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Special Report
Transcripts for Section 2 of Episode 33

TimeSummary
01:26Steven Bantu Biko was arrested on 18 August 1977. At the Walmer police station he was kept naked and alone in a cell for 20 days. He was handcuffed and chained to a grill. Less than a month later he died of severe head injuries, alone, on a cell floor in the Pretoria prison hospital.Full Transcript and References
01:48This is the death that they will not explain away.Full Transcript
01:56Donald Woods was right. They tried to cover up, but 20 years later we will know the truth. Jimmy Kruger, then minister of justice, told the first lie. He told the world that Biko died after a hunger strike. Later, he would deny that he said this.Full Transcript
02:16Biko’s interrogation team was headed by Colonel Harold Snyman; it included Brigadier Daantjie Siebert, Warrant Officers Rubin Marx and Johan Beneke and Gideon Niewoudt, better known now as the Motherwell bomber. These men are now applying for amnesty. The missing application is perhaps that of the late Colonel Pieter Goosen, head of the security police in Port Elizabeth at the time and in the eyes of many the man responsible for Biko’s death. The district surgeon, Dr Ivor Lang examined Biko five days before he died and reported that he found no evidence of abnormality or pathology. Neither his report nor that of chief district surgeon Benjamin Tucker mentioned the bruises to Biko’s face, chest, ankles and wrists. They could also not explain their failure to identify the brain injuries that would kill Steve Biko. When he was found collapsed on the floor of his cell, glassy eyed and foaming at the mouth, they drove with him, naked in the back of this van, 12 00 kilometres to the ...moreFull Transcript and References
03:31We now know that the security police were liars; we now know that there were and there still are to some extend among them murderers and criminals, which that time was concealed and we now know that they were capable of manipulating the whole system of administration of justice in the country.Full Transcript
03:55The five applicants in this case will finally, 20 years later, have to tell us exactly how justice was manipulated.Full Transcript
04:06Sizwe Kondile, a prominent student activist and ANC member, was arrested entering South Africa from Lesotho on 26 June 1981. In an attempt to escape he dived through a window, his hands were cuffed behind his back and he landed on his head. The brain injury he suffered could not be explained away. Colonel Nick van Rensburg called in the expertise of the then Vlakplaas commander, Dirk Coetzee.Full Transcript and References
04:32He was officially released at Bloemfontein where his car and belongings were handed to him and then a big scene in front of the uniform branch personal I suppose and when he then left on the road, he was abducted again by Nick van Rensburg and his men.Full Transcript
04:53Kondile was taken to Komatipoort where they met Coetzee. One of the officers gave Kondile poison. After about 20 minutes he passed out.Full Transcript
05:00One of Major Archie Flemington’s men, a sergeant or a warrant, a slender built tallish man, light hair took a makarov pistol with a silencer on and whilst he was lying, Mr. Kondile was lying on his back, shot him on top of the head. There was a short jerk and that was it. The four junior, non-commission, officers, Paul van Dyk, Sgt Jan from Col Nick van Rensburg’s branch and the two Ermelo men each grabbed a hand and a foot, put it onto the pyre of tyre and wood, poured petrol on it and set it alight. Now of course during the burning of a body to ashes, takes about seven hours, and whilst that happened we were drinking and even having a braai next to the fire. Full Transcript
06:06They left Kondile’s car in Swaziland to give the impression that he had left the country. Last year Kondile’s mother, Charity, asked the Truth Commission to help her find her son’s murderers.Full Transcript
06:19I would ask the Commission to assist us to bring the perpetrators of this gruesome murder before the court so that these perpetrators could be charged and punished for what they did and the manner in which my son was murdered.Full Transcript
06:40Nick van Rensburg and Dirk Coetzee have both applied for amnesty for the murder.Full Transcript
06:46Another East Cape activist, Siphiwo Mtimkulu and his friend Topsy Madaka, disappeared mysteriously in 1982, shortly after Mtimkulu was released from detention. At the time he was suing Adriaan Vlok, minister of law and order, for thallium poisoning he suffered on his release. The two young men were picked up the Eastern Cape security branch near the Holiday Inn in Port Elizabeth. They were taken to the Post Chalmers police station where they were given drinks spiked with sedatives and then shot. Their bodies were burnt and the remains thrown in the Fish River. Nick van Rensburg and Gideon Niewoudt are both applying for amnesty for their deaths. They are now admitting that they lied. At the Truth Commission hearings last year they used a court interdict to prevent the families of the victim from naming them as perpetrators. Full Transcript and References
07:36There are remarkable similarities between the cases of Mtimkulu, and that of the Pebco Three. Sipho Hashe, Qaqawuli Godolozi and Champion Galela, activists and members of the Port Elizabeth Black Civics Organisation were lured to the HF Verwoerd Airport on a night in May 1985 by a phone call from what they thought was a British diplomat. They too disappeared without a trace. The police claimed the men had left the country. More lies. The abduction of the Pebco Three was a Vlakplaas job. Joe Mamasela was there, following the orders of Roelf Venter who told us about his involvement last year.Full Transcript and References
08:17The aim of the operation was to question them, to get information from them and to remove them from the area and to neutralize their involvement.Full Transcript and References
08:26Godolozi, Hashe and Galela were left with Sakkie van Zyl and Gert Beeslaar of the Port Elizabeth security branch. At this point Vlakplaas pulled out. They were also taken to Post Chalmers and their fate was exactly the same as that of Siphiwo Mtimkulu and Topsy Madaka. It is up to Van Rensburg, Niewoudt and Gerhard Lotz to provide us with a few missing details. Full Transcript
08:52Missing details protected the perpetrators at two inquests into the murders of Matthew Goniwe, prominent Cradock activist and teacher, Sparrow Mkonto, Fort Calata and Sicelo Mhlauli. The Cradock Four disappeared in June 1985 while travelling between Cradock and Port Elizabeth. Their burnt bodies were found near St George’s Beach. Sicelo Mhlauli was found without one hand. The first inquest found that they were killed by unknown persons. Seven years later the New Nation reported that a signal was sent from the Eastern Cape Joint Management Centre to the secretariat of the State Security Council; it said that Matthew and Mbolelo Goniwe and Fort Calata should be permanently removed from society as a matter of urgency. Three weeks later the Cradock Four were dead. The signal was sent by Colonel Lourens du Plessis on the orders of General Joffel van der Westhuizen to Major General Johannes van Rensburg. General Van der Westhuizen said he could not remember the signal. General Van ...moreFull Transcript and References
10:35Families of these slain activists this week bravely tried to weave these latest revelations into their understanding of how and why their loved ones were disposed of quite so brutally. They’re clear on one thing; they want the full truth before forgiving or reconciling with their tormentors. Full Transcript
10:55On the banks of this river, more than a decade ago, horrific rituals were played out in the dead of night. This is where security policemen got rid of the burnt plastic wrapped remains of Siphiwo Mtimkulu, Topsy Madaka, Sipho Hashe, Champion Galela and Qaqawuli Godolozi. On Wednesday this week, a crisp sunny Karoo day, the families of the murdered men arrived at the Fish River to enact a ritual of a different kind.Full Transcript
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