ON RESUMPTION : 6 NOVEMBER 1998 - DAY 5
SATHYANDRANATH RAGUNANAN MAHARAJ: (s.u.o.)
CHAIRPERSON: I think we ought to thank the Minister for having come across the snow covered Karoo to be with us. Who is the first person?
MR VISSER: Visser, Mr Chairperson, I've completed my cross-examination.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR LEVINE: ...(inaudible) my cross-examination, I apologise for the very slight delay but traffic being what it is I was a little late.
Mr Maharaj are you ready? Mr Chairman I don't know what the situation is with regard to witnesses who were under oath, does one re-administer it or just - correct yes.
I think you heard that, you're still under your previous oath. Mr Maharaj would you have a look at Exhibit N?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR LEVINE: You have it before you?
MR MAHARAJ: I have it.
MR LEVINE: That deals with the structures of the ANC committees one of which relates to Botswana. Could you have a look at paragraph 3.9.2 I believe it is and I speak without - 3.9.1, I'm indebted to my learned friend, Mr Visser. That provides for I think what was so called the leading figures in the ANC organisation in Botswana during the period forming the subject number of the document.
ADV DE JAGER: That's on page 40 of Exhibit N.
MR LEVINE: No Mr de Jager, it's page 43 point 9.1.
ADV DE JAGER: No.
MR LEVINE: In Botswana IPC.
CHAIRPERSON: That's on page 40, item 3.9.1, you will see the names Jenny and Marius Schoon featured there, Mr Maharaj?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes I do.
MR LEVINE: And if you would be good enough to turn to page 43, 4.6.2. Do you see the names Marius and Jenny Schoon featured in that sub-paragraph also?
MR MAHARAJ: Correct.
MR LEVINE: So Mr Maharaj, although there is some dispute of whether or not Marius and Jenny Schoon were in fact members of the senior organ, whatever the position was I think it's clear that they were both leading figures in the ANC in Botswana?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR LEVINE: You said in your evidence in chief on Monday that Mr Williamson had tried to give you money in New York, that you regarded this as some attempt to compromise yourself?
MR MAHARAJ: I said he had tried to give money to Mr Johnny Makatini, the Chief Representative of the ANC at the United Nations.
MR LEVINE: And not to you, I'm sorry, I misunderstood that. How much money was offered in this endeavour by Mr Williamson?
MR MAHARAJ: To the best of my knowledge it was 500 dollars.
MR LEVINE: Were you present when this offer was made?
MR MAHARAJ: No I wasn't.
MR LEVINE: Were you told subsequently by Mr Makatini that the offer was made?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, not only the offer, Mr Makatini produced the money that evening because when I arrived in New York I had exactly one dime on me at John Kennedy Airport and I phoned Mr Makatini asking him how I should make contact with him. He asked me to take a taxi and when the taxi arrived at his address, he didn't have the fare and we had to go around the United Nations building trying to find ambassadors who would give us the money. We were eating at the cocktails hosted by ambassadors to the U.N. Mr Williamson was there to appear at the same session of the United Nations Special Committee and he made the offer to Mr Makatini, gave him the money. Johnny Makatini was very happy to receive the money and that evening came to me and said "let's go out for dinner, at last we can have a proper meal." I asked him where he got the money from, he said it was from Mr Williamson and I then said he should return it because that that would be a wrong way for us to conduct our business and I indicated to him that I had concerns about taking money from Mr Williamson in that form. If money was to be passed to the ANC it should be passed through the proper channels so that it is recorded and so that it is open and transparent as to how and where we got the money from.
MR LEVINE: Did Mr Makatini follow your advices and give the money back?
MR MAHARAJ: To the best of my knowledge he did because we remained broke.
MR LEVINE: Now a fairly significant feature of your examination in chief was that you became suspicious of Mr Williamson at a certain stage?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR LEVINE: More or less when was that?
MR MAHARAJ: My suspicions, judge, go back even predating my meeting with Mr Williamson. The condition of my leaving Robben Island was an arrangement between myself, President Mandela, Walter Sisulu, that whatever happened to me on my release and we anticipated that I would be house arrested, that I would use that house arrest to remain within the country for at least six months in order to get a feel of the situation within the country before I would break my house arrest order and leave the country. So my six months were spent in an intensive look within the conditions imposed of house arrest to understand the political situation. Now it is around that period that one became aware of the details of various activities going on in the country. In that context of course I began to look at what was happening, amongst others, in NUSAS and ...(intervention)
MR LEVINE: And that would have been in circa '97?
MR MAHARAJ: '77.
MR LEVINE: '77.
MR MAHARAJ: I was released from prison on the 17/18th December 1976 and I left the country on the 1st July 1977.
MR LEVINE: So we're talking about the first half?
MR MAHARAJ: First half.
MR LEVINE: Of 1977.
MR MAHARAJ: To the best of my recollection, Mr Williamson had already left South Africa but I received under house arrest overtures from various individuals, overtures of assistance. Amongst those overtures were assistance to escape the country without being rearrested. I don't recall the individuals but I had made up my mind that when I left the country I would not do so with the help of any existing network because I did not know the extent to which any particular network was infiltrated by the South African security.
MR LEVINE: And in fact, as I understand you, you didn't know whom you could trust?
MR MAHARAJ: No not - I say I did not know the extent to which they were infiltrated. I knew of reliable people but I did not know the extent to which they would be involved with others who were unreliable. Now it's in that context that I became aware that there was an escape route being operated via Botswana and that escape route was establishing a credibility amongst the activists inside South Africa and I became aware that Mr Williamson was in some way connected with that route. I then had to ask myself the question, could I rely on that network and I decided no because I'd already gone to prison as an underground activist and I had drawn up the firm conviction that one would have to understand the background of the people who I would rely on for my safety so I put a quiet question mark there and then in my look I realised that within NUSAS, at a certain stage Mr Williamson had indicated to certain individuals that he was a former policeman, that NUSAS had held an investigation on that matter and it was still a divisive issue amongst the students in NUSAS as to whether he was reliable or not. That was sufficient for me to say "don't trust that network, don't rely on it, find your own way to escape, but keep looking at who is Mr Williamson."
MR LEVINE: And notwithstanding your suspicions, you met with Mr Williamson and you treated him as a confidante to ANC business over the next two to three years?
MR MAHARAJ: I treated him as a person with whom I was dealing on a basis of trust but I did not treat him as a person to whom I should confide internal secrets of the ANC. Not a confidante.
MR LEVINE: And during this time did the Schoons tell you that they too were suspicious of Williamson?
MR MAHARAJ: No not during this time. The initial contact with the Schoons, they indicated to me that they thought that there was a huge potential to work together with Mr Williamson because they thought that what he was doing insofar as he had told them in Botswana, the work that he was doing had a great synergy with the work that our political section was doing. At that time I did not know Mr Williamson was in the business of murder.
MR LEVINE: Was in the business of?
MR MAHARAJ: Murder.
MR LEVINE: Did you discuss any suspicions you had of Williamson with the Schoons?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir. I did not confide in the Schoons because I wanted independent viewpoints to reach me based on independent experiences and I realised that confiding in them would colour their viewpoint so I always urged them to treat him openly but with a certain reserve, such as don't accept the money. The money that was given to Marius Schoon, I asked them to put it in a bank account and let it stand there as if they have accepted the money but do not use it and I asked that if they were ever tempted to use it, they should first contact me because I've had to get permission. So that's the basis on which I interacted with Marius and Jeanette Schoon with regards to Mr Williamson and they were, to quite frank, unhappy, they felt at one stage that I was not taking them into confidence.
MR LEVINE: Did they express this unhappiness to you?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes they expressed it directly, I have a very open relationship with Marius and Jeanette and they expressed their concern and I did not attend to the matter by taking them into confidence about my concerns until a much later stage. When they came forward with concerns about the security position of Mr Williamson.
MR LEVINE: More or less when was that?
MR MAHARAJ: I would need - offhand in my memory I cannot place a firm date but I think that there is some correspondence here in the files of the National Intelligence Service that would help me to place the date. I think it would be '79 more likely.
MR LEVINE: You mentioned in your evidence in chief that at a certain stage you were involved in collecting a dossier and I use your words of circumstantial evidence about Mr Williamson?
MR MAHARAJ: A dossier?
MR LEVINE: Yes.
MR MAHARAJ: Collecting or putting together?
MR LEVINE: Assembling shall we say?
MR MAHARAJ: Certainly, I put dossiers on everybody that I was working with so that there would be a clear file of the relationships we had.
MR LEVINE: A dossier of circumstantial evidence?
MR MAHARAJ: No I never put together a dossier of circumstantial evidence, I had a file on Mr Williamson, or his activities.
MR LEVINE: Your words were in your evidence in chief about a dossier of circumstantial evidence.
MR MAHARAJ: Well then I must correct that, it would be a dossier on Mr Williamson and it would be a dossier which would also contain all the bits of information that added up as circumstantial evidence of his questionability. If I may just give an example, judge, of what would be in that file? Mr Williamson had been working before my release from prison with a group of ANC comrades in London and they, once I became Secretary, had to send me records of who they were working with. Amongst those records were extensive correspondence between a Mr Newman and a Charles. They had disclosed to me who Newman was so it was sitting in a Newman file but later on in my interaction with London I was able to ascertain that that was Mr Williamson so that material was transferred to the Williamson file.
MR LEVINE: So the circumstantial evidence of which you spoke wasn't really that, it was part of a general file on one of the ANC workers?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes it would be a comprehensive file.
MR LEVINE: Yes and I take it kept the same file on the Schoons?
MR MAHARAJ: No, didn't need to keep a file specially for the Schoons. Schoons were members of the internal political structure, I knew Marius Schoon from as far back as 1962 and I knew him when he came out, he was in the structure of the internal and I wouldn't be putting a file on Marius Schoon because I had no reason to deal with him that way, there were official reports coming through from the IPC.
MR LEVINE: Did you ever seek any information from Mr Williamson regarding either Marius or Jeanette Schoon?
MR MAHARAJ: In what sense seeking information?
MR LEVINE: Any information whatsoever about Mr Williamson's interaction with them about the manner in which he perceived them?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir, the rule was with all the sub-structures serving under the headquarters, I made a rule that they had to give me all information of their contacts, with whoever they were in touch so any interaction on the home front, they had to send reports to me in Lusaka and at times I would go down and collect the reports and discuss the reports around everybody so I wouldn't say I did not single out Mr Williamson as a singular item with the Schoons.
MR LEVINE: Your answer is then that you did want information and you did want reports but this was of a totally generalised structure and not any individualistic reports?
MR MAHARAJ: No, I wanted the individual reports but I would not alert any structure as to which individual I was particularly interested in why.
MR LEVINE: Yes, you would not direct, pertinently direct the attention of anyone who is joined to give reports to a particular instance, you wanted everything across the board?
MR MAHARAJ: That is correct.
MR LEVINE: Were you able to assemble insofar as Mr Williamson was concerned any facts to back up your suspicions?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR LEVINE: What facts were they?
MR MAHARAJ: First of all, style of work. I realised that Mr Williamson may have been implicated in leading to the murder of Steve Biko because Mr Williamson was running channels while linked to the ANC Internal, also behind the backs of that internal structure with other ANC individuals. In that context of the Biko murder which took place in, if I recall correctly, 1977 when I was still not yet appointed Secretary of the ANC Internal.
What I found later on was that Mr Williamson may have been one of the conduits interacting with Mr Biko to set up a meeting between Mr Biko and our then President, Oliver Tambo. The meeting was being scheduled to take place clandestinely in Botswana. The problem then that arose was the possibility that within the South African security establishment, some members decided that that would be too dangerous a political move to allow even though it would under the eyes of the security forces and therefore the possibility arose that in that detention he was murdered.
They had information about the movements of Biko which were related to the possibilities that he was holding consultations with people in the country just prior to going out to meet President Tambo. There were also indications in the communications from Newman and Charles about these sort of interactions and suggesting that Mr Biko was moving closer towards working with the ANC. Now this was a particular style that emerged in the Newman reports, it was a style that emerged also with Mr Ben Langa where his reports derived from E.D.A. - Environmental Development Agency run by Mr Carl Edwards would seek to get close to all sorts of activists, sometimes genuine activists and others from a provocateur level so that they would be brought into activity and the next thing is they would be detained. Then he was running the Ginsberg Foundation, as the funder of Ginsberg Foundation, but what was peculiar was that he insisted on the names of every individual funded by the Ginsberg Foundation. He wanted to know everything. Now that was interesting because from my point of view of the ANC, I needed to know everything, but from his point of view it was an extremely sophisticated line of thought. For an activist thrown up in NUSAS whose power of influence was soldering NUSAS's funding, whose ability to organise was not visible. Where out of the blue does a person emerge like that with this sophisticated approach to all the detail?
So those circumstances added to my view of concern as to who he was and I met him deliberately, I met him to make my own assessment of him as an individual and fortunately, he invited me to his flat in Geneva.
MR LEVINE: Yes that was two years down the line from your first meeting with him, correct?
MR MAHARAJ: But already several incidents had taken place where I had been interacting with him and as I say one of the crucial watersheds was the Mandela letter from prison.
MR LEVINE: So on your version you allowed Mr Williamson to continue operating in the capacity in which he was operating for some three years?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR LEVINE: Entrusting him with confidential information?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir, interacting with him on the basis that he would believe that I trusted him but not interacting on the basis that I would place him in a position that he would be privy to sensitive information. So I never entrusted him to anything but within his circle.
MR LEVINE: Mr Maharaj, are you suggesting that the material you've discussed about the late Steve Biko was not sensitive information at the time?
MR MAHARAJ: It was very sensitive information coming through me via London in the name of Newman. I did not discuss Biko at all with him. I spoke at the Biko memorial at St George Cathedral in London and I there publicly, on behalf of the ANC, said Biko was murdered but I did not say murdered by whom.
So I treated Mr Williamson in an atmosphere that he would feel I had full confidence in him as I think that he tried to treat me as if he had full confidence in me.
MR LEVINE: So it was something of a spy versus spy situation?
MR MAHARAJ: Not spy versus spy, something of saying this man is showing the sophistication of a trained person and an experienced operative. I don't hide the fact that I was trained, I was trained for eleven months in the G.D.I. in 1961 and I had gone through a particular baptism of operating in the underground in South Africa from 1962 to 1964.
Another baptism of operating illegally in prison, running communications as part of a team for twelve years and then another six months and a house arrest where I knew I was heavily monitored and I had to escape despite that monitoring. So I knew that look, I had the training, but this man who purports to have no training besides just being an ordinary SAP policeman is showing all the signs of a very highly trained person and was receiving effective guidance from his handler, so one had to be very careful about how one operated.
He asked me for a meeting in the Seychelles, he asked me for a meeting in the forest at Malilawani, he asked me for a meeting with Mr Asmorsen one to one in the Kalahari, he sought a meeting in Malawi. Now you just look at the areas and it's all one to one. "Mac, I can't be seen with you because I'm doing very valuable work for you guys from my position where you are, so I need to meet you in very secure circumstances and nobody must know." But that nobody was always in conditions where he set the scene and he controlled the environment. That told me it's own story and that's why I'm saying I never trusted him.
MR LEVINE: If I understand you were against meeting him under the circumstances he suggested but you were prepared to meet him under circumstances which you suggested?
MR MAHARAJ: Because I could guarantee my safety. Simple, I have been in my life even up to 1977 several times face to face with death, I'm lucky to be alive, I was not going to just recklessly place myself in a situation where I would be taken prisoner or killed.
MR LEVINE: So whatever you perceived of Mr Williamson wanting to achieve vis-a-vis yourself, you wanted to be in a position to achieve that very self same thing vis-a-vis Mr Williamson?
MR MAHARAJ: No, no, no, I had no intention at that stage of even capturing, I had not intention, I had intention of continuing to work with him so that I would understand the intricacies of his structures at home and so that through those intricacies, I would get to his head. As I have done Sir and it's openly recorded in my work in the underground in South Africa, one of the big furores in 1990 was the open knowledge that I had infiltrated the Security Branch and even there they said openly that they were aware of at least seven Security Branch men, high-ranking officers, who somehow or other were passing information and working with the ANC underground.
MR LEVINE: What reason, Mr Maharaj, did you have for believing that Mr Williamson's suggested meetings with you were to do you harm or to kill you or to take you prisoner? Do you have any facts other than a gut feel as to that?
MR MAHARAJ: My facts are simple. By 1977 the struggle had reached a point where the South African regime was losing control of the situation and was becoming desperate in it's actions whereas in 1964 when I went to prison, up to the time of my going to prison I think only four people had been killed in detention.
In 1997, particularly dating from 1975 onwards, I think Biko was the 46th to have lost his life in detention. By 1977 dozens of people were disappearing in South Africa, some of their graves are presently being exhumed and they were disappearing mysteriously. The move to turn freedom fighters into askaris matured between the years 1997 and 1980 where ANC operatives would be captured, whether in South Africa or in the neighbouring territories, kidnapped, brought here, tortured, turned around to work for the regime and then become killers against the ANC. Now, those are the circumstances in which we were living and it would be by the very testimony of their own studies an important gain to turn me around or to capture me or to kill me. There was a plot, I don't recall the precise dates, to capture President Tambo and at least ten of the National Executive in London, to take them to a remote site in London, torture them, kill them and clandestinely put them on a ship and bring them to South Africa, dead bodies so that they would reveal them to the Republic as people killed inside South Africa.
Now this is the type of ethos that the South African security forces had entered into and begun to operate. I had to be extremely careful if I had the slightest suspicion, to work in such a way that I would not place myself in that position, where they could exercise that control. But there was no need for me to interact with them on the basis that I needed to kill them, I had many opportunities as ANC, we had an opportunity in 1981 which I have testified to before the Truth Commission, that we had an opportunity to virtually destroy 90 percent of the South African Cabinet, headed by P.W. Botha, at a function in the Republic campaign in 1981. That operation was expressly forbidden by the revolutionary council on the grounds that politicians were not our targets, we were not terrorists.
MR LEVINE: Mr Maharaj, would your killing or your apprehension or your kidnapping have assisted Mr Williamson in any way to infiltrate the ANC?
MR MAHARAJ: Enormously.
MR LEVINE: How so?
MR MAHARAJ: Because first of all he knew, by their own description, that I was occupying a key position, anything that happened to me would disrupt that organisation. Secondly, in their own estimation they felt that I was a fairly professional operator in the underground. Thirdly, a victory for the South African regime with regards to people like me would be a demoralising blow to the liberation movement and if of course they could get the bonuses of getting a person like me to work for them, what more as a prize, somebody serving in the leadership of the ANC with a long experience, with knowledge of the inside workings of the movement, with knowledge of individuals, that would be an enormous prize for them.
MR LEVINE: How do you possibly suggest that you could have been turned to work within the ANC against the ANC? Someone with your convictions?
MR MAHARAJ: Nobody can predict what they would do under torture. I have seen people who look physically weak, tortured and not talk a word. I have seen men look like giants, physically fit, collapse under torture. There is no guarantee that if anybody in this room is subjected to the type of tortures that we went through, that person would not talk and if that person would not do something to save their lives or their lives of their loved ones, that was not an environment in which you would wish anybody to be placed and particularly as an ANC person in charge or a Secretary of the underground, I would not want to expose anybody to that situation.
MR LEVINE: Now Mr Maharaj, you have dealt and I use your word again, circumstantially with the lines of communication with the late Mr Biko and you have dealt with the seeking of recipients of monies from the Ginsberg Foundation. Do you have any other support for your theory and mistrust of Mr Williamson?
MR MAHARAJ: Judge, there would be a number of such circumstantial bits that would be falling in place, I've not have to work with Mr Williamson's file from my side from the time he broke cover. As far as I was concerned I lost interest in him, he had exposed himself, he was a known quantity. So to reflect on that now and put every bit of the circumstantial evidence would be a huge reconstruction exercise and I would be putting things in an ad hoc way so that's difficult.
MR LEVINE: On an ad hoc way, to use your phrase, is there anything else you can point to in support of the reasons as to why you suspected Mr Williamson?
MR MAHARAJ: If I want to summarise what I've said in addition to what you've summarised and put so far to me this morning Mr Levine, there's been the Sanna Bulletin episode, there's been the letter from prison. I said that the letter from prison, Nelson Mandela was a crucial episode in impacting on my thinking and I would be ready to say all that was circumstantial but sufficient to say, don't trust this man and ...(intervention)
MR LEVINE: You have spoken - I'm sorry, did I interrupt you?
MR MAHARAJ: You did but it doesn't matter.
MR LEVINE: Please carry on.
MR MAHARAJ: No I've lost the trend.
MR LEVINE: Sorry. Mr Maharaj, you used as one of the ad hoc bases now, the Sanna Bulletin incident. I want to remind you - to enquire of you firstly, by the Sanna Bulletin incident do you mean the publication of what has been termed as a fake Sanna Bulletin?
MR MAHARAJ: No, I'm referring to the whole Sanna Bulletin, from it's origin, the publications it was putting out and finally it's takeover by the ANC, Mr Williamson's unhappiness conveyed to the people who were now running Sanna and eventually when he breaks cover how one of the first things that he did at home was to put out a fake Sanna Bulletin, not issued by the structure in Botswana but purporting to be an authentic Sanna Bulletin.
MR LEVINE: And of course this took place after he broke cover?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir, to the best of my recollection it was straight after he broke cover.
MR LEVINE: Yes and these you have correctly and fairly conceded are snippets of circumstantial evidence?
MR MAHARAJ: I think to call it snippets is a bit too light.
MR LEVINE: I think I used your word but I'm subject to correction.
MR MAHARAJ: Even if I used it in a particular instance I don't think what I'm conveying is a flippant approach by me to look at Mr Williamson and conclude "don't trust him", I think it was a very systematic one from an underground position where we were not a State, we were an underground movement with not the resources and organisational capacity of the State confronted with a gigantic machine but needing to be very careful and having already a track record of having paid very heavy prices.
MR LEVINE: Let's conclude this by seeing if we can reach agreement? There were a number of issues regarding Mr Williamson, what he projected, how you saw him and his general conduct which caused you to have suspicions, but there was nothing factually on the basis of cold and hard facts which justified those suspicions?
MR MAHARAJ: There was everything in the circumstantial evidence that justified my treating him with the greatest of suspicion.
MR LEVINE: Circumstantial?
MR MAHARAJ: Obviously.
MR LEVINE: Yes.
ADV DE JAGER: The moment you gained facts would it still be a suspicion? Wouldn't it then be a factual proof?
MR LEVINE: It would depend, with respect, upon the facts which were gained and how one interprets those facts.
MR MAHARAJ: If I may just say something judge, I was not operating as a court of law operates, I was operating in the real world of death, one mistake, my comrades and I would be dead. To me the issue was not to weight and administer justice with regards to Mr Williamson. My issue was protect the organisation and build it and doing so, don't make a mistake because a mistake is going to be very costly. So that's the basis and I don't look at circumstantial evidence the way a court of law looks at it.
MR LEVINE: In fact your attitude was protect me from my so-called friends because my enemies I know how to deal with?
MR MAHARAJ: No, protect the ANC because insofar as my own protection I have always carried out tasks without regard as to what it meant to my life.
MR LEVINE: Do you recall how Mr Williamson's cover broke?
MR MAHARAJ: There were several issues which arose around that period. There is the ...(intervention)
MR LEVINE: By that period to what time are you referring?
MR MAHARAJ: I'm talking about the latter part of 1979.
MR LEVINE: Please carry on?
MR MAHARAJ: There was the story that Mr McGiven who had defected and gone to London from the South African Force side was writing a book and that in that book he would be revealing all sorts of information so there was the theory - I don't think the book ever appeared, I don't think it was ever published, but there was a theory that he would point to Mr Williamson as well as others.
MR LEVINE: Well didn't Mr McGiven have an interview with an English newspaper?
MR MAHARAJ: Quite possible but I was referring to the book because even there I was interested that if Mr McGiven was talking the truth and had all that information would he give the force numbers of the people, not just names because you still had to ask yourself is he telling the truth and all the truth or is he putting a story that suits him?
MR LEVINE: Did you at any stage make any contact or directly had any contact been made with Mr McGiven?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir, I wasn't working in the intelligence section so I had no need to go and try and interview him. There was also the story of Mr Gordon Winter, his written books, some truth and some lies.
MR LEVINE: That was the former Sunday Express, as it was then known, journalist?
MR MAHARAJ: And the former BOSS agent. I mean that's his real occupation, journalism was a sideline.
MR LEVINE: You said there were a number of factors relating to the breaking of Mr Williamson's cover?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR LEVINE: And you gave us one, Mr McGiven?
MR MAHARAJ: Secondly, there was the unease that Mr Williamson had expressed about possible rumours from the ANC side questioning his credibility and his bona fides with the I.U.E.F. so that the people he was working for were concerned. That's the one that the other day you read the letter from, we read the letter from Mr Thabo Mbeki, showed a bit of restiveness going on with Mr Williamson.
Thirdly, in my own interaction with him there was some signs of restiveness because appointments were not being fixed and not been kept adequately and yet there always, there was a promise of some very important information. Thirdly Mr Williamson knew that I was in the political section but he was now beginning to focus my mind on possible people in South Africa who would be very useful militarily. One of the persons, he didn't give the name, but he offered a person trained in the navy in deep sea diving who would be a very good operative to blow up naval vessels at Simon's Town. I worked out who the individual possibly could be but I said, this man is becoming - he's wanting to push me off my main focus of work and yet he doesn't deliver directly to me, people who would come into direct interaction with the ANC. So the meeting between him and I that was supposed to take place in the letter, in the last quarter of '79 or half of '79, was not taking place and I had suggested to him that since he had been on I.U.E.F. business in Angola, let's meet in Angola and he refused.
Now those are all the circumstances that showed that there was some unease arising in that relationship and when he went to London and went to the Chief Representative's office looking for me and I got the message from London to say "don't come to London", that I think was in December just before he broke cover.
MR LEVINE: You see my understanding is that it wasn't Mr Williamson that missed meetings but to an extent it was also you?
MR MAHARAJ: To the extent that I was missing meetings, I was missing them because I was trying to avoid the venues that he was setting.
MR LEVINE: And Exhibit Y2 if you would just put it before you, is a letter of the 24th November - I'll wait for you to take it out. Do you have it before you?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes I have it.
MR LEVINE: I think one of the pieces of evidence you gave a moment ago was that in the second half of 1979 Mr Williamson did not keep a meeting with you. Your letter which I've just referred to suggests in the first sentence the very opposite.
"I am sorry that I missed you during my last trip abroad."
It doesn't for one moment suggest that Mr Williamson was in any way remiss in not having contacted you. It's an open apology for having missed him?
MR MAHARAJ: Sir, I'm giving you the conditions under which we were interacting and I hoped that not only because of the conditions but by my innate nature, I always tried to be polite.
MR LEVINE: There's no ...(intervention)
MR MAHARAJ: This was a casual - this trip abroad would have been something that I would be undertaking for other purposes but expecting to converge with Mr Williamson, the next sentence says:
"I heard on the grapevine that Charles is due to visit you. Did he?"
It's a very gentle hint to say "if you are working so closely with me and Charles is a member of your inner unit, surely this person coming directly from home, you should tell me well in advance so that I could meet the person for a debrief" not hush it all. So the opening paragraph is a very gentle one, even keel relations, no finger pointing and then I go on to put urgent matters which are funding matters to individuals. That doesn't allow the conclusions to be drawn as you are drawing them because the meeting that Mr Williamson and I were due to have was going to be a serious sit down, to go through all his so-called operatives inside South Africa, to look at what they were doing, to see that whatever task they were performing could be brought into proper structured relationship with the ANC. So I think we're making too much of that introductory statement.
MR LEVINE: Didn't you have such a meeting as you've disclosed as being the purpose of a meeting in the second half of 1979?
MR MAHARAJ: Would that be the London meeting?
MR LEVINE: No, that was the one I was going to ask you. The London meeting took place in or about January of 1979, is that right?
MR MAHARAJ: Ja, I don't recall the exact date but it would have been around there.
MR LEVINE: And didn't you have a meeting to discuss all of the features you now say would have been the purpose of the late '79 meeting during your London meeting early in 1979?
MR MAHARAJ: It would not be a question of a one off meeting. To get this elaborate structure that Mr Williamson was talking about would need continuous interaction, not just one off, but we were due to have an important meeting as part of those structured interactions.
MR LEVINE: Which was the one in late '79?
MR MAHARAJ: Ja, late '79.
MR LEVINE: Mr Maharaj, the question strikes me as being relevant, given where Mr Williamson was operating at the time, under whose control did he fall? Was he controlled by London or was he controlled by Lusaka?
MR MAHARAJ: There was a shift taking place. He was originally working with the London structures and we were trying to work towards a shift but the purpose of the shift was not that I would directly be the person handling them. My aim was to shift them because my task as Secretary of the entire structure did not give me the space to attend to each individual operative but there was a shift taking place where I would describe the position as being London still in charge of Mr Williamson, but I taking a more active role because London had been the original structure with whom he started working and London's mind set would be a different one and of course the ANC work post '76 had expanded rapidly from the neighbouring countries and we were now having more effective structures.
MR LEVINE: But by 1979 the shift had not yet taken place?
MR MAHARAJ: In many areas the shift had taken place, we had structures now in direct contact with head office working in Swaziland, Maputo, Botswana, Lesotho. I had now made personal visits to Lesotho to meet the structures, to meet people from home. I was now able and had created the conditions to work from these areas by living clandestinely in those areas, entering and exiting them clandestinely and many of the operatives were able to do that. So conditions had arisen in Southern Africa where the ANC structures would be nearer to home than London and while London could meet Mr Williamson because it was convenient between his base in Geneva and passing through London, his operatives at home, we wanted them to begin to contact us nearer home so that you didn't have this problem with interacting with them over correspondence that reached you months later via Mr Williamson. I'm trying carry out that detachment.
MR LEVINE: You wanted to streamline the situation?
MR MAHARAJ: To streamline the situation, to look at who are the good people in these structures and to quietly also push him into a sideline so that he was not the unique conduit to his structures.
MR LEVINE: In other words to shift the burden of the obligations which rested mainly with him at the time?
MR MAHARAJ: To say to him the same thing in a different way, to say "Mr Williamson, you're doing very important work at the I.E.U.F. and the international arena, we're think you need to concentrate on that work" because we knew less harm could come to us. What he was sending home was all the minutes of the United Nations public conferences, position papers, discussion papers - that's fine, they could have it.
MR LEVINE: Coming back to your meetings with Mr Williamson, we have already dealt with a meeting in December 1978 at the Ridgeway Hotel in Lusaka.
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, you addressed this matter and I must apologise, judge, that when I was answering that question the other day, my mind was really in the '70's, '77 period and it is quite likely that we did meet at the Ridgeway in '78.
MR LEVINE: Yes, in fact December 16th 1978?
MR MAHARAJ: Possible.
MR LEVINE: You wouldn't dispute that?
MR MAHARAJ: No I wouldn't dispute it.
MR LEVINE: You see I wanted to clarify that having regard to your evidence on Monday. Do you remember at that meeting asking Mr Williamson to ensure that Jane visits Dora Tamana in Cape Town?
MR MAHARAJ: Jane at the moment doesn't ring a bell. If you can help me and identify her?
MR LEVINE: I though you could help me?
MR MAHARAJ: No, I thought Mr Williamson would help you.
I mean he's instructing you.
MR LEVINE: He is and his instruction to me is that she was one of the agents involved but I thought that perhaps you would be able to shed some more light on that?
MR MAHARAJ: As his agent he would know her real identity better than I do, Sir.
MR LEVINE: And Dora Tamana?
MR MAHARAJ: Dora Tamana is a stalwart in the liberation struggle and the particular reason that I approached him on this matter was that she was a friend, lifelong friend, of Ray Simons also known as Ray Alexander and Ray Simons had had news that Dora Tamana was starving and she asked me whether I could do something to provide some assistance to Dora Tamana. Now I knew that Dora Tamana was an open supporter of the struggle. If I'm correct I think she had served even a term of imprisonment so I said let's see if the I.E.U.F. and the funds that Mr Williamson controls can be extended for use to such people rather than just confined to students and I approached Mr Williamson, said Dora Tamana is in financial difficulties, can you provide money to her? And he said yes, he can provide. And I said would you be able to deliver it to her? And he said yes and I said please do so. So that was the arrangement and there were thousands of people that we would try to make those arrangements for so that they had some bread on their table.
MR LEVINE: And insofar as Dora Tamana was concerned I understand there was a further complication namely that her house had burned down at the time?
MR MAHARAJ: Possible.
MR LEVINE: You don't recall that?
MR MAHARAJ: I don't recall that as an issue that stands out in my mind because there were lots of people in those situations. Annie Selinga was starving, I knew people in Jo'burg, Durban, all destitute because the fact that they had been involved in the liberation struggle had led to the circumstance where the security police were making it impossible for them to even have a job to make a living and one of the crucial things that we were doing was to have support for them. I myself, when I came out of prison, was refused permission to work while I was under house arrest and I recall very clearly receiving 14 pounds from an anonymous donor in Ireland and I believe that that was arranged by the Defence and Aid Fund. Because the Defence and Aid Fund was banned in South Africa, they had to find individuals and get those individuals to send these small sums of money to keep us alive.
ADV DE JAGER: Mr Levine, I think we've now drifted into a conversation about what Mr Williamson did and what he didn't do, but I think you wanted to establish that there was no facts, were no facts in fact for a suspicion. Mr Maharaj on the other hand told us that he had a suspicion, rightly or wrongly, he might have been overcautious but in his work he was very careful and very suspicious about people. I think those facts have been established or this suspicion has been established as far as the facts could be established from which it was based. What we're really trying to achieve now with your questions, could you perhaps help us so that we could follow what you want to achieve?
MR LEVINE: Advocate de Jager, I did drift slightly off insofar as Dora Tamana was concerned. It is important inasmuch as I've received certain instructions about a number of meetings none of which in my respectful submission and it is a matter for argument, will gel with the suspicions mentioned by the witness but I daresay that a reading of the record in due course will facilitate as good an understanding as could be achieved from listening to a lengthy examination. I take your point in regard to possibly drifting off and I will submit to you that in due course that whatever suspicions Mr Maharaj may have had at the time were not based on fact, I think he has conceded, but rather on over caution and I'd like to get on with the next meeting and what took place at the next meeting in accord with what I'm advised developed.
MR MAHARAJ: With due respect, I would only challenge the summary by Mr Levine to say that my view was held because of over caution that I've conceded it. I've not conceded that.
MR LEVINE: Mr Maharaj, the matter will be dealt with in argument, I'm not seeking in any way through the back door or otherwise to imply or to assert any concessions by you.
MR MAHARAJ: No I was merely treating that as a summary of what I had said.
MR LEVINE: It is in no way a summary of what you have said and please be comfortable in that particular aspect, I've not sought short circuited manner to summarise what you have said.
Mr Maharaj, do you remember - is a meeting in Geneva on the 3rd and 4th July 1979 when you together with Thomas Ncobe went to see Mr Williamson?
MR MAHARAJ: I cannot recall the actual meeting but if the issues were just put then I would be able to place it.
MR LEVINE: Well there were a number of meetings on that visit. There was a formal meeting between Mr Williamson for the I.U.E.F with Mr Ncobe and yourself, do you recall that?
MR MAHARAJ: Should be, it wouldn't be out of place, with Mr Ncobe present, formal meeting, Treasurer General of the ANC.
MR LEVINE: Do you know Mr Pierce Campbell?
MR MAHARAJ: Pierce Campbell, yes.
MR LEVINE: Do you remember meetings with Pierce Campbell, self, Mr Ncobe and Mr Williamson? The deal with various projects when you were in Geneva?
MR MAHARAJ: Quite likely, when you say projects, yes.
MR LEVINE: Did you advise Mr Williamson that you and Mr Ncobe wanted to see certain people in Geneva in addition to discussions with the I.U.E.F.?
MR MAHARAJ: Which people?
MR LEVINE: One of whom was Ramesh Chandra of the World Peace Council?
MR MAHARAJ: I would not have had an interest in meeting with Mr Rumbas Chandra, I have met him just four weeks ago for the first time in my life. Mr Ncobe would have had an interest in meeting Mr Chandra as President of the World Peace Council.
MR LEVINE: I am advised that you wanted to see Mr Chandra because you had to hand him something personally?
MR MAHARAJ: I don't recall that.
MR LEVINE: You don't recall it? Do you recall going to endeavour to see Mr Chandra but he was on a podium of a conference at a conference which was in session?
MR MAHARAJ: What conference?
MR LEVINE: At the United Nations building?
MR MAHARAJ: In Geneva?
MR LEVINE: Yes.
MR MAHARAJ: I don't recall that Sir. I can't challenge whether I've met him but I'm saying I've just met Mr Rumbas Chandra about four weeks ago for the first time in my life.
I know he was the President of the World Peace Council, I know the ANC had close relations with the World Peace Council, I know Mr Thomas Ncobe in his external work would be in touch with people like that and the World Peace Council. I know ANC people served on the World Peace Council but I really don't know where this is taking me in recalling that sort of incident. If it is alleged that I was seeing for internal underground work then very easily I would be able to say with more reliability whether I'd met him.
MR LEVINE: Just to round this off, I'm advised that you did however manage to deliver what it was you wished to hand to Mr Chandra at his hotel which was the ....(indistinct) Hotel in Geneva later that evening.
MR MAHARAJ: Well I would presume that Mr Williamson would have intercepted it and made a photocopy.
MR LEVINE: I don't believe that is any more than an assumption.
MR MAHARAJ: I said I presume. A presumption is an assumption.
MR LEVINE: Yes, you nothing to back up?
MR MAHARAJ: No nothing, I don't say judge, I just don't know where this is - I can be asked about all the people I've met all over the world in 45 years of involvement in the struggle. I mean unless it is to show that Mr Williamson knew that I was going to see Mr Ramesh Chandra and he is a public figure and that I was going to give him a letter, again a public event. To me, no big deal.
MR LEVINE: So you can't remember whether it took place or not and you cannot dispute it either?
MR MAHARAJ: We used to live in circumstances where for example we never got post through the post. If I was leaving Lusaka and knew Ramesh Chandra and said you're going to Geneva can you deliver this letter which probably would be saying Ramesh, sorry I didn't write to you for a long time, next time you come to Lusaka please bring a bottle of duty free with you.
MR LEVINE: Mr Maharaj, at that stage I think it is established that for whatever reasons you had suspicions of Mr Williamson?
MR MAHARAJ: Ja.
MR LEVINE: Now would you have used the offices of someone who you had suspicions of to make telephone calls to destinations such as Maputo and/or - or rather and - East Germany?
MR MAHARAJ: Oh yes, no problem. Maputo, if you were talking about 1979, my girlfriend was a lecturer at the University of Edwardo Mondlane and if I could get a free phone call to her and tell her that I love her, no problem.
MR LEVINE: Was this ...(intervention)
MR MAHARAJ: East Germany I had trained there for one year, my relations with East Germany were based on solidarity and if I was to phone the couple who looked after me and where I was a boarder in 1961 who live in a village called Bishops Verda to say "Hi Hans and Ilse, how's life? I'm thinking about you." No problem. I would use the I.U.E.F. and Craig would pay the bill. After all that would show him how much I trust him.
MR LEVINE: Yes. Did you at the same stage round about July 1979 have suspicions about Lars Gunnar Ericsson and did you distrust Mr Ericsson?
MR MAHARAJ: I cannot specify the period but I had concerns, judge, because I was unclear about the relationship between Mr Williamson and Mr Ericsson. The fact that Mr Williamson had such a high position in the I.E.U.F. and so much freedom as he portrayed it to us in utilising the resources of the I.E.U.F., I would have had concern about who is Mr Ericsson.
MR LEVINE: Merely because of his association with Mr Williamson?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir, I said Mr Williamson was virtually his deputy and in that position had access, as he portrayed it, almost to unlimited financial resources. How to account for it was not a problem for him. Whilst the I.U.E.F. was International Inter-University Exchange Fund. When I said to him give Dora Tamana money, not for university exchange and not for bursary, he's got it. When I say to him let's meet in London rather than Seychelles, he says "Don't worry, I'll pay your fares, I'll pay your hotel expenses." Eventually I said to him: "The meeting will be in London but you pay the hotel bill." He says "No problem." I say "In accounting to the I.U.E.F.? "No, no, no problem, I'm in full control there." Now I have never worked in an institution where financial control is so lax, unless you are so high in that institution that your accounting systems can disguise those expenditures because he would say to me that all this is done behind the back of Mr Ericsson because the I.U.E.F. is not mandated officially to give that type of support. So concerns arose in my mind. What is the relationship between Mr Ericsson and Mr Williamson and who is Mr Ericsson? Did you tell Mr Williamson that the ANC's then plan was to let Ericsson hang himself on a long rope and give it a hard pull?
MR MAHARAJ: I have never pulled a rope on anybody in my life and I wish nobody would pull it on me. It's a very graphic description and I'd like to think that that's politic licence by Mr Williamson.
MR LEVINE: Did you tell Mr Williamson that the relationship between the I.U.E.F. and the ANC was one of trust?
MR MAHARAJ: Quite likely.
MR LEVINE: And that Ericsson was playing games and the ANC could prove that he had been playing games?
MR MAHARAJ: Quite likely in order to solicit Mr Williamson's reaction and inside information.
MR LEVINE: Did you instruct Mr Williamson to prepare a report for you on the I.E.U.F.?
MR MAHARAJ: Quite likely, quite likely.
MR LEVINE: And the role that it was purportedly playing in the South African struggle?
MR MAHARAJ: Quite likely. But I wouldn't be asking that that sort of information at that meeting and simultaneously saying that to him that I had proof that they were playing a game where I would let Mr Ericsson hang himself with a long rope.
MR LEVINE: Why not?
MR MAHARAJ: Because on the one side I'm asking him to give me an independent viewpoint and on the other side I've already influenced his thinking, that would be counter-productive. If a person is sitting in that position in the I.U.E.F. and you want an honest report, ask him for an independent viewpoint, don't tell him what you are thinking because once you tell the person what you are thinking then the person is influenced in finding that. It's been my whole life, I had to learn when carrying the first bomb in a paper carrier bag that unconsciously I began to slink like a criminal.
MR LEVINE: Were you not upset with Ericsson because he was giving monies to the black consciousness movement and the PAC?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes I would be concerned about that especially as in Botswana I had seen that some of the people who were getting the money were not doing any work at home. I thought that if whatever resources our struggle could gather should go directly into prosecuting the struggle and bringing the speediest end to apartheid.
MR LEVINE: So is it correct to say that you trust neither Mr Ericsson nor Mr Williamson?
MR MAHARAJ: I said Mr Williamson by that time I was satisfied in my mind. Mr Ericsson, I said I had concerns about the relationship between him and Mr Williamson. I had concerns at what interests he was representing.
MR LEVINE: And do you recall having mentioned to Mr Williamson that Mr Ericsson had been playing games and had breached the trust in him reposed by the ANC?
MR MAHARAJ: I don't know. As I say if the proposition is that at the same meeting I asked him for a report that at the same meeting I would first deal with the question of my concerns, then I say that would have been counter-productive. Unlikely, but again trying to recall a meeting out of the dozens of times I had met Mr Williamson and the reams of his reports that I have read it's just about impossible for me to say this happened exactly in this meeting. Mr Williamson seems to have the advantage that he was keeping archives. I don't have those archives of mine.
MR LEVINE: Now would you agree with this proposition, you were fiercely loyal to and dedicated to the struggle?
MR MAHARAJ: It goes without saying.
MR LEVINE: You were prepared to put every last bit of energy into achieving the aims of the ANC as they were stated from time to time?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR LEVINE: You have and would have faced death at any time for the attainment of the cause for which you were fighting?
MR MAHARAJ: I'd like to think that I would have been ready, I don't know how I would have met it if the actual thing happened.
MR LEVINE: But your evidence has been that you would have dealt with it and provided that the result was guaranteed or looked good, you would deal with these problems as and when they arose?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir, I never took part in the struggle on the basis that the result of what I was doing was guaranteed.
MR LEVINE: Not guaranteed, I said or reasonably possible.
MR MAHARAJ: I think you used the word guaranteed.
MR LEVINE: I said guaranteed, or - but be that as it may, you were totally dedicated to your cause?
MR MAHARAJ: I'd like to think that that is so.
MR LEVINE: Have you got any reason to suggest that on the other side of the fence Mr Williamson was not similarly dedicated to the cause which he was espousing at all times material?
MR MAHARAJ: I think Mr Williamson's cause was fatally flawed from the point of view of humanity and I think that his commitment to it from my perspective and my knowledge of him was that he was not unlikely to look at his personal interests and further them in the context of his so-called dedicated service. I am not sure how he would have reacted in the circumstances that I've lived through. From his side of the fence, had he been through the experiences that I've been through, well one has had to look that in the eye. I don't know and I have no evidence that his commitment was such that he was prepared to die. What I have evidence is that he simultaneously lived grand, comfortably and rode his 740's.
MR LEVINE: Rode his?
MR MAHARAJ: BMW 740i's.
MR LEVINE: During the years that we've been dealing with?
MR MAHARAJ: I have never known Mr Craig Williamson to be without a meal and a grand meal while I knew him abroad.
MR LEVINE: No but you talk about - and this may just be a little bit of licence that you're adopting now of his always driving BMW 740i's which I think first came into production in or about ...(intervention)
ADV DE JAGER: But Mr Levine I think the gist of the answer is he doesn't know whether Mr Williamson would have been so dedicated to his cause as he himself was to the cause he was serving.
MR MAHARAJ: Let me put it the other way if it may be helpful, judge. I have known Mr Williamson from the time he broke cover. To release information in such a controlled mechanism that it always was to his personal advantage and if you look at my life you will find that I did things which were - whose consequences were likely to be extremely harmful both materially and emotionally to me and my family and my wife and my children, that I have never tried to save my life and to do so in order to further my material interests.
MR LEVINE: Can you dispute that Mr Williamson worked under cover for some ten years?
MR MAHARAJ: No I can't dispute that.
MR LEVINE: Can you dispute that he was willing to risk his life and to risk incarceration by the ANC?
MR MAHARAJ: I don't where we would have - in what risk he ran of incarceration. It was in our interest to leave him with the I.U.E.F. and to confine his activities abroad and not allow a concern to arise with his handlers that we had seen through him.
MR LEVINE: What happened to other agents in Lusaka who were arrested?
ADV DE JAGER: Mr Levine we're busy with an amnesty application. The Act prescribes the requirements for amnesty. Can't we deal with the requirements and try to get to the grit of the matter and finish this trial some time or other? It's becoming a trial, sorry that I refer to it as a trial, but this hearing?
MR LEVINE: I am putting to the witness that exactly as he was committed to his struggle, Mr Williamson was committed to his cause.
CHAIRPERSON: And it's quite clear that the witness doesn't like Mr Williamson, that he is not going to say anything nice about him if he can help it. You've established that, what's the point of going on Mr Levine, as my colleague has said, you are putting these things, each time Mr Maharaj is disagreeing.
MR LEVINE: He is not disagreeing ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: But time and again he doesn't know if Williamson would have risked his life, he doesn't know if Williamson would have done this, he doesn't know if Williamson would have done that.
MR LEVINE: He said it once Mr Chairman, but bearing in mind your graphic perception and understanding of the attitude of Mr Maharaj vis-a-vis Mr Williamson, there is no purpose I would agree in my continuing to state a situation which you have so aptly summed up. Thank you.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR LEVINE
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you Mr Chairman. I don't know if I should carry on or if we should take the adjournment Mr Chairman?
CHAIRPERSON: It's only twenty five to 11.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes I'm tired Mr Chairman.
Mr Maharaj, do you know who I act for?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: I act for Gerry Raven in these applications. He is the person who manufactured the letter bomb that killed Ruth First and that killed Jeanette Schoon and Katryn Schoon and you weren't here when he gave evidence?
MR MAHARAJ: No.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright, I just want to very shortly put to you what he testified. He testified that he acted under instructions of Mr Williamson, he testified that he never knew who the bombs were manufactured for and who the targets were. He testified that he acted as a part of the security forces, that he believed that what he was doing was right, that he believed in apartheid and wanted to uphold apartheid, that he believed that he was fighting against communism, against the liberation movements and that he executed an order. Are there any grounds ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: I think you should also add, Mr Du Plessis, as I understand it, Mr Raven was employed in the technical section, this was part of his normal functions in the Security Branch.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes thank you Mr Chairman, I neglected to do that.
You've heard what his lordship, Mr Justice Wilson, has said that was part of the evidence as well, it was part of his normal job and he was asked by Mr Williamson to manufacture these two bombs. Do you have any grounds, personally, to dispute any of that evidence Mr Maharaj?
MR MAHARAJ: I don't know how the regime worked at that level, I only know how we worked in the ANC. My experience direct and indirect in the ANC was that we did not make that big chain of separation such that people would be doing tasks which could possibly lead to deaths in that anonymous almost factory conveyer belt work - style. That's a different world for me.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes I understand that Mr Maharaj and obviously the structures functioned differently but at the end of the day the question is simply, you don't any information to your disposal with which you can place before the Committee with which you can dispute the evidence of Mr Raven?
MR MAHARAJ: No I couldn't, I don't have the information to dispute.
MR DU PLESSIS: And in the military structures of uMkhonto weSizwe I presume the same military principles applied that a person who is an officer or is in a position higher than another person and gives an order and such an order should be complied with?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, that principle of an order should be complied with applied but there was a major difference that in the ANC and uMkhonto structures there was a post called Political Commissar. That post was critical so that the soldier understood the relevance and significance of his and her actions. It was a mechanism to ensure that we as far as possible did not descend to terrorism. I don't think that the South African Defence Force and security establishment ever saw the need for such a post.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well Mr Maharaj, I accept what you say, I don't want to get into a debate with you about the differences between the two systems, that's not what we are here.
MR MAHARAJ: So the point I just want here is judge, is that the Commissar could countermand the commander's order.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes but Mr Maharaj just on that point you would agree with me that that did not always work
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: And that certain actions were taken which were against the official policy and which the Commissar would not have allowed, do you agree with me on that? Alright, Mr Maharaj, just very briefly, sketch for us and actually for my purposes your positions in the ANC and the ANC structures during the struggle up until 1990? Very shortly please?
MR MAHARAJ: I've been an ordinary member, I've been a newspaper seller, door to door, I've been a manager of a newspaper - Durban office, I've been a student organiser, I've been an editor of a student paper, I've been an executive member of the branch, I've been a founder of the Secretary of the South African Freedom Association, founder member of the anti-apartheid movement in Britain, trade union activist, a trade unionist in my own right, I've done my military training, I've trained in printing, I came back I served in the underground, in the Communist Party carrying out work, printing and publishing for the ANC and the Communist Party, I've been in uMkhonto weSizwe, I was recruited into the high command, ad hoc high command of uMkhonto weSizwe.
MR DU PLESSIS: Can I just interrupt you there? When were you recruited to uMkhonto weSizwe?
MR MAHARAJ: I was recruited to uMkhonto weSizwe when it was formed.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes alright, please carry on?
MR MAHARAJ: And I've been a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party after I came out of prison, I was appointed Secretary of the ANC underground, I was reintegrated into the Central Committee of the Communist Party, I became a member of the politburo of the Communist Party, I served on the Revolutionary Council, on the Political Military Council, I was elected to the National Executive of the ANC in 1985, re-elected in 1991, re-elected last year in Mafeking, I've been in the Working Committee and I have - I've been the joint secretary of the negotiating process at Kempton Park and somehow the Minister without Transport.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes that I know Mr Maharaj. I asked you up to 1990 so I know exactly what the position is, I just didn't know your history before that. Mr Maharaj and during this whole period you identified yourself and you agreed with everything that the liberation movements did?
MR MAHARAJ: I agreed with the policy and not everything that the liberation movements did.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright, did you agree with military actions that the ANC took which fell within the policy of the ANC?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, I have to shed that policy.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes so you agreed with, for instance, the - and had no problem with the Church Street bombing in Pretoria in 1983?
MR MAHARAJ: I think the aftermath of the Church Street bombing raised some concerns but the planning and the targeting of Church Street had not raised concerns in me. I saw it as a legitimate military target and in my own political work, recognised that the South African regime had developed a propensity to put it's - such targets in locations which were often heavily occupied by civilians.
MR DU PLESSIS: Right and you would have the same view pertaining to the Magoo's Bar bombing?
MR MAHARAJ: No, the Magoo's Bar bombing is slightly different. The target as I understand it was the Why Not Bar and it was targeted because intelligence had reported that it was frequented by members of the security forces. The actual operation, I don't recall whether it led to anybody injured or dead who belonged to the security forces so clearly in the Magoo's Bar - so-called Magoo's Bar instance, reconnaissance and intelligence information appeared to have been far less rigorous.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes Mr Maharaj, that's the point I'm trying to get at. In respect of such operations it was always foreseen that a situation may arise that civilians may be hurt, injured or killed in the process and it was accepted by the ANC and the military structures, is that not so?
MR MAHARAJ: The acceptance that civilians could be killed only took place with a policy shift in the '80s, before that there was an explicit policy to do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties.
MR DU PLESSIS: No that I understand Mr Maharaj, but there was also an acceptance that civilian casualties could happen and when it did happen it was accepted as part of such operations.
MR MAHARAJ: No but I'm saying that there was an express policy to avoid civilian casualties in the earlier phase.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes and it became, do you agree with me, later in the struggle during the middle 1980's, it became more accepted that in respect of certain operations there will be civilian casualties?
MR MAHARAJ: Ja.
MR DU PLESSIS: Let's take for instance land mines. Land mines was part of an authorised and accepted operations of the ANC and it was also accepted that civilians could be killed eventually?
MR MAHARAJ: And the moment the information showed that civilians by and large were the ones who were dying we called it off.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes now you would then agree with me Mr Maharaj, that that would have been the same situation on the other side of the fence from the security forces point of view?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: Now why do you disagree?
MR MAHARAJ: Because the history of apartheid goes back to a consistent pattern of killing civilians deliberately. Sharpeville was one such incident where practically all the people killed had bullet wounds where the bullet entered the back of the body and none of those people were military combatants, they were peaceful protesters and that ethos and practice is consistent with the way in which apartheid treated us, in fact it is precisely that treatment that drove us in the end to launch the armed struggle.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes ...(intervention)
MR MAHARAJ: So they never looked at civilians, they actually often deliberately went and killed innocent civilians.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well Mr Maharaj I don't want to - the idea is not to get into a debate with you about that. All I'm asking is that in a specific operation and let's deal for instance with this - the letter bombs that we're dealing with here. Do you agree with me that and we'll get to that point now but let's accept the targets were legitimate targets ...(intervention)
MR MAHARAJ: No ...(intervention)
MR DU PLESSIS: No, let's accept it for the purposes of the question, Mr Maharaj, I'm getting to that point just now. Do you agree with me that the same situation would have applied pertaining to the security forces in such an operation namely that it would have been possible that civilians could be killed or innocent people could be killed and that the security forces would have perceived it in the same way as you did, pertaining to land mines or pertaining to other bomb incidents.
MR MAHARAJ: I don't. The security forces of apartheid accepted civilians as their enemy.
MR DU PLESSIS: No Mr Maharaj.
MR MAHARAJ: They didn't treat their legitimate targets as "is this a military target?" they just saw black people, whoever opposed them as a legitimate target.
MR DU PLESSIS: Black people?
MR MAHARAJ: The ANC didn't do that.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Maharaj, people who identified with the struggle, people who were part of the struggle, people who were part of the structures.
MR MAHARAJ: It did not treat the matter that way. The record is very clear that when we talk about innocent civilians we're talking about people who were not members, who were not activists, who just didn't want to move from one area because there was an administrative order that you are going to be forcibly removed.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, let's forget about the 1960's. Let's just confine ourselves to the time period we're dealing with here, 1980 to 1984. And I hear what you say about Sharpeville and the Soweto uprising, we all know the history ...(intervention)
MR MAHARAJ: Maseru.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Maharaj, but we can argue to and fro about that and I don't want to get into an argument with you, all I'm asking you is, and I can't understand why you don't want to accept it, similarly to the military operations of uMkhonto weSizwe where it was accepted that civilians could be killed in the crossfire, do you accept that that was the situation pertaining to the security forces where they executed a military operation?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir. I don't accept that because they never put that constraint on themselves. When the security forces of South Africa of the apartheid regime carried out a military operation I have yet to see an order which said avoid civilian casualties. That was not in their standing orders and I can show it to you in Gaberone Raid, I can show it to you in Kasinga, I can show it to you at Matola, at the Maseru raid, in the Lusaka raids. They never put the order, this is the military order "you are to avoid civilian deaths". We put it.
MR DU PLESSIS: No Mr Maharaj, there was extensive evidence before this Committee by various applicants testifying that the situation, the orders every time was exactly the same as you testify and you don't want to admit this and for some reason or another, you don't want to admit it ...(intervention)
MR MAHARAJ: The reason is ...(intervention)
MR DU PLESSIS: So let us just leave that point? I accept that you don't want to admit that in a military operation the security forces did not foresee or accept that there may have been civilian casualties in a military operation, that is your evidence, you don't want to accept that.
MR MAHARAJ: My evidence is that I don't accept it until I see an order of that nature and I have yet to see anywhere that evidence produced to say that in the battle orders it said there avoid civilian casualties. And if you show it to me Sir, I will readily concede it because I'm a person who will face up to that reality.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well Mr Maharaj, there was extensive evidence before this Committee by inter alia in the Khotso/Cosatu House incidents in respect of a lot of other amnesty applications and every time orders were given, those were the orders. I don't have to go into the details of that and I don't want to go into the details of that. All I'm asking you is to admit that the killing with the letter bomb of Jeanette Schoon and Katryn Schoon, is a similar situation to a land mine being planted on a farm road in Messina that killed a family of six coming back from church on a Sunday. Do you accept that the situation is the same or do you want to draw a difference?
MR MAHARAJ: I see a difference Sir, with due respect, because this was not the first letter bomb. The land mines put by the ANC were called off. The letter and concealed bombs going right back to 1960's in Botswana continued and they became more and more vicious. They became a walkman which blew a person whose name was put on the envelope as the sender so that when it was not accepted by the recipient in Lusaka it came back to the postal system and killed the person purporting to be a sender. Now after carrying out so many such incidents, if their was consciousness, they would have seen don't do that. If they had realised as they argue that Ruth First was not the target, they would have passed special orders to prevent the wrong target being killed. I have no evidence of such orders saying don't commit this mistake. I have in fact evidence that they continued in that part. The same people manufactured them, the same people gave the orders and identified the targets and the same forces carried on pretending that it was the ANC that killed those people. So they lived in an atmosphere where they were misleading the public and they hid behind that misleading to sleep peacefully.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright, do I understand you then that your evidence is that the security forces went out and killed innocent people who were simply not involved in the struggle, who didn't support the struggle, who never said anything on behalf of the struggle, were simply living straight forward lives in their houses, going to church on Sundays, driving their cars - the security forces decided we're going to kill these persons so they went out and the killed them, is that what you are saying?
MR MAHARAJ: I'm saying they have done that, the only difference is that those were not people driving their cars, they were poverty stricken people, they were children.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes Mr Maharaj.
CHAIRPERSON: Do you want to continue this political debate?
MR DU PLESSIS: No Mr Chairman, I'm finished with that now. Mr Maharaj, now you agree with me that in the same way you identified with the struggle and the ANC's policies over the period that Mr Marius Schoon and Jeanette Schoon also agreed with that, in the same way, do you agree with me?
MR MAHARAJ: Ja.
MR DU PLESSIS: They supported the struggle?
MR MAHARAJ: Ja.
MR DU PLESSIS: And the same for Ruth First, isn't that right?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: Now Mr Maharaj, just for purposes of the last point, I'm just going to finalise it, can I just show you a picture? Mr Chairman I'm going to hand that in as an exhibit. I think that would be ZZ? Mr Chairman, that's actually finishing the first topic so I'm going to finish that and then perhaps - Mr Maharaj I'm just showing you that, I'm showing you how an innocent family looks like where only the husband survived and others were killed. Innocent people killed in a land mine explosion on a farm road in Messina. Do you have any comments to make on that?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes? What did they have to do with the struggle Mr Maharaj?
MR MAHARAJ: I will make my comment unless you want to only answer that last question. I thought you said make a comment.
Sir, these are gruesome deaths and there's no question that all the families, to all of them, we owe an apology and we have made that apology publicly and I have done so at the Cape Town Hearing of the Truth Commission. But let's go beyond that because if we seek to equate it with the level of callousness that was there from the apartheid regime, then I want to say something more. These were anti-tank land mines which could only be triggered by a heavy vehicle of a particular load factor. An ordinary person walking could not trigger that land mine, it was not an anti-personnel mine. It was strategised and planned for as a campaign to hit the troop carriers that were patrolling the borders and the patrols. What happened was in the reality that we found that as a result of those actions, the casualties were being sustained by bakkies with farm labourers as passengers and therefore the load happened to be such that it triggered off the land mine. But an enormous difference between a land mine and an anti-personnel mine and the moment we saw that civilians were being killed, at the leadership level we intervened in the ANC, politically and said to the military "you stop those operations". They were stopped.
MR DU PLESSIS: Now Mr Maharaj, you seem to know a lot about the land mine incidents. Were you involved in the planning thereof?
MR MAHARAJ: I was at that time in the - I would think the structure would have been the Political Military Council and the National Executive of the ANC and therefore anything that was happening at home which was shifting from our focus would be a matter that we would immediately try to pick up and correct and I participated in that.
MR DU PLESSIS: Who were in those military structures who were part of the orders given to plant land mines?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir, I don't know who it was given to, it was given to the military section because it's a military operation.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes but who was in that military section Mr Maharaj?
MR MAHARAJ: The military section was headed by Joe Modise, if the particular years are given, the structures would be given in this document here, setting out who was who, in which year. It's all here, headquarters, political military, military headquarters, are all here name by name but you'd have to say the year and I can just open the page and tell you.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, now Mr Maharaj - Mr Chairman, may I perhaps just carry on with this? I'm nearly finished with this, it flows from this.
Mr Maharaj, were you involved in drawing the ANC's first statement to the Truth Commission?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: You were involved in that?
MR MAHARAJ: Ja.
MR DU PLESSIS: And you reminded the people who drew this statement about things that you've testified now, you would have - did you read the submission?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: And you rectified or you would have rectified something if you wanted to rectify it, if you thought it didn't portray the right situation or the right facts?
MR MAHARAJ: Wherever it cropped up.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes.
MR MAHARAJ: Questions were asked and if there was a lack of clarity I would have clarified, I gave all submission, I was questioned for a whole day and a half.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes now Mr Maharaj, the first submission, page 59, which deals with the land mines. Can I just refer you to that?
MR MAHARAJ: Ja. Paragraph?
MR DU PLESSIS: Page 59, the first column on the left hand side, begins right at the end, the last sentence:
"The ANC's limited use of land mines beginning in late 1985 provides another sample of this nature."
and then it goes on and then the second paragraph on the right hand column reads:
"While regretting all loss of life, the ANC believes that the use of land mines on white border farms was justified because the apartheid regime had declared their military zones with white farmers integrated into the security system and provided with the tools of war including automatic weapons which were only legally possessed by members of the apartheid armed forces."
I don't see any reference, Mr Maharaj, to a decision taken by the ANC to limit land mines, to change from anti-personnel mines to land mines with lighter loads, I don't see anything there. Why is it not there?
MR MAHARAJ: Well we could have written ten volumes but we have given in the appendix, I would just try to see. The shift in policy, Sir, took place after the Maseru massacre. Special meetings of the leadership of the ANC were held and if I recall correctly, a policy decision was made at the Kabwe Conference of the ANC that our restrictions on civilian targets would be limited. They would not be as firm as they were in the past and President Tambo's statement would have been attached to one of the submissions where he addressed the matter before the media. In the case of the land mines, what is very clear here is that we carefully reasoned and argued, what would happen if a white farmer were to die and based on our information we justified the white farmer by saying that they were part of the commandos, part of the surveillance system and therefore a legitimate target. Our restriction on civilians was the other people, the children, the black labourers, we still said that's civilian, but the white farmer who was in the commando who was part of that communication network, we said legitimate target.
ADV DE JAGER: Mr Maharaj, he had his family with him on the farm, they were driving in the same car.
MR MAHARAJ: We would have expected, as I say Sir, that we were targeting the patrols, that's what we would have expected and we would have expected that if the white farmer died or if an incident happened who was called out as a follow up would be the white farmer, that would be legitimate. So we did a distinction there and for the Truth Commission I personally went into the details together with Ronnie Kasrils and Joe Modise on the fact of the distinction between land mines and anti-personnel mines. So here you see a loosening of that tight requirement that said avoid civilian losses and a political argument why the white farmer was a legitimate target but it says very clearly the white farmer. The facts Sir, that as a result showed that the deaths were not the white farmer and were not the soldier, is a primary reason why it was called off.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, I think I'm going to carry on with this subject but perhaps if you want to take the adjournment we could do it now? This has opened up certain issues which I think I should address.
CHAIRPERSON: We'll take a short adjournment.
SATHYANDRANATH RAGUNANAN MAHARAJ: (s.u.o.)
MR DU PLESSIS: May I, before I proceed with the questioning, hand you the heads of argument which I've been promising you the whole week in respect of the cross-examination question. You will see in the heads of argument, Mr Chairman, I refer to two other Commissions of Enquiry and where the same problem occurred and the one was dealt with by his lordship, Mr Justice van der Heever, that was in the 1940's and then another one, his lordship Mr Justice Diemand in the 1960's about more or less the same situation.
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, Visser on record, we have also completed ours and while we are on that subject perhaps it might be convenient for us to hand ours in now as well?
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR DU PLESSIS: (Continued) Mr Maharaj, when did this instruction about the land mine and the use of land mines and the discontinuing of the use of anti-personnel land mines or anti-tank land mines, when did that, which is not mentioned by the ANC in their presentation, when was that decision made, where and by whom?
Judge, we have been looking at the first submission dated August 1996 but the matter was further dealt with in the further submissions dated 12th May 1997 and in that one on page 70 there is a specific section 5.2 with a heading "Anti-Tank Mine Operations." That is further amplified there and I'm trying to look for any dates that appear there, they don't appear to be dates but they're rational, the exact operation which starts off, which says the ANC never used anti-personnel mines specifically because we were concerned to avoid civilian casualties and that section ends with the paragraph:
"When it became apparent that land mine operations were not having the desired effect of consistently striking at security forces they were suspended by military headquarters."
I don't have the exact dates on me, if however it is crucial, I could refresh myself by looking at the documents and try pressing the dates in order to establish that, but they were made in our submissions to the Truth Commission public hearings on Gross Human Right Violations and I recall a particular session where Mr Joe Modise, Mr Ronnie Kasrils and I fielded questions on it and went on to greater details of the technical aspects and actually the dates as well. The dates would of course be closer to the knowledge of people like Mr Joe Modise and Ronnie Kasrils but they would be mid '80s and after, they would be post '84/'85 as far as I'm concerned and I'm locating it in the political context and post Kabwe and I think the Kabwe Conference was 1985 so it would be after that and I don't think that the land mine, anti-tank land mine campaign would of endured at maximum more than two years but I think it was shorter because there was a clear intervention directly by the President of the ANC, President Tambo.
ADV BIKO: Mr Chairman, may I be of assistance in order to avoid - the year 1985 is the commencement of the land mine campaign, appears on page 59 in the first submission Mr Chairman. The last paragraph on the left hand column of that page, page 59.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, now Mr Maharaj, do you agree that the use of land mines was a mistake and that it caused more civilian deaths than any other deaths, do you agree with that statement?
MR MAHARAJ: On hindsight, the use of land mines, anti-tank land mines was a mistake, it was acknowledged and it was brought to a stop.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes. Yes you see ...(intervention)
MR MAHARAJ: Precisely because it was not getting - delivering the results it desired.
MR DU PLESSIS: Because the Chief of the South African Defence Force testified to the same effect at the Section 29 hearings, I've got the excerpt of where he testified to the same. Now Mr Maharaj, I've been trying to determine after you said that it had stopped from the ANC second submission how far these land mine explosions went. Now if I can take you in that submission to page 84 which deals with 1985 you will see there the last paragraph it says:
"Six killed in anti-tank mine explosion in game farm."
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes. Alright and then the next page, the fourth one, 1986:
"Two killed in anti-tank mine explosion near Botswana border"
MR MAHARAJ: Sorry, which one is that?
MR DU PLESSIS: The fourth one in 1986, in 1986, the sixth one from the top.
MR MAHARAJ: In 1986?
MR DU PLESSIS: January 1986.
MR MAHARAJ: January 1986?
MR DU PLESSIS: That is Ross area near Botswana border.
MR MAHARAJ: That is Ross, yes.
MR DU PLESSIS:
"Two killed in anti-tank mine explosion."
To the second one from there, again:
"Two killed and two injured in anti-tank mine explosion."
MR MAHARAJ: Right.
MR DU PLESSIS: And there are lots of examples and on page 86, 12 February 1986 sort of in the middle of the page:
"A bakkie detonates anti-tank mine, no injuries."
Then there's a Caspir severely damaged and then we can go on, page 87.
MR MAHARAJ: Where is the Caspir?
MR DU PLESSIS: Just two down, it's 16 February.
MR MAHARAJ: 16 February at page 86?
MR DU PLESSIS: Page 86 yes, 16 February, Caspir severely damaged.
MR MAHARAJ: 16th February - that's in Mamelodi?
MR DU PLESSIS: In Mamelodi yes. Now - so anti-tank land mines were planted in Mamelodi, Mr Maharaj, do you want to comment on that?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes?
MR MAHARAJ: The anti-tank land mine campaign as explained in the two submissions was directed at the borders of South Africa inside South Africa. It was a special campaign undertaken but that did not mean that the use of the anti-tank mine was discontinued in specific instances. The campaign itself was an effort in a widespread way to put those anti-tank mines around the borders which were patrolled, specific operations where the target could be effectively reached were not banned. I myself, when I came into the country, would if the occasion have used them as long as it conformed to the object. In the anti-tank mine campaign that we are speaking about, it was failing to deliver the results. In Mamelodi to strike at a Caspir would be a legitimate target and if those units were under my control I would have sent them a letter of congratulations.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes Mr Maharaj, I accept that you would have congratulated them. On page 87 you will see there are four examples in 1986, 25 May 1986.
MR MAHARAJ: Page 87?
MR DU PLESSIS: 87, 25 May 1986, more to the bottom of the page.
MR MAHARAJ: 25 May in 1986? Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS:
"Anti-tank mine kills 2, injures 8."
The next one is:
"A tractor detonated a land mine"
The next one is:
"Anti-tank mine injures one person, in Volksrust"
the previous one was in Darville, the next one is again Volksrust, it's very far from the border.
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS:
"Anti-tank mine injures two farm workers."
16 June 1986 - probable anti-tank mine explosion kills three B.D.F. troops in a troop carrier."
And so we can go on, we can turn to 1987, page 92, 93 I'm sorry.
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: 30 July, the fifth one from the top:
"Anti-tank land mine injures three civilians."
MR MAHARAJ: Page?
MR DU PLESSIS: Page 93, 5th one from the top.
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: "Anti-tank land mine injures three civilians"
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright? Now I haven't had time to go through the rest, it doesn't seem to me that there were further land mine explosions contained in this document until 1989, it doesn't seem so from the quick glance that I gave it. Now Mr Maharaj, may I ask you again, the decision to use land mines, who was present when that decision was made? Who made that decision, who gave that order?
MR MAHARAJ: Sir, first of all I would not recall who was present at a particular meeting but I can say from my own knowledge that the political military council or the revolutionary council would have had to endorse and did endorse that direction of activity as authorised by military headquarters. I also say that I'm certainly aware that it was discontinued, that insofar as the dates are given for the explosions to the extent that the campaign was called off, those mines had been planted already and may well have remained in the terrain because I cannot conceive in the conditions that we were struggling that it would have been easy to send and identify each unit and say you go back and now unearth that particular land mine at the risk of dying yourselves so the dates of the explosions, even after '94, we might well find some were in the Northern Province and anti-tank mine unearthed which had been planted in '85/'86, but that the campaign was called off is well attested to in the public hearings and supported. The public statements by the President and by the institutions particularly the National Executive and the Political Military Council. The decision then who was present, I would be in and out of Lusaka, Lusaka was my base, I would attend meetings of the Political Military Council and the NEC as and when they were held. The NEC was made up of more than 30 individuals and the political military council made up of about 15 to 20 individuals. Those who would be present at a particular meeting would be a quorum of the members.
MR DU PLESSIS: But it would have been endorsed by both those organs?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: Right. Now Mr Maharaj, I want to put it to you that you're not entirely correct when you say that the policy of the ANC was not to hit civilians.
MR MAHARAJ: That the policy was not to?
MR DU PLESSIS: Was not to effect civilians in operations.
MR MAHARAJ: Specifically after 1985 President Tambo made a public statement to say that henceforth we would not pay the same attention when it came to civilian deaths. He also made a statement after the Matola raid to say that we were at a dangerous point in the struggle that if the apartheid regime argue that anybody armed with a pistol was a legitimate target then it would raise the possibility that every white civilian that owned a pistol was a legitimate target. He raised that as a question at Matola after Kabwe Conference we made a special announcement to say that we would not restraining ourselves to the degree we had previously restrained and that civilians caught in the cross-fire could be expected to die.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes.
MR MAHARAJ: So there was a distinct change and it was a conscious change and we stated so publicly.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes. Mr Maharaj, on page 52 of the statement of the ANC to the Truth Commission, there is a direct excerpt from the speech of President Oliver Tambo where that is clearly reflected. In the left hand column, the first paragraph, the last sentence says:
"The distinction between hard and soft targets is going to disappear in an intensified confrontation in an escalating conflict."
ADV DE JAGER: Mr du Plessis, I think that's been conceded and Mr Maharaj testified that it's been carried on for a period and thereafter there was an order to change the position again. So we've got that on record. Can we perhaps proceed to the next point?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes I'm proceeding, Mr Chairman.
Mr Maharaj, in the same way that the ANC perceived the situation pertaining to civilians, the security - I put it to you, the security forces was in the same position pertaining to military operations that they planned against targets which they thought were legitimate targets and they could also not always plan it to the finest detail so that civilians do not get caught in a cross-fire. I putting that to you and in my view you should agree with that.
MR MAHARAJ: I'm sorry Sir. No evidence has been presented to me to support that position. No evidence has been presented to me of the SADF or the Security Branch top structure taking a decision, laying out policy guidelines saying civilians as a general rule should be avoided. The record is different, in fact the record is that anybody who was let alone being a member of the ANC, anybody who was seen to in any way oppose apartheid became a legitimate target. As against that, the record of the ANC is actual instances as I mentioned the cabinet being vetoed as a legitimate target and their are excellent writings in the ANC publications arguing what constituted terrorism and what constituted guerrilla warfare and peoples war and in that distinction goes back right to the formation of uMkhonto weSizwe where we deliberately and consciously turned our back on launching an armed struggle that would take the pattern of the Algerian struggle. So I cannot accept that, with due respect, I've said that if I see that there was an order at a policy level, I would be ready to change my mind on that but I have not seen one in all my looking.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright, Mr Maharaj and just the one final question on this point and then I'm going to move on. Other operations such as the Church Street bomb and Magoo's Bar incident and other operations which were carried out, the attack against SASOL, Voortrekkerhoogte rocket attack, those would also have been authorised by the same two organs that you testified just now about the land mines, is that right?
MR MAHARAJ: Bit of a difference there Sir, when special operations was set up by President Tambo it functioned for a period without reporting to the revolutionary council or the political military council or the NEC. All that was said was that there is a special operations team set up. SASOL one, would have taken place in that period. Koeberg was never discussed at any meeting but I was privy to the discussions on Koeberg and in the case of Koeberg I had been the person who provided the diagrams of Koeberg to Joe Slovo and I had warned him that Koeberg was due to become operational, I think in about a space of about six months and together we agreed that Comrade Slovo would solicit the advice of nuclear physicists in Britain and the Soviet Union and possibly I think the United States to give them the plans and consult them about the possibility of danger from radiation and when it was struck, again not because I was directly involved in the operation but in my tasks I was party to retrieving the members of the unit that carried out that attack and therefore became aware that we carried it out hurriedly because we wanted to strike it before it became operational to avoid radiation and effecting people working there as well as the surrounding areas.
ADV DE JAGER: Ja thank you, Mr du Plessis could we now come back to Mr Raven's case? We've dealt now with Koeberg and a lot of other things but could we get to the essence of Mr Raven's application?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, with respect Mr Chairman, I didn't ask a question about Koeberg. I asked a simple question, I got a long answer with a lot of information contained therein. I have one last question Mr Chairman.
Mr Maharaj, am I correct if I put the following to you that within the structures, the top structures of the ANC at that time, people who are still with us today, that they would have specific information, specific knowledge about these operations and am I also correct that they form part of the 37 members of the ANC who applied for amnesty?
MR MAHARAJ: I'm sorry judge, I have to give you a long answer to that one, again. 37 who are members of the ANC? Incorrect. 37 people were granted what has been called in the media blanket amnesty. They were not all members of the ANC. Two, that there would be a number of individuals in the leadership who would know of every operation? No. Not in the PMC, not in the NEC. That there would specific individuals who would know of a cluster of operations? Yes. It depended within those guidelines which front area you operated from and it depended also which internal area you operated from as to whether you would have actual knowledge of the actual operation. So that's the reality in which we operated but I would not accept the statement that there would be a group of people in the leadership who would know of every operation.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, that wasn't really the effect of what I put, Mr Maharaj. All I'd put was that there are people who have specific knowledge of these operations.
MR MAHARAJ: I thought you had used the word a group of people?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes but ...(intervention)
MR MAHARAJ: I'm paying very careful attention judge to your words.
ADV DE JAGER: Let's ...(inaudible) specific knowledge about your client's operation.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, I'm finished with that point.
Mr Maharaj, now in respect of Mr Marius Schoon and Jeanette Schoon, let's deal with them first? You have given us information and you have testified to the effect that they supported the struggle in exactly the same way that you did. Mr Marius Schoon also testified to that effect. You don't have any problem with that?
MR MAHARAJ: Supported yes, correct.
MR DU PLESSIS: And that they supported all the actions of the ANC?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes they accepted the policy.
MR DU PLESSIS: Including all the military operations and everything within the policy?
MR MAHARAJ: They accepted that policy.
MR DU PLESSIS: And that they supported the struggle to overthrow the South African Government and to obtain or to reach a situation where there was a national convention and a new constitution?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir, so did Olaf Palme, Prime Minister of Sweden.
MR DU PLESSIS: Which by the way eventually did happen, isn't that so?
MR MAHARAJ: Which happened and which led to the death of Olaf Palme in Sweden.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, I didn't ask you about that Mr Maharaj, let's leave that alone. Now Mr Maharaj, in respect of the Schoons and what they were doing in Botswana, when did you now become aware that the second statement of the ANC to the Truth Commission was wrong in respect of their position pertaining to the senior organ?
MR MAHARAJ: No, I haven't said it's wrong, I have said it is vaguely formulated and it was vaguely formulated because of a real situation that confronted us when we had to file the document that we had to rely on memories and we made the caveat that memories would be faulty so I'm not saying that that formulation was a deliberate attempt to mislead. I'm saying as we sit here and scrutinise that formulation we see the looseness of that formulation and I'm explaining that from my personal knowledge Marius and Jeanette were never members of the senior organ committee, they were members of a sub-committee.
MR DU PLESSIS: Now Mr Maharaj, if you are correct in that, then that document does not reflect the true position, do you agree with me?
MR MAHARAJ: That document uses the word "were leading members in" and I say that that's the formulation that has led to the ambiguity and misunderstanding here and I thought that by first hand evidence I would clarify that and show why in the case of Botswana as against other areas where the formulation is different, there is that vagueness.
MR DU PLESSIS: But Mr Maharaj, the question is simple. Were they members of the senior organ or weren't they?
MR MAHARAJ: Sir, with due respect, I'm saying they were not members of the senior organ committee, they were members of the sub-structures dealing with the political side.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes.
MR MAHARAJ: So in one sense, generically, all people under the senior organ were in the senior organ, specifically organisationally not all people were, the members of the committee were the members of the committee. Marius was not a member of that committee.
MR DU PLESSIS: He was not a member of that committee. Was he a senior leading figure of the ANC in Botswana, is that what the document wants to portray?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, I mean Marius is a veteran.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, alright and if that was the - your impression, that would be the impression of everybody else involved in the Botswana structures of the ANC at the time?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: But they were leading figures, they were important people in the structures of the ANC in Botswana?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: And you would agree with me that intelligence of the South African Security Forces would have had the same perception of them?
MR MAHARAJ: If the South African Security Forces started from the premise being in the ANC made you a legitimate target, that is they made no distinction between the persons involved in military work and the persons involved in other political work, if they made no distinction between an ANC member in the underground and an ANC member serving as a Chief Representative in Paris, if they made no distinction at that level, then they would be arguing that case and saying similarly any supporter of the struggle for liberation would be a legitimate target, then the point would be no distinction with regards to civilians.
CHAIRPERSON: Weren't they taking the point Mr Maharaj, that prominent active ANC politicians were seeking to overthrow what they regarded as the legitimate government of this country? It wasn't only the military who was trying to overthrow the government, it was the politicians, wasn't it?
I think that's the question you were asked.
MR MAHARAJ: Sir, with due respect, the only difference is why I'm making that distinction is because I never saw the President or the Prime Minister of South Africa as a legitimate target. I didn't see membership or prominence in the National Party or the government making the person a target. Whereas it appears to me that from the other side ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: The question was you were trying to overthrow the government, weren't you?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
CHAIRPERSON: And the politicians in the ANC were seeking to do that, that is what the policemen that Mr du Plessis is asking questions on behalf of, as they saw the position?
MR MAHARAJ: Well then Sir, they could lock us up, not kill us.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well Mr Maharaj, do you agree with Mr Schoon's evidence that he established a very sophisticated professional intelligence network in Botswana between Botswana and South Africa?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: And do you agree with his evidence that if -and he testified that he was asked in instances that if he was asked to deliver certain information or carry certain information or convey certain information to South Africa through this intelligence network of his, he would have done so? And he did so.
MR MAHARAJ: Sure.
MR DU PLESSIS: And do you agree that his network was utilised extensively by the ANC in Botswana for intelligence purposes?
MR MAHARAJ: I think it was utilised for intelligence gathering, it was utilised as a communication channel to the political structures. I'm not aware of it being utilised to send to any military unit.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, yes Mr Maharaj, but information could have been sent to and fro about people who were coming out of the country, people who were going into the country, routes being utilised for coming out, coming in, isn't that so?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes with the understanding that the military had it's own communications.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes Mr Maharaj, I don't necessarily - I'm just asking you what they did.
MR MAHARAJ: And I'm clarifying that they didn't do military work.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes Mr Maharaj, the information that they received would that have been sent up to the higher structures of the ANC?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: And that would have been utilised?
MR MAHARAJ: It would have been sent to me, not necessarily utilised.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes.
CHAIRPERSON: But if it was of any value you would have certainly utilised it, wouldn't you?
MR MAHARAJ: If it was, the particular information was valuable it would be utilised.
MR MAHARAJ: But I wouldn't say that all the information sent would be utilised.
MR DU PLESSIS: And Mr Maharaj, it could have been information of any kind of nature, isn't it?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir, it would generally be political, they were in the political structure.
MR DU PLESSIS: So what you're saying is, if Mr Schoon received information which may have been of a military nature, he wouldn't have sent it up to you because he was simply political?
MR MAHARAJ: He would have sent it up but it was not his area of work.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes but then you would have received it, isn't that so?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: And if it was of a military nature and if it was of value you would have used it?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: Isn't that so? Yes, alright. Now Mr Maharaj, and in respect of the involvement of Jeanette Schoon in the trade union movement, she was trying to establish the trade unions in South Africa who worked towards making the trade unions in South Africa a force?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: And that was with a view to support, eventually, the peoples war and general uprising to overthrow the government?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: Because the trade unions was one of the most if not the most important structure that the ANC utilised within the country to motivate the masses?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: Because the philosophy is easy, it's an organisation where the workers are already pulled together, it's easy to motivate them in an organisational structure already?
MR MAHARAJ: Well I wouldn't argue the philosophy because I have different views about the philosophy.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright let's not get into a philosophical debate.
MR MAHARAJ: You were just asking me to agree with that philosophy.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes you say you don't agree, that's fine we can leave it there but you agree with me that eventually the trade unions were one of the - was - the involvement of the trade unions was one of the most important factors in the instability that was caused in the country in South Africa, within South Africa during the middle '80's?
MR MAHARAJ: We described the trade unions as part of the revolutionary forces.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright now Mr Maharaj and do you agree with me that the involvement of the trade unions eventually caused all sorts of problems with uprisings, with acts such as stone throwing, burning of vehicles, things like that. Do you agree with me? Mr Marius Schoon agreed with me.
MR MAHARAJ: Sir it was one of the strands of our searches to bring a change by means of a peaceful general strike, that was the objective. It was never possible and in those strikes many of these acts of what you call violence and stone throwing have been known to have been done by people in the crowd and they have also been known to have been done by agent provocateurs of the apartheid state.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright Mr Maharaj, I'm not going to debate that issue with you.
MR MAHARAJ: It's not a debating matter, it's a factual matter.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well I differ from you but let's leave it there, Mr Maharaj, there are certain things we have to deal with. The eventual dangerous position that the Schoons had in Botswana and the reason why they had to be removed from Botswana as I understand it was a danger to their lives, isn't that so?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: Right and what happened then, where were they removed to?
MR MAHARAJ: They were called back and shifted from underground work in the political section. They then got in touch with the education section and it took them about six months for the education section to come up with the possibility that they could get employment at Lubango and they went off and took that post in '82.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes Mr Maharaj and at that time there were no ANC representation in Lubango, is that right?
MR MAHARAJ: Not as far as I'm aware and it was not part of our operations.
MR DU PLESSIS: Why were they sent to Lubango?
MR MAHARAJ: We had to find a way where they would have a livelihood and we had to locate it in the context of our solidarity possibilities, there would have been possibilities for sending them to Europe, I think they would have liked to remain in Africa and in the end I don't know how the arrangements were arrived at with the education section that they ended up in Lubango but they ended up in an area which was outside of ...(indistinct).
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes and did you regard them as being out of danger then at that time?
MR MAHARAJ: I certainly regarded their going to Lubango as putting them outside of the reach of those who wanted to assassinate them.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes but do you agree with me, Mr Maharaj, it wasn't a very safe place, Lubango at that time, it was a very unstable place?
MR MAHARAJ: There was hardly a place in Southern Africa that was safe unless we were to give up living in Africa and I thought it was an important symbol that comrades even when withdrawn for their own personal safety should show their commitment to Africa by serving an African country even though there was a general danger in Zambia, in Mozambique, in Lesotho, in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Angola, Tanzania. The danger was there, attacks were taking place in normal military attacks so this was - the whole area was dangerous to live in but I did not regard Lubango as an area where the South African assassins would specifically say we can reach Marius Schoon now or Jeanette or Katryn.
ADV DE JAGER: Mr du Plessis, did your client know that the Schoons were in Lubango?
MR DU PLESSIS: No Mr Chairman, my client didn't know.
ADV DE JAGER: So if he didn't know, what would the relevance be of where the Schoons were at that stage as far as your client is concerned?
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, I'm dealing with this simply because of the fact that I am not sure and because of the lack of judgements from the Amnesty Committee on some of these issues, I am not sure in what way the Amnesty Committee will adjudge my client's political motive and especially the rationale behind the proportionality of the deed when the information was within the knowledge of his superior and how that would effect his position, Mr Chairman. If you say to me today now, that that will not, even if it is eventually found that from Mr Williamson's point of view, the deed was not proportional, to the result achieved that that would not influence my client's case at all, then I will stop this cross-examination immediately.
ADV DE JAGER: Well it would depend on your client's knowledge about it. What did he know, what was his own motive, how could it be interpreted on his evidence, the facts pertaining to your client? We can't use information that he knew nothing about it and wasn't put to him or whatever in his favour or against him.
MR DU PLESSIS: Right, Mr Chairman if that is the case and that's the view of the Amnesty Committee then I won't proceed with this line of cross-examination.
ADV DE JAGER: In fact - but he had knowledge of the previous killing.
CHAIRPERSON: His letter bomb had been used to kill the wife of a prominent person, he knew that.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well after the fact.
CHAIRPERSON: He knew that before the ...(inaudible)
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, yes. Mr Chairman, now I'm not sure if the indications that Mr de Jager is correct and if I should leave this line of cross-examination? If it ...(intervention)
ADV DE JAGER: No, please carry on, I can't advise you how to deal with your case. I've put you a proposition and deal with your case as you think fit.
MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you Mr Chairman, I'll try to be as quick a possible, I promise you.
Mr Maharaj, in respect of the situation in Angola, I'm going to put to you that I find it very improbable that you would have sent somebody who was of such value to you in Botswana pertaining to intelligence structures and networks to Angola simply to teach English.
MR MAHARAJ: Sir, nobody is closer to me than my wife. She worked in Mozambique, in Maputo. She travelled to Swaziland. I was in Swaziland when I allowed her to buy a motor cycle and travel first time ever riding a motor cycle from Manzini to Maputo where she arrived at 10 o'clock at night. She has been in Lesotho where raids had taken place. She has been in Botswana.
My second child was born in the clinic in Harare and at the age of two weeks was transported by road with my wife in the car to Zambia at a time when life was extremely dangerous. I do not believe I did that callously and I did not believe that I did that unaware of the dangers but I believe that by her working in Mozambique and Zambia without her direct involvement in any underground work of the ANC at that stage, she was a symbol of resistance to apartheid rule. So the danger I do not deny but the danger that the South African forces would pursue them in Lubango as a specific target was less possible in Lubango than in Botswana and then in Lusaka.
What danger arose was in the general military situation by aircraft bombing, by infantry attacks, the whole of Lubango could have been overrun and they could have died. That is a different form of danger but my view is there's a very big difference between that danger and I don't believe that given the public knowledge that they had gone into teaching at a university in an area where there were no South Africans, where no communication lines could run smoothly, where I think that even supplies were short, would have made them as exposed as they were in Botswana.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes Mr Maharaj ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: As I understand the position Mr Maharaj, you had little choice in the matter. They lost their job in Botswana, the Botswana Government indicated that they would throw them out in two weeks, they had to leave Botswana. The network was broken up.
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
CHAIRPERSON: And you had to find somewhere else for them to go and that is why they went? It wasn't a deliberate decision by the ANC to transfer them?
MR MAHARAJ: I couldn't have put it better Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: And Mr Maharaj one of the overriding or most important reasons as I understand you, why they were sent to Lubango in Angola was to show solidarity with the Angolan government and the Angolan people, which you testified about, and as a show of support?
MR MAHARAJ: And to give them a livelihood and a job.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, so they were a symbol for the ANC? The fact that they taught there was not simply they taught English there, they were regarded as a symbol of the ANC in Angola?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes like my wife was a symbol.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes. Now Mr Maharaj, do you agree in respect of Ruth First that she was a very high profile person in the ANC?
MR MAHARAJ: Ruth First was a member of an ANC branch. If you're using high profile deriving from her past and her academic reputation, that's a different thing but when you say high profile in the ANC, I must remove any implication that she held any senior position in the ANC.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes but Mr Maharaj, let's just deal with her standing as a figure in the ANC, she was a leading figure of the struggle from the period in the 1950's right through and she was regarded, held in high esteem by everybody in the ANC. Do you disagree with that?
MR MAHARAJ: I think she was held in leading esteem beyond the ANC.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, beyond the ANC. Let's take it further. She was a world wide known figure and she did a lot to support the ANC's cause internationally, do you agree with that?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes because what I'm putting to you is what her daughter testified, so she - her daughter testified Mr Maharaj, that she was known throughout the world, that she had given speeches, that she had written books which were well known and she was a well known international leading figure of the ANC. Do you agree with that?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, she was a leading figure in that sense but I'm saying don't draw the mechanical equation that she was a member holding a leading position in the ANC.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, no, no, no, let's forget about the technicalities Mr Maharaj, even within the ...(intervention)
MR MAHARAJ: Most of the technicalities judge, with due respect, are very important. Dulcie September was a Chief Representative in Paris and killed. I don't think that just that word "leading" is an easy word to use.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Maharaj, we'll deal with that in argument.
CHAIRPERSON: Has anybody challenged this Mr du Plessis, the evidence we've heard about her position, that given by her daughter?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well Mr Chairman, Mr Maharaj testified and that is why I'm asking him this, he testified that while she was in Mozambique she simply - and I'm leading up to that Mr Chairman, she helped students in Mozambique, she wasn't involved in the struggle at all, she set up support for refugees students, she set up ANC structures not related to the underground work, so there's this whole line between on the one hand, the ...(intervention)
MR BIZOS: I'm sorry Mr Chairman, what evidence is there that she set up ANC structures?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, not related to underground work. That is Mr Maharaj's evidence from my notes.
MR MAHARAJ: I don't know if I can intervene here judge, I think that the summaries that are presenting are very incompetent summaries of what I have said and I don't know whether it's a deliberate incompetence or a genuine incompetence.
ADV DE JAGER: I think it's whenever they summarise something and it's not in accordance with what you've said, you've got the right to point it out and even a duty, it would assist us too.
MR MAHARAJ: It would be much easier, thank you very much judge, I can clarify the position.
I said number one, that Ruth First was not involved with the internal struggle of South Africa, that is from the internal structures, military or political. I said that she was a member of the ANC like every other member. I said that she was of high standing in the international community. I said that she did work with the students who were in exile in Mozambique and I said that she was doing major research work assisting the development process in Mozambique. But I did not say that she was not involved in the anti-apartheid struggle, I did not say that she did nothing for the struggle. A major distinction in my mind because the ANC maintained two separate structures, external and internal.
MR DU PLESSIS: Now Mr Maharaj, am I right in saying that the research that she was doing related to the question in what way could Mozambique become economically independent from South Africa?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: And that information and the studies that she was doing during that time, was she giving speeches, did she speak to - on public platforms in Mozambique or anywhere in the world?
MR MAHARAJ: I'm not aware of the late Ruth First delivering speeches on public platforms in Mozambique but I'm aware of her delivering speeches around the world.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, if you'll just bear with me please?
You would agree with Ms Slovo, Ms Gillian Slovo when she testified that her mother's death was a loss for the ANC?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir and a grievous loss to South Africa of today.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Maharaj and you also would agree with me in respect of the situation pertaining from 1980 in South Africa that it was similar to a guerrilla war situation?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir. Having been deeply involved in the attempts to root and wage a guerrilla struggle, I must say guerrilla warfare had not taken root. What was present post '84 was an enormous popular uprising and a sustained uprising which was being met all over with tanks.
MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you Mr Chairman, I have no further questions.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR DU PLESSIS
CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, I want to place on record Exhibit N, the ANC submissions which have been referred to again and again and various people have been asked about them, that is the paragraph relating to the organisations in Botswana, that it commences, if one looks at page 34 appendix 1, the heading is "Please note" and then they deal with structures and then say:
"Most of the information contained in this appendix is drawn from memories. There may be minor mistakes and omissions"
So the document itself makes it clear that it is not drawn from record and is not entirely reliable.
CHAIRPERSON: Next, any questions?
MR CORNELIUS: Cornelius on behalf of McPherson, I have no questions thank you.
NO QUESTIONS BY MR CORNELIUS
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS PATEL: Thank you Honourable Chairperson.
Mr Maharaj, there's just one or two points I'd like clarity on, you said in your testimony earlier that you lived in an environment where you never got mail through the post, would this have applied to Joe Slovo as well?
MR MAHARAJ: Absolutely, cardinal rule for the positions that we were occupying.
MS PATEL: Alright, so what are the probabilities of mail being addressed to him being sent to Ruth?
MR MAHARAJ: In my opinion zero, because if a letter arrived for me in Zambia addressed care of my wife who was at that time working at Zambia University, it would straight away be destroyed. I wouldn't even bother to look at it but if I had the chance later on when we managed to acquire a screening equipment, I would take it to the ANC head office and hand it over to the intelligence section to screen it and open it before handing it to me.
MS PATEL: Alright and then just one final point, do you know a women by the name of Brigitte O'Lochlan?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MS PATEL: Do you know whether she worked with Ruth First?
MR MAHARAJ: She worked at the Centre of African Studies as far as I know and she was injured in that blast.
MS PATEL: Right, would she be in a position to testify as to what Ruth was doing at the university at the time?
MR MAHARAJ: I think she would be a fairly authoritative witness as to what Ruth was doing at - because she was with Ruth at the Centre of African Studies whereas I had not been employed, I properly visited the centre twice.
MS PATEL: Alright, thank you very much, honourable Chairperson.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MS PATEL
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, Visser on record, I really don't wish to take up any time at all but there is one matter which I'm constrained to place on record. I'm not going to ask any questions of Minister Maharaj but he is welcome to stop me immediately if anything I say now is incorrect factually or otherwise.
Mr Chairman, we appeared for certain victims in the Church Street bomb which is not relevant to your hearings hear today but it has now arisen in cross-examination. In that matter, certain Abubaker Ismail, MK Rashied, applied for amnesty inter alia for the Church Street bomb. We cross-examined him at length, we dealt with many subjects, some of which have been raised here today. That matter is sub iudice at the moment. Our argument has been handed in. I understand that Justice Miller who was the Chairman of that Committee is still awaiting the argument from some of the participants in those applications, but Mr Chairman, insofar as whatever - and I may say Mr Maharaj was present during that hearing from time to time and he didn't give evidence but he was present at the time. I'm not sure whether he heard my cross-examination, I'm not going as far as that, but inasfar as Mr Maharaj has given evidence today, which is contrary to whatever evidence was presented under cross-examination or principles dealt with in our argument, Mr Chairman, I simply wish to place on record so that it won't be said that I was present and I said nothing, I simply wish to place on record that we disagree with that and I want to take it no further than that.
MR MAHARAJ: May I just say judge that yes, I attended that hearing I think for one day. I did not - I was not asked to be a witness, I did not attend it when Mr Visser was doing any cross-examination. In fact one of the members of MK was due to give evidence that day and not Mr Abubaker. I'm not aware of what happened there but insofar as what I've said about Church Street, I can support it by the evidence and the submissions that we made.
MR VISSER: I accept Mr Maharaj's word for what he says Mr Chairman, I simply repeat that I don't want to go into a full-fledged cross-examination of Mr Maharaj on a matter which is not even obliquely relevant to the present proceedings.
RE-EXAMINATION BY MR BIZOS: Very briefly, Mr Chairman. What work was your wife doing in Southern Africa during the period that you have mentioned her name?
MR MAHARAJ: My wife was a lecturer in mathematics at the University of Edwardo Montlane from December 1977. We met there, she then moved over to Zambia, took up a post with the University of Zambia in the computer section. She computerised the Zambian educational system, designed it. When her term of office finished with the University of Zambia she was employed by the Zambian Government Education Department to do the training of the Zambian staff to take over that computerised system and after that she was employed by the United Nations agency to computerise the preferential trade area information systems and it's at that stage that I left Zambia. She met in a car accident in 1988 while I was underground in South Africa and as a result of extensive injuries she had to relocate in Britain in order to be near adequate medical treatment.
MR BIZOS: She was a teacher in Southern Africa?
MR MAHARAJ: I'd like to think she was a brilliant teacher.
MR BIZOS: You know, a lot has been made about differences in policy and application and on your evidence there were the ANC's policy may have shifted. I want to deal with what the position was in relation to the ANC's attitude to violence in '82 and '84. The one when the late Ruth First was murdered, the other when Jeanette and Katryn Schoon were murdered. I want to illustrate the difference by statements by Mr Williamson and ask you for your view. I'm referring to page 6 of Mr Williamson's application, Mr Chairman. Bundle 1, Mr Williamson's application in relation to Ruth First. I haven't got another copy but I think you will get the drift of it as, I append hereto a document entitled:
"The Internal Threat - The African National Congress"
marked A. This is a working draft of a SAP submission for the Annual State Security Council Intelligence Review from 1982 to 1993 - I beg your pardon '83. 82 - 83. The document gives a clear exposition of the official view of what the ANC/SACP alliance was doing at that time.
"The comments in paragraphs 22 and 24 of that document relating to the death of Ruth First were inserted by my intelligence section on my instructions."
This is Mr Williamson speaking. I want to turn to page 22 of the same volume, paragraph 24. How is your Afrikaans, Minister Maharaj?
MR MAHARAJ: I read fairly well but I can't speak it.
MR BIZOS: Well perhaps you should put the earphones on so that the good people up there can follow? Paragraph 24 on page 22 on bundle 1:
"Thus is can be predicted that the ANC"
Is it not working?
MR MAHARAJ: I've got it, I had to get the English first.
MR BIZOS: Oh I see yes. Well perhaps you can follow the:
"that the ANC will try anything within it's ability to escalate the armed struggle in 1983 and in the latest times, ANC leaders refer increasingly to it that their own capacity is currently as such that they will be able to act with greater effectivity. A development which must be borne in mind is that the ANC especially according to Ruth First's death will probably attempt to pay the R.S.A. back. Attacks on prominent South Africans or their families can therefore not be excluded."
Now that is apparently a prediction of what the ANC was expected to do as a result of his participation in murdering Ruth First. Did the ANC react in kind in relation to South African leaders and their families or not?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir. No Sir.
MR BIZOS: Why not?
MR MAHARAJ: It was contrary to our policy to target political leaders and civilians. In 1982 in particular we hadn't even softened the line on civilian targets but the idea that we should target individual political leaders and leading families was completely alien to our way of thinking. It was consciously rebutted and excluded in the lessons we gave in training our cadres, to say that is not the way to conduct the struggle.
MR BIZOS: Well a number of your cadres arrested and interrogated, did they make statements about their training and the policy of the ANC in lengthy statements to the South African Security Police?
MR MAHARAJ: Over and over.
MR BIZOS: Would this avoidance of killing prominent figures and members of their family well instilled in them?
MR MAHARAJ: Absolutely, as I said earlier Sir, in 1981 as a result of the anti-Republic campaign our cadres reported the possibility that we could wipe out a substantial number of the cabinet including the State President and we vetoed any such action and accompanied it with a clear exposition of why such acts are not tolerated.
MR BIZOS: I'm sorry to ask you this question Mr Maharaj, you were in the upper echelons of the struggle as was Mr Slovo. How would you have felt if your wife had been eliminated?
MR MAHARAJ: Sir I had a very close relationship with Joe Slovo. I admired the manner in which he had self control over himself over something that was extremely painful to him. In my own case I don't know how I would have reacted but at a maximum I know from my upbringing that I would not have driven the ANC in the path of terrorism but I cannot guarantee that as an individual I would not have gone ballistic and become an unguided missile. Joe Slovo never became that.
MR BIZOS: Now we're trying to find the passage of which I have a very clear recollection of reading and Mr Williamson's writings, we will find it soon enough I hope but for the interests of progress I'll put it to you from memory. Subscribing to an aphorism that you must terrorise the terrorist did the ANC on the proportionality basis that an attempt was made about the land mines a few years later ever adopt an attitude of terrorising the families of the people that really were involved in the struggle against the ANC struggle?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir, we never did it.
MR BIZOS: And that must have obviously been well known to a senior member of the intelligence department of the security forces?
MR MAHARAJ: It was written about, it was debated, it was written in our journals. In one instance we debated the concept arming the people and there were people who argued in our publications that we should indiscriminately arm the people. The movement took part in that debate and allowed the debate so that we would make public interventions with our members and argue against that line. We never buried it. I myself was placed in a very difficult situation when I came into South Africa in Operation Vula. I even went so far as to reconnoitre and collect information on Security Branch and intelligence service members and their families but never with the aim for killing them, it was always with the aim of understanding them and understanding how I could penetrate that service to extract that information from their files.
MR BIZOS: There is another passage of which Mr Williamson claims authorship for his motivation and I want you to either compare it or contrast it to the ANC's. It is in Exhibit Q Mr Chairman, in the documents filed by Mr Williamson. Q2, page 238, paragraph 6.2.3. It's printed page 30 because I understand that there is some difficulty Mr Chairman, printed page 30 of that document and document number 21, Mr Chairman.
A substantial portion of this is in Afrikaans and I will again read it:
"Regarding the human element it is necessary that the intelligence process be seen in its relation to the cover up process. In this relation Major Williamson remarked: 'In the intelligence game there is only one rule and that is that there are no rules'."
and then it goes on:
"When the survival is at stake it is often necessary for those in service to go over to overt actions which do not agree with laws, morality and values which control the public conduct of the State machinery. Secrecy, defensive and offensive is here the watchword. Cover ups are used to enable the operatives to carry out secret orders regardless of any opposition or accepting voluntary public responsibility."
That is the moral standard that Mr Williamson set for himself and it is his case that we are busy with today. Did the ANC disregard humanity, morality, norms or values in it's struggle against the regime?
MR MAHARAJ: Sir we in the ANC may have fallen short here and there and stumbled along the way but we had a clear sense of morality. We have in fact been forerunners in upholding that morality in the history of guerrilla struggles and armed struggles. We signed the Geneva Convention. We brought every member of our structures into a culture where systematic political education was done to instil that morality and we often faced moments in our struggle where we had to call up our cadres and ourselves as leaders, from time to time possibly falling short, but we were clear that our struggle would mean nothing if it was not to allow all South Africans to live in an environment where the humanity would thrive. That is what we upheld and we did so at times under moments of great stress and difficulty. I myself have had the opportunity to wipe out three Captains in the South African Security Force who had occupied a building in Durban. A furious debate took place amongst us. Some comrades said they have occupied that building, they are not aware that we are aware, we can wipe them out and have an immense boost to our morale and I said you can't do that, let them be. Leave them there because we do not want to just wipe them out, there's a larger issue at stake here. We did not attack them because it would have been contrary to our mission at that time.
I've had occasion in the Natal region to be asked by cadres to distribute weapons so that we could simply fire indiscriminately on an Inkatha march and I've said never and I've driven in all parts of this country in the underground to get back there and make sure those weapons were not released and I recall very graphically arguing with the command structure in saying I will not release the weapons to kill indiscriminately because the injuries you will leave will not be just a few dead bodies but it would be scars that will go on for generation after generation.
So I say, in that difficult struggle, we may have stumbled from time to time but we had a systematic programme of instilling this culture in our members.
MR BIZOS: There is something that I want you to clarify what in your view was the position. For the purposes of my question I want to remind you of what the evidence in this case has been. We have heard General Coetzee tell us that he did not think that Marius and Jeanette Schoon and Katryn Schoon were legitimate targets. We also heard him say that Ruth First was not a legitimate target.
We have heard the evidence of Brigadier Schoon who told us that he considered the Schoons as persons involved in the military struggle. On the basis of that evidence, I want you for the purposes of my question to assume that the Schoons and Ruth First were not engaged in military work and they were not - I want you to assume this - assumed on reasonable grounds by any of the persons involved in this matter to have been involved in military work.
MR VISSER: Just before my learned friend goes on Mr Chairman and I hate to interrupt him, it's been a long question and there's only one basic mistake. Brigadier Schoon never said that he considered them to be involved in military work, his evidence was that they were supporters of the ANC and that they ran a network in which they supported people going out and in, he never said military, he never indicated that he thought they were military operatives, Mr Chairman and that's what my learned friend has just put.
MR BIZOS: I remember his words well enough, I may have understated the position because they were, according to his evidence, they were involved in acts of terror. That was his evidence and may I just please - in any event, I'm asking the witness to assume and that on page 84 of bundle 2:
"Information indicated that Mr Schoon was involved in acts of terrorism and other actions which were aimed at endangering the security of the Republic of South Africa and that he was regarded as one of the enemy."
My I proceed? Thank you.
Is there a difference in your view between attacking and I'll put the word "legitimate" in inverted commas, both from the point of view of the ANC and the security forces? Is there a difference between killings of non-military personnel and people involved in the military struggle in your view?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir, there is a distinction.
MR BIZOS: I'll leave it at that. What I want to ask you is this, that we have had in relation to Katryn in this cross-examination an introduction of a notion of being killed in the cross-fire. Now what is meant by cross-fire?
MR MAHARAJ: Sir the classic meaning of that in military terms would be that if opposing forces were engaged in an exchange of fire, others caught in between that who were not part of the combatants would be injured or killed. As we go down the line we have a situation from the perspective of the ANC that we often found ourselves calling off operations because some passer by might be injured and we called that also possible cross-fire and as the struggle moved on we came to positions of targets such as Church Street which were located in dense civilian areas and we then tried to hit them when there would be no civilian population. Then we tried to hit them when there would be a minimal civilian presence. All those fell in the category of cross-fire but always on the basis of looking at the target and making an assessment, a deliberate assessment, whether others not engaged on either side of the combatants would be effected.
MR BIZOS: But what was the target, was the target a military?
MR MAHARAJ: It was a military target, we tried to avoid civilian targets. Later on we did extend the concept at times but those were individual acts and we have said that was wrong on our side but it was always military targets that we went for.
MR BIZOS: That was post '85?
MR MAHARAJ: Post '85 we extended, yes.
MR BIZOS: You've mentioned President Oliver Tambo's speech, public statement, after the raids into Botswana, Lesotho and ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Bizos, if you took your hands away from your mouth we could understand you.
MR BIZOS: I'm sorry Mr Chairman, it's my way of trying to help my thinking process but I'm sorry for that. Was that statement made after those raids?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir. The statements were made after the raids and if I remember, the major statement raising the question was made after Matola and then a particularly sharp statement raising the issue after the Maseru massacre.
MR BIZOS: Yes. What was the proportion of the casualties in those raids as between civilians and ANC military cadres?
MR MAHARAJ: In the Matola massacre the casualties were overwhelming civilian, not just South African refugees but citizens of Lesotho. In Matola also Mozambicans were killed, South Africans were killed including bona fide refugees not involved in the underground. I don't know the proportion at Matola, I'm a bit overwhelmed when I think of Matola because one of the comrades or at least two who died were personally known to me and were involved in the underground and the military section.
MR BIZOS: I think that the first one you intended to say was Maseru and not ...(intervention)
MR MAHARAJ: Sorry, Maseru was the one where I think it was 42, where the overwhelming majority were civilians, Lesotho citizens and also civilians from South Africa.
MR BIZOS: And these events and the decision to employ land mines were well after the death of the Schoons and Ruth First?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, it's well after the death, the land mine thing comes up in 1985.
MR BIZOS: Now in this classification of civilians, combatants and people killed in cross-fire, how would the cross-fire excuse work in the sending of a letter bomb which probably would have been opened in the privacy of a home or a university or a school room or when visiting the post office, how would the cross-fire situation be equated in this debate Mr Maharaj?
MR MAHARAJ: There are several distinctions that are clear in my mind Sir. Firstly when I dealt with land mines earlier I made a clear distinction between anti-personnel and anti-tank mines as to what would trigger it off, but a letter and parcel bomb is one of the extreme cases where you have no control who is going to get injured. It may not even be opened by the recipient to whom it's addressed. You have absolutely no control of the environment in which it would be opened, if it's opened by the person to whom it's addressed.
CHAIRPERSON: Isn't the anti-tank mine put on a road exactly the same thing?
MR MAHARAJ: Sir ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: You have no control over whose going to drive along that road and set off the mine?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir, I made the distinction between an anti-personnel and anti-tank ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: I'm talking about anti-tank.
MR MAHARAJ: On the anti-tank I would make the distinction that it can only be set off by a vehicle of a particular weight.
CHAIRPERSON: 350 kilograms.
MR MAHARAJ: That's right.
CHAIRPERSON: That is any motor car.
MR MAHARAJ: It's correct and that is why we called it off. So to take the matter further, the letter bomb has that characteristic and therefore you have no assurance that the target will be the one that is struck. What you have is a certainty that somebody is going to be badly injured or killed but you don't know who.
MR BIZOS: I'm merely asking for information, did you say 350 kilograms?
CHAIRPERSON: 350 kilograms, that figure appears from the ANC submissions that that is the weight necessary to set off an anti-tank mine and you ...(intervention)
MR BIZOS: I just asked about that because that's not how I understood it, I'm sorry Mr Chairman. What weight - is 350 kilograms sufficient in order to - is that an anti-tank mine? I'm not disputing that that's what the document says, I'm merely asking whether that he considers that to be a correct statement of fact.
CHAIRPERSON: He said yes.
MR MAHARAJ: Sorry, I've got it in front of me now, the submission does say 300 kilograms, I think that that is a questionable figure because it is called an anti-tank because the weight is based on a tank's weight and 300 kilograms is the weight of a car, would not normally be enough to trigger off an anti-tank and I would think that that is a misprint there.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, maybe to be of assistance there, my attorney says he will testify and he was in the infantry and he has specific knowledge about anti-tank mines and the weight thereof Mr Chairman.
MR DU PLESSIS: He says it's round about between 200 to 300 kilograms.
MR BIZOS: Kilograms, not tons?
MR DU PLESSIS: No, not tons.
MR BIZOS: Thank you Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: Any more questions?
MR BIZOS: No Mr Chairman.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR BIZOS
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
MR MAHARAJ: Pleasure.
CHAIRPERSON: It must have been difficult for you to get away from your colleagues down there and we are grateful to you for having made the effort, thank you.
MR MAHARAJ: I don't know which one was the more difficult task, remaining in Cape Town or being here, thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: We have tentatively agreed I think to the 22nd February. How many days do you think we require?
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, Visser on record, speaking for myself I think Mr Bizos must tell us. We are finished with our evidence, it's now really Mr Bizos that is going on.
MR BIZOS: The evidence probably two to two and half days but my learned friend, Mr Berger ....(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: What I'm getting at is one week's enough, when you say two weeks we don't have to ...(intervention)
MR BIZOS: If we are going to have oral argument Mr Chairman, it would be safer to stretch it into the following week in the hope that we should finish.
CHAIRPERSON: Speaking for myself I would prefer oral argument otherwise what happens is you get the argument six weeks later or two months later after you've done four other hearings and you've got completely mixed up about what the evidence is. So if we could then set aside two weeks starting on the 22nd February and I will get the Amnesty Committee to make the necessary arrangements.
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, sorry, I didn't want to interrupt I just wanted to stop you before you left because it raises the question of the argument in the London bomb. You did suggest that you wanted to hear oral argument there as well but in the light of the postponement to this session, what is the question of the possibility of written argument? Will it serve any purpose at this stage or should we just leave the whole thing over until the next session?
ADV DE JAGER: Written argument is always - you've got oral argument in the Appellate Division but you use heads of argument and it's always of assistance to have heads of argument even if it's an oral argument so you could decide if you want to argue without any notes but it would assist us.
MR LEVINE: Mr Chairman, this represents a turnabout to the extent that we were advised that we should submit heads of argument on the London bomb. I personally spent many, many hours, days and perhaps even weeks in preparing, submitting those heads of argument. If you are telling me now that this was an unnecessary task I would think it to be somewhat unfair because I put myself out to a tremendous extent.
CHAIRPERSON: That means that you don't have to prepare any further argument, Mr Levine. You have done it.
MR LEVINE: Then Mr Chairman, will I be given if I so desire, the opportunity to argue from those heads?
CHAIRPERSON: If you want to bring out anything further or you can merely abide by the heads, we leave that to you if you wish to add to them or amend, you are at liberty to do so.
MS PATEL: Sorry honourable Chair, if I may just for the record, it was agreed at the end of the last hearing that we would receive written heads for the London bombing by the 2nd November if General Coetzee was not going to be recalled. Parties were then accordingly informed that he wouldn't be recalled and that the heads had to be in by the 2nd November.
MR BIZOS: Mr Chairman I do not agree that the parties agreed that he doesn't have to be recalled. It was a decision that had to be made by my learned friend Mr Visser as to whether he would ask for Mr de Kock to be recalled or not and he wrote a letter, a copy of which we received. We do not agree with this submission that he makes but then we don't have to agree with the manner in which he chooses to conduct his case, Mr Chairman.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, I'm just now totally confused after all this, Mr Chairman. Are we going to argue the London bomb and Ruth First and Jeanette Schoon together in those two weeks with oral argument and we'll present you with written heads of argument before that?
CHAIRPERSON: That will be the most convenient way of disposing of them wouldn't it?
MR VISSER: Yes, I would prefer that Mr Chairman, I just want to make sure that that is the case, thank you.
MR BIZOS: ...(inaudible) been received when Mr du Plessis started addressing you, I don't know whether Mr Visser is not suggesting that we agreed that he doesn't have to call his client, he doesn't have to recall Mr de Kock?
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, I don't quite understand. I was given the opportunity, the indulgence to recall General Coetzee if I wished in the light of what Mr de Kock said. I decided not to do so, I don't need anybody's permission so to have decided.
CHAIRPERSON: We are now adjourned to the 22nd February, these hearings.