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Special Report
Transcripts for Section 7 of Episode 39

20:46A psychiatrist’s’ report handed to the Amnesty Committee this week states that some of the applicants suffer from severe post-traumatic stress disorder and that this might account for some of their lapses in memory. But the report also gives a deeper insight into the minds of these five policemen. The past has left them severely psychologically damagedFull Transcript
21:13Captain Wouter Mentz seems to be the most severely damaged. He suffers from very severe post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. He is a classic case of so-called bomb shock as seen in soldiers after the second world war. He suffers from a nervous disorder which makes him pull out his hair. According to the psychiatric report he is so ill that he should be hospitalized. His body language during the hearings often showed signs of agitation and nervousness. Captain Mentz seems to have chosen the police as a career to find approval from an overbearing father figure. His sensitive nature was often at odds with the violent deeds he was expected to carry out, like the murder of an unknown askari.Full Transcript and References
22:00I was tense and nauseous. I found it totally unacceptable. I knew the man would be killed but I went along with it. The method bothered me. I would rather have said that if they wanted to kill him that they have the man walking ahead of us and that they shoot him from behind, or that they blindfold him, but not have him sitting on a chair and facing you. Don’t shoot him that way. I did not feel good about it.Full Transcript
22:34Wouter Mentz cries easily. He was the one applicant who showed signs of emotional distress while testifying. After being part of the murder of fellow Vlakplaas policeman, Brian Ngqulunga he was ordered to attend the funeral. I simply couldn’t bring myself to attend the funeral, it was too much for me and I just couldn’t be involved in somebody’s funeral whom I had assisted in murdering. He also showed remorse for the murder of two children during the raid on the house of Sam Chand in Botswana. I still have a problem with this operation. I think of the children who were shot and I don’t live comfortably with this fact.Full Transcript
23:34During his time at Valkplaas Mentz began suffering from severe panic attacks. Since 1984 he has become too scared to sleep as he constantly relives violent episodes in his dreams. He started drinking heavily to cope with trauma and today his psychiatrist classifies him as fully dysfunctional. Brigadier Jack Cronje suffers from moderate to severe post-traumatic stress disorder. The root of this lies in his experiences during the Rhodesian bush war and later in the security police. He suffers from emotional burn out and a lack of concentration. Since the start of the amnesty hearings his nightmares and flashbacks have got worse. He also suffers from memory loss which is compounded by severe alcohol abuse in the past. Captain Jacques Hechter is a borderline personality. Emotional stress causes his personality to split into two personas, on the one hand the law enforcement officer and on the other hand the so-called white terrorist. This disorder has ironically protected him from ...moreFull Transcript
25:03 But it is not only the past that has left its emotional mark. The five weeks of gruelling amnesty hearings have taken its toll on the five policemen. It made us very tired. We can’t go on. We want to know the outcome. I’m trying to forget. I hope we get amnesty so I could continue with my life.Full Transcript
25:30Are you bitter? Yes, I am bitter. Actually quite a lot. Who do you blame? I blame the previous government, the National Party for the position I’m in. I accept responsibility for my actions. I’m not saying my actions are their problem. But, after all we fought for our country. Take President Mandela, he stands with his people. But our leaders, our previous leaders, don’t stand by us. During the time we committed these acts we believed it was right. If I look back today I can see it was a waste of time, money and valuable human lives. It served no purpose. Absolutely nothing. We should rather have stayed at home. Things would have gone better. It served no purpose. It was a waste. As far as I’m concerned the whole bush war in South West was also a waste of money and lives. They might as well have called a general election in 1948. What was the purpose? Full Transcript
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