SABC News | Sport | TV | Radio | Education | TV Licenses | Contact Us

Human Rights Violation Hearings


Starting Date 11 June 1997


Day 2


Back To Top
Click on the links below to view results for:
+ANC +camps

CHAIRPERSON: Dr Ramashala is going to lead Mr Schelhase and I will ask Mrs Mary Burton to swear you in. Thank you Mary.

MS BURTON: Good morning Mr Schelhase.

ULRICH SCHELHASE: (sworn states)

CHAIRPERSON: Dr Ramashala.

DR RAMASHALA: Mr Schelhase, good morning.

MR SCHELHASE: Good morning.

DR RAMASHALA: May I first start by asking you when you first got involved in Black areas in the area?

MR SCHELHASE: Madam I joined the then Administration Boards which became the Development Boards in 1974 where I started as a clerk in the rental office in Langa. And from then on I was promoted and was in charge of, like a chief superintendent of township administration and housing of Langa, Guguletu, Nyanga, Crossroads and later Khayalitsha.

DR RAMASHALA: Could you state what your position was, what your responsibilities were particularly to the period of 1985/1986?

MR SCHELHASE: Madam in 1986 in the beginning, I think it was in April, probably March, the Development Boards were abolished and we became personnel of the Provincial Administration and the Provincial Administration asked me to take specific care of the Crossroads development situation and I was seconded as a town clerk for Crossroads.

DR RAMASHALA: So in fact during the first attack you were already in the area?


DR RAMASHALA: Is it correct for me to assume that you clearly came to know the physical areas and the people in the areas very well?


DR RAMASHALA: In that case you would have been consulted by people such as security force members, security branch members etc, for guidance on the dynamics of areas as well as the personalities in the areas?


DR RAMASHALA: You indicated in one of your interviews that you would identify individuals to the security forces as potential allies and informers?


DR RAMASHALA: Could you tell us a little bit about that, how you did that, where you got your recommendations for informers, I mean which groups did you tap?

MR SCHELHASE: Yes I will be a little bit more cautious about the term "informers", but be that as it may. It was part of my duties to understand the type of community in which I work because to make decisions in an environment which you don't understand it is imperative that you go to the trouble to learn to understand and in the process ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Excuse me Mr Schelhase - could you please be quiet Ladies and Gentlemen, it's very difficult to hear Mr Schelhase. Thank you.

MR SCHELHASE: And in the process of learning to know the environment it is obvious that you have to know the people who live in the environment and it was very important for me to know who the leaders in the communities were in order for me to do my job properly.

To come back to your question Madam, if I was visited by members of the security forces or the police and they asked me who I would recommend that they can talk to about the security situation, whatever reason they are there for I would refer them to the people that I understand are the leaders of the community.

DR RAMASHALA: Sir, how did you come to find out about who were the leaders of the communities?

MR SCHELHASE: By moving amongst people and of course receiving representations from those leaders on behalf of the community. Presentations in the sense where the community needs something, they would come to me because I am the town clerk, or at the time the superintendent of the township.

DR RAMASHALA: Is it correct then to say that because there was so much tension in the area that you yourself had your own - you don't want to use the word "informer" but I am going to use the wording, that you also had your own system of ...(intervention)

MR SCHELHASE: Obviously, yes. If I can just perhaps - I don't want to elaborate too much but I had more than 400 people at the time who worked in my administration and of course we are in daily contact and these people tell me what happens in the community.

DR RAMASHALA: Clearly the information that you got from some 400 people would either be biased against one group or the other?

MR SCHELHASE: Yes obviously.

DR RAMASHALA: I'll come back to that question a little later, but my other question is, could you please describe your participation in the Joint Management Centre structures of the Western Cape? And I am not trying to get you to go back to the past, but during the periods preceding the conflict.

MR SCHELHASE: Yes. I was asked by the military personnel to serve on what they called a Social Economic and Welfare Committee as a substructure of the JMC system. They call it a min-JMC and it was conducted from my office in Crossroads. I was the chairman of that committee who had to deal with the socio-economic matters relating to Crossroads.

DR RAMASHALA: In that context Sir, to whom did you report?

MR SCHELHASE: Depending on the type of decisions that were made, but there were minutes kept at those meetings and those minutes were then, and the decisions that were taken, were then processed to the JMC, either in the Castle or whether it is in Thomas Boydell building or whatever, where it belonged.

DR RAMASHALA: It has already been reported to us that Mr Ngxobongwana, who was part of the leadership or perhaps the leadership in Crossroads belonged to the UDF and that during this period he broke ties with the UDF, that is 1985. He broke ties with the UDF. Could you briefly describe your understanding, what you think happened?

I am asking this question with the assumption that you and Mr Ngxobongwana had a good relationship.


DR RAMASHALA: Okay. Would you then say what happened.

MR SCHELHASE: As far as I know Madam that Mr Ngxobongwana is not an easy man to understand, for the simple reason that he has always wanted to be his own man. And I think that he has heeded the advice of Machiavelli, which boils down to the point that do not align yourself with princes stronger than you because you will not become the partner but their captive. And I think that was, to put it in a particular context, I think that was his motivation that he had the impression that the Crossroads issue was fought against the Koornhofs and the systems of the time on his and his community's behalf, and that he was feeling very uncomfortable that people from other areas had to dictate to him how he should conduct himself in the future about the future of that area. I think that was in a nutshell his mindset as I understood it during the time.

DR RAMASHALA: During that period you knew that Mr Ngxobongwana was in contact, for example, with security forces, special branch, riot unit members such as Barnard, Dolf Odendaal as well as the South African Army, Western Province Command Group 40, you were aware that he was in close contact with those groups?

MR SCHELHASE: It is perhaps what I have heard Madam but I have not been with Mr Ngxobongwana at that time in the presence with police or military.

DR RAMASHALA: So you are not aware of his relationship ...(intervention)

MR SCHELHASE: I was aware of what other people told me and what I've heard, but I mean I was personally not part of discussions they could have.

DR RAMASHALA: In your relationship with Mr Ngxobongwana he never these liaisons to you?

MR SCHELHASE: It may have been Ma'am.

DR RAMASHALA: He may have mentioned it?

MR SCHELHASE: Ja he may have, I do not deny that but it may have been.

DR RAMASHALA: Would you say that it was in the interests of the Development Board for the attack on the satellite camps to occur?


DR RAMASHALA: Would you also say that it was in the interest of the security forces for these attacks to take place?

MR SCHELHASE: I don't know Ma'am.

DR RAMASHALA: Well you are aware that the security forces wanted to rid the place of what they called comrades?

MR SCHELHASE: I assume so.

DR RAMASHALA: And so it was important for them to isolate the existence of comrades in these areas and get rid of them?

MR SCHELHASE: One can make that inference Ma'am.

DR RAMASHALA: It is our understanding that you were part of a visit to Mr Ngxobongwana in King Williamstown specifically, just prior to the attack on KTC, is that correct?

MR SCHELHASE: No Ma'am it's incorrect. In the first instance I have visited Mr Ngxobongwana, together with Mr Graham Lawrence who was also one of our officials and we went to see Mr Ngxobongwana in East London at the Kings Hotel.

DR RAMASHALA: What was the goal of that visit?

MR SCHELHASE: The goal, the aim of the mission was to ask Mr Ngxobongwana to return to Crossroads because matters are out of hand and we are of the opinion that at the time it was necessary for him to be there and to make decisions and to enter into negotiations, which in fact has led to a meeting subsequently with Archbishop Tutu in St Georges Cathedral.

I must just add that the evening, and it was dusk I remember very well, when Graham Lawrence and I flew over KTC to land at the DF Malan airport at the time that KTC was already burning.

DR RAMASHALA: As leader of the Crossroads factions, let me just say the Witdoeke, Mr Ngxobongwana had a way of disappearing just before an attack, the first time he went to Rustenburg ...(intervention)

MR SCHELHASE: Excuse me Ma'am?

DR RAMASHALA: Mr Ngxobongwana had a way of disappearing just before an attack.

MR SCHELHASE: I have asked him about this because it is not something new to me and his excuse or his reason was always that the people are sending him away. It is on the request of his community that he leaves.

DR RAMASHALA: Okay. Your information actually confirms what Mr Ndima said yesterday.

Who arranged the visits to Mr Ngxobongwana?

MR SCHELHASE: It was an idea that came out of discussions between myself and Graham Lawrence and we have approached the JMC, the military authorities to ask to arrange a flight for us.

DR RAMASHALA: Sir would you refer to a document, at the top it says LI916, it's termed Secretariat of the State Security Council and it has "TOP SECRET" on it.


DR RAMASHALA: Was this visit a JMC authorised visit?

MR SCHELHASE: A JMC authorised visit?



DR RAMASHALA: Why would this request have been sent to the Secretariat of the State Security Council? May I say one of the highest security bodies of the State.

MR SCHELHASE: I wouldn't know Ma'am. I could only assume that it was because to get authority for a private aircraft but I wouldn't know otherwise.

DR RAMASHALA: Does this to you not indicate that the State Security Council secretariat was being kept abreast of developments among the Witdoeke ...(intervention)

MR SCHELHASE: Obviously.

DR RAMASHALA: Obviously, okay. Let me go back to the issue of your responsibilities. Is it correct for me to say that you had a passion for Crossroads?


DR RAMASHALA: And that in fact you wanted Crossroads to be developed?

MR SCHELHASE: Absolutely.

DR RAMASHALA: And that in fact you would not have opposed any actions that might have facilitated your agenda to clear the problem areas around Crossroads to enable you to develop it?

MR SCHELHASE: I would not.

DR RAMASHALA: May I say then Sir that your interests, the interests of the security forces and the interests of the Witdoeke verged in a sense?


DR RAMASHALA: And that all three groups would have done anything to make sure that the strategies you engage in facilitated the process. For you the process would be development.

MR SCHELHASE: One could say that.

DR RAMASHALA: For the security forces their goal would be to clear the area of comrades and for the Witdoeke to get rid of the UDF related allies etc?


DR RAMASHALA: It is therefore not surprising, Sir, or let me raise that, is it therefore not surprising Sir that the reports that have been given that when the Witdoeke in numbers gathered around the Development building that in fact casspirs or security forces were there accompanying the Witdoeke to make sure that they proceed from one area of destruction to another?

MR SCHELHASE: It could probably be Ma'am.

DR RAMASHALA: Sir are you not curious that in fact the police, security forces and perhaps your department could have prevented these attacks? Acknowledging that your interests, all of your interests converge around getting rid of these issues that prevent you from developing the area.

MR SCHELHASE: Madam we did not go to too much trouble to try and prevent it.

DR RAMASHALA: Sir there is also a particularly interesting strategy that was used in order to ensure that there was cooperation from those communities that have been identified as "not supporting violence", is that correct?


DR RAMASHALA: Is that strategy called McEwan Oil Spot Strategy, or are these two different things?

MR SCHELHASE: Well the Oil Spot is only one notion within the whole strategy.


MR SCHELHASE: But the McEwan strategy was actually based on the work that was published by an American Marine Colonel, called Colonel John J McEwan and he has made a study of revolutions and counter-revolutions all over the world, and that he has set up theoretical guidelines for a State or a government to handle revolutionary situations.

DR RAMASHALA: As part of that question Sir, did the Development Board provide any support , logistical, financial etc to the Witdoeke or its leadership prior to the attacks? Now I am not talking about the welfare type things that were referred to in the past.

MR SCHELHASE: Madam prior to 1986 I was not aware that there was anything called the Witdoeke. To me that was something that was born out of the conflict by men fighting each other and one faction identifying itself by wearing white armbands or legbands or headbands against the other opposition which did not have that as a means of identification.

Prior to the attacks it was my job to provide services to all and everybody in Crossroads, whether they were so-called Witdoeke or whether they were so-called satellite camp leaders, but we had to give to everybody what we could in Crossroads.

DR RAMASHALA: Sir I'd like to refer you to a document, also with a stamp, Secretariat of the State Security Council. It is WPGBS/22/7/2. Now I can't speak Afrikaans but ...(intervention)

MR SCHELHASE: I can help you.

DR RAMASHALA: Okay. I'd like to refer you to paragraph 9 of the document. Would you please read that for us please?

MR SCHELHASE: Paragraph 9 reads,

"Brigadier de Jager is of the opinion that the older people, the actions of the older people against the comrades necessitates support, although it is on a covert manner. He will mention this to the Development Board so that they can convey the possibility of support to the Fathers. COMCOM is also requested to investigate whether the image of the old people could be established".

And then on your right-hand side there is probably an instruction identification, "Mr Land", which I remember was from the Bureau of Information and Mr de Jong who was at (...indistinct) Bezuidenhout's office, Chief Commissioner.

DR RAMASHALA: No Sir I am fully aware that you were not listed on that document, but I'd like to get the benefit of your thinking about what paragraph 9 that you've just read really suggests.

MR SCHELHASE: What it suggests?


MR SCHELHASE: What it actually says is that a military officer was of the opinion that the older people in Crossroads against the comrades enjoys support, whether it happens in a covert manner or a covered-up manner and that Mr de Jong must undertake to bring this to the attention of the Development Board so that they can investigate the possibilities of supporting the Fathers.

DR RAMASHALA: Sir there had already been conflict when this document was issued.

MR SCHELHASE: It was dated in February 1986.


MR SCHELHASE: I would assume so, yes.

DR RAMASHALA: Suggesting therefore that there should be continued support. Now you say you didn't know about the term Witdoeke but you are aware of the term Father, Fathers?

MR SCHELHASE: There are many various references, yes, but I think the term Fathers, which was also asked of the previous witness was more like a military reference. It was more the military people who referred to the Fathers and some referred to the conservatives and there were various descriptions of a faction or a mindset within the community.

DR RAMASHALA: Am I correct then in assuming that you knew that the Fathers were really pro-Ngxobongwana group?

MR SCHELHASE: Yes Ma'am. I think, sorry Ma'am, that that Fathers thing is probably something that was an offspring of the 1976 situation, and that it was just continued as a father/youth issue.

DR RAMASHALA: Were you, or anyone else in the Development Board ever approached for the support mentioned in this document between January and June 1986?

MR SCHELHASE: Not in terms of this document ...(intervention)

DR RAMASHALA: But in other ...(intervention)

MR SCHELHASE: I mean not formally, in terms of what this document has decided, but from other sources of course yes, yes.

DR RAMASHALA: But you were approached?


DR RAMASHALA: What kind of support, can you say exactly what kind of support we are talking about?

MR SCHELHASE: You see Ma'am all our operations in terms of management, administration etc, had to be moulded within the McEwan strategy. It was a direction. It was a model in which we had to operate. And if the model dictates that we have to reward people, communities or sections of communities that are non-violent, that collaborate with the system, then that section or that community, their needs must be answered to. If they have got specific needs we must provide those needs. That was one of the pillars of the Oil Spot Strategy.

DR RAMASHALA: In fact this was a kind of a sweetheart deal.

MR SCHELHASE: Of course.

DR RAMASHALA: Very positive toward the so-called Witdoeke.


DR RAMASHALA: Would you say that this attitude was shared in all structures of the JMC as well as the Development Board?

MR SCHELHASE: Can you just repeat the first part?

DR RAMASHALA: Would you say that this attitude, the sweetheart deal attitude was shared with all structures of the Joint Management Centres?

MR SCHELHASE: Of course Ma'am.

DR RAMASHALA: I want to go back to this fascinating Oil Spot Strategy. You were actually considered the administrative expert on the Oil Spot Strategy, theoretically.

MR SCHELHASE: Well in capital letters or not.

DR RAMASHALA: Theoretically.


DR RAMASHALA: Would you explain it to us please?

MR SCHELHASE: Well I was in the ideal situation where Crossroads had a fight, matters changed, things changed to the extent that it became a more admin friendly community. The people, and especially White people who were wary in the past to move around in the areas were now free to walk around. We could work in the area, we could bring building contractors in, which was different from a few months before.

So that in essence Ma'am, is what an Oil Spot situation is in practice, that you have pacified - a place or an area has been pacified which now opens opportunities for development and the spin-offs from that development may wash over to other communities who can see that there are benefits if this and this and this happens. I mean if there's benefits, if they are non-violent there is benefits, if they are prepared to negotiate their problems whatever the nature of the situation was.

DR RAMASHALA: There's also benefits if one give out information.

MR SCHELHASE: Of course.

DR RAMASHALA: In implementing the Oil Spot strategy a number of people were involved. I'd like to name a few and I'd like you to give me a profile of what you think of them. One of them is Odendaal, I believe Dolf Odendaal.

MR SCHELHASE: I know Dolf Odendaal. I don't know him personally very well but in a professional situation I came to know him, yes. Are you asking me what I think of him?


MR SCHELHASE: I think he was a good policeman, and I think he was a very courageous and a brave man.

DR RAMASHALA: What does courageous and brave mean?

MR SCHELHASE: It means that if you have to ...(intervention)

DR RAMASHALA: Kill ...(intervention)

MR SCHELHASE: No, no, no Ma'am, if you have to encounter a situation where you are actually with very few or very little support and you have to resolve that situation basically on your own steam.

And why I say that is that I can refer to a situation in Crossroads, I don't know whether it's 1984, or even before that still, where Mr Odendaal has walked man alone into a very aggressive crowd that was protecting somebody and it was Mr Odendaal's business, I don't know whether he had to arrest him or what, but it was an aggressive crowd and he walked right into that crowd, and that is why I substantiate what I say that he was courageous, in my eyes, in my terms.


MR SCHELHASE: Barnard I didn't know very well. He had some tea with me now and again, probably three or four times, but I didn't know him well because he wasn't a man that was seen by us very often. So I wouldn't say that, he was probably a roughneck obviously, looking at his background history and his track record.


MR SCHELHASE: Mr Flip du Toit. I have a very big respect for him Ma'am, as a policeman. That he was a man that never carried a firearm and he was very gentle with the people.

DR RAMASHALA: Finally, Mr MacMaster?

MR SCHELHASE: I don't know him at all.

DR RAMASHALA: The Oil Spot Strategy involved rewarding people, not solely based on monetary aspects, but included rewards in a variety of ways?


DR RAMASHALA: But in fact you rewarded Mr Ngxobongwana quite a bit?

MR SCHELHASE: I rewarded him.

DR RAMASHALA: In different ways, yes.

MR SCHELHASE: Yes, I was instrumental primarily in developing his community by building creches and markets and houses and schools. And whatever is in that township today is what I brought there.

DR RAMASHALA: And the more you rewarded the more people felt that their needs were taken care of and the more they were willing to give you information about so-called comrades.

MR SCHELHASE: No it wasn't my function to gather information on behalf of the security forces or the police.

It wasn't my style and I wasn't interested in it as a matter of fact.

DR RAMASHALA: I want to just read a few things that we've gathered in our information and get your opinion on that. Okay this was from an interview, not a recorded interview, so I don't hold you on it.

"Mr Barnard was a brutal killer. He was a shooter, a stealthy operator, not like an SB using electric shocks, not that kind of brutal, he was the nice guy, cold, smiling killer".

Do you agree with that?

MR SCHELHASE: I will agree with that, not as I - in terms of his reputation, yes.

DR RAMASHALA: I want to read you another one.

"The SAP's were Rambos...."

(break in transmission....)

MR SCHELHASE: Stone-throwers and people who burnt trucks, and that was what I think was his job. In the process he did it in the way that he thought was the best under the circumstances.

DR RAMASHALA: "And his primary goal was to get rid of comrades in the area".

MR SCHELHASE: I would not say that I agree but I understand that it was.

CHAIRPERSON: Who was Mr Barnard's immediate senior?

MR SCHELHASE: I don't know Ma'am. I don't know in which division or which section he worked. As I understand he was also operating like a loner guy ...(intervention)


MR SCHELHASE: Like a loner, I don't know under which command he stood, in which division he was ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: And what department - was he from the Riot Squad units, was he from ...(intervention)

MR SCHELHASE: I couldn't figure where he was involved in, under what command structure he was. It could be the Riot Squad I don't know. As I said I didn't have much dealings with him.

CHAIRPERSON: Dr Ramashala.

DR RAMASHALA: I was still reading the names of the Rambo group. Battering rams you referred to them, MacMaster, Johan Kleyn, Dolf Odendaal, Charles Brezell(?) who incidentally had a Masters in psychology, .....Brezell, and you say that there was a mindset with these guys, terrorists who will butcher and slaughter, all boys network.

MR SCHELHASE: That was very emotional and heavy words Ma'am but I do not deny that I said it.

CHAIRPERSON: Do any of the panel want to ask a question? Maybe while people are thinking around some of the things you've told us, I would just like you to unpack for us this Oil Spot Strategy a bit, just to see it in total context. Who were the structures involved in this - Crossroads obviously was the identified Oil Spot and who were structures? You were one of the people, structures, your authority or committee, or social welfare, who were the other bodies that were linking up to make this strategy you've described to us successful?

MR SCHELHASE: Madam the Oil Spot Strategy has to be - the identification of an Oil Spot has to be supported financially in order to make it work.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, so who were the bodies?

MR SCHELHASE: So within the context of Oil Spot decisions or resolutions which were made at the JMC the request for financing this reward system would go through the JMC to the various departments, whether it's to the State Security Council or whether it's to a department head of some national government department, that's incidental, depending on the nature of what must be supplied and what must be rewarded.

CHAIRPERSON: I'd like us to talk about specifics in relation to Crossroads, not about incidentals.


CHAIRPERSON: Who were the structures, what were the structures involved in this particular instance?

MR SCHELHASE: Madam it's all-encompassing. Let me give you a practical example. If the need came forward from the community that they need a primary school urgently obviously the JMC system will discuss the merits of the situation and they would call in the old Department of Education and Training people, the school planners, and they will present them with the need and whether there is money involved, either the DET would provide it itself, if they did not they could go to other sources, through the JMC, that's more-or-less ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Right, no I understand. In other words to make this strategy work, to win the minds and hearts of the people of Crossroads, the approach had to be supported right up to the ministerial level?

MR SCHELHASE: Absolutely.

CHAIRPERSON: And so including, I mean now flowing down from the ministerial level, there were other issues that were important, that were problematic in the area of Crossroads, issues that related to the political conflict for example. So at that level of the political conflict you would have had to have a link somewhere to security officers to deal with that particular issue?


CHAIRPERSON: So the security department as well was involved in the - was one of the structures that was involved?

MR SCHELHASE: Ja, they had to because they had to support it, I mean it would have been counter-productive if we, from a socio-economic arm or leg of the body would now work against the recommendations of the security forces. So I mean it had to be a unity of effort. Everybody had to agree that this was as it should be.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes it is very clear. In other words, just finally, in other words because you had already identified the group of people, the community that was sympathetic to the ideology, the government ideology of the time, or that was supportive, that those people that you supported obviously you had to have a group of people who support the government, who are perceived somehow to be amenable to supporting the government. So you identify those people, you are developing that group, that community. So the reverse of that, of course, is that any effort to destroy or to stamp out opposition to this group would be supported by all these government structures, from the ministerial level down to the security department, to yourself and to the roughnecks like Barnard.


CHAIRPERSON: So in other words, the working of this entire project was really in the hands or in the terrain of this strategy?


CHAIRPERSON: And so we could conclude that therefore that strategy helped the instability in the area at the time?

MR SCHELHASE: It was not perhaps intended but the negative aspects of it, yes, I will agree.

CHAIRPERSON: Dr Ramashala.

DR RAMASHALA: So when you went to East London to visit Mr Ngxobongwana was Mr Sam Ndima with you?

MR SCHELHASE: Ma'am if I can remember correctly it was myself and Graham Lawrence and I think Prince Ngobincqwa who flew with the aircraft whilst other men from Crossroads, and I think Mr Ndima was there along, went by road and we met them in East London.

DR RAMASHALA: In fact Mr Ndima says that the purpose of the visit was to warn Mr Ngxobongwana not to come back because they were preparing for an attack.

MR SCHELHASE: No, that is maybe his interpretation, it was not my aim of the mission.

DR RAMASHALA: Could you repeat again what the purpose of your mission was, specifically?

MR SCHELHASE: It was important for us, when I say us, the people who worked with me, that Mr Ngxobongwana had to come back as soon as possible because the matter was getting out of hand. The whole of Lansdowne Road and Klipfontein Road was no-go areas and we were suffering there because nothing could be delivered in the area and it was important for him, as we saw it at the time, that he must come back and instil some discipline into the situation and take control of the situation. That is why we persuaded or tried to persuade him to come back.

DR RAMASHALA: It's confusing to me. Sam Ndima said it was going to be a particularly dangerous period, and yet you wanted Ngxobongwana to come back. What is it that Ngxobongwana was going to do that the police and the security forces couldn't do?

MR SCHELHASE: Madam there was - it came to our notice that there was a coup de'tat planned against Mr Ngxobongwana ...(intervention)


MR SCHELHASE: By Mr Prince Ngobincqwa and it was important because then the violence would most probably be totally uncontrollable, it was uncontrollable as it was. And we specifically took Mr Ngobincqwa with us and I was, in a sense, embarrassed, because afterwards Mr Ngxobongwana said to me that I should ignore that person and I should not help him or work with him in any way.

So that was actually why strategically I deemed it important that Mr Ngobincqwa went along and that he should get the message that not to try any tricks in Crossroads because it's going to worsen the situation. And Mr Ngxobongwana must come back and face the music.

DR RAMASHALA: And were you present in the conversation between Mr Ngobincqwa and Mr Ngxobongwana?

MR SCHELHASE: No Ma'am, I and Mr Lawrence personally have spoken to Mr Ngxobongwana and then there was a big meeting which we excused ourselves, and in any event the people spoke in Xhosa, so we left. We went for lunch or something, I can't remember.

DR RAMASHALA: What is very confusing to me is that you knew that Prince Ngobincqwa was planning a coup ...(intervention)

MR SCHELHASE: Well that was what we thought at the time.

DR RAMASHALA: And yet you took him to ...(intervention)

MR SCHELHASE: Yes it was part of the strategy. If it was so he had to tell whether he wanted to do it or - I mean it was part of the revelation of the situation, of the - to bring these parties together and listen to what Mr Ngobincqwa's assessment was in the presence of Mr Ngxobongwana.

DR RAMASHALA: But, but then you leave when Mr Ngxobongwana and Mr Ngobincqwa are talking ...(intervention)

MR SCHELHASE: With others, yes.

DR RAMASHALA: But wasn't that information important to you. You say you wanted to expose Mr Ngobincqwa to Mr Ngxobongwana but you leave at that crucial moment?

MR SCHELHASE: Because I didn't think that it was my business Ma'am to get involved in internal struggles and power struggles amongst the leaders in Crossroads, so I left.

DR RAMASHALA: Sir I find that very difficult to believe, that you took this man all the way to East London to expose him because you heard that there was going to be a take-over and yet you don't even mention this - you don't sit for the discussion between him and - I find it very difficult.

MR SCHELHASE: It may be to expose him is a little bit hard, but I wanted - I mean the reason why is that I would have liked Mr Ngxobongwana and Ngobincqwa to discuss the problems of Crossroads so that if anything comes out of the discussion which could make Mr Ngxobongwana suspicious or pre-warned that they would sort it out there, at the spot, and not bring the problems back to Crossroads and worsen the situation.

DR RAMASHALA: So you were often invited at the government level to talk about the Oil Spot Strategy?


DR RAMASHALA: And this document that we just identified actually supports the Oil Spot Strategy?

MR SCHELHASE: Which document Ma'am?

DR RAMASHALA: The one that you translated.

MR SCHELHASE: The paragraph 9?



DR RAMASHALA: This document went to a very high level, State level.

MR SCHELHASE: I believe so, if I look at the stamp on the document, yes.

DR RAMASHALA: Would you then say that the strategy was supported by Cabinet?

MR SCHELHASE: Obviously.

DR RAMASHALA: I want to repeat this question but in a different way. You surely are aware of the on-going - you are aware of the on-going allegations even today and a court case that investigated security force complicity, and the attacks of the squatter camps by the Witdoeke, what again are your views on this?

MR SCHELHASE: If I understand you correctly what was my ...(intervention)

DR RAMASHALA: Ja, I mean what ...(intervention)

MR SCHELHASE: What are my views on the attack?

DR RAMASHALA: We've already established that the Development Board, the security forces and the police and the Witdoeke were working together, maybe not directly with the Development Board, as you said you did nothing to stop it.

MR SCHELHASE: Ja we were - our function was basically a support function in this whole strategic McEwan Strategy Ma'am. I mean it would - I mean what could we have done to stop it? I mean what could I, as an individual working in Crossroads, do to stop that type of violence.

DR RAMASHALA: But you didn't want to stop it. I mean the point is ...(intervention)

MR SCHELHASE: It was convenient for me not to try and stop it, although I didn't agree with it necessarily but that's besides the point.


MS BURTON: Thank you Chairperson. As I understand the Strategy, part of the McEwan Strategy, part of the plan would be to identify the Oil Spots where one could pacify and have an island of calm one might say.


MS BURTON: Another part of it would also be to identify sources of dissatisfaction, possible sparks that might ignite conflict or perhaps more major things, and I would guess that one of the areas that would have had to be considered was the whole question of the pass laws and how they impacted on people's lives, would you say that the abolition of the pass laws was part of a strategy in a way?

MR SCHELHASE: No Ma'am, I think practically the whole apparatus of State collapsed and that they couldn't uphold the pass law administration any longer. It was ...(intervention)

MS BURTON: Yes I think that's true that the very existence of Crossroads demonstrated the inability of the State to sustain it.

MR SCHELHASE: Absolutely, yes.

MS BURTON: But perhaps nevertheless the strategic decision to abolish the pass laws at about that time fitted in quite well with the rest of the strategy.

Now another of the potential sparks was the threatened move to Khayalitsha. On the one hand that could have provided causes of conflict and did so. On the other hand, from your point of view it was also going to create the capacity to develop Crossroads by making more space.


MS BURTON: You've talked about your passion for developing Crossroads, would the needs of Khayalitsha have also fallen under your jurisdiction?

MR SCHELHASE: At first yes Ma'am, until 1986.

MS BURTON: So there should have been a parallel pressure to develop Khayalitsha?

MR SCHELHASE: Well from 1984 onwards Khayalitsha was - they developed it yes. I mean I still escorted and assisted the first 67 persons from KTC who moved to Khayalitsha.

MS BURTON: I think we can see this, the various different strands of the thinking coming together in a way, in this whole incident, but the thing that is perhaps difficult to explain is the very senior attention that was paid to it. You had high powered delegations of people coming down from Pretoria to be briefed about the situation. I'd like to ask you about that in a moment, but why, in your opinion, was it the focus of such very high level interest?

MR SCHELHASE: To be honest with you Madam, I think there was a paucity in government thinking about how to address the revolution, and that once this McEwan strategy was presented by the military it made sense in a way, but to uphold such a system as I explained just now needs all the resources one can muster. The first, most important resource, is a decision. I mean if we talk about R18 million worth of housing development as part of a pacification scheme then we need people who can make decisions of R18 million, which wasn't me. But you needed -and in that context it became important that top level management should become involved in the system and that they know about it which would probably make their decision-making easier.

MS BURTON: You told our investigation unit about a presentation that you had made, presumably along these lines to a very high level delegation.


MS BURTON: Would you like to tell the present Commission panel and audience of ...(intervention)

MR SCHELHASE: There were two presentations. The first presentation was in 1985, late '85, I am not positive, but that happened in Guguletu at the Faseke Building where the then Minister of Defence General Malan and some other generals and police and I don't know whether the Minister of Police at the time was there, it was actually an embarrassment, and I can still remember that General Malan was very unhappy about the way that the violence vis a vis reward system was working in the Peninsula.

And then the military decided to present, I think it was a few months or a year after that, I am not sure, '86, to make another presentation and this presentation was then made within the McEwan context, with the strategical context of counter-revolution. Then the police had contributed on the safety and security level. I have contributed on the more economic, welfare, social level. The military did it on their levels, so it was sensible to the recipients, General Malan, and he supported it. And he said, well he's very glad that he can see that there's some sort of systemic, there's some order in this whole approach to the counter-revolution in the Western Cape. So I was involved there in terms of presentations, yes.

MS BURTON: So if the establishment of Khayalitsha and its development were part of an overall pacification plan you are saying that it was important then to ensure that from the point of view of Crossroads and it's satellite areas that plan was also able to be effected?

MR SCHELHASE: Yes, when we come to the original planning of Khayalitsha I am not very certain, or absolutely not positive that Khayalitsha's planning and development was part of a grander scheme of things, like a grand strategy. I think the whole birth of Khayalitsha was just that it happened because there was a lack of land and people were living in ghastly, as you know Ma'am, in very terrible circumstances, and there was a lot of influx, migration into the area and the areas became over-inflated with - and it became survival problems. So we had to create some more room and space for people to live.

MS BURTON: Thank you, thank you Chairperson.


MR NTSEBEZA: Thank you. Can I just follow up on some of the questions that were asked by Commissioner Burton.

How often did Roelf Meyer visit you?

MR SCHELHASE: Twice I think, I may be wrong but I think twice.

MR NTSEBEZA: Did he attend one of the presentations, the first presentations at the end of 1985?

MR SCHELHASE: I think so.

MR NTSEBEZA: And what were his impressions? You have given us ...(intervention)

MR SCHELHASE: Oh Roelf Meyer was also impressed because he was at the time I think Chairman of the Security Council, and he was obviously in support of General Malan and he would have said that if he's not happy where we should do things in another way. But they had commended us Sir.

MR NTSEBEZA: He was, you would say his thinking was the same as that of General Malan as far as ...(intervention)

MR SCHELHASE: I would assume so, yes.

MR NTSEBEZA: And at that presentation was Adrian Vlok also there?

MR SCHELHASE: The second presentation he was there, yes.

MR NTSEBEZA: Yes. And would you say that Roelf Meyer's views would coincide with the views of Adrian Vlok to the extent that you understood Adrian Vlok's views to have been?

MR SCHELHASE: Sir I don't think that these personalities you name now had any choice but to support each other in the type of strategical outlook on things.

MR NTSEBEZA: Kat Liebenberg?

MR SCHELHASE: Excuse me?

MR NTSEBEZA: General Kat Liebenberg?

MR SCHELHASE: He was there.

MR NTSEBEZA: General Constand Viljoen?

MR SCHELHASE: I think he was there, I am not positive but I think he was there.

MR NTSEBEZA: And were you present at presentations by the military?

MR SCHELHASE: Was I present at presentations?

MR NTSEBEZA: By the Military? I thought that you said ...(intervention)

MR SCHELHASE: Ja it was normally a combined thing, military, police and civilians.

MR NTSEBEZA: Oh I see, alright.

MR SCHELHASE: But the military did have their own type of presentations as well.

MR NTSEBEZA: And would it be your understanding of the military perspective that part of the McEwan Strategy was not only counter-revolutionary activities but counter-mobilisation as well?

MR SCHELHASE: Yes, it was part of the strategy Sir.

MR NTSEBEZA: And that part of what underlined counter-mobilisation was in fact to take an attitude from some of the theories propounded by McEwan that where you dealt with terrorists the method, and an effective method to deal with them, was to track them down and eliminate them, do you understand that to be the "terroriste te opspoor en hulle uittewis"?


MR NTSEBEZA: And if you look at what we now know as the Guguletu 7 wouldn't you see a pattern or a corollary, if the evidence is acceptable, that there doesn't appear - or let me say, put it this way. If the evidence in the Guguletu 7 saga suggests that there was no or little effort to take prisoners, but merely to eliminate, take them out, as far as you understand the McEwan strategy to have been, when you deal with terrorists, "Jy moet terroriste to opspoor en hulle uittewis", would you see a corollary?

MR SCHELHASE: Yes it is possible.

MR NTSEBEZA: And is it so that also the understanding of the McEwan strategy, as was part and parcel of those presentations, was that enemy leaders should be neutralised?

MR SCHELHASE: There are three phases within the McEwan Strategy Sir. The first phase is what they call the organisation phase. A second phase is the terrorist phase. A third phase is the guerilla phase. Now we didn't have a guerilla situation in that sense of the term in the Western Cape, but we did have incidences of terrorism or people who were associated with terrorism. There were special police units as far as I came to know that in the system who dealt with that specific situation.

We were not involved actually in what happened with terrorists and how they were caught and who caught them and so on. Our focus, when I say "our" I talk about the civilians and some of the military personnel, we were more focused on the organisation phase.

MR NTSEBEZA: Yes, yes I appreciate that Mr Schelhase, what I am trying to say is, I am trying to get a sense of what your impressions were in the two presentations that you have given us insofar as they were based on the McEwan strategy. Do you recall if there was a view taken of what would have been considered to be enemy leaders, I mean in terms of in the context of what was taking place then you would appreciate that there would be, also in terms of the Oil Spot strategy there would be sections of the population which would be identified as friendly, government friendly?


MR NTSEBEZA: For instance ...(intervention)

MR SCHELHASE: Or anti......(intervention)

MR NTSEBEZA: Or anti-government ...(intervention)

MR SCHELHASE: No, no, what I mean is that more - sorry for interrupting, there's just a slight interpretational difference here, it could have been that there were some people in the community that were not so much on the part, on the side of the government or ideologically supporting them, but more against the other side - let us call it (...indistinct) against the ANC, they were perhaps more against the ANC than they were pro the Nationalist Party if we want to put it in a political context.

MR NTSEBEZA: Yes. Now you would find that there would be those that for instance would be considered to be pro-ANC.


MR NTSEBEZA: And in the context of those times pro-ANC leaders would be defined as enemy leaders.

MR SCHELHASE: Yes, most definitely.

MR NTSEBEZA: Now was there a view taken at those presentations as to what should be done about enemy leaders? For instance was there a view taken that they should be neutralised? Without giving any connotation to ...(intervention)

MR SCHELHASE: Ja, as a matter of strategic principal yes I would agree with that, that enemy leaders had to be neutralised, if they cannot be converted, neutralise, yes.

MR NTSEBEZA: Would the view be taken that if they cannot be neutralised they should in fact be eliminated?

MR SCHELHASE: One could assume so.

MR NTSEBEZA: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Dumisa. Mapule.

DR RAMASHALA: I just have a few questions and I will round up. Sir would you say that the Oil Spot Strategy was divided into two components? One component targeted individuals to bring them on board through your reward and incentive system?


DR RAMASHALA: And the other strategy was to bring on board communities, for example Crossroads was considered an Oil Spot Strategy?

MR SCHELHASE: Yes, you're right.

DR RAMASHALA: And that in fact by engaging both individuals and communities you would succeed in preventing pro-ANC factions into coming into that community?


DR RAMASHALA: Well I think there is enough evidence now to show that the police and the security forces, not only supported, philosophically and otherwise, supported the Witdoeke, but in fact actively engaged in the conflict. For example the security forces alleged to have helped in the burning of houses, of shooting down comrades who were trying to protect their properties, particularly in KTC. What were your observations during the conflict about what I have just said?

MR SCHELHASE: Madam what you have now related is also what I want to relate to you. You haven't seen it but you have heard of it. The same with me. I was never actively inside Crossroads while fighting was taking place and when KTC was involved I was - it was out of my area of jurisdiction in any case. It was of no concern of mine.

But I must state it categorically Madam and to the Commission, that I have never ever seen a policeman actively involved in supporting Witdoeke by burning houses and shacks and shooting people, I have never seen it and I would be a blatant liar if I had to say yes.

DR RAMASHALA: Sir, in fact yesterday Sam Ndima mentioned in his testimony that you not only supplied the Witdoeke with guns, particularly during the period 1981 to 1986 but that in fact you provided training for ...(intervention)

MR SCHELHASE: Where must I get the guns Madam to supply people?

DR RAMASHALA: I have no idea?

MR SCHELHASE: Neither do I.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Schelhase. I just see some contradictions here. The witness before yourself came up here and one of the things that was said was that I thought he was behaving in a way that suggests that he's being evasive.

You say yourself, you stated on the record that your strategy encouraged the war against people who were opposed to the government, you did not use those words but it is clear, clearly implied, that the people you were supporting, you being from yourself right up to the Minister and government, were fighting those who were opposed to the government. And then you go on to tell us now that you never saw police supporting the Witdoeke. Now what is the value of that statement that you are putting on record?

You never saw the police support, actively supporting the Witdoeke and yet we have heard numerous accounts, people who are respectable citizens in this country, and not only that we've got video footage clearly demonstrating the support and backing of Witdoeke by police. And then you come to tell us now in your testimony that you never saw police - what is the value of that statement?

MR SCHELHASE: No, I will tell you what the value of the statement is Ma'am. I have never said, on no record in no interview, nowhere have I said that the police did not support the Witdoeke. I have not said that. And if they did support them we all make that conclusion in the end.

What I have said here is I have never seen a policeman shoot somebody in that '86 war, in a conflict or burn - I have seen many houses burnt, of course it was right next to me, but I have never seen a policeman actively putting a shack alight ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: I do not deny that ...(intervention)

MR SCHELHASE: Well that's what I said.

CHAIRPERSON: But I merely - my question is, what is the value, because obviously when you say things in a hearing such as this one you are planting seeds either of doubt or of whatever view that you are holding, so what is the - I am just asking what is the value of that statement?

MR SCHELHASE: Well the value of the statement is also what I experienced Ma'am. I mean I think it is for the Commission to make - take the value of the system in the way that they interpret it, the statement.

CHAIRPERSON: I guess really I was making a point more than asking a question.


CHAIRPERSON: Because you have stated that you do not deny that they were.

MR SCHELHASE: Absolutely.

CHAIRPERSON: I will just ask Dr Ramashala to ask you the question.

DR RAMASHALA: Sir, you do say that you did not observe the police helping the Witdoeke, but you suspect, I mean your conclusion ...(intervention)

MR SCHELHASE: Sure, sure.

DR RAMASHALA: that you suspect. Right, thank you. Incidentally this document authorises travel to King Williamstown and not to East London.

MR SCHELHASE: Sorry Ma'am then we probably took a car to East London.

DR RAMASHALA: Sir I am going to ask you my last question. It is alleged that the police, the security forces and maybe some of the people involved in development administration practised their own brand of rape, and I'm calling it a brand of rape because it's not rape in the true sense. It is alleged throughout the country and in this case in this area that is subject to our discussion, that these people took advantage of the fears experienced by women, took advantage by establishing some liaison, sexual liaison where they regularly had, I don't want to call them girlfriends, but regular points of sexual satisfaction, that people had nowhere to go, targeting women who were too afraid to say no because they knew what would happen to them. That in fact some of these men fathered children. And I assume since it was not made public that these men walked away from these children.

Do you say no, remember you are under oath, do you know of any such situation either personally or through hearsay?


DR RAMASHALA: What about the police?

MR SCHELHASE: I wouldn't know.

DR RAMASHALA: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Dr Ramashala. Just one last issue. Mr Ngxobongwana seems to have brushed shoulders with very senior people. You mentioned earlier that Mr Roelf Meyer visited quite frequently, in fact it was Josette (...indistinct) showed me a picture of Mr Ngxobongwana standing with Mr Roelf Meyer, and I think I saw a picture of Ngxobongwana with - or someone mentioned that he even brushed shoulders with the State President, if it's right.

MR SCHELHASE: That's right, yes Ma'am.

CHAIRPERSON: So he was known personally by the State President?

MR SCHELHASE: Well I think they met once at the opening of the training centre in Crossroads. Mr Botha at the time opened the training centre and Mr Ngxobongwana was the Mayor of Crossroads, so I mean obviously they had to as you say, brush shoulders.

CHAIRPERSON: Was there any development that you ever engaged in in the other area that Mr Yamile was leader of?

MR SCHELHASE: At the time when Mr Yamile was still in Crossroads?

CHAIRPERSON: When Mr Yamile had his section as leader?

MR SCHELHASE: Yes we provided water there and refuse removal and the normal municipal services in Mr Yamile's area, in all - the entire Crossroads.

CHAIRPERSON: But Mr Yamile did not enjoy the friendship with highly placed people that Mr Ngxobongwana did?


CHAIRPERSON: Just one very last question. When you review your strategies at the time and you look at what you yourself called the negative consequences, for example many of the family members here of people who were killed as a result of, or partly as a result of that strategy, where would you place the accountability of the brutality that took place in the Crossroads area, KTC?

MR SCHELHASE: On some of the people of Crossroads and on the system.

CHAIRPERSON: On the system and on ...(intervention)

MR SCHELHASE: On the government system ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: And on the leadership there.


CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much Mr Schelhase. Dr Ramashala.

DR RAMASHALA: Mr Schelhase after KTC was conquered so-to-speak, do you know of any major celebration by the Witdoeke where a cow was slaughtered to celebrate?

MR SCHELHASE: No not about KTC but we have been involved in the slaughtering of cattle in Crossroads, but not for KTC, definitely not, not when I was present.

DR RAMASHALA: The slaughtering of cattle in celebration in Crossroads?

MR SCHELHASE: Ja, I cannot remember what we celebrated Ma'am, it happened twice. ...(intervention)

DR RAMASHALA: There are so many things ...(intervention)

MR SCHELHASE: Ja but it was long afterwards in 1988, I am talking about 1988 now.

DR RAMASHALA: All of you ...(intervention)

MR SCHELHASE: Oh I'll tell you why, it was after the election of Mr Ngxobongwana and the councillors in Crossroads, that was ...(tape ends)

DR RAMASHALA: Remember I talked about the convergence of interest ...(intervention)

MR SCHELHASE: Yes, yes. ...(intervention)

DR RAMASHALA: That you all succeeded in accomplishing that, and that the government indeed bought the cattle for you to celebrate.


DR RAMASHALA: Okay, thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Dr Ramashala. Mr Ntsebeza is going to make some closing comments before you leave.

MR SCHELHASE: Thank you.

MR NTSEBEZA: Well it remains for me Mr Schelhase to thank you for having come. And especially for what I consider to be an instructive testimony. I would only want you to leave here with a firm conviction that even though some questions were robust and a bit rough, that behind those sort of questions and the attitude that seems to emanate from those questions lies an honesty and an endeavour by the panel members to try and arrive at the truth.

As I have said over the last few days, not for its own sake but to the extent that it can assist us to find a solution to the future, the past, with all its horrors, is something that we would like to forget but we are not going to be able to forget it if we do not know what underlay the symptoms that were visible on the surface.

I think your contribution, especially in the area of the philosophy that underpinned the strategies that were adopted, the decisions that were arrived at as a consequence of the pursuit of that strategy, were very illuminating and I am sure they will go a long distance in assisting us with other conclusions that we draw from other investigative inquiries to enable us to have an idea of what contributed to those sort-of conflicts. Because one of the aims of the Commission is to make a recommendation to the powers that be that must ensure that such incidents should never happen. That a democracy underpinned by a constitution that guarantees human rights should never have to rely on an Oil Strategy for the resolution of conflicts that arise in communities.

Thank you Sir.

MR SCHELHASE: Thank you very much Sir. Thanks Madam.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. We are going to break for lunch and if you could please be back here at exactly two o'clock.


Broadcasting for Total Citizen Empowerment
SABC © 2020