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Amnesty Hearings

Type AMNESTY HEARINGS

Starting Date 21 September 1999

Location PIETERMARITZBURG

Day 2

Names LARRY JOHN HANTON

Case Number AM4076/96

MR CORNELIUS: Thank you Chair, I understand we are going to call Larry Hanton now.

MR NEL: Mr Chairman, yes, Mr Larry Hanton is my client. I have placed before you an affidavit which I am going to ask you sir, may this be marked, I think it is Exhibit D and Mr Hanton will be testifying in English and his application is found on page 78 and onwards, of Bundle 1. He will be, sorry, did I say Afrikaans, he will be testifying in English?

CHAIRPERSON: What you put before me, is not an affidavit?

MR NEL: I beg your pardon Mr Chairman. I will ask him just to confirm that under oath, thank you Mr Chairman.

MR LAMEY: Thank you, Mr Hanton, your full names for the record please?

LARRY JOHN HANTON: (sworn states)

MR LAX: Please be seated, sworn in Chairperson.

EXAMINATION BY MR NEL: Thank you Mr Chairman. Mr Hanton, you are an applicant for amnesty before this Committee and you apply for amnesty for the murder of Goodwill Colleen Sikhakane and other offences which might have flown from that

murder, is that correct?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson.

MR NEL: Your application is found on page 78 and onwards of the Bundle in front of you, you have once again read your application, do you confirm the correctness thereof?

MR HANTON: I do Mr Chairperson.

MR NEL: You have also had sight and you have read a document which serves before this Committee, which is marked Exhibit A, and do you confirm the correctness of that document and do you ask this Committee to incorporate that as part of your amnesty application?

MR HANTON: I do Mr Chairperson.

MR NEL: Also found in your amnesty application, is your political objective and do you confirm that as correct?

MR HANTON: I do Mr Chairperson.

MR NEL: I have drafted a statement which is marked Exhibit D, you have a copy of that in front of you, as pointed out by the Chairperson, it is not an affidavit, do you confirm this under oath as to be made by yourself?

MR HANTON: I do Mr Chairperson.

MR NEL: Mr Hanton, I want to refer you to that document and could you then for the Committee read as from paragraph 1, relating to the facts of the incident relating Goodwill Sikhakane?

MR HANTON: "During 1991 I was a member of the South African Police in the Security Branch, stationed at Camperdown under the command of the late Col Andrew Taylor. I was informed by Col Taylor that Sikhakane was a double-agent who worked for both the Durban Security Branch as well as the ANC. I was instructed by Col Taylor that Gen Steyn had authorised the elimination of Goodwill Sikhakane and I was told by Taylor that certain members from Vlakplaas would carry out the operation and that I was to assist them. On a certain day the date of which I cannot remember, I met Willie Nortje, Dawid Britz and Johannes Swart together with Col Taylor at Mooi Rivier. From Mooi Rivier we went to the Lion Park Lodge where the mentioned members were to reside. I at that stage, had already made contact with Goodwill Sikhakane and had arranged to meet him on the road near Greytown in order for me to hand over some money and his firearm to him. This was just an excuse that I used in order for Sikhakane to believe that it was important to meet with me. At that stage Col Taylor was in possession of Goodwill Sikhakane's firearm because he had taken the firearm away from Sikhakane on a previous occasion. On a particular day Nortje, Swart, Britz and myself left for Greytown. Swart was driving the kombi and I left Nortje and Britz at a small village outside Greytown and proceeded to meet Sikhakane. We met with Sikhakane and I then arranged with him to meet him again that evening. At the pre-arranged time Britz and Nortje who were hiding in the back of the kombi, Swart and myself left to meet Sikhakane, it was night and dark. Sikhakane got into the vehicle and Swart drove along the road towards Greytown. At a certain point Nortje and Britz overpowered Sikhakane. After driving a further small distance, Swart stopped the motor vehicle, Britz and Nortje removed Sikhakane from the kombi and took him up an embankment alongside the road. I also alighted form the vehicle and joined them. On top of the embankment, Willie Nortje shot Sikhakane with an AK47 assault rifle. As far as I can recall Sikhakane was shot twice. The three of us got back into the kombi and we left the scene. The following day I reported what happened, to Col Andrew Taylor. In doing what I did, I executed my duties as a policeman, the way I saw it as my obligation during a time of conflict and political violence. My political objective was to ensure that the then government remained in power and be able to effectively govern the RSA. I did not participate in the event for any personal gain or driven by personal spite or malice. I received no reward. I therefore humbly request that the Amnesty Committee will grant me amnesty as prayed for."

MR NEL: Mr Hanton, just one last thing, is it correct that you are a patient of a Counselling Psychiatrist, namely Ms Christine Camitsis and that you have been a patient of hers since the 20th of March 1998?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson.

MR NEL: Is it also so that she has diagnosed that you suffer from the symptom of Major Depressive Disorder which she explains is severe and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, which she says is chronic and that you were medically boarded from the South African Police in 1995?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson.

MR NEL: Is it also so that it at times, it is very difficult for you to remember certain things relating to certain incidents?

MR HANTON: It is Mr Chairperson.

MR NEL: Thank you Mr Chairperson, that is the evidence.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR NEL

MR HATTINGH: Hattingh on record, Mr Chairman, no questions, thank you.

NO CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR HATTINGH

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR CORNELIUS: Mr Hanton, when you found that Col Taylor received instructions from Gen Steyn, you had full trust in this order that was given to you by Col Taylor?

MR HANTON: I had the utmost trust in Col Taylor's judgement, Mr Chairperson.

MR CORNELIUS: Yes, and obviously when you committed this deed, you did it bona fide with the object of countering the said struggle?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson, I did.

MR CORNELIUS: If Goodwill Sikhakane disclosed the names and addresses of Security Policemen of the Durban Security Branch, would that have endangered the lives of people if that was disclosed to the so-called enemy at that time?

MR HANTON: It would have been a calamity Mr Chairperson.

MR CORNELIUS: Was there any discussion of the possibility of the disclosure of information relating to Operation Vula or Charles Ndaba?

MR HANTON: I cannot remember Mr Chairman, I was not involved with Operation Vula at all.

MR CORNELIUS: I see. Thank you Mr Chair.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR CORNELIUS

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR LAMEY: Thank you Mr Chairperson. Mr Hanton, were you present when Mr Nortje shot Goodwill Sikhakane?

MR HANTON: I was present Mr Chairperson.

MR LAMEY: You state here as far as I can recall, Sikhakane was shot twice, is it possible that he could have been shot three times, as Mr Nortje has testified?

MR HANTON: It is possible Mr Chairperson.

MR LAMEY: Was it an important aspect of the planning of the operation that his body should be found, what is your recollection about that?

MR HANTON: It was Col Taylor's orders that the body be found, Mr Chairperson, that is also one of the reasons that the cartridges were left on the scene.

CHAIRPERSON: So they would be identified as AK47 cartridges?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson.

MR LAMEY: So the picture would then be that he had been killed by presumably somebody from the ANC?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson.

MR LAMEY: Do you know how long after the incident, his body was found?

MR HANTON: No Mr Chairperson, I do not, I know it was a long time afterwards.

MR LAMEY: So his body was not found as soon as what was anticipated?

MR HANTON: No Mr Chairperson.

MR LAMEY: Isn't it a very secluded place where he was shot?

MR HANTON: It is Mr Chairperson.

MR LAMEY: You have heard Mr Nortje's evidence in this regard and do you agree with him relating to the place that was picked, where he had to be killed? In fact you pointed it out, is it correct that you went with him prior to the meeting with Sikhakane to pick the spot?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson.

MR LAMEY: Col Taylor, was he more than you, closely involved with Sikhakane and his movements and the - yes?

MR HANTON: Sorry Mr Chairperson, could you please repeat that?

MR LAMEY: Can I just repeat that, yes. Were Col Taylor more than you closely involved with Sikhakane and his movements prior to the decision to eliminate him?

MR HANTON: Col Taylor was closely involved with him, Mr Chairperson.

MR LAMEY: Is it possible that he threatened the disclosure of the people who were killed after the revelation of Operation Vula by the Natal Security Branch?

MR HANTON: It is possible Mr Chairman.

MR LAMEY: Is it also possible that he had aspirations to become a permanent member, but as a result of his conduct, Col Taylor did not deem it fit that he receive permanent appointment and that he was unhappy about that?

MR HANTON: No Mr Chairperson, I cannot remember anything as to that.

MR LAMEY: Okay. Thank you Chairperson, I've got no further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR LAMEY

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR VISSER: Visser on record, Mr Chairman. Mr Hanton, were you working directly under Col Taylor, Col Andy Taylor?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson.

MR VISSER: Were you involved also with the askaris who worked under Taylor in Durban?

MR HANTON: I was Mr Chairperson.

MR VISSER: As far as one can piece the evidence together, it seems that Mr Sikhakane was probably recruited as an informer who later became an askari during approximately 1988 and this happened, this must have happened prior to, perhaps you know about that, the abduction and the elimination of Mr Dion Cele, do you know anything about that?

MR HANTON: I do not Mr Chairperson.

MR VISSER: All right, well I am just leading up to the following, it would appear that Sikhakane was first of all stationed, placed, in Pietermaritzburg under Col Kobus Vorster and that he was later apparently transferred to Durban, do I have that right?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson.

MR VISSER: According to Ms Celeste Pieterse, in terms of her evidence given at the de Kock trial, it appears that herself, together with her children and Sikhakane were brought out of Swaziland by the police. Do you know anything about that, were you involved in that?

MR HANTON: I was not involved in that Mr Chairperson.

MR VISSER: But do you have knowledge that that happened?

MR HANTON: I do have knowledge that that happened, yes Mr Chairperson.

MR VISSER: All right, and apparently according to her, they first, that is herself, her children, one or two of them, I am not sure what their ages were, but let's refer to the children and Mr Sikhakane first of all lived with Mr Sikhakane's mother. Were you, do you have any knowledge of that?

MR HANTON: I do not Mr Chairperson.

MR VISSER: And apparently thereafter, they moved into either a house or a flat and she then gave evidence that Mr Sikhakane then stayed at the farm. If that evidence is correct, to which farm would that refer?

MR HANTON: That would refer to the farm at Camperdown, Mr Chairperson.

MR VISSER: And this was referred to in previous applications as an operational base where Mr Taylor and the askaris and apparently yourself, worked from?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson.

MR VISSER: Was there such an operational base in Greytown?

MR HANTON: No Mr Chairperson.

MR VISSER: You see, because the reason why I ask you this question is unless I misunderstand the evidence given by Ms Pieterse, she says that prior to Sikhakane's death for three weeks prior to that, he was instructed to work in Greytown and that he was picked up every Monday morning and dropped off on Friday afternoons at their flat, from and at their flat, where he would then stay for the weekend only to be picked up the next Monday morning. This continued for three weeks, do you have any personal knowledge of that, of that period of Sikhakane's life?

MR HANTON: Yes, I do Mr Chairperson.

MR VISSER: And would that evidence be correct, that he was taken by Mngadi and by Ninela and perhaps others, I heard mention of a David Myeza, Spyker Myeza and that he was then taken to Greytown for the week and brought back over the weekend.

MR HANTON: Mr Chairperson, he was taken to Greytown, but when and where, the times when he was picked up and taken home for a rest period, I cannot say, I cannot remember.

MR VISSER: All right, now the question which I think the Committee might be interested in is did all of these persons that was mentioned, did they at that stage just prior to the death of Sikhakane all work in Greytown or was it a situation where only he was taken and he was left at Greytown to do whatever he had to do or can't you remember?

MR HANTON: I cannot remember, Mr Chairperson.

MR VISSER: You see, the reference to Sikhakane staying or living on the farm, appears to me and please stop me if I am wrong, that would only have referred to Camperdown and not to anywhere else?

MR HANTON: Yes, Camperdown Mr Chairperson.

MR VISSER: Where, do you know perhaps where he would have stayed in Greytown or where was he supposed to sleep over in Greytown while he was working there?

MR HANTON: I cannot remember Mr Chairperson.

MR VISSER: Did you know anything about relationships which he had with a Beauty and a Sitombi or I am not sure that I've got the name right, but with two ladies in Greytown where he might have slept over? Do you know anything about that?

MR HANTON: I learnt of this after his death Mr Chairperson, I learnt that he had relationships in Greytown.

MR VISSER: Now the real point is this Mr Hanton, according to Col Taylor, if one has regard to page 143 of Bundle 1, and according to the evidence of Gen Steyn of what Col Taylor had told him, it appeared that Sikhakane was absent without leave from time to time and that during one or more of these absences, I think Steyn referred to two or three of them, there was information that Sikhakane had visited Swaziland without having been authorised to do so. Do you personally have knowledge of that ever occurring?

MR HANTON: I do not have personal knowledge of that Mr Chairperson.

MR VISSER: If Taylor says, I know that you said a little earlier that Taylor was more intimately involved with Sikhakane, if Taylor says so, would you have any reason to doubt that that was in fact so?

MR HANTON: I would have no reason to doubt him, Mr Chairman.

MR VISSER: As far as you can recall, at the end of the day when the order came or the instruction came that Sikhakane had to be eliminated, what stands out in your recollection today is the fact that he was a double-agent?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson.

MR VISSER: Who did you personally work more intimately with, you say it wasn't Sikhakane, was it some of the other or one of the ...

MR HANTON: I worked with them all at various times Mr Chairperson.

MR VISSER: But would it have depended on any particular, on what particular operation you would be busy with, which would have indicated with whom you would be working together with at a certain point in time?

MR HANTON: It would have depended on Col Taylor, how he posted the teams to go out and work Mr Chairperson.

MR VISSER: At the time, and I am referring to the latter part of 1990 and the early part of 1991, what was the security situation like in Natal and if one can include Pietermaritzburg, the Midlands, Greytown, what was the situation like?

MR HANTON: There was a lot of violence at that time, Mr Chairperson.

MR VISSER: Did you handle any informers?

MR HANTON: No Mr Chairperson.

MR VISSER: Did Col Taylor handle any informers?

MR HANTON: Yes Mr Chairperson.

MR VISSER: I understand he handled quite a number of informers?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson, he had been in Natal for a very long time.

MR VISSER: Would it be fair to say that what you chaps in Natal were really concerned with, was the attack which emanated particularly from the Natal machinery in Swaziland?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson.

MR VISSER: This was particularly so from 1988 onwards until 1990, 1991?

MR HANTON: That would be correct Chairperson.

MR VISSER: Would it be correct to say that even in 1991 the attack against the government, etc, as it was in 1988 from Swaziland, had remained more or less the same intensity?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson.

MR VISSER: Or even worse?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson.

MR VISSER: I think the question has been put to you, but just to tie up this line of questioning, at the time in 1991, would there have been any lesser motivation to - perhaps I should put this in a different way, was it still necessary to protect informers in 1991, the same as it had been before 1990?

MR HANTON: It was still necessary Mr Chairman.

MR VISSER: And according to your information and what you were aware of, was there quite a formidable network of information informers in Swaziland, which served the Security Branch in Durban with information?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson.

MR VISSER: Thank you Mr Chairperson.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR VISSER

CHAIRPERSON: Before we go on, can I try to clarify something. Ms Pietersen at the de Kock trial apparently said that he stayed on the farm for about three months and that after that, he returned and they started living together?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson, in the beginning when the farm started, they all lived on the farm for a long period.

CHAIRPERSON: But then he stopped that, he went and stayed with his father at Bishopstow which is in Pietermaritzburg and they then hired a flat in Pietermaritzburg.

MR HANTON: I know of the flat, Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Which he lived in with Ms Pietersen?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: And she went on to say in her evidence that he was sometimes called away for a day, sometimes for a week at a time, would that be when he was sent out on a mission?

MR HANTON: Sometimes even longer, Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: If I could just follow up, so clearly at this time, they weren't living permanently and exclusively on the operational base?

MR HANTON: No, no Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: Most of the askaris by the sounds of things, had found other places to live?

MR HANTON: After the initial period that they lived on the farm?

MR LAX: Yes.

MR HANTON: They all went and found other houses, a place to stay. I think one or two of them remained on the farm.

MR LAX: The initial period was at least a year prior to this incident?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairman.

MR LAX: Just one other thing on this issue, I understand that Sikhakane was debriefed for a period of time, after his return to the country?

MR HANTON: That was before my time, Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: Yes, Vorster alluded to that and Ms Pietersen alludes to that on another farm, she thought it was in Richmond somewhere?

MR HANTON: As I said Mr Chairperson, that was before my time.

MR LAX: You don't know about that other farm?

MR HANTON: No Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: You don't know for example about the Elandskop?

MR HANTON: No, I cannot remember anything like that Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: Or the Thornville farm?

MR HANTON: No Mr Chairperson.

MR WAGENER: Jan Wagener, Mr Chairman, I have no questions.

NO CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR WAGENER

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR SCHOLTZ: Thank you Mr Chairman. Mr Hanton did you arrive at the Special Branch in Natal before Sikhakane, in other words were you here for a while before he was brought in?

MR HANTON: No Mr Chairperson, I met Sikhakane on the farm, when the farm started up.

MR SCHOLTZ: What did his duties entail on the farm? Did they only work on the farm or were they sent out on operations from the farm?

MR HANTON: The farm was the base from where the operations were worked from, it was a place where the vehicles were kept, camping equipment was stored and from where we launched our operations.

MR SCHOLTZ: Was he ever sent out on his own for operational purposes?

MR HANTON: I cannot remember Mr Chairperson.

MR SCHOLTZ: What was the policy, would that have been permitted?

MR HANTON: The policy was that they worked in teams with a regular policeman, a senior policeman would drive the bus that they worked from.

MR SCHOLTZ: So he would have been under supervision of a regular policeman at most of the relevant times?

MR HANTON: At the times he was under his direct control, yes Mr Chairperson.

MR SCHOLTZ: Was this the position in Greytown as well?

MR HANTON: Greytown was, he had infiltrated into Greytown and it was also, he was being set up for his elimination Mr Chairperson.

MR SCHOLTZ: Did he also work under supervision there?

MR HANTON: He worked, the Branch at Greytown kept him under supervision, Mr Chairperson, yes. I cannot remember which members it was.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you say it was set up for his elimination?

MR HANTON: That was the reason why he was sent to Greytown, yes Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: And would the people at Greytown have known this?

MR HANTON: No Mr Chairperson.

MR SCHOLTZ: Why would they have kept him under surveillance?

MR HANTON: I wouldn't say under surveillance, but they would have looked after him as far as money was concerned, and met him every day to make sure he was all right.

MR SCHOLTZ: Yes, except that was the term you used, kept him under surveillance? It has a very specific meaning, doesn't it?

MR HANTON: Yes, I must have just mis-spoken myself, Mr Chairperson.

MR SCHOLTZ: Is the evidence of Ms Pietersen correct that he was sent to Greytown approximately three to four weeks before he was eliminated?

MR HANTON: I cannot remember how long before the time it was, Mr Chairperson.

MR SCHOLTZ: Well, he was not sent there immediately before he was eliminated?

MR HANTON: I cannot remember, Mr Chairperson.

MR SCHOLTZ: Do you recall that you went to the flat where they lived shortly, the night or two nights before he was actually eliminated, to tell him that he should make himself ready to go to Greytown the next day?

MR HANTON: I do not recall something like that Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Was it that or was it something rather unusual, my recollection is that he was told he would be picked up on the Tuesday?

MR NEL: Chairperson on the evidence of Ms Pietersen, Mr Hanton arrived on the Sunday evening to tell him that he would be picked up on the Monday, but he was eventually only picked up on the Tuesday.

MR LAX: Just for the record, we are referring to page 217, paragraph 23.

CHAIRPERSON: No one picked him up on the Monday?

MR SCHOLTZ: So you do not recall this incident that you actually went to his flat to tell him to get ready?

MR HANTON: No Mr Chairman, I do not recall that.

MR SCHOLTZ: Mr Hanton is it then your evidence that when he was sent to Greytown, you already knew that he had to be eliminated, because he was suspected of being a double-agent and of having been to Swaziland?

MR HANTON: Mr Chairman, I didn't know at that point of his being seen in Swaziland, but I knew that he had been, I knew of the order for his elimination.

MR SCHOLTZ: At that stage, he must already have been sitting on an information time-bomb as far as you were concerned?

MR HANTON: That would be correct Mr Chairperson, but that was Col Taylor's judgement.

MR SCHOLTZ: Yet if the evidence of Ms Pietersen is correct, he was allowed to roam the streets of Greytown for a period of three weeks before he was eliminated?

MR HANTON: As I said before Mr Chairman, I don't recall the period that he worked in Greytown.

MR SCHOLTZ: How did you contact him in order to arrange to meet him, where you did meet him?

MR HANTON: I cannot remember Mr Chairperson, I can only imagine that it would have been through members of Greytown Security Branch who were looking after him.

MR SCHOLTZ: Is the evidence correct that you first met him at a rubbish dump earlier on that day and then arranged to meet him again later on?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson.

MR SCHOLTZ: The reason for the meeting was to hand over money and his firearm to him?

MR HANTON: The reason was to make sure that he would attend the meeting at night, where we would pick him up and then take him and kill him, Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Wouldn't it have seemed very odd to him that you come and contact him during the course of the day and now arrange to meet him, some kilometres out of Greytown at nine or ten o'clock at night, to hand over his firearm to him?

MR HANTON: It may seem so Mr Chairman, but that was the way I organised it.

CHAIRPERSON: I would have thought it would have aroused suspicion in his mind immediately?

MR HANTON: I don't think, I don't know Mr Chairman, he made the meeting point that night.

CHAIRPERSON: And he would have also told anybody he knew, people he was staying in Greytown where he was going and why he was going, to meet you?

MR HANTON: I don't know Mr Chairperson, that is the chance I took.

CHAIRPERSON: We have been told it was so important that nobody should know that you were involved that you had to get Vlakplaas down to do the job, now you say you went and told him and arranged to meet him later that night in some lonely spot?

MR HANTON: That was the decision I made on the ground, to put it that way, Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: ... Mr Scholtz, if you would allow me. Which dump did you meet him at in Greytown?

MR HANTON: It wasn't a dump, it was a road going to a quarry, just outside Greytown Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: Yes, but where outside Greytown, I know Greytown quite well, I am just interested?

MR HANTON: It is a road leading to the quarry.

MR LAX: The one that goes passed the township?

MR HANTON: No Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: On the other side of Greytown?

MR HANTON: The other side.

MR LAX: There is another township on that side as well?

MR HANTON: I cannot remember Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: It is just that if it is a dump as we have been told it is, people hang around dumps, they scavenge from dumps, it would be the most obvious place to be noticed meeting him?

MR HANTON: I cannot remember it being a dump Mr Chairperson, I remember it was a road to the quarry.

MR LAX: Well, everyone said it was a dump until now? Everyone said it was a refuse place?

MR HANTON: I cannot remember that Mr Chairperson, I remember it is a road to the quarry.

MR LAX: So are your colleagues all mistaken then?

MR HANTON: I won't say they are mistaken Mr Chairperson, but my memory, I just know it as a road to the quarry.

MR LAX: Yes. You see if we accept what they say and they say it was a dump, that was a place where people would scavenge on a regular basis, you may not realise this but scavenging is one of the most highly economic activities in this country, certainly from people on low income groups.

MR HANTON: No Mr Chairperson, as I say I know it was the road to the quarry, I don't know recalling it as a dump, that the dump was there.

MR LAX: Yes, anyway, there was no one there when you met him?

MR HANTON: There was no one there when we met him, no Mr Chairperson.

MR SCHOLTZ: Did you choose this place where you first met him, because it was secluded and you would not be seen there?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson.

MR SCHOLTZ: Why then was it necessary to take him to some other place, why couldn't he just be eliminated there at that spot?

MR HANTON: As I said Mr Chairperson, these were decisions made on the ground. It was just decided to take him just outside, the other side of Greytown and leave his body there.

MR SCHOLTZ: Did you drive the kombi to this first meeting?

MR HANTON: No Mr Chairman, to the best of my recollection Swart drove the kombi.

MR SCHOLTZ: Did you at any stage drive a kombi?

MR HANTON: I cannot recall driving the kombi Mr Chairperson.

MR SCHOLTZ: Did you assist in any way to overpower Sikhakane when he got into the kombi?

MR HANTON: No Mr Chairperson, I was sitting in the front, Britz and Nortje overpowered him.

MR SCHOLTZ: Did you assist to remove him from the kombi to where he was shot?

MR HANTON: I cannot remember assisting him out of the kombi Mr Chairperson.

MR SCHOLTZ: Is it correct that the driver of the kombi left the scene and returned later?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson.

MR SCHOLTZ: Did you accompany him?

MR HANTON: No, Mr Chairperson, I stayed up at the top with Britz and Nortje.

MR SCHOLTZ: Did you remain with them until the kombi returned?

MR HANTON: I remained with them until the kombi returned, Mr Chairperson.

MR SCHOLTZ: Did anybody go to stop the kombi on its return?

MR HANTON: Not to the best of my recollection Mr Chairperson, no.

MR SCHOLTZ: Thank you Mr Chairperson, I have no further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR SCHOLTZ

ADV STEENKAMP: No questions, thank you Mr Chairman.

NO CROSS-EXAMINATION BY ADV STEENKAMP

MR LAX: Thank you Chairperson. We have heard evidence from Mr Nortje yesterday that he knew about this man because you had come up to Pretoria with his documentation and there were problems with his wife's citizenship, we heard that whole story, you were sitting at the back, you heard that?

MR HANTON: I heard that Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: He seems to have a very clear recollection of that incident having taken place, because it formed the basis of how he knew Sikhakane, he knew about the problems with Sikhakane's appointment as a police officer?

MR HANTON: I do not remember that incident at all Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: Did you know Sikhakane was having problems getting his appointment as a police officer?

MR HANTON: I did Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: Were you involved in processing that application in any way?

MR HANTON: I was involved with the documentation, with the paper work, Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: So it is quite conceivable that you did actually go to Pretoria then?

MR HANTON: It is possible I accompanied Col Taylor to Pretoria with paper work, Mr Chairperson, I often accompanied him to Pretoria, accompanied Col Taylor.

MR LAX: And you are just saying that you cannot remember that?

MR HANTON: I cannot remember Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: So you won't deny that it actually happened?

MR HANTON: I cannot remember Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: Did you regularly go to the flat in Halston Road, in Pietermaritzburg?

MR HANTON: I did go to the flat once or twice Mr Chairperson, yes.

MR LAX: So if Ms Pietersen says you came there on the Sunday, that would probably be correct, you wouldn't be able to deny that?

MR HANTON: I would not deny it Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Why would you have gone there on the Sunday?

MR HANTON: I don't know Mr Chairperson, I cannot remember going there.

MR LAX: You see she says that was the first time you had ever been to their home?

MR HANTON: No Mr Chairperson, I had been there before.

MR LAX: She says that normally Mngadi and Spyker Myeza used to pick up Goodwill?

MR HANTON: No Mr Chairperson, I have definitely been there before that.

MR LAX: Did you normally pick him up?

MR HANTON: No Mr Chairperson, Mngadi used to pick him up.

MR LAX: Yes, so you normally did not pick him up?

MR HANTON: No Mr Chairperson, I did not.

MR LAX: And you weren't working with him in Greytown at that time?

MR HANTON: No, the Greytown Branch were looking after him, Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: Yes, but you weren't one of the handlers who were working in the Greytown operation?

MR HANTON: No Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: Because clearly more than one person was working in Greytown according to this?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: You have told us that he infiltrated Greytown, what do you mean by that, what exactly did he do?

MR HANTON: He established himself in Greytown and become known not as an askari or a policeman, thus he was in a position to gain information.

MR LAX: And all of this was a front to kill him?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: Now, when did you know that he was going to be killed?

MR HANTON: I cannot remember the time, how long before Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: Was it weeks, was it months?

MR HANTON: It could have been weeks Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: And so you hatched this elaborate plot to have him transferred to Greytown?

MR HANTON: These were Col Taylor's orders, Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: The Greytown Security Branch didn't know that there was any plot to kill him?

MR HANTON: They had no knowledge of that Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: And yet they were handling him?

MR HANTON: That is correct.

MR LAX: In his undercover work?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: Well, don't you think they would have missed him immediately?

MR HANTON: Well, they didn't Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Why not? This I find incredibly hard to believe, they didn't know there was anything underhand about it, they have somebody transferred for a special purpose to Greytown and he suddenly disappears, so they do nothing?

MR HANTON: No Mr Chairperson, they launched a massive investigation into the search for him.

CHAIRPERSON: Oh, they did.

MR LAX: And then his body is subsequently discovered?

MR HANTON: No Mr Chairperson, his body was discovered much, much - I don't think his body was discovered, he was missing, he just went missing.

MR LAX: Yes.

MR HANTON: His body wasn't found. It was found much later when Nortje brought it out.

MR LAX: What did you chaps do about it? I mean he was one of your men, you would have been the first people they would have asked about it?

MR HANTON: Mr Chairperson, Col Taylor gave Greytown Branch instructions to put out a search for him.

MR LAX: But they would have known he was missing themselves?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson, but he then gave an extra, orders above that to put out a special search for him.

MR LAX: Yes, but what did you tell them?

MR HANTON: I don't know what he told them, Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: I am wanting to know what you told them, surely you must have been questioned by them, they must have contacted you?

MR HANTON: I just said, I just denied any knowledge of what happened to him Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: But Ms Pietersen would have told them that you arrived at the flat two days before he disappeared?

MR HANTON: I do not know Mr Chairperson, what she told them, if she had told them.

MR LAX: Well you see, either they must have colluded with you and they must have realised something was wrong and they should just avoid going too deep into this matter, or they really had a proper investigation. On your version, they had a proper investigation and yet they never really spoke to you, and you were one of the people who was in command of him, one of the last people to see him alive?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson, I was one of the last to see him alive. Col Taylor put out orders for the investigation into his disappearance and then told me to keep out of it.

MR LAX: You see, on your initial version as you have just - when I started this questioning, you knew nothing about what Greytown did about the matter, suddenly you remember that they had a huge investigation?

MR HANTON: That was after his death Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: Precisely. Now, all this leads to the next issue which is, you say your orders were to make sure that the body was found, that is why you left the "doppies" on the scene?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: Yet, some of your colleagues who were involved in this matter, gave a very different version of that. They said the body was to be left on the top, it couldn't be seen from the top, and in fact they had an expectation that wild animals would eat the body so that it might not be found?

MR HANTON: No Chairperson, Col Taylor's orders were that the body must be found.

MR LAX: Well the point is how do you marry these two completely different versions?

MR HANTON: I do not know how to, Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: You see if those were your orders, why didn't you just shoot him somewhere close to Greytown, closer to where the violence was actually happening, because there wasn't violence happening out at Kranskop on the Kranskop road, the violence was in Greytown, in Nhlagahli and places like that, you would know that very well. Isn't it so?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: So why didn't you just dump him on the outskirts of Nhlagahli where anyone would find him and know that he was part of the violence?

MR HANTON: As I said Mr Chairperson, we just decided on groundlevel that this was what we would do.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but we have heard you went and looked carefully for a place to do it?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: And you found a place where the body was never found, yet your direct orders were that the body should be found?

MR HANTON: That is just how it happened Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: The two are completely and utterly irreconcilable? You concede that?

MR HANTON: That is what happened.

MR LAX: You must concede that at least?

MR HANTON: Yes Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: I am just asking you this, is it not possible that you fetched him from Greytown or from the flat, and just disposed of him in your own way?

MR HANTON: No Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: Thank you Chairperson.

MR SIBANYONI: I've got no questions Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: We have heard evidence about how important it was that the local Security Branch should not be involved, and that is why you had to get Vlakplaas, but on your version now and Ms Pietersen, you personally go for some unknown reason on the Sunday, to visit the deceased at his flat in the presence of his wife?

MR HANTON: As I said Mr Chairperson, I cannot remember going to see him at his flat.

CHAIRPERSON: Well, she gave that evidence. You go and see him on the morning or sometime during the day to arrange yet another meeting?

MR HANTON: That was done at Greytown Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, where he is in contact with other policemen, he is in contact with other people, he has gone there to infiltrate and yet you arrange yet another meeting with yourself later that night?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: It would appear that you were trying to make it known if anybody made enquiries, that you were the person who had made the arrangements for the deceased?

MR HANTON: That was not my object Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Why did you do it?

MR HANTON: As I said it was just a decision I made on the ground, Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: As my colleague has put, you could have just gone and picked him up, taken him away, shot him somewhere and left the body if it was to be found, if that was the whole purpose?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson, but it is just not the way it was done.

CHAIRPERSON: Was Mr Taylor annoyed?

MR HANTON: He was annoyed when the body was not found.

CHAIRPERSON: Did he suggest that anything should be done to disclose where it was?

MR HANTON: No Mr Chairperson, he said to just leave it alone.

MR LAX: Just one last thing Mr Hanton, just a follow up from the point the Chairperson raised. We heard from Gen Steyn that the whole idea of bringing Vlakplaas people in, was to keep the distance between local operatives who had things to do with Sikhakane and his elimination?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: Why did you then play such a central role in this whole thing?

MR HANTON: I had no choice in that Mr Chairperson, Col Taylor gave me the orders to assist them and how to do it. I don't know what his reasoning was.

MR LAX: But all you could have done was shown them the place and then made sure you got the hell out of there, so that nobody could trace you to it?

MR HANTON: It could have been done that way Mr Chairperson, but I did not.

MR LAX: So you in fact went against the whole rational of the operation?

MR HANTON: It could be put like that Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Re-examination?

RE-EXAMINATION BY MR NEL: Thank you Mr Chairperson. Mr Hanton, you obviously knew the people from Vlakplaas, this is Britz, Swart and Nortje who came down?

MR HANTON: I did Mr Chairperson, I do.

MR NEL: Did they know the area of Greytown at all?

MR HANTON: No Mr Chairperson.

MR NEL: So you would have shown them the way?

MR HANTON: I would have shown them the way Mr Chairperson.

MR NEL: Are you aware of any problems that Mr Sikhakane had with Ms Pietersen and which she might have reported to Col Taylor?

MR HANTON: I can seem to remember that there were problems between her and him Mr Chairperson.

MR NEL: What sort of problems if you can recall?

MR HANTON: I think he was, it was drunkenness, he was abusing alcohol.

MR NEL: Did you ever get an order from Col Taylor to go and investigate that while he was still alive, possibly at the flat?

MR HANTON: It is possible I did go to the flat once or twice to do that, Mr Chairperson. I cannot remember though.

MR NEL: One last question, Mr Sikhakane did not become a policeman because he was killed, but a little bit of your involvement to try and make him a policeman, what was that all about?

MR HANTON: Mr Chairperson, he just never brought his documentation in, to the best of my recollection. The others all brought their documentation in, their school certificates, etc. He never brought in any documentation.

MR NEL: Without those documents, you could not make him a policeman?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson.

MR NEL: Thank you Mr Chairperson, I've got nothing further.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR NEL

CHAIRPERSON: The people who had been Umkhonto trained overseas, who had come back, who had been turned and become askaris, they wouldn't have had school certificates or things of that nature, would they?

MR HANTON: Mr Chairperson, the others all brought their certificates and identity books, etc.

CHAIRPERSON: The people who had been out of the country for some time, you say they all brought ...

MR HANTON: Those that we made policemen, yes Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: Just one thing Chair, on this point. You confirmed earlier that the problem with Sikhakane wasn't anything to do with his documents, the problem was his wife's citizenship, as I put it to you, that was the Nortje story?

MR HANTON: Yes, I remember nothing of that Mr Chairperson, of her documents.

MR LAX: You see, Sikhakane got his South African citizenship, that was initially a problem, he then got his certificate, his citizenship, what Nortje told us was that Ms Pietersen couldn't get hers sorted out. He distinctly remembers that is why you were in Pretoria?

MR HANTON: As I say, I cannot remember any meeting, talking to him about anything like that Mr Chairperson.

MR LAX: But now you can remember that the problem with his application, was that he couldn't get his documents in order and things like school certificates?

MR HANTON: I can remember that Mr Chairperson, yes.

MR LAX: Thank you Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

WITNESS EXCUSED

CHAIRPERSON: Just call Mr Hanton for a moment.

MR LAX: He is just outside, at the back here.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Hanton you said that it was intended that this should look like an ANC killing and that is why the cartridges weren't picked up?

MR HANTON: That is correct Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: We have heard evidence at a previous hearing where it was intended that the killing should look like an ANC killing, and the entire magazine was fired of an AK47 because we were told that was the ANC method of committing such killings.

MR HANTON: I don't know Mr Chairperson. It was Nortje's, it was his decision to only shoot him twice or three times, as mentioned.

CHAIRPERSON: You hadn't made any enquiries to find out what was the practice the ANC used?

MR HANTON: No Mr Chairperson, I hadn't.

CHAIRPERSON: You had no knowledge of it?

MR HANTON: No Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

WITNESS EXCUSED

CHAIRPERSON: Is Mr Nortje here?

W.A. NORTJE: (s.u.o.)

CHAIRPERSON: I think you will remember the previous application where there was a shooting that was supposed to look like an ANC and the whole magazine was used?

MR NORTJE: That is correct Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: And I think, were you the person who after that, fired a few more shots into the body?

MR NORTJE: No, not with Brian Ngqulunga, I was not present during the shooting. However, the case of what took place here, I don't believe that I had it in mind to fire an entire magazine. At the moment I decided that it would be enough, I did not do it with the idea, at that moment I did not think that the idea was to make it look like an ANC attack. The person investigating the matter would have to draw his own inference, the fact that we used the AK and the shells, yes, the fact that we left the shells there and used the AK, that contributed to the idea.

CHAIRPERSON: But as far, are you telling us you did not, you were not told and did not do anything to make it look like a typical ANC killing, that wasn't your plan?

MR NORTJE: No, not in my mind.

CHAIRPERSON: You were the man who did the shooting?

MR NORTJE: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Nobody told you to, they left it to you to do the killing?

MR NORTJE: Yes, yes, that is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you think that it was the purpose that the body should be found?

MR NORTJE: I have listened to what Mr Hanton has said, I would recall that something was mentioned to that effect, but I cannot say. Well, if we didn't want the body to be found, we would for example have taken him into the bushes, we would have buried him or something, so basically that had to be the idea that at some or other time, he would have to be found.

CHAIRPERSON: Was it you, I am sorry, I cannot, I haven't had a chance to have a look at my notes, was it you who said that the body might be eaten up by wild animals?

MR NORTJE: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: And that is one of the things you thought if you left it there, it might be taken away and destroyed by wild animals?

MR NORTJE: Yes, that is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Any questions? Thank you.

WITNESS EXCUSED

 
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