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Type AMNESTY HEARINGS
Starting Date 30 July 1998
MRáDU PLESSIS: Thank you. Mr Chairman, before I proceed, I just want to place certain facts on record. My attorney made inquiries yesterday at the offices of Beeld newspaper about the exact date of the death of the late president of the ANC, Oliver Tambo, and the date that he died was over the weekend of the 24th/25th of April 1993, not 1994 as my learned friend, Mr Mpshe, indicated, and Mr Bellinghan left the Force in August 1993.
MRáDU PLESSIS: Mr De Kock, would you agree with me, or can you not recall, Hammond and Le Roux say that during the Cosatu House operation, they were not armed, because they had to set the bomb and plant it?
MRáDE KOCK: Chairperson, I don't have any clear recollection thereof. They didn't know how large the basement area was, but I will concede that they would have made the ultimate determination, and that is why they were there, and I will concede that.
MRáDU PLESSIS: Hammond and Le Roux, Mr Chairman. And then, Mr De Kock, if their evidence would be that Mr Le Roux's charge was approximately 10kg, and that of Hammond approximately 15kg, you would not argue that?
MRáDE KOCK: No, I will not dispute it, but my recollection is that it was somewhat larger, it was about the total disruption of the building, but I wouldn't dispute that issue, my recollection is different, however both those persons are of unquestionable character and I will accept that.
MRáDU PLESSIS: And then my instructions are that not one of them can recall that a meeting was held at the farm at Honeydew, however they will not argue your recollection and if you say that that is what happened, they will concede that.
MRáDE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, they would have been there, because there was no other place between Honeydew and Cosatu House where I could have picked them up from, and that is my recollection. However, I do accept their explanation.
MRáDU PLESSIS: They do not dispute this issue with you. Mr De Kock, regarding the ladder, my instructions from MráHammond are that the ladder was provided to them by an ex-railway policeman who was also involved in the operation, who was with Greyling, and brought the ladder to Honeydew?
MRáDE KOCK: Yes, I will not dispute that, I don't have a clear recollection, but it would have been both persons who I trusted to make difficult decisions at difficult times, in other words field decisions which by nature were always very difficult to make.
MRáDE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, I later heard that, because with the gathering of equipment the ladder was missing, and this isn't something that one would want to see quite gladly, but I could never rely that everything would run perfectly. The reason why I remember the ladder so clearly was that I was nagged at until I bought another ladder for the person to whom the ladder originally belonged, and I did in fact purchase another ladder ultimately.
MRáDU PLESSIS: Regarding Khotso House, Mr De Kock, my instructions in this case from Mr Kotze and Hammond, who were members of the Bomb Disposal Unit and participated in the operation... (intervention).
MRáDU PLESSIS: There is no dispute regarding your conversation, but he says that his recollection is very clear that he and Mr Hammond, after the failure of the first operation, drove to Vlakplaas in order to discuss Vlakplaasĺ involvement in the next operation with you. Now I'd like to ask you, you didn't testify regarding that and so you don't have a recollection thereof?
MRáDE KOCK: No, I can't remember a discussion like that, but I can remember a discussion where Mr Kotze and MráHammond approached me, and that was at Vlakplaas, for the purposes of the damaging and burning down of Khanya House. Of that I definitely have a clear recollection, I don't want to dispute it. I will accept that I don't have a very clear recollection of this situation with regard to Khotso House, but with regard to Khanya House, it is as clear as yesterday.
MRáDU PLESSIS: Mr De Kock, I don't think that we'll dispute this matter, I will take it up with them, whether it is a possibility, it was 15 years ago and I won't take the matter any further. Then they will also testify that your obligation was to ensure that people were not injured insofar as it was within your ability and that no attention was paid to those arrangements?
MRáDE KOCK: I would say that it was between 60 and 80 or 90kg. I have a very clear recollection that there were eight rucksacks, and as I carried mine and had to climb over the wall, I noticed that it was either very heavy or I was just getting old, it was rather heavy, and therefore I based the weight of it on that.
MRáDE KOCK: Yes, the composition and packaging thereof, the activation mechanisms, but at the end of the operation, it would be my decision, I would be the one to decide how many would go. One of the reasons was, this I saw in south western Angola, that if circumstances were different, I didn't want those circumstances to apply with this specific operation.
MRáDU PLESSIS: Would you also concede that the only objective of Kotze and Hammond within this operation was for the position of the charges and the technical aspects with regard to the explosive devices?
MRáDE KOCK: Yes, that's correct. I myself would have ensured that these charges were correctly compiled, that the mechanisms were in good working order, because that would have been part of the overall responsibility which I held, but that would not have been something that I would have argued with them about, they were genuine experts.
MRáDU PLESSIS: And you would also, if I put it to you that there is a possibility that only Beyers could have had insight into the docket compiled by Mr Bellinghan, you wouldn't have any argument with that?
MRáDE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, there were, and in this period of time, according to my memory, it was approximately two to three months thereafter that a party was held at Vlakplaas itself and Minister Vlok was in attendance, if my memory serves me well, General Stadtler, General Van der Merwe, General Joubert, who is no longer with us, there were various generals and brigadiers in attendance, and we were congratulated with this operation and other successful operations.
MRáDU PLESSIS: Regarding Mr Beeslaar, I'm going to put the same question to you that Mr Booyens did, Mr Beeslaar will testify that he drove in the kombi where a certain Mr Bosch was also a passenger, where Mr Bosch, I don't know who the other person was?
MRáDU PLESSIS: Then finally I would like to ask you whether you would have acted upon the order of a commanding officer who was not necessarily in the direct line of command, for example if somebody other than Brigadier Schoon had issued the order or requested this operation?
MRáDE KOCK: Only in the absence of Brigadier Schoon would I have done this, but in any other event, he was the commander who would have cleared an operation. If he wasn't there, I would have gone to someone like General Stadtler or to the deputy head of the Security Police, or the head of the Security Police.
MRáDU PLESSIS: Might I ask you, regarding an operation that was held away from Pretoria, in that case you or some of your members who were deployed in other areas would have accepted orders from other commanding officers?
MRáDE KOCK: Yes, but once again I'd like to qualify this, that if an operation was of such a serious nature, I can say here, and this would be my answer, that when we blew up Community House in Cape Town, I think it was in Elsies River or Salt River, Brigadier Schoon flew down to Cape Town and we held a meeting with Brigadier Coetzee and a Colonel Smit or Nel, who wanted the place blown up. Once again I took that step of approaching Brigadier Schoon for his assistance and expertise.
MRáDE KOCK: The commanding officer of that area, or the person commanding that group of Askaris would report to the commander of that region and make his services available and ask with which division or branch he would have to liaise, as well as what the nature of the work would be. If there were any problems, I would be approached, and if we could not have been there on time, I would have taken responsibility for it.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MRáBOTHA: Mr De Kock, just two aspects that I'd like to clear up, and the first aspect, I would like to refer you to my client's amnesty application in volume 1, he says there, in the second paragraph from the top, the second sentence of that relevant paragraph
I would like to put it to you that that might be somewhat crassly stated, or it might have sounded rather crass at that point in time, but my client will testify that his order was that if anybody had raised an alarm to such an extent that the entire operation would have been ruined, then as a last resort that person would have had to have been shot. Would you agree with me that that indeed would have been the impression, or the direct or indirect order which was issued to members?
MRáDE KOCK: What would have happened in such an instance, that it would have been possible that night guards would approach you and they themselves would be armed, according to the information that would be provided to us regarding the activities at Khotso or Cosatu House, once again it's a very responsible and extremely difficult situation in which the man on the ground has to make a decision and my order to them was that if this would endanger the members of the operation, then they would be able to use their arms, and after that I would accept the responsibility for this. However, his task was to bring his people out alive and to get out of their alive as well.
"A few days afterwards he came to me and handed over a number of calculators which he retrieved from the debris of the building. The one that he gave to me, I did not accept."
He also mentioned calculators, and I'd just like to place it once again upon the record that my client's recollection is not very clear regarding the entire incident. Do you confirm that at a certain stage, approximately a month after the incident according to you, calculators were brought from Johannesburg to Vlakplaas for official use at the unit?
MRáDE KOCK: Yes, my recollection is that no members of Vlakplaas entered the building or helped with the search, and it was approximately a month after my people had rendered their services in Johannesburg that they received some of these calculators from members of the Security Branch who had searched the building which had been blown up, and these devices were used at Vlakplaas itself. Most of my people had their own calculators, but they were to be found in the facilities and offices of Vlakplaas and if they were used, there was really no issue about it, because they weren't in any way unique.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MRáROSSOUW: Mr De Kock, firstly, my instructions are to put it to you that Mr Bosch has the recollection that he flew with you in the helicopter during the observation of Cosatu House, but that he cannot remember that a similar observation was undertaken for Khotso House. His statement is that he cannot remember it.
MRáROSSOUW: And then I'd just like to ask you a number of questions regarding the request which you, according to your evidence, received for the Khotso House incident from MráZeelie. Initially my instructions are that Mr Zeelie says that during your evidence his memory was refreshed and that there was indeed a meeting at a hotel in Johannesburg, and that the matter was discussed during that meeting. He would concede this. He would also concede that he might have shown you the building.
What I would like to take up with you, however, is that Mr Zeelie denies that the request for the involvement of Vlakplaas would have come from him, and in relation to this, the evidence would be that we agree with the version of Advocate Du Plessis' clients that the request came from Messrs Kotze and Hammond. Is it possible that there might be a certain level of confusion regarding this?
MRáDE KOCK: Yes, I will concede that there might be a level of confusion, with the qualification that Mr Hammond and Kotze, due to their position, would not have been able to go to General Erasmus and tell him that they wanted the building blown up. That is my view, it happened a long time ago and I do admit that there might be confusion regarding that issue.
MRáROSSOUW: Furthermore, Mr Zeelie's viewpoint is that he wasn't the person who would have been responsible for the operation, in the sense that he served as a point of liaison between General Erasmus and Vlakplaas or you at that stage?
MRáROSSOUW: Just one further aspect, the answer which you provided during cross-examination in respect of the information which you received, that with the first unsuccessful attempt at bombing Khotso House, Mr Zeelie would have walked along with plastic bags in which there were landmines, my instructions are to place it on record and to put it to you that Mr Zeelie denies this and feels that this is part of a disinformation campaign which is being waged against him to place him a bad light. Could you comment on this?
MRáDE KOCK: Chairperson, as I've said, that is how I received the information, that as I've also mentioned yesterday, there was a level of jealousy, I could almost say that everybody always wanted to be the biggest dog in the garden, there might have been a campaign of disinformation or gossip that was waged against Mr Zeelie, I will concede that.
MRáROSSOUW: Finally, in your amnesty application on page 245, bundle 2, you mention that you reduced the charge for the explosive for Khotso House and you mentioned that it was Mr Zeelie who had a larger charge in mind, and in light of the concession which you made to Advocate Du Plessis that it was his clients who were responsible for the size of the charge, would you concede that this is possibly a mistake?
MRáDE KOCK: No, Chairperson, if I had said that I wanted a charge of 150kg, I would have asked for 150kg charge to be made, it was my responsibility, it was my operation. In this case, I would just like to place it in context, the feelings between '85 and '89 was zero tolerance between security forces and the liberation movements, or the liberation fighters, and I would just bring the emotions of that time into account here, it would only be understandable that people had these feelings.
MRáROSSOUW: Just a moment. My instructions are to deny that it was Mr Zeelie who was responsible for the planning with regard to the size of the charge and that he would not have insisted upon it and that it was indeed the responsibility of Advocate Du Plessisĺ clients.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MRáLAMEY: Colonel, firstly, for the sake of distinction and clarification, I will ask a number of questions pertaining to Mr NortjŔ's version and the MráMogoai's version. It is so that Vlakplaas, in many instances, actually provided assistance to security branches where there was a security problem within the jurisdiction of that particular security branch?
MRáLAMEY: What I'd like to put to you is that Mr NortjŔ will testify that he understood that this was that sort of action, that it was a question of providing assistance to the Johannesburg Security Branch who had a problem with Cosatu House, he didn't know exactly from where the order had come and so forth. Would you concede that this would be the correct assumption on his behalf?
MRáDE KOCK: Yes. Just for qualification, usually when I informed the members, I would tell them, "This comes from head office", or I would mention a name, not with the objective of implicating somebody necessarily.
MRáLAMEY: Yes, and I'd just like to add that Mr NortjŔ will testify that usually with these covert operations, they assumed or accepted that it had been cleared up with head office and that this took the route from the Johannesburg Security Branch commander to Brigadier Schoon and then to you ultimately?
MRáLAMEY: Then, just for clarification, I'd like to ask you, you mentioned in your evidence that members at Vlakplaas had the opportunity to withdraw if they did not wish to participate in an operation. I'd just like to ask you to give some more details regarding this statement of yours, or perhaps I should put it to you that, or in the way that I understand it, that if a member, due to a personal feeling, didn't feel right in participating in an operation, he would be able to say to you, "I'm not the man for this operation", or "I've arranged for leave", something like that, so therefore there would have been room to withdraw from an operation?
MRáLAMEY: However, if a member were to say to you that, "I'm questioning the reasons for the explosion at Khotso House", they didn't have the room to do that and there wouldn't have been the opportunity to withdraw that would have created the impression that this person was not as committed to Vlakplaas as before, or that his loyalty would be questioned, is that correct?
MSáGCABASHE: Could I ask, Colonel, at what stage would they know that they were involved in a bombing, as opposed to say any other form, you know, in terms of this withdrawal, when they could notify that they're not happy about doing it?
MRáDE KOCK: Chairperson, what I did was that when you select the group that you were going to use for the task, they were then called to one side and they were informed. I would then, and there are two cases that I can specifically recall where I did this, I would tell the members, after having discussed the matter, I would say, "Come to my office, but come by yourselves", I wouldn't allow these people to raise these issues in front of their colleagues, what it was about were personal feelings of honour, not that the people necessarily had ego problems, but people had feelings and sensitivities, so these people would come to see me one by one and then I would have replaced them.
MRáLAMEY: Colonel, the reason why the members were committed is, as I assume, as you said in your presentation in bundle 4, that the members of Vlakplaas, and I'm here referring specifically to Mr NortjŔ, had come a long way with the whole issue of the combating of the struggle from the days of Koevoet, etcetera, and also saw what was happening at Vlakplaas as a continuation of the struggle against the liberation movements who wanted to overthrow the government of the day by means of a revolutionary onslaught, and by means of his background, exposure and experience, he was also, to some extent, indoctrinated in that struggle, as you were?
MRáLAMEY: And then specifically he was tasked in this case to ensure that the printing press in the basement area was destroyed, that was his focus during the operation, it was to enter the building with Hammond and Le Roux and to see to the printing press?
MRáLAMEY: Mr NortjŔ's recollection is also that there was an indication that there were people present on the very highest level or floor of this building, but that the placement of the charges and the localising of the charges did not create any risk for those people?
MRáDE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, during my observation and that of Sergeant Bosch, it became clear to me that there were people who were actually living in Cosatu House, something which Mr Greyling didn't tell me and which we saw for ourselves as a result of our own observations, and one of the reasons why I say that is, I think it was on the fourth or fifth floor, we saw clothes being hung out to dry on a daily basis, not just as if to air it, but it was actually washing hung out to dry, and that created the impression that people were actually living there, and then in this case fewer explosive devices were used than in the case of Mr De Kock.
MRáLAMEY: Oh, that's correct, Mr Chairman. I just want to put it to you that his recollection is that he knew, as an Askari, or let me put it this way first, shortly before the explosion took place that night, he was involved for the first time at Vlakplaas, and he was told at a meeting as to what he must do, namely that he would be one of the people who would approach the guard with spiked beer, it had been spiked, not in the sense that it was life-threatening, but simply that it would eliminate a person on a temporary basis, just by making him dizzy or whatever?
MRáLAMEY: He says that what he learnt at Vlakplaas is that there would be an explosion, magwaina(?), he said that he could recall that you said that "if they can plant bombs, we can do it too". Can you recall that?
MRáLAMEY: He said that this was said at a meeting at Vlakplaas early that evening, about six o'clock, when he was called together with other members, I wouldn't say that all the members were present, but there were a group of members present?
MRáDE KOCK: I saw it as my duty, Chairperson, and virtually succeeded in training almost each and every member of Vlakplaas in the handling of explosives and the disposal of explosives and bombs, and there was also a wide variety of courses and lectures given to them, and ultimately virtually all the members of Vlakplaas were qualified in the handling of explosives.
MRáDE KOCK: No. No, he wouldn't have been able to question it. He might have told me, or he could have told me that he didn't want to go along, and I would have had sympathy for that, but I can't dispute that.
MRáLAMEY: What he also will say is that he regarded it as an order and that it was action directed at Cosatu, who was a front organisation for the ANC, and that he, for that reason, also believed that the action was one for the combating of the liberation struggle?
CHAIRPERSON: I'm not quite sure, you were asked whether, or he said he will say he was only told that evening, he wasn't told earlier, at the same time as the other people, did you agree with that, Colonel De Kock?
MRáDE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, yes, I agreed with that. Maybe I should just qualify it by saying that the group, we would have had a group about to do the demolition, and then we started drawing the outer circles, and on the need to know basis, well one tried to stick to that need to know basis of operation.
MRáLAMEY: And he will also testify that he regarded you as the law at Vlakplaas, you as the commanding officer, and he wouldn't have dared to question any orders. I just want to ask you, an Askari was in a slightly different position, am I right? They were people who had been members of the former liberation movements and who had within themselves probably come to the realisation that their conduct at all times should be such that there could be no whiff of disloyalty or cause any suspicion whatsoever?
MRáDE KOCK: There were some of these former ANC members who asked for transfers and they received the transfers. Others asked to be released from this obligation and they left the Force. Yes, obviously they wouldn't have wanted to attract any suspicion and they built in a Counter-Intelligence unit at an extra salary, I wanted to make sure that I wouldn't have any deserters so that I would just find my farm empty one morning, but Mr Mogoai was one of the loyal members, he's one of the pillars of Vlakplaas there.
MRáLAMEY: He will also say that you were a strong leader and a fairly authoritarian leader, and that, because you also exercised strict discipline, he had respect for you and a measure of fear and awe?
ADV DE JAGER: Mr Lamey, I don't think it's being disputed that your client acted on the orders and instructions of Mr De Kock and that he obeyed those orders, and it is clear on the evidence that the foot soldiers received and obeyed orders from above.
MRáLAMEY: As it pleases the Committee, that was the last aspect. Regarding the matter of the R200,00 which he received the next day from Simon Radebe, and I understand that it came from you, or he understood that it came from you and that it was in a way a sort of an award or a compensation for his involvement in the action, and he says that that evening after the action had taken place, he also attended this social function.
MRáDE KOCK: I can't dispute that. I told you my speculation on this point yesterday, and I can't tell you with any degree of certainty exactly how it happened, but I can't dispute that. What I will dispute is that they were paid for the work. They were not paid for the work, because that would not have been sufficient compensation or reward.
MRáJANSEN: Although Cosatu, I should put it on record that Mr Ras is only implicated or involved in the Cosatu incident, although there were certain new characteristics of Cosatu House, because it was an action which took place in a high density area, but the actual destruction of property was nothing new or strange for the average Vlakplaas operative at the time?
MRáDE KOCK: No, Chairperson, that is something which had come from the days of Koevoet in the north of South-West, and also when we did cross border operations in Angola, so it is with some difficulty that one could actually abandon the norms that one learnt in the north and act differently here in the country.
MRáJANSEN: And with your knowledge of Vlakplaas and the context in which it operated and the situation in the country, which was actually on fire at the time, the issues as to whether a person was actually acting within the scope of his authority or implied authority would actually have been an academic exercise to a large extent, those operatives would simply have said, "This is an order, an operation is imminent, it's important that everybody do exactly as they were told"?
MRáJANSEN: As it pleases, Mr Chairman, I have no further questions. Sorry, Mr Chairman, there was just one aspect which I had to put, which I did not. Mr De Kock, there's just one issue that I still want to ask you and it regards a slight difference on the facts, it's not really serious, Mr Rasĺ recollection, and as it is also set out on page 202 of his application, volume 1, he says that from Cosatu House, this mini-bus, which he drove to Cosatu House, this mini-bus went directly back to Pretoria, that's the second-last paragraph from the bottom. Did I understand your evidence correctly that you said the vehicles went back to Honeydew, to the house at Honeydew?
MRáDE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, because as far as I can recall, we had to switch number plates and licence discs and so on had to be switched, and the arms had to be handed back, that is my recollection, that I saw the mini-bus there, but I can't actually dispute it, that is my recollection.
MRáDE KOCK: I heard this by means of the direct words and evidence of one of my members, and the whole time I thought that it was either Mr Vermeulen or Mr Willie NortjŔ who had used those words, that's my recollection, I may be wrong, but that is the first picture that springs to mind.
MR RADITAPOLE: If you could just put volume 3 close by you, I'm going to be referring to it quite extensively. At page 458 there's a discussion about orders to shoot, to shoot anybody that might have disturbed you, and you state there that those orders came directly from General Erasmus. Now, during the cross-examination yesterday, you sort of indicated that it didn't necessarily mean that you would shoot policemen. I was just a bit confused, because you seem quite certain that the instructions were that if anybody came upon you who disturbed the operations that they should be shot, including policemen. Could you just clarify the situation?
MRáDE KOCK: Obviously, by virtue of the nature of this operation, your own people get preference, your own operatives get preference, we all wanted to go home, and those who opposed you, you would have to do what you had to do, and that's also why we had the necessary weapons. If a night watchman approached us, and I shudder to think what might have happened, what would have happened, he would most probably have lost his life, I can't or couldn't have allowed him to raise the alarm or to identify us, because then the bona fides of this entire covert operation would have been blown, and I believe that it would have led to the loss of his life.
MRáDE KOCK: Chairperson, it would most probably have led to a shooting. If the police got a message that there was a group of men with weapons in a back yard and dressed in civilian dress, then the police, if they would approach us, would already have been armed, they would not have approached us on the footing of being co-colleagues, because we weren't dressed appropriately, they would obviously have shot at us, I believe we would have shot first, because the second place in a shooting match is a grave, and I was not prepared to take my people to the grave, and it would most probably have led to the deaths of policemen, and that would most definitely have led to the fall of the National Party and the government.
MRáDE KOCK: Yes, that would have been the only way out, because otherwise then, in the position with Cosatu House, we were actually trapped between various buildings in a small backyard, so there was no escape route other than to actually just go right over your enemy or your opposition.
MR RADITAPOLE: Right, if you can turn to page 460 then. You speak about commendations, that you received the Star of Excellence and so on. You then state there that the awarding of this commendation can only be authorised by the State President himself. Could you just clarify this, is this something you know for sure?
MRáDE KOCK: That's right, I'm not quite so familiar anymore with the standing orders of the time, but certain types of medals could be approved by the Commissioner and others by the minister, but in the case of, for instance, a decoration which could only be awarded to a general, that was referred to the State President for his approval.
MR RADITAPOLE: Would it be fair to say to you that, having been commended for bombing in London, that you, by P W Botha, that an instruction then, a later instruction from him to commit another bombing, although in South Africa, was not a very, very strange thing, as such.
MR RADITAPOLE: No, I understand that, and I'm going to come to that in a moment, the point I'm making is, the fact that, you know, a State President could award you medals for illegal work outside of the country would have meant in a way as much as it was a change of strategy, you weren't surprised that you'd get instructions to bomb, to commit a similar illegal act?
MRáDE KOCK: Yes. You see, obviously a covert operation is already an indication that there is an element of dishonesty, somebody's rights are going to be violated, somebody's house is going to be broken into or he's going to be killed, but here we already had a pattern, it was no longer as if it was something entirely strange.
MR RADITAPOLE: Okay, if you could turn to page 462. This is where you speak about the visit by Mr Vlok and generals and the congratulations. Can you recollect whether there was any reference to the State President in this incident?
MR RADITAPOLE: If you'd turn to page 466. Here you speak about your requiring some reassurances in terms of how high up the instructions came from, and then in the third paragraph you mention that you were called in by Schoon and he was quite irritated. What did he call you in for?
MRáDE KOCK: He called me in to inquire from me as to why the place had not yet been blown up and why it was taking us so long, and that is why I reacted in the way that I did, which is actually quite an unusual reaction to have against a senior officer, especially somebody of Brigadier Schoon's stature, it's not something which I would normally have said to such a senior officer.
MRáDE KOCK: Then he should rather have done it himself, because I was not prepared to sacrifice any of my people or to be caught. We would either do it well or not do it at all, there was no middle course.
MR RADITAPOLE: Now, sorry, I'm going to be jumping about a bit, I'm going to try and follow the sequence which you were cross-examined and led. At page 468, there's reference here to terminology, and there's been cross-examination also around terminology. Now, if you were told directly that, look, this place is a problem, a particular place is a problem, and let's take Khotso House, the SACC is giving difficulties, we need to do something about this building to render it unusable, how would you have understood that instruction?
MRáRADITAPOLE: And then, coming to the Cosatu House operation, how did you collect your intelligence, I understand you did your own reconnaissance and so on, did you receive your intelligence from other sources also?
MRáDE KOCK: Chairperson, the information which I received from Colonel Deon Greyling was so sparse and of such little value that it was not possible for me to rely on that or to formulate some definite action from that in order to actually launch an action. It was necessary for me to gather my own information and plan from the information which I gathered.
MRáDE KOCK: I had quite a number of sources, but they were not centralised in Johannesburg and also not specifically in certain buildings, we moved on a national basis and it was task-oriented counter-terrorism.
MRáRADITAPOLE: I'm just struggling to understand the rationale behind the idea, I mean the guy, a person is a security guard, with a responsibility to watch a building, did you expect that some strangers would walk up to him and offer him beer and he'd drink the beer? I'm just struggling to understand this.
MRáDE KOCK: Chairperson, it's simply one of the facets which I used to monitor the guards. If we would be busy at the back and he would suddenly run to the back, then the two members would be able to warn me, they had a radio, but from personal experience, I served for ten years in the uniform branch and I also walked quite a number of beats, and I must say that I found very few sober night guards in my experience, to the extent that I would have to wake the night guard up and tell him, "Look, you've been burgled", and from that viewpoint, I tried inasmuch as possible to establish an early warning system for those who were active and would have to take very unpleasant field decisions. I'm not a perfectionist, but we tried, inasmuch as possible, to give the operative on ground level a chance to avoid being in a difficult position.
MRáRADITAPOLE: Now if you could turn to Annexure G, that's the list of incidents, Annexure G. Annexure G then is that list of individual incidents related to attacks on Cosatu and individuals and so on. Do you have any knowledge about any of the incidents listed in there?
If I have the date correctly, then that would have been one of our tasks, or one of our explosions, and I haven't found it here, but the fire at Khanya House here in Pretoria, on a local level, was also one of our tasks.
MRáRADITAPOLE: Well, can you just, let's just talk about that item 33, bomb at Community House in Cape Town. Can you just tell us a bit about that incident, how you got involved and where the instructions came from and so on?
MRáDE KOCK: Chairperson, it was a request which was directed from the Western Cape Security Branch, and I think at that stage the head of the investigation of terrorism desk was either Colonel Nel or Smit, Colonel Smit, and the request came from him to one of my members, I can't remember who it was that was working there at that stage. I took it to Brigadier Schoon and he told me that we could provide assistance. I went down to Cape Town and the divisional commander of the Security Branch at that stage was Brigadier Coetzee. Brigadier Schoon also flew down to Cape Town, and that morning we held a meeting in Brigadier Coetzee's office, the then Brigadier Schoon and myself as well, Colonel Smit and there were also two or three other members present. We then decided to continue with the blowing up of this facility.
CHAIRPERSON: We've discussed this yesterday. I know that you are interested, for the sake of your clients, in getting all this information, but has it any relevance to the inquiry we are conducting, which is an application for amnesty in respect of three other events?
MRáRADITAPOLE: Chair, I'll leave it there, save to say that the whole concern that Cosatu has about those three events is, well about the incident against Cosatu, is that that wasn't a once-off incident and that it's related to others, and therefore that it can be taken out of context. I've said this before, but I'll leave this issue.
CHAIRPERSON: I didn't stop you to inquire as to whether it was planned, but now you are starting to get down to the level of who your team was, which has certainly got nothing to do with the general picture.
MRáDE KOCK: Chairperson, the Community House in Cape Town had just been completed, it was a brand-new building and within two or three days from the building being put to use, a variety of affiliates of Cosatu would use the building, and if my recollection is correct, the bank accounts of the Western Cape were in the red as a result of the construction of this building.
MR HUGO: If I might just intervene, Chairperson, I don't want to be unnecessarily obstructive, but this is the subject of another amnesty application. The details thereof are contained in the other amnesty application and I think that we are now approaching the level of delving too deeply into political motivation and political reasons, which really do not form part of the current discussion.
CHAIRPERSON: The political reasoning may be, if there's going to be a suggestion that what we have been told about Cosatu House was not true, there hasn't been a full and frank disclosure because there were other reasons for other attacks, but, so I think we can ask if he knows if he was told why the attack had to be carried out, was it a political reason?
MRáDE KOCK: It would have made it impossible for Cosatu, and of course the affiliates who would be working there, on the one side, if the building were to be destroyed or rendered unsafe. Secondly, it sent them into bankruptcy, and I will explain further after this, and if there were any actions to be launched from that building for civil disobedience, which could have led to violence, any such activities would be cut down. It was also a question of complete disruption. In order to explain further, there was a telephone interception between Bishop Tutu and another person, when he was informed that night that the building had been destroyed or severely damaged. He was highly upset and practically in tears, and the nature of his remarks were, "Now we don't have any money left, we're bankrupt". That's basically as far as I can go at the moment, without letting myself in any further.
There are two matters I would like to dispose of. Firstly, I would like to thank somebody whose identity is at present unknown to me for the photographs of the buildings, two photographs of the buildings they produced this morning, whoever it was, thank you very much.
And secondly, you may have been told that there are problems in this building at the moment with the water supply. In consequence of that, we have decided we will adjourn, take the long adjournment from 1:00 to 2:00, we hope by that time, the problems will have been sorted out.
MRáRADITAPOLE: I'd just like to place something on record relating to the inquiries about Cosatu's property that was confiscated. I've been having formal chats with General Van der Merwe, who was keeping me up to date about the investigation. He's now handed me a letter from the commander at Johannesburg Central Police Station, confirming that these items are no longer available. So I thought I should just place that on record, that that puts that matter to rest. These are items that were confiscated at Cosatu House during various raids, it was just a request that was a request that was made earlier.
CHAIRPERSON: General Van der Merwe, was you will recollect, undertook to make inquiries, and he obviously has made inquiries and this is the information as a result. Thank you, and thank you, General.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MRáRADITAPOLE: (Continues) The Community House bombing, you referred to this telephone call that was intercepted that involved Bishop Tutu. Would you agree, in a sense, that this confirmed that the churches were in an alliance of some sort or were supportive of the trade union movement?
MRáDE KOCK: Chairperson, no, I think it's just the question that he was notified and by nature of his prominence I can remember, but I can't say that there was inter-action between the churches and the trade unions, because that was not at all within my line function or my line, as such.
MRáDE KOCK: Well it's not much more, sir. It's merely that it was a further part of a pattern, in this case the building had to be burnt down, the order came from Brigadier McIntyre who was the head of Stratcom at security head office, and later when we deal with the political aspects it will be discussed further.
This building was 30 metres away from 400 policemen living in an old hotel that had been transformed into a - I think we will discuss that later, and Brigadier McIntyre should of course be given notice about this.
MRáDE KOCK: Chairperson, no. As I recall, and my recollection may be faulty, which I wouldn't concede very easily at this stage, it could be that the CCB was involved in this operation. I know that the CCB at one stage blew up a building in Cape Town, The Early Learning Centre, if I remember correctly, but personally I know only about the one Community House which we blew up, it was a brand-new building and it was about two or three days away from occupation and usage. That's all that I can mention about that.
MR VISSER: I do believe, I mentioned to you this morning that there was a matter which we wanted to rectify in the evidence of General Van der Merwe, and I'm sorry to interrupt now, but it seems to be imminently relevant to the very questions that my learned friend is putting now, and perhaps I may be in dereliction of duty if I don't mention it now.
Mr Chairman, very briefly, General Van der Merwe, when he was cross-examined about Exhibit G, and particularly asked about, as far as his knowledge was concerned, in how many of those incidents the police might have been involved. Part of his answer was this, he said he would have expected that if policemen were involved in some of those incidents, that they would have applied for amnesty, and he added, you will recall, Mr Chairman, that they would have been stupid not to have done so.
Now he has thought about that, and something has occurred to him which had slipped his mind, and he says, and he's asked me to rectify this, and if needs be, he will go back into the witness box at an appropriate time to explain the fact that he had forgotten about the factor that I'm going to tell you about now.
Mr Chairman, General Van der Merwe at another occasion told you that prior to a decision being taken by members of the police to apply for amnesty and to co-operate with the process of amnesty with the TRC, there were meetings, and he told me last night that he recalled after his evidence that there was one and at that meeting they obtained the services of a certain person from the old indemnity office, and I'll come to explaining that in a moment, to come and inform them as to the validity of indemnities which had been granted to certain policemen in terms of the 1990 Act, it is Act 35/90. Mr Chairman perhaps I should straight away refer you to that Act. I haven't got the Act before me, but Mr Chairman it is the Indemnity Act No 35/90, as amended by the Indemnity Amendment Act 124/92, and that Act, Mr Chairman, in section 2 provided that:-
"The State President may, by notice in the Government Gazette, grant indemnity to any person or category of persons in respect of any event or category of events specified in the notice."
"In the event of any such indemnity having been granted, there shall be no process, either civil or criminal, instituted against any such person having been granted indemnity."
Now, Mr Chairman, it is common knowledge that a large number of policemen were granted indemnity in terms of that Act, and that was the reason why the person from the indemnity office was called and asked to address the policemen on that score.
General Van der Merwe tells me, and if needs be he'll come and testify to that, that they were informed that that was a good indemnity and it was a valid indemnity, but this person's view was, if you want to make doubly certain, if you want to wear belts and braces, perhaps you should apply for amnesty before the TRC in regard to those incidents for which you had obtained indemnity in terms of the Indemnity Act again. What has occurred to General Van der Merwe is that his reply to you might have been misleading insofar as there may be policemen who were involved in some of the incidents which are referred to in Exhibit G, which had not applied for amnesty on the strength of the assurance that their indemnity was a valid indemnity, and therefore his reply was, to that extent, not quite correct.
I don't know whether my learned friend - but I believe that it was fair that we should mention it now, Mr Chairman, and if needs be, General Van der Merwe can come back at an appropriate time to take more cross-examination on that issue, if needs be.
CHAIRPERSON: I can't really see the necessity for that, I think it is information, but I don't think that counsel is going to rely on the fact that a policeman hasn't applied for indemnity as an indication that the police didn't commit the act.
MRáRADITAPOLE: Thank you, Chair. Ja, I'd leave this in your hands, Chair, I won't take it any further. I'm just trying to remember where I was. I forgot now. Oh, I was asking you about other incidents.
MRáDE KOCK: Chairperson, that there was a continuous, constant sabotage of Cosatu and its affiliates, and I'd like to qualify by saying that if we put this next to the issue involved, there must be other State departments who also had covert wings. I'm not trying to put the blame on anybody here, but it simply follows logically.
MRáRADITAPOLE: Now, of course, the way things operated, you wouldn't know about a plan, you know a planned campaign, because you got orders on a, instructions came on an ad hoc basis, is that correct?
MRáRADITAPOLE: In fact will you agree that that situation applies generally to all your other operations, you'd get instructions to do particular things, you wouldn't necessarily know within what framework you were doing it or for what purpose, but you took instructions and carried them out?
MRáRADITAPOLE: And you talk about a form of operating on what you call a one to one basis to ensure that politicians, in a sense to ensure that politicians are protected from the acts of operatives, is that correct?
MRáRADITAPOLE: Now, can you just tell us a bit about your understanding of this doctrine, of General McEwan's doctrine? I want to relate, I'm asking you this to relate it to what was said in evidence earlier by, I think it was Mr Vlok who said they were told the what and then the how was left to other people, and I'd just like you to relate your understanding of General McEwan to that evidence?
MRáDE KOCK: Chairperson, the person on ground level, and I will provide an example which occurred locally in the RSA with regard to a cross border operation, it boils down to the fact that firstly the government of the day should not be embarrassed, that it would be able to deny any knowledge.
Secondly, it would give the politicians and the commanders serving below them the opportunity to undertake damage control. That would also boil down to the principle of denial, cover-up, distancing, and we can look at the instance where two members of the Special Forces or CCB were detained in Botswana after a shooting incident during which a Botswana policeman received 22 bullet wounds and survived, the government denied that these people were working for the Defence Force, that they were actually working for the RSA government, although the CCB formed part of the Special Forces component, whether General Malan likes that or not.
It offers the opportunity to government to distance themselves completely and ultimately walk away freely from this situation, and it works on a one to one basis, because whose word will be accepted, the word of a general or the word of a major? They could say that the major is a rogue and he may not be that, but he would ultimately be the victim of a wider pressure group from above, and that's basically the situation.
MRáRADITAPOLE: Now that brings us to page 509 of volume 3, the last paragraph where again the question of the identity of the source of the instructions is investigated. You seem almost like 110% certain that it was from the State President. Can you explain this, why you are so certain?
MRáDE KOCK: Because, and the reason is ambivalent, firstly it was conveyed to me by Brigadier Schoon, a man of unquestionable integrity, I would have believed him above a church minister. Secondly, the declarations were approved by the State President, and that once again confirms what he said to me later.
MRáRADITAPOLE: Now, what would you say, what would your comments be to a view that you are trying to implicate PáWáBotha and so on out of spite that, because of your current circumstances, because you feel betrayed, that you are now trying to bring everybody down with you, what would your response be to that?
MRáDE KOCK: No, Chairperson, it has nothing to do with that. I could be subpoenaed under certain sections, I think it's actually section 29 if I'm not mistaken, of the Truth and Reconciliation Act, and then I would be compelled to testify, and if I was under oath, I would have to decide whether or not I would once again break the law, so it's not even about that. From an emotional view, it took me three days before I decided that I would testify against former President Botha. One retains that feeling of reverence or respect, and at times it is substituted with a feeling of betrayal, but I believe that's because we are human, and it's not about embitterment. However, I feel that it is my duty, and I wouldn't be an officer of any nature if I didn't see to the needs of those below me. This is about the foot soldiers below me, those who worked with us in the execution of these duties and that's what officers are there for. Their function is not only to lead and to drink their port or wine.
MRáRADITAPOLE: Colonel, I hear you and I don't want to take issue with you, but I'd like you to explain further what you've said in the light of what you've said now, in the light of what you say at page 467 of volume 3, which I am, I'm going to read into the record. I'm sort of from about one third of the way down, you speak about being sold out, it's about the 14th line, you say
"I'm talking specifically of the police in the army, especially the Special Forces, have been sold out by cowardly politicians in the National Party especially. They want to eat lamb, but they do not want to see the blood and the guts. They are cowards. They will remain that and their so-called cover of respectability is but..."
"...that is all. Furthermore, is that seeing that the politicians does not have the moral fibre nor the guts, I myself personally as a lowly colonel and a lowly academic here and then later on will take responsibility for all the members in the South African Police and Security Police, as well as those members in the army and the Special Forces for their actions which did occur within the framework of the incitement of the politicians and the gaoling for the volk and fatherland syndrome. We did well, we did the fighting, I'm proud of that, but the politicians know they have no pride, they made sure that they only looked after a small 5% of their little incestuous Afrikaner group."
Then you go on and on. Now, I'm saying in a sense that would give somebody a perception that well you are bitter, they say well you are bitter, we hear you but you are bitter and you are bringing everybody down with you. Would you care to comment on that?
MRáDE KOCK: Chairperson, that may create that certain perception with certain people. For those of us who were part of the Forces, it was a general feeling of disappointment to see how people would deny for four or five years, and then eventually, after this time, begin to admit. For me, it was never an issue of embitterment, it's more an issue of repulsion, because those to whom I had looked up had said that if the bugle blows we would storm, and when that time came, they stormed backward. It's not about embitterment, I was trying to say, "Stand up and be the man that you said you were ten or eight years ago".
Once again, it is my duty as an officer to take responsibility for the people below me. I've constantly maintained this vision with the Motherwell Bomb incident, I did it again in George, and I'm doing it once more today.
MRáRADITAPOLE: And if you return to page 512 of volume 3, you'll remember in the evidence, and I'm not sure whether it was Mr Vlok or General Van der Merwe, but they spoke of these, the activity of bombing Cosatu House, as a holding action. Do you recall that?
MRáDE KOCK: Chairperson, that might be the political impression which was created, I can't argue that, I'm not a politician myself, but for us on the ground, and I cannot put it any lighter, and one could put it more crassly, but I won't, but those who were on the ground were in the blood and the guts, that's where we were, people might not want to know this, but that's how it was, it was a man to man situation in which we fought.
CHAIRPERSON: Well I think what was said, and I say this subject to correction, that the witness was being questioned about what was the purpose of destroying a building when they could go and find another building, and I think it was in that context that the witness said no, this was a holding action, it would stop them operating for some time.
MRáDE KOCK: Chairperson, yes, I would not know how the Johannesburg region would have handled it, they might have taken action of preventing people from obtaining telephones or removing their post, in 14 days it would have been in full swing, if I had been the manager there, it would have taken place within a question of a week.
MRáRADITAPOLE: Also, if you'll recall the evidence by Mr Vlok, he, I'm not going to quote it verbatim, he said something to the effect that, well P W Botha was working towards dismantling apartheid, that they believed negotiations and so on were going to resolve the situation, do you remember that evidence?
MRáRADITAPOLE: Now, how would you relate that evidence to your evidence about what Mr Vlok said, which you talk about on page 512, this is what he said when he'd come to congratulate you at Vlakplaas, you say at page 512 on the third paragraph
"That is incidental, it was the same day when he said we will fight the ANC for the next thousand years, the sort of Third Reich bypassing."
MRáDE KOCK: Chairperson, I understood that we would fight this out to the bitter end, that there would be only one victor, that there would be no form of negotiation, and if it were to lead to negotiation, it would be one of those diplomatic situations where you would be patting the dog's head and with the other hand you'd be looking for a stone to throw at it, that's how I saw it. To me it was "Keep your weapons ready, we'll fight this out to the bitter end". With us there was no other view.
MRáDE KOCK: Yes. However, I want to qualify by saying that a lot of time has elapsed since then. The blood barons as we were provided, did not take place as it did in Angola and other places. All of these actions have been tempered, and with retrospect, as Mr Vlok and the others have seen it, we were wrong. My perception, and the perception of the man on the ground, was that we would bleed each other dry.
MSáGCABASHE: Could I ask you, Colonel, this perception you had, do you think it was as the result of disinformation from your employers essentially, the policy-makers, the politicians, or was it just a matter of burying your heads in the sand and not wanting to deal with what might be happening at a broader political front? Just to help me understand that.
MRáDE KOCK: Chairperson, no, our perception was that this would be a battle. There was no question of giving over, no member of the police or the military was ever given a white flag, we would not surrender, we would fight to the bitter end, there would be only one victor.
CHAIRPERSON: Can I suggest, I'm taking this on that it was rather the information you did not receive. You have told us this morning that, "We had one of the best Intelligence services in operation", that if you wanted, if the politicians wanted to find out something, they could have found out, they would have known.
CHAIRPERSON: And as I understand your evidence, they never pulled you up when an operation had been done, when things had been done, the politicians never told you not to, they never condemned you for any act, although they must have known what was going on, they must have received reports, they must have read in the newspapers that buildings were being damaged, this Exhibit G, they must have been aware of a campaign like that, but they never took any steps to stop the police, the security forces, from doing it?
ADV DE JAGER: Mr De Kock, what would have been the influence on your men and, or the police officers, if Mr Vlok had come to you and said, "Hold on a minute, we want to negotiate, we're going to surrender", would you have continued fighting?
MRáDE KOCK: Chairperson, that happened on the 2nd of February 1990, when President De Klerk made his announcement, and still there was no perception of surrender on our part, there wasn't even any information that there'd be an opportunity for us to get amnesty. The perception which was created within us was, "You will have to pay by yourselves, if we have to sacrifice you, then that's what we'll do", so we could either fight it out and be shot dead, or fight it out elsewhere. There were a lot of problems.
The members amongst Vlakplaas did not present ourselves to the ANC to not establish some kind of cross-pollination, so that we could see that they're not the monsters we think they are, we're not the monsters they think we are. There was a lot of trouble into keeping us apart, and the Security Branch and the NIS, on the other hand, liaised quite often on a daily basis with the ANC.
MRáRADITAPOLE: Mr De Kock, can I traverse just one aspect in relation to Annexure G that I omitted, I'd just like to refer you to it? If you look at Annexure G, you'll see that in May of 1987, when Cosatu House was bombed, let me put it this way, in that year, according to Annexure G, there were about 22 incidents against Cosatu and its affiliates, and in May when Cosatu House was bombed, there were eight incidents in that month against Cosatu affiliates, would that strengthen your view and Cosatu's view that in fact there was a serious campaign which peaked at that time?
MRáDE KOCK: Chairperson, I would probably have given him a brief explanation for this, such as, "There's going to be an action, we're going to need explosives, we need access", but one would keep it brief. Mr Wahl du Toit and I had a very good relationship, I can't recall whether I provided him with more information or details, but it would have been of such a nature that there would have been no doubt within his mind that I required the services of this particular member.
MRáDE KOCK: Chairperson, they were a very difficult organisation. I saw the activities of Cosatu and its affiliates with a much broader view, and that was the view of guerrilla warfare, not that they were the guerrillas.
One of the basic principles of doctrine in guerrilla warfare is that while you are destabilising the country internally by means of the use of grievances which people have, the things which they are unhappy about, and rightfully so, simultaneously there would be military pressure coming from the external side and then Cosatu and ANC had the advantage of international pressure, especially financial pressure, and the consequence thereof was that there was a division of powers within the country, such as the security forces, the borders were wider, finances and financial expenditure would multiply on a daily basis by 100 from the State Treasury, and it had multiple objectives, and that's why Cosatu had a number of grievances, people don't have the right to vote, they don't have access to the same schools, hospitals and other facilities, which united communities on a national basis, especially the black communities, and that was my view.
MRáRADITAPOLE: And can you just tell me this, if you were given an instruction based on information which you doubted, which was a bit dubious, what was the position, would you continue and carry out the instruction?
MRáDE KOCK: Chairperson, no. With cross border operations, I would ensure that my own people, before the operation took place, I would send my own people in to make observations. In that type of situation one would only trust yourself and your own people.
MRáRADITAPOLE: I'll tell you why I'm asking you this, it relates to Khotso House and some of the motives for bombing it. You will recall, well as I recall, one of the motives was that there were explosives kept in the building.
MRáRADITAPOLE: You see I ask you this because if there were explosives there and there was this concern to reduce the possibility of damage to other buildings, if there were explosives there, those explosives, combined with the reduced amount of explosives that you would have brought in, may have created much more damage than you may have anticipated, isn't that correct?
MRáDE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, if we had placed the explosives right on top of the explosives which allegedly were there. With explosives the situation of storage would lead to a space which was known as the detonation gap. There wasn't anything like sympathetic detonation, and sympathetic in this context means that if one explosion occurs, it would not lead to the explosives next to it going off either, the gap would be too wide, and the energy release of the one charge would not be sufficient to activate the following charge, just by the way.
MRáDE KOCK: Chairperson, I would say that if it had been two or three steps away from our charge, then our charge would have been a complete detonation, the other charge wouldn't have gone off, it would probably just have scattered the explosives all over the area, but we wouldn't have had a detonation. That is my opinion.
MRáRADITAPOLE: Colonel, thanks for your evidence. I don't know if you, I'm about to wrap up, I don't know if you wish to say anything to my clients at this stage, I'll give you that opportunity, otherwise that's the end of my cross-examination.
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, there is one issue if you would allow me. It's not a range of questions, it's just one statement which I would like to put to Colonel De Kock if you will allow me? I neglected to do that when it was my turn. It will be very brief.
FURTHER CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR VISSER: Colonel, I'd just like to put it to you, we are aware of all the evidence which has been given by you at various places and that which appears in your affidavit, I would just like to place it on record that inasfar as no action was taken against you regarding every single thing that you said, it does not necessarily imply that there is agreement with everything that you said, and I would just like to place that on record.
MSáGCABASHE: Colonel De Kock, there's just one area that I am still not too sure about. Now you have told us that you tried to be a thorough man in your planning and in the execution of operations, yes?
MSáGCABASHE: And with Cosatu House, you were thorough in that you reconnoitred and surveyed and made sure you knew where you were going to and what you were going to do in a period of about a month, roughly?
MSáGCABASHE: But when we look at Khotso House, if I understood your evidence correctly, you only spent about a week planning and getting yourself prepared for the operation, you did not go there and reconnoitre and establish who was doing what and what was going on in the area, did I understand that correctly?
MRáDE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson. Just to qualify, and I said it yesterday, there was an element of urgency to blow up Khotso House, and the reason for that I don't know, I don't know if it coincided with another action, if Stratcom had anything bigger in mind or if they wanted to prevent it by means of that specific disruption, I didn't have enough time. I would have preferred to have two months to reconnoitre the place and smuggle the explosives in piece by piece, for example a kilogram at a time, something in that line.
MSáGCABASHE: But you see you, with the Cosatu House bombing, actually said to Brigadier Schoon, "You'll have to wait for me to be as thorough as I normally am", and you did just that, you spent your month?
MRáDE KOCK: That's the impression which I had. There was already, as Mr Zeelie informed me, that there was already an attempt and now you're being called in and we need it now, I'm not trying to shift anything away, that was my awareness, that's what I believed at that time.
ADV DE JAGER: In conjunction with this, that's exactly the question which I wanted to put to you, at Cosatu House you said, "Tell P W he can do it himself if he wants to", why didn't you do the same with the Khotso House incident?
MRáDE KOCK: Well it wasn't said to me that this came from P W, I just accepted it like that, but by nature of the urgency, and this wasn't unusual to us to be told, for example, at two o'clock in the afternoon that tomorrow morning at two o'clock you'd be attacking a house in Swaziland, you'd have to get your people together, organise false passports, gather your weapons and the necessary vehicles, race to the border, regroup on the other side and so forth. That impression was definitely created and I acted on that.
MSáGCABASHE: And then in a sense this is related to the same aspect, Mr Ntumba, the night watchman who was in the building, from the evidence in either volume 3 or 4, we know that he was there, your instruction was to ensure that nobody was killed?
MSáGCABASHE: At Cosatu House you dealt with that, via MráMogoai, amongst others. Here you don't appear to have done anything about it at all, because the man was in the building when the floor collapsed below, you know, underneath him?
MRáDE KOCK: Chairperson, no, I can scarcely answer you, everything is connected to an element of haste. It's not that his life was regarded as less important, there might have been other people in the building, but this was a case of get it done and get it over. It was the element of motivation with me.
MSáGCABASHE: And had you agreed previously with General Erasmus that they would come and do the clean-up operation, if I might call it that, you know you'd get out and they would deal with the rest of whatever might have to be dealt with?
MRáDE KOCK: No, Chairperson, I didn't arrange that, that was his area of command and that investigation would have been taken up by him automatically, it would have fallen under him automatically. With any explosion in Johannesburg, his people would be involved.
ADVáSIBANYONI: Colonel De Kock, when did you realise for the first time that the battle is now over, because I heard you saying when De Klerk made an announcement on the 2nd of February it was not yet clear to you?
MRáDE KOCK: That's correct. Within my unit, and I don't want to speak for every security policeman or every member of the Special Forces, but there was a general feeling of forlornness, of being sold out, there was a feeling of demoralisation, and when Operation Vula took place after that discussion and it was made public, it was simply a question of "There won't be any peace here, this will be a revolutionary take-over". A year before, we had a similar opportunity in Ovamboland, where there were UN troops, peace flags were blowing and the troops were shooting everything that was remotely a Koevoet Casspir, it might have been a sense of paranoia which accompanies this kind of situation, we had the same situation in Russia, where the Russian troops and the KGB decided that they were being sold out by Gorbachev. We must take note of history, because by not learning from history, we repeat history. There was this constant feeling that we fought against these people for 30 years, we might as well just fight it out. That was my framework of relevance.
MRáDE KOCK: I didn't ask for a package, it was imposed upon me. I was approached by my opposition to go and work for them. I mentioned to them that after the election, if any posts were advertised, I would apply, but to go over before the time would definitely be treason. It's treason, it doesn't matter in which country, in which part of the world you are. Perhaps I should have grasped the opportunity, but then who would that make me?
MRáDE KOCK: Members of the ANC's Intelligence Service. I refuse to give their names, they're decent people, and this is the first time that I had actually been able to talk to people and see but they're not actually the way they were presented to us, they are cultivated people, very good academic backgrounds, and let's leave out the aspect of communism, because we might just end up at nationalism, but I couldn't walk over. I knew that we would have a black government, and that's why I joined the IFP. I must have turned left instead of right.
ADVáSIBANYONI: One or two last questions, it would appear that the Askaris were given less important roles to play during these operations, and can I ask you for a reason or should I perhaps suggest a reason for you?
MRáDE KOCK: Yes, that is so. I yesterday referred to the case of Judas Iscariot, and we can refer to many, many examples from history. Some of these men we used, only a couple of them, in positions of trust, they were good people, apart from the fact that they had crossed the floor, but if a man has betrayed you once, he can do so again, and I think that was the problem.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. My second question is one that I am very uncertain of myself, and I haven't been able to check it, unfortunately I didn't have all the papers with me last night, my recollection is that I have read somewhere fairly recently of, and I think it was Minister Vlok's visit to Vlakplaas, that when he started congratulating, somebody, an aide of his or somebody else, told him not to talk about the incident?
MRáDE KOCK: It was myself, I asked one of the people just to tell him not to talk about it, because not everybody was aware of it. To just confirm it further, when Khotso House was blown up, that morning at head office some of the section heads who were attached to other desks came and congratulated me with the blowing up of Khotso House.
There were only a couple of us who were supposed to be in the know, and I denied it, until the second one came in and said, "Well, congratulations, we've just heard about it at the general meeting, at the Sanhedrin, congratulations", and I was very embarrassed with a red face in front of all the others, because I just denied it.
MRáDE KOCK: I just would like to say to the South African Council of Churches and Cosatu that I apologise, not only for myself and my men, but also in a broader perspective, for the fact that we caused hurt, injury and disruption, inconvenience, paranoia, all those psychological aspects which were involved, and then secondly, just as in George and at the Motherwell bomb, I take responsibility for all the men who were with me, those who were co-opted and who worked with me, I take full responsibility from my level downwards, I can't unfortunately do it upwards.
And then, this is an extremely sensitive aspect which was raised here, I don't want to talk about Askaris, white or black Askaris, we must simply accept that certain things happen in life, changes as those that we saw were dramatic as well as traumatic, and people differ as far as their resistance and strengths were concerned, and each one of us here should just have mutual understanding for those that we thought betrayed us.
Let there be no hate and malice, let there be no pointing fingers and feelings of revenge. In time these things will sort themselves out. When my little boys started realising what was happening, I told them, "You can either be an eagle or you can be a chicken, an eagle can rise above these things and see the full picture, well if you want to remain at the bottom, then you don't have much of a perspective".