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Die Stem van die Apartheid (2/1999) - Shadows of the Night- the Murder of Dr Robert Van Schalkwyk Smit

Die Oranje Vrystaat

The Vrystaat smells of spicy bushes, not Diesel like yesterday on the army truck, past ostriches and zebras, along with dull-faced SADF soldiers sitting on the back of the truck being carted to the front. Cannon fodder for a proxy war between the great powers. 


I have realized in the last few hours reading the newspaper cuttings, South Africa is ruled by a cult. Ossewabrandwag - my people, my God.
The eagle looks like one of the NSDAP.

Interestingly, this organization was founded in February 1939 and wanted to enter the war on the side of Germany. The Afrikaner Broederbond is recruited from this Afrikanerdoom environment, and it  formed the National Party of South Africa (NP). The sect party provides the prime minister, in this case the obstinate and extremely dangerous P W Botha, called the Great Crocodile, even less flattering in Afrikaans: Die Groot Krokodil . He was born in Paul Roux, just over 100 km from here. He is a concrete-headed racist and capitalist. Botha will not release Mandela from prison in his lifetime. Nazis survived here in other guises. Scary to think if Hitler had won the war. 

In the folder I received from the editor are also newspaper cuttings of a crime that, as one of The Star's journalists in Johannesburg lately wrote, was one of the most heinous in recent decades. That may be saying something if people are allowed to be tortured to death.  Just disappear in a bright blue Ford Granada or a yellow SUV on the loading bed. Or simply slaughtered at home, tortured to death in police stations. Etc.

The murder of Dr Robert Van Schalkwyk Smit - the trail leads to Germany

One of the great mysteries is the death of Dr Robert Van Schalkwyk Smit and his wife Jeanne-Cora. The case is still fermenting in the collective popular soul of the Boers here. Since this regime in Pretoria can only be cracked from within, Smit became an absolute risk for the party. But this risk had a long history.

What had happened? 

Smit was one of the most successful South Africans who, although he also came from the political sect of those who rule this country harshly, also wanted to expose corruption. This was, of course, about "Muldergate" and also about other dirty tricks that the NP came up with for its internal opponents. 

There are countless rumors. 

The rumor that is probably closest to the truth is that of the two German murderers who, for whoever, were deliberately directed to the scene of the crime, committed the ugly deed and then disappeared again. 

The trace of the writing on the wall "RAU TEM" (Randse Afrikaanse Universiteit - Tegnies En Moord) "leads into the circles that remained of BOSS. Who knows who gave the order? Probably in their midst are also exiled Rhodesian's who just lost their homeland three years ago with the "Lancasterhouse Agreement".  

"RAU TEM" is said to be a group of the Boss (Bureau for State Security) (Buro vir Staatsveiligheid (BSV)) and there is nothing good to report about the terrorist group that has meanwhile been dissolved in the "Muldergate" affair. 

It is interesting to note that two years before the murder, when the South African embassy in Germany moved from Cologne to Bonn Auf dem Hostert 3, the secret nuclear papers disappeared without a trace under the eyes of the GSG 9 (!). The Bonn public prosecutor's office and the South African Secret Service (!), which was acting on German soil in this connection, jointly came to the conclusion after intensive investigations that the papers were gone.  


2013-08-20 Ehemalige Botschaft der Republik Südafrika, Auf der Hostert 3, Bonn, Ansicht aus Süd-West IMG 5087.jpg

Former South African Embassy in Bonn / Germany

Von Foto: Eckhard Henkel / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0 DE, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, Link

It is also interesting to note that Foreign Minister Pik Botha and Van Schalkwyk Smit were neighbours in Washington when both were on equally diplomatic missions for the Republic. 


Pik Botha.jpg
By <a href="https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q41529430" class="extiw" title="d:Q41529430">William Fitz-Patrick</a> - <a rel="nofollow" class="external text" href="https://www.reaganlibrary.archives.gov/archives/audiovisual/contactsheets/1963.jpg">Photograph 1963-18A, White House Photographic Office: 1981-89 Collection</a> (see large PDF with description and link to photo contact sheet <a rel="nofollow" class="external text" href="https://reaganlibrary.archives.gov/archives/audiovisual/WHPHOTO1981.PDF">here</a>. From the <a rel="nofollow" class="external text" href="http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/">The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum</a>, Public Domain, Link

There was probably a nuclear axis between Bonn, Brasília and Pretoria. Smit, otherwise top of the class of the NP, was well-informed about the red threads of corruption. Perhaps he was blackmailing Dr Eschel Rhoodie, the propaganda chief of the NP. 

Van Schalkwyk Smit was, of course, no orphan. He ran the country's largest insurance company, Santam, and was certainly involved in countless actions of the apartheid regime in Pretoria as the head of it and as the representative of the International Monetary Fund.

Van Schalkwyk Smit is said to be the originator of the trick that is being carried out by the thousands in Mauritius, the Seychelles, Taiwan and Hong Kong through South African shell companies. 

The goods subject to the embargo are simply exported to the respective countries and from there to South Africa. This is also how the sanction of the Federal Export Office in Eschborn near Frankfurt is to be circumvented. In addition, there are dozens of flats all over the world through which almost everything is sold and bought. 

What took place that evening in Springs in the Transvaal can only be conjectured. The police, when they do investigate, always investigate favoring the Botha government and its regime lackeys.
Allegedly, the perpetrators stayed for hours in the bungalow in Springs and literally tortured the victims there. Or even returned once because they had forgotten to take something with them.  It was probably about documents from the nuclear deals. The investigations are so watered down that no one knows anymore what Pretoria pretended to be in the case, what the result should be or was.  Dr Van Schalkwyk Smit came later home. 

By this time, his wife must have already been executed by countless knife wounds and targeted shots to the head, following a torture. Smit died shortly afterwards. Whether the perpetrators were looking for something or just had a targeted murder mission remained entirely open in the investigations of the South African police. The statements of the lead detective, a brawny Boer, range between Smit was dragged halfway down the lower floor and Smit was already dead when he tried to unlock the door in the hallway. 

A leaked report said that the flat, mainly the kitchen, had been searched. The perpetrators also left the inscription "RAU TEM" there.  It is unlikely that documents on South African government corruption were stored there. As Dr Eschel Rhoodie said in England last year, there are said to have been countless bank accounts in Switzerland, he was on the run via Ecuador to Great Britain and from there to France, where he was then arrested. 

Did Smit know before his death to report what was then exposed months later as the "Muldergate Affair" in 1977 in Pretoria?

Millions of South African rand, currently worth between US$ 1,20 and US$1,50 per Rand, which a high purchase value, had been embezzled to influence the press, to falsify the news in a way that was desirable for a dictatorship that wanted to stay in power for a long time. The Citizen or The Burger was chosen for this purpose. An idea that came from the head of BOSS, Hendrik van den Bergh. One of the most odious figures and guarantors of the South African dictatorship. 
Allegedly, according to an inquiry report, Balthazar Johannes "B. J." Vorster, Botha's shamed predecessor, was involved in the whole story. Now he lives in Cape Town. Isolated and reviled by the local Boer celebrities. 
The mastermind and string-puller for the government in Pretoria was Connie Mulder (Petrus Cornelius Mulder), an obscure character even for the brown henchmen in Pretoria.
They unceremoniously excluded him from the NP holy grail when things got too hot.

The Washington Post reported on the bad who-dunnit penned by the propaganda department a few years ago. And yet journalists here on the ground think that South Africa's only opposition paper, the Rand Daily Mail, has been completely undermined and the Boers are taking revenge on Helen Zille's article on the death of (Bantu) Stephen Biko

The only credible lead

Mad Mike Hoare and his gang of murders
No one has had any real interest so far, but perhaps that will change in the years to come. Through a statement to the Erasmus Commission, a former judge of the Transvaal Supreme Court came into action who knew a South African Airways pilot who gave a statement about two Germans who had come to South Africa from Lutton Airport (UK) for the £40,000 job to murder van Schalkwyk Smit and his wife. These two Germans were part of Mad Mike Hoare's Commando 5 in the Congo. There, daily murders with the leaving of graffiti was normal, as one can see from numerous pictures of the time. 
So, it is not surprising that the chief of the mercenaries in the Congo known as Mad Mike, whose most famous platoon leader was the unfortunately "legendary" Congo Muller, is also said to have been involved in the murder of the van Schalkwyk Smit couple. This, however, leads back to the influence of the South African government, which did not want to get its hands dirty with overseas mercenaries.

What the South African Airways pilot really knows only means that he has testified that two Germans accepted the order to murder the couple. This murder must have come from the "Muldergate scandal" with the accounts held in Switzerland and Germany. To make matters worse, evidence from Dr Eschel Rhoodie is said to be in a secure location, presumably in a Swiss bank vault.

This fact was reported by the New York Times, one of the absolute opponents of apartheid, as early as 1979, but unfortunately this lead, which is the most credible and the most likely, was not followed up. Mad Mike, the Irishman, had carried out similar actions in the Congo during the Katanga crisis. Countless of his comrades-in-arms were Germans who were better off fighting in the Congo in the 1960s than facing prosecution by the courts in Germany for crimes committed during the Nazi era. 

A staircase joke of history is that Matt Mike now lives in South Africa and not so far away from what happened in Springs, in the Johannesburg area. What Schalkwyk Smit and his wife could know, the perpetrators certainly took with them. Congo-Muller, however, who revealed his true soul in a pathetic interview, drove off to the next battle with a skull and crossbones on his bonnet whenever he was needed for a murder in Katanga.

It would have been a simple step to find out who Mad Mike's mercenaries were from Germany and compare them with the entry documents to the Boer Republic. The clarification of the heinous crime, however, was not wanted. The murder of Schalkwyk Smit and his wife was desired to deter the enemies within. 

Now that the shadow of night is settling over the Vrystaat, I am going to the takeaway and will eat a Boerewors and drink a Castle Lager. 


Die Stem van die Apartheid (1/1999)

South African diaries of the 1980s (1st volume)


A poem from Pietermaritzburg, from  December 21, 1984


Where is freedom?
Did freedom ever exist?
Or was it just a trick, a strange, unknown promise
ready to break it at any time.


It's hot. Freedom melts in the crucible of power,
while the normal hero moves on, killing and laughing,
the South African people are awakening.


In the street, there is a dead man, a second bloody one next to him,
Flies swarm around the place without life,
this callous place,
Screaming and wailing, it was murder. It was murder!

The death of freedom goes around like a dark, unfathomable ghost,
is it the love of freedom that leads us to believe in it?


Marinella Charlotte van ten Haarlen


The "bogeyman" named Pieter Willem Botha

The Song is you - Jack Denny 1932

Kroonstad, Oranje Vrystaat, Republiek van Suid Afrika


Now I am sitting in this horrible hotel with thousands of mosquitoes on the road to Bloemfontein. Literally in the middle of nowhere. And I have to go further. The journey on the back of the pick-up yesterday was arduous.

I just called Harold at the office. Usually, the call went through the switchboard; probably the censor was listening. The line was cut several times. It's about 80 degrees Fahrenheit outside.

Harold told me to come right over. He can hardly believe I'm here. Harold's happy as a clam. If he even knows what a snow king is. Everyone speaks Afrikaans here; it's easy for me. Thank God, I learned. The coloureds speak isiXhosa, Bantu dialects and Fanagalo, which the whites here call KafferKitchen. That's pretty disrespectful. Subhuman is still the friendliest thing the hardliners here think and say about the majority of the population. Many locals seek shade under the trees along the road.

The Department van die Binnelandse Sake casts long shadows not only in the morning sun.

Moment of calm

I've never seen a breakfast like this morning in my life.

Must have been six eggs and a large sausage ring. It's called Boerewors. The meat was delicious, unlike in Europe. Better. Much better.

It was served with fried tomatoes, bacon, toast with salty butter, deliciously bitter jam, over which I drizzled a lime.
It can't be bitter enough.
The moon I saw last night is the same all over the world.

The black woman sat down with me, at the table by the kitchen. The black girl is alone; otherwise, it would not be possible. It is forbidden. Something like fraternizing, after the war. "Slegs vir Blanke!"
Whites only!
Because of Apartheid.
She comes from the town of Pietermaritzburg. In Natal on the Indian Ocean. The air conditioning hums and rattles. On the radio are ancient songs like Bert Lown - Loving You The Way I Do




It's like a colony here. A pretty lovely but evil settlement. A bad colony. White men in blue uniforms are everywhere with their yellow emergency vehicles. There was sometimes the riding-whip pulled, but not against horses, but the black passers-by on the road.

In the night tanks rolled past in front of the window. Army for hours in earth brown cars until the dawn over the Kalahari. I listened to the radio, music, Springbok radio.

The woman who spoke Afrikaans, sometimes whole sentences in Fanakalo, with me, of which I understood only half, meant something like this:
"If you want to start a new life, you have to be strong." I was somewhat ashamed to have the right skin colour for South Africa from fate. It is a lousy dictatorship; I realized that after a few hours.


I probably drank a litre of lychee juice for breakfast and a large cup of very bitter, but delicious coffee. And this incredibly beautiful music, which is like honey in my ears.

After my adventure yesterday, I was quite happy that I could listen to music in the morning. This music from Jack Denny never goes out of my ears.

Yesterday I was still in Johannesburg, Egoli, city built on gold. Burning barricades on the road to Vanderbijlpark. Men lying in the street, dead. They were dead. They couldn't have been more dead. Brains and blood everywhere. Bone fragments. The Hiace's windshield shot out. There was a lot of ammunition and casings in the street. Poor guys' bodies were so twisted you'd think rubber men were lying around. Death is omnipresent here.

The almost hour-long approach to Johannesburg, to Germiston (Jan Smuts Lughawe), was gigantic. One could see the spoil heaps. Huge mountains, white and they shone in the sunlight—rays in the middle of the red, very sandy earth of Africa.
Now I am here. The fan buzzed in the same deep sound as the tank engines. It's a frightening noise in the middle of the night.

It is a frightening sound amid the silence.

And the song is in my ears again.

Tea in the shadow of Steve Biko


The editor took his time. He tells about the 1950s when he travelled across Europe. It's almost noon, we eat sandwiches with mayonnaise-chicken and drink coffee, lemonade, with lychee juice, which cures everything here. Then rooibos tea with milk and sugar. Nobody in the newsroom trusts anybody.

There's something in the air.

He spoke to me for a long time and gave me a phone number. A black woman served us tea with lemon afterwards.

A serious man who thought I should arrive first. The mistrust is all about Muldergate. -I'm supposed to call him in the next few days. He invites me to a Braai. And the Boerendans.

The Boer is a chain smoker of the worst kind. He smoked Lexington, 30 cigarettes was enough for half a day.

They say he's not getting on with the government in Pretoria.
There's a climate of fear. It's deliberate.

Which sane person can get along with Nazis who made skin colour the criterion of their politics?

He was arrested several times. I was warned that at any moment a jamboree unit could descend on the newsroom. Some wacko kept coming forward.

And, please?

My youthful recklessness amazes me. But it's an honour to fight against the Nazi edge.

SAP came and took away plenty of unpopular editors.

On the street, everything seems peaceful. SAP patrols.
Why not, thought the man with the riding-whip in his hand. The right hand was always sitting loosely on the holster of his pistol. Ever since the Potgieter Commission, the police's behaviour has been more like that of an informer.

"The murder of journalists is not unusual here when we think of Steven Biko."

I didn't know much about Biko. The editor gave me a folder with articles, Afrikaans and English.

Pieter Botha was like the bad man who came for you and nobody else.

I sit for hours at the Wawiel Bridge, reading, at the monument from the Anglo-Dutch Boer War.
There were concentration camps here that the British set up during the Boer War.

Here are still Nazis.

What do people do to themselves?

Living mummies are coming back from Angola. Soldiers who are only alive because they eat, breathe and drink and sleep, their eyes are blank. A few minutes ago, some of them passed me in a wheeled tank called "Casspir". Direction Welkom, Thabong, which sounds like a swearword to the soldiers.

It gets dark over the thorny bushes, which form the end of the Karoo at the edge of the city.


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