DATE: 21 MAY 1997





CHAIRPERSON: I will ask Miss Glenda Wildschut to explain the mechanism of the interpretation.


CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I would like to welcome here today the people who have come to testify before us and to thank them for having done so and also to welcome the members of the public who are here.

We are particularly pleased to note that there are several schools who have sent groups of students here today. I am told that Alexander Sinton, Bridgetown, Habibia and Belgravia High are represented. And since part of the task of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is to discover the truth of our history so that we may learn from it, it is particularly appropriate that young people should be here today, and we welcome you.

I bring you the greetings and apologies of our Chairperson, Archbishop Tutu who is unable to be with us here today.

I would just like to refer to yesterday's hearing when we heard from the people who were directly affected by the event which has become known as the Trojan Horse. It was quite an emotional day and some of those family members will be joining us later today to be part of this hearing.

I would like to remind you all too that this is not a court proceeding, we will not be making findings at the end of this day. The proceedings today are really today to help us, once again, to understand the reality of what happened during that period of conflict, of intense conflict in this part of Cape Town in 1985. Our objective is to gather information, it's not accusatory and we expect everybody to help us to reach an understanding of what happened. So in that spirit we welcome you all here today.

The various people who speak before us will be led by different members of our panel, so I would like to introduce you - on my left is Dr Mapule Ramashala and beside here Dumisa Ntsebeza. On my right is Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, and to her right is Glenda Wildschut. My name is Mary Burton.

So without any further introduction we will proceed and the first person to testify before us is Brigadier Christiaan Loedolff and Dr Ramashala will introduce his evidence.

I would ask Miss Wildschut to administer the oath but we are told that this witness will not swear the oath but will confirm his commitment to the contents of his statement.


DR RAMASHALA: Mr Loedolff good morning.

MR VAN ZYL: Chairperson if I may. Mr Loedolff has prepared a confirmed statement of the events and with your leave he would like to read that out, and hand in the statement and maybe that would form a good basis from which to question him.

CHAIRPERSON: That's fine, thank you.

MR VAN ZYL: May he go ahead and read out that statement?

CHAIRPERSON: Yes go ahead.

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Chairperson I will now read my statement which I have affirmed.

"I Christiaan Loedolff declare as follows:

I am an adult male. I am a retired Brigadier in the former South African Police and I live in Laaiplek.

I received a notice to appear on the 21st of May this year before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to testify and to answer questions relating to the so-called Trojan Horse incident. In order to assist the Commission I decided to make this statement.

During October 1985 I was a major in the then South African Railway Police. I was the commanding officer of the regional task force of the South African Railway Police. This regional task force did duty in the unrest racked areas along with members of the South African Police and the South African Defence Force.

During October 1985 there were various incidents of unrest in and around Nyanga and also in Athlone. These incidents usually were attacks aimed at private vehicles. Vehicles were stoned and in some cases set alight. In other cases blockades were erected to cause vehicles to stop and the vehicles were then damaged. Attempts to arrest those responsible by means of normal police procedures were unsuccessful seeing as the people immediately fled as soon as they noticed police vehicles.

Myself and the Commanding Officer of the South African Police and the South African Defence Force contingent, tasked with unrest control in a particular area planned, from a joint operational centre in Manenberg and we operated from that centre. Colonel Janse van Rensburg of the South African Police, Commander S Pienaar of the South African Defence Force and myself decided during the afternoon of the 15th of October that the only way in which we would succeed in apprehending the main culprits behind these incidents of stoning etc would be to used an unmarked vehicle to enter the area with some members concealed on the truck so that if the vehicle was stoned it would then be able to follow and apprehend and arrest the attackers. The problem was that we couldn't send in policemen in private clothes because it was important that those to be arrested had to realised that they were being arrested by Police. The members therefore had to be able to act in uniform and we couldn't place members in full uniform on the back of tracks because that would also defeat the whole purpose of the exercise. It was decided to use a Railways Police truck and to place crates on the back of this truck in which we could conceal members and in this way try to apprehend the attackers.

I told Lt Douw Vermeulen of the South African Railway Police and I sent him a radio message to come and speak to me. I then gave him an instruction to take some of his members and members of the South African Police who would be made available by Colonel van Rensburg and to launch this particular operation.

I explained to Vermeulen what we intended doing and showed him the truck to be used. I specifically instructed him that the people who were to travel on this truck had to be armed with side arms as well as shotguns and they had to be given AAA bullets. Heavier ammunition was not to be used.

I also explained to Vermeulen that should they find themselves in a situation where it was necessary to fire they had to exercise caution that those people on the left-hand side of the vehicle should not fire into the crates and thereby endangering their own comrades. I accordingly instructed him that he had to ensure that they had to know exactly in which direction to fire if necessary.

I can also remember that, according to Section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act it was also discussed with Vermeulen. I explained the route to him, namely Klipfontein Road in the direction of the Athlone Police Station and then through Belgravia Road and Thornton Road and from there onwards to Lansdowne Road, around Crossroads and back to the Manenberg Police Station. I made it very clear to Vermeulen that the whole object of the exercise was that those people responsible for the attacks had to be arrested.

At about 16H30 Lt Vermeulen department on this particular route and in this truck. At 16H58 Sgt Sayer notified us that there had been an operation and that more people should be sent to Thornton. An ambulance was immediately ordered to go to the area.

As further radio reports came through a clearer picture began to emerge of what had happened. There had been an attack by people throwing stones and our members had reacted. I was also notified that some of our members were lightly injured and that some people had been arrested.

After an inquest into the matter had been finalised, myself and a couple of other people, inter alia Vermeulen and some of his other members were charged with murder in a private prosecution. The Attorney General had declined to prosecute. The prosecution followed a protracted trial of about five months and was unsuccessful. An appeal was launched to the Appellate Division in Bloemfontein, that was similarly unsuccessful.

I would like to point out that all efforts ...."

CHAIRPERSON: Excuse me Mr Loedolff I wonder if you could speak a little more slowly, the Interpreter is struggling to keep up. Thank you.


"I would like to point out that all attempts to apprehend the people responsible for damaging vehicles and injuries in the normal way had been unsuccessful and that it was in that context that the decision was taken to use an unmarked vehicle to be able to arrest the culprits.

I deny, vehemently, the allegations made that the truck had been sent to commit murder.

I am sorry that people, and especially a young child, had lost their lives in this tragic way, but I ask for understanding for the circumstances under which I gave these instructions".

MR VAN ZYL: Chairperson may we hand in this statement?

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Thank you. Is this your only copy? Perhaps it would help us to speed things up if the other people you are representing have statements, we could make them available for having copies made in advance, Mr van Zyl. Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Dr Ramashala.

DR RAMASHALA: Mr Loedolff I am going to, through my questions, repeat some of the information so that it will be entered directly into the record. You confirmed that during October 1985 you were a Major in the South African Railway Police, am I correct?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: That is correct, yes.

DR RAMASHALA: And that during the period preceding and after the Trojan Horse event you were also the commander of the regional special task force of the South African Railway Police?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: That is correct.

DR RAMASHALA: And also the representative of the South African Railway Police at the Joint Operational Centre located in Manenberg?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: That is correct.

DR RAMASHALA: So would you tell me how people were chosen to be on the regional special task force of the South African Railway Police?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: The regional task force consisted of a couple of members who came from different police stations. These members had to apply to serve on the regional task force. When I took over the command in 1985 the regional task force was already in existence and many of the members had been there for a couple of years or a year or two. In the process the regional task group often conducted exercises or operations just to keep ourselves alert and some of the members were from the special task force stationed in Johannesburg, and who were eventually transferred to Cape Town to stations here, and they then served in the regional task force.

DR RAMASHALA: Brigadier during October 1985 and specifically on the 15th of October you were one of three senior officers who met at the Joint Operational Centre at Manenberg to discuss the unrest situation in the Cape Flats and the surrounding townships, am I correct?


DR RAMASHALA: What specific instructions constituted the basis for the planning and execution of tasks at, and from the Joint Operational Centre?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: The Joint Operational Centre met every morning. We were, in any event, always present at Manenberg throughout the day and every morning we had a meeting in which we would review what had happened in the previous 24 hours, we looked at all the incidents. We evaluated these incidents and then made a decision as to what we should do on that particular day, where the important trouble spots were for that particular day.

DR RAMASHALA: So the Joint Operational Centre was a command centre, a joint planning centre for staff and a joint operational centre also, am I correct?


DR RAMASHALA: I'm referring to this document Sir. It's a secret document entitled South African Police, Manual Joint Operational Centres and in brackets it's (JOCS), are you aware of it?

CHAIRPERSON: I am just trying to find out whether you have copies of this document.

ADV VAN ZYL: We have requested in writing documents that would be used at this sitting this morning. We were supplied with statements and I personally asked whether there would be any other documents to be used this morning and I was told not. This is a complete surprise and we would like time to read through this document and consider our position.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr van Zyl. I must say I had thought that you had seen the documents earlier today at least. How much time would you require to.....

ADV VAN ZYL: It's a matter of reading through the document and - we've been supplied with a whole bunch of documents and we'll need to work through them and just to see what it's all about.

CHAIRPERSON: Let Dr Ramashala take you quickly through the contents of the package that you've been given.

DR RAMASHALA: Well I want to refer to this document specifically. This is a document that was the basis for your operations. This is a document which is an instruction manual and I have got to assume that all of the officers are familiar with this document and I am referring on this document to 3.2, Organisation; 3.2.1.; 3.2.2; 3.2.3; and I'm just reviewing the functions of the Joint Operational Centre, that's all I'm doing, confirming what he said at his statement.

ADV VAN ZYL: Chairperson we were briefed to assist this witness this morning and to that end we specifically asked for all the documentation that would be used so that we can work through it with him, and prepare the witness, as is, with respect, our right as I understand the Constitution, and this is now completely a surprise to us. All we are asking for some time to just go through the documentation, see what this witness can recognise what he knows and what he doesn't and we can come back and we can proceed.

You must bear in mind that we are talking about events of 12 years ago. We are talking about a witness that has since retired from the Police.

DR RAMASHALA: Sir, with all due respect, Mr Loedolff has identified this in his statement, I am merely confirming what he said in his statement by referring to this document. He has already referred to these responsibilities in his own statement. So this is not a new document to him because he supposedly used this document to write his responsibilities in his own statement. So I am merely referring to it as an affirmation of what he said in his statement. There is no surprise at all in this.

ADV VAN ZYL: Chairperson may we get a ruling on my request?

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Dr Ramashala I think that it would be valuable, even if the documents should be familiar to the witness, that you should have an opportunity to just see what is in the package anyway. So could we perhaps call a short, I hope need not be more than a five minute adjournment, just to give you a chance to have a look at what is in the package.

ADV VAN ZYL: We will try to be as quick as possible, thank you very much.





CHAIRPERSON: We apologise to the audience for the delay but it is very important, everybody should be au fait with all the documents which we will be discussing during today's proceedings. Dr Ramashala please proceed.

DR RAMASHALA: Thank you Madam Chair. I think the question that was asked, prior to the adjournment, was that during October 1985 what specific instructions constituted the basis or planning and execution of tasks at the Joint Operational Centre?

And the follow-up question on that Brigadier Loedolff, who was your immediate commanding officer to whom you reported?

And from whom you received orders and guidelines for your work at the Joint Operational Centre, the name of your immediate commanding officer?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Perhaps I should explain that the JOCS in Manenberg was established on the instructions of (Interpreter did not hear the word) in Cape Town, VAKOM was an extension of this JOC system, and in Manenberg we were the people on the ground who on a daily basis had to plan to evaluate the situation and - in other words we had to do the work on the ground as a result of the planning and evaluation taking place. My immediate superior, on the Railway Police side, was in those years Brigadier Malan, but he had nothing to do with the planning and the work of JOCS in Manenberg, and he couldn't give us orders, because our orders, our JOC orders came via VAKOM and we were ordered via VAKOM to establish JOCS. The commanding officer of JOCS was Piet van Rensburg. He was a representative of the South African Police.

If you look at this particular document now in front of you, you will see that each and every entity, whether the South African Police or the Defence Force or the Railway Police were commanded, were under their own command. In other words, for a particular operation to take place it was only the commanding officer of that particular unit who could give orders to his own people.

To make it a little bit easier to do our work in practice planning was done at this Joint Operational Command Centre at Manenberg and orders were there given as to what should happen. When a joint operation was to take place the senior man was then in charge, whether it was from the South African Police side or the Railway Police side.

So to answer your question briefly, yes, I had to answer to Colonel Piet van Rensburg who was the head of the South African Riot Unit at that time.

DR RAMASHALA: Can you Sir, give a clear account of the deliberations by members of the Command structure at the Joint Operational Centre on October 15 1985?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Unfortunately I can't give you a complete picture, I can't give you all the information because I can't remember it, it's 12 years ago now. If we are talking about this specific operation, yes, I can talk about that if that is what you want.

DR RAMASHALA: Let me be specific Sir, did you know about or attend the meeting of the Sub-Joint Management Centre, JOMC, held at 10 o'clock in the morning at the Thomas Boydell building on the 14th of October 1985?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: It's possible. I will have to look at documentation and we will have to see whether my name appears on the list of those present.

DR RAMASHALA: I refer you to Annexure 30, I believe, that meeting was called by Adrian Vlok.

ADV VAN ZYL: Chairperson we don't seem to have that document referred to.

DR RAMASHALA: Do have Annexure 31?

ADV VAN ZYL: We have a 32. We don't have anything marked 31 that I can see, no.

DR RAMASHALA: If you would bear with us. This is an invitation to the Regional Commissioner, and since I am at a disadvantage, it's written in Afrikaans, I'm at a disadvantage I will ask our staff to read that in Afrikaans.

"Regional Commissioner South African Railway Police

P O Box 3181

CAPE T0WN 8000


1. You are hereby notified that the abovementioned meeting will take place on the 14th of October 1985 at 10H30 in the morning at the conference room at the Thomas Boydell in Beraad Street in Cape Town, and you are requested to send a delegate.

It must be mentioned that this meeting has been convened on the instructions of the Secretary of the State Security Council and it would therefore be appreciated if you would send a senior representative if you can't attend the meeting personally".

Sir, the question is did you attend that meeting?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: I can't remember. No I did not attend the meeting. I can't remember anything about this meeting.

DR RAMASHALA: Okay. Can you then give a clear account of the discussions by members of the command structure at the JOC centre on October 15 1985?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: I can give you an explanation in this sense that we spoke that morning, that's what we would normally do. I can't tell you exactly what we said apart form the discussion surrounding the operation itself, but what is normally done is that we look at the incidents which have taken place over the past 24 hours, we determined our priorities for action, we planned and then we would issue instructions of what was to happen and in which areas we were to work. Are you satisfied with that?

DR RAMASHALA: Well let me move on, perhaps the next questions will clarify this. When exactly did you discuss the use of the "ghost vehicle" and I'm translating that, "ghost vehicle", do you remember the term "ghost vehicle"? When exactly - and who was there when you discussed the use of the ghost vehicle?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: It was discussed that morning that the only alternative, because we were not succeeding in making arrests and arresting the people throwing stones and that there was no decrease in the number of incidents, it was discussed that morning that we had no alternative and that the only way in which to operate was to use an unmarked vehicle. It was discussed that morning, yes.

DR RAMASHALA: Exactly what were the motivating factors for using - I am not satisfied that it was just discussed, I mean what were the reasons, particularly putting the crates in the back of the truck and having the two officers dressed in non-uniform attire, what were your reasons for specifically using crates in the back of the truck and deciding that the officers would hide inside the truck?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: We found in this period that if we sent in a police vehicle that as soon as the vehicle would enter the area the people would run away and then nothing would happen, and then as soon as the police withdrew the unrest and stone-throwing and petrol bomb incidents etc would just start up again. There was no way in 1985 for us to use the community in that area where the trouble spots were.

What I am trying to say to you that in normal circumstances, to be able to apprehend the culprits you would expect that you could place policemen in that area in houses who would be able to observe what was happening. The situation, at that stage, was such that the police weren't welcome anywhere in that area. On the contrary, in certain areas in Athlone, I was refused a cool drink, I couldn't even buy a cool drink and the shopkeeper told me Sir, I am sorry if I sell you this cold drink I will have trouble in my shop this evening. The result of this was that we couldn't place policemen in an area to monitor the area and to observe and then to facilitate our planning.

Secondly, I have already told you that we could not send in marked vehicles and people in uniform because nothing would happen and then as soon as you withdrew the attacks would just start afresh. In other words our only option was to send in an unmarked vehicle. Now to send in such an unmarked vehicle and to place uniformed policemen in this unmarked vehicle would also serve no purpose, you'd have the same result, that you would enter such a situation the people would run away and once again you would not have a successful peacekeeping operation and you would not be able to apprehend culprits.

So we were forced to send in this vehicle in some way, clearly marked with a South African Police number, because at that stage it was the delivery trucks and vehicles that were being attacked, so we had no other choice but to send in this vehicle and to make it look as close as possible, to make it look like a delivery truck, and then to use the trucks and to conceal the policemen in the crates because that was the whole purpose of the operation, to get the policemen to the culprits to be able to arrest them. And that is why we gave the driver and his passenger khaki coats to put on over their uniforms.

DR RAMASHALA: So you planned ahead of time, before October 15 that you would use this unmarked vehicle, am I correct, you planned it ahead of time?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: No, no, we planned it on the 15th. It was a Railway Police vehicle so it was always available.

DR RAMASHALA: So who is Lt Vermeulen?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: He is one of the members sitting behind me.

DR RAMASHALA: And you called him on the radio and gave him the responsibility for this operation?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: That's correct.

DR RAMASHALA: So he was the commanding officer for the operation?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Yes he was placed in command of this specific operation.

DR RAMASHALA: What was the nature of Lt Vermeulen's experience for you to make the decision to assign him this task?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: In the first place the vehicle to be used was a Railway Police vehicle and the system worked as follows. Every force was responsible for its own vehicles and every force was also responsible for its own command. In other words I could not use a South African Police vehicle and drive it. If I was to use members of the Railway Police I would have to give them a Railway Police truck or vehicle. And because the vehicle which we had to use was a Railway truck, for that reason the command decided that Lt Vermeulen would have to execute this particular operation.

DR RAMASHALA: Did you base that decision on the basis that Lt Vermeulen had experience in handling large crowds? Did you in fact know that Lt Vermeulen could handle large crowds?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Well Lt Vermeulen was at that stage, I had been active in the area for two months and if you look at the logs available then you will see that there were daily attacks on Police vehicles and several actions launched by Vermeulen and his people, so I thought he was competent.

DR RAMASHALA: Okay. You thought he was competent. Sir did you ask him if he was familiar with working with that size crowd, and we will come back to the issue of size, I mean did you ask him the question?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Nobody knew how many people to expect, we weren't aware of a crowd of people, on the contrary we didn't know that the vehicles would be attacked in such a violent manner.

DR RAMASHALA: What exactly were your instructions to Lt Vermeulen?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: What were my instructions to Lt Vermeulen, is that the question?

DR RAMASHALA: Yes, with respect to this operation.

BRIG LOEDOLFF: I called him in and I told him what the planning was. I told him which route he should follows, if you want that I can repeat that for you. I told him what kind of ammunition to use and what type of firearms that they should have. I told him exactly why we were using the crates. I told him that we wanted to try for maximum arrests so that these attacks would stop.

DR RAMASHALA: In your statement, I refer to paragraph 3, taken after the incident, you referred to, and I quote "belhammels", "culprits", what exactly did you mean by that?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: The "belhammel" usually refers to a person or persons who were responsible for the planning of this type of activity or operation. To just elaborate on that a bit, you would normally find a group of people throwing stones and you will always find an element or people who would encourage, incite others to attack cars. Many people who throw stones, and in many cases children who throw stones, that we also found, but in many cases people are also incited or encouraged to throw stones, and these people we call the "belhammels" or ringleaders perhaps.

DR RAMASHALA: By your own admission you told Lt Vermeulen what route to take, what ammunition to use, what vehicle to use, suggesting that since you had not been in that area that morning this suggests that you had a plan before the 15th of October? You were not at the scene that morning. You had a route, the type of ammunition, the type of dress which was to be used, the kind of vehicle and what was to be put in the vehicle and who was to be in the back of the vehicle in crates. This suggests to me, Sir, that this operation was planned before the 15th.

BRIG LOEDOLFF: No that's not true. What you must remember is that we had vehicles in the areas and these vehicles would report certain incidents to the radio control room in Manenberg. So we were totally familiar with what was happening in a particular area. It wasn't necessary for me to actually physically drive to an area to go and see what was happening there because in any case the moment I arrived there in a police vehicle nothing was happening. So our planning was based on what was reported to us. In other words when we did our planning and laid down this particular route it was as a result of certain facts given to us usually by means of radio reports and people who had been attacked who reported it to police stations, and all this information was then sent through to the Manenberg Operational Centre.

DR RAMASHALA: And that formed the basis for the plan that you say you did that morning?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: That's correct.

DR RAMASHALA: Sir I put it to you that having designed the route and having given instructions on the ammunition, what ammunition to use, that in fact the primary purpose of that operation was not to arrest?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: No, the chief objective was in fact that, to perform arrests.

DR RAMASHALA: Well if your chief objective was to arrest why the AAA and no.1 birdshot? And why the concealment of officers in the back of the truck? Why were they not open in the crowd?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: I've already told you, if we placed these men openly on the back of a truck nothing would have happened, we wouldn't have been able to perform any arrests because then we would be in the exact same situation as if we were driving in a marked police vehicle. The police vehicle would not be attacked and the very next vehicle, an unmarked vehicle would be attacked, that is why we tried to conceal the officers.

DR RAMASHALA: Okay, you wanted people to attack, you've just said that, that a police vehicle would not be attacked, so you wanted the concealed vehicle to be attacked?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: We wanted to apprehend the stone-throwers, yes, so if we'd sent a vehicle in there and no stones had been thrown then there would be no crime and no - but if a second vehicle came in, an unmarked vehicle it would.

DR RAMASHALA: Sir, you deliberately instigated the crowd by making sure that they attacked, by your own admission. By your own admission you are saying a police vehicle would not be attacked and therefore your decision to use an unmarked vehicle so that it would be attacked, that's your statement.

ADV VAN ZYL: Chairperson I object to the statement made to this witness that they instigated a crime. If I park my motor vehicle in the street with a radio in it and it gets stolen by a thief who happens to walk in that street, do I instigate the crime by parking my vehicle there? Surely not. And this is in effect what is being put to this witness, that by sending a private vehicle out in a public road they instigated a crime. I am sorry I don't follow that.

DR RAMASHALA: Sir, you know, Chairperson, you know yourself that the example you just gave is absurd. The situation ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Order please, order, I must ask the audience please to observe the decorum that is appropriate to this hearing.

DR RAMASHALA: Sir let's move on. Are you aware ...(intervention)

ADV VAN ZYL: Chairperson may I just be allowed. I have objected against the word "instigate", that has a specific connection in law, and I think that was the way it was used, and I repeat my objection to that word in this context. Thank you.


DR RAMASHALA: Sir may I respond to you for the last time. Using the laws of logic, when he says we did not want to send police vehicles because they would not be stoned, we deliberately sent an unmarked vehicle, use logic Sir, the unmarked vehicle would be stoned. He admitted himself in his speech. Let's move on.

Sir, are you aware of a standing order from Major General Wandrag specific to the use of AAA and no.1 birdshot in unrest situations? I think it's Annexure no.24.

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Yes I am aware of that.

DR RAMASHALA: Okay. I have an English translation since I can't speak Afrikaans, but let me paraphrase it.

"1. All unrest units have been issued with sneeze and smoke machines and should have sufficient teargas and fluids to operate the machine effectively.

2. There is no reason why the machines cannot be used during unrest situations to their maximum capacity.

3. During unrest situations the maximum use of teargas, rubber sjamboks and the (...indistinct) shot ammunition must firstly be made use of. Firm action is essential.

4. In the event of a situation arising where your judgement is such that the use of firearms becomes essential buckshot ammunition must first be made use of. Sharp point ammunition may only be used in instances where there is no other alternative to protect lives or property. Attempts must be made to effect maximum arrests during actions".

Is that a correct translation or correct - of that memorandum?


DR RAMASHALA: But you went ahead and made sure that the machinery were loaded with AAA and no.1 birdshot for that operation, am I correct?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: That's correct.

DR RAMASHALA: Are you aware that you were in fact in violation of Major General Wandrag's order?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: No I was not acting in contravention of his orders.

DR RAMASHALA: Sir I don't know what to make of this. You've got the document in front of you with specific instructions about the use of ammunition and you issued instructions to use AAA and no.1 birdshot and you say you don't think you were in contravention of instructions?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: If you look at what was happening in those areas we had used all the equipment available to us at that stage to try and stop the attacks. The riots had been going on for weeks and we had used all the equipment issued to us. You must remember that the equipment mentioned in paragraph 3, paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 we are talking about damage control. Mention isn't made of attacks on police, it's merely damage control.

In other words you will remember that in those years, according to certain legislation it was illegal for large groups of people to meet and to have meetings and to disperse such a crowd, that was what this kind of equipment was used for, the equipment mentioned in paragraphs 1 to 3. But if you've tried everything at your disposal and nothing helps or works then paragraph 4 becomes applicable.

Now when we decided to use sharp point ammunition, AAA and no.1 it's the lowest form of sharp point ammunition that one can use. I specifically told Lt Vermeulen that the heavier shot should not be used.

DR RAMASHALA: Sir, help me understand this contradiction. You gave instruction to achieve maximum arrest and yet you have the equipment loaded with lethal ammunition, let me understand this contradiction.

BRIG LOEDOLFF: You must remember that you have to provide for your police officers to be able to defend themselves. We can't get away from the fact that if for instance you look at what was happening in those areas at that time, the nature of the attacks etc, that an attack on an unprotected vehicle, especially where there were policemen present, that that could become very ugly in the end and that some of the policemen could be killed. In other words what we did was to give the policemen a reasonable means of defending themselves should an attack be launched and then perform the arrests.

DR RAMASHALA: Did you tell the policemen that were assigned to this operation about the standing order from Major General Wandrag?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: No, no I didn't. This order was issued in 1984 already. It was a standing order which had been circulated more than a year previously.

DR RAMASHALA: Exactly when was this team, which was supposed to carry out this operation, exactly when were they briefed?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: I think I said in my statement, I just want to check it, it was at about 4 o'clock the afternoon of the 15th after I had called in Vermeulen and I had given him the instructions.

DR RAMASHALA: Sir, since you had a plan I am assuming that you knew that the majority of that crowd were school children?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: No, no, there was no.....

DR RAMASHALA: Did you or any other member of the command place take into account the fact that innocent people could be killed or injured with AAA and no.1 birdshot as a result of this "highly irregular operation"?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: I don't know about that "highly irregular operation". It was the first time that something like that had been done. It was not unique in the sense that this operation was being used or seen as something which had never happened before.

DR RAMASHALA: Did you make any contingency plans to prevent deaths or injury of innocent people?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: It's very difficult. Normally in cases of stone-throwing there are very few, if any, people - the innocent person is usually not involved in a stone-throwing, but in this case and in this particular area or place stone-throwing incidents had happened on many times before, so it's not as if the bystanders wouldn't have known that this was an area where stones were thrown.

DR RAMASHALA: So by your own admission you do regular evaluations of the effect of operations, for example you said arrests didn't work, am I correct?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: We couldn't perform mass arrests. Here and there we were able to make an arrest but it had very little effect.

DR RAMASHALA: Did you do an evaluation, an assessment of this operation and its outcome with your commanding officer, in this case Lt Vermeulen?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: What consequences are you talking about?

DR RAMASHALA: The death of three children and the injury of many others.

BRIG LOEDOLFF: You mean after the operation took place?


BRIG LOEDOLFF: I can't remember that I specifically discussed it with Vermeulen on that evening or the next day, but I am sure we did mention it or discuss it afterwards.

DR RAMASHALA: Sir, when the truck went up the road through the crowd there was no stone-throwing, did Lt Vermeulen tell you that? There was no stone-throwing when the truck went up the first time. It came back and it came up again, what was the purpose of doing that? If there was no stone-throwing at the time, what was the purpose of coming back up the road again?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: You are asking me a question I can't answer. I wasn't present on that truck and I wasn't party to the decision to turn it around and go back again, so that's a question I can't answer. I will have to guess.

DR RAMASHALA: Lt Vermeulen was acting on your instructions by your own admission, he was following your own instructions, what exactly did you expect Lt Vermeulen to accomplish? He was acting on your instructions.

BRIG LOEDOLFF: I told Vermeulen that he had to follow a specific route. Now if you look at the route, and I'm going to make an assumption to be able to answer your question relating to why the vehicle turned back, if you would allow me Chairperson to do that, to make an assumption then I am prepared to do so.

If you look at the instruction which I gave Vermeulen and the route, then the route goes from Manenberg in a westerly direction to the Athlone Police Station. The instruction was to go via Belgravia and Thornton Roads and then he had to go through Lansdowne around Crossroads, go down old Klipfontein Road, through NY108, back to Manenberg, that was the route.

Now you want me to make an assumption and if I do that I might say if I remember correctly the vehicle came down Old Klipfontein Road, turned left into Belgravia Road, right again into Thornton Road, came down Thornton in the direction of Old Klipfontein, in other words I will have to assume and say that there was no choice to get back to Lansdowne Road on the southern part he either had to make use of Belgravia again or he had to turn back, that is my assumption to be able to complete his route.

DR RAMASHALA: Since Lt Vermeulen was acting on your behalf do you take responsibility for this operation?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Of course in the sense that I gave the command for this operation, and it's obvious that if we give joint command then we are both responsible.

DR RAMASHALA: Did you then discuss this operation with any higher ranking officers, particularly about the aftermath, the death of three children and the injury of many others and the destruction of property, did you discuss that with anyone higher than you?

And your discussion, if you had any, did it help you assess how to deal with future operations like this?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: I am not quite sure. There have been quite a few questions here. Could you please just clarify the first question for me?

DR RAMASHALA: Did you discuss this with your superiors, whoever your superior was, did you discuss the aftermath of this with your superior?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: In other words you are referring to after the incident?


BRIG LOEDOLFF: Yes I am sure we did talk about it. I can't remember exactly what we said, it's too long ago, but yes I believe that we did.

DR RAMASHALA: Exactly what did you learn from this operation?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: In the process of maintaining law and order it happens sometimes, and it's commonly known as a fact, we've had - in the past week we've had many occurrences in the country of robbers robbing a bank and in the process of a shooting incident between police and robbers innocent people were wounded, now that one must accept can happen. Those are the realities of life.

DR RAMASHALA: Sir three children were killed, several others were injured and you don't remember what you discussed about the operation. I'll move on.

Have you ever read or discussed COMPOL memorandum no.43 dated 5 June 1986, written by Major General Wandrag, no. 6, excuse me, memorandum no.6 dated June 5 1986 written by Major General Wandrag of the Joint Security staff?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Yes I had seen it.

DR RAMASHALA: Did you discuss it with anyone?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: I can't remember whether I discussed it with anybody. I think it was only issued in 1986.

DR RAMASHALA: And you don't remember what decisions were taken on that memorandum?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: It's a very long memorandum, I don't know exactly what it deals with. If you would like to perhaps - or focus my attention on something specific then I could perhaps answer you, but to go through this entire memorandum which was issued 11 years ago that's a bit difficult. I can't answer you.

DR RAMASHALA: What I will do is ask you one more question, we'll take a tea break and during the tea break I will bring your attention to that.

How would you categorise AAA and no.1 birdshot ammunition in terms of seriousness and amount of damage, potential damage they would do?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: AAA ammunition, if it is used directly to fire at a person at a short range it can kill him. And the same holds true for no.1, but the same could also be done with no.8 and 9 birdshot. In other words that is the finest type of birdshot, it all depends on the range, it could cause death, yes. A rubber bullet can also cause death and has done so if used at short distance.

DR RAMASHALA: So you were fully aware when you loaded your equipment with AAA no.1 birdshot that this could result in death, you are fully aware of that?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Yes from my experience I was so aware. I was aware that any kind of shot could lead to death as I have just explained to you.

DR RAMASHALA: Sir may I then put it to you that really the purpose of the operation may not have been to accomplish maximum arrests, but to cause death?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: If the purpose was to cause death then we could have used far more effective and efficient ammunition. The purpose of the operation was to perform arrests. In my mind I had no, but no doubt whatsoever that my instruction was the performing of arrests, that was what we wanted to achieve.

DR RAMASHALA: Chairperson could we take a break and I will finish up.

CHAIRPERSON: Dr Ramashala you still want to ask further questions of this witness after tea?

DR RAMASHALA: Just two or three more questions after tea and then I will finish.

CHAIRPERSON: Does anybody else have any other questions they want to ask? So it does seem as if there will be more questions. We will take a tea break. We would ask people to make it as short as possible, if we can come back in 15 minutes that will be a help to us. Could I ask the members of the audience to wait until the members who are on the platform have left the room please.

Mr van Zyl and Mr Brand I wonder whether we could ask, to speed things up later, if we could have the statements of the other people you are representing after the tea break or even now so that they are entered and recorded. Thank you.




CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. We will continue with the last few questions to Brigadier Loedolff. Advocate van Zyl may we have the statements from your other clients?

ADV VAN ZYL: Chairperson we found that in the past, at the previous time we were here, that we give the statements and it gets handed to the Press and it actually gets reported prior to the witness having given evidence and that constitutes a problem to us. We will make them available immediately when the witness comes forward.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr van Zyl. I hear somebody's cellphone. May I repeat our earlier request to have them switched off before we start the proceedings. Thank you.

DR RAMASHALA: Thank you. Chairperson I just have a few questions and I will stop my - whatever it is I am doing. Let me review your statement on the ammunition and in fact tell you that Major General Wandrag classified, in his COMPOL memo on page 2, classified the ammunition in the following way. No.9, no.8, no.7, no.6 as birdshot. And he classified no.1, AAA, SSG, SG as sharp ammunition capable of being lethal.

Sir, I have a bit of cognitive dissonance here about your statement that the purpose, specific purpose of the operation was to arrest.

BRIG LOEDOLFF: That's correct.

DR RAMASHALA: Now what were your instructions to Lt Vermeulen in case of an attack? And how do you define an attack?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: I told Lt Vermeulen that in case of an attack they had to defend themselves, that's obvious. We also pointed out to them, as I said in my statement, that they had to just beware that if they should open fire that the men on the left-hand side shouldn't fire to the right and thereby injure their own colleagues.

DR RAMASHALA: I want to put it to you that in fact this operation was pre-planned long before the 15th of October as you say. If you refer to the memorandum from Lt General Stevens at April 1985, and again since I am at a disadvantage I am just going to ask to read my understanding of the gist of this. Point 3 it says,

"3. Come with pro-active actions. Think about ways and means to confuse the plans of agitators and to paralyse them before they even begin.

4.3 We need timely deployment of seasoned men to frighten off agitators".

On page 2 with regard to the information gathering process it says once again,

"It is once again emphasised that there should be absolute cooperation between the South African Defence Force, the Railway Police and the National Intelligence Agency".

This suggests very sophisticated pre-planning, and when we consider that and the modus operandi used we can't but help concluding that this was a premeditated operation.

But what I want you to consider for a minute, how high were the crates by the way, I mean taking your height Sir, how far did the crates go, your chest, your neck? Could you give us an indication of how high the crates were?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: If I remember correctly, it's difficult to say in metres, but approximately chest height for a reasonably small person.

DR RAMASHALA: I consider myself a reasonably small person with respect to height, so would that be chest height for me?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: I unfortunately didn't quite see how tall you were. Yes, approximately.

DR RAMASHALA: Sir, how then could it have been possible for the officers to jump out, ammunition and all, to jump out of the crates and make arrests? Because by your own admission, the purpose of the mission was to make arrests, how would it have been possible to jump out on a truck, to jump out of the crates and the truck and make arrests in the crowd?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: It shouldn't have been a problem if you bear in mind that the Police, and especially in the areas in which we worked, we sometimes had to scale six foot walls, it's about 1,8 metres, and that's much higher than you are, and we sometimes had to scale these walls to apprehend people, so that wouldn't have been a problem.

DR RAMASHALA: I'm going to conclude by saying Sir, that in fact - there were two per crate, umph - I am going to conclude by saying, in fact taking into consideration Major General Wandrag's classification, that you sent your men there deliberately with AAA and no.1 birdshot to make sure that they accomplish the maximum damage, and that is to shoot to kill.

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Well that is your inference that you are drawing. I have already told you what the instructions were, that we specifically were going to perform arrests and I would like to add that all these people were trained to shoot rifles or shotguns. It was not the first time that they were issued with shotguns and told you have to use this thing. These people were trained, they knew how to operate shotguns.

If you look at Thornton Road, specifically at the area where this incident took place, you will see that the road is quite narrow and I've already said, if a person was fired at directly with any kind of shot he would die. If you take into account the fact that there were 35 shots fired, that's how I understand it, if 35 shots are fired at a crowd, a crowd of between 115 to 100 people and the intention was to shoot to kill, then many, many more than three people would have died.

If you bear in mind, I am sure you have seen the video regarding the so-called Trojan Horse incident shown by the Media, if you look at the way in which the people were standing in the crates and they were about 2.5 to 3 metres above the ground and you look at the general direction in which they were aiming you will notice that they weren't actually firing at the crowd. Even if warning shots had been fired in the sense of firing at the ground, with the bullets ricocheting then there would have been many more deaths. But I am convinced, and I am really as honest as it is for a person to be, I am convinced in my heart that if the instruction was to shoot to kill and these people had performed this instruction to shoot to kill then there would have been a tragedy on that day.

This was a specific instruction to arrest people and in the process of performing arrests an attack was averted. If you still then want to draw the inference that the instruction was to shoot to kill then that is your personal conclusion and inference, but from our side that was not the instruction.

DR RAMASHALA: By your own admission these were very experienced sharpshooters. They indeed were successful in killing a 10 year-old and two 16 year-olds and a 21 year-old. Thank you.

BRIG LOEDOLFF: You were talking about sharpshooters, I want to object to that, I never mentioned sharpshooters. I said the people were properly trained in the use of shotguns. There is a difference between a person trained in the use of a shotgun and a sharpshooter.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Dr Ramashala. Thank you Mr Loedolff, we note your distinction. Any further questions?

MR NTSEBEZA: Brigadier Loedolff I just want to make sure that I understand your evidence. We are talking about an operation that was planned by you and others from the South African Defence Force and the South African Police in the context of an unrest situation in the Western Cape, is that right?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: That is correct.

MR NTSEBEZA: And it was an unrest situation that had enveloped the entire country, would you agree?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: It's very difficult to answer that because these things happened 12 years ago. I know what took place in the Cape, I don't know what happened elsewhere in the rest of the country.

MR NTSEBEZA: Oh well it was an unrest situation that was prevalent in the Western Cape, would you agree?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Correct, yes.

MR NTSEBEZA: In fact in your evidence you indicated that the areas were Nyanga and Athlone and other areas, areas traditionally occupied by other than White people, is that correct?


MR NTSEBEZA: And from the document that was indicated to you, dated the 22nd of April 1985, would it be your assessment that as early as April of that year instructions were being issued from Pretoria as to how you should contain unrest situations, would you agree?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Yes, according to this document.

MR NTSEBEZA: And is it a document that you had sight of?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: I can't tell you whether I had personally seen the document, I am aware of the contents of the documents.

MR NTSEBEZA: You are prepared to then say you were aware of the contents. Now do I take it to mean that as early as April of 1985 there was a structured plan at Headquarters in COMPOL in Pretoria communicated to you in the Western Cape as to how you should deal with an unrest situation?


MR NTSEBEZA: And one of the methods was to, I think that's an English translation, or to put it in the way in which it is in free,

"You must think of ways and means to obstruct the agitators or to paralyse them even before they could start".


MR NTSEBEZA: Now I don't understand military language, now when you say "you must paralyse" something before it even begins or - what was sought to be conveyed in your view since you knew the contents of this document?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: If I have to judge on what is said here, the obstructing of agitators, you must remember this document was also made available to all the Intelligence branches so what we are dealing with here is a kind of counter-performance. Information had to be gathered so that there was, for instance, a march or any kind of action then information had to be gathered beforehand that we could act against these people within the framework of existing legislation.

There was no way in which the Police, dealing with riot control could do so or paralyse unrest or hinder a demonstration or whatever without deploying a large amount of people. That's the only way in which you can deal with a march.

Or if we had specific information about a specific area where an attack was planned then we had to patrol that area intensively to try and prevent whatever was supposed to happen. That is ordinary crime prevention.

MR NTSEBEZA: Yes I do accept, it seems to me it is reasonable to accept that this was a period where extraordinary measures had to be taken, for instance where the maintenance of law and order is the function of the Police it was found that it was necessary, at this point in time, to use both the Police and the Railway Police and the South African Defence Force, is that right, precisely because the times were extraordinary, do you agree?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: I don't think the times were so extraordinary. I think due to the large numbers of attacks launched against the Police, we, the Police, simply didn't have enough manpower to prevent these attacks.

MR NTSEBEZA: Yes, which is why then you were using also the support of the South African Defence Force?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Yes the Defence Force was specifically asked to supplement our manpower.

MR NTSEBEZA: Now the form in which this particular operation took had never been used in the Western Cape before, in other words using an unmarked vehicle for purposes of going into a community for purposes of arrest, had it been used before?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: I've already said it had been used on a couple of occasions before.

MR NTSEBEZA: How many times had it been used before, this particular method, sending in a Railway truck with armed policemen into an area so that it should be attacked, when and where had it been used before and how many times, do you remember?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: I already told you that it was the first time that a Railway truck had been used, but there were similar occurrences beforehand in which we sent unmarked vehicles into an area with concealed policemen in the vehicle and we then performed successful operations.

MR NTSEBEZA: When you say you performed successful operations what do you mean?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Many arrests were made.

MR NTSEBEZA: Was it in circumstances where those particular vehicles had been attacked?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Yes, also in those circumstances where the vehicles had been attacked.

MR NTSEBEZA: With the same vigour and force as this particular truck had been attacked, in those instances?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: A similar, a similar modus operandi was followed, yes.

MR NTSEBEZA: And in those instances had there been a Joint Operation Centre meeting before those attacks were launched, similar to the one that you had on the 15th, in those instances?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Yes I assume so. I wasn't involved in the previous one so I can't give you an exact date. But ...(intervention)

MR NTSEBEZA: No you talked of instances, you must then have knowledge of those other instances in which unmarked vehicles were sent with some success?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: That's correct. I was aware of those operations and I never denied that. What I said was that I wasn't personally involved in those incidents, in other words I didn't give the orders.

MR NTSEBEZA: What I am asking is had there been meetings of the nature that there was on the 14th and 15th, in respect of those instances where unmarked vehicles were sent into the area and successes were registered by way of arrests?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: No, no discussions and planning took place on the 14th, they took place on the 15th in this particular instance.

MR NTSEBEZA: Ja, no, no, I am not asking that really. On the 15th, right. Okay for the moment, were there in the other instances you've mentioned, meetings such as the one of the 15th before the operations were embarked upon?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Yes, I believe that there must have been.

MR NTSEBEZA: Must have been. Now from what you know of those instances were the orders to those who were involved of the nature that you gave to the people on the 15th? In other words were the people armed who went into those sort of operations, where you were successful?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: That is correct, they were armed.

MR NTSEBEZA: And did the police, in those instances which you now mentioned to have taken place with success, did they use their firearms?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Yes there were cases when the firearms were used.

MR NTSEBEZA: Did they kill anybody in those instances?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: I think people were injured. One or two were killed, yes.

MR NTSEBEZA: Do you know those instances?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: What exactly do you mean?

MR NTSEBEZA: Do you know who were killed and when as a result of this way of operation?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: No unfortunately not.

MR NTSEBEZA: Do I understand from your evidence that the so-called Trojan Horse incident was not the first of its kind where you went into an area under false pretences in the sense that you did not show yourselves to the Police, attracting an attack and then retaliating in the event of being attacked in the form of using your weapons resulting in deaths? Do I understand that this was in fact, on your testimony, not the first incident of this nature?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: No it was not the first incident of its kind, it was the first incident in which use was made of crates, and I explained why crates were made use of in this particular incident because those were the vehicles normally attacked.

MR NTSEBEZA: Now from what you say it appears that the method that you used, getting into the areas in unmarked vehicles, had been successful. On your own admission you had been able to make arrests, one or two people died, but that's in the course of things, but you had been able to make successful arrests.

Now how does that square up with your evidence that you had to resort to this Trojan Horse incident because all attempts to effect arrests previously had failed? In fact you say now you were very successful, how does that square up with your evidence? Why use a high - abandon a successful method of arresting people for a method that has been untested and that resulted in the tragedy that we are now talking about, can you explain that?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: It wasn't a question of abandoning a successful method, we basically used the same method but everything depends on the circumstances ...(intervention)

MR NTSEBEZA: No, no, no, no, no Brigadier. Your evidence-in-chief and under cross-examination was that, and your statement says so, that the normal ways of effecting arrests had failed. You had sent some other unmarked cars into the areas and arrest in the normal way had failed and you gave that as a justification for using this peculiar method.

You now say, far from in fact your previous methods of effecting arrest having failed, they were very successful, I ask how does then that square up with your justification for using the method that resulted in the death of these children and an adult?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: I specifically - when I said that we used earlier methods or normal methods I told you that the normal methods, where we used uniformed men and patrol cars, I never said that we also sent in unmarked cars and therefore had success. When I explained why we sent in the unmarked vehicles that was the only way to do it, because normal policing methods were unsuccessful.

MR NTSEBEZA: Yes, but then you were saying that you know you had used unmarked cars before and those were the ones that had become very successful. What I am asking is why didn't you continue to use unmarked cars, why did you choose to use a Railway truck, to use crates, for purposes of doing that which other methods of the nature you have described had ...(intervention)

BRIG LOEDOLFF: It's the same thing we used, we just used a different type of vehicle. Previously we had also used an open truck but this truck had become known. So we couldn't send in that particular vehicle or truck any longer, we had to use a different one.

MR NTSEBEZA: Are you seriously suggesting that you have been using one truck that had now become notorious in the Athlone area and to use that truck you would have been exposing yourselves as yourselves, are you serious in that contention?

Are you saying the South African Defence Force, the Railway Police and the South African Police had only one vehicle that they had used to achieve those successes that they only had to use that truck and no other truck, is that your contention?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: No that's not what I am saying. I am saying that the truck previously used wasn't available for use ...(intervention)

MR NTSEBEZA: And so, and so what ...(intervention)

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Please give me a chance to answer the question. The truck previously used had become known, that is quite correct, and nothing prevented us to use other vehicles.

MR NTSEBEZA: Yes, so why didn't you use other vehicles?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: But we did, that's exactly what we did, we used a different one to the one we used normally.

MR NTSEBEZA: And the crates, what was the justification for the crates?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: The crates were used to conceal the Police officers.

MR NTSEBEZA: Did you not have to conceal the police officers in the previous operations where you had used unmarked cars?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Yes we did.

MR NTSEBEZA: In what way did you conceal the Police in the other previous operations?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: They were hiding under a piece of canvas.

MR NTSEBEZA: You could have used a piece of canvas in this instance, couldn't you?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: It would have been very difficult to use canvas. If a petrol bomb had been launched ...(intervention)

MR NTSEBEZA: It had not been difficult before, it had not been difficult before.

BRIG LOEDOLFF: I told you just now it all depends on the circumstances.

MR NTSEBEZA: What were the circumstances?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: You have to look at the circumstances of a particular case. A decision is taken based on circumstances.

MR NTSEBEZA: You see you must understand that since this incident started, through the inquest courts, through the Supreme Court as it then was known, there has always been a suggestion that this was a premeditated attack that the police deliberately went into a built-up community with the express purposes of luring people to attack them so that they could retaliate, to make a lesson, to make a statement. Now I am not the one that must say that, and I don't expect you to say that, but I must be able to be satisfied from what you say that those conclusions can be drawn and I can only do so by patiently asking you why you chose one method when you had the other method. You are very vociferously saying that was not your intention.

And I think the Commission must be able to say Brigadier Loedolff is correct, that was not the intention and it can do so when we are able to find out why you do this thing and not the other, do you appreciate that?

Now you say it was everything depended on the circumstances, I just want to know what were these circumstances on this particular day that caused you to use a truck, hide the police in crates when you had used a method previously where you just hid them under a canvas?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: I will try and explain the situation to you. There had been cases where buses had been attacked and where the attacks were specifically aimed at buses. In those cases we concealed policemen inside the buses and when the bus was attacked the policemen then acted and performed arrests.

We used this other vehicle, which I told you about, in which we concealed people under a piece of canvas, but you must look at what is happening at a particular time and at a particular place and what the norm is. Is it only a matter of stone-throwing or is it a matter of petrol bomb attacks or what are these circumstances. And on operation must be performed taking into account the safety of the police officers to be used in this operation and that is what we did. The circumstances were such that we felt that the policemen should hide in crates. As I've said, because circumstances forced us to do that.

MR NTSEBEZA: What were the circumstances? Just speak in ordinary layperson's language that we can understand. Say facts and not just - what were the circumstances, what was it that caused you - was it because ...(intervention)

Just - yes......

BRIG LOEDOLFF: There were many petrol bomb attacks and if you hide people underneath a piece of canvas and a petrol bomb lands on top of this canvas it would burn.

MR NTSEBEZA: Now before this operation and after it, had there been any suggestion made that petrol bombs were being hurled at motorists or vehicles travelling into that area?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Yes, you can look at the video, and in the video you will see a petrol bomb being thrown.

MR NTSEBEZA: And what was your assessment of the success or otherwise of this particular operation as a person who had given the orders?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: This specific operation? We were successful in a sense that we managed to perform quite a number of arrests, but the death of these people were unforeseen and we are sorry about that. But I see in the information you gave us there is information regarding October and attacks that took place and I will just read you the note here under the 15th, I am just referring to the 15th of October '85. There was a stone-throwing incident, arson, petrol bombs - 10 incidents; marches 18, robbery and looting, a number of cases, so we had 88 cases for that particular day in these areas so you must agree with me or you must concede in circumstances such as these, where there were so many petrol bomb attacks I couldn't send in my people and expose them to petrol bomb attacks without giving them some form of protection.

MR NTSEBEZA: Now I don't understand, is the suggestion that if you petrol bomb the crate, people who are in a crate are less vulnerable than people who are hiding under a canvas if a petrol bomb is thrown, is that the suggestion?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: No, that is not what I am saying. They could just escape much quicker, with more ease.

MR NTSEBEZA: From crates?


MR NTSEBEZA: And not from under a canvas?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: That's correct.

MR NTSEBEZA: Would it therefore be your conclusion that crates were much more effective in that form of operation and was it your further conclusion that crates should be used in similar operations in the future?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: I didn't arrange any similar things in future, but in this particular instance, yes, I thought it would be more effective to use crates.

MR NTSEBEZA: But on the 25th of March 1986 you did order a sortie into Guguletu did you not, with Captain Bester, you gave orders that a patrol, an unmarked vehicle manned by members of the South African Police and the South African Railway Police should go through Guguletu, Crossroad areas, do you recall that?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: No, perhaps if you could give me some further details.

MR NTSEBEZA: No that's just part of an investigative process, but we will see what we can do - but are you denying or are you saying you do not remember that in 1986, the following year, in March, you and Captain Bester ordered an unmanned vehicle to go into Guguletu and Crossroad areas where the Police would be hiding under canvas, in other words green ordinary plastic covering, are you saying you don't recall that incident or are you saying it never happened or are you saying ...(intervention)

BRIG LOEDOLFF: No, I can't remember it. You must remember Chairperson that in those days I was involved in a lot of planning. There were a lot of things happening at the time and unless something specific happened on that day which will focus my attention on it then I wouldn't be able to recall. Did anything specific happen on that day? I would like to help you but I simply can't remember.

MR NTSEBEZA: I don't think it's going to assist us if you don't even remember when I tried to remind you that Captain Bester was one of the persons who was involved in that outing, Albertus Myburgh Smit was the driver. The following persons James Meyer, Ralph Dennis Smith, Lourens de Jong, Francois van der Merwe, those were the police that were involved, more-or-less the same police were involved in this particular operation. You don't remember it?


MR NTSEBEZA: Now you said in your evidence that you also discussed the implications of Section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act, did I understand you correctly?


MR NTSEBEZA: Now can you tell the laypersons like the rest of us on the panel here what Section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act provides?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Yes I specifically referred to the Criminal Procedure Act in the sense that ...(intervention)

MR NTSEBEZA: Section 49.

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Ja. That if there was no other way to perform an arrest than to kill somebody that must be borne in mind. In other words when there is no other way to perform an arrest than a person may be killed to achieve the objective or violence may be used to achieve the goal.

MR NTSEBEZA: So that was decided at the planning meeting on the 15th that the operatives who were going to go into Athlone should realise that they have got a legal justification to kill, was that the sum total of what was discussed?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: No, it was not decided during the planning session, that is what I told to Vermeulen in my instructions to him.

MR NTSEBEZA: Where was this?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: That was after I called him in at 4 o'clock that afternoon and after I had explained the situation to him.

MR NTSEBEZA: In other words your order was that you must remember Vermeulen that you have a legal justification to kill?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: You've just said the opposite to what I have said. I said remember performing an arrest is our main objective but if an arrest cannot be achieved by the normal methods then Section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act should be borne in mind. But there are two connotations here, one negative and one positive and you are now taking the negative one. I didn't say remember that there is a legal justification protecting you, therefore you are just free to fire, that's not what I said.

MR NTSEBEZA: I didn't say that either. I am simply saying that you reminded Vermeulen that there is a law in this country contained in Section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act which justifies the taking of a life when certain offences are committed, you have a legal basis to kill, is that what you explained to him?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: That is correct.

MR NTSEBEZA: So you did anticipate that there may arise circumstances in that operation where police might be forced to kill?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: As ...(intervention)

MR NTSEBEZA: You did foresee the possibility, no, the probability of the police in the circumstances having to kill.

BRIG LOEDOLFF: (No translation is given for a good deal of this....) Some of those people were wounded in the course of performing arrests, so yes I did foresee it because those are the realities of life.

MR NTSEBEZA: Yes. May I suggest that in the particular circumstances of this case there was even more reason for you to believe that death would result. I will tell you why.

Firstly, you were sending a group of people in a built-up area, in other words where children, women, old women and men were moving around, it's a built up area and I've travelled here today and I've seen that the streets as you have testified are narrow.

Secondly, you had men who were going there under false pretences, in other words they were police going there as ordinary Railway people.

Thirdly, they were armed to the teeth.

Fourthly, it was an area in which cars other than Police vehicles were being stoned and the possibility was that in this particular instance your car would be stoned. Now, is it not reasonable to say, in this particular instance there was even more reason for you to believe that there was a likelihood, not just a possibility, a likelihood that, one, your vehicle would be mistaken for an ordinary vehicle and not a police vehicle.

Secondly, it would be attacked, stone-throwing would take place.

Thirdly, your men, here hiding in crates, might panic and assume that their lives were in danger and that they would sooner use their rifles than otherwise, and that in the circumstances death might result. Wasn't it reasonable to expect that this was the scenario that you should have had at the time that you were planning this?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: If you look at the circumstances then it must be said that we intended to perform arrests and we realised that injuries could be sustained on both sides in this process. It's something which you were aware of on a daily basis. But we obviously expected that the vehicle would be stoned, that was the only way in which we could perform the arrests. But I think that the intensity of the attack was so much worse that it wasn't simply a case of an individual throwing a stone and the officers jumping out and arresting, the attack was so intense that they first had to avert the attack.

MR NTSEBEZA: Now tell me, when you considered, and I want to assume that you applied your mind, when you considered the consequences of the Police having to resort to a Section 49 justification for killing and taking into account the area in which they were going to go into, I am just asking you now, did you think at that stage that being the sort-of built up area that children might be caught in the crossfire? I am putting it at its most fairest for you.

BRIG LOEDOLFF: No, I didn't think that children could become involved.

MR NTSEBEZA: No I am not talking about them being involved. Didn't you think that in an area which you have described as having narrow streets and a built up area, residential area, that children might be wandering about and might be caught in the crossfire, did you not think that?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: I didn't foresee that, but you must remember that a police officer is trained to shoot in certain circumstances but certainly not if the circumstances were such that innocent people could be killed. It's just one of the basic principles we used in the police.

I want to give you an example. Where a robber robs somebody on a pavement in Cape Town and he runs away and he disappears amongst the pedestrians on the pavement there is no justification for a policeman to then shoot at that person running away because the possibility of hitting innocent people would be that much greater. But where the policeman himself is being attacked, where the policeman is attacked by a robber armed with a firearm surely it can then be expected of him to fight back or shoot back, and in those circumstances people are injured and killed, yes.

MR NTSEBEZA: It's precisely for those very reasons, I am just trying to see what was going on in your mind in the planning stage especially at the time that you say to this chap listen if the worst comes to the worst you must remember rather than that it should be your life you have a legal authority where a person is committing an offence, a schedule 3 offence whatever it is, the schedule now, to kill that person rather than allow the person to escape or rather than the person should go on and commit that crime, that's basically the thing. Now did you foresee that elderly people, elderly people who had nothing to do with stone-throwing, nothing to do with bomb throwing might have been you know caught in the crossfire?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: I can't tell you exactly what I thought on that particular day, it's too long ago. I've already told you why I mentioned Section 49 to Lt Vermeulen, but I can't tell you that I specifically thought about that. It might have been the case but I can't say that I specifically considered the possibility of children or adults or elderly people who could be caught in the crossfire. I can't say that.

MR NTSEBEZA: You see it is important for us to be able to conclude, to make some conclusions, and one of the conclusions we must make is whether you acted negligently or irresponsibly in the position of a commanding officer, and we can only do that if we are able to satisfy ourselves that you weighed this matter, that this matter was weighed with you most heavily. I don't want - you also wouldn't like Vermeulen to look back on things and come to the conclusion that you set him up. That you gave him an instruction when you did not think of all the possibilities so that he should take the can. And I am sure you don't want those sort of conclusions to be drawn about you. So I can't cause you to remember whether you took into account these certain things. And you know I understand that the operation was also ordered to take place in the afternoon, that is at the time that schools got out and most of the school children are in the streets, did that strike you that at that particular time, the time that you chose for the operation to take place was a time when children are roaming around the streets because they've just come out of school, some have come out of Muslim prayers or stuff like that, did you take that into account?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: I can't remember what I took into account. I can only say what I would have done. But you must remember, you are saying the operation was planned for the afternoon, that was not the case. The operation was planned insofar as we thought that that was a way in which to achieve arrests, but the execution of this operation was done on the basis of information fed through to us from the ground.

MR NTSEBEZA: What was this information that came from the ground?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: I don't have the information at my disposal but the information was to the effect that it was now an opportune time to perform this operation because there were regular attacks and if you look at the video you will see that there were attacks on that particular place, but you must also remember that we had planned a route. We didn't know that there would be an attack on the corner of St Simons and Thornton Roads, it could have happened in Lansdowne Road which is a much wider road, where there are no houses lining the street, there is actually nothing on the side of the road, it's just bush and it's a double carriageway. It is unfortunate that the attack took place in Thornton Road which is a narrow road and a built-up area, but it wasn't specifically planned for Thornton Road or that area. The planning covered the whole area. We had to provide for circumstances in that entire area.

MR NTSEBEZA: Are you saying this is a coincidence that it took place in the place that it did take place, and it happens to be the place that you had mapped out as a route that must be taken? Why didn't you just use the Lansdowne Road or Klipfontein Road, why did your planning incorporate a built-up area with narrow streets where there was a great likelihood of that sort of incident taking place?

Let me put the further proposition. Did you in your plan anticipate an attack taking place of such a nature that the police would have to withdraw from the area as a matter of urgency, where the police, feeling the intensity of the attack would have to escape from the area, did you plan for that, that possibility, withdrawing from - retreating?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: No, no I don't think we foresaw that, that we would have to withdraw. Our purpose was to go and make arrests.

MR NTSEBEZA: Yes. Is it unfair to say you didn't provide for that because you had Section 49 that you could rely upon? You didn't have to run away, you didn't have to retreat if you couldn't effect arrests because you could always kill, isn't that a fair assumption?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: No that is not a fair assumption. That was never our motive, it was never our motive to kill in the sense that if we were unable to perform arrests then we could simply resort to killing and that is what you are implying. That was never the case.

MR NTSEBEZA: Yes, well what I am saying is, why else then didn't you make a contingency arrangement for your police to be able to withdraw in the event of an intense attack which was far more intense than you had anticipated?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Nobody expected an attack to take place in the way that it actually took place, but the purpose of the whole operation was to go in there and perform arrests after an attack on the vehicle. And if we had to withdraw after each attack on the vehicle then we would never achieve the object with which we set out.

MR NTSEBEZA: Now are you saying to this Commission that on that day the only way the Police, the Army and the Railway Police could have effected an arrest in connection with crimes that were being committed was by way of sending an unmarked vehicle?

Are you saying that that's the only way you could have effected arrests?

What had happened to your methods which had been tried before? Your informers would tell you who were behind the attacks, that has been a method that had been used before, informers would tell you who were behind all these attacks, you would conduct pre-dawn raids, or midnight raids and arrest the agitators as you have been told by the informers, why was it so that a method of arresting was the one in which there was going to be a possibility of people being killed?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: There was no other way to perform mass arrests. In normal patrolling processes there were some incidents of stone-throwing and here and there arrests were made, but we never managed to arrest a significant number of people when these things happened. So if people were unaware whether it was a police vehicle or not ...(intervention)

MR NTSEBEZA: I've just told you one of the methods that the police used. The police used to use informers, the informers would tell them who the ringleaders were in a particular situation, those ringleaders would be arrested, the laws in the country provided for arrest without detention, I mean detention without trial. If you were talking about a situation where you didn't have draconian laws that provided for legal arrest and detention of people I would understand you. You had laws where you could arrest people on mere suspicion, you know that don't you? You know that don't you Brigadier?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Yes I was aware of the legislation ...(intervention)

MR NTSEBEZA: What was wrong with that? Why didn't you arrest people - are you saying you had no informers in Athlone?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: We did have informers certainly but we didn't have the necessary information ...(intervention)

MR NTSEBEZA: Didn't they tell you who the ringleaders were?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: I am prepared to answer your questions but you must please give me a chance to answer when you've asked a question. There is no point in constantly interrupting each other.

MR NTSEBEZA: Okay. Did your informers not tell you who the ringleaders were?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: No, the ringleaders involved in stone-throwing we weren't aware of their identities.

MR NTSEBEZA: Are you saying your informers didn't tell you who was behind the stone-throwing incidents, is that your evidence?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: We didn't have that information.

MR NTSEBEZA: Was it clear that you would never have that information? Had you assessed the situation to be that you'd never now have that information?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: If we had that information at our disposal then it would have been easy to just pick up the relevant individuals, but we didn't have that information. An informer could tell you who is responsible for planning certain things but he wouldn't be able to point out the person who was actually doing it, throwing stones etc.

MR NTSEBEZA: Now let's just look at what you did on that day. Did you equip those people in that truck with teargas equipment?



BRIG LOEDOLFF: It was not meant to be a crowd control operation.

MR NTSEBEZA: What was it? Didn't you anticipate that there might be crowds? You all testified that all the other things, that there were up to 200 people, didn't you anticipate that there would be a crowd?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: No, I am talking about the information which we received after the attack on this vehicle and according to that information mention was made of 150 to 200 people.

MR NTSEBEZA: Okay, yes, but didn't you anticipate that there might be a crowd, and that therefore there might be a much more effective way of dealing with that crowd by those people in the truck by throwing teargas?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: When arrests have to be made it's counter-productive to use teargas.

MR NTSEBEZA: Well I would assume that it's counter-productive to kill people who you want to arrest, wouldn't you?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Yes I suppose so, but that was not the idea. The purpose and the idea was to arrest the people. What would teargas help in the case of a stone-throwing incident? Once again I must say that the intensity of the attack surprised us all.

MR NTSEBEZA: Educate me, I don't know, but I would have assumed that if you throw sufficient teargas canisters into a crowd or into those people who were throwing stones that it would incapacitate them, it would cause them to sneeze, it would cause them - I don't know what it does but I've seen what it does, it causes people to be disorientated, to run away and that gives the police the opportunity they have been looking for to run to arrest them, wouldn't you say that's one of the things that teargas does? That it causes the victim to be disorientated? It causes the victim to be somewhat incapacitated and it causes an opportunity which the police, armed with an equipment that is protecting them against teargas to be able to arrest those who are incapacitated to that extent, doesn't it do that?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: No, teargas doesn't have that specific effect that you've just mentioned. If it was so simple that you just fire teargas and the person then becomes incapacitated and could be arrested at will it will be a different matter but I've mentioned to you this morning that we used all methods at our disposal to try and stop these attacks. We did use teargas ...(intervention)

MR NTSEBEZA: But you didn't use it on the 15th.

BRIG LOEDOLFF: No not in that specific operation ...(intervention)

MR NTSEBEZA: In fact you didn't even prepare for it?


MR NTSEBEZA: Ja, and the question is why not?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Because it would not serve any purpose to carry teargas with us.

MR NTSEBEZA: Do you think you would have killed that 15 year-old child that day if you had used teargas instead? Do you think your people would have been forced to go into a shooting situation in the first place if when so soon they realised that they were being attacked with stones they throw teargas, do you think that the attack would have continued? Isn't it a reasonable possibility, let alone a probability that when the teargas was thrown into those people who were throwing stones at you you even would have had the time to retreat and to re-group, call for reinforcements, effect arrests, why did you leave only the possibility or the option for the police to have to use their firearms, the lethal weapons?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Teargas is simply not used in circumstances such as those. We didn't deem it necessary to use it.

MR NTSEBEZA: I see, thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Ntsebeza. Are there any further questions?

MS GOBODO-MADIKIZELA: Thank you Mr Loedolff, just one question, actually two questions, did you operate on the assumption that all people found on that spot or wherever the truck was stoned, would be stone-throwers?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: No, nobody could assume that everybody there present would be stone-throwers, but I come back to what I said, if there's an attack then the policemen would surely not fire at people who were not involved at all.

MS GOBODO-MADIKIZELA: The last question is, the mastermind of this plan how could you ascertain that the people on the right or left or back of the truck would be the ones who were throwing stones, how could you ascertain that given that your men were in boxes?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Well it's very clear that the persons would first have to ascertain who it was that was throwing stones before they acted.

MS GOBODO-MADIKIZELA: That's exactly the point I want to make. How could they ascertain, make this deduction if they were in boxes? Right, they had to ascertain first where the rocks or bricks came from, but how could they do this if they are in boxes?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Well he can't shoot, he can't fire before actually standing up, so he would not be able to ascertain where these stones were coming from before he was actually in an upright position, standing up.

MS GOBODO-MADIKIZELA: So as the mastermind of the plan your expectation is that the commander of the team would have looked first to see where the stone-throwing came from before making the shooting?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: Look, the commanding officer has to make his own observations ...(intervention)


BRIG LOEDOLFF: And that's very clear. A person first has to observe what's going on.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Loedolff I would just like to ask you one question. We try very hard to understand the thinking and the preparation that went into this event. When you responded to Dr Ramashala's question in which you used the word sharp-shooters you responded that if sharp-shooters were used then a tragedy would have occurred. You did also say in your other answers to questions that you regret very much the deaths that occurred that day, I would think that we all agree that a tragedy did occur on that day. But perhaps on that day and in those circumstances it would not have been able to participate the tremendous national and international response that there was to this event, and I just wonder, in the light of your objective which was to combat the unrest, to effect arrests, whether at the end of that day you felt that the operation had been a success or a failure?

BRIG LOEDOLFF: I told you that the operation was a success insofar as arrests were made, but for me personally it was something that affected me very deeply, the fact that a 10 or 11 year-old child was killed in the process. That was never our intention and it was not foreseen. That was not the purpose of the whole operation.

And if I look back today after 12 years, and I look back with hindsight then I would say that if I was to plan such an operation again I wouldn't be involved in such an operation, on the planning thereof. But the circumstances in those times forced us to take certain steps and that which we didn't foresee took place.

I think I am speaking not only on my own behalf but on behalf of all those involved in the operation. We bitterly regret what happened. We deeply regret the fact that children were killed, as we regret the death of each and every person in the execution of police duties because that is not the duty of a police officer. The duty of the police is to maintain law and order, but in the process of maintaining law and order these things happen. These things are realities and people must accept them, but that doesn't mean we are insensitive and that does not mean that we are not sorry about what happened.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Loedolff, we have no more questions. Thank you very much.