DAY: 3

--------------------------------------------------------------------------CHAIRPERSON: We want to start the proceedings. For the record, today is Wednesday the 11th of October 2000. This is a continuation of the sitting of the Amnesty Committee at Nelspruit. The Panel is constituted as would be apparent from the record. Ms Coleridge is the Leader of Evidence and the application before us this morning is that of Johan Eduard Moerdyk. The amnesty reference number is AM7218/97. Mr Friedrich, would you put yourself on record for the applicant?

MR FRIEDRICH: If I address the meeting in Afrikaans, my client is Afrikaans speaking, is it in order? Chairperson, my names is Johan Friedrich, I am a lawyer from Klerksdorp. My address is ...(intervention)

INTERPRETER: Could the speaker please repeat the name of the building and the rest of the details.

MS COLERIDGE: Excuse me Mr Friedrich, we've just had a request just to repeat the name of the building there.

MR FRIEDRICH: West End Building, Room 125, Klerksdorp and it is Siddle Street. Telephone ... Chairperson, I am appearing under instruction of Mr Moerdyk in his amnesty application no AM7219/97.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Friedrich. Are you prepared to continue with the evidence? Would you like to take the oath?

MR FRIEDRICH: Chairperson, that is correct. I will request Mr Moerdyk to give evidence under oath. Is that the correct procedure?

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I will administer the oath.

JOHAN EDUARD MOERDYK: (sworn states)

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Friedrich.

EXAMINATION BY MR FRIEDRICH: Mr Moerdyk you are still living at Cheswick 30A, Brixton, Johannesburg?

MR MOERDYK: That is correct.

MR FRIEDRICH: Could you tell the Committee, you were a member of the Civilian Force, is that correct?

MR MOERDYK: Yes. I did my service during 86 and 87.

MR FRIEDRICH: And what were your tasks in the Defence Force during your period of service?

MR MOERDYK: I was deployed to the South African Intelligence Core which was part of the Defence Force. In 1986 I conducted a Junior Leadership course in Kimberley and in 1987 I was transferred to Pretoria where, later on in February, I was transferred to the Witnek Military Base in KwaNdebele.

MR FRIEDRICH: Mr Moerdyk, what were your tasks at the Witnek Military Base?

MR MOERDYK: The objective of that base was to monitor the situation in KwaNdebele. That is why the intelligence staff were placed there. Maj Swanepoel was the Commander.

MR FRIEDRICH: Your specific order?

MR MOERDYK: My specific order was to run the ops room of the base and I was also in control of the two radio men who were manning the radios at that stage. Basically it was an administrative post. I also handled all the files and documents in the ops room and I was also in control of the guards, the guards roster and the guards who were guarding the place.

MR FRIEDRICH: For what period were you there?

MR MOERDYK: Up to and including, I'm not entirely certain whether it was the end of May or beginning of June 87.

MR FRIEDRICH: And when did you begin?

MR MOERDYK: February.

MR FRIEDRICH: Were there any specific orders that you had to observe for Mr Swanepoel at any time during your stay at Witnek?

MR MOERDYK: The only specific instructions were that in operations launched by Maj Swanepoel, I would personally man the radio and I would have contact telephone numbers for him or for Sgt de Bruyn, in the even of a shooting incident or a combat situation, so that I could contact them at any time of the day or night during such an operation.

MR FRIEDRICH: And were there any such incidents?

MR MOERDYK: There were no such incidents which meant that it was necessary for me to contact him.

MR FRIEDRICH: Were there any operational actions which were launched during your stay there at Witnek?

MR MOERDYK: There were operational actions which were launched, but I'm not certain regarding the number, I cannot recall any more, but there was more than one. If I would try to recall, I would say that there were approximately two or three actions which were launched at night.

MR FRIEDRICH: And can you tell the Committee what you observed and whether or not there were any results?

MR MOERDYK: The actions were launched by persons who were living on the base with us as well as other persons who came in from the outside who were introduced to us as members of Section Military Intelligence. The persons went out, identified a target, I don't know on what grounds they would conducted such an identification and then during the night they would abduct such a target, they would knock on his door and abducted him and then such a person would be brought back to the base where he would be detained for interrogation and then later be taken out of the base. All that we did as servicemen was to secure the base and if the vehicles approached, they would radio me in the radio room and I would notify the guards to open the gates, so that the vehicles could drive directly through, so that they would not be stopped before the time.

MR FRIEDRICH: Chairperson and Mr Moerdyk, did you note any persons who were injured or any casualties, any persons who had possibly died?


MR FRIEDRICH: Could they walk by themselves or without assistance?

MR MOERDYK: When they were brought out by the persons who were from Military Intelligence, they could still walk without assistance.

MR FRIEDRICH: Were you involved in any interrogations?

MR MOERDYK: I was not involved in any interrogations whatsoever, I simply saw that the persons were shifted from a caravan where they stayed to an interrogation caravan and whenever that occurred, we were instructed to secure the area again or to keep the workers who were working on the base, who were from the local population, away from such scenes.

MR FRIEDRICH: You've told the Committee that you were a member of the South African Civilian Force, what was your attitude regarding your instructions and your service and the tasks that were given to you?

MR MOERDYK: I felt that the service which was assigned to me legally, was my duty to perform. That I could make a contribution to eradicating communism as it was presented to me by the media in South Africa. I felt that it was my duty to do so. At that stage there was no problem regarding this for me, I never thought that it may be wrong or that it may infringe upon my or someone else's rights to do so, to perform my service.

MR FRIEDRICH: Can you tell the Committee why you felt that you should apply for amnesty?

MR MOERDYK: I applied because I thought that the law compels any person who may have been part of such an operation in any way whatsoever, to apply for amnesty. I also feel that I would like to keep my part of the slate clean and that I do not want to have anything in my past which may catch up with me in the future.

MR FRIEDRICH: Mr Moerdyk, since your service was concluded, were you ever involved in any actions or with any organisations which could possibly in terms of the law, hold you liable?


MR FRIEDRICH: Chairperson, that is the evidence-in-chief.


CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Friedrich.

MR MALAN: Mr Moerdyk, just tell me, how did you know that these persons had been abducted?

MR MOERDYK: Maj Swanepoel planned it in general. He would state in his briefing sessions that this was what was going to occur and the operations took place late at night, approximately after 12 o'clock, almost all of them.

MR MALAN: Now you have said almost all of them and you have stated that you could recall definitely one and that now it could be two or three and now you have referred to nearly all of them. How did these briefing sessions take place?

MR MOERDYK: The Major would call us in to a hall. There was a hall on the base. He told us that he would be launching an operation again.

MR MALAN: Did he say the very first time that he was going to do this again?

MR MOERDYK: He said that he was going to launch an operation.

MR MALAN: Please be clear. Begin at the incident that you can recall.

MR MOERDYK: We were called in and he told us that he was going to launch an operation to try to recruit a person as an informer in the local community.

MR MALAN: Who were all the persons who were called in?

MR MOERDYK: All the Military members who were on the base. At that stage I think it was approximately 15 or 16 persons at the base, Military members who were at the base.

MR MALAN: Very well.

MR MOERDYK: Then roles were assigned to specific persons and he tasked us to prepare things such as clearing a place for caravans which would be delivered to him later on and I cannot even recall what all the other duties were, I was specifically tasked to ensure that our cleaners would clean up an area for these caravans. Later on approximately a day or so later, persons arrived with two caravans, two or three caravans, I think it was actually two and the caravans were set up by the other persons. We assisted them in setting these caravans up, but we were not permitted to enter the caravans at any time or for any reason. When the caravans were assembled, the Major called us in again to the room. He assigned duties to me and some of the other soldiers at the base, primarily guard duties. I was in control of the radio and there was another one of the radio men with me in the ops room. We were sent out and basically the Officers and standing Force member, or permanent Force members remained in the hall and they planned the operation further.

MR MALAN: Very well. If you were in control of the radio, who was the radio in connection with?

MR MOERDYK: With the vehicles which went out to the house, or to the persons who would be abducted, to their homes and also with 115 Battalion as well as Voortrekkerhoogte Head Quarters.

MR MALAN: And you have stated that upon these occasions, Voortrekkerhoogte would also be informed prior to the time that there was going to be an operation?

MR MOERDYK: I don't know at all. The regular radio was in connection with Voortrekkerhoogte Head Quarters, that was our regular channel of communication with them.

MR MALAN: But was there communication with Voortrekkerhoogte during such operations?


MR MALAN: Only when the vehicles went out?

MR MOERDYK: That is correct.

MR MALAN: Why were the caravans brought in? Were there no other facilities on Witnek base?

MR MOERDYK: My impression with the caravans, were that these were reinforced caravans which were specifically modified for the detention of the person. There were no such facilities on the base. The base was composed of asbestos buildings.

MR MALAN: For how long would such a person be detained?

MR MOERDYK: I am not certain, I think it would be approximately two or three days, it wasn't for a very lengthy period of time.

MR MALAN: And you've said that there were no other rooms or venues where these persons could be interrogated?

MR MOERDYK: No, with the exception of the central free-time hall which was built of stone, there was an old school hall which was built from bricks and there was a house in which we stayed, which was also a brick construction. The rest of the buildings were all asbestos buildings.

MR MALAN: Yes, but why couldn't someone be detained in an asbestos building, or at the very least be interrogated in such a building?

MR MOERDYK: I cannot tell you.

MR MALAN: And for such an operation, they bring two or three caravans in and then removed them again and the next operation they would bring them in again?

MR MOERDYK: No, the caravans remained there for a period of longer than a month.

MR MOERDYK: And did all of this take place in a month?

MR MOERDYK: I cannot say specifically for what length of time it took place. I cannot recall the precise dates of when these incidents took place.

MR MALAN: But what I want to know is whether the caravans were taken away and then brought back at a later stage?


MR MALAN: So there were a number of actions which took place in a short period of time?

MR MOERDYK: Yes, that is correct and then the caravans were removed again.

MR MALAN: And you were told that these were recruitment actions?

MR MOERDYK: Yes. These were actions to recruit the persons as informers in the local community.

MR MALAN: And they told you specifically that they would be abducted?

MR MOERDYK: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Ms Coleridge, questions?

MR COLERIDGE: Yes thank you Chairperson. I just want to place on record that an advert has been placed in the Sowetan, Chairperson, informing persons that Mr Moerdyk seeks amnesty for the abduction of suspected MK men during February to June 1987 in KwaNdebele and ...(indistinct) area. Chairperson in relation to implicated persons, Major Swanepoel has been informed regarding this incident, Chairperson and he stated that he's away at Graff-Reinet for a week and he's aware of the application and that he never furnished any other information regarding the incident but we explained the incident to him, Chairperson. And then you will note, Chairperson, on page 20 all the other implicated persons, we tried to get hold of them and we received response from the SANDF ...(indistinct) point in relation to the implicated persons. The other person we

managed to contact was Hennie Kotze, so those are the only two people Chairperson.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS COLERIDGE: Mr Moerdyk, I just want to refer you to your amnesty application on page 4. There's a question, on the second paragraph, it states:

"Whether any person was injured, killed or suffered any damage to property as a result of such acts, omissions or offences"

and your response was:

"No one was killed, but light injuries or damage to property may have occurred."

Can you just explain the damage to property part of it?

MR MOERDYK: I simply speculated when I was answering this question. I cannot say that any damage was incurred on any property. It simply makes sense to me that with such an operation a person would try to fight back and that his door may be kicked in or something of that nature, but I was purely speculating in my response to that question.

MS COLERIDGE: And then you mentioned that John Ndweni would actually go and do the abductions. Do you know of other persons that were involved in the physical abduction of persons besides him?

MR MOERDYK: No, I don't know. I know which persons were present, but I don't know who conducted the physical abduction.

MS COLERIDGE: When you referred to people present, are those the people - just look at page 14 of your application. Are these the people that you were referring to that were present? There's Gerhard De Beer, Marius Swarts, can you see those names there?

MR MOERDYK: I think the names which would be present there, would be Lieutenant Meintjies, Sgt de Bruyn and Corporal Ndweni. Gerhard de Beer and Marius Swarts were Agricultural Counsellors who were working in the local community and who were part of the Defence Force programme to improve it's image. Johan Pilla, if I recall correctly, was a teacher who was teaching at a nearby school. They were not involved in operations, except performing guard duties or duties at the base itself.

MS COLERIDGE: And then just one last question. On page 5 of your application you stated:

"I never supported apartheid."

Can you just explain that statement to us?

MR MOERDYK: I didn't think that a Government ought to act in that fashion towards sections of the population as the old regime did. Very early in my life I began to compete in athletics and I made many friends through athletics, who were black and there were cases where we wanted to go and visit at a certain place or stay in a certain hotel or go and see a movie. I was permitted to enter, but they weren't and to me it created the feeling of questioning the reasons why certain people were allowed access to places and others were not. The idea of apartheid didn't feel right to me. It wasn't something that I wanted to support in terms of other persons living with me.

MS COLERIDGE: Thank you Chairperson. I have no further questions.


CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Ms Coleridge. Adv Sandi?

ADV SANDI: Yes, just one or two. Just in terms of time frame and your personal involvement, are we talking about 86 to 87 here?


ADV SANDI: You said people whom you say would be detained from time to time, do you know if they were assaulted during the questioning?

MR MOERDYK: I cannot say at all whether they were assaulted or not, I don't know.

ADV SANDI: You were not there when they were being questioned, were you?


ADV SANDI: Now what had happened to these people in the end? They would abduct them, they questioned them and what happened in the end?

MR MOERDYK: They were then taken away by either Major Swanepoel or some of the persons who were working for Military Intelligence and we never again heard anything of them, they were never discussed at the base or anything like that. I don't know if they were recruited or if they were replaced in the local population. i don't know what happened to them at all.

ADV SANDI: So if anyone of these people was killed, you wouldn't know that, you would not be able to say?

MR MOERDYK: No, I really don't know and I wouldn't be able to say with certainty.

ADV SANDI: Now just in terms of abducting and interrogating these people, I understood you to say the attempt was to recruit them, to make them work for the SADF Military Intelligence?


ADV SANDI: Any other reason?

MR MOERDYK: It was the reason which was given to us. I don't know if there was any other reason.

ADV SANDI: Yes, it was not because they were suspected of being involved in hostile activities against the Government of the day, it was merely an attempt to get them to work for the SADF, not that they were political enemies of the State? Do I understand you correctly?

MR MOERDYK: Yes, I understand. I think the selection of the target was due to the fact that they were active in some or other field, because it wasn't a question of grabbing someone off the street, this person would be a target who had been identified by somebody and the selection of that target was motivated by some or other reason, but I'm not completely certain what it was.

MR MALAN: I beg your pardon. It wasn't said to you?

MR MOERDYK: No, it was not said to us.

ADV SANDI: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Mr Moerdyk, you have said that it was over a period of approximately a month.


CHAIRPERSON: And during which year was this?

MR MOERDYK: It was in 87.

CHAIRPERSON: Very well. Do you have any idea of how many targets were involved in these operations?

MR MOERDYK: I cannot give you a specific number or quantity as such. However, I can recall that there was more than one operation and as I have said, I think it was either two or three. I don't know or I don't think that there was more than one target per operation.

ADV SANDI: Can I just come back on one issue, just for further clarity?


ADV SANDI: Just to be more specific, what kind of activities exactly where these people involved?

MR MOERDYK: The target persons?


MR MOERDYK: I don't know. I think that perhaps they were members of MK or the UDF or some or other prohibited organisation at that stage and that according to that they were identified, but I'm not certain.

ADV SANDI: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Any re-examination Mr Friedrich?

MR FRIEDRICH: Chairperson, ...

INTERPRETER: The speaker's microphone is not on.

MS COLERIDGE: Mr Friedrich excuse me to interrupt you, your microphone's not on.

MR FRIEDRICH: Chairperson, in terms of my client's evidence, it appears to be clear as he also stated in his evidence, that at the time of the completion of and submission of his application, he was under the impression that the majority of the

Force members had, or ought to have applied for amnesty. He applied for amnesty voluntarily and he made his application shortly after he completed his studies at Potchefstroom University.

CHAIRPERSON: I'm just going to interrupt you a moment. I just wanted to know if you have any re-examination before we allowed you to commence with your address. Is there nothing further?

MR FRIEDRICH: That is correct, that is the case for the applicant.


CHAIRPERSON: Ms Coleridge I assume that you don't have any?

MS COLERIDGE: I have no questions thank you Chairperson.



CHAIRPERSON: Have you got any submissions on this?

MS COLERIDGE: I thought Mr Friedrich was still.


MS COLERIDGE: Has he completed his ...?

CHAIRPERSON: No, no, I just want to get an indication from you whether you are opposing.

MS COLERIDGE: No, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Because if not, then I won't call upon Mr Friedrich to address us in full. You're not opposing?

MS COLERIDGE: No, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Friedrich, Ms Coleridge has indicated to us that she will not be opposing your client's application, so it will not be necessary to hear you on the merits of the application unless there is anything else that you feel ought to be placed on the record. You are then welcome to do so, but with regard to the merits of the case, you are not obliged to address us on this.

MR FRIEDRICH IN ARGUMENT: Thank you Chairperson. Just a significant point perhaps Chairperson, is that there was no motive for Mr Moerdyk to commit an offence and more specifically to commit the specific acts that he witnessed during his period of service. He was quite honestly and clearly under the impression that it was advisable to apply for amnesty rather than to sit with problems later due to any implication in matters that he observed due to his involvement at the Witnek base. He felt that it was his duty to place this information before the TRC.

MR MALAN: Mr Friedrich, is it not his evidence that he was in fact part of it all, that he was part of the planning, that he was a member of the team? It wasn't merely that he witnessed the commission of these acts, he was indeed involved in the planning of these acts and he was involved in certain activities of these operations and certainly it is a prerequisite with an application, that the applicant had to have been involved in some or other way in the incident. If you are correct in saying that he did not commit any offence, then that he does not qualify for amnesty.

MR FRIEDRICH: I beg your pardon, I mis-expressed myself. I am just trying to say that in terms of Section 20(3), I am trying to indicate that the applicant is applying in terms of the fact that there was indeed an offence, I did not express myself correctly.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I understand, you are simply trying to sketch his motivation for coming to the TRC in his sentiment that he felt he had to apply. Is that what you wanted to place on record? Very well. Thank you very much. That concludes the formalities in regard to this matter. We will consider the application and we will produce a decision, as soon as the circumstances permit us to do so. Once it is available, we will notify you, Mr Friedrich and your client about the outcome of the application. We thank you for your assistance and for having come all this way. Thank you very much, it's appreciated. Yes, definitely, you're excused and your client as well.

Ms Coleridge.

MS COLERIDGE: Yes, Chairperson, I'm pleased to say that that's the end of the roll for the week, Chairperson. Unfortunately. Thank you very much.

CHAIRPERSON: No, we want to thank you for your assistance as well in making this the success that it was as well as to all of the other people who normally exert themselves to make it possible for us to have hearings of this nature. We appreciate it. We know that it takes a great deal of effort to do so. We thank the proprietors of this venue as well, for allow us to be here. Our Interpreters and last but not least, my colleagues on the Panel with me, for their assistance. We will adjourn.