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Transcripts for Section 6 of Episode 69
|We look forward to amnesty applications of men like Gen Joubert when more detail surrounding the Ribeiro deaths will emerge. The army and police of the past, like most security establishments, had a few words they used which they understood, but were meant to confuse others. ‘Take out’ did not mean take somebody to lunch. ‘Gryp operasie’ was nothing playful. ‘Remove from the community’ did not mean sending somebody on a holiday. Much of Thursday was devoted to the commissioners and the former policemen debating the semantics of a 1985 State Security Council document. The former policemen were closely questioned about the word ‘eliminate’ or ‘elimineer’ in reference to the elimination of enemy targets. Gen Johan Coetzee came to the hearing armed with a list of dictionary definitions.
|Full Transcript and References
|I went and looked at just a school dictionary, initially about the word ‘elimineer.’ Then I went to a more authoritative dictionary sir, the HAT as we call it in Afrikaans and there on page 194 it says ‘elimineer’ means ‘uitskakel’ or ‘verwyder’ and it gives an example there of a sentence. ‘Al die foute probeer elimineer.’ To my mind sir it is this obvious that the word per se does not mean when it’s used in connection with a person that that person should be killed or assassinated. // Maybe the terms in and of themselves ‘neutraliseer’ and ‘elimineer,’ may be ambiguous and one may have to look in each and every instance at the particular context in which those are used, but would you agree that one interpretation of particularly the term ‘elimineer’ when it is used in the context in the document that was provided to you is that ‘vyandelike leiers geneutraliseer of geelimineer moet word,’ that one of the interpretations of that is that those ...more
|You concede that at the very least those words are ambiguous and capable of different interpretations. // Yes not only those words, sir all words are open to misconstruction. I cannot go into semantics about that sir. The dictionary meaning is quite clear, but I don’t think policemen or soldiers have got dictionaries when they read these things, these instructions. And I say, depending upon your culture, your understanding, your comprehension, your language capability it could have been misconstrued.