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A listing of the episodes of the TRC Special Report series which aired every week between 21 April 1996 and 29 March 1998, produced and presented by Max du Preez.


The list provides a summary of each episode, and links to the sections within each episode. The sections are transcribed. The list is ordered chronologically, from the first episode screened, to the last.


Special Report - Episode Index

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EpisodeBroadcast DateDescription
3108 Dec 1996This episode focuses on the HRV hearings held in Moutse (from 2 to 5 December) from where we hear testimony of the political violence in the former KwaNdebele homeland from mid 1985 to 1988. At the centre of the violence was a vigilante organisation, Imbokodo, led by the pro-independence political elite, targeting UDF aligned residents. This is followed by a special documentary on the people of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, with a focus on the March 1990 Seven Day War. The episode concludes with Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaking to Max du Preez about truth, reconciliation and the progress of the Truth Commission.Section IndexWatch Episode
3226 Jan 1997This episode documents a reconciliatory meeting between APLA commander Letlapa Mphahlele and survivor of the St James Church massacre, Charl van Wyk. The following segment reports on the progress of the Amnesty Committee: the new cut-off date for amnesty applications will benefit those that committed violent crimes during the negotiations era; Trust Feed killer Brian Mitchell was granted amnesty as well as former Conservative Party MP Koos Botha, for bombings during 1990 and 1991; right wingers Jean du Plessis and Cornelius van Wyk and the Van Straaten brothers were denied amnesty for racially motivated killings. Also included in this episode is a report on the Amnesty Committee hearings (held in Johannesburg, 20 to 23 January) where Dirk Coetzee gave testimony on the murder of one of their own agents, Isaac Moema, and on the 26 November 1981 Gaborone raid by the SADF. The episode ends with a segment on allegations of racial tension within the TRC that includes interviews with Truth Commissioners Hlengiwe Mkhize, Alex Boraine and Dumisa Ntsebeza.Section IndexWatch Episode
3302 Feb 1997The first segment of this episode covers the amnesty application of former policemen connected to the deaths of activists Steve Biko, Siphiwo Mtimkulu, Topsy Madaka, Sizwe Kondile, the Pebco Three and the Cradock Four. It includes coverage of a commemoration ceremony by relatives of Siphiwo Mtimkulu, Topsy Madaka, Sipho Hashe, Qaquwuli Godolozi and Champion Galele, on the banks of the Fish River where their remains were disposed of by the police. The following segment focuses on the history of pass laws, described as the greatest single human rights violation of our past. Section IndexWatch Episode
3409 Feb 1997This episode focuses on the HRV Committee hearings held in Duduza, Benoni and Vosloorus (4 to 7 February 1997). We hear testimonies from relatives of youth activist Caiphus Nyoka, who was executed by members of the Benoni security branch; we also hear testimony from relatives of a SADF conscript that disappeared on a cross border operation into Zimbabwe, covered up by the SADF; and testimonies from victims of violent clashes between the IFP and ANC in Tokoza, Kathlehong and Vosloorus during the early 1990s. Section IndexWatch Episode
3516 Feb 1997This episode starts with a report back on the amnesty applications (heard in Pietermaritzburg, 10 to 13 February) of three former policemen for murdering ANC member Mbongeni Jama, and includes evidence of police complicity in gun running and supplying arms to the IFP. In the following segment Chairperson of the Amnesty Committee, Judge Hassan Mall, discusses some amnesty related issues. The episode also includes a segment on the TRC?s witness protection team, including interviews with members from the team and with witnesses under protection. It further covers the HRV hearings in Cradock (10 to 12 February) and includes testimonies from a former student of Matthew Goniwe, Xolile Ntozini; and Mxolisi Mgoboza and Thembinkosi Tshabe, the youngest victims of police violence to speak before the TRC. The final segment focuses on vigilante gang leader, ?Bishop? Mbekizeni Khumalo from Tokoza on the East Rand, many of whose victims have spoken out at the HRV Committee hearings held in Duduza this week (4 to 7 February).Section IndexWatch Episode
3623 Feb 1997This episode starts with a report on the Gugulethu Seven special hearing (17 to 18 February) where 6 of the 22 policemen implicated in the operation gave evidence. The segment includes interviews with an unnamed MK cadre who claims to have survived the shootout and a forensics expert who challenges claims made by the policemen this week. The following segment covers the first hearing of the R & R Committee held in Oudtshoorn (19 February) and comprises report backs from Church, media, victims?, women?s youth & education community groups. A report on the HRV hearings held in Tembisa, Duduza, Benoni and Vosloorus (26 to 28 November and 4 to 7 February) focuses on hostel violence on the East Rand. Included in this segment is an interview with former director of the NGO monitors, the Human Rights Commission and manager of the TRC's Gauteng office, Patrick Kelly, who gives some background to the migrant labour and hostel system. The final segment presents Nkosinati Biko?s public letter to his father, Steven Biko.Section IndexWatch Episode
3702 Mar 1997This episode focuses on the amnesty applications of five former security policemen: Jack Cronje, Roelf Venter, Jacques Hechter, Wouter Mentz and Paul van Vuuren, who delivered their testimonies to the Amnesty Committee in Pretoria (24 February to 7 March). Among the cases covered this week are the murders of Mafikeng bus driver Joe Tsele, Vlakplaas askari Brian Ngqulunga, MK commander Zweli Nyanda, ANC soldier Keith McFadden, Florence and Fabian Ribeiro and the torture of youth activist Scheepers Morudu. The episode includes an interview with former Vlakplaas askari turned state witness, Joe Mamasela, involved in a number of the aforementioned cases and a segment on legal representatives treating the Amnesty Committee like a court of law, hampering the Committee?s progress. Section IndexWatch Episode
3809 Mar 1997This episode starts with a report back on the Amnesty Committee hearings of five former security policemen (Jack Cronje, Roelf Venter, Jacques Hechter, Wouter Mentz and Paul van Vuuren), which continued this week in Pretoria. This episode focuses on the murder of police sergeant Richard Motasi and his wife Irene and questions why Irene Motasi and Florence Ribeiro were killed along with their husbands. In the following segment a survivor of ?Operation Zero Zero?- a 1985 Vlakplaas operation in Duduza in which COSAS activists were killed by booby-trapped hand grenades provided by Joe Mamasela - gives evidence suggesting that Maki Skosana, suspected of being an informer and subsequently necklaced, introduced him to Mamasela. The programme also reports on Jacques Hechter and Joe Mamasela?s claims that current high profile politicians were on Vlakplaas? payroll and the Commission?s decision not to make the names public. The final segment covers the R & R Committee workshop on symbolic reparation held in East London this week. The segment includes a group discussion with Bheki Nkosi from ANCYL, actor Eric Myeni and other young South Africans. Section IndexWatch Episode
3916 Mar 1997This episode starts with exhumations of MK soldiers Phila Ndwandwe, Raymond Mkhwanazi and Mbovani Mzimela aka Dion Cele on Elandskop farm near Pietermaritzburg and Phumezo Nxiweni on a farm near Verulam, KwaZulu-Natal. Murder sites were pointed out by former Natal Security Branch members applying for amnesty. Natal Security Branch members also applied for amnesty for the killing of Sibusiso Ndlovu, Mazwi Vilakazi and Vusi Mtshali - three student activists who were executed and blown to pieces at the Phoenix Railway Station on 18 November 1988. The latest confessions of five former security policemen (Jack Cronje, Roelf Venter, Jacques Hechter, Wouter Mentz and Paul van Vuuren) at the Amnesty Committee hearings in Cape Town (11 to 13 March) includes evidence on the killing of nine youths from KwaNdebele, who were planning to leave the country for military training; the April 1990 murder of Sam Chan and his family in Botswana; and a 1991 joint Vlakplaas operation that employed ex-Koevoet soldiers to attack and kill four alleged gun smugglers. The episode concludes with a segment on the former security policemen?s psychological profiles.Section IndexWatch Episode
4023 Mar 1997This episode focuses on the June 1988 killing and police cover-up of Stanza Bopape, an MK member and General Secretary of the Mamelodi Civic Association. Five security policemen have applied for amnesty for killing Bopape during interrogation; two others for disposing of his body; and three generals for covering up the death. The following segment deals with other state lies, denials and cover ups and includes interviews with former commissioner of police, General van der Merwe - one of the generals applying for amnesty for his part in Bopape?s death - and FW de Klerk, who denies knowledge of death squad activities during the 1990s. From the Amnesty Committee hearings in East London (17 to 19 March) we hear testimony from seven ANC Youth League members who applied for amnesty for killing Nohombile Mphambani - a supporter of Gqozo?s ADM - during violent clashes between the ADM and ANC in the former Ciskei. We also hear testimony from three members of the former Ciskei police who asked the Committee for amnesty for the kidnapping and torture of three women. The episode concludes with a recording of former SADF members gathering in Pretoria this week, dismissing the TRC.Section IndexWatch Episode
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