Questions put to the NP

Questions on motives, context and perspective

1. The Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, No. 34, 1995 requires that we give expression in our Final Report to "the motives and perspectives" of persons involved. Our request is that you kindly make available to us a two to three-page statement on your views, motivations and perspectives on the nature of the South African conflict. We would like you to give expression again to the underlying ideology of your party. What were the values that inspired the leaders of your organisation over the years? What motivated the involvement of your followers? What inspired the sacrifices which many of your followers made? What drove those who (in the words of the Act) were "responsible for the commission of violations"? It is important for these views to be boldly, and yet sensitively, articulated in order to facilitate the reconciliation process.

2. The submission states that "we defended South Africa against those who planned to seize power by violent and unconstitutional means". How does one achieve power constitutionally if one is disenfranchised and denied many of one's most basic constitutional rights? Later you refer to the government as "legally constituted and internationally recognised". Apartheid has been condemned as a crime against humanity, by the United Nations General Assembly and by the Security Council as well as in international instruments. This has been generally accepted as customary international law. Furthermore the government was internationally isolated on the diplomatic, economic, cultural, sporting and academic fronts. Is it not important to concede that it was Apartheid that was in fact unconstitutional, illegal by international standards and internationally condemned? Do you in retrospect agree that apartheid is morally indefensible? Can one legitimately equate the struggle against apartheid with the struggle to defend it?

3. In the National Party's submission mention is made of the four periods of apartheid. Much attention is given to the context and motives of the third and fourth periods. Can more light be shed on the way in which the National Party leadership understood its context, and motivated its actions, during the first and second periods (1948-1960 and 1960-1978)?

4. The submission does not mention the role played by cultural organisations, academics and the Afrikaans churches, as well as by the Afrikaner Broederbond in shaping its policies. Comment is invited on the extent to which the National Party was influenced by the above mentioned groups, not only for the initial formation of apartheid, but also for its eventual reform initiatives and the shift to negotiations and political settlement.

Questions of a general kind and those arising from the National Party submission

1. In the submission of the NP it is stated: "We never hesitated to submit reasonably substantiated allegations [concerning serious violations of human rights] to vigorous investigation."

Is this true of all periods during which the NP was in office? How many members of the security forces were prosecuted and/or found guilty of having committed serious violations of human rights of a political nature from 1960 to 1994? Do you think that this number is a reasonable reflection of the actual number of perpetrators? Many of the policemen responsible for investigating human rights abuse by the security forces, who have appeared before the TRC have claimed that they were discouraged from doing so and victimised if they persisted. Would it be fair to say that under these circumstances it would have been difficult for the security forces to undertake proper investigations into human rights abuse committed by the security forces? The government devoted an enormous amount of resources, in the form of, inter alia, the National Security Management System, to investigating the activities of those who opposed the system by both violent and peaceful means. Anti-Apartheid perpetrators were pursued with vigour and tenacity. Did the government make an equal commitment to investigating human rights abuse by the security forces?

2. What steps were involved in "cross-checked" intelligence information gathering (p.16)? How does one account for certain obvious errors in this regard (eg. the Umtata, and Lesotho raids - as well as the raid into Botswana by Vlakplaas operatives as reported in the De Kock Trial)? Who is to take responsibility for such operations in terms of levels of responsibility as outlined on page 26?

3. How can one ascertain who is guilty of what kind of offence as outlined on page 17? It suggests that security personnel can act unlawfully but in a bona fide manner. Is ultimate responsibility therefore not that of those who gave the orders and formulated the strategies?

4. The NP submission provides a list of identifiable incidents (p. 18) to be investigated by the TRC. Can the NP provide more specific evidence to assist the TRC in its investigations?

5. How does one explain the alleged ignorance of the former State President and his predecessors of gross human rights violations committed by the security forces and others? Why were the accusations of the state's critics, the media and former agents of the state not adequately investigated?

6. The submission creates a dichotomy between political and operational responsibility. Is this division valid? Evidence has emerged that Adriaan Vlok, the Minister of Law and Order, was kept fully informed about operational activities. These included, inter alia, Vlakplaas operations and the bombing of Khotso House. Comment is invited on who should take responsibility for illegal operations undertaken by the security forces.

7. Reference is made to the struggle between various black political groupings as a dimension of the conflicts of the past. The TRC has now received exhaustive information that there was a deliberate strategy on behalf of the former government and the security forces to generate "black-on-black" violence. Was there ever such a strategy? Was it ever discussed in Cabinet or in the SSC, or any of its sub-committees or at any other level of the security forces?

8. The submission indicates that no one in a position of authority can "know everything which takes place in the realm of his or her managerial responsibilities". This raises the question of accountability. Who should ultimately be held responsible for gross human rights violations?

9. Reports of political detainees give account of extensive torture and suffering in prisons and places of detention. Damages claims against the Minister of Justice suggest the same. This together with deaths in detention suggest that a prison system emerged which promoted abuse. The erosion of habeus corpus, the suspension of visiting rights and regular torture suggests that politicians must not only have known about these abuses, but did nothing to prevent them. Is this a fair assumption?

10. The NP submission concedes that "far reaching security legislation and the State of Emergency created circumstances and an atmosphere conducive to human rights abuse". Is the NP aware that sources indicate that over 80% of people detained without trial complained of some form of torture? It is argued that neither the former State President nor members of the Cabinet individually, directly or indirectly, ordered or authorised any gross violation of human rights. Why then did the NP government propose a State of Emergency? Comment is invited.

11. Recent documentation was brought to light which indicated Cabinet approval in 1976 of a recommendation by Minister Jimmy Kruger that increased force should be used to break the political unrest in Soweto during June/July 1976 with the foreseeable outcome of increased deaths. Did Cabinet approve this recommendation? How was this decision implemented? What instructions were issued to the security forces as a result? Can this not be interpreted as giving too much discretion to "foot soldiers"? Who should take responsibility for these deaths?

12. Were similar decisions made regarding unrest control during the 1980s?

13. The former State President claims that none of his cabinet colleagues were involved directly or indirectly in human rights abuse. Is this assertion maintained in the light of the allegation made against then Minister Vlok by General van der Merwe?

14. The notion of "moral responsibility", as used in relation to the State, implies that leaders of the State need to take responsibility for acts committed by their agents who acted in compliance with their orders or general policy. It further means that where agents acted without specific orders - while their behaviour remained unpunished by the State - it is the officers the State who are obliged to accept moral culpability.

Does the National Party accept responsibility for the gross human rights violations committed by its agents in the name of upholding the regime? As the government of the day, does the National Party accept that irrespective of whether individual leaders directly participated or collaborated in gross human rights violations or not, that the government is morally obliged to accept responsibility for what happened? Does the government, and former State President in particular, consider that enough was done to put an end to gross human rights violations being perpetrated by the security arms of the state?

Former members of the security forces have suggested that "the SAP moved further and further away from normal policing and the rule of law". Can the National Party explain why this was allowed to happen? Opponents of the National Party have, in fact, suggested that the security forces were effectively the armed wing of the National Party. In retrospect, is this a fair assessment?

Questions arising from submissions of other political parties

1. A document dated 13 March 1990 (ANC submission p. 42 ff) stated that FW de Klerk was "briefed on a broad spectrum of sensitive projects" and had given his approval "in principle" on "the running of Stratkom projects". What was the task of the Stratkom projects? Were covert operations against Self-Defence Units part of those Stratkom projects? What about the Adult Education Consultants (AEC) - were they also part of the projects?

2. Did the NP Government and former President de Klerk know about the killings of IFP leaders by MK (IFP submission p. 17)? Did the Government's intelligence agencies work with the ANC's Department of Intelligence and Security (IFP submission p. 19)?

3. Did former President de Klerk fail to respond to the IFP memorandum sent to him on 30 September 1993 in regard to the violence directed against IFP (IFP submission p. 19)?

4. Allegations of "false flag" operations undertaken by security forces have been made by both the ANC and PAC. General Johan van der Merwe is, in turn, on record as saying the Khotso House bombing was the work of the SAP. He further indicates that the operation was authorised by former President PW Botha and that Minister Adriaan Vlok conveyed the order to him. Were such operations state security policy? Who authorised such operations? What was the motive behind them?

5. What was the relationship between security forces and "right-wing" para-military groups? Did co-operation occur at any stage? If so, please provide details.

Questions on the SADF and other security structures


1. In your submission to the TRC, you asserted that it was impossible for any "managers" to have full knowledge of what activities their employees were engaged in. You suggested that the proper test to be applied is whether or not a proper control system was put in place, and if abuse occurred, whether effective steps taken to prevent further abuse.

Do you think the NSMS was a system which effectively prevented abuse and allowed for steps to be taken against those engaged in abuse? To your knowledge did any decision of any structure of the NSMS give rise to actions of an unlawful or unauthorised nature? Please provide an outline of the NSMS and the chain of command that existed within it.

State Security Council

1. Did the State Security Council (SSC) or any other agency of the State ever compile lists of "politically sensitive people" in order for action to be taken against these people? If so, please furnish the TRC with all such lists. Furthermore, what action was contemplated against such people?

2. Were there any government departments, agencies or institutions which operated outside the law? If so, which departments. Please furnish details about their mandate, the scope of their activities and all actions taken.

3. Did the government ever contemplate the establishment of a "Third Force" to counter the revolutionary threat? If so, please provide all details about the deliberations in this regard, including their outcome and implementation. Did any meeting of the SSC authorise the mobility and resources of the security forces to be used in "Third Force-type" action against the revolutionary threat. If so, what was meant by this. Did any resolution of the SSC authorise the security forces to use the same methods as revolutionaries to counter the revolutionary threat? If so, what was contemplated hereby? If this is so, to what extent is it legitimate to blame "revolutionary strategies adopted by the government's opponent" for blurring the traditional distinctions between combatants and non-combatants, legitimate and illegitimate targets and been acceptable and unacceptable methods of police and military action (NP submission page 16)?

4. In 1986, the SSC established a sub-committee known by the acronym of "GVS". What was the purpose of this sub-committee? Please furnish all details concerning its decisions and activities. Please furnish all minutes of this committee. Who chaired the GVS? Did this person have any other responsibilities?

The SSC minutes dated 12 May 1986 read as follows:

"Die Derde Mag moet beweeglik wees met 'n goed opgeleide vermoe om terroriste effektief uit te wis."

What is meant by the words "uit te wis". Please provide a definition of the term "terroriste".

5. Why were "unconventional strategies" planned and implemented on a "need to know" basis? Were they unlawful? If not, in terms of what laws were they authorised? Provide a list of all operations which formed part of "unconventional strategies" and/or which operated on a "need to know basis".

6. With regard to the Strategic Communications branch (Stratcom) of the SSC, What were the functions of Stratcom? Who was represented on Stratcom? Who chaired the meetings of Stratcom? Why did Stratcom continue to exist after the remaining sections of the SSC was scaled down or abolished State President De Klerk?

7. Please provide a full list of Stratcom operations or projects. Have these all been closed down? When did this occur? Have any of these operations been redesigned to facilitate their continued existence? What was the total cost of Stratcom operations to the state? Were Stratcom accounts audited? Who undertook the audit?

Involvement by the SADF in domestic politics and security

1. During the 1980s and 1990s the SADF was increasingly drawn into the internal security situation. When, why and by whom were these decisions taken? Did their authority extend beyond support for SAP security operations? Was the SADF given authority to engage in any internal independent operations? If so, when and why? Were SADF personnel (traditionally trained to use maximum force) given appropriate training to deal with internal security operations?

Was the SADF authorised to involve itself in operations that went beyond security measures? For example, was the SADF involved in Stratcom activities internally? What were the divisions of responsibility in relation to intelligence-gathering activities? How and when were these divisions of responsibility agreed upon?

2. Were the SADF or the SAP ever instructed to engage in actions or operations designed to discredit the ANC and other anti-apartheid organisations? Were any of these conducted after 2 February 1990? If so, please provide details. Were the SADF or the SAP ever instructed to conduct any action or operation designed to look as though it had been carried out by the enemy? Please provide details.

3. Did any structures of the SSC or Cabinet authorise Operation Katzen? Why did the Minister of Defence terminate Katzen in October 1987? Did any unauthorised or illegal actions take place during this operation?

4. Outline the nature and extent of the support given to Chief Buthelezi and/or the IFP and/or KZP.

5. Operation Marion represents a clear intention on the part of the SADF to involve itself in the domestic politics of Kwazulu and Natal. Was this operation authorised by Cabinet or any structures of the SSC? If so, who and why was this authorisation given? Was Operation Marion only confined to training? What cost was involved? When and why was Marion terminated?

6. Did the NP government ever authorise the SADF to supply weaponry at any stage to forces inside the RSA who were fighting anti-apartheid groups? Was authorisation ever granted to supply any covert/secret military or para-military training to any group, other than the IFP, inside the RSA? Was the SADF ever authorised to participate in the planning or supporting of any coup attempt in any of the independent homelands?

7. The court in the Goniwe Inquest found that the SADF, as an institution, was responsible for the deaths of Goniwe and other deceased. The Harms Commission, the Webster and the Lubowski inquests also made potentially incriminating findings in respect of SADF involvement in other assassinations. Similarly, the investigations by Genl. Pierre Steyn in 1992/3 suggested a significant degree of unauthorised and illegal activities and operations within the SADF. How were these allegations and/or findings acted upon? Does the NP believe that the SADF was sufficiently accountable? Were any additional mechanisms put into place to ensure a greater degree of accountability?


1. The submission by the former SADF suggests that the CCB was set up in May 1986. Who authorised this? What was the nature of the relationship between the CCB and Vlakplaas? What was the total CCB budget? How was this budget authorised and accounted for? What expenditure was involved in closing down operations for the CCB? What sums of money were paid to individuals in termination and retrenchment packages? What were the lines of accountability and command between the SADF and other structures of government and/or security? To your knowledge did the CCB authorise any actions of an unlawful nature? Why was the CCB only closed down in February 1994 if its activities ceased in April 1990? Were there any attempts by individuals or any component of the SADF to gain authorisation for a CCB type structure after 1990?

Cross-border raids

1. The task of the TRC includes the investigation of gross human rights violations by/of South Africans beyond our borders. To what extent was the government of the day involved in unlawful acts in other states? Were neighbouring states destabilised as a matter of policy? To what extent was there co-operation between South African security forces and the security forces or secret agents in other states? Who authorised operations in other states? What was the intended purpose of these activities?

2. If cross-border operations had to be authorised, a full list of these operations must be available. Who were the targets and who was eventually killed?

3. The SADF submission states that aside from "hot-pursuit" and reconnaissance missions, the planning of all other acts "had to be referred to the Chairman of SSC for his decision, in consultation with those members of the SSC he decided to involve". What is the meaning of "those members of the SSC he decided to involve"? Who were they? Did certain people regularly attend? Was this an ad hoc group? Who authorised these meetings? What provision existed for them to be held? Are any of these directives reflected in law? Are there any minutes and decisions of the meetings?

4. The SADF was involved in the following external operations against what were described as ANC and PAC bases:

Mozambique: 30 January 1981; 23 May 1983; 17 October 1983.
Lesotho: 9 December 1982.
Botswana: 14 June 1985; 19 May 1986; 28 March 1988.
Zimbabwe: 19 May 1986.
Zambia:19 May 1986.
Transkei: 17 October 1993.

There were also raids on alleged SWAPO bases - notably Kassinga on May 1978. Who authorised each of these particular raids? What was the role of Cabinet in making each of these decisions? What was the role of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence and their respective departments? What was the role of the State President or then Prime Minister? How were targets selected? What efforts did Cabinet make to ensure that such intelligence was accurate and up-to-date? What casualties were incurred? How many of these were non-ANC or PAC members or bases/facilities no longer used by the ANC or PAC? Did Cabinet issue any operational guidelines to those engaged in cross-border raids? Were the Geneva Protocols adhered to? Was the SAP ever involved in cross-border raids? If so, on whose authority? Can operational reports be made available?

5. On 9 August 1975 South African troops crossed the Angolan border and took control of the Calueque and Ruacana dams. This first step resulted in an extended war. Was this done with the knowledge of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet? Was the National Party parliamentary caucus informed? What strategic objectives were seen to be served by this action and according to which provisions of international law was such action justified?

Support to guerrilla movements in foreign countries

1. What financial and military support was rendered to UNITA up to the signing of the New York agreement? What was the nature of the humanitarian aid provided to UNITA following this agreement? What mechanisms were put in place to ensure that such support was used only for humanitarian purposes? What was the role of the Ministers of Defence and Foreign Affairs in respect of support for UNITA? What was the role of the State President or then Prime Minister?

2. What was the purpose of relocating Renamo forces in South Africa from what was then Rhodesia? Who authorised this decision? What were the intended objectives of the decision? What operational guidelines or orders were given to the SADF regarding Renamo? Did Cabinet ever authorise the SADF to issue operational orders to Renamo or command any of their operations? What other countries were involved in providing support or acting as a conduit for aid to Renamo?

3. The Gorongosa documents seized at Renamo HQ in August 1985 reflected continued South African support for Renamo in violation of the Nkomati Accord. In the opinion of the National Party, what is the status of these documents? Define the nature of the relationship between the South African government and Renamo after the signing of the Accord and outline the extent, if any, of all support given to Renamo subsequent to the Nkomati Accord.

4. Was the NP government involved in supporting any other movements or organisations in other countries that sought to overthrow or influence the policies of those countries? What was the nature of this support? Was authorisation ever granted to supply weaponry to resistance/ terrorist groups in other countries?

Chemical Biological Warfare

1. Did the Cabinet or the SSC at any stage authorise a Chemical Biological Warfare programme? If so, why was this deemed necessary? What, if any, guidelines were issued and what were the lines of accountability? Was authorisation ever given for chemical or biological weapons to be used outside of laboratory conditions? What was the extent and nature of field testing? Who specifically was targetted for field testing? Who oversaw this testing? Who authorised the testing? Was authorisation ever granted to any structure to poison food or water in ANC or PAC camps, or the water supply of any other country or organisation?

2. There are allegations that ANC and other operatives were poisoned by South African security personnel, The names of Thami Zulu, Francis Meli and Solly Smith are mentioned as possible targets of such operations. Comment is invited. If such operations were carried out, who authorised them? Who made the poison available? Who carried out the operations?

3. What level of co-operation did South Africa enjoy with other countries concerning CBW? Which were these countries?

Questions on the destruction of documents

1. Kindly outline the steps taken by the government to ensure that the agreement on the Currin court application in September 1993, preventing the destruction of documents due of a "classified" nature, was honoured. [See Supreme Court of South Africa (Transvaal Provincial Division) September 1993: Matter between Brian Currin and the State President of the Republic of South Africa, the Minister of National Education, the Director of Archives, the Director General of the National Intelligence Service.]

2. Gen. Klopper testified to the Harms Commission at the SANDF submission on 21 October 1996 that the only documents available on the CCB were those handed in to the Commission. What documents were destroyed prior to Harms Commission on the CCB? Who was responsible for deciding what documents on the CCB to preserve, and what documents to destroy?

3. Between April 1993 and May 1994 the Defence Force had to gain the written approval of Genl. Pierre Steyn, then Chairperson of the Steyn Commission of Investigation into irregular military activities, prior to the destruction of documents. How did the office of the State President monitor this procedure? Were documents destroyed without Genl. Steyn's approval? If so, which documents were destroyed? Why were they destroyed? Who ordered the destruction?

4. Within this period (April 1993 - May 1994) Mr. Johan Mostert, Head of the Security Secretariat, gave written instructions in a circular dated July 1993 to all government departments and the SADF to destroy all copies of classified intelligence records in their possession, that did not originate in their respective departments. Special mention is made of the need to destroy copies of documents originating in the NSMS. Were the original NSMS documents preserved? Where are they located now? Alternatively, were the originals destroyed and was the circular a deliberate attempt to destroy all traces of NSMS documentation? Who authorised the circular?

5. At the Johannesburg Amnesty Hearings in October 1996, Brig. Cronje testified to "massive document destruction" prior to the elections in 1993-4. What departments were responsible? What was destroyed? By whom?

6. Genl. George Meiring is on record concerning the destruction of documentation by the SADF. Was this done with the authority of the cabinet? What documents were destroyed? Does a list of these destroyed documents exist? Why were they destroyed? Who destroyed the documents?

Questions on recommendations

1. Section 4(h) of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act requires that the TRC should make recommendations to the President with regard to legal, administrative and institutional measures that should be taken to prevent human rights abuse. What recommendations (if any) would the NP make in the following areas:

Safety and Security
Correctional Services

Are there any recommendations, with regard to preventing human rights abuse, which fall outside these areas that the NP would like to make?

Questions on reparation and rehabilitation

1. The National Party states its conviction that the country owes the victims of apartheid "a great debt of gratitude and some or other form of reparation" (p.29). How much of the payment of this debt must be funded by the state, and how much through other sources? Will the National Party be willing to contribute to the President's Fund?

2. The submission further indicates that the National Party commits itself to "support all reasonable guidelines" on reparation and rehabilitation. Can you expand on the statement? What guidelines do you offer?

3. What specific contribution can the National Party offer to support applications for amnesty?

4. How many individuals benefited from the State President's Fund For Victims of Terrorist Attacks or other such funds? Can you provide us with a list of beneficiaries as well as with the details of compensation of all forms awarded to them?

6. The Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, No. 34, 1995 requires that we make recommendations on the reparation and rehabilitation of victims. The views of your party on this matter will be appreciated. The nation has limited resources, there are a range of initiatives included in the Reconstruction and Development Programme - and yet, there are individuals and communities who suffered in a specific way as a result of gross human rights violations. What is the obligation of the nation towards these people? What forms of memory, rehabilitation and reparation are reasonably possible?

Research Department, TRC