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Type AMNESTY HEARINGS
Starting Date 26 July 2000
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CHAIRPERSON: Good morning. We want to start the proceedings. For the record it is Wednesday 26th July 2000 and we are continuing with the session of the Amnesty Committee sitting at JISS Centre in Johannesburg. The Panel is constituted as would appear from the record. We are starting slightly later than what we had anticipated initially as a result of unforeseen problems that had arisen in securing the attendance of one of the applicants at the venue and we apologise for any inconvenience that resulted from that delay.
We have before us this morning the amnesty application, well in fact the continued application of Patrick Thapelo Maseko in respect of the remaining incident on his application relating to the Fidelity Guards matter and then we have the full application of Vontjie Mzimkhulu Moti, the amnesty reference in that application is AM6230/97. The appearance on behalf of the applicants are the same in the person of Mr Mbandazayo and the Leader of Evidence is still Ms Mtanga. I'm going to ask the legal representatives on behalf of the interested party, the Fidelity Guard company, to put themselves on record. Advocate Mooij?
MR MOOIJ: Thank you Mr Chairperson, my name is Albert Mooij, I'm an Advocate practising at the Johannesburg Bar. I act on the instructions of Blake, Bester Incorporated and to my left is Mr Piet Bester who is present as well. He acts on the instructions of Fidelity Guards. Thank you.
MS MTANGA: The agreement, Chairperson, is that we will start - we'll deal with the remaining incident in Maseko since he is also their commander in that operation. He will give evidence first. Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Yes, Mr Mbandazayo, shall we then proceed with the testimony of Mr Maseko in respect of the remaining matter and the testimony of the witnesses that you wanted to call in regard to Mr Maseko's application first and then move over to Mr Moti or what did you have in mind?
MR MBANDAZAYO: Chairperson, in view of the fact that Mr Maseko is involved with Mr Vontjie on this matter, which means it's the first matter that we would be hearing for Mr Vontjie, I would like to mention in respect of the others of Mr Vontjie so that when we finish this one we would just continue without any other further interruption.
CHAIRPERSON: I just wanted to work out the logistics. We'll deal with the remaining incident in the Maseko application which would effectively then take care of all of the incidents that Mr Maseko is applying for and then we'll deal with Mr Moti's ones. I assume starting off with the common one between him and Mr Maseko and then going to the remainder of his matters.
MR MBANDAZAYO: Chairperson, my problem, I don't know, I'm in the hands of the Committee, my fear is that if he is involved in this one with Mr Maseko and the questioning would be such that it will have some effect on the other ...(indistinct) ones, I don't know.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, what I thought we should do is to take the evidence of the two applicants on the incident where they're both involved in. Yes, because you see if Mr Moti starts testifying then of course it might be impractical to separate the matter. It might very well be more convenient to just lead him on everything once he starts testifying.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes and then of course you must also decide when you want to dispose of the Maseko matter, whether you want to hold back your submissions on that one until we're finished with the Moti matter as well or whether you would want to address us at the end of everything on Mr Maseko's and then on Mr Moti's applications?
MR MBANDAZAYO: Chairperson, I don't have a problem with the address, I can address at the end of all of them but my main concern is that Mr Vontjie may be questioned on the other incidents. They do not involve Mr Maseko.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes indeed, so perhaps it would then make more sense to carry on with the testimony of Mr Maseko in respect of the remaining matter and then to deal with the testimony of Mr Moti in respect of all of these matters including the Fidelity Guards matter and then the questioning in respect of Moti would relate to his entire application.
CHAIRPERSON: And then we must just work out the situation of the witnesses because the witness or witnesses, I'm not sure whether it's one or more in respect of Mr Maseko only, whether you want to, also depends on their availability, whether it would be better for them to be heard after Mr Maseko has testified on this remaining incident instead of having to wait until Mr Moti has also finished his testimony. So he must give us some guidance there.
MR MBANDAZAYO: Chairperson, my approach was that after the first incident where it involved Maseko and Vontjie, the witness will testify, especially though he is testifying on Maseko but he will be testifying generally also on the question of repossession which of course would give some also chances that he can be questioned even on Vontjie, not necessary on the specific incident generally, just to get the overall view. But my concern was that I wanted just to - I don't have a problem about Vontjie being asked about the other incidents but what I wanted is that what is the implication of putting other things on record before he testifies. Maseko starts on this one so that even if he is cross-examined on the other one, on the other incidents, I won't have any problems. That's what I wanted, as you usually ask whether is there anything that we want to put on record. I wanted to put something on record in respect of Mr Vontjie so that even if he is cross-examined or on the other incidents when he testifies on this one which he is involved with Mr Maseko there would be no problem.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, yes. No, no, you can do that. I'm just trying to work out what is the most convenient course to take. What is the position of the witness or witnesses. Perhaps you can just clarify that first. Is it only General Fihla that you're calling?
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, because you know he might have other commitments that he has to attend to and if it's not necessary to get him to sit and wait until everything is done and of course it might assist in that regard too.
CHAIRPERSON: So would you clarify that, if it's going to assist him to rather testify sooner than later then perhaps it might be in the interests of justice to let Mr Maseko testify, let his witness testify and then we deal with Mr Moti after that. Will you clarify that?
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, there can't be a problem with that. In fact the legal representatives of the Fidelity Guards will of course be able to raise the questions that they had in any case so there wouldn't be any prejudice to anybody.
CHAIRPERSON: And that this morning we will deal with the one incident that was outstanding on your application that stood over from yesterday. So you will be dealing with that remaining incident now. Do you understand?
EXAMINATION BY MR MBANDAZAYO: Thank you Chairperson. Chairperson, for the purposes of this application, with this incident, I think there's another volume, the small volume, from page 10, the affidavit of Mr Maseko. It's at page 10 of the small volume regarding the application of Patrick Thapelo Maseko.
Mr Maseko, from paragraph 12 of your affidavit you stated that you were a unit of twelve and you were the commander of the unit and you only knew Vontjie Moti, Brian Dongo, Peter Mekwase and Veli. Can you tell the Committee about the other members of the unit, how the unit was comprised, where the other people were coming from?
"First and foremost, these people, they were not APLA members, most of them and they were people who were working inside the country although they were not APLA members and then somebody by the name of Vincent Mama, he introduced me to Peter who was the commander of that unit. And then after he introduced me to them we planned the mission - actually they had the mission before, they told me about it and then I went to see the place and reconnoitre the place. After reconnoitring we decided to go and execute the mission. And these other people I didn't know, I only knew Vontjie and Brian. The rest of them I didn't know. Then we went to the place, after we have seen the place. When we reached the place it was late. We had the uniform of that place so we pretended as if we were the people who were working there when we attacked the place. When we reached inside, there were so many boxes of money that I have never seen them in my life, my entire life. So we took a truck there and we loaded it.
Inside, when we were inside, I was observing at these people because it was for the first working with them. In that moment I realised that Vontjie, he was a good - he can be a good commander, as I was a commander and observing him at the same time, doing my job and observing at the very same time, I realised that Vontjie really could be a good APLA member and I was intending to recruit him into APLA because they were not APLA.
After our mission we never - actually we didn't succeed because even before we went outside the police came, I don't know how did it come that the police came and then there was a fight there. We started shooting. Actually they started shooting and we shot back until we lost one of our comrades who was in the valley and then we lost almost everything because now the fight was too hot. We had to leave everything, the money, even including our comrade who happened to be dead inside the Kombi and we left almost everything and then we ran, we went different directions.
And then the following day, because at that day we never went to our RV, we went different places and then the following day I met with Peter. He told me all the comrades are there besides Brian who was shot on the spot. That was all, because we lost everything. That is it."
CHAIRPERSON: Now you mentioned that there was somebody who was working there and I understand this place is well secured. How did you manage to get inside the Fidelity although you had uniforms? Was there anybody who had any information about that or you know security codes of that place and all such things?
MR MASEKO: Yes, the person who brought the uniform was working in there although I didn't know his name because I didn't know most of them and he is the one who gave us the information and he is the one who helped us to get inside the building because we used the Fidelity Guard vehicle to get inside there but I don't remember his name. Actually I didn't even know his name but Peter knew him.
MR MASEKO: The shooting started inside because actually we had a problem of the gate, we couldn't open the gate. That gate was operated - I don't know whether it is automatically or computerised but the gate didn't open so we had a problem there. As we had a problem until other people came then we realised these people are not the people who are working here because one of us still had this balaclava on his face. That's how the shooting started.
MR MBANDAZAYO: Myself, I went on the opposite side. When the rest of the unit went on the other side, so I went on the other side. Then from there I didn't know where did they go until I went somewhere up in Hillbrow where I managed to hide myself until the following day.
MR MASEKO: No, I don't know how much money was there but I can only estimate and think of how much money was there because we took almost about twelve boxes. Big boxes. Roughly I can say maybe it should be between 6 and 8 million.
MR MOOIJ: Did you state it in your evidence that you wore, during the operation, you wore Fidelity Guards uniforms and that you were wearing these uniforms when you were inside the Fidelity Guards premises, is that correct?
MR MASEKO: The person that I said he was working there, he brought the uniforms with him. They were inside the kombi. When we boarded the kombi, the uniforms were there and then we wore the uniform inside the kombi when we entered the kombi.
MR MASEKO: The vehicle was not given to us but the vehicle that day, the person who was driving the vehicle happened to -I don't know whether it was the manager he was working there, he had to transporting at his home. Back from his home he collected us on the corner, I don't know what the corner of that street, but it was in Hillbrow where he collected us and then we went from there.
MR MASEKO: These people, I said they were not APLA members before. They were as you put it or as the word has been said here, criminal elements which I dispute because I know criminals. There were no criminals. Those people they were already doing that job. We intend to recruit them that's why they were introduced to me so that we can turn them and make them APLA members.
ADV SANDI: Sorry Mr Mooij, if I can just try and get some clarity here? Is it the position here that at the time you got involved with these people in the incident you have mentioned, right at that stage they were not APLA members but you had intended to recruit them?
MR MOOIJ: Mr Maseko, what is not very clear to me is you mention that there were some other people involved in the planning of this operation against Fidelity Guards. You got involved at a later stage. How did it happen that you became involved in that operation. Why did you become involved?
MR MASEKO: Yesterday I said we as APLA members since we were from outside, we didn't know exactly where we can find large amounts of money but other people that you called tsotsi element, they knew where there were large sums of money can be found. So we had to use them or get them close to us so that we can have large amounts.
MR MASEKO: I have a problem with the word criminal activity. I have a problem with it because in a revolution there's nothing like what you are saying like criminal activities. Everything is justified in the revolution especially to from why it's justified. So when you say they were involved in the criminal activity you're giving me a problem.
MR MASEKO: They were political because if you are hungry and that the people who were hungry were Africans so they had the chances or they were forced to do whatever they can do so that they can eat. When you say they were tsotsis then you are giving me a problem.
MR MOOIJ: I never mentioned, Mr Maseko, that they were tsotsis. It came out yesterday in your evidence that you worked together and that was your evidence, that you worked together with criminal gangs because they had the expertise to perform certain robberies which you did not have. Do you recall that?
MR MASEKO: Yes they had the information that we didn't have but the expertise, we had the expertise. Yes, I said that yesterday because I want this process to go on but Mshosho in our country, there are no tsotsis, there are tsotsis but who were whites who stole our land, who stole everything and even the banks too. I can mention even General Malan, Magnus Malan, who was in the SANDF who happened to have sold rhino horns and everything. Do you think that was not tsotsi element?
MR MASEKO: When we came inside, we came here with a specific mission. The unit already was there and we had to establish other units, we ourselves, we had to establish other units inside here. The unit already was there.
MR MOOIJ: Mr Maseko, if I recall your evidence correctly then you mentioned that you returned to South Africa and it was your responsibility to establish the Repossession Unit and that you reported to the leadership on that aspect and that the leadership was outside the country.
JUDGE MOTATA: Mr Mooij, his evidence yesterday was that he returned at the end of December 1989 and this unit, the Repossession Unit was already formed but they had to enlarge it. I'm merely paraphrasing what he said yesterday.
MR MASEKO: He was present on that day and I didn't even know his name or who he is but now since I was in jail with him I knew him that he was present in that mission and I knew his name when I was in prison together with him.
MR MOOIJ: Now you mentioned that during that operation at Fidelity Guards you saw that Mr Moti had leadership potential. Now when after that, if at all - let me rephrase the question. Was Mr Moti a member of your Repossession Unit?
MR MOOIJ: I just want to clarify that with you. You say that - maybe I don't want to misunderstand you, at this incident at Fidelity Guards you then considered Mr Moti to be of good material to be recruited and then thereafter you never saw him again until you met him in jail, is that correct?
MR MOOIJ: You also gave evidence yesterday that during these operations that you were involved in, amounts in excess of R3000 had to be given to people in higher positions within your organisation. Who did you give this money to, the money that you robbed in other operations?
MR MASEKO: Yes, it was not - this unit, we wanted to work with it and incorporate it into our ranks if it was possible but the money will come to us and then we will take it to Botswana to Junior. Just as I've said the people who were - these other people who will work with us and in turn we will give them the land. That's what I said we did promise them, the land. We didn't promise them any shares.
MR MOOIJ: So they were doing better money than you were doing, that is why you approached them? That's also what you said yesterday. They were making bigger money than what you were making and that is why you decided to get together with them. Now what doesn't make sense is that here's an organisation who is making big money. Why then all of a sudden would they assist you to help you to get money for nothing without - previously they could keep all the money, now they must give all the money to you? How do you explain that?
MR MASEKO: They were making money as you say but they were never free. They were never free. That's why they were prepared to help the people to fight and make the land free. That's why they were prepared to help us.
Now after this particular incident at Fidelity Guards do you know whether there was any further co-operation between the let's call it the organisation of which Mr Moti was a member and your Repossession Unit.
MR MOOIJ: Alright, let me just rephrase it for you nicely. This operation at Fidelity Guards was a combined effort, so to speak, between your Repossession Unit and some other organisation of which Mr Moti was a member, correct? Now after this particular Fidelity Guards operation, was there any other co-operation between the organisation of which Mr Moti was a member and the Repossession Units?
MR MASEKO: Yes, comrade Peter who was a commander of them, we used to meet just to discuss other things and try to give us the direction how to get more information about these other operations of that sort.
MR MASEKO: That's why I said maybe he did work with other units because I was not working only in Johannesburg, I was doing it nationally so when I was not around I don't know what was he doing or what he was talking with other units.
MR MASEKO: Not on all the machines except the one that I'm talking about but other missions I don't know if, as I've told you, that Vincent Mama had communication with them. Maybe they were talking with him but I didn't know of that.
ADV SANDI: Can I ask you to explain something? I hear that you say in response to the question by Mr Mooij as to whether the operations that were carried out by the group headed by Mr Peter Mokoena whether they were acting on behalf of APLA, I hear that you say, "not on all the missions except the one I was involved in". But why do you say that, because I understand your evidence when you started initially to be that when you came into the picture, these people had already planned to carry out this mission?
MR MASEKO: When I came in the picture these people already existed so I came in the picture only to come and get or work with them or get them on our side. Already they were already on the ground and existing and doing the other things.
ADV SANDI: But wasn't that a stage where you were trying to have a better understanding of these people, how they carry out their operations to an extent you can trust them, you know and so on and so on? Wasn't that the position?
CHAIRPERSON: You found that - in fact, you reached an agreement with them which was acceptable to you and you took over their idea and in fact if I understand you correctly you say that you were involved in some reconnoitring and that sort of thing before this was actually executed?
MR MOOIJ: Mr Maseko, you mentioned that you thought that Mr Moti had certain qualities which would make you interested in recruiting him as a member of APLA. What were these qualities, why did you come to that conclusion that he was a suitable person?
MR MASEKO: Inside the mission whilst we were pulling the mission, I could see him. His acts, he was running up and down commanding people, doing this, doing that, so I could see really, this man he knows what he is doing.
MR MASEKO: I've been involved in a lot of missions. I know when a person is good and I know when a person is useless in a mission. At that day I saw this man, amongst those people who were there, he was the one who was active.
MR MASEKO: At that time I didn't even know what his political beliefs or what is his understanding but what I knew was that after the mission we'll recruit him and we will politicise him because we believed that politics leads the gun.
CHAIRPERSON: But you were at least satisfied at that point after your discussions that they are prepared to participate in this incident on behalf of APLA which - in other words what I mean is, they were prepared to participate in an incident which should benefit APLA?
MR MASEKO: No, the commander was comrade Peter. He was not a commander but in the APLA circles there was this thing, they used to say our comrades used to hijack commandership from the existing commander. If the commander maybe was a little bit sleepy, somebody would take the initiative and hijack his commandership so Vontjie, that I could see, he had that potential.
ADV SANDI: How would you describe your profile in that operation? Would you say it was to the same extent as Mr Moti, those people who were running up and down, appearing to be some sort of leaders of the group? A low profile, high profile? What was your position in relation to him?
MR MOOIJ: Now Peter was - he was known to you, he knew what your objectives were when he took you into the group. Now at that stage he was not APLA, is that correct? Peter, he had nothing to do with APLA?
JUDGE MOTATA: I think that's an unfair question because it's until he left he wasn't aware so if you say to him who would be in that position, I think it would be unfair to the witness. I suppose Mr Moti is best able to answer that question.
MR MOOIJ: Judge, with respect, Mr Maseko's evidence was that he was still in charge of this unit on a national basis and if that is so, if he was the person in charge of the unit, then surely there must be somebody in that unit who would be able to tell this Committee. A person a works with membership or who works with new recruits who would be able to tell this Committee who became members during any given time?
MR MOOIJ: Mr Maseko, is there anybody in your organisation, the Repossession Unit, who was working, after you left Gauteng, who was working with the administration of membership and who would be involved with new members joining the organisation?
MR MASEKO: In APLA there were departments so if a person was recruited into APLA I wouldn't know that because I will only know of him when he is brought into my department but if he is just within APLA, I wouldn't even know who joined, who didn't join, that I wouldn't know.
MR MASEKO: A person who just joined the Repossession Unit, he will join APLA and after that he will become a member of -I will go and choose somebody who will recommend him to me, he will not just come from nowhere and join the Repossession Unit.
MR MASEKO: Yes but other units that existed because we were not the only unit of APLA inside. Maybe they worked with other units or other units were doing their things but I would get the report finally.
ADV SANDI: Can I just ask? How would you be told, to what extent would you be given information to the effect that so and so had joined the Repossession Unit, would you - let's say this person joins the Repossession Unit in Cape Town, would you be given full names, particulars of this person or would you only be given a code name? What would happen?
MR MASEKO: I wouldn't be given full names because that will be risky to give us full names. He will give code names and then the people like here specifically in Gauteng where I had Vincent Mama here who was the one who will give me the reports of what these units were doing. They were like comrade Peter will tell Vincent and Vincent will come to me. Even in Cape Town it was the same way, there were people that would report to me. Actually everywhere there were people that would report to me.
ADV SANDI: Usually how long would it have been after this particular person has joined. Would you become aware of his membership? Would it be immediately thereafter or would sometimes take quite a while before you would know?
MR MASEKO: Sometimes it will take a while, sometimes it would be immediately depending when do I get the message because I was running the whole country, going up and down, so it was easy - it was not easy for me to get the information immediately.
MR MOOIJ: Now regarding the issue of the money, Mr Maseko, once you were running this operation on a national basis and you now had these units deployed on a national basis, what would be the procedure with the money? Would it still come to you and you would then hand it over to Junior or what was the procedure?
MR MOOIJ: Now Mr Moti, he is applying for amnesty for certain incidents. Now for instance there was an operation at Bruma Lake in Johannesburg on the 26th October 1991 during which goods and money in the amount of R500 000 was stolen. Did you receive that money?
MR MASEKO: I've said I know about this, this operation who we are specifically talking about. That one I don't know about and I don't want to talk about it and I don't want to answer things that I don't know. I'm prepared to answer about this one that I know, I'm sure of.
MR MOOIJ: Yes, I'm not trying to ask you about the operation as such, whether you were involved in it or you had any knowledge of it. Your evidence was that whenever such an operation took place, the money from these other Repossession Units had to come to you?
MR MOOIJ: Now I'm asking you about an incident of which Mr Moti was convicted and this involved a robbery of an amount of R500 000. Now did you on behalf of the Repossession Unit, did you receive such an amount from Mr Moti?
Mr Maseko, apart from this abortive attempt at robbing the Fidelity Guards, were there any other amounts in respect of any other incident where Mr Moti was allegedly involved, handed to you to hand over to your superiors in APLA?
Now if only two people in this group who attacked Fidelity Guards or entered Fidelity Guards were aware of your true identity and your true motives, why would the other people then, how do you explain that they all agreed to give you or to give APLA the money that they were going to take from Fidelity Guards?
MR MOOIJ: Only two people in this group, Peter's group, who were going to enter Fidelity Guards and take the money. Only two people were aware of who you were and what your motive was for taking this money. How do you explain then your evidence that these people, the members of that group who were going to do that robbery were prepared to give you the money for your purposes if they didn't know who you were?
MR MASEKO: I don't know what Peter told them but we agreed between myself and Peter and Brian. So the other people I don't know how will they feel and what were their feelings, that I don't know but the agreement - we had an agreement with Peter and Veli.
MS MTANGA: When you were introduced to Peter Mokoena, were you told - did Vincent ever tell you that Mr Mokoena was a member of the PAC or was he an APLA member or what his relationship was with PAC and APLA? Were you ever told?
MS MTANGA: As the head of the Repossession Unit and a person who was introduced by Vincent Mama to Peter Mokoena, if there had been a robbery or a repossession operation being carried out by Moti and this unit where Peter Mokoena was a commander, would you have been told about those operations? That is before you carried out this Fidelity Guards, would you have been informed by Vincent Mama that these are the operations in the repossession operations that this group had carried already for the PAC and APLA?
MR MASEKO: No ma'am, I was never told anything but what I know, if they were doing anything after we have come to the agreement that there will be APLA people, all of them will be members of APLA, maybe I'll know something.
MS MTANGA: If they had carried out the repossession operations and you had no knowledge of these operations, how could it be said that these operations were carried on behalf of PAC or APLA if you as the head of operations had no knowledge of it?
MR MASEKO: I wouldn't know, that depended on their conscience, how fair they were. If they were really fair, I would know everything but if they were not fair maybe I wouldn't know some of the things, it will depend squarely on
MS MTANGA: But Mr Maseko, if they had carried out operations prior to you meeting with them and there had been repossession operations by them where they actually obtained money or some other items and if at that time you were not told about these operations, can you now as an APLA member, as the head of this unit, say this could - could these operations be seen as operations that were carried on behalf of PAC and APLA if you had no knowledge of it?
MS MTANGA: Operations carried without your knowledge and they obtained items, they obtained money, they don't account to you, you don't get a report, you know nothing about these operations. As the head of the Repossession Unit, can you say that these operations were indeed operations?
MR MASEKO: If I knew nothing unless maybe they gave them say maybe to somebody who is higher than me and he tells me that the other unit did this and here are, then maybe I'll - but without my knowledge really I wouldn't.
MR MASEKO: Sir, things were happening, especially anarchy, let me put it that way. There was a lot of anarchy, things were happening. That's why we were trying to put them together and try to direct them and have them - they must have direction, they mustn't do things haphazardly. That's what we were doing, trying to win them over and direct them.
ADV SANDI: If an operation like this had been carried out successfully and monies obtained, would it not have come to your knowledge that such a thing has happened, even if you were not personally involved in it? Would you not become aware subsequently to reports that are coming to you?
CHAIRPERSON: Or Repossession Unit operation. I thought you say that you can't speak on behalf of APLA but you can certainly speak on behalf of the Repossession Unit or did I misunderstand you. Can you speak on behalf of the entire APLA or what? On all of the APLA units or can you only speak on behalf of the RU?
MR MASEKO: A courier is somebody who is working for an organisation whether - well, there are two types of couriers, an aware courier and an unaware courier. Vincent was an aware courier. He knew that he was working for the PAC, he was doing things for the PAC.
MR MASEKO: In some other operations he was always our driver like in Lebanon Eating House Mission, he was there, he was our driver. In Diepkloof Police Station he was there, he was our driver, so he was always there in some other missions.
MS MTANGA: Mr Maseko, I'm asking - the last question I asked you because I wanted to establish the link between Peter Mokoena and APLA activities and whether the robberies that are mentioned in Mr Moti's application where he is said to have been a commander, were they operations carried out with either your knowledge or the knowledge of Vincent Mama who was probably - who could have been in a position to give Peter Mokoena orders or not. So will I be correct to conclude that Vincent Mama was not in a position to give Peter Mokoena any order without your instructions to carry out repossession operations?
MS MTANGA: Will I also be correct to conclude that there was no operation carried out by Peter Mokoena other than the Fidelity Guards one which came to your knowledge or was accounted for by their unit?
JUDGE MOTATA: In your meeting with them and in respect of you people, your unit wanting to execute this mission, the Repossession Unit in your person because I understood that you were the only one from your unit. Would I be correct?
MR MASEKO: First I was sceptical because I didn't trust them fully, that's why I was alone, I was the only APLA member because I didn't want to put other APLA members in the mission that I don't trust them wholeheartedly. That's why I went myself, to sacrifice myself if I was to be sacrificed and then my understanding was that these people were making good money, that we needed, the money that we needed, so the understanding was that we'll work with them.
JUDGE MOTATA: Then you say at some stage you went for reconnaissance of Fidelity Guards premises. What precisely were you doing there because the mission had already been identified by the group in which Moti was a member?
MR MASEKO: The main purpose was to go and satisfy myself so that I mustn't just go in something that I haven't even seen and don't even know how does the place look like. So that was the motive to go and satisfy myself.
JUDGE MOTATA: And that is the only thing you discussed, that you work with us because my organisation needs money and that money we'd get from there I would take to my superiors, that is PAC, APLA. Is that the understanding reached there?
MR MASEKO: Yes and then we agreed that I will go with Peter together because some of them they will think maybe I'll take the money for myself along the road. So the understanding was that I will go with Peter to Botswana to take the money to Junior.
JUDGE MOTATA: Was it discussed why it should be taken to APLA because they were on their own missions. Why you started to come in and say if we get this money we'll take it to the PAC. Was there discussions about your organisation?
MR MASEKO: Yes I made it clear to them that APLA didn't have enough guns, we didn't have enough guns, we used to change hands with guns so we had to buy a lot of guns and really if we had that money we'll advance our struggle quicker than it was.
JUDGE MOTATA: Now firstly, you said when the Fidelity Guards van came, you are not sure whether they were dropping the manager or not but it picked you up from a corner at Hillbrow and there were uniforms in this van. Do you recall that?
MR MASEKO: All of us we had balaclavas but the one who was a driver, he forgot to take his balaclava after the mission, that's why he had his balaclava on and that made their own ...(indistinct) to realise that we are not security people because security people don't wear balaclavas.
MR MASEKO: One, the place when you go there you had to go down, it was a basement then that was what I noticed first. Second there were surveillance cameras there. There were a lot surveillance cameras. Then I asked myself how are we going to get inside here but Peter told me that I was not to worry because they have somebody who works there inside and who will provide us with the uniforms and who will help us to get inside. Then I had no problem with that.
MR MASEKO: I never told them myself who I was, I talked to Peter and Brian and I took it that Peter and Brian never told them and that was how we used to operate, not to expose ourselves because if they told them they would be exposing me.
ADV SANDI: Did you agree on any specific measures by way of precaution to ensure security? I mean you were getting involved with people you don't even know. You've said it already that you didn't really trust them. What precautions were taken to ensure that your security would not be in danger?
MR MASEKO: No, I never said that. I never said that to him but I know for a fact that he was working with Vincent and Vincent made arrangements that we need. So I thought or I took it for granted that Vincent must have briefed him.
ADV SANDI: Concerning the money now these people were getting from the missions and operations they were getting involved in, did Vincent tell you where these monies were going to or did he perhaps know anything what's happening to those monies, who was getting these monies?
GEN FIHLA: In actual fact the programme for repossession started as early as I think in 1981 but the problem is that at that time structurally APLA at the High Command level did not cater for such activities. Now the commander of APLA was himself personally responsible for such activities.
Secondly we did not have properly constituted units for repossession. This particular task was given to individuals. Now because of that structural deficiency we had a lot of problems in terms of command and control.
Now subsequent to that we realised that we need to restructure and for command and control purposes we needed to put this responsibility under a specific individual. Then we decided that a specific department within the High Command that was to be responsible for this was logistics and logistics at that time was under Junior. That's how he became responsible for this particular responsibility.
Then subsequent to that we took a decision that we needed to put an infrastructure that we'll have full control over such activities. This is how then Thapelo Maseko and other members were deployed inside the country, to take full control of this activity and so that they could remain accountable to the High Command through Junior who was responsible for logistics.
GEN FIHLA: Junior was a member of the High Command and he was director for logistics at that time but later on when we restructured he then became Director for Personnel. He integrated into the South African National Defence Force in 1994 and he resigned from the South African National Defence Force last year.
MR MBANDAZAYO: Now General, you have listened to the evidence of Mr Maseko and specifically I would like to ask you, he mentioned certain people and I would like to know whether you have any idea about these people like for instance Vincent Mama?
GEN FIHLA: Vincent Mama, I knew him very well because I also worked directly with him. Vincent Mama was basically not supposed to be or linked to the Repossession Unit because initially he was, if I remember well, he was just a courier but later on he was drawn into the logistics department and within the logistics department his main function was transport so he used to bring in vehicles for us. Even the vehicle that I was driving when I was stationed in Zimbabwe came from him.
GEN FIHLA: I didn't know the name Peter Mokoena because that's the name he used inside the country but the one of Diseko I knew that one. He was a trained APLA member. If I remember very well he was deployed inside the country in 1987 and then he got injured some time in 1991 if I remember very well and he died in 1992 if my memory serves me well. If that is Diseko.
MR MBANDAZAYO: Now General, I would like you to dwell on the aspect of the question of repossession and the question of "criminality", whether you heard any policy on people who are alleged to be criminals. What was your policy with regard to those people and how did you deal with that?
GEN FIHLA: The starting point is that repossession is interlinked with criminality. It depends on the perspective from which one looks at it. It took us a long time firstly to accept the issue of repossession because the policy of APLA was that APLA should not find itself being involved in acts that could be called criminal. But after a long debate we then decided to say we are not criminals. That's how we coined the term repossession because we had to bring in a political connotation to that activity so that it is given a distinct identification which will be completely different from ordinary criminal activity.
After we had given it that terminology, we then decided that we were going to implement it and we were going to identify individuals who were going to do it. But the first mistake we committed was that - I remember the APLA commander used to say that you can't give this responsibility to a person who has never even stolen peaches at his early age because that person will not even know how to conduct this type of activity. By implication it meant that we had to identify people who had an inkling of what this activity was all about and therefore amongst our recruits who also came, when we recruited them, we tried to identify people with such a background to be able to undertake such an activity and that was partly our mistake because we in the process maybe lost command and control because we didn't create a structure, we just appointed these individuals and gave them that responsibility. This is basically the background on how we were identifying individuals who were supposed to perform this function.
GEN FIHLA: Not too sure whether I'll be implicating them but because you are requesting me to do so, as long as they are protected I'll mention one. I remember the case of comrade Borofski. I was there in Zimbabwe when we gave him that responsibility and clear instructions and we also gave him, if I remember very well, it was two scorpion pistols and ammunition as well. That is one example I can mention.
MR MBANDAZAYO: Chairperson, Borofski Maselela once applied for amnesty but he withdrew it because he was released on parole. He came in I think 1998 here, he said he's no longer interested in continuing with the application. The person he is mentioning was Borofski Maselela.
MR MBANDAZAYO: Now General, can you expand on this question of anarchy? I understand that you sent Maseko so that you could co-ordinate the whole thing so that it can be structured and there is a line of command, they'd report and you'd have control of the Repossession Units. Now you indicated that it was started in 1981. Now you tasked this to individuals. Can you tell us whether the other APLA units which were involved in offensive unit were also involved in Repossession Units?
GEN FIHLA: That is true. Basically the whole issue of repossession nearly got out of hand in the sense that firstly even other units that were not supposed to perform the function ended up performing the function. Units which were supposed to be specifically for operations, units which were supposed to specifically for ordinance. I think this is how also Vincent Mama was entangled into this and then it became necessary that there must be a clear line of demarcation so that the units that are involved in operations should confine themselves to operations. But this also became a little bit difficult to control in the sense that if a unit was for operations and that unit is say, happens to attack a farmer, now when they see money where they're supposed to leave it because they are not part of a Repossession Unit, that became a problem. If the commander sees that maybe this Fidelity Guard vehicle can be attacked and money could be obtained from them, was he not supposed to take initiative? That became a problem as well. But our wish was that they were supposed to get clear distinction between units that were conducting operations and units that would repossess.
Secondly, the other aspect of other became because some of the individuals tended to be corrupted which is true by the mere exposure to such resources as money and vehicles. Even some of the people who were deployed in Zimbabwe, I think it was 1983, 1984, who were supposed to be the co-ordinators of this activity ended up being richer than the organisation itself. They were driving cars which the commander of APLA was not driving. They were staying in houses which even the chairman of the PAC could not afford and this is basically the anarchy that concerned us and we were not sure whether these people were becoming rich because of the money that was supposed to come to the organisation or not. This is why then we felt a needed to have full control of such an activity.
GEN FIHLA: Sometimes they wouldn't that's why I'm referring to the individuals who were stationed in Harare who were supposed to be the co-ordinators of this activity. They ended up driving more cars than APLA had in Zimbabwe for instance.
MR MBANDAZAYO: Now let's come now to this question of Maseko. After he came inside the country did these individuals continue with these operations, those who have been operating, those they were not structured and where were they supposed to report to?
GEN FIHLA: I think the whole problem with restructuring would not have taken just one year, it needed to take a lot of time or a long time relatively. In the first place I think the mistake we also committed was that some of the people that were deployed were not introduced to Thapelo. This is one mistake which I see possibly we committed as well ourselves. Like if I listen to the evidence of Thapelo, I don't think he knew this Diseko. As far as he was concerned Diseko was just one of the people who were inside the country and that he was somebody who came from outside. And I think the gap as well was created by the fact that Diseko was deployed inside the country in 1987 and if I remember very well that is the exact year in which Thapelo arrived in Dar-es-Salaam, if I'm not mistaken. So they never met outside the borders of the R.S.A. So that's why maybe there was that gap in between.
But secondly, as well, our structure on the ground was so - that's why we had to restructure the directorate of operations because initially it was under Banishla Kwayo, but then we realised a lot of structural problems. Then Siayo was appointed into that post then still there were a lot of structural problems. Then Lethlapa Mpahlele was appointed to head the directorate of operations to be able to restructure operations and activities on the ground.
GEN FIHLA: I only saw him today but if maybe I had an opportunity to refer to the list of the APLA prisoners which we have, I'm not too sure if his name is not there. So if I had that opportunity we could refer to the list of APLA prisoners and check if his name is not there.
MR MOOIJ: Now seeing that you went into the whole objective of these Repossession Units, you mentioned that they were formed during the early 1980s. Now my question to you is this, seeing that in February of 1990, political parties who were unbanned, there could be free political activity, is there any justification under those circumstances for an organisation such as yours to continue with what would otherwise be called criminal activities in order to raise funds?
GEN FIHLA: The official APLA position was that whatever was happening inside the country in the form of negotiations was irrelevant. This is why APLA continued with this operation until as early as 1994. We only took an official decision to stop with operations I think late in 1993 when we also persuaded the PAC leadership to participate in the negotiations. But one problem that we also had at that time when we took that decision was to communicate that decision to our units on the ground. So it took us up to the middle of 1994 to could safely say we had communicated that decision which was taken in 1993. So if any operation took place in 1992 it still fell within the scope of APLA policy.
MR MOOIJ: But General, your policy from a military point of view is one thing but when it comes to - you could obviously before 1990, you could not raise money in South Africa legitimately for an unbanned organisation. Once it became unbanned, surely there were legitimate avenues open to an organisation such as yourself, to raise funds anywhere, either here or abroad? There was no need to resort to crime against innocent organisations and their employees in order to get money?
GEN FIHLA: In fact the contrary is true. Prior to 1992 it was a little bit easier to get more money because the international organisations that were supporting the PAC and therefore APLA were prepared to provide resources and money but after Mr de Klerk's speech of 1992 a lot of such organisations and governments became sceptical and doubtful on whether they would be doing a service to the South African political situation if they contributed funds to the PAC. So the requirement for more funds became even more important to APLA.
MR MOOIJ: General, I want to ask you about the management controls that existed within your organisation when it comes to the control of funds and especially receiving them from these units. Would you tell the Committee about those controls, how you would control the funds coming from various units?
GEN FIHLA: Like I indicate, funds were only coming from two units. Firstly it is the Repossession Unit and secondly from the Logistics Unit. Now the Logistics Unit basically was not expected to submit funds in the form of cash but their function was to provide the logistics, as you know logistics, things like vehicle, things like drugs, medicines, clothing and so on and the Repossession Unit was expected to provide funds in the form of cash. The directorate that was responsible for that was the directorate of logistics and the various units had their heads. The Repossession Units were under Thapelo Maseko.
GEN FIHLA: They didn't have anything to do with the PAC finance department. The PAC used to provide funds through the commander of APLA and the commander of APLA alone through his Chief of Staff where those funds would be channelled.
MR MOOIJ: If I could perhaps in order just to clarify this issue, General, as far as the raising of funds and certainly the other things that you mentioned, what's the responsibility of the logistics department, from a PAC perspective? Would all these activities, the logistics and the fund raising through the Repossession Units, would that be exclusively within the domain of APLA?
GEN FIHLA: That is correct but the problem that arose was when we created a task force for the PAC. Now a task force was structure which we created purely for security reasons in the PAC and these are the people who were trained militarily. But the purpose of training them was just purely for security reasons. And then a problem arose because the members of the task force ended up conducting APLA operations. So that's how some of the PAC activities ended up being intertwined with APLA activities.
MR MOOIJ: General, I understood your evidence earlier by way of analogy when you explained the problem, you said what would happen if there was an operation aimed at a farm, for instance, and then the monies were found and what would they do with it. That I understand but it still was exclusively APLA's business to conduct these repossession things so the robberies and that, that were done specifically to generate money, that was only for APLA?
GEN FIHLA: We sat down and discussed that issue extensively. I think it was after a few experiences as well. One such an experience is when I think it was members in the Transkei who had repossessed some funds and because in the house they were occupying had no furniture, then they decided to go and buy furniture for the house which house belonged to APLA. But that had a serious breach of security. What they did I think they went and bought furniture worth over R48 000 cash and when they went to buy that furniture they were wearing dirty overalls and the first impression they created to the manager of that furniture shop was that the cash they were paying with was fake and the manager was a bit worried and he called the police. When the police came that completely compromised that operation, it led to the arrest of the members. Now we draw from such experiences, we then decided that before members can decide to spend monies, they must first report to them so that the proper way of expending such funds could be implemented. But this also became difficult to implement as well because some of the operatives conducted such operations without funds and then they decided to take the initiative and spend some of the funds for things like food and so on. So in the final analysis, it also depended on the explanations they were giving and the amounts that they claimed that they had obtained from such operations.
Now if, for instance, that's why we took the decision that anything above R3000 needs to be declared because we found it to ridiculous to say if people tried to rob something they got R600 and they have no food and then they must first take that money to somebody before they could buy food.
MR MOOIJ: To your knowledge did Mr Moti or Mr Peter Mokoena or his name is also Diseko at the time, ever account to you or anybody else in your command for money that they obtained through repossessions?
MR MOOIJ: General, are you aware of any organisations or criminal groups operating in South Africa during the period say 1990 to 1993 under the guise of the PAC or APLA where this was in fact not the case at all?
GEN FIHLA: In my capacity as director for intelligence, this is one of the things I was tasked to look at because the whole responsibility that APLA had was that we needed to take responsibility for our actions. Initially we had a policy not to claim our operations but later on we realised that we were doing ourselves a disservice in the sense that if we didn't claim the operations other organisations claimed to them and therefore people thought that APLA was not doing anything.
And secondly, we realised that anybody could do anything in the name of APLA. A lot of other activities which would have been a inimical to APLA's position were taking place, things like rape and so on and the people who conducted such activities would leave graffiti on the walls saying "APLA was here". Then we decided that we'll try and take full responsibility and claim our operations. So definitely there were some of the incidents or criminal activities or any other activities you might call it which could have been conducted in the name of APLA, yes.
GEN FIHLA: We had a structure to claim responsibility as well. In this meeting where we took this decision we said the people who will take full responsibility to claim such operations will be the APLA operatives themselves. Our main reason for that was that some of High Command members who seemed to enjoy a lot of publicity merely compromised some of our operatives on the ground because when an official position came that such an operation was undertaken by APLA then they would immediately publish that without considering the security implications on the operatives on the ground. We then decided to give that responsibility to the unit commanders themselves to take that responsibility. That's why there was this one popular name called the ...(indistinct) because that person was given full responsibility to claim whatever operation they deemed fit for security reasons to claim.
GEN FIHLA: It would lie with Mr Maseko, it would also lie with the Director of Operations because it had other implications. If I can make one example as well. In one incident, I think it was in Pimville, a unit conducted an operation at a place adjacent to where the Director of Operations was staying and the problem was that they didn't know that the Director of Operations was in that particular vicinity. Now if they had claimed responsibility for that particular operation that could have jeopardised his presence in that particular area. So that's why we said the discretion remained with the operatives on the ground themselves.
MR MOOIJ: But just to clarify, General, when I asked you about Mr Maseko, would it lie - would the people reporting to him, in other words the people below him in the chain of command, would they have the right to make claims on behalf of APLA?
MR MOOIJ: General, where persons involved in these activities, these repossession activities, when they were arrested and they were tried in court for that, would that then come to APLA's knowledge invariably?
MR MOOIJ: So if - let me ask you another question, if these operations were carried out and under the authority of APLA or under the authority, can find it more, the Repossession Unit and the people were arrested and tried therefore, would you have knowledge thereof?
GEN FIHLA: What I'm trying to say is I would know about APLA operations through the Director of Operations. This is why we compiled a list of our prisoners because we had a policy that all the members of APLA who were in prison and their operations for which they have been convicted were supposed to be reported, it was. Then through that mechanism I would know.
General, regarding your evidence especially the evidence concerning the examples that you mentioned of the people in Zimbabwe and so on, where people were doing things which they were supposed to do on behalf of the organisation or under the guise of the organisation and they did that, the true facts then showed that they were not doing that on behalf of the PAC or they were not carrying out their duties, in other words they were doing it to enrich themselves. How would, in your opinion, it affect that, in terms of you tried to draw the distinction between normal criminality and criminality where it was involving a political aspect. Now where those people acted outside of their mandate or acted - the only one who benefited were themselves, how would that fall into your distinction that you drew?
GEN FIHLA: I didn't say they were the only ones who benefited. The organisation continued to benefit but our worry was, was the organisation benefiting the way it was supposed to benefit and I said it as well that unfortunately when you deal with things like money it is very difficult to say then the most genuine people cannot be tempted. That's why we can talk about Dr Boesak today, the whole ...(indistinct), it doesn't mean that because of what he has been convicted for. He was not a politician but when a person is exposed to money temptation comes in but that temptation does not then nullify who that person is, that's basically what I was trying to say.
MR MOOIJ: I appreciate that, General, but what remains is this, is that in terms of the jurisdiction of this commission, this Committee, an act has to fall within, any act performed, in order to qualify for amnesty, it has to fall within certain clearly defined parameters.
MR MOOIJ: Now where person says he is doing this on behalf of the PAC or on behalf of APLA and this is not the case at all, or partially so, does he then in your opinion fall within the ambit of, that he can come here and say I did this for the PAC and therefore I'm entitled to amnesty?
GEN FIHLA: I think you are putting me in a difficult position if I'm to express an opinion. What I want to do here is to express facts and not opinions because my problem would be if a person conducts such an act and he gets one million and he decides to take R50 000 from that one million and use it for his personal benefit and give R150 000 to the organisation, how will I classify that? Now it will be based on my morals to say he should not even have taken a cent and I wouldn't like therefore to express my opinion on the basis of morals. I would like to excuse myself from that question.
MR MOOIJ: Certainly, Chairperson, it's also neither for you or for myself to usurp the functions of this Committee. I'm not trying to do that at all but you made a clear distinction. You said there's criminality, especially when it comes to robberies and that but there is also another side to that and that is when it's done for purposes of politics and it's justified. That was our starting point and that is why I asked you this question.
Now like in this case, for instance, Mr Maseko gave evidence and he said that the operation was being planned by other people, not Maseko. He then came, he got involved and then the whole emphasis changed and the money was going to go to the PAC. Do you remember that evidence?
MR MOOIJ: Now what would be then the situation from a PAC perspective or an APLA perspective of the other people who were performing this operation but who were not part of the unit, of the Repossession Unit?
GEN FIHLA: The APLA position was that we were going to take full responsibility for any member who conducted whatever act or activity on behalf of APLA. If any member conducted activities on his or her own behalf, then APLA would not be held responsible. That was an APLA official position.
CHAIRPERSON: That's exactly the problem, Mr Mooij. I don't want to keep the General here any longer than it's absolutely necessary. I had actually intended to finish off his testimony before I adjourn so what I'm prepared to do is to give you a few moments to look at your notes. I certainly intend to take an hour's adjournment and to come back here and to listen to two questions when we could have finished his testimony.
MR MOOIJ: I understand, Chairperson, but especially in view of the list that the General will attempt to find over the lunch hour, I'd like to peruse that before I conclude my questions to the General.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, well I don't know if that makes much difference to his testimony. I thought that that was something that he will see if he can lay his hands on and then present to the Committee at which stage you can have a look at it if you wanted to and if it's necessary, if you can persuade us that there is something that the General must come and clarify in regard to the list then of course we can consider that. If you are telling me that you're virtually at the end of your cross-examination and as usually happens you want to make sure that you've covered everything, then of course I'm prepared to give you a brief opportunity to do that but you know, if you're saying that we must take an hour's adjournment and you might come back and ask two questions then of course, you know, I wouldn't be very keen to do that.
CHAIRPERSON: Well, you know, you're not in a court, I must remind you unfortunately. As I've said to you, look we are working under time constraints. We started late this morning, we've got a responsibility to everybody who has an interest in these proceedings and unfortunately, you know, these sort of conventions don't really bind us completely. So if it's 1 o'clock and you've got one question, I'm not going to adjourn till 2 to allow you to come back and ask a question, so please understand that and try and assist us. I'm trying to be difficult with you, I'm asking you to assist.
General, to return to the question of the list. Now you explained about the sensitivity of certain of these operations in that it could compromise the security of various of your members. Now with an operation such as the Repossession Unit, where people carrying out those functions were arrested, let's say only some of them were arrested and others got away, then surely their security would be at risk. Now did you compile the list that you referred to at the time when the people were arrested or when they were tried or was a list compiled at a much later date, say for instance when they applied for amnesty?
GEN FIHLA: The list was fully compiled because what happened is we had the documentation for operations. Unfortunately most of that documentation was confiscated by the police when they raided our house in Umtata because we were incidenting all the operations that we were undertaking because our aim was to keep archives for APLA history and APLA activities. Unfortunately those documents were confiscated. But subsequent to that, what we tried and did in 1994 when we integrated, because this list was also mostly driven by fact that we wanted to make sure that all genuine APLA members are recognised for what they did and also that they should be given an opportunity also to be integrated. So then we started recompiling it again in 1994.
GEN FIHLA: Yes tasked them, General Mkwaneni who moved around the prisons as well to see the APLA members who were in prison and also to make sure that all those were in prison also were catered for because our driving force like as I'm saying was the integration process.
GEN FIHLA: We tried to reconcile that list because our whole aim was to confirm that the people who were in that list were genuine APLA members because we were concerned as well that there could be other people who could claim to be APLA members so we made an attempt. I'm not too sure whether that attempt was watertight but we did make an attempt to make sure that the people who would be put into that list are genuine APLA members. We did make that attempt.
GEN FIHLA: That's why I said we had a problem with the task force which we established for the PAC because officially and clinically speaking, those members were not APLA members but unfortunately because they began to recognise themselves to be APLA members by virtue of the training that were given to them, then they started conducting operations. The APLA High Command, they had to take a decision on that one, then we decided and said those task force members who wanted to be involved in APLA operations then can be involved in APLA operations as long as they will conduct those operations under the command structure of APLA, not on their own.
MR MOOIJ: Will it be safe to say, General, that the list, if a person who claims to be involved in repossession activities on behalf of the PAC, if his name does not appear on that list that you mentioned, would it then be safe to say that the probabilities are very strong that that person was not performing any of those, say robberies, for instance, on behalf of APLA?
GEN FIHLA: Specifically Maseko was not deployed for repossession, he was deployed for operations. Now that's why I'm saying I don't know how he got linked up with Maseko and repossessions. When he was deployed in 1987 he was specifically deployed for operations.
MS MTANGA: And then in the event where people who worked with Diseko, that is his unit members, in the event they were arrested. Would their names, for any commanders - let's leave Diseko. Would any commander who died before 1994 and where people were arrested and were working with him and doing things on behalf of APLA, how would your command ensure that these people would be included in the list?
GEN FIHLA: Basically, two departments would be responsible. The first department is that of operations because the Director of Operations is supposed to account for the members that were under his department who were conducting operations, whether they'd be in repossession or whatever, as long as they were responsible for operations.
Then the second department that would be accountable was that of personnel because the Directorate of Personnel was supposed to account for any personnel losses or increases or any changes in the personnel structure of APLA. So those were the two departments.
MS MTANGA: In relation to the APLA policy what would be the status of operations carried out by Diseko, specifically repossession operations, what would be their status in the event where in the circumstances now that he never reported to Maseko and he was never tasked with repossessions?
GEN FIHLA: There are two probabilities. The first one is that if he conducted such operations for his personal gain, then that would not have been done on behalf of APLA and if he was arrested or anything but have happened to have been him, APLA would not take responsibility for that. But if he shall have done that on behalf of the organisation despite the fact that he went outside his mandate to conduct operations, APLA will still take responsibility but with the necessary caution. Like I made an example that we had a problem despite the fact that we'd given the units clear instructions not to participate in other units' responsibilities but it became difficult for us to say to a unit when it comes across money whether they should take it or not. So that was the problem we had.
MS MTANGA: General Fihla, we have an application by Mr Moti where he is applying for several repossession operations, where huge amounts of money were obtained and my question now is, if these monies were not accounted to Maseko who was the head of the Repossession Unit, wouldn't this have come to the knowledge of the APLA command in another way?
GEN FIHLA: It would depend on who their commander was at that time if they were conducting those operations on behalf of APLA and secondly whether that commander of theirs was reporting to Maseko or was reporting to Mpahlele or was reporting to the ...(indistinct). I'm talking about in Zimbabwe, because we had cases of members having brought in a lot of goods to the organisation outside but those goods never reached the organisation but the people inside the country did bring those goods. Now it becomes a problem now to say the person who got the goods to these people outside and the people decided to use these goods for their own goods, now whether we'll say a person did not report this thing. Now it becomes a problem.
Now by saying this, I'm not saying my colleague here did that, because I was not involved and I don't know of his operations but I'm just trying to give some of the problems that we had. The fellows I spoke about in Harare specifically who became richer than the organisation itself, is because they were receiving some of these things and receiving them on behalf of the organisation but they never submitted them to the organisation themselves. So those are the problems that were there but definitely such booty, if it was obtained, it was supposed to be submitted to the organisation.
MS MTANGA: My last question to you General, the list that you have referred to, you indicated that you have a name of a person and the incidence that he is in prison for or convicted for, am I correct?
GEN FIHLA: The incidence might not necessarily be put but the list, because that is an official list which was given also to the Chief of the SANDF, so when it comes it can also be collaborated with the list that is in possession to the Chief of the South African Defence Force because it was submitted for purposes of securing the members who were in prison so that they could gain access as well to the integration process.
GEN FIHLA: That's why I'm giving it 95 percent. There was no way we could possibly be 100 percent correct but we tried our best to try and move around and check the people who were in prison and also tried to talk to the people who were responsible for operations for them to confirm whether they knew such people or not. We tried our best but there is still the possibility of that 5 percent.
Now on the last aspect, General, you indicated that there were people - goods were received from inside and were given to people, some in Harare and they did not declare them to the organisation. Would the ordinary cadres on the ground who were performing these tasks on behalf of the organisation know that these goods were not handed over to the relevant structures and used for the benefit of the organisation?
GEN FIHLA: They wouldn't know. I remember when I met Vincent Mama, he asked me about two vehicles which he didn't see at our office in Harare but when he spoke to me about it, those vehicles, I knew those vehicles but they were belonging to individuals. Only then did the organisation know that these vehicles were actually sent to Harare to be used by the organisation, not by the individuals. So that indicated that the members on the ground might not have suddenly known that the monies they give to certain individuals did not reach the coffers of the organisation.