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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 286
Paragraph Numbers 504 to 509
504 Secondly, involvement in killings, primarily cross-border killings, precedes both the establishment of target group(s) and TREWITS. This would indicate that people attending TREWITS meetings as regional representatives had previously played a significant role at both an intelligence-gathering and operational level and the question needs to be asked as to whether they were chosen to represent the regional security branch at TREWITS meetings for precisely this reason. What is also significant about Security Branch members who were drawn into TREWITS meetings in the regions is that many had been engaged in border duty both in then South West Africa and/or Rhodesia, once again showing the continuity between counter-insurgency warfare in the region and Security Branch work inside South Africa. It would appear that those chosen for service in the regions were chosen precisely for their counter-insurgency experience.
505 Thirdly, in the period in which TREWITS existed (post December 1986), there are both internal and external killings and it is reasonable to speculate that these are directly associated with some form of target identification.
506 Fourthly, some operatives from different regions/divisions are involved in the same operations. These networks that developed between different operatives are crucial in understanding the culture and pattern of killing that developed.
507 Finally, the involvement of senior security branch personnel such as divisional heads (Visser and Loots) and branch heads (Deetleefs) is a significant indicator of the level of sanction.
508 There can be no doubt that those identified as attending regional TREWITS meetings saw their function, centrally, as target identification, and that once an individual’s name appeared on a TREWITS target list, he/she was seen as a legitimate target. In the words of a participant: “What did they think we were collecting all this information about addresses, cars, movement for? To send Christmas cards?”
509 KIK documentation and Commission investigations indicate that the functioning of TREWITS may have declined, particularly after 1988, as a result of internal conflicts and political developments. However, the set of networks that had been established continued to function.
THE COMMISSION REJECTS THE STANDPOINT OF FORMER NIS DIRECTOR GENERAL NIEL BARNARD AND OTHER FORMER NIS OPERATIVES WHO HAVE DENIED INVOLVEMENT AND/OR KNOWLEDGE THAT INTELLIGENCE GATHERED WAS PUT TO OPERATIONAL USES THAT INCLUDED ELIMINATION. IN EVIDENCE BEFORE THE COMMISSION, DR BARNARD CONCEDED THAT INFORMATION WAS PROVIDED BOTH TO THE SECURITY BRANCH AND THE SADF BUT CLAIMED THAT ‘THE DEFENCE FORCE WAS NOT UNDER MY RESPONSIBILITY NEITHER THE POLICE. WHAT THE POLICE OR THE ARMY DID WITH THE INFORMATION I DO NOT KNOW.’ THE COMMISSION FINDS HIS VIEWPOINT THAT THE MANNER IN WHICH INTELLIGENCE SUPPLIED BY HIS AGENCY WAS USED, WAS NOT HIS CONCERN, UNACCEPTABLE. THE COMMISSION FINDS FURTHER, THAT:
THE COMMISSION FINDS THE FOLLOWING STRUCTURES AND INDIVIDUALS TO BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLING OF POLITICAL OPPONENTS: THE STATE PRESIDENT, MINISTERS OF LAW AND ORDER, DEFENCE, FOREIGN AFFAIRS, COMMISSIONERS OF POLICE, CHIEFS OF THE SECURITY BRANCH AND HEADS OF C SECTION, CHIEFS OF THE DEFENCE FORCE, OCS SPECIAL FORCES, CHAIR OF THE SADF GENERAL COMMAND COUNCIL, CSI , GENERAL MANAGER CCB, DIRECTOR GENERAL, NIS FURTHER, ALL MEMBERS OF THE CABINET AND THE SSC ARE FOUND TO BE INDIRECTLY ACCOUNTABLE.