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.
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
|21||29 Sep 1996||This episode focuses on the HRV Committee hearings held in Klerksdorp (23 to 26 September) and in Duncan Village (23 and 24 September). The latter focuses on the August 1985 Duncan Village massacre - when a wave of violence and clashes with security forces hit the region, following the funeral of human rights lawyer Victoria Mxenge. Also included is a report on the complicity of SADF medics in human rights abuses. From Klerksdorp we hear testimonies from victims of right wing violence carried out during the 1990s in the former Western Transvaal, home of the AWB. The episode concludes with a report on the Khulumani support group who offers continuing support to victims and families of victims of human rights violations. ||Section IndexWatch Episode|
|22||06 Oct 1996||This episode covers the HRV Committee hearings held in Upington (2 to 3 October) focusing on the ‘Upington 26,’ a group of people charged for murder under the ‘common purpose’ principle and sentenced to death. The episode also covers the HRV hearings held in Thohoyandou (3 to 4 October) where we hear testimonies from victims and relatives of victims who suffered detention, torture and ultimately death in detention at the hands of the Venda police, for offering support to MK soldiers. Deputy Chairperson of the TRC, Dr Alex Boraine, discusses the shift in focus of the TRC – from victims to perpetrators of human rights abuses – and the amnesty process. The episode ends with an interview with cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro aka ‘Zapiro’ and his work on the TRC.||Section IndexWatch Episode|
|23||13 Oct 1996||This episode gives some background to two former South African Police generals, Basie Smit and Krappies Engelbrecht – implicated in incidents of gun running, fraud, bombings, kidnappings, torture and murder – subpoenaed to testify before the TRC. Segments on the HRV Committee hearings held in the Karoo (7 to 9 October) cover violent feuds between UDF supporters, community councilors and SAP members in Philipstown and Kwesi (Hanover) in the Karoo. We also hear the testimonies of two mothers from Noupoort whose sons suffer from post traumatic stress disorder after being tortured. In a segment on the HRV hearings held in Welkom (8 to 10 October) we hear testimonies from victims of right wing attacks, testimonies from relatives of youth activists who disappeared after they left the country for military training in the 1980s, and testimony on the death in detention of youth activist, Sipho Mutsi. ||Section IndexWatch Episode|
|24||20 Oct 1996||The first segment of this episode focuses on the amnesty application of Brian Mitchell held in Pietermaritzburg (15 to 16 October) applying for amnesty for his role in the Trust Feed Massacre. Also covered is the HRV Committee hearings held in the Winelands (14 to 16 October 1996) from where we hear a public confession from members of the Stellenbosch Dutch Reformed Church on their role in past human rights abuses and testimony from the relatives of military conscript, Wallace McGregor, who speak about their loss. The episode includes a segment on the unsolved death of President Samora Machel, implicating South African Military Intelligence and lastly, gives some background on the five former senior security policemen who applied for amnesty, including an interview with former Vlakplaas Brigadier Jack Cronje. ||Section IndexWatch Episode|
|25||27 Oct 1996||This episode opens with a segment on the HRV Committee hearings in Durban (24 to 25 October 1996) from where we hear testimonies from relatives of assassinated Durban academic, Doctor Richard Turner, and evidence of attempted assassinations on Fatima Meer and Harold Strachan. We also hear about incidents of police brutality in the Western Cape (from the Winelands HRV hearings, 14 to 16 October) including voluntary testimony from a policeman on duty the night Adri Faas was killed by a fellow policeman. The following segment focuses on violence on the East Rand during the tumultuous eighties, including the killing of youth activists in Duduza by Vlakplaas operatives. ‘Operation Zero Zero’ triggered a chain of violence including the necklacing of Maki Skosana, suspected of being an informer. In Cape Town, Major-General Deon Mortimer presents the South African Defence Force’s submission to the TRC, by and large defending Botha’s total strategy. Deputy chairperson Alex Boraine highlights the serious omissions in the SADF submission. Former commissioner of police, Gen Johan van der Merwe’s testimony at the amnesty hearing in Johannesburg reveals the line of command in incidents like ‘Operation Zero Zero’ and the bombing of Khotso house. One of five former senior policemen applying for amnesty, Roelf Venter, delivered his testimony this week but provided no new information on the killing of the Pebco Three. ||Section IndexWatch Episode|
|26||03 Nov 1996||This episode focuses on the Amnesty Committee hearings held in Johannesburg (21 to 23, 28 October to 1 November) where former security policemen Paul van Vuuren, Jacques Hechter, Jack Cronje, Roelf Venter and Wouter Mentz are applying for amnesty for more than 40 incidents. Cases covered in this week’s hearings are the torture and murder of Jackson Maake, Andrew Makupe and Harold Sefolo, the murder of the ‘Nietverdiend Ten,’ the assassinations of activists Dr Ribeiro and his wife, Florence, the assassination of Piet Ntuli, Minister of Interior Affairs in the former KwaNdebele – implicating the SADF in the Ribeiro’s and Ntuli assassinations – and the attempts on Father Smangaliso Mkhatshwa’s life. Also included is a segment on the amnesty process with reference to the Eugene de Kock, and Clive Derby-Lewis and Janusz Walus application for the assassination of Chris Hani. The final segment provides some background on Alexandra township and we hear evidence from residents on the 1986 Six Day War in Alex. Included in this segment is an interview with Irene March who lost three sons to political violence. The episode concludes with TRC Chairperson, Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s threat to resign.||Section IndexWatch Episode|
|27||10 Nov 1996||In this episode we are given some background to former Vlakplaas commander Dirk Coetzee, whose amnesty hearing commenced in Durban this week, including an interview with the applicant. Former Vlakplaas colleagues, Almond Nofemela and David Tshikalanga, appeared in front of the TRC with Coetzee (5 to 7 November 1996). Cases covered in this week’s hearings include the assassinations of human rights lawyer Griffiths Mxenge and youth activist Sizwe Kondile, and the abduction of Joe Pillay, MK commander Ivan Pillay’s brother. The Mxenge and Kondile families are opposing Dirk Coetzee’s amnesty. This episode also covers the HRV hearings held in Empangeni (4 to 6 November 1996) from where we hear victims’ testimonies of the violent clashes between IFP and ANC supporters in KwaZulu-Natal. This segment includes evidence on the assassination of Dr Henry Luthuli – implicating police complicity – and the assassination attempts on ANC leader Bheki Ntuli and murder of his family. We also hear testimony from relatives of Michael Mthethwa and Simon Msweli, ANC members killed by policeman and amnesty applicant Hendrik Steyn, delivering a very different account of events to that of Steyn. The episode ends with a segment on human rights abuses in ANC rehabilitation camps, and includes an interview with former detainee, Jeremiah Matli. ||Section IndexWatch Episode|
|28||17 Nov 1996||The episode begins with a background report and interview with former superspy and amnesty applicant, Craig Williamson, who during the 1980s worked for the foreign section of the SAP's security branch, Military Intelligence and finally the State Security Council. The segment includes an interview with Marius Schoon (whose wife, Jeanette and daughter, Katryn were killed with a parcel bomb sent by Williamson) who will oppose Williamson’s application. The following segment reports on the SADF and the security branch’s joint cross border operations in Botswana focusing on the 14 June 1985 and 19 May 1986 Gaborone raids. Another segment tells of the effects of compulsory military conscription. A grandmother reads from the diary of a former conscript, who committed suicide after his return from Angola, that tells of the horror of the SADF in Namibia and Angola. The following segment reports on the 20 May 1987 Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court Bomb including interviews with MK operative Joseph Kwetle who planted the bomb and with the parents of one of the policemen who died in the explosion. From the HRV hearings (held in Krugersdorp, 11 to 14 November) we hear testimony from the relatives of the ‘COSAS Four,’ Kagiso teenagers who were entrapped and killed by the South African police. The episode ends with an interview with Peter Hain, formerly labelled ‘public enemy number one’ for launching the sports boycott against South Africa, on his submission to the TRC exposing the NP’s dirty tricks abroad. ||Section IndexWatch Episode|
|29||24 Nov 1996||This episode starts off with a segment on the HRV Committee hearings held in Pietermaritzburg (18 to 21 November) where we hear testimonies from victims of the March 1990 Seven Day War in the greater Edendale Valley, KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, during which nearly 200 people died and 200 000 were left homeless. It also includes testimonies from members of the SAP and SADF involved in the incident. The following segment covers the second Bisho massacre hearings (Bisho, 18 to 19 November) and includes the testimony and apology from former Ciskei leader, Brigadier Oupa Gqozo. The episode also includes a report on the history and vibrant culture of Sophiatown, the forced removals and demolitions of 1955 and the suburb’s recent renaming. And a report on Xhosa’s, Sotho’s and Zulu’s of the Karoo who during apartheid took on Coloured identities to ensure a better life, and now want to reclaim their ethnic identities. The episode ends with Archbishop Desmond Tutu and PW Botha meeting the press outside Botha’s home. ||Section IndexWatch Episode|
|30||01 Dec 1996||This episode includes reports on the killing of the Gugulethu Seven and the 1985 Pollsmoor march, the focus of HRV hearings held in Cape Town (from 26 to 28 November). The segment includes testimonies from eye witnesses and policemen involved with the Gugulethu incident and historical footage of the August Pollsmoor march. In the following segment reporter Jacques Pauw interviews former spy and friend of Eugene de Kock and Craig Williamson, Peter Casselton. Also included is a report on the attacks of IFP supporting hostel dwellers and the Toaster gang on the surrounding community of Tembisa during the 1980s and early 1990w, aided by the police especially during the negotiations period. The final segment features extracts from satirist Pieter Dirk Uys’ Truth Omissions that include impersonations of PW Botha, Pik Botha and Archbishop Tutu. ||Section IndexWatch Episode||