Mr Pretorius, we'd like to welcome you here today. I'm sorry that you've had to spend a long day waiting. I'm going to ask Mr Ntsebeza to administer the oath.
MR NTSEBEZA: Can you state your full names please for the record, your full names?
ANTON PRETORIUS: (sworn states)
MS SOOKA: Thank you, you may be seated. I assume you are represented by Mr Kemp?
MR KEMP: That is correct Madame Chair.
MS SOOKA: Could you just place that on record and proceed please?
MR KEMP: Madame Chairperson, I act on behalf of Mr Pretorius and also the next two witnesses. The procedure will be the same as with the previous witnesses whom I represent. I will ask Mr Pretorius to identify the affidavit which is in his possession and then just to read it into the record please.
Mnr. Pretorius, sal jy asseblief, die verklaring wat voor u is, is dit 'n verklaring wat deur u op gestel is?
MR PRETORIUS: Dis korrek Mnr. die Voorsitter.
MR KEMP: Sal jy asseblief die verklaring in die rekord in lees?
MR PRETORIUS: I the undersigned, Anton Pretorius declare hereby under oath as follows: I'm a lieutenant colonel and former member of the South African Police. The contents of this statement fall within my personal knowledge, unless otherwise mentioned, and are to the best of my knowledge true and correct.
I started working on 2 December '76 at the South African Police and spent from 7 September '81 to 12 May '91 at the Security Branch, Soweto. My rank was that of sergeant when I started at Soweto and when I was transferred from there I had the rank of captain. After my transfer to the Security Branch, Soweto I worked for the first time with the Tracing Unit.
After a few months we started a new unit which developed to the present information gathering component, also known as the Intelligence Unit. I was advised that it's not necessary to give the whole of my career in this statement. I therefore deal with the matters mentioned in my subpoena.
The interrogation and subsequent death of Sizwe Sithole - I have no knowledge of the interrogation or subsequent death of Sizwe Sithole.
The use and handling of informers or sources associated with the Mandela Football Club and Mrs Winnie Mandela - During the time that I was in the service of Security Branch Soweto, I was not involved with any tasking which had direct relevance to Mrs Mandela or the football club. Because of the fact that I was part of the information gathering component, the handling of informers was part of my daily life. Obviously, naturally in the run of my work of gathering information, information came from a large area and from many sources, and from time to time I received information with regard to Mrs Mandela or her activities. I'm not personally aware of any informers which dealt specifically, were associated specifically with Mrs Mandela or the Mandela United Football Club, with the exception of one person who came to my attention, after he had told the Security Branch that there were two MK members in his house. This informer was a person close to Mrs Mandela and also associated with the football club.
The abduction, assault and murder of Stompie Sepei in 1988, I have personally no knowledge of the abduction, assault or murder of Stompie. I was involved with the planning of the raid on Mrs Mandela's house to get information with regard to the abduction, assault and murder of Stompie Sepei. I am an explosives expert and Intelligence Unit commander and was in that capacity requested to be present at this operation when the raid was performed. But I had no further involvement with this matter.
The relationship between the Security Branch, Murder and Robbery, Stratcom Divisions, other units of the South African Police with regard to Mrs Mandela and the football club. I'm aware that there was a Stratcom Unit at the Security Branch in Pretoria and also at the Security Branch Witwatersrand, but to the best of my knowledge there was at no stage a Stratcom Unit at the Security Branch, Soweto. In general, however, I can say that the relationship between the Security Branch, Murder and Robbery and other units of the South African Police co-operation was very good. Co-operation also took place continually on information and also with regard to Mrs Mandela and the United Football Club. We routinely exchanged information.
The use of intelligence material and the relationships with Intelligence agencies with regard to matters relating to Mrs Mandela and the football club. I have no knowledge of any such material and am not aware of any relationship directed to or at Mrs Mandela or the Mandela United Football Club.
The interrogation and death of Temba Johannes Mabota, I have no knowledge of this matter. Information with regard to observations, including telephone tapping, bugging, etc., in connection with matters relating to Mrs Mandela and the Mandela United Football Club. I know that tapping of Mrs Mandela's phone conversations did take place.
Transcriptions of such conversations were given to us on a daily basis made available to us, to the Intelligence Unit that is. And I had insight into such transcriptions. I'm not aware that at any stage bugs were used and as far as I know there was also at no stage permanent observation, other than tapping, bugging of Mrs Mandela's United Football Club - Mandela or the football club. The Security Branch did not have an observation unit.
The killing of Sergeant Pretorius and the two MK members, Maluleke and Nbonenge in '88, I was not part of the planning of this operation during which Fanie Pretorius was killed but was requested to go to the scene later. I was on the scene then and saw that Sergeant Pretorius and two other people had been killed. Except for that I have no knowledge of the killing of Sergeant Pretorius or the two MK members, Maluleke and Mnbonenge.
MS SOOKA: You, I presume you are not going to lead your client further?
MR KEMP: I don't intend to lead any further with evidence. The witness will reply to all cross-examination. Thank you Mrs Chairperson.
MS SOOKA: Mr Vally?
MR VALLY: Thank you Madame Chair.
Mr Pretorius, you have made an application for amnesty, have you not?
MR PRETORIUS: An application for?
MR VALLY: Amnesty.
MR PRETORIUS: That's correct.
MR VALLY: If you so choose there are headphones and you can get it translated into Afrikaans but that's your choice.
MR PRETORIUS: No, I only have a problem because you are talking away from me and therefore I can't hear you properly.
MS SOOKA: Then if you choose to listen in English it will be louder.
MR VALLY: Do you confirm you have made an application for amnesty?
MR PRETORIUS: That is correct.
MR VALLY: You are represented by the same firm of attorneys in your amnesty application as you are represented here?
MR PRETORIUS: That is right.
MR VALLY: I want you to explain a contradiction to me please. In paragraph seven of your affidavit which you just read out to us now, the first sentence:
"During the time when I was at the Safety Branch in Soweto, I wasn't involved in any task that had a direct relation with Mrs Winnie Madikizela Mandela or the Mandela United Football Club."
MR VALLY: Is that correct? Well, on page - well ...[intervention]
MR KEMP: Madam Chairperson, I do not know whether Mr Vally intends to go into the whole question of Mr Pretorius' amnesty application at this stage. I do believe that it's not the proper forum to do so, and that that might prejudice his application in an amnesty application. As with the previous witnesses in this hearing yesterday and today, they were allowed not to give any evidence in regard to their amnesty applications. And I would ask that the same indulgence be granted to this witness.
MS SOOKA: Mr Vally?
MR VALLY: Madame Chair, Mr Kemp is not correct. We've just had a small bun fight between the respective clients of Mr Hugo and Mr du Plessis in which they went into their amnesty application in great detail, number one.
Number two, I do not intend going into the details of what he's alleged to have done for which he is asking for amnesty but I'm certainly going to point out an obvious and direct contradiction in the affidavit which he submitted his amnesty application on with what he says here. And this is what I intend to do and ask him to explain that contradiction. It is crucial to the issues that we are discussing regarding the Mandela United Football Club and I need to set the scene for Mr Pretorius so he understands that he should not contradict himself.
MS SOOKA: Do you want to (...intervention)
MR VALLY: May I just add one last thing, Madame Chair? As you know the commission has got the authority to lift the confidentiality clause regarding any amnesty application, a resolution has been passed by the Commission to that effect.
MS SOOKA: Mr Kemp?
MR KEMP: Madame Chairperson, the previous witnesses who alluded to incidents reported in the amnesty or covered by the amnesty applications did so by their own volition and that therefore cannot be a precedent for this matter.
econdly, it would be impossible for Mr Vally to put a contradiction without alluring to facts. If he can do that without alluring to facts I would have no objection.
And if he simply would state that there is a contradiction and he can ask Mr Pretorius whether he admits that or not, I wouldn't have an objection to that either. It is true, as Mr Vally contends that this Commission does have the power to require the witness to testify. If the commission would require to do that, I would ask that such a power be exercised in camera so as not to prejudice the rights of the witness. Thank you.
MS SOOKA: Mr Ntsebeza?
MR NTSEBEZA: Before I indicate what happens here. Mr Vally you wanted to respond what he says now, just on the point that he saying?
MR VALLY: Thank you Mr Ntsebeza, I will. The section which I quoted from his affidavit he submitted now, there's an identical relevant section without referring to any specific incidents which contradicts this and that's also under oath and I need this to point this out to Mr Pretorius in order that I can flow with the rest of the questions.
It's important to note that in both this affidavit and in the affidavit he submitted in his amnesty application, he was legally represented by the same firm. So there's no question of trying to trick him at all. I will not want to prejudice his amnesty application but if he does commit perjury here, then he will be prejudicing his amnesty application.
MR NTSEBEZA: I would like to think that the basis has been properly laid and provided Mr Vally keeps within the confines of the basis that he laid, the questions shall be put. But feel free at any stage to object if you feel that the questions that are being put are prejudicial.
MR KEMP: Madam Chairperson, my objection is on the table. I did not and I do not represent Mr Pretorius in his amnesty application. And I do not believe that it is the proper procedure to do it in the case of one witness whilst other witnesses are treated differently. That is my objection and I will abide with whatever decision the commission makes, thank you.
MS SOOKA: Mr Kemp may I say that it is not my impression that issues relating to the amnesty applications of the previous witnesses were not dealt with in this hearing. What I rather understood was whether there was a question of credibility and how one could limit cross-examination in respect of the differing views on the same subject. S
So when, I will allow Mr Vally to ask the questions. If you have an objection to a line of questioning, please object to it and I will then make a ruling on it, but I don't think that we can divorce the processes between the three Committees. Because at the end of the day whatever version is put to one Committee should be the same that is put before the Amnesty Committee. Thank you. Mr Vally will you proceed please?
MR VALLY: I'll ask my question again. Paragraph seven of our affidavit under oath, sorry your affidavit which you've repeated under oath now, you say:
"During the time when I was in the service of the Safety Branch in Soweto I was not involved in any task that didn't have a direct bearing on Mrs Winnie Madikizela Mandela and the Mandela United Football Club."
In your amnesty application under the oath, there's no page number but it says:
"In the event,"
Point 9 A and Roman numeral IV, this is what say: "During my term at the Intelligence Unit in Soweto, I received orders to investigate the terrorist acts of Winnie Mandela."
MR PRETORIUS: Commission, if I could just quickly tell you that the time when I applied for amnesty the circumstances were different. I want to qualify however, it is not that I differed from that affidavit. When did that there wasn't a contradiction in that but the circumstances were different.
In all sincerity I can tell you today, no commander ever gave me an order to investigate Winnie Mandela as such. What I had to investigate and perhaps it is not clear from my amnesty application, I was tasked to look at the activities of Umkhonto weSizwe and whatever they did which included Mrs Winnie Mandela. So in other words I didn't specifically have the task to investigate Mrs Winnie Mandela.
It is not specifically about Mrs Winnie Mandela. Mrs Winnie Mandela was one of hundreds of people I investigated. And in the same paragraph seven I said that during the time when I got hold of information, information about Mrs Winnie Mandela's activities was brought to my attention, but I didn't specifically concentrate on Mrs Mandela's activities.
If she was involved in MK activities I had to pay attention to that because then it was brought under my attention.
MR KEMP: You did invite me to raise any objections. I abided by the decision of the Commission and I thought and I expected Mr Vally to refer the Commission perhaps to something which I was unaware of. I was perfectly aware of that statement that was put to - however, the question in this affidavit addressed in that paragraph is specifically subject to what was asked in the subpoena.
In the subpoena, the witness was asked to give any information in regard to the use and treatment or handling of informers or sources associated with the Mandela United Football Club or Winnie Madikizela Mandela. And the reply was drafted and it is stated in answer to the specific request by this Commission in that regard and it must be treated in that way as well. And I think that the innuendo by my learned friend that this is a contradiction is wrong and I therefore would ask that any continued line of questioning in this line should be stopped.
MR VALLY: Madame Chair, may I respond? This is not an innuendo, this is not a insinuation, this is a direct factual contradiction. He goes on in his amnesty application, if Mr Kemp is aware of his amnesty application he knows what goes on about observing Mrs Mandela's house, etc., etc. The question is, did you have direct involvement in monitoring in any way, Mrs Winnie Madikizela Mandela or the Mandela United Football Club?
MS SOOKA: Sorry Mr Vally before you continue. I'm going to point out that I've noted what Mr Kemp has said. That the submission that his client has made to the Commission, it does have headings which I think are the topics covered by the subpoena. So when you do question his client remember that perhaps the response underneath that headline is related to a question in the subpoena.
I will allow you to carry on questioning where there are contradictions but I'm asking you to be mindful of the fact that there are headings involved which really, and the answer to that may be in response to that specific heading. But I've noted what Mr Kemp has said.
MR VALLY: Madam Chair let me continue. I note that the comment that:
"That I was not involved in any action that was where Mrs Mandela was directly involved or the Winnie Mandela Madikizela Football Club".
However, I will ask questions along the lines of what was said under oath where Mr Pretorius says, with legal advice.
"During my term of office at the Intelligence Unit at Soweto, I amongst others received orders from, I received orders to monitor the on-going activities."
I'm sorry, I will carry on. And in brackets it says:
"(terrorism, murder, etc)" of Winnie Mandela to investigate those activities"
Assuming that that is where the truth lies. And I want ask questions along those lines. Was there a special Winnie Mandela desk in the Intelligence Unit at Soweto?
MR PRETORIUS: No, there was no such desk. The Intelligence Unit did not make use of desks neither did the Soweto Security Branch.
MR VALLY: Are you saying that you did not have sections which specialised in SOYCO or trade unions or political groupings?
MR PRETORIUS: Not as far as I know.
MR VALLY: We've heard a number of Security Policemen from your unit in the last two days telling us this. Are you saying that they were talking lies? Were you here when they were giving evidence?
MR PRETORIUS: If I may tell the Commission how I saw it - I don't know how anybody else saw it but I never heard them refer to a SOYCO Lessenaar or a Mandela Desk or whatever. If I speak on the Intelligence Unit, the Intelligence Unit was specifically tasked with certain tasks, instructions to investigate certain organisations. It was the total spectrum of Umkhonto weSizwe, for instance Mkhiza. They did special operations and so forth, there wasn't a desk for everything.
All the members involved were tasked to work with those organisations and then there were individuals as well. To give you an example. I think you know of the terrorist photo album, together with that photo album there were something like 15 000 MK soldiers to whom we had to pay attention. I don't know of a desk, that there was a desk under my command which dealt specifically with one subject.
In an area office or a branch office where previous members had been members maybe, but the only division in Soweto was a geographic division. They spoke of the East and the West, as far as I know. All suspects in those geographic areas operated within that area and the people investigating them, the same.
He, for instance Watermeyer pointed out once that he was in the west whereas Mrs Mandela's house was in the east so that it didn't fall in his area. So I'm saying there was no desk way of operating.
MR VALLY: I would assume that when you got - sorry, let me just get more clarity. Which section were you in, East or West?
MR PRETORIUS: When I started in Soweto I was in the West.
MR VALLY: Did you cover Mrs Winnie Mandela?
MR PRETORIUS: No.
MR VALLY: Did you get ...[indistinct] to the East section or East?
MR PRETORIUS: I was never involved in the East section.
MR VALLY: SO you were always in the west geographical section?
MR PRETORIUS: As I've already told you, in the beginning I was, I resorted under the west section of the branch. I wasn't there for long and I don't remember specifically whether I was there for a year or a couple of months but thereafter as I have already said in my statement, I was transferred to the information gathering unit which later was known as the Intelligence Unit and I was in that capacity responsible for the whole of Soweto.
MR VALLY: All right. So you were responsible for the whole of Soweto, so you would have covered possibly Mrs Madikizela Mandela's activities and her club's activities as well?
MR PRETORIUS: Although Mrs Mandela stayed in the area that she did, I had a specific tasking and people after me will also be able to testify that I had nothing but nothing to do with the Mandela Football Club, absolutely nothing.
MR VALLY: What was your tasking?
MR PRETORIUS: Except for the recruitment, training and placement of informers it was related to, as I have told you, mainly revolutionary threat, that was my main focus, my task. Secondarily the mass democratic movement of later: COSATU and all it's subsidiaries and then also tertiary level information.
MR VALLY: Meaning? What does tertiary level information mean?
MR PRETORIUS: Student organisations, not at schools but at university and college level.
MR VALLY: What did Mrs Madikizela Mandela represent to you as an Intelligence gatherer from the Intelligence Unit covering the whole of Soweto? Did she represent a revolutionary threat to the South African Security Branch?
MR PRETORIUS: Personally I think Mrs Mandela was the top commander of MK of the internal branch who received direct orders from Chris Hanekom. I think she also confirmed that in her testimony.
MR VALLY: I think the interpreter meant Chris Hani, not Chris Hanekom.
MR VALLY: ...[inaudible] she was in your perception the overall commander, therefore she would be of primary interest to you being in the Intelligence Unit?
MR PRETORIUS: She was not important to me as such. I was interested in the MK members who infiltrated from overseas to Soweto, that was part of my function. It was part of my function to trace such members and it is so that as a result of the information that I gleamed, that Mrs Mandela time after time came to the fore but I didn't consider her, I couldn't consider her as priority.
MR VALLY: Did the Security Branch consider her as a priority?
MR PRETORIUS: I think that has already become clear in the past few days that Mrs Mandela was a priority suspect of the Security Branch.
MR VALLY: Now since you said there was no real division, there were no real separate desks, therefore any information that came in you would have known about it as well. Would that be correct?
MR PRETORIUS: What information?
MR VALLY: Any information which came into the intelligence unit where you were based, as there was no separation into different desks, you would be privy too as well, you would know about it as well?
MR PRETORIUS: What information?
MR VALLY: Whatever information regarding the activities of Mrs Winnie Madikizela Mandela. As an Intelligence Unit I assume you'll be collecting information about her activities, would you not?
MR PRETORIUS: No, I wouldn't say that, I would just like to explain. As I told you I was not personally tasked with Mrs Mandela's activities. I talk of her daily activities, I wasn't tasked with that in Soweto. That was the Area Officer's responsibility because she lived in that area, the Eastern block. It was their activity to monitor her and to gather information around her and the football club.
The Intelligence Unit worked on a higher level according to me, they gathered information on a higher level and not on that level where Mrs Mandela and her football club functioned. We were on a very much higher level and it is not right for you to say that we knew all information that was gleamed by the area office.
MR VALLY: Well this higher level, did it include daily monitoring transcripts of Mrs Winnie Madikizela Mandela's telephone calls?
MR PRETORIUS: As you already know, this was done. I said in my statement ...[intervention]
MR VALLY: All right. Now let me go on, you don't have to say more. Were you privy to these daily briefings of the transcripts of Mrs Madikizela Mandela's telephone calls? Did you personally know about it?
MR PRETORIUS: No. I was not involved in daily, I was not at the office daily. Intelligence Unit worked from a covert premises and weren't at the office every day. There were times that I went in to the office but I wasn't there daily at briefings, sometimes, perhaps once a week I was but not daily.
MS SOOKA: Mr Vally, just to remind you that you ...[intervention]
MR VALLY: Yes, it's like drawing blood from stone Madam Chair and really, I've reminded this witness already but I'm looking at his amnesty application here and really, there's this contradictions I marked but anyway. Were you privy to any information from a telephone transcript or anything whatsoever regarding Mrs Madikizela Mandela? - anything.
MR PRETORIUS: Honourable Chairperson, I mentioned here that I was aware of the daily tapping of Mrs Mandela and her, the telephones at home and at the offices. My component on a daily basis - after Colonel Watermeyer received the transcripts, those transcripts were also made available to us. It is therefore true, I did receive them but I wasn't there on a daily basis at briefings at an office where Mrs Mandela ...[intervention]
MR VALLY: My question is simple. Did you in your capacity as a member of the Intelligence Unit see any, any bit of intelligence regarding Mrs Madikizela Mandela, be it a telephone tapping or whatever, anything?
MR PRETORIUS: Apart from information that reached me through informants, which wasn't tested from MK members who allegedly had contact with Mrs Mandela, my main source of information about Mrs Mandela's activities, the daily entries that I - transcripts that I received I have read those. One of my tasks, I wouldn't say it's a task but - I'm looking for the word now ...[inaudible]
MR VALLY: Sorry to interrupt you again, we don't have much time for these long explanations. So you did receive something? Can you tell us what you remember receiving? What information, intelligence information regarding Mrs Mandela, anything, please tell us.
MR PRETORIUS: Madame Chairperson, I am trying to explain that some of the transcripts that I have received, literally hundreds of those things - from the time that she arrived in Soweto, I as the Intelligence commander, at a stage I wasn't that, I nevertheless had insight in those and my task was to look at where MK members featured in these transcripts.
I took out and extracted what was important to me, what was important to the Intelligence Unit. I now refer to my own amnesty application ...[intervention]
MR VALLY: Tell us again what information did you receive in the Intelligence Unit that was relevant to Mrs Madikizela Mandela? That's all I'm asking you.
MR KEMP: Madame Chairperson, with respect. It's a third time now that the witness will attempt to answer that reply. Each reply, the past three replies were an explanation of the nature of information which he received. He's busy explaining which information he got, how he disseminated that and if Mr Vally would just give him the opportunity once now to reply in full he might be satisfied and it won't be necessary for him to stop the witness.
I don't want to object the whole time because it delays proceedings. I just want this objection to be noted and I will try and resist from similar objections.
MS SOOKA: Mr Kemp thank you but I think your client has been asked the same question three times before we got any admission out of him, that in fact he did receive intelligence information. So while I while caution Mr Vally to allow your client the opportunity to respond to the question I will also ask you, to ask your client to listen very carefully to the questions and to respond to the question being put and not give lengthy explanations.
MR KEMP: Madam Chairperson, I am certain my client noted your request that he tried to answer ...[indistinct] through you I will ask him to do so, thank you.
MS SOOKA: Thank you. Mr Vally?
MR VALLY: Tell us specifically any bit of intelligence that your Intelligence Unit gathered regarding Mrs Madikizela Mandela?
MR PRETORIUS: Commission, I regularly received information that as far as I could ascertain that MK members would visit Mrs Mandela's house, the so called Palace - that is the way I know it amongst others.
MR VALLY: When you refer to the palace, are you referring to the third house? You know the house in Orlando West, you know the house in Diepkloof extension. Are you referring to the third house, the house she presently stays in?
MR PRETORIUS: I'm not aware, I don't know where Mrs Mandela resides at the moment but that is at the one that has been a matter of controversy in the media for a long time, which stood empty before she moved in. I suppose it is the one in Orlando West.
MR VALLY: I see. What did you do with this information that you received?
MR PRETORIUS: Are you now referring to the MK members who regularly (...intervention]
MR VALLY: I'm referring to the information you received regarding MK members and Mrs Madikizela Mandela?
MR PRETORIUS: Commissioner, as is the case with any, a commander of an intelligence service, one should be positive and ascertain whether the information is in fact true because the information that one heard through these telephonic discussions didn't say specifically MK or whoever was in the house at the moment. This is a long explanation but perhaps this could explain my situation.
MK members used MK fighting names and those attachments who came to the RSA also used those communication names And some of those names were not known to us. So it is highly unlikely that an MK member would use his own name. Afterwards I had to ascertain whether this person really was an MK man or whether it was an ordinary person who called into Mrs Mandela's house. I don't know whether this is an answer to your question.
MR VALLY: No, it isn't. You've said that - I assume by this stage you had identified them as MK members. Assuming you had identified this person as an MK member and you knew he has visited Mrs Madikizela Mandela's house, which at that time was a crime, what did you do with this information?
MR PRETORIUS: Like I've said I tried to follow up the information. In that specific case which was referred to because that had a lot to do with my amnesty application I made it to the further step in order to get confirmation to the information. Our country was received through tapping but this was an aspect that was treated or mentioned in my application. I nevertheless prepared to mention it.
MS SOOKA: What do you do with the information once you have received it? Now we have established from your previous answer that you have to verify the information. Now can you tell us once you have done that what you actually do with the information?
MR PRETORIUS: Like you have heard, the information given to Colonel Watermeyer to the commission, he was the responsible person. Anything that was in the interest of security, the transcripts of Mrs Madikizela Mandela's telephonic discussions, it was his task to write a report. Perhaps he'd already served before the commission. The moment I received the transcripts I would perhaps say I received it last of all. I had to look and see what I could do with the different patches of information. The information, perhaps I could explain it by saying that I had to build the castle. I had to explain where Sonny, Piet and the others fitted in. When I came across something concrete I had to, the procedure was that I had to write a report with regard to the information. But then it wasn't only about the transcripts. There could have been informant information. At that stage the security task also used a lot of information. And then in that case I wrote a report. That is what I therefore did with the information.
MR VALLY: ... Mr Pretorius to be concise and answer a question specifically. He's trying to overwhelm us with irrelevant detail.
MS SOOKA: Mr Vally I'd also remind you that whilst I will caution Mr Pretorius that you actually also running out of time. So.
MR VALLY: Well Madame Chair, we're here for a purpose and if our purpose is being sabotaged by Mr Pretorius then I think you must direct your instructions to the right place. But let us go on.
Did you have specific profiles regarding certain people? For example all the information that you collected regarding Mrs Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, from a telephone tapping or from your other bronne, your other sources, did you put it all together and keep it in one file? Yes or no?
MR PRETORIUS: Not me, as Colonel Watermeyer has said, he was responsible for that.
MR VALLY: Did Colonel Watermeyer do so?
MR PRETORIUS: I don't think it was Watermeyer all the time, only him. There were other people under his command.
MR VALLY: ... information regarding Mrs Winnie Madikizela Mandela, was there a file of that sort? Or was there a filing cabinet where it was all kept? Was there a space where it was all kept?
MR PRETORIUS: Yes.
MR VALLY: ... access to this. Was it a cabinet or a file, just tell me so I know how to refer to it as?
MR PRETORIUS: Madame Chair, I want to say yes but I want to qualify, to give you the background as how it worked.
MR VALLY: (inaudible) I will not go in (...intervention)
MR KEMP: Madame Chair, (...intervention)
MR VALLY: Madame Chair, really this game that has been played between Mr Kemp and his attorney, I haven't got anywhere because Mr Pretorius is playing silly games. I will not refer to it as a filing cabinet or a file. But we know there was a collection of information regarding Mrs Madikizela Mandela, which he knows about. Can I just go on from there?
MR KEMP: Madame Chair may I (...intervention)
MS SOOKA: Let me listen to Mr Kemp please?
MR KEMP: Madame Chair, I please it must be noted that I've once again been accused of playing games. But I will take that up in another forum. The question was asked whether there was any files and the reply was short and succinct as requested. Yes. Mr Vally then asked detail about that. The witness is trying to explain the workings which he did and how he did that. Now if he is not allowed to tell how it worked he should not be criticised for not giving the detail. That's all that I ask, Madame Chair.
MS SOOKA: I will note it but I will also note that I think your client is incredibly wordy in terms of giving an appropriate response. So I'm going to ask Mr Vally to allow the witness to answer the question. And if we can all be careful about what we actually going to say then perhaps we can get through the remaining evidence this witness has to give, sooner.
Mr Pretorius, you were asked the question, you've said in your evidence that it was all kept in one place. Now Mr Vally asked you is that in a filing cabinet and I think we want an answer to that please without a lengthy explanation.
MR PRETORIUS: Madame I was planning before he stopped me. It is clear to me that there is confusion as to how this system worked. The administrative component of the Security Branch Soweto was responsible for all files. We had a file office and there was a filing cabinet and in the cabinet were the files. The file of Mrs Mandela as well as hundreds of other people.
MR VALLY: ... to ask you as a member of the Murder and Robbery Squad or as a member of the Attorney General's office I need information from Mrs Winnie Madikizela Mandela's file, you would have ready access to such information?
MR PRETORIUS: That is true, I would have access.
MR VALLY: ... of a certain Mr Reyneke from the Security Branch?
MR PRETORIUS: Kobus Reyneke, I know him well.
MR VALLY: ... ?
MR PRETORIUS: He was also stationed at the Security Branch Soweto. So he was my colleague I suppose.
MR VALLY: ... information regarding Mrs Winnie Madikizela Mandela, he would have ready access to it, would he not?
MR PRETORIUS: I believe so.
MR VALLY: ... had transcripts of the recordings of Mrs Madikizela Mandela's telephone conversations, are you aware of the recording of a conversation she had when she was allegedly not in her house during the time of the abduction of Mr Stompie Sepei and three other young people from the Methodist manse?
MR PRETORIUS: Commission I, to the best of my knowledge I cannot remember the incident. Its' possible that I might have read the transcriptions but that I put it in the van der Merwe file, as we call it. In other words, shredded it because it did not relate to me at that stage when I read it. But I cannot specifically remember it.
MR VALLY: ... the whole country was in an uproar about the situation, there were questions being asked in the press, there were raids on Mrs Madikizela Mandela's house, would you (...intervention)
MR PRETORIUS: That's right.
MR VALLY: And you tell me that this information regarding, allegedly regarding her alibi was shredded by you? Is that what you're telling us?
MR PRETORIUS: That's what Iím trying to say. It was not my function. I knew it was in competent hands of Murder and Robbery. It did not relate to me. I was busy with other matters. And I don't know whether I should explain this or whether Mr Vally want to ask why I was present with the search, the raid, but I actually did say that.
MR VALLY: ... I want to ask you. I want to find out from you where you have a crucial bit of evidence which your police in Murder and Robbery Squad are investigating and with whom you claim, and I quote you from paragraph ten; "In general I can say that the relationship between the Security Branch, Murder and Robbery and other units of the South African Police besonders goed was - it was very good. You tell me the relationship was so good, you know about this matter, you had taken part in a raid of Mrs Madikizela Mandela's house in connection with this matter, you find a crucial bit of evidence from a telephone transcript regarding an alibi or potential alibi and you shred it? Is this the logical way that a police man would behave?
MR KEMP: Madame Chair, I'm sorry. I cannot allow Mr Vally to continue to make statements which is completely incorrect. He elicited from the witness the question whether on that particular weekend, which we can call the Bramford weekend whether he saw any telephone conversation which showed that Mrs Winnie Madikizela Mandela was at home. He said in his reply he cannot recall whether he saw a conversation like that. It might be something that passed his desk and because it was of no import to him at that stage, shredded it. Now what my learned friend is doing is criticising him for possibly ignoring evidence which he says, he must have been aware of. How possibly could the witness at that stage have known that it would be crucial to remember a conversation by Mrs Winnie Madikizela Mandela on a particular weekend. This is now when it happened. Not subsequently when the press reported about her alibi and things like this. He is not distinguishing between the past and the present and the question is unfair. And I cannot allow it. I'm sorry to interrupt but I feel compelled to do so.
MR VALLY: Madame Chair, I'll respond quickly to this and I'll move onto other items.
MS SOOKA: I think you should move.
MR VALLY: The reason I asked that question very simply, in paragraph nine of Mr Pretorius' affidavit I was involved in the planning of the raid on Mrs Madikizela Mandela's house to get information regarding the kidnapping, assault and murder on Stompie Sepei. I was brought there as an explosives expert and as the Intelligence Unit Commander I was requested to be present by this operation and I was present when this raid took place." Now there's a contradiction between what is happening here. But let me just go on. I've got a few other questions that I'm scared you gonna stop me because of this evasive reply. And Madame Chair I would request that we will reconsider calling Mr Pretorius back at a time when we have more time to avoid this evasive manner he's answering these questions. Because we're under pressure for time.
MS SOOKA: I'm going to allow you to ask the question but I think that you need to be fairly careful about because you ask these specific questions. Now if you have information which contradicts that question directly then put it but don't make an assumption from an answer that you're being given when the question hasn't been put in that particular way. So carry on but watch what you're going to say.
MR VALLY: I'll bear it in mind. I was referring to his own affidavit he submitted to us now, Madame chair. Alright, Mr Reyneke, was he in your unit?
MR PRETORIUS: No.
MR VALLY: Why did you think when the Attorney General's office asked Mr Reyneke for information regarding the kidnapping and assault on Stompie Sepei and other youths that Mr Reyneke did not respond to him?
MR PRETORIUS: I don't follow the question clearly, honourable commission.
MR VALLY: You were the Intelligence Unit Commander, is that correct?
MR PRETORIUS: Yes.
MR VALLY: Did you give any information to the Murder and Robbery Squad regarding any information you had relevant to the kidnapping and assault of the four youths?
MR PRETORIUS: Of Stompie Sepei?
MR VALLY: ...
MR PRETORIUS: Apart from the evening, as far as I know I gave no further evidence. The (...indistinct)
MR VALLY: ... of telephone tappings, were you aware of a number of telephone conversations or calls to Mrs Madikizela Mandela's house regarding the abduction of the youths?
MR PRETORIUS: Commission, I am not exactly sure what he is asking. I am an explosion expert. Once a month I have to do duty. It was, that evening it was my turn. The evening of the investigation into Stompie's matter by Murder and Robbery. I was only involved in the explosives matter.
MS SOOKA: Let the witness finish and then you (...intervention)
MR VALLY: Madame Chair he has explained to you he doesn't understand my question. I want to make it clear to him.
MS SOOKA: Very well.
MR VALLY: He has confirmed to me he was a Commander of the Intelligence Unit. My question is simply this to him, as the Commander of the Intelligence Unit, as he was aware of an investigation into the kidnapping and assault of four youths, including Stompie Sepei, did he as the Commander of the Intelligence Unit make any information available to the Murder and Robbery Squad which he had access to?
MS SOOKA: Respond.
MR PRETORIUS: I am not aware what four youths he is referring to. A number of those people have been attacked. I don't know which four he is referring to.
MS SOOKA: About the question that's being posed. I think all of us here know that the incident that we referring to are the four youths in question involving the abduction of - and I think that you should actually, you know who the people are that we talking about. And I'm going to direct you to answer the question. Do you want Mr Vally to specifically give you the names of the four youths? Mr Vally will you assist Mr van Vuuren?
MR VALLY: Well Mr Pretorius I refer you to paragraph nine of your affidavit. You mention Stompie Sepei. He was one of the four youths. The others were Mr Pallo Mekgwe, Mr Kenny Ghase and Mr Tabiso Mono. This is the reason why you raided Mrs Madikizela Mandela's house and this is the place where you were present when the raid took place. My question and I'll repeat it is this. As the Commander of the Intelligence Unit being aware of this incident, did you make any information available which you had access to, to the Murder and Robbery Squad?
MR PRETORIUS: Honourable Commission, like I've said on one occasion I was present where the planning meeting took place. I don't know whether anybody said that I gave information during that meeting. I took part in that meeting and during that meeting I, for the first time became aware of the facts regarding the case. The information which I didn't even give to Murder and Robbery. I, the Unrest Unit, I again mentioned to them that when they storm the house they again must make sure to use the back entrance because MK soldiers might be around. That was my contribution. I am not aware that Murder and Robbery can be called in and asked whether I gave them anything.
MS SOOKA: ... to elicit from you. You were involved in this matter, did you pass on information that you obtained through your participation and giving that information over to the Murder and Robbery Unit? You've just said now that you haven't. Can we get on to the next question please?
MR VALLY: Why did you not give information relevant to this incident to Murder and Robbery Unit?
MR PRETORIUS: Honourable Commission I just said that I didn't know before that action, before the riot
MR VALLY: ... of an investigation of Murder and Robbery into the kidnapping and assault of the four youths after, why didn't you as Intelligence Unit Commander give information that you may have had at your disposal to the Murder and Robbery Unit?
MR PRETORIUS: Honourable Commission, I cannot remember anything specific that I conveyed to Murder and Robbery.
MS SOOKA: ... like to find out from you. I don't want to curtail the proper questioning of this witness. But it might be wise if we get an idea from you of how much longer you're going to be.
MR VALLY: Madame Chair I will (...intervention)
MS SOOKA: So that the rest of us can take a short break to decide on how we going to deal with the remaining witnesses.
MR VALLY: Certainly. Madame Chair I will be five more minutes. But I want to reserve our rights to call this particular witness to another session, 29 enquiry, where his evasiveness can be pinned down.
I want to ask you a different question Mr Pretorius. Did you receive a statement from Mr Lemmer, regarding the disappearance or the abduction of Mr Lolo Sono and Mr Anthony Shabalala?
MR PRETORIUS: Whether I received a statement from Mr Lemmer? As in when?
MR VALLY: ... stage a statement from Mr Lemmer in November 1988, regarding the abduction of Mr Lolo Sono and Mr Anthony Shabalala, allegedly by Mrs Madikizela Mandela?
MR PRETORIUS: No, I don't remember it. It's possible but I don't remember it.
MR VALLY: ... or did you, sorry. Did you or did any other member of the Security Branch to your knowledge on any of the information that you received, regarding MK guerrillas visiting Mrs Madikizela Mandela?
MR PRETORIUS: We staged many actions. I think the Security Branch of Soweto followed up about fifty percent, if I can take a guess of information reacted to about fifty percent of the information that we got in. If not more. I can't give a percentage but that's my opinion.
MR VALLY: Mr Pretorius, has a number of your colleagues here, even senior to you, who've used words like Mrs Madikizela Mandela was untouchable, that you could not raid her premises without getting permission from head quarters? You telling us that you can't remember. Fifty percent you did so, maybe fifty percent of the reports regarding Mrs Madikizela Mandela's involvement with MK guerrillas you raided her house. Am I to understand that?
MR PRETORIUS: Honourable Commission, I did not say, I did not refer to at Mrs Mandela's house. The question was action against MK members. There are many actions against MK members. There were members of the force killed in those actions. Such as the killing of Sergeant Pretorius. The Security Unit together with the Riot Unit acted when there was information against MK members. Even in a case like Potgieter said, a case for instance where Mrs Mandela, where there was evidence that Mrs Mandela was involved. Somebody referred to the blood traces. We even went to her in such cases if necessary. So I'm not trying what, know what Mr Vally is trying to prove. The impression that the previous witnesses were trying to give was that Mrs Mandela was not the kind of person whom you visited upon a brain wave and upset her whole household and see if I could arrest her. That would have meant the end of my career at that stage.
MR VALLY: ... attacked to Mrs Madikizela Mandela's household or Mandela United Football Club, besides Mr Jerry Richardson?
MR PRETORIUS: No I don't.
MR VALLY: ...
MR PRETORIUS: I think all the people who've testified here have given indications. The only person who could perhaps have said was Colonel Watermeyer and I think he has already said that there wasn't another person.
MR VALLY: ... Richardson for the first time?
MR PRETORIUS: As I have said in my statement, I don't remember the date. It was the day of the death of Sergeant Pretorius when I found out.
MR VALLY: ... or did you ever take part in any assaults of any person in your career or in your time at the Security Branch in Soweto, for the ten years you were at the Security Branch in Soweto?
MR PRETORIUS: Honourable Commission I was never until today, have never been found guilty of any form of assault. It is so that I was accused of it, am being accused of it. And that's part of an amnesty application which I don't think is relevant here. But I wasn't personally present where somebody was tortured or assaulted in Soweto.
MR VALLY: Did the Security Branch in Soweto have any links with what was called Trewits? Do you know what Trewits is? T-R-E-W-I-T-S.
MR PRETORIUS: Yes, anti-revolutionary task teams. Yes, honourable chairman the anti-revolutionary task team.
MR VALLY: ... contact with them?
MR PRETORIUS: I think I was the official representative of Soweto there.
MR VALLY: ... which was linked to the State Security Council was tasked with identifying individuals which were of interest to the State Security Council. Would that be a correct analysis?
MR PRETORIUS: Honourable Commission, I am just going to ask that he repeats it a little bit slower this time round.
MR KEMP: May we know the relevance of this line of questioning? It's never been mentioned before, it's not a part of the subpoenas. It doesn't form part of any of the documentation and as far as I know not part of any of this enquiry so far. I do not object to the question itself I only would like to know the relevance.
MS SOOKA: Mr Vally?
MR VALLY: Madame Chair, it's absolutely relevant. Especially now that we've ascertained what Mr Pretorius' role was. Trewits in our understanding was the body which was mandated to identify potential and one thesis is potential targets for assassination. Another thesis is people that the State Security Council wanted profiles built on. My very next question which will help Mr Kemp is, did Trewits task you or the State Security Council through Trewits, task you to build up a profile on the activities of Mrs Winnie Madikizela Mandela?
MS SOOKA: Before Mr Pretorius answers that question, I'm going to ask that we take a short adjournment of five minutes, so I can decide how we're going to deal with the remaining witnesses. We'll come back in five minutes.
MS SOOKA: ... to the matter in question.
MR KEMP: Thank you Madame Chairperson. The, indeed the question which Mr Vally said he was going to ask is relevant and I have no problem with that. Thank you.
MS SOOKA: Thank you. Mr Pretorius, I remind you that you're under oath and I'm going to ask Mr Vally to repeat the question.
MR VALLY: Were you not tasked by Trewits to draw up profiles of certain people they have identified as potential leaders in different communities?
MR PRETORIUS: The leaders to whom you are referring, are they inland or overseas?
MR VALLY: ....(inaudible)
MR PRETORIUS: Not during a meeting that I attended, as far as I can remember.
MR VALLY: You were in Soweto from '81 to '91, how, in that period how long were you the Trewits representative in Soweto?
MR PRETORIUS: If I can say to the commission, I was one of Trewits' representatives. There were other people as well. I did not attend every Trewits meeting there was. There were other people as well.
MR VALLY: Did you attend a Trewits meeting where Mrs Madikizela-Mandela or the Mandela United Football Club was discussed?
MR PRETORIUS: Not that I can remember at this stage.
MR VALLY: Did you ever attend a meeting where the infiltration of MK guerrillas via Mrs Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was discussed?
MR PRETORIUS: Is that at a Trewits meeting or an ordinary meeting?
MR VALLY: (...indistinct)
MR PRETORIUS: Just Trewits. Let me say it this way. There were various meetings where MK people had infiltrated, were they would have infiltrated. But I cannot remember correctly, exactly whether MK members would have gone to Mrs Mandela. But I can't remember that now. Except if Mr Vally perhaps refreshed my memory.
MR VALLY: Did you attend any meeting where the issue of MK guerrillas, whether it was Trewits meeting or a Security Branch meeting or an ordinary police meeting, where the issue of Mrs Winnie Madikizela Mandela and MK guerrillas, they infiltrated through her house, was discussed?
MR PRETORIUS: Sorry
CHAIRPERSON: I think the interpreters missed that question. I didn't hear it either.
MR VALLY: My question is this. Did you attend any meeting where the issue, whether it was a Trewits meeting or an ordinary Security Branch meeting or an ordinary police meeting where the issue of MK guerrillas coupled with Mrs Madikizela Mandela's role in assisting them was discussed?
MR PRETORIUS: I would say so, I would say yes.
MR VALLY: ... details of this?
MR PRETORIUS: A name was mentioned during the session of the commission just now where Colonel de Jager referred to two people who had been shot. That matter of the scorpion on that morning I was the explosives officer who visited that scene. And I personally dealt with one of the witnesses at one of the house. And he gave information which lead to follow up operations of that whole day which include Mrs Mandela's house as well as the maroon Audi that she drove.
MR VALLY: ...
MR PRETORIUS: Can I just ask please? Does Mr Vally know of how Trewits operated because it's a very broad question? Does he know how Trewits operated? I don't think he knows.
MR VALLY: ... question and you tell me if you can answer it without giving me a whole long explanation. If you as the Trewits representative in Soweto had to submit your report who would you submit it to?
MR PRETORIUS: I'll try to keep it short. Trewits was divided into various areas. For instance at the Western Transvaal area, the divisional Commander or his second in command of that meeting would be the most senior person. So depending on who was presiding at the meeting, to that person I would give my information. During the meeting in writing or if they wanted a photo I would give a photo. But Mr Vally would have to be more specific as to which meeting exactly. Otherwise I can't help him.
MR VALLY: ... meeting you went to had a different person who was chairing that meeting?
MR PRETORIUS: I wouldn't say every time but it happened some times that the divisional head was of that region where we were, was not available because of leave or work pressure or whatever, then his second in command would preside.
MR VALLY: Are you saying that generally the divisional head would preside over those meetings?
MR PRETORIUS: That is correct.
MR VALLY: The times you attended those meetings, who was the divisional head?
MR PRETORIUS: To which division are you referring? I would, do I have to give an expose of the whole Trewits or just a short answer. I don't know where to start. As far as I know there never was an official Trewits meeting in Soweto. What happened, Trewits was divided into four regions. West Transvaal, that means Western Transvaal. So the divisional head of that section was the presiding officer or his second in command as I have said. In that time there were various commanders and second in commands who took over from each other. At this stage I don't want to give names. So the northern section, furthest of Northern Transvaal, Pietersburg. Then we had a difficult one, the Eastern Transvaal section.
MR VALLY: I want to know if Mr Pretorius says that he was linked to the Western section. Is that correct, was Soweto linked to the Western section?
MS SOOKA: Are you not sure of the question, Mr Pretorius?
MR PRETORIUS: No, I can hear but I think Mr Vally doesn't understand. There were four meetings a month. Once every week there was a meeting of each region. Let's call it by the four wind directions, those are the four meetings. I was not linked to each of them. I was tasked, if invited to attend any of those areas or even in the Free State, then I attended.
I suppose it's General Victor that you are referring to, reports with regard to Mrs Winnie Mandela.
MR VALLY: Generally any reports and then specifically Mrs Winnie Madikizela Mandela?
MR PRETORIUS: Like I've already told the Commission, I can't recall that I specifically mentioned anything about Mrs Mandela to Trewits. It's true that General Victor at a stage also was the Commander of Trewits. It is true that I did attend meetings where Mr Victor was present and I did divulge information there.
MR VALLY: But not about Mrs Madikizela Mandela?
MR PRETORIUS: Honourable Commission, not as far as I know unless Mr Vally can refresh my memory, but at this stage I don't recall that I during a Trewits meeting mentioned anything specific about Mrs Mandela.
MR VALLY: We have had sight of a list of names of people that Trewits had prioritised and Mrs Madikizela Mandela was one of them, surely you were asked to give them a political profile on her and her activities?
MR PRETORIUS: Honourable Commission, like I've said I personally didn't do that but I must also explain that Trewits at a stage functioned in such a way that they had a branch. We had daily communication through letters with them and something could have been asked, such as that they were interested in a profile on Mrs Madikizela Mandela. I haven't received that and as far as I know I haven't given them that.
MR VALLY: You now saying you were in daily contact, so you didn't only get instructions from these meetings that you attended, but you were in daily contact. Can you give us an example of the kind of instruction that you would get from Trewits headquarters?
MR PRETORIUS: No, probably Mr Vally didn't follow me properly. It is true that from time to time when the Trewits unit at the head office wanted to know something which they through their normal communication channel and of the Safety Branch, I think at that stage it was done through telexes, they would have a direct request to the Commander or a regional office asking about information on that matter and that is how it was done. I'm not saying that we had daily communication.
MR VALLY: Fine. Give us one instruction given to you by Trewits?
MR PRETORIUS: Honourable Commission. I regularly received orders that they requested photographs of a specific MK member because one of the tasks amongst others of Trewits was to build up the terrorists album and to update it. Then they would send through a request and ask Soweto to help with Mr X or Mr J's photograph and asked us whether we could get hold of it. In many cases we could help, in other cases we couldn't. Or they requested personal particulars with regard to a person because certain things they had on computer.
MR VALLY: Mr Pretorius, as the head of the Intelligence Unit of the Security Branch, and you were in Soweto for a long time, you were there for ten years, would it be true to say that in addition to telephone bugging that your office and you as the Commander of that unit would be the conduit for all intelligence information coming in, relevant to the Security Branch?
MR PRETORIUS: Negative. If I could just explain, if I may cite and example. Colonel Louis Watermeyer, who was attached to the Divisional Commander, somebody at a stage gave evidence here that in later years the Intelligence Service for administrative purpose we were involved with head office, our files and so forth but all the information I wanted to send had to go through the Protea divisional headquarters under the command of that person or his authorised signature.
I didn't have the facility to get direct information to Pretoria or anywhere else in the country. I had the same communication channel like Colonel Watermeyer and Colonel Jan Pot. So in other words the information was sent through the divisional commander to Pretoria.
MS SOOKA: Besides yourself Mr Pretorius, who were the other members who sat on Trewits from Soweto?
MR PRETORIUS: As far as I can recall, in the early stages I think at that stage Trewits wasn't even called that, it was Colonel de Jager who has already appeared before the Commission, Colonel Coetzee, who also has already appeared and the also from time to time there were other officers from Soweto, designated to attend some of the meetings, names which I can't remember at this stage.
However at times neither myself or my colleagues could attend those meetings. At a stage there were even junior members sent to those meetings because we couldn't attend.
MS SOOKA: But you were the official representatives on Trewits for your area?
MR PRETORIUS: I would regard myself as such, officially I was that. Whoever wanted to know something about Soweto requested me to come.
MS SOOKA: Pardon my ignorance but if a request came from Trewits for information, is it not logical that it should come through you as the official representative on Trewits?
MR PRETORIUS: It depends. Like I've said, the divisional commander received all the telexes. If it was sent by telex or ordinary mail, there was the admin. section who opened those and then went to the divisional commander. If that person - because it wasn't addressed to me personally as far as I can remind myself, communication and by means of letters wasn't done in the name of Colonel Pretorius for instance, it was addressed to the divisional commander at Soweto and he was then forced to give it to me or somebody else.
However, because I normally handle this, essential things came to me. However other things with regard to the admin. office - let's say for instance they needed a photograph of Jimmy for instance and the admin. person did have a photograph of Jimmy on file, then they could answer the request, why would it then come to me?
MS SOOKA: It would also mean therefore that if a request came for a profile on Mrs Winnie Mandela that the request would certainly come to you because that's not an administrative function?
MR PRETORIUS: With regard to Mrs Winnie Mandela, I had no file on Mrs Mandela.
MS SOOKA: Now youíre not listening to me. You have a file on Mrs Mandela and it's somewhere situated in the administrative section, now you've said to me that you the official Trewits representative, you go to the Trewits meetings and you've mentioned other people who go to those meetings as well. Now I've asked you the question but surely as the official representative for Trewits, if there's a request from any other section the request should come to you.
You've explained to me that it would come to the section, the administrative section and if it involved a purely administrative matter such as taking a photograph out of the terrorist file, they would attend to that. But when we talk about more substantive issues, like a profile - and I'm using that as an example, a profile perhaps of Mrs Mandela, on your own version if there was such a request, it would come to you because admin. would not be able to deal with it yes or no?
MR PRETORIUS: Honourable Commission I don't recall having received such a request with regard to Mrs Mandela.
MS SOOKA: Youíre not answering my question, I want you to listen very carefully. I'm saying that we should draw a distinction between purely administrative matters which any clerk in an admin. section can tend to, but here we are talking about profiles built up from intelligence received from surveillance and you were the kind of person who would have contributed to drawing up that kind of profile. Now if it involved a request like that and I use it as an example, a profile of Mrs Mandela or a profile of any other Soweto activist, it would be logical to assume that that's something that the admin. section would not be able to deal with and you would be the only person that, that request would come to?
MR PRETORIUS: That is right.
MS SOOKA: Thank you. Thank you, thatís fine.
MR PRETORIUS: Like I have told you it could come to me.
MR VALLY: I ask a few brief questions to finish off. These Trewits meetings, they would consist of representatives from Military Intelligence, National Intelligence Services as well as Security Branch, is that correct?
MR PRETORIUS: It existed of the Safety Branch, Military Intelligence and I think National Intelligence, those are the three components.
MR VALLY: Fine. Are you aware that there were these lists of names or structures where different people who have been prioritised would have the names in a certain order and this order would change from time to time? Are you aware of such lists which were discussed at these meetings?
MR PRETORIUS: There was such lists yes.
MR VALLY: And are you telling me that - I'm sorry and each list, each branch of Trewits would have a list?
MR PRETORIUS: Of the four components that I have mentioned each should have such lists.
MR VALLY: And would Soweto have a list of itís have a list of its own?
MR PRETORIUS: That is true because I had to update it.
MR VALLY: And in terms of your list for Soweto are you telling me that one of the most prominent political activists, who you say in your own words was possibly linked to MK activity, was not on that list?
MR PRETORIUS: Honourable Commission, I think Mr Vally is trying to mislead me. He talks of one list but I'm referring to something else. Which list is he talking about, he has to be more specific. Is he referring a list on which Mrs Mandela's name appears or is he referring to MK lists, in a specific country? What list is he referring to, I have no idea of what list he is referring to. I'm talking of MK lists and APLA lists which had to be updated.
MR VALLY: Very well, itís fair enough. I know you people had lists for buildings, you had lists for vehicles, you had a list for MK. Where would a person like Mrs Madikizela Mandela fit in, which list?
MR PRETORIUS: As far as I know she wouldn't have fitted into any of those lists.
MR VALLY: Well tell me which lists did you have, not a list for buildings or people, sorry not a list for vehicles or buildings, the list for people? Which list did you have that you maintained?
MR PRETORIUS: Honourable Commission, we updated the lists of the different machinery of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the Transvaal machinery, the rural machinery, special operations and so forth. I don't have all that information in front of me, those are the lists we updated.
MR VALLY: And Mrs Madikizela Mandela did not appear on any of the lists?
MR PRETORIUS: As far as I know, I have never seen Mrs Mandela's name on any of those lists.
MR VALLY: Did you have a list for something called the military committee?
MR PRETORIUS: The Military Council of MK? It is possible but I don't recall a specific list of the military council which was in any case seated overseas.
MR VALLY: Did he call the revolutionary high command list?
MR PRETORIUS: The Revolutionary High Command, ja.
MR VALLY: Was Mrs Madikizela Mandela's name on such a list?
MR PRETORIUS: Honourable Commission, like I've already told you, it is possible that her name appeared on it but I can't with all due respect say so today. If I saw the list I would be able to identify it but I don't recall that Mrs Mandela's name appeared on any of the things I had.
MR VALLY: Well I just want to point out in a document given to us in the annexures by Mr Potgieter and I'll show it to you, it is annexure JDP 4 where you've got:
"I've ensured the document by Lieutenant Reineke,"
"where upon the national machinery the interim Revolutionary High Command is set out. As far as the Revolutionary High Command is concerned I can comment as follows: The military committee: chairman Sipho, vice Mama."
In brackets you've got:
I want to show this to you.
MR PRETORIUS: Could I just ask the Commission whose affidavit this is?
MR VALLY: It's a Mr Simon Modise, an MK guerrilla and this was handed in by Lieutenant Reineke.
MR PRETORIUS: With all due respect if this was the military committee, MK wouldn't have come very far because this Sipho Lucky is as far as I'm concerned definitely not part of the military committee. What military committees are they referring to? Because they literally had hundreds of military committees. If I'm talking about MK Military Committee, then the chairman Sipho and Lucky could be whoever but it definitely according to me couldn't have been the High Command.
MR VALLY: Well that was a document shown to Mr Modise by your colleague Lieutenant Reineke?
MR PRETORIUS: Like I've told you I cannot speak for Mr Reineke, he will have to come and explain.
MR VALLY: Two final question. What would it mean if a person's name is removed from the list?
MR PRETORIUS: If a person's name is removed from a list -I didn't hear you properly.
MS SOOKA: What is the effect of someone's name being removed from one of those lists?
MR PRETORIUS: The name being removed by whom, us from Trewits? There are a number of possibilities. I suppose I know what you want. A person could be killed, a person could be sent from one division to another and in that case his name is also removed from the list.
Many names could appear on lists, it actually could be called structures which we found out at a later stage were two persons. Persons work with three, four different names and then we rewrite that we had two persons and in that case we had to remove the names. In short those could be some of the reasons why person names have been removed from the list.
MR VALLY: Is it possible if a person has been killed that his name is then or her name is then removed?
MS SOOKA: I think that question (...intervention)
MR PRETORIUS: It's logic, I have answered that question.
MR VALLY: Because I want to put to you that one of the thesis is that Trewits was responsible for identifying potential targets who were thereafter removed, and when I say removed they were then killed. Is it possible that the lists that you people had were lists of potential targets for assassination?
MR PRETORIUS: I would say it is possible, Commission.
MR VALLY: Are you aware of anyone in Soweto who was on a list that was assassinated?
MR PRETORIUS: Honourable Commission once again Mr Vally is referring to a list of Soweto. At this stage I'm not aware of a specific list of Soweto.
MR VALLY: I beg your pardon, I beg your pardon. A list which involved people who lived in Soweto, it could have been an MK list, it could have been an APLA list, but people who lived in Soweto?
MR PRETORIUS: Yes, Honourable Commission, it is logic. Those people trained by MK from overseas and hundreds of those people came from Soweto.
MR VALLY: I want to finish this issue now because there's lots of aspects regarding Trewits which we can talk about at a later stage. I need to ask you, as the Commander of the Intelligence Unit in Soweto, is there any criminal case that you aware of which was initiated as a direct result of intelligence work done by your unit in Soweto? Specifically regarding initially Mrs Madikizela Mandela and the Mandela United Football Club?
MR PRETORIUS: Honourable Commission I'm not sure whether I heard you properly. I have already mentioned that I have already applied for an amnesty for certain things which shouldn't perhaps crop up here now. I didn't hear the question properly, I really didn't hear properly what Mr Vally said.
MR VALLY: I'll repeat the question and if there's any incident that you're referring to where you've applied for amnesty please tell me. My question is, is there any court case which was initiated against any member of the Mandela United Football Club or Mrs Madikizela Mandela or any member of her household as a result of information gathered by the Intelligence Unit at Soweto Security Branch which you were the Commander of? - any single case.
MR PRETORIUS: Yes, Honourable Commission. If Mr Vally only gave me time, I could have said so because I want to tell the Commission but he does not give me the opportunity. When he asked me during - about the Stompie Sepei case, I was the person who got the scissors and I showed it to Mr Oosthuizen who was the investigating officer. I have seen many shoes full of blood and Mr Vally didn't ask me. However, if I weren't there Murder and Robbery probably wouldn't have seen it because I stumbled across it.
MR VALLY: Well, with respect to you Mr Pretorius, you should just look at your paragraph nine of your affidavit and see what you say in there. But my very last question is this, are you aware of any investigation being conducted against you by the office of the Attorney General in connection with any crime whatsoever and more specifically, in connection with murder?
MR PRETORIUS: I am aware of that and I suppose that is why I applied for amnesty Honourable Commission.
MR VALLY: Thank you Madam Chair.
MS SOOKA: Thank you. Mr Richards?
MR RICHARDS: Thank you Madame Chair.
Mr Pretorius ...[intervention]
MS SOOKA: Sorry Mr Richards could you just place your name on the record? It's just for the purpose of the transcription.
MR RICHARDS: Sorry. Attorney Richards, I represent Jerry Vuzimuzi Richardson. Mr Pretorius, you've been described repeatedly as being the Commander of the Intelligence Unit. Now I would understand that to mean that you were the responsible person for collecting, collating, processing and synthesising the information you got, am I correct, yes or no? What else does a Commander of the Intelligence (...intervention)
MR PRETORIUS: In terms of the Intelligence Unit, yes.
MR RICHARDS: Thank you. Now it goes further, your particular focus was the identification, location and tracking down of MK operatives, APLA, AZAPO, is that correct, yes or no?
MR PRETORIUS: That was the identification of them, yes.
MR RICHARDS: Right. Now, during the course of the hearings before this Commission this year and last year we've heard that a number of MK soldiers were members of the football team, are they known to you? Would you be able to name them?
MR PRETORIUS: At this stage I can't remember but it is possible that I knew at that stage but I have no records, I can't remember the names now.
MR RICHARDS: It does not matter that you cannot remember their names but at the time you were aware that there were MK operatives who played football in the Mandela United Football team, yes or no?
MR PRETORIUS: I want to qualify. The information that was obtained during the round down of the pieces that I know of, most of the football members were SDU members who were trained by MK members, so in truth one can classify them as MK members, yes.
MR RICHARDS: Thank you, youíve proving the point that Iím trying to establish. The football team was a matter of particular concern and interest to you, yes or no?
MR PRETORIUS: No.
MR RICHARDS: Even though there were self defence unit members and MK operatives playing football in the team, it sounds strange. So, it's also true from what we've heard in these hearings that visiting MK operatives would come and call at the house, were you aware of that, yes or no?
MR PRETORIUS: That's right.
MR RICHARDS: So, your information as to which MK operatives were calling at the house was of particular concern to you yet again, yes or no? Yes?
MR PRETORIUS: I think I have already referred to one incident which dealt with tested information. I would like to say there were many rumours as I've already said but I read those telephone transcriptions and an MK person, normally if he visited Mrs Mandela he didn't stay long because he knew that the Security Police were after him.
MR RICHARDS: Iím sure thatís correct but nonetheless Iíve now established that it was a special concern of yours to understand what was going on at the Mandela houses in Soweto. Whether it be the Diepkloof, Orlando West or as you called it the Palace. It was your particular task to be aware. And that means it would extend further, you would be able to give the Commission a fairly accurate idea of what - and I'm going to ask the question, in your opinion was the function, purpose and uses to which the football team was put? That's my question.
MR PRETORIUS: Honourable Commission, as I've already said the football club and the things internally, the local things around Winnie Mandela and the football club, these were responsibility of the area office. Louis Watermeyer said yesterday that it was his responsibility, he did that. I was interested in the MK members from her house to Lusaka, that's whom I was interested in.
MR RICHARDS: Thank you. So that means you donít have any particular opinions about the football club or no knowledge about it, which is it?
MR PRETORIUS: Negative.
MR RICHARDS: Who in the entire security apparatus of Soweto, would be charged with working out the answers to my questions? You must know the answer to that.
MR PRETORIUS: I think General Ig Coetzee and General Tokkie Nienaber, they are my commanders.
MR RICHARDS: So that means that the questions Iím asking you should be addressed to them? Is that your answer?
MR PRETORIUS: I think they will give the same type of answers that Watermeyer was primarily responsible for his area, he and his whole section under whom there was a commanding structure, that is true.
MR RICHARDS: We spent two days hearing that no-one knows the answers to the questions and that is why Mr Vally seems to be getting rather frustrated with good reasons. No further questions.
MS SOOKA: Thank you Mr Richards. Whose next?
MR KEMP: I have no questions thank you.
MS SOOKA: Mr Makanjee?
MR MAKANJEE: Thank you Madame Chair. I'm Sanjay Makanjee, acting on behalf the Sepei and Asvat families. I'll make my questions brief and I hope that you make your answers as brief as my questions are. I just want to clarify something. You stated that you were involved in high level intelligence gathering, is that correct?
MR PRETORIUS: That's correct.
MR MAKANJEE: Okay, Iíll come back to that. What I want to know is, were you present at the raid on Mrs Madikizela Mandela's house as an explosives expert or as head of the Intelligence gathering unit?
MR PRETORIUS: I was there as both.
MR MAKANJEE: Would you regard the raid on Mrs Madikizela Mandela's house to investigate the Stompie Sepei case as a high level task?
MR PRETORIUS: I think so, not of the Security Branch but because of the Murder and Robbery operation. As far as I know the Security Branch had only been asked for assistance and that is why we were there.
MR MAKANJEE: No, youíre not following me. I'm saying, you as the head of the Intelligence gathering unit, I mean surely there were other members of your unit who could have been there but the impression I get is that you were more involved than you lead us to believe now. Your presence there was obviously not just to oversee the raid or to help in the raid? That's the question I'm asking you.
MR PRETORIUS: As I've already said - may I describe please? Firstly I was the explosives expert, I knew what to do with bombs. because I'm an Intelligence person and I'm reasonably alert with my eyes.
And as Potgieter was also present and he's already testified that he went through her documents in her presence and had a look at, looked for anything else of interest. I was also there like Mr Potgieter to see what there was - do we perhaps get MK persons whom I can help identify, etc. It's true I was there for the Intelligence section to find out what information we could gain from her house, that is true.
MR MAKANJEE: Could you tell me whether your presence at this raid fell under the recruitment, training and placing of informers, the revolutionary threat, the MDM or Cosatu arm or the tertiary level information because I'm not really clear on how an investigation into Mrs Madikizela Mandela's involvement into the incident concerning Mr Sepei has anything to do with the four categories that you named previously?
MR PRETORIUS: Honourable Commission it may possibly have related to those. As I said. if one saw something of tertiary level for instance which I doubt in Mrs Mandela's house, I would have reported that but my main objective was because I was an explosives expert.
MR MAKANJEE: So you were there, not as the head of Intelligence gathering unit but - sorry you said that but I'm just asking you to clarify.
MR PRETORIUS: Honourable Commission, I can't cut myself up in two. I was an explosive expert and the Intelligence Commander so that's why I said I was there for both capacities. Any Intelligence person who got the opportunity of going into Mrs Mandela's house would have grabbed at the opportunity.
MR MAKANJEE: Okay. You further stated you became aware of the Stompie Sepei event on that evening. I wasn't quite clear on which evening you were referring to, was it the evening that the raid was conducted?
MR PRETORIUS: I refer - what I can remember, the evening of the raid was the first night that I officially heard of the Stompie Sepei matter, that was that evening but I don't know what the date is.
MR MAKANJEE: Now this really confuses me. If you were involved in the planning of the raid, it obviously didn't occur one hour before you went on the raid. So what it actually means is that you were aware of the Stompie incident when you were planning the raid, would that not be logical Sir?
MR PRETORIUS: I've said already, I assume there were other meetings of the Security Branch where I, as far as I remember was not. I attended the meeting where Murder and Robbery and the Riot Squad got together and they said there would be an action, they said what procedure was to be followed, they spoke about the duties of the Security Branch and they said Murder and Robbery would do the investigation, the search and the Riots Unit would do their part.
MR MAKANJEE: Okay, let me just rephrase this to make it easy for both of us. You went to a meeting where a raid was planned, now as the head of Intelligence, would it not be a normal, natural, logical process to actually enquire why the raid was planned? Or would you just take the word of the other people there and just attend the raid?
MR PRETORIUS: I'm not so unintelligent, I told him that that was the evening when I heard that the matter was about the Stompie Sepei case but if he wants the exact facts, exactly what I can remember, unfortunately I can't remember.
All I know is that the name Stompie and the abduction was mentioned, that's all I knew. At that stage there was no detail given to us and I don't think Murder and Robbery would have discussed the merits of their case with me.
MS SOOKA: Sorry, may I help Mr Makanjee? I think what we all trying to understand is - I'm sure before you actually went physically on this raid, you must have been informed at the meeting that was held to plan the raid, what the purpose of the raid was.
MR PRETORIUS: If I can imagine, I must have gone to Protea office because I was called out there. I would have been informed yes that, that evening I would have to go with Murder and Robbery and it would be about Stompie Sepei, somebody of the Security Branch must have told me. But as I said, it was the evening before that raid, that was the first time I ever heard of anything to do with Stompie Sepei.
MR MAKANJEE: Thank you, Iíll leave that there Sir. I just want to go onto a few more aspects and perhaps you could enlighten me if you have any information in this regard. It's in connection with the death of Doctor Asvat. Can you tell me firstly whether you were aware of everyone whose phone was tapped by the Soweto Security Branch?
MR PRETORIUS: Honourable Commission, if I heard you properly you have asked me whose phones were tapped? I didn't hear the question properly.
MR MAKANJEE: I'm not asking you whose phones were tapped specifically sorry. I'm asking you whether you would have been in a position to be able to ascertain exactly whose phones were tapped, as head of the Intelligence Gathering Unit?
MR PRETORIUS: Negative. Honourable Commission and I think that question can also be put to Colonel Bosman, whether he would ever tell me whose phones were tapped.
MR MAKANJEE: You see, I have a problem with that answer because I'm sure that when Mr Bosman testified he said: "If someone required a phone to be tapped they had to get permission from the head of the unit, who would then instruct him to get the Post Master General to get his contact to tap the phone.
Now the question is, you were the head of the unit, so obviously if anybody wanted a phone line tapped they would have to request this from you? Or are you saying that Mr Bosman in giving evidence was incorrect in what he related to us?
MR PRETORIUS: Honourable Commission, I don't think the honourable gentleman has it correct now. Mr Bosman merely referred to the Intelligence Unit, that was the case with them. You must remember one thing, there was an Intelligence Unit and there was a branch office, there was an Investigation Unit and there was Mr Bosman.
If I had a request, for instance I wanted to tap Mr Kemp's telephone then I had to come up with the written requests and take it to Bosman, Bosman then checked it and he then sent it through the normal channels he commanded to Pretoria in the same way Mr Watermeyer acted.
But Mr Watermeyer didn't know which phones I requested and the other way around. The only one I know that people were generally aware of was that of Mrs Winnie Madikizela Mandela because I saw the copies of those things.
MR MAKANJEE: Now being the head of the Intelligence Gathering Unit, you concentrated specifically on big matters or major activists, would that be correct Sir?
MR PRETORIUS: Honourable Commission like I have already told you, as far as I'm concerned the Intelligence Unit was merely interested in the revolutionary aspect. It is true that there were other activists which we paid attention to, such as the actions of the UDF or the Mass Democratic Youth Movement, Cosatu as it became known later on.
There were certain people who were more prominent than others who enjoyed attention which is true.
MR MAKANJEE: Just a few more questions, Madame Chair.
Okay let me just be more specific sir. What I am actually trying to find out is whether to the best of your knowledge, were you aware whether Doctor Asvat's phone was tapped at any stage?
MR PRETORIUS: Negative. Honourable Commission I was not aware of that. It could be, but I didn't do that, at least I didn't put in the application for that.
MR MAKANJEE: So I then assume that you would have no information regarding the death of Doctor Asvat, would that be correct?
MR PRETORIUS: Unfortunately, Honourable Commission I have no knowledge. I am aware of the death of Doctor Asvat but I have no information to help the Commission. I don't know whether he is finished but can I just get a further two minutes? It is very hot in here but I just quickly have to leave the chamber for a while.
MS SOOKA: We'll adjourn until you come back.
MR PRETORIUS: ...[no sound] years in Soweto. The name Themba Mabotha, I really cannot remember but the name Themba, I can remember was on - there was something about him on the telephone conversations but whether it was Themba Mabotha I don't know.
MR HUGO: What did you hear on those?
MR PRETORIUS: It was about movements, actually I'm just making a general statement, I'm trying because where I sit I cannot remember what that Themba said. I can maybe say yes or no if you could refresh my memory.
MR HUGO: You see I also don't know, I was trying to determine what you know. So you say you can't remember? Let me tell you what Colonel de Kock testified. He said that this Themba, that one of his excuses was that Winnie Mandela used him as a sex slave which I didn't believe initially but Captain Pretorius told me that he listened to it and he described Mabotha as a man of olympic standards in that respect, who left no woman unsatisfied.
MR PRETORIUS: It's perhaps possible that I could have said that to Mr de Kock. I was there on the farm for a couple of times and during the listening to Mrs Mandela's tapes it was so that sometimes you noticed some things that were strange or funny and some of her relationships with various people came out from the tapes.
MR HUGO: Can you remember?
MR PRETORIUS: Yes I can remember. I don't want to say those were my exact words but I did say something like that to de Kock.
MR HUGO: Do you remember it now because just now you didn't remember it?
MR PRETORIUS: I can remember that I told Mr de Kock about Mrs Mandela, her love activities whatever but I don't remember whether I said it was Themba Mabotha, maybe I just said Themba.
MR HUGO: You see you were here at the hearing, you must have heard it already and that didn't refresh your memory did it? That didn't refresh your memory?
MR PRETORIUS: No, it didn't.
MR HUGO: I just find it strange that now suddenly I've given you the chance to say what you remember and now all of a sudden you remember it better.
MR PRETORIUS: As I said, I asked you to refresh my memory on which aspect, there were different MK things that I could Mr de Kock about, thatís why I said: "Refresh my memory". It is true that I did probably say to Mr de Kock about Mrs Mandela's love relationships with persons but I don't remember. If Mr de Kock said that I said Themba Mabotha, then I'll accept it like that at this stage.
MR HUGO Thank you Chair, I have no further questions.
MS SOOKA: Mr du Toit?
MR DU TOIT: Thank you Madame Chair, only a few aspects. Mr Potgieter, I would like to refer you to paragraph seven of your statement, one specific sentence. At the bottom of that page where you said that you weren't personally aware of any informers who were specifically associated with Mrs Mandela or the football club,
"with the exception of one person who came to my attention after he informed the branch that there were two MK members in his house."
Some questions, did you become aware of this information before the action that afternoon?
MR PRETORIUS: No, I did not. Can I please explain how I came to know his name?
MR DU TOIT: That will be the next question.
MR PRETORIUS: I was at the Protea offices that day. If I remember well, I think I heard over the radio of the incident. Someone at the Protea offices and I really don't remember who, asked me to go to the scene where the shooting had taken place to see if I could help on the scene because during such a scene it has in the past happened that terrorists have come back and I didn't know whether there were two, three or four. I just knew that there had been an incident and that Pretorius had been killed.
When I got to the scene I looked through it - and I knew that you would ask this question, the name I remember is Colonel Piet Grundling, I don't know if I'm wrong but that's the name I remember. He said to me - no sorry Stony Steenberg can confirm this, he came to us and asked us whether we could take Jerry Richardson to the office because he was an informer.
At that stage Jerry Richardson was sitting in the back of a police van and I took him back to Protea police station where he admitted to me that he was an informer, that he had made the call to say that there were two MK members in his house, that Mrs Mandela brought the first terrorist and that Mbuse brought the second one.
And after he had told me that then I was already at the Protea office where I handed him to somebody, I don't even remember whom.
MR DU TOIT: This information that he gave you, did you place that on record somewhere?
MR PRETORIUS: I think it was already known. I saw Colonel Potgieter's stuff and he was the head of investigation. I think he was aware of it because Richardson made the same allegations to him as he did to me.
MR DU TOIT: Did he tell you where he had called to give the report on the MK people in his house?
MR PRETORIUS: It's possible that he might have told me but I really don't remember. I've been trying to remember since the hearing started, this session started but I really can't remember.
MS SOOKA: Thank you, Doctor Randera? Ms Mkhize?
MS MKHIZE: Thank you Madame Chair. I will just check one or two questions. Is it possible that Mrs Madikizela Mandela will fall under what you refer to as a high - you said you worked at a higher level and you referred to MK cadres as one area which you were interested in. Is it possible that you were interested in them and ignore her completely in your investigations?
MR PRETORIUS: I'm not hundred percent sure about the questions. But I knew who Mrs Mandela was and more or less about her MK connections to Lusaka, that is what I knew. I don't know if that answered your question.
MS MKHIZE: Since we've been sitting here for the past two days and also last year, there was reference to her as a person who was very, very important and who couldn't be ignored in terms of surveilling what was happening in Soweto, but the vagueness in locating her in your monitoring it gives cause for concern because it doesn't match the picture which has been created.
MR PRETORIUS: Mrs Mandela, we would probably have wanted to monitor her for twenty four hours a day but the testimony so far was that it was just impossible as the testimonies have said. The only surveillance that we were quite sure was the telephone tapping.
I don't know when exactly she got to Soweto but if I remember correctly it was about 1986. But since '86 until I left Soweto, over a long period of time, those four or five years, information was received from Mrs Mandela's activities to give at the end of the day a global picture of her links with MK in the overseas and with the late Mr Chris Hani.
I'm not quite sure of the question, what the question was. Have you got another question that I might try to answer better?
MS MKHIZE: Well, I will accept your response and I should think you heard the question. Can I just ask you one more question which refers to the creation of profiles. What will actually go into a person's profile? If you were working on a person's profile, what kind of information will be considered as critical about that person?
MR PRETORIUS: I'll mention two kinds of profiles. I think she refers to Trewits profiles but both of them are the same. First a photo of the person, the name, the ID number, all the various names that this person uses, all the different addresses where such a person lives, contacts of the person, telephone numbers used by him, vehicles used by him and so forth.
`This is what goes into both the Security Branch's profiles as well as - and then there was additionally a memorandum which had to be kept up to date with regard to a specific suspect. In other words if a suspect should for instance attend an ANC meeting at Regina Mundi, we would record that. If such a person went to Brandfort we would record those details if it were of security interest. That's the best answer I can give.
MS MKHIZE: Just one last question from me. Is it possible that in your activities you reached a point where human life wasn't really important, what became important was to protect the state? The reason why I'm saying that is because you were asked whether knowledge about the abduction of Lolo Sono and Sibusizwe Tshabalala came to your knowledge and your response was: "It is possible."
Given the seriousness of or the seriousness of that kind of information one wouldn't expect a response which will say: "It is possible." It creates an impression that even if you had privilege to that information you just acted either negligently or it wasn't important for you at the time.
MR PRETORIUS: Honourable Commission I trust that I didn't create the impression with those people that I had a negligent attitude. I think it would be the wrong impression because I wouldn't say this is my style but I hope this wasn't the impression I created. What I'm trying to say, and I think it is so that when the Stompie case or any of the other cases that served before the Commission and it became known, it was impossible for any policeman or security person in the force to give attention to that.
I knew like I've already told you there were competent people whom I believe have handled the matter, whose line function it was, who would take responsibility for that. If I could make a positive contribution as was the case with the pair of scissors at the Mandela household, I showed it. If I had something I would have showed it.
However I cannot be held responsible for an investigating officer or another person who didn't handle that and I didn't have that much time because I realised that we as security people were quite often asked why we didn't do follow up work. We had a revolutionary struggle, we had a lot of work. In the mean time we had bombs in the Wimpy's going off at Ellis Park and so forth as well, which we had to investigate as well. What I'm trying therefore to say is that I was not aloof and I didn't close my eyes saying that things must just go. If I had something I certainly would have given it.
MR NTSEBEZA: Mr Pretorius, I just summarised one of the things you said into a ...[indistinct}. A ...[indistinct] is just when synthesise, you donít follow the words which have been said by a person, you give just the sense. You said some time that if you just act anyhow, in dealing with Mrs Madikizela Mandela, that would have been the end of your career, do you remember saying that?
MR PRETORIUS: Honourable Commission. could you please repeat the question? I'm going to listen in English because I think the interpreting didn't come through correctly. Unfortunately I couldn't get the question either.
MR NTSEBEZA I heard you saying that when if he was dealing with Mrs Mandela he had to be very careful, and you say that if you dealt with Mrs Mandela anyhow that would be the end of your career. Did you say that?
MR PRETORIUS: Honourable Commission, I cannot recall exactly what I said but I think the intention was that if I had the idea that I could approach Mrs Mandela in a very light-headed way almost - I am trying to tell you that when I was involved in the Security Branch whatever one did against Winnie Mandela one had to be very careful. and you had to make dead sure about your facts.
In other words if one had to go to Mrs Mandela's house I wouldn't have done so without a warrant and even that could lead to a departure from the police force and it could have a ripple effect because international pressure could be exerted on South Africa. In other words I knew - nobody told me that, everybody knew that when one went to Mrs Mandela or did whatever you had to do it with circumspection and one had to make dead sure of your facts. I don't know whether this is a reply to your question.
MS SOOKA: I think Mr Makanjee asked you about the raid that you went on and the role that you played and you actually told the Commission that you were sitting - you were actually there in two roles, you were there as an explosives expert and you were there in your capacity as head of Intelligence, is that correct?
MR PRETORIUS: That's correct.
MS SOOKA: Could you tell me who else went on that raid please?
MR PRETORIUS: Which I can remember, he is also a Colonel Stone Steenberg, I think at that stage he was my second in command and he was also an explosive expert that accompanied me. I'm also aware of Mr Potgieter, who was there from the Security Branch. The others I'm going to have to guess about I'm not that sure, I'm going to have to guess if I were to tell you who the others were.
MS SOOKA: I also understood you to say that the raid was really the concern of the Murder and Robbery Unit, is that correct?
MR PRETORIUS: It was their operation, it was their investigation. We were only there to assist them on security matters and explosives.
MS SOOKA: Is it usual for such high ranking Intelligence officers like yourself to go on these kinds of raids which really involved criminal investigations?
MR PRETORIUS: Honourable Commission, like I've already told you unfortunately I became an explosives expert in 1986. You will probably know that a policeman didn't earn that much, an explosives expert got extra money and in order to qualify for that I had to do extra services. Perhaps it was not a little bit exceptional but on the other hand it was an opportunity to get to Mrs Mandela's house.
MS SOOKA: Would it be usual for Colonel Potgieter to accompany Murder and Robbery Unit on these kind of raids?
MR PRETORIUS: No, I would say yes but, this was an exceptional case. Like I've said it was exceptional and as far as I recall the request of Murder and Robbery to Security, was made to Security to accompany them and I doubt that they would refuse because we have in the past requested them in the same way.
MS SOOKA: I think you've confirmed for us the evidence that has been placed before the Commission at other hearings about the way people in Trewits identified targets at different levels, and that those targets if their names disappeared off that list it would either mean they were moved from one district to another or that they were eliminated.
You've also said that you cannot remember whether Mrs Mandela's name was on such a list, is that correct?
MR PRETORIUS: That's correct.
MS SOOKA: You know what I find very puzzling is that you remember what - I think the words you used is "liefde sprakies", you remember that kind of Intelligence information that passes before you but you can't remember whether such an important person like Mrs Mandela, who in the hierarchy of the ANC at that level, you can't remember whether her name is on such a list. It's very difficult for me to understand.
MR PRETORIUS: Honourable Commission as far as my knowledge goes, Trewits were initially there directed at the MK people in overseas and the structures overseas. I was not personally on one meeting where I - and there's no one in Trewits who can come and say that he was at one meeting, single meeting where internal lists were updates as far as I remember.
MS SOOKA: To take it further on your own version, youíve told us that that you were actually involved in the monitoring in a sense those MK members who passed from inside this country to outside, so would it be logical to assume that someone like Themba Mabotha should actually be on your list?
MR PRETORIUS: If he was still involved in the structures in the outside, it could have been that he was a part and parcel of that structure on that list, it could have been possible.
MS SOOKA: And you of course would have been responsible for looking at that?
MR PRETORIUS: If I may explain what happened there. Each form of machinery consisted of about fifty MK members. My task was at each meeting they asked us certain things, the Trewits in Pretoria for instance would ask: "We haven't got the real name of Mr Jimmy, what is his real name, does anybody know?" and it was my duty to try and find who was Mr Jimmy.
If I had found that it was Klaas de Jong then at the next Trewits meeting I would make an input and say it was Klaas de Jong and here's a photo of him, that was our task at Trewits.
MS SOOKA: But am I right in assuming that you were responsible in Soweto certainly? Now from the evidence that we've heard Mr Mabotha was an MK member who was turned and became an askari, he was stationed at Mrs Mandela's house at some stage. So surely in the course of your monitoring, he's someone who should have been on your list?
MR PRETORIUS: Honourable Commission I won't say that it was impossible but if I listen to what's been taking place here, it is highly unlikely that he would have been on that list. Firstly because he was an askari, so called or an informer at Vlakplaas, don't know for how long. Secondly then he disappeared for a while and then he was arrested again.
So it's very unlikely to me if I think of Trewits meetings, that his name would appear on that list because he would not have belonged to, fitted into a structure overseas. He might have been on a list of people who infiltrated into the RSA but I don't think he was on a list of outside of RSA.
MS SOOKA: Tell me, the Jimmy that you refer to is that the same Jimmy Mabona that was referred to in the earlier evidence?
MR PRETORIUS: No, I was just thinking of Jimmy Mbane who helped Mr Potgieter. I think Mr de Kock referred to Jimmy Mbane.
MS SOOKA: Mr Jimmy Mbane?
MR PRETORIUS: Jimmy Mbane, yes.
MS SOOKA: You knew him?
MR PRETORIUS: I knew him, he worked with me. Mr de Kock transferred him to me after he caused some problems there, so I had to face his problems.
MS SOOKA: He was an Askari?
MR PRETORIUS: He was an askari, a fully fledged member of the South African Police Force.
MS SOOKA: I see. What happened to him eventually?
MR PRETORIUS: I think he's in jail at the present moment for some or other criminal - because he was a real criminal.
MS SOOKA: Interesting. Mr Pigou, you have a question?
MR PIGOU: Just one question.
MS SOOKA: One question?
MR PIGOU: Ja. I'd like you to listen to me very carefully Mr Pretorius so we don't have any comprehension problems because that seems to have plagued the hearing during our testimony. It seems as though there is a fundamental contradiction in your testimony concerning the Intelligence work around Mrs Mandela.
Mr Jan Potgieter has provided us with a list or not with a list, I beg your pardon, with a number of statements which he secured from the Attorney General's office in connection with the activities of MK cadres and their involvement with Mrs Mandela. Now we know that in 1989, in April I believe it was a thick dossier of over a hundred statements relating to thirty matters was handed over in connection with Mrs Mandela and her activities with Umkhonto we Sizwe. Now can you explain to us how this kind of information can be gathered by the Investigation Unit which makes very clear connections that she just wasn't an appendage to MK activities working on the periphery but that she was a central character to MK activities in Soweto and yet you are telling us, if I'm to understand your testimony correctly, that you didn't have a specific focus on her as a high priority character. I'm sorry I simply do not believe you. Could you perhaps explain that fundamental contradiction to us?
MR PRETORIUS: I suppose the gentleman doesn't understand me properly, even Colonel Potgieter can be asked. On a few occasions he, with that specific docket of thirty plus incidents, helped me and he asked me whether I couldn't perhaps identify this person in order to get additional evidence.
All I said was that I wasn't specifically tasked to investigate Mrs Winnie Mandela but I said so in my affidavit. In Intelligence work and the gathering of information, I gathered information on Mrs Mandela, I followed them up and if it was positive I would have told the investigating officers but didn't have enough evidence and sufficient evidence and we've already been told that by Mr Potgieter. The evidence that was available they got from arrested MK members and the docket was then given to the Attorney General for decision. So in other words I did help, I don't know whether I helped but I nevertheless tried and I really tried to help Colonel Potgieter to get his docket ordered.
MR DU PLESSIS: Madam Chair, in respect of that question I just want to rectify something. The affidavits that Mr Pigou referred to were not found by the Investigation Unit apparently. I haven't seen any reference in any record pertaining to these hearings at all. Those affidavits were found by my client in an attempt to assist this committee and they've been drawn to the attention of this Committee by Colonel Potgieter and not by the Investigating Unit, that includes the affidavit of Mrs Mandela and the affidavit of Zinzi Mandela.
MR PIGOU: I'm sorry I think Mr du Plessis misunderstands what I was saying, I was talking about the Security Branch investigation Unit not the TRC's Investigation Unit.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes I heard the question. I wanted to place that on record, thank you Madame Chair.
MS SOOKA: Thank you. Mr Kemp?
MR KEMP: I have no further questions.
MS SOOKA: Thank you Mr Pretorius. I'm sure you ...[intervention}
MR PRETORIUS: Thank you.
MS SOOKA: This session is over for you certainly, you may be excused.
MR PRETORIUS: Thank you.
MR SEMENYA: Chairperson, just for the record and for correctness, the gentleman appearing for the Mabotha family is Mr Mabunda, not Mavundla, Mavundla is my instructing attorney, so I don't want the record down the line to read confusingly.
MS SOOKA: I wonder if the gentleman could just write his name properly so we can have it.
MR SEMENYA: I can spell it for you Chairperson. That would be M-a-b-u-n-d-a.
MS SOOKA: Thank you very much. If we could make sure that that is noted for the transcription, thank you very much. Could we now call Mr Coetzee please and Mr Nienaber?
MR KEMP: Madam Chairperson, is it the intention to call both witnesses simultaneously?
MS SOOKA: Thank you, I'd like to welcome you to the Commission. I think we must apologise for keeping you both here until so late but hopefully when we finish then that's the end of it for you certainly for this hearing. Could I ask you one by one to put your full names on the record please?
MR COETZEE: Ignatius Coetzee.
MS SOOKA: Thank you.
MR NIENABER: Sarel Petrus Nienaber.
MS SOOKA: Do you have any objections to taking the oath?
IGNATIUS COETZEE: (sworn states)
SAREL PETRUS NIENABER: (sworn states)
MS SOOKA: Thank you, you may be seated. Mr Kemp?
MR KEMP: Thank you Madame Chairperson. I will follow the same procedure with these witnesses to try and curtail proceedings.
MR PIGOU: Excuse me Mr Kemp, perhaps I can make a quick interjection? It's just a suggestion to speed up proceedings. We've all been given the statements of the two gentlemen here and I'm wondering if rather than reading them into the record, we can't just get them to confirm the contents of those and then we can proceed with questioning.
MR KEMP: We can certainly do that Madame Chairperson. I believe everybody has had the opportunity to look at it.
General Coetzee you made a declaration in this regard, is that correct, an affidavit is that the document in front of you?
MR COETZEE: Thatís correct.
MR KEMP: And a copy of that document was also handed to the Commission, is that so? Do you accept that this is correct?
MR COETZEE: I do.
MR KEMP: And Mr Nienaber ...[intervention]
MR NIENABER: May I proceed? Before we proceed may I just draw your attention to the fact - if you would allow me that the suggestion was made that there was working together, we will work together in the affidavits and I think I should put it categorically that nobody worked together.
In fact I can give you the assurance that as far as I'm concerned I was alone with the attorney and the advocate, not for the rest of the duration of my affidavit, we were at the tail end of my affidavit. I almost said everything that I'm going to say now or what I'm saying now.
When Colonel Kritzinger, who had an appointment also entered and his only contribution was to greet me and he kept quiet until I had finished. Advocate Kemp dictated my affidavit and the entrance I make is that he followed the same procedure with regard to the other members whom he represents, therefore the style and the editing is the same.
If I look at it chronologically after we have received the subpoena most of our members he represents were there together in his office with our attorney. We did discuss the subpoena, that is true. And with all due respect I want to say that it is misleading, misleading in the sense that I don't want to be rude. I think it was rather vague and we must not beat about the bush.
They then made appointments with us and then finally when the affidavit was towards the end and rounded off we again gathered together, not all of us and we tried to ascertain whether there was a clashing of interests. So I wanted to get it off my chest. I can assure you because if the allegation were made that we were together, then it also reflects on me and I don't want that reflection which is not correct, I don't want that on me. Thank you for listening to me. I just wanted to clarify the matter.
MR KEMP: Thank you General. General Nienaber did you sign an affidavit in this matter?
MR NIENABER: Yes.
MR KEMP: Was it the document that you have in front of you? Is it also a document that was placed in front of the Commission? Do you accept that the document is correct?
MR NIENABER: Thatís correct.
MR KEMP: Thank you Chairperson.
MS SOOKA: Thank you. Mr Pigou?
MR PIGOU: Thank you Madame Chair, perhaps just a very, very brief response to what Mr Coetzee has just said, I think the ...[intervention]
MS SOOKA: No, Mr Pigou, I think I've noted it and I'm not allowing a debate on it.
MR PIGOU: Okay, can I just then request - yesterday evening I had brief conversation with Advocate Kemp about the disclosure of names that were provided on the telephone list. I don't intend to refer to that whole list and put names on the list at this point but there is one question that I'll be wanting to ask, where I refer to I think it's one or two names that are on that list. I wonder whether Advocate Kemp had approached his clients as he said he would determine whether they had any problem in that respect.
MR KEMP: Madame Chairperson, yesterday when we adjourned Commissioner Boraine said that he wanted to consider the matter about divulging the names on the list. I did indeed have a conversation with Mr Pigou. I said to him that I personally couldn't see any objection but I would have to consult with my clients. I did in fact do that and I was informed that the revelation of the names from that list might be embarrassing to some of those people.
It might also endanger continuous investigations which might be of a criminal nature and that it would not be wise to place those names on record. On behalf of the clients whom I represent I will then request that those names don't be divulged here in the open. They are available to the Commission, thank you.
MS SOOKA: Thank you, we will take the list into consideration and make sure that the legal representatives have a copy of that list because I think that's only fair.
MR KEMP: Okay.
MS SOOKA: Carry on.
MR PIGOU: Thank you. I'd like to put this question to both gentlemen and I think it's a simple yes or no answer. Would you agree that Mrs Mandela was the most high profile political personality in the area that was under your jurisdiction?
MR COETZEE & MR NIENABER: Yes.
MR PIGOU: Thank you. Mr Coetzee were you aware of the decision referred to in Mr Potgieter's statement:
"The decision was taken by Mr von Leerus, we believe some time in early 1987 or perhaps it was late 1986 that there was to be a tactical change in pursuing investigations relating to Mrs Mandela. That a collated docket will be compiled with a view to a possible future prosecution as opposed to pursuing individual prosecution on the basis of using evidence of accomplices and that it was preferred by the Attorney General to pursue prosecutions against those accomplices"
Mr Coetzee were you aware of that decision, that tactical change?
INTERPRETER: Mr Coetzee replies, yes he was aware but he should qualify at least in that sense. He can't remember the year. He remembers specifically that it was about an allegation against one Morgan. If he remembers correctly it was her chauffeur. He was involved, the case was investigated and they were of the opinion that there was a prima facie case against her.
MR COETZEE: Colonel Potgieter and myself had a long discussion with Mr von Leerus and he did not want to give in, once again not a wrong reflection on him, understand his approach. It was about carefulness with regard to - arising from that conversation, I don't want to link it to that but arising from that, not necessarily immediately, there was a decision at a stage not - to consolidate all our information against her as it were and to gather all that information.
Mr von Leerus' decision there, I can't remember that he said such a thing openly, explicitly but for me the golden thread was that he wanted us to have specific and full evidence against her otherwise he would not act against her.
MR PIGOU: Would you be able to confirm whether the case that you're referring to, where the prima facie evidence was produced was the case of the Makunda brothers in May 1987, who were allegedly beaten and mutilated in the backrooms of Mrs Mandela's house and according to their statements they place Mrs Mandela at the scene before or during - I think it was before the assaults actually took place and that they had been threatened by her. Would you remember whether it was that particular case because we know Mr Morgan was prosecuted in that particular case?
MR COETZEE: No, that was a charge under the Internal Security Act, I can't identify him. I think it was a charge against Morgan under the Internal Security Act.
MR PIGOU: Okay, thank you. Again both to Mr Coetzee, Mr Nienaber, would it be accurate to say that great care would have to be taken concerning matters and investigations involving Mrs Mandela? These were issues - she was a subject of great sensitivity.
INTERPRETER: (Both gentlemen agree)
MR PIGOU: Could you tell us, what instructions did you receive from head office with regards to dealing with Mrs Mandela?
MR NIENABER: Me, personally I got no instructions. My instructions to my staff and I don't make excuses for this, that was for the whole staff, was that they should please withhold themselves, refrain from just going to Mrs Mandela's places whenever they felt like it or for any nonsense. If they had any action there should at least be a senior person who could stand his ground and not individually. They had to organise it, it had to be right.
They would have to be certain of their case. That went for the three years that I was there. That was a decision the two of us took, I want to say management took And that we passed on to our staff.
INTERPRETER: (I agree with that the other gentleman says.)
MR PIGOU: Thank you Mr Nienaber.
So, Mr Coetzee, it would be fair to then that the manner in which you at the Security Branch, talking about a collective now, the manner in which Mrs Mandela's issues were dealt with was different to the way other matters were dealt with in terms of Security Branch investigations and activities? Would that be correct, would that be fair to say that? There was a qualitative difference in the way you handled things?
MR COETZEE: Yes and no. It's a bit of a contradiction in my answer. It actually was - that went for any high profile person, but especially for Mrs Mandela. I actually want to add to that, add to previous testimonies and the same goes I think for my colleague, Colonel de Kock who tried to tell the Commission that Mrs Mandela was a step above, a cut above the general. She was that, she is that and I think she will be that for a long time.
MR PIGOU: Thank you. During the in-camera testimony of Mrs Mandela September, I believe it was last year, she said - and we were referring around issues of the period that we looking at okay, she said that her house was quote, "like a police station." She says there were frequent raids and harassments and etc. Now, I don't know if you had a chance to read what she said in her in camera testimony because I believe your attorneys were given a copy of that last year. Would you say that her description of what happened is an accurate one?
MR COETZEE: No, I would say that was a bit conceited but again, or a bit arrogant but I would say that it's not strange that she said that.
INTERPRETER: (The other gentleman says: I don't think it was as bad as she said.)
MR PIGOU: Thank you. Mr Coetzee, did you take a direct interest in investigations involving Mrs Mandela?
MR COETZEE: Yes, certainly. I would like to say immediately that I tried in all these cases, I tried to support our members, our colleagues.
MR PIGOU: Did Mr Potgieter from the Investigation Unit, and Mr Pretorius from the Intelligence Unit report to you on either investigations or intelligence reports received concerning Mrs Mandela?
MR COETZEE: You ask quite in general I assume? I can't say no and I can't say yes. I don't know exactly what you are aiming at. Perhaps I can just explain how the activities were. the operations functioned. Every morning, every day after seven 'o clock, never later than that, never later than seven thirty, there would be an officersí meeting in my office and all information there important and interesting, information of interest was there exchanged by the unit heads. Each Friday all the officers met with them. So there would have been very little, if any information which came in and which wasn't exchanged via that office. And that's as far as I can explain.
MR PIGOU: Okay. Now, were there specific briefings by Mr Potgieter on investigations into Mrs Mandela, the so-called, well let's say the compilation docket investigation that was being conducted from some time in 1987 we believe it was. Did you get specific briefings on the progress in those investigations?
MR COETZEE: I would say continually yes.
MR PIGOU: Thank you. Where you aware of the tension that had been created in the Soweto community concerning the Mandela United Football Club during your tenor as the divisional head there?
MR COETZEE: No I do not want to say, I would not say that there, that the club - I didn't want to say that they ruled the roost but there were such insinuations but I would say that it was not true. That it was known that they kept themselves busy with illegitimate acts and to a large extent intimidation of people especially in their immediate vicinity, I think that's general knowledge.
MR PIGOU: Did you take a specific interest in the possibilities or any information that may have come across your desk or reported to you that the Mandela United Football Club was being used as a recruiting ground for Umkhonto we Sizwe?
MR COETZEE: No. I would go against my conscience if I said yes.
MR PIGOU: In retrospect Mr Coetzee, last year - let me just put this in context, last year we heard, we had a statement read into the record, I think it was read in by Mr Absolome Madonsela, who was an MK cadre and also was the General Secretary of the football club. In fact in a statement given to us in the annexures by Mr Potgieter, there's a statement from Mr Madonsela. Now what I'm trying to understand here because during the course of the last hearings and this hearing there seems to have been some sort artificial differentiation between the Mandela United Football Club and Umkhonto we Sizwe, but it seems clear to me that the Security Branch had information that there was a very close connection between these two entities. Now could you tell the Commission why more attention was not paid by yourself into the activities of the Mandela United Football Club?
MR COETZEE: I don't know. I do not agree with the statement that the football club, that there was a link between them and Umkhonto, I don't agree with that, I gave my answer just now in that regard. And secondly I would say to your allegation that we did not give enough attention, on what ground are you saying that?
MR PIGOU: Well, Iím not going to go into great details but I can give you the two examples. I've just given you one of Mr Madonsela who was the General Secretary of the football club, also an Umkhonto we Sizwe member who is currently serving a term of imprisonment for MK activities and also a statement that is in the pack as well of Mr Leratole Ikaneng who gave information, we don't know whether it was under duress or not, but he gave information after he was detained in connection with the murders committed by Mr Oupa Seheri, a trained MK cadre.
So clearly there was either a connection or personnel - and there are other instances of this, I'm not going to go into great detail but clearly there was a either there was an overlapping membership of the two entities or the Mandela United Football Club were in a position to, or members of the Mandela United Football Club were in a position to provide valuable information concerning MK activities so hence I would again put to you why more of an interest wasn't taken in the Mandela United Football Club?
MR COETZEE: That I believe that they would be able to give information. It also is in the statements submitted, that there were attempts to recruit informers among those boys. But I want to tell you, I can't mention names and dates now, but there were various cases where if our staff spoke to those youths contacted them, that from the lawyers office we received calls to ask us what we had to do with them and if we wanted to ask them anything it had to be through the attorneys.
There were even cases where calls were made directly to our head office to ask why we spoke to anybody of the football club.
MR PIGOU: Mr Coetzee, did you take a direct interest in the incident at the end of July 1988 when Mrs Mandela's house in Orlando was burnt down?
MR COETZEE: When it was burnt down? Excuse?
MR PIGOU: Sorry in July 1988 her house in Orlando East was burnt down, did you take a direct interest in what had happened in that particular?
MR COETZEE: No.
MR PIGOU: And I just want to put a context there, we've spoken about the great sensitivity around Mrs Mandela, international figure and so forth, would you not have had an interest in trying to determine what was going on around this figure because there were insinuations which were made in the last hearing that the Security Branch had been involved in this?
MR COETZEE: I can't remember the incident, I can't remember that I was there ...[intervention]
MS SOOKA: Sorry, is there a problem with the interpretation? Itís back again, sorry about that.
MR COETZEE: I cannot recall if I don't know, I really don't know. As I know myself I would have been there, I can motivate that. I want to say that there were two occasions were action should have been taken at her house, where there would have been actions at her house. The one case was when there was a follow up of information with regard to a person who had been shot in the heel or the foot.
The other occasion was when a weapon was retrieved from an outside room on the premises. There I wasn't told from the beginning, I wasn't one of the people to get there first but I tried to support my colleagues and where I could I went or I joined them afterwards, so I can't explain why I wasn't there when her house burnt down.
MR PIGOU: Both to Mr Nienaber and Mr Coetzee, would you say that every effort was made to investigate matters relating to Mrs Mandela?
MR COETZEE: Very definitely.
INTERPRETER: (And Mr Nienaber said "that is so.")
MR PIGOU: Would this also include the close co-operation with any criminal investigations as requested by the Attorney General according to the testimony of Mr Potgieter?
MR COETZEE: Chairman I want to reply in this way. We have already told you that we had a meeting every morning at the office and if anything happens through the information network, from whatever side and would it reflect upon Mrs Mandela against whom I can't recall pure criminal charge, it would be - then the responsible member would be asked to channel it to the detectives.
MR PIGOU: And would you say visa versa if this information was requested from another unit, you would co-operate in the spirit that the Attorney General had requested?
MR COETZEE: Very definitely Mr Chairman.
MR PIGOU: Mr Nienaber?
MR NIENABER: Yes definitely.
MR PIGOU: Mr Coetzee, I want to turn quickly to November 1988 and the incident in which Mr Fanie Pretorius was killed. Could you tell us how many men you lost through shooting incidents of this nature or involving contacts with MK cadres in 1988?
MR COETZEE: I am not aware of the second member's name. I
don't recall it. In the three years it must have been two members who have been shot dead. There were other members who were wounded but fortunately we haven't lost them.
MR PIGOU: So, the fact that Mr Pretorius was killed was a very serious incident and one would presume you would take a specific interest in the circumstances leading to his death, is that correct?
MR COETZEE: That is definitely the case.
MR PIGOU: Now, did you look into the investigation docket during the course of the investigation because - I know you left before it was completed, but during the initial stages did you look into the investigation docket of Mr Pretorius?
MR COETZEE: No. I haven't done so at all. And I would like to say something here now if you'd allowed me to. I ...[intervention]
MS SOOKA: Sorry to interrupt you but I think the question has been asked and answered and I'd rather prefer because of time constraints, that we actually move on.
MR PIGOU: Having said that it was a serious matter, could you tell us whether you did make any specific inquiries into the death of Mr Pretorius and who you made those enquiries to? Was it to Mr Lemmer, the Investigating Officer?
MR COETZEE: No, I haven't said so, I said I haven't looked at the docket. As far as I'm concerned it was purely action because of a member we've lost in the execution of his duties. In fact I actually wanted to ask Mr Pigou, he will remember that when we spoke last year he was just as surprised about questions with regard to this case. This is the first time that it was brought to my attention that there was any question after that and from the outset there was no such suggestion that there was anything strange about it, sinister about it, suspect about it.
MR PIGOU: Last year when we handed over the in camera hearing to your attorneys we also made available a copy of that inquest docket, have you had a chance to peruse that docket prior to these hearings?
MR COETZEE: I have done so yes.
MR PIGOU: Are you satisfied - having looked through those dockets and in the light of the contradictions that exist inside those dockets, inside the statements in those dockets, that a competent and thorough investigation was conducted by Mr Lemmer?
MR COETZEE: That is exactly what I tried to state now. In that connection I want to qualify it by saying that firstly there was - and I'm still not convinced that there is anything wrong and that there was no reason for any suspicion, however with hindsight and according to what was said here, questions asked here, I with all respect want to say to you that we should forget about anything else but the dates alone and as such do not create the impression and I think it is not right against the family.
I am very sorry for that. At the same time however Chairman, I find it very strange and I've told Mr Pigou that as well, that Mr Pretorius and this is no allegation, that Mrs Pretorius and she is also colleague or she used to be a colleague, didn't ask us about that. As far as I'm concerned I suppose her colleagues will bend over backwards and I don't know who started the line of questioning.
MS SOOKA: Thank you. Mr Pigou, are you going to be much longer, you had forty five minutes already.
MR PIGOU: I'll try and be as quickly, go as quickly as possible because I realise everyone is tired but I mean I do think we need -please a yes and no answer to this. I'll try and move along and skip things which perhaps will be raised by other people across the hall here.
Yes or no answer, are you satisfied having looked at that docket that it was a competent and thorough investigation by Mr Lemmer, yes or no?
MR COETZEE: No.
MR PIGOU: Thank you. At what stage did you become aware that Mr Richardson was an informer and was involved in this case? Was it at the time of the incident, after the incident - I beg your pardon, at the time of the incident after it had happened?
MR COETZEE: Yes, but I want to qualify that please. The name doesn't mean anything to me, now while we're sitting here and while we have spoken with Mr de Kock for the first time actually, the name doesn't mean a thing to me.
At the time I was told and I also attached a qualification to that. And I said to him: "Sir I was not aware of an informer, if it were an informer it could only be an informer for the time being or a once off". In other words the name - with regard to that I'm going to have to tell a blatant lie to you whether the 9 November 1988, on that date the name meant something to me.
MR PIGOU: Thank you. A brief yes or no answer, I'm going to try and move along with yes and no answers if possible. You've spoken about the fact that Intelligence and Investigations you met in the morning and information was passed and so forth, do you have any knowledge about a statement or statements that were taken by Mr Lemmer in connection with the alleged abduction of Mr Lolo Sono?
MR COETZEE: No.
MR PIGOU: And Mr Anthony Tshabalala?
MR COETZEE: May I qualify please? I can't recall that and therefore I will say categorically no. But in that short time that he was still there it could have been mentioned and therefore I'm not excluding that, but I can't tell.
MR PIGOU: Quickly, Mr de Kock and other gentlemen that have appeared here before and other testimony this Commission has heard has described Mrs Mandela as a sort of an untouchable figure, would you concur with that?
MR COETZEE: No, definitely not.
MR PIGOU: In terms of Stratcom operations, you've referred to it in your document. I'd like to know whether you had known, even though there wasn't a Stratcom Unit in Soweto according to your statement, that members of your unit were receiving instructions or requests in connection with Witwatersrand or the headquarters of the Security Branch, their receiving instructions and requests? Do you have any knowledge of that?
MR COETZEE: Mr Chair, you're talking about instructions? No, I would say requests. I have no knowledge thereof but that information was exchanged, yes. That was general practise.
MR PIGOU: Okay, thank you. Before you came to - and I just want to go into this quickly, Mr Jerry Richardson said that or made the allegation that Mr Moodley was one of the people that used to frequent Mrs Mandela's house and the inference was drawn that Mrs Mandela was working with Mr Moodley in some respect. Now you were based in C.R. Swart, Durban for twenty odd years prior to your move up to Johannesburg, was Mr Moodley in the same branch at that stage?
MR COETZEE: Yes.
MR PIGOU: Did you know Mr Moodley then.?
MR COETZEE: Yes, he worked there and I don't know for how long and what time but he was there for a couple of years, quite a couple of years.
MR PIGOU: Did you have any contact with Mr Moodley when he transferred up to the Soweto Murder and Robbery Unit, in I believe the mid to late 1980's?
MR COETZEE: I think we did meet, yes but I don't want to say so outright, I think so.
MR PIGOU: Mr Nienaber, would you agree that it is highly irregular in the context of the Security Branch agreement to facilitate the provision of information concerning alleged criminal matters relating to Mrs Mandela and that a statement taken by Lemmer, which was passed onto the Murder and Robbery Unit was not complemented with information about Mr Richardson's role in the incident in which Mr Pretorius died? - there is a clear correlation between the two incidents. And what I'm trying to find out from you is, why would the information which could have assisted Mr Dempsey in his investigation of the Lolo Sono case, why this information wasn't passed on and why it would have been withheld by the Security Branch?
Now we know the stories about not revealing sources and informers and all the rest of it. But by the 20th of January 1989 when Mr Dempsey took over that case, we've heard testimony here that Richardson was no longer a source. We know actually within a month he was being picked up and charged with murder of Stompie Sepei and as I've said, we know that this information could have facilitated Mr Dempseyís investigation. Could you tell us why that information would not have been made available?
MR NIENABER: Are you talking about the information about Richardson being an informer or what information do you want to refer to?
MR PIGOU: I think what we are trying to establish is the connection between the two incidents and that this would have been fundamentally important for Mr Dempsey to understand this connection. And that may well have meant divulging a former source, as we've heard he's no longer a source and in fact he's facing charges in investigation of murder. What I'm trying to find out is, is it not peculiar that information was not handed over to facilitate that investigation?
MR NIENABER: The fact is that Mr Richardson, that he was a source was - Dempsey was informed about that. I told him myself that this man was an informer but it doesn't matter if he is guilty of an offence, he's got to go but that we had any contact with him at that stage, I also told him about.
MS SOOKA: Mr Pigou, could you indicate how much longer you're going to be please?
MR PIGOU: Well if you would like I'm going to cut out whole sections which won't be to the benefit of the Commission receiving this information which I think is crucial. But if you would like me to do it, I can move to two or three last questions of a general broad nature.
MS SOOKA: I'm going to give you another five minutes, let's see what you do in that time. And could you make your questions a little shorter please?
MR KEMP: Thank Mrs Chair, I'm losing Mr Pigou completely, half way through the questions.
MR PIGOU: Okay, Iíd just like to put on record that there are aspects which we wish to recall Mr Nienaber and Mr Coetzee about because we haven't got time now. I'm just going to finish off with a couple of questions at this stage.
Now it's clear from the information or it's clear to me that in the information we've heard about in this hearing, that the Security Branch did not give crucial information relating to the Stompie Sepei investigation and the Lolo Sono investigation, although I clarify that because Mr Nienaber says that he did give that information to Mr Dempsey.
But it seems to me that certain information in that wold be in relation to Mabotha was not used and is indicative of the Security Branch prioritised what assistance that it did give to the Murder and Robbery Unit. I'm referring there to the alibi, Iím not quite sure I find Mr Pretorius' response feasible.
The question I want to put to you is. If the Security Branch or I put to you this, if the Security Branch had reacted to information which they may have receive or did receive in connection with Lolo Sono and Mr Stompie Sepei it is highly possible that they had either acted themselves or passed it on to a police unit that was prepared to act timeously, that the lives of Mr Sono and Mr Tshabalala and Mr Sepei might have been saved. What is your reaction to that?
MR NIENABER: You want me to answer?
MR PIGOU: Mr Nienaber yes please, thank you.
MR NIENABER: As a matter of fact, as far as I've heard in the Commission that that information was picked up on a telephone tapping am I correct?
MR PIGOU: Well I can, I think the one issue I'm referring specifically to now is - and I donít want to go into the whole telephone tapping debate, I mean I don't want to go into the whole telephone tapping debate again around Stompie Sepei and the Brandfort alibi.
But the particular thing I'm looking at now is the statements that were taken by Mr Norman Lemmer, who were not particularly satisfied with in terms of the inquest investigation but Mr Lemmer takes a statement concerning Mrs Mandela the following day after two youths are abducted and Mrs Mandela is implicated.
Now the evidence that we've heard in this Commission would actually lead us to the conclusion that if the Security Branch had acted either directly or indirectly and had gone to Mrs Mandela's house, that those youths may well have been found alive and they well be alive today.
Now, would you accept that as Commander you were therefore responsible for the failure? Now this would be Mr Coetzee because this happened in November. But generally do you take responsibility for these failures by the Security Branch?
MR COETZEE: Can I react Mrs Chair? I've also listened to the Commission that there is information which was received via telephone. Because of that information network the allegation was made that those children were sent out for training.
MR PIGOU: With respect, the statement said, we've heard what was said by Mr Pretorius I believe it was or it may be Mr Potgieter, I'm not sure. But with respect the statements that were given to Mr Lemmer referred to an abduction that had taken place the previous day by Mr Nicodemus Sono and Mr Tshabalala, the father of the two boys that were abducted.
Now there was some inference that they may have been taken out, I believe one of the statements referred to the movement dealing with these people. Which you might draw the inference that they were being taken out of the country but the statements from those two gentlemen specifically referred to abductions that had taken place the previous day.
MR COETZEE: Madame Chair, that was the information the police had, that these children had been sent out of the country for training. Were the allegation comes from that they were abducted I do not know. You know I think it is quite an unfair suggestion to make that should the police, Security Police specifically, that they were negligent.
I want to take this further to say, what about the many children whom people have said before this Commission who withheld information from the Commission. There were witnesses before you, while their children ...[intervention]
MS SOOKA: Mr Coetzee, I think that weíre not going to get into debate here. I think you have to understand that there's a very serious allegation on the table and the evidence of the father of one of these two children is before the Commission. That he himself and the father of the other boy who they alleged were abducted, they made a statement to Mr Norman Lemmer.
They alleged further that the statement that they made was not taken very seriously by the Security Branch. And I think the question that is being put to you now, is that in your capacity as head, do you accept any responsibility for the fact that if the Security Branch had acted in terms of investigating those statements then the lives of these two young boys could have been saved. I think that's the question that's being put to you.
MR COETZEE: Mrs Chair, I don't accept responsibility, no. If there were negligence of any of the members, nobody but nobody can approve of negligence.
MS SOOKA: Mr Coetzee, Iím going to follow that up with a question. Earlier on you were asked the question about whether you were satisfied in retrospect with the way in which the investigation into the death of Sergeant Pretorius had gone and whether you were satisfied with the way in which Mr Lemmer had handled that matter and I think you said no.
Now I'm giving you another example where another father has said he thought the Security Branch was negligent in the way they handled the investigation into the abduction of both his son and the son of Mr Tshabalala. Now you have just said before us that if that has happened you, I think you answered now that you take the strongest exception to that and you would be uncomfortable with it. Now I'm putting before you two examples where the families of these people has come forward and have said that they were not happy with the way in which the investigation has been handled. And I'm asking you for your comment and whether you feel responsible for the negligence of the members of your unit?
MR COETZEE: No, Madam Chair I am a little cross. If there was any negligence on our side and I quite frankly must tell you it wouldn't have been allowed, steps would have been taken against them.
But in retrospect with regard to the docket and the post-mortem I want to repeat, yes if one looks at it now and if you start finding fault, you will find fault. But that doesn't really mean something because really as far as I'm concerned the information also says that nothing at all went wrong with regard to the death of Sergeant Pretorius.
MS SOOKA: Thank you. Mr Pigou, will you pass on please?
MR PIGOU: I think my five minutes are up so I'm going to just ask if you'll permit me one more question to Mr Nienaber.
During the Section 29, in camera hearings with Advocate van Vuuren, he said that he and I believe Mr Swanepoel, had the distinct impression that the Security Branch sabotaged the investigation into Mrs Mandela with regards to the alibi and whether or not there were other particular incidents. There may well have been and I presume there would have been if they were trying to gain that or that they did gather that impression. Could you tell me what your reaction is to Mr van Vuuren's comments?
MR NIENABER: I don't agree with him.
MR PIGOU: Thank you.
MR NIENABER: Thatís nonsense.
MS SOOKA: Do you want to comment on that, I thought I saw you?
MR NIENABER: No, no sorry.
MR PIGOU: Thank you, no further questions.
MS SOOKA: Mr Vally?
MR VALLY: I'll be very brief. Mr Coetzee and Mr Nienaber, you people have had transcripts of our hearings that took place into the events surrounding the Mandela United Football Club given to you. Have you had a chance to look at them?
MR COETZEE: Chairperson, partly yes. The pieces we have received late, a few days before and even the first few volumes that we have received one cannot read them and they are not in proper order.
MR VALLY: Well, Mr Coetzee, be that as it may because I find it strange you say that because your attorneys were given discs as far as I understand a copy of the transcript was put on disc for your attorneys like it was for all the other attorneys.
However there is clear evidence and there are a number of witnesses who talk about a reign of terror by the Mandela United Football Club, they talk about various incidents. We've put on record a number of members of the Mandela United Football Club who are serving sentences for murder, attempted murder, etc., as a result of certain activities carried out by them.
You say in your affidavit, paragraph 19, that you had special interest in the activities of Mrs Mandela and the football club, you have told us that you were monitoring her telephone conversations. We have heard that parents came to your offices, spoke to a member of your department, a Mr Lemmer and said: "My son has been kidnapped and Mrs Madikizela Mandela was present." We've heard a number of people enquiring from the Madikizela Mandela household and who were involved in it and public meetings as well regarding the abduction of the four youths including Stompie Sepei from the manse.
Your failure to act regarding the abduction of youngsters can be interpreted in one of two ways, gross negligence or malicious intent. Can you give us a reason why your policemen did not act regarding the abduction of either the four youths from the manse or of the two youths, Lolo Sono and Siboniso Tshabalala timeously? Can you give us a reason?
MR COETZEE: I've already told you Chairperson, in my dictionary negligence is being spelt out. The other people that we didn't receive information on and in that case it is negligence on the side of the public who knew but who didn't inform the police. And who on purpose withheld the information. But one justifies - doesn't justify the other and I'm telling you that now in whatever way it is being spelt out.
I cannot understand how a person, a member of the public who come and complain towards a policeman and telling him that his child was kidnapped and that a certain person was present and that no steps were taken, I can't imagine that. It is so that they did - that there were wrongdoings and I am telling you that that spells negligence to me.
MS SOOKA: Thank you. Mr Nienaber?
MR NIENABER: I'll probably agree with that.
MR VALLY: Mr Nienaber you were in charge at the time when you were monitoring the telephone conversations of Mrs Madikizela Mandela. We've had a whole string of prominent people here talking about the comings and goings in the Madikizela Mandela household about the kidnapping of the four youths from the manse.
Mr Coetzee's excuse is no one told you people about it. I put it to you that your monitoring of the telephone conversation could have indicated to you that there was serious consternation from the community about this incident, why didn't you act?
MR NIENABER: I'm sorry I can't answer you that question.
MR VALLY: Why not?
MR NIENABER: I just don't know. I simply don't know because I'll tell you if you were to tell me why I didn't act. There was action, it was investigated, all those things were done.
MR VALLY: You know Mr Coetzee and Mr Nienaber, the attitude and the impression we had from the many prominent community members who were here and who have subsequently, some of them have got important political office, was that the activities of the Mandela United Football Club and their reign of terror was either condoned by the Security Branch or the Security Branch actively allowed it to go on. And part of the reason why we having this hearing is that the Security Branch in Soweto had its own agenda which was not protecting youths, which was not maintaining law and order.
And most of all, it was not co-operating with various other branches to ensure that justice would be done. And if you had taken steps like you did take steps in many political matters, aggressive steps, then a number of the youths whose families are here today asking where there children are, would not be so distraught.
And as much as the blame is laid at the foot of people such as Jerry Richardson, who claims that he killed Lolo Sono and Sibuniso Tshabalala, such as Jerry Richardson who has been convicted for the murder of Stompie Sepei and this very same Jerry Richardson who was your informer. And you two as the officers commanding the Security Branch are ultimately responsible because the buck stops here. this is where the tax money went to.
You were in charge, are equally liable for those incidents that took place because of your failure to act and carry out your official responsibilities. How do you respond to that?
MR NIENABER: I don't agree.
MR KEMP: Madam Chairperson, just before we get a reply, I'm just worried that the reply might be as long as the question. You'll appreciate if you look at me Madame Chairperson, I don't want to miss breakfast. Could we perhaps just get direction from you that we have questions and not argument please?
MS SOOKA: I was just going to say that Mr Kemp. Mr Vally, we're not, I think we're all tired of speeches. Could we get on with the job of finishing? I hope that was your last question? Could I ask Mr Coetzee and Mr Nienaber to respond briefly please?
MR COETZEE: Chairman, actually I shouldn't answer briefly but categorically I denied it and I think it is a very grossly wrong conclusion. I want to mention a name and an example, I think it was mentioned in the Committee, what a hard working member Sergeant Pretorius was and what he has done for the public of Soweto and I think it is a grossly unfair statement therefore.
MR NIENABER: I said that I disagreed.
MS SOOKA: Thank you Mr Vally, I hope that was your last question.
MR VALLY: I want to reiterate Madame Chair and it was my last question. That all this dodging and weaving has to stop somewhere and it has to stop at the top of this hierarchy in Soweto with the Security Branch which is Mr Ig Coetzee and Mr Nienaber.
And with respect we may have to call them back again because some one has to take responsibility for the incompetence or negligence of the Security Branch in Soweto, thank you Madame Chair.
MS SOOKA: Thank you, you've made your point. Could I start at the bottom please? Should I start at the top? Mr du Toit?
MR DU TOIT: Madame Chair may I quickly pose my questions. General Coetzee thank you for your admission that the family had been prejudiced. It might not be within your knowledge that Mr Pretorius as well as his widow, both of them returned repeatedly to Soweto with enquiries but he left from there after the incident, shortly after the incident so perhaps you don't remember.
MR COETZEE: I don't know with whom she spoke but that's just not acceptable, I just wish one could have done something about it. You see one of the problems was that one could have read the inquest docket a hundred times and you wouldn't have known that Jerry Richardson had been an informant and Mr Pretorius, his handler.
MR DU TOIT: Let me tell you what is involved. Jerry Richardson was a confidante and informer of Pretorius where Pretorius passes him to enter the house and nothing happens, there's no communication between them amongst others. Would you not find that strange that the informer would perhaps try to stop his handler from entering the house at least?
MR COETZEE: It sounds like this if you put it this way. I don't have an answer to that. But why the young man went in, nobody knows. He had instructions Madame Chair, they were instructions and he went further and it's known that that bullet proof vest he was wearing could not resist that kind of weapon. He went against that and one is sorry in hindsight and afterwards.
I donít want to hurt his memory and I donít want to elaborate, but it was a pity. This is the last chance we have to try and talk about this matter. There was evidence, and itís common cause that Sergeant Pretorius was a hardworking and a balanced person.
MR DU TOIT: Now one sits with a situation, and I just want to give you the highlights because of the time constraints. There is evidence, one version that he would have known that there were armed terrorists inside the house, is that correct?
MR COETZEE: No, I would not say so, no I want to put it differently. It is a terrorist and you must assume that a terrorist is armed, one is not quite intelligent if you think that a terrorist is not armed. I can't take it further than that. I can't say that he did know but he should have known.
MR DU TOIT: Secondly, the version in certain aspects are that, is that he was only to point out the house and then travel past and that he did not obey that instruction. Would you agree that, that is completely out of character for him?
MR COETZEE: Yes.
MR DU TOIT: And not only does he not pass the house but he stops and jumps out and he doesn't only jump out, he doesn't wait for the things that were agreed upon, that these people had to - that the Security Police had secure the house first, or the Unrest Police.
MR COETZEE: Those are the known reports about this young man, it was about his dedication. He was one of those people who was really dedicated. In 99 and a three quarters of those people in Soweto were dedicated, otherwise they wouldn't have stayed in Soweto, working in Soweto.
MR DU TOIT: Nog net een element. He runs into the house and without shooting a shot he is killed.
MR COETZEE: That is logical to me, yes.
MR DU TOIT: Just give me a moment? Did you immediately after this incident, were you informed immediately after?
MR COETZEE: ...[inaudible]
MR DU TOIT: I have no further questions, thank you.
MS SOOKA: Mr du Plessis?
MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you. General Coetzee maybe I could ask you and then General Nienaber can just confirm whether he agrees with your answer. How did you know Colonel Potgieter? Did you know him as a person who followed the rules meticulously?
MR COETZEE: Certainly, we've come a long way together since Natal.
MR DU PLESSIS: Was he what the English would call a straight forward policeman?
MR COETZEE: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: Did you know Colonel Potgieter as a person who would be involved at all in assault during interrogations?
MR COETZEE: I would say, this would have shaken me to hear. INTERPRETER: (And General Nienaber agrees.)
MR DU PLESSIS: And if we went a step further, would you describe Colonel Potgieter as a person who would be involved with elimination of people?
MR COETZEE: Would have surprised me.
INTERPRETER: (Same for General Nienaber)
MR DU PLESSIS: In other words if we took only the testimony of General de Kock, that he testified or that he alleges, argues that Colonel Potgieter requested him to eliminate Mabotha after having detained Mabotha under Section 29 for six months, to eliminate him, what would your attitude have been in the light of how you knew Potgieter?
INTERPRETER: (General Nienaber says that he would have been shocked. He would not have expected that and Coetzee agrees.)
MR DU PLESSIS: You agree, you didn't know him as the kind of person who would do such a thing?
MR COETZEE: If you had listened to Colonel Potgieter's testimony, that his goal was to secure or to safe guard Mabotha as a high treason witness, is that in line with his personality?
INTERPRETER: (Yes, both agree)
MR DU PLESSIS: If one looks at the rank structure, Colonel de Kock was the head, he was the head of Vlakplaas and Potgieter was at that stage, I think he was colonel by then I'm not sure, when Mabotha ...[intervention]
MR NIENABER: No, he was not a colonel yet.
MR DU PLESSIS: Is there any way in which Colonel de Kock would have felt himself bound to accept an order from Potgieter?
MR NIENABER: I would say that would have been strange for him to accept an order from a junior.
MR COETZEE: No, you are putting words into our mouths. For the same reason I want to say that I also didn't know Eugene that way.
MR DU PLESSIS: I'm not asking you about Colonel de Kock, let's understand each other clearly. I'm not asking you about Colonel de Kock, it's not about Colonel de Kock this time and itís not a reflection on him either, it's just a question of - and I don't want you to choose sides, that's not the purpose please donít misunderstand me. I want you to say what you know of Colonel Potgieter. All the other aspects are relevant but I want now only your own knowledge and your own testimony on Colonel Potgieter.
MR COETZEE: I do not know Colonel Potgieter that way.
MS SOOKA: Isnít it strange, you see I have difficulty with where your questions are going because it seems very much to me that you're trying to establish Mr Potgieter's character about matters which quite frankly Mr Coetzee and Mr Nienaber might not know, because these are things disclosed in their amnesty applications. So do you want to persist with that line of questioning? (...indistinct) similar shot and I'm not sure where it's going to take this Commission.
MR DU PLESSIS: It's not intended to illicit any character evidence. It is simply intended to illicit evidence from the generals about Colonel Potgieter which may or may not be relevant eventually in an argument about probabilities.
As you well know character evidence and I don't know at amnesty hearing what weight will be attached to it, but at the end of the day it's about probabilities and that is the only question. I've finished my questions on this line, I won't proceed with this line further.
MS SOOKA: Thank you.
MR DU PLESSIS: I have only one last question. General Coetzee, I've now listened to a question from Mr Vally and I find it very strange because what he is asking you is, he's putting to you that his impression is that the police, the Security Police didn't do their job in Soweto.
It sounds to me as if from his point of view he probably is unhappy that you weren't detaining more people in terms of Section 28, interrogated more people, took more people away, bothered more people, I don't understand that.
MR VALLY: Madam Chair, can Mr du Plessis asks his own questions, Iím sure Iím competent to ask my own questions.
MS SOOKA: Thank you can (...intervention)
MR DU PLESSIS: No, I'm just trying to elicit on point. Do you know of any prosecution of Mrs Mandela? Are you aware of such a thing?
MR COETZEE: You are now referring to my period or in general?
MR DU PLESSIS: I'm referring to in general.
MR COETZEE: Yes, in the Stompie case she was charged and she was found guilty of abduction and assault and she was found guilty in the appeal court of abduction.
MR DU PLESSIS: You have knowledge of that?
MR COETZEE: Yes, I do.
MR DU PLESSIS: Was that arising from a police investigation in Soweto?
MR COETZEE: Yes. Not security but general police.
MR DU PLESSIS: And Jerry Richardson? Do you know that he was charged? And did that arise from a police investigation in Soweto?
MR COETZEE: Yes it did.
MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you Madam Chair.
MS SOOKA: Mr Semenya?
MR SEMENYA: Yes. Can I paraphrase also what I find to be my difficulty. It is obvious to me at least that the contention at least which is held by the leaders of evidence of the TRC, is that either Mrs Mandela was untouchable or that there was specific difference in respect of her or that she was treated in a category of her own kind or that the police in Soweto did not do with her what they were supposed to do with her.
Now this is notwithstanding the fact that her telephone was tapped. This is notwithstanding the uncontroverted evidence that bugs were inserted in her home. That is notwithstanding the fact that there was search and seizure at her home. That was notwithstanding the fact that there was an incident involving a firearm with a daughter where the police went in and searched.
This is notwithstanding the fact that she was arrested in respect of the kidnapping of the Stompie Sepei, that she was prosecuted for that event. I'm just waiting to understand, other than politically related offences, are you aware of any criminal conduct of the common law type for which the police in Soweto have swept it under the carpet?
MR COETZEE: No, not that we know of personally Chairman.
MR SEMENYA: Mr Nienaber?
MR NIENABER: No.
MR SEMENYA: There's another concept called the Mandela United Football Club. Was that thing or that entity, an entity known within the Security force as a distinct entity in 1988, '89, '90?
MR COETZEE: Chairman, I'm not exactly sure.
MR SEMENYA: Let me put it this way, let me clarify it for you. There was something called the African National Congress which created security risks in the mind of the Security Police, is that right?
MR COETZEE: Ja.
MR SEMENYA: There was something called APLA which created security concerns within the Security force, isn't that right?
MR COETZEE: Ja.
MR SEMENYA: There was something called MK which created security concerns within the Security Branch of the Soweto police, isn't that right? Was there also in the same vein something called Mandela United Football Club?
MR COETZEE: By far not on the same level, not by far.
MR SEMENYA: Iíve listened at ...[indistinct] about the terror which this club was creating in Soweto. Was that presence of mind there within the Security Police, that there is this football team which is creating terror in the township?
MR COETZEE: Like I told you at the outset, I don't know. There were such allegations but I'm not aware of those.
MR SEMENYA: Where their criminal conducts which were executed as you like, in a football type style? I mean people going out with uniforms and going to do that in a discernible football type style?
MR NIENABER: Not to my knowledge.
MR SEMENYA: As far as I understand there were events involving political rallies where members would have football tracksuits. They didn't go shooting at people with these tracksuits did they?
MR NIENABER: Not to my knowledge but they went to funerals and all that stuff with Mrs Mandela and where they created a joint force. And I therefore actually think that the people were actually scared of them, the public was then scared of them as was the case with funerals, where she walked with the men, that is Mrs Mandela.
It was general knowledge that they accompanied them to such funerals and I am convinced that from time to time there must have been occasions - I don't know what specific funeral it could be, some of them even high-jacked a bus and then they went off with the bus. It is that type of thing that the children did.
MR SEMENYA: Would you as a security officer go and arrest Mrs Mandela?
MR NIENABER: No, no I wouldn't arrest (...indistinct)
MR SEMENYA: Now for the life of me I'm trying to understand why, if what you did in respect of Mrs Mandela is what you were supposed to do for every citizen. If you don't have evidence you don't arrest, why are you being accused for doing what the law permitted you to do or restrained you from doing if you don't have the evidence?
MR NIENABER: I'm trying to explain it.
MR SEMENYA: Do you have an answer to that?
MR NIENABER: We're trying to explain all the time that we tried to do our utmost best to either prosecute and to keep up the law and what have you.
MR SEMENYA: But what I don't understand is as those that are expecting the security department to do to Mrs Mandela what was done to Mabotha or am I missing the cue here?
MR NIENABER: No I don't think so. I don't know whether they expected that, that I can't answer you.
MR SEMENYA: I have no further questions.
MS SOOKA: Thank you. Mr Mabunda?
MR MABUNDA: No questions.
MS SOOKA: Mr Hugo?
MR HUGO: Thank you Madam Chair. General Nienaber, you took office of the Security Branch in Soweto in December of 1988, is that so?
MR NIENABER: I think it was 1989, let's say at the start of 1989, it was the 14th of December of 1988.
MR HUGO: Can we just get to an agreement. If I ask you the question, please if you don't mind you must answer it. Were you satisfied with the management style of your predecessor?
MR NIENABER: Yes.
MR HUGO: Did you in fact follow along those lines when you took over?
MR NIENABER: Sort of.
MR HUGO: I specifically refer to the use to get together in the mornings from seven oíclock to half past seven, never after half past seven, your officers were then drilled together and they then discussed matters?
MR NIENABER: Yes, we proceeded with that.
MR HUGO: Can you please enlighten us, did this happen every day, these meetings?
MR NIENABER: Yes. One could in general say that perhaps on a few occasions we could have had more meetings but generally speaking it happened on a daily basis.
MR HUGO: You then acted as chairman? And the purpose of these meetings was to inform you with regard to all the activities in your unit?
MR NIENABER: That is more or less correct.
MR HUGO: What do you mean with "more or less correct"? Is it correct or not?
MR NIENABER: Yes everybody told his own story.
MR HUGO: You actually busied yourself with very serious investigations at that stage?
MR NIENABER: More or less, yes.
MR HUGO: Were you busy with serious matters or not?
MR NIENABER: Yes we did.
MR HUGO: May I then also ask you who the officers were who attended these information meetings, if I can call it that, since you took over command?
MR NIENABER: At the beginning of '89, if we could use that as a date, usually they were the section heads, your commanders of the different sections.
MR HUGO: General Nienaber I want names. Which officers attended these meetings?
MR NIENABER: Let's start off with the Investigation Unit: Potgieter, Grobbelaar, I also think - what is the man's name now Langenhoven, and at that stage there was also van der Merwe.
MR HUGO: Very well you gave me those two names I was interested in. Colonel Grobbelaar was one of those people who attended the meetings and Captain Potgieter was another. Did Colonel Grobbelaar during any of these meetings tell you that they were on their way to Marble Hall to arrest the so-called askari and to keep him there in custody?
MR NIENABER: I'm sorry, but Mr Chairman, I don't recall him having said that to me, I really don't recall that. I know that you're now talking about Mabotha situation but from the outset I want to say to you and perhaps it will comfort you, I in all sincerity don't recall having known anything or remembered anything about Mr Mabotha and the interrogation during this Commission. I simply don't recall anything.
MR HUGO: You see this confirms what I thought all along. Your men go down to arrest an askari, according to their version and I'm going to tell you that now, Mr du Toit in fact his affidavit was to that effect. They found a very important document in Mr Mabotha's possession which was relevant to the Stompie Sepei matter, which they themselves regarded as very important.
On a daily basis you have these information meetings and you are telling us now at the hearings of this Commission today you have never been informed about this?
MR NIENABER: That is all that I can think of that I was not informed. I really can't remember now unless somebody could correct me.
MR HUGO: But unfortunately as far as I know nobody can help you now General, you would remember if this type of information came to your attention?
MR NIENABER: I believe so, yes.
MR HUGO: Let me tell you then that we going to have to accept that you have never been told that, let us accept that. And further arising from that, the model officer who served under you, whose character you described so well and so positively a moment ago, did he ever tell you that this was happening? I'm now referring to Mabotha, in your jurisdiction area with regard to the Internal Security Act and it's provisions.
MR NIENABER: He could have done so but I don't recall that.
MR HUGO: No, General.
MR NIENABER: I'm telling you now he could have done so but I don't recall him doing so.
MR HUGO: And this moral officer, did he tell you that there was important information with regard to the Mandela Sepei matter?
MR NIENABER: I don't recall that.
MR HUGO: If he had done so, would you recall it? So once again what one has to accept that you were not ...[indistinct], we accept then. Can I ask you, during this time did you have a list of the names of people within your jurisdiction area who were kept there in terms of the Internal Security Act?
MR NIENABER: Is that what you're asking me, whether there was a list of people who have been detained there?
MR HUGO: So that you could perhaps have a degree of control over these people because you are the officer commanding security?
MR NIENABER: I suppose we would had a register but I don't know if we would have had a list.
MR HUGO: But General that too is rather surprising. Don't you think it's an oversight on your part and that that in fact opens the doors for your people, your men to make themselves guilty of misdemeanours without you knowing about them?
MR NIENABER: It could be the case but I don't think all having had such a list.
MR HUGO: I cannot believe that you had no control mechanism of how many people were in detention. Did you go through the detention register from time to time?
MR NIENABER: If I wanted to know who was in detention I would asked and I would have been informed.
MR HUGO: And you never visited Mr Mabotha in this time during which he was in detention?
MR NIENABER: No, not me.
MR HUGO: Did you know that Mr Mabotha was going to be released at a stage?
MR NIENABER: I don't know that either.
MR HUGO: Were you ever informed that Mr Mabotha would so-called be a key witness in a proposed Winnie Mandela hearing?
MR NIENABER: I know nothing of that.
MR HUGO: Just a last aspect with regard to my learned friend who wanted you to give a character witness about Mr Potgieter. Would you find it surprising if I told you that my learned friend put it that Mr Potgieter has applied for amnesty?
MR NIENABER: I take note of that.
MR DU PLESSIS: Madam Chair, perhaps my learned friend should have sight of the amnesty application. I can give it to him now before he goes on with the questions, before he creates an impression which is going to be totally wrong.
MR HUGO: I'm not interested in the contents of that application.
MR DU PLESSIS: Then you shouldn't ask the question.
MR HUGO: You only apply for amnesty if you done something wrong.
MR DU PLESSIS: Or if you afraid of civil actions Madame Chair?
MS SOOKA: Mr du Plessis perhaps you can allow Mr Hugo put his questions and if you then have an objection to it please note it.
MR HUGO: I have no further questions.
MS SOOKA: Thank you. Mr Makanjee? Doctor Randera?
DOCTOR RANDERA: Generals, I just have one question. Yesterday and today we've heard from a number of your junior officers, except for Mr Potgieter who somehow managed to get to the Attorney General and was able to get a great deal of information. But we were told with regard to the tapes, you know the 24 hour tapes that were collated on Mrs Madikizela Mandela on other prominent people, that all this was destroyed in 1993, 1994. Were you aware of that?
MR COETZEE: Ek weet niks daarvan nie.
DOCTOR RANDERA: You know nothing about it?
MR COETZEE: Nee, ek het die mag verlaat einde.
DOCTOR RANDERA: Sorry, are you not in the police force still?
MR COETZEE: Nee.
INTERPRETER: (Generaal Coetzee het die mag verlaat in '92 so hy weet nie daarvan nie.)
DOCTOR RANDERA: Sorry?
MR NIENABER: I say I carried knowledge of the time but then I wasnít at Soweto.
DR RANDERA: Sorry?
MR NIENABER: I carried knowledge that some of the documents were destroyed from other security branches so I took it for granted that it also happened at Soweto, but I wasnít at Soweto at that time.
MS SOOKA: Thank you. Ms Mkhize?
MS MKHIZE: Just a brief question from me. Mr Coetzee, when you started you objected to an impression which has been created that as you were drafting your statement there was a collusion of some kind. I still would like to put that theory of collusion in a slightly different manner.
You have been asked on specific cases, when you were given a subpoena and as we have been sitting over the last two days, we have listened to people coming from an infrastructure which I should think was as well developed with different sections in Soweto but the kind of information which will be reflected in our records is very scanty. It remains a major question mark for us as to asserting where there was this apparently very good infrastructure, some people responsible for technical aspects of handling information, the administration and all the divisions that you have referred to.
But when it comes to what you know about the specifics that we are concerned about, the responses are neither here nor there, with all due respect. That remains a major question mark for us and I suppose for the record, please respond?
MR COETZEE: I hear what you are saying but I want to differ from you. Ek stem volkome saam met u in die opsig dat - ek meen dat dit reg is, dat u reg is.
...[NO FURTHER INTERPRETATION]
MS SOOKA: Sorry, sorry, the interpretation is in Afrikaans. Before the interpreters give up, if we can have an answer please?
MR COETZEE: I think that you are right. I think if one looks back at one's career, I honestly have to say I have good memories of the time in Soweto. You know Madam Chairman, there was no reference to specific cases, that's what I say and I'm not reproaching anybody, I'm just saying that it was vague, the handling of informers or sources associated with Mrs Mandela and the football club.
I don't want to argue with anything but I'm saying that the questions weren't pertinent in the subpoena. I want to say that if this had been the case in a criminal case, then we would not have answered if we hadn't asked for first details first. We were in an uncomfortable position and I know that you are also in a dilemma. We spoke to you and I think we met each other half way and we couldn't act in any other way. There's no specific other reason.
MS SOOKA: Could I just ask you about two points which have been raised. The one is when I think a question was put to you by Mr Pigou about your being able to access the Mandela Football Club. I think you said every time you began to make some kind of headway there was interference by the AG or directly by your head office in Pretoria. Is that not what you said?
MR NIENABER: No, no, no. My testimony in that case was that we regularly tried our men in the field - saw that as a target field but when they got there, then on the same day or the next day we would get a letter or a phone call, phone enquiry from the lawyer - I can't give names.
For instance, a simple example. One day it was quite uncomfortable it was difficult to explain that it hadn't been us. The municipality had something to do with the electricity at the house which had been cut off or something and the next moment the telephones were ringing off the hook saying, asking what the police had to do with it. I don't have to elaborate any further. The police got the blame for absolutely everything.
MS SOOKA: Thank you, just one more questions. You know, one of the things which is very peculiar about the investigation relating to Themba Mabotha, is that this man was arrested on the 21st of February I think and the 22nd heís fetched at Marble Hall where on the evidence of some people he was badly assaulted, he's brought back to the Soweto branch were a statement is taken by I think Mr du Toit, who alleges that he knows of no assault and that Mr Mabotha was in a wonderful condition.
Yet on the 24th of February Ms Nkadimeng an associate of Mr Mabotha, sees him at the Soweto branch and finds his mouth so badly damaged that the blood is still stuck on his mouth. But the further peculiarity is that on the - this man is not booked in on your register until the 4th of April.
Now you've testified about Mr Potgieter's character and I just found this whole affair so strange. Surely it is highly irregular to have no record for a man since the date of his arrest to the date that is actually reflected as having been entered on your register. What do you have to say about that?
MR NIENABER: The only thing I can say is it's also strange to me. I don't know, there is something wrong there, that should be investigated, I think that should be investigated.
MS SOOKA: One last question. It seems to be a common perception that Vlakplaas was really a clean up unit and this is not just evidence that has come from Mr de Kock today before the Commission, but certainly evidence that has come forward in other amnesty applications.
Now if you were told that Mr Potgieter handled Mr Mabotha over to Mr Eugene de Kock, would it be fair to say that you would assume that that would be for elimination purposes?
MR NIENABER: No, I wouldn't have because you know, there were regularly people who were arrested who were not charged and who were channelled to Vlakplaas where they were rehabilitated and worked. So it would not have been strange to me, it is not strange to me if Mr Mabotha who was also a trained person had gone to Vlakplaas as well.
MS SOOKA: So what one of Vlakplaasís functions was rehabilitation?
MR NIENABER: Sort of what we call rehabilitation, in other words we used them again as ...[intervention]
MS SOOKA: Askaris?
MR NIENABER: Against their own people as askaris, turning them into askari and that's what we called rehabilitation.
MS SOOKA: Thank you Mr Nienaber.
Mr Coetzee do you have any explanation to offer?
MR COETZEE: Nee ek het nie.
MS SOOKA: Thank you. Reverend?
REV?: Just a very short question. I'm asking this question because it seems there's no common ethic in terms of pragmatics as far as this police force is concerned from a person who is like myself, who is used in certain structures where there must be a common ethic of functioning.
Now the question I want to ask you, it has been asked with some of the people who have gone before us. Did you gentlemen know anything about the assaults by the police during your own career?
MR COETZEE: Yes and no. But then I want to motivate. I have also been accused in the past and fortunately a case was never made against me but I was accused nevertheless. I know I was the person on a number of interdicts who handled the advocates from the side of the police.
Also in Durban - I suppose you're aware of my history, I have been in Durban for a long time. Even there we had unfortunately lost somebody in detention during interrogation. So yes, Chairman, I know that people were accused and it is never to be denied, changed rather. But at the same time I want to say that, that is not a generalisation.
And what is actually nice is that the policemen are actually charging their colleagues. That is another positive thing, that it is not allowed.
MR NIENABER: Do you want me to respond? With regard to Soweto, in speaking of Soweto, I was fortunate to have never been charged for assault or there was never any charges against me in any way, but be that as it may. During detentions in Soweto which was known that people did complain that they were assaulted, cases were opened and it was investigated by an independent unit who was not part of the Security Branch. However, not as far as I know while we were in Soweto anybody was charged.
MS SOOKA: Thank you, thank you for giving evidence today. We appreciate your co-operation in this matter. We'd like to thank the translators and interpreters as well. I know that this is a violation in itself keeping them here so late.
I'd also like to thank the families of the victims and to apologise for the fact that this hearing has gone on so late tonight. And to the lawyers who've remained in attendance, I'm sure you're happy to know that we're at the end of this day's proceedings. You may stand down. Thank you. This hearing is now closed.