SABC News | Sport | TV | Radio | Education | TV Licenses | Contact Us

TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 284

Paragraph Numbers 491 to 503

Volume 2

Chapter 3

Subsection 52

3.3. Teeninsurgensietaakspan en databank
3.3.1. Die Voorsitter (ie Niel Barnard) deel mee dat NI oor wardevolle inligting beskik wat by die taakspan ingevoer sal word. Dit behoort te help om sekere belhamels uit die stelsel te verwyder, dog met groot omsigtigheid behandel word om die betrokke intelligensiebates {ie sources/ agents) nie to ontbloot nie.’20 [Emphasis added]

491 Although Barnard does not refer to TREWITS by name, in all probability this is what was being referred to. Moreover, a document presented to the KIK meeting of 4/3/87 includes under functions of TREWITS:

Die insameling van alle inligting tov ANC-teikens in die buiteland ... en die byhou van sodanige inligting met die oog op optrede teen ANC-teikens.

492 Similarly, ‘Teikenontwikkeling’ is added to the list of issues identified for collection of intelligence. This decision was further reiterated at the meeting of 14 and 18 May, where KIK decided that:

TREWITS ook as die sentrale invoerpunt vir teikeninligting vanaf die Intelliegensiegemeenskap moet dien.

493 TREWITS was an exclusively national unit, attached to the C section of the Security Branch. However, the unit did liaise with regional intelligence gathering networks on a regular basis. At such meetings, the Security Branch would generally be represented by the regional officer commanding or a senior officer; NIS by a middle level personnel; and the SADF by senior Special Forces or DCC staff.

494 The following people have been identified as having attended regional TREWITS meetings: Captain PR Krause and/or Brigadier Loots (Western Transvaal), Schalk Visser, FHS Labuschagne andMajor Chris Deetleefs (Eastern Transvaal), Captain Van Jaarsveld and/or Captain Loots and later Captain Roelof Venter (Northern Transvaal), Lietuenant Colonel Anton Pretorius of the Soweto Intelligence Unit and Daan du Plessis from NIS.

495 In addition to formal TREWITS meetings, those who attended TREWITS meetings in the regions enjoyed ongoing and regular liaison with those involved in the target workgroups/ Project Section of Special Forces.

496 Thus, Nel made extensive use of the Western Transvaal networks:

… from all the police structures that I liaised with, the policemen in the Western Transvaal knew what Special Forces wanted. It was seldom necessary for me to develop a target much further. If they give me a target, I can take it like that to Special Forces and it was 99% complete because the Co-operation between Special Forces and the police dated back to the early 1980s... They knew that Special Forces were even interested in the name of the dog and how thick the burglar bars are... They would put together a target the way military people would think, because of previous experience....... They fitted into the TREWITS liaison system ... very easily because TREWITS was there to develop targets and they knew how to do it.21

497 The document ‘Teenrewolusionêre Inligtingtaakspan’' referred to earlier describes the enemy as the ANC, the SACP, the PAC and the UDF. According to the document submitted by former TREWITS chair, CJ Victor and Peet Vermeulen, the target fields were laid down within the Co-ordinating Intelligence Committee guidelines. These included:

Individuê, strukture, fasiliteite, wapentuig, infiltrasies, infiltrasieroetes, opleidingsplekke, voertuie, kommunikasienetwerke, modus operandi, ens. Die taakspan het hom bepaal by inligting mbt organisasies en indiwidue wat rewolusionêre – of blote geweldsoogmerke gehad het....22

498 Schoon described the brief as follows:

It was their task to properly evaluate and co-ordinate all intelligence regarding the revolutionary threat facing the RSA and especially with regard to identifying and prioritising political targets which posed such a threat. These threats could be in the form of an individual, a group, an organisation, an accommodation or logistical facility and were prioritised in terms of the level of political destabilisation each target posed.23

499 Although TREWITS documents indicate a wider focus than the ANC, it would appear that the focus was almost exclusively on the ANC. There has been some dispute as to whether TREWITS had an internal or an external focus. Thus the NIA document compiled by former TREWITS members as quoted earlier indicates that TREWITS focused exclusively on the liberation movements in neighbouring countries Regarding the elimination of targets by TREWITS, General van der Merwe, is on record as saying “In the country, no, but overseas, yes”.

500 In direct contradiction to these views, the former Director General of NIS, Dr LD 'Niel' Barnard, asserted that: “I cannot remember that TREWITS ever was involved in foreign intelligence but I understand they did that on occasion”.24

501 The evidence from other submissions and section 29 investigations would seem to concur that TREWITS dealt with both the external and internal situation. It is possible that the initial function of target identification was to identify targets for cross-border raids, but that this was later broadened to include identifying and tracking particular individuals involved in military and/or underground structures and, according to the ‘pipeline’ notion, would thus have included the movement of individuals from neighbouring countries to inside South Africa.

502 With regards to Security Branch personnel, it needs to be noted that many were operationally deployed in the region, both before and after the establishment of TREWITS. Similarly Military Intelligence personnel have indicated knowledge, if not participation, in operations. Of the amnesty applicants said to have attended regional meetings, Commission analysis indicates that they have applied for approximately eighty-two killings, seven attempted killings and four abductions and/or acts of torture.

503 A number of points need to be made about the violations referred to above. Firstly, these figures are not complete, but are based on the list of names referred to above as having attended regional TREWITS meetings.

20 KIK minutes 21 October 1986 21 Nel, Section 29 22 Document, ‘Teenrewolusionêre Inligtingstaakspan (TREWITS) opgestel deur CJA Victor and Superintendent PCJ Vermeulen, n.d. 23 Schoon, Section 29, November 1996, CT 24 Security Policy hearing December 1997 CT
Broadcasting for Total Citizen Empowerment
SABC © 2023