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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 605

Paragraph Numbers 100 to 114

Volume 2

Chapter 7

Subsection 8

Provision of weapons to the IFP

100 The March 1994 Goldstone report into criminal acts committed by members of the SAP, the KZP and the IFP implicated senior policemen not only in the supply of weapons to the IFP, but in attempts to thwart the Goldstone investigation into the issue. Subsequent evidence in the State vs Eugene de Kock and before this Commission corroborates the fact that the SAP, largely through Vlakplaas operatives, supplied the IFP with a considerable amount of weaponry during the 1990s. The Commission received a number of amnesty applications in connection with the supply and manufacture of weaponry for the IFP, including those of WA ‘Willie’ Nortjé [AM3764/96], AJ ‘Brood’ van Heerden [AM3763/96], WW Mentz [AM2775/96] and Eugene de Kock [AM0066/96]. Further applications were received from IFP recipients of some of these weapons.

101 Evidence before the Commission reveals that much of the weaponry supplied to the IFP was originally acquired from Koevoet, a Security Branch counter-insurgency unit based in Namibia. Many of the members based at Vlakplaas had previously been members of Koevoet. Several members of Vlakplaas applied for amnesty for the transport of weapons from Namibia to Vlakplaas. It would appear that this occurred on the orders of Brigadier Schoon on at least four occasions during the mid- to late 1980s. The weapons came from the stores of Koevoet as well as the SADF’s Oshivelo base in Namibia. They included AK-47s and ammunition, M26 and Russian hand grenades and explosives, SADF explosives, Russian and SADF limpet mines, light machine guns, SAM7s, mortars, RPG pipes and ammunition, and various other items.

102 The initial link with the IFP was made during 1990 by a former Vlakplaas operative Andries (Brood) van Heerden, who had joined the security division of ABSA Bank in Johannesburg. In June 1990, Van Heerden was introduced to Mr Themba Khoza of the IFP who asked him to supply the IFP with weapons. Van Heerden then approached Colonel Eugene de Kock, and subsequently acted as the liaison person between the IFP and Vlakplaas. By De Kock’s admission, he initially took on this role without higher authorisation, but says:

Ek het … geweet dat hierdie hulpverlening in lyn was met die algemene gevoel oor die IFP onder polisie geledere … ene Kaptein Frederick Botha het byvoorbeeld aan my gesê dat ‘n massiewe hoeveelhede gelde deur die polisie bewillig is vir die IFP. (I knew that this assistance was in line with the general feeling about the IFP amongst police members … one Captain Frederick Botha, for instance, told me that a massive amount of money was earmarked by the police for the IFP.)

103 Later, De Kock had a discussion with Major General Krappies Engelbrecht and Major General Nick Janse van Rensburg, then head of Section C, and they authorised him to manufacture home-made firearms for the IFP. After discussing the financial aspects with General Basie Smit, Janse van Rensburg told De Kock to make false claims sufficient to make 100 home-made weapons. De Kock then telephoned Snor Vermeulen and Daniel Snyman and they arranged to have the weapons designed and made. The cost of the weapons was about R60 000. One hundred weapons were distributed to Themba Khoza and Jac Büchner, then commissioner of the KZP.

104 According to the amnesty application of Mr Derek Rausch, he assisted Vlakplaas members Lionel Snyman and Snor Vermeulen to make home-made explosive devices. Rausch, a precision engineer and an ex-Rhodesian police officer (BSAP) had an engineering shop next to Mechem, a subsidiary of Armscor and frequently worked for them. Rausch bought the material and Lionel Snyman and Snor Vermeulen provided the explosives to build the explosive devices from Vlakplaas stores. In his amnesty application, Johann Verster stated that, on instruction from his superior at Mechem, he provided Snyman and Vermeulen with three tons of 107mm Chinese rockets and explosives to be used in the manufacture of home-made pipe bombs and hand grenades and that he assisted in their manufacture at Snyman’s house. According to Verster, these explosives were intended for Inkatha.

105 Later Snyman and Vermeulen again approached Rausch to assist them in making home-made shotguns. Joe Verster of Mechem assisted with this project and Snyman told him that Basie Smit approved of the project. They made approximately 200 shotguns. According to Verster, Snyman later told him that General Le Roux was present when the prototype was tested and was very happy with the results. Both Rausch and Verster were told that the guns were intended for Inkatha. In his amnesty application, Douw Willemse stated that he assisted Snor Vermeulen and Lionel Snyman to test home-made weapons, on the instruction of De Kock.

106 Johann Verster also assisted Vermeulen and Snyman by removing identification marks from M26 hand grenades by painting them with black paint. Interviews with Vlakplaas members revealed that the hand grenades were modified in the following fashion: all the serial numbers were taken off, they were painted black and a piece of gut was connected between the hand grenade lever and the hand grenade in order to keep the lever close to the explosive point and destroy it completely.

107 Similarly, Rausch assisted in modifying AK-47s for the police. According to interviews with Vlakplaas members, some of the AK-47s given to Themba Khoza as well as those kept at Mechem were modified: they were shortened by removing the butts to make them easier to carry and conceal. Some of the AK-47s barrels were shortened, serial numbers were welded over and then ground off.

108 When De Kock realised that Khoza was only the youth leader of the IFP, he asked to meet Mr Humphrey Ndlovu, IFP leader in the Transvaal and an IFP Minister. He and Willie Nortjé met Mr Victor Ndlovu, Mr Themba Khoza, Mr Humphrey Ndlovu and the Reverend Celani Mthetwa at Brood van Heerden’s home. It was agreed that one last batch of weapons, including two or three home-made explosive devices, made by Snyman, Vermeulen and Verster, would be given to Khoza.

109 According to Van Heerden, several further meetings were held and attended by Colonel De Kock, Warrant Officer Willie Nortjé, then Lieutenant Chappies Klopper, Lieutenant Piet Botha and Sergeant Charlie Chate from Vlakpaas. Minister C J Mthetwa (IFP KwaZulu Natal), Themba Khoza, Humphrey Ndlovu, Ms Dlomo, Viktor Ndlovu and James Ndlovu attended on behalf of the IFP.

110 Nortjé obtained weapons from De Kock on a regular basis and delivered them to the above-mentioned IFP members. The weapons delivered included: M26 hand grenades, black M26 hand grenades, AK-47s, SKS machine guns, homemade shotguns, R4s, Makarov and Tokarev pistols, landmines, a magnetised car bomb and a variety of ammunition. De Kock further states in his application that between twenty-four and thirty black hand grenades and AK-47s were taken by De Kock and Nortjé to Revd Mthethwa’s house in Natal, and on a second occasion another six or eight AK-47s plus ammunition were similarly delivered. On at least one other occasion, De Kock handed pistols to Mthetwa in Johannesburg.

111 Van Heerden claims that in 1993 he and Mthetwa were responsible for the formation of a self-protection plan in which the Johannesburg mid-city and all the IFP hostels were divided into self-protection teams. A copy of this plan is with the office of the Attorney-General in Gauteng and allegations of a similar nature appear in the Staff Report compiled by the Steyn investigation.

112 All the weapons and ammunition in the possession of Themba Khoza were distributed to the IFP hostels. An IFP supporting induna was identified in each hostel as the person who would distribute the weapons to IFP supporters. In addition, groups like the ‘Black Cats’ also received weaponry.

113 Some IFP members who applied for amnesty corroborate the above allegations. They include Mr David Zweli Dlamini [AM3685/96] a Caprivi trainee and hit squad member, Mr Bhekisa Alex Khumalo (aka Sosha) [AM4027/96], Mr Mhlupheni Petros Khumalo [AM2780/96] Mr Phupha Philemon Hlela [2779/96], Mr Israel Hlongwane [AM4600/97] and Mr Daluxolo Luthuli [AM4018/96].

114 Themba Khoza was arrested with a car load of weapons at the scene of the Sebokeng massacre in September 1990 and charged with unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition. Despite apparently strong evidence, charges against him were dropped, primarily because no fingerprints were found on any of the weapons, making it impossible to link them to any of the attackers. In addition, the court accepted Khoza’s explanation that he had handed the keys of the car over to another IFP member and there was therefore a possibility that somebody else could have placed the weapons in the vehicle.

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