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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 437

Paragraph Numbers 138 to 155

Volume 2

Chapter 5

Subsection 21

138 On 2 June 1986, Chief Lent Maqoma, a one-time ally of Lennox Sebe, launched his Ciskei People’s Rights Protection Party; this was followed a few months later by the launch by the rebel group in Transkei of the ‘armed wing’ of this party, Iliso Lomzi. It seems that both were launched with MI assistance. MI subsequently printed and distributed pamphlets (including dropping them from aircraft) in support of these two groupings18 .

139 In September 1986, Charles Sebe was sprung from the Ciskei’s Middledrift maximum security prison by SADF members and/or ex-Selous Scouts operating from Transkei; from then on he operated from Transkei together with the rest of the Katzen group. The day Charles was released, Lennox Sebe’s son Kwane Sebe, the head of the Ciskei Police Elite Unit and the man groomed as the successor to the president, was abducted and taken to Transkei. Three months later, Kwane was sent back to Ciskei in a homeland prisoner swap.

140 Attempts to extradite Charles Sebe back to Ciskei collapsed. The then Ciskei Attorney-General Jurie Jurgens applied for their extradition, subsequently finding that both these matters had quietly fizzled out in some political settlement. This presumably involved some pressure from the South African authorities, which had previously campaigned for Charles Sebe’s pardon.

141 In January 1987, Van der Westhuizen left the Eastern Cape and took over as officer commanding of Witwatersrand Command. On 21 January, Holomisa, then secondin-command of the TDF, was detained; partly, it seems, because he opposed the Katzen planners. Weeks later, on 19 February, TDF troops crossed the Kei River border between Transkei and South Africa, and drove on to launch an abortive attack on Ciskei president Lennox Sebe's private palace in Bisho. It was reported that one TDF soldier died and another was captured; later South African authorities captured French mercenary Jean-Michel Desble.

142 The captured soldier, Rifleman A Ndulu, was held under guard in the Ciskei’s main Cecilia Makiwane Hospital in Mdantsane, then eventually sent home to Ciskei in terms of a deal apparently engineered by Holomisa. Likewise the body of the dead soldier, Mr Mbuyiselo Templeton Nondela [EC2323/97UTA], was allowed home for burial.

143 The Commission found evidence of another previously unreported death and direct SADF complicity in the raid. A TDF soldier who was badly injured in the failed attack, Mr David Simphiwe Makazi [EC2323/97UTA], was rushed down to East London by his fellow attackers. He was airlifted by the SADF from the East London race track and flown back to Butterworth.

144 Apart from Van der Westhuizen and the officer he reported to on Katzen, General Kat Liebenberg, other senior officers and officials named in the Katzen file as having been involved at some stage included General Jannie Geldenhuys (head of SADF Special Forces), General Griebenauw (Border regional head of the security police), General Zondwa Mtirara (head of the TDF), Vice-Admiral Dries Putter, Colonel Reg Deyzel (the officer commanding of Group Eight in East London), a former Transkei Minister of Defence and Dr Tertius Delport (then at the University of Port Elizabeth). Delport later denied any knowledge of the Katzen plans. In 1983-84, Delport had served as one of two assessors at the Ciskei trial after which Charles Sebe was jailed for twelve years.

145 The National Intelligence Service (NIS) also appears to have been involved in Katzen. One of the NIS staff was involved in at least some of the planning. An undated document headed “Top Secret”, which appears to be the abbreviated notes of a meeting, lists those present as including an SADF general, an SADF brigadier, an SAP brigadier, three colonels, two commandants and an NIS representative. Another document refers to NIS involvement: “All political front actions (Lent Maqoma) will now be handled by NIS. We will continue to cooperate politically/militarily”. A “Top Secret” NIS document on Katzen, which appears to have been drafted during rather than after the operation, lists those involved in or aware of Katzen as including President PW Botha, SADF chief General Jannie Geldenhuys, army chief general Kat Liebenberg, the commissioner of police (then General Johan Coetzee), the Secretariat of the State Security Council and the director general of NIS.

146 After the failed attack, Katzen seems to have collapsed.

147 On 1 April 1987 the Ciskei banned both the Ciskei People’s Rights Protection Party and Iliso Lomzi19. On 4 April, Transkei detained sixteen white military officers, mainly the ex-Selous Scouts. Soon after their departure, Holomisa took charge of the TDF, and Transkei support for Katzen was severely curtailed.

148 Desble made a few token appearances in the East London courts before being officially deported back to France. In an interview in 1995, Attorney-General Jurgens said that his flight made an unscheduled stop before reaching France so that he could disembark and thus avoid prosecution as a mercenary in France.

149 A month or two later, former General Johan Coetzee, now retired as SAP commissioner, was appointed to run a tri-partite committee out of East London to keep the peace between the warring homelands.

150 The TDF convened a board of enquiry into the abortive attack on Ciskei in August 1987. Its work was concluded and handed to the Transkei Minister of Defence. The SANDF was unable to trace this report.

151 In 1989, the Harms Commission of Inquiry into the Jalc group of companies heard that Putter, who was the chief of MI at the time and party to the Katzen plan, had been warned about the impending attack by one of his staff. MI officer Brigadier Marthinus Deyzel, seconded to Jalc in terms of a proposal for MI to use Jalc for intelligence-gathering purposes in the homelands and frontline states, told Harms that Lennox Sebe had told him he was aware of an impending attack on him by elements of the SADF. Deyzel, who seems to have been unaware of the Katzen plan, told his superiors. He subsequently complained to the Harms inquiry that his warning had been ignored. Putter told Harms he had taken Deyzel’s warning extremely seriously and that he had written a memo for circulation among his superiors. The memo, dated 9 February 1987, stated:

The Ciskei Government alleges that they have information that several RSA elements are involved in the destabilisation of the Ciskei. If this is correct, it would be advisable to put a stop to it… An investigation of the facts must be urgently undertaken and certain punishment procedures will have to be considered20 .

152 At the same time that Katzen was running in the Eastern Cape, the SADF’s Operation Marion was running in KwaZulu. The attack on Ciskei was carried out on 19 February; the KwaMakhutha attack carried out in terms of Marion, which killed thirteen people, was carried out just weeks earlier in January.

153 There are several links between Marion and Katzen. Both operations were coordinated at Defence Headquarters in Pretoria by Colonel John More, at the time part of the DST. More was mentioned in the Katzen documents as supplying weapons for that operation. Liebenberg and Geldenhuys, two of the accused in the KwaMakhutha trial, were also named in Katzen documentation. Lieutenant Colonel Jan Anton Nieuwoudt, who was involved in the 1986 Caprivi strip training of the men who carried out the KwaMakhutha attack, was subsequently (in the run-up to the 1994 elections) involved in an Eastern Cape operation which seems to have been a successor to Katzen. Liebenberg was involved in ‘officially’ shutting that operation down after it was blown and Nieuwoudt moved and apparently continued the operation in a different form elsewhere. General Tienie Groenewald was another of the KwaMakhutha accused; during the 1990s he was involved in an organisation that was implicated in running guns to prop up Gqozo’s government in its battle against the ANC.

154 As More was part of DST, this indicates that both Marion and Katzen were thus run by DST, a section also responsible for running covert support to pro-Pretoria rebels in Angola (UNITA) and Mozambique (RENAMO). This indicates that the homelands were also part of MI’s strategy of supporting (and sometimes setting up) rebel groups that were involved in violent attempts to overthrow governments which were either antagonistic to or could not be controlled by Pretoria, or were involved in violent clashes with UDF-aligned (and later ANC-aligned) groupings. In the homelands, this thus involved covert support for Inkatha in the KwaZulu-Natal region and, in the Eastern Cape, the setting up and funding of first the Ciskei People’s Rights Protection Party and Iliso Lomzi and later the setting up and arming of the ADM. This policy does not appear to have ended with the failure of Marion and Katzen in 1987 as several of the key officers involved in those two operations were again implicated in similar activities based in the Ciskei during Gqozo’s rule and the run-up to the 1994 elections.

155 Although Katzen seems to have collapsed in early 1987, its legacy continued. Two years later, Lennox Sebe’s Ciskei government still regarded Iliso Lomzi as a threat, as can been seen in a “Top Secret” CDF contingency plan for dealing with an attack expected by “elements of Iliso Lomzi supported by the TDF and ex-Rhodesians” around 24-25 July 198921 .

18 Gerrie Hugo and Stef Snel, Military Intelligence and the counter revolutionary war in the Eastern Cape, Urban Monitoring and Awareness Committee, 1998. 19 Govt Gazette no.17 of 1/4/87, referred to in charge sheet of State vs Mlungisi Matthew Genda, cc34/89, Ciskei Supreme Court. 20 Daily Dispatch, 12 May 1989. 21 ‘Overall contingency plan for event of an attack by Iliso Lomzi against targets within the Ciskei’, reference CDF/310/1, drafted by the CDF commander and dated 24 July 1989.
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