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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 404

Paragraph Numbers 56 to 57

Volume 1

Chapter 12

Subsection 8

f Karoo (Beaufort West) (12 -14 August 1996). This hearing focused on community violence, such as the burning of residents who did not support the comrades, and the arrest and incarceration in 1968 of 100 men who allegedly conspired to poison the Victoria West water supply. Another case highlighted the torture of a young woman whose breast was slammed in a drawer.

g Northern Cape (Upington) (30 September - 2 October 1996). The first day of the hearings was dedicated to the killing of the policeman, Jetta Sethwale, and the trial of the ‘Upington Twenty Six’. The hearing gave valuable insights into conditions in prison and the trauma of being on death row. Investigation of the Upington cases showed that the police records of political cases between 1985 and 1993 are no longer available. The panel also heard evidence from the mother of the policeman who was killed, shedding light on her alienation and isolation. The case demonstrated the fact that, in communities as small as Pabalello, perpetrators and victims continue to live in close proximity to each other.

h Karoo (Colesburg) ( 7 - 9 October 1996). The cases dealt with the torture of youth, attacks on impimpi (informers) on community councillors and police officers. The hearings were decentralised and held in De Aar, Hanover and Colesberg to make them more accessible to the communities concerned.

i Boland (Paarl & West Coast) (14 - 16 October 1996). This hearing was accompanied by an exhibition at the museum that provided insight into gross human rights violations. A particularly moving exhibit concerned a conscript who died in combat. A statement of apology from the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk was read. The hearing also focused on the clashes between the United Democratic Front (UDF) and Azanian People’s Organisation (AZAPO), the 1960 killing of a suspected informer, and the killing of Vivian Matthee and others in the 1985 cross-border raid. This hearing was unique in that the pre-hearing preparation was specifically geared towards the process of building reconciliation in the community.

56 After the Boland hearing, the Cape Town regional office held event hearings. These focused on events that had attracted a great deal of public interest or had involved extensive legal proceedings. They were significant because they

confirmed long held beliefs about the role of the state in fomenting violence (as in KTC), the involvement of the police in provoking unrest in order to kill (as in the ‘Trojan horse’ incident) and the involvement of security forces based at Vlakplaas in the Western Cape (as in the ‘Guguletu Seven’ incident). All these hearings provided a window into understanding human rights violations during the period of intense resistance and repression that characterised the 1980s. These violations included:

a ‘Guguletu Seven’ (Peninsula, 25 -27 November 1996 and 18 - 19 February 1997). The hearing concerned the ambushing and killing of the Guguletu Seven cadres and highlighted the Vlakplaas connection.

b ‘Trojan horse’ (Peninsula, 20 - 21 May 1997). The Trojan Horse hearing highlighted the killing of three youths. Evidence was led to show that the police were not reacting, but deliberately set out to provoke unrest in order to kill.

c KTC (Peninsula 9 -11 June 1997). The hearing highlighted witdoek and police complicity in an attack on the KTC community.

57 The region also organised other hearings, some of which were initiated at a national level. These included:

a a health sector hearing

b submissions by the SADF

c political party submissions and recall

d the Oudtshoorn reconciliation programme

e section 29 hearings (national and regional)

f children and youth

g chemical and biological warfare

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