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Special Hearings

Type Helderberg Flight Special Hearing: In Camera

Starting Date 02 June 1998

Location Cape Town

Day 1


CHAIRPERSON: This is a continuation of a Section 29 Enquiry. Ms Terreblanche I believe we are still going ahead with the enquiry into the Helderberg?

MS TERREBLANCHE: Yes. Apart from one witness today I think we will have, at least I have seen here four witnesses from the South African Airways. Two of them former employees and two of them current employees. We have here with us Mr John Hare. He is currently still with SAA. Good morning, welcome.

MR HARE: Good morning, thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: I will ask Commissioner Wildschut to swear you in but before we do that let me welcome you and let me say we are extremely pleased that you have been able to take the time to be here. A few ground rules. The enquiry is held in terms of Section 29 of the Act.

It is an in-camera hearing. It is held in terms of the Act and the section provides that all evidence that has been led here will be confidential and remain confidential until the Commission decides otherwise and if and when the Commission so decides it will be in the circumstances where the people who have led such evidence and those who might be affected adversely by the evidence so taken at such an enquiry will have been given an opportunity to make representations.

So for the moment everything that you will be giving to us in this information gathering exercise will remain confidential. It is for that reason that only people who have been invited or subpoenaed to attend and members of the Commission and their staff which include the translators and the sound engineers are permitted and will be attending at the enquiries.

Which therefore brings me to who you have here. On my left is Commissioner Wildschut. She is a Commissioner in the Reparations and Rehabilitationís Committee. My name is Ntsebeza. I am a Commissioner in the Human Rights Violations Committee and to my right is Wilson Magadhla. He is the head of the Special Investigative Section of the TRC Investigative Unit. To the right is Ms Crystal Terreblanche who is an investigator who has been doing all the investigation that has caused this hearing to be held.

And with her is Dr David Klatzow who is a forensic specialist and who has been contracted by the Commission as a consultant and will be assisting Ms Terreblanche in the execution of their tasks. There will be tea which I believe will be served between 11 and quarter past 11 and there will be lunch. I do need to indicate that I will, I have an engagement at 5 with the Ministry, Minister Pallo Jordan and I will therefore have to excuse myself at half past four.

We might have to then try and expedite matters such that I am free to leave for me to be able to make the appointment.

MS TERREBLANCHE: Thatís very well Mr Chair, I think we will be through.

CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Wildschut, if you could then swear Mr Hare in.

MS WILDSCHUT: Are you Mr Hare? Mr Hare, do you have any objection to taking the oath?

MR HARE: No I donít.

MS WILDSCHUT: Could you please state your full name for the record?

MR HARE: My name is John David Hare.

JOHN DAVID HARE: (sworn states)

CHAIRPERSON: Ms Terreblanche?

MS TERREBLANCHE: Thank you. Mr Hare, we have asked you to come here for the following reasons. To provide details and answer questions about the relationship between Armscor and SAA during the 1980ís with particular reference to the period 1985 to Ď88. To answer questions pertaining to your role in Armscor as well as in South African Airways.

We understand that you were not at SAA at the time of the Helderberg incident. But we also understand that you have some expertise and you have knowledge of Armscor and SAA?

MR HARE: Ms Terreblanche Iím sorry your microphone went dead at certain stages, would you mind repeating that?

MS TERREBLANCHE: Sorry. Do you want me to repeat everything? You heard me spelling out the questions that weíve already put to you. We understand that you werenít at SAA at the time of the Helderberg incident but that you have certain expertise. At the moment I would just like to know whether youíve prepared anything pertaining to the questions that we have put to you?

MR HARE: Ms Terreblanche, in answer it may seem quite strange to you but you ask a question alluding to a relationship between Armscor and South African Airways and my only response to that is that I am not aware of any such relationship that may or may not have existed but I certainly am not aware that there was any relationship in the period that you refer to and therefore continuing from that in the particular period that you refer to in the question later on, the same answer would apply.

I am certainly not aware of any relationship that could have existed between Armscor and South African Airways other than a normal relationship in terms of which personnel of Armscor made use of South African Airways for passenger services.

MS TERREBLANCHE: Very well weíll get back to that. I would just like at this stage for us to tell you how long you were with Armscor and what were you doing at Armscor?

MR HARE: Could I just go back before we do that to your earlier opening remark where you say that I am in possession of certain expertise and point out to you that that expertise would certainly not cover items such as the Helderberg or the technicalities of what happened to the Helderberg other than by way of hearsay that Iíve picked up during the course of my employment with SAA.

MS TERREBLANCHE: Weíll note that. I understand but can you just explain then what your expertise with Armscor was and then come, also come back to SAA?

MR HARE: I think the easiest will be if I give you an indication of what the role was that I played at Armscor and then refer that to the change in my employment in 1990 and indicate what my responsibilities are and have been from that period.

I was employed by Armscor in the capacity of the general manager of one of the subsidiary companies Infoplan in 1976, April of 1976. Infoplan is a subsidiary company which at the time was responsible for the provision of data processing services, computer services to Armscor and certain of itís subsidiary companies.

It had a small personnel and there was an in-house data processing company. Approximately a year later I was asked to move from the general managership of Infoplan through to the Armscor head office when Armscor and the Armament Board amalgamated itís operations.

At the time the change in my function involved the installation and updating of financial records, particularly those that had been maintained by the old Armaments Board, the installation of financial systems and the development of those systems so that the company could account properly and duly in terms of the Companies Act and itís own enactment which was applicable.

I served in that capacity for a number of years. I continued my responsibility for the data processing company. My capacity, my role at that stage was, title was that of senior general manager finance. At a later stage we split the functions, Armscor split the functions of finance into two. The one that I retained responsibility for was in essence the treasury function.

The treasury function was predominantly the provision of funding for the operations of Armscor through approaches to the capital market, through approaches to various lenders. It was over and above that a specialist function in terms of the negotiation and provision of export finance for export contracts where arms were sold to a variety of purchases and it continued through holding directorships of Armscorís manufacturing, certain of their manufacturing subsidiary companies in which role I was particularly responsible for their financial acumen for their proper accounting of their transactions.

In late 1989 I was approached by a consulting firm of recruitment specialists. At the time it was indicated to me that a major client of that company had a desire to appoint a chief financial officer. It was put to me that the particular role was very necessary in terms of the degree of expertise held by that company and the fact that they were in the throes of corporatising and converting from a State owned entity into a parastatal and after several months of negotiation concerning the possibility I had made the decision to transfer and commence employment with South African Airways.

I was appointed at the time as senior general manager of South African Airways with a particular responsibility for finance and accounting systems and in that capacity I acted for several, for a couple of years until such time as we had some re-organisations within South African Airways and my responsibilities were augmented. I later became responsible for data processing operations, for capital purchases, for fuel purchases, for a period for the cargo operations of the company, that was for a limited period and subsequently for the maintenance operations of South African Airways.

MS TERREBLANCHE: Thank you. We have talked obviously to a large number of people in terms of the Helderberg. Now two former SAA employees, in fact one is still an employee has told me that Armscor did have an account with SAA and I think you would be in a very good position to clarify that?

MR HARE: Ms Terreblanche I canít shed any light on that. Iím not aware that there was an account. My only comment would be that any number of South African corporations have accounts with South African Airways. It may be that there was such an account in existence. That would include, if I look at the average South African corporation an account for passengers, it would include a cargo account, it could include any number of items that were transacted between South African Airways and Armscor.

MS TERREBLANCHE: Would you have been aware of such an account being aware of the financial position?

MR HARE: I think that, you know you infer in, aware of the financial position the level of detail, but quite frankly Iím not aware of. We had a number of accounts that were operated by South African corporations with SAA. I would normally only expect to become aware of the detail of those accounts if they were in a situation where they were giving problems. If they werenít paying their bills or they were in arrears for some particular reason. So I wouldnít normally expect to be aware of an account like that.

MS TERREBLANCHE: Thank you. I think Dr Klatzow would also like to ask you a couple of questions.

DR KLATZOW: Mr Hare, thank you for coming along. Your background is accounting, is that correct?

MR HARE: Iím a chartered accountant yes.

DR KLATZOW: And as part of that background you would have intimate and detailed knowledge of the structure of a company?

MR HARE: I would expect to have a comprehensive knowledge, yes.

DR KLATZOW: And therefore if you were in a senior executive position you would know how that company functioned?

MR HARE: In terms of itís basic operations I would expect to have knowledge of itís functions.

DR KLATZOW: Now, at the time you were an executive member of an Armscor subsidiary, is that correct?

MR HARE: I was a member of the board of directors of various Armscor subsidiary companies.

DR KLATZOW: And you would be aware that Armscor - I think if you use the other microphone it wonít keep switching off. The basic structure of the company would be something that would be well known to you. Now Armscor functioned in a period where we as South Africans were considered to be pariahs of the world, is that correct?

MR HARE: Certainly.

DR KLATZOW: We had to use every skill and ingenuity that the country could offer in order to break the sanctions that were occurring at the time, is that not correct?

MR HARE: I would say so.

DR KLATZOW: And Armscor did so by means of not only the skill which they could bring to it by the use of skilled personnel such as yourself but they did not hesitate to use subterfuge in order to achieve their ends on many occasions, is that not correct?

MR HARE: Dr Klatzow I think that when you say use subterfuge, I think that itís correct to say that none of the transactions that Armscor undertook were at the time contrary to any South African Law.

DR KLATZOW: Iím not referring to South African Law. You broke International Laws on, with impunity, on many occasions in order to achieve your aims and in fact up until recently, the Armscor had a major embarrassment and was a major stumbling block because you had broken Federal Laws in the United States and your Armscor officials are up on a charge in the United States, is that not correct?

MR HARE: Iím not aware of the detail of the charges that were levelled against them. Certainly it would be correct to say that Armscor was involved in the acquisition of military hardware and that there were items which, or that in that acquisition it was probable that certain international regulations would have been broken.

DR KLATZOW: With impunity in fact?

MR HARE: Dr Klatzow thatís your definition, not mine.

DR KLATZOW: Would you, do you remember that South Africa was involved in the illicit gaining of plans for the Daphne class submarines which caused an international outrage?

MR HARE: Youíre operating in an area of which I have no knowledge.

DR KLATZOW: But it was public news.

MR HARE: I have read that that was the case.

DR KLATZOW: Alright, let me re-phrase it. Would you deny, under oath, that Armscor broke international regulations in the achievement of itís aims which was at that time the pursuit and fighting of the total onslaught?

MR HARE: Dr Klatzow that may well have been the case. I have no personal knowledge of regulations that were broken by Armscor.

DR KLATZOW: Mr Hare Iím not suggesting that you did so. Iím suggesting that as a senior member of the Armscor stable, you would have been aware that there were certain things to be done and that you couldnít just walk over to the various countries who regarded us as pariahs and buy the equipment you needed and therefore Iím not debating the rightness and wrongness, Iím debating that you had a task to be done and you did it and you did not let regulations stand in the way and I think youíve agreed with that.

MR HARE: Iíve agreed in broad terms that Armscor had a task to fulfil and that it certainly made every effort to comply with that task.


CHAIRPERSON: It is a pretty common cause Mr Hare that Armscor did break the arms embargo and that in fact fairly recently that was one of the issues that seemed to be militating [inaudible] recommendation of the US/South Africa relationships as far as those deals go because there was evidence that the arms embargo that was violated by South Africa and Armscor, wasnít that common cause? Canít we admit without being specific that generally it was the position. Without discussing the ethics and the wrongness or rightness of it.

MR HARE: Commissioner I believe that I have so indicated that that was the task that Armscor was set up for. It was one of the main tasks that they fulfilled over a number of years.


MR HARE: Please let us not assume then by extrapolation that I was party to transactions of that nature or had specific knowledge and I was aware of what was going on in a variety of areas. Dr Klatzow in a question earlier on referred to specific and detailed and intimate knowledge of the company and itís structures and I would say that Armscor, in the case of Armscor one needs to take into account that the structures of Armscor were created in a way that our knowledge was restricted to those people to whom it was essential to have that knowledge.

CHAIRPERSON: On a need to know basis?

MR HARE: Purely on a need to know basis.

DR KLATZOW: That is exactly the point that I was getting to because, as a man well versed in commercial practises you would see, from the structure of the company that it was specifically designed on a need to know and that it was designed in a fashion which was ideally suited, if I could put it, to sanction busting and clandestine operations in order to achieve their stated aims.

It wasnít set up for instance like Woolworths. It was set up on a completely different basis?

MR HARE: That is correct.

DR KLATZOW: Right. Now, I presume that there was a very tight chain of command at Armscor. That people couldnít just go off doing whatever they wanted to do. The chain of command was closely regulated?

MR HARE: Correct.

DR KLATZOW: And that junior members of the Armscor staff wouldnít do things that were inamicable to the well-being of the company or wouldnít do things off their own bat, there was a well structured line of orders?

MR HARE: I think one has to be careful with the assumption there will inevitably be a number of people who would "be doing their own thing", choosing their own way of doing things. The task would be one that was defined, the objective defined, the way of doing it would not necessarily have been defined at all.

DR KLATZOW: Thatís correct but ultimately for a large capital expenditure project or for a significant project there would be a line of command and that there would be some monitoring, it wasnít a free for all?

MR HARE: No, it was certainly never a free for all.

DR KLATZOW: Right. Now, there are links between Armscor of course and Somchem?

MR HARE: Somchem at the time was an operating subsidiary company.

DR KLATZOW: Correct. And one of the functions of Somchem was that it was producing a variety of military ordinance, ranging from small arms ammunition through to pyrotechnics and it produced the compound called ammonium perchlorate. Are you aware of that?

MR HARE: The first part of the statement is correct regarding explosives, pyrotechnics Iím less certain of, Iím not aware that they were in the business of manufacturing pyrotechnics and Iím certainly not aware of the details of particular product manufacture.

DR KLATZOW: But are you aware that they were the only company in the country who were manufacturing that kind of material, apart from AE&CI which manufactured commercial explosives?

MR HARE: As far as I am aware they were the only company who were manufacturing military style explosive products.

DR KLATZOW: Correct. And Mr Hare, it will not have passed you by that South Africa was at the time, and it has been admitted officially, engaged in what turned out to be an abortive development of rockets?

MR HARE: Iím not aware of which style of rocket youíre talking about or type of rocket youíre talking about. There were certainly rocket developments that were undertaken through the 1980ís.

DR KLATZOW: Yes. And let me be a little more specific, there was the normal military weaponry type rocket, such as surface to air and air to air missiles?

MR HARE: Certainly.

DR KLATZOW: And there was also, and the one that I refer to as being abortive was a rather more adventurous project to develop some sort of delivery mechanism for the fledgling nuclear industry. Some kind of intercontinental or long range missile. Youíre aware that that?

MR HARE: Iím aware of it.

DR KLATZOW: Right. You must also be aware that the primary component in rocket fuel is a compound called ammonium perchlorate?

MR HARE: No, Iím not aware of that.

DR KLATZOW: Well, can I make you aware of it because that is in fact the case. It is a very common chemical. You must also be aware that part of the policy of Armscor in achieving itís aims was what has been referred to by too many of ex Armscor officials to take anything but seriously as Chinese engineering. Do you know what the term Chinese engineering is?

MR HARE: I would assume that youíre talking of a process which is otherwise referred to as reverse engineering.

DR KLATZOW: Thatís absolutely correct. And for the enlightenment of the Commission, the principle was that you obtained by whatever means a sample of whatever it was that you wished to have and your chemists, engineers and scientists back in South Africa would copy it and then manufacture it on a proper scale. Is that correct?

MR HARE: I cannot state whether itís correct or otherwise, I donít know.

DR KLATZOW: But that is reverse engineering, isnít it?

MR HARE: That is reverse engineering as I understand it.

DR KLATZOW: Correct. Now many many of the products which Armscor have produced are in fact straight copies of other products which were available on the market and I will name just three for you. The Z88 pistol which was made by Armscor is a copy of the Baretta. The R4 is a copy of the Galleou and the R1 was a direct copy of the Belgium FN FAL Rifle. You could put the parts from the one into the other and they would function. Youíre aware of that?

MR HARE: I have no reason to dispute what youíre saying but I have no intimate knowledge of it.

DR KLATZOW: Now what Iím getting to is this, that Armscor saw to it that whatever itís goals were, were achieved by means, whatever means at itís disposal and if that meant purloining international intellectual property they didnít scruple to do that. Youíre not going to deny that?

MR HARE: Iíve indicated that Armscor was fulfilling a task at the time. It may well be that that was included but that is beyond my knowledge.

DR KLATZOW: Okay. Now, I want to put to you the following. That the military at the time in Angola were having a problem with new fighter jets and they were having a problem with the surface to air or air to air missiles and I want to put to you that it became extremely important for Armscor to develop a means for countering this threat and further I want to put to you that at the time the only way that was able to do that was by means of developing a better missile and that there was an urgent need to do that. Do you have any knowledge of that?

MR HARE: Dr Klatzow youíre operating in an area which I have no personal knowledge. I can assume that your statement is correct but that would not be from personal knowledge.

DR KLATZOW: Okay, but what Iím trying to indicate to you is that having been faced with a problem of that magnitude, can you think of any reason whatsoever having already indicated that Armscor was prepared to break the niceties of International Law why they would not try and get a better rocket propellant brought into the country to reverse engineer? Can you think of a single reason why that would be an outlandish suggestion?

MR HARE: Dr Klatzow that would fall into the category of one of a variety of different solutions that Armscor could have been investigating at the time. The case is hypothetical.

DR KLATZOW: I accept that itís hypothetical but the question was quite a specific question. Given the fact that there was a problem with aircraft in Angola. Given the fact that there was an urgent need to develop a better form of rocketry. Given those facts, can you think of a reason why Armscor would not have brought in the material that they needed to reverse engineer to deal with this extremely urgent problem?

MR HARE: Dr Klatzow you have indicated that there was an extremely urgent problem. I have no knowledge of that. You have indicated a scenario that indicates that Armscor would have wished to develop such a project or such a projectile and such a counter measure. I have no knowledge of that.

DR KLATZOW: I understand. Youíre missing the question Mr Hare.

MR HARE: Weíre in the area where this kind of hypothetical speculation, I could certainly not deny and say that itís possible that Armscor would wish to have brought in a product A, B, C, D or E. That may well be.

DR KLATZOW: The question was very simple and weíre getting side-tracked. The question was, if my premises are correct, if the suppositions that Iíve put to you are correct, can you think of a reason why Armscor would not have broken international sanctions by whatever method getting the material they needed and bringing it in aboard a civilian airliner. And I think the answer is no.

MR HARE: Well youíve now added a new dimension into the transaction, youíve said aboard a civilian airliner.

DR KLATZOW: Correct.

MR HARE: And right up to now, you and I have probably not differed on the subject of what Armscor was busy doing and the ways that they would have used. I am certainly not aware of the situation whereby Armscor would have taken steps on an irresponsible basis to conduct importation of materials on any basis that was not particularly safe or that would have placed any particular, either aircraft or passenger aboard an aircraft at risk.

DR KLATZOW: Well weíll get to that. Let me, I presume that the answer to the first part, without the civilian airliner is that they would have brought that in by whatever means they needed to get it here?

MR HARE: I think that you could qualify that by saying, by adding the rider that I have added.


MR HARE: I think that Armscor operated with integrity. Armscor in my opinion would not have undertaken such a risk. I would certainly not have been party to doing so had I known that that was going to happen.

DR KLATZOW: I understand that. Now you also as a chief executive of SAA are aware that I have personally phoned you in relation to this matter on a number of occasions some four years ago?

MR HARE: May I correct you, Iím the deputy chief of SAA. Iím not the chief executive. Promotion would be very nice but it certainly is not contemplated.

DR KLATZOW: Well if it were in my power I would try and help you but you are a senior man at SAA?

MR HARE: Certainly.

DR KLATZOW: And you are aware that I questioned you some years ago about an incident which occurred at Ben Gurion Airport?

MR HARE: Correct.

DR KLATZOW: And you referred me to a pilot by the name of Captain Flippie Look?

MR HARE: Correct.

DR KLATZOW: Now at the time you also referred me to one of your senior technical people, a man by the name of Theuns Steyn, Theuns Kruger?

MR HARE: Theuns Kruger I believe.

DR KLATZOW: Correct, Dr Theuns Kruger. And your suggestion to me at the time was that SAA had been transporting mirage drop tanks and that the whole incident involved mirage drop tanks?

MR HARE: Dr Klatzow you were referring to an incident of which I had no knowledge.

DR KLATZOW: I accept that.

MR HARE: I referred you to the people who in my opinion could have assisted you in providing information regarding that concern.

DR KLATZOW: And they were very helpful.

MR HARE: And I understand that they were helpful.

DR KLATZOW: They were very helpful.

MR HARE: I hope that thatís the case.

DR KLATZOW: Now Captain Look, you know has an airforce background?

MR HARE: I know.

DR KLATZOW: You know that he flew mirages?

MR HARE: I understand that.

DR KLATZOW: And you know that he has vast experience as a pilot? When I put to Captain Look that he was mistaken and that the items that fell out of his hold were mirage drop tanks. He was infuriated. And Iím telling you this for your own interest, he was quite infuriated. Infuriated to the point where he quite unwillingly indicated to me that he was a man who would clearly know the difference between a mirage drop tank and a rocket which had fallen out.

MR HARE: That may be.

DR KLATZOW: Now those have been loaded aboard SAA aircraft.

MR HARE: Iím not aware of the circumstances but that may be.

DR KLATZOW: Well itís not so much the circumstances, itís the fact that numerous people at SAA have attempted to try and convince me that the items which fell out of the aircraft were mirage drop tanks. And it is that which I want to deal with. Because surely Mr Hare, the simple thing that if you were transporting something in a responsible fashion aboard a civilian airliner which bore or posed no risk to the passengers, you could easily as an airline and Dr Kruger could easily have said to me, we were carrying empty rocket casings, it is a simple matter, they posed no risk and we were quite entitled in terms of IATA Regulations to carry them. Why didnít he do that? Why did he resort to trying to convince me that they were mirage wing tanks?

MR HARE: You would have to ask him the question, I donít know.

DR KLATZOW: But there isnít a simple answer to that, you will agree with me?

MR HARE: There may be a particularly simple answer, you know youíve posed the question, you posed the question to me originally and I sent you to the people who I believe had information that could have assisted you. If youíre saying that the information they gave you was incorrect, please pose the question to them again.

DR KLATZOW: Iím going to do that.

MR HARE: Iím unaware of that.

DR KLATZOW: Iím going to. But what Iím trying to deal with, with you, is to suggest to you that the way in which they answered my question was to divert me from my investigation rather than to give me information. And Iím asking you if you can think of a reason why they would want to do that?

MR HARE: Let me be very categoric Dr Klatzow, I believe that everybody within SAA, from the time that the Helderberg accident occurred through to the present day would go out of their way to assist you in finding the cause of the fire that was on board the Helderberg. I think that nobody who sits within the airline would have any interest other than doing that. I cannot answer as to a particular question that you posed to an individual. I would put it to you that you didnít come back to me at that stage and say, Mr Hare what is the problem, these guys are giving me information that I cannot regard as being accurate.

DR KLATZOW: Thereís a reason that I didnít come back to you because in fact I had the information in my hands at the time that SAA was on a regular basis transporting military ordinance from Israel to South Africa, there was a to and fro traffic and if SAA chose to deny that, that was their problem. May I also tell you, for your information that Deon Storm who is also a pilot with SAA had exactly the same experience.

MR HARE: Thank you.

DR KLATZOW: Okay. Now I want to deal with another issue. Armscor is primarily involved in the production of military ordinance and matters closely related to military ordinance. I mean they donít make civilian hairdryers for instance?

MR HARE: They certainly donít make civilian hairdryers to my knowledge. They do make a range of civilian equipment. They make a range of items that have been, could quite probably be derivatives from some military product. They certainly operate in areas of commercial expertise and commercial competitively.

DR KLATZOW: But you donít make a range of commercial products that would be household items. You donít make heaters and hairdryers and toasters and things of that nature?

MR HARE: Iíve indicated to you a thought that there are a number of items which may well be defined as commercial products.

DR KLATZOW: No, but Iíve given you specific ones. Hairdryers in particular.

MR HARE: Iím certainly not aware of any manufacture of hairdryers.

DR KLATZOW: Are you aware that there is a cargo control man, a senior man called Mike Van Niekerk at Singapore Airport?

MR HARE: To the best of my knowledge Mr Van Niekerk was the station manager at Singapore.

DR KLATZOW: Thatís correct. And are you aware that he was asked by a senior member of SAA during a visit there whether the Armscor shipments were going okay?

MR HARE: Iím not aware of that.

DR KLATZOW: And his reply was, yes they are and theyíre still being shipped out as hairdryers.

MR HARE: If Iím not aware of it I couldnít be aware of the response, could I?

DR KLATZOW: The point that Iím trying to make is that we know that South Africa has a murky past. We know that arms dealers are not angels in terms of that murky past and we know that there was a holy war that was being fought in this country and that Armscor was part of that holy war.

And I want to put it to you that there would be no inhibition whatsoever on Armscorís behalf in doing whatever they needed to do to make that war work. And I want to suggest to you further that material that was brought in aboard the Helderberg was destined for Armscor because the stuff that was in the palate PR on the front of that aircraft was incapable of producing the fire which destroyed the aircraft and that the material that was aboard that aircraft was mis-declared and was in fact destined for Armscor and that it was that material which caused the loss of the Helderberg.

MR HARE: Dr Klatzow Iím not in a position to comment on your statement.

DR KLATZOW: I have only one last question. About, shortly after you joined SAA, a member of the operational staff, a member of staff of SAA had an altercation with you. And that altercation involved, shaking his hand in your face and saying, you know what is aboard the Helderberg. Do you remember that altercation?

MR HARE: No I donít.

DR KLATZOW: Do you deny that it ever happened?

MR HARE: I donít recall the incident.

DR KLATZOW: Did none of the staff members of SAA, a pilot in particular ever shake his hand in your face and say, Mr Hare you know what was aboard the Helderberg? Iím not suggesting you did but Iím suggesting that that incident took place.

MR HARE: Dr Klatzow youíre in an, asking a question, I certainly have no recollection of any such incident ever taking place.

DR KLATZOW: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Let me ask the question. When you say you have no recollection of the incident happening, are you saying the incident never happened? Or are you saying it may have happened except that you now have no recollection of it, you donít remember?

MR HARE: Commissioner I do not wish to appear to be ducking the question or anything like that. I certainly have no recollection of such an incident. If somebody says that such an incident occurred and can quote me chapter and verse and the occasion on which it occurred maybe my recollection is incomplete.

My own feeling is that there was not such an incident that took place but, really weíre going back quite a number of years and I am certainly not aware of such an incident.

CHAIRPERSON: Dr Klatzow, can you provide chapter and verse?

DR KLATZOW: I may very well be able to do that. I donít have it with me at the moment but I have a note in my personal notes where that allegation was made but having said that, it is the kind of incident that would be difficult to forget, if it occurred to you.

MR HARE: Dr Klatzow, the only comment that I would make at this stage is that you would appear to be indicating that thereís some unusual reason as to why I was at SAA.


MR HARE: Certainly the press has taken us into that area with a whole lot of questions that have been posed to me as to why I moved employment and was in fact at SAA. Now let me initially say that that statement is incorrect, there is no unusual reason for my being at SAA. Had any such incident occurred, Iím pretty sure that I would have remembered such an incident, you know. It would seem that the kind of incident that one remember from the way you describe it.

DR KLATZOW: Iím not suggesting anything untoward about the fact that the incident occurred. I mean, the simple answer could be that the person involved may have been entirely mistaken and may have simply mistaken the fact that you had come from Armscor and implied a sinister reason for it. He might have been totally off the wall.

All Iím saying to you is, do you remember the incident?

MR HARE: I donít remember the incident. I think that one has to accept that a lot of statements that were made concerning the incident, concerning the whole Helderberg situation were made under a vast amount of emotion. There were a number of people, including goods friends of mine who were on board the Helderberg.

I think that a statement made like that would, if such a statement was made was totally incorrect.

DR KLATZOW: I accept that. Just one last question, did you know Mr Oslo?

MR HARE: I knew Mr Oslo.

DR KLATZOW: In what capacity did you know Mr Oslo?

MR HARE: I had worked together with Mr Oslo on a number of projects.

DR KLATZOW: And is it correct to say that Mr Oslo was part of an Armscor front company?


DR KLATZOW: Did he have any dealings with Armscor?

MR HARE: Mr Oslo provided assistance to Armscor on a consultative basis, regarding a transaction that Armscor was interested in.

DR KLATZOW: That is correct. And the information which I have is that Mr Oslo did this on a regular basis?

MR HARE: I would certainly not have called it a regular basis. It may have been that there were other instances where I was not aware of his activity. In the particular case that I am aware of, it was really on a one off basis only.

DR KLATZOW: Was that a procurement function that he acted in?


DR KLATZOW: Would you tell us what the function was that Mr Oslo?

MR HARE: It was the export of items from this country.

DR KLATZOW: And is there any reason why he could not have also been involved in a procurement facility for you?

MR HARE: I was certainly not aware of that. It would have been unusual I think because of the degree, the area of expertise that he was operating in. South Africa was not at the time producing the product in which he was a specialist.

DR KLATZOW: Thank you very much.

MS TERREBLANCHE: What was that product that he was a specialist in?

MR HARE: He was operating in the strategic oil fund.

MS TERREBLANCHE: And was he on an Armscor mission when he got killed in the Helderberg?

MR HARE: Not to my knowledge.

MS TERREBLANCHE: Thereís one last question. You were referring to commercial goods manufactured by Armscor at the time. Can you give an example and the company or subsidiaries involved?

MR HARE: For example. The computer company that Armscor operates, sells commercial computer systems. Theyíve been involved some time ago in the payment of pensions, using computer systems that were developed there.

MS TERREBLANCHE: What is the name of that subsidiary or company?

MR HARE: That company was Infoplan. But I do believe that if you have a look you will find, and I canít recall specific instances but there are in fact and were throughout the period a number of commercial product derivatives of military manufactured items.


CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Ms Terreblanche. Well it remains for me to thank you Mr Hare for having taken the time to come out and assist the Commission in its endeavour to re-visit the whole Helderberg enquiry and try and find out if we are any where near establishing the truth of what really happened.

You must understand that we have got enquiries from a number of quarters, including an organisation called the Friends of the victims of Helderberg. Itís been twelve years since the event and itís an event that we had hoped and we possibly might be able to throw some further light on and it is when people like you are ready, even at short notice to come and share with us what they know or

donít know about the incident. So, we thank you very much.

MR HARE: Commissioner, may I thank you for paying me the compliment and may I also say that as I have said earlier, I truly believe that every single individual within the South African Airways would very dearly love to be able to get to the bottom of what caused the Helderberg incident but I also believe that every individual will offer you every assistance that they possibly can and will answer whatever question is possible in an attempt to get to find a solution as to the cause of the Helderberg incident.

If I may provide further information at any stage please do not hesitate. I would welcome coming back and answering any further questions if cause arises.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. You are excused Mr Hare.

MR HARE: Thank you.


CHAIRPERSON: Ms Terreblanche?

MS TERREBLANCHE: I think we should now call Mr Willemse, Mr Tienie Willemse. I believe the two of them need to....

CHAIRPERSON: Welcome Mr Willemse. I have explained very quickly to most witnesses that this is a Section 29 enquiry. What it means is it is an investigative enquiry. It is not a trial, itís not a tribunal, itís not disciplinary enquiry, no findings will be made. Itís an information gathering exercise.

It is held privately so you can safely regard everybody here to have been sworn to confidentiality and so also will the evidence that will be taken here to not be made public and that decision will be the decision of the Commission as and when certain requirements have been complied with.

We have translators who are also part of the Commission who are contracted to the Commission and who will be able to translate for us on any person who would prefer to take the evidence in English should you choose to give your evidence in Afrikaans. So you are entirely free to testify in the language you best would like to testify in.

We will not be disadvantaged thereby because as you will see there are listening devices which will assist us to listen simultaneously as you speak in to the English version of your evidence. So if you want to speak in Afrikaans, please feel free to do so.

Welcome to these proceedings and before you testify I will therefore ask Commissioner Glenda Wildschut who is to my left to swear you in. But let me introduce the members of the panel. She is Commissioner in the Reparations and Rehabilitationís Committee. I am Ntsebeza.

I am a Commissioner in the Human Rights Violations Committee and are in the investigative unit.

To my right is Mr Magadhla, Wilson, he is head of special investigations. He is also as you see a member of this panel. To the right is Ms Terreblanche, Chrystelle, who has investigated and has collected all information relevant to this hearing and with her is Dr David Klatzow who has been contracted to the Commission and who will give, will assist us in those technical aspects and in any of the aspects about this matter which is fairly familiar, having dealt with it on a substantial number of years thereafter. Ms Wildschut will therefore swear you in.

MS WILDSCHUT: Mr Willemse good morning. Do you have any objection to taking the oath? No objection. Could you state your full name for the record please?

MR WILLEMSE: Martinus Gerhardus Willemse.


CHAIRPERSON: Ms Terreblanche?

MS TERREBLANCHE: Good morning Mr Willemse. Thanks for coming. I see we misspelt your name on the invitation. Sorry about that.

MR WILLEMSE: The Williams, Iím used to that, thatís no problem.

MS TERREBLANCHE: I think itís these computer spell checks that insist on these things some times. Weíve asked you to come and provide details of your role in SAA at the time of the Helderberg disaster, to explain SAAís role in terms of the investigation into the Helderberg disaster. To answer questions pertaining to the relationship between SAA and Armscor during the 1980ís and answer questions pertaining to SAAís relationship with airlines and cargo agents in Israel and Taiwan.

May I just start off by asking you to explain to us your career in SAA. When you started and?

MR WILLEMSE: May I have the opportunity, as the Chairman said that Afrikaans is my mother tongue, that if it will be okay with you that I conduct the session in Afrikaans?

MS TERREBLANCHE: Please go ahead. Can you use the earphones because then you will hear the English, so that we can have, but itís quite fine. Can you hear us?


MS TERREBLANCHE: Please continue Mr Willemse. You may speak in Afrikaans.

MR WILLEMSE: I hope it wonít cause any inconvenience.

MS TERREBLANCHE: No. Not at all. Thank you.

MR WILLEMSE: The question is that I should briefly explain what my career was with SAA. I was asked to transfer to SAA during 1979. At that stage I was a member of the legal advisors team and was known then as the South African Railways and Harbours and I fulfilled a very specific role there. I had to appear on behalf of the old Railways and Harbours before the National Transport Commission to look after the so-called competition between road and rail.

The reason why I asked to transfer to the airlines was because there was a commission of enquiry appointed at that time under the chairmanship of Justice Margo which had to look at the whole issue of a new airline policy for South Africa and the then deputy asked me to transfer to the airlines so that I could become a member of the Margo Commission itself, to advise them on the new aviation policy for South Africa.

What was at stake was mainly the open skies policy which had taken hold in America at that stage and I followed it and some particulars and I attended some of the hearings in Washington at that stage to find out what the impact of the so-called open skies policy would be in South Africa. That was chiefly my role. To advise the South African Airways and to help with the activities of the Margo Commission which extended over a couple of years and that was very briefly the reason for my transfer to the South African Airways. It was a very specific instruction which I had.

MS TERREBLANCHE: At the time of the Helderberg disaster, could you please explain what your position was at SAA?

MR WILLEMSE: After the Margo Commission had been completed I acquired other responsibilities and I then moved in to the commercial side of the airlines and away from the pure legal side of matters. We used different titles initially. My title was trade director.

There were two of us and then we subdivided it into the director of marketing and director of planning. Subsequently we changed it to chief director international. At that stage I was mainly responsible for the international or the commercial side of international services of SAA. There was no clear dividing line between domestic activities and the international activities because we were in the process of developing those as two separate products and we said that the internal scenario was aimed at a very specific public market and internationally speaking the target market was very different and I was chiefly engaged in the development of the root structure of the international section of South African Airlines.

MS TERREBLANCHE: Did that include passengers as well as cargo?

MR WILLEMSE: Yes. It was the total enterprise. But I must tell you that in the 1980ís there was very little emphasis on cargo in the sense that we didnít have a specific cargo section and the reason for that was as a result of all the detours that we had to use due to sanctions existing at the time and we had very little cargo capacity which we could utilise on our planes.

South African Airways at that stage was mainly a passenger enterprise. So the emphasis was on the development of routes for passenger purposes and where cargo could be added that was regarded as a bonus. From South Africa there was very little cargo but it was mainly perishables which depended very much on the season and the main route was towards Europe.

MS TERREBLANCHE: Youíre talking about sanctions now, were you aware of the fact that SAA sometimes carried cargo intended to evade sanctions or circumvent sanctions?

MR WILLEMSE: No. The cargo which we carried was any commercial cargo which we could obtain in the market at competitive prices to bring it in, well in both directions. In other words, in to South Africa and from South Africa. The sanctions to which I am referring is this, the fact that SAA could not fly along the normal commercial routes which our competitors used.

You will remember that since 1963, that was before my time, we could not use the shortest routes across Africa. So all our routes to Europe were via the West Coast of Africa or the stop at Sol Island. At some point most of our flights stopped.

MS TERREBLANCHE: Yes, now we understand that, I just want to make sure about this question, were you ever aware of the fact that cargo was carried or placed on SAA flights which were actually not destined for South Africa or which South Africa could actually not export due to sanctions?

MR WILLEMSE: No I was not aware of anything like that.

MS TERREBLANCHE: I think that Dr Klatzow wants to ask you a couple of questions.

DR KLATZOW: Thank you Mr Willemse. Do you have any objection if I ask my questions in English? And if you have any difficulty, you may just ask me. Mr Willemse, your duty with SAA was a legal advisory and a general commercial advisory capacity, was that not correct?

MR WILLEMSE: Initially a legal advisor in the sense only when I acted in the role of representing SAA at the Margo Commission of Enquiry into civil aviation.

DR KLATZOW: Correct, but at the time of the Helderberg. In 1988, your function was to oversee the commercial aspects of the international trade that SAA was doing?

MR WILLEMSE: Thatís correct.

DR KLATZOW: And as such you would have been intimately involved with the accident and the following investigations and the matters that transpired as a result of the accident?

MR WILLEMSE: No, I was not intimately involved. Let me explain it to you. I was not at all involved in the investigation into the Helderberg disaster. It was an aspect which was dealt with purely on the technical side at the airport. The only role which I fulfilled during and after the accident was that I and my team of marketing and sales people, Iím talking about passenger sales, passenger marketing, we set up an office at Johannesburg, at the head office and our sole function was to transmit information to the families and friends of the passengers who had died in the disaster.

That was our main purpose. To actually effect contact with the next of kin. To keep them informed regarding the progress and Iím specifically referring to the first couple of days after the accident took place, to contact as many of these as possible because we had the passenger lists and the arrangement which we made was that we sent our sales people to the next of kin as far as we could trace them in South Africa to have contact with them on behalf of SAA, to tell them what the position was and also to convey our condolences and to find out whether there was anything that we could assist them with at that stage.

What we also did was that we attended as many of the memorial services as we could as a sign of our condolences.

DR KLATZOW: Yes, but the night of the accident were you at Jan Smuts Airport?

MR WILLEMSE: No. At no stage was I personally at Jan Smuts Airport during or after the accident.

DR KLATZOW: You were never in the operational room?


DR KLATZOW: Along with Mickey Mitchell and others?

MR WILLEMSE: No. As I said, I set up an office in headquarters or I had an office in headquarters in Johannesburg and that is where I did my work from.

DR KLATZOW: Did you ever know a man, Tinus Jacobs who was working for SAA?

MR WILLEMSE: Tinus Jacobs was at some point and I think especially during the Helderberg disaster, he was our manager in Taiwan.

DR KLATZOW: Thatís quite correct. Can you inform us about Tinus Jacobsí career after the Helderberg disaster?

MR WILLEMSE: As far as I can recall Tinus Jacobs, he resigned some time afterwards. I donít know exactly how long he resigned from SAA and started up his own business as a tour operator.

DR KLATZOW: In the name of Crown Travel?

MR WILLEMSE: As far as I know, yes. Yes it is so.

DR KLATZOW: Who is his foremost client in that business, his best client?

MR WILLEMSE: I wouldnít be able to tell you.

DR KLATZOW: Isnít it true that the SAA is his best client and that he gets a lot of work from SAA?

MR WILLEMSE: Itís possible but that is not within my field of knowledge. But it is possible if he is a tour operator and as far as I know he is established in South Africa, then you would assume that he would do business with SAA.

DR KLATZOW: Are you also aware of a man called Vernon Nadel, heís waiting outside.

MR WILLEMSE: Yes I know Vernon.

DR KLATZOW: What is his function at SAA at that stage?

MR WILLEMSE: At what stage are you referring to?

DR KLATZOW: The stage of the Helderberg disaster.

MR WILLEMSE: I donít know. I didnít know him at that stage.

DR KLATZOW: Right. Very well thank you.

MS TERREBLANCHE: Mr Willemse I have a couple of questions. I would like you to think back, Iím sure you know Mr Flippie Look. He is still a pilot at SAA.

MR WILLEMSE: Yes. Itís difficult to say, if that is the person that I am thinking of now then, Iím speculating now, I have to add, I did meet Flippie Look once during a meeting which we had with SAPA, now that was quite a number of years ago. This was at some place outside Johannesburg. SAPA is the South African Pilots Association.

We met with them, we meaning South African Airways management and the management of the Pilots Association but then I have to add that I suspected he was there.

MS TERREBLANCHE: In 1985 Mr Flippie Look told us that he met you in Mauritius at the airport. You were there with your family. Can you recall that?

MR WILLEMSE: No. I think he was the pilot of the plane but.

MS TERREBLANCHE: Were you in Mauritius in 1985?

MR WILLEMSE: I donít know, itís possible. I would have to go and check. If I was there with my family I was probably there on leave, on holiday.

MS TERREBLANCHE: Yes, but if I told you what he told me as to what he told you, maybe that will help you. He said that in June 1985 he landed at Tel Aviv Airport and whilst they were still in the plane looking or watching a movie, the cargo was off-loaded and he peeped out and there was a crate which had been broken and he said that he saw a missile inside this crate and this was confirmed to him by the freight or cargo controller at Ben Gurion Airport, the SAA man there.

A week afterwards another South African pilot and I think you know Mr Deon Storm?


MS TERREBLANCHE: Exactly the same happened to him. Mr Look said that he expressed his concern about the situation to you and said that what happened then was that he had hoped that you would be able to explain this, clarify matters. But he was later called in and told that Mr Van Veer and Mr Mitchell had gone to Armscor and obtained assurances that that would not happen again. Can you recall this conversation?

MR WILLEMSE: No I canít recall it.

MS TERREBLANCHE: Can you not recall that you ever heard from anybody that they were worried about the cargo which they had to convey on SAA planes?

MR WILLEMSE: Once again as far as I can remember youíre talking about Ď85 so itís a long time ago, I canít remember, I would have to go and check up whether I was in Mauritius in Ď85 but as far as I can remember there was no such a conversation with me. Iím not saying that it isnít so, I just canít remember it. And I also canít remember that anybody had a conversation with me or expressed concern about cargo which we were conveying on SAA planes. Cargo had a very low profile in the Ď80ís, on our flights.

MS TERREBLANCHE: You donít have to give a definite figure or even a definite percentage, but can you recall how much of your cargo in the mid Ď80ís came from Taiwan and Israel? What percentage of your cargo went along those routes?

MR WILLEMSE: I have no idea.

MS TERREBLANCHE: So you didnít target certain countries as being more lucrative than others?

MR WILLEMSE: Any cargo which became available on any route where the tariff was worthwhile we would have accepted that. As far as I can remember our biggest concentration of cargo was from Germany into South Africa because I know we had a very active team and as far as I can remember Germany was the only South African Airways depot under the control of the Germans and which is very active in obtaining cargo.

The system in Europe was that they moved cargoes by means of trucks and they concentrated on certain stations so if you ask me what were the places where there was the highest concentration of cargo then as far as I know and can remember it was from Frankfurt and also from Italy. We had a considerable amount of freight from Italy as a result of the fact that they used trucks extensively.

MS TERREBLANCHE: Were you ever aware of the fact that SAA conveyed goods for Armscor?

MR WILLEMSE: Not specifically. If youíre telling me that we conveyed goods for Armscor and it was good cargo then I would say to you yes, we probably would have done it.

MS TERREBLANCHE: What is good cargo?

MR WILLEMSE: That means cargo which generates a high tariff. I would compare that instance with the following. From South Africa we often sat with cargoes of perishable goods such as flowers etc., and at that stage it was a very low tariff cargo. It was subsidised to quite a high degree by the Department of Agriculture so the income which SAA got from that was very low.

And it was important for an airline to carry cargo which had a small volume but high weight because thatís where you made your money. So if Armscor was a client offering cargo falling into that category then you would rather have conveyed that and perhaps rejected flowers and perishables. But that would have applied to any other supplier.

MS TERREBLANCHE: Thank you. Dr Klatzow?

CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Wildschut?

MS WILDSCHUT: Mr Willemse I just need to clarify for myself, you have a legal background?

MR WILLEMSE: Thatís right yes.

MS WILDSCHUT: And your interest and part of the reason why you came on board, pardon the pun, to SAA was because of your interest in policy?

MR WILLEMSE: My interest in?

MS WILDSCHUT: Policy, policy development.

MR WILLEMSE: Was my interest in policy, thatís right.

MS WILDSCHUT: Policy, yes, particularly airline policy and you were looking at open skies policy and so on from the US. And is it true to say that somebody whose involved in policy would be involved where the airline is experiencing difficulties such as accidents and so on that one would then want to re-look at what has happened, particularly with accidents to inform policy?

MR WILLEMSE: The policy which I was looking at was totally different to for instance safety policy because airline policy and aviation policy is something quite independent and very specialised. It was very important for us in South Africa to understand what was happening globally.

The two things which were very closely interconnected were the following. What was the policy in other countries in respect of aviation policy and that is reflected in your bilateral air agreements and was important for us to understand what the policy would be of our department of transport and especially civil aviation, how would they structure our air agreements in future.

So for an airline in a country it is extremely important to understand that so that the government and the department donít decide overnight, for instance that it is now in the interests of the country to move towards an open skies policy whilst the infrastructure is not prepared for that step.

As against the situation with a disaster or an accident like the Helderberg, that is a completely different field and I would like to answer you as follows. The reason why I did not become involved at all in the Helderberg disaster was that after the accident took place I played a very limited role because I was looking at the marketing side of things and I was managing the affairs of the next of kin.

All the other legal aspects, for instance in dealing with the finalisation of claims, claims instituted by the next of kin, negotiations with our insurers. There were several sets of negotiations involved. The settlement of claims in South Africa and also in other countries where passengers came from, such as Japan, Taiwan, Korea, I think there were passengers as far afield as England and the United States.

This was all dealt with by the office of the chief legal advisor in Transnet itself. So from the airlinesí side we didnít interfere at all. The chief legal advisor played that part and I was no longer part of his team and he dealt with the attorneys of the insurers because you immediately have to involve them when there is an accident and they, Iím referring you to the insurers in turn then appointed their own attorneys in the respective countries and instructed them to start up with the negotiations with the next of kin with a view to settlement of claims.

My impression was that the most important aspect here was to see whether in relation to the claims flowing from the Helderberg disaster whether this could be finalised as soon as possible in context of the international convention governing claims. And thatís how the matter was dealt with so I was not at all involved in that aspect because I was no longer functioning as a legal advisor. I hope that answers your question.

MS WILDSCHUT: A question I was going to ask and that was about claims, insurance claims and so on. Are you saying that the insurance claims were not handled by SAA but by some other department and so which department, if you can just repeat that for me?

MR WILLEMSE: Yes. It was the office of the chief legal advisor of, at that stage we were not called Transnet, I think we were called the South African Transport Services. So in other words we had the legal advisor, with his team and he took over that function on behalf of Transnet of the company as such, well we werenít even a company at that time but of SATS, and he co-ordinated all the liaison with the insurers and with their attorneys and their various legal representatives.


MR WILLEMSE: So he served as, letís call it, as a central point to then act into South African Airways and then from there into the legal advisors of the various countries. So I know that there was interaction between his office for instance and our offices in Taiwan and in Tokyo and all over the show.

MS WILDSCHUT: And as marketing chief at that time, would you have co-ordinated all of those functions, would you have insured,


MS WILDSCHUT: That people were reasonably happy with claims and insurance payouts and so on?

MR WILLEMSE: No. That was the function of the insurers as such. We didnít interfere. Their liaison was strictly with the office of the chief legal advisor and he would inform us of the progress that they were making. Itís quite a structured environment in which you operate in an airline and with airline claims because you are dealing with a Warsaw Treaty which places a limitation on that which can be claimed and that applies to all international cargo or flight and then you have certain protocols which pushes up the amount that can be claimed.

So, in the case of the Helderberg, if I remember correctly, the maximum amount which could be paid to any passenger or next of kin was defined in the conditions adhering to your ticket which said that the liability of the airline is subject to the following international treaties as amended by the Hague Protocol and whatever conventions which were applicable.

So, it was quite neatly circumscribed and all that had to be determined by the insurers was actually the ultimate quantum, the amount which had to be paid out and we found that in the case of the Helderberg, the insurers were prepared to go for the maximum amount that could be paid out because I think that the dilemma which they faced was that once they started settling in a country such as Taiwan for instance, the Japanese and the Koreans would expect exactly the same settlement to make sure that there was no discrimination.

Because one countryís attitude was that his citizens were no less valuable than the citizens of another country but these amounts were all determined by those international conventions and I canít remember whether the amounts were calculated in dollars or whether it was SDR or what but it was easily converted.

MS WILDSCHUT: So are you saying that there were differential payments made out to the different passengers on the flight?


MS WILDSCHUT: Based on the tickets they have and the class they were flying or whatever.


MS WILDSCHUT: Or relationship between the insurer and the countries that these people came from?

MR WILLEMSE: No. There was no difference. That is the point I am trying to make. The settlements which were concluded made very certain that there was no distinction made between passengers so there was parity in the offers made in terms of settlement to next of kin.

So unfortunately I canít talk about the detail because I wasnít involved but what I do know as a result of conversations that took place was that from our side, from the airlines side, we said that we should try to not cause any delays so that the negotiations as far as settlements were concerned could commence as soon as possible so that the next of kin not gain the impression that the airline was unwilling to pay out.

MS WILDSCHUT: And is there a difference between what, well, in terms of employees of SAA, look youíve got passengers, people who are not employees on the flight.


MS WILDSCHUT: And then you had employees of the company who are also victims of this disaster, particularly the crew and so on. Now in terms of SAA and insurance paid out to employees. Can you explain to us what happened there?

MR WILLEMSE: Yes. Iím not aware of the details but I know that as far as our crew was concerned, the former managing director, he personally visited all the next of kin of our crew. I was not involved in that. I was only involved in the next of kin of the passengers. But I know that he made a point of visiting the crewís next of kin. He visited the pilotsí wives and also the cabin crewís wives and next of kin and as far as I can recall there was a different set of rules applicable to payments to be made to next of kin of people who were actually working and were on duty whilst a disaster took place, itís different from a passenger with an ordinary ticket.

MS WILDSCHUT: You are aware of the fact that Mrs Uys is very unhappy? Do you know about the fact that she feels that she was dropped by SAA?

MR WILLEMSE: No, I am not aware of that.

MS WILDSCHUT: Thank you.

MR MAGADHLA: Mr Willemse, were you ever aware of allegations that this plane carried dangerous material, dangerous cargo?

MR WILLEMSE: Do you mean allegations?

MR MAGADHLA: From next of kin of some of the passengers and from a lot of other people. Newspapers included.

MR WILLEMSE: I am aware that long after the accident there was speculation at one stage in the newspapers. I cannot recall exactly when it was but there was speculation in the newspapers that there had been dangerous goods on board. That would surely have been about four to five years, it might have been more recent than that. I am aware of that yes. I read that.

It must have been in one or other English newspaper that there was speculation about this possibility. So I do have knowledge of that type of speculation.

MR MAGADHLA: Are you saying your knowledge of such would have been confined to it having been expressed by newspapers and others whereas in this case there was actually the wife of the pilot who also complained, would you have regarded that as part of the rumour or the conspiracy by those people, the papers and others?

MR WILLEMSE: Iím personally not aware of as you say the wife of a pilot who complained about dangerous cargo. All that I can tell you is that I am aware of the fact that there was speculation about this in the newspapers, about the fact that dangerous goods were on board. I donít even know if they used the expression dangerous goods on board, specifically the Helderberg.

I am also not aware of the fact that there was a specific person, such as, for example the wife of a pilot who spoke to me or anyone else or where I was present and said that there were dangerous goods on board that aeroplane, no.

MR MAGADHLA: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Magadhla. Anything?

MS TERREBLANCHE: I think we have no further questions Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Ms Terreblanche. Mr Willemse, thank you very much for having come and for having taken the trouble to come even with the shortest of notices and we value the information that you have been able to share with us. You are excused.

MR WILLEMSE: Thank you very much.

CHAIRPERSON: I think this will be a convenient time to take the tea adjournment. Weíre adjourned until twenty five past.


CHAIRPERSON: Are we ready to start? Mr Nadel, thank you very much for being here. This is a closed enquiry held in terms of Section 29 of the Act. All evidence that should be taken under oath remains confidential and will so remain until the Commission releases it subject to the requirements of the Act.

So everybody who is here has the permission to be here by reason of the fact that they are either invited to be here or have been subpoenaed to be here or are employees of the Commission. I was going to ask Commissioner Glenda Wildschut to swear you in before you testify but she is not here, she is otherwise engaged.

She forms part of the panel. She is in the Rehabilitationís and Reparations Committee. I am also one of the Commissioners who is going to be, who is chairing this panel. I am in the Human Rights Violations Committee. Mr Magadhla will assist us in the panel. He is sitting to my right and is a member of the investigative unit.

The investigator who has done most of the investigative work, in fact actually all of it, is Chrystelle Terreblanche who is sitting to our right and she has Dr Klatzow, David Klatzow who is a forensic expert and who has been contracted to the Commission to assist us in the presentation of the evidence.

In the interest of progress I will therefore swear you in, if you can stand. There is a red button there which you will press whenever you speak, thank you. Now what are your full names for the record Mr Nadel?

MR NADEL: Vernon Nadel.

VERNON NADEL: (sworn states)

CHAIRPERSON: The witness has been sworn in Ms Terreblanche.

MS TERREBLANCHE: Thank you Mr Chair. You may sit, thank you Mr Nadel. Thanks for coming. Mr Nadel we have invited you to come here to just tell us about your role on that fateful night at the ZUR centre, Springbok Radio Centre at the former Jan Smuts Airport. We believe you have come all the way from Argentina and we are very thankful to you for making that time. Commissioner Ntsebeza I think that Dr Klatzow will do all the questioning in this one.

CHAIRPERSON: Very well, Dr Klatzow?

DR KLATZOW: Thank you Mr Commissioner. Thank you very much Mr Nadel. Mr Nadel, when did you join SAA?

MR NADEL: 2nd June 1969.

DR KLATZOW: And by the time of the Helderberg operation what was your position?

MR NADEL: I was then the duty officer in flight operations.

DR KLATZOW: Junior officer?

MR NADEL: Duty officer.

DR KLATZOW: The duty officer. What did your position entail?

MR NADEL: I was responsible for overseeing the flight operations, the radio station ZUR, as well as if and when any crew needed flight plans. This job entailed day shift as well as night shift. Obviously the functions at night were different to the functions during the day.

DR KLATZOW: Now is it correct to say that ZUR is a permanent radio station at what was then Jan Smuts Airport?

MR NADEL: Yes, at the time, yes.

DR KLATZOW: And is it correct to say that it was manned twenty four hours a day by a staff of three people?

MR NADEL: No, ZUR wasnít manned by three people. It was manned by one radio operator. The night shift consisted of a duty officer as well as the operations controller and the radio operator in ZUR.

DR KLATZOW: What was Gavin Dickís function the evening that you were there?

MR NADEL: Gavin Dick was the radio operator.

DR KLATZOW: In other words there were at least two people there that night?

MR NADEL: Yes. I donít know whether you know the set-up as far as what the building looks like. Thereís not two people sitting in front of the radios. Thereís only the radio officer.

DR KLATZOW: And is he geographically quite distant from you, the duty officer?

MR NADEL: No. Youíre probably looking at 20 yards, 20 metres. But there is a door separating the radio station and the ops room.

DR KLATZOW: Right. What was the difference in rank between you and Mr Gavin Dick?

MR NADEL: If you want to take it on the scale of a clerk, he was a clerk grade 1 and I would have been a senior clerk, with one gap between. So in other words I was two ahead of him.

DR KLATZOW: Is it also true that ZUR has a permanent tape recording of all the messages which are transmitted on that transmitter?


DR KLATZOW: And that the tapes are twenty four hour, slightly over twenty four hour tapes?

MR NADEL: Iím not too sure on the length of the tape but they are.

DR KLATZOW: Theyíre not thirty minute tapes?

MR NADEL: No no, youíre looking at probably an eight to twelve hour tape which does change over once it ends it automatically goes to the next one.

DR KLATZOW: Correct. And that there is a dual recording system whereby one tape immediately kicks in?

MR NADEL: If the one ends, the other one immediately kicks in, yes.

DR KLATZOW: And that the tapes are stored in large containers with a yellow or a description written onto the container?

MR NADEL: Yes, thereís normally, once the tape ends the tape is put in a container with a card as you said with the date and time.

DR KLATZOW: And that those tapes are rotated on about a month or six weekly cycle?

MR NADEL: Thatís correct.

DR KLATZOW: So that the tape that is finished would go to the beginning of the queue and make itís way slowly up until six weeks later or so, it would be re-recorded?

MR NADEL: Correct.

DR KLATZOW: And the tapes once they are finished are kept under lock and key. I couldnít just walk in there and help myself?

MR NADEL: No itís kept in a glass, well at the stage was like a display cabinet which did have a lock but youíre not looking at a safe type.

DR KLATZOW: No but it would be something that I would have to break the lock or damage it in some way to get in?

MR NADEL: Correct.

DR KLATZOW: So that anybody off the street couldnít just walk in and help himself to the tape?

MR NADEL: Well I donít think youíd get into the building, but no.

DR KLATZOW: Who had the keys to the cabinet?

MR NADEL: That was in ZUR at the time.

DR KLATZOW: Were you in charge of the ZUR keys?

MR NADEL: Well I was in charge of ZUR at the time. It was never an issue that you are given the key and itís your responsibility. The key was on top of a cupboard normally.

DR KLATZOW: But you would know if somebody took a tape out?

MR NADEL: Actually no.

DR KLATZOW: Who would know?

MR NADEL: The person in ZUR, the radio operator.

DR KLATZOW: Gavin Dick would have known?


DR KLATZOW: Now the person who was on duty immediately before you, his name was Mr Du Toit?

MR NADEL: No, Mr Du Toit was on duty in ZUR, he handed over his shift to Gavin Dick.

DR KLATZOW: Correct. And his shift ended at what time?

MR NADEL: 7 oíclock.

DR KLATZOW: And normally he would go home? Correct? There would be no reason for him to stay on?

MR NADEL: Unless he wanted to spend a few minutes talking. He would normally do the hand-over and then leave.

DR KLATZOW: Correct. And there would normally be some, unless he stayed for a cup of coffee or a chat or what have you, thereíd be no reason for him to be there?


DR KLATZOW: Can you give me any reason why he was still there next morning and served a double shift that night?

MR NADEL: He did not stay that night.

DR KLATZOW: Well could you give me a reason why he told the Commission, the Margo Commission of enquiry that he booked off at 8 oíclock the next morning?

MR NADEL: I have no idea.

DR KLATZOW: Do you think he was lying?

MR NADEL: I believe he was probably confused.

DR KLATZOW: Why would he be confused about that?

MR NADEL: I donít know.

DR KLATZOW: So you say heís incorrect if that is what he said under oath?

MR NADEL: Absolutely.

DR KLATZOW: Now, what time did the tape change over occur that night?

MR NADEL: Sorry, can you repeat the question?

DR KLATZOW: What time did the tape change over occur that night?

MR NADEL: I canít recall.

DR KLATZOW: Did it occur during your shift?

MR NADEL: I believe it probably did yes.

DR KLATZOW: So you were there when the tape was changed over?

MR NADEL: I would have been in the office yes. Not necessarily in ZUR when the tape was being changed.

DR KLATZOW: Would you have known that the tape was changed over?

MR NADEL: Not necessarily no. It was a routine kind of operation. It was never a case that you had to go and check on it and to see that it was done correctly, no.

DR KLATZOW: So at some stage the tape, during your shift was changed over?

MR NADEL: Possibly.

DR KLATZOW: Now, in addition to that, who else was at ZUR with you that night?

MR NADEL: The operations controller was with me, Pete Pelser.

DR KLATZOW: What was his name?

MR NADEL: Peter Pelser.

DR KLATZOW: And did he, what was his function?

MR NADEL: He was what we call the operations controller. He would fill out the logs of the movements for during the day. The night shift was basically there to prepare the documentation for the next day as well as to complete the logs for the flights that were still flying. Domestic flights that is.

DR KLATZOW: I want to return to Pete Pelser just now. But I want to put a proposition to you before I do so. The function of ZUR, it is an expensive operation, employing full time staff and occupying a room and a radio set up and a considerable amount of administration. It is not a Mickey mouse operation, if I could put it to you that way, has a function. What is itís function?

MR NADEL: Well, the main function was to monitor the movement of all aircraft world-wide and that was during the time of us flying around the bulge and

DR KLATZOW: Correct.

MR NADEL: They needed to know where the aircraft were.

DR KLATZOW: In other words it was not, it was not an operation which was simply designed to make sure that there was a wheelchair ready at the terminal?

MR NADEL: Not at all.

DR KLATZOW: It was a serious operation and the pilots would communicate to you if there was anything serious which happened on board the aircraft?

MR NADEL: If they felt they had to yes.

DR KLATZOW: Well, if there was a major problem aboard an aircraft it is very likely that they would have communicated that to their home base?

MR NADEL: Not necessarily no. Depending on the nature of the problem they would be talking to whichever air traffic control centre at the time and they would decide whether it was important enough to call us. If I may just mention that the radio station is not a requirement or prerequisite by any means, itís a, it was a luxury that the airline had but it was never an issue that it was legally required that the aircraft had to communicate.

DR KLATZOW: Nobody has ever suggested to you that it was legal requirement but nonetheless it was in existence and it was an expensive operation and it was not there simply to monitor the number of face towels aboard the aircraft and whether or not the hostees were running out of water and that you needed, it had more serious functions in that it was to keep track of South African Airways fleet during a difficult period in their history?

MR NADEL: Correct.

DR KLATZOW: And it is likely and I want to put it to you that itís overwhelmingly likely that if something serious had happened aboard ZUR would at some stage have got to know about it?

MR NADEL: Not necessarily. The communication may not have been there at the time.

DR KLATZOW: But sooner or later there would have been communication. And I accept fully that they would have communicated with the nearest FIR but at some stage it is likely that they would tell you. What is the point of ZUR being informed for instance that they had taken off uneventfully?

MR NADEL: Well that was the normal operation. You would normally get a call top of climb and then during the course of the flight and then again at the descent. That is if the aircraft could communicate weather wise as far as static. We all know that radios are not.

DR KLATZOW: Well is it as simple as that Mr Nadel?

MR NADEL: I think at this particular time yes. If I may mention and it was mentioned at the Margo Commission that the radio station had actually had a lightning strike, some time before, so communications were not up to standard at the time.

DR KLATZOW: Mr Nadel, my information is that the lightning strike and your evidence at the Margo Commission was that the lightning strike had disabled the cell call facility?

MR NADEL: That is correct.

DR KLATZOW: And that it had not disabled the rest of the facility?

MR NADEL: No, the radios were still working but as I mentioned it could well have affected the reception of the transmissions.

DR KLATZOW: Correct. But did it?

MR NADEL: Well obviously in this case, yes because.

DR KLATZOW: Well no no, letís deal with that a little more simply. Did you have any difficulty hearing from them on their departure from Taipei?

MR NADEL: Well it wasnít on our shift, it was on the previous shift, no.

DR KLATZOW: Was there any difficulty that you were aware of?

MR NADEL: It appears not, no.

DR KLATZOW: What would suddenly make that difficulty?

MR NADEL: Iím not a technical expert as far as how radios work and the transmissions etc, but weather can cause transmissions problems.

DR KLATZOW: Weíll get to the weather in a minute. Because weather is a changing phenomenon and the aircraftís position in relation to that weather is a changing phenomenon. Are there standing orders which govern the way in which you operate ZUR?


DR KLATZOW: Is there not a requirement that you make, try and make contact with the aircraft every hour to hour and a half?

MR NADEL: No, there is a requirement if the aircraft doesnít call you, you try and cell call them which obviously we tried and to no avail.

DR KLATZOW: And what effort did you expend to try and raise the aircraft after it failed to contact you, on the hour, the first time, on the hour?

MR NADEL: Well the aircraft was cell called but they failed to reply.

DR KLATZOW: So you cell called it and it failed to reply? What action did you take?

MR NADEL: Well there is no action to take, it happens quite often, well it used to happen very often that the aircraft would not call you.

DR KLATZOW: And is there not a laid down procedure whereby you try and contact them via speed bird or one of the other means of raising them?


DR KLATZOW: Now at the hearing, the Margo hearing, that was not your evidence.

MR NADEL: It was my evidence. I believe somebody else said there was standing orders.

DR KLATZOW: The evidence that was led at the Margo Commission was that if the aircraft was not contacted, it was a serious matter and that you would go to considerable lengths to try and contact them?

MR NADEL: No, thatís not how it was.

DR KLATZOW: Now, letís get back to something else because I want to return to this. A number of people have phoned you to discuss this over the years. Is that correct?

MR NADEL: Iíve had many people calling me to discuss a lot of speculation over the years, yes.

DR KLATZOW: Thatís correct. What you consider speculation?

MR NADEL: Absolutely.

DR KLATZOW: And amongst those people was a man called Leon, sorry Nils Van Wyk who used to work for the SABC?

MR NADEL: I canít recall. It sounds familiar but I cannot recall exactly.

DR KLATZOW: He phoned you when you were in Miami, as did I.

MR NADEL: Oh yes I do recall now, yes.

DR KLATZOW: And at the time he asked you similar questions to the ones that I am asking you now, namely who was on duty with you that night?

MR NADEL: I canít recall.

DR KLATZOW: Well Iím going to tell you what he told me and if necessary he will tell this Commission. He said that you identified that you were there together with Mr Gavin Dick and that there was a third person whom you would not identify.

MR NADEL: I donít, I may have misunderstood his question but the question thatís been presented to me on many occasions was, was there a high ranking person from the airline in flight operations.

DR KLATZOW: Listen to the question very carefully. He asked you who was there and you said to him, there was myself and Gavin Dick and there was a third person whom we will call Mr X and in his report and in his contemporaneous notes he refers to this person as Mr X.

MR NADEL: Well, I mentioned his name was Pete Pelser, I didnít think it was any.

DR KLATZOW: No, he says you specifically refused to mention his name.

MR NADEL: Well at the time I felt thereís no reason for me to talk to somebody that has no authority as far as questioning me about the speculation that was going on at the time and the rumours that were so rife. He came to see me and he had no, as I say authority from anybody, it wasnít an official enquiry so I didnít feel it was necessary to talk to him.

DR KLATZOW: But you did tell him there was a third person and that person he called Mr X?

MR NADEL: Possibly.

DR KLATZOW: Now letís get back to that tape. How did the tape go missing?

MR NADEL: I donít know.

DR KLATZOW: How did it get out of ZUR?

MR NADEL: Iím not sure at what stage somebody decided they needed to take the tape but of course there were many senior people in ZUR at the time, it could have been taken at any time.

DR KLATZOW: Do you remember the tape being taken?


DR KLATZOW: Could the tape have got out of there on itís own?

MR NADEL: Absolutely not.

DR KLATZOW: Correct. So somebody must have come and taken it?


DR KLATZOW: Did anybody ever hand it back to ZUR?

MR NADEL: I donít know.

DR KLATZOW: When you tape record, and put a tape on, is taken strictly from the end of the row that you take, is that not correct?

MR NADEL: That is correct.

DR KLATZOW: You would not go to the middle of the row of tapes and take a tape out?

MR NADEL: Itís highly unlikely but if it does happen, it obviously is a mistake.

DR KLATZOW: Well under what circumstances could a gross mistake of that nature be made?

MR NADEL: I donít know.

DR KLATZOW: Could you suggest a circumstance where somebody would under standing orders to take the tape from the end, goes to the middle of the row of tapes and takes the tape out?

MR NADEL: I have no idea.

DR KLATZOW: Do you think that that is a likely possibility?

MR NADEL: Itís unlikely but it could happen.

DR KLATZOW: Right. Well letís examine that in a little more detail. The evidence given at the Margo Commission was to the effect that the tape had been either overtaped inadvertently or lost, is that correct?

MR NADEL: That is correct.

DR KLATZOW: And not only that there was really very little enquiry into the disappearance of that tape by Mr Margo?

MR NADEL: Sorry, can you repeat the question?

DR KLATZOW: There was in fact very little enquiry any further than that by Margo. And that was Margoís finding?

MR NADEL: I believe so yes.

DR KLATZOW: Now letís look at the first possibility. If the tape had been overtaped, you would have been able to go to somebody and say Iím sorry here is the tape. Itís been overtaped. I donít know how it got overtaped but there is the tape.

MR NADEL: That is possible yes.

DR KLATZOW: Well that is likely isnít it?

MR NADEL: Yes, more than likely.

DR KLATZOW: Was that ever done?

MR NADEL: I donít know. I cannot recall.

DR KLATZOW: Did you ever do it?


DR KLATZOW: Did anybody to your knowledge ever do it?

MR NADEL: I donít know.

CHAIRPERSON: Can I just ask, at the time of the enquiry, did you personally become aware that it was muted as one of the possibilities that the tape was overtaped?

MR NADEL: Yes, I believe it was.

CHAIRPERSON: And did you seek to establish where the tape was and whether in fact the tape should not be taken to the enquiry if that was a moot question?

MR NADEL: What was the question? I donít believe I was in the position to investigate that kind of thing due to the magnitude of the occurrence and the people that were very much more senior to me that were involved with the case of the day.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you ever talk to anyone who was senior and hazard an opinion? Because I see now it possibly was a question where you would be hazarding an opinion, did you, what Iím trying to say is, here was a situation where a tape, letís look at it being overtaped at the moment, where there was talk of it being overtaped and it happens to be the tape which was from ZUR with which you were associated and especially around the days, I mean the date in question.

Did you do anything in order for that sort of speculation to be dispelled by saying why donít you offer the tape and say here is the tape and let the Margo Commission have the tape so that we can get this particular point out of the way?

MR NADEL: Mr Commissioner as I said, at the time I was obviously too junior to be involved with that type of thing. If the tape was in anybodyís possession I believe somebody should have given it or handed it in to the enquiry, the Board of enquiry.


DR KLATZOW: And yet that never happened?

MR NADEL: I understand not.

DR KLATZOW: Nobody ever went to Margo and said, here is the tape that was overtaped?

MR NADEL: I believe that what youíre saying is correct.

DR KLATZOW: And if that is the case then we can safely assume that the tape was not overtaped?

MR NADEL: I donít know. As I say there was a lot of speculation.

DR KLATZOW: At the time of the Margo enquiry that speculation was rife?


DR KLATZOW: The most sinister interpretation possible had been placed on that tape? In fact it was rumoured at the time, it was said at the time that there was a conversation between ZUR and Captain Uys claiming to know something about the cargo and demanding permission to land?

MR NADEL: Not on my shift, no.

DR KLATZOW: Just listen to me. And listen to the question. The question was, at the time of the Margo enquiry which you were involved in, you knew about that rumour?

MR NADEL: There were a lot of rumours that were rife at the time.

DR KLATZOW: Did you know about that rumour?

MR NADEL: There was a rumour that there was somebody in ZUR that was speaking to the aircraft, telling the aircraft they could not divert.

DR KLATZOW: And that rumour has the most sinister implication possible for the airline?

MR NADEL: Absolutely.

DR KLATZOW: Did you ever seek to attempt to dispel this by taking the tape or did anybody to your knowledge take the tape that had been overtaped and show it to the Margo Commission and say Iím sorry, we made a mistake?

MR NADEL: Iím not aware of that if it was.

DR KLATZOW: So we can safely assume that there is no record of in your knowledge or in the Margo Commission of that event having occurred?

MR NADEL: I donít know.

DR KLATZOW: Well Iím telling you that if you think that itís in the Margo Commission I will advise you to look at the Margo Commission and tell me where it is but I would suggest to you that it is not in the Margo Commission.

MR NADEL: No, I believe what youíre saying.

DR KLATZOW: And therefore we can safely assume that the one thing that didnít happen to the tape was that it didnít get overtaped inadvertently?

MR NADEL: We can assume that then.

DR KLATZOW: Right. The second thing weíve have established is that the tape didnít just walk out of there on itís own. Somebody must have taken it out?


DR KLATZOW: Do you remember Captain Jimmy Deel coming in and taking the tape out?


DR KLATZOW: When did you go off duty?

MR NADEL: When did I go off duty?


MR NADEL: My official shift ended at 8 in the morning. Due to the situation I believe I left at 10.00, 10.30, 11 oíclock.

DR KLATZOW: Before you left that day, that tape had been taken out of ZUR.

MR NADEL: Iím not aware of that.

DR KLATZOW: Who else was in the operations centre that night?

MR NADEL: Is this after the, after the

DR KLATZOW: After the notification of the accident?

MR NADEL: I initiated an emergency call list. There could have been any thing or any amount from 20 to 40 people.

DR KLATZOW: Was Captain Mickey Mitchell there?

MR NADEL: I believe he came later.

DR KLATZOW: What time? And would you identify the document that youíre reading from please?

MR NADEL: I have in front of me a copy which I believe Civil Aviation has as well of the South African Airways Emergency Alarm Procedure. Itís a list of names, if an emergency is declared we will go through the list, call the people.

DR KLATZOW: Who did you call that night?

MR NADEL: Iíll start on the first page, not necessarily in the order that it was done, spoken to. Captain Deon Storm, Mr F Van Zyl Smit, Captain Mickey Mitchell and I can give you the time I actually called him, at 0040.

DR KLATZOW: No, donít give us that. What I would like you to do is make us a copy of that please.

MR NADEL: Certainly.

DR KLATZOW: But just read the names out.

MR NADEL: So Captain Mitchell was called at 0040, I called Captain Dries, I called Mr Davidson, Mr Britz, Mr Kate, Mr Willemse, Mr Botha, Mr Verster, Mr Roux ...[inaudible], Dr Van Der Spuy, Mr Klaase.

DR KLATZOW: What time did you call Mr Willemse?

MR NADEL: Mr Willemse was called at 0109.

DR KLATZOW: Thatís Tienie Willemse?

MR NADEL: Tienie Willemse, yes.

DR KLATZOW: What did you want him to do and what did he do?

MR NADEL: Well I notified everybody on this list and the normal procedure was they would either decide whether they wanted to come out to operations, go to airways head office.

DR KLATZOW: Did Tienie Willemse come to operations?

MR NADEL: I believe he would have yes.

DR KLATZOW: Was he there that night?

MR NADEL: I seem to think so yes.

DR KLATZOW: Do you remember seeing him there?

MR NADEL: I canít recall offhand, no.

DR KLATZOW: But it would be the likely thing for him to do? Did Mickey Mitchell get there that night?

MR NADEL: Yes, I believe Mickey Mitchell was there.

DR KLATZOW: What time?

MR NADEL: I donít know what time he was, I only have the time I called him.

DR KLATZOW: But do you think that having been declared an emergency and having been told that there was a potential for an aircraft missing, do you think he would have dawdled his way to the airport?

MR NADEL: No, not at all.

DR KLATZOW: So he would have been there shortly after you notified him, which was just after 12 oíclock, or just before 12 oíclock?

MR NADEL: Yes, and let me just point out this is GMT time.

DR KLATZOW: Yes. But tell us in South African time to avoid confusion.

MR NADEL: Captain Mitchell would have been at 2.40 in the morning.

DR KLATZOW: In the morning, local time. Did you phone Gert Van Der Veer?

MR NADEL: I believe Mr Van Der Veer was called at 3 oíclock.

DR KLATZOW: What time was Mr Viv Lewis called?

MR NADEL: May I also just point out the name, Mr Van Der Veer wasnít called by me. He was called by somebody else. I believe Mr Lewis was paged on his pager at 2.40.

DR KLATZOW: Correct.

MR NADEL: He wasnít spoken to directly.

DR KLATZOW: No, but he would have come in immediately?

MR NADEL: If not to flight ops, he would have gone to the engineering department.

DR KLATZOW: Now, in your statement that you made to Nils Van Wyk, you said that Mickey Mitchell was present?

MR NADEL: Could well have been, yes.

DR KLATZOW: And you also recalled that Jimmy Deal was there?


DR KLATZOW: Not only did you recall that Jimmy Deal was there, you recalled that Tienie Willemse was there?

MR NADEL: Correct.

DR KLATZOW: And in addition to Tienie Willemse you made the statement that the last person to have contact with that tape was a man by the name of Connie Booysen?

MR NADEL: Yes, Connie Booysen was the assistant manager of flight ops responsible for the radio station.

DR KLATZOW: And he would have had access to that tape?

MR NADEL: I believe so, yes.

DR KLATZOW: Can you think of any reason why Mr Willemse would deny that he was there that night?

MR NADEL: Like I say, I called him and whether he went through to head office or not, I cannot recall, I cannot recall seeing him.

DR KLATZOW: Mr Nadel, you are under oath and I want to remind you of your reply to my previous question. I put to you that on a previous occasion you had stated to a man that you remembered Van Der Veer, Mitchell, Deal and Willemse being present at ZUR. And when I put that to you stated, under oath that you remembered that they were there.

MR NADEL: I remembered making the statement to the person that spoke to me. I didnít say that they were definitely there. I remember speaking to

DR KLATZOW: You confirmed it in the previous question I put to you that they were there.

MR NADEL: I cannot recall.

DR KLATZOW: Now, and it is likely that they would have been there?

MR NADEL: As I say, not necessarily, some could have gone to engineering, some could have gone to the head office which is in Johannesburg, some could have come to flight operations.

DR KLATZOW: Right. Now, when was the, when, do you remember when DCA came looking for that tape?


DR KLATZOW: Do you know who gave them a tape?


DR KLATZOW: Do you not know how the tape was taken out of ZUR that night?


DR KLATZOW: Getting back to Mr Willemse. You remember quite well being questioned by Nils?

MR NADEL: Well he came to speak to me and it was an open discussion over a cup of coffee.

DR KLATZOW: And he made a contemporaneous note of that because you asked him not to use a tape recorder or bring a note pad?

MR NADEL: I said to him because this is not an official issue, Iíve had a lot of people speculating and I didnít want to be quoted out of context.

DR KLATZOW: But surely the best way to be not quoted out of context is to either allow him to tape record it or to allow him to make a note?

MR NADEL: He wasnít from an official board of enquiry.

DR KLATZOW: But then why speak to him at all?

MR NADEL: Well I spoke to him as a, heíd flown down from Orlando I believe, Iím not too sure.

DR KLATZOW: But letís look at your reason ostensibly. The reason that you didnít want him to make a note is that you didnít want to be quoted out of context?

MR NADEL: Correct.

DR KLATZOW: So you forced him to use his memory in order to quote you? A better way of being misquoted, I canít think of.

MR NADEL: Correct.

DR KLATZOW: Why didnít you allow him to make a note?

MR NADEL: As I say, I had been spoken to by many people. There was a lot of speculation, the newspapers were full of it and to tell you the truth, I was getting a little sick and tired of the reporters.

DR KLATZOW: Yes, but your actions in fact went further towards promoting the rumour than to have been open and said, tape record me, I have nothing to hide. Here it is. And yet you refused to allow him to do that.

MR NADEL: I made that statement to some other investigative reporters saying that I am quite happy to appear in front of any board or enquiry to get this whole thing over and past.

DR KLATZOW: But you see itís inexplicable Mr Nadel, I want to put it to you that if you didnít want to be misquoted, the right way would have been to allow him to make a note. As it is he did make a note. He went straight to his car and made a note. And the note that he made was as follows. And Iím going to read it to you.

"Mr Nadel said that in addition to Van Der Veer, Mickey Mitchell was also present as was Jimmy Deal and Tienie Willemse. Nadel could not elaborate as to why these persons were there, he later asked me not to mention the fact that Willemse was present at the facility."

Why did you do that?

MR NADEL: That is not true.

DR KLATZOW: So is Mr Van Wyk lying?

MR NADEL: Absolutely.

DR KLATZOW: You never said that?

MR NADEL: I donít say I never said, I never said to him that I donít know why Mr Willemse was there.

CHAIRPERSON: No but the question is, did you ever say to him that he should not mention that Willemse was there?


CHAIRPERSON: Is it a coincidence that Willemse also said to us here that he was not there?

MR NADEL: No. I donít think itís a coincidence. As I said earlier on, I called the people and this is eleven years ago, I cannot recall who was actually there and who wasnít there. I called the people out and they either gone to the head office building or to engineering or to flight operations.


DR KLATZOW: You were at the Margo enquiry?

MR NADEL: Correct.

DR KLATZOW: Who sat next to you?

MR NADEL: I cannot recall that.

DR KLATZOW: Do you remember Jimmy Mitton sitting close by you?

MR NADEL: He may well have been because there was a lot of airline personnel sitting around that area.

DR KLATZOW: Jimmy Mittonís evidence will be that he sat very close to you.

MR NADEL: Itís possible.

DR KLATZOW: And if he says that you would not deny it?

MR NADEL: No, I wouldnít deny it. I canít recall.

DR KLATZOW: He has a very clear memory of that.

MR NADEL: I donít deny that.

DR KLATZOW: When Mr Dick failed to raise the Helderberg on his shift, did he come and see you?


DR KLATZOW: What did he say to you?

MR NADEL: He said to me, thereís problems with communication on the evening and he hasnít spoken to, not only that aircraft I believe there could well have been other aircraft that he hadnít spoken to either and I said to him itís not a problem.

DR KLATZOW: Despite the fact there were standing orders?

MR NADEL: Thereís no standing orders.

DR KLATZOW: Did you try to place, to put into place any of the procedures to try and raise the aircraft?

MR NADEL: The procedures were to cell call aircraft or to call them blindly on HF on the frequencies that they should be on and we tried that.

DR KLATZOW: Did you do that?


DR KLATZOW: How often did you try and do that?

MR NADEL: Iím not aware, Gavin Dick was the radio operator of the evening. Possibly every two hours, Iím not too sure.

DR KLATZOW: Did he ever come back to you and say I still canít get them?

MR NADEL: He came back to me I would believe. I cannot recall. But he possibly did come back and said heís having problems with communications and I probably said to him, given the fact that the communications were bad, itís not a problem. It happened on many many occasions before.

DR KLATZOW: And yet other evidence which has been led before various people and commissions and enquiries into this have led us to believe that the communications on that particular route were good most of the time, 85% plus at the time?

MR NADEL: I wouldnít want to speculate on that.

DR KLATZOW: Now, Mr Dick came to you and he said, I canít raise them and you said thatís fine. What would have been the position if the aircraft had experienced some kind of dire trouble and had to ditch at sea?

MR NADEL: Well if the aircraft cannot call you it would be virtually impossible for us to have known that.

DR KLATZOW: Would it not be important for you to know that there was major trouble aboard the aircraft so that you could initiate some kind of assistance?

MR NADEL: I would believe at the time, if an aircraft has a problem he wouldnít be calling us, he would be calling the air traffic control centre that he is in contact with at the time.

DR KLATZOW: What happens if it is a peculiarly sensitive issue that needed to be discussed?

MR NADEL: I donít know.

DR KLATZOW: Would he not have called you?

MR NADEL: I donít know.

DR KLATZOW: You see the rumour is and has been for a long time that Captain Uys called ZUR and asked for permission to land after the first fire?

MR NADEL: I believe that is the rumour yes.

DR KLATZOW: Is there no truth in that?


DR KLATZOW: Do you think that that ZUR tape no longer exists Mr Nadel?

MR NADEL: I wouldnít want to speculate on that.

DR KLATZOW: And you say that there is nothing on that tape?

MR NADEL: Thereís nothing on the tape at all and I would be the happiest person if that tape did come to light.

DR KLATZOW: If I were to tell you that a copy of that tape exists, what would be your answer?

MR NADEL: I would say Iíd welcome to listen to it then.

DR KLATZOW: And that that tape has been kept in a security establishment for the last ten years.

MR NADEL: I would be more than happy to listen to that tape.

DR KLATZOW: Do you think there is any reason why a major country would keep a tape of this nature in a security set up if there was nothing on it?

MR NADEL: I would not want to speculate but as I said, I would more than welcome that tape to be made public to dispel all the rumours that have been going on.

DR KLATZOW: Now at the hearing Iíve told you that Jimmy Mitton sat close to you?

MR NADEL: You mentioned that yes.

DR KLATZOW: Do you remember that Gavin Dick approached you at the hearing and said what am I going to tell them about the failure to contact ZUR?

MR NADEL: I cannot recall that.

DR KLATZOW: Jimmy Mitton will tell this Commission and will tell a Court of enquiry that he overheard Gavin Dick say that to you.

MR NADEL: Itís possible, I donít recall though.

DR KLATZOW: Why would he say that to you if you had already given him those instructions at ZUR that night?

MR NADEL: I donít know.

DR KLATZOW: Well, letís look at it. Letís look at the possibilities. If you had said to Gavin Dick at ZUR, look itís not a problem, I mean this is routine, this is standard. There would be no need for him to ask you what he needed to tell Margo?

MR NADEL: If he asked me what he needed to tell Margo it was possibly because he felt uncertain, intimidated, I donít know but I do not recall.

DR KLATZOW: Mr Nadel, on what basis could you make that suggestion. You were his senior man at the station that night. You were the man in charge. He came to his officer in charge, said, I couldnít contact the Helderberg. His officer in charge said, itís not serious, this is nothing, no big deal. Why would he be uncertain about that. That is the thing that all junior officers love, to be able to place the responsibility on the next man up.

MR NADEL: I donít know.

DR KLATZOW: Why would he come to you at the Margo enquiry and say, what am I going to tell them?

MR NADEL: I donít know.

DR KLATZOW: Well could you give me a reasonable explanation?

MR NADEL: I have no explanation to give you.

DR KLATZOW: Well Iím going to give you an explanation. The explanation is that that conversation never took place between you and Dick at ZUR.

MR NADEL: I donít believe that.

CHAIRPERSON: Can I just ask, Iím sorry Dr Klatzow. You mentioned something here about him possibly having been intimidated. Why would he be intimidated by anything?

MR NADEL: I think maybe just the mere presence of the board in front of him. He was a junior employee and may have been intimidated.

CHAIRPERSON: What would intimidate him in going to speak the truth?

MR NADEL: I donít believe so but I think just the sheer presence of the people around him would make him feel nervous and I think that counts for me as well. Iím nervous as I sit here.

CHAIRPERSON: But wouldnít the obvious thing for him to say to you is look I feel very intimidated but Iím going to speak what Iím saying. But why would he have to ask you what must he say? Why must he seek to know from you what he has to say except that you know as the suggestion is being made, there was possibly something that you felt has or has not got to be said to the Commission?

MR NADEL: Commissioner I donít recall this discussion with him but it is possible that it did take place and as I say I cannot recall what I said to him or what I didnít say to him.


DR KLATZOW: Mr Nadel, Jimmy Mitton will come under oath and say that that is what he heard, overheard between you and Gavin Dick. And I want to put it to you, for your comment, that there is only one explanation and that is that the conversation that you claim to have had with Gavin Dick that night at ZUR did not occur?

MR NADEL: Well I wouldnít want to speculate on that at all no. I believe the conversation did occur. We did communicate during the evening.

DR KLATZOW: Well then Iím inviting you to give me a better explanation as to why Gavin Dick would ask you what to say to the Margo Commission when it was quite clear that all he had to tell was the truth, if that conversation did take place.

MR NADEL: I cannot give you an explanation for that.

DR KLATZOW: Correct. Because Iíve searched my mind for an explanation for that for many years and none is forthcoming other than the one that I have given you.

MR NADEL: I spoke to Gavin Dick on the night.

DR KLATZOW: Well did you have the conversation that you allege that you had with him?

MR NADEL: During the evening?


MR NADEL: I would believe so yes. I cannot recall exact words and times and dates.

DR KLATZOW: If that is true then there would have been no need for him to ask you what he needed to tell Mr Margo?

MR NADEL: Thatís possible.

DR KLATZOW: That is likely, overwhelmingly likely I want to put it to you.

MR NADEL: I cannot comment on that.

DR KLATZOW: At the time of the enquiry you were aware of the rumours. You were also aware that the tape was given to Mr Mickey Mitchell?

MR NADEL: I would believe so yes. I cannot recall but I would believe so yes.

DR KLATZOW: He was the next in the chain up? Youíre also aware that that tape, whether it contained information or not would have been an important tape in relation to the investigation. Even if it was to negative certain allegations?

MR NADEL: I would believe so yes.

DR KLATZOW: That tape went missing. Who do you blame for the fact that that tape went missing?

MR NADEL: I would blame whoever took the tape and gave it to the person for safekeeping, that person, who it is I donít know.

DR KLATZOW: Well, whoever took the tape and I want to take you up on what you just said, would have taken the tape, not just to leave it lying around. He would have placed it in a position of safety, wouldnít he?

MR NADEL: I would understand that yes.

DR KLATZOW: And he wouldnít have just given it to the tea girl or the messenger man or the assistant who did things there, he would have given it to somebody in authority?

MR NADEL: Itís likely.

DR KLATZOW: Is that correct?

MR NADEL: Correct.

DR KLATZOW: Who was the next person up in authority, easily available that evening at your station?

MR NADEL: I donít want to speculate on that. There was a lot of people. As I said, probably between 20 and 40 people coming and going at all times of the morning.

DR KLATZOW: Mr Van Der Veer was there?

MR NADEL: He was there yes.

DR KLATZOW: And it would be like to him, it would be the obvious person to have there. He was the chief executive officer?

MR NADEL: Correct.

DR KLATZOW: So itís likely he would have been at the hub of things?

MR NADEL: Oh yes.

DR KLATZOW: And had the tape been taken out of ZUR by Jimmy Deel, passed on to Mickey Mitchell, it is likely that it would have come into the hands of Gert Van Der Veer?

MR NADEL: Itís likely but itís not that itís 100% possible.

DR KLATZOW: Well Jimmy Deal who is unfortunately dead told me on a tape recording that he handed the tape to Mickey Mitchell and Gert Van Der Veer.

MR NADEL: If thatís what he said then it must have happened like that, I donít know.

DR KLATZOW: And that would not be unlikely?

MR NADEL: Not unlikely no.

MS TERREBLANCHE: Mr Nadel you said you were very concerned about the speculation?

MR NADEL: Absolutely.

MS TERREBLANCHE: Until today. You are aware that SAA had an in-house enquiry about the Helderberg about three years ago?

MR NADEL: I believe so yes.

MS TERREBLANCHE: So yes. My question is, were you not invited?

MR NADEL: I wasnít invited. I was called by the chief executive to answer one question which I answered honestly. He asked me, was there anybody of higher authority in ZUR talking to the aircraft and I said no.

MS TERREBLANCHE: In addition to that, did anybody ever ask you whether there was a conversation with the Helderberg?


MS TERREBLANCHE: Did they ask you again during the in-house enquiry?

MR NADEL: That was one of the questions that the chief executive asked me. He said was there anybody and was there a conversation and I said no. I was very adamant about that.

MS TERREBLANCHE: So you were not required to come to South Africa for that enquiry?

MR NADEL: It didnít appear to be no.


DR KLATZOW: Did ZUR have the ability to patch through radio conversations with other senior members of SAA at the time. If thereíd been a problem could you have contacted Mr Van Der Veer and put him on the line?

MR NADEL: It could have happened yes.

DR KLATZOW: There was that facility?

MR NADEL: There was that facility yes.

DR KLATZOW: And did anybody outside of ZUR that night speak to the Helderberg?

MR NADEL: Iím not aware of that no.

DR KLATZOW: Now, let me give you a scenario. Youíre aware that the cockpit voice recorder was recovered?


DR KLATZOW: Youíre aware that it was transcribed at great expense?


DR KLATZOW: And that it occupied approximately 30 minutes?


DR KLATZOW: You will also be aware that SAA serves meals at the beginnings of flights, not at the end of flights?

MR NADEL: I think each route is totally different, depending on the time of the day.

DR KLATZOW: Mr Nadel, can you give me one flight where SAA supplies a meal to itís patrons as theyíre about to come in to land?

MR NADEL: Not as theyíre coming in to land but if itís at breakfast time, two hours out, possibly a little longer, a little less they get breakfast, sure.

DR KLATZOW: Yes but weíre not talking about breakfast, weíre talking about dinner?

MR NADEL: No no, thatís unlikely.

DR KLATZOW: Now if thereíd been a discussion on that cockpit voice recorder about dinner. What would that imply?

MR NADEL: It would imply that dinner was being served or somebody was asking what is on the menu for the dinner.

DR KLATZOW: Well if it appears from that tape recording that dinner was served to the entire cockpit crew what would it imply?

MR NADEL: Iím not quite sure.

DR KLATZOW: Well it would imply that that cockpit voice recorder recorded that event at the time of dinner which would have been closer to the beginning of the flight rather than to Mauritius.

MR NADEL: It would probably imply that yes.

DR KLATZOW: Yes, it would imply that. Could you give me a better explanation?


DR KLATZOW: Right. We know that the cockpit voice recorder ceased to function because of the effects of fire?


DR KLATZOW: And therefore because it is a half hour recorded message which goes over itself and records only the last half hour, it means that that cockpit voice recorder ceased to function closer to Taipei than Mr Margo would have had us believe.

MR NADEL: Iím not an expert on technicalities so Iím really hesitant to answer questions about the cockpit voice recorder.

DR KLATZOW: But it stopped functioning as a result of fire. You can accept that?

MR NADEL: Thatís what theyíve found, yes.

DR KLATZOW: And it recorded a conversation about dinner?

MR NADEL: Iím not sure about the conversation.

DR KLATZOW: The official record Mr Nadel is that it recorded a conversation about dinner.

MR NADEL: Iím not aware of that, no.

DR KLATZOW: Well Iím now making you aware of that. And youíve agreed with me that dinner would likely to be served closer to Taipei than to Mauritius?


DR KLATZOW: And therefore if the tape recorder recorded that dinner because itís a half hour recording, it must have ceased to function within a short period after, while dinner was being served, which is shortly after take off, rather than at top of descent?

MR NADEL: More than likely yes.

DR KLATZOW: Now, do you know what the standing instructions to pilots are if they have a fire on board?


DR KLATZOW: Well let me tell you that the instructions are that they are to put out the fire. Donít mess around. Put out the fire. It makes sense?

MR NADEL: Absolutely.

DR KLATZOW: It then says, seek the nearest available airfield and land as soon as possible. Does that make sense?

MR NADEL: Absolutely.

DR KLATZOW: If Uys had had a fire on board, is it not likely that he would have, at that stage, outside Taipei, two hours, three hours from Taipei, is it not likely that he would have sought to land that aircraft?

MR NADEL: Absolutely.

DR KLATZOW: Do you think he would have done that off his own bat?

MR NADEL: I would believe so yes.

DR KLATZOW: Despite the fact that if he had known that there was contraband cargo aboard, do you still think he would have done it off his own bat?

MR NADEL: I would believe so yes.

DR KLATZOW: So he would have landed the aircraft and risked foreign countries who were hostile to South Africa searching the aircraft to find military contraband aboard. Do you think he would have done that without contacting you?

MR NADEL: I would believe at any given time if youíre in a situation that I believe he was in, I donít think youíd think about the consequences as far as landing. Youíd worry about that afterwards.

DR KLATZOW: So he would have landed willy nilly and placed the entire future of the airline in jeopardy because if that had become public knowledge to the authorities at Bombay or wherever these places were along the route it would have effectively have taken South Africa out of the skies.

MR NADEL: Possibly but you would have had a hundred odd people alive still.

DR KLATZOW: And you think Uys would have risked sinking South African Airways having thought that he had put the fire out, do you think he would have risked South African Airways merely to comply with a regulation?

MR NADEL: I think if he felt in his mind that the fire was out he would have continued. But I think if he knew in his mind that the fire was uncontrollable he would have landed.

DR KLATZOW: No. Letís get back to that and deal with that because I want to deal with your logic. If thereíd been a fire on board and weíve looked at the logic as to why we believe there was a fire on board outside Taipei and youíve agreed with that logic?


DR KLATZOW: If that fire had been extinguished. The standing regulations require you to go down and examine the aircraft because it is possible that major structural could have been done to the aircraft by the fire?


DR KLATZOW: If Uys didnít do that, youíre saying that it is quite easy on your mind that he would have done so without referral to higher authority?

MR NADEL: You mean that he continued?

DR KLATZOW: Yes. No. That he would go down, the regulations require him to go downstairs. He didnít do that. Why do you think he didnít do it?

MR NADEL: Iím not able to speculate why he did or why he didnít.

DR KLATZOW: But letís examine it Mr Nadel. Youíre ducking the question. Captain Uys had a standing instruction. That instruction is clear. If you have a fire, put it out and then go down. We know he didnít do that and we know that there is a great likelihood that the first occurred six hours or so earlier than the Margo Commission would have us believe?

MR NADEL: If thatís what you say yes.

DR KLATZOW: And youíve agreed with that logic?


DR KLATZOW: Now, can you think of a reason why he didnít go down and follow the eminently sensible regulations which all pilots know about and all pilots would adhere to because there is nothing that is feared more than a fire in the air?

MR NADEL: Well I couldnít give an explanation. I donít believe he wouldnít have done that.

DR KLATZOW: That he wouldnít have done what?

MR NADEL: Gone down.

DR KLATZOW: But he didnít go down.

MR NADEL: That was obvious.

DR KLATZOW: Correct. He went down in flames outside of Mauritius.


DR KLATZOW: Which means that if the argument that there was an earlier fire was correct, he did not go down. He did not follow those eminently sensible instructions and go down.

MR NADEL: That is if there was a fire beforehand, then obviously he didnít.

DR KLATZOW: And weíve been through that logic and you find it logical?

MR NADEL: Well thereís a lot of speculation once again.

DR KLATZOW: No no Iíve given you no speculation. Iíve told you certain facts. And those facts are not speculation. Those facts are that thereís a discussion about dinner. That the tape recording has a certain period which it tape records and that it stopped functioning as a result of the fire. Thereís none of that thatís speculation.

MR NADEL: I havenít heard a clear copy of the cockpit voice recorder so I cannot say.

DR KLATZOW: Mr Nadel, youíre ducking the question. Margo accepted the official recording means whatever Margo accepted and Margo accepted that there was a discussion about dinner prior to the failure of that tape recorder. Are you going to deny that there was a discussion about dinner?

MR NADEL: If thatís what the tape said then no I wonít deny it. What Iím trying to say is. The discussion about the dinner could have been dinner at home the next day.

DR KLATZOW: No, it clearly wasnít dinner at home the next day. It was to do with the dinner served in the cockpit. Would you like to read it? Youíve read that now.


DR KLATZOW: Are you in any doubt that a discussion about dinner being served in the cockpit was recorded?

MR NADEL: No, I have no doubt.

DR KLATZOW: Right. Now that must mean and there is no other explanation. I want to put it to you that that tape recorder must have recorded that outside Taipei when dinner was served and ceased functioning shortly thereafter?

MR NADEL: Itís possible yes.

DR KLATZOW: Well if it is only possible give me another possibility.

MR NADEL: No, depending on what time dinner was served out of Taipei whether it was the normal time or slightly later I donít know but it is possible.

DR KLATZOW: Even if it was slightly later?

CHAIRPERSON: I think what the proposition has been or the perusing that has been made was that we must logically accept that whatever the time period was after the aircraft had departed from Taipei, whether it was an hour or two hours or even three hours, that recording, if it is a recording of dinner being served must be an indication that it was done closer to the time that the aircraft left Taipei than closer to the time that the aircraft was about to descend on Mauritius.

MR NADEL: I accept that.

DR KLATZOW: Now, can you think of a single reason why Mr Uys, having put out the fire would not go downstairs and check that his aircraft was indeed safe and indeed check that he was not going to have a tragedy such as the one which unfolded outside Mauritius?


DR KLATZOW: Thereís no reason is there?


DR KLATZOW: Yet he didnít do that?

MR NADEL: It appears not.

DR KLATZOW: Now, under those circumstances, do you not think that it is reasonable that he would have called up ZUR, or tried to call up ZUR?

MR NADEL: He probably would have tried yes.

DR KLATZOW: And he would have kept trying with the contingencies of the operation that he was dealing with but clearly it was, the aircraft was serviceable enough for him to make it from wherever he was at that time to just outside, one hundred and something nautical miles outside Mauritius, there would have been some opportunity for him to raise ZUR?

MR NADEL: If the communications were possible, yes.

DR KLATZOW: And it is the sort of thing that he would have told ZUR?

MR NADEL: Definitely. If he had got through to ZUR, he would have told ZUR that he had a problem and he needed to speak to somebody.

DR KLATZOW: And it is not far fetched that he would have made every effort to get through to ZUR?

MR NADEL: Absolutely. Not far fetched.

DR KLATZOW: Now what you are postulating is that for over three quarters of the flight of that aircraft the communications were so bad that no possibility existed that he could raise ZUR. Is that not far fetched?

MR NADEL: No. Itís not far fetched, it has happened before.

DR KLATZOW: How often has that happened before?

MR NADEL: I would say many times.

DR KLATZOW: Was it a common occurrence?

MR NADEL: Not common, but not uncommon either.

DR KLATZOW: Now could you give me an explanation as to why Mr Du Toit says that it was a very uncommon experience, particularly on that sector?

MR NADEL: I cannot speak on behalf of Mr Du Toit, no.

DR KLATZOW: Do you think heís lying?

MR NADEL: I donít say heís lying but I cannot speak on his behalf.

DR KLATZOW: Iím not asking you, I asking you to think of a reason why he should say that to me?

MR NADEL: As I said, itís not common, but itís not uncommon either. So depending on the percentages, this could unfortunately have been one of the uncommon times when it didnít work.

DR KLATZOW: Mr Nadel if itís not common, itís common. So if it is not common then it must be uncommon?

MR NADEL: Correct.

DR KLATZOW: Now please. Make up your mind, one way or the other. Is it common or uncommon?

MR NADEL: Itís not uncommon that communications sometimes donít get through.

DR KLATZOW: So in other words itís common?


DR KLATZOW: Give me a reasonable explanation why Mr Du Toit would want to come and lie to the Commission and say that it is in fact a very uncommon occurrence?

MR NADEL: I donít know.

DR KLATZOW: He gets nothing out of saying that.

MR NADEL: I donít know.

DR KLATZOW: Youíre aware that Margo found a number of things. Number 1, that Margo found that there was a proper procedure to be followed if there was no call.

MR NADEL: I believe there was speculation that there was a so-called standing orders, but there was no such a thing.

DR KLATZOW: Well Margo in fact, if you look at Margo, Margo found that there was indeed a procedure to be followed?

MR NADEL: It was mentioned at the hearing, yes.

DR KLATZOW: It was more than mentioned. Thatís what Margo established, that you had to do certain things?

MR NADEL: I donít believe that there is a standing order, no.

DR KLATZOW: Well is there or isnít there?


DR KLATZOW: Would you bear with me one moment Mr Commissioner, could we just take a three minute break while I find the relevant quotes?

CHAIRPERSON: Very well. Weíll adjourn for five minutes. Could we also take the time to make copies of the document that Mr Nadel was using.




DR KLATZOW: Thank you Mr Chairman. You see at the Margo enquiry Mr Du Toit would have no reason to lie or to fabricate. He said certain things which you are contradicting flatly?


DR KLATZOW: Those things are incidentally the following. There is a procedure that is correct and this normally gets done and if that fails then we contact by any other international station like Speedbird, London and ask them to contact the aircraft. Is that not true?

MR NADEL: I am aware of that. That statement was made at the Margo Commission as well and I flatly refute that. There is no such a standing order.

DR KLATZOW: And if the aircraft in this particular instance does not call back then thereís a duty on the officer to make contact on any other frequency and Du Toit says affirmative.

MR NADEL: That is correct. You try all the frequencies but thereís no standing order.

DR KLATZOW: And if you couldnít get through youíd approach another airline to try and get hold of them?

MR NADEL: I know thatís what he said but itís not true.

DR KLATZOW: Itís not true?


DR KLATZOW: So in the eventuality of an aircraft ending up in the South Atlantic, I as a passenger have the happy prospect of waiting Ďtil Iím overdue before you people did anything about it?

MR NADEL: As I mentioned earlier on, I think there was two airlines in the world that had this facility, British Airways and South African Airways. No other airlines have this facility. Itís not a legal requirement. The aircraft talks to air traffic control centres throughout and they are the people that normally initiate any search and rescue if there is a problem.

DR KLATZOW: And the period of non contact with a plane when it is due to contact you once every hour or hour and a half, four or five hours goes by and you canít pick them up however hard you try and this doesnít perturb you?


DR KLATZOW: It didnít perturb you at all?

MR NADEL: Because this is not a, as I said earlier on itís not a requirement by airlines. Thereís two airlines in the world that have this facility. If you look at all the other mega carriers, they donít have this facility.

DR KLATZOW: With great respect Mr Nadel if the duty of the airline is to call you and if there are instructions to call that aircraft back if you canít raise or if they donít raise you and that fails to happen for five hours you are not perturbed by it?

MR NADEL: But those instructions do not exist. Where Mr Du Toit or Mr Dick got those from I donít know.

DR KLATZOW: Did you give evidence at the Margo Commission?


DR KLATZOW: Did you tell Judge Margo that those instructions donít exist?

MR NADEL: I believe I did yes.

DR KLATZOW: Were you cross examined on that?

MR NADEL: I believe so yes.

DR KLATZOW: Did Mr Southwood who was leading the evidence for the State ever say to you, Mr Nadel I believe youíre making all this up?

MR NADEL: I believe he did say that yes.

DR KLATZOW: Why would he say that to you Mr Nadel?

MR NADEL: I donít know.

DR KLATZOW: I want to put it to you that he has the same feeling that I have as I am cross examining you now. That you are saying these things and that they did not occur.

MR NADEL: I actually have a briefing notice with me of the procedures to follow as far as making contact with aircraft and I would be happy to give you a copy.

DR KLATZOW: I would like a copy please. Mr Nadel, one of the things that has to be done is that the logbook has to be signed in. Is that not correct?

MR NADEL: Whoever hands over to the other person, the logbook is signed yes.

DR KLATZOW: Did you ever see the log book for the, have you ever had a look at that logbook?

MR NADEL: I have seen it at the enquiry I believe yes.

DR KLATZOW: Could you give me an explanation as to why, that logbook was never tampered with?

MR NADEL: I donít believe so, no.

DR KLATZOW: And it is an official document, an important document?

MR NADEL: I think itís an important document as far as keeping record of what actually transpired.

DR KLATZOW: And the signature of the man filling it in appears at the bottom of the page?

MR NADEL: I seem to recall yes.

DR KLATZOW: Can you give me an explanation why Mr Du Toitís signature appears on pages which he never filled in?

MR NADEL: Actually yes I can.

DR KLATZOW: Let me hear it.

MR NADEL: Mr Du Toit was actually a strange gentleman. And he would come on duty and sign three or four pages with the idea that we would be filling them in as he goes along. And that is the explanation that I can give you.

DR KLATZOW: Why would he do that?

MR NADEL: It was just his mannerism. He used to do it all the time.

DR KLATZOW: Was that ever crossed out?

MR NADEL: I donít know.

DR KLATZOW: You saw the document?

MR NADEL: I cannot recall.

DR KLATZOW: If youíd filled in those pages would you have crossed it out?

MR NADEL: I would probably have signed my name either over it or next to it or crossed it out, sure.

DR KLATZOW: Did you do that?

MR NADEL: I wasnít responsible for filling out the logbook.

DR KLATZOW: Who was?

MR NADEL: Mr Dick.

DR KLATZOW: We deal with another issue for the moment. How would you describe your job there. Would you describe it as a senior position in the airline, would you describe it as a fairly junior position at that time?

MR NADEL: I would say bordering on becoming more senior.

DR KLATZOW: More senior?

MR NADEL: Well bordering on becoming more senior.

DR KLATZOW: What does that mean in answer to my question. Were you or were you not a junior?

MR NADEL: I was a junior yes.

DR KLATZOW: And what is your position now?

MR NADEL: I am manager for South America.

DR KLATZOW: What was your position in Miami?

MR NADEL: I was manager for Miami.

DR KLATZOW: Area manager?


DR KLATZOW: Is that a senior position?

MR NADEL: Middle management.

DR KLATZOW: What was your salary at ZUR?

MR NADEL: I cannot recall.

DR KLATZOW: Roughly? Did you earn hundreds, thousands or millions?

MR NADEL: Thousands.

DR KLATZOW: How many thousands?

MR NADEL: I canít recall.

DR KLATZOW: What was your salary in Miami? Was it a substantial increase?


DR KLATZOW: How much increase?

MR NADEL: I canít.

DR KLATZOW: Double, treble?

MR NADEL: I wouldnít want to speculate no.

DR KLATZOW: Mr Nadel I want to put it to you, itís very strange.

CHAIRPERSON: You are not, with respect Mr, you are not being asked to speculate. I mean you are being asked to give an indication. I think there is a point here and I am sure you will appreciate in due course. Unless you have a very good reason why you should not give us an indication or an explanation but we are certainly not asking you to speculate what your salary is.

You know what your earnings are. You know what your earnings then were and as I say there is a point that he wants to converse with you. So if you could be frank about your earnings and the difference between your earnings between then and now, it might assist us to get over this point. I wouldnít like us to waste more time on the issue. So if you can give us any indication of what your earnings were then and what your earnings are now, then we will quickly get over this point.

MR NADEL: Okay. If I can just go back a moment then. From my position at the time I moved through the ranks not very quickly. Reasonably slowly. It wasnít from one day to the next that I became manager for Miami. I became manager for Miami in 1992.

CHAIRPERSON: In fact thatís the point I am sure that is going to be made, that you seem to have had a meteoric rise after the Helderberg incident and you see what then would be the basis for that.

MR NADEL: If I can give you a brief history of my career path I would be more than happy if you would like to hear it. After the Helderberg I was still in flight operations. I moved to what we call route clearance unit which was a sideways move, meaning that I didnít have to work weekends. I actually took a drop in salary because there was no Sunday time and overtime worked.

In 1990 they advertised in the national press as well as internally within the airline for trainee overseas managers. I applied for the job in 1990 along with 160 others from all walks of life, within the airline, from outside of the airline. I went through a process of psychometric testing. I did management courses and was eventually invited in January 1991 to be interviewed.

I got through the interview, there were ten of us left. Eventually two people decided on their own to step down from the training course and I then proceeded to go on a years training course as an overseas manager. I did various functional, non functional management courses. Functional courses within the airline, reservations, ticketing, sales, marketing.

The functional courses, and thatís on record, it can be obtained, I didnít receive anything lower than 90+ percentage for the examinations. I was successful after the years training course and I was selected out of the eight. Five of us were eventually sent as trainee managers abroad. I spent nine months as a trainee manager before I was eventually promoted to manager in Miami.

I started Miami from zero ground base. We had one flight a week. We had no infrastructure at all. I set it up. After five years we were flying five times a week. Miami grew to be the most successful. The No. 1 route in our world-wide network in terms of revenue, load factors etc. So Iím a little concerned that the speculation is that I got this promotion because of what I know and what Iím not prepared to discuss with anybody else and I think I earned it through merit.

In actual fact my latest appointment to South America, Mr Nombeti approved himself.

DR KLATZOW: Mr Nadel weíre not for one moment doubting your ability. Weíre merely saying that your rise in the light of what occurred and in the light of your original position is meteoric to say the least. Now whether itís meteoric because of what you know or meteoric because of your extraordinary abilities, I have not speculated on.

CHAIRPERSON: But then I think I must say, sitting from where Iím sitting, it will assist us in order to be either accept or dispel the speculation if we donít get the impression that you are evasive about your wage levels.

MR NADEL: No no.

CHAIRPERSON: I think in the confidentiality of this room and in this enquiry if a question is put to you, how much were you earning at the time, how much are you earning now, then we can be placed in a position where we are able to compare and see if we can make something out of it. Thatís my only concern you know that as you were saying you donít want to speculate about your wage, earning levels, I was slightly becoming uncomfortable because I knew that the same sort of questions were put for instance to one of your seniors and he was asked for a comment and I think in your own interest if you were candid about this and if you accepted that though it is a private matter but it will be confidentially treated, in your own interests.

MR NADEL: Mr Chairman thank you. Obviously an overseas managerís position is a highly sought after position in terms of your overseas posting, the environment you stay in, the added benefits that you get in terms of foreign currency, my salary in Miami was 50 000 US dollars. Now everybody is going to convert that to South African Rands and say, the guys a millionaire.

In actual fact thatís not true. If you take the cost of living abroad, I think we can all do our maths. Itís not a mega salary to be earning. My salary in South Africa was obviously South African Rand and I must be very honest with you, I cannot recall what my salary was but it took four years, four and a half years to get from the fateful day to Miami.


DR KLATZOW: Thank you Mr Nadel. Now earlier on I dealt with the issue of standing orders with you and you said that if Mr Du Toit said that there were standing orders and that there was a standing instruction, that he was mistaken and that there was no such thing?


DR KLATZOW: Is it possible that both Mr Du Toit and Mr Dick could be wrong?


DR KLATZOW: On this issue?


DR KLATZOW: So they are both wrong and you are right?


DR KLATZOW: Let me read you what Mr Dick says. In response to a question from Mr Du Toit he says, Mr Dick says,

"I presume we all have our own way of working but the standing order is between one and a half and two hours, up to two hours is acceptable.

Where is this standing order? It is kept on file at ZUR Radio Station"

Is he lying?

MR NADEL: I donít believe that standing order has ever come to light.

DR KLATZOW: Please answer my question. Is Mr Dick lying?

MR NADEL: I believe he made a false statement, yes.

DR KLATZOW: Why would he want to do that?

MR NADEL: I donít know.

DR KLATZOW: Mr Dick went into the details of what needed to be done.

MR NADEL: I believe itís very similar to what Mr Du Toit said as well.

DR KLATZOW: That is correct. But they differ from you, both of them differ from you in saying that despite the fact that there are standing orders you say there are no such standing orders?

MR NADEL: Absolutely. The only standing orders I have is I believe I gave you the copy.

DR KLATZOW: Now I did not have the advantage at the Margo enquiry of seeing your demeanour in the witness box. But Mr Southwood did. Mr Southwood put it to you very bluntly that you were lying. He said you are making up what you are telling this commission. Why would he do that?

MR NADEL: I donít know.

DR KLATZOW: Could you give me a reason?

MR NADEL: No I canít because I was under oath as I am now and I stick by that I said no then and Iíll say no now again.

DR KLATZOW: Let us go through the problem that we have with your evidence. And I want to deal with something else before I do that. Were there any other things, any other records made on that tape of problems experienced by aircraft that evening?

MR NADEL: I donít have a copy of the tape so I donít know.

DR KLATZOW: Do you remember anything?


DR KLATZOW: Itís likely that you would have remembered?

MR NADEL: If there was something that was untoward I would believe I wouldíve remembered.

DR KLATZOW: Letís assume for instance an aeroplane had an engine failure. It would be the sort of thing that they would phone back and say guys weíve had an engine failure, do you think you could get a spare engine up here?

MR NADEL: They would try and call and/or send a fax, not a fax a telex.

DR KLATZOW: Correct, to you?

MR NADEL: To operations yes.

DR KLATZOW: Yes. And you would be aware of that?

MR NADEL: I should be aware of it yes.

DR KLATZOW: Were you aware of anything else that evening?

MR NADEL: Yes there was an aircraft on the ground in Sol Island.

DR KLATZOW: What was wrong with it?

MR NADEL: I believe they had to, they had some technical problem which they had to bring an aircraft engine I think from Europe somewhere, Iím not sure.

DR KLATZOW: Yes. Was that on the ZUR tape?

MR NADEL: Iím not sure either.

DR KLATZOW: Did they contact you?

MR NADEL: If you have a copy of the logbook possibly but if not I donít know. They could have telephoned or sent a telex.

DR KLATZOW: And you would have been aware of both?

MR NADEL: I would believe so yes.

DR KLATZOW: Let me tell you the problem that I have with your evidence Mr Nadel, is this. A fire occurs on board that aircraft. The available evidence strongly suggests that it occurred early in the flight. During the period of your tenure at ZUR or just before youíve conceded and agreed with me that it is something which they would likely have spoken to ZUR if it had occurred then.

Youíve agreed with me that the correct thing for the pilot to do would have been to go down and have the aircraft checked. We accept and itís common cause that that never happened. You expect me to believe that the pilot would have made the decision to continue flying despite all airline regulations and all flying regulations and all common sense on his own bat?

MR NADEL: I donít say that at all, no.

DR KLATZOW: Youíre saying he never, youíre saying he never contacted you? We know he went on flying. There is only one inference and that is that he made the decision without referral to base to go on flying after that fire?

MR NADEL: I can state categorically, as I have done before, that the aircraft did not speak to ZUR and/or to anybody else to my knowledge. And if it did and if there was something untoward I would believe Dick should have told me and if he didnít tell me, he was keeping something from me, and as I say, from my side I can categorically state that the aircraft never called.

DR KLATZOW: Mr Nadel, youíre missing the question. I want to put to you a series of improbabilities in your evidence. And it is very easy to categorically deny something but I want to put it to you that your denial rings hollow. And I want to tell you why it rings hollow. It rings hollow for a number of reasons which I have given to you, all of which are based on fact, not on speculation.

And I started to give you those. And those include the fact that the likelihood with which youíve agreed is that the fire occurred early in the flight, if the dinner is there. Youíve agreed and youíve read that Margo, official transcript has a record of the dinner on the flight. Youíve agreed and the Margo enquiry has accepted that the flight recorder stopped because of fire.

Youíve agreed that that is most unlikely that that could have been outside Mauritius. Youíve agreed that the most sensible thing to do and would have complied with the regulations was for Uys to have gone down and have the aircraft checked. Youíve agreed that he didnít do that. And if we are to believe your evidence we must believe that he did all of that off his own bat without checking with ZUR?

MR NADEL: It appears that could have happened.

DR KLATZOW: You have furthermore told us that everybody is lying but you. Gavin Dick is lying and Mr Du Toit is lying and that you are the only person at ZUR that night who is telling the truth?

MR NADEL: The issues about the standing orders?

DR KLATZOW: No, the issue is about whether there was a tape recording that night. And to cap it all, Mr Nadel, the vital tape recording that covers that specific period of time inexplicably finds its way out of ZUR, never to see the light of day again. And you wonder why there is rumour and speculation. You wonder why it is?

MR NADEL: No, I donít wonder why it is. That is obviously the reason for it.

DR KLATZOW: That is absolutely. And there is good reason for that speculation. And there is good reason for the negative inference. And yet you give us a version which is so inherently improbable that it is difficult to believe. And in addition youíve given us a version which not only I find improbable but Mr Southwood at the original Margo enquiry found improbable to the extent that he accused you of lying.

Youíve given us a version relating to the conversation that you had with Mr Dick when you yourself have agreed that had he had that conversation with you, there would be no reason for him to ask you at the hearing what he needed to say. It was there for him to tell the enquiry. The truth, the truth is I was told by my superior officer not to bother about it.

I want to put it to you Mr Nadel that your versions are so inherently improbable that they should be rejected. And I want to put it to you that your fencing over the years with people who genuinely wanted to find out. The referral to Mr X, your demand that people not take down a statement when ostensibly your reason was to prevent yourself from being misquoted. And you then did the very thing that would ensure that you were misquoted.

I want to put it to you that that is inherently improbable and I want to put it to you that everything that youíve told me today is untrue.

MR NADEL: Well Iíd like to refute that. Absolutely.

DR KLATZOW: Well, I would like you to do better than to simply say that it is true. Iíd like you to give me a reason why the Commission should believe you. Because Iíve given you cogent arguments why it is that what youíve told us is a tissue of lies.

MR NADEL: Well, the only thing that I can say is I know in my mind, in my heart that what Iíve told you is true. I know that.

DR KLATZOW: Mr Nadel the last person who said that, in this country at a commission were the people who later were found to be the perpetrators of the hit squad activities. That statement is not dissimilar from the statements made by Eugene De Kock and his band of merry men. I am asking you for a reason to believe you. Iím not asking for a bald denial. Iím asking for a reason in the teeth of cogent argument why it is that this commission should believe what youíve told us.

MR NADEL: Firstly, I donít want to be associated with the previous people you spoke about, I donít think this is a political issue at all. This is a very sensitive issue. Itís an issue where a lot of people got hurt, a lot of people are still hurting. I for one have a lot of rumours thrown around that come back to me, a lot of speculation.

I havenít enjoyed this, reading about these things in the newspaper when I know full well that a lot of it is or most of it is pure speculation. The issues of the Gavin Dick and the Etienne Du Toit, I donít believe a copy of that so-called standing order that they are talking about has ever come to light. If it was available at the time, it could have been subpoenaed.

This came up in the Margo Commission enquiry and Iíll stick with that. The document that I gave you is the only thing that was on file regarding making contact with aircraft. At the end of the day I know that I was not aware of any conversation between the aircraft and/or any senior member. There was no senior person in flight operations on the night. I personally went through that list calling people as you can see.

So, maybe the misquotes of the Margo then and the Southwoods and those issues are issues that have come up again and thatís possibly why youíre basing your accusation that you believe Iím not telling the truth.

DR KLATZOW: Now youíve said to me that there was no standing order. And you said that under oath today. You know that youíre under oath?


DR KLATZOW: Mr Southwood put a question to you and you were presumably under oath then?


DR KLATZOW: He said, you would just ignore the arrangement, you would ignore the standing order, why. I wouldnít say ignore it. I went by past experience as far as this route is concerned. Why didnít you tell Southwood? Why didnít you tell Margo that there was no standing order? Why did you accept that there was a standing order at the Margo enquiry?

MR NADEL: I believe that I said no, that there was no.

DR KLATZOW: No. Let me read it to you again. Southwood puts the following proposition to you. He says,

"You ignored the standing order, why? Well I wouldnít say that I ignored it."

If there was no standing order Mr Nadel, you would have said to him, Judge, Lord, there is no standing order, there was nothing for me to ignore. Why didnít you say that? You said I didnít ignore it. I went by past experience.

MR NADEL: I believe somewhere in the documentation I said there is no standing order.

DR KLATZOW: Itís almost time for lunch. May I invite you to read through your evidence at the Margo Commission and I will complete my questions to you after lunch. And if you can point that out to me I would be very grateful.

MR NADEL: Iím trying to recall, eleven years later.

DR KLATZOW: Iím not asking you to recall. There is a full transcript of the Margo enquiry here which I will make available to you during lunch. Would you like to find the point at where you said there are no standing instructions?

MR NADEL: If you say itís not there.

DR KLATZOW: Iím not saying itís not there. Iím inviting you.

MR NADEL: Then I would like to read it yes.

DR KLATZOW: Iím inviting you to read the Margo enquiry.

MR NADEL: Thank you.

DR KLATZOW: During the lunch period. Would this be a convenient place to adjourn Mr Chairman?

CHAIRPERSON: It would. Weíll adjourn until 2 oíclock.



CHAIRPERSON: Iím sorry ladies and gentlemen, I had a telephone call to take which couldnít wait. Dr Klatzow?

DR KLATZOW: Mr Nadel youíve had an opportunity over lunch to have a look at your evidence to the Margo Commission?

MR NADEL: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Nadel you are reminded you are still under oath.

MR NADEL: Thank you.

DR KLATZOW: Would you like to comment about what you found?

MR NADEL: Regarding the issue of standing orders, thereís no indication that I refuted that with the original board. I do however want to reiterate that throughout the time I was referring to the note or notification, briefing notice which Iíve given yourselves a copy of this morning and that is what I was referring to throughout and that is why I still maintain that the other issues of what Mr Dick and what Mr Du Toit said are totally untrue and that I still havenít seen a copy of that document.

DR KLATZOW: But Mr Nadel. Mr Dick and Mr Du Toit who have no reason to lie because it makes it worse for them to bring up this red herring, if it is a red herring. Both of them, in your presence and you sat in on that hearing, I know you did, both of them said in your full hearing that there was standing instructions. You were at no time, during that hearing inhibited from approaching South African Airwaysí lawyer and at the time South African Airways were represented by an extremely able man, by the name of Mr Puckrin.

There was nothing stopping you going to Puckrin and saying to him, this is wrong because it was an important issue. Standing orders had been disobeyed. It had evoked the judgeís wrath, there was a debate that had raged for some time in that court room about the standing orders. At no time Mr Nadel did you go to any one of the legal representatives of SAA and say to him there were never any standing orders.

And in fact during the hearing, I want to put it to you that when a question was posed to you by Mr Southwood relating to those standing orders your answer was a tacit acceptance of their existence. Why did you not tell the enquiry at the time that there were no standing order and that Dick and Du Toit were lying?

MR NADEL: I will go back to what I can recall that day or that time. I was always referring to the briefing notice which Iíve had a copy of since day 1 and I very briefly was able to read through Mr Puckrinís cross examination of myself and he does refer to the briefing notice and/or the guidelines.

DR KLATZOW: The briefing notice is quite distinct and you know that from what was meant at the time by the standing instructions which were on file at ZUR. That statement was made in your hearing and yet you never crossed, the first time youíve ever contradicted that is today when youíve given evidence here under oath.

MR NADEL: I would still like to say that the standing orders that were on file in ZUR are the standing orders that you have a copy of. If I failed to do it then I do not understand why.

DR KLATZOW: You see I want to bring, I want to bring this line of questioning to itís full circle. We know that the aircraft fell in flames off the coast of Mauritius. We know that aircraft donít normally do this. We know that SAA was probably involved with assisting Armscor in the total onslaught. We know that they didnít hesitate to ship military equipment aboard civilian aircraft. Thereís ample evidence.

We know that that was a dark and dismal period in this countryís history. We know that there is a strong likelihood on an overwhelming balance of probabilities that a fire occurred earlier. We know that Uys didnít go down to see about that, in total disregard of all instructions. We have a concession made willingly from you that it is a most unlikely thing for him to do on his bat.

And the overwhelming balance of probability is that he communicated that to ZUR and it would have been done during the tenure of your shift. We then have on top of the evidence which I have given you, none of which, and please donít refer to it as speculation, these are facts, we know then that the tape goes missing under circumstances which neither you nor anybody else is willing to explain.

We know that there is a history of incriminating tapes going missing in this country. The only inference that can be drawn from this is that there was something untoward on that tape, that there was a discussion with ZUR which was in some way highly incriminating towards either Armscor or the aircraft handlers, that is South African Airways, that you were aware of that information and that you are part of a massive conspiracy and SAA to cover that up.

The tape was impounded shortly after the accident, as it should have been. Inexplicably it finds itís way back and inexplicably it gets lost. We also have a series of events which have occurred which make your story incredibly improbable. We have Judge Margoís enquiry deflecting the enquiry away from the talk of dinner, for reasons which are obvious now. We have Judge Margo stopping the cross examination of you just when it was about to produce fruit.

Shortly after Southwood accuses you of lying, that cross examination stopped and you remember that. We have Margo failing to ask an important witness, Jimmy Deel why he took the tape out and who he gave it to. And your evidence that you have led this morning is so inherently improbable that itís with regret Mr Nadel that I tell you that I have difficulty believing a word of it.

I believe that there are elements in your evidence which are truthful. But the fact that there was nothing on the tape, the fact that you donít know what happened to the tape and the fact that you were never suborn to give evidence to deny the existence of the tape, I simply cannot believe. And you have not given me a probable version for any of the material facts which I have given to you today, other than a bare denial.

And I want to put it to you, that this enquiry is but the beginning. You are going to be called upon again if this enquiry re-opens in a proper judicial hearing to repeat what Margo did, this time on a more formal basis. You are going to have to give this evidence again. And I want to tell you that the evidence that youíve given here under oath today is not going to be helpful to you at a subsequent enquiry because it is inherently improbable.

MR NADEL: Well Iíd like to say that itís unfortunate you think this. If there is another enquiry and Iíd be once again more than willing to appear. I will not change what Iíve said because I believe and I know, if things were hidden, if things were covered up I was not in a position or was aware of it. Obviously I can read between the lines as well and things do look rather strange.

I was never privy to sensitive information if something did happen, ever heard about, so as far as me changing my story I must be very honest and say that what I have said today is to the best of my knowledge what I know.

DR KLATZOW: Incidentally, there have been persistent statements made by crew members who are too frightened to make it under oath and to put their names to the statements but who have spoken to me, all of whom who have claimed that that tape was in existence, that the tape was listened to and that the tape was listened to by ZUR staff who knew the contents of that tape and that it was spoken about until they were upbraided by a senior official and they have never spoken of it again. Do you deny that that happened?

MR NADEL: I deny that absolutely. I have never heard the tape, the actual ZUR tape, Iíve heard transcripts of the tape from Mauritius tower, Iíve heard that tape, it was common knowledge, everybody heard it to the aircraft. Iíve heard transcripts of the cockpit voice recorder, in my opinion are almost impossible to understand.

DR KLATZOW: But you are not an expert, Colonel Jansen who did it is an expert.

MR NADEL: No absolutely, and I donít deny that. As far as actually listening to the ZUR tape I definitely deny that.

DR KLATZOW: Youíre a man of radio experience and you know that the CVR records the last half hour in the cockpit?

MR NADEL: Correct.

DR KLATZOW: The last half hour of that aircraft is recorded in a conversation with Plaisance Airport, isnít it?

MR NADEL: That is correct.

DR KLATZOW: Why is that not on the CVR?

MR NADEL: I donít know.

DR KLATZOW: Well could you advance an explanation?

MR NADEL: Iím not a radio expert as you pointed out. Iím familiar with black boxes and radio frequencies and that sort of thing but Iím not an expert as far as.

DR KLATZOW: But itís a simple piece of logic Mr Nadel. The last half hour is recorded for all to hear on the transcript from Plaisance Airport, isnít it? Youíve heard that? It starts with Springbok 269 we have a smoke problem.

MR NADEL: 295.

DR KLATZOW: 295, we have a smoke problem. Youíve heard that?

MR NADEL: Iíve heard that, yes.

DR KLATZOW: Now if that occupies the last half hour of the existence of that aircraft, why was that or part of that conversation not on the cockpit voice recorder? Can you suggest any explanation?

MR NADEL: No I cannot.

DR KLATZOW: Other than that the cockpit voice recorder occurred some time before that?

MR NADEL: Iím not an expert on cockpit voice recorders.

DR KLATZOW: Well Mr Nadel itís a simple piece of logic and youíre fencing with me. Itís a simple piece of logic which I donít think you need to be anything of an expert more than you are to answer. Can you think of a simple explanation?


DR KLATZOW: Can you fault the explanation that I have given you?

MR NADEL: I would once again like to say that I am not an expert so there could be technicalities that I am not aware of and I may be incriminating myself, I donít know.

DR KLATZOW: Well Mr Nadel thatís an interesting answer because that kind of attitude has pervaded your evidence. And the point is a very simple one, a more telling answer than your refusal answer that question would be hard to imagine.

MR NADEL: If you maybe put it in simpler terms I could answer it.

DR KLATZOW: Two radio transmissions, two tape recorders are taping the same period of time. Surely they should contain the same information?

MR NADEL: Thatís logical yes.

CHAIRPERSON: For my own understanding, Dr Klatzow, now what is a, can you give me which of these two, what are these two conversations? One is on what and one is on what?


CHAIRPERSON: Just for a lay person.

DR KLATZOW: The last half hour of the Helderberg, starting with a conversation where the pilot identifies himself, he speaks to Plaisance Airports, says we have a smoke problem. That occupies about the last half hour of that aircraftís life. The cockpit voice recorder.

CHAIRPERSON: Where is that now? On the plane.

DR KLATZOW: The cockpit voice recorder is on the plane itself, should be taping the same conversation and yet not a word of the Plaisance conversation is found on the cockpit voice recorder and not a word of the cockpit voice recorder is found on the Plaisance conversation. And there is only one explanation that I have put to the witness and that is that the cockpit voice recorder is at a period prior to the last half hour of the aircraft and thereís other evidence to support that.

MR NADEL: Dr Klatzow thank you very much for clarifying that. I was also, I must be very honest with you, a little confused about the cockpit voice recorder having two recordings. I actually didnít realise you were referring to the tower at Plaisance Airport.

DR KLATZOW: Iím sorry.

MR NADEL: I apologise.

DR KLATZOW: Now do you agree with that?

MR NADEL: I understand yes.

DR KLATZOW: Do you agree with the proposition that Iíve put to you?

MR NADEL: Absolutely.

DR KLATZOW: There is no other explanation is there Mr Nadel?

MR NADEL: No, I agree with that.

DR KLATZOW: Now, if that fire occurred earlier, you would have expected Uys to contact you?

MR NADEL: Possibly, but if there were no communications.

DR KLATZOW: But there were communications outside ZUR. You are trying to convince me and the Commission that that aircraft was incommunicado from the time that the first tape was changed Ďtil the time that it crashed and that is so unlikely as to be rejectable, out of hand.

MR NADEL: Iím not quite sure who changed the tape but I believe the tape was only changed after the Helderberg crashed.

DR KLATZOW: No, that is not correct Mr Nadel. There are three tapes that concern us. There is the tape which recorded the take-off from Taipei which came to an end, either shortly after you had come on duty or just before you had come on duty. There is a second tape which is the one that went missing and there is a third tape which records the events on the following day.

MR NADEL: Okay I understand.

DR KLATZOW: It is the one in the middle that has gone missing.

MR NADEL: I understand.

DR KLATZOW: And it is, the reason, the reason is that itís gone missing without explanation, it has gone missing under the most suspicious of circumstances during the period of your tenure at the station and the explanations that youíve given, all of them ring hollow. Not one of them has the ring of truth about it.

MR NADEL: I just want to clarify as well that the radio station as I mentioned earlier is not part and parcel of the, itís part of the set up but itís not that everybody sits in the radio station. The radio station is an office that could be down the hall. Itís not that Iím sitting in ZUR the whole time.

DR KLATZOW: But thatís not the evidence that youíve given. The evidence that youíve given is that the radio station is separated by a door and is no more than twenty metres away from you.

MR NADEL: Correct. But as Iím saying Iím not necessarily in that office all the time.

DR KLATZOW: No but you see, the deeper you go into this the more problems youíre going to have Mr Nadel because it was close enough for Mr Dick to come and have a conversation with you about something which was irrelevant according to your evidence anyway. He sidled over during a tea break according to your previous evidence and said well I canít raise them and you said well thatís not a problem, just leave it there.

Now that whole conversation I want to put to you never occurred. Because if it did occur the subsequent behaviour of Mr Dick at the enquiry is utterly inexplicable and weíre left with the uncomfortable proposition that in this mess we have only one person telling the truth and that is you. And weíve examined the propositions that youíve put in some detail today and you have not provided a satisfactory answer to any of the germane questions which have been put to you.

MR NADEL: Iím sorry you feel that way. As I mentioned earlier on Iím quite clear in my conscience that Iím not aware of any conversation between Captain Uys and anybody telling us of a problem. If that conversation took place and I could have been out of the office and it had gone through to Mr Dick Iím quite sure Mr Dick would have told me that this is a problem, they have a massive problem.

CHAIRPERSON: Dr Klatzow I donít think you are likely to get any further concessions from Mr Nadel. He has given us what he considers to be his best recollection and I would suggest that we perhaps should move on if there are other new aspects that you would like to explore.

DR KLATZOW: Thank you Mr Chairman. I have in fact reached the end of my questions. Thank you very much.

MR NADEL: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: Any questions?

MS TERREBLANCHE: I would just like to ask one or two. To the best of your recollection, can you remember even though you say that it was quite unique for Jan Smuts to have a ZUR facility and were there any other such facilities in South Africa. For instance at the military?

MR NADEL: There could well have been at the military. Itís possible. Iím not a military expert so I donít know.

MS TERREBLANCHE: I understand that today there is a Denel Control Tower at the airport?

MR NADEL: I think Denel is part of the old Atlas aircraft manufacturing company. Itís possible, I donít know. Iím not aware of it.

MS TERREBLANCHE: But wouldnít you have known as a radio expert whether those signals would maybe interfere or whether you would communicate with each other or?

MR NADEL: Well firstly Iím not a radio expert, not at all. But itís unlikely that frequencies could interfere unless thereís a blocking of a frequency and Iím not sure how that happens.

MS TERREBLANCHE: But were you aware of being in communication with any other nearby control tower?

MR NADEL: No. Weíre not a control tower as I mentioned earlier on. South African Airways had this facility purely as a means of communicating with the aircraft. Itís never been a legal requirement for an airline to have this facility because air traffic control centres are there to control the aircraft. The aircraft have to call at compulsory reporting points throughout to the various countriesí air traffic control centres.

And I am also convinced there, if there was a problem, the aircraft would have communicated to an air traffic control centre saying we do have a problem.

MS TERREBLANCHE: But would they have communicated with another one?

MR NADEL: With another air traffic control centre?

MS TERREBLANCHE: Were there any other ones, if they couldnít get hold of you, would there have been an alternative for them?

MR NADEL: Well air traffic control centres are civil aviation control centres, itís compulsory to call them. They control the actual flow of airlines in the skies. Itís not compulsory to have called us. As I mentioned I think there were nine, what they call flight information regions. There are nine areas that are controlled by different countries air traffic control centres and itís compulsory for any aircraft flying across these regions to make contact with those flight information regions.

MS TERREBLANCHE: But apart from that, if they had called somebody else when they were in trouble, would you have expected that other tower or radio station or whatever it was to call you?

MR NADEL: Well I believe if it was a, excuse me but Iím not an expert either, but if they have a problem whichever country is involved I would imagine would try and contact not necessarily South African Airways in house radio station but at least an air traffic control facility in South Africa.

MS TERREBLANCHE: Then I just want to have one last question. A Mr Van Der Veer, when you had a problem earlier that day with a seized engine, did he ever come in earlier in the day, that you were aware of?


MS TERREBLANCHE: Dr Klatzow has one more.

DR KLATZOW: Sorry, one last question. Had there been contraband material, material of war which caused that plane to catch alight, it would be extremely unlikely I want to put it to you that the pilot would have phoned one of the air traffic controllers along the route and said weíve got a fire problem because to do that would have been to invite all kinds of questions internationally which SAA could not afford.

So I just want to put it to you, for your comment, that it would have been extremely unlikely for them to contact anybody else at that stage but ZUR. They wouldnít have phoned up Bombay flight control and said weíve got ammonium perchlorate aboard, can we come and land. And they wouldnít have gone there to land which is why they flew on to disaster.

MR NADEL: That is your comment, I cannot comment on that. I would like to say thatís speculation I donít know.

DR KLATZOW: Can you see any obvious flaw or even subtle flaw in the argument?

MR NADEL: You know, once again, Iím not an expert in military matters or what is carried on board aircraft or whatnot, Iím purely in the airline industry for the love of aviation and for what the airline is there for, albeit any other airline.

CHAIRPERSON: I think what is sought to be obtained from you is, given those times and I mean Bombay, I do not consider that South African Airways flew to Bombay or to India or to any of these places and you were told earlier on about how one of the reasons the ZUR was being used was because you were flying around the bulge by which I understand you were not landing anywhere in Africa.

MR NADEL: Except Cape Verde Islands.

CHAIRPERSON: Except Cape Verde Islands, yes. Now I think what the question seems to establish is whether or not you consider there would have been a likelihood for Uys to have, one, and Iíll speed the question here, to have considered landing in Bombay given the times or to have been given permission by the South African authorities had he asked for one to land at Bombay. What are your thoughts around these issues, given the times.

MR NADEL: Well obviously as you quite rightly say, given the time, India was not very friendly with the South African Government at all. I would like to go back to what I said earlier on is I think if youíre burning you should at least think about the people on board and say well Iím going to land in any case, the consequences we can try and sort out later. That is my view.

And then Iíd also like to maybe go on and say, as was mentioned earlier on, the fire could have started two hours out of Taipei. Wouldnít it have been more logical for the aircraft to turn around and go back to Taipei than to fly many more hours through the night knowing full well that they canít land anywhere else if the problem re-occurred.

CHAIRPERSON: Do you want to follow that up with the situation in Taipei?

DR KLATZOW: Yes Mr Chairman. The aircraft had a political problem wherever it landed with that cargo. They could not go back to Taipei, for exactly the reasons that they couldnít land at Bombay or anywhere else along the route and the moment that aircraft landed it was faced with the problem of a search as to what had caused the problem and that would have been a disaster for South African Airways.

For it to have become public knowledge that South Africaís national carrier was flying contraband military equipment on a highly dangerous nature over civilian territory with civilian people on board would have killed that airline stone dead. Nobody would have flown it and nobody would have given it landing rights. And I want to put it to you that that was what was at stake in this whole disaster.

That is why Uys, who was a responsible pilot took the awful decision to allow himself to be overruled by somebody to fly on because he would never have done it off his own bat.

MR NADEL: I understand.

CHAIRPERSON: And on that understanding note can we really move on. Thank you Mr Nadel. I would only say from the Commissionís side you should understand that we are all doing something that we do not enjoy doing. We are trying to find the truth of what happened because we continue, this is one enquiry I thought that the Commission would not go into precisely because it has been done before. It is huge, it always results in more questions being asked than there are answers that we are able to elicit.

But the letters from the Friends of Victims of Helderberg and other material that has been sent to the Archbishop or to the investigative unit have been of a nature that we could not ignore and we have to thank people like you who have come, at what really is short notice and in your case I understand from abroad and one would hope that your assistance will be for having come and testified will assist us in getting to the bottom of this tragedy.

So I thank you very much and for the moment I think you are excused and should you at any stage have anything that you can remember which you consider would be of value and assistance to the Commission, please do not hesitate to contact us.

MR NADEL: Thank you Mr Chairman. Thank you members of the board.

MS TERREBLANCHE: Thank you Mr Nadel and thank you also for the documents youíve given us and thank you for coming all this way from Argentina.

MR NADEL: Thank you. If there is anything I need to send through, do I fax it to the regular fax number or must I fax it to any particular number, to yourself?

MS TERREBLANCHE: Yes. To myself and to the regular fax number.

MR NADEL: Thank you.

MS TERREBLANCHE: We are closing down in two months.

MR NADEL: I hope it will be before then.

MS TERREBLANCHE: Thank you very much.

CHAIRPERSON: Ms Terreblanche are you calling any other witness?

MS TERREBLANCHE: Yes, our person from Mozambique cannot come again, heís got a number of problems so we are calling Mr Mickey Mitchell, our last witness for the day. I think that you will be able to get away to your meeting with the Minister.


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