JOHANNESBURG October 29 1996 Sapa


An African National Congress member sang the ANC anthem while one of his cadres was being electrocuted, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's amnesty committee heard on Tuesday.

The details emerged when a former Northern Transvaal Security Branch policeman told the committee he helped murder three members of an ANC cell in the late 1980s.

The victims were were security police informant Jackson Maake, Maake's contact in Mamelodi Andrew Makupe, and Harold Sefola of Witbank who selected targets for the cell.

W/O Paul van Vuuren, one of five former Security Branch policemen applying for amnesty for more than 40 murders, said in his formal amnesty application the three men were shocked to death with an electrical generator. Then their bodies were blown up with a landmine on a deserted road so they could not be identified.

Van Vuuren said Maake was an informant for the Security Branch, which sent him to spy on an ANC training base in Botswana where he was trained by Johannes Mnisi.

Van Vuuren said Mnisi was "an old askari and MK (Umkhonto we Sizwe) commander who was allegedly responsible for the (Church Street) Pretoria bomb".

Several people were killed in the blast, in the street outside SA Air Force headquarters.

Van Vuuren said he suspected Maake was a double agent when he kept turning up at Security Branch offices despite being ordered not to. Van Vuuren said he had the impression Maake's visits were aimed at gaining easy and regular access to the offices.

He decided to interrogate him, using an electric generator. Under torture, Maake admitted his contact in Mamelodi was Makupe. Makupe was stopped while driving and abducted in a minibus.

He and Maake were taken to premises 5km north of Pienaars River Dam, where they were further interrogated and tortured.

Makupe told police Sefola was the one who selected targets and gave the orders for the cell. Askari Joe Mamasela was sent to Sefola's house in Witbank, posing as an MK member.

He convinced Sefola to accompany him in his car to meet other MK members. Mamasela drove Sefola to the highway where van Vuuren and Capt Jacques Hechter were waiting.

Hechter is also one of the five amnesty applicants.

Sefola was taken to the premises near Pienaars River Dam where he was tortured and interrogated.

"We had to force Sefola to talk by shocking him a power generator," van Vuuren said. "Mamasela pushed a knife up his nose after which he provided more information."

At this point Sefola asked if he could sing Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika. An ANC flag was thrown over Maake while Sefola sang.

Van Vuuren did not say in his formal application how Maake had died.

"We then shocked Makupe to death," van Vuuren said. "After Sefola gave further information and admitted he was involved in landmine explosions in which people were killed or injured, he was also shocked to death with the generator."

The three bodies were then blown up with a landmine on a road in Bophuthatswana, near Warmbaths.

"These actions sprang directly from Brig Johan Viktor's general order to sort out trouble (moelikheid) because the country was burning," van Vuuren said.

"They were further on the instructions of Brig Cronje."

Brig Jack Cronje is one of the five amnesty applicants.

Van Vuuren said he and his colleagues had not wanted to murder the three, but were forced to, to prevent them again killing innocent women and children.

"It was further necessary because we were in a war situation with the ANC."

Van Vuuren said he bore much respect for Sefola because of the way in which he behaved "during the process whereby we killed him".

By late morning van Vuuren was giving oral testimony and was facing cross-examination.

South African Press Association, 1996
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