This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
23 Aug 2000: Davidson, Christo
POM Christo, you were saying? This is in relation to the question of -
CD Casspir or Nyala which are armoured vehicles used by the police. There is a common saying among the black people, especially in those days and I think still today, that whenever they refer to these vehicles they refer to 'Hippos'. Now before we introduced the Casspirs we had vehicles called Hippos. It was basically the same thing as a Casspir but it was a very unsophisticated vehicle, an older type of vehicle, it was an experimental vehicle. The Casspir was developed from the Hippo but the Hippo was on a Bedford chassis, it was a very slow vehicle. The Casspir is built on a Mercedes Benz chassis and engine. We used those vehicles on border duty but we also used those vehicles during the time of the Soweto raids. They were called officially Hippos, it was a name that stuck particularly with the black people and whenever they referred to the armoured type of vehicles that we used they referred to Hippos. Even in this case they referred to Hippos whilst it was Casspirs and Nyalas. Now the Hippos were mostly painted in a camouflage or a dark green colour. The Casspirs were also painted in the same colour because all the Hippos and Casspirs, let me put it to you like this, Hippos and Casspirs were originally built for use on border duty, Ovamboland. As problems escalated at the same time we started to use those vehicles because they were very effective even in urban areas where people shot at you, they shoot at you or they throw petrol bombs and things like that, even hand grenades, these vehicles were hand grenade resistant, things like that. They are really very tough.
POM Would they be resistant to things like Molotov cocktails?
CD Yes, especially if it hit the vehicle on the outside. It's made of armoured steel, thick armoured steel. A Casspir, to give you an idea, weighs about 17 tons, it's an armoured type of vehicle, it could resist AK47 rounds, except for the RPG7s, the rockets, that was a threat to the Casspir. But that is just to give you the background of Hippos because you may have come across people talking about Hippos. That is the whole story about Hippos, Casspirs and Nyalas. Nyalas came later and they were designed to combat urban terrorism, urban riots and things like that, a much more sophisticated vehicle with air conditioning inside, hydraulic doors and things like that, a much more effective vehicle for urban work but not as tough as the Casspirs.
POM We are discussing, or about to discuss, the contents of the various documents about Boipatong that Mr Davidson has brought with him. Which document is this called? Which document are we going to call it?
CD It's a report on political violence and intimidation to the Unrest and Violent Crime Investigations Unit at head office which was in accordance with the Peace Accord. I discussed it previously, that was the one where Brigadier Langenhoven and General Gloy were in charge and we got these reports on a daily basis from our outside bases. To give you an idea, this is the one that we received in respect of Boipatong after the incident. We have the official particulars, the area is Witwatersrand, the station is Vanderbijlpark, district Vereeniging, name of investigating officer Colonel du Pont. The place where the incident happened, it was Boipatong, Vanderbijlpark, the date was 17 June 1992, the time was + 22 hours. The type of weapons used: AK47 rifles, assegais, pangas, knobsticks, knives, other firearms. The offences at this stage were public violence, charges of murder were also later on added. Then there's a summary of the incidents. A group of inhabitants from KwaMadala Hostel attacked the people of Boipatong, about 95 houses were damaged, quite a few persons were killed, 30 persons were injured, seven of the 43 died of gunshot wounds. One empty AK47 cartridge was found in the area, one 9mm bullet was found and one 12 gauge shotgun it's sort of a thing that's in the shotgun cartridge, I can't think of the English word. OK, this was found in the bodies with the 9mm bullet and a section from a 12 bore shotgun was found in some of the bodies. It appears that this was a revenge attack by the Zulus on the Boipatong residential area due to the fact that some Zulus were killed and their houses were burned apparently by ANC people.
Following that we have a summary of the victims, the race and gender, white males, coloured males, white females, coloured females, black males, black females. Then you have the numbers dead, the numbers injured, total numbers where the property was damaged, the number of vehicles involved by the assailants or attackers and the damage to sorry, I'm wrong there, what we reflect here is the numbers of vehicles and damage and buildings damaged and also the value of the damage to it, if there was involvement of the security forces like if they have been in attack or taking action or something like that, whether people were killed by the security forces, whether members of the security forces were killed or injured or members of the public were killed or injured. Then if there were any arrests, and then particulars like date of trial and date of
POM This one came in on - ?
CD This one came in on the first of the seventh month, a few days after. But at that stage, on the first of the seventh month we already had 81
POM 81 people.
CD In custody and the 17 that were eventually convicted came from that 81. But we had those people in detention before the first of the seventh month. I think, one can check on this, but I think it was within about five days we had these people arrested, five to seven days. They identified them and within 48 hours we were sure that the attackers came from KwaMadala. There were no two ways about that, we were sure of that. Nobody else could have done it. So this is the format: these things were reported to us on a daily basis.
POM And you'd get that from all over the whole country?
CD From all over the country we got these reports daily, on a daily basis. I think we can stop for a moment here.
POM The document we are talking about is called - it's Dr Waddington.
POM We are referring to document No. 10.
CD I think if you read number 10 with the annexures too, some are in Afrikaans but there are some in English. If you read the press statement by the Commissioner of Police, that's number 2. Number 3 is the press statement by the Minister of Law & Order, that's number 3. Number 7 is also in English. Number 9 is the one where we referred to the confession driven investigation. Then number 10
POM Number 10 is the key one.
CD The key one in this document.
POM The next document is?
CD The transcript of my evidence in the criminal trial.
POM That's before Judge Smit?
CD That's before Judge Smit. This is in Afrikaans. It is quite a thick document.
POM This is where you were cross-examined right?
CD Yes, it's my testimony and cross-examination in the criminal trial and it's about 350 pages in Afrikaans. If you have the time, but it will take a few hours, I can go through this and I can enlighten you on the important aspects as perhaps in here that are not contained in any of the other documents because I know more or less what the contents of all the documents are. But if you come to the stage where you would like me to enlighten you on this, it will be easiest for me to do it than to get somebody else because I know what the crucial parts are. Then I can enlighten you on this but I will leave this document with you.
POM In the meantime I will have everything copied so I can return it to you. I'll get it copied as quickly as possible.
CD If you have it copied and we go through it then you can make your notes where it is of importance.
The next set of documents are statistics that we compiled in our office from the reports that we received on a daily basis. I'm talking about the national head office in Pretoria. The reports were received on a daily basis relating to unrest and violence with the political nature.
POM That's for the whole Vereeniging - ?
CD Vanderbijlpark area. What we have on this, it's in Afrikaans but I'll just give it to you, the first column is the date of the incident. I'll just run through it quickly. The first column is the date of the incident. The second column is the police station area in which the incident happened. The next column is the police case number/s, the next column the weapons, that is the type of arms or weapons used AK47, 9mm pistol, things like that. The next column is the type of offence, attempted murder, murder, arson, things like that, intimidation, causing an explosion. The next column is the number of persons killed and the column following that is the number of persons injured in the incident and then the next column is the number of people arrested and names if we have them.
POM I'm entitling this document, 'Stats'.
CD OK. The first one you have is for Vereeniging for the period 1 July to 31 November 1991. The next one is also Vereeniging from January 1992 to 30 June 1992, and the next one is 1 July 1992 to 31 November 1992. The reason why I did this was to give to the commission an idea of what the scale of unrest was in that area and if one goes through it you will see that Boipatong hardly ever appears here. The next one that I have, it's also the same type of document but is for the Vanderbijlpark area, police area, for the period 1 January to 30 June 1992. You will see that there are no incidents in Boipatong.
OK, these are your stats. If you want anything further on that you know we can get that together.
The next document is a lever arch file with number 1. You see it's full this lever arch file. I can just tell you that is normal as a case before the Goldstone Commission. We had not less than 17 volumes like this. You see it's full. 17 volumes of files like this containing statements, evidence, things like that.
POM These are all the statements that you had collected from?
CD It's statements, evidence, things like that. I'll just show you what I did here. We have an index, it's in Afrikaans but containing a lot of names of people who we took statements from. We took a numerous statements. I'll give you more or less an idea of how many statements we took, if I take a rough guess, in the region of about 120 130 statements at least. What we also have here the statements, these documents, to a great extent were compiled in Afrikaans but there are some statements in English.
POM These would have been from residents in the area?
CD Probably residents in the area. I will just run through this to give you an idea, if I run through the index here, there are statements in relation to the allegation that Section 11 in Sebokeng was attacked earlier creating the suspicion that the ANC made a great song and dance about messages sent through that there was an attack but that was in respect of Section 7 in Sebokeng which was miles away from Boipatong. It was attended to but when they came there it was all over and quiet. Then we have statements about the residents in Boipatong, people who were attacked, statements from the army people working that night, statements from the Iscor staff, copies of their occurrence books, statements of this Constable Xaba and Sello who alleged that they saw the police taking part in the attacks. They were two Assistant Constables, Special Constables, who alleged that they saw the police Casspirs dropping people, attacking houses. They were the two who testified in the commission about this and they took Judge Goldstone to Boipatong for an inspection in loco where the judge said that, "I can't see what this man says that he saw that night." On cross-examination their evidence was destroyed, it was a lot of nonsense. Then we have statements of the staff of the mortuary in Sebokeng. We have statements in respect of the allegations that the Apollo lights were switched off before the incident and switched on afterwards. We have statements from electrical engineers and things like that. We have statements of people alleging that they saw vehicles with the attackers. We have the newspaper cuttings of all the allegations. We have allegations by organisations like churches and things like that. We took statements of all the Station Commanders, Police Station Commanders in the area giving a version of where their vehicles were that night. I've got particulars about the manpower and vehicles on duty that night from all the police stations in that area. I obtained the log sheets of the Riot Unit vehicles. I also obtained log sheets of the ordinary police vehicles in that whole area. I obtained all the report forms of the Riot Unit. Also documents relating to discussions between the ANC and IFP prior to this about the problems they had amongst themselves. We had statements from all the investigating officers, all the facts that they had, summaries of video recordings that were made by all these people, radio and telephone discussions from the Riot Unit offices.
POM Sorry, in the Riot Unit?
CD Offices, that is in Vereeniging where the
POM The reaction of them?
CD Yes, yes, the Riot Unit reaction, it's the same thing. OK, then we had the post mortem reports. We had the confessions by some of the people who were charged later on. Then the statistics we have. We had the names of all the people from whom we obtained statements, that is 72 statements. Then it's all the newspaper cuttings, 14 of them, allegations by the organisations, 79. Ten statements where I had mentioned meetings between the ANC and Inkatha discussing the problems prior to this.
POM Where did you obtain that?
CD I obtained that from in that time we had this joint operation with -
POM This is under the Peace Accord?
CD The Peace Accord, the police were involved in the discussions and meetings so it was from those Peace Accord meetings that we obtained these.
POM So at those meetings you had the police, Inkatha and ANC?
CD ANC and the army, church representatives, community representatives. If you look at all this it's far more than 100 statements. It's roughly in the region of 130 statements that we took. What we have here is the occurrence books.
POM This is called the - ?
CD Voorvalleboeke, that is occurrence book, for short called OB. It was kept in Vereeniging at the Riot Unit.
CD Binnelands Stabiliseerings Eenheid, that's Internal Stability Unit, the ISU. That was the correct name. We're talking about Riot Unit and things like that but it was actually the Internal Stability Unit, that's the correct wording.
Here, for instance, that is Wednesday 17 June, 16.05 as I said we're talking about 13 hours. I took it from, OK this is a bit more, this is just after four in the afternoon, there's a report. Sergeant Kruger reports that Sebokeng area is quiet, peaceful. Twenty past four: Sergeant du Toit reports that Evaton area is quiet too. As the people patrolling the area, they are located to an area where they go and they patrol in that area. If there are any problems they are contacted by radio and they attend to the problem in that area but during the course of his patrol there from time to time they get on to the air and they say, "OK, I report everything is quiet here", and they give continuous reports.
POM So it's called an occurrence book.
CD An occurrence book, it's reported, written down in an occurrence book.
POM So the person on the ground reports by radio?
CD Yes, he reports by radio to the central control, to the control unit.
POM And the centre takes it down.
CD Gets the radio report, says OK, 5J is the radio call from, say for argument's sake, Sergeant du Toit, Five Juliet reporting and he says Five Juliet represents Sergeant du Toit, he reports that Evaton area is quiet and he makes an entry.
POM Now those records of the radio transmissions, were they part of the radio transmissions that were erased?
POM So what you had was the log book but not the tapes?
CD In some cases. As I said earlier, in some of the cases where we could transcribe there were some if I go through all the documents I will perhaps get it there and we could link the report here in the book to what we could get from the tapes, from the few transcripts that we were able to make.
POM So these in the occurrence book that you're showing me, these are from the written data that was taken in the Centre and you can in some cases match those against what you could make out on the tapes?
CD Yes, yes.
POM And in some cases you couldn't?
CD If we get to my testimony with the commission, I think if one goes through that you might pick that up there. I didn't go through it now, I didn't have time to go through it now. You see, we have at 17.20, 17.30, 17.50, 18 hours, 18.10, 18.15, 18.20. 18.30, 18.35, 18.50 everything that was reported. There it goes through, 20.15, 20.35, 21.20.
POM This is the name of the officer?
CD It's a situation report and that report is an ordinary report that the area officers that they don't have informer forms. It's an administrative thing. They tried six times but they could not get through on the telephone so it was some administrative thing they have to do and they report now we can't get through. Everything that was discussed comes in here. There you have 21.25, that is half past nine, Sergeant Potgieter reports that in Boipatong everything is quiet. That was just before, that must be Bophelong, I don't know who wrote Boipatong there. You see he typed Bophelong there, 21.25 situation report, Sergeant Potgieter reports that Bophelong everything is quiet. Somebody wrote Boipatong, I can't remember, it should be Boipatong because on top there at 19.10 Sergeant du Toit also reports that they were in Boipatong, they came across a group of 40 50 people, 15 19 years old, and it looked as if they were assaulting somebody. They went to the group, the group threw three petrol bombs. They took their vehicle, only one or two petrol bombs exploded. They dispersed the crowd, they shot three number five rounds with a shotgun. Constable van Heerden also fired three shots. Constable Marks fired three shots. There were no injuries and the group was dispersed. They didn't find the person who was assaulted. You see that is the type of report.
POM So that would have been at 9.10 in the evening?
CD That is twenty-five past nine. They drive past the area and everything is quiet. Now at 21.40, that's twenty to ten, there's a change of shift. This was also something Waddington queried us on, that we changed shift at a crucial time but when is a crucial time? If people want to attack at six o'clock and we change shift at six o'clock then six o'clock can be a crucial time.
POM So you changed shifts at?
CD Ten o'clock in the evening. You see our shifts work differently now because we have less people now, we have got 12 hour shifts now but at this stage we still worked eight hour shifts. Our shifts run from six in the morning to two in the afternoon, two in the afternoon till ten in the evening and from ten in the evening to six the following morning. But the shift change normally takes place about half an hour before the hour, so it is from about half past nine to ten that we have the shift change. The next shift that must come on at six o'clock, at five thirty they do the bookwork and everything and get your weapons and check the vehicles and things and then at the hour they start.
So the next page we have 21.40, C Section reports on duty, it's inspected and the radio control room duties have been transferred to Constable Cornelissen and then they give the particulars of the radios there and all the other equipment like the keys and the pistols they have and the pistols in the safe, all the arms in the case, and then B Section reports off duty, they're inspected by (the name's not in there), people handing vehicles back is put in there, the transport is handed back, Potgieter puts back his Casspir and number so-and-so kilometre reading is in there, in order. Constable Erasmus puts back his Casspir.
POM So what was Waddington really criticising? You have immense detail there.
CD His argument was that from the history in the past we should have learnt that violent incidents like this sometimes happen when there's a shift change, so we must stagger our shift changes so that you always have at all times somebody on duty and that you don't get a situation where all your men are off duty, are going off and on duty at the same time. Like when you have ten vehicles patrolling in the Vanderbijlpark area, the one vehicle would, for argument's sake, change shift at ten o'clock, the other one at quarter past ten, the other one at half past ten, and things like that. If you have sufficient manpower I suppose you can do that but when you are sitting with minimum manpower it is a bit difficult, and when will be a crucial moment?
POM So he was saying that around ten o'clock there was
CD Not necessarily.
POM Nine thirty.
CD At shift changes, he said we have experience of problems at shift changes in the past and we must stagger our shift changes. He didn't speak specifically about ten o'clock or two o'clock or six o'clock. He said that we should have staggered as a precautionary matter.
POM Did the incident at Boipatong happen in the course of a shift change?
POM It did?
CD Yes, yes, it did actually. Then you have 22.10, that's ten past ten, let's see here six minutes past ten Sergeant Duvenhage books a vehicle out to Constable Lotter. Constable Lotter was the driver of the one vehicle. I think Schlebush had another, I can't remember. OK, that number we have there.
POM In the first column?
CD In the first column is the serial number of the incident in the occurrence book. See, 1145, 46, 47, 48, that's the serial number. Here in this column you have 22.10, that's ten past ten in the evening.
POM That's the second column.
CD Second column 'Complaint Received'.
POM Third column is?
CD Heading of the entry that's to follow. Klagte Ontvang, Complaint Received from one of the stations, I think it was the radio station call sign for, I think it was Sebokeng, I'm not sure. Report from - or it could have been the call sign for Sebokeng Station, I'm speaking under correction, that a group of Inkatha members are in Boipatong and they are busy damaging property. Sergeant Kruger on radio call sign Five Juliet Two attends to the matter. Now at this stage 22.10 people in the control room inform Kruger, say, "Listen, you're on the vehicle, we received this report that there are Inkatha members in Boipatong damaging houses. Please go and have a look there." So Kruger is in the vehicle and he drives to Boipatong now. OK, there, equipment booked out, Constable Roelofse takes bullet proof vests with him. Then there's another complaint received, 22.20, received a report from Bravo Union, that's also one of the police radio stations, that at the cemetery in Sharpeville there's some shooting. Sergeant Schlebusch gives attention. They tell Schlebusch, he's on Five Juliet One, "Listen we received a report there's been shooting in Sharpeville, please go and have a look there." So Schlebusch is in his vehicle and he's driving to Sharpeville now to see what's going on there. Then 22.25 they received a report from Victor, that's also one of the stations, that at Cape Gate, that's the factory opposite Boipatong, somebody is shooting on some of the equipment at Metal Box which is just next door. Five Juliet One, Schlebusch, will give attention. So they inform Schlebusch, they say, "Listen when you are finished in Sharpeville go and have a look, they say there's some shooting at Cape Gate." Schlebusch is on his way to Sharpeville, he will attend there and then he will go to this. Because it's only the two vehicles on duty that night now to patrol that area.
POM That whole area? That's one by Schlebusch?
CD And the other one by Kruger. Kruger was driving in the Nyala vehicle and Schlebusch was driving the Casspir. Then there's another entry, Constable Grange books out a vehicle. Then 22.45 they also receive a complaint that at house No. 696 in Mofokeng Street in Boipatong and 113 Modebele Street there is some shooting, also at 229 Kinkle Street, there's a fire there. Now Schlebusch and Kruger are ordered by the control room, "You'd better go there and have a look there. What's going on there?" This is all in Boipatong. So they inform those two on the radio, "Go and have a look, see what's going on there." 22.52
POM Has Schlebusch gone to he's already been told to do three things, he's been gone to Sharpeville, got to come back and have a look at Metal Box.
CD But you see this Metal Box, this Cape Gate and Metal Box, these three this is just opposite Boipatong and this is in Boipatong. So he can drive and see what's going on there and he can go into Boipatong. They ordered Kruger also now because he is on his way to Boipatong. They said, "There are the addresses now, go to those addresses and see what's going on there." 22.55 there's a report that there's some shooting at KwaMadala Hostel. It was also given through to these people, "Go and have a look there also." So they must attend to all these things. 22.55 Schlebusch reports that he was at house 761 in Street, because when he passed there people stopped him, he was on his way to these other houses when the people stopped him there. People from the house told him that three people went into the house and they started shooting and they chopped the residents with pangas. Two people were injured and one was killed. They gave the name of the person that was killed and this other one that was injured. The particulars of the deceased are unknown but there was about R40,000 damage to the house, I think it was R40,000. Then there is another report, 23.08, a report that at number 772 Botswana Street in Boipatong somebody is shooting and throwing stones. Another report from Victor that house 229 Griqua Street there are three dead bodies, somebody phoned in. 23.30 Schlebusch reports that at house 765 Dube Street there were about 200 Inkatha members went in. You know that's the report he gets from the people on the ground. They said 200 but it's impossible, 200 people can't go into a house. But you see these reports are written as they are received during the raid. They ransacked the house. The owner is Constable Patrick Njale, he's attached to Vereeniging police. His wife Martha received some stab and gunshot wounds. His son, Nolo, 14 years, has been killed as well as his other son Jelu, 5 years old, also been killed. They picked up some 9mm cartridges.
POM So this is the family of a policeman?
CD Of a policeman that was killed there. 23.45, Schlebusch reports that at house 763 Dube Street, this Petrus Tswane spoke to him, the windows of the house have been damaged, about R500 damage to the house. 22.46 Kruger reports that at house 757 a small girl from house 625 has some panga wounds on her body and on her head. So you see
POM There was a continuation.
CD That is a continuation. I have this you see it's virtually a minute by minute report. This is now in respect of the Internal Stability Unit, Vereeniging. What must I write here?
POM Just Boipatong.
CD What do you call them? The Reaction Unit?
POM Reaction, ISU.
CD ISU and I'll put the correct Internal Stability Unit Radio Reports. As I say, it's in Afrikaans.
POM But you were only to verify some of these? These entries, again, were taken from the log book at the station?
CD Actually the occurrence book.
POM Yes the occurrence book but only some of them could be verified with reference to tapes because most of the tapes had been erased?
CD Yes. But I did verify some of the entries.
POM Some of the entries could be verified.
CD And not only entries relating to the Boipatong incident but also some of the other entries because, you will see we made copies at that stage of the page of the occurrence book. So there are quite a number of entries but I've highlighted now the entries that are of importance to the Boipatong incident. The entries here that I verified on the tapes included even some of the other entries in the book. These are also copies of the documents supporting the typed versions that I have here. To go through all this will take us ages.
POM No, don't bother.
CD It is in support what is also in here are some of the incidents that have been reported by outside witnesses like the witnesses stating that they saw people crossing on foot from the direction of the KwaMadala Hostel to Boipatong. We have the entry where it was reported and then I also have the statement of the man, the witness who saw this, his statement I have in here and then all the other statements that we could obtain to support these incidents. So that is the type of investigation, if you look at this whole pile, this is the type of investigation that we conducted. OK, this is volume one now but we have some 17 volumes like this containing this type of detail. Some of the statements contain some other evidence that was not necessarily reported via the control room of the Internal Stability Unit but this is to give you an idea of the type of detail there is.
POM And you have 17 volumes of those compiled over?
CD Over a period of, how long did it take us? A matter of six to eight weeks about.
CD Superintendent Deetlefs, he was my admin chap, he was actually one who also assisted me with the investigation but he was also the admin guy during the course of the investigation.
POM He was the which?
CD The chap to whom I spoke assisted me with the investigation but he also handled a lot of the admin concerning
POM For the administration?
CD Yes. Just one correction I want to make, the number of files that contained our complete submission was eight files and not seventeen as I said. Eight thick volumes like this, full volumes. The transcriptions of all the evidence before the commission in respect of Boipatong contain eighteen volumes, so that's the difference. We can just give clarity on it.
I think that is as far as this is concerned the type of evidence and you get an idea of the type of detail we went into to check on virtually every minute. In one of my submissions, I just couldn't lay my hands on it yesterday, perhaps it's in the other one I have here, is an extract I made from this, from the reports from the different stations in the area. But this as it is here is as comprehensive as can be.
CD If you want to discuss something on it
POM I'll go through it. This file is Volume 8.
CD 8 12, it is Boipatong transcriptions. In Afrikaans it's called the 'oorkondes', it is the complete version, typed version of the evidence that was submitted. The English word just slipped my mind.
POM That had been submitted to the Goldstone Commission?
CD Yes. It's my evidence, it's my testimony, my cross-examination, the transcriptions of all the evidence that was tendered to the Goldstone Commission. I think here is something that you will be glad about perhaps.
POM Now does that contain your second submission?
CD My second submission, a long submission, cross-examination, the issue about the radios, the tapes and everything. I forgot about it the other day. Now this is in English, it's mainly in English. I testified in English to assist the commission not to make use of an interpreter. There were some cases where I switched to Afrikaans a bit but it's mainly in English. What is important here, and I think if you read through this it will answer a lot of the questions about the tapes because the tapes are the main issue in this whole thing. If one really looks at what happened to the tapes it's very simple, it was just
POM A screw-up.
CD Yes, an operational mistake. There's the evidence.
POM Of O'Reilly, that's the woman who was
CD Have you read her evidence?
CD You must read this evidence of O'Reilly. She was in charge of the radio control room and, I know I marked it last night, where she explains how the tapes were changed and that they were not aware that if they couldn't change it and all those things. But if you read through this it will answer
POM A lot of the questions I had.
CD You see here she says, I suggest you read all of the evidence, but here on page 528 she says that, "It often happens that when I go off duty at 16 hours, four o'clock in the afternoon, there would be a small portion of the tape still remaining, unused." That's on the second page. Now this would be on the second page, yes. Then, it's in Afrikaans but I'll translate it to you, "Then it is not worthwhile to leave it there and to come back half an hour later to change the tape, then I change the tape before I go off duty. It would then be not worth the trouble leaving it in there only to change it later. Yes, I would change the tape before I go off duty." Then Mr Hattingh says, "One or both tapes?" She said, "I will change both tapes",because there are two tapes in the machine. Then she said, "I would turn over both the tapes." That's the interpreter. "And if you go off duty then as far as you know the people know, the people who work the machine have two tapes available for the night shift?"She said, "Yes, when I go off duty there would be two tapes available for use during the night." "How long can you record on a tape?" "The clever people say that if you don't talk a lot it can last for 8 12 hours. In case there are many conversations it lasts about six hours." Then we go back to the procedure.
POM If there were two new tapes put in at four o'clock they should have gone till four o'clock in the morning.
CD Yes, but now you see
POM So there's a lot of traffic?
CD But you see the tapes go until four o'clock in the afternoon, then she takes the tape and she turns it over which she was not supposed to do. So everything that's recorded on there is taped over what has already been taped and what has already been taped is partly erased and a portion remains because I explained to you how it works. So I think the best is
POM I'll just read it.
CD - to read through this. What is also here is she continues the next day, she still continues. Mr Kuny asked her a lot, Mr Chaskalson asked her a lot and then we get a chap by the name of Mr Marriott, he's a Colonel and he was in charge of the radio section at that stage. So Marriott comes in. Oh yes, before we get to Marriott, I think I told you
POM This is on page 593.
CD I told you during our previous discussion that Goldstone asked me during my testimony whether I informed Waddington about the tapes. I said to him, yes. So Judge Goldstone went and he phoned Waddington to make sure whether I was lying or not.
POM What had you told Waddington?
CD You know I told Waddington we had a problem with the tapes. Without us knowing it the judge phoned Mr Waddington and he enquired about what they told him, what they told Waddington about the case. Then the next day Advocate Hattingh asked Mr Goldstone about that matter. Here Judge Goldstone said, "Well I think perhaps in that regard I should mention that I have communicated telephonically with Dr Waddington and he confirmed to me that he was informed about the tapes by Major Davidson and told that there were these problems that we heard about."So Waddington confirmed to Goldstone, yes, Davidson told me they had problems with the tapes. Then you have Colonel Marriott. He was in charge of the radio section. His testimony is there.
POM I will go through the whole thing.
CD You can go through that of Marriott. Let me see what other is important. Then there's a Warrant Officer in the police who installed the equipment but this that is in this document, in this Volume 8 12 from page 349 to page 620, that's my testimony and also testimony concerning the tapes. If you read this I think you will have a good idea. As I say again, this whole thing of the tapes was blown out of proportion and as I said to you before and I say it again, if we had the contents of the tapes Boipatong would have been much easier for me to investigate, much, much easier. It would have saved me a lot of sweat under cross-examination because I was cross-examined on something that I had absolutely nothing to do with. There was no, I'll put my life on it, there was absolutely no intention on the side of the police to erase that because there was no reason for it. The argument came, I think it was in the criminal trial, that we did this deliberately, we blocked everything off the air things like that. Say, for argument's sake, you wanted to do it because people knew that the police were involved in Boipatong as the allegations were, you would have had to block off a number of radio stations, police radio stations, ordinary stations where constables and sergeants are working. How on earth can you block their communication for a few hours without them querying it? Of course if they want to make communication and the air is blocked they will complain about it and you will get complaints, saying we can't work, the air is blocked, we can't work, or something like that.
POM That would mean that if they made a report in it wouldn't be recorded?
CD And they can't get through. They call and nobody would hear them.
POM The one question I wanted to, and I think I asked you before, was it shown that this mistake had not only been made on the night of Boipatong but that it had been made on every night?
POM Since the new equipment had been installed at least by this particular officer, Officer O'Reilly.
CD Yes, because this new equipment that was installed was installed at the Internal Stability Unit, it was not installed at the other stations because it was very expensive equipment and it was only installed there. I'm speaking under correction, perhaps if you read the evidence of Colonel Marriott, but speaking under correction I think it was put there for sort of a test or a trial run but it was completely new equipment.
POM So it was the only place in the country, or there were four or five others?
CD It think it was there, it was in Johannesburg Central, a few other places, but this new equipment was only installed at a few places. It was not installed at all the stations because we didn't have the money for it.
POM Was everybody at the other stations misusing the equipment too or did that never arise?
CD It never I think especially due to the pressure of time we had, by the time I testified I didn't check it at the other stations. I think if you read Marriott's statement you will get all the answers about that. Read Marriott's statement, read O'Reilly's evidence and if there are questions there then I will be able to attend to that.
POM They were cross-examined in the criminal trial as well?
CD No they were not even called in the criminal trial.
POM You were the only one who was called?
CD Yes, they were not even called in the criminal trial as far as I can remember.
POM I should let you get home. You said there was the article, the question of Peens.
CD Let's first get to this. This is my affidavit and my submission that I made last year for the advocate of the army in connection with the amnesty application of the people found guilty of the murder of those people. They applied for amnesty and this submission here
POM So you made this submission in connection with their application for amnesty?
CD I was approached by the advocate appearing for the defence force subsequent to allegations that the defence force was involved in the attacks. So he acted on behalf of the defence force and he requested me to assist him because the documents I have are the only documents available actually, a complete review of what happened. So here we have two documents. It is the case against Buthelezi and others before, it must be the Truth Commission, held at Vanderbijlpark. The SA National Defence Force the applicant and Mqambeleni Buthelezi and 16 others being the first set of respondents, and the victims of the Boipatong massacre the second set of respondents.
POM So this is in connection with the amnesty applications?
CD The amnesty application of the 17 people convicted of the massacre. What you have in here, OK it is my submission but it is in Afrikaans and it contains not only my evidence but also the evidence, the statements of some of the army people. My affidavit is contained on page 58 132. What you get in this you get a chronological outlay of the times. This is where I have it in. A lot of things in here but especially here when we come to the time schedule, I have the time period 18.15 18.20, everything that happened in that period. 18.30 18.40 everything that happened in that period. 18.45, 18.55, 19.10, 19.35, 19.45, 21.25, 21.25 21.50, 21.55, 22 hrs, 22 22.45 everything that happened and was reported. 22.04, 22.10, 22.20, 22.25, 22.30, 22.40.
POM Why were you asked to make a submission in the amnesty applications since the applicants at that time were saying that there were no police involved?
CD The allegations from the victims, they alleged that the army and the police were involved.
POM They were opposing the amnesty application.
CD Yes they were opposing the amnesty application. This team of the lawyer and the advocate acting for the army were instructed by the army to go into that and to determine whether that is true or untrue. The only sources this advocate had to rely on was my evidence and my documents because the army could not supply him with the documents because they did not do the same type of investigation as we did. Our submission to the Goldstone Commission was also much more comprehensive than the army because in my submission to the Goldstone Commission I covered all the activities of all the security force elements operating in that area. If you read my testimony you will see that. I covered everything. The version that we have in the police, the version where I was investigator, covers absolutely everything that happened that night and that is why he contacted me. He picked my name up then he contacted me and he asked me whether I would be prepared to assist in supplying him with documents. I said, yes, I've got no problem. I did the investigation, I testified and I used that as a basis and we used all my previous evidence and testimony and documents and from that we compiled this.
What we also compiled was some of the photos that we took and from the investigation that we did, as I say this is in Afrikaans unfortunately. This is some of the aerial photos and so on. I have also included the same statistics as what I've given you previously. I've added that to this submission of mine. What is strange if one looks at all the allegations, and that is that when I submitted this I was not asked one single question on it, not one single question. It was submitted, nobody in the commission hearing asked me any question on any of the facts stated in my submission.
POM This is the Amnesty Committee?
CD The Amnesty Committee. The victims of the Boipatong massacre opposing this did not ask me one single question, they didn't ask me one question. It was submitted, I didn't even read it in, it was submitted and they were given the opportunity to cross-question me on this.
POM So their lawyers had the opportunity to cross-examine you and they didn't?
CD They didn't ask me one question. The commissioners, the members of the committee, also didn't ask me one question. You must remember now this was submitted after the Truth Commission has already brought out their report that the police were involved. Now we submit this and if one reads through this I cover actually more police activity here than what I covered army activity because the police were more involved in policing the area than the army actually. The role of the police was much more extensive than that of the army. As I said to you, I also testified in the criminal trial but I couldn't lay my hands on the judgment of Judge Smit, it was in Afrikaans.
POM I will be able to get that from one of the advocates who represented the defendants.
CD I've included some of the extracts of Judge Smit because he made it in Afrikaans, I have it in Afrikaans here but I will read it to you. It says here, I say in my submission, I testified on two occasions in the criminal trial. Judge Smit remarked after a trial that lasted a month and in which many witnesses testified, he made the following remarks relating to alleged police involvement.
POM This is in his judgment.
CD In his judgment. It's in Afrikaans but I'll translate it for you: -
"I am therefore beyond any doubt convinced that members of the SA police were not involved in this attack or they did not render any assistance to the attackers prior, during or after the attack. In the light of the evidence of Sello (that was that one Constable I referred to, that Special Constable I referred to earlier) and one Mabuza, in the light of their evidence and their behaviour in court it is understood how the rumours of police complicity in the area could have been spread, rumours for which I could find no substance."
That links up with that explanation of the Khayelitsha story. That was Smit's judgment on police involvement. When Smit's remark regarding the tape recordings comes to my mind now evidence was tendered on the tape recordings. Smit remarks on that. There were no deliberate attempts to destroy the information on the tapes and that the tapes were changed due to ignorance which resulted in that the information on the tapes was not deliberately wiped out but it was re-taped over, not has already been taped over. He goes further, he said:-
"The learned judge goes further and says, 'I am convinced that the evidence regarding this case does not indicate in any way that the police were involved in the attack or that they have any share in it.' The transcriptions of the conversations that were available do not disclose any police complicity in the attack."
I think, it happened many years ago, I think the transcriptions that we did make in the criminal trial.
Then there was also a story that some exhibits were destroyed. It is in fact so but that was also because of a Captain that didn't do his job properly. In the light of the evidence regarding the alleged failure of evidence I am convinced that the exhibits were not deliberately destroyed in an attempt to conceal evidence of police involvement. It's a long story.
POM That's OK.
CD It was a Captain who didn't do his job properly.
POM And the last one is?
CD The last one here, it's also a lot of photos and what I've included here are the vehicles used by us.
POM This is also submitted in connection with the amnesty application?
CD Yes. I'll just show you here. There we have the old vehicle that I told you about, the Hippo. Here we have the Casspir which is a much more modern vehicle, from the front, and that's the Casspir from the side. A few of them standing there in the mechanical yard. There's the Nyala vehicle from the back and from the side. You see it's a much more sophisticated type of vehicle. There's one from the front. There is what the army called a Buffel, a buffalo, it shows that type of army vehicle that we used in the operational area but also in rural areas. Also photos of two Buffels. Then there's a vehicle called the Fish Tank, it's an ordinary bakkie that the army used with perspex on the sides so people couldn't throw petrol bombs. This was a silly design because you put your men at risk if you send them into a dangerous area with that vehicle.
POM That's on page 9A, B.
CD Then we have some aerial photos of Boipatong, KwaMadala. This is the two submissions to the Truth Commission.
POM And you were never asked a single question?
CD Not a single question.
POM Nor was a single policeman ever called to testify? Nor was a single member of the SADF ever called to testify?
CD Nothing. Coming back to the allegations that police were involved, this Dirk Coetzee, the famous Dirk Coetzee, here in the Pretoria News on 15th February 1996, that's a few years afterwards, he comes with the allegation that Boipatong was a Vlakplaas job. He said two whites were involved, Vermeulen and all those people. This evidence was never tendered either in the commission or in the criminal trial and if you go into all these allegations here, we've attended to all these things. There was no substance in this. We start off with one thing and in the end the report was
POM So in effect the information contained in the volumes you have given me effectively contradicts Coetzee's versions?
CD Yes. Then there's another story which was in the Mail & Guardian 22-28 January 1999 by a certain man, Peens, a certain ex-policeman Peens.
POM Sergeant Peens, yes.
CD He also alleges that he was that night in Boipatong and we didn't speak to him during our investigation. Well his vehicle was in Boipatong, it was about three or four o'clock in the morning after the incident. After everything was over. Peens went out with a group of people on ordinary investigation, they did not know at this stage, and he says it here, they did not even know of what happened there. They took a Casspir because they were working there, I think he was at that stage with the Murder & Robbery Unit.
POM So the massacre would have taken place between nine and ten or nine thirty and ten thirty or whatever and they didn't go into the area until four o'clock.
CD Yes at four o'clock the next morning.
POM Four a.m. on the 18th.
CD On the 18th. He drove on this way through the side of Boipatong on an investigation of his own and he saw groups of people standing there. He didn't even bother to speak to them, he just drove past and then he came at a later stage and he said, "Ja, but we didn't interview them." I know his vehicle was there, but it was afterwards, it was long after the incident.
POM So you knew that he had been there at four o'clock.
CD Yes, during our investigation. We knew that there was a Casspir after and it was one of the Murder & Robbery but that was after the incident, long after the incident. At that stage Schlebusch was in the area, Kruger was in the area, the bodies were picked up, there were a lot of other vehicles in the area picking up the bodies and checking what was going on.
POM So he wasn't the only person in the area at that time?
CD No, no, at that stage when he drove past there were other police vehicles in the area already. I think he tried to make
POM To elevate himself.
CD Yes, to elevate himself.
POM Would the presence of his vehicle there at four o'clock on the 18th be in the occurrence book or the chronicle book?
CD No it's not in because he didn't book on the air.
POM Where did he report from?
CD He had to report to his Commanding Officer, look tomorrow morning I'm going out, I'm going to look for some suspects of mine in a case I'm investigating. So then sometimes they don't hook on the air. But we checked on that and we were aware of that. We said, OK he was driving past there but at that stage there were quite a number of vehicles in Boipatong and the whole story was over at that point. The crucial time in this whole thing is between eight thirty and nine thirty, ten o'clock. That's the crucial time.
POM He never came forward during the trial?
CD And we said to everybody, we said to all the policemen in all those cases, if there's anything they know just tell us. We even checked, if you go through all
POM He had been driving on his own?
CD No he had one or two other chaps with him that he picked up and they went to look for some suspects.
POM Could they have verified that, that it was indeed at four o'clock the following morning that he was going through?
CD I spoke to one of the guys who was with him, can't remember his name now, and he confirmed to me it was in the region of four o'clock that they went to but they drove through on the side of Boipatong, they were on their way to Sebokeng to go and look for a suspect there. So they drove along and they came back with another road. That was long after the attack. This story was not tendered to the commission, it was not tendered during the criminal trial. He came forward with this after he left the police because I think he had some ill-feelings.
POM So he never went before the Truth Commission with it?
CD No. It's only this newspaper.
POM As far as you know he's never been called before the Amnesty Committee either?
CD No. You can have a look at this. As I say everything that's in here was the allegation side of it, was the thing that we're dealing with in the course of our investigation and he was trying to What I also have here is the final report of the Goldstone Commission
POM Which says, is this the one which promises this is October 1994? This is the one which says, does it, at some point, that he will issue a final report on Boipatong?
CD Yes, yes, this is the one. Have you read this?
CD OK. In this report of the Goldstone Commission dated 27 October 1994, paragraph three, the pages are not numbered but paragraph three, there's final reports on specific matters:
Boipatong. "The Appellate Division has not yet adjudicated upon the petition for leave to appeal by the accused in the criminal trial following from the massacre." Because this report was brought out after the completion of the finalisation of the criminal trial. "The commission considers it inappropriate to submit a report while the matter is still sub judice. The presentation of the report on the enquiry by the commission into the Boipatong massacre will therefore have to stand over until the criminal proceedings have run their course even if it eventuates after the termination of the commission". This never happened. "The commission also investigated an allegation that members of Koevoet stationed at Greenside Collieries have been involved in the Boipatong massacre. The report of that investigation will stand over for the same reasons mentioned in the preceding paragraph." It has never, they never
POM There was never a report.
CD Never! And as I said in our previous consultation, I consulted with those men, Eugene de Kock in his book even denies that. This is all that Goldstone says about Boipatong. This is more or less the documents.
POM I think I have enough reading material for a weekend.
CD Nice for a weekend! But please ask me again.
POM Don't worry, yes.
CD It is all I have and, please, I want it back.
POM You will get it, you will get everything back. Thank you very much for spending so much time. Your wife will kill you.
CD It is a pleasure. It's important to me that one gets the true facts. That's all I'm interested in, the true facts, what really happened.
POM I'm seeing Jan Wagener. He was the advocate for?
CD He was the State Attorney. He was a Deputy State Attorney at that stage.
POM So he would have been?
CD He was stationed, his head office in Pretoria.
POM What would he have been dealing with with regards to Boipatong?
CD His office, I can't remember whether it was his office or the Johannesburg office of the State Attorney, they acted on our behalf and through them they appointed private advocates to present the case of the police before the commission, the Goldstone Commission.
POM Goldstone Commission. OK.
CD As far as I can remember Jan Wagener was himself not involved in Boipatong, in handling the Boipatong matter. It was the Johannesburg office of the State Attorney who appointed the advocates to assist us. The one chappie from the State Attorney's office who assisted us was Mr Steyn but he's retired now, and then a Mr Ben de Klerk. De Klerk also left the service.
POM They were in the State Attorney's office.
CD State Attorney's office Johannesburg. Steyn retired and De Klerk is in private practice. I can't remember that Jan Wagener was had anything to do with it.
POM It was General van der Merwe who suggested that I talk to him.