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Human Rights Violation Hearings

Type 1 M MEYER, HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, SUBMISSIONS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Starting Date 30 April 1996

Location METHODIST CHURCH, JOHANNESBURG

Day 2

Names MICHAEL MEYER

Case Number GO/O095 JOHANNESBURG

DR BORAINE: Welcome Mr Meyer. My first word to you must be one of apology. You may have made other arrangements for this afternoon thinking you would be heard before lunch. I am sorry we can try and move but we don't want to do it to the detriment of people who are giving witness, so forgive us for that delay. We are very grateful to you for coming this afternoon and as you know we require you to take an oath, so if you would please stand then we can do that immediately.

MR MEYER: Sir before I do so, if I may address you. The first question is my own locus standi, I don't believe I am a victim, that is not the position. I have come here to give information to the Commission and I've also handed in certain documents regarding a bomb which exploded and of the consequences of that explosion. I think perhaps, according to your terms of reference, I am referring here to section 4A.4 my evidence might be of value to you to formulate a point of view rather than as evidence because the documents have already been submitted. So if we can proceed on that basis then I will take the oath, if you are satisfied with that.

DR BORAINE: I think you are here before us today and I think it will be very helpful for us if you could tell us the story and then you may go. Is that alright?

JOHANNESBURG HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

2 M MEYER

MICHAEL MEYER: (sworn states)

DR BORAINE: Mr Meyer you probably would like to give your evidence in Afrikaans, that's your choice, it doesn't matter what language, Professor Meiring is going to give you the guidance as you continue, and if you simply follow the statement that you've already handed in for the record and in case there are questions I think that will be quite useful to us. But thank you for telling us and giving us an out if you like, but we would like to hear from you.

PROF MEIRING: Just before we start. It was in the early hours of October 25 1988 that the university town of Potchefstroom was rocked by an explosion. A bomb went off in Church Street in the Eland Building. No persons died, nobody was injured, but Mr Michael Meyer was there in his office across the street and he did suffer some damage as a result of the explosion.

Mr Meyer has come to the TRC not only to talk about his loss, his financial loss, but to raise the vexing question who was behind this bombing. It was during the 1980's at the time of emergency regulations of special powers and many confusing events took place. And with that background Mr Meyer I would like to invite you to share that which you have already given to us in statement form.

MR MEYER: Mr Chairman I wasn't there, I was in Pretoria when the bomb exploded. The explosion took place as follows and that will also appear from the documents. A bomb was planted under the elevator of the Elands Building and the security police were on the top floor of that building but they were not in their offices at that time because the bomb exploded at seven o'clock in the morning so nobody was injured.

JOHANNESBURG HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

3 M MEYER

The building adjacent to that building belonged to a company of which my two sisters and I were the principal shareholders, Anna and Tina, and the company's name was Antina. Damage was caused to our building but the damage so caused, I cannot say whether such damage falls within the ambit of this Act but what happened was as follows. Damage was caused and the perception was created that the ANC was behind the attack and I decided that the Company would have to try and recoup its losses and all the documents were fully prepared, and when I contacted the police they were more than helpful and gave me their full docket for my perusal.

Now at that stage certain incidents took place, these days they are regarded as so-called dirty tricks and I decided that I might jeopardise myself in not knowing whether it was the ANC or a third force responsible for this act. Consequently I decided not to continue with the action but in my preparations for the case I obtained all the necessary information, all the records and I also received a letter from a Brigadier in the regional court of the security branch. They said that they didn't know who were responsible for this attack.

Now as far as I can see the only way in which I can assist you here is if we refer to section 4A.4 and this reads as follows.

"..violations were the result of deliberate planning on the part of the State or a former State or any if their organs or any political organisation, liberation movement or other group or individual".

so that I believe that in this case nobody was injured.

JOHANNESBURG HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

4 M MEYER

Now the Pretoria bomb which we heard about we don't know whether that was scheduled to explode at a different time. So if there was a policy of detonating bombs and committing sabotage I believe that it falls within the ambit of this Commission's terms of reference to investigate this and to reopen the docket to be able to ascertain what the position now is. Because if it was an ANC bomb my colleague, who was a previous witness, came to explain to me that they use a different kind of explosive device than that used by the military or the police, so ...

PROF MEIRING: Thank you very much Mr Meyer. We appreciate your effort and your trouble to bring this to our attention and I think the Commission will be very grateful to take your statement and to do with it as they see fit, and that could obviously also form part of the background of this report. Thank you very much. I am finished Mr Chairman.

DR ALLY: Mr Meyer you say that they were over-zealous and that you became suspicious, why, why was that? What aroused your suspicion?

MR MEYER: Well at that stage there were rumours that there were dirty tricks and third force operations during that time and what is more the care which was taken with the documents handed over to me they were very full and detailed and I had never had experience of such very complete dockets and information.

DR ALLY: And these documents you already have in your possession.

MS SOOKA: Were you ever compensated by the insurance company for the damages that you suffered?

MR MEYER: The interesting thing is, and I think this is why there was so little information available, the company

JOHANNESBURG HEARING TRC/GAUTENG

5 M MEYER

was not insured and for that reason we also did not receive SASRIA coverage and this SASRIA coverage compensated people who had suffered damages and after having received their money they would be inclined not to want to proceed with the matter but this would open up the whole plot and the planning behind the incident if all that SASRIA information could be obtained from their records.

CHAIRPERSON: I would just like to emphasise what Prof Meiring has said .....(tape ends)....

 
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