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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 223

Paragraph Numbers 231 to 233

Volume 2

Chapter 3

Subsection 25

Richard Turner

231 Dr Richard Turner [KZN/KP/001/DN], killed at his Durban home shortly after midnight on 8 January 1978, was one such figure. Details of Turner’s killing are documented in Volume Three. The Commission’s Investigation Unit concluded that the police investigation that followed his assassination “was so poorly conducted, that it gives the impression of complete lack of competence or deliberate negligence from the investigators and their superiors”. Amongst other things:

a The crime scene was not properly secured; no forensic examination report was made of actions taken at the crime scene; the bullet was found, not by the police, but by Turner’s former wife the day after the killing by simply following a line from the bullet hole.

b None of the neighbours, their servants or people moving around the area at the time were questioned, including a neighbour, Mr Jack Tubb, who acted as a security police informer and who was seen walking around his garden with a 9mm pistol shortly after Turner’s death.

c Bureau of State Security (BOSS) agent Martin Dolinchek, whose name appears in the investigation diary on 25 January 1978 with the comment “the integrity and movements of him are strongly to be suspected” was never questioned or asked to give a statement.

d On 1 February 1978, investigating officer Brigadier Chris Earle noted that “Due to the delicate nature thereof, not all possible information and leads are written down. The situation will first be explored further.”

e The investigation was closed by Major Groenewald and/or his superior Brigadier Hansen in November 1978 before the inquest was held and shortly after investigating officers were advised by their superiors not to waste time on the investigation into Dolinchek, because there was no evidence of his involvement.

232 While the Commission was unable to establish the exact identity of the assassin, evidence supported the widely held view that Turner had been killed by members of the security forces. In a section 29 hearing, Brigadier Earle was asked whether he believed the killing had been planned and engineered by officers superior to himself. He responded, “I would not say people above me or higher than me but people who were part of the security forces and that they wanted to protect this and not have it known”. Martin Dolinchek told the Commission that he had visited Turner shortly before his death, apparently as part of an assessment as

233 Suspicion has also been cast on the ‘Z-squad,’ an operational unit of BOSS that was alleged to have been involved in such operations. A member of the former NIS, now a high-ranking NIA official, confirmed that Z-squad member Phil Freeman had the necessary technical expertise and had allegedly been involved in an intimidation action in which a gunshot was fired through the front door of the Reverend Theo Kotze’s house. At the time, Kotze was the Western Cape director of the Christian Institute, a structure that had not only been the target of considerable police harassment but had also initiated the SPROCAS project, in which Turner had also participated. However, a passport held by Freeman reflects that he was in France at the time of Turner’s killing.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT DR RICHARD TURNER WAS KILLED BY UNKNOWN MEMBERS OF THE SECURITY FORCES. THE COMMISSION WAS, HOWEVER, UNABLE TO DETERMINE ON WHOSE ORDERS OR WHICH COMPONENT OF THE SECURITY FORCES WERE INVOLVED. THIS FINDING DOES NOT PRECLUDE THE POSSIBILITY THAT THE KILLING OF DR TURNER WAS NOT INTENTIONAL AND THAT THE INTENTION WAS INTIMIDATORY. EVEN IF THIS WAS THE CASE, THE POSSIBILITY OF INJURIES OR DEATH ARISING OUT OF SUCH AN ACTION SHOULD HAVE BEEN FORESEEN.
 
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