TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION

AMNESTY HEARING

DATE: 16TH OCTOBER 2000

NAME: ERIC GOOSEN

APPLICATION NO: AM4158/96

MATTER: SURVEILLANCE OF SUSPECTS

DAMAGE TO PROPERTY OF PENELOPE MASON

DAY: 1

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CHAIRPERSON: Good morning everybody. Today we'll be commencing with the hearing of Messrs Smith, Pollock, Erasmus and others. Before we start I'd like to briefly introduce the Panel to you. On my right is Advocate Francis Bosman, she's a Member of the Amnesty Committee. She's an Advocate and she comes from the Cape. On my left is Mr Jonas Sibanyoni, also a Member of the Amnesty Committee. He's an attorney, practising in Pretoria. I'm Selwyn Miller, I'm a Judge of the High Court, attached to the Transkei Division of that Court, and I'm also a Member of the Amnesty Committee.

CHAIRPERSON EXPLAINS TRANSLATION EQUIPMENT

At this stage I would request the legal representatives to kindly place themselves on record.

MR McASLIN: Clinton McAslin, representing Paul Erasmus.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr McAslin.

MR ALBERTS: George Alberts, instructed by Weavind and Weavind, representing Mr Eric Goosen.

MR POLLOCK: Gary Leon Pollock, I'm representing myself at this point.

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, if you could just repeat.

MR POLLOCK: Gary Leon Pollock, no representative at this point.

MR DU PLESSIS: I'm Roelof du Plessis of the Pretoria Bar, instructed by Strydom Britz Attorneys, and I represent Mr Smith.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

MR BIZOS: My name is G Bizos, Mr Chairman, together with Mr Kabelo Lengane of the Legal Resources Centre. I represent Mrs Joyce Natalie Aggett, the mother of the deceased, Dr Michael John Aggett, the brother of the deceased, Neil Aggett, and Mrs Elizabeth Jill Burger, the sister of the late Neil Aggett, represented by Mr Khalik, K-h-a-l-i-k Mayet, of Cheadle Thompson and Haysom. I would ask that you turn to page 28 of the application, so that we can save the trouble of writing the names down, Mr Chairman.

I will announce the names of the persons for whom I am appearing, on the instructions of Mr Mayet. The first one is Prima Naidoo, on page 28. The next is Shirish Nanabai, Mr Michael Jenkins, Ms Barbara Hogan, Dr Liz Floyd, Mr Jabu Ngwenya, Mr Monty Narsvo, Mr Samson Ndeau (e-a-u, Mr Chairman), Mr Firoz Cachalia and Mr Azhur Cachalia, Ms Elaine Mohammed, Mr Allan (not Alex) Fine, Mr Morris Milthers (and not the way the name appears) and Mrs Penelope Mason, in relation to the application of Mr Goosen, Mr Chairman. Thank you, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr Bizos.

MS PATEL: Thank you, Honourable Chairperson. Ramula Patel, Leader of Evidence.

Chairperson, perhaps if I may at this stage, if it's appropriate, just place on record that the applicant, Mr Bosch, has withdrawn his application in respect of this hearing. I have received a letter to that effect from his legal representative, Mr Rossouw from Rooth and Wessels.

CHAIRPERSON: Ms Patel, are all the applicants legally represented here?

MS PATEL: Except Mr Pollock, Honourable Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Pollock, are you aware of your rights regarding legal representation? That you are entitled to legal representation and it's your choice.

MR POLLOCK: Yes I'm aware of that. I might make use of it at a later stage, but at the moment I'm satisfied, thanks.

CHAIRPERSON: You're quite prepared to proceed representing yourself?

MR POLLOCK: Yes, I am.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Ms Patel, with regard to notification to the victims, that's all been dealt with, implicated persons, etcetera?

MS PATEL: Yes, Honourable Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr Alberts?

MR ALBERTS: Thank you, Mr Chairman. The first application to be heard is that of Mr Goosen. It appears in volume 2, page 345 and further. Mr Goosen is Afrikaans speaking and he'll give his evidence in Afrikaans as well.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

ERIC GOOSEN: (sworn states)

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr Alberts?

EXAMINATION BY MR ALBERTS: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Mr Goosen, you are applying for amnesty for a specific incident that you mentioned in your application, I&J, is that correct?

MR GOOSEN: That is correct, Mr Chairperson.

MR ALBERTS: Will you please look at pages 345 to page 388 of the bundle marked volume 2, this is the introductory section of your application before specific incidents are dealt with for which you have applied for amnesty, is that correct?

MR GOOSEN: That is correct, yes.

MR ALBERTS: Are you aware of the contents of those pages?

MR GOOSEN: I confirm the contents thereof.

MR ALBERTS: Very well. Can we then go to page 389 of your application where you deal with this specific incident. When did this incident take place?

MR GOOSEN: Mr Chairperson, it was approximately March/April of 1983.

MR ALBERTS: Can I just ask you, what does I&J stand for?

MR GOOSEN: It's Intelligence Johannesburg.

MR ALBERTS: Is this how it was known in the police ranks?

MR GOOSEN: This specific component fell under the Head Office and the general term, if you refer to it, was I&J.

MR ALBERTS: What was your involvement at I&J? How long were you involved?

MR GOOSEN: Mr Chairperson, for a time of approximately two months.

MR ALBERTS: How old were you at that stage?

MR GOOSEN: Mr Chairperson, I think I was 22.

MR ALBERTS: Where were you stationed permanently?

MR GOOSEN: During my activities at I&J, I was stationed at the Security Branch in the Northern Transvaal in Pretoria.

MR ALBERTS: At the bottom of page 60 and 61 you deal with the fact that you worked there for two months. In the introductory section of your application and more specifically on page 358 to 360, you in short made mention of it, is that correct?

MR GOOSEN: Yes, that is.

MR ALBERTS: That is paragraph 5.2, is that correct?

MR GOOSEN: That is correct, Mr Chairperson.

MR ALBERTS: Will you now give an indication to the Committee what your activities entailed while at I&J.

MR GOOSEN: Mr Chairperson, the activities of I&J was mainly the observation of suspects and the prosecution of such people.

MR ALBERTS: You mention on page 390 of your application that you received your training there, is that correct?

MR GOOSEN: I was seconded from the Security Branch for this period of time. In general terms you would say it was in-house training.

MR ALBERTS: And you mention that this training was of a covert nature.

MR GOOSEN: That is correct, Mr Chairperson.

MR ALBERTS: Were you aware of the names of the people who were involved at I&J?

MR GOOSEN: No, Mr Chairperson. Those whose identities were known to me was the former Commander, Maj Heymans, as well as a Lieut Botha.

MR ALBERTS: And the other people who were active or working there, how did you know them?

MR GOOSEN: The rest of the personnel Mr Chairperson, if I can refer to them as operators, functioned under aliases whose true identities were not known to me.

MR ALBERTS: And why would this be so?

MR GOOSEN: I would say the principle of compartmentalisation was upheld.

MR ALBERTS: To now get to the details of this specific incident.

CHAIRPERSON: What was your alias, Mr Goosen?

MR GOOSEN: Mr Chairperson, myself and Chris Putter who received this training with me, they did not provide us with aliases, we were known as Sgt Goosen and the other member was called by his true name or real name.

MR ALBERTS: Was this because you were only there for a certain period of time?

MR GOOSEN: That is correct, Mr Chairperson.

MR ALBERTS: You were not a permanent member of the unit?

MR GOOSEN: No, Mr Chairperson.

MR ALBERTS: If we can now come back to page 390 of your application, can you just in short then deal with the deeds that you committed while you were at I&J, and for which you applied for amnesty.

MR GOOSEN: Mr Chairperson, various suspects who were identified by I&J and who we created files on ... and the person whose name I can recall was Carl Niehaus and his fiancée of that time, I think she was a Lourens, Dr Beyers Naude and others, whose identity is not known to me now. The activities were then to deployed after a briefing session in the morning, they would deploy the vehicles, the suspects will be observed when they left their homes or residences. We kept contact with each other. The sign would then be given that the suspect has left his or her residence and then seven to nine vehicles will, on a rotating basis, will follow this vehicle of the suspect.

MR ALBERTS: And were you then part of this team of vehicles, if I can call it that?

MR GOOSEN: That is correct, Mr Chairperson.

MR ALBERTS: And in this way you kept up to date with the movement of the people who you followed or observed?

MR GOOSEN: That is correct, Mr Chairperson. And more specifically we had to find out who they made contact with at the safehouse in Eastgate. There was a person with an incident book, where he would write down all the monitoring that occurred on the ground and if the suspect parked in the centre of town and went into a building, we would follow on foot. If the suspect would enter an elevator, three or four members who followed him would go into the elevator as well. They would then take notes of the number of the floor level which the suspect would press. One member would get off at that level before that, one member would get off on the same level and one member on a later level.

MR ALBERTS: And all this information that you obtained in this way, would this be recorded?

MR GOOSEN: That is correct, Mr Chairperson, once again the incident or case book at the safehouse in Eastgate would be used for this purpose.

MR SIBANYONI: Can I just pose a question here? I notice you refer to these people you were monitoring as suspects, what is the purpose of saying suspects?

MR GOOSEN: In the context of my application as it is contained here, I refer to it that these people - if you read my introduction to my application I refer to suspects, it is just a term that I used to create the background that these people were seen as enemies of the State and where they were seen as suspects by us. They were not suspects in a criminal case, it was just terminology used in the police, in the context of these actions.

MR ALBERTS: Well let us stop at Mr Carl Niehaus, what was he suspected of at that time?

MR GOOSEN: At that time we suspected that he was part of certain sabotages and because of those reasons we observed Mr Niehaus.

MR ALBERTS: You also mention Dr Beyers Naude.

MR GOOSEN: That is correct. Mr Chairperson, the activities of the Security Branch, of which I&J is part of, but a covert unit here in Johannesburg, theologians, the South African Bishops Council as an organisation, individuals within these types of organisations were seen as potential suspects and that is why a person like Dr Beyers Naude was also then placed under surveillance.

MR ALBERTS: Mr Goosen, as I can understand your evidence thusfar, you merely took part in the surveillance, observations of people who were involved in public, is that correct?

MR GOOSEN: That is correct, Mr Chairperson, at no stage did we ... for example, we never peered through their windows or in any way entered a house.

MR ALBERTS: So it was only limited to the people or just observing them as such?

MR GOOSEN: That is correct.

MR ALBERTS: Then you make mention of another incident of damaging of property, can you just give more details concerning this.

MR GOOSEN: Mr Chairperson, during my time at I&J, the person who was known to me under the codename of Harvey, approached me and requested me to accompany him to the house of Penelope Mason. At that stage I was unaware of who this individual was. We went to the residence of the suspect. We drove there. What was made known to me by the operator who was known as Harvey, was that her husband was released after he was detained on charges of defeating the ends of justice or treason. He suggested that we damage the vehicle of the suspect by throwing a brick through the window of the vehicle and also through the windows of the caravan. This action was indeed executed. I threw a brick through the Renault vehicle's window while Harvey threw a brick through the window of the caravan.

MR ALBERTS: So did you throw this brick on the instructions of the person known to you as Harvey?

MR GOOSEN: That is correct.

MR ALBERTS: Was he a permanent member of I&J?

MR GOOSEN: He was a permanent member of I&J.

MR ALBERTS: Was he also your senior?

MR GOOSEN: That is correct, Mr Chairperson.

MR ALBERTS: What was the purpose of throwing these bricks?

MR GOOSEN: Mr Chairperson, my inference was that it was intimidation of these individuals.

MR ALBERTS: And you say as far as you know of what was told to you, these people were opponents of the then government of the day?

MR GOOSEN: Yes, it was presented to me in that way, that's correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry Mr Goosen, if you could just explain something to me. You say that this was an operation against Penelope Mason and then you also said that her husband had just been released after being detained. Now why do you say it was an operation against Penelope Mason and not the Masons? Why not mention the husband as being one of the targets?

MR GOOSEN: Mr Chairperson, when we moved to the house of the Masons, the name of the wife was mentioned to me after the operation. The fact that the husband was released on a charge of treason was only mentioned to me then and as I compiled my application I wrote down the wife of Mr Mason.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr Alberts.

MR ALBERTS: Would you please look at page 391 up until page 394 of your application. Have you read the contents of these pages?

MR GOOSEN: Yes, Mr Chairperson, and I also confirm it.

MR ALBERTS: So you are now applying for amnesty for "moontlike skending van privaatheid en vir opsetlike saakbeskadiging", is dit korrek"?

MR GOOSEN: That is correct, Mr Chairperson.

MR ALBERTS: And any other delicts that may flow from these actions?

MR GOOSEN: That is correct, Mr Chairperson.

MR ALBERTS: How do you know that this vehicle belonged to Penelope Mason?

MR GOOSEN: Mr Chairperson, the following day an article appeared in the local Johannesburg newspapers and if I can recall correctly it was in The Citizen, that dealt with the act of the previous evening.

MR ALBERTS: And did you determine from that that it was Penelope Mason's vehicle?

MR GOOSEN: From the article I became aware of it, yes, and also Harvey, the operator, told me that this was the vehicle of Mason.

MR ALBERTS: Mr Goosen, the conclusion of your application does not appear in the bundle, but the application is in the Committee's possession. Do you also ask the Committee, for the purposes of the Judgment of your application, to take that into consideration?

MR GOOSEN: Yes please, Mr Chairperson.

MR ALBERTS: Thank you Mr Chairperson, I've got no further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR ALBERTS

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, thank you Mr Alberts. Mr McAslin, do you have any questions you'd like to put to Mr Goosen?

NO QUESTIONS BY MR McASLIN

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Pollock?

NO QUESTIONS BY MR POLLOCK

CHAIRPERSON: Mr du Plessis?

NO QUESTIONS BY MR DU PLESSIS

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Bizos?

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR BIZOS: Did you ever find out who Harvey is or was?

MR GOOSEN: Mr Chairperson, after my return to the Security Branch in the Northern Transvaal, I did not have any contact with the members of I&J at all. Because it was a covert structure I did not go through the trouble of making certain open enquiries in the Security Branch concerning this unit. It was presented to me that it was a covert unit and that aspect was respected by me and I did not want to compromise that.

MR BIZOS: Yes, but once the regime that you served was about to come to an end and there was some openness in our society, did you not try and find out who was the person that gave you instructions to commit this act?

MR GOOSEN: Mr Chairperson, there was no way in which I could find this out. When I was at I&J for the in-house training I did not have any contact with any of the members again. As Mr Bizos just referred to it, I was not in the position to make contact with any of these members when the politics in the country changed. I do not even know if they're still in the Police, where they are, who they are, I've got no frame of reference to place these people in.

MR BIZOS: Well, are you still a policeman?

MR GOOSEN: That is correct, Mr Chairperson.

MR BIZOS: What is your rank now?

MR GOOSEN: Superintendent.

MR BIZOS: Have you not been concerned to try and find out in the interests of truth, who this person was or who your colleagues were in this secret unit?

MR GOOSEN: Mr Chairperson, I did not have a starting point to start this enquiry. I do not know if this unit even exists anymore. If I had a Force number it would be very easy to identify this person, but he was presented to me as a person called Harvey. I had no further contact with these individuals.

MR BIZOS: Well did you only meet him once, or were you at the same offices or on the same premises?

MR GOOSEN: We worked from the same premises, we also resided at the Eastgate house, but once again I only knew them by their aliases.

MR BIZOS: For how long did you live in the same house with this person?

MR GOOSEN: Approximately two months.

MR BIZOS: Well didn't he give you any idea about his personal circumstances, whether he was married or whether he had children? You must surely have had a, been able to give a full description of what he looks like.

MR GOOSEN: Mr Chairperson, while I lived at this house in Eastgate, I did not interact with Harvey on the level where it became known what his real name is, if he was married or not. All the members who were at that stage stationed at I&J, were not married, because after hours, and they worked on flexi-hours and one of the prerequisites was to be single.

MR BIZOS: What about a description of him?

MR GOOSEN: Mr Chairperson, if I have to think back 17 years ago I would say he was about 1.8 metres tall, light long brown hair. I cannot recall if he had a moustache or not. He was thin. Age, I would estimate - I would speculate if I would guess, I would say 27/28.

MR BIZOS: You say he was your senior, did you know what his rank was?

MR GOOSEN: Mr Chairperson, I was told at the first meeting at the offices, by Maj Heymans - I was then promoted to the rank of Sergeant, I was informed that most of the members at I&J were my seniors and I had to respect them.

MR BIZOS: Where is Maj Heymans now?

MR GOOSEN: I do not know at all, I do not know where Mr Heymans is.

MR BIZOS: Well, are we to assume that he was a member of the Police Force, seconded to this special unit?

MR GOOSEN: I just know that at a later stage he was transferred to the Free State, I do not know where in the Free State, I do not know if he is still in the Force, he may be on pension, he may be - I've got no further contact with him.

MR BIZOS: What was his first name?

MR GOOSEN: It was not applicable - a junior officer like myself, it was not my place to know the first name of a senior officer, specifically because I came from the Pretoria Security Branch and he was stationed at I&J and he was introduced to me as Maj Heymans and I would never have dared to ask what his first name was.

CHAIRPERSON: It's not so much a question - sorry Mr Bizos, it's not so much a question of asking, I mean many, many policemen know the first names of their Commanding Officers, without going and asking them, it's just generally known. Didn't you hear what his name was?

MR GOOSEN: No, Mr Chairperson, I came from the Security Branch in the Northern Transvaal, he was never my Commander before or afterwards and he was just introduced to me as Maj Heymans.

MR BIZOS: Was the name Heymans a real name or an assumed name?

MR GOOSEN: I cannot comment on that Mr Chairperson, he introduced to me as Maj Heymans.

MR BIZOS: You see, can you explain why you didn't take any steps when you realised the futility of this operation, similar operations, to find out who it was that led you into this criminal conduct?

MR GOOSEN: Mr Chairperson, the principle of such an operation and such a unit is based on the need-to-know basis. He was introduced to me as Maj Heymans and I had no reason to question him to ask him if it was an alias or his real name. What was known to me was that the operators' names, or all of them used aliases.

MR BIZOS: Did you join the Security Police, or did you continue with the Security Police after this two month sojourn at the safehouse?

MR GOOSEN: Mr Chairperson, after the two months I returned. I was only seconded from the Security Branch Northern Transvaal for training and after I completed my training, after the two months, if it was six or eight weeks I cannot recall, but it was longer than a month but definitely not twelve weeks, I returned back to the Security Branch in Transvaal.

MR BIZOS: What rank did you eventually achieve in the Security Police?

MR GOOSEN: Superintendent.

MR BIZOS: In the old terms, what were you in 1990? What was your rank?

MR GOOSEN: In '99?

MR BIZOS: 1990.

CHAIRPERSON: 10 years ago.

MR GOOSEN: Then I was a Warrant Officer.

MR BIZOS: You say that you were trained, trained to do what?

MR GOOSEN: To follow the principles of surveillance, vehicle surveillance and to convey this to the Security Branch in Northern Transvaal when the need arose to follow a suspect of the Security Branch.

MR BIZOS: Was this the only active participation that you had in relation to the Mason vehicle? Did you not commit any other crime during this period of two months, approximately two months?

MR GOOSEN: Mr Chairperson, in this time the surveillance and the incident of the Masons, these were the only actions in which I was involved.

MR BIZOS: Now if your training was merely to learn how to follow people and take part in a surveillance, did you not question this so-called Harvey: "Why if we are only to servile people, why must we damage the car"?

MR GOOSEN: Mr Chairperson, when I was placed at the Security Branch in the Northern Transvaal and in the run-up to the training at I&J, as I explained it in my application, I was involved in various other incidents, break-ins at Khanya House, Unisa and at various offices at Unisa, and at that stage my limited understanding was that this was practice in the Security Branch to be involved in such actions. I would not have questioned it, I was a junior member, I was the junior member and I was there for training. I was also unaware if these actions were cleared up with his Commanders, and I was under the impression that this was an official and legal instruction. If we can call it official and legal today.

MR BIZOS: Yes. What did you hope to achieve, here was Mr Mason, an accused on a serious charge, he was - if convicted, he would probably have received a very heavy sentence, rightly or wrongly the administration of justice had set him free on bail. Why did you who took part in this, consider that further intimidation was necessary?

MR GOOSEN: Mr Chairperson, I did not decide that further intimidation was going to follow, I saw this act to intimidate the suspects and that's how I understood it at that stage and that was the reason for this operation. I did not see that further intimidation should take place, I just participated in it.

CHAIRPERSON: If I could just ask a quick question.

Why did you think that it was intimidation, I mean it was an act that could have been committed by any vandal who was walking past their house? What made you think that that would be intimidation? And if you did think it was intimidation, who did you believe they would think that the intimidation was coming from? Did you leave any trademark, did you leave any mark to indicate who it might be from, or what?

MR GOOSEN: No, Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Was it just a straightforward act of vandalism?

MR GOOSEN: No, Mr Chairperson, no messages were left behind so it can be traced back, but such an action would be perceived by such a suspect as actions from the police and more specifically of the Security Branch. I think the newspaper article also immediately referred to it that it is possibly the actions of the Security Branch.

MR BIZOS: What was the reaction to this statement in the paper that he Security Police or the police may have been responsible for this?

MR GOOSEN: I did not show any reaction, I also did not discuss it with another member and I also did not discuss this with Harvey.

MR BIZOS: Well did, for the public record, did the Security Police admit or deny that they were responsible for this act of vandalism?

MR GOOSEN: I cannot talk for the police, but I&J and Harvey did not take responsibility for it in public, and I was unaware that the police commented on this article.

MR BIZOS: Usually they put out a "dekstorie", didn't they, in this sort of situation, that it must have been divisions within the political movement or it must have been someone else and that the accusation that the Security Police had done it was merely to besmirch the good and honourable name of the Security Police?

MR GOOSEN: I must speculate. If a cover article was placed, I can only speculate, I do not know of any such article.

MR BIZOS: I want to take the question asked of you by the Chairman of the Committee, unless you admitted it, there would have been no purpose, would there?

MR GOOSEN: I don't understand the question. The purpose here was, as I see it, the intimidation of the suspects and the mere fact that in the article they referred to the Security Branch, was in itself already serving the purpose.

MR BIZOS: What did you hope that Mr and Mrs Mason would do or forebear from doing as a result of this act of vandalism?

MR GOOSEN: Mr Chairperson, I would like to once again make it very clear, I was not the brain behind this action or operation, what the purpose was, as it was put and asked of me now, is unknown to me. If it was a long-term purpose with the committing of this act, I was unaware of it.

MR BIZOS: But in committing a crime of this nature, did you not exercise any personal discretion? Didn't you question whether it would serve any useful purpose, even within the framework of the Security Police or the specialised unit?

MR GOOSEN: Mr Chairperson, I was a footsoldier, if I can use that terminology, at that stage as a very junior officer, it was not my place to find this out.

MR BIZOS: Yes. But there wasn't any footsoldier on the other side to shoot back at you or throw stones at you, were there?

MR GOOSEN: As I have said in my application, in various other circumstances and in other neighbourhoods it was the case.

MR BIZOS: No, we're talking about this incident.

MR GOOSEN: In this incident, no Mr Chairperson.

MR BIZOS: Did you expect Mr Mason to plead guilty as a result of your intimidation, or did you expect to get any benefit out of it?

MR GOOSEN: Once again as I have already mentioned Mr Chairperson, it was not my plan, my initiative, I do not know what the purpose was of it, I just knew that in the context or the limited context in which I understood it, it was that they wanted to intimidate the suspects. For the rest I cannot comment on, I do not know what the long-term effect was supposed to be and if there was supposed to be an effect at all.

MR BIZOS: But you know if you intimidate somebody the purpose is to get them to do something which you want them to do, or to stop doing what you don't want them to do, what was it here?

MR GOOSEN: Once again Mr Chairperson, if I planned this operation and was fully informed about what the long-term goal was for Mr Mason to do whatever, I would be able to comment on this. I was merely used as operative in this with a very limited background.

MR BIZOS: Well in retrospect, do you think that it helped the cause that you were serving at the time in any way?

MR GOOSEN: I personally believed that at that stage, yes.

MR BIZOS: But now, do you think it's helped in any way?

MR GOOSEN: Mr Chairperson, with hindsight of my total application, I think that I spent a lot of time and energy and money unnecessarily in activities, and today I will not again, if I could turn back the clock, become involved in such actions, because I do not think we succeeded with the activities that we launched.

MR BIZOS: Did you know that Mr Mason was a Minister of religion?

MR GOOSEN: No, Chairperson, I was not aware of that. I would just like to state that I did not know the suspects or the profiles of the suspects which were held at the offices. I knew the suspects who I've set out in my application very well, but when I got there, there were new names and new individuals that I did not know. I did not know precisely what their activity levels were on a daily basis, I did not know that he was a Minister of the Church.

MR BIZOS: And Penelope Mason, did you know anything about her?

MR GOOSEN: Chairperson, except that she was the wife of Mr Mason, for the rest I didn't have any further background on her.

MR BIZOS: Did it occur to you that you going to the home of people at night and damaging their motorcar, on your basis that they would have known that it was the Security Forces that did it, did you consider what the effect would have been, not only on Mr Mason, but what the effect would have been on his wife and the family and everyone else, the trauma it would have caused about their safety?

MR GOOSEN: Chairperson, if I were to respond to that I would say yes, I would have known that it would have had an effect on the rest of the family. And as I have stipulated in my application, the primary objective of intimidation was not only to intimidate the suspect, but also to intimidate his immediate acquaintances, colleagues and friends.

MR BIZOS: Thank you, Mr Chairman, we have no further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR BIZOS

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr Bizos. Ms Patel, do you have any questions you'd like to put?

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS PATEL: Thank you Honourable Chairperson, just very briefly.

Mr Goosen, after your training, was there anybody that you needed to report back to, in Transvaal, in Pretoria, in terms of your activities and your training?

MR GOOSEN: No, Chairperson, for the two months I served or resorted under the direct command of Gen Heymans for the training, upon my return to the Security Branch Northern Transvaal, I fell under the command of the Divisional Commander once again. It was not necessary to make a report, with the exception that the training and recruitment had been conducted successfully and that the principles which had been learnt during such training would be successfully implemented in the division Northern Transvaal. As already indicated, the I&J component resorted under Head Office, so for all practical purposes if any report had to had been made by me, it would have been to Head Office, but I was not stationed at Head Office. No, it wasn't necessary for me to make a report regarding any of these activities to my Commander at the Northern Transvaal Security Branch.

MS PATEL: Alright. And then finally, in respect of the incident for which you have applied, was Maj Heymans at all times aware of your activities?

MR GOOSEN: Chairperson, I'm unaware whether Mr Heymans knew of this action pertaining to malicious damage to property. My sentiment at that stage and the impression that I had, was that it was a cleared and approved action, there was no necessity for me to question it. But I am not aware that the instruction was verbally given to Mr Harvey, I didn't hear it and I don't know about it.

MS PATEL: Thank you Honourable Chairperson, I have no further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MS PATEL

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr Alberts, any re-examination?

NO RE-EXAMINATION BY MR ALBERTS

CHAIRPERSON: Advocate Bosman, do you have any questions you'd like to put to the applicant?

ADV BOSMAN: One question, thanks Chairperson.

Mr Goosen, you state that you are applying for the potential violation of privacy, it is not clear to me with regard to who you make such an application.

MR GOOSEN: With the new legislation regarding human rights and the Human Rights Bill, and at the compilation of my application it may have been the violation of the privacy of an individual by surveilling such a person, by observing such a person, and for this reason I also applied for that possibility.

ADV BOSMAN: You don't really understand my question. My question is regarding who, whose privacy did you violate, in possibility? It isn't clear from your evidence.

MR GOOSEN: Mr Carel Niehaus, his fiancée Dr Beyers Naude, and the other individuals who were under observation whose particulars are unknown to me. I must just mention that Mr Mason, I don't know how he looks, I don't even know if he is seated in this room today, I have no idea.

ADV BOSMAN: Did you personally survey Mr Carl Niehaus?

MR GOOSEN: Yes, I was involved in the surveillance of Mr Carl Niehaus.

ADV BOSMAN: And the same is of application to Beyers Naude?

MR GOOSEN: That is correct, Chairperson.

ADV BOSMAN: Can you not give us any particulars regarding what you did specifically which would violate their privacy?

MR GOOSEN: Chairperson, we monitored their residences from within the vehicles. When they left their residences and moved to other places such as the city centre, they would be surveilled. If they entered a building they would surveilled. So I think that that would affect the privacy of a person.

ADV BOSMAN: Yes, that is a question for argument perhaps. I just wanted further particulars pertaining to this, thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Sibanyoni, any questions you'd like to put?

MR SIBANYONI: Just one question, Mr Chairperson.

Was intimidation part of your training?

MR GOOSEN: Intimidation, Chairperson, was part of the Security Branch' broader strategy, in combating suspects and their activities, not only within this context but within other contexts, as it has been sketched generally in my application. It was a standard tactic. Intimidation.

MR SIBANYONI: So you say you were trained to do both surveillance as well as where it's necessary to do intimidation?

MR GOOSEN: No, Chairperson, the intimidation which is at hand in the situation pertaining to Mr Mason, was not regarding the training of the implementation of intimidation, I was trained in surveillance and counter-surveillance.

MR SIBANYONI: The Mason incident was an isolated incident which occurred during your training?

MR GOOSEN: I would just like to repeat a section from my application, or at least to illuminate that this incident may possibly be isolated. Whether I&J was involved in similar actions before or after this incident, is unknown to me, I don't know if it was practice within their activities. I cannot comment on that. And I have also stipulated this in my application, I've stipulated that I'm not aware if prior to the incident or after the incident the same tactic was followed by them.

MR SIBANYONI: Thank you, Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Goosen, you said that during this period that you were with I&J you stayed at a safehouse in Eastgate and also that Harvey stayed there, did all the members of the special unit stay at that safehouse at Eastgate?

MR GOOSEN: That is correct, Chairperson. This safehouse to which I have referred was a double-storey residence. With the exception of one or two rooms which were used as conference and office facilities, the rest of the rooms were bedrooms. We ran our own mess in the building and if I refer to that I mean that the house itself had to provide for meals of those residing there. Because it was a covert unit and because we made use of Secret Fund vehicles, we were instructed not to go to well known police stations or police institutions with these vehicles and certain individuals, so we stayed, slept and ate in the house and we operated from there.

CHAIRPERSON: And approximately, or exactly what was the size of this I&J unit?

MR GOOSEN: Chairperson, at that stage they possessed nine to ten vehicles and with the surveillance sometimes we would use two to three persons within one vehicle, so I would estimate 15 to 20 persons, possibly, including men and women.

CHAIRPERSON: You all stayed at that house?

MR GOOSEN: That is correct, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Was it a huge house, or did you sort of pack the rooms like dormitories?

MR GOOSEN: No Chairperson, it was large double-storey house with a large kitchen, a large lounge which was converted into a conference room. In the room where I slept were five of our members sleeping on beds. It was spacious enough for all of us. We also had wardrobes in which we could hang our clothes. It was not cramped in any sense, we had enough room, it was a large house. It was behind the Eastgate shopping centre.

CHAIRPERSON: And can you think of any reason why you weren't given a codename, that you were known by your own name, and was it Sgt Putter or something, you said?

MR GOOSEN: That's correct, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Why weren't you given a codename?

MR GOOSEN: Chairperson, I understood because we were not permanent members of the unit such codenames would not have been assigned to us, and these persons must certainly have been informed of our training which had to be presented and who we were. I can only imagine that there must have been a prior screening of ourselves before the time and as such our identities would have been known to the members. Whether the members knew one another amongst one another according to their real names, is not known to me, I did not know them according to their correct identities.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Are there any questions arising out of questions that have been put by Members of the Panel? Mr Bizos?

FURTHER CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR BIZOS: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

What is the address of this house?

MR GOOSEN: Mr Chairperson, I have got no idea. If I must go back now, I mean I was only there for about two months. I know more-or-less where the house is but if I will be able to get there, I doubt. I am from Pretoria and since then I was stationed in Pretoria up to 1998 and since then I've been back in Johannesburg. I have visited the Eastgate area, but as far as my recollection of 17 years ago I cannot find the house. I just know that it was a large double-storey house, it was partly exposed bricks and the rest was painted.

MR BIZOS: Is it on the southern side of Eastgate?

MR GOOSEN: Mr Chairperson, if you drive past Jan Smuts, I do not highway it is, and you see the Eastgate shopping mall on your left-hand side and after the shopping centre you will turn left, then it's in one of those neighbourhoods behind the Eastgate shopping centre.

MR BIZOS: Yes I don't know whether that isn't really confusing me, let's just have a compass point. When you speak about Jan Smuts, you speak about the road to Jan Smuts airport as it was then known?

MR GOOSEN: Yes, that would be the Jan Smuts highway. As you drive from the airport towards Johannesburg, then the Eastgate shopping centre would be on your left and it's one of the neighbourhoods in that area of Johannesburg.

MR BIZOS: Was it behind or the side of the shopping centre?

MR GOOSEN: It was not directly behind or next to it, it's a little way off. The beacon that I can recall was the Eastgate shopping mall and it was in a neighbourhood in that area. From the house you would not be able to see the shopping centre, it was not close to the shopping centre. The shopping centre was just a beacon for me to orientate myself.

MR BIZOS: Are you prepared to make an attempt to identify that house?

MR GOOSEN: Mr Chairperson, I'm once again willing to do it, I have done it before.

MR BIZOS: Well subject to the Committee's approval, are you prepared to go there with an Investigator of the Committee, to point that house out to them?

MR GOOSEN: That is correct, Mr Chairperson, I'm willing to do that.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, we won't stand in the way of that being done, Mr Bizos.

MR BIZOS: Thank you, Mr Chairman. I have no further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR BIZOS

CHAIRPERSON: Any other questions arising? No questions, okay thank you. Do you wish to say anything Mr Goosen, I see you're speaking to your legal representative.

MR GOOSEN: Mr Chairperson, I do not know if Mr Mason is present in this room, if so, I would wish to apologise for my actions in this. I think that it was a very devious deed, on reflection of the change in politics. If we reached a goal at all, I doubt that, and because of that reason and personal reasons I would like to apologise for any inconveniences that it may have caused to his family or to himself. Thank you, Mr Chairperson.

MR BIZOS: Mr Chairman, neither Mr Mason or Mrs Mason are present and it is perhaps an appropriate stage for me to say that our instructions are not to oppose the application for amnesty. Even though we may have some reservations about the identity of the people which may have not been disclosed, our instructions are that Mr and Mrs Mason, in the spirit of reconciliation, do not oppose this application. They could not be present for personal reasons. We will convey the applicant's expression of regret to them, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr Bizos. Mr Goosen, thank you, that concludes your testimony, you may stand down.

WITNESS EXCUSED

MS PATEL ADDRESSES: Chairperson sorry, if I may at this stage, before the next applicant testifies? I've just received a few telefaxes from Mr Jan Wagener, who is instructed by some of the implicated parties and I beg with your leave, just to read the gist of the contents of the letters into the record.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, certainly Ms Patel, thank you.

MS PATEL: In respect of the implicated person, Gen P J Coetzee, Mr Wagener indicates that his client denies having committed any criminal offence or unlawful acts in this regard.

Then in respect of the implicated parties, Brig W Loots and Brig R Crause, he indicates that his clients deny ever being involved with Mr Smith and also deny all allegations made by him.

Then finally, in respect of the implicated person, Mr L Prins, similarly Mr Prins denies all allegations made against him.

And I might, just for the record, indicate that they aren't statements or affidavits, they're merely letters by Mr Wagener, on behalf of his clients.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr Patel, the fact that they're just merely letters and not statements, I still think if you could have copies made, just for record purposes, for all the parties please.

MS PATEL: Certainly, I'll endeavour to do so during the tea break.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

MR DU PLESSIS ADDRESSES: Mr Chairman, may I perhaps just be afforded the opportunity to come in here. Mr Loots and Mr Crause were both not mentioned by my client, Mr Smith, in these applications.

CHAIRPERSON: So therefore, the denial that they were ever involved with Mr Smith doesn't mean too much.

MR DU PLESSIS: It doesn't mean too much.

CHAIRPERSON: It doesn't mean anything.

MR DU PLESSIS: It may be, Mr Chairperson, there was another application by my client where Mr Crause and Mr Loots were both applicants too, and it may be that it has some bearing on that, but then the denial is not correct, because they have also applied for that incident, together with Mr Smith. I think that's where the confusion arose. So I may just mention that and I think that's the only important part, is that they weren't mentioned by my client in respect of any application before you today.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Have the applicants agreed in which order they're going to be testifying?

MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, Mr Chairman, I think my client is next. Thank you.

MR ALBERTS: Mr Chairman, might I just interpose at this stage? Mr Goosen, I believe, has no further involvement in any of the further applications that the Committee will be hearing. I would request the Committee at this stage to excuse me, if that were possible, subject to submissions that the Committee might want to hear concerning Mr Goosen's application itself. If that were possible I would appreciate it.

CHAIRPERSON: Do you want to make submissions now?

MR ALBERTS: If you are prepared to hear me, please Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, Mr Alberts you mentioned this earlier and as indicated, we won't have a problem with that, but if Mr Goosen could be - I don't know if Mr Goosen is going to stay on for the rest of the hearings or not himself, but if not, if he could be on standby to come back and also with regard to the point raised by Mr Bizos, if he's prepared to assist any of the Investigators here in trying to locate the house, if he would be prepared to do that.

MR ALBERTS: Mr Goosen will be prepared to do that, as he's already indicated. I might mention to the Committee that at the moment he's on vacation, he's interrupted his holiday to attend this hearing, we didn't really anticipate that this incident would be set down for hearing, since it doesn't involve a gross violation. But nevertheless, he's prepared to give all the co-operation that is required of him, however, for present purposes I submit that I don't foresee him having to come back as a result of any further evidence that might be led here.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, it's just that our experience of hearings is, sometimes the unexpected does crop up and that's why we always release people from further attendance, with the proviso that they be on standby just in case something crops up.

MR ALBERTS: Certainly Mr Chairman, that will present no problem.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Alberts, if you then could make your submissions in respect of these incidents.

MR ALBERTS IN ARGUMENT: Mr Chairman, I'll be as brief as I possibly can.

As I have already stated, the offences for which Mr Goosen applies for amnesty don't constitute gross human rights violations as defined in the Act. In my submission Mr Chairman, I think there's only really one offence for which amnesty is required in this instance and that is for intentional damage to property. I don't know whether in view of the evidence he's conveyed, there really was an effective breach of anyone's privacy. It seems that all his acts were committed in public and I don't think a delict has been committed. The application was, as a matter of caution tried to cover, obviously, or traverse as wide an area as possible, but in my submission I don't think that there was any criminal conduct insofar as the surveillance was concerned. The same doesn't go for the damage to the vehicle. And also any delict, that obviously the damaging of the vehicle equally constitutes a delict and I would submit that he qualifies for amnesty in that regard as well.

Insofar as the technical requirements of the Act are concerned, I submit that Mr Goosen has satisfied all the requirements and I would request that amnesty be granted to him in those terms then. Thank you, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr Alberts. Any submissions Mr McAslin?

NO SUBMISSIONS BY MR McASLIN

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Pollock?

NO SUBMISSIONS BY MR POLLOCK

CHAIRPERSON: Mr du Plessis?

NO SUBMISSIONS BY MR DU PLESSIS

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Bizos?

MR BIZOS: As indicated, Mr Chairman, we have instructions not to oppose the application. What I would suggest on the basis of the famous quote: "What must be done, let it be done and let it be done quickly", but I suggest that once the applicant is here, that arrangements are made so that we are told, possibly for further investigation purposes in relation to ...(inaudible) and the disclosure of the full truth, that that should be done today, so that we can get the matter behind us, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Are you talking about the pointing out? Yes. I think we'll take the tea adjournment, I'm just going to ask Ms Patel whether she's got any submissions to make before we ...

NO SUBMISSIONS BY MS PATEL

CHAIRPERSON: And then perhaps an arrangement can be made right away now. I see it's not quite eleven but it's close enough, and we'll take a 20 or 25 minute tea adjournment, then perhaps arrangements can be made with you, Mr Goosen, regarding the pointing out of that large house. Thank you. We'll take the tea adjournment.

COMMITTEE ADJOURNS

NAME: WILLIAM CHARLES CECIL SMITH

APPLICATION NO: AM5469/97

MATTER: PRIMA NAIDOO AND NEIL AGGETT

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ON RESUMPTION: Yes thank you. Mr du Plessis?

MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you, Mr Chairman. I beg leave to call Mr Smith, as an applicant.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Smith's application is, yes in the smaller volume, page 2?

MR DU PLESSIS: The smaller volume, yes, right at the beginning, page 2, from page 2 and it carries on until page 37.

CHAIRPERSON: Is Mr Pollock not here? Does anyone know where Mr Pollock is?

WILLIAM CHARLES CECIL SMITH: (sworn states)

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr du Plessis.

EXAMINATION BY MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you, Mr Chairman. Mr Smith will testify in Afrikaans.

Mr Smith, your application commences on page 2. You have summarised your personal service record from page 3 onwards and there are just a number of aspects that I would like to illuminate. On page 4 you state that you began at the uniform branch in Johannesburg in 1965.

MR SMITH: That is correct.

MR DU PLESSIS: And if we go over to page 6, in the middle of that page you state that you were at the Security Branch John Vorster Square, Johannesburg, in the Investigative Unit, from the 1st of August 1980 to the 20th of December 1982, is that correct?

MR SMITH: Yes, that is correct.

MR DU PLESSIS: And subsequently to 1996, you were stationed at the Security Branch, Thabazimbi.

MR SMITH: That is correct.

MR DU PLESSIS: Very well. If you would page to page 8, from that page onwards, up to and including page 26, is the section entitled: "General Background". Have you studied this now before the hearing?

MR SMITH: Yes, I have.

MR DU PLESSIS: Very well. And also at the stage when you compiled your application you studied this aspect carefully, is that correct?

MR SMITH: That is correct.

MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, before I carry on with the questioning, this section is a section which was included in all my clients' applications. Mr Bizos knows exactly what the position is with this, we have gone through ...(intervention)

MR BIZOS: I would appreciate it, Mr Chairman, if nothing is attributed by Mr du Plessis, let him conduct his case without any reference to what I might know from other places.

MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, I'm not going to react to any sort of interruptions of that nature. Mr Chairman, this section was included in all my clients' applications and parts of it may not be hundred percent applicable to Mr Smith, and I intend in the course of the evidence now, to indicate to you exactly which parts are applicable and which parts are not application to Mr Smith.

Mr Smith, do you confirm the correctness of what is set out from page 8, up to an including page 13, up to and including before "Actions of Activists", is this correct?

MR SMITH: Yes, it is.

MR DU PLESSIS: Then there is the heading: "Actions of Activists", do you confirm this as correct?

MR SMITH: Yes, that is correct.

MR DU PLESSIS: And then on page 14 there is a section pertaining to informers.

MR SMITH: That is correct.

MR DU PLESSIS: Later we will return to that, to the function that you performed at the branch, but can you indicate to the Committee what more-or-less, your functions were at the Investigative Unit of John Vorster Square during your period there.

MR SMITH: The investigation of security relevant investigations which would then pertain to the security legislation at that time.

MR DU PLESSIS: So were you a person who would have worked in that capacity, directly with informers? Would you have obtained information from informers?

MR SMITH: I would not have worked directly with them, it was if in the course of my investigations I could recruit informers, it would then have been suitable.

MR DU PLESSIS: So you were not a handler of informers?

MR SMITH: No, I wasn't.

MR DU PLESSIS: Let us just pause there for a moment. Could you sketch a broader background for the Committee regarding the functions that you had to perform at the Investigative Unit of the Security Police at John Vorster Square, when you were there.

MR SMITH: As I have already stated, I was an investigating officer and in that capacity I would have to investigate a crime that had been committed, from the beginning, with the objective on prosecution and conviction of the suspect.

MR DU PLESSIS: Could you distinguish the Investigative Unit at that Security Branch from the other units of the Security Branch which were working there?

MR SMITH: The Investigative Unit dealt only with the investigations within the Security Branch. It was aimed at investigating matters. It dealt with dossiers and it would make certain submissions for prosecution in court.

MR DU PLESSIS: Very well. Were there other Security Branch units which were working there? Amongst others, with terrorism, were any units divided into various divisions?

MR SMITH: Yes, there were other desks which dealt with various other functions within the Security Branch which were not investigated.

MR DU PLESSIS: I think the Committee has heard extensive evidence regarding the Northern Transvaal Security Branch. There was a so-called White Desk ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, are you talking about the Northern Transvaal branch now, not John Vorster Square?

MR DU PLESSIS: No, no.

There was a White Desk, there was evidence of a Black Desk, there was also evidence of a Coloured Desk, which was divided according to the principles of race. This was not the case at Johannesburg, was it?

MR SMITH: Not with the investigating team.

MR DU PLESSIS: Were there various units or desks or divisions at the Johannesburg Security Branch?

MR SMITH: Yes, there were.

MR DU PLESSIS: Could you generally explain to the Committee what distinctions there were and which different divisions existed.

MR SMITH: There was a section which dealt with trade unions, for example, who would also be a section which was involved with persons who had gone into exile. There would be a desk which dealt with suspects within the RSA, and conducted observation on such persons.

MR DU PLESSIS: Very well. If you would look at page 14, there are the following aspects that I would like to examine you on, beginning at page 14 under the heading: "Instructions", all the way through to page 17. Do you confirm those sections as correct?

MR SMITH: Yes, it is correct.

MR DU PLESSIS: Very well. Then we come to the heading: "Further Political Objectives of Acts", and this is a broader framework which was composed with regard to the actions of Security policemen in general, and there is a distinction among three categories, the political objectives with regard to elimination, with regard to bomb attacks and with regard to interrogations. You also submitted other amnesty applications apart from the one that we are dealing with today, is that correct?

MR SMITH: Yes, one other application.

MR DU PLESSIS: That is correct, one other application. You did not submit any amnesty applications with regard to bomb attacks?

MR SMITH: No, I did not.

MR DU PLESSIS: In other words, the section from page 17 up to and including page 26, which deals with bomb attacks, would not really be relevant to you, is that correct?

MR SMITH: Yes.

MR DU PLESSIS: The section with regard to eliminations is relevant to you but not for the purposes of this application.

MR SMITH: That is also correct.

MR DU PLESSIS: There is another application where it is relevant.

MR SMITH: Yes, that is correct.

MR DU PLESSIS: And then the section which is relevant to this application is the section pertaining to interrogations, is that correct?

MR SMITH: Yes, that is correct.

MR DU PLESSIS: If you would turn to page 24, from page 24 up to page 26 you deal with this. Were interrogations an important component of your activities as a member of the investigating team?

MR SMITH: Yes, it was very important.

MR DU PLESSIS: And there the objective of interrogations are described as intimidation and the acquisition of information.

MR SMITH: That is correct.

MR DU PLESSIS: Do you confirm what is stated on page 24 to 26 as true and correct when it comes to interrogations?

MR SMITH: That's correct.

MR DU PLESSIS: And which one of the two would you label as the more important aspect, intimidation or obtaining information?

MR SMITH: Obtaining information.

MR DU PLESSIS: Very well. And then on page 26 you state that any extensions with regard to your application will be made during your verbal evidence before the Committee, and that is what you aim to do now.

MR SMITH: That is correct.

MR DU PLESSIS: Very well. Mr Smith, before we proceed to the specific incidents for which you have applied for amnesty, could you just elaborate somewhat for the Committee, regarding the subject of interrogations, with specific reference to John Vorster Square during the time that you spent there. Did you receive any training in interrogation techniques?

MR SMITH: No, Chairperson, I did not. The interrogations which were conducted by the investigative staff was aimed at the thorough examination of the dossier under investigation, as well as obtaining any possible information, in order to achieve to greater clarity regarding acts which had been committed, which would then again be conveyed to the relevant divisions.

MR DU PLESSIS: Very well. The investigations which you conducted there as a member of the Security Branch, did this only have to do with political matters, or would it also have had to do with any common law offences?

MR SMITH: Political activities.

MR DU PLESSIS: Very well. ...(intervention)

MR BIZOS: I'm sorry, I didn't hear the last answer.

CHAIRPERSON: With political activities, it only had to do with political activities.

MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Smith, and if a person had been arrested for interrogation, was he usually detained at John Vorster Square, or would he be detained at another place? How did it function?

MR SMITH: It would depend, he could have been detained at various places, but more often than not the persons who we detained for our purposes of interrogation, would be detained at John Vorster Square.

MR DU PLESSIS: Very well. And they would be detained in terms of the Internal Security legislation, normally?

MR SMITH: Yes, that is correct.

MR DU PLESSIS: And was there a specific number of persons who would be involved in the interrogation of a subject, or how did that operate? Could you just elaborate for us on that. If you were investigating something against a person and he had to be interrogated, would there be a primary interrogator, or would there be a team of interrogators, could anybody interrogate such a person? How did that operate?

MR SMITH: It would vary from case to case, there were cases where you as the investigating officer would conduct the interrogation yourself, but if it was a case where you as the investigating officer did not have sufficient background and knowledge, other persons could then be assigned to assist you. Such persons would have a better background regarding the subject.

MR DU PLESSIS: What was your rank during your time at John Vorster Square?

MR SMITH: I was a Warrant Officer.

MR DU PLESSIS: And were you one of the more junior officers, or were you a senior officer there?

MR SMITH: In 1980 I was promoted to Warrant Officer.

MR DU PLESSIS: But were you more junior or more senior?

INTERPRETER: The Interpreter did not get the answer of the applicant, could he please repeat his answer.

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry Mr du Plessis, the Interpreter's indicated that she didn't get the answer, if you could just repeat your last answer please, Mr Smith.

MR SMITH: I was one of the junior officers.

MR DU PLESSIS: Could you give the Committee an indication of to what extent you were a junior officer.

MR SMITH: As I've stated, in that year, in 1980, I had just been promoted to a Warrant Officer. There were other members who had more service years to their credit and who had spent many years serving as a Warrant Officer, 10 years or more, and there were also other members who had higher ranks. There were Captains, Majors and so forth.

MR DU PLESSIS: Were any attempts made during interrogations, to attempt to recruit such persons for the Security Police?

MR SMITH: Yes.

MR DU PLESSIS: And on a broader basis, could you indicate to the Committee, with reference to the need-to-know principle, to what extent it was applied at John Vorster Square and more specifically, within the Security Branch there.

MR BIZOS: I'm sorry I didn't hear what principle ...

CHAIRPERSON: The need-to-know principle. He wants him just to explain the need-to-know principle ...

MR BIZOS: No, I didn't hear it. Yes, thank you.

MR SMITH: Chairperson, it would have been of sole application to the member or the members who would be involved in that particular investigation. The information in conjunction with this would have been conveyed to the persons for follow up investigation.

MR DU PLESSIS: Would there have been a general discussion among the members regarding the investigations that they were involved in? Would members of one investigating team for example, tell another team of what was going on if the tea-room together, for example? Could you explain that?

MR SMITH: Not in detail, Chairperson. During those years the practice was that a junior member could not make enquiries from a senior member or ask a senior member any questions regarding what he was busy with or what the investigation was about at that point.

MR DU PLESSIS: In other words, would you necessarily have known about everything that was going on at the branch during the period that you spent there?

MR SMITH: No, that would have been impossible.

MR DU PLESSIS: And if one considers the seniority and the command structure, would it have been possible for you to question your Commanders what they were busy with?

MR SMITH: No, that would definitely not have been possible. You simply kept to what affected directly.

MR DU PLESSIS: And as you recall, would any of the other persons and particularly the seniors who were involved in investigations have discussed these matters with you out of their own?

MR SMITH: The investigations that I were busy with, yes.

MR DU PLESSIS: No, I'm referring to those that you were not involved in.

MR SMITH: No, they would not have.

MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, before I carry on from page 27, may I perhaps just do something which I perhaps should have done right at the outset, to indicate to you what exactly Mr Smith is applying for.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr du Plessis, we would appreciate that.

MR DU PLESSIS ADDRESSES: He is applying for assault and as far as I'm concerned Mr Chairman, the evidence I do not think will indicate assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, but I will remain with that application insofar as the evidence may indicate that. And then for crimen injuria in respect of the six persons indicated on page 28, the first six, namely Benjamin Greyling, Gerhardus van der Werf, Prima Naidoo, Shirish Nanabai, Michael Jenkins and Ester Levitan. And then in respect of the Neil Aggett matter, and especially the investigation in the Inquest, he will apply for obstruction of justice and for perjury, relating to his evidence during that incident and during the Inquiry.

MR BIZOS: ...(indistinct - no microphone)

INTERPRETER: The speaker's microphone.

MR BIZOS: Is that indicated anywhere in the application, Mr Chairman?

MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, it is not indicated in the application as such, except insofar as there is a reference to Mr Aggett on page 29, and the evidence of Mr Smith will be that he wasn't involved in any interrogation of Aggett, but he was involved in the inquiry afterwards and he did give evidence there and that evidence that he gave under oath contradicts the evidence that he will give today in respect of the interrogation of Mr Prima Naidoo.

May I just enquire Mr Chairman, I don't know, I haven't had an indication from my learned friend if my client's application is opposed. They couldn't tell us during the pre-trial conference. I don't know if the application is opposed.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, it might be difficult for Mr Bizos if he's just learnt now for the very first time what the details of the application are - but Mr Bizos, I don't know if you want to respond at this stage.

MR BIZOS ADDRESSES: Mr Chairman, we reserve right to oppose the application for defeating the ends of justice and perjury, because no such proper application is before you, firstly. Secondly, it would depend to a very large extent as to how responsive the applicant is as to - our client's reserve the right to hear what he has to say, Mr Chairman, before deciding to give us instructions as to whether they will oppose the application for amnesty or not. But in relation to the perjury and the defeating the ends of justice, we submit that although it is relevant to the other issues as to what precisely he did and what he said, we reserve the right as to whether the Committee can grant ...

CHAIRPERSON: That will be a question of legal argument and we can hear that at the end.

MR BIZOS: We can argue at the end. Thank you, Mr Chairman.

MR DU PLESSIS ADDRESSES: Mr Chairman, may I perhaps just raise a problem that I have? I have to apply, and I didn't think it would be a problem, I have to apply for an amendment to the application to include the issue pertaining to defeating the ends of justice and perjury. But what I cannot do, Mr Chairman, I cannot await a decision on that until the end of the application, because if it is found eventually that the application could not be amended to include those two offences under the application, it will be detrimental my client, in the sense that the evidence that he presents then to the Committee, or has presented to the Committee, would not have been part of the amnesty process. That evidence could be potentially used against him and then I have to advise my client on that issue, Mr Chairman. So my request, Mr Chairman, is that I either be allowed to amend the application to include that and that it is then accepted that it forms part of the amnesty process and that my client is entitled to amend his application as such.

CHAIRPERSON: Can the application be amended at all in that fashion, Mr du Plessis? Why I ask is, it's clear from the provisions of the Act that amnesty had to be applied for a certain cut-off date, which date was on several occasions extended to finally be the 30th of September 1997. Now certainly we've dealt with, as an Amnesty Committee, with amendments of applications, but amendments in the true sense of the word. If the amendment involves the lodging of a new application, of one that wasn't mentioned, do we have the jurisdiction and authority to allow such an amendment?

MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, firstly may I respond to that? Firstly, I want to point out that the Act does not specifically require an applicant to exactly indicate the offences for which he applies for amnesty, firstly. Secondly, if I can refer you to page 8 of Mr Smith's application read together with page 26, you will see he refers there to the fact that he can remember certain issues in detail, other issues or facts he may not be able to remember, and he requests that the application should be dealt with in that light. And then on page 26, he states that he attempted to make the application as complete as possible and that: "any further elaboration on the facts contained herein will be done during the rendering of evidence before the Commission".

What he has done, Mr Chairman, is he has stated that he will, insofar as it is possible for him, expand on the facts contained in the application and in that sense, the evidence that he will give in respect of that will be a broadening of the facts stated on pages 28 to page 30.

Mr Chairman, this issue has come up previously in a number of amnesty applications. I can recall, for instance, one of the applications where one of my other clients was involved in, Mr Labuschagne, Mr Labuschagne did not have a paragraph in his application as the one that I referred you to. I didn't act for him when the application was drafted. Mr Wagener's client in that incident had such a paragraph and he was allowed to expand on his application and to expand on the facts and then apply for the offences appearing from the facts in such a fashion.

CHAIRPERSON: I think the same thing happened with Brig Schoon, where I wasn't personally involved, but also there was a similar matter where matters were allowed because of a type of dragnet clause in regard to Gen Nyanda's application, matters that weren't mentioned specifically were allowed. But then there are others where there's no mention at all and the nature of the application is fairly limited and then to introduce a completely new matter where it hasn't been allowed. So there is a bit of flexibility and leeway, depending on the wording of the application and the nature of it.

MR DU PLESSIS: I understand that. Well Mr Chairman, may I just say that we are here before you and we are trying to make a full disclosure in this matter. We wish to apply for amnesty for those two offences and my application to you at this point in time, is to be allowed to expand the application to include those two offences. If, however, you should rule against me, Mr Chairman, then I will request an adjournment, a short adjournment just to consider my position then in that regard.

CHAIRPERSON: It's been pointed out to me by my colleague, on page 27 that:

"All other offences which may emanate from the facts."

MR DU PLESSIS: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON:

"All minor offences"

and then:

"Aanranding met opset"

is that ...

MR DU PLESSIS: Well Mr Chairman, yes that is included in the application and the question, with respect, that you have to decide is if that refers to the facts that may come out of the evidence presented to you during the hearing, or if that refers to the facts contained in the application. In my submission it must refer to the facts arising out of the hearing and therefore it includes all criminal offences which may arise out of the facts presented to the Committee during the course of the hearing.

Mr Chairman, we have had this in numerous matters, where a specific criminal offence was not identified in the application but eventually was included in the ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: If I could just ask a question. Also in the number of applications, as you've said, we've had this situation but very often in cases where applicants have been involved in a huge number of incidents, so vast and over such a long period that they genuinely can't remember each and every incident and that's why you get them saying: "Well, there might be incidents that I've forgotten and if I have forgotten, it's been in good faith but if it comes up I ask that they be included in here". Is there any particular reason why the defeating the ends of justice and perjury were not included?

MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, I cannot tell you now, I haven't discussed that with my client and I cannot give you an answer. I'll have to obtain instructions from my client if he had remembered about the evidence that he had given there, or if his memory was spurred or what the answer is. I can't tell you. May I just say that you will recall my other client, Mr Hechter, who has that specific problem that you referred to. But Mr Chairman, I'm in your hands in respect of this application. In my submission, under the circumstances before you, unless you indicate to me that you want an answer on that question, then I would request a ruling from you, otherwise I'll obtain instructions from my client and I can tell you what the answer is.

CHAIRPERSON: Perhaps before you do that, if I could ask if there's any other person who wishes to make any submission in this regard? Mr McAslin?

MR McASLIN: No, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Pollock?

MR POLLOCK: I don't think so. I've also sort of - in the ambit of my application, I said a similar thing because of the fact that I was involved for more than five years it was really also difficult for me to remember most things, especially the ones you would like to forget.

CHAIRPERSON: I think we'll deal with your matter when you are actually testifying, Mr Pollock, but do you have any submissions to make in regard to Mr du Plessis's application on behalf of Mr Smith?

MR POLLOCK: No.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Bizos?

MR BIZOS ADDRESSES: Mr Chairman, the way I read the Act, which should be, I submit, the main guiding instrument and not what might or might not have happened in cases where there were different facts and different circumstances and we do not have to debate whether those decisions were correct or incorrect, we must with respect, apply the provisions of the section on a proper interpretation, having regard to the circumstances of this case. The act or omission that is being referred to in this application for amnesty is assault, assault with intent, or if not with intent, assault. That is an act or omission on which the applicant has come to court, and of course you are aware of the provisions of Section 20, that you have to examine the circumstances in relation to motive, in relation to full disclosure, in relation to the other requirements for that particular act. Defeating the ends of justice is a serious offence, as is perjury, committed, presumably, with a different motivation and with a different objective and in circumstances where the disclosure may be different to the fullness or otherwise of the disclosure.

I submit that on a reading of this application, despite the carefully guarded content, that there may be other things that I have forgotten about and if I'm reminded I'm going to tell you about it, may well apply if it's related to the assault, because that is a crime. It may be that if, for instance, this applicant has not given us an indication, we're waiting for the evidence, if he had said, for instance, that: "I assaulted X for this purpose, I hit him with my fists, I hit him with a broomstick, I slapped him on the face - oh, and by the way, I didn't put there that I also threw a cup and saucer at him, which landed on his chest", that would have been a matter for a proper amendment, because it's the same act, or a substantially similar act with a similar intent, which is really part and parcel of the offence as to how the offence was committed.

CHAIRPERSON: But what would you say to the case of an applicant who, just as an example, applies for assaulting persons in detention and lists 80 people that he might have assaulted and then says: "Look, I've tried my hardest, these are the people I can remember", he comes to the hearing and two other names come up and he says: "Look, you know I don't dispute that I'd assaulted these people, in fact now I remember"? About amending that to change it from the 80 to the 82?

MR BIZOS: I would submit that the Committee would allow an amendment there on another basis, because the effect of the evidence of such a person that was part of a group that assaulted a great number of persons, "so I am asking for amnesty in relation to that overall decision to assault people, there were so many of them" and I add a number, that that is a substantially similar offence committed with the same intent as part of the same overall intent. It is not a different offence. What we have here is that there is an application to add by way of amendment, offences which are with a different intent, with a different motivation, committed not as part of the resgestae of an even broader transaction. So this is how I would distinguish where a person says that.

But whatever the position may be in relation to facts postulated by you, Mr Chairman, they most certainly do not apply to offences which are completely different in character and which are committed with a different motivation and for a different purpose, and they're completely different in character, Mr Chairman. So if an amendment is sought, it will be opposed on those grounds, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Ms Patel, do you wish to make any submissions?

MS PATEL: No, thank you Honourable Chairperson.

NO SUBMISSIONS BY MS PATEL

ADV BOSMAN: Chairperson, with your permission may I just put something to Mr du Plessis?

CHAIRPERSON: Certainly.

ADV BOSMAN: Mr du Plessis, on page 29 there is a list of persons that were detained by your client then towards the middle of the page he says:

"Neil Aggett was also detained and at a later stage committed suicide. I was, however, not involved in the interrogation of this person."

My question to you is, did he not in that sentence by necessary implication, exclude himself from any culpable action in regard to Aggett?

MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, the answer to that question and to my learned friend's argument relies on the content of the evidence which he had given at the post-mortem inquiry. The evidence there which he had given, related only to his assault on Mr Prima Naidoo, which forms the basis of the application for amnesty here. If I can take you perhaps to the specific page, if you will just bear with me for a moment, in the thick bundle ...(intervention)

MR BIZOS: Could we give an identity to this bundle?

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, this one is volume 2. I think we'll call the thin volume, volume 1. That hasn't got a label. That's the bundle with the applications of Messrs Smith, Bosch, Pollock, etcetera, that will be volume 1. And then we've got what we call the thick volume, it's already called volume 2, and then I've been given a supplementary bundle which I got late last week, I don't know if everyone has got this. This is called:

"Amnesty Application of Roelof Venter"

MS PATEL: Honourable Chairperson, that was merely handed over to the Committee as background in respect of Mr Venter's application that has already been heard and a copy of the Decision, but I do believe the decision is available on the Internet, for whoever wants to see it.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, you will find the part that I refer to on page 259 over to page 260. This is part of the Judgment of the Inquest, where Mr Smith's evidence is discussed and there is reference therein only to Mr Smith's interrogation of Mr Naidoo. It carries on from the bottom of page 259 over to the bottom of page 260, and in the middle of the page you will see that in the Judgment it says that Mr Naidoo was never assaulted, ill-treated or threatened or insulted by him or in his presence. Now the application would relate only to that evidence and it therefore relates to evidence that this applicant intends to present to you in respect of the assault on Mr Prima Naidoo.

Now Mr Chairman, listening to my learned friend's argument, in my submission this would fall under the kind of application that my learned friend alluded to, where one would allow that, but under these circumstances I would submit to you that in the evidence, if my client has to make a full disclosure of all the evidence relating to the assault of Mr Prima Naidoo, he's going to have to testify about this evidence too. If this amendment is disallowed, obviously then I will have to reserve my rights and my client's rights to ask for an adjournment to consider my client's position pertaining to the whole application in respect of Prima Naidoo. Because, Mr Chairman, may I just submit that my client will then be in the invidious position that he would want to make a full disclosure, but the moment he does he incriminates himself and it would be in respect of evidence that doesn't form part of an amnesty application and I can't allow him to do that.

CHAIRPERSON: Any further submissions? Yes I think we'd like to just discuss this briefly outside, we'll take a short adjournment and come back and give a ruling.

COMMITTEE ADJOURNS

ON RESUMPTION

R U L I N G

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. We've considered the matter and I must say we did have a little bit of difficulty, particularly in regard, Mr du Plessis, to the application relating to Dr Aggett. When you made your application you said you wish to make an application in respect of the Neil Aggett matter. After deliberating, we are of the view that if one takes into account the wording used on page 27 of volume 1, that we would countenance and regard an application relating to perjury, but only in respect of Prima Naidoo.

If one reads your client's application, particularly with regard to Dr Aggett, he seems to distance himself from Dr Aggett, saying he knows Dr Aggett was arrested and he had nothing to do with it, and we believe that if an amendment were brought in to introduce Dr Aggett, then that would be a new matter that we wouldn't be allowed do it on. So we'd only allow any amendment relating to perjury or defeating the ends of justice in respect of Dr Naidoo.

We are a disadvantage in that we weren't involved at all, none of us, in the Dr Aggett Inquest. We just don't know why that evidence relating to Dr Prima Naidoo was led at the Inquest. If one reads the Judgment, it just seems to come and mention that he wasn't assaulted, etcetera, and then moves on to other matters.

So we would consider perjury and defeating the ends of justice in relation to Prima Naidoo, on the basis that he was assaulted and that it is another a crime flowing from that assault, the denial of it. We would consider it. But not in respect of anything relating to Dr Aggett.

I don't know if that makes any difference, but we can't bring in defeating the ends of justice in respect of Dr Aggett.

MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman yes, it may have certain ramifications, your decision in that regard. If it means that my client cannot receive amnesty for defeating the ends of justice in respect of the Inquest of Dr Aggett, if that is the meaning of your decision, then I have to consider my position in that regard. And that's how I understand your decision. Unless I understood it wrong. I understand that you will allow an application in respect the difference in the evidence between what the evidence at the Aggett Inquest and the evidence ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, perjury relating to Dr Prima Naidoo, and also defeating the ends of ... it's getting very technical and legalistic, defeating the ends of justice on the basis that if somebody does commit perjury in a forum such as an Inquest, he is, just by nature of the offence, defeating the ends of justice. But it's difficult now to, for us to relate that to the Dr Aggett inquest which the application doesn't get close to at all.

MR DU PLESSIS: So may I just clarify that, Mr Chairman, with your leave? If the offence applied for would be for defeating the ends of justice in respect of the Inquest of Dr Aggett, that would fall outside the ambit of the application? That's how I understand your decision.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes.

MR DU PLESSIS: Alright. Well Mr Chairman, may I then with your leave, ask for an adjournment to discuss this with my client and the ramifications thereof. I see it is quarter to one, may I perhaps request a luncheon adjournment to give me ample time or enough time to discuss this?

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Is there anything anybody else wishes to state?

MR BIZOS: ...(inaudible - no microphone) the Committee, Mr Chairman, because I was in that Inquest, to explain what the nature of the hearing was. The issue in the Aggett Inquest was, on the assumption that Dr Aggett did commit suicide, was he driven to it by a systematic torture administered by the persons who interrogated him? As part of an overall technique by the investigation team that were interrogating a group of approximately 55 people ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Sort of similar fact type evidence?

MR BIZOS: Similar fact evidence. In terms of the Magistrate's decision, similar fact evidence was admissible. Over 15 affidavits were filed that people were being systematically tortured at John Vorster Square, by this large team of interrogators. A certain number - we had to file affidavits to that effect. We did file affidavits where the system emerged according to the affidavits. Mr Prima Naidoo was one of the persons that filed such an affidavit. When we had called a certain number, if I remember correctly, six or seven, the Magistrate decided that he wouldn't allow any more similar fact evidence.

Mr Prima Naidoo gave evidence as to what had happened to him. In order to disprove the system, the applicant in this case and others gave evidence denying that any such system existed, denying that any assaults took place. The Magistrate came to the conclusion that he believed all these police officers who said that there was no such system and he rejected the evidence of all those who said that they were assaulted. And it was on that basis that Mr Prima Naidoo and the others gave evidence.

The applicants in this case was believed and Mr Naidoo was disbelieved, on the basis of his evidence. I can give you the references to the Judgment, because the Judgment is, if you want it, the Judgment is before you in the second part of the ...

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, we've taken a look at it.

MR BIZOS: So that is the background, Mr Chairman, of ...(inaudible). So that the evidence, by virtue of the fact that he's applying for amnesty for the assault on Mr Prima Naidoo, on necessity would indicate that he gave evidence for the purposes of defeating the ends of justice in the ...(inaudible) and in fact succeeded in doing so, having regard to the fact that he was believed by the Magistrate. He believed all the policemen and rejected the evidence of all the people who complained ...(indistinct) assaulted.

So that is the background, Mr Chairman. I'm merely saying this, so that you as a Committee, can come to a decision as to how it came that Mr Prima Naidoo - he's not a doctor, by the way. Neil Aggett was a doctor and Dr Michael, one of the relatives, is also a doctor. So that is the background, Mr Chairman, I thought that I owed it to the Committee to disclose that fact, because it would appear that since I was in the matter I have this knowledge which I wanted to share with the Committee.

MACHINE SWITCHED OFF

ON RESUMPTION

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr du Plessis, will you then take instructions from your client during the lunch adjournment and we'll reconvene at 2 o'clock or if you're not read, so soon thereafter as possible.

MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman yes, may I perhaps just clarify your decision a little bit further, because my attorney seems to understand you a little bit different from the way I do? I understand from you that in respect of the evidence pertaining to Mr Prima Naidoo, where there may be a contradiction and where it may become clear that that evidence during the inquest, in respect of Mr Prima Naidoo, was not the truth. My client's application is not amended to the effect that in respect of that evidence, insofar as that may be defeating the ends of justice in respect of the Neil Aggett Inquest, it would be included in the application. That's how I understand it.

CHAIRPERSON: ...(indistinct), yes. If any perjury relating to the attack or assault upon Mr Prima Naidoo, we would regard as being covered by that caveat, if I can call it a caveat contained on page 27, but not the crime of defeating the ends of justice in the Aggett Inquest, because we find that, if one takes a look at the application and we try to look at it as broadly as possible, that it's just too tenuous to see that that offence is covered in the application and even in the caveat, the two caveats contained on page 27.

MR DU PLESSIS: I understand, Mr Chairman. Thank you, thank you for the indulgence of explaining it to me. Thank you very much.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. We'll take the lunch adjournment now.

COMMITTEE ADJOURNS

ON RESUMPTION

CHAIRPERSON: Mr du Plessis?

MR DU PLESSIS ADDRESSES: Thank you, Mr Chairman. Mr Chairman, I've had a long and detailed discussion with my client, Mr Smith, and he has given me specific instructions in respect of this matter. He has given me instructions to convey to you that he's withdrawing his application, Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: The whole application?

MR DU PLESSIS: Well the whole application insofar as we're talking of this application before the Committee.

CHAIRPERSON: I mean this one ...(indistinct) just the Prima Naidoo, but the ...(intervention)

MR DU PLESSIS: Well the whole application as I've elaborated.

CHAIRPERSON: As would have been covered by this hearing?

MR DU PLESSIS: As it pleases you.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr du Plessis.

MR BIZOS: ...(indistinct - no microphone) application withdrawn or the application for an amendment withdrawn?

MR DU PLESSIS: No, the whole application is withdrawn. The whole application.

CHAIRPERSON: The application that would have been heard at this hearing, we heard that there was other matters which aren't before this hearing.

MR BIZOS: Oh I see, so ... Well then there's nothing for me to say or do then, Mr Chairman, if there's no application before you.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, thank you. Thank you, Mr du Plessis.

MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you, Mr Chairman. May we be excused?

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, certainly.

MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you.

APPLICATION OF WILLIAM CHARLES CECIL SMITH WITHDRAWN

NAME: PAUL FRANCIS ERASMUS

APPLICATION NO: AM3690/96

MATTER: VARIOUS INCIDENTS WHILST EMPLOYED IN THE SECURITY POLICE

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CHAIRPERSON: Mr McAslin or Mr Pollock, I don't know if you've been taken by surprise now or who is going to be next, the next applicant to testify?

MR McASLIN: Mr Chairman yes, it was a surprise. I believe according to the arranged order, Mr Erasmus is to testify next and we are reading in that regard. Mr Chairman, if I might at the outset draw to the Committee's attention Mr Erasmus' application consists of some 87 incidents which are listed. I would like to place on record at the outset, that this application refers only to five of those incidents ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: I'm told, my information is that preparations are being made for a further hearing of your application, Mr Erasmus, which will be set down somewhere or sometime, hopefully in the near future where all the other matters will be heard, particularly relating to Stratcom. Is that so?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: So we're only concerned with the five matters. Mr Bizos, I don't know if you've heard, if one takes a look at the application of Mr Erasmus, there's a huge amount of incidents and I'm informed that preparations are currently being made for a separate hearing of Mr Erasmus' application, in respect of all those other incidents and this one only relates to persons who were mentioned in other people's applications relating to detentions and custodies. So the question of Stratcom and its intricacies and methods, etcetera, will be heard at that other hearing, which hopefully will be in the not too distant future.

MR BIZOS: I'm sorry that I was not paying attention, I was discussing with my attorney that in view of the development of the withdrawal of the main application by Mr Smith, we were discussing to notify people not to come tomorrow.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes thank you, Mr McAslin, I take it you'll be calling Mr Erasmus.

MR McASLIN: That's correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Erasmus, are your full names Paul?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Mr Chairman, Paul Francis.

CHAIRPERSON: Do you have any objection to taking the oath or do you prefer to make an affirmation?

PAUL FRANCIS ERASMUS: (sworn states)

CHAIRPERSON: And it's volume 2, pages 1 to 23.

EXAMINATION BY MR McASLIN: Mr Erasmus, can I just refer you to pages 1 of volume 2, which as Mr Chairman has just pointed out, runs through to page 23, constituting your application in this matter. Can I ask you, have you read the contents of pages 1 to 23 of volume 2?

MR ERASMUS: I have Mr Chairman, I am familiar with the contents.

MR McASLIN: Do you confirm those contents as being correct?

MR ERASMUS: I do confirm them as being correct.

MR McASLIN: Mr Erasmus, you matriculated in 1974 and joined the South African Police in January of 1975, is that correct?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Mr Chairman.

MR McASLIN: From January 1975 to January 1977, you served in the uniformed branch of the South African Police at Bedfordview and Cleveland, is that correct?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Mr Chairman.

MR McASLIN: Where did you go to from January 1977?

MR ERASMUS: Mr Chairman, it was my intention to leave the police at the end of what was the required period of service, at the end of 1976, which would have been December 1976. What changed my life, and I wish to make this, or just place this maybe on record, I was a very young policeman, I went through the horrors as it was, of June the 16th 1976, the so-called Soweto riots. I then made a conscious decision that this affected me quite deeply that I wanted to make this my career and I then applied to join the Security Branch, which was accepted, my application was accepted and I joined the Security Branch on the 11th of January 1977.

CHAIRPERSON: So Mr Erasmus, when you first joined the Police, that period '75, and you said that you were due to come to an end at '76, was that in lieu of military duties?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: You went to the Police instead of to the Army.

MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: And when you actually went into the Police, it was your intention just to do your stint and then go out, but things changed?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Mr Chairman.

MR McASLIN: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Mr Erasmus, what rank did you attain whilst in the Security Police?

MR ERASMUS: I ended my career as a result of lost promotions, with the rank of Warrant Officer, on the 31st of May, significantly, 1993.

MR McASLIN: You were stationed from 1977, at John Vorster Square, is that correct?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct, apart from the last two years of my service where I was stationed at the Security Branch, Mossel Bay.

MR McASLIN: Mr Erasmus, what were your duties in broad outline, whilst a member of the Security Branch?

MR ERASMUS: Mr Chairman, my duties were many and varied, I was involved in many aspects of Security Branch and Intelligence work during my 16-odd years in the Security Branch. I think from a point of departure, I was effectively a field operative or intelligence operative. My functions being the monitoring of anybody or any organisation or person that was perceived as being enemies of the South African State, if you will, the South African regime.

So I was exposed as a field worker to these type of operations almost throughout, apart from the last few months in the Security Branch, where I was given something of an office job, as Head of Technical Services, so-called Technical Services for the Southern Cape. Technical Services was effectively the application of WH10, WH11 and WH12, the monitoring of post, telephonic communications, fax transmissions, the planting of bugs and all technical aspects relating to it.

MR McASLIN: Sorry Mr Erasmus, when you mention WH10, 11 and 12, were those - what exactly were those?

MR ERASMUS: WH10 was the system instituted by the South African Government, of monitoring the people, the entire population in fact, of this country, whereby just very briefly, and I could talk for hours on this, literally all incoming mail into the Republic of South Africa, as well as outgoing mail was intercepted at Jeppe Street Post Office by Security Branch staff which worked 24 hours a day and around the clock and who intercepted post at random or on specific requirements. It also related to - in every single post office in the Republic of South Africa, an appointed person who worked for the post office would perform the same function, maybe not on the scale as grand as Jeppe Street Post Office, but certainly all post was monitored inside and outside the Republic.

MR McASLIN: Mr Erasmus, as a field worker did you have any particular speciality?

MR ERASMUS: For much of my career I moved around a lot as I trained myself or was trained. I largely focused, because of the knowledge that I had accumulated, on the so-called Church Desk or church activities.

MR McASLIN: Mr Erasmus, I will deal with each of the five incidents in more detail in due course, but insofar as a common feature in almost all of the incidents is one of harassment, how did that form part of your duties as a field worker?

MR ERASMUS: Mr Chairman, it's something that I could elaborate on, I think in the interest of brevity, the initial mind set, and I say this with the benefit of hindsight and a lot of reflection as the years have gone by, when I joined the Security Branch in 1977, the official mindset was very much something of a laager mentality. The authorities, that is the government and the State Security Council and all its various organs believed at the time that the true enemy facing South Africa in this onslaught on our way of life, as we believed it then, the most dangerous element of it was the enemy within. When I relate that to the section that I worked on, which was the so-called "Blanke Personeel" or White Affairs Department, we were racially segregated, that entailed the monitoring of all white suspects, white or Caucasian if you will, dominated organisations and any matters relating to that.

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, just while you're on that Mr Erasmus, you heard Mr Smith earlier, I got the impression that they had a White Desk and a Black Desk and a Coloured Desk in the Northern Transvaal, but not at John Vorster Square, now you're saying that you worked at the White Desk. So do you disagree with what he said?

MR ERASMUS: I didn't quite hear what he said, Mr Chairman, but I ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Unless I was mistaken, but I understood him to say that he worked for a lot of his time at, I think the Northern Transvaal branch of the Security Police, and they had this White, Black, this racially determined discrimination and desks, but that that wasn't so in John Vorster Square where they didn't have that based on race but more on activity.

MR ERASMUS: I would dispute that very strongly, Mr Chairman, we were certainly divided up. Every - to my knowledge every Security Branch in the country was divided up along those lines, albeit making provision for the population or the specific populations within the defined area. Effectively it was a division along the line of desks, you would have an Anti-Terrorism Desk, a Church Desk, a so-called Indian Affairs Desk, a White Affairs Desk and so on.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes thank you. Mr McAslin.

MR McASLIN: Mr Erasmus, you were busy telling the Committee how the harassment for which you apply for amnesty, how that formed part of your duties and I think you got to the stage of dealing with the laager mentality. If you can perhaps just pick up from there.

MR ERASMUS: That is correct. When I started in the Security Branch, the staff that I worked on, young policemen, some us - I was the newest person, obviously, on the staff, on that particular staff at the time, were told that we had to work after hours, monitor these people, make their lives uncomfortable. The end result of all of these types of things being was to get them to leave South Africa, which as it transpired was very successful, many did leave the country and go into exile.

MR McASLIN: Was the sole purpose, to get people to leave?

MR ERASMUS: There was other logic behind this by this continual monitoring and, if you will, harassment of suspects. We would effectively damage their lines of communications, interfere with their functions and ultimately slow down what they were aiming to do, which we believed was the overthrow of not only the South African Government but our way of life, and replace it with the communistic or socialistic way of life. But that was our aims, we had to interrupt this as far as possible.

Many of the harassment in fact was done in a manner which the suspect or the target or the victim concerned would have been left with the impression or the knowledge that it was indeed the Security Branch. The so-called "big brother is watching you" syndrome.

MR McASLIN: Mr Erasmus, during your 18 years as a member of the Security Branch, can you recall who your direct superior officers were?

MR ERASMUS: I'm able to recall this with some accuracy who my Commanding Officers were. At the time that I joined the Security Branch, and for the next four/five years which relates to, I think, everything that was discussed at this hearing today, the Divisional Commander of the Security Branch, Johannesburg, was Brig H C Muller, Hennie Muller. My Section Head of "Blank Personeel" was a Maj J H L, also known as Jorrie Jordaan. I then worked - immediately after Jordaan, I worked under a variety of people, Maj Arthur Benoni Cronwright, Brig Hein Olivier, Brig Alfred Oosthuizen. And in the middle of this I was given specific functions by people from Security Branch Head Office, and I worked sometimes and on occasion, directly under their immediate command, or performed functions or carried out acts under their immediate command. I could refer to many people, I don't know how far the Commission want's me to go with this.

MR McASLIN: I think if we can stop there for now, Mr Erasmus. If I can perhaps give a name to it, harassment policy. Was there a particular scope to this harassment which would be legitimate?

MR ERASMUS: Initially the scope of this harassment amounted to, I'd say very minor, low key type of acts performed against these people, throwing bricks through windows, pouring paint remover over cars, delivering telephonic threats, spray painting on walls. As we learnt more and as more and more people became involved in this, and at the time it did accelerate rather rapidly, a lot of these methods were refined. This thread as it were, was apparent right through my carer, right up until I left the Security Branch, or shortly before I left the Security Branch in 1993. There was another reason, I must just add as well that this type of harassment took place, was that security trials and detentions had become a problem to the South African Government and the authorities. We'd had relating to a matter which was under discussion here today and which I've got to talk about as well, the death of Dr Neil Aggett, 54 people had died in detention, the country had been severely damaged by the negative propaganda as it were, or the negative publicity surrounding these incidents, security trials were outrageously expensive, not only financially but in manpower.

So the State and the authorities looked with serious intentions at alternative cheap methods of addressing these problems. Harassment being the most effective one in its various forms which changed and ebbed and flowed as we went along this road.

MR McASLIN: Mr Erasmus, was there at any time a clearly defined line over which acts of harassment would not be tolerated?

MR ERASMUS: Mr Chairman, it's difficult for me to say this, but during all of this and my amnesty application is vast, I can honestly say that few times or seldom did I ever feel threatened that I would exposed, caught or prosecuted. We were just too powerful and we saw the system that we worked in too powerful, literally, to have to deal with those problems. There was hiccups, for example the death of Dr Aggett, where a lot of security policemen per se were under threat, but relating to the actual incidents of harassment, we would be covered all the way to the top if necessary. I don't know if you want me to elaborate on that.

MR McASLIN: No, it's fine. Mr Erasmus, during your 18 years service you started a group known as Omega, can you tell the Committee a bit about Omega.

MR ERASMUS: At the time I was busy educating myself about intelligence work, I made a reasonably close study of methods employed by the Irish Republican Army, other so-called terrorist groups or terrorist groups internationally. It was my idea to not only carry out these random acts but to give it a name and ultimately build or develop this concept into the point where the name itself would carry these sinister connotations and would in fact surpass even the administration of a physical act. Which actually transpired.

A lot of the telephonic sets that we made after about a year of these Omega attacks, where everybody or many people climbed on the bandwagon, it would simply good enough to just phone somebody, change your voice and say: "Omega is after you". The word Omega comes from the biblical Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry Mr Erasmus, when Mr McAslin was questioning you he said you started a group called Omega.

MR ERASMUS: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Now what was this group, was it a number of people, were they all security policemen, did you start it on your own initiative? Was it recognised by your Commanding Officer, that sort of thing? If you could just give us some detail.

MR ERASMUS: The way that these things were planned, and I think this is very relevant and I think it needs some explanation, is that not every security policeman was involved in these types of activities. But from an early start, people that had the ability or that were fearless or that were naughty enough, whatever phrase you want to put this in, were identified by people above. This, I can maybe mention, ultimately came out by - journalist Jacques Pauw referred to this as the so-called "Heart of the Whore". We were the flunkies in these middle sections, that could be relied upon to carry out illegal acts. We were trusted by the people that we did these, on whose behalf we did this or that we could be left to our own devices and our own initiatives to carry out these acts anyway because we were very loyal or more loyal to the cause or more dedicated to the cause.

The group Omega was myself and a handful of other security policemen. It was actually great fun at the time, we would carry out an act at night and we'd read about it the next day in the papers. We would have access to the monitoring system, we would hear these people talking about what had happened the previous night over the telephones. It was certainly very interesting. More and more security policemen climbed on the bandwagon as this story about Omega spread. I became aware after a relatively brief time that a similar group was constituted in Cape Town, also run by the Security Branch. They call themselves, I believe, The Scorpions. And they also carried out numerous acts.

CHAIRPERSON: I just want to get this clear before you move on. This group of Omega who did these acts and as you said, found it a bit of fun even, were you doing that on a frolic of your own, or were your officers aware of it? Or was it done underhand, as it were, even to the exclusion of your command?

MR ERASMUS: Mr Chairman, there is a line that went all the way up to the Commissioner of Police personally, who at that time was Gen M C or Mike Geldenhuys. I'd been, I suppose, identified. My Commanding Officer from day one in the Security Branch, gave me specific tasks, I had to study files. We all worked effectively office hours at that time and he would come into my office regularly, close the door and give me little pep talks, motivational talks. He'd tell me that I must associate myself with X, Y and Z, other members of the staff as it were, we should go out at night, he said, and we must put pressure on these people, we are facing - he'd tell me things like: "We must pressurise these people, we are facing the communist threat, we can't always deal with it, so make their lives uncomfortable". This was the thread that it followed all the way up to the top.

CHAIRPERSON: And then the actual deeds, what to do, that was up to you people on the ground? Like whether you're going to go and - reading just from your application, pulling flowers out of a church garden and putting laxative in somebody's coffee and paint remover on somebody's car, that sort of thing you would decide?

MR ERASMUS: We would decide it, Mr Chairman, that is correct.

MR McASLIN: Mr Erasmus, can you tell us what happened to Omega?

MR ERASMUS: I beg your pardon?

MR McASLIN: What happened to Omega?

MR ERASMUS: Omega was disbanded in 1984, when the command structure changed radically on the Johannesburg Security Branch. A Capt Alfred Oosthuizen had been transferred together with Brig Gerrit, later Gen Gerrit Erasmus, he's been transferred from the Eastern Cape. There were stories that Head Office was extremely perturbed about the lack of production on the Johannesburg Security Branch and the Oosthuizen/Erasmus combination was sent in to, I suppose increase production and introduce new strategies. Johannesburg the, obviously being perceived as the heart of struggle, the area where the best intelligence and the most effective security policing was needed and was required. I was called in at the time by then Capt Oosthuizen, later Brig Oosthuizen, who told me that he knew about Omega, he'd heard about it, he'd known about it for a long time and that I was to stop each and every, and with all of my colleagues that were involved in this, to stop using the name Omega immediately.

ADV BOSMAN: What was your rank at the time, Mr Erasmus?

MR ERASMUS: I was a Sergeant then, Mr Chairman.

MR McASLIN: Mr Erasmus, I just want to clarify. The order from Capt Oosthuizen, as he was then, was it to stop using the name Omega, or was it to stop the activities under Omega?

MR ERASMUS: The order was to immediately stop using the name Omega, he also instructed us to stop these random attacks because somebody was going to get caught. He told us that any actions like this had to be co-ordinated, we had to liaise with people that were getting information, we had to take into consideration that with this new penetration in the intelligence community, we could be hurting our own agents or we could be compromising our own agents. Oosthuizen coming onto the branch, started a new dimension in all of these types of activities. But to answer your question directly, no, the attacks didn't stop but they were restructured. They weren't randomised acts of hooliganism or violence or whatever, intimidation, as what they had been under Omega. The last principle that I can mention there was, if you had a name to an organisation, the theory being was "no name, no blame".

MR McASLIN: Mr Erasmus, these officers under whom you served from time to time, could they at any time have stopped these activities?

MR ERASMUS: I can safely say that throughout my career I believed, and I believe that I'm capable of proving they could have stopped it at any time, instantly and within minutes and I really believe that that applies to the entire Security Branch right throughout South Africa. I'm aware of certain directives that were issued, for example on one occasion relating to incidents that I was involved in, where the Commissioner of Police sent a crypto which was an encoded message, instructing the members in a roundabout way to be more careful. So it was obvious that they knew and by the same implication, if they did know they could have given us direct orders to stop or alternatively prosecuted us.

MR McASLIN: That never happened?

MR ERASMUS: That never happened.

MR McASLIN: Mr Erasmus, if I can turn now to the specific incidents with which this Committee is charged today. The first one is found at page 2 of your application, against the letter or rather, against the number 3, is Beyers Naude. Can you perhaps tell the Committee why Beyers Naude was targeted. Dr Beyers Naude.

MR ERASMUS: Dr Beyers Naude was seen in our circles, and in fact I believed at the time, was seen by Afrikanerdom in this country as an absolute traitor. He was almost moderator of the Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk, the NGK. At the Cotesloe Conference in 1961, Dr Beyers Naude made a stand and refused to go along the lines that apartheid could be justified by the Bible. He was running - when I joined the Security Branch in January 1977, Dr Beyers Naude headed the Christian Institute, a massive amount of attention was being given to the Christian Institute, which was ultimately banned. I believe it was the 17th, I know it was October 1977 and where I met Dr Naude for the first time face to face as a then Constable in the Security Branch. The State effectively by a signature and a decree, closed the Christian Institute down and limited his activities. He was regarded as a dangerous man, more dangerous I should imagine, than your run of the mill activist or leftist or lefty, as we called these people at that time, because he was an Afrikaner and because he was a church man. One of the biggest fears of all of us at that time was so-called liberation theology, or the Red Gospel, there were various terms applied to it. And therefore, Dr Naude with his qualifications and his background, was seen, yes, as a very dangerous person.

MR McASLIN: Mr Erasmus, by virtue of what you've said now, did you regard Dr Beyers Naude as a political opponent?

MR ERASMUS: We most certainly did. There was a theory at the time and this went on for several years, from once again, the outset of my career there was the great, I refer to it as the great search for Braam Fisher's successor. Various people or names were mooted - I have to be honest, Mr Bizos, that yourself and Dr Naude were the two prime suspects when I joined the Security Branch in 1977.

MR BIZOS: It's not news ...(indistinct - no microphone)

MR ERASMUS: I'm sorry, but I have to say that.

MR BIZOS: No, that's alright. ....(indistinct - no microphone)

CHAIRPERSON: Continue, Mr Erasmus.

MR ERASMUS: Sir, I've lost my train of thought.

CHAIRPERSON: You were saying that - the question was, was he regarded as a political opponent and you were talking about that and finding a successor for Braam Fisher and you mentioned his name.

MR ERASMUS: Ja, he was most certainly regarded as a political opponent and a very dangerous one at that, as was Mr Bizos and a couple of other people who were on this, under the suspicion of having taken Braam Fisher's position in the SACP.

MR McASLIN: Mr Erasmus, you mention several items in respect of which you apply for amnesty. If I might read them: Malicious injury to property, theft, attempted murder, harassment by telephonic threats and the ordering of unwanted supplies. If we can deal with malicious injury to property, do you remember the specific details regarding that particular offence?

MR ERASMUS: I remember destroying on more occasions, I cannot with the passage of time, recall how many times, it was standard procedure, we had an operating, almost an operating schedule where we would get in our cars at night and drive from one suspect to the other, varying this from time to time. We had access to the general police radio system, so we knew that we wouldn't be caught, because we knew where the regular police vans were. To get to the point we would, in these travels, end up at 26 Royal Oak Road, Greenside, and depending on how we felt at the time or what was available, we would throw bricks through Dr Naude's window. I personally firebombed his car on several occasions - I might add, unsuccessfully, which became a joke, because everybody laughed about it, they said the devil is actually protecting his own, we could not get Dr Naude's car to burn. We burnt the flower beds out, we burnt his lawn out, we burnt the neighbour's flower beds out, but we could not.

He had a Peugeot at the time that I was involved in these attempts to burn this car out. The reason for this was that from the information gathered by the field workers, it was that Dr Naude was associating with Mrs Helen Joseph and we wanted to close down his, or limit his mobility and as usual the double, treble and the multi-headed agenda being achieved by intimidating him and - yes, I suppose at that time I was a young man having some fun.

MR McASLIN: Mr Erasmus, was Dr Naude ever injured by virtue of these malicious acts?

MR ERASMUS: No. When we carried out these things I think there was much bravado - we were aware of his personal circumstances at that stage, Dr Naude and Mrs Naude were not young people, the car would be parked in the driveway, we could throw a petrol bomb on it without fear that there was anybody inside of it. He was never injured, to the best of my knowledge. Certainly traumatised, I would accede to that greatly, but not physically injured.

CHAIRPERSON: And did that behaviour persist from, I see you've got here, April 1977 to late 1980s?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Over 10 years plus.

MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Mr Chairman.

MR McASLIN: Mr Erasmus, you say now, fortunately, that Dr Beyers Naude was never injured, did you ever go to the trouble to ensure that he wouldn't be injured by firebombing a car or something to that effect?

MR ERASMUS: A lot of us were scared of the - we'd heard stories in this establishment, as it were, about the death of, for example, Dr Rick Turner, other assassinations. I can safely say that for myself, I certainly didn't want that responsibility of having blood on my hands. I was maybe very young and naive at the time, it was just a scary prospect. But certainly, the scope and intensity of these attacks did increase. I might just mention, Mr Chairman, that I didn't have the help of counsel when I formulated this thing. I didn't know when I wrote my amnesty application, they asked about the offences, whether it could be construed that shotgunning a Peugeot 404 could be construed as attempted murder ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: I was just going to ask you, because you said that you didn't want blood on your hands and although you performed many acts, you never did it with the intention of killing anybody, but yet you've put attempted murder in your application. Was that out of ignorance of the law or whatever?

MR ERASMUS: Mr Chairman, I thought I'd rather be safe than sorry ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: What would you say with regard to Dr Beyers Naude, came the closest in your own mind, to attempted murder?

MR ERASMUS: Specifically relating to Dr Naude? Possibly trying to burn his car out, or the chance that the petrol might have - we used to use government petrol incidentally, from our police cars for these petrol bombs, that we could have set his house on fire.

ADV BOSMAN: Did you foresee the possibility of his death at any time, by any particular action?

MR ERASMUS: I think yes, that there was a perception that this could have happened.

MR McASLIN: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Mr Erasmus, how effective were these acts of harassment and malicious damage to property insofar as you were concerned, countering a political opponent?

MR ERASMUS: If I can just answer you question and relate it to something that happened later in my life. It was only in 1994, I was actually in something of exile, I was in the Witness Protection programme in London, where I voted during the first democratic election and stood outside South African House and looked at the heaps people, I recognised many of them that I had helped force into exile. It was only at that time, I know this sounds dramatic, that I actually realised how effective maybe all of this had been. I could recount many names of people that through this type of harassment either open or overt harassment, that left. For example Mrs Violet Weinberg. I know for a fact that her harassment, she couldn't take it eventually, maybe persuaded her to leave South Africa and to go into exile. But yes, I believe it was very effective.

CHAIRPERSON: But with regard to Dr Naude.

MR ERASMUS: Oh, I'm sorry Mr Chairman. Dr Naude amazingly, didn't seem to slow down with all of this, he carried on, he was - the times that I met him face to face he was a gentleman. There were some of my colleagues that on various excursions to Dr Naude's house would, as I would, tell this Commission that Doctor and Mrs Naude gave them good Afrikaner hospitality with coffee and rusks and tea and this type of stuff. He was never aggressive. We couldn't provoke him. He certainly didn't run away. He didn't employ a security service to look after him. In fact, after all of these attacks on his car, it was to our amazement that he didn't take steps to at least secure the motorcar which was an open target, standing in the driveway. I do believe, maybe now with the benefit of hindsight, that it was his Christian conviction that this type of thuggery wouldn't slow down what he saw as his cause.

MR McASLIN: Mr Erasmus, if we can move to the next incident under the heading of: Gavin Anderson, against number 5 on page 3 of your application. Mr Chairman, if I might just interpose here, if the Committee pages forward to page 7, the Committee will see that the name of Neil Aggett appears against the numbers 26. I propose to deal with the incidents relating to Gavin Anderson and Neil Aggett, together and not separately.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, certainly, you do it as you think the best manner, Mr McAslin.

MR McASLIN: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Mr Erasmus, in your application you again allege harassment, or rather applied for amnesty for the harassment and threats of Gavin Anderson. Why was Gavin Anderson targeted?

MR ERASMUS: Mr Chairman, shortly after I joined the Security Branch I was also given other duties, all of the so-called banned or listed or restricted people were divided up, each staff member or field operative was given one, in my case I was a very junior member, in some cases more than one of these restricted, banned or restrained people, to give attention to. The first person that I was given in this nature was Mr Gavin Anderson and I was told quite simply that I had to study his restriction orders, I was to harass him by doing various things and ensure that the restriction order is being complied with. I would harass him by knocking on his door at 2 o'clock in the morning and simply introducing myself as Const Erasmus, waving this wonderful ID card and saying to him: "Are you awake?" That was the type of things that I did. Do you want me to carry on with the circumstances that I set out underneath, or ...?

MR McASLIN: No, if I stop you there for a minute, to dispose of Mr Anderson. To what extent were these harassment techniques effective in Mr Anderson's circumstances?

MR ERASMUS: I think Mr Anderson must have had a lot of pressure on him, I'm not exactly aware because my structures then changed, but I do believe that Mr Anderson did leave the country for Botswana. I'm open to anybody to correct me on this. I can't say for certain, I can't speak for Mr Anderson and say that it was out of this terror or whatever, but certainly being a restricted person he would have found life probably more uncomfortable on the other side of the border with all of this going on. I don't know to this day if he did leave the country but I think so.

MR McASLIN: Now Mr Erasmus, you used the name of Gavin Anderson in a further aspect and it's set out in your application with regards to defeating the ends of justice and later at page 7, perjury. Can you perhaps tell the Committee the circumstances surrounding those two applications.

MR ERASMUS: I have to sketch the whole situation, Mr Chairman. Dr Neil Aggett died in the Security Branch cells, I think on the 5th of February 1982. Dr Aggett and many other people had been arrested for, or were being held under security legislation, there was an investigation under way, which I was not a part of. This investigation was being headed by Maj Cronwright and his staff that were centred on the 10th floor. Dr Aggett was in detention and was found dead during the night, in his cells. I was then approached by a colleague, a Lieut Steven Peter Whitehead, a man that I'd had very little dealings with prior to the death of Dr Aggett. He came into my office the one day and said that I had been chosen for a very specialised covert mission. He then took me to - I wasn't very happy about this because I didn't like him, I doubted his ability as a field operative, I'd heard stories about him, but ... I was then taken by him to see - I've got to think about this, Brig Muller. Brig Muller told me that I was to accompany Lieut Whitehead on a mission. We were given laissez-faire and our brief was quite simply to prove or gather evidence as to the psychological makeup of Dr Neil Aggett.

In brief terms or very short terms, to condense this whole thing, we were sent on a mission to firstly prepare for the forthcoming inquest into Dr Aggett's death and our job was to find, which Whitehead referred to in Afrikaans, as a "naald in 'n hooimied", was to find evidence that Neil Aggett had suicidal tendencies from the time that he was a child. We were given money from the Secret Account. My expertise which had been steadily growing, due to various covert activities that I'd been involved in over the previous three years, was called on.

I was told to set up a cover story for these investigations. I was told that Whitehead - Whitehead in fact told me that he couldn't be too exposed himself, because he would have to feature at the inquest, I would have to do the work, as in I had to become somebody else. Which I did, I became Paul Edwards, private investigator. I forged - I didn't forge, I obtained a sort of ID card which had my photo on, by which means I could identify myself. Whitehead also had one. We got into a government vehicle and we drove down to Kingswood College in Grahamstown. My idea was, which Whitehead went along with, was to start where it all started, where Neil Aggett went to school and that was at Kingswood College. We were also told that Security, wherever these travels took us, the Security Branch Commanders have been informed in the various divisions. If we needed money, if we had problems with vehicles, if we needed assistance, access to files, it would be provided wherever we went in South Africa. Which was indeed the case.

We arrived in Grahamstown, Whitehead and I, we immediately went to the Security Branch office, which was headed at that stage, by Capt Alfred Oosthuizen, a man who was later to become - that's the first time I met him, my Commanding Officer. Oosthuizen, I kind of gained the impression, knew what our mission was all about and thought this was actually quite hysterical, fact that we told him that we were on our way to Kingswood College to go and see how Neil had grown up from Grade 1 to Standard 5. I think Oosthuizen was a bit, not too convinced about our chances of success, but we proceeded nevertheless. We went to Kingswood College, we saw photos of Dr Aggett, we spoke to the headmaster, who showed us some of the school records. He fell for the story that I was this private investigator and we were researching on behalf of an overseas client researching the life of Dr Aggett and we wanted material for a book which we were going to sort of ghost-write or at least get the information on and supply it to a client overseas. We found nothing of interest in Grahamstown, whereupon Whitehead made the decision to head for Cape Town. We drove through the night from Grahamstown. We arrived in Cape Town and the following night we had carried out a bit surveillance on the home of the late Dr Aggett's parents in Somerset West and Whitehead chose to stay in a hotel, in fact a restaurant, and sent me to the house to go and see if I could get an interview with Dr Aggett's parents, sit and talk to them and carry on with the investigation. I went to the house, knocked on the door and it was opened by a domestic by the name of Sarah. I then gave her the story, bluffed her a little bit, promised her money and she told me that Mr and Mrs Aggett were in Johannesburg and allowed me to literally search the house. I found some letters which I thought might be of interest, which I stole, put in my pocket. I had a good look at the place as quickly as what I could, I feared that I would be caught there and as I was leaving the neighbour arrived, he was actually tasked - when the Aggetts, Mr and Mrs Aggett left of Jo'burg they asked him to keep an eye on the house. He caught me leaving. I was on the veranda and he confronted me.

I gave him the story but he wasn't too convinced and as it later transpired, he went and he reported this to the police station. Whitehead had also made a mistake by going to the police station to put in petrol and in this ensuing hullabaloo, a Warrant Officer that was on duty at Somerset West Police Station, connected the complaint from, funnily enough the neighbour who was Mr Anderson, with Lieut Whitehead and Sgt Erasmus and drew this whole lot together and told Mr Anderson this wasn't private investigators, this was the Security Branch. So now we had a problem. As I understood it, a couple of things then happened. Mr Anderson, the neighbour, tried to save face by not having been able to physically stop me, by saying that I pointed a firearm at him. Sarah, the domestic, feared she would lose her job and she said that she'd caught me inside the house. So the next thing I looked I was charged with, I believe at one stage even attempted murder. I was charged with housebreaking, illegal search, pointing a firearm and a whole variety of things. This terrified me. The following morning at 6 o'clock when all of this had happened, we were summoned to the office of the Divisional Commander for the Western Province, Brig Kotze, who tore strips off Whitehead and I, and he told us in no uncertain terms to get he hell out of his division and to get back to Johannesburg. We'd wrecked this whole thing, compromised possibly the forthcoming Aggett Inquest, we'd placed the Minister in a situation, I mean we just literally destroyed the security situation in the country. So Whitehead and I got in the car, we drove back to Johannesburg.

I do believe that they would have probably thrown the book at me, but what they didn't know was that I had a tape recorder in my pocket. I tape recorded the entire events, thank the Lord, from the time that I arrived at the Aggett's home until the time that I left.

MR McASLIN: Sorry to interrupt you Mr Erasmus, the transcription of that tape recording, is that included in volume 2 at pages 137?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct.

MR McASLIN: Through to page 145, is that correct?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct.

MR McASLIN: Sorry, continue.

MR ERASMUS: I was then ushered into the office of Brig Muller, who said to me: "How could you have done this, you were reckless", and I don't know what all. I said to him: "Sir, I didn't break into the house, I simply carried out an instruction that was given to me by Lieut Whitehead - well not an instruction per se, we planned it together, I was happy to go to the house on my own, but I certainly didn't point a gun at anybody, I didn't break in". Whereupon the Brigadier informed me that the Head of the Security Police, Security Branch, Gen Coetzee had been informed, the Minister of Police had been informed, the Minister of Justice had been informed, I think the State President had been informed, because damage control now had to be instituted. We'd compromised the inquest.

To get to the Gavin Anderson situation. I was then told to make a statement, which I did. On a day, I can't remember the exact date, I ask a bit of leeway there ... in May, the 14th of May 1982, Lieut Whitehead, Brig Muller and I drove to Pretoria where we were ushered into the office of Gen Johan Coetzee, who was the Head of the Security Branch, and we were given coffee and we sat down. We were all very nervous.

In the office at the time was Brig Kalfie Broodryk and then Col Pieter, PJ or Pietertjie as he was known, Viljoen. And we basically held a brainstorming session about how we were going to deal with this issue. At various times I was told to leave the office for discussions between Brig Muller and the General and his assistant. I'd written my statement which had been typed and I was called into the office and Gen Coetzee told me that they were working on a strategy and that I was to change my statement. He said to me that: "We have to have a cover story, Whitehead has to be excluded from this incident at the Aggett parents home". We had to have a cover-story. And after examining all of the facts and looking at the circumstances surrounding all of this, it would be convenient to say that we had gone down to Somerset West, for the love of God, not to look for evidence relating to the inquest, but to do a bona fide Security Branch investigation whereby we were looking for Gavin Anderson. What made this more convenient was that the neighbour's name was Anderson, which also helped to sort of muddy the water and give a little bit of credibility to this. I believe it was Gen Coetzee - the statements are here, available, he actually took my statement and told me what to write in it, he changed my words and added in things and I think deleted some.

MR McASLIN: Sorry to interrupt you, Mr Erasmus, page 121 of volume 2, the handwriting which appears there and on the subsequent three pages, whose handwriting is that?

MR ERASMUS: I believe that to be the handwriting of Gen Johan Coetzee. I could be wrong. I was terrified, I was under a lot of stress. I was ushered in and out as they talked and everything like this.

CHAIRPERSON: It's not yours?

MR ERASMUS: It's not my handwriting, no.

MR McASLIN: Just on what you've said now Mr Erasmus, what rank did you hold when these circumstances occurred?

MR ERASMUS: I was a Detective-Sergeant. In fact, I think I'd just been promoted.

MR McASLIN: How long had you been in the Force?

MR ERASMUS: I'd been in the Force for six years, Mr Chairman.

The Commissioner then told me that - sorry, the Commissioner then made a telephone call. He phoned the Attorney-General in Cape Town, I believe his name was Neil Rossouw, and he told Mr Neil Rossouw about this whole - I gathered that he'd spoken to him before about it, but he said: "Yes, there is a strategy in place and the following is going to happen. Erasmus will come down, they will set a court date, Erasmus will go down and plead guilty. The State would withdraw the charges against Whitehead and Whitehead would then not be tainted, as it were, with this situation, with the official inquest into the death of Dr Aggett".

I was very nervous at this, the prospects of having to appear in court, after all I'd been involved in all these activities and here I was caught and being told by a man that I regarded as God himself, the top intelligence man in this country, Gen Johan Coetzee - and I have to say this, he in fact told me that should I do this, it would benefit my career. I would make this sacrifice and that it wouldn't affect my career in any way, because after all I would have a criminal record. I was then told that I would appear in court, the State would appoint, which they did, an advocate, Schalk Burger appeared for me. I would be - it would look like they were going to jail me, but at the end of it I would be sentenced to a suspended fine and found R200.

Arrangements were then made, the telephone call that he made to Mr Rossouw. I later then heard all the pieces came together, a court date was set, I was called to Head Office, given R200. Prior to my departure for Cape Town with Whitehead, I was given R200. The receipt is here - no, that's ... I drew that from the Secret Fund in Pretoria, not from the Secret Fund at John Vorster Square, because there was this cover-up. They would handle that from the Pretoria side. So I got on the plane, went down to Cape Town, appeared in Court and I was found guilty.

MR McASLIN: Mr Erasmus, if I can perhaps stop you there for a brief moment and refer you to page 124 of volume 2. There's manuscript writing under the paragraph number 19, perhaps you can assist the Committee, if you're able at all to make, if you'd be able to read that handwriting and just read as best as you can for the Committee what it sets out there.

MR ERASMUS: Can I just say something, Mr Chairman? I get upset when I see this. Incidentally, the history of this document was that when this security apparatus turned on me, I protected my own interest by breaking into the Security Branch offices and stealing my own file and securing these documents. I never actually took the time and trouble to read this until last week and I think it's very relevant, because as it transpired, Gen Coetzee never kept his promises, I did get a criminal record. It went on my conduct sheet and my promotions were withheld at great detriment to me personally, financially, physically and everything for eight years. And he says here, and I can't read all of it:

"I was never instructed by Brig Muller or any other superior officer (I can't read the next one) ..."

CHAIRPERSON: Or colleague.

MR ERASMUS:

"... or colleague (something) to conduct the investigation into the past history of the late Dr Aggett, and the methods used were planned solely by Lieut Whitehead and myself"

MR McASLIN: Mr Erasmus, this is now put to be your voice, this is your statement.

MR ERASMUS: They told me to write that.

MR McASLIN: On the basis of what ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: But just now you said it wasn't your handwriting.

MR ERASMUS: No, it's not my handwriting.

CHAIRPERSON: So why do you say ...(intervention)

MR ERASMUS: Sorry, sorry, I made a mistake.

CHAIRPERSON: Somebody wrote this, purportedly on your behalf.

MR ERASMUS: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: But you can't remember if it's Gen Coetzee, or you think it's Gen Coetzee.

MR ERASMUS: I think it's Gen Coetzee.

MR McASLIN: Now Mr Erasmus, on the basis of what you've told the Committee today, that's clearly incorrect, the information set out in this paragraph?

MR ERASMUS: It's a pack of lies, the whole thing was a set-up from A to Z.

MR McASLIN: And would it be correct to say that your superior officers were trying to pass off the incident as really a frolic of your own, something which happened without any authority?

MR ERASMUS: Many years later I heard about what had actually happened. May I speak freely to the Commission, Mr Chairman?

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, we want you to speak freely, yes.

MR ERASMUS: No, relating to his. Lieut Whitehead's father was a Brigadier in the Police. Lieut Whitehead was studying law. Lieut Whitehead, this was a little bit later on, wife's father, Dennis Rothman, was the Deputy Head of National Intelligence. Lieut Whitehead had planned to leave the Police and Lieut Whitehead, if convicted on a charge like this for illegal search or housebreaking, whatever they could throw at us, wouldn't have been able to practice his chosen career and study law. I was told this by not one, but by several senior officers including Oosthuizen, as a Brigadier, that Whitehead had secretly said he had not - he had told me to go to the house, but he told me not to go into the house. Pretending to be my friend and looking after my interests and everything like that, he had actually double-dealed me and sold me down the river to protect himself. I found that out in 1988 and yes, I did get a conduct sheet and criminal record and I lost my promotions.

MR McASLIN: Mr Erasmus, can I now refer you to page 119, can you tell the Committee what that document purports to be?

MR ERASMUS: This is a telex, if you read it from the top, it's the AK Boland, Brig van der Westhuizen, that was the area now Boland Division in the Western Cape, sending a communication to the Commissioner of Police, Compol, that's Private Bag X94, Pretoria - sorry, I've got this wrong. Compol, X94, Pretoria, that is the Commissioner of Police, who was then Gen Johan Geldenhuys, addressee B, Compol X302, was Security Branch Head Office and C was the Divisional Commissioner, Witwatersrand, informing them as to the following. The heading is: Offence: Whitehead and myself. The case number in Somerset West. And telling them that - well I suppose I could interpret it this way and say yes, the whole plan had succeeded, Sgt Erasmus was found guilty on a charge of contravening so and so and convicted of illegal search and he paid the fine of R200 and the last point it says the fine was paid. So everybody was now being informed that this is what had transpired.

The written handwriting underneath, the bottom signature was the person by this stage who'd replaced Brig Muller and that was Gen Louwtjie Malan, he had taken over as Head of the Security Branch, that's his signature there. And he actually said, it says there, he says he recommends that no further steps be taken against myself and that everybody else had then signed it and a copy, the bottom signature is a copy that was placed in my personal file by my Section Head.

MR McASLIN: Mr Erasmus, was it unusual at that stage, most things excluded, was it unusual for a policeman who had been convicted of breaking the law, not to be disciplined in some way?

MR ERASMUS: It was extremely unusual. During those years, and in fact - ja, I could relate it, to answer your question this way. A policeman convicted or charged with a traffic offence would have "tugstappe", or could technically have "tugstappe" introduced against him by the South African Police. If you broke the law you broke the law and an enquiry was held. We were after all supposed to be policemen. Yes, it is unusual. I mean the reason is very clear.

MR McASLIN: Now Mr Erasmus, from what you've told the Committee, it appears that these persons had vast powers, why couldn't they simply get the charge withdrawn against you?

MR ERASMUS: That was obviously the first thing that was considered. I didn't mention that, but now that you mention it, I can talk about that. When we got to Head Office, the first thing all of us did when we all sat together and had coffee was assess how many people knew about this, the true story or what had happened. There was the uniform Warrant Officer who was clearly - I think they used the phrase that day, I certainly used it afterwards and tried to do something in retribution against this guy who was a traitor at that time, was "gattoesteker", a backstabber, because he had wrecked on of our operations. How would we shut him down? How could they close him down? There was - Brig Kotze knew about it. Kotze was annoyed because of the way Whitehead and I had conducted this whole thing. Whitehead knew about it, I knew about it, they knew about it and then of course there was the neighbour and Sarah. There was no ways that through the existing situation, that all of these people could be somehow intimidated, persuaded or otherwise told to forget about this thing. They had to find some way to dance along these issues. The big thing being the forthcoming Aggett Inquest, or the looming Aggett Inquest.

MR McASLIN: Mr Erasmus, the question I'm going to put to you now, a very pertinent one in regard to these proceedings, it's clear from the nature of these statements that you attested, that you've demonstrated an ability to lie under oath. Why should this Committee believe what you are saying here today?

MR ERASMUS: How do I answer this? I've got no reason to lie about this anymore. There's the documents to prove it. I can only say what happened and I'm certainly not lying under oath. I've got no agendas with this. It's taken many years to realise just what I lost by falling for the schemes like this.

MR McASLIN: Mr Erasmus, were you in any other way involved in the Neil Aggett Inquest?

MR ERASMUS: No, not at all.

MR McASLIN: If I can take you to your next incident.

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, just before you move on, before it slips my mind, Mr McAslin. If you take a look at page 7, number 26 under Neil Aggett, it says: "perjury". Now this statement as it appears on page 121, 124, that's not a sworn statement, am I correct, and he didn't testify in court? I take it you just pleaded guilty and shut up?

MR ERASMUS: Ja.

CHAIRPERSON: At the trial, you didn't take an oath and give evidence?

MR ERASMUS: No, I just pleaded guilty, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: And you didn't give evidence. I'm just asking. So this perjury, technically has there been perjury, Mr McAslin? Or is it - defeating the ends of justice I can see by making a false statement, but technically perjury?

MR McASLIN: Mr Chairman, I will go with that in light with what Mr Erasmus said at the outset, he prepared his application without any legal assistance.

CHAIRPERSON: It will be more defeating the ends of justice perhaps, or making a false statement, but not perjury, because there it wasn't two conflicting statements under oath.

MR McASLIN: That's correct.

ADV BOSMAN: May I just interpose here for a moment?

Mr Erasmus, on page 119 there's a note on that telex, BO, I don't know whether I've missed it, but what is the abbreviation BO stand for?

MR ERASMUS: "Bevelvoerende Offisier", Commanding Officer.

ADV BOSMAN: Who would that be?

MR ERASMUS: Oh, okay, there we go. That says:

"Bevelvoerende Offisier, (that is the Commissioner) telefonies op 83 07 19 in detail ingelig."

The General had been brought up to date in ...(intervention)

ADV BOSMAN: No, no, I follow that, I'm just interested to know who the BO was.

MR ERASMUS: Oh, I'm sorry, that's Commanding Officer.

ADV BOSMAN: Can you put a name to the Commanding Officer there?

MR ERASMUS: Gen Coetzee.

ADV BOSMAN: General Coetzee. Thank you.

MR McASLIN: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Mr Erasmus, if we can then on page 5, the name Shanti Naidoo appears against the numbers 15. Can you explain to the Committee why Shanti Naidoo was targeted.

MR ERASMUS: I think actually I have gone some way to explain this, Mr Chairman, by saying that in these nightly escapades we had something of a route that we would follow, more and more of my colleagues had become involved in these attacks. At the time I lived where I grew up, in Bedfordview, and after travelling around Johannesburg, conducting our various activities, our last stop on the way home would invariably be the Naidoo resident in Doornfontein. I didn't know Shanti Naidoo or much about them as suspects, they weren't part of my personal portfolio of activists that I was giving attention to, but we would certainly stop there on every given occasion and trash the motorcar.

CHAIRPERSON: But why? Was it somebody else's duty to monitor Shanti Naidoo?

MR ERASMUS: It would have been somebody else's duty, Your Worship. It just - the Naidoos were just, or Shanti Naidoo was just another suspect and another dangerous person. That's how we saw it at the time.

CHAIRPERSON: So you mention other names here, W/O Prinsloo, Const Adlam and others, did you used to drive around in a group and ...

MR ERASMUS: Sometimes we would be in one car, invariably we would have two or three cars, the idea being that if one lot or one group developed problems, you would have the backup of other members, not only in numbers but alternative vehicles, escape routes and so on. I might just mention Mr Chairman, and I think it's relevant, that W/O Prinsloo was a close friend of mine and actually committed suicide after being involved in all of these activities. Very sadly, one of his last - before he killed himself, he made an admission to me which I've never forgotten, he said that he joined the Police to fight crime and not to be a criminal himself. Secretly and without many of us knowing this, he didn't go along with these types of activities. I just think that I'd like to mention that, maybe in memory of him.

ADV BOSMAN: Mr Erasmus, if I may just interrupt here. What I don't follow is from your evidence now it would appear that there were more senior people with you, as Warrant Officer Prinsloo. Who was the sort of kingpin, who co-ordinated all this harassment? Did it happen on the spur of the moment? It's not clear, could you perhaps just clarify that.

MR ERASMUS: I grew up in the Security Branch from day one, with these people that were - I was a Constable in the Security Branch, Jordaan was a Major, he would sit in my office and tell me incidents that had happened years before while I was still in school in fact, that they'd done to Braam Fisher, the Weinbergs. We grew up on these stories. I would say grew up in the Security Branch. A lot of these stories Mr Chairman, became legends. This was this war, the secret war that we were engaged in, these people were dangerous, they were worthless scum. It wasn't a racial thing, whether they were white, black, pink or green, they were communists. For me personally, the way I grew up, communism was the ultimate battle that one day all of us in the Western World would have to fight. Whether it was Mao Tse Tung and Chinese communism or whether it was the Russians, the day would when us Christians would have to fight these people. They were satanic and that was the route of all of this.

ADV BOSMAN: But what I'm getting at, were these sort of just random attacks? I mean could anybody, were these people free game and could anybody at any time just attack? This is what I don't have clarity on.

MR ERASMUS: Mr Chairman, I can only talk about my own involvement, but yes - I think Ma'am, to answer your question, this had being going on and was being conducted by our seniors, most certainly. I can't talk for them, but ... I don't know if anybody has statistics about how big this really was, I can only talk about what I know about it. I know that this happened right across the country.

CHAIRPERSON: But if you had a bit of spare time or you're on your way home, you're close to Doornfontein, you could just on the spur of the moment take a turn past the Naidoo's house and trash their motorcar?

MR ERASMUS: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Just free game type ... you could harass them at your convenience, when and how you please sort of thing.

MR ERASMUS: Yes. And the next when you were asked by your superior officer, something to the effect of: "Yes young man and where were you last night?" You'd tell him: "Yes, we went to old Sheila's house and we did this" and the man would sit there and say: "Well, if you're a little bit tired you can go home a bit earlier". You know this was encouraged, yes absolutely.

CHAIRPERSON: Now you say with Shanti Naidoo, as it appears on page 5, that this also endured over a period of years, you say from the late '70s to early '80s you would damage his property, his motor vehicle or insult him by telephone threats. Can you give any indication of approximately how many times you yourself were involved in damaging his car? Was it twice, or was it dozens of times, or ...?

MR ERASMUS: Mr Chairman, I honestly cannot - I've got a reasonably good memory, I cannot honestly recollect how many times I put a paving stone through a Chev 4100's windscreen.

CHAIRPERSON: So it was several times? I've lost count.

MR ERASMUS: Yes five times, ten time, I don't know.

CHAIRPERSON: And you've put here:

"Crimen injuria, criminal injuria: telephone threats"

did you personally phone up Shanti Naidoo or members of the family and speak, and what sort of threats did you give?

MR ERASMUS: Mr Chairman yes, that was actually my forte, was the conversations afterwards. So I would have phoned him the next day, just to give an example, and said to him: "You know what happened to you last night, wait we'll be back. Get out of the country, leave. We're after you, we're going to kill you." This type of stuff. Yes, that was my forte. I was very good at impersonating people, I would change my voice, and I did it to many people. We all had telephones with unlimited access at John Vorster Square, so we could do this unhindered. Yes, most certainly.

ADV BOSMAN: Mr Erasmus - sorry, Chairperson, I didn't realise that you had another question.

CHAIRPERSON: No, no.

ADV BOSMAN: Mr Erasmus, you filled this in I appreciate, without any legal assistance, but there's a difference between crimen injuria and threats. Now you've given evidence now that you threatened him: "Get out of the country, we're after you", but did you in any way, in as far as you can recollect, insult him, abused him over the telephone? That would be crimen injuria.

MR ERASMUS: Ma'am yes, I would have called him, insulted him racially, I would have insulted his sexual orientation. I cannot remember all of this, I did it to so many people and on such a scale that that telephone bill must have run into thousands of rand. It was a standing procedure, in fact we used to tape record at one stage - in fact, I might even be able to get hold of some of these tapes, for jokes afterwards and when we met people from Cape Town we would compare notes about the type of stuff we were doing, and some of it was hysterical. We thought it was funny, we thought it was productive. Little legends grew out of all of this, the so-called bad boys within the system.

ADV BOSMAN: Thank you. Thank you, Chairperson.

MR BIZOS: Mr Chairman, just for a clarification, the witness speaks about a him, a male, Shanti Naidoo is a female. I merely want clarification, Mr Chairman, because I don't want to give the reason why because I don't want it to be suggested that I'm leading the witness to being asked whether it was a man that he was speaking to and if that is so, then we can identify the person, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, I appreciate you informing us, Mr Bizos.

Did you know that Shanti Naidoo was a female?

MR ERASMUS: Mr Chairman, I think I heard that this morning or over the weekend. I didn't know that. These people were never my suspects.

MR BIZOS: ...(inaudible - no microphone) ... she was driven out of the country early on. At the period that the witness is speaking about, he was probably phoning her brother, Prima Naidoo, the person sitting behind us. If he was speaking to a male at that telephone number.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

MR ERASMUS: Ja, okay.

MR McASLIN: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Mr Erasmus, if I can then take you to page 7 of your application, to the name Dr Liz Floyd, against the number 27 of that page. Can you explain to the Committee how it came about that Dr Liz Floyd was targeted.

MR ERASMUS: Mr Chairman, Dr Liz Floyd, as I've said before the Aggetts or the Barbara Hogan investigation, I knew nothing about it until I got involved in the circumstances which happened after the death of Dr Aggett. Dr Floyd who is present here today was, as I was told, the girlfriend of the late Dr Aggett. She was the pet hate of many people on the Security Branch, notably the head of the investigation, Mr Bizos, Maj Cronwright, and I was tasked at various times with these nocturnal activities of ours, to give yes, attention to Dr Liz Floyd. This went on for many years. I didn't go to any particular trouble, my time, but when it was convenient, for example during the State of Emergency, we drew up lists of names of people that had to be arrested on sight, Dr Floyd was one of them. I personally by then had had something of an authority, I was a Section Head on the Security Branch, I took a group of guys and we raided Dr Floyd's house. We stole everything that we could lay our hands on. She wasn't present at the time, I think on that occasion. I don't know.

CHAIRPERSON: Is that a housebreaking? Did you get into the premises?

MR ERASMUS: I think the house was actually open. My memory is a little bit unclear. We worked - if I've got the right place, and maybe we can ask Dr Floyd that, we worked on the thing that she had run or just avoided us and the house was standing open. I can't actually remember. I remember taking stuff from there, pot plants and a tent, which I think I've still got.

MR McASLIN: Mr Erasmus, could you perhaps give the - I know you've said that you don't remember the precise incidents, can you give the Committee an indication of the nature of the insults used against Dr Floyd.

MR ERASMUS: At various times I insulted her in relation to her association with Neil. I remember saying to her something about, I think the one day I saw her personally in the street, it was a - Dr Floyd, maybe you could confirm this, outside Khotso House there was a demonstration and I walked past Dr Floyd and I said to her something about which I thought was hysterical, I said: "Ah (I said) how's Neil, is he still hanging around", and I had a good laugh and my colleagues that were with me packed up laughing. I can't remember exactly what I might have said to her on the phone, maybe she could say something. I certainly remember that I did have her telephone number, I did know her address, I didn't particular concentrate, it was not my job, on her, but I knew it was in the interests of everybody to harass her and it was acceptable and whatever goes with it.

CHAIRPERSON: You say on page 7, Mr Erasmus, that this started in June 1982 and was ongoing, can you give any indication to us for how long it was ongoing for?

MR ERASMUS: I think the last time in my career that I had anything to do with Dr Floyd, would have been during the State of Emergency, during the search and at various times ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: When was that? There were so many States of Emergencies.

MR ERASMUS: I've just got to picture where I would be, probably about eight years, 1988, give or take a year. There was two States of Emergency, in '85 and '88.

CHAIRPERSON: Are you saying that this harassment of Dr Floyd lasted approximately six years?

MR ERASMUS: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Was it regular, once a month, once a week? If you can just give us some indication of how active you were in respect of Dr Floyd during that period.

MR ERASMUS: I would say more than regular, Mr Chairman, from time to time. I knew that - like I mentioned, Dr Floyd was not the Security Branch' favourite person. I'd been instructed by Cronwright at various times, who was - these types of instructions, I must tell you Mr Chairman, we disregarded totally, because we personally believed that Arthur Benoni Cronwright was insane. He would give me an instruction to kill Dr Floyd, which I recall very clearly, which I laughed, I said: "Yes Sir, I'll look at it", or something like that. I never did it.

CHAIRPERSON: You're just saying at one stage he gave you an instruction to kill her?

MR ERASMUS: Amongst many other people, yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Serious instruction?

MR ERASMUS: Serious instruction.

CHAIRPERSON: This very bottom ...:

"Dr Liz Floyd and friends"

what concerning the friends there? Page 7.

MR ERASMUS: Dr Floyd and many of our suspects lived in - I use the word selectively, Dr Floyd is sitting here once again, a commune type situation. I don't think many of our suspects stayed alone in a house. I don't want to get into that terrain as to why they did this, but if I remember correctly, and Dr Floyd could maybe say something, Dr Floyd stayed with several other people in a house. So the harassment, whoever answered that telephone, or in other cases, received the brick through the window, it would have been the friends staying in the house. It was in that sense Mr Chairman, that I put Dr Floyd and friends.

MR McASLIN: Mr Erasmus, was this harassment of Dr Floyd effective in any way?

MR ERASMUS: I didn't personally carry Dr Floyd's file or monitor Dr Floyd's telephone conversations, I would have assumed that it was probably effective.

ADV BOSMAN: Mr Erasmus, if I could just go back - I'm sorry, Mr McAslin, can I just go back one step. Did I understand you correctly that you say you are still in possession of the tent which you had taken from Dr Floyd?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Mr Chairman.

ADV BOSMAN: Have you been using this tent for your own personal purposes?

MR ERASMUS: Ma'am, my life for the last 10 years has been so upside down, I've got stuff stored that I don't even know the origins of it.

ADV BOSMAN: You haven't thought of giving it back to her since you've made your application?

MR ERASMUS: I would love to compensate Dr Floyd for it. I've certainly never used it.

ADV BOSMAN: Thank you.

MR ERASMUS: I think it was Dr Floyd's tent, it could be somebody else's tent. I don't know.

CHAIRPERSON: But when you went and illegally entered people's property, like Dr Floyd's here and stole stuff, would you keep it? I mean if you found a TV set or a bag full of money or something valuable, some jewellery lying around, would you keep it for your own purposes?

MR ERASMUS: The aim of this was never personal gain, insomuch as - I think I've said this a couple of years ago, we couldn't hand pot plants in to the SAP13 stores, so yes, I had a beautiful garden, well stocked with valuable plants. Other stuff we used for practical or tactical purposes. We would steal, for example, the bulk of this I related this as maybe just trying to demonstrate the type of frivolity that we were involved in. On the serious side, we stole things like photocopiers, typewriters, computer equipment, telephones and so on for operational experiences. I don't want to go into that now but I'll refer to that later in my amnesty application. In fact, we were going to clean out, for example, in a so-called stationery raid, the whole of Portland Place, in conjunction with Vlakplaas, but that was many years later. So to answer your question Mr Chairman, a lot of it was for operational purposes.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr McAslin.

MR McASLIN: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Leading on from the question that Mr Chairman has just asked, did you benefit financially or in any other way, you personally, from these activities?

MR ERASMUS: I suppose I did benefit but - there were things that I did keep, some which I've still got. I've got dictionaries, I've got books, I've got a clock that was the property of Mr Jay Naidoo. I have a telephone which was the property of Mr Chikane. But I think to answer that question I can honestly say the aims of these things was never personal enrichment. But yes, I would be a liar if I said I didn't. My dog wore - my Bull Mastiffs which I used to breed with, kept warm in winter with UDF T-shirts. I polished my police car a million times because I stole tons of the stuff. In that sense, I did. Yes, I did benefit.

MR McASLIN: Mr Erasmus, what was your personal motive in conducting these activities?

MR ERASMUS: Mr Chairman, I can honestly say that I detested the people that, my adversaries. I saw this in 1981, I think where I became a serious antagonist or adversary of the people that we faced and that I mention here. It was after having gone through the Ovamboland experience. I saw then what war and destruction was. I hated them, I admit it. I detested them. I regarded it as a personal crusade. I've no qualms about saying that. It was personal, a personal thing with me.

MR McASLIN: What was the nature of this crusade, who were you fighting?

MR ERASMUS: The enemies of the State, the communists, the radicals, the left-wingers, the fellow travellers, whatever terms you want to phrase them into. I believed in the national objectives very strongly. I think most security policemen do. Many of my colleagues, some of them here would be able to tell me what the national objectives were. I subscribed to their philosophy, I followed their ideology blindly, ja ...

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Erasmus, I'm not trying to get personal now but, Erasmus is an Afrikaans name, yet you're testifying in good English, are you of Afrikaans upbringing, or not? Why I ask is we hear many of the reasons given by the applicants saying that they were just brought up in a situation, conservative, influence of the church, influence of the community, influence of parents, in the Afrikaner situation. Did that apply to you or not?

MR ERASMUS: Mr Chairman, with your permission, I do come from an Afrikaans family, my family have been in this country since, I believe the first Erasmus arrived here on Jan van Riebeeck's ship. We're descendants of the great humanist, strangely enough, of a reformer and a man who fought against corruption and intolerance harder than anybody else, Tesedarius(?) Erasmus. But be that as it may, I grew up on stories about how people - my father was a pilot in the South African Air Force in Second Word War. We fought in the Boer War. Some of us as Cape, or my family as Cape Afrikaners were held for treason by the British occupying forces at that time and I saw this as, maybe an extension of that, the situation that changed to where I would maybe have to do the same thing.

I come from an Afrikaans family. I'm English speaking because my mother was English speaking, and I might add, very liberal. And I might add detested the thought of me being in the Police Force and worse of worse, in the Security Branch. Which in a strange way, Mr Chairman, stopped me, in respect for my mother, maybe going the whole way in many incidents. But that's just a personal thing.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr McAslin.

MR McASLIN: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Mr Erasmus, you mentioned earlier that you believed passionately in the national objectives, what were those objectives?

MR ERASMUS: I went on a security course in 1977, as a young security policeman, and it was drummed down our heads by all and sundry, from the top staff of the Police, in Afrikaans, the national objectives were as follows: "The pure Calvinist nationalist Afrikaner faith". A pure or purified Calvinist, Afrikaans nationalist Christian road was the only road that we would be able to save and secure this country on. I might just add at that time that I took umbrage being English speaking, an English speaking Afrikaner.

I had an interesting discourse with the course leader, who was later called Gen "Sagmoedige Neels", was his nickname, Du Plooy, who was an incredible orator. I've in fact written a whole chapter in my book about his abilities. He used to cry. He was a senior member of the Broederbond, I think probably one of the 15 or 20 most powerful people in this country. That I later found out when I read the Super Afrikaners. I said to him: "How can this Afrikaans thing, what about me", and he said: "No, but they don't quite mean it that way." And I went along with this, because after all yes, I'm English speaking but I am an Afrikaner.

MR McASLIN: Mr Erasmus, the persons who were the victims of your malicious acts, did you view them as threats to this national objective?

MR ERASMUS: Absolutely, absolutely. Absolutely, Mr Chairman.

MR McASLIN: Did you believe that the State, in general, was engaged in a war?

MR ERASMUS: I believed that and in many ways I still believe it. It was an undeclared form of warfare that we were involved in. We were very well schooled about what our opposition was capable of. Yes, most certainly.

MR McASLIN: How did you view your role in this particular process, this war process?

MR ERASMUS: It was to do the best that I could to, given the tools that we had, the security legislation and this unlimited power to carry out these things, to fight this battle, so that we encompass how I saw it at that time.

MR McASLIN: Mr Erasmus, in your 18 years with the Security Force - and you alluded to it earlier when you said that you detested, or at least didn't want to join the Army, let alone be a member of the Security Force, in your 18 years, did you ever have a change of mind?

MR ERASMUS: In 1988 I tried to leave the South African Police, it was during the State of Emergency. By then I'd become involved in very serious activities, being sponsored, sanctioned, instituted by some very serious people in the political spectrum. I began to develop nervous problems, I was drinking too much, my family was suffering and I wanted to leave. The problem was that financially I couldn't. My son, whom I'm now a single parent of and who was born in 1987 with cerebral palsy, the medial aid alone stopped me leaving. The other reason which I, the other problem that I had at the time was I feared that I would be a threat if I left at that time. I would be a threat by the knowledge that I had involving very serious people in these processes, that I would be seen as a threat to them. At later times the lessons of Motherwell were quite apparent to people like me and many of my colleagues. And ja, in another forum, ja, I was threatened and in fact am lucky to be in one piece.

MR McASLIN: Mr Erasmus, in 1991 you requested and were granted a transfer to Mossel Bay, can you tell the Committee the reasons behind that.

MR ERASMUS: Prior to my requesting a transfer to Mossel Bay, the most damning thing happened, possibly in the - or the most significant thing happened, one of the most significant things happened in the history of intelligence gathering in this country, was that it was established publicly that the Security Branch and the South African Government had been funding Inkatha and specifically UWUSA, the Zulu trade union, to the tune of R500 000. This was a top secret operation instituted, planned from the top in the post-release of Nelson Mandela, and this whole pack of cards was crumbling down.

At that stage I'd already been hospitalised, I think two, three, four times, for stress, post-traumatic stress. I then made a conscious decision I'd had enough of this, I didn't want to be part of this anymore, there was trouble coming, the ANC were in our midst, the communists were in our midst, everybody was in our midst, I wanted to get out and go to a quiet place. So I applied for a transfer and it caused me a lot of trouble. I took a transfer to Mossel Bay, that's correct.

MR McASLIN: What was the nature of that trouble that you've just referred to?

MR ERASMUS: Well at the time I thought Mossel Bay has got to be the most peaceful serene and safest place where I could go and live out the rest of my life. I would have done anything in the Police, apart from this dirty type of stuff. And that was not to be the case, because when I got down there I found out that there was straight good old corruption, as in big money changing hands all over and the State security apparatus was being used to do delightful little things, like bug the boardroom at Mosgas, secure contracts, get business enemies out of town. Certain people had tried to rape certain women, dockets were being closed by Generals and stuff like this. It was as sickening, if not more sickening that what I was experiencing in Johannesburg. I had a nervous problem at the time.

MR McASLIN: Mr Erasmus, my final question. You testified earlier that you resigned from the South African Police in May of 1993, what were your reasons for that?

MR ERASMUS: Sorry, I didn't resign, I was boarded with post-traumatic stress and depression, in 1993.

MR McASLIN: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR McASLIN

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr Pollock, do you have any questions you'd like to put to Mr Erasmus?

MR POLLOCK: Not at this time, no.

NO QUESTIONS BY MR POLLOCK

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Bizos.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR BIZOS: Mr Erasmus, I'm going to take a little time about what was happening at John Vorster Square at the time that over 50 people were detained in what was known as the Barbara Hogan Investigation, under the stewardship of Major and later, Col Cronwright. Firstly, who was the Head of the Security Branch in 1981/82 at John Vorster Square?

INTERPRETER: The speaker's microphone.

MR ERASMUS: Sorry. Mr Chairman, the Divisional Commissioner was - was it Hennie Muller or his successor ...

CHAIRPERSON: 1981/'82.

MR ERASMUS: Sorry, I'm just trying to orientate myself.

MR BIZOS: Muller, it was Muller wasn't it?

MR ERASMUS: Brig Hennie Muller, ja.

MR BIZOS: Yes, because he gave evidence about ...

MR ERASMUS: It was during - it was Muller that went with us to Head Office and by the time I appeared in court, Malan had taken over. Gen Malan, L P E Malan, Louwtjie Malan took over just prior, I think, to the actual inquest itself being held, but during the investigation - sorry Mr Chairman, to answer Mr Bizos' question, Brig Muller, Hennie Muller.

MR BIZOS: Brig Muller. Now you had been in the Security Police since 1977, is that right?

MR ERASMUS: That's correct.

MR BIZOS: When you went into the Security Police, did you attend any course of have any training as to how a good security policeman was to interrogate people?

MR ERASMUS: Mr Chairman, I was sent on what they called a basic security course, at the Police College in Pretoria, in February 1978.

MR BIZOS: Who ran that course at the Police College?

MR ERASMUS: The course, I'd say head, for lack of a better term, was the man that I referred to earlier on, Brig du Plooy. He was a very, very senior security policeman. That was his defined role in the Security Branch, he was this genius on intelligence matters and an expert on communism. We were told about he'd lectured at universities, written papers for UNISA, published things and heaven only knows what Du Plooy was, but he knew everything that there was to know about communism, Christianity and this satanic threat that we faced. He was the course leader.

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, Mr Erasmus, what Mr Bizos asked you is, was there anything about interrogation methods in that course?

MR ERASMUS: Oh, I didn't quite hear him. Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you receive any training as how to interrogate a suspect?

MR ERASMUS: Yes, we were given - on that issue there was various people that presented various facets on the course, the Brig himself, Du Plooy lectured us on interrogations, how to interrogate a detainee, how to get information out of a detainee. I made notes at the time, in a book which I still have, relating to that.

MR BIZOS: You made notes in a book which you still have. Did you make a copy of a page for my instructing attorney, Mr Mayet?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Mr Chairman.

MR BIZOS: Is this what you handed over to Mr Mayet? Stay there ... Mr Chairman, we've had it transcribed and also translated into English.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes thank you Mr Bizos, ...

MR ERASMUS: That is correct, this is the copy.

MR BIZOS: Can we call the original of that ...

CHAIRPERSON: Exhibit A.

MR BIZOS: Exhibit A, and the Afrikaans transcription.

CHAIRPERSON: A1.

MR BIZOS: A1.

CHAIRPERSON: And the English translation A2. I think that will be the best way to do it, Mr Bizos. So it's A, is the hand-written notes, A1 is the transcription of that, the typed transcription, and A2 is the English translation of that.

So you took these notes as a student Constable, or at this training course during 1978?

MR ERASMUS: That's correct, Mr Chairman.

MR BIZOS: Shall we read the English into the record, Mr Chairman?

CHAIRPERSON: Yes.

MR BIZOS:

"Ability to resist: Memory replacement can consist of the following steps:

(1) Attack on persons identified.

(2) Developing feelings of guilt.

(3) Self betrayal: Forced admission of his wrongdoing. He, of necessity also names his friends. Now he has betrayed them.

(4) Total fear: Fear that he can be destroyed at any moment.

(5) Attitude of leniency towards the detainee: He now feels like a person again. Co-operation.

(6) Forced to make admissions: The detainee comes to the conclusion that he has only one chance to live and that is to admit.

(7) Channelising of guilt feelings: He condemns himself for what he has done.

(8) Stage of re-education: Everything about him is wrong. To change into a new being.

(9) Stage of progress and harmony.

(10) The final admission and rounding it off: In his heart he believes the interrogators are correct, he is wrong."

Are those the notes that you made?

MR ERASMUS: Yes, I would go along with that translation, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

MR BIZOS: Now let us deal with point number (4). Was there any discussion how to inspire total fear, fear that he can be destroyed at any moment? How was that to be achieved, was that discussed at this seminar?

MR ERASMUS: This is many, many years ago, but it certainly was ...

MR BIZOS: Try and recall to the best of your ability, how you were to try and achieve that.

MR ERASMUS: We were basically told that each interrogation would be different but there were certain - these were general sort of guidelines which could be employed in the interrogation of somebody and effectively the aim of the interrogation was to break them. The best scenario would be to break that person, that detainee to the point where, I think it might have been mentioned this morning, where that person became one of your agents, or at least made a confession or turned State evidence. This was the aim, I think I'm safe terrain to say this would encompass what this was all about. The actual methods, Mr Chairman, to answer Mr Bizos, that you employed were never really discussed, but it was general knowledge, and not only in the Security Police, but things like, which we called Radio Moscow, were available freely, all over. Shock machines and the like. So the amount of the physical application or side of this was very much your prerogative.

MR BIZOS: Give us some examples. You said - what was Radio Moscow, by the way? What is that?

MR ERASMUS: Radio Moscow was a term that we used, especially on the border, whereby these olden day, old fashioned telephones, I don't know the exact technical term f or them, these farm telephones where you had ...(intervention)

MR BIZOS: A crank?

MR ERASMUS: With a crank. ... if you open that piece of apparatus, that is an electrical generator from which two wires lead, a positive and a negative and if you hold those wires and you turn that handle you get a substantial electric shock. I'd seen this at Bedfordview Police Station in fact, there was Detectives that used these methods to get information in their day to day work. Other standard things were a wet sack over the head. These were methods, as I understood it with my arrival in the Police Force, which had been used for many years. But more so, by the Security Branch. Radio Moscow was beautiful in the sense that it didn't leave marks, if used correctly. Some of us ...

MR BIZOS: What about sleep depravation, standing, isolation, were those things generally know in the Security Force?

MR ERASMUS: I wanted to embark on that avenue. A very good way of breaking somebody, obviously the best way, was the mental thing, you didn't have to worry about Inspectors of Detainees, District Surgeons, Attorneys representing detainees and the rest of it. It was quite simply to keep the person awake, sleep depravation. I can't remember on that course, but I remember personally learning and being told a lot about it and in fact being part of situations where this technique, as it were, was applied right over my career. Quite simply, the detained person was kept away. Shifts were set up. At various times, not necessarily during this investigation, people from other units on the Security Branch were seconded to the Investigation Unit, where they would help in this process. You'd work two-two shifts, three eight hour shifts a day, twenty four hours a day and the person would simply be kept awake, either made to - anything that couldn't be traced by a doctor. Physical exercise, simply being spoken to, played loud music to, ignored or whatever, you just couldn't go to sleep. He would then become disorientated, confused, start contradicting himself and of course, making admissions. That was, quite simply I think put, the aims of sleep depravation. It also couldn't be traced.

MR BIZOS: Where was your office in December '81 to February '82?

MR ERASMUS: My office was Room 903, I was on the 9th floor at John Vorster Square.

MR BIZOS: Where in John Vorster Square?

MR ERASMUS: On the 9th floor, Mr Bizos.

MR BIZOS: On the 9th floor?

MR ERASMUS: Ja.

MR BIZOS: Now were the 9th and 10th floors occupied only by the Security Police?

MR ERASMUS: Yes, they were restricted areas, in terms of, I can't remember what Act, but there'd be signs up all over, they were occupied by the Security Police, ja.

MR BIZOS: Did you have access to the 10th floor?

MR ERASMUS: Relatively free access. There was a stage when Cronwright banned me and a fellow security policeman, but this was over the national front and the internal politics and nazism and other matters. He just didn't want us on his floor.

CHAIRPERSON: But during the period December '81 to February '82, did you have unrestricted access to the 10th floor?

MR ERASMUS: Yes.

MR BIZOS: Were you aware whether or not interrogations were taking place on the 9th and/or 10th floor during this period?

MR ERASMUS: I was aware, Mr Chairman.

MR BIZOS: Were you aware whether or not these methods that you have described, were being applied to the various detainees that were detained at that time?

MR ERASMUS: I was aware, yes, I was aware.

MR BIZOS: Do you recall that over 50 people were detained during that period?

MR ERASMUS: I do, Mr Chairman, I recall that I was given little tasks to do, as were everybody on the Security Branch, because there were a lot of people in detention, their incoming passes had to be monitored. We were an operation and little things to go and do, go and check up on an address. Just minor stuff. I was after all a very junior member on the Security Branch and a field operative, not an investigator.

MR BIZOS: Did you yourself take part in any of the interrogations?

MR ERASMUS: No, not in this particular instance.

MR BIZOS: Did you take any part in what were described as night nurse activity, that in order to give the senior interrogators a opportunity to rest, that people that would just keep the detainee aware and tired and exhaust him? Did you take part in any of those things at the time?

MR ERASMUS: Not during the Barbara Hogan investigation.

MR BIZOS: Now during this period we know from numerous statements taken from people, that very heavy handed torture was taking place on the 9th and 10th floors of John Vorster Square, something which, judging by some applications for amnesty, even though the allegations were denied at the time, are now apparently admitted. Did you become aware that torture was going on? From people shouting, from people ... from Security Police talking it, did you become that torture was taking place?

MR ERASMUS: Yes, I did Mr Chairman.

MR BIZOS: How did you become aware?

MR ERASMUS: I'd heard during various excursions to the 10th floor, I had friend on the Investigation Branch, they would talk about it, it would be discussed at tea tables, coffee tables, the progress on occasion, as to how far each interrogation was. It was generally talked about. Progress reports were made. On a more personal and direct level, I heard people screaming behind locked doors on the 10th floor, personally. Yes, I was aware. I many times saw the detainees being taken down to the cells in various stages of distress, crying, upset, shattered, whatever, with their leg-irons on and their handcuffs. I was aware that these methods were being employed.

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, Mr Bizos, if I might just intervene.

You said you heard, even yourself personally, people screaming behind locked doors on the 10th floor. Was the torture confined to the 10th floor, or did it also take place on the 9th floor?

MR ERASMUS: At that stage it was totally on the 10th floor. There was a soundproof room that was used, but I think Mr Bizos might agree that because there were so many people in detention at that time, all of these doors were being locked. It was actually a problem, because some of the detainees shouldn't have seen some of the others and been exposed to them, so there was this continual shiga shucking as it were, you stay in the office while this one gets taken out to the cells, close this door and this type of stuff. The circumstances weren't right to handle. That I remember clearly at this time.

MR BIZOS: Was there a darkroom on the 10th floor, a room in which the windows were covered with blankets?

MR ERASMUS: There was. I think they referred to it as - they had a joke about it, "Die Warekamer" or something.

MR LAX: The what?

MR ERASMUS: The "Truth Room", "Die Warekamer".

MR BIZOS: Oh, "Die Waarheid".

MR ERASMUS: It was a strongroom with steel doors.

MR BIZOS: Yes. I don't suppose they realised that they may have to appear before a Truth Commission themselves one day, with lights and television cameras. But be that as it may.

This Truth Room, could you hear screams from that room from time to time?

MR ERASMUS: I very much doubt that, Mr Chairman. I later worked literally at an office in one of those identically designed, in fact on the 9th floor, and when that door was closed it was very much soundproof. The door was - I'd estimate now, I'm not very good at judging distances, a strongroom door with multiple bolts and a handle it was probably about eight inches thick. The walls were thick as well.

MR BIZOS: Did it resemble the door of a large cold-room, or possibly a strong safe?

MR ERASMUS: Yes.

MR BIZOS: Did disorientation play any role in the interrogation process? If you were in that room or one of the other rooms, if the windows were covered with blankets, would you know whether it was day or night?

MR ERASMUS: You wouldn't have know whether it was day or not. I happened to have learnt quite a lot about that because at times that was something that fascinated me and that I applied myself, the disorientation. I should have mentioned that earlier on, I would have mentioned that earlier on. Disorientating, along with sleep depravation would bring about this disorientation. I remember in my own circumstances the detainees, because of the length of time and that, would forget what day it was, the time of night. Most certainly, yes.

MR BIZOS: You say that you heard screams on the 10th floor, where was Brig Muller's office.

MR ERASMUS: Brig Muller's office was on the 9th floor, directly under the office of, almost directly under the office of Maj Cronwright. The offices on the 9th floor were set out almost rank-wise as well. When you came in from the lifts into the Security Branch, you had the most junior members of staff there...

MR BIZOS: Nearest to the lifts?

MR ERASMUS: Ja, heading down, or the other way. You are familiar with those offices, Mr Bizos, the Brigadier sat at the other extreme end of the passage.

MR BIZOS: But see, I applied for an inspection in loco when the inquest was first called and the Magistrate, Mr de Kock said that it would be unfair to surprise the Security Police in John Vorster Square, if we went there unannounced. But be that as it may. From where Brig Muller was, would he heard the screams that you heard?

MR ERASMUS: I don't know if it was during this - no, it wasn't. I doubt it, Mr Bizos. I would say ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Did you hear the screams while you were on the 9th floor, coming from the 10th floor?

MR ERASMUS: No, no.

CHAIRPERSON: Or would it be when you were up on the 10th floor that you heard screams?

MR ERASMUS: Mr Chairman, there was too much noise in that building, to hear that type of sound. You must remember that those buildings are directly adjacent to the highway. It was terrible actually working there. That's why the big shots sat at the furthest end, they were the furthest away from the noise. The more junior you were, the closer you were to the lifts and to the highway. No, you wouldn't have heard anything, no.

MR BIZOS: Did Brig Muller go up to the 9th floor from time to time?

MR ERASMUS: To the 10th floor.

MR BIZOS: 10th floor, I beg your pardon. Did he go up to the 10th floor from time to time?

MR ERASMUS: I should imagine he did, he was the Commanding Officer of the whole place. I can't say that I personally can recollect that he went up there.

MR BIZOS: I want to deal with the death of Dr Neil Aggett. Was there any great apprehension about the consequences of that death among the Security Police?

MR ERASMUS: Most certainly, Mr Chairman.

MR BIZOS: What was the reaction?

MR ERASMUS: I know, not only from the discussions in that period of time but what I was told in the Commissioner's office in Pretoria, was that quite simply, the State could not afford another Steve Biko incident. The damage with Biko had been incalculable. We were told as well that literally no effort or expense, every bit of available resources, available to the Security Branch, had to be utilised in winning the Aggett Inquest. They could not afford another Biko thing where the State had emerged in a bad way.

MR BIZOS: Yes. Well I don't know if the State emerged victorious in the Biko case, it may be that the Magistrate exonerated them, and I don't know to what extent that finding was accepted. But what steps were being contemplated and taken in order to win, so to speak, the Aggett Inquest?

MR ERASMUS: Well the incident that I related earlier on, us being sent on this hair raising mission impossible around the country, to try and prove that a primary school child, even in those days and in my stupidity, it was a good joy-ride, I wasn't very optimistic about the results. We had a State Psychologist that Whitehead reported to every day on the matter, that guided this whole thing.

MR BIZOS: Just tell us, what do you say that the State Psychologist did?

MR ERASMUS: The Chief State Psychologist was even brought in to advise about what evidence we should look for and be available twenty four hours a day to analyse anything that we did find.

MR BIZOS: In order to show that Dr Aggett was a natural candidate for suicide?

MR ERASMUS: Yes.

MR BIZOS: Now you said before I asked you any questions, that there were doubts about Major, later Col Cronwright's sanity. Why do you say that?

MR ERASMUS: This isn't easy but it's a fact. What I say now is not personal, I don't want to be seen as personally attacking Mr Cronwright, Col Cronwright ...(intervention)

MR BIZOS: We only expect you to tell us the truth.

MR ERASMUS: At various times, Mr Bizos - I was called one night to his house at 2 o'clock in the morning and I was given an instruction to kill the Station Commander at Florida Police Station, a fellow policeman, and there was a guy with me. Cronwright was a raving lunatic, he was a Nazi, self-confessed, he hated Jews, Indians, blacks and everybody that wasn't in his line of thinking, a human being. In no particular order. At various times he would call the entire staff together, he would give us money out of the Secret Fund, and if this - if I can introduce a lighter note to this rather weighty thing, we were the best customers of the carnival of novelty in Johannesburg. We bought their entire stock of sneezing powder, catapults, stink bombs and everything that went with it, and Cronwright would simply sit and rant and rave like the madman he was and say: "I want these people wiped out". And in your case, Mr Bizos, ... ja, I don't know that you honestly survived this, because he hated you with a passion that was unbelievable. You were George the Greek, and the rest - there's ladies present here. No effort was spared with anything that Cronwright did. And in a perverse way - I would like to just mention something as well, Arthur Cronwright was thrown down the steps and had his spine broken during an investigation in 1974, and maybe that motivated him. In which case there should be, certainly from my side, I saw another side of him and I felt sorry for him. I'm just mentioning that. But I think it would be fair to say and I'm not a psychologist, and maybe I shouldn't make statements like this, Col Cronwright was imbalance, at the very least.

MR BIZOS: In order to win the Aggett Inquest, do you know whether there were any rehearsals as to how to beat the cross-examination?

MR ERASMUS: I'd become - yes, there was. Mock trials, is that what you mean? Mock trials were held solidly. At various time various people played the roles of yourself, Whitehead, the Magistrate, the State Attorney's, everything. Yes, mock trials were held flat out. At that stage I'd become friends with Whitehead and I used to take him out, because he was under the stress thing, to help him recover from these sessions.

MR BIZOS: The sessions that he had at in court or the sessions that he had with his colleagues?

MR ERASMUS: Well the sessions that he had with his colleagues were not half as bad as the sessions that he had with yourself, Mr Bizos, because ... ja, he was under a lot of pressure at that time.

MR BIZOS: Did you bug telephones?

MR ERASMUS: Across the board, everybody that was involved, including yourself. I know about your office, I'm not certain if it was your home or your office, they had a difficulty in planting a bug, either at your office or at your home. I was never directly involved in that, but all the key players in the inquest, WH10, WH11 and Tomatoes. Tomatoes are planted bugs, that was the terminology that we used.

MR BIZOS: With a Tomato you could actually hear the conversation in a whole room and not merely when one was speaking on the telephone?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct.

MR BIZOS: Did anybody tell that bugging my office to hear what I was going to cross-examine about, wasn't going to be very helpful, because I never kept to the text?

MR ERASMUS: I don't know, Mr Chairman.

MR BIZOS: I want to ask you about one thing that happened in the inquest. Mr Pete Scarboard SC, now a Judge of the High Court, stood up and said that the Security Police were lying when they said publicly in court that counsel, that is Mr Scarboard and Mr Burger, had sent you to the Aggett home. Were there any suggestions in your ranks to put the blame on the lawyers for what happened at the Aggett home? On their own lawyers.

MR ERASMUS: Sir, I can honestly say I know - I don't know enough detail to give you maybe an answer, but I know there was so much stories, lies, hard truths, half truths about that whole inquest and so much attention on it that it would be very hard to say with definite, to say with conviction that that was the case. I'm not certain. I remember the little stories surrounding that.

MR BIZOS: After the Aggett death were there any change in procedures, in order to safeguard the safety of the other detainees?

MR ERASMUS: Yes, the introduction of video cameras into the cells, I think took place directly after that and twenty four hours surveillance of the detainee in the cells, security cells at John Vorster.

MR BIZOS: What about the methods that were used on the 9th and 10th floors, did they stop after the death of Dr Neil Aggett? Or were they modified?

MR ERASMUS: I could maybe answer that question by talking about a secondment that I received after I had traced and arrested the ANC bomber, Marion Sparg. I was seconded to the Investigation Unit. I would also like to make it pertinently clear that not everybody wanted to use third degree methods on detainees. And I remember being given the detainee or the accused, Steven Peter Whitehead - I've got Whitehead on the brain, Steven Marais had been arrested. I did his interrogation and a different method was employed there, I was told "no third degree methods. You use your mind, it's you against him, take your time. We've got - the State had time. We're going to do this and we'll do it properly." There was also an Inspector of Detainees, which from time to time was also confused, I know of cases where somebody played the role of the District Surgeon and maybe a Magistrate and so on. Sometimes with hilarious results.

CHAIRPERSON: What Mr Bizos asked you was, after the death of Dr Aggett in custody, did this torture and third degree continue? We accept that not everybody who was interrogated was tortured, but as far as you are aware, we don't want to know what you think but what you know, did unlawful methods of interrogation persist in John Vorster Square, after the death of Dr Aggett?

MR ERASMUS: Yes, oh yes, yes. I can say that because I was personally guilty of it or involved in it. I have slapped detainees on the 10th floor at John Vorster Square.

MR BIZOS: I want to turn to the circumstances under which you came to take responsibility of Lieut Whitehead's ideas and doings. You say that you took your file away when you retired from the Police Services, are those documents in a safe place?

MR ERASMUS: Mr Chairman, these documents have travelled to London, they've been buried in the Knysna Forest, they've been in bank vaults, they were protected by Mrs Winnie Mandela at one stage, they've been made available to the TRC. They've since been photocopied, changed, whatever. Many of them do survive yes, the originals do survive.

MR BIZOS: Now you say that the handwriting is that of the Head of the Security Police and later Commissioner of Police, Johan Coetzee. Do you know whether anybody has made any comparative study of that handwriting?

MR ERASMUS: I don't know of that. In fact I doubt it. I must point out, I'm not one hundred percent certain that it was ... it's one of the three, it was him, Broodryk or Viljoen.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Erasmus this statement, page 119, so you went on the 14th of May to Pretoria, where you met the General and these other three people, when you went there were you armed with this typed document that was going to be your statement?

MR ERASMUS: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: You then sat down with these people and they discussed it and you were told to leave the room from time to time and then certain amendments were made by one of those three people, probably Gen Coetzee's, as far as you can recall. Although, it looks like there might even be two different handwritings, I don't know.

MR ERASMUS: That is possible, that is possible.

CHAIRPERSON: And then you signed it with these hand-written amendments? Is that what happened?

MR ERASMUS: That's right.

CHAIRPERSON: And when you left that room this was your statement, as it is here?

MR ERASMUS: I remember, Mr Chairman, sitting there for a long time, the statement - why I conclude, first point, that it was Gen Viljoen(sic), was that it was his office and his desk, a huge desk with the flags on and the monuments and everything. He had the stuff lying in front of him, both the other two were standing at the time he was sitting reading like this. There was a little anteroom where I was told to go and sit. I was like I said, party to some of the discussions and obviously when they didn't want me to hear certain things, I was excluded. I sat in this, like his Secretary's little anteroom and this was brought to me and they said: "No, we must rather say this", with this handwriting on. I concluded simply, that it was Coetzee's handwriting. It was definitely one of those three people.

CHAIRPERSON: Because if you read the typed version, there already in the typed version, forget about the handwriting, there's this story about going to investigate Gavin Anderson. I was probably under the incorrect impression that that only cropped up when you were at the office with Coetzee, the story about "go and say that you were there to investigate Anderson", but it's already in the typed which you said when you went there you had.

MR ERASMUS: There must have been - I know that the statements were typed there, that I know.

CHAIRPERSON: Were typed there at Pretoria?

MR ERASMUS: At Pretoria.

CHAIRPERSON: On the 14th when you were there?

MR ERASMUS: Yes Mr Chairman.

MR BIZOS: You say that the typewritten statement was to exonerate Whitehead, was typed in Pretoria?

MR ERASMUS: These statements, yes.

MR BIZOS: And the typewritten statement was added to or corrected in Pretoria.

MR ERASMUS: In Pretoria, that's correct. Mr Chairman, maybe this would help you, my original statement contained my ... which is an honest thing of the facts, that isn't available, I don't know what happened to that. They probably kept it there or whatever. And I'm a bit confused, because it was a draft but yet another statement and another statement and another statement.

MR BIZOS: Can you recall where the first statement was taken?

MR ERASMUS: I made my first statement at John Vorster Square.

MR BIZOS: But this one that you signed has got Johannesburg written on it, was any portion of the original statement kept and retyped?

MR ERASMUS: This must have been a second, the one that I've got here on page 120, you're right Mr Bizos, I see already includes the Gavin Anderson story. This must have been the second or third or the final version of what went into the final statement, because the story about Gavin Anderson didn't exist until we went to the Commissioner's office.

CHAIRPERSON: Then you must have gone to the Commissioner's office twice.

MR ERASMUS: No.

CHAIRPERSON: Then why would they say that this statement was - why put Johannesburg there and not Pretoria? You say that you went from Johannesburg to Pretoria, armed with a statement, your own truthful statement of which we don't have a copy and that when you were at Pretoria this version about Gavin Anderson was born.

MR ERASMUS: That's correct, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: And then somebody must have typed it out, typed it in form, quite a long statement, and then after it was typed out, while you were still in Pretoria, these hand-written additions were made to it. But why would the person who typed it out say it was typed in Johannesburg?

MR ERASMUS: For obvious reasons, Mr Chairman, I was stationed in Johannesburg.

CHAIRPERSON: Unless ...(indistinct) typed and you went back and it was typed in Jo'burg, then you went ...

MR ERASMUS: No, no. I was stationed in Johannesburg, it would have obviously been very suspicious for a statement of this nature to have been done in Pretoria, when I was ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: So there was no reason for it to have been taken in Pretoria, official reason? So you're saying they put Johannesburg there just as part of the cover-up?

MR ERASMUS: That's correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Mr Bizos.

MR BIZOS: Just for the purposes of the record, can you please try and read the alterations in paragraph 6 on page 121.

MR ERASMUS: I must confess I battle to read this. Do you want me to read it?

MR BIZOS: Yes, please.

MR ERASMUS:

"Thursday 82.03.04 at 15H30, I was instructed by Brig H C Muller to accompany Lieut S P Whitehead on (addition above it) the investigation. (I can't see what has been crossed out) referred to in paragraph 3 above, also to investigate the background of the late Dr Aggett, and we departed the same day for the Cape."

This must have been changed somewhere during that day, I don't think my final statement included this. I don't know, I'm suggesting something.

MR BIZOS: Yes, carry on.

MR ERASMUS:

"During the following nine days our enquiries took us to various places. During the course of our investigation information was received that Gavin Anderson was living at the home of Dr Neil Aggett's parents in Somerset West. As I was well acquainted with Gavin Anderson, it was decided that I should visit the Aggett residence under the cover of Paul Edwards, Private Investigator, with the view of ..."

I can't read the next word.

MR BIZOS: Arresting, possibly?

MR ERASMUS:

"... arresting Gavin Anderson and also if possible, to obtain information in regard to the background of the late Dr Aggett."

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, Mr Bizos.

Why didn't you initial these amendments and additions? Because normally, and you as a policeman should know, Mr Erasmus, that if you get a statement like this and there's these additions, and even the addition after the signature of an additional paragraph, that it's very basic for the deponent to initial the amendments and/or alterations or insertions, to indicate that he or she is aware of them. Why was it just left like this, because anybody who disputes this statement can come and say: "Well look, I know nothing about these additions, I didn't initial them, somebody must have put them there afterwards".

MR ERASMUS: Mr Chairman, quite simply that is why I say this was not my final statement, my final statement was typed and all of this would have been included and/or changed. If there had been any amendments it would have been as you say, Mr Chairman, initialled and paragraphed and everything.

MR BIZOS: Go to paragraph 10, because I'm going to put a question you see, that whoever made these changes may have had a good reason to ...(indistinct) changes, but let's just have clarity on the text.

CHAIRPERSON: Paragraph 10, that is on page 122.

MR BIZOS: Yes.

"... presently living and see to obtain data in regard to the background of the late Dr Aggett."

Is that correct?

MR ERASMUS: Yes, Mr Chairman.

MR BIZOS: Now let's go to paragraph 17.

"Again, I never intended to trespass and entered with the intent, if possible, to apprehend the suspect and also to get information in regard to the late Dr Aggett past history."

Now can we please try and read paragraph 19.

MR ERASMUS: Paragraph 19, Mr Chairman?

MR BIZOS: Yes, the additional paragraph.

MR ERASMUS:

"I was never instructed by Brig Muller or any other superior officer or colleague ... have to conduct the investigation into the past history of the late Dr Aggett and the methods used were planned solely by (myself is crossed out) Lieut Whitehead and myself."

MR BIZOS: Now you see I'm going to venture a suggestion that the typewritten statement without these additions would have been contradicted by the transcript of the tape recording and this is why they were put in.

MR ERASMUS: All I can say in response to that is, I'm not quite certain. Part of this whole picture was that I was this over zealous young investigator that had been presented with an opportunity. I knew about the Aggett investigation, so I took that gap as it were.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but do you agree with Mr Bizosí theory that ...(intervention)

MR ERASMUS: That it contradicts the tape?

CHAIRPERSON: ... without those additions it would be difficult to explain the contents of the tape where you're asking for photographs of Dr Aggett, etcetera? So to bring in the Dr Aggett element you explained to an extent, the contents of the tape.

MR ERASMUS: Right. Ja, I would agree with that. I don't know what ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: If you take a look at paragraph 18, it says:

"I have a complete tape recording of my visit to the Aggett home and attach hereto the transcription."

So that transcription which appears elsewhere in this bundle, was actually part of this statement.

MR ERASMUS: But not in the final inquest, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: ...(indistinct - no microphone) paragraph 18, page 124, it's part of it, it's attached.

MR ERASMUS: On this statement, yes. Well that would make sense how come this was in my personal file, but I'm still maintaining that this statement wasn't the final statement that was used in my trial in Somerset West.

CHAIRPERSON: Was the transcript used at your trial?

MR ERASMUS: Not that I know of. This, Mr Chairman, comes out of my personal file, not out of anywhere else.

CHAIRPERSON: But your trial didn't deal with pointing of a firearm and attempted murder, etcetera, did it?

MR ERASMUS: I think with me ... ja, no it didn't.

CHAIRPERSON: Because those were withdrawn, those charges, they weren't actually made against you and you went and pleaded to something else about ...(intervention)

MR ERASMUS: Illegal search.

CHAIRPERSON: ... illegal search and got you a R200 fine. Mr Bizos.

MR BIZOS: Now you mentioned something that there were attempts to withdraw the charges against you and ...(indistinct), do you recall that?

MR ERASMUS: Against myself or?

MR BIZOS: By the Attorney-General, to withdraw the charges. Do you recall that?

MR ERASMUS: Yes, Mr Chairman.

MR BIZOS: But do you recall that there was a gentlemen called William Lane from Bell Dewar and Hall, who was writing demanding letters to the Attorney-General, as to what is going to happen, at the instance of the father of Neil Aggett, Mr Aggett, who took a very poor view of policemen breaking into his premises? Do you recall that, was that ...

MR ERASMUS: I vaguely recall something like that, Mr Chairman.

MR BIZOS: Yes, and it was the Attorney-General who said no, there was no breaking in, I've got a tape recording, and Mr William Lane wrote back and said well, that's interesting, let's have a copy. Do you recall that?

MR ERASMUS: I don't. I wouldn't have been party to that type of communication.

MR BIZOS: So that when an offence was shown to have been committed, even on the tape, of gaining entry by false pretences and bribery of a domestic assistant, Mr Willie Lane insisted on a prosecution. Do you recall that?

MR ERASMUS: Not directly.

MR BIZOS: But in any event, the withdrawal by the Attorney-General was out of the question, because of the high profile of the case and the publicity that it was given.

MR ERASMUS: Okay, I would agree with that, yes.

MR BIZOS: Do you know the circumstances under which Lieut Whitehead's statement was taken?

MR ERASMUS: I'm afraid I don't, I cannot recall with any accuracy. I do know that his statement was discussed during our visit that morning, that was parts that I was excluded from the conversation. I don't know those circumstances.

MR BIZOS: Bear with me for a moment, Mr Chairman.

Now would you please have a look at page 131, there is an inscription, A26, on top. Is this a copy of the statement at page 120, without the reference number to the docket and the number of the statement as it was filed in the docket?

MR ERASMUS: That's correct. I've just noticed that now.

MR BIZOS: So it means that the - who was the investigating officer?

MR ERASMUS: In Somerset West? I don't know.

MR BIZOS: It means that whoever the investigating officer was, or at any rate before the Attorney-General there must have been the statement A26 before the hand-written alterations were made.

MR ERASMUS: I can't comment, Mr Chairman.

MR BIZOS: Is page 136 what you received after the fine was paid, from the Magistrate's Court?

MR ERASMUS: That's the receipt from the court, that's correct.

MR BIZOS: And you say you got this money from the Special Fund?

MR ERASMUS: At Head Office. Correct Mr Chairman.

MR BIZOS: Did policeman who committed offences without the authority of their superiors, have their fines paid out of Special Funds?

MR ERASMUS: I would suggest it's possible, I don't know. I paid fines myself out of Secret Funds on other occasions, so yes, it's possible.

MR BIZOS: Was this because of the undercover work that you were doing?

MR ERASMUS: Correct. Also the lousy salary, ja.

MR BIZOS: Did it come to your notice that an application before the Magistrate succeeded to call, if need be, all the people that were interrogated on John Vorster Square in relation to this investigation in the Aggett Inquest, did you hear about that?

MR ERASMUS: I misunderstood the first part of your ...

MR BIZOS: Did you hear when the Aggett Inquest started, whether an application succeeded to call what we call similar fact evidence, that it wasn't only Dr Aggett that was assaulted and kept awake and tortured, but everybody that was, or most if not all the people that were there were similarly tortured?

MR ERASMUS: I can recollect that, Mr Chairman.

MR BIZOS: And was the reaction, what was the reaction of the people there to the possibility of having more than a platoon of detainees?

MR ERASMUS: Mr Chairman, I remember the one statement was by Morris Smithers, I believe ...(intervention)

MR BIZOS: Morris Smithers?

MR ERASMUS: Ja, he said that he saw sweat - it's coming to me now, he saw sweat on Dr Aggett's forehead. I can't remember where I heard that ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: I think you're misunderstanding Mr Bizosí question. Mr Bizos said: "Did you hear that during the course of the inquest an application was made to allow evidence to be led at the inquest about what we call in law, similar fact evidence?" In other words, you can lead evidence about Mr X and Mrs Y and Mr Z being tortured, to establish a type of modus operandi or common practice and that the inquest allowed, the Presiding Officer allowed evidence to be received concerning the torture of other people other than Dr Aggett. Did you hear about that?

MR ERASMUS: Yes, I recall that.

CHAIRPERSON: At the time, did you hear about that?

MR ERASMUS: Yes, I did.

CHAIRPERSON: And now Mr Bizos is saying: "Well once that application was allowed to lead in this similar evidence, what was the reaction generally by your colleagues in John Vorster Square?"

MR ERASMUS: Panic, disturbance. I remember that upheaval. That's why I started to mention - sorry, Mr Chairman, the thing about one of the statements was the thing about the sweat, that I remember now.

MR BIZOS: You say that there was panic, who panicked?

MR ERASMUS: Everybody was running around, the Investigation Branch, the people involved in this. I sat and I drank coffee with them every day, I played tennis with Whitehead every second day, we went for drinks every second day with these people. I remember the talk.

MR BIZOS: And what was the counter-plan, what did they say, what were they going to do?

MR ERASMUS: I don't recall, Mr Chairman, I really cannot recall. I don't know what was finally decided about that.

MR BIZOS: And you say that you recall a conversation about Smithers having seen sweat down the face of the late Dr Aggett.

MR ERASMUS: That I recall.

MR BIZOS: In what context did you hear that?

MR ERASMUS: I'm just trying to work it out. I think I was told - I recall something about one of the detainees, Mr Smithers, stating that he had seen Neil sweating, he'd seen him through this glass. That I recall now, now that you mention it. During this staying awake thing or whatever. I remember the thing about the sweat.

MR BIZOS: Do you recall that one of the offices on the 10th floor was the office of a Security Police officer called Mogorro?

MR ERASMUS: Yes, I remember him.

MR BIZOS: What was the position of the African members and Coloured members of the Security Police, were they trusted?

MR ERASMUS: For the best part, yes. At John Vorster Square anyway, yes.

MR BIZOS: And did they see what was happening on the 10th floor?

MR ERASMUS: Yes. Not always, but yes.

MR BIZOS: And were they the people that brought, at times, the exhausted detainees away from the interrogation room down to the cells?

MR ERASMUS: That would be correct.

MR BIZOS: Would they have been able to see the miserable condition in which the detainees left the 10th floor of John Vorster Square?

MR ERASMUS: I'm quite certain, yes.

MR BIZOS: Was there any attempt after this panic button was pushed, to get the African members of the Force and the Coloured members of the Force to stand by them, that nothing wrong had ever happened on the 10th floor?

MR ERASMUS: Not that I'm personally aware of.

MR SIBANYONI: Sorry Mr Bizos, there is something which I want to clarify.

What was the role of these African or Coloured members of the Security Force, were they also participating in the interrogation of detainees?

MR ERASMUS: I cannot say, Sir, on this particular matter, but on occasions, yes they did.

MR SIBANYONI: Would they also be allocated detainees to investigate, or were they just serving as a backup or assisting the white members?

MR ERASMUS: Yes, there was occasions when this happened, yes, absolutely, but I can't say in relation to this particular event. There was Coloured and black members of the Security Police that worked on the Investigation Branch on the 10th floor, that had offices there and that assisted with the interrogations and that performed various functions.

MR SIBANYONI: But the crux of my question is, would a black or a Coloured be allocated a case to lead the investigation?

MR ERASMUS: Yes. Not relating to this, but yes, yes. They did, yes.

MR SIBANYONI: Thank you, Mr Bizos.

MR BIZOS: Mr Chairman, it may be a convenient stage to take the adjournment if you're prepared to, because it looks to me as if we will finish comfortably tomorrow.

CHAIRPERSON: I'm glad to hear that. This will be a convenient stage, I see it's just past 5 o'clock. We'll continue at 9 o'clock tomorrow morning. Is that convenient, 9 o'clock? Thank you.

We'll now adjourn and resume at 9 o'clock tomorrow morning, same venue. Thank you very much.

COMMITTEE ADJOURNS