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Amnesty Hearings

Type AMNESTY HEARINGS

Starting Date 28 October 1999

Location CAPE TOWN

Day 6

Names FUMANIKILE BOOI

Matter DEATH OF NICHOLAS JOHANNES ELS

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CHAIRPERSON: Good morning everybody. Before we proceed with this Hearing, for the purposes of the record, I'm going to announce my name and I'm going to ask my colleagues to do the same and the respective representatives.

I'm Judge Ronnie Pillay and I chair this hearing.

ADV BOSMAN: I'm Francis Bosman a Member of the Amnesty Committee on this Panel.

ADV SIGODI: I'm Sibongile Sigodi. I'm a Member of the Amnesty Committee.

MR PAPIER: Thank you Judge.

CHAIRPERSON: You can sit while you're talking.

MR PAPIER: I'm Taswell Papier. I act on behalf of the applicant in this matter, Mr Fumanikile Booi.

MS PATEL: Thank you Honourable Chairperson. Ramula Patel, Leader of Evidence. Honourable Chairperson, perhaps it's appropriate at this stage just to mention the position of the victims. We were unable to locate the next of kin of the deceased, Mr Els, or Mr Moyese, who was a victim in this matter and the other victim, Mr Beeslaar was involved in this incident has elected not to participate in the proceedings. Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: What has been done to locate the first two mentioned victims?

MS PATEL: An ad was placed, I've got a copy of it, I just can't make out which newspaper it was placed in, but an ad was placed to try to get hold them and then our investigative unit, in terms of Mr Moyese, contacted the police and investigations were made through those Channels and he's apparently moved home quite a few times and we've since not been able to locate him. No-one knows whether he's presently employed either.

ADV BOSMAN: Ms Patel, may I just ask, was the advertisement placed in an Afrikaans newspaper.

MS PATEL: I have an English copy here, unfortunately.

CHAIRPERSON: Ms Patel, we're satisfied that the Commission has done sufficient to locate those victims. It's unfortunate that it was not successful. In regard to the third one you say that he's indicated that he's not willing to participate in these proceedings?

MS PATEL: That is indeed so, Honourable Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: I noticed that there are members of the public who have not been allowed or given any hearing aids, will the technician please see that they receive?

Yes, Mr Papier.

MR PAPIER: Thank you Judge. We are ready to proceed and to that end I call the applicant Mr Fumanikile Booi.

FUMANIKILE BOOI: (sworn states)

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, Mr Papier.

MR PAPIER: Thank you Judge, thank you Commissioners.

EXAMINATION BY MR PAPIER: Mr Booi you have applied for amnesty in respect of the death of Mr Nicholas Johannes Els who died on the 7th, round about the 7th of July 1990 in Nyanga, is that correct?

MR BOOI: Correct so.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Papier at some time during the Hearing we would expect you instead of your client to indicate for which offences he is applying, given the fact that the niceties of law are not always understood by the man in the street.

MR PAPIER: Thank you. Thank you Judge. Now Mr Booi, you have submitted an application to the TRC which appears on pages 1 to 7 in the bundle, a copy of which you have in your possession as well, is that correct?

MR BOOI: Correct My Lord.

MR PAPIER: Is it correct that at the time of the incident, being the 7th of July 1990, you were a member of the African National Congress and in particular it's military wing, Umkhonto weSizwe?

MR BOOI: It's correctly so.

MR PAPIER: Can you briefly inform this Committee of your recruitment and involvement in MK prior to this incident?

MR BOOI: I was recruited into the underground structure, MK machinery, into the ANC in 1979 while I was residing in old Crossroads.

CHAIRPERSON: In?

MR BOOI: In old Crossroads.

MR PAPIER: Yes. Do you... Now in 1980, were you involved in the operations of MK at all?

MR BOOI: Yes, I was involved.

MR PAPIER: Can you just ...(intervention).

CHAIRPERSON: When did you get into MK? You were recruited into the ANC in 1979.

MR BOOI: I was as well recruited into the underground structure of MK in the same year.

CHAIRPERSON: Same year?

MR BOOI: Yes, by Comrade Langa.

MR PAPIER: You can proceed.

MR BOOI: Yes, 1980 I became involved in the political activities of the ANC.

CHAIRPERSON: 19?

MR BOOI: 80.

CHAIRPERSON: 80?

MR BOOI: Yes. I was working with ANC members such as Oscar Mpetha, Stuurman, old stalwart of the MK and I was highly involved in Rand boycott as instructed by the organisation and also to organise the youth around the country, in the Western Cape at that time.

MR PAPIER: Yes. Now you were also in August 1980, you were detained with Oscar Mpetha and 17 others around Cape Town, is that correct?

MR BOOI: Yes, we were later detained and charged. The charges were later dropped from me in 1983, after 3 years.

CHAIRPERSON: You were detained - I don't follow that - when?

MR BOOI: I was detained together with the late comrade Oscar Mpetha and the 18 others in August 1980. I stayed in solitary confinement for the rest of 1980 up to 1981 under Section 6, the old law and then in 1981 I was formally on the 15th of April, charged with other co-accused of mine and then we were awaiting trial at Pollsmoor, refused bail for three years. After the three years I was acquitted.

MR PAPIER: What were the charges against you Mr Booi?

MR BOOI: The charges against us were two counts of murder and terrorism.

MR PAPIER: Now we would for purposes ...(intervention)

ADV SIGODI: Sorry, were you acquitted or were the charges dropped?

MR BOOI: I was acquitted.

MR PAPIER: Now for purposes of this presentation of evidence we would just briefly go through Mr Booi's history with MK and then I'll of course get to the facts in issue. Now in ...(intervention).

CHAIRPERSON: Were you charged for any of the matters for which you apply for amnesty now?

MR BOOI: Yes, I was.

CHAIRPERSON: Okay, then we can carry one.

MR PAPIER: Thank you Judge. Could you briefly tell us Mr Booi, in 1985 you joined the ranks of MK in Lesotho, is that correct?

MR BOOI: Yes, that is correct. I joined the ranks of MK in Lesotho, advised to by the Commander, Sipho. I arrived in Lesotho, I was deployed as a Political Commissar on a transit group and as a security screener for those who were coming from South Africa, to investigate whether there were no enemy agents among them. I later in 1986 left Lesotho for further military training. I went to Angola via Lusaka. I met Comrade Kiswane in Lusaka who asked me to work with him and report directly to him on those trained comrades in Angola who were ready and willing to be deployed inside the country.

CHAIRPERSON: What rank did you have then?

MR BOOI: At that particular moment I was just a Commissar, a Political Commissar.

CHAIRPERSON: In Lesotho?

MR BOOI: Yes, in Lesotho and also I was working closely with our security structure in screening those who come from South Africa. If I may continue?

Comrade Chris Hani instructed me in Lusaka that on my arrival in Angola, I will meet many of comrades, in particular those coming from the Western Cape. I'll have to liaise with them and find out who are those who are willing to come back and fight inside the country.

He further instructed that I be sent to a special training camp in Pango, that is part of Angola where I was supposed to be doing military combat work, tactics, firearms, topography and engineering and intelligence as a ...(indistinct) command. That I did do for 6 months in Pango.

CHAIRPERSON: Did?

MR BOOI: In Pango in Angola. It's an ANC special camp in Angola.

I was further in the same year after 6 months specialising in Pango. I was instructed to go and specialise in military engineering Yugoslavia military academic school, in Yugoslavia. I went to Yugoslavia in 1986, I specialised in military intelligence and counter intelligence, camouflage tactics, firearms as a company commander. I finished my training in 1987 and I returned to Angola.

On my arrival in 1987 in Angola from Yugoslavia, I was deployed in Vienna, that is a transit camp in Angola, in Luanda. I was deployed there as a political commissar on the kitchen platoon, the platoon which was responsible for the food and all those things, so I was residing as a political Commissar.

Later that year, when a number of soldiers, 31 battalion, UNITA rebels, other sinister forces which were mobilised by the then apartheid regime were sent to attack our basis in Angola in the Northern part of Angola where some of our new arrivals who'd come for training, were being trained in the camp of Kabashe and also in the camp of Pango and we had our camp known as the Quatro, which was also situated in the northern part of Angola.

I was given instructions with other comrades to go and defend those camps in the northern part of Angola. On arrival there I was deployed as an Engineer Commander and in the headquarters platoon and I fought in Angola in that battle for the whole year of 1987 to 1988.

CHAIRPERSON: By 1990 what rank had you attained?

MR BOOI: Unfortunately we in the MK, because we were guerrilla armed forces, we were not given our ranks until we were properly given in 1994 when we went for integration.

CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Let me ask you this then. In the operation in which Mr Els died, how did you fit into the structure then?

MR BOOI: I was a Commander of the unit.

MR PAPIER: Now if we could just contextualise that, Mr Booi, you say that on the 7th of July 1990 which is the date of the incident, you were back in the country and in particular in Cape Town?

MR BOOI: Yes, I was already back in the country.

MR PAPIER: Is it correct that you met with the late Chris Hani on that night?

MR BOOI: Yes, I met with Comrade Chris Hani.

MR PAPIER: What was the purpose of the meeting?

MR BOOI: Comrade Chris Hani arrived in Cape Town on the 6th of July.

MR PAPIER: Yes.

MR BOOI: He assembled all the underground units of MK to ...(indistinct) for a debriefing because of the pending talks of the ANC and the then government.

MR PAPIER: Yes, it was also the first time that he was going to be making a public address, delivering a public address in Cape Town, is that correct?

MR BOOI: Of course, it's correct, so the following day he was going to do a public address at NY47 in Guguletu. So Comrade Chris asked, gave us instruction to meet with him. After the meeting where we were later being given a mission to carry on.

MR PAPIER: What was the - I understand that you were appointed as the Commander of that unit.

MR BOOI: Yes, I was.

MR PAPIER: Who were the operatives in that unit?

MR BOOI: It was myself, it was Lincoln, pseudo name Lincoln, his real name Monde, it was Wiseman, pseudo name Wiseman, his real name Papama. Mabuya, I don't know his real name, but his pseudo name is Mabuya.

MR PAPIER: And where are these operatives now?

MR BOOI: Unfortunately all three of them have passed away during this course.

MR PAPIER: Yes. What was the purpose of the unit and what was its brief?

MR BOOI: The unit was briefed that there is information that there are askaris which have been instructed to assassinate the late Comrade Chris Hani before his address in Guguletu at NY49, while he's in Cape Town. Now my mission was to command this unit to counteract those askaris, if possible to kill them when I met with them.

MR PAPIER: What did you do as a result of this briefing?

MR BOOI: I was immediately ordered that I have to join the three other unit members, who were already in their car, then I was ordered to join them in that particular car.

MR PAPIER: Yes.

MR BOOI: To be as a Commander of the unit.

MR PAPIER: You proceeded, or before we get there, were you armed?

MR BOOI: Yes, all of us were armed. I was armed with Soviet made automatic pistol, five ammunition magazines, two hand grenades. Lincoln was armed with an AK47, Wiseman was armed with a Makarov pistol, Soviet made and Mabuya was also armed with a Makarov pistol, Soviet made.

MR PAPIER: I understand that you then proceeded ...(intervention).

ADV SIGODI: Sorry, can you just state what you were armed with, I couldn't get all that.

MR BOOI: I myself, I was armed with an automatic tasking pistol, Soviet made, Lincoln was armed with an AK47, Soviet made, Mabuya was armed with a pistol, a Makarov pistol, Soviet made, Wiseman was also armed with a Makarov Soviet made pistol, 9 mm.

MR PAPIER: Mr Booi, I understand that you then proceeded to Khayelitsha, is that correct?

MR BOOI: Yes, the information we had is that these askaris were based in Graceland in Khayelitsha then I joined the unit and we proceeded to the area in Khayelitsha to investigate their presence there.

MR PAPIER: Yes. I understand that you went there, they were not there and you received information that led you to Guguletu, is that correct?

MR BOOI: Yes. We went there, we found the house closed, we investigated, we found some information that the policeman who was staying here had left for NY47 in Guguletu, NY47. Then I commanded the unit to proceed immediately to NY47 because Chris was actually going to sleep around Guguletu that evening.

MR PAPIER: Yes. Can you tell the Committee what happened on your way to NY47 in Guguletu?

MR BOOI: We decided to take the Lansdowne road from Khayelitsha to cross through Nyanga East, ...(indistinct) on our way to Guguletu. When we got into Nyanga East, entering ...(indistinct), we just passed one street on our left-hand side, a second street, there was a riot police van parked next to the stadium.

MR PAPIER: At about what time was this, Mr Booi?

MR BOOI: It would have been probably past 12, past 1.

CHAIRPERSON: In the night?

MR BOOI: In the night.

MR PAPIER: The morning. Yes?

MR BOOI: This van's lights were put off.

CHAIRPERSON: Tell me that stadium, would that be the same stadium where it was intended that Mr Hani would address the public?

MR BOOI: No, that was the stadium in Nyanga East, he was going to address in Guguletu.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes.

MR PAPIER: You proceeded past this riot police van and what happened thereafter?

MR BOOI

Yes, when we passed this van, it's lights were put off, we couldn't see the occupants of the van, but we could see the structure of the van itself. Immediately when we passed we were about in the middle of the T junction, the van put on its headlights, brightening the car we were occupying with its headlights, but we continued, we proceeded and it immediately followed behind us.

We found out that we were not the only cars which were on the street at that particular time, so we were not even sure whether they were following us or not but for precautionary measures, I ordered the driver of the car who was Wiseman, to turn left to see whether the car, the van is following us or not and then we turned left into the Turf Street, branching out of ...(indistinct)

MR PAPIER: Yes.

MR BOOI

When we turned left this particular van left the other cars which were proceeding on the same way and continued to follow us. I instructed the driver again that: "Can you please decrease your speed, 50, 40 a little bit." He decreased his speed, the van continue to follow us. His lights were on and then we turned right again on the next street. When we turned right again, the van put on its bright lights and we could see that there were a group of people who were still sitting in a shebeen partying, some cars outside and all those things. We passed. Immediately when we passed that house, the van which was following us switched off all its lights and it was not light and then it reached us. It was very close behind us.

We started to panic. We started to discuss amongst ourselves that these people are up on something. Immediately our briefings came to mind, that we have been briefed that there are the askaris, are actually travelling around with police vans and all those things and they are clad in police uniforms. So I started to order the group to be comrade-readiness, everybody to have his weapon next to him and then immediately we turned right, back to the street where we came from, that is Ems Drive. While we were proceeding to Ems Drive the speed was decreasing from the van behind us. Then we turned left into Ems Drive again. Unfortunately where we turned left, opposite us there's a school with big trees. On the other side there are no houses, there is a dark spot and immediately the van overtook us and before it overtook us actually, the passenger on the left-hand side showed with his torch that we must get off the road. We have done so immediately and I ordered the comrade who was driving the car, comrade Wiseman to stop the car and everybody to sit inside the car until we can see what is going to happen.

The van arrived, they slightly crossed our car's front, giving us space not to run away, all those things and then I immediately opened my window. When the first policeman jumped out, he was carrying a pistol. I would say it's a policeman because he was wearing a camouflage uniform. He carried a pistol in his right hand. The second one from the driver's seat who jumped out, was carrying a sub-machine gun which appeared to me at that stage as an Uzzi because I - when I saw the sub-machine gun and the policemen were pointing the firearm direct to me, I decided then to take a decision to shoot. I shot at him first because I know if I couldn't shoot first, I would be killed on the spot with the occupants.

I shot at him, I opened automatic fire and immediately as I ordered comrade Lincoln, who was seated next to me at the back seat of the car carrying an AK47 to cover the other side of the van, if there are any people at the back of the van, because we couldn't see the back of the van and also the driver's side.

I ordered Mabuya at that stage to cover the front side of the van and also to observe for any reinforcement, if possibly there is because we've got into an ambush now. So we continued firing. After some few seconds, when we felt that we were having the situation under control, we decided that Comrade Lincoln as instructed, he's going to cover us, then we will be leaving with the car. We left with the car from the scene immediately after this.

MR PAPIER: Continue.

MR BOOI: Yes.

After I left the scene with the unit that was now two, we were three, one was left to cover the scene with his AK47, Wiseman dropped me off where I was supposed to go and meet Comrade Chris Hani and report to him what has happened. I'd immediately gone to the late Comrade Chris Hani and informed him that on our way to NY47 in Guguletu we were ambushed by askaris. We managed to retaliate, we don't know whether there are people injured or not, but we presume that there are some people who are injured.

MR PAPIER: Now Mr Booi, you subsequently established that Mr Els, Sgt Els had died, is that correct?

MR BOOI: Yes, in the morning of the 7th when I read the newspaper, Cape Times, I established one of the occupants of that car died and it was Sgt Els Khulu, as it was said in the paper. I regretted it because never was it our intention at that stage of negotiation to continue with assassination or killing any policemen and what.

MR PAPIER: Yes, now the following day the late Chris Hani delivered an address, the planned and scheduled address, is that correct?

MR BOOI: Yes.

MR PAPIER: He also made reference to this ambush, as you understood it?

MR BOOI: Yes.

MR PAPIER: Can you recall what he said about it?

MR BOOI: Yes, actually what Comrade Chris said on his address in NY49 Guguletu, he said "Since ever I arrived in South Africa and the organisation was involved in negotiation with the government we're repeatedly saying that askaris, some police force members, special units who were against the negotiation, were keeping on assassinating our comrades and all those things. The incident which happened in Nyanga is not an isolated incident to all the incidents which are happening all over the country at present."

MR PAPIER: Yes.

MR BOOI: So he further said that: "I congratulate the comrades, in particular the Commander, who managed to bring all his members, his unit members safely back from that particular ambush in Nyanga."

MR PAPIER: Is it correct that you were arrested for this incident in January 1992?

MR BOOI: It is correct.

MR PAPIER: You were kept in custody and were released on R10 000 bail at the Wynberg Regional Court, is that correct?

MR BOOI: That is correct.

MR PAPIER: Who testified at that bail application?

MR BOOI: On July 1992 when I was refused bail, Comrade Chris Hani himself, the late Comrade Chris Hani testified at my bail hearing at Wynberg Regional Court.

MR PAPIER: And I understand that he confirmed that you were acting under his orders, is that correct?

MR BOOI: Yes, he actually told the Magistrate that he is there in the court because I was on a political mission, under his command and his instruction and he believed whatever we've done, was under the political blanket of the ANC and the liberation movement Umkhonto weSizwe.

CHAIRPERSON: I want you to listen to my question very carefully.

MR BOOI: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: How did that incident provide any political advancement for your organisation?

MR BOOI: It advanced political advancement, (1) because the ANC get into negotiation with the government and the government was reluctant to commit itself fully to the negotiation, also underestimating the presence of MK unit inside the country. The skirmish itself actually sent a clear message that MK is inside the country and it is advancing its military wing because it is the first time that the police could report a high number of highly trained MK terrorists being in the same operation at the same time, inside Cape Town in particular. So that sent a panic button to the government there and put the ANC in a stronger position, also to say that despite the question that the government has promised that there won't be any further assassination on MK members and its leadership inside the country, but there was a continuity. In that regard it was politically motivated, in advancing the government.

MR PAPIER: Is it also correct that you were mandated to protect the leadership of the ANC and in particular Chris Hani?

MR BOOI: Yes. Actually after the unbanning of the ANC all the units which were based inside the country in particular in the Western Cape where the negotiations were taking place, Groote Schuur, we were given further mission to protect the leadership from prison and to protect those leadership who were attending this negotiation in Cape Town. Chris Hani was part of those comrades who were supposed to be protected by the units based in Cape Town at that time.

MR PAPIER: Now you have amongst others, been charged I understand Mr Booi, with possession of ammunition, with murder, attempted murder as contained in the draft charge sheets on pages 12, 13, 14, 15, yes pages 12 to 15 of the bundle. I understand that you are applying for amnesty in respect of all those charges and any related charges flowing from this incident?

MR BOOI: Correctly so.

ADV BOSMAN: Mr Papier, I don't know whether I missed something, did you include charge number 1, or did you exclude that?

MR PAPIER: Charge number 1 can be excluded.

ADV BOSMAN: Okay. Thank you.

ADV SIGODI: Sorry, whose car were you driving when you went on this mission?

MR BOOI: I was a passenger in a white Toyota Corolla.

ADV SIGODI: And whose car was that?

MR BOOI: Unfortunately it was a car driven by Comrade Wiseman, it was used by that unit.

ADV SIGODI: You have no knowledge where he got that car from?

MR BOOI: No, not at all, until I was told in court.

MR PAPIER: And so just to contextualise the question, Mr Booi, I understand that at the meeting with the late Chris Hani on the 6th, you had gotten to that meeting on your own means and it was there, if I understand you correctly, that you were ordered to join your other colleagues in the car.

MR BOOI: Yes. Actually what was happening, the unit, it's not my unit from Angola, I had my own unit. There were special units, many various units, I was just called for that special mission to go and join that unit, so I left my car and joined the unit in that car because they were all ready in securing the late Comrade Chris Hani, I was just to command them on the mission on that particular day, until the comrade left Cape Town then join my unit back.

ADV BOSMAN: So at what time did they pick you up?

MR BOOI: It might be, if I'm correct about 9, past 9 around that time, I never observed the time, but it was late in the evening.

ADV BOSMAN: Thank you.

MR PAPIER: Now, Mr Booi, I understand that there a number of case reports and your photo and identikit was also displayed at police stations throughout the country. These two documents do not form part of the bundle, I beg your pardon for that Commissioners, I just received it this morning and I now beg leave to just hand in...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: What is the purpose of you wanting to hand it in?

MR PAPIER: Judge, you will notice that in terms of the Act, my learned colleague requested certain information and there seemed to have been a doubt as to whether Mr Booi was in fact a member of MK.

CHAIRPERSON: He's testified to that.

MR PAPIER: I withdraw the application.

CHAIRPERSON: Perhaps, if there's a question of dispute that arises, maybe then we can enter into this exercise.

MR PAPIER: As it pleases the Committee. Thank you, I have no further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR PAPIER

MS PATEL: Thank you Honourable Chairperson.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS PATEL: Just for the record, Mr Booi has referred to a previous matter where he was arrested, charged and then acquitted. It is in fact one of the - well that specific incident that he was acquitted on, is an incident we heard last week, the Beaton and the Jansen incident, he was one of the co-accused in that matter. And then just a couple of clarifying questions Mr Booi. You stated that when you went to report back to Chris Hani, you informed him that you were ambushed by askaris.

MR BOOI: Yes.

MS PATEL: But the policemen who were shot and were injured were definitely not askaris and they were in fact all white.

MR BOOI: I won't agree with you in that because the askaris are not only, were not only the unit of those soldier who deserted from MK. What the then government did on these operation forces, it took a couple of specialised, in particular white males in the police, in the army and formed a special unit which has been tracking down MK cadres around the country and assassinating some high leadership members. They were not of any colour, but they were based - they were not only from the ranks of MK, we dubbed them all as askaris, because they were doing the same mission and what I further say, that ordinary police don't use conventional arms in a normal urban area. The presence of sub-machine guns was a clear indication that this is part of the Special Force which will be assembled to assassinate and delay the talks inside the country.

CHAIRPERSON: Are you saying that the askaris were being used in that system of destabilising the negotiations?

MR BOOI: Of course.

CHAIRPERSON: Why do you say so?

MR BOOI: Because the askaris and some of the Special Force members in the government were not necessarily supporting the ...(indistinct) negotiation and further, you have to understand that when the government and the ANC started negotiation, there were still skirmishes which were happening between the two armed forces and those skirmishes were always involved with askaris, Special Units, MK forces around the country until late 1993, before the election actually. Some of those sinister forces are actually those who participated in assassinating Comrade Chris Hani, that far the skirmishes had been going, so they were not of any colour.

MS PATEL: Well perhaps your understanding of the term askari is not the normal understanding that we have here of an askari being a turned liberation or MK, PAC person who would then be turned and then used by the Security Forces against the liberation movements, but I'll take it no further.

MR BOOI: No, I don't disagree with you in that but I'm just going further that they were not operating on their own solely as the turned guerrillas of APLA and MK but they were operating under the command of white policemen and soldiers as a group of askaris, so you dubbed them all as askaris when they operate in that fashion because they were no longer ordinary police which are supposed to maintain law and order in the country, but they have special missions of assignment.

MS PATEL: ...Those special assignments would be what, can you just clarify that for me please?

MR BOOI: (1) it will be to take down the leadership of the political organisations, that means ranging from Cosatu, SACP, ANC, the UDF at that stage, their missions were either to assassinate some to the leaders, also to assassinate activists, they were highly trained to track down MK operatives inside the country at that time, those were their missions. They were also crossing borders outside the boundaries of South Africa, carrying this mission.

MS PATEL: Alright. Did you notice that the persons who were injured, the policemen, were in their normal uniforms, that they weren't plain-clothed?

MR BOOI: They were not in plain clothes. I said that they were in camouflage. It was not the blue uniform of the police, but it was a camouflage similar to that of the army, worn by the army.

MS PATEL: Alright. Just to go to the specifics of the incident, you say as you slowed down and the policeman had indicated that you must stop, they then passed you.

MR BOOI: Yes.

MS PATEL: And what happened after that? Did the policemen come to you first, to your vehicle, or what?

MR BOOI: When we parked our vehicle, they just slanted in front of the car on the right fender, their right fender was closing our right fender and one policeman, the one who was seated on the left, he jumped out of the car carrying a gun in his hand. The second policeman jumped out of the car, carrying an Uzzi on his right-hand side.

MS PATEL : Okay. Now I just want to put Mr Beeslaar's version to you. Mr Beeslaar is one of the people who was injured in the incident. He states that, it's in Afrikaans, so I'm just going to read it in Afrikaans, the translation will come through to you.

CHAIRPERSON: What page?

MS PATEL: Page 17 Honourable Chairperson.

"While our vehicle and the suspect vehicle were slowly moving, a black man who was sitting on the left-hand, at the back of the car jumped out and Sgt Els also jumped from the police vehicle."

What is your comment on his version? His version is in fact the same version as that of Mr Moyese as well.

MR BOOI: Before I comment on his version, I just want to ask the Committee to understand that when this case was prepared against me in 1992, it was prepared for the sole purpose that I have to be sentenced, but if you can consult them today to tell the truth of what is happening, they'll give you a different version. This is the way how we were always being sentenced, that the policemen have always been the best in what, but coming to your question, in his version, I ordered my comrades in the car that no-one should get out of the car until it is standing, because we didn't know how many people were there at the back of the car and right at that present moment we had no intention to shoot anybody if they were police. My decision came only when I became convinced that these are not police.

CHAIRPERSON: What do you think would have happened if you had decided they were police?

MR BOOI: Sorry?

CHAIRPERSON: What would have happened if you thought they were really police?

MR BOOI: At that present moment ourselves and the government had a mutual understanding that we are inside the country, we are armed, the police had that knowledge. They had instructions that when you arrest MK cadres, they will proceed to the police and we'll inform our own Commanders and then that will be a negotiation between them.

CHAIRPERSON: Oh, so it wasn't a question that you would be arrested and charged if found in possession of firearms and so forth?

MR BOOI: Then that will be breaching the agreements with them because government knew that we are armed and we are inside the country.

MS PATEL: Alright. Thank you Honourable Chairperson, there's just one point I want to check and it will be my last. Will you grant me a moment? No, thank you Chairperson, it's in fact confirmed that the policemen had an Uzzi in their possession in terms of the documents before us. Thank you, I have no further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MS PATEL

CHAIRPERSON: Any re-examination, Mr Papier?

MR PAPIER: I have no re-examination thank you Judge.

NO RE-EXAMINATION BY MR PAPIER

ADV BOSMAN: Mr Booi, what was the outcome of these charges which were brought against you?

MR BOOI: The case was withdrawn in 1992, November, in the Cape Town Supreme Court.

ADV BOSMAN: Yes and there's just one matter that still puzzles me a bit. Did I understand you correctly that you were picked up at 9 o'clock that evening, round about 9?

MR BOOI: I say round about that time, I'm not quite sure about the time, but it was late in the evening, because we had our briefings in Fawu, starting from 8 o'clock so it might be past 9, 10 or whatever it is.

ADV BOSMAN: What would you say the latest would have been?

MR BOOI: The latest can be because we actually arrived in Nyanga at 1 in the morning. I say it could be past 11 to 12, when we had our last briefing.

ADV BOSMAN: Now why I'm asking you this questions it that according to the charge sheet the car was taken from this Mrs Thomas at ten past eleven. Where would you say you were at ten past eleven?

MR BOOI: No, I was using my own car. I never had any knowledge of any car being taken from a Mr Thomas.

ADV BOSMAN: This car was taken in Lansdowne Road, where were you picked up?

MR BOOI: I was picked up in Khayelitsha.

ADV BOSMAN: How far is that from Lansdowne Road and Hanover Park Avenue?

MR BOOI: I drive from Fawu in Guguletu with my unit to join Comrade Chris Hani in Khayelitsha, inside Khayelitsha next to Khaye Bazaar that is inside, in the middle of Khayelitsha, far away from Lansdowne Road.

ADV BOSMAN: So then you must have been picked up round about 12 o'clock.

MR BOOI: Yes, it's what I'm saying, I'm not quite sure in the incident, but I know it was late at night.

ADV BOSMAN: Alright. Thank you.

ADV SIGODI: No, I have no questions.

CHAIRPERSON: As I understand your evidence, you were arrested the day after this incident.

MR BOOI: No.

CHAIRPERSON: Same day?

MR BOOI: I was not arrested the day after the incident, I was only arrested in 1992.

CHAIRPERSON: What were your exact instructions in respect of askaris?

MR BOOI: It's to track them down where they are and possibly to stop them in their action, that means by the deed of killing them before they can get to the late Comrade Chris Hani.

CHAIRPERSON: And you say when that instruction was issued, it was designed to refer to askaris in the general terms, as you define it now.

MR BOOI: Yes, because we went specific, I asked Comrade Chris Hani that we will be now carrying weapons in the car and we are busy negotiation, what will be the consequences when we are confronted by police. His first response is that not at any stage should I allow that unit to be arrested or assassinated because they are here on missions and they are here to observe whether the negotiation is going forward or what. I have to protect them as a Commander. Secondly, I must understand that within the forces of the government, that includes police, Special Units and askaris, turned MK cadres and what, they are out there to derail the negotiations, so in no certain circumstances should we play when we met them, we must know that they're armed and they're dangerous, they're out to kill.

CHAIRPERSON: As son as you saw or identified these people who came out of the police vehicle, you saw that they were askaris in the general terms, as you say and that's when you took the action.

MR BOOI: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: You took the action as a result of instructions?

MR BOOI: Yes, I say that, that is one part of it. I just want to say that from the moment I saw this van, a question mark come into my mind. In the middle of the night there's a van parked, his lights off, next to a stadium in a dark corner. Immediately when we pass, cars were in front of us but when our car passed they put on their lights and immediately follow us. To my mind comes up that the first thing I thought, have these people been waiting for us all along and then that's why I took the decision of trying to make sure they are really following us or not but taking all these corners to make sure, have we been expected here.

And I further noticed, I said that when we turned into Ems Drive, one of the tactics which normally happen when you are being ambushed and assassinated, these units won't assassinate in front of the public next to houses, they look for dark places, isolated places where nobody will be able to point a finger and say this one was there and that and it's exactly how it happened, they put us into a dark corner. They could have stopped us long ago, we were not on high speed, but it was clear to me when I took the decision, that these people were out to kill us and if I didn't shoot it means all of us could have been dead today.

CHAIRPERSON: What effect would that have had on your MK unit in Cape Town?

MR BOOI: First of all, in the unit in MK, there are going to be two mixed feelings, (1) some will take decision to continue with their missions which they designated for inside the country, secondly the leadership, some leadership members would also feel that the government has not been serious in negotiation, there could be an impact and also the masses, because we've been known around the streets of Cape Town as three of us were coming from Cape Town, the masses, the people outside there could have reacted in the same manner, maybe taking up to the street or whatever way it is and it could have been a high loss for the MK because all of us were belonging to the Special Ops Unit and it is a highly trained unit, to lose four highly trained members of your force.

CHAIRPERSON: And therefore it would have politically reduced the effectiveness of MK?

MR BOOI: Well, maybe one should, can also assume that, you see, maybe one should not, you see? It could have depended on the thinking at that particular time.

CHAIRPERSON: If Special Ops lost four highly trained combatants, it should or must reduce.

MR BOOI: Yes, it's a blow to MK.

CHAIRPERSON: A political blow.

MR BOOI: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Now you say in your younger days you were involved in rent boycotts and boycotts of service pavements etc.

MR BOOI: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Looks like you did a good job.

MR BOOI: I did.

CHAIRPERSON: Is there no way to reverse it now? Is there no way we can reverse that mentality?

MR BOOI: No.

CHAIRPERSON: We can't reverse it now today?

MR BOOI: Of rent boycott and what?

CHAIRPERSON: Yes.

MR BOOI: Actually today I won't be rent boycotting and going out to the community as I've since whenever, since I've come back. People go and pay the services, people go and support the government, people go and stop the crime on the street because those day we were fighting, today we are supposed to reconstruct the country and build unity across the country.

WITNESS EXCUSED

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, thank you. We will reserve our decision on this matter. I thank you. Mr Papier, I omitted to give you a chance to address but perhaps I must ask Ms Patel first if she has anything to say.

MS PATEL: No, I'll leave it in your capable hands, thank you Honourable Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Well then I don't think it's necessary to hear you.

MR PAPIER: Thank you Judge, thank you Commissioners.

COMMITTEE ADJOURNS

 
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