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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 461

Paragraph Numbers 235 to 241

Volume 3

Chapter 5

Subsection 39

Civil Co-operation Bureau (CCB) covert operations

235 The Western Cape saw at least four CCB operations under the direction of its Western Cape regional manager Abraham ‘Slang’ van Zyl, a former member of the Brixton Murder and Robbery Unit. The CCB appears to have used both conscious and unaware members, particularly known felons or persons from the criminal underworld. This use of gang members is detailed in an Athlone report [CR 396/08/89] which contains statements of four gangsters who were members of the Dixie Boys, namely Isgak Hardien, ‘Peaches’ Gordon, Clive Petersen and Irwin Meyer. Hardien has given details of his recruitment by Slang van Zyl and some of the operations in which he was used. He was transferred from being a source for the Bellville Murder and Robbery Unit, handled by officer Ganger, to the CCB where he was handled by Van Zyl. The recruitment of ‘Peaches’ Gordon was facilitated by a policeman at Athlone police station who was a relative of Van Zyl. The operations fell under the umbrella project known as Project Goldie.

Attempted assassination of Mr Dullah Omar (now Minister of Justice)

236 Mr Edward James Gordon aka ‘Peaches’ was tasked to conduct surveillance on several key leaders of the UDF, COSATU and SWAPO. Omar was a leading UDF official in the region, and ‘Peaches’ Gordon was specifically tasked to kill him using poison. Omar was ill at the time and the initial plan was to shoot him. When this proved difficult, unsuccessful efforts were made to contaminate the medication he took for his heart condition. Gordon died a few weeks after giving testimony to the Harms Commission. His badly mutilated body was found on a highway close to his home. His mother claims he was killed by gangsters acting at the behest of the CCB. The murder docket was closed after the witnesses were also killed. Mr Igshaan Ariaanse, who was to be the key state witness, was executed together with his woman friend Ms Dorothy Spencer, after being allowed to walk away from custody at Rondebosch police station.

Bombing of Early Learning Centre

237 In August 1989 the CCB bombed the Early Learning Centre in Athlone, a crèche facility used by UDF organisations as a meeting venue. A meeting of the Cape Youth Congress (CAYCO) had just concluded when the bomb exploded. Several individuals sustained minor injuries. A survivor has stated that, had the meeting lasted a few minutes longer, the entire executive of CAYCO could have been killed.

238 Other operations included ‘Operation Apie’, which involved placing a baboon foetus on the property of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and an arson attack on an Athlone printing press.

Bombings by the Security Branch

239 Members of the Security Branch planted limpet mines in public buildings during this period. Community House in Salt River, which housed many anti-apartheid organisations, was bombed in early September 1987 by Vlakplaas and Security Branch operatives, some of whom have applied for amnesty. During 1989, several ‘false flag’ operations were conducted, including a bomb attack on the Athlone post office and the First National Bank on 22 and 24 August 1989 respectively. Amnesty applications were received.

240 During the Defiance Campaign in the Peninsula in 1989, limpet mines were used to blow up the toilets in Strand, the beach resort outside Cape Town that was the target of the ‘beach apartheid defiance’ campaign. Vlakplaas operatives including Wouter Mentz [AM2775/96], Colonel Dave Baker and Warrant Officer Louw van Niekerk were under orders from Colonel Eugene de Kock.

241 There were, in addition, numerous arson attacks on properties housing antiapartheid organisations. During 1985, union offices in Cape Town were destroyed in an arson attack. An Observatory bookshop was firebombed in 1988. No amnesty applications were received for these attacks.

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