This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
Complaints to Public Protector of TRC Handling of SADF
Telephone : 355-5412
SA Defence Force Contact Bureau (Consisting of the panel of the four former Chiefs of the SA: Maj Gen D.R. Marais Defence Force, Generals Malan, Viljoen, Geldenhuys and Liebenberg, and the convenors, Maj Gen Marais and WO1 Holliday)
Private Bag x 414
The Public Protector (By Hand) Pretoria Sir
RE : COMPLAINTS IN RESPECT OF TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION'S (TRC) HANDLING OF FORMER SADF AND ITS MEMBERS
1. Attached please find a motivated composite complaint including specific complaints.
2. This complaint is brought by the undersigned arising from a mandate obtained from a representative group of three hundred and fifty members of the former SA Defence Force during a symposium held on 30 August 1997. This group represented all ranks of the former SA Defence Force.
3. The theme of the symposium was "the one-sided negative image of the SA Defence Force as placed on record by the TRC (and activities surrounding it) in contrast to the true image". At this symposium the following papers and testimony were dealt with:
1. . Opening address by Gen J.J. Geldenhuys.
2. . Paper : "The TRC's influence on the writing of the history of the SA Defence Force" by Prof Dr Lawrence Schlemmer.
3. . Paper : "The Honourable Actions of our Soldiers" by Gen G.L. Viljoen.
4. . Paper : "Legal review and projection on where we stand with the TRC" by Advocate J. Engelbrecht, SC.
5. . Paper : "The Image of the SADF as viewed by a veteran" by Colonel N. Parker.
6. . Paper : "The excellence of the SA Defence force (and also the disregard thereof) with specific reference to his terms of office as Chief of the Defence force, Chief of the SA Army and General Officer Commanding Special Forces", by Gen A.J. Liebenberg.
7. . Paper : "The excellence (and disregard thereof) of the SA Defence Force, with specific reference to his term as Chief of the SA Navy" by Vice Admiral G. Syndercombe.
8. . Paper : "The positive contribution by the SAMS in the past decades" by Maj Gen C. Scheepers.
9. . Paper : "Confirmation of his positive input to the TRC" by Gen M.A. de M. Malan
10. . Testimony by Servicemen on their positive memories and experiences during national service.
4. The seriousness of the situation regarding the results of the TRC's attitude and frame of mind as reflected in its orchestration of its hearings on the SADF and the creation of misperceptions regarding the former SADF and its members it embodied in the following motion unanimously adopted by all members of the Symposium.
1. . "The Symposium expresses its unequivocal support for the process of reconciliation now taking place in South Africa and which must continue to take place. As in the past, we- as former SADF members shall continue to lend our full co-operation to the creation of a peaceful state for all its inhabitants. However, the Symposium would like to express its concern and dismay over the unfair and apparently one-sided process adopted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We do not accept that we were ever defeated militarily and we demand that the political processes do justice to both sides represented in this issue. In this way, both the honour and the good reputation of the SADF - which still forms the basis of the SANDF - must be restored".
5. Your office is requested to urgently investigate these complaints and bring out a public finding before the TRC concludes its activities and before it compiles its findings and recommendations.
6. Your kind co-operation is much appreciated.
GEN J.J. GELDENHUYS, SSA, SD, SOE, SM
GENL A.J. LIEBENBERG, SSA, SD, SOE, MMM
GENL M.A. DE M. MALAN, SSA, OMSG, SD, SM
GEN C.L. VILJOEN, SSA, SD, SOE, SM
1. The TRC and some of its members have displayed continuous prejudice, bias and lack of impartiality towards the former South African Defence Force and its members. This attitude and these actions by the TRC are also considered to be probably in violation of the Constitutionally guaranteed human rights of the SADF members concerned as described in Chapter 2 Sections 9 and 33 of Act 108 of 1996. The disregard which resultantly developed in the minds of members of the former SADF undermines the overall mission of the TRC to promote reconciliation and national unity.
2. One : An incorrect assumption when viewing the past as background for interpretation of events concerning the former SADF has been specifically displayed by the Vice Chairman of the TRC.
3. Two : The methodology to find the "truth" is based on a prejudgemental frame of mind which is biased to the disadvantage of former SADF members.
4. Three : The TRC's general approach to matters pertaining to the former SADF displays a "political vendetta" attitude.
5. Four : The TRC's manipulation of semantics displays deliberate bias and lack of impartiality.
6. Five : The TRC appears to be selectively searching for the "truth" to the detriment of the SADF.
7. Six : The TRC's disparate handling of the old SADF vis - a - vis other armed participants in the former struggle discloses blatant bias and lack of impartiality.
8. Seven : The TRC displayed obvious bias during the Forces Hearings in Cape Town held in October 1997.
9. Eight : The apparent witch hunt of the TRC on former SADF members is prejudicing the overall statutory aim of the TRC to promote "Reconciliation and National Unity" as prescribed by Act., No 34 of 1995 Section 3(1)(a).
10. An incorrect assumption when viewing the past as background for interpretation of events concerning the former SADF has been specifically displayed by the Vice- Chairman of the TRC.
11. Dr Alex Borraine stated in his presentation on "Justice in Cataclysm" at the Brussels meeting of 20-21 July 1996 that:
1. . "South Africa, oppressed and oppressors together, were imprisoned by the chains with which one group sought to bind the other for many generations.
2. . One of the ways in which to start the healing process in South Africa is an honest assessment and diagnosis of the sickness within our society in an attempt to give people both perpetrators and victims an opportunity to face the past..." [See Appendix A].
12. His approach to matters before the TRC reflects this attitude that to understand what transpired in South Africa comprises the analysis and understanding of the whole society in only two categories: the oppressors and the oppressed. Anything outside that was beside the point and unimportant. It is to be noted that this kind of thinking was especially popular in marxist, socialist and some progressive church groups.
13. The SA Communist Party in 1970 expressed similar ideas namely:
1. . "Our struggle for freedom is not an isolated one. It is part of a world-wide conflict that is going on. On the one side are the forces of socialism, of national liberation and of peace. On the other are the forces of imperialism, of exploitation and of war.
2. . We need to understand this conflict because above all we need to understand who are our friends and who are our enemies.
3. . Then we just look at our own country, it seems that there is nothing but a bitter and endless struggle between us and the oppressors; and they have the backing of the big powers like the United States, Britain, France and Germany.
4.. We, the oppressed peoples of South Africa, have our friends and allies as well. They are hundreds and millions of working people who want socialism. (Freedom can be Won. Central Committee of the SACP, 1970. Op Cit p. 368, 369 Document from the History of the SACP 1950-1980. Inkululeko Publications, London).
14. The application of this method to divide society into only two categories, received popular support from some of the Christian churches. The Kairos Covenant: Standing with South African Christians, published in 1988, provided an excellent example of the method's impact if applied to religions affairs, namely:
1. . "We can therefore use the social categories that the Bible makes use of, namely the oppresser and the oppressed. (The Kairos Covenant: Standing with South African Christians. Ed. W.H. Logan. Friendship Press, New York, 1988 p. 29. Italics in original).
2. . But there are other conflicts in which one side is right and the other wrong. There are conflicts where one side is a fully armed and violent oppressor while the other side is defenseless and oppressed.
3. . There are conflicts that can only be described as the struggle between justice and injustice, good and evil, God and the devil" (Op cit p.17).
15. The struggle became the new measure for determining the nature of violence, for right and wrong. In the name of the struggle, throwing stones, burning cars and killing people were somehow less horrible, more humane, perhaps even more in line with human rights.
16. Against strong biblical evidence, according to the protagonists of the liberation theology, the Rev Frank Chikane was able to provide solution to the townships namely:
1. . "What I'm dealing with in the township is the secondary sin. The primary sin is actually elsewhere. The thieves I have to preach to are actually products of the primary thieves on the factory floor
2. . where they are robbed, where they are under paid. And when they begin to steal, then I have to preach to them, and say don't steal. But the real thief is the one who owns suits, who sits in hotels,..."
3. . Sin has eluded the church. And as the result, we have seen the victims at the end, and the church focuses on the victims rather than the primary sinners. (Op. cit. p. 47).
17. The TRC employs a method of social analysis that has proved to be outdated, ill-conceived and an over-simplification of society. As a theory that originally constituted the building blocks of socialist society, socialism is today viewed as totally discredited in terms of social development. That is why socialist countries collapsed one after the other, and not as a result of war.
18. The question arises as to whether Dr Boraine and the TRC can really expect to build a future South African society with this kind of intellectual gymnastics? The danger lies in their conceptual application of an untruth.
19. In the case of South Africa if this supposition of the TRC is accepted, an analysis of the past becomes irrelevant. If society is perceived as an interaction between oppressor and oppressed, as a clear cut distinction between evil and good, the TRC's investigation is not really necessary even before the start of the hearings. The outcome would have been predetermined.
20. The TRC has omitted to recognise, admit to or even investigate another reality which existed at the time. A reality created by the perceptions of people. To quote but a few of these real perceptions which guided the actions of many South Africans namely:
1. . Some people were genuinely concerned about a planned attempt to introduce Communism in the sixties and seventies. The SACP had this objective as one of its fundamental principles. (The road to South African Freedom. Programme of the SA Communist Party adopted at the fifth national conference, 1962. In : South African Communists Speak. Document 115 p. 286 and 311). [Available in Army Reference Library].
2. . There was also a fear that South Africa could end up as an ally of the Soviet Union. (Op. cit. p. 289 and 311).
3. . There was an orchestrated attempt by the Soviet Union to subjugate Southern Africa. This fact was denied in socialist circles. The Soviet presence in Southern Africa combined with the SACP's aims substantiated this perception. (South African Communist Speak. Op. cit. Document 134 p. 435 and 436. And Bridgeland, F. The War in Africa. Ashanti Pub. Gibraltar 1990. p. 4,14,27).
21. The methodology to find the "truth" is based on a prejudgemental frame of mind which is biased to the disadvantage of former SADF members.
22. On Wednesday 14 August 1997 Dr Boraine said on the English radio service that the TRC was doing everything humanly possible to find the truth regarding the situation in South Africa during the so-called "apartheid era". This appears to be simply not true. Many South Africans believe that the TRC is only searching for evidence to justify and substantiate what "they believe they already know to be the truth". In short the TRC is not finding the truth, they are perceived as searching for evidence to substantiate preconceived ideas. (SADF Symposium : Opening Address, Gen Jannie Geldenhuys (Retired) 30 August 1997 p. 6). [See Appendix B].
23. If Dr Boraine and the TRC were really serious about finding the truth and bringing it to the attention of all South Africans surely they would have established the background against which the conflict was waged in this country. To illustrate this argument : during the July 1997 hearings in Durban the TRC focused upon the "counter revolutionary strategy" of the previous government and how this was implemented in Kwa-Zulu Natal. A counter-revolutionary strategy presupposes that it was aimed against a strategy in this case a revolutionary strategy, yet no attempt was made to establish the reasons for formulating and executing the strategy. The question remains what is the TRC doing to find the whole truth?
24. Questions that beg to be answered by the TRC process are the following: What were the intentions of the Soviet Union with regard to southern and more particularly South Africa at the time they decided to actually assist, train, fund and arm the SA Communist Party / ANC in their attempt to overthrow the then SA Government by violent revolution? What did the Soviet Union wish to achieve? What was the quid pro quo demanded from the SACP/ANC in exchange for such massive support? Does the TRC know that Castro favoured violence and terrorism over politics in his approach to revolution and that the Cubans have been the principal instigators of armed conflict in Africa since 1960?
25. The TRC has not looked to the intelligence and security services of the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany in order to provide the proper perspective. (Op. cit. p.7).
26. The selective prioritizing of Public Hearings by the TRC which is public knowledge displays a lack of acceptance that there were various proponents in the history making of South Africa. The lack of establishing the historical facts first before engaging in determining culpability confirms a bias, which prejudices former SADF members.
27. The TRC is furthermore enjoined by its founding act to set up its own procedures, policies and codes within the framework of that act. Up to the present time they have not published procedures for their hearings in the Government Gazette and are engaging in a "free for all" style. The manner in which Mrs Winnie Mandela was "begged" to repent and acknowledge her "sins" is symptomatic of this laissez-faire methodology. The perception is that this approach allows for such freedom of action which is then applied detrimentally to the former SADF's members. This fact was also demonstrated during the Cape Town Hearings when the various participants were handled differently.
28. The TRC's general approach to matters pertaining to the former SADF displays a "political vendetta" attitude.
29. Because the TRC does not actively pursue a policy of establishing all the facts, a large segment of our population view the TRC as engaging in a political vendetta, intent upon doing a hatchet job on the opponents of the present regime.
30. Specifically Dr Boraine displays antagonism towards the former SADF as reflected by the editorial of the Citizen of 4 March 1997 namely:
1. . "The Truth and Reconciliation Commission's deputy chairman Dr Alex Boraine, is also gunning for the old SA Defence Force. Of the SANDF's 81 page submission accounting for only six deaths, he said South Africa's apartheid military machine had been a knight in shining armour if its submissions were to be taken at its face value. The submission flies in the face of the facts he said. It was breathtaking one-sided and audacious in its failure to acknowledge culpability or responsibility for the deaths of innocent women and children"
2. . The same editorial concludes with the very critical inference namely:
3. . "The way the commission's going about its work, we doubt very much that reconciliation will be achieved. On the contrary there is a growing feeling that the commission is prejudiced against the security forces, the military and the government of the time. That is cause for further divisions and hatreds rather than reconciliation"
32. It is noteworthy that since March of 1997 the governing party of yesteryear, some SADF generals and the IFP have formally and informally lodged complaints against the TRC and specifically Dr Boraine in this regard. [See Appendix E].
33. The TRC appears also to utilize a specific model for transitioning from the "struggle" to peace namely that "the victor disarms the defeated, he dictates the conditions for peace, he smells out war criminals and writes the history". But what is forgotten is the fact that in the ten years starting 1975 the SADF trained close to one million men. These soldiers were in general well trained, while large numbers received some of the most advanced and specialised training available.
34. These soldiers were part of families and by now have families of their own. It could be argued that these scandalized troops by being deliberately called "apartheid troops" and their closest families count something like five million people. Well educated and well trained, they constitute the core of the government's tax base. When the TRC purposefully and propagandistically refer to them as "apartheid troops" they indirectly also antagonize a very large and significant part of the South African population.
35. We are not so much in a transitionary stage from war to peace as we are in transition from an old political era to a new political dispensation. The real problem to be solved is not so much to make peace between military enemies, as to make peace between quarreling political opponents. More than a tit for tat comparison between good/bad deeds by opposing armed forces, the situation calls for a politically negotiated social contract. This omission leads only to the one conclusion that the TRC is applying the wrong model, and as such to the detriment of former SADF members.
36. In displaying this attitude the TRC is disregarding the role of the SADF in the armed struggle as the ANC themselves publicly told their militants that their claims should not be exorbitant, as the security forces had not been defeated in the field. On the contrary, as President Mandela is quoted by ken Owen in Leadership volume 16/97 no 3, p.52 of frequently having pointed out that " the military and paramilitary forces of apartheid remained undefeated when power passed to the ANC, and the generals who were in charge of the military machine then, are in charge now".
37. The TRC's manipulation of semantics displays deliberate bias and lack of impartiality.
38. The comments in the editorial of the Citizen of 8 March 1997 regarding what Dr Alex Boraine had said about the SANDF's 81 page submission is very relevant. This links up with what Archbishop Desmond Tutu, as chairman of the TRC was reported as to have said. The Business Day of 27 November 1996 reported under "Truth and Humiliation" that he had "stepped in quickly to prevent the Truth and Reconciliation Commission generating into a public inquisition. Both truth and reconciliation are at risk when witnesses are mocked, vilified and humiliated as happened recently".
39. The Citizen in its editorial of 27 November 1996 stated that : "Archbishop Tutu, Chairman of the TRC has told members of the commission to stop saying things during public hearings which could undermine the commission's effort to appear even handed".
40. The editorial (Citizen) also mentions the complaints of the Inkatha Freedom Party in this regard as well as other relevant cases and continues with:
"Obviously referring to the Bisho and Pietermaritzburg events he (Tutu) said : We have been concerned at some statements which have occurred in recent times. I issued an almost presidential decree to commissioners and committee members that they must desist from making statements that seems to indicate they had already made a finding'.
41. The editorial concluded with the following remarks :
1. . "It is all very well for commissioners to curb their tongues, but it is just as essential that they free their minds of bias or prejudice. They must also not have a inherent bias that is cloaked by an outward display of evenhandedness. Whether some of commissioners can act with the dispassion required of them, remains to be seen".
2. . The fact that Dr Boraine four months after being cautioned by his Chairman resorts to word deception surely indicates his frame of mind. He used the words : "South Africa's apartheid military machine had been a knight in shining armour". Dr Robert Henry Thouless in his book "Straight and Crooked Thinking" under the heading "Dishonest Tricks which are commonly used in Arguments" put this type of language usage in the Number One place on his list calling it: "The use of emotionally toned words". Dr Boraine's other similar phrases such as " A bland and soulless submission" and "Breathtaking in its one sidedness" also reflects his mind manipulation through biased rhetoric.
43. The deputy-chairman (TRC) also used verbiage trickery when he said : "The submission flies in the face of facts". His statement presupposes that he actually knew the true facts and that the SADF's version did not confirm his own. In so many words he was saying that the SADF was lying. It must be borne in mind that he made his comments immediately after the presentation and before the commission had met to discuss and consider it and they had no prior knowledge of the contents. Thouless describes it as "Predigested thoughts as premises in argument" Plainly put it implies preconceived judgement and lack of impartiality.
44. Persons in and around the TRC call former SADF members "apartheid troops". Even in the formulation of questions to the SANDF by the TRC this type of language has been used. For example they have asked if the SADF had also acted against other "anti-apartheid movements". They specifically pretend that it was the SADF's sole intention to sustain apartheid.
45. This is an improper but commonly used trick. They say for what the SADF fought according to their propagandistic, oversimplified and highly debatable interpretation. But they intentionally neglect to state against whom the SADF fought. They omit to bring to light the fact that the real battle that the SADF fought was against the Soviet Union and its allies' communist imperialism in Africa.
47. The TRC appears to be selectively searching for the "truth" to the detriment of the SADF.
48. The TRC displays a mindset which causes it to investigate the truth selectively. Impartial findings and reporting will therefore be impossible. An example illustrating this is the superficial investigation into the activities of the ANC, PAC and revolutionary forces and an over enthusiastic effort to reveal the violations of human rights by the security forces. The Durban hearings on operation Marion after earlier concluded court proceedings over one year regarding the same subject is another example.
49. It needs to be remarked that several members of the TRC structure are known to have been opposed to the former SADF in that they either were supporters of the End Conscription Campaign or were associated with war resistors. It is viewed as being improbable that their mindset as such has changed to meet any standards of neutrality and impartiality in issues regarding the former SADF. Their prejudice and bias are perceived as being manisfested in their general attitude towards SADF matters.
50. The TRC's disparate handling of the old SADF vis-à-vis other armed participants in the former struggle discloses blatant bias and lack of impartiality.
51. The friendly and comradely way the TRC handled the submissions by the ANC/MK and PAC/APLA is indicative of its bias and lack of impartiality. This is in sharp contrast to the experience of a substantial section of the South African population, black and white, during the years of the struggle and terrorist deeds.
52. The facts that speak for themselves are given in subsequent paragraphs so as to prove the culpability on the side of other armed forces to make the struggle "bloody". These facts have not been brought to light by the TRC.
53. During the ANC National Conference in Kabwe Zambia in 1985 the following decision was taken:
1. . "This ANC conference which took the form of a council of war decided that the distinction between "hard" and "soft" targets should disappear" (As reported in Sechaba August 1985).
54. Between 15 and 21 June 1985 four bomb attacks were carried out in East London and Durban. These targets were a hotel, a tearoom, a garage and a city hall respectively. All were soft targets. The removal of the distinction between hard and soft targets resulted in a gross violation of the human rights of ordinary people. This removal however, resulted in two very important aspects: it shifted the struggle from the military level to the civilian and it became racist.
55. As part of the "people war" (Communist terminology) all the elements of the government were to be attacked. As quoted in "Spotlight No 1" of March 1990 SAIRR : "Thus for example in 1985 the ANC urged the people to identify collaborators and enemy agents who deal with them......, policeman, special branch police....., living and working among our people must be eliminated.... police who are manning the streets..... must be turned into targets..... police must be killed even when they are at their homes irrespective of whether they are in uniform or not". It is noteworthy that this scheme to make South Africa ungovernable could still be entrenched in the mind of those wantonly killing current SAPS members and members of the general public especially if they are white.
56. The country was to enter the phase of necklacing and mobkillings, because it was "the right thing to do" and according to Winnie Mandela" together hand in hand, with our boxes of matches and our necklaces, we shall liberate this country.... We have no guns we have only stones, boxes of matches and petrol"
57. The then ANC Secretary General Alfred Nzo and now minister of Foreign Affairs in an interview with the London Times of 14 September 1986 said:
1. . "Whatever the people decide to use to eliminate those enemy elements is their decisions. If they decide to use necklacing we support it (Nzo nodded emphatically)."
58. In 1987 Mr Thabo Mbeki as a member of the National Executive Committee of ANC, and now vice-president gave the struggle a new angle by stating: "We can't fight a bush war in South Africa. Look at the map. It is all developed. There are roads, radios and landing strips everywhere. The (military) machine would smash us if we tried to send in a army from outlying areas. Also 87% of the whites are in towns and cities. Our masses have to serve as our bush. The black community is our bush". Mbeki now turned the struggle into a black and white issue, a racist affair. It was a blatant attempt to mobilize the black community against the white community at large.
59. The ANC's purpose to gain the political power in South Africa resulted in their strategy to make the country ungovernable and then take over militarily. This strategy resulted in mayhem. Violence and murder went to the streets and living areas of all ordinary people. To-day murder , hijacking and rape still prowl the streets and the countryside.
60. It was brutal and dehumanizing. The actions which followed led to the disruption of local government and all community services such as schools, water and electricity supply, transportation and telephone services. The disrespect for order, property and life which was inculcated in the masses led to the most inhumane treatment of anyone who dared oppose any consumer boycotts. The will of the minority was imposed on the majority. The high level of crime in South Africa at present can in part be attributed to this attitude of violence inculcated as a result of this policy. See Appendix C for the result of SACP/ANC propaganda waged against the people of South Africa.
61. The impartiality and credibility of the TRC have become questionable. Although Archbishop Tutu stepped in during November 1996 to prevent the TRC "degenerating into a public inquisition" (Business Day 27 November 1998) he was not successful.
62. On 11 March 1997 the SA Institute for Race Relations' spokesperson wrote in Rapport : "the one side is pardoned of all blame, the other side is demonised".
63. Even worse: the TRC acted as a platform for distortion of perceptions and lost the respect of many by allowing buffoonery during its session when the ANC was taken to task to explain Peter Mokaba's chant to "kill the Boer". Most disconcerting was the participation of one of the commissioners, Wynand Malan. As reported in the Citizen of 17 May 1997 : "Thabo Mbeki was singing. Some of ANC top brass were laughing. What a grand time they were having. The joke? The killing of farmers. Mbeki was trying to show the Truth Commission that Peter Mokaba's "Kill the Boer chant did not mean what is said". And to really discredit the TRC one of its Commissioners Wynand Malan according to the Citizen: "Chimed by the reciting from Siembamba and Rock-a-bye Baby. He would have loved to have sung them but, he said later, his voice was not so good as the deputy president's. Ho, ho, what fun". Everyone laughed and the Chairman did nothing to prevent the perception being established that the TRC was performing in a large tent. The only light in the tunnel was when one sane commissioner had the presence of mind ".... to point out that four amnesty applications had been received from murderers citing Mr Mokaba's slogan as their political motivation for killing Boers" (Citizen 17 May 1997).
64. The TRC displayed blatant bias during the Forces hearings in Cape Town held in October 1997.
65. An APLA official testified that it was APLA policy to steal and rob as these actions were legitimised as being mere repossession. These occurrences were not listed and investigated and the incidents of murder, maiming and injury not recorded. This could have lead to the solving of many crimes being investigated. There was no thorough questioning as was done in the case of the SADF which amounts to blatant bias against the SADF.
66. One Commissioner who is also the Head of the Investigative Unit addressed APLA members as "comrades". This even a blind person can see as bias. In fact this same Commissioner formerly defended APLA criminals in court so more grounds exists for the firm perception of him lacking impartiality. The Chairman did not take him to task.
67. Similarly the admission on the same day by an APLA witness that all whites were their enemies also was not further examined or questioned. In the case of the former SADF there were prolonged analyses of their statements and terminology just as if the TRC was looking for confirmation of preconceived views or conclusions.
68. In the case of General Geldenhuys he was interrogated for close on one and a half hours to get him to admit to individual accountability for certain actions whereas the theme of the hearings was supposed to gain perspectives and motives for decisions taken. No questions in this regard were put to him as a former Chief of the SADF.
69. The MK and APLA witnesses were allowed to broad brush without analyses as such by the TRC of what they had stated. The MK were allowed to answer as a group, questions put by the TRC. Any member of their delegation who wished to (and could) answer the question put was allowed to do so. No following-up questioning of MK member's replies was done whereas General Geldenhuys was repeatedly cross-examined.
70. From the submissions by MK and APLA it appeared quite clearly that their standpoint was that all that they did was justified by the fact that they "fought (a) just war". Extreme emphasis was placed on the fact that apartheid was viewed by most of the international society as a "crime against humanity". The perception was created that just because of this all their acts were justified and pardoned. The fact that members of these organisations committed brutal murders, that hundreds of innocent people were subjected to necklacing, and that a thousand people were physically set alight, was never brought to light by the TRC. No effort was made to obtain information about these brutal and barbaric acts.
71. Furthermore MK especially was allowed to give long emotional answers and accounts which were attentively listened to whilst the submission prepared by the SADF and delivered by General Viljoen was continuously interrupted with cautions from the TRC to conclude it so that individual members who were subpoenaed could be questioned. The submission by General Viljoen contained extremely important information regarding motives and perspectives; the purpose of the hearings as agreed upon between the legal teams, Dr Boraine and the TRC. His (Viljoen) testimony was restricted to 66 pages. It appeared clearly that the TRC had greater interest in the individual culpability than to listen to the very meaningful submissions of the SADF. On the other hand the MK and APLA statements were accepted at the face value. The reality of events of the period concerned contradicts this. Reference : Verbatim transcriptions of proceedings.
72. Another fact which is surely an indication of the TRC's management of its hearings being manifestly biased against the former SADF and its members is the following: An analysis of the proceedings at the Cape Town hearings clearly indicates several aspects of concern. The MK group were allowed to ramble on (128 pages of testimony) and from the glib answers and explanations it creates a suspicion of prior knowledge of questions. SADF members were cross examined on their amnesty applications whereas MK/APLA members were not. Impression is created that they were handled with kid gloves.
73. An apparent witch hunt of the TRC on former SADF members are prejudicing the overall aim of the TRC to promote "Reconciliation and National Unity".
74. The TRC is tenaciously trying to "prove" specific members of the security forces guilty of crimes. The Citizen of 4 March 1997 wrote : "what is happening in the SANDF is a sad reflection both on the policy of the government and of the pernicious effect of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's pressure on former and serving soldiers to confess their involvement in human rights violations". And also "The Truth and Reconciliation Commission's deputy chairman, Dr Alex Boraine, is also gunning for the old SADF" (Op. Cit) So also that "The one side is pardoned of all blame, the other side is demonised" (Rapport 4 March 1997). This all notwithstanding the Vice-Chairman of the TRC stating in his letter of 3 September 1997 to the Chief of SANDF that : ....We are not engaged in a witch hunt...." (See complaint seven). [See Appendix D].
75. Similarly the TRC has handled the Inkatha Freedom Party in such a fashion that they have already submitted a complaint to the Public Protector.
76. On the other hand the TRC have done little to investigate the 591 murders by necklacing and the hundreds of persons who died when their persons or homes were doused with fuel and set alight. Neither have they had a public hearing on the more than 7000 private homes of those black people who were opposed to the revolutionary movements that were destroyed or severely damaged as well as more than 1700 schools.
77. The effect of these atrocities on the unwilling support for the liberation movements has also not been investigated. The question needs be asked whether the violations of the human rights of these people are not important.
78. Very little if any determination or desire in the TRC was observed with regard to atrocities by the ANC against their own comrades, despite the following investigations, reports and books:
1. . The Stuart Commission's Report. Despite the report of the Stuart Commission by Herman Loots (alias James Stewart) after being appointed by the ANC's NEC to inquire into the Pongo mutiny among ANC combatants: "Some of those punished have been maimed for life and there have been deaths. The aim of the punishment seems to destroy, demoralise and humiliate comrades and not correct and build". He listed gruesome punishments and the "shocking corruption of fear" in the camps, listed the names of people who died as a result of these punishments and noted that others had committed suicide or had deserted. It added that the ANC/SAP security department had done things that would "shock our people against the movement". Although presented to Oliver Tambo, Alfred Nzo and others, the Stuart Commission Report sank without trace. This was apparently not the stuff the politicians behind the fighters wanted the world to know about.
2.. The Douglas Commission's Report. Based on the evidence from some 100 witnesses and depositions from some 60, including some 40 survivors of ANC Camps in Angola, Uganda, Mozambique Tanzania and Zambia, it found that the cruelties amounted to a "litany of unbridled and sustained horror" This Senior Council from Durban mentioned various prominent SACP/ANC leaders as being directly or indirectly responsible for serious human rights abuses.
3. . The Motsuenyane Commission. This Commission, the ANC's own, recommended that those responsible for the atrocities should be identified and banned from holding high positions of authority.
4. . The Skweyiya Commission. The essence of this report given in Rapport of 7 December 1997 confirms what the other Commissions found in regard to the gross violation of human rights of former MK combatants. The dire implication of former ANC/MK leaders who have already been granted amnesty without public hearings, or disclosure of reasons is that the TRC is surely on a witch hunt for only former SADF members and is turning a blind eye to atrocities by the ANC/MK on their own followers.
5. . Amnesty International. This London based human rights organisation followed the Motsuenyane investigation up with one of its own. It found that the ANC executed, tortured and illtreated prisoners in its camps over a period of at least twelve years. "Any MK fighter who dared question ANC policy or criticised living conditions in exile risked incarceration, torture, even death". It recommended that individual torturers should be identified "...to ensure that they hold no future position in the ANC or government apparatus".
6. . The Book Called Mbokodo. This book, Inside MK by Mwezi, Twala, A Soldiers Story, confirms almost forgotten previous reports by the intelligence community at the time. This book and earlier intelligence reports imply participation by some of the present ANC leadership in such activities, with specific reference to alleged atrocities in the Quatro camp.
7. . The Book Called Marching to Slavery: SA's Descent into Communism. This book by Dr Sipo E. Mzimala, a former high ranking ANC official, describes "the silence concerning the ANC punishment camps as deafening" He alleges that "these barbaric acts were committed by people who claim to be liberators".
8. . The Denton Hearings. This report by Jeremiah Denton, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism of the Committee on the Judiciary, US Senate, states in the Letter of Transmittal: "I feel that a review and analysis of the material which has been compiled will be of substantial assistance to those who desire to have a fuller understanding of the part that the Soviet Union and its proxy states play in international terrorism and national liberation movements such as SWAPO and the ANC".
79. During the struggle it was frequently reported that factions existed within the SACP/ANC/COSATU alliance. Mention was also made of the cultural and spiritual leaders behind the ANC as well as intelligentsia. The Cabal was also mentioned in this respect. Yet no hearings have been held by the TRC on the role of the SACP and the Cabal. This neglect surely also motivates this complaint.
80. According to intelligence reports during the course of the struggle, it was reported that the ANC had compiled a hit list of political and security force leaders and that they actually had a specific organisation with the necessary equipment and capability to assassinate. The TRC has not investigated this probability. This could also be an indication of its bias?
81. The initial murders of key Inkatha Officials in Kwa-Zulu Natal and elsewhere lead to them requesting protection from the State. This has not been investigated by the TRC; only the issue of the so-called "Caprivi Trainees" was investigated at the Durban hearings after the case against former SADF and Inkatha members had been concluded in court and the accused discharged.
82. The possible linking of the attitude of the APLA/MK members as evidenced in applications for amnesty and the spate of robbers, rape and murder on members of the farming Community needs investigation. Many of those murdered and assaulted have been and still are members of the Part-time Forces (Commando) components of the former SADF and current SANDF. The deliberate and vicious action of the murderers indicate a state of mind that is not motivated by greed or hunger but by a much deeper ingrained "hate" similar to the "Kill a farmer, Kill a Boer" slogan. Surely it falls within the gambit of the TRC's mission especially if it is to chart the road to a reconciled future and National Unity. A lack of such investigation reinforces the perception that the TRC is witch hunting the former SADF and is not concerned with finding the whole truth, and national reconciliation.
83. All these commissions and omissions by the TRC has lead to the perceptions among members of the former SADF that the TRC is on a witch hunt against the SADF and its members. The anger which this perception is generating prejudices the overall aim of "Reconciliation and Nation Unity".
84. Taken individually or collectively these various acts, attitudes displayed and omissions by the TRC and some of its members as alleged in the complaints have created in our minds and in many South Africans' minds a firm conviction that the TRC is indeed biased in the handling of its mandate, prejudiced against especially the leadership of the former SADF and lack impartiality in dealing with the history of the past conflict and the role of the various armed forces during the conflict.
85. It is therefore an imperative that the Public Protector investigates these complaints and brings out a public finding in this regard. The possible concurrent violation of the human rights of SADF members concerned should as a matter of justice also be investigated.
LIST OF APPENDICES
A: "Justice in Cataclysm : Criminal Tribunals in the wake of mass violence" Dr Alex Boraine. Http://www.truth.org.za/speech01.htm
B: SADF Symposium : Opening Address, Genl Jannie Geldenhuys (Retired) 30 August 1997.
C: Monitoring of Radio Freedom and others.
D: TRC Vice Chairman's letter of 3 September 1997 to Chief of SANDF
E : Steps taken in respect of TRC Vice Chairman's bias and prejudice.
[NOTE: ANNEXURES are not attached but are available in writing on request.]