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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 286

Paragraph Numbers 504 to 509

Volume 2

Chapter 3

Subsection 53

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:
  • EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLINGS WERE UNDERTAKEN BY A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT SECURITY BRANCH DIVISIONS AND BY THE SPECIAL FORCES AND OCCURRED ACROSS THE COUNTRY BUT WITH A CONCENTRATION IN AREAS ADJACENT TO SOUTH AFRICA’S BORDERS WITH ITS IMMEDIATE NEIGHBOURS AS WELL AS WITHIN THOSE STATES;
  • EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLINGS WERE OFTEN THE END RESULT OF A PROCESS OF OPERATIONALLY DIRECTED INTELLIGENCE COLLECTION ON TARGETED INDIVIDUALS. ALL THREE PRIMARY SECURITY INTELLIGENCE ARMS – NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE SERVICE (NIS), SECTION C2 OF THE SECURITY BRANCH, AND MILITARY INTELLIGENCE – UNDERTOOK SUCH ACTIVITIES AND CO-ORDINATED THEIR INFORMATION THROUGH JOINT PARTICIPATION IN SO-CALLED TARGET WORKGROUPS FORMED IN 1986 IN CERTAIN SELECTED STRATEGIC AREAS (EASTERN TRANSVAAL, SOUTHERN FREE STATE) WHOSE ROLE WAS INTER ALIA TO TARGET INDIVIDUALS FOR KILLING OUTSIDE OF SOUTH AFRICA’S BORDERS AS WELL AS CO-ORDINATING STRUCTURES SUCH AS THE TEEN REWOLUSIONERE INLIGTINGS TAAKSPAN (TREWITS);
  • EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLINGS WERE TARGETED PRIMARILY AT HIGH-PROFILE ACTIVISTS INSIDE AND OUTSIDE SOUTH AFRICA; THOSE BOTH CONNECTED TO BOTH MILITARY (MK AND APLA) AND NON-MILITARY STRUCTURES; AT THOSE ACTIVISTS OR PERCEIVED ACTIVISTS WHOSE CONVICTION HAD NOT BEEN SECURED THROUGH THE JUDICIAL PROCESS OR WHERE IT WAS BELIEVED THAT JUDICIAL ACTION WOULD NOT SUCCEED; AS WELL AS AT OWN FORCES WHOSE LOYALTY CAME INTO QUESTION;
    • EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLINGS WERE OFTEN ACCOMPANIED BY THE DELIBERATE PLACING OF WEAPONS ON OR NEAR THE BODIES OF VICTIMS AFTER THEY HAD BEEN KILLED.
    • THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT SUCH EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLINGS TOOK THE FORM OF:
  • THE ASSASSINATION OF ACTIVISTS BY STATE OPERATIVES WHERE THE MODUS OPERANDI IN MANY CASES WAS SUCH THAT THE KILLING WOULD BE LAID AT THE DOOR OF A THIRD PARTY;
  • AMBUSHES OF COMBATANTS OR THOSE LINKED TO MILITARY STRUCTURES ENTERING SOUTH AFRICA. WHILE THE COMMISSION WAS UNABLE TO ESTABLISH INTENT TO ELIMINATE IN EVERY CASE, THE PATTERN THAT EMERGES IN THE POST-1985 PERIOD IS THAT IN MANY INSTANCES LITTLE OR NO ATTEMPT WAS MADE TO EFFECT ARRESTS, LENDING CREDENCE TO THE VIEW THAT ELIMINATION WAS THE PRIMARY PURPOSE;
  • ENTRAPMENT KILLINGS WHERE SECURITY FORCE PERSONNEL PARTICIPATED IN THE RECRUITMENT AND/OR MILITARY TRAINING AND/OR SUPPLY OF WEAPONRY (SOMETIMES BOOBY-TRAPPED) TO ACTIVISTS WHO WERE THEN ELIMINATED;
  • THE KILLING OF PERSONS IN THE PROCESS OF EFFECTING AN ARREST OR WHILST THEY WERE POINTING OUT ARMS. AS IN THE ABOVE CASE, A CLEAR PATTERN EMERGES THAT MANY OF THESE WERE KILLING ACTIONS;
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.
 
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