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Special Report
Transcripts for Section 4 of Episode 35

09:43Appearing before the Truth Commission can sometimes be a dangerous act. It has happened several times that a potential witness refused to testify out of fear for appraisal from those who are going to be implicated. For this reason the Truth Commission has appointed a specialist witness protection team.Full Transcript and References
10:04Of course there’s well known registered national and international attempts on my life, like the walkman bomb that was sent to me and killed Bheki Mlangeni, the contract murder that they tried in 1992 where they asked the freedom loyalist and terrorist in Northern Ireland and I am seen amongst the Afrikaner, my own white Afrikaner nation, as a traitor and I will go down in history as a traitor.Full Transcript
10:51Early this morning Dirk Coetzee was fetched by the witness protection team to be taken to his amnesty hearing. He’s one of about a 100 people who have been protected since the Commission started. Another was Phumzile Priscilla Ntimbane. // As the Truth Commission have started in Tembisa I got a phone and they told me if you go to the Truth Commission your life is in danger. Even now I’m here knowing that I can die at any time. Maybe if I get out of this place I might be killed. // We will not be threatened, nor will we allow anyone to be threatened and if there is any action taken against people who have come to this Commission and given evidence openly and transparently they will find themselves in a great deal of trouble, both form the Commission and from the state.Full Transcript
11:44To qualify for protection witnesses have to fulfil certain requirements. // The requirements are that the evidence which the person wishes to place before the Commission must be truthful. Secondly, the person must be in danger as a result of that evidence. // When a person’s life is in danger the first priority is to try and protect the witness within his or her own community. Usually structures like community policing forums or the local police are used. This means that the witness can be protected in their own home with the advantage that the person’s home life is not disrupted. In very serious cases however witnesses are placed in safe houses. In this controlled environment witnesses are taken away from their homes to a different place where they are guarded and not allowed contact with people outside. The witness protection team consists of six people. With the exception of Chris Macadam, a former deputy Attorney-General, all of them have been seconded from the police for the ...moreFull Transcript
12:50I selected police officers simply because of their ability to be able to assess very quickly danger situations, their knowledge of the crime situation in that area. The majority of persons I have working for me come from the background of political investigations.Full Transcript
13:10But for a witness like Dirk Coetzee the nightmare that started eight years ago when he first spoke out is still continuing. // There might be an attempt at any time on my life so I’m always armed. At home of course it’s always a problem because then I’m on my own.Full Transcript
13:29In the Commission’s witness protection programme safe houses are however not an option for amnesty applicants serving prison sentences. // It’s a normal atmosphere in prison that if somebody speaks everybody else hears about it and there’s obviously going to be danger to the person. We have a safe house where we keep our witness in a safe house, but the law would not allow us to remove a prisoner… // But these men do need and get witness protection. They are usually kept in isolation cells prior to the hearings, mostly with armed guards. If necessary they are transferred to another prison out of the province. It’s basically for safety reasons because some of them they’ve committed crimes that involve the community with other prisoners that are here in prison. So, for their own safety we keep them separate. Sentence prisoners are escorted to the hearings by prison guards. It is a measure taken not only to prevent escape. The witness protection programme also tries to ...moreFull Transcript
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