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Amnesty Hearings

Type AMNESTY HEARING

Starting Date 26 July 1999

Location DURBAN CHRISTIAN CENTRE - DURBAN

Day 1 - CONTINUATION OF 2ND HEARING

Names EUGENE ALEXANDER DE KOCK

Case Number AM 0066/96

Matter PIET RETIEF -

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CHAIRPERSON: Morning everybody. Today we'll be commencing with the so-called Piet Retief hearings. Before we start, I'd just like to introduce the Panel to you. On my right is Leah Gcabashe, she is a Member of the Amnesty Committee and she is an advocate who comes from Johannesburg. On my left is Mr Wynand Malan, he is a Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and also a Member of the Amnesty Committee, he also comes from Johannesburg. I am Selwyn Miller, I am a Judge of the High Court attached to the Transkei Division thereof.

CHAIRPERSON EXPLAINS TRANSLATION EQUIPMENT

I would like at this stage for the legal representatives of the various parties to kindly place themselves on record. I think we'll just start at the end of the table and go around.

MS VAN DER WALT: I am Louisa van der Walt, I represent various persons. If I follow the index of bundle 1, I represent applicant number 3, Mr Hayes, then Mr Barnard, Theron and number 8, Mr Rorich, number 10, Mr van Dyk and Mr Botha, who is number 11.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms van der Walt.

MR PRINSLOO: Harry Prinsloo, Mr Chairperson. According to the index, I represent applicant Pienaar, number 12, van Zweel and number 15, Christo Petro Deetlefs. Thank you, Chairperson.

MR CORNELIUS: Thank you, Mr Chairman. Wim Cornelius from Pretoria, I represent Deon Flores, applicant number 2 and applicant number 14, Nicholas Vermeulen.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

MR HATTINGH: Hattingh is my name, Mr Chairman, I represent Mr de Kock, instructed by Mr Hugo.

MR BOOYENS: Kobus Booyens, Mr Chairman, instructed by van der Merwe and Bester. I appear for applicant number 9, Johan Hendrik Tait.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr Lamey?

MR LAMEY: Thank you, Chairperson. I represent the applicant, Nortje, applicant number 13 on the index, thanks.

MR MOERANE: Mr Chairman, the name is Advocate ...(indistinct) Moerane. I represent the families of the victims, all

of them.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr Moerane.

MR JANSEN: Thank you, Mr Chair, Honourable Members. Advocate Jansen, on instructions of Julian Knight attorneys. I represent applicant Ras, number 7 on the list. Thank you.

MS LOCKHAT: My name is Lyn Lockhat and I appear on behalf of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Thank you, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Have the representatives amongst themselves, determined the order of the testimony to be led?

MS LOCKHAT: That is correct, Chairperson. The first amnesty applicant will be Mr Eugene de Kock.

EUGENE ALEXANDER DE KOCK: (sworn states)

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Hattingh?

EXAMINATION BY MR HATTINGH: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Mr de Kock, you are one of the applicants in this matter, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: You have submitted a written application for amnesty, have you studied this and do you confirm the correctness of the allegations contained therein?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: You have also submitted a supplementary affidavit which deals with Vlakplaas and which can be found in bundle 1D. Do you also confirm the correctness of the allegations contained therein?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: Mr de Kock, in June 1988, were you the Commander of Section C1, stationed at Vlakplaas?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: And you were involved in the so-called two Piet Retief shooting incidents.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: May we begin with the first one, which took place on the 8th of June 1988. Will you give a brief explanation of what took place regarding the planning of the operation and how it transpired.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

"It is my recollection that the Piet Retief Security Branch requested our help and that they contacted me in the regard that Section C1 should assist with a planned infiltration of armed MK members who were going to come from Swaziland into the RSA.

Once again this was a case where Vlakplaas was involved by other components of the Security Police, to assist them with illegal actions which were launched in protection of the public, but more specifically the police."

MR HATTINGH: Who at the Piet Retief branch requested your assistance?

MR DE KOCK: It was Mr Pienaar. He was the head of the sub-branch. Piet Retief fell below the Ermelo branch and the Ermelo branch fell below the divisional head office, which was in Middelburg.

MR HATTINGH: Did you take some of those persons under your command to Piet Retief with you?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: Can you recall who from your unit accompanied you?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, the person who drove with me, if I recall correctly, was Mr Leon Flores and another one or two members followed us. Well they didn't drive directly behind us, but they followed us to Piet Retief. It was an action which took place on short notice. There was also another situation at that stage which was developing, in which a think-tank was held at Josini, or at least on the north coast. All of these events transpired simultaneously.

MR HATTINGH: And the overall Commander of Section C1, was he also involved in that think-tank or that planning action?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is entirely correct, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: That was Brig Schoon?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that's correct.

MR HATTINGH: Did you go directly to Piet Retief, or did you go to the place where this meeting was being held?

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson, we first went to Piet Retief. Initially I would have travelled with Brigadier Schoon, who was the Commander of C-Section or C-Unit. However, I notified him of this request from Piet Retief and in that case I withdrew myself. I briefly discussed the situation with him and informed him why he and I would not be able to travel together. We departed for Piet Retief and it was only the following morning, I would say between 10 and 11, that we joined Brig Schoon and the rest of the group who were on their way to Black Rock. I think it was Black Rock or Island Rock was the name of the place.

MR HATTINGH: Very well. You then arrived in Piet Retief and was there any prior planning?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, briefly, our time was very limited. If I recall correctly, I had the opportunity or I was offered the opportunity to inform myself regarding the situation and the gravity of the situation and the correctness of the information. One would have to test this information by means of making general enquiries. After that I consulted with Mr Pienaar regarding the actions which would take place there.

MR HATTINGH: And what did you plan to do?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, the information was that there were MK members who were armed and that is what was expected. In all regards it indicated to me that we were going to have to deal with armed MK members here. The commander at that stage was known, due to security reports and general information. And it was planned to lure these MK members into an ambush. I use the word "ambush" because the perception was later created that it was a roadblock and that is not correct. We will address this issue as we proceed. It was however an ambush and an ambush would usually lead to fatal cases of casualties.

MR HATTINGH: Very well. Where would these so-called terrorists have infiltrated the public?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, from Swaziland they would have crossed the border, which would have been an illegal crossing because it would not have taken place at a border post. Then transport would have been arranged for them from that point. They would have followed the Houtkop road from the Swazi direction to Piet Retief and from there to Northern Natal, or to Durban, or the Durban environment, for terrorism.

MR HATTINGH: Was transport then arranged for them?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson. The interception by means of the source, was of such a nature that we could exercise that control and then place one of our own people in that position to transport the terrorists.

MR HATTINGH: Who was the person that you sent to fetch them?

MR DE KOCK: In the first case it was a Captain Gladstone Mose.

MR HATTINGH: Was he connected to the police?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And where was he stationed?

MR DE KOCK: He was stationed at Vlakplaas, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: And he was a member of C1?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: Very well. The arrangement was for him to meet the people near the border, or at the border?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is entirely correct, and he would transport these persons along the Houtkop road. Before he was sent to the border we went to observe, and when I say "we", it is myself and Mr Pienaar - there may have been additional members, I'm open to correction on that matter - along with Lieutenant or Captain Mose, so that when he would approach the point where we were going to set up the ambush, he would flicker his lights and then pull of the road. The excuse would be that he had to perform a natural function and then that would have been within our ambush area where we would have been laying in wait.

MR HATTINGH: With the exception of the flickering of the lights, would there have been any other signs that you arranged, that you can recall?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, when he climbed out the vehicle and it was clear to him, or that he had reasonable grounds to believe that these persons were armed, he would run around the front of the vehicle. In the first place, it would have been indicative to us that these persons were armed and secondly, it would facilitate that he would leave the range of fire as quickly as possible.

MR HATTINGH: This place, you selected it during the day?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, it was late afternoon when we made those arrangements.

MR HATTINGH: Did you know what time these persons would cross the border, what time you had to meet them there?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I'm not certain. I'm open to correction if other members can assist me, but the time span was broad, it may have been anytime between 9 o'clock and 10 o'clock that night, up to and including 4 o'clock the following morning, or even later.

MR HATTINGH: So this would have taken place during the course of the night?

MR DE KOCK: Yes. Chairperson, if I recall correctly this source did not have the authority regarding what time the people would depart. I do recall that a time was given, indicating when the transport would be ready at the Swaziland border.

MR HATTINGH: And the transport would then have to wait there until they arrived?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: And then did you take up position in the place that was prearranged?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson. I have a vague recollection that we had a second vehicle with two Security Branch members, which we arranged to drive in the direction of the Swaziland border on the Houtkop road. They would also serve as an early warning. And then there was also a road which ran to the southern side, from where this pick-up point would be. Their function would be that if a vehicle approached from that side, to cut off that vehicle so that there would not be any kind of confusion and so that the terrorists would not climb into the wrong vehicle.

MR HATTINGH: And did the vehicle arrive at the place where you had taken up position?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that's correct.

MR HATTINGH: Can you recall whether any sign was given, when the lights were flickered?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson. With the arrival, in the direction from where we laid the ambush, the vehicles lights flickered brightly and this vehicle pulled over in the middle of the ambush area.

MR HATTINGH: And Captain Mose, what did he do?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, he climbed out of the vehicle and ran around the vehicle on the front side of it, as the sign had been agreed.

MR HATTINGH: The signal that these persons were armed?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Yes, please proceed.

MR DE KOCK: One of the members, I think it was Mr Hayes, had a vehicle battery which was connected to a high intensity searchlight, or hand searchlight and this was shone on the vehicle. What was clear, which we had not foreseen, was that the inside of the windows were completely misted up. I hesitated for a moment with firing.

MR HATTINGH: When you say that the windows were misty, do you concede that you could not see into the vehicle?

MR DE KOCK: Well I couldn't see at all and the entire vehicle on the left, front and back side, was completely misted up.

MR HATTINGH: What sort of vehicle was it?

MR DE KOCK: It was a 1300 or 1600 Corolla vehicle, which belonged to the Investigating Branch of Piet Retief.

MR HATTINGH: You say that you couldn't see into the vehicle, what did you do then?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I must have hesitated for about three to four seconds. I then opened fire on the left front door, which was my angle of fire or my target. The rest of the members, as it was agreed, would upon the signal of my fire - or the fact at least that I started firing, would be the signal for them to begin firing on their selected targets, such as the left back door and the back window.

MR HATTINGH: Did they do that?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, they did that.

MR HATTINGH: Can you recall how many shots you fired?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I would say approximately 8 to 11 or 12 shots. I was armed with an uzzi sub-machine gun of a 9mm calibre.

MR HATTINGH: And the other members, did they also fire more than one shot?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson. There was a variety of weapons there, mostly uzzis and then also R1s, 762 calibre.

MR HATTINGH: Therefore a large number of shots were fired?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: And did you at a stage give a cease-fire signal?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, with the 11th or 12th shot I gave the signal to cease fire. No fire came from the vehicle, and with that intensity in such a small concentrated area, I did not foresee that anybody could still be alive.

MR HATTINGH: Were any shots fired from inside the vehicle to you?

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: And when you arrived at the vehicle, what did you find?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, with the shooting, the windows, left front and left back bust on the inside. Some of the shots were fired through the windows and some of them were concentrated on the doors in an area where you would expect to find passengers seated. I cannot recall whether the back window or the rear window was shot out. At one stage it looked as if all windows had been shattered. And upon approaching the vehicle, the right back door fell open and a person fell out of the car. She appeared to be a woman. The woman still showed signs of life and it appeared that she was attempting to breath or to speak and I told Mr Ras to shoot her.

MR HATTINGH: Which he then did?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, he did so.

MR HATTINGH: Very well. How many persons were seated in the vehicle?

MR DE KOCK: In the vehicle, left front, there was a black woman, left back against the door there was an Indian man and then in the middle or on the back seat next to the right door, there was also a black woman and all of them had been killed.

MR HATTINGH: What did you do after you investigated the car and found the people dead there?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, Mr Pienaar and members of the Security Branch frisked the bags that the persons had with them in the vehicle. We did not find any visible arms on their persons and when we went through the bags there were also no weapons there.

MR HATTINGH: So there were no weapons in the vehicle, not on the persons and also not in their baggage?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: And what did you do then?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, it created a situation that one did not expect and it immediately brought problems, which caused a crises in my opinion and which would have been an embarrassment for the police as well as the government and I requested from Mr Pienaar whether he had any East Block weapons or equipment and my recollection is that he did indeed have a Makarov pistol which was at his office, which served as an exhibit in some or other case and it is also me recollection that there was one F1 and an RPG handgrenade, which was at his office. I am open to correction on that matter, but that is my recollection. One of the persons who was at the scene went and collected these items and they were placed at the bodies as proof that there were weapons there.

MR HATTINGH: Were shots fired with the Makarov?

MR DE KOCK: Not at the scene, Chairperson, not that I can recall.

MR HATTINGH: Very well. In other words, the impression was created that these people were armed?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson. It was a matter of, it would looked better at that stage with the political situation and the press which caused problems for the police in that sense.

MR HATTINGH: And was an inquest held later?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct.

MR HATTINGH: Did you give evidence during those proceedings?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I did, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: And did you give a false version there?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson. I would just like to qualify it. Certain of the facts were correct, but the general impression which was created would have been false.

MR HATTINGH: What was the general impression that you wanted to create?

MR DE KOCK: That these persons were armed. It was known that they were indeed MK members. They were attached to the Intelligence Unit and this we established later, and they did cross the border illegally. They were on their way to Northern Natal. But the aspect surrounding weapons was not correct and the fact that a shot was fired from the vehicle and that we reacted on that shot, that was not correct.

MR HATTINGH: Was that the version that you presented, that a shot was fired on you from the vehicle?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct. And because that evidence was given under oath it caused another crime to be committed.

MR HATTINGH: Very well. And was the scene visited by an officer who had to draw up a shooting incident report?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, but at that stage I was not there. I do not want to distance myself from anything, but I would just like to tell you why. I know that the bodies were loaded onto a bakkie, not a mortuary vehicle as far as I can recall, and I and one of my members went back to the offices. I cannot recall whether we were there when the vehicle was removed. We then went to sleep. We arrived at the office and about an hour later we went to bed.

MR HATTINGH: Can you recall who the members were who participated in the operation along with you?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, it was myself, Mr Flores, Mr Ras and somewhere I place another person possibly. I am not certain who drove to the border, whether it was one of my people or whether it was one of Piet Retief's security people. I am not certain.

MR HATTINGH: So you spent the night in Piet Retief. And the following day?

MR DE KOCK: From there I and the members who participated with me went to Pongola early the next morning and from there we went to Matubatuba, or not Matubatuba, I think Mkuzi, or Matubatuba, where we met Brig Schoon and the rest of the group who were on their way to Island Rock.

MR HATTINGH: Did you go to Island Rock from there?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, we did, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Did you report these incidents to Brig Schoon?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, at Island Rock I discussed the matter with him and I mentioned to him that there were some problems with regard to a lack of arms which were found on the persons, but that it was under control and that we sorted it out.

MR HATTINGH: Very well. And a few days later, Mr de Kock, it was the 12th, there was another operation that took place.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, the infiltrations continued. The information that the source provided was that there was a group of approximately 36+ trained members of MK, who would be infiltrated by this group commander to Natal.

MR HATTINGH: Did you know who the commander of the group was?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, it was a Charles Ndaba.

MR HATTINGH: This Mr Ndaba was one of the persons who was arrested and his arrest led to the well-known Operation Vula came to light, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, Chairperson. I would just like to mention - and Mr Pienaar would be able to support me here because C1 worked on a national basis. I cannot recall all the information, but Mr Ndaba was a very active member of MK and in that sense he was a very capable person with regard to his actions and his managerial abilities in operations.

MR HATTINGH: When did you get this information that on the 12th people will infiltrate the country?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, we did not have a fixed date which the source could give us about the following infiltrations, but I would like to recall that the second infiltration would be in relation to the successful infiltration of the first group and the second group. So those groups would report back to the groups in Swaziland whether they were successful and had achieved their objective.

MR HATTINGH: But on the 12th you once again became involved in a similar action?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: When was that operation planned?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, there were no planning as such, but the source would keep Mr Pienaar up to date with regard to infiltrations, or the possible planning thereof. At two opportunities, it may be more, I could be corrected here, but I drove from Island Rock to Mbazwana Police Station, which I think was about 25 or 30 kilometres from Island Rock, and from there I had contact with Mr Freek Pienaar. The reason therefore was that if an infiltration did take place while we were busy with this meeting, then a group of my people would leave to assist them.

MR HATTINGH: And did you receive the information from him that it was expected that people would cross the border once again?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, there was the threat of another infiltration and the time was not known. At that stage, with our departure from Island Rock, the group met at a place by the name of Moolman, it's a small type of forestry station which consisted of a post office and a bar, about 30 kilometres from Piet Retief. The whole unit rendezvoused there before we would depart for Pretoria, and from there I liaised with Mr Pienaar and Mr Pienaar informed me that they expected an infiltration that evening.

MR HATTINGH: Was Brig Schoon still with you?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, he was, because the unit would rendezvous there and everybody would be there. I think between 11 and 12, there would be a final braai there and from there we would all depart for Pretoria.

MR HATTINGH: And did you plan to go to Piet Retief and assist the Piet Retief Security Branch once again?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, the certainty was not there whether there would be an infiltration that evening. We waited for confirmation. I did pick a group of my members and the rest were sent back to Pretoria after the social there, but the group that I picked out remained behind.

MR HATTINGH: Who was that, Mr de Kock?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, it was myself, Mr Ras, Mr Paul van Dyk, Mr Flores, Mr Nortje, and I have just heard that Mr Vermeulen was also there. I could not place him because I could not recall him. And Mr Tait as well.

MR HATTINGH: And when did you go to Piet Retief?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, after the social. About 1 or 2 o'clock, my members and I went to the Security Branch offices at Piet Retief and according to my recollection, Mr Pienaar was there, he did the monitoring and liaised with his sources. We waited to see if this infiltration would take place.

At a later stage some members arrived there from the Security Branches at Middelburg, Witbank and Ermelo, I think. They had a vehicle, which was a minibus because it was expected that a larger group would infiltrate, approximately 8 to 10 persons. That is the information that I had.

MR HATTINGH: And who would drive the minibus?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, at that stage it was arranged with Detective W/O from the Piet Retief Detective Branch, who would drive the vehicle and the source would give his false name or his pseudo name, which he would use at the border to identify himself and to pick up these terrorists and they would similarly, as it the previous instance, be led into an ambush and then he would stop there.

MR HATTINGH: The driver, was that a Mr Manzini?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: And was he shown beforehand where he should stop?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson. The same type of signal and warning signs were given to him to give to us if he approaches the area.

MR HATTINGH: So did you have the driver drive in the direction of the border?

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson, I did not send a vehicle, but I did compile a group. I did consult with Mr Deetlefs and Mr Pienaar, we sat and consulted. The feeling was - and I accept it was the feeling that I had, that after the second shooting incident which we expected would be successful, just as the first, it would be expected of any commander whether he is in position or not, that there is a break in his security network and that he should not use that network again and infiltrate these persons in another manner and would lose control over the operation.

I sent a group across the border so that after these terrorists were delivered and sent across the border and had left already, then the second group, the commander and whoever else was still there would be shot dead or caught. I want to mention that catching them was not the idea.

MR HATTINGH: Who did you send to eliminate the commander?

MR DE KOCK: I sent Captain van Dyk, or Mr van Dyk, Mr Ras, Mr Tait and I don't who of Piet Retief's Security Branch went along. I'm under correction, they'll have to assist me here, but I did send a group of four or five persons across the border.

MR HATTINGH: And the rest of your group took up positions at the prearranged place?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: And the vehicle arrived there?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, the vehicle arrived, Manzini did flicker his lights, but a crisis came about because the vehicle drove past the ambush area, it did not stop there and drove past and stopped approximately 80 metres from us and Manzini jumped out of the vehicle and ran round the vehicle.

MR HATTINGH: Was that once again the sign that the persons would be armed?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, that would be the sign. I had thought about the previous week's situation and coupled with the fact that the vehicle was moving out of the ambush area, I ran in the direction of where the kombi had stopped and when I reached the vehicle the left front door opened and a man climbed out with an AKM. He and I were practically a metre, maximum two metres from each other when I started firing at him. His weapon was almost perpendicular to my left arm and at the third or fourth shot he only showed signs of falling.

MR HATTINGH: What were you armed with this time?

MR DE KOCK: I was once again armed with a 9mm hand carbine, an uzzi, and with this shooting and from the periphery of my right eye I could see the barrel of an AK47, which is a very recognisable barrel and firing system at the front. Fortunately at that stage some of my Vlakplaas members took up position in a diagonal line behind me and started firing on the people in the minibus.

MR HATTINGH: And eventually all the occupants of the vehicle were shot dead?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, when the members fired on the person in the minibus, members of the Security Branch Piet Retief and the other Security Branches, moved up in a line from behind and the group of people in the minibus were caught in a destructing crossfire.

MR HATTINGH: Did you investigate after the shooting had stopped?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I did give the cease-fire signal, Chairperson, and we had found four black men who were all armed with AK47s. I did not search the bodies to find out what other arms they had with them.

MR HATTINGH: Did you go through their baggage?

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson, I did not check any baggage.

MR HATTINGH: So the only weapons that you saw that evening were these four AKs?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Did you get an officer to compile a shooting report about the incident?

MR DE KOCK: I cannot recall whether an officer did visit the scene, or whether the officer visited the scene while I was there. I don't think he did. He may have visited the scene after I had left. I have a vague recollection that we may have gone to sleep, or in fact departed back to Pretoria that morning and it would have been early that morning.

MR HATTINGH: And was there a post-mortem inquest?

MR DE KOCK: In this case it was an informal post-mortem inquest, whereas the first one had been a formal post-mortem inquest.

MR HATTINGH: Formal in the sense that oral evidence was presented?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that's correct.

MR HATTINGH: And when you refer to informal, then that indicates an inquest which took place merely by the submission of affidavits?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR HATTINGH: Was any affidavit obtained from you during the second inquest?

MR DE KOCK: No. I wanted to submit an affidavit, but another statement had already been submitted by Mr Deetlefs and my affidavit was not incorporated into the file.

CHAIRPERSON: Just before you proceed, Mr Hattingh.

You said that you sent that one group into Swaziland, Ras and Tait and others, did you get any report-back from them?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson. After the shooting, when we fired at the minibus, Mr Ras and his group returned with Mr van Dyk and the others and they reported that they had indeed ambushed a vehicle there. With the return of two black men they fired at them. The one was already in the vehicle, if my information is correct, he was shot dead. The other person escaped, and this later appeared to be Mr Charles Ndaba. It was said to me that an attempt was made to set the vehicle alight.

MR HATTINGH: Might this be a convenient stage to take the adjournment, Mr Chairman?

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I see it's 11 o'clock. We'll take a short tea adjournment at this stage.

MS LOCKHAT: Please stand.

COMMITTEE ADJOURNS

ON RESUMPTION

EUGENE ALEXANDER DE KOCK: (s.u.o.)

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Hattingh?

EXAMINATION BY MR HATTINGH: (cont)

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Mr de Kock in general, with regard to both incidents - let me ask you the question about the second incident first. Did Brig Schoon know that you would be involved in a similar incident such as the first one?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson. With the meal or the function at Moolman, just before all of us went our separate ways, I notified him that I would remain behind with more members because I would have accompanied him to Pretoria otherwise. And he knew the reasons for that.

MR HATTINGH: And did you inform him that this would be another ambush-type operation?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I did, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: And did he express his approval of that?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Did you report back to him after the operation?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Did you report to him that you had shot the people dead during the ambush?

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR HATTINGH: The information that you had before you became involved in any of the operations, was this information that these were trained terrorists who were going to infiltrate the country?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson. The information was of such quality, and from the enquiries it appeared that this was the reason why we should preferably set up and ambush because we knew that we were dealing with trained MK members here and by nature of the situation, an MK members was synonymous with a machine-gun and or a missile launcher of anything that went along with that.

MR HATTINGH: Did you act in both instances in your capacity as a member of the South African Security Police and in the execution of your duties as such?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I did, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: And this was also in order to combat terrorism?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: With the advantage of retrospect, how do you feel about the fact that you shot these people dead during an ambush?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, if one thinks about it today, one cannot think that any of our members, whether it be on our side or on the side of our opposition, sank to the levels where we grabbed each other by the throats and literally strangled one another. It just doesn't make sense.

If you study the normality which gradually emerged after 1994, one cannot believe that one couldn't see it oneself. It's very difficult to express. That relentlessness, the lack of total tolerance, must have developed over a period of time, so that the lines which were drawn between right and wrong transformed into a grey area, that we dehumanised one another and that ultimately we achieved nothing by the destruction of lives on both sides.

I cannot say anything further, because one will not be able to rectify it by what has already taken place. One can perhaps attempt to prevent that this sort of thing happens again.

MR HATTINGH: The members of Vlakplaas who participated in these operations with you, were under your command?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson. I accept full responsibility for my share, my planning and the leadership that I provided, the decisions that I took. I also accept full responsibility for the members under my command, of Vlakplaas, and in this case particularly because by nature of my seniority there I also accept full responsibility for the members of the Eastern Transvaal Security Branches, insofar as the actions and combat and the cross-border operations are concerned.

MR HATTINGH: Were you the most senior officer during both these operations?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR HATTINGH: Thank you, Chairperson, I have nothing further.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR HATTINGH

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr Hattingh. Ms van der Walt, do you have any questions you would like to put to the witness?

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS VAN DER WALT: Mr de

Kock, on behalf of those that I'm appearing for there are singular aspects that I want to clear up with you and that would be regarding the second incident, that is the incident involving the minibus.

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MS VAN DER WALT: My clients who were involved in that operation state that a formal inquest was held. You were not involved in it, as you gave evidence.

MR DE KOCK: Then I stand corrected, I will accept it as that.

MS VAN DER WALT: The second post-mortem inquest was held under the Chair of Mr Poolman, who was a district magistrate from Pretoria.

MR DE KOCK: I would accept that. I am corrected.

MS VAN DER WALT: Furthermore, the clients who were involved in the second matter maintain that when the bus came to a standstill and the person on the left front side disembarked from the bus with the AK, he began to shoot with the firearm in his hands. Can you recall this?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, no. However, I would like to explain it as follows. It is probably my gunfire which they may have seen because as I've said, we were between a metre and two metres away from one another, nothing further than that. I would concede to that, that there may have been some error in judgement on that side.

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, before you proceed, Ms van der Walt.

Mr de Kock, was there any firing from any of the people in the minibus?

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson, we did not give them the opportunity.

CHAIRPERSON: At any stage?

MR DE KOCK: As I have said, if I had taken a second longer or if the person on the left front had been a second faster, with that short distance and with that limited angle of fire in which he would have concentrated his gunfire, this would have led to a blood-bath, there is no doubt about that.

MS VAN DER WALT: Mr Rorich and Mr van Zweel will give evidence that on the tar road between the two places where they stood, there was also a mark in the tar road, which they allege came from the fire of the person who climbed out of the vehicle.

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I will not dispute that, my attention was focused on a more serious and more immediate danger, but I believe that if he had fired and if he had hit me there would have been traces of gunpowder on my body. That was the nature of the distance. However, I will not dispute it, it may be the perception of others.

MS VAN DER WALT: The clients for whom I act in these matters give the evidence like that according to both incidents.

MS VAN DER WALT: Thank you very much, Chairperson.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MS VAN DER WALT

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Prinsloo, do you have any questions you'd like to put?

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR PRINSLOO: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Mr de Kock, this source or informer who provided the information was the same person in both cases.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR PRINSLOO: And in both cases the information was correct, that these persons were trained MK members.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, the information was so correct and with the interrogation it was decided that there would be an ambush, that we would have to do with MK members.

MR PRINSLOO: And Mr Pienaar's impression is that in the case of the vehicle which was driven by Lieutenant Mose, who has passed away since then, that he switched on the left indicator light, which would indicate that the persons in the vehicle were armed. Can you recall that or not?

MR DE KOCK: I would concede to that. I cannot recall it, but

I would concede to it.

MR PRINSLOO: And at that stage you believed that these persons were indeed armed, the persons in the Corolla.

MR DE KOCK: I had no doubt.

MR PRINSLOO: Insofar as it concerns the second incident, the vehicle was driven by a member of the Detective Branch, Mr Manzini.

MR DE KOCK: Yes.

MR PRINSLOO: Is it correct that that person did not have any knowledge of what had been planned by the Security Branch, specifically with regard to the background? He only knew that he had an order to indicate whether or not the persons were armed and if they were armed, he had to switch on an indicator light, jump out of the vehicle and run away?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, the signal upon which we would react, would be if he jumped out of the vehicle and ran away past the front of the vehicle into the bushes and on the same side as us so that he did not end up in the line of fire. However, he didn't know that we were going to eliminate these persons.

MR PRINSLOO: And in the first case a Makarov was placed next to the person who was known as Naidoo?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that's correct, Chairperson.

MR PRINSLOO: And handgrenades were placed in the carry bags of the women, two of the women. That is Mr Pienaar's recollection, if it is correct.

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I don't know whether they were in the bags or if ...(intervention)

MR PRINSLOO: There were bags in the vehicle.

MR DE KOCK: I did not deal with any pieces of evidence or any evidence, so I cannot give any independent evidence about that.

MR PRINSLOO: With regard to the second incident, Mr Deetlefs whom I represent says that his recollection is that he arrived in Piet Retief after the persons had already been given the order apparently to cross the border. These are the persons that you sent ahead. He was not present when this was said to them. Can you recall this or not?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I cannot, I will have to concede to that.

MR PRINSLOO: It is not such an important point. And the impression which Mr Pienaar, as well as Mr Deetlefs have is that with regard to the second incident, there was gunfire from the other vehicle, that somebody jumped out of the vehicle and opened fire.

MR DE KOCK: I have already given an answer regarding that. I will not aim to be obstructive or disputive with regard to this, but I have been fired at quite often and I have been involved in fights with persons who have fired at me. I have experience thereof.

MR PRINSLOO: The information that you also had was that at that stage a large infiltration of MK members would take place from Swaziland, into the Republic.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, that is correct.

MR PRINSLOO: And that the Swazi Police also applied pressure to the members who were in Swaziland.

MR DE KOCK: I don't know whether it was so at that specific time, but upon a previous occasion the Swazi Government did apply pressure. I don't know whether it was also the case with this infiltration.

MR PRINSLOO: Regarding the preceding events approximately in 1986, can you recall that there were various incidents during which MK members planted landmines and during which many people were injured and killed, specifically in the Eastern Transvaal?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I recall that specifically.

MR PRINSLOO: So at that stage there was a high level of intensity on both sides, with the ANC as the infiltrators, who aimed to topple the government of the country?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson. Perhaps just to give you a

broader idea, I think that 1987 led to the shooting at the Nersden border post. I don't want to deal with that too elaborately, but I've stated that example to give you an idea.

MR PRINSLOO: And according to information which was later obtained, the person Naidoo would have been involved in an incident during which an explosion took place at Rasjbansi here in Natal, do you know about that?

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson, we operated on national level and the level of detail was sometimes almost too much to take in.

MR PRINSLOO: Thank you, Chairperson, no further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR PRINSLOO

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr Cornelius, do you have any questions?

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR CORNELIUS: I have, thank you, Mr Chairman.

Mr de Kock, the complete evidence of the operation of Vlakplaas has been contained in a bundle which has been submitted upon a previous occasion.

MR DE KOCK: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR CORNELIUS: Your objective was also to combat the SACP/ANC alliance.

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR CORNELIUS: Correct. And your information was that Charles Ndaba had planned to bring in 30 people and you identified him as a very strong MK leader, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: He was effective, Chairperson.

MR CORNELIUS: So you had no doubt when the information came to your knowledge, that these would be armed persons, dangerous persons who were entering the country?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR CORNELIUS: You had no reason to doubt the information that you received from security reports?

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson.

MR CORNELIUS: And the persons who worked below you and executed your orders, operated on a strict need-to-know basis?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR CORNELIUS: So there was no expectation that any of your foot-soldiers would dispute any order that you had given?

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson.

MR CORNELIUS: Or question your political motive as such?

MR DE KOCK: No, all of us shared the same political motive, Chairperson.

MR CORNELIUS: Yes, and your motive was to prevent these persons from infiltrating the country?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR CORNELIUS: With the first incident you stated that the windows were misted up, so you couldn't see into the vehicle.

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR CORNELIUS: And when you noticed that the left-hand passenger window was being wound down, you expected that fire would be opened upon you immediately?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, yes. Well if it had not been fired that would have been my observation. I must say that the situation was an ambush situation and it was strange to hesitate in any such kind of a situation.

MR CORNELIUS: That's correct. And there could have been no doubt to the passengers in this vehicle, that this was a military or a police operation as a result of the searchlight which was present at the scene?

MR DE KOCK: I cannot say what they thought, Chairperson. I believe that because it was an ambush the shock effect would have been that which an ambush would achieve.

MR CORNELIUS: Yes. And the placing of the Makarov pistol would have eliminated very unnecessary questions during any investigation or inquest?

MR DE KOCK: It would just have made it look better, that's all.

MR CORNELIUS: And then finally, an ambush, it was an ambush?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, the doctrine of an ambush is to kill. And to give you a broader concept, in ambushes groups would be placed depending on the geography of the terrain, to ensure that nobody escapes.

MR MALAN: I beg your pardon, Mr Cornelius.

May I ask the photographers please to finish their photo-taking, it's really disruptive.

MR CORNELIUS: Thank you, Mr Chair.

So the objective wasn't to arrest the persons, it was to eliminate them?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Why was that the intention, Mr de Kock? Why not have an intention to arrest them?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, we had trained MK members and according to all indicators which we had at our disposal, they were armed. There was no way that I would expose my own people or expose the Security Forces to either death or injury. They were our enemy, I cannot allow any one of them to escape and to sow further terrorism. And that is why the ambush had to be as effective as possible.

MR CORNELIUS: Lastly, the placing of the ambush was of such a nature that there would be no loss of life with the community, it was a safe area that you had selected between two plantations, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct, Chairperson.

MR CORNELIUS: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR CORNELIUS

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr Cornelius. Mr Booyens, do you have any questions?

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR BOOYENS: Yes, thank you, Mr Chairman.

Mr de Kock, it doesn't appear from your application or from your evidence, so I would just like to clear one thing up. Insofar as the Swaziland aspect of the second operation was concerned, you did say that you discussed the second operation with Brig Schoon. Was the Swaziland aspect to your recollection, also discussed with him, or wasn't it discussed? I would just like clarity about that.

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson, it emanated from a later discussion with Mr Pienaar and Mr Deetlefs as I recall and as a Commander of C1 and Counter-Insurgency, I could independent decisions. It was expected of one to take decisions and to assume leadership, that is why one was in that position. And one would bear all the responsibilities associated with that position,

whether it be success or failure.

MR BOOYENS: And Mr Tait informs me that he was made aware of the fact that the intention of the Swaziland component of the operation was indeed that the people that they were supposed to attack in Swaziland, were indeed responsible for the infiltration of cadres into the country and people who were in fact bent on destruction and murdering people in South Africa, and that was indeed explained to him. So they were aware who they were supposed to attack in Swaziland. Would that be correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR BOOYENS: Thank you, Mr Chairman, I've got no further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR BOOYENS

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Lamey?

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR LAMEY: Thank you, Chairperson.

Mr de Kock, what was your rank at that stage? I'm referring now to both incidents then.

MR DE KOCK: I was a Major, Chairperson.

MR LAMEY: Regarding the second operation, who was in command?

MR DE KOCK: Well it would have been me, Chairperson.

MR LAMEY: Is it correct that one of the important reasons why the persons had to be eliminated in Swaziland, was also specifically to protect the source?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, not exactly, it may have been a peripheral issue. I know however, that the idea was discussed that if we could kill these two persons there, the source would be able to point out the facilities where the rest of the group waited for infiltration. Even if not on that night, on a following night we would be able to eliminate them successfully.

MR LAMEY: Is it also your recollection that Mr Nortje was transferred from C1 to C2 after Island Rock?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, it is possible that it happened there, Chairperson.

MR LAMEY: Upon the request of Brig Schoon, or his order?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR LAMEY: Is it your evidence that Brig Schoon, before the second ambush, was informed that it was going to take place and that is enjoyed his approval?

MR DE KOCK: He knew that there would be a second potential infiltration because I had to tell him why I was remaining behind, because we travelled together from Island Rock to Moolman. And it was informed to him as such.

MR LAMEY: Was it also your request that the facts afterwards - and I'm also referring specifically to the second incident, that the facts be constructed to created the false impression of a properly set up roadblock, or were you a member to that discussion or that prescription?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I was part of that discussion. That was just to avoid the ambush issue because an ambush indicates an intention to kill. Since 1967 and my first session of training, up to that day, no ambush would be set up with any other intention than to shoot and kill.

MR LAMEY: And did you also have the request that your involvement be removed from the second incident?

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson.

MR LAMEY: Did you make any statement regarding the second incident?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, we went through to Vlakplaas that morning after the shooting. I wrote a statement, among others that I had been in command and when I wanted to take it through to Piet Retief, I telephoned so that Mr Pienaar could expect me there and he informed me that Deetlefs had already submitted a statement in which he stated that he fired the shots, that he shot the person at the door.

And later I had to hand in my uzzi at the Piet Retief Security Branch because I think a Mr Klatso, who was retained by the families as their representative, wanted to undertake ballistic tests on the firearm and my gun spent quite some time in the vault at Piet Retief.

MR LAMEY: Regarding the statement which you gave in the light of the Piet Retief incident, was this statement ever used according to your knowledge?

MR DE KOCK: No, as far as I know it never became part of the dossier.

MR LAMEY: Do you know why?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I simply assumed in my simplicity, that Deetlefs may be looking to score extra points for himself, a pat on the shoulder. I may be wrong, but that was my opinion at that stage. It doesn't mean that I'm right.

MR LAMEY: I assume that you knew that Mr Nortje made a statement and that he basically would have to go along with the idea that it was presented that this had been a roadblock?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR LAMEY: I think you touched upon this in your evidence, but the fact that Manzini - that was the member of the Detective Branch, who had to give the signal that the passengers in the minibus were armed, he had to jump out of the vehicle and run around the front side of it and get away from the scene.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, as far as I can recall, upon arrival at the ambush point the indicator lights had to flicker from sharp to dull and that would give us a pre-warning and then he would have to pull away or pull over into the ambush area. The driver would have to jump out and run around the front of the vehicle. In other words, in the same direction or line as that in which we had been set up for the ambush.

MR LAMEY: But the fact that he had to jump out and run away would be an important sign to indicate that the passengers were armed?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that would be indicative of the fact that they were armed.

MR LAMEY: Then my instructions from Mr Nortje are that he was diagonally behind you when the person with the AK47 emerged from the door and he confirms what you say, that the person did indeed climb out of the vehicle with an AK47, and he also confirms that he in his mind also expected that this person would open fire any minute and the fact that you also fired was a signal to the other members to open fire, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct, Chairperson. I expected that the person who climbed out was going to shot me. I couldn't get him flat on the ground from such a distance.

MR LAMEY: And then it is also Mr Nortje's recollection that to eliminate your involvement in the incident was requested. Is that your recollection?

MR DE KOCK: No, because my statement was written and typed and I wanted to send it through to Piet Retief. It wouldn't help to fax it because my original statement had to form part of the file. And this was not my request.

MR LAMEY: Could you not have requested this from anybody after you had made your statement?

MR DE KOCK: I don't want to dispute it, but the second shooting suited me much better than the first. With the exception of the fact that it had not been a roadblock, there was really nothing to hide. But I don't want to dispute that.

MR LAMEY: My instructions from Mr Nortje are that at the second occasion there was also a light which was shone when the person climbed out of the vehicle. Do you recall that?

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson. If it is so I cannot recall it, I really cannot. I will not dispute it. It would have made sense if we had it at the first instance, but I am speculating now, I don't have an independent recollection thereof.

MR LAMEY: The person who would deliver the persons at the Swaziland border, was he in liaison with the source?

MR DE KOCK: I am not sure what the relationship between Charles Ndaba and the source was, but I accept that it should have been quite good because the information was that - if I can put it like this, there was hundred percent proof.

MR LAMEY: Can you recall whether there was a specific number of MKs that would be in the minibus, or could there have been more than four?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, the amount of 8 to 12 was mentioned the afternoon at the Security Branch offices. I may be incorrect, but I think that is why the minibus was there, to accommodate that amount of people.

MR LAMEY: I would just like to say that my instructions have been corrected by Mr Nortje. He says initially he spoke of the information of four MK members, but there may have been information as to more, but ultimately there were only four MK members.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that's correct, Chairperson.

MR LAMEY: Thank you, Chairperson, no further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR LAMEY

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Jansen, do you have any questions you'd

like to ask the witness?

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR JANSEN: Yes, thank you, Mr Chairman. Jansen on behalf of applicant Ras.

Mr de Kock, the two Piet Retief incidents, am I correct in saying that it did not form part of your trial?

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: So the judiciary records and findings about these incidents have relation with the previous death inquest and commissions which were riddled with lies?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, some facts are true and some are not.

MR JANSEN: And the other thing, Lieutenant Mose is deceased, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that's correct, Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: And he has been deceased for quite some time now, is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: So it has never been possible to surmise from him why he gave the apparent signal when he climbed out of the vehicle and ran around the front of the vehicle? Why he gave this signal that there were weapons in the vehicle, during the first incident.

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I have a recollection that I did speak to him after the shooting incident and he mentioned that the weapons should have been in the bags. That is how he perceived it and that is why he took that step.

MR JANSEN: Yes, and one speculates now, but that is exactly the point which I wanted to make to you. If one has a look at the facts as a whole, one would accept that Lieutenant Mose only went to pick up those people that evening.

MR DE KOCK: Yes. I would just like to mention that Mose was also a former member of MK and he was one of the old MK members. I think somebody once said that he was one of the original MK members.

MR JANSEN: Yes, but he would not have been in the presence of these people long enough to establish as a fact whether they were armed or not?

MR DE KOCK: No, I believe that he used his own knowledge and he believed that there would be weapons. He was one of those who had been caught in the Wankie campaign in Rhodesia, so he knew.

MR JANSEN: And on the probabilities he would have drawn that inference that, by the fact that they had these bags with them?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, and we also told him that we are dealing with trained MK members here.

MR JANSEN: And if one looks at many other similar incidents, the records of the Truth Commission and other investigations, it is so that some of the MK cadres would infiltrate with their weapons and in other instances without their weapons?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson. Many a time the weapons were already stored within the Republic and people would infiltrate without weapons - and I would depend further on Mr Deetlefs and Pienaar, who would have firsthand knowledge about this, and then they would just collect the weapons from where they were stored.

MR JANSEN: Yes, and there are also documented cases - and I think for example of the arrests of MK members and PAC members in the Western Transvaal area, where it could have been expected from someone in your position and in the positions of your members, that you would be fired upon and that such people would draw their weapons on the police.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson. C1's position was that we only dealt with terrorists and one foresaw that you could be fired at at every occasion.

MR JANSEN: Yes, what I would just like to get clear from you, on record, is that it was not unreasonable at all at that stage, from you and more specifically Mr Ras, but you were all in the same position, to expect or to be uncertain whether you would expect fire from the other side?

MR DE KOCK: No, we were reasonably certain on every occasion.

MR JANSEN: Now in Mr Ras' application he says that his role in the first incident, his function was to move across the road and take up position to cover the right-hand side of the vehicle.

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: And he was solely in that position, there was nobody with him on that side.

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson, then he would have fallen into the direct line of fire of the line that was covering the left-hand side of the vehicle.

MR JANSEN: Yes, and the position of those who were on the left-hand side of the vehicle and his position right, somewhat to the back, was set up so that you would not be in the line of fire of each other.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, that is quite correct.

MR JANSEN: But because of the fact that it was dark and from his position he could not see from the other side of the vehicle who started firing or what the position was exactly.

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson, the shots that I fired would be the signal, so he would react the moment I started to fire.

MR JANSEN: Mr Ras also says that the nature of such a situation requires that the person in command's instruction had to be executed with military precision.

MR DE KOCK: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: So if you say "cease fire", fire has to be ceased, if you say "open fire", then they have to open fire?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: Mr Ras also says that although a large number of shots were fired and they moved closer to the vehicle, and the woman who fell out of the right-hand side of the vehicle was shot, all these things literally took place during the course of a few seconds.

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: And that everything that happened there, in a certain sense took place under commands and in the heat of the moment.

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: I think that there is something will be in issue and maybe it is correct that I deal with that right now. Mr Ras says in his application - I don't know whether you have studied his application?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I have Chairperson.

MR DE KOCK: That you would have said to him in reasonably cruel terms to shoot the woman. Do you have any comment about that?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, yes. Without trying to play the good boy I am not certain about the language, but I did indeed tell him to shoot her.

MR JANSEN: From the original or the initial evidence with regard to Vlakplaas as a whole, that we had in Pretoria, is it correct that it emanated from that evidence that the most of the Vlakplaas members were issued with Makarov pistols and other eastern block weapons?

MR DE KOCK: I would not say the most of them, the members who were selected for cross-border operations and covert operations had Makarovs which had silencers.

MR JANSEN: Yes, correct, I think maybe I did not use the correct words. And you are also aware that Mr Ras says that the Makarov which was planted at the scene, as well as the two handgrenades, were in his possession. Are you aware of his evidence to that effect?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, I did read that, but my recollection indicates that it came from Mr Pienaar.

MR JANSEN: Mr Ras says that his recollection is that there was a discussion between yourself and Mr Pienaar, where it was discussed that Mr Roelf Venter was to be contacted to find such weapons and before any steps were taken in this issue, he mentioned to you that he had his Makarov and the grenades with him. Can you recall that?

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson, my recollection indicates that one of the Makarovs was available from Mr Pienaar. He could assist us later. And this includes the handgrenades as well. We could not get Mr Venter there because somebody had to drive to Piet Retief from the scene and when we left Piet Retief, Mr Venter was not yet there. So it is confusing in that sense. I do not want to dispute it with him, but it is confusing. I cannot give you certainties here.

MR JANSEN: And Mr Ras furthermore says - and I am just putting this to you because I don't think we will reach much or that at the end of the day we would want to choose one person's version above that of another, but for the sake of completion I want to put Mr Ras' version to he. He also says that he specifically fired two shots with the Makarov while it was in the hands of one of the victims at the scene. Can you recall anything to that effect?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, it would make sense to do that under those circumstances, but I cannot recall it. I would ascribe it if somebody could clear it up for me. And as I say, it would make sense, but however I cannot recall it.

MR JANSEN: And Mr Ras furthermore says that the two shells formed part of evidence material during the inquest. Can you recall that?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, it is difficult to say. What I do know about the Makarov pistols is that I had to as quickly as possible - the Makarov which was used at the first shooting incident to place it by Mr Naidoo's body, it had to be replaced with another Makarov because it was a problem later in Court because photos were taken of the first Makarov for purposes of the first inquest and when I replaced the Makarov with the second Makarov, identification problems arose because a Makarov is an eastern block weapon and is upon licensing by some of the eastern block countries, and with the first Makarov I had for example 13 tension indentations on the locking mechanism at the top and with the second Makarov which I brought to replace the first one, there were something like 8, and Mr Jakoep(?) clearly pointed this out to me during the inquest. So somewhere there is some confusion. I have now given you my memory about that.

MR JANSEN: In any event, with regard to the first Piet Retief incident it is correct that none of the persons who participated in the operation received any benefit for this incident?

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson.

MR JANSEN: And the victims of this first incident were only known to yourself, or their personal identities were not known to you, they were known to you as persons who were part of the ANC and of certain operational units of the ANC?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, they were known as trained persons to me and Mr Pienaar identified one of the women who had been trained in Cuba, an Intelligence Officer in Cuba. That is my memory thereof.

MR JANSEN: Thank you, Mr Chairman, I have no further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR JANSEN

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr Jansen. Mr Moerane, do you have any questions you would like to put to the witness?

MR MOERANE: Yes, Mr Chairman, but at the outset I would like to place two matters on record. Firstly, that on receipt of the documents and going through them, my instructions were to oppose each of the applications for amnesty. That is still our position.

Secondly, we were advised that this week, from Monday to Friday, we shall be dealing with the first incident only. A pre-hearing meeting which was scheduled to take place in Pretoria was aborted after. I attended it, but other parties couldn't attend.

CHAIRPERSON: I heard about that.

MR MOERANE: So some of the families of the victims in the second incident are not here for that reason and our preparation concentrated on the first incident. I will be in a position to ask some questions. It might be necessary to ask further questions at a later stage.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, thank you.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR MOERANE: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Colonel, the Piet Retief inquest into the first incident was a long drawn out affair, which must have been very traumatic to the families of the victims.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, it was.

MR MOERANE: Because to begin with, they were called up there to identify the bodies of their loved ones some weeks after the incident. I know you are not directly involved with that, but I take it you know that.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Moerane, are you saying that they had to actually physically identify the bodies several weeks after the incident?

INTERPRETER: The speaker's microphone is not on.

MR MOERANE: To be more precise, I believe it was on the 23rd of June, in other words 15 days after the incident.

I shall not ask you why that was the situation, I'll ask W/O Pienaar, who at the stage was the investigating officer.

MR DE KOCK: Very well, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: According to you information and knowledge, these relatives had to interact with W/O Pienaar.

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: Because somebody, I do not know who, appointed him the investigating officer of the incident.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that's correct, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: And you will recall that at the inquest that very issue was debated and W/O Pienaar was removed as investigating officer because in effect he was investigating himself, amongst others.

MR DE KOCK: That's correct Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: And is it correct that the clothing that had been worn by the victims was burnt, was destroyed?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I have no knowledge of that, but during the inquest I heard that.

MR MOERANE: W/O Pienaar was replaced as investigating officer, by Brig van Wyk, for a short while.

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: And thereafter he was replaced by Brig Engelbrecht.

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: I think he goes by the nickname of "Krappies" Engelbrecht.

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: Now you have testified about the relationship that you had with Gen Engelbrecht. Let's call him General Engelbrecht because for his troubles he was promoted to that rank.

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: About the same time that the Piet Retief inquest was going on, he was also the investigating officer of the Harms Commission.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that's correct, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: As you know this was an investigation into the allegations made by, amongst others, Mr Nofomela and Mr Dirk Coetzee.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that's correct, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: About the existence of hit squads within the South African Police Force.

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Moerane, the inquest, was that about 1990?

MR MOERANE: It started in 1989 and it was concluded in 1991.

Now tell us about Gen Engelbrecht, with particular reference to the role that he played or has played in investigations. I'm interested particularly in cover-ups.

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, to define it in brief, if for me as a Major or a Colonel it was not possible to deal with a case or to cover it up, then a person like myself would go to Brig Schoon and we would look for further assistance there. What would happen, as in the case of the Harms Commission, is that the best and most loyal senior person and who had enough expertise, would assist one to take the police's case further for damage control or prevention of any damage.

MR MOERANE: Well would you regard Gen Krappies Engelbrecht as a sweeper, who tried his best to protect the police?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: Do you know how he became the investigator of the Piet Retief incident, the first incident? After Brig van Wyk and after W/O Pienaar had been removed as investigators?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, what I do know is that somewhere Brig van Wyk - I do not want to use the wrong terms, but I think he had a difference with the higher hierarchy ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, Mr Moerane, just before you proceed.

Who was Brig van Wyk, where was he attached, what division, which part of the country, where did he slot in?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, he was second-in-command of the Detective Branch, but seated at head office at the Detective Senior Personnel, if I can put it that way, it might not be the correct words.

CHAIRPERSON: And was Gen Engelbrecht in charge of that branch?

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson, the Security Branch at head office had several components there, for example the head of SANAB - no, it's not Security Branch, it's CID. One would have the Chief of the RSA Vehicle Branch, one would have the Chief of the Diamond Branch, Chief of the Narcotics Branch, one would have the Chief of Murder and Robbery Units, where Gen Engelbrecht was. I am not certain where Brig van Wyk fitted in, but that is how it worked.

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, Mr Moerane.

MR MOERANE: Would it be correct to describe the investigation that was conducted by Brig van Wyk, particularly taking into account his high rank, as an incompetent investigation?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, yes. And I would like to qualify because it would be dishonest not to do so. It was to protect, and there goes his integrity.

MR MOERANE: Yes, well let's cut this very short. Would I be correct in saying that the whole investigation of this first incident, from beginning right up to the end, was designed to protect the police and cover up any embarrassment that might be caused to the police?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson and I would also add it was a police or State sanctioned defeating the ends of justice.

MR MOERANE: No let's come to the inquest itself ...(intervention)

MR MALAN: Sorry, Mr Moerane, that last question of yours related to Brig van Wyk.

MR MOERANE: It related not only to Brig van Wyk, but to all three investigators. In other words, W/O Pienaar, Brig van Wyk, Gen Krappies Engelbrecht.

MR MALAN: Sorry, may I then just ask the applicant, do you know whey van Wyk was replaced by Engelbrecht?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I cannot give direct evidence about that, but I understood that it was a situation about promotion and there were problems surrounding Brig van Wyk's promotion and he preferred to leave the Force.

MR MALAN: Did he leave the Force at that stage?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, as far as I know.

MR MOERANE: Now let's come to the inquest itself. As you have already said, the major feature of the inquest was perjury upon perjury committed by police officers that took part in the incident.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that's correct, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: And that included, as you have already told the Committee yourself, it included W/O Pienaar?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: It included Maj, as he now is, Hayes?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: It included Capt Barnard, as he now is?

MR DE KOCK: Correct, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: It included Maj Theron?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: It included Lt Ras?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: The persons that I have mentioned, were they all aware that this was an ambush?

MR DE KOCK: No-one of them can be under any illusion about that?

MR DE KOCK: Not at all, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: As you have said, there was absolutely no intention to arrest these people.

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson, it was an ambush.

MR MOERANE: In other words, these people were to be killed, whether or not they were armed?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, no, we expected armed members of MK and that was one of the reasons for my dissatisfaction or confusion when no weapons were found with them or in their bags.

MR MOERANE: Yes, but the intention Colonel, was to kill them whether or not the were armed, it was an ambush.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, it would have boiled down to that. If they were MK members, it would have led to their death, whether they had weapons or not.

MR MOERANE: Let's take the case of the person who was falling out from the rear of the car, who was still living. That person posed no danger to anybody.

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: And according Lt Ras, in his application he says that you said "skiet die bitch".

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, I said a few moments ago that I'm not going to play the good boy. The word "bitch" isn't the type of word that I would usually use in normal language, especially not towards women of any nature, but I said "shoot her and shoot her through the head".

MR MOERANE: Well Colonel, so what is your evidence on this aspect, with regard to the statement made Lt Ras, do you dispute it? In other words, do you dispute that you put it in those terms "skiet die bitch"?

MR DE KOCK: I dispute the word "bitch", but nothing of the rest.

MR MOERANE: Would it be correct to say that a searchlight was trained on this vehicle?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: Some of the applicants say that - and I believe yourself too, say that the left rear window of the vehicle was opened slightly.

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson, as I've said in my evidence, the left back window began to move, it was minute and that along with my hesitation led me to take the decision to open fire. However, even if this had not taken place, I would still have opened fire.

MR MOERANE: Yes. If I understand your state of mind Colonel, you are saying that you conceived your duty as one of fighting the enemy and the enemy in this case being defined as trained ANC and PAC cadres.

MR DE KOCK: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: And you are telling the Committee that you were given a free reign to do this, by your superiors?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson. I wouldn't say that I had a free hand in the sense that one could act beyond the normal parameters, but one could definitely take one's own decisions. It was also one's duty. And by nature of the situation within the position that one occupied, one had to take decisions.

MR MOERANE: Yes, but if I understand your evidence correctly, that's oral evidence that you gave here and oral evidence that you gave on the 24th of May 1999, what you did, particularly as Commander of Vlakplaas, C1 Section, was known certainly to Brig Schoon.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: And you say it must have been known even higher up, at General level, the level of the Generals.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, that is correct.

MR MOERANE: And you are also saying that this must have reached even the upper echelons of government, in particular, Mr Adriaan Vlok, who was the responsible Minister during the period.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: And you say that you were decorated for your deeds.

MR DE KOCK: That's correct.

MR MOERANE: In fact you say you were one of the most decorated police officers.

MR DE KOCK: That is correct.

MR MOERANE: Let's deal with one aspect which has been troubling those I represent and that is the situation of Lt Mose. Now Lt Mose is the one who under false pretences fetched the four unfortunate young people at the prearranged spot and drove them into the ambush?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, Mr Moerane, I've seen the name, but it's spelt differently. Do you know, do you have a definitive spelling of Lt Mose' name, Mose? I've seen it as M-O-S-E and I've seen it with an H in it. I'm now spelling it, M-O-S-S.

MR MOERANE: In the affidavit that was filed in the Piet Retief inquest, his surname was rendered as M-O-S-E. The affidavit which he presumably signed. We do not know, because he didn't give evidence, he died of a heart attack we are told, before he could give evidence. Is that correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: And would you spell his name M-O-S-E, Mr de Kock?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, Mr Moerane.

MR MOERANE: The death of Lt Mose, was there an inquest into his death?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I accept that. I think that I may have presented an affidavit somewhere that he was on duty and I know that there was a post-mortem.

MR MOERANE: Do you know what the findings of that post-mortem examination were?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I didn't read the report, but it was said to me that there was a blockage of the arteries in the heart and that this led to heart failure.

MR MOERANE: At the time that Lt Moss died, was there concern at Vlakplaas about some askaris, that is turned ANC fighters, about their loyalty?

MR DE KOCK: Could you repeat, I may have lost the context of your question. I beg your pardon.

MR MOERANE: Well let me come out into the open. You have mentioned two person who worked for the police, one of them was actually a Constable I believe, or a Sergeant, I'm not so sure anymore, who as attached to Vlakplaas, by the name of Brian Ngqulunga.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that's correct, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: That person was killed.

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: In fact to be more precise, he was actually murdered.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: Because it was feared that he wanted to go back to the ANC and reveal the secrets of Vlakplaas.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, in particular with regard to the Harms Commission situation.

MR MOERANE: And that was before Mose died.

MR DE KOCK: I'm not certain whether this was before or afterwards.

MR MOERANE: Yes, you see the Harms investigation was in 1989 and Lt Mose submitted his affidavit in 1989 and he was reported to have died the following year, in 1990.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, I'm not going to dispute the dates.

MR MOERANE: Then there was another person by the surname of Sekakane. Do you recall that?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR MOERANE: He also worked for the Security Police in Durban.

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: He was also murdered.

MR DE KOCK: That's correct.

MR MOERANE: For what reason?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, he was the person who had identified Charles Ndaba to the Durban placed askari unit and after Charles Ndaba had been arrested, he identified somebody else and between the two of them they exposed the entire Vula operation. After that, as a result of information that I had obtained, I heard that Cpt Hentie Botha was involved in the death of these two persons, that is Charles Ndaba and the other person and that Goodwill Sekakane had known about it.

MR MOERANE: So he was murdered to silence him?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson. In my Court case I understood that he had issued threats. It was either about financial remuneration or a promotion, but that was the course that it assumed.

MR MOERANE: Had Lt Mose expressed any remorse for what he had done, or did he give any indications that he might be a security risk? In other words, a risk to your operations.

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: Another matter that I have been instructed to raise is the question of sources or informers. Now the person who gave information about these four persons involved in the first incident, was that your source or was he W/O Pienaar's source?

MR DE KOCK: It was Mr Pienaar's source.

MR MOERANE: Did you at any stage speak to this person?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson. If I recall correctly, it was the day before the first shooting, or on the same day. I wanted more confirmation, I wanted to listen to the source myself and for a brief period of time I consulted with the source.

MR MOERANE: Was this a member of the ANC?

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson, it was sympathiser.

CHAIRPERSON: Sympathiser of the ANC?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: Is that person still living?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, there was a report regarding this person in the Weekly Mail, and I believe that this may have been during the final quarter of last year.

MR MOERANE: Now was this person regularly used by the ANC commanders to infiltrate people into South Africa via Eastern Transvaal, what then was the Eastern Transvaal?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, unfortunately I will not be able to make any statements about that. I think that Mr Pienaar will be able to assist us in that regard. I only saw the person once.

MR MOERANE: And you know the name of that person?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I cannot recall the name at the moment. However, with the report which I read, that entire report was given to a very responsible person within the current government or dispensation. And it would be that one cannot expose such persons to death or serious injury.

MR MOERANE: Was it a male or a female?

MR DE KOCK: The person is female.

MR MOERANE: Do you know whether this person was actually arrested by the ANC?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct.

MR MOERANE: And kept in detention for more than a year?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct, in a camp outside Lusaka.

MR MOERANE: A camp called Sun City?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, but the detention facility was a shipping crate.

MR MOERANE: Yes. How did you communicate your plans before launching an operation, to Brigadier Schoon?

MR DE KOCK: Is that in general, or with regard to this specific incident?

MR MOERANE: Well let's move from the general to the specific. Generally.

MR DE KOCK: Generally a branch would request a group to come and work in an area, such a request would have to be followed up or supported by means of a telex report. That would be submitted to Brig Schoon and from there it would be channelled to me and sometimes there would be specific enquiries about specific askaris who they required.

In certain operations, Brig Schoon called me in and then the operation would be given to me and an explanation of what they wanted. Sometimes one would be told to sort it out, depending on what the situation was, or the specific task at hand.

In this case, Brig Schoon and I would have travelled together to Island Rock. However, I notified him that I would not be able to do so, due to an expected infiltration I would have to depart earlier, so that he could make other arrangements and I would go through in the meantime to assess the situation.

Such information would come through quite often and then nothing would happen. However, there was a line of control.

MR MOERANE: And how do you know that your deeds received the knowledge and attention of the Generals?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, after I had spoken to Brig Schoon he would have to provide further information or at least report to the Head of Security. There would be questions. The General would want to know what happened because he in turn would have to inform either the Commissioner or the Minister.

CHAIRPERSON: Would this happen in respect of just about every operation that you were involved in?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: And how do you know that your activities came to the knowledge of the Minister of Police or Minister of Safety and Security, or whatever he was called then?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I will have to depend upon tangible evidence and that is in the case where there were personal congratulations from person to person, then the Minister or the General may congratulate Vlakplaas as a group or the entire unit. There would be the delivery of rewards or the decoration of members of Vlakplaas.

MR MOERANE: Would it be correct to say that the Minister at times visited Vlakplaas for functions?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, that is correct.

MR MOERANE: In the company of Generals?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: And they were entertained there at Vlakplaas?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: Is it also correct that on the occasion that the press were to visit Vlakplaas, you received advance warning of their visit?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that's correct, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: Which enabled you to remove weapons to a different location?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: And remove certain personnel that you didn't want to be seen or identified there?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: And when there was an intention to visit the second place, you were also given advance warning and you removed your weapons from that second place to another location?

MR DE KOCK: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: Would it be correct to say that co-operation between our unit and the police took place at all levels, right up to the highest level?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson. I would just like to qualify something and that is that the Uniform Branch and the Detective Branch - let me put it like this, the regular policeman on the street would not have been involved in our situations, with the exception of times when the askaris caused problems, such as a shooting or assault, or where accidents had occurred and our vehicles carried false number plates, then we would for example - in my case, I would have gone to the Station Commander and told him that I would rectify certain aspects and leave it at that and if I could not succeed, I would then consult higher authority.

MR MOERANE: Would it be correct to say generally that the illegal activities of the askaris were generally covered up?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, consistently.

MR MOERANE: The only unfortunate one that was not covered up was Nofomela's killing of the farmer.

MR DE KOCK: It was impossible to cover that one up.

MR MOERANE: And of course as we all know, that led to a can or worms opening, particularly before he was executed.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Before he was due to be executed.

MR MOERANE: Before he was due to be executed. Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Let's come to both incident now, generally. Is it correct that where you took up your positions no standard or usual roadblocks were set up?

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson, not at all.

MR MOERANE: In particular there was no sign of a police presence in the area?

MR DE KOCK: No, none whatsoever. For example, also not a vehicle that was parked in the road which would have created any suspicion.

MR MOERANE: And no blue light to warn people approaching?

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson, that would have indicated that the persons insisted that the driver turn around, or they may have jumped out and run away. Or even more serious, that they opened fire on us first.

MR MOERANE: So can we accept that those applicants who say that there was a vehicle with a blue light before the approach of the second vehicle, are not telling the truth?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I cannot make any statements about that, but what I do know is that directly after the shooting the vehicle was pulled into the road, with a blue revolving siren or light. And I have read my statement here this morning for the first time, upon my arrival here, I did not read the statements made by the other members in that regard.

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, where was this vehicle with the blue light immediately prior to the shooting?

MR DE KOCK: It was concealed with the other vehicles, behind the line of fire.

MR MOERANE: In any event, if that vehicle had been brought to a place where it could be seen before the shooting, that would have defeated the whole purpose of the ambush?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, then we may just as well have left it.

MR MOERANE: Coming to the second incident, you have described in graphic detail what happened and how you approached this vehicle and how this person wielding this firearm was about a metre or two in front of you.

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: If this person had fired at you, you surely would have noticed that?

MR DE KOCK: From that short a distance and with that firing tempo of an AK47, I believe that my midriff or chest area would have disintegrated. And with the limited angle in which it was necessary for him to fire - and I've thought about this quite a lot, he could not have done anything other than to wound seriously or kill four or five, there's no doubt.

MR MOERANE: And in any event, if he had fired his weapon and had missed you, there's no way that you'd not have been aware of that?

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson, as I have said I believe that I would have had gunpowder traces on my clothing. There was no chance that I would not have known it.

MR MOERANE: With regard to this second group, was your intention the same as with the first group? In other words, to ambush them and kill them.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: Let's get to the person who was across the border. I think you have stated very clearly that the intention there was clearly to kill that person or those persons.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson. As I've said, it was either kill or capture, but capture was definitely not the predominant factor, that was not the ultimate factor.

MR MOERANE: Yes. You recall that Mr Nofomela gave evidence at the first Piet Retief inquest, the one relating to the first incident.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, but I think that he may have been in prison already.

MR MOERANE: Yes, well he first filed an affidavit where he dealt with his relations with you, the type of person that you were, the question of movement of firearms at Vlakplaas, whether that was controlled, whether there was a register which - do you recall all that?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I do recall that.

MR MOERANE: And how you always travelled around with a Makarov or some other weapon or foreign origin.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, the operational members of Vlakplaas as well as the askaris who worked in the areas, were very well equipped.

MR MOERANE: So was his evidence in that regard true and correct?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, I would have to read it because I would have to point out whether or not there are things that he may have exaggerated about, or certain omissions that he may have made, which I would need to supplement. However, I accept what you have put to me.

MR MOERANE: I think his evidence is in the bundles before the Inquiry.

MR DE KOCK: I just want to mention that I do not regard it as misleading.

MR MOERANE: Yes, this is on bundle 3A, page 216 right up page 223, particularly from paragraphs 10 where he says you gave instructions for acts of kidnapping, killing, stealing cars, etc., to be carried out by members of the South African Police. That you specialised in destruction, you do not believe in arresting anyone because going to Court was a waste of time, with a lot of questions asked.

MR DE KOCK: While we are at paragraph 10, I just want to rectify something and that is that we did capture quite a few members and bring them back or arrest them. So that is not entirely correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Moerane, when it's a convenient time -I see it's past one, we'll take the adjournment. But only when you get to the end of a point, when it's convenient.

MR MOERANE: Paragraph 12 for instance, where he says you

"... always carried around firearms and explosives in the boot of your vehicle. These included uzzis, AK47s, F1 handgrenades, 9mm Berettas and at least one Makarov pistol, at least one Tokarev pistol and a scorpion, but not all weapons captured from infiltrants were registered, some were kept for purposes of infiltration and for planting on infiltrants we had killed."

He says.

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, it wasn't for those specific objectives. With many of our deployments it was foreseen that we may undertake a border crossing and those persons would then be issued, not only with their usual duty weapons, but also with covert weapons and they would also take along their false passports, ID books and credit cards just in case we would have to cross the border at short notice and launch an operation or an attack.

MR MALAN: I beg your pardon. Mr de Kock, you say not specifically for these objectives, but would it have included these objectives, which are presented in paragraph 12?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, without deployment we couldn't assess whether we were going to be involved in a shooting incident, or whether we were going to shoot somebody or plant something.

MR MALAN: But it happened more often. Were you prepared for such contingencies, because that is the allegation made by Mr Nofomela here.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, let me just put it like this. When I speak of cross-border operations and what I've referred to here, this would be in reference to weapons which were specially prepared, which used subsonic ammunition, silencers which were not traceable, strange handgrenades, or at least not a strange handgrenade because a handgrenade is a handgrenade, but a handgrenade from an eastern block origin which could not be traced back to the Security Forces.

MR MALAN: Mr de Kock, paragraph 12 which was submitted to you, when you read there

"Major de Kock always carried around ..."

That is what this paragraph is about. The question is whether this is correct or not.

MR DE KOCK: No, not "always", Chairperson.

MR MALAN: So it would have been almost always, is that what you're saying, or would it have been seldom, what was the position?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I would say on a 50/50 basis.

MR MALAN: Thank you, Mr Moerane.

MR MOERANE: I suppose you will not have any quarrels with paragraph 14, because it seems to be in line with your evidence. Where he says

"Many operations under the command of Maj de Kock, in which I participated, were launched from Piet Retief. Some of them involved activities in Swaziland. I know W/O Pienaar, who is the Head of the Security Section in Piet Retief. As I understand the matter, he runs a series of informers there. The general rule, he would get information from his informers and thereafter ask for people from Vlakplaas to come to Piet Retief. When we got there a plan of action would be worked out upon information provided by Pienaar. We would then participate in the execution of the plan."

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, because Swaziland fell under SAP jurisdiction for handling and for infiltration, without exception every month we would have a group in Piet Retief.

MR MOERANE: Then at paragraph 15 he deals with a particular incident. I don't know if you have applied for amnesty for that particular incident.

MR DE KOCK: No, I have requested.

MR MOERANE: In paragraph 7 he says the aim of that operation which he described, was to kill all those people who came into the country.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, that is correct. Similar to the current situation.

MR MOERANE: Yes. Then finally, he says at paragraph 19

"W/O Ras was known generally as the best marksman at Vlakplaas."

MR DE KOCK: He was a good shot, I don't know whether is a good shot still today. All the members of Vlakplaas were average or above average shots.

MR MOERANE: Mr Chairman, this would be a convenient stage.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr Moerane. We'll now take the lunch adjournment for three quarters of an hour. We'll resume at 2 o'clock, thank you.

MS LOCKHAT: All rise.

COMMITTEE ADJOURNS

ON RESUMPTION

EUGENE ALEXANDER DE KOCK: (s.u.o.)

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Moerane, you may continue.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR MOERANE: (cont)

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Just one or two other issues, Colonel. When you were asked whether or not an inquest, a formal inquest was held into the second incident, your reply was that no, it was an informal inquest. And my learned friend for some of the applicants told the Committee that in fact a formal inquest was actually held.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: But I don't blame you for thinking that that was no inquest because when the evidence was led, the representatives of the families were not there. They tried to secure a postponement, which was unsuccessful, so in effect it went by default so to speak.

MR DE KOCK: Thank you, Chairperson, then it is clear to me.

CHAIRPERSON: Before you proceed, Mr Moerane, I should have mentioned it earlier, we're in Durban now, it gets hot here, if you wish to remove jackets anybody, please feel free to do so.

MR MOERANE: One last aspect is the state of knowledge of Sgt Manzini. You were asked about that.

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: And the suggestion was made that he was not aware that what was planned was an ambush.

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, he would not have had any detail, he had to deliver the people to us. And it was a high risk because one would not know who would recognise him at the border. But that we would shoot them all, he did not know that.

MR MOERANE: Let's examine that. Sgt Manzini was stationed at Piet Retief at the Security Branch offices there, not so?

MR DE KOCK: No, he was with the Detective Branch. The Detective Branch did share offices in the same building, but they were divided by gates. They may have met with each other, but there would not be daily interaction.

MR MOERANE: Well he must have worked very closely with W/O Pienaar.

MR DE KOCK: I would accept that, Chairperson, but I cannot give direct evidence about that.

MR MOERANE: And he must have been aware of the events of four days earlier. In other words, the first incident.

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, it is possible, but I am speculating now.

CHAIRPERSON: One would have thought an event like that would have been the talk of the town at Piet Retief.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, if he did have knowledge. I would not know to what extent.

MR MOERANE: Well at the mortuary there were four badly shot up bodies, not so?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: And the staff at the Charge Office must have been aware of these bodies at least.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: And there must have been talk amongst the police officers about the incident that had occurred.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, I would accept that.

MR MOERANE: Isn't the position Colonel, that as you sit there now today, you cannot say that Sgt Manzini did not know, you cannot positively say that he did not know that this was an ambush?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, it would be very difficult to give a definite answer. I will go with my memory. I believe when he saw the four persons with their AKs, he could have foresaw or expected a combat situation, whether it be at a roadblock or anywhere else. I want to ensure you that I'm not trying to be evasive.

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, Mr Moerane, just on this.

Mr de Kock, there must have been a fair amount of detail given to Sgt Manzini because he was driving down an empty road at night.

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: And you and your group were to be positioned at a particular spot on that road.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: There wouldn't be a roadblock, he wouldn't know where to stop at the precise place, unless there was some sort of a rehearsal or precise decision that when you get to this particular point, it's important that you flick your lights or do whatever and make your signal and stop right here. He must have known where to stop or where to give the signal.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, his instructions would have been clear, Chairperson. I can however not speak for him and say with conviction that he knew that all four would be killed.

MR MALAN: Excuse me. So you cannot speak for him that he did not know?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: You see you are involving Sgt Manzini in a very, very dangerous escapade, not so?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: His life might have been in danger.

MR DE KOCK: His life was in danger, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: And surely it must have occurred to the persons who were planing this operation, that Sgt Manzini's life might be in danger, either from the persons that he was going to pick up, or from the ensuing fire if you decided to fire at the vehicle. MR DE KOCK: Yes, I concede, Chairperson, and I would go as far as to say if he could not climb out of the vehicle in time, there was a great risk to him.

MR MOERANE: I suggest that it was important to let him know what the plan was, for his own safety.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: And the plan being that this was a planned ambush.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: No further questions.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR MOERANE

ADV GCABASHE: Just clarity on that very point. Mr de Kock, are you then saying that he was indeed informed that these people would be armed, that as he ran off you would be shooting at these people? Just specifically.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, I would concede because his signal to us that the persons would be armed is the fact that he would climb out of the vehicle and run around the front of the vehicle, so that he gets to our side of the line of fire.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, thank you. Ms Lockhat, do you have any questions you'd like to ask?

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS LOCKHAT: Yes, thank you, Chairperson, just a few brief questions.

Mr de Kock, you were informed by the Piet Retief Security Branch to assist them in the operation, who at Piet Retief actually informed you?

MR DE KOCK: It was Mr Pienaar, Chairperson.

MS LOCKHAT: How many days before the 8th of June were you informed to plan this operation?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, it was the same day.

MS LOCKHAT: You mentioned Island Rock. There was a workshop there?

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, Chairperson.

MS LOCKHAT: Was the second incident discussed at that workshop there and the first incident? Can you just clarify that? Or was it discussed, if at all?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, it may have been mentioned that there may be other infiltrations, but I don't have an independent recollection thereof. It may be possible.

MR MALAN: Was the first incident discussed? I think the question is with regard to both.

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, insofar as I had discussions with Brig Schoon, yes. It was however as I say, not a major topic.

MS LOCKHAT: Who was all present at this workshop?

MR DE KOCK: The whole unit, C1 and C2 as well as - I'm not sure whether C3 existed at that stage, but if they did exist then they would have been there, yes.

MS LOCKHAT: Can you just mention the names of the people that were there? It's just very broad, C1, C2 and C3. Can you just be more specific?

MR DE KOCK: It would have been Brig Schoon, Maj Martin Naude, myself, there was a Gen Beukes, who was the staff officer of the security chief and then the rest of the members of Vlakplaas and of C2. In total I would say we were approximately 40+ people.

MS LOCKHAT: Were they also informed of the incident, the second incident?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I'm not certain because there was no clarity as to when the next infiltration would take place.

MS LOCKHAT: Did Schoon know that this was going to be an ambush or a roadblock? What was his impression of the mission?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, no I did not say there would be a roadblock or an ambush, it was just that we would stop the terrorists in their tracks.

MS LOCKHAT: Can you just explain, would Schoon know that what you meant by "stop the terrorists in their tracks", would he know what you meant by that?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, one could interpret it in many ways, but in this case it would be that they would not give another step forward or backwards after that.

MS LOCKHAT: Would Schoon have authorised it if he had known that this was going to be an ambush?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

ADV GCABASHE: Sorry, Ms Lockhat. Did he in fact authorise, not just have knowledge of, authorise your intervention?

MR DE KOCK: Well intervention in which ...?

ADV GCABASHE: Well your participation, with your members. You know you talked of control - I beg your pardon, you talked about informing him about it and discussing the matter with him, and the distinction I'd like you to draw for me is seeking authority to participate in this manner as opposed to just generally telling him, not even giving him detail and just assuming that you had that authority, because you were a Major at the time.

MR DE KOCK: The mandate that we had was against terrorism and not only the area, but the information and the circumstances would indicate which steps can be taken. And for the person in command on the ground, it is left open for interpretation and what would be the safest and most effective against the enemy.

CHAIRPERSON: What Adv Gcabashe wants to know, in this particular incident, did Schoon give you specific authorisation to participate at Piet Retief and assist Piet Retief?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I would not say that he said go to Piet Retief and assist them with shooting. I made it clear to him that Piet Retief has an infiltration and they requested assistance and it had his approval. So in that sense, one accepts, because you have to report back again and if you don't report back, there would be some enquiries.

ADV GCABASHE: And when you did report back to him on the first incident, you expressed your reservations about what had happened there?

MR DE KOCK: I explained to him that there were no weapons, but that we did sort out the problem. And the situation was such that if you could not handle it on the ground, one would go to the following person who would be higher and you would request assistance in that manner for the cover up of the situation.

ADV GCABASHE: Yes, your last bit finished it off for me, thank you.

MR MALAN: Excuse me, Mr de Kock, if I understand your evidence correctly you could handle it on the ground because you did cover it up, you did find the weapons.

MR DE KOCK: If you could repeat please, sorry.

MR MALAN: You said that if you could not handle it on the ground you would have gone up for assistance, but in this instance you could handle it on the ground.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR MALAN: And you did indeed.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, but I told Brig Schoon that is things got out of control or we could not handle it any further, he would be the next person whom I would go to.

MR MALAN: So if there were any weapons you didn't have to tell him because you could handle it on the ground?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, because the only difference would be that it was an issue of an ambush and not a roadblock.

MR MALAN: I don't understand when you asked for permission and when you reported. If I heard your evidence correctly, when you were asked about specific authorisation you said something to the effect that your instruction was against terrorism, not only in the area but also the circumstances would determine and the one on the ground had to interpret it.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, to take it further I would for example not be able to tell Brig Schoon beforehand that I would send a group across the border. For example, with the second incident after the shooting or before the shooting, I decided to send a group across the border. I did report back to him that it was a cross-border operation, it did have his approval.

MR MALAN: I will tell you why I ask that, because I get the impression from your evidence that you really understood that you have a general instruction to combat terrorism.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR MALAN: And that you could take the decisions and you had that responsibility.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, and then one has to take that responsibility.

MR MALAN: And one bears the consequences. But in your instance, if you happened upon MK people you could set up an ambush, that would have been part of your general competency?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, if that was the best way, then we would have set up an ambush. ...(transcriber's own translation)

MR MALAN: So you did not need instructions to that effect, that is how you understood your duties.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR MALAN: You understood that it would be within your specific authorisation?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR MALAN: And then you would also not have to report back in general about it?

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson, if terrorists were shot, there would usually be - I would not say it was controversial, but enquiries are made, my report to Brig Schoon would be carried over by Brig Schoon to the Chief of Security and from there it would be taken further.

MR MALAN: Yes, I would accept that circumstances would arise, specifically with the disclosure of the success and the combating of terrorism, but that still does not mean that all illegal actions necessarily had to be communicated upwards.

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson, in this instance and in other instances it did happen. I can for example, to shed more light, at Island Rock I did convey the information to Brig Schoon that we obtained an address from one of the persons who were involved with the first shooting incident, it was a postal address and we accepted that it was a DLB for messages, and I asked him if we could send an explosive device and then we did send an explosive device and it did detonate approximately six to seven weeks later, but it did not hit an ANC member. And I also mention it in my amnesty application.

MR MALAN: I did see that, thank you.

MS LOCKHAT: Mr de Kock, when you informed Schoon about these incidents and that you actually eliminated all these people, what was his reaction?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, as in the other instances it was not a long discussion, it - I have said previously that he was referred to as "quiet Willem". I cannot recall his words verbatim, but in general he would just nod his head and say it was not a bad shot, it was a good shot. But we did not discuss these things in depth, it was not a trophy situation.

MS LOCKHAT: But I assume you did inform him that all the members, on the 8th of June and the 12th of June, all died. I mean, in your report. We can assume that.

MR DE KOCK: I would have given him the numbers as to how many people were killed, Chairperson.

MS LOCKHAT: And would you be more specific and actually mention to him how they were killed, or would you just give the numbers of the deceased?

MR DE KOCK: I would tell him how they were killed, they were killed by gunfire, I would give him the general circumstances, but one does not go right through, right to the bone of the matter.

CHAIRPERSON: Would you have told him that in the first incident you - when I say you, I mean you instructed that the Makarov and the handgrenades be planted in their luggage?

MR DE KOCK: It did not state it as such, but I did state that there was a problem with regard to weapons but it was corrected, Chairperson.

MS LOCKHAT: And then just one last question, the flickering of the lights by Mose and Manzini, was that really material in this instance?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, it gives us an early warning so that people can arrange their weapons and you do last minute tests, is your magazine in properly, is the weapon cocked, is the safety off. And on that evening it was either zero degrees Celsius or minus that and I think all the members put their firearms down against trees or branches and had their hands under their arms. One does not use gloves, well me in any event and not my member use gloves when you shoot.

MS LOCKHAT: I was just under the impression that the flickering of the lights was to inform you that they had weapons or that they didn't have weapons.

MR DE KOCK: No, this was an early warning.

MS LOCKHAT: Thank you, Chairperson, I have no further questions for this witness.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MS LOCKHAT

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Lockhat. Mr Hattingh, do you have any re-examination?

MR HATTINGH: No re-examination, thank you, Mr Chairman.

NO RE-EXAMINATION BY MR HATTINGH

CHAIRPERSON: Adv Gcabashe, do you have any questions you'd like to ask?

ADV GCABASHE: Just one or two.

Mr de Kock, both Mr Mose and Mr Manzini, in the two different incidents, left with the whole team to go to these particular points and then passed on to the border. Just go through that bit of detail for me.

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I don't want to speculate, but I think we pointed out the various points to them during the day. And perhaps someone could assist me regarding the following, or of the following witnesses. On the left or right-hand side of the

road we placed something, I don't know whether it was a milk carton or something else, I'm not certain, but that would have given an indication of the area in which the ambush was situated. I'm stating this for clarity's sake, but I would need some assistance. If someone could confirm this for me.

ADV GCABASHE: But both had a sense of the numbers who were involved, number of members who were involved in the operation?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

ADV GCABASHE: And both had a sense that Vlakplaas specifically was involved in this operation?

MR DE KOCK: Well not only involved, but also the leading role.

ADV GCABASHE: And both understood what Vlakplaas was about, who those operatives were, how they operated, they had a sense of that?

MR DE KOCK: Lt Mose, yes. I'm not very certain about Manzini, but we can ask him.

ADV GCABASHE: Mr Mose when you sent him across - I'm interested in the identification of weapons, what were his instructions, how was he going to identify whether those persons had weapons or did not have weapons?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, that would have been a question of whether the weapons were carried over. And then, he was a man of sound judgement, whether the weapons would have been covered in something or placed in a bag and all these persons had carry bags.

ADV GCABASHE: But he had no brief to question anybody about anything at all, he was just collecting and driving?

MR DE KOCK: He was simply the transport.

ADV GCABASHE: Yes, thank you. Thank you, Chair.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Malan, do you have any questions?

MR MALAN: Mr de Kock, two questions. The first has to do with the first incident. Some of the applicants in their applications create the impression that you were very upset because weapons were not found during the first ambush, as if - and I'm only speaking from my own impression, I don't want to connect you specifically to their words, but to the effect that you were upset that you had fired when there were no weapons. You say that that is an incorrect impression, that you would have fired nonetheless?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, because all information created that expectation that you were dealing with trained MK members. The idea was that this ambush was going to take place, that these persons would be armed and the information indicated that they were armed, and I was satisfied with the information. This was the result of enquiries that I had made myself, I didn't simply rely on someone else's version of the information and here we have this situation.

MR MALAN: Yes, but the situation regarding whether or not they were armed, there was a signal to indicate that?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR MALAN: That was for your protection, not for whether to shoot or not to shoot or whether to arrest or not to arrest?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, the fact that the person, or the driver ran around the vehicle would be an indication of whether the passengers were armed.

MR MALAN: But arrest was not an option, they would be shot whether they were armed or unarmed?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, ultimately they would have been shot, but I did not expect unarmed persons. That is something which upset me.

MR MALAN: Very well. Then just with regard to the flickering of the lights, because some of the applicants maintain that that was the indication of whether or not there were weapons, some also speak of indicators and not the flickering of the headlights. Would you have expected other vehicles on that road, or would they have been intercepted?

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson, if another vehicle had approached they would not have known about our ambush position, so that would not have given that indication. But the inroad was quite quiet at that stage of the night, so I don't believe that there would have been another vehicle on the road.

MR MALAN: The flickering of the lights, the only reason that I can understand as to why you would flicker the lights would be to indicate that that is the vehicle that you are expecting.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR MALAN: Just in case it may be another vehicle?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR MALAN: So it isn't a warning of here we come, it is an indication that that is the correct car? You would have reacted on lights which were approaching, whether they had dimmed the lights or not, the men would have taken up their guns?

MR DE KOCK: It is very difficult to say, Chairperson, one would have expected for the lights to flicker, that was one aspect of the operation. If we had picked up the weapons and it wasn't one of our vehicles, it just would have gone through, but it wasn't that way, it happened as we had planned.

MR MALAN: The border post was closed.

MR DE KOCK: That's correct.

MR MALAN: And no other vehicles would approach from the border post to Piet Retief at 12 o'clock that night?

MR DE KOCK: No, none that we had foreseen, or expected.

MR MALAN: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Just one or two questions, Mr de Kock. Sorry to keep harping back to these signals. You said the signal was that if the driver got out the car and then ran around the front of the car, that would mean that the people were armed.

MR DE KOCK: That's correct, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Now we've heard that at the first incident they weren't armed and yet he did this. Now under what circumstances can you in your mind think that he would have got out of the vehicle and then strolled across and not given that signal that they were armed? Because he didn't know that they were armed in the first incident, yet he gave it, because they had bags, but one would thing that people infiltrating from one country to another would be carrying at least some bags.

MR DE KOCK: These persons had bags and they had them on their laps.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, well that's not unusual.

MR DE KOCK: But I believe that Lt Mose believed that there were weapons inside.

CHAIRPERSON: That's why I'm asking you, under what circumstances do you think he would ever have given "they're not armed" signal?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, if there were none such people, or if nobody had climbed into his car, then Mose would have brought the car to a standstill there, climbed out and most probably have indicated.

CHAIRPERSON: So the signal is rather probably more accurately put that if they are armed and you see them armed, okay you run in front of the car, if you think that they may be armed you also run in front of the car?

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, the indication that Lt Mose gave was that these persons were armed. A man could not have foreseen that if they had been armed with sub-machine guns, how quickly they would have been able to produce their weapons. And he would not have been in the position at the border post, to search the bags or the persons.

CHAIRPERSON: When - just to get onto another point, when you were at Moolman, you said you got there in the evening and you had to hang around and there was a bar there and you had social activities, were the members drinking alcohol there?

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson, the gathering was at approximately 11 o'clock that morning, the members who I selected to accompany me were under a Counter-insurgency Unit, I allowed them to have two beers or two glasses of wine. I didn't want people ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: No police coffee or boere tots, which we've heard about, anything like that? Police coffee or boer tots we heard was where they the bottle of brandy and count five and that's a tot.

MR DE KOCK: Chairperson, I have never encountered anything like that, that someone would pour such a great tot, you might as well just drink it out of the bottle then. It might have sounded quite to Mr Fourie, but that is not the way things worked. And I would rather grant those members of mine two glasses of wine or two beers, than that they stand behind a corner and drink on the sly and then I don't know who I'm dealing with during the shooting.

CHAIRPERSON: So were you satisfied that at the time of the operation the people were all in their sound and sober senses?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, completely.

MR MALAN: I just want to achieve a measure of clarity regarding the preceding question put by the Chairperson. Isn't it so that the drivers in both cases had to get away because there would be a shooting aimed at the vehicle?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson, that would be an aspect of that planning, but if there was nobody inside the vehicle, he could have stopped there and it wouldn't have been necessary for him to run.

MR MALAN: But whether the persons were armed or not, the

driver had to get away otherwise he would have been shot.

MR DE KOCK: No, Chairperson, not necessarily. If Lt Mose, when he climbed out of the vehicle, began walking and raised his hands or indicated us to leave it, then that would have happened. For us the signal or the indication would have been when he climbed out and ran around the front of the vehicle to get out of the line of fire because according to him these persons were armed. Because when I pulled the trigger, within myself I was convinced that I was pulling the trigger on an armed person.

MR MALAN: But I'm speaking about the planning because it's the planning. I thought I understood you to say that whether these persons were armed or not, you had no plans to arrest them. Even if they were unarmed you were not going to charge them either, your plan was to eliminated them.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR MALAN: And if they were going to be eliminated, whoever the driver was it was the safest option for him to get away from the scene?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, that is correct, Chairperson.

MR MALAN: So you didn't really need a sign, he just had to get away and as soon as he had left the scene you could commence with the shooting?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, I suppose it was a built-in factor. If it was a question of simplicity, then that is what it is. That is how the situation unfolded and that is how it is in my version here today.

MR MALAN: Thank you, Mr de Kock.

CHAIRPERSON: Are there any questions arising from questions that have been put by Members of the Panel?

FURTHER CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR MOERANE: Mr Chairman, just one question.

Colonel, would I be correct in saying that in the planning of both incidents there was a prearranged spot where the vehicle had to come to a stop?

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: In the case of the first vehicle, that's the Toyota Corolla, the vehicle actually did come to a stop more-or-less at the agreed place.

MR DE KOCK: I would say within a pace of the precise place.

MR MOERANE: And it's your evidence that with regard to the second vehicle, it actually did not stop at the prearranged place, but proceeded some 80 metres beyond.

MR DE KOCK: Yes, Chairperson.

MR MOERANE: Thank you, Mr Chair.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR MOERANE

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Any further questions arising?

Thank you, Mr de Kock, that then concludes your evidence, you may stand down.

MR DE KOCK: Thank you, Chairperson.

WITNESS EXCUSED

MS LOCKHAT: Chairperson, if you would allow me, I just want to introduce an exhibit. A letter that was received on the 22nd of July 1999, from the attorneys Wagener Muller, just informing us that they appear on behalf of Mr Vlok, Mr Engelbrecht and Mr Schoon and that they won't be appearing at the hearing. Chairperson, I have this morning informed Mr Wagener of the new allegations that were put to Mr de Kock, regarding Gen Engelbrecht's position as sweeper and he has informed me that they still maintain their position, Chairperson. So I'd like to hand it in as Exhibit A.

CHAIRPERSON: Are the parties in possession of a copy of Exhibit A, the letter? If copies could be made and then given to all the persons. Any comment from anyone? We've received this then as Exhibit A.

EXHIBIT A HANDED UP - COPY OF LETTER FROM WAGENER MULLER

MS LOCKHAT: Thank you, Chairperson.

 
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