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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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

IFP's 'Caprivis' still on the job



ISSUE DATED 11,10,1996

Ann Eveleth

The state's case against General Magnus Malan crumbled as the judge branded chief witness Captain JP Opperman a liar and acquited six Caprivi trainees.

In the Durban Supreme Court on Thursday, Judge Jan Hugo in his judgment said former Military Intelligence operative Captain JP Opperman's evidence was often contradictory, improbable or absurd.

He criticised the state' other key witness, Andre Cloete, describing him as "nondescript ... shabbily dressed ... and weak". Judge Hugo also described the main investigator in the trial, Colonel Frank Dutton, as a "self-satisfied witness" who gave irrelevant testimony.

Judge Hugo attacked the heart of the state's evidence linking the SADF's covert Operation Marion to the massacre of 13 women and children in KwaMakhutha township in 1987.

Meanwhile, the Mail & Guardian has established many of Inkatha's supporters trained through Operation Marion in the Caprivi strip are currently serving members of the security forces. The judge ruled,however, that six of these trainees were not guilty of murder.

What is not disputed in the Malan case is 206 Inkatha supporters received paramilitary training under the auspices of Military Intelligence in 1986. SAPS human resources spokes-man Superintendent Strini Moodley confirmed this week that at least 55 Caprivi trainees are serving in the South African Police Service - most of them in areas of KwaZulu-Natal which have suffered or continue to suffer from outbreaks of political violence.

The M&G also established this week that another eight members listed in police computers as having resigned in 1988 are serving at the Sundumbili police station in strife-torn Mandini.

Ulundi has the largest concentration of "Caprivis" with 19 serving members, most of which serve in a "guard unit", most likely the notorious VIP protection unit headed by Colonel Leonard Langeni who has featured in both the Transitional Executive Council's report on hitsquads and in testimony in the 1995 Esikhawini hit-squad trial.

Four "Caprivis" are serving in Nongoma, which has suffered periodic violent outbreaks since 1994, three in Durban Point Road Public Order Policing Unit, three in Mpumalanga township, two in Nkandla, a KwaZulu-Natal village inflicted with alleged faction-fighting which has seen recent reflections in Gauteng mine violence, as well as two each in Newcastle, KwaMashu and the Vryheid Firearm Unit.

Single Caprivi trainees are serving in Ndwedwe, Ubombo, Plessislaer, Bhekithemba, Nqutu, Esikhawini, Umlazi, Ezakheni,

Mahlabatini, Izingolweni - the site of the 1995 Shobashobane massacre - and Mpumalanga.

At least 51 other "Caprivis" are recorded as having resigned their posts as South African Police (SAP) "visible policing constables" between March and April of 1988. These are believed to form part of the estimated 130 "Caprivis" who were incorporated into the SAP as special constables after their 1987 training at Koeberg. Most of those listed in police records also formed part of a contingent of nearly 180 "Caprivis" who were incorporated into the KwaZulu Police in June


Many of those who served in these former consigments and continue to do so are listed under different identification numbers.

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