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Type AMNESTY HEARING
Starting Date 24 July 1998
Names MICHAEL BELLINGHAN
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MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you Mr Chairman. Mr Chairman, we have a little bit of a problem with accommodating our client here with us when we give the evidence. We have thought of moving the microphones which is going to be the easiest.
EXAMINATION BY MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you Mr Chairman. Could we perhaps deal with the practicalities first. You've been handed two schedules to Mr Bellinghan's Amnesty Application numbered Schedule 12 and Schedule 3. Now I may say that this application causes a little bit of difficulty because these schedules also deal with other incidents together with Mr Bellinghan's actions in respect of - or relating to Khotso House.
I have prepared a further document which will deal with just the general background relevant to this application and then the information he had in the intelligence actions they took in respect of Khotso House. Could I suggest that Schedule 3 of Bellinghan's Amnesty Application should be marked the next exhibit, I think that is L and Schedule 12 should be marked M although I won't refer to these schedules specifically Mr Chairman and then the further document which was handed to you which had the heading Cosatu House/Cry Freedom - Michael Bellinghan, that will then be N. It's the short two pager, Mr Chairman - three pager. Yes and then ...[intervention]
MR DU PLESSIS: It is my document, I will refer to it in evidence, Mr Chairman, I suggest that that be marked O and we will come to that, Mr Chairman. That document relates to the way information was sourced. The evidence will be presented according to Exhibit N if you could have that handy because I'm going to refer to that. May I proceed Mr Chairman? Thank you.
MR DU PLESSIS: Right, the way I intend dealing with your evidence is first to present the Committee a little bit of the background of what you were involved in, in the security forces and then we will thereafter deal with your actions which you were involved in as part of the head office Stratcom Unit. We won't go into too much detail - just as a little bit of background. Then we will deal with the specifics pertaining to Khotso House, the observations to Khotso House and thereafter we will deal with Stratcom operations pertaining to Cosatu House and the Cry Freedom incident and also deal a little bit with disinformation concerning Shirley Gunn lastly.
MR DU PLESSIS: I thought mine was now numbered, Mr Chairman, that's why I wasn't sure. No there are two - just let me just make that clear. There are two Bellinghans. The one Bellinghan I don't know what his first name is but I can tell you he's name that he's known by is Balletjies Bellinghan. That's W.R. Mr Chairman, that's Mr Booyens’ client and my client is Michael Bellinghan, Mr Chairman.
MR DU PLESSIS: I suppose so Mr Chairman, he would be the next applicant. 36, yes - he's not on that list. He was inadvertently left out, Mr Chairman, it's really because he's actions pertaining to Khotso House occurred quite a while before the bombing occurred and that is why he was left out. It's not Mr Mpshe's fault Mr Chairman. I suggested that Schedule 3 be marked L and Schedule 12 be marked M. May I enquire, Mr de Jager, if I can proceed?
MR BELLINGHAN: Mr Chairman, this information is provided in the hope that national unity and reconciliation is furthered. It links up with the schedule in my application titled "Reconnaissance and Discredit in the Opposition." I wish to apologise at the outset for possible memory lapses.
I was born in Johannesburg in 1957, matriculated in 1975, studied at Wits University and worked part time as a private detective prior to joining the South African Police in 1979. After completing basic training in June 1979 I served as a detective until being promoted to the rank of lieutenant in 1983. During the same year I was selected for an intelligence course.
During 1984 I was sent on a Stratcom Course. After returning I served inter alia on the church section. There were approximately five non-commissioned officers including Warrant Officer Nonnie Beyers and Sergeant Paul Erasmus. We investigated organisations such as the South African Council of Churches, The World Council of Churches, Young Christian Students, Young Christian Workers and so on and so forth as well as others such as the South African Council for higher education, End Conscription Campaign, Conscientious Objectors Support Group, Detainees Parents Support Committee, etc as well as the media such as New Nation, Learn and Teach and so forth.
MR BELLINGHAN: "Our activities included monitoring the post and telecommunications of these organisations as well as relevant individuals. Also included was the recruitment and handling of sources and agents for gathering the necessary intelligence. We also had an observation post across the road from Khotso House which I later used for an extended purpose before closing at the end of 1986."
MR DU PLESSIS: Right, can we deal with this observation post. Could you explain to the Committee exactly what the observation post entailed, what it was, how it functioned and would you please refer in that evidence to Exhibit O as well?
MR BELLINGHAN: Mr Chairman, the observation post, the initial motivation for that was initially for a static observation post in order to observe individuals entering and exiting from Khotso House, vehicles, mass protests etc., etc. As we had a huge problem with staff shortage there were, including myself, there were only about five people on the church desk. I later changed the facility into a false front company from which we could ....[intervention]
MR BELLINGHAN: A false front, false flag - from which we could recruit and handle sources as this was a far effective use of the premises because I still had access anyway to do static observation from time to time.
MR BELLINGHAN: No Mr Chairman, quite the contrary, none of them knew that this was a security branch operation otherwise they definitely wouldn't have worked for us. This gave us a very good entrée into Khotso House and all of the occupants of the building and we could get information and photographs very speedily on any protests, demonstrations, any other activities arising and we also made use of the facilities of organisations like Afripix and Afroscope to develop our photographs. At that stage we could actually get it done quicker than if we did it at the security branch.
MR BELLINGHAN: After discussions with the gentleman that I recruited specifically to run this and to get it off the ground, he actually prepared this document. I have requested that one page be removed because it would perhaps have been possible to identify one of the people and it was his job to basically sell this concept which he did manage to do quite successfully as the community organisations fell for this hook, line and sinker and also front line states.
MR DU PLESSIS: Right, Mr Bellinghan, if we look at the first page of this document, am I correct in saying that it clearly indicates that the intention of this agency was to be a what they term an alternative media agency in South Africa, is that right?
MR DU PLESSIS: Right we don't have to go into the detail of that Mr Bellinghan. Now can you just as part of the background evidence explain to the Committee the kind of actions you were involved in when you were part of the head office Stratcom Unit and I'm presenting this evidence as a basis for what you're later going to testify about, about the disinformation and the Stratcom actions taken in respect of Cosatu House, Cry Freedom and Khotso House. Can you just give a little bit of general background to that?
MR BELLINGHAN: When I was transferred to Stratcom at head office I was the second most senior officer working with Stratcom at that time. We had inherited certain projects from the army which came with fairly substantial budgets as well but insufficient human resources. So the first thing I did was to get permission for and implement a personnel system, a system of sources that we could rely upon on a covert level to assist us. This was then also decentralised after the necessary conferences with regions, was decentralised to the regions and we also established a lot of smaller projects in order to be able to cope with the huge demand on the security branch as far as Stratcom was concerned at the time both on an ongoing basis and on an ad hoc basis.
MR DU PLESSIS: Right, now Mr Bellinghan, could you explain to the Committee just in general a little bit what - and just give a few explanations on Stratcom operations that you were involved in, practical examples at head office?
MR BELLINGHAN: The broad projects that we inherited were basically trade union projects and projects relating to universities, academics; and then of course the broad spectrum of the revolutionary forces, ANC, PAC. Of course that was given to us, those territories, by the State Security Council as our primary responsibility so that was really, one could term it interdepartmental - an interdepartmental function delegated to us. We also had ....[intervention]
MR DU PLESSIS: So, Mr Bellinghan, is it correct you were involved firstly or can I say this, not firstly but involved with the propaganda for and on behalf of the government and also propaganda against - of people against the government?
MR BELLINGHAN: Yes we had a great number of journalists working for us and also via our system of sources, journalists who did not know where the information was coming from, if it was disinformation or in some cases fact.
CHAIRPERSON: Only that? I am merely trying to get some sort of an idea as to whether we will proceed with another witness today or another applicant today or not. It seems to me unlikely, I imagine some of you may have a fair amount of questions you want to ask because I don't want other people to be - if they want to go - feel they must hear other applicants - what do you gentlemen think about it?
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, if we take three quarters of an hour I think the cross-examination won't be shorter than an hour. I've been approached by some of my colleagues who want to ask questions and I think it's going to take a while.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Bellinghan, paragraph 5, the reference to intelligence there, could you elaborate a little bit on that for the Committee and then with specific reference on the categories on the categories of human intelligence employed by the security branch, the kinds of informers and evidence pertaining to that please?
The first category of persons we made use of were those with useful information or access to premises etc., for example hotel staff, bank staff, caretakers of flats and so forth. These people were mostly well disposed to the security branch and either contacted us when they had information or could be relied upon when needed. Although they were sometimes paid, they usually just received a gift at the end of the year or perhaps a favour or so on. These people we referred to as contacts.
The second category we referred to as casual informer. They provided information when it came to their attention. Sometimes these people had penetration potential vis-á-vis a specific target and we could then develop them further. Payment of these people was related directly to their productivity.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, he is reading from his amnesty application but his amnesty application, the background was full lever arched file and we didn't want to burden you with that - it's just this short piece of evidence that he's reading from his amnesty application.
MR BELLINGHAN: The following category we referred to as informer - these people had already proved their ability regarding penetration of the target and the existing channels of communication etc. With them there would be continual briefing, tasking and debriefing. Short and long term strategies were thoroughly considered to exploit their potential. They were paid either monthly or based upon production and this was reviewable on a regular basis.
HQ - Headquarters. HQ Informer, Mr Chair. We handled these much the same as in category 3, the informer and usually these people had other employment, that is the informer whereas the HQ Informer was employed on a full time basis by the Security Branch the difference being that the casual informer or the -not the casual informer, the informer had other employment, the HQ informer was employed on a full time basis by us.
Then we made use of covert sources of a technical nature referred to commonly as bugs. Examples were post interception and telephone interception, telex, copying of computer data and permanent bugs as well. We also made use of people, we developed contact with people, a strong rapport with people who had some type of ascendancy in a particular area, whether he be a manager or a head man or whatever.
As far as the actual recruitment was concerned, it was done on the following basis, according to the book anyway, that is target analysis, spotting, investigation and assessment, development and then the recruitment pitch. Sometimes the recruitment pitch would be the cold approach, we just simply took a chance if you needed some information urgently and hope for the best. Other times it would be via the steps as detailed and then sometimes we would exert pressure on people to work for us.
ADV DE JAGER: ...[inaudible] until Monday morning, I presume on Monday, due to the organisational aspects, we're starting at 10. Judge Wilson has got a nose bleeding, it's not something to be very worried about but it wouldn't stop and we're trying to get medical aid for him at this stage. We don't know when he'll be ready to proceed and we think it would be to the convenience of all of you if we rather adjourn now until Monday morning.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we are now adjourning these proceedings until Monday morning 10 o'clock. Judge Wilson has got a nose bleed, it doesn't want to stop at this moment and we are trying to get him some medical aid. I hope this is not going to be treated in a sensational manner, we are asking the media please, this is nothing really that serious. I hope you've got better news than to make this the headlines.
Mr Bellinghan, you were busy explaining Intelligence and the different kinds of informants and sources that you had in the Security Police and you were nearly finished. Could you just finalise that issue?
MR BELLINGHAN: Just to finalise that Mr Chairman, I can tell you that at the time there were approximately 9 000 persons who provided Intelligence reports throughout the 19 regions of the Security Branch of the time.
MR DU PLESSIS: All right, can I just stop you there. That finalises your evidence about Intelligence and everything surrounding that. Can we go then to the specific incident that you have personal knowledge of and that is the Khotso House incident and what I want you to do Mr Bellinghan, is give us the information and testify to the Committee about everything and all bits of information you can remember about in respect of Khotso House that you gathered and that you had.
MR DU PLESSIS: When you remember aspects in general as contrary to aspects in detail, will you please just point out to the Committee what you remember in detail, and when you get to details, will you provide the details please? Is that in order?
MR BELLINGHAN: From information already on file at the Witwatersrand Security Branch, any Intelligence obtained including a daily perusal of the SA Council of Churches telex communications, I believed that Khotso House was a central point of organised dissent which promoted the revolution confronting this country at that time.
Many reports which I submitted to Head Office, would have confirmed this. In that regard, I will try and recount some of the types of information which I would have sent to Head Office and the circumstances of the information.
To start out with, I would like to quote not verbatim, but to the best that my memory serves it, and I have repeated these quotes many times on talks that I have given to members of the Security Branch. The first quote is from Dr Allan Boesak who said words to the effect at around that time, that they should eradicate the oppression and exploitation of apartheid. The churches should align themselves with those who will seize power in order to ensure freedom for all.
And of course the organisations like the South African Council of Churches and COSATU for that matter, were used pretty much as broad fronts in the sense. Rev Frank Chikane was an ardent liberation theologian and he was also closely associated with the South African Council of Churches.
Two other spokesmen or spokespeople for the South African Council of Churches whose names escape me at this point, gave taped interviews to an American academic, a Ms Gwendoline Carter. After she gave the interviews, I managed to get my hands on the tapes and I listened to these and sent reports to Head Office about them.
I think at this point Mr Chairman, I should just mention that in an Intelligence report which was sent to Head Office, aside from the facts that were mentioned, there were also provision made for comments, wherein one gave an opinion.
There was provision for the source reporting to comment and that would be clearly separated from the fact he was reporting, would be his opinion. There was provision for the Desk Officer in this case, myself, to comment and this would have occurred obviously prior to sending the report.
In my comments on the report concerning these taped interviews, I quoted the words of a Vietnamese guerrilla leader, a Gen Wa Nguingap, who took his ideas from Mao Tse Tung and he said "victory is possible only by uniting the whole people under a firm and national front."
During the period 1984 to around mid 1986, I was aware of five trained MK cadres entering Khotso House or being in Khotso House as well as one vehicle boot load of arms. The MK operatives were identified by sources and agents as well as by photographs that we had taken of people entering and leaving Khotso House and they were later identified as such by askaris from Head Office and from the Head Office photo album of MK people.
We took a number of photographs from across the road and we would use these, we would compile photo albums further from those. The arms information was received from a sensitive informer and for various reasons, could not be acted upon.
CHAIRPERSON: Was the position that you took photographs, the photographs then had to be developed, printed, you then had to have the opportunity to either compare them with photographs at Head Office or to find the relevant cadres to look at them, all of which would take time?
MR BELLINGHAN: We couldn't act any more, I mean, if we had the opportunity, we would certainly have done that, if we found him in the streets of Johannesburg or in the vicinity of Khotso House or even in Khotso House, and then of course the same position was with the information, the names that we received from sources.
Of course pseudonyms were used usually, people would have an MK name, but we knew all of these names, and that also took us time to identify those people as MK people. So it was the same process once again.
If it was a new person we were speaking about, we would have had to provide extensive detail about the person, name, age, etc, etc. If it was a person that was known, we would have to specify the S-number, which was the Head Office number.
MR BELLINGHAN: That was a problem, because Khotso House was a large building with many different offices and in some instances, we had an idea as to more or less where they had been, but an agent or source, would definitely be instructed not to hang about to be seen to be observing and in many cases, the people that these people were visiting, they would have private conversations.
An agent or a source would have looked very much out of place, if he tried to get in on some of those conversations. So it was difficult to even say with any certainty, even what the nature of their business was over there?
MR BELLINGHAN: In the event that we got the name in time and we able to identify him in time for the report because of course there was some sort of pressure for us to send reports as soon as possible, in some cases, I would even attack photographs and leave it to Head Office who would then report back to us. I would not even go through to Head Office myself.
CHAIRPERSON: How would you know, you have told us Khotso House is a large building. I presume hundreds of people went in and out every day, how would you know which were the ones that might interest you? Which ones you should photograph and check the photographs and send to Head Office?
MR BELLINGHAN: Mr Chairman, we only photographed people that we didn't know, people that we thought may be of interest and when we had the opportunity, then we photographed. Sometimes even to get a better photograph of somebody.
CHAIRPERSON: Would that mean that you were perhaps, I don't want to be thought to be sexist in this, mainly looking for young men between certain age groups who you thought would fit into the cadre category, you weren't looking for elderly old gentlemen or women or things of that nature? It was a certain group you were looking for and when people in that group whom you had not seen before, came to the building, you reacted?
MR BELLINGHAN: Quite right Mr Chairman. I must just say that the other category referred to, were mostly intellectual type people whom we knew quite well and although they did provide a support structure, they in most revolutions, they generally did not turn out to be leaders, so we focused on the other category.
I can also say that there were other people who had more information that I cannot specifically recall now. And of course post-1986 when I went to Head Office, more information would have gone in and more information did go in of which I am aware of, but can't speak about it specifically.
Is there in the papers before us, a picture of Khotso House or is there one available, you said it is a large building, so we can get some impression of what sort of building it is. The others may know, do you know? If anybody has a photograph of it, I would be obliged to have a look at it. It doesn't have to go in as part of the record, merely so that I can get an idea of the sort of building we are talking about.
MR BELLINGHAN: In 1984, 164 people left South Africa for training in exile. In 1985, it was 509, in 1986, it was 548. That is all the statistics I have, sorry, but the important thing here is just to show the trend.
ADV GCABASHE: If I am not wrong, I think I got them from Leon Wessels' paper where he refers to the (indistinct) people visit, and they made the comment that by 1986, the people in the country were prepared to die for what they wanted, and this gave a totally different slant to you know, the whole revolutionary climate. I don't know if you will know anything about that?
MR BELLINGHAN: The reason that we knew with certainty, aside from the sensitively placed informers about this channel of people going into exile via the South African Council of Churches, was the fact that we sent, when we heard about it, we sent some of our sources via that route exactly and in the registers, when they gave, it was not huge sums of money, it was R100-00, R150-00, R200-00, when they gave that money, they were always asked not to speak openly about what they were doing exactly, and in the registers from what they could see across the table, or on the forms that were filled in, it was never stipulated this is money for a person going into exile.
From discussions with informers and detainees as well, and potential recruits, it was clear to me that the liberal churches especially those with officials who had liberation theology leanings, believed that the national democratic revolution, should be used to overcome apartheid.
They were of the view that once that step had been accomplished, they could then get the ANC/SACP alliance to change its rather strong stance. From similar discussions with ANC people in detention and agents and sources, it was clear that the ANC/SACP alliance had a similar view of the churches and ironically they also thought they could at a later stage, bring the church officials in line with their stronger stance after the national democratic revolution, that is.
To take that a step further, the ANC believed that it could successfully use Khotso House to expand its internal network. To substantiate, I refer to the following three quotes: The following was part of a statement from Oliver Tambo which appeared in Seshaba in March 1984. He said "at this juncture allow me to single out the creation of the UDF as a historic achievement in our people's efforts to unite in the broadest possible front for the struggle against the inhuman apartheid system. The formation of the UDF was a product of our people's determination to be their own liberators."
In Alfred Nzo was reported to have said in Mayibuya, number 3 of 1984 as follows "our principal task at this moment therefore is and must be to intensify our political and military offensive inside South Africa. This is the urgent call that we make to the masses of our people to all democratic formations and to all members and units of the ANC and uMkhonto weSizwe. Relying on our strength through action, we will frustrate the scheme of the enemy of the peoples of Africa and continue our forward march to the destruction of the system of white minority colonial domination in our country."
In an article in Seshaba in 1986, the ANC described their concept of a peoples' war as follows: "the liberation movement has adopted the strategy of a peoples' war. It is a war in which our entire nation is engaged. uMkhonto weSizwe, the peoples' army, workers, the rural masses, women, students, intellectuals, the religious community and so on collectively in groups and as organised individuals, they use all forms of revolutionary warfare, armed and non-combat, legal and illegal to attack and destroy all symbols, structures and organs of apartheid power including all those who made them.
The underlying principle here is that all these forms of revolutionary warfare, even those aimed at achieving certain short term goals, should have as their long term and fundamental objectives, the total destruction of the South African system."
What is interesting Mr Chairman, is that the South African Council of Churches as well as some of the other organisations at Khotso House, were on the mailing list of these type of publications, the African Communist, Seshaba, Mayibuya and Umsibenzi.
MR BELLINGHAN: Yes, they were. That would bring me to our next point. Despite the fact that we intercepted and confiscated all copies posted to Khotso House and other related addresses, such as COSATU House, sources reported that the ANC couriers still dropped hundreds of copies off.
MR BELLINGHAN: I presume so Mr Chairman. I was aware that copies of and or information contained therein, was in turn being disseminated to amongst other places, the townships - I am talking about these banned publications now, from Khotso House.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, may I just make a point. Mr Bellinghan has a very thick amnesty application and some of these aspects such as which you have raised now, will obviously again be dealt with in his amnesty application for that.
There were also indications that both COSATU House and Khotso House were being used to orchestrate national campaigns. In the case of COSATU House there were strikes, related campaigns, sympathy strikes, etc, etc. Specific examples escape me because I never dealt directly with it at the time.
In the case of Khotso House, at relatively short notice, I could think of the following: The stay away or don't vote campaign of the Coloured and Indian elections, the 1 000 000 signature campaign co-ordinated by Dave Webster of the DPSC and RMC, protests and demonstrations surrounding detentions and related affairs, deaths in detention, disappearance of activists, etc, etc. were co-ordinated from Khotso House.
That is protests and demonstrations. Then of course, protesters would often after having a meeting at Khotso House, they would often go out into the streets and there would be some rioting and of course then the Riot Police were often called upon to act.
These riots often turned nasty with businesses having to close down, damage to property and in some cases, serious injury or death. According to my statistics, between 1976 and 1986 there were approximately 629 acts of terror committed against South Africa.
26 Percent of these were against Police, police stations, witnesses and informers and so on. 30 Percent were against economic targets, 22 percent against the system, in other words State buildings other than SAP, officials, telecommunications, SADF etc.
That was 22 percent Mr Chairman. Then a further 22 percent would be a category just termed Other. All indications were that these figures were escalating rapidly from year to year and further more, that there were groups of individuals operating covertly from within Khotso House and COSATU House in furtherance of this campaign of terror.
MR BELLINGHAN: I include MK people, I include some of the officials of these organisations that were seated at Khotso House whom we strongly suspected of being involved, but against whom it was very difficult to prove a substantial case that would make an impact.
Everything pointed to that. I think that the Amnesty Committee may perhaps not have the proper perspective unless I mention the following: According to Marxist/Leninist strategy of the revolution, approximately 80 percent of the struggle was of a political or propaganda type.
20 Percent was military or armed action, approximately. From what I observed, the Security Branch had to spend more than 90 percent of its time on the 20 percent aspect for many reasons, including staff shortages and of course in some respects we were quite reactive.
Of course a maximum at any point of 10 percent of the time, was spent on the 80 percent aspect, the propaganda aspect. Of course that 80 percent propaganda aspect was a very troublesome side of the struggle and our enemies exploited that to the hilt.
Furthermore, the activities of most of the organisations at Khotso House, were certainly directed towards their bona fide objectives but then one must consider that at that time, many of the objectives included propaganda against the State.
I can mention that obviously the National Party and especially the Security Branch were vulnerable in that respect because our overt policies were directed towards reformation, whereas we were fighting a secret war covertly.
A secret war which the government could not admit was taking place, or failed to admit. I presume they could not. Then as far as the propaganda is concerned, there was the added difficulty that both sides claimed that God's eternal law, supported their cause and then of course the South African Council of Churches, tipping the scales of the propaganda away from us, by lending their support to the struggle. Propaganda became increasingly easier for our enemy.
The revolutionaries at the time, had a number of goals with propaganda. The first was to isolate South Africa internationally by promoting hostility against South Africa. The second was to manipulate their own supporters and sympathisers as well as to mobilise the masses internally.
MR BELLINGHAN: Yes, Mr Chairman, but those people were acting as agents for us, firstly, and secondly, I would regard it as an A1 source of information, which means that I had cross-referenced it. I would have taken it as a fact, I did take it as a fact.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, could I beg leave to hand up the originals to you? We will endeavour to provide you with copies, they are in colour, so we will speak to Mr Mpshe and decide how we will deal with them.
You will note that what is depicted on most of them, are weapons, AK47's, that is probably the most important aspect thereof. Mr Bellinghan, before we dealt with the fact that they came from Khotso House, could you give us an indication of how regularly documents, stickers, pamphlets, posters, things like that, were found at Khotso House, depicting the same kind of thing?
ADV GCABASHE: No, no, I am trying to see who you passed it on to and what effect it might have had on the people you passed it on to and so they could then make certain decisions, such as bombing Khotso House.
MR BELLINGHAN: As far as humanly possible, we would stipulate the source. What we also did was I analysed the effect of the propaganda in a weekly report to Head Office in respect of Wits University, Khotso House and so on and so forth. Because there were so much, we just used to deal with it on a sort of weekly report to Head Office.
ADV GCABASHE: Sorry, just to clarify the point. So you are saying if you were furnishing me with that report, I would not be able to say that particular report or those particular stickers or posters or documents are being found at Room 123, on floor whatever, whoever that might be?
ADV GCABASHE: The question relates to how often you would have that information, because I am trying to ascertain to what extent the people you reported to, were able to properly use this information.
CHAIRPERSON: Now you said a moment ago that such type things emanated from Khotso House and one or other organisation there. Now we have been told about the South African Council of Churches who were there, what other organisation in Khotso House was responsible for distributing these documents?
MR BELLINGHAN: Mr Chairman, the United Democratic Front, to a certain extent the Black Sash. Propaganda of negative value to us was disseminated by AfroPics AfroScope, by the Conscientious Objectors Support Group. I think I have mentioned Detainees' Parents Support Committee.
CHAIRPERSON: This is a different matter, this is merely - they were opposed to your policies and were sending out information that was opposed to them and it was done quite openly, wasn't it, by the Conscientious Objects, the Black Sash and people of that nature?
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Bellinghan, were they - the organisations you named now, were they involved covertly in spreading stickers and documents and information such as that which you handed up to the Committee?
MR BELLINGHAN: All of these that we are talking about at the moment, Mr Chairman, that was done on a covert basis, not on an overt basis. The South African Council of Churches' officials would certainly not overtly distribute something of this nature.
They certainly had negative propaganda to distribute, but that is another matter which I will touch on just now. The third category of goals of propaganda of the ANC/SACP at the time, was to manipulate the people of South Africa in order to alienate them from their leaders and to weaken their will to resist the onslaught against South Africa.
CHAIRPERSON: Before you go on to something else, we decided, we were requested last week to adjourn at twenty to eleven, so that we would be ready to proceed at eleven o'clock, but that was when we were starting at nine o'clock. I don't know if there is still a similar request? Nobody seems to know, should we take the adjournment now and we will try to be back at eleven o'clock.
In respect of Khotso House, just deal very shortly with a few aspects and what I want you to deal with specifically would be the organisations that you remember, which had offices in Khotso House firstly, and secondly, certain people which you saw entering the building and leaving the building who are high profile people?
Church of the Province of South Africa, South African Council of Churches, United Democratic Front, Black Sash, Detainees' Parent Support Committee, then a broad group called South African Education Programme under which it seemed as if the South African Council for Higher Education and the Education Opportunity Committee either fell within that broad group or they worked together somehow, hand in hand.
AfroScope AfroPics, Justice Peace and Reconciliation, Conscientious Objectors Support Group and then the National Emergency Fund of the South African Council of Churches. If I am not mistaken, I think the Lutheran Church also had offices there, I could be wrong about that.
Of course at times organisations such as the National Education Crisis Committee, the South African Youth Congress - they made use of offices of the other organisations. Of course the activities at Khotso House must be seen in the light of the fact that the ANC made use of underground structures.
They referred to the broad front of the national liberation movement, they made use of umbrella organisations such as the South African Council of Churches, the United Democratic Front, COSATU, that was on an open level. Then on a covert level, they had their people which was part of the underground struggle, the underground network.
Of course the Executive Committees of these organisations may or may not have known about the underground network, and the facilitation of the struggle, of the armed struggle, from within their own organisations.
You know, there were certain terms used at that time which were well known terms, and I want you to explain to the Committee a little bit about that, and then with specific reference to the broad democratic movement and if the whole - the objectives of the ANC and the liberation movements were included in this whole broad democratic struggle.
Terms that I want to refer to are for instance terms such as the front, the alliance - could you perhaps just elaborate on that? Did that include the ANC or was the ANC not part of the front or the alliance?
Of course that wasn't the case, they were orchestrating via these organisations the continuation of the struggle from the time that they were banned and went into exile. Terminology like front for example, would refer to a broad democratic front, it just included all organisations in that as if to say that those organisations fell under them, but at the same time were apart from them because there were legal organisations as opposed to the ANC which was an illegal organisation.
MR DU PLESSIS: Would it then be fair to say Mr Bellinghan, that an organisation such as the UDF and the South African Council of Churches for instance, were part of this broad front which were orchestrated by the ANC?
MR DU PLESSIS: All right, can I then ask you about something specific which have come up previously as well, and that is the question how many officials for instance of the South African Council or Churches and people involved in this organisation, would also have been involved in these underground structures?
MR BELLINGHAN: No Mr Chairman, there was indeed a hidden agenda. There would be - officials worked at these organisations quite bona fide going about their business, without knowing that some of their colleagues were involved in the underground networks of the ANC/SACP.
An organisation with quite a high degree of respectability like the South African Council of Churches, would have needed to distance itself publicly from certain aspects of the struggle and they did that.
MR DU PLESSIS: So Mr Bellinghan, is it fair to say or may I ask you this, you are not saying with your evidence that each and every Bishop and each and every church man, who was involved with the South African Council of Churches, was also a person who was involved in the underground structures and who knew that the organisation was used for purposes of the underground structure?
MR BELLINGHAN: Yes, in some instances those are nouns and in other instances, they are verbs, but it all comes down to the same thing, the same basic principle with the ANC behind the scenes, an illegal organisation continue in the struggle via legal organisations.
CHAIRPERSON: Not necessarily a delegation, one person, a high level Policeman or a high level politician approaching them and saying look, do you know what is going on at Khotso House, this is the information we have, we need your help.
MR BELLINGHAN: I don't know if that was done at that level Mr Chairman, but as I say I did part of the recruitment pitch to such a person would have been to highlight the reformist approach of the National Party of the time and try and exploit that in order to get some sort of assistance from the person.
MR BELLINGHAN: Before we deal with that, can I just mention one more thing relating to the underground structure. I have just now recalled an incident where one of the people on the staff had reported seeing somebody taking down registration numbers of cars exiting John Vorster Square and from where he was standing, he would have been able to see that they were coming out of the Security Branch parking lot.
That would, that type of thing would tend to support the idea of the underground structures operating from Khotso House. As far as the people are concerned, it is a long time ago, but I can remember people such as Dr Kiesner, Rev Sam Buti, Dr Allan Boesak, Rev Frank Chikane, Archbishop Tutu, Rev Beyers Naude.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes Mr Chairman, my next question would have been - or I just wanted to make it clear that we are not presenting this evidence as evidence of these people having been involved in the underground structures or anything of that sort.
MR BELLINGHAN: Perhaps I should just mention the next three on my list then as well. They would have been Jay Naidoo, Roland Hunter, Carl Niehaus, Jansie Louwrens and then perhaps I should just stop over there.
MR BELLINGHAN: Jansie Louwrens was the girlfriend of Carl Niehaus. During the investigation into that case, it also emerged as to what she was doing there, she was asked to go and see Dr Kiesner I believe, in order to get some assistance, photocopying of plans for the gasworks, etc, etc. We are not suggesting that Dr Kiesner knew what was about to take place, but certainly that was our information.
MR BELLINGHAN: Yes Mr Chairman, and of course also some academics that were ostensibly operating from Wits University, but at the same time travelling a lot to Zambia. One chap in particular had married an ANC official in Zambia and was a lecturer at Wits, and he was in Khotso House quite regularly.
Further on in terms of the propaganda aspect, on an internal level in other words within the borders of South Africa, organisations at Khotso House were frequently contacted by the media for comment including the South African Council of Churches and comment or detail or pictures concerning political events.
They also often tipped the media off about events that had negative propaganda value for us. On an international level they did the same. I was aware that the South African Council of Churches, Detainees' Parent Support Committee and the Black Sash, were in touch with amongst others, the following organisations: The World Council of Churches, Anti Apartheid Movement, Amnesty International, the ANC's Department of Information and Publicity and then there again in turn some of the information would appear in some of the publications I have referred to and then re-enter the country via those publications.
Furthermore the Catholic Institute for International Relations, the Committee for International Justice and Peace, the Committee on SA War Resistance, International Defence and Aid Fund, the SA Congress of Trade Unions and the World Peace Council.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, Mr Chairman, my question was meant to be on a broad basis, but if you put it that way, one could also probably ask the question in the following fashion: did they align themselves with the broad liberation struggle of the liberation movements or did they support the liberation struggle of the liberation movements, so it was meant as a ...
MR BELLINGHAN: It was indeed so that some of these organisations were aligned with the ANC and some were just opponents of apartheid. For example the World Council of Churches did not officially take a stance to side with the ANC, but they certainly did not support apartheid.
Then a final aspect I want to mention about the South African Council of Churches is the fact that substantial sums of money were entering the money on the basis that they would be given to selected individuals and organisations committed to the liberation movement.
Such as for example UDF or Families of Detainees, etc, etc. This was via the SACC National Emergency Fund which if my memory serves me correctly, was established around 1985. Of course a lot of this money ended up going to assist the underground struggle, exiles leaving, etc, etc.
Anybody reading the series of reports that I submitted to Head Office during that time, would have reached the conclusion that Khotso House was a central point in the Peoples' War and that individuals there were performing hostile acts under the cloak of respectability of organisations such as the CPSA and to an extent the SA Council of Churches of the 20 percent militaristic type, in other words the underground actions and then of course, most of these organisations in any case, supported the 80 percent propaganda side of the struggle against the State.
Could we lastly in that regard just deal with a document which was handed to you Mr Chairman, which is just an example of a report - that is one of the documents that still remain. You will see it is a letter complimenting Mr Bellinghan on a report about the South African Council of Churches in 1985, to the Security Branch for purposes of or in respect of the Council's National Conference, and it just gives an indication of the fact that a report was done by Mr Bellinghan and it leans substance to his evidence of him having knowledge of the South African Council of Churches, and you will also see in paragraph 2 that this letter was sent to "Tak Nasionale Vertolking".
Each dossier would have information on firstly regarding the entrance: The main door to the building, the type of lock, lighting, other doors, types of lock, entrance from parking area, entrance through windows, entrance through roof, entrance via adjacent buildings, entrance to the office, offices, type of lock, fanlights, chances of obtaining the keys.
As far as security is concerned: Controlled entrance during working hours, booking in and out during visits, night watchmen, occupants sleeping on the premises, burglar alarms, any after hours or weekend traffic in the building.
As far as the building is concerned: Who owns the building, who occupies the adjacent offices and floors, the presence of automatic fire extinguishers or roof sprinklers and then of course the floor plan of the offices or floor plan of the building. And also complete photographs trying to substantiate as much of this as we could.
Of course, I got this idea largely from the STRATCOM course I had just been on. From my understanding of the government STRATCOM policy, the following steps would be followed in order to obtain the desired result: The first step would be persuasion, which is really where you regard the opposition as a stubborn, friendly entity.
And then the third step would be destruction or elimination. Then as far as the dossiers are concerned that I compiled, it stands to reason that in compiling these dossiers on places like Khotso House, I did reconcile myself with the fact that active measures would be taken and just to elaborate on that, I think I should just explain that STRATCOM as I understood it, was basically consisted of two aspects.
The one was the soft STRATCOM of the propaganda, disinformation type and the second was what can be referred to or what the Soviets referred to and which we followed the example, and that is active measures which is an action which is calculated to have one of the steps, to one of the effects that I referred to above in those three steps.
ADV DE JAGER: You have mentioned STRATCOM and you are speaking about STRATCOM and even representations you made to STRATCOM, but could you tell us who was in charge of STRATCOM, who was the persons acting there, who gave information?
Mr Bellinghan, just for purposes of the Committee and the others, I don't think a lot of evidence has been placed before the Truth Commission in this regard, could you explain your Unit, the STRATCOM Unit at Head Office, how it fitted into the Head Office system, who was in charge of that when you were there, what were your functions, what did you do and how did you do it in broad terms please.
I went on a course, STRATCOM course, it was an inter-departmental course. There were people from other branches of the government there as well. There were other Policemen on the course too like Col Valmont who was subsequently blown up in Durban with a limpet attack.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Bellinghan, what does that mean, why were there people from other State departments apart from the Military and the Police on a STRATCOM course, before we go ahead, can you just elaborate a little bit on that?
It was explained to me at the time that the National Security Management System took priority over the other leg, so that of course actions of the Security Branch were a priority for the government, actions towards the security of the country.
It was also explained to me that the relationship that one had, one's duty as a STRATCOM officer, the relationship was a matrix organisation that was followed, in other words the various departments were interlinked, so that contact people could be relied upon to be made use of as far as STRATCOM was concerned, in specific organisations so that I would have a contact in another department and they would know who to contact if they needed something done as far as security was concerned.
So that there was that level and there was of course the level of the hierarchy which was followed as well, the traditional level where information and instructions came down from the top, but also then on an informal level where someone from Head Office would phone me as a STRATCOM officer in Witwatersrand and just say for example Magnus Malan wants you to do something about the End Conscription Campaign that is having a congress at Wits or something like that and I would respond accordingly.
It was explained to me at the STRATCOM course, I was taken aside and it was explained to me that I was given some documentation, and it was explained to me that I would have to interpret my role as a STRATCOM officer according to what I understood by the concepts of propaganda and active measures as well.
ADV GCABASHE: Mr Bellinghan, sorry, just for clarity, these other persons who attended the course with you, were they participants at the learner level or were they passing on information at the lecturer level?
MR BELLINGHAN: Various people, including the Head of SABC TV at the time. There were people from Advertising Agencies too, it was - the open discussions there were really more about the soft aspects of STRATCOM.
I must say that a large part of Mr Bellinghan's amnesty application, deals with all of these issues and I have been paging through the annexures of his amnesty application, they contain a wealth of documents pertaining to these issues, formal documents of the Security Police, such as for instance a document entitled Espionage and the South African Police. There is another document entitled Strategic Communication.
There is another document dealing with interestingly enough the Russian Intelligence Service and the way they operated. So, it is difficult for me to present this evidence in a very short fashion for purposes of this hearing and we obviously intend to deal with it more fully at Mr Bellinghan's own amnesty application in respect to other matters where he was involved in.
But the reason why I am saying this is if you are interested, we could make available to you for instance copies of the annexures to his amnesty application, dealing with a lot of these aspects in a lot of detail, if you would be interested.
MR DU PLESSIS: No, not necessarily Mr Chairman. I am just saying that there is a lot more that is available and it is difficult for me to keep the evidence very concise in this regard. I am trying to make it as concise as possible.
MR BELLINGHAN: As far as Head Office was concerned, there was a STRATCOM Unit at the time which was seated next to or together with and under Brigadier Stadtler, together with the Intelligence Unit at Head Office and the Counter-Espionage Unit.
MR BELLINGHAN: At that time, yes. That was in respect of my - what I saw when I was transferred to STRATCOM at Head Office and we conducted STRATCOM then via the regions on a national level, when I was at Head Office. It is in that regard that I got involved in these three matters again, and that is via the STRATCOM side of the disinformation of the bomb blasts.
If I can just mention, these are perhaps the perfect or an example of the hard and the soft STRATCOM operating together, the propaganda and the active measures. The active measure being the bomb blasts and then the propaganda being the disinformation that was spread around that.
It was our policy at STRATCOM and then of course via the lectures and the training that I gave to the regions, it certainly I know that the Security Branch had this - operators in the Security Branch had this opinion that it was to learn and imitate from the enemy.
We learnt and imitated directly from the mentors of our enemies, which was the Soviet Union. We also used Intelligence reports to know any differences or any ideological rifts or whatever of the different groups for example we would be aware that front organisations of the PAC like AZAPO and AZASM, we would be aware of their particular stance, their officials etc, etc.
MR DU PLESSIS: Right Mr Bellinghan, could we perhaps deal with the practicalities pertaining to the COSATU House incident perhaps first with reference to STRATCOM and that is paragraph 9 of Exhibit N.
Could I perhaps just ask you one question before we go ahead with that? Was STRATCOM a South African Security Police function or did the whole STRATCOM initiative have a much broader government function if one can put it like that?
MR BELLINGHAN: No, it is as Gen Van der Merwe said, I think it was Gen Van der Merwe, that STRATCOM is a fairly recent addition to the Security Branch at that time, and it was instructions from the government at the time that STRATCOM was a priority for each and every department and that those of us that were sent on such courses were supposed to take the message further.
During 1987, COSATU House was destroyed, and I don't remember much about it but I do remember helping to spread disinformation via our STRATCOM projects to take the blame away from the Security Forces.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Bellinghan, can you remember if the South African Police had any problem with the COSATU House attack? Was there any action taken, can you remember anything, any steps taken by the South African Police in respect of the COSATU House incident?
MR BELLINGHAN: Well, in so far as it was part of our line function to do Trade Union STRATCOM, that was a function delegated down from the State Security Council, down to us, I know of no complaints from the South African Police regarding the COSATU House attack, if you like.
MR BELLINGHAN: Not really. It was a question of I think in some instances, trying to blame splinter groups of BCM, Black Consciousness Movement in other instances, disinformation was spread I think about right wing people or conservatives that were upset about this, which would make it unsafe for people to screen it and people to attend.
CHAIRPERSON: Before you go on, just arising out of what you were asked. You knew that the South African Police were responsible for COSATU House. Would you tell other STRATCOM Units and ask for their assistance in diverting attention, when I say you, I mean you as the STRATCOM Unit of the Security Police?
MR BELLINGHAN: Mr Chairman, at no stage were we authorised to give that type of information. We would just say we need to put in a story about the following in a journal or a magazine or a newspaper. They could think what they wanted to, but we never, ever told them it was us who did that.
CHAIRPERSON: You might not tell them, but you did ask their assistance, so it was a broad approach, it just wasn't confined just to the Police STRATCOM. STRATCOM as a whole would seek to spread the disinformation if asked to?
MR DU PLESSIS: Do I understand you correctly, the information that was given out to journalists to be published in journals, people could have made a deduction that the South African Police were responsible, but you would never have divulged that information to anybody outside the Unit?
MR BELLINGHAN: What I meant by that is that the agent or the source that would be disseminating this information, this false information, he may have drawn a conclusion, but certainly someone reading from a newspaper report, would never suspect that the Security Branch actually took those steps.
It was my opinion during that discussion that something more substantial that we had done with the STRATCOM of COSATU House would have to be done if we were to successfully blame a splinter group, because I can recall that despite our propaganda efforts, there still were people who believed it was us that destroyed COSATU House, so the STRATCOM was not one hundred percent effective in that instance.
Then to avoid this happening again, there would have to be something concrete pointing to a splinter group. Of course, I don't know exactly how they got onto Shirley Gunn. I think the idea might have come from Johannesburg Security Branch, but certainly after the bomb blast, I helped to spread the information via our STRATCOM people that in fact it was Shirley Gunn who was to be blamed.
MR DU PLESSIS: All right, now Mr Bellinghan, just on this point before we go ahead with paragraph 11, you listened to the evidence of Gen Van der Merwe and Mr Vlok about the general approach of the fight against communism and against the liberation movements.
MR DU PLESSIS: And when you acted specifically with reference to the STRATCOM operations, the spreading of disinformation in respect of COSATU House, Khotso House and the Cry Freedom incidents, did you believe that you were acting in favour of and to the benefit of the National Party?
MR DU PLESSIS: Right, now, Mr Bellinghan, in respect of the Khotso House disinformation campaign, the STRATCOM campaign, do you have any knowledge of anybody asking questions about your STRATCOM operation, any other State department, National Intelligence or any other role players?
MR BELLINGHAN: Khotso House? I know of no other State department that had a problem with that and I think the interesting aspect there is that Church STRATCOM as such was not directly our line function.
Could you perhaps just give the Committee from your perspective and especially where you were involved in STRATCOM operations where the use of language was an important factor, could you explain to the Committee your view on certain of these words that were used and what words were used frequently, in which context?
The emphasis in our work was on acting, it was on doing something about the situation, not simply the theoretical approach that some of the other Intelligence Units or agencies followed, of just studied and analysing, we were called upon to act, to do things.
The terminology should be seen in that light too, and terminology which I heard in the Security Branch many times, was eliminate, destroy, neutralise, make a plan, manage the situation, pro-active action and to take out.
From contact with other departments for example on the course and from documentation I got there, I also heard aside from those type of terms, I heard terms like pro-active action, destroy, neutralise, remove from society, active measures, offensive and defensive tasks, harassment of individuals or groups and eliminate from memory and from looking at my amnesty application documentation, these are some of the terms.
MR DU PLESSIS: And could you perhaps just very shortly explain to the Committee the way these words were used, were they used in such a way that they could be interpreted the same very time, or were they used very loosely?
MR BELLINGHAN: In the context of the culture of the Security Branch, it was not possible to really understand these terms in any other sense other than the fact that there was a huge responsibility on us, the government placed a lot of demands on the Security Branch, the National Security Management System was a priority and we were known for our harder approach if you like.
MR DU PLESSIS: Right, now Mr Bellinghan, just lastly and very shortly, could you perhaps just deal with the effect of your work and the things that you were involved in on yourself and on people who worked with you, with reference to post-traumatic stress, very shortly please.
I have an Honours degree in Psychology I mean. So I was called upon at a later stage, after my STRATCOM days, to work on a National level with agents and sources and handlers, Security Branch personnel so I am qualified to comment on the effect of operations like this on the operators that were involved.
I can say that I did develop and made use of existing instruments to measure people's, aspects of peoples' behaviour and their personality. We were aware of, I was aware of changes, we were supposed to be aware of changes in the behaviour or the personality of agents and handlers to get an early warning if there could be some problems with them perhaps going over to the opposition or the enemy or if there were some other problems, some problems which could lead to complications in their work.
Because of the sensitivity of their work and the fact that in many instances, they could not go openly and get psychological help or psychiatric help, they had to rely on their friends around them, in the Security Branch, they had to rely on their handler if they were an agent or a source, for this type of assistance.
MR DU PLESSIS: What kind of effect would the whole system and everything else and the whole fight and the struggle have had on people such as you and the others who are applicants in front of this Committee?
At the time, there was a very strong support network within the Security Branch, so that I never noticed any one of the people that were involved, having or manifesting problems at that time, because of the strong support network.
Doctors and Psychiatrists, Policemen did make use of them via the medical aid, but it would not be encouraged for an operator to go and discuss his problems he might have, with feelings of guilt about an operation, he would immediately be classified as a risk and aside from the ANC's hitlist against Policemen, he would have been on another list, that is for sure. The list we would draw up maybe.
MR DU PLESSIS: So there was no real orchestrated system, is that correct Mr Bellinghan, in terms of which people who were involved as part of the Security Forces, to deal with their post-traumatic stress problems?
MR BELLINGHAN: Let's not call it post-traumatic stress problems, because I am not qualified to make that diagnosis, but let's just say that people were isolated and were left to themselves and to the people around them, to deal with that. People in the know as it were, people who were part of the need to know circle.
I did notice as I say, after the sense of camaraderie was broken down, or started to be broken down, that agents, handlers, sources and some of the personnel in the Security Branch displayed some of the following symptoms or reported having some of the following problems, let me put it that way: irritability, aggression and anger, changes in their eating and sleeping habits, nightmares, lack of concentration and energy as well, blunting of emotion, suspicion, uncertainty and guilt, general loss of interest and enthusiasm, alcohol abuse, generally feeling depressed or down, anxiety of a generalised type, in other words not associated with a direct stress or in the environment, let's just call it generalised anxiety, memory loss, decreased interpersonal skills and certain medical problems which most likely was of a psychosomatic nature.
MR DU PLESSIS: All right Mr Bellinghan, is there anything else that you would like to add before we get to the last point, is there anything else you would like to add in respect of the Khotso House, COSATU House incidents, or have you dealt with the evidence in general?
MR BELLINGHAN: If I could perhaps use the Minister as an example, I think that his actions at the time were correct and I think that his actions now in speaking openly and honestly before this Committee, are also correct.
I feel the same way about my own participation in this process. I believe that just as soon as we can get over this particular step in our history, reconciliation can indeed start to take place and it perhaps should be as soon as possible with an election coming up.
MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you Mr Chairman. Mr Chairman, I may just point out that in so far as this evidence has disclosed participation of Mr Bellinghan to criminal activities relating to Khotso House, even if they are far removed, we thought it prudent to include it in this hearing and that we will seek amnesty in respect thereof.
I am thinking for instance of being an accomplice to theft of documents out of Khotso House, etc. Mr Chairman, in respect of the cross-examination, I have had discussions with some of my colleagues and we wanted to raise something with you which would obviously be subject to the Committee's view and that is that Gen Van der Merwe and Mr Vlok have been scheduled to testify today.
We have spent a long time, longer than I thought it would take. They are ready, I think the media is here and we feel that it may be the way to deal with the matter, is to have Min Vlok and Gen Van der Merwe being cross-examined. The second reason for that is that we feel that a lot of questions which may be directed to them, would be questions that could be answered by Mr Bellinghan, and it would perhaps be prudent under the circumstances, to have those questions after Min Vlok and Gen Van der Merwe to be dealt with by Mr Bellinghan, but we are in your hands.
CHAIRPERSON: We had had a very preliminary discussion about the questioning and it comes to largely the same conclusion. It will also give the other lawyers appearing for applicants a chance to consider the effect of the evidence as a whole, and as you have already said, after they have heard the cross-examination, it may be that the cross-examination of Messrs Vlok and Van der Merwe, it may be that certain aspects no longer merit further questioning Mr Bellinghan.
MR THULARE: Mr Chairman, excuse me, Mr Thulare on behalf of the SACC. We want to consider opposition to this witness and we would wish to have a quick adjournment. We also were expecting that we would be able to immediately cross-examine him now. We don't have any objection obviously if the other people feels that that should stand down, but we need to consider that.
CHAIRPERSON: You need to consider what, opposition to him? Why do you need an adjournment for that, you have known since Friday that he was going to give evidence, that he was making an application? I am afraid I am at a loss to understand this.
MR THULARE: Mr Chairman, we also seek a five minute adjournment to consider the issue that has just been raised about him standing down. We were expecting and we were prepared to immediately cross-examine him as soon as he finishes his examination in chief.
MR THULARE: Yes, I do recollect Mr Chairman. Obviously we would probably have finished with this witness on Friday, but because of other reasons, we were not able to do so, so in our mind, we thought that his evidence would be allowed to finish, we would then cross-examine him and after he has been cross-examined, Mr Vlok and Mr Van der Merwe would then be cross-examined.
CHAIRPERSON: I have difficulty in understanding who or what you are going to get instructions from. You can have five minutes' adjournment, no more, and we will then continue with the cross-examination of Mr Vlok.