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Special Report
Transcripts for Section 7 of Episode 81

42:29Back to the amnesty process now. Four Eastern Cape Security Policemen this week told the amnesty committee that Port Elizabeth activist Sizwe Kondile had to be eliminated because he was a trained ANC terrorist who knew too much about their intelligence network. The men all claim that they were National Party supporters, committed to upholding apartheid, combating the communist onslaught and fighting terrorism. They say the 1981 murder of Sizwe Kondile was executed as part of their duties as security policemen. One of them admitted that Kondile would have been killed even if he had begged for his life.Full Transcript and References
43:09This was one of the proudest moments of my life when he graduated his Baccalaureus of Law; that was Fort Hare. I love this photo very much. // Charity Kondile has been trying for nearly two decades to find out the truth about the murder of her son, Sizwe. This week she travelled to Cape Town to attend the amnesty hearing of four of the policemen who abducted and murdered her first born child and then burned his body to ashes while they drank and had a braai.Full Transcript
43:40There are sometimes when I forget I’m with the Truth Commission. I feel like standing up and hitting one of them … I could just stand up and hit one of them. It’s so terrible.Full Transcript
43:54‘I call the applicant Mr Hermanus Barend du Plessis as the first witness in these proceedings.’ // Captain Hermanus du Plessis, Gen Nic van Rensburg, Gen Gerrit Erasmus and Sgt Johannes Raath, who have all since retried are seeking amnesty for their part in Sizwe Kondile’s death. Former Vlakplaas commander Dirk Coetzee also wants amnesty for the same murder, but he has a separate amnesty application and a very different version of when, how and why the murder was carried out. When Coetzee told the Harms Commission about the murder of the young ANC guerrilla in 1990 it was bluntly denied by all of these men. Now for the first time they’re admitting to the nation that they were the ones who decided Sizwe Kondile had to die. Du Plessis who was in charge of Kondile’s interrogation described him as a trained ANC terrorist whom he had recruited as an informer. However he later discovered a note in Kondile’s cell which showed that Kondile had tried to double cross the police.Full Transcript
45:02What was the content of this note? // It was to inform the ANC, it was directed to a person to inform the ANC that firstly he had been arrested and secondly that he pretended to be an informer, that at this stage he had provided no information which would harm any ANC member.Full Transcript
45:32The security police claim that Kondile had become a threat to them because he’d already been told the identity of the principal agent in their intelligence network in Lesotho.Full Transcript
45:46After all the facts had been discussed and the matter was investigated did you decide that Mr Kondile had to be killed? // That is correct.Full Transcript
45:56Van Rensburg says he called his colleague Dirk Coetzee to ask for assistance in the murder. The security police then faked Kondile’s release from the Jeffrey’s Bay police cells and later abducted him and drove him to the border at Komatipoort.Full Transcript
46:11And Mr Coetzee then made the suggestion that if we did not the body to be found then he suggested that we burnt out the body. They had wood, a great deal of wood was available and that we should rather burn the body and they would ensure that the remains would be thrown into the Komati River. And Mr Coetzee also mentioned to me that he had a sleeping drug, Mr Coetzee gave him something to drink, I don’t know whether it was a cold drink or a beer, and he drank it and approximately half an hour after that the man started swaying slowly, his head lurched, and he went to lie on his side.Full Transcript
47:23As far as I can remember Sgt Roy Otto took out his firearm, and I think it was his service pistol, and shot Kondile. Afterwards he was put on some wood which was already there and we also gathered some more wood and he was burnt to death.Full Transcript
48:04There was a picnic atmosphere around the killing of Mr Kondile, drinks were had and you ate meat while the young man’s body was burnt. // That’s not true. We did braai meat before Mr Kondile was shot and we ate before he was shot. // I finally put it to you Mr Van Rensburg that your behaviour and the behaviour of your fellow policemen exceeded the bounds of decency and that you are not entitled to amnesty for these actions. // I have no comment on that, I think that’s for the Committee to decide.Full Transcript
48:58I think they were very cruel, especially to think that Sizwe was young, in experienced and had a very delicate body and I feel that at least they could have sent him to jail for all those security rules he was detained for. And I thought to myself they also had no business to recruit him as an informer. Full Transcript
49:25The order to eliminate Kondile came from this man, Gen Gerrit Erasmus, the then divisional commissioner of the Eastern Cape security police, who admitted that he had never met Kondile personally.Full Transcript
49:38There were no rules in this game we were busy with. // You passed sentence of death on a man and you and your colleagues then take precautions to make sure that nobody comes to know about it. That is an awesome power. Did you realize that? // That is so yes.Full Transcript
50:03They thought that they were God, this was their country.Full Transcript
50:06When he addressed the Committee, Dirk Coetzee stuck to his story that Sizwe Kondile had been killed because the Eastern Cape security police had not wanted another Steve Biko case on their hands. // Getting rid of him was because he sustained injuries while being tortured, dived through a window while trying to get away from his torturers or interrogators and landed on his head. And a result of that he sustained injuries which could have caused another Biko case was told to me Mr Chairman which had huge political uproar. // Yes, thank you very much. You’ve answered the question.Full Transcript
50:43Coetzee also contradicts the policemen on other crucial aspects such as who was the man who pulled the trigger. Van Rensburg, Du Plessis, Erasmus and Roth all insist that it was a Sgt Roy Otto of Vlakplaas. Dirk Coetzee denies this and Sgt Otto has since committed suicide. The former Vlakplaas boss says the murder was committed in November, the others say July. At the end of the hearing on Friday, Coetzee appealed to the amnesty committee to send him for a lie detector test if it would help them find the truth.Full Transcript
51:19The killing or murder of Sizwe Kondile was callous as all security police killings and one wishes that you had never taken part in it.Full Transcript
51:32Of course, we’re very sad that he died, but we are very proud that he is amongst those who can be mentioned as having liberated the country. And I think we are enjoying the fruits of his struggle.Full Transcript
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