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Amnesty Hearings

Type AMNESTY HEARING

Starting Date 24 May 1999

Location PRETORIA

Day 1

Names EUGENE A. DE KOCK

Case Number AM0066/96

Matter DE KOCK HEARING 1

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CHAIRPERSON: The application before the Committee on behalf of Mr De Kock. It has not been possible to hear them all at one time, so they have been divided into six separate sections which will be heard in the next few months, each one, each application involves Mr De Kock and other members of the Force, but he is the uniting factor. Today we are here to hear what has been set down as De Kock 1, there are five applications before us and we have held two pre-trial meetings with the many legal advisors involved in the whole of the De Kock hearings. It was decided that it would be in all our best interests, if we devoted the first few days to the hearing of general evidence relating to the background, to the places such as Vlakplaas and to the factors which influenced the applicants. It is hoped that once we have concluded this evidence, it will be transcribed and then made available at future hearings and so avoid the necessity of repeating, repeatedly hearing this evidence, because it is quite clear, it will be relevant to all the Committees which hear these applications. I hope we can get through it all, I think from the co-operation that we had from the legal advisors at the various meetings, we should be able to do it. We are going to start with that today and I think for the sake of those recording, we should ask you all to put yourselves on record please, and the name of your client. The Committee consists of myself, Mr Sibanyoni and Mr S. Sandi.

MR HATTINGH: Thank you Mr Chairman, P.A. Hattingh, instructed by Mr Hugo for Mr De Kock and for Mr Simon Radebe.

MR LAMEY: Thank you Mr Chairman, A. Lamey, I represent Mr Nortje, Mr Klopper, Mr Willemse, that is what I can think of at this stage.

MR BOOYENS: May it please the Committee, Mr Chairman, J.A. Booyens, instructed by Van der Merwe and Bester, I represent Baker, Bellingan and Tait.

MR WAGENER: Mr Chairman, I am Jan Wagener, I appear for Gen I.J. Engelbrecht and Colonel A. Grobbelaar, two implicated individuals.

MR VISSER: May it please you Mr Chairman, Louis Visser on record, instructed by Wagener Muller, I act for Brigadier Schoon.

MR PRINSLOO: Mr Chairman, H. Prinsloo, I appear on behalf of Pienaar and Van Zweel and my colleague Louisa van der Walt who has lost her voice for the moment, appears on behalf of Van Dyk and Rorich and Deetlefs, an implicated person.

CHAIRPERSON: I trust that this isn't contagious?

MR PRINSLOO: Hopefully not Mr Chairman.

MR NEL: Mr Chairman, Christo Nel, I act on behalf of a number of applications not to be heard in this bundle, but for people who worked under the command of Mr De Kock, and I am here for the general background of Vlakplaas.

MS CALITZ: Mr Chairman, my name is Evette Calitz, I am here for Aubrey Mngadi, implicated and an applicant.

MR CORNELIUS: Mr Chairman, Wim Cornelius, I act on behalf of Dawid Britz, Daniel Snyman, Nicholaas Vermeulen and Leon Flores, thank you.

MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, Roelof du Plessis of the Pretoria Bar, instructed by Strydom Britz Attorneys, I act on behalf of Captain Wouter Mentz, who has received amnesty in most of these incidents. I also act on behalf of Brigadier Jack Cronje in the Nyanda incident, and I also act on behalf of Mr Botha in the Ncgqulunga incident.

MR JANSEN: Thank you Mr Chairman, C.R. Jansen, instructions Julian Knight Attorneys. Mr Chairman, we act for applicant M.D. Ras, junior I should add in the Chand incident, we also act for the implicated person, Mr Almond Nofomela in the Nyanda and McFadden matter, thank you.

MR FOURIE: Mr Chairman, J.G. Fourie, I represent the Ncgqulunga family in this matter.

MR MARIBANA: Mr Chairman, J.C. Maribana, I am representing Ms Helen Kgasane in the Mabotha incident.

MS PATEL: Ramula Patel, the Leader of Evidence for the Amnesty Committee.

CHAIRPERSON: Right, who is going to start the proceedings?

MR HATTINGH: We are prepared to start Mr Chairman.

EUGENE A. DE KOCK: (sworn states)

CHAIRPERSON: I beg your pardon, I forgot that you would be testifying in Afrikaans.

MR DE KOCK: Thank you.

EXAMINATION BY MR HATTINGH: Mr De Kock, you are one of the applicants in this matter, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: You were connected to the South African Police?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Initially as a member of the Uniform Staff?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: For how long were you appointed in that capacity to the South African Police?

MR DE KOCK: From 1968 until 1976.

MR HATTINGH: And during that time Mr De Kock, did you ever commit any offences which boil down to the violation of human rights?

MR DE KOCK: No Chairperson. I would just like to qualify that in certain cases where there was unrest at hotels or street fights, we as members of the Police had to control it. Some of the combatants were injured and as a result did press assault charges which were never followed through, it was part of your service with regard to less pleasant people who disrupted the peace and so forth.

MR HATTINGH: Did you also serve in the then Rhodesia?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: You were also a member of Koevoet in the former South West Africa, now Namibia?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: For how long were you connected with Koevoet in Namibia?

MR DE KOCK: From the beginning or the 1st of January 1979 up to and including the end of May 1983.

MR HATTINGH: From Koevoet, where did you go?

MR DE KOCK: I was transferred to the Pretoria Security Head Office, to Section C1.

MR HATTINGH: Very well, you have compiled a complete application with regard to your amnesty application. Have you studied the Bundle?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I have.

MR HATTINGH: And do you confirm the correctness thereof?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: When you were transferred ...

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, which Bundle is this?

MR HATTINGH: This is the Bundle before the Committee, Mr Chairman, that we were given, the General Background.

CHAIRPERSON: I don't know if I am just unlucky, but my copy of the Bundle shows from page 60 onwards, Prof Van der Hoven's report?

MR DE KOCK: That is quite correct Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: And I have the odd pages only. I don't know if you gentlemen have the same problem?

MR HATTINGH: Yes, we have the same problem too, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: And then if you go on to Mr Du Plessis' report at page 75, there is no page 1 and thereafter we have the even pages only, I have the even pages only.

MR HATTINGH: Same here, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: When we get to Dr Novelle at page 88, his report starts at page 4, I have not got pages 1, 2 and 3.

MR HATTINGH: Same here Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: I am in the lucky position, that I have a copy of the Bundle handed in at the Khotso House and Cosatu House bombings, and that contains all the pages. Perhaps arrangements can be made that you gentlemen should have your - the missing pages should be supplied to all you gentlemen. Are you all missing them? Sorry to have interrupted, you can continue.

MR HATTINGH: Thank you Mr Chairman. When you were transferred from Namibia to Pretoria, did your then Commander compile any report about you for the purposes of notification by Head Office?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, the report mentioned that I should not be used for operational services again, and I think more specifically of the nature that I had already been exposed to.

MR HATTINGH: And the Commander who wrote this report, who was he?

MR DE KOCK: That was Gen Dreyer, the Head of Koevoet.

MR HATTINGH: And what was his motivation for the report, was it based upon the fact that you had already been exposed to too many gruesome deeds and so forth?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: Very well, I am going to ask you to proceed to page 188 of the Bundle before you, page 188. Mr De Kock, this is a summary of allegations which have already formed part of the general part of your application, but because this is specifically about Vlakplaas, we thought it favourable to present this particular aspect about Vlakplaas to the Committee, regarding Vlakplaas as a political and operational unit.

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson.

MR LAMEY: Some of us - excuse me Mr Chairman ...

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry to interrupt, 188, is that the first page of the second Bundle?

MR HATTINGH: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: My copy has been numbered as number 1, I don't know about the rest of you?

MR BOOYENS: Is that the one heading "Supplementary Affidavit, Applicant E.A. de Kock"?

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, that is correct.

MR BOOYENS: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: Thank you Mr Chairman. Mr De Kock, for introductory purposes, you were not involved with Vlakplaas from its inception?

MR DE KOCK: No.

MR HATTINGH: Who was the first Commander of Vlakplaas according to your recollection?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, my recollection indicates that it was a Gen Viktor, he was at that stage a Captain or a Major.

MR HATTINGH: Who succeeded him?

MR DE KOCK: He was succeeded by Captain Dirk Coetzee and after that by Captain Jan Coetzee, upon which Colonel Jack Cronje took over and after him, I took over.

MR HATTINGH: Very well. Please give us the date upon which you joined the Unit at Vlakplaas?

MR DE KOCK: I arrived there, or reported there on the 1st of June 1983, I took a month's leave and on the 1st of July 1983, I assumed my duties at Vlakplaas.

MR HATTINGH: Who was then the Commander of Vlakplaas?

MR DE KOCK: It was Colonel Cronje.

MR HATTINGH: Jack Cronje?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And for how long did you serve below him before you assumed command of Vlakplaas?

MR DE KOCK: I served under him until the month of June 1985 and my recollection is that on the 1st of July 1985, I took over command of Vlakplaas.

MR HATTINGH: Very well. In this supplementary affidavit, you discuss from page 193 specifically Vlakplaas.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, that is correct.

MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, while there is a lull, Visser on record, may I - I am getting terribly confused here with the Bundles and the papers, the Bundle that my learned friend, Mr Hattingh referred to first, can we mark that Bundle 1 because I see it is not marked, it is marked "Index", so that we know what we are referring to and then the Bundle that we are dealing with now, could that perhaps be marked Bundle 2, because that is also marked "Index"? And can we agree Chairperson, with respect, that that runs from page 1 onwards because I haven't got a page 199 before me.

ADV SANDI: I am just as confused as you Mr Visser, I am totally confused, I don't know what Mr Hattingh is referring to.

MR VISSER: That is why I am trying to make a suggestion Chairperson, so that we all know where we are.

CHAIRPERSON: I think if we could, I presume that your Bundle as well as being marked page 193, has page 6 on the top of it?

MR HATTINGH: That is correct Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: I think it would help for those of us who don't have the renumbered pages, if we do refer to the typed numbers on the head of each page.

MR HATTINGH: Thank you Mr Chairman, at the pre-trial that we had in Johannesburg, Ms Patel asked the people present to number the second Bundle from page 188 onwards and that is why we have marked ours accordingly. Mr De Kock, on typed page 6 we then discuss Vlakplaas specifically?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And on page 7, more specifically the creation of Vlakplaas?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And the information which is contained within the first section, is information that you later obtained, you did not have first hand knowledge of these events?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: In this Bundle, reference is made to a memorandum which was sent out by Gen P.J. Coetzee under the heading "The Establishment of Vlakplaas and the Counter Insurgency Unit"?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Was that attached to your initial application?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: You will find that Mr Chairman, on page 175 of Volume 1. Do you know specifically for which purpose that memorandum was compiled?

MR DE KOCK: As it later came to my attention and more particularly, during the TRC process, initially it deals with the reason for the establishment of Vlakplaas - which factors led to it and then certain rules for the formation and management of such a Unit and the objectives thereof, however, I have a vague recollection thereof. The first time that I came to hear of this memorandum, was during the Harms Commission, but my recollection thereof is very vague.

MR HATTINGH: Did you read the memorandum?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I am not certain whether I read it during the Harms Commission. I vaguely recall that it was brought to my attention, but I can't tell you specifically that I did read it.

MR HATTINGH: No, I mean now presently as you sit here?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: In the report, it is stated that Vlakplaas was initially established as a central accommodation point for so-called "contaminated witnesses" who were also referred to as "tamed terrorists"?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And later the Unit became more fixed, during 1983 it was announced in a letter that Special Division C1 had been established with the objective and circumstances of application of the Unit? According to the memorandum, it was the apparent intention to bring this fact to the attention of other Security Branches throughout the nation, so that they could make use of the services of this Unit, should they have such a need?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: In the report, it is suggested that the Unit would be used for accommodation of so-called askaris, that would be persons who were previously connected to political organisations such as the ANC and the PAC, who had been arrested and who had then expressed their willingness to cooperate with the Police in the future?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Those persons were then accommodated at Vlakplaas?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Gen Coetzee's viewpoint was that Vlakplaas' primary goal was combating terrorism and that the services of the so-called askaris were used in order to identify terrorists who had received training in neighbouring countries and to assist with their arrest?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And then where necessary, in future, to also give evidence in the trials of such persons who had been charged?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: The white members or let me rather put it more generally, the Police members of Vlakplaas, in opposition to the askaris, did they have any particular capacity when it came to the identification of terrorists?

MR DE KOCK: No, those Police members had not been former MK members or members of Apla and therefore did not possess the ability to identify trained terrorists at first sight or at face value.

MR HATTINGH: Did Vlakplaas from time to time, with the assistance of askaris, identify persons who were then arrested?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And when such persons were arrested, were they interrogated and those who were prepared to join Vlakplaas, would then not be charged?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Those who were not prepared, would then be prosecuted?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: On page 13 of Volume 2 Gen Coetzee states - this actually begins in the introductory paragraph which you will find on page 11 - there he says in paragraph 2.2.5 that according to him, for the purposes of personal identification of such terrorists at that stage, there would be at least the following categories of persons who were available and he mentions former terrorists, he mentions Police informers and then on page 13 Policemen with a particular aptitude for this type of work?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Once again, the Policemen possessed a particular aptitude for such work, that would be then the identification of terrorists?

MR DE KOCK: No, the Policemen had to use former members of terrorist organisations in order to undertake the identification.

MR HATTINGH: Very well. You then state on page 13 that you were transferred to Vlakplaas on 1 June 1983?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: You cannot testify on a first-hand base regarding activities in which the Unit was involved before you joined it?

MR DE KOCK: No Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Did you however hear about members of Vlakplaas who were there before you joined, with regard to the nature and scope of their activities?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, not before I arrived at Vlakplaas. Before then I heard mainly rumours, more like gossip but I had no information which could tell me expressly what was going on there.

MR HATTINGH: But did members of the Unit ever tell you about incidents in which they had been involved?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, upon my arrival at Vlakplaas, after my transferral, I heard especially from Warrant Officer Kobus Schutte, who was Head of the Mechanical Division of Vlakplaas regarding information, also with regard to the death of Griffiths Mxenge and the delivery of two former Renamo soldiers at the Mozambican border to Mozambican agents and then also among others, with regard to the tracing of terrorists. That I received in more detail.

MR HATTINGH: We will return to that later, let's proceed with the affidavit on page 13. Who decided that you should go to Vlakplaas?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I am not certain because I was not transferred from Ovamboland or at least my initial transferral made me available for regular services, in other words it could have been the Uniform Branch or the Investigation Branch. In other words, nothing similar to what I have already been used for. A week later, however, there was a telex report that I was going to be transferred to Section C1.

MR HATTINGH: So it wasn't your influence, it was the decision of Head Office?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Do you know why you specifically were chosen to go there?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I believe that the expertise which I obtained among others in South West or then Namibia, regarding covert operations and cross-border operations and the more vague aspects of clandestine operations, made me suitable for a transferral to Vlakplaas.

MR HATTINGH: And the other members of Vlakplaas, which abilities did they possess?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, they were already Security Police members, these were people who were committed to the government of the day and the National Party in particular, along with its policies. These were all people who would not have hesitated to take action, especially physical action with regard to terrorism. They would have been people who would have been prepared if necessary, to act illegally or to undertake cross-border operations.

MR HATTINGH: Did these persons all have the qualifications which would render them suitable for this purpose?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Could you mention some of these qualifications please?

MR DE KOCK: Some of the members were qualified Instructors in terrorism, they were all trained Task Force members of the Special Task Forces. Some of the other members were all former Koevoet members who had already completed border duty but had been used in operational combat situations particularly. Some of the members had already been at Vlakplaas when I arrived there, and had already obtained the expertise with regard to cross-border operations and interrogation within the RSA. So everything that went along with active action against terrorism, was what these members were required for and that is why they were recruited during their applications.

MR HATTINGH: Would it be incorrect to describe these people as "highly trained soldiers"?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, they were definitely not used for normal Policing services.

MR HATTINGH: I am going over to page 18. There you state that shortly after your transferral to Vlakplaas, it became clear to you that Vlakplaas was not only used for the identification and arrest of so-called terrorists, nor the accommodation of such terrorists at Vlakplaas?

MR DE KOCK: No. That was the cover up, apart from the real duties thereof, that was just the facade which was presented for the more central Combat Unit, by that I mean the active Counter Insurgency Unit.

MR HATTINGH: A while ago you told us about what you had heard took place there before you joined Vlakplaas. Do you get newspapers in prison where you are now?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: Did you read about the amnesty hearings during which some of the former Commanders of Vlakplaas requested amnesty and applied for amnesty?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: And did it appear from that that Vlakplaas had indeed been involved in counter insurgency operations before you joined that Section?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: What was Brigadier Schoon's position with regard to Vlakplaas?

MR DE KOCK: He was the Overall Commander of C Section, and C Section was the Counter Terrorism Section.

MR HATTINGH: Was he at any stage the Commander of Vlakplaas itself?

MR DE KOCK: He was the Overall Commander, he himself did not lead the Section, but he was the Overall Commander. What I mean by that is that he didn't accompany us with cross-border operations or lead such operations.

MR HATTINGH: Yes, very well. After your transferral and before you assumed command of Vlakplaas, you were involved in a number of incidents?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: One of those is mentioned on page 18 at the bottom of the page and this would also be one of the incidents which during the course of this first amnesty hearing, will be dealt with, the Nyanda and McFadden matter?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And very briefly, I don't think we want to go into too much detail about that right away, it will be dealt with later, but what did this operation involve?

MR DE KOCK: It was aimed at an attack on the Head of the ANC's Natal machinery in Swaziland, particularly on the leader Zwelibanzi Nyanda and his second in command and then an ANC supporter and collaborator by the name of McFadden.

MR HATTINGH: Where would this operation have been executed?

MR DE KOCK: In Swaziland.

MR HATTINGH: Was it executed there?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: Who was in command of the operation?

MR DE KOCK: It was Brigadier Cronje.

MR HATTINGH: And then in June 1985, when you were still under the command of Brigadier Jack Cronje at Vlakplaas, you were also involved in the provision of handgrenades of which the delay mechanism had been removed?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that would have been June 1984.

MR HATTINGH: That is correct, sorry a typing error.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct, I was involved in that.

MR HATTINGH: And briefly what happened there was that people who were suspected of being involved in attacks on Policemen, and homes of Policemen, would be provided with handgrenades of which the delay mechanisms had been removed so that as soon as the pin had been removed, the handgrenade would explode in their hands, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, just the technical aspect, it would not explode once the pin had been removed, but once the lever had been activated, the grenade would explode.

MR HATTINGH: Who identified these people to the Police or this action, who made this action known to the Police with regard to these youths?

MR DE KOCK: The Security Branch of Springs by means of sources which they had in the area, activated or identified some of these activists and the askari, Joe Mamasela, then infiltrated some of these activists and collected this group for an even or equal action.

MR HATTINGH: Would the persons to whom the handgrenades had been provided, have been able to identify him later or at least some of them?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, the person who would be able to identify him, was the Head of this group.

MR HATTINGH: Was this Head also given some for of an explosive device?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, in particular he was given an SPM limpet mine which had a much greater charge of explosives as a device, so that there could be no doubt that this man would die. In other words, he who would later have been able to identify Joe, had to be eliminated.

MR HATTINGH: Where were the handgrenades received before they were delivered?

MR DE KOCK: At Security Head Office they were received.

MR HATTINGH: Were persons then killed and injured as a result of this action?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, approximately half of the persons where killed and the other half, lost their right hands.

MR HATTINGH: Then in mid-1985 you took over as Commander from Brigadier Jack Cronje?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Was the Unit then still involved in violent incidents?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: Did you also cooperate with the then Civil Co-operation Bureau, the CCB?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, there was liaison and during certain incidents, we co-operated. We acted together.

MR HATTINGH: And you refer once again to examples of these actions, the first being the abduction of Glory Sedebe from a Police station in Manzini?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Who gave the order for this action?

MR DE KOCK: That came from Brigadier Schoon in co-operation with Colonel Visser, the Head of the Eastern Transvaal Security Branch.

MR HATTINGH: Then on page 22 you refer to a shooting incident near Piet Retief during which persons were shot dead?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Did this action take place inside or outside the Republic of South Africa?

MR DE KOCK: It took place outside the borders of the Republic, in Swaziland.

MR HATTINGH: Near Piet Retief?

MR DE KOCK: Are we on the same page?

MR HATTINGH: Yes.

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, it is not that close to Piet Retief, it was closer to Manzini. It was near Mbabane.

MR HATTINGH: But there were members of the Piet Retief Security Branch who were involved in this action?

MR DE KOCK: Yes as well as members of the Soweto Intelligence Services.

MR HATTINGH: Who gave the order for that action?

MR DE KOCK: Once again, from Vlakplaas it came from Brigadier Schoon and then Gen Ich Coetzee was the Overall Commander, because it was his Intelligence members who infiltrated the sources and collated the information and participated in the action.

MR HATTINGH: The attack was launched and three persons were killed in the course thereof, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And you have given evidence about that beforehand, but please repeat it. After the incident you went to the home of Gen Coetzee who was the Commissioner of the South African Police and reported to him regarding the incident?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And what was his reaction to this?

MR DE KOCK: He was not surprised upon our arrival, or the fact that we had arrived at his home. The incident was put to him thoroughly in his home, the persons who were present at that time were Gen Coetzee, Colonel Visser, Brigadier Schoon, myself, Major Chris Deetlefs, Colonel Louis de Jager and there may have been one other person present. The entire incident was thoroughly described to him.

MR HATTINGH: Then there was also the abduction of a so-called activist from Swaziland and the delivery of this person to the Security Branch in Josini, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Who gave the order for that action?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, Brigadier Schoon was approached by me with regard to this operation. The request came from his brother who was the Head of the Security Branch at Josini and I then appointed Captain Paul van Dyk to execute the operation which he then successfully did. Later feedback indicated that this person was delivered to Josini Security Branch and that he was interrogated there.

MR HATTINGH: Do you know what happened to the person?

MR DE KOCK: No.

MR HATTINGH: Well, not first hand, do you know what happened to him?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, it was reported to me that this person, after his interrogation, was taken to a missile range on the coast where the Air Force undertook missile exercises. This person was killed there, his body was destroyed with explosives.

MR HATTINGH: In 1989 you were once again involved in an incident in Swaziland?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Upon whose order did this incident take place?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, the order at Vlakplaas came from Brigadier Schoon, but Gen Gerrit Erasmus was the person who requested it. It was about a group of activists who were involved locally within the Republic, in acts of terrorism and in particular the death of a Policeman. Initially a kombi full of 16 persons would have been sent through to Swaziland, later on it was reduced to five and ultimately it was three people who were killed in Swaziland.

MR HATTINGH: Did you report about this incident to your Commanders?

MR DE KOCK: Yes. Initially everything had gone successfully, until I received a report from the person in the Vehicle Unit here in Pretoria, that the Police in Swaziland had made enquiries regarding the particulars about a vehicle of South African origin and that it appeared that it was a Regulation 86(c) vehicle. In other words a vehicle that had been found by the Police to be a stolen vehicle and was later used for Police services. This then led to a duplication of a similar vehicle and the Police from South African could then say that that vehicle had to be a stolen vehicle and that the correct vehicle was still in South Africa.

MR HATTINGH: When you speak of duplication, do you speak of engine numbers and chassis numbers and so forth?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, all the secret numbers, the colour, the tyres, the tyre types, the colour of the seats, and so forth.

MR HATTINGH: And then in 1990, you were also involved in the Chand incident which is also one of the incidents which will be heard during these hearings. Who gave the order for the execution of this operation?

MR DE KOCK: That came from Gen Van Rensburg who was then the Head of the Vlakplaas Unit, or at least of C Section.

MR HATTINGH: Were other Officers involved in this order?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Gen Engelbrecht was involved.

MR HATTINGH: We will later return to this, but I would just like to mention it at this stage, when you received this order, was the Harms Commission busy with its enquiry?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And while the Harms Commission was investigating alleged crimes by Vlakplaas, you received an order from your Commander to be involved in more such crimes?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: The operation was executed, people were shot dead and a report was compiled about that?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Before 1990 you were also involved along with the CCB in an attack on an ANC transit house in Botswana?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And the order came from who or the request came from who?

MR DE KOCK: ... (tape ends) ... obtained information regarding a transit or halfway house on the Botswana side and after the processing and observation of this information, a report was submitted to Brigadier Schoon and Brigadier Loots and we obtained permission to eliminate this transit house. I would just like to mention that the BSB members accompanied us in the regard that Botswana was allocated to the Military as an operational area as Swaziland was allocated to the Police. I don't want to involve them unnecessarily, it didn't come from them.

MR HATTINGH: During December 1985 Vlakplaas was involved in an attack on so-called activists in Lesotho, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: On whose order?

MR DE KOCK: This came from old President P.W. Botha.

MR HATTINGH: Who told you this?

MR DE KOCK: This came from Brigadier Schoon. Amongst others, I had to draw up a report if we had the capacity to do this, and the information which we had surrounding this and Brigadier Schoon brought it to me and handed it over to Gen Van der Merwe, who were on their way to a Security Council Meeting and approximately two or three hours later, I received the documents back and it was approved and I was told to go ahead.

MR HATTINGH: Was there any urgency attached to this action?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson. There was much tension at that stage between Lesotho and South Africa in Lesotho, because members of the ANC were accommodated there and were allowed to use it as a base. And this had regard with the increase of attacks in the Western Cape, from there.

MR HATTINGH: You say you had some planning on paper?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: What was the practice when such planning was done, was that document typed before it is put down for approval?

MR DE KOCK: If one draws up such an information document and you give the basic planning thereof, and it has to be typed and it is checked for language and in this instance, it was a hasty situation, I could only find a red pen and I just jotted down the information briefly and with also our capacity to go ahead with such an information, and this piece of paper with the red ink was handed over to Gen Van der Merwe.

MR HATTINGH: Did you want to have it typed first?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, yes, but I did not have the opportunity, it was just taken from me.

MR HATTINGH: The operation took place and persons were killed, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: We are diverting from the document a little, when you were still attached to Koevoet, you were already involved with operations outside the country?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Please tell us briefly. This was the London bomb incident which has been heard before this Committee?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson, and at many instances we went over into Angola and although some of these operations was - there were certain operations which we had to go in as far as 100 km's into Angola.

MR HATTINGH: Were you also involved with the planning of actions in Zimbabwe?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Who gave the order for this?

MR DE KOCK: Because of information which was collected by some of my members and through some of my sources, such information reports were submitted and it was cleared with the Commander amongst others Brigadier Schoon and then one would get approval or approval would not be given.

MR HATTINGH: Were you present when Gen Van der Merwe gave evidence before the Truth Commission?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And that extract which was taken from his application, have you read it?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I have.

MR HATTINGH: Do you agree with what he has to say on page 27?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: More particularly the underlined sentences?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And at the end he says "and they", referring to Vlakplaas, "were actually the only operational Unit within the Security Forces"?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, as far as I know.

MR HATTINGH: And it is then clear that you were an operational Unit, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Did you receive any awards for your actions during these operations?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I did Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Please tell us briefly what you did receive in this instance?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, firstly it was the Police Medal for Courage, it is a Silver and Two Decorations Star for Excellent Service, something which is only given to Generals and then amongst others at some stage I was awarded or an application was made for the Police Medal for Courage, the Gold, but by then the attitude had changed and this never went through as well as my Counter Insurgency Medals and Service Medals that I had received.

MR HATTINGH: Is there any possibility Mr De Kock, that the hierarchy in the South African Police were not aware for which or for what these awards were given?

MR DE KOCK: No Chairperson, the higher hierarchy and in this particular case, the Chief of the Security Police as well as the Commissioner and the Minister, they could not have known about these awards because they had to approve them and then in the instance of the Police Cross for Courage, the Silver one, has to be awarded by them, themselves.

MR HATTINGH: Once again in his evidence, Gen Van der Merwe conceded that you were one of the most highly decorative Policemen in the Force?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Besides these cross-border operations which we have referred to, you were also involved within the borders of the country, in actions where persons were killed or injured?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And where their property was damaged and so forth?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: These incidents appear in the complete application which you had compiled for your amnesty?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Did your Unit ever act in support of other Security Branches in the Republic?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, it was the primary task of C1 to be of assistance to the other Counter Terrorist Units and to supply them with additional manpower and to support them in their capacities for the counter insurgency operations.

MR HATTINGH: Vlakplaas was not in one location, you were not attached just to one location?

MR DE KOCK: No Chairperson, we worked right throughout the whole country.

MR HATTINGH: Was Vlakplaas also requested to investigate or to cover up other crime related offences by other Security Branches?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: And did you assist in this?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, we did Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Why was it necessary Mr De Kock?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, as regards with the maintenance of the covert actions and secrecy within the Security Police and there was no limitation as to what would be done to protect that secrecy.

MR HATTINGH: Vlakplaas then had to help other Security Branches when they were in trouble and when they were guilty of other offences which would come to light?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Who approached you for assistance in this regard?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, in one instance and I refer to the Goodwill Sekakane matter, it was Gen Steyn himself.

MR HATTINGH: From Durban?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, from Durban. And in another instance it was Gen Engelbrecht where we had to assist with the removal or a neutralisation of a person who had worked with the Soweto Intelligence Service before and I was approached by the Commander of Komatipoort in the matter of Sweet Sambo. There was an instance or two instances where I supplied AK47's and ammunitions which had to be transported down to Durban after persons were killed there who were not in possession of any weapons.

MR HATTINGH: Mr De Kock, let's just page to page 30, examples are given there of operations within the country. The first instance is the Mabotha instance, which will be heard during this month?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Who requested you to be of assistance in that instance?

MR DE KOCK: Captain Jan Potgieter was the person who requested my assistance.

MR HATTINGH: And the following one, are incidents 12 and 13 in your original application, and this has regard with the supply of weapons to Gen Steyn in Durban?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Incident 15 is the establishment of a weapons cache point at Krugersdorp?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, and this led to attacks in Zambia and Botswana?

MR HATTINGH: Who requested you to be of assistance in this instance?

MR DE KOCK: It was Brigadier Schoon and amongst others, there was Gen Kat Liebenberg of the Army and Gen Joubert who was the Chief of Special Forces at that time and also Brigadier Schoon.

MR HATTINGH: The request was that you establish a fictional weapons cache point which would be found and which would be used as an excuse to launch attacks on safe houses which accommodated ANC and PAC persons in the neighbouring countries?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson. I would just like to state it correctly here, I was the person who would supply the limpet mines, the handgrenades and the other explosives, but the establishment or the burying of the weapons, would be done by Captain Jan Coetzee from Krugersdorp and then Colonel or Major Martin Naude who was the Chief of Section C2.

MR HATTINGH: Incident 16 is an incident, I don't know what was his rank, but Coetzee, the name with the nickname Timor Coetzee?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Captain Timor Coetzee, one of his agents was arrested for armed robbery and then threatened to expose Timor Coetzee's activities and this person was later taken away and he was shot and blown to pieces close to Nelspruit.

MR HATTINGH: Incident 23 is the Maponya incident which will be heard during this month, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: And incident 37 is an incident where persons by the names of Krause and Loots were involved, what did this entail briefly?

MR DE KOCK: Briefly Brigadier Loots and Major Krause requested from Brigadier Schoon at a meeting that there was an ANC member which was detained in the cells at Mafikeng and he could not be released under any circumstances and that it would be a problem for the Security Branches, not only in Mafikeng but in the whole Western Transvaal and that this person had to be killed, and this is what happened.

MR HATTINGH: By Vlakplaas members?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Were you involved personally with the killing of this person?

MR DE KOCK: No Chairperson, but two of my members went there to perform this task for the Western Transvaal Security Branch.

MR HATTINGH: While we are at this point Mr De Kock, such incidents where members of Vlakplaas were involved with the execution and not yourself, what is your attitude towards such actions?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, it would not be strange for those members to receive such an order. If you will just grant me a second.

MR HATTINGH: Let me phrase the question in this manner, do you accept responsibility for those actions although you were not present?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I do Chairperson, and to put it in a broader sense, for any actions of members of Vlakplaas and in particular Vlakplaas, I take responsibility there, although I was not personally involved or I was not present, I want to make two references there, the one is to Komatipoort. There was an incident there, I was not present myself and I was not informed. Only after my arrest, I heard about the facts of what had happened there. I however take full responsibility for what had happened there. And I would have covered up this incident myself if I was present, and I would have done it myself. Secondly I would like to mention that these people were involved in a situation which was not of their own, they were only there in assistance, and I take any responsibility for any omission or action which any of the Police Special Task Force would have executed or were involved with at Komatipoort.

MR HATTINGH: In co-operation with Vlakplaas members?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, in co-operation with the Vlakplaas members. It would be negligent of me if I did not mention that in a specific incident in Natal, where Warrant Officer McCarter and Sergeant Bosch and one or two other members of Vlakplaas were involved in the death of an ANC member after he gave evidence in Amanzimtoti and I also want to take responsibility for that. I did not clear that with my legal representatives, but I have just remembered now and as Commander of C1, I take responsibility therefore.

MR HATTINGH: Incident 38 is the Goodwill Sekakane matter which will be heard by this Committee during the course of this year?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Who directed the request to you?

MR DE KOCK: This was Gen Steyn himself, in person.

MR HATTINGH: And from Pretoria's side, did your Commanders know of this?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Gen Engelbrecht asked me to call Gen Steyn, which I had done then but before that telephone call, I personally spoke to Gen Steyn in the corridor of Headquarters with regard to this same instance, the instance of Goodwill Sekakane.

MR HATTINGH: To just go back a while, incidents 12 and 13 weapons to Gen Steyn, were these South African weapons or was it Eastern Block weapons that he wanted?

MR DE KOCK: No, these were all Russian weapons.

MR HATTINGH: Was this to maintain the facade that terrorists were involved in some incidents?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: We return to incident 45. This was the Security Branch at Heidelberg, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: No, it was the Security Branch of Springs which worked in Heidelberg.

MR HATTINGH: What was the request?

MR DE KOCK: The request was that I had to supply them with explosives. They interrogated a Inkatha leader because of weapons which was found with him and during this process, the Inkatha member died and they wanted the explosives to plant it at his body and to detonate it to create the impression that he had blown himself up.

MR HATTINGH: Did you comply with the request?

MR DE KOCK: Not to assist them to blow up the body, but I did supply them with the explosives.

MR HATTINGH: And then incident 55, at the bottom of the page, this is in regard to a person who was blown up Northum?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: What was the request which was directed at you there?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, initially that I only had to supply them with explosives, that members of the Security Branch in Pretoria experienced some problems and that a man during interrogation, had been killed. I refused but after a second request, I complied and I supplied the explosives. Later I heard I think it was only after my arrest, I heard who was involved and what was the circumstances surrounding the death of this person.

MR HATTINGH: On the following page, 56, is the last of the incidents which took place within the country, this was the Sweet Sambo incident which will be heard by this Committee?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Would this be a suitable moment, Mr Chairman, thank you?

CHAIRPERSON: We will take a short adjournment now.

COMMITTEE ADJOURNS

CHAIRPERSON: I gather we now have a fresh legal representative, representing some of the victims. Could you please put yourself on record?

MS BALOYI: Erin Baloyi, I am acting on behalf of the (indistinct) family.

EUGENE A. DE KOCK: (still under oath)

EXAMINATION BY MR HATTINGH: (cont)

Thank you Mr Chairman, we are still on page 31 of Bundle 2. Mr De Kock, with regard to these instances which we have handled here or have dealt here with, would it be correct to say that Vlakplaas would be a Cleaning Unit to call it that, to do other Branch's work for them?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: And to solve their problems for them?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: I would like to go over to the weaponry which Vlakplaas had. You received weapons from Ovamboland and you collected them yourselves. Would you just like to elaborate on this?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, members of Vlakplaas and myself on several occasions travelled to Ovamboland to fetch weapons which were of Eastern origin and at the same time, we received South African weapons to be used in training. These requests were directed by Brigadier Schoon in co-operation with Gen Dreyer who would usually let me know if there was enough weapons and ammunition and explosives from an Eastern Block origin and these weapons were fetched in order to train persons and for actions inside the country or outside the country, as it was needed.

MR HATTINGH: Did the Police have access to other premises where these weapons could be stashed if needed?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, I think that if one would go around looking, but these weapons and ammunition and explosives had to be as close to the operational premises as possible for immediate use, if one would need it.

MR HATTINGH: So the intention was that these weapons would come to Vlakplaas and it would be available to Vlakplaas for actions by them?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Just an indication as to the amount of weapons which you collected?

MR DE KOCK: To estimate, I can't really estimate Chairperson, I can only say that it was a lot. I know at two occasions we amongst others, had a 10 or 15 ton truck which we took to Ovamboland along with a five ton Bedford truck as well as four or five one ton bakkie vehicles, which had trailers and at occasion, besides the vehicles which we took, we also brought some vehicles from Ovamboland which also had trailers, in that instance, two each.

MR HATTINGH: So these were several lorries full?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: And were at Vlakplaas did you store this?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, we had two reasonably large rooms. The one was prepared as a weapons safe and when we did not have enough space, we prepared another room, and we stacked these rooms as well. There were also two shipping containers, I think it was five metre type which we also used for storage for these weapons and ammunition and explosives.

MR HATTINGH: So in general, what was the nature of the weapons which you collected there?

MR DE KOCK: I would say 80 percent was from an Eastern origin, amongst others pistols and ammunition, assault weapons like the AK47 and ammunition, PKM machine guns, RPD machine guns, SKD machine guns, RP7 missile launchers, 82 mm rocket launchers, handgrenades, detonators. If there is anything that you could think of, it would have been there. Amongst others in one instance, we had six or seven SAM7's, these were missiles which would be fired by troops on the ground.

MR HATTINGH: Certainly not the type of weaponry which the Police would use in the maintenance of law and order?

MR DE KOCK: No, not normally Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Were these weapons, was any record held of these weapons?

MR DE KOCK: No, it was kept for use and destroyed afterwards, but no record was thereof.

MR HATTINGH: Did anybody from Headquarters request what there weapons were used for?

MR DE KOCK: No, there were no enquiries Chairperson. Although there were some requests for new AK47's with the equipment like magazines and so forth, which some of the senior Officials wanted to licence of their names, as well as the SKS rifles, which was a hunting rifle and then on a regular basis, the supply of AK ammunition for these licensed arms.

MR HATTINGH: Did anybody inspect the weapons?

MR DE KOCK: No Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: The two rooms, it was locked, who had the keys to these two rooms?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, the keys were in - I had control of these keys and when I was not there, the second in command.

MR HATTINGH: So you had free access?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I did Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Then there were the revelations of Mr Nofomela and Mr Coetzee which led to the establishment of the Harms Commission?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: What happened with the weapons when the Harms Commission was appointed?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I cannot give you the specific time or date, but upon a certain day, I was warned by Gen Staedler that the press would be taken through the Security and Police Head Office to Vlakplaas, the Police had denied the existence of Vlakplaas as a Unit which was tasked with these operations and also denied that weapons were stored on these premises. He warned me that the press intended to visit Vlakplaas, we then evacuated Vlakplaas with regard to weapons or any other staff or equipment so that the premises could be opened up to the press for their inspection.

MR HATTINGH: If there were no other intentions with the establishment of these weapon stock pile locations at Vlakplaas, would it have been necessary to evacuate the premises for the visit of the press?

MR DE KOCK: No.

MR HATTINGH: Where were the weapons taken?

MR DE KOCK: That quantity of weapons was moved to a second operational premises which initially belonged to the Intelligence Services and was later given to us, by the name Daisy.

MR HATTINGH: Was that also a premises under the control of the South African Police?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct. And it wasn't long, and by that I mean perhaps a week or two, until this name was also mentioned, and once again that ammunition and weaponry had to be moved and it was moved to Maleuskop, the Police Training Base for Intelligence.

MR HATTINGH: That is an official basis?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: The Commander of that Base, did he know about the weapons that were being brought there?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I wouldn't say that he knew about the specific type of weaponry, however, I did inform him that we were looking for storage and he made two of their weapons storage safety rooms available for this purpose.

MR HATTINGH: At that stage the weaponry had not been recorded on an official register?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: So there would be no reference to these weapons in any South African Police register?

MR DE KOCK: No.

MR HATTINGH: And who among the hierarchy was aware of the transfer of these weapons?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, Brigadier Schoon was very much aware of it, as well as Gen Staedler. As far as I recall Gen Engelbrecht as well, because he was the Investigator for the Harms Commission incident.

MR HATTINGH: I cannot recall whether you mentioned explosives when you spoke about the weaponry?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I did mention that.

MR HATTINGH: Were there small or large quantities?

MR DE KOCK: There were very large quantities. And these were not only of communist origin, but also of South African origin which we used quite often for the purposes of training.

MR HATTINGH: With the exception of that source of explosives, did you have any other source where you could obtain explosives if you needed it?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson. We could obtain explosives from the Special Task Force which worked with explosives quite frequently for the purposes of training. They also destroyed explosives which had passed its expiry date and as a result of the quantities that were available, we could obtain some of these explosives to set off in order to maintain the high level of expertise of staff members.

MR HATTINGH: You have already mentioned that some of the weaponry was made available to the Durban offices. Was this also made available to other Branches of the Security Police?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, among others it was provided to the Soweto Security Branch as well as the Security Branch in East London for the training of their askaris. Furthermore to the Security Branch in Cape Town as well as the Eastern Transvaal. Initially I kept a register of those weapons and ammunition which I had allocated, but I later destroyed it, that being the register.

MR HATTINGH: For which purposes did these other Branches of the Security Police require the weapons and ammunition?

MR DE KOCK: The South African weapons and ammunition which I provided to them, was for the purposes of training, but I do believe that the weapons and ammunition that were of communist origin, would be used for actions which they had initiated themselves or planned. However, I do not know about the exact nature of these actions, I could not draw any other inference.

MR HATTINGH: In your initial or original application, you discussed this provision of weapons to other Security Branches?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And on page 36 reference is made to some of these incidents, the first being weapons which were provided to Gen Steyn?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: The second as well?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And then incident 13 was that for Colonel Taylor from the Durban Security Branch?

MR DE KOCK: Yes. I do not wish to say this light-heartedly, but with regard to both incidents 11 and 12, these telephone calls came very late at night, twelve o'clock at night or one o'clock in the morning, and then I would have to send members to Durban in great haste, they would sometimes be met half way and then they would deliver the weapons. I had the feeling that such incidents may probably have taken place on other occasions, and they may have been provided with more weapons so that they would not have to contact me again in future for other such operations.

MR HATTINGH: Colonel Taylor has passed away subsequently?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: He was your equal in Durban, he was also in command of a group of Policemen and askaris, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Which was operated on a farm in the Natal area?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Incidents 42, 43 and 44 have to do with the weapons which were provided for coup de etats in the Transkei?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct. These weapons were supplied to the Directorate of Covert Collections which was Military Intelligence component in order to assist them in the achievement of their objectives in the Transkei.

MR HATTINGH: Incident 46 has to do with weaponry which was given to the Security Branch in Middelburg?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct. I would just like to qualify that, they were 9mm HMK's which were used by the South African Forces, but were adjusted to be fitted with silencers and they were also used during incidents in Swaziland.

MR HATTINGH: Very well. Did you also provide weapons to people outside the borders of the Republic?

MR DE KOCK: Not directly, however I provided it to a DCC agent who fed it through to the Renamo weapons’ line.

MR HATTINGH: That is incident 52?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: 68 would be weapons which were given to Koekemoer?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct. Weapons were requested by Captain Koekemoer from the East Rand, it was not a large quantity, but I did provide it for the purposes for which he needed it.

MR HATTINGH: Then incident 86, you have already mentioned, was the provision of new AK's to Officers for their own licence and use?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Very well, we now come to the next heading which is "silent weapons", we will just name it that. Those would be weapons which were fitted with silencers?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Did Vlakplaas have such weapons?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: How many just upon estimation?

MR DE KOCK: Upon my arrival there were six or seven of these weapons which were fitted with silencers. After I took over the command and there was an escalation in actions and cross-border operations, the number increased. There were also hand fire weapons, such as pistols which were fitted with silencers, AK47's were also fitted with silencers, Scorpion machine guns were fitted with silencers. We had 16 Uzi's which we also adapted to be fitted with silencers and at a certain stage, from the Secret Fund, by means of Colonel Koekemoer, .44 Rouger pistols were purchased for us with silencers and with telescopic sights.

MR HATTINGH: For which purposes did you require the silencers?

MR DE KOCK: That would be for covert operations during which you would go with the express purpose to kill somebody.

MR HATTINGH: Would that then be for assassinations to put it that way?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Was it known at Head Office that Vlakplaas possessed such weaponry?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: Who knew about it as far as you know?

MR DE KOCK: Among others Colonel Koekemoer from the Financial Division, as well as Brigadier Schoon, Brigadier Cronje. I cannot say that there were other Generals who knew about it, I would simply accept that they did know about it.

MR HATTINGH: Then under paragraph 2.2.23.2 you deal with the establishment of weapon stock pile locations, were there any other similar occasions or incidents?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, I refer you to the attack on Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique as well as Zimbabwe where weapon stock pile locations were established. Then we also had the case that before that attack, the Defence Force launched an attack in Botswana and attacked the wrong facility and because there were no weapons or ammunitions to be found among the equipment or property of the people over there, that was brought back, I was then requested to provide Makarov pistols. I then provided two and these pistols were then planted in this property which was returned in order to create the impression that there were members of the ANC who were indeed attacked there.

MR HATTINGH: You have referred to the Technical Services staff of the South African Police, did you have free access to their services and did you make use of their services?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: For which purposes did you make use of their services?

MR DE KOCK: It would have been for the construction of equipment - among others silencers that would then be the adjustment or adaptation of a radio cassette player which would have to be fitted with a detonator for the purposes of detonating somebody's skull. That would then be the general adjustment of equipment.

MR HATTINGH: With which intention?

MR DE KOCK: In most cases it would have been to kill somebody. That was part of the action.

MR HATTINGH: Would that have been any person or a so-called terrorist?

MR DE KOCK: No, it was aimed only at terrorists.

MR HATTINGH: You mention examples of when the South African Police Technical Division was used - on page 39 you mention an explosive device. Please give us an explanation about that.

MR DE KOCK: Upon a request of Anton Nieuwoudt from DCC, a manuscript which was intercepted between Swaziland and the South African Council of Churches, was adapted to detonate should somebody open it. And this manuscript was sent back to Swaziland.

MR HATTINGH: Against whom was this aimed?

MR DE KOCK: Against an ANC member who wrote some form of an autobiography.

MR HATTINGH: Incident 14 which has to do with the adaptation of Parker pens?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct. In this case it wouldn't be the pen itself, but the holder of the pen. It was an address which was found for one of the ANC members who was shot dead in an ambush near Piet Retief. A Parker pen set was adapted and sent to this address in the hope that it would also kill the person who would receive the item of postage.

MR HATTINGH: There was also the preparation of a vehicle with explosives?

MR DE KOCK: I think that may be the earphones or the hearing device.

MR HATTINGH: I beg your pardon Chairperson, we will return to that when we deal with the Dirk Coetzee matter. Incident 49 on page 40 would be the handgrenades about which you have already given evidence, which was fitted with - from which the delay mechanism was removed?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: The next heading is the Sanhedrin, would you please explain very briefly to the Committee what is meant by that?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, every morning at seven o'clock on weekdays, there would be a meeting of all the Unit Heads at the Security Head Office in which there would be an exchange of information and the exposure of new strategies for the Police or strategies which were being used by the opposition, and this information was usually obtained by means of infiltration.

MR HATTINGH: Sorry to interrupt you, but this would also be a matter during which there would be report backs regarding successful actions in the combating of terrorism?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I would accept that. I myself did not sit in on these meetings, I was not invited. Among others the Head of C1, the Counter Terrorism Unit was also a representative there.

MR HATTINGH: We know that this Unit, or that C was divided into three Sections, C1, C2 and C3. C1 was Vlakplaas, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: C2?

MR DE KOCK: The identification of terrorists as well as the interrogation and identification of targets. Furthermore they also had a component which had membership on the Trevits Group, which then decided about target identification, not only as a facility but also in terms of people.

MR HATTINGH: And then C3?

MR DE KOCK: That was Statistics with regard to terrorism incidents, injuries and weaponry which was taken into possession.

MR HATTINGH: Who was the Commander of C2?

MR DE KOCK: That was Captain Diederickson as far as I know.

MR HATTINGH: C2?

MR DE KOCK: No, C2 was Major Martin Naude.

MR HATTINGH: Did he sit in on these meetings?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, he did attend some of these meetings when Brigadier Schoon was not present.

MR HATTINGH: And C3's Commander?

MR DE KOCK: I don't know whether or not he attended these meetings.

MR HATTINGH: Why do you think you were not invited to attend these meetings?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, we were an Operational Unit and there were no inputs which I would have been able to offer there, apart from telling people that we had launched an attack in Swaziland and that so and so had been killed. This would not have been relevant or appropriate in such a meeting, therefore there was no input that I could offer which would not be a contravention of the secrecy which reigned around Vlakplaas.

MR HATTINGH: Very well, let's go to page 42 and discuss the askaris at Vlakplaas. As we have already heard, they were persons who were prepared to cooperate instead of being prosecuted?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: So they weren't actually volunteers? They actually had to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct, they were coopted and probably under duress.

MR HATTINGH: They did not join or indicate their willingness to cooperate from an inner conviction for your cause?

MR DE KOCK: No.

MR SIBANYONI: Excuse me Mr Hattingh, speaking about those choices, were there only two alternatives, was there only one alternative, in other words to choose to be an askari or alternatively to be choose to be charged before a court of law? What if a person chooses neither of these options, what would happen to that person?

MR DE KOCK: I believe Chairperson, in all probability that he would have died, he would have been killed.

MR SIBANYONI: Thank you.

MR HATTINGH: These askaris were not initially members of the South African Police?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Were there some of them who later were appointed as members of the South African Police?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, there were.

MR HATTINGH: Did they undergo a short period of training?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, the short period of training only took place during 1991 or 1992 with the view on incorporating them within the new South African Police Services, under a new dispensation, however that never took place. Initially however, they received no training with regard to the legal aspects and weaponry, with the exception of that which I began with when I took over.

MR HATTINGH: How were these persons remunerated for the services that they provided?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, as an incentive bonus, there was an official scale of remuneration which was established by the Security Police with regard to the return of weapons, the arrest or killing of a member of one of the terrorist organisations and then some of these askaris, as an incentive bonus, would then receive remuneration should they identify a member of the ANC or trace weapons.

MR HATTINGH: But what about a salary, did they receive a salary?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, when they were not members of the Police, they were paid from the Secret Fund. They were appointed as Head Office Sources and upon their appointment as members of the South African Police, they enjoyed all the same privileges as a member of the Security or the South African Police, such as pension, medical aid, housing subsidies and so forth.

MR HATTINGH: Their appointment was for Head Office?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And they were then HO Sources for Head Office? Their salaries, or the compensation that was paid out to them, was this paid out by means of false claims?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, as far as I know, Head Office Sources were registered under false details, with false claims which they had received for particular services that they had rendered.

MR HATTINGH: Were there any risks connected to the employment of askaris on Vlakplaas?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson. One of the risks was that there were persons who would defect and return to the ANC or to the PAC, on the other hand, one could find a person that would remain within the Unit but then provide information to the ANC and the PAC without your knowledge. That was a permanent nightmare to wonder when you would arrive one day at Vlakplaas and then see that there are 50 askaris who had defected and are now in Botswana. Every possible precaution without developing paranoia amongst them, was applied in order to create a counter information system. Some of the askaris received an additional salary in order to spy internally on his own people if I might put it that way, some of the telephones at Vlakplaas were among others, tapped.

MR HATTINGH: The devices were in the office of Mr Bosch, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: The tape recorders were situated there, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And whose task was it to listen to the cassettes and to determine whether or not any plans were being made against you by the askaris?

MR DE KOCK: Some of the black members who were proficient in the black languages were used to listen to the tapes. Of the white members, there was only one, a Mr Van Heerden, who could speak a black language, but he had different tasks.

MR HATTINGH: What was the fear of what could possibly happen should the askaris defect back to their original organisations?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, the whole aspect or set up of Vlakplaas could have created a great loss for the Security Branch and the Security Police and then also for the government naturally. By nature of the situation there was a lot of support from foreign countries for the ANC and the media also supported them. The identification of askaris working at Vlakplaas, would have led to jeopardy for their families or their children who may have been at school, who could be placed at a disadvantage by activists.

MR HATTINGH: Were they also issued with weapons or firearms?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, they were.

MR HATTINGH: Why was it necessary?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, they did the type of work where if they recognised somebody who was coming in from abroad or a neighbouring State, and identified that person as a former ANC member of PAC member, it would have been expected of him to expect that that person was armed because he would be dealing with a military trained person who would know how to defend themselves or attack somebody else and among others, they also had to be capable of protecting themselves or their families when they were on duty.

MR HATTINGH: Were they permitted to retain the weapons when they went off duty?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And the weapons which were originally issued to them, were they official Police weapons?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, the weapons which I issued to them, were official Police weapons. Upon my arrival at Vlakplaas, I saw that some of these members were carrying Tokarevs and Makarovs but upon my assumption of command, I issued official weapons to them which would be on the Security Branch's State account.

CHAIRPERSON: But the affidavit, page 45 - 238 says "official weapons could not be issued to them"?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, that was the initial case, however, we had the problem that these people refused to go out or do work if they didn't have firearms and I could not expect of such a man to take on a trained or armed member of the ANC without being armed themselves.

MR HATTINGH: You also say in the same paragraph, at the bottom of the page, "nonetheless firearms were issued to them in order to put them in the position to protect themselves against possible acts of vengeance"?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: The issuing of weapons, did this create any problems?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, in many cases some of the askaris abused these weapons, especially at shebeens where they went, shots were fired. There were cases during which some of the members of the public were injured and this led to the situation that in specific cases, I had to remove weapons after their time of duty, so that they would not have weapons when they went home. There were also two or three cases during which I did not issue weapons to these persons at all, because they were a danger, not only to others, but to themselves.

MR HATTINGH: Were some of these persons who would lose their weapons?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, there were members who had lost some of their weapons.

MR HATTINGH: And the explanations which they provided to you, was it acceptable or did you question it?

MR DE KOCK: No Chairperson, I questioned them.

MR HATTINGH: Why?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, the explanation was just not acceptable. The manner in which he explained that he lost the weapon, did not make sense, it indicated that this weapon was sold or it was exchanged or in some instances it was exchanged for alcohol.

MR HATTINGH: And then did you trust these askaris on Vlakplaas?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, no. One sits there with a person who did not change ideology, one could not curb these people's thinking because there was always the feeling that you would get it in the back.

MR HATTINGH: An example of somebody who was with you and then rejoined the ANC, was Mabotha which is something that we will hear here?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: Do you know if he defected with his weapon?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I do not have a recollection of it, I do not remember but my memory was refreshed by one of the other applicants who is also a client, who confirmed.

MR HATTINGH: Who is this?

MR DE KOCK: It is Warrant Officer Radebe who worked with us as a handler, but I don't have an independent recollection of it.

MR HATTINGH: Were there some of these people who threatened to rejoin the ANC?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, there were no members who openly threatened to do so, but some members did return, I refer to the Mnisi's. When I just started at Vlakplaas, in the same month two Mnisi brothers went AWOL, we had an instance where Mabotha says he was kidnapped, but I foresaw that some of these people would try to run away at any time.

MR HATTINGH: Did it ever come to your knowledge that some of them planned to convey some information about Vlakplaas and the activities thereof, to the liberation movements?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, we had an occasion with regard to Brian Ncgqulunga and also in the instance of Goodwill Sekakane.

MR HATTINGH: These are also two instances that will be heard here?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: How were you able to maintain discipline over these people?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, discipline was a difficult situation because one was not departmentally - you could not charge them departmentally and one had the problem where you could not charge him criminally because he will stand in a court and say but I work for the Unit at Vlakplaas and he has knowledge of operations or he has heard of operations or he was involved with some of the operations, so again this posed a problem and this led on a reasonable scale to the cover up of illegal actions of these members or these askaris.

MR HATTINGH: Were their salaries increased?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, those who were appointed as members of the Force, received their yearly increment and those who were not, could be remunerated additionally by means of false claims to bring them on an equal basis as those, the askaris, who were members of the Force. They were entitled to living expenses when they went out on operations, but these who were recorded at Head Office as sources, were indeed, but this led to allegations of discrimination and to stop this, we would pay them from the Secret Fund, so that they would be paid on an equal basis as the others.

MR HATTINGH: Did you make use of the services of askaris when it came to sensitive issues like in the killing of a person, was this the policy, or do you not know?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, it was not a fixed policy but there were askaris, for instance in the operation at Swaziland with Siphiwe Nyanda and in other instances, there were askaris who were used, for example in the matter of Japie Maponya. There were occasion when they were used but I tried to limit it to a minimum.

MR HATTINGH: Do you know what the attitude of the ANC and PAC was with regard to these askaris?

MR DE KOCK: The ANC and PAC regarded them as traitors and pamphlets were handed out. On one occasion there were eight photo's of askaris with their names and their MK names and it was said that they were traitors and it was indicated in several languages that these people had to be killed wherever they were to be found.

MR HATTINGH: Were there photo's of these askaris on these flyers?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, there were.

MR HATTINGH: Whom of them?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I think if I recall correctly there was a Thabo Magagi who was an ANC member, Brian Ncgqulunga’s name was there, Steven Mfanda, there was another one by the name of Frankie Mosekwa and there were four others, I cannot recall their names now.

MR HATTINGH: Some of them were loyal Policemen?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, they did.

MR HATTINGH: Let us deal with Vlakplaas as a covert facility. Was it the existence of Vlakplaas and the activities of the members of Vlakplaas, was it generally known in the public?

MR DE KOCK: No Chairperson, not at all.

MR HATTINGH: What was done to try to prevent that this would be known to the public?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, in terms of vehicles we used vehicles which was not associated with the SAP, the SAP had the practise that vehicles would have a specific colour and is not provided with all the accessories when it is bought, but vehicles of those nature were used, and the members moved around in civilian clothes, they could wear beards and whatever. But nobody from the outside or any other person who was not invited or who was cleared beforehand, arrived at Vlakplaas.

MR HATTINGH: What control for entry did you have there?

MR DE KOCK: There was a guard which would be in the vicinity of the gate, he would just sit there, although he had a concealed weapon which would be within reach, for example an R1 and away from there was an LMG, but all the impressions was that it was a bona fide farm. At some occasion persons would arrive there who would be looking for water for his vehicle, and this was refused and when he requested what was going on, it would be told to him that this was an agriculture project so we tried to cover up that this was a Police base.

MR HATTINGH: What about the supply of provisions?

MR DE KOCK: Provisions were supplied or was done from the advance which was standing there and fruit, vegetables, milk and such were bought with these funds.

MR HATTINGH: May I just interrupt you here, who bought these things, was it delivered to you, did somebody go out and buy it?

MR DE KOCK: The Vlakplaas member who was appointed to do this, would go and buy the provisions, no delivery was made use of to deliver at Vlakplaas.

MR HATTINGH: And you said that many changes had to be brought about to accommodate the askaris, who helped for these constructing purposes?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, when I took over, I put together a construction group which was under the command of Warrant Officer Van der Bijl and he had his own team. He took members from the public which were cleared and they were appointed as HQ sources, they were not HQ sources though but this was done through false claims and this was how their salaries were paid, so no outsiders came to Vlakplaas. At one occasion power lines had to be laid to Vlakplaas and even the Contractor had to be cleared before he was allowed to render this service for the facility.

MR HATTINGH: What was the position with the premises at night, was it guarded?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, the premises was guarded, there were two guards there on a permanent basis who had R1 rifles as well as an LMG for assistance, and the weapons were however hidden. Those guard services would be applied during the night and during the day, additional lighting was also established so that the premises would be more safe.

MR HATTINGH: And what activities took place there to maintain the facade?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, we had some game which would run around there, if one would pass there then he would see this game and the front view and the side view of the house created the impression of a type of establishment, there was nothing military in nature that one could see or that one could see from the road side and even for a stranger who would arrive there, he would have found that there is not as much activity there, but he would not see any indication that there was any Police activity there.

MR HATTINGH: So the project was maintained as a covert project?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: You have read in the memorandum of Gen Coetzee that farmers in the vicinity did some enquiries and there was a meeting there and he explained to them that it was a Police facility. Did you however try to maintain the covertness of the Unit there?

MR DE KOCK: As far as possible Chairperson, within the framework of the people who worked under me.

MR HATTINGH: Operations which were executed by Vlakplaas, was any arrangements made so that these actions would not be traced back to the South African Police?

MR DE KOCK: In terms of operations Chairperson, it was - we made sure that these actions could not be traced back, persons had false passports and false ID books.

MR HATTINGH: Did you amongst others, have false identity documents?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, several, as well as some of the other members.

MR HATTINGH: What about false credit cards under the name of the false identity document?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, along with that were credit cards, cheque accounts, petrol cards, everything that one needed to maintain the legend.

MR HATTINGH: Who supplied this documentation?

MR DE KOCK: This documentation was arranged or the credit cards were done by Colonel Koekemoer from the Intelligence Service and it had to be ensured that the accounts be maintained so that the bank does not make any enquiries and then arrives at a person to whom it was not issued or a person who did not exist.

MR HATTINGH: Did you have a false passport?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And the other members?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, the whites and the blacks.

MR HATTINGH: And who assisted with the issue of these false documentation?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, initially we went through Colonel Beukes.

MR HATTINGH: At Head Office?

MR DE KOCK: Yes at Head Office, and with the upgrading at Vlakplaas and with the reconstruction that took place there, we did it ourselves later. We liaised with the senior personnel from Internal Affairs and we could get this documentation very much quicker.

MR HATTINGH: The issue of this false documentation, was it known to Head Office?

MR DE KOCK: Not to the whole of Head Office, but to those who were in assistance or who helped with the activities at Vlakplaas.

MR HATTINGH: And with regard to operations which took place to prevent that certain actions from Vlakplaas could not be traced back to the Police?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Brian Ncgqulunga is one such matter?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: We will deal with that later but in brief he threatened that he wanted to rejoin the ANC and he could have exposed the murder of the Mxenge's where he was also involved and probably some other occasions?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: It was decided that he be done away with?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And Goodwill Sekakane was in the service of the Natal Security Police and he was involved with the arrest of a Mr Ndaba?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And that arrest led to the exposure of Operation Vula?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: He, Ndaba, disappeared, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, he and another member of the ANC.

MR HATTINGH: One Mr Tshabalala?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Goodwill was dissatisfied because he was not appointed as a Police Official and he was still an askari?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, there was such a claim, but I am not sure.

MR HATTINGH: But it was feared that he could expose some information with regard to Tshabalala and Ndaba?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And was this the reason why he was removed?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Let us arrive at - before we get there, why was it necessary to remove these people, what was the objective?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, this was for the protection of the Security Police and thereby the protection of the State or the government under the National Party. An exposure of these activities, for example in the instance of Ndaba and others, could have led to the fall of the government even before the negotiations. The Security Police were adamant that no such actions had to leak out to the outside.

MR HATTINGH: As we will hear later, they went out of their way to cover up such incidents?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: This was done and approved from Headquarters?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Vlakplaas' finances on page 56, was there a limit in the funds to be used by C1 at Vlakplaas?

MR DE KOCK: No.

MR HATTINGH: Did you have much money?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Were any orders given to you to prevent that the budget which was allocated to Vlakplaas had to be cut or limited?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, at one occasion and this was the first time when I became aware of it, Colonel Martin Naude and I had to write out a claim, this was at the end of the financial year, and there was quite an amount of money left in the Secret Fund and we had to write out a claim, the one amount of R46 000 and the other of R48 000 so that this money could be withdrawn to empty the Secret Fund, so that it would not lead to a cut in the funds for the following year.

MR HATTINGH: These withdrawals, did you do this by means of false claims?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, I would just like to say not he or I knew how to write out these false claims, it was, the format was shown to us how to do this and the wording thereof.

MR HATTINGH: Who showed this to you?

MR DE KOCK: Brigadier Schoon informed us and we had to go back to rewrite the claims, because the format was incorrect.

MR HATTINGH: The availability of unlimited funds at Vlakplaas, was this known by the other Branches of the Security Police?

MR DE KOCK: I would believe that it was known to some of the other Branches of the Security Police, amongst others the fact that our claims went through in a shorter period because we were registered at Head Office, or part of Head Office and the Security Branch at Durban used us, Gen Steyn, who made use of this funds at Vlakplaas.

MR HATTINGH: Who at Head Office was in control of the Secret Fund?

MR DE KOCK: Overhead control was Captain Koekemoer, later Brigadier Koekemoer and not only for Head Office but country wide, he was the Head of Finance for the Secret Fund.

MR HATTINGH: This is the same person who wrote out false claims with you to ensure that the budget for Vlakplaas not be cut?

MR DE KOCK: Colonel Koekemoer did not write these claims out with me, but he directed the requests for these claims to be written out and we complied with these requests.

MR HATTINGH: Was he aware that there were other false claims which were handed in?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I am not sure.

MR HATTINGH: Let me ask you the question in this manner, Mr De Kock, we shall shortly arrive there, but at Vlakplaas, on a regular basis in a loyal manner, did Ministers and members of the Force who were entertained at Vlakplaas, was there any official providence to pay for this, for food or whatever, to be used at these entertaining sessions?

MR DE KOCK: No Chairperson, these came from the Secret Fund.

MR HATTINGH: And Captain Koekemoer, was he also at an occasion a guest at Vlakplaas?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, at several occasions he was a guest at Vlakplaas.

MR HATTINGH: So he would have known that the costs attached to this was not covered in a regular manner or in a lawful manner?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Could he have been under the impression that the few Police Officers at Vlakplaas would have paid for these parties from their own pockets?

MR DE KOCK: No Chairperson, there was no way that the Police Officers at Vlakplaas could have paid for this by themselves.

MR HATTINGH: So do you think that he should have known that this was done by means of false claims and this is not only applicable to him, but what about the other Police Officers who were there?

MR DE KOCK: The Generals knew, Chairperson, the Commander, Brigadier Schoon knew. Functions took place at a regular basis and sometimes gifts were given to senior personnel amongst others, the Generals and Brigadiers.

MR HATTINGH: And no correct claims were filed to cover the costs of these functions?

MR DE KOCK: No, I did not draw up any claim to say that there were 40 persons and 60 guests and we bought the following for this function, this was done through the Secret Fund.

MR HATTINGH: Was payment given for furniture, carpets or anything else by means of false claims?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

ADV SANDI: Sorry Mr Hattingh, can I just come in, I just want to ask Mr De Kock, why would you have to use, why would one have to make a false claim for expenditure on buying or securing furniture?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, the furniture was not bought by the Department of Public Works, I refer to a matter, we had to write a claim for the Chaplain’s office for furniture and carpets there and at some stage, I don't know if it was for the Minister's office himself or for his Secretary, I bought some furniture, and this furniture was bought from the private sector and not from any other source, amongst others. For example I can refer to a ice machine which had to be used and this cost about R16 000 or R17 000, as well as an ice machine for Vlakplaas for functions which cost the same, this was not from the same budget and this was not bought as normal equipment we used there.

MR HATTINGH: The furniture and carpets which were bought from the private sector, was it of the same quality which you would receive from the Department of Public Works?

MR HATTINGH: No Chairperson, I did not see the furniture myself, but it would be luxury furniture. In one instance I bought furniture for some person and it was luxury furniture, it was which one would find in a Director's office in the private sector.

MR HATTINGH: A normal claim for such luxuries, would it have been approved if it had gone through on an official basis?

MR DE KOCK: No Chairperson, it would not have been approved.

MR HATTINGH: Is this why it was done in this manner?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Was any of the equipment or vehicles damaged in a negligent manner by some of the members?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, not only at Vlakplaas but as well as the Intelligence Service and I know in particular of two Synchro Volkswagen buses which was seriously damaged at Sodwana as well as a double-cab vehicle which was rolled over on the beach, that had to be recovered as well as vehicles of Vlakplaas where the askaris had some differences in a little bus and the bus was shot to pieces.

MR HATTINGH: The damage which was done, was this not officially reported?

MR DE KOCK: No Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: So no disciplinary action could be taken against these people?

MR DE KOCK: No Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Mr Chairman, might this be a convenient stage to take the adjournment?

CHAIRPERSON: We will adjourn until two o'clock.

COMMITTEE ADJOURNS

CHAIRPERSON: I am told we have another Attorney representing victims, would you please put yourself on record?

MR MOHLABA: Thank you Chairperson, my name is Vuka Mohlaba and I am appearing for the Nyanda family, thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

EUGENE A. DE KOCK: (s.u.o)

EXAMINATION BY MR HATTINGH: (cont)

Thank you Mr Chairman. Mr De Kock, we were on page 58. The working hours of Vlakplaas members, could you please give us a brief summary about that?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, yes, members were deployed when our period of service began and they were deployed for a period of three weeks, a full three weeks, sometimes a few days more, it may have gone into 25 days at a time. These services were a full 24 hour service, we were not bound by 8 to 5 or 8 to 4 working hours, it was high risk service, 100 percent high risk service by nature of the situation and the members very seldom had the opportunity to go home during that three to three and a half week period. Furthermore when the members returned to the base for that seven to eight day period of rest, the black members and the askaris in particular, would take that seven to eight days off whereas the white members would be serving at all times on a 24 hour stand-by basis.

MR HATTINGH: Was this consistently the position?

MR DE KOCK: That was the consistent position.

MR HATTINGH: So for three weeks to a month, they would be cut off from their families?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And they would be distributed throughout the country?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And as you stated, they were not bound to an eight hour working day, very often they had to work passed the usual office working hours?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct, they were actually obliged by nature of the situation and the service because trains and taxi's wouldn't only run between eight and four. In other words these members, if they came in for duty at 12 o'clock, they would leave again at four o'clock the following morning.

MR HATTINGH: Many of these incidents for which you are applying for amnesty, took place at night and very often during the early morning hours?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: For example the Swaziland incident, when did that take place?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct, that took place during the early morning hours.

MR HATTINGH: And the Japie Maponya incident?

MR DE KOCK: That was late at night or during the early morning hours.

MR HATTINGH: And then were also various other incidents which took place late at night or in the early morning hours?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Were these actions sometimes dangerous for the members?

MR DE KOCK: The members were always in danger, because they were facing a military trained opposition, who did not have a problem with being the first to shoot and they were also well known for the perseverance when it came to combat situations.

MR HATTINGH: Was it sometimes necessary for the members and more particularly the white members, to go with black members into the traditionally black residential areas at night?

MR DE KOCK: When those black members would not be associated with the Security Forces, the white members would move in but they did move with them. Should any situation develop, the white members would then obviously be involved in the same incident.

MR HATTINGH: The attack on the Chand residence to digress for a moment, was there a guard on duty?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: Did you find any weapons there?

MR DE KOCK: No, we did not find weapons there.

MR HATTINGH: We have heard of members of Vlakplaas who from time to time, received compensation for extraordinary service?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Who made the decision that they would receive this?

MR DE KOCK: That decision came from me. Upon many occasions not only from Brigadier Schoon, but also from Gen Van Rensburg, as well as Gen Engelbrecht, I was told to see to my people. The definition of seeing to my people or taking care of my people, was that these people have to be taken care of and it had financial implications. The compensation or remuneration was for extraordinary circumstances and not for a specific incident. It was not to encourage people to participate in actions or to execute actions, but it was a remuneration, an extra remuneration, for extraordinary service or duty.

MR HATTINGH: Were they ever told beforehand that if they participated in an operation, they would receive extra payment?

MR DE KOCK: No, such remuneration was sporadic, there was no fixed guideline regarding that. No person was offered any compensation to perform an action or received a reward after having performed a specific task or action.

MR HATTINGH: You say that the reward was not connected to a specific incident?

MR DE KOCK: No, not at all.

MR HATTINGH: Did any of the members ever tell you when they received an order to participate in an action, what would I receive in exchange for this, what are you going to pay me, what would be tangible?

MR DE KOCK: No, not at all, this never occurred.

MR HATTINGH: Did any of them ask whether or not they would be rewarded if they participated in an operation?

MR DE KOCK: No.

ADV SANDI: Sorry, Mr Hattingh, can I just question just on this, Colonel De Kock, you say there were no guidelines as such, but what was the criteria for dishing out this remuneration to members?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, what happened was that there was a fund which I kept and this sort of fund accrued over time and then I decreased it and divided it among members. Furthermore, upon occasion if the fund was running low, I discussed it with my Commanding Officer and it was supplemented. Because I kept this money in an illegal manner and also obtained it in an illegal manner, I then divided it amongst the members.

ADV SANDI: I just need to understand this, is it the situation here that from time to time, everyone would receive something or just for certain people?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, in general I would give it to everybody and then especially to those members who had exposed themselves to additional danger and did this in compliance with my orders. This was not a question of these persons receiving any finances in order to serve as an incentive for later action. There was no such type of viewpoint within my Unit.

ADV SANDI: I hear, I don't want to interrupt you unduly Mr Hattingh, I hear Colonel, that you say the idea was not to encourage members to continue being involved in such acts or to be loyal, but clearly that was not to discourage them? It was not to discourage them at all?

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson, it could never have served as an incentive to further action. Under no circumstances was it ever said to them or was the impression created that if they launched an action, they would receive a reward. The nature of these services as we know by this time, were completely illegal. It was illegal, there was never the perception that one could be rewarded through the regular channels. This was something which I took upon myself in order to take care of my people in my own fashion, and all that I could do, I couldn't give them any medals because that would be an obvious reward, I couldn't give them a Kruger Rand and a certificate, this was my fashion within my viewpoint and in my simplicity of taking care of my people. Whether or not I was wrong, is my responsibility.

ADV SANDI: Thank you Colonel, thank you Mr Hattingh.

MR HATTINGH: Thank you Mr Chairman. Mr De Kock, just to continue from that point. When you gave money to members, was this only to members who had been involved in a specific operation or was this for members who were not involved in that specific operation?

MR DE KOCK: No Chairperson, everybody received. Whether it was white members or black members, everybody received.

MR HATTINGH: So it wasn't only for members who participated in an operation but in general, they received money?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: So members would never have thought that they were rewarded for a specific operation?

MR DE KOCK: No, to tell the truth there were sometimes members who said "what is this for", and then I would just say "take it, if you don't want it, give it to somebody else". So it wasn't a question that somebody could think that he received this money for a specific operation or a specific objective, it could never have served as an incentive.

MR HATTINGH: You were charged among others for this action of yours, by giving money to members and obtaining this money by means of false claims?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And you were found guilty and you are serving a sentence for that?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Did you ever in this manner for yourself, and I mean specifically though this method of giving members money, did you ever keep any money for yourself?

MR DE KOCK: No. And to a certain measure that Gen Krappies Engelbrecht one day asked me, this was after the Flores incident which will be discussed later I suppose, said to me, you, De Kock, must take care of yourself, because you keep on taking care of other people.

MR HATTINGH: Did you also start taking care of yourself then?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I was assisted in that because the amounts were great. Just to tell you briefly, there were already indications that I would have to accept a package, my package would have been R1,45 million. Apparently there were other factors or powers who didn't want it that way and the amount of R1 million would have been paid out to me. The General then suggested that I should ultimately by means of false claims, obtain an amount for myself which would be of equal value to the other R450 000 and in that attempt, I then obtained R250 000 by those methods. I purchased a house and when he and I returned one day from Durban, he asked me to go passed the house that we had bought and by "we", I mean the Police. That is just an example and that is the amount which I then received on such a basis and I would like to mention that the SAP did receive that money back. They took a policy of mine and it was of no burden to the taxpayer.

MR HATTINGH: This money which you obtained for yourself, did you regard this as a reward for a specific action?

MR DE KOCK: No.

MR HATTINGH: And were you charged with fraud with regard to that money?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And you were convicted and you are serving a sentence for that?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: You have also not asked to be indemnified from this action?

MR DE KOCK: No. It was at first stated that this would be handled in chambers, but I withdrew the claim upon the advice of my legal representatives and I am satisfied with that.

MR HATTINGH: Would you then say that you and your members who were involved in these operations, were involved for personal gain?

MR DE KOCK: No. I would just like to state and this is perhaps a personal philosophy, there is no value that one can attach to such a type of action, there is no value that can be attached to the death of a person or the destruction of his home or family.

MR HATTINGH: Then on page 60, we come to actions by Vlakplaas members on own initiative or discretion. With the most cases, you have admitted that this was upon the order of a Commanding Officer, that you received an order to execute the operations. Did it ever occur that you had to use your own initiative?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, it did occur. The reason for that being that although one's operation might be very successful, although one may have spent a tremendous amount of time in obtaining information, there are always external factors which intervene in such an operation, something unforeseen and this would then lead to decisions which one would have to take on the spot and then one would have to take responsibility for what would happen as a result of that.

MR HATTINGH: What was your perception or your understanding of your position when it came to decisions that were made according to your own initiative or your own discretion, was this not permissible?

MR DE KOCK: No, it was expected of me, on the contrary, upon many occasions it was said "you shouldn't wait for us to tell you what to do, you know what to do, you know what the situation is in the country, you read the Security reports every day, you read the weekly and the monthly Security reports, act and execute your duties."

MR HATTINGH: Were you ever charged with disciplinary actions because of decisions and actions that you performed yourself, without the authorisation of superior Officers?

MR DE KOCK: No.

MR HATTINGH: Were you ever chastised over that?

MR DE KOCK: No, with the exception of one incident during which Brigadier Schoon simply told me that the Commander of Eastern Transvaal had complained because I had gone to Swaziland without his knowledge, however, that was the worst.

MR HATTINGH: And when your actions emanated from your own initiative, did that action come to the knowledge of your Commanders?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: Apart from the fact that they never chastised or charged you for that, did they have anything else to say about that, did they approve it or authorise it?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, it was authorised and approved. And with that, I would like to define it as the following, if there should be a problem on the scene of an operation where there may be proof of Security Force's presence, then it would be covered up, evidence would be removed or destroyed, affidavits would be amended, files would be destroyed and records would be removed.

MR HATTINGH: On page 61 and 62 there are extracts from the evidence of Gen Van der Merwe before the TRC and from there it is also clear that he expected of his soldiers, to use their own initiative where necessary, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And this continues onto page 63. He concludes with the quote

"... as I have already said, people at grassroots level, had to in certain circumstances make decisions on their own."

Was that expected of you?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: I think we will discuss that again later, but just for an example, I could refer you to the Sambo incident, the person who was known as Sweet Sambo. This is a person who was interrogated at Komatipoort by the Security Police and died as a result of the assault during interrogation, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: You were contacted by the Commander of that Unit who was not himself involved in the interrogation and assault?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And he asked you to assist?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Did you discuss this request with your Commanding Officer?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I discussed it with Gen Engelbrecht, I went to his home and he discouraged me. I told him, or on the contrary his advice was that there should be a post mortem enquiry. I told him that the person had been injured to such an extent that his skull was so swollen that it would never go through a post mortem enquiry. In turn he told me that he did not agree and that there should be no action from our side, however, upon my own initiative, I decided that I would act in this matter. It was about the Security Branch members at Komatipoort, and by nature of the situation, there were certain secrets from the past of which they knew, and then I did offer assistance in that situation.

MR HATTINGH: This incident had the potential of developing into a Steve Biko type of incident?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And you then assisted these people in getting rid of the body?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Did you report about that to anybody afterwards, to any Commanding Officer?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Gen Engelbrecht was not available at that stage, I think he was away on leave or busy with an investigation. I did contact Colonel Herman du Plessis, he was second in command, that is when the family began to make enquiries about where Sambo was, and I informed Colonel Du Plessis about this and he and another General and a senior Brigadier, went to Nelspruit by helicopter.

MR HATTINGH: That was Colonel Van der Westhuizen, Brigadier Nel and ...

MR DE KOCK: No, in my recollection it was Gen Viljoen.

MR HATTINGH: I read something differently here, but let's leave it at that. It was among others a General and certain high ranking Officers?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: The fact that you assisted in this destruction of the body, did this come to the knowledge of Gen Engelbrecht subsequently?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, as far as I know.

MR HATTINGH: And no steps were taken against you because you disobeyed his order?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: In fact, do you know whether or not there was any assistance in the cover up of this incident?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, every effort was taken to cover up the incident.

MR HATTINGH: Further example of this phenomenon we will find on page 65, this is the Nelspruit incident?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: And there, afterwards it was reported to Gen Engelbrecht, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And he assisted in taking down reports from the members who were involved with the incident?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And to ensure that the reports be drawn up correctly so that no problems would be run into during the inquest?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And no steps were taken against you after this incident?

MR DE KOCK: No Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: In the Japie Maponya matter, this took place on the request of Colonel Le Roux, you had no authorisation by yourself or from a senior Officer, you decided by yourself that you would assist Colonel Le Roux?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: And you did indeed assist him?

MR DE KOCK: I did Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: And afterwards, the fact that you had assisted Colonel Le Roux, did this come to the knowledge of Gen Engelbrecht?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, during the Harms Commission, this was the main incident where I was put in the spotlight and during the Harms Commission, this was one of the most sensitive matters and an inquest was held in court.

MR HATTINGH: After this and during the evidence of the Commission, it was heard that petrol was taken in by the Krugersdorp Police Officers and that there would be a record there to state that some of your members were at the Krugersdorp Police station that day. What happened to that petrol book?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, during my trial it came to my knowledge that that petrol register was taken down by Warrant Officer Nortje in my Unit and was given to Gen Engelbrecht and it was probably destroyed, because it was never found again.

MR HATTINGH: In Justice Van der Merwe's judgement in your matter, he mentions the fact that Gen Engelbrecht had enquired with Maponya's employer and took a statement from him to the extent that Maponya, a day or two after you had abducted him, was still at work.

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Without telling the manager or without showing the register to him?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: According to the register, he was there the last day when you arrested him, and Judge Van der Merwe voiced his criticism in that regard?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: And are these all indications that your actions in all instances, were or authorised or condoned afterwards and were ratified afterwards?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: On page 68, at 2.6.6 you say the following that you believed that as long as your action was aimed at the enemies of the government of the day, it would carry the approval of your Commanders and this is what happened in practice?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: What perception did this create with you after you became involved in illegal acts?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, it did not create the perception but it brought about a knowledge that if any evidence had stayed behind and you could be connected with anything, then the State by means of the Police, will do anything in its power to protect you. It is not that they are only protecting you, they are protecting themselves as well, namely the Police and the State.

MR HATTINGH: And this is what happened in practice?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, indeed Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Before we continue with the document, during consultation last week, a document was handed over to you, a copy of a document with the heading "General background". Mr Chairman, the document was handed in by Mr Wagener at the pre-trial conference at Johannesburg, we were all given a copy of this document.

CHAIRPERSON: Those of us who were there, were, the other members of the Committee who were not, it was marked "A", is that the one?

MR HATTINGH: Marked, sorry, marked "A"? I never marked my paper Mr Chairman.

MR VISSER: Can it serve in this Chairperson, can it serve in these hearings as Exhibit A, then we know what we refer to?

CHAIRPERSON: I think so, yes.

MR HATTINGH: Thank you Mr Chairman. Mr De Kock, was a copy of this document also given to you?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And did you study it properly?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I did Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: And in the broad way it is applicable to you, the allegations which are made, is this also applicable to you?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Please continue on page 69. You have already mentioned the fact that while the Harms Commission was ongoing, you received instruction to attack the Chand house and to kill Brian Ncgqulunga, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Did this strengthen this perception of yours further?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, it did Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: In the instances where you used your own discretion, whose information did you use to support this?

MR DE KOCK: The information which was carried over by other members, I had no problem with that and if there was anything that one was unsure of, one would enquire about it, but I used their information and I had no reason to mistrust them with regard to information that they conveyed.

MR HATTINGH: Was there a close relationship between yourself and members from Vlakplaas?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And did you trust each other?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, we did.

MR HATTINGH: Did you support each other?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, we did Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: What was the position with regard to ranks among the Vlakplaas members? Was preference given to members with higher ranks?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, the rank was applicable where discipline came about, but when one acts in an operational area, then a suitable person for example a Warrant Officer and then I would expect that somebody else would take over before I let a senior person take over. Colonel Baker, who is a senior Officer who is more used in diplomatic situations and despite his operational expertise, Nortje was the person who would be able to take the correct decisions while busy with an operation. In that instance, one had the right person for the right work there.

MR HATTINGH: And you placed him in command of the operation?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, to such an extent that I know of two instances in Swaziland where I said that if I were shot, Nortje had to take over, it did not matter what the ranks of the rest of the people who were there, were.

MR HATTINGH: This Unit, C1 at Vlakplaas, they were involved with several shooting incidents, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Just to mention a few and the most of them will be heard by this Committee, there was an incident at Chesterville?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Where persons were killed by members of Vlakplaas?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: There were two shooting incidents in the vicinity of Piet Retief where people were shot and killed?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: In all three these instances, inquests were held?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And these incidents made news, is that not correct?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And it enjoyed media coverage, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Was anyone, or were you called in by anyone, the Commissioner not only your immediate Commanders but the Commissioners or higher Officers who told you "listen, you are not an operational Unit, you are supposed to identify terrorists and arrest them, why are you always involved in these shooting incidents"?

MR DE KOCK: No Chairperson, the senior staff did not want to hear of our problems. They wanted to have the package very nicely so that they could show it to the public, whatever your problems were and whatever accompanied it, they did not want to know about that. On the contrary you were rewarded with medals, it would not have happened if they were against it.

MR HATTINGH: And then another aspect, actions where you were involved in and where persons were killed, purposefully killed is then so-called investigated by a member of the South African Police?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: And never was any of your members charged in regard with these matters?

MR DE KOCK: No Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: If there was an attack that was launched by members of the liberation movements, for example the ANC and the PAC, people were also appointed to investigate this?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson, and with great success.

MR HATTINGH: Yes, this was rewarded with great success?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: We move to page 72 and we deal with Vlakplaas after the unbanning of the liberation movements. Did you make any recommendations after those organisations were unbanned?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, at several occasions I asked Gen Engelbrecht and I told him that the Vlakplaas group must disband. The attitude was that the negotiations are not done yet, it could fall through today and then we still have you to push you into the field. There was never a desire to disband Vlakplaas at any stage.

MR HATTINGH: Did you then continue to operate as Unit C1?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson. We kept all our weapons and with the arsenal that we had there and all our equipment, and that included the communist weaponry, this was never removed.

MR HATTINGH: What was the position with regard to unrest at that stage? Was there a decline or was there an increase or did it stay the same?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I think that with regard to some reports it was that it stabilised. There were some unrest, but it did not increase or decrease but in small instances, it did increase with the conflict between the ANC and the IFP, but we did not participate in the Unrest Unit.

MR HATTINGH: And because of the unrest between organisations such as the ANC and the IFP, the Goldstone Commission was appointed to investigate that violence?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Often in these incidents, weapons was used specifically automatic weapons, AK's and so forth?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Where did these weapons originate from?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, my own Unit or some of the members in my Unit and myself, supported Inkatha and this led to some occasions where we supplied them with weapons and ammunition. But the river of weapons which flowed in this country, came mostly from Mozambique and in particular the part between Komatipoort and further south from Komatipoort, through that border.

MR HATTINGH: This is close to the Schoonman's Base?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Did you have any success in finding these weapons?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, successes was the first of its kind in the Republic. The amount of weapons and ammunition, if I speak of weapons, I speak of rifles, rocket launchers and pistols, there were handgrenades and limpet mines as well, it was phenomenal. We had several arrests, I think there was a total of 24 arrests and in another case which we will handle later, four persons were killed.

MR HATTINGH: These weapons, did you know according to your own knowledge or information which you received from sources, what it was to be used for?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, it did not have a specific - there was a market for the weapons, or a market for automatic weapons, especially in the East Rand and on the Rand itself, but those types of smugglers sold to anybody whether you were ANC, AWB or IFP, they sold to anybody. It did not matter what the colour of the flag was, it mattered what the colour of the money was.

MR HATTINGH: I mean with regard to who bought these weapons, what did they use it for?

MR DE KOCK: This was for political violence Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Was this the struggle between the ANC and Inkatha?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Did you also find weapons which were hidden in the petrol tanks of vehicles and transported in this manner?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, and without exception we found AK47's as well as ammunition in the petrol tanks. So much so that the vehicle could only drive a few kilometres, for example, just drive through the border post and drive about 10 or 15 kilometres further. The moment one gets a vehicle coming through the border post with petrol filters and containers with petrol, then you knew that you had to deal with weapons here. Later the smugglers realised that we caught up with them, they built in a type of a rack in the petrol tank because usually if you knock against the petrol tank, you will hear the ammunition rolling around and that was the main manner in which they smuggled weapons through.

MR HATTINGH: With your staff hearing, Gen Siphiwe Nyanda gave evidence, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: During cross-examination he conceded that Operation Vula was ongoing and that entailed amongst others giving weapons to ANC members within South Africa?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: He said that if this Operation was not exposed, it would have continued?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: And the evidence of Gen Nyanda in this regard, his evidence in chief and his cross-examination, is attached to Volume 2. May I just enquire Mr Chairman, have you got that? The evidence of Gen Nyanda at Mr De Kock's criminal trial?

CHAIRPERSON: It is page 89 of Volume 2?

MR HATTINGH: Yes, that is correct Mr Chairman. Somehow I don't think that this is the complete section that we wanted to annex. There seems to be some of the evidence that have been left out, we will check and we will maybe come back on this later, Mr Chairman. We will see to it that you get the rest of his evidence as well, Mr Chairman, and I think that the part that I am relying on for, is the part that is not included in this Bundle.

CHAIRPERSON: Then we will let that stand over.

MR HATTINGH: Thank you Mr Chairman. Very well, despite finding these weapons which were used in the political struggle, was Vlakplaas still involved with its previous activities as an Operational Political Unit?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: On page 76 you mention the fact that askaris continued in identifying trained MK members?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Are these members who were within the boundaries of South Africa, who were not granted indemnity in terms of this unbanning of the organisations?

MR DE KOCK: Correct.

MR HATTINGH: And when such persons were found, they were arrested?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: For example, we know that Colonel Taylor's people in particular Goodwill Sekakane had arrested Mr Ndaba after the unbanning of the ANC?

MR DE KOCK: That is right Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: On page 77, you mentioned George Nene, who was he?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, he was the Diplomatic Chief of the ANC for West Africa and he was arrested by some of the askaris and I drove through and untied him and I took him to Shell House.

MR HATTINGH: This was also after the unbanning of the ANC?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, I think there was something, I think a period which he was legally in the period had expired by 24 hours, but I am not sure.

MR HATTINGH: And then you mention an incident where Lionel Snyman, one of the men, one of your men was involved, please explain that briefly to us?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, one of the askaris pointed out an MK member who was at a disco in Johannesburg. The MK member did not have permission to be in the country and the askari requested from us what he must do, he said no, he is waiting for his handler and the handler was a guard of Min Nzo and the rest of the askaris and Warrant Officer Snyman surrounded the area where this meeting would take place between the handler and the guard or the MK member and his handler and with the arrival of this guard of Min Nzo, who was also an MK member, in an ANC vehicle, and a shooting ensued and he shot one of my askaris and the guard, I think he was shot through the eye and he was shot in his body somewhere, as well as a member of the public also received a shot because we did not know whether he was an MK member or not, this incident eventually found its way to a Civil Court. I am not sure of all the detail here, I rely on a vague memory, but there was such an incident.

MR HATTINGH: A claim was put in against the South African Police by one of the persons who was shot in this incident?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson, and there was also a weapon and a handgrenade found which was hidden under the seat of the handler of the MK member.

MR HATTINGH: On page 79, paragraph (c) you mention a third political - which was found and he was identified by one of the askaris, they arrested him. His wife was with him but they had left her behind, she had to call somebody that she knew because on the way to Pretoria, I received a call from Gen Beukes from Security Head Office and he informed me that the Chief of the National Intelligence Service on the West Rand was also on his way to Gen Beukes in Pretoria and he wanted to know if I could not release this ANC member because this member had been giving the Intelligence Service information for the past nine years and this member of the Intelligence Service wanted to meet with me and I decided not to see him, but I did release this ANC member. Later, I heard or I read in a newspaper after my arrest, that this person had retired from politics in the ANC.

MR HATTINGH: And this was also after the unbanning of the ANC?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: On page 81 you mention an incident at Sterkspruit in Transkei, briefly please.

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, during 1991 and 1992 and even a few months before that, there were regular incidents which happened in the Transkei where people used the road between Sterkspruit and for example Dordrecht and vehicles which were driven by whites were regularly attacked by means of AK47's and persons with R5's and APLA was involved with these attacks. At some stage we prepared during December 1991, to attack those facilities at Sterkspruit and to destroy them entirely and the operation was not launched during December 1991 but we stayed prepared during the year, to attack these facilities and to destroy them.

MR HATTINGH: And then a final example is after the exposure of Operation Vula, a special building was erected on Vlakplaas?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, a special building was erected on Vlakplaas with many air-conditioners, I was the only one who had access to the building. Permanent guards were placed around the building and all Vula documentation and evidence was handled there and it was taken out from the computers and after Vula, the AWB's documents and computers and other evidence was handled there and was taken out from the computers.

MR HATTINGH: Then during that period of time, shortly after the unbanning of the ANC and other organisations, how did you feel towards those organisations?

MR DE KOCK: There were mixed feelings, but the overwhelming feeling was that the negotiations would not succeed and that there wouldn't be peace, that the struggle would continue and that ultimately Codesa would not succeed and that we would begin to fight each other again. That was the general sentiment and Vula was sufficient to convince me that we might as well just fight it out to the death and get it over and done with.

MR HATTINGH: What was your sentiment and the members of Vlakplaas' sentiment towards the IFP at that stage?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I cannot speak for all the members at Vlakplaas, but some of us were favourably inclined towards the IFP because they acted as a buffer against the ANC. I cannot say that they acted as a buffer for the PAC, because there was always some measure of peace between the PAC and the IFP, but the IFP was definitely anti-ANC and this was a favourable position for us and it enjoyed our support.

MR HATTINGH: What support did you offer to them?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, among others, we provided weapons and ammunition as well as explosive devices and then upon two or three occasions, I also purchased vehicles for them, two vehicles were purchased by means of false claims from the Secret Fund and another vehicle was paid for from the Secret Fund on an official basis. It was given to Themba Khosa so that he could continue with the recruitment for his purposes of IFP activities.

MR HATTINGH: What was your viewpoint with regard to the political ideology, that of the IFP?

MR DE KOCK: I didn't have a problem with their ideology, they were not communist oriented and they did not wish to import Marxism. That was one of the chief reasons why I offered my support to them.

MR HATTINGH: Apart from the support that you offered, did you ever join as a member of the IFP?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, two other members and I joined the IFP, we were card-carrying members of the Inkatha Freedom Party. Our request was however that our names not appear on their member list, so that when the Natal Security Police obtained it, we would not be exposed.

MR HATTINGH: So you indeed carried a membership card?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: What happened to it?

MR DE KOCK: I destroyed it approximately a week before my arrest, along with two big trunks of documentation, photographs and cassette recordings as well as computer equipment on which there was information.

MR HATTINGH: At a stage Mr Nortje joined them and we had his membership card. Very well, that brings us to page 84 and more particularly regarding that which you have just mentioned, and that would be the destruction of documents. What happened in this regard?

MR DE KOCK: After the disbanding, initially with the Harms Commission, there was large scale destruction of documents. We literally spent days destroying documents that had to do with our work and Vlakplaas, documents such as registers and files and everything that went along with it. However, there was documentation which remained and these documents which I still had, were destroyed shortly before my arrest.

MR HATTINGH: Was this upon an order or recommendation of anybody?

MR DE KOCK: The documents with regard to the Harms Commission were done under order and the other documents, I destroyed through my own political naiveté, I wish that I was in a position to submit these documents here today.

MR HATTINGH: After the Goldstone Commission report which incriminated you, regarding various criminal actions, further documentation was destroyed?

MR DE KOCK: Yes. That would be specifically my documentation which I destroyed.

MR HATTINGH: We then come to page 85 and your resignation which I will place in quotation marks, because it was not a genuine resignation, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: Could you briefly explain what took place?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, my career had come to an end in 1989 with the first revelations made by Mr Coetzee in the Vrye Weekblad. Vlakplaas which had been a popular recreational spot with top level Officials, initially I thought about handing in my resignation and giving notice and after that, I decided just to take my discharge. I was persuaded by Gen Engelbrecht and Gen Smit however, to take it easy if I might put it that way, and the general view was that all of this would blow over and that nothing would happen. By 1993 in March or April, I was informed that I would have to take a retirement package and that is what happened. However, there were certain clauses brought into the contract that should any legal action and I would call this criminal or civil legal action, should any such legal action originate with regard to my past, the State would intervene in such matters and absorb the costs. I was requested to keep to the general Secrecy Act and the oath that I had taken with regard to this information, which bound me not to speak out about my work in the past and that this would remain a secret. This contract along with the signing thereof, was given to me by Gen Engelbrecht, he managed this on behalf of the Police.

MR HATTINGH: Did he also sign the contract on behalf of the Police?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct. And he was indeed aware because he was the Investigating Officer for the Harms Commission, that things had happened which were not legitimate.

MR HATTINGH: And ultimately you were sued along with him for the back payment or the repayment of your legal costs during the criminal trial?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: A sentence was passed against you?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: For an astronomical amount?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct, it is quite astronomical.

MR HATTINGH: This summons was issued because the State knew that criminal and illegitimate actions had been taken?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: This was then not a bona fide contract?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Since your arrest, legal action has been taken against you, against the widow of Tiso Libalo, who was one of the people that died in the Nelspruit incident?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: You did not indicate any defence against that?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And as a result, there was a conviction against you for that matter?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: In the light of this background which we have discussed, how would you have regarded Vlakplaas and its actions, especially with regard to Gen Coetzee's description of the objective for which Vlakplaas was established?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, Vlakplaas was an Operational Combat Unit, which was established for the political objectives of the National Party and the State of that time. It was and could never be applied for any other objective and that Unit was then used in such a fashion in all regards.

MR HATTINGH: When you were transferred from Namibia to Vlakplaas and you saw this Vlakplaas at which so many illegitimate things were involved, why didn't you say "no, I don't want to be involved in this, I am leaving"?

MR DE KOCK: What was happening at Vlakplaas at that stage, was nothing new to what I had experienced in Namibia in the North. Secondly, I was committed. On the contrary if I had not been transferred there, I would have requested to be transferred there. In all regards, I was committed in fighting the enemy to the bitter end, whatever the nature of that may be and I was entirely committed to the State and the maintenance of the National Party and the white dispensation.

MR HATTINGH: So you didn't only act upon orders, but upon your own conviction?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: You wrote a book or there was a book that was written in co-operation with you, regarding your experiences in relation to this?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And it was published, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: Under the title "A long night's damage"?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: In the beginning of the book it is stated "the royalties from this book have been donated by Eugene de Kock to the victims of apartheid and their families", is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: Who is managing this matter on your behalf?

MR DE KOCK: The Author of the book and my legal representative.

MR HATTINGH: That would be Mr Hugo?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Do you know what has happened in this relation so far?

MR DE KOCK: No. I am not involved in that. I would like there to be independent action without any intervention or interference, it should be a completely unbiased undertaking and I am leaving it entirely in their hands.

MR HATTINGH: You, yourself, do not draw any financial reward from this book?

MR DE KOCK: No.

MR HATTINGH: In conclusion Mr De Kock, you have testified before various Amnesty Committees and during your criminal trial you testified in mitigation and you appeared before the TRC and during all these times, you expressed your sentiments about the deeds in which you were involved, the people who you killed, the people who you injured, the people whose property you damaged and so forth, in retrospect how do you feel about it?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, we wasted the lives of many people, not only those who we then regarded as the enemy, we also wasted the lives of our own people, young National Servicemen of 17 and 18 years of age, we destroyed young men of the same age in the ranks of the ANC and the PAC. There were cases in which people were not handling weapons personally or carrying weapons personally and during such incidents, we destroyed people completely, not only changed their lives, but destroyed their lives. We ruined the lives of their families in a sense, and changed their lives irrevocably. I feel that in all aspects, by living passed one another, we destroyed one another for absolutely no purpose ultimately. It was a futile exercise. We wasted the most precious item which can exist and that is life. I understand sentiments which say hang him, burn him, chop him up because that would also have been my sentiments if a family member of mine such as my son or my brother, had been shot. Whether we will ever be able to reconcile, is unknown to me, it will take many generations. I hope that this will happen, by that stage I will probably no longer be here as a result of age, not for any other reason. I would like to tell those families that the deaths of their sons and their daughters and their children, because it doesn't really matter how old you are, who you are or where you come from, you are still somebody's child, I am very sorry about it. We obtained absolutely nothing as a result thereof. There will always be a yearning and a sorrow which will never disappear and which will never be able to be rectified. That is all.

MR HATTINGH: Just one further aspect please, you have given evidence here regarding the past and the deeds in which you were involved which were covered up by the dispensation of the day. When you were eventually arrested or when there were negotiations at CODESA, how do you feel about the actions of the representatives of the former government with regard to the Security Forces in general, did they stand by you, did they disappoint you, how do you feel about it?

MR DE KOCK: I think if we found ourselves in 1902, people like F.W. de Klerk and Kobie Coetzee would have been sentenced to high treason. The National Party members who are running away now, if one of them could just stand here today and tell me why he didn't know what was happening in the past, I would like to know that. I would like to know from them, how is it possible that we were waging a war in South West that people on the other side of the border were being wiped out, that buildings were being blown up in the country, which were not the buildings of the South African Forces. If only one of them could convince me of what made him think that he was sitting in parliament and that it was decided by every person in this country by means of a ballot, not one of them would ever sit here and say that because they could have no logical explanation for that whatsoever. I will give you an example, in 1993 there was an attack in the Transkei. F.W. de Klerk was the President and he was also the Chief of the Armed Forces. I would like to know from him, who does he think did the shooting, it wasn't only because he sat down and decided that he wanted to do something and then people were attacked and they died? It is not logical and he is a man who claims to be a very logical person. I think that is a very false impression that he is creating. They are cowards, I don't think that God would even punish them because I don't think He wants to see them at all.

MR HATTINGH: With regard to you, was there a distinction between killing people outside the borders of the Republic and the killing of people within the borders of the Republic?

MR DE KOCK: No Chairperson, murder is a global international crime, whether it is a murder in India or a murder in Russia, Swaziland or South Africa, it all remains the same. By merely taking a step across the border of a country and going into another country, that does not give you the right to commit these acts.

MR HATTINGH: Thank you Mr Chairman, that is all.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR HATTINGH

CHAIRPERSON: I take it some of you want to ask some questions. Have you decided in what order you propose to do so?

MR BOOYENS: Mr Chairman, I don't know if I could propose perhaps a short adjournment so that we can sort that out?

CHAIRPERSON: I think it might be a good idea, because I have no idea which of you is going to ask lots of questions and which of you is going to ask very few. I think if you can get together between yourselves and decide what would be the most sensible way of doing it, so we will take a very short adjournment and you can chat to yourselves.

COMMITTEE ADJOURNS

CHAIRPERSON: Everybody seems to be here, shall we continue?

MR LAMEY: Mr Chairman, it would appear that we are going to follow this order?

CHAIRPERSON: Oh, the one we did before, just goes around? Fine.

MR LAMEY: Mr Chairman, just again Lamey, I represent applicants in this cluster, Mr Klopper, Mr Nortje, Mr Willemse and also I omitted to mention that earlier, Mr Bosch. May I just put on record that I am just going to ask a few questions in general. So far as the evidence of Mr De Kock might be relevant relating to specific incidents, I might have to, if it would appear necessary, to come back on also aspects of the general background when we deal with the specific incidents. I hope that that would be in order?

CHAIRPERSON: Yes certainly. The idea is to put on record now simply the general approach of all the - certainly not all - of various members of the Police Force and not get to specific incidents, they will be dealt with when we hear the applications in respect of those incidents.

EUGENE A. DE KOCK: (s.u.o)

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR LAMEY: Mr De Kock, an aspect which you mentioned towards the conclusion of your evidence with regard to the IFP, I received instructions from Mr Nortje and he says that apparently Mr Dries van Heerden arrived there with IFP membership cards at some stage and these were handed out to among others Nortje and he is speaking from his perspective. This was during the time when the weapons supply to the IFP took place. Mr Nortje says that although from Vlakplaas' side, and due to the problems that the IFP experienced with regard to losses which they incurred towards the ANC, there was sympathy for the IFP, however he was never a bona fide member of the IFP. He says that at that stage he was a supporter of the National Party and its government. If his recollection is correct, he maintains that those membership cards were also issued under different names, what is your recollection regarding that?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, my recollection is that my card as far as I can remember, was issued in my name and it was unpaid for. There were certain stamps which were brought to the card, which would indicate that membership fees had been paid. Perhaps Mr Nortje was not as committed to the IFP as I was.

MR LAMEY: In other words what you are saying is that you were a bona fide member of the IFP, a committed member of the IFP, but you cannot speak for Mr Nortje's position?

MR DE KOCK: No, and I will accept his version if he says that he was not a committed member of the IFP.

MR LAMEY: The cards were necessary and especially handy during contact with the IFP members during weapons supply?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, but in my case, I was a committed member, however, I can understand his position and I would concede that that would not have been the case with every person.

MR LAMEY: Very well. Then the aspect surrounding the operation of the rank structure at Vlakplaas. Do I understand your evidence correctly in that you put a very general statement by referring to Nortje among others, as an example? It is not a case of you saying that where he was a member of a group for example, where there was an Officer present and you were absent, that Nortje would necessarily in every such situation have taken the lead? There would be cases during which there was action, during which Nortje was present, but that somebody else specifically in that group, had been placed in command by you?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I would like to illustrate it as follows - suppose we had an operation in Swaziland, I would be there and we would take a person such as Colonel Baker and Warrant Officer Nortje and Vermeulen for example and one would usually look at the behaviour and conduct of people, their operational security and in the case of Colonel Baker, he would for example have stopped a minibus and asked the person driving the minibus whether or not we could borrow this. There would be a person like Nortje who would tell the person, you can fall where you want to, we are going to take your minibus. It was about assuring that there would be operational leaders in such a situation, that does not mean that Baker's competency is to be doubted. One would have to study the scenario as such and see what possible events could take place in such a scenario.

MR LAMEY: So it varied from case to case and from operation to operation?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR LAMEY: One could find an operation in which Nortje would be in command of a group, of which a member was an officer?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR LAMEY: If you refer to Swaziland, you are referring to it as an example, you are not saying that Mr Nortje was specifically involved in a Swaziland operation?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, it was just by means of example.

MR LAMEY: If you refer to Nortje in this case, you would also say that there were other individuals with the exception of Nortje who had this operational experience that you are referring to?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR LAMEY: If somebody was tasked for the purposes of a specific action, and he was placed in command by you, or sent there to take command, then the responsibility with regard to the command and control, would reside in that person?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR LAMEY: Even though Mr Nortje may have been a member of that group, he would be subject to the appointed Commander?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, the appointed Commander would be the responsible person.

MR LAMEY: Thank you, I have no further questions at this stage.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR LAMEY

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR BOOYENS: Thank you Mr Chairman, specifically in so far as the Komatipoort incident is concerned, Booyens on record, it may become necessary, I have been told by the representative of Mr De Kock that he will be here in any case as an interested party, so if necessary I may have a few questions to him about that incident, which is the next application we are dealing with, which I do not think I should waste the Committee's time with now. Mr De Kock, just with regard to two aspects I would like to get clarity. The first, as regards to these false claims on behalf of Mr Bellingan and Baker, would it be correct, they say that at some occasion they received instruction to complete false claims and to write them out and that the instruction as far as they remember, came from you as a Commander, do you agree?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, that is correct.

MR BOOYENS: And then they also say that it was never specifically told to them in which case they had to write out these claims, but they accepted that it was for operational purposes because one would not go and tell the Auditor General exactly what operations would be carried out?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I would believe if they have a vague memory of it, I do have a memory of it, that I told them that Colonel Koekemoer was looking for money and then I would give an indication as to what was involved, but I would not say that they did know in every instance, what the money was for.

MR BOOYENS: Well, not in this group of applications, but I also represent Waal du Toit and the two Kock brothers from the Technical Division and I think on a previous occasion, during the London bomb hearing, it was put as a general statement that although the Technical persons were closely involved, there were many instances where they for example, would put silencers on weapons, they would not know it would be used in this operation, they would know that it would go back to you and it would be used in some operation?

MR DE KOCK: I would concede that they knew they were doing it for Vlakplaas, but they did not know in which exact operation it would be used, or against whom it would be used.

MR BOOYENS: And that at the end of the day, they did not know whether it was used? But there must be some exceptions for example the London bomb and the Dirk Coetzee matter, but in other instances, they don't know if the equipment was indeed used?

MR DE KOCK: No, I don't believe that I in every instance informed them.

MR BOOYENS: Thank you Chairperson, no more questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR BOOYENS

MR WAGENER: Mr Chairman, at present I have no questions for Mr De Kock, however Mr Chairman, as you are aware I have been involved in another amnesty application until last Friday afternoon, I have indicated to you in chambers that I and therefore, I and Mr Visser, we have not been afforded adequate opportunity to prepare for this hearing. Furthermore I have sat here today and I have listened to long evidence regarding clients of mine, that is not even contained in the documents before us. So Mr Chairman, the short answer is, I will have to take instructions on a large number of issues raised by Mr De Kock and I would request you that if necessary, that cross-examination stand over till a later, appropriate time during this hearing. Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: I revert to what I said earlier though. If possible, if you have any matters of general implication that you want to put, could you put them now, because we can get the general stuff transcribed, other questions are not so necessary. This is what I am thinking will be circulated to other hearings. If you can't do it, I understand.

MR WAGENER: Mr Chairman, no, at present I will stick to my guns and I will pass the microphone to Mr Visser, thank you.

MR VISSER: What he really wants to say is he will stick to his gun and he will pass the buck to me, Chairperson. Mr Chairman, we would like to follow your indication, because that is the way we understand the position to be. We are dealing now with the general background and not the facts and it seems appropriate that if there is any difference of opinion on the facts, that we should deal with them at the time when the incident itself is being heard. Chairperson, at the present time, as far as the background is concerned, I am not entirely certain whether the issue of Vlakplaas is meant to be either a different basis of approach to the amnesty application or the amnesty applications of the people who were attached to Vlakplaas, separate from the general background to which you have heard a lot of argument and a lot of evidence before. One can only think of the COSATU and Khotso House evidence. You have heard all the evidence that you are ever likely to hear about the conflict of the past, the position of Security Force members and all relevant information. As far as this hearing is concerned, we stay with that evidence and the submissions we have made thereupon. We have attempted to summarise that in a very, very brief synopsis in Exhibit A, of course it goes much wider than that and this doesn't profess to be a full document, but as a working document, in order to save time, we handed this in and I now understand that it has been circulated, so our position is this Chairperson, that for as far as Mr De Kock's evidence does not dispute and he has already confirmed it, does not dispute what we have summarised here and obviously then including the broader detail, which you have already in fact in the Cronje decision, confirmed as having been accepted, then we have nothing to say about the general background and with that Chairperson, that is the explanation why I don't have any questions at this point.

NO CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR VISSER

MR PRINSLOO: Mr Chairman, H.J. Prinsloo, I have no questions and Louisa van der Walt, without her voice still, also has no questions. Thank you Chairperson.

NO CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR PRINSLOO

NO CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS VAN DER WALT

MR CORNELIUS: Thank you Mr Chairman, Cornelius on behalf of Britz, Snyman Vermeulen and Flores. Colonel, for future reference, if an askari is turned, you have given evidence to this, if he turns away from this position of trust at C-Section and he goes back to the ANC, there was no doubt that he would have been eliminated?

MR DE KOCK: No, the chances would be good that he would be eliminated.

MR CORNELIUS: Yes, because he would be a serious security risk for other operations?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, if he was an askari.

MR CORNELIUS: And the safest would be normally to quiet him and to keep his voice quiet for ever?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that was one of the manners, yes.

MR CORNELIUS: And because it was a very risky action, the body would be destroyed?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, in certain instances it would be destroyed.

MR CORNELIUS: And this was also done by previous Commanders of C-Section where bodies were destroyed, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR CORNELIUS: And then another aspect which I want to clarify, you pulled it through but there is no doubt that the Commissioner of Police had knowledge of some of the operations?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, he did know Chairperson.

MR CORNELIUS: As in the instance of the Swaziland attack, you arrived at his house and reported to him and this was Gen Johan Coetzee?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR CORNELIUS: He did not know of all the operations, we would have to concede that?

MR DE KOCK: I don't know what he heard of later, but he was not informed by me of all the operations.

MR CORNELIUS: If we take this line of command further, there is no doubt that the Ministers might have known about the actions of Vlakplaas and C-Section?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR CORNELIUS: Because it went as far as medals being awarded to you and you were personally congratulated at functions at Vlakplaas?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR CORNELIUS: And if the Ministers knew of this, then one could draw the line right through to the State President?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, one can do that Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: May I interrupt for a moment, certain Ministers or a certain Minister used to visit Vlakplaas, didn't he?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson.

MR CORNELIUS: And one could trust that there was report made to the State Security Council?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR CORNELIUS: Therefore the normal foot-soldier who had the trust that the actions of Vlakplaas and your command, had the highest approval?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, I would like to qualify. The foot-soldier would realise that he cannot get away with murder, if he did not have the support of the highest authorities.

MR CORNELIUS: Yes, but before this background that you sketched here today, the idea was that the operation stopped with you, but it is not so, it had the highest approval in the country?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR CORNELIUS: Thank you Chairperson, no further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR CORNELIUS

MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, I have certain questions which I want to put to Mr De Kock, which I want an opportunity to check with reference to some of the evidence of Brigadier Cronje. I have requested my colleagues if it would be possible for me to deal with that tomorrow, if at all possible, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Subject, I don't know what I am going to be faced with on my left, but we had anticipated I think in our general discussions, that this would take at least two days. I don't think you had arranged for witnesses to be present until Wednesday, so I think you can certainly stand over till tomorrow.

MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you Mr Chairman.

MR JANSEN: Thank you Mr Chairman, again I think maybe subject to whether any of the representatives on my left have any questions, I do have some.

MR MOHLABA: Chairperson, at this stage I have no questions, if I could also be given an indulgence that if something crops up, I may be given an opportunity to pose a question tomorrow. Thank you.

NO CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR MOHLABA

MS BALOYI: Mr Chairman, I do not have a question at this stage as well, thank you.

NO CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS BALOYI

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR JANSEN: Thank you Mr Chairman. Mr De Kock, my questions will be of a general nature and deals with what your perception was of these general happenings. Firstly with regard to political context, is it so that you and your members at Vlakplaas were well known or knew what the security situation in the country was, during the middle 1980's?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: And more than the normal Police Officer or the normal member of the public?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: And for purposes of the record, if you could confirm that in the later half of 1984, from September onwards, there was a serious political unrest, firstly in Sharpeville and then in the Vaal Triangle and this circled right throughout the country from there, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: Was it your perception and let's work with the perception of the average Security Policemen, that the unrest at that stage and the instability in the country, was much worse than at any stage before in our country?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, that is the perception.

MR JANSEN: And it would be justified to say that in 1985 the situation worsened to such an extent, that one could say that the State was stumbling?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, just to give you an idea to join up with you, one of the doctrines of revolutionary war was to divide the State's powers, in other words there is serious unrest within the country as well as pressure from outside the borders and this leads to the division of power and also of manpower. This joins up with what you say, there was an escalation, that is correct.

MR JANSEN: You regarded yourself as central to this whole struggle?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: To be truthful I think it has been placed on record on many instances during this process, we know of many instances where Policemen thought that they were the persons who stood between political success or political failure?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, it has been referred to us as the last blue line between anarchy and peace.

MR JANSEN: Very well, and although there were certain uncertainties with regard to when the National Party put out its feelers towards its political opponents outside parliament, we know today that it was approximately during late 1985, 1986 that such feelers were being put out?

MR DE KOCK: My information during that time was that it was during 1986, internally as well as externally.

MR JANSEN: Yes. Despite these feelers that these politicians were sending out, was it indeed true that they were very inciteful in their speeches and what they expected from the Security Police and the other Forces?

MR DE KOCK: That is so Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: At no stage did they give the idea to the Security Forces that they, the Security Forces, had to change their perception with regard to the enemy, that the politicians were working to a political settlement?

MR DE KOCK: No Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: If one looks at the manner in which President P.W. Botha went about at that stage, in handling the situation, it was indeed to act more oppressive?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: And the Security Forces were his instrument in this approach or on the surface, in other words I am not referring to the invisible political activities, but the visible political activities, that was his approach?

MR DE KOCK: That is quite correct Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: Would it be right to say that the average person in your position and some of your members like Mr Ras and I assume all the other Police Officers who are represented here who were at Vlakplaas, they would have believed that they were embroiled in a struggle for life and death and they were right at the core of this struggle?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, I would not say right at the centre, but they were the front line.

MR JANSEN: The larger majority of the work of persons at Vlakplaas, or the work at Vlakplaas, was it not related to the investigation of crimes which was connected with the Security of the State?

MR DE KOCK: No, it had to do with the finding of these persons.

MR JANSEN: It was operational. That work was done by the normal Branch, the Pretoria Branch and so forth?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: One of the more important things which are mentioned or the actions which were taken at Vlakplaas, was the need to know policy, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: This was primarily there to maintain the secrecy of the activities?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: And it would have placed anybody in a position under you, or it would have placed the person under you, in a position that in most cases, if not all cases, would not know where the command exactly came from if it came from higher up than you?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that situation did exist Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: One would accept that the execution of orders was actually seen in a military sense that if an order is given, it is given with one purpose and that is that it had to be executed, it was not open for debate?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, yes, it is so, but Policemen are individuals and they will ask questions, but they would not have gone out and withdrawn themselves from an order and walked away. I accept if you say that, debate that there would be a long conversation.

MR JANSEN: Yes, I think we see it in the evidence that you have given here, sometimes questions are asked, sometimes not, one could accept that with regard to certain operational things, one would accept that persons ask questions, things that they need to know if they become part of an operation.

MR DE KOCK: That is so Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: And it could be that some were concerned with the legitimacy or the risk attached to an operation, but this was not in the general rule. The general situation was that persons accepted their orders as orders which were thoroughly thought through and which were bona fide?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson, the members of Vlakplaas were there to fight and that is what we were there for.

MR JANSEN: The only thing that I want to illustrate with these questions is that if - one has lots of retrospective knowledge and a total other situation, if one looks at an incident that could have led to non-combatant persons, it is difficult to think of that situation or to put yourself in the shoes of the operative at that stage?

MR DE KOCK: Except for when you were an operative yourself, you will never understand it and you will never understand how vague the line was that was drawn between non-combatants and combatants.

MR JANSEN: The other thing is because of the clandestine nature and the unlawful nature of your activities, I would assume that you never had any lessons with regard to what is acceptable in war situations and what is seen as justifiable according to international law and what is justifiable with regard to cross-border operations and the loss of civil lives and so forth?

MR DE KOCK: No Chairperson, not we and none of the operatives whom I have known or the enemy, attended any lessons on the Geneva Convention.

MR JANSEN: These are things that a person at Vlakplaas would have learnt typically through the culture of the Security Police and the culture of Vlakplaas as it had existed before that person was there and as he experienced it as he became part of the Unit?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct Chairperson. I think in the matter in East London I mentioned that much depends on the Commander of such a group and his inherent integrity and viewpoint of matters at grassroots level. One sees that questions could be asked with regard to civil matters and that innocent people could be hurt, but one wants to avoid this, but one could get Commanders who are guilty of other instances which we see now in Serbia and Croatia, people had been taken to the World Court therefore, but the inherent attitude and the inherent integrity of the members of Vlakplaas, did not open them to any of those actions. But if you step up and you join up with the struggle, then it could be possible that with great reasonability that members of the public could get hurt.

MR JANSEN: One has the idea and you must tell me if you agree, that with regard to the operations although in certain situations it would have been made peace with the fact that there would be civil casualties, but nobody ever acted recklessly?

MR DE KOCK: No Chairperson, this did not happen.

MR JANSEN: And furthermore one gets the impression that Vlakplaas was not, or the typical Vlakplaas operation was not one where persons would have joined in sort of senseless gruesome acts for example rape and senseless killing of any person who they met with?

MR DE KOCK: No Chairperson, I voiced the sentiment previously and I would have said that if I found one of my members raping somebody or molesting a child, I would have executed him right there, I make no secret of it.

MR JANSEN: Mr Chairman ...

CHAIRPERSON: Will you be much longer?

MR JANSEN: Yes, a while longer Mr Chairman, will that be a convenient time, thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Gentlemen, what time tomorrow morning? Half past nine, would that suit you?

MR JANSEN: Yes, Mr Chairman, could I maybe just place a problem that I have, on record, seeing that I am busy cross-examining. I had a trial that was placed in the course of last year already in the Regional Court here in Pretoria, that was placed from tomorrow till Friday, I have previously managed to postpone everything, but I have to be there formally at nine o'clock, just to make sure that everything goes, I will try to be here by half past nine, but it may be that I will be a bit late, so maybe ten o'clock will be safer.

CHAIRPERSON: Let's say half past nine, and see what time you are here.

MR JANSEN: Yes, thank you.

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