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Special Report
Transcripts for Section 2 of Episode 57

02:18‘Face to Face: The Torturer Confronted, Report by Gail Reagon.’ // These are some of the survivors of security branch policeman Jeffrey Benzien’s exceptional interrogation style and this is the young man who did not survive. Ashley Kriel was killed by Benzien in July 1987. He was the first casualty of the eighties’ MK crop on the Cape Flats.Full Transcript and References
02:52‘UWC History Project: Interview with the late Ivy Kriel read by her daughter Michelle Kriel.’ // Even before he started thinking in a political way was his personality at the time, he could not watch people suffer. // Ashley was a working class boy from Bonteheuwel in Cape Town born in the era of forced removals at the same time as Bonteheuwel became one of the first townships to house the many who were removed from the city centre. His passion for the cause of the dispossessed started early, at the fragile age of 14.Full Transcript
03:31You would always find him in discussion. We were all involved in the struggle against apartheid but he always thought more deeply. Now, when he was sixteen yes, everybody said apartheid must go but he drew his own conclusions. And for him he needed to be able to decide between socialism and capitalism. And he thought what would be good for the country would be socialism. That was his style, his line. But if you want to know about his personality, then you can just as well ask how political he was, because that was his whole life man and that was what he was prepared to offer. He made up his mind a long time ago: ‘Freedom or death, Victory is Certain!’ Full Transcript
05:10This poster used to hang on Benzien’s office hall, across the face had been written ‘one down, so many to go.’ Underneath the slogan ‘Freedom or Death, Victory is Certain’ had been written ‘but not for you.’ Full Transcript
05:26 And I also want to tell you about what my mother always told myself and my sister Melony, whenever we had discussions about Ashley. She always said ‘I wish this Benzien can come to me one day and tell me about how my son died.’Full Transcript
05:56During the inquest that cleared Benzien and his colleague of any liability they claimed the shooting had been an accident. Asking for amnesty for the death Benzien repeated that version this week.Full Transcript
06:13I don’t know whether I pulled the trigger. My purpose was to arrest him and not to kill him. Although his death was a tragedy for the family I am very sorry that he had to die. // But if Benzien never bothered to apologise to Aunty Ivy about her son’s death then he this week was forced to come face to face with his survivors.Full Transcript
06:53‘Tony Yengeni Former MK Commander Torture victim.’ // What kind of man that uses a method like this one of the wet bag to people, to other human beings repeatedly and listening to those moans and cries and groans and taken each of those people very near to their deaths, what kind of man are you? What kind of man is that?Full Transcript and References
07:53‘Ashley Forbes, Former MK Commander, Torture victim.’ // Do you remember saying to me that you are able to treat me like an animal or like a human being and that how you treated me depended on whether I cooperated or not? // I can’t remember it correctly sir, but I would concede I may have said it. // Can I then also just ask if you remember that while I was laying on the ground that somebody inserted a metal rod into my anus and shocked me? // No sir. // Although the first time this type of assault took place was the day of my arrest, but after that when it came to the day of the 16th that it would either be the threat or actual assault. // I deny and Mr. Forbes if I’m denying this then one of us two are lying. On the Saturday I assaulted you, I then assaulted you on I think it was the Monday evening, that is after that we went for the steak, am I correct? After that I took you on investigation to the Eastern Cape, whereas, to refresh your memory and I’m not saying it ...moreFull Transcript and References
10:46‘Peter Jacobs, Former MK Cadre, Torture victim.’ // If I said to Mr. Jacobs I put the electrodes in his nose, I may be wrong; if I said I attached it to his genitals, I may be wrong; if I had put a probe into his rectum, I may be wrong. That is way the specific methods I could have used any of those three. // Did you during your service use all three methods? // In the case of Mr. Jacobs, yes sir. // I was the first survivor of this torture method of you, you’d concede that? // Yes. // You’d concede as well there were other people busy with that, which means it was an official method that was authorised and approved that you were using? // Not writtenly authorised, but condoned.Full Transcript and References
11:56‘Gary Kruser, Former MK Commander, Torture victim.’ // You weren’t arrested by the team in my car. // You personally arrested me, yourself and Piet Goosen. You remember? // It’s difficult to remember sir. // You put me in a kombi yourself, Goosen and Liebenberg and drove me to Culemborg. // I’m not sure, but I’m willing to concede; your memory will be better than mine on that aspect. // Is it not true that you and Goosen assaulted me throughout the trip? // As I say I cannot remember the arrest, but if you say we assaulted you in the kombi then I would concede that in all probability I did, I don’t know how though. // Our position firstly on the issue of whether I support the ANC or not is still the same, from the time I spoke to you two years ago to now, it has not changed. I’ve said to you on more than one occasion that we are very willing to grant amnesty or support your amnesty application on the basis that you reveal the truth. You said yesterday that you’ve ...moreFull Transcript and References
14:53Three harrowing days for all the participants, to sift through the many layers of memory and truth and lies of the past so that now and tomorrow can be fundamentally different. We returned to the island where these cadres had been imprisoned to continue the search.Full Transcript
15:15Initially I felt a bit sorry for him, on the first day when I saw him because I thought that he had a lot on his shoulders. Ja, he went through a lot himself and he had a lot of things to speak about and he seemed such a lonely figure because there wasn’t anybody with him. He didn’t have any other security branch people, his family wasn’t there and he was basically representing the entire security police almost for that matter. But I also think as time progressed it was also a bit difficult for numerous reasons; he couldn’t remember what had happened and for us that was important to just for him to be able to say, these are the kinds of things that we did to people even if he doesn’t remember the detail. But he could have explained what kind of a process he went through. There was a whole systematic process where you were physically, psychologically tortured for a long period and I mean to the point where after three months, ja I tried to commit suicide. They’d go through ...moreFull Transcript
17:25We don’t want him to be punished but we want to know. We don’t want, and I’m sure what we’ve achieved in terms of the wet bag treatment, it’s going to be very difficult for any policeman to go to court and say he didn’t do it now. I think they’ll do away with the method in the police and that’s the type of thing we want to see done in the new South Africa, that we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past. And I think it is one of our objectives of this thing to get out what was being done, the systems they used so that our children won’t suffer from the same things in the future.Full Transcript
17:50This morning I spoke again to Benzien and I said to him that there were lots of things that he did to Ashley that we didn’t speak to him about and all we wanted from him, you know we’d support his amnesty and we’d give it to him on a platter and, that all we expected was for him to tell the truth. And I think he was sincere when he said to me that he honestly can’t remember those things and I think that for us there’s reconciliation, but we’re actually going now through a healing process. Some of the things, just out of our own choice preferred not to have spoken about and now the truth is coming out and even we have to deal with the truth. Full Transcript
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