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Special Report
Transcripts for Section 4 of Episode 85

45:10Fourteen years ago three Eastern Cape activists known as the Pebco three were killed at a deserted former police station near Cradock. It is one of the most gruesome we have heard in two years of amnesty applications. This week, Joe Mamasela, self confessed multiple murderer and ex askari from Vlakplaas gave his version of events. He is the only one involved in the killing of the Pebco three who has not applied for amnesty because he has turned state witness against the other applicants. Mamasela first gave his sensational version of the murders at Post Chalmers on this programme on April 1996. His story differs from all the other amnesty applicants. It probably means that if the Amnesty Committee accepts his version none of the other policemen will receive amnesty. But is Joe Mamasela telling the truth? Let’s start right at the beginning of this terrible tale.Full Transcript and References
46:06Champion Galela, Sipho Hashe and Qaqawuli Godolozi were high profile Eastern Cape activists who disappeared in May 1985 and were never seen or heard from again. Today we know they were abducted from Port Elizabeth airport by Eastern Cape security branch supported by a contingent of policemen from Vlakplaas.Full Transcript
46:28The purpose as I can remember was to remove the three activists from society.Full Transcript
46:38The abducted men were brought here to Post Chalmers, 250 kilometres from Port Elizabeth. Today Post Chalmers is a deserted holiday farm. Fourteen years ago it was a disused police station. Post Chalmers is remote and far enough from surrounding farms for activities to be private. This is probably why it was ideal for the Eastern Cape security branch to use for interrogations, killings and the burning of bodies. The morning after arriving at Post Chalmers the policemen started preparing for the interrogation of their prisoners who’d been locked in this outbuilding overnight. They were removed from the outbuilding one by one for interrogation and this is where the story starts to diverge. Joe Mamasela, an askari who was involved in this operation, sings a completely different song to all the other amnesty applicants. He says the men were removed and over the next two days were basically beaten and tortured to death. Their bodies then thrown back into this outbuilding.Full Transcript
47:48We fetched Mr. Hashe and as the braaivleis was proceeding his interrogation started with some ludicrous statements to humiliate him by Lieutenant Niewoudt at that time. He just grabbed an iron pipe and beat the poor old man several times in his head and as he did so all the people joined in. Now, the position of the old man at the time was such that he was in no position to defend himself and the only thing he could help himself was just to scream out loud. I was then ordered by Lieutenant Niewoudt to stifle his screams, to put my hand in his mouth and hold it hard, so that his screams mustn’t attract the neighbouring farmers. As Lieutenant Niewoudt was beating the old man several times in the head with an iron pipe I noticed that blood was oozing from the old man’s nostrils and ears as well as the mouth. And I saw the old man’s eyes turning into white pupils, they were turning. It was as if he was fainting or just about to die. The beatings went on and on until I saw the old ...moreFull Transcript
52:14Instead Champion Galela was ordered out and he was subjected to the same brutal treatment that the old man was subjected to. Because of his weak physical body it was not long before he lay dead. I think his interrogation went on for three to four hours and then he was dead. We were then ordered that myself, Koole and Piet Mogoai should remove these corpses and throw them back into the shed. I saw Godolozi sitting in a corner, at a far corner. He was a pathetic figure. He just stood there, shivering, as if he knew that his fate was just going to come. And the people were braaing, they were drinking. Koole and Piet Mogoai joined on a drinking spree and they were discussing as if they were discussing about a movie. As if what happened was nothing.Full Transcript
53:53Mamasela spoke very little of his own actions during this torture. This man who by his own admission helped kill more than 35 people for the security police today insists that it was all against his will.Full Transcript
54:10Griffiths Mxenge, did you do that because you were under duress? // Yes, it was in 1981. // Yes, and in 1985, in this matter, you got involved because you were acting under duress. // Yes if I had not killed these people I was going to be killed. It’s a fact. More than 10 askaris were killed for refusing to carry out their duties and the main duty of askaris was to kill their own black people. Full Transcript
54:37Twelve years, Mr. Mamasela you were part of the security police in South Africa. Is that right? // I was made part of I was not part of, I was made part of against my will, against my political conviction. // Yes, we’ll get to that … against you political conviction. // Yes. So what was your political conviction then at that time? // My political conviction at that time lies entirely with my organisation, the African National Congress. // Your organisation? // My organisation full stop. // Is that still today your organisation? // No, it is no longer my organisation because they sold me out to the Boers on a silver platter and then they left me out. // Do you know why your version in this matter, in this Pebco Three matter, differs from all the other people who testified here? // Yes, it’s because I’m telling the truth and they’re covering up.Full Transcript
55:30The Eastern Cape security branch vehemently deny Mamasela’s version of how the Pebco three were killed.Full Transcript
55:37Captain van Zyl shot Mr. Hashe with a .22 gun. He then gave the gun to me and I in turn shot Mr. Godolozi. Mr. Lotz shot Mr. Galela. We placed all three deceased onto the pile of wood …Full Transcript
56:14Their bodies they say were burnt and the remains thrown into the Fish river at Cradock. The Amnesty Committee will now have to decide who to believe, because if they accept Joe Mamasela’s version of what happened here the other men are liars and will not get amnesty. But if they accept the versions of Gideon Niewoudt and the others then Joe Mamasela’s story of what happened here is a lie. The one thing we do know is that three men lost their lives at Post Chalmers.Full Transcript
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