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Special Report
Transcripts for Section 5 of Episode 11

29:00 The Truth Commission staff categorise human rights violations under different headings: severe assault, torture, necklacing, death in detention. But the most disturbing is disappearance. The name Stanza Bopape was filed under this heading. Full Transcript and References
29:18I feel very sad about my son because I don’t know if he is dead or where he is. The way the stories are being told I can’t believe anybody. // We were together at the University of the North, we were doing law together. As I remember him, he was a very gentle person, a very caring person and he was very committed. He was a very committed activist; he was committed to the struggle for liberation. And that’s how I remember him, as a very honest and committed activist.Full Transcript
30:02On the ninth of June, 1988 the 27 year old Bopape was detained by security police and interrogated at John Vorster Square. The official police version given by then police minister Adriaan Vlok is that around midnight on June 11 Bopape was taken to Vereeniging. The car had a puncture on the way. The three policemen then started changing the wheel. Bopape in handcuffs and leg irons somehow got hold of the keys to his shackles, unlocked himself, got out of the car, and ran into the veld. One policeman shot at him but missed. He simply disappeared. Vlok told Parliament Bopape was afterwards seen at an ANC terrorist attack. Full Transcript
30:45Fink and my father were working together till they meet the former Minister of Law and Order, Mr. Vlok, just to find out exactly what happened to him and Vlok referred them to Johan van der Merwe who was then the Commissioner of Police. So the two guys say maybe he might have fled to exile, somewhere in Lusaka. So my father, he and mister Fink went to Lusaka to go and search for him. And finally, everything, all in vain. Full Transcript
31:19Three days after the so-called escape police told the family lawyer that Bopape was still in detention. Three weeks later they said he had escaped. // We just heard it through the press, because the police didn’t even come to let us know that, anyway we have to know, that Stanza was arrested. They didn’t even inform us. So we just heard it through the newspaper. So, it was shocking to us. And even now, what makes us … that even if he might be dead, is that the police didn’t even come again at my home just to find out where he is. Because they just claimed he’s disappeared. And that was all. Because before then they’ve been coming to search for him. But since they claimed that he had disappeared, they never come to our place. So it means they know what they have done to him. Full Transcript
32:10The police occurrence book at John Vorster Square … warrant officer Mostert is one of the people who took Stanza out for the investigation, during which it was alleged that he escaped. We can only infer that those were the people that were actually involved with this interrogation and who would perhaps know what actually happened and be able to give more light as to what happened. The only thing that we can do at this point of course is to just draw inferences. We look at the entries in the occurrence book at John Vorster Square for the night in which Stanza allegedly escaped from custody and we have the names of the policemen there who took him out on that investigation. And a later entry in that occurrence book at about five past five in the morning says, Stanza escaped near De Deur once they were out on an investigation. And the entry there is made by this warrant officer Mostert and we can only assume that the people who’d be able to give us more light with regard to this ...moreFull Transcript
33:25But the real story seems to be much, much simpler. // Tell me about Stanza Bopape. // The first thing that happened to me was that I was put under a lot of pressure by some of my agents about what had happened to Stanza Bopape. And I had to defend myself because I had never heard of the guy, I’d never seen him. It was only later, actually at an informal gathering of security policemen that the true story came out that he somehow, I understand that he was picked up in Pretoria. He was brought through to John Vorster Square and during interrogation, physical interrogation, he died and his body was disposed of down a disused mine shaft.Full Transcript
34:03A day after Erasmus told me this I asked the then Commissioner, General Johan van der Merwe, for his reaction. // I am not aware of one murder committed while being commissioner, and even before. I am not aware of a single murder, or of someone responsible for murder.Full Transcript
34:23I wanted to request the police to say where they have taken my son. I want to know where my son is and where they have taken him. They must hand him over to me so that I can bury him, even if it is only his bones. Full Transcript
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