About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, 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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Piers Pigou from Boipatong

16 August 2000

From what I can gather, Piers Pigou was the investigator who headed investigations into massacres in the Vaal Triangle. He readily agrees to a meeting and we get together one afternoon in his offices in CASE, an office with all the hallmarks of over work – computer printouts stacked in piles all over the place, a desk scattered with an untidy mess of documents; a phone ringing off the hook, and the ubiquitous cell phone calls, books and reference data thumb marked. From the start the interview was cordial, although the constant flow of interruptions precluded Pigou from giving his undivided attention to our discussion.

Pigou was at best in hid mid thirties, and we called each other by out first names. Pigou begins by giving me a little bit of background on the role he played in the TRC investigation and research department, and specifically his role in relation to Boipatong.

I was engaged as a researcher, an investigator with the Truth Commission at the beginning of 1996. I was actually approached to join the unit and was interviewed on the basis of my experience and I suppose working knowledge to a certain extent of work in the Vaal Triangle where I had been primarily working for the last three or four years from 1992.[what had he been doing} I came to South Africa actually two weeks after the massacre [what do you do in the UK that qualified you for commission?}

I wasn't here at the time of the massacre. I came from the UK. I grew up in Zambia, was educated in the UK, finished my Masters, couldn't find work and eventually came here in July 1992. I joined [what?] at the beginning of 1996? and ended up doing very little ?? investigation in the Vaal Triangle [for the commission???]. I left the Truth Commission as an investigator in May 1997 but continued to do a lot of work around the Truth Commission and was brought back in on contract to be the investigator in the Winnie Mandela case1 and continue to work on some of the other cases including Boipatong, and had a fair amount of interaction with Jan-Otto Schelberg, the Swedish policeman, who was the main TRC investigator. [how do I get in touch with Schelberg??]

When we talk about Boipatong, I think the word 'investigation' is a bit of a misnomer. I had worked primarily on investigations – in 1994 I was working for the Independent Board of Enquiry and was involved in 1994 and 1995 with a very big investigation, I think it was the first joint one between the police and an NGO investigation into torture allegations in the Vaal Triangle against the Vanderbijlpark Murder & Robbery Unit2 which included some of the characters that were involved in the Boipatong case. {like whom?? And in what connection??} So that was one of the reasons why I was brought on board -- non-police people to work on an investigation if we could call it that. And I primarily did work on those issues and some of the other conflict issues in the Vaal relating to IFP/ANC problems, things like the ???? Hit Squad, the drive-by shootings, the massacres in that area, and of course Boipatong, which was the the centrepiece, or one of them, along with the night vigil massacre, {what are you referring to?} – the two sort of big massacres in the Vaal during the early nineties.

Pigou was more than willing to review the findings of the TRC in relation to Boipatong. I read him the TRC's first finding, which said: 'The Commission finds that KwaMadala Hostel residents together with the police planned and carried out an attack on the community of Boipatong and surrounding informal squatter settlement, Slovo Park, on 17 June 1992. The Commission finds that the police colluded with the attackers and dropped them off at Slovo Park. On what investigation did it base that finding? How was it determined who planned and directed the massacre, who carries it out, how the getaway was arranged, and what was the motive behind it. Without hesitation Pigou says, "I would say on no investigation."

Rian Malan's criticisms of the reports of the Commission's Human Rights Committee on what happened at Boipatong are an important observation. Anthea Jeffries repeated them in her book. I think they are fair observations. There were no investigations and this is not unique to the Truth Commission. The Truth Commission by and large has done very few investigations and has made its findings [in relationship to what??] on the basis of very limited information. I would imagine that they justified those findings on a range of very spurious inter-connections between admissions that were made in various amnesty processes from Inkatha members, not necessarily in the Boipatong trial, submissions to the Human Rights Violations Committee, other people came forward and made submissions, and possibly what Andries Mosenge3 was saying.

I am a little confused. "I was under the impression," I say, " that there would be two sets of investigations. One into the case itself to establish what in fact had happened, and a second investigation into what applicants for amnesty said in their amnesty applications to establish the veracity of their accounts of what led up to the massacre, who planned and directed it, how it was carried out, and who assisted in their getaway?"

Pigou: "The point I make was that there has never been an investigation into police collusion; there has never been a proper investigation."

"So you are saying that when the Committee's finding that the police colluded with the KwaMadala residents in planning the attacks that took place, they never investigated whether that was true or not?"

Pigou:. "Correct. There was no investigation."

"And what about the replication of the language in the Human Rights Commission report of 1992 where it made a series of allegations that were repeated verbatim as fact in the TRC report? What would account for that?"


Well, Rian made the connection with the particular researcher, Vanessa Berolsky,4 who was involved. Vanessa was the researcher, I think, who wrote up some of the background material on what happened in the Vaal. So when she was writing she probably this pulled stuff out. Rian tried to make a connection that she had been working with Peace Action5 at the time of the massacre, even though the stuff came out of the Human Rights Committee but you've got to remember the Human Rights Committee6 as it was called, relied on the reports of Peace Action because it had no personnel actually on the ground. Peace Action was on the ground. [could you elaborate a little more on Peace Action…origins…mandate… reported to… etc]

"But wasn't Peace Action regarded as having a pro-ANC bias?"


This is what Rian peddles -- that they were ANC sympathisers. Now they're an organisation that I was very much involved with, an organisation that a lot of other people I know were involved with. I think the basic assumption is if you were anti-apartheid or anti-repression you were automatically pro-ANC. The fact is that Peace Action was made up of a broad church of people. I suppose you could say that some of those people were on the ANC bandwagon, if you wanted to, but to say they were out there doing the ANC's bidding is patent nonsense. The connection, the conspiracy connection that Rian tried to connect Vanessa to doesn't hold up to scrutiny; she wasn't even working for these organisations at the time.[what organizations??]

"But," I say, "that's not exactly the point I'm making. My point would be isn't it a little more than unsettling that someone put the untested allegations that had been collected in June immediately after [the day after, even before the police began to gather statements? Who was getting in whose way? Were Peace Action people or ANC telling people not to talk to police, as Rian suggests]?? the massacre and incorporated them into the TRC report as fact?" Wasn't this a case of plain plagiarism? Or worse. Of giving the substance of truth to totally unsubstantiated statements?"


Well, I think it's a shocking thing. I don't think there's any excuse for what they say in this matter. And I would repeat, the bottom line is that these things [things meaning??] simply were not investigated and it's repeated throughout the TRC process that there were by and large no real investigations. There have been a few but not many.

"Does this pose an ethical problem? Findings were made with respect to individuals and organisations, they were named, and in being so named they have been damned for life on the basis of no real investigative procedure?


I think it's very difficult. With regard to Boipatong my understanding is that no specific SAP members were named but one can obviously identify, by inference, one can say that people like Christo Davidson for instance, came out of this thing pretty badly. I've had some problems with him as well. [ spell out what problems you had, especially re relationships with other security people and Midlands experiences. Can you point to incidents in Midlands in which police were in collusion with IFP and for which security police later sought amnesty??] I think they [the police] were making findings on the basis of contextual understandings and findings in other areas.[explain]

The big problem in the TRC, and particularly up here in this unit,[what unit is he talking about??] was establishing what happened in the early nineties. In the Vaal Triangle, for instance, there have been three amnesty applications, for the whole period under review, by policemen. Three. By policemen, that's it, for all the violence that happened there. [insert re violence]Now these applications relate directly to an incident of IFP/SAP collusion in the Vaal Triangle when the late Themba Khoza7 was arrested with guns at Sebokeng Hostel in September 1990.

That's one case I did work on where we managed to basically trap??? the three policemen into applying for amnesty. We called their bluff [how?] and they panicked and they applied. We didn't really have much evidence except for what the cops were saying. Again, it wasn't really investigated to any great depth but it was a confirmation of collusion in the Vaal Triangle between the police and Inkatha. [THIS DOESN'T NECESSARILY FOLLOW]

I was very keen to see us start to unpick those threads as we could have unpicked a lot of other threads and start moving out in the directions the unravelling threads were pointing to, but it was never done. So in terms of collusion in the Vaal Triangle, that was the only evidence -- the three guys having applied for amnesty and they did it in a very contrived and sanitised way.

"Where does Waddington fit into this? His report is striking for its conclusiveness. He doesn't leave much room for counter opinions. He said that "There is no evidence that the police had any forewarning of an impending attack on Boipatong.' A rather open and shut statement."

The Goldstone Commission received submissions from XXXX people, took oral statements from YYYYnumber of people, and subpoenaed number of ZZZZ people, reaching no finding with regard to anything other than that there was no evidence of police complicity, but being at pains at the same time to point out that the fact of there being no evidence of police involvement was based solely on the basis of the information the commission was able to unearth and left open the possibility that a different form of enquiry with more sweeping powers might come up with information that would find otherwise. In fact, the Goldstone never issued a Final report of its findings with regard to Boiptong. [still hasn't!!]

"Then you have the trial of the 17 hostel dwellers that were accused – a mammoth trial lasting 18 months, with something like 50 volumes of evidence. When I talked to Advocate Rian Strydom,8 who represented the accused, he said that the core of the defence's strategy was to put the police on trial…"

Pigou: "It was a rather set tactic wasn't it?"

"Perhaps," I say, "but isn't it the duty of defence advocates to devise some strategic argument that is plausible, if they are to convince the judge that their clients are not the guilty parties or that there are other guilty parties who have not been brought to book?"

Piers doesn't care to pursue the point.

"Furthermore," I continue, "Strydom says that at the end of the trial he himself had become convinced that on the question of the erasure of the tapes, it was a screw-up, that he himself is convinced of that."

Strydom's conclusions cut no ice with Pigou who merely shrugs his shoulders indifferently and observes with thinly concealed cynicism: "A screw-up or a cover up?"

His reply is what I had expected.

"But the point I'm really driving at," I continue, "is that Judge Smits said at the end of the trial of the 17 KwaMadala hostel dwellers that stood in the dock, after hearing hundreds of witnesses, that there was no evidence of police complicity. All of these guys have now applied for amnesty, and they say -

Pigou: "No police involvement."

"That's right, " I say. "No police involvement and the TRC says screw that, 'we say the police were involved, period. We say the police were involved, not in a peripheral way but in the most intimate way in setting up the chain of events that led to the slaughter;' -- which is very different from saying that there might have been a policeman here or a policeman there, or even three or four of them …"

Piers cut me off.

I think those statements of the Commission are unjustifiable. But I don't think that you can twist that around and portray the KwaMadala residents as somehow being victimised. It doesn't mean that there wasn't anything there; that there wasn't any form of collusion. My point all along has been there has never been an investigation. You are absolutely correct and I agree with the criticisms of the TRC with regard to those findings. They're not findings. The commissioners had no basis on which to make those findings.

I want to take him one step further. "What I'm getting at is something different," I say, "it's the question of truth. What attempt was made to ascertain the truth?"


I think they made a call, I think they made a call in which they said we believe the victims in this particular matter even though there's a whole lot of contradictory versions as to who precisely the perpetrators were. We believe the victims in this matter and we do not believe the perpetrators.[who during their trial built their case on the basis of the police being involved!!] We do not believe the police because the police have not been honest with us with regards to their relationship with Inkatha; we do not believe Inkatha because they have not been truthful with us in the sense of their complicity with the police and their involvement in things.

"We reject the findings of the Judge?"

Pigou:. "Absolutely."

"We reject 50 volumes of evidence. We reject the fact that there were 120 witnesses from Boipatong who were called as a witness and that not one of them said that they saw anything that would suggest police involvement. We reject in a way what the families of the victims said. We've already made up our minds?"


Well in terms of the victims, there were approximately 40 people that made allegations about white police involvement, and I think Rian is also right to point out the negative role played by certain ANC leaders in terms of controlling access to the hostel.[what do you mean???]

At the same time one has to understand the conditions at that particular time and I believe that one of the reasons Rian has been angry is because I know the people who refused him access to those victims. He was refused access. I mean he's got his own axe to grind in this particular thing for many years. I have to emphasise there has never been any attempt, proper attempt to investigate these allegations. You might say there was a trial, but the trials in this country and investigations by the police, because the Judge will only hear what's put on the stand, and the people put on the stand by the prosecution as a result of police investigations -- and we are relying on police investigations by people who have a lot to hide, who have no real interest in proving the allegation true. That's a major point.

They had a stake in disproving that the police were involved, if anything. This is why when Christo Davidson stands up within two weeks [check] saying, 'there is no evidence, I have disproved police complicity, the allegations are false,' as opposed to saying – this is what the Swedish policeman was shocked at in terms of Christo Davidson, he said, 'How could any policeman stand up after two weeks and say I have disproved the allegation'. You turn up and you say, "I have no evidence to support the allegation." But Davidson was there disproving everything. Who was in charge of all these investigations? Former Security Branch members, we'll come back to that.

I refer him to the trial and Malan's account of its proceedings.9 The State called about 120 witnesses, someone from almost every house where death or serious injury had occurred; yet, no one claimed that whites were present. Not one actually saw police vehicles assisting the attackers. "But determined to prove otherwise Inkatha lawyers bombarded them with questions based on the ANC's and Goldstone's allegations but not one was able to provide corroboration. Facing a monolith of evidence to the contrary defence witnesses who alleged Police complicity fared poorly''10


They did, there is no doubt about that, but I think the other thing is first of all a lot of witnesses didn't want to go near that trial because of possible ramifications and danger. There was no protection at that time from the police. [protection for whom/for what] This might be post-1994.11 There was no protection from the then government.

Also, think that the prosecution was hardly likely to call witnesses that would actually stand up and say police were involved because the whole basis of their case was that there wasn't police involvement – the prosecution's case was about these guys operated on their own. So they [who] selected those 120. There were approximately 40 people of which, I think, five or six were called [by whom??] and questioned and the ones that didn't fare particularly well. ????

There were other witnesses in front of Goldstone, like Mr C. Mr C was one of these secret witnesses who had been inside the hostel. He was brought before the commission by the ANC and then sort of basically fudged what he was saying with regard to police complicity. But I know the Advocate who was involved in that matter and although it wasn't a legal thing to do, he spoke to me off the record about Mr C's confession to him back in 1992/93 about police involvement in the massacre.

But of course people were terrified to talk about these things. So I think the context is a very big thing. Unfortunately, I'm very cynical, having seen a number of these cases about relying on court transcripts and testimony led ??? in court. For me, in many instances it's [what] meaningless because these [what] are contrived destructive ??? processes –as trials are in any dispensation. [I don't quite follow the sense of this paragraph; perhaps you could reword??]

In South Africa they're even worse. Bear in mind, Padraig, this is a country where there has never been an official acknowledgement of a miscarriage of justice. How much faith can we have in the old judicial system? It's always upholding the law and finding out the truth of matters? Of course, justice doesn't mean the truth does it? Again, I suppose, I'm going back to my initial point -- I don't think you can make conclusive statements one-way or the other.

I acknowledge that the trial took place under the auspices of a judicial system stamped with the ??? of the apartheid system, yet Judge Smit enjoyed, as far as I could ascertain, a reputation for fairness and impartiality, that while the system a whole was bankrupt, individual judges frequently reached judgments that rejected the cases put before them by state prosecutors – where, after all had the Goldstones, the Krieglers, the judges Mandela had appointed to the Constitutional Court come from? trials are.[of appointees to Constitutional Court or panel presented to Mandela, how many came from the apartheid system???] They tried, as far as it was humanly possible, to administer justice in an inherently unjust system.


Goldstone made an interim report. He promised in his November 1994 report, his wrap-up report that a final report would be produced once the trial had been finished. He never did and he still hasn't produced one. I would imagine he is obliged to produce one because he still has to make a finding on the basis of matters subsequent to his interim report. He's never said anything. In November 1994, the final report of Goldstone, he indicated that he wouldn't do anything, he wouldn't write anything, make a finding or whatever it was until the court case had been finalised. Now I suppose, in theory, the court case has been finalised, and the convictions were upheld in the Appeals court. His reasoning was that a final report would be produced after the court case was finalised, that it would be prejudicial to issue one before the court case was finalised. To date, Goldstone has issued no final report on Boipatong.???

We had the court case, the guys were found guilty. They then applied for amnesty and I think we need to talk about this whole amnesty process as well. [expand] In theory the appeal is suspended pending the amnesty outcome. [see above for consistency]. No, it's not suspending pending– well it's a bit peculiar to me because I read that they were rejected, their appeals [to what courts??] were rejected. [the facts]

They still haven't finalised the amnesty applications. So we don't know what the situation is. If they don't get amnesty, they will go to jail for 20 years. I believe they will get amnesty. I mean the TRC are bending over backwards to give amnesty at the moment whatever the circumstances.

I remind him that he had said earlier that he had more to say about Davidson. Waddington singles Davidson out for praise, not just for praise but practically for canonization, in his report – the only policeman he has a good word to say about. Waddington says, "this inquiry has uncovered no information that suggests any complicity on the part of the SAP in the attack. Indeed, all the evidence suggests a genuine desire to identify the perpetrators and prosecute them. It is also pleasing to note that a star that shines brightly to the credit of the SAP is the investigation of allegations made against the SAP under Major Davidson. This investigation is thorough, well manned by a team of 12 detectives, well led and properly structured. Most impressive of all is the fact that these investigators have not waited to receive formal complaints or allegations, but have pursued any accusations of wrongdoing by the police from whatever source. Thus, complaints made through the news media have been treated with as much thoroughness as allegations from specific individuals. The Commission can be confident that all allegations about police complicity are being thoroughly investigated. For example, the suggestion that the 'Apollo' lights were turned off shortly before and during the attack has been investigated. Only one of the lights can be turned on and off manually, and the records of the power utility have been examined to confirm that the remaining lights continued to function during the material time."12

Davidson, after having made such a singular impression on Waddington for his expertise, dedication, and the thoroughness of the search he is conducting goes before the Goldstone Commission, presents a report, makes a submission to the Goldstone Commission in he says there is no evidence of police complicity, goes on the witness stand at the Smit trial, is cross-examined, is called twice. He also makes his submission on behalf of the SAP and the SADF to the TRC. He says he handed it personally to the offices of the TRC in Cape Town, and said, 'I will be available for any questions you have to ask me. I'm available'.

Pigou: "And was never asked."

"Yes, he's never heard from them again."

Pigou: "I'd be curious to know whether Jan-Otto Schelberg was ever informed that that information.

was handed to the TRC."

I would be curious if Jan-Otto ever saw it because knowing how that organisation operated it's quite likely Davidson handed that in and Schelberg, as the investigator, was never even informed about it. It's quite possible. So Davidson looks good on the face of it. On the surface it looks as though he's done a professional job.

But bear in mind when Waddington's statement was made again. It was made in 1992. At the time, of course, no one could believe the Police were complicit in these things. This is the time when Goldstone himself did not believe it. [but the ANC and Mandela were screaming from the high heavens!]

My own particular concerns about it -- and I'm going to give you a little aneDavidsonote ??? meaning} now about why I had very little faith in the Goldstone Commission during this period anyway, certainly right up to before it actually started making statements in March 1994 on the basis of the Q Registers.13 [what are these??]

In 1992/93 there had been a lot of killings in the Vaal Triangle and we had a witness who said she was working for an employer on the outskirts of one of the townships in the Vaal and that he and his sons were regularly going into the township at night in Casspirs with other people, being dropped off … God knows what. We wanted a surveillance operation mounted related to Goldstone, including international policemen. This is why also I've got some hesitancy about international cops. Bear in mind that a lot of international cops say 'We've come to work with our colleagues'. That's exactly what the British policeman that I worked with here in 1995 said when he arrived, it's exactly what he said. When he left six months later he said the only way to deal with the SAP is to chop its head off. {Are you talking about the tendency of cops to stick together – a "fraternity " thing??]

Can I explain why I have a problem with the Davidson investigation? I think the first thing is that this statement that he made within a couple of weeks of the investigation start, which was that he had found that there was no truth – the words he used were: "It's proved." [get exact wording]. I think he said that in front of the Goldstone Commission. This was the text, that he had disproved the allegations. Now that might be a bad translation of his Afrikaans, I don't know. My understanding was that he was English speaking but never mind. The other thing is he had a 12-member unit. Now some of these members were former Security Branch members based in the Vaal Triangle. At least one of them was implicated, and has applied for amnesty, a man by the name of van der Gryp has applied for amnesty in connection with the cover up around Themba Khoza in 1990.14 { check with Davidson re}

He's one of the three policemen that I was referring to. I don't know who the other members were, never got that information, but anyway we had suspicions about the background of Christo Davidson. I suppose we had an immediate knee-jerk reaction whenever we hear that people have been members of the Security Branch. He was a Security Branch member in the Midlands. They {who} never did any real investigation to find out much about him.

Let's look at how investigations were conducted during the 1990s. Who did they [who] put onto these kinds of investigations? Bear in mind Waddington is turning round and saying everything is being done to look into these matters. Now van der Merwe who was Commissioner of Police gets the Witwatersrand Commissioner, who is at that stage Gerrit Erasmus, another perpetrator and man who has applied for involvement in gross human rights violations, along with Mr van der Merwe they go and [and what??] put – what I'm leading to is that investigations conducted in this period were not designed to uncover the truth, they were designed as damage limitation. [what did both apply for amnesty for??] Another example of this might be van der Merwe putting one Krappies Engelbrecht [ more detail on Krappies] onto the investigation into the Bophati(?)15 [correct spelling?? Can I get more info on web??]disappearance in 1993.16 Krappies Engelbrecht was the big cover up man. He will be prosecuted probably in the next couple of years in connection with hit squad activities. [ [what happened to Krappies?]

So I have immediate question marks about the integrity of the investigations involved and the intentions of this investigation. With regard to Waddington I think one can easily pull the wool over a policeman's eyes like Waddington. He was here for all of two weeks. He did make some fair comments about a number of things and I am sure in terms of his limited interaction with Davidson at one level his comments might be fair, but on another level I don't think he's really in a position to determine whether or not the unit Davidson headed up could ever determine whether the SAP were involved in the massacre and I don't think he's really in a position to say whether Davidson has done a thorough investigation on the basis of his two weeks here.

He was here for such a limited period of time and, as you know, his responsibility was to look at the police response to the massacre, in which he was very critical in terms in terms of the response, shockingly critical in the police's viewpoint -- as you know the police themselves were very critical of Waddington's findings. So I'm not sure what Waddington's findings bring to the debate about police involvement. I think he made some comments that had relevance but they had a limited relevance to the broader issue. They cannot be called an investigation into police involvement.

I refer him to some articles he has published, which reflect his thinking on the massacre. In one he says "The stated political objective in Boipatong that night was to attack members of defence units.{SDUs} When the special defence units could not be found the attack degenerated into a free for all, they descended on the unsuspecting township"17. Was any attempt ever made to find out why there were no SDUs on the street that night?

PP. My understanding is that first of all there was only ever a limited SDU presence in Boipatong. It is a very small township, but also a very small township, very disorganised and not particularly well controlled where the organised self-defence units are concerned

The main SDUs in that area are the Sharpo(?) SDUs that were very well organised and by that stage I think already – nicely getting to chop each other up –they were at each other's throats. Sebokeng also had SDU structures [were they also at each other's throat's?] There is some talk of course that those people that were in the streets, if one can call them SDUs, and that they were chased away by the police. The police deny that and say there is no mention of it, according to their records in the Occurrence Book.18 [The Occurrence Book is??}I don't know what to believe, I must say. I think it's quite possible that the SDUs were simply not out and that they were not suspecting any particular massacre on that particular night. The amnesty applicants, in their statements, say they went to Boipatong with the intention to kill members of the SDUs.

We return to the question of Davidson's competence to carry out an impartial investigation of the police who were, in every sense of the word his colleagues. In another article Pigou had questioned Davidson's credentials to head up an investigation into allegations of police complicity, direct or indirect, that the massacre called for. Davidson was a member of the Unrest & Violent Crimes Unit based in Pretoria; he was a former long term member of the Natal Midlands Security Police, a close associate of General Basie Smit, who had been implicated in what Pigou referred to as the "watershed Goldstone Report of March 1994".

[What report is he referring to? What significance?]

"It seems, " I tell him, " that you are saying that Davidson's investigation was tailored to disprove the allegation that the police were involved and within a couple of weeks he claimed that the allegations were false, that Judge Richard Goldstone was largely dependent on Davidson's investigations and on that basis he deferred judgement; that no mention was made at the time that the investigations were inadequate and biased. But the fact that he had been a member of the Midlands Security Branch or that he was an associate of Basie Smit doesn't mean that he could not have carried out an impartial investigation–"

Pigou: "I'm questioning his integrity."

"But you've no basis on which to question it."


I suppose it's based on association and it's based on the broader context of cover-ups during this period by the SA Police and the fact that they were still in collusion with the IFP and that there were still a lot to cover ups even while Davidson's investigation was going on. It's based on those suppositions. In those contexts, with the international glare of publicity on what's going on, my God, they'd do anything to stop this coming out. If it had been proved the Police were involved in that massacre all hell would have been let loose within the security services.

The Police and certainly Police management, and senior people like van der Merwe and Gerrit Erasmus, had to prevent this. They may not personally have been involved or known or whatever -- I'm not saying that --, but what I am saying is that they had to prevent at all costs anything getting out that there might have backed up allegations of police involvement in the massacre, thus backing up the ANC's claim.

Can we really believe that the very people charged with this investigation at a senior level had any interest in proving ANC allegations? These are people that have subsequently applied for amnesty for murder, abduction and God-knows-what of the ANC. They're hardly likely to want to prove allegations levelled at them by the ANC. So it's within that context that I'm saying there's no way there could have been an unbiased investigation.

"So, in your view, there was no way, no-one could have been appointed from the Police who could have carried out an unbiased investigation?".

And certainly not from the Security Branch. There was a deliberate policy in the early nineties, as the SB was officially disbanded, where these people went. They went into specialised units in terms of crime intelligence. The head of Crime Intelligence in the Vaal Triangle was the former head of the SB there. The other specialised crime units they went into - the Murder & Robbery Unit – they got placed in all the specialised units. So, yes, I am questioning Davidson's integrity.

I'm raising this issue about the long-term complicity between the Midlands Security Branch and Inkatha in the Midlands. There is a long history to this; it is well documented.[where???] There have been amnesty applications linked to this. I've got no proof against Davidson, all I'm saying is that I do not believe it is possible that he could have been unbiased in this process and I think that's proven by the fact that he said within two weeks that these allegations are false.

Again, I'm quoting you: "Many of the then Police Chiefs including the former Commissioner of Police, Johan van der Merwe, and General Gerrit Erasmus who were charged with searching the hostel after the Boipatong massacre had now applied for amnesty professing murder and torture and other matters, which they feared, could result in prosecution. These can hardly be regarded as individuals who are predisposed to validate allegations made against the very organisations or supporters they had committed criminal acts against." 19

Now why would you not raise the same kind of queries about the statement issued the day after Boipatong by Ronnie Mamoepa, the spokesman for the ANC, which said the Police were this, the Police were that and the other, essentially you could say the TRC took his script as the framework and said OK, let's fits the pieces of information to essentially bear out what he said in the report issued the day after the massacre? He didn't wait for two weeks.


Yes, you must bear in mind you've got different groupings here. You've got a political organisation, or a spokesman of a political organisation that arrives down in Boipatong, is informed by residents in Boipatong and by organisations like Peace Action who had already started to take statements; this is what is coming out of the allegations, the cops were there. Peace Action would already have told Mamoepa, [why would they have already told Maamoepa??} "but we [who is the 'we'??] phoned the police and we told them that we had received reports there's going to be a big massacre in the Vaal Triangle." They didn't identify Boipatong but they had received reports that there would be this massacre. Mamoepa then goes and makes a statement. Now it's not uncommon for political parties in that period to make damning allegations without, I suppose, conclusive evidence of these things. This is significantly different to a policeman who is charged with an investigation. And I think Rian is not wrong to say that the ANC did make political capital out of this. Clearly, there's evidence of this. I think it would be wrong to make a comparison with a policeman making a statement and a member of the ANC making a statement.

Again, you write, that Davidson's investigation had been discredited in an article you wrote in July 1999. You write that: 'Coupled with concerns that evidence that Davidson's investigation was neither impartial nor thorough other major discrepancies occurred such as the mysterious wiping out of the Police tapes and the destruction of ballistic evidence. It is reasonable to conclude that investigations are warranted."


I can only think at this stage that in terms of evidence, the evidence that I would put there is that his statements that the allegations were false is sufficient evidence for me to believe that he is not impartial. It goes back to what I said earlier that as a senior investigating officer in a massacre like this, there is no way you could claim that an allegation is false. How does he prove, there was no proof that he the allegation of police complicity was false. If it was false then it was fabricated and those 40 odd witnesses or 30 plus witnesses or whatever have fabricated that evidence or their statements at the ANC's behest or at whoever's behest. That is the inference, if these allegations are false. That for me is evidence that he is biased in his impartiality.

What about the allegations made by Mosenge? Suddenly, he appears out of nowhere –

Pigou: "Not really, but OK." [what does this mean?]

"Mosenge hadn't been one of the accused, he hadn't been convicted of the murders and my understanding from the Advocate representing the convicted at the amnesty hearings was that he was a very poor witness –

Pigou: "Terrible witness."

"That it couldn't even be established that he was in KwaMadala Hostel on the night of the 17th June, that he might not have arrived till a couple of days later. But he specifically fingers this Sergeant Pedro Peens [more on Peens} as being the mastermind behind it. Yet Peens has never been called before the Amnesty Committee. Why?"


They didn't want him. They said he brought nothing to the case even though Rian tape-recorded his statement in which he admitted he was in Boipatong on the night of the massacre. Rian gave me a a copy of the transcript,which I gave to the TRC. We had given that evidence to the TRC. [ So the Amnesty Committee thought he had nothing to say? Why?]

"So why did the amnesty committee not call him?"


It is a question I would like to ask Ronnie Pillay the Chairman of that particular committee.20 [what committee is he referring to??] I cannot explain why he was not called.

"It looks like a gaping hole. Here is somebody specifically named by an individual, of whom we have a tape recording saying he was there that night, which means that at least one Casspir couldn't be accounted for in the Occurrence Book or whatever {does Davidson say that the movements of all Caspirs were accounted for?] and the Amnesty Committee doesn't bother to call him?"

Pigou smiles and says, "Welcome to the inconsistencies of the Amnesty Committee. I'm sorry, I know I'm quite facetious about it but people that have worked with the TRC have been shocked by the Commissioners' behavior [IS THIS RIGHT??]on it are shocked with that kind of behaviour."

I tell him what my fears are: that if the massacre at Boipatong was handled so poorly, and the TRC's "non-investigation" was the basis that led the TRC to reach such far reaching, and absolute findings -- bang, bang, bang, like Luther nailing his theses to the gate of ????, then one must at least entertain the possibility that the same thing might have happened in the case of numerous other incidents on which findings were made.


It's quite possible that a number of other incidents happened, but I'd be surprised if there were systemic problems relating to TRC findings of that magnitude. I haven't read the entire report, but from what I have read and the little I know about conflict and all the various manifestations and incidents, Boipatong sticks out like a sore thumb. I think those that have criticised the TRC findings in this particular case are right to criticise those findings. If I had been the researcher, I would have recommended that the Truth Committee should inform its findings with strong recommendations for a full and detailed investigation.

There are a number of questions outstanding in this matter, and the opposing viewpoints, the contractions haven't been squared. You've got people on the one side swearing blindly that the police weren't involved, and on the other hand you've got a range of people, not everyone -- and that for me also adds credibility, that you haven't got phalanxes of ANC supporters saying 'yes the police were there.' If you look at who is saying this,[what??] you would see that these are not necessarily people that you would think could be primed for feeding the conspiracy or ANC hacks. These are old ladies who saw people being killed. My bone of contention with Rian has been very much on the point that he is saying that these people are lying and that they were primed to do this on behalf of the ANC. [By]??] The other problem I have with his analysis is the suggestion that the police monitoring organisations were somehow part of this conspiracy.[not clear what you mean here] This is patent nonsense and for me the credibility of why the door is still open on this particular matter [what particular matter??] is because of what those people have said, whatever the inconsistencies. I would be very surprised if you ever got a consistent version out of people in the kinds of circumstances that prevailed that night. . And adding to my scepticism is the fact of the involvement of the police with Inkatha in the Vaal Triangle and the consistent failure to investigate these things. [ a broad sweeping statement!!].

{{There are a number of questions around Mosenge and I wish I had my notebook about it [ can you locate notebooks or otherwise refresh memory??] because one of the prisoners, one of the investigators – interestingly enough, the case that Mosenge is in jail for at the moment, [don't understand what you are saying. Earlier you made reference to van der Gryp being the complainant in a shooting in the Vaal two nights before Boipatong – the connection??}

the complainant is Mr van der Gryp, the same police officer who was involved with Davidson in the investigation, and my understanding is who was responsible for the losing of those bodies – {losing bodies!!}

In fact the whole set-up is quite bizarre. Van der Gryp is in the Unrest & Violent Crime Unit; he was part of Davidson's investigation team; and he is one of the policemen who has applied for amnesty for the cover up in Themba Khoza's case, and he is the complainant in the Mosenge matter. {What's the complaint about?}

On the front of the docket, the police docket, the investigation docket, it says the complainant in this particular murder investigation is the Police officer van der Gryp. Now that's not unusual. If it was a drive-by shooting and someone didn't come forward as the complainant, a policeman would sometimes put his name down, that's not unusual. But the fact that he seems to be "dotted" around all these instances and he's involved [who is 'he'?] in a drive-by shooting –but there is something very peculiar in terms of the timing with Mosenge??? because that drive-by shooting occurred the day before or two days before the Boipatong massacre.}} I have trouble understanding {{ to }}

"But isn't it more than a little odd that Mosenge would say that he was involved in the Boipatong massacre, although he was never charged or convicted of anything in connection with Boipatong".


Yes, Mosenge said that he was involved in that [Boipatong??] with Keshwa.{who is Kewsha} They {who is they?} claimed that Keshwa was in jail during that period, I think the police claimed that he was in jail throughout that time period. [can't that be checked out?]. Now the TRC spoke to other policemen who said that Keshwa was treated very favourably in terms of letting him in and out [of prison??] and so forth. I know that the investigators talked to them [who?] but I don't know whether or not they [who is 'they'] got an affidavit,

We spoke to a lot of policemen [with regard to a large number of murders/massacres] who simply would not put their details down in affidavit or statement form. We spoke to a policeman that claimed he himself was involved in the Swanieville massacre on 12th May 1991, a similar incident to Boipatong. You've probably come across this massacre. He gave me one detail after another about that particular incident, but would he sign anything? No, he wouldn't, because there's still an enormous amount of fear. [why??] You've got to bear in mind that those that come forward in the amnesty process largely have come forward because they've been implicated in the investigations by the Attorney General's office that sprung out of the de Kock and then the Mamasela cases.21 There is a direct correlation between the key amnesty applications and these investigations.

"Could there have been a TRC without Eugene de Kock?"


To be fair to d'Oliviera,22 -- and I'm not a great fan of the Attorney General's investigations because I think we've had politically managed investigations -- but, yes, I think we would hardly have had anything if de Kock and subsequently Mamasela had not stepped forward. Mamasela was also very important, particularly for the Eastern Cape investigation [into?] and significantly for the Northern Transvaal Security Branch hit squad revelations that resulted in Jack Cronje and his team of four guys applying for amnesty for 60 murders.23

For no apparent reason, the name Jac Buchner springs into my mind. I had been interviewing Buchner when he had been Commissioner of Police in ZWN, for ten years. He invariably came across as a paragon of virtue and reasonableness, always available, never hesitant to answer a question. Hearing him discuss the politics of South Africa, one would have thought him a liberal; indeed, on one occasion he strongly hinted that he had voted for the Democratic Party in the 1989 elections. After the 1994 elections, he took his lucrative retrenchment package and lived in Pietermaritzberg. He let his hair grow shoulder length, worse sandals and shorts, and if we were living in the sixties he would easily he taken for an aging hippie – an adult who had simply "dropped out" and embraced the lifestyle of the counter culture.

I recall on one occasion asking him whether he would thought he would be a target of the commission's investigations, given the ferocious war waged in ZWN between the ANC and Inkatha during the latter part of the eighties and into the nineties, indeed, up to election day, and the drumbeat of allegations that the ZWN police were in cahoots with Inkatha, supplying them with training and arms, acting as their proxies, and often orchestrating and participating in Inkatha operations. He simply laughed, as if I had asked the most naïve question in the world.

Bucher, nevertheless, despite his easy charm and bohomie conveyed the self-image of being a "pro," a policeman who had done whatever had to be done to crack down on UDF/Inkatha supporters who were slaughtering each other with great gusto in the battle for control of territory – control of territory of territory brought control of minds. He also told me that when he worked in Pietermaritzberg, youths, often in their early teens, who had been arrested for engaging in acts of violence were often incapable of saying, under questioning, whether they were affiliated with the Inkatha or the United Democratic Front (UDF) – the internal support base of the ANC or what the differences between the two organizations were.


He was questioned in camera by the TRC. He never applied for amnesty. Again, a case where you had no direct evidence linking him to something specific. There were a lot of allegations about Jac Buchner over the years, about his involvement in C Section of the Security Branch -- the counter-insurgency section. When he was in Pietermaritzburg, he was infamous for "turning" people.24 [hearsay or what evidence and how did he 'turn people'] He was also the first chairman of TREWITS, the counter-revolutionary intelligence task team that was a sub-unit of Section C of the Security Branch, which Jack Cronje25 in his hearing said was used to identify people to take out for assassination.26 Cronje said that that particular unit, which was a joint Police/Military Intelligence and National Intelligence Unit, drew up profiles on ANC and PAC members, on MK members, and in its later years -- after 1990 -- on right wingers, essentially on ???

They [who?] claim that some of the people inside that unit ??? -- there was never a proper investigation either into TREWITS [explain Trewits} by the TRC, but there are differing opinions depending on who you talk to. Operatives applying for amnesty say that TREWITS was used to identify people who were to be taken out. Those who didn't apply for amnesty who were involved in it said, no, that it was simply ????

Jac Buchner was a chairman –there were three or four chairman, the last one was C J A Fichter(?)27. [who is this guy?]

I want to quiz him a little more about what Anthea Jeffries says in [name of book], especially with regard to what she alleges in one paragraph. The paragraph reads: 'The TRC fails to explain how it reconciled its views that Police investigations were biased in favour of the IFP with the fact that 17 residents of a hostel that primarily housed supporters of the IFP were successfully prosecuted for murder. Nor does the TRC explain its rejection of the conclusions reached by Dr Waddington, Justice Goldstone and Judge Smit that the Police had not been involved in the killings.'28


True, it hasn't been explained because the explanation is not there. That's true. In terms of bias towards the IFP I think that that was made out of a much broader understanding of a whole range of evidence placed before the TRC, not just in the Boipatong case. I think they [TRC??] would have been able by that stage to see that systemic patterns were emerging suggesting bias on the part of the police towards the IFP and collusion with the IFP. So I think they [TRC?] probably made this comment on that basis with regard to police bias.

I think they took things like the erasure of the tapes and came to the conclusion, even though other people didn't make this finding, which led them to conclude that given the circumstances, there had to have been manipulation of and tampering with the tapes. It's just unacceptable to think that this new system was in place for six months and that this is the first time that it goes wrong.

You must remember that Goldstone never made any final findings with regard to anything to do with Boipatong. Waddington was not commenting on ??? – and you were relying essentially on what Justice Smit said.[so what was wrong with what Judge Smit said; what is the case for doubting his veracity after what was after all the most thorough examination of whatever facts were available with cross examinations and redirect ?? Is it that because as an Afrikaner he came from the "wrong side of the tracks," wasn't about to say anything that might embarrass the government that appointed him, and very definitely wasn't about to make a finding that would expose the police as liars?? Is it that since the trial was conducted by a judge appointed by the old order he was not to be trusted and that even though all of the convicted in their applications for amnesty were adamant that no police were involved – even though from a political point of view it would have suited them to say that the police were, the judge was biased??]

"But Piers," I say, " Jefferies addresses the questions relating to Judge Smit head on. She points out, not unreasonably, hat the TRC also fails to explain the reasons for discounting Judge Smit's findings that the erasure of the ISU tapes and destruction of the eight shells was the result of incompetence rather than anything sinister" Again, given the gravity of its conclusions and the certitude with which they were reached that it was under some kind of obligation to provide the grounds on which they rejected Judge' Smit's findings on this question? Or were they simply telling us in a not very thinly disguised code that every finding of the judge should be discarded because he was an Afrikaner and a NP government appointee to boot? Did the TRC, for all its pretensions to get at the truth simply play by insinuation to our prejudices?"


She's quoting what Judge Smit is saying, so she's believing the Judge. The Commission is not prepared to believe the Judge on that. So I think it's a judgement call, I suppose, as well. She is not accepting that the process may well have been flawed. That is the point I made. [but you don't really substantiate your own "finding" with anything you're your own "circumstantial" belief!]

"That the trial itself was flawed?"


The trial and the investigation and the prosecution. You talk to people like Anina van der Westhuizen, [ who is she and how do I get hold of her??] and ask her about how many of her clients were tortured, for instance, if you want to talk about due process. Those IFP members were tortured.[the ones who were convicted? How do you know? why wasn't this brought out in cross examination??] Rian will tell you in graphic detail how they tortured those people. [how were they tortured and in what prisons and why did not a single one of them bring it up during either trial or amnesty??] Now Rian says, 'Come on, if they'd been tortured so badly surely they would have confessed to police involvement and what the police did to them?' I said to him, 'How do you know what they were tortured for?' People could be tortured not to say things as well. It cuts both ways but in terms of process of course none of the evidence would have been acceptable would it?

"Jeffries again: 'It makes no mention of the ANC's apparent instructions to residents not to co-operate with the Police, that the likelihood of this would have increased the difficulty of mounting a proper investigation. It gives no reason why the untested allegations put before it should have prevailed over the conclusions of the trial put before the court. These conclusions, furthermore, have been based on the fact that three accomplices and some 120 residents of Boipatong had all testified that the Police had not played any part in the attack. Moreover the witnesses who had alleged the opposite had been shown under cross-examination to be unreliable and dishonest.'



OK, again I will repeat my comment about the 120 witnesses. The prosecution selected them. The prosecution would not have selected people that would put forward the argument of police involvement. Certainly, with regard to those that were poor under cross-examination -- I think only five or six came forward out of the total possible of thirty -- I find the statement meaningless. [Jeffries' statement ? Why?] [diddn't the defense choose the 40 plus??]

"So the defence called on 20 people who said, 'we saw no police,' and the prosecution, which could have called up to 40 people which said the contrary didn't call the 40 people? Is that the case you're making?"


Yes. They didn't call those people. It was not in the prosecution's interests – the prosecution, as is the case with any trial lawyer, has a game plan. In this case the game plan was to get convictions. The game plan was not to get convictions and implicate the Police. The prosecution was under immense pressure [not to produce evidence of police complicity?? Pressure from whom??]. That's why they put these six people up. [the six weakest? The six likely to make the worst impression? Appear contradictory etc?]

I'm not going to sit and debate the merits of what they said and how accurate or inaccurate it may have been. The point is that there are still a number of people that weren't called who could have been called. Again, I think Jeffries' comment is irrelevant.

"Then she says, 'According to Jan Schelberg, a Swedish policeman serving the TRC, the Commission conducted no real investigation of the massacre.'

Pigou: "Correct."

'It found no new witnesses and listed no novel or compelling testimony to cast fresh light on the killings.'

Pigou:. "Correct."

"The TRC seems to have taken as evidence virtually verbatim from a report of the Human Rights Commission which was compiled within a few weeks of the massacre at most and before the allegations against the Police had been put to any test.'

Pigou:. "Correct."

'It also ignored attacks on IFP supporters that it seems had immediately preceded the massacre.'


Incorrect. Can I just say why? Again, you must bear in mind that Anthea pulled most of this from Rian's work on this stuff. There were a couple of attacks in Boipatong during the week before the massacre involving people associated with the hostel. The impression given is that there was a whole range of attacks. The last attack was three days before the massacre. So, if you frame the massacre in terms of whether it was a spontaneous response to attacks on hostel members, no it was not. If you look at the chronology of violence in the Vaal Triangle during that period a lot more people were being attacked and killed by IFP supporters and other people from KwaMadala Hostel and elsewhere in other communities than in Boipatong. {So? I don't get it. You say that in the week preceding the massacre, residents of the hostel were assaulted by residents of Boipatong, but your logic appears to be that more often than not it was the other way around – residents of Boipatong were more likely to be attacked by residents of the hostel. Perhaps this was true, but even if it was, it does not preclude the possibility that in this particular case, the hostels dwellers reacted in the way they did to provocations that arose earlier in the week.} {wwhere do I find the chronology of violence??}

A lot more community people were the targets of attacks by the IFP than the other way around – and not only in other communities but in Boipatong itself.????

So to say that the attacks on those people were a trigger to the attacks, some sort of spontaneous response from the hostel dwellers is nonsense. Absolute nonsense. [again, I fail to follow the logic. No one is disputing that the KwaMadala hostel dwellers spread mayhem all over the place, but that does not rule out the possibility that on this particular night they responded in the way they did to attacks on hostel dwellers by residents of Boipatong earlier in the week. It seems to me that Pigou is arguing from the general, and that when he applies the arithmetic of the general to the specifics of a single incident, the logic of the general doesn't fit and that hence the specifics of a single incident must be wrong because they do not fit the logic of the general}

"You're saying more IFP people had been killed in other communities?


Yes, in Sharpsville. In Sharpsville, for instance, many more IFP people?? were killed. You just have to look at their own incident list, the one that they gave to the TRC, which is available, I can give you a copy of it., and I refined it down to pull out the ones just in the PWV and I refined it down to pull out the ones in the Vaal Triangle, and you can see the list of attacks that the IFP reported to the TRC. It doesn't marry with what Rian and Anthea are saying.

You were viewing just from your knowledge, a couple of people have said to me there may well have been Police involvement, one just simply doesn't know whether it was planned by the Police in collaboration with the IFP and executed almost in a military style according to that plan. That's very far-fetched.


I think what's difficult for the TRC to reconcile in this process, and perhaps most of all why they made these findings, is based on what Waddington said to a certain extent. Although he didn't say that there was conspiracy he was extremely harsh in his assessment of the lack of reaction to the massacre – look at where that massacre took place over a period of 45 minutes or an hour or whatever -- it varies depending on whom you talk to, but a considerable amount of time was involved. During that time there are something like five Police stations within a 10 km radius or 15 km radius of Boipatong, Vanderbijlpark Police Station, Vereeniging Police Station, Sebokeng Police Station, Sharpeville Police Station, Boipatong Police Station, let alone others in the area, but the lack of reaction for such a long period of time, the tapes getting wiped -- there are a number of serious question marks.

Was this all a series of unfortunate coincidences for the SAP, which some people would like us to believe? And that it just so happens that the only evidence we've got in the Vaal of police applying for amnesty is about their collusion with the IFP in another massacre that happened a couple of years previously. I think they put two and two together – I mean in their minds they put two and two together and said it has to mean this and therefore they did. I do agree though that they needed to actually make those statements in the TRC's findings, but they needed more evidence to do that. This is why I think they should have pushed for more investigations, more subpoenaing and so forth.[i.e. they should have made these findings, but should have backed them up with more evidence – in fact, they relied on no evidence at all.]

"When you mention the tapes -- and I raised this with Davidson --if they say it's new equipment and that the person using the equipment was using it the wrong way, turning the tape over when it had finished recording on one side in order to continue the recording on the flip side, thereby recording over whatever had been recorded, it raises a question I have been unable to get a satisfactory answer to. Since the equipment was designed to record only on one side of the tape, isn't it fair to assume that a pattern of the equipment being used in the wrong way would have existed prior to June 16, and that this bungling would have occurred on other occasions, in fact that such a pattern of misuse should have existed from the time the equipment was installed, assuming it was the same people who were operating it, or at least in the case of the person who was in charge of switching tapes on the nights the tapes were being supervised by the policeman who supervised the tapings on June 16?


And they claimed it was the first time it had happened. Now they had been putting this equipment in around the country at different units for a period of six months by the time they came to put it in the Vaal Triangle. They want us to believe that the guys who were installing the new equipment never instructed the policemen who would be handling it that they could only record on one side of the tape, that if a tape was turned over the new recording would erase whatever had been previously recorded. And they claim that during that period they had never had one report that they had lost information, that people had never asked – given the levels of violence and abuse that were going on around the country at that time it is simply unbelievable that people would not have wanted to go back and listen to the tapes and if people were turning them over and they had obviously not told people, from their version, whether you could or you couldn't turn these things over, it just doesn't stand up, it's just not credible.[but all we need is access to the tapes at the Veereniging]

"I mean the tapes that were recorded on June 15 should be in a similar state to the tapes on the 16th."

Pigou: "You'd think so wouldn't you? That it would all be wiped over."

"Were other tapes from the Veereniging station?"

Pigou:. "Well, it's not clear, it's not at all clear. I don't know what the British experts found {I'm not talking about the 16 June, but the 15 June?]


But I am sure they would have looked. They tried to make a transcript of the tape itself for that particular night, and of course they got all this gobbledygook because it had been taped over again or whatever went wrong. It's one of those things that was never completely proved one way or the other. Again, you're expected to believe it was an honest mistake. I think the point is why didn't that happen all the time? You see the thing that –

"Did it happen the night before and the night before the night before?"

Pigou:. "If it was the same person operating it. There were only a couple of people operating the system. You would expect so, and what are they expecting us to believe? If that was the case -

"No-one asked for the tapes of the other nights?"

Pigou:. "As far as I am aware, no, I don't think they [who is they?? – You're the investigator] looked into it in that sort of detail.

"Because if they did and all the other tapes were fine, then you would say it doesn't make sense."

Pigou:. "But if they had wiped everything –

"If everything from every other night was in the same condition as the recordings on the 16th, you would have concrete grounds for saying that the pattern of use strongly suggested that they were operating the recording equipment in the wrong way."

Pigou appears to ignore my comments.

Again,[he says] I must go back to the transcripts. And it's worth having a look at -- I'm not sure whether they went on this continual????… with this stuff, so they actually went over the same tapes again and again and again or whether they kept backdated records or they only kept records if they wanted to get a particular thing. So that might be the concern.[This doesn't make much sense to me] I seem to remember clearly that my problem with this was that they were asking us to believe that in the 6-month period prior to Boipatong in the stations where they -- the experts who installed the new taping equipment and were teaching the people how to use it -- had never experienced this problem and suddenly for the first time on the night of the Boipatong massacre, suddenly this was the first time it ever happened.

"You're saying the TRC never investigated problems of this nature had been encountered before."

Pigou:. "As far as I'm aware."

POM. But when you say 'they' were saying to whom? They were saying - ?

PP. To the Goldstone Commission in terms of the transcripts.

POM. Oh, OK. So that would be available in the transcripts of the Goldstone Commission hearings at HURISA?


Pigou:. Yes. I might even have an electronic copy at home, I will have to go and have a look again and if I have you are most welcome to anything I've got. [do you have an electronic copy??]

" It seems to me that we are dealing with the truth as seen through different prisms, and that for each prism you use, you are viewing a different kind of truth. The Commission itself talks about there being revealing truth, evidentiary truth, inductive and deductive truths, factual truth, healing truths; the theological and the factual are intertwined in inconsistent and often contradictory ways, so what is it that you ultimately come up with? If you look at the past through different prisms each will reveal its own refracted truth, but where does that get us? "


It's a huge – and on the issue of truth, and I think it relates directly to this issue of Boipatong, is that there was a significant failing by the Commission to get to grips with what happened in the 1990s in terms of the levels of violence on the Reef in particular. They made statements, they made findings I think which are difficult for them to substantiate. I think they made findings on train violence and stuff like that. My sense is that it was based largely on gut unconfirmed intelligence reports and those kinds of things. Everything pointed in this direction.

Most of the amnesty applications relate to the period from 1986 to 1990 in terms of the Security Branch???, and these relate directly de Kock's activities. Very little of what de Kock was up to in the post 1990 period has emerged. I think may be largely because of the tailoring that certain individuals that became state witnesses tried to – it's also a difficult period for when they operated.????

Most of the de Kock stuff is in the heavy years of counter-insurgency in the late eighties, a couple of cases in 1990. You see a few cases in the nineties; some of them relate to things like Themba Khoza's relationships withy the police. Themba Khoza was a Police informer. He was on the Security Police pay roll. Themba Khoza, as you know, is involved in the Boipatong case in terms of telling people to get rid of their weapons and Mosenge claims that Khoza brought weapons to KwaMadala.

I spoke to other IFP prisoners who were involved in violence on the East Rand who claimed that he was involved in bringing guns to hostels on the East Rand and so forth. Ironically, I'm actually involved in a project in which we interview people in the hostels in the IFP in Soweto, and we've been able to confirm with IFP Indunas that the Police gave guns to them and so forth. So bit-by-bit the information will come out. I am absolutely convinced that we only scraped the surface of the nature of the collusion between the Police and the IFP. That's why I'm absolutely convinced that there needs to be further investigation into Boipatong. I'm quite sure that many of the strong findings that the TRC has made with regard to Boipatong may actually be the truth. I'm quite sure that there is a strong basis for continuing to investigate those allegations or those findings. We don't know the half of it for the nineties I'm afraid.

I'm trying to find my Mail & Guardian stuff that I wrote on Boipatong. I think it must be on my other computer but you're most welcome to it .You will find other the earlier article on Boipatong on the M&G website (www.mg.co.za.) – the article in which I initially criticised Rian's question as a spin article.[what was Rian's question??] {are you able to find}

For me, Padraig, my big thing, really, has been that with as many aspects of the Truth Commission matters were not properly looked into and we haven't got the truth yet. Without trying I any way to either excuse, hide, or mitigate ANC abuses or whatever might be with regard to that side of the fence, I believe the collusion and collaboration and the involvement of the Police with the IFP, and particularly in an area like the Vaal and having worked in that immediate period after the Boipatong massacre -- that's 1992 through to 1996 in the Vaal, almost every day in the Vaal Triangle, I am convinced of the complicity of the Police in abuses in that area. I am convinced of the complicity of the IFP in that area and I believe we haven't seen the half of it.

The leader of the IFP in the Vaal Triangle was a man by the name of Mwezi Twala. He was formerly an ANC cadre who wrote a book about being inside Bokodo(?). He was one of the gang of ten or whatever that was very badly dealt with in one of the ANC camps after a mutiny in 1984. He came back and was a member of RECOG. RECOG was the Returned Exiles Committee that was a Security Branch operation.[proof]

What I'm pointing out to people is that there's a whole load of Security Branch connections related here. The fact that people [people like??] haven't come forward for amnesty means nothing as far as I'm concerned. It just means that the Attorney General has not got round to perhaps pulling strings around those investigations and if we are to believe that the Vaal Triangle, which was one of the epicentres of violence during the eighties and the nineties only produced three amnesty applicants from the security forces, then we've got a big problem in terms of what truth there is in this area.

I would like to say also, with regard to the IFP, and I deliberately mention what Koos van der Merwe had complained about me,???? Of course they [who??] didn't follow it up because they had no evidence to substantiate these things. The point was that senior members of the IFP had been visiting IFP members in prison telling them not to apply for amnesty. In the Boipatong case Victor Ntembu, one of the main applicants, applied as an individual in his own right. The other 16 didn't want to apply. I didn't speak to those people but I was told that they had been visited by the IFP, senior IFP, Members of Parliament, and told to shut up and take the pain, as the guys that I spoke to in various prisons from the IFP had been told. My position with them was, well you can believe your political party and you can sit here. That's fine. Or you can have a go at trying to use this mechanism to get the truth and the requisite dangers that go with that process. So I think the IFP guys were caught in a very difficult situation and I think it's quite possible that in the case of the 17 that have applied for amnesty who have all said no, there was no involvement on the part of the police, I think it's quite possible that that is the game plan from their Attorneys and from one character in particular who is a very big fish or was a big fish in the KwaMadala Hostel, Mr. Vananu Zulu. Mr Zulu is heavily implicated.[what leverage would senior IFP members have to instruct IFP convicted not to apply for amnesty? Because in the course of doing so the collusion between senior IFP members and senior police would be exposed? That if they were to implicate police and IFP and gained amnesty on that basis, there lives would be sniffed out??]

He was also one of the people arrested with Themba Khoza when they found with all those guns in the Sebokeng Hostel. Vananu Zulu is up to his neck in violence in the Vaal Triangle and there he sits at the Boipatong hearings right at the front. Who's going to talk against this induna? Think of the power structures and constructs inside these hostels. You don't break ranks.

None of these amnesty applicants miraculously were able to give the names of any other people who were involved in the massacre apart from a few people who were already dead. I'm sorry, their applications what?? – and they're not alone in it, the Security Police have done it, the ANC MK cadres have done it.[what is 'it'] I've written about it in the Mail & Guardian about these other parties' contrived amnesty applications ??? because the line from their political party that is pushing them and supporting them leaves them no option but to say, "no Police involvement."

This whole issue of Police collusion It's still a huge embarrassment for them [who???]. It's a big bugbear between the ANC and the IFP leadership and I think it interferes with the national projects of reconciliation, the sort of top-down projects [such as] between these two parties and reconciliation. I think this is why we get talk now of special amnesty in KZN, for instance for IFP people. [why only IFP people? Are ANC hands completely clean??]

You're talking about the political management of truth, and I think the Boipatong case is a classic example of that.

"You mentioned KZN. Even though most people who died by violence died in KZN, the Truth Commission really didn't deal with KZN."


It did deal with some significant aspects of KZN. Again, largely on the basis of amnesty applications it was able to make some breakthroughs concerning Security Branch hit squads operating in KZN during the eighties. They had these hearings into the Caprivi operations.29 One of the difficulties was that the IFP boycotted the proceedings until the last moment when it realised, 'my God, if we don't tell our people to come forward they're going to miss out on reparations.' So the Durban office was swamped in the last eight weeks or so with 5000 people. A quarter of all TRC/HRC statements were collected during the last few weeks of the Durban office by hundreds of IFP people rushing to put in so-called statements so they could qualify for reparation. It would have backfired in the IFP's face if their members weren't getting reparation and the ANC's members were. But the IFP members were told not to co-operate with the TRC. It was a disaster.

This is why I argue that in terms of beginning to understand what happened in the past, People must not see the TRC as the end of a process; it's the beginning of a process. But only lunatics like you and I think like that.

You know a lot of people say that Andries Mosenge is just a guy who is lying, someone conveniently pulled out of a hat. I think I've got something which gives considerably more detail ??? about what was happening to him around that the Boipatong massacre eriod in terms of his relationship with the Police. [explicate!!]

Of course you've got the big Keshwa/Peens connection? Victor Keshwa died in Peens' custody. I actually spoke to the Police Reporting Officer for ??? –. What was interesting about that [the conversation or the way in which Keshwa purportedly died??] was that for some reason Peens drove him across the jurisdiction into Free State, the Orange Free State. We think he did that to avoid having to deal with Jan Munnik, the Police Reporting Officer for this area who is a bit of a terrier, perhaps the only terrier in terms of trying to get to the truth of Police abuses. Across the border in the Free State was a bit of a hapless, toothless wonder who wasn't very keen on pursuing these kinds of matters in terms of Police investigations.[name] But he [the guy in the Free State??] told us again -- he wouldn't provide us with an affidavit, he said there was something seriously wrong with the way the Police handled Keshwa's death and he said, 'Oh, I wrote my report and I submitted it to head office' and that was it.' I'm quite convinced Keshwa was murdered by the Police. You just have to look at Peens' negative disciplinary record. How many people died in Peens' custody? Dozens. How many torture cases was he charged with? Dozens. The man boasted that he was brought up for the Eikenhof killings. You remember the Eikenhof killings?

Eikenhof is just south of Jo'burg. Three ANC guys were charged with killing a white woman and two children in 1993.30 It was a Brixton Murder & Robbery investigation but Peens is a notorious Vanderbijlpark Murder & Robbery cop who was brought in to do the interrogations because he gets the "truth" out of the detainees. Of course he extracted confessions. That was his speciality.

He's a very bitter man, as Rian will tell you. Twenty years in the service of loyally extracting confessions and then he is bumped. There are a whole lot of things we don't know about Peens. I have my conspiracy theories [what are they??] about Peens and Rian will discount it. It's interesting because Rian's sources of information are from within the Security Police largely, from the IFP side of it, and I come at it from the other side, so to speak, from the ANC community side. We've had some very interesting debates about Boipatong and we end up fighting most of the time but I think we've agreed to disagree and I think he would acknowledge, and I would be interested if you would ask him – {ask him what???]

There is a knock on the door, he excuses himself for a moment, returns almost immediately, and says he has to go, that something has turned up. I never get the chance to ask him what it is that I should ask Rian.

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