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Amnesty Hearings

Type AMNESTY HEARINGS

Starting Date 04 May 2000

Location WHITE RIVER

Day 2

Names DANIEL BENJAMIN SNYDERS

Case Number AM0074/96

Matter BOMB ATTACKS ON NELSPRUIT HIGH SCHOOL AND DEATH OF MR SITHOLE, BOMB ATTACK ON AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE

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ON RESUMPTION

CHAIRPERSON: We want to continue with the applications of Daniel Benjamin Snyders, amnesty reference 0074/96, Jan Petrus Kruger, amnesty reference 2734/96 and Martinus Chritoffel Ras, amnesty reference 2736/96.

The Panel is constituted as would be constituted from the record. The Leader of Evidence is Ms Mtanga. And I'm going to ask the rest of the representatives to put themselves on record, starting with the representative on behalf of the applicants.

MR SMIT: As it pleases, Mr Chairperson. I'm J M C Smit from the Pretoria Bar, on instructions from the firm, Uys and Coetzee, on behalf of the three applicants.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr Smit.

MR VAN WYK: I am P A van Wyk, I'm also counsel from the Pretoria Bar and I'm appearing on behalf of one of the alleged implicated people, being Louis Snyders, the applicant's brother. I'm appearing on behalf of the firm of Herman Grobler at Groblersdal. Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr van Wyk. And the next in line?

MR MORGAN: As it pleases the Committee. Shane Morgan, an attorney from Nelspruit, representing the victims, Sophie Mashaba and Mercy Sithole.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr Morgan. And the interested party? Nobody else. We will then start.

MR VAN DER BANK: Thank you, Mr Chairman, I'm Steven van der Bank from the firm J H L Moodie in Ermelo. On instructions of the State-Attorney, we are representing the Mpumalanga Education Department.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr van der Bank. Mr Smit, is there anything that you want to put on record, or do you want your client to be sworn it?

MR SMIT: Mr Chairperson, nothing I want to put on record at this stage, my client can be sworn in and will then lead evidence on that.

CHAIRPERSON: Is it Mr Snyders?

MR SMIT: Yes Mr Daniel Benjamin Snyders, the first applicant. As it please you, Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Very well.

DANIEL BENJAMIN SNYDERS: (sworn states)

EXAMINATION BY MR SMIT: Mr Chairperson, the witness is Afrikaans-speaking and I will proceed in Afrikaans then. As it pleases you.

Mr Snyders, you are the first applicant in this application for amnesty, together with Messrs Ras and Kruger, and before this Committee three affidavits were deposed to by yourself, is that correct?

MR SNYDERS: That is correct.

MR SMIT: These three affidavits you have recently read and you still confirm the contents thereof as correct, is that correct?

MR SNYDERS: That is correct, yes.

MR SMIT: Mr Snyders, in order to assist the learned Committee with regard to these applications, will you firstly please state these actions for which you apply for amnesty, and I wish to refer you to page 117 of the documents. This is a supplementary affidavit by yourself. Right at the top of this page you mention that you apply for the criminal procedures taken against you with regard to numbers 1 to 17, B1 to B10, as well as arson of the attorney's offices where attorneys by the name of Claasens offices were burnt down, and you request that amnesty be granted to you as it is stated in paragraph 19.2 on page 5.

Now if I may refer you initially to Annexures A1 to 17, these appear from pages 14 to 30 of the documents. On page 15 of the documents, Annexure A2, it would appear that there are several charges against you in the High Court of South Africa in a Circuit Division, is that correct?

MR SNYDERS: That is correct.

MR SMIT: And these charges are, amongst others, murder, attempted murder, possession of firearms, ammunition, explosives and so forth. Do you bear knowledge of this?

MR SNYDERS: Yes, I do.

MR SMIT: And for the sake of completion, you have already appeared in the High Court with regard to these charges, is that correct?

MR SNYDERS: That is correct.

MR SMIT: And would I be correct to say that the case against you was postponed, not to a specific date, pending the result of this amnesty application?

MR SNYDERS: That is correct, yes.

MR SMIT: I shall momentarily return to the specific incidents with regard to these charges, but if I may refer you to page 31 of the bundle. These are charges where you are charged with your fellow applicants, Messrs Ras and Kruger, with regard to sabotage and malicious damage to property, as well as possession of explosives, is that correct?

MR SNYDERS: That is correct.

MR SMIT: And you also apply for amnesty with regard to this.

MR SNYDERS: That is correct.

MR SMIT: And furthermore, you mention in paragraph 19.2, on page 5, the fact that an attorney's offices in Frankfort were burnt down and you wish to apply for amnesty for that as well.

MR SNYDERS: That is correct.

MR SMIT: And in this paragraph as well on page 5, you say for example

"We poisoned their livestock, cut their wires ..."

Were you also part of those actions?

MR SNYDERS: Yes, I was.

MR SMIT: And you wish to apply for amnesty for those actions as well.

MR SNYDERS: That is correct.

MR SMIT: Before we commence, at the time of these offences committed by yourself, were you a member of a political organisation?

MR SNYDERS: That is correct.

MR SMIT: Of which organisation?

MR SNYDERS: Of the Conservative Party of South Africa.

MR SMIT: Since when have you been a member of this party?

MR SNYDERS: Since the inception of the Conservative Party in 1982.

MR SMIT: And in which capacity? Were you just a member or were you part of the top structure of the organisation?

MNR SNYDERS: "Ek was in die bestuur van die organisasie gewees. Ek was op verskeie Kiesafdelingsrade, op die Heilbron Kiesafdelingsraad en ook op Nelspruit, op die Kiesafdelingsraad."

MR SMIT: Very well. You mention in the documents a body by the name of "Toekomsgesprek".

MR SNYDERS: That is correct.

MR SMIT: Will you please explain to the Committee Toekomsgesprek was about.

MR SNYDERS: Toekomsgesprek was a secret organisation which flowed out after the inception of the Conservative Party. It was chosen members of the Conservative Party, who met secretly and operated secretly.

MR SMIT: And to emphasise this, you said this was in secrecy, this was an absolute secret organisation and not - may I draw the inference that not everyone in the Conservative Party knew of this organisation?

MR SNYDERS: That is correct, yes.

MR SMIT: The organisation, Toekomsgesprek, what were their aims?

MR SNYDERS: It was to place the conservative-thinking member in a position of power and to support such persons and if the Conservative Party would come into power, then certain strong leaders would already be in place. For example, in Agriculture and Police, in Education and all the other functional departments which would function within a normal government.

MR SMIT: For the sake of completion, your membership with the Conservative Party, there is no membership certificate attached to the documents, can you please explain that to us.

MR SNYDERS: All the documents that I had with me with regard to the Conservative Party, were taken by the police when they arrested me and I did not have any further access to it.

MR SMIT: So you do not have it in your possession any longer?

MR SNYDERS: No, I do not.

MR SMIT: If we may return, you say that in Toekomsgesprek, members had received training in explosives, were you one of these members? Or I draw that inference from your statement.

MR SNYDERS: Yes, I served on the Defence Group of the secret organisation when I received this training.

MR SMIT: This training with regard to the storage of weapons and ammunition and the manufacturing of explosives, if I can refer to paragraph 4 on page 11, it reads

"We had to ready ourselves for an armed struggle against the then National Government."

this armed struggle against the government, is this where the bomb explosions emanated from?

MR SNYDERS: Yes, that is correct. Our aim was to stop the National Party in its apparent governing methods.

MR SMIT: In Toekomsgesprek, did you resort under the command of anyone, or were you one of the Commanders?

MR SNYDERS: I resorted under someone's command.

MR SMIT: And who was your direct Commander?

MR SNYDERS: Commandant Douw Steyn from Nelspruit.

MR SMIT: Did you receive all your instructions from him?

MR SNYDERS: That is correct.

MR SMIT: If we may return to the various acts for which you apply for amnesty. Firstly, if I may refer you back to page 13, Annexure A1 to 17, specifically A2, the charge against you there was that on or about the 16th of March at the Nelspruit High School, you had killed a Mr Sithole. In your supplementary affidavit you mention that a bomb was planted at the Nelspruit High School and it would appear that Mr Sithole had died in this bomb explosion, is that correct?

MR SNYDERS: That is correct, yes.

MR SMIT: And a Ms Mashaba was apparently in his presence, and there you are charged with attempted murder with regard to her.

MR SNYDERS: That is correct.

MR SMIT: Can you briefly sketch, the bomb at Nelspruit High School, by whom was it manufactured? Let me ask you that first.

MR SNYDERS: It was manufactured by myself and my brother.

MR SMIT: And you also went and planted it there.

MR SNYDERS: That is correct.

MR SMIT: That is stated in your supplementary affidavit, page 120, paragraph 8.3, is that correct? Page 120, paragraph 8.3

MR SNYDERS: Yes, that is correct.

MR SMIT: Very well. The instructions to plant this explosive device there, by whom was this instruction given?

MR SNYDERS: At that stage I received my instruction from Col Johan Broekman, who had taken up my position after Jan Kruger's arrest at TG.

MR SMIT: TG refers to Toekomsgesprek?

MR SNYDERS: That is correct. And liaised directly with Commandant Douw Steyn.

MR SMIT: So he received his instructions from Commandant Douw Steyn and then conveyed the instructions through to you.

MR SNYDERS: That is correct.

MR SMIT: When you planted this bomb, what was your aim with the planting of this bomb? Why was it placed at the Nelspruit High School?

MR SNYDERS: The aim was that a certain Mr Kon Booyens was a member of the Afrikaner Broederbond and they expelled Mr Douw Steyn's son because they protested against a mixed high school, and it was my instruction to liven them up a bit.

MR SMIT: Was this action aimed against Kon Booyens himself, or for another purpose?

MR SNYDERS: It was never aimed at any lives, that was one of our instructions, to ensure that no-one was injured or killed and the times when the bombs had to explode had to be late at night and Mr Kon Booyens was not at his house that time. We just wanted to scare him.

MR SMIT: And this reign of terror, if you wanted to cause some reign of terror, would it serve any purpose?

MR SNYDERS: Yes, Mr Kon Booyens was an outspoken person in the Education and it was ordered to prevent them from expelling any other scholars who were rightist in their attitude, and we thought that they would be afraid of taking any further steps against these scholars.

MR SMIT: And in scaring Mr Kon Booyens you mentioned that the National Party had to be threatened by these bombs, if I may put it as such, would that have had any impact on the National Party, who was the government of the day?

MR SNYDERS: Definitely, because the schools at that stage were targets in the political arena and Mr Kon Booyens was a highly recognised member of the National Party, and as I've said, he represented the Education in the Afrikaner Broederbond and one could see that he was a prominent member.

MR SMIT: If we move over to page 31, these are the charges of sabotage and malicious damage to property. On page 31 the charge against you was that the Magistrate's Court at Sabie was damaged, was this done by a bomb?

MR SNYDERS: Yes, it was.

MR SMIT: And this was on approximately the 20th of December 1991, is that correct?

MR SNYDERS: Yes, that is correct.

MR SMIT: Were you on that occasion present with your fellow applicants, Ras and Kruger?

MR SNYDERS: No.

MR SMIT: I see that they are charged along with you on this charge, but they were not with you.

MR SNYDERS: No.

MR SMIT: At the Magistrate's Court in Sabie.

MR SNYDERS: No.

MR SMIT: And then Annexure B2, deals with malicious damage to property, you say you weren't involved there?

MR SNYDERS: No.

MR SMIT: These bomb that were used at the Sabie Magistrate's Court, by whom were this manufactured?

MR SNYDERS: By all three of us.

MR SMIT: And then in your application there is reference to the Lowveld High School, which was bombed.

MR SNYDERS: That is correct, yes.

MR SMIT: Were you involved there by yourself?

MR SNYDERS: No, all three of us were there.

MR SMIT: All three of you.

MR SNYDERS: That is correct.

MR SMIT: For which reason was this school attacked?

MR SNYDERS: Lowveld High would have been the first school to offer mixed activities and the confrontation was with regard to this and that is why Mr Douw Steyn and his sons were expelled from Nelspruit High, and we then had to damage the pavilions and the main buildings, so that the mixed inter-high could not take place because the persons would be too afraid to come to such a place.

MR SMIT: If I may refer you to page 7 of the documents, paragraph 21, you say Commandant Douw Steyn placed you under great pressure to blow up Lowveld High, because at that stage there were many bombs "geloop" in the Western Transvaal.

MR SNYDERS: That is correct.

MR SMIT: When you say that he placed you under great pressure, what do you mean by that?

MR SNYDERS: We went through a time period where bombs had to go off at certain identified colleges and schools right throughout the country and he was the Commander of the whole Defence Group at that stage, and the bombs had already exploded in the Western Transvaal, where Nelspruit was seen as the leader organisation, and then Mr Steyn visited me in order to find out why we had not done the job which was given to us and that the school caused them great problems because it was an English inspired school, but we did not want to let anyone know the dates because we were afraid of any insurgencies or infiltrations. "So ek het die opdrag van hom af gekry, en ons het self ons datum tyd beplan, wanneer ons sou in beweeg het."

MR SMIT: And certain summonses were issued with regard to damages to these State properties.

MR SNYDERS: That is correct.

MR SMIT: The attorney's offices at Frankfort to which you referred, which had been attacked, what was the reason for this?

MNR SNYDERS: Die prokureur Claasen het teen sakemanne in vrede opgetree namens swartes wat by daai stadium by stakings betrokke was, en toe is my opdrag gewees om sy kantore af te brand, om hom tot niet te maak.

MR SMIT: Was he favourable inclined towards the National Party?

MR SNYDERS: Yes, he was.

MR SMIT: And the purpose then was - the purpose of burning his office was then in order to prevent him from assisting any persons.

MR SNYDERS: That is correct.

MR SMIT: May I return to the explosion at Nelspruit High. There were charges laid against you, will you please tell me, the bomb at the high school, at what time was it supposed to detonate? Why did someone die there?

MR SNYDERS: The situation at Nelspruit High School was - I wish to put it clearly to the Committee, was that we are very sorry and I am terribly sorry for what had happened there, but the two bombs that had exploded at the Agriculture College and at Nelspruit High, were electrically installed and I personally developed the mechanisms so that they should explode at three in the morning when there was no-one around. I was five kilometres away from there and the echo from the Agriculture College which was at the foot of the mountains, it seemed to me as if all the bombs went off simultaneously and then we departed.

I did not realise that the bomb at the high school did not explode, because if I did know that it did not explode, I would have gone back to disable it, because apparently I tripped when we planted the bombs and some dirt came into the mechanism and unfortunate the gardener who arrived there on Monday, found these things and picked it up and the mechanism went off.

MR SMIT: When you say "these things", for the sake of completion, how were these bombs manufactured?

MR SNYDERS: The bomb that had the timing mechanism was in a gas bottle, the explosives were in a gas bottle and the others were connected to it with cortex in a truck's slave cylinder which was closed up, and it was connected to that and it placed next to the house of Kon Booyens, next to his garages, and it was placed as such so that persons would not be injured if anyone was close-by, but I did not realise that they did not detonate.

MR SMIT: The explosives within the gas bottle, with which the bomb was manufactured, this was bought by yourself and manufactured by yourself?

MR SNYDERS: Yes, it was. It was amfax.

MR SMIT: And where did you get the resources for this?

MR SNYDERS: We received this from a Sasol depot where Mr Douw Steyn was an owner. It was fertiliser that we used, and we were financially supported.

MR SMIT: Will you please have regard to page 10 of the documents, paragraph 10(a). There you mention the political aim, you say that

"It was in order to disrupt the then regime, in order to force a general election before the implementation of the transitional government."

These actions that you have described now, am I correct in saying that the objective was in order to disrupt the regime? Was this to construct a reign of terror, or what was this all about?

MR SNYDERS: Firstly, it was to draw the attention of the government that the greater part of the Afrikaners in South Africa were not happy with their policy at that stage, and secondly, it was in order to scare people from the National Party and its policies and then also to draw the attention of the leadership figures, to tell them that it was not acceptable, this transitional period that we were going through.

MR SMIT: When you say you wanted to force a general election before the implementation, would you please explain how the planting of bombs and the actions that you had launched, cause a general election.

MR SNYDERS: If there were many bombs going off all over the place where we planned them to go off, it would create the impression that the country was ungovernable and then Mr de Klerk would call a State of Emergency, or call an election, but we did not want a referendum at that stage, we wanted a general election which would have been more representative at that stage.

MR SMIT: A final aspect, the political objective which you have described now, was this your own viewpoint or was that the CP policy or the Toekomsgesprek policy?

MR SNYDERS: It was basically the CP's strategy in order to force the government to listen to them, because as you know they were ignoring the media and television and all those places, and these actions would have placed the attention on them and also of the people, because you know what coverage the media and television gave to them at that stage.

MR SMIT: Somewhere in your documents you mention that the instruction did not directly come from management of the CP, it would appear that it came from Toekomsgesprek, the secret organisation.

MR SNYDERS: The management of the CP was the Toekomsgesprek because it had to take place in secrecy, but Commandant Douw Steyn was connected to them directly and he had to clear all actions with Dr Treurnicht and with Mr Andries Beyers, who was the Chief Secretary at that stage.

MR SMIT: This information, was this to your own knowledge or were you told this?

MR SNYDERS: I was informed of all of this by Douw Steyn, and I personally attended some meetings.

MR SMIT: Is there anything else that you would like to add at this stage?

MR SNYDERS: No, it is only about the fact that at Nelspruit High there was dissatisfaction, and once again I would request the Commission and the relatives of Mr Sithole and so forth, I would like to apologise to them for what had happened there. These actions were never aimed against any black person or persons who were in the National Party at that stage, it was aimed at the National Party leaders and to draw the attention to that. I would just like to offer my apologies to all the families who had suffered and I would like to tell them that it was not aimed at any one of them.

MR SMIT: Thank you, Mr Chairperson, Learned Committee Members, I have no further questions at this stage.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR SMIT

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr Smit. Mr van Wyk, any questions?

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR VAN WYK: Thank you, Chairperson.

Mr Snyders, I have a few aspects which I would like to take up with you. I appear on behalf of your brother, Louis Snyders. Would you agree with me that your brother at some stage had worked for you?

MR SNYDERS: That is correct, yes.

MR VAN WYK: Would you agree - I would not like to go in-depth here, but at some stage you accused your brother of theft, do you recall that? And you withheld his bonus with regard to work done at Escom.

MR SNYDERS: That is correct, yes.

MR VAN WYK: And it would appear that there are several disputes between yourself and then within your family with regard to your father.

MR SNYDERS: That is correct, yes.

MR VAN WYK: There are differences between you.

MR SNYDERS: That is correct.

MR VAN WYK: Your father at some stage lived with you and then he left your house, is that correct?

MR SNYDERS: Well he did not live with me but he lived on the farm.

MR VAN WYK: And your father at a later stage went to live with your brother, is that correct?

MR SNYDERS: Yes, I think so.

MR VAN WYK: Do you not know of this?

MR SNYDERS: I am not entirely certain, I just knew where my father lived at some stage.

MR VAN WYK: With regard to this point, I would just like to conclude that my client, your brother, says that he heard from your sister that because of these differences between you, you at a stage would have said to your sister that your brother would crawl before you, can you recall that?

MR SNYDERS: No, I am not aware of that.

MR VAN WYK: Why I ask this question of you, Mr Snyders, is because the first application which you handed up was dated the 22nd of February 1996, if you study page 12 of your bundle.

MR SNYDERS: Yes, that is correct.

MR VAN WYK: You would agree with me that in your initial application you nowhere involve your brother, Louis Snyders, my client.

MR SNYDERS: That is correct, yes.

MR VAN WYK: And the second application I see has the stamp of the 3rd of December 1999, if you study page 76 of the bundle. Have a look at my bundle.

MR SNYDERS: Yes, that is correct.

MR VAN WYK: And in this supplementary application your brother's name appears on three occasions.

MR SNYDERS: That is correct, yes.

MR VAN WYK: Why did you not mention your brother's name right from the start?

MR SNYDERS: If you look at my first statement you will see that a supplementary statement would follow, and if there were any omissions, these would be highlighted during the hearing. At that stage thereafter the attorney who handled our case was deceased and that is why our supplementary affidavits followed so long afterwards, but I warned Mr Louis Snyders and I told him that we had to apply for amnesty and he refused to do it.

MR VAN WYK: But that is indeed what I want to know from you, when you warned him and told him to apply for amnesty and you handed up an application, why did you not mention him in your first application? I want to make the point that your brother denies his involvement here, and secondly, my instructions are that you involve him because there is a family feud. Would you like to comment on this?

MR SNYDERS: I think that is his version and your version of it, but the fact of the matter remains that the Truth Commission came back to us on various occasions and they wanted certain detail with regard to these incidents and I elaborated thereupon and they wanted names of other persons who were involved and that is why I elaborated on it. So that is his version and I will stick to mine.

MR VAN WYK: A following aspect which I would like to take up with you, has regard to the secret organisation, Toekomsgesprek. You would agree with me that your brother, my client, was not a member of Toekomsgesprek.

MR SNYDERS: No, never, he would not have made it.

MR VAN WYK: In other words, he was not part of your inner circle who took decisions and was with management?

MR SNYDERS: Not at all, he was too young.

MR VAN WYK: The reason why I ask you this is, if we page to page 83 of the application, paragraph 20 reads

"Who were all involved in the Lowveld?"

Do you agree? Do you have that on page 83?

MR SNYDERS: Yes, that is correct.

MR VAN WYK: And then you mention in 20.1

"Toekomsgesprek, the Paul Kruger TG group in which I was and there were the following members ..."

and then you give the names there. And if we page over to page 83, L, why does your brother's name appear there if he was not a member of TG?

MR SNYDERS: No, that was an elaboration, Johan Broekman and Johan Segers were the TG members, he was just along with them.

MR VAN WYK: The reason why I ask you is because you deal with the TG members and then you include your brother, but your brother is not a member of Toekomsgesprek.

MR SNYDERS: No, he was never a member, but the other two were.

MR VAN WYK: Do I understand you correctly, that with regard to the letter "L", you do not want to insinuate that your brother was involved in Toekomsgesprek?

MR SNYDERS: No, he was not involved at all.

MR VAN WYK: I would just like to make a statement to you, my instructions from your brother are that he denies that he went to Maputo to fetch arms. That is your brother's version, would you wish to comment?

MR SNYDERS: Let us accept that that is his version, what I had said here in this thing, and that is the whole purpose of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, it does not help that I am trying to suck lies from my thumb here. This is not about Toekomsgesprek, this mentions whoever was involved in the Lowveld. It's because the whole organisation was about Toekomsgesprek, so if Mr Snyders alleges that he was not there, then we shall say that is his statement. I know where he was and I know what he did and that is that.

MR VAN WYK: Is this on the grounds of what you had heard?

MR SNYDERS: No, this is what I know.

MR VAN WYK: The reason why I ask you this is because in the initial application where reference is made to the arms in Maputo, no reference is made to your brother. Do you have any problem with that statement of mine? I shall assist you here. If you study page 7 of your previous application, clause K, and in your initial application you did not mention your brother, but later you do involve him.

MR SNYDERS: Yes, that is correct.

MR VAN WYK: Thank you. The following aspect to which I wish to refer you to is, if you would go over to page 85 of the bundle, this is in regard to the explosions at the high school and the Nelspruit Agricultural College. I shall deal with these simultaneously. You will note that on page 85, paragraph 23, in that paragraph you twice refer to your brother, you say

"Louis Snyders and I were personally involved in the manufacturing of these bombs."

And furthermore you say that:

"Because Louis and I were involved in the manufacturing of the bombs that had been planted at the college and at the high school ..."

Do you see it here?

MR SNYDERS: That is correct, yes.

MR VAN WYK: You would agree with me that if you study page 7 of your initial application, paragraph 23, then your brother's name does not appear there. Do you agree?

MR SNYDERS: That is correct.

MR VAN WYK: And then in your second application which was filed in 1999, and the first one was in 1996, two-and-a-half years later, you just add your brother's name there. Do you agree?

MR SNYDERS: That is correct.

MR VAN WYK: Do I understand you correctly that your brother was involved in the manufacturing of explosive devices, or did your brother just accompany you?

MR SNYDERS: I do not wish to elaborate too much on this, the point is that he accompanied me on many occasions. One has to accept that where I wanted to protect one - at that stage in my first statement it was only myself, Jan and Tienie who were arrested, so the whole thing revolved around myself, there were no other arrests, but after some communication between ourselves and the TRC, they told us to elaborate on everything that had happened and that is why I elaborated more in detail as to who was involved and when.

MR VAN WYK: But you agree in your new application it was just your brother's name that was mentioned.

MR SNYDERS: That's correct.

MR VAN WYK: The reason why I ask this is, if we look at your newest statement, page 120 of the bundle - you must please assist me if I understand this incorrectly, paragraph 8.3 reads as follows

"I manufactured this bomb myself."

you do not say Louis and I, and this concurs with your initial application. In other words, you were involved yourself by yourself, or do I read this incorrectly?

MR SNYDERS: No, you are not incorrect.

MR VAN WYK: And then you say that you and your brother planted it there. For the sake of completion for the Committee, my instruction is that your brother denies any involvement in the manufacturing of these bombs or the planting of these bombs. Your comment to that?

MR SNYDERS: I have not comment, I would just like to say that that is his version of the matter. What I had written here and what I had elaborated on here is the truth and I shall stick to that.

MR VAN WYK: And a following aspect which I would like to clear up with you, if we study page 86 of the bundle, paragraph 24, the last there lines of paragraph 24

"I had many bombs in reserve, which I had manufactured in November of 1991"

Was this when you manufactured these bombs, November of 1991?

MR SNYDERS: Some of them.

MR VAN WYK: Because my instructions are that your brother at that stage, in November 1991, was still in Perdekop, would you agree with that?

MR SNYDERS: Yes, I don't know where he was at that stage. Those were not all of the bombs, I kept some of them from 1991.

MR VAN WYK: But the bombs were built in 1991.

MR SNYDERS: Not all of them.

MR VAN WYK: And on the same page paragraph 25.2, reference is made to the R1 rifles and ammunition which was fetched by Johan Broekman, Johan Segers and Louis Snyders in the Komatiepoort vicinity. So this is the third time you refer to your brother here, but which does not appear in your initial application, would you agree?

MR SNYDERS: Yes.

MR VAN WYK: Once again, my instructions are that your brother denies that he was involved. Your comment to this?

MR SNYDERS: I say once again I shall stand by my statement and that what I had said here was the truth and only the truth.

MR VAN WYK: I see from the charge sheet and the list of witnesses, that two Magistrate's names appear on this list - if I could just find the page for you, page 28, are these statements which you had deposed to before the Magistrate?

MR SNYDERS: Yes, that is correct.

MR VAN WYK: Magistrate Moldenhauer and du Preez. At number 14 is Moldenhauer, do you see that?

MR SNYDERS: Magistrate Moldenhauer visited me in prison, but I deposed to my statements in front of du Preez.

MR VAN WYK: And did you admit your involvement there?

MR SNYDERS: That's correct, yes.

MR VAN WYK: May we accept that in that statement your brother was not mentioned?

MR SNYDERS: No, he was not at all. Basically nobody was involved there.

MR VAN WYK: I see. So you accepted responsibility for your actions then.

MR SNYDERS: Yes, because that was under oath.

MR VAN WYK: Mr Chairman, I've no further questions in respect of this applicant, I can just point out that an additional affidavit has been prepared by my client, I think copies have been supplied to yourselves - ja, I see some of your Committee Members do have copies, and I will merely ask that this affidavit be accepted on behalf of my client. I do not intend tendering any evidence, I'm just handing in the affidavit for that purpose. Thank you very much, Mr Chairman.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR VAN WYK

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr van Wyk. I just want to arrange for these things to be marked, so that we have a proper reference to all these documents. There are further supplementary affidavits from all of the applicants, they are attested to - I'll just make sure if they were attested to on the same date ...(intervention)

MR VAN WYK: Mr Chairman, if I may assist, it appears that the last page is page 137.

CHAIRPERSON: 137, yes.

MR VAN WYK: And then I want to suggest that this may be marked then page 138 and onwards.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, so those - was that 137 - 132? What did you say, Mr van Wyk, what was your last page?

MR VAN WYK: My last page that I have is page 137, that is the additional affidavit of ...

CHAIRPERSON: Oh, of Ras, yes.

MR VAN WYK: Of Mr Ras, the third applicant.

CHAIRPERSON: That's right, yes.

MR VAN WYK: I'll suggest pages 138, 139 and 140 be allocated ...

CHAIRPERSON: Very well.

MR VAN WYK: Thank you, Mr Chairman and Committee.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr Morgan, any questions?

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR MORGAN: As it pleases the Committee, Mr Chairman, just a few questions on behalf of the victims.

Mr Snyders, is it correct that in the execution of all the bombings, special care was taken to prevent the loss of life?

MR SNYDERS: Yes, that's correct.

MR MORGAN: Would it be correct to say that quite a bit of planning went into these bomb attacks?

MR SNYDERS: Yes, that is correct.

MR MORGAN: Could you elaborate on the planning that went into the execution of the bombing at Nelspruit High School?

MR SNYDERS: I personally did the reconnaissance work in the area, as well as watched Mr Kon Booyens' movements for approximately there weeks. I determined the distances and drew up a timing schedule as to how we would arrive there and how we would leave. And as I have said previously, the planning was for 3 o'clock that night when he would not be at home and no workers or any other staff would be in the vicinity. I think it was a Saturday night, if I recall correctly.

So the misunderstanding came about with the two bombs which were supposed to be detonated at 3 o'clock that night at the Agricultural College and the Agricultural College's explosion sent out an echo over Nelspruit and it appeared that all the bombs had been detonated at the same time, and then we departed.

I said earlier on that I am terribly sorry because of this because it was never our objective to hurt any people, our actions were not directed at any people or to take anyone's life away.

MR MORGAN: Mr Snyders, are you saying that it is usual for Mr Booyens not to be at his homestead at 3a.m. in the morning?

MR SNYDERS: They were away that weekend and they were not home that Saturday evening because the school was away with certain sporting obligations.

MR MORGAN: Mr Snyders, when did you realise that the bomb had not detonated at the time it was supposed to have gone off?

MR SNYDERS: We only realised that it did not detonate the following morning when we heard it on the news, because the police had a tremendous task force which had surrounded the school. That was after a certain Mr Sithole, who was the gardener there, had picked up the explosive device and the one exploded in his hand, which had the timing mechanism on it and by picking up the bomb he pulled out the detonators of the other two and the police defused these. That is the first that we heard of this.

MR MORGAN: Was the bomb supposed to go off on a Sunday, Mr Snyders?

MR SNYDERS: Yes, it was actually Saturday night, but it was actually Sunday morning 3 o'clock.

MR MORGAN: As it pleases the Committee, Mr Chairman. In light of the answers received, I have no further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR MORGAN

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr Morgan. Mr van der Bank?

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR VAN DER BANK: Thank you, Chairperson.

Mr Snyders, it is correct that extensive damage was caused to the school at Nelspruit, as well as the Agricultural College at Nelspruit, because of these bomb explosions where you were involved in.

MR SNYDERS: Yes, that is correct.

MR VAN DER BANK: And it is also correct that civil claims were instituted against you, which at this stage are delayed, pending the result of your amnesty application.

MR SNYDERS: Yes, that is correct.

MR VAN DER BANK: To return to these explosions in order to determine the power of these explosives, is it correct that you had to do certain tests?

MR SNYDERS: That's correct.

MR VAN DER BANK: Would you please explain to the Committee how these tests were done, in order to determine how much damage would be done to these buildings?

MR SNYDERS: We carried out various tests with various materials and various metal structures and the purpose of this was to get a container which would be shredded apart, and the amfax is a slow explosive but it has much power, and we built these things and we went and tested them in the plantations until we had the correct size. One has certain explosives where charges are used, where fast charges are used, and others where slow charges are used and others that are used for demolitions.

MR VAN DER BANK: Will you please tell the Committee how many killogrammes of explosives were used at the High School in Nelspruit.

MR SNYDERS: At Nelspruit we used approximately two to two-and-a-half killogrammes. That is the explosives excluding the containers.

MR VAN DER BANK: And how many killogrammes of explosives were used at Lowveld High School?

MR SNYDERS: I think at Lowveld High we used four killogrammes.

MR VAN DER BANK: You are aware that at the Agricultural College approximately R12 800 damage was caused because of this explosion.

MR SNYDERS: Yes, that is correct.

MR VAN DER BANK: And furthermore, the damage caused to the building at Nelspruit High was approximately R6 000.

MR SNYDERS: That is correct, yes.

MR VAN DER BANK: Sir, I wish to commence with your objectives when you planted these bombs. Would you please tell the Committee whether the principals of these schools were members of the NP, or Broederbond?

MR SNYDERS: This was not determined by me, I was under the command of one, Commandant Douw Steyn, who served on the Management Committee of Nelspruit High at that stage. They determined the targets and determined who belonged to what, so I was actually only an operation on the ground. I served in the higher structures at TG, but they were in command and they identified the persons. And as you know, persons in the Broederbond were prominent persons in the National Party. That is how we determined it.

MR VAN DER BANK: Is it correct when I put it to you that the Afrikaner Broederbond just like Toekomsgesprek, were both a secret organisations of which the members or the membership were unknown to the general public?

MR SNYDERS: Yes, that is correct.

MR VAN DER BANK: Therefore Sir, when you accepted these instructions from Commandant Steyn, you accepted in good faith that they were members of the Broederbond or the National Party, who you had taken action against at that stage?

MR SNYDERS: That's correct. I would just like to tell the Committee that Commandant Douw Steyn and some of the other members were also earlier in the Broederbond, and that is how they knew. Commandant Douw Steyn was a Commander in the Army, which was automatically part of the Broederbond and he and Mr Booyens served in the same organisation before the breakaway of the CP, and after this breakaway, the Rapportryers also broke away.

MR VAN DER BANK: At a stage after these explosions had taken place at the Agricultural College, as well as Nelspruit High School, did the organisation Toekomsgesprek succeed in any political objective as you have stated earlier, to cause this reign of terror?

MR SNYDERS: No, I do not believe they succeeded. That is my version.

MR VAN DER BANK: And furthermore Mr Snyders, this act, was it primarily aimed at the State?

MR SNYDERS: Yes, that is correct, the instructions we received.

MR VAN DER BANK: And furthermore, is it correct to state that the purpose was to cause great damage and to cause great disruption at these schools?

MR SNYDERS: I would say it was more to cause a disruption. The damage was not that great, but the impact of a bomb explosion, if you look at the damage of R6 000, that is not a great damage, one could have damaged the whole building. This was just a reign of terror that we wanted to create and the fact that it received media coverage and persons would react tremendously to this. We know what happened in the past.

MR VAN DER BANK: And insofar as you know, the leader of the CP was Mr Andries Treurnicht at that stage and he was completely aware of all the plantings of bombs in the Nelspruit vicinity.

MR SNYDERS: I am not able to say that he was completely aware, but the fact is that I was under the command and all that I knew was that I was a member of the Defence Group that had to train many other cells, and all that I know is that it had to be cleared with the politicians first, with the leaders. The leaders, meaning Andries Beyers and Andries Treurnicht. Douw Steyn had direct liaison with them and that is what he conveyed to me and that is my version.

MR VAN DER BANK: Yes. Sir, if I may refer you to page 70 of the bundle, this is a document from the Conservative Party to the Amnesty Committee itself. As you will see from this letter, the Conservative Party denies any actions outside the political framework of political activity and by implication, that they were never involved in any unlawful planting of bombs and so forth. What is your comment to this?

MR SNYDERS: I think the Commission is aware of political parties and their versions of everything. The fact of the matter is that we were at grassroots level, we were on the ground and we had to do these things on their instructions. My version here is the truth, I cannot comment as to what he denies and what he does not deny. These people making these allegations must come and stand here in the box and say under oath that they knew or they did not know. In any case I see this is a Mr Wouter Hoffman who signed it, who at that stage was not the Head Secretary of the political party, but Mr Andries Beyers. Mr Andries Beyers personally came from Pretoria. Where we tested bombs, he came to see what the effect of these bombs were. So I reject this document in its entirety.

MR VAN DER BANK: Thank you, Chairperson, I have no further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR VAN DER BANK

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr van der Bank. Ms Mtanga.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS MTANGA: Thank you, Chairperson, I just have a few questions.

Mr Snyders, in your evidence you referred to the bombing of Sabie Magistrate's Court, were you involved in this bombing?

MR SNYDERS: I was not involved in the area, but I conveyed the instruction to Tienie Ras and Jan Kruger, from Commandant Douw Steyn and I was involved in the manufacturing of the explosive device.

MS MTANGA: Are you therefore applying for manufacturing those explosives for that incident?

MR SNYDERS: Yes, that is correct.

MS MTANGA: What was the reason for the bombing of the Magistrate's Court?

MR SNYDERS: The attack there was aimed at State targets and it was to draw attention to the Afrikaner resistance which was developing.

MS MTANGA: How would this serve your political organisation or the armed action that you referred to, the - I think it's the "gesprek", I can't recall the name.

ADV SANDI: Toekomsgesprek.

MS MTANGA: How would that bombing serve that organisation and the Conservative Party?

MR SNYDERS: I do not understand your question completely, would you please repeat it.

MS MTANGA: I'm trying to understand the political objective that would be achieved by the bombing of Sabie Magistrate's Court, in respect of your organisation, the Conservative Party and the Toekomsgesprek that you were a member of.

MR SNYDERS: The purpose of explosions like for example, at the Magistrate's Court in Sabie, that was to cause panic with the voters, the voters who had to vote for the National Party, and the fact that certain State targets were identified was merely because the attacks were aimed at this. As you know schools and courts, these are all State property, and it was to draw attention, the attention of the National Party, of the Afrikaner's resistance and these unacceptable policies that they wanted to execute. This was just pre-emptive, to show the world that the country was ungovernable at that stage. I cannot tell you exactly, I acted under instructions myself, I received an order and I was just told to do this.

MS MTANGA: Were you told what would be the significance of - or what was the reason for choosing that particular Magistrate's Court?

MR SNYDERS: No, no reasons were extended to me as to why that court was chosen.

MS MTANGA: I have no further questions, Chairperson, thank you.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MS MTANGA

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Mtanga.

ADV SANDI: Thank you, Chair. Mr Snyders, can you say at what stage exactly the Toekomsgesprek Group was established? I know the Conservative Party was formed in 1982, when was this Toekomsgesprek formed?

MR SNYDERS: I was not present at the founding of Toekomsgesprek, the only thing I can tell is that after the break of the National Party, when the CP was founded and many months after that there was great confrontation in the Afrikaner Broederbond, because you will know that Andries Treurnicht was a member of the Broederbond. So the confrontation within the secret structures at that stage, caused the break in the Broederbond and that is why the CP's secret organisation was founded. At a later stage I was involved by Commandant Douw Steyn, but I was not involved in the founding of it. I was at that stage a member of the Rapportryers corpse.

ADV SANDI: From what you have said it would appear that you gentlemen had a problem with the idea of integration, do I understand your evidence correctly? Integration in schools, you had a problem with that.

MR SNYDERS: That is correct, it was not my personal problem, that was the whole CP policy as you would know yourself, that the entire Conservative Party was against any government of national unity, or whatever had been tabled at that stage and they wanted to advocate separate development.

MR SNYDERS: Ja, but don't you have integration in schools today?

MR SNYDERS: That is correct, yes, I accept that.

ADV SANDI: Has anything happened as a result of integration in schools? Or to put it differently, have heavens fallen because of integration in schools?

MR SNYDERS: Definitely not, definitely not.

ADV SANDI: How would you - I'm not for a moment suggesting that this is the position, if one is suggesting to you that that operation you carried at that school and agricultural college, you were motivated by racism, how would you defend yourself against such a charge? If such a charge were to be put against you, what would you say, how would you respond?

MR SNYDERS: I would not attach to racism solely, this was about two white groups who confronted each other with regard to the direction of certain policies. It was about what the Conservative Party advocated at that stage, but I was not an MP or a cabinet member of the Conservative Party, I was just a common person on the ground, and you know how people are incited in politics with regard to certain issues. So at that stage mixed schools were blown up as if it was the end of South Africa. So it was only politics. And if we look at the countries around ourselves today and how people are incited through politics, that is a daily occurrence.

ADV SANDI: Thank you. Should I understand that to mean that you would not, for example today go and bomb a school only because this schools is integrated? You would not do that today I suppose.

MR SNYDERS: No, definitely not.

ADV SANDI: Thank you, Chair. Thank you, Mr Snyders.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Snyders, it would appear that you had contact with Mr Douw Steyn and he served as a type of channel as you comprehended the situation, with the Toekomsgesprek group, would that be correct?

MR SNYDERS: Commandant Douw Steyn was the Commander of the Toekomsgesprek group. As you would see in my application, Toekomsgesprek was divided into various interest groups, amongst others, Education interest group, Defence Interest Group, and Mr Douw Steyn was the leader of the Toekomsgesprek Defence Group. And the leader of each group had a direct channel with the leader of the party.

CHAIRPERSON: So you understood that the contact with Mr Douw Steyn was the channel to the Toekomsgesprek group.

MR SNYDERS: Yes, and also to the CP, because Toekomsgesprek was the CP, but this was just a secret group within the organisation.

CHAIRPERSON: That is how you understood it?

MR SNYDERS: That's correct.

CHAIRPERSON: You had no personal knowledge of the matters that this Toekomsgesprek group dealt with at their secret meetings and the decisions that they had taken.

MR SNYDERS: Yes, I did, I was a member of Toekomsgesprek, so I did attend meetings in this region, but Mr Douw Steyn served on the main Board.

MR SNYDERS: Yes, that is how I understood it. The chief or main Board would be the ultimate authority.

MR SNYDERS: That is correct, yes.

CHAIRPERSON: And as you understood it, the channel to the main Board was through Mr Steyn?

MR SNYDERS: That is correct, yes.

CHAIRPERSON: And you accepted that the conveyances which he made to you was what the overhead group, these were decisions that were made by them?

MR SNYDERS: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: You did not have any personal knowledge of such decisions, but you just followed what Mr Steyn told you.

MR SNYDERS: Yes, that is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: You say that Mr Steyn had a personal interest in the Nelspruit High School, if I understand you correctly.

MR SNYDERS: That is correct, Mr Douw Steyn was the Chairperson of the Management Board of the high school and they were in confrontation with Mr Kon Booyens who was the principal of that school, because of mixed sport there, and then his own son wrote graffiti on the walls of the school and some other members son's, and then Mr Kon Booyens expelled them from the school.

CHAIRPERSON: So he had a personal situation with regard to Mr Booyens, because his son was expelled by Mr Booyens because of something he wrote on the walls?

MR SNYDERS: I don't know whether one could attach it to the personal differences there, I think it is something that happened there. If it was anyone else's children, the same thing would have happened. Nelspruit High School is a leadership school, any action that is launched from there. And Mr Kon Booyens was a prominent figure in the National Party and in Education circles.

CHAIRPERSON: And was this after his son was expelled that Mr Steyn approached your group to ask you why are you not doing anything, why is nothing happening in Nelspruit, but in Western Transvaal all the bombs are exploding?

MR SNYDERS: No, when he approached me with regard to Nelspruit, that was with Lowveld High. That was during December and Nelspruit High School was much later thereafter.

CHAIRPERSON: So when he pressurised you, pressure was to attack which place?

MR SNYDERS: This was Lowveld High, where the mixed inter-school meeting would take place a few weeks later.

CHAIRPERSON: This Mr Steyn, where is he?

MR SNYDERS: He is in Nelspruit, he is the owner of Sasol Fertilisers.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I think your attention was drawn to this letter of the Conservative Party, and he put it to you that it would appear that the Conservative Party distances itself from any unlawful activities. That's on page 70 of the documents.

MR SNYDERS: May I just refer you to another letter of the Conservative Party, it's on page 49, Annexure E1, where the Conservative Party sent me a personal letter and saying amongst others

"Geagte Strydgenoot - Volksberaad 6 April 1990"

And that is where the structures met there and he invited me on behalf of the leader and the Board of the CP.

"We wish to invite you to a summit on the 6th of April"

where he confirms that I am one of the limited leadership figures in the freedom struggle which was invited to this summit. So I entirely refute and reject that other document.

CHAIRPERSON: But that is the point that Mr van der Bank wanted to make to you, that is why he drew your attention to it. This invitation in 1990, this was written in 1997, where the Conservative Party specifically reacted to this application which serves before us, and they say that they did not undertake any planning outside the framework of the law. That is the important part of the letter which Mr van der Bank has put to you for your comment. But if I understand you correctly, Mr Douw Steyn is the channel who liaised with you on ground level and this overhead body which you understood to be the Conservative Party.

MR SNYDERS: That is correct. I would just like to tell you that Mr Douw Steyn is a prominent member in the Conservative Party, he himself was a policy-maker in the Conservative Party. So you have to accept that chiefly he knew what he was doing. He at a stage would have been chosen as the MP was for Nelspruit, but he was a highly recognised leadership figure and he formulated the Defence policy of the Conservative Party.

CHAIRPERSON: I understand that, I understand that that is the effect of your evidence, that you had this certain image of Mr Steyn.

MR SNYDERS: Yes, he's on his toes.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Smit?

MR SMIT: I have nothing further, thank you Mr Chairperson.

NO RE-EXAMINATION BY MR SMIT

CHAIRPERSON: Is that the case for Mr Snyders?

MR SMIT: That is the case for Mr Snyders, correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Is our next witness Mr Kruger?

MR SMIT: That is correct, the next applicant would then be Mr Kruger.

MR SNYDERS: Chairperson, may I just ask, we have no further interest with the second and third applicants, may we be excused from the proceedings?

CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Thank you, Mr van Wyk, we appreciate your help.

MR VAN WYK: Thank you, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: You are excused.

WITNESS EXCUSED

CHAIRPERSON: We had indicated that because we are sitting longer than we would normally sit today we will take a very, very short adjournment after the first applicant. We'll take a 10 minute adjournment just to allow people to stretch their legs before we continue with the second applicant. So we'll stand down for 10 minutes.

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