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Type AMNESTY COMMITTEE
Starting Date 20 September 1999
Names JOHANNES ALBERTUS STEYN
Matter MURDER OF GOODWILL SIKHAKHANE
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, may it please you and the Honourable Members of the Committee. My name is Louis Visser, I act on behalf of Gen Steyn, instructed by Wagener and Muller of Pretoria, Chairperson. May I come shortly to the documents handed up to you.
CHAIRPERSON: I've glanced at his affidavit and I see reference in it to some previous affidavit. I have one before me, dated the 3rd of June 1999, which has an annexure A and which is a statement by him. Is that the one referred to?
MR WAGENER: Mr Chairman, that is one of the previous affidavits, one of the three previous affidavits. Mr Chairman, while I'm at the word, I've taken the liberty of putting before you the present affidavit by Gen Engelbrecht.
MR SCHOLTZ: As it pleases, Mr Chairman, my names is Johan Scholtz from the Pietermaritzburg Bar, I represent the family of the deceased, in particular Les Petersen, who is the mother of the two minor children of the deceased.
MR VISSER: May it please you, Mr Chairman. Mr Chairman, if you will allow me just a few references before we start. May we request, Chairperson, that the Exhibit A which we're handing in to the Committee, the general background to amnesty applications, can serve again in this amnesty application as Exhibit A. Chairperson, as far as that exhibit is concerned, you will recall that the previous amnesty hearings which you attended in Durban, there were two other exhibits added, Exhibits B and C, dealing solely with Operation Vula. We don't believe, Chairperson, that they are materially relevant to the present application, but obliquely as they may be relevant, they may also be taken into account obviously. We don't believe also, Mr Chairman with respect, that it's necessary to mark them exhibit numbers again, so that this whole bundle might perhaps serve before you as Exhibit A.
Then perhaps Chairperson, the statement by Gen Steyn which has been handed up to you, could possibly be marked Exhibit B, Chairperson, and perhaps for the sake of good housekeeping you might wish to mark the affidavit handed in by Mr Wagener of Gen Engelbrecht, as Exhibit C and that would I think, mark all the exhibits which are presently placed before you.
Chairperson, then we have two bundles, the one is the original bundle and then there's a supplementary bundle. May I enquire whether you wish to mark them bundles 1 and 2 or just leave them as they are.
MR VISSER: The one is headed "Index" and it contains the extracts of the applications of the applicants, Chairperson, it's the thickish one. Perhaps that could be marked bundle 1. Then there is a supplementary bundle containing as it does, only the evidence of Mrs Petersen, Chairperson, the evidence given by her in the de Kock trial. She was the customary wife of the deceased in this matter.
And then perhaps, Mr Chairman, as far as bundle 2 is concerned, may I just draw your attention to one single matter and that concerns the identification of the deceased, Mr Goodwill Sikhakhane. In the TRC bundle he is described as Goodwill Colleen, spelt C-o-l-l-e-e-n Sikhakhane, whilst at bundle 2, page 1, Mrs Petersen gives various names for this gentleman, but the important thing, Chairperson, that I want to draw your attention to is the fact that she refers to him as Collin, C-o-l-l-i-n and not Colleen. I don't believe that there's any issue or dispute about the identification, Chairperson, but it might just be noted that he is referred to both as Collin as well as Colleen.
CHAIRPERSON: I don't know about the rest of you, but certainly in the bundle 2 that I have been given, it is almost impossible to read the last three lines on each page. But I don't think it really affects matters, but if anybody is going to refer to a passage from those, perhaps we'd better try to make an effort to get that printed more clearly.
Chairperson, and then there appears to be some pages missing in bundle 1. Perhaps I can draw your attention to the fact that pages 203 to page 208 inclusive, are not included. We don't know what they say.
MR LAMEY: Chairperson, may I just come on record here. I've just discovered that I have not received the supplementary bundle relating to this hearing, I wonder if the Evidence Leader perhaps has another copy. And then perhaps just through you, Chairperson, to Mr Wagener, if he has an additional copy available of the general background. I was not part of the previous hearing where that was perhaps introduced as an exhibit.
ADV STEENKAMP: Mr Chairman, I've noticed those pages are missing, I do apologise for that. I have already made arrangements for those pages to be copied and handed to Mr Wagener and the rest of the legal representatives who are missing those documents' pages. Thank you, Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: My attention has been drawn to the fact that the Panel has changed since last week, so we should put on record the Panel. I am the Chairman of the Panel, Judge Wilson, and sitting with me are Mr Sibanyoni, who has been on the previous Panel and Mr Lax, who is joining the Panel today.
MR VISSER: You are applying for amnesty with regard to the death of one, Collin Goodwill Sikhakhane, and your application can be found in bundle 1, from pages 153 to 194 and where the incident is discussed by you on page 162 to 172, is that correct?
MR VISSER: Would you please address the Committee from page 2, with regard to the background of the command structure at the time of this incident and then the facts with regard to the matter itself please.
GEN STEYN: Chairperson, in January 1987 I became the Divisional Commander of the Security Branch Port Natal. At all relevant times there was a Terrorism Unit in Durban, which among others consisted of three sections, namely the Investigative Unit, the Intelligence Unit, under command of Col Botha and the Terrorist Detection Unit, under command of Col Andy Taylor.
As such Taylor was in command of a number of askaris who were stationed at an operational centre on a farm near Camperdown, Pietermaritzburg, but he was also the overall commander of the entire Terrorism Unit.
Chairperson, in my amnesty application I have referred to the date of the death of Sikhakhane as approximately the end of 1990, beginning 1991. I have noted that the TRC on a cover page of a bundle which has been prepared by them, places the date at the 29th of January 1991, and I accept it as such.
By approximately October/November 1990, Col Taylor from the Security Branch Durban, informed me that he was experiencing problems with the behaviour and conduct of Goodwill Sikhakhane. Col Taylor referred to the drinking problem which Sikhakhane had and that at times he had been absent without leave from the centre, and that he had received complaints that Sikhakhane was assaulting his wife and not maintaining her appropriately. Col Taylor was of the opinion that if Sikhakhane's unacceptable behaviour were to continue as such, despite numerous warnings, he may become a security risk.
As a result of this information I requested Taylor to speak to Sikhakhane in order to save the situation. Indeed, I myself went to speak to Sikhakhane at Camperdown, regarding his problems. I addressed him very seriously and warned him against repetition of such behaviour. Furthermore, I indicated to him that with this unacceptable behaviour and particularly the excessive use of strong liquor, he ran the risk of exposing secret operations which were being planned or were planned, as well as the identities of informers and this could hold very grave consequences. His own life and the lives of his colleagues were also jeopardised.
With the exception of the aforementioned, there was also the risk that Sikhakhane could expose his knowledge of the arrest of an activist, Charles Ndaba. The latter mentioned was murdered by Security Branch members under my command. This particular deed has been the subject of another amnesty application forum, about which I've already given evidence.
MR VISSER: Just a moment please, General. Mr Chairman, my learned friend, Mr Hattingh, has no knowledge of the other amnesty application and I undertook to give a very, very brief accord of what occurred there, with your leave Chairperson, in a few sentences if I may.
Chairman, it transpired that Mr Charles Ndaba was alleged to have been an informer of Col Hentie Botha since 1988. He was arrested in July of 1990, by Mr Ninela and as it turned out later, also by Mr Goodwill Sikhakhane. Thereafter, Chairperson, one issue led to another and Mr Mbuso Shabalala was also arrested. That took place around the 7th of July. And because of various circumstances and considerations, both Mr Ndaba and Mr Shabalala were eliminated by Col Botha and some of the members of the Durban Security Branch under his orders.
GEN STEYN: Chairperson, if Goodwill were to expose his knowledge with regard to this, it could lead to an investigation which could lead to the procurement of new facts or further information regarding the matter.
GEN STEYN: If this were to happen, it would necessarily lead to a full-scale official investigation with the accompanying risks for me and certain other members under my command. And as I have already stated, if this were to be made public, the negotiations at that stage and the interests of the government at that stage, would have been affected.
GEN STEYN: I also addressed him regarding his periodic absence without leave from the centre and particularly because he, if he was confronted, could not provide an acceptable explanation and was indeed vague regarding his movements.
After a few days I was informed by Col Taylor that the warnings issued by me and Col Taylor had not produced the desired effect, seeing as he had once again left the centre without leave. Consequently, I issued the order to Col Taylor to monitor his movements.
After this, Col Taylor once again visited me and expressed his concern that Sikhakhane's behaviour, as reported to him, created the fear that he may be performing a double role. As a result of this, Col Taylor gave Sikhakhane disinformation.
GEN STEYN: This disinformation was apparently given by Sikhakhane to the ANC in Swaziland, because it was confirmed by means of the Security Branch's information network in Swaziland. We then knew that Sikhakhane was a double-agent.
GEN STEYN: He informed me and added that Sikhakhane, after his defection, had not provided any noteworthy information to Vorster's unit. An affidavit by Col Vorster can be found in the bundle of documents, pages 191 to 193.
GEN STEYN: What was of concern at that stage was the fact that it was already known to the Security Branch that the ANC had agents in the Security Branch in Durban, during a time when acts of terrorism, including AK47 guns and handgrenades were still prevalent. The suspicion of moles or informers in the Durban Security Branch, was then also confirmed by Mr Mac Maharaj during cross-examination in the Ndaba and Shabalala amnesty application.
MR VISSER: If I may interrupt you once again. During a previous amnesty hearing which was heard under the Chairpersonship of the current Chairperson, during November last year, a document was submitted and this document was a collation of acts of terrorism which was maintained by Col Taylor and members of the Security Branch in Durban, is that correct?
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, you will recall it was the document that was retyped, with Col Taylor's incidents which he kept note of. It was an informal diary and that served as Exhibit A at the last hearing, Chairperson.
MR VISSER: Yes. No. I'm referring to the amnesty applications which you heard in November 1998, when this document was handed up. Chairperson, I don't want to burden the record in the present application with that, save merely to refer you to the fact that there was an index that was handed up. Now this we will make copies of if there is a facility available, merely to show, Chairperson, that the incidents did not diminish in 1990, but in fact increased.
MR VISSER: I must apologise, Chairperson, I wasn't present last week, so I wouldn't be aware of that. My attorney tells me it's not the same thing. But Mr Chairman, we will make a copy of this index and it will show that, if I may quickly read through them
MR LAX: Sorry, Mr Visser, just for my benefit. I've not actually seen this document originally, other than it having been referred to peripherally, and what incidents of violence are these that are being referred to? Where the use of AK47s and handgrenades are involved or ...?
MR VISSER: Yes, they're general incidents of violence. There is a tendency in the mid-'80s, Chairperson, to reply to the question, where there were a lot of bombings and towards the end of 1998/beginning of '89, the tendency had changed somewhat to attacks on people with firearms and with handgrenades. There were less bombings. In fact, we heard that evidence already at the last hearing where Commissioner Lax was also involved, Chairman.
MR VISSER: That's the only point I wish to make, Chairperson. And that of course is the, I think, what you referred us to in the "Other Side of the Story", at page 183, Chairperson, that is what that indicates.
GEN STEYN: Chairperson, in light of the aforementioned, the behaviour and conduct of Sikhakhane posed such a serious threat and danger, that the lives of certain Security Branch members and the lives of certain informers would also be jeopardised.
Chairperson, in support of the ANC/SACP's attitude and the steps which they took against persons who were identified as informers or persons who were suspected of collaborating with the police, the following is provided: ...(intervention)
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, with your leave, I'm not going to ask the witness to read through it, it speaks for itself, it is merely to accentuate the danger in which people who were regarded as informers found themselves during that time, Chairperson. And with your leave, I would like to skip that and leave that for you to read for yourself if you wish to do so, and go on with paragraph 18, at page 6.
GEN STEYN: Chairperson, the information regarding the arrest of Ndaba, which Sikhakhane knew of, if it were to be provided to the ANC, would have held extensive consequences for the involved members, the SAP, the government and the National Party.
After thorough consideration further discussions with Col Taylor and in protection of aforementioned interests, I decided that Sikhakhane had to be eliminated and I stated it as such to Taylor. I also stated that external aid would have to be used in order to accomplish this.
GEN STEYN: Chairperson, if something were to go wrong, then it would be easier if someone from the outside had done it, instead of someone from one's own premises. This was with the objective of security.
With the exception of what has been stated above with regard to the murder of Sikhakhane and my involvement therein, I did not report these events in terms of the legal requirements. It was not done for obviously reason, and as such I have made myself guilty of defeating the ends of justice.
I have read the amnesty application and an affidavit of Col de Kock, dated the 6th November 1996, as well as the evidence given by Col de Kock in mitigation of sentence during his criminal trial. Col de Kock refers to a discussion that he had with me in the Security Head Office, Pretoria, during which the elimination of Sikhakhane was discussed.
I can recall that on many occasions I had discussions with Mr de Kock regarding work matters, when I visited Security Head Office and found him there. I confirm his evidence, that he and I have always maintained a favourable relationship with each other. Consequently, it is possible that a conversation took place between us regarding Sikhakhane, although I cannot recall the particular occasion and the precise content of the discussion. However, I do not know about the allegation that Sikhakhane had problems in being appointed as a member of the SAP.
Furthermore, during such a discussion I would have mentioned that Sikhakhane, according to your knowledge, had already performed a double role and that this was the primary reason for his planned elimination.
Chairperson, it may also be that he requested, and that is Mr de Kock, that he requested me to clear the action with the Head of C-Section, that would be Brig van Rensburg or Gen Engelbrecht. What I can say with conviction is that I would not have done that. In not one single incident during which I issued orders for illegal action, did I ever request the approval of Security Head Office. And as such, I never reported back to the Security Head Office after such action. I also have no recollection of the telephone calls to which Col de Kock has referred, consequently I cannot deny it either.
In explanation of my political motivations for my action, I submit with respect that at all times I acted in the execution of my duties in the service of the SAP. My action was aimed at protecting the government and the National Party. I truly believed that such action was expected of me and that my action fell within the scope of my express or implied authorisation, especially due to the pressure which was placed on us in the Security Branch, by the political leadership of the time to use all means at our disposal in order to combat the revolutionary onslaught.
Although serious negotiations were already underway between the government and the political groupings within the country and despite the statement made by the ANC that it had suspended the armed struggle, all signs still indicated that supporters of the ANC were continuing with the armed struggle.
Furthermore, I regarded the successful completion of the government in the negotiation process, as part of the struggle and I wanted to place the government and the National Party in the strongest possible position of negotiation in order to enable them to negotiate from a position of strength.
MR VISSER: You then request amnesty for the murder of Mr Sikhakhane, as well as any minor offence which may emanate from the facts and circumstances, such as conspiracy, aiding and accessory, defeating the ends of justice or any other offence or inappropriate deed which may lead from this, is that correct?
CHAIRPERSON: Well last week we were asked to do it at eleven, I don't know what the time arrangements are here, but it might be a convenient stage. I would remind all of you gentlemen that we would like a detailed list of the applications for amnesty when you address us at the end of the hearing.
"At all relevant times there was a Terrorist Unit in Durban, which consisted of three sections namely, the Investigation Unit, the Intelligence Unit, under the command of Col Botha and then the Terrorist Detection Unit, under the command of Col Andy Taylor."
MR HATTINGH: Very well. Then I would like to arrive at the issue of Mr Ndaba and Mr Shabalala. You have to keep in mind that I was not involved with the applications for amnesty for those incidents, and I thank Mr Visser for the short summary he gave us about that, but these two gentlemen, Mr Shabalala and Ndaba were killed after they were arrested, is that correct?
MR HATTINGH: And if it came to light that the two gentlemen had been arrested by the Security Police and had been killed afterwards, it, as you have mentioned, would have created much uproar with dire consequences for the South African Police.
MR HATTINGH: General, are you aware that shortly after the establishment of Unit-C1 at Vlakplaas, written directives were sent out by head office to all Security Branches in the country with regard to the application of this unit.
MR HATTINGH: After this unit was established, C1 at Vlakplaas, directives were sent out to Security Branches of the Security Police, in which the commanders of those branches were told how to go about when they wanted to use this new unit.
MR HATTINGH: And a copy - and unfortunately I do not have one available here, but a copy of it was submitted by Gen le Roux to a Committee who investigated the death of Mr Maponya, and it formed part of those documents there. I would just like to put it to you that in one of those directives it was clearly stated that liaison should not be made directly with Vlakplaas, but that the commander of the branch who needed C1's services, had to contact head office to make arrangements in this regard.
MR HATTINGH: Because you see, Mr de Kock's recollection is that - and you say you cannot dispute it, that he had indeed asked you to liaise with Gen Engelbrecht, and you say it is possible that he asked this of you.
MR HATTINGH: Are you aware, and I assume you are aware because you have read Mr de Kock's application, that he had indeed after Mr Sikhakhane had been killed, had reported to Gen Engelbrecht and had expressly informed him that the man had been eliminated?
MR HATTINGH: Was there any reason why Gen Engelbrecht in this regard, had been kept in the dark? Because now he was no longer attached to Murder and Robbery Unit, he was now the commander of the C-Section, he was now in the inner circles of the Security Police. Was there any reason why you could not trust him and inform him in this regard?
GEN STEYN: Chairperson, the various incidents in which I have been involved for which I request amnesty, I think it is more than 14, and in all these acts where I acted illegally, I never enquired about permission beforehand and I never informed head office afterwards either.
MR HATTINGH: There is somewhat of a difference between the incidents for which you apply for amnesty and this incident. You must assist me, I do not have knowledge of the other incidents for which you apply for amnesty, but my impression is that the other for which you apply for amnesty are acts with which your own security division had been involved with.
MR HATTINGH: Are you also aware that the same written directive to which I have referred also determined that when C1's services are used by a specific branch of the Security Police, the men who had to execute this operation had to resort, for purposes of that operation, under the command of the branch who requested their services?
GEN STEYN: Chairperson, as I have said earlier, to take the blame away from your own people to someone else. One can for example, place your people on another scene on that evening while somebody else commits the deed.
"I can recall that on more than one occasion I had discussed with Mr de Kock, work incidents when I visited head office and when I met him there."
MR HATTINGH: And that the discussion would have been quite comprehensive? You see, what I'm getting at is, Mr de Kock, what he recalls about the conversation that you had with him is the danger that Mr Sikhakhane posed because of the fact that he could testify about Mr Ndaba and Mr Shabalala. This is what comes to the fore in his memory. He does not have such a vivid recollection thereof that there was mention made of the fact that Mr Sikhakhane had become a so-called double-agent. Do you have a clear recollection that you did discuss this with him?
GEN STEYN: As I've said Chairperson, I cannot place the conversation and I've already said that it is possible that I may have discussed this with Col de Kock. What I had furthermore said was that if I had discussed it with him and I cannot recall it, then I would have probably referred him to the double-agent story, if I understand the question correctly.
MR HATTINGH: He will not dispute it, but he does not have such a clear recollection that you told him about the double-agent, he could recall that it was very important that Goodwill Sikhakhane could supply information with regard to Mr Shabalala and Ndaba, and that you definitely told him.
MR HATTINGH: Let us just place it on a hypothetical basis. If you did discuss it with him and the subject of the discussion was Mr Sikhakhane, then it would be very probable that you have told him about the danger that existed that Mr Sikhakhane could supply information with regard to the disappearance of Messrs Shabalala and Ndaba.
GEN STEYN: Chairperson, only at a later stage did I become aware of it and I cannot recall when it was when Mr Sikhakhane also became involved, because for quite some time we were only aware, or only I was aware - I'm not saying my members under me, but I was aware that Mr Ninela had executed the arrest.
GEN STEYN: That's correct. When Ndaba was arrested I later surmised. Initially I knew that Ninela was involved in the arrest, but only at a later stage did I become aware that Goodwill Sikhakhane had also been involved.
MR HATTINGH: Very well. Did you ever have the opportunity of reading Mr de Kock's supplementary affidavit, which was dealt with in the very first cluster and which deals with Vlakplaas, did you have an opportunity to read that document?
MR HATTINGH: It is quite a hefty document, it is the one before me and in there he deals in general with the establishment of Vlakplaas and the purpose for which it was applied, and he deals with askaris and so forth. And he reaches the conclusion there that Vlakplaas was a sort of para-military operational unit of the Security Branch. Would you accord with that?
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR LAMEY: General, you have testified that you only later became aware that Sikhakhane was involved in the arrest. Did Col Taylor know that he was involved with that arrest, the arrest of Charles Ndaba?
MR LAMEY: May I just ask you as follows, would he not have gone the normal route that many of the askaris went, that eventually they could expect a more permanent appointment in the Force, and that this conduct, these problems were an obstacle for this course?
MR LAMEY: Because that is what Mr Nortje recalls. His recollection is that at a stage it was mentioned that he wanted an appointment and that Security Branch was not willing to give him an appointment and that he had threatened that he would disclose his knowledge with regard to the disappearance of MK members who had been involved with Operation Vula.
GEN STEYN: Chairperson, I was not aware of the problem which Mr Sikhakhane had had, because according to the evidence that I heard later, he could not receive a permanent appointment, I was not really aware of it.
MR LAMEY: And General, according to you as you have said in your application, you had no doubt that the problems which he had caused and with his knowledge of the arrest, that he was in a position to, he who was Sikhakhane could draw the conclusion that the Durban Security Branch had eliminated those two persons and that was a great security risk for the Security Branch in general and the members who had been involved there, as you have said, and then even in the broader sense, the government who was in a very sensitive stage busy with negotiations?
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY BY MR NEL: General, if I may refer you to Mr Taylor's application, which we will find in the bundle on page 143 and further, it would seem that the problem we have that Col Taylor discussed with you with regard to Sikhakhane was the fact that he was a double-agent ...(intervention)
MR LAX: Just one second, there's a problem with the sound, it's gone off for some reason or other. I'm not sure if someone has clicked the wrong switch off, but I can't hear anything in my earphones. It's back now, thank you.
Yes General as I have said, on page 143 of the bundle and on page 144, Col Taylor in his application sets out one, the Sikhakhane incident, and if I refer you to those pages it will seem that from his application that his problem with Sikhakhane was the fact that he was a double-agent.
GEN STEYN: No, Chairperson, I think he does mention it somewhere in his application. I suspect that I have read it, that he mentions it. And the only thing that he mentions about it is that he names Sikhakhane as a person who was involved with the arrest of Ndaba.
MR NEL: That is what I mean, yes. What I would like to ask you with regard to Hanton, were you aware that Mr Hanton, before he resorted under the command of Col Taylor, he had been a member of Vlakplaas?
MR CORNELIUS: And this directive which my learned colleague Mr Hattingh had referred to after the establishment of Vlakplaas which was sent to all the Heads of Security, also determined that these particular Heads of Security had to take responsibility for the actions of Vlakplaas in their areas.
MR CORNELIUS: The point I'm trying to make is that the political decision that Vlakplaas had to act, was taken by seniors before Vlakplaas had received the instruction. So the Head of Security in the area, as in your case, took the decision.
MR CORNELIUS: And then finally, you would agree that if the information had been disclosed by an askari, for example the names and identities of askaris, their addresses, registration numbers of their vehicles, that could endanger Vlakplaas.
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, I don't want to interfere, but the facts are not stated correctly. The whole of bundle 2 contains evidence by Mrs Petersen, to show that at the time when Sikhakhane disappeared they were living together in a flat, they were not living with the parents. I don't know whether anything turns on that, I just wanted to draw my learned friend's attention to that fact. She said, initially when they came from Swaziland, they stayed with Sikhakhane's mother, then they stayed for a few months with Sikhakhane's father, then they went to stay in a house and thereafter they went to live in a flat. That is what the evidence shows from page 1 right to the end of bundle 2, Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: I don't think Mr Visser is disputing that, what he disputing is that it appears from the statement, and that was my recollection, that he was living with Mrs or Ms Petersen, not at his parents.
GEN STEYN: Chairperson, I think there was a measure of control. I visited the place on one occasion when I went to speak to Mr Sikhakhane, if I recall correctly. I cannot say with certainty what the access control was like, especially if you want to refer to whether or not they would allow a person. I cannot place the premises properly, I'm unclear about that.
GEN STEYN: Chairperson, I'm not certain, but I think that it was upon more than one occasion. I think it was definitely more than one occasion that he had been away. In fact, I think it may have been three occasions.
MR SCHOLTZ: You see, my instructions are that during this period of time when he went home on weekends, he regularly reported when he was fetched on Monday mornings and that there were no instances of him being absent. Can you dispute this?
General Steyn, from the statements of Ms Petersen, it seems clear that other askaris were also living in the same block of flats that she was living in, people who had - these were people who were also meant to be on the very same farm with Sikhakhane. She mentions them by name. It's not relevant for the present purposes, but the fact is that these people lived in the same block of flats that she did, she saw them regularly. You wouldn't know about that?
MR LAX: You see the impression that's created is that these askaris were not necessarily permanently residing on that farm, and that's a very different impression to the one created by yourself and by the papers in this matter, by some of the applicants at any rate. Do you get me?
MR LAX: You see this is subtly, or not even subtly, it's a totally different impression that one has got here. These people rented accommodation in a block of flats where they stayed regularly, so much so that Ms Petersen saw them on a regular basis and they were sort of neighbours. The implication of that is that the people were definitely not permanently on the farm in Camperdown.
MR LAX: And she goes further and says that Sikhakhane was staying there from time to time with her. She also says that yes, he did get fetched on some weeks and other weeks he was away in Greytown and sometimes he was taken off to the farm and so on. So the impression one gets is that these people weren't specifically barracked on that operational farm, as one would want to draw from, necessarily how you might be putting it, or the information that you might have been informed by Taylor or others.
GEN STEYN: Chairperson, if I may respond as such, the intention was that everyone who worked with Taylor would operate from that centre and that they stayed there. Once again, if on occasion they spent a certain period of time being accommodated somewhere else, I would not be able to stand in for it, I would not be able to deny it or confirm it.
CHAIRPERSON: You see it also appears from Ms Petersen's statement, that while he was living with her in the flat in Pietermaritzburg, on occasions she went to see Col Taylor to complain that he'd been assaulting her and Col Taylor took his firearm away from him for a few days. So it wasn't a question of him sneaking away, according to this Col Taylor must have known that he was living with Ms Petersen.
"Gen Steyn gave me instructions that Sikhakhane had to be eliminated and that I was to use outside people to do so."
MR LAX: You see, if one reads Taylor's version here he says that he then contacted Eugene de Kock at Vlakplaas and conveyed the request to him. The implication to be drawn from this is that Taylor contacted de Kock, not you. Taylor was the one who made the arrangements for everybody to come down, because he then says
MR LAX: He doesn't know that you may have spoken to de Kock yourself or had any discussions whatsoever. And in fact if one reads this version in this application, and granted it's quite short, but the inference one draws from it is that you had nothing to do with getting hold of Vlakplaas here.
MR LAX: I'm not suggesting that you should be blameless in the matter. The impression that is created in Taylor's version, as contained in these pages, is that he made the arrangements to contact de Kock, you merely told him to eliminate Sikhakhane, he did the necessary after you gave him the order. In other words on his version, he seems to bear no knowledge that you may have spoken to de Kock or made any arrangements yourself.
MR LAX: Now you'd also made whatever counter-intelligence manoeuvres that were required, to say that these people were seen elsewhere and so on and although you may not have borne full knowledge of that, as you've indicated in your testimoney, you certainly knew that at least one of the people, there was some misinformation in relation to that. If I understood your evidence correctly, you said you weren't sure about Shabalala but you were sure that Ndaba in fact, there had been misinformation in relation to his whereabouts.
MR SIBANYONI: Now after the unbanning of political organisations, after the 2nd of February 1990, did you merely continue with those activities without checking with head office whether your mandate has changed?
MR SIBANYONI: In one of the hearings we were told that there was a directive from government, from head office, that the duties of the operational units should change from doing political activities, it should change to doing the combatting of crime. Did your unit or your operational unit here in Natal also receive such instructions?
MR SIBANYONI: Was there any stage where maybe you wanted the outside help without any intention of, let's say, eliminating people or killing people, but merely to come and assist in the identification, infiltration and arrest of the opponents?
GEN STEYN: Chairperson, I would think of cases during which information had existed, indicating the presence of a trained MK member and then due to the limited number of askaris which we had, we would then call in other persons who probably would know more about that specific person, that person about whom we had the information. In such a case we would then have requested assistance, among others.
General, the question that I wanted to ask was in connection with asakris who applied to become properly appointed in the South African Police, and this appears to be one of the basees why Sikhakhane was dissatisfied. I'd say that's the basis upon which I'm asking you in connection with that. You say you don't know anything about his request to be appointed as a member of the police?
GEN STEYN: Chairperson, it worked as follows. Col Taylor or another member would consider such a person and he recommends him, it would have come to my desk and maybe that is the reason why I did not hear of it. And that is probably the reason why I did not know about it.
MR LAX: You see - I'll just find the names for you, if you'll just bear with me for one moment. There were two colleagues of Sikhakhane, who are referred to as David and Vusi - not Vusi, that would have been somebody else, one was David, I'm just trying to pick up on the other one. I can't pick it up at the moment, if it comes to mind later you can maybe reply to it. But the question is that there were definintely two others, they were both of the people who were living in the block of flats with Petersen and Sikhakhane and both their matter were in fact approved and they did become members of, as I understand it, the police, were duly appointed. You don't recall those applications crossing your desk?
GEN STEYN: Chairperson, no, I cannot recall. I think some members, if I have to comment on it quickly, probably had to remain in the underground structures and had to infiltrate some networks, which would facilitate it if it would be one of the members of the Forces. I cannot place any specific reasons.
MR LAX: Surely the fact that a person was appointed a member of the Force, would not have prevented them working under cover or, in all sorts of other ways, that would have nothing to do with it, surely?
MR LAX: You've indicated that one of the reasons why you called in Vlakplaas in this particular instance was because of the paramilitary nature of that institution, but is it not correct that in fact your unit was perfectly able to carry out this sort of elimination and in fact had done it itself by this time, on a number of occasions.
MR LAX: There was in fact no need whatsoever for somebody from the outside to get involved at all, you had effectively eliminated a number of people by this time, hidden the bodies, disposed of the bodies and nobody knew a thing about it.
CHAIRPERSON: You see it seems to me that if something had gone wrong and it had become known Sikhakhane had been killed, it would not only have caused great problems, but if they had discovered about Vlakplaas at the same time, that would have caused you even greater problems, wouldn't it?
CHAIRPERSON: For the police as a whole. If it became known that there was a hitsquad operating from a place called Vlakplaas, which was called in all over the country to eliminate people, it would have cause a great stir, wouldn't it?