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Amnesty Hearings

Type AMNESTY HEARINGS

Starting Date 14 June 1999

Location PRETORIA

Names DAWID JACOBUS BRITZ

Case Number AM 3745/96

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ON RESUMPTION

MR CORNELIUS: Thank you, Mr Chair. Wim Cornelius for Dawid Jacobus Britz. I call him as the second applicant.

DAWID JACOBUS BRITZ: (sworn states)

EXAMINATION BY MR CORNELIUS: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Mr Britz, you are an applicant in this matter of amnesty and you have prepared an application in terms of Section 20(1)(a) of the Act, and you have submitted this application in the due time.

MR BRITZ: That is correct.

MR CORNELIUS: The background history of Vlakplaas has already been discussed at length and in this section of the South African Police?

MR BRITZ: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR CORNELIUS: And at the time of the Penge Mine incident, you were also a Warrant Officer.

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR CORNELIUS: And your were under the command of Eugene de Kock, who is the previous applicant.

MR BRITZ: That is correct.

MR CORNELIUS: You acted as a soldier, a so-called foot-soldier in his unit.

MR BRITZ: That is correct.

MR CORNELIUS: And you performed all orders which were given by Captain de Kock, without any hesitation.

MR BRITZ: That is correct.

MR CORNELIUS: Now to get to this specific incident, can you tell the Committee briefly how it came to be that you became involved in this operation? Were you involved in fetching Johannes Mabotha?

MR BRITZ: That is correct.

MR CORNELIUS: Can you tell the Committee about that?

MR BRITZ: Colonel de Kock gave me the order to drive in the direction of De Deur Police Station and wait alongside the road.

MR CORNELIUS: Were you given the order to fetch Johannes Mabotha at the De Deur Police Station?

MR BRITZ: That is correct.

MR CORNELIUS: I would just like for you to describe that vicinity to the Committee. It is near the Vereeniging Road?

MR BRITZ: Yes, that is correct.

MR CORNELIUS: And the road before the De Deur Police Station, that street runs into a T-junction with the Vereeniging Road.

MR BRITZ: Yes, that's correct.

MR CORNELIUS: And where did you wait for the rest of the group?

MR BRITZ: It was on the Johannesburg/Vereeniging Road, before you get to the turn-off that leads to the police station.

MR CORNELIUS: And how far away from the police station was this?

MR BRITZ: From the T-junction it was approximately two kilometres.

MR CORNELIUS: Who arrived there?

MR BRITZ: It was Colonel de Kock and Colonel Potgieter.

MR CORNELIUS: And there were three vehicles?

MR BRITZ: Yes, there were three vehicles.

MR CORNELIUS: And what was the agreement, what was your duty? What were you supposed to do?

MR BRITZ: Colonel Potgieter would release Johannes Mabotha at the De Deur Police Station. He would have come out with him and he would have stopped a few metres away from the police station. I would have driven there and taken Mabotha over from him.

MR CORNELIUS: Did you then move your vehicle so that you could assume an observation position of the police station?

MR BRITZ: Yes, that is correct. I drove past the police station and turned around so that I could observe the police station.

MR CORNELIUS: How far away from the police station were you?

MR BRITZ: Approximately 400 metres.

MR CORNELIUS: It is common cause that you and Louw van Niekerk and Leon Flores were in this vehicle.

MR BRITZ: That is correct.

MR CORNELIUS: What did you observe?

MR BRITZ: After some time, Colonel Potgieter and Johannes Mabotha came out of the police station and climbed into his vehicle and drove off in an easterly direction from the police station.

MR CORNELIUS: And then?

MR BRITZ: They stopped, after which I drove after them and stopped behind them. As far as I can recall I stopped behind them. Colonel Potgieter and Johannes Mabotha climbed out of the vehicle and walked over to our vehicle to the passenger's side of my vehicle.

He told Mabotha, and I cannot recall his precise words, but he said that Mabotha was to go with us, upon which Mabotha climbed in at the back on the left-hand side.

MR CORNELIUS: You drove the vehicle? Leon Flores sat in front in the passenger's seat and van Niekerk and Mabotha in the back of the vehicle.

MR BRITZ: That is correct.

MR CORNELIUS: You then drove in the direction of Penge Mine.

MR BRITZ: That is correct.

MR CORNELIUS: I understand that later Mabotha was handcuffed in the vehicle.

MR BRITZ: That is correct. While we were driving, Colonel de Kock and the others drove past us, and I'm not entirely certain whether it was at that stage or just a short while thereafter that Leon Flores climbed into the back and helped van Niekerk to cuff Mabotha.

MR CORNELIUS: Upon the issue of the order to fetch Mabotha, did you understand that he was an Askari?

MR BRITZ: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR CORNELIUS: What did you understand that he had done wrong? - to put it that way.

MR BRITZ: I understood that he had spent quite some time away from the unit, that he had turned, as we put it, that he had gone back to the ANC.

MR CORNELIUS: Would the fact that he had turned have involved a risk for the Security Forces?

MR BRITZ: Yes, it would have presented a tremendous risk, Chairperson, not only for those persons on the farm but for the entire Security Branch.

MR CORNELIUS: Why do you say that?

MR BRITZ: Chairperson, he would have co-operated with us and came to know some of the members of the Security Branches, he knew where they lived, which vehicles they drove, where in the Security Branch offices they would have been.

MR CORNELIUS: And did he communicate with other members of Vlakplaas, according to your knowledge, or was it the usual custom for them to talk amongst themselves?

MR BRITZ: It was the usual custom.

MR CORNELIUS: If this information pertaining to registration numbers and vehicles and residences and families came to be knowledge for the opposing organisations, would this have presented a risk?

MR BRITZ: Yes.

MR CORNELIUS: Did you have any reason to doubt the order of Mr de Kock, or to doubt what he told you to do, to go and fetch Mabotha from the police station, or as such to steal him from the police station?

MR BRITZ: No, he wasn't stolen, he was delivered to me.

MR CORNELIUS: But you do realise that you deprived him of his freedom while taking him to Penge Mine?

MR BRITZ: Yes, that is correct.

MR CORNELIUS: Did you trust the decision of Colonel de Kock?

MR BRITZ: Yes, I did.

MR CORNELIUS: When you arrived at Penge Mine, what did you observe?

MR BRITZ: Upon our arrival there, Snor Vermeulen and Lionel Snyman were there. Colonel de Kock and Wouter Mentz did not arrive directly after us or with us, but they did arrive there.

MR CORNELIUS: When you arrived, what did you find at Penge Mine?

MR BRITZ: There was a big fire and Lionel Snyman and Snor Vermeulen were there.

MR CORNELIUS: Is it correct that Colonel de Kock then interrogated Johannes Mabotha?

MR BRITZ: That is correct.

MR CORNELIUS: Did you follow the discussion?

MR BRITZ: No, Chairperson.

MR CORNELIUS: What happened next?

MR BRITZ: Snor Vermeulen and Lionel Snyman then went to the prearranged place and we drove with the vehicle near to the place. It was a big hole. We left the vehicle there and all of us walked down into the hole together.

CHAIRPERSON: Who drove in the vehicle?

MR BRITZ: If I recall correctly, Chairperson, I think we drove in my vehicle.

MR CORNELIUS: And this was somewhat unclear. We had idea that this was from the fire to the hole, but it isn't so, the dilapidated houses and the hole were some distance from each other.

MR BRITZ: The fire was near the dilapidated structures and the hole was quite a distance away, to walk.

MR CORNELIUS: When you arrived at the hole, did you move down together into the quarry?

MR BRITZ: Yes, that's correct.

MR CORNELIUS: When you arrived at the bottom what did you find there?

MR BRITZ: I saw Snor Vermeulen there, he had explosives on him. And there I received the order from Colonel de Kock that I was to assist with the explosives.

MR CORNELIUS: That is that you had to assist Vermeulen?

MR BRITZ: Yes, that is correct.

MR CORNELIUS: You are a qualified demolitions expert yourself?

MR BRITZ: That is correct.

MR CORNELIUS: And that is the reason why you received that order?

MR BRITZ: Yes, that's correct.

MR CORNELIUS: And Mr Snyman was also a trained demolitions expert?

MR BRITZ: That is correct.

MR CORNELIUS: What happened at the bottom of the quarry?

MR BRITZ: While Vermeulen and I were busy preparing the explosives I heard a shot. Later I heard that it was actually two shots.

MR CORNELIUS: This happened a long time ago, but from what you can recall, was it one shot?

MR BRITZ: Yes, but it would appear that there were two shots.

MR CORNELIUS: And Mabotha had been shot?

MR BRITZ: Yes, I turned around and saw that Mabotha had been shot.

MR CORNELIUS: Did he say anything?

MR BRITZ: Not that I can recall.

MR CORNELIUS: He then died.

MR BRITZ: Yes, that is correct.

MR CORNELIUS: Did you see specifically where he had been shot?

MR BRITZ: No, Chairperson, I didn't see.

MR CORNELIUS: What did you do then?

MR BRITZ: I assisted Vermeulen, we removed his clothing.

MR CORNELIUS: I take it that the reason for this was to reduce the evidence?

MR BRITZ: Yes, that is correct.

MR CORNELIUS: And what did you do with the body of the deceased?

MR BRITZ: We placed him in a sitting position and placed the box with the explosives inside between his legs and we tied him to the explosives with cortex.

MR CORNELIUS: Is it correct that the amount of the explosives came to 25 kilograms?

MR BRITZ: Yes, that's correct.

MR CORNELIUS: And did you then move out of the quarry?

MR BRITZ: Yes. After we had commenced with the explosives, everybody began to move away.

MR CORNELIUS: Did you then place the detonators on the explosives?

MR BRITZ: Yes.

MR CORNELIUS: And how would you detonate this explosion, what was the arrangement?

MR BRITZ: By means of an electric cord.

MR CORNELIUS: I understand that Vermeulen and Snyman would then provide cover-fire to create the illusion that there was an exercise, a shooting exercise being conducted in the quarry.

MR BRITZ: That's correct.

MR CORNELIUS: And then those shots would cover the explosion going off?

MR BRITZ: That is correct.

MR CORNELIUS: Did you let it explode?

MR BRITZ: Yes, I did.

MR CORNELIUS: Did you carry out an inspection of the scene after the time?

MR BRITZ: Yes, after the explosion I went down to the scene and there was nothing, everything was gone.

MR CORNELIUS: Was the body entirely destroyed?

MR BRITZ: Yes, that's correct.

MR CORNELIUS: I understand that later that evening, Wouter Mentz, Leon Flores and de Kock returned to Pretoria.

MR BRITZ: That is correct.

MR CORNELIUS: Before the destruction of the body did anybody consume any alcohol?

MR BRITZ: No.

MR CORNELIUS: Did any one of the members consume alcohol?

MR BRITZ: No, not that I saw.

MR CORNELIUS: There is no question that the body was placed on a chair with explosives below the chair?

MR BRITZ: No, there was no chair.

MR CORNELIUS: You also did not dig a hole for the body?

MR BRITZ: No.

MR CORNELIUS: At all times you felt that you were acting within the scope of your duties and that you were executing an order?

MR BRITZ: Yes.

MR CORNELIUS: You knew that what you were committing was a gross violation of human rights?

MR BRITZ: That is correct.

MR CORNELIUS: Did you believe that through this you would lower the risk for the Security Forces and so combat the political onslaught of those parties outside the country?

MR BRITZ: That's correct.

MR CORNELIUS: Did you know that he had received active training within the ANC's military wing?

MR BRITZ: Yes.

MR CORNELIUS: Did you in any way doubt in your mind that this action enjoyed the approval of senior officers?

MR BRITZ: No, I had no doubt about that.

MR CORNELIUS: Did you draw any financial gain from your action?

MR BRITZ: No.

MR CORNELIUS: Any bonuses?

MR BRITZ: None.

MR CORNELIUS: You simply received your regular salary?

MR BRITZ: That is correct.

MR CORNELIUS: Did you cherish any personal vengeance or malicious feeling towards Mabotha?

MR BRITZ: No.

MR CORNELIUS: You are requesting amnesty for the murder of Johannes Mabotha, the destruction of the remains, the transgression of various Sections in terms of the Arms and Ammunitions Act, as well as the transgression of Section 2 of the Dangerous Weapons Act, along with the transgression of the Demolitions Act, along with intimidation and the fact that you obstructed the usual course of justice.

MR BRITZ: Yes, that is correct.

MR CORNELIUS: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR CORNELIUS

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR HATTINGH: I suggest that we go first, Mr Chairman. Hattingh on behalf of de Kock.

Mr Britz, what time was it when you received the order from Mr de Kock, to go to the De Deur environment?

MR BRITZ: As far as I can recall I would say that it was between one and two in the afternoon, around that time.

MR HATTINGH: And were all of you together in one group when you received your instructions or did you receive your instructions separately?

MR BRITZ: I cannot say with certainty that all of us were together in one group.

MR HATTINGH: However, did you know that Lionel Snyman and Snor Vermeulen would depart before you for Penge Mine?

MR BRITZ: No, not at that stage.

MR HATTINGH: Very well. What was the instruction from Mr de Kock, in terms of what you were supposed to do in the De Deur area?

MR BRITZ: We had to wait there for him and he would arrive there with Colonel Potgieter and rendezvous with us there.

MR HATTINGH: How long after you did he arrive there?

MR BRITZ: This was a long time ago, Chairperson, but I would say that it was probably 15 minutes.

MR HATTINGH: And can you recall whether it was Colonel de Kock or Colonel Potgieter who arrived there first?

MR BRITZ: No, Chairperson, I cannot recall.

MR HATTINGH: At a stage all three vehicles had rendezvoused at that point which was approximately 200 kilometres from the police station.

MR BRITZ: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Did you climb out of your vehicle?

MR BRITZ: That's correct, all of us stood outside our vehicles.

CHAIRPERSON: If this is being recorded in English, I think there is a mistake there when they said it was 200, it was 2.

MR BRITZ: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Mr Britz, you say that all of you climbed out of the vehicles at the point where you met Colonel Potgieter?

MR BRITZ: Yes, that's correct.

MR HATTINGH: And were you present during the discussion that were held at that point?

MR BRITZ: All of us were standing in a group.

MR HATTINGH: Can you recall what the topic of discussion was?

MR BRITZ: The topic of discussion was basically how Colonel Potgieter would release the man, the observation that I had to undertake and that he would have driven away from the police station and that my vehicle would pick Mabotha up, and that Colonel de Kock and the others would be undertaking observation a further distance away from the police station.

MR HATTINGH: Well Colonel de Kock's version was that he and Mabotha sat waiting in his vehicle for you outside the police station.

MR BRITZ: No, Chairperson, he came out of the vehicle, came out of the station, climbed into his vehicle and drove in an easterly direction away from the police station.

MR HATTINGH: At which stage did you receive the order to take Mabotha to Penge Mine?

MR BRITZ: When all of us were together, at the first rendezvous point where Colonel Potgieter was present.

MR HATTINGH: Was it said to you that you would find Vermeulen and Snyman at Penge Mine?

MR BRITZ: I cannot recall anything like that.

MR HATTINGH: Very well. After you had picked up Mabotha, you left.

MR BRITZ: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And did he, Mr Mabotha, at any stage ask you: "Where are we going now, we've not on the way to Vlakplaas?", or anything to that effect?

MR BRITZ: No, Chairperson, at no stage did he ask any such questions of me.

MR HATTINGH: And after you had overwhelmed him and cuffed him, didn't he ask you what was going on, didn't he say anything about an agreement with Colonel Potgieter that he would be taken to Vlakplaas where he would be kept available to give evidence against Mrs Mandela? Did he say anything in that line?

MR BRITZ: No, nothing whatsoever. He said nothing.

MR HATTINGH: Just before I proceed with the events themselves, this affidavit which is a part of your application and begins on page 27, at the top of the page there is a De Deur "Mass" number, do you see that?

MR BRITZ: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And this affidavit was taken from you by Ernest Michael Holmes and was taken under oath on the 2nd of December 1996, is that correct?

MR BRITZ: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And who is this Mr Holmes?

MR BRITZ: He was an investigating officer with the Attorney-General's office.

MR HATTINGH: And was he also the investigating officer in the case against Mr de Kock?

MR BRITZ: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And he attended the court proceedings in that capacity continuously?

MR BRITZ: Yes, that's correct.

MR HATTINGH: And you then made this affidavit in your capacity as a potential State witness against Mr de Kock or any other possible persons?

MR BRITZ: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: You were then driving towards Penge Mine, had you visited Penge Mine before the incident?

MR BRITZ: That's correct.

MR HATTINGH: So you knew where it was?

MR BRITZ: Yes, that's correct.

MR HATTINGH: And upon your arrival there, were any of your members present?

MR BRITZ: Yes, it was Snor Vermeulen and Lionel Snyman.

MR HATTINGH: What was the instruction, were all of you to return after the completion of the events there, or were some of you to remain there?

MR BRITZ: After the incident at Penge Mine, Colonel de Kock told Lionel Snyman, Snor Vermeulen, Louw van Niekerk and me to remain there.

MR HATTINGH: Were there any facilities for you to stay over?

MR BRITZ: There were old buildings, ruins.

MR HATTINGH: Was it then expected of you to camp out in the open air or to sleep in the open air?

MR BRITZ: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: Were there any facilities for preparing food?

MR BRITZ: No.

MR HATTINGH: Were there any sources of artificial light?

MR BRITZ: No.

MR HATTINGH: So you had to provide your own lighting, your own facilities for the preparation of food?

MR BRITZ: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Is that the reason for the fire?

MR BRITZ: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Was it dark when you arrived there?

MR BRITZ: It was between 8 o'clock and 10 o'clock at night, it was already dark.

MR HATTINGH: With regard to ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Before you go on.

You were asked a moment ago, after the incident that de Kock told you you must stay there, did you expect anything to happen there when you went there? Did you expect to have to stay there?

MR BRITZ: No, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: What did you think you were going there for?

MR BRITZ: I was simply told that I had to go there, Chairperson. We always had emergency food supplies and sleeping bags in our vehicles.

MR HATTINGH: Did it happen frequently that during operations you would unexpectedly be kept busy there for longer and then have to stay over at such a place, that you had to sleep over in the field sometimes?

MR BRITZ: Yes, that's correct.

MR HATTINGH: And you have stated that you had emergency food supplies and other equipment for that purpose.

MR BRITZ: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And you also had cooking equipment that you could use in such an event?

MR BRITZ: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: What was Mr de Kock's police with regard to the use of alcohol before operations, before and during operations?

MR BRITZ: It was not allowed, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: You've already said that before the killing and the destruction of the body no liquor was used.

MR BRITZ: No, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Did you know that you would handle the explosives?

MR BRITZ: Not up until the moment when I arrived at Penge Mine, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: But when you were there, were you told there that you had to arrange the wiring of the explosives?

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Was this a task that had to be done cautiously?

MR BRITZ: Yes, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Does it entail any danger?

MR BRITZ: Yes, it does, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: I understand Mr Britz, - maybe you might correct me if I'm wrong, but I understand that if an explosives charge like that does not explode for some or other reason when it is detonated, then it's the person who set it up's responsibility to go back and see what the fault is.

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Was that the policy?

MR BRITZ: Yes, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: The person who deals or handles the wiring takes responsibility for the successful detonation thereof.

MR BRITZ: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And in this case it was you.

MR BRITZ: Yes, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Would you have used alcohol and perform that task while you were drunk?

MR BRITZ: No, Chairperson, it was too dangerous.

MR HATTINGH: Can you remember whether Mr Mabotha was questioned at Penge Mine?

MR BRITZ: As far as I know, Colonel de Kock basically spoke to him, Chairperson. I can't remember that he was physically questioned for some time.

MR HATTINGH: Where was Mr Mabotha during that time, before you went into the quarry?

MR BRITZ: He was there with us.

MR HATTINGH: Was he tied to something?

MR BRITZ: No, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Was he assaulted in any manner at that stage?

MR BRITZ: No, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Did he voice any protest towards Mr de Kock when he arrived there and asked: "Why am I here, why am I not at Vlakplaas"?

MR BRITZ: Not that I can recall, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Did you detonate the explosion by means of remote control?

MR BRITZ: Yes, I did Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: And were shots fired to create the impression that there was a shooting exercise there?

MR BRITZ: Yes, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Yourself and who? Please refresh my memory, who spent the night there?

MR BRITZ: It was Mr Vermeulen, Mr Snyman, Mr van Niekerk and myself.

MR HATTINGH: Who arrived there with Mr de Kock?

MR BRITZ: It was Wouter Mentz.

MR HATTINGH: And did they leave together?

MR BRITZ: Yes, they did and Leon Flores also left with them.

MR HATTINGH: Did you know Mabotha at Vlakplaas, before you became involved in this incident?

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Did you know that he had deserted the farm?

MR BRITZ: Yes, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Did you take any particular steps to try and find him after it seemed that he would not return?

MR BRITZ: No, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Were you aware thereof that he was later apprehended by the Security Police of Soweto?

MR BRITZ: There was some discussion to that effect on the farm, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Have you ever heard that Mr de Kock had any vengeful ideas towards Mr Mabotha after you had heard that he was arrested?

MR BRITZ: No, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: You or any of the members that you know of, were you ever given instructions to find out what had happened to Mr Mabotha after he was arrested and before you received the instruction to fetch him?

MR BRITZ: No, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Please correct me if I'm wrong, I think you said that Vermeulen and yourself undressed Mr Mabotha's body after he was shot.

MR BRITZ: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And what did you do with the clothes afterwards?

MR BRITZ: After the explosion and after I investigated the scene, the clothes were burnt.

MR HATTINGH: Did you have a look at what was in the clothes?

MR BRITZ: No, I did not, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: So you don't know whether there was anything in the pockets of those clothing items?

MR BRITZ: No, I don't, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Thank you, Mr Chairman, we have no further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR HATTINGH

MR LAMEY: Lamey, Mr Chairman, no questions.

NO QUESTIONS BY MR LAMEY

MR DU PLESSIS: Roelof du Plessis on behalf of Mentz, Mr Chairman, I have just one or two questions, maybe one or two more than that, Mr Chairman.

There's something that I'm not hundred percent sure of, Mr Britz. Would you please explain to us about the Mabotha presence there at the mine. Are you saying that at no stage was he tied up there during questioning before he was killed?

MR BRITZ: He was not tied to anything but his hands were cuffed.

MR DU PLESSIS: His hands were cuffed.

MR BRITZ: Yes, his hands were cuffed from the time Flores helped Louw van Niekerk, but at the Penge Mine his hands were still handcuffed.

MR DU PLESSIS: And long were his hands cuffed before he was shot? Before you went to the place where he was shot, was he cuffed before that or was he just cuffed where he was shot?

MR BRITZ: As far as I can recall he was cuffed all the time, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: I thought you said he was cuffed from the time Flores assisted in the car?

MR BRITZ: Yes, Chairperson, that's correct. He was cuffed while we were driving and he was cuffed all the time ...(intervention)

MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, that's what I wanted to know.

MR BRITZ: ... until after he was shot.

MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, that's what I wanted to know, because you see my client, Wouter Mentz says that he was cuffed to a pole, are you saying that it is not so?

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson, he was not cuffed to a pole.

MR DU PLESSIS: Are you sure about it or are you saying as far as you can recall?

MR BRITZ: I'm sure of it, Chairperson.

MR DU PLESSIS: So you say that Mr Mentz is mistaken?

MR BRITZ: I think he might be thinking about another incident, but Mabotha was not cuffed to a pole there, Chairperson.

MR DU PLESSIS: Very well. Then there's another aspect which is strange for me because Mr Mentz says in his evidence very clearly that there where Mr Mabotha was shot a chair was placed and explosives were placed under the chair. What is your comment on that?

MR BRITZ: There was no chair place there, Chairperson. As I've said it was primitive, we didn't take any chairs along. There was no chair there at all.

MR DU PLESSIS: Please explain to us again, how was Mabotha shot? How do you say he was shot?

MR BRITZ: I did not see how he was shot, Chairperson, I was busy with the explosives. I heard the shots.

MR DU PLESSIS: Now in other words you didn't see how he was shot?

MR BRITZ: No, I didn't, Chairperson.

MR DU PLESSIS: And please tell me again, what was your evidence, were you at the scene where he was shot?

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR DU PLESSIS: And you say you did not see a chair there?

MR BRITZ: No, Chairperson.

MR DU PLESSIS: Now where does Mr Mentz come on this chair?

MR BRITZ: I don't know, Chairperson.

MR DU PLESSIS: Why would he have thought up something about a chair, or are you saying that Mr Mentz was inaccurate in his evidence?

MR BRITZ: I think he might have been wrong in his evidence because there was no chair there, Chairperson.

MR DU PLESSIS: Very well. Did you take liquor along with you, did you buy it on your way there? How did the liquor get there?

MR BRITZ: As I've said, Chairperson, there was no liquor there.

MR DU PLESSIS: Are you saying that there was no liquor there? Are you saying that you did not have a drink afterwards?

MR BRITZ: I am not sure about afterwards, Chairperson, but we could not have bought liquor because Mabotha, only after five did we leave the town and as far as I know we never stopped.

MR DU PLESSIS: Can you recall whether there was drink or not?

MR BRITZ: No, Chairperson.

MR DU PLESSIS: Is it possible that there could have been liquor?

MR BRITZ: It is possible, Chairperson.

MR DU PLESSIS: Is it possible that you could have consumed liquor afterwards?

MR BRITZ: It's possible afterwards, Chairperson.

MR DU PLESSIS: If Mr Mentz' evidence is that you had consumed liquor before, then you say he is wrong?

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR DU PLESSIS: Is it possible that Mr Mentz had had a drink before the time, but not you? Is that not possible?

MR BRITZ: Not while he was with Colonel de Kock, Chairperson. Mr de Kock would not have allowed it.

MR DU PLESSIS: Can you recall whether he and Mr de Kock were permanently in each other's presence at the mine?

MR BRITZ: No, Chairperson.

MR DU PLESSIS: You cannot recall it, or were they not?

MR BRITZ: I can't recall it, Chairperson.

MR DU PLESSIS: In other words, you are conceding that it is possible that Mr Mentz was not in the presence of Mr de Kock at all times?

MR BRITZ: As I've said, Chairperson, it was dark and I cannot say that he was there all the time. I had other things to attend to and I was not watching them all the time.

MR DU PLESSIS: And you were also not in the presence of Mr Mentz at all times?

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR DU PLESSIS: So certainly you have to concede it is possible that Mr Mentz could have consumed liquor beforehand?

MR BRITZ: It's possible, Chairperson.

MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you, Chairperson, I have no further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR DU PLESSIS

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR WAGENER: Jan Wagener, Chairperson.

Mr Britz, you have testified, and I see my note says that:

"I believed that the operation would have the approval of my senior officers."

Is that what you said?

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR WAGENER: If you refer to senior officers, do you mean from a certain rank upwards or what do you mean?

MR BRITZ: My commander was Colonel de Kock and at that stage he was my senior officer, Chairperson, and I believed that it had his approval.

MR WAGENER: So you only referred to him and nobody else?

MR BRITZ: Any officer. But at that stage he was my senior officer at the scene.

MR WAGENER: Mr Britz, I don't want any misunderstanding because the Commissioner of Police, was he your senior officer? Do you mean it would have the Commissioner of Police's approval, if we're speaking about senior officers?

MR BRITZ: Chairperson, if a senior gives me an instruction I will perform that instruction. So if any person who is my senior gives me an instruction I will execute that instruction.

ADV SANDI: Maybe you can ask the question differently, Mr Wagener. Mr Britz, did you believe that this action had any authority or approval beyond Colonel de Kock?

MR BRITZ: I cannot answer to that, Chairperson, because Colonel de Kock was my senior officer and I listened to him. I don't know whether he took the discussion any higher, to another officer higher than himself.

CHAIRPERSON: Are you saying that if Colonel de Kock ordered you to do something that you thought was blatantly illegal, you would just carry on and do it because Colonel de Kock was your senior officer?

MR BRITZ: That is correct, Chairperson, this is how we worked.

MR WAGENER: Mr Britz, I do not have instructions from all my clients with regard to the evidence that was led here, or given here today, I can tell you though that the Commissioner of Police at that stage was General Hennie de Wit. Do you remember that?

MR BRITZ: It's possible, Chairperson.

MR WAGENER: And I cannot think that he would have approved this operation.

MR BRITZ: I cannot comment on that, Chairperson.

MR WAGENER: And the same goes for many others, if not in fact all senior officers above Mr de Kock.

MR BRITZ: I would have believed that if such an instruction was given to me, Colonel de Kock would have consulted with his senior officers.

MR WAGENER: But you've heard Mr de Kock's evidence when he said that he did not have instructions from higher up when you departed for this operation.

MR BRITZ: Yes, Chairperson.

MR WAGENER: I've got no further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR WAGENER

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR ROSSOUW: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Mr Britz, you have said that the fact that Mr Mabotha had turned, was of huge risk to Vlakplaas and members of the Security Branch, is that correct?

MR BRITZ: That's correct.

MR ROSSOUW: And on a question of what you meant by that, you answered that he knew who certain of the members from the Security Branch were and he knew the Vlakplaas members, he knew where they lived, where their families were and what their vehicle registrations were.

MR BRITZ: I said their vehicles, not the registrations, but that's correct, Chairperson.

MR ROSSOUW: In other words, he could have identified these people and other members of the liberation movements could have targeted them? We know that policemen at that stage were legitimate targets for the liberation organisations. Was that the risk?

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR ROSSOUW: Is this what Colonel de Kock told you?

MR BRITZ: If you can repeat the question please.

MR ROSSOUW: Is this - the risk that we referred to, is this what Colonel de Kock told you?

MR BRITZ: It was well-known that it was a great risk, Chairperson, and Colonel de Kock did mention it to me.

MR ROSSOUW: Did he also mention to you that Mr Mabotha was involved with attacks on policemen?

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson. Not only Colonel de Kock said that to us, but it was well-known. The people on the farm discussed it, that he was involved with attacks on police officers.

CHAIRPERSON: The people on the farm at Vlakplaas discussed this before this incident?

MR BRITZ: No, Chairperson, after the incident.

MR ROSSOUW: Now before the incident, was it discussed at Vlakplaas or was it mentioned to you that he was involved in attacks on police officers?

MR BRITZ: No, Chairperson.

MR ROSSOUW: Can I then say, or am I correct when I draw the inference that at a stage when the operation was launched, with the justification as to why this person had to be eliminated was the security risk that he held for Vlakplaas and the other members of Security Branch?

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR ROSSOUW: And insofar as you know there was no mention of any shooting incidents and attacks on police officers?

MR BRITZ: No, Chairperson.

MR ROSSOUW: Very well. Mr Britz, during yesterday and today you have listened to the evidence given here, were you here?

MR BRITZ: Yes, Chairperson.

MR ROSSOUW: Was your memory refreshed with regard to the incident?

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR ROSSOUW: Am I correct to say that at a stage when you went to De Deur Police Station, you did not know Colonel Potgieter?

MR BRITZ: That's wrong, Chairperson. I did not know him personally, but we worked throughout the country and I knew that he was a member of the Security Branch.

MR ROSSOUW: So you could have identified him?

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR ROSSOUW: The reason why I ask this is because in your affidavit on page 27 of the bundle, paragraph 3.3, you refer to the other member

"I saw Mabotha in the presence of another person from the Force, whose identity I did not know."

To whom have you referred there?

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson. A that stage when I made this statement, I did not want to implicate any other persons, but I did not know him personally but I knew that he was a member of the Security Branch of Soweto. The "identity" is probably the wrong word that I used there.

MR ROSSOUW: Did you know his name?

MR BRITZ: Yes, Chairperson.

MR ROSSOUW: His rank?

MR BRITZ: At that stage he was a Major, Chairperson.

MR ROSSOUW: That's correct. So in other words, in your affidavit that you made here you tried to cover up the truth?

MR BRITZ: To an extent yes, Chairperson.

MR ROSSOUW: And I noticed that in your evidence here you described the discussion point about two kilometres away from the police station where you rendezvoused, Mr de Kock, Mr Potgieter, yourself and the other members in the vehicles, but you did not mention it in this statement of yours on page 27 and 28. You don't mention it anywhere.

MR BRITZ: This was a short statement. He asked me if I knew about the Mabotha incident and I told him yes, I have knowledge of the Mabotha incident and I briefly explained to him what had happened there.

MR ROSSOUW: Very well. You see why this interests me is because insofar as the other incidents and happenings at the De Deur Police Station are concerned where the person was handed over, you are quite specific there. In paragraph 3.5 you say a hundred metres from the police station you stopped next to them and you say you told him to get into the vehicle.

MR BRITZ: Chairperson, I said approximately.

MR ROSSOUW: Yes, please excuse me.

"After Mabotha and them were approximately a hundred metres from the police station, I stopped next to them and I instructed him to climb into the vehicle."

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR ROSSOUW: And then you explained to him that the Major, I think you referred to Mr de Kock ...

MR BRITZ: That's correct.

MR ROSSOUW: ... that he wanted to speak to him.

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR ROSSOUW: And then you say in paragraph 3.6

"Mabotha climbed into the vehicle ..."

... and you went directly to Penge Mine.

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR ROSSOUW: You have also said that with the first meeting there, about two kilometres away from the police station - please correct me if I heard wrong, it is there where you heard the first time that Mabotha had to be taken to Penge Mine.

MR BRITZ: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR ROSSOUW: So it was not told to you at Vlakplaas, the afternoon between one and two when you received this instruction?

MR BRITZ: No, Chairperson.

MR ROSSOUW: It's a very important point this, because now you receive the instruction as to where you eventually have to go with this person.

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR ROSSOUW: I want to put it to you that in the light of that important aspect you would have mentioned it in this statement.

MR BRITZ: As I've said, Chairperson, this was a brief statement, it was not a detailed statement.

MR ROSSOUW: During the time when you were there at the De Deur Police Station, you say in your statement that you stopped next to the vehicle, I assume that is the vehicle in which Mr Potgieter and Mr Mabotha were, and you instructed him to climb into your vehicle.

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson, according to my statement.

MR ROSSOUW: Was this the correct position?

MR BRITZ: No, Chairperson, I could not have stopped next to him, I must have stopped behind or in front of them.

MR ROSSOUW: And it is also not correct in the sense that Mr Potgieter climbed out of the vehicle with Mabotha and walked to your vehicle?

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson, he did indeed climb out and walk with Mabotha to my vehicle.

MR ROSSOUW: And at that stage did you know that you will pick up Mabotha here, you have to take him to Penge Mine, and what would happen there with him?

MR BRITZ: I did not know, Chairperson.

MR ROSSOUW: Did you not ask yourself what do we have to do there?

MR BRITZ: My instruction was to take him to Penge Mine, Chairperson, and I did not doubt that instruction, I did not question it either.

CHAIRPERSON: But what you think it was for?

MR BRITZ: I might have possibly thought at that stage that he would go to Penge Mine for questioning or for training.

CHAIRPERSON: But Penge Mine you've told us has got no facilities.

MR BRITZ: That is correct, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: You'd arrived there in the dark.

MR BRITZ: Yes, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Is that where you'd take someone for questioning or training?

MR BRITZ: To return to that time when we did our training there, Chairperson, they dropped us there, it was at night, you had to walk there, you didn't know where you were, you didn't have any clothing with you, the things would have been there, the things that you would use during your training there.

MR ROSSOUW: You say that one possibility was that he was taken to Penge Mine so that he would receive training there, the area was used by Vlakplaas for training.

MR BRITZ: Yes, Chairperson.

MR ROSSOUW: I know this is speculation, we have been speculating about that since yesterday, but the fact that Mr Mabotha who was an Askari at Vlakplaas and according to all evidence did not question the fact that they took him to Penge Mine, can this be because of the same reason, that he thought that he might be taken for training?

MR BRITZ: As I've said, Chairperson, I don't know what he thought where he was to be taken to, and I cannot recall that he had been previously at Penge Mine and had received training there. I cannot recall that, Chairperson.

MR ROSSOUW: He was an Askari who had previously been at Vlakplaas.

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR ROSSOUW: So if he was released from his Section 29 detention, didn't it have to be a matter that he had to be recruited again as an Askari? This is an old Askari who had to return, so would you such a deduction is justified?

MR BRITZ: Not at all, Chairperson.

MR ROSSOUW: But why not?

MR BRITZ: In the first instance, he left the country and received training ...(intervention)

MR ROSSOUW: That's before he was an Askari?

MR BRITZ: Yes. ... and he returned after he'd joined the ANC, and he became an Askari and then he went away again and he joined up with the ANC again. It's not possible that I believe my specific idea is that one could use him again as an Askari.

MR ROSSOUW: This handing over at De Deur Police Station, did this take place shortly after five in the afternoon?

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR ROSSOUW: And it was daylight, it was not dark?

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR ROSSOUW: And you say in your statement it was approximately 100 metres from the Police Station?

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR ROSSOUW: So it's not very far from the police station?

MR BRITZ: No, Chairperson.

MR ROSSOUW: Thank you, Mr Chairman, I've no further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR ROSSOUW

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR MARIBANA: Chair, it's Maribana for the Mabotha family.

Mr Britz, I just want to find out, at the time of the handing over, were you in a position to see when Mr Potgieter came out of the police station with Mr Mabotha?

MR BRITZ: Yes, that's correct.

MR MARIBANA: And when they approached you, did they stop first or did you signal for them to stop?

MR BRITZ: No, Chairperson, as I've said previously they drove away from the police station in an easterly direction and some distance from there they stopped and I stopped behind them.

MR MARIBANA: And Mr Britz, when they stopped did they come out of the motor vehicle to you without you saying anything? Is that so?

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR MARIBANA: And on their arrival did Mr Potgieter say anything to you?

MR BRITZ: He didn't say anything to me, Chairperson.

MR MARIBANA: And at that stage, was Mr Mabotha not suspicious about your waiting for him at the road, or for your presence at that particular place?

MR BRITZ: No, he did not appear to be suspicious.

MR MARIBANA: But they were well - with whom were you when you were waiting for Mr Mabotha and Mr Potgieter there?

MR BRITZ: Mr Flores and Mr Potgieter were with me. I beg your pardon, that was Mr Flores and Mr van Niekerk.

MR MARIBANA: And at that particular stage, how far was Mr de Kock and Mr Mentz from you?

MR BRITZ: I cannot give any evidence about that, Chairperson, they were far behind me from the police station. I don't know exactly where they were.

ADV SANDI: But could you see them from where you were?

MR BRITZ: At that stage I couldn't see. I cannot recall that I saw or looked where they were.

MR MARIBANA: You have just said that Mr Potgieter said nothing to you, is that so?

MR BRITZ: Yes, that's correct.

MR MARIBANA: And who instructed Mr Mabotha to get into your motor vehicle?

MR BRITZ: As far as I can recall it was Mr Potgieter who said to him: "Johannes, you're going with these people now." I cannot say that those were his specific words, but that is what it boiled down to.

MR MARIBANA: And on page 28 of your affidavit, paragraph 3.8, which reads as follows

"After Colonel de Kock arrived, he and Mabotha spoke to each other. I cannot recall what was said."

Are you referring to Penge Mine here?

MR BRITZ: Yes, it was at Penge Mine.

MR MARIBANA: And at that time when you collected Mr Mabotha, Mr de Kock never came to the picture there, is that so?

MR BRITZ: That's correct.

MR MARIBANA: And tell me, Mr Britz, what made you - or let me just say, your colleagues, Mr Flores and van Niekerk, to handcuff Mr Mabotha there? What made them to do that?

MR BRITZ: Because we were going to be driving for quite a distance and my instruction was to take him to Penge Mine and I reasoned that it would be advisable to cuff him and that is why he was cuffed. He and Louw van Niekerk were alone in the back of that vehicle, he could have jumped out at any time and ran away and my order was to take him to Penge Mine.

CHAIRPERSON: So did you give the instruction to them to handcuff him?

MR BRITZ: I cannot recall that precisely, Chairperson, but I would believe that I said that he should be cuffed or that it was discussed that his hands be cuffed, but I can't recall exactly what happened.

MR MARIBANA: Mr Britz, isn't it that Mr Mabotha never gave you a problem when he was ordered to enter into your motor vehicle?

MR BRITZ: That's correct, he had no problem with climbing into the vehicle.

MR MARIBANA: Irrespective of that you or your colleagues decided to handcuff him, for what purpose actually?

MR BRITZ: My order was as I have already stated, to take him to Penge Mine. I knew that he was an Askari, I knew that he had turned and it was a precautionary measure.

MR MARIBANA: By the way, when did you become aware that Mr Mabotha turned to the ANC?

MR BRITZ: It was generally known at Vlakplaas that he had returned to the ANC. Apparently this was after he had been interrogated. As I later heard he had been interrogated at Marble Hall.

MR MARIBANA: If I understand you correctly you heard that before you were ordered to go and fetch him, is that correct?

MR BRITZ: That is correct.

MR MARIBANA: Now Mr Britz tell me, when you were ordered to fetch Mr Mabotha to Penge Mine, did you have any idea why Mr Mabotha was supposed to be taken there?

MR BRITZ: My order was, through Colonel de Kock, that he was to be taken to Penge Mine. My ideas were not relevant. He may have been taken there for training or interrogation or for any purpose. I don't know what the purpose behind it was.

MR MARIBANA: If one understands you correctly, will it be correct to say you didn't know that he'd be killed there, is that correct?

MR BRITZ: Yes, that is correct.

MR MARIBANA: And Mr Britz, will you be in a position maybe to tell this Honourable Committee, in what way did you participate in the murder of Mr Mabotha, except by fetching him from the police station?

MR CORNELIUS: Mr Chair, I think he testified fully on that, and his participation in the mine and everything that he did. If you could just clarify the ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: The argument may be that was not participation in the murder, that the shooting came as a surprise to him. I don't know what the purpose is, he was obviously party to what was going on. Carry on.

MR MARIBANA: Will you be able to tell this Honourable Committee about what I've asked you, Mr Britz?

MR BRITZ: My order was to fetch him at he police station and to take him to Penge Mine. At Penge Mine I received the order to assist in the destruction of his body.

MR MARIBANA: And there at Penge Mine, you've just testified that you and one of your colleagues you took off the clothes from Mr Mabotha's corpse.

MR BRITZ: That's correct, me and Mr Vermeulen.

MR MARIBANA: And one would like to know why, what was the reason for doing that?

MR BRITZ: Because there was going to be an explosion, Chairperson, and because the body was going to be shot to pieces. If he was still wearing clothing the clothes could be dispersed all over the area and that is why the body was going to be destroyed in the first place, to get rid of any evidence. That is why his clothing was removed.

MR MARIBANA: And Mr Britz, you testified that you just heard the shot, is that so?

MR BRITZ: Yes, that's correct.

MR MARIBANA: Will you maybe be able to tell this Honourable Committee how far were you at that time?

MR BRITZ: It took place behind me, Chairperson. I may have been five metres or ten metres away from it, I can't say with certainty.

ADV SANDI: Sorry, Mr Maribana.

Mr Britz, when you heard these two gunshots you had not seen what had happened, what did you think was happening?

MR BRITZ: At that stage I realised that Mabotha had been shot.

ADV SANDI: Was that something that could have come as a surprise to you in that situation?

MR BRITZ: No, Chairperson, not at that stage. At that stage I knew that he would be killed.

ADV SANDI: Did you agree with that?

MR BRITZ: It was part of my instructions, so I would have agreed with it.

ADV SANDI: Thank you. Thank you, Sir.

MR MARIBANA: Thank you, Honourable Chair.

And just a follow-up question by the Honourable Chair here, did you know who was going to shoot Mr Mabotha at that stage?

MR BRITZ: No, Chairperson, I didn't know who shot him and I didn't know who was going to shoot him.

MR MARIBANA: And at that stage when you heard the shot you couldn't even see the person who shot him, is that correct?

MR BRITZ: Yes, that's correct.

MR MARIBANA: And you were just told or heard that he was shot by Colonel de Kock afterwards, is that correct?

MR BRITZ: Yes, that is correct.

MR MARIBANA: Thank you, Mr Chair, I've got not further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR MARIBANA

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS PATEL: Thank you, Honourable Chairperson, Ramula Patel.

Mr Britz, after you received Mr Mabotha at the side of the road, you say at some stage he was handcuffed as a precautionary measure and then you further state you went directly through to Penge Mine from that point.

MR BRITZ: That is correct, that is as far as I can recall.

MS PATEL: Okay, now Mr Flores was in the vehicle with you at the time, not so?

MR BRITZ: That's correct.

MS PATEL: He states on page 196 of the record, of the bundle, Honourable Chairperson, that after Mr Mabotha was collected that;

"... we then drove around for an hour."

MR BRITZ: No, Chairperson, I don't agree with that.

MS PATEL: Okay. He also states at some stage that van Niekerk whilst, who sat in the back with the ANC member, grabbed him and pushed him down.

"I was sitting in front, jumped over to help and then handcuffed the member."

What was the purpose in pushing him down?

MR BRITZ: I don't know, Chairperson, I didn't see it, I was busy driving.

MS PATEL: You were driving so you didn't know what was going on?

MR BRITZ: That's correct.

MS PATEL: Was there a commotion in the vehicle at the time that he was being handcuffed?

MR BRITZ: There would have been somewhat of an altercation I'm sure, but I'm not entirely certain of what happened.

MS PATEL: But you were in the vehicle, Sir.

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson. The vehicle also had a radio, so I cannot recall whether the radio was on at that point or whether there was silence in the vehicle. I was busy driving and it was also peak hour, it was just after 5 o'clock on the old Johannesburg/Vereeniging Road.

MS PATEL: Are you saying it was peak hour and that the road was busy?

MR BRITZ: That's correct, it was after 5 o'clock in the afternoon and if you were driving from Vereeniging to Johannesburg, the road would be busy.

MS PATEL: Was the road busy at that time, can you recollect?

MR BRITZ: I believe that it was busy. I cannot recall, but I believe that it was busy.

MS PATEL: So then the reason possibly could be for him being pushed down was that given that it was such a busy road you didn't want anyone else to see that you had him in the vehicle?

MR BRITZ: That is a possibility, but I must just mention that the vehicle that I was driving was Toyota Landcruiser station wagon with tinted windows, so it wasn't very easy to see in from the outside.

MS PATEL: Okay. But you concede that he didn't willingly allow himself to be handcuffed?

MR BRITZ: I cannot comment on that, Chairperson.

MS PATEL: But not Sir, you were in the vehicle, you would have heard. He must have said something, something must have been done, there must have been a commotion.

MR BRITZ: I cannot give any answer to that. It is possible that there may have been an altercation in the back of the vehicle. That is why Mr Flores would have climbed over to assist.

MS PATEL: And despite this, Mr Mabotha asked no questions as to where he was being taken?

MR BRITZ: No, he didn't put any questions to me.

MS PATEL: Did he put any questions to anybody else in the vehicle?

MR BRITZ: Not that I can recall.

MS PATEL: Is it possible that he might have?

MR BRITZ: Yes, it is possible that he may have asked questions and that we may have told him to keep quiet.

MS PATEL: Okay. When you got to Penge Mine, what did you do with him?

MR BRITZ: We took him out of the vehicle and Colonel de Kock spoke to him. He stood there and it wasn't a long lapse of time.

MS PATEL: Do I understand you correctly that Mr de Kock was present when you arrived there?

MR BRITZ: No, as I've already stated, we climbed out of the vehicle and Colonel de Kock and the others arrived there with us or just after us, but when we stopped there they were not yet there. It is possible that they may have been directly behind us because you had to go through a security point.

MS PATEL: Okay. When you went through the security point were there any questions asked about why this person was handcuffed?

MR BRITZ: No, Chairperson, it was an old mine and the members there were well-known to the security people. We drove through without being physically checked. It wasn't a physical security point, it was an office, so we didn't stop there. It would have been arranged for us just to drive through.

MS PATEL: So there was not real security checkpoint, you just drove through?

MR BRITZ: That's correct.

MS PATEL: Were you present at the time of the discussion between Mr de Kock and Mr Mabotha?

MR BRITZ: I was in the vicinity, yes.

MS PATEL: Do you know what was being said between the two?

MR BRITZ: I cannot recall exactly what was said, I believe that Colonel de Kock would have greeted him and said: "Hallo, Johannes".

MS PATEL: Okay. Who put Mr Mabotha back into the car to drive him to the mine or to the quarry?

MR BRITZ: I cannot recall.

CHAIRPERSON: Did he get into your car?

MR BRITZ: That's correct, as far as I can recall it was my vehicle because my vehicle was the biggest.

MS PATEL: Okay. Who else was in the vehicle with you at that stage?

MR BRITZ: Me, Mr Flores, Mr Mentz. This is what I think, Mr Chairperson, I can't remember exactly who was in the vehicle with me. Snyman and Vermeulen did not travel with us in the vehicle, so I believe that all the other members would have been with me in the vehicle.

CHAIRPERSON: ...(indistinct) Klerk, de Kock, sorry.

MR BRITZ: That's correct.

MS PATEL: Did Mr Mabotha get into the vehicle voluntarily?

MR BRITZ: Yes, I think they may have helped him in because his hands were cuffed. I cannot recall that he was forced into the vehicle physically.

MS PATEL: Do you know what was said to him?

MR BRITZ: I cannot recall.

MS PATEL: Were you not present?

MR BRITZ: Yes, I was there, but I can't recall.

MS PATEL: Do you not know whether he was hesitant at all?

MR BRITZ: I can't recall.

MS PATEL: When you went to the quarry, did you have to walk down into the quarry in single-file?

MR BRITZ: We could say that it was single-file because it was reasonably steep.

MS PATEL: And were you in front of Mr Snyman and Mr Vermeulen?

MR BRITZ: No, Snyman and Vermeulen were already inside the quarry.

MS PATEL: And where were you, in terms of the ...(intervention)

MR BRITZ: I can't recall, Chairperson, I can't recall whether I walked ahead or behind.

MS PATEL: At the time of the shooting were you were with Mr Vermeulen and Mr Snyman, where the explosives were?

MR BRITZ: I was with Vermeulen and Snyman wasn't there, he was already at the firearm. I was with Vermeulen.

MS PATEL: Which means you walked in front?

MR BRITZ: It's difficult to explain, Chairperson, because it was a big place and Mr Snyman was with his firearm which he would fire. When the explosion took place I assisted Mr Vermeulen in the preparation of the explosives.

MS PATEL: Okay.

MR BRITZ: So it may be that I may have passed from behind in the direction of Mr Vermeulen, I may have been in the middle, I may have been in front, I can't recall.

MS PATEL: And you don't know in what mental condition Mr Mabotha was at that stage, whether he was calm, whether he was afraid, whether he was objecting to being led down into this dark quarry?

MR BRITZ: I cannot give evidence about that, I would not know what his mental state was at that point.

MS PATEL: Can you say at least whether he was agitated, whether he was objecting?

MR BRITZ: I would concede that, but I cannot say that it was so.

MS PATEL: Just to backtrack slightly, Mr Flores also stated that at some stage you signalled whilst you were still going to Penge Mine, that you signalled to de Kock and both vehicles had stopped and that de Kock had walked over to your vehicle and laughingly said to Mr Mabotha: "Do you think you're clever?", what is your comment on that?

MR BRITZ: I cannot such an incident, Mr Chairperson. All that I can recall is that I know that de Kock and Mentz drove past us at a certain stage, but whether we stopped and that Mr de Kock walked over to us is something that I cannot recall.

MS PATEL: Can you remember whether Mr Mabotha, during the discussion at the mine between Mr de Kock and Mr Mabotha, whether Mr Mabotha had laughed at Mr de Kock?

MR BRITZ: No, Chairperson, I cannot recall that.

MS PATEL: Did Mr de Kock, in terms of your experience, treat all his members equally? Were there some members that he liked and some members that he didn't?

MR BRITZ: It is possible, Chairperson, but he treated everybody on an equal standard.

MS PATEL: Is this the first time that you'd been involved in murdering somebody in this particular way?

MR BRITZ: That's correct.

MS PATEL: What affect did it have on you at that stage?

MR BRITZ: At that stage it was a shock, it was the first time that I'd experienced anything like that.

MS PATEL: After the explosion, how long before - sorry, how long after the explosion did you go back into the quarry to check?

MR BRITZ: Approximately 10 to 15 seconds.

MS PATEL: Okay. Sorry, Honourable Chairperson, I'm just checking my notes.

CHAIRPERSON: May I intervene at this stage. I take it you had some form of ...(indistinct)

MR BRITZ: Could you please repeat that?

CHAIRPERSON: I take it that you had some sort of lighting, torches or something? You must have had some lighting to fix up the fusing system.

MR BRITZ: That is correct, however I cannot recall exactly what form of lighting we had there, but we did have some lighting.

CHAIRPERSON: And when you went back to look afterwards you would have some lighting to see.

MR BRITZ: Yes, that's correct.

MS PATEL: When you took Mr Mabotha from Colonel Potgieter, it wasn't for the purpose of being killed at that stage, there was no intention that he would be killed, in your mind at that stage?

MR BRITZ: That's correct, I didn't think that.

MS PATEL: And am I correct in my understanding of how you personally operated at Vlakplaas, that if Mr de Kock had given you an instruction it didn't matter what the instruction was, you would follow it?

MR BRITZ: That's correct.

MS PATEL: Regardless of what the nature of that instruction was or for what purpose, you had to do whatever you had to do.

MR BRITZ: That's correct.

MS PATEL: Thank you, Honourable Chairperson, I have no further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MS PATEL

CHAIRPERSON: Did this in some way tie in with your need-to-know policy, that you were told to do something, you did that, you didn't ask any other questions about other things that you hadn't been told about?

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Re-examination?

RE-EXAMINATION BY MR CORNELIUS: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

What would have happened if you did not execute the instruction that was given to you?

MR BRITZ: It's difficult to say, Chairperson, I probably would have had to walk the same path as Mabotha.

MR CORNELIUS: Were you afraid of Colonel de Kock?

MR BRITZ: I had respect for him, which was accompanied by some form fear.

MR CORNELIUS: You were not present during the Khotso House bombing but he gave evidence there and said that, and his words were, if his orders were not carried out

"No further steps would have been taken against a person, except for the fact that I think in general such a person would have had a difficult life in the South African Police."

Is that how it happened?

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR CORNELIUS: And because of the fact that you were in an extremely sensitive post and had experienced several unlawful activities for example murder, do you know what would have happened to a person if he did not execute his orders?

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR CORNELIUS: And then you would have placed C Section in danger?

MR BRITZ: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR CORNELIUS: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR CORNELIUS

MR SIBANYONI: Mr Britz, do I understand you correctly to say Mabotha had been to Penge Mine before the day you took him there?

MR BRITZ: No, Chairperson, I cannot say with certainty that he was already there. There were people who had received training there, but I don't know whether he had already had his training and whether he had gone there for training. I cannot say whether he was there or not, but I had been there previously.

MR SIBANYONI: If a person looks at his Section 29 statement,

Exhibit D: , we see had undergone training on various aspects. My question is, he wouldn't be a person who would be taken for additional training, he was well trained. Would you agree with that?

MR BRITZ: No, Chairperson, there were some of them who were trained externally and as I said well-trained, but in truth they were not really trained well and we re-trained them.

MR SIBANYONI: When exactly did you realise for the first time that he was taken there to be killed? When did it become clear to you that he was taken there to be killed?

MR BRITZ: When I arrived at Penge Mine and Colonel de Kock, and I saw Lionel Snyman and Snor Vermeulen there.

MR SIBANYONI: What made you to be aware that he was going to be killed?

MR BRITZ: It was a feeling that I had because it would not have been a usual exercise, it would not have been a normal questioning, not when Mr Snyman and Mr Vermeulen were there.

MR SIBANYONI: Why do you say that?

MR BRITZ: It was just our group who was there and then I knew Mabotha will not go back, I just knew he won't go back.

MR SIBANYONI: Thank you, Mr Chairman, no further questions.

WITNESS EXCUSED

 
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