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Content

A listing of the episodes of the TRC Special Report series which aired every week between 21 April 1996 and 29 March 1998, produced and presented by Max du Preez.

Structure

The list provides a summary of each episode, and links to the sections within each episode. The sections are transcribed. The list is ordered chronologically, from the first episode screened, to the last.

 

Special Report - Episode Index

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EpisodeBroadcast DateDescription
121 Apr 1996Special Report's inaugural episode covers the very first hearings of the TRC's Human Rights Violation (HRV) Committee, held in East London between April the 15th and 19th.. Segments include testimonies by widows of the Pebco Three and Cradock Four (activists who were abducted and murdered by security forces in the mid 1980s), including an introductory profile of former Vlakplaas askari Joe Mamasela. Former Eastern Cape policeman Gideon Niewoudt’s name is linked to the killing of the Pebco Three, Cradock Four and torture of youth activist Siphiwo Mtimkulu. Other segments cover attacks by the PAC's military wing, APLA on the Highgate Hotel and King Williamstown golf club, incidents of torture in the region, and an overview of the structures of the TRC and the role of counselors. The episode also provides some background to one of the most well known cases of torture and killing in the Eastern Cape, that of Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko. Section IndexWatch Episode
228 Apr 1996This episode of the Special Report covers the HRV Committee hearings held in Heideveld in the Western Cape (22 to 25 April 1996). Segments include cases of torture and death in detention; police brutality following the June 1976 uprising, the 1985 Pollsmoor march and the attempted forced removals in 1986, Khayelitsha; and the tactic of framing activists as informers. Other segments include the killing of political suspects. Family members of SWAPO leader Anton Lubowski, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) soldier Anton Fransch and the Gugulethu Seven give testimony. We also hear testimonies from victims of APLA’s attack on the St James Church. A report on the ‘collective harm’ of the District Six forced removals in Cape Town is also included. Section IndexWatch Episode
305 May 1996This episode covers the HRV Committee hearings held in Johannesburg from 29 April to 3 May 1996. Segments include death squads and the assassinations of David Webster, Abram Tiro, Dulcie September, Bheki Mlangeni, Jeanette and Katryn Schoon, and the assassination attempt on Albie Sachs. It also covers deaths in detention in the region, including that of Ahmed Timol, Neil Aggett, Suliman Saloojee, Nicodemas Kgoathe; incidents of police brutality against black youth in the 1980s; the torture and murder of Jacob Maake, Andrew Makope and Harold Sefolo by the South African Police's Vlakplaas operatives; and lastly, human rights violations committed by the ANC, including the Church Street (Pretoria) and Amanzimtoti bombings and incidents of abuse and disappearance in ANC rehabilitation camps. Section IndexWatch Episode
412 May 1996This episode focuses on the HRV Committee hearings held in Durban (7 to 10 May) and covers incidents from the KwaZulu-Natal and Free State regions. What has become known as the Magoo’s Bar bombing is covered, including testimonies from victims and an interview with the MK bomber Robert McBride. Relatives of victims of the 1985 Maseru raid by Vlakplaas operatives give testimony, as well as relatives of victims from the KwaZulu-Natal violence and the mother of child activist Stompie Seipei - implicating the Mandela United Football Club and Winnie Mandela in Seipei’s abduction, torture and eventual death. Other segments include the hit squad assassination of Newcastle community leader, Hlogonathi Sibankulu. The episode also profiles Patrick Dlongwane, who was both a perpetrator and victim of human rights violations, and finally, the killing in Durban of ANC lawyer Griffiths Mxenge by Vlakplaas operatives, including interviews with Vlakplaas commander Dirk Coetzee and Mxenge family members. Section IndexWatch Episode
526 May 1996This episode focuses on the HRV Committee hearings held in Port Elizabeth (21 to 23 May) and the first Amnesty Committee hearings convened in Phokeng. The latter covers the killing of Chief Molotlegi, an alleged puppet of former Bophuthatswana homeland leader Lucas Mangope, by amnesty applicants Glad Diale and Christopher Makgale. Segments from the HRV hearings cover the killing of Eastern Cape activist, Siphiwo Mtimkulu and the court ruling obtained by former security policeman Gideon Niewoudt, (who was implicated in Mtimkulu’s murder) that he could not to be named in TRC proceedings without prior notification and an opportunity to make representation. Thus ruling which prevented the Mthimkulu family from testifying in these hearings had major a logistical impact as anyone who would be named in public hearings had to be given prior notifications. The episode also includes an explanation on the structures of the TRC (similar to that of Episode 1), incidents of police torture in the Eastern Cape and testimony from Olive Mpahlwa on the disappearance of her and Thabo Mbeki’s son, Kwanda Mpahlwa, after he went into exile in 1981.Section IndexWatch Episode
616 Jun 1996This episode focuses on HRV Committee hearings held in Kimberley from 10 to 11 June. Segments include the 1993 Kimberley hand grenade explosion aimed at the Bophuthatswana consulate that killed COSAS activist Ezekiel Mokone, incidents of torture in the region and the attempted assassination of Anglican priest Michael Lapsley while living in Harare in 1990. Other segments cover the importance of symbolic reburials and includes an interview with a psychologist on the process of mourning; a report back on the Maseru cross border raid exposing the Vlakplaas unit responsible for the attack that killed MK Leon Meyer and eight others; and lastly, a report on the 1978 Cassinga massacre, the controversial SADF attack on a SWAPO settlement in Cassinga, Angola that killed hundreds of refugees. Section IndexWatch Episode
723 Jun 1996This episode focuses on the HRV Committee hearings held in Umtata between 18 and 20 June and in George from 18 to 19 June. Segments include the 22 November 1990 attempted coup in the Transkei - supported by SA Military Intelligence - which left 19 people dead; testimony from Teddy Williams, a former MK soldier detained in the ANC’s Quatro detention camp in Angola and other incidents of human rights abuses within the ANC. From George we hear Benedict Maranene’s testimony about the 1985 necklacing of his father and an interview with poet / journalist Sandile Dikeni who provides some background on this practice. The programme also profiles the killing of three Bongulethu youths by police and evidence on the brutality of Bongulethu kitskonstabels. The episode ends with Gen Leon Mellet, former spokesperson of the Ministry of Law and Order’s views on the TRC process and a segment on the protection of TRC witnesses. Section IndexWatch Episode
830 Jun 1996The episode covers HRV hearings held in Port Elizabeth (26 to 27 June) focusing on the testimonies of Nellie Marwanqana, survivor of the 1982 SADF raid on ‘ANC bases’ in Maseru and that of Joyce Mtimkulu, the mother of PE youth activist Siphiwo Mtimkulu. Other segments include the criminal trial and sentence of Gideon Niewoudt, implicated in Siphiwo’s murder/ Niewoudt secured a legal injunction preventing Joyce Mtimkulu’s testimony before the HRV Committee. The programme explores perceptions of the Truth Commission process, including interviews with Truth Commissioners and former comrades of Siphiwo Mtimkulu. We are introduced to the 22 former and serving security policemen who want to apply for amnesty for acts committed in which at least 43 people were killed. Also covered in this episode are the HRV hearings held in Worcester and Ashton (24 to 26 June) which includes segments on vigilante brutality in Ashton and incidents of torture in Zwelethemba.Section IndexWatch Episode
907 Jul 1996This episode focuses on the HRV Committee hearings held in Bloemfontein from 2 to 4 July. Segments include incidents of repression, death in exile and terror spread by vigilante mobs like the Eagles in Brandfort and the Three Million Gang in Kroonstad. The remainder of the episode comprises an introduction to filmmaker Jann Turner, daughter of Dr Richard Turner - who was assassinated in 1978 by an unknown Special Forces agent - and the screening of Turner’s documentary film on the search for her father’s killer. Turner’s film includes interviews with former BOSS agent Martin Dolinschek, Limpho and Lindiwe Hani and Joe Slovo and concludes with Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Doctor Alex Boraine’s visit to the Women’s Monument in Bloemfontein, commemorating the women and children who died in British concentration camps. Section IndexWatch Episode
1014 Jul 1996This episode focuses on the HRV Committee hearings held in Mmabatho on the 8th of July 1996. A large proportion of cases heard at the TRC occurred in the Huhudi township near Vryburg in the former 'independent' homeland of Bophuthatswana. Segments include the killing of Frieda Mabalane by comrades, incidents of Huhudi youth and civic organisation members tortured by police, an interview with a group of former vigilantes, the February 1988 Bophuthatswana coup attempt headed by Rocky Malebane and the People’s Progressive Party, and lastly, the March 1994 invasion of Bophuthatswana by armed AWB members, who were forced to withdraw by the Bophuthatswana Defence Force (BDF) with support from the SADF. AWB members opened fire on civilians and were themselves injured in the ensuing shootout, during their retreat two injured AWB members were shot in cold blood by a BDF soldier. Other segments include Vlaakplaas commander Dirk Coetzee being charged for the murder of Griffiths Mxenge, seven years after Coetzee’s death squad revelations and an interview with former security police general, Herman Stadler, who submitted a document to the TRC defending the crimes committed by security police agents during apartheid.Section IndexWatch Episode
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