|One of the concrete examples of the new plan Gen Joubert was talking about was the brutal murder of Dr Fabian Ribeiro and his wife Florence in their house in Mamelodi in 1986. Fingers were immediately pointed at the state, but the exact identity of the killers has remained largely a mystery. This week it emerged that the Ribeiro’s were two of the people killed by special forces operatives.
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|Last year the first details surrounding the murder of Dr Fabian Ribeiro and his wife Florence started to emerge when five former security policemen applied for amnesty. // Instruction came from head office that the security branch together with special forces had to work together to eliminate Ribeiro.
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|Jacques Hechter of the Northern Transvaal security branch said then that he did not know the ins and outs of the assassination plan, but this week things started becoming a little clearer. The killing of Fabian and Florence Ribeiro here in Mamelodi was in fact part of the broader cooperation plan between the South African Defence Force and the South African Police. Part of this plan was to use special forces to work together with the police to eliminate certain people seen to be enemies of the state. Fabian and Florence Ribeiro were on that list.
|That is what I tried to explain. If the circumstances were such that those were the best ways it would have happened that he would have been killed.
|Joep Joubert discussed his broad plan with the then chief of the South African Defence Force Gen Jannie Geldenhuys. It happened at a social gathering. He says Geldenhuys gave him the go ahead but Geldenhuys now denies that this meant the killing of people.
|Because we were pressed for time one evening at a function I discussed this with Gen Geldenhuys. I explained it to him in broad terms and he told me just as I’ve mentioned in my application, he said it sounded good. I accepted it like that and with that remark Gen Geldenhuys gave me the authorization to continue with these operations. That was how I interpreted Gen Geldenhuys, whether that was what Gen Geldenhuys saw in this regard that was a different matter, but yes I did discuss this with him.
|Mister Chairman my answer is as follows, Gen Joubert could make his own conclusions from what I have meant but I did not authorize those actions. // Do I understand from the answer that you gave when you were not answering the previous question that you agree that he did present to you a plan but not necessarily a plan in the terms in which he has given evidence today, in other words that it involved the elimination of individuals. // Mister Chairman, I’m being asked a question about something which has happened during a social occasion 11 years ago and I really can’t give any specific particulars. As I have already said, what I can remember about that plan, it was no detailed operational plan as we usually used to do that but it was a plan regarding the allocation of men from the special forces to various commandos to support the South African Police.
|What we do however now know is that the elimination of Fabian and Florence Ribeiro did take place and that special forces was involved. We also know that after the assassination there was a certain degree of displeasure and confusion within Security Force ranks. Top brass responded by modifying Joep Joubert’s plan to allow for better control in the selection of targets.
|Mister Chairman I was under the impression that these types of operations had to be approved by the police. I was under that impression and I accepted that at least it would have been cleared and approved at the level of the head of the security police. It appeared then that after one specific incident that that was not the case and then I immediately took action and developed a procedure to get these authorization channels right.
|Mister Joubert’s position was that had he found out that he was acting bona fide and that the operation was in fact authorized by the police chiefs. // Are you saying to this Commission that all you could do in the circumstances was simply to say this thing should never happen again? // Mister Chairman the only thing I did was not just to say it should not happen again. I created a mechanism to take control of the situation. // Did you approach the Attorney-Generals’ office with information to the effect that Gen Joubert had in a discussion with you confirmed that he had authorized the murder of an individual or individuals? // Mr. Chairman this information was already given to me that these steps had been taken when it was reported to me a few weeks after the event. // But we want to know and it’s a simple thing, if you did you did, if you did not you did not. // Mister Chairman I did not go to the Attorney-General. // And you did not seek to know from the head of the police ...more
|The Commission wanted to know again and again where the buck stopped, who knew what about Joep Joubert’s plan and what did they do with that knowledge? This is what the main players in the security establishment have to say.
|No plan, no envisaged plan, no joint venture of that nature was ever discussed with me at all. // I’m not aware of any case where the Defence Force and the police would have acted together internally and where people had been killed and had not been discussed with me. // I in my more than 35 years of service in the Defence Forces of this country do not know of any such action whereby murder was authorized at any time.