Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Revenge will not bring anyone back from the dead !!

Eugene de Kock 
I am so sick and tired of hearing about how many thousands of people Eugene de Kock killed and how evil he was. In the context of the time, it was war.  A war is fought on two sides (normally) - one group against another; one group trying to get something more from another group and the other group defending what they have.  

There were no innocent parties and there were no innocent parties.  We were all responsible.  

The war is over.   Revenge will not bring anyone back from the dead.  The fortunate soldiers were welcomed home by their families.  And the land is still struggling to get onto its feet.

Keeping Eugene de Kock in prison is not only unlawful (in my opinion, and which you would agree with if you have followed his story with an open mind) with reference to his but it is also morally corrupt decision.  It certainly is not equality before the law for all.  The only obvious reasons that he is still in prison are:
  • Ø  Incompetent officials of the Department of Correctional Services
  • Ø  Incompetence or indifference from the past and present  Ministers of the Department of Correctional services
  • Ø  Eugene de Kock is being used as a political football for an as yet, unknown modus operandi
  • Ø  Keeping him in prison is keeping those who are also guilty safe from prosecution
  • Ø  Lack of finances for legal applications to overturn unfair decisions

The only right thing to do, given the circumstances of the past and the present, and excusing the mistakes made by the TRC, as well as those who were involved in his prosecution, is a Presidential Pardon.  Eugene de Kock was singled out and was not given the opportunity of being treated equally before the law.   President Zuma can by-pass all the red tape and free this man in 5 minutes. 

I appeal to President Zuma to give Eugene de Kock a Presidential Pardon on the grounds of compassion, and in a spirit of reconciliation.  

Let the past stay in the past and let us move forward to a brighter future by doing the right thing today.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Open Letter to Shadow Minister of Correctional Services re: Eugene de Kock

Shadow Minister of Correctional Services, Mr J Selfe
Eugene de Kock 
Honourable Shadow Minister of Correctional Services, Mr Selfe, 

As the situation regarding the neglect from the various departments or committees of the Department of Correctional Services has already been disseminated to you, I merely copy and paste the most important aspects. 

I am the Whistle Blower!!  No member of the Correctional Services or Justice Department need to be implicated.  I am the Whistle Blower and you are free to use my name.  I am sure that you can remember my telephone calls and emails to you about Eugene before...when I asked you about the DA stance on Presidential Pardons. 

At the time, you promised that you would take the matter of Eugene de Kock's parole up with the Minister but I did not receive any feedback.  In fact, Ben Kruger is another concerned person who you had correspondence with via email.  (A new Minister has been installed since).   I am very disappointed that you did not familiarise yourself with the facts of the case so that you could have shadowed this high profile case properly. 
According to our constitution, we are all equal before the law.  Why is the case of Eugene becoming a political soccer ball?  He is an ordinary prisoner and not a political prisoner.  The two concepts are mutually exclusive.  Either he is a political prisoner and politics need to be taken into account, or he is an ordinary prisoner and the letter of the law has to be followed by all government departments and citizens of SA. 

You should be well conversant with the working performances of the CMC and  that the main function of this committee  is namely the preparing of absolute completed profiles of offenders  who qualifies for parole, and to be submitted to the CSPB.  Documents that is very important to this case can be delivered directly to you.  
---the denial of the parole to EdK,  as announced by the Minister of Correctional Services , involved simply about the fact that EdK did not consult with the  families of the victims ;
---the VOD  (Victim Offender Dialogue P rogramme) was invented and launched  by the  DCS, for the mere fact that offenders and victims or families (if they agreed to meet with the offender ) ;

---this VOD programme (violence/violent,  crimes committed as in the case of EdK) was a prerequisite to accompany profiles of offenders of such crimes, with a clear recommendation for the parties to meet and if not, what reasons are there for it not to have been metnot have met.  If this or any other relevant documents were not attached to the profile as the prescribed norm requires, it simply means that the profile was incompetent;
I came to the following conclusions, namely :
---the VOD programme was never applied to in the case of EdK, and this is why the mentioned Minister had no other choice to announce a further profile to be submitted in the next 12 months;
---this announcement cleary indicates the following :
1) the Minister was not aware of the VOD  process that should have accompanied the profile as a competed document;
2) National CSPB,  Senior officials of the DCS  as well as the  acting Commissioner of DCS , were absolutely negligent in the preparation and submitted an uncompleted profile to their Minister , which left the Minister no other choice than to announce a further profile, in  order to give these mentioned parties of DCS a chance to correct their wrong submission of  a well completed profile that meets with prescribed standards .
Honourable  Mr Selfe , Eugene de Kock all the standards to be released immediately on parole .
DCS  officials who were involved with the preparations of his  parole applcation were gross negligent and must be brought forward to explain why the correct procedures were not followed, prior the profile was submitted to their Minister.

Mr Selfe, it is a crying shame that a prisoner has to go to a supreme court to have his rights applied, not only once, but twice to my knowledge. 

Would you kindly ask the relevant questions in parliament and use my name as the Whistle Blower.     I have been instrumental in start a highly popular FaceBook group called FREE EUGENE DE KOCK.   We have a few thousand members and would welcome it for you to join and see for yourself what the people thing about his release.   You will be pleasantly surprised to see the type of people who have become members, people from all racial, cultural, and religious groups.   The group would like to see this man being given a Presidential Pardon, and we will persevere until we get it for Eugene.  

However, parole for someone who meets all the legal requirements should not be side-lined for anything; political or incompetence included. 

I look forward to your earliest response in this regard. 
Yours truly 
Dianne Lang 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

What I learned from having Cancer

Orange for Leukemia 
What I learned from having Cancer

When I was diagnosed
…I was forced to slow down and realize that there is perfection in every moment
…I learned that being dependent on someone, does not make me weak
…I stopped trying to save the world and became more effective by concentrating on just one challenge
…I found that chemotherapy is not as bad as everyone thinks
I had time to reflect on the past and appreciate my accomplishments
I stopped settling for second best because I realize my worth.
I turned my bedroom from a flop house to a sanctuary
I threw out rubbish and unnecessary stuff so no one had to do that when I’m gone.
…I asked my kids forgiveness for some bad decisions I made during their childhood and they laughed at my silliness.
I learned that if today is a bad one, tomorrow will be better.
I understand that I am alone on this journey and it feels OK.
I have come close to kicking the bucket a couple of times and I discovered that dying is not scary.
I stopped listening to unsolicited phone calls and found that saying NO is liberating.
I learned that…well-meaning people who never had cancer tell you that strange concoctions, howling at the moon and drinking holy cows piss from India is the cure.
…that speaking my truth allows others to speak theirs.
I understand that I don’t have to be brave and put up with pain; that pain can be managed.
I found that UK medical personnel can’t say prick, and having a needle stuck in your arm is described as a scratch, but hospitals have Spotty Dick Pudding on the menu.
I no longer care what time I sleep or when I eat … anytime is perfect.
I have learned that taking control of the little things in my life improves my chances of living fully
…that want to is more important than have to
...that having a rare cancer is far worse than having the garden variety type that everyone, including the medical profession understands 
…that there is always someone else in a leakier boat than mine
My mind is open to miraculous possibilities, my heart is open to giving and receiving love … and all is peaceful in my world.
 Copyright Dianne Lang

It is our right and our obligation, in SA, to take everything in the media with a pinch of salt.

South African Flag 
I have not written this article.  I have taken bits and pieces from the article called Truth in Translation – The “Truth” Behind the Play.  From all my research material to understand what the TRC was or is about, this is the easiest to read and understand.  I have not altered the article in any other way besides deleting unnecessary and long-winded parts of it.   It is now an easy to understand piece of work.  I trust that the unknown authors will not take offence.

I do feel that one of the problems we still face as a society, after 20 years of democracy, is the lack of understanding from a large majority of our population who did not follow the TRC process.  Our born-frees know very little and most only have a biased view-point of the past, unfortunately depending on the race and culture our parents were.  It is our ignorance and our gullibility that gives the media such power over a society that we believe that what they tell us is TRUTH. 

In a democratic society, it is not only our right, but our obligation to take everything in the media with a pinch of salt.  If we do not do this, we will be like sheep thinking they are going to be taken out to graze, when in fact they are walking towards the slaughter house.   Ignorance that is fuelled by the authorities and the media, creates the ideal situation for growing sheeple born-frees, as well as keeping the older generation of sheeple in line.  (A sheeple is a cross between a sheep and a person)

I write to educate, to inspire, to entertain and most specifically, to show people that, like a pancake, truth has two sides.  And I write because I love it.  I love the challenge of writing non-fiction.

What was the TRC?  

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was a national commission assembled after the end of Apartheid in South Africa to “promote national unity and reconciliation” and to identify the “causes, nature and extent” of apartheid-erav violence.

It provided a space in which those who had been victims of gross human rights violations under apartheid could come forward and make their stories heard for the first time. They could apply to the commission for investigations to be done and for reparations to be given. Perpetrators of violence could request amnesty from prosecution and by giving testimony and by being found to have provided true and full accounts, could have amnesty granted.

The TRC was a crucial turning point in the history of South Africa. It was a product of the negotiation process which aimed to bring an end to over 300 years of colonialism and apartheid and which led to the establishment of an interim constitution, which provided for democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Since there had been no “outright winner” in the conflicts leading to the end of apartheid, compromises needed to be made on both sides. One of the agreed-upon compromises in this settlement was that amnesty would be provided for those who had violated human rights. Thus restorative justice rather than retributive justice was chosen as a way to bring about reconciliation in the future.

The TRC was set up by means of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act of 1995. The mandate of the commission was to bear witness to, record and in some cases grant amnesty to the perpetrators of crimes relating to human rights violations, reparation and rehabilitation. 
Dullah Omar, the Minister of Justice in 1994, said: “If the wounds of the past are to be healed, if a multiplicity of legal actions are to be avoided, if future human rights violations are to be avoided and indeed if we are to successfully initiate the building of a human rights culture, then disclosure of the truth and its acknowledgement are essential…. The fundamental issue for all South Africans is therefore to come to terms with our past on the only moral basis possible, namely that the truth be told, and that the truth be acknowledged

How did the TRC work?
The work of the TRC was accomplished through three committees:
The Human Rights Violations Committee investigated human rights abuses that occurred between 1960 (the Sharpeville massacres) and 1994 (the first democratic elections). This committee heard the victims tell their stories: As journalist, Max du Preez described,   
mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, husbands sitting in front of cameras and microphones to tell of their suffering at the hands of policemen or soldiers – or sometimes guerrillas in the armies of the ANC or PAC. Most of it was intensely emotional: even grown, hardened and proud black men who had never cried before in their lives broke down in tears…Many of those who had testified at these hearings told us that the act of sitting down at the witness table before the commissioners and members of their community – and the television cameras and radio microphones – made them feel that their society, their nation, was at last recognizing their pain and honouring them for their suffering. That brought them a form of closure.” 
Only a proportion of the victims could in fact appear in public hearings. Their participation was to an extent, symbolic. While 2000 people told their stories in the public hearings, more than 21 000 applications were processed by the commission.
The Amnesty Committee considered applications from individuals who applied for amnesty for gross human rights violations. This committee had a quasi-legal framework and was presided over by a judge. Proceedings were characterized by gruelling questioning of applicants by lawyers, reports by investigators and statements from victims. The Amnesty process meant that the silence was broken on what had occurred in the past and denial of these violations was no longer possible.
It also contributed to uncovering the causes, motives and perspectives of past atrocities.
The Reparation and Rehabilitation Committee was charged with restoring victims' dignity and formulating proposals to assist with rehabilitation. The TRC made recommendations on what reparations could be made to individuals and to communities, including financial aid, pensions, housing, education, land restitution, monuments and symbolic reparations. It also oversaw the exhumations of bodies and the reburials.  There was also an investigation unit and a number of other sub-committees. The commission worked independently of Government.

What made the South African TRC different?
There had been other similar processes before the South African TRC, notably in Argentina and Chile. However, this process was different in both its transparency and the level to which the nation participated in the process.
Public hearings of the Human Rights Violations Committee and the Amnesty Committee were held at venues across South Africa, from major towns and cities to small rural villages. These hearings were televised and a special hour-long weekly programme captured the main events. 
Called "Truth Commission Special Report" it was presented by progressive Afrikaner journalist, Max du Preez, former editor of the Vrye Weekblad. Radio and television news broadcasts provided coverage in all official languages of South Africa. Newspapers carried stories on a daily basis. No-one had the excuse any longer of being able to say “I did not know”.
Max du Preez, Journalist
The commission was empowered to grant amnesty to those who committed abuses during the apartheid era, as long as the crimes were politically motivated, proportionate, and there was full disclosure by the person seeking amnesty. There was, however, no blanket or general amnesty, as there had been in other countries which had held TRCs. The law required individual application in writing with full disclosure of the facts. This meant that a great deal more of the truth was uncovered than might otherwise have been the case. 
No side was exempt from appearing before the commission. The commission heard reports of human rights violations and considered amnesty applications from all sides, from the apartheid state to the liberation forces, including the African National Congress and the African Peoples’ Liberation Association.
While this was controversial, since many people did not agree that the liberation movement should be treated equally with the apartheid government, it meant that a more complete and balanced picture of the South African past was presented. More than 21000 victim statements were processed, relating to some 38 000 incidents and the killing of some 14 000 people. In the Amnesty process, after 1888 days of hearings, 1167 amnesties were granted out of a total 7116 applications.   On October 28, 1998 the Commission presented its Final Report, which condemned both sides for committing atrocities (my italics) and in 2003, a final two volumes of the Report were tabled in parliament.
Why was a TRC necessary?
South Africa’s history has been one characterised by oppression, abuse, division and
the denial of human rights to those indigenous to the country. First the Dutch, and  then the British, colonised South Africa, before the declaration of the Union of South Africa in 1910, independent from Britain. The “Union” however, was constructed from the start as a country that ignored the rights and interests of the black majority of its inhabitants. And from its very beginnings the politically conscious educated class of Africans, began to mobilise itself into political organisations to voice their dissent, along with Mahatma Gandhi and other iconic political leaders. Two years after the declaration of the Union, the organisation which would become the African National Congress was launched. Even before apartheid, the trend towards racial divisiveness could be clearly seen.
Apartheid (or “separateness”) was a government policy enforced in South Africa when the National Party took power in 1948. It was characterised by legislation, which divided and demeaned people, taking away their basic human rights. The effect of apartheid legislation was invariably favourable to the Whites and detrimental to the other race groups. The impact of these laws was felt in every aspect of life in South Africa. 

The Population Registration Act ensured that every South African was classified into a race group, either Black, White, Asian or Coloured (mixed race). This classification then brought with it certain privileges or restrictions. The Separate Amenities Act meant that segregation between the races was carried out in every aspect of life, including transport, education, health care, access to buildings etc. In every respect, the separate amenities set aside for “Non-Europeans” were less well resourced, convenient or plentiful than those for “Europeans” or Whites.
Education of black people was controlled by the Bantu Education Act, which advocated
a curriculum which would equip Blacks only for low-level jobs, such as manual labour.

Black and White people were prohibited from marrying or having sexual relations under the Mixed Marriages and Immorality Amendment Acts, and people were forced to live in separate residential areas, under the Group Areas Act. This Act resulted in forced removals of people who happened to be living in what were considered to be white areas. The Bantu Homelands Citizens Act made all black people citizens not of South Africa, but of one of several homelands, designated to these according to their ethnic grouping. The Pass laws then regulated the movements of black people, who had to carry an identification document (or pass) with them at all times. No black person could seek work in an urban area (outside of their Homeland) without having a permit to do so. 

Anti-Apartheid activity was curtailed through the Suppression of Communism Act, which banned any political organisation calling for radical change in the status quo, and the Terrorism Act, which allowed for measures such as detention without trial. 
Through these laws, a police state was created in South Africa, which allowed for the abuse of human rights on every level. Resistance against these measures began with strikes, acts of public disobedience and protest marches. But when these were met with violence (for example, in the Sharpeville massacre of 1960, where 69 people were killed for protesting against the pass laws), so armed resistance became the only alternative.
In turn, the Apartheid government hit back at the liberation movements (the African National Congress, the Pan-African Congress, the South African Communist Party) by declaring states of emergency and banning these organizations. Many thousands of
their members were harassed, imprisoned, detained without trial, tortured or killed.
The capture of Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and others of the ANC leadership in
Rivonia in 1963, resulting in sentences of life imprisonment, meant that many others
left the country to go into exile. Some trained as soldiers within the armed wing of
the ANC (Umkhonto we’Sizwe) in camps in neighbouring African countries, or in the
Soviet block countries. Others worked to sustain the struggle abroad and gain support for the notion of a free and democratic South Africa. Exiled ANC leaders were targeted for assassination and The Bureau of State Security (Boss) took over military intelligence and reported directly to the prime minister.
Within the country there was extensive censorship and repression, with conscription becoming compulsory for all while males in 1967. South Africa became more and more isolated as sport, cultural and trade boycotts built up. Events such as the Soweto Protests where students protested about being taught in Afrikaans, and many were killed in the process, spread a spirit of revolt like wildfire across the country. 

The 1980s were characterized by massive repression and state-orchestrated violence to contain the threat of so-called “radical” elements and in response, an intensification of the armed struggle. Political divisions between the ANC and the Inkhatha Freedom Party led to protracted violence in Kwazulu Natal, which divided black communities. Suspicion of police informers within the ranks led to communities turning on one another, often using the petrol-filled tyre or “necklace” as a weapon.
South African secret agents infiltrated ANC ranks and this in turn led to ANC training camps being used as places where suspected spies were tortured and executed. In the late 1980s the Mass Democratic Movement was launched to campaign vigorously against apartheid. South Africa was on the brink of civil war.

In 1989 PW Botha resigned as State President (after a stroke) and was replaced by FW De Klerk. Nelson Mandela, who had begun secret talks with the government from prison, saw an opportunity to begin negotiating a way forward. The political climate changed as prisoners were released, parts of the Separate Amenities Act were changed and some of the repression of the past was lifted. In 1990 FW De Klerk made an extraordinary speech in which political parties were unbanned, Mandela’s release from prison was announced and emergency restrictions were lifted. A new order had been heralded. White minority rule was almost over. 

In the years leading up to the first democratic elections of 1994, as the new constitution was debated in the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (Codesa), it became apparent that a negotiated settlement between the parties would require compromises on all sides. Violence was still very much a reality of the political landscape; parties such as the PAC had not yet suspended the armed struggle, and attacks on civilians continued. Violence between the ANC and Inkhatha also flared up continuously, fuelled by what many referred to as “the third force”, the participation of the security forces in arming and supporting Inkhatha units.   Nelson Mandela was elected as President of South Africa in 1994 and made reconciliation the hallmark of his leadership. In the following year the new Constitution of South Africa was adopted, and its provisions made possible the establishment of the
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission allowed for all South Africans to come to terms with their history of division and oppression in a way that would allow for public admission of the
conditions that led to the excessive and systematic abuse of human rights from 1960 onwards. The TRC was designed to examine both the human rights abuses committed in the name of preserving apartheid and of fighting against it. As Archbishop Tutu said, it was an attempt to heal the wounds of the past by exposing the cause and the nature of the injuries.
Who was involved in running the TRC?
The TRC was chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. As a church leader, a Nobel peace prize winner and a spokesperson for all those who had been oppressed and all those who had wanted equality and freedom, Tutu was the ideal person to head the commission. President Nelson Mandela selected the seventeen commissioners from a shortlist of 25 names that in turn had been chosen by a multiparty panel.
Dr Alex Boraine was the Deputy Chairman. Other commissioners included Mary Burton, Advocate Chris de Jager, Bongani Finca, Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Sis Khampepe, Richard Lyster, Wynand Malan, Reverend Khoza Mgojo, Hlengiwe Mkhize, Dumisa Ntsebeza, Wendy
Orr, Advocate Denzil Potgieter, Mapule Ramashala, Dr Faizel Randera, Yasmin
Sooka and Glenda Wildschut.
This group of distinguished individuals had made their presence felt in the legal, social services, medical and human rights sectors. They included freedom fighters, former detainees, exiles, church leaders and politicians. They were chosen as respected community representatives, coming from a range of cultural, political and social backgrounds.
The Successes and Criticisms of the TRC
Many questions around the TRC remain hotly debated issues in South Africa and across the world:

Did the TRC achieve forgiveness and reconciliation?
Did the TRC uncover all the truth?
Was the TRC biased or limited in its findings?
Did amnesty breed an ethic of impunity amongst perpetrators?
Were victims victimized again by the fact that after the TRC they were unable to seek justice from the courts for the wrongs done to them?

Many victims feel that the TRC failed to achieve reconciliation between the black and white communities. However, the purpose of the TRC was never to achieve reconciliation, but to promote it.  And reconciliation did happen in many instances. Many feel that justice is a prerequisite for reconciliation rather than an alternative to it. Some victims felt that the TRC favoured the perpetrators, since perpetrators were able to get amnesty, while the reparations process was slow, flawed and insufficient. Some people refused to participate in the process, including PW Botha, the ex-State President (who referred to the TRC as a “circus”) and Gatsha Buthelezi, the leader of the Inkhata Freedom Party. When FW de Klerk appeared before the commission and reiterated his apology for the suffering caused by apartheid, many felt that his response was insufficient and that he was not prepared to take personal responsibility for wrongs committed. 
Some people opposed the amnesty process, feeling that it would rob them of justice. One example is the family of anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko, who was killed by the security police.  Many of the criticisms of the TRC can be laid at the door of the new government,
which in many cases, failed to act on the recommendations of the commission, as laid out in its Final Report. Those who did not receive amnesty or who had not applied for amnesty in the first place, were not prosecuted at the time; reparations were insufficient and poorly handled.

So how successful was the TRC? 
 You decide… In the play, the interpreters come up with an arbitrary figure of 9.5%
success. Not very impressive, you might say. But on the other hand, Marcel argues,
“that is 9.5% more reconciliation, more forgiveness, more truth than South Africa had
ever had before.”

As Reverend Peter Storey said about the TRC, “The TRC did not fail. It did everything
it could.  It is now up to South Africans, white and black to find a way forward.”  
These sentiments are echoed by Nobuhle, at the end of Truth in Translation, when
she says: 

“This time of healing has been a pretty picture that we have drawn across the land - and every day the dry wind comes from the north to wipe it out. But we've made this image of what we can be - that’s what we have to celebrate - and we have to draw those lines again
while our hands remember. Then maybe we will step back one day and stare with wonder at what we have done, what we have become...”

“Forgiveness is a practise, a verb! Something you can choose to DO. Every morning that we wake up we can choose to forgive and we can work on it. It doesn’t happen overnight and it’s not a once off event. You have
To practice forgiveness to get better at it. This is something that have learnt being part of this play!”
Nick Boraine (Peter in Truth inTranslation)

“Stupidity is the most dangerous activity on this planet. To act stupidly in the face of humanity. To deny, to act without thinking, to sow fear and short sighted morals, to exercise your “God-given” right to tell people that they are right or wrong… is stupid.”
– Jeroen Kranenburg (Rudi / Schalk in Truth in Translation)  

FW De Klerk has claimed that “I have not only a clear conscience. I am not guilty of any crime whatsoever.”

Friday, July 25, 2014

A Factual Reveiw on the Conflict of the Past : Prisoner # 94616105


The Conflict of the Past: A Factual Review

More than two decades after political negotiations were started and the ANC, as well as other revolutionary organisations, ceased the armed struggle, there is still large scale confusion and ignorance regarding the nature of the violence that raged in South Africa from 1960 to 1990.
The TRC, which unquestionably consisted overwhelmingly of ANC-supporters and sympathisers, laid the foundation for a propaganda onslaught in which the SABC and certain members of the media merrily took part.
One example of the manner in which this propaganda campaign was conducted is the Special Assignment program about the conflict of the past, presented by the SABC on 18 November 2008.
This program was presented in such a one-sided and distorted fashion that the Foundation for Equality before the Law found it necessary to lay a complaint with the Independent Broadcasting Complaints Commission. After conducting a trial, they found:
"Taking all these facts into consideration, the Tribunal is of the view that one-sided impressions were created in the programme, which is to the detriment of the security force officers. This does not mean that we are of the opinion that these officers were innocent of any atrocities. They (or some of them) admitted to such atrocities. What we find is that there was not sufficient balance in presenting this particular programme, because a lasting impression is created in the mind of the reasonable viewer, firstly, that the security officers were the only people who committed atrocities during the armed struggle, and, secondly, that they then tried to prevent victims from giving evidence against them at the TRC hearings. In finding thus, it is not our intention to interfere with the editorial prerogative of the presenter. The presenter is free to take a particular angle or line and to emphasize aspects that he or she considers to be more important than others. However, when the presenter is dealing with controversial issues of public importance, he or she should treat all parties involved in the issue fairly, and see to it that balance is obtained in presenting different viewpoints. If this is not done, the broadcast can deteriorate into propaganda, a situation that cannot be allowed in any democracy."
Examples of this type of propaganda appear in our Media daily and it is sad that certain Afrikaans newspapers, either due to ignorance or because of journalists with dubious motives, often take the lead.
It is also a pity that Mr FW de Klerk and other former Ministers of the National Party do not feel obliged to rectify these skewed and distorted reports regarding the conflict of the past.
The following facts are lost sight of, consciously disregarded or maliciously distorted.
For more than three decades the RSA was subjected to a fierce struggle filled with deeds of terror through which the ANC and other revolutionary organisations attempted to take over the Government.
Car-bombs, landmines, limpet mines and other explosive devices exploded on a regular basis and defenceless people - women and children - were killed or horribly maimed and the community faced a constant threat. Limpet mines in Wimpy Restaurants and explosive devices in refuse containers or terror attacks, in which persons might be mowed down indiscriminately, irrespective of whether they were women or children, were a real daily threat. The Church Street Bomb-explosion and the attack on the St James Church were characteristic of the reckless and barbaric way in which the revolutionary groups conducted the struggle. Pressure was mounted on the police from all sides, especially on the Security Branch, to safeguard the community at large from these attacks.
Members of the South African Police Force were regarded as ‘hard targets" and attacks on members and their families became a frequent event. Black members of the force, especially those living in black townships, lived under constant threat. In some areas black policemen had to be housed in tents in secure areas in order to safeguard them against attack from the ANC. From 1973 to 1990 more than 346 members of the force were killed in the revolutionary onslaught.
Where the slightest suspicion existed that someone had given information to the police or cooperated with the police in any way, that person was branded a collaborator and collaborators were burned alive using the most inhuman and barbaric method known as the ‘necklace method'. During the period 1 September 1984 to 31 March 1993, 505 persons, exclusively members of the black community, were burned alive by the necklace method. 36 persons, whom they were able to rescue in time, were severely burnt. During the same period, 710 persons, once again solely members of the black community, were burnt alive while 320 received serious burns. This all but destroyed the ability of the police to obtain information from the black community or to get people to give evidence against members of Umkhonto we Sizwe or other revolutionary organisations. As a result the legal processes available to the police became impotent. Even the declaration of a state of emergency and emergency regulations were not enough to stop the terror. On the 26th of September 1992 the previous Government and the ANC entered into an agreement or so-called "RECORD OF UNDERSTANDING" in terms of which 176 prisoners were released. One of the stipulations of this Agreement determined that:
"The two parties agreed that all prisoners whose imprisonment is related to the conflict of the past, and whose release could make a contribution to reconciliation, should be released."
With the exception of Barend Strydom, the so-called "Wit Wolf", all of the other prisoners were released at the insistence of the ANC. These included persons who were serving long sentences for "necklace murders". In so doing, the ANC clearly confirmed that the ‘necklace murder" was indeed a tool of the revolutionary struggle and was carried out to further their aims. The abhorrent deeds committed by some of these prisoners far exceeded anything that Eugene de Kock was involved with.
Members of the police force were deployed in both South West Africa (Namibia) and Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) in order to stem the revolutionary onslaught. The training of the police had to be drastically adapted to enable them to meet this task. This training also conflicted with classic policing methods where minimum force may be used and where the main objective is to bring charges against a suspect and to bring him before the court. Police work became a life or death struggle which hinged on the extermination of the enemy. The policeman was compelled to kill or be killed.
The revolutionary struggle was seen as an East-West struggle both internally and externally and the Soviet Union's involvement and support for the ANC added the element of Soviet expansionism.
Members of the police force, particularly members of the Security Branch, were regularly exposed to the carnage and violence which resulted from this conflict. It was a regular tactic of the ANC to set up mines and explosive devices in such a way that the first explosion drew the police to the scene while the second mine or explosive device would explode some while afterwards with the aim of harming the police. Several members of the police force were brutally killed in this fashion.
Members of the Security Branch were often at scenes where motorcar-bombs, landmines, limpet mines or other explosive devices had been detonated and their colleagues as well as defenceless people, including women and children, were blown apart and body-parts flung over a wide area, and had to help gather up the body-parts. This inevitably left an indelible impression on the minds of policemen on the scene which, in many cases, led to a hardening in their attitude towards members of revolutionary groups and their supporters.
Vociferous statements by politicians that the ANC had to be wiped out roots and all, ambiguous instructions and the covert manner in which they were given created the impression that everything possible had to be done to wipe out the ANC. Due to all of these factors, it was impossible for the Security Branch to combat the ANC threat with the legal means at their disposal. The desperate situation which prevailed led to desperate measures. In these circumstances Mr PW Botha and other members of his cabinet themselves authorised or tacitly approved actions which fell outside the usual letter of the law. This inevitably led to members of the Security Branch, who were at the forefront of the struggle against terror, taking the law into their own hands.
It is widely known that no power in the world has been able to combat large scale and well organised terror, which carries the express or tacit approval of the majority of the people of that country, by legal means. There are several examples to support this view and, without exception, powers who became involved in such revolutionary struggles had to resort to unconventional means to combat them. The war that Britain fought in Malaya is a case in point! South Africa was no exception since the police had to protect the population against the terror attacks of revolutionary organisations while the majority of the black population supported them, whether voluntarily or as a result of severe intimidation.
From the very beginning the TRC-process was characterised by a one-sided approach in which members of the Security Branch were often harshly discriminated against. To qualify for amnesty, former members of the Security Branch had to meet the following requirements:
They had to prove that the unlawful acts in which they were involved were associated with a political objective and committed in the conflict of the past
That the acts were committed in the course and scope of their duties and within the scope of their express or implied authority and
They had to make a full disclosure.
These provisions of The Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act made a mockery of the closing passages of the Interim Constitution which expressly determines that amnesty shall be granted in respect of any action or omission associated with a political objective and committed in the conflict of the past.. It is clear that Mr de Klerk and former ministers of the National Party, who were involved in drafting these provisions, did not have the foggiest idea of the conditions under which the security forces carried out these deeds or else they didn't really care.
The findings of the various amnesty committees were divergent and there were many shortcomings as Judge Andrew Wilson, Advocates Chris de Jager and Francis Bosman, as well as Mr Wynand Malan, who served on the amnesty committees, will immediately concede. The minority decision, delivered by Mr Wynand Malan in the Maponya case, serves as an excellent example of how some members of the amnesty committees erred in their judgement. Mr Malan's minority judgement in the Maponya case can be found here.). A striking pattern also becomes noticeable when one looks at the composition of those amnesty commissions where amnesty was denied to ex-members of the security branch and minority judgements were passed.
Most probably the greatest shortcoming in the whole process was that no provision was ever made for some or other form of administrative revision. That meant that, where an amnesty committee reached an incorrect conclusion and amnesty was denied, the person who was denied amnesty had to approach the Supreme Court for an administrative revision. The legal costs in such cases can be enormous and amount to a million rand or more, which made it unaffordable to most ex-members of the Security Branch. Besides, the grounds on which a revision could be applied for were far more restrictive than in ordinary criminal cases.
It was indeed a glaring injustice which ex-members of the Security Branch were subjected to!
In the Motherwell amnesty trial, where amnesty was refused to the late Col Gideon Nieuwoudt and other former members of the Security Branch, Advocate Louis Visser and Mr Jan Wagener agreed to represent Brig du Toit and Col Nieuwoudt in their application for revision on a contingency basis.
The application for a revision was heard by a Full Bench of Judges of the Cape Supreme Court on 23 November 2001. Judge Jeanette Traverso-Coetzee acted as presiding judge and was assisted by Judges Dennis Davies and Jerome Ngwenya. All three judges unanimously adjudged the findings of the amnesty committee in the case of Brig. du Toit and W/O Ras to be incorrect and set them aside. Judge Davis was of the opinion that the amnesty committee was correct in refusing Col Nieuwoudt's application for amnesty. The other two judges, however, disagreed with him and set aside the findings in the case of Col Nieuwoudt as well. The Court ordered that a new amnesty hearing be held.
In the subsequent amnesty trial, amnesty was granted to Brig. du Toit and W/O Ras but amnesty was refused in the case of Col Nieuwoudt. According to Adv Visser and Mr Wagener, the Amnesty Committee once again erred in their finding and they would once again recommended an application for revision.. However, Col Nieuwoudt passed away shortly thereafter. This means that such a process could carry on indefinitely.
In the case of the PEBCO 3, where Col Deon Nieuwoudt, Capt Sakkie van Zyl and Sgt Johannes Koole were refused amnesty and subsequently charged with murder, application for revision was already made more than three years ago. This application has been delayed for more than three years by the Department of Justice who fail to give their answer. As a result the trial has been indefinitely postponed.
On the 25th of July 1993, defenceless churchgoers, including women and children, were attacked in St James's Church, Cape Town, with AK 47 rifles and 11 were cold-bloodedly killed and several others were wounded. Dr Allan Boesak made the following comment regarding this incident:
"We are horrified and deeply distressed by the savage attack on the congregation at St James's Church, Kenilworth yesterday evening. Not only is this a monstrous crime against humanity, but also a shameful desecration of a place of prayer and worship.
This is the latest in a series of barbaric and vicious armed attacks that have taken place since the announcement of significant agreements at the World Trade Centre. This tragedy can only strengthen our belief that there are dark forces at work, determined to wreck all efforts to build peace and democracy in our country.
We wish to express our deepest and most sincere sympathies with the families of the deceased in their grief. From the bottom of our hearts we wish them the strength and courage to endure a tragedy that goes beyond the personal and must affect our country as a whole.
We call on the security forces to launch an immediate and urgent investigation into this terrible crime and to bring its perpetrators to justice. For the sake of all South Africans, it is absolutely crucial that the sinister forces behind these horrifying attacks are brought to book before they can do any more damage.
Issued by Allan Boesak, Chairperson.
During the amnesty hearing of the APLA members involved, the following finding was made:
"APLA has publicly accepted responsibility for this attack and in its submission to the TRC it stated:
"It should therefore not surprise anyone that targets like the St James Church, King Williams Town Golf Club, Heildeberg Tavern etc. were selected. The leadership of the APLA takes full responsibility for all these operations. The APLA forces who carried out these operations followed the directives from their commanders and those directives were from the highest echelons of the military leadership. We do not therefore regret that such operations took place and there is therefore nothing to ask forgiveness for"
Mr Letlapa Mphahlele, the President of the PAC and the man responsible for giving the orders for these attacks, was initially prosecuted and appeared in court for these murders but the case was postponed and has since faded away.
It is striking that, while persons like Mr Jacques Pauw and other like-minded people insist vehemently at every opportunity that former members of the Security Branch must be prosecuted, they make no mention of cases like that of Mr Letlapa Mphahlele and the NEC of the ANC.
There is great confusion regarding the number of NEC members who applied for amnesty. Initially there were 37 members, which subsequently increased but, as a result of mal-administration on the part of the TRC, became so entangled that it is difficult to determine what the a actual number is. Nevertheless, they were all refused amnesty. In their application for amnesty, members of the NEC expressed themselves as follows:
"......We, the applicants, having at various times between 1 March 1960 and 10 May 1994, as indicated below, been members and leaders of the African National Congress (hereinafter referred to as the ANC) elected and/or appointed to serve in various structures including its highest organ, the NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, do hereby make the following declaration:
During the said period, the ANC played the foremost role in the leadership of the struggle of the masses of our people for the end of the hateful system of apartheid, appropriately dubbed a crime against humanity by the international community.
In the course of our people's struggle, with the intent to induce the apartheid government of the National Party to abandon apartheid with its concomitant violent repression, and with the intent to achieve, bring about and promote fundamental political, social and economic changes in the Republic, the ANC inter alia, established its military wing, UMKHONTO WE SIZWE, through which it prosecuted an armed struggle.
At all material times UMKHONTO WE SIZWE operated under (the) political authority, direction and leadership of the ANC.
Due to its peculiar circumstances, and the attacks mounted upon it by its adversary, the apartheid government, the ANC established various organs at various times such as the RC, PMC and a security organ NAT which at all material times also operated under its authority, direction and leadership.
Due to the circumstances which prevailed in the townships in the early 1990's as a result of third force activities, the leadership of the ANC established and in some instances encouraged the establishment of SELF DEFENCE UNITS (SDU's) which played a critical role in the defence of defenceless communities.
In the event, and to the extent that any of the activities of the above mentioned institutions and structures, including the SDU's, could in any manner whatsoever be regarded as the kind of acts or omissions or offences envisaged in the PROMOTION OF NATIONAL UNITY AND RECONCILIATION ACT, we collectively take full responsibility therefore (sic) applying for amnesty in respect thereof..........."
One of the most shocking incidents of terror in South African history occurred on 20 May 1983. A motor car loaded with powerful explosives was detonated at around four o'clock in the afternoon right in front of a Nedbank Square building. (Commonly known as Nedbank Square Maritime House). Altogether 19 people died, including 12 civilians and 7 members of the army. In total 219 people were either severely injured or maimed, of which 217 were civilians and 2 were army members. In his book "The Long Walk to Freedom", Mr Mandela expressed his regret over the incident but, at the same time, stated that the ANC accepted that incidents of this nature would occur during the armed struggle.
The audi alteram partem rule, which is the foundation of natural justice, has never been applied to members of the Security Branch. This rule has been replaced by the rule: "The Law is determined by those who make the loudest noise and who talk and write the most and fill the empty spaces in, especially Afrikaans, newspapers" - and they are, without exception, those who for some or other reason have a grudge against the former Security Branch - people like messers Max du Preez, Jazques Pauw and other like-minded people who, in the past, leaned towards the ANC.
The time has come when the people of South Africa must take note of what really happened in the past and that past events be viewed with more empathy and understanding for the sacrifices made by members of the Security Branch at great personal cost to themselves and their families.
Should equality before the law be upheld and everybody to whom annesty was refused in the past be prosecuted and should any sense of law and justice remain, it should start with the members of the NEC of the ANC. The real issue is whether, by doing this, expression is given to the final paragraph of the Interem Constitution, which also forms the foundation for the present Constitution. A quotation from the closing paragraphs of the Interim Constitution reads as follows:
The adoption of this Constitution lays the secure foundation for the people of South Africa to transcend the divisions and strife of the past, which generated gross violations of human rights, the transgression of humanitarian principles in violent conflicts and a legacy of hatred, fear guilt and revenge.
These can now be addressed on the basis that there is a need for understanding but not for vengeance, a need for reparation but not for retaliation, a need for ubuntu but not for victimization.
In order to advance such reconciliation and reconstruction, amnesty shall be granted in respect of acts, omissions and offences associated with political objectives and committed in the course of the conflicts of the past......."
Apart from the fact that the one-sided prosecution of former members of the Security Branch will be a gross violation of the principle of equality before the law, perhaps the most important principle of the Constitution, it will also be in glaring contrast to the provisions and essence of the concluding paragraph of the Interim Constitution and will once again flare up the hatred and discord of the past. Is this the kind of justice and future that some persons and members of the media envisaged for South Africa?
Seen as a whole and taking into account everything that has happened, it is a crying shame that Col de Kock hasn't yet been pardoned.
Various members of the NEC were not in the country when these attacks were at their fiercest levels and, as such, escaped prosecution.
During 1996, Col de Kock was found guilty in the Supreme Court in Pretoria and was sentenced to life plus 80 years imprisonment for the five murders that took place at Nelspruit. In total he received two life sentences plus 212 years imprisonment on six other counts of murder (including that of Japie Maponya), various counts of attempted murder and other charges.
With the exception of the murders that took place at Nelspruit, the various amnesty committees found that all the other incidents were committed with a political objective and were, in fact, connected to the conflict of the past. He was refused amnesty on two of these counts as it was felt he had not made a full disclosure. Application for a revision of these cases would unquestionably have succeeded. However, even Adv Hattingh, who appeared on behalf of Col de Kock in all of his amnesty hearings, conceded that there was no possibility of a successful revision in the Nelspruit case. It would therefore not have benefited him to apply for a revision.
Sometimes the impression is created that Eugene de Kock is in a fix while the generals are scot-free - but this stems from ignorance of the facts. In the Nelspruit case, Col de Kock tried to implicate General Krappies Engelberecht but, during the criminal and amnesty hearings, conclusive evidence was presented to the effect that his assertions were unfounded.
In the Rapport of 10 January 2010, Jacques Pauw insisted, inter alia, that Gen Engelbrecht be brought to trial. It is not clear whether this stems from malice or from an inability to grasp the evidence given during the criminal and amnesty hearings.
There isn't a shred of evidence on which Gen Engelbrecht can be prosecuted and we challenge Mr Pauw to demonstrate on what grounds he believes Gen Engelbrecht could be charged.
There is no evidence whatsoever that any of the generals was implicated in any of the murders which Col de Kock was found guilty of. In the Maponya case General le Roux was still a colonel and was refused amnesty along with Col de Kock.
However, as Mr Malan ably demonstrated in his minority finding, amnesty was wrongly denied in the Maponya case. Mr Pauw and any of his like-minded colleagues can quite safely read Mr Malan's finding and perhaps get someone with a legal background to explain it to them.
Apparently the principle of equality before the law had to give way before the harsh manner in which prosecution of former members of the Security Branch was insisted upon. As any advocate experienced in criminal law will confirm, on the basis of common purpose there exists, purely from what can be seen, damning evidence to prosecute all those members of the NEC who were not granted amnesty. It is striking, however, that no one seems to insist that equality before the law should be maintained.
Lately the possible pardoning of Col de Eugene de Kock has been severely criticised and persons, who presumably haven't the vaguest idea what Afrikaner character is all about, loudly condemned the move on behalf of the Afrikaner. They have even less insight into the disgusting and objectionable conditions Col de Kock was exposed to during his career in the police.
On various occasions he was decorated with medals for gallantry. During the negotiation process the members of the Vlakplaas Unit became an embarrassment for Mr de Klerk and his cabinet who were more concerned about winning favour with the ANC at that stage. As a result they had to get rid of the unit. Members of the unit were treated like lepers and this undoubtedly caused much bitterness within their ranks.
While negotiations regarding amnesty were in progress and a general amnesty for all was being strongly considered, Judge Goldstone began to investigate cases against Col de Kock and other members of the Security Branch, which were associated with a political objective and committed in the conflict of the past. Gen Johan van der Merwe approached Mr de Klerk and objected to this and called for the investigation to be stopped - but. Mr de Klerk wouldn't hear of it indicating that it would give the impression that he was trying to cover up the atrocities of the Security Branch.
Members of the South African Police were expressly forbidden by Mr de Klerk to investigate similar charges against members of the ANC. Had the principal of equality before the law been adhered to, and law and justice prevailed, the investigation of all such cases would have been put on hold until there was clarity surrounding the matter of amnesty. Had this been the case, Col de Kock would, without doubt, have received a lighter sentence because he could only have been prosecuted for the Nelspruit incident and on the theft charges. The judge would also have had the advantage of knowing material facts uncovered during the amnesty process, which would definitely have set the hearings in a different light.
The audi alteram partem rule, which is the foundation of natural justice, has never been applied to members of the Security Branch. This rule has been replaced by the rule: "The Law is determined by those who make the loudest noise and who talk and write the most and fill the empty spaces in, especially Afrikaans, newspapers" - and they are, without exception, those who for some or other reason have a grudge against the former Security Branch - people like messers Max du Preez, Jazques Pauw and other like-minded people who, in the past, leaned towards the ANC.
The time has come when the people of South Africa must take note of what really happened in the past and that past events be viewed with more empathy and understanding for the sacrifices made by members of the Security Branch at great personal cost to themselves and their families.
Should equality before the law be upheld and everybody to whom amnesty was refused in the past be prosecuted and should any sense of law and justice remain, it should start with the members of the NEC of the ANC. The real issue is whether, by doing this, expression is given to the final paragraph of the Interim Constitution, which also forms the foundation for the present Constitution. A quotation from the closing paragraphs of the Interim Constitution reads as follows:
The adoption of this Constitution lays the secure foundation for the people of South Africa to transcend the divisions and strife of the past, which generated gross violations of human rights, the transgression of humanitarian principles in violent conflicts and a legacy of hatred, fear guilt and revenge.
These can now be addressed on the basis that there is a need for understanding but not for vengeance, a need for reparation but not for retaliation, a need for ubuntu but not for victimization.
In order to advance such reconciliation and reconstruction, amnesty shall be granted in respect of acts, omissions and offences associated with political objectives and committed in the course of the conflicts of the past......."
Apart from the fact that the one-sided prosecution of former members of the Security Branch will be a gross violation of the principle of equality before the law, perhaps the most important principle of the Constitution, it will also be in glaring contrast to the provisions and essence of the concluding paragraph of the Interim Constitution and will once again flare up the hatred and discord of the past. Is this the kind of justice and future that some persons and members of the media envisaged for South Africa?
Seen as a whole and taking into account everything that has happened, it is a crying shame that Col de Kock hasn't yet been pardoned.
Curtesy of PoliticsWeb