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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
1121 Jul 1996This episode focuses on the Amnesty Committee hearings held in Pretoria (15 to 19 July) and the HRV Committee hearings held in Pietersburg / Polokwane (17 to 19 July). In Pretoria, two members of an ultra right cell, Jean du Plessis and Jean van Wyk, applied for amnesty for killing three people during an armed robbery and two former security guards, Hennie Gerber and Johann van Eyck, for the killing of a former colleague. The segment on the Pietersburg hearings covers incidents of arson, forced relocations, mutilation and killings committed by Chief BK Matlala’s supporters, targeting those who resisted the Lebowa government’s independence from South Africa. Some background is given on the practice of ‘witch’ burning in the Northern Province during the 1980s and we hear Francina Bopape give testimony on the disappearance and search for her activist son, Stanza Bopape. In the final segment Amnesty Committee Chair, Judge Mall, explains the amnesty process.Section IndexWatch Episode
1228 Jul 1996This episode covers the HRV hearings held in Soweto (22 to 26 July) and in Queenstown (22 to 24 July) and the Amnesty Committee hearings held in Kroonstad (22 to 24 July). From Soweto we hear Lolo Sono and Sibuniso Tshabalala’s parents’ testimonies on the abduction of their children in 1988 – implicating Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and the Mandela United Football Club. We also hear testimony from Thami Zulu’s parents on his death in ANC custody in Lusaka and the connection to Jacob Zuma. In Queenstown, victims of APLA’s 1992 Queenstown Spur attack give testimony. This segment also covers the 1985 Queenstown massacre, including interviews with victims from the Mlungisi community and community leader Daniel Lolwane – who was leading a community meeting in the Mlungisi Methodist Church when police opened fire on the group. In Kroonstad, ANC SDU members Roland Petrus and Macheba Thulo applied for amnesty for the killing of notorious Three Million Gang members George Ramasimong and Seabata Ntema. The episode concludes with footage from the June 16, 1976 student uprising in Soweto and statements made by state politicians at the time. Section IndexWatch Episode
1304 Aug 1996This episode opens with a segment on the murder of four Killer Boys gang members by the ‘Mdantsane 12,’ whom appeared before the Amnesty Committee this week (East London, 29 to 30 July). The following segment focuses on the still unsolved 27 October 1992 assassination of KwaZulu-Natal activist, Reggie Hadebe. We are given some background to the December 1988 Trust Feed massacre, when police opened fire on people attending a night vigil, killing 11. Also included in this episode is coverage of a debate amongst medical professionals on whether there should be a separate Truth Commission for the health sector that would, address human rights abuses committed by health practitioners. The final segment focuses on five former CCB operatives from the SADF, imprisoned in Zimbabwe on various murder and sabotage charges, who are planning to apply for amnesty. Section IndexWatch Episode
1411 Aug 1996This episode focuses on the HRV Committee hearings held in Sebokeng and Helderberg during the first week of August. From Sebokeng we hear evidence of IFP and hit squad violence in the Vaal Triangle region during the era of negotiations, focusing on the 12 January 1991 Nangalembe night vigil massacre in Sebokeng and the 17 June 1991 Boipatong massacre. The security forces were implicated in both incidents. The following segment deals with the Bonteheuwel Military Wing, an anti-apartheid self defence unit from Bonteheuwel on the Cape Flats, the deaths of MK soldiers Anton Fransch and Ashley Kriel and the effects of a militant struggle on young people’s lives today. The last segment focuses on the torture methods used on women specifically by the security forces. We hear the stories of three women detainees: Kate Serokolo, Zubeida Jaffer and Shirley Gunn. Section IndexWatch Episode
1518 Aug 1996This episode focuses on the HRV Committee hearings held in Port Shepstone and Beaufort West (12 to 14 August); in Pretoria (12 to 15 August) and the Amnesty Committee hearings held in Durban (12 to 14 August). The latter covers the amnesty applications of three ultra right wingers who opened fire on a Putco bus outside Durban, killing seven people. In Pretoria we hear testimonies from survivors of the Silverton bank siege and the Church Street bombing carried out by Umkhonto we Sizwe and also from the sister of Leon Meyer – who was killed in the 1985 Maseru cross border raid by the security forces. From Beaufort West we hear testimonies from Victoria West residents who were falsely accused of being Poqo members – allegedly plotting against the town’s white residents – who were subsequently detained and tortured and an interview with Daniel Manong, whose mother was branded an informer and burnt to death. The Port Shepstone hearings focus on the continuing violence in KwaZulu-Natal and the possibility of a ‘third force’ responsible for pitting the IFP and ANC against each other. The programme ends with an interview with former President FW de Klerk, who denies knowledge of state death squads like Vlakplaas and the CCB, and the torture and murder of activists that continued during the 1990s. Section IndexWatch Episode
1625 Aug 1996This episode starts off with a brief history of conflict in South Africa, from the arrival of Europeans in the Cape till the inauguration of Nelson Mandela. The remainder of the programme covers TRC submissions from the PAC, NP and ANC.Section IndexWatch Episode
1701 Sep 1996This episode focuses on the HRV Committee hearings held in Uitenhage and Durban during the last week of August. Segments from Uitenhage include the March 1985 Langa township massacre and the violent clashes between UDF supporting Amabutho and Africanist Ama-Afrika groups, following the forced removal of thousands of Langa residents to KwaNobuhle. The Durban hearings cover the August 1985 Umlazi cinema massacre - when armed IFP soldiers attacked mourners during a memorial service for human rights lawyer Victoria Mxenge – and the January 1987 KwaMakhutha massacre - implicating the SADF and IFP Caprivi trainees. A segment on the Amnesty Committee hearings held in Durban (12 to 14 August) focus on the killing of ANC members Samuel Msweli and Michael Mthethwa by former policeman Hendrik Steyn. The final segment explains the structure of the TRC and covers the first amnesty granted to Boy Diale and Christopher Makgale, who were imprisoned for kidnapping and killing Chief Glad Mokgatle. Section IndexWatch Episode
1808 Sep 1996This episode focuses on the HRV Committee hearings held in Nelspruit from 2 to 5 September 1996. Segments include the Piet Retief ambushes – during which the Vlakplaas death squad killed nine ANC members – including an interview with a former policeman on duty at the Piet Retief police station the evenings the ambushes took place. We also hear testimonies from relatives of victims who died in landmine explosions on farms in the Nelspruit region – and the ANC’s stance on their landmine campaign; testimonies from victims of the March 1986 Lowveld massacre – at which police opened fire on school children supporting fellow activists at a court hearing in the former KaNgwane, and a night vigil a week later; and lastly, testimonies from victims of Kabasa gang violence – a vigilante group formed by the police – and evidence of continuing activity by Kabasa and former security force members. The episode ends with a report back on the IFP’s TRC submission and amnesty decisions taken so far.Section IndexWatch Episode
1915 Sep 1996This episode begins with some background to right winger Leonard Veenendal, who gave testimony at the HRV Committee hearings in Newcastle (11 to 12 September). The following segment focuses on the first part of the Bisho massacre special hearings (held in Bisho, 9 to 11 September) where we hear testimonies from Ciskei Defence Force officials responsible for the deaths of 29 people. This segment includes interviews with former member of Military Intelligence, Gerrie Hugo; leader of the former Ciskei, Brigadier Oupa Gqozo and Ronnie Kasrils, who headed the march into Bisho with the late Chris Hani. The episode includes a segment on the amnesty applications of the Van Straaten brothers (heard in Potchefstroom, 9 to 12 September) who argue that pure racial hatred should qualify as a political motive for murder and finally a segment on an instance of racial discrimination and reconciliation in the United States. Talk show host, Oprah Winfrey, brings together the ‘Little Rock Nine’ with former white students who resisted their integration into Little Rock High School in 1957.Section IndexWatch Episode
2022 Sep 1996This episode begins with a report on Eugene de Kock’s criminal trial and the effects his revelations - implicating the former state president, cabinet ministers and others - might have on the Truth Commission process. The segment includes an interview with Truth Commissioner Dumisa Ntsebeza discussing the influence of De Kock’s trial on future amnesty submissions and the subpoena powers of the TRC. The following segment focuses on reparation and rehabilitation, including interviews with R & R Committee members discussing the needs of victims and the Committee’s commitment to long term forms of reparation that would assist in healing communities. The segment includes an interview with Judge Albie Sachs discussing symbolic reparation and what constitute meaningful memorials, commemorating the victims of apartheid. Also included in this episode are a brief history of the South African Communist Party and the story of three SACP members - Maurice and Paul Richter and Lazar Bach – who died in Russian gulags during Stalin’s reign. The final segment investigates vigilantism and gangs, like the A-Team in Chesterville Durban, active during the 1980s and early 1990s and the state’s hidden hand in so called black on black violence.Section IndexWatch Episode
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