suggested 'well, aren't we getting confused between Nick and Van Zyl here'.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr Martini.

MR LAX: Thanks Mr Martini. But the issue remained receiving the money, that was the ...

MR MARTINI: I'm just dealing with the returning of the money, not the handing over of the money.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Kahanovitz.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I want to read to you part of Mr van Zyl's amnesty application because he at page, this is page 105 of bundle A, he's talking about this change of plan - have you got the page? You'll see at the top of the page he says:

"I received an instruction from the Regional Manager..."

...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, I don't - oh yes, it's the third line, third line from the top, page 105 bundle A, page 83 of the fax, page 31 of the statement. Have you got that?

MR P DU PLESSIS: It doesn't form part of my bundle, it's left out. If someone can just help us with a copy.

CHAIRPERSON: It's in that bit that's highlighted with blue, Mr du Plessis, third line from the top.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Are you with me now?

MR BASSON: Very well, go ahead.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Alright. Mr van Zyl says:

"On an instruction from the Regional Manager, I contacted Peaches and found out from him if he could get hold of Omar's heart tablets, on which he then answered that he will try and get them. I discussed this matter concerning the tablets with the Regional Manager, in the presence of the Co-ordinator"

and then he mentions certain other people, okay. Mr van Zyl is very clear that this plan to use these toxic substances was discussed in your presence.

MR BASSON: No, Mr Chairperson, I think what he meant there is that in the presence of the Co-ordinator, Nick, that there's shouldn't have been a comma after Nick, but if you want to interpret it in a different way, I will deny that I was involved.

MR KAHANOVITZ: At no stage did Mr van Zyl suggest that the Co-ordinator at this stage of the project was not you but Nick, because throughout this statement he describes you as the "Koördineerder".

MR BASSON: For the larger part of this project I was the Co-ordinator.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I never remember it being put by your representative to Mr van Zyl, that the suggestion that you were present at that meeting was wrong. But it actually goes further, because Mr van Zyl at page 116, paragraph 55 - no I'm sorry, it's not a reference to you. I withdraw that question.

Mr van Zyl's continuous references to "the man from the medical regiment", what is your understanding of it? Who is "the man from the medical regiment"?

MR BASSON: That was the information person, Mr Lange.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Why would Mr van Zyl think he came from the medical regiment?

MR BASSON: I do not know, Mr Chairperson, maybe he told him that he comes from such a unit.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Why would he - I mean, if he was an information officer why would he tell Mr van Zyl he's from the medical regiment?

MR BASSON: I do not know.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Because Mr van Zyl also talks about a man from the medical regiment being present when they discussed the Early Learning Centre bomb blast.

MR BASSON: I do not know if that is so.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You don't know if that is so.

MR BASSON: No.

CHAIRPERSON: Was there anybody, as far as you know, from the medical regiment that had any dealings with the CCB at that time?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, the person in question was part of such a unit, he then left or he resigned and then was applied in the CCB at a later stage.

CHAIRPERSON: So do you know who that person was?

MR BASSON: Yes, Lange.

CHAIRPERSON: Is that Lange? So he used to be involved with the a medical regiment?

MR BASSON: That is correct, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: To the extent that one read Mr van Zyl's statement to say that because they were discussing how to cause somebody's heart attack through the use of pills, I gained the impression that that's why there was someone from the medical regiment present. If I gained that impression, you're telling me I got the wrong impression?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, apart from his background he was sectioned with Nick to assist with Region 6 in my absence, and it was not because of his background that he was now involved in Region 6, that he may have knowledge of a certain substance.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Now in the charge sheet in the case involving your namesake, Dr Wouter Basson, there's a reference to a Dr R J Botha, the Medical Co-ordinator of the CCB, do you know about him?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, I think I do know who he is but I cannot say with certainty.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Did you ever have any dealings with a Medical Co-ordinator?

MR BASSON: No, never.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Why did the CCB have a Medical Co-ordinator?

MR BASSON: I do not know, I think probably to get access to your normal medical substances.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Now Gen Webb - or let me preface this question by saying the following. We've heard about Omar, we've heard about Evans, we've also heard about projects which concern the possible assassination of, amongst others, Hamutenya, Tjongarero, Bessinger and so on and so forth, now as regards this whole period, Gen Webb not only says he never approved any assassinations internally, his version is also that he never approved any assassinations, fullstop. You with me? Both inside and outside the country. Now I don't want to ask you details about, for purposes of this question, about overseas projects, I want to know is it true that Gen Webb never approved a single assassination throughout the whole time that he was Chairman of the CCB?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, I'm not qualified to answer that question, but what I can say is that in my presence Gen Webb never said something like that. And by saying that I'm not saying that he didn't say it in other circumstances to others.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Maybe you misunderstand, I'm not asking you whether you were there, you would have heard in your capacity as someone working on Region 2, Region 7, Region 6, it being said to you "This has been approved by the Chairman, go ahead", correct?

MR BASSON: Correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: And we know that that was in fact said to you in relation to Omar and Evans, correct?

MR BASSON: Correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I take it that it was also said to you in relation to certain other projects.

MR BASSON: There weren't any other projects that I'm aware of in Region 6.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I'm not talking about Region 6.

MR BASSON: Are you talking generally?

MR KAHANOVITZ: I'm talking in general.

MR BASSON: Once again Chairperson, I cannot say yes or I cannot say no. I cannot say yes if I do not know about it. I cannot answer it.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Now when you had an in-house, did you discuss alternatives? For instance, 'burn the kombi, puncture the tyres, kill the driver'? I'm not asking you about that project, I'm just giving that as examples. Were alternatives discussed? Just a yes or no.

MR BASSON: Yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Is the following statement true? At an in-house you wouldn't have known that elimination was an approved option, because it could not have been approved by the Chairman by that stage.

MR BASSON: Can you just repeat your question please.

MR KAHANOVITZ: At an in-house you would not have known that elimination was an approved option, because that project would not yet have been submitted to the Chairman.

MR BASSON: That is correct, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Would - just another general question, would Joe Verster's approval be obtained before a "voorstudie" was prepared?

MR BASSON: No, I do not think so.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Next question. Did Joe Verster approve the microbus project, the project to burn the kombi in Cape Town?

MR BASSON: Yes, Mr Chairperson, he had to.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You can't remember but he must have, or you can remember if he did?

MR BASSON: What I'm trying to say to you is that no act was committed in Region 6 of which Mr Verster did not know of.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Either you can remember or you can't, if you can't just say "I can't remember".

MR BASSON: I'd like to say yes, he knew about it.

CHAIRPERSON: I think what Mr Kahanovitz is getting at, we understand what you're saying that all projects had to be approved by him, but Mr Kahanovitz is asking you, can you specifically remember, sitting here now today, that Mr Verster approved the burning of the kombi?

MR BASSON: No, I cannot recall it specifically.

MR KAHANOVITZ: ...(indistinct) question in relation to the printing press. Sitting here today, can you specifically remember that Verster approved it?

MR BASSON: I can also not recall that.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Now there's a diary entry of yours on the 9th of May concerning a project involving a Mr von Finkelstein that was allocated to Staal Burger, what happened to that project?

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, 9th of May? Where about is it? Mine says:

"Aarts, Marius, Christo vandag, voorstudie ...(indistinct) konferensie more."

I don't see any Mr Finkelstein.

MR BASSON: It is at the very bottom of the page. I didn't know how one spelt it either, that's why I wrote it like that.

Chairperson, nothing came of that.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Why?

MR BASSON: I cannot recall specifically what the reason is, I cannot even link the person to anything. His name doesn't signify anything to me.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Now the reference to Deon we know is a reference to Calla Botha, correct?

MR BASSON: Correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: We know that he was allocated a project concerning Bruce White, correct?

MR BASSON: Correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Who is number 2?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, I think someone has asked me this question before, I cannot recall specifically what the reason is for that 2.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You agree with me we can infer from the context that 2 is a target?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, it may also be that it actually means options in Region 2. One cannot necessarily refer to it as an indication of a specific person as a target.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Were you considering using Mr Botha's services in connection with Region 2?

MR BASSON: I cannot say that, I'm trying to clarify it for myself that it could be possible.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Do I infer then that the reference at the top means that Van Zyl will be working on Omar and SWAPO, in general?

MR BASSON: Correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Returning to the Omar project and the evidence earlier about having to resubmit projects to the Chairman - I'm not going to ask that question.

On the question of what happened to the money that was allocated to be paid to Mr Hardien in relation to the Early Learning Centre, you've heard the evidence, Mr van Zyl says that Mr Burger stole money, Mr Burger on the other hand accuses Mr van Zyl of having stolen money. What's your version?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, I cannot speak on behalf of the two members because I was not physically present with the exchange of money between Mr Burger and Mr van Zyl. I cannot express an opinion on that.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Well I assume as the Co-ordinator and the person responsible for finances, would it be correct to say that your understanding was that that R30 000 was supposed to be paid to the person who had placed the bomb?

MR BASSON: Correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: And that Mr Burger was supposed to give the money to Mr van Zyl, who was supposed to give the money to the person who'd placed the bomb?

MR BASSON: That is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: So if either Mr Burger or Mr van Zyl took any of that money, they would have been stealing money from the CCB?

MR BASSON: That is so.

MR KAHANOVITZ: What work does Joe Verster do now?

MR BASSON: I would like to know myself, I don't know Chairperson.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Now you said that the Goldstone Commission had falsely implicated you and Staal Burger in third force activities, would you care to expand?

MR BASSON: In my application at the DCC my role was to handle agents, agents who were already recruited who had absolutely nothing to do with third force activities, it was the collection of intelligence in general within the objectives of DCC, and nowhere was there any third force activities of me and Mr Burger.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Are you saying that Judge Goldstone made a finding that you were involved in third force activities?

MR BASSON: If he made a finding in which he implies that I was involved in such activities, then it is a mistake.

MR KAHANOVITZ: No, I'm asking you if he made such a finding.

MR LAX: Just repeat the question, I couldn't hear properly.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I'm asking whether Judge Goldstone made a finding that implicated you, Mr Basson, in third force activities.

MR BASSON: You are asking me whether he made a finding?

MR KAHANOVITZ: Yes. You say the Goldstone Commission falsely implicated you in third force activities, I'm trying to work out what, are you referring to a document that was produced, a report, what are you referring to?

MR BASSON: I think it was a report which was issued.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Did you read that report?

MR BASSON: I think it was something that I read in the press at that stage.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Was your name mentioned?

MR BASSON: Not specifically, however it was mentioned that certain CCB members were then working at DCC and in that light we were fired promptly but unfairly, seeing as the allegations were not correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: The impression I got from your evidence was that on some or other day you and Mr Burger get called in and you're told "Gentlemen, you no longer have a job with the DCC, because the Goldstone Commission has implicated you in third force activities", is that your evidence?

MR BASSON: Correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: So your Commanding Officer told you that?

MR BASSON: My Commanding Officer was also part of the allegations.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Who called you in and told you this?

MR BASSON: It was a General who was attached to Military Intelligence.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Alright, let's just leave it at that, but you never said "Excuse me, can we see the document that implicates us"?

MR BASSON: The fact of the matter was that I think Mr de Klerk had the document before him and he said that they had to get rid of all these people.

MR KAHANOVITZ: So you never got an opportunity to see the document that implicated you?

MR BASSON: It wasn't necessary to ask because if the leader of the country says you must go, then you go.

CHAIRPERSON: But the question is simple, did you yourself see the document in which you were implicated?

MR BASSON: No, I never saw a document.

MR KAHANOVITZ: See I got the impression from your evidence that you were suggesting that in some way Judge Goldstone had falsely implicated you in third force activities, is that the wrong impression?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, what I say is that there was a task group, I think it was under Judge Goldstone, by the name of Pierre Steyn who led the investigation and they seized the offices of DCC along with all the files, and as a result of that action and the recommendation which Steyn must have made to Judge Goldstone, the results were made known.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I understand your evidence now. Now you said in your evidence-in-chief, and I'm not sure if this was a mistake, but you said that the CCB had purchased a gun for Ferdie Barnard.

MR BASSON: No, it was Calla Botha.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You see I was asking ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, Calla Botha bought a gun for Ferdie Barnard, or CCB bought a gun for Calla Botha?

MR BASSON: No, Chairperson, I think that Mr Kahanovitz is referring to an inscription in the diary:

"Weapon for Deon"

Deon who is Calla Botha, and I testified that Calla Botha at that stage did not have a personal hand gun and he asked whether the organisation would be able to provide him with a weapon. I cannot recall what happened after that.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Can I just short circuit this, your evidence at page 2180 of the record, I was asking about that entry and your answer was:

"Mr Barnard and Mr Botha came to me and asked me whether there was any possibility that the organisation could help them to obtain a side arm."

MR BASSON: It is a mistake, let me just get to it. What is the page number?

MR KAHANOVITZ: 2180.

MR BASSON: No, it must be a mistake, it was only Mr Botha. I have stated previously that I never physically knew or handled Mr Barnard, so it cannot be true.

MR KAHANOVITZ: If you could just turn over to page 2182, you were asked the following question by Mr Coetzee when he was cross-examining you, in about the middle of the page:

"Were you in any way familiar with Mr Barnard during your involvement with the CCB?"

your answer:

"Now, I was never aware of Mr Barnard's existence, I only came to hear of that later."

You see that?

MR BASSON: That's correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: But you were involved in the process that led to Mr Botha being placed on suspension, correct?

MR BASSON: Correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: And Mr Botha was placed on suspension in relation to the White project, because he and Mr Barnard had been questioned by the police.

MR BASSON: I think that I stated somewhere that with the exception of that case I came to hear of Mr Barnard for the first time, but not in an official capacity as a member of the CCB.

MR KAHANOVITZ: No I'm sorry but the question is very straightforward:

"Were you in way familiar with Mr Barnard during your involvement with the CCB?"

and your answer is straightforward:

"No, I was never aware of Mr Barnard's existence"

but you were quite clearly aware of his existence.

MR BASSON: I was not familiar with him. As I've stated, only in that regard was I aware of him. He was just another person, I didn't know his background.

MR KAHANOVITZ: But you said you didn't even know if he existed, that's your answer. Quite clearly you knew he existed.

MR BASSON: I just want to refer you to page 2188, that could provide an explanation for your question.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I see I cross-examined you on that issue already, yes.

Can you just comment on Mr Barnard's version that was put to you. He says at all material times he was a salary employee of the CCB, working under the control of Lafras Luitingh. Are you in a position to confirm or deny that?

MR BASSON: Later I became aware of that.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You see, because if Mr Barnard is telling the truth, then you have this very strange situation where people in Region 6 are paying him to do work for the CCB on the premise that he's a freelance operative, whereas in truth and in fact he's already working for the CCB, but for another region. Do you understand what I'm saying?

MR BASSON: Yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Are you telling us that now that you look at it in retrospect, that's exactly what was happening?

MR BASSON: It would appear as such.

MR KAHANOVITZ: To use Chris Nel's terminology, he says, and it seems you agree with him:

"Barnard was prostituting after hours with his friends in Region 6."

MR WESSELS: Mr Chairman, may I interrupt here. The evidence of Mr Verster was that Mr Barnard had been dismissed from the CCB at an earlier stage already, that was in the beginning of 1989, while this incident occurred somewhere later during the year. So the statement that Mr Kahanovitz is making to the witness is not correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr Wessels. Mr Kahanovitz.

MR KAHANOVITZ: With respect to Mr Wessels, it appears that Mr Barnard does not agree with the allegation that he was dismissed at that time.

MR WESSELS: Well then Mr Barnard will come and give evidence about that.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Basson ...(intervention)

MR WESSELS: ...(indistinct) is different.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, thank you.

Mr Basson, do you know anything about the dismissal of Mr Barnard from the CCB?

MR BASSON: No, Chairperson, I never knew about it. As I've stated, later when the CCB's activities were suspended I was informed of it, but during that time I was not aware of it.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Maybe I can clarify this, Mr Barnard's representative can correct me if I'm wrong, but as I understand Mr Barnard's version it is this, it may well be that it was said that Mr Barnard can't or shouldn't or is dismissed from working for Region 6, but in either event he was working for another region of the CCB, namely Region 7, through Mr Luitingh and he says he continued to work for the CCB and obtained a salary from the CCB until the time of its disbandment.

MR BASSON: I don't know, don't ask me, I cannot answer that.

MR KAHANOVITZ: He goes on to say that he went on to work for DCC afterwards, same directorate that you were working for. Correct?

MR BASSON: Well I was not aware of his application in DCC.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Alright, so while you were there you didn't know that he was also working there, assuming his version to be true?

MR BASSON: Once again I was a member who was seen by everyone, Mr Barnard was not one of the members who was known by everybody.

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, Mr Kahanovitz, just one general question if I may put it.

If a person was working for another region, Region 2 or Region 7 and then was asked to come and do work in Region 6, would he get paid specifically for the work he would do in the other region?

MR BASSON: No, Chairperson, if he was already a member of a region and he did work in another region, it would be irrelevant, he would maintain his regular salary.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Alright. Now you said - on a different issue, you said you obtained advice not to apply for amnesty for extraterritorial acts, is that correct?

MR BASSON: Correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Who gave you that advice?

MR BASSON: I cannot say specifically, I think it was legal advice which I gained over the time.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I would have thought given particularly your circumstances, that you were deeply involved in external projects, it would be quite a serious issue for you, correct?

MR BASSON: Correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: But you say that you can't remember, was it a lawyer?

MR BASSON: I think so, Chairperson. I'm responding to legal advice because I'm not an expert on the possible consequences which may follow.

MR KAHANOVITZ: No, that I understand but I might expect that you would say, well we got a written opinion from an advocate and I read that, or we got a letter from an attorney, or we went to a meeting. I'm just trying to work out what the source of your advice was.

MR BASSON: No, I think it was purely oral in terms of the entire process which has been coming over such a long time.

MR KAHANOVITZ: So you're saying some other member of the CCB told you that somewhere such advice had been obtained? In other words, you were having discussions with your former colleagues from time to time and somebody in the course of those discussions told you that such advice had been obtained.

MR BASSON: No, I cannot say that specifically.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Well what are you saying?

MR BASSON: That I have been led by legal advice.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Yes, I would understand your evidence if you then told me that you'd obtained the - you had obtained that advice from such and such a lawyer, but that's not what you're saying, you're saying something different, you're saying that this information was relayed to you. I'm trying to establish from you when, where and how.

MR BASSON: Chairperson, I have no answer other than this.

MR KAHANOVITZ: What is your answer? You said in the course of events, what events?

MR BASSON: During the Harms Commission the foreign project files were made available to the Commission, the following incidents or hearings and the build-up to the TRC, during those times we responded to legal advice that we were going to be discussing predominantly internal matters.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Am I to understand that when the amnesty process was introduced, that a meeting was convened of former CCB representatives in order to discuss the approach that they were going to take?

MR BASSON: No, it was a joint CCB gathering.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Just tell me about you yourself, you went where to get advice?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, we went to three different legal teams until this day and every team has advised us to keep quiet about foreign operations.

MR KAHANOVITZ: No forget about the Harms Commission, the Harms Commission was long before the amnesty process, you agree with me? At the time of the Harms Commission nobody knew about amnesty.

MR BASSON: That is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Right. So then the idea of amnesty comes to the fore, you went to see lawyers, is that your evidence? You personally went to see lawyers.

MR BASSON: I myself and those who were involved.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Forget about the others, I want to know, did you go and see a lawyer?

MR BASSON: He said he did, he said he and others went.

MR KAHANOVITZ: And you had a meeting with those lawyers and those lawyers advised you not to apply for amnesty, is that your version?

MR BASSON: For foreign actions, yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Alright. Your lawyer appears to want to show you something, I'm not sure what it is.

MR P DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, I'm just referring him to his first application during 1991, perhaps to refresh his memory, it's signed on the on the 28th of March 1991 and the same annexure had been used in his subsequent application.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Now was there advice that you can't get amnesty for external operations?

MR BASSON: Yes, I think it was words to that effect.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Just listen to me carefully, was there advice that they don't think that you should apply or was there advice that you can't get amnesty?

MR BASSON: The competency or the capacities of the Commission were clearly spelt out to us and it appeared as if the Commission would not have the jurisdiction or the capacity to grant indemnity for cross-border operations.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Were you getting at this stage about the Truth Commission or about the process that preceded the Truth Commission? Because as your attorney has already pointed out, there were two phases.

MR BASSON: I cannot recall when it was, it must have been since the beginning.

MR LAX: Just to correct, it wasn't two phases, it was two totally different processes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Do you recall the one was what was called the indemnity process and the other was an amnesty process?

MR BASSON: That is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Do you recall getting advice about the amnesty process?

MR BASSON: Yes, that is what I've just stated.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Well I'm not sure, because what we know is you drew up a document which you prepared for the indemnity process, correct, but when it came to the amnesty process you just annexed that same document.

MR BASSON: That is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You will also note that nowhere in that document does it say words to the effect of 'I was involved in various external activities, I however have received advice to the effect that I cannot apply for amnesty in respect of these incident and it's for this reason that I do not set out the facts relevant.'

MR BASSON: That is correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Don't you think that if you had indeed - you see, I would have expected if you'd gone to see a lawyer and the lawyer had said to you, "Gentlemen, I hear what you're telling me about external projects, I want to tell you two things, you can't get amnesty for those but I don't want you to get into trouble when you apply for amnesty, people saying that you haven't disclosed relevant information. So what we're going to say is that you were involved in a lot of external projects but we're going to say in the application that you are not disclosing the facts relevant to those for the following reasons." Does that sound reasonable to you?

MR BASSON: Yes, it does. I think that I should have come to you for my application.

MR SIBANYONI: Mr Basson, in 1991 there was no Commission, Amnesty Committee or the TRC Commission, therefore the capacity of the Commission or its competency to give amnesty for external activities would not be in question, do you agree?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, I'm not really up to date regarding the preceding indemnity process. I cannot really answer your question because I'm not that familiar with it. I can see the Act here, but I'm not familiar with the content of the Act. And I do not want to say that it was Defence Force policy in this regard that cross-border operations are not to be discussed, but it is also a possibility that it may have been followed through as such onto ground level.

MR SIBANYONI: That's if you signed your affidavit in 1991 and you didn't intend to talk about internal activities, it should be for another reason, not for the reason of the Commission not being in a position to grant you amnesty for that.

MR BASSON: That is correct, yes.

MR SIBANYONI: Thank you, Mr Chairperson.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I just want to clarify the advice that you received, so that we're not confused. Was the advice "You can get amnesty, but that's not going to stop any foreign from prosecuting you, or was the advice 'You can't get amnesty'?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, I think it was the first statement that you made, that the biggest problem is about possible deliverance and that is why it was decided not to discuss it.

MR KAHANOVITZ: 'Cause I was about to put to you I would very much doubt that any lawyer having read the Act, could have told you that you can't get amnesty in South Africa for external operations. Do I correctly assume that what really happened was that you had a discussion as to the practical consequences for you guys if you got amnesty in South Africa for foreign operations, that would all be very nice, but what would happen for instance, when you travel? Did you have a discussion along those lines?

MR BASSON: Not necessarily, no. Let us look at an example, if I talk about foreign activities then I will for argument's sake, because I'm scared of convictions in that country, I will never go to that country, I'll never attempt to go there because of what is known about me here. What could also happen is that one is in a country that you think is safe and then in the next moment this country changes its alliance, then it is possible. In other words, if this current Commission gives us amnesty, it doesn't mean anything really.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Yes, so assuming your argument to be correct you decided for strategic reasons that you didn't want to, it wouldn't serve you a practical purpose to apply for amnesty for extraterritorial acts, because you would not be safe travelling.

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, it's not just about safe travelling, it is about my future in preventing people charging me with certain acts, in that there are so many members of the Defence Force who were involved and to now suddenly stand here as an individual and to implicate various others, it was not the right thing for me to do even though I did receive legal advice.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Alright. So if one person opens their mouth, who knows where it's all going to stop?

MR BASSON: Well I did put it to you before that if the top General of that time started talking and then he said "Let's all talk, we would". Or either one person does it or all of us do it.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Alright. But a decision was made that 'Well everybody's going to keep their mouth shut'?

MR BASSON: Yes, we decided it together.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Now just your comment on the finding of the Harms Commission concerning the project to assassinate the attorney by the name of Mhlaba, M-h-l-a-b-a. The bottom line was that there was a project in Natal to poison him on the 13th of March 1989, do you have any knowledge of that?

MR BASSON: No, I deny any involvement in such a project.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Assuming that there was indeed such a CCB project, should it not have fallen under Region 6 if the assassination was to take place in Natal?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, if another region gets the opportunity of the appointed region, for example, that refers back to what happens within the borders of South Africa, then with the necessary presentations they can continue with it, it's not necessary, or they cannot hand it over to the person who is responsible for that region, it doesn't work like that.

CHAIRPERSON: But it wouldn't be carried out without the knowledge of Region 6?

MR BASSON: Yes it would, without the knowledge of Region 6.

CHAIRPERSON: They don't even have to refer to Region 6, they can just come across from another region and assassinate somebody in Gauteng or Natal or something, without reference to ...(intervention)

MR BASSON: Mr Verster and the Chairperson will know about it and it's their prerogative to then tell Mr Burger about it, but not necessarily, no.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes thank you.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Two more questions. Did Mr Staal Burger come to ask you shortly after David Webster was assassinated, if you had any knowledge as to who had assassinated David Webster?

MR BASSON: No, Mr Chairperson, I went to him and asked him if he knew. I cannot recall that he specifically asked me.

MR KAHANOVITZ: And what answer did he give you?

MR BASSON: No, he doesn't know.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Did Mr Verster ask you to carry out the investigation as far as Region 6 was concerned?

MR BASSON: He told me that yes, I must find out if Region 6 was involved or not, but at a later stage Mr Verster took over the whole investigation.

MR KAHANOVITZ: When Mr Verster asked you to carry out an investigation did he tell you what information he, Joe Verster, had received?

MR BASSON: No, he didn't tell me anything.

MR KAHANOVITZ: So you had absolutely no idea why he was asking you to carry out enquiries within Region 6?

MR BASSON: No, I just executed his instruction. I wanted to find out if they were involved and his answer was no.

MR KAHANOVITZ: You see what strikes me as very strange is that Mr Luitingh's evidence was that what was communicated to Mr Verster was the details and particularly Mr Barnard's name, and I'm open to correction here, but I believe Mr Botha's name as well. Now one would have thought that Mr Verster would have said find out specifically about this person and that person.

MR BASSON: He didn't.

MR KAHANOVITZ: So you were just asking questions in the dark?

MR BASSON: Find out generally what's going on, if they know and if they were involved.

MR KAHANOVITZ: And he didn't in any way indicate to you why he thought such an enquiry might be necessary?

MR BASSON: At that stage I was not aware of Mr Barnard's dealing with Mr Luitingh, it was never mentioned to me.

MR KAHANOVITZ: And you had no idea that Mr Botha might have been driving the car?

MR BASSON: No, not at all.

MR KAHANOVITZ: It wasn't suggested to you that you investigate in that direction?

MR BASSON: No, not at all.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Now just on Mr Botha. The evidence has been that Mr Botha was suspended but he was brought back as a matter of necessity on the Early Learning Centre project, remember?

MR BASSON: Yes.

MR KAHANOVITZ: And the evidence has been that that needed to be done because he had special skills in relation to bombs.

MR BASSON: Yes, the purpose of Mr Botha's move was because he knew about explosives and mechanisms from his previous career and he had to make contact with Gakkie to explain the workings of this to him as a person who had the background.

MR KAHANOVITZ: Yes, that's what I'm trying to understand. As I understand it, what was going to happen was that someone would need to press a button to activate the limpet.

MR BASSON: That's correct.

MR KAHANOVITZ: And I'm just trying to work out what special skills were required to convey this information to Mr Hardien.

MR BASSON: Well firstly, the handling of explosives can make anybody nervous, then there was also a specific procedure that had to be taken concerning the arming of the limpet mine and the activation of the mechanism, the specific placing of it. I cannot recall everything, but it is not just a Russian time mechanism, it was a very complicated mechanism that had to be explained.

MR KAHANOVITZ: I have no further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR KAHANOVITZ

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr Kahanovitz. Mr Hockey, do you have any questions you'd like to put to Mr Basson?

MR HOCKEY: My questions were all asked, so not to repeat and in the interest of progress I would forego.

NO QUESTIONS BY MR HOCKEY

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Do you wish to put any questions?

MS COLERIDGE: No questions, thank you Chairperson.

NO QUESTIONS BY MS COLERIDGE

CHAIRPERSON: I think everybody's been given the opportunity before. Mr Lax? Mr Sibanyoni?

Re-examination, Mr du Plessis?

MR P DU PLESSIS: No thank you, Mr Chairman, nothing in re-examination.

NO RE-EXAMINATION BY MR P DU PLESSIS

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr Basson, that then concludes your testimony, you may stand down.

MR BASSON: Thank you, Mr Chairperson.

WITNESS EXCUSED

CHAIRPERSON: Who is going to be the next applicant to testify? Mr Maree, is it?

MR P DU PLESSIS: That is indeed so, Mr Chairman. Mr Maree is present, I however see that we're virtually at 4 o'clock,

could I ask that we start his evidence tomorrow, we've only got five minutes.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Would it be convenient to start at 9 o'clock tomorrow morning?

MR BIZOS: ... the availability and non-availability of a number of persons. Perhaps we should get together as soon as we have adjourned and then subject to your concurrence, we would try and reach agreement and arrange for the next person to be ... There's some suggestion that Mr Barnard may be called tomorrow.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Bizos, I speak for myself and I'm sure also probably for my colleagues, that as a Committee as long as there's an agreement, we won't have any objection as to the order of calling any persons, but I suggest then if we could adjourn now and you can between the legal representatives, arrange who is called next and the order of subsequent witnesses, we will abide by your agreement. Okay, would 9 o'clock be convenient tomorrow morning.

Yes thank you, we'll now adjourn and reconvene ...(intervention)

MR WESSELS: Sorry, we have some difficulty with 9 o'clock tomorrow morning, unfortunately we're far from our bases and we need some time in the mornings to keep our practices running and if we start at 9 o'clock here, then we have to leave before we can even make a telephone call to Johannesburg. We do find that inconvenient to start that early.

CHAIRPERSON: I thought it was convenient, because I'd asked it to be enquired before from the legal representatives because I had a request from, well not a request but a query from the Department of Correctional Services about the time and it was suggested nine, but then I said well only subject to the people agreeing and nobody came back to me.

MR WESSELS: I certainly wasn't approached, Mr Chairman.

MS COLERIDGE: Would nine-thirty be convenient, Chairperson?

CHAIRPERSON: Nine-thirty.

MR WESSELS: That would be in order.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes we'll then adjourn until nine-thirty tomorrow morning at the same venue.

MS COLERIDGE: All rise.

COMMITTEE ADJOURNS