CHAIRPERSON: Can we call upon Professor Johan Hattinghto come up please. Dr Wendy Orr is going to facilitate ProfessorHattingh.

DR ORR: Thank you Pumla. Welcome to you Professor Hattinghwe're very grateful for your participation in these hearings,submissions, discussions, conversations to-day. You've givenus a very full statement and in the interest of time I'd liketo ask you to highlight those issues which you feel are most importantand relevant but perhaps before you start that if you could tellus a little bit about yourself, what you do to-day and then moveinto your involvement in the defence force.


PROF HATTINGH: I would like to thank you very much forthis opportunity. I myself, as you heard Johan Hattingh, Professorof Philosophy at Stellenbosch University. I rushed through to-dayfrom a Master's course I'm teaching, to be here. I've livedin Stellenbosch for almost thirty years since 1966 and I matriculatedin Stellenbosch. As I said in my statement at this stage I'mforty two years old, Afrikaans-speaking, a member of the DutchReformed Church and I was conscripted into the Citizens forceof South Africa in 1973 after completing my matriculation examinationin November of 1972.

After an initial stint of basic training in Oudtshoorn as aninfantry soldier I was transferred to Heidelberg, Transvaal, tobe trained as a junior leader or a Platoon Commander and thenon successful completion of this course I stayed on in Heidlebergas a Platoon Commander in the State President's Guard. Afterthat, after my initial one year of training I went to the regimentof the University of Stellenbosch which was the military unitfor lecturers and students mainly at the University of Stellenbosch. Subsequently at the beginning of the '80's I was transferredto Stellenbosch commando and about these things I sort of madea couple of statements in my submission about fourteen pages longwith certain addenda's attached to it.

What I am about and what I submitted and I'm going to talk about,only highlighting certain aspects which is based on my first handexperiences and impressions that I've formed during approximately24 years. I wrote my submission from memory, which may be vagueand sketchy in certain instances, and I do not claim that anygeneralisations could be made from them. I speak on my personalbehalf but I do believe that what I submitted can throw some light,a perspective, a personal point of view, maybe said by othersbut a personal point of view of what it was to be part of theCitizens force during the '70's and '80's. It was also a wayfor me of sorting out some impressions that I myself have hadand I say here that I highlight in a sense in this submissionnot everything that happened but a sort of shift from initialfull and whole hearted participation in the Citizen's Force andthen subsequent disillusionment with it, but I never joined theEnd-Conscription Campaign and I never seriously considered doingso.

My growing disillusionment culminated in a kind of passive distancewithin the structures. I started to question certain actionsand practices of my superior officers and in some instances Itook the courage to convey these questions and criticisms to themopenly in formal meetings, order groups etc., where these officerswere also present, and in some other instances I refused to obeycertain orders or requests but without ever taking a public standon it.

To-day looking back on these days of my army service I realisethat in spite of the fact that I never saw any action, I nevercame near aiming my rifle at any person in a combat situationever, that I was trained in fact to do so and therefore at thattime was contributing to the maintenance and perpetuation of theoppressive system that apartheid was. This submission might helpme find more clarity on why I didn't see my role as clearly thenas I do now.

I've divided my submission in three parts. The first part isWhole Hearted Support and Full Co-operation with the Citizen'sForce during 1973 my initial training period, then I go into asecond section which I refer to as Regiment University of Stellenbosch- Adventure making place for Disillusion, and then the last partof my exposition I go into Stellenbosch commando militarisingmy own home town which was the experience that I have.

I would like to read a short passage from the experience of 1973.

"It was ironic that my initial conscription into the Citizen'sForce was characterised by wholehearted support and full co-operationif I take into account that the most humiliating experience thatI ever suffered personally within the army took place within thevery first hours of arriving in Oudtshoorn in the military base. All the new intake were still in their civilian clothes and wewere taken to huge hangars where we had to be issued with ourkit. Everyone was ordered to strip to their underpants and formost of us it was a kind of a joke. Everyone was ordered to stripbut at the entrance of the hangar my eyes met with a young officerand I presume he took my level gaze at him as a challenge to hisauthority and I was immediately ordered to take off my underpantsas well which I did leaving me naked in a long line of men walkingour way through the hangar from one administrative point to theother receiving equipment here and there. I was only able toescape from what I experienced as humiliation when I eventuallyreached the point where army underpants were issued. You canimagine they were sort of very long and uncomfortable type ofthings but it did what it had to do at that time. There was notime for me to dwell on this experience at tha time and the terror,as it were, struck me at that experience of this kind of abuseactually made it impossible for me to file a complaint of anykind and to take the matter further."

I think I also explained this humiliation away by interpretingit as part of the process of turning into a real soldier. I referto similar things happening to other people in the following sixweeks but I didn't want to go into all of the detail. You canread about this in the submission on page four but I mention allthese details to show what it was we had to put up with withinthose first six weeks. Remember we were just out of school, noteighteen year olds and we experienced this as normal because wethought this was what was required of the process of turning usinto tough soldiers and because everyone that returned from hisyear of army previously warned us that basics would be hell whichit turned out to be. We didn't question this hell because wethought it was a good thing to be a good soldier. We also didn'twant to drop out of our basic training because we wanted to beselected for officers in Heidleberg, which of course was an idealwe fostered because of the relative soft life we thought we wouldhave as officers in the army. We didn't want to spend the restof our days as troops that everyone with the rank of Lance Corporaland up can order about.

I also mention here the reasons why I accepted that kind of disciplinarypractices imposed on us. I came from an Afrikaans-speaking homewhere all were proud of me going to the army even in school withour peers it was sor-of very nice to go there because there wasa general atmosphere of enthusiasm and excitement. I can stillremember why I chose to go into the infantry, I entered that Iloved to walk in the "veld" so there was this senseof adventure, the war was, as someone previously said, was veryfar away and one indulged in a couple of new things that you learntas you went into the army, handling and firing different kindsof rifles and weapons, map reading and orientation, hiking routemarches, and survival skills. All of this was part of, can Isay, a big adventure to a broad extent very positively experiencedand I wrote home very positive letters.

Then I joined the Regiment of the University of Stellenboschand as I explained that was part of a unit set up for studentsand lecturers. During that stage our initial 240 days of conscriptionwere turned over to a 1,000 days up until the age of fifty fiveand I would have still been a conscript under that scheme if Iwasn't subsequently put on the reserve. That was a kind of lifesentence at that stage. You couldn't imagine being fifty fiveat that stage and still be in the army.

I went out of Stellenbosch three times with the Regiment of theUniversity of Stellenbosch to Namibia, three times for trainingcamps, one time up on the border and suddenly during one Julyin Namibia we were taken out of our training routine and put asit were on a stand-by. We were suddenly issued with live ammunition,a kit to treat serious wounds and the sense of adventure beingin the army suddenly turned very, very real. One suddenly realisedin a very real sense what you are really there for even when youhad to sign a special military will. We were all on stand-byat that stage, we didn't know it at that stage but there was someaction going on in Angola and later on and subsequently we onlylearnt, we didn't know at that stage that we were on stand-byto be flown into Angola to support the South African troops there.

At one stage for a longer period we were put on border duty. The regiment sadly enough wasn't very well trained, we didn'tscore very high marks in our evaluation so we were not deployedon the proper places that we were supposed to be. In some sensea relief in another sense one thought this was a huge waste oftime and resources here. One small incident here was we wereissued with live ammunition from some source which was of sucha poor quality the army wouldn't even take it back on us leavingthat, so we had to get rid of that by shooting all our frustrationsout, by getting rid of thousands of rounds of ammunition shootingit out into dam walls in an excavation. These were very littleincidents but as you can see contributing towards a sense of disillusionmentand being sort of not well trained and realising that I was senton a training course and subsequently became a Captain but I anda couple of friends then started to ask, can't we opt out of thissituation.

We then had the opportunity to apply to be transferred to Stellenboschcommando and we thought that, that would be better, we would notbe transferred to border duty far away we would be in our ownhometown, but that turned out to be more stressful as it werebecause in a sense we were now in military uniform walking aroundin your own hometown, in your own backyard. We were in the publiceye of our friends and family. Those of us who had rifle safeswe had them in our homes and we were never issued with live ammunitionthat had to be kept at home. All these things sort of contributedto the military invading one's private space, one's private life.

Besides Saturday mornings spent away on shooting practices, during the mid '80's there were lots and lots of 20 four hourstandby's we were put on. There were roadblocks and you had todo duty during these things over and over again. Another thingat that stage what the Stellenbosch commando at that stage it'snot still the case but at that stage it was an all White commandoand the perceptions of the enemy was that it was the people onthe other side of the colour line.

The commando also invaded to an extent one's professional lifeand to some extent also the University life because the Universitybecame an object of surveillance in particular for security threats,and information from these forms of surveillance done by the Intelligencesection of the commando was then submitted to higher authority. I was not a member of those intelligence sections of the commandobut I was once approached by someone to make a tape recordingof a public lecture of a colleague of mine working in the samedepartment that I was working in. I refused bluntly to do thattape recording and I spent some time explaining to this IntelligenceOfficer that he expected me to compromise my integrity as a Universitylecturer. This happened during 1983/84 and I was not approachedby them to do anything similar again.

During 1987 I went on sabbatical and after that I was sort ofside-lined out of the commando's structures I was just sort ofa hanger on in the commando.

One thing that which contributed to a very deep sense of disillusionmentwas during 1984 or '85 I discovered hard evidence that my telephonewas tapped. I dialled my home number and when the telephone wasanswered on the other side I heard the snippets of a tape recordingplaying back bits and pieces of conversation that I have hadwith my family. I heard my own voice, I heard my son's voicein a kind of surrealistic collage of words used at the end ofseveral conversations. That tape was clearly used over and overagain.

I reported this matter to the Vice Rector of the University atthat time to investigate the matter further but nothing came ofit and I never received an explanation for it. What I wantedto know from him was whether the University collaborated in thepractice of tapping phones of it's staff members, and he assuredme that the University would never condone something like thatand I believed him ,but it made me very, very cynical that I experiencedmyself as a moderate and not taking hard-line points of view andnot being an activist being subjected to that kind of surveillancemyself. So I embarked on what can be referred to as types ofsilent protest, but I also started the question openly at theoffices of the commando about the role of the commando in thecommunity of Stellenbosch at that stage.

I was also approached at one stage to approach the South AfricanPolice force in Stellenbosch to set up a structure which shouldtake over as it were the civilian duties of delivering servicesto communities because of the efficiency of the army ,and I neverreally got around to doing that. I always thought up excusesnot to report any progress, and before I really got into bigtrouble because of not showing any progress the whole system wasscrapped. Maybe at that stage I didn't formulate it like that,but maybe I sensed something of the danger of military structurestaking over civilian functions in a society.

So that is on a very mundane and quiet level this completed myshift in position from full in support of participant in militarystructures to a disillusioned and reluctant participant practisingin a sense forms of passive resistance rather than open confrontationand disruption. If I ask myself why I followed this rather low-keypath I have to confess that on a personal level I was not preparedto pay the penalties of refusing call-up papers. There were legalpenalties attached to that. I was not prepared to face criminalcharges against me, to be jailed for something like six yearsor to go into exile. I would have liked to establish my career,my family life and get on with my life. Also the moral and logisticalsupport system that would have made something like that like morekinds of activism possible was not possible for me or availablein the Afrikaner community of which I was a member of at thattime. I was also starting a family and wanted to get on withmy life.

I was also torn between that which I perceived as my contributionto the real needs of security and stability in our country andmy resistance to that which made a mockery of what I was perceivingas my duty. This ambiguity as well as the structures that I saidI lived and worked in made it very difficult for me to embarkon a more active and aggressive kind of resistance in my conscription.

To conclude, as I have pointed out at the beginning this is apersonal statement describing some of the events, emotions andpositions that I have experienced and lived through whilst servingas a conscript in the SADF. In hindsight it is clear that I havecollaborated with a military machine that has permeated throughoutsociety and penetrated it very deeply. Insofar as this is thecase I share responsibility for the pain, suffering and deathinflicted by that military machine within South Africa but alsofar outside of it's borders. I could argue that I am guilty ofnothing because I only acted on orders handed down to me in termsof the law of the country. I prefer not to do so but rather withoutsounding sentimental or trite to tender my sincere personal apologiesto all fellow South Africans who have suffered directly or indirectlyfrom the actions of the SADF during the years of apartheid.

Looking back on the sad history related above there is nothingthat I am and can be proud of. On the contrary I am humbled bya deep sense of shame for the fact that it only slowly dawnedupon me that I was participating in and then virtually did nothingabout the system that I described. This is underlined by theironic fact that I started to question the military structuresI was conscripted into on the basis of what it did to me personallyand not so much on the basis of what it did to others. The wayin which I tried to compensate for this moral insensitivity isnow currently to actively participate in community initiatives,striving towards the reconstruction and development of our country. It gives me a deep sense of satisfaction to work with peoplewho have formally been the declared enemies of the SADF or Citizen'sForce towards seemingly small goals such as securing a shelterfor street children in Stellenbosch or helping community organisationsto articulate their needs and translate it into viable developmentprogrammes.

I will neglect my duty, however, if I do not also make referenceto the deep sense of waste that I experience looking back on myyears of conscription. Conscription not only inflicted pain,suffering and death on the enemy, it did the same to the conscriptsthemselves on both a physical and a moral level. On a moral levelconscription stripped us all naked. The humiliation that I'veexperienced on my very first day in that hangar in Oudtshoornwhen I was physically stripped naked was a premonition of themoral humiliation we all suffer because of participating and co-operatingwith a military system that gave a false sense of security toa small section of our population and frustrated the need forsafety, security and peace of the majority of our fellow countrymen.

I seriously appeal to the political leaders and to the spokespeopleof the SADF of the '70's and the '80's to acknowledge this, notonly by taking responsibility for what was perpetrated in thename of security in our country, but also by extending appropriatemeasures of restitution to everyone who had suffered from conscriptionin the first place and foremost those who were catogorised anddealt with as the enemy, but also the conscripts themselves whowere in a completely different sense of the word also victims, tis time victims of disciplinary practices or military operationsthat left it's mark upon them often transforming them beyond recognitionsometimes physically but mostly morally.

This is the substance of my submission and may I with your permissionI would like to just read a small extract from a letter that mymother wrote me when she learned that I was preparing submissionsfor the TRC dated the 10th of June 1997, and I would like to putthis as it were, on record. She wrote to me in Afrikaans.

"Johan, perspective relating to the Defence force of whichthe Truth Commission will never hear is the role, one, of parentsof soldiers played despite the parents serious concerns and angerregarding what was happening to their sons, parents had to remainpositive to be able to assist their sons come what may.

Secondly, the women in South Africa (White women) became activeand started service-rendering, these are Defence force women,the Southern Cross Fund and the Church women. We collected moneyto furnish coffee bars in a cosy way where soldiers could relax,we bought furniture etc., there was also money collected for roomsof prayer, for various bits and pieces of furniture and gamesetc., we corresponded with soldiers and we assisted families ofsoldiers locally. We sent parcels with biscuits to all the armybases (and in parenthesis she mentions something on a humorousnote that she later heard that the soldiers were throwing thesebiscuits at each other because there was such a flood of biscuits). Then she writes, I can't remember anything else."

DR ORR: Professor Hattingh thank you very much for givingus a very different perspective perhaps to the types of perspectiveswhich we heard this morning although a lot of what you said ratifiedand backed up the very academic perspective we had this morningabout how background and environment and societal influences makeit easier to participate in the South African Defence force. I probably don't begin to realise how difficult it must be fora White Afrikaans man to talk out the way you have to-day. Youstill live within an Afrikaans community and you are still partof that community and perhaps will have to go back and answerto that community, and I want to say thank you very much for yourcourage in coming to share your experiences with us.

PROF HATTINGH: May I add something as a last statementperhaps. I listened to the question you asked Ian Liebenbergand his answers and I made a note that if you ask me a similarquestion I could perhaps answer so I have repeated that question. You asked how could we contribute and reshape the Security Forcesin future and I think one thing, the obvious thing of course isto say that we should demonstrate that it serves the whole ofthe community. I think that is a very obvious thing but on amore deeper almost philosophical level I think one should alwaysremember and take into account that security and peace forms the- is an integral part of our human dignity and that we shouldalways remind our Security Forces that that is what they are defendingnot only our physical security but also our human dignity, whowe are as persons. And in the training, I think what I've highlightedin my point here is that in the training in order to establishand give that service to the community one could also compromisethe dignity and the security of the very people who are requiredto deliver that service. Maybe as a small contribution from myside on this philosophical point maybe I should conclude. Thankyou.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Before you go I just want toknow what's your mother's name?

PROF HATTINGH: My mother's name is Kristorene Hattingh.

CHAIRPERSON: Kristorene. I can't help wondering whatwas going on in her mind just, you know, the sense of reflectionon it all you know for her to put her words on paper.

PROF HATTINGH: I shared this submission with my familyduring the past week and she cried. Her exact words were, andI think with her permission I could repeat it as she gave me permissionto read out her letter, she said she has a deep feeling of wehave been caught for suckers, and I think that is an emotion perhapsthat the Commission should also look into, that people have felta sincere need to contribute at that stage during the '70's andthe '80's to the armed forces only later to discover what happened,what the broader picture was.

This morning my father phoned me and he said after having readthis, he never knew that these were the things that we had todeal with on a personal level. Then he also added we as individuals,as conscripts never knew what the emotions were that they hadto deal with as parents so I think this submission fulfilled afunction that they got to know certain sides of the experiencesthat they've never have had access to before.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much Professor Hattingh,thank you. This phase of the meeting to-day will be devoted tothe reading of some of the summaries of statements that havebeen submitted to us.

Just very briefly and this will set the tone for the final presentationwhich will be a discussion on the way forward and we have thepeople appearing on the programme, those who are going to participatein this. There is one statement that was submitted and it turnsout that the person is actually present with us to-day. We wishto welcome you John Deegan and we apologise that we do not havethe proper, oh we do have the - we are very organised. John willbring his own identity with him which is the tag that is attachedin front of him with his name written on it.

Thank you John and welcome to you Paul Haupt as well. Thankyou very much. Paul is accompanying John, Paul is one of thebriefers in the Commission and many of you might have seen hisface both in person and perhaps also on the broadcast of our programmes. Paul assists many of our witnesses who come to give testimony. Welcome to you John and I will hand over to Doctor Wendy Orrwho will facilitate your presentation.

DR ORR: Thank you Pumla. John welcome, I know the journeyof getting here has not been an easy one and we are most gratefulto you for coming here to-day. Your story is a very long oneand it has many quite horrifying and remarkable details and incidents. You know the time is constrained and we do have a full statementfrom you so what I would like you to do is highlight some of theissues which stand out for you as the most important, most relevant,most painful or most difficult during your years in the army,thank you John.


MR DEEGAN: Thank you very much to the Chairperson andto the panel and to the TRC for giving me this opportunity tobe here to-day. It's not my first contact with the TRC, I submitted27 pages of confession to the TRC last year but I just couldn'tgo through with the process it was just too painful. My personallife didn't allow for it either so I'm very grateful to be hereto-day. Thank you very much.

I'll just start by giving a brief background on myself. I comefrom a conservative White middle class suburban background. Igrew up mainly in Gauteng ,in Edenvale. My father was very involvedin police force, had been since 1947. I grew up in Edenvale andthen we moved to Pietermaritzburg where I went to school, HighSchool. We did the normal subjects, I did Science subjects. I actually wanted to be an artist but there were other ideas inthe family about that. At school I did shooting, it was my sport,and it was one way of getting out of rugby until they caught upwith me and then I played rugby. Basically that was the cultureand background that I come from. I think we all know it well,the rugby supporting White South African middle class culture.

I matriculated at he age of 16 in 1977. I was too young to goto the army and the call-up papers had come in the, I think inStandard Eight or Standard Nine we had to fill in our detailsand send our details away, so I was too young to go with my peergroup, my fellow matriculants. In retrospect it seems crazy butI actually wrote the army and asked if they would make a specialdispensation in my case. They weren't really interested untilI'd turned 17 at least.

At the same time there was pressure on me through my family tojoin the South African Police force. My father held rank in thepolice reserve at that time. He had left the police force in 1949 but he'd carried on his involvement in the police reservedoing reservist duties. My older brother at that time was inthe Security branch at John Vorster Square.

In 1977 I left school, went to Rhodesia and we went on a tour,my two brothers and I and a Kiwi friend and we came back to SouthAfrica and I decided well I've got a year before I have to gofor my call-up I'll wait for my army papers and I decided to goback to what was then Rhodesia and work on a farm, which I didfor about three or four months. I became very homesick and Ireturned to my home, my parents home in Johannesburg or my father'shome in Johannesburg in about April 1977, and I was looking forsome work as a barman or just temporary work until my call-upcame. There was no question of going to study as there wasn'treally finances for that and it was just never mentioned thatI would ever study further.

So I found myself back in Johannesburg in April 197, my brotherin the Security Branch and my father involved with the policeand through gentle pressure they brought up the fact that therewas a family tradition of military and the police force. Theyconvinced me and I convinced myself that best thing to do wouldbe to join the South African Police force, which I did at theSecurity branch John Vorster Square in 1978 in April.

I joined as a student Constable which was very unusual. Normallyyou'd have to serve five years in the Police force as the runof the mill policeman in uniform or a Detective before you wereadmitted. My father had connections so I found myself in therecord section at John Vorster Square. I was there for a fewmonths and I obviously had access to all this information on suspects,National and organisations and individuals but we particularlydealt with the Witwatersrand, so I had access to all this incredibleinformation and I just didn't know really that there it was inblack and white exactly what the Police force entailed.

I went for training at the Police College in 1978 in Pretoria,six months basic training in subjects like law and a few otheracademic subjects mainly we did drill, shooting practice, riottraining and that kind of thing.

I returned to John Vorster Square after the passing out parade,it was the only time I wore a blue uniform was on that day in1978, December where I started duties as an investigator on theso called "blanke seksie" on the White section at thesecurity branch John Vorster Square.

I was on this section until about 1979/80 when I took a transferdown to Pietermaritzburg where I'd been to school. My friendswere there, I had a girlfriend down there. I was at the securitybranch Pietermaritzburg where we investigated, again I was onwhat was called the White section, students, student activitiesmainly but any other White suspect posed - the so-called namethat was used was "suspects" and anyone basically opposedto the stage or the ideologies at the time. My bulk of my workthen was what they called doing securities clearances for keyGovernment Posts, like if there is a bank or sensitive installationslike Pelindaba or whatever these would come across my CommandingOfficers desk and they'd get filtered down into the ranks anda person like myself would go out and investigate the backgroundof this person to see if they were fit to work for the State.

In 1981 I started hearing stories coming back from the border,from Namibia and it sounded just like what I needed at that time. The guys were saying that it was freedom up there you could getaway from the basics of disciplined structures of the force atthe time, you could go up there, there was freedom, there wasmore money, they were having a good time. So at the age of abouteighteen, 19 then, I went to Oshakati in South West Africa, Namibiaand reported at the security branch offices there.

My first day on the border, well the first day we were allowedto unpack and relax, and my first working day was the next dayand we had to offload a truck with thirteen bodies. It was outsidethe security branch offices in Oshakati. This big Bedford truckpulled up and they flapped down the tailgate and all these bodieswere inside, thirteen SWAPO geurillas Terrs, as they were calledthen terrorists in other words and they were very badly decomposedand very badly shot up. And we had to take these bodies outof the truck, finger print them, photograph them and put themback in the truck. We then took them outside of the town, outof Oshakati, out of the White town into the township cemeterywhich was on the edge of the township and I was standing on theground at the tailgate of this truck and these bodies were thrownoff the back of the truck at my feet. It was a very gruesomeexperience. Six of the bodies were thrown into one hole and seveninto another.

That was day one for me on the border and it obviously changedmy reality forever after that. That was just what one would calla three month camp. While I was up there I started really gettinginto the whole idea of being in the bush. I was a nature loverhave always been and I liked the idea of having freedom with noofficers around and nobody to really tell me what to do. I hada choice of which base I could stay on if I came back permanentlyand this was discussed with the Commanding Officer at the time,the Commanding Officer of the security branch and this is whatI did. I put in a transfer while I was on border duty to comeback there permanently and I returned to John Vorster Square in1981 and I went almost immediately back to Oshakati and resumedduties as a security branch investigator in Ovambuland in theoperational area. I was based in Mabelantu which was an armybase but we had a security branch house outside of the base andthat's where we would perform our duties ,which included gatheringinformation on SWAPO activities and also going out and investigatingSWAPO murders, atrocities, landmine incidents, murders and thatsort of thing and we also would have follow-up's.

At that time I had no real contact with SWAPO except a rocketattack. We were - I'll come to that incident now but we alsohad a landmine incident. I was sitting on the roof of a Casspir,illegally, by that I mean it's laughable now, but we weren't allowedto sit on the roof we had to sit inside strapped in, it was totallyimpractical to do this and then we had this landmine that wentoff and we were in it and it's affected me physically and mentallyobviously but I got through that. During this time it was whenI returned to Oshakati as a permanent member, we'd been out drinkingone night and we went to visit some colleagues at our officeswho were doing interrogations and these interrogations had beengoing on for a week non-stop around the clock, we'd have teamsof interrogators coming in and interrogating the same people,there were two or three people being interrogated two brotherswho were teachers or at least the one person was a teacher. Sowe went around very drunk and we went to go and visit our colleaguesand see how the interrogations were going and while this was happening,while we were all crowded in this office suddenly there was thismassive explosion the ceilings collapsed, the lights went offand we were under rocket attack 122 millimetre rockets from aboutsix kilometres away. And one of the colleagues, and it's in mysummary if I could just read it.

"We would work in shifts and the prisoners were kept awake,beaten, shouted at and deprived of food......"

If I could just mention this as an excerpt from a transcriptionof the tape recording made in Stockholm in 1993 when I first encounteredthe word PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and met somebodywho actually felt like I did, and this person Morris van Niekerkwas doing a documentary on PTSD and he needed some input fromme so this is verbatim from what I said to him.

"We would work in shifts and the prisoners were kept awake,beaten, shouted at, deprived of food and water and toilet facilitiesand given electric shocks ,not always together but selected accordingto how the prisoner was responding.

As I remember we were crowded into a particular office where aschool teacher was being interrogated a huge explosive blast rockedthe office and the lights flickered and went out. More blastsfollowed and it is obvious that we were under rocket attack. One of my colleagues shouted at the prisoner "kyk wat maakjou vriende", see what your friends are doing to us and thenstarted punching and kicking him and we all spontaneously joinedin, including myself, we started kicking and assaulting this personthis prisoner, we all spontaneously joined in.

The next day I was approached by a senior officer who said tome "julle het gisteraand kak gemaak", last night youreally made shit didn't you? And when I asked why he repliedthat he and a second officer had been called out early that morningto dispose of the body of the prisoner that we had assaulted ashe had died during the night. I was scared and I realised thatI was a murderer now, but the official lack of response to theincident made me realise that this had happened before.

So I killed somebody and there was no going back after that, Iwas one of them I was part of the culture. That was in 1981 Istill had another year or so of my national service to completeand I stayed in Oshakati all that time doing interrogations, notin Oshakati but based from Oshakati. I was in Ombalantu but frommy side there was no other incident where I killed anybody, butcertainly I was involved in torturing people, interrogating themusing various methods but I never used methods like electric shocksor anything like that. I would approach it in a little more psychologicallevel and try and win the person's confidence or trust, the oldgood cop bad cop routine and I was the good cop except sometimesthings would get out of hand and I would respond angrily and startgetting physical and actually assaulting prisoners.

In 1982 my national service, as I understood it, four years wasthe choice, in the police force for two years and as conscripteein the army came to an end and I decided to join the Natal ParksBoard which had been almost a life long dream of mine to be agame ranger, so I joined the Natal Parks Board at the age of about21. Then and as a game ranger at St Lucia in the recreation divisionI took launch tours up the estuary and to St Lucia Lake and back. I really loved it I enjoyed what I was doing there and it wasgood to be outdoors but the border had done it's damage alreadyand my time in the police force had already done it's damage,I couldn't relate to people. I had a lot of problems with myfiancé, we were due to get married in August '82, I calledoff the marriage at the last minute.

I joined as a volunteer I joined at Matubatuba police station,rejoined the police force because the army sent me notificationthat I would have to do another year of national service becauseapparently they'd legislated that it was now five years in thepolice force, so my choice was to go back to the police forcefor a year or do call-up. I decided not to go through the wholebasic training thing, by that time I was a veteran at the ageof 21 I was a veteran and I knew it would be really stupid togo back through into basic training. But talking about trainingI was never actually trained to go and fight a border war, I sortof got in through the back door and nobody really picked it up,nobody questioned it.

I joined at Matubatuba police station and asked for ... I'dalready organised with the Commanding Officer of Operation Koevoetor Ops K as it was known or Koevoet as it's known and they wereexpecting my application and it was all processed and done throughMatubatuba police station and Pretoria Head Office, and in September1982 I found myself back in Ovambuland in Zulu Yankee, whichwas the call sign for the team that I was in, I was in Koevoet. And the only thing I can think of why I went back was - okay, I was running away from a lot of personal problems that I wastrying to deal with, but there was also a sense that the societydown here, we called it the States and we called the border Namlike Vietnam and Nam as in Namibia, that the people in the Statesjust really didn't care, they didn't know what we were doing really. There was such a media blackout at the time. The stories filteredback but they were so horrific that families, friends and girlfriendsdidn't really want to hear about it and the sense that I certainlygot was that, that was happening up there, it was a conflict andback here everything was normal and no-one really wanted to hearabout it and I just felt very alienated and very alone as apposedto being back in the bush and having the freedom to basicallydo what I like, to be in the outdoors with the minimum amountof authority.

So I found myself in Koevoet and I was with Zulu Yankee for afew months and then through a death one of the White members,Andre, I can't remember his surname was killed he was in a teamcalled Zulu Yankee. I took his place behind a 50 Browning anda double 762 machine guns mounted on a Casspir and that's whatI did for the next year is follow-up, contact, interrogation andeverything that Koevoet did. I was one of them, I was part oftheir culture and the only thing I can think about now is thatwe discussed it up there, a ot of us, obviously we had time afterwe had contacts and we had a lot of contacts with the enemy, wedidn't really discuss death in any real way except in an abstractsense, but we didn't really care, we just really didn't care aboutourselves about our families, we didn't care about the cause,the flag, patriotism and all the things you heard mentioned to-daywere some possible reasons for joining. I only heard this morning'ssubmissions I missed this afternoon's unfortunately, but a lotof the points that came up did count in the beginning where wewent from a patriotic fervour and sense of coming through schooland cadets and shooting and the whole thing was we were "syched"into it, but after a while we just didn't care we really justdidn't care about anything. Life was very cheap and we were basicallyautomatants, we would just kill and that's how we got our kicks,and that's - we were adrenaline junkies basically. I still havea problem with that to-day because I left Koevoet in 1984 in 1983December, after a particular incident which I can relate at thistime but, ja, we didn't care.

We were hooked on adrenaline, and it was like a process wherewe would pick up tracks, pick up information and we would getmore and more hyped and more hyped until everything was at suchfever pitch everybody, and I'm talking about the whole team orteams involved in following up on the actual tracks and that'sreally what we lived for it was that excitement, and the killingsobviously I have deep remorse now but at the time that was theend result that was what we had to do and we did it well, we didit efficiently, we were the best. That's what Koevoet is allabout.

I met Eugene de Kok there, obviously he was Koevoet, he startedthat unit with various other people, so I knew him on a sociallevel as well as on a professional level although he had his ownteam. He was a Captain at that time. Eugene de Kok and peoplelike him out there were my colleagues, my friends, we worked together.

If I can just read another excerpt from my submission which isabout fifty pages of submission and it's nowhere near finishedso this is a very short summary of the main points, but I'd justlike to relate this incident if I can. Again this is from thetaped transcription from 1993 so the articulation and the wordsand everything used was about my consciousness at that time in1993. It's 4 years later and I have a different consciousnessand I'm at a different level entirely so the words, expletivesand that used don't really reflect how I feel now anyway.

"On one occasion after capturing an insurgent we began totrack his companion whose name was Congo. He was a well knownpolitical commissar and after tracking him for some time his trackswent to this kraal and they didn't come out. I knew that he wasinside this kraal complex and I was in charge of this team atthe time as my team leader was away on leave. The tracks wentin, the tracks didn't come out so it was obvious he was insideso the owner of the kraal, a very old man with white hair andthick glasses, I remember him very well and his family and smallchildren, grandchildren were there and I asked this old man whichhut this SWAPO geurilla was in and he obviously didn't want tosay because the local population, as in any war were just caughtright up in the middle, they got it from both sides. They gotit from SWAPO and they got it from us. If they didn't give informationto either side they were just treated in the worst possible wayso he didn't want to say anything so I gave an instruction toflatten a whole lot huts. There were no people in these hutsbut these Casspirs drove over the huts and he started gettingreally edgy and moving towards this hut and away from it and towardsand away and then we identified that possibly this was the hutwhere this Congo, this political commissar was hiding out.

I gave the instruction for them to flatten the hut with the Casspirand that we would open fire at the same time. It's an overkillsituation that was typically Koevoet. We would shoot as muchconcentrated fire into a space as possible, we didn't know howmany people might be in there with him or what they were armedwith and so on, so it was overkill just in case.

As we opened up this rifle barrel of the person next to me wasshot by the person next to him so the rifle barrel actually becamebent and useless. He was firing an automatic and his gun blewup and it sounded like a hand grenade and what went through mymind was that this person in the hut had thrown this handgrenadeat us. We were sprayed with shrapnel from the barrel of thisgun blowing up and obviously this loud bang that went with itgave me such a shock that I ripped off the stock, I had an AK47,and I just kept firing, my hand was being burnt by the barrelbut I was just crazy at that time and we were all firing.

Eventually we ceased fire and took the roof off this hut andthere this man was lying very badly wounded. Our medic Shaunstarted putting a drip in him and patching him and trying to savehis life and that's when I lost it completely, and I rememberbut I don't remember actually doing it but from accounts, frompeople actually telling me afterwards and from what I rememberit was almost like an outer body experience where I could seemyself after this had happened. There was a whole team standingthere and I could see myself with a gun in my hand but what Iactually did was I took out a gun and 9mm parabellum and I wasinterrogating this man and he wouldn't respond. He was badlywounded and he was going into unconsciousness and I just rememberfeeling the most incredible rage and anger that he was ignoringme and that he was lying at the time because he said "kandishishi" "kandi shishi", he doesn't know anything. Then I brought the person that we'd captured the day before,they'd been travelling together and I said look here's your companion,we know your name is Congo we know everything about you the game'sup, you're wounded let's get this over with tell us where yourgun is, tell us where your rendezvous point is and then it's over.And he still denied it and I took out my pistol in a rage andI put a bullet between his eyes, I shot him - I executed him.

After that it was as if I was looking at the scene from aboveand I could see myself standing there with this gun in my handand everyone looking a bit shocked and the family from the kraalstanding there and they were also very, very shocked and the kidswere just very shocked. I walked away and I just said to theteam clean up and I said to the owner of this kraal you must burythis body now it's your responsibility, this is your problem andI went back and I radioed in to our Commanding Officer who wasin the radio room at the time and I said to him I want to comein because actually on the way to the vehicle I decided this isit. I've seen myself from another perspective, really like anaerial view of myself and I just couldn't believe who I was atthe time, and I'd had enough I wanted to come in and he said followup on your capture's information and I'll see you on Wednesday. This was a Sunday morning.

So the next day we went out again and followed up on two, wefound tracks or actually this woman came to us and said she'djust been raped by 2 SWAPO insurgents. We followed their tracksand made contact. An RPG rocket was fired at the vehicle behindme and exploded in the vehicle and the capture was in the vehicleat the time and he got a fright, everyone did obviously, and thisman was executed in front of my eyes again. He was wounded, I jumped off my vehicle to go and interrogate him as I did theday before and one of the Ovambo trackers just walked up withan R1 about two feet from his head and just pulled the trigger. I was literally squatting next to him, his face was about thatfar from mine and this Ovambo tracker just walked up, put thebarrel there and blew his head right off and we left.

We went back to the base got very drunk for about 2 days and thenwe went back to base and I went and saw my Commanding Officerand I said to him that's enough I'm leaving now.

And he said that's fine where do you want to go? And I said Pietermaritzburgsecurity branch and he said okay I'll organise it.

About 3 weeks later I was back in the States and back in thesecurity branch and very unwelcome by the branch Commander whosaid he didn't appreciate these Koevoet killers just arrivingon his doorstep. He didn't want us, he didn't like the way weworked and there was a different way of working in South Africanow. I think P.W. Botha at that time was making "verligte"noises, reforms and things, so they were trying to get in withthat political scenario and we weren't appreciated at all.

I was eventually asked to leave the security branch, not askedto leave, told to leave by my branch Commander who wanted to sendme to uniform, I said I'd never been in uniform then he said yougo to the reaction unit which is like a swat team. I went thereand really it was, pardon the expression, it was just a wank,it was just completely ridiculous people running around trainingand doing stupid things. My last two weeks in the police forcewas spent pulling cannabis out of the mountains in the Drakensberg. My resignation in April 1984 took a month to get through andthat ended my police career, but obviously not my involvementwith the police because every year I would have to do a 3 monthcall-up, or a month at a local police station or 3 months on theborder and I spent the rest of my time until 1989 they caughtup with my system, I worked out a system of avoiding the call-upby moving, just by moving all the time. We had to notify thelocal police station or I had to notify them wherever I went sothat they could call me up in an emergency, so what I would dois I would wait until my call-up date, for example 25th of July1989 would be my call-up date and I would organise a job, a houseor my whole life in another town and then 2 weeks of so beforethe call-up date I would say I'm moving. I would then go to thenext place and I knew that it would take time for my file to betransferred there, and the whole process to take place so my call-upwouldn't actually happen at that time, and it would be deferreda year and then I'd move a year later so I've basically been movingsince about 1984. I know I've taken up a lot of time and I apologisefor that.

Just to close it off. My life since then has been very, verydifficult it's had a big element of self destruction. I've beenthrough 2 marriages and I have a daughter, but really I've justdestroyed the people around me, my friends, my family and I thinkit's enough now. It was very heartening to hear Gary Koen talkingthis morning on PTSD. I know a lot about PTSD but every timeI hear about it there's fresh hope because actually the last timeI spoke to anyone with any knowledge of PTSD they said it wasincurable but I think there is hope and if I can just very brieflylist what my personal wish list is for coming forward here to-dayto give this submission.

Firstly, I haven't applied for amnesty I don't want amnesty. I think the process of the law must take it's course as it wouldin any society. I'm not asking for any special treatment or dispensation. I'm a citizen of this country and I also want to come to theparty, I also want to be part of the new South Africa, but I feelor have felt before to-day that I'm just a phoney if I just keepquiet and keep this to myself. It's not helping me, it's nothelping my family and it's not helping the country in general. My wish list, my hope of coming forward to-day is that otherpeople like me, particularly people who were in Koevoet, but anyother special forces members any conscriptees, anyone who evenif you just put petrol in a Buffel and feel bad about it, comeforward and tell your story. It doesn't matter that the amnestydate is over, what isn't over is the whole process that we'rein. We're still in a process and to-day I realise that this submissionI'm making is not going to end the process, it's not going toneatly tie it up for me and I can put it away and get on and havea happy life. It's part of a healing process that I've been tryingfor self-healing since even before I left the police force, butcertainly since I left the police force I realise I have personalproblems and that I have to deal with that.

And even in '93 when I met Marius who has PTSD and knows a lotabout it, it's been very difficult since 1993 to come to termswith who I am and what I did. My past weighs very, very heavilyon me and I have a lot of the symptoms of PTSD, there's I thinkabout 12 in all. I identified at least 8 of them in myself. It's never really been officially, I've never been to a psychologistwho deals specifically in PTSD but I would say that I've dealtwith about at least 50 percent of my problem and I've got 4 ofthe symptoms like hyper vigilance, which is paranoia with paranoia,it's extreme paranoia. That's one of my symptoms.

So what I hope for, for the future then, is to find out answersto a lot of questions, but obviously within a structure, withthe help of the TRC and hopefully with the Government's backingwe can possibly get a veteran's association off the ground whichMarius and others have been working on for some years now. Ithasn't been formalised but there is a constitution there's somethingon paper, it's concrete. All it has to do is get approval andwe put it into gear and basically what it means is that it's nota bunch of ex-soldiers getting together having a braaivleis andswopping bush stories. What it is, is SWAPO, ANC, APLA, UhmkontoweSizwe, Koevoet, Rekkies, all the units every single unit everybodywho ever was trained in any way militarily getting together andjust trying to make some kind of sense of the mess we made, anddoing something about it. Like we talk about reparation and remorseand all this but until we actually do something like tangibleand physical it's all words, it means nothing. So I'd reallylike to see the South African Veteran's Association if that'swhat it's going to be called, get off the ground and hopefullywe can convene a national meeting at some point where we can expressthe aims of that and make it open to absolutely everybody whofeels they might have a problem with PTSD or anyone who was justconnected with this whole conscription, with the whole militarything.

Part of the SAVA thing then would be to go back to Namibia andto actually go back and see the victims of our actions, theirfamilies and go and make reparation to the Namibians and to tryand help and then just make sense of what actually happened therebecause it was absolute madness. I don't fully understand really. I know what I did there day to day but some of the things werejust absolutely insane, it was sheer insanity there. There isa possibility that I'll be going up there next month with theapproval hopefully of the TRC and the Government. Something'salready in the pipeline. My medic, I've mentioned his name Shaun,I'm sure you won't mind me saying this, but we'll be going therewith an SABC team and hopefully with some professionals and I'mhoping that the TRC would be able to provide some sort of supportfor us as well where we could possibly have a psychologist withus and a few other people who are experts in their field. Wecan go back and then really do something constructive. And Isee this as part of the healing process.

I've more on my wish list but I think I've used up my time nowand I'd like to thank you very much for this opportunity. Thankyou.

DR ORR: John, it's very difficult to respond to a testimonylike yours. It engenders so many feelings in all of us. Inme it engenders feelings of horror, of pain, of anger, but I thinkmost overwhelmingly of sorrow that young men like you and notonly those that were in the SADF but those who were in MK andAPLA and other forces, that young men like you had to deal withthat insanity, and if there's any contribution that the Truthand Reconciliation Commission can make to healing and reconciliation,which is after all our aim, we're going to need to deal with theissues and challenges that you have raised to-day. I salute yourcourage. I know it's not been easy for you to be here to-day.

I remind you that this is not the end as you yourself know, there'sstill a long way to go and we wish you every support and courageand affirmation in that journey. Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Wendy and thank you John, I reallyappreciate your coming. The normal reaction to extreme experiencesof trauma is to just banish it and forget about it particularlyif there's a culture of encouragement by people who are seen tohave been in the leadership of institutions such as the one withinwhich we are operating, but you have not allowed the banishmentof the memory of the trauma. Part of the reason for us to holdthese hearings is to understand very deeply the kinds of experiencesthat people like yourselves went through, but beyond that, totry and encourage those who were in the leadership of those institutionsto minimally explain to people like yourselves as a form of reparationand reconciliation between your own identities now and your identitiesthen. We are hoping that they will be touched as well, becauseyou mention for example the senselessness of it all and you'reright, many of the things totally unspeakable, and we are reallythankful that we've had the opportunity to get a glimpse of someof those unspeakable activities there.

To use Wendy's words we really do salute your courage to comeand speak about these thing, thank you very much.

We're going to read just very short summaries, they are shortsummaries of three people on the Agenda. The first one is SamSole and the next one is Reverend Torr and the last one is EricRautenbauch so we'll ask Piet to just quickly zip through thesummary of Sam Sole's statement, thank you.


PROF MEIRING: The summary statement of Sam Sole readsas follows :

This first hand account of the experiences of a SADF soldierin the townships of the Eastern Cape was originally written in1985. At that stage Sam Sole was a national serviceman and iscurrently a journalist for Tribune in Durban. He submitted thisaccount as a submission to the TRC in response to our call forEx-Conscripts to tell their stories. In his account Sam Sole tries to break through what he calls thestranglehold of the press and our own self serving blindness byportraying the staggering gulf between the official instructionsas members of a disciplined, effective and respective securityforce each individual's conduct must at all times be responsibleand courteous. This is the personal message from Brigadier vander Westhuizen and the daily and nightly behaviour of the Whitetroopa and the police in the townships.

He takes his readers with him on patrol in the townships sittingbehind the thick glass and steel of the Casspirs where they arein turn bored and excited, they want action, they are callous,they are enormously arrogant he says. For Sole the central imageof this time is as we heard that story of the small Black boythat was chased and caught and hit in the Casspir.

Sole describes how throughout his time in the townships the armyhas been mixed with the police. Though disciplined communicationcontrol were greatly superior in the army and the allocation oftroops into small allocated units as he says often allowed theSADF members to become a law unto themselves and mirror the behaviourof the police not merely their attitudes.

Sole says he not only tries to describe the insane situationin which he found himself but also his own reaction to it. Hesays and I quote ,

"My own guilt at my inaction in the face of this brutalityas well as the sheer physical impact of it created an enormoustension and conflict of behaviour. My response was enough toget me labeled a "Kaffir Boetie" and a "Kommunis"yet it is impossible to isolate yourself completely. You havebeen living fart to fart with these people for nine months. Theyhave humanity although they abuse it in others and you have tocontinue to live with them so you are forced to compromise yourselfand treacherously you lose that sense of outrage until the nexttime."

There's a few examples he quotes of incidents which explain whythe SADF almost immediately inherited the lack of credibilityand bad reputation. Of the police he says,

"One night another fire, we are hanging around and suddenlyone stone smashes the windscreen of an SAP bakkie and two copswith shotguns bound off like dogs let off the leash. They stalkedthe one lone stone thrower and corner him, he continues his desperatebarrage and they shoot him head. He's about sixteen, he was akid."

Then he adds another example to that. Sole concludes his accountwith a reflection on the difficult choices facing those who haveto do conscription and he emphasises the need to look for constructivealternatives just to running away from it. He says,

"For me the army and my involvement in the unrest has beenan education if a traumatic one that has situated me more concretely. I can now try to think and act on the basis of experience ratherthan intellectual exposure. However, others have long ago had,had that education. History moves fast, both faster and slowerthan we imagine. Perhaps if we do not take sides now the decisionwill be made for us." Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Doctor Wendy Orr? Reverend Torr'sstatement we will just note that Reverend Torr has submitted.

This statement is from Eric Rautenbauch. Eric writes from Canada. He left the country trying to escape from being conscripted. He went through a number of phases and he says, I'll just readsome excerpts. He says,

"The people I went to school with and my other White friendsand acquaintances all went one by one to do their military service. One couldn't really blame them - how do you go against such abig machine, you have nowhere to hide, nowhere to run?"

And then he makes the decision.

I made the decision eventually to break the law, to become a banditlike the ones that I knew from my shebeen days as a teenager tofinance a ticket out ".

And then he goes on to business. He becomes a dagga runner workingfrom a rural small village place, and he goes around running-

"... and I did this for about a year saving my little moneybut on my last trip I was betrayed by some of my close White friendswho were either police spies or just compromised into informers."

He then is imprisoned and serves time in John Vorster Squareand he stays there until he breaks. Eventually he's sent intoa sanitorium for a 28 day observation to determine his sanityor otherwise insanity and he says in parenthesis,

"I was beginning to have serious doubts myself."

He's very humorous, it's a very interesting statement which isavailable. He has very interesting humorous little notes. Thenhe says he made his break while he was in this sanitorium.

"I escaped with all the trappings, armed men, dogs, runningover the hills looking for a place to hide, sneaking, crying indespair, breathing the air of freedom, praying to any God whowould listen.

After turning 21 on June 16th, 1975 in the fort (this was nowwhile he was still in the fort) I was now an adult, a wanted criminaland an escaped lunatic. I was not exactly the kind of house guestthat anyone wanted around and I was quite paranoid, jumpy havingseen how many people actually co-operated with the system formany different reasons but some very good people did help me."

Then he goes to England then out of England then France, Switzerland,Italy, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan.

I lived and scavenged through 14 countries. I was getting tired. It was a confusing time, I was sick and I'd lost faith in humanity. I had no country, no visas, no work permits and no future, nofood. I stole food to eat. I was truly homeless even more thanthe homeless of South Africa. I had no tribe nothing, I trustednobody. Round and round I went using my White skin to blend inwith the University students, the vacationers and young travellersfrom South Africa, Canada, Australia and Europe. The stamps builtup in my passport and I started looking suspicious.

I was lucky to get out of that Spanish police station but afterthey way they kicked my tooth out they were probably afraid tocontact any Consular officials. (These are like snippets fromthe story)

The woman at amnesty international in Amsterdam laughed at meand literally threw me out of the place but could I blame her? At that time there was no asylum category for refusing militaryservice in South Africa. She told me I was a criminal and shewanted to and in quotes, "see my bullet holes" she said. It was a humiliating world sometimes.

On my second attempt to enter England they sent me back to Hollandwhere I was put in the aliens prison and about to be sent home. I had smuggled razor blades in and was going to make a lot ofblood and escape from the hospital but the tide of fate did finallyturn."

Then he was helped by a number of people and then he says,

"one could say that I have spent the rest of my life recoveringwhich is a lot more than a lot of people received. I have survivedwhereas so many others have died. What do we lose when we goaway forever, a country, a life. Just seeing the tree or rockthat one knows, if only for a minute, it is almost like neverhaving a childhood. A new home can never really be home. Asa criminal I lost my credibility, I could never speak for fearof losing my status and being deported to certain doom. I couldnever write, yes, they got to me in the end. I hid away and joinedno committees or organisations and when I heard a South Africanaccent I turned away quickly with a sick feeling. I've lost myfamily and even my citizenship. I even had to swear allegianceto a foreign monarch.

What this means I don't know but one has to remember that thisall happened before 1976 when the sickness exploded into the streetsand the new revolution began. Things were not that obvious, therewere no pamphlets on the streets, no information, the quiet beforethe storm but the truth was there, right before our eyes.

Ten years after I left I met a group of guys here who had beenon the streets of Soweto on June 16th, 1976, Biko's kids. Graduatesof the Tanzanian PAC experience, these were the guys I would havehunted in the army. We made a band and drank beer and jammedon Saturdays for many years. I'm sorry I committed such a lowlycrime. I often thought how easy it would have been to just goalong with the flow. I would like to have made a better, moreintelligent contribution to my country. In President Mandela'sbook, Long Walk to Freedom, he describes a meeting with a daggasmuggler who was on the road who turned out to have been a staunchally in early campaigns and he writes, quote, "all are welcomeon the road to freedom". Unfortunately my road has led me10 thousand miles from the hills of home and from the chance tohelp or just be one of the people, but we are all connected. I take care of my children grateful that they have food to eat.'

In ending he says,

"I am sorry, I cannot say what life for me would have beenlike without the pressure to kill my friends. With my backgroundI may have gotten lost in the scuffle or I may have pulled ittogether but just once I would like to say how serious it wasto me, how important it was to never give in and it heartenedme many years later when I researched and read the true storyof the struggle, to find that there were many people who sharedmy ideas long before I was born.

I am sorry for the pain it gave my mother with her children scatteredall over the world and the police raiding her home years afterI was born. My style and method left much to be desired especiallyby me. My revolution was fought in a vehicle but when I finallyreturned for a brief visit to South Africa this year, twenty oneyears after leaving, to take my father's ashes to the mountain,I saw things that I had only dreamed of and I would do it allover again. Every day my soul cries for home but home is nothome anymore."

That's Eric Rautenbauch's statement.

There's a request from one of my honourable colleagues that westretch for two minutes and in that two minutes I will read anote from N, I'm not sure who it is from but before we stretchfor two minutes actually maybe one, I'd like to welcome CommissionerMr Dumisa Ntsebeza ,who has just walked in, I didn't see him whenhe walked in. Mr Ntsebeza is a Commissioner and he is the headof the investigating unit and welcome to you Dumisa, thank youfor joining us.

I would like to be democratic and find out if people do wantto stretch for two minutes. There is a nod of heads, yes theywill stretch. We will return in a minute's time.



PROF MEIRING: We are now coming to the final sessionof our meeting where we are going to discuss the way forward. We have two submissions. Firstly Lt Colonel Botha and Mr IanBruce. Colonel Botha will speak mainly for Curamus, we care. We are very happy to have you with us, thank you for coming,and we are all ears. You have to press the red button and pleasetalk to us.


LT COLONEL BOTHA: Thank you very much for this opportunityand thank you for inviting me to come and tell you more aboutCuramus.

In 1904 Theodore Rooseveldt said "a man who was preparedto bleed for his country should receive a square deal afterwards",and that ladies and gentlemen is all what Curamus is standingfor. We aim to rectify the problems and the misconduct that didtake place in some instances, to make sure that our men who wereprepared to pay the penalty, or pay the price and now sit withthe scars do get what they are entitled to.

First of all I would like to leave you at the end of my discussionyou should have a very clear indication of two concepts. I'msitting here actually with a double head appointment. First ofall I'm working for the defence force called Curamus Care forthe Disabled which is my paid job which I do every day, and thenin my private capacity I am the Chairman of the Curamus Associationfor Security Service Disabled where we represent disabled memberswho have been injured in the security forces of the defence force,the police service and the department of correctional services.

First of all the background to Curamus Care for the Disabled. It started out as a project back in April 1990 when the thenDeputy Minister of Defence, Mr Breytenbach, announced projectCuramus at the South African Medical Service thanksgiving paradewith the Surgeon General then as the project manager of projectCuramus. It soon became clear that after we started out withthe project that the police service and the correctional servicesare sitting with similar problems that we are encountering interms of the handling, the treatment and the aftercare of ourmen and women who have been serving in the forces and have beeninjured in the process. It soon developed into an inter-departmentalproject where it now is a fully fledged function within the securityservices with each department having his department of care forthe disabled looking after injured members.

We address policy issues within the defence force. As you cansee I'm a disabled person, I'm working, I'm in uniform, I didmy courses as was expected of any other person that was supposedto be doing his courses to get his promotion. I'm doing a fulldays job. I might be disables but there is nothing wrong withmy head and I think that is the whole idea that the whole pleafrom an international point of view that we should emphasise theabilities of people with disabilities and not concentrate on thedisability and we should also concentrate on empowerment and enablementin order to let them take control of their lives and live a fulllife and offer them a career possibility or career opportunitieswhere possible.

I can offer you some statistics. According to the White Paperon the Integrated Disability Strategy there are over 5 milliondisabled people in South Africa of which only 0.026 percent havegot jobs. You can just imagine what the situation is in SouthAfrica in terms of job opportunities. Everybody else withouta disability are experiencing problems in terms of job opportunities,nevertheless not to even mention what people with disabilitiesare experiencing.

We address issues where we look after people who are physicallydisabled, psychologically disabled and like John, that was herejust before me, as a matter of fact as I've indicated to Professorhere, that I would like to have a word with him and I think thegentleman that's going to be talking after me I had a glance athis notes just now and I think we've got a lot in common. Maybewe should meet afterwards and discuss a few things in terms toprevent re-inventing the wheel because the system is already working. It is in place and their are people working and doing thingsfor people that have suffered because of their service in thesecurity forces. We're looking at, as I've already mentioned,people who have got physical disabilities, psychological disabilitieswhere we refer to Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. There's a technicalpoint that I would like to point out in terms of the conscripts. The Department of Finance who is administering the Military PensionsAct, once they accept your application one can be entitled toa pension and this is not valid in all cases but I'm not goingto speak on behalf of the Department of Finances as there arecertain procedures that have to be followed and evaluations donein order to apply for such a pension, but in cases like the gentlemanthat spoke just before us I would like to leave that as an optionthat we could possibly discuss later on.

Lastly, I want to push on as Wilhelm indicated that I've onlygot ten minutes. The Curamus Association for Security ServiceDisabled is an organisation that was founded in October of 1990. Just after the project was launched we soon realised that weneed to give the disabled members a platform from which they couldvoice their problems and their difficulties that they are experiencingtowards Government and the private sector to see in which waythey could make people aware of their difficulties. I was electedas National Chairman in this capacity approximately two yearsago. I've been serving there since and it's up and above a jobresponsibility that I've taken on, I'm not being compensated forit and we have got a fund at our disposal with which we assistingour members to obtain means and appliances and assistive deviceswhich is not being supplied for by the State. As a matter offact on that point I think Professor Hattingh is just leavingthe door now but I would like to mention something that actuallycomes from the heart. Please tell your mother that when I wasinjured doing my national service I was one of the guys lyingin the hospital that received a parcel when I was in the hospital,she was not caught for a sucker, there were many people who reallyappreciated it and looked forward to those parcels. So that'sa word from the bottom of my heart.

We are experiencing difficulties in terms of assisting all ourmembers because of financial constraints that we are experiencing. I can imagine that there are many people stemming from thesehearings that are going to be approaching us. Wilhelm has gotour telephone number and I would like to hear from anybody whohas had a disability or suffering or serving in the defence forceand the police service and the correctional services, twenty percentand more we perceive a twenty percent disability as the cut-offfrom there onwards up to a hundred percent, to contact us andplease let us form a united front and to address the problemsand the difficulties that many of us are experiencing and arebearing the witness to our experiences that we had whilst serving. Thank you.

PROF MEIRING: Lieutenant Colonel Botha thank you so muchsharing this with us. Part of what we need to do at these hearingsis not only to look at the past but look towards the future andwhat can be done and you've given us some practical hope, thankyou so much for that. Thank you for coming we really appreciateit very much.

LT COLONEL BOTHA: Thank you very much.

PROF MEIRING: Thank you so much. I would now like tocall upon Mr Ian Bruce to take his place at the table for thefinal submission. You had a lot of patience to stay all throughthe day with us, thank you Mr Bruce. Make that your souvenirof the day you can even ask the Chair to sign it for you.

CHAIRPERSON: And laminate it.

PROF MEIRING: Mr Bruce will tell the story of SAVA, theSouth African Veteran Association. We are very privileged tohave you with us. If you can press the red button, thank you.


MR BRUCE: Thank you. I'm here on behalf of somebody,somebody who couldn't be here. He was mentioned earlier on byJohn Deegan, he's a man called Marius van Niekerk. Marius, thevision of SAVA is something that was born in Marius's mind I thinka long time ago when he found that things he was suffering from,the kinds of things he wanted to be silent about or hide or denyor run from or tell lies about as he went through his life, hediscovered were things he shared with thousands and thousandsof other young men and ex-combatants who had throughout the country,throughout the world in fact and through all time. I think thatset Marius off on a process of trying heal himself by tellingthis story. He in himself by telling this story and trying tohelp others to find the same kind of relief I think. He wentthrough many forms of trying to tell the story. He tried writingfilms, making documentaries and that is how I met him many yearsago. We had some things in common. I was a paratrooper trainedas a paratrooper like he was but I had done my border stints before1976 and in 1976 had gone into exile. So Marius and I sharedan exile and we shared some little bits of background and we becamevery close. One of the things that came out of our associationwas a play about the anger and the pain of an ex-combatant.

Marius has asked me to present his idea, you can say all thathe's been through has gown up into this idea of SAVA for him thisafternoon. I think first of all SAVA has to be seen as a vision,it's an idea, it's an idea waiting to be born and I think Johnhas very powerfully already spoken about the necessity of it'sbeing born. The great need for it and I think everybody who spokehere this afternoon Tim, Ian all of them have spoken more thanI can say about the necessity of creating an association wherepeople can get together to share what they need to share, to beable to tell their stories. Because I think that's working fromthe point that the Truth Commission can begin something like thatbut it cannot carry it forward as it must go forward, somethingelse has to happen.

I'm just going to read something of the background of the wayI'd like to approach the vision. What we've seen to-day is thewounds of war are not only the visible ones and I think ColonelBotha has also spoken of what has happened to people physically,but we have also to-day heard a great deal about the psychologicaland the moral hurts that in the end do most of the damage, havea great deal long-term damage both to individuals, to their familiesand ultimately to the society he belongs to. There are literallyhundreds of thousands of ex-combatants of this SADF, Umkhonto,APLA and clan out there, each harbouring their own sense of guiltor feelings of betrayal who experienced constant invasions ofparalising memories, nightmares and hallucinations who are stillwondering why they survived and a buddy did not. Who are unableto allow themselves to feel love or tenderness ,who turn violentor fall into deep depressions for no reason, who cannot hold ajob or keep a relationship going, who have turned to drink ordrugs for solace, who are afraid of their own shadow, who feelthat life is empty and meaningless.

These amongst others are symptoms of a condition that followsexposure to highly traumatic life threatening value destroyingevents such as can occur in even the briefest hostile contactof any war. Neither the Government of any Southern African countrynor any NGO's are taking care of the needs of these traumatisedveterans.

Research on PTSD in this country, we've heard a lot about PTSDI think everyone what it is by now, in this country is minimaland what has been done has so far been largely ignored. Thisis a cause of great concern for those who are aware of the enormityof the issue. Doctor Jacqueline Kok of Wits Sociology Departmentwrote the following response to an enquiry by Marius.

"My research in retrenched SADF soldiers and MK soldiersreveals that many are suffering from PTSD and are receiving nohelp from any source. The accumulative results of this neglectcould be devastating in the future."

Diane Sandler, a Cape Town based Clinical Psychologist who treatsPTSD sufferers wrote,

"The issue is one of secrecy and avoidance in the South Africancommunity both Black and White. The clear need for therapeuticintervention has not been systematically addressed, it's veryoften been fobbed off as well.

I think there was also a perception amongst ANC people for quitea long time that would be no trauma amongst the Umkhonto peoplebecause they won the war. This is not so, it's been proved notso. I think that Doctor Kok's research has shown quite definitelythat MK soldiers suffer some of them more so because of very extremeconditions from this condition.

Then Gary Koen whom you heard speak this morning, I will justread something that he wrote to us as well.

"The debilitating nature of PTSD the insidious manner inwhich it distorts the individuals perception of life, the isolationwhich can ensue and then ultimately the return to violence asa last way of escaping the helplessness and fear that such a syndromeincludes. What is further true of the South African conditionis the distinct lack of public awareness that there were any consequences."

The Ambassador to Sweden De Swardt said that,

"The present crime rate often involving senseless violencegoes beyond socio-economic reasons and at times seems impossibleto understand. PTSD may have more to do with it than that doneis generally realised. I think that is also something of a socialconsequence which we have with the individual consequence andthe social consequence. "

To end off I would like to just quote the words of a highly trainedveteran who described himself as a "well oiled killing machine". He had tried over thirteen times to kill himself but that wasthe one person he couldn't manage to kill, and he finally gaveup and removed himself from society to live in isolation in thecountry because, as he said, "I can't control myself anymore,how can I expect society to control me."

The problems many individuals are dealing with continue to belife threatening, that is what people take with them, the despair,the depressions, the hyper vigilance can at times be life threateningor threatening to the people who are closest to the veteran sufferingfrom this condition. There's a statistic in America which showsthat over six hundred thousand ex-Vietnam veterans have committedsuicide since the end of that war. That is more than the number,far more than the number who died fighting in the war.

The social implications are just as penetrating, family is disruptedor destroyed by violence, depression, work, dysfunction and drink. Also veterans who do not get help with their social and psychologicalproblems often continue to do what they are trained to do. Thesemen make ready gunmen for the hundreds of crime syndicates nowoperating in post-apartheid South Africa. There's often no alternative. It's an enormous problem with devastating consequences and nothingis being done, either for the individuals or about the socialresults, nothing at all.

SAVA is a vision that's why SAVA I think, that's why Marius hascome to this idea and I think his original intention to help himselfhas grown into this idea and I think what lies behind it, themodel that he's used is something in America that is known asVietnam Veterans for America and what these people have done,they've created chapters of selfhelp groups in communities anddistricts where the veterans get together and share their problems. There's more to it than that, they also will set up programmesthings that need to be done for healing like going to help, manyof them find the funding to go back to Vietnam and help peoplein Vietnam.

John mentioned going up to where he was involved to make a film,to help out perhaps with the communities that are there and thesekind of things is what this group has now been able to do. It'sa structure that in a sense it fits very well with our RDP thinkingin a certain sense, it gives the onus to the veterans themselvesand it's also based on the fact that I think veterans can probablyhelp veterans better than anyone else can help them because ofthe understanding of the experiences. That is something alsoidentified by Marius.

In terms of the American experience, I have a quote from oneof the leaders of this organisation in America and he starts offby saying,

"The description of your experiences sound like many of thoseVietnam veterans. Our strength is the personal affinity, (thestrength of these self help groups), is the personal affinitybetween our members within our local chapter organisations. Thenature of those local chapters creates an environment where healingcan and does take place."

I think that is what Marius has been trying very hard for a verylong time to sell in this country with a great deal of moral supportfrom a number of people, from people who know and understand whatthe condition is about, but very little really support in thesense of being able to put something together where people canactually, as John asked if they make it possible to bring thesegroups together to start this structure working.

I know that John has said that there is a Constitution. There'salso a number of goals have been identified. Do I have the timeto talk about the goals that have already been mentioned? I summarisethem, okay. We'll just go very quickly through them.

The selfhelp programme is the very first one. Then there's thingslike we talked also about monuments, the wall of remembrance thatmeans a wall with as many names or all the names if possible ofall the people who fell in that war from all sides. That wouldbe something that I think we feel would bring a great deal towardsa kind of reconciliation which we're seeking. And the other thingabout the self help groups is that it's not only for people whowere in Umkhonto or people who were in SADF but people from allsides, that too I believe would have an extremely health givingeffect and reconciliatory effect for our society. The beliefthere being that the more we can reconcile one individual withhis past the more we can reconcile the problems of our society. The wall of remembrance is the one then.

There's the banning of landmines, that SAVA would support thecampaign which is an international campaign to completely banthe use of landmines or the manufacture of them.

Other relief projects. SAVA would itself initiate other reliefprojects, for instance in helping local populations in ex-operationalareas with things like tree planting, reconstruction work, locatingundocumented graves etc., whatever programme you could put upto help those people.

The individual memberships, members would pay a fee so that therewould be to some extent a kind of self-funded bodies. They wouldstill need help obviously from Government because people withsevere PTSD would need professional help and there would alsoneed to be people trained I think, field workers trained to goand to be able to facilitate and to help people.

Also to have a central office that produces and distributes literature,brochures, information sheets, films, videos, anything that willhelp people to understand their situation and to go forward. The same office should have a locater and reunion service thatis looking for people, investigating all the missing and presumedkilled, names. All that needs to be done. Finding people whoneed to find each other again that also in terms of healing people.

Long term aims and objectives, their office would work to spreadknowledge about PTSD throughout the social and medical professions. That's something that is sorely needed because that's somethingthat is at the moment understood or the awareness is very small. The office should establish working relations with the churchesbecause I think spiritual healing is also very much a part ofwhat people need at this point. As the number of self-help groupsgrow and the work of the office expands a non-profit making charitableorganisation would need to be constituted. I think that's thedream eventually, is the actual NGO that can be formed.

A link with the official military medical services should beestablished at an early stage, that should be done fairly soon. Guidance in selecting adequately skilled professional consultantsand therapists should be offered to veterans who seek such help.

A special training programme in PTSD treatment for interestedclinicians, so that there's something set up for people to comeand learn about. Programmes for the training of field workerswhich I've already mentioned. Assistance with jobs. Family andchild care support and the main aim is what is needed is an integrateddisciplinary care for the whole person to be able to look at theman as a whole and to help him in all the aspects of his life.

PROF MEIRING: I think perhaps if we can leave it at thatand maybe there will be come time for discussion afterwards andmaybe you can feed in some of the additional information you havein reaction to questions that may come from the floor.

May I at this stage say thank you ever so much for being withus and sharing this with us. We are really privileged that wedo not end under a cloud to-day but that there's hope and thereare things being done, we really appreciate that.

Don't leave your seat stay in front of the mike. Doctor WendyOrr will conduct the next session which will be a few momentsin a vis a vis for questions, answers and discussion.