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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
Pete Beyleveld: pp. 278 - 287
-278- P.A.B BEYLEVELD
PETRUS ARNOLDUS_BERNARDUS_BEYLEVELD, declares under oath
MR. MASTERS does not wish this evidence to be led in camera.
COURT warns witness in terms of Section 254.
EXAMINATION BY MR. MASTERS:
Mr. Beyleveld, were you detained during July this year?---That is correct.
And at the time of your detention, were you a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party? ---That is correct.
And do you know any of the accused before the Court?---I know the accused who was known to me as Mac, the person on the right-hand side, Mr. Matthews.
Just a minute, is that the last, No, 5 Accused?---That is correct.
Yes?---And I know Mr. Matthews?.
No. 4 Accused, yes?---No, I do not know him
You do not know any others?---I know Accused No.1, yes.
You do not know Mr. Kitson?---No, I do not know him.
No. 3?---Also not, Now, there are only a few subjects I want to deal with. Oh, I should say Mr. Beyleveld, you have given evidence previously in a case which is now attending in the Magistrate's Court?---That is correct.
Now, do you now a Mrs. Hilda Bernstein?---I do.
Was she a member of the Communist Party?---Yes, that is correct.
I would like you to deal with the occasion on which you received an amount of £8,000, following some instructions you got from her?---I received a little note which was handed over to me by Mrs. Bernstein, that was purported to come from people in London; or members of the Party that left South Africa, and were then living in London. The note merely said that the members of the Party here must telephone a certain telephone number which was given, and was asked for a person called Dave, and then tell that person that the person who was telephoning, was an associate of Laurie(?) in London, and to ask him whether he had received 8,000 experimental tissues. Mrs. Bernstein asked me to telephone, which I did. I got this person on the telephone, I put this question to him, which was an annexure of a code I presume. He told me that he had received this money, or as he then called, the tissues. I made an arrangement with him to meet him at the Rissik Street Post Office on a Saturday morning, and I was to identify myself with a newspaper in my pocket. He met me and handed over on that occasion to me, £3,000. We also made an arrangement that I would meet him, I think, it was a fortnight later, and he then handed over to me a further £5,000.
Now, could you tell me what happened to this money, or some of the money?----It was decided by the Central Committee, or rather the Secretariat of the Central Committee, that I would hand over, I think, just on £6,000 of that money, as a loan to the A.N.C. £2,000 I gave to Mrs. Bernstein. On an occasion, I gave Accused No. 5, I think it was, money to buy two duplicators. The balance of the money was handed over to the A.N.C. over a period of time. They did not want it all in one batch.. They asked me to give them 675 per month, and on one occasion they asked for £750; and there over a period of time it was handed to them, handed over to Mr. Klume(?) who was then in South Africa, and after he left, to a person that I knew as Mike.
Who represented the A.N.C.? Yes, that was my arrangement with Mr. Klume whom I knew as a member of the A.N.C. and also a member of the Central Committee of the Party, the arrangement to hand over either to him or to Mike, was made between me and him.
Did you know the other name of this person Mike?---I do not.
Do you think you would recognise him if we showed you a photograph?---1 think so.
Exhibit "00", part 3 - see if you can see a photograph of Mike?---Yes, on page 41.
Michael Dingaka. Mr. Beyleveld, I do not know if you did mention the amount of money which you gave to No. 5 Accused, was it?---It was R180 if I remember correctly. It was for the purchase of two small duplictors.
And why was this money given to him then? Or can I put it this way - was he a member of the Communist Party?---Well, I knew him... at that particular time, I did not know that he was a member of the Communist Party. What happened is that on a previous occasion, I had a discussion with Accused No. 5, and he asked me to raise the question with the Communist Party of purchasing some printing machinery, and he was going to put up a printing works to print ... to do printing for the Party. I did not agree with this suggestion, but I promised to take it up with the party, which I did. They agreed with me that it was not a good idea, but agreed that we should buy duplicators for what was known as the African and Indian areas
Yes?---And I was instructed to hand over money to Accused No. 5, for that purpose. Later on, some time early in this year, Accused No. 5 was also co-opted onto the district Committee of the Party, and the Central Committee. I conveyed the question of his co-option to him.
Now, I want to deal with this publication known as the Freedom Fighter - can you tell me what you know about it?---Mrs. Bernstein approached me on one occasion and said that she, together with some friends of hers,. some young friends she said, was going to produce a little news sheet called Freedom Fighter. She asked me if I could get the District Committee of the Party to agree to the distribution of this news sheet, I raised this with the district committee, and they agreed, and I was to hand over stencils to this, Accused No, 5 and this person that I knew as Mike, as and when they had stencils ready for this publication. Mrs. Bernstein told me that Accused No. 4 would bring these stencils from time to time to me, and I think I received on about three or four occasions, two sets of stencils from Accused No. 4, which I handed over to Accused No. 5 and this person called Mike.
Where did you actually hand it over? Where was this?---Accused No; 4 used to bring it to me in my office, and the other two accused used to visit me after that. It was usually be pre-arrangement, they used to visit me, and I used to give them the stencils.
BY COURT: Mr. Beyleveld, do not look at the numbers, it is confusing. Now you said No. 4 used to bring it to you?---No, 4 brought the stencils to me
Which is No. 4?---That is Mr. Matthews.
EXAMINATION BY MR. MASTERS (CONTINUED):
That is Mr. John Matthews?---That is correct.
Did you ever discuss with Accused No. 4, Mr Matthews, how these Freedom Fighters were being distributed? Who was doing it?---He told me that he was posting some to European addresses. He also told me to try and get him some more addresses. I asked some of the Party groups through the Area Committee, to send addresses to him, if they had any, to whom they wanted this thing to be sent. I do not know whether he ever received them, but I knew that he was posting to Europeans, and stencils were handed over by him to me for the African and Indian areas.
Now Mr. Beyleveld, did you ever read this document?---I read one issue.
Well, let me put to you this first - was the Freedom Fighter discussed by the Communist Party at all? ---It was on a number of occasions. My own area committee, that is the European Area Committee, was very unhappy with this thing. They did not think that it was of a good enough quality for the Party to be associated with it. I raised this matter at the District Committee, and the representatives of the District Committee which were the two people that I mentioned, Mike and Accused No. 5, agreed and they asked me to take it up with Mrs. Bernstein. I conveyed this to her, and told her that unless they …..(text illegible) will have nothing further to do with it, On the instructions of the District Committee, of course, that was very shortly before my arrest in July, and nothing further happened.
When you refer to quality - is that the literary content?---The literary content. I think basically the literary content. They thought it was badly written. Somebody described it as cheap journalese.
Mr. Beyleveld, I wonder if you would have a look at these. We have four issues, and I wonder if you would look through the four and tell the Court which ones, you saw?---I think it was the second issue that I saw, I had the stencils of the others, but I never read it. I think it was issue No. 2 that I saw. The one here that is marked Exhibit 'II' , I think. As I remember it, but I am not very sure.
Do you think it might be No. 2?---I know that one issue I studied, because somebody discussed it with me on an occasion, and showed it to me.
Would I be correct in saying that your Communist Party did not disagree with what was said in the Freedom Fighter, but the way it was said?---I think it was a disagreement on the way it was written, and prepared. They were prepared to continue distributing it if the quality could be improved.
I do not know whether I asked you, but Mrs. Hilda Bernstein, she was a member of the Communist Party, was she?----Yes, she was.
And what about Accused No. 4?---Well, Accused No. 4, also on occasion, handed over documents for me that was meant for distribution to the members of the Party. I remember specifically one document which he gave me some copies of for the European area Committees That was my only contact with him on the basis of the Communist Party, is the handing over of (a) these stencils, and (b) I remember one particular set of documents, it was something called "A time for re-assessment", it was meant for distribution to Party members, in Johannesburg, Don't the various members of the Communist Party know the identity of other members?,---No, they do not. It was kept highly secret. You only knew the people that you were personally in contact. Whom you were on the same committees, or on the same group with.
And you said you knew Accused No. 1 Mr. Beyleveld?---I knew him years ago in the Trade Union Movement, in 1953 I was Secretary of the Textile Workers' Union, and then worked for the Union in Port Elizabeth.
Is that...?---That is how I knew him, yes.
Now, there is just one last question - you have heard of this movement Umkhonto We Sizwe?---I have read of it, yes.
Did anybody approach you in regard to this? --I was approached for this by Mr. Jack Hodgson, roundabout the time when this thing received publicity in the press.
About 1962, would it be?---It must have been, I am not sure about the date, and he asked me whether I was prepared to join, and I refused.
Do you know what links there were between the Communist Party and Umkhonto We Sizwe?---I do not know of any links. I do not think there was any specific link. There may have been people who were members of both organisations, Was it discussed at your meetings?----No, it was not. There was a specific instruction, at the same time more or less, when I was asked by Mr. Hodgson to become a member of the Umkonto We Ziswe, there was an instruction sent out to members that where members were concerned with Umkonto We Ziswe, they were not to discuss it with their fellow Communist Party members in the same groups.. In other words, they were to keep the fact that they were members of this other organisation, secret. It was a specific instruction that was issued at that time, round-about 1962, I think.
Can you suggest what the object of that was? ---Well, I can only think that the object of it was that the Communist Party did not want to be directly concerned with this other organisation, and they did not want the members to do something which could possibly be construed as a direct link.
And Mrs. Ruth Slovo, did you know her?---Yes, I know Mrs. Ruth Slovo.
Was she also?---She was a member of the Central Committee.
Of the Communist Party?---Of the Communist Party together with me at that time, which was about the end of 1963,
MR. BIZOS: Reserves cross-examination.
MR. HARE: No questions.
MR. MASTERS: Has no objection to Mr. Bizos' request,
BY THE COURT: Then the cross-examination of this witness may stand down.
MR. _BIZOS applies for an adjournment until Friday the 27th November, and give his reasons to the Court.
MR. MASTERS: No objection.
AT. THIS. STAGE_ THE. COURT ADJOURNS_ UNTIL
THE_27TH NOVEMBER, 1964.