'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'.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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

Tradewind Recruitment: Maths Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...

Recruitment Genius: PHP / Drupal / SaaS Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...

Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough, Cam...

Ashdown Group: C# Developer - (C#, VB.Net, SQL, Git, TDD)

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Developer (C#, VB & ASP.Net, SQL Server, TSQL) - Pe...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea