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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
Name: Sathyandranath Ragunanan Maharaj
02-11-1998: Day 1
CHAIRPERSON: We have been waiting for some time, but there have been problems as you have probably seen, in getting the hall ready. I have received various messages about what witnesses are available and how they are going to be called. Have you decided who are going to call the next witness?
MR BIZOS: We have given notice that we would like Minister Maharaj to give evidence. There has been no objection communicated to us. We have taken that as consent and the Minister is where the witness ought to be. If there is no objection, we would like to carry on with him. We are indebted to our learned friends for the cooperation.
He has to get down to Parliament and this was the only day which he could really be absent Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: What I have heard on the radio this morning, he is going to have a busy week.
MR BIZOS: Before we call the witness, may we hand in the short Heads that you asked for in relation to the admissibility of evidence
We have copies for the Committee and our learned friends. May we hand them in because we promised to do that this morning, Mr Chairman. We don't have to argue it now, I don't know what response is, we don't know what responses, we don't know whether the other parties have done any heads or not or what their response would be.
They may want to respond to this Mr Chairman, but we don't need it debated now with respect. Mr Chairman, we call Minister Maharaj. I'd better spell his first names onto the record, before he is called upon to take the oath Mr Chairman. It is Sathyandranath Ragunanan, that may be an explanation as to why he is popularly known as Mac Mr Chairman.
If the witness could be asked to take the oath.
CHAIRPERSON: Before we do that, these Heads of yours Mr Bizos, are on the question of cross-examination?
MR BIZOS: Yes, the admissibility of evidence.
CHAIRPERSON: We have, I think received similar Heads from Kobus Booyens.
MR BIZOS: We haven't been given a copy, but I am sure we will be given a copy Mr Chairman.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, may I just mention that I will endeavour to have the Heads with you during the week.
SATHYANDRANATH RAGUNANAN MAHARAJ: (sworn states)
EXAMINATION BY MR BIZOS: Minister Maharaj, you are now the Minister of Transport.
MR MAHARAJ: Yes sir.
MR BIZOS: Were you a member of the African National Congress during the late 1970's and early 1980's?
MR MAHARAJ: That is correct.
MR BIZOS: Would you tell us where you were stationed or where you did your work in the late 1970's, what your position was in the African National Congress and what the nature of your work was?
MR MAHARAJ: After my release from prison in December 1976, I left the country in July, went to Lusaka and was stationed in Lusaka since December 1977, where I was appointed the Secretary of the ANC Underground, that is that section of the ANC operating within South Africa.
I remained in that position until I re-entered the country illegally in 1988, where I was given other tasks and those tasks were completed in 1990.
MR BIZOS: Was it necessary for you to be informed about what was happening in Botswana and Mozambique in relation to the affairs of the African National Congress?
MR MAHARAJ: In order to build and maintain the ANC Underground within South Africa, we operated by setting up structures in the neighbouring countries, and Botswana was one of those. In my capacity as Secretary of the Underground, I was required to be in touch with them as well as with the people within the country.
MR BIZOS: What about Mozambique?
MR MAHARAJ: That included Mozambique and Swaziland.
MR BIZOS: Yes. In relation to Botswana, did you know Mr Marius Schoon, sitting here, his wife Jeanette and possibly their daughter, Katryn?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, as well as the son Fritz, I knew all of them.
MR BIZOS: You knew all of them? Did you visit Botswana from time to time?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir, I did as part of my duties, I visited Botswana periodically in order to interact with the ANC structures there, charged with the internal work.
MR BIZOS: What was the attitude of the Botswana government in relation to the presence of the African National Congress in Botswana?
MR MAHARAJ: Botswana maintained a sort of turn a blind eye to the ANC, it was sympathetic in general to our cause, but it could not see its way clear in those days to openly allow us to maintain members and structures devoted to internal work, whether it be political or military. It also allowed us to live in Botswana as refugees.
MR BIZOS: What was the attitude of the Mozambican government in relation to the ANC presence in Mozambique?
MR MAHARAJ: After Mozambique became independent, they openly allowed us to exist and maintain structures. They came under pressure and the relationship changed particularly after the Nkomati Accord, but even then, the government of Mozambique recognised that we were there and had a presence officially in Mozambique.
MR BIZOS: For the record, when was the Mozambican independence?
MR MAHARAJ: I was in prison at that time, so I think it would be about 1974/1975.
MR BIZOS: What was Mr Marius Schoon doing for the ANC in Botswana?
MR MAHARAJ: I met Marius Schoon I think in March 1978 in my first visit to Botswana in my capacity as Secretary of the Internal ANC.
He was in a small committee which was the political committee charged with building the ANC as a political organisation, that is the capacity in which I interacted with him throughout his stay in Botswana.
MR BIZOS: What was his wife, Jeanette, doing for the ANC in Botswana?
MR MAHARAJ: Jeanette Schoon was also working in the field of mobilising particularly the white sector of the South African community, but her specialisation was in the Trade Union field.
MR BIZOS: Was either the one or the other involved in what was called the armed struggle?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir. The political tasks, the tasks of the ANC political structure derived from the four pillars of structure, and that was mass mobilisation, political level within South Africa, building the underground in its own right, distributing propaganda, interacting with mass overt activists, as well as support for activists within the country in particular those who were harassed and needed to get out of the country.
MR BIZOS: What ANC structure was there in Botswana, structure or structures?
MR MAHARAJ: In that regard, I would need to refer to our submission made to the Truth Commission entitled Further Submissions, dated 12th of May 1997.
MR BIZOS: You have a full copy of the full submissions made?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir, I have a copy of the submission itself that was made, and in Appendix 1, page 34 it is headed ANC Structures and Personnel for the years 1960 to 1994, it opens with a statement to say in this document we have concentrated mainly on those structures which are of direct relevance to the TRC.
There has been no attempt to cover our diplomatic structures or departments which fell under the offices of the Secretary General or the Treasury General. Most of the information contained in this Appendix, is drawn from memories. There may be some minor mistakes and omissions.
It is that document that I would like to refer to, because of the period that we are talking about, span such a long time and I personally have been involved in the underground from 1960. It is difficult to have precise recollection.
MR BIZOS: Did you personally have anything to do with the compilation of these submissions Minister Maharaj?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir, I played a part in the committee that was charged by the ANC with preparing the documentation, and I appeared in the ANC team before the TRC in motivating and explaining the submission.
MR BIZOS: What has been placed before the Committee is a portion of that document as Exhibit N, which appears on page 36 of the document before you.
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir. Could I have a copy of that?
MR BIZOS: Yes, please have a look at it. Would you have a look at page 43, 4.6.2.
MR MAHARAJ: I have it in front of me.
MR BIZOS: You have it in front of you? It is headed Botswana senior organ, 1980 - 1983. What was the senior organ?
MR MAHARAJ: The senior organ was a coordinating structure that we set up by decision of the Revolutionary Council and the National Executive of the ANC in order to bring more effective coordination between the work of the military section, the underground political section and our Intelligence structures, known as NAT. It therefore had members derive from these substructures, but not all members of the substructures belonged to the senior organ.
In the particular conditions applying to Botswana, we tried to avoid the identity of the senior organ even being known to the substructures, because we were operating in a country where conditions were very vulnerable to South African regime infiltration and attacks.
MR BIZOS: Yes. Were you responsible for giving the information in 4.6.2 to be incorporated into the submissions?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, I played a part in gathering that information.
MR BIZOS: Would you please turn to page 41 of Exhibit N, Botswana senior organ, do you see that?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR BIZOS: Underneath that, the Military Committee, the Political Committee and the National - what is that?
MR MAHARAJ: It is the Intelligence Section?
MR BIZOS: The Intelligence Section. Now, Mr Schoon is going to tell the Committee that he was not in the senior organ, nor was his wife, but that he was on the Political Committee.
MR MAHARAJ: I can testify to that. Part of the difficulty in constructing the membership of these structures in the different neighbouring countries, was dependent (a) on the conditions and (b) on the records available.
In the case of Botswana, the composition of the structures were changing very rapidly, we often had to withdraw comrades because they were in danger. I particularly was responsible for the Political Section, and in all my period outside, Marius Schoon in Botswana was part of the Political Committee, but not of the senior organ.
Our difficulties are highlighted in the formulation of paragraph 4.6.2, page 43 as compared to the structures in other neighbouring areas. In the case of Botswana, we say the Chairperson was Henry Mahoti, succeeded by Lambert Moloi, but we say leading figures in this SO, leading figures and amongst those names we have Marius Schoon.
If you look at other areas, called Forward Areas, particularly if you look at Mozambique, the conditions where we had the protection of the government and our structures were known to the government to be operating from there, you will find we give a detailed breakdown of the substructures. We sometimes even go so far as to give particular Regional areas charged to sub-substructures, and we name the people in those substructures.
In Botswana we could not do that, our recollections then given those fluctuation of membership of the structures, simply say leading figures in this SO, meaning leading figures operating within the leadership structure of the senior organ.
MR BIZOS: Can you recall whether Mr Marius Schoon was asked what precisely his position was, before these submissions were made to the TRC?
MR MAHARAJ: I cannot recall because in constructing this document, we had a number of colleagues working from the then Shell House, coordinating our work, helping in the adMinister Maharajistrative tasks, and contacting people would have been an administrative task.
I do not know whether Marius was personally contacted. In some cases, I contacted people, it depended upon the space of time I had in my other work.
MR BIZOS: You did not contact Mr Schoon?
MR MAHARAJ: I don't remember contacting Marius. I was quite clear when I saw the list compiled, and I said, this is accurate, Marius Schoon did function in that structure.
We do not break down for Botswana the different sub-committees as we do for the others. In Botswana we don't say in our submission to the TRC, who was the Military Committee, who was the Political Committee, who was the NAT Committee.
MR BIZOS: Thank you.
MR MAHARAJ: May I add one thing in that regard? Marius, I was responsible for sending him out to Angola for training. Again, that training was not in order to work in the Military Structures, it was training for self defence, training to do underground propaganda such as leaflet bombs and communications.
MR BIZOS: For the sake of clarity, were pamphlet bombs in any way a danger to people's lives or limbs or not?
MR MAHARAJ: Not at all. The pamphlet bombs that we devised, were very controlled charges. The charges utilised were sufficient merely to throw up a package of a particular weight into the air, so that it would then disperse the leaflets.
They were prepacked. The technical knowledge that was required, was simply how to put the package together and how to set the ignition system. They were not required to even prepare the charges themselves.
MR BIZOS: Jeanette Schoon, what was she primarily concerned with whilst in Botswana?
MR MAHARAJ: Jeanette Schoon, her task as I say, were concentrated on the Trade Union sector. Marius and Jeanette, even that sector, it was particularly amongst white colleagues.
That can be seen in our submission to the TRC where we described the functions of the Political Section in describing the structures, and it can also be seen in the information that was gathered by the National Intelligence Service of the South African regime.
I have with me here two reports particularly done by Mr Carl Edwards in 1980. Their submissions and their own reports, which I obtained clandestinely, actually put down the tasks of Jeanette Schoon as working in the Trade Union field.
If I may just refer to it, it says there Jeanette said that, he said that Jeanette is assisting him, but - that is Marius said that Jeanette is assisting him, but that she is mainly involved in internal reorganisation of SACTU. That is the acronym for the South African Congress of Trade Unions.
MR BIZOS: Whose side was Mr Carl Edwards on?
MR MAHARAJ: Mr Carl Edwards was an agent of the South African Security Services working to my personal knowledge, with Mr Craig Williamson and Mr Paul Asmisson.
MR BIZOS: You read one sentence from a document. Can you speak of its authenticity?
MR MAHARAJ: The particular document that I am referring to, as I obtained it, had a covering letter signed by Mr A.J. Kruger, Divisional Head, addressed to the Commissioner South African Police, Pretoria, 8 September 1980 and it says enclosed is a copy of an "Operational Analysis of the Schoon network, August 1980" for Captain Williamson as requested.
In the document itself, in different parts, the compiler is listed as Carl Edwards, with his Police number. In the contents page, 34 names are listed. Of the 34 names, 33 are white, 4 are black and they all are people who the South African Intelligence Service believed were operatives or contacts of Marius or Jeanette Schoon.
MR BIZOS: Mr Chairman, we are non-committal in relation to putting in copies of this document. I do not know what the Committee's and our learned friends' attitude is. They can have a look at them if they want to during the adjournment and copies can be made available if they are so required Mr Chairman.
MR BOOYENS: Mr Chairman, my view is that we would want a copy of the whole document that Mr Maharaj has spoken of, and I would like to have sight of the document before proceeding with cross-examination if possible.
MR VISSER: We are in the same position, thank you Mr Chairperson, Visser on record.
MR LEVINE: I would agree with that Mr Chairman.
MR BIZOS: Can we proceed Mr Chairman, and they can satisfy themselves of the authenticity of that document.
CHAIRPERSON: Didn't we agree before Mr Bizos, that where documents were to be used, they should be prepared and made available to all parties before they were introduced?
MR BIZOS: Yes, Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: Well, why hasn't that been done here?
MR BIZOS: Because Mr Chairman, it has only come to our notice very, very recently Mr Chairman. The Minister found it Mr Chairman, you must realise that these documents are spread all over the place, some in ...
CHAIRPERSON: But we started late this morning Mr Bizos, you had time this morning to get the documents ready?
MR BIZOS: I apologise for that Mr Chairman. We thought that the two pages were the only relevant ones, and only a very small portion of it. If my learned friends want the document, we didn't want to copy the whole document Mr Chairman, or any portion of it.
I am sure that my learned friends will not call for the whole document to be put in and copied. These are the reasons.
CHAIRPERSON: They have called for it to be copied, as I understand.
MR BIZOS: The whole document?
CHAIRPERSON: The whole document. They wanted copies of the whole document and they wanted sight of the original.
MR BIZOS: Well, I don't know whether this is a copy or an original Mr Chairman, but may we proceed Mr Chairman, until our learned friends have seen the document, and they can decide what they want to submit ought to happen Mr Chairman.
MR BOOYENS: Mr Chairman, I don't have a problem in principle if we proceed with other evidence, and then let the matter stand down before cross-examination starts.
But obviously we would want to have a look at the document and decides for ourselves which part may be important for purposes of cross-examination, and if necessary then we require the whole document, and copies thereof.
I wasn't approached this morning by anybody referring to any document that is going to be referred to during evidence and I was here for about an hour and a half before we started Mr Chairman.
MR BIZOS: Can I just indicate that I would appeal to my learned friends to approach this matter in a fair way.
Mr Williamson is here. He will be able to no doubt give instructions in relation to the authenticity of the document or not. If Mr Williamson is not putting the authenticity of the document into question, then Mr Chairman an enquiry about its authenticity, is completely ...(indistinct).
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Bizos, nobody has indicated they want to enquire about the authenticity, they said they would like to see it.
They want to see the whole of the document to decide what portions they wish to refer to.
MR BIZOS: And which portions they want copied Mr Chairman, if I understood them. We can proceed on that basis Mr Chairman.
MR LEVINE: Mr Chairman, our instructions are that these documents form part of certain secret NIS files which were released by Minister Maharaj on the 29th of July 1994 and I quote from a report on the Internet by Anton Harbour, who at that stage was I believe the Editor of the Mail & Guardian, but it is not as it were that these documents came into existence or came about very, very recently if this information is correct.
CHAIRPERSON: I don't expect Mr Maharaj to recollect all the documents he has seen since 1994. I don't think he said the documents came into existence. He didn't have it until recently.
It was obviously with other documents.
MR LEVINE: (Microphone not on) I agree entirely with your observations regarding the need for the production of documents in advance.
MR BIZOS: May I proceed Mr Chairman?
MR BIZOS: Thank you Mr Chairman. Do you know whether any attempt was made by Mr Williamson to implicate Mr Marius Schoon in his work as a Policeman?
MR MAHARAJ: From my recollection and the report that I have in front of me confirming that recollection, when I visited Botswana in March 1978, Mr Williamson had already visited Botswana and made contact with Marius and Jeanette Schoon.
As part of his visit, either at the first or subsequently, he gave them R1 000-00. My recollection of the precise figure is from this report of the National Intelligence Service, but I recall it was a substantial sum of money.
It was given on the same basis as Mr Williamson sought to give me some money in New York by Johnny Makathini, the Chief Representative, to say you are struggling people, here are some money to help you, you can pay your rent.
I instructed Marius, because I was not in a position to take him into confidence about my concerns and suspicions about Mr Williamson, I therefore instructed him to keep that money in a separate account and not touch the money.
Subsequently through the IUEF, whom Mr Craig Williamson represented, Marius Schoon came under pressure to account for the money and I then, Marius sought explicit permission from me and instructions as to what he should do. I then had to decide whether a particular course of action may alert Mr Williamson about our views, my views, and therefore after weighing the options, instructed Marius to return the money.
That was one attempt. Other attempts were made by the Williamson Unit, particularly through Mr Carl Edwards to insert themselves as indispensable to the courier services for communications between Marius and Jeanette Schoon and the people at home. They were utilised and their services were roped in in part. Again as the NIS study shows, that at a certain point, they became aware that I had instructed Marius and Jeanette Schoon to very rigidly compartmentalise and restrict the number of people with whom they were interacting with at home, and for whom they were utilising this network.
All other components of their contact, should be done in other ways. So, that was a second direction. The third was in relation to a publication that Mr Williamson and his colleagues had set up in Botswana, called the SANA publication.
MR BIZOS: Just spell that please.
MR MAHARAJ: SANA.
MR BIZOS: What did that stand for?
MR MAHARAJ: I don't remember the full title, the bulletin simply carried the abbreviation in capitals SANA BULLETIN. South African News something, it would have been.
It was brought into existence some time in 1977 through what looked like a very legitimate effort to pass, gather and make the world aware of what was happening in South Africa. It was in 1977, run by a gentleman by the name of Mr Chris Wood, if I recall and when Marius and Jeanette settled in Botswana, they got in touch with Chris Wood and recognising the flavour of that publication, they began to interact with individuals.
I seem to recall that contact with Carl Edwards would have been made with Marius and Jeanette Schoon possibly through that link, when SANA or Carl Edwards visited Botswana and offered his courier services.
SANA BULLETIN later on of course, we concentrated on changing its control and we gained effective control of that publication some time in 1979, because in changing the people running it, two colleagues settled in Botswana, Patrick Fitzgerald and Heinz Klugg and they were offered by the IUEF the possibility that they could run it.
I don't know how far the IUEF through Mr Williamson was aware that Mr Fitzgerald and Heinz Klugg were members of the Underground ANC, but we assigned them the task of taking over the running of SANA BULLETIN and it fell out of the control of the IUEF.
Those were three sort of directions in which Mr Williamson's Unit tried to get close to Marius and Jeanette Schoon and from my side, quite often I required them in a very open-handed way to be close, because all Mr Williamson's efforts to court their favour, was through the IUEF which was the International University Exchange Fund, an organisation operating from Geneva, funded by the Swedish government, to support people who were suffering under the apartheid repression and denied of opportunities by apartheid.
MR BIZOS: Did any information come to your notice in relation to the loyalty or lack of it, of Mr Williamson towards the ANC?
MR MAHARAJ: I had been accumulating a set of circumstantial evidence which raised concerns about his loyalty to the ANC.
Mr Williamson of course had been in touch with colleagues of mine in London and when I became Secretary of the Internal ANC, those reports began to be channelled to me in Lusaka.
My suspicions increased gradually, I could not firmly establish and so I allowed structures to continue to interact with Mr Williamson, in an open, trusting basis, whilst I continued to process and pull together all the information. As part of that exercise, I came into direct contact with Mr Williamson. I met all three members of his Unit, specifically in order to identify them personally and face to face.
That was part of the process of establishing whether my suspicions were right or wrong.
MR BIZOS: Can you recall when you came to the conclusion that your suspicions about Mr Williamson's loyalty to the ANC were well-founded?
MR MAHARAJ: I would say Sir, that by some time in 1978, I was satisfied that he was working for the apartheid regime, but I still could not prove it, and I found it prudent to allow structures to continue to interact with him, because he was located at the International University Exchange Fund, appearing at conferences, even at the United Nations, on the basis that he was representing people who were supporting oppressed people in South Africa.
Also, but my suspicions now that I recall particularly a stark incident that may confirm my suspicion, was that I had been asked by the ANC to attend an anti-apartheid conference in Lagos in 1977 I think. The late President of the ANC, was reading the delegation, and he called me to his hotel room and produced a long document written by our present President of South Africa, Mr Nelson Mandela from prison. I had just come out of prison and was aware and party to all the arrangements for communications and I asked the President where does this come from?
He said I am consulting you because it has reached me and Mr Williamson on behalf of the IUEF, is urging me very strenuously to have it published here at this conference on the basis that it should be accredited to having been brought out by the services of the IUEF.
That was contrary to my arrangements with President Mandela and I said to President Tambo that he should demand the original from Mr Williamson and that he should postpone publication. That process of demanding the original, took me to London and it took me to Geneva on a quiet mission with President Tambo.
I then said to President Tambo, you say in this pension, I am going to meet Mr Williamson and I am going to meet Mr Laas Guller Erickson of IUEF. I met Mr Williamson first on the basis that he is a comrade and I asked him who had brought the letter out.
He was ambivalent in his answers and I said if the IUEF persisted in their position, I would send a message to Mandela to sever all relations with the IUEF and he cracked. He told me that, and I told him that I am aware of the network that brought it out.
He then admitted, but said he didn't have the original, he admitted who had brought it out. He then said that it had been passed by the original person who brought it out, to Mr Hugh Lewin in London and Mr Lewin had passed it on to London.
I then called Mr Erickson and I asked him to confirm the information. That confirmed my views that he was seeking to build the image of the IUEF now as a special communicator with President Mandela in prison and in setting himself into an indispensable position.
I contacted President Mandela, sent messages to him, to say he should avoid those channels. I then met the person who brought the material out from Robben Island, face to face and confronted him and said if any material comes out from President Mandela, destined for President Tambo, there is no need for intermediaries to pass it on.
Those arrangements were changed since then.
MR BIZOS: Your suspicions, did they come about or did whatever Mr Marius Schoon and the late Jeanette Schoon did, did that influence you in any way about the loyalty of Mr Williamson?
MR MAHARAJ: It played a part Sir, because I never made Marius and Jeanette privy to my suspicions. I allowed them to interact and I think at one stage, Marius complained that I was being too closed and not being open-handed with them.
But Marius and Jeanette also independently, as a result of their own interaction, arrived at a suspicion and they raised the matter with me directly and through couriers, showing why they became suspicious of him.
It was an added independent confirmation of my own investigations.
MR BIZOS: This newspaper that you spoke about in Botswana, whose efforts led to it, rested it from Mr Williamson's and his colleagues' control?
MR MAHARAJ: I think that Mr Williamson, from his side, came to realise that the process of detaching their control of SANA and placing it into the hands of the ANC, was being handled by Marius and Jeanette. At least that would be their suspicion.
Because the process of resting control and converting it, was over a period of time. There was as I said, Chris Wood and Julian Sturgeon whom Mr Williamson had got to run the Bulletin. He was careful to try and ensure that they were only reporting to him.
But Chris Wood left and openings arose. Patrick Fitzgerald arrived in Botswana as a refugee and of course, Mr Williamson and his network contacted him and invited him to work with SANA BULLETIN. They were in touch with Marius and as part of the ANC structure, we said to them respond to that invitation.
But what happened through that process was that they were no longer reporting to Mr Williamson, no longer dependent upon him as to what they should write. Mr Williamson was extremely disturbed about that development, and he would have seen Marius and Jeanette as critical players in changing control of that publication.
It was his star publication.
MR BIZOS: Whose?
MR MAHARAJ: Mr Williamson's publication. Certainly it was gaining credibility and access inside and outside the country, and it was seeking to position itself as the most sympathetic voice of the oppressed, and therefore all people who wanted to be associated with any underground form of struggle, would be contacting him and he would become the controller of anybody who joined the ANC.
MR BIZOS: When Mr Williamson's cover was blown, did a copy of, or did an edition of that newspaper appear?
MR MAHARAJ: When Mr Williamson broke cover, I think somewhere around December/January 1979/1980, one of the things he did was to ensure that since it was now controlled by Fitzgerald and Heinz Klugg and more remotely by Marius and Jeanette, was to publish another edition of SANA BULLETIN purporting to be SANA BULLETIN, which we knew was a forgery in order to try and confuse people, about which SANA BULLETIN now is the legitimate bulletin.
It was a sign to me that he was very, very deeply effected by losing control of SANA BULLETIN.
MR BIZOS: To round off this aspect of your evidence, I want to show you Exhibit Y2, dated 24th of November 1979, a written by you to Mr Williamson. I assume that the purpose of putting the letter to him, was to show that you had confidence in him. Will you have a look at the letter please.
MR BIZOS: Is that letter inconsistent with your reservations about Mr Williamson's loyalty to the ANC?
MR MAHARAJ: It is not inconsistent.
This letter first of all, in paragraph - well all the issues raised there, are urging him to provide in two instances, three instances, funds for students furthering their studies, and to do that through the IUEF, which was publicly known as a funding organisation for scholarships and the resources of the IUEF came from the Swedish government, on the basis that it was providing those funds for such scholarships as part of alleviating the suffering people were enduring through apartheid.
The third, the fourth request for funds is also a request for funds which Mr Williamson had agreed to provide, and in all my interaction, his control of that Fund, was something that I sought to utilise that it goes to genuinely needy persons. I was aware that a major portion of that fund, was going to the Ginsburg Foundation, located in King Williamstown and through that Fund, Williamson's network was trying to get to know individuals who were either aligned with the progressive struggle or had the potential to be aligned. They would be using those with that potential, by their obligation for the scholarship, to try and recruit them for the Security Branch.
My objective was to see (a) that those funds went to genuinely needy people, and (b) to interact with Mr Williamson in a spirit which enabled me to find out all the individuals they were funding, so that I would also have a chance to analyze who were the potential people that they would be recruiting, so that I could protect the ANC.
MR BIZOS: A letter written by Mr Thabo Mbeki, the Political Secretary of the ANC at the time, which is Y1, could I ask you to have a look at that please.
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR BIZOS: What comment do you make about Mr Thabo Mbeki's letter to Mr Williamson?
MR MAHARAJ: Well, the letter is written in October, the Year of the Spear. I am sorry, it doesn't give the exact year in numerical terms, it simply says October 5th, Year of the Spear.
MR BIZOS: But you recall that the Year of the Spear was 1979?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes. This letter arises from, and it starts off with my name, it says Dear Craig, comrade Mac Maharaj has informed us of a problem which seems to have arisen between you, that is Craig Williamson and Laas Gunner, connected with what the ANC is alleged to have said about you and the IUEF, emanating from the fact that you were once a member of the South African Police.
The issue had been raised by Mr Gunner Erickson, the issue had been hinted at many times, by Mr Williamson, who sought for a blanket check for his credibility. That was never forthcoming from the ANC in that blanket form.
Concerns were arising and so Craig raised this matter also with me and I raised it with Mr Thabo Mbeki and the question was how do we handle this? On the one side we had structures, clandestine structures interacting with Mr Williamson in different parts of the world. He was with regards to those clandestine structures, trying to get as close as possible.
On the other side, he was operating with the IUEF in different parts of the world, overtly as sympathetically to the South African struggle and the IUEF was an important instrument, supporter of our struggle. He wanted that addressed, but I think it was also coming at a time when all sides were beginning to get a measure of each other on the South African Security side and our side.
Each side was trying to gain an advantage. As a result of a discussion with comrade Thabo Mbeki, this letter was drafted so that it says it endorses that yes, we are aware that Mr Williamson had been a Policeman at one time, but we don't regard that as sufficient to have any suspicions about him.
That was the purpose of the letter, but that was not, if we read it carefully, it was not a carte blanche endorsement of Mr Williamson. It actually goes to refer to the point that he had been in the SAP and we have never used that as a basis to believe that he is suspect. It confines itself to that information and does not go forward and says we know Mr Williamson to be a bona fide trustworthy member of the ANC.
MR BIZOS: Did Mr Williamson towards the end of 1979, come to London?
MR MAHARAJ: Towards the end of 1979, I got a frantic phone call from a member of the ANC mission in London which was the Diplomatic Mission, which I couldn't understand.
It was a desperate message saying Mac should not come to London. At all cost, don't come to London. I couldn't understand that message, because I don't work, my work did not put me in a direct relationship with the Diplomatic Missions of the ANC. That was external work, overt work.
I then contacted the Diplomatic Mission and the individual and wanted to know what is this panic about. He informed me that Craig Williamson had come to London and in a panic mood, wanted to see me urgently. He thought that I was in serious danger and he thought it prudent as a member of the Diplomatic Mission, to tip me off and simply say don't come.
Mr Williamson did get to London and he did contact the Diplomatic Mission, saying that he urgently needed to see me.
MR BIZOS: Was there a meeting?
MR MAHARAJ: No, there was no planned meeting. There was a longstanding arrangement that we were discussing. As usual in all my meetings with Mr Williamson which were pre-arranged, not casual ones which arose where we bumped into each other at the United Nations, there was always a question of the venue of the meeting.
My first meetings took a long time to put together, because he wanted me to meet them in the Seychelles and he wanted me to meet them in Malawi and then he wanted me to shift the venue to Spain, and eventually we met three from his side, two from our side, in London at a venue that I took control of.
In this particular instance, we were both trying to meet. I was saying let's meet in Angola and he had come up with Malawi and saying that Angola didn't suit him, and I said to him but you are going officially on behalf of the IUEF to Angola, so it would be just an easy thing for me to hop over, let's meet in Angola.
We never met, that meeting didn't take place, but it was on the offing, on the basis that both of us were committed to meet. We had urgent matters to discuss, but we could not agree on the venue easily.
I didn't want to expose him as meeting me in my capacity of ANC and he was desperate to get me into some venue where he would be in control of the environment.
MR BIZOS: What was your objection to the places that he had mentioned?
MR MAHARAJ: In the case of the Seychelles, I had met Mr Paul Asmisson as part of Mr Williamson's Unit in London. Mr Williamson didn't give me his real name. The three of them present there, were with pseudonyms, he was Mr Newman, whom through correspondence I had come to realise was Mr Williamson, the other was Mr Charles and I had come to realise by reading the correspondence, that that was Carl Edwards. But there was a Paul who was an enigma for me.
At the London meeting, I came to place him as Paul Asmisson. Paul Asmisson, in this period, or round about this period, had emerged as a Security Advisor to the President of the Seychelles, planted there by the South African agents when they Seychelles' aborted coup was blown.
Malawi was under the then President Haystings Banda and he was known for close relationships with the South African regime, even to the point where some of his Security establishment was established with the support of the South African regime. I knew that if I put my foot in Malawi, I was caught.
He also wanted a venue in the Kalahari, where it would be a one to one meeting between myself and Mr Paul Asmisson. I was clear from my meeting with Mr Paul Asmisson, that if out of the three of them, there was somebody who could kill in cold blood, it was Paul Asmisson. I never turned up for the meeting in the Kalahari, but I always agreed to them.
MR BIZOS: Yes. Would you have felt safe in Angola?
MR MAHARAJ: Well, in Angola I would be fully in control of the situation.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Bizos, I know that we started late this morning, but some people may have been here since considerably before we started. I know whether when you come to a convenient stage, we should take the adjournment.
MR BIZOS: I was going to go on to a new topic Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: We will take the short adjournment now, for 15 minutes.
SATHYANDRANATH RAGUNANAN MAHARAJ: (still under oath)
MR LEVINE: Before my learned friend, Mr Bizos, continues, Mr Du Plessis and I have obtained his permission to have copies made of the file of documents which has been handed to us, and these copies are being made. I believe a copy for each member of the Committee as well.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
EXAMINATION BY MR BIZOS: (continued) Before Mr Williamson's cover was broken in 1980, did you have any particular reason to fear for Mr Schoon's or his wife's and child's or children's safety in Botswana Mr Maharaj?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir. In the particular case of the Schoon family, we received a report in Lusaka from Marius to say that they had been informed, I don't recall which Embassy, I think it would have been the British Embassy side, and confirmed by the Head of the Security in Botswana, that as a family, they were under threat. We immediately decided to withdraw them.
MR BIZOS: Was this before or after Mr Williamson's cover was broken?
MR MAHARAJ: I cannot recall the exact date, but I think it was after the cover was broken. I would think that it was about 1982,, 1983, more likely 1983.
MR BIZOS: Yes. Before his cover was broken, did you have any reason to fear for their safety? Other than the ordinary dangers that there may have been, was there any - was there no particular reason until the cover was broken, until well after the cover was broken?
MR MAHARAJ: All comrades living in Botswana, we were concerned about their safety at all times, but there was no reason at that time, to think that there was any extraordinary danger faced by the family, but the second element in our considerations were also that this was a family.
Many of our operatives lived in these areas, that were very unsafe, as individuals, but here was also a family. Before Mr Williamson broke cover, I don't recall any report that necessitated us to say let's withdraw them, they are under extraordinary danger.
MR BIZOS: But then you told us that you received information from the British and other information, that they were in danger?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR BIZOS: And who decided to withdraw them from Botswana?
MR MAHARAJ: If I recall correctly, I think that the previous Head of the ANC's Overall Structures, Mr Henry Mahoti, had already been withdrawn from Botswana and was now working in the Education Section or the Cultural Section.
So, by consultation with him and others, we said withdraw them immediately. Primary responsibility for that decision, would have fallen on myself and members of the Headquarters of the Revolutionary Council.
MR BIZOS: Where were they?
MR MAHARAJ: In Lusaka.
MR BIZOS: In Lusaka? And Mr Henry Mahoti had been a school teacher and he was in charge of Education?
MR MAHARAJ: He was now transferred from Botswana to Head the Education desk of the ANC which was in charge of running our schools in our refugee centres as well as training and scholarships and education of members and others, from South Africa.
ADV DE JAGER: Sorry, what was he doing in Botswana before he was transferred and became Head of Education?
MR MAHARAJ: He had been a member, first of all Head of the Political Committee, the Internal, and then when we set up the senior organ structure, he would have been the Head possibly of that structure, if not either Chair or Secretary of the senior organ. Then he was withdrawn.
He had been a school teacher, Sir, you are right, in the 1950's. Had been one of the generation of school teachers who had boycotted and withdrawn from the Education system when the Bantu Education system was brought in. He is a veteran in the ANC and one of the close colleagues of the late President Tambo, Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu.
MR BIZOS: He is now in Parliament?
MR MAHARAJ: He is now a Parliamentarian, and I think he is the Chief Whip of the ANC in the National Consul of Provinces.
MR BIZOS: Yes. What was the ANC's presence in Angola compared to its presence in Mozambique and Botswana?
MR MAHARAJ: Again in that context, I would like to refer to the submission that was made to the Truth Commission, with regards to the ANC structures.
MR BIZOS: The portion, relevant portion, is Exhibit N Mr Chairman.
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, I am just trying to check if it is in the Exhibit portion.
MR BIZOS: Yes, I think it is on page 49 if you look at it.
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, that particular paragraph 5.3.7 in the Exhibit says, Angola was a military zone under a Regional Command. The portion that I would like to add to that is page 38 from the original documentation.
It deals with the period 1976 to 1980, when the first camps were set up in Angola by the ANC and there it says in paragraph 3.7, Angola was a special case. It was considered a military zone because of the war in the country.
Various structures, all reporting directly to the Revolutionary Council was established in Angola during this period. Then it says the Regional Commander, who the person was, and the sections in Angola were Personnel and Training, Commissariat, Logistics and Ordinance, Security and Counter-Intelligence.
So Angola was not a Forward Area in the sense of a place from which we made contact inside the country, which would then have the normal structures of Internal Political, Military Intelligence and Security.
MR BIZOS: Do you know where Mr Marius Schoon and Jeanette Schoon and their family, found themselves in Angola?
MR MAHARAJ: Marius and Jeanette Schoon found themselves in a structure completely outside of a Military structure. They found themselves in Lubango, sent by the Education section to teach at a University at the south of Angola, which was not an area in which we had our members located.
It was part of our act of solidarity and the only way in which we could show to the Angolan government, our recognition for their support. They fell outside of that command. They were not related to that command structure. They were involved in activities which were not related to our home front work, but to our external work.
MR BIZOS: Would a person in Mr Williamson's position, wearing the mask of a loyal ANC member, have known what the position was in Angola?
MR MAHARAJ: I believe so Sir. Mr Williamson wearing his IUEF hat, had visited Angola on many occasions.
That would be part of the support and solidarity that the IUEF would be showing, and in that regard, he would have interacted with not only ANC people that he would claim to know, or want to know because of the sympathy for our struggle, but with the Angolan government.
It was no secret at all that Lubango was a University and that Marius Schoon and the Education section of the ANC, was strictly confined to getting people scholarships, to study all over the world, to set up schools wherever we could, so that children could be educated and that that section was concentrating on that area of work in that period.
It had no mandate to, the Education Department had no mandate to engage in work of mobilisation or setting up any underground structures, or being involved in any military work.
That would be well known to Mr Williamson from his specific responsibility in the International University Exchange Fund.
MR BIZOS: Do you know whether there were any ANC members or any ANC structure in Lubango?
MR MAHARAJ: None Sir, there were no structures maintained there. That was in the south of Angola and the only time in all my work in the Revolutionary Council and the Political Military Council that we had any interest in the south of Angola, was in the context of Lobito Harbour, and that was only in the very early years, when we had to shift arms around from the two coasts between Angola and Mozambique, where one shipment, I don't know whether it was a shipment to be moved from Angola or ship from Lobito or whether it was a shipment coming from Mozambique that was supposed to be landed in Angola. Otherwise, we had no structures, no personnel in the south.
The south, if it was any relationship to any of the struggles going on in the Southern African region, would have been of some interest to SWAPO of Namibia and that too, the South African government's position was clear. They had at some stage, raided Kasinga and massacred a host of people, claiming that it was a military camp, but all evidence subsequently proved that it was not a military establishment of SWAPO.
MR BIZOS: Whilst in Angola, did Mr Marius or Jeanette Schoon report to you in any way?
MR MAHARAJ: Not at all. I had no contact with them. They would have been in touch with the Education Department. They had no contact with the Revolutionary Council or the Political Military Council.
They were now completely redeployed, shifted from home front work, and they were deployed in Angola as part of solidarity with the Angolan people.
MR BIZOS: Do you know whom they taught, did you receive any report in relation to that at the time? You referred to this as a University. There have been suggestions that they were teachings Cubans, English for people sufficient English to become pilots in order to prevent the Soviet expansionism? I don't know that I understand all the allegations, but what do you know about the nature of the work that they were doing in Angola?
MR MAHARAJ: I am very clear about that. It was a University that had been in existence for a long time.
It was a University for Angolans from that area, in the south. They were teaching Angolans. I am also very clear in my mind as to whether there was any Cuban students. The Cuban military presence, would have been absolutely foolhardy to set up training in the south, even if it was just to teach them English, because it would be exposing their soldiers and locating them in a vulnerable area in a contested area, where South African troop movement, could easily access them.
The Cubans, if they needed any instructions with English, would have put them somewhere else, Central Angola would have been the preferable point.
MR BIZOS: Wearing his own face as a South African Policeman, in your view, would he have known, Mr Williamson, would he have known or could you easily find out, what the Schoon's were doing, and what the nature of the University, what they were teaching, whom they were teaching, why they were teaching, would that have been readily available to Mr Williamson at that time?
MR MAHARAJ: It would have been readily and easily available, and very legitimately, without injuring his actual clandestine role, under the cap of the IUEF, he would have openly interacted and he would have been interacting with the Angolan government.
If I put myself in the context of the IUEF support for Education for South Africans, the issue is very simple, he would be raising the question are there any South African students where we can provide scholarship, where we can provide funding and in that context, very openly, without any effort, he could have found the information. That was not a University for South African students, and that the Schoon's were teaching Angolans.
MR BIZOS: We are at cross purposes.
ADV DE JAGER: Could you perhaps assist, when were the Schoon's transferred from Botswana to Angola?
MR MAHARAJ: They would have left Botswana somewhere around June 1983 and they would have settled in Angola around the end of that year, December 1983.
ADV DE JAGER: When did Mr Williamson leave the IUEF?
MR MAHARAJ: I thought it was between December and January, but as Mr Bizos in his questions has indicated, early 1980.
ADV DE JAGER: Early 1980? So he wasn't at the IUEF any more when they were transferred?
MR MAHARAJ: No, he wasn't, he was back in South Africa.
MR BIZOS: Thank you Mr Chairman. This is what I was about to ask you, that we might be at cross purposes, when I said when he was wearing the Policeman's face, could he and he was at the Security Police Headquarters, would he have been in the position to determine what the Schoon's were doing in Angola?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir, because he would have, after he broke cover in 1980, he was promoted rapidly in his ranks and therefore was located in a place where the sort of study that I have submitted of 1980 shows that in the National Intelligence Services, they could pull together their information very rapidly and with all their agents in other parts of Angola and elsewhere, they could have easily ascertained the information.
MR BIZOS: I would now like to turn to the death of the late Ruth First. Did you know her?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir, I knew her very well.
MR BIZOS: While she was in South Africa?
MR MAHARAJ: I knew her in South Africa before she left the country. I think she left in 1964 and I was perhaps one of the last people that she met at an organisational level before she left.
MR BIZOS: You, yourself were arrested in mid 1964?
MR MAHARAJ: July 6, 1964.
MR BIZOS: Yes. You don't know what she did whilst she was in London, you were in prison?
MR MAHARAJ: I was in prison, but we did glean information. We constantly sought to get information about friends, and I knew that while I was in prison, she had ended up as a Lecturer at Durham University and when I came out of prison in 1977 and left South Africa, my first stop was in Maputo. I had heard that she was now in Mozambique and I asked the Chief Representative of the ANC to enable me to meet her.
I met her the same evening, I was in transit in Maputo. I met her at her flat and had dinner with her in a restaurant, and we discussed and shared notes about how life had treated us in the intervening years.
MR BIZOS: Do you know what she was doing in Mozambique? Was she under the discipline of either the African National Congress or the Revolutionary Council or the Communist Party or any other structure, whilst she was in Mozambique?
MR MAHARAJ: Ruth in my first meeting with her in Maputo, told me that she had drifted away from the Communist Party. We were both members of the Communist Party before she left South Africa.
She told me that she had differences with the Communist Party, she still was a Marxist, she still was a Socialist, but that her earlier interaction was with a far wider group of Socialists, than just those in the Communist Party.
She told me that when the Communist Party had formerly regrouped in exile, and re-established the Central Committee, that she had volunteered to stand down and had not been re-elected to the Central Committee, so she was out of the Central Committee.
She told me of intimate differences with people in the Communist Party. She was openly holding different views from even her husband, Joe Slovo, and these views were openly aired in publications. She was writing for various academic journals about her viewpoints and so that was clear.
I asked her whether she was still a supporter of the liberation struggle, and she said yes. I am still a supporter, I am still involved in anti-apartheid activity, but I am involved in the solidarity work, both at academic and support around the world.
But her primary area was academic. In the Mozambique situation, because of its open support for the ANC and because it was a first point of exit for people, many South African refugees were settling in Mozambique, so as a lecturer and at the Centre of African Studies at the University of Eduardo Monthlane, she helped those students who were in Mozambique in a small committee made up of herself, Alfius Mangezi, Albie Sacks and my present wife, Zarina Maharaj, they were all teachers at the Universities, they set up a support for refugee students.
In that sense, the ANC maintained an ANC structure not related to home and underground work. Ruth would be involved in that area of work.
As to work of a clandestine nature, involved with South African activities, she had no association whatsoever. I in fact on one occasion in my visits to Mozambique, complained bitterly to Ruth First. I said through the Centre of African Studies, academics from all parts of the world were gathering together from time to time on academic issues and that Centre therefore had some South African academics coming over to the Centre, and I said some of those academics were people of interest to me from the Underground perspective.
I complained that she was not enabling me to know who was coming, when and she said, but that is a completely separate area of work. We did not establish any cooperation at Internal work in that regard.
MR BIZOS: There is an expression which crops up in the evidence of the ANC, having deployed people here and having deployed people there.
Was Ruth First deployed by anyone to Mozambique?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir. Ruth First had begun to lead a life of an academic, she found her own jobs. Her sympathies with the liberation struggle and the cause of liberation, were well known, and she went to Mozambique to teach there at her own initiative, and she made the overtures herself.
People in the Mozambican government, holding responsible positions, were known to her from the past and she made her own arrangements.
CHAIRPERSON: Is it correct that she went there originally on a year's leave from Durham University and that from time to time, she extended this leave and that it was only shortly before her death, that she finally decided to terminate her employment at Durham University and to remain in Mozambique?
MR MAHARAJ: That is correct Sir. In fact the issue had cropped up from another angle, not directly on the issue of her contract with Durham, but in one of my conversations with her, she told me of the research work that she was doing.
She felt she did not miss direct involvement in the South African struggle any more. She felt that the work she was doing at the academic level, was so directly related to helping develop data and policy for the development of Mozambique, that she felt really at home.
She had decided to permanently work in Mozambique. She was writing a book, I don't know when it was published, but I certainly saw the sort of manuscript material about migrant labourers from Mozambique, working in South Africa. The skills that they had acquired which were not noticed as real skills, but in the Mozambican economy with the skill shortage, she found that those who had worked in the mines for example, had got experience with working with machinery, driving the underground vehicles, and therefore those skills could very rapidly be converted to formalised skills in running tractors, harvesters and this was a latent talent pool that was there in the Mozambican society which she became very excited about unearthing and developing for Mozambican development.
MR BIZOS: Anyone in the Security Police Intelligence Department that wanted to find out precisely what Ruth First was doing in Mozambique, would that have presented difficulties in finding out the truth and precisely what Ruth was doing?
MR MAHARAJ: I don't believe it would have been a difficulty for anybody working as an agent for the South African regime in Mozambique, but I don't believe it would have been a difficulty for any analyst sitting in Pretoria.
While she was known to be a prodigious worker, a prolific writer, her movements were completely open in Mozambique. She would go to places that I would never dream of going to, because we knew that South African agents were also in Mozambique, so I would not go to certain places, but she was out at Nyaka Island, out in restaurants, lived openly. Joe Slovo on the other hand, her husband, as we know from all the reports, his movements you could not predict.
He had to take extreme security precautions. We started from the premises that he was a target of the South African regime and he lived his life in a totally different way whilst they were living together.
MR BIZOS: Thank you Mr Chairman, that concludes the examination in chief of the witness.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR BIZOS
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, Visser, on record. I notice you are looking at me. I hope it is just because I am sitting first in the queue.
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, you have been alerted to documentation which we have obtained, which was referred to by Mr Maharaj in his evidence.
It is quite clear that we are going to have to study that document in order to cross-examine sensibly. My own interest in the evidence of Mr Maharaj deals solely with Mr Marius Schoon and his evidence concerning that gentleman.
Mr Chairman, I am quite happy to start cross-examining, but I will have to ask at some stage, perhaps sooner than later, for time to study that document, to see whether something arises. I am not sure whether you want the cross-examination to be done in that fashion because I will certainly not be able to complete.
CHAIRPERSON: Let us rather see whether anybody feels they are ready to cross-examine now, conclude what cross-examination we can if any, and then adjourn to enable, we will take the adjournment and you can study the documents at the same time.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes Mr Chairman, I don't know what Mr Levine's view is. I think according to the sequence we followed previously, Mr Levine will be next in queue, and then I will be thereafter. There are issues that I however, can deal with Mr Maharaj, but it will be necessary to go through the documentation to finalise my cross-examination.
MR LEVINE: Mr Chairman, I am regrettably in the same position as my learned friends. I don't believe it proper or beneficial to deal on a piece meal basis with cross-examination, but I am in your hands.
MR JANSEN: Mr Chairman, I am ready. There is only one problem, I have no questions.
MR BIZOS: Mr Chairman, may I suggest that there is an equitable solution to the problem, the document does not refer to the First application Mr Chairman, so nobody needs to look at that document in relation to the Ruth First thing.
It only refers to Schoon. Our learned friends can quite easily ...
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Bizos, the document may reflect on the credibility of the witness as a whole.
MR BIZOS: What I am merely saying, if they confine themselves to the Ruth First cross-examination, they will have time during the adjournment, they can have a look at the document, they are all fast readers, and we only rely on two sentences, but they can study the document.
I am concerned Mr Chairman, about this witness' availability, as we have indicated in the letter, and I would appeal to our learned friends to cooperate. They can easily cross-examine on the Ruth First matter.
CHAIRPERSON: This is the trouble that arises because they haven't seen the document Mr Bizos. What I propose is, we take the adjournment now, we are not going to take two adjournments, we will take an adjournment - where is the document? When will it be ready?
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, Mr Levine's clerk was sent to Police Headquarters, who agreed to make copies, six copies, three for the members of the Committee and three others. He has left already, so I suppose at two o'clock the documents will be ready, but then we will have to read through it.
CHAIRPERSON: It is now quarter past twelve, I don't wish to adjourn until two o'clock.
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, I can't tell you how long it will take, it seems to be quite a lot of pages. We paged through it, and a lot of pages were relevant, and they are in parts of certain documents, so it is difficult to make just a copy of the one page. You have to make a copy of the document.
Mr Chairman, we are in your hands in that regard, but I must stress Mr Chairman, that we didn't create this situation.
CHAIRPERSON: Could this witness stand down, and can we continue with another witness, and we can continue with this witness at two o'clock?
MR BIZOS: If I may say Mr Chairman, that the document was made available during the adjournment, and with modern technology, I don't think that it should take more than ten minutes to copy it, but nevermind, let's see how far we get.
If we can have another witness, Mr Chairman ... (intervention) ...
ADV DE JAGER: Mr Bizos, that is unfortunately just the point, it could have taken ten minutes. You had this document the whole morning, and you didn't make copies.
MR BIZOS: (Microphone not on)
ADV DE JAGER: (Microphone not on) ... made copies available for every member here as you ought to have done.
MR BIZOS: As I have explained Mr Chairman, that Mr Maharaj made reference to that document, it was in his possession. We did not apply our minds to the question of his referring to the document, he did it mero motu to his credit and which we appreciate, and that is why that that has arisen.
We did not believe Mr Chairman, that a passing reference to matters which are within the personal knowledge of the main person here, would have given rise to this difficulty.
I do believe Mr Chairman, that we have a good record in relation to the manner in which we do our work.
CHAIRPERSON: Is there a witness we could call now?
MR BIZOS: Brigadier Schoon could be called Mr Chairman.
MR VISSER: That is my applicant Mr Chairman. It really just seems to me that seeing that the evidence of Mr Maharaj also effects Mr Schoon, that we should deal with that first.
CHAIRPERSON: Does it effect him?
MR VISSER: Well, in a sense Mr Chairman, yes because Mr Marius Schoon and Mrs Jeanette Schoon have been made out to be, apparently by Mr Maharaj, as persons who were not really very active, and presumably it is intended to say that there was never any reason to kill them.
Mr Chairman, perhaps, if I may make a suggestion, I can start on the notes which I have made this morning, on the evidence. Perhaps I should go on with cross-examination, until I can't go any further Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: Well, having heard you over the past few years Mr Visser, you will probably carry on until it is time for the adjournment.
MR VISSER: If you order me Sir, I perhaps might manage.
CHAIRPERSON: Very well, carry on.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR VISSER: Mr Maharaj, I just want to commence where you started off. You say that you were arrested on the 6th of July, 1964 and you were then detained by the Police in South Africa, is that correct?
MR MAHARAJ: Correct.
MR VISSER: Until when was that?
MR MAHARAJ: I was detained until some time in November, when I was brought to trial and sentenced on the 17th or 18th of December 1964.
MR VISSER: On what counts?
MR MAHARAJ: I was sentenced on contraventions of the Sabotage Act and the Suppression of Communism Act.
MR VISSER: Do you have any knowledge that Mr Schoon, Mr Marius Schoon, was also sentenced at one point in time?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR VISSER: Do you know from your own knowledge, what he was sentenced for?
MR MAHARAJ: As far as I recall, some time in 1963/1964 Marius had gone out of the country, I don't know under what conditions, and then he returned.
MR VISSER: That is not the question.
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, I am trying to remember what he was arrested for. He ended up in prison, I don't recall the trial itself.
MR VISSER: Would you agree that he was sentenced because of sabotage and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, he would have been sentenced under the Sabotage Act, but that, I just want to make it clear Judge, I was sentenced under the Sabotage Act. I did not plead and I did not defend myself.
As to whether I committed sabotage, was an open question.
MR VISSER: Yes, I stand corrected, thank you Mr Maharaj. Returning to yourself, you left the country towards the end of 1964 or am I wrong?
MR MAHARAJ: No, I left the country in 1957. I returned to South African in 1962.
MR VISSER: And after you served your sentence, did you remain in the Republic of South Africa or did you leave the country?
MR MAHARAJ: No, I was placed under house arrest and a five year order, and I left the country illegally in July 1977.
MR VISSER: Might one expect that you did not then become inactive, you kept on with your activities in what you were doing, in supporting the liberation struggle, isn't that correct?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR VISSER: Would you describe your own situation as having supported the struggle, first of all?
MR MAHARAJ: My own situation, I was an active member of the liberation movement including Umkhonto weSizwe.
MR VISSER: Yes, and you supported, actively supported the struggle?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR VISSER: Did you also support the armed struggle?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, I supported and was an active member of the armed struggle.
MR VISSER: In what sense were you active Mr Maharaj? Did you for example participate in identifying targets?
MR MAHARAJ: I was a member of Umkhonto weSizwe, I underwent military training of eleven months. I returned to the country, fully under the discipline of Umkhonto weSizwe and in 1964, I was assigned tasks in Umkhonto weSizwe.
MR VISSER: Just answer the question please, did you assist in identifying targets?
MR MAHARAJ: I would have assisted in identifying targets and I have been involved in operations, yes.
MR VISSER: Thinking back of the years 1982 to 1983, where were you at that time?
MR MAHARAJ: I was based, my Headquarters base was Lusaka, Zambia. Did you say 1982 and ...?
MR VISSER: 1982 and 1983?
MR MAHARAJ: 1982, I lived for something like six months in Swaziland clandestinely and I continued to work from Swaziland, Lesotho, Mozambique, Botswana and it would have been now Zimbabwe as well.
MR VISSER: Yes, that really answers the question, because I was going to ask you whether you personally had had contact with the Revolutionary Council in Maputo, Mozambique? Would that have been correct?
MR MAHARAJ: The Revolutionary Council was based in Lusaka and I was a member of it.
MR VISSER: Right. What structures were in Mozambique?
MR MAHARAJ: In Mozambique there would have been the senior organ at that stage, which was the coordinating machinery of Military Political and Intelligence.
MR VISSER: Yes, that senior organ, I am a bit confused about that because you see, you thought to draw a distinction in the position of Mr Marius Schoon as being a member of a Political Committee, if I understand you correctly, and the senior organ.
Is that differentiation based on the fact that the Political Committee was merely a Committee of the senior organ, is that the differentiation?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, the differentiation is that it was a sub-Committee of the senior organ.
MR VISSER: Yes, but to cut a long story short Mr Maharaj, let's not beat about the bush. Isn't it quite clear that the struggle was waged on a political as well as on a military basis?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR VISSER: Yes. So merely being a member of for example a Political Committee, does not by itself qualify the description that you don't support the struggle, do you agree with that?
MR MAHARAJ: No, I am sorry, I don't understand the question.
MR VISSER: I am putting it to you that Mr Marius Schoon in whatever capacity he served in one of those structures, supported the struggle against the Republic of South Africa.
MR MAHARAJ: Oh yes, yes. Supporting the struggle, this structure sets up separate lines of command for three different kinds of work.
MR VISSER: Yes, supporting the struggle. And we know that the political component of the struggle, the revolutionary struggle, comprised roughly eighty percent of the struggle and the military approximately 20 percent, or would you disagree with that allegation?
MR MAHARAJ: I don't know where the 80/20 comes from, unless it comes from Magnus Malan?
MR VISSER: What do you say? Do you say the military component was the largest component of the struggle, is that what you are saying?
MR MAHARAJ: The largest number of members of the ANC concentrated on home front activity, were Umkhonto soldiers.
MR VISSER: I see.
MR MAHARAJ: But, it changed at different periods. When I came out of the country in 1977, virtually no political structure was in existence, specialising on that area. The Internal Political Committee had just been set up in 1977.
Until then, the concentration of effort was on the military level. There is no 80/20 in my mind, except as a theoretical formulation. Practically between 1965, while I was in prison and 1976, early 1977, the sole concentration of activities was on military work.
MR VISSER: If I refer you to the period post 1980 and I suggest to you that the four pillars of the struggle, were relied upon as in a sense separate, but always subject to the political objective to be obtained by the ANC, would I be incorrect?
MR MAHARAJ: You would be correct.
MR VISSER: I would be correct? What you are disagreeing with is my percentages?
MR MAHARAJ: No, not just your percentages. With due respect Sir, I am saying that there is the Political Committee, the Military Committee and Intelligence for home front work. The four pillars are mass work inside the country, underground political work, military struggle, an external - all four pillars needed to be working with the ...(indistinct) to be bringing about one result, a political change.
MR VISSER: Yes, correct.
MR MAHARAJ: But the concept of 80/20 is a concept that has been derived from guerilla struggles to say that an arm struggle, a guerilla struggle should concentrate on political work, and devote 20 percent of its energy to military work.
MR VISSER: Yes.
MR MAHARAJ: But I am saying in the South African context, to put that proportion at any period and say that that is the true relationship, would be a mistake, because the bulk of our financial resources and human resources went in for very long periods, into the military side.
MR VISSER: No, you have made your point. The point being that you disagree with the percentages?
MR MAHARAJ: I disagree with the percentages and I disagree with the formulation that suggests that because there is a theoretical distinction, that that balance would be there in reality.
MR VISSER: I am not suggesting to you, what I am suggesting to you is precisely the contrary. I am suggesting to you with respect Mr Maharaj, that whether you were in the Political component or in Intelligence component or in the Military component, it was all part and parcel of the same struggle, namely the liberation struggle?
MR MAHARAJ: Judge, I agree with that formulation. I would go so far as to say that all the work including the political work, was very important work for the struggle.
MR VISSER: Yes. You referred to the further submissions, the ANC Further Submissions, Appendix 1, page 34, which we have an extract of before this Committee as Exhibit N and if I understand you correctly, you sought to indicate that what we have here in front of us, on Exhibit N isn't entirely correct as far as page 43 is concerned, paragraph 4.6.2. Is that what you are saying? Paragraph 4.6.2 at page 43, Botswana senior organ, 1980 - 1983.
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, I was saying that the formulation in that paragraph does not deal with the breakdown and the speciality of the individuals. Its formulation is different from other Sections, for other country's structures. It is the one formulation that simply says leading figures in this senior organ.
I am saying that in the reality, those people would have been distributed according to specialised work and that Marius was assigned to Political work, not to military work.
CHAIRPERSON: Was he a member of the senior organ?
MR MAHARAJ: He was not a member of the senior organ, he was a member of the sub-Committee.
CHAIRPERSON: But that is not what this says. That is the point I think, that is being made. The document says Botswana senior organ, Chair Henry Mahoti, succeeded by Lambert Moloi. Leading figures in this senior organ during the period were Marius and Jeanette and Jenny Schoon.
MR MAHARAJ: Judge, with due respect, I am making the critical distinction that you have a senior organ as set out diagrammatically, there are actual members sitting in that senior organ, it is a Committee, and there are sub-structures in which people sit, but they are not sitting in the senior organ Committee.
CHAIRPERSON: And you would not refer to the people in the sub-structures as leading figures in the senior organ, would you?
MR MAHARAJ: I would, with due respect, draw your attention Judge, to the distinctions in the way in which others are described in the other areas.
In no other case, are people described in that formulation.
CHAIRPERSON: That is the point Mr Visser is making.
MR MAHARAJ: I am simply making the point that that formulation arose because we could not in recalling as the introduction says, pin point exactly which one was in which structures. In some cases, we were clear, in others we were not clear.
When we came to constituting who was in the Political Committee, we knew Marius was there, but we didn't know who else was there. With those changes and with my personal knowledge, I am saying that Marius Schoon was a member of the Political Committee of the senior organ, but not a member of the senior organ itself.
I make that comment from my position as Secretary of the Internal Political Committee.
MR VISSER: We will investigate your comments Mr Maharaj. First of all, do you agree that a reading of paragraph 4.6.2 as Justice Wilson has pointed out to you a moment ago, means that what it is intended to be stated here, was that Marius and Jenny Schoon were members of the senior organ in Botswana during 1980 to 1983. Do you agree that this is what these words mean?
MR MAHARAJ: I agree that if the construction is to be made simply on the formulation and examination of the text alone, outside of my own testimony for example, from my position as Secretary, then of course, one could arrive at that conclusion.
MR VISSER: Well, what other conclusion can you arrive at, if you read these words?
MR MAHARAJ: The other conclusion would be also at the textual examination level, to look at how the other senior organs are described.
MR VISSER: Mr Maharaj, may I interrupt you please, I don't want to cut you short, but we will come to that.
The question at the present time is simply this, do you agree with the statement I made that on the reading of these words, that is what it means?
MR MAHARAJ: On a reading of those words, outside of the context of Appendix 1 as a whole, yes.
MR VISSER: Fine, now let's get to the context. You say first of all, that you were part and parcel of the structuring, the giving of information concerning the compilation of this Appendix. Did I understand you correctly?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, correct.
MR VISSER: And were you satisfied at the time when 4.6.2 came into existence, with the wording as it stood here?
MR MAHARAJ: I was satisfied that it was the best we could do at that stage, to file in time with the Truth Commission.
MR VISSER: All right. Now you say to this Committee that one must bear in mind that Botswana was not a country which was, well please stop me if I am wrong, so well disposed to the ANC that you could give the names of the people categorising them in their various sub-structures. Did I understand you incorrectly?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir, you understood me incorrectly.
MR VISSER: Would you please clarify that for me?
MR MAHARAJ: I did not mean that Botswana was not so well disposed. The Botswana government was fully sympathetic to our struggle, but its economic and political and geopolitical situation was such that it was vulnerable to the apartheid regime's ...(indistinct). For that reason, the level of its support, could not be demonstrated openly. Constantly it was under pressure to remove South Africans living in Botswana on grounds that they were involved in underground activity and often through our Chief Representative, it made those requests because it said if Pretoria is saying so and so is involved in military activity and our official position as Botswana with Pretoria is, we are not aware of any ANC structures involved in military activity.
It was that vulnerability rather than the disposition.
MR VISSER: And this if I understand you correctly, is your explanation why in Exhibit N, the sub-structures as far as Botswana was concerned, for the years mentioned, were not specifically stated?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir. My explanation is in the introduction of Appendix 1, which I read out into the record. It said most of the information contained in this Appendix is drawn from memory.
There may be minor mistakes and omissions. One of those omissions was through memory, to reconstruct the exact composition of who was in which structure, in each of those three sub-structures and the senior organ.
MR VISSER: What has that got to do with whether or not the Botswana government was sympathetic to the ANC cause, that is what I don't understand?
MR MAHARAJ: It has got to do with the geopolitical and economic situation of Botswana and the operations of the South African apartheid regime in that territory which required our structures to be even more deeply buried, clandestinely. It therefore left no sufficient records to recall.
MR VISSER: I see. What then would you say about the position of Swaziland, because this Committee has heard evidence that the Swazi government was well disposed to allowing agents of the South African government, reasonably free access in Swaziland in their actions against the ANC?
MR MAHARAJ: Swaziland was in a partly similar situation, but our relations in Swaziland had been developed over a longer period, and existed in a different environment until late 1982, 1983. That is why a major change took place in the structures of Swaziland.
Colleagues were in Swaziland cut off from Lusaka and we gave them powers and we were very clear about who we gave those powers to, in what was then called the RPMC. Some of those people moved from Mozambique to settle down in Swaziland with very remote lines of contact with Lusaka, but given deliberate powers to take decisions on the ground.
MR VISSER: You see Mr Maharaj, I hear what you say, but referring to the same documents, I am sorry, it is the statement to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, dated August 1996, I am not certain whether that is a part of the papers before this Committee, but I will read the whole paragraph.
In paragraph 5.3 under the heading Towards People's War and People's Power, and it is dated 1979 - 1990, one reads in that presentation by the ANC the following words - I am sorry Mr Chairman, the reference is the African National Congress Statement to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, dated August 1996.
ADV DE JAGER: Page?
MR VISSER: This page that I referred to is page 49 Mr Chairman and the paragraph number is 5.3.
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, I have it.
MR VISSER: It is a brief paragraph, let me read it to you. I see you have it in front of you, it is towards the, in the right hand column Mr Maharaj, the second last paragraph, starting with the words "in line".
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR VISSER: And perhaps we should just read the whole little paragraph. I will read it for you. In line with this approach, the Revolutionary Council, formed in 1969, and Chaired by O.R. Tambo was restructured to consolidate not only the supremacy of political leadership, but also to ensure that the task of mass mobilisation and underground organisation, received the necessary emphasis.
Then I come to the important part, which I want to put to you. The senior organs formed in neighbouring countries, consisted of senior leaders and specialist in the building of the political underground and mass mobilisation, as well as Commanders of Armed Units.
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR VISSER: Within the country, this translated to an effort to form Area Political Committees which would take ultimate responsibility for both political and military work in their areas of operation.
Later, these were transformed into Area and Regional Political Military Committees. The question is, which I am going to ask you, I suppose is an obvious one. You sought to draw a distinction as far as Botswana was concerned, and particularly as far as Mr Marius Schoon was concerned, between his activities in a Political Committee as opposed to the activities of the senior organ.
I want to put to you for your comment that what I have just read to you, negates that statement.
MR MAHARAJ: Judge, that is a very important question and it needs to be understood very properly.
The formulation supremacy of political leadership is a fundamental one to our struggle and if we look at the diagram submitted of the ANC structures, at all times for example page 36 of the Appendix, National Executive Committee, National Working Committee, National Secretariat, then the Office of the President, the Secretary General and the Treasurer General and with regards to the home front, at the next level, starts the Revolutionary Council.
What does supremacy of political leadership mean? It means that the strategic goals, the strategic line, is set by the political leadership. The Military cannot select its targets or direct its operations, which would act contrary to that political line.
That is the first aspect of that supremacy. The second, may I draw you attention and illustrated by looking at page 42 of the Exhibit N, on page 42 at the bottom, we have the Maputo senior organ, paragraph 4.6.1. If you look at the senior organ, you will see that the Chairperson is Mr John Mkabineng and the Secretary is Mr Jacob Zuma.
They were members of the National Executive Committee. Other members are listed, but amongst them you will see the name Mr Ronnie Kasrils. He was not a member of the National Executive, he was in the Political section in Maputo. He was not a member even of the Revolutionary Council, if I recall, at that time. He may have been in the Revolutionary Council as the highest structure in which he was serving.
Then we come to paragraph 220.127.116.11, you will see that the Political Committee had Mr Jacob Zuma as their Head, Mr Ronnie Kasrils as the Secretary. The two of them were in the senior organ, but then you had Mr Mandla Msibi, he was not in the senior organ.
He was not in the National Executive, and he was not in the Revolutionary Council. The same applies to Mr Indrus Naidoo and the same applies to Sue Rapkin.
In so far as the training that they received, some of them never received military training. It would be incorrect for them to sit in the highest organ without the training, even though they may not have been deployed in military work, to take decisions which would access whether the operational work that the military structure was doing, was in line with the political objectives and strategy.
The same problem would arise at the political level. I am saying Judge, that if you look at the Maputo Political Committee structure, you see people playing a very important role, but not in the senior organ. The senior organ has people to ensure that political supremacy, and it is not a mechanical one of taking people in the sub-structure and putting them all, because they are in the political section, but looking at the organisation and the positions they occupy in the National Executive as well as the Revolutionary Council.
The supremacy question is a very, very fundamental one in understanding that a very crucial part of our work, which was the military struggle, was always under the political leadership's line. That is the distinction that I was trying to make in Botswana and say, we couldn't separate and clearly say because conditions in Botswana were fluctuating and people were passing through, moving out, being removed from there, others being redeployed.
In Swaziland, we had people stationed there, some of them had lived and operated in those structures, for ten years without being moved out. That was not the position in Botswana.
CHAIRPERSON: What was the IPC?
MR MAHARAJ: Internal Political Committee, which was the political section which changed its name over periods of time. First when I was made the Secretary it was called the Internal Political and Reconstruction Department. It then became the Internal Political Committee. It later became the Political - no before that it became the Political Command, and then it became the IPC.
As an Organ specialising not in all areas of political work, but simply internal mass mobilisation, and setting up of the underground and propaganda work.
MR VISSER: Mr Maharaj, we will come back, because I am going to suggest to you, you hadn't replied to my question, but let's take this question of the IPC one step further.
According to Exhibit N, page 40, in paragraph 3.9.1 I believe it is what the Honourable Chairman is referring you to, there is mention that in Botswana, the Botswana IPC between 1976 and 1980, was led by Henry Mahoti and Dan Tlumi, and then it says at various times, Jenny and Marius Schoon, etc, etc, also served on that structure.
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR VISSER: Yes, you see, it makes it very confusing to understand by virtue of the reasons which you have presented here today, why then having said that two pages prior to page 43, you would say on page 43 at paragraph 4.6.2, what is stated here unless you meant to say so.
MR MAHARAJ: Look at the periods, 1976 to 1980.
MR VISSER: All right.
MR MAHARAJ: Very big difference, more stable conditions in Botswana. Pretoria strategy of destabilisation has not gone to the point of raids, massacres and attacks.
Pretoria Security agents are not operating in that territory in that fashion at that period. Therefore we can maintain more stable structures and we can put that down very clearly, but as the instability comes, and move movement takes place, and change of personnel, our memories where people are moved in very short notice, replaced, deployed in particular work, begins to become a problem. Even our records become a problem.
MR VISSER: All right. Is what you are saying that at the end of 1979, the beginning of 1980, the structures in Botswana basically collapsed?
MR MAHARAJ: The structures began to undergo rapid change in their composition.
MR VISSER: I see. All right. Returning just before we take the adjournment, I just want to give you one more opportunity, I am referring you to page 49 which I read to you just now, the paragraph which I read to you, and I want to direct your attention specifically to the second last sentence.
Within the country this translated into an effort to form Area Political Committees which would take ultimate responsibility for both political and military work.
I asked you Mr Maharaj, where you placed according to your evidence today, Mr Marius Schoon in a Political Committee, and thereby divorcing him from military activity, I am asking you doesn't this sentence contradict the notion which you have testified to?
MR MAHARAJ: With due respect Sir, it would only appear to contradict if you trait ...(indistinct) historically. Area Political Committees were conceptualised first by the Revolutionary Committee at a meeting in September 1981.
There were Area Political Committees within the country. No Area Political Committee was set up in any neighbouring country and that was to meet a particular problem inside the country.
MR VISSER: Yes.
MR MAHARAJ: Now, the Area Political Committee, when you say would take ultimate responsibility, the word ultimate meant that from structural and hierarchical point of view, if an Area Political Committee was operating in Pretoria, the question was who is accountable for what work they are doing there.
There should be no excuses coming and say it was the Military Committee. The Head of that Political Committee would be accountable for both military and political work going on in that area.
That is what was meant by ultimate responsibility. You will never find that formulation with regards to any Political Committee in the neighbouring countries. You will never find that the IPC or whatever it was called, bore ultimate political responsibility for what was happening at Swaziland or Lesotho or Mozambique or Zimbabwe or Botswana.
MR VISSER: But in Maputo and Lesotho and Botswana there were Political Committees as part of the senior organs, do you agree?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, and you will see that more people in the Political Committees were of junior rank in terms of the senior organ.
MR VISSER: Yes, Mr Maharaj. I don't know what that means, but any way.
MR MAHARAJ: It means a lot from the point of view of the word supremacy of political leadership.
MR VISSER: You said just now that Area Political Committees were only established within the Republic of South Africa, is that correct?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR VISSER: Was it the same with Area and Regional Political Military Committees?
MR MAHARAJ: No.
MR VISSER: You see, because then I don't understand your distinction or your evidence.
You gave us a long discussion, based on the premise that Area Political Committees we must understand we only based in the Republic of South Africa, yet your own document says later, these were transformed into Area Regional Political Military Committees, which were also based outside the country.
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir, no Sir. Within the country there is a paragraph, sub-paragraph, within the country, this translated into an effort to form Area Political Committees which would, would, future tense, take ultimate responsibility for both political and military work in their areas of operation.
Later, these were transformed into Area and Regional Political Military Committees, meaning still inside the country. I was inside the country in 1988. Those structures I have special knowledge of, but inside the country.
ADV DE JAGER: Mr Maharaj, on page 42 you start off in paragraph 4.6 each SO, that is each senior organ, consisted of a joint political/military committee.
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
ADV DE JAGER: With the following sub-structures: Political command, a Military command and a NAT structure. The NAT structure, that would be, what would it be?
MR MAHARAJ: Intelligence and Security.
ADV DE JAGER: Intelligence? So, you had this senior organisation, senior organ consisting and coordinating the three, coordinating in the first place with a sort of Executive, consisting representatives of all three branches, am I correct?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
ADV DE JAGER: So, that would form a Unit controlling that command or area from which they, or even country like Botswana, from which they operate?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
ADV DE JAGER: Is that correct?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
ADV DE JAGER: And that would be the same position in Swaziland for instance? You had the three sub-structures, because this would apply to all the sub-structures?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
ADV DE JAGER: And whenever you belong to one of those sub-structures, you are part of the senior organ, or represented in the senior organ?
MR MAHARAJ: Represented, your sub-structure is represented, but the line of command even though this Political Committee is a sub-structure and the Military Committee is a sub-structure, the Political Committee answers to Political Headquarters, the Military Committee answers to Military Headquarters. What the senior organ was doing, was to ensure that there is no disfunction, you coordinated them, their work.
ADV DE JAGER: But all these organs were subject to the supreme command and that was the Political Command?
MR MAHARAJ: Of the National Executive?
ADV DE JAGER: Yes.
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
ADV DE JAGER: So the Political Command was in fact the supreme command?
MR MAHARAJ: At Lusaka, not here at the senior organ level. If you look at the membership too at that very paragraph Sir, it is very instructive.
ADV DE JAGER: But all the sub-structures were subject to the main structure and at the very top structure, was a Political Command?
MR MAHARAJ: The very top structure was a Political Command in Lusaka which was not even what I was Heading, it was the National Executive. Here in the senior organ of Maputo, what you see is a Joint Political Military Committee, coordinating the work.
It did not make the senior organ a Political Committee, it was a joint coordinating machinery.
ADV DE JAGER: Yes, but in the end, as it is set out on page 36, the top structure was really the Political structure?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
ADV DE JAGER: And the Military structure was a structure, subjected to the top structure?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
ADV DE JAGER: Thank you.
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, I see it is one o'clock.
CHAIRPERSON: We will take the adjournment until two o'clock.
SATHYANDRANATH RAGUNANAN MAHARAJ: (still under oath)
MR LEVINE: Mr Chairman, I have not seen hide nor hair of my candidate attorney. I wanted to fit him with a tracking device.
ADV DE JAGER: There he is, there you can see hide and hair.
MR BOOYENS: Mr Chairman, I may just point out to you that as you see, the extent of the documents, it relates to about 200 pages.
CHAIRPERSON: So he has been working quite hard.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR VISSER: (continued) Mr Maharaj, we spent more than half an hour before lunch in attempting to establish the obvious, and that is what Commissioner De Jager put to you just prior to the luncheon adjournment.
Let's summarise this, isn't it quite clear from the writings and the pronouncements of the ANC that the struggle was a political struggle and all the pillars of the struggle were directed to the achievement of the political objective.
You did hear the question?
MR MAHARAJ: I didn't hear a question.
MR VISSER: Do you agree with that?
MR MAHARAJ: Oh yes.
MR VISSER: Thank you. And that would be supported, I put to you, by the ANC National Congress statement to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of August 1996 where inter alia the military code of the ANC, was included and I refer specifically to page 89 of that document, the second column.
MR MAHARAJ: Volume?
MR VISSER: Well, I haven't got a volume, it is ...
MR MAHARAJ: Please help me, which document?
MR VISSER: The white volume. There is a white volume, a yellow volume and a green volume, dated August 1996 Mr Chairman. It is page 89.
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR VISSER: I don't want to read all of it to you, but isn't it quite clear that the Political Military Council was in control of both the Political as well as the Military components of the struggle?
MR MAHARAJ: It was in control of both the Military and Political components internal in South Africa, not of the rest.
MR VISSER: You keep on saying that Mr Maharaj, when we know it is not so.
MR MAHARAJ: Well, I will prove it to you, may I?
MR VISSER: Well, please do.
MR MAHARAJ: Okay. Judge, if we turn to the structure document once more, on - let me just find it - the structures are related to home front, they say nothing about the structures and the work done on the fourth pillar, which was in relation to sanctions, diplomatic isolation of South Africa, that was not considered by the PMC and that was an integral component of the struggle.
I hope that is very clearly put.
MR VISSER: Yes, but are you in agreement with what I put to you about the rest?
MR MAHARAJ: I have agreed with the statement one which was being put to me. No other statement has been put to me to agree to.
MR VISSER: All right. Mr Maharaj, just coming back now. You left South Africa you told us, and please forgive me, my memory is notoriously bad, at the end of 1964? Have I got that right?
MR MAHARAJ: Absolutely wrong. I could help you with your memory.
CHAIRPERSON: He couldn't leave South Africa then, he went to prison.
MR MAHARAJ: You can't call that leaving South Africa, Judge.
MR VISSER: Mr Maharaj, after you served your jail sentence, you told the Committee this morning, you left the Republic unlawfully, was that in 1967?
MR MAHARAJ: It was in 1977.
MR VISSER: 1977.
MR MAHARAJ: I served 12 years from 1964.
MR VISSER: What did you then do?
MR MAHARAJ: I became the Secretary in December, 1977 I was appointed the Secretary of the ANC Internal Political and Reconstruction Department which was the body charged with organising the ANC within South Africa.
MR VISSER: Yes. Did that include military aspects?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir.
MR VISSER: Were you at the time also a member of Umkhonto weSizwe?
MR MAHARAJ: I have been a member of Umkhonto weSizwe, you become a member once and you remain a member.
MR VISSER: Are you saying that being a member, you personally took no part in the military offensive in 1977 onwards?
MR MAHARAJ: 1977 I took no part, I was charged exclusively to do the political work. Subsequently at different points, I was given other tasks. Some of them were military and I performed them.
MR VISSER: Yes, and you told the Committee that you participated in deciding about target selection etc?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir, I haven't told the Committee that.
MR VISSER: Oh, I thought I heard you say that.
MR MAHARAJ: You put it to me that part of my work would have involved selection of targets, I didn't select targets. I certainly provided information about possible targets and on some occasions, I was shifted from my tasks to perform eminently military work, as for example I came into South Africa in 1998 as the Commander of Operation Vula.
MR VISSER: 1989?
MR MAHARAJ: 1988.
MR VISSER: 1988, yes.
MR MAHARAJ: So that time now, I came in with a new set of tasks not functioning as the Secretary of the Political Department, but functioning as a Commander of Operation Vula.
MR VISSER: The document which was made available to us today, Mr Chairman, I don't know whether this can be given an Exhibit number for easier reference. I think we've got to QQ, if I am not mistaken. OO, we've had. PP might be a fitting description for this document Mr Chairman.
MS PATEL: It would be QQ Honourable Chairperson.
MR VISSER: The pages are not paginated, but on the fifth page...
CHAIRPERSON: Dealing with the question of pagination, the bundle we were given contains two indexes. We have paginated our pages to accord with the first index. The first index terminates at page 113 with an identification index. That we have for convenience put as a second bundle to make it a bit smaller.
That we have not paginated because there is an index in the front and the rest is in alphabetical order, so you can just find those alphabetically. I think we should all abide by the original index and that gives the numbering of the pages.
MR VISSER: Thank you Mr Chairman, and you will see that in the index, there is a reference to the Schoon's and the Internal Reconstruction and I was just on the point of referring Mr Maharaj to page 5, the Schoon's and Internal Reconstruction under that heading.
I don't want to waste too much time, Mr Maharaj, but it appeared that there were certain concerns which were had. I am going to have to ask you to put a date to this for us. Is that 1979?
MR MAHARAJ: Which?
MR VISSER: Mr Maharaj, do you have the bundle, page 5 in front of you?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR VISSER: Can you see what that is about, or aren't you conversant with that document?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir, you haven't given me adequate references to be conversant with the point. Maybe I am missing it, you went too fast for me.
MR VISSER: I see, it deals with the reconstruction about which I take it, was what you have just testified about, you having become the Secretary of.
MR MAHARAJ: Right. Paragraph 12?
MR VISSER: Can you just tell us when did this reconstruction, what did you call it, a Committee, a what?
MR MAHARAJ: If we turn to the structures submitted to the TRC, you will see there that under the Section 1976 to 1980, page 37, it says between the period 1976 and 1980, the Internal Political Reconstruction Committee ...
MR VISSER: Is that the one?
MR MAHARAJ: That is the one. It says there that I was appointed Secretary and I can give the Committee the precise date, I was called to Lusaka on the 5th of December 1977 and formally informed by the leadership of the organisation, that they have appointed me to Secretary of that Committee.
MR VISSER: All right. Did Mr Marius Schoon play any role at all in this reconstruction programme?
MR MAHARAJ: Marius Schoon was a member of the Botswana Committee. In that sense he played a role, but he did not play a role in the organisation's decision about the setting up of the whole section.
MR VISSER: Is it not true that in regard to what we are discussing, Mr Marius Schoon inter alia wrote a letter to you? I refer you to page 6, paragraph 2 where it is summarised.
Let me read it to you - most significant however, are the letters to Ray Simons, Henry Mahoti and Mac Maharaj, which makes it clear that (1) the Schoon's are building a white underground structure for the ANC CP. It says in parenthesis letter to Henry and that is attached. I am not going to refer to it.
Would you agree that that is what this page says, this paragraph?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, the document says this, yes.
MR VISSER: Okay, do you agree that that statement is a statement which is correct in fact?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir, not correct.
MR VISSER: Not correct?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir. The Schoon's were not the only people of the ANC building an underground structure in the underground community. They were part of the structures building that within the white community.
This document from the Intelligence Services of Pretoria, is formulated in a way as if they are the only ones. That is not true.
MR VISSER: Is that your only criticism of this statement?
MR MAHARAJ: That they were part of building a white underground, part of building that underground structure for the ANC yes, ANC/CP, no.
MR VISSER: And you would know, because you were also a member of the Central Committee of the South African Communist Party?
MR MAHARAJ: Not at that stage, I was made a member of the Central Committee, once more in 1978.
MR VISSER: Sub-paragraph 3 says that the network is coordinated from Lusaka. Would that be correct?
MR MAHARAJ: The entire Internal Political Network was coordinated from Lusaka, correct, the entire.
MR VISSER: I am sorry I interrupted you. What about the Military?
MR MAHARAJ: The Military was coordinated by Military Headquarters, at that time, from Lusaka.
MR VISSER: Lusaka, yes.
MR MAHARAJ: Separate from the structure that I was in.
MR VISSER: Yes. And you have already told us that you held a prominent position, so the rest of that paragraph is not news to us.
What I am really getting at here Mr Maharaj is this, I want to put to you that rightly or wrongly, the document Exhibit RR, gives the reader and I must admit I haven't read the whole of the document, but certainly the portions which I did, gives the reader the impression of an extensive network from and to Botswana and the Republic of South Africa. Would you agree with that general statement?
MR MAHARAJ: Extensive, Judge it refers to about 37 people. I, as Secretary of the Internal, will not regard that network in this document, as extensive in a population of close to 35 million.
MR VISSER: I see. At page 9 of Exhibit RR, under paragraph 2, it says the Schoon Network relied heavily in its initial stages, in parenthesis, on the Daisy Courier system for maintaining and establishing communications with the ANC/CP operatives and potential ANC/CP recruits within the RSA.
Do you read that?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR VISSER: What is your comment on that?
MR MAHARAJ: That is an embellishment of the Intelligence Service of Pretoria to make itself think it was great.
MR VISSER: Wasn't the operation so great?
MR MAHARAJ: I think that the Schoon Network, did not rely heavily on the operation Daisy, that it utilised it, yes, but that it relied heavily, no.
MR VISSER: It goes on to say, you see, and this is a document which you presented to the Committee?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR VISSER: If one simply looks at the Schoon's file, and I take it, it refers to the file in possession of the Security Branch, I would imagine, because I can't think of any other file that he could be referring to, can you?
MR MAHARAJ: I think I am clear about what it means when it says the Schoon's file. This is a document of the Pretoria Intelligence Service.
MR VISSER: Yes.
MR MAHARAJ: They have a file.
MR VISSER: Sure.
MR MAHARAJ: And that is the Schoon's file.
MR VISSER: And he says, if one simply looks at that file without the correspondence of this report, one gets a very shallow view of exactly what the Schoon's were doing. He continues, he says, by contrast, the operation Daisy Correspondence, coupled with personal meetings with the Schoon's, gives an excellent insight into the mechanisms and the contacts of the Schoon Network.
It goes on to say, the real value of this insight however, is the importance of courier networks to ANC/CP operatives in neighbouring States. Do you have a comment about that?
MR MAHARAJ: Sir, my comment to that would be that as an analysis done in Pretoria, based on their operation Daisy, they would look at the correspondence that they have intercepted from Marius Schoon and read a significance into it. One significance that courier networks are important, is correct.
MR VISSER: Yes. Now, let's just step, go one step further, apart from courier networks, please turn to page 11, paragraph 3.
Under the heading Underground Routes in the RSA. Let me read it to you, in 1977 shortly after the arrival of the Schoon's in Botswana, Chris Wood reported that the ANC were looking for underground routes into the RSA. Let's just stop there for a moment. Would that be correct?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR VISSER: Thank you. He continues to say, this included methods of cross-border travel, such as illegal routes through the fence, the use of aircraft, private yachts, etc. Would that also be more or less correct?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR VISSER: The next sentence is really the point. The purpose of such routes was for the conveyance of arms, explosives, pamphlets and receiving sets.
MR MAHARAJ: Highly selective purpose.
MR VISSER: Why would that be highly selective? Didn't the ANC import, illegally import firearms, explosives, pamphlets, etc into the country?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir, I said highly restrictive in its definition of the purpose. I didn't say it is not part of the purpose.
Let me explain Sir.
MR VISSER: But what it does say if it says nothing else, is this document brings this and lays it at the door of the Schoon's, do you agree with that?
MR MAHARAJ: No, no, no. I don't agree that then it places all that at the foot of the Schoon's in a proven way from their side. It is their speculation. The ANC is defined wider than Marius Schoon here.
ANC here is defined in the broadest formulation, including Military and Political, because the ANC was leading the arms struggle, but Marius Schoon was in the Political Section and to attribute to him conveyance of arms and explosives, is to attribute to him something that was not his task.
MR VISSER: Yes. I want to make two propositions to you. The first is this, would you agree that this document certainly states that Mr Marius, well that the Schoon's were involved in arms smuggling?
MR MAHARAJ: This document does not in all its Appendixes, correspondence of Operation Daisy, have a single one dealing with the movement of explosives and arms.
The analyst then attributes that to Marius by extrapolating from the functions of the ANC, but from the actual Operation Daisy record that you have just read, that it throws insight into the mechanisms and contacts of the Schoon Network, all those contacts did not outside of Carl Niehaus, get arrested for arms, explosives or military work.
CHAIRPERSON: Doesn't the next paragraph indicate that what the writer is accusing the Schoon's of, is an increasing pamphlet distribution?
MR MAHARAJ: That is right, Sir.
MR VISSER: Certainly that as well Mr Chairman, and Mr Maharaj was at pains to point out exactly the very point. He said that they were involved in other things.
Evidence from evaluated material shows an increase in ANC pamphlet distribution for June 1980. I don't want to go into an argument on linguistic matters Mr Chairman, but the last sentence of the previous paragraph is the only one that I put to Mr Maharaj.
I am now going to put to you the second ...
MR BIZOS: Had we agreed that Botswana has now passed?
MR VISSER: If my learned friend wants me to make an admission that Botswana is landlocked, Mr Chairman, I will gladly do so.
Coming back to the real issue Mr Maharaj, I am going to put to you that if this was the kind of information, whether it was correct or whether it was wrong, which was in the possession of the Security Force at the time in 1980, 1981, 1982, then a person who would have read a document such a Exhibit RR, may well bona fide have believed that the Schoon's were involved in the establishment and maintenance of routes where inter alia arms and ammunition were filtered into South Africa. Do you agree with that?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir.
MR VISSER: So you say no Security Policeman could have believed that?
MR MAHARAJ: Oh no, I haven't said that.
MR VISSER: That is my question.
MR MAHARAJ: If you are talking about no Security Policeman by saying a particular, any individual Policeman reading this, I am not talking about a Policeman here, I am talking about an Intelligence Section, Headed by a Master Spy.
MR VISSER: I see, all right.
MR MAHARAJ: I am not talking about a foot soldier.
MR VISSER: Yes, to make it more relevant, you are talking about Mr Craig Williamson. Let me put to you then the position of Mr Willem Schoon.
That is now no relation to each other, it is Brigadier Schoon sitting behind me. He says and he will tell this Committee that he studied the file, a file at least, of Mr Marius Schoon and he came to the conclusion that Mr Marius Schoon was involved in assisting people who left the Republic of South Africa, to receive military training abroad.
Would that be correct in fact?
MR MAHARAJ: Sir, given the questions, I would need to know what is meant by assisting. It can have many meanings.
MR VISSER: I see.
MR MAHARAJ: If I gave a person a plate of food at my home, would that be construed as consisting?
MR VISSER: I am talking about actively consisting.
MR MAHARAJ: I still don't know what that means.
MR VISSER: Receiving them, making arrangements, travel arrangements for them, giving them money, that kind of assistance, Mr Maharaj.
MR MAHARAJ: Marius Schoon to the extent that it was not his primary responsibility, but may have got himself involved with refugees coming from South Africa, passing through Botswana and going on to East Africa to study, and going on to East Africa to indicate their wishes, and if there they expressed the wish they wanted to go for military, they would move to the military side.
If there was a possibility to give them a scholarship in Germany and there was a scholarship available, they would go there. If sometimes they were trying to trace their parents, they would be assisted. But he would not be responsible for asking is it military that you want to go to, in going to assist you to go for military.
It would be simply to get refugees out of Botswana.
MR VISSER: I am happy with your concession of the possibility. Is it also possible that Mr Schoon, Marius Schoon we are talking about, could have assisted people who had received military training, to place them back through various routes and ways and means into the Republic of South Africa?
MR MAHARAJ: Only if they were being placed back into South Africa to do political work for the section that he was working in.
MR VISSER: I see. So he would ask them?
MR MAHARAJ: No, if anybody had received any training and was being deployed via Botswana into South Africa, there would be a communication from the Headquarters, of which I was Secretary to say we are sending so and so to go and join a political machinery in a certain part of South Africa, please facilitate that movement.
MR VISSER: That request you would direct to Mr Marius Schoon?
MR MAHARAJ: No, I would direct it to the Chairman or Secretary of the Internal Political Committee.
MR VISSER: Mr Maharaj, what would happen, my question, what would happen to a person who received military training and he wanted to infiltrate South Africa through Botswana?
MR MAHARAJ: What would happen?
MR VISSER: Yes, what would happen, how would he go about it? Would he just start walking from Lusaka?
MR MAHARAJ: Well, there is a very big difference from what would happen, to what would be done to infiltrate him. What would happen is that it is likely that he would either be killed in South Africa or arrested.
MR VISSER: You thought that I meant that, did you?
MR MAHARAJ: Sure.
MR VISSER: Is that what you thought I meant?
MR MAHARAJ: That is the environment in which I worked.
MR VISSER: Let me make my questions clearer to you then. If a person who had received military training say in Odessa for example, was finished with his military training, what would the ANC do with him? Would they leave him there?
MR MAHARAJ: The ANC would take him to Angola.
MR VISSER: Lusaka?
MR MAHARAJ: No, Angola.
MR VISSER: Angola, sorry.
MR MAHARAJ: It is a different country, Lusaka is the capital of Zambia. In Angola according to the task and according to his or her training, the ANC would look at deploying him.
If the person had trained at Odessa, the likelihood is that the person would be Officer military material, and would be deployed in Umkhonto weSizwe. The likelihood in a command position in one of the neighbouring territories or possibly to head an operation within South Africa at the military level.
I don't know of a single trainee from Odessa who was deployed in the Political Section.
MR VISSER: I used it as an example. You can take any place where military training was given to MK soldiers Mr Maharaj. I am not confining myself, I am using it as an example.
All I want to know is how do you get him into the country if he had to come through Botswana?
MR MAHARAJ: I would fly the person in from Angola, either fly or drive the person in to Gaberone. I would have somebody meet the person if the person was going in for political work.
The person would be housed clandestinely in Botswana and we would find from the structure that is responsible for accommodating the person, somebody to make contact within South Africa, at a prearranged venue, and we would find a guide to either cross the person on foot, or we would forge a reference book and a passport and fly the person in or drive the person through the border post of Botswana.
MR VISSER: You would not do so. You would not bring him into South Africa by making use of your senior organ, would you?
MR MAHARAJ: The senior organ was a coordinating structure. If the person was being sent by the Political Section, the person would be the responsibility of the Political Section.
If the person was being infiltrated for military work, it would be the responsibility of the Military Committee. The person would be assigned to the Section they are working in, and that Section would take responsibility for the movement of the person.
MR VISSER: Mr Maharaj, how often did you visit Botswana?
MR MAHARAJ: I cannot even count them because I have been in and out of Botswana as just a regular part of my work.
MR VISSER: Would you have had contact with Mr and Mrs Schoon on your visits normally?
MR MAHARAJ: Not on every visit.
MR VISSER: I beg your pardon?
MR MAHARAJ: Not on every visit.
MR VISSER: Normally?
MR MAHARAJ: Well, it depends what you mean by normally?
If I was going there in order to meet them, and the Committee, I would meet them, but if I was going there to meet the senior organ or the Chief Representative, I wouldn't meet them, because I too was operating in illegal conditions.
MR VISSER: Did you in fact give Mr Marius Schoon instructions in regard to anything?
MR MAHARAJ: Mr Marius Schoon, yes.
MR VISSER: Did you give him instructions on infiltration of people into the Republic of South Africa for whatever purpose?
MR MAHARAJ: Sir, I do not recall ever having handed a person to Marius or discussed with him a particular individual and say Marius, you must move this person into the country.
MR VISSER: All right, when you say you can't remember, are you conceding that there is a possibility that you did which you can't recall at the moment? Is that what you are saying?
MR MAHARAJ: Sir, I have taken an oath and I would have been prepared to say I never did, but I just want to answer very honestly because I was running work through all areas and it may just have happened that there may be an instance where Marius would better remember whether I ever said to him here is so and so, arrange for him to go into South Africa.
MR VISSER: Yes, we might ask him that. You told this Committee that Mr Marius Schoon went for training after he was released from prison, have I got that right?
MR MAHARAJ: Certainly, at some stage he went for training.
MR VISSER: Yes. Where did he go for training?
MR MAHARAJ: Angola.
MR VISSER: Where in Angola?
MR MAHARAJ: One of the camps.
MR VISSER: You can't remember which?
MR MAHARAJ: I didn't go to the camp, I didn't visit Marius in the camp.
MR VISSER: I see, all right.
MR MAHARAJ: I just asked that he be attended to in the usual way that people are being sent, and ensured what he will be trained for.
MR VISSER: Yes, why I am asking is Brigadier Schoon seems to think that it was Funda camp from his recollection of what he read, but that is why I am asking you, because he is not certain.
MR MAHARAJ: Possible.
MR VISSER: You said that inter alia he received training for self defence?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR VISSER: Now, you know, I am confused when the ANC talks about self defence, because we know that the ANC had Self Defence Units in this country during the struggle, and the fact shows that what they were busy with by and large, was anything but self defence.
When you talk about self defence, what does this comprise? Does this comprise military training in the sense of the use of weapons, etc?
MR MAHARAJ: Sir, let me try and explain it as best I can, by trying to invoke the experience that you may have.
You have white people in South Africa, I presume through out your life, who trained in pistol clubs either as a hobby or to defend themselves against a robber or an assault possibly if it ever arose.
They were never in the Army and that training that they received, would be inadequate to qualify them as a soldier in the SADF. If they were recruited to the SADF, that training would be irrelevant to devising their training programme as a soldier.
Now, Marius is living in Botswana, he is living in an area where possible threats to his life are real. He is working in the Political Section, he travels day and night. If there was a pistol club, I would have sent him to that and if he was prepared and fit enough for karate, I am not sure, I would have sent him for karate as part of self defence.
MR VISSER: I see.
MR MAHARAJ: Even the word small arms, may be too wide a category for that. I am not so sure exactly what weapons he trained in, but training in the use of a pistol, would be an essential part of that self defence training.
I think that that is very easily understood, because if it is not understood, then I have a problem about every white South African who has learnt to use a pistol, they would be legitimate targets.
MR VISSER: Mr Maharaj, I am sorry - you say if whites had received training in pistol shooting, you say they would have been legitimate targets, is that what you are saying?
MR MAHARAJ: I am saying if you define that as military training, and thereby make the person part of the military and a legitimate target, every white South African who has gone to a pistol club and owns a pistol, should be defined as a legitimate target, because they would be then part of the South African Military Force.
MR VISSER: Yes, thank you, I misunderstood you. If it was suggested that Mr Schoon in fact received more than that, he received military training, what do you say about that from your own knowledge?
MR MAHARAJ: From my knowledge, no, he was sent specifically as a member of the Political Section and specifically to learn pamphlet bombing, ensuring that when he handed them out, and got people to use them in the country, he is well equipped to instruct them in that.
Two, he would be learning underground work, that would fall under the general heading that we had called Military Combat Work, where MCW, but within that communications, avoiding detection, surveillance and counter-surveillance in relation to the South African Security Forces would be a part of that course.
How far he would have gone, and how extensive the course would have been, would depend on how long he could have been out of Botswana, and my memory tells me that he was in Botswana for about three weeks, part of which I think was suffering from malaria.
MR VISSER: Lastly Mr Maharaj, you tended in your evidence just now a suggestion that he received self defence training because threats to his life were real, I think were the words you chose to use.
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, in the sense that in Botswana while there may not have been a specific threat against his life, we have lost cadres in Botswana from as far back as 1962.
We would deploy people and we would be in charge of being responsible for their safety, and I when I became Secretary, began a programme to ensure that at least their chances of survival were increased. So in that sense the threats were real.
In the sense that you may wish to attribute it to saying that there was a specific threat against Marius in that period when he went for training, I am not aware.
MR VISSER: I am not suggesting that, I am simply asking you did you consider that Mr Marius Schoon was under threat from agents of the South African government in 1979 to 1981, thereabouts?
MR MAHARAJ: I worked on the basis Sir, that every person working in the ANC was targeted by the South African regime either for undermining, recruiting, kidnapping, possible assassinations.
MR VISSER: You thought I asked you about any ANC member, did you?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, because that is the context.
MR VISSER: I see. All right, I am not going to ... (intervention) ...
MR MAHARAJ: With regards to Marius, I know of a specific instance in 1983 when there was a report that he was directly in danger, and we withdrew him.
MR VISSER: Did the ANC regard Mr Marius Schoon as an important cog, if I may put it in that way, in the struggle?
MR MAHARAJ: Marius Schoon was a very important cog in the ANC as every person in the ANC was. They were jewels, because they were doing work at risk to themselves and their family at a tremendous sacrifice to their livelihood and he belonged to an even narrower band, people who had served in prison and he had served for 12 years, come out with a commitment to the anti-apartheid struggle still found.
He was a gem.
MR VISSER: And as such, may one assume then that if he were to be eliminated, it would have been - it would have upset the organisational structures of the ANC in Botswana because of the fact that he would not be there to assist the struggle through the ANC?
MR MAHARAJ: That upset would have been like the loss of so many before him and after him.
MR VISSER: You keep on answering questions in regard to other people, when I specifically ask you about Mr Marius Schoon. Why so?
MR MAHARAJ: Well Sir, because you are trying to ask me to make him special, above all others.
MR VISSER: No, no, I am simply asking you was he important enough that his elimination would have caused a disruption in the ANC organisational structures in Botswana?
MR MAHARAJ: It would have.
MR VISSER: Thank you Mr Chairman.
MR MAHARAJ: But it would have like the one in my other statement from the Police which reads with regards to myself - should the ANC/CP ever lose Maharaj, it would be an extremely harsh practical and psychological blow. Marius Schoon would have disrupted our machinery.
MR VISSER: Marius Schoon would have what?
MR MAHARAJ: His loss would have disrupted our machinery.
MR VISSER: Thank you Mr Maharaj, thank you Mr Chairman. Mr Chairman, might I just add one thing, I have not had the opportunity of studying this document, Exhibit RR. By the same token, I don't want to be the cause of detaining Mr Maharaj from important matters such as whatever they do in Parliament.
CHAIRPERSON: Do you smoke?
MR VISSER: Yes, I do. Perhaps we should keep him here. But except that I think we have an ally Mr Chairman, he also smokes I have noticed.
MR MAHARAJ: ...(indistinct)
MR VISSER: May I ask this indulgence that we do study the document, and if there is something which is critical Mr Chairman, well then if Mr Maharaj at a later stage must be recalled, that we will then inform the Committee. I am hoping that that will not be necessary.
CHAIRPERSON: I stress the word that you have used, the word critical. I have been told that Mr Maharaj will not be available after today, till Friday and I would not like to see him recalled on Friday to answer a few trivial questions. I would suggest that you conclude your cross-examination today in so far as you can. If there is anything of great importance that warrants his recall, if you could discuss the matter, and we could then make arrangements to recall him.
MR VISSER: That is what I would suggest, thank you Mr Chairman.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR VISSER
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR LEVINE: Mr Maharaj, I would like to show you a document, which I have taken the liberty of marking SS. I do not have copies available at this stage Mr Chairman, but they can very easily be made.
ADV DE JAGER: Mr Levine, when did you come in possession of this document? Didn't you during lunch time at least, know that you were going to use it?
MR LEVINE: The answer to your question, the first question, is at twelve minutes to three. The answer to your second question is, ecchymotic no.
ADV DE JAGER: Who had it in possession before you had it in possession?
MR LEVINE: I do not know that, but a lot of ... (intervention)...
ADV DE JAGER: You received it at twelve minutes to three Mr Levine, from whom?
MR LEVINE: I received it as part of the documentation that was brought here shortly before lunch, via a representative of my client. I have never seen that document before.
ADV DE JAGER: Could I ask counsel whether they could try to see documents timeously in future, so that they could make copies before a witness is confronted with the document.
CHAIRPERSON: By a representative of your client, do you mean your Attorney?
MR LEVINE: Not at all.
CHAIRPERSON: Has your client got other representatives then who were producing documents? Will you kindly ask him to arrange that you see all such documents?
MR LEVINE: ... Mr Chairman, from the topic of pamphlet bombs and I want to ask this witness whether that document SS is typical of a pamphlet bomb. Was it used as part of a pamphlet explosion or deployment?
MR MAHARAJ: Size, yes.
MR LEVINE: Content?
MR MAHARAJ: Content, I'd need to study it. On first glance, strike on June 16th, no date, no year. I have a problem because the content of your political propaganda, if you are a good political propagandist, is tuned to the events of the time, so that the public who get it and read it, can connect it and respond.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but if they get it a week before June the 16th, don't they clearly respond Mr Maharaj?
MR MAHARAJ: I say that a strike, you would not call for a strike every year at June the 16th. No political movement would do that out in the blue.
CHAIRPERSON: You would call for a strike a week after your pamphlet, wouldn't you, and isn't that what the reader would imagine if he finds these things floating through the street, calling for a strike a week before June the 16th, he would take it to be that June, the 16th?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir, but you would not ...
CHAIRPERSON: Just get on with the rest of the contents.
MR MAHARAJ: The rest of the contents Sir, because I am being very specific here, I am aware that Mr Williamson's Unit issued false propaganda in the name of the ANC, where they made it look like ANC literature to mislead people.
CHAIRPERSON: You are not being asked if it is genuine. You are being asked if that is what a pamphlet bomb looks like. You are not being asked if it was an ANC one, are you? That wasn't the question, was it Mr Levine?
MR LEVINE: Not at all.
CHAIRPERSON: Is that the sort of document that was distributed by pamphlet bombs?
MR MAHARAJ: By the ANC?
CHAIRPERSON: In general?
MR MAHARAJ: In general?
CHAIRPERSON: I don't know what whether what a pamphlet bomb puts up in the air, is twice that size, three times that size. Is that the sort of document?
MR MAHARAJ: With due respect Judge, I had said size, yes.
CHAIRPERSON: And printing on both sides?
MR MAHARAJ: Printing on both sides, but content is what I thought Mr Levine is asking me.
MR LEVINE: I was asking initially about size and format.
MR MAHARAJ: Size and format I had answered unequivocally, yes.
MR LEVINE: Mr Maharaj, let us deal with another topic now. The taking control of SANA, who took control to your knowledge of SANA?
MR MAHARAJ: The ANC.
MR LEVINE: By what method?
MR MAHARAJ: Particularly by ensuring that Mr Patrick Fitzgerald and Mr Heinz Klugg took over the running of SANA BULLETIN and they were members of the ANC and they ensured that its content was in line with the ANC's position.
MR LEVINE: And is it your understanding that control of SANA was taken over via Messrs Fitzgerald and Klugg from Mr Williamson?
MR MAHARAJ: Mr Williamson controlled it. Mr Chris Wood was running it together with Mr Julian Sturgeon. That team changed and Mr Patrick Fitzgerald and Heinz Klugg became the team in charge, and through that the ANC was effectively in control in determining its content and who it was distributed to as well as its publication.
MR LEVINE: Do you know how Messrs Fitzgerald and Klugg became the men in charge?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, they would have been approached by Mr Williamson and we would have said to them, agree.
MR LEVINE: Were you told of the precise nature of the approach as alleged by you?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir, that would have been done on the ground in Botswana and I believe that maybe Mr Fitzgerald or Mr Schoon could throw more light on that. I would simply get a report, approaches have been made, we have agreed to it, and now our people are in charge of it and are producing it, because I would have sat down earlier to say change the control of this publication.
MR LEVINE: From whom Sir, would you have received such a report?
MR MAHARAJ: I would have received a report from the Political structure of Botswana, the one accountable to me.
MR LEVINE: Who was that?
MR MAHARAJ: Depending on the period we are talking about, 1979, I would need to refresh my memory as to who was in that body at that time. I think Mr Henry Mahoti would have been the Chairman of the structure at that time, and if I can just check it.
MR LEVINE: Yes, please do.
MR MAHARAJ: Page 40, paragraph 3.9.1, the Botswana IPC was led by Henry Mahoti, Dan Klume, at various times Jenny Schoon, Marius Schoon, Patrick Fitzgerald, Mageli Sexwale, Jakes Tolo, a Negro also served on this structure.
Henry Mahoti would have been the Chairperson, communicating with me, giving me official reports.
MR LEVINE: I would like to show you a letter also received after the lunch hour Mr Chairman and I have arranged to have copies made, which I will ask to be distributed.
This letter is marked TT. Give that to the witness please. I would ask you to look at it please.
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR LEVINE: Would you be kind enough to read that into the record please.
MR MAHARAJ: It is written by Mr Patrick Fitzgerald, it is dated 15-05-1979 it says:
"Dear Craig, just wanted you to know that I am in Gaberone after deserting from the SADF last week. Three week camp, I was attending in Sishen, turned suddenly into an active service against SWAPO in Central Ovamboland, number 2 military area. I took my chance after a two day pass and flitted across by car, got your passport, tourist sunglasses, etc. Have declared myself a refugee. Do not pass go, but collect 30 Pula and I found temporary abode at Julian's house, am more or less sorting myself out in the changed circumstances. Perhaps you have advice or suggestions. Maibuya iAfrica, Patrick Fitzgerald."
MR LEVINE: Now the Julian therein referred to, would that be Julian Sturgeon?
MR MAHARAJ: Very likely.
MR LEVINE: It seeks advices or suggestions from Mr Williamson?
MR MAHARAJ: Sure.
MR LEVINE: And would those advices or suggestions possibly have incorporated a suggestion or the advice to get involved actively with the running of SANA?
MR MAHARAJ: It could well, if it was Julian Sturgeon, then Julian also would have been suggesting that he join in SANA BULLETIN and that advice from Craig Williamson, would be perfectly in accord with Craig being in charge of it.
MR LEVINE: Now, I think you mentioned the fact that Williamson was upset because Fitzgerald and Klugg had taken control of SANA?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR LEVINE: What basis do you rely on for that perception?
MR MAHARAJ: Because the reporting line to Craig was severed, after we took effective control and Craig insisted that they should report to him.
He complained to Patrick Fitzgerald and Heinz Klugg, look, I am the Paymaster, you report to me, you do what I want you to do and you are not reporting to me now.
No inconsistencies there.
MR LEVINE: Is it correct that Fitzgerald, Messrs Fitzgerald and Klugg, only took over SANA round about the end of 1979?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, I thought that after their settling in Botswana, I think the one settled earlier than the other, but when the two persons were now working on SANA BULLETIN, both also members of the ANC structures, we now were in effective control, and that would have been some time in 1979.
We would have very quickly tried to severe the reporting to Mr Williamson.
MR LEVINE: Would you quibble with late 1979?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir, I couldn't quibble.
MR LEVINE: Now Mr Maharaj, the breaking of Mr Williamson's cover, that was early January 1980.
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR LEVINE: Now, the alleged control that was supposedly exercised by Mr Williamson over SANA, having regard to the breaking of his cover in January 1980, could there really have been any time whatsoever for Mr Williamson to have become upset as you put it, in regard to what took place?
MR MAHARAJ: I can recall very clearly that Patrick Fitzgerald and Heinz Klugg reported to the structures that Craig Williamson was upset, was insisting that they be accountable to him. The timing I am not clear, which month, but certainly it was before he broke cover.
MR LEVINE: Was that not accountability Mr Maharaj, for the money and the funding, rather than being upset for some other reason?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir. From my knowledge of SANA BULLETIN, a good part of it was written by Mr Williamson in Geneva.
The people on the ground in Botswana had to publish because it was intended as a counter-Intelligence propaganda machinery, which purported to look sympathetic to the national liberation struggle, which purported to build the credibility, but at the same time put a slant on the material so that they would diverge from the ANC.
That had to be controlled propaganda, unless it is suggested Mr Chris Woods and Julian Sturgeon were high ranking members of the counter-Intelligence structure of Pretoria.
MR LEVINE: That suggestion hasn't been made, but what I am keen to consider with you is whether to your knowledge, any articles or communication were written for SANA BULLETIN by Mr Williamson at all?
MR MAHARAJ: Mr Williamson did speak to me about SANA BULLETIN as our publication and that he had effective control of the content.
That is where I left it, I did not investigate the rest. I was unhappy with the contents of SANA BULLETIN as I had seen it previously. Every now and then, there would be a slant in the reportage, which was divisive and would play up the difference within the national liberation movement.
I wanted a propaganda organ that will send a uniform message in line with the ANC strategy intact.
MR LEVINE: Did you make your misgivings in that regard known to Mr Williamson?
MR MAHARAJ: I doubt if I would have because my relationship with Mr Williamson had two sides to it. On one, to interact with a degree of openness, but on two, never to allow him to feel that I suspected him. I had to make him feel that I saw him as a good person, but I never myself, entertained him into an ANC structure.
Even when I met him in London, I did not go on meeting him as part of a Unit, reporting directly to me.
MR LEVINE: But what would be the harm Mr Maharaj, in having an open, frank and candid discussion with Mr Williamson in regard to certain deviations of opinion which you and he may conceivably have had, regarding the content of the SANA BULLETIN, if in fact you did believe that Mr Williamson had control over the SANA BULLETIN?
MR MAHARAJ: The harm would be simple, it is in this volume, that everything I said to Mr Williamson, would be transmitted to his handlers in Pretoria, to alert them about the precise and nuance thinking of the ANC and if they were running counter-propaganda, it would put them in a better position to put their counter-Intelligence material with the same nuance and more effectively confuse our masses.
MR LEVINE: By memorandum, are you referring to RR?
MR MAHARAJ: I am referring to the two volumes. One was referred to I believe previously, it dealt with the Schoon Network, and another was dealing with profile on Mac Maharaj, with emphasis on his friends and family.
MR LEVINE: That Mr Chairman, is news to me. I don't know if this document - I don't know whether this document need also be copied and looked at, but it is being introduced by the witness.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Bizos, do you know anything about this?
MR BIZOS: No Mr Chairman. It hasn't been introduced by the witness. The witness was asked to give a reason, and the witness has this document. We have never seen it. It is obviously something very special to the witness, because everyone is interested as to what was in his file.
Everyone was interested as to what was in his file, we haven't been favoured, but Mr Maharaj apparently is better equipped to get these things, and he's got it. We can't be blamed for not dealing with.
MR LEVINE: I am not suggesting that.
MR BIZOS: It is not the first time that a cross-examiner is taken by surprise with the questions that he chooses to ask.
MR LEVINE: Whatever gloss my learned friend may wish to put on it, this document has now been introduced by the witness.
CHAIRPERSON: It is for you to decide whether you want to see it, and put it into the evidence.
MR LEVINE: I would like to see it.
CHAIRPERSON: Well, make up your mind. Ask the witness to let you see it.
MR LEVINE: May I see it please Mr Maharaj.
MR MAHARAJ: With pleasure.
MR LEVINE: Thank you.
MR MAHARAJ: It was found in the archives ... (microphone not on). I was saying Judge, that the reference was made by one of the Advocates and I was reminded by the Advocate that in September 1994, I filed three volumes with the Mayabuya Centre of the University of the Western Cape, that the material is on the Internet, and I said that these were three volumes of reports from the National Intelligence Service, which I had acquired in South Africa in 1988, 1989 while I was operating here illegally.
MR LEVINE: Mr Chairman, if the witness may be back on Friday and I don't suggest that it is imperative, perhaps I could look at this document this evening, it is about 200 pages, and in the next day or so, give my learned friend either the document back or advise that there are issues for Mr Maharaj to deal with on that particular document.
CHAIRPERSON: Have you concluded your cross-examination?
MR LEVINE: No, Mr Chairman, I am making a suggestion.
MR BIZOS: Let's see what happens at the end of the cross-examination Mr Chairman.
MR LEVINE: Do you recollect Mr Maharaj, a journey between Lusaka and Maputo in the first third of the year 1979?
MR MAHARAJ: Judge, it is impossible to recall a thing like that. I was on the flights at the drop of a hat. There were two flights a week to Maputo. I used Maputo to fly in to go to Swaziland, to go to Lesotho, to cross into South Africa, and as a Secretary, I was just in and out of Lusaka.
MR LEVINE: Yes, do you remember a particular flight where certain of your co-passengers were Ruth First, Joe Slovo, certain Ray Simons and three youths who you advised were being escorted by the other mentioned parties to Maputo?
MR MAHARAJ: Three youths being escorted by Ruth First?
MR LEVINE: Joe Slovo and Ray Simons?
MR MAHARAJ: No way Ruth First would be an escort. No way. In both senses of the word.
MR LEVINE: I won't ask you for elaborations.
MR MAHARAJ: Judge, something is seriously faulty here. Ruth First would not be escorting anybody that I would know on any ANC work. If I have names, that is something that could help me.
MR LEVINE: Yes. These people were all travelling together. Did you meet, do you remember any trip of that nature where you met a certain Neville Rubin?
MR MAHARAJ: Neville Rubin, I know of him. It is possible I could have met him somewhere on a flight. He was based at the ILO and he was known, I did not know him personally, but I know of him.
I met him I think only once, in Geneva. It could be on the flight, because as working for the ILO, he would be travelling through Southern Africa.
MR LEVINE: You can't remember why all of those parties named, were on that flight? I assume that you, as you said, you flew regularly and it was something that was an every day occurrence with you?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir. The plane was a civilian plane, a normal airline taking passengers and it was the only airline flying between Maputo and Lusaka.
MR LEVINE: I think you said in your evidence that Cuban authorities would never use Lubango University to train their people in English because it would be too dangerous due to the war in the area, and the presence of South African troops?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, it is vulnerability to South African troops, I said.
MR LEVINE: Yes, so it was really dangerous?
MR MAHARAJ: In my very opinion, yes.
MR LEVINE: I think you also said that you withdrew the Schoon family from Botswana because it was becoming dangerous for them in Botswana?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR LEVINE: Why then would you send them to Lubango which was dangerous because of its vulnerability to South African troops, as you put it?
MR MAHARAJ: We withdrew the Schoon's because there was a specific threat to them. The rest of Southern Africa, at different times, was a varying degrees of danger.
My remarks about the Cuban soldiers and Cuban training, was in the context that they were an Army deployed by the Cuban government in Angola, working side by side with the armed forces of Angola.
ADV DE JAGER: Mr Maharaj, how far is Lubango approximately from the Namibian border?
MR MAHARAJ: I don't know Sir, I have never been there. I have never been there, and I have never been further south of Luanda than Funde and Kashito camp, which is about 40 to 60 kilometres.
ADV DE JAGER: I thought perhaps you might have an idea, because I haven't got an idea either.
MR MAHARAJ: I think it would have necessitated a long flight. A long flight, it is pretty deep in the south.
ADV DE JAGER: Yes.
MR LEVINE: (Microphone not on) Lubango was - I will repeat that Mr Chairman, my machine wasn't on. We are agreed on one thing Mr Maharaj, namely that Lubango was a dangerous area, is that correct?
MR MAHARAJ: Dangerous, yes Sir. As was Lusaka.
MR LEVINE: Yes, as was a number of other places at varying times as you have said.
Now, what were the Schoon's engaged in whilst in Botswana?
MR MAHARAJ: Botswana, they were organising the ANC Underground inside South Africa.
MR LEVINE: Were they also teachers in Botswana?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, I think that one or other of them, was teaching at some stage at Malopolole.
MR LEVINE: Whilst at the same time, doing this organisation for the ANC?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir, correct.
MR LEVINE: So they were deployed to Lubango as teachers?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR LEVINE: What would be the change in their modus operandi from Botswana to Lubango?
MR MAHARAJ: The change would be that they were completely now uninvolved in organising on behalf of my department at home.
It was physically not possible and not feasible, not practical. They were now outside of the jurisdiction of the Internal Political Department. They were now relating to the ANC Education Department.
MR LEVINE: Would this be obvious to anyone looking at the Schoon files?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR LEVINE: How so?
MR MAHARAJ: I don't have the updated one, this is 1980, I presume that Pretoria did not stop its work and given much of its military activity in Angola, there would have been concentrated Intelligence work being done with regards to Angola, as to who is who and what they are doing, and very easily it would have been ascertained that they were in a University which made it impractical for them to have contact with anybody at home, from an organising point of view. Even to contact Luanda, would be a long process, let alone ... (intervention) ...
MR LEVINE: Mr Maharaj, you answered my question with an unqualified affirmative when you said yes.
MR MAHARAJ: Sorry?
MR LEVINE: You then said I am not in possession of the updated files, correct?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR LEVINE: You then said, I assume that and you went on. What connection would there by between the unqualified yes, the and I would say fair comment by you that you are not in possession of the updated files, and the then further qualification of what you assume to have been the position?
MR MAHARAJ: The unqualified yes is in relation to the fact that they were now no longer involved with the Internal Political Department work, and were no longer accountable to it, no longer reporting to it, and no longer assigned tasks by it, unqualified.
From knowledge from the South African government's side, Sir, that depends on the reporting.
MR LEVINE: Which you know nothing about?
MR MAHARAJ: Which I don't have any records.
MR LEVINE: Right.
MR MAHARAJ: But the assumptions are based on their involvement in Angola in that period, while Mr Schoon and Jeanette were in Lubango, their operations, their military involvement and no Military Force would be there without doing constant detailed Intelligence work and the targets would have been of military targets.
MR LEVINE: And political involvement?
MR MAHARAJ: Political involvement where?
MR LEVINE: In Angola?
MR MAHARAJ: In Angola, not for the ANC Underground. Not for the ANC at the military level. Any other involvement as an ordinary member of the ANC, just as a member who was living in Canada, that would be in the provence of the Secretary General's office and I would expect and ANC member to be always making people aware of conditions in South Africa.
MR LEVINE: But we have already heard in your evidence this morning, and in answer to my learned friend, Mr Visser, that the entire military and political structures were one?
MR MAHARAJ: No, they were not one. They were coordinated. You don't coordinate something that is one. They were two separate structures.
When you use the word one, I am thoroughly confused.
MR LEVINE: My task is not to confuse you, and the record will speak for itself.
MR MAHARAJ: Thank you.
MR LEVINE: Do you know where Mr Marius Schoon was on the day of the explosion in Lubango?
MR MAHARAJ: My recollection is that he was not in Lubango, certainly not in the flat, but where he was, I don't know.
MR LEVINE: Would it help your recollection if I suggested to you that he was in Luanda?
MR MAHARAJ: No problem, I wouldn't see anything problematic about that.
MR LEVINE: It doesn't jog your memory at all?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir, it was not an area of my work.
MR LEVINE: Very well. You have said and please correct me if I am wrong, that the Botswana authorities turned a blind eye to the ANC in Botswana?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR LEVINE: Is that correct?
MR MAHARAJ: I tried to describe the position in that way.
MR LEVINE: And I am not doing you any injustice if I describe it in that manner?
MR MAHARAJ: No. I have used those words in an attempt to depict the way, the conditions under which we operated.
MR LEVINE: Did this mean that ANC members could not operate and live openly as ANC members in Botswana?
MR MAHARAJ: The ANC members working on the home front, as far as possible, either had to gain occupation, so that it would provide them a cover, legitimise their stay, or they had to have legitimate refugee status, granted by the Botswana authorities.
At the same time, we would seek to conceal from the Botswana authorities, which ones among them, were active in our home front activities.
MR LEVINE: And did such members have cover occupations?
MR MAHARAJ: Quite a few, not all.
MR LEVINE: And apparently they had open reasons then for living in Botswana?
MR MAHARAJ: Those who had occupation or had official refugee status, could live openly, but we also sent in people illegally, to live in Botswana.
MR LEVINE: In so far as Marius and Jeanette Schoon were concerned?
MR MAHARAJ: I think that they had applied openly for refugee status and as part of acquiring that refugee status, had got occupations. At least one of them had an occupation.
MR LEVINE: As a teacher?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes certainly.
MR LEVINE: Which one of the two?
MR MAHARAJ: One of the two, I don't know which one was teaching at Malopolole because through that job, they also had accommodation.
MR LEVINE: You don't know which of the two?
MR MAHARAJ: I am not sure, not sure whether one of the two, or both. It is not an enquiry I made. I was satisfied that they had a legitimate cover to be present in Botswana which would show that they were legitimately living there and that was fine.
MR LEVINE: Would you reflect on that for a moment, as to whether it was one or two of them that were employed as teachers?
MR MAHARAJ: I think, Judge I have been to the Malopolole home of Marius and Jeanette Schoon two times. I think that on both occasions I arrived there at night and left in the morning.
I don't recall being there during the day, and in any event, it would have been wrong for me to be seen there during the day. I cannot recall having looked at those circumstances to determine whether one or which one, or both were working at Malopolole School.
MR LEVINE: But they would have been reflected in the South African Intelligence Organ's records as being ostensibly teachers in Botswana?
MR MAHARAJ: Sure, if I was sitting from the South African Intelligence side, I would need to know that type of detail. But from the ANC's side, I would not need to know that level of detail.
MR LEVINE: Wearing the South African Intelligence Organ's hat, they would there be reflected as being teachers?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR LEVINE: So what would there be to lead the South African Intelligence Organ to the belief that if they were reflected as merely being teachers as Lubango, this wasn't just a continuation of what was being done by the Schoon's in Botswana?
MR MAHARAJ: The same thing that they did in Botswana?
MR LEVINE: Yes.
MR MAHARAJ: Check. They would check. Just as they checked in Botswana, they would check in Lubango and they had an adequate presence in Angola to do the checks covertly and overtly.
Overtly through Mr Williamson's contacts, covertly through other contact. I don't presume that Mr Williamson was the only South African agent in international organisations.
MR LEVINE: Indeed. Do you say they would check? Do you know if such a check was in fact carried out?
MR MAHARAJ: I don't have evidence of that check.
MR LEVINE: Very well. When did you first meet Mr Craig Williamson?
MR MAHARAJ: United Nations General Assembly, August/September 1977. I was addressing the Assembly on conditions of political prisoners, and he addressed them in some capacity and that is the time he gave the Chief Representative 500 dollars to help us out, which we returned.
MR LEVINE: Who was the Chief Representative?
MR MAHARAJ: Johnny Makathini, the late Johnny Makathini, member of the National Executive.
MR LEVINE: Yes. And what did you discuss, what was foremost in your discussions with Mr Williamson at that meeting?
MR MAHARAJ: I had no meeting with Mr Williamson.
MR LEVINE: Did you know Mr Williamson by another name?
MR MAHARAJ: At that stage, no.
MR LEVINE: Does the name Colin strike a familiar cord with you?
MR MAHARAJ: I know a number of Colin's. I know a large number of Colin's. Colin Coleman comes first, I don't know why.
MR LEVINE: Mr Maharaj, did you not tell Mr Williamson that you had received a letter about him from Kadar Asmal after the Lagos Conference?
MR MAHARAJ: After the Lagos Conference, I am talking about going to the United Nations, directly from Lagos.
MR LEVINE: Yes.
MR MAHARAJ: Kadar Asmal's letter written after the Lagos Conference, couldn't reach me in New York, because I flew directly from Lagos to New York.
MR LEVINE: Did you in fact attend the Lagos Conference?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir, twice.
MR LEVINE: Did you advise Mr Williamson that you had a copy of certain correspondence from President Mandela which you had been told the IUEF also had?
MR MAHARAJ: That is the second Lagos Conference you are now talking about.
MR LEVINE: Yes.
MR MAHARAJ: That is the conference that I say where President Tambo approached me with the typed version of what purported to be a letter from President Mandela, which Mr Williamson wanted published and said that he was going to distribute it there with the credit going to the IUEF and I advised the President, not to allow that.
I then began the process of tracking down that letter and finding out who brought it, and why it was not according to the channels that were agreed to when I left prison.
MR LEVINE: So, would it then be correct to say that you did have a meeting with Mr Williamson in New York?
MR MAHARAJ: My meeting with Mr Williamson in - if you are talking about the time when he and I were together in New York, was straight after the first Lagos Conference, where I went, sent by the ANC to speak at the session held on political prisoners in South Africa.
I did not go after the second meeting. After the second meeting, I went via Paris, to London.
MR LEVINE: I am talking about, least there be any confusion, Mr Maharaj, October of 1977.
MR MAHARAJ: Right. October 1977, yes, I am in New York, Toronto, Dublin.
MR LEVINE: Did you in fact have lunch with Mr Williamson at the home of the Swedish Ambassador to the United Nations?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir.
MR LEVINE: Not?
MR MAHARAJ: No. Lunch at the Swedish Ambassador with Mr Williamson, no.
MR LEVINE: Let me put certain names to you, it may assist you. Ambassador and Mrs Tunbo?
MR MAHARAJ: The name doesn't ring a bell.
MR LEVINE: Cannon and Mrs Collins?
MR MAHARAJ: I know of Cannon Collins and Mrs Collins, very well, a meeting in New York. Cannon Collins did address a meeting. That I had lunch with him, I don't recall.
MR LEVINE: A lady from the Swedish mission?
MR MAHARAJ: Name?
MR LEVINE: I don't have a name unfortunately.
MR MAHARAJ: That would be very difficult for me, a question for me to deal with Judge.
MR LEVINE: Yes, I accept that. The late Johnny Makathini?
MR MAHARAJ: Johnny Makathini, but I don't recall a lunch at the Swedish Ambassador's place.
MR LEVINE: Let's go on with a few more names, it may help. David Sebekho?
MR MAHARAJ: David Sebekho, representative of the PAC. I recall him very well. I recall being at a dinner with him, hosted by the Chairman of the Anti-apartheid Section of the United Nations, Centre Against Apartheid.
MR LEVINE: Well, this may have been a late lunch, however, Elias Netlobedebi?
MR MAHARAJ: Sorry?
MR LEVINE: Elias Netlobedebi?
MR MAHARAJ: I know of him as belonging to the PAC. I would have met him in New York in one of my trips there.
MR LEVINE: But you cannot associate him with a luncheon?
MR MAHARAJ: Sorry Judge, I thought we started off with a lunch where I was with the Swedish Ambassador and Mr Williamson, it is now becoming a mass luncheon.
MR LEVINE: No, we started off ...
MR MAHARAJ: And if I was asked, I was at a mass lunch, hosted by the Swedish Ambassador, that is quite possible, because at the United Nations, the way I fed myself, was free of charge, to go to free luncheons, hosted by Ambassadors.
MR LEVINE: We started off with a luncheon at the home of the Swedish Ambassador to the United Nations.
MR MAHARAJ: That is right.
MR LEVINE: There was no restriction on the number of guests?
ADV DE JAGER: Yes, but is there a restriction on the number of lunches? Are we talking about one or are we talking about three, four or five? Were they all together at one lunch?
MR LEVINE: I know two things Mr De Jager. The one is there was only one lunch, and the second thing I have learned is there was no free lunches.
ADV DE JAGER: But are we talking about one lunch?
MR LEVINE: One lunch.
MR MAHARAJ: There are no free lunches from my side too, for Mr Williamson.
MR LEVINE: Well, he wasn't invited.
MR MAHARAJ: I have had lunch with him, but I don't recall this one in New York.
MR LEVINE: Well, does the name Ivor Richard ring a bell with you in regard to a luncheon?
MR MAHARAJ: Judge, I think I will be very frank. We are talking about 1977 and we are talking about a city where the United Nations is located where every State of the world has a Representative.
Out of the 160 odd States of the world, more than 120 were sympathetic to the Anti-Apartheid struggle. I went to all sorts of things. Unless there is something about this lunch that is special, it just doesn't fit in.
MR LEVINE: Well, we are talking as you say correctly, about 1977, but your memory has been represented by you to have been very good in 1977 and I am merely testing that, coupled with the fact that one of your quests was to obtain the very important letter that had come off Robben Island.
Bear with me if you would for a few minutes longer, on the guests at this luncheon, in the hope ... (intervention) ...
CHAIRPERSON: Was the letter at Robben Island in issue at the time you first went to United Nations?
MR MAHARAJ: No, not the first time Judge, it became an issue at the second Lagos Conference, where it was - where Mr Williamson wanted to publish it.
CHAIRPERSON: As I understood it, you went to London after that, you didn't go to the United Nations?
MR MAHARAJ: It is possible, now that we are going through all those details, it is possible now that I went to the United Nations then too, but as yet, Judge, I am still based in London and my primary task at this stage, is writing and transcribing the autobiography of our President.
I am not yet deployed in Internal work and I am concerned of this particular issue from the angle of why is the arranged channels of communication being bypassed?
CHAIRPERSON: I just tried to clarify your original, as I understood your evidence, was that after the second Lagos Conference, you went back to London.
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
CHAIRPERSON: Now you are saying, you may have gone to New York?
MR MAHARAJ: I may have gone to New York, because certainly what is ringing a bell is when did I touch Toronto and Dublin, because the question was asked about Prof Asmal, suggesting that he had written to me and I am saying certainly not straight after I got to New York.
That is what is causing a little bit of a problem in my memory.
MR LEVINE: Because in New York, approximately one month later, you ended up in Geneva? Does that assist you in any way?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, if you are talking about September/October/November 1977, we are at the period when I am trying to check about that communication and finally ascertain and get Mr Williamson to agree where it came from.
MR LEVINE: Does the name Leslie Harriman ring any bells?
MR MAHARAJ: Very well, Chairman of the United Nation's Centre Against Apartheid.
MR LEVINE: E.S. Reddy?
MR MAHARAJ: E.S. Reddy, Secretary of the Centre against Apartheid.
MR LEVINE: The Pakistani Ambassador?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir.
MR LEVINE: Mrs Skoretha Scott King?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, widow of the late Martin Luther King, very well.
MR LEVINE: Miss Gwendoline Curney?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, representative of either Ghana or Nigeria.
MR LEVINE: And Abby Farah?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir.
MR LEVINE: Do you dispute or are you in a position to dispute the fact of the luncheon as we have dealt with, attended by those guests who have been mentioned?
MR MAHARAJ: I don't recall, to the best of my recollection, a lunch hosted by the Swedish Ambassador. Possible lunch/supper, other than that, it doesn't have any significance. All the names that I can recall are because of their particular roles in the United Nation's structure in relation to the struggle against apartheid.
MR LEVINE: But you can't dispute this gathering?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir.
MR LEVINE: Not? Did you at that gathering, advise Mr Williamson that you had a copy of the Mandela letter, that had come off Robben Island?
MR MAHARAJ: In the sense of a private conversation?
MR LEVINE: Yes?
MR MAHARAJ: Quite possible that I would have told him that I have a copy.
MR LEVINE: And that you had asked the IUEF not to use the letter at that time?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, I had already advised the President to tell Mr Williamson not to publish it at that stage.
MR LEVINE: Because you were working on some aspect of it at that stage?
MR MAHARAJ: Possible again, because he was the one that had approached President Tambo, and was ready to publish it. I would be interacting with him, and I would be saying things to him.
Also at the same time trying to find out exactly what he knows about the origins of that letter.
MR LEVINE: So this was all part of an elaborate if I could put it colloquially, spy vs spy process?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir, it would be part of the basic motions of any investigation, not elaborate, very simple steps.
Here is the man who says I've got it, I said to him, I've got a copy and since the IUEF wanted to publish it, I wanted to find out where they got it from.
MR LEVINE: Did you say to Mr Williamson that you would like to come to Geneva to make some further queries?
MR MAHARAJ: Quite possible. Certainly I ended up in Geneva, where my first stop was to call him to a meeting in a cafe.
MR LEVINE: To call Mr Williamson to a meeting? You don't dispute that on the 18th of November 1977 you arrived in Geneva and you went to see Mr Williamson?
MR MAHARAJ: Which day I arrived, I don't know, but I would have gone to see Mr Williamson the second day.
MR LEVINE: Who were you travelling with at that stage?
MR MAHARAJ: I travelled with President Oliver Tambo.
MR LEVINE: The late President?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR LEVINE: And?
MR MAHARAJ: And one other person.
MR LEVINE: One of?
MR MAHARAJ: One other person from the ANC.
MR LEVINE: One other person? Do you recall the name of that other person?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, there was President Tambo's security person, that I knew at Mshengo.
ADV DE JAGER: Mr Levine, aren't we wandering far from the real application at this stage?
MR LEVINE: Well Mr Chairman, Mr De Jager, as I understand it, credibility is always an issue although on that basis, I cannot go behind an answer which I haven't sought to do, but if the Committee is of the view that I am travelling too far abroad ...
ADV DE JAGER: Yes, perhaps if we could get back to Botswana and not ...
MR LEVINE: Well, you know with modern airlines, Mr De Jager, anywhere is possible. I take your point.
Was your immediate mission to Geneva to find the original of the letter that emanated from President Mandela?
MR MAHARAJ: My immediate mission was to find the original and to find out how that original got out of Robben Island.
MR LEVINE: It was without going into any depth, it was a complaint in regard to certain occurrences on the island at that stage?
MR MAHARAJ: I don't recall the content of that because I was a regular channel for communications coming through from Robben Island. The mission was find the original so that we can authenticate it, two, who brought it out so that the lines are secure lines.
MR LEVINE: And you felt your security had been violated?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, because it was not in keeping with the arrangements that were made and I had left Robben Island on December 1976, one of my explicit tasks was to set up that communication with Robben Island on a safe basis.
MR LEVINE: And you say you knew and I am not going to ask you to disclose the name, but you knew how that letter got out?
MR MAHARAJ: There is no problem any more in disclosing that, it was the Representative, Mr Smith, of the International Red Cross but it was given to Mr Hugh Lewin who passed it to Craig and Craig then tried to set himself up as the unique intermediatory with Robben Island, concealing from us that it was brought out by the Red Cross representative and trying to make us dependent on him to communicate with President Mandela.
MR LEVINE: You see, didn't Hugh Lewin give the letter to Laas Gunner Erickson, not to Mr Williamson?
MR MAHARAJ: One of the two, one of the two, but when I called Craig, I interacted with him on the basis that Craig, you are saying treat him as a sympathiser close to the ANC, you are working for the IUEF, you must have inside knowledge.
If you are a comrade, tell me how did it reach the IUEF.
MR LEVINE: Why did you not mention that one of the two ie Laas Gunner Erickson or Craig Williamson would have received the letter, why did you wait for me to prompt you?
MR MAHARAJ: In my - this morning, I mentioned the both names. You may have a little bit of a problem, but the transcripts would verify me. I mentioned Mr Laas Gunner Erickson and Mr Craig Williamson.
MR LEVINE: I don't believe in that context, Sir.
MR MAHARAJ: In the context of tracing that communication. In that context.
MR LEVINE: But it is clear you didn't couple Mr Erickson with Mr Williamson in your evidence now.
MR MAHARAJ: I didn't and I still do not couple them as spies of Pretoria, but I do couple them as both key officials of the IUEF. But the person in Lagos wanting to print it and approaching President Tambo, was Mr Williamson.
MR LEVINE: Who gave the instructions as between Messrs Erickson and Williamson?
MR MAHARAJ: Who gave the instruction between Erickson ...
MR LEVINE: Yes, die Erickson give Williamson instructions and was Erickson in overall control?
MR MAHARAJ: Erickson had a more senior position.
MR LEVINE: Yes. So it would appear correct, that Erickson would have given the instructions?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir. It had nothing to do with seniority in the IUEF.
A letter coming out from Robben Island was not the property of the IUEF, it would go from one trusted person to another trusted person to reach its destination.
Whether the person trusted, the person who gave it, trusted Erickson or Craig Williamson more, one or more than the other, or trusted the both equally, will then depend on convenience.
MR LEVINE: Very well.
MR MAHARAJ: But seniority would have nothing to do with it, nor would age.
MR LEVINE: Now Mr De Jager, we are getting a little bit closer to Botswana, because I am coming to a visit to the witness in Lusaka, Zambia in December 1978.
ADV DE JAGER: That is still a way off, but a bit nearer.
MR LEVINE: (Microphone not on) Mr Maharaj, did you have a meeting in the second half of December 1978 with Mr Williamson at the Ridgeway Hotel in Lusaka?
MR MAHARAJ: Second half of 1978?
MR LEVINE: Second half of December 1978?
MR MAHARAJ: I was in Lusaka, especially called for the first week of December, the first, second week.
MR LEVINE: And do you remember having a meeting with Mr Williamson during that ...(indistinct) in Lusaka?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, possible. It is possible also that that introduction, his presence may have been brought to my attention by Ray Simon, possible.
MR LEVINE: You don't dispute the fact that you had such a meeting?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir, quite possible.
MR LEVINE: Did you voice to Mr Williamson your criticism of arrangements that had been made for communication between the ANC and the ANC network inside South Africa?
MR MAHARAJ: Quite possible because - I say quite possible because I had now been appointed Secretary of the Internal and I would have begun to see, I would have begun to be informed that Mr Williamson was working with the London structures. Or I would have had reasonable grounds to believe that he was working with the London structures.
MR LEVINE: Yes. With the London structures?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR LEVINE: You speak of the London structures - of the ANC?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR LEVINE: And did you refer to any aspect of the activities of the people within South Africa, that were most impressive to you?
MR MAHARAJ: I don't know Sir. I mean any aspect that is impressive to me, I was a freedom fighter, my whole life was all the impressive things happening at home.
MR LEVINE: Such as the distribution of pamphlets?
MR MAHARAJ: It could have, it was getting in the news at that time.
MR LEVINE: Yes. Did you enquire of Mr Williamson during such meeting whether all four of the latest pamphlet bomb explosions could be attributed to Mr Williamson's group?
MR MAHARAJ: If by that time, I was already privy to the reports from London, and if by that time already London had identified Newman as Mr Williamson, then it is possible I would have asked him at that meeting, otherwise at the subsequent meeting with him.
But once I had become aware in my work that Newman is Mr Williamson, then I would ask because one of the things about his report was that he claimed that he was supervising a structure which was doing leaflet bombing from Jo'burg to Durban to Cape Town.
I was using that, I would be certainly probing how were they doing is so efficiently and effectively.
MR LEVINE: Do you mean by that, without being apprehended?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir. It became clarified with the London meeting, Mr Asmisson claimed to be a one man operative and who set off three pamphlet bombs in three different centres in the space of 36 hours.
I thought that was beyond impressive.
MR LEVINE: Did you suggest the London meeting to set up mechanisms of direct control?
MR MAHARAJ: London, I suggested that I would reinforce Mr Asmisson by adding members to him as a Unit so that they would be even more effective, and he insisted that he was a loner, he felt safe in his working alone and nobody would catch him as long as he worked alone, but he would like to be also in contact with me directly, one to one only.
MR LEVINE: When you say he, you refer here to Peter Asmisson?
MR MAHARAJ: Oh, I didn't know it was Peter.
MR LEVINE: Paul?
MR MAHARAJ: Well, I thought there were two. I thought that the Asmisson's were two chaps, brothers. Thank you.
MR LEVINE: Did you refer to Marius Schoon at that stage?
MR MAHARAJ: At which stage?
MR LEVINE: During your meeting?
MR MAHARAJ: In December or at London?
MR LEVINE: In December?
MR MAHARAJ: In December, it is possible that the meeting may have been the result of a trip that Marius had already made to Botswana, and because at the very early stage, I think it is here in the reports that Marius was impressed with the network and sent a letter to Lusaka suggesting that I should meet Mr Williamson.
I could find it very quickly, if you could just bear with me a little.
MR LEVINE: Please take your time Sir.
MR MAHARAJ: As of last night, I recall three letters in this pile, addressed to Messrs Ray Simons, separately to me and separately to Mr Henry Mahoti, who was visiting Lusaka, urging us that he had just met Mr Williamson.
He thought that what Mr Williamson and his network were doing, was very much the sort of ... (intervention) ...
MR LEVINE: May I refer you to pages 7 and 8, if that helps?
MR MAHARAJ: Thank you, is that 7 and 8 of which section?
MR LEVINE: Of the first section.
MR MAHARAJ: Very well, and it is dated 21st of January.
MR LEVINE: 1978.
MR MAHARAJ: Now that would not be the subject of the discussion then because this introduction and Mr Williamson must have been extremely mobile in and out of Lusaka if he was there in December and once more in January.
MR LEVINE: That hasn't been of any help?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, but it does say that there was - in the context of Mr Schoon, he at that stage is not aware that I have met Mr Williamson and he is urging me to meet him.
MR LEVINE: That is why the letter purports to introduce Mr Williamson to you?
MR MAHARAJ: That is right.
MR LEVINE: Now, were you in fact insistent and I am not talking again about the meeting in December 1978, that the network of Schoon and a network of Williamson be kept separate from one another?
MR MAHARAJ: At that stage, I am not aware of a network of Schoon, and I am not so sure Judge that this subject matter that Mr Levine is raising, was discussed at the December 1977 meeting.
MR LEVINE: December 1978?
MR MAHARAJ: Oh, December 1978?
MR LEVINE: Yes.
MR MAHARAJ: December 1978 is another ball game, very likely. By that time, I am pretty close to Mr Craig Williamson. I have studied all correspondence coming through from London. I would have by now identified Newman and I would be looking for a closer engagement to get to know the key members of his structure, namely Charles and the other gentleman.
MR LEVINE: Hence you wanted the networks kept separate and apart?
MR MAHARAJ: And I was by that time satisfied that there were problems with Mr Williamson's network.
MR LEVINE: So, from late December or from mid December 1978, for a period of more than one year, before cover was broken, as far as Mr Williamson was concerned, you interacted with him based on your suspicions, but you were able safely to interact with him, through out that time period?
MR MAHARAJ: Safely in the sense that I am still around.
MR LEVINE: Yes.
MR MAHARAJ: That is not proof that he may have had other intentions.
MR LEVINE: Well, now what do you mean by that remark?
MR MAHARAJ: I mean by that, that their assessment in 1978, the other document you've got which has now been accepted as an Exhibit, if I am just passed that volume.
MR LEVINE: RR?
MR MAHARAJ: No, the other one that you have taken so far, the blue cover?
MR LEVINE: Well, it hasn't been accepted.
MR MAHARAJ: I thought it has been accepted, I wouldn't have left it with you if it was not accepted.
MR LEVINE: I think I was quite clear on that Mr Commissioner, I said I would look at it and it will be then decided or I will then decide whether to ask you to accept it or not.
MR MAHARAJ: All right then, in that case Judge, without introducing that and making things lengthy, I have solid inside information that the Craig Williamson Unit in making an analysis of me, said that it would be a major blow to the ANC is they were to lose me, very reminiscent of permanently removed from society.
That was a firm assessment which is saying that I am one of the most dangerous persons. So I say the fact that I am alive today, does not prove that the Pretoria and particularly through Mr Williamson's Unit, did not have other intentions with regards to my life.
MR LEVINE: That document refers to NIS, is that correct?
MR MAHARAJ: But it is done by Mr Carl Edwards and these documents are sent to Mr Craig Williamson after he has broken cover, and that is one of the first acts that he has done to generate work.
You need this type of study with Operation Daisy, Operation Daisy Heads are here, this was now to analyze all that. That analysis refer to the London meeting, refer to the assessments of the London meeting of me, and kept on saying this man is terribly dangerous, he is professional, he keeps structures isolated, he has ordered Marius Schoon to separate his work that he does with that network, from other work.
He has instructed return the ...(indistinct), so all that is a deep study in which they see me as a very dangerous man. They wouldn't see me as dangerous and leave me like that, or give me ...(indistinct), to become more dangerous.
MR LEVINE: That was a perception of NIS, is that correct?
MR MAHARAJ: Mr Carl Edwards was the analyst, a key member of Mr Williamson's Unit. Williamson was the key man outside, and the key man inside was Mr Carl Edwards.
He is the man who went to Botswana and met Jeanette Schoon in order to be able to provide themselves and offer themselves as a courier service.
MR LEVINE: You see, I would like to put the following to you. By the time that that document with the blue spine I believe, was written, Mr Carl Edwards was at - Daisy was over, Carl Edwards was at NIS and Mr Williamson was in the Security Police.
MR MAHARAJ: That is your information Sir, but I don't believe that these people who had worked so closely together in the student ranks, ...(indistinct) who functioned as a cohesive Unit, carried out all those wonderful exploits, would now just because they are wearing a few different hats, within one State Security structure, would now stop sharing their views about how they see people.
In fact, the letter indicates, one letter about the earlier volume, indicates that Mr Williamson specifically asked for that assessment. You ask for an assessment because you rely on the analyst's capabilities.
ADV DE JAGER: Mr Levine, really we are not called upon in this hearing, to make an assessment about Mr Maharaj's role in the struggle.
I think we could continue for days and days on, but as far as possible, try and limit it to the true issues here, the relevant facts about the amnesty applications we are dealing with.
MR LEVINE: Mr Maharaj, may I trouble you to hand that document back please? Thank you very much.
Mr Chairman, it is ... (intervention) ...
CHAIRPERSON: I trust Mr Levine, that you will keep that document in your custody, you will not make it available to your client?
MR LEVINE: Sir, how am I able to get instructions?
CHAIRPERSON: You can ask your client about it, but it is a document that is not evidence at the moment, it is not being put before us, it is the possession of this witness.
From what he has said, he and your client are not the best of friends, and I do not think that you should make available a potential Exhibit to one of the applicants. You will keep it in your possession, or else we will give it to Mr Bizos and you can look at it here during the time we are here.
MR LEVINE: During the time we are here, is I think, taken up.
CHAIRPERSON: Well then, will you keep it in your possession Mr Levine?
MR LEVINE: You didn't let me answer Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: I do not want an answer, will you do so?
MR LEVINE: The answer is absolutely yes.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Your original answer was, well, how can I consult with my client. Right, you have now agreed, you will keep that document in your possession.
MR LEVINE: And I will consult with my client thereon.
CHAIRPERSON: Carry on.
MR LEVINE: Mr Chairman, I notice it is now quarter past four, I had scheduled the remainder of my life on the basis that these proceedings would stop at 4 o'clock.
CHAIRPERSON: I had understood that all counsel appearing at these proceedings, agreed this morning that we would sit later hours, so we did not have to sit on Wednesday morning. Wasn't that the position Mr Bizos?
MR BIZOS: That was the position in relation to the counsel that I spoke to Mr Chairman, but I do recall Mr Levine suggesting or saying that he had other arrangements, and I said well that will be a matter for you and the Committee, but I understood that in these proceedings, the time of adjournment was your discretion and we usually sit till five o'clock particularly on days when we start at ten o'clock, Mr Chairman.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, I must just say that I am very surprised. Nobody has approached me this morning about sitting later. I have a consultation, which I could have moved easily if I was made aware this morning about this.
I have clients waiting at my office, and nobody spoke to me about it. I don't know who was spoken to, but nobody spoke to me about it.
CHAIRPERSON: I apologise gentlemen, I understood that it was a general agreement.
MR LEVINE: Mr Chairman, indeed Ms Patel spoke to me at approximately ten o'clock and I told her my difficulties, that I was not available after 4 o'clock because I had arranged consultations at my office, and at the same time, I advised her that I had absolutely no objection from my point of view, to agreeing that we should commence on Wednesday morning, when it is convenient.
At no stage did I indicate that I would be available after four. I seem to be in the same position as Mr Du Plessis.
ADV DE JAGER: Could I ask, whether counsel would be prepared to allow us to sit longer hours so that we could make up for the time that we will miss on Wednesday morning.
Please, I don't know, these things won't work if everybody is pressing at the same time. Let me kindly finish. Would you assist us to start earlier in the morning, and sit a little bit later in the afternoons, so that we won't waste any time, we won't like to have the taxpayers saying we are not sitting, we want to make up that time if possible.
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, speaking for myself, Visser on record, I have often said Mr Chairman, we can start earlier, but I do have a problem in the afternoons. There are certain things, one's life has got to go on.
It is not every day, but normally Mr Chairman, the only time that one can arrange to meet people, would not be early in the morning, but late in the afternoon, and you as a lawyer Mr Chairman, will remember that that is a practical difficulty.
I have sympathy with my learned friend Mr Du Plessis, but by the same token Mr Chairman, certainly if it means sitting late today and or tomorrow or the day after that for this week, fine, but really Mr Chairman, 4 o'clock, after 4 o'clock, is a difficult time.
That is speaking merely for myself.
MR DU PLESSIS: May I just say Mr Chairman, I will make any arrangement. You know me, I am available any time, every time, and if need be, I would phone and ask my client if he can wait this afternoon.
CHAIRPERSON: No, I think this afternoon has clearly been misunderstood, if there are two of you involved, but if we could sit, start at 9 o'clock tomorrow morning, and sit till five perhaps on tomorrow and Wednesday.
Make your arrangements accordingly.
MS PATEL: Honourable Chairperson, Ms Patel, if I may just seeing that Mr Levine has placed on record that I had had a discussion with him this morning, I wish to deny that I ever had that discussion with him this morning regarding us sitting later or the arrangements for Wednesday morning.
CHAIRPERSON: We will adjourn till 9 o'clock tomorrow morning, but it appears that we have not finished with Mr Maharaj, and we will request him, if he can please, to make arrangements for Friday.I understand Mr Maharaj, you have to be in a nicer place tomorrow morning.
MR MAHARAJ: I will do my best to be here tomorrow morning, and I will communicate with counsel by tomorrow, what permission I've got, but the aim will be to try and fly in on Thursday night, last flight to be here early Friday. Thank you.
06-11-1998: Day 5
SATHYANDRANATH RAGUNANAN MAHARAJ: (s.u.o.)
CHAIRPERSON: I think we ought to thank the Minister for having come across the snow covered Karoo to be with us. Who is the first person?
MR VISSER: Visser, Mr Chairperson, I've completed my cross-examination.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR LEVINE: ...(inaudible) my cross-examination, I apologise for the very slight delay but traffic being what it is I was a little late.
Mr Maharaj are you ready? Mr Chairman I don't know what the situation is with regard to witnesses who were under oath, does one re-administer it or just - correct yes.
I think you heard that, you're still under your previous oath. Mr Maharaj would you have a look at Exhibit N?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR LEVINE: You have it before you?
MR MAHARAJ: I have it.
MR LEVINE: That deals with the structures of the ANC committees one of which relates to Botswana. Could you have a look at paragraph 3.9.2 I believe it is and I speak without - 3.9.1, I'm indebted to my learned friend, Mr Visser. That provides for I think what was so called the leading figures in the ANC organisation in Botswana during the period forming the subject number of the document.
ADV DE JAGER: That's on page 40 of Exhibit N.
MR LEVINE: No Mr de Jager, it's page 43 point 9.1.
ADV DE JAGER: No.
MR LEVINE: In Botswana IPC.
CHAIRPERSON: That's on page 40, item 3.9.1, you will see the names Jenny and Marius Schoon featured there, Mr Maharaj?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes I do.
MR LEVINE: And if you would be good enough to turn to page 43, 4.6.2. Do you see the names Marius and Jenny Schoon featured in that sub-paragraph also?
MR MAHARAJ: Correct.
MR LEVINE: So Mr Maharaj, although there is some dispute of whether or not Marius and Jenny Schoon were in fact members of the senior organ, whatever the position was I think it's clear that they were both leading figures in the ANC in Botswana?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR LEVINE: You said in your evidence in chief on Monday that Mr Williamson had tried to give you money in New York, that you regarded this as some attempt to compromise yourself?
MR MAHARAJ: I said he had tried to give money to Mr Johnny Makatini, the Chief Representative of the ANC at the United Nations.
MR LEVINE: And not to you, I'm sorry, I misunderstood that. How much money was offered in this endeavour by Mr Williamson?
MR MAHARAJ: To the best of my knowledge it was 500 dollars.
MR LEVINE: Were you present when this offer was made?
MR MAHARAJ: No I wasn't.
MR LEVINE: Were you told subsequently by Mr Makatini that the offer was made?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, not only the offer, Mr Makatini produced the money that evening because when I arrived in New York I had exactly one dime on me at John Kennedy Airport and I phoned Mr Makatini asking him how I should make contact with him. He asked me to take a taxi and when the taxi arrived at his address, he didn't have the fare and we had to go around the United Nations building trying to find ambassadors who would give us the money. We were eating at the cocktails hosted by ambassadors to the U.N. Mr Williamson was there to appear at the same session of the United Nations Special Committee and he made the offer to Mr Makatini, gave him the money. Johnny Makatini was very happy to receive the money and that evening came to me and said "let's go out for dinner, at last we can have a proper meal." I asked him where he got the money from, he said it was from Mr Williamson and I then said he should return it because that that would be a wrong way for us to conduct our business and I indicated to him that I had concerns about taking money from Mr Williamson in that form. If money was to be passed to the ANC it should be passed through the proper channels so that it is recorded and so that it is open and transparent as to how and where we got the money from.
MR LEVINE: Did Mr Makatini follow your advices and give the money back?
MR MAHARAJ: To the best of my knowledge he did because we remained broke.
MR LEVINE: Now a fairly significant feature of your examination in chief was that you became suspicious of Mr Williamson at a certain stage?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR LEVINE: More or less when was that?
MR MAHARAJ: My suspicions, judge, go back even predating my meeting with Mr Williamson. The condition of my leaving Robben Island was an arrangement between myself, President Mandela, Walter Sisulu, that whatever happened to me on my release and we anticipated that I would be house arrested, that I would use that house arrest to remain within the country for at least six months in order to get a feel of the situation within the country before I would break my house arrest order and leave the country. So my six months were spent in an intensive look within the conditions imposed of house arrest to understand the political situation. Now it is around that period that one became aware of the details of various activities going on in the country. In that context of course I began to look at what was happening, amongst others, in NUSAS and ...(intervention)
MR LEVINE: And that would have been in circa '97?
MR MAHARAJ: '77.
MR LEVINE: '77.
MR MAHARAJ: I was released from prison on the 17/18th December 1976 and I left the country on the 1st July 1977.
MR LEVINE: So we're talking about the first half?
MR MAHARAJ: First half.
MR LEVINE: Of 1977.
MR MAHARAJ: To the best of my recollection, Mr Williamson had already left South Africa but I received under house arrest overtures from various individuals, overtures of assistance. Amongst those overtures were assistance to escape the country without being rearrested. I don't recall the individuals but I had made up my mind that when I left the country I would not do so with the help of any existing network because I did not know the extent to which any particular network was infiltrated by the South African security.
MR LEVINE: And in fact, as I understand you, you didn't know whom you could trust?
MR MAHARAJ: No not - I say I did not know the extent to which they were infiltrated. I knew of reliable people but I did not know the extent to which they would be involved with others who were unreliable. Now it's in that context that I became aware that there was an escape route being operated via Botswana and that escape route was establishing a credibility amongst the activists inside South Africa and I became aware that Mr Williamson was in some way connected with that route. I then had to ask myself the question, could I rely on that network and I decided no because I'd already gone to prison as an underground activist and I had drawn up the firm conviction that one would have to understand the background of the people who I would rely on for my safety so I put a quiet question mark there and then in my look I realised that within NUSAS, at a certain stage Mr Williamson had indicated to certain individuals that he was a former policeman, that NUSAS had held an investigation on that matter and it was still a divisive issue amongst the students in NUSAS as to whether he was reliable or not. That was sufficient for me to say "don't trust that network, don't rely on it, find your own way to escape, but keep looking at who is Mr Williamson."
MR LEVINE: And notwithstanding your suspicions, you met with Mr Williamson and you treated him as a confidante to ANC business over the next two to three years?
MR MAHARAJ: I treated him as a person with whom I was dealing on a basis of trust but I did not treat him as a person to whom I should confide internal secrets of the ANC. Not a confidante.
MR LEVINE: And during this time did the Schoons tell you that they too were suspicious of Williamson?
MR MAHARAJ: No not during this time. The initial contact with the Schoons, they indicated to me that they thought that there was a huge potential to work together with Mr Williamson because they thought that what he was doing insofar as he had told them in Botswana, the work that he was doing had a great synergy with the work that our political section was doing. At that time I did not know Mr Williamson was in the business of murder.
MR LEVINE: Was in the business of?
MR MAHARAJ: Murder.
MR LEVINE: Did you discuss any suspicions you had of Williamson with the Schoons?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir. I did not confide in the Schoons because I wanted independent viewpoints to reach me based on independent experiences and I realised that confiding in them would colour their viewpoint so I always urged them to treat him openly but with a certain reserve, such as don't accept the money. The money that was given to Marius Schoon, I asked them to put it in a bank account and let it stand there as if they have accepted the money but do not use it and I asked that if they were ever tempted to use it, they should first contact me because I've had to get permission. So that's the basis on which I interacted with Marius and Jeanette Schoon with regards to Mr Williamson and they were, to quite frank, unhappy, they felt at one stage that I was not taking them into confidence.
MR LEVINE: Did they express this unhappiness to you?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes they expressed it directly, I have a very open relationship with Marius and Jeanette and they expressed their concern and I did not attend to the matter by taking them into confidence about my concerns until a much later stage. When they came forward with concerns about the security position of Mr Williamson.
MR LEVINE: More or less when was that?
MR MAHARAJ: I would need - offhand in my memory I cannot place a firm date but I think that there is some correspondence here in the files of the National Intelligence Service that would help me to place the date. I think it would be '79 more likely.
MR LEVINE: You mentioned in your evidence in chief that at a certain stage you were involved in collecting a dossier and I use your words of circumstantial evidence about Mr Williamson?
MR MAHARAJ: A dossier?
MR LEVINE: Yes.
MR MAHARAJ: Collecting or putting together?
MR LEVINE: Assembling shall we say?
MR MAHARAJ: Certainly, I put dossiers on everybody that I was working with so that there would be a clear file of the relationships we had.
MR LEVINE: A dossier of circumstantial evidence?
MR MAHARAJ: No I never put together a dossier of circumstantial evidence, I had a file on Mr Williamson, or his activities.
MR LEVINE: Your words were in your evidence in chief about a dossier of circumstantial evidence.
MR MAHARAJ: Well then I must correct that, it would be a dossier on Mr Williamson and it would be a dossier which would also contain all the bits of information that added up as circumstantial evidence of his questionability. If I may just give an example, judge, of what would be in that file? Mr Williamson had been working before my release from prison with a group of ANC comrades in London and they, once I became Secretary, had to send me records of who they were working with. Amongst those records were extensive correspondence between a Mr Newman and a Charles. They had disclosed to me who Newman was so it was sitting in a Newman file but later on in my interaction with London I was able to ascertain that that was Mr Williamson so that material was transferred to the Williamson file.
MR LEVINE: So the circumstantial evidence of which you spoke wasn't really that, it was part of a general file on one of the ANC workers?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes it would be a comprehensive file.
MR LEVINE: Yes and I take it kept the same file on the Schoons?
MR MAHARAJ: No, didn't need to keep a file specially for the Schoons. Schoons were members of the internal political structure, I knew Marius Schoon from as far back as 1962 and I knew him when he came out, he was in the structure of the internal and I wouldn't be putting a file on Marius Schoon because I had no reason to deal with him that way, there were official reports coming through from the IPC.
MR LEVINE: Did you ever seek any information from Mr Williamson regarding either Marius or Jeanette Schoon?
MR MAHARAJ: In what sense seeking information?
MR LEVINE: Any information whatsoever about Mr Williamson's interaction with them about the manner in which he perceived them?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir, the rule was with all the sub-structures serving under the headquarters, I made a rule that they had to give me all information of their contacts, with whoever they were in touch so any interaction on the home front, they had to send reports to me in Lusaka and at times I would go down and collect the reports and discuss the reports around everybody so I wouldn't say I did not single out Mr Williamson as a singular item with the Schoons.
MR LEVINE: Your answer is then that you did want information and you did want reports but this was of a totally generalised structure and not any individualistic reports?
MR MAHARAJ: No, I wanted the individual reports but I would not alert any structure as to which individual I was particularly interested in why.
MR LEVINE: Yes, you would not direct, pertinently direct the attention of anyone who is joined to give reports to a particular instance, you wanted everything across the board?
MR MAHARAJ: That is correct.
MR LEVINE: Were you able to assemble insofar as Mr Williamson was concerned any facts to back up your suspicions?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR LEVINE: What facts were they?
MR MAHARAJ: First of all, style of work. I realised that Mr Williamson may have been implicated in leading to the murder of Steve Biko because Mr Williamson was running channels while linked to the ANC Internal, also behind the backs of that internal structure with other ANC individuals. In that context of the Biko murder which took place in, if I recall correctly, 1977 when I was still not yet appointed Secretary of the ANC Internal.
What I found later on was that Mr Williamson may have been one of the conduits interacting with Mr Biko to set up a meeting between Mr Biko and our then President, Oliver Tambo. The meeting was being scheduled to take place clandestinely in Botswana. The problem then that arose was the possibility that within the South African security establishment, some members decided that that would be too dangerous a political move to allow even though it would under the eyes of the security forces and therefore the possibility arose that in that detention he was murdered.
They had information about the movements of Biko which were related to the possibilities that he was holding consultations with people in the country just prior to going out to meet President Tambo. There were also indications in the communications from Newman and Charles about these sort of interactions and suggesting that Mr Biko was moving closer towards working with the ANC. Now this was a particular style that emerged in the Newman reports, it was a style that emerged also with Mr Ben Langa where his reports derived from E.D.A. - Environmental Development Agency run by Mr Carl Edwards would seek to get close to all sorts of activists, sometimes genuine activists and others from a provocateur level so that they would be brought into activity and the next thing is they would be detained. Then he was running the Ginsberg Foundation, as the funder of Ginsberg Foundation, but what was peculiar was that he insisted on the names of every individual funded by the Ginsberg Foundation. He wanted to know everything. Now that was interesting because from my point of view of the ANC, I needed to know everything, but from his point of view it was an extremely sophisticated line of thought. For an activist thrown up in NUSAS whose power of influence was soldering NUSAS's funding, whose ability to organise was not visible. Where out of the blue does a person emerge like that with this sophisticated approach to all the detail?
So those circumstances added to my view of concern as to who he was and I met him deliberately, I met him to make my own assessment of him as an individual and fortunately, he invited me to his flat in Geneva.
MR LEVINE: Yes that was two years down the line from your first meeting with him, correct?
MR MAHARAJ: But already several incidents had taken place where I had been interacting with him and as I say one of the crucial watersheds was the Mandela letter from prison.
MR LEVINE: So on your version you allowed Mr Williamson to continue operating in the capacity in which he was operating for some three years?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR LEVINE: Entrusting him with confidential information?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir, interacting with him on the basis that he would believe that I trusted him but not interacting on the basis that I would place him in a position that he would be privy to sensitive information. So I never entrusted him to anything but within his circle.
MR LEVINE: Mr Maharaj, are you suggesting that the material you've discussed about the late Steve Biko was not sensitive information at the time?
MR MAHARAJ: It was very sensitive information coming through me via London in the name of Newman. I did not discuss Biko at all with him. I spoke at the Biko memorial at St George Cathedral in London and I there publicly, on behalf of the ANC, said Biko was murdered but I did not say murdered by whom.
So I treated Mr Williamson in an atmosphere that he would feel I had full confidence in him as I think that he tried to treat me as if he had full confidence in me.
MR LEVINE: So it was something of a spy versus spy situation?
MR MAHARAJ: Not spy versus spy, something of saying this man is showing the sophistication of a trained person and an experienced operative. I don't hide the fact that I was trained, I was trained for eleven months in the G.D.I. in 1961 and I had gone through a particular baptism of operating in the underground in South Africa from 1962 to 1964.
Another baptism of operating illegally in prison, running communications as part of a team for twelve years and then another six months and a house arrest where I knew I was heavily monitored and I had to escape despite that monitoring. So I knew that look, I had the training, but this man who purports to have no training besides just being an ordinary SAP policeman is showing all the signs of a very highly trained person and was receiving effective guidance from his handler, so one had to be very careful about how one operated.
He asked me for a meeting in the Seychelles, he asked me for a meeting in the forest at Malilawani, he asked me for a meeting with Mr Asmorsen one to one in the Kalahari, he sought a meeting in Malawi. Now you just look at the areas and it's all one to one. "Mac, I can't be seen with you because I'm doing very valuable work for you guys from my position where you are, so I need to meet you in very secure circumstances and nobody must know." But that nobody was always in conditions where he set the scene and he controlled the environment. That told me it's own story and that's why I'm saying I never trusted him.
MR LEVINE: If I understand you were against meeting him under the circumstances he suggested but you were prepared to meet him under circumstances which you suggested?
MR MAHARAJ: Because I could guarantee my safety. Simple, I have been in my life even up to 1977 several times face to face with death, I'm lucky to be alive, I was not going to just recklessly place myself in a situation where I would be taken prisoner or killed.
MR LEVINE: So whatever you perceived of Mr Williamson wanting to achieve vis-a-vis yourself, you wanted to be in a position to achieve that very self same thing vis-a-vis Mr Williamson?
MR MAHARAJ: No, no, no, I had no intention at that stage of even capturing, I had not intention, I had intention of continuing to work with him so that I would understand the intricacies of his structures at home and so that through those intricacies, I would get to his head. As I have done Sir and it's openly recorded in my work in the underground in South Africa, one of the big furores in 1990 was the open knowledge that I had infiltrated the Security Branch and even there they said openly that they were aware of at least seven Security Branch men, high-ranking officers, who somehow or other were passing information and working with the ANC underground.
MR LEVINE: What reason, Mr Maharaj, did you have for believing that Mr Williamson's suggested meetings with you were to do you harm or to kill you or to take you prisoner? Do you have any facts other than a gut feel as to that?
MR MAHARAJ: My facts are simple. By 1977 the struggle had reached a point where the South African regime was losing control of the situation and was becoming desperate in it's actions whereas in 1964 when I went to prison, up to the time of my going to prison I think only four people had been killed in detention.
In 1997, particularly dating from 1975 onwards, I think Biko was the 46th to have lost his life in detention. By 1977 dozens of people were disappearing in South Africa, some of their graves are presently being exhumed and they were disappearing mysteriously. The move to turn freedom fighters into askaris matured between the years 1997 and 1980 where ANC operatives would be captured, whether in South Africa or in the neighbouring territories, kidnapped, brought here, tortured, turned around to work for the regime and then become killers against the ANC. Now, those are the circumstances in which we were living and it would be by the very testimony of their own studies an important gain to turn me around or to capture me or to kill me. There was a plot, I don't recall the precise dates, to capture President Tambo and at least ten of the National Executive in London, to take them to a remote site in London, torture them, kill them and clandestinely put them on a ship and bring them to South Africa, dead bodies so that they would reveal them to the Republic as people killed inside South Africa.
Now this is the type of ethos that the South African security forces had entered into and begun to operate. I had to be extremely careful if I had the slightest suspicion, to work in such a way that I would not place myself in that position, where they could exercise that control. But there was no need for me to interact with them on the basis that I needed to kill them, I had many opportunities as ANC, we had an opportunity in 1981 which I have testified to before the Truth Commission, that we had an opportunity to virtually destroy 90 percent of the South African Cabinet, headed by P.W. Botha, at a function in the Republic campaign in 1981. That operation was expressly forbidden by the revolutionary council on the grounds that politicians were not our targets, we were not terrorists.
MR LEVINE: Mr Maharaj, would your killing or your apprehension or your kidnapping have assisted Mr Williamson in any way to infiltrate the ANC?
MR MAHARAJ: Enormously.
MR LEVINE: How so?
MR MAHARAJ: Because first of all he knew, by their own description, that I was occupying a key position, anything that happened to me would disrupt that organisation. Secondly, in their own estimation they felt that I was a fairly professional operator in the underground. Thirdly, a victory for the South African regime with regards to people like me would be a demoralising blow to the liberation movement and if of course they could get the bonuses of getting a person like me to work for them, what more as a prize, somebody serving in the leadership of the ANC with a long experience, with knowledge of the inside workings of the movement, with knowledge of individuals, that would be an enormous prize for them.
MR LEVINE: How do you possibly suggest that you could have been turned to work within the ANC against the ANC? Someone with your convictions?
MR MAHARAJ: Nobody can predict what they would do under torture. I have seen people who look physically weak, tortured and not talk a word. I have seen men look like giants, physically fit, collapse under torture. There is no guarantee that if anybody in this room is subjected to the type of tortures that we went through, that person would not talk and if that person would not do something to save their lives or their lives of their loved ones, that was not an environment in which you would wish anybody to be placed and particularly as an ANC person in charge or a Secretary of the underground, I would not want to expose anybody to that situation.
MR LEVINE: Now Mr Maharaj, you have dealt and I use your word again, circumstantially with the lines of communication with the late Mr Biko and you have dealt with the seeking of recipients of monies from the Ginsberg Foundation. Do you have any other support for your theory and mistrust of Mr Williamson?
MR MAHARAJ: Judge, there would be a number of such circumstantial bits that would be falling in place, I've not have to work with Mr Williamson's file from my side from the time he broke cover. As far as I was concerned I lost interest in him, he had exposed himself, he was a known quantity. So to reflect on that now and put every bit of the circumstantial evidence would be a huge reconstruction exercise and I would be putting things in an ad hoc way so that's difficult.
MR LEVINE: On an ad hoc way, to use your phrase, is there anything else you can point to in support of the reasons as to why you suspected Mr Williamson?
MR MAHARAJ: If I want to summarise what I've said in addition to what you've summarised and put so far to me this morning Mr Levine, there's been the Sanna Bulletin episode, there's been the letter from prison. I said that the letter from prison, Nelson Mandela was a crucial episode in impacting on my thinking and I would be ready to say all that was circumstantial but sufficient to say, don't trust this man and ...(intervention)
MR LEVINE: You have spoken - I'm sorry, did I interrupt you?
MR MAHARAJ: You did but it doesn't matter.
MR LEVINE: Please carry on.
MR MAHARAJ: No I've lost the trend.
MR LEVINE: Sorry. Mr Maharaj, you used as one of the ad hoc bases now, the Sanna Bulletin incident. I want to remind you - to enquire of you firstly, by the Sanna Bulletin incident do you mean the publication of what has been termed as a fake Sanna Bulletin?
MR MAHARAJ: No, I'm referring to the whole Sanna Bulletin, from it's origin, the publications it was putting out and finally it's takeover by the ANC, Mr Williamson's unhappiness conveyed to the people who were now running Sanna and eventually when he breaks cover how one of the first things that he did at home was to put out a fake Sanna Bulletin, not issued by the structure in Botswana but purporting to be an authentic Sanna Bulletin.
MR LEVINE: And of course this took place after he broke cover?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir, to the best of my recollection it was straight after he broke cover.
MR LEVINE: Yes and these you have correctly and fairly conceded are snippets of circumstantial evidence?
MR MAHARAJ: I think to call it snippets is a bit too light.
MR LEVINE: I think I used your word but I'm subject to correction.
MR MAHARAJ: Even if I used it in a particular instance I don't think what I'm conveying is a flippant approach by me to look at Mr Williamson and conclude "don't trust him", I think it was a very systematic one from an underground position where we were not a State, we were an underground movement with not the resources and organisational capacity of the State confronted with a gigantic machine but needing to be very careful and having already a track record of having paid very heavy prices.
MR LEVINE: Let's conclude this by seeing if we can reach agreement? There were a number of issues regarding Mr Williamson, what he projected, how you saw him and his general conduct which caused you to have suspicions, but there was nothing factually on the basis of cold and hard facts which justified those suspicions?
MR MAHARAJ: There was everything in the circumstantial evidence that justified my treating him with the greatest of suspicion.
MR LEVINE: Circumstantial?
MR MAHARAJ: Obviously.
MR LEVINE: Yes.
ADV DE JAGER: The moment you gained facts would it still be a suspicion? Wouldn't it then be a factual proof?
MR LEVINE: It would depend, with respect, upon the facts which were gained and how one interprets those facts.
MR MAHARAJ: If I may just say something judge, I was not operating as a court of law operates, I was operating in the real world of death, one mistake, my comrades and I would be dead. To me the issue was not to weight and administer justice with regards to Mr Williamson. My issue was protect the organisation and build it and doing so, don't make a mistake because a mistake is going to be very costly. So that's the basis and I don't look at circumstantial evidence the way a court of law looks at it.
MR LEVINE: In fact your attitude was protect me from my so-called friends because my enemies I know how to deal with?
MR MAHARAJ: No, protect the ANC because insofar as my own protection I have always carried out tasks without regard as to what it meant to my life.
MR LEVINE: Do you recall how Mr Williamson's cover broke?
MR MAHARAJ: There were several issues which arose around that period. There is the ...(intervention)
MR LEVINE: By that period to what time are you referring?
MR MAHARAJ: I'm talking about the latter part of 1979.
MR LEVINE: Please carry on?
MR MAHARAJ: There was the story that Mr McGiven who had defected and gone to London from the South African Force side was writing a book and that in that book he would be revealing all sorts of information so there was the theory - I don't think the book ever appeared, I don't think it was ever published, but there was a theory that he would point to Mr Williamson as well as others.
MR LEVINE: Well didn't Mr McGiven have an interview with an English newspaper?
MR MAHARAJ: Quite possible but I was referring to the book because even there I was interested that if Mr McGiven was talking the truth and had all that information would he give the force numbers of the people, not just names because you still had to ask yourself is he telling the truth and all the truth or is he putting a story that suits him?
MR LEVINE: Did you at any stage make any contact or directly had any contact been made with Mr McGiven?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir, I wasn't working in the intelligence section so I had no need to go and try and interview him. There was also the story of Mr Gordon Winter, his written books, some truth and some lies.
MR LEVINE: That was the former Sunday Express, as it was then known, journalist?
MR MAHARAJ: And the former BOSS agent. I mean that's his real occupation, journalism was a sideline.
MR LEVINE: You said there were a number of factors relating to the breaking of Mr Williamson's cover?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR LEVINE: And you gave us one, Mr McGiven?
MR MAHARAJ: Secondly, there was the unease that Mr Williamson had expressed about possible rumours from the ANC side questioning his credibility and his bona fides with the I.U.E.F. so that the people he was working for were concerned. That's the one that the other day you read the letter from, we read the letter from Mr Thabo Mbeki, showed a bit of restiveness going on with Mr Williamson.
Thirdly, in my own interaction with him there was some signs of restiveness because appointments were not being fixed and not been kept adequately and yet there always, there was a promise of some very important information. Thirdly Mr Williamson knew that I was in the political section but he was now beginning to focus my mind on possible people in South Africa who would be very useful militarily. One of the persons, he didn't give the name, but he offered a person trained in the navy in deep sea diving who would be a very good operative to blow up naval vessels at Simon's Town. I worked out who the individual possibly could be but I said, this man is becoming - he's wanting to push me off my main focus of work and yet he doesn't deliver directly to me, people who would come into direct interaction with the ANC. So the meeting between him and I that was supposed to take place in the letter, in the last quarter of '79 or half of '79, was not taking place and I had suggested to him that since he had been on I.U.E.F. business in Angola, let's meet in Angola and he refused.
Now those are all the circumstances that showed that there was some unease arising in that relationship and when he went to London and went to the Chief Representative's office looking for me and I got the message from London to say "don't come to London", that I think was in December just before he broke cover.
MR LEVINE: You see my understanding is that it wasn't Mr Williamson that missed meetings but to an extent it was also you?
MR MAHARAJ: To the extent that I was missing meetings, I was missing them because I was trying to avoid the venues that he was setting.
MR LEVINE: And Exhibit Y2 if you would just put it before you, is a letter of the 24th November - I'll wait for you to take it out. Do you have it before you?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes I have it.
MR LEVINE: I think one of the pieces of evidence you gave a moment ago was that in the second half of 1979 Mr Williamson did not keep a meeting with you. Your letter which I've just referred to suggests in the first sentence the very opposite.
"I am sorry that I missed you during my last trip abroad."
It doesn't for one moment suggest that Mr Williamson was in any way remiss in not having contacted you. It's an open apology for having missed him?
MR MAHARAJ: Sir, I'm giving you the conditions under which we were interacting and I hoped that not only because of the conditions but by my innate nature, I always tried to be polite.
MR LEVINE: There's no ...(intervention)
MR MAHARAJ: This was a casual - this trip abroad would have been something that I would be undertaking for other purposes but expecting to converge with Mr Williamson, the next sentence says:
"I heard on the grapevine that Charles is due to visit you. Did he?"
It's a very gentle hint to say "if you are working so closely with me and Charles is a member of your inner unit, surely this person coming directly from home, you should tell me well in advance so that I could meet the person for a debrief" not hush it all. So the opening paragraph is a very gentle one, even keel relations, no finger pointing and then I go on to put urgent matters which are funding matters to individuals. That doesn't allow the conclusions to be drawn as you are drawing them because the meeting that Mr Williamson and I were due to have was going to be a serious sit down, to go through all his so-called operatives inside South Africa, to look at what they were doing, to see that whatever task they were performing could be brought into proper structured relationship with the ANC. So I think we're making too much of that introductory statement.
MR LEVINE: Didn't you have such a meeting as you've disclosed as being the purpose of a meeting in the second half of 1979?
MR MAHARAJ: Would that be the London meeting?
MR LEVINE: No, that was the one I was going to ask you. The London meeting took place in or about January of 1979, is that right?
MR MAHARAJ: Ja, I don't recall the exact date but it would have been around there.
MR LEVINE: And didn't you have a meeting to discuss all of the features you now say would have been the purpose of the late '79 meeting during your London meeting early in 1979?
MR MAHARAJ: It would not be a question of a one off meeting. To get this elaborate structure that Mr Williamson was talking about would need continuous interaction, not just one off, but we were due to have an important meeting as part of those structured interactions.
MR LEVINE: Which was the one in late '79?
MR MAHARAJ: Ja, late '79.
MR LEVINE: Mr Maharaj, the question strikes me as being relevant, given where Mr Williamson was operating at the time, under whose control did he fall? Was he controlled by London or was he controlled by Lusaka?
MR MAHARAJ: There was a shift taking place. He was originally working with the London structures and we were trying to work towards a shift but the purpose of the shift was not that I would directly be the person handling them. My aim was to shift them because my task as Secretary of the entire structure did not give me the space to attend to each individual operative but there was a shift taking place where I would describe the position as being London still in charge of Mr Williamson, but I taking a more active role because London had been the original structure with whom he started working and London's mind set would be a different one and of course the ANC work post '76 had expanded rapidly from the neighbouring countries and we were now having more effective structures.
MR LEVINE: But by 1979 the shift had not yet taken place?
MR MAHARAJ: In many areas the shift had taken place, we had structures now in direct contact with head office working in Swaziland, Maputo, Botswana, Lesotho. I had now made personal visits to Lesotho to meet the structures, to meet people from home. I was now able and had created the conditions to work from these areas by living clandestinely in those areas, entering and exiting them clandestinely and many of the operatives were able to do that. So conditions had arisen in Southern Africa where the ANC structures would be nearer to home than London and while London could meet Mr Williamson because it was convenient between his base in Geneva and passing through London, his operatives at home, we wanted them to begin to contact us nearer home so that you didn't have this problem with interacting with them over correspondence that reached you months later via Mr Williamson. I'm trying carry out that detachment.
MR LEVINE: You wanted to streamline the situation?
MR MAHARAJ: To streamline the situation, to look at who are the good people in these structures and to quietly also push him into a sideline so that he was not the unique conduit to his structures.
MR LEVINE: In other words to shift the burden of the obligations which rested mainly with him at the time?
MR MAHARAJ: To say to him the same thing in a different way, to say "Mr Williamson, you're doing very important work at the I.E.U.F. and the international arena, we're think you need to concentrate on that work" because we knew less harm could come to us. What he was sending home was all the minutes of the United Nations public conferences, position papers, discussion papers - that's fine, they could have it.
MR LEVINE: Coming back to your meetings with Mr Williamson, we have already dealt with a meeting in December 1978 at the Ridgeway Hotel in Lusaka.
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, you addressed this matter and I must apologise, judge, that when I was answering that question the other day, my mind was really in the '70's, '77 period and it is quite likely that we did meet at the Ridgeway in '78.
MR LEVINE: Yes, in fact December 16th 1978?
MR MAHARAJ: Possible.
MR LEVINE: You wouldn't dispute that?
MR MAHARAJ: No I wouldn't dispute it.
MR LEVINE: You see I wanted to clarify that having regard to your evidence on Monday. Do you remember at that meeting asking Mr Williamson to ensure that Jane visits Dora Tamana in Cape Town?
MR MAHARAJ: Jane at the moment doesn't ring a bell. If you can help me and identify her?
MR LEVINE: I though you could help me?
MR MAHARAJ: No, I thought Mr Williamson would help you.
I mean he's instructing you.
MR LEVINE: He is and his instruction to me is that she was one of the agents involved but I thought that perhaps you would be able to shed some more light on that?
MR MAHARAJ: As his agent he would know her real identity better than I do, Sir.
MR LEVINE: And Dora Tamana?
MR MAHARAJ: Dora Tamana is a stalwart in the liberation struggle and the particular reason that I approached him on this matter was that she was a friend, lifelong friend, of Ray Simons also known as Ray Alexander and Ray Simons had had news that Dora Tamana was starving and she asked me whether I could do something to provide some assistance to Dora Tamana. Now I knew that Dora Tamana was an open supporter of the struggle. If I'm correct I think she had served even a term of imprisonment so I said let's see if the I.E.U.F. and the funds that Mr Williamson controls can be extended for use to such people rather than just confined to students and I approached Mr Williamson, said Dora Tamana is in financial difficulties, can you provide money to her? And he said yes, he can provide. And I said would you be able to deliver it to her? And he said yes and I said please do so. So that was the arrangement and there were thousands of people that we would try to make those arrangements for so that they had some bread on their table.
MR LEVINE: And insofar as Dora Tamana was concerned I understand there was a further complication namely that her house had burned down at the time?
MR MAHARAJ: Possible.
MR LEVINE: You don't recall that?
MR MAHARAJ: I don't recall that as an issue that stands out in my mind because there were lots of people in those situations. Annie Selinga was starving, I knew people in Jo'burg, Durban, all destitute because the fact that they had been involved in the liberation struggle had led to the circumstance where the security police were making it impossible for them to even have a job to make a living and one of the crucial things that we were doing was to have support for them. I myself, when I came out of prison, was refused permission to work while I was under house arrest and I recall very clearly receiving 14 pounds from an anonymous donor in Ireland and I believe that that was arranged by the Defence and Aid Fund. Because the Defence and Aid Fund was banned in South Africa, they had to find individuals and get those individuals to send these small sums of money to keep us alive.
ADV DE JAGER: Mr Levine, I think we've now drifted into a conversation about what Mr Williamson did and what he didn't do, but I think you wanted to establish that there was no facts, were no facts in fact for a suspicion. Mr Maharaj on the other hand told us that he had a suspicion, rightly or wrongly, he might have been overcautious but in his work he was very careful and very suspicious about people. I think those facts have been established or this suspicion has been established as far as the facts could be established from which it was based. What we're really trying to achieve now with your questions, could you perhaps help us so that we could follow what you want to achieve?
MR LEVINE: Advocate de Jager, I did drift slightly off insofar as Dora Tamana was concerned. It is important inasmuch as I've received certain instructions about a number of meetings none of which in my respectful submission and it is a matter for argument, will gel with the suspicions mentioned by the witness but I daresay that a reading of the record in due course will facilitate as good an understanding as could be achieved from listening to a lengthy examination. I take your point in regard to possibly drifting off and I will submit to you that in due course that whatever suspicions Mr Maharaj may have had at the time were not based on fact, I think he has conceded, but rather on over caution and I'd like to get on with the next meeting and what took place at the next meeting in accord with what I'm advised developed.
MR MAHARAJ: With due respect, I would only challenge the summary by Mr Levine to say that my view was held because of over caution that I've conceded it. I've not conceded that.
MR LEVINE: Mr Maharaj, the matter will be dealt with in argument, I'm not seeking in any way through the back door or otherwise to imply or to assert any concessions by you.
MR MAHARAJ: No I was merely treating that as a summary of what I had said.
MR LEVINE: It is in no way a summary of what you have said and please be comfortable in that particular aspect, I've not sought short circuited manner to summarise what you have said.
Mr Maharaj, do you remember - is a meeting in Geneva on the 3rd and 4th July 1979 when you together with Thomas Ncobe went to see Mr Williamson?
MR MAHARAJ: I cannot recall the actual meeting but if the issues were just put then I would be able to place it.
MR LEVINE: Well there were a number of meetings on that visit. There was a formal meeting between Mr Williamson for the I.U.E.F with Mr Ncobe and yourself, do you recall that?
MR MAHARAJ: Should be, it wouldn't be out of place, with Mr Ncobe present, formal meeting, Treasurer General of the ANC.
MR LEVINE: Do you know Mr Pierce Campbell?
MR MAHARAJ: Pierce Campbell, yes.
MR LEVINE: Do you remember meetings with Pierce Campbell, self, Mr Ncobe and Mr Williamson? The deal with various projects when you were in Geneva?
MR MAHARAJ: Quite likely, when you say projects, yes.
MR LEVINE: Did you advise Mr Williamson that you and Mr Ncobe wanted to see certain people in Geneva in addition to discussions with the I.U.E.F.?
MR MAHARAJ: Which people?
MR LEVINE: One of whom was Ramesh Chandra of the World Peace Council?
MR MAHARAJ: I would not have had an interest in meeting with Mr Rumbas Chandra, I have met him just four weeks ago for the first time in my life. Mr Ncobe would have had an interest in meeting Mr Chandra as President of the World Peace Council.
MR LEVINE: I am advised that you wanted to see Mr Chandra because you had to hand him something personally?
MR MAHARAJ: I don't recall that.
MR LEVINE: You don't recall it? Do you recall going to endeavour to see Mr Chandra but he was on a podium of a conference at a conference which was in session?
MR MAHARAJ: What conference?
MR LEVINE: At the United Nations building?
MR MAHARAJ: In Geneva?
MR LEVINE: Yes.
MR MAHARAJ: I don't recall that Sir. I can't challenge whether I've met him but I'm saying I've just met Mr Rumbas Chandra about four weeks ago for the first time in my life.
I know he was the President of the World Peace Council, I know the ANC had close relations with the World Peace Council, I know Mr Thomas Ncobe in his external work would be in touch with people like that and the World Peace Council. I know ANC people served on the World Peace Council but I really don't know where this is taking me in recalling that sort of incident. If it is alleged that I was seeing for internal underground work then very easily I would be able to say with more reliability whether I'd met him.
MR LEVINE: Just to round this off, I'm advised that you did however manage to deliver what it was you wished to hand to Mr Chandra at his hotel which was the ....(indistinct) Hotel in Geneva later that evening.
MR MAHARAJ: Well I would presume that Mr Williamson would have intercepted it and made a photocopy.
MR LEVINE: I don't believe that is any more than an assumption.
MR MAHARAJ: I said I presume. A presumption is an assumption.
MR LEVINE: Yes, you nothing to back up?
MR MAHARAJ: No nothing, I don't say judge, I just don't know where this is - I can be asked about all the people I've met all over the world in 45 years of involvement in the struggle. I mean unless it is to show that Mr Williamson knew that I was going to see Mr Ramesh Chandra and he is a public figure and that I was going to give him a letter, again a public event. To me, no big deal.
MR LEVINE: So you can't remember whether it took place or not and you cannot dispute it either?
MR MAHARAJ: We used to live in circumstances where for example we never got post through the post. If I was leaving Lusaka and knew Ramesh Chandra and said you're going to Geneva can you deliver this letter which probably would be saying Ramesh, sorry I didn't write to you for a long time, next time you come to Lusaka please bring a bottle of duty free with you.
MR LEVINE: Mr Maharaj, at that stage I think it is established that for whatever reasons you had suspicions of Mr Williamson?
MR MAHARAJ: Ja.
MR LEVINE: Now would you have used the offices of someone who you had suspicions of to make telephone calls to destinations such as Maputo and/or - or rather and - East Germany?
MR MAHARAJ: Oh yes, no problem. Maputo, if you were talking about 1979, my girlfriend was a lecturer at the University of Edwardo Mondlane and if I could get a free phone call to her and tell her that I love her, no problem.
MR LEVINE: Was this ...(intervention)
MR MAHARAJ: East Germany I had trained there for one year, my relations with East Germany were based on solidarity and if I was to phone the couple who looked after me and where I was a boarder in 1961 who live in a village called Bishops Verda to say "Hi Hans and Ilse, how's life? I'm thinking about you." No problem. I would use the I.U.E.F. and Craig would pay the bill. After all that would show him how much I trust him.
MR LEVINE: Yes. Did you at the same stage round about July 1979 have suspicions about Lars Gunnar Ericsson and did you distrust Mr Ericsson?
MR MAHARAJ: I cannot specify the period but I had concerns, judge, because I was unclear about the relationship between Mr Williamson and Mr Ericsson. The fact that Mr Williamson had such a high position in the I.E.U.F. and so much freedom as he portrayed it to us in utilising the resources of the I.E.U.F., I would have had concern about who is Mr Ericsson.
MR LEVINE: Merely because of his association with Mr Williamson?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir, I said Mr Williamson was virtually his deputy and in that position had access, as he portrayed it, almost to unlimited financial resources. How to account for it was not a problem for him. Whilst the I.U.E.F. was International Inter-University Exchange Fund. When I said to him give Dora Tamana money, not for university exchange and not for bursary, he's got it. When I say to him let's meet in London rather than Seychelles, he says "Don't worry, I'll pay your fares, I'll pay your hotel expenses." Eventually I said to him: "The meeting will be in London but you pay the hotel bill." He says "No problem." I say "In accounting to the I.U.E.F.? "No, no, no problem, I'm in full control there." Now I have never worked in an institution where financial control is so lax, unless you are so high in that institution that your accounting systems can disguise those expenditures because he would say to me that all this is done behind the back of Mr Ericsson because the I.U.E.F. is not mandated officially to give that type of support. So concerns arose in my mind. What is the relationship between Mr Ericsson and Mr Williamson and who is Mr Ericsson? Did you tell Mr Williamson that the ANC's then plan was to let Ericsson hang himself on a long rope and give it a hard pull?
MR MAHARAJ: I have never pulled a rope on anybody in my life and I wish nobody would pull it on me. It's a very graphic description and I'd like to think that that's politic licence by Mr Williamson.
MR LEVINE: Did you tell Mr Williamson that the relationship between the I.U.E.F. and the ANC was one of trust?
MR MAHARAJ: Quite likely.
MR LEVINE: And that Ericsson was playing games and the ANC could prove that he had been playing games?
MR MAHARAJ: Quite likely in order to solicit Mr Williamson's reaction and inside information.
MR LEVINE: Did you instruct Mr Williamson to prepare a report for you on the I.E.U.F.?
MR MAHARAJ: Quite likely, quite likely.
MR LEVINE: And the role that it was purportedly playing in the South African struggle?
MR MAHARAJ: Quite likely. But I wouldn't be asking that that sort of information at that meeting and simultaneously saying that to him that I had proof that they were playing a game where I would let Mr Ericsson hang himself with a long rope.
MR LEVINE: Why not?
MR MAHARAJ: Because on the one side I'm asking him to give me an independent viewpoint and on the other side I've already influenced his thinking, that would be counter-productive. If a person is sitting in that position in the I.U.E.F. and you want an honest report, ask him for an independent viewpoint, don't tell him what you are thinking because once you tell the person what you are thinking then the person is influenced in finding that. It's been my whole life, I had to learn when carrying the first bomb in a paper carrier bag that unconsciously I began to slink like a criminal.
MR LEVINE: Were you not upset with Ericsson because he was giving monies to the black consciousness movement and the PAC?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes I would be concerned about that especially as in Botswana I had seen that some of the people who were getting the money were not doing any work at home. I thought that if whatever resources our struggle could gather should go directly into prosecuting the struggle and bringing the speediest end to apartheid.
MR LEVINE: So is it correct to say that you trust neither Mr Ericsson nor Mr Williamson?
MR MAHARAJ: I said Mr Williamson by that time I was satisfied in my mind. Mr Ericsson, I said I had concerns about the relationship between him and Mr Williamson. I had concerns at what interests he was representing.
MR LEVINE: And do you recall having mentioned to Mr Williamson that Mr Ericsson had been playing games and had breached the trust in him reposed by the ANC?
MR MAHARAJ: I don't know. As I say if the proposition is that at the same meeting I asked him for a report that at the same meeting I would first deal with the question of my concerns, then I say that would have been counter-productive. Unlikely, but again trying to recall a meeting out of the dozens of times I had met Mr Williamson and the reams of his reports that I have read it's just about impossible for me to say this happened exactly in this meeting. Mr Williamson seems to have the advantage that he was keeping archives. I don't have those archives of mine.
MR LEVINE: Now would you agree with this proposition, you were fiercely loyal to and dedicated to the struggle?
MR MAHARAJ: It goes without saying.
MR LEVINE: You were prepared to put every last bit of energy into achieving the aims of the ANC as they were stated from time to time?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR LEVINE: You have and would have faced death at any time for the attainment of the cause for which you were fighting?
MR MAHARAJ: I'd like to think that I would have been ready, I don't know how I would have met it if the actual thing happened.
MR LEVINE: But your evidence has been that you would have dealt with it and provided that the result was guaranteed or looked good, you would deal with these problems as and when they arose?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir, I never took part in the struggle on the basis that the result of what I was doing was guaranteed.
MR LEVINE: Not guaranteed, I said or reasonably possible.
MR MAHARAJ: I think you used the word guaranteed.
MR LEVINE: I said guaranteed, or - but be that as it may, you were totally dedicated to your cause?
MR MAHARAJ: I'd like to think that that is so.
MR LEVINE: Have you got any reason to suggest that on the other side of the fence Mr Williamson was not similarly dedicated to the cause which he was espousing at all times material?
MR MAHARAJ: I think Mr Williamson's cause was fatally flawed from the point of view of humanity and I think that his commitment to it from my perspective and my knowledge of him was that he was not unlikely to look at his personal interests and further them in the context of his so-called dedicated service. I am not sure how he would have reacted in the circumstances that I've lived through. From his side of the fence, had he been through the experiences that I've been through, well one has had to look that in the eye. I don't know and I have no evidence that his commitment was such that he was prepared to die. What I have evidence is that he simultaneously lived grand, comfortably and rode his 740's.
MR LEVINE: Rode his?
MR MAHARAJ: BMW 740i's.
MR LEVINE: During the years that we've been dealing with?
MR MAHARAJ: I have never known Mr Craig Williamson to be without a meal and a grand meal while I knew him abroad.
MR LEVINE: No but you talk about - and this may just be a little bit of licence that you're adopting now of his always driving BMW 740i's which I think first came into production in or about ...(intervention)
ADV DE JAGER: But Mr Levine I think the gist of the answer is he doesn't know whether Mr Williamson would have been so dedicated to his cause as he himself was to the cause he was serving.
MR MAHARAJ: Let me put it the other way if it may be helpful, judge. I have known Mr Williamson from the time he broke cover. To release information in such a controlled mechanism that it always was to his personal advantage and if you look at my life you will find that I did things which were - whose consequences were likely to be extremely harmful both materially and emotionally to me and my family and my wife and my children, that I have never tried to save my life and to do so in order to further my material interests.
MR LEVINE: Can you dispute that Mr Williamson worked under cover for some ten years?
MR MAHARAJ: No I can't dispute that.
MR LEVINE: Can you dispute that he was willing to risk his life and to risk incarceration by the ANC?
MR MAHARAJ: I don't where we would have - in what risk he ran of incarceration. It was in our interest to leave him with the I.U.E.F. and to confine his activities abroad and not allow a concern to arise with his handlers that we had seen through him.
MR LEVINE: What happened to other agents in Lusaka who were arrested?
ADV DE JAGER: Mr Levine we're busy with an amnesty application. The Act prescribes the requirements for amnesty. Can't we deal with the requirements and try to get to the grit of the matter and finish this trial some time or other? It's becoming a trial, sorry that I refer to it as a trial, but this hearing?
MR LEVINE: I am putting to the witness that exactly as he was committed to his struggle, Mr Williamson was committed to his cause.
CHAIRPERSON: And it's quite clear that the witness doesn't like Mr Williamson, that he is not going to say anything nice about him if he can help it. You've established that, what's the point of going on Mr Levine, as my colleague has said, you are putting these things, each time Mr Maharaj is disagreeing.
MR LEVINE: He is not disagreeing ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: But time and again he doesn't know if Williamson would have risked his life, he doesn't know if Williamson would have done this, he doesn't know if Williamson would have done that.
MR LEVINE: He said it once Mr Chairman, but bearing in mind your graphic perception and understanding of the attitude of Mr Maharaj vis-a-vis Mr Williamson, there is no purpose I would agree in my continuing to state a situation which you have so aptly summed up. Thank you.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR LEVINE
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you Mr Chairman. I don't know if I should carry on or if we should take the adjournment Mr Chairman?
CHAIRPERSON: It's only twenty five to 11.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes I'm tired Mr Chairman.
Mr Maharaj, do you know who I act for?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: I act for Gerry Raven in these applications. He is the person who manufactured the letter bomb that killed Ruth First and that killed Jeanette Schoon and Katryn Schoon and you weren't here when he gave evidence?
MR MAHARAJ: No.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright, I just want to very shortly put to you what he testified. He testified that he acted under instructions of Mr Williamson, he testified that he never knew who the bombs were manufactured for and who the targets were. He testified that he acted as a part of the security forces, that he believed that what he was doing was right, that he believed in apartheid and wanted to uphold apartheid, that he believed that he was fighting against communism, against the liberation movements and that he executed an order. Are there any grounds ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: I think you should also add, Mr Du Plessis, as I understand it, Mr Raven was employed in the technical section, this was part of his normal functions in the Security Branch.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes thank you Mr Chairman, I neglected to do that.
You've heard what his lordship, Mr Justice Wilson, has said that was part of the evidence as well, it was part of his normal job and he was asked by Mr Williamson to manufacture these two bombs. Do you have any grounds, personally, to dispute any of that evidence Mr Maharaj?
MR MAHARAJ: I don't know how the regime worked at that level, I only know how we worked in the ANC. My experience direct and indirect in the ANC was that we did not make that big chain of separation such that people would be doing tasks which could possibly lead to deaths in that anonymous almost factory conveyer belt work - style. That's a different world for me.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes I understand that Mr Maharaj and obviously the structures functioned differently but at the end of the day the question is simply, you don't any information to your disposal with which you can place before the Committee with which you can dispute the evidence of Mr Raven?
MR MAHARAJ: No I couldn't, I don't have the information to dispute.
MR DU PLESSIS: And in the military structures of uMkhonto weSizwe I presume the same military principles applied that a person who is an officer or is in a position higher than another person and gives an order and such an order should be complied with?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, that principle of an order should be complied with applied but there was a major difference that in the ANC and uMkhonto structures there was a post called Political Commissar. That post was critical so that the soldier understood the relevance and significance of his and her actions. It was a mechanism to ensure that we as far as possible did not descend to terrorism. I don't think that the South African Defence Force and security establishment ever saw the need for such a post.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well Mr Maharaj, I accept what you say, I don't want to get into a debate with you about the differences between the two systems, that's not what we are here.
MR MAHARAJ: So the point I just want here is judge, is that the Commissar could countermand the commander's order.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes but Mr Maharaj just on that point you would agree with me that that did not always work
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: And that certain actions were taken which were against the official policy and which the Commissar would not have allowed, do you agree with me on that? Alright, Mr Maharaj, just very briefly, sketch for us and actually for my purposes your positions in the ANC and the ANC structures during the struggle up until 1990? Very shortly please?
MR MAHARAJ: I've been an ordinary member, I've been a newspaper seller, door to door, I've been a manager of a newspaper - Durban office, I've been a student organiser, I've been an editor of a student paper, I've been an executive member of the branch, I've been a founder of the Secretary of the South African Freedom Association, founder member of the anti-apartheid movement in Britain, trade union activist, a trade unionist in my own right, I've done my military training, I've trained in printing, I came back I served in the underground, in the Communist Party carrying out work, printing and publishing for the ANC and the Communist Party, I've been in uMkhonto weSizwe, I was recruited into the high command, ad hoc high command of uMkhonto weSizwe.
MR DU PLESSIS: Can I just interrupt you there? When were you recruited to uMkhonto weSizwe?
MR MAHARAJ: I was recruited to uMkhonto weSizwe when it was formed.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes alright, please carry on?
MR MAHARAJ: And I've been a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party after I came out of prison, I was appointed Secretary of the ANC underground, I was reintegrated into the Central Committee of the Communist Party, I became a member of the politburo of the Communist Party, I served on the Revolutionary Council, on the Political Military Council, I was elected to the National Executive of the ANC in 1985, re-elected in 1991, re-elected last year in Mafeking, I've been in the Working Committee and I have - I've been the joint secretary of the negotiating process at Kempton Park and somehow the Minister without Transport.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes that I know Mr Maharaj. I asked you up to 1990 so I know exactly what the position is, I just didn't know your history before that. Mr Maharaj and during this whole period you identified yourself and you agreed with everything that the liberation movements did?
MR MAHARAJ: I agreed with the policy and not everything that the liberation movements did.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright, did you agree with military actions that the ANC took which fell within the policy of the ANC?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, I have to shed that policy.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes so you agreed with, for instance, the - and had no problem with the Church Street bombing in Pretoria in 1983?
MR MAHARAJ: I think the aftermath of the Church Street bombing raised some concerns but the planning and the targeting of Church Street had not raised concerns in me. I saw it as a legitimate military target and in my own political work, recognised that the South African regime had developed a propensity to put it's - such targets in locations which were often heavily occupied by civilians.
MR DU PLESSIS: Right and you would have the same view pertaining to the Magoo's Bar bombing?
MR MAHARAJ: No, the Magoo's Bar bombing is slightly different. The target as I understand it was the Why Not Bar and it was targeted because intelligence had reported that it was frequented by members of the security forces. The actual operation, I don't recall whether it led to anybody injured or dead who belonged to the security forces so clearly in the Magoo's Bar - so-called Magoo's Bar instance, reconnaissance and intelligence information appeared to have been far less rigorous.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes Mr Maharaj, that's the point I'm trying to get at. In respect of such operations it was always foreseen that a situation may arise that civilians may be hurt, injured or killed in the process and it was accepted by the ANC and the military structures, is that not so?
MR MAHARAJ: The acceptance that civilians could be killed only took place with a policy shift in the '80s, before that there was an explicit policy to do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties.
MR DU PLESSIS: No that I understand Mr Maharaj, but there was also an acceptance that civilian casualties could happen and when it did happen it was accepted as part of such operations.
MR MAHARAJ: No but I'm saying that there was an express policy to avoid civilian casualties in the earlier phase.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes and it became, do you agree with me, later in the struggle during the middle 1980's, it became more accepted that in respect of certain operations there will be civilian casualties?
MR MAHARAJ: Ja.
MR DU PLESSIS: Let's take for instance land mines. Land mines was part of an authorised and accepted operations of the ANC and it was also accepted that civilians could be killed eventually?
MR MAHARAJ: And the moment the information showed that civilians by and large were the ones who were dying we called it off.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes now you would then agree with me Mr Maharaj, that that would have been the same situation on the other side of the fence from the security forces point of view?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: Now why do you disagree?
MR MAHARAJ: Because the history of apartheid goes back to a consistent pattern of killing civilians deliberately. Sharpeville was one such incident where practically all the people killed had bullet wounds where the bullet entered the back of the body and none of those people were military combatants, they were peaceful protesters and that ethos and practice is consistent with the way in which apartheid treated us, in fact it is precisely that treatment that drove us in the end to launch the armed struggle.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes ...(intervention)
MR MAHARAJ: So they never looked at civilians, they actually often deliberately went and killed innocent civilians.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well Mr Maharaj I don't want to - the idea is not to get into a debate with you about that. All I'm asking is that in a specific operation and let's deal for instance with this - the letter bombs that we're dealing with here. Do you agree with me that and we'll get to that point now but let's accept the targets were legitimate targets ...(intervention)
MR MAHARAJ: No ...(intervention)
MR DU PLESSIS: No, let's accept it for the purposes of the question, Mr Maharaj, I'm getting to that point just now. Do you agree with me that the same situation would have applied pertaining to the security forces in such an operation namely that it would have been possible that civilians could be killed or innocent people could be killed and that the security forces would have perceived it in the same way as you did, pertaining to land mines or pertaining to other bomb incidents.
MR MAHARAJ: I don't. The security forces of apartheid accepted civilians as their enemy.
MR DU PLESSIS: No Mr Maharaj.
MR MAHARAJ: They didn't treat their legitimate targets as "is this a military target?" they just saw black people, whoever opposed them as a legitimate target.
MR DU PLESSIS: Black people?
MR MAHARAJ: The ANC didn't do that.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Maharaj, people who identified with the struggle, people who were part of the struggle, people who were part of the structures.
MR MAHARAJ: It did not treat the matter that way. The record is very clear that when we talk about innocent civilians we're talking about people who were not members, who were not activists, who just didn't want to move from one area because there was an administrative order that you are going to be forcibly removed.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, let's forget about the 1960's. Let's just confine ourselves to the time period we're dealing with here, 1980 to 1984. And I hear what you say about Sharpeville and the Soweto uprising, we all know the history ...(intervention)
MR MAHARAJ: Maseru.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Maharaj, but we can argue to and fro about that and I don't want to get into an argument with you, all I'm asking you is, and I can't understand why you don't want to accept it, similarly to the military operations of uMkhonto weSizwe where it was accepted that civilians could be killed in the crossfire, do you accept that that was the situation pertaining to the security forces where they executed a military operation?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir. I don't accept that because they never put that constraint on themselves. When the security forces of South Africa of the apartheid regime carried out a military operation I have yet to see an order which said avoid civilian casualties. That was not in their standing orders and I can show it to you in Gaberone Raid, I can show it to you in Kasinga, I can show it to you at Matola, at the Maseru raid, in the Lusaka raids. They never put the order, this is the military order "you are to avoid civilian deaths". We put it.
MR DU PLESSIS: No Mr Maharaj, there was extensive evidence before this Committee by various applicants testifying that the situation, the orders every time was exactly the same as you testify and you don't want to admit this and for some reason or another, you don't want to admit it ...(intervention)
MR MAHARAJ: The reason is ...(intervention)
MR DU PLESSIS: So let us just leave that point? I accept that you don't want to admit that in a military operation the security forces did not foresee or accept that there may have been civilian casualties in a military operation, that is your evidence, you don't want to accept that.
MR MAHARAJ: My evidence is that I don't accept it until I see an order of that nature and I have yet to see anywhere that evidence produced to say that in the battle orders it said there avoid civilian casualties. And if you show it to me Sir, I will readily concede it because I'm a person who will face up to that reality.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well Mr Maharaj, there was extensive evidence before this Committee by inter alia in the Khotso/Cosatu House incidents in respect of a lot of other amnesty applications and every time orders were given, those were the orders. I don't have to go into the details of that and I don't want to go into the details of that. All I'm asking you is to admit that the killing with the letter bomb of Jeanette Schoon and Katryn Schoon, is a similar situation to a land mine being planted on a farm road in Messina that killed a family of six coming back from church on a Sunday. Do you accept that the situation is the same or do you want to draw a difference?
MR MAHARAJ: I see a difference Sir, with due respect, because this was not the first letter bomb. The land mines put by the ANC were called off. The letter and concealed bombs going right back to 1960's in Botswana continued and they became more and more vicious. They became a walkman which blew a person whose name was put on the envelope as the sender so that when it was not accepted by the recipient in Lusaka it came back to the postal system and killed the person purporting to be a sender. Now after carrying out so many such incidents, if their was consciousness, they would have seen don't do that. If they had realised as they argue that Ruth First was not the target, they would have passed special orders to prevent the wrong target being killed. I have no evidence of such orders saying don't commit this mistake. I have in fact evidence that they continued in that part. The same people manufactured them, the same people gave the orders and identified the targets and the same forces carried on pretending that it was the ANC that killed those people. So they lived in an atmosphere where they were misleading the public and they hid behind that misleading to sleep peacefully.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright, do I understand you then that your evidence is that the security forces went out and killed innocent people who were simply not involved in the struggle, who didn't support the struggle, who never said anything on behalf of the struggle, were simply living straight forward lives in their houses, going to church on Sundays, driving their cars - the security forces decided we're going to kill these persons so they went out and the killed them, is that what you are saying?
MR MAHARAJ: I'm saying they have done that, the only difference is that those were not people driving their cars, they were poverty stricken people, they were children.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes Mr Maharaj.
CHAIRPERSON: Do you want to continue this political debate?
MR DU PLESSIS: No Mr Chairman, I'm finished with that now. Mr Maharaj, now you agree with me that in the same way you identified with the struggle and the ANC's policies over the period that Mr Marius Schoon and Jeanette Schoon also agreed with that, in the same way, do you agree with me?
MR MAHARAJ: Ja.
MR DU PLESSIS: They supported the struggle?
MR MAHARAJ: Ja.
MR DU PLESSIS: And the same for Ruth First, isn't that right?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: Now Mr Maharaj, just for purposes of the last point, I'm just going to finalise it, can I just show you a picture? Mr Chairman I'm going to hand that in as an exhibit. I think that would be ZZ? Mr Chairman, that's actually finishing the first topic so I'm going to finish that and then perhaps - Mr Maharaj I'm just showing you that, I'm showing you how an innocent family looks like where only the husband survived and others were killed. Innocent people killed in a land mine explosion on a farm road in Messina. Do you have any comments to make on that?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes? What did they have to do with the struggle Mr Maharaj?
MR MAHARAJ: I will make my comment unless you want to only answer that last question. I thought you said make a comment.
Sir, these are gruesome deaths and there's no question that all the families, to all of them, we owe an apology and we have made that apology publicly and I have done so at the Cape Town Hearing of the Truth Commission. But let's go beyond that because if we seek to equate it with the level of callousness that was there from the apartheid regime, then I want to say something more. These were anti-tank land mines which could only be triggered by a heavy vehicle of a particular load factor. An ordinary person walking could not trigger that land mine, it was not an anti-personnel mine. It was strategised and planned for as a campaign to hit the troop carriers that were patrolling the borders and the patrols. What happened was in the reality that we found that as a result of those actions, the casualties were being sustained by bakkies with farm labourers as passengers and therefore the load happened to be such that it triggered off the land mine. But an enormous difference between a land mine and an anti-personnel mine and the moment we saw that civilians were being killed, at the leadership level we intervened in the ANC, politically and said to the military "you stop those operations". They were stopped.
MR DU PLESSIS: Now Mr Maharaj, you seem to know a lot about the land mine incidents. Were you involved in the planning thereof?
MR MAHARAJ: I was at that time in the - I would think the structure would have been the Political Military Council and the National Executive of the ANC and therefore anything that was happening at home which was shifting from our focus would be a matter that we would immediately try to pick up and correct and I participated in that.
MR DU PLESSIS: Who were in those military structures who were part of the orders given to plant land mines?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir, I don't know who it was given to, it was given to the military section because it's a military operation.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes but who was in that military section Mr Maharaj?
MR MAHARAJ: The military section was headed by Joe Modise, if the particular years are given, the structures would be given in this document here, setting out who was who, in which year. It's all here, headquarters, political military, military headquarters, are all here name by name but you'd have to say the year and I can just open the page and tell you.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, now Mr Maharaj - Mr Chairman, may I perhaps just carry on with this? I'm nearly finished with this, it flows from this.
Mr Maharaj, were you involved in drawing the ANC's first statement to the Truth Commission?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: You were involved in that?
MR MAHARAJ: Ja.
MR DU PLESSIS: And you reminded the people who drew this statement about things that you've testified now, you would have - did you read the submission?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: And you rectified or you would have rectified something if you wanted to rectify it, if you thought it didn't portray the right situation or the right facts?
MR MAHARAJ: Wherever it cropped up.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes.
MR MAHARAJ: Questions were asked and if there was a lack of clarity I would have clarified, I gave all submission, I was questioned for a whole day and a half.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes now Mr Maharaj, the first submission, page 59, which deals with the land mines. Can I just refer you to that?
MR MAHARAJ: Ja. Paragraph?
MR DU PLESSIS: Page 59, the first column on the left hand side, begins right at the end, the last sentence:
"The ANC's limited use of land mines beginning in late 1985 provides another sample of this nature."
and then it goes on and then the second paragraph on the right hand column reads:
"While regretting all loss of life, the ANC believes that the use of land mines on white border farms was justified because the apartheid regime had declared their military zones with white farmers integrated into the security system and provided with the tools of war including automatic weapons which were only legally possessed by members of the apartheid armed forces."
I don't see any reference, Mr Maharaj, to a decision taken by the ANC to limit land mines, to change from anti-personnel mines to land mines with lighter loads, I don't see anything there. Why is it not there?
MR MAHARAJ: Well we could have written ten volumes but we have given in the appendix, I would just try to see. The shift in policy, Sir, took place after the Maseru massacre. Special meetings of the leadership of the ANC were held and if I recall correctly, a policy decision was made at the Kabwe Conference of the ANC that our restrictions on civilian targets would be limited. They would not be as firm as they were in the past and President Tambo's statement would have been attached to one of the submissions where he addressed the matter before the media. In the case of the land mines, what is very clear here is that we carefully reasoned and argued, what would happen if a white farmer were to die and based on our information we justified the white farmer by saying that they were part of the commandos, part of the surveillance system and therefore a legitimate target. Our restriction on civilians was the other people, the children, the black labourers, we still said that's civilian, but the white farmer who was in the commando who was part of that communication network, we said legitimate target.
ADV DE JAGER: Mr Maharaj, he had his family with him on the farm, they were driving in the same car.
MR MAHARAJ: We would have expected, as I say Sir, that we were targeting the patrols, that's what we would have expected and we would have expected that if the white farmer died or if an incident happened who was called out as a follow up would be the white farmer, that would be legitimate. So we did a distinction there and for the Truth Commission I personally went into the details together with Ronnie Kasrils and Joe Modise on the fact of the distinction between land mines and anti-personnel mines. So here you see a loosening of that tight requirement that said avoid civilian losses and a political argument why the white farmer was a legitimate target but it says very clearly the white farmer. The facts Sir, that as a result showed that the deaths were not the white farmer and were not the soldier, is a primary reason why it was called off.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, I think I'm going to carry on with this subject but perhaps if you want to take the adjournment we could do it now? This has opened up certain issues which I think I should address.
CHAIRPERSON: We'll take a short adjournment.
SATHYANDRANATH RAGUNANAN MAHARAJ: (s.u.o.)
MR DU PLESSIS: May I, before I proceed with the questioning, hand you the heads of argument which I've been promising you the whole week in respect of the cross-examination question. You will see in the heads of argument, Mr Chairman, I refer to two other Commissions of Enquiry and where the same problem occurred and the one was dealt with by his lordship, Mr Justice van der Heever, that was in the 1940's and then another one, his lordship Mr Justice Diemand in the 1960's about more or less the same situation.
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, Visser on record, we have also completed ours and while we are on that subject perhaps it might be convenient for us to hand ours in now as well?
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR DU PLESSIS: (Continued) Mr Maharaj, when did this instruction about the land mine and the use of land mines and the discontinuing of the use of anti-personnel land mines or anti-tank land mines, when did that, which is not mentioned by the ANC in their presentation, when was that decision made, where and by whom?
Judge, we have been looking at the first submission dated August 1996 but the matter was further dealt with in the further submissions dated 12th May 1997 and in that one on page 70 there is a specific section 5.2 with a heading "Anti-Tank Mine Operations." That is further amplified there and I'm trying to look for any dates that appear there, they don't appear to be dates but they're rational, the exact operation which starts off, which says the ANC never used anti-personnel mines specifically because we were concerned to avoid civilian casualties and that section ends with the paragraph:
"When it became apparent that land mine operations were not having the desired effect of consistently striking at security forces they were suspended by military headquarters."
I don't have the exact dates on me, if however it is crucial, I could refresh myself by looking at the documents and try pressing the dates in order to establish that, but they were made in our submissions to the Truth Commission public hearings on Gross Human Right Violations and I recall a particular session where Mr Joe Modise, Mr Ronnie Kasrils and I fielded questions on it and went on to greater details of the technical aspects and actually the dates as well. The dates would of course be closer to the knowledge of people like Mr Joe Modise and Ronnie Kasrils but they would be mid '80s and after, they would be post '84/'85 as far as I'm concerned and I'm locating it in the political context and post Kabwe and I think the Kabwe Conference was 1985 so it would be after that and I don't think that the land mine, anti-tank land mine campaign would of endured at maximum more than two years but I think it was shorter because there was a clear intervention directly by the President of the ANC, President Tambo.
ADV BIKO: Mr Chairman, may I be of assistance in order to avoid - the year 1985 is the commencement of the land mine campaign, appears on page 59 in the first submission Mr Chairman. The last paragraph on the left hand column of that page, page 59.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, now Mr Maharaj, do you agree that the use of land mines was a mistake and that it caused more civilian deaths than any other deaths, do you agree with that statement?
MR MAHARAJ: On hindsight, the use of land mines, anti-tank land mines was a mistake, it was acknowledged and it was brought to a stop.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes. Yes you see ...(intervention)
MR MAHARAJ: Precisely because it was not getting - delivering the results it desired.
MR DU PLESSIS: Because the Chief of the South African Defence Force testified to the same effect at the Section 29 hearings, I've got the excerpt of where he testified to the same. Now Mr Maharaj, I've been trying to determine after you said that it had stopped from the ANC second submission how far these land mine explosions went. Now if I can take you in that submission to page 84 which deals with 1985 you will see there the last paragraph it says:
"Six killed in anti-tank mine explosion in game farm."
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes. Alright and then the next page, the fourth one, 1986:
"Two killed in anti-tank mine explosion near Botswana border"
MR MAHARAJ: Sorry, which one is that?
MR DU PLESSIS: The fourth one in 1986, in 1986, the sixth one from the top.
MR MAHARAJ: In 1986?
MR DU PLESSIS: January 1986.
MR MAHARAJ: January 1986?
MR DU PLESSIS: That is Ross area near Botswana border.
MR MAHARAJ: That is Ross, yes.
MR DU PLESSIS:
"Two killed in anti-tank mine explosion."
To the second one from there, again:
"Two killed and two injured in anti-tank mine explosion."
MR MAHARAJ: Right.
MR DU PLESSIS: And there are lots of examples and on page 86, 12 February 1986 sort of in the middle of the page:
"A bakkie detonates anti-tank mine, no injuries."
Then there's a Caspir severely damaged and then we can go on, page 87.
MR MAHARAJ: Where is the Caspir?
MR DU PLESSIS: Just two down, it's 16 February.
MR MAHARAJ: 16 February at page 86?
MR DU PLESSIS: Page 86 yes, 16 February, Caspir severely damaged.
MR MAHARAJ: 16th February - that's in Mamelodi?
MR DU PLESSIS: In Mamelodi yes. Now - so anti-tank land mines were planted in Mamelodi, Mr Maharaj, do you want to comment on that?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes?
MR MAHARAJ: The anti-tank land mine campaign as explained in the two submissions was directed at the borders of South Africa inside South Africa. It was a special campaign undertaken but that did not mean that the use of the anti-tank mine was discontinued in specific instances. The campaign itself was an effort in a widespread way to put those anti-tank mines around the borders which were patrolled, specific operations where the target could be effectively reached were not banned. I myself, when I came into the country, would if the occasion have used them as long as it conformed to the object. In the anti-tank mine campaign that we are speaking about, it was failing to deliver the results. In Mamelodi to strike at a Caspir would be a legitimate target and if those units were under my control I would have sent them a letter of congratulations.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes Mr Maharaj, I accept that you would have congratulated them. On page 87 you will see there are four examples in 1986, 25 May 1986.
MR MAHARAJ: Page 87?
MR DU PLESSIS: 87, 25 May 1986, more to the bottom of the page.
MR MAHARAJ: 25 May in 1986? Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS:
"Anti-tank mine kills 2, injures 8."
The next one is:
"A tractor detonated a land mine"
The next one is:
"Anti-tank mine injures one person, in Volksrust"
the previous one was in Darville, the next one is again Volksrust, it's very far from the border.
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS:
"Anti-tank mine injures two farm workers."
16 June 1986 - probable anti-tank mine explosion kills three B.D.F. troops in a troop carrier."
And so we can go on, we can turn to 1987, page 92, 93 I'm sorry.
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: 30 July, the fifth one from the top:
"Anti-tank land mine injures three civilians."
MR MAHARAJ: Page?
MR DU PLESSIS: Page 93, 5th one from the top.
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: "Anti-tank land mine injures three civilians"
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright? Now I haven't had time to go through the rest, it doesn't seem to me that there were further land mine explosions contained in this document until 1989, it doesn't seem so from the quick glance that I gave it. Now Mr Maharaj, may I ask you again, the decision to use land mines, who was present when that decision was made? Who made that decision, who gave that order?
MR MAHARAJ: Sir, first of all I would not recall who was present at a particular meeting but I can say from my own knowledge that the political military council or the revolutionary council would have had to endorse and did endorse that direction of activity as authorised by military headquarters. I also say that I'm certainly aware that it was discontinued, that insofar as the dates are given for the explosions to the extent that the campaign was called off, those mines had been planted already and may well have remained in the terrain because I cannot conceive in the conditions that we were struggling that it would have been easy to send and identify each unit and say you go back and now unearth that particular land mine at the risk of dying yourselves so the dates of the explosions, even after '94, we might well find some were in the Northern Province and anti-tank mine unearthed which had been planted in '85/'86, but that the campaign was called off is well attested to in the public hearings and supported. The public statements by the President and by the institutions particularly the National Executive and the Political Military Council. The decision then who was present, I would be in and out of Lusaka, Lusaka was my base, I would attend meetings of the Political Military Council and the NEC as and when they were held. The NEC was made up of more than 30 individuals and the political military council made up of about 15 to 20 individuals. Those who would be present at a particular meeting would be a quorum of the members.
MR DU PLESSIS: But it would have been endorsed by both those organs?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: Right. Now Mr Maharaj, I want to put it to you that you're not entirely correct when you say that the policy of the ANC was not to hit civilians.
MR MAHARAJ: That the policy was not to?
MR DU PLESSIS: Was not to effect civilians in operations.
MR MAHARAJ: Specifically after 1985 President Tambo made a public statement to say that henceforth we would not pay the same attention when it came to civilian deaths. He also made a statement after the Matola raid to say that we were at a dangerous point in the struggle that if the apartheid regime argue that anybody armed with a pistol was a legitimate target then it would raise the possibility that every white civilian that owned a pistol was a legitimate target. He raised that as a question at Matola after Kabwe Conference we made a special announcement to say that we would not restraining ourselves to the degree we had previously restrained and that civilians caught in the cross-fire could be expected to die.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes.
MR MAHARAJ: So there was a distinct change and it was a conscious change and we stated so publicly.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes. Mr Maharaj, on page 52 of the statement of the ANC to the Truth Commission, there is a direct excerpt from the speech of President Oliver Tambo where that is clearly reflected. In the left hand column, the first paragraph, the last sentence says:
"The distinction between hard and soft targets is going to disappear in an intensified confrontation in an escalating conflict."
ADV DE JAGER: Mr du Plessis, I think that's been conceded and Mr Maharaj testified that it's been carried on for a period and thereafter there was an order to change the position again. So we've got that on record. Can we perhaps proceed to the next point?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes I'm proceeding, Mr Chairman.
Mr Maharaj, in the same way that the ANC perceived the situation pertaining to civilians, the security - I put it to you, the security forces was in the same position pertaining to military operations that they planned against targets which they thought were legitimate targets and they could also not always plan it to the finest detail so that civilians do not get caught in a cross-fire. I putting that to you and in my view you should agree with that.
MR MAHARAJ: I'm sorry Sir. No evidence has been presented to me to support that position. No evidence has been presented to me of the SADF or the Security Branch top structure taking a decision, laying out policy guidelines saying civilians as a general rule should be avoided. The record is different, in fact the record is that anybody who was let alone being a member of the ANC, anybody who was seen to in any way oppose apartheid became a legitimate target. As against that, the record of the ANC is actual instances as I mentioned the cabinet being vetoed as a legitimate target and their are excellent writings in the ANC publications arguing what constituted terrorism and what constituted guerrilla warfare and peoples war and in that distinction goes back right to the formation of uMkhonto weSizwe where we deliberately and consciously turned our back on launching an armed struggle that would take the pattern of the Algerian struggle. So I cannot accept that, with due respect, I've said that if I see that there was an order at a policy level, I would be ready to change my mind on that but I have not seen one in all my looking.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright, Mr Maharaj and just the one final question on this point and then I'm going to move on. Other operations such as the Church Street bomb and Magoo's Bar incident and other operations which were carried out, the attack against SASOL, Voortrekkerhoogte rocket attack, those would also have been authorised by the same two organs that you testified just now about the land mines, is that right?
MR MAHARAJ: Bit of a difference there Sir, when special operations was set up by President Tambo it functioned for a period without reporting to the revolutionary council or the political military council or the NEC. All that was said was that there is a special operations team set up. SASOL one, would have taken place in that period. Koeberg was never discussed at any meeting but I was privy to the discussions on Koeberg and in the case of Koeberg I had been the person who provided the diagrams of Koeberg to Joe Slovo and I had warned him that Koeberg was due to become operational, I think in about a space of about six months and together we agreed that Comrade Slovo would solicit the advice of nuclear physicists in Britain and the Soviet Union and possibly I think the United States to give them the plans and consult them about the possibility of danger from radiation and when it was struck, again not because I was directly involved in the operation but in my tasks I was party to retrieving the members of the unit that carried out that attack and therefore became aware that we carried it out hurriedly because we wanted to strike it before it became operational to avoid radiation and effecting people working there as well as the surrounding areas.
ADV DE JAGER: Ja thank you, Mr du Plessis could we now come back to Mr Raven's case? We've dealt now with Koeberg and a lot of other things but could we get to the essence of Mr Raven's application?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, with respect Mr Chairman, I didn't ask a question about Koeberg. I asked a simple question, I got a long answer with a lot of information contained therein. I have one last question Mr Chairman.
Mr Maharaj, am I correct if I put the following to you that within the structures, the top structures of the ANC at that time, people who are still with us today, that they would have specific information, specific knowledge about these operations and am I also correct that they form part of the 37 members of the ANC who applied for amnesty?
MR MAHARAJ: I'm sorry judge, I have to give you a long answer to that one, again. 37 who are members of the ANC? Incorrect. 37 people were granted what has been called in the media blanket amnesty. They were not all members of the ANC. Two, that there would be a number of individuals in the leadership who would know of every operation? No. Not in the PMC, not in the NEC. That there would specific individuals who would know of a cluster of operations? Yes. It depended within those guidelines which front area you operated from and it depended also which internal area you operated from as to whether you would have actual knowledge of the actual operation. So that's the reality in which we operated but I would not accept the statement that there would be a group of people in the leadership who would know of every operation.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, that wasn't really the effect of what I put, Mr Maharaj. All I'd put was that there are people who have specific knowledge of these operations.
MR MAHARAJ: I thought you had used the word a group of people?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes but ...(intervention)
MR MAHARAJ: I'm paying very careful attention judge to your words.
ADV DE JAGER: Let's ...(inaudible) specific knowledge about your client's operation.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, I'm finished with that point.
Mr Maharaj, now in respect of Mr Marius Schoon and Jeanette Schoon, let's deal with them first? You have given us information and you have testified to the effect that they supported the struggle in exactly the same way that you did. Mr Marius Schoon also testified to that effect. You don't have any problem with that?
MR MAHARAJ: Supported yes, correct.
MR DU PLESSIS: And that they supported all the actions of the ANC?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes they accepted the policy.
MR DU PLESSIS: Including all the military operations and everything within the policy?
MR MAHARAJ: They accepted that policy.
MR DU PLESSIS: And that they supported the struggle to overthrow the South African Government and to obtain or to reach a situation where there was a national convention and a new constitution?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir, so did Olaf Palme, Prime Minister of Sweden.
MR DU PLESSIS: Which by the way eventually did happen, isn't that so?
MR MAHARAJ: Which happened and which led to the death of Olaf Palme in Sweden.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, I didn't ask you about that Mr Maharaj, let's leave that alone. Now Mr Maharaj, in respect of the Schoons and what they were doing in Botswana, when did you now become aware that the second statement of the ANC to the Truth Commission was wrong in respect of their position pertaining to the senior organ?
MR MAHARAJ: No, I haven't said it's wrong, I have said it is vaguely formulated and it was vaguely formulated because of a real situation that confronted us when we had to file the document that we had to rely on memories and we made the caveat that memories would be faulty so I'm not saying that that formulation was a deliberate attempt to mislead. I'm saying as we sit here and scrutinise that formulation we see the looseness of that formulation and I'm explaining that from my personal knowledge Marius and Jeanette were never members of the senior organ committee, they were members of a sub-committee.
MR DU PLESSIS: Now Mr Maharaj, if you are correct in that, then that document does not reflect the true position, do you agree with me?
MR MAHARAJ: That document uses the word "were leading members in" and I say that that's the formulation that has led to the ambiguity and misunderstanding here and I thought that by first hand evidence I would clarify that and show why in the case of Botswana as against other areas where the formulation is different, there is that vagueness.
MR DU PLESSIS: But Mr Maharaj, the question is simple. Were they members of the senior organ or weren't they?
MR MAHARAJ: Sir, with due respect, I'm saying they were not members of the senior organ committee, they were members of the sub-structures dealing with the political side.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes.
MR MAHARAJ: So in one sense, generically, all people under the senior organ were in the senior organ, specifically organisationally not all people were, the members of the committee were the members of the committee. Marius was not a member of that committee.
MR DU PLESSIS: He was not a member of that committee. Was he a senior leading figure of the ANC in Botswana, is that what the document wants to portray?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, I mean Marius is a veteran.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, alright and if that was the - your impression, that would be the impression of everybody else involved in the Botswana structures of the ANC at the time?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: But they were leading figures, they were important people in the structures of the ANC in Botswana?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: And you would agree with me that intelligence of the South African Security Forces would have had the same perception of them?
MR MAHARAJ: If the South African Security Forces started from the premise being in the ANC made you a legitimate target, that is they made no distinction between the persons involved in military work and the persons involved in other political work, if they made no distinction between an ANC member in the underground and an ANC member serving as a Chief Representative in Paris, if they made no distinction at that level, then they would be arguing that case and saying similarly any supporter of the struggle for liberation would be a legitimate target, then the point would be no distinction with regards to civilians.
CHAIRPERSON: Weren't they taking the point Mr Maharaj, that prominent active ANC politicians were seeking to overthrow what they regarded as the legitimate government of this country? It wasn't only the military who was trying to overthrow the government, it was the politicians, wasn't it?
I think that's the question you were asked.
MR MAHARAJ: Sir, with due respect, the only difference is why I'm making that distinction is because I never saw the President or the Prime Minister of South Africa as a legitimate target. I didn't see membership or prominence in the National Party or the government making the person a target. Whereas it appears to me that from the other side ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: The question was you were trying to overthrow the government, weren't you?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
CHAIRPERSON: And the politicians in the ANC were seeking to do that, that is what the policemen that Mr du Plessis is asking questions on behalf of, as they saw the position?
MR MAHARAJ: Well then Sir, they could lock us up, not kill us.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well Mr Maharaj, do you agree with Mr Schoon's evidence that he established a very sophisticated professional intelligence network in Botswana between Botswana and South Africa?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: And do you agree with his evidence that if -and he testified that he was asked in instances that if he was asked to deliver certain information or carry certain information or convey certain information to South Africa through this intelligence network of his, he would have done so? And he did so.
MR MAHARAJ: Sure.
MR DU PLESSIS: And do you agree that his network was utilised extensively by the ANC in Botswana for intelligence purposes?
MR MAHARAJ: I think it was utilised for intelligence gathering, it was utilised as a communication channel to the political structures. I'm not aware of it being utilised to send to any military unit.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, yes Mr Maharaj, but information could have been sent to and fro about people who were coming out of the country, people who were going into the country, routes being utilised for coming out, coming in, isn't that so?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes with the understanding that the military had it's own communications.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes Mr Maharaj, I don't necessarily - I'm just asking you what they did.
MR MAHARAJ: And I'm clarifying that they didn't do military work.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes Mr Maharaj, the information that they received would that have been sent up to the higher structures of the ANC?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: And that would have been utilised?
MR MAHARAJ: It would have been sent to me, not necessarily utilised.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes.
CHAIRPERSON: But if it was of any value you would have certainly utilised it, wouldn't you?
MR MAHARAJ: If it was, the particular information was valuable it would be utilised.
MR MAHARAJ: But I wouldn't say that all the information sent would be utilised.
MR DU PLESSIS: And Mr Maharaj, it could have been information of any kind of nature, isn't it?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir, it would generally be political, they were in the political structure.
MR DU PLESSIS: So what you're saying is, if Mr Schoon received information which may have been of a military nature, he wouldn't have sent it up to you because he was simply political?
MR MAHARAJ: He would have sent it up but it was not his area of work.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes but then you would have received it, isn't that so?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: And if it was of a military nature and if it was of value you would have used it?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: Isn't that so? Yes, alright. Now Mr Maharaj, and in respect of the involvement of Jeanette Schoon in the trade union movement, she was trying to establish the trade unions in South Africa who worked towards making the trade unions in South Africa a force?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: And that was with a view to support, eventually, the peoples war and general uprising to overthrow the government?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: Because the trade unions was one of the most if not the most important structure that the ANC utilised within the country to motivate the masses?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MR DU PLESSIS: Because the philosophy is easy, it's an organisation where the workers are already pulled together, it's easy to motivate them in an organisational structure already?
MR MAHARAJ: Well I wouldn't argue the philosophy because I have different views about the philosophy.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright let's not get into a philosophical debate.
MR MAHARAJ: You were just asking me to agree with that philosophy.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes you say you don't agree, that's fine we can leave it there but you agree with me that eventually the trade unions were one of the - was - the involvement of the trade unions was one of the most important factors in the instability that was caused in the country in South Africa, within South Africa during the middle '80's?
MR MAHARAJ: We described the trade unions as part of the revolutionary forces.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright now Mr Maharaj and do you agree with me that the involvement of the trade unions eventually caused all sorts of problems with uprisings, with acts such as stone throwing, burning of vehicles, things like that. Do you agree with me? Mr Marius Schoon agreed with me.
MR MAHARAJ: Sir it was one of the strands of our searches to bring a change by means of a peaceful general strike, that was the objective. It was never possible and in those strikes many of these acts of what you call violence and stone throwing have been known to have been done by people in the crowd and they have also been known to have been done by agent provocateurs of the apartheid state.
MR DU PLESSIS: Alright Mr Maharaj, I'm not going to debate that issue with you.
MR MAHARAJ: It's not a debating matter, it's a factual matter.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well I differ from you but let's leave it there, Mr Maharaj, there are certain things we have to deal with. The eventual dangerous position that the Schoons had in Botswana and the reason why they had to be removed from Botswana as I understand it was a danger to their lives, isn't that so?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: Right and what happened then, where were they removed to?
MR MAHARAJ: They were called back and shifted from underground work in the political section. They then got in touch with the education section and it took them about six months for the education section to come up with the possibility that they could get employment at Lubango and they went off and took that post in '82.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes Mr Maharaj and at that time there were no ANC representation in Lubango, is that right?
MR MAHARAJ: Not as far as I'm aware and it was not part of our operations.
MR DU PLESSIS: Why were they sent to Lubango?
MR MAHARAJ: We had to find a way where they would have a livelihood and we had to locate it in the context of our solidarity possibilities, there would have been possibilities for sending them to Europe, I think they would have liked to remain in Africa and in the end I don't know how the arrangements were arrived at with the education section that they ended up in Lubango but they ended up in an area which was outside of ...(indistinct).
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes and did you regard them as being out of danger then at that time?
MR MAHARAJ: I certainly regarded their going to Lubango as putting them outside of the reach of those who wanted to assassinate them.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes but do you agree with me, Mr Maharaj, it wasn't a very safe place, Lubango at that time, it was a very unstable place?
MR MAHARAJ: There was hardly a place in Southern Africa that was safe unless we were to give up living in Africa and I thought it was an important symbol that comrades even when withdrawn for their own personal safety should show their commitment to Africa by serving an African country even though there was a general danger in Zambia, in Mozambique, in Lesotho, in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Angola, Tanzania. The danger was there, attacks were taking place in normal military attacks so this was - the whole area was dangerous to live in but I did not regard Lubango as an area where the South African assassins would specifically say we can reach Marius Schoon now or Jeanette or Katryn.
ADV DE JAGER: Mr du Plessis, did your client know that the Schoons were in Lubango?
MR DU PLESSIS: No Mr Chairman, my client didn't know.
ADV DE JAGER: So if he didn't know, what would the relevance be of where the Schoons were at that stage as far as your client is concerned?
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, I'm dealing with this simply because of the fact that I am not sure and because of the lack of judgements from the Amnesty Committee on some of these issues, I am not sure in what way the Amnesty Committee will adjudge my client's political motive and especially the rationale behind the proportionality of the deed when the information was within the knowledge of his superior and how that would effect his position, Mr Chairman. If you say to me today now, that that will not, even if it is eventually found that from Mr Williamson's point of view, the deed was not proportional, to the result achieved that that would not influence my client's case at all, then I will stop this cross-examination immediately.
ADV DE JAGER: Well it would depend on your client's knowledge about it. What did he know, what was his own motive, how could it be interpreted on his evidence, the facts pertaining to your client? We can't use information that he knew nothing about it and wasn't put to him or whatever in his favour or against him.
MR DU PLESSIS: Right, Mr Chairman if that is the case and that's the view of the Amnesty Committee then I won't proceed with this line of cross-examination.
ADV DE JAGER: In fact - but he had knowledge of the previous killing.
CHAIRPERSON: His letter bomb had been used to kill the wife of a prominent person, he knew that.
MR DU PLESSIS: Well after the fact.
CHAIRPERSON: He knew that before the ...(inaudible)
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, yes. Mr Chairman, now I'm not sure if the indications that Mr de Jager is correct and if I should leave this line of cross-examination? If it ...(intervention)
ADV DE JAGER: No, please carry on, I can't advise you how to deal with your case. I've put you a proposition and deal with your case as you think fit.
MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you Mr Chairman, I'll try to be as quick a possible, I promise you.
Mr Maharaj, in respect of the situation in Angola, I'm going to put to you that I find it very improbable that you would have sent somebody who was of such value to you in Botswana pertaining to intelligence structures and networks to Angola simply to teach English.
MR MAHARAJ: Sir, nobody is closer to me than my wife. She worked in Mozambique, in Maputo. She travelled to Swaziland. I was in Swaziland when I allowed her to buy a motor cycle and travel first time ever riding a motor cycle from Manzini to Maputo where she arrived at 10 o'clock at night. She has been in Lesotho where raids had taken place. She has been in Botswana.
My second child was born in the clinic in Harare and at the age of two weeks was transported by road with my wife in the car to Zambia at a time when life was extremely dangerous. I do not believe I did that callously and I did not believe that I did that unaware of the dangers but I believe that by her working in Mozambique and Zambia without her direct involvement in any underground work of the ANC at that stage, she was a symbol of resistance to apartheid rule. So the danger I do not deny but the danger that the South African forces would pursue them in Lubango as a specific target was less possible in Lubango than in Botswana and then in Lusaka.
What danger arose was in the general military situation by aircraft bombing, by infantry attacks, the whole of Lubango could have been overrun and they could have died. That is a different form of danger but my view is there's a very big difference between that danger and I don't believe that given the public knowledge that they had gone into teaching at a university in an area where there were no South Africans, where no communication lines could run smoothly, where I think that even supplies were short, would have made them as exposed as they were in Botswana.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes Mr Maharaj ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: As I understand the position Mr Maharaj, you had little choice in the matter. They lost their job in Botswana, the Botswana Government indicated that they would throw them out in two weeks, they had to leave Botswana. The network was broken up.
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
CHAIRPERSON: And you had to find somewhere else for them to go and that is why they went? It wasn't a deliberate decision by the ANC to transfer them?
MR MAHARAJ: I couldn't have put it better Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: And Mr Maharaj one of the overriding or most important reasons as I understand you, why they were sent to Lubango in Angola was to show solidarity with the Angolan government and the Angolan people, which you testified about, and as a show of support?
MR MAHARAJ: And to give them a livelihood and a job.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, so they were a symbol for the ANC? The fact that they taught there was not simply they taught English there, they were regarded as a symbol of the ANC in Angola?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes like my wife was a symbol.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes. Now Mr Maharaj, do you agree in respect of Ruth First that she was a very high profile person in the ANC?
MR MAHARAJ: Ruth First was a member of an ANC branch. If you're using high profile deriving from her past and her academic reputation, that's a different thing but when you say high profile in the ANC, I must remove any implication that she held any senior position in the ANC.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes but Mr Maharaj, let's just deal with her standing as a figure in the ANC, she was a leading figure of the struggle from the period in the 1950's right through and she was regarded, held in high esteem by everybody in the ANC. Do you disagree with that?
MR MAHARAJ: I think she was held in leading esteem beyond the ANC.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, beyond the ANC. Let's take it further. She was a world wide known figure and she did a lot to support the ANC's cause internationally, do you agree with that?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes because what I'm putting to you is what her daughter testified, so she - her daughter testified Mr Maharaj, that she was known throughout the world, that she had given speeches, that she had written books which were well known and she was a well known international leading figure of the ANC. Do you agree with that?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, she was a leading figure in that sense but I'm saying don't draw the mechanical equation that she was a member holding a leading position in the ANC.
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, no, no, no, let's forget about the technicalities Mr Maharaj, even within the ...(intervention)
MR MAHARAJ: Most of the technicalities judge, with due respect, are very important. Dulcie September was a Chief Representative in Paris and killed. I don't think that just that word "leading" is an easy word to use.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Maharaj, we'll deal with that in argument.
CHAIRPERSON: Has anybody challenged this Mr du Plessis, the evidence we've heard about her position, that given by her daughter?
MR DU PLESSIS: Well Mr Chairman, Mr Maharaj testified and that is why I'm asking him this, he testified that while she was in Mozambique she simply - and I'm leading up to that Mr Chairman, she helped students in Mozambique, she wasn't involved in the struggle at all, she set up support for refugees students, she set up ANC structures not related to the underground work, so there's this whole line between on the one hand, the ...(intervention)
MR BIZOS: I'm sorry Mr Chairman, what evidence is there that she set up ANC structures?
MR DU PLESSIS: Yes, not related to underground work. That is Mr Maharaj's evidence from my notes.
MR MAHARAJ: I don't know if I can intervene here judge, I think that the summaries that are presenting are very incompetent summaries of what I have said and I don't know whether it's a deliberate incompetence or a genuine incompetence.
ADV DE JAGER: I think it's whenever they summarise something and it's not in accordance with what you've said, you've got the right to point it out and even a duty, it would assist us too.
MR MAHARAJ: It would be much easier, thank you very much judge, I can clarify the position.
I said number one, that Ruth First was not involved with the internal struggle of South Africa, that is from the internal structures, military or political. I said that she was a member of the ANC like every other member. I said that she was of high standing in the international community. I said that she did work with the students who were in exile in Mozambique and I said that she was doing major research work assisting the development process in Mozambique. But I did not say that she was not involved in the anti-apartheid struggle, I did not say that she did nothing for the struggle. A major distinction in my mind because the ANC maintained two separate structures, external and internal.
MR DU PLESSIS: Now Mr Maharaj, am I right in saying that the research that she was doing related to the question in what way could Mozambique become economically independent from South Africa?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir.
MR DU PLESSIS: And that information and the studies that she was doing during that time, was she giving speeches, did she speak to - on public platforms in Mozambique or anywhere in the world?
MR MAHARAJ: I'm not aware of the late Ruth First delivering speeches on public platforms in Mozambique but I'm aware of her delivering speeches around the world.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, if you'll just bear with me please?
You would agree with Ms Slovo, Ms Gillian Slovo when she testified that her mother's death was a loss for the ANC?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir and a grievous loss to South Africa of today.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Maharaj and you also would agree with me in respect of the situation pertaining from 1980 in South Africa that it was similar to a guerrilla war situation?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir. Having been deeply involved in the attempts to root and wage a guerrilla struggle, I must say guerrilla warfare had not taken root. What was present post '84 was an enormous popular uprising and a sustained uprising which was being met all over with tanks.
MR DU PLESSIS: Thank you Mr Chairman, I have no further questions.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR DU PLESSIS
CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, I want to place on record Exhibit N, the ANC submissions which have been referred to again and again and various people have been asked about them, that is the paragraph relating to the organisations in Botswana, that it commences, if one looks at page 34 appendix 1, the heading is "Please note" and then they deal with structures and then say:
"Most of the information contained in this appendix is drawn from memories. There may be minor mistakes and omissions"
So the document itself makes it clear that it is not drawn from record and is not entirely reliable.
CHAIRPERSON: Next, any questions?
MR CORNELIUS: Cornelius on behalf of McPherson, I have no questions thank you.
NO QUESTIONS BY MR CORNELIUS
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS PATEL: Thank you Honourable Chairperson.
Mr Maharaj, there's just one or two points I'd like clarity on, you said in your testimony earlier that you lived in an environment where you never got mail through the post, would this have applied to Joe Slovo as well?
MR MAHARAJ: Absolutely, cardinal rule for the positions that we were occupying.
MS PATEL: Alright, so what are the probabilities of mail being addressed to him being sent to Ruth?
MR MAHARAJ: In my opinion zero, because if a letter arrived for me in Zambia addressed care of my wife who was at that time working at Zambia University, it would straight away be destroyed. I wouldn't even bother to look at it but if I had the chance later on when we managed to acquire a screening equipment, I would take it to the ANC head office and hand it over to the intelligence section to screen it and open it before handing it to me.
MS PATEL: Alright and then just one final point, do you know a women by the name of Brigitte O'Lochlan?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes.
MS PATEL: Do you know whether she worked with Ruth First?
MR MAHARAJ: She worked at the Centre of African Studies as far as I know and she was injured in that blast.
MS PATEL: Right, would she be in a position to testify as to what Ruth was doing at the university at the time?
MR MAHARAJ: I think she would be a fairly authoritative witness as to what Ruth was doing at - because she was with Ruth at the Centre of African Studies whereas I had not been employed, I properly visited the centre twice.
MS PATEL: Alright, thank you very much, honourable Chairperson.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MS PATEL
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, Visser on record, I really don't wish to take up any time at all but there is one matter which I'm constrained to place on record. I'm not going to ask any questions of Minister Maharaj but he is welcome to stop me immediately if anything I say now is incorrect factually or otherwise.
Mr Chairman, we appeared for certain victims in the Church Street bomb which is not relevant to your hearings hear today but it has now arisen in cross-examination. In that matter, certain Abubaker Ismail, MK Rashied, applied for amnesty inter alia for the Church Street bomb. We cross-examined him at length, we dealt with many subjects, some of which have been raised here today. That matter is sub iudice at the moment. Our argument has been handed in. I understand that Justice Miller who was the Chairman of that Committee is still awaiting the argument from some of the participants in those applications, but Mr Chairman, insofar as whatever - and I may say Mr Maharaj was present during that hearing from time to time and he didn't give evidence but he was present at the time. I'm not sure whether he heard my cross-examination, I'm not going as far as that, but inasfar as Mr Maharaj has given evidence today, which is contrary to whatever evidence was presented under cross-examination or principles dealt with in our argument, Mr Chairman, I simply wish to place on record so that it won't be said that I was present and I said nothing, I simply wish to place on record that we disagree with that and I want to take it no further than that.
MR MAHARAJ: May I just say judge that yes, I attended that hearing I think for one day. I did not - I was not asked to be a witness, I did not attend it when Mr Visser was doing any cross-examination. In fact one of the members of MK was due to give evidence that day and not Mr Abubaker. I'm not aware of what happened there but insofar as what I've said about Church Street, I can support it by the evidence and the submissions that we made.
MR VISSER: I accept Mr Maharaj's word for what he says Mr Chairman, I simply repeat that I don't want to go into a full-fledged cross-examination of Mr Maharaj on a matter which is not even obliquely relevant to the present proceedings.
RE-EXAMINATION BY MR BIZOS: Very briefly, Mr Chairman. What work was your wife doing in Southern Africa during the period that you have mentioned her name?
MR MAHARAJ: My wife was a lecturer in mathematics at the University of Edwardo Montlane from December 1977. We met there, she then moved over to Zambia, took up a post with the University of Zambia in the computer section. She computerised the Zambian educational system, designed it. When her term of office finished with the University of Zambia she was employed by the Zambian Government Education Department to do the training of the Zambian staff to take over that computerised system and after that she was employed by the United Nations agency to computerise the preferential trade area information systems and it's at that stage that I left Zambia. She met in a car accident in 1988 while I was underground in South Africa and as a result of extensive injuries she had to relocate in Britain in order to be near adequate medical treatment.
MR BIZOS: She was a teacher in Southern Africa?
MR MAHARAJ: I'd like to think she was a brilliant teacher.
MR BIZOS: You know, a lot has been made about differences in policy and application and on your evidence there were the ANC's policy may have shifted. I want to deal with what the position was in relation to the ANC's attitude to violence in '82 and '84. The one when the late Ruth First was murdered, the other when Jeanette and Katryn Schoon were murdered. I want to illustrate the difference by statements by Mr Williamson and ask you for your view. I'm referring to page 6 of Mr Williamson's application, Mr Chairman. Bundle 1, Mr Williamson's application in relation to Ruth First. I haven't got another copy but I think you will get the drift of it as, I append hereto a document entitled:
"The Internal Threat - The African National Congress"
marked A. This is a working draft of a SAP submission for the Annual State Security Council Intelligence Review from 1982 to 1993 - I beg your pardon '83. 82 - 83. The document gives a clear exposition of the official view of what the ANC/SACP alliance was doing at that time.
"The comments in paragraphs 22 and 24 of that document relating to the death of Ruth First were inserted by my intelligence section on my instructions."
This is Mr Williamson speaking. I want to turn to page 22 of the same volume, paragraph 24. How is your Afrikaans, Minister Maharaj?
MR MAHARAJ: I read fairly well but I can't speak it.
MR BIZOS: Well perhaps you should put the earphones on so that the good people up there can follow? Paragraph 24 on page 22 on bundle 1:
"Thus is can be predicted that the ANC"
Is it not working?
MR MAHARAJ: I've got it, I had to get the English first.
MR BIZOS: Oh I see yes. Well perhaps you can follow the:
"that the ANC will try anything within it's ability to escalate the armed struggle in 1983 and in the latest times, ANC leaders refer increasingly to it that their own capacity is currently as such that they will be able to act with greater effectivity. A development which must be borne in mind is that the ANC especially according to Ruth First's death will probably attempt to pay the R.S.A. back. Attacks on prominent South Africans or their families can therefore not be excluded."
Now that is apparently a prediction of what the ANC was expected to do as a result of his participation in murdering Ruth First. Did the ANC react in kind in relation to South African leaders and their families or not?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir. No Sir.
MR BIZOS: Why not?
MR MAHARAJ: It was contrary to our policy to target political leaders and civilians. In 1982 in particular we hadn't even softened the line on civilian targets but the idea that we should target individual political leaders and leading families was completely alien to our way of thinking. It was consciously rebutted and excluded in the lessons we gave in training our cadres, to say that is not the way to conduct the struggle.
MR BIZOS: Well a number of your cadres arrested and interrogated, did they make statements about their training and the policy of the ANC in lengthy statements to the South African Security Police?
MR MAHARAJ: Over and over.
MR BIZOS: Would this avoidance of killing prominent figures and members of their family well instilled in them?
MR MAHARAJ: Absolutely, as I said earlier Sir, in 1981 as a result of the anti-Republic campaign our cadres reported the possibility that we could wipe out a substantial number of the cabinet including the State President and we vetoed any such action and accompanied it with a clear exposition of why such acts are not tolerated.
MR BIZOS: I'm sorry to ask you this question Mr Maharaj, you were in the upper echelons of the struggle as was Mr Slovo. How would you have felt if your wife had been eliminated?
MR MAHARAJ: Sir I had a very close relationship with Joe Slovo. I admired the manner in which he had self control over himself over something that was extremely painful to him. In my own case I don't know how I would have reacted but at a maximum I know from my upbringing that I would not have driven the ANC in the path of terrorism but I cannot guarantee that as an individual I would not have gone ballistic and become an unguided missile. Joe Slovo never became that.
MR BIZOS: Now we're trying to find the passage of which I have a very clear recollection of reading and Mr Williamson's writings, we will find it soon enough I hope but for the interests of progress I'll put it to you from memory. Subscribing to an aphorism that you must terrorise the terrorist did the ANC on the proportionality basis that an attempt was made about the land mines a few years later ever adopt an attitude of terrorising the families of the people that really were involved in the struggle against the ANC struggle?
MR MAHARAJ: No Sir, we never did it.
MR BIZOS: And that must have obviously been well known to a senior member of the intelligence department of the security forces?
MR MAHARAJ: It was written about, it was debated, it was written in our journals. In one instance we debated the concept arming the people and there were people who argued in our publications that we should indiscriminately arm the people. The movement took part in that debate and allowed the debate so that we would make public interventions with our members and argue against that line. We never buried it. I myself was placed in a very difficult situation when I came into South Africa in Operation Vula. I even went so far as to reconnoitre and collect information on Security Branch and intelligence service members and their families but never with the aim for killing them, it was always with the aim of understanding them and understanding how I could penetrate that service to extract that information from their files.
MR BIZOS: There is another passage of which Mr Williamson claims authorship for his motivation and I want you to either compare it or contrast it to the ANC's. It is in Exhibit Q Mr Chairman, in the documents filed by Mr Williamson. Q2, page 238, paragraph 6.2.3. It's printed page 30 because I understand that there is some difficulty Mr Chairman, printed page 30 of that document and document number 21, Mr Chairman.
A substantial portion of this is in Afrikaans and I will again read it:
"Regarding the human element it is necessary that the intelligence process be seen in its relation to the cover up process. In this relation Major Williamson remarked: 'In the intelligence game there is only one rule and that is that there are no rules'."
and then it goes on:
"When the survival is at stake it is often necessary for those in service to go over to overt actions which do not agree with laws, morality and values which control the public conduct of the State machinery. Secrecy, defensive and offensive is here the watchword. Cover ups are used to enable the operatives to carry out secret orders regardless of any opposition or accepting voluntary public responsibility."
That is the moral standard that Mr Williamson set for himself and it is his case that we are busy with today. Did the ANC disregard humanity, morality, norms or values in it's struggle against the regime?
MR MAHARAJ: Sir we in the ANC may have fallen short here and there and stumbled along the way but we had a clear sense of morality. We have in fact been forerunners in upholding that morality in the history of guerrilla struggles and armed struggles. We signed the Geneva Convention. We brought every member of our structures into a culture where systematic political education was done to instil that morality and we often faced moments in our struggle where we had to call up our cadres and ourselves as leaders, from time to time possibly falling short, but we were clear that our struggle would mean nothing if it was not to allow all South Africans to live in an environment where the humanity would thrive. That is what we upheld and we did so at times under moments of great stress and difficulty. I myself have had the opportunity to wipe out three Captains in the South African Security Force who had occupied a building in Durban. A furious debate took place amongst us. Some comrades said they have occupied that building, they are not aware that we are aware, we can wipe them out and have an immense boost to our morale and I said you can't do that, let them be. Leave them there because we do not want to just wipe them out, there's a larger issue at stake here. We did not attack them because it would have been contrary to our mission at that time.
I've had occasion in the Natal region to be asked by cadres to distribute weapons so that we could simply fire indiscriminately on an Inkatha march and I've said never and I've driven in all parts of this country in the underground to get back there and make sure those weapons were not released and I recall very graphically arguing with the command structure in saying I will not release the weapons to kill indiscriminately because the injuries you will leave will not be just a few dead bodies but it would be scars that will go on for generation after generation.
So I say, in that difficult struggle, we may have stumbled from time to time but we had a systematic programme of instilling this culture in our members.
MR BIZOS: There is something that I want you to clarify what in your view was the position. For the purposes of my question I want to remind you of what the evidence in this case has been. We have heard General Coetzee tell us that he did not think that Marius and Jeanette Schoon and Katryn Schoon were legitimate targets. We also heard him say that Ruth First was not a legitimate target.
We have heard the evidence of Brigadier Schoon who told us that he considered the Schoons as persons involved in the military struggle. On the basis of that evidence, I want you for the purposes of my question to assume that the Schoons and Ruth First were not engaged in military work and they were not - I want you to assume this - assumed on reasonable grounds by any of the persons involved in this matter to have been involved in military work.
MR VISSER: Just before my learned friend goes on Mr Chairman and I hate to interrupt him, it's been a long question and there's only one basic mistake. Brigadier Schoon never said that he considered them to be involved in military work, his evidence was that they were supporters of the ANC and that they ran a network in which they supported people going out and in, he never said military, he never indicated that he thought they were military operatives, Mr Chairman and that's what my learned friend has just put.
MR BIZOS: I remember his words well enough, I may have understated the position because they were, according to his evidence, they were involved in acts of terror. That was his evidence and may I just please - in any event, I'm asking the witness to assume and that on page 84 of bundle 2:
"Information indicated that Mr Schoon was involved in acts of terrorism and other actions which were aimed at endangering the security of the Republic of South Africa and that he was regarded as one of the enemy."
My I proceed? Thank you.
Is there a difference in your view between attacking and I'll put the word "legitimate" in inverted commas, both from the point of view of the ANC and the security forces? Is there a difference between killings of non-military personnel and people involved in the military struggle in your view?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir, there is a distinction.
MR BIZOS: I'll leave it at that. What I want to ask you is this, that we have had in relation to Katryn in this cross-examination an introduction of a notion of being killed in the cross-fire. Now what is meant by cross-fire?
MR MAHARAJ: Sir the classic meaning of that in military terms would be that if opposing forces were engaged in an exchange of fire, others caught in between that who were not part of the combatants would be injured or killed. As we go down the line we have a situation from the perspective of the ANC that we often found ourselves calling off operations because some passer by might be injured and we called that also possible cross-fire and as the struggle moved on we came to positions of targets such as Church Street which were located in dense civilian areas and we then tried to hit them when there would be no civilian population. Then we tried to hit them when there would be a minimal civilian presence. All those fell in the category of cross-fire but always on the basis of looking at the target and making an assessment, a deliberate assessment, whether others not engaged on either side of the combatants would be effected.
MR BIZOS: But what was the target, was the target a military?
MR MAHARAJ: It was a military target, we tried to avoid civilian targets. Later on we did extend the concept at times but those were individual acts and we have said that was wrong on our side but it was always military targets that we went for.
MR BIZOS: That was post '85?
MR MAHARAJ: Post '85 we extended, yes.
MR BIZOS: You've mentioned President Oliver Tambo's speech, public statement, after the raids into Botswana, Lesotho and ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Bizos, if you took your hands away from your mouth we could understand you.
MR BIZOS: I'm sorry Mr Chairman, it's my way of trying to help my thinking process but I'm sorry for that. Was that statement made after those raids?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir. The statements were made after the raids and if I remember, the major statement raising the question was made after Matola and then a particularly sharp statement raising the issue after the Maseru massacre.
MR BIZOS: Yes. What was the proportion of the casualties in those raids as between civilians and ANC military cadres?
MR MAHARAJ: In the Matola massacre the casualties were overwhelming civilian, not just South African refugees but citizens of Lesotho. In Matola also Mozambicans were killed, South Africans were killed including bona fide refugees not involved in the underground. I don't know the proportion at Matola, I'm a bit overwhelmed when I think of Matola because one of the comrades or at least two who died were personally known to me and were involved in the underground and the military section.
MR BIZOS: I think that the first one you intended to say was Maseru and not ...(intervention)
MR MAHARAJ: Sorry, Maseru was the one where I think it was 42, where the overwhelming majority were civilians, Lesotho citizens and also civilians from South Africa.
MR BIZOS: And these events and the decision to employ land mines were well after the death of the Schoons and Ruth First?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes, it's well after the death, the land mine thing comes up in 1985.
MR BIZOS: Now in this classification of civilians, combatants and people killed in cross-fire, how would the cross-fire excuse work in the sending of a letter bomb which probably would have been opened in the privacy of a home or a university or a school room or when visiting the post office, how would the cross-fire situation be equated in this debate Mr Maharaj?
MR MAHARAJ: There are several distinctions that are clear in my mind Sir. Firstly when I dealt with land mines earlier I made a clear distinction between anti-personnel and anti-tank mines as to what would trigger it off, but a letter and parcel bomb is one of the extreme cases where you have no control who is going to get injured. It may not even be opened by the recipient to whom it's addressed. You have absolutely no control of the environment in which it would be opened, if it's opened by the person to whom it's addressed.
CHAIRPERSON: Isn't the anti-tank mine put on a road exactly the same thing?
MR MAHARAJ: Sir ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: You have no control over whose going to drive along that road and set off the mine?
MR MAHARAJ: Yes Sir, I made the distinction between an anti-personnel and anti-tank ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: I'm talking about anti-tank.
MR MAHARAJ: On the anti-tank I would make the distinction that it can only be set off by a vehicle of a particular weight.
CHAIRPERSON: 350 kilograms.
MR MAHARAJ: That's right.
CHAIRPERSON: That is any motor car.
MR MAHARAJ: It's correct and that is why we called it off. So to take the matter further, the letter bomb has that characteristic and therefore you have no assurance that the target will be the one that is struck. What you have is a certainty that somebody is going to be badly injured or killed but you don't know who.
MR BIZOS: I'm merely asking for information, did you say 350 kilograms?
CHAIRPERSON: 350 kilograms, that figure appears from the ANC submissions that that is the weight necessary to set off an anti-tank mine and you ...(intervention)
MR BIZOS: I just asked about that because that's not how I understood it, I'm sorry Mr Chairman. What weight - is 350 kilograms sufficient in order to - is that an anti-tank mine? I'm not disputing that that's what the document says, I'm merely asking whether that he considers that to be a correct statement of fact.
CHAIRPERSON: He said yes.
MR MAHARAJ: Sorry, I've got it in front of me now, the submission does say 300 kilograms, I think that that is a questionable figure because it is called an anti-tank because the weight is based on a tank's weight and 300 kilograms is the weight of a car, would not normally be enough to trigger off an anti-tank and I would think that that is a misprint there.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, maybe to be of assistance there, my attorney says he will testify and he was in the infantry and he has specific knowledge about anti-tank mines and the weight thereof Mr Chairman.
MR DU PLESSIS: He says it's round about between 200 to 300 kilograms.
MR BIZOS: Kilograms, not tons?
MR DU PLESSIS: No, not tons.
MR BIZOS: Thank you Mr Chairman.
CHAIRPERSON: Any more questions?
MR BIZOS: No Mr Chairman.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR BIZOS
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
MR MAHARAJ: Pleasure.
CHAIRPERSON: It must have been difficult for you to get away from your colleagues down there and we are grateful to you for having made the effort, thank you.
MR MAHARAJ: I don't know which one was the more difficult task, remaining in Cape Town or being here, thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: We have tentatively agreed I think to the 22nd February. How many days do you think we require?
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, Visser on record, speaking for myself I think Mr Bizos must tell us. We are finished with our evidence, it's now really Mr Bizos that is going on.
MR BIZOS: The evidence probably two to two and half days but my learned friend, Mr Berger ....(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: What I'm getting at is one week's enough, when you say two weeks we don't have to ...(intervention)
MR BIZOS: If we are going to have oral argument Mr Chairman, it would be safer to stretch it into the following week in the hope that we should finish.
CHAIRPERSON: Speaking for myself I would prefer oral argument otherwise what happens is you get the argument six weeks later or two months later after you've done four other hearings and you've got completely mixed up about what the evidence is. So if we could then set aside two weeks starting on the 22nd February and I will get the Amnesty Committee to make the necessary arrangements.
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, sorry, I didn't want to interrupt I just wanted to stop you before you left because it raises the question of the argument in the London bomb. You did suggest that you wanted to hear oral argument there as well but in the light of the postponement to this session, what is the question of the possibility of written argument? Will it serve any purpose at this stage or should we just leave the whole thing over until the next session?
ADV DE JAGER: Written argument is always - you've got oral argument in the Appellate Division but you use heads of argument and it's always of assistance to have heads of argument even if it's an oral argument so you could decide if you want to argue without any notes but it would assist us.
MR LEVINE: Mr Chairman, this represents a turnabout to the extent that we were advised that we should submit heads of argument on the London bomb. I personally spent many, many hours, days and perhaps even weeks in preparing, submitting those heads of argument. If you are telling me now that this was an unnecessary task I would think it to be somewhat unfair because I put myself out to a tremendous extent.
CHAIRPERSON: That means that you don't have to prepare any further argument, Mr Levine. You have done it.
MR LEVINE: Then Mr Chairman, will I be given if I so desire, the opportunity to argue from those heads?
CHAIRPERSON: If you want to bring out anything further or you can merely abide by the heads, we leave that to you if you wish to add to them or amend, you are at liberty to do so.
MS PATEL: Sorry honourable Chair, if I may just for the record, it was agreed at the end of the last hearing that we would receive written heads for the London bombing by the 2nd November if General Coetzee was not going to be recalled. Parties were then accordingly informed that he wouldn't be recalled and that the heads had to be in by the 2nd November.
MR BIZOS: Mr Chairman I do not agree that the parties agreed that he doesn't have to be recalled. It was a decision that had to be made by my learned friend Mr Visser as to whether he would ask for Mr de Kock to be recalled or not and he wrote a letter, a copy of which we received. We do not agree with this submission that he makes but then we don't have to agree with the manner in which he chooses to conduct his case, Mr Chairman.
MR DU PLESSIS: Mr Chairman, I'm just now totally confused after all this, Mr Chairman. Are we going to argue the London bomb and Ruth First and Jeanette Schoon together in those two weeks with oral argument and we'll present you with written heads of argument before that?
CHAIRPERSON: That will be the most convenient way of disposing of them wouldn't it?
MR VISSER: Yes, I would prefer that Mr Chairman, I just want to make sure that that is the case, thank you.
MR BIZOS: ...(inaudible) been received when Mr du Plessis started addressing you, I don't know whether Mr Visser is not suggesting that we agreed that he doesn't have to call his client, he doesn't have to recall Mr de Kock?
MR VISSER: Mr Chairman, I don't quite understand. I was given the opportunity, the indulgence to recall General Coetzee if I wished in the light of what Mr de Kock said. I decided not to do so, I don't need anybody's permission so to have decided.
CHAIRPERSON: We are now adjourned to the 22nd February, these hearings.