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Amnesty Hearings

Type AMNESTY HEARINGS

Starting Date 18 August 1999

Location PRETORIA

Day 2

Names EUGENE ALEXANDER DE KOCK

Case Number AM0066/96

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CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon. We want to start the proceedings. For the record, it is Wednesday the 18th of August 1999. We are continuing with the sitting of the Amnesty Committee, held at the IDASA Centre in Pretoria. The panel is constituted as has been indicated earlier on the record. We are hearing a number of applications, that of Eugene Alexander de Kock and nine others in relation to the incident in connection with the Nelspruit killings as well as the matter of Tiso. Mr Hattingh, will you put yourself on record?

MR HATTINGH: P.A. Hattingh Mr Chairman, instructed by Mr Schalk Hugo and I appear for Mr Eugene de Kock.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Hattingh. And then Mr Lamey?

MR LAMEY: I apologise Mr Chairperson, Lamey on record, I represent Mr Nortje, Mr Gouws, Mr Klopper, Mr Gevers and Mr Van Zyl.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, thank you Mr Lamey. Mr Cornelius?

MR CORNELIUS: Thank you Mr Chairperson, Wim Cornelius, I represent the applicant D.J. Brits, J.J. Swart, J.H.P. Hanekom and N.J. Vermeulen. Thank you Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Cornelius. I think we will start with Mr Van den Berg on that side?

MR VAN DEN BERG: Thank you Mr Chairperson. Eric van den Berg, Attorneys Bell Dewar and Hall on behalf of Margaret Mapwashike, the mother of Lawrence Nalinda and Joyce Leballo and Kutluwano Leballo, the mother and brother respectively of the deceased Tiso Leballo.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Van den Berg. Mr Francis?

MR FRANCIS: Thank you Mr Chairperson, I represent the Mama family. My name is Alan Francis, I am from the Legal Resources Centre. I will be assisted by Kimeshny Pillay, an Attorney also at the Legal Resources Centre.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Francis. Ms Patel?

MS PATEL: Thank you Honourable Chairperson, Ramula Patel, Leader of Evidence for the Amnesty Committee.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, thank you Ma'am. Mr Hattingh, it has been brought to our attention that your client might have some difficulties with his health condition, and that for that purpose, you requested that we should start off with his application. Is he in a condition to carry on?

MR HATTINGH: Mr Chairman, he says he is. We received a telephone call from the Department of Correctional Services yesterday informing us that Mr de Kock was suffering from very high blood pressure and they recommended that he be admitted to the Prison Hospital for observation. Mr de Kock refused to go there, because he would have wanted to be present at these hearings today, Mr Chairman. I can place on record that at 11H45, when we received this telephone call yesterday, his blood pressure was 150/120 and at 15H00 yesterday it was 160/115, today, this morning at 08H40 it was 150/110, at eleven it was 160/100, at 12H35 160/110 and at quarter past one today, it was 150/110. They are monitoring his pressure Mr Chairman, they have got the necessary equipment here to monitor his blood pressure, but Mr de Kock assures us that he is feeling fit enough to proceed with his evidence today.

CHAIRPERSON: Is he taking medication for that condition?

MR HATTINGH: He tells me not, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Hattingh, I am just going to enquire directly from your client. Mr de Kock, I have listened to what the Advocate said, are you in any condition to proceed with your application?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I am.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, you will then have to give us an indication if you have any problems.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I will.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr Hattingh, I think under those circumstances, you know, we can proceed and your client can always indicate if he is not feeling well.

MR HATTINGH: Thank you Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes.

MS PATEL: Honourable Chairperson, sorry, before my learned colleague proceeds, I may just for purposes of the record indicate that I have received extra documents just prior to the hearing from two implicated parties to this hearing. One is from Isaac Johannes Engelbrecht and the other is from Frederick Douglas Reid Holtzhauzen. My request is that they be marked as Exhibit A and B respectively to form part of the record, thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: I think that I have seen quite a bulky affidavit by Mr Engelbrecht, with a number of annexures, in fact, it appears that this affidavit has been deposed to on the 3rd of June this year. I've got that one. What is it that Mr Holtzhauzen has submitted?

MS PATEL: It is the same one that was submitted for the Carousel incident, he deals with well, just in two lines, with this incident as well.

CHAIRPERSON: Oh, yes.

MS PATEL: And if I may, the affidavit by Engelbrecht has been deposed to on the 6th of August 1999. The date you referred to, is one of the annexures that is attached too.

CHAIRPERSON: Oh, is the proper attestation clause on page 7, typed page 7 of that?

MS PATEL: That is correct, yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Okay, that is the 6th of August, yes 1999. Yes, that one will then be Exhibit A. I assume that all the parties have copies of this, of these two documents that Ms Patel has referred to, if not, then you must just give an indication. The affidavit, I think it was an affidavit of Mr Holtzhauzen, I can't remember, I don't have it before me now ...

MS PATEL: That is correct, yes.

CHAIRPERSON: We had it in the earlier applications.

MS PATEL: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, that one will then be Exhibit B in these proceedings and again, I assume that the parties are in possession of

that one, if not, please indicate and we can make the necessary arrangements. Mr Hattingh, do you want your client to be sworn in?

MR HATTINGH: Yes, Mr Chairman.

EUGENE ALEXANDER DE KOCK: (sworn states)

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, you may be seated. Mr Hattingh, please proceed.

EXAMINATION BY MR HATTINGH: Thank you Mr Chairman. Chairperson, may I just give you an indication that we were requested (sic) to use a statement that he used for a previous application and he has given evidence regarding this document on previous occasions, and thus we seek permission to submit this document for the Committee's use during these proceedings. It has been made available to you and I will lead Mr de Kock regarding that. I just want to fix your attention on the annexure to the document, that would be the annexure beginning on page 89 that is the evidence which Gen Nyanda as he is now, submitted during the criminal trial against Mr de Kock. He gave evidence for a while and he was cross-examined and his cross-examination was set aside to enable us to obtain extra documents.

ADV DE JAGER: I beg your pardon, can you just assist us with the Bundle? Here is a Bundle entitled de Kock Hearing Day 1.

MR HATTINGH: Chairperson, it has been handled during so many investigations, the heading is actually Supplementary Affidavit E.A. de Kock - Vlakplaas.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, de Kock Cluster 1.

MR HATTINGH: Yes, that is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: And you refer to page 89 you say?

MR HATTINGH: The annexure on page 89 very briefly Chairperson, is not complete. There is a missing section. Upon the hearing of the evidence in this matter, the section which was found lacking, was submitted to the Committee which heard Cluster 1, but unfortunately it has not been incorporated with this Bundle as of yet, we will ensure that it is obtained and appropriately incorporated.

CHAIRPERSON: That would follow on page 102?

MR HATTINGH: Yes, it will follow on page 102.

CHAIRPERSON: Very well then.

MR HATTINGH: Thank you Chairperson.

ADV DE JAGER: Can we just for the sake of convenience refer to this Bundle with a certain number, or how do you expect to go about it so that we can use it more easily?

MR HATTINGH: I will refer to this Bundle and I suggest then that we give it an Exhibit number, just to facilitate matters.

CHAIRPERSON: That would then be C, Mr Hattingh?

MR HATTINGH: Thank you Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Again I assume that the parties have access to these documents, if not, then you must feel free just to indicate.

MR FRANCIS: Mr Chair, we don't have a copy of that Bundle.

CHAIRPERSON: Ms Patel, will you attend to that? Yes.

MR HATTINGH: Thank you Mr Chairman. Mr de Kock, you are an applicant with regard to this incident, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: And you have submitted a written application in support of your application for amnesty?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: The application that you submitted, formed part of a complete application with regard to all incidents in which you were involved, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And that application, if I recall correctly, comprises approximately four to five volumes. The first section of that, the first section of Volume 1 contains your personal background and your political motivation for the deeds in which you were involved, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Mr Chairperson, it is available to the Committee. I don't think that it is absolutely necessary that it be submitted to you during these proceedings, it is quite an extensive document, but it is available to the Committee. Furthermore Mr de Kock, upon the request of the TRC for the purposes of Cluster 1, you have compiled a supplementary affidavit which deals specifically with Vlakplaas and more particularly with Vlakplaas as an Operational Political Unit?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And that would then be Exhibit C?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Very well. I am going to lead you briefly regarding certain aspects of C, but we will get to that as we proceed. At the time of this incident, you were the Commander of Unit C10 as it was known at that time, Vlakplaas?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: I think that at that stage the Unit had been subdivided into three sub-Units which were stationed at different places, but nothing is really important regarding that. I think that the section over which you had direct command, is more important. Even though you were the Overall Commander of all three sections, the one of most importance was stationed at a place which was referred to as "Die Grasdak"?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And where was "Die Grasdak" situated?

MR DE KOCK: It was in Waterkloof.

MR HATTINGH: And the other two Units, or sub-Units were under the command of Capt Baker at Vlakplaas?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And the third was under the command of Capt Paul van Dyk, somewhere in Midrand?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: But am I correct when I say that on an overall level you were in command of the entire Unit, C10?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Very well. I would like to commence with the Carousel incident which would have been heard by this Committee during this week if it hadn't been for the fact that the applicants in that matter, withdrew their applications. I would just like to deal with that very briefly. What was your knowledge regarding the Carousel incident?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, very briefly, that there was a group of black men who wanted to commit robbery and had decided that the Carousel would be the ideal target and that there was such an attempted robbery. This attempt however, took place over a period of time, there were three to four times when it would have taken place and it never took place at those times, but ultimately it happened.

MR HATTINGH: What was your involvement in that incident?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I was overall in command of C1 and I was also in control of this group. Some of my members had been deployed in cooperation with the Murder and Robbery Unit of Pretoria in order to deal with these robbers.

MR HATTINGH: And who from Vlakplaas was particularly involved in the Carousel incident?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, it was Sergeant Holtzhauzen and then some of my other members.

MR HATTINGH: Were you involved in the planning of that operation, Mr de Kock?

MR DE KOCK: No Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Were you informed about it?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I was informed that there would be a robbery, however there was no fixed date and as it went with these cases, we wait for it to happen, we prepare for it in all aspects, but wait until it took place and take it further from there.

MR HATTINGH: You were not present when it took place?

MR DE KOCK: No.

MR HATTINGH: You were only informed about it after the fact?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Who was the informer or the source who provided the information that such a robbery was being planned?

MR DE KOCK: It was Mr Van Zyl.

MR HATTINGH: Ben van Zyl, one of the applicants in this matter, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And by who at Vlakplaas was he handled as an informer or a source?

MR DE KOCK: Initially, the first person that he liaised with was Sergeant Stolz, he was on a course at that stage and I asked Sergeant Holtzhauzen to deal with Mr Van Zyl from that point onwards.

MR HATTINGH: Did Sergeant Holtzhauzen report back to you regarding a further incident or further planning about which he received information from Mr Van Zyl?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, there was another robbery which was to take place at the Coin Security Division in the Eastern Transvaal, and in Nelspruit then.

MR HATTINGH: Are you referring to the unsuccessful attempt which took place there?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct, it was the first attempt to rob Coin Security.

MR HATTINGH: And in time Mr de Kock, if I might just refresh your memory, the failed attempt to rob Coin Security took place a day or two before the Carousel incident, are you aware of that?

ADV DE JAGER: Mr Hattingh, was there indeed an attempt? There was an attempt on Coin or was it simply planning that had not taken place?

MR HATTINGH: Chairperson, there was planning, these people took up position in the offices of Coin Security and waited for them to return and they did return, but they were frightened when a Springbok Patrol vehicle passed that place and they could not continue with the robbery. My question to you Mr de Kock is whether you are aware that the first attempt to rob Coin Security took place approximately a day or two before the Carousel incident?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: And were you also informed about this prior to the incident?

MR DE KOCK: Yes. It was mentioned to me that there was another robbery which was to take place.

MR HATTINGH: Who was the source of this information?

MR DE KOCK: It was Mr Van Zyl, Ben van Zyl.

MR HATTINGH: And did you receive any information from Mr Holtzhauzen?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And was there any planning to (indistinct) this attempted robbery?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, there was. Mr Holtzhauzen mentioned to me that there had been liaison with the Murder and Robbery Unit of Pretoria and the matter had been handled by them.

MR HATTINGH: Were you involved in the planning of that incident?

MR DE KOCK: No Chairperson. I just want to mention that as the Commander of the Unit, one wouldn't only have this one singular attempt at a time. At any time, there could be seven or eight operations which were running concurrently, one could be about weapons, the other could be about falsified money as the information came in, thus robbery was simply one of the facets of infiltrations at that stage.

MR HATTINGH: Very well. And to whom did you leave the handling of this matter?

MR DE KOCK: I left it to Sergeant Holtzhauzen.

MR HATTINGH: And did they then go down to Nelspruit in cooperation with the Murder and Robbery Unit of the Nelspruit Police Force and attempt to catch these robbers in the act?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And you yourself were not involved in this particular incident?

MR DE KOCK: No.

MR HATTINGH: Were you involved in the planning behind it?

MR DE KOCK: No.

MR HATTINGH: Was anything reported to you later that the robbers had arrived and had been frightened by a security guard who arrived in the area, and thus could not continue with the robbery?

MR DE KOCK: I have no independent recollection of that, but I do accept that I would have been informed. Sergeant Holtzhauzen would have informed me.

MR HATTINGH: Very well. Then we will get to the incident that we are dealing with here today. Were you informed about it previously?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, it was mentioned to me that there would be an attempt and that there would be another robbery.

MR HATTINGH: Who told you this?

MR DE KOCK: Sergeant Holtzhauzen reported this to me.

MR HATTINGH: And was Mr Van Zyl once again the source of this information?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Briefly, what was the extent of the information which Mr Holtzhauzen conveyed to you?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, that there would be an armed robbery, that it was former MK members or a member who would then execute or handle this robbery. Initially there was a measure of uncertainty about where the robbery would take place, but later it appeared to be Nelspruit. Once again, Sergeant Holtzhauzen was given the order to liaise with Pretoria Murder and Robbery.

MR HATTINGH: Did Sergeant Holtzhauzen inform you about the fact that some of these persons who would be involved in the robbery, were MK members?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Did he mention anything else in connection with the political involvement at that stage?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, if my memory serves me well, it was mentioned that one of these persons was a military trained member of the ANC and that he was still serving in the ANC.

MR HATTINGH: In which capacity did he serve?

MR DE KOCK: He was a vehicle driver for Mrs Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

MR HATTINGH: Very well. Did you then extend authorisation to Mr Holtzhauzen to continue with the planning to catch these robbers?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Were you involved in the planning Mr de Kock?

MR DE KOCK: No, I was not involved in the direct planning stage thereof.

MR HATTINGH: Was any report given to you from time to time regarding what the information and the planning involved and what the progress was?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And was this done by Mr Holtzhauzen?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Did he mention the names of those members who would be involved in the operation, to you?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, he compiled a list of my own members at that stage, which he wanted to involve in the operation. I changed some of the names, today I cannot recall why, but it is possible that these members were involved in another operation or would have been involved in another operation and that is why I removed their names from the list.

MR HATTINGH: Would any other Unit of the South African Police, have been involved in this operation?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, yes, the Pretoria Murder and Robbery Unit would have acted in cooperation with us in launching this operation.

MR HATTINGH: Whose order or suggestion was this?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, the orders to liaise with other specialist Units, was an order from Gen Engelbrecht, who at that stage was the Head of Vlakplaas. After 1990 the attitude was that we would have to begin liaising with other Units if for example we obtained information about anything. If it was gold and diamonds, we would have to contact the Gold and Diamond Unit, in this case then it would be Murder and Robbery and indeed, a meeting was held at Vlakplaas during which Murder and Robbery or the Commanders of Murder and Robbery and I think I recall four or five various Commanders of these Units who were introduced to us at Vlakplaas and this was done by Gen Engelbrecht.

MR HATTINGH: What was the purpose behind that meeting?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, the purpose was to introduce us to these persons and then pave a way for cooperation among these Units, in other words if we obtained information, we would approach them and then act in cooperation with them.

MR HATTINGH: Very well. Let us then return, that is why Pretoria Murder and Robbery then became involved in this incident?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Was it planned that you would be present and that you would participate in the operation?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson. Initially not because I had to attend a meeting in the Kruger National Park, it was about smuggling of weapons via the Game Reserve and initially I would have been on the periphery of this operation and along with one of the members who is now an applicant, I would have taken observation, but as a result of circumstances on that evening of the deployment, I was late. Klopper and I were late. I found myself on the scene.

MR HATTINGH: Very well, we will get to that later. But from the beginning, during the planning phase, it was planned that you would participate or not?

MR DE KOCK: Not in the shooting itself Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: You say that you had to attend a meeting in the Game Reserve, upon which day would this meeting take place?

MR DE KOCK: It would be on the following day.

MR HATTINGH: After the incident itself?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, the morning after the incident itself.

MR HATTINGH: Very well. Did you then travel down to Nelspruit?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: Who was with you?

MR DE KOCK: It was Mr Klopper.

MR HATTINGH: Was there anybody else?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, two of my staff members, the two ladies who worked with us, who had to sort out accounts at the Malelane Lodge which we could not pay as a result of a lack of receipts and double claims which the hotel had included on the receipts.

MR HATTINGH: Very well, at what time did you arrive at Nelspruit?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, it was early afternoon. It was either late morning or early afternoon, I don't have an independent recollection of the precise time.

MR HATTINGH: Where did you go when you arrived in Nelspruit?

MR DE KOCK: We went to the Drum Rock Hotel and I was aware that all the members stayed there, they had all been booked in there, and they worked from there. I went there and I found Capt Geldenhuys from the Pretoria Murder and Robbery Unit there.

MR HATTINGH: Did you make any enquiries regarding the planning for that evening's operation, did you receive any feedback in relation to this planning?

MR DE KOCK: I did not go into deep detail, I believe that if there were any problems, I would have been approached in order to assist or to assist materially or in any other way. I asked Capt Geldenhuys whether he was satisfied with the arrangements, whether he was satisfied with the information and whether everything was satisfactory and he answered in the affirmative. There appeared to be no problems regarding the matter.

MR HATTINGH: Did you then depart from the Drum Rock Hotel?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, from there we departed. Mr Klopper and the ladies and I had a meal at a restaurant and from there, we went to the Malelane Lodge.

MR HATTINGH: And would you then return that evening to be present during the operation? You and Mr Klopper?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And did you then depart from the Malelane Lodge to the Drum Rock to join the other members?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And when you arrived there?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, when we arrived there, some of the vehicles had already begun to depart and in that respect, both Klopper and I were both late. We drove behind the last vehicle, that was me and Klopper, he was the driver, and we almost missed the group as such, however, we succeeded in catching up with them.

MR HATTINGH: Would you have driven with Mr Klopper to the scene, was that part of the planning?

MR DE KOCK: No Chairperson, I would have switched over and I would have driven with Mr Nortje to the point of observation.

MR HATTINGH: So the two of you would have been tasked with the observation?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: Observation of what?

MR DE KOCK: It would have been for the arrival of this group of robbers, as they were approaching from the Malelane direction to Nelspruit.

MR HATTINGH: Was that then to notify the persons who were waiting at the place of the ambush? That would be to warn them of their arrival?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is the reason why.

MR HATTINGH: And the fact that you did not go along, is that something that can be ascribed to the fact that you were late?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And you and Mr Klopper then drove along, behind the last vehicles and arrived at the scene?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Had you visited the scene earlier on that day?

MR DE KOCK: No.

MR HATTINGH: Did you know before you drove there where it would be?

MR DE KOCK: No.

MR HATTINGH: When you arrived there, what happened next?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, there was a brief discussion among the members, the group which was to undertake the operation. I did attend the discussion, however I did not give any input and if I had, I would concede that I cannot recall it. However, I did not make any significant or real contribution. Sergeant Holtzhauzen then began to point out the places where the members would have to take up position. This was not a roadblock, it was an ambush position, as one would set up an ambush when one expected to encounter armed opponents and specifically then, terrorists.

MR HATTINGH: What was the intention when the terrorists or these persons would arrive there?

MR DE KOCK: The intention was to kill them. We would open fire, as with any ambush, and the objective was to kill all these persons.

MR HATTINGH: Do you recall whether it was said to you that these persons would be armed or not?

MR DE KOCK: I understood that they would be armed.

MR HATTINGH: Do you recall that you provided weapons for this purpose?

MR DE KOCK: No, I have no such recollection. If I was requested to provide weapons, I would have done so, and it may be that my memory fails me in this regard, that doesn't mean that I did not provide weapons, however, I cannot recall whatsoever that I provided weapons.

MR HATTINGH: Very well.

ADV DE JAGER: I beg your pardon Mr Hattingh, something is not clear to me. You said that you believed that they would be armed, would that be the opponents?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I am referring to the opponents because that was the information.

ADV DE JAGER: And then you followed that with the fact that you cannot recall whether you provided weapons?

MR DE KOCK: No, that has to do with additional weapons to the Security Forces.

ADV DE JAGER: Very well, thank you.

MR HATTINGH: Perhaps I could put it somewhat clearer, Mr de Kock, by preceding you somewhat. We know that after the shooting, two AK's were found in the minibus that these persons had been traveling in, that they had been planted there?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: Do you recall that you provided those weapons to the members of Vlakplaas for them to plant in the minibus?

MR DE KOCK: No, I don't have an independent recollection of that.

MR HATTINGH: Very well, we will deal with that more thoroughly later, but we are now at the scene. These persons have taken up position, where did you take up position?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I did not have a position, I am sure I could have pushed someone out of the way as a result of my rank, however, that was not part of the planning and further up in the road, next to the bridge, I took up position.

MR HATTINGH: Were you armed?

MR DE KOCK: Yes. I had an R5 gun which was assigned to me in the former Ovamboland.

MR HATTINGH: How many magazines did you have for the gun?

MR DE KOCK: I had a chest magazine case with six 35 round magazines and two 50 round magazines and then I also had a five round magazine on my gun.

CHAIRPERSON: I beg your pardon, Mr Hattingh, would you please just proceed somewhat slower regarding the ammunition that you had. Just repeat it.

MR DE KOCK: Six magazines for an R5, everyone of them with a capacity for 35 rounds, but which I loaded with 33 rounds for every one. Then I had two 50 round magazines with 48 rounds each, which was concealed in the car case section of my case, it was a chest webbing, that is the correct term for this.

MR HATTINGH: That would be a chest encasement that you would put on which had sections in which you could put ammunition?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: In other words you had all the ammunition there at the scene at your disposal?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, and on my gun there was a 50 round magazine with 48 rounds inside.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, please proceed.

MR HATTINGH: Thank you Chairperson. The other members of Vlakplaas, were they also armed?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, they were armed.

MR HATTINGH: Also with automatic guns?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Very well, you took up position up there, what happened next?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, at a stage it appeared or it felt as if these vehicles were not going to arrive or that the robbery was not going to be executed and there was already a general feeling that this was another one of those cases in which the robbers had decided otherwise or had experienced a problem or received incorrect information. At a stage I observed that the members suddenly began to attend to their environment and I don't know which one of the members said it, but he said "they are on their way" and from the position where I was seated, I could see that two vehicles were under way from the Nelspruit direction.

MR HATTINGH: Very well, proceed.

MR DE KOCK: When these vehicles chased through underneath the bridge, I could see that the first vehicle was a BMW sedan, I am not certain of the colour and behind this vehicle, there was a minibus, some sort of a closed minibus. It wasn't the usual taxi type of minibus.

MR HATTINGH: Was this the minibus of which the windows had been fortified with metal panels?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And it also wouldn't have had back seats, only the two front seats, or at least the front bench seat for the driver?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And while we are dealing with the minibus, Mr de Kock, let us just complete the issue of the minibus. You knew whose minibus this was, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I did.

MR HATTINGH: Could you tell us how it came that this minibus was used?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, this was one of the vehicles which I had already begun to collect for actions in the Transkei and particularly in the Sterkspruit vicinity, where APLA members regularly shot vehicles off the road, vehicles that were in transit to the Transkei. This vehicle I had obtained from a person that I knew for a great number of years, I stole it from him so to speak.

MR HATTINGH: He had a company which owned Hotels in Springs?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, however he had been completely sequestrated and he actually had no control over his assets and so forth.

MR HATTINGH: How did you succeed in stealing the vehicle as you put it?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I knew about it. In discussions with the owner of this vehicle, I determined that he was insured and that I wouldn't cause him any damage. I did this by nature of the situation, he had two keys which could be used on this vehicle because the vehicle had already been previously stolen. There was one key for the door and another for the ignition system. And by means of a device with which one could make copies of keys, I made copies of both these keys by means of melting lead into the device and I had two keys cut for this bus later on. I then used those keys when we fetched the vehicle that evening.

MR HATTINGH: Who went to fetch the vehicle that evening?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, it was myself and Warrant Officer Vermeulen who drove the vehicle and there was another person with me, and in my recollection I have the idea that it may have been Mr Chait who was with me, he was the driver.

MR HATTINGH: Where did you take the minibus at that point?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, the person who took the minibus, was Mr Vermeulen, we drove behind him and my request to Mr Vermeulen was to keep this vehicle at his house for me.

MR HATTINGH: And did you want this, or you wanted this for actions in the Transkei, how did it come to be that you wanted to use it for the Nelspruit incident?

MR DE KOCK: Mr Holtzhauzen requested a vehicle, he had a registration 80 vehicle, but however, this vehicle had been used on a previous occasion, among others the Carousel incident and he requested me to obtain this vehicle for him or a vehicle at least and because I had this vehicle available, it was the one that I made available to him.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr de Kock, what is a regulation 80 vehicle?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, a regulation 80(6) vehicle, there were actually three categories, (a), (b) and (c), these are vehicles which had been repossessed, in other words vehicles that had been stolen and of which the owner could not be traced, and with such vehicles, the police would repossess them on their State property account and these vehicles could then be issued for use to various branches of the Force. Regulation 80(6)(a) indicates the sort of vehicle which was in a very good condition, or a relatively new condition with which one would have to keep a file and submit monthly reports as one would do with any regular police vehicle. Regulation 80(6)(b) was similar to this. There were some or other classification regarding 80(6)(b) and then regulation 80(6)(c) would be the kind of vehicle for which one did not have to keep a file. If the vehicle was to be written off in an accident or if the vehicle could not longer be used, it was not necessary to repair the vehicle. It wasn't necessary for a whole official report as in the cases of 80(6)(a) and 80(6)(a).

CHAIRPERSON: So you didn't want to use any of these officially issued vehicles in this operation?

MR DE KOCK: No, the idea was there initially. I do recall that he mentioned that the person who was known as Tiso, would borrow a vehicle from a family member, I think it was an uncle of his, who resided in the Nelspruit vicinity. However, I cannot recall the full detail regarding that. This vehicle was however, used during the Carousel incident as well, but he didn't necessarily want to use this vehicle during this incident which we would have dealt with here.

CHAIRPERSON: This minibus was also used in the Carousel incident?

MR DE KOCK: No, I am referring to the Cressida vehicle.

CHAIRPERSON: I see.

MR DE KOCK: I wanted to load the minibus with explosives and park it next to the PAC office in Sterkspruit, that is the purpose that I wanted to use it for.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, please proceed, Mr Hattingh.

MR HATTINGH: Mr de Kock, we now know about the minibus and from where you were, you could see this minibus behind the vehicle, the BMW vehicle as it passed you?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: What happened next?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, just after the BMW had moved passed, the minibus kept up at a relatively similar speed, and if I recall correctly, Mr Holtzhauzen and Mr Gouws then initiated the shooting. I may be wrong, but that is my recollection thereof. And all the members upon that initiative, then opened fire.

MR HATTINGH: Who according to the information that you had, would be the driver of the BMW which moved before the minibus?

MR DE KOCK: That would have been Mr Van Zyl.

MR HATTINGH: Very well. And did the other members also open fire?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, all the members opened fire, or at least all the members that I could see, were shooting. It then appeared, and I am not certain whether the idea was that as soon as fire was opened, the minibus would stop in the ambush, but it wasn't like that, it appeared to me as if the minibus accelerated and from where I stood, I ran down the embankment in order to be placed in line with those members who were on ground level, and if I recall particularly, I was in line with Mr Gevers and Mr Swart. I fired a full automatic round on the minibus and the angle from which I fired, was in line between the passenger on the left and the driver on the right, in front, but I aimed lower to see if I couldn't hit the machine or the driver. After I had emptied my magazine, I switched magazines and fired another seven or eight shots. That was semi-automatic, I changed from automatic to semi-automatic at that stage. At that stage, I looked to my right hand side and I saw that the line of the members was confused or disarrayed. I saw a member that was kneeling down and shooting with another member directly behind him, he was firing above him. In other words if the person in front had stood up, he would have had a shot in the back of his head. I then moved ahead and reorganised the members to form a line again. Capt Geldenhuys from that point, moved ahead with the members and they moved ahead as they were shooting at the bus.

MR HATTINGH: And did the minibus eventually come to a standstill?

MR DE KOCK: Yes. I would estimate after approximately 80 metres, it may be somewhat less, but from that point to 80 metres it came to a standstill.

MR HATTINGH: Did you approach the minibus?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I took a few steps towards the minibus with the members, as they were in line to assure that they were still in line. I turned around and moved back towards the bridge and stood below the bridge.

MR HATTINGH: When you refer to the bridge, that would be the bridge which was formed by the thoroughfare from Nelspruit to Witrivier?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Chairperson, we have copies of photographs which were used as official Exhibits during the criminal trial and it may be of assistance if we could place this at your disposal just to give you an indication of how the scene appeared. We do not have this here today, but we can make it available to you tomorrow.

ADV DE JAGER: Very well, is that the bridge with the road which goes under it that leads to the showgrounds?

MR DE KOCK: Well, I am not that familiar with Nelspruit, we worked mostly on the periphery of Nelspruit, in the field.

MR HATTINGH: Was the road upon which the minibus traveled and the direction in which it traveled, in the direction of kaNyamazane?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And that is also an industrial area from Nelspruit?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: My Attorney has informed me that this is the road which leads to the showgrounds Mr De Jager, apparently the showgrounds are on the left side of the road. Why did you move back to the bridge?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, my role had been played and there would have been no reason to fire any further shots. I did not have a problem with Mr Geldenhuys or Mr Holtzhauzen's command.

MR HATTINGH: Might I put it to you like this Mr de Kock, initially you said that you and Mr Nortje would not have been involved in the actual shooting incident as such. Was there any reason for that?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, early the following morning, we would have to depart for the Game Reserve and that was one of the reasons.

MR HATTINGH: Very well, and while you stood there at the bridge, or while you were on your way to the bridge, did you make any other observations?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, there was continuous fire which ceased at a certain point. There were further shots, I think three or four and then there was a loud crash. I turned around to see what it was, but it wasn't a shot or an explosion as if explosives had been used.

MR HATTINGH: This crash that you mentioned ...

MR DE KOCK: It was an explosion.

MR HATTINGH: Was it similar to petrol that had caught alight?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And then you saw the minibus in flames?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Were there any other explosions?

MR DE KOCK: As the minibus began to burn completely, there was a detonation of high charge explosives, it was quite a violent explosion. It hurled one of the passengers of the bus, out of the bus to the road. He landed on the left side of the road.

MR HATTINGH: Did you know what caused that crash?

MR DE KOCK: Not at that stage, but I heard later on that morning that it had been handgrenades.

MR HATTINGH: We now know that handgrenades had also been placed in the vehicle by members of Vlakplaas?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Were you previously aware that this was going to take place?

MR DE KOCK: No.

MR HATTINGH: Very well, what was your further involvement at the scene after these explosions had taken place?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, it wasn't much. I waited there and at a stage I was approached by Mr Nortje who informed me that not all the terrorists or robbers had been inside the vehicle. Later it appeared to be this Tiso, later the discussion was about whether or not Tiso was to be killed, and by nature of my actions, I conceded and then gave the order for the arrangements to be made with Mr Vermeulen from my Unit in Pretoria, that he was to bring explosives. I don't know who telephoned him, I cannot recall whether it was me, and I also deployed Gevers, Swart and Chait to take Mr Tiso to a point where he would then be taken by Vermeulen and whoever accompanied him, to Penge Mine and that would be where he would be killed and blown up.

MR HATTINGH: Let us just be more thorough. Mr Nortje reported to you that one of the so-called robbers had not been in the vehicle. Did he also tell you where this man was?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, it was mentioned that this person had been captured on the way.

MR HATTINGH: Did he tell you at that point, had he already been captured or was he still to be captured?

MR DE KOCK: No, he had already been captured.

MR HATTINGH: You say that the decision was then taken for this man to be killed. Why was it necessary according to you?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, if we had not killed him, by nature of his position and his background and his whereabouts within the ANC, he would certainly have exposed the action and Vlakplaas consequently. Even though there was a dispute between Mr Nortje and me regarding whether we could detain this person or send him to Swaziland preferably, we realised the futility of that. The futility of hoping that this person wouldn't speak out or leak out information or that no fingers would be pointed to Vlakplaas and I then took that responsibility.

MR HATTINGH: Did you consider the safety of the informer in this regard, did this play any significant role?

MR DE KOCK: I am not certain, for me it was about Vlakplaas and it was a highly sensitive situation with a highly sensitive Unit. The identity of the source may have played a role because if the source was identified, Vlakplaas would also be identified.

MR HATTINGH: Very well. You then gave the order and did these persons depart?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: Did you later receive an order that this operation at Penge Mine had been completed and that the person had been killed there by means of explosives which would completely destroy the body?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, not on that very same day, I think it was after I had returned to Pretoria that this was conveyed to me.

MR HATTINGH: Were you at the scene when the police arrived?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, I stood there just after the shooting. I am not certain what the duration of time was, but it wasn't long before a person arrived and introduced himself as Mr Alberts or at least Colonel Alberts. I didn't know him, this was the first time upon which I saw him. When he asked me what had taken place there, I referred him to Capt Geldenhuys. I was uncertain of whether I should say anything, because I didn't have the full script of how the story would run.

MR HATTINGH: And are you aware that shots were fired from an AK from inside the minibus before it was set alight?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: What was the purpose of that?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, it would have created the impression that shots had been fired on the Security Forces or the policemen then and that counter-fire of that nature, would then have been justified.

ADV DE JAGER: Were you aware of who fired these shots?

MR DE KOCK: No Chairperson, but later I became aware that it had been Sergeant Holtzhauzen and I think that Mr Gouws also fired some shots, although I am uncertain of Gouws in this regard. I have a very vague recollection thereof.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Hattingh?

MR HATTINGH: Thank you Chairperson. Mr de Kock, you have already stated that this was not a roadblock and that it was an ambush. What was the version which you submitted after the incident for official purposes?

MR DE KOCK: That it had been a roadblock and if I recall correctly, that fire was given from within the bus and that counter-fire was given to that fire. I think that was the story.

MR HATTINGH: The roadblock, how would this have been set up?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, by means of a vehicle which would be pulled into the road with a blue light.

MR HATTINGH: Was there such a vehicle in the road, with a blue light when the minibus arrived there?

MR DE KOCK: No Chairperson, I am open to correction, but I think that after that, a vehicle was pulled into the road with a blue light.

MR HATTINGH: In order to create the impression that there had been a roadblock through which these vehicles had moved?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And was that also the purpose behind the firing of the shots from within the bus?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Let us just complete the sequence of the events, did you depart later that day to the Game Reserve for the meeting?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, we departed that morning, not very long after the shooting, I think it was at approximately eight o'clock or nine o'clock, I am not certain but somewhere around that time.

MR HATTINGH: When you say we, do you mean you and Mr Nortje?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: Did you notice Mr Engelbrecht at the scene before you departed for the Game Reserve?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Gen Engelbrecht did arrive at the scene, there was another person with him. I went to him and briefly explained to him what had taken place there, not the full version including the firing of the shots from within the vehicle and so forth, but I did tell him that something was terribly wrong here, in other words it did boil down to something not being right.

MR HATTINGH: That it had been an illegal operation?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: Did you inform him as such?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I informed him that something was very wrong here, not everything was all right.

MR HATTINGH: Did he visit the scene specifically or was he also on his way to the Game Reserve?

MR DE KOCK: He was also on his way to the Game Reserve, he would represent the Unit there with regard to the Rename stock piles on the other side, regarding which I had information.

MR HATTINGH: Was he the Overall Commander of C-Unit at that stage?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And C-Unit had three components, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Of which C10 was one?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct. I cannot recall whether this was at the scene or during the meeting which we later held in the Game Reserve, but I heard from Gen Engelbrecht that he told certain people not to make statements, in other words we would not make any statements at the scene. I think there was something else, the shooting report regarding the number of shots which had been fired by the persons, was amended. There was something about that.

MR HATTINGH: If I recall correctly, I think it was Director Alberts, I don't know what his rank was at that stage, he stated that he was present at the scene?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And he says that he didn't want to make any statements at that stage?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Were later statements compiled?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct. That would be approximately ten days later, if not longer.

MR HATTINGH: Where were these statements made?

MR DE KOCK: It was at our work premises at Waterkloof.

MR HATTINGH: Die Grasdak?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Were any other Officers present when these statements were compiled?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, Gen Engelbrecht came to the house and the members of Murder and Robbery as well and then my members were there as well, but I did not submit any statement in that respect.

MR HATTINGH: And the members from both Murder and Robbery and C10 who were involved, did they make statements on that occasion?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, there was coordination and adjustment.

MR HATTINGH: When you refer to coordination and adjustment, are you saying that it was ensured that everyone's version was the same?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, everything was synchronised.

MR HATTINGH: Was Gen Engelbrecht involved in this?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, he was there personally.

MR HATTINGH: Where were these statements typed and who typed them?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, if I recall correctly, it was typed by the ladies who worked with us.

MR HATTINGH: There, at the premises?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And these statements, did they contain exact versions or did they contain the versions which were presented, indicating that it had been a roadblock and that fire had been opened by the passengers of the minibus, which then led to the counter-fire?

MR DE KOCK: It would have been the version of the roadblock and the fire and the counter-fire.

MR HATTINGH: Then there was a post mortem inquest, a formal post mortem inquest with verbal evidence?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: Did you give any evidence during the inquest?

MR DE KOCK: No.

MR HATTINGH: And was your name ever mentioned in the shooting report, citing you as one of the persons who had fired shots during the incident?

MR DE KOCK: No, Sergeant Chait's name was placed in the report instead of my name.

MR HATTINGH: We heard during the criminal trial that Sergeant Chait had traveled with Sergeant Gevers on their way to Nelspruit and that they had been involved in a car accident as a result of which his arm or his shoulder had been injured to such an extent that his right arm, I think, was in a shoulder band at the time of the incident?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And would he have been capable of handling an automatic weapon in his condition at that stage?

MR DE KOCK: No.

MR HATTINGH: Thus, he didn't actually fire any shots, he simply stood in for you?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: In order to create the impression that you did not participate in the shooting?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: The ballistic investigations were undertaken which initially could not connect your gun with any of the shells?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And for the purposes of your own defence, you obtained your own ballistics expert?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And once again he examined the guns and the shells and he then could connect your gun with some of the shells which were found on the scene of the incident?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And for that reason then, it was decided to use this version because you knew that your gun could be connected to the shells on the scene and for this reason it was decided that Mr Chait would say that he fired shots with your gun?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And the post mortem inquest was then completed, the finding being that there had been no unlawful conduct on your behalf?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Regarding the incident at Penge Mine, you say that you were informed about this on the following day?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I am not certain about the time, but when I arrived at our offices, I was informed about it. I am not certain who informed me, but I was definitely informed.

MR HATTINGH: Some of the members who were involved in the Penge aspect of the operation, say in their applications that they gave evidence during their trail and that you had given authorisation to them to put in false claims as a reward for their participation in the Penge Mine aspect of the operation?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, as I regarded it, it was an exceptional situation. A situation which had not been foreseen and right or wrong, I gave such amounts to members or allocated such amounts to members. It was for a longer period of time that what they initially claimed. I told them to submit that amount for five or six months, but I think with the second or the third month I told them to stop. Gen Engelbrecht had told me that our expenses were too high and I then instructed the members to cease with the submission of such claims. They did not expect this money, they did not know about it and it was simply my way of assisting them in whichever manner possible.

MR HATTINGH: Was it only the members who had killed Mr Leballo at Penge, who had destroyed his body, were these the only members who received a reward?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And none of the other members who had been involved in the Nelspruit operation, received such a reward?

MR DE KOCK: No.

MR HATTINGH: Did you, yourself receive any reward for your action in this regard?

MR DE KOCK: No.

MR HATTINGH: You have already stated that these persons did not expect the reward, therefore they did not know prior to the event that they would be rewarded for their participation in this operation?

MR DE KOCK: No.

MR HATTINGH: Very well, the information which was provided that these persons were planning a robbery, was given by Mr Ben van Zyl according to you?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: At that stage, was he already a regular informer for Vlakplaas and other Branches of the South African Police?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Can you recall whether he was registered as an informer with a fixed remuneration or whether he was an occasional informer who received occasional remuneration?

MR DE KOCK: For us, he was an occasional informer, he was not a fixed informer.

MR HATTINGH: And therefore he would only be remunerated for each and every incident regarding which he had provided information?

MR DE KOCK: For information leading to arrests or death.

MR HATTINGH: Did he qualify for informer's remuneration with regard to this operation?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And was any such remuneration then extended to him.

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: Can you recall what the amount was?

MR DE KOCK: No, unfortunately not.

MR HATTINGH: I would then like to come to the political objective.

MR SIBANYONI: Maybe before that Mr Hattingh, Mr de Kock, was the remuneration for casual informers on the same rate as the sort of permanent informers?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, no, a permanent informer was somebody who received a salary, a monthly salary as a permanent informer then, and then there may have been an additional bonus which would be allocated if that person had delivered exceptional information or additional information, while an occasional informer such as Mr Van Zyl, would for example be paid only in the event of a success. In other words if there had been no robbery, he would not have been paid.

MR SIBANYONI: Thank you Mr Hattingh.

MR HATTINGH: Just to round off that aspect, the fixed remuneration informer would receive a monthly salary regardless of whether he had provided information in the relevant months leading to an arrest or a conviction?

MR DE KOCK: Let me just give you an example of the informers who I had in neighbouring countries. When we were acting against the ANC and the PAC, two or three months may have elapsed during which this person may have provided no information because there was no information, depending upon the person's level of access. But one wasn't paying this person off, this person would be a permanent ANC or PAC member and then after three or four months, the person would begin to generate information once more. So such a person would receive a fixed salary if I may put it that way.

MR HATTINGH: Very well, let us then come to the political objective and I would like for you to go to Exhibit C, Mr de Kock. You have a copy of that before you, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Just a moment please Mr Chairperson. Please turn to page 72. The heading at 2.7 is "Vlakplaas After the Unbanning of Certain Political Organisations".

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And we now know that the ANC/SACP alliance and so forth, were unbanned on the 1st of February 1990 as forbidden organisations?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: What was the role of Vlakplaas after these events?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, the role which was presented to us was that we were to switch over from political work if I may put it that way, to combating crime. However, it did not manifest as such ultimately and some of these unbanned organisations did not cease in their actions. The former Security Police which was then called the Crime Information Services, collected information and there were subsequent actions against some of these organisations.

MR HATTINGH: Did you make any proposals to your Commander, Gen Engelbrecht with regard to the continued existence of C10?

MR DE KOCK: Yes. Upon various occasions I asked him why they didn't rather disband the Unit. We were not an Investigative Unit, we were an Operational Unit and we did not qualify in one specific direction. We worked in general, it was as if we didn't really have a place and Gen Engelbrecht's response to me was that it could be that the negotiations would be unsuccessful and that we would have to be prepared for immediate action against the organisations such as the ANC, SACP as well as the PAC and that is why we were to remain in that organisation as such.

MR HATTINGH: Did the political violence decrease or diminish after Mr De Klerk's announcement on the 1st of February 1990?

MR DE KOCK: No.

MR HATTINGH: And did the attacks on members of the SAP diminish after this announcement?

MR DE KOCK: No, not at all.

MR HATTINGH: You will recall that the Goldstone Commission was requested to make a specific investigation into attacks on members of the SAP?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

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

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Very well. Did you possess any information regarding who could possibly have been involved in attacks on the SAP or the members of the SAP?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, it is difficult to recall that time without the relevant documentation, but the information was that former military trained persons were involved in these actions. I mention it in that regard because the information that we collected where ANC or PAC members were involved, would be documented with the mention of an ANC or PAC label and we were requested to remove that name or that acronym and not to refer to any kind of political organisation, because we could be accused of trying to stigmatise the organisations. In this case, I specifically took the matter up with Gen Piet Viljoen who was in charge of the Security Police at that stage, and he told me that we were to use other references and that we were not to use ANC, PAC or SACP references in the documents.

MR HATTINGH: What were you supposed to use?

MR DE KOCK: We were to refer to former military trained organisations or crime. It actually led to an argument on that day because under no circumstances could we refer to the ANC or the PAC.

MR HATTINGH: And regarding the information that you had, Mr de Kock, who did you believe was involved in these attacks?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I had no doubt that there were elements of the ANC and the PAC who were operative in these cases. If one studies one of the situations which emerged after the formation and the increased standard of the operational capacity of the SDU's, it appeared that there were definitely persons who had a more advanced knowledge than the regular member.

MR HATTINGH: And what was the position regarding unlicensed weapons?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, there was an increase in the smuggling of weapons, especially from Mozambique and there the Unit who was under my command, obtained successes. In a period of six weeks to two months, we took possession of 400 to 600 AK47's which had been smuggled in from Mozambique.

MR HATTINGH: One of the methods of modifying the petrol tanks of vehicles so that they could take in only a small amount of petrol, the rest of the space being used to store ammunition?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, if one opened the bonnet, one would see only three to four petrol filters and one would know that there would be weapons in the engine.

MR HATTINGH: Did you ever find anything like this?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, on many occasions Mr Nortje also worked in this regard. When I refer to guns or weapons, I am not referring only to sub-machine guns and Tokarev and Makarov pistols, it also does not include rocket launchers or such machine guns.

MR HATTINGH: Very well, we should not deal with it in such extensive detail. This weaponry which was smuggled and which you took possession of, did you have any information regarding what this weaponry was destined for?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, it was destined for so-called conflicting parties. The mentality of the weapon smugglers was not connected politically in any way, for them it was not about the colour of the flag, it was about the colour of your money and ultimately these weapons would find their way to the East and West Rand.

MR HATTINGH: And at that time, especially after the unbanning of the organisations, was there any armed conflict between the IFP and the ANC among others?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, there was conflict, and it was armed conflict.

MR HATTINGH: Did you have information that some of these weapons were brought in for that purpose?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, there was such information because some of the persons which we arrested, mentioned among others that they sold these guns in black residential areas and that they sold these weapons to persons who wanted to fight among one another, in other words black on black.

MR HATTINGH: During your trial Gen Sipiwe Nyanda gave evidence against you, do you recall that?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: That is referred to in paragraph 2.7.5 on page 75?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And among others he admitted that members of the ANC had been involved in the smuggling of weapons and the smuggle houses?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct. Yes, and furthermore the askari Unit of Natal, just like we had to focus on crime, they also had to focus on crime, but it was askaris who caught Charles Ndaba and other members of the ANC who had been involved in Operation Vula.

MR HATTINGH: Yes, you deal with that in 2.7.6 is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

ADV DE JAGER: 2.7.6 in which Bundle?

MR HATTINGH: That would be Exhibit C. Very well, the askaris who were responsible for the arrest of Ndaba and others, were connected to Colonel Taylor's Unit which was the contemporary of Vlakplaas in Natal?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

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

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: We do not have the complete section of Gen Nyanda's evidence here, we will make it available, but according to my recollection, he conceded that Operation Vula had the objective to better equip the armed members of the ANC in the event of the negotiations being unsuccessful and he also gave evidence that at that stage, it continued and would have continued much further had it not been for the arrest of Mr Ndaba and Mr Tshabalala?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Therefore your knowledge after the unbanning is that there was still conflict between the Security Forces and certain political organisations and if I say conflict, I am referring to armed conflict?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, my personal opinion was that the battle axe was laid to ground on the day when Mr Mandela became president and everybody realised that they would not be able to change anything on either side. Reference that I would like to make and I do not wish to stigmatise anything here, please don't misunderstand me, just to give you an indication of what the sentiment was at that stage. If we look at an attack on a church in Cape Town, which led to an attack on a house in Umtata by Special Forces, so at no stage was this violence ever concealed, even though it was presented as such.

MR HATTINGH: We know from our past history that the PAC refused to cease the armed resistance against the former regime?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, they were quite adamant.

MR HATTINGH: And on page 77 of Exhibit C under paragraph (a) there, you also mention further examples of actions in which C10 was involved after the unbanning of the ANC and other organisations which indicates that you were still involved in so-called combating if I may say, of the armed struggle against the former regime?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Furthermore you mention something about George Nene?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: He was arrested and then there was also an incident during which one of the Vlakplaas members was involved, Lionel Snyman?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Regarding a well-known MK member who entered the country without the temporary amnesty?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And that there was a shooting incident between the Security Forces and this person on the other side?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: That civil court proceedings emanated from this incident?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: You do not know what the result of these proceedings was?

MR DE KOCK: No.

MR HATTINGH: And then on page 79 of the document, you state that during this incident, a Tokarev pistol was possessed?

MR DE KOCK: No, I think it was a Makarov pistol.

MR HATTINGH: Very well. Then you say under sub-paragraph (c) on page 79, you mention another senior member who was arrested?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Could you tell us briefly what the position was regarding that?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, the former ANC members worked in Johannesburg and they saw an ANC member, a senior member then, walking through the city centre. They approached him and arrested him. It appeared that he did not have permission to be in the country. However, his spouse was a few steps away from him when he was arrested and the members did not see her unfortunately, and while I was on my way back to Pretoria, I received a call from Gen Beukes who wanted to see me urgently and the Head of National Intelligence in Randburg wanted to see me, because this man had been working for them for quite some time, I think it was a period of nine years. We then released this man regardless of whether he had permission to be here or not.

MR HATTINGH: And then on page 81, paragraph 2.7.6.4 you deal with information that you have already mentioned during your evidence here today. Information regarding attacks in Transkei, attacks on motorists in the Sterkspruit vicinity?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And at that point it caused great controversy in the media, motorists were warned not to use those roads?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Was this in order to combat these attacks in which APLA had been involved according to your information, that you among others obtained the minibus from Mr Raju in order to use this in the cessation of these attacks?

MR DE KOCK: Yew, I was trying to obtain another minibus which I believed that I would obtain because the one target was in Sterkspruit itself, within the town and the other was approximately a kilometre from the Aliwal North/Transkei border. If one drove from Aliwal North to Sterkspruit it would be approximately a kilometre in the field, there was a house and there was also a group which operated from that house.

MR HATTINGH: This planning which you undertook to eliminate these persons who were responsible for these attacks, did this planning take place with the approval of your Senior Commander?

MR DE KOCK: That was approximately a few days before Christmas in 1991 when Mr Engelbrecht spoke to me in his office and told me to prepare for an operation on this house, this was the house in the Sterkspruit vicinity because there was talk that there was a cellar floor and that there were people living in the cellar. Upon two occasions, two or three occasions I know that he went down to Gen Smit's office and he returned and upon the last occasion, he told me that we were to stand by, nothing had been set down, but that we were to remain on standby. In December 1991 we did not launch any attacks.

MR HATTINGH: Was this with the full knowledge and instruction of your Commander, that you were still involved in the combating of violence, confrontations which were politically coloured?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: When Operation Vula was exposed, a centre was erected at Vlakplaas, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, a special centre was erected for computers, I think that there were 20 or 21 computers.

MR HATTINGH: In order to analyse and evaluate the information that you obtained?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And there had been a previous temporary building for this purpose? Was this a secret project?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I was the only person who had access to those offices, if it was necessary, but no other person had any access.

MR HATTINGH: And as you have stated, this was on Vlakplaas itself?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, and the irony is that after the Operation Vula information was analysed there, the AWB information was processed and all the information was removed.

MR HATTINGH: These incidents that you have given evidence about now, did this create any perceptions in the minds of you and your members?

MR DE KOCK: I am sure that my members believed like I did, that we could sign a thousand negotiation reports and that this would serve no purpose, I think we all believed that we would fight each other out until death.

MR HATTINGH: You have already mentioned the conflict between the IFP and the ANC at that time, did you choose any side in this regard?

MR DE KOCK: Yes Chairperson, ultimately it appeared as the request came from the IFP to us, that the IFP was completely overwhelmed and saturated by the ANC, they had no military background and they also did not have sufficient support to defend themselves. Me and some of my members, not all of them, chose a side and it was the side of the IFP.

MR HATTINGH: Did you provide them with weaponry which could be used in this conflict between them and the other organisations?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR SIBANYONI: And the amount of weaponry supplied, do you have an idea?

MR DE KOCK: To the IFP?

MR SIBANYONI: Yes.

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I have already attempted to provide figures, I spoke to Prof John Daniel and other persons, I could not provide specific figures, this was all about ammunition. I wouldn't say that they had many guns, but they had a problem with ammunition. What I can tell you is that what we gave them, could never have been sufficient if one looks at their wide level of dispersion, there had to have been other sources as well. We were involved and on an industrial level, we liaised with them. I will sit down tonight and attempt to work it out for you so that I can be more specific. I don't want to give any figures here which may be incorrect.

MR SIBANYONI: Was it over a long period or was it done once?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I think that it was from 1990 or 1991 up to and including 1993, yes, to 1993.

MR SIBANYONI: Was it the IFP in kwaZulu Natal or also in the Gauteng province?

MR DE KOCK: No Chairperson, it was for the IFP here in the Transvaal area specifically, neither me nor any of my members had any further liaison with other sections of the IFP, for example on the East Rand. We were concentrating specifically on Johannesburg. I liaised with Humphrey Ndlovu and Themba Khosa and the Overall Commander was a Minister, C.J. Mthetwa who was from the kwaZulu Legislature. Upon two occasions, two or three occasions, Mr Nortje and I delivered ammunition and weapons at either Min Mthetwa's house in Ulundi at his ministerial house, but it wasn't a mass amount, I think it was eight or ten weapons at a time, but we gave as much ammunition to them as we could.

MR SIBANYONI: Thank you Mr Hattingh.

MR HATTINGH: Mr de Kock, let us just embroider further on this theme. The weapons which you provided locally, here in the Johannesburg environment, were these shotguns?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, these were home made shotguns if I may put it that way.

MR HATTINGH: Did you have the shotguns manufactured?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, the financing for that came from the Secret Fund and it was also approved by Gen Smit himself, personally.

MR HATTINGH: How do you know that?

MR DE KOCK: At a function at Vlakplaas, the matter was discussed with Gen Van Rensburg and Gen Engelbrecht. Gen Van Rensburg was then the Head of Vlakplaas and that evening, Gen Smit was approached regarding this funding for these shotguns or an item which could give service from that. When I completed the claim and submitted it for the manufacturing of these guns, for the purchasing of the relevant materials, Gen Engelbrecht came to me and said that Gen Smit had said that the claim was to be split into two, the single claim was too big, that there was actually a limit for which he could sign, and that is why I divided the claim into two claims. These were false claims by the way and we then used the money to purchase the materials and to manufacture the shotguns. Similarly at the same time, we received permission from Gen Van Rensburg to give Themba Khosa a Secret Fund vehicle because he didn't have a vehicle and every month, we then just obtained the petrol receipts from him and that is how we reconciled matters in the files.

MR HATTINGH: And while you have just mentioned the provision of weapons to Inkatha, we were also referring to the provision of these guns to them by you, in your capacity as the Commander of Vlakplaas in the SAP?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And after you left the Force, you also provided large scale weapons to the IFP?

MR DE KOCK: Yes. On one occasion it was four truck loads and on a second, it was two truck loads.

MR HATTINGH: Yes, that is not really the matter at hand, but all that we need to agree on is that your provision of weapons to the IFP caused great uproar in the media?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: But these weapons that you provided in the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg area were provided while you were still a member of C10, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And this took place with the knowledge and approval of the Commanding Officers?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Was there ever any documentation in this regard and in other instances where you gave evidence, which you could use as support?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, there were documents and I also had tape recordings of discussions.

MR HATTINGH: That is what you had personally, but with regard to the official sources of the SAP, there were also documents which could have assisted you with your evidence here?

MR DE KOCK: No, that was all kept in secret.

MR HATTINGH: This documentation that you had, what happened to it?

MR DE KOCK: On the third day after I appeared before the Goldstone Commission, this was a Saturday morning before I appeared before the Goldstone Commission on the Wednesday, I went through to an office where I had two large containers of original police documentation and official documentation with approvals and signatures, as well as computer discs, I had approximately 100 cassettes, the mini-cassette type which one would use, I had about 100 to 120 mini-cassettes and then I also had a great deal of regular tapes, 60 and 90 minute tapes of telephone conversations and so forth, and on that day, I destroyed everything.

MR HATTINGH: Was there ever an official order for the destruction of documents which could create embarrassment for the South African Security Police?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, with the Harms Commission we really spring-cleaned and destroyed masses of documentation. A great deal of this documentation, sensitive documentation, I kept out and stored in another place.

MR HATTINGH: Chairperson, I see that it is almost four o'clock and I request that we take the adjournment now because I think that Mr de Kock could do with an adjournment at this point.

MR DE KOCK: I just want to say something. Sorry, there is just something that I want to say once we have finished my evidence.

CHAIRPERSON: Very well, we will now adjourn. We have come to the end of the proceedings for today, we will adjourn and we will reconvene in this venue tomorrow morning at half past nine, we are adjourned.

COMMITTEE ADJOURNS

 
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