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Special Report Transcript Episode 21, Section 2, Time 02:18
It began in November 1978, a warm summer’s day that began like any other for Susan and Jaap van der Merwe on their farm Swartklip at Thabazimbi near the Botswana border. Susan left for a teaching job and Jaap went to a nearby farm to shoot a buck. He left a note saying he might be late, but he never came back. // On Thursday afternoon my sister-in-law phoned me she said: Susan where is Jaap? And I said. But Jaap is at Wag-‘n-bietjiesdraai. She said but he is definitely not here. And I said but then there is a big problem. The security police at that stage started realizing that people were coming in from Botswana. They came to me and said they suspect that something had happened to him. My one son refused to go back to school. He was seventeen years old. He said he was not going back to school until they found his father. He got hold of a horse from one of the farm people and he helped with the search. // They searched for weeks. The police, the commando, farmers, and farm workers but no trace could be found of Jaap van der Merwe in the dense scrub of the Bushveld. There were no clues of what had happened to him on that hunting trip. And it was only four years later that a police informer told police that a group of Umkhonto we Sizwe soldiers from Botswana were responsible. // They told him that they had commandeered his vehicle and forced him to take it to the border. At some point… From the information we could not establish exactly where they told him to get out of the car and walk into the bush. When he walked into the bush they shot him from behind. He fell onto his face and John Masibi then got out of the car and went to him. He turned him over and shot him between the eyes. That is the information I have. And after all these years it makes no difference. It has not become softer and the feelings about that have not improved. It will always be there. But the fact that I have had the opportunity to tell my story to the Commission has brought me to a point where I feel I have done something for him. He did not just get lost.
Notes: Report by Anneliese Burgess.; Photo: Jaap and Susan; Susan van der Merwe interviewed
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