TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
DATE: 24TH JULY 1998
DAY : 5
MR POLSEN: Now I know as far as this Commission is concerned they should always be judged as reliable but from certain press reports we have been given to understand that certain other people might be called before this Committee. Now what I would just like to enquire from the Committee is, I'm referring to a statement by the Truth Commission last night, whether the intention is for those people to be called before this Committee because the words Committee and Commission was unfortunately used in some of the ...[intervention]
CHAIRPERSON: It is not our intention at the present time to call anybody. What this Committee is doing is giving notice in terms of Section 32 of the Act to five people who were mentioned yesterday, that their names have been mentioned, that a copy of a transcript of the evidence will be available for them on Monday and that in terms of the Act they are entitled to make representations or to give evidence before the Committee. It is entirely in their discretion as to what they choose to do.
MR POLSEN: Mr Chairman, in other words as far as the programme for next week is concerned, it is not at this stage the intention of the Committee to have those people until you've been advised that those people in fact want to. It is merely for practical and logistical reasons?
CHAIRPERSON: Yes. We do not intend to do anything. Of course it may be that one of the applicants wish to subpoena these people as witnesses now, I don't know but before we go on I want to raise another matter. That I yesterday received, after the close of the proceedings I received a letter from the South African Catholic Bishops Conference raising the question of the bombing of the Khanya House in Pretoria on the 12th of October 1988. Insofar as I can recollect, this has not been mentioned during the course of these proceedings.
I propose to hand the letter to the Leader of Evidence for him to make any enquiries he wishes to in that regard and to make it available to the other parties to the proceedings, to make a copy, not to make enquiries, to let them have access to it. Together with the letter was a booklet which I have never seen before, dealing with the, it's headed: After the Fire - The Attack on Khanya House. I haven't read it. There are photographs of the building after the damage had been done. I merely notify that it has been done and if any of the parties wish to, they can talk to Mr Mpshe about it. It may be something that the South African Council of Churches intends to raise during the course of their questioning, I do not know.
MR BOOYENS: Mr Chairman, on the subject of Khanya House specifically, I know certain of my clients have applied for amnesty for the arson of Khanya House but it was decided apparently by the Evidence Leader, that the Khanya House matter falls outside the ambit of this inquiry. So there are applications I know, at least from my side, in for Khanya House.
CHAIRPERSON: ...[inaudible] in the letter is that if the investigations ceased, they have had no report-back about it. ...[inaudible]
INTERPRETER: The speaker's microphone is not on.
CHAIRPERSON: Sorry. The letter indicates that the Catholic Bishops Conference got no report-back about it. The investigations seem to have merely ceased. They do not appear to be aware of the fact that there are amnesty applications pending in regard to that. I don't know if they have been notified. They apparently haven't been notified of those amnesty applications. It's clearly a matter that they should be because it may be that they will seek to say that they are linked or that persons responsible for bombings elsewhere may have been responsible for bombings here.
I take it your clients are members of the South African Police Force.
MR BOOYENS: Yes, Mr Chairman, they are applicants in this matter.
CHAIRPERSON: So it may well be the allegation that this was another action by the police and part and parcel of the same, and there hasn't been a full disclosure. I don't know, but I think it's a matter that causes me some concern, to hear that they have not been notified that there are amnesty applications pending.
MR BOOYENS: Mr Chairman, as far as I know no hearing has even been set down. My learned friend is aware that there are applications in respect of Khanya House. In fact I think in certain of our papers you may see even, as the papers were duplicated, a reference to Khanya House.
ADV MPSHE: Mr Chairman, if I may be afforded an opportunity to outline what has happened here. It is unfortunate that I was never told about this and never asked by the Committee as to what is happening, and the matters raised here is very unfortunate.
The position Mr Chairman is that I have written letters to all members who are herein, as Advocate Booyens correctly indicates, and copies of those letters are in the Chairman's possession. The position is that because this hearing was not even to be scheduled during this month. It was hearing suggested by the TRC upon request that we do this hearing, particularly of Minister Vlok.
Now in order to get Minister Vlok, because of him having applied for only the three incidents, we had then to link all other applicants affected by the three incidents and not any other incident. My letters to all members and to the Committee is very clear in this regard.
I am aware that there are members herein, more than the number that are here today, who have applied for the Khanya House bombing incident but this has not been applied for by Minister Vlok and that is why it is not before this Committee. I indicated in my letter that those matters would be dealt with later. That is the position Mr Chairman. And they were never informed that there was going to be a hearing because Khanya House is not scheduled.
CHAIRPERSON: But is that not relevant? If the persons who have applied for amnesty in respect of Khanya House, make the averment that their instructions came from higher up and the chain of command, if evidence links the chain of command, is it not something that should have been investigated here?
ADV MPSHE: Mr Chairman, I don't dispute that it is not a matter that should not be investigated but the point I'm trying to make is, the linkage of all applicants herein present is Adrian Vlok and Adrian Vlok has not applied for the Khanya House ...[intervention]
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Mpshe, the point I'm making is if the evidence in the Khanya House implication indicates that the instructions came from Mr Vlok through General van der Merwe, it's a matter that should have been put to him here, shouldn't it?
ADV MPSHE: Mr Chairman, I don't know whether I'm starting to make myself clear ...[indistinct]
CHAIRPERSON: You are not, you are accepting we must start with Mr Vlok and because he hasn't ...[indistinct]
ADV MPSHE: That is the position Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes. But if he has not disclosed it but evidence shows that he was responsible, is that not extremely relevant?
ADV MPSHE: Then Mr Chairman, if the other applicants mention that he was responsible then he will not be coming here as an applicant but as an implicated. ...[intervention]
CHAIRPERSON: Well have had all these inquiries been made?
ADV MPSHE: Mr Chairman, they have not been made because the matter was never intended to be scheduled and the matter is not scheduled. Well I'll leave this in the Chairperson's hands, the discretion, but this is how I was made to understand to schedule this hearing as per request. Mr Jan Wagener can bear me out there, that this matter was not even to be heard. We had to struggle to set it down because of the request of the TRC. ...[inaudible] that this hearing shouldn't go on because of the absence of the Khanya House incident, it's unfortunate. I will abide by the Committee's decision and the Committee can take it further.
MR HUGO: Mr Chairperson, Hugo on behalf of Mr de Kock. De Kock also applied for amnesty with regards to the Khanya House incident. He was in charge of the operation and I can tell you for record purposes, he did not say that General van der Merwe or Vlok gave any instructions. He is not going to say that, he is going to implicate someone completely different.
CHAIRPERSON: Well that solves that problem. It's a matter that, I think I speak for the Committee, should have been investigated to make sure before we had a hearing, that there were not links to other incidents but we now hear from Mr Hugo that the link diverts from Colonel de Kock and that solves the problem.
MR VISSER: If I may Mr Chairman, that may solve the one problem but it has just occurred to us that your remarks raise other issues as well because there are many, many cases of bombings and attacks on property, where no doubt there will be allegations made that those people at least believed that their actions were accepted by authorities from higher up. This has come as a surprise to us Mr Chairman, but I must say we are in full agreement with you.
One should perhaps take the view that at the end of this hearing, before you make any decision on whether to grant amnesty or refuse it, that one should listen to the others as well.
CHAIRPERSON: Well, I don't think one can link up various bombings that took place. We all know that there were many. This one is I think relevant in that it was another church, the South African Council of Churches in Johannesburg and the Catholic Bishops building in Pretoria, they're the same type of buildings.
MR VISSER: Perhaps Mr Hugo can inform us if he knows whether there are also other applicants, one would assume that there would be, whether they hadn't made, if he does, whether they haven't made allegations which will coincide with the fears that you've expressed.
ADV DE JAGER: Sorry, I think we should be a little bit practical. If we try to have hearings of all people linked in certain events, I don't know perhaps then we'll have to go to the arena at Voortrekkerhoogte to find a place where this can be accommodated and we'll sit there for the next two years. People being involved in one incident would sit there and they may ask one question in two years. I don't think it's practical and let's try and solve the problems as they come about. I think this problem has been solved now and let's not get into other matters now, let's continue and see how far we can get with this one.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, I don't want to waster time necessarily. I am also as concerned as Mr Visser about the question, if that is going to effect my client's credibility or the question of full disclosure. I have two clients, Hammond and Kotze who were also involved in the Khanya House incident which came after these two incidents.
It seems that a lot of people here were involved in the same incident. My clients have also applied for amnesty. So if we can be sure that disclosure of that at this hearing will not have any effect on full disclosure then I don't have any problem to go on but I have to make the point that we applied for amnesty and if it's necessary for full disclosure to deal with that incident then we will have to.
CHAIRPERSON: No, but you have made a disclosure by applying for amnesty, you don't have to lead the evidence here. The question arises only if there had been a direct link going back from Colonel de Kock up through General van der Merwe to Mr Vlok as there was in the other. That is the only question, and they have not disclosed that.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, Mr Chairman, then I'm satisfied. My clients also don't link it up to Mr Vlok or General van der Merwe.
CHAIRPERSON: We have been told now that that link is not going to be suggested, so the question doesn't really arise. It may be, I do agree with Mr Visser, desirable that we should not come to a firm conclusion till we have heard other evidence but we can certainly continue with and finish this hearing.
MR MAFOJANE: Mr Chairman, on behalf of the S.A.C.C., may I just say that although at this point we obviously cannot say that the two incidents are linked, we would certainly be interested in being provided with the applications in respect of Khanya House, which we may need to use during our cross-examination, thanks.
ADV MPSHE: Mr Chairman, that would certainly be done when the Khanya House is scheduled for a hearing. All members are entitled to the applications of all applicants.
CHAIRPERSON: What you were suggesting was that the persons we have just been told, the applicants who apply for amnesty before us now have also in their applications dealt with the Khanya House incident so those applications are before us. In fact we haven't been supplied with the full applications in most cases, to cut down on the paper work, quite rightly so. I think that if any of the parties wish to see the full applications, they're entitled to because that application is before us, we are only dealing with certain portions of it.
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, my attorney has asked me to draw your attention to a fact, not that we make any point of it, but just to draw your attention to the fact that in the case of the ANC, what happened there was precisely the thing that has filled Commissioner de Jager with horror. They had all their bombings in one application and one wonders whether that is not the way to go.
MR BOOYENS: Mr Chairman, just insofar as the submission of my learned friend on behalf of the SACC is concerned, I would certainly have reservations about the question as to whether he's entitled to cross-examine my clients who were foot-soldiers at Khanya House in regard to this one. I would ...[intervention]
CHAIRPERSON: I don't think it was a suggestion that it was the foot-soldiers that he would want to ask questions about, I think it is the cross-examination that has been reserved till Monday. That is so isn't it?
MR MAFOJANE: ...[inaudible]
CHAIRPERSON: Right, can we continue?
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, continuing on the issue of press reports, there appear to be some press reports that are circulating both in the newspapers and on television which appear to give a distorted view what the evidence of General van der Merwe was. There is one which upsets General van der Merwe to the extent that he has asked me to ask you to grant him an indulgence just to state clearly what is evidence is in regard to State President Nelson Mandela, because there was news report in the Beeld of this morning, charging that Mr Nelson Mandela covered up investigations and we believe that it is such a serious allegation that General van der Merwe should be allowed just for a few minutes to tell you what he said to you and what he intended to say to you and what his evidence is in that regard. Will you allow that indulgence Mr Chairman?
ADV DE JAGER: Yes, I have no objection to that but I don't think I've misunderstood his evidence. It seems as though the press misunderstood his evidence and perhaps he should address the press and not us, but I've got no objection if he wishes to address us.
CHAIRPERSON: I take it what he is doing is using us as a platform to address the press because we will have the transcript of his evidence available to us and we will not be influenced by misleading press reports, but if he wishes to now clarify the position we will give him the opportunity to do so.
MR VISSER: Thank you Mr Chairman. He is still in evidence.
GEN VAN DER MERWE ADDRESSES: Chairperson, I am still under oath. Chairperson, thank you very much for the opportunity.
Firstly, I would like to mention that I submitted the evidence during cross-examination and I merely quoted casually, I didn't put it in perspective but in spite of that I still don't think that the deduction now made in the media, that I infer that President Mandela tried to cover something up, that is not at all reasonable.
Chairperson, I would just like to sketch the background for you against which my discussions with Mr de Klerk, Mr Coetzee, Doctor d'Oliviera and eventually Mandela took place. It took place during the negotiation process where the granting of indemnity or amnesty was constantly implicated. We were of the viewpoint right from the beginning of the negotiations that some kind of satisfactory process should be established to deal with the deeds and omissions which came about through the conflicts in the past. In the light thereof, when Judge Goldstone, and I must say it was more or less at the end of the Goldstone investigation, continued with the investigations against members of the security forces, specifically the security branch, I then went to the then President de Klerk and I told him I feel it is unfair, it is unreasonable towards the members of the security branch that such investigations were being carried out at that stage whilst in the case of the ANC/SACP Alliance those investigations were stopped. To indicate to him why I thought the government had a specific obligation in this sense, I mentioned to him that the security branch acted on instruction of the government when they blew up Khotso and Cosatu House.
MR VISSER: This would have been before 1994, it would have been round about the middle or end of 1993?
GEN VAN DER MERWE: The end of '94, maybe the beginning of '94 but definitely before the elections Chairperson.
Mr de Klerk's point of view was that those types of offences in any case fell outside of the mandate of the Goldstone Commission and that he could not see how he at that stage had to concern himself with it. Because the situation remained unchanged, I went to Kobie Coetzee and I put the same to him. I told him explicitly that they must bear in mind that the government has a duty here. We blew up Cosatu House and Cosatu House on their instructions. I would just like to emphasise it wasn't about Khotso and Cosatu House as such. I just mentioned it as examples why, on the side of the government, there lay a specific duty. Mr Coetzee's attitude was: We are busy with negotiations with the ANC/SACP Alliance with regards to indemnity or amnesty which is at quite a progressed stage and it seems as if we will reach an understanding and that you do not have to worry about it anymore. In my presence he also contacted d'Oliviera and he told him that he must bear in mind that negotiations with regards to amnesty or indemnity already are at a quite a developed stage and that he must treat his investigations against that background.
MR VISSER: Did ex-Minister Coetzee refer to Khotso House or any specific incident during his conversations with Doctor d'Oliviera?
GEN VAN DER MERWE: No, Chairperson, he also spoke generally.
After this also did not really stop the investigations by the Goldstone Commission or members thereof, I went to President Mandela. I must mention to you that on several occasions before 1994 or before the elections I had negotiations with President Mandela with regard to amnesty or indemnity, so we had discussed this subject from time to time and at one stage Doctor Neil Barnard was also present. At one occasion I told President Mandela, then still Mr Mandela, I feel that it's very unreasonable and unfair that the continuation of investigations against members of the security forces, in particular the security branch should continue while similar investigations in the case of his people were stopped. I also told him that it's very difficult for me to motivate members of the security branch who would play a key role in ensuring that the elections proceed peacefully and without incident, if it should appear that from the beginning there would be discrimination against them, especially in the light thereof that negotiations regarding amnesty and/or indemnity already were at a developed stage. President Mandela agreed and he told me that he undertakes to speak to Judge Goldstone about this. The intention was not at all that anything would be covered up or that perjury would take place or that an attempt would be made around this to treat the situation in such a fashion that the law does not run its course. The idea was pure, we are busy with a process where all these deeds are going to be handled and our approach was that at that time there was an unequal, unreasonable handling thereof and we wanted that to stop.
MR VISSER: In other words what you are saying is that there was a holding action and you thought that the holding action had to be applicable to everybody?
GEN VAN DER MERWE: That is correct Chairperson. I want to emphasis that I never on any occasion gave any particulars with regards to any incident to Nelson Mandela. It was not about, in all these cases, about Cosatu House or Khotso House. I basically mentioned it as examples just to emphasise the principle but not for President Mandela. In an earlier stage I told the Attorney General, Doctor d'Oliviera about this and he must remember in his investigations that these things were done on the instruction of the government and I do not want the members of the security branch who were involved in this to be prejudiced.
MR VISSER: Is that all you wanted to say?
GEN VAN DER MERWE: That is all, thank you very much Chairperson.
MR VISSER: Thank you Mr Chairman. Mr Chairman, the next order of business is - I'm sorry, perhaps somebody wants to ask him questions?
CHAIRPERSON: This is a matter for cross-examination at this stage. The purpose of this was to clarify what was said yesterday and I think that it will be open to the parties who consider it and when the General comes back to give evidence on Monday, I think it is, they may then raise the questions -any questions they may wish to ask. Statements allegedly made by the TRC which I read in the newspapers this morning as those responsible for the recording and transcription of evidence led to make arrangements if that can be done for the evidence that has just been given by General van der Merwe to be transcribed and to be available on Monday with the other evidence which has apparently already been arranged will be available to the persons named should they desire to obtain it on Monday. I think that it's obvious that the latest evidence should be included in what is made available to them.
WITNESS STANDS DOWN
TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
DATE: 24TH JULY 1998
NAME: JOHANNES CHRISTOFFEL MEYER
APPLICATION NO: AM 4152/96
DAY : 5
MR VISSER: Thank you Mr Chairman.
Mr Chairman, next order of business that I wish to call Mr Johannes Christoffel Meyer who has made application, Mr Chairman, before you and whose written application is in Volume 2 at page 210. We have also prepared a short affidavit for Mr Meyer, Mr Chairman.
ADV DE JAGER: But before we proceed with that, in dealing with the applications, Mr Mpshe, you should pay attention to Section - what is it - 19.8 in making available information. 19 sub 8 because it may have a bearing on whether you could make applications available at this stage or not or parts of applications.
JOHANNES CHRISTOFFEL MEYER: (sworn states)
EXAMINATION BY MR VISSER: Mr Meyer, you have handed in an application to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and that application appears in Volume 2 in the documents before this Committee on page 210 and in that written application on the prescribed form on page 216 you refer to an incident whereby you apply and you describe it as follows as in answer to question 9 (a) of the prescribed form that requests you to supply the details or particulars of the offence which had a political motivation in terms of your application. You then in II gave the date as July 1988 and you indicated the places or place as Khotso House, Johannesburg, is what I've said now correct?
MR MEYER: That is correct, Chairperson.
MR VISSER: You approached me yesterday and informed me that you had made a mistake, is that correct?
MR MEYER: That is correct, Chairperson.
MR VISSER: And last night a short affidavit was drawn up and that would be Exhibit K.
Mr Chairman, if you need information, we try to keep a bundle of exhibits going, J was Petrus Lodewickus du Toit, that was J. We skipped I.
CHAIRPERSON: What was Erasmus then?
MR VISSER: Erasmus was H Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: It's K now?
MR VISSER: Now it's K. Mr Chairman, this is an affidavit, the original signed on is before you, Mr Chairman.
ADV DE JAGER: Sorry, this is not the document you are referring to because this is not an affidavit. Johannes Christoffel Meyer "Aansoek om wysiging".
MR VISSER: Yes, that is the affidavit Mr Chairman, we've only had opportunity this morning to sign one copy and to attest to one copy. That one is before the Chairman, Commissioner de Jager.
ADV DE JAGER: Well on mine there's not even a provision for a ...[intervention]
MR VISSER: Yes, it's been written in, Mr Chairman, perhaps Mr Chairman you could show Mr de Jager the - I'm sorry about that it's not how we normally like to do it Mr Chairman but ...[intervention]
CHAIRPERSON: Well can't you achieve exactly the same effect and remove the difficulty by now attesting this?
MR VISSER: He's going to do that Mr Chairman.
Mr Meyer, last night in association with your legal representative you drew up a document which was Exhibit K, you have a copy of that - do you confirm the truth and the correctness of what is set out in there in your testimony here under oath today?
MR MEYER: I confirm it.
MR VISSER: Can you just submit to the Committee from page 2 paragraph 8?
MR MEYER: Very well, Chairperson.
"Reasons for amendment of application. As it would seem later in my testimony I was involved in the periphery that I am applying for amnesty here. I was present because I had to take Brigadier Schoon to the safety house in Honeydew because the Brigadier did not know where it was and later when I handed in my application for amnesty I had to think long and hard as to which incident I was involved with and I wrongly came to the decision that it was Khotso House and while I was at this hearing and listening and listening to this testimony and then I came to the realisation that Cosatu was the first house to be blown up and I realised this was the incident where I was involved with because Brigadier Schoon at the time of Khotso House or when Khotso House was blown up would have already known where the safety house was in Honeydew and I request you, I request the Committee to amend my application.
MR VISSER: So you then request then Mr Meyer that the Committee on page 216 at 9 (a) iii the date thereof July 1988 has to be amended by changing it to 6 - 7th May 1987. Mr Chairman, that appears at page 1, all the relevant information appears on the first page and I'm now referring to paragraph 2. And what is mentioned in paragraph 9 (a) iii the words Khotso House, Johannesburg has to be replaced with the words Cosatu House, Johannesburg, is that your request?
MR MEYER: That is correct. The date is 9 (a) ii and the place is 9 (a) iii.
MR VISSER: And you wish to request an amendment to paragraph 7 (a) and (b) and the words "not applicable" has to be scrapped and be replaced with National Party and 7 (b), the words "not applicable" has to be replaced with "supporter"?
MR MEYER: That is correct, Chairperson.
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, if I may briefly make a submission or two in this regard. We know that the time has come and gone for applications for amnesty. We would urge upon you to regard this not as a new or a fresh application. It certainly does not involve any extension of the application by Mr Marais - Mr Meyer - when you hear his evidence which will be attended to you immediately and very briefly, the evidence is not amended at all. His role remains exactly the same, it is a question of mistaken identity and Mr Chairman we would submit that in the light of the confusion which already reigns with regard to these two incidents because of the similarity of what occurred as far as Khotso House as well as Cosatu House are concerned that we would ask you to consider this to be not a fresh application but simply an amendment of an existing application and if you do so, Mr Chairman, we would move for the amendments to be granted in terms of paragraphs 2,3 and 4 at page 1 of Exhibit A and also, Mr Chairman, for you to grant the technical amendments set out in paragraph 5 and 6. I may mention Mr Chairman I did discuss it with members of the Committee albeit not in the presence of any of my learned friends this morning to forewarn the Committee that I will move this application. Thank you Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: Any of the other applicants have any representations to make in this regard, if they wish to ask any questions?
MR BOOYENS: No Mr Chairman, thank you.
NO REPRESENTATIONS BY MR BOOYENS
MR HUGO: No Mr Chairman, thank you.
MR PENZHORN: Penzhorn. No Mr Chairman.
NO REPRESENTATIONS BY MR PENZHORN
MR NEL: Nel, no, Mr Chairman, thank you.
MR DU PLESSIS: Du Plessis. No questions, Mr Chairman.
NO REPRESENTATIONS BY MR DU PLESSIS
MR DU PLESSIS: ...[inaudible] staan in vir Advokaat Hannes Botha, geen vrae dankie Voorsitter.
NO REPRESENTATIONS BY MR DU PLESSIS
MR ROSSOUW: Rossouw. Mr Chairman, I've got no questions.
NO REPRESENTATIONS BY MR ROSSOUW
MR LAMEY: I've got no objection to the application for amendment.
NO REPRESENTATIONS BY MR LAMEY
MR JANSEN: Jansen, Mr Chairman. No submissions.
NO REPRESENTATIONS BY MR JANSEN
NO QUESTIONS BY MR JANSEN
MR MAFOJANE: Mafojane on behalf of Cosatu, Mr Chairman. No submissions.
NO REPRESENTATIONS BY MR MAFOJANE
MR THULARE: Thulare on behalf of the SACC. I don't think my clients will object but I'll have to get confirmation from them. At this point I've got no submissions to make.
NO REPRESENTATIONS BY MR THULARE
ADV MPSHE: No questions Mr Chairman.
NO REPRESENTATIONS BY ADV MPSHE
CHAIRPERSON: You were in the vicinity of the explosion were you not?
MR MEYER: That is correct, Chairperson. I was in the vicinity but I could not see the building in the night.
CHAIRPERSON: But you certainly read the second day or the following day that it was Cosatu House or Khotso House?
MR MEYER: That's what I cannot remember Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: You went along to participate in a bombing of a large building in Johannesburg and you say you cannot remember.
MR MEYER: It is a long time ago, Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: How many buildings did you blow up?
MR MEYER: I was involved with the one.
CHAIRPERSON: But you cannot remember if it was in 1986 or it was in 1988 or whether it was Cosatu House or Khotso House?
MR MEYER: At the time of my filling in of the application I could not remember.
MR SIBANYONI: Mr Meyer, I'm referring to paragraph 7 (a) when you filled the application you said "nie van toepassing nie". At that stage were you not sure whether you were a member of any organisation and later on you said National Party.
MR MEYER: I was advised by my attorney.
MR SIBANYONI: Advised to do what?
MR MEYER: To fill in "nie van toepassing nie".
MR SIBANYONI: But you were at that stage a member of the National Party?
MR MEYER: Yes that's correct. When the incident occurred.
MR SIBANYONI: Was it not so in the past that police were not allowed to be members of political parties and civil servants?
MR MEYER: I was not a member I was a supporter.
MR SIBANYONI: No further questions.
ADV DE JAGER: You do not apply for both instances?
MR MEYER: No, Chairperson, I was just involved with the one.
ADV DE JAGER: So you do not add an additional application with your existing application with this amendment?
MR MEYER: Not at all, Chairperson.
ADV DE JAGER: And if you were indeed involved with the Khotso House incident then your application expires because there is no application for Khotso House then.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Visser we are prepared to grant the application you have brought on behalf of your client, to amend the application to merely record different dates and address. It remains an application for one incident of association with the blowing up of a building in Johannesburg.
MR VISSER: As it pleases you Mr Chairman and the amendment may we take it will be granted in terms of what is stated in Exhibit K at page, first paragraph. Thank you Mr Chairman.
Mr Chairman, while Mr Meyer is here we thought that we'll just continue and finish his evidence. It's going to be very brief.
Mr Meyer you were indeed a member of Section C2 under the command of Brigadier Willem Schoon. It starts off with a number of paragraph 1's, you'll have to forgive me for that Mr Chairman.
"Under the command of Brigadier Schoon and this was a terrorist interrogation and research desk, my rank was Captain at the time." Is that correct?
MR MEYER: That is correct, Chairperson.
MR VISSER: And you refer to the fact that every morning you had a meeting with Brigadier Schoon and that in this manner you were told about the activities in terms of unrest incidents as well as the Cosatu House incident and Khotso House incident and so forth?
MR MEYER: That is correct, Chairperson, that and the security reports that we read.
MR VISSER: Mr Meyer, on a good day you received an instruction from, as you have said, from Brigadier Schoon to take him to a safety house in Honeydew because he did not know where it was?
MR MEYER: That is correct, Chairperson.
MR VISSER: Can you then continue on page 3 and tell us - Mr Chairperson you could just refer to page 217 of Volume 2:
"I was with Brigadier Schoon and Colonel de Kock to the planning meeting at the house at Honeydew in Johannesburg. During the explosion itself I was in the street outside the building and it was my task to keep away members of the public to prevent injury or death. Although I was not personally responsible for the explosion I was part of the operation."
Now there were two meetings if we can call it that - paragraph 8, Mr Chairman - and the second opportunity was when you left for Vlakplaas and where you and members of the Vlakplaas Unit left in separate vehicles to Johannesburg the evening of the explosion and you had said that Eugene de Kock took leadership there and gave instructions there and he instructed you to go with members of C1 Unit to make sure that people do not come too close - members of the public.
MR MEYER: That is correct, Mr Chairperson.
MR VISSER: Mr Meyer, your background and your career in the Police Service as well as your political background and motivations, you sketched that in your application for amnesty on pages 210 to 211, is where your career in the police service appears and your political background and motivation is on page 212 to page 215?
MR MEYER: That is correct, Chairperson.
MR VISSER: And that is all in Volume 2. Would I be correct to say that you confirm the testimony by former Minister Vlok and General van der Merwe in terms of the general political background and the circumstances prevalent in 1987 when you participated in this operation?
MR MEYER: That is correct, Chairperson?
MR VISSER: And your participation was because of a direct instruction that you received from Brigadier Schoon and later from the then Major de Kock?
MR MEYER: That is correct, Chairperson.
MR VISSER: You then request this Committee to grant you amnesty for all illegal or irregular offences in connection with the blowing up of Cosatu House on the 6th and 7th May 1987?
MR MEYER: That is correct, Chairperson.
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, thank you for your indulgence, that is the evidence which we which to present.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR VISSER
MR BOOYENS: No questions thank you, Mr Chairman.
NO QUESTIONS BY MR BOOYENS
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR HUGO: It's Hugo on behalf of De Kock.
Mr Meyer, just one question. Your first meeting which occurred at Honeydew where Brigadier Schoon was involved, you say in paragraph 6 of your supplementary application that you were conversant with the political background surrounding Cosatu House. Did you give any input at the discussion of this operation?
MR MEYER: No, Chairperson, I did not give any input because the experts were there.
MR HUGO: No further questions, thank you.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR HUGO
MR PENZHORN: Penzhorn. No questions.
NO QUESTIONS BY MR PENZHORN
MR CORNELIUS: Mr Chairman, Cornelius on behalf of applicant N.J. Vermeulen, I have no questions.
NO QUESTIONS BY MR CORNELIUS
MR NEL: Mr Chairman, Nel on behalf of Lanton McArthur, I have no questions thank you.
NO QUESTIONS BY MR NEL
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairperson, Du Plessis, I have no questions.
NO QUESTIONS BY MR DU PLESSIS
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairperson, Du Plessis, I have no questions.
NO QUESTIONS BY MR DU PLESSIS
MR ROSSOUW: Mr Chairperson, Rossouw, I've got no questions.
NO QUESTIONS BY MR ROSSOUW
MR LAMEY: Lamey, on behalf of Nortjè and Mogoai, no questions.
NO QUESTIONS BY MR LAMEY
MR JANSEN: Mr Chairman, Jansen on behalf of Ras, no questions.
NO QUESTIONS BY MR JANSEN
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR MAFOJANE: Mr Chairman, Mafojane on behalf of Cosatu.
Mr Meyers, you've alluded to the facts regarding Khotso House and Cosatu House - the activities there at and you basically confirm what was said by Mr Vlok and General van der Merwe. Now did you have personal knowledge of these issues?
MR MEYER: As I said, Chairperson, I did not know the details in depth and what I knew is what I read of in reports.
MR MAFOJANE: So all you knew about the activities or alleged activities that were happening at this place was through second hand information, reports and what you heard from your colleagues?
MR MEYER: Chairperson, I would not call it second hand information.
MR MAFOJANE: Now, on the night of the bombing at the Honeydew safe house you said that you were also part of that discussions, the planning and everything?
MR MEYER: That is correct, Chairperson.
MR MAFOJANE: Now what was the order with regard to the civilians?
MR MEYER: To keep the public away from the building and to cordon off the area.
MR MAFOJANE: And that would have been after the explosion I presume?
MR MEYER: No, before the explosion.
MR MAFOJANE: How would you cordon off an area in that instance. Would you say to the public keep away, you know, cordon it off and then bomb the area. It doesn't make sense to me. How would that have happened?
MR MEYER: Well we did not cordon it off as such, we just made sure that the people did not come too close.
MR MAFOJANE: In which way would that have happened - would you have told people to keep away from the building - in which way? I do not understand. This was supposed to be a clandestine operation isn't it?
MR MEYER: We just told them to move away from the scene.
MR MAFOJANE: Now in your mind didn't you think that there would be suspicions? Would you have done - the cordoning off - would you have done it in your - would you have held yourselves out to the public as the police and saying to people they must get away from the scene, or what?
MR MEYER: We were in unmarked vehicles and they did not see us as member of the police and this is how we did it.
MR MAFOJANE: Now about your - about Brigadier Schoon's instruction to you to take him to Johannesburg because you knew the Honeydew safe house, had you in the past been privy to any operations in Johannesburg where the use of the safe house had to be made?
MR MEYER: Not operations but I did visit the house previously. If I can recall correctly, we went to the house that morning as well.
MR MAFOJANE: I have no further questions, Mr Chairman, thank you.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR MAFOJANE
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR THULARE: ...[inaudible] Thulare on behalf of the SACC.
Mr Meyer, my colleague has asked you how you made sure that people didn't come close to the building. What were the instructions if somebody insisted on getting close to the building because you couldn't, I suppose, identify yourself as a policeman?
MR MEYER: There was no specific instruction to that effect Chairperson. I was just the driver of a vehicle so I could not comply with that instruction.
MR THULARE: But as part of the team that was supposed to keep the public away, wasn't it contemplated that you may have difficulty in keeping them away because you were involved in a clandestine operation which you couldn't publicly...[intervention]
MR MEYER: If I recall correctly, the instruction was to keep the people away and we did not foresee any problems.
MR THULARE: If any of the Cosatu leaders had chanced upon you there and insisted on going to their building, what would you have said to them?
MR MEYER: This we would have done while we were busy with the operation and it would have been handled.
MR THULARE: In which way would it have been handled?
MR MEYER: I cannot tell you now, Chairperson, because the situation ...[intervention]
MR THULARE: At - in your section at Vlakplaas, if I heard correctly, you were involved in the interrogation of so called terrorists am I right?
MR MEYER: I was not involved with a Vlakplaas Unit I was just involved in a unit under the command of Brigadier Schoon, I was involved with their questioning and research of terrorist activities.
MR THULARE: And during the course of your work, did you ever come across any instances of so called terrorists operating from Khotso House and Cosatu House?
MR MEYER: I cannot recall this point correctly but I can imagine that I can recall something like that that there was those activities in Khotso House.
MR THULARE: What can you recall about those activities at Khotso House?
MR MEYER: That trained terrorists visited the building for certain reasons that I can not remember now.
MR THULARE: That's all you can remember about the incident? What would say to the proposition which I'm going to put to you and which is my instruction from the SACC that that is denied, no such activities took place at Khotso House. Khotso House was a building of church organisation, religious organisation, charitable organisation and certain political -legal political organisation?
MR MEYER: That the visits happened, Chairperson, is true but what happened during those visits I cannot attest to that, I don't know what happened during those visits.
MR THULARE: But you do remember it vividly that you had encountered such an allegation?
MR MEYER: Yes I remember.
MR THULARE: Do you remember any follow up action that was taken by your unit or any of your colleagues?
MR MEYER: No we did not follow up operations from our unit and I cannot remember if any operations were launched. I was also in the Johannesburg area.
MR THULARE: Isn't it perhaps a bit strange that you can remember very clearly about allegations of terrorists visiting Khotso House and no other details but your memory get a little bit confused regarding bombings which I'm sure was not something that you were involved on a routine basis?
MR MEYER: I applied originally for Khotso House and I had to think about Khotso House and this is where I got this information which I have put to this Commission.
MR THULARE: I have got no further questions for this witness.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR THULARE
ADV MPSHE: I've no questions, Mr Chairman.
NO QUESTIONS BY ADV MPSHE
ADV GCABASHE: I have one question and it relates to the morning meetings you would have with Brigadier Schoon. At these meetings was it expected of you to understand why you were going out on an operation?
MR MEYER: Chairperson, this specific operation, that morning meeting, that specific morning meeting - it was not mentioned then. I received instruction to take Brigadier Schoon to the safety house in Honeydew.
ADV GCABASHE: So the discussion on this particular operation, that's Cosatu House, took place at Honeydew only?
MR MEYER: That's correct, Chairperson, as far as my knowledge is concerned.
ADV GCABASHE: And at that point you were simply being giving instructions - you will do this, you will do that - you weren't dealing with the why at that point?
MR MEYER: Is this at the morning meeting or at the meeting at Honeydew?
ADV GCABASHE: No, you've said to me that in respect of this specific incident the only discussions that took place were the ones at Honeydew. I trying to distinguish now between understanding why you were going out and simply following an instruction you were given - you will sit in a car and you will keep watch?
MR MEYER: I was in the room where the planning was taking place. Reasons were given but I cannot remember them now.
ADV GCABASHE: I'll come back to the general proposition which was my first question. Generally, were you as an operative expected to understand why you were going out on a particular mission? Just your experience?
MR MEYER: The facts were known to me, Chairperson and as we've heard in the previous evidence, everything was already done at that stage and I accepted that that which we would have done then would have been the final way out.
ADV GCABASHE: Again as a general proposition, as an operative you were not expected to question any orders you were given?
MR MEYER: That is correct, Chairperson.
ADV GCABASHE: Again, just at a general level, you said that you were involved with research and something else I wrote down, oh, with questioning and research is what I wrote down.
MR MEYER: That is correct.
ADV GCABASHE: So in respect of those competencies that you had, you were good at research and questioning. Again you were not expected to understand why you were doing certain things, you were just told you must get this information either out of a book or after a person and you were expected to do just that - nothing more?
MR MEYER: Chairperson, my work at C2 was to do research and also to lead questioning with regards to and arrested terrorist and we concentrated more on operations abroad rather than those internally at that stage but during the questioning which we led, certain internal things came to light which we heard from these people and we took notes regarding this.
ADV GCABASHE: Thank you.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR RADITAPOLE: Mr Meyer, as you were keeping watch for the people not to come closer to the area, were there in fact people you sent away?
MR MEYER: The people who were with me in the vehicle - we did not chase them away or send them away but if you put it this way, they did foot patrols.
MR RADITAPOLE: Yes, I mean when you were keeping watch for people not to come to the area, not to come to Cosatu House, were there in fact people which you diverted, sent away from the area?
MR MEYER: Sorry, Chairperson, I misunderstood the question. I do not remember how many people there were but we did send people away.
MR RADITAPOLE: Did you introduce yourself or what did you say who you are to send them away?
MR MEYER: Like I've said before I was only the driver of the vehicle and the ...[inaudible]
CHAIRPERSON: ....[inaudible] I was there, is that not a fact?
MR RADITAPOLE: Well I might not have got his evidence properly, I thought that he heard from other members, from other of his colleagues that there had been a terrorist there. Now what I wanted to establish is whether during the questioning of the terrorist that he questioned and his research, has he ever established it as a matter of fact that a terrorist had visited Khotso House. That is what I wanted to establish or whether it remains just an untested allegation that he had from his colleagues.
MR MEYER: If I remember correctly, it was told to me by an arrested terrorist that that was indeed the case.
MR RADITAPOLE: Are you able to mention the name of that arrested terrorist?
MR MEYER: I cannot remember that, Chairperson.
MR RADITAPOLE: So that will remain one of the allegations that will never be tested although it implicates my client.
MR MEYER: That is correct, Chairperson.
ADV GCABASHE: Can I just clear something up. I know that this application relates to Cosatu House but you are saying that you had information on Khotso House though you were not present when the building was bombed, this is essentially what you are saying?
MR MEYER: That is correct, Chairperson.
MR VISSER: May I be allowed one question, one or two questions in re-examination?
RE-EXAMINATION BY MR VISSER: It was put to you that the people placed a cordon around the area, was that the case?
MR MEYER: Like I've said it was not the case Chairperson.
MR VISSER: It was in the middle of the night?
MR MEYER: That is correct, chairperson.
MR VISSER: Early morning hours?
MR MEYER: Yes, late in the evening.
MR VISSER: Were there a lot of people in the street and that time of night?
MR MEYER: No, not at all Chairperson.
MR VISSER: And your recollection of that incident was - was it that there were a lot of people in the vicinity?
MR MEYER: If I can put it this way, it was quite quiet.
MR VISSER: Thank you Mr Chairman.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR VISSER
CHAIRPERSON: I don't know if there is going to be any evidence. I'm afraid my knowledge of the geography of Johannesburg is not that great as to what type of area this building was situated in. Were there night-clubs and things around it or was it in a business area?
MR VISSER: Yes, Mr Chairman, we didn't think when we started with the hearing that that would be really relevant but it may become relevant. It might even have become relevant already to the advice of certain of the members and we would appreciate it if you did give that indication if it becomes a matter.
CHAIRPERSON: Well you've just raised it now as to whether there were people in the vicinity. Is it the sort of area that you would expect people to be in at two o'clock as there are some sections for example Hillbrow I think that certainly used to be in that category?
MR VISSER: Yes this witness would be the incorrect witness as would I for that matter because I also don't know the area.
CHAIRPERSON: I presume one of the applicants will be somebody with local knowledge?
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, my attorney informs me that Mr Mpshe has copies or has the police dockets which has photographs in and so on. I don't know how that helps answering your question but he asked me to tell you that but maybe some of the information could be derived from that, Mr Chairman, but certainly we will bear in mind that perhaps some evidence should be presented in that regard, yes Mr Chairman.
MR ROSSOUW: Mr Chairman, perhaps just to be of assistance in respect of this matter as well I didn't put that to General Meyer but perhaps arising from this it may be relevant. My clients, who were the people who went into the building with the Cosatu House incident who activated the bomb and went out will testify that that took really a minute or two. It wasn't a long period, half an hour or twenty minutes or fifteen minutes, it really took a minute or two so the time period within which people could have stumbled upon this operation was really very limited and that will be the evidence.
CHAIRPERSON: Would they be able to say anything about the sort of district it was?
MR ROSSOUW: No they won't be, sorry Mr Chairman.
MR HUGO: It's Hugo on behalf of De Kock. Mr de Kock will certainly testify what the area was all about and he will also testify that there was a disco in the vicinity of this particular building.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Visser?
MR VISSER: None thank you Mr Chairman. At this stage of the proceedings I'm grateful to announce I can now hand over to somebody else to lead some of the evidence. I believe that Mr Du Plessis is going to lead the evidence of Mr Bellinghan.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR VISSER
TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
DATE: 24TH JULY 1998
NAME: MICHAEL BELLINGHAN
DAY : 5
MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you Mr Chairman. Mr Chairman, we have a little bit of a problem with accommodating our client here with us when we give the evidence. We have thought of moving the microphones which is going to be the easiest.
CHAIRPERSON: Can Mr Visser and Mr Wagener change places with you?
MR DU PLESSIS: Right, Mr Chairman.
MICHAEL BELLINGHAN: (sworn states)
EXAMINATION BY MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you Mr Chairman. Could we perhaps deal with the practicalities first. You've been handed two schedules to Mr Bellinghan's Amnesty Application numbered Schedule 12 and Schedule 3. Now I may say that this application causes a little bit of difficulty because these schedules also deal with other incidents together with Mr Bellinghan's actions in respect of - or relating to Khotso House.
I have prepared a further document which will deal with just the general background relevant to this application and then the information he had in the intelligence actions they took in respect of Khotso House. Could I suggest that Schedule 3 of Bellinghan's Amnesty Application should be marked the next exhibit, I think that is L and Schedule 12 should be marked M although I won't refer to these schedules specifically Mr Chairman and then the further document which was handed to you which had the heading Cosatu House/Cry Freedom - Michael Bellinghan, that will then be N. It's the short two pager, Mr Chairman - three pager. Yes and then ...[intervention]
CHAIRPERSON: We've also just been given a document "A News Agency in South Africa" - that's not yours is it?
MR DU PLESSIS: It is my document, I will refer to it in evidence, Mr Chairman, I suggest that that be marked O and we will come to that, Mr Chairman. That document relates to the way information was sourced. The evidence will be presented according to Exhibit N if you could have that handy because I'm going to refer to that. May I proceed Mr Chairman? Thank you.
Mr Bellinghan, you have Exhibit N in front of you?
MR BELLINGHAN: Yes, Mr Chairman.
MR DU PLESSIS: Right, the way I intend dealing with your evidence is first to present the Committee a little bit of the background of what you were involved in, in the security forces and then we will thereafter deal with your actions which you were involved in as part of the head office Stratcom Unit. We won't go into too much detail - just as a little bit of background. Then we will deal with the specifics pertaining to Khotso House, the observations to Khotso House and thereafter we will deal with Stratcom operations pertaining to Cosatu House and the Cry Freedom incident and also deal a little bit with disinformation concerning Shirley Gunn lastly.
ADV DE JAGER: Sorry, Mr Du Plessis, page 19 which was left out of our bundles, could we mark that 261(a)?
MR DU PLESSIS: Page 19 of which document?
ADV DE JAGER: Volume 1 between pages 261 and 262.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, yes Mr Chairman.
MR BOOYENS: Mr Chairman, that's my Bellinghan, not this one I think.
MR DU PLESSIS: I thought mine was now numbered, Mr Chairman, that's why I wasn't sure. No there are two - just let me just make that clear. There are two Bellinghans. The one Bellinghan I don't know what his first name is but I can tell you he's name that he's known by is Balletjies Bellinghan. That's W.R. Mr Chairman, that's Mr Booyens’ client and my client is Michael Bellinghan, Mr Chairman.
ADV DE JAGER: Now your client application appears in where Bundle?
MR DU PLESSIS: It doesn't appear in the bundle, Mr Chairman. That's why I said we've handed to you two schedules, Schedule 12 and Schedule 3.
ADV DE JAGER: Applicant number 36?
MR DU PLESSIS: I suppose so Mr Chairman, he would be the next applicant. 36, yes - he's not on that list. He was inadvertently left out, Mr Chairman, it's really because he's actions pertaining to Khotso House occurred quite a while before the bombing occurred and that is why he was left out. It's not Mr Mpshe's fault Mr Chairman. I suggested that Schedule 3 be marked L and Schedule 12 be marked M. May I enquire, Mr de Jager, if I can proceed?
Right, Mr Bellinghan if we go to Exhibit N could you start with the document and just deal with the first four paragraphs please?
MR BELLINGHAN: Mr Chairman, this information is provided in the hope that national unity and reconciliation is furthered. It links up with the schedule in my application titled "Reconnaissance and Discredit in the Opposition." I wish to apologise at the outset for possible memory lapses.
I was born in Johannesburg in 1957, matriculated in 1975, studied at Wits University and worked part time as a private detective prior to joining the South African Police in 1979. After completing basic training in June 1979 I served as a detective until being promoted to the rank of lieutenant in 1983. During the same year I was selected for an intelligence course.
During 1984 I was sent on a Stratcom Course. After returning I served inter alia on the church section. There were approximately five non-commissioned officers including Warrant Officer Nonnie Beyers and Sergeant Paul Erasmus. We investigated organisations such as the South African Council of Churches, The World Council of Churches, Young Christian Students, Young Christian Workers and so on and so forth as well as others such as the South African Council for higher education, End Conscription Campaign, Conscientious Objectors Support Group, Detainees Parents Support Committee, etc as well as the media such as New Nation, Learn and Teach and so forth.
MR DU PLESSIS: Now, Mr Bellinghan, can we just stop there. Until when were you involved in Johannesburg? You were involved in Johannesburg with the church.
MR BELLINGHAN: Yes, Mr Chairman.
MR DU PLESSIS: In what unit?
MR BELLINGHAN: On the church desk.
MR DU PLESSIS: Okay. Alright and you were involved there or employed there until what time, until when?
MR BELLINGHAN: Until the middle of 1986.
MR DU PLESSIS: Right and then you were transferred to a Stratcom Unit at Head Office. Right and who took over from you when you left?
MR BELLINGHAN: It was Nonnie Beyers.
MR DU PLESSIS: Right and he was the person who was in charge, we heard evidence about that, of this desk when the Khotso House bombing took place?
MR BELLINGHAN: Correct, we had worked very closely together.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright, you will be able to enlighten the Committee on exactly what kind of surveillance and information you had on the activities in Khotso House isn't that so?
MR BELLINGHAN: Yes that is so.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright, now can you go over to paragraph 5 please?
MR BELLINGHAN: "Our activities included monitoring the post and telecommunications of these organisations as well as relevant individuals. Also included was the recruitment and handling of sources and agents for gathering the necessary intelligence. We also had an observation post across the road from Khotso House which I later used for an extended purpose before closing at the end of 1986."
MR DU PLESSIS: Right, can we deal with this observation post. Could you explain to the Committee exactly what the observation post entailed, what it was, how it functioned and would you please refer in that evidence to Exhibit O as well?
MR BELLINGHAN: Mr Chairman, the observation post, the initial motivation for that was initially for a static observation post in order to observe individuals entering and exiting from Khotso House, vehicles, mass protests etc., etc. As we had a huge problem with staff shortage there were, including myself, there were only about five people on the church desk. I later changed the facility into a false front company from which we could ....[intervention]
CHAIRPERSON: A what front company?
MR BELLINGHAN: A false front, false flag - from which we could recruit and handle sources as this was a far effective use of the premises because I still had access anyway to do static observation from time to time.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Bellinghan, what kind of business was conducted there?
MR BELLINGHAN: Mr Chairman, it was a news agency, we had a journalist full time over there and then we had a lot of what is referred to as stringers - part time journalists.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Bellinghan and this company, were all the people who were involved in this company part of the security branch operations?
MR BELLINGHAN: No Mr Chairman, quite the contrary, none of them knew that this was a security branch operation otherwise they definitely wouldn't have worked for us. This gave us a very good entrée into Khotso House and all of the occupants of the building and we could get information and photographs very speedily on any protests, demonstrations, any other activities arising and we also made use of the facilities of organisations like Afripix and Afroscope to develop our photographs. At that stage we could actually get it done quicker than if we did it at the security branch.
ADV GCABASHE: Were these two in Khotso House.
MR BELLINGHAN: They were in Khotso House, indeed.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright, Mr Bellinghan, if we could refer to Exhibit O. We're not going to go through this whole document, could you just explain to the Committee what this document is?
MR BELLINGHAN: After discussions with the gentleman that I recruited specifically to run this and to get it off the ground, he actually prepared this document. I have requested that one page be removed because it would perhaps have been possible to identify one of the people and it was his job to basically sell this concept which he did manage to do quite successfully as the community organisations fell for this hook, line and sinker and also front line states.
MR DU PLESSIS: Right, Mr Bellinghan, if we look at the first page of this document, am I correct in saying that it clearly indicates that the intention of this agency was to be a what they term an alternative media agency in South Africa, is that right?
MR BELLINGHAN: Absolutely.
MR DU PLESSIS: Am I also correct in saying that that would have been if I could use the word a left wing media agency?
MR BELLINGHAN: Without any doubt otherwise none of the journalists would have been allowed access.
MR DU PLESSIS: And was this agency then responsible for spreading news reports on activities of the security police for instance providing pictures etc?
MR BELLINGHAN: Well in actual fact they left that to me, they thought that I was doing that so I mostly neglected to do that on the security branch.
MR DU PLESSIS: Were you responsible for doing that and you didn't do it as part of the media operation?
MR BELLINGHAN: That is correct. They just imagined that I was sending photographs to foreign countries and the news reports that they'd written up but it was going no further than our files.
MR DU PLESSIS: And did they never suspect that you worked for the security police?
MR BELLINGHAN: From time to time some of them did suspect and then I'd send Nonnie Beyers to recruit them just for them to spy on me - it was a complicated scenario.
MR DU PLESSIS: Right we don't have to go into the detail of that Mr Bellinghan. Now can you just as part of the background evidence explain to the Committee the kind of actions you were involved in when you were part of the head office Stratcom Unit and I'm presenting this evidence as a basis for what you're later going to testify about, about the disinformation and the Stratcom actions taken in respect of Cosatu House, Cry Freedom and Khotso House. Can you just give a little bit of general background to that?
MR BELLINGHAN: When I was transferred to Stratcom at head office I was the second most senior officer working with Stratcom at that time. We had inherited certain projects from the army which came with fairly substantial budgets as well but insufficient human resources. So the first thing I did was to get permission for and implement a personnel system, a system of sources that we could rely upon on a covert level to assist us. This was then also decentralised after the necessary conferences with regions, was decentralised to the regions and we also established a lot of smaller projects in order to be able to cope with the huge demand on the security branch as far as Stratcom was concerned at the time both on an ongoing basis and on an ad hoc basis.
MR DU PLESSIS: Right, now Mr Bellinghan, could you explain to the Committee just in general a little bit what - and just give a few explanations on Stratcom operations that you were involved in, practical examples at head office?
MR BELLINGHAN: The broad projects that we inherited were basically trade union projects and projects relating to universities, academics; and then of course the broad spectrum of the revolutionary forces, ANC, PAC. Of course that was given to us, those territories, by the State Security Council as our primary responsibility so that was really, one could term it interdepartmental - an interdepartmental function delegated to us. We also had ....[intervention]
ADV GCABASHE: Can I ask you - when you say that are you referring just to ANC, PAC or to all of - you said Trade Union, Education?
MR BELLINGHAN: All of them.
ADV GCABASHE: All of them.
MR BELLINGHAN: Then on the departmental level we had further functions such as for example motivating policemen as well as ad hoc Stratcom activities as the need arose.
MR DU PLESSIS: So, Mr Bellinghan, is it correct you were involved firstly or can I say this, not firstly but involved with the propaganda for and on behalf of the government and also propaganda against - of people against the government?
MR BELLINGHAN: That is correct, Mr Chairman.
MR DU PLESSIS: And is it correct to say that you as part of the Stratcom operations were involved in specifically the discrediting of certain of the opponents of the government of the time?
MR BELLINGHAN: That was part of it certainly, Mr Chairman.
MR DU PLESSIS: And were you involved in spreading for instance disinformation about certain individuals?
MR BELLINGHAN: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: Spreading information on certain organisations, liberation movements?
MR BELLINGHAN: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: And would that have entailed for instance the disclosure of such information to the normal media?
MR BELLINGHAN: Yes we had a great number of journalists working for us and also via our system of sources, journalists who did not know where the information was coming from, if it was disinformation or in some cases fact.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright, now Mr Bellinghan, could we go back to the first - sorry Mr Chair - it would be a convenient time.
MICHAEL BELLINGHAN (s.u.o.)
EXAMINATION BY MR DU PLESSIS: (cont)
..[inaudible] go back to paragraph 5 and I'm. referring to what is mentioned there in paragraph 5 - the gathering of necessary intelligence.
CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, before you go on.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: Can you give some indication of how long you think you're going to be in-chief?
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, I think half an hour, three quarters of an hour.
CHAIRPERSON: Only that? I am merely trying to get some sort of an idea as to whether we will proceed with another witness today or another applicant today or not. It seems to me unlikely, I imagine some of you may have a fair amount of questions you want to ask because I don't want other people to be - if they want to go - feel they must hear other applicants - what do you gentlemen think about it?
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, if we take three quarters of an hour I think the cross-examination won't be shorter than an hour. I've been approached by some of my colleagues who want to ask questions and I think it's going to take a while.
CHAIRPERSON: Do you agree, gentlemen, that it's unlikely that we will proceed with another applicant today?
MR BOOYENS: Booyens, yes Mr Chairman, I think that would be a good point to stop proceedings today.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Bellinghan, paragraph 5, the reference to intelligence there, could you elaborate a little bit on that for the Committee and then with specific reference on the categories on the categories of human intelligence employed by the security branch, the kinds of informers and evidence pertaining to that please?
MR BELLINGHAN: The first thing that I think I should mention is the fact that all categories of intelligence whether it was human intelligence or technical, it was all regarded as top secret.
The first category of persons we made use of were those with useful information or access to premises etc., for example hotel staff, bank staff, caretakers of flats and so forth. These people were mostly well disposed to the security branch and either contacted us when they had information or could be relied upon when needed. Although they were sometimes paid, they usually just received a gift at the end of the year or perhaps a favour or so on. These people we referred to as contacts.
The second category we referred to as casual informer. They provided information when it came to their attention. Sometimes these people had penetration potential vis-á-vis a specific target and we could then develop them further. Payment of these people was related directly to their productivity.
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, may I ask whether the witness is reading from any of these exhibits, I find it difficult to follow when he's reading or when he's not reading.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, he is reading from his amnesty application but his amnesty application, the background was full lever arched file and we didn't want to burden you with that - it's just this short piece of evidence that he's reading from his amnesty application.
MR BELLINGHAN: The following category we referred to as informer - these people had already proved their ability regarding penetration of the target and the existing channels of communication etc. With them there would be continual briefing, tasking and debriefing. Short and long term strategies were thoroughly considered to exploit their potential. They were paid either monthly or based upon production and this was reviewable on a regular basis.
The next category we referred to as an HQ informer.
HQ - Headquarters. HQ Informer, Mr Chair. We handled these much the same as in category 3, the informer and usually these people had other employment, that is the informer whereas the HQ Informer was employed on a full time basis by the Security Branch the difference being that the casual informer or the -not the casual informer, the informer had other employment, the HQ informer was employed on a full time basis by us.
That's basically the only difference there.
The next category is what we referred to as an R.S. Agent - R.S. standing for Republiek Spionasie.
MR DU PLESSIS: Republic Espionage.
MR BELLINGHAN: These people were full time members of the South African Police. There was a whole intelligence project surrounding them, the administration etc., etc.
Then we made use of covert sources of a technical nature referred to commonly as bugs. Examples were post interception and telephone interception, telex, copying of computer data and permanent bugs as well. We also made use of people, we developed contact with people, a strong rapport with people who had some type of ascendancy in a particular area, whether he be a manager or a head man or whatever.
As far as the actual recruitment was concerned, it was done on the following basis, according to the book anyway, that is target analysis, spotting, investigation and assessment, development and then the recruitment pitch. Sometimes the recruitment pitch would be the cold approach, we just simply took a chance if you needed some information urgently and hope for the best. Other times it would be via the steps as detailed and then sometimes we would exert pressure on people to work for us.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Bellinghan that is also part of your amnesty applications and we don't have to go into detail about that but may I just ask you this. Did you also resort for instance to blackmail?
MR BELLINGHAN: Yes it's common practice in intelligence services, Mr Chair.
ADV DE JAGER: ...[inaudible] until Monday morning, I presume on Monday, due to the organisational aspects, we're starting at 10. Judge Wilson has got a nose bleeding, it's not something to be very worried about but it wouldn't stop and we're trying to get medical aid for him at this stage. We don't know when he'll be ready to proceed and we think it would be to the convenience of all of you if we rather adjourn now until Monday morning.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we are now adjourning these proceedings until Monday morning 10 o'clock. Judge Wilson has got a nose bleed, it doesn't want to stop at this moment and we are trying to get him some medical aid. I hope this is not going to be treated in a sensational manner, we are asking the media please, this is nothing really that serious. I hope you've got better news than to make this the headlines.
ON RESUMPTION: 27TH JULY 1998 - DAY 6
MICHAEL BELLINGHAN: (s.u.o.)
EXAMINATION BY MR DU PLESSIS: (cont)
Mr Chairman we continue with the evidence-in-chief of Mr Michael Bellinghan.
Mr Bellinghan, you were busy explaining Intelligence and the different kinds of informants and sources that you had in the Security Police and you were nearly finished. Could you just finalise that issue?
MR BELLINGHAN: Just to finalise that Mr Chairman, I can tell you that at the time there were approximately 9 000 persons who provided Intelligence reports throughout the 19 regions of the Security Branch of the time.
CHAIRPERSON: Sorry how many?
MR BELLINGHAN: There were 19 regions, 19. Approximately 9 000 sources supplying Intelligence, that would be witting and unwitting.
From information already on file ...
MR DU PLESSIS: All right, can I just stop you there. That finalises your evidence about Intelligence and everything surrounding that. Can we go then to the specific incident that you have personal knowledge of and that is the Khotso House incident and what I want you to do Mr Bellinghan, is give us the information and testify to the Committee about everything and all bits of information you can remember about in respect of Khotso House that you gathered and that you had.
Before we go onto that, can I just ask you the following. There are certain aspects that you remember in detail and other aspects that you don't remember in such detail, is that correct?
MR BELLINGHAN: That is correct Mr Chairperson.
MR DU PLESSIS: When you remember aspects in general as contrary to aspects in detail, will you please just point out to the Committee what you remember in detail, and when you get to details, will you provide the details please? Is that in order?
MR BELLINGHAN: I will try to differentiate, but it is not always going to be possible.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes. No, no, I just mean in general.
MR BELLINGHAN: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: All right. Now Mr Bellinghan, could you start from paragraph 6 of Exhibit N please?
MR BELLINGHAN: From information already on file at the Witwatersrand Security Branch, any Intelligence obtained including a daily perusal of the SA Council of Churches telex communications, I believed that Khotso House was a central point of organised dissent which promoted the revolution confronting this country at that time.
Many reports which I submitted to Head Office, would have confirmed this. In that regard, I will try and recount some of the types of information which I would have sent to Head Office and the circumstances of the information.
To start out with, I would like to quote not verbatim, but to the best that my memory serves it, and I have repeated these quotes many times on talks that I have given to members of the Security Branch. The first quote is from Dr Allan Boesak who said words to the effect at around that time, that they should eradicate the oppression and exploitation of apartheid. The churches should align themselves with those who will seize power in order to ensure freedom for all.
Dr Boesak was a patron of the UDF and was also closely associated with the South African Council of Churches.
The Rev Frank Chikane said and once again it is possibly not verbatim, a broad democratic front must be used to unite the masses to overcome apartheid.
And of course the organisations like the South African Council of Churches and COSATU for that matter, were used pretty much as broad fronts in the sense. Rev Frank Chikane was an ardent liberation theologian and he was also closely associated with the South African Council of Churches.
Two other spokesmen or spokespeople for the South African Council of Churches whose names escape me at this point, gave taped interviews to an American academic, a Ms Gwendoline Carter. After she gave the interviews, I managed to get my hands on the tapes and I listened to these and sent reports to Head Office about them.
Both of them referred to the strategy of educate, mobilise and organise used by them in furtherance of the liberation struggle.
I think at this point Mr Chairman, I should just mention that in an Intelligence report which was sent to Head Office, aside from the facts that were mentioned, there were also provision made for comments, wherein one gave an opinion.
There was provision for the source reporting to comment and that would be clearly separated from the fact he was reporting, would be his opinion. There was provision for the Desk Officer in this case, myself, to comment and this would have occurred obviously prior to sending the report.
In my comments on the report concerning these taped interviews, I quoted the words of a Vietnamese guerrilla leader, a Gen Wa Nguingap, who took his ideas from Mao Tse Tung and he said "victory is possible only by uniting the whole people under a firm and national front."
He also said "to educate, mobilise, organise and arm the people in order that they may take part in the resistance, was the crucial task", obviously referring to the Vietnamese war then.
During the period 1984 to around mid 1986, I was aware of five trained MK cadres entering Khotso House or being in Khotso House as well as one vehicle boot load of arms. The MK operatives were identified by sources and agents as well as by photographs that we had taken of people entering and leaving Khotso House and they were later identified as such by askaris from Head Office and from the Head Office photo album of MK people.
We took a number of photographs from across the road and we would use these, we would compile photo albums further from those. The arms information was received from a sensitive informer and for various reasons, could not be acted upon.
Of course the fact that we identified MK cadres, was always too late to take any direct action.
MR DU PLESSIS: Could you just explain that a little bit, why do you say that?
MR BELLINGHAN: Well, the identification of the people would only happen possibly up to a month later in some instances, when one had a chance to speak to the relevant people at Head office.
CHAIRPERSON: Was the position that you took photographs, the photographs then had to be developed, printed, you then had to have the opportunity to either compare them with photographs at Head Office or to find the relevant cadres to look at them, all of which would take time?
MR BELLINGHAN: That is correct Mr Chairman.
MR DU PLESSIS: And is it also correct that at that time, you couldn't act any more against the person who was seen going into the building at that specific time when he was photographed?
MR BELLINGHAN: We couldn't act any more, I mean, if we had the opportunity, we would certainly have done that, if we found him in the streets of Johannesburg or in the vicinity of Khotso House or even in Khotso House, and then of course the same position was with the information, the names that we received from sources.
Of course pseudonyms were used usually, people would have an MK name, but we knew all of these names, and that also took us time to identify those people as MK people. So it was the same process once again.
CHAIRPERSON: Would you have gotten the names from your informers? The informers would say a certain person had been there, you had then to see what that name meant?
MR BELLINGHAN: We had to cross-reference in all cases in order to identify the people. We could not send a report to Head Office without giving some background.
If it was a new person we were speaking about, we would have had to provide extensive detail about the person, name, age, etc, etc. If it was a person that was known, we would have to specify the S-number, which was the Head Office number.
ADV GCABASHE: Can I ask you Mr Bellinghan, did you know who these particular MK operatives were visiting?
MR BELLINGHAN: That was a problem, because Khotso House was a large building with many different offices and in some instances, we had an idea as to more or less where they had been, but an agent or source, would definitely be instructed not to hang about to be seen to be observing and in many cases, the people that these people were visiting, they would have private conversations.
An agent or a source would have looked very much out of place, if he tried to get in on some of those conversations. So it was difficult to even say with any certainty, even what the nature of their business was over there?
ADV GCABASHE: But did you then put this person's name into your report, when you eventually compiled it, that we suspect that this person visited Gcabashe in that building?
MR BELLINGHAN: In the event that we got the name in time and we able to identify him in time for the report because of course there was some sort of pressure for us to send reports as soon as possible, in some cases, I would even attack photographs and leave it to Head Office who would then report back to us. I would not even go through to Head Office myself.
CHAIRPERSON: How would you know, you have told us Khotso House is a large building. I presume hundreds of people went in and out every day, how would you know which were the ones that might interest you? Which ones you should photograph and check the photographs and send to Head Office?
MR BELLINGHAN: Mr Chairman, we only photographed people that we didn't know, people that we thought may be of interest and when we had the opportunity, then we photographed. Sometimes even to get a better photograph of somebody.
It was a random thing in many respects.
CHAIRPERSON: Would that mean that you were perhaps, I don't want to be thought to be sexist in this, mainly looking for young men between certain age groups who you thought would fit into the cadre category, you weren't looking for elderly old gentlemen or women or things of that nature? It was a certain group you were looking for and when people in that group whom you had not seen before, came to the building, you reacted?
MR BELLINGHAN: Quite right Mr Chairman. I must just say that the other category referred to, were mostly intellectual type people whom we knew quite well and although they did provide a support structure, they in most revolutions, they generally did not turn out to be leaders, so we focused on the other category.
I can also say that there were other people who had more information that I cannot specifically recall now. And of course post-1986 when I went to Head Office, more information would have gone in and more information did go in of which I am aware of, but can't speak about it specifically.
The following statistics were available regarding people going into exile for training.
CHAIRPERSON: Before you get onto that, I think I may have asked this before, my ignorance of Johannesburg.
Is there in the papers before us, a picture of Khotso House or is there one available, you said it is a large building, so we can get some impression of what sort of building it is. The others may know, do you know? If anybody has a photograph of it, I would be obliged to have a look at it. It doesn't have to go in as part of the record, merely so that I can get an idea of the sort of building we are talking about.
MR MPSHE: Mr Chairperson, I do have photo's of the building. I can go and get it now whilst the proceedings are going on.
CHAIRPERSON: You needn't interrupt now, in the adjournment perhaps, I just want to have a look at it.
MR MPSHE: Tea time.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you sir.
MR BELLINGHAN: In 1984, 164 people left South Africa for training in exile. In 1985, it was 509, in 1986, it was 548. That is all the statistics I have, sorry, but the important thing here is just to show the trend.
According to certain of our sensitively placed informers, arrangements for a fairly high percentage of these was being made at Khotso House and that included financing.
ADV GCABASHE: I am sorry, before you carry on, where would we be able to get the 1987, 1988 figures? Would they not be at Head Office where you went to?
MR BELLINGHAN: Probably, in all probability they are destroyed. I happened to have these figures still.
ADV GCABASHE: I am sure somewhere in these documents, I got the impression that the number of people who left, actually dipped from about 1986, would you agree with that?
MR BELLINGHAN: I know that certain of the incidents of terror dipped in around 1987 or so. I really can't remember and I don't have those statistics.
ADV GCABASHE: If I am not wrong, I think I got them from Leon Wessels' paper where he refers to the (indistinct) people visit, and they made the comment that by 1986, the people in the country were prepared to die for what they wanted, and this gave a totally different slant to you know, the whole revolutionary climate. I don't know if you will know anything about that?
MR BELLINGHAN: Well, it is possible that our information might also differ from Mr Wessels', but I am not sure what you are referring to now.
ADV GCABASHE: All right, if you have no information, that is all right, thanks.
MR BELLINGHAN: I am sorry, I don't know.
ADV GCABASHE: That is okay.
MR BELLINGHAN: The reason that we knew with certainty, aside from the sensitively placed informers about this channel of people going into exile via the South African Council of Churches, was the fact that we sent, when we heard about it, we sent some of our sources via that route exactly and in the registers, when they gave, it was not huge sums of money, it was R100-00, R150-00, R200-00, when they gave that money, they were always asked not to speak openly about what they were doing exactly, and in the registers from what they could see across the table, or on the forms that were filled in, it was never stipulated this is money for a person going into exile.
They always gave a different reason, someone who had been in trouble with the Police or whatever, and needed some assistance or something like that.
From discussions with informers and detainees as well, and potential recruits, it was clear to me that the liberal churches especially those with officials who had liberation theology leanings, believed that the national democratic revolution, should be used to overcome apartheid.
They were of the view that once that step had been accomplished, they could then get the ANC/SACP alliance to change its rather strong stance. From similar discussions with ANC people in detention and agents and sources, it was clear that the ANC/SACP alliance had a similar view of the churches and ironically they also thought they could at a later stage, bring the church officials in line with their stronger stance after the national democratic revolution, that is.
To take that a step further, the ANC believed that it could successfully use Khotso House to expand its internal network. To substantiate, I refer to the following three quotes: The following was part of a statement from Oliver Tambo which appeared in Seshaba in March 1984. He said "at this juncture allow me to single out the creation of the UDF as a historic achievement in our people's efforts to unite in the broadest possible front for the struggle against the inhuman apartheid system. The formation of the UDF was a product of our people's determination to be their own liberators."
In Alfred Nzo was reported to have said in Mayibuya, number 3 of 1984 as follows "our principal task at this moment therefore is and must be to intensify our political and military offensive inside South Africa. This is the urgent call that we make to the masses of our people to all democratic formations and to all members and units of the ANC and uMkhonto weSizwe. Relying on our strength through action, we will frustrate the scheme of the enemy of the peoples of Africa and continue our forward march to the destruction of the system of white minority colonial domination in our country."
In an article in Seshaba in 1986, the ANC described their concept of a peoples' war as follows: "the liberation movement has adopted the strategy of a peoples' war. It is a war in which our entire nation is engaged. uMkhonto weSizwe, the peoples' army, workers, the rural masses, women, students, intellectuals, the religious community and so on collectively in groups and as organised individuals, they use all forms of revolutionary warfare, armed and non-combat, legal and illegal to attack and destroy all symbols, structures and organs of apartheid power including all those who made them.
The underlying principle here is that all these forms of revolutionary warfare, even those aimed at achieving certain short term goals, should have as their long term and fundamental objectives, the total destruction of the South African system."
What is interesting Mr Chairman, is that the South African Council of Churches as well as some of the other organisations at Khotso House, were on the mailing list of these type of publications, the African Communist, Seshaba, Mayibuya and Umsibenzi.
MR DU PLESSIS: Sorry Mr Bellinghan, may I just ask you this. Were those publications forbidden publications in terms of the law of the land at that time?
MR BELLINGHAN: Yes, they were. That would bring me to our next point. Despite the fact that we intercepted and confiscated all copies posted to Khotso House and other related addresses, such as COSATU House, sources reported that the ANC couriers still dropped hundreds of copies off.
CHAIRPERSON: Did you confiscate the ones in the post?
MR BELLINGHAN: Yes sir.
CHAIRPERSON: With any legal authority?
MR BELLINGHAN: I presume so Mr Chairman. I was aware that copies of and or information contained therein, was in turn being disseminated to amongst other places, the townships - I am talking about these banned publications now, from Khotso House.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, may I just make a point. Mr Bellinghan has a very thick amnesty application and some of these aspects such as which you have raised now, will obviously again be dealt with in his amnesty application for that.
MR BELLINGHAN: I was aware of this around the publications by virtue of human as well as technical sources.
There were also indications that both COSATU House and Khotso House were being used to orchestrate national campaigns. In the case of COSATU House there were strikes, related campaigns, sympathy strikes, etc, etc. Specific examples escape me because I never dealt directly with it at the time.
In the case of Khotso House, at relatively short notice, I could think of the following: The stay away or don't vote campaign of the Coloured and Indian elections, the 1 000 000 signature campaign co-ordinated by Dave Webster of the DPSC and RMC, protests and demonstrations surrounding detentions and related affairs, deaths in detention, disappearance of activists, etc, etc. were co-ordinated from Khotso House.
That is protests and demonstrations. Then of course, protesters would often after having a meeting at Khotso House, they would often go out into the streets and there would be some rioting and of course then the Riot Police were often called upon to act.
These riots often turned nasty with businesses having to close down, damage to property and in some cases, serious injury or death. According to my statistics, between 1976 and 1986 there were approximately 629 acts of terror committed against South Africa.
26 Percent of these were against Police, police stations, witnesses and informers and so on. 30 Percent were against economic targets, 22 percent against the system, in other words State buildings other than SAP, officials, telecommunications, SADF etc.
That was 22 percent Mr Chairman. Then a further 22 percent would be a category just termed Other. All indications were that these figures were escalating rapidly from year to year and further more, that there were groups of individuals operating covertly from within Khotso House and COSATU House in furtherance of this campaign of terror.
CHAIRPERSON: Who were these groups, you say there were groups operating?
MR BELLINGHAN: I include MK people, I include some of the officials of these organisations that were seated at Khotso House whom we strongly suspected of being involved, but against whom it was very difficult to prove a substantial case that would make an impact.
It is also in line Mr Chairman, with the call of the ANC for groups of individuals to operate from these broad democratic movements, under the banner of the so-called Peoples' war.
Everything pointed to that. I think that the Amnesty Committee may perhaps not have the proper perspective unless I mention the following: According to Marxist/Leninist strategy of the revolution, approximately 80 percent of the struggle was of a political or propaganda type.
20 Percent was military or armed action, approximately. From what I observed, the Security Branch had to spend more than 90 percent of its time on the 20 percent aspect for many reasons, including staff shortages and of course in some respects we were quite reactive.
Of course a maximum at any point of 10 percent of the time, was spent on the 80 percent aspect, the propaganda aspect. Of course that 80 percent propaganda aspect was a very troublesome side of the struggle and our enemies exploited that to the hilt.
Furthermore, the activities of most of the organisations at Khotso House, were certainly directed towards their bona fide objectives but then one must consider that at that time, many of the objectives included propaganda against the State.
I can mention that obviously the National Party and especially the Security Branch were vulnerable in that respect because our overt policies were directed towards reformation, whereas we were fighting a secret war covertly.
A secret war which the government could not admit was taking place, or failed to admit. I presume they could not. Then as far as the propaganda is concerned, there was the added difficulty that both sides claimed that God's eternal law, supported their cause and then of course the South African Council of Churches, tipping the scales of the propaganda away from us, by lending their support to the struggle. Propaganda became increasingly easier for our enemy.
The revolutionaries at the time, had a number of goals with propaganda. The first was to isolate South Africa internationally by promoting hostility against South Africa. The second was to manipulate their own supporters and sympathisers as well as to mobilise the masses internally.
In that regard, I have here some examples of the type of a little high impact type of propaganda which emanated from amongst other places, Khotso House.
They were not printed at Khotso House according to my information, but they were one in a large series of propaganda efforts aimed to support the struggle.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Bellinghan, you are in possession of some examples of such propaganda items, is that correct?
MR BELLINGHAN: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: And we will hand them up to the Committee now. Can you just tell us, would that be examples of the kind of propaganda literature that was found at Khotso House from time to time?
MR BELLINGHAN: These are indeed examples of an ongoing campaign of propaganda emanating from Khotso House.
CHAIRPERSON: Were any of them found in Khotso House?
MR DU PLESSIS: Sorry, that was my next question Mr Chairman.
MR BELLINGHAN: They came from sources within Khotso House, so they were indeed found in Khotso House.
CHAIRPERSON: They were found in Khotso House?
MR BELLINGHAN: Yes, Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: By the Police?
MR BELLINGHAN: Via sources and agents.
CHAIRPERSON: In other words what you are saying is people told you they came from Khotso House, you did not find them in Khotso House?
MR BELLINGHAN: Yes, Mr Chairman, but those people were acting as agents for us, firstly, and secondly, I would regard it as an A1 source of information, which means that I had cross-referenced it. I would have taken it as a fact, I did take it as a fact.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, could I beg leave to hand up the originals to you? We will endeavour to provide you with copies, they are in colour, so we will speak to Mr Mpshe and decide how we will deal with them.
It is a set of about six stickers really that you can have a look at. I am not sure what the next Exhibit number is Mr Chairman, I think it is ...
CHAIRPERSON: P. Well, we've got P45, 46 and 47. To avoid confusion, perhaps we should get to Q.
MR DU PLESSIS: Q, as it pleases you Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: Exhibit Q1 - 6.
MR DU PLESSIS: I think it is six.
CHAIRPERSON: Q1 - 5.
MR DU PLESSIS: Q1 - 5, thank you Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: Q1 - 5, is there any particular order you want them? I will just mark them on the back Q1 - 5.
MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you Mr Chairman.
You will note that what is depicted on most of them, are weapons, AK47's, that is probably the most important aspect thereof. Mr Bellinghan, before we dealt with the fact that they came from Khotso House, could you give us an indication of how regularly documents, stickers, pamphlets, posters, things like that, were found at Khotso House, depicting the same kind of thing?
MR BELLINGHAN: Such types of things emanated from Khotso House on a weekly basis from one or other organisation, from within.
ADV GCABASHE: Again, were you able to identify the source of these stickers and note that in your report?
MR BELLINGHAN: In respect to these specific stickers, I can't really remember to tell you the truth.
ADV GCABASHE: No, generally?
MR BELLINGHAN: I wouldn't bring it before this Committee unless I was one hundred percent certain of my facts.
ADV GCABASHE: No, no, I am trying to see who you passed it on to and what effect it might have had on the people you passed it on to and so they could then make certain decisions, such as bombing Khotso House.
I am just trying to follow the trial. You found this type of information, were you able to tell the people you reported to, whom they could talk to about this type of thing?
MR BELLINGHAN: As far as humanly possible, we would stipulate the source. What we also did was I analysed the effect of the propaganda in a weekly report to Head Office in respect of Wits University, Khotso House and so on and so forth. Because there were so much, we just used to deal with it on a sort of weekly report to Head Office.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Bellinghan ...
ADV GCABASHE: Sorry, just to clarify the point. So you are saying if you were furnishing me with that report, I would not be able to say that particular report or those particular stickers or posters or documents are being found at Room 123, on floor whatever, whoever that might be?
MR BELLINGHAN: If I had the information, I certainly would have reported that, yes.
ADV GCABASHE: The question relates to how often you would have that information, because I am trying to ascertain to what extent the people you reported to, were able to properly use this information.
MR BELLINGHAN: I can't recall a specific percentage, it must have been at least in half of the instances Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: Now you said a moment ago that such type things emanated from Khotso House and one or other organisation there. Now we have been told about the South African Council of Churches who were there, what other organisation in Khotso House was responsible for distributing these documents?
MR BELLINGHAN: Mr Chairman, the United Democratic Front, to a certain extent the Black Sash. Propaganda of negative value to us was disseminated by AfroPics AfroScope, by the Conscientious Objectors Support Group. I think I have mentioned Detainees' Parents Support Committee.
CHAIRPERSON: This is a different matter, this is merely - they were opposed to your policies and were sending out information that was opposed to them and it was done quite openly, wasn't it, by the Conscientious Objects, the Black Sash and people of that nature?
MR BELLINGHAN: They were legal organisations and they would not overtly send out things like these stickers Mr Chairman, that would be done on a covert basis.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Bellinghan, were they - the organisations you named now, were they involved covertly in spreading stickers and documents and information such as that which you handed up to the Committee?
MR BELLINGHAN: All of these that we are talking about at the moment, Mr Chairman, that was done on a covert basis, not on an overt basis. The South African Council of Churches' officials would certainly not overtly distribute something of this nature.
They certainly had negative propaganda to distribute, but that is another matter which I will touch on just now. The third category of goals of propaganda of the ANC/SACP at the time, was to manipulate the people of South Africa in order to alienate them from their leaders and to weaken their will to resist the onslaught against South Africa.
The fourth and last goal was to weaken the moral of the government and the Security Forces. The activities of organisations at Khotso House ...
CHAIRPERSON: Before you go on to something else, we decided, we were requested last week to adjourn at twenty to eleven, so that we would be ready to proceed at eleven o'clock, but that was when we were starting at nine o'clock. I don't know if there is still a similar request? Nobody seems to know, should we take the adjournment now and we will try to be back at eleven o'clock.
W R BELLINGHAN: (still under oath)
EXAMINATION BY MR DU PLESSIS: (cont)
In respect of Khotso House, just deal very shortly with a few aspects and what I want you to deal with specifically would be the organisations that you remember, which had offices in Khotso House firstly, and secondly, certain people which you saw entering the building and leaving the building who are high profile people?
MR BELLINGHAN: From memory Mr Chairman, and it is between 13 and 15 years ago, I will give it a try.
Church of the Province of South Africa, South African Council of Churches, United Democratic Front, Black Sash, Detainees' Parent Support Committee, then a broad group called South African Education Programme under which it seemed as if the South African Council for Higher Education and the Education Opportunity Committee either fell within that broad group or they worked together somehow, hand in hand.
AfroScope AfroPics, Justice Peace and Reconciliation, Conscientious Objectors Support Group and then the National Emergency Fund of the South African Council of Churches. If I am not mistaken, I think the Lutheran Church also had offices there, I could be wrong about that.
Of course at times organisations such as the National Education Crisis Committee, the South African Youth Congress - they made use of offices of the other organisations. Of course the activities at Khotso House must be seen in the light of the fact that the ANC made use of underground structures.
They referred to the broad front of the national liberation movement, they made use of umbrella organisations such as the South African Council of Churches, the United Democratic Front, COSATU, that was on an open level. Then on a covert level, they had their people which was part of the underground struggle, the underground network.
Of course the Executive Committees of these organisations may or may not have known about the underground network, and the facilitation of the struggle, of the armed struggle, from within their own organisations.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Bellinghan, can we just stop there for a moment and then you can elaborate just for a moment.
You know, there were certain terms used at that time which were well known terms, and I want you to explain to the Committee a little bit about that, and then with specific reference to the broad democratic movement and if the whole - the objectives of the ANC and the liberation movements were included in this whole broad democratic struggle.
Terms that I want to refer to are for instance terms such as the front, the alliance - could you perhaps just elaborate on that? Did that include the ANC or was the ANC not part of the front or the alliance?
MR BELLINGHAN: Mr Chairman, the ANC had the opinion at the time that this was some sort of organic or spontaneous national liberation taking place within South Africa.
Of course that wasn't the case, they were orchestrating via these organisations the continuation of the struggle from the time that they were banned and went into exile. Terminology like front for example, would refer to a broad democratic front, it just included all organisations in that as if to say that those organisations fell under them, but at the same time were apart from them because there were legal organisations as opposed to the ANC which was an illegal organisation.
The terminology was very loose. Alliance, the SACP/ANC alliance those were as it were, the puppet masters behind the scenes.
MR DU PLESSIS: Would it then be fair to say Mr Bellinghan, that an organisation such as the UDF and the South African Council of Churches for instance, were part of this broad front which were orchestrated by the ANC?
MR BELLINGHAN: That is correct Mr Chairman. Of course we saw the term front in a different context. We saw that as a front for the ANC which indeed all of our information supported that idea.
MR DU PLESSIS: All right, can I then ask you about something specific which have come up previously as well, and that is the question how many officials for instance of the South African Council or Churches and people involved in this organisation, would also have been involved in these underground structures?
Would it be everybody or would it be only a limited amount?
MR BELLINGHAN: No Mr Chairman, there was indeed a hidden agenda. There would be - officials worked at these organisations quite bona fide going about their business, without knowing that some of their colleagues were involved in the underground networks of the ANC/SACP.
MR DU PLESSIS: Would that have been true for some of the other organisations which was part of this broad democratic front?
MR BELLINGHAN: To a greater or lesser extent, I think to some of the organisations it was, it was not a well kept secret. In others, it was.
An organisation with quite a high degree of respectability like the South African Council of Churches, would have needed to distance itself publicly from certain aspects of the struggle and they did that.
MR DU PLESSIS: So Mr Bellinghan, is it fair to say or may I ask you this, you are not saying with your evidence that each and every Bishop and each and every church man, who was involved with the South African Council of Churches, was also a person who was involved in the underground structures and who knew that the organisation was used for purposes of the underground structure?
MR BELLINGHAN: Undoubtedly, the greater majority of officials at the South African Council of Churches would not have known.
MR DU PLESSIS: Right, and then a few other terms such as mass struggle, armed struggle, Peoples' war, mass mobilisation? Do the same arguments apply to those kind of concepts?
MR BELLINGHAN: Yes, in some instances those are nouns and in other instances, they are verbs, but it all comes down to the same thing, the same basic principle with the ANC behind the scenes, an illegal organisation continue in the struggle via legal organisations.
CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, can I revert to something that you said a moment ago. You said a greater majority of the officials would not have known.
Would they have approved of it do you think, would they have approved of what the others were doing, that is using the SACC as an underground organisation?
MR BELLINGHAN: Certainly not openly Mr Chairman, they would not have approved openly.
CHAIRPERSON: Apart from openly, do you think they would have approved as people or not of the South African Council of Churches being used in this way?
MR BELLINGHAN: I think that there were some who perhaps may have approved on a covert level.
CHAIRPERSON: There were some who would have disapproved?
MR BELLINGHAN: There were some who would have disapproved.
CHAIRPERSON: Was any attempt made to approach them?
MR BELLINGHAN: Yes Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: The higher up officials of the South African Council of Churches were approached, were they and they were told what was going on?
MR BELLINGHAN: In other words a delegation of the South African Police approached them on that level?
CHAIRPERSON: Not necessarily a delegation, one person, a high level Policeman or a high level politician approaching them and saying look, do you know what is going on at Khotso House, this is the information we have, we need your help.
Was that done?
MR BELLINGHAN: I did that Mr Chairman, in the sense of trying to recruit them.
CHAIRPERSON: Not to recruit them to work for the Security Police, I am talking about an open approach to them?
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, sorry, are you asking the witness if he has personal knowledge of that because as I can recall, Minister Vlok did testify about ...
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I am asking him if he had knowledge and supplied information to anyone to enable them to do this?
MR BELLINGHAN: I don't know if that was done at that level Mr Chairman, but as I say I did part of the recruitment pitch to such a person would have been to highlight the reformist approach of the National Party of the time and try and exploit that in order to get some sort of assistance from the person.
Some of the people did assist in that sense. They did indeed assist, but as far as their religious convictions would allow them, to a greater or lesser extent.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Bellinghan, such an approach would that normally have been done by the Security Police or would that normally have been done on a political level?
MR BELLINGHAN: I think what the Chairman is referring to would have been done on a political level, yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: All right, and then I wanted you to deal with specific persons that you can remember who were seen entering Khotso House. If you could just shortly deal with that.
MR BELLINGHAN: Before we deal with that, can I just mention one more thing relating to the underground structure. I have just now recalled an incident where one of the people on the staff had reported seeing somebody taking down registration numbers of cars exiting John Vorster Square and from where he was standing, he would have been able to see that they were coming out of the Security Branch parking lot.
The person was followed and he was seen going into Khotso House. That was at a time when there were problems with Police vehicles being blown up with limpet mines, etc, etc.
That would, that type of thing would tend to support the idea of the underground structures operating from Khotso House. As far as the people are concerned, it is a long time ago, but I can remember people such as Dr Kiesner, Rev Sam Buti, Dr Allan Boesak, Rev Frank Chikane, Archbishop Tutu, Rev Beyers Naude.
CHAIRPERSON: All these people were prominent churchmen who would have been going openly to the South African Council or Churches?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes Mr Chairman, my next question would have been - or I just wanted to make it clear that we are not presenting this evidence as evidence of these people having been involved in the underground structures or anything of that sort.
The evidence is simply to present you with evidence of who he can remember entering the building, that is all.
MR BELLINGHAN: Perhaps I should just mention the next three on my list then as well. They would have been Jay Naidoo, Roland Hunter, Carl Niehaus, Jansie Louwrens and then perhaps I should just stop over there.
MR BELLINGHAN: Jansie Louwrens was the girlfriend of Carl Niehaus. During the investigation into that case, it also emerged as to what she was doing there, she was asked to go and see Dr Kiesner I believe, in order to get some assistance, photocopying of plans for the gasworks, etc, etc. We are not suggesting that Dr Kiesner knew what was about to take place, but certainly that was our information.
MR DU PLESSIS: What case are you referring to Mr Bellinghan?
MR BELLINGHAN: That was where Carl Niehaus was sentenced together with Jansie Louwrens for sabotage, attempted sabotage.
There were other people too that we suspected of having been Intelligence operatives of foreign countries as well.
CHAIRPERSON: When you say that, do you mean diplomatic? People that were here legitimately that you suspected that they were also representing their country's Intelligence?
MR BELLINGHAN: Yes Mr Chairman, and of course also some academics that were ostensibly operating from Wits University, but at the same time travelling a lot to Zambia. One chap in particular had married an ANC official in Zambia and was a lecturer at Wits, and he was in Khotso House quite regularly.
Further on in terms of the propaganda aspect, on an internal level in other words within the borders of South Africa, organisations at Khotso House were frequently contacted by the media for comment including the South African Council of Churches and comment or detail or pictures concerning political events.
They also often tipped the media off about events that had negative propaganda value for us. On an international level they did the same. I was aware that the South African Council of Churches, Detainees' Parent Support Committee and the Black Sash, were in touch with amongst others, the following organisations: The World Council of Churches, Anti Apartheid Movement, Amnesty International, the ANC's Department of Information and Publicity and then there again in turn some of the information would appear in some of the publications I have referred to and then re-enter the country via those publications.
Furthermore the Catholic Institute for International Relations, the Committee for International Justice and Peace, the Committee on SA War Resistance, International Defence and Aid Fund, the SA Congress of Trade Unions and the World Peace Council.
CHAIRPERSON: The World ...
MR BELLINGHAN: Peace Council, it is a type of Soviet front.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Bellinghan, could I just ask you about these organisations.
To your knowledge, were most of these organisations aligned with the ANC in the struggle against the South African government at that time?
MR BELLINGHAN: Absolutely Mr Chairman. And of course the information going out to them would be photo's, articles, videos, comment, etc.
CHAIRPERSON: Is it correct to say that these organisations were aligned with the ANC, is it not more correct to say they were opposed to the policies of the South African government?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well, Mr Chairman, my question was meant to be on a broad basis, but if you put it that way, one could also probably ask the question in the following fashion: did they align themselves with the broad liberation struggle of the liberation movements or did they support the liberation struggle of the liberation movements, so it was meant as a ...
CHAIRPERSON: It is your witness who said they were aligned with the ANC.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, I asked the question in that way Mr Chairman.
Mr Bellinghan, do you agree or can you comment on the discussion between myself and His Lordship, Mr Justice Wilson please?
MR BELLINGHAN: It was indeed so that some of these organisations were aligned with the ANC and some were just opponents of apartheid. For example the World Council of Churches did not officially take a stance to side with the ANC, but they certainly did not support apartheid.
They were in any case convenient vehicles for negative propaganda to be disseminated from - and of course others were quite openly giving assistance to the ANC and aligned with them.
Then a final aspect I want to mention about the South African Council of Churches is the fact that substantial sums of money were entering the money on the basis that they would be given to selected individuals and organisations committed to the liberation movement.
Such as for example UDF or Families of Detainees, etc, etc. This was via the SACC National Emergency Fund which if my memory serves me correctly, was established around 1985. Of course a lot of this money ended up going to assist the underground struggle, exiles leaving, etc, etc.
Anybody reading the series of reports that I submitted to Head Office during that time, would have reached the conclusion that Khotso House was a central point in the Peoples' War and that individuals there were performing hostile acts under the cloak of respectability of organisations such as the CPSA and to an extent the SA Council of Churches of the 20 percent militaristic type, in other words the underground actions and then of course, most of these organisations in any case, supported the 80 percent propaganda side of the struggle against the State.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Bellinghan, that concludes the evidence on Khotso House and specifically the South African Council of Churches.
Could we lastly in that regard just deal with a document which was handed to you Mr Chairman, which is just an example of a report - that is one of the documents that still remain. You will see it is a letter complimenting Mr Bellinghan on a report about the South African Council of Churches in 1985, to the Security Branch for purposes of or in respect of the Council's National Conference, and it just gives an indication of the fact that a report was done by Mr Bellinghan and it leans substance to his evidence of him having knowledge of the South African Council of Churches, and you will also see in paragraph 2 that this letter was sent to "Tak Nasionale Vertolking".
CHAIRPERSON: That will be R.
MR DU PLESSIS: The letter and the report was sent and this will be Exhibit R, as it pleases you Mr Chairman.
I may say that this forms part of documentation that should have been destroyed, but which was kept by Mr Bellinghan in his personal capacity, and that is why it is still available.
Mr Bellinghan, could we then proceed with Exhibit N, and could you then deal with paragraph 7 just quickly please.
MR BELLINGHAN: I just want to respond to what you have said just now, it is not entirely accurate.
MR DU PLESSIS: All right, please proceed.
MR BELLINGHAN: It is my chance that I have the document Mr Chairman, it is not by design.
MR DU PLESSIS: Right, could you proceed with paragraph 7 please?
MR BELLINGHAN: During the period 1984 to 1986, myself and a few others at the Witwatersrand Security Branch compiled dossiers on premises of certain organisations such as Khotso House.
Each dossier would have information on firstly regarding the entrance: The main door to the building, the type of lock, lighting, other doors, types of lock, entrance from parking area, entrance through windows, entrance through roof, entrance via adjacent buildings, entrance to the office, offices, type of lock, fanlights, chances of obtaining the keys.
As far as security is concerned: Controlled entrance during working hours, booking in and out during visits, night watchmen, occupants sleeping on the premises, burglar alarms, any after hours or weekend traffic in the building.
As far as the building is concerned: Who owns the building, who occupies the adjacent offices and floors, the presence of automatic fire extinguishers or roof sprinklers and then of course the floor plan of the offices or floor plan of the building. And also complete photographs trying to substantiate as much of this as we could.
MR DU PLESSIS: Right, could you then deal with paragraph 8 please?
MR BELLINGHAN: Some time prior to my transfer to Head Office, STRATCOM, I assisted in drawing up a list of names of people and organisations that were dedicated to the struggle.
Apparently the government had reached saturation point as far as the liberation movement gains were concerned and as part of an ongoing programme, was contemplating counter-revolutionary action.
Of course, I got this idea largely from the STRATCOM course I had just been on. From my understanding of the government STRATCOM policy, the following steps would be followed in order to obtain the desired result: The first step would be persuasion, which is really where you regard the opposition as a stubborn, friendly entity.
The second step would be force, where one tries to change their stance or their insights or whatever. Well, it is my word force, but that is what I deduced from that.
And then the third step would be destruction or elimination. Then as far as the dossiers are concerned that I compiled, it stands to reason that in compiling these dossiers on places like Khotso House, I did reconcile myself with the fact that active measures would be taken and just to elaborate on that, I think I should just explain that STRATCOM as I understood it, was basically consisted of two aspects.
The one was the soft STRATCOM of the propaganda, disinformation type and the second was what can be referred to or what the Soviets referred to and which we followed the example, and that is active measures which is an action which is calculated to have one of the steps, to one of the effects that I referred to above in those three steps.
ADV DE JAGER: You have mentioned STRATCOM and you are speaking about STRATCOM and even representations you made to STRATCOM, but could you tell us who was in charge of STRATCOM, who was the persons acting there, who gave information?
You are talking about a body now and we don't know about whom you are talking.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, I was getting to that Mr Chairman, thank you.
Mr Bellinghan, just for purposes of the Committee and the others, I don't think a lot of evidence has been placed before the Truth Commission in this regard, could you explain your Unit, the STRATCOM Unit at Head Office, how it fitted into the Head Office system, who was in charge of that when you were there, what were your functions, what did you do and how did you do it in broad terms please.
MR BELLINGHAN: Perhaps I should start with the time that I was at Witwatersrand.
I went on a course, STRATCOM course, it was an inter-departmental course. There were people from other branches of the government there as well. There were other Policemen on the course too like Col Valmont who was subsequently blown up in Durban with a limpet attack.
MR DU PLESSIS: What other Branches of government?
MR BELLINGHAN: Let's have a look. The Military were there, Secretariat of the State Security Council, Education and Training, Internal Affairs, External Affairs, that about covers it.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Bellinghan, what does that mean, why were there people from other State departments apart from the Military and the Police on a STRATCOM course, before we go ahead, can you just elaborate a little bit on that?
MR BELLINGHAN: As I understood it Mr Chairman, there were two legs of STRATCOM. The one was the National Security Management System and the other was the National Welfare Management System.
It was explained to me at the time that the National Security Management System took priority over the other leg, so that of course actions of the Security Branch were a priority for the government, actions towards the security of the country.
It was also explained to me that the relationship that one had, one's duty as a STRATCOM officer, the relationship was a matrix organisation that was followed, in other words the various departments were interlinked, so that contact people could be relied upon to be made use of as far as STRATCOM was concerned, in specific organisations so that I would have a contact in another department and they would know who to contact if they needed something done as far as security was concerned.
So that there was that level and there was of course the level of the hierarchy which was followed as well, the traditional level where information and instructions came down from the top, but also then on an informal level where someone from Head Office would phone me as a STRATCOM officer in Witwatersrand and just say for example Magnus Malan wants you to do something about the End Conscription Campaign that is having a congress at Wits or something like that and I would respond accordingly.
It was explained to me at the STRATCOM course, I was taken aside and it was explained to me that I was given some documentation, and it was explained to me that I would have to interpret my role as a STRATCOM officer according to what I understood by the concepts of propaganda and active measures as well.
And that I should disseminate this amongst the Security Branch to make sure that people understood the importance and the urgency of STRATCOM and the fact that it was a priority for every department.
I interpreted it ...
ADV GCABASHE: Mr Bellinghan, sorry, just for clarity, these other persons who attended the course with you, were they participants at the learner level or were they passing on information at the lecturer level?
MR BELLINGHAN: No, these were senior people who were on the STRATCOM course to learn a little bit more about STRATCOM. I think I was the most junior person there, I in fact am certain of it.
ADV GCABASHE: And the lectures or talks were conducted by?
MR BELLINGHAN: Various people, including the Head of SABC TV at the time. There were people from Advertising Agencies too, it was - the open discussions there were really more about the soft aspects of STRATCOM.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, before we go ahead, I know there are certain questions in the minds of the Committee about this.
I must say that a large part of Mr Bellinghan's amnesty application, deals with all of these issues and I have been paging through the annexures of his amnesty application, they contain a wealth of documents pertaining to these issues, formal documents of the Security Police, such as for instance a document entitled Espionage and the South African Police. There is another document entitled Strategic Communication.
There is another document dealing with interestingly enough the Russian Intelligence Service and the way they operated. So, it is difficult for me to present this evidence in a very short fashion for purposes of this hearing and we obviously intend to deal with it more fully at Mr Bellinghan's own amnesty application in respect to other matters where he was involved in.
But the reason why I am saying this is if you are interested, we could make available to you for instance copies of the annexures to his amnesty application, dealing with a lot of these aspects in a lot of detail, if you would be interested.
CHAIRPERSON: That would have the effect of reducing the evidence that you led now, would it?
MR DU PLESSIS: No, not necessarily Mr Chairman. I am just saying that there is a lot more that is available and it is difficult for me to keep the evidence very concise in this regard. I am trying to make it as concise as possible.
ADV GCABASHE: Are you saying that that would assist us when we come to assessing all of the evidence at the end of the day?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, especially in regard to this evidence that we are presenting here.
CHAIRPERSON: In that case, we better have it.
MR DU PLESSIS: We will make it available Mr Chairman. All right, Mr Bellinghan, could you go ahead please?
MR BELLINGHAN: As far as Head Office was concerned, there was a STRATCOM Unit at the time which was seated next to or together with and under Brigadier Stadtler, together with the Intelligence Unit at Head Office and the Counter-Espionage Unit.
So the three were together, STRATCOM, Intelligence and Counter-Espionage.
CHAIRPERSON: Do you say they were all under Gen Stadtler?
MR BELLINGHAN: At that time, yes. That was in respect of my - what I saw when I was transferred to STRATCOM at Head Office and we conducted STRATCOM then via the regions on a national level, when I was at Head Office. It is in that regard that I got involved in these three matters again, and that is via the STRATCOM side of the disinformation of the bomb blasts.
If I can just mention, these are perhaps the perfect or an example of the hard and the soft STRATCOM operating together, the propaganda and the active measures. The active measure being the bomb blasts and then the propaganda being the disinformation that was spread around that.
It was our policy at STRATCOM and then of course via the lectures and the training that I gave to the regions, it certainly I know that the Security Branch had this - operators in the Security Branch had this opinion that it was to learn and imitate from the enemy.
We learnt and imitated directly from the mentors of our enemies, which was the Soviet Union. We also used Intelligence reports to know any differences or any ideological rifts or whatever of the different groups for example we would be aware that front organisations of the PAC like AZAPO and AZASM, we would be aware of their particular stance, their officials etc, etc.
We would have an idea how to exploit the differences should we need to. Then of course to divert their time and effort and resources away from us and as far as possible, against each other.
It was also part of our organisational culture to be pro-active and to be imaginative and of course to utilise any STRATCOM opportunities as soon as the opportunity arose.
MR DU PLESSIS: Right Mr Bellinghan, could we perhaps deal with the practicalities pertaining to the COSATU House incident perhaps first with reference to STRATCOM and that is paragraph 9 of Exhibit N.
Could I perhaps just ask you one question before we go ahead with that? Was STRATCOM a South African Security Police function or did the whole STRATCOM initiative have a much broader government function if one can put it like that?
MR BELLINGHAN: No, it is as Gen Van der Merwe said, I think it was Gen Van der Merwe, that STRATCOM is a fairly recent addition to the Security Branch at that time, and it was instructions from the government at the time that STRATCOM was a priority for each and every department and that those of us that were sent on such courses were supposed to take the message further.
There also was the Secretariat of the State Security Council which we had representatives on that were also engaged in STRATCOM on a very extensive level.
MR DU PLESSIS: All right, could you deal with paragraph 9 please?
MR BELLINGHAN: In other words it was not just something that spontaneously arose within the Security Branch, although over the years we did do ad hoc STRATCOM actions.
ADV GCABASHE: Again just for clarity, so every department or every ministry would have a STRATCOM component?
MR BELLINGHAN: That is correct.
ADV GCABASHE: And these are the people you would liaise with?
MR BELLINGHAN: That is correct.
ADV GCABASHE: And again these particular persons would be represented on the State Security Council, as would the SAP STRATCOM people?
MR BELLINGHAN: Their Section Heads would be represented there, the type of liaison I am talking about or did speak about, would be an informal type of liaison.
The formal liaison was via the apparatus of the State Security Council.
CHAIRPERSON: You weren't represented, STRATCOM was not represented on the State Security Council as such, were you?
MR BELLINGHAN: Yes Mr Chairman, we were. I attended various meetings there.
CHAIRPERSON: At the State Security Council? I am not talking about the sub-committees, I am talking about the Council itself?
MR BELLINGHAN: No, I only know about the sub-committees Mr Chairman.
During 1987, COSATU House was destroyed, and I don't remember much about it but I do remember helping to spread disinformation via our STRATCOM projects to take the blame away from the Security Forces.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Bellinghan, can you remember if the South African Police had any problem with the COSATU House attack? Was there any action taken, can you remember anything, any steps taken by the South African Police in respect of the COSATU House incident?
MR BELLINGHAN: Well, in so far as it was part of our line function to do Trade Union STRATCOM, that was a function delegated down from the State Security Council, down to us, I know of no complaints from the South African Police regarding the COSATU House attack, if you like.
MR DU PLESSIS: All right. Could you deal with paragraph 10 please of Exhibit N?
MR BELLINGHAN: During 1988 we were involved in the Cry Freedom bomb scares.
Once again I assisted with the propaganda aspect via our STRATCOM projects.
MR DU PLESSIS: Can you remember any details about that?
MR BELLINGHAN: Not really. It was a question of I think in some instances, trying to blame splinter groups of BCM, Black Consciousness Movement in other instances, disinformation was spread I think about right wing people or conservatives that were upset about this, which would make it unsafe for people to screen it and people to attend.
MR DU PLESSIS: All right, and then finally ...
CHAIRPERSON: Before you go on, just arising out of what you were asked. You knew that the South African Police were responsible for COSATU House. Would you tell other STRATCOM Units and ask for their assistance in diverting attention, when I say you, I mean you as the STRATCOM Unit of the Security Police?
MR BELLINGHAN: Mr Chairman, at no stage were we authorised to give that type of information. We would just say we need to put in a story about the following in a journal or a magazine or a newspaper. They could think what they wanted to, but we never, ever told them it was us who did that.
CHAIRPERSON: You might not tell them, but you did ask their assistance, so it was a broad approach, it just wasn't confined just to the Police STRATCOM. STRATCOM as a whole would seek to spread the disinformation if asked to?
MR BELLINGHAN: No, Mr Chairman, no.
MR BELLINGHAN: In cases like this, we kept it really - because people draw conclusions etc, etc, we did that within the Security Branch only, if I remember correctly.
MR DU PLESSIS: Do I understand you correctly, the information that was given out to journalists to be published in journals, people could have made a deduction that the South African Police were responsible, but you would never have divulged that information to anybody outside the Unit?
MR BELLINGHAN: What I meant by that is that the agent or the source that would be disseminating this information, this false information, he may have drawn a conclusion, but certainly someone reading from a newspaper report, would never suspect that the Security Branch actually took those steps.
MR DU PLESSIS: All right, and did such disinformation include for instance facts that were not true pertaining to the operation?
MR BELLINGHAN: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: It would contain false information, is that correct?
MR BELLINGHAN: Yes, we preferred to use the term disinformation instead of false information.
MR DU PLESSIS: All right. Then paragraph 11, could you deal with that please?
MR BELLINGHAN: During 1988, Brigadier Joubert asked me what I thought would be the best way to do some STRATCOM around and some possible action to Khotso House.
It was my opinion during that discussion that something more substantial that we had done with the STRATCOM of COSATU House would have to be done if we were to successfully blame a splinter group, because I can recall that despite our propaganda efforts, there still were people who believed it was us that destroyed COSATU House, so the STRATCOM was not one hundred percent effective in that instance.
Then to avoid this happening again, there would have to be something concrete pointing to a splinter group. Of course, I don't know exactly how they got onto Shirley Gunn. I think the idea might have come from Johannesburg Security Branch, but certainly after the bomb blast, I helped to spread the information via our STRATCOM people that in fact it was Shirley Gunn who was to be blamed.
MR DU PLESSIS: All right, now Mr Bellinghan, just on this point before we go ahead with paragraph 11, you listened to the evidence of Gen Van der Merwe and Mr Vlok about the general approach of the fight against communism and against the liberation movements.
The political motivation of the Forces in general, do you agree with that evidence?
MR BELLINGHAN: Yes, I do.
MR DU PLESSIS: And was that what you believed when you acted as you have testified now?
MR BELLINGHAN: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: And when you acted specifically with reference to the STRATCOM operations, the spreading of disinformation in respect of COSATU House, Khotso House and the Cry Freedom incidents, did you believe that you were acting in favour of and to the benefit of the National Party?
MR BELLINGHAN: Without any doubt, Mr Chairman.
MR DU PLESSIS: And the South African government?
MR BELLINGHAN: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: And did you believe in furthering the ideology of apartheid or to keep it as part of the government policy?
MR BELLINGHAN: Well, I believed in the National Party and I also believed in the National Party's approach to reform.
MR DU PLESSIS: All right, did you believe that you were fighting against communism?
MR BELLINGHAN: Absolutely Mr Chairman.
MR DU PLESSIS: Right, now, Mr Bellinghan, in respect of the Khotso House disinformation campaign, the STRATCOM campaign, do you have any knowledge of anybody asking questions about your STRATCOM operation, any other State department, National Intelligence or any other role players?
MR BELLINGHAN: With respect to?
MR DU PLESSIS: In respect to the Khotso House incident?
MR BELLINGHAN: Khotso House? I know of no other State department that had a problem with that and I think the interesting aspect there is that Church STRATCOM as such was not directly our line function.
I could be wrong, but I think it was National Intelligence's line function at the time and they certainly never had a problem with what happened at Khotso House as far as I know.
So in other words the conclusion that I drew was that of course the government is behind it as it were.
MR DU PLESSIS: All right now Mr Bellinghan, apart from the Khotso House incident and these incidents, I want to ask you about something else.
You have heard evidence of Min Vlok, Gen Van der Merwe and they were questioned extensively on the use of certain terminology that created certain impressions with the so-called people on the ground.
Could you perhaps just give the Committee from your perspective and especially where you were involved in STRATCOM operations where the use of language was an important factor, could you explain to the Committee your view on certain of these words that were used and what words were used frequently, in which context?
MR BELLINGHAN: Let me just say first by way of introduction Mr Chairman, that we were the only Executive Intelligence Organisation in South Africa.
The emphasis in our work was on acting, it was on doing something about the situation, not simply the theoretical approach that some of the other Intelligence Units or agencies followed, of just studied and analysing, we were called upon to act, to do things.
The terminology should be seen in that light too, and terminology which I heard in the Security Branch many times, was eliminate, destroy, neutralise, make a plan, manage the situation, pro-active action and to take out.
From contact with other departments for example on the course and from documentation I got there, I also heard aside from those type of terms, I heard terms like pro-active action, destroy, neutralise, remove from society, active measures, offensive and defensive tasks, harassment of individuals or groups and eliminate from memory and from looking at my amnesty application documentation, these are some of the terms.
MR DU PLESSIS: And could you perhaps just very shortly explain to the Committee the way these words were used, were they used in such a way that they could be interpreted the same very time, or were they used very loosely?
MR BELLINGHAN: In the context of the culture of the Security Branch, it was not possible to really understand these terms in any other sense other than the fact that there was a huge responsibility on us, the government placed a lot of demands on the Security Branch, the National Security Management System was a priority and we were known for our harder approach if you like.
We understood these terms in the sense of action, in the sense of doing something, not just talking about it.
MR DU PLESSIS: Did you understand the use of some of these words in the sense of killing opponents?
MR BELLINGHAN: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: Right, now Mr Bellinghan, just lastly and very shortly, could you perhaps just deal with the effect of your work and the things that you were involved in on yourself and on people who worked with you, with reference to post-traumatic stress, very shortly please.
MR BELLINGHAN: Well, I can just say that I am not qualified to make a diagnosis as such, but I am qualified to observe and to measure, I am qualified to do that.
MR DU PLESSIS: Why do you say that?
MR BELLINGHAN: Well, I have an Honours Degree and I am a registered Psychometrist in all aspects of that field.
I have an Honours degree in Psychology I mean. So I was called upon at a later stage, after my STRATCOM days, to work on a National level with agents and sources and handlers, Security Branch personnel so I am qualified to comment on the effect of operations like this on the operators that were involved.
I can say that I did develop and made use of existing instruments to measure people's, aspects of peoples' behaviour and their personality. We were aware of, I was aware of changes, we were supposed to be aware of changes in the behaviour or the personality of agents and handlers to get an early warning if there could be some problems with them perhaps going over to the opposition or the enemy or if there were some other problems, some problems which could lead to complications in their work.
Because of the sensitivity of their work and the fact that in many instances, they could not go openly and get psychological help or psychiatric help, they had to rely on their friends around them, in the Security Branch, they had to rely on their handler if they were an agent or a source, for this type of assistance.
MR DU PLESSIS: What kind of effect would the whole system and everything else and the whole fight and the struggle have had on people such as you and the others who are applicants in front of this Committee?
MR BELLINGHAN: Let me just start off by referring to these specific incidents.
At the time, there was a very strong support network within the Security Branch, so that I never noticed any one of the people that were involved, having or manifesting problems at that time, because of the strong support network.
The people worked hard, they played hard. And there was a good support network amongst the seniors and amongst the juniors and amongst your colleagues.
When problems really started to emerge was at the time of the rumours of capitulation, when the negotiations were not finalised, the unbanning of these organisations ...
ADV DE JAGER: You say at the time there was a strong support network. Did they have psychiatrists, Doctors?
MR BELLINGHAN: I am talking only about colleagues and superiors. There was this camaraderie Mr Chairman, which was later broken down, it didn't exist and that is what I was referring to.
Doctors and Psychiatrists, Policemen did make use of them via the medical aid, but it would not be encouraged for an operator to go and discuss his problems he might have, with feelings of guilt about an operation, he would immediately be classified as a risk and aside from the ANC's hitlist against Policemen, he would have been on another list, that is for sure. The list we would draw up maybe.
MR DU PLESSIS: So there was no ...
ADV DE JAGER: Sorry, I am worried about something wrong I had done, and I wish to see a Psychiatrist for instance, that could be a security risk?
MR BELLINGHAN: Absolutely Mr Chairman, that was a security risk.
ADV DE JAGER: And if you come to know about it, you may put me on the list?
MR BELLINGHAN: It would be my duty to bring it to my superior's attention.
MR DU PLESSIS: So there was no real orchestrated system, is that correct Mr Bellinghan, in terms of which people who were involved as part of the Security Forces, to deal with their post-traumatic stress problems?
MR BELLINGHAN: Let's not call it post-traumatic stress problems, because I am not qualified to make that diagnosis, but let's just say that people were isolated and were left to themselves and to the people around them, to deal with that. People in the know as it were, people who were part of the need to know circle.
I did notice as I say, after the sense of camaraderie was broken down, or started to be broken down, that agents, handlers, sources and some of the personnel in the Security Branch displayed some of the following symptoms or reported having some of the following problems, let me put it that way: irritability, aggression and anger, changes in their eating and sleeping habits, nightmares, lack of concentration and energy as well, blunting of emotion, suspicion, uncertainty and guilt, general loss of interest and enthusiasm, alcohol abuse, generally feeling depressed or down, anxiety of a generalised type, in other words not associated with a direct stress or in the environment, let's just call it generalised anxiety, memory loss, decreased interpersonal skills and certain medical problems which most likely was of a psychosomatic nature.
MR DU PLESSIS: All right Mr Bellinghan, is there anything else that you would like to add before we get to the last point, is there anything else you would like to add in respect of the Khotso House, COSATU House incidents, or have you dealt with the evidence in general?
MR BELLINGHAN: I can't think of anything that I need to add Mr Chairman.
MR DU PLESSIS: All right. Could you just lastly explain to the Committee your view on the Truth and Reconciliation Process and your view on participation in respect thereof?
MR BELLINGHAN: If I could perhaps use the Minister as an example, I think that his actions at the time were correct and I think that his actions now in speaking openly and honestly before this Committee, are also correct.
I feel the same way about my own participation in this process. I believe that just as soon as we can get over this particular step in our history, reconciliation can indeed start to take place and it perhaps should be as soon as possible with an election coming up.
MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you Mr Chairman. Mr Chairman, I may just point out that in so far as this evidence has disclosed participation of Mr Bellinghan to criminal activities relating to Khotso House, even if they are far removed, we thought it prudent to include it in this hearing and that we will seek amnesty in respect thereof.
I am thinking for instance of being an accomplice to theft of documents out of Khotso House, etc. Mr Chairman, in respect of the cross-examination, I have had discussions with some of my colleagues and we wanted to raise something with you which would obviously be subject to the Committee's view and that is that Gen Van der Merwe and Mr Vlok have been scheduled to testify today.
We have spent a long time, longer than I thought it would take. They are ready, I think the media is here and we feel that it may be the way to deal with the matter, is to have Min Vlok and Gen Van der Merwe being cross-examined. The second reason for that is that we feel that a lot of questions which may be directed to them, would be questions that could be answered by Mr Bellinghan, and it would perhaps be prudent under the circumstances, to have those questions after Min Vlok and Gen Van der Merwe to be dealt with by Mr Bellinghan, but we are in your hands.
I have spoken to my learned friend Mr Visser, and he agrees with me on this.
CHAIRPERSON: We had had a very preliminary discussion about the questioning and it comes to largely the same conclusion. It will also give the other lawyers appearing for applicants a chance to consider the effect of the evidence as a whole, and as you have already said, after they have heard the cross-examination, it may be that the cross-examination of Messrs Vlok and Van der Merwe, it may be that certain aspects no longer merit further questioning Mr Bellinghan.
I think it may be, that of course is subject to anything anyone may have to say? I can't see any enthusiasm from anybody to say anything, so we will allow this witness to stand down and we will ...
MR THULARE: Mr Chairman, excuse me, Mr Thulare on behalf of the SACC. We want to consider opposition to this witness and we would wish to have a quick adjournment. We also were expecting that we would be able to immediately cross-examine him now. We don't have any objection obviously if the other people feels that that should stand down, but we need to consider that.
If we could be granted say five minutes' indulgence.
CHAIRPERSON: You need to consider what, opposition to him? Why do you need an adjournment for that, you have known since Friday that he was going to give evidence, that he was making an application? I am afraid I am at a loss to understand this.
MR THULARE: Mr Chairman, we also seek a five minute adjournment to consider the issue that has just been raised about him standing down. We were expecting and we were prepared to immediately cross-examine him as soon as he finishes his examination in chief.
If we are going to cross-examine Mr Vlok and Mr Van der Merwe, we obviously need some time to get out papers together and prepare ourselves for that.
CHAIRPERSON: But that was adjourned last week till Monday. You recollect we said categorically that they would give evidence on Monday?
MR THULARE: Yes, I do recollect Mr Chairman. Obviously we would probably have finished with this witness on Friday, but because of other reasons, we were not able to do so, so in our mind, we thought that his evidence would be allowed to finish, we would then cross-examine him and after he has been cross-examined, Mr Vlok and Mr Van der Merwe would then be cross-examined.
Obviously if my learned friend had discussed this with us during the tea break, about his views about it, we would be prepared now.
CHAIRPERSON: I have difficulty in understanding who or what you are going to get instructions from. You can have five minutes' adjournment, no more, and we will then continue with the cross-examination of Mr Vlok.
MR THULARE: Thank you Mr Chairman.
ADV DE JAGER: Mr Du Plessis, would you kindly assist us in drawing up exactly what you are asking for. The offences or ...
WITNESS STANDS DOWN