CHAIRPERSON: ...[inaudible] is part of paragraph 6 of the Affidavit F6


CHAIRPERSON: Those two pages from Exhibit W.

MR BIZOS: Yes, those two pages are Exhibit W.

CHAIRPERSON: Let us establish what Exhibit Y would be then. I have a page in my possession here marked A in parenthesis, would that be the first page of Exhibit Y?

MR BIZOS: That will be the first page of Exhibit X.

CHAIRPERSON: X. Page 2 of Exhibit X would be which page?

MR BIZOS: A has two pages. You see: Bladsy Twee?

CHAIRPERSON: Bladsy twee, ja.

MR BIZOS: And Annexure Y is the one with V on top. They've apparently been swopped.

CHAIRPERSON: Let's clear that up. Exhibit X would comprise of two pages, the first of which is marked A and the second page thereof would start with the word: Bladsy twee.

MR BIZOS: Bladsy twee.

CHAIRPERSON: And Exhibit Y would consist of two pages, V on top - is that the first page?

MR BIZOS: The first page. And the first two words on top are: Bladsy twee, right in the middle on top there.

CHAIRPERSON: Are we clear on that gentlemen?

MR BOOYENS: Yes, M'Lord. It's obvious that the one has been swopped around.

MR BIZOS: We now have them correctly. That was just for the sake of completeness then. These are the documents that they were talking about.

Can we please turn to page 10015 [ten zero one five], would you have a look at line 21:

"Did you ever come to hear of it before Mr Goniwe's death, that it was recommended that he be reappointed arising from a meeting in Cradock"? - "Yes, Your Honour" "I beg your pardon"?

"Arising from a meeting in Cradock by Mr Strydom"? - "I beg your pardon"?

"Arising from a meeting in Cradock by Mr Strydom"? - "Oh, it was announced at a meeting in Cradock. Mr de Bruyn -

he was counsel for Mr Snyman.

"No, that is not what he said"?

"What do you say"? - "I say that it was discussed at a meeting in Cradock by Mr Strydom and Goniwe and other gentlemen in Cradock".

"No, but that was at the start of May. The question is, whether you had heard, after the Committee was appointed on the 7th of June 1985, that Goniwe would be reappointed"? - "I can't recall that Your Honour".

"No? Would you not have been angry if you had heard that a decision like that had been taken without any consultation or reference to yourself"? - "Your Honour, I would have accepted the decision of my head office"

Did Mr Snyman ever discuss with you that there was a Committee appointed to decide whether Mr Goniwe should be reappointed or not?

MR VAN RENSBURG: It's possible. I can't remember that but it is possible.

MR BIZOS: We know that according to an exhibit before the Committee that Exhibit I paragraph 2.5:

"The local security community in Cradock have been informed on an ongoing basis and they support the strategy for re-appointment"

We also have the evidence in other exhibits of Mr Winter who said that he supported the idea of re-appointment if he is to be believed. Can we please ask you how it is humanly possible for a person so closely connected with your decision or the decision to kill Mr Goniwe, could have been kept ignorant of this happening?

MR VAN RENSBURG: I can't recall this particular meeting and whether it was discussed with me. It is possible that it was discussed with but I just can't recall it now.

MR BIZOS: But you see, there are two possibilities, either you were told or you were not told. Do you agree that if anybody was serious about the security of the Eastern Cape at that time, that a senior police colonel in the security police in Port Elizabeth would not have known that there was a recommendation to re-instate Goniwe?

MR VAN RENSBURG: Sir yes, I agree with that. I've already said that it was mentioned to me at some stage that decisions were being taken or that there was a process of decision making and proposals regarding Mr Goniwe's re-appointment.

MR BIZOS: Very well.

CHAIRPERSON: Just for clarity's sake, I suppose that is before his death?


MR BIZOS: Page two of Exhibit Y, right at the bottom. This is on the 7th of the 6th, on the date on which the request was made for the death warrant. Do you see paragraph 11?

"Commentary - Lieutenant Colonel Snyman: It is suspected that the re-appointment of Matthew Goniwe and Ford Calata, S4 of 0322 will be discussed at this gathering".

Now the gathering that decided the fate of Mr Goniwe as far as the SSWR was concerned was on the 7th and the 8th, so we can assume that this personal comment of Mr Snyman was put before the Committee because in the report it says:

"Brief input given by the Eastern Province JMC".

was given. Now, you were in charge of the documentation were you not?

MR VAN RENSBURG: Yes, in the dissemination of documentation.

MR BIZOS: And this document must have been in your files because it was available at the time of the inquest before Mr Justice Zietsman.

MR VAN RENSBURG: At some stage I must have seen this document.

MR BIZOS: Yes, but you surely must have seen it at or about the time that you called in Mr van Zyl and Mr du Plessis and told them that they must make a plan and present it to Mr Snyman to kill Mr Goniwe and Mr Calata.

MR VAN RENSBURG: Yes, I can't give you an exact date but it's possible that it could have corresponded.

MR BIZOS: Well, if ...[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: Mr van Rensburg, who would have sent this document?

MR VAN RENSBURG: It seems to me as if this document had been sent by Colonel Snyman, if I look at the top of the document.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but who would have put it through the correct channels so it could reach Pretoria?

MR VAN RENSBURG: The administrative staff. I suppose the woman who worked with the telex machine.

CHAIRPERSON: Is this one of the documents that would not have gone through your hands?

MR VAN RENSBURG: No, this document definitely went through my hands and I'm saying that because my signature appears on it.

CHAIRPERSON: Where is that?

MR VAN RENSBURG: Right at the bottom, left, at the bottom left. You see, if you would allow me Chairperson, you will see it says 1BO, that is commanding officer and 2 is B, B is the section dealing with black affairs, so a copy would have gone to them as well and the original would have gone to the commanding officer.

MR BIZOS: ...[inaudible] established on fact before this Committee is that you at or about the time that you

at or about the time that you called in du Plessis and van Zyl, knew that a Committee was about to decide whether or not Goniwe was to be reinstated.

MR BOOYENS: If my learned friend could just point out to us where there's reference to a Committee in this. I have missed it but I'm happy to accept if he can point it out that it is there. All I find is that:

"It is suspected that the re-appointment will be discussed at this meeting"

MR BIZOS: Yes well, perhaps I've been challenged to do so but we know that it was suggested by Mr Vlok at the meeting of the 6th, that a Committee should be appointed in order to do this.

MR BOOYENS: Yes, but the date stamp in the right hand corner that's not quite legible but more legible on a copy that we've got, is the 24th of May in the right-hand side and that's the security branch Port Elizabeth. We've got I think what must be probably an original here.

MR BIZOS: Remember what the question was: on or about this time, during this period where Goniwe's fate was being debated and when you called in the two sub-ordinate officers you knew that the question of Goniwe's re-appointment was being considered by higher up authority, let's leave it at that.

MR VAN RENSBURG: Yes. May I just say that according to what is stated in the left bottom side of the document, I must have seen this document on the 24th of May 1985 unless, yes on the 23rd of May 1985 this report was sent and I saw this report on the 24th, according to my note relating to the date on which I'd seen it.

MR BIZOS: Did you speak to du Plessis and van Zyl at or about this time about a plan to kill Goniwe?

MR VAN RENSBURG: Once again I can't recall what exact date it happened. In my application - if I recall, I said it was two to three weeks before the people died.

MR BIZOS: Yes. If we accept that date then it was shortly after you knew that the matter had been referred to higher authority.


MR BIZOS: How could you have suggested the putting into operation of a murder plan if you knew that higher authority was going to discuss whether or not Goniwe should be re-appointed?

MR VAN RENSBURG: The order for the elimination I received from Mr Snyman. He at no stage told me that there had been any change in the plan. I accepted that what was written in this document, that that was matters relating to the re-appointment of this man as a teacher and that it had nothing to do with his revolutionary activities.

MR BIZOS: Let us try and come to terms with the real gravement or point of the question. Snyman tells you and you tell du Plessis and van Zyl: "Make a plan to kill Goniwe". That was on your dates, shortly after you knew - because you told us that you signed this document, that information was being sent to the head office for people at a higher level to decide whether or not Goniwe was going to be reinstated. There can only be: "yes" to that question can't there?


MR BIZOS: When Snyman came to you and suggested that you should put the plan into operation, did you ask him: "How can you suggest that to me, has the question of the re-appointment of Goniwe as contained in the exhibit that I signed and sent further up, has that decision been taken by the appropriate authority"?

MR VAN RENSBURG: I didn't put any questions to Colonel Snyman.

MR BIZOS: But would you agree that that suggestion or order was inconsistent with the enquiries that were to made in terms of Exhibit X2, Y2? - I've still got it wrong? Paragraph 11 of Exhibit y page 2, paragraph 11. Any suggestion of murder before the conclusion of this would have immediately raised question but what has happened to this question of re-appointment?

MR VAN RENSBURG: I don't know.

MR BIZOS: Yes, the question was: "How could you have put the plan into operation without clarifying that obvious fact"?

MR VAN RENSBURG: Mr Snyman gave this order and I believed that he had received it from higher authority and I received no instruction to halt the operation.

CHAIRPERSON: Didn't you ask any questions Mr van Rensburg? Did you not question the order to kill Goniwe and the others?

MR VAN RENSBURG: No, not at all. Arising from what Mr Snyman told me, arising from his private discussion with Mr le Grange and a private discussion with members of the Defence Force and the JMC whatever, I didn't question it at all. And I accepted that Colonel Snyman was not the kind of person who would tell me something that wasn't true.

MR BIZOS: ...[inaudible]

INTERPRETER: The speaker's microphone is not on.

MR BIZOS: I see there that there is a reference to page 181(a) of the record and could you go to 1019. You see that - will you please read paragraph 8 on page 182. We will identify the original source Mr Chairman, and give it to you in due course but I was obviously reading now from a document which we have not yet been able to identify in the long record but we will give you the reference.

Will you please read paragraph 8 on page 182:

"30 May 1985 is a letter from the security branch, was received on that date, in which the security branch gives it's support to the Department of Education and trainings proposed action relating to Matthew Goniwe but at the same time further information is given relating to the person concerned's activities for consideration with a view to the detention of, amongst others, the two Goniwe's and Calata"

Do you know anything about that information?

MR VAN RENSBURG: I can't say today that I knew about it but I also can't dispute it that at the time I knew about it.

MR BIZOS: Will you please go to page 1024 - perhaps I should start at the bottom of 1023, line 21 Mr Chairman. 1023 of Exhibit V, page 1023.

"What did you think would happen if Goniwe was reappointed and continued with his activities, according to the information which you had and according to the way in which you took your decisions? What did you expect would happen in Cradock and the Eastern Cape? Would the situation have been aggravated or would law and order be restored?

"That I couldn't tell you Your Honour but we would have still monitored the situation.

Yes, I know that you would monitor it. Did you think that if he was appointed without any conditions that the situation would become very difficult?

It's a possibility Your Honour.

It's a possibility? What did you do about it?

Regarding the fact that he wasn't appointed Your Honour? I'm not quite sure what you mean.

Did you not, as a security policeman, feel more and more isolated?

No, Your Honour.

That the civilians such as the people from the Education Department and other's recommendations were accepted and you just had to sit here and deal with the problem, is that not the way you felt?

No, I didn't feel like that. As I said, we accepted or would accept any decision taken at a higher level.

Yes. Now, when the recommendation - and you made the recommendation to the Geldenhuys Commission, did you talk to Mr or Colonel Winter regarding his point of view?

Yes Your Honour. I suppose that the Divisional head of the unit would have done that.

Yes. Did he have the same opinion as the security branch had, that he should not be reappointed?

That I wouldn't be able to say".

Now, do you agree with this evidence of Mr Snyman before Justice Zietsman?

MR VAN RENSBURG: Yes, I could probably as it appears here.

MR BIZOS: You agree with it?


MR BIZOS: And you agree specifically:

"As I say we will abide by any decision which is taken on higher level"


MR BIZOS: Well leaving aside for the moment that you have given contradictory evidence on this issue, self contradictory evidence on this issue, what do you say now that I read you Mr Snyman's evidence? Had you known that the matter of re-appointment was still in the pipeline, had you known that would you have continued with the execution of the murder plan?

MR VAN RENSBURG: Yes, unless I was obstructed from doing so, because as far as I can recall no other decisions were made or to my knowledge we did not receive any feedback that a decision had been made.

MR BIZOS: But if in fact the decision was communicated to at least Mr Winter on the basis of the document that we read to you a short while ago, wasn't that enough to apprise the security police in the Eastern Province that that was the decision?

MR VAN RENSBURG: No, I would not see that as an irrevocable decision.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr van Rensburg, from what you tell us now ironically the life of Mr Goniwe and others was sort of protected by a committee higher up than your ranking, not so?

MR VAN RENSBURG: Yes, that would appear so.

CHAIRPERSON: Now how was it possible, where his future was still in obeyance, for you or people at your level in ranking was able to make a decision to kill him?

MR VAN RENSBURG: I cannot comment of the committee, I do not know if I even knew anything about this committee. I can only say or speak in terms of how I received my orders by means of the line function and certainly from wherever the orders came for the elimination it was based upon the security activities of Mr Goniwe and others or at least their revolutionary activities and not only on the issue of his appointment or re-appointment to the Department of Education and Training.

CHAIRPERSON: But you knew by your own admission before his death, that the question of Mr Goniwe's future as a principal or a teacher and his colleagues, only Mr Goniwe's future as a teach was being discussed at a level of higher power and authority than you were.


CHAIRPERSON: And to that extent his life was protected in this context, not so?

MR VAN RENSBURG: Yes, one could put it that way.

CHAIRPERSON: Now on what basis would you say that you could override that and determine that Mr Goniwe should be removed permanently from society?

MR VAN RENSBURG: As a result of his activities, his revolutionary activities as a result of the fact that he played a prominent role in the establishment of alternative structures and the accompanying or the reaction to this, people who were being killed, property that was being damaged and so forth.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, we are acquainted with the reasons why he died. The question is, how is it that at your level in ranking it was possible to override the authority of the group of people or the level of authority that was discussing the future of Mr Goniwe?

MR VAN RENSBURG: All that I can say is that is that this order came from Mr Snyman and I believed that it came from a very high authority and I believed that it should be executed unless we were stopped before it was carried out. That is all that I can say and that is what I believed.

MR BIZOS: I want to refer you to a portion of another document but before doing so, have you heard of Brigadier Fraser, the man who gave the theoretical and tactical advice to the army and to the security police as to how a revolutionary war should be fought by the security forces?

MR VAN RENSBURG: Sir, I may have heard it but I can't say that I know what it is today. I'm not saying that I didn't hear it or didn't know it but I couldn't tell you today what it is.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Bizos, would this be Exhibit Z?

MR BIZOS: Apparently you have been given a document, could you - is that ...[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: It appears to be a copy of a handwritten document.

MR BIZOS: Yes, that will be the next exhibit. I want to deal with - could you just put that down for a moment and not call it Z. It will be the next exhibit but I think a Z - we gave the clerk of the Commission two exhibits and she handed out these.

CHAIRPERSON: It is marked:

"Extract from lessons on the past"?

MR BIZOS: That's the one yes.

MR BOOYENS: Mr Chairman, we have been given some documents again, may I perhaps suggest that we take the short adjournment now then the witness can look at both the documents that's been given to him, seeing that we know that the other one is the next one, and hopefully things would go slightly quicker.

MR BIZOS: I have no objection but there are two short paragraphs that I want to ask the witness about Mr Chairman.


MR BIZOS: On Exhibit Z there are two short paragraphs and a short paragraph on Exhibit AA, I would suggest we should name it.

CHAIRPERSON: Ask your questions and see if the witness is able to deal with it otherwise I'm going to have to give him an opportunity to read it.


Now in relation to:

"How the counter-revolutionary war should be fought"

there are two paragraphs that I want to read to you and I want you to tell us whether this was in accordance with the learning and culture of the security forces, including the security police. Paragraph (e) on page five - the full document is available if it's wanted Mr Chairman.

"The inescapable conclusion is that the overall responsibility should stay with the civilian power at every possible level"

and read that together with paragraph (e) on the next page, page 27:

"judiciously used forceful persuasion imposed upon a group, will be very tempting when government troops are trying to break the hold insurgents have in areas controlled by them but the eventual psychological effect of leniency as applied so successfully ...[indistinct] must be weighed very carefully against the immediate apparent advantages of force before it is used. This indicates that the use of terrorism by government forces must be decided upon at the highest level and must be so applied as to avoid it boomeranging"

Now, is what you planned and was executed against Mr Goniwe and his colleagues a form of terrorism by the government?

MR VAN RENSBURG: Sir, one could probably call it that, one could call it terrorism.

MR BIZOS: Well thank you for that but now, do you agree that the use of terrorism by the government had to be applied by the highest possible level and that it - in order - and it should avoid boomeranging? Do you agree with that?


MR BIZOS: Would it therefore have been the decision, not your nor Mr Snyman's because you were in a high enough level, that if such a decision was taken it had to be taken at a much higher level?

MR VAN RENSBURG: Yes, that's how I felt.

MR BIZOS: And the other document that I want to refer you to is Exhibit AA also coming from the inquest docket and an affidavit attached to it which we could call BB. Now I must at the outset indicate that this was at a meeting of high ranking security officers on the 28th of April 1987 which was after this event, but I want to read to you paragraph 7 and ask you whether this applied in 1985 as well in the security forces thinking and culture.

"Methods which"

Paragraph 7 of Exhibit BB.

"HSAV" [Afrikaans]

what does that mean to you?

MR VAN RENSBURG: Probably Head Office, South African or head South African ...


"Do not regard these actions as murder"

and in inverted commas:

"nie" and defined it as follows: An attack on an individual (VA)"

What does that stand for?

MR VAN RENSBURG: That would mean enemy target.

MR BIZOS: "with non-standard issue weapons in a conventional manner to not hit innocents"

Now does what the recommendation of the head said on the 28th of April 1987 in which he re-defined murder for the purposes of the security forces, apply in 1985?


MR BIZOS: You didn't see this as murder? And you had the authority of the head of the force not to see it as murder?

MR VAN RENSBURG: Yes, that's correct.

MR BIZOS: Yes. And it was in that climate that you did it but you apparently forgot that you had to have certainly about the authority at a higher level or you would have to find out that it was authorised by persons at the highest possible level. Do you agree?

MR VAN RENSBURG: Would you repeat it, I did not understand the nature of the question.

MR BIZOS: Although it fitted into the head of the army's definition of not being murder, you did not take the trouble to find out from whom that authority came in this instance.

MR VAN RENSBURG: No, I did not.

MR BIZOS: And you knew that it had to come from the highest possible authority.


MR BIZOS: Mr Chairman, I would require time before closing my cross-examination, to have a look at a number of other documents. I would like to reserve the right to apply on Monday morning for leave to put anything that I have omitted in this very long record and I would ask for that indulgence.

I don't know who else has any questions to put and I don't know whether you want to adjourn at this stage Mr Chairman or whether I could be given this indulgence, I'm in the Committee's hands. I can only say that I have completed the prepared cross-examination that I've had up to now but I'm not satisfied in my own mind that there may be other matters that have arisen as a result of his evidence that I would want to put to him.

There is another matter Mr Chairman, that I may have to put questions to him that I may not be able to put to another applicant, which may require re-assessment of what I have to put to him Mr Chairman.

MR BOOYENS: Mr Chairman, I think the promise of my learned friend that he'll probably have further questions is one that will materialise so I would prefer to re-examine once my learned friend has concluded his final or third final cross-examination wherever that might be.

So at this stage, unless my learned friends on the right-hand side of the table - but I've got sympathy with my learned friend's suggestion that we then adjourn now unless there's something else we can do. I propose only to re-examine when he's finished.

CHAIRPERSON: Have you got any questions?

MS PATEL: I do Honourable Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: I can't hear.

MS PATEL: Yes, I do.

CHAIRPERSON: Is it likely to take long?

MS PATEL: No, not at all.

CHAIRPERSON: Maybe we can deal with your questions.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS PATEL: I'm quite happy to proceed.

Mr van Rensburg just for clarity's sake, could you please explain who approached whom first regarding the question of the elimination of Mr Goniwe and whoever accompanied him? Did you approach van Zyl and Mr du Plessis or did they approach you first?

MR VAN RENSBURG: No, I approached Mr van Zyl first because as I have stated in my chief evidence I could not find Mr van Zyl and that is why I informed Mr du Plessis after that.

MS PATEL: The meeting at which the modis operandi for this specific killing was discussed, how long did that meeting last?

MR VAN RENSBURG: Approximately 20 minutes, perhaps a half an hour, I'm not completely certain of that.

MS PATEL: Two specific options were mentioned at the meeting, one was a robber and the other one was that this attack should look like a vigilante attack. Were the merits and de-merits of these option discussed in any great length?

MR VAN RENSBURG: No, as far as I can remember any of the options would have been acceptable.

MS PATEL: Acceptable by whom Mr van Rensburg?

MR VAN RENSBURG: With us who were discussing it.

MS PATEL: Are you saying then that you were willing to leave that decision then entirely in the hands of du Plessis and van Zyl?


MS PATEL: Why was this, why did you take that decision not to become involved?

MR VAN RENSBURG: I don't think that I made a decision not to get involved. If I recall correctly, Mr du Plessis and Mr van Zyl asked me what I thought of how the operation should be carried out and indeed it was my suggestion to make it appear as a robbery or an attack.

They agreed with that but I left the final decision up to them regarding - you must realise that circumstances would also have played a role so would it be a robbery, would it appear as if it was a vigilante attack, that I left up to them.

MS PATEL: That is what I find curious Mr van Rensburg, that you wouldn't have taken the time out to discuss the specifics of an operation where you yourself at the end of the day may possibly would have had to accept responsibility for it.

MR VAN RENSBURG: It might be strange to you but it wasn't strange to us, it was normal.

MS PATEL: What do you mean by normal? Is this an average operation that was carried out on various occasions? I don't understand, please explain.

MR VAN RENSBURG: What I'm trying to say is that they way I see the matter when persons have to perform a task, let us call it a military task or a murder or whatever we would like to name it in this relation, then for the - the final decision is left to the officer on ground level because he will have to adjust according to circumstances.

MS PATEL: I ask you once again Mr van Rensburg, if you at the end of the day had to accept responsibility for the operation, why didn't you take a greater part in the planning of this operation?

MR VAN RENSBURG: I don't know what kind of answer you are looking for. I assume responsibility, I've just said that I assume responsibility for what I did. If I could say anything else I would, surrounding the operation itself, but I can't.

MS PATEL: Given your knowledge of the operation and the manner in which it was carried out, did you have any objections to the manner in which it was carried out?

MR VAN RENSBURG: Well, I did not expect that it would be like that.

MS PATEL: What do you mean by that: "so wees nie"?

MR VAN RENSBURG: Let us say so gruesome. I did not expect it to be exactly that but of course today I cannot say know, it has happened.

MS PATEL: Are you then by implication saying Mr van Rensburg that given the gruesomeness of the manner in which this act was carried out, that Mr du Plessis and Mr van Zyl and whoever acted with him had then exceeded the bounds of the authority.

MR VAN RENSBURG: No, I wouldn't say that. One has to consider the circumstances of the operation, one should consider that the person at ground level must be able to adjust to circumstances.

And I can only speculate that they decided to make it appear as if it was a vigilante attack and we could speculate on this as to whether they went too far or not in terms of the killing.

MS PATEL: Given your knowledge at the time of the deceased in this matter and of the area in which you operated, is it possible that a less violent and gruesome manner - gruesome operation could have been conducted towards the same end?

MR VAN RENSBURG: It could have been so.

MS PATEL: So then it wasn't necessary to kill the deceased in the manner in which they were killed.

MR VAN RENSBURG: I cannot give you an answer, with all due respect, I think that you should ask the individuals who performed this on the ground level.

MS PATEL: But you are the person Mr van Rensburg, who authorised this operation.


MS PATEL: Surely you should accept responsibility for the manner in which the operation is carried out.

MR VAN RENSBURG: I do accept responsibility for it.

MS PATEL: And if that operation exceeded the bounds that was expected by you, then surely you should have had problems with that and that should have been dealt with at some level when they reported back to you.

MR VAN RENSBURG: They did not report back exactly or - let me say that Colonel Snyman and van Zyl informed me the next day that the operation had been carried out and it was only subsequent to that that I found out how it had happened.

MS PATEL: Did you then not call them back in for an explanation?

MR VAN RENSBURG: No I did not.

MS PATEL: Why not?

MR VAN RENSBURG: I don't know, we did not discuss such things.

MS PATEL: Why not Mr van Rensburg?

MR VAN RENSBURG: We just never did it.

MS PATEL: What is the reason for not discussing an - surely de-briefing is a normal part of any operation, especially one as gruesome and as sensitive as this?

MR VAN RENSBURG: I don't know. I would not like to discuss things like this afterwards.

MS PATEL: Why not Mr van Rensburg?

MR VAN RENSBURG: Because one doesn't want to repeat it again and again. One wouldn't want to discuss it, it was over.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr van Rensburg, shortly after the murders there was an official investigation into the crimes, not so?

MR VAN RENSBURG: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: And as I understand the evidence that the Port Elizabeth security police were also - some of them were questioned about it until someone intervened, not so, someone from higher up?

MR VAN RENSBURG: Sir, I do not know whether someone from a higher level intervened.

CHAIRPERSON: Okay, that's not a major issue. Some of the members of the security police in Port Elizabeth were questioned, not so?

MR VAN RENSBURG: I don't know if that was so at that point in time.

CHAIRPERSON: Well I'm not giving you a particular time, some time after the murders, I think it was Advocate or policeman Els, if I remember, was investigating these murders.

MR VAN RENSBURG: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: At that time in trying to manipulate this cover-up, was there no meeting or discussion amongst the members of the security police to at least be consistent in answers to Mr Els?

MR VAN RENSBURG: No, not that I was involved with.

MS PATEL: Are you saying Mr van Rensburg, then that there was no cover-up afterwards?

MR VAN RENSBURG: I'm not saying there wasn't a cover-up, I just don't know.

MS PATEL: If there wasn't a cover-up Mr van Rensburg, surely all of this information would have come to light many years ago.

MR VAN RENSBURG: Yes, well I didn't talk about it and I'm assuming the other members also did not talk about it.

MS PATEL: So as far as you were concerned, an experienced officer as yourself, the fact that the deceased had been killed was the end of the matter, there was no need afterwards to ensure that your tracks were covered.

MR VAN RENSBURG: No, I assumed that the people on the ground did it in such a way that it wouldn't leave any tracks.

MS PATEL: Why did you have so much faith in them Mr van Rensburg? Did you have previous experience with them in other operations of this nature?

MR BOOYENS: With respect, that's not a proper question Mr Chairman because that may reflect on other operations.

CHAIRPERSON: You mean other applications?

MR BOOYENS: It starts with an operation and ends with an application.

MS PATEL: In respect then of other matters where you haven't made application for amnesty, are you saying then there was an understanding amongst your members as to how they should operate under these circumstances.

MR BOOYENS: That presupposes that there were operations where he did not apply for amnesty and where he was involved in murders, there was no such evidence. I object to that question on a variety of grounds Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Let me put it to you this way. Mr van Rensburg, why is it that you were able to have so much faith in your colleagues? How did that faith develop?

MR VAN RENSBURG: I can't give you an answer. There was a certain culture which existed. There was a situation as I've already said, of war and you simply had to trust your colleagues otherwise you wouldn't be able to operate. Then you simply would have to sit back with folded arms and do nothing. You simply had to trust your colleagues.

There were risks attached to these things whether you liked it or not, there were risks.

MS PATEL: You were present here when Mr van Zyl testified that the P.E. security branch was like any other police branch and that you didn't necessarily trust everyone who had worked there and that was the basis for his motivation for the possible disinformation that had been sent through to Mr de Kock. How does that accord now with your understanding, between yourself and your colleagues, that there was trust between yourselves?

MR VAN RENSBURG: Chairperson, I can't comment on Mr van Zyl's answer, I can't vouch for whom he trusted and whom he didn't trust. I wouldn't say that I trusted all security branch members. You, to a certain extent operated on a feeling, that feeling and people that you'd worked with for quite a long time, well you had to make a decision as to whom you trusted and whom you didn't and sometimes you would make the wrong decision.

MS PATEL: Are you saying that there was a possibility that you could have been wrong about Mr van Zyl and Mr du Plessis?

MR VAN RENSBURG: It's possible yes, that one could have summed them up incorrectly.

MS PATEL: If that possibility then existed Mr van Rensburg, surely you would have been more meticulous in ensuring that the operation was carried out properly and that your tracks were covered?

MR VAN RENSBURG: I've already said that we discussed the matter as far as we could and then I had to leave it up to them, to the members on the ground or the senior member who had to operate, execute the operation.

There was no other choice. If I did it in any other way then there would have been no operation. If I had that much doubt as far as my colleagues were concerned, there simply wouldn't have been an operation.

MS PATEL: Alright, let's leave that there, there's just one or two further aspects that I wanted to raise with you.

At the report back meeting, can you recall specifically what was reported to you?

MR VAN RENSBURG: Colonel Snyman and Mr van Zyl came in that morning, they came to my office and all that was said was that the operation had been carried out, it was done, it was finished. They left virtually immediately.

MS PATEL: There was no discussion around what happened to the weapons that were used and the vehicle that was used and who was involved, none whatsoever?


MS PATEL: Just one further point. If I can refer you to page 60 of the bundle, that's the application of Mr du Plessis. Mr du Plessis states that - if we start at page 59 sorry, the paragraph starts at 59, he states that at various times prior to this specific incident there were discussions held around the possible elimination of the Cradock 4, do you have knowledge of that?

MR VAN RENSBURG: No, no I wasn't aware of that.

MS PATEL: He says further that the information gathering process that was co-ordinated subsequent to those discussions was in fact co-ordinated between the two of you.

MR VAN RENSBURG: There were often discussions between myself and Colonel du Plessis regarding Goniwe and his hangers-on and their activities, we often talked about that.

MS PATEL: So then you would in fact, in terms of this, have had a hands-on approach to all the information that was in fact gathered around these four deceased.

MR VAN RENSBURG: At that stage yes, I had quite a broad knowledge of their activities.

MS PATEL: Are you saying then that you've forgotten a lot of that and that accounts for what you can't explain today and at that stage you were fully aware of all material information surrounding Mr Goniwe and the rest of the deceased in this matter?

MR VAN RENSBURG: What was a matter of record at that time was at my disposal. Colonel du Plessis also sometimes chatted to me about some of these people and their activities. At that stage I had to read a lot of different documentation and a lot of things passed through my hands, it's not possible for me to recall exactly about these things in detail.

MS PATEL: Fair enough. But then what was on record was then sufficient for you to come to the conclusion that you would support the decision to kill the accused - not the accused sorry, the deceased in this matter.

MR VAN RENSBURG: What was on record and the oral communications available at the time.


CHAIRPERSON: Mr Hugo, have you got any questions?

MR HUGO: Just two questions thank you Mr Chairman, three in fact.

CHAIRPERSON: Three? I hope that's a promise.

MR HUGO: Mr van Rensburg, in your application you say that in 1984 - I'm referring to page 23 of the application, alternative structures were established and you say that intimidation and violence which included the death of community members and police members, is that correct?


MR HUGO: So during this period, if I understand you correctly, you were second in command of the security police in Port Elizabeth, is that correct?


MR HUGO: And you would obviously have been concerned about the security of the policemen, is that not so?


MR HUGO: And more specifically security police?


MR HUGO: And more specifically black security policemen who operated in these black townships.


MR HUGO: What steps did you take by virtue of the position at the time, to ensure the safety of the policemen?

MR VAN RENSBURG: I can't recall that I took steps myself. Most of the black members worked under Mr du Plessis or were under his command. I know that he took certain steps. At that time, if I remember correctly, guards were sometimes posted at these member's homes and - I don't know what you would call it, but there were certain strips attached to their windows which would prevent - perhaps some of the members here would know better, which would prevent the glass shattering.

Alright, let us be more specific. What steps were taken for instance to ensure the safety of the police stations?

MR VAN RENSBURG: A couple of members were posted on the perimeters of the police station to patrol the area, these were armed members if that's what you refer to.

MR HUGO: And would you say that the security measures were intensified as far as access control to the police stations at that time?

MR VAN RENSBURG: Yes, yes, I would agree with that.

MR HUGO: So for an unmarked vehicle to simply move in and out and have access to the police station at that time would have been extremely difficult in view of these measures?

MR VAN RENSBURG: I can't answer that specifically. I don't know from personal experience or personal information, I don't know what the situation was at New Brighton police station at that stage. I didn't go and view the situation for myself in New Brighton, I can't tell you what the situation was.

MR HUGO: General, if you say that during this period you never went to New Brighton police station ...[intervention]

MR VAN RENSBURG: I wouldn't say that I never went there myself but I didn't go there very often during my period here. I also recall that I only went there during the day.

MR HUGO: Let us assume that you went there during the day, upon arriving there during the day, were there guards who would for instance ask you for identification?

MR VAN RENSBURG: As far as I can recall I never went there on my own, I would always drive with somebody, somebody who was more familiar with the place and the members at that particular police station. I would have accompanied such a person.

And my recollection is that usually when the security vehicles approached the gate the people would immediately open the gate so that we could drive through and that was an indication to me that the person with me was well-known to the persons on guard duty.

MR HUGO: Did you drive there in an ordinary police vehicle with this person?


MR HUGO: Just one other aspect which I want to clarify with you. You say that the feedback discussions took place from half past seven to nine o'clock that morning, you're not quite sure of that.

MR VAN RENSBURG: Yes, that's correct.

MR HUGO: And Mr van Zyl and Mr du Plessis.

MR VAN RENSBURG: Mr Snyman and Mr van Zyl.

MR HUGO: Reported to you?


MR HUGO: Was there anything significant or unusual about Mr van Zyl's physical appearance?


MR HUGO: Last aspect. Did you at any stage after this occurrence report to the Chief of the Security Police in Pretoria that you had been involved in this incident.


MR HUGO: No further questions.


MR NOLTE: I don't have any questions.


CHAIRPERSON: Yes, and in the circumstances we are going to adjourn till Monday morning half past nine.