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Special Report
Transcripts for Section 2 of Episode 18

01:27A very good evening. Nine African National Congress terrorists have been shot dead in separate clashes with the South African Police. Minister of Law and Order, mister Adriaan Vlok, said the terrorists had been instructed by the ANC hierarchy to perpetrate large scale acts of terror in South Africa to coincide with the so-called Soweto day anniversary. The nine died in shoot-outs near the Swaziland border.Full Transcript and References
01:58On the night of June 8, 1988 five ANC members travelling in a minibus were shot dead by a special team of security policemen. Four days later another four activists died in similar circumstances. This is how the SABC reported the incident. // Acting on information received, police set up a roadblock approximately seven kilometres outside Piet Retief on the road to Swaziland. At approximately nine o’clock that evening this vehicle was stopped at the road block. A black man jumped out and opened fire with an AK47 rifle, the police immediately retaliated. // The policemen who had been waiting for the group were well prepared and within seconds it was all over. The minibus which had been disguised as a taxi was riddled with bullets and police discovered several documents inside.Full Transcript
02:48The news bulletin never mentioned who the policemen were: convicted murderer Col Eugene de Kock and his Vlakplaas death squad. As always the men didn’t take any prisoners; no survivors to tell the tale of death. A former Vlakplaas policeman Sergeant Leon Flores told us his version of the incident.Full Transcript and References
03:15I can’t give the exact detail how we did the layout and the planning because for the future those type of plans may be used again, so I can’t divulge information regarding that. But the people waited, Vlakplaas members with Piet Retief members, for the people to infiltrate. And what happened is that the people, obviously being armed, when they realised there was problems fired on the group stopping them and there was crossfire. And the same basically happened three days later on another group that came through. Full Transcript
03:47Strange things happened after the shooting. One of the security policemen who participated in the shooting, Warrant Officer Frederick Pienaar, was appointed as the investigative officer. He immediately burned the clothes of the dead, explaining at the inquest that he was afraid that they might have had AIDS. What were the men hiding? Tonight we provide some answers to the plea of a sister of one of the deceased.Full Transcript
04:16They shot the photos of our sister as well as other people who had died. They were all naked and they said we should point out my sister. We were told that they had died and they never explained anything.Full Transcript and References
04:38This is Marthinus Grobler, a former policeman. On the two nights in June 1988 Grobler was the charge office sergeant on duty in the Piet Retief police station. He holds vital clues to what happened to the activists. We interviewed him in Sydney in Australia where he has been living for several years.Full Transcript
05:00I was in the police station that night and that afternoon. Some of the security branch police officers came into the police station and took out some fire arms. I was approached. They pulled me aside and said, listen just keep this area clean tonight. Nobody is allowed to attend any complaints in this area, no motor vehicle is allowed to go into this area and I asked them what’s going on. They said it’s an operation.Full Transcript
05:24Shortly afterward police again set up a roadblock on this road and this vehicle was also stopped. The driver of the vehicle opened fire with a Russian manufactured pistol. Police returned the fire and the driver and passengers died in a hail of bullets. // According to the official records they said it was a road block and none of these officers were in police uniform. They all were wearing jeans, takkies and t-shirts. I mean, who’s going to stop for them? I’m not going to stop in the middle of the night if some guy jump in front of me with a machine gun, and say police! I’m gonna go right through him.Full Transcript and References
05:59In his statement Mr. Vlok said the police had shot and killed two heavily armed groups of terrorists in the face of extreme danger and under difficult conditions. // Absolutely crap. If they found … police procedures … if they found evidence they have to hand it in to the police charge office sergeant who put it into the official books and then hand it into the safe and lock the safe. And that night, nothing was handed to me. No evidence was handed to me.Full Transcript
06:25Were the infiltrators armed? // Definitely. Both groups, as you know it was two incidents, two separate incidents. Both groups were armed. // No there were no firearms on them. There was absolutely no firearms found on these people and nothing were handed to me.Full Transcript
06:40He said they had received specific instructions to execute large scale acts of terror, irrespective of race, age or creed. He said all except one had been positively identified as being ANC trained terrorists. // We found that night lead point bullets in the doors, in the seats, because I was one of the officers who went through the car looking for weapons and that’s all we found. There was no documents, no nothing.Full Transcript
07:08Intensive investigations by the security police have enabled them to identify the dead as highly trained ANC terrorists. // The corpses were dragged out of the back of a police vehicle. Just dragged out of the vehicle, straight onto the ground, there was no respect shown to the corpses and they were just dragged in and dropped on the morgue floor next to each other.Full Transcript
07:30In this regard Mr. Vlok issued a warning to the ANC and said it would not allow the organisation to kill or hurt the people of South Africa. // As I said they had a bottle of Old Brown Sherry, they basically danced around the corpses. They were walking around it making fun of it and for them it was a happy occasion. They’ve done it, they’ve caught four again, you know.Full Transcript
07:51Vlakplaas never ever did hit operations. Hit is assassin, am I right if I say that? // Mm. // And in my time there was no such a thing as hit or assassin or assassination. // Nobody was allowed to contact any of these victims’ parents. The autopsy was rushed through and they were buried. All the clothes were burned. The one female, you could see on her clothes that she was shot at close range. There was no doubt about it. Her blouse was burned, there were burn marks on her blouse. And that’s again where I come back … where this one officer told me, security branch officer, that just after the fire fight was open this one woman staggered out of the car and one of the other officers just moved in and killed her at point range. Just shot her.Full Transcript
08:35In his evidence at the judicial inquest Eugene de Kock said that while he was firing bullets into the activists he prayed that they would live. He never wanted to kill them. // They could have been just ANC activists for all I know, but there was absolutely no weapons found on these people. These were innocent people who were killed. There was no doubt about it. They were killed, they were assassinated.Full Transcript
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