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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 240

Paragraph Numbers 278 to 291

Volume 6

Section 3

Chapter 1

Subsection 25

The South African Defence Force

278. General Johannes Jacobus ‘Jannie’ Geldenhuys, Chief of the SADF, General Andreas Jacobus ‘Kat’ Liebenberg, Chief of the Army, Admiral Andries Petrus ‘Dries’ Putter, Chief of Staff Intelligence,87 and Brigadier Christoffel Pierre ‘Joffel ’ van der Westhuizen, Officer Commanding Eastern Province Command applied for amnesty for Operation Katzen, an attempt to establish a surrogate force in the Eastern Cape as well as the overthrow of the Ciskei government of Lennox Sebe. Amnesty was granted [AC/2000/192; AC/1999/243; AC/2000/037].

279. The following members of the SADF applied for amnesty for their role in destabilising the homelands:

    a Captain Henri van der Westhuizen for his role in providing arms to General Oupa Gqozo (granted in Chambers) [AM5462/97; AC/2001/212];

    b Kommandant Jan Anton Nieuwoudt for his involvement in the attempt to overthrow Chief Bantu Holomisa in the Transkei in November 1990 (application later withdrawn); and

    c Clive Brink for his involvement in the killing of Messrs Onward Guzana and Charles Sebe on 27 January 1991 (application later withdrawn).

280. 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 [AM8079/97; AM3766/96; AM4358/96]. At the time Kommandant Nieuwoudt was based in IR-CIS, allegedly a private company which provided an intelligence capacity to General Oupa Gqoza, Chief Minister of the Ciskei, but was in fact a front for the SADF.

87 Admiral Putter subsequently withdrew this application.
Northern Transvaal Security Branch and Special Forces Joint Operations

281. Giving evidence before the Amnesty Committee, Major General Abraham ‘Joep’ Joubert [AM3799/96] testified that the new Chief of the Defence Force, General Johannes Jacobus ‘Jannie’ Geldenhuys, had informed him that the government planned to expand the state of emergency countrywide in June 1986. General Geldenhuys instructed him to draw up a plan showing how Special Forc e s could provide support for the Security Branch internally. While it is clear fro m other evidence brought before the Commission and the Amnesty Committee that co-operation between Special Forces and the Security Branch pre - dated 1986, such co-operation probably related to external operations for which the Security Branch provided target intelligence.

282 . According to General Joubert, Officer Commanding Special Forces88:

At this stage, everybody of importance had realised that the unconventional and revolutionary methods provided the only hope of success. The fact that Special Forces was involved on an internal level, confirmed this.
By this time it was also clear that the ANC was not going to be stopped by normal conventional methods and that revolution a ry methods would have to be used. As the institution for external operations, Special Forces would also have to intensify its external operations. (Amnesty hearing into the death of the ‘Nietverdiend Ten’ and other incidents: AC/1999/188.)

283. General Joubert testified that the decision to involve Special Forces internally confirmed the recognition that ‘unconventional and revolutionary methods offered the only hope of success’.

284. Joubert’s plan involved killing ANC leaders and others making a substantial contribution to the struggle, and destroying ANC facilities and support services. Because the SAP and not the SADF were primarily responsible for the intern a l security situation, the plan foresaw that the Security Branch would be responsible for the identification of potential targets for killing. Thereafter both forces would jointly decide on operations and their modus operandi which, once they had been authorised by the respective commanders, would be executed by Special Forces.

285. General Joubert envisaged that this plan would be implemented in three ‘hotspots’: the Northern Transvaal, the Witwatersrand and the Eastern Cape.

286. After outlining the plan to General Geldenhuys at a function at Armscor in April or May 1986, General Joubert received the go-ahead. He testified that he believed that the plan had been vetted by General Johan Coetzee, then Commissioner of Police.

287. Generals Geldenhuys and Coetzee were earlier questioned by the Commission in connection with the amnesty applications of Joubert and others.8 9 They both denied authorising the plan and neither applied for amnesty, although they were given notice as implicated parties.

288 . The involvement of Special Forces in ‘unconventional and revolutionary’ activities was clearly unlawful. This meant that such operations had to be conducted in a covert manner. They required a partial restructuring of the covert operational structures of Special Forces. Special Forces’ covert operational capacity had been known initially as D40, later as Barnacle, and in the mid-1980s as the CCB.

289. Amnesty applications in respect of General Joubert’s plan related only to joint operations conducted with the Northern Transvaal Security Branch. It is not known what operations were conducted in co-operation with the Security Branch in the Witwatersrand area, although General Joubert denied that any other killings took place as a result of the above plan. A sworn statement that forms part of an amnesty application by a Soweto Security Branch applicant refers to two of the Special F o rces applicants, one of whom is implicated in the bombing of a building.

290 . Members of Northern Transvaal Security Branch and several Special Forces operatives sought amnesty for three operations conducted in terms of the joint plan, including the killing of the ‘Nietverdiend Ten’ on 26 June 1986, the killing of Mr Piet Mbalekwa Ntuli, minister in the Kwandebele government, on 29 July 1986 and the killing of Dr Fabian and Mrs Florence Ribeiro on 1 December 1986.

291. A further joint operation between Special Forces and Section A of the Northern Transvaal Security Branch was conducted in April 1987. This operation involved the attempted killing of MK Special Operations operatives in Botswana and resulted in the killing of three Batswana citizens. (See ‘The McKenzie car bomb’ above). Applications were received from Brigadier Cronje and two Section A operatives; from two members of the Western Transvaal Security Branch who assisted with the operation, and from General Johan van der Merwe who authorised it. In line with their policy of not seeking amnesty for external violations, members of Special Forces did not apply for amnesty.

88 A veteran of the war in Namibia and Angola , recipient of the Southern Cross Medal and other awards, a n d past chair of the SWA Joint Management Committee. 89 Armed Forces hearing, 8–9 October 1997.
 
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