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Amnesty Hearings

Type AMNESTY HEARING

Starting Date 07 September 1998

Location BENONI

Day 1

Names TEBOGO CHRISTOPHER KEBOTLHALE

Matter WIMPY BAR BOMBING AND OTHERS

MR KOOPEDI: Mr Chairman, our next applicant will be Mr Tebogo Kebotlhale. May we call him through.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes.

MR KOOPEDI: Thank you.

ADV STEENKAMP: Page 5 - 11, Mr Chairman.

MR KOOPEDI: May I say Mr Chairman, for the benefit of our Interpreters, that all the applicants intend using the English language.

TEBOGO CHRISTOPHER KEBOTLHALE: (sworn states)

EXAMINATION BY MR KOOPEDI: Thank you Mr Chairman. You are one of the applicants in this matter, is that correct?

MR KEBOTLHALE: That is so.

MR KOOPEDI: Perhaps before you tell this Honourable Committee about your involvement in the Johannes Nkosi Unit, would you briefly tell them who you are, where you were born, when did you join the ANC?

MR KEBOTLHALE: My name is Tebogo Kebotlhale. I was born on the 14th of November 1967 in Hohodi in Vryburg. I am 30 years of age. I joined Umkhonto weSizwe underground unit in Hohodi in 1983 and I underwent internal training, internal military training.

I left for exile in February 1985 and underwent military training in Angola, Cuba and the former USSR. I was trained in the use of various weapons and underwent specialised training on military engineering and urban suburban guerrilla warfare.

I had been a Section Commander, the Platoon Commander and Company Commander and Sub-Regional Commissar in the East Rand in my career in Umkhonto weSizwe.

I was infiltrated in the country in 1987, I operated in Bloemfontein area and later redeployed to the East Rand. I trained and armed various internal MK recruits in the East Rand and elsewhere.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Koopedi, have you got a copy of that statement?

MR KOOPEDI: The biographical details that he has just given to you, we are trying to get a copy done. We will most probably be able to hand it over in a short while, however, I wish to point out that it will only be the biographical details, there is no statement prepared by him for the process.

The only statement is the one that I believe has been handed in. The one done by the previous applicant. Have you done?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Yes, I am through. I agree with all that my Commander has presented before the Commission and everybody.

MR KOOPEDI: For the purposes of your application in the matters before this Committee, would you confirm that other than being a member of the Johannes Nkosi Unit, were you involved in any manner whatsoever in the Wimpy matter and if so, how were you involved?

MR KEBOTLHALE: I was only involved in the Wimpy matter in so far as the planning was concerned.

MR KOOPEDI: Would it be correct to say that at all times when the planning was done and whatever decisions were taken, you were present?

MR KEBOTLHALE: I was present, yes.

MR KOOPEDI: And you also take full responsibility for whatever came out of that decision?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Yes, I do.

MR KOOPEDI: Now, would you also confirm that in as far as it relates to the attack on the "Kitskonstabels" in Lindelani Section in Katlehong, what was your involvement there?

MR KEBOTLHALE: My involvement also included the planning part of it, the distribution of ammunition and the support provided to members of my fellow Unit.

MR KOOPEDI: And you would therefore confirm that in fact you are responsible for whatever consequences that came after making the decision during the planning sessions?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Yes.

MR KOOPEDI: That is all from this witness for now.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR KOOPEDI

CHAIRPERSON: So you are only making application in respect of two incidents, the attack, the blast at the Wimpy in Benoni and the attack in Katlehong on the "Kitskonstabels"?

MR KOOPEDI: May I interrupt you with respect Mr Chairman, that in fact, he like all the other applicants, are making - have made applications for various offences, however, from communicating with my learned friend on the other side, it appears that with other matters, this can be dealt with as Chamber matters, because perhaps people may not have been injured, however there is a list of the offences for which they apply for and this appears on the statement that I believe is before you, the one that was presented by the first applicant.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Koopedi, all I am asking is for what he is making an application today so that when we give the judgement, either we grant or refuse an application in respect of specific incidents.

That is all I am asking. Am I correct then that we have to consider an application in respect of the blast at Wimpy Bar at Benoni and the Katlehong attack on the "Kitskonstabels"?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Honourable Judge, if I may refer you to page 10 of our main submission.

MR KOOPEDI: He is actually referring to the submission by the previous applicant.

CHAIRPERSON: Exhibit A?

MR KOOPEDI: Yes, Exhibit A.

MR KEBOTLHALE: On page 10, there we have enumerated the list of operations that we carried as the Johannes Nkosi Unit and we have also made specific reference, specific mention of who carried what operation.

MS KHAMPEPE: But what are you applying for amnesty, in respect of which incident are you seeking amnesty?

MR KEBOTLHALE: I am applying for amnesty for the bombing of the whites only bus terminus in Germiston.

MS KHAMPEPE: Yes, as appearing on page 12 of our application documents.

MR KEBOTLHALE: I am also making application for the bombing of the "Kitskonstabels" barracks in Mnisi Section.

MS KHAMPEPE: Yes. Is that all that you are seeking amnesty for?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Yes.

MS KHAMPEPE: What about the fact that you have just stated that you were involved in the Wimpy matter in so far as its planning was concerned. Are you not seeking amnesty for that?

MR KEBOTLHALE: That would include, that would include the two operations that were discussed extensively earlier on. The Wimpy one and the ambush on the "Kitskonstabels".

MS KHAMPEPE: We have to be very clear Mr Kebotlhale, in respect of which incident you are seeking amnesty. You have just stated now when you were being questioned, that you are seeking amnesty in respect of the bombing of the Katlehong Police barracks and also in respect of the bombing of the Germiston whites only terminus?

MR KEBOTLHALE: If I may mention, I am also making application for the bombing of Wimpy itself and the application for the bombing of the attack on the "Kitskonstabels" in Lindela Section.

CHAIRPERSON: How many is that now? Four?

MR KEBOTLHALE: That would also include the bombing of the railway line, the electrical sub-station in Katlehong.

MS KHAMPEPE: Why were these incidents not included in your application? In your formal application for amnesty, form 1?

MR KEBOTLHALE: If you may refer to page 6 of the bundle of documents, we are mentioning there that, I am mentioning there that the Benoni/Duduza/Katlehong actions were involved, and if you look into 9.8(1) I am saying there the acts include issuing out of instructions and carrying out attacks on Wimpy outlet, South African personnel and councillors and whites only bus terminus. I have eloquently stated that in my application.

MS KHAMPEPE: Oh, thank you very much Mr Kebotlhale. I have actually looked at your further particulars which appears on page 12 and 13 and I had overlooked that one. I think it has not been very clear and that is why it is important for us to make sure that we in a way detail all the incidents, so that we don't loose sight of what you are applying for.

MR KEBOTLHALE: Thank you.

MS KHAMPEPE: Mr Kebotlhale, maybe if we can again for purposes of the record, enumerate once more the incidents in respect of which you are seeking amnesty. Can you do that?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Yes.

MS KHAMPEPE: Make use of page 10 and tell us exactly which incidents we should be considering you for amnesty.

MR KEBOTLHALE: The bombing of "Kitskonstabels" barracks in Mnisi Section.

MS KHAMPEPE: Yes.

MR KEBOTLHALE: The bombing of the sewerage pipes in Sanwat Park.

MS KHAMPEPE: Yes.

MR KEBOTLHALE: Ambush on the "Kitskonstabels" and SAP in Motsamai Section. Bombing of Benoni in Wimpy. Bombing of the rail line and electrical sub-station next to Katlehong station.

MS KHAMPEPE: Yes.

MR KEBOTLHALE: And lastly the whites only bus terminus in Germiston.

CHAIRPERSON: Okay, now you say that in the Katlehong "Kitskonstabels" attack your involvement was planning and distribution of ammunition.

MR KEBOTLHALE: Yes, I also included you know, providing support to the attack.

CHAIRPERSON: What kind of support?

MR KEBOTLHALE: As my fellow applicants were attacking, I stood by in the car and I drove them after retreating.

CHAIRPERSON: So you drove the getaway car?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: The sewerage pipes, what did you do there, how were you involved there?

MR KEBOTLHALE: I supplied the ammunition.

CHAIRPERSON: That is all?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Yes, I supplied the ammunition and I was part of the planning thereof.

CHAIRPERSON: The ambush on the "Kitskonstabels" at Mindela?

MR KEBOTLHALE: I have already answered that Honourable Judge, by saying that I provided support. I drove the getaway car.

I also issued out ammunition in that respect.

CHAIRPERSON: Okay.

ADV MOTATA: But I need some clarity Chairperson, that my understanding when we started with the first incident, we have two here, the "Kitskonstabels" in Mnisi Section and we have the "Kitskonstabels" in Motsamai Section.

We want to know in respect of each, that is why we are enumerating them so that we get clarity.

MR KEBOTLHALE: With respect to "Kitskonstabels" in Mnisi Section, I personally together with my fellow applicant Alfas Mabore Ndlovu, executed that operation, I supplied the ammunition thereof and I took part in that incident.

ADV MOTATA: When you say you took part, what did you do?

MR KEBOTLHALE: I left a boobytrapped limpet mine.

MS KHAMPEPE: Mr Kebotlhale, I note that you have referred to a bombing of the Katlehong Police barracks, is that the same incident as the bombing of the "Kitskonstabels" in Mnisi Section?

MR KEBOTLHALE: That is right, yes.

MS KHAMPEPE: And that appears on page 13 of your further particulars? Is that the same incident?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Yes.

MS KHAMPEPE: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: You dealt with the bombing of the Wimpy Bar.

MR KEBOTLHALE: Sorry, I didn't get that.

CHAIRPERSON: You have already dealt with the bombing of the Wimpy Bar.

MR KEBOTLHALE: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: What about the bombing of the railway line?

MR KEBOTLHALE: I have provided ammunition for the bombing of the railway line, and I took part in the planning thereof.

CHAIRPERSON: And the sub-station at Katlehong?

MR KEBOTLHALE: I took part in the planning and provided the ammunition thereof.

CHAIRPERSON: And the bus terminus?

MR KEBOTLHALE: I executed that operation myself.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, Mr Steenkamp?

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY ADV STEENKAMP: Thank you Mr Chairman, if I may just ask a question on the application. Sir, I see in your application you are referring to attacks on Wimpy outlets, page 6. Are you only referring to one Wimpy now or is it more than one?

MR KEBOTLHALE: No, it should read Wimpy outlet, not lets.

ADV STEENKAMP: And you are also referring to attacks on councillors? Is this not now part of your list?

MR KEBOTLHALE: The councillors feature in so far as the operation of our sub-Units were concerned, and I think my Commander has elaborated on the operations of those Units.

CHAIRPERSON: (Microphone not on)

MR KEBOTLHALE: I was involved ...

CHAIRPERSON: Let me be quite fair to you, you are not making any application now in respect of attacks on Councillors or are you?

MR KEBOTLHALE: No, I am making that application in so far as our Unit helped in the execution of those. In so far as our Unit planned the execution of those incidents.

CHAIRPERSON: You know, as a panel we have a problem with that. One cannot get or obtain amnesty for something one didn't to or one was unaware of.

Now, you say that you are accepting liability for certain things that the sub-Units did. We need a bit more, were you involved or not?

MR KEBOTLHALE: I was not personally involved in the executions of those actions.

CHAIRPERSON: We are not only talking about executions, we are talking about planning and in any way assisting in that operation.

MR KEBOTLHALE: Judge, I would say that I did not plan those operations, but I took part in terms of distributing ammunition for the execution of those operations themselves.

CHAIRPERSON: And you knew for what purpose the ammunition was being distributed?

MR KEBOTLHALE: For - yes, yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Who are these Councillors and were they injured or did they die or did they loose property or what?

MR KEBOTLHALE: I think, I would not say for sure who the Councillors are, because we did not get you know, concise reports from Units and because of the lack of constant, given the conditions under which we operated, it was very difficult to get the concise reports.

CHAIRPERSON: So you are not in a position to tell us Councillor X was a victim of a particular operation?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Yes, I am not in a position to tell that.

CHAIRPERSON: So therefore we don't know, neither do you know whether you are guilty of anything in respect of those Councillors? It may never have taken place, not so?

MR KEBOTLHALE: No, we know for a fact that our Units have carried out operations against Councillors.

CHAIRPERSON: On who?

MR KEBOTLHALE: We have made mention, the Commander has made mention in our main submission, we mentioned the Basil February Unit which carried out attacks in Duduza and KwaThema.

CHAIRPERSON: Now we know where and perhaps we know when. Who?

MR KEBOTLHALE: That I don't know Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes Mr Steenkamp?

ADV STEENKAMP: Sir, the same page refers to handgrenade attacks or grenade attacks there. Grenade, paragraph 9(iv), grenade attacks. What was this because you said according to your initial list you are talking about limpet mines, but here you indicate in your application grenade attacks, ambushes and booby traps, but what about the grenade attacks, what was this?

MR KEBOTLHALE: I would indicate for sure that grenades were mostly used in attacks against Councillors.

ADV STEENKAMP: Can you put a time frame on this, and where did this happen?

MR KEBOTLHALE: That happened in 1988.

ADV STEENKAMP: And were anybody injured?

MR KEBOTLHALE: I am not sure.

ADV STEENKAMP: And of how many incidents are we talking here, one, two, three or four incidents?

MR KEBOTLHALE: I would not strike a total recall as to how many of those, but it is more than one.

ADV STEENKAMP: Are you saying your whole Unit was involved in these attacks?

MR KEBOTLHALE: In so far as I have indicated earlier on, with regard to the planning, with regard to the distribution of ammunition, issuing combat orders.

ADV MOTATA: Just to interpose here Mr Steenkamp, let's look at the main submission, page 7, you make reference Sub Units, do you have that? We look at the different print, do you see the different print and it says blowing of a Police van in Duduza with a limpet mine. Were people injured, or the Police who were driving that van, injured?

MR KEBOTLHALE: The report I could indicate before the panel is that the Police were there you know, playing soccer and that is how they got attacked at that soccer field.

MS KHAMPEPE: Are you applying for amnesty in regard of that incident?

MR KEBOTLHALE: I have indicated already that in so far as I was part of distributing ammunition and I was part of the issuing out of orders to the Units to carry out those attacks. I did not personally execute that incident.

CHAIRPERSON: You don't know if those operations were successful? You don't know if attempts to carry it out, were made, is that not so?

MR KEBOTLHALE: I would not for sure say that.

MS KHAMPEPE: I thought you had enumerated the incidents in respect of which amnesty was being sought, and that is not one of the incidents you have enumerated?

MR KEBOTLHALE: I am not applying for that incident, I am not applying for amnesty.

MS KHAMPEPE: I am confused Mr Kebotlhale. We want you to respond to incidents in which you are applying for amnesty.

MR KEBOTLHALE: I did not include the Basil February operations, I am not applying for amnesty for those operations.

MS KHAMPEPE: Yes, now I have understood you to be saying that Mr Sigasa has already referred in detail to the February operations, which you have alluded to have included the attack on Councillors, and as I read the submission, because I thought probably I had left something or something had escaped my memory, when I read his reference to the February sub-Unit, there is no reference, there is no evidence that I can deduce about the attack on Councillors, and that appears on page 7, that is where the February Unit is being referred to.

MR KOOPEDI: If you will allow me Mr Chairman and Honourable Committee Member, may I try to explain something which perhaps would clarify the problem we have now.

If we look at page 4 I believe, yes page 4 of the bundle of documents that has been supplied to us, we have an (indistinct) which tries to tell or to show how this Unit was. The incidents that are enumerated on page 7, would have been incidents which were planned and carried out by the people who appear there on the block written Johannes Nkosi Unit.

However, these people were also a command structure which had sub-Units. I believe what the applicant is saying now is that he would wish to apply for amnesty, that is above the things enumerated on page 7 of Exhibit A, he would wish to apply for amnesty for other acts which may have been carried out by the sub-Units.

MS KHAMPEPE: Are you using the word may have been, deliberately Mr Koopedi?

MR KOOPEDI: With respect I am, and let me explain why. It has been stated on that page 7, that it has not been possible to make contact with those Units for verification and confirmation purposes. As matters stand, applicant here was in a command structure, which below it, were sub-Units.

He does not know whether those Units still exist today. However, he thinks that because at that time it was not within the law to have arms or to supply arms to other people, he is therefore mentioning those. He was not personally involved in the execution of those, and that is why it becomes difficult for him to explain what happened and when did that happen if these were actions carried out by the Unit.

MS KHAMPEPE: Yes, I understand that. I really need clarification.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Koopedi, are you acquainted or are you aware of the judgement in the case that is commonly known as the ANC application?

MR KOOPEDI: I am, in fact I handled that matter, yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Isn't this particular instance a matter similar to that?

MR KOOPEDI: I would argue not, it is not. What we are saying here is, well, let me first start by saying that those applications, the ANC applications we are referring to, are called Declaration Applicants. These are applicants who attached some declaration to their applications, but this is not the case in this instance.

Here we have an applicant who states where he belongs, who states fully what he did, but who also feels that it is his duty for the purposes of this hearing, for the purposes of reconciliation, to state that there were sub-Units which I have assisted, which I have armed. However, I am unable to say what they did and I believe it will then be on this Honourable Committee to decide that, no, we are not entertaining what your sub-Units did simply because of the rationale that you cannot give amnesty to a person for something he didn't know it occurred, but he feels it is his duty to inform this Honourable Committee and in fact everybody here, that he armed those people and they were his sub-Unit. As to what they did, he may not have the facts.

MS KHAMPEPE: But is he not saying what the sub-Units did? He is saying they attacked Councillors, that is what he is saying?

MR KOOPEDI: It is indeed so Madam Commissioner, that he is saying that they attacked Councillors, however, he does not know when, that is the date, he does not know which Councillor, and had it been possible for him to confirm these, he would be saying with certainty, but because he doesn't know who was attacked, he only knows that Councillors were attacked. That is why he is saying so.

MS KHAMPEPE: How does he know that Councillors were attacked as a result of the weapons that he supplied to the sub-Units?

MR KEBOTLHALE: By virtue of grenades having been used in some instances in areas where I distributed some.

MS KHAMPEPE: Were you the Commander of the sub-Units that you supplied ammunition to?

MR KEBOTLHALE: I was the Commander in so far as I belonged to the command structure.

MS KHAMPEPE: And were you not therefore kept abreast with the execution of the operations that you yourself have stated that you gave instructions to?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Yes, I was kept abreast, but the information was not complete in most of the instances. We did not get finer details, given the circumstances under which we operated there.

MS KHAMPEPE: At page 6 of the bundle of documents, that is your formal application, you say that you issued out instructions and carried out attacks. The you enumerate the incidents, then you say on Wimpy outlets, SAP personnel, Councillors and whites only bus terminus. Did you issue out instructions on the attack of Councillors?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Let me explain this. Given all the Units that we commanded, we visited them at all times, regularly if we had time and we would actually give out instructions to carry out attacks against the Councillors in pursuit of the objective of rendering the 1988 October Municipal elections a farce.

MS KHAMPEPE: Did you personally issue out instructions to your sub-Units on Councillors?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Yes, I did.

MS KHAMPEPE: And were any reports given to you subsequently those instructions having been issued by you, were any reports given to you on the execution of those operations?

MR KEBOTLHALE: No reports were given, but I know that in areas where I have distributed grenades, Councillors were attacked.

MS KHAMPEPE: Did you not find out from your sub-Units how the execution had been carried out, on whom of the Councillors the attack had been ...

MR KEBOTLHALE: I had not been able to do so.

MS KHAMPEPE: Why not?

MR KEBOTLHALE: It was very difficult, we were operating under very difficult conditions at that time.

MS KHAMPEPE: But how would you be able to measure the success or the failure of your sub-Unit if such information was not furnished to you?

MR KEBOTLHALE: We depended largely on the media reports, the print and television reports.

MS KHAMPEPE: Why not your sub-Units, these are people who are very close to you? Why should you depend on the media that you didn't trust?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Yes, I am saying that it was very difficult for us to get exact information, given the circumstances under which we operated.

MS KHAMPEPE: In conclusion for what it is worth, you are saying you are seeking amnesty in respect of the attack on the Councillors and the weapons that you supplied on your sub-Unit in the attack of those Councillors. Is that what you are seeking amnesty for?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Yes.

ADV MOTATA: But it goes further than that, if you have regard to the bundle, page 7, you are saying there have been injury of several Policemen and Councillors, but from what my sister has been asking you, it would appear you have no information as regards whether Policemen were killed, Councillors were killed or injury caused to them?

MR KEBOTLHALE: This I got from the newspaper and media reports.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes Mr Steenkamp?

ADV STEENKAMP: Thank you Mr Chairman. Sir, can you explain to the Committee exactly how did you see your political motive, or how did you understand the political motive or can you describe your political motive for attacking the Wimpy Bar?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Yes, I would, this matter I think has been dealt with extensively by my Commander.

CHAIRPERSON: We want to know how you saw it.

MR KEBOTLHALE: Oh yes. That was part of taking the war to the white areas. It was part of celebrating the 67th anniversary of the South African Communist Party, and that was actually intended to remove the honeymoon out of the television screens.

Removing the honeymoon out of television screens actually meant in everyday life of our television, we would see people sitting in beaches, people sitting in nice places, not portraying the exact situation which was happening in the townships, which was happening in churches, which was happening in schools.

People were being shot at by the Police, people were being killed by the Police on a daily basis in the township. That was not properly projected into the media.

CHAIRPERSON: So, the Wimpy Bar was specifically targeted for that purpose?

MR KEBOTLHALE: It was also part of the armed propaganda.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Are you sure about that answer?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Yes, it was part of the armed propaganda.

CHAIRPERSON: So as far as you are concerned, and you must correct me if I am wrong, the attack on the Wimpy Bar, was not essentially because it was frequented by members of the Security Police?

MR KEBOTLHALE: No, that is wrong. Sorry, can the Judge repeat that for me please?

CHAIRPERSON: You told me that, and I understand your evidence to be that the attack on the Wimpy Bar here in Benoni was to remove the honeymoon off the television screens?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: And you also told me that Wimpy in Benoni was specifically targeted for that and also that it was part of taking the war to the white areas?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Is that correct?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Given that, I asked you are you sure of your answers, and you said yes. I said well, I am concerned because there is the prospect of Wimpy being targeted and blasted because it was frequented by members of the Security Police and then you said, no, that is wrong?

MR KEBOTLHALE: It shouldn't have been like that, it was attacked because it was frequented by the top brass of the Police. These other things were just part of it, taking the war to the white areas, and accelerating the armed conflict.

CHAIRPERSON: What did you then understand my question to be when you answered?

MR KEBOTLHALE: I thought you were saying that Wimpy was attacked because it was frequented by the Police?

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, you understood correctly. You said it was not so.

MR KEBOTLHALE: Then I did not understand it in that sense.

CHAIRPERSON: How did you understand it then, because you repeat my question in essence and you understood it correctly.

MR KEBOTLHALE: What I am saying is that Wimpy Bar was attacked.

CHAIRPERSON: I know you are saying that, we all know it was attacked. The question is why?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Because it was frequented by the top brass of the Police personnel.

CHAIRPERSON: Now, when I asked you that just now, you said no, that is not so.

MR KEBOTLHALE: It must have been a mistake on my part, but I did not mean to say that.

CHAIRPERSON: Why did you make the mistake?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Maybe I did not understand.

CHAIRPERSON: No, you did understand it, because you still understand the question correctly.

It is precisely what I asked you. I am asking why you made a mistake then?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Because I did not understand the question clearly.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, Mr Steenkamp.

ADV STEENKAMP: Thank you Mr Chairman. Sir, am I correct in saying that the attack on the Wimpy Bar was mainly to create and to instill fear amongst the people, among the civilians in that specific area?

MR KEBOTLHALE: That would be incorrect.

ADV STEENKAMP: Are you sure?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Yes.

ADV STEENKAMP: Did you understand my question correctly?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Yes.

ADV STEENKAMP: Can I read from your own application on page 8? Mr Koopedi, can he please read for himself. I read paragraph 1 therein. All the actions above constitute part of the overall conspiracy and strategy to bring about instability and instill fear in those who served in structures of Apartheid. Is that now right or is that now wrong?

MR KEBOTLHALE: That is right.

ADV STEENKAMP: But my question was was the attack on the Wimpy not part of this?

MR KOOPEDI: With respect Mr Chairman, I think we are having a problem of my learned friend putting it that the attack on Wimpy was for this reason and I think what he is saying is that it was not only for that one reason. You know there are a number of issues involved, not the one reason.

CHAIRPERSON: Can you rephrase the question.

ADV STEENKAMP: I will do so, thank you Mr Chairman. My question was simply, I didn't say it was the only reason, I asked you was it a reason and you said no. That is how I understood you.

MR KEBOTLHALE: You see, it was not intended to instill fear on civilians. For those who served in Apartheid structures, the Special Branch in Benoni was part of the Apartheid structure.

ADV STEENKAMP: Can I just ask you then this, why didn't you include in your amnesty application that your attack on the Wimpy was mainly to deal with the Security Branch who was frequenting this place, why didn't you include this at all in your amnesty application, at all?

Even in the further particulars that you were asked, you didn't include this at all? Can you explain this?

MR KEBOTLHALE: You see, it was the personnel that served in the Apartheid structure which frequented Wimpy, and I think that explanation suffices.

CHAIRPERSON: The question is why isn't it included in your application?

MR KEBOTLHALE: It is included in the application. If you go through and if you can go through page 8 there.

MS KHAMPEPE: Yes, can you start from page 7, see under paragraph 10(a) a question is asked, state political objective sought to be achieved in committing the act in which you are applying for amnesty, for which you are applying for amnesty, and you then starting from page 7, respond by stating what you have stated and Mr Steenkamp's question is to this extent and this extent only, why have you not stated that the reason for attacking the Wimpy Bar was to attack the members of the Security Police, that does not appear?

MR KEBOTLHALE: I think we are saying here that, we are talking about those who served in the structures of Apartheid, and that includes the Special Branch in Benoni who frequented that area.

MS KHAMPEPE: But you see the words that you have used, the choice of words that you used in response in particular to paragraph 10(a), you have stated that the reason, the political objective you sought to achieve was to deprive the then South African State the monopoly of violence used and create an environment and climate of war, particularly in towns and places used for leisure and entertainment by whites.

That is Mr Steenkamp's problem, there is no mention there specifically of attacking members of the Security Force. That is the explanation you must give to Mr Steenkamp.

MR KEBOTLHALE: The understanding of the statement is that those who served in the Defence Force, those who served in the Police, would after having carried out operations against you know, innocent people, used the Wimpy, they would use the cinemas and whatever places as leisure places, and these people would be construed to be ordinary civilians. This is what this insinuates in that paragraph.

MS KHAMPEPE: But you yourself had decided to use the word entertainment by whites, you didn't say entertainment by members of the Security Force?

MR KEBOTLHALE: No, but if you would notice that the whites there is "whites", that is what it was intended to express.

ADV STEENKAMP: Sir, can you just tell us from whom did you get your instructions in specifically carrying out the Wimpy Bar attack or the Katlehong attack, both those incidents, from whom did you receive your instructions?

MR KEBOTLHALE: I think the Commander has dealt with the matter by saying that we meet every Wednesday to review, to plan and take decisions.

ADV STEENKAMP: Can you tell me who is the person called Vusi, do you know who Vusi was?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Vusi, yes I know who he was. I know him by the name of Vusi. He served in the front command in Botswana. I don't know his other name.

ADV STEENKAMP: You see again sir, unfortunately if I look at your amnesty application, page 9, paragraph 11(b) the question there is who gave such order and approval, you didn't refer to your Commanding Officer, applicant 1, you referred to Mr Vusi.

Can you elaborate on that?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Yes, in so far as Vusi served as a post box in the front command.

ADV STEENKAMP: Can I ask you then maybe just before I go to the Wimpy Bar attack, why didn't you refer to the first applicant and say he was my Commanding Officer and I received my instructions from him? Why didn't you state it there?

MR KEBOTLHALE: That has been stated on page 9.

CHAIRPERSON: What has been stated?

MR KEBOTLHALE: That I received commands from a person known only to me as Vusi.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, that is not the question. The question is why didn't you in answer to that question say that the first applicant, the first witness in fact gave me the orders. That is the question.

MR KEBOTLHALE: He did not give me orders because we would sit in a plannery to decide on actions to take.

ADV STEENKAMP: Coming to the Wimpy Bar attack, what information did you have, or what information did you receive about the Wimpy Bar before deciding to attack it?

Did you get reports and from whom did you get the reports, or did you have informers, how did you manage to get the information on the Wimpy Bar?

MR KEBOTLHALE: I think we have explained this. We have also mentioned it in our main submission, that we were sitting every Wednesday to give individual commands as a command structure, and we would then discuss, deliberate on individual reports, make recommendations and take decisions on the basis of that information.

The main source of information with regard to Wimpy came from fellow applicant Alfas.

ADV STEENKAMP: So he informed you about the Wimpy Bar and the possibility of a target and all that, am I right?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Yes, by way of reporting to the Unit, yes.

ADV STEENKAMP: And who decided ultimately that the Wimpy Bar should be attacked, was it you or who was it?

MR KEBOTLHALE: All of us, we decided on it.

ADV STEENKAMP: Can you explain to me, at the time why did you think the Wimpy Bar, or how did you see the Wimpy Bar as a military target, or did you see it then, can you explain to me how did you see it as a legitimate target, let's put it that way?

MR KEBOTLHALE: I think the matter has been answered by my fellow applicant in his submission that the place was frequented by top brass Security personnel.

ADV STEENKAMP: What would you say to the possible question or the possible information that I attained, that the attack on the Wimpy Bar as far as the official ANC statement goes, was not part and parcel of ANC policy?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Can you repeat the question for me please.

ADV STEENKAMP: According to information we received which is not verified, what is your comment if I make the suggestion or if I tell you according to the ANC's official statement, the attack on the Wimpy Bar, this specific Wimpy Bar, was not part and parcel of the ANC policy at the time?

MS KHAMPEPE: Mr Steenkamp, won't you rephrase your question because there hasn't been any evidence led before us to suggest that the information that is contained in the press report, is official ANC information?

ADV STEENKAMP: You have heard, you have listened to my comment on the newspaper remark, you have heard that, am I right?

MR KEBOTLHALE: I think it has been ...

ADV STEENKAMP: Can you comment?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Yes, it has been explained that Wimpy became the target in so far as it was frequented by that Security personnel.

It was an area which became an interest, a target of interest to us, in so far as the Security personnel frequented the area.

ADV STEENKAMP: Did you verify the information that you got from Mr Ndlovu, that at that stage Security Branch Police Officers and high brass as you call them, would most probably have visited that Wimpy Bar on that Saturday? Did you have information to that extent?

MR KEBOTLHALE: It has just been explained that we got information from the former detainees and we also relied extensively on the information forthcoming from Mr Ndlovu.

ADV STEENKAMP: That on that specific Saturday, please help me if I am wrong, that on that specific Saturday, Security Branch high brass will visit the Wimpy Bar at twelve o'clock, is that what you are saying?

MR KEBOTLHALE: No, I think that you must understand that we are not saying that the Security Branch personnel stayed in Wimpy. We have information to the extent that these people frequented the area, they met there.

ADV STEENKAMP: No, no, sir, I am talking about this specific day. Why did you decide to attack the Wimpy Bar on this specific day?

The only reason I can see is because on that specific day, there was a possibility or you had very good information, that Security Branch Police will be at the Wimpy Bar, high brass?

MR KEBOTLHALE: They frequented the area and we have indicated previously that on Saturdays they held meetings there to give reports, and to debrief and whatever, as it was explained earlier.

ADV STEENKAMP: Am I right in saying, please help me if I am wrong, you didn't have any verified or any confirmed information that on that specific day, on that specific time, twelve o'clock that Security high brass Police would visit the place? You didn't have any information of that sort at all am I right?

MR KEBOTLHALE: No, you are wrong.

ADV STEENKAMP: What is the answer then sir, in other words, please help me. What you are saying is you had information ...

MR KEBOTLHALE: That they frequented ...

ADV STEENKAMP: Can I please finish my question, you had information that on this specific Saturday, this specific incident which happened on I think the 13th of June, 30th of July sorry, at twelve o'clock, you had information that on that day high brass Security Branch Police will be in that place. Did you have information to this extent, can you answer me just that please first?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Not that they will be in that place, but we knew that it was a norm that after having had discussions in their offices they would go have lunch there and have tea there.

CHAIRPERSON: What you are saying is it was the normal thing to happen and you expected them to be there?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Yes.

ADV STEENKAMP: Thank you Mr Chairman. Can I ask you according to our information there was a Police kiosk which was situated in a small shop across the Wimpy Bar, that was actually manned on a full time basis by the Police. Why didn't you decide to attack that kiosk than the Wimpy Bar?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Personally I did not know of the existence of the kiosk.

ADV STEENKAMP: Are you saying you didn't know about this kiosk at all?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Yes, I am saying I did not know of the existence of the kiosk in that area.

ADV STEENKAMP: Who did the reconnaissance on this Wimpy Bar, do you know who was involved there? Can you give us a name of the group who was responsible for this, and who reported to you?

MR KEBOTLHALE: It is not a group, it is Alfas Ndlovu.

ADV STEENKAMP: And he never reported to you that there actually was a Police kiosk there?

MR KEBOTLHALE: No. Not that he did not report, but he reported on the matter that he was dealing with, and that was Wimpy.

ADV STEENKAMP: So did he report there was a Police kiosk?

MR KEBOTLHALE: He could not report on the existence of the kiosk. The kiosk was not an area of interest to us. He reported on the matter that we handled, that was Wimpy at that time.

ADV STEENKAMP: Sorry Mr Chairman, if I have to repeat myself, I don't want to labour this point. Just before I step off this issue, one thing I can't understand you wanted to attack the structures which supported Apartheid, among them Police or Security Police. But in this issue, you decide not to attack this Police kiosk which was full of Police.

MR KEBOTLHALE: I think Mr Steenkamp, the matter has been dealt with, we explained that situation in length in our main submission and it was explained by the Commander.

Our area of interest was in Wimpy and if there was existence of any Police kiosk nearby or opposite, that I did not know.

ADV STEENKAMP: Do you have any other information on other, or do you know, do you have any knowledge on the other Wimpy's that was attacked by ANC or MK members?

MR KEBOTLHALE: No, no.

ADV STEENKAMP: Can you maybe just in short explain to me what was MK's policy regarding the identification of military targets at the time of the incident?

MR KEBOTLHALE: What we are saying is that we are going to attack all enemy personnel, wherever they are. We have also indicated that we would follow them in the Bantu (indistinct), in towns, in the cities, in the rural areas and everywhere, and this is what we actually did at that time.

ADV STEENKAMP: Who decided on the use of this super limpet I think that is what the applicant, the first applicant said. Who decided on the use of this limpet mine, the super limpet mine?

MR KEBOTLHALE: We collectively decided on it, all of us.

ADV STEENKAMP: Who planted the bomb?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Alfas.

ADV STEENKAMP: How do you know that, were you present?

MR KEBOTLHALE: He reported back to the Unit that he planted the bomb.

ADV STEENKAMP: Were you during this planning, who was also involved in the planning, it was you and the first applicant, who else was involved?

MR KEBOTLHALE: It was Alfas, it was Molwedi, it was Simfrey Mkomesi who is now late.

ADV STEENKAMP: I am sorry, can you give us, it was you, the first ...

MR KEBOTLHALE: It was myself, it was Ernest Sigasa, it was Alfas Mabore Ndlovu, it was Mokoena Molwedi.

ADV STEENKAMP: You said he is deceased?

MR KEBOTLHALE: No, lastly it was Simfrey Mkomesi who is deceased.

ADV STEENKAMP: Okay, sorry, thank you. Exactly what was the role of your Commander? How did it work, did he give you instructions and you had to carry them out or can you just explain to me how did it work? This Unit you had, how did it work?

MR KEBOTLHALE: If I may refer you to page 2 of our submission, we are stating quite clearly there what the role of the Commander was there and Bullet.3, he gave guidance to military activities.

ADV STEENKAMP: Mr Chairman, maybe I have missed the point here, but I was under the impression that this statement was the statement made by the first applicant and that it was not a joint statement. Maybe I am wrong, I don't understand this.

CHAIRPERSON: I think it was a statement by the first applicant, but this witness has associated himself in so far as it effects him, with that statement.

MR KOOPEDI: If I may answer, it was decided that because all the applicants are associating themselves with similar acts, for the sake of brevity, only one statement would be prepared.

ADV STEENKAMP: Mr Chairman, I don't want to be very technical, but I would ask on behalf of the victims that this statement at least be signed by whoever is going to be handed in the statement on behalf of the applicants, because the position as far as the Act goes Mr Chairman, we are dealing with applications are required by the Act, and I am not quite sure and my difficulty is this, this information contained in this statement was not catered or not rendered or not supplied by any of the applicants at all.

As far as the victims go we find it a bit difficult to understand how this information can just be submitted and numerous acts be added to the application of this applicant, maybe I must ask the applicant why this is done today.

If I can ask you sir, why are you adding all this new information in this statement, and why didn't you take the opportunity when you prepared your application, to submit this to the TRC? Can you give an explanation of that?

MR KOOPEDI: In all fairness to the witness, if you will allow me to come in Mr Chairman, there are no new incidents that are being mentioned here, because all these incidents if my learned friend goes through the application forms here, he will find a corresponding note to that effect.

On the other hand in as far as the request or the instruction that all applicants sign this statement because the statement cannot be simply handed in, I wish to remind my learned friend that this statement was meant to be read and not to be handed in initially and it was handed in because we were asked to hand it in, and remind my learned friend also that the present applicant has under oath associated himself with this statement and I do not see the need therefore to sign the statement.

But I wish to stress the fact that there are no new matters that are being brought.

ADV STEENKAMP: Mr Chairman, I will not take this point any further, except to say that there is definitely information that was added, numerous incidents like page 7, the Honourable Committee Member Khampepe showed, pointed out the sub-Units, there is no information contained in this application at all.

MR KOOPEDI: Mr Chairman, without creating a dialogue if you will allow me, my learned friend ...

CHAIRPERSON: You just did.

ADV STEENKAMP: I will just leave it there Mr Chairman, it is up to the Committee to decide. Maybe it is a question for argument.

ADV MOTATA: No but before you do, we had regard to page 14 of the bundle.

ADV STEENKAMP: Sir, it is the view of the victims that this was an act, a callous and cowardice act mainly targeting white people who were frequenting this Wimpy Bar, do you have any comment on this?

MR KEBOTLHALE: I would say that the action on Wimpy was not targeted on white people. It was targeted at the Security personnel that served on the Headquarters of the Special Branch, whether black or white and it has never been the policy or intention of the ANC to hit or to attack ordinary civilians.

ADV STEENKAMP: My last comment, maybe you can comment on this sir, I can put it as a matter of fact to you that not a single Security Police or political person was injured at all in this Wimpy attack, it was only civilians.

MR KEBOTLHALE: I would also indicate that this matter has been dealt with by my Commander.

MS KHAMPEPE: You are being asked notwithstanding the fact that it has been dealt with by your Commander. You are being asked a question and you must respond to it Mr Kebotlhale.

MR KEBOTLHALE: Yes, I would say that the possibility of concealing blows suffered by the Special Branch personnel cannot be precluded in that regard, as part of you know, concealing their defeats.

ADV STEENKAMP: Thank you Mr Chairman.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY ADV STEENKAMP

CHAIRPERSON: Any re-examination Mr Koopedi?

MR KOOPEDI: Nothing in re-examination of this witness, thank you Chairperson.

NO RE-EXAMINATION BY MR KOOPEDI

MS KHAMPEPE: Mr Kebotlhale, I just have one question to pose to you. When Mr Ndlovu gave you a report after he had conducted some reconnaissance on Wimpy Bar, did he give you any information with regard to whether there was any black patronage of this particular Wimpy?

MR KEBOTLHALE: I do not recall that for sure.

MS KHAMPEPE: Did you yourself not know whether that particular Wimpy was patronaged by blacks?

MR KEBOTLHALE: That I did not know.

MS KHAMPEPE: Were you resident within the Benoni area at that time?

MR KEBOTLHALE: I was staying at Katlehong at that time, not in Benoni.

MS KHAMPEPE: Were you familiar with the mall wherein this Wimpy Bar was situated?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Personally, not.

MS KHAMPEPE: Had you never gone past the vicinity around the Wimpy restaurant?

MR KEBOTLHALE: No.

MS KHAMPEPE: Thank you.

ADV MOTATA: Just one Chairperson. You said you relied also on information from former detainees, did I hear you correctly?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Yes.

ADV MOTATA: And when you say information from former detainees, were they accompanying the Security Branch to the Wimpy?

MR KEBOTLHALE: That I could not confirm, but that is the information that we got from former detainees.

ADV MOTATA: That for instance they got food from Wimpy which was bought by the Police?

MR KEBOTLHALE: Yes.

ADV MOTATA: But never indicated that they actually went with the Police there?

MR KEBOTLHALE: No.

ADV MOTATA: Thank you Chairperson, I've got no further questions.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, thank you, you are excused.

WITNESS EXCUSED

 

 
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