By Pinky Khoabane
FW De Klerk – “The Unconvicted Murderer” according to Eugene de Kock
The second sitting of the inquest into Ahmed Timol’s death stands as a stark reminder of the inhumanity of apartheid and the level at which the murders were sanctioned. This comes at a time when those implicated in the mass murder of Black people opposed to apartheid are being portrayed as today’s voices of morality. Roelf Meyer, the man who together with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa carved our Constitution and F W De Klerk, the last apatheid-era president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate who has joined the regime-change campaigns said to SAVESA, are mentioned in the chilling testimony of a campaign involving murder, disinformation and propaganda to stop the liberation movement at all costs.
Roelf Meyer – Black-on-Black Violence his brainchild
“Black on Black violence was the brain child of Roelf Meyer,” said Apartheid’s operative Paul Erasmus who was a member of the security branch for 17 years. He was giving testimony at Timol’s inquest yesterday. He says there was a strategy of fabricating stories to suggest that murders were as a result of factions among Black people when they had been fuelled by the Nationalist Party (NP) government. Security officers attended courses on black-on-black violence, he said. Colonel Eugene De Kock was responsible for gun-running in Kwa-Zulu Natal as part of the campaign. The perception created, he claims, was that the NATs could do business with the Zulus and no one else.
In another explosive piece of testimony he said once the security police thought he knew too much and thought he would talk, there was an instruction to have him, his wife and children killed. De Klerk would then blame the ANC and accuse it of not being able to control its Self Defence Units (SDUs), he claimed. De Klerk would tell the world that the ANC had killed a young soldier with his beautiful wife when the truth was that the security police had killed their own.
Erasmus joined the police after matric, in 1975 and became deeply moved by the 1976 uprisings and was motivated to see “what was behind the carnage”. He painted a complex, devious “ballooning” campaign of grotesque state corruption in the battle against the liberation struggle. He spoke about a campaign of misinformation and propaganda with the ultimate goal to carry-out a strategy of deception. They used a range of activities which included putting up graffiti, painting paint remover on vehicles, use of stink bombs, teargas, blackmail, assault, bricks thrown through windows, firing shots at houses, arson, petrol bombs at houses and vehicles. With a little chuckle, he reminded the court that they also blew-up houses and cites COSATU House which was bombed in 1987. A year later, Khotso House, the headquarters of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) was also bombed. The blasts were led by de Kock who received his instructions from then Minister of Law and Order Adriaan Vlok, who confessed at the Truth and Reconcilation Commission (TRC) that he had received the instruction from then State President P W Botha.
Spreading disinformation about an individual being a terrorist and causing him to be attacked was part of their campaign. As part of the strategy to instil fear among citizens, they used bomb threats and bombed shopping centres and movie theatres. The former security officer predicted that 60% of the explosives in Johannesburg originated from Johannesburg security branch and not the “terrorists”.
Room 1026 John Vorster Square
The notorious 10th floor at John Vorster Square was where apartheid’s most grotesque violation of human rights occurred. Room 1026 was called The Truth Room. There was an expectation and aura that if you went to the 10th floor or the Truth Room, you would be severely tortured.
This is where the security police “broke people” – a point at which the detainee confessed, participated in the court case and was willing to finger his/her accomplices during the trial.
Breaking meant generating “total fear”. Sleep deprivation – keeping detainees awake for days – was a regular practice. There was a roster drawn-up for interrogators to keep the detainees awake. They would move detainees frequently, blind folded, as they moved them from one office to the other and through the corridors of John Vorster Square. It was part of disorientating them, he explained.
Electric shock practice was used extensively, from branch level right upto John Vorster, the apartheid operative said. In some instances they refined the practice to inflict the highest level of electrocution. He said they would dip cotton wool in water and attach it to the electrodes and put them in someones ears, around the testicles or around the tongue.
He said they were given carte blanche to use any method to silence opponents of apartheid. A retired advocate who practiced during the 1970’s testified that he saw a body flying past a window at John Vorster Square on the day Timol was killed.
Apartheid’s security branches had an expansive network of people whose job was to cover-up police brutality and murder. Each branch had a resident sweeper, Erasmus said. The job of this person was to conceal evidence and ensure false evidence was led in court. If police were accused of any wrongdoing, the resident sweeper would be brought in to ensure the police escaped prosecution and the reputation of the police would remain intact.
De Klerk has constantly denied knowledge of these atrocities. In 1996, he said the NP was itself shocked at the evidence of inhuman deeds and cold-blooded killings unfolding before the TRC.
“We cannot condone or align ourselves with some of the things which have been done.” De Klerk reiterated that he had not been involved in such acts. “I continue to deny knowledge and participation in decisions to commit serious violations of human rights, such as assassination, murder and rape.
“There was never a grand conspiracy in the NP government to go on a rampage of killing and murder.”
But as has often been shown in testimonies by other apartheid operatives in their applications for amnesty, De Klerk has been fingered. Vlok implicated him in the death of five boys who were killed by a hit-squad while sleeping. De Kock claimed he had evidence of De Klerk’s knowledge of military hit squads and called him the “unconvicted murderer”.
Timol Inquest continues…