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Special Report
Transcripts for Section 3 of Episode 77

42:38We now have to wait for a decision by the Attorney-General on whether he has heard enough to lay criminal charges against Madikizela-Mandela and others. Talking about criminal charges and problematic public figures, as we expected, former State President PW Botha did not arrive at the Truth Commission hearing in Cape Town on Friday. If he insists on ignoring the subpoena to cooperate his chances of going to jail are excellent. Ironically, his former colleague Magnus Malan and one of his top securocrats, Neil Barnard mentioned him when they gave evidence at a follow-up hearing on the working of the former State Security Council this week.Full Transcript and References
43:18The State Security Council, the most powerful decision making body dealing with security matters in the country during the 1980s was the brainchild of PW Botha. At the heart of the TRC’s investigation into the State Security Council is who in the chain of command knew what? This week, both former Minister of Defence, Magnus Malan and the former head of the National Intelligence Service, Niel Barnard implicated their ex boss. From the moment he took the stand on Thursday morning Barnard denied that the Security Council had ever approved the torture and killing of anti-apartheid activists. However, he claimed he had brought it to Botha’s attention that the security forces were involved in abuses.Full Transcript
44:08One was of course aware of certain steps that were being taken, people who were being murdered. We did know about it, and we were very upset and worried about that, because we didn’t think that that was the way to go about. // Did you at any stage give this information directly to Mr. Botha? // In that climate at the end of the eighties when this conflict was going on, at various stages I voiced the same sentiments towards Mr. Botha. If you can just give me a chance. I told him so, it seems as if there are problems regarding the communication, I said that there must be some misunderstanding somewhere. I do not have facts to verify this but it seems to me as if members of the security branches could possibly be involved in some of these things which are illegal and that we cannot be involved in illegal actions. // What was his reaction? // He said that he was also very worried about it and that he would deal with this at a political level.Full Transcript and References
45:25Magnus Malan, who at first appeared reluctant to respond to questions about cross border raids later conceded that the main 1986 raid into Lesotho, Botswana and Zimbabwe were approved by PW Botha.Full Transcript
45:40The lines have been drawn very clearly in the notices that we’ve received and in the documentation that we’ve received. This inquiry relates to the activities, as we understand it, of the State Security Council. That’s what we’re here for, it’s not a free for all and I would sound the caution is that we’re going to object very strenuously to it being turned into a free for all. If we can direct our attention at the object of this exercise then I’ll be happier.Full Transcript
46:18Okay the question is then did General Malan know about the cross border raids into those three towns which have been mentioned before they took place? // The Defence Force request was that this operation should be executed the second half of April. They approached me, I approached the state president, I asked his approval, I explained and he gave his approval. It was an approved operation therefore. Like all sensitive operations, sensitive in the sense that should there be any leakages there would be a loss of human lives, etcetera, the State President told me just keep quiet about this, this is very sensitive.Full Transcript and References
47:12On Friday morning as TRC officials waited for PW Botha to arrive at the State Security Council hearing the ‘groot krokodil’ was casually strolling in his garden at his home in Wilderness in the Southern Cape, seemingly unperturbed by his role in this country’s recent history. At around the same time his lawyer Ernst Penzhorn met with Archbishop Tutu at the TRC’s Cape Town head office to explain that PW Botha was still refusing to cooperate with the Commission’s request that he appears before a public hearing of the TRC. Archbishop Tutu and Alex Boraine responded by walking to the office of the Western Cape Attorney-General Frank Kahn to ask him to take action against PW for trying to hinder the work of the Commission. But the TRC was left with egg on its face when the Attorney-General pointed out that the subpoena had been invalid.Full Transcript
48:13Our subpoena to Mr. PW Botha is in fact defective in that, although we have the date and place, we omitted to state the time and for lawyers that is not just a minor technicality.Full Transcript
48:41In my view, it could be a major omission which could poison the whole case and I was not prepared to risk a prosecution on a faulty document. PW Botha was treated like any other person in arriving at this decision and let me assure everybody he will be treated like any other person similarly if the need arises. If he breaks the law I will prosecute him.Full Transcript
49:08Botha has since provided the Commission with more than 2000 pages of written answers to questions put by the TRC. But the TRC is adamant that Botha will attend a public hearing to account for his actions during his rule as state president. If he fails to appear before the TRC at 9 am on Friday the 19th of December he could face a fine of R20 000 and or two years imprisonment. If he pays a fine and then again refuses to cooperate he will not get a fine again. It will be interesting to see just what it will take to remind PW Botha that not even he is above the law.Full Transcript
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