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Special Report
Transcripts for Section 3 of Episode 8

07:09Ironically, a few hours after this interview Niewoudt was sentenced with two other former policemen for the murder of four of their colleagues. De Bruyn stressed in his argument and litigation that his clients believed they acted in the interests of the country. // The argument was that you have people here who came into the force as youngsters and grew up in a culture of total onslaught and everybody who threatens the system is the enemy and must be wiped out or must be dealt with. And although one can never justify a crime such as murder, or any other crime, we argued that it must be mitigation that these people genuinely, even on the state case, believed that they were acting for the benefit of the country. The corollary is that in East Germany the guards at the wall, the Berlin wall, were instructed to shoot, even if innocent people tried to escape and there was a trial and they were found guilty. Academics in South Africa and overseas argue that those findings were wrong. Those ...moreFull Transcript
09:04But Mister Justice Van Rensburg did not accept the East German analogy. Although he found they acted under orders of Brigadier Gilbert and General Van Rensburg, also mentioned in the Mtimkulu case, Judge Van Rensburg sentenced Niewoudt to twenty years imprisonment and the other two to 15 and 10 years. He gave leave to appeal to their pillar division inter alia, because this was the first case of total onslaught policemen being tried and the judge wanted to hear the highest court’s verdict of what sentences would be appropriate. But it was his granting bail to the three convicted men that upset the community. Full Transcript
09:40If you look at the Lewis Sikisiki rape case in the Transkei, those sentences were stiff and correct for the crime committed there. But our people, the question they will ask is, is there still a difference between the life of white people and those of black people? The message out of the court today is simple. In the new South Africa the life of a black person is as cheap as it was in the Verwoerd era. // Mister Jack, if Gideon Niewoudt had gone to the Truth Commission and got amnesty for exactly what he was sentenced for today, how would you have felt about that? // I’ll be happy with that, the majority of people will be happy about that, that is the thinking of the government , that is the thinking of the majority of people who give their full support to the Truth Commission. What is happening here … what is happening now, this case and the appeal, these guys would not spend a day in prison, is going to make the generals to retreat form their own commitment already. Because the ...moreFull Transcript
11:02Francois van der Merwe is Niewoudt’s attorney, but he also represents several other former policemen. // What is your impression of their perceptions of the Truth Commission process? // Well Max from the outset I have to say that it… the perception I think is… it would be correct to describe it as suspicious. You have to realise that from the era we’ve come from that I think that if we had to reverse the roles and would have asked members of the former organisations like the ANC to come forward during the era when Minister De Klerk was in power, none of the ANC people would have come forward to come and ask the then National Party. And we have the same problem at this stage. You are asking people to come forward and talk to people who they have been fighting against for a period of many years. And there is definitely a very deep seated suspicion and mistrust which I think up to this stage has not been addressed by the role players.Full Transcript
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