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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 209
Paragraph Numbers 123 to 134
Attacks on homes
123 . There were also applications for forty-eight attacks on houses by petrol bombing, other ‘home-made’ devices or, in the case of credibility operations,53 modified grenades. A covert unit of the Northern Transvaal Security Branch, acting in concert with certain members of the SAP’s Special Investigation Unit into unrest, was responsible for a number of petrol bomb and pentolite bomb attacks on the homes of activists in Mamelodi, Atteridgeville, Tembisa , Ekangala, Moutse and Pietersburg. At least three people are known to have died in these attacks.53 Credibility operations were designed to provide cover for deep cover agents.
124 . Several applications related to activities in the mid-1970s by Stratcom operatives. These applications provided details of a range of threatening actions including vandalising cars and property and making threatening phone calls. Condoned by commanders, this behaviour developed into more serious attacks such as throwing bricks through windows, blackmail, loosening bolts on car wheels and firing shots at homes.54 Strategic communication or Stratcom: a form of psychological warfare waged by both conventional and unconventional means.
125. Attacks on installations were used to provide credibility for deep-cover agents and sources. This was the method used by the SIU during the 1980s. Applications were received from members of the SIU for approximately fourteen c redibility operations, including several grenade attacks on houses using modified grenades, as well as a range of attacks on installations. These included blowing up railway lines, attacks on administration board offices and detonating dummy explosive devices on the property of a councillor and a university official . A more serious operation included the placing of explosive devices outside migrant hostels.
126. Amnesty applications for dealing with the illegal movement of arms were dealt with in Chambers.55
127. Some applications in this respect related to operations where the Security Branch was attempting to establish the credibility of a source or agent. Others involved Stratcom operations like the Krugersdorp incident where an arms cache of Eastern Bloc weapons was planted and then ‘discovered,’ providing the pretext for an SADF raid into Botswana56 A number of applications involved establishing private arms caches in the 1990s, ostensibly to provide access to weapons in the event of the failure of negotiations and the outbreak of civil war.57
128. At least seven applicants from C1/Vlakplaas applied for amnesty for unlawfully transporting massive quantities of arms of Eastern Bloc origin from Koevoet in Namibia to South Africa. These were weapons that had been seized in the course of the Namibian war and were transferred and stored in an armoury belonging to Vlakplaas.58
129. However, the bulk of applications relating to the provision of unlawful weapons concern the supply of weaponry to the IFP in the 1990s.5 9 These applications60 came principally from C1/Vlakplaas and described how weapons seized in Namibia were supplied to the IFP on the East Rand and Natal. Several C1/Vlakplaas applicants also applied for amnesty for training the IFP in the use of such weaponry. Some of the applicants testified that the provision of arms was done with the approval of Security Branch Headquarters and was in line with a policy of support for the IFP.
130. C1/Vlakplaas operatives also applied for amnesty for the provision of weapons for the attempted overthrow of the then Chief Minister of the Transkei, General Bantu Holomisa. Testimony at the amnesty hearings confirms that this was done at the request of SADF operatives.61 Kommandant Jan Anton Nieuwoudt of the SADF applied for amnesty for the attempt to overthrow General Holomisa in the Transkei in November 1990, but later withdrew his application.62
131. The Amnesty Committee heard that the armoury was moved from Vlakplaas during the Harms investigation (East London hearing, 19 April 1999) and transferred first to Daisy farm (owned by Security Branch Headquarters) and then to Mechem, a subsidiary of Armscor. However, operatives continued to have access to the armoury long after they ceased to be members of the SAP. In one instance, Mr Phillip Powell of the IFP received from Colonel de Kock six 10-ton truckloads of weapons, said to be a fraction of the remaining armoury. At the time of this handover, in October 1993, Colonel de Kock was no longer a member of the SAP.63
132. Evidence that emerged before the Amnesty Committee confirmed the long-held view that the Security Branch was involved in the conflict in the 1990s. Colonel de Kock and others of his operatives asserted in their applications that the provision of arms was authorised by the commander of Group C, Brigadier ‘Krappies’ Engelbrecht and the head of the Security Branch64, General SJJ ‘Basie’ Smit.
133. Mr Gary Leon Pollock, who was based first at Alexandra Security Branch (a sub-branch of Witwatersrand) and later at the Natal Security Branch, confirmed that these actions were in line with Security Branch policy at the time. He testified that, following what he described as ‘the severe lowering of morale and confusion among Security Branch personnel that accompanied the negotiations phase,’ generals from Security Branch Headquarters visited the Alexandra Security Branch. The generals assured members that their ‘tasks were still the same’ and would in fact be increased to strenthen the bargaining positions of the National Party in the negotiating process. These ‘tasks’ involved creating an environment of instability and eroding the credibility of the ANC.
134. Pollock, who testified at the Security Forces hearing in November 2000, applied for amnesty for number of incidents, which included the supply of weapons to the IFP; warning IFP hostels of impending police raids; discharge of firearms in Alexandra at night to intensify residents’ insecurity, and furnishing the IFP with the names of ANC members.55 See this volume, Section One, Chapter Three for more information about chamber matters. 56 A M 4 1 2 0 / 9 6 ;A M 4 1 5 2 / 9 6 ;A M 4 3 6 2 / 9 6 ; AM0066/96 and A M 4 3 9 6 . 57 AM3766/96 and A M 4 3 5 8 / 9 6 . 58 AC / 2 0 0 1 / 1 6 2 ; AC / 2 0 0 1 / 1 7 8 ; AC / 2 0 0 1 / 1 9 2 ; AC / 2 0 0 1 / 1 9 9 ; AC / 2 0 0 1 / 2 0 2 ; AC / 2 0 0 1 / 2 1 0 ; AC / 2 0 0 1 / 2 1 4 . 59 See Volume Tw o, Chapter Seve n ,p p. 605–10 for further detail on the provision of weapons to the IFP. 60 A M 5 6 6 6 / 9 7 ;A M 3 7 6 4 / 9 6 ;A M 3 7 6 2 / 9 6 ;A M 2 7 7 5 / 9 6 ;A M 2 5 3 8 / 9 6 . 61 AM 0066/96; A M 3 7 6 4 / 9 6 ;A M 3 7 6 6 / 9 6 ; AM5183/97 and A M 4 3 5 8 / 9 6 . 62 The Amnesty Committee also received several applications from members of C1/ Vlakplaas for their role in providing Kommandant Jan Anton Nieuwoudt with arms to be used in the coup. At the time Ko m mandant Nieuwoudt was based in IR-CIS, allegedly a private company that provided an intelligence capacity to General Oupa Gqoza, Chief Minister of the Ciskei , but in fact a front for the SADF. 63 Volume Th r e e, Chapter Th r e e, p. 3 1 8 f f. 64 By that stage known as Crime Combating and Investigation following the re-organisation of the SAP in the 1 9 9 0 s.