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Special Report
Transcripts for Section 6 of Episode 68

44:03The amnesty hearings in Port Elizabeth was told last week that youth leader Siphiwo Mtimkulu was poisoned while in detention. This coming week evidence will be led that another Eastern Cape activist, Sizwe Kondile, was drugged by the security police. The use of poison and other specially developed chemicals was one of the most evil ways in which opponents of the former government were attacked and killed. Indeed the image of scientists experimenting in their Pretoria laboratories with poison meant for human beings bring memories of doctors like the evil Dr Mengele and yet, nobody has been prosecuted for this.Full Transcript
44:46The use of poison and chemicals against political opponents did not originate in South Africa. The Rhodesian police and army used it on a large scale against liberation fighters in Zimbabwe. A favourite method was to soak clothes in toxic organophosphates and distribute it in villages known to be supportive of guerrillas. Hundreds of people died this way. In April 1989 the then Secretary-General of the Council of Churches, Frank Chikane nearly died when he was poisoned. Apparently organophosphates were used in his clothes. An investigation into this attack by the Pretoria Attorney-General special task team is nearing completion, eight years afterwards.Full Transcript and References
45:22And I had that attack three times over three weeks … and the doctors were investigating as to what the cause would be and ultimately they were able to detect that through tests, investigations and research, that there was some form of chemical which was in my system. And that’s when they then ordered that all my baggage, personal effects be removed by the FBI and then I had to get new clothes. And that was the only way in which the attacks stopped. Full Transcript
45:56Former Vlakplaas boss, Dirk Coetzee declared in 1989 already that he fetched poison from the head of the forensics laboratory Gen Lothar Neethling in 1981 and gave it to two activists Vusi Mavuso and Peter Dlamini. Neethling denied this and said he never developed poison, a statement later contradicted by several other witnesses. A former state prosecutor says Neethling boasted to him that he had developed a substance which would bring on a heart attack and not be detected. We know that a number of ANC activists and guerrillas had died after swallowing poison injected into food and drink and distributed to ANC camps in Tanzania, Angola and Mozambique. But the best documented case of a very sophisticated poisoning was Siphiwo Mtimkulu. The policemen who last week asked for amnesty for killing Mtimkulu denied that they were responsible for the poisoning.Full Transcript and References
46:50Did you administer poison to Mr Mtimkulu or do you know that anybody did? // No I don’t know. // So you didn’t give him poison? // No I didn’t, definitely not.Full Transcript
47:09Dr Francis Aims was head of the University of Cape Town’s neurology department when a severely ill Mtimkulu was sent to her at Groote Schuur Hospital in November 1981. // He was on discharge after five months in prison with only the police having access to him. He was ill immediately after discharge. His family in Port Elizabeth were extremely distressed. He was childlike with pain, actually crawled into their bed that night weeping with pain and seemed strangely confused in his behaviour. He clearly had neurological involvement, not only of the brain but also of the nerves affecting his limbs, particularly his legs. Having had experience of arsenical poisoning, examined his hair repeatedly for arsenic and like the Port Elizabeth group, continually failed to find it. Fortunately for him, he survived long enough to develop a pathognomonic sign of thallium poisoning, which is falling out of the hair. We had great difficulty in actually setting up the tests for thallium, we had to ...moreFull Transcript
53:02Dirk Coetzee was the main witness against Gen Lothar Neethling when he sued me for defamation after the expose about the use of poison. Eugene de Kock and his Vlakplaas men decided to kill Coetzee and sent him a bomb in a tape recorder. The bomb later killed lawyer Bheki Mlangeni. At the amnesty hearing in Port Elizabeth this week Eugene de Kock added an interesting new twist to this saga.Full Transcript
53:28And the bomb was sent to him whilst he was in Zimbabwe long before he went to England. // Yes he was in Zambia. And the way I understood it they wanted to prevent him arriving in England to testify against General Neethling.Full Transcript
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