'Third force' informant flees SA in fear

An officer in the South African police who helped the Goldstone Commission nail down the 'third force' link between a clandestine police unit, Inkatha and township violence has fled the country in fear of his life.

Captain Kobus 'Chappie' Klopper flew out of Cape Town to a secret European destination on Tuesday night in the care of detectives assigned to Judge Richard Goldstone's commission of inquiry into political violence.

Capt Klopper, 27, turned to the commission for protection after he had attended a meeting on Monday with the Commissioner of the police, General Johan van der Merwe. Three days earlier Judge Goldstone had released his report on the 'third force', saying that a policeman he called 'Q' had been one of his main sources of information on the involvement of, among other senior officers, deputy police commissioner Basie Smit in a township terror campaign that has claimed thousands of lives.

Gen van der Merwe summoned Capt Klopper - whom he believed to be 'Q' - to Pretoria through a message on a pager. Moments earlier he had received another message, a hoax, conveying 'condolences upon' the deaths of his parents and his girlfriend, who is also a police officer.

What transpired at the meeting is not clear. What is known is that General van der Merwe was not alone. What is also known is that Capt Klopper was persuaded to sign a statement. The upshot was that, upon leaving the meeting, Capt Klopper headed straight back to his new friends on the Goldstone Commission and, instead of playing by General van der Merwe's rules and producing the statement, flew from Johannesburg to Cape Town.

There he remained a whole nerve-racking day before heading out in the evening, under the watchful eye of his handlers, to Cape Town airport to catch a flight to Frankfurt. Despite the strong suspicion that they were being watched by members of C10, the police dirty tricks department, he boarded the plane safely. He landed in Frankfurt on Wednesday morning and proceeded from there to his final destination.

He is receiving protection at present but, the Independent has learnt, he remains terrified and reluctant to speak out despite being so far from his tormentors back home.

There are two reasons for this. He told the Johannesburg Star on Monday that the operational head of the police terror unit, Colonel Eugene de Kock, had warned him the last time he saw him that he had to 'watch his back'. In 1992, Col de Kock, who has a legendary ability to track his prey, organised an attempt on the life of another police defector, Captain Dirk Coetzee, on the streets of London.

Capt Klopper is also understood to be concerned that in his absence his parents and his girlfriend might be targeted. Compounding his fears is his awareness that he has become a pawn in a big, high-stakes game. The battle raging in the last week between President F W de Klerk and the generals named in Judge Goldstone's report has not ended yet. General Smit, for one, has refused to abide by Mr de Klerk's order that he take compulsory leave.

Capt Klopper is not the only policeman to have provided the Goldstone Commission with the damning 'third force' testimony. But while he has denied that he was the mysterious 'Q', his erstwhile associates in C10 unit appear to believe that he was lying. Colonel de Kock described him in an Afrikaans newspaper as a 'Judas Iscariot'.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
There are no plans to replace R Kelly at the event
music
News
newsThis 8-year-old boy carried his disabled brother through a triathlon
Sport
The Manchester United team walk out ahead of the pre-season friendly between Manchester United and Inter Milan at FedExField
transfers
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

JavaScript Developer

£45000 - £60000 per annum + 15% Bonus: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a l...

Lead Application Developer

£80000 - £90000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I am current...

Year 3 Welsh Teacher vacancy in Penarth

£110 - £120 per day + Travel Scheme and Free training: Randstad Education Card...

Senior Developer - HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, VBA, SQL

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: We are working with one o...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz