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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 214
Paragraph Numbers 145 to 154
The Oasis Motel
1 4 5 . Applicants from the Western Transvaal and Soweto Security Branches testified that they took part in two aborted operations with Special Forces in August or September 1987. The aim had been to kill several prominent MK and SACTU leaders based in Botswana who were allegedly in the process of setting up MK or Industrial Combat Units within the Post and Telegraphic Workers’ Association ( P O T WA), a trade union in South Africa. Special Forces called off the first attempt for reasons unknown to the applicants. In the second operation, an explosive device was set up in the room of the Oasis Motel, where the targets w e re due to meet a source of the Soweto Security Branch, SWT 180. When they did not arrive for the meeting, the device was dismantled.
The Bulawayo operation
146. On 11 January 1988, a car bomb exploded outside a house in Harare, Zimbabwe. During the subsequent trial it emerged that the incident had been an operation conducted by the Zimbabwe cell of the CCB.
147. According to evidence at the trial, Mr Kevin John Woods, a Zimbabwean citizen recruited by the NIS, had received information that MK was using the house as a transit facility. He later received instructions from Pretoria to liaise with the CCB cell with a view to launching an attack on the transit facility. The CCB cell assembled a car bomb and recruited Mr Amon Mwanza, an unemployed Zimbabwean citizen, to drive the car to the targeted house. The car was detonated outside the house, killing Mr Mwanza and severely injuring a resident of the house.
148. Kevin Woods and three members of the CCB cell, Barry Bawden, Philip Conjwayo and Michael Smith, were sentenced to death for this operation. The sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment. Mr Woods, the only one of the four to apply for amnesty, later withdrew his application.
Patrick Vundla and the arms cache
149. A number of Security Branch operatives applied for their role in one, or possibly two, operations involving the establishment of an arms cache in Krugersdorp on 28 March 1988 [AC/2001/228 & AC/2001/119]. The applicants were Messrs JH le Roux [AM4148/96], JC Meyer [AM4152/96] MJ Naude [AM4362/96], EA de Kock [AM0066/96], JC Coetzee [AM4120/96] and WF Schoon [AM4396/96].
150 . Brigadier Schoon, head of Group C at Security Branch Headquarters, told the Committee that he was approached by the Chief of the Army, General AJ ‘Kat’ Liebenberg, and asked whether the Security Branch could establish and then ‘discover’ an arms cache of Eastern Bloc weapons. The arms cache could be ascribed to MK units in Botswana, thus providing a pretext to launch an attack. The SADF seems to have been having difficulty in getting political authorisation for the proposed operation and was hoping that this would tilt the balance in their favour. Brigadier Schoon’s allegation could not be tested, as General Liebenberg was no longer alive and none of the SADF personnel had applied for amnesty for this incident.
151. An arms cache was duly established at Krugersdorp and later ‘uncovered’ by the Security Branch. Brigadier Schoon and one of his operatives accompanied Generals Liebenberg and Joubert to Cape Town to be on standby should they be required to brief the relevant ministers. The proposed attack was authorised and conducted on 28 March 1988. The target and outcome of this attack is not clear.
152. On the same day, a separate ‘hot pursuit’ operation was launched on an alleged transit house in Botswana. This followed the capture of one and the killing three days later of three MK operatives near Derdepoort, Thabazimbi by an SADF patrol. Mr Vuyo Moleli (aka Kagiso Mogale or Vito), the captured operative, was handed to the Western Transvaal Security Branch. During interrogation, they established that his unit had stayed overnight at a transit house in Botswana. They then handed him over to Special Forces who launched an attack on the house, killing a senior MK commander, Mr Patrick Sandile Mvundla, (aka Naledi Sehume) and two women, both of whom were Batswana nationals. Mr WJ Loots [AM4149/96; AC/2001/228] was granted amnesty for this incident.
153. While it is possible that the above two incidents are in fact one, detail from the amnesty hearing seems to suggest two separate incidents.
154. Some of the other operations in which SADF personnel have been implicated by Security Branch personnel include:
a The bombing of two houses in Mbabane, Swaziland, on 4 June 1980 in which MK operative Patrick Mmakou and a seven-year-old boy, Patrick Nkosi, were killed.
b The abduction from Swaziland and subsequent torture of ANC member Dayan ‘Joe’ Pillay on 19 May 1981.
c The killing of seven COSAS activists and the injuring of eight people on the East Rand on 26 June 1985 in a Security Branch operation code-named Operation Zero .