ON RESUMPTION ON 28 NOVEMBER 2000 - DAY 2
CHAIRPERSON: Good morning. Today we are proceeding with the application of Mr Erasmus. We adjourned our proceedings yesterday at a time when Mr Nyawuza was required to lead the evidence of a victim in relation to this incident. We shall now proceed to afford Mr Nyawuza an opportunity to lead evidence of the victim.
MR NYAWUZA: As it pleases the Committee. I'd wish to call upon Mrs Beauty Tsoeunyane. She is one of the victims.
CHAIRPERSON: Won't you spell the surname for us, Mr Nyawuza?
MR NYAWUZA: The surname is T-S-O-E-U-N-Y-A-N-E.
JUDGE DE JAGER: Could you perhaps indicate on which channel would be the English?
MS PATEL: Two.
CHAIRPERSON: What language will Ms Tsoeunyane be giving evidence in?
MR NYAWUZA: She will be testifying in Xhosa, Chairperson.
BEAUTY TSOEUNYANE: (sworn states)
EXAMINATION BY MR NYAWUZA: Thank you Madame Chair.
Ma'am can you please tell us your full names again?
MS TSOEUNYANE: I am Beauty Tsoeunyane.
MR NYAWUZA: And what is your profession?
MS TSOEUNYANE: I'm a nurse.
MR NYAWUZA: What are your qualifications, ma'am?
MS TSOEUNYANE: General nursing, midwifery and family planning.
MR NYAWUZA: Is it correct that during 1989 you were employed at Alexandra Clinic?
MS TSOEUNYANE: That is correct.
MR NYAWUZA: Where were you staying at the time?
MS TSOEUNYANE: At the nurses home.
MR NYAWUZA: And where's the nurses home, is it within the Alexandra Clinic here?
MS TSOEUNYANE: Yes that is correct.
MR NYAWUZA: Ma'am, a certain incident occurred in 1989 relating in Alexandra. Where were you at the time?
MS TSOEUNYANE: I was at the clinic.
MR NYAWUZA: What is it that happened?
MS TSOEUNYANE: I was woken up by some noise, somebody was screaming and shouting. They said that something was burning. I woke up, I tried to switch on the light to no avail and I went down the passage and there was some smoke and the person - or should I say I peeped through the window and I could see something was burning.
MR NYAWUZA: And having peeped through the window and seeing that it's burning, what was the next step that you took?
MS TSOEUNYANE: I shouted something to the effect that people should be woken up because I couldn't run down the passage.
MR NYAWUZA: And what happened?
MS TSOEUNYANE: The security guard took a garden chair outside and tried to break the door open but the chair broke and they broke the burglar proofs and I tried to free myself and I was getting injured at the same time.
MR NYAWUZA: Where were you injured ma'am?
MS TSOEUNYANE: I injured my legs and my hands and below my feet.
MR NYAWUZA: Did you ultimately manage to get help?
MS TSOEUNYANE: Yes.
MR NYAWUZA: You ultimately got out of the building?
MS TSOEUNYANE: Yes.
MR NYAWUZA: And the staff that you lost ma'am, did you lose anything due to the burning of the nurses home?
MS TSOEUNYANE: Yes.
MR NYAWUZA: What is it that you lost?
MS TSOEUNYANE: Everything. My clothing and bedding and my dishes and pots.
MR NYAWUZA: If you were to put a value to your assets that you lost that night, what amount would you put on that?
MS TSOEUNYANE: More or less R5000. Some of these items had just been newly purchased.
MR NYAWUZA: Ma'am, we now come to the kind of work that you did. What community did you serve at this clinic?
MS TSOEUNYANE: The Alexandra community and neighbouring areas like Bramley and Sandton. People used to come to our clinic when injured or for child birth but mainly we were serving the Alexandra community.
MR NYAWUZA: Ma'am your political affiliation as regards yourself, did you belong to any political organisation at the time?
MS TSOEUNYANE: No, I am apolitical and I did not have political organisation even then.
MR NYAWUZA: How many of you nurses were resident at the nurses home at the time?
MS TSOEUNYANE: There were eleven of us even though some of them had gone out, they were not around when the incident happened but we were all in all eleven.
MR NYAWUZA: Ma'am, when this incident occurred, the burning of the nurses home, who did you think was involved in the burning of the nurses home and why?
MS TSOEUNYANE: I would be telling you a lie. I thought Tim was the one involved because after it was built I knew. We thought he is the one who wanted to take occupation because he was all along telling us to leave the place.
MR NYAWUZA: Did you take it up with Tim at some stage?
MS TSOEUNYANE: Not at all but I informed him jokingly when he took out the bottles, I told him "you should tell us if you want us to leave instead of burning down the building."
MR NYAWUZA: When was he taking out the bottles, was it during surgery, ma'am?
MS TSOEUNYANE: That was after everybody had vacated the building and others were attended to by the doctor on call and Tim was then called.
MR NYAWUZA: How many of you were injured, if I were to ask? If maybe you know you can respond to that. If you don't know you can always say you don't remember.
MS TSOEUNYANE: One person that I still remember very well is myself and Violet Ndeleka who also got out later and she inhaled some smoke and had a problem. There could have been three of us who got injured to the point of being attended to at casualty.
MR NYAWUZA: Did you get any word, ma'am, as to who might have been involved in this attack? Maybe a day thereafter or four days thereafter? Did you get any word as to who might have been involved here?
MS TSOEUNYANE: No, we did not pursue the matter because it was thought that it could have been an electricity fault.
MR NYAWUZA: Ma'am, at Alexandra Clinic do you - at some stage, I believe, the workers around Alexandra and people of different affiliation were at loggerheads. There's testimony to that effect. Did you, at any stage, ma'am turn anybody turn anybody back of any political affiliation?
MS TSOEUNYANE: No, I cannot recall. At the time I was working at casualty. At the time we used to look at the admission cards and admit people following that. Nobody would be turned away.
MR NYAWUZA: If somebody, ma'am, were to come to this hearing and say to this hearing you gave treatment to ANC people and you gave sanctuary to them, would that person be correct in so saying that?
MS TSOEUNYANE: That would be a mistake.
MR NYAWUZA: At the nurses home were there any, besides the nurses home were nurses were residents, was there any residence where people were resident?
MS TSOEUNYANE: The doctors' quarters, yes we had the doctors' quarters. They were students and a sessional doctor and that was a staff hostel accommodating the students and the sessional doctor.
MR NYAWUZA: And that was the only residence besides yours?
MS TSOEUNYANE: There was another one which used to be a chapel. It's now a dentist consulting room, Dr Barker and his wife used to occupy that building.
MR NYAWUZA: Ma'am, during that time did you know that Dr Tim Wilson was a son-in-law to Braam Fischer?
MS TSOEUNYANE: No, I just knew him as Dr Tim. I don't even know his wife.
MR NYAWUZA: When was this brought to your knowledge or your attention?
MS TSOEUNYANE: You mean that his is Braam Fischer's son-in-law? I only read about this in the letter that was communicated to us.
MR NYAWUZA: Do you know Braam Fischer?
MS TSOEUNYANE: Not at all.
MR NYAWUZA: Thank you Chairperson, that will be the evidence in chief of Mrs Beauty Tsoeunyane.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR NYAWUZA
CHAIRPERSON: Mr van Zyl, do you have any questions to put to Mrs Tsoeunyane?
MR VAN ZYL: A few, Madame Chair, if I may?
CHAIRPERSON: Yes you may.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR VAN ZYL: Thank you.
The nurses quarters at that time, today it is the administration block, I see. Is that correct?
MS TSOEUNYANE: That is correct. It used to be, that is after it was renovated.
MR VAN ZYL: Good. At the time before the fire you said eleven nurses stayed in the nurses home.
MS TSOEUNYANE: Yes.
MR VAN ZYL: How many nurses could be accommodated in the nurses home?
MS TSOEUNYANE: Ten of them but two of them sharing.
MR VAN ZYL: Two of them sharing. So there was only room for ten people yet two shared a room?
MS TSOEUNYANE: Yes.
MR VAN ZYL: So are you telling this Commission that there were only ten rooms in that building at the time? Was there only ten rooms in the building?
MS TSOEUNYANE: Yes.
MR VAN ZYL: Ablution facilities?
MS TSOEUNYANE: I beg your pardon?
MR VAN ZYL: Bathrooms, toilets?
MS TSOEUNYANE: Yes there were toilets and bathroom as well as a pantry as well as a kitchen.
MR VAN ZYL: And a kitchen, so those rooms are in addition to the ten bedrooms then?
MS TSOEUNYANE: Yes. The ten rooms were used as bedrooms.
MR VAN ZYL: Were there any other rooms in the nurses home that was used for any other purpose perhaps?
MS TSOEUNYANE: No, except for the sitting room, the kitchen and the pantry.
MR VAN ZYL: So apart from the nurses nobody used that block at all?
MS TSOEUNYANE: Yes.
MR VAN ZYL: Is that correct? Thank you. When you worked at casualty, did you encounter victims with gunshot wounds coming to casualty?
MS TSOEUNYANE: Yes.
MR VAN ZYL: Do you know whether that was reported to the Police or not?
MS TSOEUNYANE: No, I don't know anything about that, we were not concerned about that, we were just concerned about the injured people because when a person has been shot, such person goes to hospital.
MR VAN ZYL: Thank you Madame Chair, no further questions.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR VAN ZYL
CHAIRPERSON: Ms Pillay, do you have any questions to put to Ms Tsoeunyane?
MS PILLAY: No questions, Madame Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: Ms Patel?
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS PATEL: Thank you Honourable Chairperson.
Ma'am, can you please tell us for - the nurses block, I'm sorry, I missed the initial part of your testimony. For how long was the nurses block used as a sleeping quarters?
MS TSOEUNYANE: I arrived here in 1982 up to the point when the nurses home was burnt down in 1989.
MS PATEL: Okay and just generally, access to that area, is it quite difficult to get to the section where you slept from the street or is it easily accessible?
MS TSOEUNYANE: There were two gates. One gate came from the outside section and it would go through casualty. From the first street, Wynberg, you'd go through the dentist and the doctors' quarters. You'd go past the chapel and nurses home.
MS PATEL: Can I just ask, do you recall whether you noticed any - well outside of your sort of normal patients that would come, whether in the previous few weeks before the incident you had noticed any strange people around who might have been looking at the buildings at all?
MS TSOEUNYANE: Not at all.
MS PATEL: Would it have been common knowledge though, given that you were there for quite some time that that specific building was used as a sleeping quarter?
MS TSOEUNYANE: I have no idea.
MS PATEL: Alright, thank you Honourable Chairperson.
MS TSOEUNYANE: About an outsider, I have no idea at all.
MS PATEL: Alright. Thank you Honourable Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Ms Patel.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MS PATEL
MR VAN ZYL: Madame Chair, may I ask a further question, something that just my learned friend there asked, that wants me to ask a further question?
CHAIRPERSON: Ms Patel?
MR VAN ZYL: Yes.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes you may.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR VAN ZYL: Thank you.
You said in your testimony that Tim, I presume that's Dr Wilson, straight after the fire or immediately after the fire you said to him why doesn't he rather ask you to leave. Were there plans to move out of the nurses homes at the time ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: Mr van Zyl, you don't seem to have put her evidence correctly. That's not what she said and I think what you are putting to her is not as a result of questions that came from Ms Patel.
MR VAN ZYL: Then I'll leave it at that.
CHAIRPERSON: I will allow you but I think your motivation was incorrect, that the question was as a result of questions emanating from Ms Patel's cross-examination of Ms Tsoeunyane.
I will allow you to put questions to Ms Tsoeunyane because you might not have been in a position to formulate another time when you got an opportunity to do so.
MR VAN ZYL: As it pleases.
CHAIRPERSON: But it is not as a result of Ms Patel's questioning.
MR VAN ZYL: If you say so, Madame Chair, I'll accept it as such.
I deduced from your evidence that there were plans afoot to change the nurses home to some other facility. Is that so or not?
MS TSOEUNYANE: After it was burnt down, when it was renovated it was converted into an admin block.
MR VAN ZYL: But you did say that after the fire, you said to Dr Tim, you thought that Dr Tim caused the fire, if I understand it correctly and then you said to him that why didn't he rather ask you to leave the building instead of putting a fire to it. Is that what your testimony was earlier?
MS TSOEUNYANE: I am the one who asked him, jokingly. Not everybody asked him. I asked him why, why don't they tell us to leave if they want us to leave instead of burning. I did not say that he burnt down the building.
MR VAN ZYL: No, I accept that. What I do ask, were there plans afoot to change the facility to, say, the administration block.
MS TSOEUNYANE: I don't have that knowledge because we were given accommodation after the place was burnt and it was reconstructed and used as an admin block. As to what plans were afoot I had no idea.
MR VAN ZYL: Thank you Madame Chair, I have no further questions.
CHAIRPERSON: Judge de Jager, do you have any questions to put to Ms Tsoeunyane?
JUDGE DE JAGER: No questions.
NO QUESTIONS BY JUDGE DE JAGER
CHAIRPERSON: Ms Sigodi?
MS SIGODI: No questions.
NO QUESTIONS BY MS SIGODI
CHAIRPERSON: Any re-examination Mr Nyawuza?
MR NYAWUZA: No re-examination Madame Chair, that would be the evidence of Mrs Beauty Tsoeunyane.
CHAIRPERSON: Ms Tsoeunyane, you are excused as a witness. You may step down.
MR NYAWUZA: Madame Chair, we wish to call the last witness, Mrs Violet Ramhitshana. She'll be testifying in Setswana.
MR NYAWUZA: Violet Ramhitshana, R-A-M-H-I-T-S-H-A-N-A.
VIOLET RAMHITSHANA: (sworn states)
EXAMINATION BY MR NYAWUZA: Thank you Madame Chair.
Ma'am, can you please repeat your full names again?
MS RAMHITSHANA: Violet Malebugeng Ramhitshana.
MR NYAWUZA: And what is your profession?
MS RAMHITSHANA: I am a nurse, Chairperson.
MR NYAWUZA: Your qualifications?
MS RAMHITSHANA: General, medical and surgical nursing, midwifery, family planning including family health and ...(indistinct).
MR NYAWUZA: When did you start to be a nurse?
MS RAMHITSHANA: I started in 19... - I don't recall well, but it was somewhere in the '50s, 1950's.
MR NYAWUZA: Is it correct that at some stage you were employed at Alexandra Clinic?
MS RAMHITSHANA: That is correct, Chairperson.
MR NYAWUZA: When were you employed at Alexandra Clinic?
MS RAMHITSHANA: I worked there earlier when I was transferred from General to Alexandra then I went back to Alexandra in 1979. I worked there eighteen years until my retirement in 1996.
MR NYAWUZA: Ma'am, where were you resident during your employment at Alexandra Clinic?
MS RAMHITSHANA: We were staying at the nurses home.
MR NYAWUZA: And for how long had you been resident there?
MS RAMHITSHANA: The same period I mentioned, that is eighteen years.
MR NYAWUZA: And where was your home where you came from?
MS RAMHITSHANA: From Soweto in Klipspruit, we went to Soweto just for work convenience.
MR NYAWUZA: Ma'am, a certain incident occurred in 1989. Can you shed light on what happened in 1989 and how you were affected?
MS RAMHITSHANA: In 1989, I think it's on the 22nd August if I am not making a mistake, or somewhere in July or August, we went to sleep as usual and it was at night. In the middle of the night whilst we were sleeping or towards dawn, I woke up. Whilst I was relaxing I heard something like a cricket in the passage. I don't know if it was thrown through the window or how but it was near. Then I started listening and I heard one of my colleagues say there's fire.
After some time I saw a smoke through the passage. Then I said if I can go through that passage towards the corners of the passage and the back side of the kitchen, I won't be able to, so let me go back to my room and sleep so that I would just stand still, not be confused so that the person who will offer us help because I see that there is fire. When I looked through the window I saw a fire coming from - the building was L-shaped, there was a kitchen at the back door. Then at the back there was a washing line and a relaxing lawn. The next block was the student block and the doctors' residence who were coming for the clinical sessions. Then on my left hand side where there was a maternity ward but there was a wall. When I saw women arriving out of the maternity ward, screaming, saying get out, get out of the house and they were crying. I sat down because I saw that we were not able to go out because whoever would come to help you would not be able to locate you to save you so I looked at those women. At the same time the smoke was coming inside and I fainted.
A certain person broke the window and then told me to go through the window. So I was not able to climb so I fainted. At the time I had a cut from a glass and then I was bleeding at that time.
After some time I regained consciousness. I heard nurses screaming outside, then even the one next door, that is Deleka, Mrs Nonde, who was calling me by name. Then they said they will not be leaving me outside. Others were outside, that is Sister Nqecka was out, Sister Beauty was outside and others were able to go out. But all of them were screaming from outside asking for help. So I peeped through the window and told them not to scream but to call Sandton Fire to come and help because if you just scream you make me awake, don't scream you'll be able to get help but they couldn't believe it because they were so confused.
MR NYAWUZA: Did you ultimately manage to go out ma'am?
MS RAMHITSHANA: After some time the security guard came to the window and broke the window with a cutting device to break the burglar proofing and they broke the wall so that I'll be able to get outside. Then the other one opened the window where it was broken. Then from there they lifted me up. Then they helped me to climb the chair. Then from there I was pulled outside. Then I sat on the lawn and I leant against the tree and they were able to help me ...(indistinct). After that I went round. I sat on the veranda relaxing and then the ambulance came, driven by Mr Mautu, telling me that he has come to fetch me to the hospital. Whilst Mr Amos was talking to me I became confused. Then I started to be angry. Whilst Amos was telling me to go to the hospital, I went straight to casualty, running. He couldn't keep pace because I saw that I was not running with my full senses. He grabbed my hand on the other side of casualty towards the gate, then brought me back to the casualty. On the bed I saw Dr Wilson coming. He was called and he came immediately. Dr Getz was on call. He attended to us and reported to Dr Wilson.
CHAIRPERSON: May I interrupt Ms Ramhitshana? Mr Nyawuza, I think it is your noble duty to lead Ms Ramhitshana when she gives evidence in chief so that only relevant facts are placed before us. You know your duty as a legal representative. If you do not take charge of her testimony in chief, we are going to be saddled with evidence which is not material for purposes of deciding issues which have been raised by Mr Erasmus in his amnesty application. So please, please take charge. I don't want to interfere with her testimony but I'm just compelled to do so because I think the evidence which is being given is not material.
MR NYAWUZA: Thank you Madame Chair.
Ma'am you were injured and is it correct that you went to hospital?
MS RAMHITSHANA: I didn't go to the hospital, I was treated at the clinic. After some days they sought consultation to General Hospital, that is Johannesburg Hospital.
MR NYAWUZA: Ma'am, did you perhaps know at the time who was involved in this thing?
INTERPRETER: Could you please repeat your question?
MR NYAWUZA: Did you perhaps that somebody - did you know the person that was involved in the burning down of the nurses home?
MS RAMHITSHANA: I did not see the person but after the incident when Dr Wilson came to me, I spoke to him and said: "Dr Wilson, what happened? Is there somebody responsible or is there an accident?"
Then Dr Wilson said there must have been an electrical fault but I said I suspect that somebody is responsible for the fire because when the security came to see me in the casualty room then he said he was running after somebody who ran through a certain gate.
MR NYAWUZA: Ma'am, did the security tell you how this person looked like?
MS RAMHITSHANA: The security said whilst he was running after that person he was able to observe that he's a White person.
MR NYAWUZA: Ma'am at the clinic and with the time that you spent at the clinic did you treat people of Alexandra and those outside or did you maybe concentrate on people that were from the local community?
MS RAMHITSHANA: People from the suburbs and Alexandra Township but mainly the population which we were responsible for was the Alexandra community, the neighbouring suburbs and even in casualty we were taking care of people who were injured from Alexandra Township and other surrounding areas.
CHAIRPERSON: Ms Ramhitshana, were you during your service with the Alexandra Clinic from 1979 until 1989 when this incident happened ever instructed by Mr Wilson or by any of the senior doctors in Alexandra Clinic that you must treat ANC activists who came there for medical assistance? Were you ever given specific instructions to treat this special cluster of persons?
MS RAMHITSHANA: No Chairperson, our seniors were instructing us that whoever is a patient who comes for help, we should attend to that person so we did not have the right to ask as to whether where does that person come from or from which area. We only knew that we were attending to any other person who is coming for help.
MR NYAWUZA: Thank you Madame Chair.
Ma'am, did you know at the time that Dr Wilson, Tim Wilson, was son-in-law to Braam Fischer?
MS RAMHITSHANA: To tell you the truth I knew that Wilson because I was ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: Ms Ramhitshana, we'll be pleased if you can answer the question. Did you know that Dr Wilson is related to Braam Fischer?
MS RAMHITSHANA: No, I did not know.
CHAIRPERSON: That is all.
MR NYAWUZA: Did you know Dr Wilson's wife?
MS RAMHITSHANA: I knew Dr Wilson during social gatherings because I myself had people who knew Dr Wilson and that he was in Soweto Clinics. Then I saw him again in Alexandra.
CHAIRPERSON: Did you know his wife? Did you know his wife?
MS RAMHITSHANA: I did not know his wife.
MR NYAWUZA: Thank you, Madame Chair, that's the evidence of Ms Ramhitshana.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR NYAWUZA
CHAIRPERSON: Mr van Zyl, are there any questions you wish to put to her?
MR VAN ZYL: I have no questions.
MS RAMHITSHANA: She has given evidence which is similar to one given by ...(intervention)
MR VAN ZYL: No, I have said already I have no questions Madame Chair, thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr van Zyl. Ms Pillay?
MS PILLAY: I have no questions, Madame Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: Ms Patel?
MS PATEL: Perhaps just one. Thank you Honourable Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes you may proceed to put your question.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS PATEL: Besides your professional duties at the clinic, do you know of any circumstance or situation where ANC persons were given, who were not patients, were given shelter or were provided with money who came to the clinic?
MS RAMHITSHANA: Please repeat your question?
MS PATEL: Do you know of any circumstance or situation where an ANC person who perhaps was not a patient was given money or was provided with shelter at the clinic?
MS RAMHITSHANA: I didn't see any ANC person coming for any kind of help or to have a special treatment if I may say so.
MS PATEL: Thank you Honourable Chairperson.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MS PATEL
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
JUDGE DE JAGER: Do you know of any previous fires before 1989 or any subsequent fires after 1989 at the clinic?
MS RAMHITSHANA: We only know of some fires in particular offices but because we we're not involved in the clerk's office or clerk's administration we did not know what happened exactly.
JUDGE DE JAGER: Was that before this fire or after this fire?
MS RAMHITSHANA: Before this one. We would be informed that the administrative ...(indistinct) are burned so they would be in the administration offices not in the clinic.
JUDGE DE JAGER: Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Ms Ramhitshana, thank you very much, you are now excused.
MR NYAWUZA: Thank you Madame Chair, that would be our evidence.
NAME: PAUL ERASMUS
APPLICATION NO: AM3690/96
CHAIRPERSON: Yes. I think at this point I wish to raise something with Mr van Zyl. Subsequent to the evidence that has been led on behalf of the objectors, certain issues came to light which were not put to Mr Erasmus as should have been the case procedurally by the legal representatives of the objectors pertaining to the fires that had occurred prior to this incident. You will agree with me that I think the proper procedure would have been to put those issues to Mr Erasmus whilst he was still in the witness box to give him an opportunity to respond to such issues. But unfortunately this was not done. We would like to recall Mr Erasmus just to clear a few issues in the interest of fairness to his amnesty application.
MR VAN ZYL: Madame Chair, I haven't taken instructions from my client but we've got no objection. I want to put it in the light of his willingness to do full disclosure therefore he is open for any questions.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Erasmus, you are reminded that you are still under your former oath?
PAUL ERASMUS: (s.u.o.)
CHAIRPERSON: We would like to put a few questions which have become relevant pursuant to the evidence that has been given by the witnesses on behalf of the objectors and this relates, amongst others, to the fire that allegedly occurred in 1986 and in 1987 as well as some other issues which came up as a result of the evidence led by both the nurses and Mr Wilson in particular.
My first question would be were you aware that the Police had attacked the clinic in the year 1986 as well as 1987?
MR ERASMUS: Madame Chair, I vaguely remember that there were incidents prior to the fire bombing in 1989 involving the Police. I wasn't aware of the circumstances but I do recall that there was some situation.
CHAIRPERSON: So you are aware that an attack had been launched by the Police on the clinic prior to 1989?
MR ERASMUS: Not an attack per se, Madame Chair, but there was a situation that had developed. That I remember from discussions with colleagues and it could have been in the press, I'm not quite certain.
CHAIRPERSON: Now when you say situation, what do you mean? What did you understand that situation to have entailed?
MR ERASMUS: I cannot recall any exact details, I did not know that there were previously fires at the clinic. I did not know that the records office had been destroyed. That Alexandra was very much a hot area at that time. There was a lot of political activity, anti-government activity in Alexandra Township.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, would it be correct to say that to your understanding you knew that some action had been taken by the Police on the clinic?
MR ERASMUS: Yes, I cannot recall details, Madame Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: But you understood that they had done something to the clinic?
MR ERASMUS: No, not that the Police had actually done something to the clinic but there might have arrested people on the premises of the clinic, I'm not quite certain. Day by day there were incidents in Alexandra Township. It was not my brief or part of my work function to keep myself one hundred percent au fait of what had happened in Alexandra. I do recall that there were problems of some nature but the exact nature or details I cannot recall, Madame Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: I think we must just clear the air. I'm actually talking about the clinic as an entity, not Alexandra as a township which was engulfed in some kind of mayhem, that we know, as were many other townships in Soweto as well. Now were you aware that some kind of action had been taken by the Police against the clinic itself, the clinic as a medical facility?
MR ERASMUS: No, I was not aware of a particular action, Madame Chair, absolutely not.
CHAIRPERSON: In what year did you first become aware of the clinic's alleged involvement with the ANC activists, in them having to render such activists medical assistance as well as giving them logistical support?
MR ERASMUS: Madame Chair, the investigation that I referred to conducted by ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, the intelligence report.
MR ERASMUS: As to the activities of the so-called sanctuary programme, was in late 1970, 1987, 1988. It was the last period of my ten years as security policeman at John Vorster Square as I was transferred, as I mentioned yesterday, in 1989. It would have been 1988 that we received a lot of information about the sanctuary programme and the assistance to insurgents or people on the run.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes. So it between the period 1987 and 1988?
MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Madame Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: And in what year were you part of the briefing sessions that you have alluded to in your evidence in chief wherein the alleged involvement of the clinic was raised by the senior officers who addressed you during those briefing sessions?
MR ERASMUS: It would have been 1988, Madame Chair. In fact I'm certain it's 1988 because of the amount of arrests that were taking place at that time and the operations conducted by the Security Police where lists were drawn up, people were on the run and we were looking at every possible avenues of escape and support that these people would have been receiving from, as we were discussing today for example, the Alexandra Health Clinic.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes. The briefing sessions raised this alleged involvement of the clinic with the ANC activists in quite a number of sessions, am I correct in understanding you?
MR ERASMUS: I'm sorry, I didn't hear the first part Madame Chair? The killing of ANC activists?
MR ERASMUS: The briefing sessions that spoke to the clinic's alleged involvement with ANC activists, was that over a number of months in 1988 or were they just a couple of sessions that reported on this alleged involvement?
MR ERASMUS: Madame Chair, I must just clarify something. Apart from briefing sessions, we were also - a very large proportion of incoming intelligence that we received would have been in the nature of reports.
MR ERASMUS: Obviously co-ordinated by Security Police headquarters and other intelligence agencies where there was an inter-relationship and summaries were drawn up to summarise a lot of information received from a lot of - and a wide variety of different sources so I would have had party to those in the form of a weekly intelligence survey. The information would have been cross-indexed with the work that I was doing then on the church related sanctuary programme where our particular focus was on - at the time one of the instances was the Catholic Church that had a very large - we felt at the time, role in this protection of people that were on the run from the security forces.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I understand that but the briefing sessions, over which period did they occur wherein this involvement of the clinic was raised? Was it over a couple of weeks or months in 1988?
MR ERASMUS: Madame Chair, as I recall it was mentioned over a long period of time, I think possibly even going back into 1987. Certainly '88 and yes, 1989 as well.
CHAIRPERSON: And correct me if I'm wrong, both your intelligence reports as well as the briefing sessions you had spoke to the alleged involvement of the clinic with regard to them rendering assistance to the ANC activists as well as providing logistical support? It spoke to those two issues?
MR ERASMUS: Madame Chair, that is correct. I remember that out of all the venues or facilities that were available, we'd identified numerous in the Johannesburg area. Myself and my colleagues on the church side of it had identified, I could name them now. I don't know if it's in the interest of the Commission to hear them, several places and from our colleagues in Alexandra, they had come up with the name of Alexandra Health Clinic. That much I remember.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes. And the sessions that raised the alleged involvement of the clinic did not propose any action at that time?
MR ERASMUS: Madame Chair, certain people in the Security Branch were party to certain information. I personally had been involved, it's in my amnesty application, the bombing of Khotso House and COSATU House. I'd given information and been requested to supply information on other venues which were part of shall we say this list of facilities that were earmarked for destruction. I cannot recall that an actual list ever existed but it was certainly discussed about at great length amongst elements within the security and intelligence community. But I do recall and I accepted it, as I mentioned yesterday, as a fait accompli or just a straight fact that Alexandra Health Clinic would have been one of these places. It was a refuge centre where people were given or could have been given logistical support. I don't know the details but I just accepted it as I mentioned.
CHAIRPERSON: During these briefing sessions did any of the senior officers who presided over these sessions indicate whether any action was being proposed against the clinic?
MR ERASMUS: Not that I'm aware of, Madame Chair, certainly not in my circumstances. It was in - I beg your pardon - in relation to the Alexandra Health Clinic. In other circumstances in which I was a party to and which appears in my amnesty application, I was called in without - obviously to maintain security, on my own by a senior officer who gave me in the typical fashion and a mass of information has come before the TRC in that way, I was told in a round about way to commit a certain act.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Thank you very much for your assistance again Mr Erasmus.
MR ERASMUS: My pleasure, Madame Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr van Zyl.
MR VAN ZYL: As it pleases the Chair, Madame.
CHAIRPERSON: This brings us to the point where we are in a position to hear oral argument. Mr van Zyl, are you in a position to commence or would you like to have a short adjournment to recollect your thoughts pursuant to the evidence that has been led this morning?
MR VAN ZYL: As it pleases, Madame Chair. I don't know what your tea time arrangement is?
CHAIRPERSON: It's almost tea time.
MR VAN ZYL: So maybe we could break for tea and then it serves both purposes. As it pleases you.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Can we be back at quarter past eleven? Would that be convenient to you?
MR VAN ZYL: Fine with me, Madame Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: And to the other parties? We'll reconvene at 11.15.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr van Zyl, you will recall that when you started this hearing you moved an application to amend Mr Erasmus' application to include the offence of attempted murder?
MR VAN ZYL: Correctly so, Madame Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: We then gave an indication that we will hold in abeyance our ruling pending the leading of evidence in order to determine whether your application was opposed or not. We are now in a position to give a ruling in respect of that application you moved.
It is the ruling of this Committee that having heard the evidence of Mr Erasmus we are satisfied that Mr Erasmus did not foresee the possibility that persons might be killed or even injured during the execution of the operation to which he partook. Consequently, his application to amend, particularly the offence of attempted murder to be included for his amnesty application, cannot be granted as a result of the fact that he has indicated to this Committee that he never foresaw any possibility of person being killed or injured when he went along with the decision to attack the clinic. That is our ruling.
MR VAN ZYL: As it pleases the Chair. Are you waiting for me to proceed, Madame? With my argument? As it so pleases you.
MR VAN ZYL IN ARGUMENT: I think everybody here today cannot deny that the apartheid regime was an oppressive regime and any form of oppressive regime has a certain amount of paranoia if not a total amount of paranoia on which they based their legitimacy or their actions to uphold their regime. We see it today and we saw it in our own history. We see it in other countries, we saw it in our country and unfortunately, that is the way oppressors operate. Therefore, the Stratcom strategy that my client previously here in this chamber testified about and which I think this Committee has taken judicial notice of by now, if not factual notice, is in line with that paranoia of an oppressive regime. With the result is that the strategy to harass any person that remotely opposes the views of the State is in line with that strategy and in line with that paranoia. I, unfortunately, was also a victim to it, but that is not under discussion here today, but I have sympathy with any person and so does have the applicant with any person that fell foul to that strategy. That is why, if we have to go back to the definition of political amnesty or amnesty in this instance and the political motive, that in itself is the basis for political motive because that was the political motive of the regime and that was filtered down to the foot patrol soldier that even didn't get a direct order, but he just had to carry out what everybody else around him had to do because an offence is not only an act, it is also the omission of an act and if I understand my client clearly, then if he would have omitted in following this strategy, then he would not have followed orders. So therefore, a direct order was not always necessary for the security personnel to follow the intentions of the regime because it's clear that many of the people that were in government at that time will today deny that they knew of direct actions that were taken. But yet we all can guess today, on reading the history and looking at what had happened, somebody had to give the order initially and that alone can be the government and the strategy that was adopted due to their paranoia to bring about or to strengthen their oppressive regime. That is why the applicant is here today, to cleanse himself of as much knowledge that he has about this as he possibly can and I think everybody here can say and not vouch differently that he did and he is prepared and will be prepared in future to disclose everything and all that he does know and he did so here and that is why when Madame Chair wanted a few more questions here towards the end, we had no qualms even to go forward and say let us consult first.
So the political motive of the attack on the Alexandra Health Clinic was in line with the government strategy of the day. It was in line with everything else that my client had direct orders to do, for example the churches. The health clinic was the same. Today we can say but this was an institution that helped people in the daily help of persons becoming sick and ill. But unfortunately, you should know and have taken to judicial cognisance of the fact that the persons running the clinic, although they can today say what relevance is there, my political affiliation?
But coming back to my opening argument, that is exactly the way the government operated, of the day. Any person remotely opposing the government or having a political affiliation that is not in line with the government became an object, not only a subject, but an object of their strategy and therefore I want to say that Paul Mashatili, amongst others, together with Dr Wilson were politically opposing the government at the time and therefore that alone made them and their activities and where they worked a target. I think that is indisputable.
CHAIRPERSON: Is that Mr Erasmus' evidence?
MR ERASMUS: That is not his evidence in total but the inferences can be drawn from the totality of evidence that one has heard over the media and which one has heard here.
CHAIRPERSON: You must remember, Mr van Zyl, the crux of Mr Erasmus' application is the fact that the health clinic was attacked not because of its association with people like Mr Paul Mashatili. That's not his evidence?
MR VAN ZYL: No, that is not so but if you'll allow me, I will broaden and narrow my argument as well to that.
MR VAN ZYL: But the fact is that we have heard evidence here that there were previous attacks also where there was a direct confrontation with the authorities regarding the records of patients. We asked the first witness. Unfortunately, I couldn't at that time ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: Dr Wilson?
MR VAN ZYL: No, no, not the first witness, the first witness of Mr Nyawuza. I unfortunately at that time ...(intervention)
MR VAN ZYL: Yes. We asked here about gunshot wounds and she said yes, there were gunshot wound. And it is clear from Dr Wilson's testimony that that would not have been released to the Police and yet it is one of those things that the Police at the time wanted to have, was medical records so that they can get down to who are the activists. So the health clinic ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: That's not for purposes of Mr Erasmus' application.
MR VAN ZYL: No, it's not but that ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: That's not an issue.
MR VAN ZYL: Yes, but then again that is the broader picture, that is what happened in those days. That is why he was a Security Policeman. That is why he got those orders. So in his application, if we have to narrow it down now to the bare basics is that there were, in the briefings, the planning or the mentioning that the Alexandra Health Clinic was a place of refuge. Whether those facts were true or not is irrelevant for the scope of Mr Erasmus. They were led to believe that that is so and on the basis of that, when the day came when this common purpose decision was made, whether at Honeydew or just prior to that, to attack the health clinic, there was no objection on the applicant's part because he was part of the strategy and therefore he committed the act and went along.
CHAIRPERSON: It was part of which strategy?
MR VAN ZYL: The strategy of harassing any person that's politically inclined or anything that is contrary or what the government perceived to be contrary to their policy. It was said that in the briefing that the clinic was a target and therefore, obviously, opposing the government or doing things that the government wouldn't want to be done. Why else would the attack have been launched? Why else would the previous attacks have been launched?
CHAIRPERSON: The previous attacks were launched because of the refusal by Ms Salmon, I think?
MR VAN ZYL: By Dr Sampson - Salmon, she was a lady.
CHAIRPERSON: Who preceded Dr Wilson and subsequently by Dr Wilson to hand over the records. That we know, that sparked the action by the Police. Now the reason, the motive of the attack in 1986 is different to the motive of 1989, is it not so?
MR VAN ZYL: But Madame Chair - no, I don't think so because if we look at the present map or the chart of the clinic, the nurses home then is now the administration block.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, the motive for the attack was because of their refusal to hand over the records?
MR VAN ZYL: Yes.
CHAIRPERSON: That was the motive.
MR VAN ZYL: That was the motive but if you look at it now and you listen to the first lady's testimony where she said that she said to the doctor "tell us to leave the building, don't fire bomb it." Now I want to make a submission that the inference can be drawn that there were plans afoot already to change it to an administration block at that time.
CHAIRPERSON: But how does it affect the motive of Mr Erasmus?
MR VAN ZYL: Of course, now we're back to records, now we're back to papers, because in the administration block you keep your papers, so that is the motive.
CHAIRPERSON: How is that relevant to the application and the issues that we have to decide?
MR VAN ZYL: Well, there must be - there was a motive for the attack, a political motive in general.
JUDGE DE JAGER: According to the evidence, wasn't the motive in this case to discourage or to break the communication lines and to sort of intimidate them because they were harbouring freedom fighters and activists being wounded? Wasn't that his case which he based this attack, the evidence on?
MR VAN ZYL: Yes, Madame Chair, that's exactly so, that is part of what, my initial, where I came in with my broad argument of the Stratcom strategy of harassing people, of victimising people that opposed the government and therefore, if this harboured people, whether injured or not, and was a communications channel to the insurgents or the activists, then it falls back into the total strategy and that is why I said it covers this whole thing.
CHAIRPERSON: What total strategy are you referring to? Maybe enlighten us more to this total strategy. I must clearly state that I am not with you when you refer to this total strategy.
MR VAN ZYL: Madame Chair, earlier on in the hearings we agreed or it was agreed that we will not go into that history as it is well known to this Committee. Judge de Jager said so at that time and my client has alluded to the general government policy at that time, that was the mind set of the government at the time. That is what we referred to as a strategy in general.
CHAIRPERSON: To act against ANC?
MR VAN ZYL: ANC or any person opposing the government.
MR VAN ZYL: So that is what ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: But within a particular framework, is it not so? And this is the evidence that we now want to hear. We have already heard the evidence within which Mr Erasmus carried out this operation, so to speak. Now you must convince us that he had a motive and that the motive was political and you must be able in your argument to address the political objective which was sought to be pursued by him when he committed the offence and you must be able to address the issue of whether he complies with Section 20.2 to be whether he acted within the course and scope of his employment and whether it was within the scope of his expressed or implied authority. Those are issues we would like to hear about.
MR VAN ZYL: Well that is very simple to say. So it is clear that he was an employee of the State at the time. The evidence is there, it was not opposed. So he worked for the State as a Security policeman or within the Security Branch or whatever they cared to call them at the time, they had so many titles, but we all know that that's unopposed.
CHAIRPERSON: Was he authorised to participate in the decision to attack Alexandra Clinic?
MR VAN ZYL: Yes, in the implied briefings and the information that was supplied by the security fraternity to their different avenues, branches, or what you want to call them and as he said clearly earlier this morning also, although he was not targeted, specifically instructed to act against the health clinic as he had to deal with the churches but because he knew of the briefings and he knew it was a target, so when the decision was made at the time to carry out the attack he fell in line with that decision because of the implied authority that came through the briefings and the general strategy.
CHAIRPERSON: Can one infer that the mere mentioning of the activities of the clinic in the various briefing sessions which took place during the period 1987 and 1988, that on its own gave authority to Mr Erasmus?
MR VAN ZYL: I would argue yes, Madame Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: To decide on the attack?
MR VAN ZYL: Well, although he was not the one who initiated the decision, there is a decision that was made in a group of people at the time. He can't remember who started it but when this decision came about because of the briefings he saw no reason to go against them because of the implied authority that came through the briefings and in general that is how, as he also testified, he got his instructions to attack, say a church for instance, in a roundabout way because nobody would come out straight and say let's do it like that. They wanted a result but the instructions came in a very implied way and that is why this instruction to attack the church.
CHAIRPERSON: Is it your contention that the fact that Alexandra was mentioned in these briefing sessions is sufficient to be interpreted as having given Mr Erasmus implied authority to attack the clinic? Is that your contention?
MR VAN ZYL: Yes, Madame Chair, because that's the reason why he did it. He wouldn't have done it for any other reason, he had no personal gain. He had no personal vendetta.
CHAIRPERSON: But was he sufficiently authorised to act against Alexandra as Mr Erasmus?
MR VAN ZYL: I can see no other way that it could have been for the simple reason that that was part of the briefing. Why were they Security Police? Why were there briefings? Why were there intelligence reports, whether they were correct or not, that is not the argument. Why were they there? To infiltrate and to impress upon the State employee or the lower soldier or the lower officer to execute orders which they presume comes from higher up.
CHAIRPERSON: So any person who attended these briefing sessions had the necessary authority to act against the clinic by virtue of his presence and by virtue of him having listened to the allegations that had been levelled against the clinic?
MR VAN ZYL: Madame Chair, yes it sounds farfetched. But now let's take the further incident. That alone perhaps is not enough, but let's take the further incident. Here you have two senior officers present at a function and he assumes that they are taking charge, he says so in his further particulars. They carried out the attack, Col. van Huyssteen and his staff carried out the attack. So should ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: That's another concern of mine because he says that as a fact in his written application that Col. van Huyssteen and his staff carried out the attack but is it not so that Mr Erasmus is not in a position to know who actually carried out this attack?
MR VAN ZYL: That is true. That is, I would say, an assumption he made at the time because he believes it to be so but in retracting the factual events and so on, we have to concede that he may know but he doesn't factually know it.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, it would be correct in fact to state that Mr van Huyssteen carried out the attack. There is no evidence to support that version.
MR VAN ZYL: No, there is not evidence but the attack did take place and that we do know through all the evidence we've heard here.
JUDGE DE JAGER: But he went as far as to say Van Wyk and Van Huyssteen were present at the decision making stage. He can't say he didn't see them actually throwing petrol bombs in whatever way the attack was carried out?
MR VAN ZYL: That is what I said, at the time of the function this decision making took place and so on and he just heard it as they were talking that this was the decision that was made and he went along with it, yes.
JUDGE DE JAGER: Mr van Zyl I think the case of Minister of Police vs Gamble, 1979/4 on page 768 may solve your problem.
MR VAN ZYL: If you can help me?
JUDGE DE JAGER: It was stated there that a policeman is always, when acting - when active - well, it's in Afrikaans, I'm trying to translate it now. In Afrikaans it reads:
"'n Polisiebeampte is ingers altyd, wanneer hy met polisiewerk besig is, onder die bevel en beheer van sy meedere en dis onder beheer van die Staat."
So if he was busy carrying out police work, he was in fact under the authority of the seniors and thus under the authority of the State.
MR VAN ZYL: Correctly so, Madame Chair, because if you listened to his testimony, as he says, that function took place specifically for the reason that they worked so hard and so on and that was sort of a letting off steam function, that the initial intention was. So it is clear, policemen are, it's well known, I think judicial cognisance must be taken of the fact they are 24 hours on duty. I don't know if it's still so, but it used to be in the days when I was still actively in the courts.
CHAIRPERSON: Well that might be so but I have the evidence before me that the basis on which he carried out this operations was because he knew about the involvement of Alexandra and his knowledge came from the intelligence reports as well as the sessions he attended, the morning briefing sessions he attended, wherein senior officers raised this issue.
MR VAN ZYL: Correct.
CHAIRPERSON: Now I want to know whether he had the necessary authority to act against Alexandra Clinic. I do not have any evidence that Mr van Wyk or Mr van Huyssteen possessed the motive to attack the clinic. Mr Erasmus is in no position to shed more light on that as he cannot remember.
MR VAN ZYL: Correctly so, so we can't argue it further than just that but taking this circumstantial evidence, when this decision was made at let's say Honeydew, if we have to give it a name, he had no reason to go against the decision because all the circumstances pointed to the fact that there was a political objective in doing so. Surely they didn't go out just to throw fire bombs, then they could have thrown a fire bomb at the Carlton Centre at that time for that matter. That is why in this scenario of decision taking, this scenario of information giving and gathering, when this decision was made at Honeydew, he had no reason to go against it. How else could he ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: The evidence does not tell us who actually made the decision. The evidence tells us that he went along with the decision that was made by somebody.
MR VAN ZYL: Correct.
CHAIRPERSON: The evidence does not state that Mr van Wyk or Van Huyssteen made such a decision as senior officers. From the evidence we can infer that they must have approved but whether they possessed the necessary information as to the reason behind taking the decision, whether they knew of the involvement of Alexandra Clinic with the ANC activists in providing logistical support and rendering medical assistance, is something that we do not have.
MR VAN ZYL: And unfortunately we cannot take it further than that because then Van Huyssteen and Van Wyk must come and testify but we can't take it further than that. As he said, that is what happened that night, he was not directly in that avenue of intelligence, he was directed to handle other aspects so he obviously had no way of knowing where the order directly came from but given the scenario, he assumed that there was a legitimate order, a legitimate planning, legitimate in the sense of the political view of the time or of the day and therefore he went along with it. He had no reason to question it. There was no reason for him to question it and had he questioned it, let's imagine that scenario, he would have then be told get in your car and come along.
CHAIRPERSON: What worth should one give to the fact that when Mr Erasmus gave evidence he conceded to the fact that had it not been because of the amount of liquor he had imbibed, this whole decision might not have been taken at all?
MR VAN ZYL: I would say perhaps my client overstretched that scenario a little bit because with it all, the attack did take place. Somebody must have planned it.
CHAIRPERSON: Planned it?
MR VAN ZYL: Yes, somebody must have planned it.
CHAIRPERSON: Prior to the drinking spree?
MR VAN ZYL: Prior to the drinking spree. So this drinking spree, I think, was just a cover up. If I have to give you my submissions, my personal belief and you can strike it from the roll, the evidence if you want, is that there's a core that knew what was going to happen that night and they used this function to get a bigger attraction, to attract more people. It's not evidence but that's my personal belief. As I said, I'm giving my personal belief. But somebody had to take charge.
CHAIRPERSON: Well we don't want to have your view, Mr van Zyl.
MR VAN ZYL: Exactly.
CHAIRPERSON: We want to argue, to give us your argument based on the evidence before us.
MR VAN ZYL: Exactly and that is why I say ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, you must make your submissions.
MR VAN ZYL: The applicant can't take it further than that, the decision was made but somebody had access to the petrol, somebody threw it, somebody created the fire, of the group that started at Honeydew or prior to that. Somebody was there.
CHAIRPERSON: So we must now speculate and say that this must have been preplanned?
MR VAN ZYL: It is a speculation that can very much be taken for the simple reason that if we don't argue that way are we then saying that this was a drunken party and a brawl?
CHAIRPERSON: We must hear your submission.
MR VAN ZYL: The applicant is saying it was not so. Although liquor was imbibed, they did ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Erasmus has conceded that it contributed.
MR VAN ZYL: It contributed, yes.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, to his participation.
MR VAN ZYL: To his participation, yes and perhaps everybody else's participation. But still, the original decision was made by somebody.
CHAIRPERSON: Now where are the facts, from which are we to infer the original decision must have been made prior to the drinking sessions that took place at the sports ground and subsequently at Honeydew? Do we have any objective facts from which we can ...(intervention)
MR VAN ZYL: We do not have that. We do not have that but how far can he take it, how far can the applicant take it, Madame Chair, he cannot take it further. He has given you what he knew, he has given to you what he has seen taken place and we had extra evidence that's come in that corroborates what he actually said, that the fire did take place, people did get injured, though he didn't know it at the time. The time and the date is in the scenario of what he said. So his full disclosure, as much as he knows, as much as he can give this Committee, he has done so. More than that he can't do. Whether the decision was taken rightly or wrongly, he can't take it further but he says it was taken and he went along with it. He had no reason to object to it.
MR VAN ZYL: We cannot penalise him for that. We can criticise but we can't penalise him for that.
CHAIRPERSON: Is it your submission, therefore, that Mr Erasmus simply went along with the flow, as he puts it, himself for the fun of going along?
MR VAN ZYL: That would not be the submission. He went along as backup because they always called upon extras, as he said, to go for backup, so he went along as backup.
CHAIRPERSON: Let's concentrate on that because that's his evidence, I think it's important. Now he was to form backup to this operation. What is your submission, what kind of backup would have been given by Mr Erasmus?
MR VAN ZYL: What the Security fraternity would understand under that, there was no evidence before the court so any submission I would make now is also guesswork on my part but at the time I took my instructions, backup meant that if his help was needed anywhere he would be given an order to do something.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes. His evidence was that he did not have any petrol or petrol bombs. He had not seen any petrol nor petrol bombs amongst his colleagues. Given the nature of the operation, the kind of backup one would have considered relevant would have been in the nature of provision of petrol to make sure that the operation succeeds because the intention was indeed to set it on fire, that was the decision that was taken. Now if he does not possess any of the backup facility, what kind of backup would that have been?
MR VAN ZYL: But procuring items to launch the attack is not the only kind of backup that there is. Backup is there to cover up tracks, backup is there to run interference. Those are thus my guesswork is not evidence. Surely, Madame Chair, doesn't say that only procuring the items to commit the deed is an only form of backup?
MR VAN ZYL: There were six cars. Five of the other cars could have done so. His car didn't do so.
ADV SIGODI: Sorry, and then what about his state of being staggeringly drunk? What kind of backup would he have afforded given his state?
MR VAN ZYL: Well, he was there. His car went there. He didn't make any accidents so surely he was competent enough to execute those minimal deeds which points that he knew what he was about. I can't take it further than that.
CHAIRPERSON: And there is obviously no evidence to give an indication of the kind of backup he would have provided.
MR VAN ZYL: Pardon, I didn't hear you clearly, Madame Chair?
CHAIRPERSON: I'm saying we do not have any evidence to indicate the kind of backup he would have provided. There is no such evidence.
MR VAN ZYL: There is no such evidence, but there was evidence that he went as backup. Now the kind of backup, he wasn't questioned on that and so on, I didn't give any evidence. I have to admit I didn't receive instructions what kind of backup but if Madame Chair wishes to listen to him now we can do so. I have got no objection to that.
CHAIRPERSON: Well that would be unprocedural, is it not so Mr van Zyl?
MR VAN ZYL: For the point of fairness and full disclosure, I don't think ...(intervention)
JUDGE DE JAGER: But didn't he say something about if there was a counter attack or something? He gave evidence about that.
MR VAN ZYL: I must admit then maybe I missed that one and so on but yes, now that you mention it, Judge de Jager, I think you are quite correct and so on, but I missed that one.
CHAIRPERSON: I do not recall that kind of evidence.
MR VAN ZYL: Well, if that is so but as I say, for the point of fairness and for full disclosure he is quite willing to listen to you now, whether it's procedural or correct, I'm the one to object to correct procedure as one party, they may also but if they want full disclosure, everybody wants to know the truth, then we can very well go into that aspect, Madame Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes. The reason why we have legal representatives, Mr van Zyl, and this we have emphasised on many of our hearings is to get the efficient assistance as a panel from the legal representatives. It is your noble duty to give us as much facts on which we can make our decision as possible.
MR VAN ZYL: That is so, Madame Chair, but then perhaps you do not know the background. I was brought aboard only three weeks ago.
MR VAN ZYL: Under severe difficult circumstances with volumes of documents and so on, that I was told there is and so on which I haven't been given the opportunity but I was asked to please be as ready as possible here yesterday which we did.
CHAIRPERSON: If you were not sufficiently ready you should have advised Ms Patel that you are not in a position to proceed so that you do not make it an excuse the fact that you were brought into the matter three weeks prior to the hearing because we cannot accept that as an excuse.
CHAIRPERSON: As it pleases you, Madame Chair, but as I say we don't have evidence of backup, but surely there's judicial cognisance to be taken to the fact that there are many ways of giving backup. Not only prior to an attack but post an attack as well.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Does that conclude your submissions?
MR VAN ZYL: My submission is, in terms of Section 20 of the Act, the relevant Act, he complies with all the necessary requirements of being granted amnesty in this specific incident before you now, Madame Chair. Thank you, that now concludes my argument.
CHAIRPERSON: Is it still his contention that he was instructed by Mr van Wyk and Huyssteen?
MR VAN ZYL: The decision was taken, the order was given by somebody for the decision to be taken. If it's directly Van Huyssteen or Van Wyk then let it be so. They were the senior officers present so if it came down from the senior officers then we say yes.
CHAIRPERSON: Well, I'm making enquiries because that's what he is standing in his written application.
MR VAN ZYL: That is quite correct, I know. That is what he did and although his evidence didn't directly point to them specifically, I admit that also. But again, he admits that he was drunk, he can't remember all the facts, he has given the court as much as possible as he could - the Committee.
CHAIRPERSON: Is it not his evidence also that Mr van Huyssteen was attached to a different unit and that he had just been transferred from John Vorster?
MR VAN ZYL: I can't remember that clearly but I do remember that Van Huyssteen and Van Wyk were sort of the one preceding the other or something to that effect. I can't give you now exactly ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: There were senior officers but certainly not in his unit, yes?
MR VAN ZYL: Yes, Van Huyssteen was in command of the unit.
CHAIRPERSON: Of his unit?
MR VAN ZYL: Your unit?
MR ERASMUS: Not of my unit.
CHAIRPERSON: That's the evidence we have.
MR VAN ZYL: Ja, it's not of his unit, ja.
CHAIRPERSON: He was previously in charge of the unit responsible for Alexandra as a township.
MR VAN ZYL: Oh yes, that's right.
CHAIRPERSON: At the time of the commission of this operation he was no longer even attached to that unit. That's the evidence.
MR VAN ZYL: That is correct, yes.
MR VAN ZYL: Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Ms Pillay, does it commence with you?
MS PILLAY IN ARGUMENT: Thank you Madame Chair. Madame Chair, the applicant is not here today to cleanse his sole. The applicant is here to apply for amnesty for the petrol bombing of the nurses home at the Alexandra Health Clinic and in doing so he has to comply with each and every requirement that's set out in the Act and each and every requirement has to be specifically dealt with in order to assess whether or not he does comply with the requirements for amnesty.
I'd start off, Madame Chair, with dealing with full disclosure and whether in my submissions the applicant has complied with that, with Section 20.1 (c) of the Act. The onus is on the applicant to show that he meets each and every requirement of the Act, if not only on, by his evidence, but by calling other witnesses to corroborate his evidence or to compliment his evidence where he cannot provide evidence himself.
I submit, Madame Chair, that the evidence of the applicant is at best vague and unclear. A lot of his evidence is based on assumptions and speculation which I submit is not sufficient to fulfil the requirement of the Act. There were no clear facts, Madame Chair, put before this hearing on the identification of Alex Health Clinic as a target by the State. the applicant has been unable to say when was the Alex Health Clinic identified specifically as a target. He has been unable to say why was the Alex Health Clinic specifically identified as a target.
JUDGE DE JAGER: Ms Pillay, could you go a little bit slower?
MS PILLAY: Sorry, I apologise.
JUDGE DE JAGER: Thank you. There was no clear evidence about the identification of the target, I think then you said when it was identified?
MS PILLAY: When the Alexandra Health Clinic was specifically identified as a target for petrol bombing, why was the Alexandra Health Clinic specifically identified for petrol bombing?
CHAIRPERSON: Can I? I appreciate that you draw a distinction between the identification of the clinic as a target and the identification of the clinic as a target for attack.
MS PILLAY: That is correct.
CHAIRPERSON: That's important.
MS PILLAY: That is correct, that's my submission.
JUDGE DE JAGER: Yes, another thing. Have we got evidence that it was indeed a petrol bomb?
MS PILLAY: We don't have evidence from ...(intervention)
JUDGE DE JAGER: Or that even petrol was used?
MS PILLAY: That evidence hasn't been placed before this hearing. I think that we all assumed it afterwards that this was the petrol bomb attack that was being dealt with.
JUDGE DE JAGER: Because we've got not even from the victims' evidence that was a smell of petrol or anything like that?
MS PILLAY: That is correct, Madame Chair.
On prodding from the Chair today and I must emphasise that it was the first time today that we had specific evidence by the applicant that Alexandra Health Centre was discussed at the morning sessions. During examination in chief and during cross-examination it was never once specifically mentioned by the applicant that Alexandra Health Clinic was dealt with in the morning sessions.
CHAIRPERSON: I'm sure you must be mistaken, Ms Pillay. It was mentioned in evidence in chief. If it was not mentioned in evidence in chief then it definitely came out during my questioning of the applicant yesterday.
MS PILLAY: Yes, Madame Chair, my notes on this said that the applicant said it probably was discussed during the morning sessions and never that it was discussed at morning sessions and the applicant indicated that there were intelligence reports on Alexandra Health Clinic but never specifically stated that he had read the intelligence reports himself. He mentioned that he may have heard from his counterparts that there were intelligence reports on Alexandra Health Clinic but there was never clear uncontroverted evidence that he saw an intelligence report, what the date of the intelligence report was and specifically what the content of the intelligence report was.
Further, Madame Chair, the applicant ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: Does it make any difference now that he has somehow remembered that there were intelligence reports which he personally went through? He had remembered the period during which those reports were read by him, 1987 and 1988, because that's the evidence. Whether it came during his evidence in chief of later, that still remains his evidence.
MS PILLAY: I concede Madame Chair that that might be the evidence now. I would like to draw the distinction, though, that that evidence differs from the evidence which we got yesterday, where he was very vague and unclear about when exactly he received the evidence, from whom and how he received the evidence and at this stage, Madame Chair, I am still unclear as specifically what the contents of those reports were and who had compiled them and I think if the applicant is to rely on those reports as support for his contention that the Alexandra Health Clinic was a legitimate political target, then he has a duty to give those facts to this Commission.
The applicant is also unclear Madame Chair about the planning of the attack. He hasn't been able to tell us today when did the planning of the attack start, who started the planning of the attack.
He says that it was probably planned at the drinking spree in Honeydew. I submit, Madame Chair, that probably is not good enough. We need to know who planned it, whose brainchild was the bombing of the Alexandra Health Clinic, when was it planned and what specifically was the plan.
CHAIRPERSON: And whether that person possessed the necessary information.
MS PILLAY: And authority to do that.
CHAIRPERSON: Information with regard to motive for the attack and whether he was authorised to so plan and to launch such an attack.
MS PILLAY: Absolutely, Madame Chair. And finally, Madame Chair, as pointed out by the learned Judge de Jager, the applicant is unclear about the execution of the attack. Who executed the attack, how did they execute it, was it by means of a petrol bomb. We don't know, Madame Chair, those facts have not been placed before this Commission.
CHAIRPERSON: Would that preclude us from deciding his request for amnesty if we do not have facts with regard to how the operation was carried out. Would you in your submission state that that would amount to non full disclosure?
MS PILLAY: I strongly submit, Madame Chair, that it would amount to non full disclosure and that therefore it you would not meet the requirements of the Act.
And finally, Madame Chair, I would like to point out to the Commission that whenever any question was posed to the applicant about Alexandra Health Clinic, the applicant vaguely and generally started talking about the sanctuary programmes and he very specifically mentioned that the only information which he specifically had was about the role of churches within the sanctuary programme and I think that was a clear admission that he had almost no information about the role of the Alexandra Health Clinic specifically within those sanctuary programmes and I'm sure, Madame Chair, that the records will support me in this.
Madame Chair, I think it may be then possible for me to deal with every requirement of the Act and to give my submissions as to whether specific requirements would be met in terms of the evidence that have been put before this hearing today and I'd like to start off, Madame Chair, with the requirement of Section 22(b), that the applicant must show that he acted within the course and scope of his employment at the time when he committed this offence and the question then facing this Commission, Madame Chair, is whether he was acting within the course and scope of his employment or whether he was out on a frolic at the time. And this is made difficult by the fact that the applicant's testimony before this hearing today that he was always on duty. Now Madame Chair, I would like to question that, especially in light of the fact that there were heavy drinking sessions when, on the evidence of the applicant, more alcohol was consumed than some breweries could churn out.
JUDGE DE JAGER: Well I think that was a bit of an exaggeration because I think there is still alcohol available today.
MS PILLAY: The question then, Madame Chair, is how do we know whether they were bona fide employees of the State or whether there were drunken renegades who were fully armed and were just out on a frolic. The applicant's testimony is clear that he drank a lot of alcohol, that he was staggeringly drunk. He may have suggested - and then there's the Cathy Satchwell issue. They were drinking at the Police Sport's Ground, he may have suggested why don't we go and damage Cathy Satchwell's kraal. Six or seven carloads of drunken policemen then proceed to Cathy Satchwell's home. The applicant sits in the car while some people jump over a wall and damage a car. They then proceed, Madame Chair, to even another drinking place where they sit and consume even more alcohol. Someone then asks "Wat gaan ons vanaand doen?" - What are we going to do tonight? It is then suggested by we don't know whom that why don't they go and damage the Alexandra Health Clinic. Madame Chair, in light and then many carloads of even more drunk security policemen proceed to Alexandra Health Clinic. In fact the applicant even gets lost on his way there. When he arrives at the house clinic he finds that it's ablaze. He thinks well, the job is done and he leaves.
Madame Chair, I strongly submit that in light of this evidence placed before the Commission that the applicant has failed to show that he acted within the course and scope of his employment. In fact, Madame Chair, the evidence strongly suggests that this was just a drunken frolic.
JUDGE DE JAGER: Would you say he was so drunk that he couldn't form an intent?
MS PILLAY: Madame Chair, might I answer that with the applicant's own testimony, that had he not been that drunk he probably not would have been involved in the first place.
JUDGE DE JAGER: I say it had an effect on him but if he'd been charged and he would raise the defence of "I was so drunk I didn't know what I've been doing", do you think that would be sustained?
MS PILLAY: Madame Chair, I'm reluctant to speculate on that because the tests leave such a wide discretion on the judge in the particular circumstances to decide whether or not the applicant had criminal capacity, but I would submit that that is irrelevant to the decision of whether he was acting within the course and scope of his employment.
JUDGE DE JAGER: Well if he could form an intent and he formed the intent to go along with the decision made by a group of policemen including senior officers, wouldn't that make him guilty of the offence? I personally don't think he would succeed in saying "I was so drunk that I couldn't form an intent".
MS PILLAY: Well that would make him guilty of the offence, that's correct.
JUDGE DE JAGER: Yes.
MS PILLAY: But I submit that that's not the test for whether or not he was acting within the course and scope of his employment. The issue is really whether he was out on a frolic and on his own evidence the applicant testified that if he was not that drunk, he probably would not have gotten involved in the first place.
JUDGE DE JAGER: He testified that the liquor had an effect on him but not that the liquor had that effect that he couldn't decide whether he would go with or not.
MS PILLAY: That he lacked capacity, that is correct, but he also testified that if he had not consumed that much of liquor he would not have gotten involved in the first place.
CHAIRPERSON: In fact, if all of them.
MS PILLAY: In fact he even went one step further and he said in his belief, if all of them had not consumed that much of liquor, the attack would probably have been better planned or better prepared. Now I would want to submit, Madame Chair, that that raises the question, if all of them had not consumed the amount of liquor that they did consume, would the attack have even taken place in the first place?
JUDGE DE JAGER: Well, the evidence is it would have been better planned.
MS PILLAY: Well, his evidence is that if the whole group had not had that much of alcohol, the attack would have been better planned. If he did not have that much of alcohol, he would probably not have done it in the first place.
JUDGE DE JAGER: Yes but he also said if he received the order by the senior officers, he wouldn't question it, he would go along.
MS PILLAY: But - that is correct, Mr Chair, but it's still unclear at this point whether he received an order. In fact the evidence is on the applicant's own testimony, that he acted without authority on that night, that he had no clear authority to act.
JUDGE DE JAGER: But whether you give an order or whether you say come along with me as a General or a leader, you need not say listen, I order you to come along with me, come along with me, we're going to do this or the next thing. Isn't that similar to what the act suggests would be an order or an approval?
MS PILLAY: Madame Chair, the evidence of the applicant is that he went with the flow not that Capt. van Huyssteen or Capt. van Wyk said come with us because we're going to do x, y or z.
JUDGE DE JAGER: Yes, that's why I asked you whether it could form some sort of intent because if he only went with the flow then presumably he was floating and he didn't make a decision. But here he decided to go with the flow.
MS PILLAY: Well I'm not so sure that that distinction should be drawn, I think the bottom line is that he went with the flow whether or not that constitutes authority is really the question that faces this Commission today.
CHAIRPERSON: What Judge de Jager is trying to find out is whether your submission would still remain that he acted without authority, express or implied if senior officers namely Col. van Huyssteen and Van Wyk had decided that that operation had to be carried out. Would that not give him the necessary authority to participate in that operation?
MS PILLAY: Madame Chair, if the evidence before this Commission was that a conscious decision was taken by Van Huyssteen and Van Wyk, that tonight we're going to bomb the Alexandra Health Clinic, I would concede that that may be implied authority for the applicant to join in but that evidence is not before this Commission today. The evidence before this Commission on the applicant's own version is that he went with the flow and I strongly submit that that does not constitute authority for him to act.
CHAIRPERSON: And is it not true that the evidence or the facts before us are that not Capt. van Wyk or Col. van Huyssteen took the decision that it was a group decision with all the officers being equal to have their decision taken and recognised?
MS PILLAY: That is the evidence of the applicant today, that the group took the decision to fire bomb the clinic.
JUDGE DE JAGER: But on the question of my learned colleague you also stated that if one of the senior officers would have said no, you don't go, he would have obeyed such a suggestion or order or whatever it may be because that was a culture sort of there?
MS PILLAY: I think, Madame Chair, that it's necessary not to view it in the negative but in the positive as to where did the instruction come from and who was the instruction binding on. If the instruction came from Van Huyssteen and Van Wyk, then it would be binding on the applicant but the evidence before this hearing is that it did not come from Van Huyssteen or Van Wyk but it came from the group and therefore there was no authority, expressed or implied.
JUDGE DE JAGER: I've got difficulty with that. If a group of officers would sit there and they decide we do this and the two Generals would not say no, you don't do it, isn't that authority? They're the ultimate leaders, they're the ultimate responsible persons, the senior persons in that group? Didn't they imply authority then?
MS PILLAY: Madame Chair, that kind of speculation would throw up a whole lot of permutations and combinations which I don't think we want to even touch on. Questions are, were Van Huyssteen and Van Wyk present when the group was deciding this? Did they hear the decision that the group had taken? Those kind of facts are not even dealt with by the applicant and I strongly submit that the onus is on the applicant to have put that evidence before this hearing. If not by subpoenaing Van Wyk and Van Huyssteen to say that ...(intervention)
JUDGE DE JAGER: But if it wasn't contested, nobody put it to him: "I put it to you Van Wyk and Van Huyssteen wasn't there?"
CHAIRPERSON: Would you have been in a position to do that because you'd only be able to do that if you possessed the necessary evidence.
MS PILLAY: That is correct.
CHAIRPERSON: That you would then have to lead. If you were to put it to the applicant that Col. van Huyssteen and Capt. van Wyk were not there, those are the facts which are not within your knowledge and therefore it would have been completely out of order and I would have objected if you were to do that unless you were prepared to lead evidence to support what you put to the applicant?
MS PILLAY: That is absolutely correct. And I ...(intervention)
JUDGE DE JAGER: On the other hand - could I just and then you could answer both of our questions. If he said Van Wyk and Van Huyssteen was there or the one or the other was there or both were there and nobody is saying "are you sure?" Why should he call other people to come and confirm it?
MS PILLAY: I strongly submit that the fact that the onus is on the applicant, clarifies this issue to a great extent. The applicant has a duty on a balance of probabilities to put these facts before the court. If he is relying on the fact that the presence of Van Huyssteen and Van Wyk gave him implied authority then it was his duty to ensure that either Van Wyk or Van Huyssteen was present here to give evidence to that effect and that it's not for us to prove his ...(intervention)
JUDGE DE JAGER: Why do you say there's an onus on him? Where in the Act is it spelt out that there's an onus?
MS PILLAY: Well, I think Madame Chair that the fact that the Act has specific requirements for amnesty, that creates an onus on the applicant to meet each and every requirement on the balance of probabilities.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, to satisfy the Committee that he meets the requirements of full disclosure as well as sub-section 2 and 3 of Section 20 of the Act and I understand what you are saying. What I want to find out is the following. We have evidence that Capt. van Wyk and Col. van Huyssteen were senior officers who were present when this decision was taken, collective decision taken by the officers. We also have evidence that the Police had been involved in very serious drinking. We, however, do not any evidence as to extent of both senior officers' level of intoxication, whether they would have been in a position to make a sound decision befitting a senior officer with regard to the attack. I do not have any facts whether they knew of the involvement of the clinic as alleged with the ANC activists.
MS PILLAY: Madame Chair, if I may just provide some clarification? During my cross-examination of Mr Erasmus, when I established that he was drunk, I specifically asked him was Capt. van Huyssteen drunk and he said yes.
MS PILLAY: And I specifically ask him if Van Wyk was drunk and he said yes and I think, Madame Chair, those two facts as conceded by the applicant also thrown into this whole argument about whether he derived authority from the presence of Van Huyssteen and Van Wyk, further clouds the issue as to whether they were in a position to give authority, given the intoxicated state at the time.
CHAIRPERSON: Also can you address given their state of drunkenness, could they have really had a political objective?
MS PILLAY: Well, my submission would be that firstly they would not have had, I think they would not have been in a position to exercise authority and secondly, if there's speculation about whether they even knew what the political around fire bombing Alexandra Health Clinic would be and that only the testimony of Van Huyssteen and Van Wyk would clarify that and this hearing has not had the benefit of that testimony.
CHAIRPERSON: But does the fact that somebody is drunk takes away his ability to have a political objective if he is aware of the involvement of the clinic with the ANC activists if the clinic has been targeted for attack? The fact that he is drunk, can it necessarily make him incapable of knowing that if he were to make an attack it would be for a political objective?
MS PILLAY: Madame Chair, I think that interpreting ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: I'm not talking about the level of intoxication, the degree of his intoxication, but the mere fact that you are drunk, can that remove your ability to have a political objective?
MS PILLAY: I think that interpreting political objective, we have to do so very narrowly and I think that the issue here is whether, even if they had that information and I strongly submit that that is speculation at this stage, that he had the information. The intoxication would come in at the level where they act on that information and the way in which they act on that information and that goes into proportionality, it goes into gravity and all those other factors as well which I think strongly impact on whether they had a political objective.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, you have listened to Mr van Zyl and it is his submission that Mr Erasmus had the necessary authority and that he was properly motivated to act against the clinic because of the information which he had, which he had gleaned from the intelligence reports as well as the briefing sessions presided over by senior officers. What is your submission with regard to the fact that not withstanding the fact that he was aware of the involvement of the clinic from as early as 1987 and 1988, no action is taken until there is this drinking session at both the sports ground and Honeydew in 1989? What is your submission?
MS PILLAY: Madame Chair, my submission is that that strongly indicates that there are other motives behind the attack, then a political objective as admitted by Mr van Zyl and that Mr van Zyl relies on the two previous attacks on Alexandra Health Clinic and I think it's appropriate at this stage, Madame Chair, just to distinguish those attacks. The 1986 attack, according to the evidence of Mr Wilson was believed to be an attack initiated by the Police because of this incident around the provision of patient's files of medical reports. The 1987 attack, according to Dr Wilson's testimony, which was not challenged under cross-examination, is that he didn't know who committed the attack and he was absolutely vague as to who he suspected because there was nothing to indicate who would be the suspects of the attack.
JUDGE DE JAGER: He suspected the right wing.
MS PILLAY: He said a possibility might have been the right wing and then he even mentioned that members of the Alexandra community approached him in '87 for medical records and that they had refused. So he had absolutely no idea who might have conducted the 1987 attack. Now in light of that, Madame Chair, it's quite clear on the evidence before this Commission today that despite the fact that they claimed to have had information on the clinic from as early as '87, even before that, that there was no action taken until a drunken spree in 1989.
If I may then address the Commission, Madame Chair, and I would like to just at this stage reiterate what really for me is the crux of this matter. The applicant's testimony that if he had not consumed that much of alcohol he probably would not have gotten involved in the first place. If the rest of the group had not consumed that much of alcohol it would have been better planned, better prepared. I raise the question, would it even have happened at all? Therefore, Madame Chair, the evidence before this hearing is that the attack was not properly thought out or planned, it was executed by a group of drunken security policemen and that it happened on the spur of the moment, that's the other important piece of the applicant's evidence, that the attack happened on the spur of the moment and I think proper judicial notice should be taken of that.
CHAIRPERSON: That's the evidence he led in chief?
MS PILLAY: That is correct, Madame Chair, and it was confirmed from questions from the Chair.
With regard to whether he acted within the course and scope of express or implied authority, Madame Chair, I think I've already addressed this Commission on that.
MS PILLAY: Just to highlight the applicant's own admission, that he had no authority to act on that night. During cross-examination he made that admission.
Madame Chair, I think the next issue I'd like to address this Commission on is whether or not the act was directed at a legitimate target. I submit, Madame Chair, that Section 20.2 (b) requires that the act must be directed at a legitimate political target.
JUDGE DE JAGER: I don't think so. It should be directed at an opponent, that's what the Act says.
MS PILLAY: Well my submission is that that means that it has to be a political target, that the target has to be legitimate.
JUDGE DE JAGER: Yes, but I don't think there's anything like a legitimate target.
MS PILLAY: Yes, alright. It has to be at a political target.
JUDGE DE JAGER: Yes, a political opponent, yes.
MS PILLAY: Right, that is correct. The applicant derives his authority to act, Madame Chair, on a cabinet decision taken to wedge war or conduct a total onslaught against enemies of the State. Now that for me, Madame Chair, is the key. Was the Alexandra Health Clinic an enemy of the State? Now the evidence of Dr Wilson is that the clinic received funding from the State in the form of subsidisation of the nurses salary and I think that is very material. Dr Wilson further testified to the fact the clinic was allowed to buy drugs on a State tender, also indicating State support. The clinic also had close links with Wits University. Dr Wilson testified that the clinic was a training ground for prospective medical doctors, so I submit, Madame Chair, that the close ties between the clinic and the State is a clear indication that it was not an enemy of the State and if it was an enemy of the State, the simple thing would be to cut the subsidisation of the clinic and that was not done. So I submit that the clinic was not legitimate political target and that it was not a political target at all.
Furthermore that the clinic is run by a board that is properly constituted, a board that is constituted by persons by various political backgrounds and persuasions and that in accordance with its Hippocratic oath, the clinic provided health services to all who needed it, regardless of their political background. So it might be, Madame Chair, that there were ANC supporters who were treated by the clinic and that we concede. But in the same breath there were members of the IFP or even security policemen for that matter and Dr Wilson gave very clear and direct evidence on that, that there were Security Police members who were treated at the clinic.
CHAIRPERSON: Soldiers, members of the Defence Force.
MS PILLAY: Soldiers were treated and policemen were treated there so ...(intervention)
JUDGE DE JAGER: Even a private practitioner, if he would only treat ANC people it would be clear but in order to be able to treat them he would treat all people. I mean theoretically now, because that would be the perfect cover in order to enable him to help other people. So it's not excluding the possibility of treating other people but helping people with whom you've got sympathy.
MS PILLAY: Yes. Madame Chair, I submit that that assumes that there is a sinister motive which I submit that Dr Wilson's testimony clearly shows that there wasn't, that they were merely there to provide a health service to whoever needs it and that testimony was born out by both nurses, who confirmed that they treated whoever walked through the doors.
JUDGE DE JAGER: I've got no problem with that, I'm only putting the proposition because that might have been in different circumstances. I'm not saying I'm not accepting Dr Wilson's evidence. At this stage we're only dealing with the perception on the side of the Police because otherwise we don't know what real facts they had about it.
CHAIRPERSON: It's not really a perception is it? From the applicant's evidence he had facts that medical assistance was being rendered to ANC activists.
MS PILLAY: And we submit, ma'am, that that could probably be that medical assistance was being submitted to ANC activists but in the same breath, medical assistance was being administered to everyone, Security policemen, members of the SADF, to IFP persons. But whether that renders them a legitimate political target, that I submit is not the case.
I think then, Madame Chair, it's appropriate to deal with the applicant's argument that the act in question was associated with a political objective because they provided medical and logistical support. We submit that it may be that the clinic provided medical support to ANC activists but in the same breath it provided medical support to anyone from Alexandra Clinic and beyond who needed assistance. Dr Tim Wilson clearly indicated that there was no logistical support being rendered by the clinic to ANC insurgents or any other political organisation for that matter.
And I'd like to highlight again that the applicant talks very generally about sanctuary programmes. He has openly admitted that he's got specific information about churches. In fact he uses the example of the Khotso House bombing and I'm actually quite grateful that he did because for me that highlights the difference between a properly targeted political act and the Alexandra Health Clinic matter. Khotso House was properly planned, planned over a period of time and the applicant himself was involved in the planning. He was able to give us information about the planning of Khotso House but unable to give us information for this act for which he applies for amnesty, that's the Alexandra Health Clinic matter.
JUDGE DE JAGER: But in the Khotso House we had the similar allegation that they harboured freedom fighters and it was denied that there was no actual proof of freedom fighters being harboured at Khotso House.
MS PILLAY: My emphasis in drawing the parallel is on the planning of the attack and I think that's what I'd like to focus on and to draw the distinction to how Khotso House attack was planned and the planning of this Alexandra Health Clinic matter.
JUDGE DE JAGER: I believe you would have the information that it was an unsuccessful attack on Khotso House also, which wasn't well planned and the second one was well planned.
MS PILLAY: Yes and on the applicant's involvement in the planning which he was unable to give us the information on Alexandra Health Clinic in the same way.
JUDGE DE JAGER: Well he didn't plan, it's obvious, he didn't plan the attack on the clinic.
MS PILLAY: That's right but he's here to ask for amnesty and unable to tell us who did plan it.
The applicant's assertion that the political objective was to sever the logistical and medical support rendered by the clinic is rendered nonsensical by Dr Wilson's clear evidence that no such support was being given by the clinic to ANC insurgents specifically and that if ANC activists were being treated it was in the clinic's normal course of events in terms of which it rendered medical assistance to all persons who walked through its doors.
Madame Chair, I'd like to finally just address the Committee on the specific criteria which the Commission has to take count of when assessing whether or not there was a political objective and I'd like to start off with the motive of the applicant in conducting the attack.
There is no clear evidence before this Commission what the motive of the applicant was. The applicant mentioned that he went with the flow, he did not know the specific reason for the attack. In fact his attorney during his closing argument started focusing on the destroying of records because that came out of evidence. So it's quite clear that the applicant didn't know the specific reason for the attack and especially at the time didn't act on that information. He was drunk, he went with the flow and he also relied on vague allegations that the attack was because of the involvement of Tim Wilson and Ilsa Wilson and who he identifies as the suspects and I think that is something the Commission must take into account as well, the identification of Tim Wilson and Ilsa Wilson as the ultimate suspects and that goes largely into the proportionality requirement whether if they were the suspects whether the bombing of the nurses home was excusable in light of that. Then the context ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: Would that necessarily going to the proportionality aspect or would one have to look into sub-section 23(d) with regard to whether the attack was directed ...(intervention)
MS PILLAY: Primarily.
CHAIRPERSON: Primarily at a political opponent?
MS PILLAY: I agree, Madame Chair, that that might be more relevant.
CHAIRPERSON: Don't think we have to go to the proportionality?
MS PILLAY: Then Madame Chair, there's the context of the act. Tim Wilson testified that at the time of the incident, that's in 1989, there was no specific altercations between the clinic and the Security Forces. There was nothing specific that could have sparked off this attack and I think it's important that we take into account that there was nothing that can explain why this particular act happened at the time that it did.
JUDGE DE JAGER: Yes but the context in which - the country's context, shouldn't it be rather looked at as there was a war situation in the country at that stage and now there's an allegation - whether founded or not, let's leave that alone -that this clinic is involved in this war, siding with one of the warring parties. Wouldn't that be the context? Suppose it was true?
MS PILLAY: Madame Chair, I think the issue is then when that information was received, if that information was received in 1986 or 1987.
CHAIRPERSON: 1987 and 1988.
MS PILLAY: Exactly, then how would that bear on the context of this particular act, the narrow context of it occurring in 1989? I think that's an issue.
JUDGE DE JAGER: The war was still going on. Every opponent wasn't attacked in 1986 or 1987.
MS PILLAY: But then it goes to the information would formed a basis of the attack.
MR VAN ZYL: Madame Chair, I wish to at this point - I have to come in at this point. The applicant clearly, on your questions said, right through to 1989 the information was also handed out at the briefing sessions. So he said '87, definitely '88 up till '89, that was his evidence this morning.
MS PILLAY: Well, there's no clear evidence put before this hearing as to what sparked off the attack and I would just like to submit that that must be taken into account when assessing his political objective.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes. You have already responded earlier on to my enquiry whether one can take into account the fact that no action was taken against the clinic from 1987 when this information initially surfaced to 1998 and that the action was only decided upon in 1989 and from the evidence of Ms Ramhitshana, who was the witness called by Mr Nyawuza, she was able to put into perspective the date of when this incident occurred which she put around July or August of 1989, so for the sake of completeness on this issue with regard to the context in which the operation was carried out, would you say it would make an impact, the fact that no action was taken immediately upon the information being known by the Security Police of the involvement of the clinic with the ANC activists?
MS PILLAY: Absolutely, Madame Chair, and I think that it's further crystallised by the applicant's testimony as to how this whole thing came about - "wat gaan ons vanaand doen?" What are we going to do tonight? - that's bomb Alexandra Health Clinic.
And then, Madame Chair, there's the issue of gravity. Although we've been looking at this as the bombing of Alexandra Health Clinic, it was very specifically the bombing of the nurses home of the Alexandra Health Clinic. Now, Madame Chair, I submit that that is absolutely important to look at because it means that there were eight lives placed at risk, inevitably because this nurses home was where nurses were resident and would have been sleeping or probably in the nurses home at the time when the attack was conducted.
CHAIRPERSON: Why should we take particular note of that?
MS PILLAY: Because it goes to the gravity of the offence, to the fact that there were eight lives placed at risk.
JUDGE DE JAGER: Why not eleven?
MS PILLAY: Well, Dr Wilson's testimony was that the nurses home catered for eight at the time.
JUDGE DE JAGER: Yes, but the nurses themselves said there were eleven of them.
MS PILLAY: Can I stand corrected? That's eleven of them, whose lives were at risk, were traumatised and eleven innocent people who were severely traumatised as a result of this. I think that should also be taken into account. It also then moves onto the next issue of proportionality.
CHAIRPERSON: But you are aware of the testimony by the applicant that he did not foresee any person being injured or killed.
MS PILLAY: Madame Chair, with respect, I think the applicant's evidence should be viewed in light of the fact that the applicant didn't even know what was going to be bombed. He didn't even know that it was the nurses college, the nurses home that was going to be attacked.
CHAIRPERSON: He probably even didn't know that a nurses home existed within ...(intervention)
MS PILLAY: Absolutely.
CHAIRPERSON: ...the health clinic, this is my impression.
MS PILLAY: Absolutely, and in light ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: But he did not know, he just thought the clinic was probably a day clinic, it did not have the many other facilities that we heard from Dr Wilson.
MS PILLAY: And in light of the fact that the nurses home was chosen to be petrol bombed and I think that the site map is very important in this regard because it shows the nurses home as not being on the periphery of the complex but right in the middle.
JUDGE DE JAGER: But he didn't choose the target, he obeyed the order or the decision. The joint decision.
MS PILLAY: But that is the target with which he associated himself through common purpose. That was the one which was eventually decided upon.
JUDGE DE JAGER: Yes but if he associated, it didn't mean that you choose a target, you could associate yourself with the operation even if the target was chosen by somebody else?
MS PILLAY: The doctrine of common purpose would mean that the action of the person who chose the target is attributed to everyone else who associated themselves with it and in that way the applicant therefore is associated with the choosing of the target as well and I'd like to submit that that's an important consideration to take into account.
JUDGE DE JAGER: But as far as his evidence is concerned he associated himself with an attack on the clinic and not with an attack - there was no discussion whether it would be the nurses home or not, it would be an attack on the clinic.
MS PILLAY: But he associated himself with the persons who conducted the actual attack and those persons chose which particular building they wanted to attack and in so doing their actions are attributed to the applicant because he took common purpose.
JUDGE DE JAGER: On the criminal law aspect that is so but would that necessarily be in terms of this Act?
MS PILLAY: I think that it should be interpreted that way, Madame Chair, I think it's vital that it's interpreted that way especially in the light of the fact that that's the applicant's reason for amnesty, is because of the common purpose doctrine.
JUDGE DE JAGER: But would it exclude the person from amnesty of the intention of this Act if he in fact associated himself with the whole thing but he didn't realise, he didn't do the reconnaissance. I think, for instance, we had this instance recently, they targeted policemen, they killed his wife and child, he wasn't even there. Would that exclude him?
MS PILLAY: I think the issue that I'm submitting is that this must be taken into account and that the actions of the perpetrators I attributed to the applicant and that the actions of the perpetrators, I attributed to the applicant and therefore must be taken into account.
JUDGE DE JAGER: Yes, no I think it's a factor, it's not a requirement.
MS PILLAY: Yes and therefore it must be taken into cognisance, that this was, the nurses home was not a convenient target because it was not on the periphery of the complex but within the inner circle of the complex and was deliberately chosen and I think that should be taken in account.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, that on its own cannot be either in favour or against the applicant within terms of the Act. We merely take into account and it is not a deciding factor.
MS PILLAY: What I'm trying to do is merely assist the Commission with what factors should be taken into account when assessing his political objective.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, that's right. Would you not say on the same issue that it again comes to sub-section 3(d) that the building in fact would not have achieved the political objective that was intended for the attack? If you attack a nurses home, the medical assistance that was intended to be cut and the logistical support that was intended to be stopped would therefore not have been realised?
MS PILLAY: Absolutely, Madame Chair, and again then if you can just juxtapose it with the 1986 attack where the issue was the provision of records and the area of the clinic which was targeted was the records room.
MS PILLAY: I think that just highlights that in fact it was not directed specifically at a political target and in that regard then, Madame Chair, I won't address you on the object of the attack. I think in the course of my submissions to you have covered that it was not directed specifically at the object, the political object of the attack.
And then the issue as to the proportionality, I think the important thing to take into account is the desired aim of the attack and I've highlighted that there was not enough evidence placed before this Commission to convince it that there was no real desired attack, that it was merely just an act perpetrated by a bunch of renegades who had a drunken party, got drunk and said "wat gaan ons vanaand doen?" and ended up bombing the Alexandra Health Clinic. And even on the applicant's version of the desired aim being to sever the logistical and medical supply, I strongly submit that fire bombing a nurses home where eleven nurses are resident is not at all proportional to trying to sever the supply line being provided by the clinic and that if it was an enemy of the State, there would have been less destructive means to do it, for example merely cut off the subsidy, the government subsidy or no longer allow the clinic to buy drugs on a State tender. There were other means of doing it except specifically targeting the nurses home. That's on the applicant's version.
JUDGE DE JAGER: On the other hand they caused damage to the clinic itself. If they've cut, it would have affected the operation but now you had assets being damaged.
MS PILLAY: Yes. Madame Chair, I think the significant part is that they damaged the nurses home, the nurses went to the casualty for medical assistance.
JUDGE DE JAGER: No, but they damaged the assets of the clinic, the institution.
MS PILLAY: Right, but what I'm saying is that it didn't at all affect the ability of the clinic to provide any kind of support whether it be medical or logistical because even the nurses of the clinic first went to the casualty for assistance so it had absolutely no impact on their so-called desired ends.
JUDGE DE JAGER: I accept. If they'd indeed attacked the casualty it should have been foreseen that there could be patients lying there that could have been injured.
MS PILLAY: But if they had attacked the casualty then the issue would have been that that's directly aimed at cutting off the medical, the ability of the clinic to provide medical support.
JUDGE DE JAGER: Yes but I think the one would have been as bad as the other, I don't think you could say they would rather have attacked that proved this or whatever.
MS PILLAY: Yes.
CHAIRPERSON: But what you are contending is that the attack of the nurses home would not have achieved the intended political objective?
MS PILLAY: That's right and it was not proportional.
CHAIRPERSON: It would not have prevented the clinic to further provide the medical assistance it was allegedly providing to the activists as well as giving them the logistical support it was alleged to have given to the activists.
MS PILLAY: That is correct, Madame Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: They would have proceeded to do that because it would not have had the desired effect originally intended for the operation.
MS PILLAY: Yes, that's my submission, Madame Chair. And I think finally, Madame Chair, then if the aim was as we heard from the applicant's testimony, if the aim was to get at Ilse Wilson and Dr Wilson, even then too there would have been less destructive means of doing that and that's by attacking them directly instead of fire bombing the nurses home.
So Madame Chair, my overall submission is that the applicant does not fulfil the requirements of the Act, neither in making full disclosure or in showing that he has a political objective and accordingly that he should not be granted amnesty for the fire bombing of the nurses home in Alexandra Clinic.
MR NYAWUZA: Thank you Madame Chair and Honourable Committee Members. Madame Chair, I think my learned colleague Ms Pillay has addressed most of the issues that I would have wanted to address this Committee on. In the light thereof, Madame Chair, I would respond to any aspect that the Committee would want me to address it on because I think she's addressed most of the aspects that I would have addressed the Committee on.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr Nyawuza. Before I go to Ms Patel, I was thinking of giving Mr van Zyl and opportunity to respond but maybe let's give you an opportunity to make your submissions if you have any submissions to make.
MS PATEL: I'm truly indebted to my learned friend, Ms Pillay, for her full submissions to you. I do not believe that there is anything material that I wish to add to that, Honourable Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Patel. Mr van Zyl, do you wish to reply to Ms Pillay's submissions?
MR VAN ZYL IN REPLY: I will just respond briefly on a few aspects. My learned friend says there was a sinister motive and there must have been another motive but never was such a question or suggestion made to the applicant. I don't think she can be serious in making the allegation that by withdrawing the funding or that the government will be so obvious in withdrawing their funding from a targeted political opponent. I think it is ridiculous in the least and then furthermore, is she saying that nurses are not an essential part of supplying medical support and by fire bombing their home gives you a dual purpose actually at the end of the day. Thank you, that's all I had to respond to.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. This brings us to an end with regard to the application for amnesty by Mr Erasmus in relation to the Alexandra Health Clinic. I must just mention that we are grateful to the victims for having been able to attend this hearing and within the same breath express my gratitude to Mr Erasmus for having expressed his feeling of remorse and convey his apology for his participation in this operation to the victims. I know my colleague drew to your attention and rightly so the fact that it is not a requirement of the Act for you to express your remorse and apologise for your participation in the violation of the human rights of the victims concerned, but I must mention that this amnesty process is intended to facilitate reconciliation to our deeply divided society and sentiments of remorse and apology are encouraged by the panel because we actually go into the real essence of what the work of the Amnesty Committee is all about which is try and reconcile the perpetrator with the victim concerned or the relatives of the victim. I think one may actually take it as a perfunctory action on the part of the perpetrator, but it does magic in most instances when victims hear such expressions of remorse and apology being expressed by perpetrators. To that extent, I am grateful for having made that attempt. That does not, however, mean that the fact that you've expressed your remorse and apology would make your application be viewed favourably. We'll only consider your application on the basis of the evidence on issues which are relevant before us. Our decision in this application is reserved. Thank you for attending.
MR NYAWUZA: Madame Chair, as regards the list of the victims, Madame Chair said I could do that at the appropriate time so am I in a position to do that now?
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, you may hand over the list to our Evidence Leader, Ms Patel.
MR NYAWUZA: Thank you Madame Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: Ms Patel, where do we get to from here?
MS PATEL: Honourable Chairperson, we have a few matters on our roll that relate to Mr Erasmus. However, my learned colleague, Mr van Zyl, has indicated that he wishes to have a brief discussion with me before we proceed with those matters. I see that it is one o'clock now, perhaps it is appropriate that we take a luncheon adjournment and proceed whenever you say it is convenient with the rest of the matters on our roll.
CHAIRPERSON: What time will be most convenient for you, Mr van Zyl, to reconvene?
MR VAN ZYL: Madame Chair, I think let's target quarter past two? Is that convenient? It's one o'clock sharp now, I see.
CHAIRPERSON: Are you not in a position to commence two o'clock at all?
MR VAN ZYL: No, what I'm trying to say, two o'clock would be fine with me in case our discussions will take us a bit further than that, then perhaps we'll inform Madame Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: Shall we then say we'll reconvene at two o'clock?
MR VAN ZYL: That's fine with me.
CHAIRPERSON: If you do experience any problems won't you just alert us to those problems and we'll accommodate you accordingly.
MR VAN ZYL: Thank you so much, Madame Chair.
NAME: PAUL ERASMUS
APPLICATION NO: AM3690/96
CHAIRPERSON: Yes Ms Patel, we are in your hands.
MS PATEL: Thank you Honourable Chairperson, we are ready to proceed with the rest of the incidents for Mr Erasmus. For the record the matters that we are to hear now are incident 19 which relates to Vernon Berange, Incident 68 which relates to Goodman Mogami and if I may at this stage place on record, incident 67 which relates to Mr Madhav. My instructions are that he was out of the country, I haven't had an opportunity to make contact with him. My humble request is that the matter stand over to tomorrow morning. My instructions are that he is back in the country. I will endeavour to contact him by this evening.
MS PATEL: Thank you.
JUDGE DE JAGER: And is it correct that as far as incident 2 is concerned, we'll have to deal with malicious injury to property, theft, but not attempted murder?
MS PATEL: That is indeed so, Honourable Chairperson and my learned colleague, Mr van Zyl, has indicated that the client will confirm that under oath. Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr van Zyl?
MR VAN ZYL: As it pleases you, Madame Chair. Madame Chair, regarding to incident number 2, that of Alan Joseph, I believe that we are withdrawing our application for amnesty of attempted murder and in confirming so on record then the matter apparently will be referred to chambers, we're not to lead further evidence on that incident. Is that the way I understand it correctly? Good, may I then before calling Mr Erasmus and then regarding Section 20(b) and perhaps 20(f), is it necessary for me to continue leading evidence in that regard, Madame Chair, as the previous application I think should be sort of read in conjunction, those let's call preliminary evidence should be read in conjunction with perhaps our application here?
CHAIRPERSON: Are you referring to ...(intervention)
MR VAN ZYL: The fact that he was an employee of the State.
Section 22(b), sorry.
CHAIRPERSON: Section 22(b) and 22.3 of the Act?
MR VAN ZYL: No, no, 22(f).
MR VAN ZYL: Do you want me to lead that formal kind of evidence at this point in time? Lead that at this time and just go to the incident itself then?
CHAIRPERSON: I think you must conduct the matter the best way you deemed fit. If you want to lead evidence in relation to Section 20.2 (b) and (f) specifically in that regard you may do so.
MR VAN ZYL: Yes.
CHAIRPERSON: But you will use your judgement.
MR VAN ZYL: Yes, the only thing is that we heard that he was an employee of the State and he will confirm it but I don't want to go through the rigmarole of when did he start as a policeman, we've heard that now.
MR VAN ZYL: And so I think that evidence is clear now, it will come out that he did work in the scope of his employ. As it pleases. Then ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: Is it not so that in his written application on page 1, he has provided details of ...(intervention)
MR VAN ZYL: Of that, that is why I said I don't want to run through formality again like that. As it so pleases.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, if you however want to supplement anything with regard to paragraph 8(b) on page 1 up to page 2 of the written application you may do so otherwise we can take it as forming part of the evidence.
MR VAN ZYL: As read into the - the only amendment is the one that was done yesterday regarding that he was stationed at Bedfordview from January 1975.
MR VAN ZYL: 1975.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, '75.
MR VAN ZYL: That amendment still stands, I believe?
MR VAN ZYL: And the rest here is all correct, okay. He confirms everything to be then with that amendment to be correct on page 1 and 2 up till the first incident there.
Madame Chair, do you still consider him under oath?
CHAIRPERSON: So you will be proceeding. Can you just confirm that Ms Patel's understanding is in fact correct, that we'll proceed with application ...(intervention)
MR VAN ZYL: 19.
CHAIRPERSON: The incident number 19 which relates to the attempted murder on Ranon Duran?
NR VAN ZYL: Madame Chair, maybe there's something that I just noticed. The application only states, that is incident 19, that it was - on page 6.
CHAIRPERSON: That it was an assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
MR VAN ZYL: And we didn't amend it with our further particulars.
CHAIRPERSON: Is it not your instruction that it was an assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
MR VAN ZYL: It was assault, that is it.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes. So it shall be incident number 19, that being the assault?
MR VAN ZYL: That would be assault, yes.
CHAIRPERSON: With intent to do grievous bodily harm?
MR VAN ZYL: That is correct.
CHAIRPERSON: And incident 68?
MR VAN ZYL: The attempted murder of Goodman Mogami.
CHAIRPERSON: Will that be attempted murder? Are those your instructions?
MR VAN ZYL: Those are my instructions.
CHAIRPERSON: On Goodman Mogami?
MR VAN ZYL: That is correct, Madame Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: And can you also confirm Ms Patel's understanding that the incident 67 relating to Deepak Madhav can stand down until tomorrow morning?
MR VAN ZYL: Yes.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, before you proceed may I just indicate that the panel that will consider the applications that will now be heard is the same as the one that sat here yesterday and Mr van Zyl is on record as representing Mr Erasmus, the applicant and our evidence leader is Ms Patel.
MR VAN ZYL: As it pleases you. Do you consider Mr Erasmus under oath or do you want to reconfirm?
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Erasmus is still under oath. Mr Erasmus, you are reminded that you are still under your former oath.
PAUL ERASMUS: (s.u.o.) I understand, Madame Chair.
EXAMINATION BY MR VAN ZYL: Then I call Mr Erasmus and I'll start to lead his evidence.
Mr Erasmus, incident number 2 is that of attempted murder of Alan Joseph. Do you confirm that we are withdrawing your application for attempted murder, is being hereby withdrawn?
MR ERASMUS: I confirm, Madame Chair.
MR VAN ZYL: Let us then now go to incident number 19.
JUDGE DE JAGER: I just wanted confirmation that lightning wouldn't affect our earphones.
MR VAN ZYL: May I relate a quick humorous incident here to the same thing? Years ago I bought my mother an electric toothbrush and she had fillings and she never used it because she thought she'd shock herself to death. Anyway, that was just funny.
Mr Erasmus, Vernon Berange, at the time of the incident, that is number 19 ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: Are you now dealing with incident number 19?
MR VAN ZYL: I'm dealing with incident number 19, I'm leading evidence, Madame Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: And this is the assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm on Vernon Berange.
MR VAN ZYL: And illegal entry and illegal search of premises that actually goes with it.
MR VAN ZYL: When did this incident take place, Mr Erasmus?
MR ERASMUS: 1981.
MR VAN ZYL: 1981. At that time you were still employed as per contained in the first eight paragraphs of your written application?
MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Madame Chair, I was a sergeant, a detective-sergeant in the Security Branch of the South African Police.
MR VAN ZYL: Alright, now all the incidents - this incident here, did you at the time of breaking and entering and swopping the medicine which you will hear later, did all this take place in the scope of your employ?
MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Madame Chair.
MR VAN ZYL: Okay. Why do you say it was in the scope of your employ?
MR ERASMUS: Madame Chair, I think if you'll just give me a bit of levity to just explain the background of the Berange's, they were - I could stand corrected on this, they were either people that had been listed in terms of the then suppression of Communism Act or listed persons or banned persons. Mr Vernon Berange and his wife, I believe, if my memory serves me correctly, was an attorney ex Johannesburg, had been involved in activities of the then banned South African Communist Party. They had gone into exile in Swaziland but were allowed by a very benevolent South African Government to re-enter South Africa as he required medical treatment. He had visited South Africa on several occasions. In the two or three years, certainly since I joined the Security Branch in 1977, I'd been sent to apply surveillance on them, never actually found that they had made contact with any people in South Africa, but there was a suspicion from Security Branch head office. There was information to the effect that they were trying to contact the then head or the replacement head of the South African Communist Party or other people that had been listed in terms of the then Security legislation.
Just prior to this incident when it was reported to the Security Police, Security Branch head office at that time, that they'd once again be visiting South Africa, my instructions were to put them under 24 hours surveillance.
JUDGE DE JAGER: Who gave you the instructions?
MR ERASMUS: Madame Chair, I believe this came from a Col. Stadler at Security Branch head office.
MR ERASMUS: He personally gave me the instructions.
CHAIRPERSON: Colonel who?
MR ERASMUS: Stadler, S-T-A-D-L-E-R.
MR ERASMUS: I think he was a colonel at that time. I do know at a later stage he was a brigadier and possibly even a general.
MR VAN ZYL: What was the name again?
MR ERASMUS: Stadler.
CHAIRPERSON: Was he your immediate commander?
MR ERASMUS: He was not my immediate commander, my immediate commanding officer was Maj. J H L Jordaan, but head office were aware of this incident as they were aware of most situations relating to our work so I received in this case dual instructions. I was told to do the surveillance by Maj. Jordaan who informed me that I was to contact Col. Stadler at South African Police headquarters which I then did and telephonically informed me that this nonsense of the Berange's being given this freedom to move around Johannesburg had to stop and that in future we were to make them feel a little bit less welcome and in fact convey the message to them that they could go elsewhere for their medical treatment. I do recall his terminology was not phrased in such pleasant terms as I've recounted it, but I was under no illusion that I was to intimidate them, harass them and prevent them, as it were, from returning to South Africa.
MR VAN ZYL: He entered or you say you entered and searched his premises. What was the objective of doing so?
MR ERASMUS: The objective had several motives or there was an agenda, firstly to establish if indeed they had contacted or they were trying to leave messages to any people that were suspects of the Security Branch. The second objective was to obtain particulars of contacts that they might have had outside South Africa by way of examining address books.
JUDGE DE JAGER: Sorry, I don't understand it, as I understood your evidence they were living in Swaziland?
MR ERASMUS: That is correct.
JUDGE DE JAGER: Now you entered the premises. Where were those premises, in Swaziland?
MR ERASMUS: No, the premises, Madame Chair, were in Johannesburg. They had come up for medical treatment and they rented, I think, for a period of 10 days or 2 weeks, I'm not quite certain, they rented temporary accommodation in Berea.
JUDGE DE JAGER: Thank you.
MR VAN ZYL: And it was at these premises that you entered?
MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Madame Chair.
MR VAN ZYL: When did that happen?
MR ERASMUS: We had placed - I had assembled a surveillance team and at an opportune moment when Mr and Mrs Berange left the premises, I used a skeleton key. It wasn't actually housebreaking in the sense that anything was broken, to obtain entry to the flat. I was accompanied by a very young member of the Security Branch who proceeded with a very methodical search. We actually obtained an address book and some pamphlets which were not of major security importance but nevertheless it could have been used at some time. I made some notes from it, pinched a couple of pamphlets, which I can't remember what they related to. We interfered with their clothing, we wanted them to know that this search had taken place and as an added benefit there was a cardboard box containing bottles of - I'm looking for the right words here, some of it was homeopathic medicine and some was medicine that they obtained from a specialist in Johannesburg.
If my memory serves me correct, Mr Berange had a heart condition or a stomach condition, something that he required ongoing treatment which was unavailable in Swaziland.
I then, as part of this plot to make them realise that they were not only unwelcome but that they'd had visitors, I took the labels, the ones that I could remove in the limit of time that was available to me and I swopped the labels around from as many bottles and containers as what I could.
CHAIRPERSON: You swopped the labels of the pills?
MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Madame Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: How were these labels on the medication, were they not stuck onto the medication?
MR ERASMUS: Madame Chair, I recall that in trying to get some of them off I actually damaged them. There was some, though, that the labels were not easily removable but I could lift it very carefully from the containers, plastic or glass containers. With the passage of time I cannot recall how many, I should imagine off the cuff four or five of the labels. I recall that one of the bottles was titled "The Elixir of Life" which I found quite humorous at the time, it was obviously a homeopathic substance in the nature of a tonic or something. I managed to get that label off and swopped it around with one of the other concoctions, or one of the other mixtures.
MR VAN ZYL: Did you swop any of the contents without swopping the labels?
MR ERASMUS: We didn't have time to swop the contents although we considered it and I probably would have done it as I recall it because a lot of it was tablets and some of it was liquids and we couldn't quite match the labels around so that the deception would have been complete. As I've said, the message was that these people knew that they were some sort of threat in South Africa, they were unwelcome visitors and they were to be left under no illusion that they were not to return. I might just add, Madame Chair, that a second consideration that I had at the time was that apart from the few insignificant things that I removed, or stole if you will, we didn't steal any valuables, we didn't want them to be under the impression that this was an act of theft or criminality, we wanted them to be under the impression that this was from the intelligence community and in a way convey a message to them.
MR VAN ZYL: The swopping of the medicine, was that a direct order?
MR ERASMUS: My orders were never obviously to attempt to kill them or harm them, it was to in the best way possible, I was then given levity to act as I saw fit. It was to make them uncomfortable and I could decide to what extent this type of action would take.
MR VAN ZYL: Did you report this incident in full back to your superiors?
MR ERASMUS: I reported this incident by way of a written SAP67 report to head office. I referred to the telephonic communication with Col. Stadler. I gave a full resume of the surveillance that had been carried out over this, I believe it was ten days, what we had achieved which wasn't very much but nevertheless quite excited to receive a commendation for good work for the job that I'd done in this instance.
CHAIRPERSON: May I interpose, Mr van Zyl?
MR VAN ZYL: Yes, thank you Madame Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: The intention for swopping around the labels on this medication was to make them aware that somebody had interfered with the medication, is that no so?
MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Madame Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: And so it would have been quite apparent to the person concerned that somebody had interfered with the medication and therefore he would have been quite cautious to take it?
MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Madame Chair.
MR VAN ZYL: But you also foresaw the fact that should they take the wrong medication it could cause them some harm?
MR ERASMUS: I obviously considered it at the time, I didn't have any particular feelings about it apart from - well, I felt very strongly about the Beranges by virtue of my training and my belief at the time. If I'm really honest, it wouldn't have mattered to me if they were injured or harmed but the basic departure that I operated from was to leave these people, especially with the medicine, under the impression that - or what I wanted to create was their belief that somebody had tried to kill them and it wasn't just a robbery. This was something more ominous or more awesome than that. That is, this was the South African Government or the intelligence services.
MR VAN ZYL: But yet it wasn't your intent to kill?
MR ERASMUS: No. No, if there was that type of intent to kill or if I had been given those instructions I would certainly have then gone the whole way with the medicines and replaced them with toxic substances which even at that stage of my career probably were available.
MR VAN ZYL: And how many times ...(intervention)
ADV. SIGODI: Sorry, Mr van Zyl. In other words when you swopped these labels, you did it in such a way that they would be able to see that the labels had been swopped and as the Chairperson has already stated, they would be cautious in taking that particular medicine?
MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Madame Chair.
ADV. SIGODI: You did not put any toxic ingredient in any of the medicines?
MR ERASMUS: I didn't place any toxins in the ingredients.
ADV. SIGODI: Thanks.
MR VAN ZYL: How many times did you do this kind of entry at the Berange's?
MR ERASMUS: Prior to this, with the passage of time my memory is a bit unclear, I must have given them attention of this nature on at least four or five occasions. I knew at the time that I conducted the search I knew exactly what they looked like, what their habits were, the books they read, what their luggage looked like, I knew everything about them.
MR VAN ZYL: Was this the first time, though, that you left visible traces?
MR ERASMUS: That is correct. The prior occasions were only to conduct surveillance on them and if possible find out if and who they were making contact with in the illegal political underground structures.
MR VAN ZYL: And all of these actions took place in 1981?
MR ERASMUS: That is correct, I believe that after this incident the Beranges never returned to South Africa. I perused my case books which I have with me and I found no entries after this entry in my case registers relating to their return.
MR VAN ZYL: You didn't have a particular malice against the Berange's? A personal malice?
MR ERASMUS: Madame Chair, by virtue of my training I certainly didn't like them but on a personal, on an objective personal level, no absolutely not.
CHAIRPERSON: You were acting on instructions, is it not so?
MR ERASMUS: Madame Chair, I was acting on instructions and it was an ideological divide between us more than anything personal.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes but you were following instructions from Col. Stadler after Maj. Jordaan had instructed you to speak to Col. Stadler?
MR ERASMUS: That is correct.
CHAIRPERSON: From whom you received instructions as to what to do with regard to do with Mr Berange?
MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Madame Chair.
JUDGE DE JAGER: One question? Col. Stadler, he was in fact later the, or I don't know since when, it may be before this, the chief of Stratcom, wasn't he?
MR ERASMUS: Madame Chair no, he was a senior staff officer on the Security Branch and at one stage I believe in about the mid '80s he almost headed the Security Branch in the mid to late '80s.
JUDGE DE JAGER: When he retired round about? I know he's written a book.
MR ERASMUS: I don't know about that, Madame Chair, I do believe that he would have retired somewhere roundabout the change of the system in South Africa.
JUDGE DE JAGER: And I'm not sure whether, that's why I'm asking, but I had the idea that he was the head of Stratcom at one or other stage?
MR ERASMUS: Sir, in my experience of Stratcom, possibly in the very early years.
JUDGE DE JAGER: No, in the later years.
MR ERASMUS: In the later years. I wasn't aware of that.
JUDGE DE JAGER: No, maybe I'm wrong.
MR VAN ZYL: Madame Chair, I think that's the evidence I'm going to lead on that. Shall we proceed to the next incident now immediately or will we allow now for cross-examination?
CHAIRPERSON: Maybe it will be appropriate to afford Ms Patel and the Members of the Panel an opportunity to put questions, if they do have any, to Mr Erasmus before you proceed onto the next incident.
MR VAN ZYL: As it so pleases you, Madam, those are my questions.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR VAN ZYL
MS PATEL: Thank you Honourable Chairperson, in light of the admission made by the applicant that there was no intention to harm Mr Berange and also that he had tampered with the medication in the way that it would be visible to Mr Berange I have no questions on this incident, thank you.
NO QUESTIONS BY MS PATEL
CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Judge de Jager?
JUDGE DE JAGER: No questions.
NO QUESTIONS BY JUDGE DE JAGER
CHAIRPERSON: Ms Sigodi?
ADV. SIGODI: No questions.
NO QUESTIONS BY MS SIGODI
EXAMINATION BY MR VAN ZYL: I then proceed to incident, Madame Chair, incident 68.
Mr Erasmus, we confirm your earlier testimony regarding paragraphs 1 to 8 of your application of amnesty and we are now proceeding to incident 68, Attempted Murder of Goodman Mogami. Approximately when did this take place?
MR ERASMUS: Madame Chair, this particular incident took place in 1988.
MR VAN ZYL: No, no, no. Sorry, Mogami yes, 1988 that's right. Yes?
MR ERASMUS: At the time I was for the best part of my entire activities operating covertly.
MR VAN ZYL: And on whose instructions did you act at that time?
MR ERASMUS: I believe my commanding officer was later to become Brig. Alfred Oosthuizen.
MR VAN ZYL: Now what happened with Good Mogami. We'll retract a little bit more but just tell us the incident. What happened there with him?
MR ERASMUS: Madame Chair, at the time I was like I say working covertly, in other words working under cover. I had false identities, so many in fact that I cannot - it was difficult to remember from which day to the next who I was and what role I had to play. Be that as it may, I had a reasonably, if not reasonably a very successful informer network. I was receiving information and in this particular operation contact had been facilitated by a registered Security Branch informer between Mr Goodman Mogami and myself.
MR VAN ZYL: Who was this informer? Can you remember?
MR ERASMUS: I remember the person, I don't know if it's in the interests of anybody to divulge the person's identity, Madame Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: Is he known to you?
MR ERASMUS: Yes, absolutely. I can safely say that their informer registration number which would be traceable I presume.
CHAIRPERSON: What was the name of the informer?
MR ERASMUS: It was a woman, Madame Chair. Renee Hirshman.
MR ERASMUS: That is correct.
CHAIRPERSON: And where did Mr Mogami stay?
MR ERASMUS: I beg your pardon, Madame Chair?
CHAIRPERSON: Where did Mr Mogami stay?
MR ERASMUS: He was living in Hillbrow at the time, Madame Chair.
MR VAN ZYL: Did you personally know where he stayed?
MR ERASMUS: I went personally to his flat on one occasion, on subsequent occasions I had as befitted what my role was that I was a member of the ANC's special ops unit. I went somewhat disguised and I met him at various venues in and around central Johannesburg. Once in Joubert Park outside Darrock House, one of the meetings I recall very clearly, once in the vicinity of Khotso House. These meetings apart from the first time that I met him took place late at night. He believed and he'd fallen for the story that I was a terrorist, a commander in fact in a terrorist unit.
CHAIRPERSON: He believed that you were a terrorist?
MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Madame Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: Did he actually say - was that the term he used or he believed that you were an operative from ...(intervention)
MR ERASMUS: Well a freedom fighter, yes.
CHAIRPERSON: From the MK?
MR ERASMUS: That is correct.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes. We would prefer that you don't use the word terrorist.
MR ERASMUS: I'm contextualising it or time phrasing into that period.
CHAIRPERSON: He wouldn't have believed you to have been ...(intervention)
JUDGE DE JAGER: I saw you putting it in inverted commas but it's recorded what you say and the recording machine wouldn't put it in inverted commas, so it would convey a different meaning in the written document.
CHAIRPERSON: He must have believed that you were an MK operative, is it not so?
MR ERASMUS: That is correct.
MR ERASMUS: And more specifically in the special ops or spes ops units which had several European members which is now well known.
CHAIRPERSON: What do you mean by European members, you mean Whites?
MR ERASMUS: Whites, Madame Chair.
MR ERASMUS: Without being offensive, that is just the way it was at that time.
So to pick up where I left off, he fell for the story. On one of the occasions I met him at night was in Joubert Park. I showed him an AK-47 rifle. He expressed an interest in being armed himself, leaving South Africa illegally and going for military training.
I then, in conjunction with my superiors and with people at head office, embarked on a plan. Due to limited resources we could not put him under 24 hours surveillance. To do this type of surveillance takes a lot of manpower and a lot of effort. He was also not regarded as being - I think the term that we used at that stage was rocket scientist material, he was more a sort of lower echelon foot soldier, so we devised quite simply a plot that yes, if this was his inclination that he wanted to carry a weapon and kill people or engage in military activities on behalf of the ANC, we would then supply him with a weapon. But the only way that we could stop him, as we presumed, killing either colleagues of ours, policemen, or innocent people, was that if he did use that weapon or attempt to use it or test it, it would at the very least explode in his hand, either injuring him in which case he would be picked up and charged or the ultimate scenario is he would be permanently eliminated.
I was then to request - I obtained a firearm, a 9 mm Colt pistol, which I myself, I have a reasonable knowledge of firearms, filed away the firing pin and as an added measure to ensure that this firearm be used I arranged for explosive rounds from Security Branch head office in Pretoria. I did this via the office of Brig. Alfred Oosthuizen. I think it was two or three days and an envelope arrived, an official envelope and I had thirteen 9 mm rounds which contained plastic explosives. I believed at the time that - and I'm being as honest as what I can with the Commission, that if any one of those rounds with that quantity of plastic explosives had been triggered off, the rounds next to it would have exploded, it would probably have seriously injured at the very least or ultimately killed Mr Mogami. I may point out, Madame Chair, that I supplied him with a firearm, with a 9 mm, I supplied him with the rounds as part of the operation and to preserve my cover I also gave him money out of the secret fund. He was then told to lie low and await further instructions from me.
I must point out, Madame Chair, that this type of operation which we referred to as something of a sting, or false flag operation, had particular advantages. We could engineer this person into doing something which he might not have done under normal circumstances. If one knows and understand the intelligence community and the struggle at that time there were many possibilities. We could use him to eliminate or he could have been used to eliminate an activist that we particularly wanted out of the way by simply supplying him with a nonsense story. We could use a lot of propaganda or Stratcom value out of such a person as Mogami.
I supplied him with the money and the firearms as I mentioned and set a meeting place, I think once again for Joubert Park late at night, for a week afterwards which was pretty much the norm at that time. Went to the meeting place with backup and Mr Mogami never arrived. I made several attempts to find him after that. My superiors, that is Brig. Oosthuizen, was particularly perturbed that this man had just disappeared, we had invested a lot of time and effort in the operation. I went to where he was resident in Hillbrow and we lost trace of him totally. To this day I don't know what has happened to him. I recall at the time that we could not identify him positively in the sense that he might have used even a false name when he approached us or he approached the informer to make contact with us.
MR VAN ZYL: So is it possible that he could have been under special ops himself against you?
MR ERASMUS: Anything is possible. At that time and with an operation like this one had to consider each and every possibility.
MR VAN ZYL: At the time when you gave him the rifle and the ammunition, did you foresee the fact that he could be ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: It's a pistol.
MR VAN ZYL: Sorry, the ammunition and the firearm, did you foresee the fact that he could be killed in using it?
MR ERASMUS: Well if that - I did foresee it, if that situation did arise it would have, as we looked at it that stage, it would have been one less potential and once again I use the word "terrorist" (freedom fighter), it would have been one less person for us to either have to face one day in a war situation or in a combat situation. It would have been once less political trial if he'd ever been caught. So bet it, this was the only method that we could devise or that I could devise at that time of hindering this person from carrying out some or other military action.
MR VAN ZYL: Was that due to the lack of personnel or the lack of available personnel to do further surveillance?
MR ERASMUS: That would have formed a very big part of our thinking at the time. I may just add, Madame Chair, that I'm sure that a lot of people here today would recall that there were similar instances of doctored firearms and ammunition being - or arms caches being interfered with. A well known one was on East Rand where detonators time delays were changed. My first experience with those type of matters was in Ovamboland where it was general standard practise by the South African Police and South African Defence Force personnel to do things like that. I know for a fact that this type of operation was carried out by South African Special Forces in Mozambique in assisting Renamo against Frelimo and that it was done right through the history of warfare.
MR VAN ZYL: Right, okay. Now what you did was that in the course and the scope of your duties and your orders?
MR ERASMUS: Absolutely, Madame Chair
MR VAN ZYL: Can you specifically say who gave the final order or the initial order?
CHAIRPERSON: Brig. Oosthuizen.
MR ERASMUS: Brig. Alfred Oosthuizen.
MR VAN ZYL: Okay, so we're happy with that then, good. And you have then described the - what was the political objective of doing so again?
MR ERASMUS: To neutralise a - I wouldn't use the word perceived but most definitely threat from a person, namely Mr Goodman Mogami.
MR VAN ZYL: And it carried the approval of your superiors?
MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Madame Chair.
MR VAN ZYL: That is the evidence for the applicant, Madame Chair.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR VAN ZYL
CHAIRPERSON: Ms Patel?
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS PATEL: Thank you, Honourable Chairperson.
How did it come - I understand you state that Ms Hirshman facilitated the meeting between yourself and Mr Mogami. Can you give us a bit of background as to how that had happened? Why did this meeting take place?
MR ERASMUS: Madame Chair, yes. Ma'am, this will take a while. Firstly, in fairness to Ms Hirshman ...(intervention)
JUDGE DE JAGER: I'm a bit worried because she didn't receive any notice here and she's now implicated and well, I suppose we'll have to send her a copy of whatever evidence is given here.
MR ERASMUS: Madame Chair, may I just in that interest or serve as what you said, just give little bit of background about Ms Hirshman. I feel very strongly about having revealed her identity.
Firstly, Ms Hirshman never ever voluntarily gave assistance to the Security Police. I was blackmailing her from - I blackmailed her into becoming an agent. I think in fairness to her, in deference to her, I must state that.
CHAIRPERSON: I think it was something that was known to have been the work of the Police that set somebody up and you then demand that she becomes an informer failing which you would disclose certain information which she did not want divulged.
MR ERASMUS: Correct. In this case I would not only have exposed her but locked her up indeterminately. Sadly but that is a true account of what happened in this circumstance.
The second thing that I'd like to point out to Judge de Jager's concerns is that she never knew what actually happened with Goodman Mogami. She merely told me that she had met this man at a political rally, that he'd been making a lot of rash statements and asking people about how he could contact somebody important as in whatever which of course was bread and butter to a person like myself because here was a lot of opportunities.
Given another scenario, what I should have mentioned earlier one, was we could have used Mogami again as an informer, send him to carry out a variety of tasks.
CHAIRPERSON: When you first had contact with Mr Mogami, did you disclose to him that you were making contact with him pursuant to information supplied to you by someone with regard to who he was?
MR ERASMUS: I never divulged to him, ma'am, we were too circumspect to fall into that sort of pitfall. I just merely said to him that it had come to my attention that he was trying to make contact and as in many of these situations, played these little verbal games about "we heard" or "somebody said" or "you've been recommended" or something like this. The whole idea was almost akin to a fishing expedition where you put the bait on the line, you tie it on, you cast it out onto the water, the person nibbles at it, eventually they bite on it and you reel them in and once you'd reeled them in, well you could play the fish whichever way you wanted to.
CHAIRPERSON: What question did you want to pose to Mr Erasmus?
MS PATEL: Thank you Honourable Chairperson. My question was merely what had led to the contact between Mr Mogami and Mr Erasmus via his ...(indistinct) but I believe he has already explained that.
Can you briefly just give us the nature of the discussions between yourself and Mr Mogami? What was Mr Mogami's intentions expressed to you? You know, you had quite a few meetings with him as you've stated. What were those discussions about?
MR ERASMUS: Madame Chair, to effectively combat the ANC, our enemy at that time or the PAC, we had to almost become the - the standard tactic, I'm just trying to explain to you ma'am as briefly as what I can. I immediately after meeting him assessed that he wasn't, as I mentioned earlier, a very intelligent person. He'd certainly, if he had left the country if I managed to recruit him as an informer or be it directly for the Security Branch under false flag, would have left the country illegally and ended up just a weapon carrying cadre or liberation fighter. He was certainly not destined for our office in one of the banned organisations.
CHAIRPERSON: What was so important about him as an activist? Was he just an ordinary ANC activist, as you say who was not that intelligent and wouldn't have made it to the upper ranks of any ANC organisation or MK?
MR ERASMUS: That is correct, that is why this avenue was decided upon, to rather supply him with a firearm and let him burn himself out very quickly rather than spend more time on resources and try and educate him better or turn him into the type of agent which we could allow to leave the country and would supply information having infiltrated at a more senior level.
CHAIRPERSON: Now apart from the fact that he was just an ordinary ANC activist, is there anything that influenced your decision to attempt to kill him by means of this false flag operation of providing him with a doctored pistol?
MR ERASMUS: Ma'am, his qualities, our assessment at the time we assessed him as being nothing more than cannon fodder, at best he would have just been a normal foot soldier, not a very intelligent one at that, he was very radical in the sense that he spoke the right language, said the right things, hated the South African Government with a lot of passion and that maybe this was the quickest and the most effective way to neutralise somebody like this by giving him the opportunity to burn himself out before somebody was hurt.
CHAIRPERSON: Am I correct in understanding your evidence to mean that he was not particularly a threat as a person?
MR ERASMUS: Intellectually he certainly didn't pose a threat. I think in a military sense, being as militant as what he was, his desire to get hold of firearms and start his own little war and contribution to the struggle of the liberation movement, I think he certainly posed a threat, Madame Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: Was there any difference, you were obviously involved with the Security Police for quite some time, did he do anything different to what you would have expected of any young person during that time to have done to have this keenness to possess a firearm to use against the Police?
MR ERASMUS: Madame Chair, with the benefit of hindsight, I have to reconsider, yes at this time I would have certainly had a lot of sympathy for him, he had no avenues to voice his political aspirations, he had a very sad background, his parents had been abused by the system, he had a very poor education with the compliments of Bantu Education. I can now understand his anger and have certainly some empathy for somebody in that situation.
CHAIRPERSON: Did he possess of any special training which he had received from any underground structure?
MR ERASMUS: That was one of the first aims of my meeting with him on several occasions, was to built up some sort of profile. In fact he used to do this in most cases, build up something of a personality profile regarding this person. No, he had no training.
CHAIRPERSON: So he was just a - how old was he, by the way?
MR ERASMUS: I would estimate, Madame Chair, I can't remember offhand, I did take as much particulars as I could at the time, I would say 20 maybe 21 years old.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, so he was a young person who was eager to fight the system which he considered oppressive?
MR ERASMUS: Absolutely, Madame Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: Ms Patel?
MS PATEL: Thank you Honourable Chairperson.
According to your contact with him, did Mr Mogami have any contact with any other ANC or liberation movement activist at the time?
MR ERASMUS: No, apart from the meetings that he attended, he'd first appeared at an End Conscription Campaign meeting, there was one or two of the UDF meetings and the contact that he had made with my informer was at an organisation known as the Free the Children Alliance, FTCA or FTC, meeting which was held in, if my memory serves me correct, Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg.
MS PATEL: Alright, but he never had any contact really except his going to mass meetings, he never had any contact with ANC cells, etc. etc?
MR ERASMUS: No, absolutely not.
CHAIRPERSON: And in your experience was it not normal for all young persons to attend mass meetings, mass rallies or was it something peculiar?
MR ERASMUS: It was nothing unusual, Madame Chair, it was just an opportunity that presented itself.
MS PATEL: Then I must confess, Mr Erasmus, I do not understand the extreme action that you took with him by providing him with a weapon that you foresaw would kill him under these circumstances?
MR ERASMUS: Madame Chair, if I can maybe just elaborate on one or two of the points that I raised earlier on? His declared intention was to, I think I used the phrase "start his own little war", go on a spree and do his part for the liberation of the country.
CHAIRPERSON: Wasn't it your experience as a Security Policemen during that time that all young persons had this kind of declared intention to get ammunition and to engage in a war against the Security Police and the government of the day in order to gain liberation?
MR ERASMUS: Ma'am, in my experience, I must firstly point out that I worked for the best part of my career mainly with White suspects in organisations. The contact that I did have and if we look at that period circa 1988, the contact that I had was, I hate these terms, people of colour. But anyway, Black youngsters at that time.
CHAIRPERSON: I think we would appreciate if you didn't say people of colour again. If you were only talking of Mr Mogami for instance he was a Black person.
MR ERASMUS: He was a young Black man. Not all of them wanted to leave the country and go for military training but certainly the level of feeling against the apartheid State was at an all time high.
MR ERASMUS: That was abundant to all of us. In fact I could go further and say that it actually from 1986 to myself and many of my colleagues would talk in private and voice our fears to each other that how would we ever stop this. This was a wave that was going to, yes, ultimately liberate this country.
CHAIRPERSON: And the question put to you by Ms Patel is what made you really to take such extreme measures against Mr Mogami? He was no different from the many youths of the time, why did you have to go to such extreme measures against him?
MR ERASMUS: Madame Chair, I don't think these were extreme measures at all. That was the quickest solution to a potential problem, I think that was the way that I would look at it now and that was certainly the assessment that I made and which I conveyed to my superiors at the time. It cost us nothing. If I can just explain, I'm sure you would ask some sort of explanation. Firearms were available, "spook" or ghost firearms were available in abundance by that time. I could certainly get my hands on any weaponry that I wanted. The weapon in question here was already damaged, it was an old Colt 9 mm pistol. I damaged it further. The rounds were freely available, it was simply conveying them from head office to ourselves although I must confess that I had the knowledge and the ability to make them myself if I wanted to and the bit of contact that I had with him was not time consuming or it was reasonably cost effective and I gave him a hundred rand. Money was freely available out of the secret fund anyway.
JUDGE DE JAGER: What would the position have been if he'd gone out of the country, received military training and returned? Would he be a real danger to the - or a bigger danger to the country than he was before?
MR ERASMUS: He most certainly would have been a bigger danger. In the first instance, Madame Chair, was that he wouldn't have been carrying a doctored Colt pistol, he would have been carrying a safe weapon, that is safe from his point of view or from their point of view and certainly had better training. Yes, he would have been far more dangerous.
CHAIRPERSON: Now to come back to what you have stated before, you say that he intended to start his own war.
MR ERASMUS: That is correct, Madame Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: Against the Police?
MR ERASMUS: That is correct.
CHAIRPERSON: Without any kind of training?
MR ERASMUS: Without any kind of training, I might mention, Madame Chair, that it was general knowledge at that time in the Security structures that not everybody that was being trained militarily and hadn't in fact been for many years was leaving the country, the liberation movements, the ANC at that time, was training people in and around areas like Soweto, Johannesburg, all over the country, were given sort of something of an in-house or insight to training. A quick - I think they refer to them as crash courses.
CHAIRPERSON: Instant training?
MR ERASMUS: Instant training in weaponry and tactics.
CHAIRPERSON: Now was it your information that he had received this kind of training?
MR ERASMUS: No, no that was obviously one of the first things that I looked at.
CHAIRPERSON: So he did not have any kind of instant training?
MR ERASMUS: No.
CHAIRPERSON: And he was not an intelligible sort of fellow?
MR ERASMUS: No.
CHAIRPERSON: He did not have any hopes of being recognised if he left the country to be anything within the structures of the MK?
MR ERASMUS: I didn't think that he would have got anywhere.
CHAIRPERSON: He was not a threat at all, was he?
MR ERASMUS: Ma'am, conversely, he was a hot head, he couldn't think of what he was actually doing. I remember one of the occasions, in fact I think when I gave him the weapon, I still told him as an added insurance, I said under no circumstances was he to attack or hurt any - being White myself, I had to let him play this game that obviously I was protective of my own kind, as it were, and that the targets that he attempted to attack with me giving him this pistol, were only to be in extreme circumstances and that would be legitimate targets like SADF members. I think I even avoided the use of Police members. Our relationship with the army was never very favourable.
CHAIRPERSON: The reason why I'm asking these questions is because of the evidence that has been tendered before in many of the hearings that we have conducted by very senior Security Police officers who tendered such evidence in their capacity has applicants for amnesty wherein they advised the Committee that persons who posed a threat and against whom such measures would have been taken, were people who had received some kind of military training inside the country or otherwise or persons who were by virtue of the leadership positions they held in various organisations like a students' organisation, SASCO and such other related organisations. If they held senior positions they posed a threat and actions were taken against those persons or people who had been involved in consumer boycotts as activists, such action would be taken against them. The objective was pre-emptive in nature.
MR ERASMUS: Correct.
CHAIRPERSON: Now I have found the person that you have described in the nature of Mr Mogami to have been no different from any other youth who was an ordinary person during that time who expressed some feeling of anger and would say something about him having to act against the government without having received any kind of training, without being in possession of any kind of weaponry and a person who did not have any leadership qualities. He did not pose a particular threat, within the meaning of the threat as has been explained to us in previous amnesty hearings?
MR ERASMUS: Madame Chair, my assessment at the time was that if I didn't supply him a firearm, he would have gone to any lengths to obtain a firearm. Somewhere along the line he would have got hold of a gun. The second consideration was that he wasn't very intelligent, he knew all the right language, he knew the ANC's or the underground slogans, off by heart most certainly, he was not a person that was capable of tactical thought. I suppose if I had to relate him to somebody on the extreme right-wing it would have been a Barend Strydom type of guy that might have taken this gun and conducted some sort of reckless suicide mission or simply shot White people for the sake of them being seen by him as an enemy. I got quite a lot of self-satisfaction afterwards when this first meeting took place at the shock on his face when I arrived there with this big overcoat and a Balaclava on, the shock in his eyes when he realised that I was a White person and then my explaining to him about that I was in the specialised unit and the rest of it. That in itself might have disarmed him or made him just think a little bit deeply. He certainly wasn't very bright and considered, I think at that stage, I could safely say that to him the entire liberation movement was pitch Black and nothing but Black people.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, if that was your perception of him, how did you manage to convince him that you were part of this liberation movement - you were White?
MR ERASMUS: Madame Chair, I think by then with after the arrest of White liberation movement members, as we saw them terrorists, and the publicity they achieved, like Marion Sparg, whom I incidentally traced and arrested, Peter Marais, Rockland Mark Williams, it was sort of starting to get out, that the ANC was not an exclusively or to the rank and file, it was starting to be understood that the ANC was not an exclusive or racial organisation, that it was Black only, that there was White people. Not only in fact White people but Afrikaners involved in the ANC in the liberation movement.
CHAIRPERSON: So all you did was to simply explain that you were from the underground structure and he simply accepted your say so?
MR ERASMUS: He not only accepted it, Madame Chair, he accepted it one hundred percent and would have followed me blindly. I think that he was quite impressed.
CHAIRPERSON: Did it take you any length of time to convince him that you came from the underground structures? I'm asking this pursuant to what came out of your mouth that to him, he saw the liberation movement in terms of Blackness.
MR ERASMUS: It did take a bit of time. I had, as I mentioned, several meetings with him late at night. It was also part of the game that I had to convince him about who I was. I couldn't give too much away because conversely I also didn't know who he was and I could be set up, I could have went to any one of those meetings and found that he was involved with ANC special ops and here I was a soft target. I would have walked into something literally with no backup, Joubert Park in the middle of the night somebody could have shot me, put a knife in me and it would have been a victory for the enemy at that time. So it was very much, Madame Chair, a cat and mouse type of situation.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Once he had become convinced that you were indeed part of the liberation movement, what did he say was his intention?
MR ERASMUS: He desperately wanted to leave the country and he had this fascination for the AK-47 and everything that went with it.
CHAIRPERSON: Now at which stage did he say he wanted to leave the country, I thought it was not his intention, but his intention was to start his own war?
MR ERASMUS: Well, he appreciated and I think I led him understand that as well that it wasn't that easy to just walk through the borders of the country. As I've said, our whole assessment of the situation at the time was the quickest solution to Mr Goodman Mogami was to let him solve his own problem by hurting himself or at least stopping him in his tracks.
CHAIRPERSON: Is that how you actually acted against people who were like Mr Mogami?
MR ERASMUS: Not always, ma'am. My main role at that time in conducting operations like this was intelligence gathering, was the infiltration of informers into enemy organisations or bodies or anti-State bodies.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, in your amnesty application you indicate here that Mr Mogami was in fact trying to join an ANC cell?
MR ERASMUS: That is correct. That is correct, Madame Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: Now which of the reasons you have now given should we accept?
MR ERASMUS: I don't understand, Madame Chair?
CHAIRPERSON: You've indicated that you got interested in Mr Mogami because he was trying to join an ANC cell?
MR ERASMUS: That is correct.
CHAIRPERSON: In my question of you, you have stated that Mr Mogami intended to leave the country for military training, I suppose? You also have indicated that your interest was I think on Mr Mogami was because he wanted to start his own war against the Police, hence you intended to act against him.
MR ERASMUS: That is correct. Madame Chair ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: I want to know why you acted against him, given all the reasons that you have now furnished?
MR ERASMUS: Madame Chair, to just correct my words there. There was no distinguishing between leaving the country, joining an ANC cell, obtaining military training outside the country or inside the country. My assessment, our assessment at the time was the person was a threat which had to be dealt with in the most convenient and easiest way and the most effective way possible.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes. I probably am not familiar with how you use the word cell because people joined cells inside the country for a particular reason and not necessarily because they intended to leave the country.
MR ERASMUS: Every situation, Madame Chair, as I understood it and in recollection now I think was different. Some of the cells were propaganda orientated, there were certainly some cells that had a military component or some of the members of that cell were armed. I think it's not easy to give a broad definition of actually how each cell operated or each cell would have operated.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, you must have been informed by Ms Hirshman of Mr Mogami's intention, is it not so?
MR ERASMUS: She brought him to my attention, yes, by virtue out of the people that surrounded here was here was a young man with a lot of commitment, making the right statements, very militant and somebody out of that whole group and I used to monitor all the people around that she could identify was somebody that had to be given a bit of attention, hence the procession of events after that.
CHAIRPERSON: Was she the one who advised you that Mr Mogami intended to join an ANC cell?
MR ERASMUS: That is in substance correct. He was not just content to stay with the Free the Children Alliance or the UDF wherever he was going to these meetings, he wanted to take this whole process not just a few inches but a few metres further on.
CHAIRPERSON: Was it explained to you what kind of a cell he intended joining?
MR ERASMUS: No.
CHAIRPERSON: Were you able to explore that information with Mr Mogami as to the nature of the cell he intended joining?
MR ERASMUS: Ma'am, I had to work very quickly, I had to convince him that I was under some sort of threat which would have also made a big impression on him, it wasn't a type of situation where I could sit and intellectualise with him. Decisions and my words had to come very thick and fast, meeting late at night in the park. I was, and I admit it, under fear myself. I didn't know if the reverse situation was going to be pulled on me. I think I made the most reasonable and the best assessment that I could at that time and that the planning was at that time the best solution to the situation.
CHAIRPERSON: So Mr Mogami, in short, never confirmed that he intended joining any cell?
MR ERASMUS: He wanted to join the ANC, ma'am. He wanted to leave the country, he wanted to get stuck into this war and fight this evil system and as fast as possible.
CHAIRPERSON: And the cell which Ms Hirshman had apprised you of, was that a cell that existed within the country or outside the country?
MR ERASMUS: No ma'am, I'd just like to correct that. I'm sorry, I've maybe given you the wrong thing in this, Ms Hirshman was never involved in an ANC cell. She was ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: The information that Mr Mogami intended to join the cell, from where did it come?
MR ERASMUS: From Ms Hirshman.
MR ERASMUS: From Ms Hirshman.
MR ERASMUS: But she was herself never a member of the ANC or a member of a cell.
CHAIRPERSON: I'm aware of that. I just want to know if she informed you. Which kind of or where this cell that Mr Mogami intended to join was?
MR ERASMUS: No, no, she never conveyed that type of information.
CHAIRPERSON: She did not say that the cell was within the country or outside the country?
MR ERASMUS: No. No ma'am.
CHAIRPERSON: And you did not make any enquiries either?
MR ERASMUS: No, she wasn't that well versed about where ANC cells were, she was not a member of the ANC and not a member of the cell herself.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Ms Patel we actually interrupted you whilst you were in the middle of your cross-examination. We apologise.
MS PATEL: All in order, thank you Honourable Chairperson.
Why were other alternatives not considered?
MR ERASMUS: I think, very briefly, that the situation at that time would become almost out of control.
MS PATEL: What do you mean by that? You had various draconian legislation in place at the time. We know of people who were detained for months on end. What do you mean there were no other options available or that things were out of control?
MR ERASMUS: Well, Madame Chair, all I can say is roundabout 1988 I, for one and I voiced my fears at that time, just one night drove into a so-called liberated zone which wasn't on the border that we had gone to in 1981 which was on the doorsteps of Johannesburg and I'm actually referring to Alexandra Township, recall reading written across the walls "The Border is now in Johannesburg". Some activist had sprayed this up there and that lesson wasn't learnt on us, it was almost like these floodgates were opening and it was an unstoppable situation. I must tell you that in 1988 I really wanted to leave the force for a lot of reasons. I really believed that we faced a full out war with the local population of this country and it was just around the corner.
MS PATEL: My question to you once again, Sir, why did you not consider other alternatives under these circumstances especially in light of your evidence that you stated that given your information about Mr Mogami that, to use your words he was just cannon fodder, he was no threat at all, he would have followed you blindly. Why were other options not considered in respect of Mr Mogami specifically.
MR ERASMUS: Ma'am, how would - to answer your question, Madame Chair, how would I have felt if I'd done nothing about or considered the wrong option and Mr Mogami had, like I mentioned earlier, gone and bought a firearm, which were readily available, the situation is not much different to what it is now, had not taken a doctored firearm from me, obtained an AK-47 and was shooting people? I made the best assessment that I could at that time of the situation and after dealing with him.
MS PATEL: Was detention not a reasonable alternative?
MR ERASMUS: Ma'am yes, on what grounds would I have detained him? Under the emergency regulations? Obviously that was considered. I would have possibly implicated my agent who was a very highly placed person. It posed too many problems.
The second consideration was here was somebody that could and that had the desire to go into a military role and here was a quick and easy way of stopping him and a way in which the Security Forces or the government would never be involved. Just another statistic, a man buys a firearm or has an illegal firearm, the forensics were never a problem, he goes and he tests it out maybe in Diepkloof out in the veld. He pulls the trigger, he either blows his hand off or he kills himself. It was a solution at that time, the best solution. I know now and believe that it was, terrible to say this, for a situation at hand.
MS PATEL: I will leave the matter for argument. Thank you Honourable Chairperson.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MS PATEL
CHAIRPERSON: Was Brig. Oosthuizen - or may I just find out, what were your specific instructions from Brig. Oosthuizen?
MR ERASMUS: I believe that my relationship with Brig. Oosthuizen was such that he left me a lot to my own opinions and devices and the advice that would have given him from my assessment at the time, he would have given his comment and said to me well, what do you think, isn't this an option, isn't this an option? Brig. Oosthuizen, in fairness to Brig. Oosthuizen, obviously looked, was very intelligence orientated. He said what are the prospects of using this man as an informer in a false flag type of situation and my reply to him was that Mogami was not intelligent enough, the man was hardly literate, that was one of the things that I first picked up. He wouldn't have been able to write reports for me, he didn't see further than his hatred of the system, it was not somebody that we could manipulate easy, he was a hothead.
CHAIRPERSON: But what were his specific instructions to you in relation to this incident? You have given evidence that your conduct in relation to this incident was on the instructions of Brig. Oosthuizen and I want to know the nature of the instructions.
MR ERASMUS: When I first informed Brig. Oosthuizen about this matter, ma'am, it was opinion and rightly so that I should maintain contact with Mogami. There was a lot of considerations here that Mogami could have been somebody already in a cell that was trying to make contact with another cell in which case we would be in a win-win situation all round. I had to pick his brains obviously and play the sole intelligence role.
CHAIRPERSON: But at that stage were you not aware that Mr Mogami had nothing to do with any cell, it was only his intention to join a cell?
MR ERASMUS: Correct, we had to find out what was his intentions, what was his role, we had to identify, draw up a personality profile on the man, see what options presented themselves to him. The second consideration was, was he operating as a lone person, was he operating in conjunction with other young guys or whoever had similar feelings.
CHAIRPERSON: And what was your assessment?
MR ERASMUS: He was pretty much a hothead operating on his own.
MR ERASMUS: I recall, ma'am, now that you mention it, Ms Hirshman saying to me - me asking her who else he had befriended at the FCA. The people were somewhat scared of him, he was little bit too radical and too outspoken to go along with the rest of them. That was the reason that she singled him out to me.
CHAIRPERSON: But what instructions did you then receive from Brig. Oosthuizen?
MR ERASMUS: Brig. Oosthuizen obviously had to authorise various matters. His instructions to me were to make an assessment of the person, play him along, let's see where we could use him, supply him, which was his insistence from the word go. Literally was supplying him with a firearm but make certain that it's a firearm that would not end up killing one of us or killing a policeman or a soldier or whatever and then let's see how the situation developed.
CHAIRPERSON: Now he said you must supply with a firearm. To what purpose?
MR ERASMUS: Mogami, I think, wouldn't have been impressed with me at all if I was this hotshot unit commander in special ops that couldn't even give him a firearm. I recall at the time the standard weaponry of the ANC was obviously Tokorev or Makarov pistols.
MR ERASMUS: And me supplying him with this old Colt, which was an automatic pistol but certainly wasn't in very good condition, that Mogami was stupid enough, ma'am, if I may use those words, to accept that this was an effective firearm simply because it was quite a big automatic with these bullets. He loved this.
CHAIRPERSON: So you are dealing with a person who was almost an imbecile?
MR ERASMUS: I wouldn't say an imbecile, ma'am. How many Black people at that time had access or knew about military weapons? The training that I had, I would have laughed at a firearm like that. He was certainly very impressed. I recall the night that I gave it to him. I still showed him how it worked, how to put the magazine in. He was totally stupid when it came to mechanisms of handling a pistol.
CHAIRPERSON: Because he had not been trained at all, not so?
MR ERASMUS: Not been trained, that is correct.
CHAIRPERSON: Was this operation ever authorised by Mr Oosthuizen?
MR ERASMUS: Absolutely, ma'am.
CHAIRPERSON: In what way?
MR ERASMUS: Well it was a situation that presented itself to me. Oosthuizen was head at various time of intelligence and Stratcom, C1 and C2 or D1 and D2. The units and my training under Oosthuizen early in my career, the middle of my career and right up to the end of my career was that his two functions always had to operate in tandem. It was like a hand fitting in a glove. It wasn't just enough to identify Mr Mogami and put the word out that he should be picked up and detained under some security legislation or under the State of Emergency because we had to utilise these situations as they were presented to us and in Mogami's case here was certainly a situation that came our way.
CHAIRPERSON: Did he authorise you to use that doctored 9 mm pistol in order to kill Mr Mogami?
MR ERASMUS: That is one hundred percent correct, ma'am. He in fact arranged for the explosive rounds to be delivered to me.
CHAIRPERSON: And the intention was to kill him?
MR ERASMUS: I think neutralise him or eliminate him. If we are going to use semantic terms I would say yes, kill him. If he ever used that firearm in anger he would have killed himself, that is correct. Yes, we wanted to kill him in that sense, yes.
CHAIRPERSON: Would he have not been killed by mere use of the firearm whether it had been used by him in anger or otherwise?
MR ERASMUS: The only way that that firearm could activate ma'am and even then I damaged it which was an irony in the situation, was the firing pin. Before I had given that firearm to Mr Mogami, I damaged - in fact filed with a file the actual firing pin down to half its normal length. It's doubtful and we talked about that afterwards, I actually saw that as a mistake. If we really wanted to neutralise him, there was a reasonable chance that the firearm would not have exploded if the trigger was pulled.
CHAIRPERSON: Was that deliberately done by you?
MR ERASMUS: I did that before the 9 mm rounds arrived, the explosive rounds.
CHAIRPERSON: Was that a deliberate act on your part?
MR ERASMUS: That was a deliberate act. My intention then, ma'am, was that the firearm wouldn't have worked at all. Assuming that I'd given him normal 9 mm rounds he might have run into any situation, pointed the weapon, pulled the trigger and it would have just gone click click click, ejected one round after the other, it was impossible to fire.
CHAIRPERSON: Are you through Ms Patel? Judge de Jager do you have any questions to put to Mr Erasmus?
NO QUESTIONS BY JUDGE DE JAGER
CHAIRPERSON: Ms Sigodi?
NO QUESTIONS BY ADV SIGODI
CHAIRPERSON: Mr van Zyl, do you have any re-examination?
RE-EXAMINATION BY MR VAN ZYL: Just the odd question, Madame Chair.
At that time, Mr Erasmus, were you under extreme stress in your work or not?
MR ERASMUS: I think I pointed out in my evidence yesterday, Madame Chair, that in 1998 I was on the verge of many things. Extreme stress, most certainly.
MR VAN ZYL: Did this impair your judgement?
MR ERASMUS: With the benefit of hindsight, looking back, I think it impaired my judgement in many, many situations which affect me to this day, most definitely.
MR VAN ZYL: Thank you. No further questions, Madame Chair. That concludes the application of incident 68.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR VAN ZYL
CHAIRPERSON: Ms Patel does not stand to lead any evidence. This matter is in fact unopposed. I don't know if there are any submissions you wish to make on behalf of Mr Erasmus?
MR VAN ZYL: Madame Chair, purely to say that it falls within the ambit of the Act. I can argue it for you further if you want to but I would lead it at that. The evidence was led and it can be slotted into the appropriate slots.
CHAIRPERSON: Ms Patel, do you have any submissions?
MS PATEL: I will leave it in your hands Honourable Chairperson. If I may at this stage indicate to you that Mr Madhav is present here. I'm not sure logistically how we are going to deal with that. Would you rather we hold it over to tomorrow or stand down for a short while for me to take instructions?
CHAIRPERSON: Is it not correct that you still have to take instructions from Mr Madhav and you are not in a position to immediately commence without specific instructions?
MS PATEL: That is correct, Honourable Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: And we therefore thing it would be appropriate that you be afforded an opportunity to properly consult with him in order to take proper instructions and that the matter be stood down until tomorrow morning at 9.30.
MS PATEL: Thank you Honourable Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: 9.30 would be convenient for you, Mr van Zyl?
We will reserve our decisions in respect of the two incidents that have been dealt with this afternoon, that relating to the attempted murder of Mr Goodman Mogami and incident number 19 which relates to the illegal entry, illegal search as well as the assault on Mr Berange with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
MR VAN ZYL: As it so pleases you, Madame Chair. Madame Chair, just another thing on logistics. If, for any reason, there is no opposition and maybe no instructions that Mr Madhav wanted to proceed with the matter. I'm just thinking of the logistics. It's another day of expenses and costs for me to be here tomorrow morning. What if she gets instructions now that look, I've got nothing further. Isn't this a matter that can go to chambers then perhaps? I'm just looking at it, you see I'm from the Cape as Ms Patel is also, so if we could perhaps look at it with ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: Well, I'm unable to say until Ms Patel has taken proper instructions.
MR VAN ZYL: But what I'm suggesting is could we then perhaps just adjourn for five seconds, hear what is the initial indication and then we can say, okay tomorrow we're here or maybe there's an indication that we won't be here tomorrow, then I could save the State some money.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, you can actually be around and speak to Ms Patel after she has taken instructions. As to how long it will take her to take the necessary instructions, it's an issue which is beyond my control and I can therefore not speculate whether she will be in a position to immediately advise you.
MR VAN ZYL: No, I accept that.
CHAIRPERSON: It's a matter that will ultimately turn into a non-gross violation in which case it will be referred to chambers or it's a matter that ...(intervention)
MR VAN ZYL: As it pleases you, but what I'm trying to say is, if it goes to chambers during the course of the night, if that decision is made, must I return tomorrow morning or can I be excused perhaps, in a manner, if it's not going to go into hearing. I'm just looking at the State. I'm here ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, if it will be a chamber matter you don't need to be here and therefore you don't need to be excused because you would not have been required to be here.
MR VAN ZYL: That's right, because then thing is then obviously I'll make arrangements to leave early and cost the State less. I have been booked for four days, so I am here if I'm needed.
CHAIRPERSON: I think it's better that you keep contact with Ms Patel. She will in fact phone you.
MR VAN ZYL: We've arranged that contact. Thank you, Madame Chair.
CHAIRPERSON: We'll adjourn until tomorrow morning at 9.30.