DAY: 1

---------------------------------------------------------------------------CHAIRPERSON: Good morning to you all. Today being the 27th of November, the year 2000, we are convened at the JISS Centre to hear the application of Mr Paul Erasmus. The Panel that will sit to hear this matter, comprises myself, who will be presiding during the hearing. On my right-hand side will be my brother, Judge de Jager, on my left-hand side will be my colleague, Adv Sibongile Sigodi. I'm going to request the legal representative appearing on behalf of Mr Erasmus to kindly place himself on record, as well as the other legal representatives. I am told that the matter is ...(inaudible) and there are legal representatives who are appearing on behalf of objectors.

MR VAN ZYL: As it please the Chair. My name is Francois van Zyl. My practice is under the name and style of Francois van Zyl Attorneys from George, in the Western Cape. As it pleases you.


MR NYAWUZA: My name is Oupa Nyawuza, I work from Johannesburg at O P Nyawuza Attorneys. I represent the nurses and we are going to oppose the amnesty. There's 12 ladies that I'm representing.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Nyawuza, we are going to appreciate, at an appropriate stage, for you to indicate the names of the individual nurses you are appearing on behalf of.

MR NYAWUZA: As it pleases the Committee. I will.

MS PILLAY: Thank you Madam Chair. My name is ...(indistinct) Pillay, I'm from the Legal Resources Centre and I appear on behalf of the Alexandra Health Centre and the University Clinic.

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

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr van Zyl, are we in a position to commence with your applicant's application?

MR VAN ZYL: As it pleases the Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Before you do that, we note that you are applying for amnesty for the offence of attempted murder in relation to this incident. Am I correct?

MR VAN ZYL: Are we talking about incident number 2, Helen Joseph, or ...?

CHAIRPERSON: We are talking about incident number 74, as it relates to the Alexandra Health Clinic.

MR VAN ZYL: We're applying for attempted murder and arson. The reason we haven't put down an application for - or the applicant hasn't put down an application for attempted murder, because he was unaware of any injuries or any deaths that did occur perhaps during that incident. However, he would like to reserve the right during this evidence, should it become necessary, to amend his application to include attempted murder, should it be so.

CHAIRPERSON: Oh, I thought the application as it stands, was with regard ...(intervention)

MR VAN ZYL: ...(indistinct - no microphone)

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Do you need some assistance with regard to your headphones?

MR VAN ZYL: ...(indistinct - no microphone) Will you please repeat your question, Madam Chairperson?

CHAIRPERSON: Maybe I should merely find out from you if you could specify the offence for which you seek amnesty, before you proceed.

MR VAN ZYL: As it pleases you. The applicant completed his own application originally, if Madam Chair would just take cognisance of the fact that I was only brought on board three weeks ago and through logistical problems, or we had to rush through to get me here where I am today, so please, if you could excuse me, I am perhaps not so au fait with the proceedings. But we did apply for, or the applicant did put in his application, malicious injury to property and arson. At the pre-trial conference I was informed that there were injuries of people, of which the applicant was unaware at the time when he made his application, and I did indicate to the Evidence Leader at the time, that was last week on the 22nd, I think, that we would then perhaps at this hearing broaden our amnesty application to include attempted murder, or then assault.


MR VAN ZYL: So, then I do so, Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Are you indicating to this Panel that you wish to move an application to amend your application to include an offence of attempted murder?

MR VAN ZYL: May I just confer with my client please? Yes, Madam Chair, we do so, we do apply to broaden it.

CHAIRPERSON: If that is so, I think it is only fair to, as you say you are not familiar with the procedure here, the procedure would be for you to formally move for an amendment.

MR VAN ZYL: As it pleases, Madam Chair. Then ...

CHAIRPERSON: And to give the legal representatives for the objectors an opportunity also to respond to your application to amend.

MR VAN ZYL: As it pleases, Madam Chair. Shall I move then? I move then for the formal amendment of his application in this specific instance, to include possible assault to do grievous bodily harm and that of attempted murder. He does so purely on the basis that it came to the knowledge of the applicant through me after the pre-trial conference, that there were people injured. At the time when he made his application he was unaware of it and he never heard of any injury to any person in his personal capacity prior to that. For the purpose of full disclosure, the applicant would therefore, if there are such events proven, then he would apply for such amnesty.

CHAIRPERSON: But was he at the time of his participation in relation to this incident, did he intend to kill anyone?

MR VAN ZYL: No, he did not.

JUDGE DE JAGER: But did he foresee that anybody could be killed?

MR VAN ZYL: Madam Chair, through the Chair, throughout all the incidents my instructions are that they foresaw, the perpetrators or the Security Police, foresaw that such incidents could take place due to certain actions that they did take at the time.

CHAIRPERSON: What was the ambit of the instruction in terms of which he carried out this incident?

MR VAN ZYL: Well his ambit of his instruction was purely just to go along at that time. He was not au fait with what was exactly planned and what will exactly be happening at the clinic.

JUDGE DE JAGER: His application to include attempted murder, because this is now a new offence he's introducing, you can't normally introduce a new offence after the cut-off date, which you haven't applied for. I think the only basis on which we allow it, was on the basis that the facts wouldn't differ, it's the same facts and he's given us all the facts, but as a layman he didn't realise that what specific legal consequences it could have.

MR VAN ZYL: Correct.

JUDGE DE JAGER: So you say there's nothing new he's bringing about, it's the same facts.

MR VAN ZYL: It's the same facts, yes.

CHAIRPERSON: In fact, you are relying on the information that has been brought by the objectors, is it not so?

MR VAN ZYL: No, we are not, because we're not au fait with what information they are bringing, we were just told at the pre-trial conference that there were people injured at the time and when we received this bundle of documents it was a few days, two or three days prior to that. That was the first time the applicant had any knowledge that anybody was injured at the incident. And in consultation with the Evidence Leader and the other people present at the pre-trial conference, I said then perhaps possibly I should broaden the amnesty to include those offences. If the facts don't lead down that avenue, then rather we will withdraw our application ...(indistinct), but in fairness to the applicant, the fact that he was ignorant at the time of making his own application, and due to the fact of events that are undisclosed to us at this point in time, we are just applying to broaden the amnesty, if it would so please the Committee.

CHAIRPERSON: Ms Pillay, do you wish to respond to an application that has now been brought before this Panel, to amend the offence for which amnesty is being sought by Mr Erasmus, to include that of attempted murder?

MS PILLAY: Madam Chair, I have no objection to the amendment.


MR NYAWUZA: Madam Chair, I also don't have an objection to the amendment, in fact I leave it in the hands of the Committee. Thank you.


MS PATEL: In light of the attitude of the legal representatives for the victims, I will leave it in your hands, Honourable Chairperson.




CHAIRPERSON: In view of the application for an amendment which has been brought by Mr van Zyl on behalf of Mr Erasmus, to include the offence of attempted murder, we are going to adjourn for about five minutes in order to consider this application and to come with our view immediately after we resume our proceedings today. We'll then adjourn for five minutes.



CHAIRPERSON: Mr van Zyl, with regard to the application to amend Mr Erasmus' application to include the offence of attempted murder, we are going to reserve our decision until we have heard all the evidence.

MR VAN ZYL: As it pleases, Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: You may proceed to lead evidence.

JUDGE DE JAGER: Ms Patel, could you kindly assist us, the pages where this incident is mentioned or where there's anything relevant, pages 18, 52 and 74, any other pages?

MS PATEL: 34, Honourable Chairperson.


MS PATEL: And the questions that relate to the further particulars are on page 50.

CHAIRPERSON: And page 46.

MR NYAWUZA: And page 27 as well. Number 9.

MS PATEL: That's right, it's point 9 on page 27.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr van Zyl?

MR VAN ZYL: As it pleases you, Madam Chair. Does anybody do the swearing in?

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, that is the procedure. Is your client going to give evidence under oath?

MR VAN ZYL: He will give evidence under oath, Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: What language will he be speaking?

MR VAN ZYL: He will be speaking in English, Madam Chair.

PAUL FRANCES ERASMUS: (sworn states)

CHAIRPERSON: You may sit down, you have been duly sworn in.

MR VAN ZYL: As it please you, Madam Chair. Madam Chair, we arranged previously that today we will only deal with the Alexandra Health Clinic, the other incidents will follow later. Is that correct with you?


EXAMINATION BY MR VAN ZYL: Thank you. On that basis then I proceed.

Mr Erasmus, you are the applicant in this matter.

MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Madam Chair.

MR VAN ZYL: We are referring now specifically to incident number 74, attempted murder and arson with regard to the Alexandra Health Clinic, is that correct?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Madam Chair.

MR VAN ZYL: What is your present occupation?

MR ERASMUS: I'm presently a disability pensioner, I do teach art, fine art on a very limited scale.

MR VAN ZYL: If you say you're a disability pensioner, what is the reason for that?

MR ERASMUS: Madam Chair, I was boarded from the South African Police and mainly the Intelligence Services, way back in 1993, suffering from post-traumatic stress and clinical depression.

MR VAN ZYL: Without going into the reasons for the depression and what have you, let us go back to what we are here for today.

JUDGE DE JAGER: Mr van Zyl, he could confirm his application. There's one thing I want to ask him on page 1, the fourth line from the bottom:

"I was stationed at SAP, Bedfordview, from January 1995, having just matriculated"

I don't know whether he matriculated in 1994?

MR ERASMUS: I matriculated, Mr Chairman, in 1994. I immediately joined the South African Police, as the better alternative to serving Defence Force.

JUDGE DE JAGER: So you joined then in 1995, but before that you were a member of the Police?

MR ERASMUS: That's incorrect, Mr Chairman. I matriculated in 1994 and joined the South African Police in January 1995.

MR VAN ZYL: Madam Chair, I think that could be a typing error that.

MR ERASMUS: Oh yes, it's possible there's a typing error.

MR VAN ZYL: Can I ask him to explain his exact position at the time?

JUDGE DE JAGER: I just want him to correct it, because you've been a policeman since 1997 or earlier.

MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Mr Chairman.

MR VAN ZYL: Will you correct that please? When were you stationed at the SAP, Bedford view? From?

MR ERASMUS: From January 1995, I began my service in the South African Police as a student Constable at the South African Police, Bedfordview.


MR ERASMUS: 1975, I beg your pardon.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr van Zyl, may be get an indication from you whether there is anything that you particularly want to add to the career as explained by Mr Erasmus on his application form on page 1? If you do not intend to add anything thereto, then you can maybe ask Mr Erasmus to confirm that paragraph, which is paragraph 8(b), which deals with his period of service with the South African Police.

MR VAN ZYL: As it pleases you Madam Chair. It's clearly a typing error and he said now it should be January 1975. That is all that I wish to amend and I think he can confirm it, Madam Chair.

Is that so?

MR ERASMUS: Yes, I confirm that it is correct. There's nothing that I wish to add, Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: You may proceed.

MR VAN ZYL: Thank you.

During your career in the Police, you not only served as an ordinary policeman, you did serve in the Special Branches. Can you elaborate on that please?

MR ERASMUS: Madam Chair, I joined - as I've mentioned already, I joined the South African Police as an alternative to serving for 18 months in the South African Defence Force. The Police Force seemed a better option, I wouldn't have been away from home for such a long time. It was my intention to leave the South African Police as soon as I could.

My idea of what to do with my life, apart from compulsory conscription, was that I wanted to practice art. I did join the South African Police in 1976. I was a very young policeman who'd never seen dead people or shot people. I went through the '76 riots. I was in Soweto for five days and I witnessed unspeakable horrors which changed my life, in the sense that I felt I needed - I was committed to finding out what had caused this terrible scenario which I witnessed as a very young person, firsthand. It was as a result of that decision and my mind set at that time, that I applied to join the Security Branch. My belief was that the children that I'd seen shot in those riots were doing what they did, because as a Christian, we were, as a Christian at that time, it was our duty to fight communism. Communism was at the root of this evil that was going to rip our country to pieces. Instead of leaving the police force as I could have then legally at the end of 1976, I applied to join the Security Branch, was accepted because of family connections and family credibility and I started my career in the Security Branch on the 11th of January 1977.

MR VAN ZYL: Then you were only two years in the Police Force?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Madam Chair.

MR VAN ZYL: And during your time in the Security Branch or the Security Police, did you commit certain human rights violations, as you view it from you know post facto?

MR ERASMUS: Madam Chair, I can honestly state to this hearing, and I have no wish to try and circumvent the truth or defend myself in some bizarre way, I can only state the facts and truth as it is, that I possibly never committed any crime and no intention of committing any offence, or in being involved in criminal activity up until January 11th 1975. I started on the Security Branch, believing as a very young man that this would be exciting, it was something to which I could commit myself, this crusade against godless, satanic communism, as we were taught, and then I would be something of a James Bond type of character and lead this exciting life dealing with very important issues. It was shortly after I joined the Security Branch that my Commanding Officer and Commanding Officers at that time began to encourage me and other young men, to participate in nocturnal activities which were aimed at harassing and intimidating enemies or perceived enemies of the South African Nationalist Regime.

CHAIRPERSON: Who was your Commanding Officer?

MR ERASMUS: I beg your pardon?

CHAIRPERSON: Who was your Commanding Officer?

MR ERASMUS: The unit or the Divisional Commander of the Security Branch at that time was a brigadier, Hennie Muller and my immediate Commanding Officer was a Col J H L Jordaan, he was a senior member of the Broederbond, as I subsequently found out and I can say quite clearly, I don't know how far the Panel would like me to go into these matters, but the mind set then prevailing within the Security structures, was that there was not enough legal grounds to confront the enemies, or perceived enemies of the State, so we were left with the Security establishment and I talk about the whole Government, the State Security Council right up to the top's mind set was pressurise these people into leaving the country. The first ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Were you specifically instructed by your Commanding Officer to do so?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct, absolutely correct.

CHAIRPERSON: And what were the precise instructions that were given to you?

MR ERASMUS: Well initially when it first started, we were to go out at night, harass these people, do overt surveillance on them, they had to know that the Security establishment was monitoring them, in many instances that is, so we would follow them, harass them openly, knock on their doors at all hours of the night and then we resorted to illegal tactics as well, throwing bricks through windows, threatening these people with telephone calls, ordering unwanted supplies, many forms of intimidation and harassment.

CHAIRPERSON: And when were these instructions give to you by your Commanding Officer?

MR ERASMUS: Madam Chair, on an ongoing basis. Not only were these instructions given, but senior members and members of the Security Police that had been there for several years, used to talk about incidents that they were involved in. Tricks, dirty tricks, if you will, that they had carried out or perpetrated on perceived enemies of the State, or enemies of the State, so it was a mind set that I effectively as a very young person moved into.

CHAIRPERSON: But apart from what you saw being done by senior police officers, it is your evidence that you were specifically instructed by your Commanding Officer to engage in activities with the intended to harass people with a view of forcing them to leave the country?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Mr van Zyl.

MR VAN ZYL: Thank you Madam Chair. So you fell into line with this total indoctrination that took place?

MR ERASMUS: Absolutely. I not only fell into line with it, it was almost a staggering concept that here as a member of the police, you had very much a licence to break the law on a scale which we knew if we performed the most outrageous things and we certainly worked very hard to outdo each other, we became very inventive. I certainly flourished in this environment, I suppose because I've always tried to be a lateral thinker, I was innovative, I developed in my own right and I have admitted it before in these forums, I developed new techniques of harassment and more bizarre ways, which in some ways were more effective than some of my colleagues or Commanding Officers could ever have dreamed of.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I think if you may indicate in what manner you actually flourished in the environment that you created.

MR ERASMUS: Madam Chair, I could speak for many hours on it but in the interests of brevity, each member of the Security Branch at that time that was a field worker, was given certain suspects which were his personal property as it ...

JUDGE DE JAGER: Mr Erasmus, the question was: "What did you do?" Listen to the question. What did you invent to harass them? What did you yourself, we don't want at this stage to hear about other people, you might be asked about that afterwards or even later in the hearing, but please listen to the question and try to stick to and answer, in answering that question.

MR ERASMUS: I beg your pardon Mr Chairman. Yes, I introduced a more psychological aspect, as opposed to simply physical acts. I could explain that, instead of just throwing bricks through somebody's window, it was people like me, or it was myself who introduced this thing of phoning the people and tell them that, a little brainchild of mine was a body called Omega, Omega started to claim, much like the RA, responsibility for these attacks. We found, I found, and my superiors were very happy with this, was that the psychological aspect must have been very oppressive to our enemies at that time. They were not just dealing with random acts of violence or thuggery perpetrated against them, here were people phoning the press, phoning them and phoning the whole world and saying: "We are a group of South Africans that are not going to tolerate communist liberals, radicals and everything else which fell outside the national objectives in our midst, so yes, I, Madam Chair, claim responsibility for that, accept the responsibility for that.

CHAIRPERSON: I don't want you to accept responsibility for anything that you have not applied for.

MR ERASMUS: It's in my amnesty application, Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. For now we will be dealing with the Alexandra incident. My question merely wanted to elicit what exactly you did that made you flourish in the activities that you were engaged in and this was a question deliberately posed to you because it was to lay a basis for the incident that we'll be hearing, that's the Alexandra Health Clinic incident.

MR ERASMUS: I understand Madam Chair and by maybe just going into a bit of detail about the early stages of my career, I can build a platform of explanation what happened many years afterwards, when we get to incident 74, the Alexandra Health Clinic.

CHAIRPERSON: Do I understand your evidence correctly if I were to summarise it as follows that the psychological aspect that you've alluded to which differentiated you from the rest of the other Security Police that was in the form of you phoning the various people you had been instructed to harass. Was that the psychological aspect you are referring to?

MR ERASMUS: That's correct, Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Mr van Zyl.

MR VAN ZYL: In this total set-up you were, you followed orders and you developed certain new methods of harassment, of violations of human rights. If we have to now go specifically to the Alexandra clinic, you did in your application mention that during 1989 and at Johannesburg, the Alexandra clinic was fire bombed. Can you please tell the Committee exactly what happened during that event? Thank you.

MR ERASMUS: Madam Chair, if I can just be allowed two minutes to give some explanation. We've jumped now from 1977 to 1989. A lot of very significant things happened in that period. In 1984 the Cabinet of, the South African Cabinet chaired by the then State President P W Botha, had a meeting with the Security establishment and it was then decided that these type of random actions, these attacks and this harassment ...(intersection)

JUDGE DE JAGER: Did you attend the meeting?

MR ERASMUS: No, I didn't Mr Chairman.

MR VAN ZYL: How do you know about these meetings?

MR ERASMUS: I've personally see minutes of them with the signatures on and I have copies which I have with me of the various operations that were implemented at that time, existing and new operations and which remained in effect right up until I left the South African Police.

JUDGE DE JAGER: I don't think it's in dispute. I just want to know whether you attended the meetings, so that you could speak first hand, or whether you speak about things that have been reflected in minutes and which, those minutes we have before us and we know what's going on. They considered it to be a total onslaught and instructed you to fight fire with fire, sort of.

MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Mr Chairman.

MR VAN ZYL: Okay. Then shall we proceed to the Alexandra Health Clinic.

CHAIRPERSON: You may proceed. In fact you actually interrupted him whilst he was laying a basis for the Alexandra clinic. Mr Erasmus, we thought it was important for you to give an indication to this Panel as to what happened in 1984 which obviously led to the incident in 1989. You may proceed to relate to that part of your evidence.

MR ERASMUS: I appreciate that. Thank you Madam Chair. These operations that were now the strategic communication operations, were as diverse as South Africa building military bases in ...(indistinct), military relations with Israel to influencing English speaking members of Protestant Churches in South Africa. What I'm saying, Madam Chair, very briefly, is that it permeated into every sphere of South African life as we knew it. As part of this mind-set in 1989 and to come up to strengths with Alexandra Health Clinic, instructions were given to myself and selected people in the Security establishment to obtain plans for buildings. We all know what happened at Khotso House, Cosatu House, Khanye College, ...(indistinct), I believe in one night, I don't have lists, but in one night alone some 70 or 80 places were attacked, either with explosives or with petrol bombs or whatever. I was part of these operations. The Alexandra House clinic was, I believe, one of those targets.

CHAIRPERSON: When were you given instructions with regard to the Alexandra clinic?

MR ERASMUS: Madam Chair, I was never given direct instructions regarding Alexandra Health Clinic. I'm merely sketching what I believe is the framework in which that incident happened.

CHAIRPERSON: Now when you say that instructions were given to yourself and other members of the Security Police to obtain various plans for identified buildings. Are you in fact saying that you were specifically given instructions to obtain these plans?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: And you are saying that within the content of that instruction, Alexandra was also identified as a target?

MR ERASMUS: As I understood it, that is correct, Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: And when was this?

MR ERASMUS: I don't have all the dates at my disposal but I believe Khotso House was in 1987, Cosatu House, I can't remember which was first.

CHAIRPERSON: I'm speaking about Alexandra.

MR ERASMUS: Ja, it was 1989.

CHAIRPERSON: 1989. Yes, you may proceed.

MR ERASMUS: I wish to just point out, Madam Chair, that I never worked in - there was a Security Police Unit which were colleagues of mine that worked in and were responsible for the security situation in Alexandra township, I was never part of them. I did liaise with them as was the nature of my work on various matters. On the night in question, we had a staff function. I had not been home for I think three days, if my memory serves me correctly ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: If I may interrupt, I just want to be on the same wavelength with the ambit of your evidence. You've said you were amongst the personnel that received instructions to obtain plans of buildings which were identified as targets.

MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Now from whom did you receive these instructions?

MR ERASMUS: My Section Head prior to this was Brig Alfred Oosthuizen, my Commanding Officer was Gen Gerrit Erasmus. Another Commanding Officer was Gen Piet du Toit. I liaised at various times directly with Security Branch Head Quarters. We would talk about Gen P J Viljoen. These were the people that master-minded these actions, which us foot soldiers ended up carrying out.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but as a foot soldier, from whom specifically did you obtain an instruction?

MR ERASMUS: In the instance of Khotso House, Brig Alfred Oosthuizen.

CHAIRPERSON: And in so far as Alexandra was concerned, the Alexandra Health Clinic?

MR ERASMUS: Madam Chair, that I wish to explain. I never personally received instructions regarding Alexander Health Clinic. I assumed, on the night in question and after the incident, that it was part of this campaign to destroy the buildings and so on of various factions.

CHAIRPERSON: Are you therefore saying that you were never instructed to obtain plans of the clinic?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Madam Chair. I was never given instructions to obtain plans for the clinic.

CHAIRPERSON: Because I thought that was your earlier evidence.

MR ERASMUS: I beg your pardon?

CHAIRPERSON: I thought that was your earlier evidence. Was that not your earlier evidence that you were amongst the persons who were given instructions to obtain plans of various buildings that had been identified as targets and that Alexandra was amongst the buildings identified as a target.

MR ERASMUS: Madam Chair, maybe I should just explain this. I was given instructions regarding certain buildings.

CHAIRPERSON: Not Alexandra?

MR ERASMUS: But not Alexandra Health Clinic.

CHAIRPERSON: Are you aware if instructions were ever given regarding Alexandra Health Clinic?

MR ERASMUS: I assumed that to be the case, Madam Chair, in fact after the event happened in the weeks following it.

CHAIRPERSON: On what basis are you assuming that?

MR ERASMUS: The general amount of actions of this nature that had taken place, the amount of members involved, the fact that many of them had taken place on an ad hoc basis, unlike Khotso House which was very well planned. I believe that somebody had taken the decision to destroy Alexandra Health Clinic. It was part of the strategy that all places that were perceived to be sanctuaries or had a capability of providing logistical support to terrorists or anti-Government factions, fell under this category. That was an assumption that I made, it was not something that we readily discussed amongst each other because, amongst our colleagues, because of the need-to-know principle, but these were assumptions that I made.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr van Zyl, maybe if you take charge, the relevant evidence with regard to Alexandra Health Clinic will come to the fore. Won't you lead him specifically with regard to the incident in question?

MR VAN ZYL: As it pleases you Madam Chair. Mr Erasmus, that night, you were saying earlier on, you weren't home for three days and there was a staff function. Is that correct? That specific night.

MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Madam Chair.

MR VAN ZYL: Please tell us what happened.

MR ERASMUS: I myself and I think many of my colleagues were under a lot of pressure at the time. I drank copious amounts of alcohol, I was effectively drunk, staggeringly drunk when two things happened that night. It was decided amongst us, I cannot recall who actually suggested it first, it wouldn't have been in the nature of a direct order because most of our work, a lot of our work was not direct orders, it was suggestions or joint decisions, that we were going to leave the venue where we were drinking and partying and we would take on or sort out firstly an attorney by the name of Cathy Satchwell. I believe there was about, if my memory serves me correct and it is patchy, there were about six or seven car loads of us Security Policemen. We were heavily armed. Most of us were drunk, as I certainly was. We went to Cathy Satchwell's home. We damaged her car, a BMW if I remember correctly and from there we went to another venue, I believe, in Honeydew, where we had further alcohol to drink.

JUDGE DE JAGER: So this - you're talking about two separate incidents under 74, the attack on Satchwell and another attack on the Alexandra Health Clinic?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Mr Chairman.

JUDGE DE JAGER: They were not related to each other, they were only carried out on the same night?

MR ERASMUS: Yes, that is correct.

MR VAN ZYL: You said: "We destroyed Satchwell's car", can you just say who the "we" were?

CHAIRPERSON: Because he's not applying for amnesty in relation to that incident, we would prefer not to give details, with regard to that.

MR VAN ZYL: He has in fact applied for the attack, that is part of the whole incident, that is why it's dealt with sort of in a sense. I'm just Madam Chair, trying to get through chronological events during the course of that night, that is why I'm going through it, but Satchwell is mentioned in his affidavit.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I'm aware it is mentioned, but we are now dealing with the Alexandra Health Clinic and we'd prefer him to give us more details with regard to the incident, for which of the objects ...(indistinct). I think the agreement was that you will lead evidence in relation to the Alexandra Health Clinic incident.

MR VAN ZYL: As it pleases Madam Chair. I was just trying to put the chronological order of the events that night on the table. I mean 6 o'clock comes before 7 o'clock, so I was just trying to go through the events during the course of the night, but as it pleases, Madam Chair, we will then proceed then further on after you had then continued to Honeydew, you went to the Alexandra Health Clinic, is that correct?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct.

MR VAN ZYL: Still the same amount of people, the same group of people?

MR ERASMUS: We'd split up, as was the practise, into groups. I was with a group that decided to go to Alexandra Township and firebomb Alexandra Health Clinic.

MR VAN ZYL: As you specified earlier on, there were six vehicles, approximately six vehicles. How many vehicles proceeded to the Alexandra Health Clinic eventually?

MR ERASMUS: I cannot actually remember, I would presume about four or five vehicles. My function was I drove my car myself ...(end of tape)

back-up for the people who were going to carry out the actual act.

MR VAN ZYL: Is that normal procedure to provide back-up?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct.

MR VAN ZYL: So you didn't have specific instructions as to what was going to take place and how the operation had to be executed?

MR ERASMUS: I didn't have any specific knowledge of how it was going to be carried out. I assumed, probably would have assumed at the time that it had been pre-planned because one doesn't just firebomb a large amount of buildings, containers have to be made, petrol has to be obtained, the normal practice would be that the area would be checked out, there was the risk of exposure, of being caught, I wasn't au fait or aware of any of those arrangements, I simply tagged along.

MR VAN ZYL: Did you see any petrol?

MR ERASMUS: I honestly cannot - I beg your pardon. Madam Chair, I honestly cannot remember seeing any petrol being tapped or conveyed at any time.

MR VAN ZYL: Did you see anybody scout the area prior to the attack?

MR ERASMUS: I cannot recall exactly the circumstances, but I do recall arriving in the vicinity of the Alexandra Health Clinic. I remember getting lost or splitting up with the other vehicles and arriving in the vicinity and seeing the flames, or seeing flames.

MR VAN ZYL: So did you arrive after the attack sort of was carried out?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct.

MR VAN ZYL: If we say, if you use the word "you", that is you, the occupants in your car?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Madam Chair.

MR VAN ZYL: Who was the most senior officer present at that time?

MR ERASMUS: During the course of these incidents which I've related to you, there was a Col van Wyk, he was the Senior Staff Officer of the Security Branch and there was a Col van Huyssteen, various other officers and non-commissioned officers.

MR VAN ZYL: Yes, but who was the most senior person there that was in charge of this attack?

MR ERASMUS: I think Col van Wyk would have been the senior person.

MR VAN ZYL: Do you guess it, or do you know it?

MR ERASMUS: Rank-wise his status would have been, I believe, he was senior to van Huyssteen. In fact yes, he was a Colonel, Louis van Huyssteen was then not a Colonel, I think he was a Major. Col van Wyk would have been the senior officer present.

MR VAN ZYL: And then who carried out the attack?

MR ERASMUS: I did not witness the attack myself, I don't know who actually carried out the attack. As in who actually threw the petrol, or climbed over the walls, I don't even know the situation at the Alexandra Health Clinic at that time.

MR VAN ZYL: Ja. So in your Further Particulars, you said that Col van Huyssteen and his staff carried out the attack. Is that knowledge that, or is that information that came to your knowledge afterwards, or is it something you saw that night?

MR ERASMUS: Well, I was with them earlier in the evening, I knew for a fact that they had gone to the Alexandra Health Clinic and we did discuss it after the time, or refer to it in the normal event of ...(indistinct).

MR VAN ZYL: And you said that you saw the fire take hold and you departed from the scene. Did you depart alone or again with the same people you arrived with?

MR ERASMUS: It was the normal practice after such incidents, Madam Chair, that we all split up and moved off in different directions. I believe that I returned home, I possibly took some of my staff members home, I cannot remember, but I definitely headed home that night afterwards.

CHAIRPERSON: Were you all by yourself in your car?

MR ERASMUS: Ultimately I would have been on my own.

CHAIRPERSON: When you say ultimately, before, when you left Honeydew?

MR ERASMUS: I did have policemen with me in the car.

CHAIRPERSON: How many were you in the car when you left Honeydew for Alexandra?

MR ERASMUS: Madam Chair, it's hard to remember. I would certainly have had my partner with me. I recall that he was present that evening, he was a young policeman, a Sgt Allen. I would have taken him home somewhere and ultimately driven home on my own.


JUDGE DE JAGER: Mr Erasmus I've got a problem. You say: "I probably would have Allen with me". You're implicating him now. Are you sure he was there?

MR ERASMUS: Mr Chairman, I then withdraw the implication ...(intervention)

JUDGE DE JAGER: No, I want you to tell us what you - but you shouldn't - tell us what you know and what you experience and what you remember.

MR ERASMUS: Mr Chairman, I've tried to be as honest as what I could. I've pointed out to the Commission and I hope that in this instance certainly, out of all of these incidents, for once I can honestly say that I was drunk, I was intoxicated and I was exhausted. I cannot, after the passage of time, recall every little detail relating to that evening.

JUDGE DE JAGER: That I can understand, but you have mentioned Allen's name now. As a fact, can you remember whether he was, or can't you remember? If you can remember, please mention him.

MR ERASMUS: I am reasonably certain that he was with me that night. We were always together, he was my side-kick, I never went anywhere without him. On that basis I would assume that Allen would have been with. A very junior member of the police, yes, he would have been with me.

CHAIRPERSON: You've stated that in all probability he would have ...(inaudible)

MR ERASMUS: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: You may proceed, Mr van Zyl.

MR VAN ZYL: Thank you Madam Chair. The persons in your vehicle, let's just go back a step again from Honeydew to Alexandra, how many vehicles arrived at Alexandra, approximately, if you can remember, that you were in the company of?

MR ERASMUS: We didn't drive in a convoy Madam Chair to Alexandra. We all drove there independently.

MR VAN ZYL: Independently. So you arrived with your carload of people and you obviously then did see the other cars there as well, did you not?

MR ERASMUS: I can vaguely remember seeing other cars in the area.

MR VAN ZYL: Right. And as you arrived, did you get out of your vehicle?

MR ERASMUS: I did not get out of my vehicle, Madam Chair.

MR VAN ZYL: Did any of the people, your passengers, get out of the vehicle?


MR VAN ZYL: Right. And as you arrived, what did you perceive? What did you see, not perceive, what did you see happening there?

MR ERASMUS: I remember seeing the building, I don't remember what the building looked like. I still don't remember what the building looked like, but I recall flames lighting up the sky. I then assumed that the job had been carried out and made the obvious logical safe decision under the circumstances, which was to vacate the area and I left.

MR VAN ZYL: But as a back-up, did you then just leave, or what back-up support do you think may have been called upon you to perform that day?

CHAIRPERSON: Is that his evidence, Mr van Zyl?

MR VAN ZYL: I'm just asking.

CHAIRPERSON: Is that his evidence that he was there as a back-up?

MR VAN ZYL: He said so earlier on, Chair.

...(indistinct - speaking simultaneously)

CHAIRPERSON: And then let's go back to the departure from Honeydew and how he was advised that he was to be a back-up to this operation. We would need to have the details with regard to that discussion.

MR VAN ZYL: Madam Chair, he did earlier testify that that was the general purpose of people that's not involved in the planning, when they're asked to go along just to be back-up. Would it not then be perhaps ...(indistinct)

CHAIRPERSON: But who advised you that he was to be, to form part of the back-up to this operation?

MR ERASMUS: Madam Chair, it would have been in the form, as I recall it, of a group decision. "Wat gaan ons vanaand doen?" "Wat gaan ons nou doen?" And somebody would have said: "Let's go to Alexandra Health Clinic" and we would have all said: "Ja, we're all going with." Along those lines.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but now we want to hear the evidence, what actually happened.

MR VAN ZYL: Madam Chair, would it not be better then if I go back again perhaps to the party and we follow the chronological events of the night?


MR VAN ZYL: Perhaps that would clarify it, if it should please you?

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, because I don't have the facts with regard to that.

MR VAN ZYL: Right. Mr Erasmus, let's go back. You were at the party. You got drunk. Col van Huyssteen was there, Col van Wyk you said was there and it was decided now to first go to Cathy Satchwell's house, is that correct?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct.

MR VAN ZYL: How was that decision made?

MR ERASMUS: I cannot remember the gist of the conversation, but I personally had a tremendous amount of animosity towards Mrs Satchwell. Somebody might have brought it up, maybe I brought it up. I cannot recall what was said after all these years and who said what, but a decision was made jointly between all of us members present, or large amount of Security Policemen present to go to Cathy Satchwell's house, which I was quite happy with at the time because I was having a lot of problems with people that I detained with Mrs Satchwell.

CHAIRPERSON: Now the question has been posed to you how a decision to go to Ms Satchwell's house was made. Do you know, or don't you know?

MR ERASMUS: I don't know, Madam Chair.

MR VAN ZYL: Do you know what the decision was, what to go and do at Cathy Satchwell's house, or was it a general harassment operation?

MR ERASMUS: The decision was we were going to harass her.

MR VAN ZYL: Ja, and then ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Do you know if that was a decision taken? We don't know how the decision was taken, that was your earlier response to your legal representative's question. Now do you know if there was such a decision taken to go and harass her?

MR ERASMUS: I honestly don't Madam Chair.

MR VAN ZYL: But what took you to her house?

MR ERASMUS: Well somewhere along that night we decided as a group, or I maybe suggested it, I don't know, I can honestly say I could have suggested it myself and said to the other guys: "Let's go to Cathy Satchwell's house tonight and wreck her motor car." I honestly cannot recall, but be that as it may, a group of us did go to Cathy Satchwell's house, a large group of us.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Are you suggesting that you may have suggested it because you didn't like Ms Satchwell?

MR ERASMUS: I've already told the Commission that, Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: So it was on the basis of you not liking her, that you suggested: "Let's go and damage her car"?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct.


MR VAN ZYL: And then a group of you did go. Can you remember how many vehicles and how many people?

MR ERASMUS: I didn't count the vehicles, but certainly six, there was a lot of us that night, it was one of the incidents were there were more Security Policemen involved in something like this than is normal, if I can explain it that way. I presume, as far as I can remember, about six, seven, maybe eight cars. There was a lot of us.

JUDGE DE JAGER: Mr Erasmus, sorry, to go back to your previous answer. You said you suggested it because you had a personal animosity towards her, is that correct?

MR ERASMUS: Well Mr Chairman, my words were: "I may have suggested it myself", I would accept that. I might have suggested it myself, but yes, I did have a personal grudge against Ms Satchwell.

JUDGE DE JAGER: So this had nothing to do with politics? You had a personal grudge against her.

MR ERASMUS: Mr Chairman, this had everything to do with politics. I had detained somebody, I was facing every day at work, apart from my normal functions, letters from Ms Satchwell on behalf of somebody that I'd detained under the emergency regulations.

CHAIRPERSON: But this is a decision that you yourself would have taken because of your personal dislike of Ms Satchwell?

MR ERASMUS: She was a suspect to me, she was a threat to me, she was a threat to the Security Police and to the Security establishment and everything that we were trying to do. In addition she was a registered suspect of the Security Police.

ADV SIGODI: Yes. You also mentioned that she was a threat to you. How was she a threat to you personally?

MR ERASMUS: Ms Satchwell was asking very embarrassing letters to the Minister in fact and had even been to Minister Pik Botha about my detention of Dr Jean Francois Bill.

ADV SIGODI: And how did that threaten you?

MR ERASMUS: Well it wasn't a threat to me directly, Madam Chair, but it was a - she was making life uncomfortable for me and for my colleagues. Ms Satchwell at that time was a renowned human rights lawyer, she was regularly at John Vorster Square making inquiries about detainees, looking after the interests and so on and for that reason she enjoyed Security Branch attention.

ADV SIGODI: Yes, but you see, you haven't answered my question because you said, you mentioned that she was a threat to you, she was an embarrassment or a threat to the Security and a whole lot. Unfortunately I didn't note your answer fully, but now I'm asking you specifically, how was she a threat to you?

MR ERASMUS: I may have used the wrong words. Maybe she wasn't a threat to me personally, but she was certainly a problem. Maybe that's a better word to use. Ms Satchwell's activities were problematic to the Security Police and to me as a Security policeman because of my detention of Dr Jean Francois Bill.

CHAIRPERSON: In fact for doing what she as a lawyer was employed by the detainee to do, she became a thorn in your flesh?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: And for no other reason, other than the fact that she was a reflective lawyer, representing the interest of the detainees?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Madam Chair.

MR VAN ZYL: As it pleases you Madam Chair. But at that time, any such action was considered a political act against the State, is that not so, Mr Erasmus?

MR ERASMUS: That is 100% correct, yes.

CHAIRPERSON: What was considered a political act against the State? I didn't understand the question, Mr van Zyl.

MR VAN ZYL: As he said earlier on, Madam Chair, that the ...(intervention)

MS PILLAY: Madam Chair, could I just intervene for a second. If you could just ask my colleague not to testify on behalf of his client and to get his client to explain his political objective.

MR VAN ZYL: As it pleases you Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: I didn't understand the basis on which the question was put, that's why I'm asking him what was considered a political act.

MR VAN ZYL: Anything considered, that is what he testified earlier on, Madam Chair and you're asking me direct, but he'll gladly answer it himself, but if I have to answer it, then on the basis that you are asking me, is that he had testified earlier on that everybody, any action which was considered to be communist or anti the stated religion of the day, was considered a political act against the State by the Security Branch people, that is in broad terms.

CHAIRPERSON: Now what is your question? You've alluded to a political act.

MR VAN ZYL: You said - Madam Chair, you said to my client, you asked my client was it purely on the basis that she did what she did as an attorney, which was a thorn in his flesh.


MR VAN ZYL: And I just merely stated to him: "Was that not part of this whole perceived consideration of anything that was done to promote anything against the State or as a political objective?"

CHAIRPERSON: Won't you rephrase your question?

MR VAN ZYL: I will rephrase my question. I will also leave it there, for that matter. It doesn't take it much further Madam Chair. At her house, did anybody do anything specific, at Cathy Satchwell's house?

MR ERASMUS: Somebody or some members, I was not included in them, climbed over the wall and damaged the car. I heard the noise, I saw the shapes of them climbing over. I did not play an active role in that incident either. I know that severe damage or I heard afterwards that severe damage was done to a motor car.

MR VAN ZYL: And after that the people got into the car again. How many cars were there then at that time?

MR ERASMUS: There were a lot of people present. I should imagine five, six cars. I cannot remember. I'm trying to think as hard as what I can on that point, six cars.

MR VAN ZYL: Okay and from there you proceeded to Honeydew you said?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct.

MR VAN ZYL: What was the purpose of going to Honeydew?

MR ERASMUS: We went for further drinks.

MR VAN ZYL: Okay. And from there?

MS PATEL: Sorry to intervene, Madam Chair, the interpreters have stated that there's - if you could not touch your microphone, it's affecting the recording.


MR VAN ZYL: Do you mind putting it right up there then we know - thank you. You went to Alexandra Clinic, is that correct?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: We would want to know what happened prior to them departing to Alexandra clinic. I would like to get more facts. It was on the basis of those facts that we had to go back. ...(indistinct - speaking simultaneously)

MR ERASMUS: Ja, no, no, I'm about to go into that avenue Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Before you do that, I think it will be an appropriate time to take a short adjournment for tea to enable the interpreter to have a break.

MR VAN ZYL: As it pleases you Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: May I suggest that we take 10 minutes for tea instead of the usual 15 to 20 minutes.

MR VAN ZYL: As it pleases you Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Is that okay with all the legal representatives? We'll adjourn until 20 to.



MR VAN ZYL: As it pleases Madam Chair. May I proceed?


MR VAN ZYL: Thank you.



Mr Erasmus, we were last, after you had a further drinking session at Honeydew, you departed to the Alexandra Clinic. The initial and overall order to go to the Alexandra Clinic, where and when did that take place?

MR ERASMUS: It would have been during the drinking session at Honeydew.

MR VAN ZYL: And not earlier the evening?

MR ERASMUS: Not that I knew. As I recall it, the decision was made at Honeydew while we were drinking.

MR VAN ZYL: Whilst you were drinking. And who made the decision?

MR ERASMUS: The ultimate responsibility would have rested on the senior officer that was present.

MR VAN ZYL: And who was he?

MR ERASMUS: Col van Huyssteen, Col van Wyk.

MR VAN ZYL: Can't you remember who gave the exact order?

MR ERASMUS: I don't recall that, Madam Chair.

MR VAN ZYL: An operation like that of the Alexandra clinic surely must have taken some time to plan the attack, is it not so?

MR ERASMUS: From my point of view I don't think that it would have taken that much planning. Those people knew Alexandra well, they knew the Health Clinic well, they were aware of the circumstances, that would be my feeling on it now in retrospect.

JUDGE DE JAGER: Yes, but they should have arranged at least for petrol, or do you think they bought petrol on the way to Alexandra? Or how did they ignite the fire? What did they do?

MR ERASMUS: I don't know Mr Chairman. If I knew, I would certainly tell the Commission. I don't know. Acts that I was personally involved in, yes, I would have had a container and yes, the petrol would have come out of the government car. We certainly didn't have money to go and buy hundreds of litres of petrol, we took it out of our police vehicles. I don't know what happened that night.

CHAIRPERSON: And you stated that you never saw any petrol.

MR ERASMUS: I never saw anybody filling containers or making Molotov cocktails or how that happened I don't know.

MR VAN ZYL: But do you presume that the arrangement was made by the people that actually planned it that night, or do you think it was on the spur of the moment etc.?

MR ERASMUS: It was a spur of the moment decision.

MR VAN ZYL: Okay and then you went off to Alexandra Clinic. How many cars took the route to Alexandra Clinic?

MR ERASMUS: We were all in radio contact, we had excellent radio communications. I've mentioned before, possibly six cars.

MR VAN ZYL: Okay. And did all six arrive there simultaneously at the Alexandra Clinic?

MR ERASMUS: We were the last - I recall that I was the last to arrive.

CHAIRPERSON: Because you got lost on your way to Alexandra?

MR ERASMUS: Ja. I'd never worked in Alexandra Madam Chair, I didn't know shot-cuts to get there, we all drove, as was our nature, to drive very fast. We'd had a lot to drink. Yes, we arrived after the other people.

MR VAN ZYL: You have never worked in the Alexandra area or anybody in that area yourself, in the line of your duties? That was not your area?

MR ERASMUS: No, I never operated full-time as a Security Policeman in Alexandra, but I will conceded and yes, there were times that I went there, yes definitely.

MR VAN ZYL: And as you arrived there on the scene, you and the occupants of your car, what did you see there? What took place?

MR ERASMUS: There were flames, the sky was lit up with flames.

ADV SIGODI: Sorry, just on that aspect, tell me the car that you were driving then, was it your own car or was it a government vehicle?

MR ERASMUS: Madam Chair, it was my government vehicle. At the time it was a Ford Sierra with a stage two racing motor in it, an extremely fast and powerful car.

ADV SIGODI: But it was a government vehicle?

MR ERASMUS: A government vehicle.

ADV SIGODI: Were you on duty on that day?

MR ERASMUS: Yes, we were on duty, Madam Chair.

ADV SIGODI: You mentioned that you hadn't gone home for three days. Why hadn't you gone home?

MR ERASMUS: The pressure on us to carry out the tasks which we were assigned to, Madam Chair, was just unbelievable. There were a lot of periods over the state emergencies when this happened. I was a Section Commander at the time, I had a staff that worked under me, I had responsibilities for ensuring that their orders were carried out and I had my own work, I had a network of informers, I was involved in various projects and actions. It was an extremely busy time. I could not afford the luxury over this period of going home, sometimes for two or three days.


MR VAN ZYL: Thank you Madam Chair. You saw the flames and what happened then? On your arrival you saw the flames, what happened then?

MR ERASMUS: We left. Madam Chair, I believed that the job had been done. It served no purpose endangering ourselves or risking ourselves further by staying there, so we left.

MR VAN ZYL: Did you know that anybody was going to firebomb the clinic that night? Was it said prior to you arriving there?

MR ERASMUS: Prior to that evening, or during that evening?

MR VAN ZYL: No, during that evening, prior to your arriving at Alexandra Clinic, did anybody say: "We are going to firebomb at all, the plan is to firebomb the Alexandra Clinic"?

MR ERASMUS: Yes, I knew about it.

MR VAN ZYL: Can you tell Madam Chair how you knew about it?

MR ERASMUS: I mentioned this earlier that the decision was made between all of us, obviously with the approval of the senior members present, who would most certainly have stopped it if they felt that it should have been stopped, but yes, the decision was made during that night.

MR VAN ZYL: When you saw the fire, could you determine from which part of the clinic the fire erupted from, or was taking hold?

MR ERASMUS: Absolutely not. I don't know the area. I don't know the clinic. I cannot remember what the building even looks like.

MR VAN ZYL: Did you at that point in time foresee that anybody could be injured during this fire?

MR ERASMUS: I obviously thought about it the following day. I didn't make inquiries. For many years, in fact until last week, two weeks ago, I didn't know that there was anybody in the clinic.

MR VAN ZYL: What did you think happened at the clinic? What was the purpose of fire bombing the clinic?

MR ERASMUS: As I mentioned, well ja, I don't want to go down that road again. I believed that this was part of the national strategy aimed at - these places were targeted because of assistance that they were giving radical elements, anti-government elements. At the time I was quite content with that.

MR VAN ZYL: What do you, sorry Madam Chair, what do you contend was the political objective that evening in fire bombing the Alexandra Clinic?

MR ERASMUS: To hinder the activities of enemies of the South African Government.

MR VAN ZYL: Did anybody, during that evening, or prior to that evening, discuss the Alexandra Clinic, specifically on the grounds of the political objective of fire bombing it?

MR ERASMUS: Not that I knew about. I knew that the Alexandra Health Clinic was or had for many years been given a lot of attention by the Security Police. I knew that the person running the Alexandra Health Clinic was Dr Tim Wilson, Ilse Wilson and the family of the late Braam Fischer. I never investigated it personally or saw any of the files or documentation, but I knew that it was being given attention.

CHAIRPERSON: How did you know that it had been given some attention by the Security Police?

MR ERASMUS: Well, Ma'am, every morning we had briefings. I knew there was a staff in Alexandra and I knew and had seen the files of Dr Wilson and Mrs Ilse Wilson. I knew the history of the struggle, I think as much as what any other Security Policemen knew and yes, I would have known, most Security Policemen would have known that there was this clinic where a reasonably well-known person or persons were working.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. The import of my question was how would you have come to that knowledge?

MR ERASMUS: I would have read it in the files, Madam Chair. We would have been told at morning briefings about it. I would have heard it from agents, informers, read about it in the newspapers, that was our function, intelligence gathering. We had a very good overview of the whole situation, security situation in the area that we worked.

CHAIRPERSON: The morning briefings that you referred to, at whose instance would they have been convened?

MR ERASMUS: I beg your pardon Ma'am?

CHAIRPERSON: At whose instance would the morning briefings have been convened?

MR ERASMUS: We had a standard procedure every morning. We had conferences, we had coffee, ...(indistinct) coffee and the whole staff of the Security Branch were informed about, we were all brought up to date about the latest developments, right across the board, whether it was the area that you worked in or specialised, was immaterial, we were all told about it, that was part of our work function.

CHAIRPERSON: And who would have presided over these morning briefings?

MR ERASMUS: The most senior officers, the Divisional Commander, which at this time would have been either Gen du Toit or Gen Erasmus.


MR VAN ZYL: As it pleases. Can you remember a specific incident where the Alexandra Clinic was mentioned in the briefings that it is a target of the total Defence of the country?

MR ERASMUS: One of the investigations that I did, a few that I specialised in was Church related and concerned the so-called Sanctuary Programme which we believed and from the desk that I worked at, the Sanctuary Programme was aimed at financing and giving logistical support to anti-government elements, including terrorists within South Africa. I had heard, I cannot honestly tell this Commission when, but before this incident that the Alexandra Health Clinic was giving aid to people of this nature, possibly even terrorists. The terrorists that were injured were being given medical treatment at the, or could go to the Alexandra Health Clinic. I accepted that without question.

MR VAN ZYL: Is this information that came through the morning briefings?

MR ERASMUS: Well not, I mean, through morning briefings. We were given intelligence reports, we had a weekly security review which was an official booklet printed by the Government Printers in Pretoria, which concerned the whole state of the Security situation in the country. We all had to read it every week.

MR VAN ZYL: No that's ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Mr van Zyl, hasn't your question been responded to? I think you are asking it twice now and his response is he heard it from other Intelligence sources.

MR VAN ZYL: As it pleases.

CHAIRPERSON: Not at any morning briefing session.

MR VAN ZYL: As it pleases you, Madam Chair. So when the decision was made that evening, during this drinking session, to go and firebomb the Alexandra Clinic, did you perceive this to be in line with the total strategy as laid down by your superiors?

MR ERASMUS: Absolutely. I had no doubt whatsoever.

MR VAN ZYL: And then could you then say reversely that this was the political objective of fire bombing?

CHAIRPERSON: Why are you putting it to him? Why don't you ask him a question and let him respond?

MR VAN ZYL: It's a statement I'm making to him, he can say yes or no to it, Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Why are you making a statement? He's supposed to give the evidence. You are supposed to lead him, not on issues which are material, on which we have to decide whether full disclosure has been made or not and whether there is any political objective. I think you must put your question in such a way as to elicit a response that will enable us to decide whether proper evidence has been led before us.

MR VAN ZYL: As it pleases Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Don't put words into his mount.

MR VAN ZYL: As it pleases you Madam Chair. Can you then tell this Committee what was the political objective of fire bombing the Alexandra Clinic?

MR ERASMUS: To prevent the political objective, as far as what I was concerned was within the parameters of hindering, upsetting, affecting the logistics relating to people that were on the run from the Security Forces in this country. It would have been a multi-faceted agenda, as many of these types of actions were. It would have been intimidatory, it would have had certain propaganda values. At a later stage situations like that could have been used to promote conflict within radical elements. The news would have been put out and it might well have happened in this instance that a disenchanted faction in the ANC or the UDF or whatever had become upset over something and fire bombed it themselves. These were standard intelligence tools of the trade that we used at that time, so yes, there were a lot of benefits, political benefits that could be obtained from a situation like this.

CHAIRPERSON: The simple question is why did you bomb the Clinic?

MR ERASMUS: Madam Chair, then I must repeat myself. The information as I understood it and that I'd heard before that was that people that were on the run from the Security Forces could go there for sanctuary or if they needed medical assistance and that in any event, at the end of the day the people running the Alexandra Health Clinic were communists themselves, being the daughter-in-law of the late Braam Fischer, that alone was enough to warrant actions like this.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, Mr van Zyl?

MR VAN ZYL: As it pleases you. If you are posed the question here today that this operation sounds like a drunken brawl at the end of the day and you acted like hooligans purely for personal reasons, what would your answer be to that?

MR ERASMUS: I would agree to that in, almost in its entirety. It was something of a drunken brawl.

MR VAN ZYL: So in other words.

MR ERASMUS: It did have a political reason. We would never have gone and attacked the General Hospital in Johannesburg in that fashion.

MR VAN ZYL: What is your personal view today regarding the damage of property at that time? What's you personal view about it today?

MR ERASMUS: Madam Chair it's heart-breaking to think that we actually did something like that, that we believed that we were doing the right thing and that it's a place where people - I never understood terms like primary health care until very recently or until the change in this country. We never thought of it in terms like that. These were perceived as - this place is yet another good example of enemies of the State and it was my job and I had the ideological commitment, I make no excuses for my actions at that time, I had the ideological and the political will myself to be involved or to carry out or condone or whatever role I played in these and many other actions, but today it's terrible, it's yet another thing on my amnesty application which gives me sleepless nights.

MR VAN ZYL: What is your personal view regarding injury to persons in the attack today?



MR ERASMUS: I am horrified that people were injured and I really am horrified to learn very recently that people were injured that night.

MR VAN ZYL: Given all the history and all the circumstances and all the events and sitting here today, if you have to go back in time, will you do this again?

MR ERASMUS: Madam Chair, if I have to answer that honestly, I can just refer to what came up earlier in the application was my history. If I knew and had the benefit of foresight those years, I would have done what many other South Africans did. When I got that horrible little brown envelope: "Amptelik and Official", I would have run like hell over the borders of this country and gone into exile, if I knew what faced me and what faces me to this day, all these years, I would have run away from this country. I did not want to be a part of it. I got sucked into the system and today I must pay for it. It's disgusting. I'm ashamed. That is as honest as what I can be.

MR VAN ZYL: The fact that you are horrified is it you are horrified about what can happen to you, or are you horrified of the facts?

MR ERASMUS: I'm horrified that I played a role, even if it was in perpetrating the system of apartheid for one minute, then I deserve C Max. I'm horrified at what I was involved in, full stop.

JUDGE DE JAGER: Mr van Zyl, it's relevant as far as reconciliation is concerned whether he's horrified or not horrified, or whether he - but it's got nothing to do, it's not a criteria for amnesty.

MR VAN ZYL: As it pleases.

JUDGE DE JAGER: So as far as reconciliation is concerned, that may be necessary to lead the evidence but it's not a requirement for amnesty.

MR VAN ZYL: It is purely a closing statement Madam Chair and as such I'm not leading any further evidence at this point in time.


MR VAN ZYL: That is the application regarding the Alexandra Health Clinic.


CHAIRPERSON: Do you intend to call any further evidence?

MR VAN ZYL: Madam Chair, regarding the Health Clinic, at this point in time I have no further instruction. The other evidence we will lead - we're going to deal just with that today.


MR VAN ZYL: So that is where - we are finished now relating to ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: You've got no witnesses to call in support of his application in relation to this incident?

MR VAN ZYL: Can I have a moment please? We are not going to call further witnesses, Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Maybe we should now give an opportunity to Ms Pillay to cross-examine.

MS PILLAY: Thank you Madam Chair.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS PILLAY: Mr Erasmus I find quite a bit of your testimony very interesting, so what I will do is start towards the end and move our way backwards.

MR ERASMUS: I'm sorry Ma'am?

MS PILLAY: I will do, Mr Erasmus, is start with the end of your testimony and slowly move our way backwards, because you did say quite a few things which I think warrant further investigation. Let's start off with your statement with regard to the people who you claim were running Alexandra Clinic. You said in your testimony Mr Erasmus that the people who were running Alexandra Clinic were communists and that that alone was enough to warrant action. Do you still stand by this statement, Mr Erasmus?

MR ERASMUS: No, I tried to paraphrase that, or time phrase it into what my mind set was at that time.

MS PILLAY: Alright, at the time you thought that the mere fact that the people who were running Alexandra Clinic were, in your mind, communists, that warranted the action of destroying the nurses home?

MR ERASMUS: Very much so, yes.

MS PILLAY: Did you have information that the persons who were running the clinic were communists?

MR ERASMUS: Ma'am I did mention this briefly. I don't know maybe you missed something there. I did mention that I knew of ...(intervention)

MS PILLAY: Mr Erasmus, my question is did you have precise information that the persons who were running the clinic were communists?

MR ERASMUS: No. No, I didn't.

MS PILLAY: And yet you still believed that that information which was not based on any particular fact, would have been enough to warrant the action of destroying the nurses home and possibly endangering the lives of the nurses who lived there?

MR ERASMUS: Yes, at the time I believed that, yes.

MS PILLAY: Did you know, Mr Erasmus that the clinic is being run by a board and not just by one individual?

MR ERASMUS: I didn't know that, no.

MS PILLAY: You didn't know that?

MR ERASMUS: I didn't know that.

MS PILLAY: At the time, did you bother to find out before you associated yourself with this action, whether in fact the information on which you were undertaking the action was correct or not?

MR ERASMUS: No. As I mentioned, I never worked in Alexandra. I knew of the existence of the clinic, I knew of Dr Tim Wilson and Ilse Wilson and that was about it. I knew a little bit about their background, which I'd been trained to. It was never on my personal brief or part of my desk, so I wasn't aware of these facts, no.

MS PILLAY: When you were at the drinking spree, where was the place? In Honeydew, it was decided that you would firebomb the clinic and you associated yourself with this action, based on the information that you had at the time?

MR ERASMUS: Ja, that is correct.

MS PILLAY: And you come here today, Mr Erasmus and tell us that you had a political objective for associating yourself?

MR ERASMUS: Yes. If conversely Ma'am, can I elaborate? Conversely if I didn't believe, as drunk as what I was, that there was a political objective or a security objective to be attained in it, I would have certainly got in my car and driven home, as drunk as what I was.

MS PILLAY: Before you associated yourself with tampering with Cathy Satchwell's car, did you get in your car and drive away?


MS PILLAY: And yet ...(intervention)

MR ERASMUS: I knew that Ms Satchwell - can I answer, finish please?

MS PILLAY: Carry on please.

MR ERASMUS: I knew that Ms Satchwell was a threat to the Security establishment of this country.

MS PILLAY: Mr Erasmus, your evidence was quite clear here today. It was clarified by the Chairperson and we all took very copious notes of the fact that you had personal vendetta against Ms Satchwell and that was the reason, that after having this drunken party with all your friends, that you decided to go to her house and damage her car.

MR ERASMUS: I cannot argue with that Ma'am. You're most certainly right.

MS PILLAY: I'm right, that's correct, yet ...(intervention)

JUDGE DE JAGER: I think, really if one sits and listens to him, it was a personal vendetta, but what was the background of this personal vendetta?

MS PILLAY: I think Mr Chairperson, what's more important is what motivated that particular attack at that particular time.

JUDGE DE JAGER: That may be so, but we must get the whole truth. Why did he have the personal vendetta against Mrs Satchwell?

MS PILLAY: Mr Chairperson, with respect, I'm not quite clear that has been clarified.

JUDGE DE JAGER: Well that's what we should perhaps clarify.

MS PILLAY: He mentioned - my brief here Mr Chairperson is to go on the information that the applicant has given. I'm not sure that's it my position to clarify that, I think that could have been ...(intervention)

JUDGE DE JAGER: You could leave it, we'll clarify it.

MS PILLAY: Thank you Mr Chairperson.

JUDGE DE JAGER: We'll give you the opportunity to cross-examine him after it's been clarified, but if you're not going to clarify it, we'll clarify it at a later stage.

MS PILLAY: Thank you Mr Chairperson.

MR VAN ZYL: If I may, at this point in time, just help my Learned Friend there.

JUDGE DE JAGER: No Mr van Zyl, if there's something that you want to protect your client or whatever, an unreasonable question you could do so, but we can't go through - we should follow some sort of procedure here.

CHAIRPERSON: What is it that you wanted to say, Mr van Zyl?

MR VAN ZYL: Thank you Madam Chair. What I wanted to say, earlier on when my client started his testimony, the history, the total history of South Africa he tried to elucidate about it.

CHAIRPERSON: You don't have to say that. Ms Pillay is cross-examining your client.

MR VAN ZYL: Yes, but at that point in time, Judge de Jager said that this Committee is au fait with that background and his total political objective is based on that background as well, so I think it's only fair that it must be remembered that that is how the evidence started today.

CHAIRPERSON: But that does not impinge at all on what has been put by Ms Pillay to Mr Erasmus.

MR VAN ZYL: In a sense she says she is only working in the framework of what's been said here today and it was decided by this Committee that prior hearings evidence is relevant here as well.


MR VAN ZYL: Well then I stand corrected. Then I stand corrected here and then I withdraw my objection.

CHAIRPERSON: I'm not with you. When was that decision made?

MR VAN ZYL: Judge de Jager said earlier on when we started on the whole Stratcom strategy, Judge de Jager said here that this Committee is familiar with that history, we do not need to delve into that here today, but that ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: But what has that to do with the question put by Ms Pillay to Mr Erasmus with regard to Ms Satchwell?

MR VAN ZYL: Mr Erasmus is clearly stating that every action he did, the political objective was in the total strategy as he was indoctrinated to do and she is saying here now that she is only looking at the facts of that night. We must look at the overall picture.

CHAIRPERSON: I don't agree with you. I think the history ...(intervention)

MR VAN ZYL: If you don't agree with me Madam Chair ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: The history has no relevance to the question that has been put by Ms Pillay to Mr Erasmus with regard to the matter of Ms Satchwell.

MR VAN ZYL: Then you make your ruling Madam Chair and I'll abide by it.


MS PILLAY: Thank you Madam Chair. Mr Erasmus maybe I should go back to the beginning and may I just say that a lot of your testimony hasn't been very comprehensive and that there are huge gaps, so you'll just forgive me for asking you to repeat certain sections of your testimony. On the night in question ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Ms Pillay, if they will be relevant.

MS PILLAY: Absolutely Madam Chair. They will be relevant. On the night in question, Mr Erasmus, you and how many other Security Policemen were at this party?

CHAIRPERSON: Which party? We have two parties.

MS PILLAY: The initial party, the first one.

MR ERASMUS: I can't remember Ms Pillay, Ma'am, I can't remember the particular function, but there were a lot of us present, maybe 80, 100 initially.

MS PILLAY: And what was the reason for the social gathering?

MR ERASMUS: Ma'am in those years, any, the sun coming up was good enough reason to have a party.

MS PILLAY: And to drink heavily?


MS PILLAY: And what exactly happened that night at the initial party?

MR ERASMUS: I don't recall that much and I honestly cannot even tell you what it was but it was the situation ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: May I, Mr Erasmus, just interrupt you? In relation to what, Ms Pillay? I think it's too broad a question.

MS PILLAY: Thank you Madam Chair, I'll rephrase. You cannot tell us Mr Erasmus what was the purpose of all of you gathering at the party?


MR ERASMUS: I can't remember Ma'am.

CHAIRPERSON: Haven't you stated that this was a social party?

MR ERASMUS: Well ja, but there probably was a reason for so much of us to get together, an official function maybe, we celebrated something, somebody had got promoted, we got a pay increase which would have really been celebratory but nevertheless, I cannot remember Ma'am.

CHAIRPERSON: I thought you weren't going to elaborate, that it was usual for you to have such a party.


CHAIRPERSON: So it wasn't a party that had been organised because of a particular event, it was something that was usual for you to have?

MR ERASMUS: Ja, we had many parties like that.

CHAIRPERSON: So there was no specific reason to have that particular party, can't I deduce that from that statement?

MR ERASMUS: I don't remember Ma'am. I can't remember. I don't know. Okay let's assume it was an organised function, would that help you?

MS PILLAY: Forgive me, Mr Erasmus, I would prefer not to go on, on the basis of assumptions and to confine ourselves to the facts.

MR ERASMUS: Well I cannot remember Ma'am. I have attended thousands of parties that were either official, semi-official, some of them sponsored by the State, some of them paid out of the secret fund, I cannot remember what happened that night.

MS PILLAY: I'm asking this question Mr Erasmus, particularly in light of your evidence that you didn't have sufficient time to even go home.

MR ERASMUS: That is correct, that much I do remember.

MS PILLAY: But you attended the party?

MR ERASMUS: You know we worked - do I have some levity here to tell the Commission, or am I impinging on the Commission's time?

CHAIRPERSON: Won't you try and confine yourself to questions which are being put to you in as direct a manner as you possibly can?

MR ERASMUS: Ma'am maybe I have a limited intellectual ability, but I cannot explain a concept in one sentence or word. That's what I'm about to do. I'm sorry. I ask your forgiveness. The question was?

MS PILLAY: When you actually attended this party, Mr Erasmus, was it with the knowledge that you would be working immediately after the party?

MR ERASMUS: We never stopped working. It was a period of our lives where it went on day in and day out.

MS PILLAY: Whether or not you were drunk or sober, you never stopped working?

MR ERASMUS: I used to slip home, have a few hours sleep and I would start work again. That's what it was like. That is the reality.

MS PILLAY: Alright. So you were at the party with how many other people?

MR ERASMUS: 50, 80, 100, I don't know, I didn't count them, I don't know.

MS PILLAY: Can you give us some of the names of the other people present at the party?

MR ERASMUS: These functions, they were well-attended by ...(intervention)

MS PILLAY: Not these functions, Mr Erasmus, this particular party which you attended.

MR ERASMUS: Mr de Jager, can I implicate other people by mentioning who was there?

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Erasmus, just hold on. Mr Erasmus you will address this Committee by referring to the Chair. I am presiding.

MR ERASMUS: My apologies Ma'am. Col van Wyk, Col van Huyssteen.

CHAIRPERSON: We already are aware that Col van Wyk and van Huyssteen attended the party. You've referred to them numerous times already. I think what Ms Pillay wants to know are names of people other than those that you've already referred to.

MR ERASMUS: The staff that I worked with, Sgt Allen, Const Loggin, there would have been more of our officers present, Lieut. Twine, possibly, I'm not certain, possibly. The entire staff of Alexandra, I think they numbered about 20 individuals, policemen. I didn't know them that well, all of them, especially the junior members, Lieut. Brits, possibly. I can't be specific.

MS PILLAY: Right and what was being discussed at the party?

MR ERASMUS: At the party, what was being discussed?

MS PILLAY: Was it merely social, or were you discussing work as well?

MR ERASMUS: We always discussed work at parties like this. It was a time, these parties, I might just add, they were referred to especially as "..." (indistinct) or morale building episodes.

MS PILLAY: And were you the only person drinking at the party?

MR ERASMUS: No, absolutely not. Liquor flowed at those parties faster than what the breweries could turn the stuff out.

CHAIRPERSON: Now who would finance such a party? Was it State financed?

MR ERASMUS: Many of the parties were State financed, or alternatively the alcohol that was available was so cheap that we were able to each contribute for our own requirements or whatever we consumed.

CHAIRPERSON: But to your knowledge, this particular party ...(intervention)

MR ERASMUS: No, I don't recall.

CHAIRPERSON: Was it financed by individual members who attended the party, or was it financed by the State?

MR ERASMUS: I don't recall that particular night, Madam Chair, honestly I don't.

CHAIRPERSON: Do you recall disbursing anything for this particular party?

MR ERASMUS: I don't recall it.

MS PILLAY: You described yourself, Mr Erasmus, in your own words as staggeringly drunk. Were you the only one who was staggeringly drunk?


MS PILLAY: Was Col van Huyssteen staggeringly drunk?

MR ERASMUS: Col van Huyssteen - Col van Wyk and Col van Huyssteen were both drunk, yes.

MS PILLAY: Staggeringly drunk?

MR ERASMUS: I don't know about staggering, but we certainly all consumed a vast amount of alcohol that evening.

MS PILLAY: And all the other members of the Security Police, were they all drunk?

MR ERASMUS: Most, yes. The people that would go to something like this, were people that drank, yes.

MS PILLAY: And were there any members of the Security Police who were told not to drink, assuming they were to be designated drivers, at these parties?


MS PILLAY: Everyone would drink?

MR ERASMUS: Most Security Policemen would drink, yes.

MS PILLAY: And get drunk?


MS PILLAY: How did Cathy Satchwell's name come up during this drinking session?

MR ERASMUS: Ma'am you will recall that I did say that I might have mentioned it, we certainly discussed our work. Maybe somebody else mentioned it, I don't know. It could well have been me. I cannot remember.

MS PILLAY: Mr Erasmus, can you not remember because you were too drunk at the time

MR ERASMUS: Yes, that is the case. This is one of the areas in my amnesty application where my memory is affected and I think I'd like to say that I have a reasonably good memory


MS PILLAY: So you have a reasonably good memory, it's just that because you were so drunk that you can't tell us anything of what happened?


MS PILLAY: And on your, probably your instructions, you all proceeded to Cathy Satchwell's house.

MR ERASMUS: No, I didn't have those instructions. I might have made a suggestion. We lived and worked, Ma'am in a military system where ultimately the go-ahead or the approval or the sanction would have been given by the senior people present, that was the nature of the beast, if you will, that I worked in.

MS PILLAY: If I can just go back Mr Erasmus, my notes of your testimony yesterday, alright, is that you were staggeringly drunk, on your evidence now everyone else at the party was staggeringly drunk.

JUDGE DE JAGER: No, he didn't say that. Please Ms Pillay, he said they were drunk. You asked him whether van Huyssteen and van Wyk were staggeringly drunk. He said they were drunk, he never said they were staggeringly drunk.

MS PILLAY: Alright.

JUDGE DE JAGER: So keep to the evidence, please.

MS PILLAY: Let me correct my question then. Thank you Mr Chair. Well they consumed more liquor than breweries could churn out, that was your evidence here today and the way the conversation started was: "Wat gaan ons vanaand doen?" "Let's go to Alex Health Clinic", is that correct?

MR ERASMUS: I used that as a scenario. This is how something like that might have developed. I'm certain that is what happened that night.

MS PILLAY: Mr Erasmus you are today asking us to provide you with amnesty for these matters, you cannot do it on the basis of assumption. You have to give us very clear factual evidence of what happened. Now did this conversation - would it have taken place at Honeydew or would it have taken place at the first party? Where was the first party, by the way?

MR ERASMUS: I'm going to be ridiculing myself if I tell you I cannot remember. I would assume, most of these functions were held at Arthur Block at the police sports grounds, that's where this type of trouble, or this type of situation invariably started.

MS PILLAY: Alright. So the decision about Alex Health Clinic, would it have taken place at the police sports grounds, or would it have taken place at Honeydew?

MR ERASMUS: I believe that it happened at Honeydew.

MS PILLAY: At Honeydew? So the only decision that was taken at the sports grounds was with regard to Cathy Satchwell's car?

MR ERASMUS: Ja. Maybe other people discussed it, I don't know, I didn't hear or see or know, I can only talk about my role there and try and remember as much as what I could.

MS PILLAY: And that's what we're trying to get to Mr Erasmus, is your role in all of this. You say you're not even clear that you actually brought up the issue of Cathy Satchwell's car, isn't that correct?

MR ERASMUS: Yes, that is correct, I'm not clear.

MS PILLAY: And your evidence is that you didn't even go into Cathy Satchwell's property, isn't that correct?

MR ERASMUS: I did not go into Cathy Satchwell's property, that's correct.

MS PILLAY: Your evidence is that you didn't even tamper with the car, isn't that correct?

MR ERASMUS: That's correct.

MS PILLAY: So why are you applying for amnesty for this incident?

MR ERASMUS: I don't understand this. It's full disclosure. I was part - I had a common purpose with going with all these people that night. The second reason Ma'am, I must just tell you this, that the reason, the actual reason that Alexandra Health Clinic is on this application is that I was confronted about what happened. I'd forgotten about this. I never played an active role. I played a very passive role in it. I was reminded about this when I was in the witness protection programme in Denmark by Judge Goldstone and his staff. They'd received information that Col van Huyssteen and other people had gone to the Alexandra Health Clinic and burned it down and when they came to me, I said: "Oh yes, it's not in any of my case books or my documents". I had nothing directly related to it, but I think the legal term "common purpose" applies here. It was something that I was involved in.

MS PILLAY: Let's come to the Alex Health Clinic then. What was the common purpose that you were involved in, as decided during the drunken party at Honeydew?

MR ERASMUS: We're all going to this place to destroy it. Some of the people would throw petrol on, other people will just go along for the ride, others will be there for back-up in case a uniform police van comes along and there's trouble or somebody starts shooting or whatever.

MS PILLAY: Right. So these were factual decisions taken at Honeydew?


MS PILLAY: Exactly what you've told us now, that was the conversation that happened at Honeydew?

MR ERASMUS: That was the norm. It might not have been the conversation because with all of these and I've been involved in many of them Ma'am worked along those lines, yes.

MS PILLAY: Mr Erasmus, I really don't want to know about the norm, I want to know about what happened at Honeydew. What was the decision with regard to Alex Health Clinic at Honeydew? You refer to common purpose, what is it that you were associating yourself with?

MR ERASMUS: A group of us security policemen decided, ...(intervention)

MS PILLAY: Who decided? Who brought it up?

MR ERASMUS: I don't remember Ma'am, I honestly don't remember.

MS PILLAY: Alright. Carry on. You said a group of you decided ...

MR ERASMUS: Decided to go to - somebody suggested or we decided, I don't know, to go to Alexandra Health Clinic and burn it down. Short and simple and sweet.

MS PILLAY: So at Honeydew, someone raised the discussion that you should go to Alex Health Clinic and burn it down. Did you for one minute at Honeydew question that, Mr Erasmus?

MR ERASMUS: Ma'am in those times I didn't question much.

MS PILLAY: I understand. You've referred to the need-to-know principle. Now let's go a bit more into the need-to know principle. If you were required to play a role in the burning of Alex Health Care Centre, don't you think Mr Erasmus at that time you needed to know what it is that you were going in for?

MR ERASMUS: If you would like me to digress on the need-to-know principle, I most certainly will.

MS PILLAY: Mr Erasmus, all I want to know is, at that time didn't you feel the fact that you were associating yourself with this incident, did you not question what it is you were going to do, who had decided that Alex Health Centre was to be burned down, and what specifically was going to be done that night?

MR ERASMUS: No, absolutely not.

MS PILLAY: Why not?

MR ERASMUS: That was simply the way that not only the Security Police, but Intelligence Services work, not only in this country, around the globe and to this day while we're sitting here. Nobody ever reveals in the work that I did in those years, everything to everybody.

MS PILLAY: Mr Erasmus, we're looking specifically at your actions and at your liability and at the fact that you here today are asking for amnesty. Did you question and why didn't you question what it is that you were going to do that night?

MR ERASMUS: I was a very small cog in a very big bowl Ma'am, I had no right to question those type of decisions, or to go to anybody. What you might be suggesting, if I'm allowed a moment to digress, is I then should have gone to Col van Wyk or van Huyssteen and said: "Before I get in that car I want to know who ordered this, authorised it, blah-de-blah-de-blah". I had no right to do that and right through my amnesty application ...(intervention)

MS PILLAY: You see Mr Erasmus we're not only talking about a right, we're talking about a duty. You have to show us here today that you acted within a scope of authority.

MR ERASMUS: Yes, I did.

MS PILLAY: No you have the duty, I put it to you Mr Erasmus, to find out whether this was an authorised act or not and in fact who authorised it and what it is that was going to be authorised.

JUDGE DE JAGER: An illegal act can't be legal, it's illegal, he's participating in an offence, otherwise he can't get amnesty. If it was legalised by anybody, even P W Botha couldn't legalise a criminal act.

MS PILLAY: Mr Chairperson - Madam Chair, I think what I'm trying to get at is the extent to which he acted within the scope of his authority.


MS PILLAY: That's right. Mr Erasmus, may I just put my question to you again? You had the duty to inquire whether or not this act was authorised and extent to which it was authorised, what it is that you were authorised to do that night.

MR ERASMUS: I don't agree that we had that authority. I reject that assumption, it's not the way we worked, it's not the way that I was trained, it's not the way it happened in most of the other situations here.

MS PILLAY: So in most of the other situations you acted without authority?

MR ERASMUS: No, we acted with authority. We did not question where it came from.

MS PILLAY: Alright what ...(intervention)

MR ERASMUS: That is what the need-to-know principle - sorry that I interrupted you, the need-to-know principle is. I was, for example, one of the things that we mentioned earlier, told, ordered to get plans of Khotso House. I didn't go back to the person who gave me those orders and say: "I want to know why you want these plans". Between us sitting here, I had a damn good idea why they wanted the plans, but that's not what your question is.

MS PILLAY: Were you involved in the Khotso House matter, Mr Erasmus?


MS PILLAY: Was there a drinking session before Khotso House?

MR ERASMUS: No. At Khotso House it happened immediately after the explosion.

MS PILLAY: Yes, but was there a drinking session immediately before it?

MR ERASMUS: I wasn't there Ma'am the night, I was, in fact I think I was on leave. I wasn't there the night the explosions were carried into Khotso House. I don't know if those members were drunk.

MS PILLAY: Let's get back to Alex than. Who gave you your direct authority to act in the Alex matter?

MR ERASMUS: As was the nature of our training and the police Act and everything else, the senior person, the senior officer there present, would carry the authority for that.

MS PILLAY: No, I'm not asking you what would have happened, I'm asking you what happened, who gave you your authority to act in the Alex matter?

MR ERASMUS: I don't know. I went along with the flow.

MS PILLAY: I ask you again. Who gave you your authority to act in the Alex matter?

MR ERASMUS: During the night, or ...?

MS PILLAY: No who gave you your authority to act in the Alex matter?

MR ERASMUS: I don't understand the question.

CHAIRPERSON: Hasn't he responded Ms Pillay?

MS PILLAY: I don't think he has.

CHAIRPERSON: He went along with the flow. He was not authorised by anyone, isn't that sufficient for you?

MS PILLAY: Thank you, that is. Thank you Madam Chair. Thanks for the clarification. Mr Erasmus, if we can just go to your written application. I refer you to page 34 of your application. You have, during your testimony here, Mr Erasmus, referred many times to suspects. Cathy Satchwell was a suspect.

MR ERASMUS: That's correct.

MS PILLAY: Who was the suspect in the Alex Clinic matter?

MR ERASMUS: Dr and Mrs Wilson.

MS PILLAY: They were your suspects? They were, the targets were Tim Wilson and Ilse Wilson?

MR ERASMUS: Ja, Tim and Ilse Wilson.

MS PILLAY: Then why did you bomb the nurses home of the Alex Health Clinic?

MR ERASMUS: Ma'am, I didn't bomb the place. I went along with it. I knew nothing about it. I didn't even know that much about the Wilsons, apart from what I'd learned, I think the first time I'd ever heard about them was on Security Course in 1977, this was the legendary Braam Fischer's family. I think it's Ilse Wilson was Braam's daughter.

MS PILLAY: That's correct, she is.


MS PILLAY: So you target in incident '74, were Tim Wilson and Ilse Wilson, that's your testimony here today?

MR ERASMUS: They would have been a substantial part of it plus the aspect which I referred to earlier about the Sanctuary Programme and about facilities, like Alexandra Health Clinic being seen as providing logistical, material, or health support, or whatever.

MS PILLAY: You say being seen as providing those kind of support, or providing those kind of support?

MR ERASMUS: We identified many such places from my side, nothing to do with Alexandra Health Clinic, yes that were providing that type of support to people on the run from the Security ...

MS PILLAY: You mentioned in your examination-in-chief that you would not have bombed Johannesburg Gen, isn't that correct?

MR ERASMUS: That's correct.

MS PILLAY: So what distinguished Alex Health Centre from Johannesburg Gen?

MR ERASMUS: It had a political security connotation.

MS PILLAY: What was that political security connotation?

MR ERASMUS: Sorry, Ma'am, aren't we going around in circles? I've just mentioned ...(intervention)

MS PILLAY: No, we're not going around in circles, in fact my cross-examination is very direct. I am asking you what is the difference between Alex House and Johannesburg General Hospital.

MR ERASMUS: The difference is that Alexander Health Clinic, as a Clinic, was a suspected area or organisation, the activities there were being questioned by the Security Establishment, there was an assumption that it might have been part or formed a role in the so-called Sanctuary Programme and that the people running it were none other than the most dangerous man, as I learned at that time, that this country had ever faced, Braam Fischer's own daughter and her husband. They were all Security Branch suspects.

MS PILLAY: Well I put it to you Mr Erasmus, that the clinic was not being run by Tim Wilson and Ilse Wilson, but Tim Wilson was really just a Director there, but that the Clinic was being run by a whole board of people, drawn from various political backgrounds. What's your response to that?

MR ERASMUS: I honestly didn't know that. I really didn't know that.

MS PILLAY: And I put it to you Mr Erasmus that in fact the clinic itself gave support, medical support as you put it, which I assume is medical attention, to anyone who walked through its doors, since it was the only health centre in the entire Alexandra Township, now what do you say, Mr Erasmus?

MR ERASMUS: I'm now aware of that Ma'am.

MS PILLAY: So as someone working in Intelligence, Mr Erasmus, isn't there usually a whole background search done before a target is identified and then executed?

MR ERASMUS: I can only tell you, Ms Pillay about my own actions, that none of us wanted, the people that I worked with in many instances, carried out acts like this, didn't want blood on our hands. There were times, for example when and I spoke about this at this table three weeks ago, where I shot up somebody's car, but I first went a looked to see if there wasn't anybody inside it. I didn't want to have to sleep with that, especially after going through the Namibian border war and everything like that, so not all of us wanted just blood on our hands. Maybe if I'd thought, or been less drunk that night, or less committed as I was, I would have had time, had I taken the time and it's my cursed luck that I didn't, to think about this, what I was actually doing or being involved in, I would certainly never have done it. A place where health care is provided to people or secondly the chances are that there could be innocent people there. I didn't want that type of blood on my hands. It would have been a different story if we'd received information that there were 50 MK cadres sitting there with limpet mines, or something like that, yes gladly.

MS PILLAY: Okay, Mr Erasmus, let's just go back to the discussion at Honeydew. I'm sorry I keep bringing you there, but I'm very vague.

ADV SIGODI: Sorry Ms Pillay just before you proceed from that point, I'd just like to know from the applicant if he knew what the status of the clinic was, was it a privately owned clinic, or was it a government clinic?

MR ERASMUS: I really don't - I don't know to this day. I don't know. I really don't know. If think if it was a government-owned clinic, this would probably never have happened, because they were very ballistic about protecting government property, I would assume so.

MS PILLAY: Thank you Madam Chair. Mr Erasmus if I put it to you that in fact the Alexandra Health Clinic received a substantial government subsidy, what would be your response? I'm surprised, I didn't know that. I knew nothing about Alexandra Health Clinic, apart from what I've told you already.

MS PILLAY: In fact Mr Erasmus, from the period 1989 to 1990, Alexandra Clinic received a government subsidy in excess of R900 000.

MR ERASMUS: I didn't know that.

MS PILLAY: Let's just go back to the discussion at Honeydew, Mr Erasmus. Alexandra Health Centre is made up of various buildings. Maybe Madam Chair if I may be permitted at this stage just to hand up the site plan of Alexandra Health Clinic, just to direct my questions?

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Would you give an Exhibit number?

MS PILLAY: Maybe we could mark it Exhibit A, Madam Chair.

JUDGE DE JAGER: I presume this is a 1989 site plan?

MS PILLAY: Mr Chairperson, the only thing that apparently has changed is the thing called casualty which was at the time under construction, other - that this is exactly how the clinic was at the time. In the centre Madam Chair there's a building called casualty.


MS PILLAY: Yes, that was the only one that was under construction at the time. The building called Administration Block, can you see that Mr Erasmus?

MR ERASMUS: Yes, in the middle, yes.

MS PILLAY: Now that is the nurses' home that was damaged during this incident. Now what I want to know from you Mr Erasmus, at the - during the conversation ...(intervention)

JUDGE DE JAGER: Sorry, just for clarity, did they stay there, was it a nurses' home, or an administration block in the sense that there were offices and that kind of thing?

MS PILLAY: Mr Chairperson, my instructions are that it was a nurses' home, where nurses stayed.

JUDGE DE JAGER: Thank you.

MS PILLAY: Mr Erasmus, during the conversation where the Alex matter was discussed in Honeydew, which building was it decided that should be bombed?

MR ERASMUS: I don't recall a conversation ever centring, I cannot, forgive me if I've forgotten, whatever, I don't recall any discussion about any particular area of the building. I knew nothing about it. It might have been said and I've forgotten about it, it was insignificant, I don't know.

MS PILLAY: So when you mentioned blood on your hands, Mr Erasmus, you can't tell us why, from all the buildings mentioned there, the nurses' home firstly, which is closest to the maternity ward of Alex Health Centre, was decided to be bombed?

MR ERASMUS: I cannot tell you that Ma'am. I didn't know that. What you're telling me now is news to me. I really, I didn't know this.

MS PILLAY: And what's even more puzzling, Mr Erasmus, is that it's a building towards the centre of the entire Health Clinic and not one of the buildings on the periphery.

MR ERASMUS: I see that.

MS PILLAY: And you can't tell us why, Mr Erasmus, since you're asking for amnesty on this issue, you can't tell us why that particular building was decided to be bombed?


MS PILLAY: If we can just go back to the scope of your authority, Mr Erasmus, I was looking at the other amnesty applications which are included in your bundle and the only instructions which you've mentioned here today is that you were specifically instructed to engage in activities aimed at forcing people to leave the country, which would explain the Cathy Satchwell incident, and you mentioned other incidents where you ordered unwanted supplies, made threatening phone calls.

MR ERASMUS: That was at the outset of my career, Ms Pillay.

MS PILLAY: At the outset of your career?


MS PILLAY: And towards the time of the Alex Clinic, what was it that you were instructed to do?

MR ERASMUS: Well round about the same year, I then worked formally, it became a full-time, dirty tricks became my full-time job and shortly after this, towards the end of 1989.

MS PILLAY: And the bombing of a Health Centre would then be a dirty trick?

MR ERASMUS: The bombing of?

MS PILLAY: Of a Health Clinic would be a dirty trick?

MR ERASMUS: I suppose one could phrase it in those terms. I would now rather use words like sabotage or attempted murder, it's gross. When I say dirty tricks, it's a term.

CHAIRPERSON: Are you suggesting, Mr Erasmus, that the destruction of property, would within your understanding of dirty tricks, be indeed part of your authority to perform whatever dirty tricks you were authorised to so perform on your targets?

MR ERASMUS: Yes. Dirty tricks are certainly not the right words to use for something like this, but I would - ja, dirty tricks or unlawful activities.

CHAIRPERSON: What, to your understanding, was intended for you to be done in order for you to work within the scope of what you were authorised to do as dirty tricks?

MR ERASMUS: Ma'am at the height of all of this there was no limitations on what we were allowed to do and what was condoned by the then Government and State Security Council. I have documents here right next to me, case books to prove it, 11 000 incidents, most or a large percentage of those were illegal acts, either very minor, the illegal tapping of telephones, ranging from that to blowing up buildings and literally a licence to kill were sanctioned by the State and were carried out by us people, people like me and Eugene de Kock on behalf of our masters in the police and our political masters. That is the reality.

CHAIRPERSON: And you are suggesting that the activities which entailed the destruction of property with a possible injury or even death to persons who might have been in those buildings, would include the labelling that you were authorised to do as dirty tricks?

MR ERASMUS: Maybe we should, Madam Chair, with respect, maybe we should just get away from the term dirty tricks.


MR ERASMUS: But yes, those type of actions were authorised. If Khotso House had had a night watchman sleeping on the third floor and nobody knew about it, the effect or the action taken by the Minister of Police at that time, Adriaan Vlok, he would have still carried out the lies about Shirley Gunn carrying explosives into the place. What I tried to point out to you earlier from my side, a lot of us tried to take steps to ensure that this didn't happen, that there wasn't the innocent loss of life.

CHAIRPERSON: The reason why I'm asking this is because I understood your earlier evidence that your authority included any activity that would have compelled or coerced a particular target to leave the country.

MR ERASMUS: That was in the early days, Madam Chair. Latter days, the official definition of what was known as Project Wigwam, Operation Romulus, was any actions and I quote from the manuals which are lying here:

"Any actions aimed at destroying the ANC/SACP, COSATU Alliance"

and that was not my words, that was authorised by the State Security Council of this country.

CHAIRPERSON: But what were you specifically authorised to do?

MR ERASMUS: Exactly what I've just said, Madam Chair. Any actions aimed at discrediting or destroying the ANC/SACP COSATU Alliance.

CHAIRPERSON: Any action intended to discredit the ANC?

MR ERASMUS: They were freely used words, Ma'am, sabotage, eliminate, destroy, disrupt, we can carry on and play semantics, like the TRC has listened to for years, we can carry on and play these semantic games until we're blue in the fact, the reality is that they knew what we were doing and it was authorised across the board and I believe and I've said it today, that Alexandra Clinic was part of that strategy which was in place at that time.

CHAIRPERSON: Which allowed you to discredit or destroy the ANC?

MR ERASMUS: Or any person that was perceived as possibly being supportive of the ANC. In 1989, not so much the ANC, most certainly the UDF and the people that were perceived to be involved in Alexandra Health Clinic. I don't know, I didn't investigate it.

CHAIRPERSON: To your knowledge were Mr and Mrs Wilson members of the ANC?

MR ERASMUS: I didn't know that for certain. I had no knowledge personally. I still have no knowledge to this day if the Wilsons have ever joined the ANC. I don't know.

CHAIRPERSON: And in your evidence-in-chief you indicated that you personally came across the activities of the Wilsons from the intelligence, your intelligence sources?

MR ERASMUS: Yes, I knew they were suspects. I probably still have records here of maybe postal interceptions relating to the Wilsons. They were under heavy surveillance, I believe, from the time that I started in the Security Branch.

CHAIRPERSON: So this is not information that was given to you by other persons, you personally came to know of it from the records that you were able to ...(indistinct) through from the various Intelligence Sources?

MR ERASMUS: That's correct, Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: So you had an opportunity, first hand opportunity to be informed of the activities of the Wilsons?

MR ERASMUS: I presume yes, that opportunity did exist.


MS PILLAY: Mr Erasmus, if the suspects were Tim Wilson and Ilse Wilson, why didn't you damage their cars, or why didn't you send them unwanted supplies?

MR ERASMUS: I think at the time in my career I did do something to the Wilsons. I maybe made threatening phone calls to them, ordered unwanted supplies. I do recall incidents like that, but at the time relating to Alexandra Health Clinic, they were not part of my desk, or the parameters of the work that I was actually tasked to do.

MS PILLAY: Yet you participated in the bombing of Alex Clinic?


MS PILLAY: Mr Erasmus I put it to you that Ilse Wilson plays no part in the management or running of Alex Health Clinic.

MR ERASMUS: I didn't know that.

MS PILLAY: In fact I put it to you Mr Erasmus that Ilse Wilson's only involvement with Alex Health clinic is like that of any other spouse who attends Christmas parties and other social functions.

MR ERASMUS: I didn't know that Ma'am.

MS PILLAY: Mr Erasmus, your testimony here today was that you did not include the crime attempted murder initially because you didn't know or foresee that people would get hurt as a result of the bombing. Is that correct, Mr Erasmus?

MR ERASMUS: That's correct, Ma'am.

MS PILLAY: Then I refer you to page 18 of your application, Mr Erasmus.

MR ERASMUS: Could you give me the incident number, Ma'am, my pages aren't marked.

MS PILLAY: Incident 74.

MR ERASMUS: Oh. I'm sorry.

MS PILLAY: And I refer you to the last line there, (B) Cathy Satchwell/The People of Alexandra as the Victims. Why did you see the people of Alexandra as the victims?

MR ERASMUS: Well the people of Alexandra were making use of that clinic and they suffered the consequences ultimately of our actions.

MS PILLAY: So you did foresee that there would be victims as a result of this?

MR ERASMUS: Ma'am I didn't write this application the night after the bombing of Alexandra Health Clinic. I wrote this in a more sane period in my life, four and a half years ago I wrote this.

MS PILLAY: But then your evidence here was that you only found out at the pre-trial that there were people ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: What he means, the people of Alexandra would suffer because they would not be able to use the clinic, not in the sense of being injured physically, but in the sense of being deprived of the service that otherwise they would have tapped in.

MS PILLAY: Thank you for the clarification Madam Chair. Mr Erasmus, my instructions are that the bombing of Alex Health Clinic was widely publicised and further that it was widely publicised that there were at least six nurses who were injured as a result of the bombing.

MR ERASMUS: I don't recall much that I read in the media afterwards about it. I did not know about injuries. I would certainly have mentioned it here if I'd know at the time that I wrote this application.

MS PILLAY: I have no further questions, Madam Chair.


CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Ms Pillay. Mr Nyawuza?

MR NYAWUZA: Thank you Madam Chair and Committee Members.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR NYAWUZA: Mr Erasmus if you go to page 34 of the bundle, the last paragraph, the last line.

CHAIRPERSON: May I just interrupt? It's just been drawn to my attention that it's one o'clock. I don't know whether you all want to have a lunch adjournment now at one o'clock or you would prefer that we adjourn at one-thirty and I don't know how that would affect the logistical arrangement.

MS PATEL: May I just take instructions from our logistics officer, Honourable Chair? We may proceed, Honourable Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Nyawuza, you may proceed.

MR NYAWUZA: Thank you Chairperson and Honourable Members. I referred you to page 34 of the bundle, the last line.

"Col van Wyk and Huyssteen gave the instructions."

I believe this was an answer to a very direct question as to who gave instructions that ...(end of tape) ... testimony you said that you assumed that Col van Wyk and Huyssteen would have given instructions, is that what you said in your evidence?

MR ERASMUS: I can only reiterate or maybe just expand a little bit if you want to on that point. In any situation relating to the way that we were trained from day one, it was the senior person present who carried the authority and issued the instructions unless a person appointed by him and this applies to all circumstances, was delegated by him to take control or take over the command. The ultimate authority, even in that circumstance, would be that the senior person present, in this type of mind-set or system, yes, would have applied when people were as drunk as we were that night. We would have looked - if a lot of junior people planned something like that that night, here were two Colonels, or Generals or Brigadiers, we would have looked to them for the nod or the aye or nay, go for it or leave it, that's how things were. I don't think that I'm being unfair to either Col van Wyk or van Huyssteen, they're both people that I respect very much and it's very sad for me to talk about these people, but nevertheless they were the senior people there.

MR NYAWUZA: Do you precisely remember them saying you should carry out the attack?

MR ERASMUS: I do not remember much of that night, Sir.

MR NYAWUZA: Would I be correct in saying most of your evidence is that you didn't know anything about this and in fact you just flowed with the tide, would I be correct?

MR ERASMUS: Relating to this incident?

MR NYAWUZA: Relating to incident 74.


MR NYAWUZA: You don't remember you talking about this incident and saying: "Look, let's go attack", you don't remember any seeing any petrol being shifted around, you don't remember seeing anybody having any petrol in his hands, would I be correct in saying so?

MR ERASMUS: Yes, that's correct.

MR NYAWUZA: As regards the attack, I realise on page 34 as the political objective and motive was to say:

"Here is supply line and then full stop. It also disrupted the suspects' line of communication."

You mentioned, you said this, would I be correct in saying so?


MR NYAWUZA: What makes you say the suspects line of communication was disrupted? What is it that made you say this? How was it ...(indistinct)?

MR ERASMUS: Well if the information can be accepted that that clinic was being used as a logistical support base for insurgents or terrorists, call them what you will, or that anti-State activities were being conducted from there, the aims certainly of burning the place down would be to disrupt a line of communication because that clinic would not have operated as an entity on its own, it would have been in association with other similar bodies around the country, so by damaging one of them, you were disruptive, it's a military term that I've actually used in that response.

MR NYAWUZA: Mr Erasmus, I put it to you that the only place that was attacked on this night was the nurses' home and they are the people in fact that suffered the brunt of this attack and nothing else.

MR ERASMUS: I didn't know that, I really did not know that.

MR NYAWUZA: In fact the attack, the nurses at the time, saw it as you know a racist attack on them. The attack occurred at the main door and fire spread through the corridor and they had to use windows to get out of the building.

MR ERASMUS: I didn't know that.

MR NYAWUZA: And further they suffered severe injuries. In fact one of the ladies that suffered severe injuries passed away last week on Thursday, she's the one that was most hurt.

MR ERASMUS: I don't believe it.

MR NYAWUZA: And if it were not of the casualty that my Learned Ms Pillay referred to, the casualty was under construction at the time and the fact that people who were building the casualty were around at that time, helped in saving a lot of lives that could have been lost on that day, because they had to use the instruments that were used there to break the windows so that these ladies could go through the windows.

MR ERASMUS: Sir, all of this is news to me. I don't know what happened after that.

MR NYAWUZA: Mr Erasmus, will you be ...(indistinct) that you know after an incident like this where some place has been attacked, you'd go and see what the damage is, in that you were part and parcel of the people that attacked the place. Wouldn't ...(indistinct) to see what damage has been done so that, in your words, when you spread propaganda you know what you're talking about?

MR ERASMUS: I certainly never went back to visit the scene of this crime or other crimes, simply because of that very old principle that the criminal always returns to the scene. In this case, I can just explain that during this period in my life, I was writing exams, trying to write exams and not succeeding, I had a two year old cerebral palsied child that was very, very ill at that stage, I had his problems to contend with, I was drinking too much, my marriage was breaking down and I certainly didn't do, yes the logical thing, and read, or sit the next day, or go to work and find out what had actually happened that night. It was a very, very serious time of my life for me. I didn't know all of this, I really didn't know all of this.

CHAIRPERSON: But did you have an occasion to ask both your senior officers at the time of the execution of this operation, being Mr van Wyk and van Huyssteen whether the objective for which the operation had been carried ...(indistinct) had been achieved?

MR ERASMUS: I didn't, on that occasion, ever have - no, I never asked them about it.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you seriously believe that the clinic was offering logistical support to ANC activists?

MR ERASMUS: Well, there were many other places or institutions that were and I accepted and unqualified, Sir, I accepted that the Alexandra Clinic was involved in this. I had no doubt, no reason to think otherwise.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you believe that?

MR ERASMUS: I believed that. I believed that absolutely.

CHAIRPERSON: And the motive was to cut off that logistical support.

MR ERASMUS: Yes, absolutely.

CHAIRPERSON: It was very important that you succeed in doing so.

MR ERASMUS: Yes. Madam Chair, if I may interrupt there, just to explain something which might clarify it for you, given different circumstances, if the General had called me and said to me: "Paul, tonight you take petrol and burn down Alexandra Health Clinic", I would have done it. I would not have had a problem with it.

CHAIRPERSON: Now you participated because you believed it was a political objective to be achieved by your participation.

MR ERASMUS: Absolutely.

CHAIRPERSON: And you state in your amnesty application that it was two fold, it was firstly to cut off the logistical support and also prevent any medical assistance being given to ANC activists.

MR ERASMUS: That's correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Now if that was the reason behind this operation and it was not something that was as a result of some other reason and we'll come to that maybe when we question you, why don't you make inquiries whether the objective, for which the operation was carried out, has been achieved?

MR ERASMUS: Ma'am there was - the follow-up on these things at that time, I just never did it, it wasn't in my line-function, I had no interest in it, I wasn't particularly proud that I'd been involved, I'd just gone along for the ride. It was their business in the same way that operations that I did were no business of the unit that worked in Alexandra, that's just the way that it happened.

CHAIRPERSON: Was Mr van Huyssteen and van Wyk involved with the activities within Alexandra? In your evidence you've stated that there was a unit that specifically concentrated its efforts on Alexandra. Were they part of that unit?

MR ERASMUS: Madam Chair, Col van Huyssteen was in fact for a while, I'm not sure about the time periods, head of that unit.

CHAIRPERSON: At the time of this operation, as he still heading that unit?

MR ERASMUS: I'm not certain about the time factors, Ma'am.

CHAIRPERSON: To your knowledge when was he part of that unit? Was it before or after?

MR ERASMUS: Before, definitely before this.

CHAIRPERSON: And you don't know who was heading that unit around 89, 90?

MR ERASMUS: I'm not certain Ma'am.

CHAIRPERSON: But to your knowledge he was no longer part of that operation, part of that unit?

MR ERASMUS: I don't know. At that time, Madam Chair, there was a great flux and movement of peoples in the Security Branch, during this same year, to add to my personal stress which I'm not trying to elicit sympathy, I was even transferred from the area that I was working, to a covert operation which was based at Honeydew. I wasn't certain and with that there was a total cut-off of us, we weren't allowed, in fact, into our home base which was John Vorster Square, because we were working, doing covert investigations, so we never kept up to date with who was transferred where, or whatever, but there was a lot of movement. I couldn't say for certainty who was in charge.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Nyawuza, you may proceed.

MR NYAWUZA: Thank you.

JUDGE DE JAGER: Sorry Mr Nyawuza. I want, please, some clarity on Exhibit A. If you look at the administration block, just to the left thereof is a building "Staff Hostel". Wasn't that the nurses' home?

MR NYAWUZA: No, that is not so.

JUDGE DE JAGER: Who sleeps in the staff hostel?

MS PILLAY: Maybe I can clarify, Madam Chair, that was where the medical students stayed, not the nurses' college. JUDGE DE JAGER: Yes.

MS PILLAY: The building marked "Administration Block" was the nurses' college, which was eventually bombed on this incident.

JUDGE DE JAGER: But an administration block usually is not a sleeping place or a home, it's where the administration, the files and everything were kept.

MS PILLAY: This map, Mr Chairperson, was drawn up after the building was reconstructed.

JUDGE DE JAGER: But that's exactly why I asked. I've asked that in the beginning, does this map reflect the status as it was at the time?

MS PILLAY: The situation of the building is still the same, it's just that it later became the Administration Block.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes and the fact that the casualty was not yet...

MS PILLAY: It was under construction.

JUDGE DE JAGER: That was one that was under construction, that's the only exception you put to us.

MS PILLAY: I put to you as well, Madam Chair, that in fact this building was the nurses' college at the time.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, you did.

JUDGE DE JAGER: Ja, you put that to me and that's why I don't understand it, because there's a staff hostel where people would presumably be staying and you've got all the other maternity home and there would, if they attacked those places there for sure would be people in the maternity home for instance.

MS PILLAY: The staff hostel refers to the place where the medical students were staying and not the nurses.

CHAIRPERSON: At the time of this ...

MS PILLAY: At the time of incident, yes.

CHAIRPERSON: And at the time of this operation, the Administration Block was in fact the nurses' home?

MS PILLAY: The nurses' home which was burned down.

JUDGE DE JAGER: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Nyawuza, you may proceed.

MR NYAWUZA: Mr Erasmus, wasn't it usual that after an attack of this nature, you know in the morning briefings as you have referred this Committee to, you'd talk about this incident, that you know: "Yesterday we went out and we attacked such-and-such a place", wasn't it the norm that this would happen?

MR ERASMUS: That would be the norm, to talk informally, they would never announce it at the coffee table and after the morning prayers, that: "Last night, we'd like to congratulate the following members for burning down the Health Clinic", but yes we would talk amongst ourselves.

MR NYAWUZA: Amongst the people that were there and where were you? Would you have spoken about this the next morning?

MR ERASMUS: Well there were obviously references made, that much I recall. I recall that a lot of damage was done, that I heard. For some reason a figure of R2 000 comes to mind, can that be correct? I don't know. But I never once, I never after that had the occasion to go back to the people that were there that night, apart from the guys that were with me who followed my lead and say to them: "Were people injured?", or whatever, I just didn't.

MR NYAWUZA: Would I be correct in saying most of the incidents in which you were involved, you just flowed with the tide? You just did what your seniors said you should do, you didn't question anything?

MR ERASMUS: In this incident or other incidents?

MR NYAWUZA: In this incident as well. Let's be specific on this incident.

MR ERASMUS: Sorry, your question was?

MR NYAWUZA: Would I be correct in saying you flowed with the tide in this incident? You did what you were told should be done, you didn't question anything?

MR ERASMUS: In this instance, yes. In other incidents, most certainly no.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Nyawuza, let's try and be precise in what we want to state to him, either he went along, or he did not question, these are two different things. Now what is it that you want to put to him?

MR NYAWUZA: He didn't question the attack.


MR NYAWUZA: Would I be correct in saying you didn't question the attack on Alexandra Clinic?

MR ERASMUS: I didn't. In this instance, no, I didn't question it, no.

MR NYAWUZA: But would you have questioned it if you wanted to?

MR ERASMUS: I could have, there were times that I did. People that questioned things like that were generally ostracised or worse out of the system, they didn't - we didn't trust people that would not go along with things like this, this was our job, this was our mission, this was our function. As many people that left the Security Police, or worse, in some instances which I've referred to in other hearings, committed suicide because they couldn't live with their consciences after being involved in things like this. I didn't question this at all.

MR NYAWUZA: But if ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: May I? I'm really trying to get the sense of your evidence in relation to this issue and I just need to pose one or two questions in order to give clarity to my own mind what you are really saying. Are you saying that you did not question any instruction that was given to you in relation to this incident, or you are suggesting that you did not question your role with regard to this incident?

MR ERASMUS: To both your questions, I didn't question it, no I didn't. I think given the circumstances, the amount of drink, the time span, it wasn't something I'd been told about was going to happen next week where I could have thought about it, it was something that happened almost on the ...

CHAIRPERSON: Spur of the moment.

MR ERASMUS: Spur of the moment, type of thing.

CHAIRPERSON: Which would have been my next question. What is it that you want us to accept? Is the import of your evidence that you were on this drinking spree, which started at the sports ground, proceeded to Honeydew and at Honeydew you then, on the spur of the moment, decided to launch an attack on Alexandra Clinic and that this was something that you would not have done, had it not been because of your drinking situation?

MR ERASMUS: Madam Chair, I'd like to think if it wasn't for the amount of alcohol and our frames of mind, it might not have happened, or it wouldn't have happened.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Thank you.

MR NYAWUZA: Mr Erasmus, is it correct, would I be following your evidence correctly if I say you had about three days of non sleep before the attack on Alexandra?

MR ERASMUS: That's correct.

MR NYAWUZA: And you went to attack Cathy Satchwell's house and then you took another break and you went to Honeydew, would I be correct in saying so?

MR ERASMUS: That's correct.

MR NYAWUZA: And you continued drinking with lack of sleep for three days?

MR ERASMUS: No, I slept, I think, shortly after this I got stuck in the lift, I was on a heart monitor at the Garden City Clinic and I went on leave. In fact I never even went back, not long after this incident, back to John Vorster Square, I was transferred as a full-time representative to the State ...(indistinct) in Witwatersrand.

MR NYAWUZA: No, that is not what I was asking. I'm saying after ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: I was going to find out, where is your question leading to?

MR NYAWUZA: In fact I wanted to get it from him as to whether, when he could have said, he could have just said he's not proceeding with the next attack in that he hadn't been sleeping for about three days, but he decided to flow with the tide.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Nyawuza, I don't know whether there is any point of even pursuing that line of cross-examination in view of the evidence that is now before us.

MR NYAWUZA: I'll withdraw the question then, Madam Chair. Mr Erasmus, it's - Dr Tim Wilson advises us that after this attack, that Alexandra Clinic was partly funded by the British Government, they had to make this known that they have been attacked and they knew who they suspected, so this was well-published in newspapers the following morning, what's your comment?

MR ERASMUS: I don't know about that. Now that you - I remember something about the British Government, but the other publicity, I had no particular interest in it, I had other affairs and activities that I was involved with, I never took, I probably read the things in the paper, some reference to Alexandra Health Clinic, I didn't even bother to read it. It's as simple as that and I do read a lot, I can assure you.

MR NYAWUZA: But with this one, you didn't care what happened?


MR NYAWUZA: Why then?

CHAIRPERSON: Does it matter, Mr Nyawuza? What is the relevance thereof? Why ...(indistinct - speaking simultaneously)

MR ERASMUS: I don't know, I really don't know.


MR ERASMUS: Sorry Ma'am.

CHAIRPERSON: Please don't proceed. Why should it be particularly important for him to have read and what's the import of that line of cross-examination again?

MR NYAWUZA: Ma'am Mr Erasmus was involved in the attack on Alexandra Clinic and it's the victims' contention that this was a racist attack on them and we in fact wanted to find - in fact I understand what the Committee is asking them and I think I'll withdraw the question.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I think it's unfair. If he says that he did not read, he did not read.

MR NYAWUZA: No, I withdraw it.

CHAIRPERSON: You cannot proceed with that line of cross-examination in the light of that response. It would be futile for you to proceed.

MR NYAWUZA: Mr Wilson, excuse me, Mr Erasmus, this attack you heard of on this particular day and you went out, you attacked and then the following day it was as if nothing had happened. Will I be correct in saying this?

MR ERASMUS: ...(inaudible)

MR NYAWUZA: And would I be correct in further saying you didn't know anything about the Alexandra Clinic besides what you had read in some of the files that you saw at John Vorster Square?

MR ERASMUS: I knew nothing about the place, Madam Chair, absolutely, apart from what I've said.

MR NYAWUZA: And your own - the way you partook was driving there and agreeing with whatever they were going to do there?

MR ERASMUS: That night I went along with the flow in more ways than one, but I went along with the flow most certainly.

MR NYAWUZA: So you didn't throw any fireball, you didn't get out of your motor vehicle?

MR ERASMUS: No, absolutely not.

MR NYAWUZA: Seeing that there are flames, you decided: "Well, the job is done, I'm now leaving"?


MR NYAWUZA: No further questions, thank you.


CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Ms Patel?

MS PATEL: In the light of the admissions and the evidence before us, I have no further questions.


CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Mr van Zyl, do you wish to re-examine?

MR VAN ZYL: No thank you Madam Chair, I think we're done. The only other thing is perhaps that I want clarification, perhaps that question didn't, I should have objected at that time, my Learned Friend said that a lady died due to her injuries, she died recently, she was one of the victims. Does he allude to the fact that the injuries caused the death, or is it not so?

CHAIRPERSON: No, I did not understand that.

MR VAN ZYL: Then I have no further questions, thank you.


CHAIRPERSON: Judge de Jager?

JUDGE DE JAGER: Du Toit and van Huyssteen were present during the whole operation, is that correct?


JUDGE DE JAGER: If they didn't give the order, they at least approved of everything going on there and they participated in what's being done there, is that correct?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct.

JUDGE DE JAGER: Who chose the target?

MR ERASMUS: I don't recall, Chairman, I can't remember, as I mentioned earlier.

JUDGE DE JAGER: But they ...(intervention)

MR ERASMUS: Somebody ...

JUDGE DE JAGER: They went with, not the flow, they led you to this target and they participated in the whole attack, as far as you know?

MR ERASMUS That would be correct, yes.

JUDGE DE JAGER: The other thing is, you said that you had a personal grudge against Ms Satchwell?

MR ERASMUS: That's correct.

JUDGE DE JAGER: Where did this ...(indistinct)? Why did you have this grudge? Did you know her personally, on a social level, was it a social grudge? What kind of grudge was it?

MR ERASMUS I did not know her personally. Ms Satchwell was interfering as I thought at that time, in a detention, a person that I had in detention, Rev Jean Francois, Dr Jean Francois Bill, who'd been in detention for 14 months, he was being represented by Ms Satchwell, she was making political noises, she'd been in contact with the Swiss Government, she'd been in contact with Pik Botha of Foreign Affairs and there was a lot of pressure, I wouldn't say every day, but I was regularly being called on by Head Office to answer queries relating to Dr Bill's detention.

JUDGE DE JAGER: Did you consider Ms Satchwell as a political opponent, or a legal opponent? What did you consider her to be?

MR ERASMUS: I considered her as a political opponent. We had a file on her, her movements were being monitored, her telephone was being tapped I believe, if my memory serves me correct, at her chambers or at her offices and at her home, her post was being intercepted. She was being given the full range of Security Branch surveillance.


ADV SIGODI: Just one thing, tell me, when you went to Alexandra Clinic, were you armed?

MR ERASMUS: Were we armed Ma'am?

ADV SIGODI: Were you armed?

MR ERASMUS: I was always armed, Ma'am. Yes, I was.

ADV SIGODI: How were you armed?

MR ERASMUS: I had a side arm, a 9 mm Beretta pistol, in the boot of my car I had an R1 assault rifle with spare magazines, I had a 12 gauge shotgun and I had a Uzzi sub-machine gun, with ammunition for all of them. In addition to that, sorry,


MR ERASMUS: We had various grenades and other supplementary equipment.

ADV SIGODI: You had them in your car, the grenades?

MR ERASMUS: Sorry, Ma'am?

ADV SIGODI: The grenades, you had them in your car?

MR ERASMUS: Tear gas grenades, yes.

ADV SIGODI: And you had no bombs in your car?



MR ERASMUS: No, not at that time, no.

ADV SIGODI: And you can remember this very well?

MR ERASMUS: I beg your pardon Ma'am?

ADV SIGODI: I say you can remember all these things that you had in your car very well today?

MR ERASMUS: That was standard equipment that we carried with us all the time, Ma'am, right through the states of emergency. We asked for and we were given additional weaponry and that car always had that equipment in and I always carried, without exception, in fact it was orders that we were not to go anywhere on duty and in fact even off duty, unarmed, with at least a 9 mm pistol.

ADV SIGODI: I see. Thanks.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Erasmus, the question was put to you by my colleague, Judge de Jager, with regard to the approval of Mr van Wyk and Mr van Huyssteen, by virtue of their participation in the operation. Would I be correct in concluding that in view of the fact that you can't remember the precise discussion that took place in relation to this incident, you also cannot remember whether at the time when the building was set on fire, whether Mr van Wyk and Mr van Huyssteen had already been at the Health Clinic? It's not something that you would be able to say?

MR ERASMUS: Ma'am, I couldn't say that, you're right. I'm certain they were there, given the circumstances and what happened prior the time, the excitement about going there, you know, it was this decision: "Yes, let's go and do this". I could not sit here honestly now and recall saying that: "Yes, I recall Col van Wyk's car there", or something like that, I just can't, I'm sorry. I cannot.

CHAIRPERSON: And you cannot remember if Mr van Wyk and van Huyssteen said anything at all about this incident when there was this decision taken to attack Alexandra, you can't say whether they approved or disapproved?

MR ERASMUS: No, I really can't say.


JUDGE DE JAGER: What would have happened if they'd disapproved?

MR ERASMUS: Madam Chair, we would have desisted. I think everybody would have gone home. Maybe we would have decided on a different target. Maybe somebody would have suggested something else.

CHAIRPERSON: Is that something that you know you would have done, in considering the fact that you were quite inebriated, you were under the influence of liquor and you were not in your proper senses? Would you have indeed desisted, had they gone against you, given the mood of the excitement that had been generated by the amount of liquor you had consumed?

MR ERASMUS: I think Madam Chair, given our training, I think even under those circumstances, we would have desisted if they voiced their disapproval, we would have desisted.

CHAIRPERSON: And you still stand however by the evidence that you've already given that the decision to launch an attack on Alexandra was influenced to a greater extent, or was as a result of the amount of drinking that had taken place during that night?

MR ERASMUS: It certainly had an effect, yes.


CHAIRPERSON: We are going to have a lunch adjournment. I don't know if it would be appropriate to have a 40 minute lunch and come back and probably proceed to hear oral argument. Is that okay Mr van Zyl?

MR VAN ZYL: It's fine with us.

MS PATEL: Sorry, Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Oh, I'm actually forgetting the fact that we are sitting with an opposed application, so we will then reconvene at about 10 past two, at which time we will then hear the evidence of the objectors and I hope it will be the evidence that will be to the material issues that will enable us to decide whether Mr Erasmus succeeds or fails in his amnesty application. If there is an indication otherwise, we would appreciate if the legal representatives can see us in Chambers, if there is an indication otherwise as to the relevance of the issues that must be canvassed by the viva voce evidence of the objectors. Thank you.



CHAIRPERSON: opportunity to lead evidence on behalf of the objectors as well as Mr Nyawuza. There are a few questions that I would like to put to Mr Erasmus in order to clear some of the issues that I may not have understood him properly on.


CHAIRPERSON: Mr Erasmus you have indicated that the reason why the Clinic was targeted was because it was providing medical assistance to ANC activists as well as logistical support. Is that correct?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Can you explain what kind of logistical support the clinic was providing to ANC activists?

MR ERASMUS: Madam Chair, as I mentioned this morning, I never personally investigated the Alexandra Health Clinic, but in other circumstances in the Sanctuary Programme, logistical support was given to people on the run from the Security Forces including terrorists, as we referred to them in those days, in the form of money, clothing, food, transport, in fact all their needs were catered for. I was aware of this because I was involved in several operations during my tenure in the Security Police, to disrupt by a wide variety of means, these types of situations.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. You will recall that on page 34 you have provided information on this very aspect that I'm inquiring about and there you state that you had information that such logistical support was being provided to ANC activists. Is that incorrect?

MR ERASMUS: Madam Chair, I used the words here: "We had information", that is certainly correct. The whole scenario with the Sanctuary Programme and the way it worked and that these people were able to operate relatively freely within the Republic was addressed. My role in it, where I would have reasonable knowledge still to this day was how it related to the Churches.


MR ERASMUS: And the so-called Sanctuary Programme.

CHAIRPERSON: Let's confine ourselves to the question you were responding to when you stated this information in your application. Did you have information with regard to the kind of logistical support that was being provided by Alexandra Clinic?

MR ERASMUS: No, I never had direct information, the only information that I had at that time was that yes, the Alexandra Health Clinic, the little bit that I knew about it, was one of these bodies which fitted into this network or this support system for people on the run. Secondly that it would have obviously been medical report, medical support in the line of say somebody was injured in a skirmish with the police and needed stitches or assistance, that was the place that he could go as opposed to a State Hospital where authorities would have found out about it.

CHAIRPERSON: Was it your information that Alexandra Clinic gave medical assistance to ANC activists who were not resident immediately within Alexandra?

MR ERASMUS: Yes, that would have been in substance correct, absolutely.

CHAIRPERSON: Was it your information that they catered for people who came for quite far from Alexandra, like Soweto, Pretoria, Krugersdorp, and such other outside areas?

MR ERASMUS: Correct and from outside the borders of the Republic.

CHAIRPERSON: And from outside the borders of South Africa?


CHAIRPERSON: And from where did you gather this information?

MR ERASMUS: Madam Chair there was an ongoing investigation for many years into the Sanctuary Programme and to how this network of, or the support network assisted terrorists or insurgents or people that had fallen foul of the Security system, of the Security Services. My part and I could speak at great lengths on it, was from the Churches' side where they had, the South African Council of Churches had a Sanctuary Programme. During that investigation it came to my attention that the Alexandra Health Clinic was part of this. I'm not however an expert and I never was on what actually happened at the Alexandra Health Clinic.

CHAIRPERSON: Now who told you that they catered for people as far as the outlying areas of Alexandra and also catered for those people who were from outside the borders of South Africa?

MR ERASMUS: Madam Chair, part of the investigations that I did concerned the ANC's so-called Spes Ops, or Special Ops Unit, these were people like, some of them very well known Hein Grosskopf, Marion Sparg, Steven Peter Marais and so on, that came into the country and performed very specialised operations, para-military operations against the State. That if these people had picked up problems or needed, for example been wounded or something and they needed medical support, they could have gone to the Alexandra Health Clinic and they would have been ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but who provided you with that kind of information?

MR ERASMUS: I beg your pardon. It was general knowledge among the people who were doing this investigation. The information would have come as a collation of evidence from various quarters. The informer network, so-called ...(indistinct) Signal Intelligence, Humans or Human intelligence in the whole Intelligence community.

CHAIRPERSON: Was it information that you personally came across from the Intelligence network, or was it information that you had from your colleagues in the Security Branch?

MR ERASMUS: I'd say correct in both instances.

CHAIRPERSON: Meaning what?

MR ERASMUS: I would have received that type of information from my colleagues and it would have been official information that would have been divulged to various Security Branches and parts thereof, throughout the country.

CHAIRPERSON: Let me understand you on another aspect of your evidence. The information you had was that Alexandra Clinic was providing this medical assistance as well as logistical support. Is that all that you knew of the Clinic?

MR ERASMUS: That is correct. I never personally investigated it or went any deeper than that.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. On the day of the execution of the operation, how many people who had gathered at Honeydew during your drinking spree, were also of the same information with regard to the situation of Alexandra as a clinic that provided this logistical and medical support to activists?

MR ERASMUS: I believe that most of the people there would have had that knowledge. Certainly the senior officers and most certainly the people that worked, that were involved that night, whose names I mentioned earlier that worked on the Security Branch Unit in Alexandra itself.

CHAIRPERSON: So you would say that both Mr van Zyl and Mr van Huyssteen were quite familiar with the activities attached to Alexandra Clinic.

MR ERASMUS: Yes, I would say that they would be more than familiar with the activities there.

CHAIRPERSON: Do you know whether Alexandra Clinic had been targeted for attack because of its association with the support it was giving to the ANC activists?

MR ERASMUS: I mentioned this morning, Madam Chair and I believe I'm on safe ground to repeat that assumption, was that I accepted without question that it was an establishment that had been earmarked for destruction by the State, along the same lines as Khotso and Cosatu House and Khanye College and various others...(end of tape) either fire bombed or blown up with explosives.

CHAIRPERSON: Of course in the case of Khotso House there was planning.

MR ERASMUS: Absolutely.

CHAIRPERSON: Do you think some kind of prior planning would have taken place for this operation?

MR ERASMUS: I would say that it's very possible.


MR ERASMUS: Well certainly the circumstances that happened that night that the members that executed this operation had first been partying and drinking, was an exception. Other operations, similar operations were carefully planned which took a long time and carefully executed. I cannot give a reason, it was just the madness of the moment, for lack of a better word, that it happened that night, I did believe at the time, I didn't have a problem with that, as I said this morning that this had gone ahead.

CHAIRPERSON: So you do not believe then there was any type of planning for the execution of this operation?

MR ERASMUS: It may have been pre-planned, Ma'am, I don't know. I really don't know. If there was such planning, I wasn't part of it. These are very sensitive matters and the people that were involved in each individual incident, like Khotso House, the role that I played for example in Khotso House was the cut-off point, I was told to get the plans of Khotso House and Cosatu House incidentally, I was tasked with finding a way into the building, but at no stage did anybody ever say to me directly or indirectly,: "Look for a place where we can place 40 kilograms of plastic explosive", or whatever, that was the job of the Vlakplaas people. Each in these operations, once again for the need-to-know principle, what you didn't have to know was never told to you, if there wasn't a specific reason that you had to be told something, you weren't told it, that is the way that Security Intelligence systems worked.

CHAIRPERSON: In your evidence-in-chief, you indicated that the decision to launch an attack on the clinic, was decided by "all of us", that's the words you used.

MR ERASMUS: Yes, that is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Would I be correct in therefore concluding that at that stage, the clinic had not yet been identified for attack, but the decision to attack was taken by a whole lot of you in Honeydew?

MR ERASMUS: I don't know the background to it Ma'am, certainly it was talked about that night, somebody may have suggested it, I don't remember the exact words, maybe it was pre-planned, I don't know, but it was decided on and we all went there. The opportunity maybe presented itself, I'm not aware of the background.

CHAIRPERSON: I want your assistance because I've got to understand you on this one, it's very important. When you used the word "decide" I understand that to mean you took a decision to attack the clinic because no decision had been taken before to attack the clinic.

MR ERASMUS: I don't know Ma'am, I don't know.

CHAIRPERSON: I need your assistance because I - you've got to assist me to understand the evidence in a way that will enable me to decide on the issues that I have to decide for your amnesty application. You are giving evidence, you have to shed more light on the issues.

MR ERASMUS: Madam Chair, if I knew any more or could remember more of the detail of what happened that night, maybe I could convey this with more clarity. I'm not certain if a decision was made prior to that evening, in other words it had been planned or somebody had given an order to the fact of: "Get rid of that place" or destroy it, or whatever, I don't know. I wouldn't have been party to that information, probably not. Yes, I was party to information about this whole programme, so I find it hard to comment on that. All that I can say is what happened that night, what I observed and what I can remember is that a group of people probably with the judicious imbibing of alcohol as things were, talked about: "Let's go and do something", or made a decision to go and attack Alexandra Health Clinic and I tagged along.

CHAIRPERSON: You've indicated that you were staggeringly drunk. Are you saying that you were very drunk, but you were able to appreciate the decision that you made to tag along in the attack of the clinic?

MR ERASMUS: Yes, Ma'am, I was drunk and I tagged along.

CHAIRPERSON: Were you able to form a proper decision to go along? I'm trying to find out the extent to which you were in a state of insobriety.

MR ERASMUS: I don't know Ma'am that I can comment about my state of mind that night. I have had memory lapses, I've been hospitalised 14 times and taken more medicine than any human being can believe possible. At that time I was on the verge of something of a nervous breakdown, I was under a lot of pressure, I had drunk that night far too much for my own good or anybody else's good, I'm not using that and I really want to impress upon the Commission that I'm not hiding behind the fact that I was drunk and not responsible for my actions, certainly what we referred to earlier, Madam Chair, is that had I been sober and thought, in fact all of us probably if we'd not been that drunk that night and there had been a decision or an order made to destroy Alexandra Health Clinic, it certainly would have been better planned or prepared, I don't know, I don't know the background, I can only comment on what I know Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Now I want your opinion on this. If a decision had already been taken prior to the drinking spree at Honeydew to launch an attack on the clinic, do you believe that you would have been party to the execution of that decision? Is it something that's normal for a decision to be made to launch an attack, then to include people who are going to execute the operation in a situation as you found yourselves, like in a drinking spree? Is it something that would have been normal?

MR ERASMUS: Certainly if that operation had been planned, or better planned, firstly not so many people would have been involved, it was unnecessary and created in itself a security risk.


MR ERASMUS: I don't know.

CHAIRPERSON: So what you are saying is that if a decision had been taken, your understanding of what would have been normal practice, is that you and a number of people who ultimately were involved, would not ordinarily have been involved?

MR ERASMUS: Yes, very possibly.




MS PILLAY: Thank you Madam Chair. I'd just like to call Dr Timothy Wilson.

TIMOTHY WILSON: (sworn states)

EXAMINATION BY MS PILLAY: Dr Wilson, could you please state your full names for the record?

DR WILSON: Timothy Dover Wilson.

MS PILLAY: And could you tell this Commission your qualifications, Dr Wilson?

DR WILSON: I'm qualified as a medical doctor. I have in addition to my undergraduate degree, I am qualified as a specialist paediatrician and I also have a masters in community health and I have the diploma in tropical medicine and hygiene and in public health.

MS PILLAY: Now Dr Wilson, could I take you back to 1989, that's the year of this incident, which is the subject of this amnesty hearing? Could you tell the Hearing what you were employed as in 1989?

DR WILSON: I was employed as the Director of the Alexandra Health Centre and University Clinic.

MS PILLAY: And as Director, what did your duties entail?

DR WILSON: I was the Chief Executive Officer of the organisation. I was responsible to a Board of Management, it was that Board that had appointed me and I reported to them, I had executive functions, I was responsible for representing the clinic, for leading the staff, for internal matters of discipline, etc.

MS PILLAY: Dr Wilson, could you tell us more about this Board of Management that you were accountable to?

DR WILSON: Yes, there's a Board of Management, if I could just refresh my memory I can refer to the members of the Board in that year. There were 13 members of the Board. The Chairperson was Mr Willem Heever who is a former director of Anglo American, the Deputy Chairperson was Mr Mac Lekota. Mr Heever incidentally had also been a former Mayor of Sandton. The Deputy Chairperson was Mr Mac Lekota and then the members, if I can read them out here it was Sister Z Eland, ...(indistinct) Eland, who's a staff representative on the Board. Prof John Geer was the professor of community health at Wits University. Mr Paul Mashitile was a member of the community who had been elected to the Board at an annual general meeting. Prof John Knoll was the professor of medicine at the Wits University and I think he was representing the Dean, I think he may have - I don't remember if he was Dean at the time, but there was somebody, certainly a Dean's representative. Mr B Tshabalala was another community member who had been elected at an Annual General Meeting. Prof Alan Rothberg was the professor of Paediatrics in child health at the University. Dr Maureen Salmon was the previous Chairperson of the Board, she had in fact been Chairperson when I was appointed, she was a former Superintendent of the Johannesburg General Hospital. She'd retired from that by that stage. Mr Thabo Serote was another community member, elected by - at an Annual General Meeting. Mr A Miller was, I'm fairly sure he was a representative of First National Bank who'd been elected to the Board. The First National Bank was one of our major donors. Ms Ndingane was another Community Member who'd been elected at an Annual General Meeting and then finally Mrs Eleanor Anderson, who was the widow of C B Anderson who'd been a very big mining - in the mining world in South Africa. She is in fact Canadian, I'm not sure if she had South African or Canadian citizenship, but she'd lived in this country for many years and she was again one of our benefactors and she'd been on the Board for 20 years, I think.

MS PILLAY: Thank you Dr Wilson. Could you explain to us what was the involvement of Wits University in the clinic?

DR WILSON: The University had become involved in I think 1938, it was about then, at a time when the clinic, which had started in 1929 and was funded by the American Board Mission when it first started. The American Board Mission was running out of funds in the depression and there was a - they took a decision that they would have to close the clinic, they didn't have the funds to continue running the clinic. Two senior professors at Wits University, the Professor of Medicine and the Professor of Surgery then said: "Look, we cannot allow this to die" and they then organised a public campaign to raise money for the clinic and constituted, drew up a constitution etc for the clinic as an independent NGO and from that time in 1938, it was an organisation that, the Board of Management existed only to run the clinic, to own the ground and to run the buildings, ...(indistinct) to run the services. Now at that time, Wits University started training medical students at the clinic at the same time and from I think 1939 until today, every graduate, medical graduate of Wits University, has spent time working at the Alexandra Health Centre. They normally spend about a month in their final year and there are some other students involved and the University in fact was again one of our funders in that they funded, made quite a small contribution that funded the salary of one medical officer. They'd funded the first medical officer, so they always had members on the Board of Management and continue to this day to have members.

MS PILLAY: Speaking of funding, Dr Wilson, has the clinic ever received funding from the State?

DR WILSON: Yes, it has for many many years received funding. I haven't looked back at all the early annual reports, but it was certainly receiving funding from the State when I was appointed in 1986 and it continued throughout the time that I was there and it still gets funding from the State.

MS PILLAY: In this regard Madam Chair, if I would be allowed to hand up Exhibit B, setting out the financial statements of the clinic in the relevant year, from 89 to 90, just to show the Government subsidisation that was received by the clinic.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, you may.

MS PILLAY: Dr Wilson, if I can just refer you to Exhibit B, to the first item under refunds. If you can just explain to us from State House and from the TPA, what those figures mean.

DR WILSON: Right, the R906 849 from State Health was a refund that we got in that we were treated as a local authority in terms of the funding, that at that time and had been the practise for many years, local authorities who employed nurses with the approval of the Department of Health, could get a seven-eighths refund of the salaries of the Ministers and so I don't remember the exact figure but I think we had something like 25 of our nurses who were approved by State Health and therefore we got refunds on their salaries and that, in that financial year, amounted to the R906 849 so that was the biggest amount and then the second amount from TPA, R36 900 came from the Provincial Government. That first amount came from the National Department of Health, I think it was called Health and Population Development at that time. The R36 900 that came from the Provincial Administration, I'm not absolutely certain of how it originated, but again it was an amount that had been coming before I started, my understanding that it was a refund for some of the medicines that we supplied, so that it was part of the drug budget and the third thing, if I could mention that isn't reflected in these financial statements, but one of the most important aspects was that we were able to buy our medicines on the State tender, so we were treated again like a government organisation, so that we got most of our medical supplies from the TPA stores in Auckland Park, which of course meant that we got them at very, very much less than we would have had to pay if we'd got them from the pharmaceutical industry.

MS PILLAY: Dr Wilson, you mentioned 25 nurses. Could you give us a rough idea of how big the clinic was in terms of its staff compliment?

DR WILSON: At that time, I have checked the annual report for that year, that the names were all listed in the annual report. We had 200 people in the annual report that year, of those the doctors, there were 17 permanent or contract, we had a number of married women who could be permanent staff for anything from, I think the minimum was 25 hours a week upwards, so quite a lot of women who came in, for example, two or three mornings a week and were permanent staff, so that - and then there were some of us who were working full-time. So that was 17 doctors permanent, 51 sessional doctors and those were doctors who worked, many of them during the day, but particularly at night because we ran a 24 hour service, we had a doctor on duty on the premises 24 hours a day, seven days a week and many of those were general practitioners or some university people who, as part of their contribution, or we paid better for example than I know the Rosebank clinic paid for their doctors at night because people worked hard and then we had five consultant doctors who were honorary consultants, so paediatrician, dermatologists, physician surgeon, who used to come to the clinic. So 17 plus 51 plus 5 amongst the doctors. Of the nurses we had 45 professional nurses and I'm saying that I think about 25 of those posts were refundable by this date. We had 12 staff nurses and 18 nursing assistants and lay health workers. We had allied medical staff, that was physiotherapists, pharmacists and people like that, we had 9 of them and then the administrative and ancillary staff we had 43, so altogether that makes just on 200 staff.

MS PILLAY: Dr Wilson, I realise that it's a long time ago, but is there any way you can remember how many nurses were resident in the nurses' home during this period?

DR WILSON: I may well be corrected by the other people here present, but my memory is that there were 8 people in the nurses' home at that time, in that my memory is that two people were able to escape, crawling on the floor to get out of the door and that 6 were trapped inside the building, but I'm sure that the nurses who are here present can correct me on that.

MS PILLAY: If we can just go back to the Board for one second, Dr Wilson. Could you give us an idea of the individuals, their political persuasion, was the Board swayed in any particular direction in terms of the political persuasion of individual members?

DR WILSON: It was not something that was a factor, I think, in people's election or nomination to the Board, but the fact remains that Mr Willem Heever in fact stood for the Democratic Party as a candidate in the bi-election here in Mayfair in fact against - it doesn't matter, so he stood there, so he was a Democratic Supporter and quite obviously so. Several - some of the Community Members, Mr Paul Mashitile is there and he's currently an ANC MEC in Gauteng, so he was leader of the ANC Youth League in Alexandra at the time. I was aware of that. Other members of the community we had Mr Khosa who's not on the Board in this year, but he had been on the Board, he was a Senior IFP member there. Most of the members of the Board I would have said were apolitical. Certainly Maureen Salmon who was the previous chairperson of the Board, is somebody who was very much an apolitical person and maintained that Mr Miller was from First National Bank and I think was probably a fairly conservative banker, but I never asked him about his politics.

MS PILLAY: And Dr Wilson, could you give us an idea of your wife, Ilse Wilson, her role in the clinic?

DR WILSON: She played no part in the clinic other than coming to occasional Christmas parties or functions. I doubt if she visited the clinic more than twice a year.

MS PILLAY: For the sake of clarity Dr Wilson, could you tell us what you wife's occupation was at the time?

DR WILSON: She was employed by the Legal Resources Centre as a paralegal and she had been since, from 1982 through until I think 93.

CHAIRPERSON: Was she paralegal as at the time of this operation?

DR WILSON: Yes, she was employed at the Legal Resources as a paralegal at that time, as I remember it, yes she must have been.

MS PILLAY: Dr Wilson, could you give us an idea of the role of the clinic, in terms of the broader Alexandra community?

DR WILSON: I think that we were very clear what our role was. We were the health service for a community of 200 000 people. We provided a very comprehensive service, for example we delivered more babies than the Johannesburg Hospital and we did it all in, first of all, one small room and then we built a new Maternity Unit, but say we were - two and a half, three thousand babies a year we were delivering. We did all the immunisations of people in Alexandra and in fact in 1986 we did a polio immunisation campaign because there was an outbreak of polio in Alex at the time and we immunised 10 000 people, children, under the age of 5 in two days and that was ten teams, each led by a nurse from the clinic. We saw very large numbers of people at the clinic. The average was between 500 and 600 patients a day, seven days a week, 24 hours a day - well it was open 24 hours a day, but seven days a week, 365 days a year, if you take the total number of patients and divide by it, it came out between 500 and 600 patients a day.

MS PILLAY: And in terms of the political background of your patients, Dr Wilson, could you give us an idea about that?

DR WILSON: The political background of the patients was the full spectrum of the political affiliations of, or lack of affiliations of the people in Alex. Many people were apolitical, had no political affiliation, some had strong political affiliations. We treated everybody. Our target population, we were quite specific about this, was the township of Alexandra and the people resident there and so our outreach services, our immunisation services, our district nursing to women after delivery, all of that was only within Alexandra township, but we also treated people from outside Alexandra township, particularly domestic workers from Sandton because they - so a lot of our deliveries were women who were in domestic employment in Sandton and yes, people did come from further afield. We didn't ask where people came from particularly. If they came to us for a service, we provided that service. We treated a fair number of policemen and there's one whom I remember very clearly, whose life we saved, because he'd been shot through the femoral artery or had an injury to the femoral artery in some clash in the township and we saved his life in the clinic and there were several other policemen. We had roadblocks around Alex for a considerable period of time through the state of emergency then and a number of the soldiers, white soldiers manning the roadblocks would come to us for treatment and so, but the vast majority of our patients were residents of Alexandra township.

MS PATEL: Thank you Dr Wilson. Can I then take you to the incident 74 which is the bombing of Alex clinic? Can you give us your recollection of what that incident was about?

DR WILSON: I can, in that I in fact wrote an account of that four days later because we actually were just producing our annual report at the time and so on the back of the annual report I put a stop press and so that is an account of it. I don't know if you'd like me to read that full account, which is a couple of, two, three paragraphs, two paragraphs I think, three paragraphs, briefly, or I can just talk to it.

CHAIRPERSON: I think you can just talk to it, what can be of assistance is for Ms Pillay to simply distribute a copy of what you have in print to us as well as to the legal representative of the applicant.

DR WILSON: Okay. I referred to the fact that in the early hours of July 27, 99 there were three arson attacks in Northern Johannesburg, Cathy Satchwell, the Health Centre and the flat of Paul Mashitile. At the Health Centre the sitting room of the nurses' home was soaked in petrol and set alight. The fire spread incredibly fast, the building was gutted. Two nurses escaped through the door, but six others were trapped in the blazing building. They all injured themselves smashing the windows and hammering on the burglar proofing. Nursing Sister Violet Ramachoana collapsed on the floor, overcome by smoke. It was only through the quick thinking of Mr William Baloyi, a builder, who levered open the burglar proofing with a pick axe and through the bravery of Mr Solomon Mudau, a Security Guard who dived into the burning building to rescue Mrs Ramachoana, that an even greater tragedy was avoided. The staff arrived to work. They looked aghast at what had been done and many of them sat down and wept and that's essentially the account I wrote. Sorry, I have read it all in full.

MS PILLAY: Dr Wilson, could you give us a better idea of the damage to the building the next morning, that you witnessed?

DR WILSON: Ja. The nurses' home consisted of a kitchen and a sitting room near the front door and then a series of individual rooms where the nurses stayed. Each nurse had a room there and the building, it was in the sitting room that the ...(indistinct) device had been thrown and that was completely destroyed, the sitting room, the kitchen. The bedrooms, most of them in fact were damaged mainly by smoke. The roof was gone completely, but the walls of the rest of the building, it was mainly smoke damage. The contents were destroyed as much by the fire fighting equipment, I mean when the fire brigade eventually came, then there was water damage as well as the smoke damage, so that when we took a decision to rebuild, in fact the rooms that the nurses had occupied, their bedrooms, we retained most of those walls and were able to use the foundations and the walls, but we needed a new roof. The sitting room and the kitchen we had to rebuild completely. We had to put a new floor right through, but we were able to use the walls of the bedrooms.

JUDGE DE JAGER: A single storied building?

DR WILSON: Yes, a single story building and we kept the foundations so that on the site plan that was drawn, we extended the kitchen out slightly, but essentially the building as show on the site plan, which is later, is, the ground plan is the same as the building that was burned.

MS PILLAY: And I ...(intervention)

JUDGE DE JAGER: Sorry, the building itself, the Government had no stake in that, it was owned by the Board, or by a private institute?

DR WILSON: Yes, the ground and therefore the buildings, were owned by this entity called the Alexandra Health Centre and University Clinic. It was a registered welfare organisation, had the W O number, registered with the Department of Welfare and I can't remember the title, but I think it was the Director of Fund raising had to approve any changes to the constitution. The constitution was registered there and if we wished to change the constitution, we had to get approval from the Department of Welfare.

MS PILLAY: Dr Wilson, could you give this Hearing an idea of how you dealt with the bombing in terms of accountability to your funders, etc?

DR WILSON: Well, this was not the first time the clinic had been attacked. This was much the most serious, but we had had previous arson attacks in 1986, 1987 and so we knew that the best protection we had was in fact publicity and so we had taken a deliberate decision that if we were attacked on any occasion, we would call in the press and we did, we gave interviews to anybody who was prepared to interview us. One of our important funders was in fact the British Government. They had contributed significantly to the building of the new Maternity Home, which had just been completed and so I contacted the British Ambassador and said: "Look, we've been attacked and I'm sure that Mrs Thatcher's Government doesn't want their contribution to go up in smoke", so we, as I said, went quite public about this in contacting our donors because particularly with an international donor such as the British Government, we saw them as having influence over those who at least had the power to protect us from such attacks and it, in previous instances where we had made a noise, we then remained incident free and free of harassment for some time after that.

CHAIRPERSON: May I just interpose Ms Pillay? You mentioned that you had been attacked previously, in 1986 and 1987 respectively. Did you know who had attacked you?

DR WILSON: No, on several occasions and I think we refer to it here, white men had been seen running away. On one occasions I remember very clearly where our security guards confronted two men who were attacking cars that were parked in the clinic at night and they fought hand to hand with them and they said they were two white men that they were fighting with. Then they noticed that one of the men was armed and they backed off and the men ran away, so, but we have no direct evidence as to who those individuals were.

CHAIRPERSON: The 1986 attack, what format did it take?

DR WILSON: That was burning of the records office of the clinic and perhaps to give a supposed justification or some context for that, in 1986 the clinic had refused to hand over records to the police of, at a time there was the so-called six-day war in Alex many people were injured and the injured were brought into the clinic, the police came and asked for the medical records so that they could identify these people. The Chairman of the Board, Maureen Salmon, who I must emphasis is a very apolitical person, was the former Superintendent of the Johannesburg Hospital, she refused to hand over the records and I in fact started in the middle of that, after she'd refused and when I took over, I then continued the refusal and then there was a police raid and they took some records, but they weren't the right records, because they'd seized the wrong ones and that all happened in February 1986 and in April 1986 the records office was petrol bombed and so we drew our own conclusions.


DR WILSON: In 1987 the Administrative Offices were petrol bombed, again an incendiary device, the damage was not that extensive on either of those two occasions. I mean we lost some records and the door of the records office, but nothing more extensive. The fire was put out. Remember that there were staff on duty 24 hours a day so that people could react quite fast and the admin offices, again it was internal damage, smoke damage, we lost some records, we lost some equipment but the building was not - we didn't have to rebuild.

JUDGE DE JAGER: It was the same building?

DR WILSON: Yes. If you look, can I draw your attention to what was it, Exhibit A.


DR WILSON: If you look on the right-hand side, there's a, this large building with two courtyards in the middle, you see the main building there?


DR WILSON: That's the main old clinic building. Now the little pimple to the top left of that building is the records office, so it's almost attached to the main building, you can see a small roof.

MR VAN ZYL: Is it now called the dispensary?

DR WILSON: Let me just check. Yes, called the dispensary, that's right. It is labelled as the Dispensary. That was the original records office, so that was the one that was burned in 1986. It was really just the door of that that was burned and some smoke damage inside and then the top right-hand corner, the extreme right away from the records office, was the admin building and in fact it's just above what is labelled Rehabilitation.


DR WILSON: Okay, it was that corner, the top corner there was the admin office and just for completeness sake, just under the dispensary to the right where it's labelled "Consultation area", the first consultation area, that is where the original casualty was so that in 1986 and right up until this incident in 1989 that was the casualty where there staff in the casualty at night, the old maternity was within the building, but by 1989 we'd built a new maternity so there were staff in the maternity building when the nurses' home was burned down and there were staff in the casualty, which is now called consultation area.

JUDGE DE JAGER: And where were the records kept in 1989?

DR WILSON: In 1989, I'm trying to think, they would still have been in what's called the dispensary because we hadn't, that changed into the dispensary subsequently.

CHAIRPERSON: That was called the record centre?

DR WILSON: That was still the - yes, it was the records office and they were still being kept there.

CHAIRPERSON: Now how does one gain access, how did one gain access in 1989 to your clinic?

DR WILSON: Okay. The main access for most people coming in was top right-hand corner where it says: "Alexandra entries".


DR WILSON: And that was largely a pedestrian entrance. We did have a gate where you could take vehicles in and out, but very few vehicles came in and out that way. That was onto First Avenue, Alex and that was the closest point for people from the township so most people walked in there and to this day, still walk in there, the main entrance in 1989 otherwise was opposite that, the top left-hand corner where it's labelled rather faintly "entrance" and that is, we had created an entrance there with the building of the new casualty because the old entrance had come in off Artwright London Road and what we did was to make that a blind entrance, only up to casualty. So that in 1989, that square coming off Artwright London Road was open but was really part of the building site. I don't remember what sort of fencing we had around there, but the builders were using that. They'd finished - no I beg your pardon, that must have been open, because the Maternity Unit was open and so the ambulances were coming in, so yes, where it says: "24 hour unit", that white space was as it is now, an open parking area for the ambulances to come in, so that people would come in there and go in and into the maternity unit.

CHAIRPERSON: Using Artwright Road?

DR WILSON: From Artwright London and then there was also the entrance - there were three entrances, essentially a pedestrian entrance at the top right-hand corner, an entrance at the top left, which is mainly where staff came in with their cars, but people could also drive in there if they needed to bring a patient through, who couldn't walk, whatever, and then the one off Artwright Ave which was at that time really just for Maternity, but is now for Maternity and Casualty.


MS PILLAY: Dr Wilson, if we could just go back to the decision taken in 1986 not to hand over records to the Security Police, who had taken that decision and what was your role in the taking of that decision?

DR WILSON: Okay, that decision was taken before I joined the staff of the clinic. It was taken by Dr Salmon as Chairperson of the Board. I should explain further that there'd been some staffing problems at the Health Centre, there were also funding problems, and there'd been no full-time medical officer for six months and Dr Salmon said to me: "Look here, will you come?" and I had just come back from doing my Masters in Community Health and ...(indistinct) country, so I was actually unemployed at the time and she said to me: "Look, we're desperate, we'll take anybody", which was nice of her and so that's how I started work and I then did get a subpoena for the records. The police had tried to issue a subpoena to Dr Salmon, but she wasn't the executive, she wasn't Director, she was just Chairperson of the Board and so I'm afraid I got my first subpoena two hours after I started work.

CHAIRPERSON: When did you join them exactly?

DR WILSON: It was in February and my memory, it was February 19, but I'd have to check the date, but it was in February 86.

MS PILLAY: Dr Wilson, do you know why the Chairperson refused to hand over records, what was the reason behind that?

DR WILSON: Okay, yes, no that I think is fairly clear and that is it was regarded as unethical to hand over records, that they are confidential between doctor and patient and so we refused and we maintained that refusal and in fact our refusal then gave rise to quite a lot of discussion in the medical press and in which fortunately I was not involved at all, the Dean of the Wits Medical School engaged in correspondence with the Director General of Health at the time over this issue of medical ethics as to whether records should be handed over or not and the international practice is no, they can't be handed over and the Director General in the final letter that I saw in the press said look, while it should be acknowledge that I was within my rights not to hand over the records, we were one of the few places in the Transvaal that was not co-operating with the police, but internationally we got support. The internal committee of the Red Cross in fact came while the police raid was in place, where they seized our records and the delegates came with me while I protested formally to the police to the seizing of the records and in my view it is a question of medical ethics that records do not get handed over unless ordered by a court to do so and then even under protest.

JUDGE DE JAGER: You were one of the few places where they didn't hand over, didn't co-operate with the police. The other hospitals didn't maintain the same point of view?

DR WILSON: There were the other Government Hospitals, it appeared that the police did have access to very confidential patient records. I'm well aware that many doctors were extremely unhappy with that fact and in Government Hospitals such as Hillbrow Hospital, the old Gen at that time, made every effort to conceal records, but the official - well it was never official policy but the practice apparently was that the police did get access to records and doctors made efforts to conceal the identities to the patients or not to write notes, I mean sometimes people just didn't keep records or took records home, or whatever and found other ways to get around it, but the Director General of Health's view as expressed in the press and all I'm saying is what he wrote in the letter was that we had failed to co-operate and other people had not, but he wasn't specific as to who had co-operated.

MS PILLAY: Dr Wilson, you heard the applicant testify today that the Alex Health Clinic had provided medical support to ANC insurgents. What's your response to the allegation that the clinic provided medical support to ANC insurgents?

DR WILSON: Okay. I listened as the Chairperson clarified there about medical assistance to people from outside. We had a clear policy that we provided medical assistance to anybody who came to us seeking medical help and we regarded it as that we were bound as professionals by the Hippocratic oath to do so and that anybody who came to us for medical help, received medical help and as I have said that included policemen, army, residents at Alex or people from outside of Alex and we provided treatment. We did as where people came from, but we didn't demand identity documents or proof of where they came from. You are also aware that as has happened I worked at Baragwanath Hospital for 13 years earlier and one of the issues at Baragwanath was most of the people who attended Baragwanath Hospital lived in Diepkloof. Now everybody knew that they didn't live in Diepkloof but there was the perception that if you lived in Diepkloof that you could come to Bara' at any time, but if you lived elsewhere in Soweto you had to go to the clinics, so everybody who turned up at Bara' gave a Diepkloof address, it's common practice, so we asked for an address, but our approach was that if somebody was coming to us as health professionals asking for medical assistance, we provided that assistance to the best of our ability and nothing else.

MS PILLAY: Dr Wilson, you also heard the applicant testify that the perception was that the clinic was providing logistical support to ANC insurgents. What's your response to that?

DR WILSON: That his information was totally incorrect, that I am absolutely certain that no logistical support was provided whatsoever. He mentioned in response to a question from the Chairperson as to what logistical support was, money, clothing, food and transport and certainly one of the things that we were trying to do at Alex Health Centre was to keep very tight control of money. We believed that money mattered. We needed to account for it as to how it was spent. We were entrusted with public funds and we were very proud of our bookkeeping and the fact that yes, occasionally, I remember one occasion when somebody had dipped their fingers in the till and the person got fired. It happens, but I would have known as Director if there were gaps, if money had gone missing out of the clinic. We didn't supply clothing to anybody, we didn't supply it to people in the township, we didn't supply money, we didn't supply food, the only transport we supplied was women after delivery, if they lived in Alexandra we took them home, so we provided that transport, but we did not provide transport, as I say, into Sandton or anywhere else, even for women after delivery, so that transport, that was the only, food we didn't supply other than occasionally milk powder to mothers of babies, but that was very unusual even then, clothing no, money no.

MS PILLAY: Thank you Dr Wilson. I have no further questions


CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Ms Pillay. Mr van Zyl, do you have any questions to put to Mr Wilson?

MR VAN ZYL: Yes, I have Madam Chair.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR VAN ZYL: Unfortunately you spoke very quickly, but the notes that I made, your staff compliment didn't exceed 200 people?

DR WILSON: The 200 people listed in the annual report for 1989, 90.

MR VAN ZYL: Right. so ...(intervention)

DR WILSON: Sorry, could I just clarify? Not all of those were necessarily there at the same time, so for example people who were doing sessions, there was some turnover, so it would have been at any one time maybe 180, 190 people rather than 200.

MR VAN ZYL: At one given moment at the clinic. I do assume that's not night time as well?

DR WILSON: Yes, that included staff who were on duty at night.

MR VAN ZYL: At night time.

DR WILSON: No, we didn't have that number on - no, I mean the minimum staffing at night would have been much smaller, yes.

MR VAN ZYL: Much smaller. So being - and you had the day to day running of the clinic in your hands?

DR WILSON: Correct.

MR VAN ZYL: From admin even down to medical decisions perhaps?

DR WILSON: Correct.

MR VAN ZYL: So you had your hands full?

DR WILSON: Pardon?

MR VAN ZYL: You had your hands full?


MR VAN ZYL: Very much so and so checking the economy of or the fiscal policy of the clinic, must have surely been very difficult for you also?

DR WILSON: Yes in as far as its difficult for any head of an organisation but as I said, money was important so we took our budgeting seriously. I also had very competent staff so that while I may have been ultimately responsible for the running of - for medical decisions say, in fact I was not doing clinical work in 1989, I was doing almost no clinical work at all. Others were doing the clinical work. I had been doing it earlier and occasionally I did some in paediatrics, the running of the finances and I took a keen interest in the budgeting and making sure that we came in within budget. Again we had good admin staff, but I saw that as a major part of my responsibility.

MR VAN ZYL: That's right. But still even with this staff compliment and the amount of people you nursed everyday or saw to everyday it must have been very difficult to keep it a totally hands on situation.

DR WILSON: I mean it depends on how much you delegate, yes. I mean it was a job that I was getting home to sleep almost every night.

MR VAN ZYL: That's right. So little mishaps and little miscalculations could occur, isn't it so?

DR WILSON: I'm not sure that I understand what you mean by mishaps and miscalculations.

MR VAN ZYL: In other words, if there is a R10 allocated for the transport of mother X back home after she has given delivery to her baby, where in fact it may have been a quick home-run for somebody else who wanted to get home, it could have slipped in, isn't it?

DR WILSON: No highly unlikely, because no money was given out, that we ran a kombi which twice a day would take mothers home, it would also collect patients from the township who needed to come in for nursing care who couldn't get in, so that people were transported between the township and the clinic, that transport was provided, but there was no money involved, we just funded that transport.

MR VAN ZYL: That's good. In other words you provided the vehicle and you provided the petrol for the vehicle, isn't it so?

DR WILSON: Correct.

MR VAN ZYL: The logistics, you didn't go out and count each and every passenger, did you?

DR WILSON: I did not personally, no.

MR VAN ZYL: Right. So a passenger could get on board the kombi without your authorisation, it could take place easily?

DR WILSON: It could, between the township and the clinic. Remember that the township, the furthest part is only one mile from the clinic.

MR VAN ZYL: Yes, thank you. Dr Wilson, may I ask your wife's political persuasion at the time of 1989?

DR WILSON: I'm not sure that I see the relevance, Chairperson, her views are her own views.

JUDGE DE JAGER: Perhaps I could - I don't think she was a supporter of the Nationalist Party.

MR VAN ZYL: I think it's rather relevant because the applicant has said that it was common knowledge that she was of a political persuasion that was contrary to the persuasion of the Government of the day.

CHAIRPERSON: Are you correct, Mr van Zyl, has the applicant indicated that Mrs Wilson was a member or supporter of the ANC either in his evidence-in-chief during his cross-examination or on the application papers before us?

MR VAN ZYL: Sorry, maybe I make a mistake, but I believe that the evidence was that he said that both Mr Wilson and Mrs Wilson were communists, of the communist party.

CHAIRPERSON: I think he said the daughter was Braam Fischer - Mrs Wilson was Braam Fischer's daughter.

MR VAN ZYL: That's correct.

CHAIRPERSON: And Mr Wilson was Braam Fischer's son-in-law.

MR VAN ZYL: That's right. Okay. Were you and your wife under police surveillance during the time of the apartheid era?

DR WILSON: Mr Erasmus has said that we were and yes, I assumed that our telephone was tapped at times, not at other times, that I was aware of some episodes of surveillance. No, some of the things Mr Erasmus mentions in terms of unwanted deliveries, letting down tyres, elsewhere in his application he mentioned me as a victim, that did not happen that there were a few calls, but nothing very much, so most of the incidents that he claims for us, were not in fact true.

MR VAN ZYL: But you admit you were under police surveillance, is it not so?

DR WILSON: I have no direct evidence of it, I would not have been surprised. I cannot deny it, or I have no evidence one way or another.

MR VAN ZYL: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: You do not know.

DR WILSON: I do not know.

MR VAN ZYL: Alright. In 1986 when the records of the clinic were destroyed, you said there: "We drew our own conclusion". Obviously you speak here on behalf of yourself and the Board, is that so?

MR VAN ZYL: I don't know that I can speak on behalf of the Board on that one. If I say we drew our own conclusions, I and some of the people at the clinic that I discussed it with, we put 2 and 2 together and said: "Well, if the police didn't get the records that they wanted, maybe this is what has happened", but that's as far as it went. I was not in fact present at the clinic at the time, I was on leave and away when the incident happened.

MR VAN ZYL: You did join the clinic in February 1986, is that not so?

DR WILSON: Correct.

MR VAN ZYL: Is that not so?

DR WILSON: Correct.

MR VAN ZYL: And in fact February the 19th, if the date was correct, but then the incident of the fire of the record room was in April 1986.

DR WILSON: Correct.

MR VAN ZYL: Were you on leave?

DR WILSON: In April of 96 I went off to walk in the Fish River Canyon so I was away for six days.

MR VAN ZYL: And you were away for six days, right. But you continued her refusal not to hand over the records, is that correct?

DR WILSON: That was in 1986 when Dr Salmon had refused, yes I, as they called me the Superintendent in the papers, as Director of the Health Centre, I declined to hand over and I was subsequently issued with a subpoena.

MR VAN ZYL: That's correct. Now what conclusion did you get to after all these facts? What was your conclusion that you and the other people that you referred to as we, drew?

DR WILSON: I think the conclusion I drew was that it was quite likely that people associated with the police had burned the clinic. At the time there was a perception that whether it was police themselves, or whether it was hooligans, thugs, whoever, enjoying police protection, were doing things, but - so yes, we thought that that was the most likely cause, but we had no evidence.

MR VAN ZYL: But at that point in time your main argument was with the police who needed records from you and you were not prepared to give it to them and it is most likely that they were the perpetrators of this to harass you, is that not so?

DR WILSON: Yes, can I put a little further evidence that in April of that year, I think after the burning of the records office, there was another upsurge in violence and a number of people were injured, apparently by, it was believed, members of the Security Forces and a lot of people brought in injured into the clinic and a number of Alexandra residents came and asked for the names of people because they wanted to bring cases against the police and we again refused to hand over any records or names and we explained why. We did not have any attack on the clinic after that.

MR VAN ZYL: Correct. And in 1987 though, this incident you referred to just prior to this now, what you were talking about, now when did that happen?

DR WILSON: I'd need to check that. That was April, I think it may have been in 87, but I'm sorry, I'd need to look back because it would be in documents that I have. I remember it as April and I would need to check back on the year, it was not 86, it must have been probably 87.

MR VAN ZYL: The admin office we know was in 87, that was evidence-in-chief.

DR WILSON: Correct.

MR VAN ZYL: This other incident, this extra evidence that you gave now, also 87?

DR WILSON: I think so. I could go back and I've got copies of annual reports because it is referred to in the annual reports.

MR VAN ZYL: Am I right to say that what I can deduce from your evidence here now briefly in general is that if you don't co-operate with the police, your words were also: "We were one place in the Transvaal not co-operating with the police", then the police would react to try and intimidate you, is that correct, if you take 86, 87 and 87 as incidents of your own evidence?

DR WILSON: Just one small correction, those were not my words, I was quoting the Director General of Health.

MR VAN ZYL: Which one was that?

DR WILSON: On that we were the one place not to co-operate with the police. I was quoting from a letter written by Francois Retief as the Director General of Health.

MR VAN ZYL: Okay, but you testified here ...(intervention)

DR WILSON: Yes, I quoted that.

MR VAN ZYL: And you stood on your Hippocratic oath and you didn't give, on ethical grounds you didn't give that information, is that correct?

DR WILSON: Didn't give that information either to the police or to anybody else.

MR VAN ZYL: Or to anybody else, I appreciate that Doctor, but what I'm trying to say is now by not co-operating with the police and we see these incidents that you testified to, can I rightly assume that this is sort of the tactic of the police, or the Security Branch, whoever it is, then to try and intimidate the person who is not co-operating?

MS PILLAY: Madam Chair, if I can just intervene. I don't think my client is in a position to speculate what the reaction of the police would be to any conduct on his part.

CHAIRPERSON: In any case, he has already advised you that he drew an inference.

MR VAN ZYL: Correct, but he hasn't told me exactly yet what that inference was, I'm sort of trying to get to that, Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Well he has. The police must have been involved in the attack because of his refusal because of the clinic's refusal to hand over the records to the police.

MR VAN ZYL: As it pleases Madam Chair. Now what's the difference between your 1986, 1987 two incidents and the 1989 incident? What's the difference in general broad principles of the police action? What's the difference?

CHAIRPERSON: Is he saying there is any difference?

MR VAN ZYL: No, no, I'm asking him, I'm asking him. We will here what he answers, then you'll know whether he says there's a difference or not.

CHAIRPERSON: In what context? I just want to understand the import of your question.

MR VAN ZYL: The import is, Madam Chair, that I get the assumption that they are opposing the application of the applicant and if they oppose it, then they must say the actions of the night of 1989 are not in line with police harassment or the objective of the Security Branch at that time against political parties or perceived political perpetrators, so all I'm trying to say is, is there any difference between 1986 where he drew his conclusions and 1989? Yes or no? In general, in broad principle. I think it's a very fair question.

CHAIRPERSON: Can you rephrase your question in asking whether the 1989 incident was in fact a police attack?

MR VAN ZYL: I will rephrase.

CHAIRPERSON: Lay a basis for what you want to question him further.

MR VAN ZYL: Okay, thank you Madam Chair. What I'm trying to say, simply, is in 1989 does it differ greatly from the incidents in 87, 87 and in 86?

DR WILSON: There is a difference, particularly that 1986 was the only time where there was anything that we had done as the clinic, or that I had done, which could have been seen as a spark for, or a reason for a retaliation, that was the refusal to hand over the records in 86. We were not asked to hand over records again after that and there was certainly nothing, other than the time I said in 87, when people from the township asked, that the police never asked us for records again and there was never another confrontation with the police in that way in all the time that I was in Alex.

MR VAN ZYL: I'm sorry, you must forgive me, but when in 1987 the admin office was bombed, was that not after the police took some records from you where they took the wrong ones?

DR WILSON: No, that was 86. That was February 86.

MR VAN ZYL: Was that in February 86? Right. Doctor, can you in all fairness to everybody here concerned, say that you strongly believe that 1989 had no political objective?

DR WILSON: I cannot understand the political objective to bombing the nurses' home.

MR VAN ZYL: Nor can I, nor can I Doctor, but can you truly say it is definitely not so? It definitely had no political basis or objective?

DR WILSON: I really don't think that I'm in a position to say that, to give an opinion on that and I would look for guidance from the Chair as to whether that is something that I should venture an opinion on.

JUDGE DE JAGER: If you can venture an opinion, you can venture one, but if you don't want to venture an opinion you need not, because it's only an opinion, your opinion may, unless you've got reasons for believing that this was the position. For instance in 1987 there was no confrontation with the police either and you suspected them of being involved in the 1987 one.

DR WILSON: No, with respect Judge de Jager, when I said I suspected police involvement, that was the 1986, the burning of the records office. Within two months, in fact it was probably less, six weeks or so, of our refusing to hand over the records and the wrong records being taken, that subsequent to that, there was no particular confrontation and I really - no I cannot express an opinion on a political motive in 1989, all I can say is there had been no confrontation with the police for three years.

JUDGE DE JAGER: But did you suspect anybody else in 1987 but the police?

DR WILSON: No, I don't think that I had any particular suspects. There was a perception that the right wing was involved in harassment. There was no, certainly in my perception it was not clear that it was always the police, by any means, always involved in these ...(intervention)

JUDGE DE JAGER: But the perception was it had something to do with politics, whether it was the police or their associates or whoever it might have been?

DR WILSON: Ja, I mean there may have - there was some feeling. I think that - I'm just trying to think how to put this, that we were aware that there were people who didn't like us from the fact that there were attacks on the clinic. Now it could be perceived as you know people because they thought that we were political. We made considerable efforts to make it clear what our policy was, that we were there to provide treatment and shelter for anybody who needed it and it is also one of the things that happened a little bit subsequently to this, I think it was in 91 when there was a lot of violence in the township, the main people who sought shelter in the clinic were the IFP people, because we happened to be in an IFP controlled area and the women and children who came into the clinic, were mainly people from rural KwaZulu Natal and they were sheltering in the clinic so that - I remember hearing at that time complaints that ANC people from the far end of the township, one of the people, a gardener working in the clinic said: "People living around me say we've become an IFP clinic, what's going on?"

JUDGE DE JAGER: Ja the trouble is with perceptions they're not correct, they're perceptions but they're in the minds of people and it's difficult to deal with them, but you had the perception too that there was something political involved?

DR WILSON: But I think that one of the things that I would point out is that we went to considerable efforts to make clear our position that we treated everybody and I would certainly expect any Intelligence forces worthy of the name, to know what we were saying about that and to know what the practice was, that we were in fact treating everybody even-handedly.

JUDGE DE JAGER: Ja. No, I agree, a perception is a perception, that's why it's a perception, because it's wrong, otherwise it would have been a fact.

CHAIRPERSON: But do you agree that in 1989 you were perceived as a facility for ANC activists?

DR WILSON: No, I would disagree. I think that we were perceived as a facility that was open to everybody who came and certainly there were many people from different political persuasions who used the services of the clinic.

CHAIRPERSON: And in 1987 there was an attack where the administration was burned down and your own perception was that that was the work of the right wing and not the work of the police?

DR WILSON: Yes, I would say yes, because I had no particular reason to suspect the police, there'd been no incident, so vandalism or Right Wing or whatever, but ...

JUDGE DE JAGER: Why did you suspect the Right Wing? Was there an incident?

DR WILSON: No, there had been no incident and maybe it's, it was a perception that was unfounded on my part and as I say, we had no reason, we couldn't think at the clinic for a reason as to why the clinic was attacked in 87.


MR VAN ZYL: Thank you.

ADV SIGODI: Sorry, Mr van Zyl, just on that point of providing shelter to people. Would you provide shelter for people who came in for medical assistance or would you just provide shelter for anyone who came to the clinic, irrespective of whether they needed medical assistance or not?

DR WILSON: Okay what I referred to earlier was medical assistance for anybody. When it came to shelter, when there were periods and this was mainly after 89, it was the later period, when there was considerable violence in the township and women and children were scared that they would just be caught in the cross-fire, there was a lot of indiscriminate violence, we took a policy that women and children could stay in the clinic overnight, even if they were not patients. We said we would not accept men into the clinic, because it appeared that most of the fighting was between men and we said if we take men into the clinic from whatever side, then we could become a target, whereas if we take women and children, we're less likely to be, so what happened was that we would have maybe 200 people coming in and spending a night or two and we provided mats and some basic tea and bread and yes, essentially shelter for people coming in and most of the people who used us at that time were in fact people who lived just across the road in First Avenue, which was a predominantly Zulu speaking area, a lot of people from the Imsinge District and most of them were perceived as IFP aligned.

ADV SIGODI: Ja, but this was after 1989 and it was as a result of the violence?


ADV SIGODI: But otherwise before then as a matter of normal course, you would not provide shelter to people who didn't come in for medical assistance?

DR WILSON: No, no we didn't have people sleeping at the clinic unless they actually had a medical reason to sleep at the clinic because there were also a lot of homeless people around and we said no, we're not there, our function is not to provide accommodation for the homeless, so that was not part of our normal practice.

ADV SIGODI: Not only the homeless, because why I'm asking this is because when the applicant mentioned that you were perceived to be providing logistical support, I think he mentioned that you were providing shelter for, mainly for ANC insurgents who were running away from the police, so that perception, you still maintain that it was wrong?

DR WILSON: That is - you are correct, the perception is incorrect because we did not have people staying at the clinic who were not requiring medical treatment and we were fairly clear as to the people who stayed, it was women giving birth and that was the one group and then we did have what we called sleep-over beds, we did not have people sleeping on the floor, we had beds, which we provided for people whom we expected to be fit, to be able to go home within 24 hours, so an asthmatic who would be better within 24 hours, could sleep over if we thought that the asthma attack was so severe that they wouldn't be better within 24 hours, then we referred them to a hospital and we referred about, from casualty at night, about 20% of the patients. The severely injured would be referred to hospital, 80% we would either treat immediately, some we would keep over night and let them home the next morning.


MR VAN ZYL: Thank you Madam Chair. You testified earlier on, was it I think in 1987, that you security guards had a running battle there with two white persons which they believed were policemen.

DR WILSON: No, if I said that I would be incorrect. They identified two white men, they backed off when they saw that one of them was armed.

MR VAN ZYL: Yes but I think you also testified ...

DR WILSON: I don't think so.

JUDGE DE JAGER: I don't think so.

MR VAN ZYL: I think, then I apologise, I'm just checking on that. Okay. How many clinics like this existed in Johannesburg like the Alexandra Health Clinic?

DR WILSON: We were the only large clinic providing a full health service. I think we were the only one that was funded by the Government. There are a number of small clinics run by churches, there was one in Sandton at St Johns, there are a couple of others that I know of, there was the Witkoppen clinic, but that really got going later, it was very small at that time, it sort of developed later. As I say, we were the one clinic that was getting substantial Government funding and were running a full health service, the others were small clinics.

MR VAN ZYL: Right. And then, did they have the same problems with unknown individuals?

DR WILSON: I'm not aware of it.

MR VAN ZYL: You're not aware of it?

DR WILSON: One way or another.

MR VAN ZYL: Right. Don't you find it strange that only you were targeted for this kind of action that took place?

MS PILLAY: Madam Chair, may I ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: What action, Mr van Zyl?

MR VAN ZYL: Well the action of the harassment, the action of fire bombing, the action of burning the records office, the admin office being bombed.

MS PILLAY: Madam Chair, my client has testified that he has got no knowledge of whether other clinics were subjected to the same treatment.

JUDGE DE JAGER: Well you can only say yes or no.


JUDGE DE JAGER: Let him answer the question. He is capable of answering the question.

MS PILLAY: Madam Chair, with due respect, I think he's asking him to speculate which I don't think is putting him in a fair position.

JUDGE DE JAGER: He's not asking him to speculate, he has asked him whether he's aware of any clinics that's been attacked.

MS PILLAY: That was the initial question, Madam Chair. The second question was doesn't he think it's strange ...(intervention)

JUDGE DE JAGER: That he's the only clinic. Could he give us - he could say no, I don't think it's strange, or I don't know.

MS PILLAY: But we don't know whether it's the only clinic or not because we have got no information of whether the other clinics were subjected to the same treatment or not.

JUDGE DE JAGER: Well on the basis of his knowledge he could answer it.

MS PILLAY: With respect Madam Chair, he's just said that he's got no knowledge of whether other clinics were subjected to the same treatment.

JUDGE DE JAGER: Well then he can say: "Because I've got no knowledge", but leave him to answer the question.

CHAIRPERSON: May I make a ruling on this, Mr van Zyl?

MR VAN ZYL: As it pleases Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Your question is trying to elicit the motive behind his clinic being attacked. Your earlier question was rightly put to him whether he was aware of any other clinics which had been similarly attacked and his response was that he was not, he didn't know if any other clinics were similarly attacked. Now he will not be in a position therefore to give a reason why his clinic was attacked if he doesn't know if other clinics were also similarly attacked.

MR VAN ZYL: Can I answer to that?


MR VAN ZYL: He is capable of drawing conclusions in 1986. In 1987 and 1989 he has a very vague memory all of a sudden, so Madam Chair, if you think my questions are unfair, then let's leave it at that and over rule me, but I just put it on record I find it strange that he is capable of drawing conclusions and then all of a sudden his conclusions become vaguer and vaguer as the time goes on, when the only reason or the only basis I put to him, does the actions in 87, 89 and 86, are they not similar, or don't they carry similarities.

CHAIRPERSON: But you are actually asking about attacks which must have been launched on other clinics, is that not the import of your question?

MR VAN ZYL: That's not necessarily it. It's just a basis to eliminate certain aspects and bring to the fore certain aspects of his evidence. All I'm trying to say to him, if he would be truthful, all he has to say is: "Yes, there is similarity between 86, 87 and 89" and I will leave him at that, I wouldn't even ask him then one further question, if he says yes to that and I'm not trying to tell him what he must say.

CHAIRPERSON: Whether his answer is right or wrong, we can actually take him on that, but his answer with regard to the 87 incident was that he didn't believe that the attack had been that of the police, he thought it was a Right Wing attack because there had been nothing that they had done as a clinic to have sparked that kind of an attack by the police, whereas in 1986 there was a refusal to hand over the documents and that's why he was able to draw an inference that it must have been a police attack.

MR VAN ZYL: Madam Chair, yes, I can, through further questions, investigate this avenue, but what I'm trying to say is he can clearly testify and say that they gave publicity to all the incidents. They steadfastly refused to co-operate, well not to co-operate, to give information from the medical institution to the authorities, he was very clear on that line which is in similar vein of the 1986 and he was very adamantly clear on that line, why they did those actions, which, let's all be honest and fair, that although it was not a rebellion in itself, but it was a show of defiance of authorities of the day, which I don't say is correct, not does the applicant say it, that is why we're here today. We're actually denouncing the actions of the authority of the day, so if he is so clear from 86 right through to 89 as to his defiance to it, why can he not be very clear in giving a straight forward yes or no answer to a question?

CHAIRPERSON: To what? To what question?

MR VAN ZYL: To say that there is a similarity between the attack in 89 and that in 86, because his conclusion he drew in 86, that it was a politically motivated action.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Hasn't he responded again to that question you pose?

MR VAN ZYL: Well if the Committee is in agreement with me that in 1986 there was a political motivation for the attack in 1989 similar to those in 86, then I actually have concluded my function here in this specific ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: I don't have any opinion. I'm not here to give an opinion. I'm here to decide on the issues based on the evidence that you as parties have to adduce. My response is you have put a question about whether the 86 and 89 incidents were not similar. You put that question. The question was not disallowed and he responded to that question by saying he didn't think they were similar because the 86 attack was sparked by a refusal by the clinic to hand over the documents and he didn't think the 89 attack was that of the police and that it had a political motive because there had been nothing that had happened between the clinic and the police to have caused an attack by the police on the clinic. That is the evidence which I have before me. Now if you want to pursue that line of questioning, you may do so.

MR VAN ZYL: Thank you Madam Chair. Of your Board members were you aware that John Reeves, Paul Mashitile, John Milne and Thabo Serote were suspects in terms of the Security Branch?

DR WILSON: No, I was not aware and I'd be very surprised if John Milne was a suspect.

MR VAN ZYL: Well we are encountering more and more surprises as we listen to these hearings. Now, that being so, if it is so, and if the Security Branch does get information that people are being catered for, granted accommodation for whatever reason at the clinic and then the Security Branch reacts to it to say that there are people of leftist, at that time, motivation, there is shelter for people coming from as far afield, people did come from further afield, your evidence, then on that basis and they make a decision that Alexandra Health Clinic is a threat to the Government of the day, would they be wrong, given these points, would they be entirely wrong to make that decision that yes, the Alexandra Clinic is a threat to the Government of the day at that time?

DR WILSON: I really cannot speculate how they would think. All I can give evidence on is that there is certainly no basis in fact for people being accommodated, giving them accommodation at the clinic, other than for good medical reasons and that member of the Board, who might or might not have felt that we ought to give accommodation, had no power to implement that, that it would not have been possible for the Board members to get people accommodation without my knowledge.

MR VAN ZYL: Fair enough. Doctor, just for a moment, let's move away from the clinic.

MR NYAWUZA: Sorry, can I please interject? Madam Chair, the transport for the nurses has arrived and I'm advised that the lady who is driving them told them that she's going to pick her kids up at school and she'd like them to leave now, so I was wondering if the Committee can't release them, perhaps maybe we'll continue tomorrow?

JUDGE DE JAGER: Mr van Zyl isn't the position that the witness - that as far as he can see, there was no ground for any perception or suspicion that the clinic was anti-Government or that the clinic - that anything that could be interpreted as rendering them a target for the Security Police.

CHAIRPERSON: Before you proceed to answer to my colleague's question, I think Mr Nyawuza was still on the floor with a request to the Chair with regard to the presence of the nurses for purposes of continuing with this Hearing. I am told that one of the nurses is going to give evidence in relation to this incident.

MR NYAWUZA: Yes that is so.

CHAIRPERSON: As to your knowledge, do you think it is important for the nurses to be present whilst the evidence of Mr Wilson is being heard?

MR NYAWUZA: No, I don't think it is so.

CHAIRPERSON: Can you proceed with Mr Wilson in their absence, because if you can, then we can release the nurses, but continue with Mr Wilson's evidence. Would it be fair to continue Mr Wilson's cross-examination and not to hold it over for tomorrow?

MR NYAWUZA: Ja, that fell within my request, Madam Chair, that we continue Dr Wilson's testimony and let the nurses be released so that we can continue their testimony tomorrow.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I think they can be released. My Nyawuza can you release them and just request them to be here, particularly the person who is going to be your witness, to be here before half past nine?

MR NYAWUZA: Yes, that is what I said to them. In fact I said half past eight they should be here.


MR NYAWUZA: Thank you Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr van Zyl, you were interrupted shortly before you responded to my colleague's question.

MR VAN ZYL: Yes, Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: I think that question is intended to find out if...

MR VAN ZYL: The line of my questioning, yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Your line of questioning is ...(intervention).

MR VAN ZYL: Yes, I accept it is two different view of the same situation, the one perhaps with a more political - but that is why my next question was actually trying to clarify, if I may be allowed to give, ask my next question and then perhaps we can clarify the situation.


MR VAN ZYL: Dr Wilson, as I said to us, man to man, forget your clinic now, do you agree that the Government of the day in 1989 was paranoid about everything that was contra their views?

CHAIRPERSON: Was paranoid?

MR VAN ZYL: Paranoid, yes, in other words any person that showed any sign or form of resistance, they will persecute, just for the sake that they carried different personal views.

CHAIRPERSON: You want to know if he knew about the paranoia of the Government?

MR VAN ZYL: If he agrees with me, does he agree with me, how does he view the Government of the day in 1989? Were they paranoid about political activists, yes or no?

CHAIRPERSON: To the point of doing what?

MR VAN ZYL: To the point of persecuting people and harassing people.

CHAIRPERSON: Are you in a position to answer that question Dr Wilson?

DR WILSON: I really am not, Chairperson.

MR VAN ZYL: I'll leave it at that. But given the belief of the Security Police, I put it to you that they believed that there was a political objective in that they perceived Alexandra Clinic of giving support to insurgents and therefore the decision was made to harass the clinic amongst others your own testimony and further what happened on the night of 1989, do you agree or disagree?

DR WILSON: That is your inference. I do not believe that the clinic was in any sense a legitimate political target and certainly not the nurses' home. If you're asking me if the Government had reason to attack me or to harass me, I was quite open about my political views, I could hardly hide my father-in-law, I visited him regularly in Pretoria, that the Security Police knew where I lived, my address and telephone number had been in the phone book since 1972 and remained there ever since, I still lived in the same house, so if your question was could they wish to attack me, I would have to say yes, maybe, to attack the clinic, no I don't believe they had any reason to do so.

MR VAN ZYL: Thank you. No further questions Madam Chair.



MR NYAWUZA: No questions, thank you.



MS PATEL: No thank you Honourable Chair.


CHAIRPERSON: Judge de Jager?

JUDGE DE JAGER: No questions.


ADV SIGODI: No questions.

CHAIRPERSON: Do you have any re-examination?

MS PILLAY: No re-examination Madam Chair.


CHAIRPERSON: Dr Wilson, you are excused as a witness. We thank you for having given us your testimony. You may step down.


CHAIRPERSON: Mr Nyawuza you have just made a request for your witness to be excused because of logistical problems.

MR NYAWUZA: Yes, that is so Madam Chair. Thus I was requesting that we could proceed with their testimony tomorrow morning.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. What time can we start tomorrow? Will 9.30 be convenient?

MR NYAWUZA: Yes, it will be with me, Madam Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: With you Mr van Zyl?

MR VAN ZYL: Unfortunately, if I have to encounter traffic like I did this morning, I don't come from a town where we're used to traffic like this, if I am late, I will endeavour to be here, I was here this morning at half-past nine, but if I am late, please it's the traffic that ...

JUDGE DE JAGER: Drive a little bit earlier.

MR VAN ZYL: I did Judge, I started this morning before the cocks crowed.

CHAIRPERSON: The problem with traffic today was caused by heavy rains.

MR VAN ZYL: They tell me so, but that's what I say, it's an unknown factor to me. It's five minutes from my house to my office in George, here it's something like two hours.

CHAIRPERSON: Are you staying Pretoria?

MR VAN ZYL: I'm staying in Pretoria, yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Would it be more convenient for you if we started at 10 o'clock?

MR VAN ZYL: No, I'm quite happy to start at half past nine, but if I am late, I'm just asking to pre-empting an excuse already.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. If you do experience any problems, would you be kind enough and phone Ms Patel in advance in order just to advise of the nature of your problem?

MR VAN ZYL: That's right, but as I said, I was here this morning, I think I was here at half-past nine, but it was just a question that my heartbeat was a little bit accelerated by that time.

CHAIRPERSON: We'll then proceed with this matter tomorrow morning at 9.30 a.m.