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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
7126 Oct 1997The first segment of this episode reports on the amnesty hearing (Cape Town, 20 to 21 October) of security policeman Jeffrey Benzien who is asking for amnesty for the torture of a number of political detainees as well as for the killing of Cape activist Ashley Kriel. It includes testimonies from Benzien?s superiors and a former MK soldier tortured by Benzien. The following segment looks at the structure and processes of the Amnesty Committee including issues like remorse and justice. It also reflects on amnesties refused on the basis that racism does not constitute a political motive. Also included is a segment on reparation and rehabilitation. The Special Report team speaks to some of the first victims who gave testimony at the HRV hearings and to Truth Commissioners Hlengiwe Mkhize and Dr. Wendy Orr speak about the recommendations recently delivered to government by the Reparation and Rehabilitation Committee. In the final segment Jann Turner interviews Roland Hunter, a former conscript who was placed in the SADF's Directorate of Special Tasks and who passed intelligence to the ANC on the military's counter-insurgency operations in Mozambique and Angola. Section IndexWatch Episode
7202 Nov 1997The first segment of this episode reports on the amnesty applications of APLA members responsible for the Heidelberg Tavern attack at hearings held in Cape Town this week (27 - 31 October). The second segment deals with the controversy surrounding witness Bennet Sibaya?s allegation that Truth Commissioner Dumisa Ntsebeza had been involved in the APLA operation. In an interview with Special Report Ntsebeza suggests he was framed at the time of the incident because of his activities as a human rights lawyer. The following segment reports on the Legal Sector hearings held in Johannesburg (27 - 29 October) that looked at the role the legal profession played in sustaining apartheid. Attorney-Generals were questioned on their failure to prosecute and convict perpetrators of human rights violations. In its report on Pretoria Maximum Security Prison, known as C Max, Special Report questions why Eugene de Kock, an A group prisoner, was moved to a section designed to isolate disruptive prisoners and whether C Max does not violate the human rights of prisoners as set out by the Constitution. Section IndexWatch Episode
7309 Nov 1997The first segment of this episode reports on the amnesty hearings of policemen responsible for the abduction and killing of the Pebco Three (held in Port Elizabeth, 3 to 13 November 1997). The Special Report provides background to the Port Elizabeth Black Civic Organisation (Pebco) including interviews with the widows of the three Pebco leaders. The second segment includes a profile of Truth Commissioner Glenda Wildschut, followed by a report on the secret graves of ANC activists Kenneth Mabuza and Steve Tsotsetsi identified by TRC investigators, as well as the remains of MK soldiers Barney Molokoane, Vincent Sekete and Victor Khayiyane exhumed in Piet Retief, Mpumalanga. This segment includes interviews with relatives of the deceased. Also included are reports on the inauguration of the Robben Island Museum and the witness, Bennet Sibiya who admits to falsely implicating Commissioner Ntsebeza in the Heidelberg Tavern attack. Section IndexWatch Episode
7416 Nov 1997The first segment of this episode reports on the amnesty hearings of policemen responsible for the abduction and killing of the Pebco three that continued in Port Elizabeth this week (3 to 13 November). Convicted killer Gideon Niewoudt and Vlakplaas askaris Joe Mamasela, Kimpani Mogoai and Johannes Koole gave conflicting accounts of the events that lead to the deaths of the three activists. The second segment focuses on the special hearing on the business sector held in Johannesburg (11 to 13 November). While majority Afrikaans speaking businesses acknowledged they benefited from preferential treatment and parastatals like Eskom apologized for their role in upholding apartheid, powerful companies like Barlow Rand, Anglo American and the Chamber of Business did not fully acknowledge themselves as beneficiaries of apartheid. Their denials were strongly criticized by businessmen from the Black Management Forum and COSATU. The following segment provides a profile of Truth Commissioner Piet Meiring and the final segment features a special documentary on South Africa?s involvement in the failed 1981 coup in the Seychelles.Section IndexWatch Episode
7523 Nov 1997This episode reports on the Amnesty Committee hearings held in Cape Town (17 ? 19 November) where former Vlakplaas policemen applied for amnesty for their role in killing the Gugulethu Seven. This segment includes a recording of a meeting between Vlakplaas policeman Thapelo Mbelo and families of the seven Gugulethu victims. Other segments include an introduction to Truth Commissioner Wynand Malan and a report back on faith community hearings held in East London (17 to 19 November 1997). In preparation for the upcoming hearings on the Mandela United Football Club, the following segment questions the means of fighting for a just cause and voices the opinions of ANC spokesmen and political analysts. The final segment covers the TRC?s denial of Gideon Niewoudt?s amnesty for his assault on Mkhuseli Jack.Section IndexWatch Episode
7630 Nov 1997This episode focuses entirely on the first part of the special hearings on the Mandela United Football Club (MUFC) held in Johannesburg (27 November - 4 December). We hear evidence from the parents of murdered child activists Sibuniso Tshabalala, and Lolo Sono, Madikizela?s driver Johan Morgan, victims of assault Pello Mekgwe and Thabiso Mono, Paul Verryn - the Methodist Priest falsely accused of molesting the abductees, members of the Mandela Crisis Committee set up to ensure the release of the four children and Murphy Morobe and Azhar Cachalia from the Mass Democratic Movement all corroborating Madikizela-Mandela?s connection to abduction, serious assault and murder. Madikizela denied all allegations against her and the MUFC. The episode also provides some background about Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.Section IndexWatch Episode
7707 Dec 1997The first segment of this episode reports on the MUFC hearings that continued in Johannesburg this week (27 November - 4 December). MUFC ?coach? Jerry Richardson testified that he was ordered by Madikizela-Mandela to kill Stompie Seipei, Koekie Zwane, Sibuniso Tshabalala and Lolo Sono and confirmed allegations that he was a police informer. Dr Abubaker Asvat?s killers testified that Madikizela--Mandela paid and instructed them to kill Dr Asvat. Despite denying all allegations against her Madikizela-Mandela made a very general formal apology in response to a plea from Archbishop Tutu. The second segment reports on the SSC special hearings held in Cape Town (4 to 5 December). Former Defence Minister Magnus Malan admitted that the SADF?s raids into Lesotho, Botswana and Zimbabwe were approved by PW Botha. PW refused to appear before the Truth Commission. The final segment reports on the amnesty hearing of Chris Hani?s murderers, Clive Derby-Lewis and Janusz Walus held in Pretoria (25 November - 5 December) with a focus on the cross examination of Gaye Derby-Lewis.Section IndexWatch Episode
7814 Dec 1997The first segment of this episode report on the amnesty hearings of Eastern Cape security policemen responsible for Steve Biko?s death in Port Elizabeth (8 to 11 December). The segment includes an interview with Biko?s son and wife who believe the applicants are still not telling the full story. The second segment features interviews with TRC photographers Benny Gool, Leon Muller, Gillian Edelstein and George Hallet. This is followed by an update on the latest amnesty findings and in the final segment the documentary on compulsory military service Borderliners: The Scars of War is rebroadcast.Section IndexWatch Episode
7901 Feb 1998The first segment of this episode reports on PW Botha, who appeared before the George Magistrate this week for refusing to appear before the Truth Commission and on his refusal to apologise later at a press conference. The second segment reports on part two of the special hearings on the MUFC held in Johannesburg (28 to 29 January) that investigated the relationship between the Soweto Security Police and Madikizela-Mandela. The following segments provide a profile of TRC Deputy Chairperson Alex Boraine and rebroadcast a report on Xhosa?s, Sotho?s and Zulu?s of the Karoo who want to reclaim their ethnic identities after living as Coloureds during apartheid. The final segment covers the Special Report team?s visit to the Gauteng office of the TRC to sign their register of reconciliation. Section IndexWatch Episode
8008 Feb 1998The first segment of this episode reports on the final amnesty hearings of the policemen responsible for killing the Gugulethu Seven (held in Cape Town, 17 - 19 November 1997) and includes evidence from Vlakplaas askari Xola Frank Mbane, who was instructed to infiltrate the alleged ANC cell. The second segment gives some background about 'turned' ANC soldiers or and include interviews with former Vlakpkaas askaris Jimmy Mbane, Joe Mamasela and Almond Nofemela. The following sections provide a profile on Truth Commissioner Dr. Wendy Orr and histories of the hostel and pass law systems. Also included is an interview with international TRC expert Priscilla Hayner who points out features unique to the South African TRC such as the right to subpoena, the public nature of hearings and the possibility of amnesty in exchange for the truth. The final segment shows Nelson Mandela?s mention of the TRC and message to victims in his opening of Parliament. Section IndexWatch Episode
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