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Type AMNESTY HEARINGS
Starting Date 17 September 1998
Mr Williamson there are certain aspects of General Coetzee's evidence that I want to put to you and ask you to respond to it. He said that the two acts in respect of which you are asking for amnesty, as far as he was concerned, were unauthorised and that he would have considered your actions as a betrayal of the trust that he had placed on you. You heard him give that evidence?
MR WILLIAMSON: Well Mr Chairman I regarded the attacks as authorised, they'd been authorised by my superior and where it comes to a betrayal, if I remember correctly, I can't remember exactly what the General said, but he made a statement to the effect it would have been done, it would have then been done behind his back or it, and this - it was put to him that this would then have constituted a betrayal.
I wouldn't have seen it as a betrayal because I believed at the time that the act that I had been asked to perform fell very clearly within what I understood the strategy at the time to be and therefore it would not have crossed my mind that I was committing any type of betrayal.
MR BIZOS: I am informed and I want to ask you whether you agree or disagree, that in relation to vertical information upwards, there is a right to know as a concomitant of the other maxim that you often refer to as "need to know".
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman I think that accords with the evidence that I gave yesterday where I said that "need to know" could not mean that if a superior officer in your direct line of command asked you something, that you could then reply to him, sorry you do not need to know.
So I would always have interpreted the situation as being that in the horizontal line of command, the superior officer would have, if he was in the direct line of command, the right to know as Mr Bizos has put it.
MR BIZOS: If not only when he asks, but he has the right to be informed because after all the buck would stop on his desk if things went wrong. He would have to answer for it. You're not suggesting that it would have been good practice for the leader to remain ignorant unless he specifically asked in relation to some particular thing?
MR VISSER: I'm sorry Mr Chairman, Visser on record. With great respect to my learned friend, and I don't want to interrupt him but there were two questions rolled into one and the witness only replied to the last leg of it Mr Chairman.
As I understood it my learned friend put to the witness, not only when in the vertical line of command structure, if he asks is he entitled to be informed but he should be informed even if he doesn't ask and I don't believe that the witness replied to that part of the question.
MR WILLIAMSON: It would not, he - I understood it as it would not be. Theoretically it would not be good practice if the ultimate commander or higher up commanders did not know what was going on below them and I agree, in theory it would not be good practice.
MR BIZOS: Thank you, we seem to understand one another Mr Williams. Now the question that I asked, I'll try and repeat it in the same words if I can. When, according to you, would you say General Coetzee found out that the men under his command had killed Ruth First?
Whether that be in terms of some or other memorandum he did, or in terms of - I remember the first time I saw it was as a chapter in a book. I don't - it was an interview with him, a chapter in a book that was made up of a number of interviews with different people.
MR WILLIAMSON: Yes Mr Chairman I believe that that was the time frame, from 1990 and then I don't know when that book was published. It was sometime after that but the book was based basically on the allegations that had been made at the Harms Commission, as relates to Dirk Coetzee's chapter.
MR BIZOS: But now we have it from General Coetzee that General Coetzee was confronted about the death of Ruth First by the people participating in the Umkomati Accord negotiations and signing ceremonies and dinners and social functions, where he is said to have said that it was a mistake.
MR BIZOS: You were close to the General at that time. You participated in one or other capacity in matters relating to the accord. You were on the same Commission with him you told us. Did he never ask you, what are these Mozambicans talking about our having, that we killed Ruth First. Didn't he ask you that?
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman at that time the General was or had been appointed the Joint Chairman of the Joint Security Commission between Mozambique and South Africa which had been established in terms of the Umkomati Accord.
I was one of the Staff Officers, one of the backroom boys, one of the people that was dealing with the issues which the senior level people at the accord had to deal with - sorry at the Joint Security Commission, had to deal with and obviously I saw the General on every occasion that I was present at a meeting of the Joint Security Commission and in particular, the meetings that he attended as Chairman.
As I remember there were a number of those meetings up until the time where he was replaced as a Chairman by Deputy Minister Louis Nel, because of the fact that there was a protocol problem relating to his rank and the rank of his Mozambican counterpart.
We did not stay in hotels. As I remember it on each and every occasion that we went to Mozambique, we travelled there and back for the meeting. We travelled to the meeting and we travelled back from the meeting.
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman yes I will agree with that, as long as we understand that I was the most senior Intelligence Officer of the police, I was not the most senior security police officer at the accords.
MR BIZOS: And can you think of anyone other than yourself that the General would have turned to if he was ignorant of the correctness or otherwise of the allegation. Was there anyone more senior than yourself that he would have turned to for reliable information?
MR WILLIAMSON: Well Mr Chairman again there were a number of other Security Police officials there, people who also were involved, in particular in the Eastern Transvaal/Mozambican interface situation, Swaziland situation.
There were other people that he could have turned to and I must just comment Mr Chairman that at that time the focus of that Commission was not really matters of the past, it was focusing very much on what was happening at that time and the future and in particular, it was focusing on the security problems relating to Renamo activities and my specific role at that time was almost exclusively related to, number one, attempting to monitor information and gather information which the South African team could use to challenge the Mozambican team about breaches of the accord relating to ANC and South African Communist Party involvement in Mozambique, in contravention of the accord.
But secondly, my role was to field the ball, if you can put it that way, when the Mozambican delegation made allegations about South African support or assistance to Renamo and it's continued activities in Mozambique and cross border between Mozambique and South Africa in contravention of the accord.
CHAIRPERSON: He was a man, he felt - you felt he was your peer that he had, he was your example. He felt you were someone he could rely in entirely. Surely you were the obvious person for him to go to and say look can you give me any more information about this?
I think the furthest he went, and I may be wrong with my recollection, I haven't checked my notes Mr Chairman, this is coming on to me a bit suddenly but I think the furthest he went was to say that it's possible that he said so and if he said so, and it was on that basis that he gave his evidence.
MR VISSER: My attorney and myself don't have a recollection that he actually says that he did. My learned friend, Mr Bizos, put to him that there will be evidence from the Mozambican who asked him this, that it was in fact so, but I think he did not concede that he actually said so.
MR VISSER: Just a moment please. In fact my attorney's just refreshed my memory. He said that what he would have said or did say, I'm not sure. If it was us then, I think that was the premise on which he gave the evidence.
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman as I remember it General Coetzee said he was approached by a journalist who had information about a meeting at which he was supposed to have said such a thing and that he at the next full meeting of the Joint Security Commission in fact clarified the matter and said that he had not said anything of the sort.
But as I said Mr Chairman I was, I never discussed the matter with General Coetzee up until 1995 and I was not present when it was discussed at the Joint Security Commission or at a function of the Joint Security Commission.
MR BIZOS: On anybody's version or recollection or refinements and maybe's Mr Williamson, the matter was raised with the General. Do you agree that that we can take as a given, the matter was raised with the General, why did your people kill Ruth First?
Now would you agree that it was a very serious allegation, wherever it may have come from and that it was in the corridors in which the Umkomati Accord was being discussed. It was obviously a serious query. Would you agree with that?
MR BIZOS: Right can we proceed from there. Would you have expected the General to come to you, the senior intelligence person readily available to him at Umkomati and in Mozambique and in Pretoria, to ask what, is there any basis for this allegation? Would you not have expected him to do that?
MR BIZOS: The question was you know - Mr Williamson let me explain the purposes of these questions. We only have your word and the General's word as to what happened, and probabilities about the ordinary way in which human beings behave are of great assistance to the Committee to decide whether or not to believe the people who are interested in an issue or not. And this is why I am asking you this question and please answer it.
MR VISSER: Yes Mr Chairman. May I read you our notes Mr Chairman, it accords with yours. It says this, the questions were put by my learned friend and Coetzee said: "I was present at the creation of accord."
"It was during a dinner, I sat with Mrs Helen Suzman and I remember at a meeting in Mozambique my co-Chair said: 'Why did South Africa kill Mrs Ruth First'"?
"You admitted South Africa did it and that it was a mistake, there will be evidence to that effect".
MR BIZOS: I think the question was put Mr Chairman and an answer has, was given in part. In order to accommodate my learned friend's objection, I said whether there were if's or but's was not of great moment for the purposes of my question.
Would he have expected the General to ask him what, whether there was any basis for the allegation or not, and to deal with Mr Levine's objection Mr Chairman, I am entitled to summarise the position by asking the witness that the circumstances prevailing at the time, to his knowledge, would he have expected the General to ask him, the senior Intelligence Officer around, was there any truth in this allegation.
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman if I may answer the question. If the matter had been a matter that was raised as many other matters were raised, in other words for example radar tracks or plans going across the South African/Mozambican border at night etc etc, then this would have been a question put to me and a question that I would have had to deal with.
CHAIRPERSON: Well this is an allegation made against the South African Forces at an official function attended, as I understand it, by a fairly well known member of parliament who would have had no hesitation of raising the issue in parliament. Surely that is a matter the General would have wanted to get to the bottom of?
MR BIZOS: Would an allegation of murder at what was to be a reconciliation instrument entered into, have been so unimportant that it would not have had to be answered honestly by the, by General Coetzee?
Once this issue was raised, wasn't that an opportunity for you to tell the General as a Chief Intelligence Officer so that your General would be well informed in case the matter was raised again or whether any further steps had to be taken?
MR BIZOS: No, no, no. Didn't you hear that this question was raised? Did you not hear, although you may not have been present when it was raised by the Mozambican, did you not hear from anybody on the South African side that an allegation is being made that we are responsible for Ruth First's death?
CHAIRPERSON: So the photographs made you believe that it was not your act that had done it but some other security operation, because I think you've said you still thought it was a security operation?
MR BIZOS: Why did you not exercise your duty concomitant with your General's right to know to tell him when this matter was raised, General we prepared a bomb, a letter bomb, it looks to me that it must have been something else or apprise him of the fact that you knew.
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman if I can - as I understood it, and I was not present at the informal meeting where the General was asked this question, that he had been asked. As I understand it, at a later stage at the - after a journalist approached the General with some information about what he was supposed to have said at this informal occasion, he then at the next meeting of the Commission, made a statement to the Commission and said that the information that the journalist had come to him with was incorrect and that he had not said that South Africa was responsible and that it was a mistake.
And I understood Mr Chairman, at that time, that the matter was closed and that that was South Africa's final statement on the matter and I did not raise it any further and I was not asked any questions and I was not asked to contribute Mr Chairman.
ADV DE JAGER: Isn't this meeting you're referring now to at a later stage after the journalist approaching him, he said something at the meeting. Was it a meeting of the people concerned with the accord or was it a ...(indistinct), what kind of meeting?
MR BIZOS: Well I am going to suggest to you that on the facts submitted by you Mr Williamson, that the General had been asked as to whether or not the South Africans were responsible or accused of being responsible, and the fact that you discussed the photographs with the General, that you are not telling the truth when you say that you did not discuss it with the General and if in fact you did not discuss is, the only reason that would have been was that he already knew and that you knew that he knew, otherwise your evidence doesn't make sense. We will submit to the Committee in due course.
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman as I said I believed at the time that the operation was authorised, that the South African Security authorities knew about the operation. I assumed that the command structures knew about the operation.
MR WILLIAMSON: Well Mr Chairman if I believed that my command structure knew that the South Africans had done it, why would I have to say we did Mr Chairman. I believed that the command structure knew that we had done it and I believed that once the, General Coetzee had made the statement to the Joint Security Commission which he made, just referring to the journalist and the wrong information that the journalist had got, the matter was closed.
MR BIZOS: Oh. You know these allegations are not put to bed so easily, particularly against states such as the then South Africa that was accused, ex post facto correctly, of murdering it's opponents in foreign countries.
There would have been another good reason for you to tell him because wouldn't you have had to take steps to cover your tracks, to have a Stratcom in order to repel this allegation that General Coetzee claimed ignorance of?
MR WILLIAMSON: Well I thought the tracks were already covered Mr Chairman, that it was the only - there was an allegation that was made which the press, it appeared, said that General Coetzee had admitted to and he then made a statement which he said that he had never admitted to and that, as far as I'm concerned, closed the matter and any potential problem which it might pose to us Mr Chairman.
MR BIZOS: Because shortly after that death, which would have been at about the time that the Umkomati Accord was being discussed, this question of the death of Ruth First came into the fore. General Coetzee invited journalists to tell them that Ruth First was killed by her husband.
Let me just amend that slightly. I have been reminded that there was a Stratcom (?) on Jeanette Schoon, that she was killed because of internal struggle in the ANC. That was almost immediately after her death.
Approximately two weeks thereafter a Stratcom story appeared that Ruth First was killed by her husband. Would that have been around the time that questions relating to Ruth First's death had been raised at Umkomati?
MR BIZOS: Yes. So that the Stratcom or false information given in relation to the death, could that or was that part of the answer to the allegation made by the Mozambicans that South African agents had killed Ruth First?
MR WILLIAMSON: I do not know whether it was Mr Chairman, I think the Stratcom was an attempt, as was an ongoing attempt, to sow as much dissension as possible amongst the enemy ranks and to cast them in as bad a light as possible in the eyes of the public Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman it's perfectly possible that this had relation to the allegations that had been made and in particular in relation to the fact that the press had come to know of General Coetzee's alleged positive in answer to South Africa's involvement in the death of Ruth First.
MR WILLIAMSON: ...was perfectly likely that this may have been a consideration, but it is also perfectly likely that there was an opportunity at the time and that because of the death of Jeanette and Katryn Schoon and because of the focus of attention on these types of deaths, mysterious deaths of ANC officials in different countries, that some type of a Stratcom would have been launched, as I said, number one to cause much fear and confusion amongst the enemy and number two to cause, to denigrate them and to demonise them as much as possible in the eyes of the South African public Mr Chairman.
MR BIZOS: And what about the very large portion of the world who draws inferences from given facts and there were cries in international foray, in government circles, in foreign countries, amongst the opposition groups in South Africa, the editorial comment of newspapers, everybody or rather - sorry - there was a very substantial number of people who inferred that you had done it and you knew that you had done it, so where was the mystery?
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman I agree, there was obviously a wide perception that the South African Security Forces were responsible for many of the deaths that were occurring. I have said that all through my evidence, that I had absolutely no doubt that it was different elements of the South African Security Forces who were killing members of the ANC and the South African Communist Party.
I said I did not believe that it was the fairy and Mr Chairman there was nevertheless a general Stratcom and the general answer to any query about the death of any ANC or Communist Party official would have been that this was internal strife of some or other nature. It was a standard response Mr Chairman.
MR BIZOS: Yes. The Stratcom that was put out in relation, that was published in relation to Mr Slovo being responsible for Ruth First's death. Was that fed to the media shortly after her death or was it fed to the media for the first time after Jeanette Schoon's death?
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman I don't remember the timing. I think I did say in my, one of the previous answers that it - I agreed with what was put to me that it was some several years later and it was in the time frame of the explosion in Lubango (?) and in the time frame of these discussion that were taking place at the Joint Security Commission, post Umkomati Accord.
"If I had known that Williamson and Schoon were involved, I would have disciplined them or even have charged them".
MR BIZOS: Now I want you to please tell the Committee, if you were called in by General Coetzee and told what he said here to the Committee, that you would be charged with the murders or otherwise disciplined, what would you have said to him?
MR BIZOS: No but you see your commander in chief said here that you had no authority to do that and I am asking you to put yourself in the position, on the assumption that your commander in chief has told the Committee the truth.
MR WILLIAMSON: Well Mr Chairman I probably would have gone into a long argument with him in, and used very much the type of information that we've used in this hearing and explained why I had been so obviously confused about whether or not this was authorised at his level.
CHAIRPERSON: Now when you say that you would have been flabbergasted, does this mean you would have found it very difficult to believe that he wasn't aware that this was the way that the war was being fought?
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman I believed everybody was aware and you know I was, as I said and I've said in my previous evidence and I've said in my applications that the acts that I was involved in, for which I'm applying for amnesty, were not the only acts that were taking place, they were not happening in a vacuum.
There was, as Mr Bizos laid out to the Committee, numerous of these types of attacks going on and I said at the time and I repeat again that I did not think it was the fairies, I thought it was the Security Forces and when I and my unit was asked to participate in such an act, I regarded it as par for the course, normal standard procedure Mr Chairman.
If your evidence is true, you would have said to the General you're off your mind. We all of us were in this together and it wouldn't have come as a surprise to you that I helped to kill Ruth First and Jeanette Schoon.
MR WILLIAMSON: Yes Mr Chairman I understand where - I mean obviously that would have been what was inside me should such a thing have happened, but I would never have then just told the General he was off his mind, I would have you know, especially not General Coetzee.
I would have explained that - and I'm sure also my Brigadier would have been then also at this meeting, being told the same thing and we would have had obviously a very heated discussion about why we believed what ...(intervention)
MR BIZOS: Well you know of course that an admission by you that you discussed the matter with General Coetzee will open General Coetzee to prosecution for these murders because he has not applied for amnesty?
MR BIZOS: Well your answer to my question of what you would have exclaimed, if I understood it correctly, was yes this is how you would have felt but you would have been cautious about the way that you responded?
MR WILLIAMSON: I would have accepted that everybody knew that this had been a South African Security Force attack and operation and that the concern of the South Africans would have been to defend the integrity of the operation as it were and to defend the allegation that South Africa was involved so that would have been my concern, not to tell the General who was involved or give him details Mr Chairman.
I would have assumed that the entire South African Delegation or Security Delegation who was there would now want to put this allegation to bed because it was a covert clandestine operation, it was not an overt operation and as I've said before in my evidence, when the South African Government wanted to make an overt political statement they did it, such as the instances that have been raised before like Matola and Gaberone etc.
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman what I said and I think what I've said in my previous evidence was that I saw two types of attacks. The one type of attack was a large scale overt military action in which obviously we were also involved, particularly on the target identification, target intelligence and then afterwards the intelligence of the operation and secondly I saw numerous, what I regarded as being Security Force attacks, on smaller targets which sometimes were individuals, like Joe Gwabe, but sometime, ...(indistinct) Ruth First, but sometimes were small groups of individuals, attacks that occurred in Swaziland or Botswana where - or Maseru, Lesotho where particular houses were attacked.
And my belief at the time is that where a large - was that number one, South Africa was trying to make as few large admitted attacks as possible because of the problem there was with international opinion and Foreign Affairs, as was said here before, Foreign Affairs was constantly warning about the negative international effect of overt, openly admitted South African attacks on terrorist bases or targets across our borders.
So at the same time the covert and clandestine attacks were going on. People like Joe Gwabe and the other chief representatives of the ANC were being taken out in neighbouring states and this accorded with the strategy which I was aware of at the time, which was to drive the ANC out of the neighbouring states because from the early 1980s they had concentrated and come into the borders and were starting to increase infiltration in South Africa and that the general policy was to drive them back, push them back as far as possible.
So my opinion and the opinion I got from my involvement in the structures was that covert and clandestine attacks on the enemy achieved two things, number one they achieved the effect we wanted to have by attacking, killing, destroying ANC facilities, but number two, they were deniable, that South Africa could in fact deny that they were involved with this.
And I gave the example Mr Chairman of Israeli actions where they have, they at that time were having a lot of trouble and subsequently a lot of trouble from the international community when they go across international borders into Lebanon, but ...(indistinct) carried out in various capitals of the world where members of the PLO or Black September were assassinated and killed were never admitted.
Except recently, the one in the Kingdom of Jordan, where two more Mosad officials were actually arrested and only then did Israel admit, yes these are our men and they were trying to kill this Hamas official.
But this is how I saw it that a clandestine attack across the border on individuals would have a lot less international political repercussion, but at the same time would have ...[end of tape] ...[inaudible] have an effect on the host, what they call the "Gasheer Land", the host country of those individuals Mr Chairman. So I saw this as a policy with two, and we mentioned the EPG raid which was after my time in 1986.
But the fact is that at a certain time South Africa didn't only want to then strike against terrorist targets, but wanted to make an open political statement, not only to the governments of the neighbouring states, but to the entire world.
So when they wanted to make that statement they made it and in the case of the EPG raid, they didn't only order the security forces to go and carry out that raid but they also ordered the security forces to create the pretext for carrying out that raid Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman I said here in my evidence and I said in my evidence at the Armed Forces Committee that it comes as a great surprise to me that my understanding or the understanding of people at my level does not seem to be the same as the understanding of people at higher levels.
Would you not agree that your evidence is quite inconsistent with that claim, and I'm saying this to your credit Mr Williamson, that this humbug that is being perpetrated that we didn't authorise them but they must have, or they could have misunderstood from our words that they had authority.
MR BIZOS: No but you, in all honesty and if you want to be honest with yourself Mr Williamson, you will agree with the following. That there was no misunderstanding, that this alleged misunderstanding is a stratagem in order to protect the higher echelons of the Security Forces?
MR BIZOS: Do you believe General Coetzee when he says that he misunderstood the position completely and that he did not know that his men were busy murdering people in the surrounding states. Do you believe him?
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman and I've answered a very similar question several times, and that is that if General Coetzee had wanted to know what I was doing he could have asked and he would have known and I'm sure that goes for every other officer that served under his command Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman I don't even really know. He just - maybe he wanted to know both and he said to me that besides the London thing I didn't know about these things and I said, "If you say so sir".
MR WILLIAMSON: Well if he, General Coetzee, tells me that Brigadier Goosen or the people above me didn't talk to him and he didn't know about it - I didn't speak to him, then I said: "If you say so sir".
MR WILLIAMSON: Well Mr Chairman there's a difference between knowing about every specific incident that ever occurs and knowing in general that a strategy was being applied and I'm perfectly willing to accept that there are officers, individuals, commanders who could not possibly have known what every single incident was going on, but when it comes to the general strategy that was being followed at the time, I believed that our commanders knew what we were doing because we were being told what to do Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman I believe that Mr Bizos and many other people have an image of what was going on which they wish us just to blanket, give confirmation to and it doesn't accord with the realities of the time Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: No, well he asked me - obviously that was perhaps part of what he was concerned about but what I believed he was mainly concerned about was what he said to me that besides London, he had not known what I had been involved in or the other incidents I'd been involved in.
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman I don't think we discussed it in any great detail, we agreed - I think this was a phone conversation and we agreed to meet next time he would be in Pretoria and as a result of meetings with General Coetzee, we discussed participation in the Truth and Reconciliation Process and whether some people like it or not Mr Chairman, General Coetzee played a key and pivotal role in getting members of the security forces to come to the TRC ...(intervention)
MR BIZOS: And yes General, you did not know, would also not have been quite true because you now tell us that everybody, including General Coetzee, knew that murder was the business of the men under him?
MR VISSER: While there's a lull Mr Chairman, Visser on record. I must say with respect that I've never understood the amnesty proceedings to be used and I think a better word is to be abused as a sort of an inquisition against applicants.
One can understand Mr Chairman if questions are directed to other witnesses about an applicant in order to test that applicant's credibility. But then one would have expected that it would apply to that for which he applies for amnesty for, namely the London bomb. That's the only thing General Coetzee applies for amnesty for.
MR VISSER: Of all relevant facts pertaining to the act, omission or offence for which he applies for amnesty for Mr Chairman, that's the, that is the full disclosure he must make. We're not on the London bomb here, we're dealing with Ruth First and ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: Hasn't he made it clear Mr Bizos that the man sounded a little unhappy in the way he spoke, he didn't tell him I don't like this, I don't like that, I don't like that. It is the phrase he used that made him think he was a bit unhappy.
MR WILLIAMSON: His tone of voice and the way he spoke Mr Chairman, I - you know it was not normal contact conversation, you know hello how's it going. This was a - I would use the word more subdued Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: I can't say that that was my impression Mr Chairman, it may well have been that he had found out or become aware of the fact that I was personally involved Mr Chairman but I think everybody knew the Security Forces were involved in Ruth First's death.
MR BIZOS: Yes thank you Mr Williamson. Now if we may go onto another aspect. Did I understand your evidence correctly yesterday that you believed that the target of the letter bomb that you asked to assist to be made, was to target Joe Slovo and not Ruth First?
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman in no incident of this case that I know of and certainly not in the incidents that I was involved in did, when issued with an in - what I said in my application very clearly was that the instruction did not surprise me.
That knowing the involvement of Slovo, the Slovos, Firsts I said I made the assumption from what Brigadier Goosen said, that the target was Joe Slovo and that when he said Slovo, he could in fact have meant Ruth First and that I lived for many years after that under the impression that the target had been Joe Slovo.
MR BIZOS: The answer to my question please sir. At the time you did not have to apply your mind as to whether or not Ruth First was a legitimate target. The reasons that you give for her having been killed are reasons which you applied your mind to many years after the event for the purposes of this application?
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman obviously many years after the event I looked at the reasons but the standard reasons were standard reasons. The death and the killing of any high ranking member, in fact any member of the ANC or the South African Communist Party Alliance was aimed at the frustration, neutralisation, psychological destabilisation of the organisation and I didn't have to apply, I just had to get told this the target and it fell immediately within a reasonable category of target that I knew existed Mr Chairman.
MR BIZOS: Well let me confine myself to this. If your evidence is correct you did not apply your mind at the time before Ruth First's death as to whether she, as an individual, was a legitimate target to be murdered or not?
MR BIZOS: Thank you, we can proceed. Now there will be evidence, despite your ex post facto reasoning, that at the time that she was murdered if she was an ordinary ANC member and not involved, to use your words, in policy, strategy or planning of operations you are unable to ...(inaudible)
MR WILLIAMSON: That is what I said Mr Chairman, but I also said that I was told that this was an intercepted communication from Lesotho to Maputo and that this was an ANC communication and obviously Mr Chairman, in the same way as arms caches are booby trapped, communications can be booby trapped because anybody then who is involved in that particular ANC or Communist Party activity, whether it be coming to an arms cache and unloading it or opening it up, a communication that relates to the organisation is at risk if the enemy, in that case us, has violated the integrity of their communication structure Mr Chairman. That is how I understood it Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman I said that the envelope had the logo of an international organisation, possibly UN related and in the basic trade craft of clandestine communication, this would have been absolutely standard procedure when on is attempting to avoid the violation of the integrity of your communication channel.
If you are a terrorist based in Lesotho or based in the Free State and you're attempting to send some information to your commander in Maputo you could easily, if possible, set up some type of clandestine communication channel that would go from the one capital to the other under cover of some respectable organisation Mr Chairman.
I was given the responsibility to pass on the order to manufacture a device, an IED Mr Chairman, which was being used. That communication came from somewhere, I do not know from where, it was not from my section it came from somewhere and it went back to probably wherever it came from Mr Chairman.
MR BIZOS: Do you realise that by limiting your knowledge and what you - the little that you say that you did, that you as the chief of intelligence in relation to this event, have reduced yourself to nothing more than a messenger performing a routine act?
But this was, as far - and I said and answered to a question by the Chairman, that in the range of possibilities there was the most logical possibility was that we had been asked to manufacture the device because of the technical expertise of Mr Raven and because of the success of the London bomb.
MR BIZOS: So - I'm interested in the use of, your use of the word pawn. Who in the ...(indistinct) this ...(indistinct) body that made decisions or in the Security Police Headquarters would want to use the Head of Intelligence as a pawn?
MR BIZOS: It has come to our notice Mr Chairman that what I put to Mr Williamson about his being the best man at the Nupen wedding is incorrect Mr Chairman. He admitted it, but then it would appear that it's part of the, what Mr Williamson referred to as the "urban legend", but he admitted it. but I am informed by Mrs Nupen, who is here Mr Chairman, that Mr Frick Haysom was their best man, although Mr Williams was there as one of the guests.
MR BIZOS: But I think that I've said enough Mr Chairman and we can leave it at that. I want to apologise to the Nupens for - who are good friends to, for this thing that I used, the misunderstanding Mr Chairman.
MR BIZOS: For instance on the assumption that this letter was, letter bomb was addressed to Ruth First, she could have opened it in the presence of her colleagues, the presence of her students or some of her students and could have caused the death of people who were innocent, even in accordance with your reasoning as to who is guilty and who innocent?
MR BIZOS: And you know we do not expect you to speculate about your sense of values because you have put them - you yourself read about in Exhibit 2, Page 30 - let me remind you of some of the aphorisms that are contained in the minutes of what your moral standards were.
MR BIZOS: Yes. I'm going to use the translation for the sake of clarity and I'm not going to read it all out. You said when survival is the game law, morality, norms or values must be thrown overboard, or words to that effect?
MR BIZOS: No but you see we want to know about this war that the Security Council, the Security Police and you talk about. Were the people who took part in the other side treated as combatants or were they caught, tried, imprisoned and executed?
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman you know on one level there may have been diplomatic in other manoeuvres on the international level, but when I stood in Church Street in 1983 I had absolutely no doubt we were in a war Mr Chairman.
MR BIZOS: Yes. Now you knew did you not, at the time, that the President, Prime Minister, was saying that these murders of activists within or outside the country were not committed by members of the Security Forces. You knew that to be a false statement?
MR WILLIAMSON: No Mr Chairman I - there was amongst people in the Security Forces at that time, a debate about the legality and I'm talking now about the officers at my level, people when you met and talked and there was a very clear distinction between internal and external operations.
And my involvement was in external operations and I believed that in the same way as I've given the examples of other countries doing this type of thing, that this was an instrument of state policy which could only be used if secrecy could be maintained and that there was absolutely no chance of us being charged or convicted or extradited for things that we were doing as loyal members of the Security Forces of the State at that time.
MR WILLIAMSON: Yes I remember Mr Chairman because it was part of what was called the International Dimension of the ANC's onslaught against South Africa, the political and diplomatic dimension and there was a lot of debate and I personally gave input on the efforts being made by the international community to get South Africa to accede to that, to the protocol of the Geneva Convention.
I believe if I could be corrected, but I believe that South Africa was a signatory of the main Convention and we are talking about was a signatory to a protocol which was to be added to the Convention.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes Mr Chairman I just wanted to come in here. South Africa refused as far as I know to sign Protocol Two. You would have noted in my previous heads of argument I dealt with this whole argument and with the applicability of Protocol Two to the South African situation, because Protocol Two makes provision or requires the official armed forces on one side of the conflict and furthermore requires territorial control on the part of the insurgent forces, which excludes situations we're dealing with in South African Conflict.
MR BIZOS: I am going to put into evidence a transcript of the second interview. The first interview the tape was not as clear but we tried our best to transcribe it and we will hand it in during the course of the day because we are asking Mr Chairman, Miss Slovo to help the transcriber to correct a couple of the things that seem to be ambiguous and not making sense.
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman may I just enquire from my learned friend, do I understand you correctly that Mrs Slovo was involved in assisting the transcriber in respect of this transcript that's being handed out now?
Now Mr Williamson before we go to it, just let us ask you a few preliminary questions. Was a "dekstorie" prepared once the letter bomb that was intended to be sent to the Modlani University, was a "dekstorie" decided upon or not? Or a Stratcom if you prefer the expression.
MR WILLIAMSON: There would be a standard response as I said earlier Mr Chairman, that was that it would ANC dissent and then at a later stage there was the particular disinformation about Mr Joe Slovo's involvement in the death.
MR BIZOS: No but surely, surely the "dekstorie" in order to have some sort of credibility, some sort of credibility, had to relate to a particular person and the personal circumstances or rumours or information in relation to that person. A "dekstorie" for instance in relation to Mr Slovo would have to be different to a "dekstorie" for Ruth First?
MR WILLIAMSON: Well it - as I remember it the so-called cover story for Ruth First was, and I think you eluded to it earlier, was related to some of her differences that she had with the South African Communist Party and ...(intervention)
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman I believe that the standard cover story that would have been applied was that if such an incident happened it was as a result of dissension in the organisation. And then one ...(intervention)
MR BIZOS: Well, but you know you've already, you've already beginning to hedge Mr Williamson because you know that if there was a "dekstorie" about Ruth First before she was killed with the bomb that you helped make, your story that it was intended for Joe Slovo would be incredible?
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman I, and especially when I saw Eduardo Mondlani(?) on that envelope, had absolutely, I believed and up until I had this interview with Mrs, with Gillian Slovo I believed the bomb was being sent solely to Mr Slovo. I then ...(intervention)
MR WILLIAMSON: No, but may I - I am trying to answer the question Mr Bizos. The fact remains that whether the bomb - that if this was an ANC communication going from, or Communist Party communication going from Lesotho to Maputo and that the intended recipient was Mr Joe Slovo, there's absolutely no reason on earth that this that this could not go via Ruth First. And as we said about letter bombs Mr Chairman, and Eduardo Mondlani University is where Ruth First was working Mr Chairman.
MR BIZOS: The question was if a "dekstorie" was available for the death of Ruth First before she was killed, then nobody at the Security Police Headquarters could possibly have believed that the bomb was for Joe Slovo and not for Ruth First?
CHAIRPERSON: ...(inaudible) was a "dekstorie" or a Stratcom story prepared for Ruth First and your first reply was no, the usual story of inter party dissension would relate to Joe or Ruth and then you were asked that surely the story would relate in details to the person, set out reasons etc and you then volunteered the information that as you remembered it the cover story for Ruth First related to her difficulties with the Communist Party.
MR WILLIAMSON: And I said I did not remember whether it was specifically, but it would probably have been related to the general story which was related to dissension and then in the case of Ruth First that this would have been related to her problems with the Communist Party.
MR BIZOS: Thank you Mr Chairman. Was there any discussion to which you were a party or came to know about that the explosives used should be either of Soviet or other Eastern European origin in order to lend plausibility to this "dekstorie"?
MR BIZOS: Well at least tell us who told you that they should try and get Sentex, which a Czechoslovakian high explosive or any other Soviet or Easter European explosive in order to support the plausible false story that would be given out that Ruth First was killed as a result of dissent by her in the Communist Party or the ANC or both?
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman I don't remember that it was discussed specifically, but that was standard procedure. The use by the Security Branch, the Security Police, the Security Forces in general of ordinance and weapons in clandestine attacks was routinely East Block weapons and explosives.
MR BIZOS: I beg your pardon, yes sir, no. In mid sentence I realised it was merely, yes. Well let me put it as my question rather then. If a specific "dekstorie" about Ruth was agreed upon then your evidence that you thought this was for Joe Slovo is false?
MR WILLIAMSON: No Mr Chairman because as I said, that I believed the device was aimed at Joe Slovo and the possibility is that it would have gone via Ruth First, and the possibility is, as you yourself said, that in an action of this nature somebody else might have been killed or injured in the explosion and any cover stories that would have been made up Mr Chairman would have been based, number one, on the fact that there was dissension in the ANC and then number two, depending on the individual concerned who was killed or injured, there would be some or other, as credible as possible, adjunct added to the cover story.
But to say that there were now sort of special cover stories prepared Mr Chairman is not so. These were standard responses and then in the Stratcom operation and in talking to journalists and so on, little bits and pieces would be added to it, but it was a standard procedure Mr Chairman.
MR BIZOS: Well - and judging by the last answer that you gave, was the "dekstorie" in relation to Ruth worked out on the basis that she may have been killed by mistake because she might have opened Joe Slovo's post?
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman I've said there could be another victim. If it was going via Ruth First she obviously could be the victim and I assure you Mr Chairman that the "dekstorie" would have been worked out once the victim became apparent and not before.
MR WILLIAMSON: No, because I in fact have sent communications to members of the ANC by post. I was trained and instructed by the ANC on how to send secret communications by mail Mr Chairman and if the Committee wants to see some of them, I could present them to you Mr Chairman.
MR BIZOS: Now would you please turn to page 17 of the transcript. I don't want to read anything before the middle of - upper middle page of page 17. Well let's start for the sake of completeness with the second paragraph. Miss Slovo
MR LEVINE: Mr Chairman my learned friend is reading, the document hasn't been shown to Mr Williamson before. I would think that he should be entitled to read through the whole document and then answer specific questions on a page ...(intervention)
"It would have been Soviet explosives, it would fit in with a cover story which was that it was Ruth was being a nuisance inside the ANC and therefore was eliminated and that it couldn't have been a letter bomb because the explosive was too powerful".
MR WILLIAMSON: No Mr Chairman it shows that at the time of the interview, which was in 1995, I knew very well that the victim had been Ruth First, that and in fact I'm sure that somewhere else in this I will have said that the intended victim as far as I was concerned was meant to be Joe Slovo and what I'm saying here is that Soviet explosives would have been used because it would have covered, it would have accorded with the standard cover story that there was dissension in the organisation.
And then of course, depending on who was killed, like in this instance it was Ruth First, we could go further and say that she was eliminated because she was a nuisance because of some of the clashes that have been mentioned before.
"That's why I had some feeling that because I thought that either it hadn't been sent or if it had, it had been detected you know and then one morning you know we monitored BBC every morning of Africa News just for general and of course the ANC. The operation - I can't remember, I think it was called Falk ..."
"Ja that's when the Stratcom guys were told, because of course the press then started running around saying you know who had done this and that's when the second aspect of the thing, an internal"?
"I can't remember, I can't even remember, I don't know they were, you know the main story I think was fed to the journalists who were like on the list of - because the story actually only came out in 1984, it took that long".
"The story that Joe had killed Ruth was only in the papers, as far as I can see and went back and read the papers in '84".
Now I'm going to put to you that this clearly shows that you admitted that there was a "dekstorie" before the event and that it could only have been before the event if you and the others knew that it was intended for Ruth First?
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman if you're going to send a device like this through an ANC communication channel to members of the ANC, of course there would be some type of "dekstorie" and basically, as I said, we didn't have to think very hard what the "dekstorie" was going to be because it was always the same, internal dissension in the ANC.
In this instance I said that I can't remember, number one how it went, it took a time - there was a time lapse between me giving it to the Brigadier and me hearing that the thing had gone off. I can't really remember whether we heard it on BBC or whether we got it through intercepting ANC communications.
And that's an important point also Mr Chairman - not to do with this but just to remember because we can discuss it in future, that it was completely routine for us to be monitoring all ANC communication, postal, telex, telephone and even courier if possible.
So Mr Chairman the fact is that there was Stratcom. Once something, once this event had occurred I would have told the Stratcom individuals or people involved in Stratcom here we go, Joe Slovo for example is being killed. Now we will say that this shows that there's absolute disaster in the ANC, there's huge dissension between the Africanists, the Charterists - I mean the Africanists and the supporters of the Communist Party, that in fact now like, you know Mr Chairman it would have been automatic what story would have come out.
If Ruth First was killed it was automatic that the story would have come out that it was not only dissension but that the dissension was related to the fact that she had problems with the ANC because she was pushing a ...(indistinct) line. So ...(intervention)
MR WILLIAMSON: Well you can see here that there was a confusion between Gillian Slovo and me exactly about that because she was talking about the Stratcom story, and as Mr Chairman asked, the Stratcom story that came out in 1984 and in fact I was talking about answers that should be given to the press immediately after the event happened and those were two years apart Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman I don't know I was not involved in giving the "dekstorie" to the newspapers, but I'm absolutely sure that some journalist would have been given the cover story, yes that's how it worked and they would have phoned us and asked what's going on, Ruth First's been killed, who did it. This is how it worked Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: We usually had journalists that we were in touch with every day. People who phoned us and asked us and if anything happened to the ANC, particularly of this nature, they would have asked us what happened and we would have given them the type of story that we wanted to published Mr Chairman.
"It's not, but it's you know again I don't, it's not something that I've got to - now that you mentioned it I think I remember that I, we were quite surprised that the story then came out after having been fed, after being fedded through".
MR BIZOS: Yes we're talking about this matter. Do you agree that pages 22 to 23 clearly indicates that there was a "dekstorie" ready which was fed to the newspapers immediately after the event in 1982, but the newspaper showed some good sense in not publishing it?
Secondly, immediately such an act happened one would, if possible, put a spin onto it. A particular spin relating to the individual or person who had been killed or attack that had been - a target that had been attacked in order to get the maximum possible benefit out of the psychological reaction to it Mr Chairman.
And I'm also saying here that in many instances this type of rumour and innuendo that you fed into the system sometimes came back at the most surprising times, many years or months or weeks or whatever later and Mr Chairman I can, I can refer to the example of our story about Mr Joe Slovo being a KGB Colonel.
That was fed into the media and nobody printed it and suddenly one day it came out of a foreign newspaper somewhere that - it's just an example of feeding the stuff into the, I won't say vacuum but it's fed into the world and it's allowed then to take it's own course and breed out and come back Mr Chairman.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman maybe I can be of assistance in respect of the question you asked just now. I'm in possession of 4 newspaper reports. I can give you the dates in which - maybe I must just shortly deal with them. May I go ahead?
MR DU PLESSIS: Right and Mr Chairman I can make copies for you and you can read it. It states there that that is one of the reasons and then the other one is the Rand Daily Mail, 19 August 1982 wherein it is stated, strangely enough
"Subsequent information compiled by United States and British sources reveals a different story. This suggests Joe Slovo engineered his estranged wife's killing on ideological grounds".
"Slovo's wife Ruth First was a radical communist dedicated to the Trotskyist ideology as opposed to Slovo's dedication to the Marxist line. When she died in an explosion Ruth First was estranged from her husband and was causing serious ideological rifts in the ANC and between the ANC and the Mozambicans".
"I think that they picked on it because it had come from somewhere in the ANC. I mean they would always have, you know these things don't work unless there is a germ of truth in them".
"Yes but you know, I don't think they were particularly worried what exactly she was, but I think it was just to ...(indistinct) and probably. I remember reports on Ruth ...
MR BIZOS: Give us the names of some please that would have put up the false story because they may have vital information and we want to know who they were. Who were they "they" that you were referring to?
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman I said members of Stratcom probably - and that would start with members of my section and then also go right through to the Stratcom level at the Secretariat of the State Security Council.
And Mr Chairman let me say very clearly that when it came to spreading "dekstories" or disinformation or Stratcom, it wasn't that we were running around the corridors saying oh excuse me, you know we actually did this but now we need you to say that. This was just, this has happened and this must be the reaction to it.
MR WILLIAMSON: Stratcom came, became something probably 2 or even 3 years later, that it became a specific part of the intelligence section, but at the time the people who were related to giving information to the press, if I'm not wrong, one of them is, well is one of the applicants, Mr McPherson, Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: We received on a daily basis radio reports from across the spectrum. It's standard procedure and any intelligence organisation in the world, I don't know who was listening to the radio Mr Chairman. I got a report of what the radio has said Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: Well Mr Chairman what would have occurred at that time is that my section would have been the section, obviously because it was in charge of the foreign intelligence of the Security Police, that would have been asked what has now happened in Maputo to Ruth First and what - and the press would have been phoning some of my people and I believe people like myself would have been involved in the Stratcom as well as members of my staff, for example perhaps Mr McPherson.
MR WILLIAMSON: ...(inaudible) that. If you give me the organogram of the Security Branch in 1982 and give me a list of all the staff I could perhaps be of more assistance, but what I'm saying is that the Stratcom action at that time would have been co-ordinated out of my section.
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman I would absolutely be willing to take the Committee into my confidence if I could and I have to try and explain how this Stratcom thing worked, it didn't only work on one level.
The immediate Stratcom story would have gone from us, for example under the guise that in fact, in fact the intelligence information which would have been fed through into the system, into the entire security system, would have been based on the Stratcom Mr Chairman - sorry on the Stratcom story, and then the different elements in the Security Forces co-ordinated as they were, as we've gone into endless detail describing, would have all picked up on that information and used it in feeding that story out to their different sources Mr Chairman.
"Johan Coetzee went and told the Mozambican Minister at Umkomati that Ruth's death was a mistake and that it shouldn't have happened like that. Do you know what he meant"?
"You'd have to ask him but I know he, uhm it's difficult, I know Johan Coetzee didn't - when he found out he wasn't, he wasn't happy".
"Well he just, you know, I think he felt that this was, hmm it was - actually you know Johan Coetzee felt that very much that in a way that I felt that you know we should be concentrating on the intelligence aspect and things to try and because there was going to have to be political solution and that the more we turned this thing into a military confrontation, the less chance of getting any solution was going to develop. It was why, I mean you know he was also very much against the whole Renamo situation in Mozambique because he said that even if - I mean one of his big argument was used etc".
"And I would say '82 was probably the beginning of a much more intense military aspect of the confrontation where people started saying that there was a military solution, that we could disable the ANC and I think Johan Coetzee, you know, why not doubt him that obviously there would have to be a military aspect in dealing with the ANC and that there have to be pre-emptive actions or relative actions against ..." ...(intervention)
MR BIZOS: "...retaliatory actions against them. That ultimately it was going to be taking ..." ...(intervention)
MR WILLIAMSON: Well that's - Mr Chairman this is when these things happen and I think my description here of General Coetzee's general attitude is correct and I think a lot of the inferences that are being made about General Coetzee are very unfair.
In other words he didn't at that time know about it and that when he found out he expressed the fact that he was not happy, which is exactly what he said Mr Chairman and what I said about his conversation with me Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman you know I think it's painfully obvious to me that this interview with Mrs Slovo, or Miss Slovo, the discussion that I had was about the past, the time, the context, the things that were happening.
MR WILLIAMSON: Because - and I explained how, what type of a person General Coetzee was and how he thought and I wasn't talking about a war or the intelligence situation or the military onslaught in 1995 because there was no longer one, we'd had an election Mr Chairman. We'd had a CODESA process, we had a new Constitution in South Africa.
I said here that he, in the past, had been worried about the fact that the confrontation between the ANC and the South African Government was becoming more and more military and the more military it became the more confrontational it became, the less chance there was of getting a solution an Mr Chairman his views on that, I must say, I accorded and went along with his views on that.
Mr Chairman the member of the South African Security Forces in South Africa who was, I would say, the most against the Renamo policy for example was General Coetzee. I say that here, I say why. He talked about he was opposed to the use of Renamo as an instrument of state policy by South Africa Mr Chairman.
MR BIZOS: I am going to put to you that in answer to your question as to whether Coetzee knew, in the middle of page 12, in the context and only mean that he knew in 1984 at the Umkomati meeting that the South Africans were responsible for Ruth First's death.
"But you're in fact naming very few people other than yourself or people that Dirk Coetzee has already named"?
"Ja well you know, I mean I am not going to go on a general witch hunt on what, I mean you know I think people have to take responsibility for the you know, as General Viljoen and some of the other Generals have discussed with people about the Truth Commission which is that it should be done on a command structure level.
I mean there's little repentance and scores and maybe hundreds of other people who all participated in these types of things which, you know I mean at a level where you know I don't really see what it's going to be to get ..." ...(intervention)
MR BIZOS: "...that it's going to be too productive to start widening the net if you want to bring in everybody".
MR WILLIAMSON: Now Mr Chairman, please Mr Chairman. I there made that statement, we were discussing the general situation of the Security Forces and ex-members of the Security Forces in terms of the fact that it had been decided that there would be a TRC process, that there would not be a general amnesty and Mr Chairman that was a time in South Africa where this was being debated, where I and other members at my level of the Security Forces were bitter, we were expressing some dissatisfaction with the fact that there, that we appeared to have been abandoned and Mr Chairman it just makes very clear there that there was a process going on, which there was at the time, when General Viljoen and including General Coetzee were involved in discussions with members of the Security Forces and with the State President and with the Deputy President in order to try and find a way to facilitate the co-operation with the TRC process by members of the Security Forces.
And I say very clearly there and I agree still with what I said there that I do not believe that it would be productive to start a witch hunt at the lower ranks while from the top ranks the way that the orders came down, was not focused upon Mr Chairman.
And Mr Chairman I am prepared to say what I did and I am prepared to say what orders I issued and that is how I protect the people below me because I take responsibility for orders that I gave to people below me Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: I don't know Mr Chairman, I've been presented with this interview that I had 3 years ago, a transcript of it a few minutes ago. I don't know, perhaps I did name other people, I don't know Mr Chairman.
MR LEVINE: Mr Chairman the reason why I raised the request that the witness be entitled to read stems from Section 31 of the Act. If I might read it to you Mr Chairman, I'm certain you are familiar with it but it provides that
"Any person who is questioned by the Commission in exercise of it's powers in terms of this Act or has been subpoenaed to give evidence shall, subject to the provisions of 2, 3 and 5 be compelled to produce any article or answer any question put to him in regard to the subject matter of the hearing and notwithstanding the fact that the article or his or her answer may incriminate him".
"Any person appearing before the Commission by virtue of the provisions of Sub Section 1 shall be entitled to peruse any article referred to in that Sub Section which was produced by him or her as may be reasonably necessary to refresh his or her memory".
CHAIRPERSON: I disagree entirely with your submission, I'm not prepared. I am however prepared to say Mr Bizos if you were going to rely on what he may or may not have said, you must tell him where to look or give him an opportunity to look.
"I can't say if I named anybody or not. I wasn't prepared to take part in a witch hunt, but I can't say if I named anyone or not".
MR BIZOS: Yes but I'm assisting him Mr Chairman specifically on that issue by referring him to page 18 where he did mention a name and I'm sure that he has read it by now Mr Chairman and I want to ask him a question about it.
MR WILLIAMSON: Yes Mr Chairman, at that time I was in an interview with a family member of somebody who had been killed by the South Africa Security Forces in an operation that I admitted to be part of and I was attempting to give that person the basic information that she required as part of her search for the truth of what had happened in the past, including what had happened in personal to her mother Mr Chairman.
And this was not, at that time, part of the TRC. This was not an interview at the TRC and in fact Mr Chairman I went on later at the part that we already discussed, to explain exactly why we at that time in 1985, that there was a problem with the full involvement of former members of the Security Forces with the TRC process.
General Viljoen and General Coetzee and others were involved in a process to encourage those people Mr Chairman and I myself Mr Chairman was involved in that process. I am the person who spoke, agreed to speak to the journalist from the Observer newspaper and to reveal certain actions that had happened in the past Mr Chairman and I'm also Mr Chairman, the person who was passing messages between the highest levels of the ANC Government at that time and certain of the Generals in the Security Forces or previous Generals in the Security Forces, my previous commanders Mr Chairman, in order to get this process working properly Mr Chairman and I do not believe that the fact that I, at that moment, was not prepared to open up and name a whole list of other names, especially of junior officers Mr Chairman, to a member of a victim of the conflict of the past in this country.
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman absolutely I'll agree, I won't deny it. This was part of a process and the first meeting that I had with Mrs Slovo was even earlier in this process Mr Chairman, a process which I may add is not an extremely easy process.
And to meet somebody for the first time, a member of the family of somebody that you've been responsible and ...(indistinct) of killing Mr Chairman was not easy Mr Chairman and we were - it was a, it was a very difficult meeting, the first one Mr Chairman and I'm sure I didn't want to name any more names.
MR WILLIAMSON: I will not participate at any time, and including especially at that time, in a witch hunt. The idea was to get everybody involved to come to this forum and I Mr Chairman took a lot of flack by coming out publicly when I did, but I believe it had a positive effect, Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: I would imagine he had just left the Security Police. He was in some police function in Pretoria. He used to still visit us and a confrontation between him and the Security Chiefs was developing Mr Chairman.
Is there a statement that is placed before the witness that Dirk Coetzee did not implicate General Johan Coetzee as somebody who knew anything about the Ruth First murder. Is that the statement which is made?
MR VISSER: Well Mr Chairman it's an incorrect statement. If you look at Dirk Coetzee's Mauritius statement, he says so explicitly. He says, Jacques Pauw(?) asks him at page 105 of the Mauritius statement
"And you said Johan Coetzee definitely knew about this because he was called from the meeting and the news was given to him at a meeting"?
MR VISSER: I made it clear Mr Chairman that I'm not quite certain. I didn't study this, but it just sounds incorrect to me and that's why I'm just warning my learned friend that there may be a problem with this. I'm not saying that he's wrong at all, just trying to be of assistance.
MR BIZOS: Can we be guided by the witnessís evidence Mr Chairman, that in accordance with his recollection at the time of the death of Ruth First, Mr Dirk Coetzee was at some distance with the leadership of the Security Police and can we proceed from there.
Now I am going to put to you that the reason that you left General Coetzee's name out as having had the ultimate authority in your section was for, among other reasons, the fact that Coetzee had not identified him, Dirk Coetzee had not identified him as one of the persons involved?
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman I speak under correction, but I would imagine my comment about Dirk Coetzee on page 18 in the middle ...(indistinct), because Dirk Coetzee named them all already would relate to allegations that Dirk Coetzee had made over a period of time and specifically about the London bomb where his allegations were accurate and about the Ruth First matter which we have already discussed where his allegations were not entirely accurate and as far as I recollect Mr Chairman, I'm not sure whether he named anybody in relation to the Ruth First incident except me and I am of the opinion that my replay here relates to the group of people who had been named as responsible for the London bomb Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: So ...(indistinct) Dirk Coetzee hasn't named them all, he never named, as far as I know Mr Chairman he may have mentioned that - I am sure, knowing Mr Coetzee and knowing his attitude towards General Coetzee and myself that he would have tried to tie General Coetzee into the Ruth First incident as directly as possible, but I have nothing in front of me and I have no recollection of him specifically saying that and I've absolutely no recollection of him naming anybody else except me. So therefore when I refer and make a statement, "Dirk Coetzee's named them all already", I cannot be referring to the Ruth First incident, I'm talking in general that the people who I had spoken about were the people who had been named by Dirk Coetzee and the group that had been named was the group involved in the London at that time Mr Chairman and you know perhaps we were talking at cross purposes, Miss Slovo and I, I admit that's possible but I really believe that that is the context in which we should read this piece because otherwise I don't know which list of names Coetzee - and I'm talking now about Dirk Coetzee - has presented to anybody in relation to the Ruth First incident.
"A lot of other people involved in this operation ..", that's the London bomb operation isn't it, quite clearly and that was the one which I gather you're saying Mr Williamson you had named people in your report in the press, in the press ...(intervention)
MR BIZOS: No with respect Mr Chairman the whole conversation from page 17 and more specifically in the middle of page 18, relates to the envelope and the bomb and the death of Miss Slovo's mother Mr Chairman.
"...it's a difficult time at the moment because a lot of people are deciding do we have to or should we disclose, you know what we did or shouldn't we. I would imagine a lot of other individuals involved in this operation and others are going to be determined by decisions other people make".
So I was, I was on a more general level and then she goes back specifically to the Ruth First incident and I, when he - and all the explanation I can give is that when she said what decided you to name him, I said, in the light of what I'd said before, that people have got to decide are they, aren't they, will they won't they that I can safely name, or not safely, but I can name Gerry Raven because Dirk Coetzee had already named him and so Gerry Raven I would contend, would be a very unlikely subject not then to participate in the project, I mean in the process, that if somebody like Dirk Coetzee has come and said Gerry Raven or Craig Williamson or X, Y, Z was involved in A, B, C, D specific operation, and now I'm not talking about what he said about me and the Ruth First, just that I intimated where he had chapter and verse about something, it would be relatively foolish to stick your head in the sand like an ostrich and ignore it.
So I really think Mr Chairman that I was talking about my team of people or the team of people that had been involved in the London operation and that I continued this into the Ruth First operation because there was some type of connection between the two, because I believe that we were asked to construct the device that killed Ruth First because of the proven, not only the explosives expertise of Mr Raven in my section, but the fact that my section could carry out things like this relatively quietly Mr Chairman.
And I must repeat that I don't know of a list. The only people that I know that he's named in relation to Ruth First is myself, so I don't know of a list of names that he's given so I couldn't have been referring to a list of people related to the Ruth First incident at all, it's not possible.
If anybody thinks that it's easy to have been an officer in the Security Forces of South Africa for a number of years and to have been involved in a war as we were involved and to see that war come to an end and to see our enemy become the Government in the country and achieve something that we had been shedding blood, other people's and ours to prevent for decades, was easy Mr Chairman then you know there's a problem in understanding of human nature.
We were involved in an extremely difficult and painful situation. One in which we had to confront our pasts and we had to decide what we were going to then do about our futures and how our past related to our future and Mr Chairman nobody, maybe I'm inadequate, but perhaps I could have just turned the switch one morning, woken up and said, oh fine now I'm Craig Williamson the ANC/Communist Party supporter, the new democratic ANC/Communist Party or the new democratic ANC that is no longer Marxist/Leninist etc, but I couldn't Mr Chairman.
I am who I am and I am what made me over a number of years. And I could not just jump out of bed one morning and yippee ya ya, I'm now a member of the ANC and I'm just now going to betray all my past colleagues and I'm just going to name names and I'm just going to go crazy. Mr Chairman what I did was a calculated process. A process which perhaps I didn't do entirely correctly.
I know that a lot of the things that I did angered a lot of my previous friends and I entered into this process. We had doubts, we had fears, we were scared Mr Chairman and what I did it meant that at the first meeting with the child of one of the highest ranking victims of the South African Security Forces, to think that I would then just sit there and say, just start naming names and open and go crazy is just not credible Mr Chairman.
It was the beginning of a process. I, and I'm sure Miss Slovo is going to, can tell you that it took her a while to get me to agree to meet with her. It took a lot of pressure from her to get me to meet with her. And I met with her once and then I met with her again and I'll go further Mr Chairman and say - and I'm not putting blame at anybody's door, but the reaction, the reaction to my disclosures Mr Chairman did not assist the Truth and Reconciliation process in this country because a lot of people laughed at me Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: I never went and asked for a big job in Pretoria as the new Assistant Chief of Intelligence or something, despite the fact that Mr Chairman that I've probably got something to contribute.
MR WILLIAMSON: The process doesn't work like that, I don't have to prove I need help. It's a standard procedure for the funding of the legal expenses of former members of the Security Forces in this forum and I did not ask for that
Information that I'd given to the government of the day was leaked or given to the Observer and when I was confronted with that information I had a simple option, one - well three. One was to say I don't know what you're talking about, go away. One was to say I'm not going to talk about these things until the correct forum, which would be today and the other was to say let's start opening up, let's take the pain, let's start opening the door and I hoped Mr Chairman that that would be a contribution to the process.
And I understand that there're people in this country and obviously many people in this room, who can't believe that people such as I can try and participate honestly and openly and for the last time and to finish a process that was set down by a law in order to finish the conflicts of the past.
"You are also reported in the papers as saying, as being the person who promoted Joe to a Colonel in the KGB, is that true"?
MR WILLIAMSON: "Ja well I mean not only me, but I think that was definitely a Citizen story. No we started the whole thing to make him something, basically you know - to be a - sort of Russian rather than a South African involved in - dominating and controlling and Communist Party and therefore the ANC".
"Well I remember it was rather silly, we had a whole debate about that, about what would his rank be".
"No, you know, I mean I'm not saying we had serious meetings, I mean there's more just discussing you know, how one could do this and we decided on Colonel because it was, you know the guys said well it would be, we wanted to make it that rank Colonel General. But I remember the day it was being fed to the Citizen, we didn't have time to check up the KGB ranks and I just then thought that if we made a mistake by calling him a Colonel General and there wasn't that rank in the KGB, which there was in the army you know, this would discredit the story. So that's why we just made it Colonel, because it sounded good. But we wanted to make it Brigadier but they don't, you know we were trying to find the equivalent rank to Brigadier and it was just - but there was a time problem. If we had another day we could have done it".
"Ag I don't know. You know these things happen. I mean they wanted to, they wanted to put some story in. I think something had happened or it just fitted in with something and probably whoever was around just said look hey plant get ah, do something about Slovo and it could also even happen that the journalist who was involved has got nothing to write that day and he's looking for something. They'd had lunch, you know it really wasn't always a completely structured thing, but once it started then of course they built on it ...".
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman I'm sure I've been led astray in my life but - and it's difficult to stay that everything I've done in my life was deliberate and calculated but - and in fact often Mr Chairman I'd say I'm a bit of a rational person but I don't know I - that's all I can say.
MR WILLIAMSON: No Mr Chairman I said that I believed that any soldier, member of a security force, somebody involved in a war such as this would find it virtually impossible to do what had to be done if he or she did not dehumanise their enemy.
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman when you say I didn't care whether the right victim was killed or his wife I have to concede that it made absolutely no difference to me whether Joe Slovo had been killed - in fact I'd say probably I would have thought it better if he had been killed, it made very little difference to me whether Joe Slovo was killed or Ruth First was killed or Jeanette Schoon was killed or Marius Schoon was killed, but I never in my life targeted and innocent child.
MR WILLIAMSON: It did occur to me Mr Chairman, which is why on the 31st of December 1985 I left the South African Police, it's also why I gave notice that I was going to leave the South African Police in the second half of 1985 Mr Chairman and you may remember that there was a state of emergency in force in South Africa and that in fact special permission had to be given to me to be allowed to leave the South African Police at that time because of the fact that there was state of emergency.
MR WILLIAMSON: I believe - well I mean that characterisation has been given. It wasn't only President P.W. Botha favouring the military over the police Mr Chairman, there was an increasingly military orientated domination of South African society.
MR BIZOS: Yes and insofar as you may have suggested that it was because of doubts about the inhumanity of your work in the police force that led you to resign in the middle of an emergency, how would that have helped your conscience if you became a Military Intelligence officer with an apparently promoted rank that I had forgotten about and which I had to apologise for calling you Major?
MR WILLIAMSON: Because Mr Chairman I changed the nature of my job. I could have if I wished, and I was offered a position in the CCB, which I'm sure the Committee's heard about, which position I turned down.
MR WILLIAMSON: And Mr Chairman that job was a job related to pure intelligence concentration and in specific Mr Chairman, that job was related to Military Intelligence relating to the military threat against South Africa by the Soviet Union. So it was a job that entailed me being involved outside - from, if I believe my territory to be correct, everywhere north of Tanzania and that included the Middle East, China, North America and the rest of the world Mr Chairman.
So it was a job that I regarded as being necessary and it was a job that I felt was more in keeping with the type of job that I would like to be doing Mr Chairman and if I may just finish, I also Mr Chairman had an intention to go into politics and I was looking for a position, a job which would allow me to spend a couple of years to do this type of job in a covert capacity once again, to get out of public eye and then to go into politics and what happened Mr Chairman is that shortly, much more shortly after I resigned from the police than I expected, an election was called at which stage I left the SADF and became a candidate for the National Party and after the election was appointed a member of the President's Council which at that time was the type of upper house of Parliament in Cape Town and from that time on I became a politician and Mr Chairman I don't need to make the argument here, I can get Hansard to make the argument for me where I made the argument and I Mr Chairman was the first National Party politician in this country to call for negotiations between the ANC and the South African Government.
MR WILLIAMSON: And do you think I didn't know that Mr Chairman, I said I was the one who publicly and I got berated for it, but I said at the time that what we're doing in secret we should be telling the public we're doing.
MR WILLIAMSON: Yes the DCC and I would have had a role to play if the, we had, the South African Government had then carried out an operation for example against the Soviet fleet in the Indian Ocean, that was my type of responsibility.
I was for example monitoring the Soviet Ambassador, Orlof, who was co-ordinating the Soviet fleet in the Indian Ocean, that was my job. So if yes, if the South African Government had decided to attack the Soviet fleet in the Indian Ocean at that time I would no doubt have been involved Mr Chairman.
MR LEVINE: Mr Chairman I will take up but one minute of your time. The representations I made for the witness to be entitled to read the transcript of the tape and the submissions which you claim to be absolute nonsense would not have arisen Mr Chairman had the pre-trial proceedings and the tapes or the transcript been made available and there has been criticism earlier on in these proceedings for that which did not happen and my submission is this would not have taken place if that was made available and those tapes were available certainly from 1995 onwards.
And it does appear to me that if tapes of this nature, there's nothing secret about them, they're merely a record of a meeting, are available they should have been made available at that pre-trial conference for consideration by the parties and I would urge all those appearing to please bear this in mind.
MR BIZOS: Mr Chairman may I just in self defence Mr Chairman say this, that these tapes Mr Chairman were in the possession of Miss Slovo who lives in London. We've had considerable trouble Mr Chairman in getting some of them from London when she told us that they existed when she came here on the day on which these proceedings started.
We've had considerable difficulty Mr Chairman in having them transcribed and Mr Chairman parts are inaudible and we had to go to people with specialised knowledge in order to do it and Mr Chairman may I remind Mr Levine of the volume of documents he introduced for the first time which were in his client's possession for a long time that didn't require to be transcribed Mr Chairman.
"In December 1992 Mr Justice Richard Goldstone said in a Commission Report that the DCC had been involved in third force activities and had attempted to derail the peace negotiations between the ANC and the National Party Government. Nineteen Military Intelligence officers and operatives, including two Generals, four Brigadiers, Colonel, handlers and agents were then sacked by F.W. De Klerk in an attempted purge of his Security Forces".
MR WILLIAMSON: Yes Mr Chairman, despite the fact that it was five years after I had left the DCC, I read in press reports the names of the people who had been sacked and I did recognise a couple of them as being people that I had worked with before.
MR WILLIAMSON: Well Mr Chairman I have no information on that, I was never involved in any third force activities in the DCC. As I said before my responsibility in DCC was the, I was the SO1 in command of the section called the "Ander Lande", AL, and this was a section involved with the international Military Intelligence problems relating to South Africa.
I may also just add for the purpose of completeness Mr Chairman that I am aware that there is an ongoing dispute between a number of the people who are referred to in this extract and the South African Defence Force and the South African Government over the correctness and fairness of the action that was taken against them Mr Chairman.
MR BIZOS: Were you one of those who, together with your fellow or erstwhile officers, were putting pressure on the National Party, who would form the government during your period of service, to either get blanket amnesty or that there would be no settlement?
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman to say that, you know I played any key role in the process would be completely incorrect, but to say that I was certainly one of the Security Force members who supported the concept of a general amnesty and to say that I, during the CODESA negotiations, believed that as a negotiating point, the National Party should have negotiated a general amnesty on the basis that the general amnesty was a deal breaker is correct Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: I know that Mr Chairman and I also know, and if we wish to go into it I can give chapter and verse, that in my personal discussions with people at the highest levels of the ANC I was told that their opinion was that at those negotiations the National Party blinked and they got their way and if the National Party had not blinked there would have been a general amnesty.
MR BIZOS: Well that may or may not be so, but were you one of those officers who gave instructions to Mr Barnard, who was assisted by the contact man with the Security Forces, Mr Krappies Engelbrecht, that if there was no general amnesty the "manne", to use their words, would not accept the settlement and they would disrupt the proposed democratic election?
MR WILLIAMSON: No Mr Chairman I at no time made any such threat and I certainly didn't issue any instructions to Dr Barnard, and I assume we're talking about Dr Barnard the former Head of the National Intelligence Service?
MR BIZOS: I know that, I didn't say instructions, if I did I'm sorry. Were you part of the group that felt that you were not prepared to make public the crimes that you had committed and if there was no blanket amnesty you disrupt the whole democratic process?
MR WILLIAMSON: No I was not Mr Chairman, I was part of those former members of the Security Forces who felt that it would be politically wise to have, both for the ANC and the former Security Forces, to have a general amnesty and I was one of those who - and as a loyal member of the Security Forces in the past and while I was not a member of the Security Forces then, as a loyal citizen of this country I was prepared to go along with the decision that was made in the democratic forum as was made and I made no threats and I certainly never carried out any threats or any planning to disrupt any election Mr Chairman.
MR BIZOS: Lest I be thought that I am not referring to anything that was not part of the public record, are you aware that that was the evidence given by Mr Matthews Phosa in an open hearing in the Supreme Court.
MR WILLIAMSON: No I'm not aware Mr Chairman but I've got absolutely no argument with it, I know there were people in the Security Forces at that time who took an extreme view of the requirement for general amnesty and I can merely add Mr Chairman that the only time that I would have participate in any such - I don't even know how to put it, but any actions by the Security Forces or ex-members of the Security Forces, would have been if negotiations had irretrievably broken down and that the politicians and the commanders of the Security Forces, of which I'm talking now broadly, had the support of the National Party or on the National Party side or on the government side or on the old establishment or regime side, if there had been a co-ordinated and general decision to go across into a full scale war once again with the ANC and South African Communist Party and it's allies.
MR BIZOS: And what you referred to as blinking was - do you know that what Dr Barnard said about the loyalty of the forces, if there was no general amnesty his bluff was called by the ANC and Mr Matthews Phosa with ...(indistinct) from that negotiating forum and it was only then that it was agreed that there should be individual amnesty?
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman I'm perfectly willing to accept the accuracy of that account. As I say this was happening and what I meant by blinked, I meant the National Party blinked first, they blinked first and I'm talking now in a political context and it must be remembered that at the time I was no longer a member of the Security Forces, but obviously having been a member of the President's Council I was politically aware and involved.
MR BIZOS: Yes. I want Mr Chairman to hand in the first tape. There is only a small section of it that I am going to refer to, but for the sake of completeness Mr Chairman we will make the whole tape available.
We will make the whole transcript available. I have already assured Mr Levine that at the end of the day the tapes will be made available to him and he can then do whatever he thinks are in the best interest of his client in relation to that.
MR BIZOS: As it may please you Mr Chairman. Now could you please turn to page 29 of this Mr Williamson. You will see in what context you are speaking. I'm going to start in the middle of the paragraph, the first paragraph that says
MR WILLIAMSON: "Where we came in because it is part of G-Section. There was a Technical Section who also didn't do it themselves, they the Technical Section took it off to another, you know, the overall - I can't remember which group it was but there was a group, I can find out for you, who actually - it was probably, we were G so it was either J or K or one of these groups".
"No because I mean my Technical Section didn't have, I mean we didn't have explosives you know. I mean that main group, that other Technical - there was one group that was technical completely that did all electronic or explosives things".
"Ja, no that's why I said to you that's where, because I have also got to tell you I - you see the way these things work, if somebody ..."
"No I don't know if Waal made it or not, he was the second in charge, he was the main guy at that Technical Section that did make these things or that did all sorts of things. They may not have even told him what it was for, I don't know either. I mean I know it must sound terrible and strange but it was really done on a - you know there wasn't like it was almost casual, it wasn't that somebody was, you know, responsible for this type of thing. We had a particularly good technical guy and I think you know it was almost luck of the draw that the Brigadier would see somebody in the passage and say well take this and go and do that you know, but then the way they actually, once they had made it, the way they actually delivered it again is a mystery to me".
"Yes but I mean, you know again, they had to do it in some way that the thing didn't blow up on an aeroplane you know. So the way it was made and getting it back into that you know, I think they, they then probably took some special precautions to get it at least into the Mozambican post. Now whether they just stuck it back on the aeroplane and hoped that everything went alright, or whether they actually worked through somebody in Mozambique, I don't know. But I would suspect that's possible, but the actual, the actual device itself, I mean I'm talking now about the device inside, was made by the Technical Section who then - the envelope was sealed, reassembled and ..."
"Ja but it was genuine, it was something that Ruth would not have been surprised to have received. It was something that she was probably expecting. It came from (?) UK as far as I remember. So that was the way that whatever security they had was penetrated. It wasn't some funny parcel that it just arrived and nobody knew what it was".
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman that is not exactly how I read it. I knew that it had been received by Ruth First because she had opened and killed it, and killed her and I knew that it was going to the University of, at Edwardo Mondlani and I knew also that this was a genuine intercepted communication, which I believed was of the ANC between Lesotho and Maputo.
So in that sense what I was saying here is that it was not a created thing, we were not told create a completely new, fresh envelope bomb addressed to Ruth First and give it to us so that we can send it off to her. This was an item on it's way to the University which had been intercepted and we were asked to construct an IED which could replace the contents in that envelope and it would be sent on it's way.
MR BIZOS: Mr Williamson you say it was intended to go to the University. The University has many people. Here you said that it was something that Ruth would not have been surprised to have received. You are not speaking about your ex post facto knowledge, you are speaking about why things happened at that time that they did.
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman I think I'm trying to make it completely clear that this was not something that when it arrived would have been a completely foreign or strange thing, it was something that was being expected to arrive where it arrived.
MR BIZOS: No but in this statement of yours there is a pre-supposition that it was addressed to her and that she would have received it and she would not have been surprised to receive it, having regard to it's nature if the English language means anything Mr ...(intervention)
MR WILLIAMSON: I said that I was perfectly aware or I knew that this was now a communication going from Maseru to Maputo and that I believed when the name Slovo was used that it was going to Joe Slovo but that it was perfectly possible and likely and probable in the ways that secret communications are done, that this could in fact have been going via Ruth First.
And what I'm saying here is the point that I'm making is that the item was something that would, that the recipient would have been expecting to receive or would have know was coming, especially if this was an ANC communication.
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman it was not my job or position at that time to take the trouble to find out what exactly the communication was, it was to carry out an instruction Mr Chairman. An instruction which in the context of the time did not surprise me at all.
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman I have said the only inference that I can draw as to why I was asked to issue the instruction to have the bomb manufactured was because number one, it was know that Warrant Officer Raven had the technical ability to do it, it had been proven.
MR WILLIAMSON: Number two, that we had also proven that we were able to carry out this type of clandestine operation successfully and quietly without discovery and I would imagine Mr Chairman that somewhere along the line somebody said Brigadier Goosen's people can do this.
CHAIRPERSON: There's an enormous difference surely between taking an explosive device, taking it to a building, setting it there, leaving the country, between that and merely preparing the explosive device and giving it back to someone else to ...(indistinct)?
MR WILLIAMSON: No Mr Chairman I, yes as I said, that's why I said here as well I think this was the luck of the draw, it's the way these things work. It was decided that we should manufacture that, that was the order given.
They could have, as Mr Chairman himself said, somebody could have called Warrant Officer Raven directly, if I hadn't been there that might have happened. They could have in fact gone directly to the Technical Section, they could have gone to the Explosives Section. It's, that's why I said the bottle spun and it rested on me.
MR WILLIAMSON: Well I think we have to ask Mr Raven what he did. I asked Mr Raven to manufacture it, he came back and told me that it had been done. I assumed, as with the London bomb, that he may well have had assistance from other people and from the overall chief Technical Section, because for example Mr Chairman we didn't for example, as far as I know, store explosives in our offices.
"Who also didn't do it themselves, they, the Technical Section, took it to another, you know, the overall...",
MR WILLIAMSON: Well Mr Chairman I, that section was made up of more than one person, so I don't know whether, and in fact as I said, I saw here there was an application from Mr Bosch. The first time that I knew Mr Bosch may have been specifically been involved in the manufacturing of this device came when I read the amnesty application.
MR WILLIAMSON: It does Mr Chairman because there were, Mr Raven had one or more members of his staff. Now I didn't, when I issued an instruction to him, I didn't ask him which member of staff he'd perhaps asked to do what Mr Chairman, so that's why ...(intervention)
MR BIZOS: You speak of two groups, I want the names of the two groups please. The one that was yours and the one that was the specialist group that you say Raven handed ..., who were the people in these two group?
The Technical Section or the major Technical Section at head office the commander of that was Waal Du Toit and there were many, many other people working there Mr Chairman. And Waal Du Toit is also an applicant in some way, he was involved in providing assistance with the manufacture of the London bomb.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman may I just come in here because my client is implicated in this and it places me in a position that I may want to ask you in any event to ask Mr Williamson further questions on this.
I just want to place this on record that at this point in time we don't have any knowledge of this transcript or the correctness thereof. I would like to check that and in as far as the questions are based on this I just want to state that, that we don't accept the correctness of this now, we want to check that.
We assure the Committee that to the best of her knowledge and belief and to the, best efforts were made to transcribe it fairly. I think that my learned friend must, will have an opportunity to deal with it and I think the interjection can only side-track the procedures.
and so you go on, but if we read the passage as a whole, you tell us that there are two groups and you again in the bottom paragraph in the second line you talk about "they" and three lines later you talk about "they".
I have got, I just can't go and start giving a witch hunt list of names to Miss Slovo. I know that for example the name Waal Du Toit had already been mentioned by Dirk Coetzee in this context. It was a point of discussion and I was trying to explain to her that there was this section, there was that section and when I speak about "they" I'm speaking generically, I'm speaking about the sections Mr Chairman.
And if I say to my technical man, please manufacture a device like that then I assume he will get some or other type of assistance Mr Chairman, but I don't know from who he got the assistance or where he got the assistance or which particular individual was involved in giving him that assistance Mr Chairman, that is for him to tell us Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: No you asked for one name Mr Chairman, really he's the only name I can give. He's the man that I used to liaise with and is the man that in the Officer's Club I used to have a beer with. He was more or less at my level, he was the person that I dealt with Mr Chairman but there were a number of other people.
MR WILLIAMSON: I said here, I'm sure you've heard the name Waal Du Toit and that's what I was referring to because it's the sort of name that she would have already been familiar with because of the allegations of Mr Coetzee.
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman I absolutely agree with that, that was in the context of this interview, which was the very first time that I met Miss Slovo, which I've already explained was a very difficult experience, I'm sure more difficult for her than it was for me.
It was a very bizarre meeting, if I can put it that way Mr Chairman and it wasn't a meeting at which we bonded and became sole mates and all the deep intimate secrets of the entire Security Police flowed out of me to her Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: Well Mr Chairman I disagree. My reluctance - I think I have explained very clearly, my reluctance was to get involved in the situation that would lead to a witch hunt which would unfairly and wrongly accuse the wrong people Mr Chairman.
"That you know, as I've told you and I've told other people, I was in the loop at that stage, that train, but the loop was quite big".
MR WILLIAMSON: I wish I knew Mr Chairman, I wish I'd never been in this chain or this loop and I wish I could tell you who else was in it, but that is the point of all the evidence that I've given here Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman many people have got experience of clandestine operations, not only us in the South African Security Forces, but members of the South African Communist Party and members of the ANC also have got a lot of experience of clandestine operations and of cut-out and of methods that are used to prevent an operation and the responsibility therefore unravelling.
And Mr Chairman I was involved in a need-to-know, cut-out, clandestine security operation about which I asked as few questions as possible and it's quite - it's not only probable or likely, it's a fact that I asked far too few questions Mr Chairman and the fact is that I don't know who else was in the loop or the chain.
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman speaking in the same sort of way as I was speaking to Miss Slovo then, if I describe clandestine operation and we take this one hypothetically for example, obviously the envelope had to come from somewhere. So there must have been a beginning of this chain.
The envelope would then have to travel in some way from Lesotho to Security Headquarters where I got hold of it. That Mr Chairman involves some planning, some organisation, some individuals. Then Mr Chairman once I had it, once I gave it to Gerry Raven - well it went to Brigadier Goosen, there's one of the links in the chain then I'm the next link in the chain, then Gerry Raven's the next link in the chain, then the thing goes back to Brigadier Goosen and it enters again, perhaps down that same chain where it came from the Lesotho, I don't know Mr Chairman but it got to Ruth First's office at Eduardo Mondlani University in Maputo and that was the end of the chain. The way it got there.
It could have got there innocently, it could have got there in an organised way Mr Chairman. All I was trying to do to illustrate to Miss Slovo was the complexity of this type of operation and the way that you could not pin responsibility down on one person, that it was a loop and the loop - being in the loop Mr Chairman is a, I think it's an Americanism and that's why I used it, I was in the loop.
MR BIZOS: Yes. Miss Slovo was not interested on how envelopes may have come from Lesotho to Johannesburg or to Pretoria, nor other matters that you have mentioned. She was obviously asking you who had made the decision and to kill her mother and how that decision was put into effect.
MR WILLIAMSON: Yes Mr Chairman and therefore I would question the first part of the question because I thought that is what she was interested in and I thought that I was attempting, going to some trouble explaining to her and to sketch to her how exactly this type of operation happened.
MR WILLIAMSON: So what if, what if the security branch in the Free State had an agent that they were handling in the ANC structure in Lesotho who grabbed hold or it could have been in the post office in Lesotho, who got hold of this envelope and they decided to have the envelope fitted with explosives and send it to her mother?
MR WILLIAMSON: No Mr Chairman I'm trying to illustrate to you where the decision could have been made and in previous cross examination we got to the point where we decided that the probabilities went all the way from Brigadier Goosen being on a frolic of his own right through to that the State President, Mr P.W. Botha, gave the order personally and I said that those were unlikely, that the reality and what happened was probably somewhere in the middle Mr Chairman and the point is that I cannot tell Miss Slovo ...(intervention)
I can remember when he avoided the Matola Raid I in fact remember commenting to people that it showed, and I used it in my training of members of my staff afterwards, that here was a man they obeyed his trade craft so well that he obeyed a rule which was - apparently that night, he used to sometimes change the place where he slept at night in Maputo twice a night and this is how they missed him Mr Chairman.
"Thirdly the psychological effect of what we call terrorising the terrorists was important, both in the negative sense for them and in the positive sense for the Security Forces and the target civilian population of the Republic".
MR BIZOS: "Thirdly the psychological effect of what we call terrorising the terrorists was important, both in the negative sense for them and in the positive sense for the Security Forces and the target civilian population of the Republic".
MR BIZOS: I'm going to put to you that there is high degree of probability that you and your colleagues decided to kill Ruth First in order to get at Joe Slovo in pursuance of this philosophy of yours?
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman it is entirely possible that whoever decided to target or do that had decided that and if I had seen and been told that this was specifically going to Ruth First then I would have been in accord with that.
This would have been in the framework of the counter insurgency strategy in place at the time Mr Chairman, but I was told it was going to Slovo and as I said, it could have meant to Ruth Slovo and to whichever Slovo it was going Mr Chairman, it would have accorded with our strategy.
MR BIZOS: Yes. Did you believe that killing the wife of the Commander in Chief of Umkhonto weSizwe and the wife was an ordinary member of the organisation and not involve in planning or policy or active support directly of the armed struggle, that this was a permissible target to kill his wife in order to punish him, to terrorise him?
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman to kill any high ranking member of the South African Communist or ANC was a legitimate target as far as we were concerned. The idea was the psychological destabilising of the organisation, as well as the disruption of the practical logistical infrastructure and organisation.
MR BIZOS: Now let's be serious please, let's be serious Mr Williamson. Do you know of the wife of any General or any cabinet minister or any high ranking politician that was targeted to be murdered in order to get at her husband?
MR WILLIAMSON: No I don't Mr Chairman and I know, but I know and I refer to the evidence I gave previously that in the 1982/1983 annual intelligence review I, my section was responsible for issuing a warning that such a thing could possibly happen.
MR BIZOS: Yes I know, you wanted to create a mass psychosis that everybody was in danger, that even counsel's bags had to be searched coming into court, but do you know of anyone in that class of person that was successfully targeted or a known attempt was made to kill people or to injure them or to maim them for the purposes of getting at their husbands?
MR WILLIAMSON: No Mr Chairman I don't, I repeat I don't and I repeat I warned that the possibility existed and it was not to create some type of climate of fear, it was because I felt that if this type of South African action was going to take place, we could expect retaliation Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: It didn't happen Mr Chairman but I cannot comment as to why it didn't happen. If we're going to get into debating points here I could also say it's possible it didn't happen because our security was too good.
MR BIZOS: Did you know that as a matter of policy made publicly known by the ANC, the ANC deliberately decided that despite your conduct and your colleagues conduct that it was not considered appropriate by the ANC to attack people in government or their relatives or to retaliate in the manner in which you expected them to retaliate after you had killed Ruth First?
MR BIZOS: Yes. Was that not during a short period of time when young undisciplined cadres had lost control, their handlers had lost control. Don't you know that that is the evidence before the Courts and that is the evidence that was placed before the TRC?
MR WILLIAMSON: Well Mr Chairman there are plenty of ANC and Communist Party members who have applied for amnesty and who've been granted amnesty and who've admitted what they did do and I'm sure that was not a Stratcom on our behalf Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: So whichever Slovo it was going to, and in fact were it - as I gave the example this morning, were it an arms cache that was booby trapped, any ANC person who then opened that arms cache or interfered with that, or perhaps opened that communication, could possibly have been a victim Mr Chairman.
MR BIZOS: Yes. Mr Chairman I believe that there is a technical problem in relation to the transcription which is going to be cleared up. May we defer this matter Mr Chairman in order to try and find out what happened.
ADV DE JAGER: But Mr Bizos all the way around the one was a first interview and the other one was a second interview, now when it's pointed out that you've made a mistake now suddenly it appears that there's some confusion about the interviews.
MR BIZOS: No Mr Chairman I am informed Mr Chairman, I am informed Mr Chairman that there is some explanation in relation to the matter. I put what I put in the belief that it was not there, I want to investigate Mr Chairman as to the correctness of page 52 and I will come ...(intervention)
"The point of view, I mean I was there and then Brigadier Goosen was of course, he was the Head of the, he is the one who's basically giving the orders. And you know we made or Gerry made the device and then we gave it back to the guys and the next you heard it was in the newspaper".
MR BIZOS: Yes. Mr Chairman that what appears to be, there is apparently an explanation which I would like an opportunity to speak about. Can we leave it over Mr Chairman for the time being and if in fact it was mentioned then we will apologise to the witness and we can proceed from there Mr Chairman.
MR BIZOS: Mr Chairman I agree, but Mr Chairman some of these tapes had to be flown in by courier from London during the course of the week Mr Chairman and we have been working under tremendous pressure in order to transcribe them.
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman I want to add to that. As far as I'm aware of the practice, one usually adds an Affidavit of the transcriber stating exactly that she listened to the tape properly, that she transcribed it properly and surely that would be the minimum to expect. So I strenuously object against referring to this at all until these problems have been cleared up.
MR BIZOS: Yes Mr Chairman but done, but done under tremendous pressure Mr Chairman and I had to wait for it until tea time almost. Under pressure, it may well be Mr Chairman that there was confusion between the tapes or the end of the tapes of the one interview with the other, which is a matter of record and what I am asking is not an unreasonable request Mr Chairman.
We can hand over the tapes and the people can satisfy themselves Mr Chairman as to whether or not there was such a confusion or not. And in any event Mr Chairman the witness has actually said that he did not mention Mr Raven's name at the first interview, so I don't know Mr Chairman why our request, in order to investigate the matter and clarify it under the difficult conditions under which we have been working, is not acceded to so that we can proceed with ...(intervention)
MR BIZOS: Yes Mr Chairman, even for attorneys and attorney's clerks and transcribers Mr Chairman, if it's done under pressure mistakes can happen. It can be that something was transcribed from ...(intervention)
MR WILLIAMSON: I cannot comment Mr Chairman, I don't know, it's possible. From my knowledge there were no ANC bases near Lubango but ANC military personnel acting in support of Angolan for elements against UNITA were active in various stages of the war and they may well have been close to Lubango at one or other time.
The major responsibility for intelligence gathering in Angola was a military responsibility and I know that from a general perspective the fact that at that time Lubango was virtually a garrison town Mr Chairman and that there were a number of Cuban forces present in that area Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: No I'm not Mr Chairman because I believe I have already said that as a result of a request made to me, well first to the Security Police and then specifically to my section at one time, we were requested at that period of time if we had any information on what the Schoons were doing in Lubango, because there was some information available to the military that there was some connection between the Schoons and the Cuban forces and this could possibly have had something to do with language teaching Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: The same as I did with Dirk Coetzee at one stage about Ruth First Mr Chairman. I can't say that I was specifically informed but I knew that Mr Schoon was a target and I also knew that from intelligence reports that he and Jeanette had in fact left Botswana after having been advised to do so in order to avoid an attack on them by South African forces.
MR WILLIAMSON: It's possible Mr Chairman, but it could also have been a chain with a number of different links Mr Chairman, and seeing as the one chain stretched from Lesotho to Maputo and the attempts or plans against the Schoons were in Botswana, I would imagine that a number of the links in the chain would in fact be different.
MR BIZOS: Did you consider the possibility that as a result of the threats to their lives, that they may have withdrawn to a remote part of the continent to merely teach English at the request of either the ANC or the Angolan Government or both, did you consider that as a possibility?
MR WILLIAMSON: No I did not Mr Chairman and I don't think I would have at that time considered that anybody would have considered Lubango as some type of quiet, backwater from which to retire from the armed struggle Mr Chairman.
MR BIZOS: Angolan University students. Would you have still sent them a letter bomb if you knew that they had taken positions to teach Angolan University students English, would you still have sent them a letter bomb?
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman I did not send them the letter bomb but I would still have participated in the operation. Again I have to say that - and perhaps it's not what the Schoons intended, but the fact that there were only 4, as has been put for South Africans in Lubango in 1984, would not have made the security forces more relaxed, it would have made them even more convinced that those 4 South Africans were of a special nature and that had the type of backing and authority of the ANC and the revolutionary alliance and the Angolan Government of the time to be allowed to be in an area such as Lubango.
MR WILLIAMSON: Yes Mr Chairman as young South Africans such as myself were attempting to improve their minds at university at 1982 and 1983 in Pretoria studying counter insurgency warfare Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman what I've said very clearly is I had not intelligence and I reported that when I was requested Mr Chairman, but the suspicion about the Schoons as a result of their activities in Botswana, as a result of their high level activities in the ANC and then their movement to Angola, which was the heart of the armed struggle against the Republic at that time and was the heart and contact point between the international ...(end of tape) ...(inaudible - beginning of tape 6) such as the Cubans and Soviet advisors and the ANC Mr Chairman, did not and would never ever have served to lessen South African Security Force suspicion about the Schoons, it would merely have in fact increased it.
MR WILLIAMSON: Yes Mr Chairman and the main ANC military bases were in Angola. All the main ANC military camps were in Angola. The entire ANC military infrastructure was in Angola and the ANC forces were in fact participating in that civil war in direct combat on, with the Angolan troops against UNITA Mr Chairman ...(intervention)
MR WILLIAMSON: No Angola was the rear base, the military bases from where, if you say that map that I did present Mr Chairman, the military cadres were then sent to infiltrate through the front-line states into South Africa, but the main, the main military command and control structures of the ANC were in Angola Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: I said it's possible that it happened Mr Chairman. Well and here we are not talking about your suspicions, we are talking about the suspicions presumably of other South African Intelligence officials.
MR WILLIAMSON: That is possible Mr Chairman, as I was told - as I told the Committee, I had no information on what the Schoons were doing in Lubango, I do not believe that they had been Lubango very long before I was requested, from the Military Intelligence side, whether there was any specific information to confirm some information that they had Mr Chairman, that is all.
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman I have no idea which individual. I would imagine that, and I believe that the actual request on the Schoons was in writing and came through the normal structures from the Military Intelligence side Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: I may add, if we're talking about suspicion, that the contents of the envelope which was on it's way to the Schoons did nothing to lessen suspicion that the Schoons were still involved in ANC activities Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: Because Mr Chairman on that occasion, as I said, the first time that such a thing had happened, I was not really 100% sure of what was going on, I didn't see in the documentation anything that was of particular interest to me.
When it came to the Schoon documentation Mr Chairman I had, for a number of years, been monitoring the Schoons and the ANC activities in Botswana. These documents related specifically to something in which I was particularly interested Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: No Mr Chairman because I asked whether I could actually - in the first case I left all the documentation in the envelope that I left with the Brigadier and the second case I asked, could I have these documents once the IED had been made to replace those documents in the envelope Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: I gave the answer Mr Chairman that I had - first of all when the Ruth First one happened it was the first time that I'd had experience of such a thing. The second time I had a specific interest in not only the people involved, but also the documentation and specifically where it had been coming from.
MR WILLIAMSON: Why I don't know how we will define minimal Mr Chairman. I passed on an order and the order was complied with, the device was made and as far as I know, the device was then dispatched back to Lubango, well dispatched further on it's way to Lubango and I did say that I was not, if I can put it this way, a very enthusiastic participant Mr Chairman, I knew the people involved.
MR BIZOS: Right. But on this occasion where you had the advantage of personal contact with the person you say initiated this, as far as you were concerned. Did you ask Brigadier Goosen why are we doing this?
MR BIZOS: Weren't you concerned that if the envelope was addressed to both of them that it may be opened in the presence of the children and tell the Brigadier, Brigadier we may have four dead bodies as a result of what you are asking me to do. Did you ask him that?
MR BIZOS: Yes but then you were an officer in the oppressive regime service and they were refugees. What would you suggest that the refugees would have done with their children if they were left Botswana in order to avoid being killed by your regime?
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman I think council is perfectly aware that numerous members of the ANC upper structure and echelon had their children safely in cities such as London and schools all over the world away from the front-lines and away from the so-called oppressive apartheid forces.
MR BIZOS: And whether or not they had their children with them, would have been a very simple matter to verify by a simple enquiry in view of South Africa's presence in Angola. Simple enquiry, are the children there or not?
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman as far as I am aware it was not done. As I've said this debate that we've had now didn't go through my mind, it never crossed my mind they'd taken their children to Lubango.
MR BIZOS: Yes, but you had intelligence, you had intelligence in UNITA, you had intelligence to people who gave you information. You knew that they had gone to Lubango, how difficult would it have been for you to find out whether their children were there or not before you decided to take part in an operation that may have killed both of them?
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman it would have been obviously extremely difficult for me to have done it. I conceded that it would have been possible had it crossed my mind to do it, to have done it and I have to say that this is something that I've thought about virtually every single day since the incident happened and I also want to say that in the following attack which I was involved in, in the Gaberone Raid of 1985, as a result of the death of Katryn Schoon I went out of my way and made sure that every single target in Gaberone which could possibly have had families and children in it was removed from the list Mr Chairman and I think that is well known amongst the target selection committee that operated at that time and Mr Chairman there are certain ANC people that are alive now today as a result of that decision.
MR BIZOS: But now you know here we're not dealing with strangers. We were dealing with people that you knew, with whom you had a personal relationship. Didn't you think you owed it to them to make sure?
MR WILLIAMSON: ...as I'm sure with the Schoons, there was a division between them as people and them as activists and operators of the African National Congress, there's a difference between me as a human being and me as the intelligence agent working for the State.
And Mr Chairman as far as I was concerned, they had been made a target of a strike. This decision had been made as a result of their continued and high level involvement in ANC structures and I carried out my order.
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman as I've said, the very fact that they went to Angola, which was the military command centre of the ANC, the very fact that they'd gone to Lubango and then finally Mr Chairman, if I needed any further confirmation, the last, at the time we were asked to construct the device, the contents of the envelope, the envelope was an intercepted communication, an ANC communication from Botswana going to the Schoons in Lubango Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: I had at that time absolutely no doubt that the Schoons remained high level ANC operatives. I really Mr Chairman, in my experience, have no example that I can readily bring to mind of anybody in the ANC/Communist Party alliance who at some a particular time along the road actually retired from operational duty as it were Mr Chairman.
MR BIZOS: Well either your intelligence was not correct. Did you not hear of many people who actually, after having had military training, nevertheless withdrew and went to Universities all over Europe and the United States and the United Kingdom ...(intervention)
MR WILLIAMSON: Yes Mr Chairman there's a big difference between having ANC military training and then not being an active member of an ANC/Umkhonto weSizwe unit and continuing to do other work in a political or other capacity Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: No Mr Chairman the, as I said, the attempt that I had heard about or the talk that there'd been was aimed at Mr Marius Schoon and at a later stage when the Schoons left Botswana I heard that there had been a threat against both of them and that they had been advised to withdraw from Botswana because they were both potential targets of the South African Security Forces and they subsequently left Botswana.
MR BIZOS: We're not talking about the warning which would probably have been in wider terms, we are talking about the two attempts to kill Mr Schoon. In none of them have we heard that Mrs Schoon was a target.
MR WILLIAMSON: I heard the questions Mr Chairman and for the sake of completeness I said yes I had heard about an attempt or I believe, to kill Marius Schoon and I had also heard of another attempt or threat against both Jeanette and Marius Schoon.
MR BIZOS: Would you not agree that there is a difference between an attempt to kill one of the parents of these two children and a cautionary widening of the warning to include both possibly, if you are correct that there were warnings about both?
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman all I can say is what I heard and knew and the effect it had on me and the effect it had on me was that I was totally convinced that both the Schoons were a target of the South African Security Forces ...(intervention)
MR BIZOS: You didn't hear about the botched attempt where the man was actually caught and exposed and thereafter an attempt that was countermanded. Which one of the two did you hear about and which one did you know about?
MR WILLIAMSON: Now that you say botched attempt Mr Chairman, I this awakens the bells of the past, but I'm not sure whether that was - was that attempt against Mr Schoon or against some other ANC member in Botswana?
MR WILLIAMSON: No I didn't Mr Chairman because when the Schoons left Botswana it was well known that they had left as a result of the fact that they were both in danger of an attack from the South African Security Forces.
If the Schoons had been re-deployed, as they put it, to London or to somewhere in the United Kingdom where our intelligence network was good and we had known exactly what they were doing and they'd become academics at some university and all they were involved with was anti-apartheid activities with the British public etc, then obviously Mr Chairman my attitude would have been different, but the Schoons went to Lubango Mr Chairman, that was one of the key factors behind this entire operation as far as I'm concerned and secondly Mr Chairman, there were, in certain cases and I can give an example of Mr Maharaj again since his name has arisen so regularly at this hearing, that he withdrew from open structures and he put out a story that in fact he'd gone to the Soviet Union to receive treatment for cancer or some other very serious illness when in fact Mr Chairman, he had gone under deep cover and was busy with specific penetration operations in the Republic Mr Chairman
So we knew that a re-deployment by the ANC was not necessarily what it appeared to be, if it just appeared to be some type of a semi-retirement and a re-deployment to the UK to a University would have been one thing. A re-deployment to a University, a language course in Lubango in Angola in 1984 in the circumstances that pertained at that time Mr Chairman would in no ways have been seen by myself or any other member, I believe or contend, of the Security Forces as some type of a retirement from active service Mr Chairman.
MR BIZOS: Yes but before you sentence somebody to death or you sentence two people to death or potentially four people to death, you must ascertain whether they're there in order to teach Cuban troops, which you suggested in your evidence or young student which we didn't know about and if you - you could have ascertained precisely what they did there within a reasonable time, couldn't you?
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman as I said before, I think very clearly, that I would not have ascertained. It could have perhaps, through South African Intelligence structures, been ascertained with great difficulty, it would have taken time and I personally wonder, in the circumstances of the time, whether the resources would have been allocated to make such an enquiry before such an attack.
MR BIZOS: ...(Inaudible - beginning of tape) and if in fact they were re-deployed to teach English, not for any of the ...(indistinct) purposes that you suspected without intelligence, but for the purposes that they state. If you knew those facts or if you troubled yourself to find them out, would you still have taken part in sending them a letter bomb that killed Jeanette and Katryn?
MR WILLIAMSON: Mr Chairman had the intelligence been available at the time that I was asked to have this device constructed to attack the Schoons, that the Schoons had in fact been re-deployed and retired and that the Schoons were in fact generally not involved in ANC activities and as I gave the example for example that had they gone to the United Kingdom where we would have been easily able to obtain this, of course I would not have participated in the operation or I would have certainly made a strong recommendation against such an operation, but that was not the circumstances at the time that I was given the order Mr chairman.
MR BIZOS: So that - and at the time, according to one of the exhibits before us, during this period in monitoring Angola, in an ANC document, in Exhibit N, the last page we are told that between 1983 and 1985 Angola was a military zone under a regional command.
MR WILLIAMSON: Basic military training Mr Chairman, I don't know if he took specialist training. What they did is they normally had the basic Infantry Course and then of course they went on to specialised training who would have been engineers that dealt - in their ...(indistinct) engineers were people that dealt with landmines, military combat work. There were all sorts of specialists Mr Chairman, I don't know.
MR WILLIAMSON: Mainly propaganda Mr Chairman. Wally Serote I think the same well know poet, artist. Thaban Makwetla (?) I have no immediate information on. Hassan Ibrahim I believe Umkhonto WeSizwe Mr Chair.
MR WILLIAMSON: Mainly involved in the - I mean their specific task was involved in what was called internal reconstruction Mr Chairman, which was the rebuilding of the underground structures of the ANC inside South Africa Mr Chairman.
MR BIZOS: When you went there did you believe from the conversations that you had with them that the weight of evidence against you was piling up, that too many people were compromised by persons that were working with you, supposedly for the ANC when in truth and in fact you and your colleagues were working for the police?
MR WILLIAMSON: There was certainly an incident that had occurred and there was almost like an official accusation made against me that I was a spy Mr Chairman, and that was some time before in fact I was actually exposed and the cause for that accusation had in fact nothing to do with the ultimate problem that arose that I described to the committee about the defection Mr Chairman.
MR WILLIAMSON: No I did not Mr Chairman but if they, if you tell me they were I accept it. Many people in ANC structures at that time, in fact I was even asked what I thought about the Schoons and Fitzgerald and their loyalty Mr Chairman so I accept that they may have reported on my, yes.