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Special Report
Transcripts for Section 5 of Episode 6

19:44‘They got my hands and my eye but they didn’t get my most powerful weapon, my tongue.’ This is the story of Michael Lapsley. // On Saturday night a bomb exploded in the house of an Anglican priest, an anti-apartheid activist, Father Michael Lapsley. He was seriously injured, the house was extensively damaged. The ceiling blown off and property destroyed.Full Transcript and References
20:09I came upon this … envelope that had been among the accumulated mail. I opened it and it was addressed to me and inside were two religious magazines. The magazines were wrapped in plastic, sealed in plastic, so I ripped open the plastic, I took out the magazines, both religious, one in Afrikaans, one in English. I put aside the Afrikaans one. My Afrikaans is not very good. And I opened the English magazine, and the act of opening the magazine was the detonating device for a bomb. I can still remember what happened. The actual explosion is still … it’s just something with me. I remember pain of a scale that I didn’t think a human being could ever experience. I remember going into darkness, being thrown backwards by the force of the bomb. The exact angle saved my life that I opened it. I opened it on a small coffee table. If I had opened it in a … something like this, a table like this, it would have killed me, because it would have knocked out the heart or knocked off the ...moreFull Transcript
21:32I saw Michael three days after the bomb in the hospital in Harare. It was an awful site. His face was charred and blackened. His beard had melted into his skin. His face was swollen to twice its normal size. In fact the only way that I could recognize him was by a single gold filling which he has in his teeth. Both of his hands were taken off. He needed to hold his stumps up all the time, because anything touching them caused him the most extraordinary pain.Full Transcript
22:15You were born in New-Zealand and you came to our country to serve the people here, and this is what we have done to you. Why are you still here, what is your relationship with South Africa and South Africans? // Not long after I arrived in South Africa I came to the conclusion that I must either go home, or make it home. I came to the conclusion that if I was to have a right to participate in the process of transforming South Africa, fighting for a free South Africa, I couldn’t keep me passport in my back pocket and think well when the going gets tough I will run away, that I had to play for keeps. And I made very early on an irrevocable commitment. December 1982 the South African Defence Force attacked Lesotho and left 42 people dead. I was away from Lesotho at the time, but it was believed by some people, particularly by the church, to have been a possible target of that massacre. On that occasion I took a vowel that my own life would be dedicated to ending apartheid and creating ...moreFull Transcript
24:29But why was this Anglican priest such a threat to the former South African government? // My conclusion is that it was my theology that in the end was the threat. The part that my work was not in immobilising but unmasking the claim of the apartheid regime in any sense to be Christian.Full Transcript
24:49But the biggest question for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is to establish who was responsible. Who made the bomb? Who sent it? Ultimately, who ordered it? // I can’t remember the exact date but in about 1988, I think it was, the Zimbabwean authorities came to me and they said, we have information that you are on the South African government hit list. They said we believe that there may be some attempt by commandos to kill you. It was one of the moments, I remember when I was called into his office and told that the government of South Africa wishes to kill you. That bomb was so sophisticated that it could come through the post, registered mail from South Africa to Zimbabwe and not explode till I opened it. There was a great deal of intelligence and sophistication, the sophistication that only lay within units such as the CCB. Full Transcript
25:56During the 1980s three security force units attacked and assassinated anti-apartheid activists in neighbouring states. The security police, the Defence Force Civil Cooperation Bureau, CCB, and Military Intelligence. The CCB’s Zimbabwean cell was one of the most active and carried out operations throughout the eighties. // This man was the field commander of the CCB in Zimbabwe: Kit Christopher Bawden. He says he’s unit seized to exist after the arrest by the central intelligence organisation of Zimbabwe. He denies that he bombed Father Lapsley. It is not known to what extend CCB activities in Zimbabwe continued after the arrest of Bawden’s cell. When Father Lapsley received his parcel in April 1990, the CCB was officially disbanded. It is known however that the security police blew people up with parcel bombs. Former super spy Craig Williamson admitted to the parcel bombs that killed Ruth First and Jeanette and Katryn Schoon. Former Vlakplaas commander, Eugene de Kock is now on ...moreFull Transcript and References
27:12To my mind I’ve always been clear that the person I hold responsible ultimately for my bombing is F. W. de Klerk. I spoke to Van Zyl Slabbert, and he said, I Van Zyl Slabbert went to De Klerk and told him about the death squads. He cannot say he didn’t know. And so, I hold him politically and morally responsible. In a funny sort of way for me forgiveness is not yet on the agenda. And the reason I say that, I’ve said that I’m not filled with hatred or bitterness or self-pity, nor that I want revenge. I think what I believe in is not retribution, I believe in restorative justice, not retributive justice; restorative justice. And, for example, if FW was to come to me, or the person who made the bomb was to come to me and said, I’m sorry for what I did and I want your forgiveness and this is what I’m now doing in the way of reparation. Not to me personally but to our country and our people. These are the kinds of things I’m doing to heal our land. Then of course one would ...moreFull Transcript
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