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Type AMNESTY HEARINGS
Starting Date 23 June 2000
Location CAPE TOWN
Names WOUTER J BASSON
Mr Basson, you're also one of the applicants in this matter and you're applying for amnesty for four matters and they're known to us now as the Dullah Omar matter, the Gavin Evans case, the Early Learning Centre bomb incident and the baboon foetus at the home of Bishop Desmond Tutu.
MR P DU PLESSIS: And you were also notified thereafter that that matter, in terms of the further Indemnity Act 151/92, had been referred for hearing of argument on the 9th of December 1993 at Bloemfontein before the National Council on Indemnity, is that correct?
MR P DU PLESSIS: Thereafter the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act 34/95, was promulgated and you applied for amnesty in terms of your involvement and it is that application which is currently serving before this Committee, is that correct?
MR P DU PLESSIS: We won't deal with that document any further at this stage, I would just like you to continue and in your words to describe to the Committee what led to your involvement in the four incidents with which we're here concerned. These four offences for which you're applying for amnesty.
Now just to start off with I would just like you to sketch the background as a member of the South African Defence Force and Special Forces in particular and I would like you to just sketch that briefly.
MR BASSON: I was raised in a home where the Defence Force featured prominently, my father was in the Defence Force and immediately after school, in 1977, I joined the permanent Force and I was at 1 Parachute Battalion and in September I went to Oudtshoorn where I did my junior leadership ...(intervention)
That lasted for about a year and thereafter I was placed as an Instructor at the 2nd Infantry Division at Walvis Bay and I was involved with instruction in some very minor way as an Instructor. I was there only for three months and I then applied to join Special Forces. It was in the middle of '78. I passed the selection processes and Committee and I then was utilised in Special Forces as an Operator initially, and later also to some extent, I was involved in instruction until the end of 1986.
MR BASSON: Myself and one other person received a request - at that stage I was at 1 Reconnaissance Regiment in Durban, we received a request that Col Verster wanted to see us and we had to go to Pretoria for an interview.
MR BASSON: He explained to me that the CCB was an organisation which had now been established and that its objective was to destabilise the enemy and attack them in a more covert way, because the existing methods proved to be no longer successful at that stage. So it was a branch of Special Forces, the difference being that where I would in the past have been used to act directly, this would be action or conduct in a more indirect way. He explained the objectives very briefly, of the organisation and then he said I had a week to make up my mind.
MR P DU PLESSIS: Now you say that your career in the Defence Force, that you were told that you would have to give it up, but if I understand correctly, you didn't actually resign from the Defence Force at that stage, because the CCB was actually part of the bigger Defence Force structures?
MR BASSON: Yes, at that stage the planning was such or to the effect that the members who were still active in the South African Defence Force, in terms of remuneration and rank, that we would enter a process in which we would uncouple ourselves from the State and that in fact took place end of '87, beginning of '88. We were uncoupled and we distanced ourselves from the Defence Force and we no longer had the facilities of the Defence Force in terms of Special Forces Headquarters, we couldn't use that any longer. We moved to premises where we could operate in a civilian capacity.
MR P DU PLESSIS: Now I just briefly want to go back to what Mr Joe Verster told you in motivation of the application. At a stage, end of '86/beginning of '87, when you went over to the CCB, was it conveyed to you at that stage that there was an internal region or would be an internal region and that you would serve in that region?
MR BASSON: No, at that stage there was no mention of an internal region or internal methods or utilisation, the emphasis was primarily or exclusively on foreign external operations and to look at covert methods to attack the enemy. The issue of the internal region only became relevant after I was introduced to Mr Burger and his people, this was in the middle of '88.
MR P DU PLESSIS: So that's when it arose. Now just before you get to that, what was the problem or the motivation as to why a person such as yourself who'd been a Special Forces operative, could not attack the enemy in normal "operations" abroad or outside the borders of the country? Was there any reason why it had to be done in a covert way?
MR BASSON: It was so, it was the situation that the enemy at that stage was better organised than us, his methods, places of instruction, his access routes etcetera, they changed that more frequently and there wasn't any specific information which was known to us, we couldn't utilise it in the ways which we were familiar with, so we had to move a more unconventional and covert modus operandi, and we would have a greater chance of success to get closer to the enemy using those unconventional methods and thereby we would disrupt him indirectly.
MR BASSON: Well it was the enemies of the State. The enemy remained the enemy from the time that I entered the Defence Force to that stage. As already known, it was the ANC, SACP, PAC, mainly and also the front organisations and their subsidiaries.
MR BASSON: Yes. Initially I was seconded to Region 2, or placed in Region 2 and I think that included Swaziland and Mozambique, and to a certain extent also Region 7, which was Zimbabwe. I was allocated to those regions and my role was mainly that of Co-ordinator. In other words there was a Regional Manager and I was then the Co-ordinator serving under him.
MR P DU PLESSIS: Now I think the duties of a Co-ordinator have already been spelt out quite clearly here, if there are any questions relating to that then those questions may be put to you, I'm not going to deal with that now. But if I understand you correctly, you were utilised exclusively externally? If we talk about violence against the enemy.
MR BASSON: Mr Verster contacted me one day and said that I had to go with him to a place in Johannesburg, Ponte Building, and he said there were people he wanted to introduce me to and he thought that it would be a good idea to relieve me of my other activities and perhaps just retain one or two or three activities from Region 7 and then perhaps to act as a Co-ordinator for these people, people whom I was going to meet.
MR BASSON: Yes, at the meeting, I mean I was aware of Mr Burger as a result of reports in the newspaper etcetera. I didn't know the other people but I had met them and I was told at a next meeting when Gen Joubert was also present, that they would enter the six-month period of uncoupling and that I would act and be appointed officially as the Co-ordinator.
MR BASSON: Yes. I must just add that there was a phase between Mr Burger and Mr Verster and then when Mr Burger agreed and his people were happy to join, at that stage the physical signing of the contract took place and I started officially.
MR P DU PLESSIS: Now we know that there was a phase as from June '88 to more-or-less December '88, the last six months of '88, during which these four people mentioned were not active due to an agreement between the Defence Force and the Police that they would not, or that people moving between the Forces would not be active for six months.
MR BASSON: No, it was as a result of the structure and as a result of security reasons and from time to time I saw them, not frequently. They dealt with the administrative things like salaries and so on. At one point I started to inform people about methods of working and procedures, but it was all done on an informal basis, just to give the people a bit of direction.
MR BASSON: As I said earlier, there was a still a person in Region 7 and Region 4, that would be Zimbabwe, Zambia, there was still a person who was active there in respect of the handling of indirect members. The person didn't want to work for somebody else, so I kept him as a project. There were also other projects, I'm not sure whether it was one or two or three, but there were still other projects which I still carried with me, apart from my handling of Mr Burger.
MR P DU PLESSIS: Just before we continue, Mr Burger has already testified regarding his status in that he wasn't initially involved with the other Regional Managers and that he didn't visit your offices, what is your comment from your side?
MR BASSON: Yes, once again due to his high profile, Mr Verster was rather hesitant to reveal his involvement in the organisation, he didn't want to disclose it to the other Regional Managers and we worked on the basis that I did most of the general co-ordinating and would convey that to him and that Mr Verster would go out ...(intervention)
MR BASSON: No, it was a smallholding surrounded by a wall which had been purchased by the State or by the CCB, there was an old farm dwelling and the rooms were used as offices, mostly for administrative purposes and Mr Verster, to one side he had a little thatched office with a walk-in safe. That was his office and most of the meetings in respect of the inside circle, as it's known to you, took place there and Mr Burger at that stage was not in the inner circle, he was on the periphery as a result of his high profile and Mr Verster went to hotels, mainly to have physical contact with Mr Burger.
MR BASSON: Yes. I just want to add or say that we didn't actually sell the sheep, the neighbour sold sheep, we just called the place "Sheep for Sale" because there was this sign by the roadside saying "Sheep for Sale".
MR P DU PLESSIS: Right. Now let us continue. You were activated, you are the Co-ordinator. It's also common cause that you kept a diary and it has been placed before the Committee and we've dealt with that in respect of other evidence, is that correct?
MR P DU PLESSIS: We'll just briefly refer to that at a later stage, but just to return. There was a course presented at which these people involved, you were involved, the people who were involved in the capacity of giving lectures, so that's been mentioned, is that correct?
MR P DU PLESSIS: And you confirm from your side that the role which was spelt out there included that they would and be utilised indirectly for the disruption of the enemy, which included acts of violence which also could eventuate in the death of people?
MR P DU PLESSIS: And what was discussed was also the death of people in terms of the redefined definition of murder, as we've heard, or seen in one of the documents from the Head of the South African Defence Force?
MR P DU PLESSIS: You confirm that as far as you're concerned, it was clear to you that those deeds would constitute offences in terms of the legal system and law of the country and that you realised that fact?
MR BASSON: Yes, I did realise that, but - well it was never called murder or murders, it was called disruption of the enemy as appears from the document of Gen Geldenhuys. It was phrased in such a way that you wouldn't just easily get the impression that it would be murder, although we today know what murder is.
MR BASSON: We did know that, but we were told that there were certain protection mechanisms in place and there were certain methods which would protect you if you acted within the guidelines and that it would easy to be looked after in terms of prosecution.
MR BASSON: Yes, if a person is directly involved then I don't know if there can be any form of protection or assistance for him, but if you act indirectly, well - and if the procedures were followed and if there was a problem, if you were implicated somewhere, then the understanding was that you would be looked after. That was the understanding and that was the suggestion that was left in our midst.
MR BASSON: No, I have never seen it. There was a lot of documentation which we did not have access to, you only had access to the documents which were relevant to you. There was a lot of documentation which dealt with, I assume initially, in the beginning stages of the establishment of the CCB, which dealt with the correspondence, meetings between the Head of the Defence Force and Special Forces and such a document would be or could be typically one of those exclusive files.
MR BASSON: No, it was mentioned to us, it was just confirmed in the document. We weren't told "Look you will become involved in murders within the Republic of South Africa", what was said is "You will attack the enemy and disrupt them maximally, in whatever way." If you know what I mean.
MR BASSON: Yes, certainly. I don't suppose one is that uninformed, but you see it was aimed at the enemy and to me it was justified at that stage even if it was murder. Today I understand the naiveté which we displayed.
MR LAX: So in a sense you're saying that in view of your particular world view at that time, although with the benefit of hindsight you can see that it was an offence at the time, you thought these were justifiable actions to be taken against an enemy ...(intervention)
MR P DU PLESSIS: But the point is, Mr van Zyl for instance testified that it could include, this maximal disruption, from the breaking of window right up to the murder of a person. You knew that that was included?
MR BASSON: Well Mr Burger's members, if I refer to the members of Region 6 I'm referring to them, they had distanced themselves uncoupled for a period of six months, but in fact they had not really established credible coverage or a cover because for instance, Mr Matthysen's, that aspect wasn't credible and there was a lot of emphasis on the need for people to establish themselves in their own civilian careers and professions because I think there was still a lot of curiosity in respect of their activities. It was very important that they attend to that issue. So to sum up, the long term planning for Region 6 was to establish itself and then to a lesser extent to become involved in operational activities?
MR BASSON: No, with the handling of people. It's not an easy job, it takes a lot of time to drive around and - I had a Blue Plan, but I don't think it was a very credible Blue Plan. I lived a life of a hermit and I broke all ties with friends. I tried to prevent people asking me "What are you doing?"
MR P DU PLESSIS: So the people were activated, apart from the long term project and the Blue Plan for the long term, what was done in respect of the activities of the CCB? Did you provide intelligence for instance, or was intelligence and information got from the various members? What happened?
MR BASSON: By virtue of my appointment I was the only link with the organisation and as a result of that I had to deal with the project and the financial aspects. As far as the intelligence part of it is concerned, I was also the link and most of the liaison took place in co-operation with Mr Burger, who in terms of seniority was my Manager and I resorted under him, so we had very close contact.
MR BASSON: Yes, there was a person by the name of Derek, he had come from intelligence structures at Head Office, Special Forces Head Office. I didn't know him before the time but he was the only person who at that stage had been recruited and who had to move between all these various regions and provide them with information or make enquiries and confirmation. He had to deal with all of that.
MR BASSON: Yes, I was aware of the fact - well the documentation I saw in his possession, indicated that he used existing military bodies, which included Special Forces Intelligence structures as well as Division of Military Intelligence structures.
MR BASSON: Well it was never admitted to me, I was to some extent aware of Mr Verster's capacity by virtue of his contacts with, perhaps the Security Police or whoever, that he had the capacity in that direction.
MR BASSON: National Intelligence was never mentioned by name, it was never mentioned that there was contact with them by name. I don't want to exclude it totally but I can only speculate to say that there was possibly some contact, but I can't confirm it.
MR P DU PLESSIS: Let us now deal with the specific events for which you ask for amnesty. This was just to give a bit of background as to your general activities. There's already been confirmation of the fact that you obtained intelligence via the intelligence channels in respect of certain people, and that included Mr Gavin Evans, is that correct?
MR BASSON: Yes, that's correct. I obtained a list, I'm not sure where it came from, I got it from this Derek person. Priority persons were on this list, there was a whole page of people and Mr Evans' name was amongst these names on the list and the project was activated in that way, as a result of a person's name appearing on the list.
MR BASSON: No, it was not familiar to me, it was unknown to me. I'm not sure whether it was completely unknown to me, but I didn't know anything about the person - in other words, the information available. In other words information was provided to me, it was a stack of computer print-outs about as high as this stash in front of me ...(intervention)
MR BASSON: Yes, it was conveyed to Mr Verster, who immediately said that we should do a pre-study. I just can't remember at what stage he said that, but a pre-study was requested and I'm assuming that he would at that stage have decided what we were going to do, depending on what we could achieve.
MR BASSON: Yes, Mr Maree delayed, he dragged his feet a bit on this matter and he became involved in other activities, he went abroad. So at some point information was available and that a presentation was done or a submission was made.
MR BASSON: No, the decision was that Slang van Zyl would do the project after Maree left and Mr Burger and myself then felt that if we could get these gangsters from the Cape, then the plan would be to make it look like a knife incident or a robbery, which was meant to be fatal. We did this briefing and Mr Verster said he would come to us and talk to us about it again and at some point he did. I don't know whether it was with myself or Mr Burger, he spoke to us, contacted us and told us to go ahead. Mr Slang van Zyl then summonsed his people and ...(intervention)
MR BASSON: Yes. I just want to explain to you that no project can take place, or no pre-study can actually get off the ground without a written authorisation from Mr Verster. At all times I required his signature, for instance to draw money, to obtain funds, so that's why I'm saying that it was done on his approval and funds were in fact utilised.
MR P DU PLESSIS: In the same period more-or-less, there was this project relating to Mr Dullah Omar and I think it's on record now that the intelligence came from van Zyl's infrastructure in the Western Cape.
MR BASSON: That's correct. The information I verified with this Derek person. I just want to say that when I spoke to Derek I didn't always give him specific names as a result of security reasons, I would give five or six other names with the name of the person that I wanted information about.
MR BASSON: Yes, because if something was to happen to that person, then the first person who would know was your intelligence person because he gave you the information. So a lot of other names were fed into the system as well and these were simply almost as a red herring.
MR BASSON: Yes, it went through the cycle as already familiar to us, the necessary authorisation was obtained. I just want to say that as far as Omar and Evans, as far as those two cases are concerned, I wasn't physically present at any time when Verster discussed it with Gen Webb. There's no specific reason for that. It wasn't necessary for me to be present, it was handled on another level, but I did have the authorisation from Mr Verster and I accept and assume that it was cleared at a higher level.
MR P DU PLESSIS: There are indications in your diary, and I'm sure it will be dealt with later, that there are indications that Mr Verster indicated that he would speak to Webb who was the Chairperson at that stage.
MR BASSON: Yes, I remember that entry, but my inference from that is that it came up again at a later stage that Grosskopf, or that Evans was contacting or making contact with Grosskopf and that it took place in Zambia and the re-initiation of the project, perhaps Mr Verster wanted that and he indicated that I should remind him to speak to the Chairperson, I don't know what about.
MR P DU PLESSIS: The project regarding Mr Omar has already been placed on record in great detail. This project once again was not carried out in the way it was initially conceived, namely that he was to be shot dead with a Makarov pistol fitted with a silencer?
MR BASSON: Yes, I confirm that that was the initial plan and that I formed a part of that planning. I just want to add that with the change of plan to the toxic substance plan, I was not present when those proposals were made and the planning in that regard, I was busy disconnecting from Region 6 to some extent because a void had been left by Mr Botha's departure and my responsibilities then once again included looking after Region 2, so these other two people were brought in.
MR BASSON: Well it was a private organisation but they were situated on the premises of Special Forces Headquarters. They had their facility there where they made available chemical or mechanical things.
MR BASSON: I was never aware that he was the person as alleged, who was responsible for the things that he is being charged with today. I was however aware of a channel to a person to obtain certain chemical substances but I never connected it with him as a person.
MR BASSON: No, I wasn't directly involved there, I however am aware of that incident, once again by virtue of Mr Burger's communication to me in this regard. I wasn't involved in the handling or planning or the objective of the thing. I wasn't involved in that way at all.
MR P DU PLESSIS: Now just by the way, one could mention that - before going on to the fourth case, the bomb in Athlone at the Early Learning Centre, one could mention that there were also other cases, for instance a project of Botha's surrounding Roskam's car, you were involved in that. That is not one of the aspects for which you ask for amnesty, but you admit your involvement?
MR BASSON: No, I didn't use the Derek Louw channel because at one point he was unavailable and Mr Burger and I took it up directly with Mr Verster and he then said alright he would see what he could do and I'm assuming that he had the capacity to verify the information in respect of the additional reasons which later became available when the matter was presented to the Chairperson, but that specific additional information didn't come from me or from the ground level.
CHAIRPERSON: Sorry Mr Basson, when you went to Mr Verster because Derek wasn't available, and he said that he will look into it and then you assume, you say you assume that he had the information ...(indistinct). Did he come back when you saw him again in regard to this project, with computer print-outs and stuff like that?
MR BASSON: No, Chairperson, Mr Verster had this way about him, he said "Look I know what I'm doing." I didn't specifically ask him what he was going to do, I just became aware of the additional information when the matter was presented to the General.
MR BASSON: I don't know if it was the limpet only or the mechanism as well, or whether I got it from the General, I can't remember, but I do think that I also got the mechanism from this person because this person would have to brief me as to the use and the instructions, user's instructions of this mechanism, and the General would not have been able to tell me that or convey that to me, that was not one on his level.
MR BASSON: Yes. When I explained to Mr van Zyl what the procedure was in respect of how the mechanism operated and how it was put together, I could see that he was slightly frightened, so we decided after talking to Mr Verster that we would make an exception to use Mr Botha on a temporary basis as a result of the reasons well known. We did it like that.
MR BASSON: The purpose was that Mr van Zyl was to use his infrastructure, in this case Isgak, Isgak had to place this thing on his own, he also had to do the activation of the limpet mine. That was the method, that you don't become directly involved. And the specific instruction was minimum loss of life or no loss of life.
MR BASSON: No loss of life. That was the order, but you're naive if you think that is not possible that somebody for instance could have decided to stay in the Centre for longer or sleep there or whatever, so that's how it was.
MR P DU PLESSIS: So that actually concludes the four matters for which you're applying for amnesty. Just to deal with your further actions at the CCB and the Security bodies. After this bomb explosion and towards the end of '89, there were certain developments as a result of which Mr Barnard was arrested and Mr Calla Botha was arrested, how did that develop further, what was the result of the CCB activities? Did it continue?
MR BASSON: No, I can't remember specifically when Mr Botha and Mr Barnard had been arrested, but I think even before they were arrested we looked specifically at - I think with a view to Mr de Klerk taking over, we looked at the rationalisation of projects. In other words the idea was that projects had to be reduced. It was actually a period of waiting and I confirm that Region 6 at that stage had no involvement in the carrying out of offensive projects.
MR P DU PLESSIS: Now just to look at two specific instances where fingers were pointed at Region 6, that's the Webster case in 1 May 1989, that took place on that date and you were the Co-ordinator of Region 6. Are you aware of the involvement of Region 6 specifically or any region in which you were involved, in the Webster case?
MR P DU PLESSIS: Reference was also made to the matter of Adv Lubowski that does not fall within the borders of South Africa, he was killed outside the country. I think it was the 12th of September '89. He was killed in Windhoek. Did you have any involvement in that murder?
MR P DU PLESSIS: You've already told us that rationalisation had taken place and that Region 6 did not continue with any operational actions after FW de Klerk took over as Head of State. Did you then break off all contact and bonds with the CCB?
MR BASSON: There was an investigation I remember, early in 1990, the Harms Commission of Inquiry was appointed and then for a considerable period after that I was still involved in the CCB. It was myself and a couple of people whose objective it was to manage the projects, so as to hand over people who could still be used, useful people. So it was purely a period in which I was still paid by the CCB or the State to help to manage the CCB.
MR BASSON: No, it wasn't - well we were given a choice, people could either resign with a package or they could be re-employed at other structures in the Defence Force and most people took exercised the option of the retrenchment package.
MR BASSON: We formed part of a group of people - well there was the inquiry, the Goldstone Commission of Inquiry which implicated us and said that we were involved in third force activities, which is entirely untrue, I formed part of another retrenchment from the Defence Force.
MR P DU PLESSIS: Now I'm not going to deal with this specifically, it can be dealt with in cross-examination, but I'm sure you would concede that there were attempts made at covering up the truth and that there were certain details which were not disclosed and they were supposed to have been disclosed.
MR BASSON: That's quite correct, the chief reason for this was that we were afraid of prosecution. We were careful not to say more than we actually had to, because at that stage there was no mention of indemnity and there was also pressure from the Defence Force to look at the protection of the organisation by actually just saying the minimum possible.
MR P DU PLESSIS: You, as has already been placed on record, applied for indemnity after the first Act had been promulgated, as I've already said, and you made an affidavit in that respect and that same affidavit is contained or was used in 1996 as the motivation and it was attached to your application and that is now also before the Commission in the year 2000.
MR P DU PLESSIS: I'm also not going to go through that with you, Mr Burger was questioned about that. Basically your statement and his statement are the same. It appears very clearly that the one was copied from the other and there was quite a lot of collaboration in the taking down of the statements.
MR BASSON: Yes. I just want to say a person is unfortunately sort of ignorant as far as the legal processes are concerned and my advice, my legal advice was we should do it in that way and the same untruths which were pointed out in Mr Burger's application is also relevant to my application and statement. I however bona fide accepted that it was correct at the time and that is the case currently.
MR P DU PLESSIS: And then lastly, these acts which were committed, and we're talking about crimes and offences, and they are crimes because if it hadn't been a crime it wouldn't have been necessary for you to apply for amnesty in terms of the legislation, what was your specific objective in carrying out these acts?
MR BASSON: It may sound like a cliché to some people but once again, I was brought up as an Afrikaner boy, there was only Party, the National Party, and we fought to bolster the sovereignty of the State and for the preservation of whites, that was important, self-determination was on the table ...(intervention)
MR BASSON: Of white Afrikaners. There was an absolute fear of black domination. It may seem funny to some people, but it was the situation at that stage and it was on that basis that I did what I did and I believed it was right at that stage.
MR P DU PLESSIS: The other aspect which joins up with this one are the methods used to achieve your objectives. It is so that specific individuals were the targets of some of these actions and that it took the form of assassinations, you would agree with that?
MR BASSON: Yes, well I just want to say that it was a result of those people's involvement, along with other radical elements and organisations. They had these front organisations and companies ...(intervention)
MR BASSON: Front organisations, yes, who wanted to undermine the State. It wasn't aimed at a specific individual, it was done purely as a result of a person's activities within a structure whose objective it ultimately was to subvert the State.
MR P DU PLESSIS: You would readily concede that the strategies which were followed, well one can use all kinds of names, dirty tricks or ... but ultimately what it amounts to is reprehensible and even cowardly strategies by means of which people were killed by means of assassination attacks when they weren't even aware that there was such a plan against them?
MR BASSON: Chairperson, I suppose you could refer to it in those terms today, but it is also known that similar methods were employed by the enemy. So the two opposing parties or enemies were equally reprehensible and cowardly in their methods which they used.
MR BASSON: No, I have no problems with - well the stories which were used to frighten us and the ghosts never materialised. I have no problems to live in this country and I have no reason to consider immigration, I'm here to effect reconciliation and to reconcile. I'm not here to cross swords with people who were enemies in the past.
Mr Basson, you were never present except, if I understand the evidence, in one case and that's the bomb incident. If one assumes that Col Verster made a submission to the Chairperson, you were never present?
MR H DU PLESSIS: Let us move to the Evans case. If I understand your evidence correctly it actually falls in two parts, the first part relates to March, according to Mr van Zyl, when authorisation was given for Project Evans, is that correct?
MR BASSON: No, I can't dispute it and also as far as the second case is concerned I can recall that I reminded Verster as to what I had to remind him of, the conversation on the following day. I did it, but I can't say whether he did it or I can't what was discussed.
MR H DU PLESSIS: "Dis bloot die punt. Die tweede geval is nog Col Verster het hier getuig dat hy in Augustus met Gen Webb 'n gesprek sou voer oor Evans en nog Gen Webb het oor so iets getuig, so u kan nie sê so iets plaasgevind het nie?"
MR MARTINI: Now Mr Basson, you heard most people testifying here, saying that they all testified at Harms. You've said attempts - and most people's evidence seems to be that at Harms, most of the applicants, except for possibly van Zyl and Botha, attempted to cover up the truth at Harms, is that correct?
MR BASSON: No, Chairperson, except that they had been involved along with him at Brixton Murder and Robbery, they worked there with him. Apart from that I had no personal knowledge of their background.
MR BASSON: It's possible, but I would like to think that Mr Burger, as a result of his knowledge of these people, that he did the allocations, but I don't want to deny that I perhaps was part of the planning. I can't deny that.
MR VAN ECK: Can you remember that - you've now said that your own intelligence structure, Derek, that you obtained certain information, can you confirm or deny that computer print-outs were given to the members?
MR BASSON: I can't remember whether I specifically showed them these computer print-outs. I remember that I made notes from the print-outs and that was for my own personal benefit and use, so that I could talk to the people based on what I had learnt from the print-outs. If a print-out was in the possession of a person, I suppose that's the way it happened, but it wasn't done like that as a rule.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, that was a decision of Mr Burger, perhaps in conjunction with Mr Verster. I was part of the decision making process, but I was not involved in an executive capacity, I was purely part of the discussion.
MR BASSON: Mr Barnard and Mr Botha came to me and asked me whether there was any possibility that the organisation could help them to obtain a sidearm since after his departure from the Police he had to hand back his weapon, he had no weapon for self-defence and that he wanted to buy a weapon from State funds, and within the personnel plan of the CCB it was possible for people to purchase weapons out of State funds and with the final retrenchment all assets purchased by the State were deducted from the final settlement amount.
MR VAN ECK: Now you will probably be cross-examined about this but just in conclusion, if you go to page 19 of the same exhibit, the amount of money mentioned there, would you like to comment on that?
MR BASSON: Chairperson, I looked at the amounts when it was discussed with Mr Burger and I couldn't find a specific explanation for it, except to say that perhaps for some reason the people had been paid in advance, they were paid two month's salary. That's the only explanation I can give you. And then the R701,40, at that stage was an operational expense which had been approved, where people would then in respect of small claims, like telephone and parking and so, social activities with other members, the people would have to use that money for those purposes rather than submit small claims. It was seen as a project expenditure for miscellaneous disbursements, so that he didn't have to constantly bring that into reckoning.
MR COETZEE: Are you aware of the fact that after the bomb had - or rather, after all the revelations came to light, that there was strong government denial that Mr Barnard had ever worked for any of these Forces or worked for them previously, especially in the statements of Minister Roelf Meyer, the then Mr Roelf Meyer?
MR KAHANOVITZ: Now he said that the purpose of using criminals in the unaware outer circle was in the hope whatever job was done would not be able to be traced back to the State, that it wouldn't implicate the State in those acts, you agree with that?
MR KAHANOVITZ: He says that this was actually very difficult to achieve and in retrospect he thinks it's the biggest waste of money ever. He says he estimates that approximately 80% of operations had to be stopped because there were no efficient cut-offs to stop the State from being implicated.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, it may be the case, I believe as a result of his employment in the CCB he was more aware of operations. It is not easy to recruit an indirect member and to trust him completely and to deploy him and his trustability would be of such a nature that he'll say he'll do something and he doesn't do it, or that he tried to find things to compromise you with, so that one day he can fall back on that. So I agree with that, yes.
MR KAHANOVITZ: You'll obviously agree with me it's very nice in theory to want to believe that someone like Peaches thinks you're working for some international business, but someone like Peaches isn't that stupid.
MR KAHANOVITZ: I think what you're really saying is you were aware of his existence and why he posed a problem, but all you're saying is you didn't know what he looked like. You never personally met him.
MR KAHANOVITZ: Now Mr Nel says that, and this by the say is confirmed by your evidence at the Webster Inquest, that in 1989 various regions were called together to do work related to the Namibian elections, correct?
MR KAHANOVITZ: He also says that in relation to that project, people were offered bonuses to double up production. Your superiors were very keen to achieve concrete results, they wanted to motivate people.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, I think I was aware of that when I was working in the Defence Force structure, but as a result of deployment and my status I was never involved in any way with such a thing, but I do not deny that I was aware such a structure.
MR KAHANOVITZ: He also gave evidence about what the purpose of this body was, he says it was established in approximately 1987, in order to co-ordinate activities around the targets for the various State agencies.
MR KAHANOVITZ: That's the effect of some of the evidence that you gave in-chief. Okay. Now he says that the CCB itself had a very inferior capability to generate its own intelligence. In other words the CCB was far more reliant on obtaining intelligence from other pre-existing intelligence structures.
MR KAHANOVITZ: He also says that the professionals in the CCB, the good operators, were very upset with Joe Verster for employing such unprofessional people to work for Region 6 and that their concern was that it was because of their un-professionalism that CCB activities got to be exposed.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, I am not aware, such things were never said to me. I believe it was done after the disclosure of the CCB, because they wouldn't have known before the time about the existence of the CCB.
MR KAHANOVITZ: Now doesn't it strike you as a bit - let me put the question in another way. Why didn't you make use of your own experienced, trained professionals to carry out those operations instead of bringing in ex-policemen?
MR BASSON: Well Chairperson, I was not the Managing Director of the CCB, I could not take decisions about who should be used internally, the prerogative was with Mr Verster, he thought it was a good idea to use Mr Burger and his people and that's what the situation was.
CHAIRPERSON: What was your feeling about the use of non-military people being employed? What did you personally feel when you were introduced to - learnt that you were getting people from outside the military?
MR BASSON: Chairperson, I had to adapt to it as well because I think it's well known that the Police and the Defence Force culture is not really hundred percent the same, it's not really similar, but that was my order, it was a task and it wasn't up to me to question whether these people were suitable or not. I accepted that they were capable, that they could perform their tasks and I dealt with it accordingly.
MR KAHANOVITZ: Now while we're on that point, about this agreement between the South African Police and the Defence Force, that there would be this six month period of grace if one moved over from the Police to the Defence Force or vice versa, why would that have to apply in the case of people who were moving over into an organisation that was ostensibly, had nothing to do with the Defence Force? What's the logic?
MR BASSON: Chairperson, I have no knowledge about that stage of affairs, I cannot on such a regulation that existed, I have no knowledge of that. As far as I'm concerned you can resign and you can work for another State institution. Why there should be a time period, I don't know.
MR KAHANOVITZ: No, no, I'm not asking you why there was that rule, I understand it was something to prevent poaching between the Defence Force and the South African Police. The simply point is, the image, the picture that you were trying to create at that time was not that these people were moving into the Defence Force, the picture that you were trying to create was that they were moving into an area that was entirely unrelated to the Defence Force. Do you agree with me?
MR BASSON: No, I don't agree, the persons needed that time because lots of attention would have been paid to them and people couldn't have been able to assume that they were involved with other State institutions, they had to spend that time to appear credible after their resignation from the Police.
MR LAX: Well you see that's a much more logical explanation for why they did no active work for six months and rather worked on developing their cover, but that means they were developing their cover as part of the CCB.
MR KAHANOVITZ: Now you will have heard mention during cross-examination of previous witness that the Harms Commission found that there was a project to assassinate an attorney in Durban by the name of Mr Mhlaba and I'll just read you one line from Judge Harms' finding.
"What is certain however, is that on 4 March 1989, du Plooy (that's the reference to someone with the administrative name of Shane du Plooy) prepared a document dealing with the elimination of Mr Mhlaba by means of poison. The poison was to be administered on 13 March 1989."
MR KAHANOVITZ: So if there was indeed such a plot, in the ordinary course of events you would have been the person who would approach Mr Nel to obtain such information as may be required. If there had been such a plot.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, it's difficult to remember. It could be that, as I've explained before, to hide the real objective of the inquiry I also named other activists and it could be in this case that Mr J Naidoo's was mentioned but it was only a cover-story with the aim not to do anything with it.
MR KAHANOVITZ: Can I just deal with this notion that you would want to sow confusion in the minds of the people who were furnishing you with intelligence. You say you would give a list of names, only one of which would be the real target. Is that your evidence?
MR BASSON: Yes what I'm saying is, when we identified a person from the priority list then it was not only his details that were asked for but also five other members on the list, for the sake of the argument.
MR KAHANOVITZ: Yes, but when it comes to someone like Mr Nel who is the Intelligence Officer of the CCB itself, there's no reason for him to not know what's going on. In fact, he should know what's going on.
MR KAHANOVITZ: But Mr Basson, if any one of these people had even a low IQ, you ask them for five names, one of those names is Gavin Evans, a month later Gavin Evans dies, do you think someone like Mr Nel is so stupid as not to draw the link between those two events?
MR BASSON: Chairperson, it was a technique that I used, how watertight it was a person can debate about today. How else would I have got particulars about a person, except running the risk of him maybe finding out about it later? ...(transcriber's interpretation)
MR KAHANOVITZ: I'm just putting it to you that the version that you're giving that names on these lists were added merely to, certain of them to sow confusion in the minds of your co-operatives in the Intelligence Services, really makes no sense.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, there was not a project on Mr Roland White, the name was identified and Mr Botha was given the task to monitor movements and connections and it was because of this that he and Mr Barnard were caught together. There was no order given with regard to disruptive actions as far as Mr White was concerned.
MR KAHANOVITZ: You see but for your version to make sense, then you must say "Yes, we monitored Roland White, yes we watched his movements. Eventually however, we had a discussion where we came to the conclusion that nothing was going to be done to him and the reason we did that was the following." What's your version?
MR BASSON: Chairperson, the police arrested the two persons, if something happened to Mr White you don't require a lot of intelligence to go back to those two people to find out whether they were involved. So it's logical that the person would have been let off the hook.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, Project Direction like other projects referred to external projects. As a result of my appointment I was involved with external projects and I don't want to talk about that in too much detail, but it is known that I don't want to answer questions about external projects as a result of reasons which were advised to me, which entails the jurisdiction of the current Truth and Reconciliation Commission, that I cannot get indemnity for deeds committed externally and that I would incriminate myself, that I would face extradition. And if a General or a Minister from the past decides that we should talk, then I'll talk. That's how I feel.
MR KAHANOVITZ: Mr Chairman, maybe if you could be of some assistance here, because the problem that I have here is the following. I don't accept that the witness is right in law, I've read findings of the Truth Commission in which the Amnesty Committees have held that they are indeed able in law to grant amnesty for people in respect of external operations.
MR KAHANOVITZ: And it has happened. The point is that if that's the advice that he's received, it's the wrong advice. The next question would be, well if it is the wrong advice, does he wish to change his stance and tell us about what he was involved in outside of the country? I don't know if he wishes to consult with his attorney.
CHAIRPERSON: I don't know, just on that question about granting of amnesty in respect of matters or incidents that occurred beyond the borders, what the situation relating to extradition would be. I mean I believe personally that amnesty could be granted, which should have an affect inside our country but ...(intervention)
MR KAHANOVITZ: Our submission at the end is going to be that the fact that you might - well let's take one example which should be clear. Whether or not you might be subject to extradition, let's leave that aside. Certainly if you travel and you go to Zimbabwe, you could be arrested and prosecuted and the fact that you've got amnesty here would be neither here nor there, but that doesn't assist someone like Mr Basson in putting forward the kind of argument that he's putting forward here, in the sense that our argument's going to be that he has an obligation to tell the whole truth about his activities, he can't decide because of certain negative consequences for him if he tells the whole truth, that he's not going to do so.
MR P DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, yes the practical problem is whether the advice given to Mr Basson was correct or incorrect, is actually besides the point at this stage. The fact of the matter is he got that advice, on that advice he did not request amnesty for external deeds in foreign countries. Even if he wants to change his mind at this stage, he cannot apply for amnesty anymore. So in any event, this Commission will not be able to grant him amnesty because it is simply for the reason he didn't apply for amnesty and therefore he would expose himself, not only to extradition to foreign countries but also prosecution within this country. So it's actually a totally theoretical position at this stage.
MR KAHANOVITZ: Mr Chairman, I think though there are two issues. Yes, I agree with my learned friend, obviously he can't get amnesty. On the other hand, the full disclosure requirement still remains, so he must make a choice as to whether he is going to fully disclose the nature of his activities while he was in the CCB. If he chooses to refuse to answer any questions about his activities in foreign countries, well we are naturally going to be arguing at the end of these proceedings that there has been no full disclosure.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I think that's the risk that any applicant takes in withholding an answer. What are you asking the Panel to do, to order him to be obliged to answer questions, or just to inform him that there is a risk of non-disclosure?
MR DU PLESSIS: Section 29. ... and the same there as an inquiry, and this same question arose and we then fully addressed the Commission on this. We said that a decision has to be made then and if my client is to be forced to answer certain questions, we will ask leave to approach the Supreme Court of South Africa in this regard, for an order of clarifying at least the position. We were also told that the matter would be referred by the Commission to the Attorney-General for possible prosecution. Whether it was done or whether it wasn't done, I don't know, but certainly there was no prosecution up to this stage. But Mr Basson's position was made clear right from the outset about this and I have advised him and his choice is he's not going to answer to those questions.
And as I say, at this moment it's in any event highly theoretical because should he disclose any involvement with such deeds and there was for instance, the planning phase etcetera of those incidents if it did take place within the borders of this country, he can be prosecuted here and this Committee cannot grant him amnesty on that. He obviously, on my learned friend's attitude, will - there will be the possibility, it may be found that he didn't make full disclosure. I beg to differ about that, and we will fully address the Committee at the end of the proceedings on this.
CHAIRPERSON: I think with regard to the activities of any of the applicants in respect of external projects, whether they don't give a full disclosure on those, constitutes a non-disclosure in the sense of it being relevant to the applications that we are concerned with, will essentially be a question of argument really, and to that extent then the applicant must be aware that there is a possibility that maybe failure to disclose might be found relevant, a non-disclosure of a relevant fact to these applications. That depends on what has not been disclosed and how compelling the arguments are that we receive at the end of the day.
MR KAHANOVITZ: So on the one hand he's allowed to give evidence to deny involvement in Lubowski, on the other hand if we start cross-examining on the basis of the available evidence in relation to what was going on in Namibia, he's going to refuse to answer questions.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, and the usual rule is if you open up something in your evidence-in-chief, then you also open up yourself to being questioned on it. But I think, Mr Kahanovitz, if you could proceed. You can ask questions, see what the attitude is and ... I do however believe, and I think we've mentioned this before, that the fine details of operations that are not relevant to these ones, aren't really an issue here. We're not going to make any findings in regard to any other project other than the ones that we are concerned with as subject matters here.
MR LAX: Just two things, Mr Basson. The first is that whatever the Generals or the Ministers may have said or decided at whatever point in history, is totally irrelevant to us here in this inquiry. You're not bound by any such policy. You have a duty to make whatever full disclosure is required of you and if they have told you to keep quiet, that's irrelevant here. And if your decision not to disclose information is based on any such perceived obligation, that's of no relevance to us. So whatever decision you make, that's on your own head in that regard, but you're not obliged by that policy or duty that they may have determined for you.
MR LAX: The second thing is on the issue of self incrimination. There is a section in our statute which says that any evidence that flows from these proceedings, or a self incriminatory nature, cannot be used in any other court in this country. So bear that in mind as well.
MR KAHANOVITZ: Now Mr Nel's evidence is that project "Direksie" concerned a plan to break the Smiths - and I'll deal with the names of some other people later in the cross-examination, but to break certain people out of prison in Zimbabwe.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, I can't remember all these things, I don't have the information in front of me. What I've seen here is that he was the Chairperson of the SRC, more than that I cannot say. I cannot recall.
MR KAHANOVITZ: Insofar as it may be of assistance to the Committee, the Roskam incident is dealt with by Judge Els in the Barnard case. I'll give you the page references after lunch, I don't want to waste time now.
MR BASSON: I think it was testified yesterday that it was the region which was referred to as the social region. I'm not hundred percent sure of the objective of this region. The persons involved are unknown to me, but I want to assume that they did have an executive capacity, it was purely, let us say a structure which had to gather information, sociological capacities had to be ascertained. That's all I can say about Region 9.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, I'll allow these questions, although they concern external projects, but I want to say that I have no knowledge about any project or any gathering of information regarding this project.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, with my appointment at the CCB, I was asked to handle people inside Zimbabwe and that is what I did. I was not involved in any direct orders regarding such persons. The giving of orders in terms of Region 7 was done under a project by the name of Deplore, it was one specific person who had contact with, or who had an infrastructure within Zimbabwe and also in Zambia. There are entries in my diary referring to the person, his name is Richard, and he was linked to Project Deplore. That is the extent to which I was involved in Region 7.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, that's an external project and it's difficult for me not to give my co-operation because I want to answer question, but at which stage must I say I am not going to answer any further questions?
MR KAHANOVITZ: I hear what you're saying, as Mr van Zyl said so often in his testimony, but if you want to ask you lawyer how to assist you in the predicament in which you find yourself, I have no objection.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, it's easy for me to say that I refuse to answer questions. You can refer to my diary, I'm aware of the entries in my diary, they refer to an external project and that is as far as I'm prepared to go.
MR MARTINI: Chairperson, if the proceedings are being recorded I'd like to ask Mr Kahanovitz, because his little remarks in-between relating to my client might create certain perceptions on the record. What was he suggesting when he said "as we heard what Mr van Zyl often remarked in his evidence"?
MR BASSON: Correct, it's an instrument placed over the telephone mouthpiece and ear-piece and with a certain code somebody else who also has the same instrument can listen to a conversation and this conversation then cannot be tapped. ...(transcriber's interpretation)
MR BASSON: Very well. With the presentation of the pre-study where Mr Verster is present it has to be linked to a budget, this budget appears on the project file and on the administrative file, which is a separate file, reference is only made to the project file in respect of the annexure number on the project file. So any person can take this financial file and it would not compromise any operational activity. During the presentation with the Managing Director, he must sign the project file and he must also sign the financial file. When I go to obtain funds by means of an advance, there is a form where I refer to the name of the project and the annexure number and I can obtain no funds unless there is authorisation. The objective of this is to protect myself, and secondly, should there be an audit enquiry in the future, then if I'm asked if there was authorisation for this amount I can look at the project name and the annexure number, I can show it to the Auditor-General personnel members, they confirm that it had been authorised through a signature. I don't know if I've answered your question.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, I can say that at a point Mr Verster brought about a change, meaning that if persons were only involved with monitoring and no physical actions, then the Regional Manager could give authorisation and if it went further, then Verster's signature was required.
CHAIRPERSON: So in other words if you had to do monitoring which involved flying in an aeroplane and hiring a motorcar and driving, at huge expense, staying in hotels and that sort of thing, if it was away from base and it came to a few thousand rands, just because it's monitoring it doesn't matter how much it was, the Regional Manager had authority rather than Mr Verster?
MR BASSON: No, Chairperson. I understand the question. There wasn't a limit placed on the amount but if it had been a large amount, Mr Verster had to be informed about it and he had to authorise it. I'm talking more about maybe accommodation for a day or two, travel expenses, maybe amounts of about R1-2 000.
MR BASSON: This is outside of my area of responsibility, but Gen Webb had to authorise financial budgets. Every three months there was a quarterly budget and his signature - I can't say that I saw his signature, I never handled the files, but I accept that Gen Webb had to sign these quarterly budgets that he approved, yes.
MR KAHANOVITZ: The stage at which the Managing Director, Verster, would go to the Chairman, Webb, to obtain final approval of a project to for instance, eliminate someone, would you be handed a document indicating that such final approval had indeed been obtained?
MR BASSON: No, Chairperson, all presentations were on the project file, as I've explained earlier, with the member's signature and the Regional Manager's signature and the signature of the Managing Director and this file was good enough for me with the Managing Director's signature. It was not a working method that this file would be given to the Chairperson and that he would sign it. I had no file with Gen Webb's signature on it but there were signatures of Gen Joubert on some of my external projects.
MR KAHANOVITZ: Now if Mr van Zyl comes to you and he says "Look, these people I've hired to assassinate Adv Omar, they want an advance, so many thousands of rand", could you give him that money before final approval had been obtained from the Chairman for the project?
MR BASSON: No, Chairperson, the plan had to be presented by that stage, he has knowledge of that, as I say I assume that Mr Verster conveys it to the Chairman, what I have is Mr Verster's signature authorising the withdrawal of the money.
MR KAHANOVITZ: Just to make sure you understand my question, where you have a situation where the people who are going to carry out the elimination say "Look we want an advance now, the balance on completion of the job."
MR BASSON: Yes, Chairperson, I was not always - it wasn't always just my responsibility, I'm talking about Region 6 internally, it wasn't always expected of me to determine amounts, that was done on Regional Management level and maybe also in co-operation with the Managing Director they agreed on an amount. Now I forgot the rest of your question.
MR BASSON: I want to explain. Yes, I see that the money is authorised, I withdraw the money physically, I give it to the person concerned and I'm in his presence when he accepts this money and when he gives an account of this money. If there has been disbursement about R30 000 he would sign it, I hand it in and I'm satisfied. That's where my control measure stops because I don't have access from Mr van Zyl and lower down, as an example.
MR BASSON: No. I want to say that from previous experience it is known that agents refuse to sign for salaries because they think that's a hold we have on them in the future, so they take the money and nobody can say anything about it afterwards.
CHAIRPERSON: But if a portion of the amount involved accommodation costs and travel, would they have to come back after the event with vouchers to prove that that money was actually spent as it was intended to be spent and not just kept in their pockets to use for something else?
MR BASSON: Chairperson, with regard to plane tickets they had to hand in the proof that was sealed in an envelope and placed on the project file. But I think in the back of the diary there's reference to ...(intervention)
MR BASSON: Those amounts have been determined by phoning three hotels, so the person gets that amount and he doesn't have to give an account or hand in any receipts. So we received almost no receipts.
While we're on that document, obviously South Africa was broken up into various regions for purposes of daily allowances, it also appears though that parts of the world to which a CCB operative might be expected to travel, would have included South West Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana, Malawi, West Germany, correct?
MR KAHANOVITZ: Now you were found by Judge Harms to be an untrustworthy and contradictory witness. I don't know if you want me to show you the - well it's at page 39 of bundle D. At the top of page 39, Judge Harms has the following to say
"The Commission has a serious problem about relying to any significant extent on any of the witnesses that gave evidence on the various internal projects of the CCB. On the one hand there are the witnesses such as Verster, Christo Britz, Braam Cilliers and Shane du Plooy, whose evidence is so vague or contradictory that at various points it is no value."
"These witnesses were allowed to testify in disguise. They alleged that they feared for their lives. In view of the fact that criminal proceedings are anticipated, their identities are disclosed in an annexure. The disguise did not render a finding as to credibility difficult. Viewed as a whole, the witnesses were untrustworthy in any case."
MR BASSON: Chairperson, I said earlier that the circumstances under which we had to testify before the Harms Commission, it was a very traumatic time and I cannot but agree that that which is said in the document is true.
MR KAHANOVITZ: Now just in general terms, would it be correct to say that the evidence that you gave was in support of what I'll call Joe Verster's version, that Region 6's task was to gather information internally to, and I'll use his Afrikaans words "penetreer vyandelike pyplyne na die buiteland"?
MR KAHANOVITZ: If you could please look at bundle F - Mr Chairman, the evidence of this witness is approximately in the middle of that bundle. The bundle as a whole isn't paginated, so you will see the order of ...(intervention)
MS COLERIDGE: Chairperson, let me just explain the pagination. The Committee's were all paginated and then I had written to all the legal representatives requesting them just to paginate this one. So that is all. So everybody else will probably have paginated versions ...(intervention)
MR KAHANOVITZ: If you can just - I don't know if anybody has one in a lever arch file, he's really going to struggle with ... If you can maybe just read to yourself from about line 5 to line 20 of that page.
MR KAHANOVITZ: Alright. This was in support of this version that suggested that the South African Police might be brought in to take action against people who were threats to the security of the State, correct?
While we're there, if you could go to 1183, just look on your left, at round about line 15 you're asked about an amount of R5.3-million that had been approved for a project. My understanding of your evidence is that that related to Project "Direksie".
MR KAHANOVITZ: Now at the bottom of 1184 you deny that the CCB was involved in Webster's death, which you will know is a different question to whether Webster's assassination was an authorised CCB project. You understand the distinction?
MR KAHANOVITZ: Now you've heard it already being pointed out that Lafras Luitingh gave evidence that the information he received about Mr Barnard's involvement in Webster, he drew to Joe Verster's attention and Joe Verster has also given evidence that that occurred.
MR BASSON: No, Chairperson. If Mr Verster knew about it, then he kept it to himself. I was never aware of it, I don't if any other member of Region 6 in terms of Mr Burger's people, were aware of it. I was never told "I hear that Mr Barnard was involved."
MR KAHANOVITZ: So you're telling us that from the 1st of May 1989, which is the date of Mr Webster's assassination, for the rest of that year you didn't even hear a rumour that Barnard and Botha had been involved?
MR BASSON: Chairperson, I think because there was no formal regiment of discipline within the CCB, to use Defence Force terms, disciplinary actions were left to the discretion of Regional Managers in co-ordination with Mr Verster. I'd say that because Mr Botha acted against the guidelines we wanted to punish him, if you want, that's why he was suspended for such a period of time with the objective that he wouldn't make himself guilty of such a thing again.
CHAIRPERSON: If a person's suspended knowing that at the end of the day of his suspension he's going to face some sort of disciplinary action, then I can understand the suspension, but if I'm naughty and my boss comes to me and says "Well you've been naughty, you can take leave with pay for six months" or "Don't come to work for six months but you'll get your full salary." I just can't under any circumstance, understand how that can be seen to be a disciplinary measure. In fact it's like giving a person leave.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, I understand that you make that statement. The members in the CCB were very active and they wanted to take part in this anti-insurgency process and the biggest punishment you could give somebody was to do this.
MR KAHANOVITZ: In fact evidence has been given in other proceedings of two examples of how Mr Botha tried to impress his superiors while he was placed on ice, in the hope that he would once again gain good favour.
MR KAHANOVITZ: But if you read both Mr Barnard and Mr Botha's statements, what they say happened is the following. Barnard initially recruited Aitchison where a friend of his in the Police Force, a W/O Knox, contacted him and told him that he'd arrested this guy Aitchison and he might be the kind of person that Barnard was interested in.
MR KAHANOVITZ: Alright. And what then happened was that Barnard and Botha who were aware that Botha had got into trouble with the CCB, agreed that Botha would bring Aitchison along to the CCB, in the hope that this would impress Joe Verster.
MR KAHANOVITZ: The other incident is the Webster assassination, and here the suggestion was that Botha drove the car for Barnard, in the hope that his participation in eliminating this opponent of the State would impress his superiors.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, Aitchison was recruited and he was tasked to establish himself in the then South West Africa, now Namibia. It was decided specifically to use him as a long term project to deploy after the elections. He had to establish himself physically in Windhoek, he had to make contacts, he had to look for work. So in terms of establishment, Mr Aitchison was used by Mr Maree.
MR BASSON: I remember I read his CV at that stage and he seemed to me to be somebody who pretends to be what he isn't. If one is exactly like him, then - I don't know. I was quite sceptical about what I read. But if you want to ask me if he was a scum bag, then probably he was.
MR KAHANOVITZ: Now Aitchison told the Namibian Police in a sworn statement that he was tasked to assassinate the Editor of the Namibian newspaper, Gwen Lister, and that the plan would involve inserting toxic tampons into her hygiene kit.
MR KAHANOVITZ: ...(indistinct) from the top of the page to round about line 15. He's being asked questions about his diary. Well I'm particularly interested in the sentence - you see you're asked about your diary entry, the one that I cross-examined Mr Burger about yesterday and the entry concerning
Right. In your amnesty application you say that one of the reasons, or the main reason for wanting to assassinate Evans was related to the belief that he was in some or other way associated with Grosskopf, correct?
MR BASSON: Chairperson, when I was asked with regard to the entry in my diary, there was a dash under the entry mentioned by Mr Kahanovitz and there was written "G Evans". At that stage I wasn't hundred percent sure that the statements were related, I couldn't remember and that's why I denied it, but today I admit that it did relate to it.
MR P DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, but perhaps we can just - I think the initial statement was that on this page the witness denies that ever was a project on Mr Evans, so that's not so. I don't read it anywhere on this page.
MR P DU PLESSIS: No, I'd agree with that but if we take the evidence about the initial project which was stopped and then later on there were enquiries again, it does to a certain extent tie in with what he said here.
MR KAHANOVITZ: With respect to my learned friend, the version that there was no project on Evans is entirely consistent with the version that he was attempting to put forward at the Harms Commission, namely that the CCB does not engage in internal assassinations in South Africa.
MR BASSON: I asked for privilege for these actions, these events, and it was purely with the cross-examination where the evidence was related to the entry about Grosskopf. I couldn't remember at that time whether it was related and I answered it as such. I just couldn't remember.
MR KAHANOVITZ: But the evidence that you're giving now, attempting to explain why you gave your evidence in that way at Harms, can't possibly be true because subsequently when you come to prepare your amnesty application, the singular most important reason that you give for targeting Evans is because of his alleged relationship with Grosskopf. So it could hardly have slipped your mind at the time.
"Unfortunately I cannot remember, it happened too long ago. I can only think that it was one of the projects - it was possibly one of the external projects."
MR BASSON: When Mr McNally put it to me that it happened, that the explosion took place two days later, then I remembered that it couldn't have been for an external project and I said that I didn't want to answer the question.
MR BASSON: I think in Afrikaans it's a "proef handgrenaat", or a "opleidings handgrenaat". It's a handgrenade which doesn't detonate and cause shrapnel. This handgrenade was used only for practice purposes.
MR BASSON: I'm not sure, I think there is a pin, it doesn't have the same effect as a real handgrenade and it is not linked to explosives, so there is a sound but the handgrenade itself has holes drilled into the handgrenade and the gasses which are formed escape through these holes.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, I remember one specific case where a member had to be trained and we asked for such a handgrenade and I requested it and I got it. It was specifically - it was one handgrenade requested for training purposes.
The short point there is that you gave evidence at Harms that you'd cut out the top part of the page of your diary for the 31st of August, that's the date of the Early Learning Centre bomb blast, correct?
MR KAHANOVITZ: You also gave evidence that the pages from 31 August up to 4 August - no, there must be a typographical error in the record, it's probably the 31st of August to the 4th of September, had been torn out. Round about line 21. In either event, it's not crucial.
"What often happens is that notes were made and those were then placed on file and in a situation where other pieces of paper weren't to hand, then it simply was cut out and it's placed on the file for later reference, or if other people have to have access to that or to those files then it wouldn't be in my possession the whole time."
MR BASSON: For exactly the reason as is stated there. Entries were made during a meeting or whatever and there were possibly people who signed next to the entries, that was taken out and placed on specific project files.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, I know that it must look very suspicious but I have not explanation for that. I've answered numerous questions on that and that is what happened. It my evidence that the pages were placed on files.
MR BASSON: No, Chairperson. I've already testified what the whole situation was surrounding the files, they weren't available and also that the external files were available for me to hand over to the Harms Commission, to the officials.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, please don't misunderstand me, it wasn't a situation that I had control over the files and I wanted to hand them in. The reason why I said I would have wanted to have shown them if they were available, was to explain exactly what you're asking me about now. If those things were on Region 6 internal files. I think I've also testified that there were forensic investigations on a particular page and I tried to explain that that related to an external activity and that that also had to be on file. So I have nothing more that I can add to what I've already said.
MR KAHANOVITZ: But the page that was forensically analysed, in fact puts the lie to your version because the entry on the page that was forensically analysed contains entries to the following effect, something about "an alibi going to Zambia, don't use your pager." Do you remember that entry?
MR KAHANOVITZ: Yes. The South African Police took the diary and sent it to the laboratory in Pretoria, a handwriting expert took the indentations on the page following and by that method managed to reconstruct one of the missing pages.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, if you can perhaps refer me to the exact wording, then it was necessary to place specific instructions on file for possible cross-reference later. You see it as unnecessary but I regarded it as necessary to place it on file.
MR KAHANOVITZ: Now if you could then please go to page 1203, round about line 8. You'll see Mr McNally asked you about whether you're willing to make certain files available to the Harms Commission and you said that you were going to hand in certain foreign project files, so as to prove that the projects that you were referring to were indeed foreign projects, correct?
MR BASSON: Chairperson, no I don't know. What I do know is that I was present. The external projects in which I was involved and which fell under Region 6, where I was present, were shown to the officials. I'm not aware of any other files or external files which were shown to the Commission.
MR BASSON: I don't know if you made the photocopy out of the diary, but it's also an entry in the diary. There's no date, it's simply an entry right at the back of the diary. Chairperson, I don't see the project name here, so I can't actually help you in respect of this operation Maagd or virgin.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, you see the reason why I'm hesitant here is that there were project names for Blue Plans, of which you're aware, and then there were also project names relating to the Red Plans and I'm not sure whether it was Blue or Red.
MR BASSON: Yes, there's a "Direksie 4" and there's a Crawler. In my diary they're all arranged one beneath the other one, as external projects and on the left-hand side all Region 6 projects were named.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, to the best of my recollection and knowledge those files were returned to the storage place, the depot at Special Forces Headquarters and I today am not aware of what happened to any file in this time, in this period. I wasn't involved in any plan to remove or conceal any of these files. I can't answer you.
MR KAHANOVITZ: Now at pages 1203 to 1204 of the Harms record, what happened here is you were read Joe Verster's answers in relation to various projects. We've had this evidence already before the Committee, but I don't think you were here when Joe Verster gave evidence, or were you?
MR KAHANOVITZ: Well this is a reference starting at round about line 15 on page 1203. Joe Verster was asked whether certain things were CCB projects, you'll see for example, Bruce White, Gavin Evans, Abdullah Omar.
MR KAHANOVITZ: Col Verster was given a list of questions, he deposed to an affidavit which was handed in to the Harms Commission. He was asked "Are these people CCB projects, what was the CCB's involvement?"
MR KAHANOVITZ: Well I don't know who gave him the list, the important point is that the evidence which he gave is set out in this affidavit. You were asked - you were read portions of his affidavit and you were asked, you will see in the middle of page 1204, at round about line 12, whether you agree with what Joe Verster has to say.
MR KAHANOVITZ: But further on it's apparent from your evidence that you gave evidence in support of Joe Verster's version, namely that there was no project to murder Evans, White or Omar, you say they were merely projects for purposes of information gathering.
"My explanation in respect of the incidents mentioned in paragraph 7A, C, D, E, F and G, are exactly the same as that of Verster."
"I am not prepared to answer questions about the Athlone bomb incident, the foetus project or about Omar and Evans, since this may incriminate me."
MR BASSON: Chairperson, I suppose you can say it like that, but although I was aware of Mr Botha who admitted that, it was - to be honest today, it was stupid to do that. You're under pressure at the time, under pressure from your seniors and you adjust accordingly.
"No, no, I'm simply asking you the number, you don't have to specify for which purpose you used the limpet mine or mines. Mine or mines, one or more."
MR KAHANOVITZ: He says CCB people - and here I'm not necessarily referring to the lower level operatives such as Mr van Zyl, he says in general terms that you were coached to not testify about any, or expose anything that they didn't already know.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, all that it amounted to was that we had to deny things, the denial of acts and things which might perhaps have appeared in the Section 29 statement and to just deny acts of a lesser violence.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, it wasn't a formal coaching process, all that it was was that we said we wouldn't talk about whatever, we deny things and that's the way we would deal with it. That's how it happened.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, I think it was - I suppose you have to say that Mr Verster had a large hand in the whole thing and that you can't involve the legal team. I'm not making the statement that they were party to the attempts.
MR BASSON: No, Chairperson, I repeat, Mr Verster felt that the whole matter had to be dealt with in that way as a result of various reasons and there was a decision beforehand that that was the way we would deal with it. I can't say that - I can't involve the legal team and implicate them in something of which they were innocent.
MR BASSON: Gen Webb was involved up to some point, I'm not sure - well, at some stage there was a problem between Gen Webb and Col Verster and then the decision was taken that we wouldn't consult jointly but that Gen Webb would consult alone and we were to consult separately.
MR BASSON: I don't know, Chairperson, I decided that - and other people along with me, we decided to plead privilege in respect of certain incidents and that is what I stuck to. I can't vouch for what Mr Verster's attitude might have been.
MR KAHANOVITZ: Sorry, if you could just give me a minute I can maybe speed it up. Mr Chairman, might I just indicate, the reason that I'm not going to put a number of other passages which I could put to the witness which are untrue, is they're basically all in support of a similar version.
MR KAHANOVITZ: You also told - I'll show you the page reference if necessary, but you also told the Harms Commission that there was no campaign, disruption campaign relating to the South West African elections, but you changed your evidence in the Webster Inquiry, to say that there was. Correct?
MR KAHANOVITZ: At page 1405, lines 11 to 18, you are being asked certain questions by Mr Pretorius about Chappie Maree and you tell the Harms Commission that Mr Maree was working in Natal and you say that he concentrated exclusively on the trade unions in that province.
MR LAX: We don't know what the purposes of your intelligence was because you see - just listen, because a couple of times now when it's been put to you what a particular purpose was, you've denied that purpose. When Mr Kahanovitz put to you earlier that the purpose of doing monitoring on Evans, for example, could only have been to kill him, or could only have been for this or that purpose, you said "No, no, no, we hadn't decided on a purpose yet", now you're saying we all know what the purpose was. So I think if we all know, what is it that we all know?
MR BASSON: Chairperson, I made an assumption. If Mr Maree had worked on trade unions there would have been intelligence which was to be verified and if there was an order to eliminate a particular person in a trade union, then there would have been a project accordingly, that's what I mean. But that didn't happen.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, I don't know, Mr Maree, I think he had a lot of problems to adjust to the new methods and modus operandi. Previously reference was made to the fact that, in other testimony, that Mr Maree in fact did nothing. It's true that Mr Maree struggled to adjust to the new methods of work as he was instructed.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, perhaps it was easier for him, there was a specific plan that he possibly would be transferred there permanently and that he would be able to operate with greater ease there and adjust to that situation, with greater ease than locally.
MR BASSON: Well as far as his Blue Plan was concerned, that was quite good at that stage, but he just took longer than for instance Mr van Zyl, in respect of the development of production, but his Blue Plan activities actually progressed very nicely.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, if I remember correctly - well I can't remember the name of the company, but it had to do with the import of Eastern substances, wall clocks and things like that and that it was to be sold throughout the country.
MR KAHANOVITZ: Well you will have seen in the statements of Mr van Zyl and Mr Barnard, that - well at one level they say they certainly speculated that Maree was responsible for Lubowski's assassination.
MR KAHANOVITZ: They even take it further than that, and I know that Mr van Zyl wishes to deny certain aspects of one of his statements, but that a in-house was observed where it was inferred that Maree was making a presentation on Lubowski to Verster. Were you present?
MR BASSON: No, Chairperson, I'm not aware of any such in-house presentation. Apart from the monitoring of Lubowski internally, I'm not aware of any presentation to which Mr van Zyl is referring in respect of Mr Lubowski.
MR KAHANOVITZ: Now turning to your diary, just to get this on record, you kept this diary in your capacity as the Co-ordinator of Region 6, and you made entries in that diary in the execution of your duties, correct?
MR KAHANOVITZ: I don't want to take you through each one of those again but I can tell you that between the 18th of January and the 19th of April, you ordered ammunition on seven different occasions. For what purpose were you ordering that amount of ammunition?
MR BASSON: Chairperson, that was for the members' own use, in respect of pistol shooting. The ammunition was available and they repeatedly asked me to get it. I often didn't attend to that and then they would remind me of it again and I - well from the calibres stated you can infer what they were, I obtained cartridges for them for their own private shooting exercises.
CHAIRPERSON: You did say earlier, I've forgotten to whom it was, that they asked you for a gun because he had to - was it Mr Botha, had to hand his back to the Police and then you got a handgun for him, but for his personal use you said and that would, when he eventually left, that would be deducted from his ...(intervention)
MR BASSON: Yes, that's correct. Chairperson, I just want to say that I think Messrs Burger, van Zyl and Maree had their own personal weapons but Mr Botha at that stage didn't have his own personal weapon and whilst the other people had weapons and practised target shooting, he asked if the system could actually help him to also get a weapon.
CHAIRPERSON: What about the question - just while we're dealing with this, of him having a licence for that firearm? After all he was now for all intents and purposes a civilian. Let's assume that the police picked him up and he had this handgun and he's got no licence, would they trace it back or what?
MR BASSON: No, Chairperson, it wasn't a weapon which was unauthorised or which had no registration, or papers or whatever, it was money, an amount of money given to him to apply through the normal channels for a weapon and to register it in his own name, but the weapon just like the cars, would remain the property of the organisation and upon retrenchment the amounts were deducted by the State.
"Jane Woods still visits different cells. Jenny speaks to her brother in Zim. Possible Chief of Prison to get detail. Family becoming impatient and restless."
Now in January 1988 an unemployed man was hired by the CCB to park a car bomb in front of an ANC transit house in Bulawayo. The man who was hired was blown up. Five people linked to the CCB were subsequently convicted, arising out of this incident, and three of them were sentenced to death. Kevin Woods, Michael Smith and Conjwayo, C-o-n-j-w-a-y-o - I don't have that person's first name at the moment. Subsequently, on 28th June 1989, Dennis Behan was found guilty of conspiring to bring about the release of these people who'd been sentenced to death. Correct?
MR KAHANOVITZ: The reference to - just for sake of completeness, the reference to Jane Woods is a reference to either the wife or relative of Kevin Woods. The reference to Mrs Behan is probably a reference to Dennis Behan's wife. Now I assume you don't want to answer.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, I refer to it in my diary as an internal target list because I was aware of a real internal list of targets which was in existence and that's in fact not an internal target list, it was purely a priority list in respect of internal activists.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, that was for argument's sake, it was an interpretation of intelligence of a whole series of, let's say organisation like for instance the UDF and all its subsidiary organisations. There was a process in terms of which prominent people were identified and those names were minuted, listed.
MR BASSON: Chairperson I must be honest, there was a stage when we discussed the possibility that false identities had to be obtained for the members and later this was rejected as a result of the exposure which they had in the public eye and the decision was that the risk was too high to take and that was the reason why that was abandoned.
MR BASSON: I suppose that came from Mr Verster, where perhaps somebody in one of the other regions wanted to obtain a passport for somebody with a criminal background and that Home Affairs gave guidelines and said no, they're not prepared to do that.
That Foreign Affairs passport thing, was this Foreign Affairs telling Special Forces "Don't issue", did they know that you were issuing false passports to operatives and then telling you, you can do it sort of thing, but not with criminals?
MR BASSON: Chairperson, that should be Home Affairs, not Foreign Affairs. There was a channel, I'm not sure who the person was, there was an official channel to Home Affairs where, I must say there was control over that. No alias document was made without the person's real details also being linked to this alias document. And it is possible that the instruction came from Home Affairs.
CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, just one question while I see this. At the bottom there where you've got "salaries" and you've got the four people concerned, now we've heard that salaries were paid out in hard cash, now one person here has signed for the four of them, it looks like Calitz or something like that.
MR BASSON: I understand what you're saying. Because it didn't refer to a specific project name, that might be the reason. Because there had to be project files to place the documentation on and this is a financial matter which was not linked to a project.
MR LAX: Yes, but there were personal files for each of these individuals and you would have had to show proof that they'd been paid, in the file, otherwise your accounting records would have been haywire.
MR LAX: Ja but then your explanation previously given that the reasons why things were cut out was because they had to be put in files doesn't make sense, if in this instance here the specifics aren't cut out and put in other people's personal files, for example.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, I don't have another answer. Those things that were cut out I think dealt more with projects for which there were specific files and not in the case of this kind of administration.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, I'm not sure how the system worked. I would presume that it wasn't done, that the person had to take the money and within his coverage of the Blue Plan he had to accommodate it in that and his personal tax was his own responsibility. That is the way I see it.
MR KAHANOVITZ: Firstly your evidence-in-chief where you said that you thought what might have happened was a double salary, that can't be correct, because even if his gross salary was R3 500 a month, that's more than double his salary.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, I'm not aware of - there might have been production bonuses paid to Mr van Zyl, I can't remember. Had there been a production bonus, the amount would have been paid in cash to him, just like in the case of the salaries.
MR LAX: You see Verster told us that the bonuses, production bonuses were in lieu of benefits they had lost previously. It had nothing to do with production at all, it was simply a way of topping up their salaries to take account of the benefits they had lost.
MR BASSON: Alright, Chairperson, then it makes more sense to me. I remember in my application of the Reconnaissance Regiment all operatives were paid a gratification in round about the month of May. I think it was in the region of R3 400 or R2 400. It was a yearly thing and this could refer to the same benefit of the structure. CCB enjoyed the same benefit.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, I think this may be the answer. I told you that I can't remember specifically. I know that you triggered my memory with this bonus and I believe that this could be the explanation for these increased amounts.
With regard to this diary, the time lapse between you having to look at it again and it being attached, was pretty small. It was attached by the Harms people and then quite soon after that you were then testifying about it.
MR KAHANOVITZ: Page 21, entry of 26 of June. Maybe I must just deal with various other people whose salaries you appear to have paid and you can tell us who they - which regions they were working for. Jeff Hailes? H-a-i-l-e-s.
MR BASSON: No, I think that you don't refer specifically to the extract. They fell under Region 6 although it was separated from internal to the external and in that regard I might have said it is Region 6, but it is not internal. ...(transcriber's interpretation)
MR BASSON: Chairperson, I can't tell you. Mr Verster was also the Regional Manager of the external region, the European region, or the Managing Director of the region because the region didn't have a Regional Manager. I think it refers to Region 5, the external region.
MR BASSON: He had a second-in-command, Dawid Fourie who stood in for him and I don't know exactly what the method of working was in such a case, but there would have been liaison with Mr Verster if important decisions had to be made. There was a procedure, but I don't know the details.
Now this page should also be read with the entry of the 25th of April, which refers to Nico Bessenger. Let me tell you what Pieter Botes told the journalist, Jacques Pauw about what projects were planned around the Namibian elections, and I'm going to quote here from Pauw's book, "The Heart of the Whore" at page 187 to page 188.
"The murders had to look as if they were committed by fellow SWAPO members unhappy with the "soft-line approach" of Hamutenya and Tjongarero, in order to cause dissension within SWAPO.
Botes was instructed to plant bombs at SWAPO meetings and explode handgrenades amongst the spectators. The CCB devised a plan to put cholera bacteria and yellow fever viruses provided by an Army doctor, into the drinking water of SWAPO refugee camps at Dobra (D-o-b-r-a) in Northern Namibia.
A printing press ordered by SWAPO and a waiting delivery at Walvis Bay and 54 SWAPO vehicles were identified for sabotage. Botes said the CCB was to use a special oil that would seize the engines. Not even Untag, the United Nations Peacekeeping Force overseeing the independence process, was to be spared, although Botes was instructed not to harm officials.
MR WESSELS: Mr Chairman, may I come in ...(indistinct) in you coming to an answer as to amnesty for the matters that have been applied for here, this is completely irrelevant and it's a waste of time.
MR WESSELS: ; Whatever the diary entries are it concerns outside matters where the witness has said he's not talking about it, so whatever he says is only portions what might have happened or might not have happened there and you're not going to be asked to deal with the correctness of those allegations.
MR WESSELS: Well Mr Chairman, that argument can be made, it could have been made after the first day's evidence already. We don't need to go through this to make that argument at the end of the day. If it's a good argument, they made that point long ago.
MR KAHANOVITZ: With respect, Mr Chairman, for us to be able to argue that coherently we need to attach it to something that has substance, we can't just make that as a general allegation. We wish to point to specific circumstances that would allow you to make that as a finding.
MR WESSELS: Mr Chairman, as far as my client is concerned who was the Managing Director of the CCB, he said that he's not talking about matters outside the county because it might incriminate him and that is enough for my learned friends to make their argument that they wish to make at the end of the day. We don't have to go through the detail of all this and spend hours and hours on something that's already been made and conceded. That they're not making full disclosure of events that took place outside the country. The argument at the end of the day is, are they compelled to make it or are they not compelled to make it? The basis has already been laid for either argument.
MR KAHANOVITZ: Mr Chairman, I don't know if you're being asked to make a ruling. If you are about to make a ruling I just would also like to point out, you have a situation where you have witnesses who are telling you "I'm not telling you about external operations, you don't need to hear about them because everything I did there was innocent." And that being so, I'm entitled to test that evidence.
MR P DU PLESSIS: No, Mr Chairman, with all due respect to my learned friend, that is not correct. There was one certain point or one certain person, where Mr Basson chose to follow that route. He was asked about it and he did answer and for the rest he has said he's not saying that he wasn't involved in those projects, he's refusing to answer because it may incriminate him. So it's not correct to say that he chose to say he didn't do anything wrong or he wasn't involved, rather than say that he wasn't involved in those projects. That's not his evidence.
I basically don't have any difficulty with the line of questioning being asked, it just gets once again to the unique situation we're in regarding the time factor, because we've already dealt with the situation relating to external matters and it was already agreed that if questions were put, if he doesn't want to answer them, questions relating to external matters, he needn't and then we can deal with it fully in argument as to what weight should be attached on the refusal to answer. So it gets down to a time question again and I wouldn't stop the questioning, save for the question of time. I'm not stopping it now, but I'm just asking you as far as possible to keep it to certain limits so that we can achieve finalisation on this matter in the scheduled time.
MR KAHANOVITZ: Mr Chairman, what we do want to argue is that there's a strong correlation between what I've just read to you and the entries. I don't want anybody to stand up at the end and say ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: I fully understand that. And I think that will even apply even if you don't mention certain things that come up, of that nature, in argument because of the time restrictions we won't stop you from arguing that.
MR KAHANOVITZ: Maybe we can short circuit this on the basis that if my learned friend appearing for the witness tells me that insofar as I'm going to put to the witness the correlations between the entries in his diary and what I've just read, on each and every occasion that I say that I'm going to get an answer "I refuse to answer that question", then we can leave it at that.
"Namibian Taxi Services - 32 vehicles. Oil - disrupt AS. 'Zim min afgestaan om te help - vind out wie'. Do not burn the place down. Postpone election date. Disrupt SWAPO speakers and meetings.
" Waar ...(onduidelik) kom met voorstelle. Obtain snakes. Spread disease in camps - Frans/Hymer. Chief Inspect Thornbury - make him angry."
MR KAHANOVITZ: That's right. And then on the following page, I'm not going to read out all the entries but page 25 there are certain entries. Page 26, likewise, entries to the effect of, on the 14th of July
"Political meetings to be monitored and disrupted - Water, power, speakers will published in newspapers beforehand.
MR KAHANOVITZ: Mr Chairman, I am concerned here about time and would we be inclined to try and finish off the witness even if it's going to bleed over a little bit past four, or would the inclination be to stop at four even if we're not finished.
CHAIRPERSON: I don't know what the people's situation is. As far as I'm concerned, I'm only leaving tomorrow. I don't know how urgently other people have to leave. Mr Sibanyoni's got to catch a flight at six. I don't know what the critical time to leave would be, taking into account the possible traffic jam on the way to the airport. So if we go after four, it shouldn't be too long after four otherwise he'll probably miss his aeroplane.
The entries on page 32 for the 3rd of August, once again I'm going to put to you that these are notes concerning a plan to assassinate SWAPO leaders in Windhoek and once again I'm going to refer to what Pieter Botes told Jacques Pauw. Mr Botes - and I'm not quoting here, I'm going to paraphrase, he said the original plan was to murder Hamutenya and Tjongarero. He says Tjongarero was removed from the death list after he became ill, but the plans for Hamutenya's assassination went ahead. The plan was to have Hamutenya shot with a Russian-made pistol outside the Namibia night-club, a club frequented by Hamutenya and other SWAPO members.
Botes says he returned to Pretoria on the 23rd of August 1989, to report back about the feasibility and progress of the project to murder Hamutenya. He then had to submit the final draft to Verster three days later. He then had an argument with Verster who accused him of mismanagement and he withdrew from the Namibian project.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, I have knowledge of an attempt of Mr Burger where he could have gained access to a country in Africa and it is possible that they looked at a plan, but once again it's an external project.
MR BASSON: I think it refers to final co-ordination today. There were opportunities where funds would have been transferred abroad and if there were regions who had interests in external projects, they could have used those opportunities to get authority to transfer funds abroad.
MR BASSON: Yes, I remember specifically that with the presentation or with the training with regard to the Early Learning Centre, the mechanism, they were involved. I don't know if they had any knowledge about this specific project, about the application thereof, but they were present. I think it so, yes.
MR KAHANOVITZ: I'm note sure what exactly was placed before the Harms Commission. This is an extract that I made out of the full diary for purposes of the pages which I intended to refer these particular witnesses to. There is a much bigger document containing the whole diary.
MR BASSON: Yes, Chairperson, I wasn't entirely pulled away from Mr Burger and his people, my workload had been made smaller. I was still involved with Region 6, but the administrative part was taken away from me so that I could pay more attention to Region 2 at that stage.
MR KAHANOVITZ: Now you mentioned that you had - in your evidence-in-chief, that you'd been given a date on which you might appear before the National Board on Indemnity and you mentioned the date of 9 December 1993. Did you in fact ever go and appear?
MR P DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, perhaps on that point, I don't think we are going to finalise cross-examination today and if we are going to have a look at the full diary, I think we can just as well, perhaps at this point adjourn the proceedings. With all respect. Unless Mr Kahanovitz and Mr Hockey - well and obviously the Panel has to question him as well.
MR KAHANOVITZ: If there's some prospect of any member of the Committee, for instance, wanting to possibly raise new issues arising out of the diary, I would agree there doesn't seem to be much purpose in me trying to rush things to finish off my cross-examination. In other words if the witness has to come back next time for whatever reason, I would be more than happy to call it a day.
CHAIRPERSON: So there's no prospect that we would finish today with Mr Hockey standing in also today for Mr Williams ... Ms Coleridge in ten minutes, so I'm sure it will be over optimistic to expect to get finished.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, and what we will do is between now and when we resume we will have the transcript typed and that will be relayed to the legal representatives as soon as it's available, so when Mr Basson comes back in two or whatever it is, month's time, he will have the benefit of being able to read what he's said in evidence up to now.
MR BASSON: Chairperson, I'm not sure what the content was, surely there would have been details about his workings. I know that he worked for a newspaper. It's just not possible for me to remember all the detail that was in there.
MR KAHANOVITZ: No, I just wanted to put to you that the evidence which you gave in that regard didn't really make sense because as you now have conceded, all you needed to do was pick up the Weekly Mail to know that Mr Evans worked for the Weekly Mail, correct?
CHAIRPERSON: The reason why it starts on the 26th, which is a Tuesday, is because Monday the 25th is a public holiday. So it's for the nine working days, week days, from the 26th of September 2000 through to and including the 6th of October 2000. Unfortunately we can't get dates sooner than that because I was told it's just impossible to get all of the people concerned together where they all are available. I know for a fact that us three members on the Panel are going through an extremely busy period of travel and doing hearings, so it's not only the legal representatives who aren't available at certain times, but also us ourselves. But I'm pleased that we have got these dates arranged, although it is some time away.
So we will then adjourn until the 26th of September 2000, at this centre, and I think on the first day we'll aim to start at 10 o'clock. I think on the first day, because they've normally got to set up the sound system etcetera, so it will be at 10 o'clock on Monday the 26th - sorry, Tuesday the 26th of September 2000. Thank you very much.