About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Chapter 6: Special Investigation into the death of President Samora Machel

INTRODUCTION

1. On 19 October 1986, the Mozambican presidential aircraft, a Tupolev TU 134A-3 was returning from Zambia after the Lusaka Summit to be in time for Ms Graça Machel's birthday. President Samora Machel and twenty-four others died when the plane crashed in the mountainous terrain near Mbuzini near Komatipoort. The crash site is in the little triangle where the borders of Swaziland and Mozambique meet the South African border in the Lebombo Mountains.

2. The Margo Commission of Inquiry was established to investigate the crash and concluded that it had been caused by pilot error. A Soviet team also conducted an investigation into the incident, and concluded that a decoy beacon had caused the plane to stray off-course before it crashed into the mountains at Mbuzini.

3. This Commission's investigation into the matter did not find conclusive evidence to support either of these conclusions. Circumstantial evidence collected did, however, question the conclusions reached by the Margo Commission.

METHODOLOGY

4. All available evidence was collected and analysed by the Commission, including documents and interviews. Finally, an in camera hearing, in terms of section 29 of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act (the Act), was held at the Commission's offices in Cape Town and Johannesburg to enable commissioners to test the veracity of evidence presented by witnesses.

5. Witnesses at the hearings included:

Ø     Ms Graça Machel, the widow of President Samora Machel (and now the wife of President Mandela);

Ø     Dr Abdul Minty, former honorary secretary of the British Anti-Apartheid Movement and current deputy director general in the Department of Foreign Affairs;

Ø     Mr JNJ van Rensburg, attorney for the Margo Commission;

Ø     "Ben" (real name withheld to protect his identity), former Military Intelligence (MI) officer;

Ø     Major Craig Williamson, former South African security force spy;

Ø     Mr Anton Uys, former security police officer who headed the South African Police (SAP) investigation immediately after the crash;

Ø     "James" (real name withheld to protect his identity), former Koevoet member and subsequent MI officer.

6. The Commission's Investigation Unit interviewed many others in an attempt to arrive at the truth.

INVESTIGATIVE FINDINGS

The context

7. A police video in the Commission's possession shows South African Foreign Minister Pik Botha telling journalists at the crash site that President Samora Machel and others killed in the crash were his and President PW Botha's very good friends, and that their deaths were therefore a tragedy for South Africa. However, cabinet minutes record that, for several months before the crash, tensions between South Africa and Mozambique were increasing.

8. Shortly before the crash, the Mozambican chief of staff accused the Malawi government of President Hastings Banda of assisting "South African surrogates" (RENAMO, the National Resistance Movement in Mozambique) to set up bases in Malawi, and of issuing travel documents to, amongst others, the RENAMO leader.

9. A month before the crash, President Machel confronted President Banda in the presence of his Zambian and Zimbabwean counterparts in an acrimonious exchange in Blantyre. President Banda was given an ultimatum to stop his activities or Mozambique would close its borders with Malawi. After the meeting, President Machel called a news conference at Maputo airport, saying that he would place missiles along the border with Malawi and would not hesitate to launch a pre-emptive strike if necessary.

10. Following this, thousands of RENAMO troops left Malawi and entered northern Mozambique. An escalation of hostilities ensued, threatening to divide Mozambique in two.

11. In addition, weeks before the crash, six South Africans died in a landmine explosion on the border with Mozambique. South African Defence Minister Magnus Malan threatened President Machel openly for the first time "he will clash head-on with South Africa" and alleged that Mozambique had renewed its support for the African National Congress (ANC). This was followed by the termination of 58 000 Mozambican jobs in South Africa, a devastating blow to the fragile economy. South African military activity in Mozambique increased rapidly.

12. It is clear from cabinet minutes at this time that the South African government believed Mozambique to be on the verge of collapse.

13. On the night of the crash, President Machel was returning from the Lusaka Summit, which had focused on the liberation of the region.

14. After the crash, Foreign Minister Pik Botha alleged that the Lusaka Summit had plotted the overthrow the government of Malawi. No proof of this exists.

15. Further, the State Security Council (SSC) minutes from January 1984 indicate that the Mozambican working group, including General Jac Buchner and Major Craig Williamson, discussed how to help RENAMO overthrow the FRELIMO government (of Mozambique). Later in the same month, the SSC secretariat discussed RENAMO's chances of success.

16. Ms Graça Machel told the Commission that she believed that the Malawi government had held a crisis meeting in February 1984 after President Machel had threatened to close off Malawi's access to the sea if that country did not cease its aid to RENAMO. The possibility of assassinating Machel was allegedly discussed. According to Ms Machel, who gave moving testimony, this proposal was later put to President Banda. The following week, Banda dispatched his senior officers to South Africa for a meeting with President PW Botha, who sent back a message of solidarity.

17. A South African delegation headed by Defence Minister Magnus Malan travelled to Malawi and met with President Banda.

18. Ms Machel believed that the meeting discussed the formation of a special team to monitor the Mozambican president and to recruit senior Mozambican officials to co-operate with them. They allegedly even discussed the recruitment of an official at the Mozambican control tower.

19. A Zambian pilot, Mr Frankeson Zgambo, was recruited and trained by Major Craig Williamson to gather information about President Machel. Major Williamson admitted to this, but insisted that he knew nothing of a plot to assassinate the President.

20. There is no doubt that President Machel was under enormous pressure at the time of his death, not least because of divisions in his own party. Ms Graça Machel confirmed previous attempts on his life, attacks on his residences and attempts by South Africa to attack the Mozambican capital. He was also engaged in a radical restructuring of both his cabinet and the military, which could have upset a number of high-ranking Mozambicans.

The crash

21. Of the thirty-four people on board the presidential aircraft at the time of the crash, only nine survived.

22. One of the survivors walked to a nearby house to ask for help. Arriving back at the scene, he found security force officers already there. Others who arrived to assist, including a nurse, told the Commission that they were chased from the site. They also reported that the security force officers were seen rummaging through the wreckage and confiscating documents. Foreign Minister Pik Botha and Mr Niel Barnard, head of the National Intelligence Service, admitted that documents had been removed from the scene for copying.

23. Mozambique was informed about the incident only a full nine hours after it happened, after a massive land and sea search. The Commission heard evidence that the Mozambican Minister of Security contacted the South African security forces as soon as the Mozambican authorities realised the plane was missing. They were not informed about the accident.

The Margo enquiry

24. The day after the crash, Mozambique and South Africa agreed that an international board of enquiry should be established with the participation of the International Civil Aviation Organisation. According to the Chicago Convention, South Africa, as the state on whose territory the crash had occurred, would head up the investigation. South Africa was, however, obliged to work in partnership with the state of ownership (Mozambique) and the state of manufacture (the Soviet Union). These countries were not, however, taken on as equal partners, and withdrew their participation after the initial stages.

25. The investigation was delayed for several weeks by General Lothar Neethling's refusal to hand over the cockpit voice recorder (the black box), which he had seized at the scene of the crash. Colonel Des Lynch, who headed the police investigation, told the Commission that it took a letter from a lawyer to persuade Neethling to release the box to the investigators.

26. The Margo Commission of Enquiry concluded that the aircraft had been airworthy and fully serviced and that there was no evidence of sabotage or outside interference. The board:

unanimously determined that the cause of the accident was that the flight crew failed to follow procedural requirements for an instrument let-down approach, but continued to descend under visual flight rules in darkness and some cloud without having contact with the minimum safe altitude and minimum assigned altitude, and in addition ignored the Ground Warning Proximity alarm.

27. The Soviet delegation issued a minority report, which stated that, their expertise and experience had been undermined. They advanced the theory of a false beacon, although Mr Justice Margo denied in his report that this charge was formally laid before the board.

28. The Soviet report focused on the 37 degrees' right turn that led the plane into the hills of Mbuzini. It rejected the finding of the Margo Commission, saying that the crew had read the ground proximity warning as false since they believed themselves to be in flat terrain as they approached landing.

29. A former television journalist who was allowed to attend the on-site investigations by the joint Soviet, Mozambican and South African team told the Commission that the television crew was approached on the first afternoon by an investigator of the Directorate of Civil Aviation who was holding a device the size of a pound of butter. The investigator informed the television crew that this could have been a frequency scrambler.

30. During the Margo enquiry, members of the Margo enquiry team told a journalist that the device had been found to be harmless. However, an expert on mobile beacons told the Commission that the device could have decoded the aeroplane's signal, locked onto it and been used to interfere in the direction of the aircraft.

The VOR beacon

31. The report of the Margo enquiry includes a reference to the fatal turn made by the aircraft, stating that it was following the signals of a VOR (very high frequency omnidirectional radio) which was not that of Maputo. Mr Justice Margo argued that the beacon at Matsapa airport in Swaziland, which had a similar code, might have led the plane astray.

32. The Commission received information that the Matsapa airport company, SASEA, had been run by a well-known alleged member of the Italian Mafia with close links to the South African security establishment. Intelligence reports provided by the National Intelligence Agency show that airport control in Maputo had fallen into the same hands. Control over the Matsapa airport and the Maputo control tower would have been essential to the success of a decoy beacon.

33. A South African Airways (SAA) signal expert, Mr Paul Gelpin, was emphatic that "the only way that a rogue beacon could have worked was if there was an accomplice at the Maputo VOR who switched it off for the critical period of the plot". This possibility is strengthened by allegations that Mr Cornelio Vasco Cumbe (alias Roberto Santos Macuacua), who worked at the control tower at Maputo airport, had been recruited by the South African security forces. Moreover, Dr Abdul Minty revealed that the tapes at the Maputo airport had been lost.

34. Regarding the existence of a mobile decoy beacon, a South African Air Force flight sergeant, who was at 4AD Snake Valley near Pretoria during 1986 told the Commission that he had seen a friend building such a beacon in the month before the crash. He described the assembly and workings and provided technical sketches and background to illustrate the beacon's appearance and operation. It had left the base with its builder during the weekend of the crash and was returned the following week.

35. The flight sergeant testified that such a beacon could have been used to divert and bring down a plane. The Commission was given the name of the person who built the beacon and the person who gave the orders for it to be built.

36. Two pilots flying in the area that night have said the Maputo signal came on unusually early.

37. In August 1998, the Commission was given the name of a person who is alleged to have erected a decoy beacon on the side of the mountain at Mbuzini. The end of the lifespan of the Commission's Human Rights Violations Committee at the end of August 1998 prevented the investigators from corroborating this information.

38. Investigations also revealed that, had there not been an intention to bring the aircraft down, the South African authorities could have prevented the incident, or at least ensured fewer casualties. There is no doubt that the South African authorities had the ability to monitor the aircraft. According to Dr Minty, the head of the South African Air Force responded to an article he wrote for Amnesty International Monitor shortly after the crash, acknowledging that the air force had in fact monitored the aircraft that night.

39. Although the plane entered a military and operational zone (a "special restricted airspace") which was under twenty-four hour radar surveillance by a highly sophisticated Plessey system, no warning was given that the plane was off-course and in South African airspace, nor was preventive action taken. A member of the Mozambican investigating team told the Commission:

I think it is reasonable to assume that they (the South Africans) saw the flight diverting from its normal path, going towards the crash site. And I also think that it's reasonable to say that they failed all the basic norms and regulations of international aviation. Because they failed to warn the crew about the mistake which was being made.

The South African security forces

40. A large number of South African Special Forces troops converged in the area of Komatipoort/Mbuzini on the night of the crash.

41. "Ben" a former MI officer, testified at the section 29 enquiry in Cape Town that he had been based at Skwamans, a secret security police base shared with MI operatives halfway between Mbuzini and Komatipoort, at the time of the incident. He claims that a number of high-ranking security force officials converged on Skwamans for a meeting and a braai the day before the crash. They left late that night in a small plane and some returned after the crash had taken place. In a sworn statement, he provided the names of General Kat Liebenberg, Foreign Minister Pik Botha, General van der Westhuizen of Military Intelligence (MI) and about fifteen others, mostly from Eastern Transvaal Command and Group 33.

42. Also present was the Eastern Transvaal MI head, Captain Wayne Lelly, who headed up another secret base, Sub-station 4, which overlooked the mountain where the plane first hit. This base was opened a year before the crash and, according to "Ben", was used by MI to interrogate cadres. "Ben" alleges that some of the operatives went to Sub-station 4 "at the crack of dawn" on the day of the crash. He also forwarded the names of some askaris and five reconnaissance force members.

43. Captain Lelly now lives in Mozambique and has confirmed his presence on the scene, but claims it was for another operation.

44. An independent source confirmed to a Gauteng investigator that Skwamans was closed shortly after the crash. Several other sources confirmed the presence and involvement of Captain Lelly and an MI planning commander.

45. Many other security force members confirmed to the Commission that there had been a strong presence of police and military personnel in the area at the time of the incident.

The wreckage

46. The Commission attempted to track down the scattered pieces of wreckage of the plane. It was decided that the Commission would assist the Department of Arts and Culture, Science and Technology in its effort to collect the pieces as part of their planned memorial for Mbuzini.

47. The main pieces of wreckage are still at Tonga police station, where they were taken after the investigation. Some pieces found their way to a game farm. The rest of the wreckage is at a scrap yard in Witrivier.

CONCLUSION

48. The investigations conducted by the Commission raised a number of questions, including the possibility of a false beacon and the absence of a warning from the South African authorities. The matter requires further investigation by an appropriate structure.

Special Investigation into the Helderberg Crash

INTRODUCTION

1. On 28 October 1987, the SAA Helderberg, a Boeing 747, crashed into the sea off the coast of Mauritius. All 159 people on board died. Almost immediately after the incident, allegations of foul play were made. A year later, in January 1989, the South African government established a commission of enquiry headed by Justice Cecil Margo to determine the cause of the crash.

2. The Margo Commission found that the crash was caused by a fire on board, but that the cause of the fire was undetermined. Many people rejected this finding, including investigative journalists who insisted that there were strong indications that the fire was caused by dangerous substances on board. Allegations were made that South African Airways (SAA) passenger flights were used to courier arms components and explosives in sanctions-busting activities by the parastatal Armscor.

3. Whilst no hard evidence was provided to back these claims, journalists continued to find circumstantial evidence to suggest that the Helderberg could have been carrying such dangerous substances, and that these might have caused the fire on board, leading to the crash.

4. Former SAA employees came forward, often anonymously, to support the allegation that it was not unusual for passenger flights to carry dubious parcels destined, they presumed, for Armscor. Moreover, members of the Flight Engineers Association indicated that the Margo Commission had overlooked important information when investigating the incident. There were allegations of cover-ups by the Margo Commission and experts suggested that the fire might have been "self-promoted" (with a self-generated oxygen source).

5. The allegations of a cover-up and uncertainty about the cause of the fire prevented families of victims from putting the matter to rest. Individual submissions were made to this Commission by Mr Peter Wills, twin brother of John Wills who was killed in the crash, Mr Rod Cramb, brother of a crew member; Mr Pieter Strijdom, whose wife died on board; and Ms Michelline Daniels, who lost her brother. The Commission also received a submission from Friends of the Victims of the Helderberg, urging the Commission to find the cause of the destruction of the plane.

6. The Commission began an investigation in late 1997 despite the fact that it was unclear whether the crash was politically motivated, a criterion for an enquiry by the Commission. Although extensive enquiries were conducted and circumstantial evidence collected, the Commission was unable to determine the cause of the fire. It is hoped, however, that the Commission's efforts will assist any future investigations into the matter.

METHODOLOGY

7. An enormous amount of documentation about the incident was made available to the Commission by an investigative journalist. Documents included cargo manifests, submissions to the Margo Commission, newspaper reports, reports by independent scientists and engineers and a report by the Flight Engineers Association, amongst others.

8. Investigators analysed the documentation and identified individuals who could provide additional information to the Commission. These included families of victims and former SAA employees. Once these individuals had been interviewed, the Commission decided to approach a further group of people. Many of these represented the interests of the implicated parties, such as SAA and Armscor. It was decided that the Commission should utilise its section 29 powers to hold an in camera investigative enquiry to canvass the views of these people. This would provide them with an opportunity to answer questions in the presence of their legal representatives and would enable a panel of Commissioners to evaluate the information gained at first hand. The following people appeared as witnesses at the hearing:

Ø     Mr Joseph Braizblatt, SAA cargo manager at Ben Gurion airport, Tel Aviv, Israel;

Ø     Dr David Klatzow, an independent forensic scientist;

Ø     Mr Richard Steyl, an Armscor employee in the shipping department;

Ø     Dr J Steyn, a former Armscor employee and MD of Altech Electronic Systems, which had two loads of cargo on the Helderberg;

Ø     Mr John David Hare, a former Armscor employee who joined SAA;

Ø     Mr Brian Watching, a former SAA employee;

Ø     Mr Tinie Willemse, a lawyer who was chief director: international relations of SAA at the time of the incident;

Ø     Mr Gerrit Dirk van der Veer, chief executive officer of SAA at the time of the incident;

Ø     Mr Thinus Jacobs, manager of SAA in Taipei between 1987 and 1991;

Ø     Mr Mickey Mitchell, chief of operations for SAA at Jan Smuts (incorporating Springbok Radio Tower) at the time of the incident;

Ø     Dr Andrè Buys, Armscor general manager: planning.

9. Others who were interviewed included:

Ø     Mr Japie Smit, director of civil aviation;

Ø     Mr Leslie Stokoe, an expert on dangerous goods;

Ø     Mr Vernon Nadel, duty officer at the Springbok Radio centre on the night of the incident;

Ø     Mr Rennie van Zyl, current chief director of civil aviation;

Ø     Mr Jimmy Mouton, SAA flight engineer and friend of the flight engineer killed in the crash.

INVESTIGATIVE RESULTS

The cause of the fire

10. Nothing in the cargo inventory could have resulted in a "self- promoted" fire. However, the original cargo manifests were not part of the record of the Margo Commission, and it is uncertain whether those in the possession of the Commission are authentic. There is therefore no reliable list of what cargo was being transported by the Helderberg when it crashed.

11. It was suggested to the Commission that Armscor may have had a goods consignment on the Helderberg that could have been responsible for causing the fire. Armscor conducted an internal investigation after the incident and denies having had any items on the flight.

12. The Commission believed that two Armscor employees from the company Somchem, which was producing rockets and missiles during the apartheid years, could provide important information. Armscor could not assist the Commission in locating either Dr JJ Dekker, who was the MD of Somchem, or Mr François Humphries, who was procurement officer at the time.

13. Interviews with SAA pilots indicated that there was a belief amongst pilots that passenger flights were frequently used to transport armaments and components for Armscor.

The timing of the fire

14. Much time has been spent attempting to determine the exact time the fire broke out. The conclusion reached by the Margo Commission was that the fire started just before the descent to land in Mauritius.

15. This conclusion is questionable because of the fact that there is no overlap between the conversation of the cockpit voice recorder (CVR, commonly known as the black box) and the conversations between the Helderberg and Mauritius air control an hour before the crash and again four minutes before the crash. This could indicate that the CVR stopped recording before the descent for landing, and the recorded conversation could therefore have taken place at any time on the nine-hour flight from Taipei.

16. The conversation on the CVR was analysed by the Flight Engineers Association, which concluded that the discussion was likely to have taken place within three hours of the flight leaving Taipei. This would indicate that something stopped the recording at this early stage of the flight. The flight engineers presented the Margo Commission with a submission indicating that they believed there had been two fires on board.

17. The Margo Commission ruled most of the CVR recording inadmissible because it was irrelevant and too personal. Analysts have argued that this decision by Justice Margo prevented his commission from accurately placing the conversation and may therefore have led to incorrect conclusions.

18. The theory of two fires on board was impossible to test adequately, since the recording of the conversations between the Helderberg and South African air traffic control went missing shortly after the incident and was never recovered. In a letter to the Commission, a United States marine said that the CIA had a recording of this conversation. The Commission wrote to the director of the CIA asking him to confirm this and to make a copy available. No response was received.

The fire

19. The Margo Commission did not find a cause for the fire on board the Helderberg, but said that it might have been caused by "ordinary packaging material". This Commission's investigation indicates that ordinary packaging material is unlikely to have been the cause, for the following reasons:

Ø     The fire was contained, and burnt fiercely at a high temperature.

Ø     A packaging material fire causes a great deal of smoke, which would have set off the smoke alarms before the fire threatened the structure of the plane. The indications are that the smoke detectors were not activated until the fire had reached dangerous proportions.

Ø     A promoted fire could reach very high temperatures (far in excess of 1000 degrees Celsius) without setting off smoke alarms.

Ø     A promoted fire could cause packaging materials to catch alight if they were to be exposed to the flames.

20. The possibility of a "self-promoted" fire is raised in a submission to the Margo Commission by Mr Greg Southeard, a chemist working for Burgoyne and Partners of the United Kingdom. Southeard indicated that he believed that the fire could have been caused by an incendiary device or a hazardous substance.

21. The director of civil aviation, Mr Japie Smit, told this Commission that most of such fires the world over are caused by illegal substances on board, and said that, when they simulated the fire, they were unable to put it out without the assistance of the fire brigade.

22. A letter from a Somchem employee to a journalist working on the matter stated that:

South Africa's ammonium perchlorate (APC) production facility was set up in the 1970s at Somchem. Around the time of the Helderberg crash, South Africa was involved in military operations in Angola, Namibia and on the home front. The operational demand for solid rocket fuels was high. Somchem was not keeping up with the demand. A decision was made to double the capacity. This involved shutting down the plant for the duration of the extensions. Because of the ongoing demand, it was impossible to stockpile APC prior to the shutdown. Obviously a large quantity of APC had to be sourced outside the country for a period of several months in defiance of prevailing military sanctions. This was difficult and expensive, and I believe that initially the necessary APC was sourced from America and that it was brought in on SAA passenger planes as an integral part of the necessary deception (Commission's summary).

23. Ammonium perchlorate is used mainly in military Class One applications, and as such is forbidden on all aircraft. Class Five, for commercial/technical application, could be carried by air in limited quantities depending on the type of aircraft (passenger or cargo) and packaging instruction. Supplier countries include the United States, China, Japan and France.

The investigation

24. Questions raised throughout the investigation process indicated that the investigators of the Margo Commission had not followed correct procedures. The matters raised are summarised in the finding below.

CONCLUSION

25. This Commission's investigation into the Helderberg crash raised significant questions about the incident itself as well as the subsequent investigations that were conducted.

26. The matter is still under investigation by the special investigation team of the Gauteng Attorney-General.

THIS COMMISSION'S INVESTIGATION INTO THE CRASH OF THE HELDERBERG ON 28 OCTOBER 1987 SHOWED THAT MANY QUESTIONS AND CONCERNS REMAIN UNANSWERED, INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING:

Ø     THE DIRECTOR OF CIVIL AVIATION (DCA) NEGLECTED TO SECURE ALL DOCUMENTATION AND RECORDINGS AS REQUIRED BY THE FLIGHT ENGINEERS ASSOCIATION [FEA] REGULATIONS: THE CARGO MANIFESTS WERE MISSING.

Ø     MR JIMMY MOUTON OF THE FEA ALLEGES THAT THE FEA WAS REQUESTED BY THE LAWYER ACTING FOR THE DCA, AS WELL AS BY JUSTICE MARGO HIMSELF AT A LATER STAGE, TO WITHDRAW ITS SUBMISSION INDICATING THAT THERE MAY HAVE BEEN TWO FIRES ON BOARD.

Ø     THE TAPE WHICH WOULD HAVE RECORDED CONTACT BETWEEN THE HELDERBERG AND SPRINGBOK RADIO CONTROL REMAINS MISSING.

Ø     EYEWITNESSES OF THE CRASH WERE NOT CALLED TO GIVE EVIDENCE BEFORE THE MARGO COMMISSION.

Ø     THE MARGO COMMISSION DID NOT CALL MEMBERS OF ARMSCOR TO GIVE EVIDENCE.

27. It is clear that further investigation is necessary before this matter can be laid to rest.

Special Investigation into Project Coast

SOUTH AFRICA'S CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL WARFARE PROGRAMME

INTRODUCTION

1. The Commission's hearings into South Africa's Chemical and Biological Warfare programme (the CBW programme, also known as Project Coast) during the 1980s and early 1990s, were held in Cape Town in June and July 1998. The hearings focused on the apparently offensive (as opposed to defensive) aspects of the programme. The image of white-coated scientists, professors, doctors, dentists, veterinarians, laboratories, universities and front companies, propping up apartheid with the support of an extensive international network, was a particularly cynical and chilling one. Here was evidence of science being subverted to cause disease and undermine the health of communities. Cholera, botulism, anthrax, chemical poisoning and the large-scale manufacture of drugs of abuse, allegedly for purposes of crowd control, were amongst the projects of the programme. Moreover, chemicals, poisons and lethal micro-organisms were produced for use against individuals, and 'applicators' (murder weapons) developed for their administration.

2. The CBW programme, which was developed and supported by scientists, health professionals, research laboratories and front companies, fell under the nominal control of the surgeon-general of the armed forces. Ostensibly designed and conducted to support a 'defensive capability' in response to perceived external threats and international developments, the CBW programme displayed numerous bizarre aberrations of policy, management and intent. Overall approval and budget control lay with a central management committee which included the chief of staff of the defence force, the chief of staff of intelligence, the surgeon general as project manager and the project leader, Dr Wouter Basson. It became clear at the hearing that the overall command by the surgeon general and his colleagues on the co-ordinating committee was either ignored, or alternatively that they themselves were complicit in the programme's criminal aberrations.

3. One of the curious aspects of the CBW programme was the high level of respect it enjoyed with the military and the government of the day. The facts, as they emerged in the Commission's hearings, show that this respect was misplaced. The scientific research undertaken by the project was pedestrian, misdirected, ineffectual and unproductive. It was also exorbitantly expensive, costing the nation tens if not hundreds of millions of rands. Moreover, the evidence that emerged at the Commission's hearings demonstrates that it resulted in the substantial self-enrichment of several of the individuals involved.

4. The investigation began with a single amnesty application, a small number of confiscated technical documents relating to the programme and documentation from the Commission's Research Department. It expanded into a comprehensive exposé, based on more than 150 documents, affidavits, amnesty applications and interviews. The results provide a basis for further investigation of the individuals involved and their apparently unprofessional and criminal activities. They also ensure that such aberrations in national policy and individual behaviour are chronicled and prevented from happening again. In this regard, there may also be lessons for the international community.

METHODOLOGY

5. The Commission's exploration of the South African Defence Force (SADF) chemical and biological warfare programme began in 1996 with a top secret briefing by Mr Mike Kennedy of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the surgeon general, Dr DPKnobel, to a select group of Commission officials who had received security clearance from the NIA. The gist of the briefing was that although South Africa had had a CBW capability in the past, it had been defensive in nature and had subsequently been dismantled.

6. After this briefing, the Research Department began to look at the background to the programme and its implications, relying on the information that was available. This included press clippings, a few intelligence reports and some information gathered by Mr Claus De Jonge who was asked to look at the programme in Europe. The Research Department then drew up a list of anti-apartheid activists who had been the target of poisonings or suspected poisonings (for example, the attempted assassination of the Reverend Frank Chikane in 1989). This led the Commission to conclude that toxins may have been used by the security forces in their war against the 'total onslaught', a conclusion later corroborated by former operatives of the SADF.

7. The arrest of Dr Basson and the seizure of four trunks containing documents related to Project Coast in January 1997 provided the Commission with proof that there was more to the programme than had initially met the eye. The Commission was one of four interested groups with access to the trunks, the other three being the Office for Serious Economic Offences, the Gauteng Attorney-General's Special Investigation Team and the NIA. An agreement was struck between the parties that the Commission would have unhindered access to the information in the trunks.

8. In 1997, the Commission decided to call the project officer, Dr Basson, for a section 29 in camera hearing, in an attempt to glean more information about the programme and its relation to human rights abuses. Before the subpoena could be enforced, the Commission was approached by the Attorney-General and the NIA. The Commission was persuaded that enforcing the subpoena could be detrimental to the case that the Attorney-General was building against Dr Basson, and that it could jeopardise state security. The Commission was requested to hold a meeting with the Deputy President, which would be organised by the NIA, to discuss these matters. The Commission agreed and Dr Basson was informed that he would not be required to appear before an investigative hearing at that stage.

9. A series of meetings between the Commission and the NIA took place but no meeting with the Deputy President was forthcoming. The Commission issued a second subpoena to Dr Basson in February 1997. Again, the NIA intervened and the Commission agreed not to enforce the subpoena until it had consulted with the necessary parties.

10. By August 1997, two related amnesty applications had been identified. The Commission could no longer postpone its investigation into the CBW programme. It had become clear that investigating only the two amnesty applications and not the operations of the programme in general would represent a neglect of the Commission's duty to uncover the truth.

11. It was therefore agreed that an in-depth investigation would be conducted, starting in February 1998. At that stage there were only four months remaining before the Commission would have to conclude all its investigative work.

12. Discussions with the office of the Attorney-General again revealed a concern that the Commission's investigation would have a negative impact on its prosecution of Dr Basson. It was clear that an overlap between the two investigations could not be avoided. The group of scientists with information about the programme was small and the amount of information available consequently limited. Although the Commission assured the Attorney-General on a number of occasions that it did not intend to damage his case in any way, progress was slow and at no stage was information shared between the two offices. The NIA continued to share the concerns of the Attorney-General and had additional concerns that it believed to be even more serious. This made for a slow and painful beginning to the investigation, requiring more negotiation than investigation.

13. The Office for Serious Economic Offences was, however, very helpful. Although it expressed doubts about the Commission's ability to complete an investigation of such magnitude in so short a period of time, it provided enough information and assistance to guide the Commission in the right direction. Access to documents from the trunks also proved vital to the Commission's case.

14. The first real investigative steps involved setting up a number interviews with a wide range of people. In order to make a start, a core group of important individuals was identified. During a series of debriefings with this group and an examination of the vast and confusing evidence that was being gathered, the true complexity of the programme began to emerge. It was soon realised that the limited scientific knowledge available in the Commission was simply not sufficient to help it understand the implications of the research documents from Roodeplaat Research Laboratories and Delta G Scientific. It also became clear that the focus of the investigations would have to be restricted considerably, since time was at a premium and the subject matter was vast.

15. Professor Peter Folb, head of the Pharmacology Department at the University of Cape Town, was approached and agreed to provide the Commission with assistance. With his expert help, the Commission was able to decipher the relevant documents and begin to develop a complete picture of the bizarre type of science that was conducted by these military front companies.

16. A computer database of all documents relevant to the investigation was developed and the Commission continued to conduct interviews with scientists and others involved in the programme. It was clear that the hearing (planned for 8 to 12 June 1998) would not be able to touch on all aspects of the investigation. It was decided, therefore, in discussion with the legal officer of the Commission and the commissioners, that the focus of the hearing should be further limited. The potential witness list was also re-examined and a final, shortened list decided upon.

17. Two weeks before the hearing was due to take place, government, in the person of the Deputy Minister of Defence, requested a meeting with the Commission to discuss the sensitivity of the hearing. A series of meetings with high level government representatives, including the offices of the President, the Deputy President, the Minister of Defence, the NIA and the South African Council for the Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction ensued. It became clear that there were two reasons for the government's concern about a public hearing. First, that it could violate international obligations in relation to the international proliferation of chemical and biological weapons; and second, that it could jeopardise international relations with countries which may have assisted the programme but with whom South Africa continues to have diplomatic relations. This culminated in a representation by government that the hearing be held in camera, a suggestion that was declined. However, provision was made for the presence of a legal representative on behalf of government to ensure that no information was released that could lead to proliferation.

RESULTS OF THE INVESTIGATION

Individual poisonings

18. The discovery of a document which has become known as the 'Verkope lys' (sales list) and a list of SADF sponsored ('hard') projects conducted at Roodeplaat Research Laboratories provided the Commission with a clear indication that there was an intent to poison individuals, and that the front company, Roodeplaat Research Laboratories, was involved in the development of the toxins used for this purpose. The list, found amongst the documents seized at the time of Dr Basson's arrest, was authored by Dr André Immelman, head researcher on SADF projects at Roodeplaat Research Laboratories. Dr Immelman provided the Commission with an affidavit that confirms that he authored the list at a time when he had been required, at Dr Basson's request, to provide a group of individuals with the toxins. The items on the list include anthrax in cigarettes, botulinum in milk and paraoxon in whiskey - in the Commission's view clearly murder weapons. This was, indeed, conceded by witnesses at the hearing and Dr Knobel went so far as to say that, in his view, such a list could not form part of a legitimate defensive programme. The inclusion of a baboon foetus on the list, dated late July 1989 (just prior to such a foetus being found in the garden of Archbishop Tutu's house), as well as a reference to chemical and biological operatives, indicated that the items may well have found their way, directly or indirectly, into the hands of operatives of the Civil Co-operation Bureau (CCB).

19. Discussions with members of the CCB indicated that operatives were not necessarily aware of the existence of a CBW programme. They were, however, aware of the capacity of the SADF doctors to provide them with toxins. This was corroborated by a member of the Directorate of Covert Collection who explained to investigators that there was an understanding in their unit that they could get toxins from Dr Basson.

Street drugs

20. Documents seized at the time of Dr Basson's arrest indicated that the front company, Delta G Scientific, was involved in the manufacture of significant quantities of methaqualone (mandrax) and ecstasy, and was also involved in researching the possibility of using street drugs for crowd control purposes. This was corroborated at the hearing.

21. It was also established that approximately 1 000kg of ecstasy was manufactured in 1992 and was, in all likelihood, encapsulated by Medchem Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of the holding company Medchem Consolidated Investments, under which Delta G Scientific also fell. The production manager at Delta G Scientific informed investigators that he had been approached in 1988 by the managing director of the company, Dr Philip Mijburgh, and asked to produce 1 000kg of methaqualone. It is not certain whether this was also encapsulated, but it seems likely. The explanation given by witnesses was that the intention was to use it for crowd control purposes. General Lothar Neethling told the Commission during the hearing that, on three occasions, he had been requested to provide Dr Basson with mandrax tablets confiscated by the South African Narcotics Bureau (SANAB). He claimed that he had given Dr Basson approximately 200 000 tablets in total as well as quantities of LSD and dagga, on the understanding that they would be investigated to determine whether they would be appropriate crowd control weapons. None of the witnesses could provide the Commission with any information about tests that had been conducted in this regard and at least one witness stated that these drugs would not be suitable for such a purpose.

22. In August 1988, Delta G Scientific began producing 1 000kg of methaqualone. From the documentation provided by DrKnobel, it seems that tests were carried out on methaqualone as an incapacitant in 1988, and that it was established that it was not effective since it did not take effect immediately. As a result, work on methaqualone stopped at the end of 1988 but work on methaqualone analogues continued. What happened to the 1 000 kg of methaqualone has still not been established. Moreover, at the end of 1991, the Co-ordinating Management Committee of Project Coast saw fit to send Dr Basson to Croatia to close a deal with renegade Croatians (including high-ranking government officials) for the purchase of 500kg of methaqualone, which was brought back to South Africa.

23. A year later, this was allegedly destroyed after an order that work on all incapacitants should cease. The deal in Croatia was in itself extremely questionable, leading to a loss of millions of rands. Dr Basson intercepted Vatican bearer bonds to the value of $40 million that had been intended for the purchase of weapons by the Croatian government, leading to his arrest in Switzerland. Why the military was importing such large quantities of methaqualone at such high cost at this late stage of negotiations is not clear and was not adequately answered by Dr Knobel or Dr Basson. The documents also cast doubt on whether these substances were in fact destroyed on 27 January 1993, as alleged.

24. Investigations could not trace the drugs produced at Delta G directly to the street. However, Dr Basson was arrested with quantities of ecstasy and mandrax tablets in his possession, and the Steyn report indicates that Dr Basson allegedly offered an operative mandrax tablets in return for an operation. The Commission has a strong suspicion that drugs obtained during the course of this programme may well have found their way onto the streets.

Mozambican incident

25. In January 1992, FRELIMO troops conducted an operation near the South African border. During the course of the operation, they were allegedly exposed to what was thought to have been a chemical agent. Some of the soldiers died during the incident and others required hospitalisation.

26. A submission by General Pierre Steyn stated that an attack was launched from Komatipoort by South Africans as a training exercise. Investigators were unable to determine the accuracy of this information as use of the Komatipoort airstrip is not regulated.

27. After the incident, a series of investigations were conducted by scientific teams from South Africa, Mozambique, Switzerland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The reports were inconclusive. The only report that expressed a belief that the troops had been exposed to a chemical agent was that of the British scientist. A United Nations investigation was launched and was also unable to come to any firm conclusions.

28. Dr Brian Davy, who had been the head of the South African investigating team, spoke to Professor Peter Folb during the course of the Commission investigation and was unable to provide any further information. Attempts to meet with the British scientist failed. Attempts were also made to access the medical records of the soldiers involved. However, the Mozambican authorities failed to respond to Commission's requests for information. Investigators met with Dr Staub, a member of both the Swiss and the United Nations investigating team. He told them that he believed that the troops had suffered dehydration and had not been the victims of a chemical attack. This explanation struck the Commission's investigation unit as unlikely.

29. Investigators also met with Dr Vernon Joynt of Mechem, which could have manufactured the carrier for such a weapon. This interview did not provide any new information of significance.

30. Unfortunately, the matter remains unresolved.

International links and support

31. Documents in the Commission's possession indicate that Dr Basson travelled extensively to collect information during the initial phase of the CBW programme. He visited Taiwan where he was shown their CBW facilities and provided with significant information, and also attended a conference at San Antonio in the United States in the early 1980s. Documents indicate that, during the apartheid years, members of the SADF visited Israel and West Germany to share information about CBW matters and there was clearly a link with Belgian nationals and companies. Other documents reveal links between the surgeon general and Americans who were part of the United States CBW programme, and demonstrate their willingness to assist the South Africans.

32. Dr Basson and other members of the programme travelled extensively. Their links with sanctions busters and other people prepared to assist the South African CBW programme, both officially and unofficially, cannot be doubted. Dr Basson's trips to Croatia during the 1992/3 period indicate that he had a number of contacts throughout the world who could provide assistance in one way or another.

33. By the end of 1993, the United States and British governments approached the South African government to express concern about the programme. The motives for the meetings between these two governments and the South Africans are unclear. At the hearing, both Dr Basson and Dr Knobel alleged that the British and Americans had informed them that they did not want the programme to fall into the hands of the ANC government after the election in April 1994. Dr Basson visited the US in 1981 and Dr Knobel had contact with scientists who were part of the American CBW programme much later; the existence of a South African programme was no secret to the Americans or the British. A further indication of such a relationship is a visit by Dr Brian Davey, a medical doctor and former member of the South African Medical Services (SAMS), to Porten Down in 1992, after the alleged attack on Mozambican forces (see above).

34. The role of foreign governments in supporting the South African programme is not yet clear. It cannot however be doubted that, without some level of foreign assistance, this programme would not have been possible.

FINANCIAL MISMANAGEMENT

35. There is evidence of large-scale fraud and mismanagement of funds of the CBW programme, which is the subject of an extensive investigation by the Office for Serious Economic Offences (OSEO). The Attorney-General provided the Commission with an interim charge sheet that reveals an intention to charge Dr Basson with fraud amounting to R50 million. Because fraud and theft of funds do not form part of the Commission's mandate, and because this is the subject of an investigation by the OSEO, the Commission did not extensively investigate this aspect. It did, however, become clear in the course of our investigations and through evidence given at the hearing that the programme was fraught with financial irregularities.

INSTITUTIONAL AND STRUCTURAL ASPECTS OF THE CBW PROGRAMME

Military

36. A management committee (beheerkomitee) was established to oversee the management of the CBW programme. It included the chief of the SADF, chief of staff finances, head of counter-intelligence, chief of staff intelligence, the surgeon-general and the project officer (Dr Basson). The management committee had three working groups: a technical working group, a security group and a group responsible for administration and finances. According to documents provided by Dr Knobel (which include a number of minutes from the meetings of this committee), once the front companies were established and running, the committee met once a year to approve the project's budget and as needed in the case of emergencies.

37. The surgeon general acted as project leader, a role that is unclear at this stage. Dr Basson was project officer and apparently reported both to the surgeon general and the head of Special Forces, and variously to the Minister of Defence, chief of the SADF, Minister of Police, commissioner of police and the chief of staff intelligence.

38. Front companies were established to do the work of the programme, with the SADF as the main client. They were also provided with covert funding from the SAMS budget during the earlier period of the programme.

39. No one at the hearing was prepared to take direct responsibility for the programme and responsibility has been passed both up and down. It is the Commission's view that, while Dr Basson was clearly a central figure, several of the people involved in the beheerkomitee cannot deny responsibility. Unfortunately, the exact responsibility for the programme could not be determined.

ANALYSIS

40. The CBW programme in the 1980s and early 1990s was ostensibly established for the purpose of providing the country with a defensive capability. By this it was understood that there should be the necessary expertise to understand and to be able to react to chemical and biological threats posed from outside the country's borders. South Africa should also have the capacity to launch retaliatory attacks in the event of CBW agents being used against South Africa's own forces.

41. It was explicitly and repeatedly stated that the intention was not, and never had been, to develop an offensive capacity. Such intent would have been evidenced by large-scale production at factory level, the manufacture of missiles capable of dispersing chemical and biological substances amongst enemy troops ('weaponisation') and the training of troops in their use. There would also have been at least limited evidence of the use of such agents in warfare.

42. The exception to this was the express intention of the military to develop crowd control agents. These included standard agents for the purposes of self-sufficiency and novel agents developed through the adaptation of chemicals already in existence. There is also invariably some overlap between defensive and offensive programmes. Although never explained in precise terms, this may be the reason for surplus production volumes.

43. In strict military terms, such a defensive programme would need to be managed in accordance with each of a number of criteria. These would include careful compliance with the criteria of defensive capability, sound and disciplined leadership, careful auditing of financial dealings, compliance with international conventions determining the conduct of such military business and reliable and comprehensive systems of accountability. The Commission's hearings showed that the programme failed to meet each and every one of these criteria. In fact, there was consistent evidence of serious departures from these standards.

44. Despite the fact that the South African CBW programme during the period under review has now been exposed as showing gross aberrations of intent, discipline, actions, command structures, financial dealings and professional relationships, it was highly regarded within the military, which considered it a successful programme. The military command maintained that cognoscenti in the international military community shared this opinion. One of the astonishing aspects that emerged in the hearings was that the professionalism, competence and mystique of the programme were stripped away by the evidence of the very people who participated in it. The hearings revealed a nepotistic, self-serving and self-enriching group of people, misled by those who had a technical grasp of what was happening. They conducted work they deemed to be scientific, but which was underpinned by ideas, suggestions and hypotheses that were bizarre and incompetent.

45. Dr Basson's evidence was not fully tested at the hearings because of the legal objections he raised with regard to his forthcoming criminal trial. Initially, Dr Basson's legal representatives indicated that they wished to bring a legal challenge to prevent their client from testifying at the hearing. The panel presiding over the hearing ruled, however, that Dr Basson was compelled to testify. This decision was challenged in the Cape High Court. The court upheld the panel's ruling and ordered Dr Basson to testify before the Commission on 29 July 1998, a mere three days before the mandate to hold human rights violations hearings expired.

46. On 29 July 1998, Dr Basson appeared before the Commission without his Pretoria-based legal representatives and asked that the hearing be postponed until they were available. Ultimately, Dr Basson's evidence was only heard on 31 July. Much of the time was spent on legal argument, and the extent of questioning was curtailed.

47. Although Dr Basson gave evidence for almost twelve hours, the Commission would have preferred to have had an opportunity to question him more thoroughly. In the event, many questions were left unanswered.

48. Dr Immelman, who served as director of the scientific research programme at Roodeplaat Research Laboratories during its existence as a front company for the conduct of the CBW programme, submitted an affidavit. A thorough testing of his evidence must now await his cross-examination in court. It is clear from Dr Immelman's affidavit that he was directly responsible for the production of items on the 'Verkope lys'; that he dealt directly with operatives, and that he is accountable for the scientific content of the Roodeplaat Research Laboratories programme in the years in which he held office - in the mid- and late 1980s and the early 1990s. In addition to the obvious issues of professional culpability, negligence and criminal intent that apply to others as well, it has to be said specifically of Dr Immelman that he allegedly had full knowledge of the activities at the laboratories that were under his control.

49. Inevitably, the CBW programme achieved little of value or of common good. Enveloped as it was by secrecy, threats and fear, opportunism, financial mismanagement, incompetence, self-aggrandisement, together with a breakdown in the normal methods of scientific discourse, the results were paltry. Tens, even hundreds, of millions of rands were squandered on ideas that had no scientific validity. At best, the programme succeeded in producing for manufacture analogues of CR and BZ incapacitants, and in making local arrangements for protective clothing for troops against mass chemical and biological attack. At worst, the programme had criminal intent.

FINDINGS

The Commission finds that:

Ø     Scientists were recruited to the CBW programme from universities and research institutions in South Africa because of their 'patriotism' and loyalty to the government of the day. They were lured by generous conditions of service, facilities, working arrangements and pay packages.

Ø     Work was conducted on a 'need to know' basis, subverting the very purpose of science. The free discourse of information and ideas that characterises scientific endeavour was subverted. Moreover, those who were appointed were intimidated and threatened, even with their lives, if they stepped out of line.

Ø     Overall understanding of the programme, and its co-ordination and direction, were vested in the hands of one person, Dr Basson, whose ability and (it is assumed) integrity were unquestioned both by those who served under him and by those to whom he had to report. It emerged in the hearings that the military command was dependent on Dr Basson for the conduct and command of the programme, even at a time when there were sufficient indications that Dr Basson might not be trustworthy and that there were serious aberrations in what was happening.

Ø     The military command, and pre-eminently the surgeon general, Dr DP Knobel, were grossly negligent in approving programmes and allocating large sums of money for activities of which they had no understanding, and which they made no effort to understand.

Ø     The CBW programme made the self-enrichment of individuals possible and opened the way for a cynical subversion of its ostensible aims in the production of murder weapons for use against individuals.

Ø     A extremely complicated arrangement of front companies supported the programme, a part of whose intention was a plan for its own ultimate privatisation. This, it appears, was intended from the start.

Ø     The development of the programme would not have been possible without some level of international co-operation and support.

The role of the management committee

Ø     The CBW programme, and in particular its gross aberrations, would not have succeeded without the support, active and tacit, of the Co-ordinating Management Committee over the period 1988 to 1995.

Ø     The Committee knew of the large-scale production of mandrax and ecstasy and their purported use, but did not seek to establish reasons for this. It approved of the idea and lent its support directly. The idea of using either mandrax or ecstasy for the purpose of crowd control contravenes international codes. In addition, there was no scientific basis for thinking that it would be an appropriate, safe or sensible form of crowd control.

Ø     The Committee was aware of and authorised Basson's trips to Croatia, at great expense, to purchase 500kg of methaqualone as late as 1992, and assisted Basson when he was arrested in Switzerland in possession of fraudulent bearer bonds.

The surgeon general in particular:

Ø     Knew of the production of murder weapons but refused to address the concerns that were raised with him, on the grounds that they did not fall under his authority. He was nevertheless fully aware that these activities happened in facilities under his direct control and were perpetrated by staff under his chain of command.

Ø     Did not understand, by his own admission, the medical, chemical and technical aspects and implications of a programme that cost tens, if not hundreds of millions of rands.

Ø     Made no effort to come to grips with these technical and medical issues, notwithstanding the fact that he was the highest-ranking medical professional in the military and that others in the military were wholly dependent on his judgement and discretion.

Ø     Advised the Minister of Defence, on 7 January 1993, that South Africa should conceal from the Chemical Weapons Convention that the country possessed NGT (a new generation of tear gas related closely to CR), recommending that South Africa should proceed with the research and development of NGT in a covert manner while at the same time concealing it.

Ø     Approved the budget for projects (in some cases alone, and in others in conjunction with his fellow officers on the management committee, with or without the full understanding of what he was doing) that had as their purpose the murder of individuals, and the undermining of the health, if not the elimination, of entire communities (for example, projects involving cholera, fertility drugs, botulinum, mandrax and ecstasy).

Ø     Agreed to the destruction of documents describing the activities and the financial aspects of these programmes. Instead, he should have ensured that the details of the programme were recorded and accessible, while limiting their accessibility to authorised persons. This would have safeguarded the massive investment, both financial and in terms of scientific achievement, while, on the other hand, guarding against use of the information for purposes of proliferation or criminal activities.

Special Investigation into Secret State Funding

INTRODUCTION

1. The use of secret funding to promote the policies of the former state and to fund operations directed against the opponents of apartheid came to the attention of the Commission shortly after its inception. A copy of the reports of the Advisory Committee on Special Secret Projects, chaired by Professor Ellison Kahn, as well as the report of the Secret Services Evaluation Committee, chaired by Mr Amie Venter, were received from the President's office on 16 October 1996.

2. Former President FW de Klerk provided the Commission with a briefing document giving a background to his investigations into covert activities and funding. He also made available the report of the Ministers' Committee on Special Projects, chaired by the former Minister of Justice, Mr HJ (Kobie) Coetsee.

3. Members of the Commission subsequently met with the senior staff of the office of the Auditor-General and requested that the Auditor-General, Mr Henri Kluever, assist the Commission in obtaining an understanding of the nature and extent of covert accounts conducted by the former government. The Commission has not received information on the specific nature of the activities undertaken by the recipients of covert funding, nor did it investigate the actual use made of the funding. It is, however, clear that there were funds in secret bank accounts at the time of the Kahn Committee. Furthermore, the Auditor-General reported that a total of more than R2.75 billion was expended through the Secret Services Account between 1978 and 1994. This does not, however, constitute the full amount spent by state departments on secret and other sensitive projects. As is clear in the Auditor-General's report, a vast number of projects would not have been formally registered as secret projects but were undertaken within departmental line functions. The Special Defence Account, for example, was used to fund 'sensitive line function projects' and the Department of Foreign Affairs funded projects designed to counter sanctions and other activities as reported later in this chapter.

4. The need clearly exists for the President to appoint an appropriate committee to enquire further into covert funding not least with a view to ensuring that, where possible, funds in covert accounts were paid back to the treasury. Where such funding continues to be absolutely necessary, clear guidelines need to be put in place and the nature and extent of such funding reported to Parliament on a regular basis. This requires an evaluation of existing structures and regulations governing the use of secret funds.

OVERVIEW OF STATE SECRET PROJECTS

5. An overview is provided below of certain projects undertaken by the South African Defence Force (SADF), South African Police (SAP), National Intelligence Service (NIS), Department of Foreign Affairs and Department of National Education, as presented to the Kahn Committee, the Ministers' Committee on Special Projects and the Secret Services Evaluation Committee1.

6. Most projects appear to be related to the establishment of front organisations or actions aimed at counteracting the activities of the African National Congress (ANC) and its allies, primarily in the sphere of information, communication, disinformation, propaganda and counter-propaganda. Other projects were aimed at circumventing sanctions.

7. This is not a comprehensive list but aims to provide insight into the nature of some projects. The following constraints should be noted.

Ø     The mandate of the Kahn Committee apparently required the committee only to consider those projects placed before it by relevant departments.

Ø     Evidence suggests that not all existing projects were brought before the committee. It seems that some projects that were already being terminated were not referred to the committee.

Ø     As indicated earlier, a vast number of projects were not formally registered as secret projects but were undertaken within departmental line functions.

South African Defence Force (SADF)

8. The SADF secret projects covered a range of activities such as publications, front organisations, and support to surrogate groups. Publications included Special Despatch (Project Olive), the Aida Parker Newsletter (Project Villa Marie), Christians for Truth (Project Camara) and Stand To (Project Mediant), as well as a printing press and publications in Botswana such as News Links Africa (Project Parker).

9. Secret projects concerned with contra-mobilisation included the establishment and support of conservative or 'moderate' organisations such as the Federal Independent Democratic Alliance (FIDA), known as Project Capital. FIDA had a head office in Johannesburg and thirteen regional bases, and is described in the report as "a moderate alliance of black organisations to combat violence and advance stability" that was "a very valuable source of information to the Defence Force on violence in black townships". Similarly, Project Napper covered the Eagles youth clubs, "another valuable source of information on violence in black townships", active in the Orange Free State, northern and western Cape, Vaal Triangle and southern Transvaal.

10. Other organisations include Vroue vir Suid Afrika (Women for South Africa Project Leafy), Jeugkrag (Youth Power Project Essay), the use of consultants in covert front organisations such as the South African Christian Cultural Organisation (SACCO), the Eastern Cape Sports Foundation, the Lion Life Research Corporation (Project Jetty), Veterans for Victory (Project Mediant), Family Focus, and the Western Cape Council of Churches (Project Camara).

11. Two of the more costly projects were Pacman and Byronic. Pacman was the code name for the International Freedom Foundation, which had offices in Johannesburg, Washington, London, Brussels and Bonn. Its objectives were described as the combating of sanctions and support to constitutional initiatives through publications, lobbying, conferences etc. It specifically supported Mr Jonas Savimbi and UNITA. Leading personalities in government circles in Europe and the USA were involved, with half of its funds coming from abroad. Pacman's annual budget for 1991/92 was listed as over R10 million. In late September 1991, the Minister of Finance agreed to a one-off payment of R7 million, approved by Minster of Defence, "to enable the country to withdraw from the enterprise". This payment was vested in a trust controlled by trustees appointed by SADF.

12. Project Byronic related to an international programme in favour of UNITA. Contracts concerning leading political and governmental figures were scheduled to continue until the September 1992 elections in Angola. In late September, the Minister of Finance approved a payment of R7 million into a trust similar to that of Pacman, to end South Africa's association with the enterprise. The project also involved the transport of goods to UNITA in Angola. A sub-project included the setting up and running of a commercial flight rental company, mainly to support UNITA, which was then to be closed with a R7 million payment to UNITA. The expenditure for the 1991/92 financial year was approximately R108.4 million, with a projected budget of R98 million for 1992/93.

13. Projects Rooibos and Hardekool provided "theological training for the independent churches with the object of inculcating a moderate religious conviction in support of current constitutional initiatives".

14. Other projects mentioned to the Kahn Committee in name only included Gezina, Liberal, Mapoly, Scottish, Choke, Brussels, Eikenhof, Concert, Boesman, Kerwer, Instigator and Steenbras.

15. Project Marion was not put before the Kahn Committee. It was reported to the Ministers' Committee on Special Projects in October 1992 as a project designed "to put Inkatha in a position to neutralise the assault by MK2 against it" but having its mandate modified on 1 March 1990 "to maintain links with Chief Minister Buthelezi". It was reported that initial training took place in 1986 with sporadic contact and retraining until June 1989. Thereafter, Marion was meant only for financing travel costs and 'inligtingskakeling' (intelligence links) until March 1991. The books for the period until November 1991 in the 1991/92 financial year reflect only travel expenses for two security briefings of Chief Buthelezi by SADF members. Elsewhere in the report of the Commission, Project Marion is shown to have contributed directly to the perpetration of gross human rights violations.

16. Other projects not disclosed to the Kahn Committee but raised with the Ministers' Committee on Special Projects in October 1992 include Project Ogden, Project Friendship (which established and funded a Directorate of Covert Collection front company, Longreach, to influence business people locally and overseas by means of a newsletter) and Project Liberal (the Quo Data research organisation which promoted Communications Operations (COMOPS) goals with certain media agents in Europe), all of which were being terminated in accordance with the State President's guidelines (see below).

Department of Foreign Affairs

17. The key goals of the secret projects appear to have been related to the collection of information (such as Toegang tot Afrika Entrance to Africa), building a positive image of South Africa, and sanctions busting (such as projects Blue, Arcadia, Grail, Sixpack, and Opals).

18. Project Blue established a financial trust, the Taussig Familienstiftung (Taussig Family Trust) registered in Liechtenstein, which acted as a conduit for secret transactions and through which secret projects could be managed. It guaranteed payment of debts owed by projects Grail and Arcadia. Transfers included R3 336 891.40 to Rothschilds Bank in November 1985, and R11.4 million to an unknown recipient through Credit Suisse Geneva in February 1986. Taussig guarantees issued to the Liechtenstein bank include one for 1,2 million pounds sterling for the purchase of major equipment for Grail, and another for 1,5 million pounds sterling plus interest regarding certain shares in Finlan Group PLC. The assets of the trust were estimated at around R20 million.

19. Project Grail was a sanctions-busting operation and was the code name of a large company in the United Kingdom, started around 1977 with help from Rothschilds Bank. It involved the buying and selling of computer equipment and the provision of equipment and services for disaster recovery of computer back-ups. "The true identity of the company is hidden by layers of trusts and holding companies, starting with a Jersey trust based on a deceased family trust, thereafter a holding company in Jersey, thereafter a holding company in the UK. South African associations are buried deep."

20. Project Thurston involved obtaining television material for the SABC via United Studios, Cablelink, Satlink, Filmtel and MGI/IMGC.

21. Front organisations and public relations companies organised visits to South Africa by prominent leading European personalities and United States business people and Congress leaders through projects such as Acoda and Swart Sakelui (Black Business People).

22. Individuals were paid to establish relationships and information flow, particularly in Africa. Mr John Coker, a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) journalist and specialist on Africa with connections to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was employed at an annual fee of R125 000 plus airfares to act as a source of information and convey information on South Africa's behalf. A similar arrangement existed with a French businessperson, Mr Jean Yves Ollivier, employed to advance South Africa's interests in francophone Africa.

23. Project Swaziland is described as follows. "Young King Mswati III took it for granted that, like his father, he would be furnished with the part-time services of an attorney at the expense of the South African government." Pretoria lawyer Mr Ernst Penzhorn was employed at an annual fee of around R50 000 to "advise the King generally, accompany him to conferences, draft speeches for him, persuade him not to act in undesirable ways, and protect him from the machinations of undesirable characters".

24. R100 000 per annum was paid for several years to the South African Traditional Healers' Council whose leading figures were allegedly "held in high esteem in many African countries for the independent advice they give" and whose connections brought valuable information.

South African Police

25. The SAP initiated certain special secret projects from November 1985, as directed by the SSC on 16 November 1985. From that year, Project Aristotle ran the National Students' Federation, which was financed through a business trust until press disclosures led to its dissolution, with compensation paid to two agents who suffered losses resulting from their exposure as agents. Project Einstein ran a similar programme in the black tertiary education sector.

26. Project Romulus was aimed at combating organisations and individuals, mainly among the youth in the Eastern Cape and Western Transvaal, who disrupted public order through intimidation and violence. It encompassed several sub-projects, one of which was the youth project Operation Gordian, which had offices in Port Elizabeth and Durban and cost a total of R222 820. Further sub-projects included Operation Voltaire, Operation Ukumelana (to oppose), and the Alliance for Free South Africans.

27. Further SAP projects include:

28. Project Bismarck, dating back to around 1985, which was a cover for operational activities and the canalisation of state funds to fronts, and provided a cover legend to SAP members involved in STRATCOM projects.

29. Project Polemos was "a front to combat radical propaganda in the Eastern Cape".

30. Project Cicero aimed "to undermine the power base of radical youth organisations".

31. Project Buye (Returned) aimed "to show members of Umkhonto weSizwe who have returned from overseas that violent actions to reach political goals are not acceptable".

National Intelligence Service

32. The STRATCOM projects of the NIS, as reported by the Kahn Committee, relate mainly to projects in the religious sector aimed at bolstering and building a conservative religious approach and to combat liberation theology. These included, for example, Project Delectus, to implement former President de Klerk's initiative regarding peace and justice through the creation of a Coalition for Christian Action by means of a network of writers.

Department of National Education

33. A single secret project undertaken by the Department of National Education concerned the payment of income tax due on fees paid to the visiting English cricket team in the 198990 cricket season. After a meeting with the South African Cricket Union, the "Minister of National Education asked the Minister of Finance to cause the payment of the income tax of each of the players to be effected through a fund that had been created from the Secret Services Account for secret projects of the Department of National Education". This required an amount of R535 825.15. It was explained that if the English players were to do this favour for the South African Cricket Union, they should be given the maximum financial reward to help them through the lean years that would follow, since the tour was bound to result in reprisals and losses for the English players.

THE KAHN COMMITTEE

34. The Kahn Committee, consisting of Professor Ellison Kahn (in the chair), Mr Jan A Crafford, Mr James O McMillan and Mr SA Strauss, was announced by President de Klerk on 30 July 1991. It issued three interim reports and a final report on 19 November 1991. Its mandate was limited: the committee considered only such projects as were brought to its attention by the various state departments that were still operative with a view to recommending the cancellation of covert activities wherever possible. Where the committee was of the opinion that projects should be allowed to continue, recommendations were to be made for the possible scaling down and, where necessary, adaptation of such projects. The committee was requested to ensure that projects did not benefit any particular political party or organisation.

35. Projects that were not terminated were to serve what was defined as "the national interest". Such activities were said to include the elimination of violence, intimidation, sanctions and international isolation.

36. Departments of state in receipt of covert funding were required to furnish the committee with documents setting out the nature of ongoing projects. The committee noted several additional projects that had already been terminated, as well as 'line function' secret projects carried out by the NIS, the SADF, the SAP and the Department of Foreign Affairs, with the recommendation that these be continued. Where termination of projects was recommended, financial obligations (both contractual and moral) to employees were to be honoured in order to avoid grievances that could result in sensitive information being revealed.

37. A list of covert projects, together with recommendations on each, was published in the committee's four reports. These included sixteen projects under the direction of the SADF, eleven under the Department of Foreign Affairs, nine under the SAP, seven under the NIS and one under the Department of National Education. The report does not contain any information on gross violations of human rights.

38. The Kahn Committee recommended that:

Ø     certain secret projects that met the criteria stipulated by the then government should be continued;

Ø     certain projects should be terminated in accordance with a phasing-out process which involved the honouring of both contractual and moral financial obligations to those involved in the projects;

Ø     departments such as the NIS, the SADF and the SAP needed to continue certain covert activities as a part of their line functions;

Ø     legislation should be introduced on the management of secret funds.

39. In a press statement on 19 September 1991, Mr de Klerk accepted all these recommendations, announcing that all contractual obligations suggested by the committee would be met.

The Ministers' Committee on Special Projects

40. The Ministers' Committee on Special Projects was established to oversee the implementation of the recommendations of the Kahn Committee, chaired by Mr Kobie Coetsee. The committee monitored the implementation of the Kahn Committee recommendations until the Secret Services Account Amendment Act No 142 of 1992 came into effect on 1 April 1993.

41. The Ministers' Committee recommended that the reports of the Kahn Committee be made available to the Auditor-General for auditing, and established guidelines for exercising ministerial responsibility over secret projects. These included the need for ministers to be individually responsible for secret projects within departmental line functions and for department heads to be accountable for carrying out administrative regulations.

42. The final report of the committee dealt with a number of specific projects and allegations. It further indicated that:

Ø     the recommendations of the Kahn Committee had been implemented;

Ø     the once sensitive matter of secret activities had been brought under control;

Ø     there was no reason for the continued existence of the committee, whose task would be taken over by the proposed Secret Services Evaluation Committee and the establishment of the Transitional Executive Committee of government.

THE SECRET SERVICES EVALUATION COMMITTEE

43. The Secret Services Evaluation Committee consisted of Ministers Amie Venter (chairperson), DJ de Villiers, DL Keys and Professor SA Strauss, with Advocate MF Ackerman as secretary. It first met on 8 April 1993, in response to the 1992 Secret Services Account Amendment Act. The task of the Evaluation Committee was to

Ø     evaluate all proposed secret services of all government departments with the exception of the SADF and NIS3, with a view to determining whether their objectives and methods were in the national interest; and

Ø     undertake an annual review of all secret services of these departments, and determine, in the light of their objectives, whether they should be continued.

44. The committee further identified the nature of existing secret projects, establishing the name of each project, its aims, operational area, business details, modus operandi, financial details and time frame. It also enquired into the reason why the particular project needed to be of a covert nature, and whether its existence was in the national interest.

45. Like the Coetsee Committee, the Evaluation Committee recommended the continuation of certain projects, including initiatives undertaken by the SAP relating to the combating of crime. In other instances, it reported on the termination of projects as well as on new projects that the committee judged to be in the national interest.

THE REPORT OF THE AUDITOR-GENERAL

46. The Auditor-General was requested to provide the Commission with a report of the auditing of all secret funds utilised by the previous Government for the period 1960 to 1994. The report indicated that, in accordance with a decision of the Co-ordinating Intelligence Committee, dated 10 February 1994, all documentation on the completed auditing of secret funds had been returned to the departments concerned. This made it necessary for the Auditor-General to gain the co-operation of: the National Department of Defence; the NIS; the Department of Justice; the SAPS; the Department of Foreign Affairs; the South African Secret Service; the Department of State Expenditure; the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology; the Department of Sports and Recreation, and the Department of Education.

47. A number of departments indicated that the audit documentation and working papers in question had been disposed of in terms of approved procedures, and that limited information was available.4 The Departments of Justice and State Expenditure indicated that some documentation was still available. Because the Auditor-General reported on the basis of what information he had at his disposal, he was not able to provide an audit opinion.

Funding of secret services

48. Before the establishment of the Foreign Affairs Special Account on 1 April 1967, various departments had been engaged in activities involving 'secrecy' such as the secret classification of documents, intelligence gathering and related matters. As a result of the growing foreign pressure on South Africa and the unstable situation within the country, certain departments, such as the SAP, the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the SADF, expressed the need for increased special funding in order to execute certain secret services. To facilitate this, the following special accounts were established via specific statutes:

Special Defence Account

49. The Defence Special Account Act No 6 of 1974, which came into effect on 6 March 1974, made provision for the establishment of the Special Defence Account. The Act allowed for funds in the account to be used, with the approval of the Minister of Finance, to defray expenditure incurred in connection with special defence activities (including secret services) as well as such purchases as the Minister of Defence deemed necessary.

The Secret Services Account

50. Until April 1993, and in terms of section 2(2)(a) of the Secret Services Account Act No 56 of 1978, the Minister of State Expenditure could, at the request of the minister concerned, transfer money from the Secret Services Account to the:

Ø     Foreign Affairs Special Account;

Ø     Information Service of South Africa Special Account;

Ø     South African Police Special Account;

Ø     Security Services Special Account;

Ø     Special Defence Account.

51. In terms of section 2 of the various Special Account Acts, the money in these accounts was to be utilised in connection with services of a confidential nature, with the functional minister being able to approve secret projects subject to conditions and directions as deemed necessary.

52. Following the report of the Auditor-General on the affairs of the Civil Co-operation Bureau (CCB) and certain other irregularities within the SAP Special Account, the Government reviewed the funding of secret services during 1992. This resulted in the promulgation of the 1992 Secret Services Account Amendment Act, which established the Secret Services Evaluation Committee chaired by Mr Amie Venter (as reported earlier).

53. The amended Act provided for the evaluation and control of secret services, the establishment of an account for secret services, and related matters. The amendment deleted the provisions for the transfer of moneys to all the above-mentioned special accounts and the Special Defence Account, excluding the Security Services Special Account. All legislation creating different special accounts, except the Security Services Special Account Act No 81 of 1969 and the 1974 Defence Special Account Act, was also repealed.

54. In terms of section 2(2)(a) of the amended Secret Services Account Act, the Minister of State Expenditure was authorised, at the request of the responsible minister, to transfer funds from the Secret Services Account to the Security Services Special Account of the NIS. In the case of other departments, the Minister of State Expenditure was authorised, in terms of section 2(3)(a) of the Act, to make funds available for secret services.

55. As already indicated, the amended Act further determined (in section 3A(1)) that a committee, known as the Secret Services Evaluation Committee, be established. In terms of section 3A(6), the committee would evaluate

"all intended secret services in order to determine whether the object thereof and the modus operandi to achieve it, are in the national interest; and review all secret services annually with the said object in order to determine whether they may be continued."

56. These amendments commenced on 1 April 1993.

57. Further refinements to the administration of secret services were effected as from 1 April 1994 and provided for the following:

Ø     the establishment of the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence;

Ø     the creation of the post of an inspector-general of intelligence;

Ø     the establishment of the National Intelligence Co-ordinating Committee (NICOC).

Audit limitations and risks

58. Until the time of the information scandal in 1979, expenditure relating to secret services was not audited by the Auditor-General. The minister concerned could simply issue a certificate certifying that all funds involved had been spent for the purpose for which they were originally budgeted. Following the information scandal, Parliament decided that all secret services had to be audited by the Auditor-General.

59. The Exchequer and Audit Act No 66 of 1975 and the various Special Account Acts were appropriately amended to provide for such an audit. However, although the audits were nominally assigned to the Auditor-General, various limitations still existed which, in practice, limited the scope of the audit. The Auditor-General cited following examples:

Ø     In the case of the Security Services Special Account (NIS) the minister concerned, after consultation with the then Auditor-General, stipulated that only his own internal audit division would execute audits and that the Auditor-General would, for the purpose of his audit, accept a certificate from the Prime Minister regarding the expenditure and the investment of the unspent balances in the Special Account.

Ø     Section 42(7) of the Exchequer and Audit Act No 66 of 1975 made provision for the Minister of Finance to limit such audits:

     When in view of the confidential nature of an account it appears desirable that such account be excluded from a detailed audit by the Auditor-General, the Minister of Finance may, after consultation with the Auditor-General, determine to what extent the audit thereof shall be carried out and what vouchers shall be made available to the Auditor-General.

Ø     In terms of section 45(1A) of the Act, as it was then worded, the Minister of Finance could furthermore, after consultation with the State President and the Auditor-General, regulate reporting by the Auditor-General concerning aspects of secret accounts. In accordance with this provision, the most sensitive portions of the Special Defence Account were excluded entirely from external auditing for three financial years.

60. The need-to-know principle (that is, the auditing of small segments of the whole by specially selected members of the Auditor-General's staff, to prevent anyone outside from gaining an overall picture) constituted a further serious constraint. This was eventually acknowledged by the SADF, who accepted the need for change, but the audit office lacked the necessary staff undertake the task.

61. By way of compromise, the Auditor-General agreed during 1981 to the contractual appointment to his department of a retired SADF general who, without disclosing to the Auditor-General the content of projects, would issue an audit certificate on his behalf concerning the Special Defence Account. (This stipulation of non-disclosure was later disputed by the SADF.) It was realised, however, that this arrangement was probably ultra vires and a new solution had to be sought.

62. Following consultations between the Auditor-General and the relevant interested parties in the Finance and Intelligence Departments as well as the SADF, and after having appraised the contents of a combined financial/operational file relating to a certain sub-project which amounted to R23 million in 198384, the Auditor-General accepted the SADF's proposals. This allowed specially selected members of the audit staff of the Auditor-General to audit ultra-sensitive portions of the Special Defence Account in terms of the 1986 agreement. Access was, however, limited to financial files. It did not extend to operational files. The SADF, however, assured the Auditor-General that he personally would at all times be granted absolute and unfettered access to all documentation. A better understanding later developed and the auditors concerned were able to gain access to operational files with the exception of the CCB, in which case access to operational files was consistently denied by the managing director of the CCB.

63. After continued efforts by the Auditor-General to improve audit evidence, the entire Special Defence Account became 'open' for auditing, and sections 42(7) or 45(1A) of the Exchequer and Audit Act were not used again during the 198586 to 198889 financial years. Both sections were repealed by the Auditor-General Act No 52 of 1989 and replaced with section 6(3) of the latter Act as from 26 May 1989.

64. Although the 1989 Auditor-General Act stipulated the role and functions of the Auditor-General, that Act still contained the following limitation as far as the reporting phase of the audit was concerned: Section 6(3)(a) "shall limit such report to the extent which the Minister of Finance, in consultation with the State President and the Auditor-General may determine".

65. The office of the Auditor-General became increasingly concerned at the low level of assurance that accompanied its audit opinion. This resulted in a qualified audit opinion being given with effect from the 199091 financial year. The wording of the audit opinion reads as follows :

As regards the auditing of the Secret Service Account and the Special Defence Account, it should further be noted that, owing to the nature of some of the income and expenditure and the circumstances in which it is incurred and recorded, as well as the utilisation of assets, the level of audit assurance that can be furnished will often be lower than is normally the case in ordinary audits.

66. After obtaining legal opinion, it was decided to further qualify the audit opinion. As of the 199192 financial year, the Auditor-General's reports to Parliament contained the following qualification:

As regards the basis of reporting in connection with the proviso to section 6(3) of the said Act, a legal opinion was obtained to confirm what actions constitute, for audit purposes, irregularities which must be reported. The legal opinion states, inter alia:

that if the Auditor-General has performed all aspects of 'regularity auditing' [see below] as stated in the report, he has done his duty.

There is no obligation on him (the Auditor-General) to indicate culpable contravention of statutes, instructions or the common law unless he is of the opinion that, in the commission of such contravention, the scope of the authority to incur expenditure was exceeded. Finally it should be borne in mind that auditing is, in the first and last places concerned with compliance with financial authorisation, i.e. the authority to perform certain actions and to utilise public money for the performance of authorised actions. The (Auditor-General) Act does not concern itself with the penal nature of the actions nor with the 'moral reprehensibility' of the actions as such.5

Current position of the Auditor-General

67. Chapter 9 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act No 108 of 1996 provides for the establishment of a number of state institutions in support of constitutional democracy. In section 181(1)(e) the Auditor-General is listed as one of these institutions. Further provisions of this section also address the independence and protection of the powers and functions of these institutions. Section 188 of the 1996 Constitution Act further elaborates on the functions of the Auditor-General and continues to strengthen the constitutional authority of the Auditor-General's office.

68. The Auditor-General Act No. 12 of 1995, effective from July of that year, amended the 1989 Act to provide for more independent reporting by the Auditor-General. The Auditor-General now reports after consultation with the President, Minister of Finance and the responsible Minister and not in consultation as was required previously. Furthermore, the reports may not be limited as regards unauthorised expenditure or any other irregularity, except in respect of the disclosure of facts which will be to the detriment of the national interest.

SCHEDULE OF SECRET PROJECTS

69. The Auditor-General has provided the Commission with a schedule of secret projects received from eight government departments: the NIA; the Department of Justice; the South African Police Services (SAPS); the Department of Foreign Affairs; South African Secret Services; the Department of State Expenditure, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and the Department of Arts and Culture, Science and Technology.

70. This information was made available shortly before the termination of the work of the Commission. Code names and/or numerical references were used, rendering this information of limited value. The NIA, for example, identified 749 code-named projects with limited or no detail. Given the closure of investigative work by the Commission on 31 July, no opportunity existed for these matters to be pursued.6

AN OVERVIEW OF THE TYPE AND NATURE OF SECRET PROJECTS

71 The Commission had requested the Auditor-General to provide an in-depth analysis of ten to fifteen window cases illustrative of the type and nature of the secret projects under consideration. Due to the scarcity of information and documentation available this was, however, not possible.

72. There were only a few projects for which all the audit documentation needed for a proper window-case presentation was available. These are Project Coast (a programme involving chemical and biological warfare initiatives) and some projects of the Department of Foreign Affairs, although here too, little information was made available to the Commission. The audit of Project Coast is still to be completed, as is the Auditor-General's investigation into the fairness and reasonableness of the determination and/or calculation of the cancellation fee and the amounts paid to the then SADF for the shares and loan amounts of the companies involved. An investigation by the Office for Serious Economic Offences into the alleged irregularities has also not been completed, as stated in the Auditor-General's audit reports to Parliament. The Auditor-General was therefore unable to express an opinion on this project.

73. The projects instituted by the Department of Foreign Affairs were constituted mainly around sanctions-busting operations. They involved the setting up of financial trusts and various front companies and organisations in a number of countries around the world.7

74. According to information supplied, but not audited, the following amounts were transferred by the Treasury, and later the Department of State Expenditure, to departments in respect of secret funds between 1978 and 1994:

South African Information Services     R60 240 017

Foreign Affairs     R79 434 205

National Intelligence     R2 279 261 995

SADF      R15 285 000

SAP     R289 907 000

National Education     R8 768 841

Bantu Administration     R6 000

Finance      R18 138 112

R2 751 041 170

75. The above amount of R15 285 000 does not reflect the amount that passed through the Defence Special Account. The Auditor-General has provided the Commission with a schedule that identifies a total amount of R49 648 737 969 passing through this account, with a further R586 501 609 being expended on 'sensitive line function projects' between the 197475 and 199495 financial years.

76. Similarly, information provided by the Auditor-General concerning amounts paid by Foreign Affairs 'for control of sanctions and disinvestment out of secret funds' lists a total of 417 projects with an expenditure of R210 087 535.32, including, for example, project No 35 with an expenditure of R25 million.

CONCLUSION

77. From the limited information at its disposal, the office of the Auditor-General attempted to provide the Commission with as complete a picture as possible of the auditing of all secret funds. To the extent that information and documentation has been destroyed, and persons with the appropriate knowledge have left the relevant departments, the Auditor-General was not able to provide any assurance that the information was completely accurate or complete.

78. This report does, however, provide an insight into the environment in which the Auditor-General operated for almost the entire period under review. Whilst Parliament required the Auditor-General to provide audit assurance, state departments often gave access to information on a limited and reluctant basis. There is no evidence to suggest that the office of the Auditor-General did not seek to exercise its mandate to the best of its ability within the constraints of the law and the culture of secrecy that prevailed at the time. The Auditor-General is on record as saying:

As a result of the foregoing, the Office has always maintained and has publicly reported that the audit assurance obtained from auditing secret funds is lower than would normally be the case. It is with regret that, because of the inherent limitations of any audit as well as the particular circumstances set out earlier, the Office must accept that expenditure audited by it may have been incurred, or assets may have been acquired, from the relevant secret funds for the purpose of committing gross human rights violations.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT:

Ø     SECRET FUNDING WAS USED TO PROMOTE A POLITICAL CLIMATE THAT LED DIRECTLY AND INDIRECTLY TO GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS.

Ø     BEFORE 1991, SECRET FUNDING WAS USED TO PROMOTE PARTY POLITICAL AND SECTARIAN POLITICAL INTERESTS.

Ø     SECRET FUNDING WAS INADEQUATELY ADMINISTERED AND AUDITED ALTHOUGH ATTEMPTS WERE MADE AFTER 1991, THROUGH THE KAHN COMMISSION, THE MINISTERS' COMMITTEE ON SPECIAL PROJECTS AND THE EVALUATION COMMISSION, TO REDRESS THIS SITUATION.

Ø     INITIATIVES UNDERTAKEN BY THE AUDITOR-GENERAL'S OFFICE TO EXECUTE A MORE PRECISE AUDIT WERE HAMPERED BY LEGISLATIVE CONSTRAINTS AND A 'NEED-TO-KNOW' MILIEU WHICH PREVAILED IN STATE DEPARTMENTS, AS WELL AS BY THE REFUSAL OF SOME STATE OFFICIALS DEALING WITH SECRET FUNDS TO PROVIDE THE DOCUMENTATION AND OTHER INFORMATION NEEDED FOR AUDITING PURPOSES.

Ø     AGENTS AND STATE EMPLOYEES WORKING ON SECRET PROJECTS RECEIVED FINANCIAL AND OTHER SETTLEMENTS WHEN SPECIFIC SECRET PROJECTS WERE TERMINATED, WHICH SHOULD BE REGARDED AT LEAST AS MORALLY QUESTIONABLE.

Ø     FUNDING THROUGH THE SPECIAL DEFENCE ACCOUNT IN PARTICULAR WAS NOT SUBJECT TO ADEQUATE AUDITING UNTIL AT LEAST THE 198586 FINANCIAL YEAR.

Ø     THE FUNDING OF CCB ACTIVITIES WAS AT NO TIME SUBJECTED TO AN ADEQUATE AUDIT.

THE KAHN COMMITTEE AND THE SUBSEQUENT BODIES DID NOT PROVIDE SUFFICIENT DETAIL REGARDING STATE SECRET FUNDING. PROJECT DESCRIPTIONS PROVIDE LIMITED INFORMATION. AN EXAMPLE CAN BE MADE OF PROJECT ECHOES, WHICH IS DESCRIBED AS "AN SADF ACTIVITY AIMED AT COMBATING VERBAL ATTACKS ON ITS DUTIES AND FUNCTIONS. ITS ACTIVITY RELATES TO THE ACQUISITION OF INFORMATION IN RESPECT OF MK MAINLY, AND PASSING THIS TO THE MEDIA." THE AUDITOR-GENERAL'S REPORT DESCRIBES IT AS "MAINTAINING A SA ARMY COMMUNICATION CAPABILITY TO WITHSTAND MILITARY AIMED PROPAGANDA ACTIONS". THE COMMISSION HAS INFORMATION THAT (INTENTIONALLY OR OTHERWISE) LINKS PROJECT ECHOES TO HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, IN THAT AN ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT ON MR DIRK COETZEE WAS FACILITATED UNDER COVER OF PROJECT ECHOES. THIS INFORMATION CONFIRMS THE OBSERVATION OF GENERAL PIERRE STEYN IN HIS INVESTIGATION INTO THE STRUCTURES AND ACTIONS OF MILITARY INTELLIGENCE, THAT IN A NUMBER OF INSTANCES, DUBIOUS AND ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES HAD BEEN SUCCESSFULLY WOVEN INTO AUTHORISED AND OFFICIAL OPERATIONS, MAKING DETECTION MORE DIFFICULT.

Ø     QUESTIONS REMAIN AS TO BOTH THE ACTIVITIES AND FINANCIAL RESOLUTION OF SEVERAL PROJECTS. IN PARTICULAR, THE ISSUE REGARDING THE USE MADE OF THE LARGE SUM OF MONEY LOCATED IN A FOREIGN TRUST ACCOUNT IS OUTSTANDING. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE ASSETS OF THE TRUST WERE IN THE VICINITY OF R20 MILLION, AFTER THE PAYMENT OF RECOMMENDED SETTLEMENTS.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT INSUFFICIENT INFORMATION IS PRESENTLY AVAILABLE TO DESCRIBE THESE PROJECTS ADEQUATELY AND RECOMMENDS THAT FURTHER RESEARCH AND INVESTIGATION BE DONE INTO THESE SECRET PROJECTS TO ESTABLISH A FULLER PICTURE OF THEIR RANGE OF ACTIVITIES.

Special Investigation into the Secret Burial of Activists and Report on Exhumations

INTRODUCTION

1. The exhumation of the remains of Ms Phila Portia Ndwandwe took place in KwaZulu-Natal on 12 March 1997. Commissioner Richard Lyster noted that this was one of "the most poignant and saddest" of the exhumations. The remains were found buried in a remote part of the province. According to Lyster:

She was held in a small concrete chamber on the edge of the small forest in which she was buried. According to information from those that killed her, she was held naked and interrogated in this chamber, for some time before her death. When we exhumed her, she was on her back in a foetal position, because the grave had not been dug long enough, and had a single bullet wound to the top of her head, indicating that she had been kneeling or squatting when she was killed. Her pelvis was clothed in a plastic packet, fashioned into a pair of panties indicating an attempt to protect her modesty.

2. The Commission was requested by political parties and individuals to establish the whereabouts of those who had disappeared during the period of the Commission's mandate. The Investigation Unit of the Commission investigated many cases of reported disappearances. In the process, secret burial sites were exposed and perpetrators involved in the killings and secret burials identified. In most cases, it was found that the perpetrators had covered up the identity of the victims and their final burial places.

3. Most of the secret graves are located in the former Transvaal, KwaZulu/Natal and the Orange Free State, near the borders of Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique.

4. Fifty bodies were exhumed, but almost 200 cases have not been finalised. The lengthy procedures necessitated by each exhumation made it impossible for the Commission to complete this task.

METHODOLOGY

5. Cases of disappearances came to the attention of the Investigation Unit largely through statements made to the Commission by deponents who believed their relatives had disappeared as a consequence of their political activities. These statements were cross-referenced to applications for amnesty, yielding some positive results. The Investigation Unit also referred to a list supplied by the African National Congress (ANC) of members who had been kidnapped by South African security forces, or who had disappeared after infiltrating the country. Mortuary registers, cemetery registers and undertakers were consulted in the process of locating bodies.

6. An undertaker in Louis Trichardt, Transvaal told a Commission investigator that his father, who had owned the business before him, had been visited by the police in 1987/1988 and asked to come to a farm in the mountains where they "were going to shoot blacks". His father was to collect the bodies, accompanied by his son.

7. The undertaker pointed out approximately seventy graves in that area. Of the twenty bodies exhumed by the Commission, all were found to be ANC members from exile who were tortured before they were killed. Some of the bodies were headless; some without arms or legs; some had burn marks from a cutting torch.

8. It was found that members of the Nylstroom, Pietersburg, Messina, Louis Trichardt and Tzaneen security police in the Transvaal joined with local farmers to form a group that 'specialised' in capturing, torturing and then killing ANC members who infiltrated the country.

EXHUMATION PROCESS

9. Methods of exhumation differed from region to region. In KwaZulu-Natal, exhumations were performed in the presence of a pathologist. The graves were opened, the remains sealed and the body taken for autopsy. After this, the family was able to rebury the remains. The Investigation Unit in the regional office based in Johannesburg placed more emphasis on getting the bodies to the families as quickly as possible; autopsies were not performed as a matter of procedure.

10. The Commission made extensive use of the services of the South African Police Services' (SAPS) video unit, and particularly their canine (sniffer-dog) unit.

11. In KwaZulu-Natal, many of the exhumations were carried out at former Security Branch 'safe houses' places where police held informers and where, in the late 1980s, they allegedly took activists who had been abducted in order to interrogate and then kill them. The sites where the bodies were believed to have been buried were cordoned off, and a team from a specialist undertaker's firm would test the soil for signs of recent disturbance and demarcate an area for excavation.

12. Police sniffer-dogs were used to seek out the presence of lime below the soil surface, as lime was almost invariably poured onto the bodies in order to hasten their decomposition. Once the correct spot had been located, a pathologist would supervise the removal of soil until the body was located. The pathologist would enter the grave and remove the body bone by bone, in the many cases where the flesh had completely disintegrated in order to preserve the forensic integrity of the site.

DISAPPEARANCE OF MK OPERATIVES

13. Investigations into the disappearances and killings of Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) cadres showed that incidents in which they lost their lives occurred mainly near the borders of South Africa with Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Botswana. MK operatives who were intercepted while travelling in and out of the country were often killed in shoot-outs with the police or the army. In other cases, operatives were abducted and attempts were made to turn them into askaris. When they did not co-operate with the police, they were brutally killed and often buried in secret locations or in unnamed graves in cemeteries.

EXHUMATIONS (IN ORDER OF DATE OF EXHUMATION)

Phila Portia Ndwandwe1 (aka MK Zandile)

Age unknown; ANC/MK.

Killed in 1988; exhumed 12 March 1997 at Elandskop farm, KwaZulu-Natal.

Ms Phila Portia Ndwandwe was allegedly the acting commander of Natal MK activities from Swaziland and was responsible for the infiltration of ANC cadres into Natal. Durban Security Branch members abducted her from Swaziland. She was not prepared to co-operate with the police. They state that they did not have admissible evidence to prosecute her and that they could not release her, so they killed her and buried her on the Elandskop farm.

Phumezo Nxiweni2

Age unknown; ANC/MK.

Killed 4 November 1988; exhumed 14 March 1997 at Verulam farm and reburied in the Eastern Cape.

Mr Phumezo Nxiweni was allegedly the commander of an underground MK unit in Durban, which the Security Branch believed was responsible for several bombings. Durban Security Branch members arrested him on 4 November 1988. He refused to work as an informant. They therefore decided to kill him. He was buried on a Security Branch farm near Verulam.

Lesaja Sexwale3 (aka Reggie Gladman)

Age 31; ANC/MK.

Sureboy A Dali (aka Titus Ntombela and Charlie Bronson)

Age unknown; ANC/MK.

Thabo Rakubu (aka Shakes Mde Lungile)

Age unknown; ANC/MK.

Mthimkhulu Mavuso (aka Patrick Xesi and Zola Mqadi)

Age unknown; ANC/MK.

All four were killed on 13 August 1981 and exhumed on 9 April 1997 at Lushof farm, Rouxville, near Aliwal North.

Mr Lesaja Sexwale, Mr Sureboy A Dali, Mr Thabo Rakubu and Mr Mthimkhulu Mavuso were members of a unit of MK operatives deployed in the former Transkei. On 7 August 1981, they were caught in a police roadblock near Elliot. There was a shoot-out in which Rakubu and Mavuso died. Sexwale and Dali escaped but were cornered on 13 August 1981 at Barkly Pass. They were overpowered and died fighting. The four bodies were buried secretly on the farm Lushof in the magisterial district of Rouxville (near Aliwal North).

Ntombi Kubheka4

Age 41; ANC/MK.

Ms Ntombi Khubeka was killed in May 1987. A body which is believed to be hers was exhumed from a pauper's grave at Groutville on 5 May 1997.

Khubeka was allegedly an MK member who co-ordinated the external and internal combat units. Durban Security Branch members arrested her in May 1987. She allegedly died of a heart attack during interrogation. The possibility that she was tortured cannot be ruled out. Her body was disposed of in Inanda/ Newtown to conceal the cause of death and the identity of the perpetrators.

Victor M Mgadi (aka Daniel Neto), buried as Sipho Gazi

Age 27; ANC/MK.

Killed 22 November 1982; exhumed 6 May 1997 at Piet Retief.

According to Mr Lungile Wiseman Magxwalisa (aka Thomas Zondo, Nthebe), the sole survivor of the incident, he and Mr Victor M Mgadi, Mr Titus Dladla, and Mr Thuluso A Matima, all MK operatives, crossed the Swaziland border at Mahamba on 22 November 1982 and took a taxi from Piet Retief to Pongola. The taxi driver reported them to the police, who stopped them at a roadblock. Matima refused to give himself up to the police and therefore shot himself. Mgadi and Dladla ran away and were subsequently shot by police from a helicopter. When the family of Mgadi approached the Commission, the KwaZulu- Natal and Gauteng investigation units together exhumed the remains of Mgadi, buried under the name of Victor Mokagetla (grave 802), from Thandokukhanya cemetery, Piet Retief.

Bheki Mkwanazi5 (aka MK Tekere)

Age unknown; ANC/MK.

Killed 1989; exhumed 6 August 1997 at Elandskop farm.

Mr Bheki Mkwanazi was allegedly an ANC operative who was caught by the Durban Security Branch while on a mission to place bombs in the Durban area at the end of 1988 and beginning of 1989. He was not prepared to co-operate with the police and there was no admissible evidence that could be used against him in court. The Durban and Pietermaritzburg Security Branch members therefore killed him and buried him on the Elandskop farm.

Blessing Ninela6

Age unknown; ANC/MK.

Killed 13 July 1988; exhumed 6 August 1997 at Bulwer.

Mr Blessing Ninela was allegedly an MK operative who was arrested on 13 July 1988 while on a mission to Natal to place bombs. The Durban Security Branch did not have admissible evidence to use against him in court. They decide to kill him, and drove him to a railway line just outside Bulwer. They shot him and then blew up his body to make it appear as if he had blown himself up in the process of placing explosives. He was buried in a pauper's grave in Bulwer.

Zola Tati

Age unknown; MK.

Charles Tsatsi

Age unknown; MK.

Both killed 10 November 1986; exhumed 11 November 1997 at Sekoto cemetery, Louis Trichardt.

Mr Zola Tati and Mr Charles Tsatsi, with Mr Milo Malatsi, formed part of an MK group which was ambushed near Soutpansberg while infiltrating from Botswana.

Titus Dladla (aka Zakes Bhanaza), buried as Michael Sekupe

Age 28; ANC/MK.

Thuluso A Matima7 (aka Derrick Lekota), buried as Abione Thela

Age 32; ANC/MK.

Both were killed on 22 November 1982, exhumed 27 November 1997 at Piet Retief. See the account above under Victor M Mgadi. The Johannesburg office Investigation Unit exhumed the remains of these two cadres from Thandokukhanya cemetery (Piet Retief).

Mzwandile Radebe8

Age 27; ANC/MK.     

Killed 14 August 1986; exhumed 27 November 1997 at Piet Retief.

Mr Mzwandile Radebe was a member of MK who came into the country from Swaziland and was killed by the security forces.

Ruben M Letsila (aka Bernard Zonke)

Age unknown; MK.

Killed 1986; exhumed 9 December 1997 at Sekoto cemetery, Louis Trichardt.

Mr Ruben M Letsila was travelling in a minibus from Zimbabwe when the vehicle was stopped at a roadblock. He was shot and killed by security forces near the Motale River in Venda.

Richard B Molokwane9 (aka Mmutle Ramanase)

Age 26; ANC/MK.

Vincent Sekete (aka Sydney Sebephu)

Age 32; ANC/MK.

Killed 28 November 1985; exhumed 1012 December 1997 at Piet Retief.

Mr Richard Molokwane, Mr Victor Lunga Khayiyane and Mr Vincent Sekete died in a shoot-out with the police, following an attack at the SASOL complex on 28 November 1985.

Emmanuel Mthokizisi Mbova Mzimela (aka Dion Cele)

Age unknown; ANC/MK.     

Killed 1988; exhumed 10 March 1997 at Elandskop farm.     

Mr Emmanuel Mthokizisi Mbova Mzimela was an MK member based in Swaziland. The Security Branch in Durban and Pietermaritzburg obtained information that Mzimela would be prepared to co-operate with the police. He was abducted from Swaziland in July 1988. He indicated that he was not prepared to co-operate with the police. They decided that they could not release him as he might continue with his activities (including the smuggling of arms into South Africa and the recruitment of people for internal and external training in the ANC). They therefore killed him and buried him on a farm in the Elandskop area.

Brian Ngqulunga10

Age 42; South African Police/askari.     

Killed 21 July 1990. Exhumed 16 March 1998 at Vlakplaas.

Mr Brian Ngqulunga was a member of a team from Vlakplaas, led by Captain Dirk Coetzee, which murdered Griffiths Mxenge, prominent Durban human rights lawyer. Ngqulunga was later tortured and killed by his own handlers at Vlakplaas in 1990 under orders from Colonel Eugene de Kock, when they felt that he was becoming a security risk to them. Colonel De Kock applied for amnesty for the killing. Ngqulunga's family approached the Commission and requested that his body be exhumed from the farm, to be buried at the place of their choice.

Paulos Madiba

Watson M Majova

Age 27; ANC/MK.

Aaron Makwe

Age unknown; ANC/MK.

Nine unknown persons

Mr Majova and Mr Makwe were killed on 28 November 1985; exhumed      17 March 1998 at Boshoek.

On 17 March 1998, the Commission prepared to exhume the bodies of Mr Aaron Makwe, Mr Watson Majova and Mr Paulos Madiba on a farm near Boshoek, outside Rustenburg. An employee of the undertakers responsible for burying them pointed out three graves to investigators. When the three graves were opened, it was found that there were twelve bodies, four in each grave. The person responsible for burying the original three bodies could not explain this. The twelve bodies that were exhumed are believed to include those of the three men mentioned above. The identity of the remaining nine bodies could not be established.

Majova's remains have now been reburied by his family in Potchefstroom.

Patrick Motswaletswale (aka Barry C Maputo)

Age unknown; ANC/MK.

Magic Madi

Age unknown; ANC/MK.

Both killed 12 June 1983; exhumed 18 March 1998 at Sekoto cemetery, Louis Trichardt.

Mr Patrick Motswaletswale, Mr A Mlaudzi, and Mr Magic Madi were kidnapped at Beit Bridge after a postmaster who was a police informer intercepted a letter with details of their travel. They were taken to Pafuri, Venda, where they were put into small hut by the police and shot at.

The remains of A Mlaudzi were not exhumed, because the family had already given him a proper funeral.

Ndlela Sibiya (aka Baba)

Age 37; MK.

Matthews T Nkosi (aka Mthakathi T Nkululeko)

Age 36; MK.

Killed 7 July 1986; exhumed 18 March 1998 at Thoyandowu cemetery.

Mr Ndlela Sibiya and Mr Matthews T Nkosi, MK operatives, were travelling from Botswana on bicycles. They told a local person about their intended mission to blow up Malelane power station. This person then reported this to the police. The party was ambushed on the way to the power station, and a Mr Shabangu, a local ANC chairperson, was killed along with the two cadres. The two cadres were buried illegally.

Selby Mavuso11 (aka Larry Makhaya)

Age unknown; MK.     

Killed 8 April 1987; exhumed 18 March 1998 at Thabazimbi cemetery. Mr Selby Mavuso and two other MK members were on their way from Botswana to Derdepoort when somebody reported them to the South African Defence Force (SADF). The army went out to look for them, and a shoot-out followed in which Mavuso died. In a statement from the army, it was said that Mavuso tried to blow them up. There is no information available to corroborate this. Mavuso's body was buried by the authorities. The bodies of the two other MK members involved, Mr Matima and Mr Matulo, were buried by their parents.

Robert Mokoena (aka George Sello)

Age 31; ANC/MK.

Killed 10 May 1981; exhumed 20 March 1998 at Pienaar cemetery, Nelspruit.

The police, the army and the Security Branch were called in when Mr Robert Mokoena went to Bushbuckridge railway station to blow up the railway line. According to a police statement, the police found Mokoena and gave him a lift. Inside the police minibus, Mokoena took a hand grenade out of his bag and detonated it, killing himself and a police officer. However, Mokoena was also found to have been shot in the head.

Sipho Kolisi12

Age 27; ANC/MK.

Killed 1985; exhumed 25 March 1998 at Sekoto cemetery, Louis Trichardt.

Mr Sipho Kolisi, an MK member, was killed during a shoot-out with police.

Milo Malatsi

Age 34; MK.     

Killed 10 November 1986; exhumed 25 March 1988 at Sekoto cemetery, Louis Trichardt.

Mr Milo Malatsi, along with Mr Zola Tati and Mr Charles Tsatsi, formed part of an MK group that was ambushed near Soutpansberg while infiltrating from Botswana.

Abbram More (aka Happy Batho)

Age 27; MK.

Oupa Lukhele

Age 28; MK.

Alfred Nkosi

Age 30; MK.

Mlungisi Velaphi

Age 34; MK.

Daniel Nkabinde

Age 32; MK.

All killed on 28 March 1988; exhumed on 25 March 1998 at Sekoto cemetery, Louis Trichardt.

In March 1988, a group of MK operatives returning from Botswana infiltrated South Africa via the Motale River at the border of Botswana and Zimbabwe and stayed over at Soutpansberg. They were Mr Abbram More, Mr Oupa Lukhele, Mr Alfred Nkosi, Mr Mlungisi Velaphi and Mr Daniel Nkabinde, accompanied by an askari who alerted the Security Branch to their presence. The group was rounded up, shot at, tortured and attacked with hand grenades. Some were decapitated and had their hands and penises severed. Investigators believed that the men were tortured in front of each other and died painfully and slowly.

Oupa Funani13

Age unknown; ANC/MK.

Killed 21 July 1988; exhumed 5 May 1998 at Piet Retief.     

Mr Oupa Funani was killed by soldiers at Mahamba gate near Piet Retief. He and Mr Velile Zwane were returning from Swaziland where they had gone to fetch hand grenades for a mission. When the police searched them at the border gate, Funani dropped a hand grenade. He was then shot and killed by soldiers. His colleague was arrested by the police and sentenced to ten years on Robben Island. Funani was buried as an unidentified person at Piet Retief.

Bafana Mahlombe (aka Jazz Walker)

Age unknown; ANC/MK.

Bhekuyise Sithebe14 (MK Vusumusi Mbongwe)

Age unknown; ANC/MK.

James Masango (aka MK Hawka)

Age unknown; ANC/MK.

All killed 11 February 1983; exhumed 7 May 1998 at Dumbe cemetery, Paulpietersburg.

Mr Bafana Mahlombe, Mr Bhekuyise Sithebe, and Mr James Masango are alleged to have been shot in mountainous terrain with the assistance of army helicopters.

Bheki Sam Mchunu (aka MK Jay Jele Gxige)

Age unknown; ANC/MK.

Henry Mavella Manyoni Nkosi

Age unknown; ANC/MK.

Both killed 8 June 1982; exhumed 7 May 1998 at Dumbe cemetery, Paulpietersburg.

Mr Bheki Sam Mchunu and Mr Henry Mavella Manyoni Nkosi were allegedly killed in Bethanie by a businessperson and former police officer. It is alleged that they were shot while running away after the driver of the taxi they were travelling in had alerted this businessperson to their presence. Mchunu's sister was summoned to the police station and positively identified his body. He had a gunshot wound to the back of his head. She was told to buy a coffin and come back to fetch the body. When the family returned with the coffin, they were told they could not bury him. After this, the police continued to come to the house asking for Mr Mchunu as if he were still alive. Mchunu's remains have been re-buried in Vryheid by his family.

Mxolisi Penwell "Mubi" Khumalo

Age unknown; ANC/MK.

Killed 30 July 1988; exhumed 8 June 1998 at Pietermaritzburg.

Mr Mxolisi Penwell "Mubi" Khumalo was killed by the Security Branch at Sobantu, Pietermaritzburg, who had received information about his presence in the area. Police claimed that Khumalo had a hand grenade in his pocket and was trying to detonate it when they shot him.

Linda Fikekahle "Post" Kuzwayo

Age unknown; ANC/MK.

Killed 24 December 1984; exhumed 8 June 1998 at Ncotshane cemetery (block 2, grave 047).

Mr Linda Fikekahle "Post" Kuzwayo, an MK cadre, was killed during a shoot-out with police.

Special Investigation into the Mandela United Football Club

INTRODUCTION

1. In 1986, following her return to Soweto after several years of banishment to the magisterial district of Brandfort in the Orange Free State, Ms Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was instrumental in providing refuge and material assistance to disaffected youth from Soweto and other communities.

2. During this period she also acted as an operative for the African National Congress (ANC) military wing, Umkhonto weSizwe (MK), and provided assistance to MK cadres infiltrating the country from neighbouring states. In late 1986 she was instrumental in the resolution of an internal conflict within the Orlando West branch of the Soweto Youth Congress (SOYCO), which resulted in the formation of the Mandela United Football Club (MUFC). A number of the youths involved in this conflict moved into the outbuildings of the Mandela home in the Orlando West section of Soweto.

3. Allegations against the youths living at and associated with the Mandela home first surfaced during 1987. Tension developed between the youths and other elements in the community and, at the end of July 1988, the Mandela home was burnt down. Community and religious leaders formed the Mandela Crisis Committee, a group which attempted, albeit unsuccessfully, to resolve the conflicts that led to the burning of the Mandela household.

4. After July 1988, Ms Madikizela-Mandela and a number of MUFC youths moved into new premises in Diepkloof Extension. The behaviour of these youths, frequently described by community residents as a "reign of terror", continued throughout the next seven months. In a February 1989 statement, the Mass Democratic Movement (MDM) stated:

In recent years, Mrs Mandela's actions have increasingly led her into conflict with the various sections of the oppressed people and with the Mass Democratic Movement as a whole. The recent conflict in the community has centred largely around the conduct of her so-called football club, which has been widely condemned by the community. In particular, we are outraged by the reign of terror that the team have been associated with. Not only is Mrs Mandela associated with the team, in fact, the team is her own creation.

5. Between August 1988 and the end of February 1989, the residents and associates of the Mandela household, including Ms Madikizela-Mandela herself, were implicated directly or indirectly in a range of incidents including assaults and abduction, and the murder and attempted murder of at least a dozen individuals. The crisis peaked with the abduction of four youths from the Methodist manse in Orlando West and the murder of Stompie Seipei in late December 1988 and early January 1989.

6. An angry and agitated Soweto community attempted to sanction the activities of Ms Madikizela-Mandela and her football club through the offices of the Mandela Crisis Committee and other religious and community leaders. Madikizela-Mandela disparaged their cumulative efforts and did not heed their advice. This intransigence prompted even more drastic action, culminating in unprecedented public criticism of Madikizela-Mandela by the leadership of the MDM and the ANC in February 1989.

7. The ANC released the following press statement on 16 February 1989:

It is with a feeling of terrible sadness that we consider to express our reservations about Winnie Mandela's judgement in relation to the Mandela football Club.

8. This chapter examines a series of allegations against Madikizela-Mandela, the MUFC and other associates of her household, relating to cases reported to and investigated by the Commission. The cases examined occurred after her return from Brandfort to Soweto in 1986 up until her trial for kidnapping and assault in 1991. The Investigation Unit did not focus on all cases, but concentrated on the seven-month period from the end of July 1988 to the end of February 1989.

9. This chapter includes findings made by the Commission regarding Ms Madikizela-Mandela, the MUFC, and other individuals, as well as overall findings regarding the role of community structures, the ANC and the South African Police (SAP). These findings pertain to specific cases as well as to general themes that arose during the overall inquiry.

10. It should be noted that there was considerable disagreement as to what and who constituted the MUFC.

11. A more detailed and comprehensive examination of the cases and issues raised in this summary was submitted to the Commission by the Johannesburg Investigation Unit. This report also contains a set of recommendations pertaining to each case brought before the Commission.

BACKGROUND TO INVESTIGATION

12. The allegations against Ms Madikizela-Mandela and the football club have been extremely controversial. The activities of the club, which culminated in the abduction and assault of youths and the subsequent events of January and February 1989, resulted in the prosecution and conviction of Madikizela-Mandela and three associates, as well as the conviction for murder of Mr Jerry Richardson, the coach of the MUFC. Madikizela-Mandela was found guilty in 1991 of kidnapping and of being an accessory to assault. The latter conviction was subsequently overturned, but a full bench of the Appellate Division upheld the kidnapping conviction in 1993.

13. The Commission's enquiry was initiated following submissions received at the Soweto hearing in July 1996 and from Ms Joyce Seipei, mother of Stompie Seipei, in KwaZulu-Natal. Additional information was also received from members of the MUFC as well as from the amnesty applications of Mr Jerry Richardson and former members of the Security Branch.

14. The task of the Investigation Unit was to try to piece together a series of seemingly unrelated incidents and allegations, some of which were already well known. It made use of court and police records, victim statements, amnesty applications, media records and other publications. These sources assisted in the identification of all individuals concerned and involved.

15. Ms Madikizela-Mandela was subpoenaed to appear before the Human Rights Violations Committee in terms of section 29 of the Act. The hearing was to be held in camera but, following a request by Madikizela-Mandela's counsel that the enquiry be held in public, the Commission decided to hold an in camera session, followed by a public hearing at which a cross-section of witnesses would be called to testify and at which Madikizela-Mandela would be given an opportunity to respond publicly.

16. The in camera hearing began on 26 September and continued for a further day on 13 October. The transcripts of these hearings were released for use at the public hearings, which began on 24 November. A total of forty-three witnesses gave evidence before the nine-day hearing including perpetrators, victims, former members of the MUFC and other associates of the Mandela household, members of MK, Ms Madikizela-Mandela's former co-accused, members of the Mandela Crisis Committee, representatives of the mass democratic movement (MDM), religious and community leaders, members of the SAP Murder and Robbery Unit, former Security Branch members working with STRATCOM and the staff of the Commission's Investigation Unit. The final day was reserved for the evidence of Ms Madikizela-Mandela.

17. Arising from the testimony obtained from these hearings, the Commission decided to conduct a further public hearing into the role of the Soweto Security Branch. On 28 and 29 January 1998, twelve former security policemen, including two former divisional commanders of the Soweto Security Branch and former Vlakplaas commander Eugene de Kock, testified before the Commission.

18. The broader enquiry also heard in camera testimony from members of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), a former member of the Witwatersrand Attorney-General's office and a former member of the ANC's intelligence department who had been drafted into police investigations in 1995 to assist with the location of former MUFC members.

19. The Investigation Unit was constrained by insufficient personnel, time and resources. Initially, it received very little co-operation from the police regarding access to dockets and statements, receiving more information only in early 1998 when its mandate was coming to an end. It was thus not able to follow up all witnesses and leads.

20. The public hearing process was constrained by time limitations, allowing only for limited cross-examination, which angered many of the lawyers who appeared. The Commission emphasised, however, that this was not a court of law but a commission of enquiry attempting to understand events rather than establish guilt or innocence.

CASES ADDRESSED BY THE COMMISSION

21. The following is a summary of the cases investigated by the Commission. Included, too, is Ms Madikizela-Mandela's response to allegations and questions and the Commission's findings in each matter.

Killing of Morgan Bambisa

22. Mr Joseph Lebusa (aka 'Hansie') made a statement to the Commission in which he claimed that he joined the MUFC in 1986 and moved into the back room of the Orlando West home of Ms Madikizela-Mandela. He said he had been trained in the use of explosives by an MK cadre living there. When he was told that Mr Morgan Bambisa, a family member of the Mandelas', had stolen a minibus belonging to Madikizela-Mandela, he joined Madikizela-Mandela and other members of the MUFC in the search for Bambisa. Bambisa was found and locked in the back room of the Mandela home, but was later found dead in the veld. In his statement, Lebusa alleges that MUFC members were responsible for Bambisa's death. This matter was not investigated by the unit. When questioned, Madikizela-Mandela denied knowledge of the incident and of the person making the allegation. She said there was no one by the name of Bambisa in the family.

THE COMMISSION MAKES NO FINDING IN THIS CASE

Killing of Xola Mokhaula and Mlando Ngubeni

23. Mr Xola Mokhaula was executed in front of his family on the evening of 24 January 1987. It seems he had confiscated a firearm from MK operative Oupa Alex Seheri, following a drunken shebeen brawl in Soweto. In attempting to retrieve the firearm, Seheri shot Mokhaula and Mr Mlando Ngubeni dead. Police found one of the guns used in the attack in Ms Zindzi Mandela-Hlongwane's bedroom. An Audi used in the incident belonged to Ms Madikizela-Mandela. Oupa Seheri, Mr S'thembiso Buthelezi and Mr Charles Bongani Zwane (aka 'Bobo') were convicted for these murders, for which Seheri applied for amnesty. Mr S'thembiso Buthelezi admitted to the court that he had driven the Audi during the operation and had hidden the recovered Scorpion machine pistol at the Mandela house.

24. Ms Madikizela-Mandela has denied any direct knowledge of or involvement in this incident.

THE COMMISSION FOUND NO EVIDENCE THAT MS MADIKIZELA-MANDELA OR MS ZINDZI MANDELA-HLONGWANE HAD ANY DIRECT INVOLVEMENT IN THE INCIDENT THAT LED TO THE DEATHS OF MR XOLA MOKHAULA AND MR MLANDO NGUBENI. THE COMMISSION FOUND, HOWEVER, THAT THE 'OPERATION' TO RECOVER OUPA SEHERI'S FIREARM WAS LAUNCHED FROM THE MANDELA HOME IN ORLANDO WEST; THAT MADIKIZELA-MANDELA'S VEHICLE, AN AUDI, WAS USED FOR THE OPERATION, AND THAT OUPA SEHERI WAS ASSISTED BY MUFC MEMBERS S'THEMBISO BUTHELEZI, CHARLES BONGANI ZWANE (AKA 'BOBO') AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE MUFC.

Torture and mutilation of Peter Makhanda and Phillip Makhanda

25. On 26 May 1987, the Makhanda brothers, Peter and Phillip, were taken by force to the back rooms of the Mandela home, were assaulted and had ANC slogans carved into their bodies and battery acid rubbed into their wounds. Two MUFC members, Mr Absolom Madonsela and Mr Isaac Mokgoro, and an associate and sometime driver of Ms Madikizela-Mandela, Mr John Morgan, were charged in this case, and acquitted owing to contradictory evidence. However, subsequent evidence and testimony from other witnesses confirms that the incident did take place. Former MUFC member Gift Ntombeni confirmed the incident at the hearings. Whilst the Makhanda brothers had implicated her in the incident, Madikizela-Mandela was never questioned by the police. In her testimony she denied any direct knowledge of or involvement in this incident.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE ASSAULTS AND MUTILATION OF THE BROTHERS, PETER AND PHILLIP MAKHANDA, TOOK PLACE IN THE BACK ROOMS OF THE MANDELA HOUSE IN ORLANDO WEST IN MAY 1987 AND THAT MEMBERS OF THE MUFC PARTICIPATED IN THE ASSAULT AND/OR MUTILATION .

Death of Vincent Sefako and killing of Susan Maripa

26. Former MK operative Mr Vincent Sefako died in mysterious circumstances in Tladi Section, Soweto, in October 1987. He is listed in the ANC's submission as an MK cadre who infiltrated the country but was not heard of again. His real name was Veli Tshabalala, his travelling name Vuyisile Sefako, and he was also known as 'Comrade V' or 'Mshoshovi'.

27. The facts surrounding Sefako's death remain unclear. The Commission obtained neither the inquest docket into Sefako's death nor the findings and submissions of a 1979 ANC commission of enquiry into his death. The available evidence, however, lends some support to the version given to the Commission by former MK operative Mr Thami Hlatswayo, that renegade MK members killed Sefako. It is not, however, clear whether the ANC enquiry corroborated other aspects of witness allegations regarding Madikizela-Mandela's and Mr Peter Dlamini's alleged involvement in this incident and the subsequent murder of Ms Susan Maripa on 29 October 1987. ANC records may confirm or deny the proximity of Madikizela-Mandela and these cadres to the alleged incidents.

28. Susan Maripa reputedly witnessed Sefako being deliberately knocked down by a car which drove off the road onto the pavement. She ran to call an ambulance and found on her return that the body was gone. Later, Maripa was herself killed. Maripa's inquest finding shows that she was killed by multiple gunshot wounds from an AK-47 and at least one shot from a Makharov pistol. The police have warned Hlatswayo that he is a suspect in this matter. He applied for amnesty, but not in connection with this matter. Access to a full ballistics report will be necessary to determine whether or not a Makharov in the possession of Hlatswayo was used in the attack.

29. The evidence of Thami Hlatswayo and one other MK cadre implicated Peter Dlamini in her murder. Hlatswayo testified that Ms Madikizela-Mandela informed him that she had seen the body of 'Comrade V' at the mortuary and that he had a bullet wound on the back of his head. He also informed the Commission that there had been a feud between 'Comrade V' and Madikizela-Mandela over control of the MK unit, and that, she had been unhappy with the fact that 'Comrade V' had spent the night in the Mandela home. Hlatswayo testified further that, four days after this, Peter Dlamini had taken him at gunpoint to the home of Susan Maripe. He said he was given a Makharov and that Peter Dlamini shot Maripa dead. Hlatswayo testified that he believed that Madikizela-Mandela, Dlamini and Mr Percy Peterson were involved in the murder of 'Comrade V'. Hlatswayo reported the matter to the ANC in Lusaka, as did Ms Catherine Mathibe, Maripe's neighbour. Percy Peterson was recalled to Lusaka by the ANC, where he was placed under arrest and interrogated about these incidents. The Motsuenyane Commission report found that the ANC investigation into the death of 'Comrade V' resulted in Peterson being detained without trial and repeatedly tortured by the ANC's security department. The ANC did not make the findings of their own commission of enquiry available to the Commission.

30. Ms Madikizela-Mandela has denied knowledge of the incident and of any of the individuals involved, with the exception of Sefako, whom she knew as 'Comrade V'. She categorically denied any involvement in either killing.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT 'COMRADE V' WAS KILLED BUT THAT THE IDENTITY OF THE PERSON OR PERSONS WHO KILLED HIM IS NOT CLEAR. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MK MEMBERS PERCY PETERSON AND PETER DLAMINI DEFECTED FROM THE UNIT THEY BELONGED TO AND BEGAN FREQUENTING THE HOME OF MS MADIKIZELA-MANDELA AT ORLANDO WEST. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT, ON A BALANCE OF PROBABILITIES, PETER DLAMINI AND THAMI HLATSWAYO, BOTH MK CADRES, WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE KILLING OF MS SUSAN MARIPE AND THAT SHE WAS PROBABLY KILLED BECAUSE SHE WITNESSED THE INCIDENT IN WHICH A MOVING CAR DELIBERATELY KNOCKED DOWN VINCENT SEFAKO.

Killing of Sicelo Dhlomo

31. Mr Sicelo Dhlomo was abducted and found dead in Soweto on 25 January 1998. The security forces were assumed to be responsible for his death. However, according to an amnesty application, Sicelo Dhlomo was killed by members of an MK unit led by Mr John Itumeleng Dube, allegedly because the MK unit suspected him of being a police informer.

32. Ms Xoliswa Falati alleged that Ms Madikizela-Mandela was involved in this incident. Madikizela-Mandela has denied any knowledge of or involvement in it.

THE COMMISSION FOUND NO EVIDENCE OF MS MADIKIZELA-MANDELA'S INVOLVEMENT AND AWAITS THE AMNESTY HEARING OF JOHN ITUMELENG DUBE.

Assaults on Phumlile Dlamini

33. Ms Phumlile Dlamini, sister of the late Mr Kenneth Thole Dlamini (one of the original members of the MUFC, who was later killed by Mr Sizwe Sithole) told the Commission that she was assaulted by Ms Madikizela-Mandela and members of the MUFC in August and September 1988. Phumlile Dlamini was introduced to MUFC members by her late brother. She also claims that she had a relationship with Mr Johannes 'Shakes' Tau, a driver for Madikizela-Mandela. She alleged that Tau advised her that he had a relationship with Madikizela-Mandela, who confronted him upon learning of his relationship with Dlamini. Phumlile Dlamini told the Commission that she was pregnant when she was taken by Madikizela-Mandela and Tau into the Mandela home on the pretext that they were looking for her brother Thole. She said that she was then assaulted by Madikizela-Mandela. A week later she was allegedly picked up again by Madikizela-Mandela and other MUFC members, as Tau had disappeared, and again assaulted by Madikizela-Mandela. Later, she was repeatedly assaulted by MUFC members for a period of five hours which only stopped when Ms Zindzi Mandela-Hlongwane intervened. Mr Jerry Richardson confirms that he took her home.

34. When Phumlile advised her brother that she intended reporting the matter to the police, he begged her not to do so as he feared the reaction of Madikizela-Mandela and the MUFC. She did report the matter to Ms Dudu Chili.

35. Ms Madikizela-Mandela denied knowledge of or involvement in this incident.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MS PHUMLILE DLAMINI WAS A CREDIBLE WITNESS AND THAT HER ALLEGATIONS OF ASSAULT AT THE HANDS OF MS MADIKIZELA-MANDELA AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE MUFC IS CONSISTENT WITH THE MODUS OPERANDI OF OTHER INCIDENTS OF ASSAULT THAT HAD TAKEN PLACE AT THE MANDELA HOUSE. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT, IN ALL PROBABILITY, DLAMINI WAS TAKEN FROM HER HOME ON MORE THAN ONE OCCASION IN AUGUST 1988, THAT MADIKIZELA-MANDELA HAD KNOWLEDGE OF THIS AND THAT SHE AND MEMBERS OF THE MUFC WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR ASSAULTING MS DLAMINI.

Killing of Thole Dlamini

36. Mr Kenneth Thole Dlamini, one of the original members of the MUFC, was shot dead after attending a night vigil on the night of 16 October 1988. He had fallen out with powerful elements within the club after testifying against MUFC member Mr Absolom Madonsela. His testimony had led to the conviction of Madonsela.

37. Ms Madikizela-Mandela denies any direct knowledge of or involvement in the killing of Dlamini.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MR THOLE DLAMINI, A FORMER MEMBER OF THE MUFC, WAS IN ALL PROBABILITY SHOT DEAD BY MR CLAYTON SIZWE SITHOLE ON 16 OCTOBER 1988 AS A RESULT OF BEING LABELLED AN INFORMER FOR GIVING EVIDENCE IN COURT AGAINST MR ABSOLOM MADONSELA, THE FORMER SECRETARY OF THE FOOTBALL CLUB. THE COMMISSION ALSO FINDS THAT SITHOLE WAS IN THE COMPANY OF ANOTHER MEMBER OF THE MUFC BY THE NAME OF 'BOTHILE' AT THE TIME OF THE SHOOTINGS. THE COMMISSION FINDS FURTHER THAT, AT THE TIME OF THE MURDER, SITHOLE WAS LIVING AT OR WAS A CLOSE ASSOCIATE OF THE MANDELA HOUSEHOLD AND WAS REGARDED BY MS MADIKIZELA-MANDELA AS A MEMBER OF HER FAMILY. WHILST MADIKIZELA-MANDELA WAS NOT PRESENT IN SOWETO AT THE TIME OF THE INCIDENT, THE COMMISSION RECEIVED EVIDENCE THAT SHE KNEW OF THE INCIDENT AND ATTEMPTED TO COVER IT UP BY ASSISTING POTENTIAL WITNESSES TO GO INTO HIDING. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MADIKIZELA-MANDELA FAILED TO DISCLOSE HER KNOWLEDGE OF THIS INCIDENT AND, IN ALL PROBABILITY, ASSISTED SITHOLE TO EVADE THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT ABSOLOM MADONSELA (WHO ADMITTED AS MUCH BEFORE MEMBERS OF THE SAPS AND THE COMMISSION'S INVESTIGATION UNIT) ORDERED SIZWE SITHOLE TO EXECUTE DLAMINI FOR TESTIFYING IN COURT AGAINST HIM.

ABSOLOM MADONSELA (AKA 'BIZA') SAID THAT HE HAD AUTHORISED THE KILLING AND INFORMED THE COMMISSION THAT HE HAD APPLIED FOR AMNESTY FOR THIS INCIDENT. HE WAS TOLD THAT THE COMMISSION HAD NO RECORD OF ANY SUCH APPLICATION. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF HIS MISSING APPLICATION ARE BEING INVESTIGATED BY THE AMNESTY COMMITTEE.

Deaths of Tebogo Maluleke, Sipho Mbenenge and Sergeant Stephanus Pretorius

38. Mr Frans Tebogo Maluleke (aka 'Peter') and Mr Sipho Mbenenge were MK cadres who were temporarily accommodated at the house of MUFC 'coach' Mr Jerry Richardson. On 9 November 1988, following a tip-off from Richardson that the MK cadres were staying at his home, police came to the scene. In their attempt to capture the MK members, Security Branch member Sergeant Stephanus Pretorius Richardson's police handler was killed in unusual and unexplained circumstances. Both MK members were also killed.

39. This incident is also directly related to the subsequent disappearance of Lolo Sono and Sibuniso Tshabalala (see below).

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MS MADIKIZELA-MANDELA PLACED MK MEMBERS MALULEKE AND MBENENGE IN THE HOUSE OF MR JERRY RICHARDSON FOR SAFEKEEPING. THE COMMISSION FINDS FURTHER THAT BOTH CADRES WERE KILLED AS A RESULT OF A POLICE OPERATION LAUNCHED ON THE BASIS OF A 'TIP-OFF' FROM JERRY RICHARDSON, WHO ADMITTED TO PROVIDING THE POLICE WITH INFORMATION IN THIS REGARD. RICHARDSON WAS RELEASED FROM CUSTODY FIFTEEN DAYS AFTER THIS INCIDENT.

THE COMMISSION NOTES THAT MADIKIZELA-MANDELA REFUSED TO ANSWER QUESTIONS DURING THE IN CAMERA HEARING ON WHETHER SHE HAD ANY SUSPICIONS REGARDING RICHARDSON'S QUICK RELEASE, IN THE LIGHT OF THE SERIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH HE HAD BEEN ARRESTED. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MADIKIZELA-MANDELA'S SUBSEQUENT TESTIMONY THAT SHE SIMPLY REGARDED RICHARDSON TO BE A VICTIM IN THIS INCIDENT IS NOT CREDIBLE.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MADIKIZELA-MANDELA WAS NEGLIGENT IN THAT SHE FAILED TO INSTITUTE ENQUIRIES INTO THE DEATHS OF THE TWO CADRES AT THE TIME, AND THAT HER MISPLACED TRUST IN JERRY RICHARDSON WAS THE DIRECT CAUSE OF THEIR DEATH.

THE COMMISSION FURTHER FINDS THAT THE INVESTIGATION CONDUCTED BY THE SECURITY BRANCH INTO THE DEATH OF SERGEANT STEPHANUS PRETORIUS WAS RIDDLED WITH INCONSISTENCIES AND OBVIOUS OMISSIONS AND THAT ATTENTION SHOULD ALSO HAVE BEEN PAID TO THE ALLEGED UNCHARACTERISTIC AND ABERRANT ACTIONS OF PRETORIUS. SUSPICIONS OF THESE IRREGULARITIES ARE COMPOUNDED BY THE TESTIMONY OF CERTAIN SECURITY BRANCH OFFICERS, WHICH APPEARED AT TIMES TO BE LESS THAN CANDID. OF PARTICULAR CONCERN WAS THE TESTIMONY OF MR NORMAN LEMMER, THE INVESTIGATING OFFICER.

Abduction and killing of Lolo Sono and Anthony Sibuniso Tshabalala

40. Directly related to the killings of Tebogo Maluleke and Sipho Mbenenge at Richardson's house were the abductions and killings of Lolo Sono and Sibuniso Tshabalala.

41. Tebogo Maluleke was a relative of the Sono family. Mr Nicodemus Sono, the father of Lolo Sono, returned from Transkei on 10 November 1988. On his arrival, Lolo informed him that both Sibuniso Tshabalala and he had received notes requesting them to report to the police station. They had visited Ms Madikizela-Mandela on 7 November to ask for advice, and she had torn up the notes and told them not to go to the police station. On the night of 8 November, Sono and Tshabalala stayed in Mfolo section of Soweto with Tshabalala's aunt. On Wednesday 9 November, Madikizela-Mandela arranged for them to go and see Tebogo Maluleke at Mzimhlope. Mr Sono testified that Lolo told him that when he got there, there was a police helicopter flying around Richardson's house. Tebogo was agitated and told them to leave. However, they stayed hidden at a nearby shop, from where they witnessed the whole incident.

42. When they went to police station later, they were told that they could not be seen on that day as the police were preparing for the funeral of Sergeant Pretorius who had been killed in the same incident as Tebogo Maluleke. Mr Sono was asked to formally identify Maluleke as he was a family relative. They were told to return on 14 November 1988.

43. Mr Sono testified that on Sunday 13 November, Mr Michael Siyakamela, Ms Madikizela-Mandela's temporary driver, came to his house. He was told that someone wanted to see him. When he went out, he saw Lolo sitting in the back of the minibus, with Madikizela-Mandela in the front seat. Lolo's face was swollen and bruised. Sono testified that Madikizela-Mandela informed him that Lolo was a police spy and that the MK cadres at Jerry Richardson's house had been killed because of him. Despite his pleas to Madikizela-Mandela to release his son, Lolo was taken away. Madikizela-Mandela allegedly told him: "I am taking this dog away. The movement will see what to do to him."

44. This was the last time that Mr Sono saw his son.

45. Ms Madikizela-Mandela has denied any knowledge of or involvement in the abductions, assaults and killing of Lolo Sono or Sibuniso Tshabalala.

46. The Commission obtained a statement from Mr Michael Siyakamela which verifies Mr Sono's version in almost all respects.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT LOLO SONO WAS ABDUCTED BY MEMBERS OF THE MUFC ON 13 NOVEMBER 1988 AND WAS TAKEN TO THE DIEPKLOOF HOME OF MS MADIKIZELA-MANDELA WHERE HE WAS SEVERELY ASSAULTED. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MADIKIZELA-MANDELA HAD KNOWLEDGE OF THE ASSAULTS. THE COMMISSION FINDS FURTHER THAT MADIKIZELA-MANDELA, IN THE COMPANY OF MR MICHAEL SIYAKAMELA, MR GUYBON KUBEKA, MR RONNIE SEKHUKUNE AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE MUFC, TOOK LOLO SONO TO THE HOME OF HIS PARENTS IN MEADOWLANDS, WHERE MADIKIZELA-MANDELA REFUSED TO HAND LOLO OVER TO HIS FATHER, DESPITE REQUESTS TO DO SO. THE COMMISSION FINDS FURTHER THAT MADIKIZELA-MANDELA INFORMED MR NICODEMUS SONO THAT HIS SON WOULD BE SENT AWAY SO THE MOVEMENT COULD DEAL WITH HIM. THE COMMISSION FINDS FURTHER THAT LOLO SONO WAS KILLED BY MR JERRY RICHARDSON, A CLOSE CONFIDANT OF MADIKIZELA-MANDELA. RICHARDSON WAS ALSO LOLO SONO'S FRIEND AND NEIGHBOUR AND THE COACH OF THE FOOTBALL CLUB. THE COMMISSION FINDS FURTHER THAT MADIKIZELA-MANDELA CONSISTENTLY DENIED ANY KNOWLEDGE OF THE WHEREABOUTS OF LOLO SONO AND MADE NO EFFORT TO LOCATE HIM.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT SIBUNISO TSHABALALA'S FATE WAS LINKED TO THAT OF LOLO SONO.

47. Ms Nomsa Tshabalala, Sibuniso's mother, testified that, on the evening of 13 November, members of the MUFC came to the house in search of Sibuniso, who was not at home at the time. When he returned, his family told him what had happened to Lolo Sono. He nevertheless refused to go into hiding. He went out on the morning of 15 November but did not return home.

48. The distraught parents of Lolo and Sibuniso visited Captain Potgieter at the Protea police station and informed him that Lolo had been taken by Ms Madikizela-Mandela and that Sibuniso was missing. They were instructed to report the matter to the Meadowlands police. Later that day, Ms Tshabalala was called by Sibuniso, who said only that he was with Lolo.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT ANTHONY SIBUNISO TSHABALALA WAS ASSAULTED AT THE MADIKIZELA-MANDELA HOUSE IN DIEPKLOOF AND WAS SUBSEQUENTLY MURDERED BY MR JERRY RICHARDSON SHORTLY AFTER THE LATTER'S RELEASE FROM DETENTION ON 25 NOVEMBER 1988. RICHARDSON WAS LIVING AT THE MADIKIZELA-MANDELA HOUSE AT THE TIME.

THE COMMISSION FINDS FURTHER THAT THE MOTIVE FOR THE ASSAULTS AND MURDER OF BOTH LOLO SONO AND SIBUNISO TSHABALALA WAS THAT THEY WERE ACCUSED OF BEING INFORMERS AND WERE PERCEIVED TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATH OF TEBOGO MALULEKE AND SIPHO MBENENGE AT RICHARDSON'S HOUSE ON 9 NOVEMBER 1988. THE COMMISSION FINDS FURTHER THAT THE ALLEGATIONS REGARDING BOTH SONO AND TSHABALALA WERE UNFOUNDED AND FALSE, AND THAT RICHARDSON HIMSELF WAS A POLICE INFORMER.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MR JERRY RICHARDSON'S VERSION THAT THE YOUTHS WERE HELD AT THE MANDELA HOME FOR A PERIOD OF TWELVE OR MORE DAYS IS CONSISTENT WITH OTHER ABDUCTIONS IN THE SAME PERIOD UNDER REVIEW. RICHARDSON APPLIED FOR AMNESTY FOR MURDERING SONO AND TSHABALALA ON THE BASIS THAT HE RECEIVED ORDERS FROM MS MADIKIZELA-MANDELA TO DO SO. HOWEVER, THE COMMISSION FOUND NO EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THIS AND FINDS THAT THESE KILLINGS SERVED RICHARDSON'S INTERESTS IN THAT THEY DEFLECTED SUSPICION AWAY FROM HIMSELF REGARDING HIS RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE DEATH OF THE MK CADRES AT HIS HOUSE.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT LOLO SONO AND SIBUNISO TSHABALALA WERE LAST SEEN ALIVE AT THE MANDELA HOME. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MADIKIZELA-MANDELA WAS INVOLVED IN LOLO SONO'S ABDUCTION AND KNEW THAT HE WAS KEPT ON HER PREMISES. THE COMMISSION FINDS, THEREFORE, THAT MADIKIZELA-MANDELA MUST ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE DISAPPEARANCE OF LOLO SONO AND SIBUNISO TSHABALALA.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MEMBERS OF THE SOWETO POLICE WERE NEGLIGENT IN THEIR DUTY AND THAT, IF THEY HAD TAKEN QUICK AND DECISIVE ACTION REGARDING THE CHARGES LAID BY MR NICODEMUS SONO AND THE LATE MR TSHABALALA, BOTH LOLO SONO AND SIBUNISO TSHABALALA WOULD POSSIBLY STILL HAVE BEEN ALIVE.

49. The Commission and the SAPS mounted a joint exhumation in 1997, but were unable to locate any bodies at the site pointed out by Mr Jerry Richardson. The Attorney-General's office was requested to follow this up and examine a different site pointed out by Ms Xoliswa Falati.

Killing of Koekie Zwane

50. Ms Koekie Zwane, the girlfriend of an MUFC member known as 'Bothile', died of multiple stab wounds on 18 December 1988. She was allegedly suspected of being an informer and was killed by Mr Jerry Richardson. Richardson applied for amnesty for the murder of Koekie Zwane and alleges that she was killed on Ms Madikizela-Mandela's instructions after being branded as an informer.

51. Ms Madikizela-Mandela denies any knowledge of or involvement in this incident.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MS KOEKIE ZWANE'S REAL NAME WAS PRICILLA MOSOEU, AND THAT SHE WAS AN ASSOCIATE OF THE MANDELA HOUSEHOLD. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MR JERRY RICHARDSON WAS INVOLVED IN THE KILLING OF ZWANE AND THAT, IN ALL PROBABILITY, MEMBERS OF THE MUFC ASSISTED HIM WITH THE KILLING.

Abductions and assaults of Pelo Mekgwe, Thabiso Mono, Kenny Kgase and Stompie Seipei

52. The events that occurred during the period late September 1988 to February 1989 resulted in one of the most serious crises ever experienced by the internal and external liberation movements. On 29 December 1989, four youths Pelo Mekgwe, Thabiso Mono, Kenneth Kgase and Moeketsi Stompie Seipei were abducted from the Methodist manse in Soweto and taken to the Mandela home in Diepkloof Extension. The youths were accused of engaging in sexual relations with the Reverend Paul Verryn, the priest who ran the manse, and Seipei was singled out and accused of being a police informer. All four youths were assaulted, Seipei severely.

53. In early January, Seipei's decomposing body was found in a river-bed on the outskirts of Soweto. His body and head were riddled with injuries and he had been stabbed in the neck three times.

54. For two weeks in early January, senior religious and community leaders negotiated with Ms Madikizela-Mandela to secure the release of the other youths held at the house. Madikizela-Mandela denied that they were being held against their will and stated that she had rescued them from sexual abuse at the manse. When the youths were eventually released and the story spread to the media, Madikizela-Mandela issued several statements and conducted interviews in which she attacked the church for orchestrating a massive cover-up. The war of words continued into February. Following the identification of Stompie Seipei's body, several members of the MUFC, including Mr Jerry Richardson, were arrested and charged with murder.

55. Just prior to these arrests, both the MDM and the ANC issued statements strongly criticising Ms Madikizela-Mandela and calling for the immediate disbanding of the football club.

56. Evidence to the Commission, by both perpetrators and victims, confirms that members of the MUFC and associates of the Mandela household abducted Pelo Mekgwe, Thabiso Mono, Kenny Kgase and Stompie Seipei from the Methodist manse in Orlando West on the evening of 29 December 1989.

57. Ms Madikizela-Mandela denied involvement in the abductions, assault and torture of the four youths and said that she was unaware that they were being held against their will. She alleges that she received false information from Jerry Richardson and Xoliswa Falati in this regard, and that she released the youths following the approach of various community leaders.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THABISO MONO, PELO MEKGWE , KENNETH KGASE AND MOEKETSI STOMPIE SEIPEI WERE ABDUCTED FROM THE METHODIST MANSE IN ORLANDO ON 29 DECEMBER 1988 BY MR JERRY RICHARDSON, MEMBERS OF THE MUFC, MR JOHN MORGAN, MR KATIZA CEBEKHULU AND MS XOLISWA FALATI ON THE INSTRUCTIONS OF MS MADIKIZELA-MANDELA. THE COMMISSION FINDS FURTHER THAT THE ABDUCTED YOUTHS WERE SUBSEQUENTLY TAKEN TO MADIKIZELA-MANDELA'S DIEPKLOOF HOME, WHERE ALL FOUR YOUTHS WERE ASSAULTED IN THE BACK ROOMS OF THE PREMISES BY JERRY RICHARDSON, MEMBERS OF THE MUFC, XOLISWA FALATI AND KATIZA CEBEKHULU.

THE COMMISSION FINDS FURTHER THAT MADIKIZELA-MANDELA WAS PRESENT AT HER HOME AND NOT IN BRANDFORT AS SUBMITTED IN HER TRIAL, AND THAT SHE WAS PRESENT DURING THE ASSAULTS, AND INITIATED AND PARTICIPATED IN THE ASSAULTS.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT STOMPIE SEIPEI WAS FALSELY ACCUSED OF BEING A POLICE INFORMER AND WAS CONSEQUENTLY SUBJECTED TO THE MOST SEVERE ASSAULTS AND TORTURE.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE FOLLOWING PEOPLE WERE AMONGST THOSE INVOLVED IN THE ASSAULTS ON THE FOUR YOUTHS: MS WINNIE MADIKIZELA-MANDELA, MR JERRY RICHARDSON, MS XOLISWA FALATI, MS NOMPUMELELO FALATI, MR KATIZA CEBEKHULU, MS SKHUMBUZO MTHSHALI, MR GIFT MABELANE, MR JABU SITHOLE AND MR BRIAN MABUZA. THE COMMISSION FURTHER FINDS THAT MR GUYBON KHUBEKA WAS INVOLVED IN A SUBSEQUENT ASSAULT ON STOMPIE SEIPEI.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE ALLEGATIONS MADE BY CEBEKHULU, XOLISWA FALATI AND MADIKIZELA-MANDELA THAT THE REVEREND PAUL VERRYN HAD SEXUALLY ABUSED YOUTHS RESIDENT AT THE METHODIST MANSE WERE UNFOUNDED AND WITHOUT ANY MERIT. THE COMMISSION FINDS ALSO THAT MADIKIZELA-MANDELA DELIBERATELY AND MALICIOUSLY SLANDERED VERRYN AND THE CHURCH PUBLICLY IN AN ATTEMPT TO DIVERT ATTENTION AWAY FROM HERSELF AND THE ASSOCIATES OF HER HOUSEHOLD.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT XOLISWA FALATI WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DISSEMINATION TO MEMBERS OF THE MANDELA HOUSEHOLD OF UNTESTED ALLEGATIONS ABOUT VERRYN, AS WELL AS ALLEGATIONS THAT SEIPEI WAS AN INFORMER.

THE COMMISSION FINDS FURTHER THAT MADIKIZELA-MANDELA ACTIVELY RESISTED REPEATED EFFORTS BY THE MANDELA CRISIS COMMITTEE AND OTHER COMMUNITY AND RELIGIOUS LEADERS TO SECURE THE RELEASE OF THE YOUTHS BEING HELD AT HER HOUSE.

Killing of Stompie Seipei

58. Ms Madikizela-Mandela has denied any knowledge of or involvement in the killing of Stompie Seipei on 1 January 1989.

59. The Commission received three versions of this killing. Jerry Richardson, who was convicted for the murder and applied for amnesty, claimed that he killed Seipei on Madikizela-Mandela's instructions. Katiza Cebekhulu claimed that he witnessed Madikizela-Mandela stabbing Stompie Seipei, a version supported by John Morgan, who testified that he was instructed to dump Seipei's body. The third version was presented in the form of an unsigned, typed section 29 detention statement from Mr Johannes 'Themba' Mabotha, a Vlakplaas askari who frequented the Mandela home, which states that he was present at a meeting when Richardson informed Madikizela-Mandela that he had killed Seipei. Although this statement claims that Madikizela-Mandela was shocked at what Richardson had told her, it goes on to allege that she was directly involved in an attempt to spread misinformation that Seipei was alive and had been seen in a refugee camp in Botswana. A further version, suggested by former Security Branch policeman Paul Erasmus, is that Richardson killed Seipei because he (Seipei) had found out that Richardson was an informer.

60. The various versions, with the exception of that of Erasmus, all implicate Ms Madikizela-Mandela, either directly or indirectly, in Seipei's murder or its attempted cover-up. The Commission has not been able to establish conclusively the veracity of any of these versions, including Erasmus's. Each version was explored in the Investigation Unit's report to the Commission. A number of other possibilities also exist, including the option that Seipei was killed because his injuries were so severe.

IN THE LIGHT OF THE CORROBORATIVE TESTIMONY THAT PLACES MS MADIKIZELA-MANDELA ON THE SCENE, AND IMPLICATES HER IN THE ASSAULTS, THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT IN ALL PROBABILITY SHE WAS AWARE OF SEIPEI'S CONDITION AND FAILED, AS HEAD OF THE HOUSEHOLD, TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY BY ARRANGING MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR SEIPEI (AND THE OTHER YOUTHS), COMPOUNDING HER OWN COMPLICITY.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MADIKIZELA-MANDELA'S SUBSEQUENT PUBLIC STATEMENTS ABOUT SEIPEI'S BODY AND HER ALLEGED LINK THROUGH MABOTHA TO THE RUMOURS OF SEIPEI BEING SEEN AT THE DUKWE REFUGEE CAMP IN BOTSWANA WAS AN ATTEMPT TO DEFLECT ATTENTION AWAY FROM HERSELF AND HER HOUSEHOLD BY DISSEMINATING FALSE INFORMATION REGARDING SEIPEI. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MADIKIZELA-MANDELA FAILED TO DISCLOSE TO COMMUNITY LEADERS THAT SEIPEI HAD BEEN AT HER HOUSE.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT STOMPIE SEIPEI WAS LAST SEEN ALIVE AT THE HOME OF MADIKIZELA-MANDELA AND THAT SHE WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS ABDUCTION FROM THE METHODIST MANSE AND WAS NEGLIGENT IN THAT SHE FAILED TO ACT RESPONSIBLY IN TAKING THE NECESSARY ACTION REQUIRED TO AVERT HIS DEATH.

Attempted killing of Lerotodi Ikaneng

61. Mr Lerotodi Ikaneng and Mr Gift Ntombeni, former members of the MUFC, testified that Ms Madikizela-Mandela assaulted them and accused them of being informers approximately six weeks before the attempt on Ikaneng's life on 3 January 1989 by members of the MUFC and associates of the Mandela household.

62. Ikaneng made a statement to the police regarding Mr Sizwe Sithole's involvement in the killing of Mr Thole Dlamini, and this made him a target for the MUFC. It is therefore most probable that Ikaneng's life was at risk from the MUFC and, in this particular case, from the MUFC's patrons, Ms Madikizela-Mandela and her daughter, Ms Zindzi Mandela-Hlongwane. Ikaneng alleged that it was Mandela-Hlongwane who accused him of being an informer. It is probable that she was upset that Ikaneng had implicated her boyfriend, Sithole. According to Ikaneng, Mandela-Hlongwane had already accused him and several other MUFC members of being 'sell-outs' when he was still a member of the MUFC.

63. Jerry Richardson confirmed that he led the attack on Ikaneng on 3 January, accompanied by other MUFC members and the three abducted youths. Richardson and Gift Ntombeni corroborated Ikaneng's allegation that he was labelled as an informer by Ms Madikizela-Mandela and/or her daughter. Richardson claimed that he had killed Ikaneng and that he was congratulated by Madikizela-Mandela when he told her this.

64. There is no apparent motive for Ikaneng to implicate Ms Madikizela-Mandela falsely in the attempts on his life. He had already testified against Richardson, who stabbed him in the throat. There is no evidence to suggest that Ikaneng was working for the police. Both Ikaneng and Ntombeni had insight into how the MUFC operated and knew of Madikizela-Mandela's close relationship with it.

65. Ms Madikizela-Mandela denied knowledge of the attack on Lerotodi Ikaneng and the alleged reasons for it.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MR LEROTODI IKANENG, ONE OF THE ORIGINAL MEMBERS OF THE MUFC, WAS RESIDENT AT THE ORLANDO WEST HOME OF MS MADIKIZELA-MANDELA. THE COMMISSION FINDS FURTHER THAT IKANENG LEFT THE MADIKIZELA-MANDELA HOUSEHOLD IN AUGUST 1988, FOLLOWING THE ARSON ATTACK ON THE PROPERTY. THE COMMISSION FINDS FURTHER THAT MEMBERS OF THE MUFC MADE SEVERAL ATTEMPTS ON IKANENG'S LIFE FOLLOWING HIS DEPARTURE FROM THE MANDELA HOUSEHOLD. HE WAS ACCUSED OF BEING A POLICE INFORMER AFTER PROVIDING THE POLICE WITH A STATEMENT NAMING SIZWE SITHOLE AS THE MURDERER OF MR THOLE DLAMINI.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MADIKIZELA-MANDELA WAS INVOLVED IN AND RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ATTEMPTED MURDER OF IKANENG.

Killing of Dr Abubaker Asvat

66. Dr Abubaker Asvat was shot dead in his surgery in Rockville, Soweto, in the early evening of 27 January 1989. Mr Thulani Dlamini and Mr Zakhele Mbatha were subsequently charged and convicted for his murder. Media reports, speculation and a confession by Dlamini suggested that Ms Madikizela-Mandela was somehow involved in the murder.

67. Confusing and contradictory allegations by the convicted murderers, coupled with unsubstantiated allegations from Mr Katiza Cebekhulu, did not provide the Commission with any clarity regarding the Asvat murder and the alleged involvement of Ms Madikizela-Mandela. Indeed, the entire case remains unsolved as there are numerous statements from Dlamini as far back as 1980, in which he consistently maintained that Madikizela-Mandela offered him money to kill Dr Asvat. These are riddled with contradictions, which he claimed to have inserted deliberately in each version. Neither Dlamini nor Mbatha, who actually shot Asvat, provided the Commission with credible testimony or coherent reasons for the contradictions in their various versions.

68. The allegation that Dr Asvat saw Stompie Seipei before his murder and was a witness to his condition is supported by direct and indirect witness testimony. It is, however, denied by Ms Madikizela-Mandela. Other witnesses who were at the Mandela home also denied that they saw Dr Asvat at the house during this period.

69. Quotations attributed to Ms Madikizela-Mandela in the Sunday Times two days after the murder, linking Asvat's death to her allegations of Verryn's sexual abuse of the boys, have been rejected by Madikizela-Mandela as fabrication. This denial is part of a broader pattern of denials regarding quotations and stories attributed to her in the media at this time. It is, however, noteworthy that she made no attempt during this period, or subsequently before the hearings, to deny that she had ever said these things.

70. The death of Dr Abubaker Asvat, and the subsequent linking of his death with the sexual abuse allegations surrounding the Reverend Paul Verryn, raised serious concerns which the Commission was unable to unravel. The Commission was not, however, able to verify allegations that Ms Madikizela-Mandela was involved in Dr Asvat's murder and is still unsatisfied as to the reasons why media reports linked the two incidents.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE MURDER AND ROBBERY DETECTIVES INVESTIGATING DR ASVAT'S MURDER WERE HASTY IN THEIR ASSUMPTIONS THAT THIS WAS A STRAIGHTFORWARD CASE OF ROBBERY, AND WERE NEGLIGENT IN THEIR FAILURE TO EXAMINE THE APPARENT CONNECTION BETWEEN DLAMINI AND CEBEKHULU'S STATEMENTS. IT IS DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND HOW SUCH AN OMISSION COULD HAVE BEEN MADE, UNLESS ONE ACCEPTS THAT INFORMATION OF THIS NATURE WAS NOT SHARED IN PRIORITY INVESTIGATIONS WITHIN THE SAME POLICE UNIT. IN THIS CONTEXT, THE INVESTIGATION ALSO FAILED TO ACCESS POTENTIALLY VITAL INFORMATION FROM THE SECURITY BRANCH AND ITS RECORDS OF TELEPHONE TRANSCRIPTS AND OTHER INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION.

Killing of Maxwell Madondo and attempted killing of Sibusiso Chili and Lerotodi Ikaneng

71. Mr Maxwell Madondo was killed on 13 February 1989. Several members of the Chili family, Mr Lerotodi Ikaneng and two others were charged with murder. Central to their defence was the assertion that Madondo had been killed in self-defence and that he had been sent from the Mandela house with two others to kill Mr Sibusiso Chili and Ikaneng. In somewhat unusual circumstances, the State accepted a statement from Mr Katiza Cebekhulu in which he claimed to have accompanied Madondo on a 'mission' to kill Chili and Ikaneng on the instructions of Ms Madikizela-Mandela.

72. The assertion that the MUFC wanted to kill these two was supported by an alleged hit list found on the Mandela property during a police raid on 19 February. This list contained the names of Chili, Ikaneng and other youths, including Ms Albertina Sisulu's nephews, who had also had problems with the football club. Inexplicably, no subsequent investigations were conducted into this admission. The court found Sibusiso Chili guilty of murder, but accepted the mitigating circumstances that his life was under threat at the time. He was sentenced to six years' imprisonment.

73. Testimony from several witnesses, including a statement from a former MUFC member who warned both Ikaneng and the Chili family about the impending attack, supports the allegation that they were targets of the MUFC.

74. Several witnesses testified that Ms Madikizela-Mandela came to the scene after Madondo's death. Her former driver, John Morgan, testified that he drove her to the scene.

75. Ms Madikizela-Mandela acknowledged that she knew Madondo, but denied any knowledge of this incident, the circumstances surrounding his death or the identity of the killer.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MADONDO WAS KILLED AS A RESULT OF ACTIONS TAKEN BY THE MEMBERS OF THE MUFC AND OTHER ASSOCIATES OF THE MANDELA HOUSEHOLD TO ABDUCT AND/OR KILL SIBUSISO CHILI. THE COMMISSION CANNOT CONFIRM THAT MS MADIKIZELA MANDELA WAS DIRECTLY INVOLVED IN THE DECISION THAT RESULTED IN THE ACTIONS TAKEN TO APPREHEND CHILI.

THE COMMISSION FINDS, HOWEVER, THAT ON A BALANCE OF PROBABILITIES MS MADIKIZELA-MANDELA DID GO TO THE SCENE OF THE MURDER AS ALLEGED BY THE WITNESSES.

Killing of Finkie Msomi

76. On the evening of 22 February 1989, the home of Ms Dudu Chili (mother of Sibusiso Chili) was attacked and burnt down. Her thirteen-year-old niece Finkie Msomi was shot dead in the attack. Mr Katiza Cebekhulu alleged that he was present at a meeting at which Ms Madikizela-Mandela said that Madondo's death had to be avenged and that the Chili family were 'sell-outs'.

77. An internally trained MK member and associate of the Mandela household, Mr Charles Zwane, was convicted for the killing. He denied any involvement in the incident and claimed that members of the Soweto Murder and Robbery Unit tortured him into a confession.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT FINKIE MSOMI, A MEMBER OF THE CHILI FAMILY, WAS MURDERED BY AN MK COMMANDER AND MEMBERS OF THE MUFC IN A RETALIATORY ATTACK FOR THE KILLING OF MAXWELL MADONDO. THE COMMISSION FINDS FURTHER THAT THE HOUSE OF MS DUDU CHILI, THE MOTHER OF SIBUSISO CHILI, WAS PETROL-BOMBED AND SET ALIGHT BY MEMBERS OF THE MUFC AND THE AFORESAID MK COMMANDER, ALSO IN REVENGE FOR THE KILLING OF MAXWELL MADONDO BY MEMBERS OF THE MUFC AND /OR ASSOCIATES OF THE MANDELA HOUSE.

78. Although the club was theoretically disbanded at this stage, a number of youths associated with the club and MK remained close to the Mandela household. Although one cannot discount the possibility that Zwane was tortured by members of the Murder and Robbery Unit, he was not convicted for the killing of Finkie Msomi on the basis of a confession alone. In mitigation, Zwane's advocate accepted that the attack on the Chili house was motivated by revenge and that Zwane was heavily influenced by the dominant personality of Ms Madikizela-Mandela.

79. Ms Madikizela-Mandela denied any knowledge of the circumstances surrounding or involvement in the decision to attack the Chili home. All she knew, she said, was what she read in the newspapers. She denied any conflict between herself and Ms Dudu Chili.

80. Ms Madikizela-Mandela's apparent ignorance about the circumstances and people involved in the attack on the Chilis' house, as well as the fact that it was related directly to the killing of another person who stayed at her house, is improbable. It is not feasible, in the context of the community condemnation of her club and the close proximity of a number of community leaders as a result of these problems, that she could have been so isolated from the events of mid- to late February. Although it is quite possible that she had little control over the actions of some of the youths associated with her and her household, it is improbable that she was as unaware of the events and circumstances as she claims.

Assault and murder of Themba Mabotha

81. Mr Themba Mabotha was allegedly an askari who absconded from Vlakplaas in 1988 and subsequently became an associate of the Mandela household. He was allegedly involved in the assaults on the youths abducted from the Methodist manse and also a potential witness in the Seipei murder investigation.

82. Following his arrest and assault by members of the Soweto Security Branch and Vlakplaas, Mabotha was detained for a period of almost eight months. According to available detention registers, Mabotha was detained in April and released in October. Security policemen involved in his arrest, however, have testified that he was arrested in February. No explanation has been given for the six- to seven-week period between the time of his arrest and his registration as a detainee.

83. According to Captain Jan Potgieter, Mabotha was to have been used as a State witness against Ms Madikizela-Mandela in a pending treason trial for which he (Potgieter) had been conducting investigations for over two years. He testified that the failure of the Witwatersrand Attorney-General to make a decision regarding this prosecution had left him in a dilemma, as he was unable to obtain an extension on Mabotha's detention. He wanted him to be available should a subsequent decision be made to prosecute Madikizela-Mandela, and said that he requested Colonel Eugene de Kock to keep him at Vlakplaas. He claimed that, at the time, he had no idea of the nature of Vlakplaas operations.

84. Eugene de Kock testified, however, that he had been contacted by Potgieter and had inferred, from the tenor of their conversation, that Mabotha was to be killed. De Kock reasoned that Mabotha had been involved in shooting two policemen and that "it would happen again and had to be prevented". De Kock explained that he did not receive an order from anyone to kill Mabotha, but that Potgieter's intentions were clear. They had worked together in Koevoet in South West Africa and he said that he and Potgieter "understood each other well".

85. Both Potgieter and De Kock applied for amnesty for Mabotha's death. Their versions are conflicting and no finding had been made at the time of reporting as the matter was still be heard.

Death of Sizwe Sithole

86. Mr Sizwe Sithole died in police custody at John Vorster Square on 3 February 1990. A Judicial Commission of Inquiry found that Sithole had committed suicide. Evidence before the Commission showed that Sithole had admitted his involvement in several murders (including the murder of Mr Thole Dlamini) and had also implicated Ms Madikizela-Mandela and Ms Mandela-Hlongwane. Details of these allegations were written down during five hours of interrogation on the day of Sithole's death. The notes taken down by Jan Augustyn, the policeman involved in the interrogation, were never made public. The Commission has not been able to gain access to these notes.

87. Mr Katiza Cebekhulu alleged that he had been instructed by Ms Madikizela-Mandela to tip off the police regarding illegal weapons in Sithole's possession.

88. Ms Madikizela-Mandela has categorically denied Cebekhulu's allegations.

THE COMMISSION FOUND NO EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT CEBEKHULU'S ALLEGATION AGAINST MS MADIKIZELA-MANDELA. WITHOUT THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED TO THE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY, THE COMMISSION WAS UNABLE TO MAKE ANY FINDINGS REGARDING THE ADMISSIONS AND ALLEGATIONS ALLEGEDLY MADE BY SITHOLE.

Abduction of Katiza Cebekhulu

89. Mr Katiza Cebekhulu, a co-accused of Ms Madikizela-Mandela at her trial for kidnapping and assault, disappeared shortly before the trial and re-emerged in a Zambian prison, where he was detained without trial for almost three years.

90. Ms Madikizela-Mandela has denied any knowledge of or involvement in the abduction of Cebekhulu.

91. Katiza Cebekhulu was taken out of the country and placed illegally in a Zambian prison at the request of the ANC with the assistance of the Zambian authorities. Former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda admitted that the ANC requested his assistance with Cebekhulu. Although he indicated that this was done for his own safety, it is more likely that it was done to protect Ms Madikizela-Mandela from his possible disclosures and avoid the embarrassment that he would cause to the ANC. The ANC had good reason to believe that the authorities would try to use any information disclosed by Cebekhulu, as evidenced by the disclosure of STRATCOM documents revealing the dissemination of disinformation regarding the ANC by the SAP during this period.

92. The ANC has never taken responsibility for its actions regarding Cebekhulu. Ms Madikizela-Mandela's assertion that she was not directly involved in at least the initial hand-over of Cebekhulu is contradicted by the testimony of both Morgan and Cebekhulu. Advocate Semenya attempted to discredit Cebekhulu's version on the basis that he said 'Shell House' instead of 'Sauer Street' a relatively minor detail, considering that there is no other version available as to how he was placed in the ANC's custody. Madikizela-Mandela's contention that she had nothing to gain from Cebekhulu's incarceration is not credible, as her interests would appear to be the very reason that he was taken out of the country.

THEMES

The Mandela United Football Club

93. The Mandela United Football Club (MUFC) was the source of considerable violence and controversy between 1987 and 1989. Whilst Ms Madikizela-Mandela denied this, both the liberation movement externally and the MDM internally recognised it and stated so clearly in their statements of 16 February 1989. In the face of criticism and concerns raised by senior leaders of the liberation movement both at home and in exile, as well as the outrage of the local community, it is difficult to understand why she failed to recognise the threat that the club was posing and how damaging this was to herself. Her reluctance to disband the club is inexplicable.

94. Ms Madikizela-Mandela denied in her testimony that there was a close relationship between her and the youths who lived on or frequented her property. However, the testimony of former MUFC members, and of individuals who tried to dissuade her from this association, indicates that Madikizela-Mandela took a much more active interest than she has admitted. The MDM statement affirms this:

Not only is Mrs Mandela associated with the team, in fact the team is her own creation.

Madikizela-Mandela's relationship with community structures

95. The evidence before the Commission clearly shows that Ms Madikizela-Mandela was not accountable to any of the internal community or political structures at the time. Repeated efforts by the Mandela Crisis Committee and other community leaders to bring her into line were either ignored or repudiated. The MDM in their statement went on to say:

We are of the view that Mrs Mandela has abused the trust and confidence which she has enjoyed over the years. She has not been a member of any of the democratic structures of the UDF [or] Cosatu and she has often acted without consulting the democratic movement.

Numerous efforts have been made to reconcile the conflict between Mrs Mandela and the community. The last of these efforts was the formation of the crisis committee of some of our most respected members. On every occasion, Mrs Mandela has chosen to disregard the sentiments of the community.

96. It is, however, evident that the internal leadership was stymied and finally reacted in the way they did because Ms Madikizela-Mandela's intransigence had given them no other option.

97. In a statement released externally, the ANC said the following:

In the light of reports about its activities in the recent past, our organisation, complementing the initiatives of leading personalities of the Mass Democratic Movement, tried to use its influence to bring about the disbanding of the group. Unfortunately our counsel was not heeded by Comrade Winnie Mandela. The situation has been further complicated by the fact that she did not belong to any structures and therefore did not benefit from the discipline, counselling and collectivity of the Mass Democratic Movement.

Denials and allegations

98. Ms Madikizela-Mandela's testimony before the Commission was characterised by a blanket denial of all allegations against her and of the attempts by the community leadership to defuse the situation arising from the abduction debacle. A detailed examination of some of these denials is contained in the investigation report. The picture that she sought to paint of herself was that she was right and that everybody else was wrong. She called her former associates "ludicrous" and "ridiculous" and failed to recognise that these were the same individuals who had tried to support her in the face of criticism from community leaders.

99. These denials were complemented by a series of allegations and insinuations about individuals and structures that provided information about her role and involvement in the events of this period. She refused to take responsibility for any wrongdoing. It was only at the end of her testimony, under great pressure from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, presiding over the proceedings, that she reluctantly conceded that "things had gone horribly wrong".

The South African Police

100. Evidence before the Commission shows that the Security Police were involved in a concerted disinformation campaign against the ANC and the South African Communist Party, and that Ms Madikizela-Mandela was a prominent target in the Witwatersrand region. Security policemen from Soweto admitted that she had been under constant electronic surveillance by means of telephone taps and bugs. They also admitted that Mr Jerry Richardson had acted as an informer. It is probable that other informers had also infiltrated the club.

101. The testimony of former Soweto security policemen was, however, characterised by a lack of candour in disclosing the nature of their operations regarding Ms Madikizela-Mandela, the MUFC and other associates of the Mandela household.

102. Although the Security Branch was aware of the close relationship between the MUFC and MK, none of the officers who testified acknowledged that the football club was of particular importance to them. The officer in charge of investigations regarding Ms Madikizela-Mandela testified that he was totally unaware that one of his colleagues was handling an informer inside the football club. All the Soweto policemen denied involvement in any STRATCOM activities against Madikizela-Mandela, contradicting the testimony of Security Branch officers from Pretoria and the Witwatersrand division who testified that she was a prominent subject for STRATCOM operations.

103. The testimony of former Soweto Security Branch members created the impression that they were at best uncoordinated and unprofessional. Having admitted that Ms Madikizela-Mandela was the most high-profile political figure in their jurisdiction, they were virtually unable with the exception of one or two witnesses to provide any details regarding their activities concerning her, apart from a few items that were included verbatim in each of their written submissions.

104. Like their former Murder and Robbery Unit colleagues, they denied adopting a strategy of lenience in regard to cases involving Madikizela-Mandela and asserted that the responsibility for decisions regarding these investigations rested with the Attorney-General. There was a general admission that one had to be extremely cautious when dealing with the Madikizela-Mandela. The Commission was left with the distinct impression that the Attorney-General was at pains not to prosecute her. Madikizela-Mandela's subsequent prosecution in the kidnapping trial, albeit over twenty-seven months after the abductions, suggests that the authorities had been left no other option in the light of the revelations of Richardson's trial the previous year. Strategic decisions with regard to the investigation and prosecution of Madikizela-Mandela appear to have been influenced strongly by the political circumstances and sensitivities of this period.

105. It is also evident that the chaos emanating from the Mandelas' backyard had useful political ramifications for the police, as it created a discord within the liberation movement that the authorities themselves had never been able to achieve.

106. Findings against the police will be made once the amnesty hearings of police members have been completed.

The ANC

107. Although the Commission took into consideration the prevailing circumstances of the time, the ANC must bear some responsibility for not taking a more determined stance regarding the controversy surrounding Ms Madikizela-Mandela, particularly in the period following the unbanning of the organisation. The apparent complicity of elements within the ANC to obstruct the course of justice by removing witnesses and co-accused in the kidnapping and assault trial is a case in point.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's attitude towards the Commission

108. Madikizela-Mandela chose not to submit a statement to the Commission detailing the human rights violations she suffered at the hands of the apartheid government and its security forces. She indicated during her first in camera hearing in September 1997 that she had intended to do this, but had changed her mind as a result of the treatment she received at the hands of the Commission. She was particularly upset that she had learnt of her pending subpoena through the media, and was disconcerted that she had been subpoenaed and not invited to appear before the Commission. She considered this a hostile and unnecessary action. In this regard, the Commission handled the matter badly and must apologise to Ms Madikizela-Mandela. The Commission itself recognises the enormous contribution that she made to the liberation struggle. For over two decades she suffered anguish in her separation from her husband, as well as persecution, banishment, imprisonment, torture and harassment at the hands of the former government.

109. During the public hearings, Madikizela-Mandela made strong inferences that the Commission had colluded with the ANC in arranging for the hearing to coincide with the pending ANC national conference and that this was part of a wider conspiracy to undermine her attempts to become the Deputy-President of the ANC. The Commission denied this allegation emphatically and reaffirms that position. It should also be pointed out that Madikizela-Mandela herself requested a public hearing. The dates for the hearing were settled with her legal representatives.

110. Ms Madikizela-Mandela was a reluctant witness at both the in camera and the public hearings. While the Commission was obliged on occasion to present to her allegations that may have appeared far-fetched, it became evident at times that she regarded this as a personal vendetta being waged against her by the Commission. This might also explain her contemptuous attitude towards certain witnesses and her reprimands to those who asked her questions that she did not like.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MS MADIKIZELA-MANDELA WAS CENTRAL TO THE ESTABLISHMENT AND FORMATION OF THE MUFC. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT CLUB DEVELOPED INTO A PRIVATE VIGILANTE UNIT OPERATING AROUND MADIKIZELA-MANDELA AND FROM HER HOUSES IN BOTH ORLANDO WEST AND DIEPKLOOF. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE ARSON ATTACK ON THE MANDELA HOME IN ORLANDO WEST IN JULY 1988 WAS A MANIFESTATION OF THE COMMUNITY'S ANGER AGAINST MADIKIZELA- MANDELA AND THE FOOTBALL CLUB. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT POLITICAL, COMMUNITY AND CHURCH LEADERS REQUESTED MADIKIZELA-MANDELA TO DISBAND THE FOOTBALL CLUB. THESE REQUESTS WERE NOT ACCEDED TO AND THE LEADERS WERE SCORNED BY MADIKIZELA-MANDELA.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE MUFC WAS INVOLVED IN A NUMBER OF CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES IN THE COMMUNITY, INCLUDING KILLING, TORTURE, ASSAULTS AND ARSON. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MS MANDELA WAS AWARE OF THE CRIMINAL ACTIVITY AND THE DISQUIET IT CAUSED IN THE COMMUNITY AND DELIBERATELY CHOSE NOT TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEMS EMANATING FROM THE FOOTBALL CLUB.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THOSE WHO OPPOSED MADIKIZELA-MANDELA AND THE MUFC, OR DISSENTED FROM THEM, WERE BRANDED AS INFORMERS, THEN HUNTED DOWN AND KILLED. THEIR LABELLING AS INFORMERS WAS DEEMED TO JUSTIFY THESE KILLINGS.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MEMBERS OF THE FOOTBALL CLUB OPERATED FROM MADIKIZELA-MANDELA'S HOUSE AND THAT SHE HAD KNOWLEDGE OF THE CLUB MEMBERS' ACTIVITIES AND/OR AUTHORISED AND/OR SANCTIONED THEM.

THE COMMISSION FINDS MS WINNIE MADIKIZELA MANDELA POLITICALLY AND MORALLY ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE GROSS VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTED BY THE MUFC. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MS MADIKIZELA-MANDELA FAILED TO ACCOUNT TO THE COMMUNITY AND POLITICAL STRUCTURES. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MADIKIZELA-MANDELA WAS RESPONSIBLE, BY OMISSION, FOR THE COMMISSION OF GROSS VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS.

CONCLUSIONS

111. There can be no doubt that Ms Madikizela-Mandela was central to the establishment and formation of the MUFC. Club members were involved in at least eighteen killings, for which many of them are still serving prison sentences. Many of the operations which led to the killings were launched from her homes. Witnesses who appeared before the Commission implicated her in having known of these matters, in having actively participated in assaults or in having assisted in cover-ups and obstructing the course of justice. She denied all these allegations. In a number of incidents, people were labelled as informers, which 'legitimated' their execution by MUFC members. In this context, the Commission cannot ignore the paranoia that existed at the time regarding informers. There is no doubt that being under constant surveillance and living under siege may have made a considerable contribution to what eventually happened.

112. What is tragic is that so heroic a figure as Ms Madikizela-Mandela, with her own rich history of contribution to the struggle, became embroiled in a controversy that caused immeasurable damage to her reputation. There can be no doubt that she showed poor judgment in ignoring the advice of the community leaders and members of the MDM. The Commission has been unable to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion as to what went wrong, why Madikizela-Mandela was not accountable to the democratic structures inside the country, what influence the external liberation movement had over her, why she surrounded herself with persons of the calibre of Jerry Richardson and Xoliswa Falati, or why she became so isolated from democratic and community structures.

113. The Commission cannot but state that both the MDM and the ANC must accept responsibility for not bringing her into the fold or disciplining her when things were beginning to go wrong. This could perhaps have prevented some of the events that unfolded during that tragic period.

114. It is regrettable that Ms Madikizela-Mandela did not use the hearings as a forum to take the Commission and the nation into her confidence in order to shed light on the circumstances that resulted in the chaos and violence that emanated from her household. This would have assisted in the process of separating wild allegation from the morass of claims made against her.

115. There can be no doubt that there were forces at work that aimed to sow discord between Ms Madikizela-Mandela and the Soweto community and the liberation movements. The infiltration of the club by one or more police informers and the manipulation of events and circumstances by the security forces exacerbated the ensuing discord. These factors cannot, however, be held solely responsible either for the causes or the consequences of this conflict.

116. The Mandela United Football Club phenomenon was replicated in the vigilante actions of other, similar groups across the country during this period. The fundamental difference, however, was that this group enjoyed the patronage, support and protection of Ms Madikizela-Mandela and the prestige of association with the Mandela name. The club was initially admired by many in the local community, but within a few years became feared and loathed as it engaged in a series of acts of terror against its perceived enemies and those that defied its authority. Madikizela-Mandela's proximity to these events is as undeniable as her complicity.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.