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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 317

Paragraph Numbers 16 to 29

Volume 2

Chapter 3

Subsection 66

Section C1: Vlakplaas

16 The unit which came to be known by the name of the farm was started in the late 1970s by Col JJ Viktor, then head of the C section, and Col Jan du Preez.

17 The purpose of Vlakplaas at this stage was ostensibly as a place to rehabilitate 'turned terrorists' or, as they were called, askaris. The askaris were eventually divided into units and supervised by white security police, and it was this change that transformed Vlakplaas into a counter-insurgency unit. The units responded to requests that were channelled to them via the head of Section C or via branch commanders.

18 In the mid to late 1980s similar units to Vlakplaas were established in Camperdown in Kwazulu Natal and in the Eastern Cape.

19 Heads of C section under which C1/Vlakplaas resided were Col JJ Viktor (later a Maj-Genl); Brig Willem Schoon; Maj-Genl Nick Janse Van Rensberg and Maj-Genl IJ Engelbrecht Commanders of Vlakplaas were: Col JJ Viktor (founder of the unit); Capt Dirk Coetzee (1980-81); Capt Jan Carel Coetzee (1982); Lt Col Jack Cronje (1983-1985) - later a brigadier); Col Eugene de Kock (1985-1993)

The Riot Squad

20 During the 1960s the SAP established Divisional Anti-Riot Units throughout South Africa.

21 Throughout the 1980s, the homeland police forces had also been establishing specialised, separate riot control agencies, with approximately 30 units established by 1993. The riot units in the homelands were usually less organised, less skilled, and even more brutal than those of the SAP. On occasion, when it appeared that homeland forces were unable to contain a particular incident, the SADF (not the SAP) were deployed to assist.

22 Forty Internal Stability Units, with over 7 000 members, were operating throughout South Africa by 1994. One of the largest of these, with 1 200 members, was ‘Unit 19’, the special national unit which was based in Pretoria for rapid deployment to unrest focal points anywhere in the country. The remaining units were spread across the country, but concentrated around flashpoints for unrest in the PWV, Natal, Western and Eastern Cape. An additional thirty-seven similar units had been established in the various homeland police forces.

23 For the pre-election transitional period, a special force, known as the National Peacekeeping Force, was created to assist with the maintenance of Public Order.

24 From the mid-1980s, Maj-Genl Albertus Wandrag, a senior Deputy Commissioner at SAP Headquarters was in charge of riot control.


25 BOSS was established in 1968 but its establishment was only legislated in 1969. Its primary purpose was to co-ordinate intelligence work as well as to create a foreign espionage capacity. The intention was to amalgamate personnel from the security branch, military intelligence and the Department of Foreign Affairs under the overall command of Genl Hendrik van den Bergh.

26 With the accession to power of PW Botha, BOSS's name was changed to the Department of National Security (DONS) with Alec van Wyk as caretaker head. In 1980, PW Botha appointed a twenty-seven year old academic, Lukas Daniel Barnard as Director -General. It was at this time that its name was changed to the National Intelligence Service(NIS). At the Simonstown Beraad in 1981 its powers were significantly curbed from 'super-spy' status to a more limited role.

27 NIS played a significant role in relation to the SSC, the Secretariat of the SSC (SSSC) and key intelligence sub-structures that formed part of the Secretariat, as well as Joint Management Committees around the country, until it withdrew from this system in 1987.

28 Towards the latter half of the 1980's, NIS played a pivotal role in negotiations and performed the role of 'secret messengers' between the SA government and the ANC. By 1988, they were seen to be 'running the negotiations'.

29 Around 1989, NIS moved from the Department of Justice to the Office of the State President and, with the sanction of President De Klerk, began to penetrate the security forces to investigate its suspicions of Third Force activity. Later it worked closely with the investigation into such activities run by Genl Pierre Steyn.

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