ADV POTGIETER: No, no, I hear you what you say Doctor Basson. I mention it to you because my recollection is that is what General Knobel had told us. When he was confronted with this unique situation regarding the CD's he said that he had to rely on what you had told him and you couldn't blame him that he had to rely on people who needed to assist him and he still mentioned the examples of the case of Mr PW Botha's report which was not personally read by the Chairperson of the Commission, so that is why I'm asking you. So you say you never told him formally told him: "Look, this was completed successfully"?

MR CILLIERS: Advocate, I don't want to repeat the argument, I don't want to repeat it Chairperson, and members because we handled it this morning to a great extent. If I understand the attitude of Mr Vally correctly, he said that he does not have a problem with the second part of the application which is that the record should not be distributed to other people, other than those who really need it, for yourselves that is.

His objection was against the first part, the in camera bit. That was his objection. So I am not going to waste your time any further unless you really want to hear from me with regards to the aspect of the making available thereof, for example to the office of the Attorney General or the Police who is handling the case or people who's got nothing to do with this case. I will limit myself to the in camera bit of the application, the first bit of the application.

I have already referred to page 33 of the law which gives you the capacity or the ability and you had insight into the statement of Ntsebeza, where he gave support to the counter application which was handed in earlier this week in the High Supreme court and he utters this as one of the things which the law assists the Committee with, to protect the right to silence or the infringement thereof. To make the infringement thereof lighter.

And also say that it is so important for your report that you hear the evidence and that you can deal with this properly and you can still protect his rights for example to have the hearing in camera. My submission is, I was not involved in the application, but my instructions are that it was also the basis of the argument of the Advocate who acted on behalf of the Committee at that aspect, it is with regards to the protection measures which are there and which lightens the infringement of the right to silence.

In the light of the protection of Section 33 and 31, this balance is that the public interest must gain priority, but Mr Vally now informs you that we are now at a situation where all the aspects which you want to know from Dr Basson, and these are the aspects he is specifically going to be charged with.

So that is going to be very prejudicial to him if it is disclosed or if it is going to become to the knowledge of the people who is going to prosecute him. I have already addressed you more properly about your right to silence, and there is a specific law in Section 35 of the constitution, the prejudicial aspect thereof.

I refer you to that. I also refer to Havenga which said that the disadvantage lies in the fact that you cannot force a person to show his hand before the time, and I am not going to waste your time any further. You know everything about those aspects.

But now we are in a situation, and we have now reached the stage where each thing Dr Basson is going to be asked about by Mr Vally, are aspects which are contained in the charge sheet and it is very relevant to the charge sheet and he is going to be prejudiced by giving answers now which is given in public and necessarily it is also going to come to the knowledge of the people who are going to prosecute him.

It is naive to say by Mr Vally, that those people would not irresponsibly handle that. Surely you know that about the prosecution of Mr Nkabinde in Natal where they went so far as to in this time with the constitution in place, that person went and placed microphones or bugs in his cell to listen to the consultations he had with his Attorneys, so to rely on the responsibility of the Police only, is not a sufficient guarantee for the protection of the right to silence of Dr Basson.

Dr Basson is prepared to answer you with regards to all the questions which are put to him legitimately in terms of the court findings. He has not given me any instruction to the extent that he does not want to adhere to that court order, that is why - or answer the questions this morning, but with the greatest respect, the moment when you, or let me rather put it this way, that obligation is only towards you and the responsible people, and that does not extent to the general public where it will be disadvantageous to him.

My respectful submission is here that once again you've got to weigh the important things here. On the one hand you have to consider the right of silence and on the other hand you have to think of the public interest. The importance of the public interest is contained in the documents before the Judge Hlophe.

It was handled on the basis of the public interest and you as the Committee, you expire today so it is very important for you as a Committee to obtain answers to questions with regards to Project Coast and therefore we have to infringe the right to silence and that is why Justice Hlophe gave his judgment.

But with the greatest respect, a case was never put as a basis, neither in these documents nor in the argument of Mr Hlophe. But his rights are of such a nature that the rights of Mr Basson must be destroyed in order to satisfy the public's inquisitiveness, because if that was the basis to intervene into a person's basic rights, then there would not be place in our law for the existence of a right to silence because public curiosity would always be there.

In a lot of cases, its got to gain priority above the person's right to silence and with all respect, there would be no place in our law to the right of silence. Therefore it is my respectful submission that at this stage of this whole affair, you would find a midway by destroying Dr Basson's right to silence, but also to protect him as best as you could.

The law provides for this. That is protection in terms of Section 31 and also in terms of Section 33. I cannot understand the basis of the opposition of my colleagues against such a request if you consider the prejudice.

As far as Mr Vally's attitude is concerned, and specifically with regards to the fact that he does not have a problem that you make an order that the record is not distributed, but he does have a problem with the in camera hearing.

The problem I've got with that is the one is destructive, because if the proceedings do take place in public, what does that help if you then make an order that the minutes are not distributed? All the media, all the people in the public heard what was said, all representatives heard what was said. I do not know if there are people in this audience who belongs to the South African Police, it is quite probable, and maybe officials of the Attorney General, but they will be justified to sit here and have the right to be here, so what does it help if you prohibit the minutes from being spread but the total, all of the public including these certain institutions, have and they will be able to see Dr Basson's hand at this stage, before the prosecution even started.

At this stage it is the application that it would, now it is only concerned with essential elements and you should protect him in the best way as you can, so this infringement to his right, which you are going to make, to give support to that. If you will still be in a position to do your job as you are supposed to do it, therefore my submission is at this stage, in camera please.

CHAIRPERSON: And Mr Cilliers, this is based as I understood, on the potential prejudice of Mr Basson in his criminal prosecution?

MR CILLIERS: I don't want to repeat the arguments of this morning because I am going to waste your time, but that is probably the most important, yes. Even though, I do not want to say that the proliferation area is falling away, but it is not potential disadvantageous, potentially disadvantageous to Mr Basson, it is definitely to his prejudice.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Mr Vally?

MR VALLY: Thank you Mr Chairperson. Mr Chair whatever I say now, like my colleague, has to be heard in the context of the earlier argument this morning.

Firstly, public interest is not merely public curiosity. The whole social contract which is reflected in the working of the Truth Commission in that it is transparent and interacting with the public, in terms of discovering what happened in the past, is much more fundamental and much more important to the creation of a new society based on truth and reconciliation, if the public is taken into the confidence of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in seeing the processes by which we are arriving at the truth, are beyond reproach.

So the process is as important as the end result of the Truth Commission. Secondly, the whole issue of the right to silence in so far as the potential prejudice to Dr Wouter Basson, is an issue which was extensively debated both here within this hearing which the Committee has previously ruled on, and which was extensively debated in court. Our position remains the same, Section 31(3) of our Act and Section 35(5) of the Constitution adequately protects Dr Wouter Basson.

In fact you saw the kind of protection that Mr Sifiso Nkabinde had, regarding those invasions into his rights. Thirdly, there will be regardless of what the final decision of this panel is, whatever the ruling of this panel is, a final report drafted after having complied with Section 30 of our Act, in terms of which on the balance of probabilities, certain findings will have to be made.

Accordingly I repeat the arguments raised earlier today. The cases I refer to are the constitutional cases of (indistinct) v Levin and Nel v Le Roux, and I again request that the remainder of the hearing be accessible to the public and should it be necessary, we can make a specific ruling regarding the record of the proceedings, not being made available to parties such as the South African Police Services as well as anyone from the office of the Attorney General.

Other than that, I will abide by the decision of the panel, thank you Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Vally, just the point that Mr Cilliers made in regard to the distribution of the record, should the panel be inclined to refuse the application to hear the rest of the evidence in camera, would it make any sense to grant an order in regard to the distribution of the record?

MR VALLY: Yes Mr Chair, because this is the aspect which is of particular concern to my learned friend.

The point is that the protection that Dr Basson has in terms of Section 33(3) of our Act and Section 35(5) of the Constitution, still remains in tact. I have pointed out that it would be absurd for the Attorney General's office to in any way, have anything to do with this record. It will simply taint their own case.

However, if it is of concern to my learned friend, then there is no problem with such an order being made. Any prejudice, potential prejudice which Dr Basson will suffer, has been taken into account by the relevant Sections of our Act and Constitution and therefore I do not believe that that argument has any basis. Thank you Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: What are the practical possibilities of the Attorney General or the South African Police Services being placed in possession of the transcript of these proceedings?

MR VALLY: I believe they are minimal. The arrangement is that we are in control of these proceedings and the transcribing agency, will need our consent before making the documents available to anyone else.

The Act is clear that our consent will be required and we could agree to release it publicly. However, in addition to that in terms of Section 33, you can make a specific order Mr Chairman, regarding the distribution of such record. Thank you Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much Mr Vally. Mr Cilliers, do you want to respond?

MR CILLIERS: Very briefly Chairperson. The contra application, I've got that here with me and I will make it available to Mr Vally if he hasn't got one in his own possession, there is not a single reference in that contra application, to the public's right to be present, but the totality of the basis of the application that there would be an infringement of Dr Basson's right to silence, and this was purely the fact that you as a Committee, for your own purposes, you have to write a final report in the nearby future, so you must get the answers from Dr Basson.

But there is not a single reference which I could find, in all those documents which centred around this need of yours, so it is on that basis that Justice Hlophe made that decision, and that it could be in camera and that the infringement would then be lightened. The negative results would then be excluded and with the greatest respect, I find it really strange that now that the order was received from Hlophe and also that Dr Basson is prepared to stay with that and to give you the Committee, the answers because you really need the answers for your report, now there is a further request.

Now the request comes it must take place in public. The totality of the protection which was tendered in the application, you want to make that non worth it, so it is my submission that the judgment of Justice Hlophe, he hasn't given it yet, we can't see, but it can only be that there is an absolute, it is absolutely necessary for you to hear the truth, that is you, the Committee.

It is on that basis that the application was brought in and it is my submission that Justice Hlophe’s judgment would have been different if it was concerned with an open or closed hearing, and it is on that basis that I make the submission that you give complete protection to Dr Basson.

With the greatest respect, if we have a situation here where a person is accused and he must testify in front of you and he must say things with regards to the charges which is brought against him, and that he has a right to silence, if this does not move you to have the proceedings in camera, then I would like to say I would like to see an application which was successful, because here we have an absolute need to protect this person's rights. If this application is not granted, I would like to see the application that was granted.

Maybe I can just formulate this to you properly and if you know about what was going to be asked, firstly we asked that the proceedings happen in camera, and that everybody be excluded - everybody who does not need to know this, should be excluded.

The second application that no information should be made public regarding the evidence of Dr Basson. It should not be made available to any person inasfar as it is necessary for the Committee in its official report, to possibly refer to the evidence.

I am not trying to limit you in your reporting and in the third place, this would include that prohibition on publication that this would include that it should be prohibited that the minutes of these proceedings whether it is a sound recording or a written document, that it should not be made available to any person outside this Committee who needs it for the preparation of their report with a specific reference to the South African Police and the office of the Attorney General. As it pleases you Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Cilliers.



CHAIRPERSON: There is an application before us substantially in similar terms to one which was raised earlier today in these proceedings and that concerns the public nature or otherwise of the proceedings which up to now have been conducted in public.

The application is for the remaining testimony of Dr Basson which it appears to be common cause to a greater or lesser extent, would impact on questions that will arise at his criminal trial, his pending criminal trial, that those issues and the remaining testimony be taken in camera with a further ancillary order prohibiting the distribution of a record of the testimony which is to be given.

The arguments have been presented to us at an earlier occasion. Many of the arguments have been raised when there was the initial application not to compel Dr Basson to testify at this stage, but to hold over that testimony until after finalisation of the criminal trial.

The submission in short of Mr Cilliers who again appears on behalf of Dr Basson, is based on what he refers to as the actual prejudice which Dr Basson will suffer in his criminal prosecution, should the remainder of his testimony be taken in public. He submits that the prejudice lies in the fact that the testimony which he will now be giving, will amount to disclosing his hand at this stage, and it could be used for the purposes of the prosecution, to his prejudice.

Mr Vally, who represents the interests of the Commission at these proceedings, has also restated basically his arguments which he had relied upon in opposing the earlier application which I have referred to of Dr Basson, not to be compelled to testify.

He submits that Section 31 of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act which regulates the affairs of the Commission, taken together with Section 35 of the present Constitution, provide adequate protection for Dr Basson in regard to the pending criminal prosecution.

Mr Cilliers has referred in his arguments this morning, and in passing again when this application was made, to the danger of proliferation, but he has indicated that he mainly relies on the question of the prejudice in respect of the criminal trial, the pending criminal trial.

The panel is sitting under extreme time constraints, this is the last day of the work of the Human Rights Violations Committee. From the indications that have been given, there are quite a number of issues which Mr Vally still wishes to canvass with Dr Basson, so we are under the circumstances under pressure to respond immediately to this application.

We will therefore not give full reasons for the ruling which will follow, save to say that having considered the arguments addressed to us and having taken into account the provisions of Section 31 of the TRC Act as well as the provisions of Section 35 of the Constitution, which are issues that have been raised at the recent High Court application which was launched by Dr Basson in order to review the earlier decision of this panel to hear his testimony, in spite of the pending criminal trial, we are of the view that sufficient protection is provided for in the law as it stands, and that there are no reasonable grounds for concluding that by hearing the testimony in public, which concerns issues which have already been largely canvassed through the testimony of other witnesses at these proceedings, in public, that Dr Basson would not suffer the actual prejudice which his counsel has submitted in his arguments to us.

Taking into account the public importance of the subject matter of this particular hearing, the importance of the testimony of Dr Basson in regard to the Chemical and Biological Warfare Programme, we are satisfied that there is no grounds for ruling in terms of Section 33 that these proceedings should be conducted in camera.

As an additional measure, which has been conceded by Mr Vally, we order that the record in the form of tapes, tape recordings or in the form of written notes, is not to be distributed to either the Attorney General who are engaged in the prosecution of Dr Basson, or in fact to any other Attorney General or to any member of the South African Police Services.

And just to amplify the last part of the order, the prohibition also extends to any video recording of the proceedings. That is the ruling of the panel.

MR CILLIERS: As it pleases you. At this stage, can I ask for a short adjournment please?

CHAIRPERSON: You have five minutes Mr Cilliers, we will stand down for five minutes.

MR CILLIERS: We will try to do it within five minutes.



CHAIRPERSON: Are we ready to start Mr Cilliers?

MR CILLIERS: Honourable Chairman, it is my instructions to tell you now that this ruling of the Committee which have just been conveyed to us by Adv Potgieter, namely that this specific ruling should be taken into review, and we are asking you to take this ruling in review.

CHAIRPERSON: What does that mean?

MR CILLIERS: It means we are going to accord to put this ruling aside, or to get a declaration that we should hold this in camera.

CHAIRPERSON: Now if we are talking process, do I understand you to be saying that you are making an application for these proceedings to be suspended, pending an outcome of an urgent application to be made to the High Court?

MR CILLIERS: Yes, that is so, yes.


MR VALLY: Mr Chair, there are two issues here which concerns me. One is if this happens, it will effectively ...

CHAIRPERSON: No, those are the merits, do you oppose ...

MR VALLY: Oh, I beg your pardon. I would strenuously oppose this matter standing down, simply because this is our last day. It will effectively put an end to this particular hearing.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Cilliers, do you want to say anything in support of your application? I must say without even hearing you, there is an inclination on the part of the panel, to refuse your application, but we may be persuaded by anything you might say.

MR CILLIERS: Honourable Mr Chairman, all I can say is with the greatest of respect, there is serious prejudicing of my client. You have made a ruling and with respect, a person not only in the position of Dr Basson or in any circumstances where a tribunal makes a decision, has a right to take this decision or ruling on review, where he is prejudiced by this specific ruling.

CHAIRPERSON: You see, we have made a ruling and I think what you are saying to us is that we must grant you leave, that is the essence of your application, you want us to grant you leave to take the matter on review?

MR CILLIERS: No, I am not asking for your permission to take it on review, I am telling you I am taking it on review. I want you to stand down these proceedings until I have taken it on review.

CHAIRPERSON: That is the leave you are seeking, you are seeking - I mean you are not in charge of these proceedings. You are asking us to allow you to take the matter on review and that pending that, this proceedings should come to an end. The issue for us to decide is whether we are persuaded by anything you say, that these proceedings must be suspended or stand down pending the outcome of that and that is the issue before us.

I am seeking your assistance as far as that is concerned. Do I understand the process, just the procedure is going to be that you are seeking our indulgence in relation to which we must rule, that pending because these proceedings are in process, we have made a ruling, we are about to take evidence from your client.

Your client is of the view that we have decided wrongly and you are then saying you want to approach Court as a matter of urgency, by all means, you can. But what I am saying to you these proceedings are not going to be stopped whilst you are going to court.

The only thing that can stop these proceedings from going ahead, is a court order which will be placed before me, which suspends this, pending a review.

MR CILLIERS: The problem that I have with that, in order to get that court order, I have to get or to make a statement, to file a statement with Dr Basson's involvement. I don't want to get into an argument regarding that.

In order to obtain that legal assistance, I require Dr Basson's instructions and with the greatest of respect, we can become involved in a verbal battle, but I cannot exercise that right to review, without Dr Basson's instructions.

If you decide that this questioning continues and refuse to give Dr Basson, he is here on order, or to excuse Dr Basson, you de facto deny him the opportunity to obtain that order. And with the greatest of respect, you make negative the effect of the order.

Say for instance it takes half an hour or an hour to obtain such an order, and we obtain such an order, there is a situation that for half an hour, or an hour, the questioning has continued, and the prejudicing has occurred irrevocably.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, it is because you know, I think the panel is of the firm view and they are prepared to take the risk of whatever decision may be arrived at, we have a Court's decision, we have a Court order, we may not have the recent judgment, that says all the things that you have said which were forming the basis of your submitting that your client will be prejudiced, if these proceedings go on in public, and we remain unpersuaded that anything you have said, and anything that might be said in support thereof, is likely to upset the decision and the conclusion that we have arrived at, namely that there will be no prejudice and therefore that the proceedings should go ahead.

The only issue that I thought I might be hearing on, is whether or not you have any compelling reasons why we should suspend the proceedings. You have now addressed me on that.

I remain unpersuaded. I don't even consider that any Court acting reasonably in the light of the history of this matter, will be persuaded by anything you say in support of the position that you take.

MR CILLIERS: Honourable Chairman, I have told you what my submissions are, specifically that in fact you destroy the right, should we succeed with an urgent application, even within half an hour, you have totally destroyed the right which should be protected. I can't take that any further.

Must I infer from that that your attitude - if my client wants to answer the questions ...

CHAIRPERSON: He must do so. If it is going to be in camera, that has been refused, we have made a ruling in relation thereto.

MR CILLIERS: My instructions at this stage is that my client will not answer questions before the review procedure.

CHAIRPERSON: That is his choice. We have now made a ruling. If he chooses not to answer questions, that is his choice. Maybe we will go home faster than we thought we would be.

MR CILLIERS: That is his choice.

CHAIRPERSON: That is his choice and Mr Vally will be instructed to go ahead and the record will show every time that he is refusing to answer any questions put to him, that he is refusing to answer questions lawfully put to him. That is the road we shall all go.

MR CILLIERS: That is my client's choice after he received advice in this regard, that is his choice, yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Vally, I have ruled in your favour, unless you don't appreciate it?

WOUTER BASSON: (still under oath)

MR VALLY: I beg your pardon, we are just gathering out thoughts as to where to start.

Is there any scientific basis whatsoever, for your belief that dagga, cocaine, mandrax or ecstasy, could be used as incapacitants?

MR CILLIERS: Mr Chairman, as I have already indicated, my instructions are - do you want Dr Basson to repeat it every time, he is not going to answer the questions until we have received this review.

CHAIRPERSON: I understood that the basis of your application in relation to which we made a ruling, was that I was not here, but I understood it from my colleagues that you were objecting to questions that have relevance to criminal proceedings that might be brought against Dr Wouter Basson.

I didn't understand that your application was objecting to any and all evidence that might be obtained from him and I do not know if this question is one that is ...

MR CILLIERS: With respect, that happened during the time that you were not here. Mr Vally indicated at that stage when I launched my application, that he had no other questions than the questions relevant to the charge sheet. We are in the situation where we have tried to assist by saying that the questions which were posed regarding CR Gas, we will answer.


MR CILLIERS: And I want to put it clearly, if Mr Vally has questions not relevant to the charge sheet, we are prepared to answer those questions, but Mr Vally told Mr Potgieter that he had come now to the end of that road.

We have come to the situation you foresaw this morning, when we said we will play it according to the ear. Unless he changes now and says he has questions, we are at that stage where my instructions are that my client will not further answer any questions.

CHAIRPERSON: Can I then ask you as a matter of process, acknowledging that I have heard that that is what you have instructed your client, he is on the stand. We have ruled that he must answer questions.

Now I understand that you have instructed him to say, you have advised him that he must not reply to any questions. I think to the extent that he is on the stand, we require that he should do so.

MR CILLIERS: Mr Chairman, the position is, I have already said my instructions are, my client is willing to answer Mr Vally's questions, all his questions, inasfar as it is not related to his charge sheet.

Mr Vally said that he doesn't have any questions like that, it is only aimed at questions being mentioned in the charge sheet according to which my client can be prosecuted. He has to appear in court on those counts on Monday.

My client is not going to answer those questions, depending on the urgent application.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I understand you very well Mr Cilliers, that is why I therefore say you have given your client that advice. I want him to exercise that advice, he must on the record under oath to say the things that you have advised him, because there are consequences.

MR CILLIERS: My client is not going to put on record which happens in consultations. What he is going to tell you is that at this stage, he is not going to answer questions, pending on the finalisation of the review application.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Cilliers, you are a colleague and as such you are an Officer of the Court. I don't want you to be testifying on behalf of your client. We have heard you and we appreciate your assistance.

Now a question has been put to your client, you have done your duty which in terms of the ethics which govern our profession, you are inclined and indeed obligated to give to your client. Let your client exercise the benefit of your advice.

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, in answer to Mr Vally's questions, I want to declare that this morning I have indicated clearly that I am willing to cooperate with the Commission.

The last few days I have shown my respect for the Committee and its activities. Within certain limitations regarding legal assistance which was not available, and when I obtained legal assistance, I was willing to cooperate within the imminent peril which I am experiencing, namely the prejudicing or the infringement of my rights.

Should these proceedings continue in a public court, I will be prejudiced. I have seen the documentation provided to the press and this will cause problems overseas, and I can see that in the foreseeable future, they will be in the same circumstances as I am, overseas.

CHAIRPERSON: Dr Basson, please recognise that I am still in charge of these proceedings please.

MR BASSON: I am trying to answer your question Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: When I draw your attention and interrupt you, I don't mean to be rude, I only - I am meaning to do that which I can only do as a Presiding Officer. A simple question has been put to you, if on advice, it is a question you are not prepared to reply to, on advice of your lawyers, say so.

MR BASSON: Mr Chairman, if I don't pay attention to your interruptions, it is not because I have disrespect for you or not accept your guidance, please ascribe it to my anxiousness to answer the question as best as possible.

After careful consideration and legal advice, I am not willing to answer questions which are related to those charges by the Attorney General and I cannot answer such questions. I cannot answer this question.

CHAIRPERSON: Let the record show, that on advice given to him, Dr Wouter Basson refuses to answer the question put to him by Mr Vally. Mr Vally?

MR VALLY: Mr Chairman, just for the record, we have not seen any charge sheet. What we do have is a letter from the office of the Attorney General which has previously been read into the record, dated the 3rd of June 1998, which talks about provisional charges, which are being investigated against Dr Wouter Basson.

CHAIRPERSON: Charges which may or may not be brought? I think that document does say so?

MR VALLY: Well, it says in the last paragraph Mr Chairman, "that it must be emphasised that these are provisional charges which are being investigated.

It is possible that at the conclusion of the investigation, some of these charges may not be preferred against the accused. It is also possible that further charges may emerge." That is from Dr J.A. d’Oliviera, Senior Counsel, Attorney General of the Transvaal.

I did indicate to my learned friend in accordance with our agreement this morning, that if there are areas that he is concerned about which may intrude upon the area of potential charges, we would then address argument to the panel. In that context I have indicated the issues that I wanted to raise.

My learned friend was of the view that these impinged on the charges. I haven't conceded that these were related to the charges. Our investigation is independent thereof, but as I said not having seen the charge sheet, my learned friend may be correct.

However, at this stage Mr Chairman, I can continue asking questions, alternatively I would require a ruling from the Chair, as to whether we should simply proceed to lay criminal charges or to bring an application to get Mr Basson before Court on a charge of contempt of the ruling in the Cape Provincial Division of the High Court. Thank you Mr Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Are you wanting time to consider your options Mr Vally?

MR CILLIERS: Can I just provide additional information to Mr Vally. I was not involved personally in this discussion ...

CHAIRPERSON: I need to give you time that you can ascertain all of those things. These proceedings are going to adjourn for ten minutes. Mr Cilliers and Mr Vally, confer with each other, find exactly what issues you think can still be canvassed.

Mr Vally consider your position and your options, and you must assemble here not later than twenty five past three.

MR CILLIERS: Thank you Mr Chair.



CHAIRPERSON: Where is Mr Vally? Are we ready to start? Mr Vally?

MR VALLY: Yes Mr Chair. Mr Chairperson, I think we should proceed with asking ...

CHAIRPERSON: If we can close the door to these proceedings please.

MR VALLY: ... questions of Dr Basson in line with the ruling of the Chairperson. I must apologise to my learned friend, I didn't come back to him after we came back in, but there was nothing to add to our informal discussion.

Dr Basson, there was a question I had posed to you, if you had any scientific basis whatsoever for believing that dagga, cocaine, Mandrax or ecstasy could be used as incapacitants?

MR CILLIERS: Honourable Chairman, with respect, I don't want to waste time unnecessarily ...

CHAIRPERSON: That is the prerogative of this Chairperson, whether we waste our time, it is our prerogative. This witness is now testifying, we have heard all your objections Mr Cilliers, we have ruled in the light of all the positions that you took.

The time now has come for Dr Wouter Basson to testify or to exercise his rights in line with your advice to him.

I actually order him to answer the question in any how. It is an order, it is a ruling.

MR CILLIERS: Honourable Chairman, the answer he is going to give is a standard answer.

CHAIRPERSON: No, no, you are veering on content. You are veering on content. With great respect, you are an Officer of the Court, we have made a ruling, he is the one who is testifying.

He is the one who is testifying, don't testify on his behalf. We have had a cordial relationship thus far Mr Cilliers, I would like to maintain it that way with respect. I am no trying to curtail your rights as an Officer of the Court, but we have made a ruling, let's go through the motions if this is what you see it as. I am quite content to go through the motions.

Dr Wouter Basson, could you answer the question please?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairman, my answer remains the same as the previous answer, I have nothing to add.

CHAIRPERSON: So, I take it that you refuse to answer the question?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairman, I have said I want to cooperate, but find myself in a position after careful consideration and advice, I cannot answer any further questions, until I have had a chance to review the decision regarding the in camera hearing.

CHAIRPERSON: Let the record show that Dr Wouter Basson refuses on the grounds given, to answer the question put to him by Mr Vally. Mr Vally, do you have any more other questions to put to Dr Wouter Basson?

MR VALLY: I do Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Please put them.

MR VALLY: Dr Basson, you have previously been given a document called TRC52 and you have also been given an affidavit by Dr Immelman.

I put to you that TRC52 read with Dr Immelman's affidavit, clearly indicates that you were involved in attempting to murder people by usage of toxins concealed in every day substances such as beer with thallium as set out in TRC52, whisky in paraquat, acid in whisky and even more ominous, that cholera was cultured on a large scale on your instructions, for usage by agents. That you as number one Project Officer and number two, as the person who directly was responsible for giving instructions to Dr Immelman, are responsible for all these dastardly toxins hidden in everyday substances. What is your response to that?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairman, ...

MR CILLIERS: May I at this instance, I don't want to create the impression that I am prescribing to the witness, but if we are going to do it question by question, I am sure that there will be questions that can be answered.

May I then after each question, indicate to my client when I think this will fall outside the extent of his problem? But according to me, my client can answer this question without the previous problem, but I don't it to appear as if I am giving him the answers.

May I please advise him after every question, whether I think - you don't have to adjourn, five seconds will be enough, and then to advise him. We are in a difficult position, but it seems to me that he can answer this question.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Cilliers, I remarked earlier in the day that your client is far more intelligent than you give him credit for. He was beginning to answer this question, because I think he appreciated it is one of those questions that he can answer without prejudice. I take your point however.

MR CILLIERS: I want to make it clear that if I will speak to him, Mr Vally previously commented ...

CHAIRPERSON: As long as you don't testify in his place.

MR CILLIERS: As it pleases you. What I am going to do after each question ...

CHAIRPERSON: No, not after every question. I think there are questions which it will be palpable he can reply to like the questions that he has been replying to all day long, and all you can do, is to say can I object to that question ...

MR CILLIERS: I don't want to object to a question, I just want to advise him that you can answer this question.

CHAIRPERSON: Can we limb on and we will see how it goes?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairman, I categorically deny that I was involved in the execution or planning or preparation of any substances with the wilful purpose to do any harm to any person.

Regarding the cholera Mr Vally mentioned, it is one of the points I want to emphasise, is one of the weak points of the Investigative Unit. Just to allege that I would have used cholera to kill anybody can be verified within five minutes. Mr Vally, can go out of here and contact the Department of Health, every cholera case is written down right through the world, and I want to bring it to your attention that in the last 20 years, not one case of cholera was made known and the last cholera epidemic in South Africa was in 1985/1986.

Since then, there were not 15 cases of cholera in South Africa per year. Mr Vally, he repeatedly mentioned this genocide and I want him to ask him where did that happen? Every case of cholera in South Africa, is recorded by the World Health Organisation and they can identify the origin of every cholera bacteria.

There is a certain Epidemiological handbook, textbook and as from Egypt to Mozambique, they can trace this. So I deny this.

CHAIRPERSON: You see Dr Wouter Basson, that may well be so, that may well be so, that may be the conclusion that you are able to come to.

Our enquiry is not so much whether in fact that did happen, I think our enquiry is whether there was a plan to do that, and you are speaking to the person who unfortunately is a lay person as far as medical things are concerned. You will forgive me if I am one of those who will be gullible when I hear that this was the plan, and I think this is what this entire exercise is intended to do.

You may not realise it, it is intended exactly for you to be able to give those sort of erudite explanations you are giving, for the benefit not only of the public, not to take everything that they have heard in these proceedings, but also for your benefit. You are not only saying look, I didn't do it, you are also saying it was not possible to be done.

When the proposition is being put to you, you must understand it is put to you in context. It is put to you in the context of evidence that has been led by other scientists or medicals like you, but also there is a suggestion that there is documentary evidence that seems to back that up.

I think that is the point of the exercise.

MR BASSON: Mr Chairman, I have the biggest respect for your intelligence. If I thought you did not understand, I would not have said anything.

What is causing a problem is that this Investigative Unit could have easily gathered the information.

CHAIRPERSON: No, no, leave them alone. You are now being asked by these gentleman here, and you really can say look, you have been misled Mr Vally.

MR BASSON: Then I am saying at this instance that they have been misled. In the Southern African context, it is impossible to use cholera to kill masses of people, or even just a few. Cholera is not such a kind of illness.

It is very easily traceable and it is very easy even to determine where the cholera bacteria came from. You can even say from which area it came. I have studied through the years, but not with the purpose of using cholera.

In essence the Department of Health is willing to go so far as to say that why there has never been cholera in Namibia and remember the Shonas in South Africa are well suited to cholera, but why there was no cholera is because the South African Defence Force was there, because they saw to it that the local population obtained clean water, they were aware of the dangers of dirty water and where there were people who carried this disease, they had to be treated.

So what we achieved, was absolutely the opposite.


MR VALLY: Dr Basson, this is amazing. This evidence you are giving us now. Firstly, factually you are incorrect. There have been recorded instances of outbreaks of cholera throughout the African continent in the last 20 years, as have appeared in Medical Journals.

I will ...

MR BASSON: Mr Chairman ...

MR VALLY: Dr Basson, I am not through. Do you mind? Secondly, we have had evidence at our Medical hearings, to the effect that the South African government has concealed outbreaks of diseases for public relations purposes and thirdly, we have had enough evidence before this Commission, that the government at a very high level, allegedly going up to the President himself, was engaged in activities which were grossly unlawful and involved human rights violations. So to pretend that this government has been pure in its motives, is absurd.

What I am proposing to you number one, is factually it is incorrect to say there have been no cholera outbreaks and secondly, where there have been cholera outbreaks or disease outbreaks in South Africa, the government has hidden it. Will you answer those two questions please?

MR BASSON: Yes, I will. Mr Chairman, Mr Vally should listen to what I am saying. I did not say there were no cholera epidemics in Africa, I said in those areas where the South African Defence Force and the Security Forces had a specific interest, there were and there are no cholera outbreaks.

What I have told him, and he is not listening, is that every one of those epidemics were recorded and in each of them, the origin of the cholera was identified. Three months ago for example, the Department of Health - they have a Epidemiological Report which they bring out every three months, it is very clear that there are no cases in South Africa, no cases in Angola.

In Namibia for example, there were mission hospitals where the staff were antagonistic against the government. The troops could not get near to those hospitals. Those nuns and nurses, they recorded those diseases if there were any cases.

So, during those years, they recorded rabies for example. Mr Vally has his facts wrong, and he must get his Investigative Team to ascertain these facts.

Number two, it would not have been in the ability of the South African government to cause the outbreak of cholera or to hide the outbreak of cholera in any of the regions.


MR VALLY: I will draw Dr Wouter Basson's attention to the affidavit of Dr Immelman. I want to draw your attention to paragraph 15 of Dr Immelman's affidavit.

He says specifically, paragraph 15 and I loosely translate, at a stage I was worried about the lawfulness of our actions. Dr Basson assured me that the projects were approved by the State Security Council.

He let me understand that I would not be involved if the toxins were inappropriately used, I assume? I will leave out the next sentence because it is not relevant. He goes on, he told us on a number of occasions that it is not the weapons dealer who is responsible if a person who buys a revolver, acts irresponsibly with the revolver.

Dr Immelman's affidavit as a whole clearly indicates that you, personally, instructed him to manufacture a number of these substances set out in TRC52. How do you respond to that?

MR BASSON: I deny without any doubt, that I gave Dr Immelman the instruction to manufacture any substances or to prepare them with the purpose to cause severe bodily harm or death in any individual, organisation or place.

I would like to tell you with regards to Dr Immelman's statement, that I ever mentioned the State Security Council, it is not true.

With regards to the discussion that we had about the inappropriate use of this, the fact was there were poisons available at Roodeplaat like you will find at any laboratory at any university, because these are used chemicals and they are available in laboratories.

If they are used in a wrong sense, that meaning to make someone else ill or to hurt someone else to achieve another goal than the chemical reaction, then I put it very clearly to him, that no one can be held responsible if it is used in the wrong manner. If somebody broke in there and stole those things and did something with it, he cannot be taken as responsible for that, as long as he adhered to the safety measures, security measures.

MR VALLY: How do you explain that the person who in fact prepared the cultures of cholera, in fact went so far as preparing 26 bottles of the cholera culture of 10 ml each and this is Mr Odendal or Dr Odendal and when he was asked the question -

"Were you aware that you were producing a substance which could potentially cause a serious epidemic?"

he answered -

"When I got the request to produce this organisms ..."

...I am sorry, I am reading exactly as it is written, so the grammar may not always be right -

" must remember that the idea stuck in my mind, that in the first case it was to be used for testing purpose and in the second one, you know, there were hints that this could be used in the war situation in Angola and it never crossed my mind for one moment, that it could be used internally in our own country, because to use organisms or to spread organisms in your own country, is a very risky thing and it doesn't go along with the Convention of Biological Warfare that you do not produce these things to use on your own territory."

MR BASSON: Chairperson, I do not understand this question. That is what I am saying. I understand Dr Odendal's statement completely and his answer is correct.

It is possible that you can cause epidemics with these things, in very rare circumstances. I would like to tell you to create an epidemic by using something like cholera, is almost impossible.

CHAIRPERSON: No, no, except that what that seems to suggest, what he has been reading, he says he has been reading the evidence of somebody who has testified.


CHAIRPERSON: What it seems to suggest was that cultures were produced.


CHAIRPERSON: But he says he doesn't think that they could have been intended to be used internally?

MR BASSON: Yes, I agree.

CHAIRPERSON: And yes ...

MR BASSON: I agree fully with Dr Odendal's statement, I think it is a sensible statement. I think later on he was by means of Mr Vally's questions, he was led to say that he thought that, he thought whatever he did - I don't know what is going on in Dr Odendal's head - the fact of the matter remains, these cultures were not used to do anyone or any organisation harm. There is no evidence of that, there is no record of that and there weren't any other plans either.

Me and Gen Knobel went to great effort with the Independence of Namibia to go and speak to the Swiss Surgeon General in Windhoek, where he was responsible for the medical support for the Untag Forces who were working there, and we took the responsibility on us to keep them up-to-date of the threats of the people coming back, I would say refugees or people banned from the country, who went to live in other countries.

We advised them about what type of programmes with regard to medical treatment and the prevention of illnesses, they should take in Namibia to ensure that no strange epidemics happen or take place. Some of that information there we gained from doing research at Roodeplaat and other investigations we led, gave us this information.


MR VALLY: Dr Basson, I have a document issued by the Department of National Health and Population Development, entitled Epidemiological Comments, are you aware of this document? You are?

MR BASSON: Yes, I am.

MR VALLY: Talking about cholera in South Africa, November 1990.

MR CILLIERS: Chairperson, can I just learn from Mr Vally, is this document in one of the Bundles, because I don't think I have ever seen it?

MR VALLY: I am afraid that this wasn't, we will immediately make it available to my learned friend. I need to pose the question, we don't have questions of it and I will pass it on to him, right now.

MR CILLIERS: I think the answer of my client is that he did not see this specific document, it sounds like it is the same document which is distributed every few weeks, so he knows the type of document, but not that exact document.

I don't want to be obstructive, but it is not fair that my client is being questioned with regards to a document, concerning all the problems that we have had, and he has never seen this document. It is not fair to ask him about that.

Even if he only brings the document so we can look at it for 30 seconds, then maybe we can help him out if he wants to ask questions about it.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Vally please.

MR VALLY: Mr Chairman, I have no problem. Do you just want to see the specific points I am making reference to or the document as such?

MR CILLIERS: I think he should give us the whole document, but he must also point out to us to what he is going to refer to.

MR VALLY: Precisely, what I will do is, I will put the proposition set out in this document to Dr Wouter Basson and then hand it over to him to look, because he made some very strong comments about the outbreak of cholera.

MR CILLIERS: I am happy with that.

CHAIRPERSON: I think of course they will reserve their right to say if it is so, but the proposition does not actually emanate from the document?

MR VALLY: There are too many for me to go through all, but I will go through a few. The document is called Epidemiological Comment published by the Department of National Health and Population Development, for example the November 1990 copy and this is in Afrikaans, it says there were approximately 25 000 confirmed cases of cholera in 1987 in South Africa.

I talk about the same magazine or extract, dated March 1991, a journal, I beg your pardon, the Journal dated March 1991 and it says on the 7th of February 1991, six provinces in Mozambique were declared as infected areas by the World Health Organisation in the weekly Epidemiological Record, and they list a number of deaths as a result of cholera.

They even have a table here. You must warn me when to stop Dr Wouter Basson, when you are convinced that I had ...

MR BASSON: Please go on, I would like to see you hanging yourself, go ahead.

MR VALLY: I beg your pardon.

MR BASSON: Please go on, I would like you to finish what you are saying.

MR VALLY: Fine. There is evidence of cholera outbreaks in Kangwane and there is evidence of cholera outbreaks in Mozambique, and this is in the same Journal, dated January 1992.

The same Journal dated August 1993, outbreak of cholera in the Hlabiza Health Ward, Zululand. We have October 1994, the same Journal, the number of cases reflected here from the page I have seen, is something like 1 968 cases.

Same Journal of October 1993, it says a number of bacteriologically proven cases of cholera reported in the Republic of South Africa on the 1st of August 1982 to 31st of July 1983 by the week, and we've got in Natal alone, 3 767, Eastern Cape, 16, Kangwane 105, Free State 30, Southern Transvaal 159, Northern Transvaal 344, Lebowa 21, KwaZulu Natal, this time it just says KwaZulu, I assume they meant the self-governing territory 3 196, total 7 638.

Are you satisfied yet, do you still want me to continue?

MR BASSON: That depends on how much time you have to waste.

MR VALLY: Dr Basson, you made an assertion that I was factually incorrect. I will supply you with these documents right now.

MR BASSON: I stick to my assertion and I would like to tell the Chairperson that I am finding myself in a position now that if you were a final year medical student who gave me this, I would have failed you.

There is new literature, three weeks ago there was a complete Epidemiological Report on cholera. I am standing on the facts that I am giving you, there was not an outbreak of epidemic proportions after 1986 in South Africa. It is evident that Mozambique has always been a cholera area and if you look at what the literature says, those outbreaks of cholera can be taken back all the way to Northern Africa, back to the bacteria that was responsible, it could be traced back to North Africa and you can also find the way that bacteria has walked all through Africa.

Not one of these outbreaks of cholera is inexplicable. If Mr Vally made the effort and read further, he would also see that the Department of Health in each of those cases in the old times, they could explain where they were coming from, which tribe was involved and how it ran its course. So since 1987, according to the newest information, and that is a month ago, which is handed out by the Department of Health, there has not been more than maybe 16, maybe 20 cases of cholera in South Africa annually.

Mozambique has always been a cholera country after the cholera was brought to Mozambique from North Africa. So if Mr Vally wants to suggest that I took cholera to Northern Africa in 1980, I would say the project hadn't even started then.

The history of cholera in Africa is very well described. This specific cholera cultures to which he is referring, I imagine it must have been 1988, 1989 it can have no relevance to anything which happened in 1983 and even less so, if anything had happened in 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, and once again, I want to conclude by saying that the Department of Health, every case of cholera outbreak was investigated by them to their satisfaction.

There is not one unsolved case.

MR VALLY: I think this argument is absurd by Dr Basson, because he did not expect us to be prepared for him. I want to show all those documents which he has, including this last one, signed by the Director General, Department of Health and Welfare, on the 30th of January 1984, which talks about outbreaks of cholera, cholera 1, 2 133, cholera 2, 3 949, cholera 3, 1 264, cholera 4, 489.

In addition to that, we have got evidence having discussed it with the foremost experts in this country, and I refer to Prof Forder and Prof Margaretha Isaacson, we've got evidence in black and white, issued by the official State agency and for him to now try and contradict that based on his own knowledge, when there are allegations that he was responsible, ultimately for giving instructions for the culture of approximately 260 ml of cholera to be produced, at RRL, which the person who produced it, says could cause a major epidemic, and then to be caught out regarding the outbreaks of cholera as has been shown in these documents, I think he is trying to cover himself Mr Chairman, and I don't have anything further to add on the cholera issue.

Thank you Mr Chairman.

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, I make an objection to his statement that I did not think he would be prepared. I have just proved that he is not prepared. There is nothing in these documents which have any connection to the cholera which was cultivated at RRL.

Those cultures were tested, the genetic composition of those cultures are known and not one of these cases, this last epidemic he is talking about, that is in 1987 and I admitted that, I haven't denied that. That was a South African epidemic, yes, but in 1987 and that is not inexplicable epidemic. The studies are clear. I do not know when is the last time he spoke to Dr Isaacson, but I spoke to her two weeks ago and she even then said to me, that she is of the opinion that the reason why there isn't any cholera is because the Defence Force was there to keep the water clean in South West Africa.

She mentioned how surprised she was about the fact that there had never been cholera in Namibia, so what Mr Vally is now accusing me of, I am not sure, I don't understand. Everything I am saying, he is confirming. I told him there was only an epidemic in 1987 and not one after that.

I also said that there were areas in Africa, but I would like to tell you that each of those epidemics was well investigated and researched. The WHO was involved as well, because it was a world problem, it is not only an African problem.

To insinuate in any way that a human hand had anything to do with these outbreaks in Mozambique or wherever, is nothing but scientific absurdity.


MR VALLY: Dr Basson, do you know TRC52 at all, have you seen it before?

MR CILLIERS: At this stage, can I just give a short word of advice with regards to the answer to this question.

CHAIRPERSON: Whether he has ever seen TRC52?

MR CILLIERS: No, if he should answer the question or not.

CHAIRPERSON: There is not question that has been - has he seen it? Do you want to advise him as to whether he must admit seeing it?

MR CILLIERS: Don't turn my words around. I want to tell him whether he should answer the question or not.

CHAIRPERSON: The question says, have you seen. I also want to get some clarification, are you asking for me whether you should advise your client to answer or not to answer a question that says have you ever seen?



MR CILLIERS: Thank you for the opportunity. The advice, I would also ...

CHAIRPERSON: No, no, it is privileged.

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, this document was shown to me during the first bail application in January or February 1997. It is the first time that I saw that document.

MR VALLY: TRC26, have you seen that before? Sorry, have you got that before you? The heading is Payments of Coast Projects Fund Flow. It is in Afrikaans and there is a number on there, which says 004732, have you seen that document before?

MR BASSON: I can't, according to my memory, no, I haven't seen this.

MR VALLY: Well, you were the Project Officer of Project Coast, weren't you?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, in this process 100 000 or more documents came, I had to look at all of them, so I cannot say that I have seen this document before.

MR VALLY: Well, you may say you are not sure, are you saying you are not sure or are you saying you did not see it?

MR BASSON: Can I repeat this slowly? I said I cannot say with certainty if I have ever seen this document before.

MR VALLY: I understand. So you can't be certain whether you saw it before or not? Do you want more time to look at it?

MR CILLIERS: Is this the whole document, because our numbers are very clear. If you can just give me an estimation of how many pages it contains?

MR VALLY: There are eight pages. I am only going to ask you about page 4733 and page 4735.

MR BASSON: That is correct yes.

MR VALLY: What is your answer now, now that you have had more time to look at it? Do you know this document?

MR BASSON: I do not recognise this document per se, but I do recognise some of the objectives which during the initial formulating of Project Coast, was put into place.

MR VALLY: Fine, let's talk about that because the second page is dealing with Objective Codes, is that a fair enough translation?

MR BASSON: That is close enough, yes.

MR VALLY: Look at 07, can you explain what it means? It says which I understand to be carrying out of Chemical and Biological Warfare operations, what does it mean?

MR BASSON: At that stage it had the implication that we were approached by several African countries to go and do certain verification operations for them, where there were accusations of the use of Chemical and Biological Warfare against people in Africa, then the international community often asked South Africa to go and do the investigations, because no-one else had the expertise or the capability to do that.

Like you have seen in the classical fiasco which the English caused in Mozambique. The use of chemical operations, is a verification operation.

Now let me explain to you what a verification operation is, if there is an accusation that a chemical attack took place in a specific area, and an amount of bodies were found, then troops must be deployed to secure that area.

After the area has been secured, specially equipped and trained troops who included Doctors must also be deployed in this area. After they have been deployed firstly, the first priority is the treatment of the patients. The second priority is the taking of samples in order to determine the origin or the type of the poison or organism and then also the analysing of certain weapons which might have been used in this way and therefore creating a relationship between the people and the weapon.

After this relationship has been established ...

MR VALLY: I am so sorry Dr Basson, we get the idea.

MR BASSON: I have not finished Mr Chairman, may I continue?

MR VALLY: I appreciate what you are saying, you told me and I will summarise it for you, we are under time pressure, you are called in by other African countries to analyse what toxins were used, whatever, to decontaminate or whatever.

MR BASSON: No, that is not what I am saying.

MR VALLY: Can you please summarise it for us, we don't have all day.

MR BASSON: Chairperson, at this stage I am trying to explain what is meant with this verification operations, and the fact was that they were very complicated chemical operations in order to protect our own troops and to help the neighbouring countries with certain problems.

This demanded a certain amount of training and equipment and capabilities, and as far as I know, ... (tape ends) ... and if you turn to page 475 and if you look under same code 07, and that says "Bedryf van CBO Ops", are these the people who were responsible for management of them or are these the actual projects themselves, what is that being referred to there? Do you see what I am referring to?

MR BASSON: I see what you are referring to.

MR VALLY: It says 7/01 Chancellor, 7/02 Chris, 7/03 Koos, 7/04 Mealies, 7/05 Hekkies, 7/06 Barries, 7/07 Conventional, 7/08 Other. Can you tell us what that is about?

MR BASSON: As far as I can remember, these are the different areas for which we gave code names so that the operational teams can distinguish between the different areas.

MR VALLY: Fine. Well let's go to Dr Immelman's affidavit.

If you look at paragraph 17, he talks about the documents relating to TRC52, he refers to it by the number which is written thereof, B000010 and he goes on to 11 and 12. He says:-

"A sales list with these numbers was shown to me. I recognised the items on the list and my handwriting which is on the side by the dates, thereon.

Also my handwriting on list 11 which I wrote brought back next to the note of Mamba Toxin. The words JK which I wrote next to the dates 19th of March 1989 and 23rd of March 1989, I do not remember. I think it was Johnny Koertzen. The C next to the other dates, referred to Chris. This was my note for the items which I gave to Chris or one of his co-workers.

The K next to the other names, referred to Koos. Some of the items do not have my notes. Koos is a white man whom I met in Dr Basson's office at the Defence Force's health offices, medical offices, SAMS I suppose.

I was introduced to Koos as Willem by Dr Basson. He told me that Koos is a co-worker, he is a colleague. Meetings between myself and Koos were organised through Dr Basson's secretary, Sarie".

In document 26, what is referred to as 7/02 Chris and 7/03 Chris, aren't these the same people that Dr Immelman is referring to?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, I have a problem in the sense that I am being asked to look at an undated document, TRC26 which was probably drawn up in the early 1980's. If I must remind myself of how it happened, because later in time as the programme became more sophisticated, these objectives changed.

Dr Immelman's affidavit with regard to a specific period in time, I think it is 1989, I didn't even read it, but these two connections, I cannot make them, and I must tell you that if there are any resemblances between Koos and Chris, then I want to know where is Mealie, Hekkies, Barries, Conventional and all the others?

I am of the opinion that these two are not related, it is pure coincidence. The dates of these documents are not known to me so I cannot bring them together.

MR VALLY: You are conversant with the document, with the affidavit of Dr Immelman?

MR BASSON: I read through it a while ago.

MR VALLY: Alright. Let's look at the item relating to the Baboon foetus.

Do you see the item on the 27th of July 1989, the bottom of TRC52, the last item?


MR VALLY: Do you see paragraph 19 of Dr Immelman's affidavit, he says Dr Basson requested a baboon foetus. He told me that the foetus of a primate was needed to I suppose obtain some kind of culture. According to my note, I gave it to Koos. If I had given it directly to Dr Basson, I would not have marked it with a K as you see is written on that document.

According to my information, where I don't, and this is what I understand from his affidavit, where there is no initial written next to these murder items, then he delivered it directly to you.

Firstly did you ever request him for a baboon foetus at the end of July 1989?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, the extent of this question, he refers to it as murder items, there is no indication at this point that any of these objects or mixtures, were used for murder.

There is also no indication that they would have been potential murder weapons, so I am asking Mr Vally to rephrase his question.

MR VALLY: Mr Chair, and it is really a minor point right now, but we have canvassed this extensively even with Gen Knobel, for someone to put thallium in beer and we've got the quantities here, by the person who in fact produced these items, cyanide in peppermint chocolates as innocent an item as peppermint chocolates which children could possibly get hold of, and then to say these are not murder items.

If Dr Basson is not aware of this list, why is he being so sensitive about me calling these murder items?

MR BASSON: I am as sensitive about it as Mr Vally would be as his private parts would be considered as rape instruments. The fact that you can use this as murder, you can use it for rape, it does not mean it is a rape tool.

MR VALLY: So what would you use cyanide in peppermint chocolate for?

MR BASSON: Chairperson, I want to get back to the first question with regards to the baboon foetus.

MR VALLY: Alright, no, very well.

MR BASSON: Please Mr Vally.

MR VALLY: Dr Basson, hang on.

MR BASSON: You have asked me regarding the baboon foetus.

MR VALLY: We will come back to that. You cannot enter into a dialogue with me, we will come back to that.

You took it to a certain point, and I am asking you this question. What scientific reason would you have cyanide in peppermint chocolate?

MR BASSON: This morning I said that in the early 1980's we found an ANC cache, depot, and we confiscated several chemical substances, very basic chemical substances.

Chemical substances which is very easily available, not from a specialist laboratory. Cyanide, I can go and buy cyanide and I can find it in any laboratory in this country. I could go to the University of Cape Town, and I could have taken it off the shelves, natrium cyanide.

But the important thing is that these things were readily available to the people who were trained by the Russians, where the Russians did not want to make the sophisticated weaponry available, because people did not know how to work it, so in our case the Russians came to us and asked us to destroy the programme.

They did not trust the ANC with this, and in this specific case we used these things to give training. We had to push agents into the field to do infiltration, and to go and perform certain actions and on a practical manner, I had to teach and demonstrate to these agents the techniques which were available to be used against them.

It is very simple, with one or two chocolates, I cannot commit a genocide. I can't kill people or children with one or two chocolates, what I can do with one chocolate is, I can tell an agent listen to me, look what they can do to you, practical training.

You go into a hotel, sleeping in a hotel. What do you not do? Don't eat the chocolate that is on the pillow, because it could be poisoned. It is a very known approach.

If you look at the Security community, you would find that they will tell you, they will tell you this is often done. Who is going to eat the chocolate, it is the guy who is going to rent the room, not the cleaning lady and then in my training courses I explain to them what this chocolate looks like, what they must look for, and if they don't believe me and I will tell them, look does this chocolate look okay ...

MS SOOKA: Sorry Dr Basson, I don't want to fall in on your explanation, but are you really expecting this panel to believe that you manufactured these chocolates with cyanide for educational purposes of educating your troops about what not to do in a hotel room?

MR BASSON: Ms Sooka, yes, I do not expect you to believe it. I expect you to believe the truth and I am telling the truth as I know it.

The fact of the matter is if you look at the amounts which were made available, then we cannot talk about mass murder. We cannot even talk about a single murder.

Those things were used for a lot of things, for research as well as for training. That is the correct and the true version. If you have never been in a situation like that, then you are going to find it hard to believe.

I do not know, I apologise I do not know your background, but I doubt whether you were ever in a situation ...

MS SOOKA: Thank you, I don't need the political explanation, thank you. I asked a very simple question.

MR BASSON: I am busy to answer the question Commissioner.

MS SOOKA: Thank you, I think I am satisfied. Thank you.

MR BASSON: I am busy answering Mr Vally's question. If you get into that position, you must be able to explain these kinds of things to your troops.

I cannot tell you that that chocolate which was there, was used for this because I cannot link myself to this list. I did not draw this list up, I do not know why he wrote the numbers down, or who wrote the numbers down. I must accept, you say this is Dr Immelman's list, then I accept that. I do not know that.

MR VALLY: Well, let's find out. You say you don't know this list, but you confirm that the cyanide in the chocolate was one of your legitimate projects?

MR BASSON: I am not saying the cyanide in that chocolate, I am saying it was practical, it was common use to use some of these toxins in training.

MR VALLY: Are you aware of cyanide being put in peppermint chocolate as a training tool?

MR BASSON: I cannot tell you that cyanide was used, but I can tell you and this is a long time ago, that several toxins were used in training, in simulation situations.

MR VALLY: And why would 260 ml of cholera culture be produced?

MR BASSON: For several research institutions, and for people to use it for their own research, to make genetic determinations and also for several quality control people.

In my own way I also had to make sure that what Roodeplaat was producing and that which they came up with, is correct. So a lot of this was handed over to other people.

MR VALLY: So do you confirm that within your understanding of the projects undertaken at Roodeplaat, that there could have legitimately in terms of your instructions, or their mandate, have produced 200 or cultivated 260 ml of cholera?

MR BASSON: I do not know how much cholera was produced, I cannot remember. I cannot remember, I have no evidence of how much was produced. The fact that some cholera together with other organisms were produced, yes, that is true.

MR VALLY: Well, the person who cultured this, which is Dr Odendal, says he made 260 ml. My question to you is simply you wouldn't see it is being outside the ambit of the project?

MR BASSON: As what being outside the ambit?

MR VALLY: The cultivation and production of 260 ml of cholera?

MR BASSON: I cannot say that 260 ml, but I can tell you that the production of several organisms including cholera was part of the duties.

MR VALLY: But I am talking specifically a large quantity of cholera culture, I am talking 260 ml?

MR BASSON: I repeat myself. I cannot tell you how much cholera was produced.

MR VALLY: No, I am putting to you that the person who cultivated it, said this is the amount he produced. For you as the Project Officer of Project Coast, you wouldn't see that as untoward?

MR BASSON: Once again, one cannot measure 260 ml sample, you cannot regard that as a big or a small sample. It depends on the cholera concentration. If he tells me how many organisms there were per millilitre, then I would be able to tell you, it might just be a little bit.

It might be that he cultured his cholera, but he didn't distil it very well, so maybe there wasn't a very high moisture level with very few organisms.

MR VALLY: Fair enough. Mr Odendal did in fact say that it was enough cholera to cause a major epidemic.

MR BASSON: I don't think with permission, that Dr Odendal had the knowledge, the experience or the insight of cholera epidemics, to know how many organisms are needed to create an epidemic.

MR VALLY: Very well. For what purpose would let's look at Anthrax on cigarettes - do you see it dated 11th of August 1989? Do you see that, on the second page?

MR BASSON: Yes, I do.

MR VALLY: What was the training purpose of putting Anthrax on cigarettes be?

MR BASSON: That would be for research reasons. We obtained information that the Russians shortly after the Shertloff(?) incident, where a great anthrax factory exploded and it contaminated the area, that they had developed a new kind of anthrax and we obtained information that they used these anthrax cigarettes in contaminating their own people.

We led a research programme to see if the different applying methods, if it was viable to do it or was it not viable to do that and for that reason, certain of these things were produced, and I would like to see how much.

MR VALLY: It says five.

MR BASSON: It seems like five cigarettes. I would like to tell you that with five cigarettes, to create world wide chaos with five cigarettes, is a bit difficult unless everybody shared those cigarettes.

What basically happened is that those cigarettes were handed over to our laboratory at Special Forces Headquarters, and they would test it, the life of this anthrax and to see how the anthrax is released through these cigarettes and we determined that it was a very bad method to cause anybody any harm.

I would like to say that it is not possible to contaminate anyone with anthrax in cigarettes.

MR VALLY: So, these five cigarettes, according to you were infected or whichever word you want to use, with anthrax for reasons of testing them, to see if it was a proper delivery mechanism?

MR BASSON: No, not to see if it was a proper delivery mechanism, but to see if the information which we obtained from techniques which were used by the Russians, is correct or not.

MR VALLY: Then why would they take five different packets of cigarettes and put the anthrax spores on the filter of each cigarette?

MR BASSON: Because five packets of cigarettes, I don't know if this is the correct case, I don't remember, but I do remember or if I have to think about it, it would be tested over a period of time. You are going to distribute, the are going to spread the time out, you are going to test each packet over several months and so that experiment would have lasted over months, and that would be the explanation for this.

MR VALLY: I repeat my question, why would it be necessary to put anthrax on the filter of a single cigarette and do it in five different packets, in each of five packets, there is one cigarette who has anthrax spores on it?

MR BASSON: For the simple reason that if you are going to use this in order to try and kill someone, you are surely not going to give one cigarette to the chicken and say, smoke this.

Those cigarettes are going to be put into a packet, it is going to be transported, it is going to be driven round and about, it is going to be lying in the sun, it is going to be in his pocket, so we simulate these situations.

MR VALLY: I see, so you are saying that five individual cigarettes were infected with anthrax and put into five different packets to simulate an exercise?

MR BASSON: Let me correct the facts, I never said five. I said different packets would be infected with this in the experiment. I don't know if it was five, or ten or fifteen, it could have been twenty. I cannot remember.

MR VALLY: But you are aware of it?

MR BASSON: I am aware of this experiment, and I am aware of the threat which was there.

MR VALLY: I need to find out about what else you knew about here.

But now we will come back to the issue of the baboon foetus. Dr Immelman said that you requested a baboon foetus from him. Can you tell us your response to that?

MR BASSON: At various instances during the period of various years, I obtained foetuses from Dr Immelman.

MR VALLY: Are you aware ...

CHAIRPERSON: I think the question is what was maybe for my own curiosity, what was the whole point of ordering baboon foetuses?

MR BASSON: At that stage I was involved in research where we used alpha feto protein in the peptone synthesis. Foetuses are a very important source of alpha feto protein and why I obtained these foetuses was to obtain this specific protein.

And we also had developed certain cultures and I used something of this to develop these specific cultures.

CHAIRPERSON: Just as an aside and whilst Mr Vally prepares the next question, I don't know if you are aware that at one stage at the residence of the Archbishop, Archbishop Tutu a baboon foetus was found hung there, outside his premises. It had nothing to do with Roodeplaat as far as you know? Do you know anything about that?

MR VALLY: Mr Chairman, if I could add to that question, it is the same question Dr Basson.

MR BASSON: Yes, Mr Chairman, I will answer your question.

MR VALLY: I just want to add to that.

CHAIRPERSON: If you could allow Mr Vally.

MR VALLY: It is the same question, this baboon foetus according to this list, was delivered to Koos on the 27th of July 1989 and this baboon foetus which was found in the garden of Bishopscourt here in Cape Town when Archbishop was still Archbishop Tutu, was found in early August, shortly after this.

MR BASSON: Mr Chairman, yes, to answer your question. I am going to answer it in two ways.

One, when I finished with the baboon foetuses, without being insensitive, I threw those in the garbage bin. This happened repeatedly.

I don't know what Mr Vally is insinuating. If he wants to insinuate that this specific foetus came from Roodeplaat with the view of bringing it to Tutu's home, this is an insult to me and Bishop Tutu, to postulate that I could think that something like that would have any influence on Bishop Tutu, except to fill him with contempt and I want to say I deny that I know anything about the baboon foetus in Bishop Tutu's yard. I don't even know where it was found.

What I am trying to say is on a regular basis, I obtained these foetuses and threw them away in the garbage bins at Headquarters.

I want to state clearly that I have no knowledge whatsoever of a foetus whether from an ape or a baboon which would have been provided to use in Tutu's yard. Nobody in the Defence Force which had any insight, would have thought that Bishop Tutu would have been influenced by anything like this, apart from making him more adamant to bring the regime to a fall.


DR ORR: This is perhaps an aside, but as a Doctor I immediately ask myself why the baboon foetuses weren't incinerated if this was a properly controlled laboratory in which foetuses certainly could be potentially infectious material?

MR BASSON: Because the foetus as you know, is a sterile tissue. That is why we use the alpha feto proteins and the tissue from the foetus, because they do not, they are protected unless in the case of very, very remote animal viruses, from human ineffective organisms.

In actual fact this foetus posed no threat, no more threat than the throwing out of a medium rare steak into the garbage bin.

DR ORR: I still find it unusual that this material was not incinerated.


MR VALLY: Thank you Mr Chairman. Looking at Dr Immelman's affidavit, can you tell us who the Chris is that he refers to. He says you introduced him to Chris?

MR BASSON: I can't remember that I ever introduced any specific person to Dr Immelman.

MR VALLY: Can you tell us who Koos is?

MR BASSON: The answer to that question is the same. I never introduced these people to him.

MR VALLY: Can you tell us who is Johnny Koertzen?

MR BASSON: Yes, Johnny Koertzen was a member of 7 Medical Battalion.

MR VALLY: The 7th Medical Battalion was a forerunner of ...

MR BASSON: Nothing as far as I know. It is still 7 Battalion.

MR VALLY: I see. And most of the people or a large number of the people involved in the front companies, under Project Coast, were in fact in 7th Medical Battalion before they got involved in Project Coast?

MR BASSON: That is not true.

MR VALLY: Well, let's name them. Dr Mijburgh?

MR BASSON: Dr Mijburgh, as far as I know, was not a member of the 7th Medical Battalion. I think he left before that group was established.

That is as I remember.

MR VALLY: Well, let's talk about the 7th Medical Battalion.

MR CILLIERS: I want to put it on record, as far as Dr Mijburgh's evidence is concerned.

MR VALLY: Well, Special Forces because, let's understand it, there was a Special Forces Unit which had a medical component to it, are you aware of that?

MR BASSON: The Special Forces of the South African Defence Force, had a Medical Unit attached, yes.

MR VALLY: And that Medical Unit became 7th Battalion?

MR BASSON: During the course of time yes, with certain additions, a certain organisation developed, 7th Medical Battalion which took over the medical supporting functions.

MR VALLY: And you were the Commander there?

MR BASSON: Yes, for a period.

MR VALLY: And Dr Mijburgh, he was before 7th Battalion existed, but he was in the Special Forces Unit, the medical component thereof?

MR BASSON: Dr Mijburgh was a member of the Defence Force Headquarters, where he because of his abilities as a Doctor and his operational abilities, provided medical support to various Security Force components.

MR VALLY: If I say a number of medical people who were your front companies, operating under Project Jotta originated or at some stage, were in Special Forces Medical Unit, or in 7th Battalion, would I be wrong?

MR BASSON: How many are there?

MR VALLY: Well, you tell me.

MR BASSON: I think about four.

MR VALLY: At least four? Fine.

MR BASSON: And it should be seen against the background of front organisations where hundreds of people were employed.

MR VALLY: Dr Immelman says that these items on this list, TRC52, were delivered always in a very surreptitious manner to these people, Chris, Koos and Johnny Koertzen, initially instructed by you and thereafter with arrangements made via your secretary. What is your response to that?

MR BASSON: Can Mr Vally just explain to me what he means by surreptitious, I don't know what he is meaning.

MR VALLY: Well, is there anything about Dr Immelman's affidavit which you disagree with?

MR CILLIERS: With respect, that is an unfair question. This is a very long statement and later on you can be criticised because you did not disagree with this matter.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes no, I agree.

MR VALLY: Fine. Let's start with paragraph 13. Have you read paragraph 13?

MR CILLIERS: Mr Chairman, I am sorry, at this stage I hear that the traffic is terrible outside. An explanation is that perhaps it is because of the train strike and consequently the motor traffic is much worse than usual and it is - my position is that I am not available any further, and at this stage, we have come to a point where I have reached that situation.

There is one aspect before I ask you to excuse me. There is one question that Dr Basson did not answer or refused to answer, and that was whether Dr Basson had any scientific founding that certain substances like LSD, mandrax can be used to control crowds. At that stage he had a problem to answer in the light of the situation.

As the questioning developed and that as a single question, I ask you an opportunity to advise ... (tape ends) ... there is not one single aspect which has not been answered regarding the in camera proceedings, and after that, I have to ask you to take my position into consideration.

It is also the position of Mr Du Plessis, Mr Arendse told me he is in an almost similar position, although his flight is ten minutes later, but my position is unfortunately of such a nature, that I can't remain here any longer.

But before that ...

CHAIRPERSON: (No translation)

MR CILLIERS: I beg your pardon?

CHAIRPERSON: Isn't there a strike at the airport?

MR CILLIERS: No, it is only train drivers. It is their turn today. Last week it was people at the airport.

I want to advise Dr Basson and ask him an opportunity to answer that question Mr Vally asked initially.

MR BASSON: Mr Chairperson, the question Mr Vally asked me regarding the scientific founding of the use of these substances as incapacitants, and because you told me you were not technically inclined, I want to tell you want an incapacitator is.

MR VALLY: Mr Chairperson, I see my learned friend is packing up. As long as he is aware that I am going to continue asking questions, within the mandate period as set out in the Act, he is welcome to pack up and leave.

MR CILLIERS: No, I am not packing, I am just putting my things together. I am still listening to what Mr Basson has to say.

MR BASSON: I want to explain to you what an incapacitant is. In a defence or military situation, it is a question of a situation that you have to keep your faculties together, to reach your objective.

It is the same in a civil situation, you have to keep your faculties together to reach your objective. There are a few ways to take your faculties away permanently, take them away, and that is to kill you. You can't defend yourself, you can't think, you can't protect yourself.

And by influencing a person's observational capacity and his perceptions, you can influence a person. You can do that by disturbing the visual picture or also the brain's reaction on that.

To change a person's emotions and you can cause the person not to achieve his objective. That you can do by influencing the brain function so that the person does not recognise the threat or cannot handle this threat, or you can do it by various substances which can cause a lowering of the blood pressure.

The person for example can't stand up straight because his blood pressure has fallen, and if he falls over he can't run away. There are various such ways of incapacitating a person.

The request of the Defence Force regarding incapacitants was to develop these substances which would not leave any permanent damage, and that group of incapacitants which did not cause permanent damage, were those working on the central nervous system and on the brain.

The Defence Force said if we develop incapacitants, we did not have the money to develop a new weapon. I could not develop a new projectile or a new delivery mechanism, we had to use existing delivery mechanisms which the Defence Force had.

One of the existing methods was that certain substances would have to be released. On a Friday evening you can walk around in town, and you would see various people incapacitating themselves by smoking. We have learnt that trick from the local population.

If you want to incapacitate people easily and without any costs, it should be something which would be absorbed through the lungs. Every one of those things which Mr Vally mentioned, were things which could be inhaled through the nose or through the lungs.

That would cause reversible effect on a person. That would be an objective to incapacitate a person just temporarily.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Cilliers, I have heard you and you wanted to be excused. The only difficulty is that your client has expressed an apprehension that if he does not have you as a representative, he is in a problem, which is why we postponed the matter till today.

Now, I am not sufficiently informed as to whether you have another professional engagement tonight still, because that should be the consideration that should weigh heavily with us. It is not unknown that proceedings do continue and that we have to sit late if need be and I cannot see a more compelling case than the present one.

MR CILLIERS: I can explain my position. I have explained to you what my problem was in the first place, that initially it was told to me that I should not be available for Friday. This position changed yesterday and with a great demand or with great problems for especially to clients, it is not necessary to mention their names now and because of my non-availability to day, I would have arranged that I would make preparations tonight. I am seeing these clients tomorrow morning to enable us to finalise a submission.

The deadline actually was today. We will file that now on Monday. I have to do the preparation tonight, and tomorrow the consultation and the finalisation. That is my position.

This is applicable to me and my client and my lawyer, Mr Van Zyl also. Last night at half past ten I started consulting with my client and because at that stage, we only arrived in Cape Town we worked to round about two o'clock this morning. Eight o'clock we were here this morning, I had three, four hours of sleep last night, and the same applies to my client. We have been here since eight o'clock this morning. It is already five o'clock, and at this stage I am in a physical situation that I am tired, too tired to go on.

The same applies to my client. My client feels and he maintains that he prefers and that he has received advice that he need not answer questions if I am not available.

That is unfortunately the situation. I am repeating what we have said and as Mr Vally has said, what is still outstanding, it seems to me he has already covered all aspects. I will give an undertaking and you can make such an order, that if any other aspects he requires information about, I will provide it in a written form. I could supply it by next Friday. That is if he provides the questions on Monday, that is to accommodate you.

CHAIRPERSON: Can I just hear you Mr Vally in the light of this?

MR VALLY: Mr Chairman, over the last three days we have had a song and dance regarding legal representation of Dr Wouter Basson.

We made it very clear on the day that we had Dr Wouter Basson here, represented by Mr Van Niekerk, we assumed that Mr Van Niekerk faithfully conveyed to Mr Malan what transpired on Wednesday, that we were opposed to any postponement, but should it be granted, we would need at least two days, and we referred to Thursday and Friday. That was made explicitly clear on Wednesday.

There was no talk that Friday would not be necessary. That is the first issue. We have always made it clear we need at least two days.

The second issue is we were told according to the strange instructions that Mr Van Niekerk received, that they had attempted to get other counsel, but Colonel Kaiser had declined them consent to obtain other counsel.

Colonel Kaiser has confirmed in a letter that they were never approached to obtain alternative counsel.

Thirdly, we were told by Mr Van Niekerk that when they tried to contact Mr Malan, Adv Cilliers, Adv Van Zyl, they only got hold of Adv Cilliers, who said he was available on Friday.

We were told he didn't get hold of Adv Van Zyl or Mr Malan. Next yesterday we were told by Mr Van Niekerk that they tried a number of counsel in Pretoria and Cape Town, unsuccessfully, but in the morning we got a letter from Mr Malan, who said the only person who is suitable is Adv Cilliers.

We now have a situation where Mr Cilliers wants to leave promptly at five o'clock. This is unacceptable. I believe, and I respectfully submit that by their conduct, they are trying to frustrate both the workings of this Committee as well as trying to frustrate the order granted by Justice Hlophe.

I respectfully submit that if Adv Cilliers wishes to leave, that we be allowed to continue and I can't understand why yesterday and Wednesday there were no legal representatives available, today we have one, two, three, four and if you count Ms Nicole at the back, five people here representing Dr Wouter Basson, why none of them are available.

I respectfully submit that this is a ploy to frustrate us, I have a number of questions left, we have not finished. We still want to determine whether Dr Wouter Basson produced drugs to try and enslave the youth, if Dr Wouter Basson produced drugs to try and sell and make money, did Dr Basson actually dump any drugs in the sea or was this a fictitious series of events? We cannot leave it here Mr Chairman.

I would respectfully submit that we continue and Adv Cilliers, can make his election thereafter. Thank you Mr Chairperson.

MR CILLIERS: With the greatest respect, after nine hours, almost nine and a half hours, being involved here, and my situation is critical now, after nine, nine and a half hours here where we said you can limit tea breaks or lunch breaks, now to say it is more than double the ordinary day, while witnesses being cross-examined, to say now this is a ploy after this morning, I told you the first thing, that I was only available till five o'clock.

That is improper for Mr Vally to suggest that I am busy with a ploy. The position is like I have explained to you. I cannot stay any longer, and my client's choice is still the same.

He is not going to answer questions if he does not have proper legal counsel. The attorney who was here yesterday, does not agree with the factual submissions Mr Vally has made. I don't know whether it is necessary here now to listen to various accusations, to throw accusations to and fro.

This is my position. My learned colleague can pose his questions and I give you the undertaking that these questions will be answered within five days.

CHAIRPERSON: My only concern now Mr Cilliers, is how do we deal with the situation where the circumstances are extraordinary and I am sure I needn't say why they are quite extraordinary. At this stage we have a situation where Mr Vally indicates how many or what sort of questions he thinks he needs some clarification or some answers to.

I hear what you are saying about written representations, but they never amount to what one gets by way of questions being put in a question and answer situation.

MR CILLIERS: If I can be of assistance, if they are follow up questions, then I would say that I will also answer the follow up questions.

CHAIRPERSON: I am quite acquainted with what is possible. I am simply considering what would, apart from what is possible, but what would be in the best interest of all parties. I am not so sure whether the panel is actually very appreciative of your professional engagement this evening.

It seems to me that you are saying that you are not in a physical position to continue.

MR CILLIERS: No, I am really tired, but I am not hiding behind my physical capabilities. My client has also told me that he is physically very tired, but I am not telling you that it is physically impossible to go. I am just mentioning to you that we have been busy for about nine hours, and we had about three hours' sleep last night.

MR VALLY: Mr Chair, could we have a five minute recess while you are considering this?

MR CILLIERS: My problem is that a five minute recess is really going to put me in hot water.

CHAIRPERSON: I think what part of the problem, quite frankly, I must be open with you Mr Cilliers, part of my problem is that I am not persuaded and I am not deciding, I am not persuaded that I have had a reason that you are professionally engaged tonight anywhere else in a manner that suggests to me that you should step out of a matter in which you are professionally engaged, in view of the ethics that govern our profession.

I just, well you have told me that you are going to be preparing to consult, I don't know what that means for something that needs to be filed on Monday.

MR CILLIERS: With the greatest respect Honourable Chairperson, if you feel that I am ethically acting incorrectly, then you can lay a claim against me. I am sure you are aware of the proceedings or the procedures, but I have no problem with that.

If you feel it is your duty, please do that. I have no problem with handling such a situation, but this is my position and if my actions are improper, then surely serious steps will be taken against me. That is my position and I am asking your permission to leave now.

ADV POTGIETER: Have you discussed this with the people from the Bar?


ADV POTGIETER: This situation we are talking about now?

MR CILLIERS: No, not this situation.

ADV POTGIETER: So if you leave, your client is not going to be prepared to continue?

MR CILLIERS: The situation which my colleague discussed, was after this judgment of Justice Hlophe that we had to be here on Wednesday, especially myself. I received a specific instruction and my learned colleague as well.

We did approach them and it is a very important situation, as you cannot leave the people in the lurch now despite the situation here now, and we are supposed to adhere to that instruction. So we did approach the Bar Council.

ADV POTGIETER: Can you speak to the Chairperson of the Bar Council now?

MR CILLIERS: No, it is twenty past five, I don't think so.

ADV POTGIETER: Can you give us his details?

MR CILLIERS: Yes, it is Mr Grobler.

ADV POTGIETER: From Pretoria?

MR CILLIERS: Correct, I am from the Pretoria Bar, yes. But you are welcome, if you request me to go to the Bar Council myself, and if you make the request that I must, you know yourself, you are also in a Bar. You can give me the instruction and then I will report myself.

ADV POTGIETER: I think it would be of assistance if we could speak to Adv Grobler right now. We are going to try and do that.

MR CILLIERS: Well, my problem is I am asking you've got to let me go. My plane is an hour from now, it is leaving and really now it is becoming, it is final now. I would like to leave now, I would like leave for the airport now.

ADV POTGIETER: And you are not prepared in any sense to stay put until we have spoken to Adv Grobler?

MR CILLIERS: If it was five or ten minutes a go, yes, maybe or if we did it this morning, yes, but I see on the watch of my colleague, it is already twenty one minutes after five. I simply cannot spend another ten minutes here.

I am telling you it is Friday afternoon, it is almost half past five, and I do not know his personal home number, but our Bar, the phone stops at a quarter to five, so you can't even phone him there. To get his home number, I don't know how long that is going to take, so I don't think - you are not going to get an answer in the next probably 40 or 50 minutes.

ADV POTGIETER: What time is your flight?

MR CILLIERS: If I have it correct, it is 18H25. That is the last Sun Air flight we could get. You know the flights on Friday nights from Cape Town to Jo'burg are really booked, fully booked. You know that yourself, you live here but your colleagues who fly from Johannesburg, Monday morning to Jo'burg and Friday night back, it is a real problem with flights.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Cilliers, this is one of those moments that I feel very heavy in my heart because I am seeking to find the wisdom of Solomon in dealing with this situation.

You are a colleague and you have made, I must say with all the respect that you can command, a (indistinct) to us that we should take your circumstances into account. I cannot fault you for saying the things that you have said, I have consulted with my colleagues who are quite concerned also about the fact that you have to leave at a time when we have an indication from Mr Vally that there are questions that he still needs to put to your client.

In the circumstances, I do not consider that it is in me as representing the panel, to say we are able to excuse you. We can't stop you from leaving, but we certainly cannot say we are excusing you. We therefore leave the matter to you as an election as to what you consider ...

MR CILLIERS: May I ask for a short adjournment so maybe by using a phone, I can change my flight time and then I would be able to tell you within a few minutes if it is at all possible to change it, but otherwise it is my position. Then I then would have to go. If you will give me five minutes, I will see if I can make some kind of arrangements, maybe with regards to the later flight even though I understand this is the last flight, but I am just asking for five minutes.

CHAIRPERSON: Five minutes. We are adjourned for about five minutes.



WOUTER BASSON: (still under oath)

MR VALLY: Mr Chairman, before I continue asking questions of Dr Basson, I want to put some items on record.

We have contacted a travel agent and we have determined that there is in fact a flight, a Sun Air flight, flight number BV718 leaving at 20H05 tonight and in fact there were still seats available on it.

Our phone call was made approximately five minutes ago, between five and ten minutes, so at 17H40 there was a later flight with seats on it.

Secondly we were advised that the Chairperson of the Bar Council in Pretoria was Adv Grobler and we have been trying to get hold of him. We have successfully got hold of him. He advised us that since February this year, he is no longer Chairperson of the Bar Council.

That in fact the Chairperson of the Bar Council is Mr Backlesman. Mr Backlesman is unfortunately away and in his place is a Mr Johan Louw and whilst we have his cell number, we haven't bothered contacting him because I believe Adv Cilliers is no longer here.

In the circumstances Mr Chairman, I think that potentially they could have represented Dr Wouter Basson. I see Mr Van Niekerk is still here, I am not sure if he is representing Dr Wouter Basson of just observing matters but I would like to continue with the questioning of Dr Wouter Basson.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Vally. May I just place on record that I am not - I am a little bit surprised to hear that there is a Sun Air flight at that late hour and that there are seats available. I did speak to Mr Cilliers who advised me ...

MR VALLY: I beg your pardon, Mr Chairman, it is BV798. I did incorrectly say 718 earlier, but it is BV798.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Cilliers did say to me that there were no more flights available. I suggested that he may well be advised to find out if he cannot travel SAA and then he said no, no, no, he had already tried and there were no flights available.

That in any event Mr Van Niekerk is going to represent Dr Wouter Basson. I must say in fairness to him, he did add the rider that he doesn't know what instructions Mr Van Niekerk would be getting from Dr Wouter Basson. I don't know if I can, Mr Van Niekerk now that you are here, if you could place yourself on record, so that ...

MR VAN NIEKERK: Mr Chairman, I am flattered that you know I can represent Dr Basson.

CHAIRPERSON: No, it is not ...

MR VAN NIEKERK: Having spent the day here today ...

CHAIRPERSON: It is not I, it is your counsel who said you are here and you are going to take over.

MR VAN NIEKERK: I am here on matters procedural Mr Chairman. Having listened today to the evidence, to the voluminous amount of evidence and the complicated issues that have evolved, I would not accept a brief to look after the interests of Dr Basson on the merits this evening.

I am staying here in the capacity as an observer and not as Dr Basson's legal representative on the merits, thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: When you said you are here on procedural matters, may I understand in what sense? Do you have instructions for instance for anything?

MR VAN NIEKERK: No, I have no specific instructions whatsoever Mr Chairman. There was a stage this afternoon where an urgent application to the High Court was considered, in which case my services would have been called upon, but I am not here on the merits whatsoever.

CHAIRPERSON: Dr Basson, do you want to say anything?

MR BASSON: Yes Mr Chairperson, thank you for the opportunity to put my case. I find myself in the position at the present moment that my competent legal counsellor because of reasons known to him, had to withdraw. I had nothing to do with that.

He has his own reasons. Today I have tried to the best of my ability to cooperate with you and certain stages I exceeded my limits and you reprimanded me. I have been here since eight o'clock this morning, you also, but I think your adrenaline levels were perhaps a bit lower than mine.

I have no competent legal representatives at the moment, not because of any of my doings. This Commission, I understand they had to complete certain requirements. I have sympathy, I have respect for what the Committee is doing. I will find it very difficult to answer further questions, and I find myself in a position where I was, where I say that it will be difficult for me to answer questions without competent legal representation.

I undertake, like my legal counsel has said, that I will assist you in providing outstanding answers in writing which I will compile with the assistance of my legal representative.

At this stage, I am dependant on you for any further decisions and I trust that you will take my position ...

CHAIRPERSON: Do you want to say anything in reply, in view of the fact that Dr Basson is saying, "Look, I am here, I have not chased any flights, I'm here, but I'm in the position that I am in through no fault of mine really, I am now without representation, competent representation", and... (intervention).

MR VALLY: Mr Chair, we have approximately six hours left within which we must wrap up our activities which commenced in 1996, in terms of enquiries into human rights violations abuses. The fact that Dr Basson's legal representatives have stated that there were no flights, when we were able to ascertain that there were flights, is a worrying one, it's a worrying one in the context of what has transpired over these last three days. With the greatest of respect, and I repeat what I asserted before, I believe we should continue questioning Dr Wouter Basson, I believe that Mr Van Niekerk at very least could possibly represent him. I am not saying that he is obliged to, the issues are crisp and clear relating to the issue of self-incrimination or the right to remain silent. It's not necessarily a question of having knowledge of all the documents. However, Dr Wouter Basson can make his election as to who he wants to represent him, but I believe that I should be allowed to continue asking questions, for all the reasons we've been stating for the last three days, and this is further exacerbated because we've consistently pointed out the contradictions in the positions taken by Dr Basson's legal representatives, and I'll repeat those contradictions for your purposes: we were initially told that they only started... (intervention).

CHAIRPERSON: No, Mr Vally, I'm sure the panel is well aware of those contradictions and it's a matter of grave concern also to us, but isn't, or let me put it this way, in that particular context, let me ask you a hypothetical question, assuming, I don't know what the position of Dr Wouter Basson is going to be, assuming we are in a position like yesterday's, where Dr Wouter Basson will say, "Look, I hear the question, I would have loved to have replied to it, but I refuse to answer that question because I'm not legally represented"?

MR VALLY: I respectfully submit that Dr Basson is a master of his own fate. I say this because the application was brought in his name, he's fully aware of what was in the application, because he signed the affidavit.

CHAIRPERSON: But aren't the real culprits, to the extent that you can say so about colleagues and professional people, aren't the real culprits today his lawyers, especially in view of what you have disclosed to this tribunal with regards to what you have been told by travel agents when they have told us something else?

MR VALLY: I cannot say that unequivocally until I hear what they have to say about the matter. We did tell Dr Wouter Basson, as soon as we heard there were flights available and asked him to contact his counsel by cell. He has not indicated whether he's made any attempts whatsoever.

DR BASSON: That is not true, I've given the numbers I had available to Mr Chaskalson, I've made two other telephone calls in order to find out what Mr Cilliers' cellphone number is. Whether he could find that cell number, I don't know. I've given my full co-operation in an attempt to find him.

MR VALLY: Well I withdraw that then if Dr Basson has in fact done so. In any event, to what extent can you hide behind your attorneys? If your attorneys act in an irresponsible manner regarding protecting your rights, can we let the situation continue? We must remember that this is part of a pattern, this is Wednesday, Thursday and now Friday. Dr Basson may be able to hide behind his advocates today, if it is true, the allegations against them, but certainly he has to take responsibility for why we are in this position on this last day. I respectfully submit that I should be allowed to continue questioning Dr Wouter Basson, thereafter getting, after getting his position on record, we can take whatever steps necessary and I will make an application in that regard. Thank you, Mr Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Vally, then can you continue?

MR VALLY: Thank you, Mr Chair. Dr Wouter Basson, I put to you that the items which appear on TRC52 were designed to either injure or murder either individuals or groups of people in terms of the poisons which were put into very basic substances like chocolate and whisky and shampoo and sugar. What's your response to that please?

DR BASSON: Mr Chairman, I've already answered this question. I want to put it on record that I have answered that question at great length and at this stage I do not have competent legal representation and I'm not in a position to answer without prejudicing my rights, and I will not be in a position to answer questions.

CHAIRPERSON: Can I just ask you a favour, it's not a command, it's not an order, I have sat here in full appreciation of your competence and I say this with respect and with humbleness, but I'm well aware of a disposition on your part which may want to be saying, "I have rights, I have to assert them". I have a sense that if you got yourself to it, you could actually competently reply to some or even all of the questions that are put to you, in the same way that I was able to observe that in some instances, possibly against what would have been the choice of your legal representatives, but precisely because you wanted to make certain positions very clear, you, even before they could intervene, you replied in a manner in which they allowed you to say what you want to say. As I say, I am not by any means asking you to waive your rights, I'm not by any means asking you to throw away rights which you have, I'm simply saying it may well be that your questions, I mean the questions put to you, which if your replies are anything to go by, may put to rest some of these interrogatories, it's just a plea.

DR BASSON: Mr Chairman, thank you for your approach, thank you for the compliment you've paid me, it is so that certainly today I've answered quite a few questions which my legal representatives were unsure about, it's part of the problem and of the situation, because they are not technical people, there are things which they do not understand, I understand it easier and I can understand the question. I do not have the insight to understand which things I can say which could cause problems at a later stage. I cannot determine the direction of the questions, which they can do, because I'm busy with the facts of the moment. It is so that I've been busy here for nine hours, my adrenaline levels are quite high, and the degree to which I can handle myself is decreasing. I can make mistakes. It's not that I'm going to tell lies, but as I've asked, concerning the in camera hearing, I might mention some facts which would be prejudicial to me in my criminal case, and I request that you will take that into regard when you make your decisions. Today I've tried to co-operate to the fullest extent within my abilities.

MR VALLY: I want to go on with my questioning, Dr Basson. Dr Basson, on the list, TRC52, is there any single item there, that you are aware of, which was not, or could not have legitimately, in terms of project coast, been produced at Roodeplaat Research Laboratories?

DR BASSON: Chairperson, I do not understand this question. If he can repeat the question. I lost him somewhere along the way.

MR VALLY: Certainly. Let me put it in context. When I asked you about the cyanide in the chocolate, you explained to me you needed to educate people as to the possibilities of how it could happen to them. When I asked you about the cholera, you explained to us that it was possibly made for whatever purposes you explained. There's typhirium(?) in deodorant, which is one can say typhoid delivered through a deodorant, for example, the very last item, TRC52... (intervention).

DR BASSON: It's not typhoid, it's salmonella.

MR VALLY: Oh, I beg your pardon, salmonella, I'm so sorry, because I'm sure I saw typhoid somewhere else. In any event, of this list that we have in TRC52, and I'm talking about these combinations, I'm talking about acid in whisky, aldycarb in orange juice, beer with thallium, sugar with salmonella, whisky with paraquat, we've talked about the baboon foetus, peppermint chocolates with aldycarb, peppermint chocolates with brodifarcum, peppermint chocolates with cathradin, peppermint chocolates with cyanide, we've talked about the cholera already, and I can go on, mamba toxin, whisky with colchicine, I believe, and it says "cultures from letters", and we've heard evidence to the effect that there were anthrax spoors put on the gum of envelopes, is there any item here, in the peculiar combinations that they are in, which you would say was out of place in terms of the work or the research being done at RRL?

DR BASSON: Chairperson, I'll answer this question, because we've already dealt with TRC52 to a great extent, and I do feel competent enough in order to handle this line of questioning to answer his question. I'd say if you quickly page through this list, I cannot accept responsibility for each item, but I can put it as a general point that most of these substances are known, well-known substances, they're well used, and the fact that Roodeplaat prepared them was not in any way irregular. The substances, as far as I know and the ones I received, and again I must tell you that I did not receive all of these, I cannot remember if I did, I cannot take responsibility for each of these items, but I can say that generally speaking these type of items and substances were used for legitimate training and research purposes, and as far as I know, there's not a single individual who got harmed in any of these substances.

MR VALLY: Dr Basson, when you refer to these substances, you're also referring to the particular combination that is set out there, whisky and paraquat, typhirium in deodorant, for example, whisky with colchicine, in that combination, you wouldn't see it out of place in terms of what the responsibilities of the researchers at RRL were?

DR BASSON: Chairperson, these combinations were not the responsibility of the researchers at Roodeplaat Research Laboratory, these combinations were the responsibility of research and training in institutions outside of Roodeplaat. Roodeplaat prepared these combinations for further research and for further development, and once again I repeat, as far as I know there is not a single individual or now five or six or seven years investigations by several officials, not one individual was found who was harmed by any of these products, or who could be directly linked to any of these products.

MR VALLY: I accept what you... (intervention).


MR VALLY: Sorry.

DR RANDERA: Dr Basson, can I just understand this list, and earlier on I think you said was that you're not aware of this list as such, but at the same time in the questions that you've been giving to us, it appears as if you were aware that these substances were being produced for research purposes as you say. So let us understand how it works. Cigarettes are produced with anthrax. Where does it go to? It's not being, research work, as I understand you, is not being done by Roodeplaats, where would you have actually contracted that out to, and to whom?

DR BASSON: Very well, Chairperson, the products, after they were produced at Roodeplaat, were then handled in different manners. For example, in the case of the anthrax cigarettes, we had a laboratory at special quarters, headquarters, special forces headquarters, where we had certain equipment which made us capable of making pyrotechnic mixtures and to test them, and in this way we, by means of infiltration, this anthrax spoors in the cigarettes, we could then use the cigarettes with regards to the pyrotechnic method, it's a vacuum and it's lit and it would be sucked different ways cigarettes are sucked, and then we'd analyse the extraction of the smoke that came out of that. Now Roodeplaat did not have the facilities for those kind of experiments. The filters, or the extract products, after they were exposed to certain different temperatures and after they got older over certain periods, were then further analysed in laboratories. I cannot remember which the specific laboratory was, but it was a pertinent part of this whole thing, we had different sub-components. It could have happened at some or other university, it could have been at a private research institution, but it would have been completely unrelated to Roodeplaat and it would have been outside of context, and it sounds, and I'm scared of the word, sinister, I mean it sounds surreptitious, but in essence that's just a good - it's just to break up this whole thing into sub-components, so that there's no-one who's got only one answer.

DR RANDERA: Sorry, can I just follow that up? As part of that experimentation that you're talking about, would you have used live animals to carry out the end results in a sense, because you had to test, as I would understand what you're saying, if you take anthrax in cigarettes, you essentially wanted to know what effect it may have on human beings at a later stage, or at some stage, now would that have been tested in mammals?

DR BASSON: No, the anthrax in cigarettes was not to test the effects, it was to test the efficacy of the delivery mechanism. We already know what anthrax does, I mean it's common cause, anthrax inhaled in a certain way, anthrax introduced trans-dermally or intra-dermally, those effects are already known, so we didn't need, we didn't need to do that research. What we did in the case of the anthrax cigarettes was... (intervention).

DR RANDERA: Sorry, let me just, okay, let's, I mean we're talking about in terms of anthrax and the cigarette smoke in terms of incapacitance, okay... (intervention).

DR BASSON: I'm getting to the answer.

DR RANDERA: terms of what you explained to us earlier on, but then explain the cholera to me, I mean was that also part of the incapacitating agents that you were trying to develop?

DR BASSON: No, the cholera was done in order to look at inoculation processes and to test them, and also quality control. I often received samples from different cultures at Roodeplaat, and then I gave it to another laboratory to test, to make sure that that what they say they're doing is indeed the case. I'm not a qualified microbiologist and it was one of the ways how we could make double sure as far as control is concerned. Against great personal risk with regards to animal rights people, and they're going to hit me over the head if I walk out of this door tonight, but it did happen that some of these chocolates, as part of the training process, would be given to a mouse or a rat to show the students what they consider a normal chocolate and do not want to believe me, that there's no better lesson for a person to actually see the result of his mistake. So it was the case that some of those substances were tested on experimenting animals.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Dr Randera, thank you Dr Basson. Mr Vally? 

MR VALLY: Just for the record, which universities did you send some of this material to and which companies did some of the testing for you?

DR BASSON: Chairperson, there's not a university in South Africa that was not involved in some way or another, it was widely distributed. I say "I", you must also read, I'm talking about the royal "we", this project did not differentiate between universities as such. As far as possible, we supported all the universities and we also paid them for the work they've done. As far as private companies are concerned, there were several of them, it could be a state, it could be semi-state companies, some of the people at agricultural research, I really cannot remember, but there was a diversity of facilities we made use of, and I'd like to add that I learnt this pattern from the American system, that's how they do their chemical research and basically I just copied it from them.

MR VALLY: Why then this strange arrangement with Dr Immelman whereby he would meet the people he calls Chris and Gert and Manny in restaurants, in other places, where these items were handed over to them? I refer you, for example, to paragraph 16 of Dr Immelman's affidavit.

DR BASSON: Chairperson, I'm not aware at all of the fact that Dr Immelman, and I don't have the paragraph in front of me, but I would have been very surprised if Dr Immelman would have met these people in any other place other than my office at the medical headquarters, I cannot think of a more straight or less surreptitious place than the surgeon-general's office. All these meetings took place in my office, at times when I was not available, when I was absent or for reasons that I cannot remember, in no way, and it's also mentioned there, code names were not used, I never ascribed to code names to anyone, except that I made it quite clear to Dr Immelman that his identity with regards to the other people in the unit or who were messengers or whatever they were, that his identity then must be concealed, because at that stage not one of the people who were involved knew that Roodeplaat was a front company who does this kind of work, so if there was any reasons which looks surreptitiously, it would be because to ensure and conceal the identity of Dr Immelman and Roodeplaat, so I'm not aware of any meetings which took place in cafés or shops, I'm only aware of those that took place legitimately in my office.

MR VALLY: You see, Dr Immelman states that when he delivered items to various people, he would put their initials next to the date, and as you can see, for TRC52, he's got three initials at various times, JK, which he told us was Johan Koertzen, C for Chris and K for Koos. He also indicates in this affidavit, that where he didn't indicate who he gave it to, it would normally have been to you. Now, TRC52 seems to bear him out. Why, for example let's take the issue of, I'm looking for the sodium cyanide on the 20th of June 1989, do you see it on your list?

DR BASSON: Which date is that?

MR VALLY: 20th of June '89.

DR BASSON: Yes, that's correct.

MR VALLY: Now this is an extremely lethal substance, would you agree?

DR BASSON: That is correct, yes.

MR VALLY: For what conceivable purpose would 50 of these capsules be delivered to Koos, can you give us a possible explanation?

DR BASSON: Chairperson, firstly I do not know the reception of 50 capsules. It is possible that it was given. We did work with it periodically. Natrium cyanide is a well-known chemical substance which works very quickly and the result of a mistake is very evident. Several instances we used natrium cyanide in training and I accept it was used for education or training and with the 50 bodies, I really don't know what to say. There were no 50 attempts made to kill people. I repeat once again that all these products were used legitimately for research and training, and I confirm once again that I do not recognise a link between myself and this list, I do not know this list, I did not draw up this list, I do not know how he marked the list and I cannot give you any connections between Koos or Jan or whoever, because I do not know.

ADV POTGIETER: This issue, was it treated covertly?

DR BASSON: Adv Potgieter, the affair was handled covertly inasfar as it concealed the identity of Dr Immelman and Roodeplaat. Obviously the training wasn't handled covertly, even though there were very small groups, I talk of small groups of trained agents which were deployed in different parts of the world and they had to receive this kind of training, but the covertness thereof was in order to protect the identity of Immelman and Roodeplaat.

ADV POTGIETER: And these lists in TRC52, were they delivery lists, were records of deliveries?

DR BASSON: I do not know at all, Advocate Potgieter, I did not draw up this list, it's not my list, it's not my work, I was confronted with this the first time in February '97, so I cannot explain to you this list. I've already said that I do recognise some of these products and I do recognise some of the combinations, but it's not my list.

ADV POTGIETER: But does it seem as if it's a record of products or substances which were delivered to people who are not really identified in these documents?

DR BASSON: It looks to me like a list of products and mixtures, whether it's a delivery list, I do not know. It might as well have been a production list, I do not know.

ADV POTGIETER: And those names, do they look like code names to you?

DR BASSON: I don't see any names, I only see letters, I don't understand what the names or the letters mean, I did not write them there, I really do not know.


MR VALLY: You see - sorry.

DR RANDERA : Dr Basson, did you at any time request from Roodeplaat Laboratories, let's forget the list, the substances that we're talking about for the experimental purposes that you've been referring to, or is this just theory on your part as well that it's a possibility that this was produced? What I'm asking is, did you at any time request, for these practical and experimental purposes that you've referred to, any of these substances?

DR BASSON: Most of these substances and the combinations thereof were recommendations coming from Roodeplaat from their people. I cannot remember that I specifically requested for substance X, Y or Z. That I needed training substances and requested it, yes, and at some point, yes I did request some of these substances, for example the cholera, I do remember asking for a sample once, on the request of another party where we did certain genetic identification work with regards to it. Yes, some of these type of products, I can't tell you it's these products, but some of these type of products were used and requested for certain training purposes.

DR RANDERA: So besides the one time that you requested this yourself, are you surprised, as the head of this operation, at the number of items that appear on this list, it may have been collected over a period of time, but you yourself are only aware of one time where you requested this, and you're the head of this operation?

DR BASSON: I apologise, I expressed myself badly, I did not mean that I said I requested it only once, I used the cholera as an example, several times I did ask for certain equipment with regards to training purposes, and this could have included some of these items, the amount of times I cannot remember. If I look at the extent of the training and the extent of the research, I'd think that this is a minimal amount of things, and the extent of such a list would not surprise me, it's a small amount of substances, it's only the items, to make an allegation that you wanted to commit mass murder with any of these is, it's a flight of fantasy.

DR RANDERA: So, as I understand it, as the head of this operation, you could go to Roodeplaats at any time and say to Dr Immelman, as the head of the Microbiology Section there, "I'd like this for experimental purposes", and it would be produced for you, or what I'm trying to understand is, what's the process? From my understanding of what Dr Immelman said and what you've been saying, clearly they were involved in experimental work, now yet we have a complete list of substances, and I'm willing to accept your bona fides that this was for experimental purposes, but what I'm trying to understand is, how does this request come through? Is it only you, as the head of the operation, who would be able to request these sort of substances, because you would accept, I mean even for lay people on the panel and listening, people will say these are potentially harmful substances, destructive substances. Yes, I mean I can pick up any medical textbook and it would tell me what the effects of cholera is and of salmonella typhirium is, but in the amounts that they were being produced, who would have that power to be requesting it, whether for experimental purposes or other purposes?

DR BASSON: Chairperson, on Dr Immelman's evidence alone, it's obvious that I wasn't closely linked to him, there was also this Chris and Koos and Karel or whatever, and I can't remember who they were, I was definitely one of the contacts with Roodeplaat, but it's not crazy to think that other people in this project also had contacts with Roodeplaat, it could have been straight from (indistinct) with regards to certain work they must have been doing, so I don't remember it, but it could have been possible, so I'm not saying I was the only person. It would also seem from the case from Dr Immelman's affidavit, that there were other people who could have been involved and who was working with other projects, and as leader of this project, I was daily too busy to look at every aspect. So no, the answer is I was not the only channel, there were probably more than one channel and I was not the only person who could make that request.

DR RANDERA: Dr Basson, sorry, I understand from these names that are being - Koos and the others that have been put forward, what I'm trying to understand, you as the head of this programme, are you aware of other people who could make these sort of requests? Are you suggesting that Dr Immelman had a parallel structure going perhaps with other agents who could request these sort of substances, which you aren't aware of, or was there other channels under you whereby people could go to Roodeplaats and say, "Listen, I want 20 bottles of beer with paraquat in it", and how would that be reported to you, as the head of this structure?

DR BASSON: Again I want to repeat, Chairperson, that I was not responsible as leader of this project for everything that happened, there were several people involved in the training teams, so the instructors who are available who use these things on a daily basis, and for the layman this list must look very impressive, but in fact it's just basic chemicals which could have been obtained at any specific place. Some of these people could have gone and done it on their own, but on our side, the reception side, there would have been a record when we received these things and how we used them. So within the limits which is placed on such a structure, we were happy that there was efficient control of these substances.


MR VALLY: Dr Basson, just give us an example of what experiments you would carry out with 50 capsules of cyanide?

DR BASSON: I cannot remember the specific case, and I can also not comment on this right now, there are several training techniques which cyanide could have been used for. Remember Roodeplaat did some capsuling. I remember at one point we were doing specific work on free radical poisons which were invented by the Russians, where we used cyanide as a model for the treatment thereof, but further, except for that, I cannot remember. The capsuling could have been done only because it was a measure to dose and then it enabled the researchers not to have to go and look at the doses the whole time.

MR VALLY: You see, we have the advantage of having heard evidence from the doctor who manufactured this, Dr Odendal, and from the doctor who delivered the substances, we have his affidavit, Dr Immelman. Besides the cholera which would cause an academic, according to the evidence given to us by Dr Odendal, a lot of the other substances on this list could very easily kill quite a few people. Sure, it may not be thousands, but certainly a lot of these were lethal items. Would you accept that? 

DR BASSON: Chairperson, I'm glad we're moving away from the level of genocide, so you're getting towards a smaller scale here. I'd once again like to repeat what I've said to Mr Vally, and I don't know how to make it more clear, I do not think that Dr Odendal would have prepared cyanide capsules, I don't think he actually knows how to make cyanide. As far as the rest of the stuff is concerned, I once again want to repeat, these chemicals are chemicals you can buy in a shop, you can go and get them. If we had some sinister need, why would I use Roodeplaat to do this? There was enough capability in other places without using Roodeplaat. Roodeplaat was meant to put models there and to do certain research with regards to treatment and antidotes.

MR VALLY: My question is, these items on this list, were they potentially lethal, at least some of them?

DR BASSON: Mr Chairman, I'm going to handle this question in an absurd way. Just as easy as any bottle of Dettol can be potentially poisonous, one bottle of Dettol is more dangerous than Virodene, because it kills the Aids virus, but it also kills the carrier. To say whether these were potentially lethal is senseless. I can't see why this argument is made. It's not more potentially lethal than a bottle of Dettol.

MR VALLY: Thank you. You know I don't think people buy capsules of cyanide over the counter, but let's go on, there seems to be a preoccupation with trying to find substances which are colourless and odourless and are lethal without being traceable in post-mortems, I'm talking about items such as brodifarcum and monansin (?). What do you say about that?

DR BASSON: Mr Chairman, I'm going to answer that question. I've made out this matter for myself that I will complete TRC52 because we've started with that. I'm answering that question because it's an expansion of TRC52. If Mr Vally does not regard it as an expansion of TRC52, I want to tell you that I cannot answer the question because I don't have competent legal counsel. If he can assure me that this is about TRC52, I will continue.

The concept of a colourless, odourless, tasteless substance which can kill people is certainly an ideal which every country in the world has had for years. We can present documentation with the International Association of Police Chiefs already in the 1970's wrote thick documents how their task has been made difficult by the new generation of chemicals which are odourless and tasteless, thallium acetate can have no taste. We know that thallium is tasteless because the acid which you add to that, that tastes like vinegar. Odourless, tasteless is - with the Abiola sterk geval in Nigeria we had the example where some people held a post-mortem on his body, because these various toxins are there, and they said they could not find anything, because there's a large contingent of people who do not believe that. Every research, and it was part of my duty to protect the South African community or society against such an onslaught. From a defensive point of view, we looked at these substances without odour or taste. Professor Folb would say that that is just something which one cannot believe easily, there is no such thing as that. If you look at the research you can find with the right equipment you can trace anything. Work was done to identify these substances, but it's not something different from work being done world-wide, it wasn't a strange work and there was no preoccupation with this type of work, we did not give preference to this against ordinary defensive measures.

MR VALLY: With respect to your answer, Dr Basson, what would your comment be in relation to what Dr Van Rensburg said, he said,

"The most frequent instruction we obtained from Dr Basson and Dr Swanepoel was to develop something with which you could kill an individual which would make his death resemble a natural death and that something was to be not detectable in a normal forensic laboratory, that was the chief aim of Roodeplaat Research Laboratory's covert side".

DR BASSON: Mr Chairman, the only comment I have is that one day I'm going to write the story of my life, it will be difficult to decide between Lakar(?) and Van Rensburg. I think Van Rensburg would do a better job than Lakar.

MR VALLY: Well are you saying, because you've just told us earlier that it was a prized after notion to try and find this odourless, colourless toxic or lethal substance, this is what Dr Van Rensburg says?

MR BASSON: Mr Chairman, I want to repeat, it was at a certain stage that everybody goes through that phase that they want this colourless, odourless, lethal substance, until you start reading about it and doing research. I'm repeating, it was part of our defensive project to do research whether something like that was possible, and I want to tell you, in this world of the chemical and biological warfare, it's the world where there is the most misleading happenings world-wide. What is the threat of the CBW? Not the substance, but the threat surrounding these substances. It's easy to say that one gram of a substance can kill a million people, but it's difficult to get one million people to stand in a row and inject all of them.

The whole concept, and I want to say it, the reason why CBW contains such a threat is because of the risk it entails. If I fight against an enemy and I know that he has chemical weapons and he throws some or other projectile on my troops and there's some or other red smoke and some or other person complains that his eyes are burning, what should I do in that regard? All that I can do for that person is say, "Put on your protective clothing" because I, as a commanding officer, do not have the ability to decide within a few seconds what has landed on you, whether it was a lethal substance, so the soldier uses his protective clothing, and that means the effectivity is diminished by 60%, he can't hear, he can't run, so he cannot fight, but the enemy who threw that on me, he knows exactly what he has thrown on me and he could have made the necessary preparations to safeguard his troops, or they could have told them, "Leave the clothes, just use the masks", in other words the enemy's effectivity remains the same, and this substance which he throws on me, we do not know what it is, just the threat that they can use something on me, that is what CBW is about, it is about making the playing fields unequal, and I want to force my enemy to take in a certain stand where he has to demobilise himself by using protective clothes and he is diminishing his capabilities to fight. If you can't see, hear or run, it's impossible to fight. These are cardinal elements of warfare. The problem is that the toxic potential of most of these substances are over-emphasised. Where once we helped the Americans out of a predicament, where they heard that the Russians had developed a new CBW substance which goes through all filters and defence mechanisms. Through our channels, we obtained that from Russia and we analysed it and we saw that it goes through every defence mechanism, and the western countries were hysterical about this. Our approach was a bit different. We were not worried because it went through all the filters... (intervention).

MR VALLY: Dr Basson, I'm sorry, I haven't been cutting you short, because I realise you don't have legal representation and I have to be a bit gentler now, but we hear you, that's your whole overall thesis as to why the CBW programme was started, but coming back towards the question was... (intervention).

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Vally, can I have an indication how long you are still going to be?

MR VALLY: I would say, Mr Chairperson, approximately an hour 15 minutes.

CHAIRPERSON: I do not know if, Mr Vally, that's the length of time that I am ready to sit.

MR VALLY: We can take a short break if you want, Mr Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: I do not intend to take a short break, I intend to impose a time limit, I am definitely not sitting beyond half past seven, that's the worst I can sit.

MR VALLY: As the Chair pleases. The question that I started asking before your long answer was simply this, there seemed to be a preoccupation, and Dr Van Rensburg said so as well, with finding colourless, odourless toxic substances which cannot be traced in post-mortems, and you responded earlier on that that was a phase you were going through until you learnt otherwise. Am I to understand you correctly?

DR BASSON: No, I didn't say it was a phase we went through, I said it's a phase that most countries have gone through. We went through that phase rather more quickly than most other people, because we had the advantage of their technical information which we could use.

MR VALLY: So there was a period when we were looking for those substances?

DR BASSON: No, Mr Vally, I'm going to say this for the last time, we were not looking for those substances. It was part of my instruction to watch out for the possibility that those substances were there. My instructions to researchers were clear, "If you obtain any information or hear about or have certain flights of fancy, do research about this so that we can develop the necessary protective measures for the South African society at large".

MR VALLY: So the research into brodifarcum and monansin was not related to this?

DR BASSON: Mr Chairman, I can't, really can't remember where the brodifarcum and monansin research fitted into this whole picture, I can't comment on this, it's been years since I've last worked with this substance, whether those are tasteless, odourless or colourless, I don't know. If it so, it could be possible that the research could have been done and then we had to determine whether this was a threat for the South African society in its whole, or whether on an individual basis against certain agents. I want to tell you that these tasteless, odourless, colourless substances, and I'm glad I'm not going to be involved in that in September, in the non-aligned conference is going to be held in September, South Africa is going to see what is protective measures for heads of states and dignitaries, because there are long, bizarre protective measures to protect their dignitaries. We didn't do more or less than any other country in the world would have done.

MR CHASKALSON: Mr Vally has urgently gone to answer the call of nature and apologises. He requested a two minute recess whilst just ....

CHAIRPERSON: We'll take a two minute recess, or Dr Randera, do you want to step into the breach?

DR RANDERA: Dr Basson, maybe we can take up this time by some questions that I've been wanting to ask you.

DR BASSON: You're stacking the odds against me now, I'm supposed to be facing one at a time.

DR RANDERA: Unless you want to also answer to the call of nature.

DR BASSON: If I do, I'll request a 45 minute break for that.

DR RANDERA: Prostatism ! Alright. Dr Basson, I want to take you back to what you said this morning about your entry really into the world of chemical and biological warfare, and that was that conference you went to in 1981, well, around that, 1982?

DR BASSON: Ja, that wasn't, the conference wasn't the entry point, the entry point was before that.

DR RANDERA: Sure, okay, but I believe it was... (intervention).

DR BASSON: The conference was one of the consequences.

DR RANDERA: It was part of the build-up towards this programme. And when asked the question as to how, because you said it was relatively easy to be accepted by your fellow scientists, you were going there with your MD in cardiology and interacting with these individuals, and part of the rationale, as I understood you saying people accepted you so easily was that there was this, there was the cold war going on, and the fear of what the Eastern Bloc may have achieved, was in the process of achieving, now what I'm trying to understand about that period is that, you know if one looks at, particularly the countries you mentioned, the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, that really was the height of the anti-apartheid movement developing, there was a consciousness, there was a snowballing effect taking place in Europe, but yet you're saying that amongst scientists the more major concern, here you were, you know, an affirmative action appointee from the eighties... (intervention).

DR BASSON: With potential, no ability.

DR RANDERA: ...going and travelling into these countries, being accepted, as you say, your qualifications seemed to be accepted without too many questions. You were quite straightforward with them and they were willing to share your viewpoints, and so what I'm trying to understand is, are you saying that scientists were more concerned about Eastern Bloc potential threat and communist threat than what was happening in South Africa, that there wasn't a concern by them towards the plight of millions of black people in this country?

DR BASSON: Dr Randera, I think that's a slightly loaded question, but I'll try and answer it to the best of my ability. I personally did not experience the anti-apartheid feeling in Europe. When I was there, I was not influenced by that. That was not part, and I'm not for or against that, I only experienced that the scientists I had contact with were worried about weapons of mass destruction, because they had the potential to be very harmful, when we saw in Tokyo, for example, with the subway incident. The assistance I obtained was direct and indirect. Some of the scientists were really worried about what the Eastern Bloc countries were doing. Some of the scientists were more worried about what was happening in their own countries, and much of the information I gathered came from physicians for human rights. What they did, they watched their governments so carefully to make sure that nothing would happen and they used the democratic systems in their own countries to obtain information and to force information from the government, and then they don't sell it, but they tell it to everybody else. The same way in which SIPRI, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute handled their affairs. We know that was a cover-up for the Eastern Bloc countries, because they were collecting databases of old chemical and biological warfare research countrywide and then made it available to embarrass the relevant countries.

The answer I want to give you is a combination of yes, a great number of these scientists were afraid of the Eastern Bloc countries and saw us as a channel through which their problems could be addressed, and many of them were also worried about what their own governments were doing, and anybody who had a sympathetic ear, not about apartheid but about their own political situation in their countries, and that's why they provided us with information.

Apart from my South African passport making it very difficult for me to travel, I did not experience the apartheid problem in the scientific world, and there was no discrimination against me in that regard.

DR RANDERA: I see Mr Vally has returned, so let me hand over.

MR VALLY: Thank you for the indulgence, Mr Chair. Dr Basson, can you explain to us why is it that General Knobel's attitude when he saw this list, TRC52, and it was put to him that these were items amounting to murder weapons in a sense, he conceded that?

DR BASSON: Mr Chairman, my legal adviser advised me not to speculate any comment on why General Knobel thought. What he was thinking is speculation, I please don't want to speculate, I don't know why he had said that. All I can say is from my own experience that that list is nothing more dramatic than you will find something in a corporation in a rural area regarding poisonous effect.

MR VALLY: It's a strange place you shop, Dr Basson, because cyanide capsules and paraquat in whisky and salmonella in sugar and thallium in beer and typhirium in deodorant, etcetera, etcetera, is not something one buys at the normal supermarket, but my question... (intervention).

DR BASSON: Mr Chairman, I've already commented on this. Will you please ask Mr Vally not to repeat these allegations. I can't deny that again.

MR VALLY: Did General Knobel know about these items?

DR BASSON: I can't say that General Knobel knew about this. He knew about the defensive programme and that this defensive programme was executed on a broader level. In the sense of counter-intelligence, for example, General Knobel knew about that. To ask him whether he was aware of the specific list is to ask the same if I was aware of this list. I was not.

MR VALLY: You were the project officer, he was the project manager. Did he know that you were making such substances, such combinations of... (intervention).

DR BASSON: Once again, I can't answer that question. It's just like asking me whether I know that the theatre sister has not sterilised the instruments this morning. This is operationally a very low level, much lower than which Knobel functioned on. He was aware of the concept, yes.

MR VALLY: Right. So he was aware that you were mixing thallium with beer, he was aware of that? 

DR BASSON: Mr Chairman, I've already answered the question, I've said General Knobel was aware of the concept. I'm going to say that for the last time. I don't know whether he was aware of every single substance, I don't know whether he was aware of this list, I did not know about the list.

CHAIRPERSON: Do you think you can take it further than that, Mr Vally?

MR VALLY: Well I just want it noted that when this was put to General Knobel, he did look quite aghast and he agreed that these were instruments of murder.

CHAIRPERSON: Well, the witness doesn't seem to be saying that should not have been so, he says he was aware of the concept, but whether he knew the specifics, for instance whether he knew that there was that particular list with that sort of contents, he cannot say.

MR VALLY: Well, if we ignore the fact of the list, was he aware of these specific ingredients being mixed together, forgetting the list?

CHAIRPERSON: Well if you can put that to the witness.

MR VALLY: Dr Basson, did General Knobel know about these specific mixtures of items, these combinations?

DR BASSON: My answer remains the same as the previous answers, I don't know.

MR VALLY: So it was possible that the project manager was kept in the dark?

DR BASSON: Mr Chairman, no, I refuse to answer that question, because the question is so broad, I'm not a legal person, but to ask whether the project leader was held in the dark, it's such a broad question I can't answer.

MR VALLY: In respect to these mixtures of items, where toxins were mixed with normal everyday substances, was General Knobel aware that lethal toxins were being mixed with everyday substances?

CHAIRPERSON: But has he not replied to that? He says he doesn't know. That's what he has said, that's what I have heard him say over and over again, he does not know, he doesn't know what General Knobel... (intervention).

MR VALLY: Mr Chair, I disagree with you, with respect. I'm trying to determine whether, what concept means, concept may just refer to that the... (intervention).

CHAIRPERSON: Very well, Mr Vally, put your questions.

MR VALLY: For the very last time, Dr Basson, did General Knobel know that you were experimenting with mixing thallium with beer, for example, or whisky with paraquat, that is toxins with everyday substances that you could buy in normal shops, did General Knobel know this? 

DR BASSON: For the very last time, I don't know.

MR VALLY: I put it to you that the fact that you can state such a thing means that you were not responsibly accounting for your activities to General Knobel?

DR BASSON: Mr Chairman, this is a conclusion I cannot agree with. In the broad context of this project, this would have only been a small part of this project, to allege that there was not a responsibility in accountability because Knobel did not know about thallium in beer is just absolutely absurd.

MR VALLY: We move on from TRC52. There was a question that you started answering and then we moved off that topic. This question related to whether you were aware of any scientific basis for considering, and I used the drugs dagga, mandrax, cocaine, ecstasy, whether you were aware of any scientific research in which these items were used as incapacitants. You then responded by giving us an explanation what incapacitants were. I want to hone my question a bit further. My question is simply this, are you aware of any published scientific research in any journal internationally where any of these substances have been discussed as incapacitants in the sense of being part of a chemical and biological warfare programme

DR BASSON: Chairperson, at this point I'd like to explain to you that we've moved away from TRC52 now and Mr Vally's question to me before was simply was I aware of any scientific basis and I tried to explain that to him. If Mr Vally's going to continue with regards to these incapacitants, then I'd have to excuse myself and say that I cannot answer these questions because I do not have competent legal representation, except I would like to make one general comment, that if Mr Vally thinks that in general, with regards to chemical biological warfare research, at the head of the line in the general literature all over the world, it was ever published, then he lives on Planet Zero, he doesn't live on earth. What would appear in international publications is basic pharmacological research. I think there's enough pharmacological basis to describe all these substances as incapacitants. You cannot drive a vehicle because you smoke grass, therefore it is an incapacitant, and the same goes for cocaine and several other of the substances mentioned. So I don't think it has to be described in international publications, I think the government forced us to expose this project to the American and the British Intelligence Services, and there was questioning for six days and none of the Americans or the English expressed surprise that we've been doing this research. As a matter of fact, a lot of them came to certain realisations and I think we did cause a bit of proliferation there when we gave the information where they thought they wouldn't receive any, and that's as far as I'm prepared to answer that question.


MR VALLY: You see, Dr Basson, it was a lot more than just experiments. We have submitted documentation to you which shows that Delta G, under the auspices of Project Coast, of which you were the project officer, manufactured 1 000kg of methaqualone, the active ingredient of mandrax, it manufactured 1 000kg of ecstasy, you personally arranged for the importation of at least 500kg of methaqualone or mandrax from Croatia, you were personally given at least 200 000 mandrax tablets, 250kg of dagga, handed to you by General Neethling for you to put in the boot of your car without any documents which you had signed for it. We're not talking about small quantities for experimentation, we're talking about huge quantities. How do you explain the fact that you were manufacturing such large quantities of illegal substances?

DR BASSON: Chairperson, it's late, I'm tired, can you please ask Mr Vally to make his questions short, I lose him halfway through his question. I'd answer his question in this manner: it's not so that General Neethling just gave us drugs. There are signatures, there are delivery proofs of everything that he's given us. That's available at the police forensic laboratory and we signed for everything we received. So it wasn't like it was in the boot of my car. By chance it was loaded into the boot of my car, because that's the only transport we had available to us, we didn't have Coin Security to work for us, the fact of the matter remains the quantities of which one speaks here is not as absurd as Mr Vally makes it to be. Has Mr Vally got any idea what the monthly use of mandrax is in Cape Town? If you can convey that to him, he'd probably find a completely different perspective with regards to this 1 000kg, and we have difficulty getting these facts from the South Africa Police, basically because they do not know, but if you go to look at projection figures and that which they confiscate, then one can accept that a 5% effectivity of the South African Police Department today is quite an acceptable level of success, then we talk about that 1 000 of kilogram, it's probably used up within a month or two in totality. So I don't know why Mr Vally is concerned about 1 000kg, half of it was burnt and half of it was anyway thrown away, and we did it to create a pyrotechnic mechanism, and before I could finalise that, I used hundreds of kilograms to find the right recipe, you just don't throw a chemical substance into another mixture and then set fire to it, you've got to test different proportions, different quantities, different temperatures, and the problem with pyrotechnics is that you lose about 80% of your actual substance, a great variety of experiments must be done in order to check this combustion reaction, so one uses hundreds and hundreds of kilograms in an effort to do this research.

So as far as the quantities are concerned, all I can tell you is that, in the broad spectrum of things, if Mr Vally wants to allege that these substances reached the streets, then I'd like to say that we could have made a month or two difference in the amount of time people's been using that drug. To determine the amount of mandrax, thousands of kilograms a day is produced in India, which is spread all over the world. So to talk about 1 000 or 1 500kg against the background of the years and years of abuse, then it's nothing. It was one confiscation, they were all packed in the same manner, so it was the result of one confiscation by the police, and there were hundreds and hundreds of confiscations in the last few years. So the quantities has to be placed into perspective, it's not absolute quantities.

CHAIRPERSON: Would those remarks also cover the quantity that has been mentioned in respect of ecstasy?

DR BASSON: In the broad context, yes. And probably much more, because the amphetamine preparations are more acceptable than the methaqualone ones, for the user that is.


DR RANDERA: So, Dr Basson, are we to understand from what you're saying that although we have this report of the production of 1 000kgs of mandrax and 1 000kgs of ecstasy by Delta G, from what you say in terms of experimental use, you probably used much more than that, and therefore was that being produced by Delta G and we're not aware of that, or did you get, was the extra kilograms of mandrax or ecstasy or cocaine or whatever substance you were using, was that received by other purposes?

DR BASSON: Dr Randera, we are moving very close to the detail of the criminal case. I would like to answer you as follows, by saying that the amounts which were produced by Delta G in totality was not enough to make a real difference in the South African narcotics market. As far as I know, and I'm prepared to stand at this fact... (intervention).

DR RANDERA: I'm not even referring to the narcotics market... (intervention).

DR BASSON: Ja, okay.

DR RANDERA: ...I'm referring to the experimental use that you're referring to.

DR BASSON: That's part of the problem, because at this stage there is conflict between myself and the people who are bringing charges against me with regards to how much was used and where it is, so everything which was manufactured was either used in research or destroyed, and that's as far as I'll go to answer that question. I can give you the assurance that those substances did not reach the streets of South Africa.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Vally, in the following 20 minutes.

MR VALLY: You see, Dr Basson, and it would be nice if you gave us quantities of mandrax being used in Cape Town just now, but from your understanding, it takes 150mg of methaqualone to produce one mandrax tablet, so 1 000kg would be approximately six million tablets, six million, and we're also talking therefore, if you take the price of a mandrax tablet, as I've been advised the average price is about R25,00, just for the 1 000kg of mandrax, we're talking about 150 million rands worth on the streets. In terms of the ecstasy, if you work on a price of R100,00 an ecstasy tablet, we're talking about 600 million rands worth on the street of ecstasy, we're talking about huge sums of money potentially available to anyone who produces the substances and puts it on the street. Now... (intervention).

DR BASSON: Chairperson, this is a long question. I've already forgotten what he said in the first few sentences.

MR VALLY: Now, would not the temptation be extremely great to manufacture these substances for your own profit?

DR BASSON: Mr Vally, for the last three days I was tempted by the girl behind me. We're all subjected to temptations. The fact that the temptation was there does not mean that I succumbed to that.

MR VALLY: I see.

DR BASSON: And first I'd like to answer that Mr Vally must sort out his facts.

CHAIRPERSON: You are making that lady blush, Doctor, she's blushing, she's crimson red with blushing, please.

DR BASSON: I was hoping to achieve more than that, Mr... (intervention).

CHAIRPERSON: Well... (intervention).

DR BASSON: I just want to correct Mr Vally, I'm not a pharmacologist, but I'm not sure that 150mg methaqualone is the right ingredients, then the Indian manufacturers probably dropped their standards, because the original mandrax which was sold in pharmacies had 250mg in it, so as far as the quantities are concerned, when mandrax, mandrax was still recently a legitimate sleeping tablet, until some brilliant street, I don't know what to call them, some or other user decided to smoke it, and that is how it's used, you don't drink it anymore, you smoke it together with dagga. So if you want to allege that six million tablets could be made from this, then he's never been in a factory, because you can't provide for every 250mg, there's losses on both sides, so I don't want to comment on his projections, but I'd like to say that at the worst the projections he's made are uninformed, and the financial side of things, I'm not sure if Mr Vally's figures are correct or not, I don't buy mandrax on the street level, R25,00 sounds quite like a bargain to me, because I thought it's a bit higher. I do not know if I can give any further comment on account of what Mr Vally just said.


MR VALLY: There has been a request from my colleague here that Dr Wouter Basson withdraw his sexist comment regarding the young lady behind him.

DR BASSON: Chairperson, if I offended anybody in this audience, including this young girl, I really apologise, I didn't mean to do anybody harm or to take anybody in the face. I'd stand on my knees if I have to, I don't know how you can ask for an apology more.

MR VALLY: If you manufactured 1 000kg of methaqualone or mandrax at Delta G... (intervention).

DR BASSON: Can I just make one comment, I just want to, I was actually interested in her cooking ability, if it was thought that I'm interested in anything else, then that's not the case.

MR VALLY: I think Dr Basson is being frivolous and ridiculous now. I think I'm treating him gently, because he has no legal representation and he's taking advantage, sir. I think he must be put in his place and (indistinct).

CHAIRPERSON: No, Mr Vally, no, Mr Vally, please, please, can we take into account my time limits that I've put, and I will stick by them. You are wasting more time now by this.

MR VALLY: Well let's go on, Mr Chair, thank you. If you had the capacity to manufacture methaqualone and you manufactured 1 000kg, why was it necessary for you to go to Croatia and order another, buy another 500kg from Croatia?

DR BASSON: Chairperson, that question's got a direct bearing on my criminal case, and without competent legal representation, I cannot answer that question, except by confirming, like I've said before, that all methaqualone which was obtained was either used or destroyed.

MR VALLY: I put it to you that the 2 300 000 US dollars which were used allegedly to purchase this methaqualone from Croatia either was not paid or alternatively that the methaqualone itself was not used for the purposes that ostensibly you claimed it was used for? 

DR BASSON: Chairperson, Mr Vally's now asked two questions. Could he ask me which one he wants to ask me, because I don't know what he wants to know?

MR VALLY: Well, you deal with them one at a time. You were given 2 300 000 US dollars by virtue of a phone call to your friend, Jacome, he was to disperse this money. There was no control over it except by you. Do you accept that?

DR BASSON: Chairperson, no, Mr Vally is on an area now which has got direct bearing on my court case, I dispute the facts as he's put it there, there was no such system where I could receive 2 300 000 dollars or francs or anything else, that's not true. There was a specific procedure in which the approval had to be given to funds, and in the broad terms there was control over this and I cannot give him any further answer to that question, except to say that it's untrue that it was on whim phone call by myself it was handled and furthermore I cannot answer any further questions, it's a new terrain, this is a new area and it's got direct bearing on my criminal court case.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Vally, with respect, I mean in view of everything else, from time constraints and everything, do you have questions that might, I understand what you're trying to say, but do you have questions that would impact on gross violations of human rights and perpetrations thereof, rather than matters that border on economic crimes?

MR VALLY: With respect, Mr Chair, and I won't be much longer on this issue of the drugs, but mandrax in particular has been a scourge in our communities, amongst our youth, particularly in the black townships, and there's certainly allegations, a thread of allegations running through this entire hearing, that it's possible that people like Dr Wouter Basson purposely enslaved our youths for their own purposes.

DR BASSON: Can I please interrupt this political discussion now? There's no indication that mandrax was ever produced in this project, it was basically methaqualone and derivatives thereof, which is one of the substances of mandrax, produced, we produced that. It's not mandrax which was produced. If Mr Vally can give me evidence of one mandrax tablet, then I'll tell you then I'll be very surprised, there is no such evidence. Everything which was produced, and that was methaqualone and the derivatives, in order to facilitate absorption in combustion techniques. Mandrax was a scourge in the Eastern communities long before this project actually existed, we did not invent this and we did not spread this. We are not responsible for any enslavement of anyone, and if Mr Vally is making allegations like that again, then I would have to stop taking part in the answers to these questions. It's unfair to put it that way, there's no evidence and there's also no allegations as far as I know.

MR VALLY: Mr Chair, I want to finish off the drugs allegations, because I want to move on to another item, but there are allegations, and I will put it to - if the Chair permits me, regarding time, but there's two issues that I want to quickly deal with, and I have to move faster. You are aware of the Drug and Drug Trafficking Act No 140/92, Dr Basson? If you are not, say yes or no.

DR BASSON: Chairperson, I'm not a legal person.

MR VALLY: Fine. I will read you what part 3 of this Act says, under the heading:-


it says:-

"Methaqualone, including mandrax, isonox, Quaalude(?) or any other preparation containing methaqualone and known by any other trade name."

Clearly in terms of the legislation, mandrax is a trade name for methaqualone. So let us not fool around with that issue.

DR BASSON: That's not true, Chairperson, he's basically raping basic scientific knowledge. Methaqualone is one of the substances of mandrax. Mandrax has got a different one, diphenhydromine(?), which is also part of mandrax, which is a more addictive substance. So you'll find it in cough medicine and other medicine which has got anti-histamine, and it's actually treated by that. So to make an allegation that methaqualone alone is addictive is absolute rubbish, there's no such thing, it's the combinations which cause the effect. If mandrax was so addictive, would the user find it necessary to mix it with dagga? Mandrax is not used on its own. So you have a combination of three substances which work on the brain at one time. Addiction is parallel to the amounts used, and not about one specific substance. So I'd like Mr Vally to just stop raping basic science.

MR VALLY: I think Dr Basson fell into it with his cholera argument and I will repeat what I've said about methaqualone. Methaqualone itself was no better than what we know as mandrax, and the point is that in terms of our legislation in this country, methaqualone in itself is as evily regarded as mandrax, it's contained in the same sentence. However, I want to move on from this item... (intervention).

DR BASSON: I'd like to point out to Mr Vally that weapons and ammunition are also controlled in this country.

MR VALLY: I accept his explanation, we'll make our conclusion about it before, he's wasting time purposely. I also want to talk about an affidavit by Mr Jacome, Annexure G3, which Dr Basson has been given. This was an affidavit made by Dr Jacome, who was used by Dr Basson to transmit money to Croatia to buy methaqualone. This affidavit was made at the South African Embassy in Bonn on the 21st of January 1987 I believe. No, no, I beg your pardon, it looks like there was a mistake here, on the 13th day of August 1994, I beg your pardon. He says:-

"During November 1992, Dr Basson arranged for an amount of 2,3 million US dollars to be transferred to my existing bank account in Zagreb."

He goes on:-

"A few days after the money was transferred to my bank account, I received a telephone call from Dr Basson and he instructed me to effect two payments in cash of 450 000 US dollars."

One can go on with a number of these documents, and we in fact put it to General Knobel that Dr Basson, just by using the telephone, was able to control millions of US dollars, and General Knobel conceded this. I put it to you, by virtue of this affidavit, that you are being dishonest at this hearing when you say that you were not in control of such sums of money, in sole control, where the person on the other end receives a phone call from you to give it to someone else who gives certain codes, that you are being disingenuous with this Commission again when you say that you were not in control of such large sums of money?

DR BASSON: Chairperson, can I please answer this question? I find this upsetting, because we're once again moving in the economic area and instead of we're sticking to human rights violations, but if Mr Vally wants the answer, I'll give it to him. The basic process of financial control in the South African Defence Force and specifically Project Coast, worked as follows. Annually there was a budget meeting and during this budget meeting certain goals and objectives were approved and specific amounts of money was allocated to them. After these amounts were allocated, the projects for the year were then further implemented. When the money was needed for a specific goal, the CCC or the financial management work group got together and if the amount was above a certain level, I can't remember the level, then approval was once again given that this amount of money be spent. Now if this amount had to be spent, General Knobel wrote an authorisation where he authorises the spending of the amount of money. If the spending of that money was authorised, then I could have taken that authorisation to the financial official of the project, and then he could get the funds to flow. I had no signing authorisation, there was no way for me to control it. If there were transfers to abroad, then we received authorisation from the South African Reserve Bank. The CCC went to the South African Reserve Bank and to explain to the officials why the money was needed, in broad terms of course with regards to the secrecy, and to make sure that it's an official state transfer through the proper channels. After this was done, the financial official then went back and the funds were then spent.

Once again I'd like to say I did not have control over millions of dollars, I couldn't pick up the phone and do transfers or arrange transfers, I couldn't just phone people and give them codes, there was quite an integrated approval process. I concede that at certain times when certain operational decisions were made quickly, I did have some discretion, but those discretions was not unapproved, and if I made my own discretion, it was approved de facto.

So to make an allegation that these millions was involved in any sense, firstly, in an uncontrolled process, and secondly in the violation of human rights or the buying of drugs to enslave South African people, the South African people did not need our assistance, I think they're more than willing to take their own risks and to obtain their own medicine in their own fashion, and I want to add, as far as Mr Jacome’s affidavit is concerned, I have no control over that, I was not there, I was not present when it was taken, I did not influence him, I did not take his statement down in any way, I do not know why Jacome said what he said.

CHAIRPERSON: Now, (indistinct) half past seven, which is the time that I indicated that I will not like to sit further than. I do not know whether, as an act of grace, you do not have a few questions which you can put in ten minutes.

MR VALLY: Thank you, Mr Chair. Dr Jan Lourens advised us that you instructed him to make certain applicators which were screwdrivers which had a capacity to inject or stab toxins into people, walking sticks which did something similar, or could shoot pellets of poison into people, what's your response to this allegation?

DR BASSON: My response to that allegation is the same as to TRC52, every security service has that equipment to be used and it is being used... (intervention).

MR VALLY: Dr Basson, sorry, we don't have much time, do you confirm that you did give him such instructions?

DR BASSON: To put this in perspective, I have to give the answer like what I'm doing. Mr Lourens' answer was out of perspective and I'm asking you to give as complete as possible an answer to give you the broad perspective and the full picture. The answer is as follows: every service uses this type of equipment. It was part of our research instruction to investigate these things, it was not part of my project, this was handled by the technical director of special forces, Brigadier Engelbrecht, and this was conveyed to me by him. I served as an intermediary between Engelbrecht and Lourens. If Mr Lourens was under the impression that any of those screwdrivers he made could be used, those screwdrivers without poison were lethal, they were so large and so big that you could kill a cow with that. It was important to see what the threat was, how it could be executed and how they had to be put together. There was not the intention with the instruction from my side to manufacture murder weapons and I'm not aware of any individual or any instance when these weapons were used or were being planned to use, or where anything was issued for lethal purposes, they were only issued for technical evaluation.

MR VALLY: Well, these items which were issued for technical evaluation, and you're confirming that you did instruct Dr Jan Lourens to manufacture these, Dr Jan Lourens also advised us that he was asked to deliver this murder weapon to an agent in London. What's your response to that?

DR BASSON: My answer is that Dr Jan Lourens is a miracle. Anybody who could drink a bottle of Dettol would not remember long enough... (intervention).

MR VALLY: That was not my question, Dr Basson, my question was, did you instruct Dr Jan Lourens to deliver such an item, an applicator, to an agent in London, or Britain rather?

DR BASSON: I did not give Mr Lourens instruction to deliver an applicator to an agent in London.

MR VALLY: What's your relationship to the CCB?

DR BASSON: As a member of the South African Medical Corps and I knew I had to support all elements of the Defence Force in a medical way, I was responsible for medical support to the CCB.

MR VALLY: Did you supply them with any toxins at any stage?


MR VALLY: Did you supply them with any applicators at any stage?


MR VALLY: Were you involved in any of the operations whatsoever?


MR VALLY: What kind of medical support did you give them?

DR BASSON: Medicine.

MR VALLY: What kind of medicine?

DR BASSON: Pain killers.

MR VALLY: So your only involvement with CCB was to give them pain tablets, is that what you're telling us?

DR BASSON: Mr Vally, I provided medical support to the CCB, like I provided medical support to the rest of the Defence Force, when they were ill, I treated them. If I could not do that, I arranged for their treatment. If they needed medicine, I provided medicine. If they required medical training, I provided that. I did not provide that personally, I arranged that through the unit. That was my involvement with the CCB, all-encompassing medical support to a recognised component, an official component of the Defence Force.

MR VALLY: Are you aware that Ferdi Barnard was convicted of attempted murder regarding the attempted murder of our present Justice Minister?

DR BASSON: I know nothing about Ferdi Barnard's situation.

MR VALLY: Do you know Ferdi Barnard?

DR BASSON: I've never met him before.

MR VALLY: Do you know there was an allegation that Ferdi Barnard was supposed to introduce a toxin into an item of food which the present Minister of Justice would consume and then get a heart attack, are you aware of such an allegation?

DR BASSON: I am not aware of such an allegation, but I would view it in the same light as that the British wanted to poison Hitler by putting poison in his water. I did not try to compare the present Minister of Justice with Hitler, I tried to explain the action.

MR VALLY: Weren't you a member of the "binnekring"?

DR BASSON: I am not aware of such an organisation, can you explain what that means?

MR VALLY: I will. "Binnekring", English word "Inner Circle", was a group of senior military officers within the South African Defence Force who are mentioned as a grouping, a sinister grouping, by the documents surrounding the Steyn Report, and I will show you the specific reference if you want to.

DR BASSON: Mr Chairman, I have no knowledge of the Inner Circle. The only knowledge I have is what I saw on a television programme on TV. I do not know the Inner Circle, I don't know of the existence of such an organisation, and I deny that I have ever been part of such an organisation, whether it's the Inner Circle or one or other sinister military organisation. I was part of the ordinary Defence Force which had to support the government of the day.

MR VALLY: Are you aware of what's referred to as the Third Force?

DR BASSON: No, Mr Chairman, I'm not aware of a Third Force. I hear this terminology used in various ways. The only contact I had with a Third Force was a concept developed by the British in their various invasions, when they used a mixture of the police and the Defence Force to curtail local uproar. It's a kind of a para-military force, like the Gendarmes in France. I'm not aware of Third Force activities. I read about it in the newspapers, but nobody could define what it really entails.

MR VALLY: Do you know or did you know Mr Alan Kidger?

DR BASSON: I don't know him at all.

MR VALLY: You're aware that he was killed a short while after he delivered a large quantity of mercuric oxide to Delta G?

DR BASSON: I'm not aware of it, that Mr Alan Kidger has died, I'm not aware about this person delivering mercury oxide, this was without my field of experience, and with permission I can think of no reason why anybody would kill anybody about mercury oxide, you can't do anything with that and it's used as a catalyst in a chemical reaction. If Mr Vally wants to insinuate that he was killed because of the mercury oxide, I don't know, it's just as well to say that you kill somebody about Virodene.

MR VALLY: I want to ask you a question regarding the destruction of the - and I'll, rather than call it the destruction, I will call it alleged destruction of the drugs on the 27th of January 1993. There are a number of inconsistencies regarding the information you supplied to the co-ordinating committee and in the limited time I have, I want to point out some of them.

Firstly, I refer to Annexure E3. This is the certificate regarding the destruction of chemical products on the 27th of January 1993. There's reference to product M, 18 blue plastic drums. Would this be mandrax or methaqualone?

DR BASSON: I don't have this document in front of me. The destruction of the substances has to do with my criminal case. I have no comment regarding destruction of the substances, apart from that it had been destroyed as was explained. We considered it, in which way to get rid of these substances. After the Minister of Defence had given instruction to destroy this, I had to see to it that they were destroyed. I have no comment about how it was destroyed, because I was - it's too near my criminal case.

CHAIRPERSON: I don't think we can take that aspect any further, I seem to recall it that even beforehand, when these questions around destruction of these drugs were mentioned, it seemed to have been the attitude of this present witness.

Can I just ask you a few questions of my own, Dr Basson? Were Drs Deon Erasmus and Bothma involved with the CBW programme?

DR BASSON: Mr Chairman, it's a difficult question to answer, to say whether they were involved or not. Involved in the sense that they were medical officers at 7 Medical Battalion, or that they were involved in defensive training, in other words the use of masks, etcetera, etcetera, and protective clothing, being part of the instructions of the 7th Medical Battalion. Whether they've provided medical support, there was a certain emergency plan ready. Should any of the research laboratories make an accident with these substances, they would be able to treat those people. It does not mean that they knew what was happening there, it does not mean that they were involved, that they played any role in the project as such. This is a roundabout answer, but they were indirectly part of this as members of the 7th Medical Battalion.

CHAIRPERSON: Were they also ranked members of the South African Defence Force at that stage?

DR BASSON: As far as I know, both of them were, of these two people were members of the permanent Defence Force, and they had ranks before they left the country.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Vally, any more questions?

MR VALLY: Yes, just a last few questions, I want to point certain things out to Dr Basson. Dr Basson, you were asked to resign, or you were put on early pension, although you are reasonably young still, from the Defence Force, apparently on the instructions of President F W de Klerk, is that correct?

DR BASSON: The message was conveyed to me like that, De Klerk never told me that himself personally, but that was the message that the head of the Defence Force conveyed to me.

MR VALLY: And when did this happen?

DR BASSON: In December 1992.

MR VALLY: Are you aware that there was an investigation carried out by General Pierre Steyn?

DR BASSON: I've heard about this so-called infamous Steyn Report, I've seen a few notes, but I've never seen the report.

MR VALLY: Well, we have given you documents relating to the staff paper prepared for the Steyn Commission, it was marked TRC, I believe, 111, 111, you were given this with your... (intervention).

CHAIRPERSON: Where are we getting to, Mr Vally?

MR VALLY: I want to point out to Dr Basson the allegations which were being made which may have caused the then government to put him on early pension.

CHAIRPERSON: Put the allegations, Mr Vally, we haven't got time.

MR VALLY: Certainly. The first allegation, and if you want to look at TRC111 - you don't want to? That's fine. The first allegation, involvement in a chemical attack on Frelimo, that's the alleged activity, persons involved - Brigadier Basson, Brigadier Van Wyk, Colonel At Nel - information supplied by sources. The chemical attack on Frelimo troops in Mozambique, and look at also something else, was after allegations, a practice run, an unmanned observation plane dropped bombs and was tested near Komatipoort. The... (intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Is that the allegation you are putting to him?

MR VALLY: This is what is, I'm trying to translate it verbatim, especially as my copy is quite poor, Mr Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: By writing, we get this... (intervention).

DR BASSON: I handle this memorandum I've seen regarding the Steyn Report with contempt, it's one of the poorest information documents I've ever seen. If you look at that report, it's very clear that whoever was responsible for compiling that document is unclear about most of the information. There was a problem regarding my own identity. Up to 1996, our own National Intelligence, in a bail application I had, still confused my identity with that of another Basson. Regarding the allegation, I want to say the following: that so-called attack on Frelimo has been investigated properly, initially by the British Intelligence. The attack on Frelimo was investigated in detail by an inexperienced doctor sent from Britain. We warned him that he was busy not to be able to do his work, he hasn't worked in Africa before, he doesn't know Africa. After his report, where they found it was a chemical attack, the United Nations sent representatives and their report was very clear - such an attack never had happened. How can I be guilty of something that had never happened?

MR VALLY: The further allegation herein, that you were responsible for all eliminations or orders to eliminate persons on behalf of the Defence Force and you were intimately involved with General Botha and Neethling. What's your response to that?

DR BASSON: Mr Chairman, two questions again. I don't know what the relationship between the two are.

CHAIRPERSON: Well I think what he's trying to say is that, in that, I see (indistinct).

DR BASSON: Is he trying to say that Lothar Neethling was also involved, or not?

MR VALLY: Exactly.

CHAIRPERSON: I think that's what he's trying to say.

DR BASSON: I would comment as following: intimate relationship with General Neethling, I had a good relationship with General Neethling, I held him in high regard, I have no reason to believe, and I have no knowledge that Dr Lothar Neethling was involved in any elimination or any such practices which could do bodily harm, grievous bodily harm, to anybody. Regarding my own personal involvement, all I can do is to say that I am surprised, if I were responsible for all the elimination, if I listened to all that, I would never sleep in my life. I deny that categorically. I was never involved in any elimination, whether the planning, execution or anything regarding any elimination.

MR VALLY: And then the third allegation I want to put to you, relating to the mandrax, the allegation that you offered to supply some individual with 100 000 mandrax pills a month for a year, and this is in the report which is headed:-


DR BASSON: Mr Chairman, I'm not a legal person, but I think I've already said that two previous allegations were absurd.

MR VALLY: Are you saying it's not true?

DR BASSON: I repeat, it is absurd.

MR VALLY: My final question to you is this, you're a medical doctor but you're also a brigadier and you're also project manager for Project Coast, why is it that you're the one person who's the link between the manufacturing facilities for biological components of the biological and chemical warfare, the chemical facilities, and you're the same person that runs around Europe buying methaqualone, a whole brigadier, doing all this by himself, why is it that you specifically were fulfilling these many roles, can you explain to us please?

DR BASSON: Mr Chairman, I can't answer such a question, it's an absurd question to state that I was the only link between production facilities on the one hand, running around in Europe on the other hand, I was not the only link, there was a big organisation, I was backed by the South African government, and the same allegations were made by the Americans when they alleged that I provided chemical information to Libya, I can't do something like that all by myself, I had a whole organisation, I had the backing of the government, and I could rely on their support. To allege that I was the only link, it happened that I was the project leader, yes, but to say that I was the only link and the only person who did everything is not so, I did not have the time, I could not have the time for all these things Mr Vally alleged. I was the project leader and I was associated with many things, I did many things, not one of them were illegal and not one of them led to the death or bodily harm to any person.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Dr Basson. Dr Randera, you want to put one question.

DR RANDERA: Dr Basson, just one question, you joined the

army in 1975, and in many senses, from what I've been hearing today, you dedicated your life to this, to the work that you were doing, whether it be in the Medical Battalion or in the chemical and biological warfare programme. Then, come 1992, at a very young age, I thought you were, you must have been 42 then, you’re retired, by the President of the country, he didn't come to you directly, but through other means, and you hear that there was the Steyn Report, which you've commented on already, what was your feeling at the time?

I mean here you were, someone who'd dedicated yourself to protecting this country, and suddenly without any reason, or on what you say a flimsy report, you are dismissed at the age of 42, I understand you were brought in through other means back into the system, but officially you were dismissed from the army. Now, again, just let me add a second bit to that question, I understand some of the other people who were also dismissed at the time challenged the decision. Were you one of those individuals too? So, first of all, your own feelings about why and how you were dismissed, having dedicated yourself to this institute, and secondly, and to the country, and secondly were you one of the people who actually challenged the decision?

DR BASSON: Dr Randera, I'd prefer not to comment on my personal feelings, other than to say I was nonplussed. It came as a great shock, I was not aware that it was going to happen. In actual fact, not even the project leader, General Knobel, knew that this was going to happen. In this evaluation of the programme by the so-called Steyn Report, nobody even took the trouble to speak to General Knobel, who was the project leader, and ask him if he knew what was going on at that stage. So I can't say anything, but I have contempt for that report and I don't think it's worth the paper it's written on. I also think that report affected the lives of several other generals, and, well not, and almost destroyed their lives and did a lot of harm.

In my personal capacity I have never challenged this decision, for two reasons. Maybe I was brainwashed, I was just a soldier and I accepted the decision of my superiors, if they say go, then I'll go, maybe that's a good quality of a soldier, he does what he's told.

A lot of trouble also was done for me by people in the Defence Force in order to correct this faulty report, and it was often negotiated with me and I was told that this process would be corrected, and after a time I was reinstated. I couldn't replace this, but a lot of people went through a lot of trouble to accommodate me, and this included certain government members, which I don't think it's necessary to mention their names, but it was handled on a very high level and I felt at one point that there was a true attempt to correct the faulty report and the facts, so that was one of the reasons why I didn't attack the dismissal, but I cannot think from my own personal experience it was a nice time in my life, it was not, and maybe we should look at my violation or my rights being violated.

CHAIRPERSON: And that brings us to the end of these proceedings. It is quite clear to me, from all that I heard from Mr Vally, that he would obviously have appreciated it if he had had more time. I also share that view.

It may well be that some questions need to be put, and therefore I would want to excuse you on the basis that should it be necessary, in line with your offer, or the offer that was made through your legal representatives, to approach you by way of written questions, that you will find it in your - to be able to reply to those questions, so that we can have a broader picture of all the issues.

I must myself express my own gratitude to the fact that, whilst appreciating that you were not waiving any of your rights, you however felt it was necessary, when I requested you to do so, to reply to questions, even though you were not legally represented, and it is something that we have noticed and we take into account, and we only wish you could have had the same courage yesterday, or I wish I could have approached you differently yesterday and possibly we would have been where we would have wanted to be, but that is all now in the past.

As I say, for the moment you are excused, and should it be necessary for us to come back to you by way of written questions, we will do so.

These proceedings are adjourned.