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Special Report Transcript Episode 38, Section 1, Time 00:20

We’ve all heard of the dramatic stories of Dirk Coetzee and Eugene de Kock’s hit squad at Vlakplaas and the shady army unit, the CCB. And there is an impression that these formed the heart of the apartheid government’s violent strategy of torture and murder against pro-democracy activists. This impression is mistaken. There were other police units who were far more prolific killers. Three of the five security policemen appearing before the Truth Commission’s Amnesty Committee at the moment formed part of one such a death commando at Northern Transvaal Security Police head quarters: Brigadier Jack Cronje, Captain Jacques Hechter and Warrant Officer Paul van Vuuren. The other member of their team was Joe Mamasela; he has turned state witness against his colleagues and is therefore not applying for amnesty. The three men have already told the Amnesty Committee about a number of people they tortured or killed in the short period between 1985 and 1988. But it seems they have only been confessing to incidents already made public by Mamasela. They are about to apply for amnesty for a number of other murders after information was given to the Truth Commission by other policemen who are applying for amnesty. We’ll tell you about some of their deadly missions tonight and about the serious questions raised about it. We’ll also tell you about Joe Mamasela’s apparent plans to undergo plastic surgery so that he would be able to live a new life after his killing orgies, unrecognizable to his victims and former comrades. Later in the programme we look at the question of symbolic rehabilitation of our nation, monuments, walls of remembrance, healing rituals. But we start with the story of police sergeant Richard Motasi. Jacques Hechter says he killed Motasi on the 30th of November 1987 because he became too friendly with the ANC, but there could have been another reason why he and his wife had to die.

Notes: Max du Preez

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Glossary
a farm near Pretoria used as a base for police hit squads
 
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