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Special Report
Transcripts for Section 5 of Episode 25

32:49In June 1986 South Africans watched in horror as a woman got burnt to death, on television. Maki Skosana’s very public necklacing started a whole new trend. But few people know about the events which led to this killing frenzy in Duduza on the East Rand. // Joe Mamasela, former Vlakplaas operative, was the first to explain his complicity in the gruesome deaths of eight people on the East Rand in 1986. But he is not the only guilty one. The steps of the other accomplices can be traced right to the top of the former nationalist government.Full Transcript and References
33:33June 26, 1986. Shortly after midnight a group of 13 ANC activists launches a hand grenade attack on the house of a policeman on the East Rand. The grenades and the limpet mine explode in their faces. Six activists and two innocent bystanders die. The story has been told by its executioner. // De Kock gave me some booby trapped, you know rigged hand grenades. And one SPM limpet mine, the big one, to give to them and then this stuff we handed to them. And they were told to choose whatever target they want, 12 midnight. And they blew themselves up. Full Transcript and References
34:14One student tried to plant the limpet mine at a power station. // It was terrible, you know because once he started pulling off the safety pin it went off. There was this black smoke billow in the air with a little tongue of red smoke red flash, flash light. One could see it was … it was terrible.Full Transcript
34:44 The death of the activists unleashed a fury of violence in the East Rand townships. The community was blinded by anger and looking for a guilty party. At the first of two funerals Archbishop Desmond Tutu had to save the life of a man believed to be working for the security forces. At the second funeral Maki Skosana had no such guardian angel. One of the first, most gruesome necklacings ended her life. When looking back one has to ask the question, what triggered this chain of events?Full Transcript
35:19At the amnesty hearings this week Gen Johan van der Merwe and Brig Jack Cronje told the nation why the grenades were booby trapped and who gave this order. It was a time when the ANC had stepped up the armed struggle. General van der Merwe said it was a reaction to an intensifying people’s war. In this war he said 270 policemen had been targeted and killed in townships between 1980 and 1990. Van der Merwe said reliable information had been received that a group of activists were planning a hand grenade attack on the house of a policeman and were awaiting the delivery of the grenades. It was his idea to jump the gun and provide the activists with the ammunition for their own deaths.Full Transcript
36:06I then made a recommendation to this effect. The then commissioner of police Gen Johan Coetzee in turn presented the recommendation to the minister, Louis le Grange, who was then the minister of police. Mister le Grange approved the relevant recommendation. I thereafter discussed the matter with Brig Jack Cronje and duly dedicated the execution of the task to him.Full Transcript
36:26An example of the fact that orders sometimes came directly from the top was the order given to me by Gen Johan van der Merwe, then Brig van der Merwe, to give hand grenades with zero explosion mechanisms to ANC activists who were looking for weapons. The order was given to me in Springs by Gen van der Merwe, and he specifically told me that the order came from Minister Louis le Grange and that President PW Botha as well as ex-commissioner General Johan Coetzee knew about it. And approved it. Full Transcript
37:04At last we have the full picture. We know whose idea it was, who approved it, who gave the order and who executed the plan. Maki Skosana was not one of the above. Full Transcript
37:19Commissioner Johan van der Merwe also told the Truth Commission that the 1988 order to bomb Khotso House in Johannesburg originated in the state president’s office. // In 1988 the headquarters of the South African Council of Churches in Johannesburg was bombed. 18 people were injured and the building badly damaged. The police blamed an activist, Shirley Gunn, for the incident. Earlier this year she told the Truth Commission how she was detained and tortured.Full Transcript and References
37:48Mister Adriaan Vlok had personally congratulated the forces for the tremendous success in creating havoc and mayhem in Johannesburg for that particular bomb. And at that point I thought. You’re not going to get away with this.Full Transcript
38:12During 1988 I received an instruction from mister Adriaan Vlok, then minister of law and order, to the effect that the building known as Khotso House was to be damaged by explosives to such an extent that it could no longer be utilized. According to mister Vlok this instruction had come from President PW Botha personally. It was common knowledge within security circles at the time that the building served as a sort of internal headquarters of the ANC where resistance campaigns, unrest and violence was planned and where financial and other assistance was provided to MK members who had infiltrated into the country. According to information, explosives were also stored in the basement of the building. I delegated the instruction to Brig Willem Schoon who at that stage commanded Vlakplaas unit and once again emphasized the question of not putting lives at risk. The instruction was duly carried out at a later date and the building was so badly damaged it was rendered non-usable.Full Transcript
39:03This was one of only two cases that Genl Johan van der Merwe testified about this week. He is applying for amnesty. So is Adriaan Vlok. Shirley Gunn, who has brought a civil claim against Vlok, will now sue former state president PW Botha as well.Full Transcript
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