DURBAN July 26 1999 - SAPA 


A police informer who gave information to former security police which lead to the death of eight cadres in 1988, is a woman who now has a responsible position in the government, former Vlakplaas commander Eugene de Kock said on Monday. 

De Kock told the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's amnesty committee in Durban that African National Congress members captured the woman and detained her in a prison outside Lusaka. She was later released. De Kock was not asked who the woman was. 

He is seeking amnesty for his role in the death of eight Umkhonto we Sizwe members close to the Swaziland border in June 1988. On June 8, security policemen shot dead three women and a man, and on June 12, they gunned down four cadres. De Kock told the amnesty committee that former Piet Retief commander Freek Pienaar asked him to assist in eliminating the trained MK members who were armed and wanted to enter South Africa illegally from Swaziland. 

On the first occasion it was decided, together with the police source, that a security member, Silulame Mose, would pick up the cadres at the Swaziland border and drive them to an ambush where they would be shot dead. De Kock said he and about four other security policemen waited along the road. When the car stopped, Mose flickered the car's lights, got out and ran in the front of the car, indicating that the MK members were armed. De Kock and other security policemen opened fire on the car, instantly killing two of the women and a man. Another woman fell out of the car. She was still breathing. 

He then ordered security policeman Marthinus Ras to shoot her dead, which he did. The victims and the car were searched for ammunition but none was found. A gun and hand grenades were planted in the car to avoid "embarrassment to the government and police" because the cadres were killed although they were not armed, De Kock said. Pienaar agreed. He said that was why he placed the hand grenades into two of the women's bags. He said that a few days later the informer told him about 36 MK members wanted to infiltrate South Africa from Swaziland in separate groups. 

Pienaar, who is also seeking amnesty for the killings, said he contacted De Kock and a second ambush was planned with the same modus operandi as the first. De Kock said security policeman Frans Manzini drove the four cadres to the same place where the previous killings took place. Manzini stopped the car about 18 metres from the ambush site. As he (De Kock) ran to the car, one of the MK members, armed with an AK47 assault rifle, got out of the vehicle. 

"He was about 2 metres away from me and I started firing with an Uzi (machine gun), shooting him about four times before he fell." Pienaar said the cadre fired a shot before De Kock started shooting at him. An AK47 bullet was found on the scene later. De Kock, Pienaar and about nine other policemen fired at the car, killing four men. Four AK47s were found in the car, he said. 

On the same day, De Kock arranged that four security police members travel to Swaziland and kill the people who dropped the cadres off at the border before they left with Manzini. He said one person was killed and another escaped. De Kock later heard that the man who escaped was MK commander Charles Ndaba, whom he described as being a "very capable man in operations". De Kock admitted to lying in the enquiry into the deaths of the first four people, because he did not say that the cadres were not armed. He said he did not make any statements about the second incident. 

De Kock said his commander, Brigadier Willem Schoon, knew about the operations and approved them. Schoon has not applied for amnesty for the murders. De Kock told the amnesty committee he accepted full responsibility for the incidents. Thirteen other security police members are seeking amnesty for the killings. 

Pienaar will continue to testify on Tuesday.

South African Press Association, 1999
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