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Vlakplaas

This is not a conventional tourist destination!

Vlakplaas was the home of the "Death Squads" during the 80’s & 90’s. Special permission has been obtained to take visitors to Vlakplaas. It is believed that more than 1000 people met their deaths as a result of the operations of the operatives and Askaris from Vlakplaas. The visitor is told the stories of torture and assassination, as a small group of men who believed that they were supported by the politicians and Generals, carried out acts of murder and assassination in the belief that they were defending the country from Communism.

We examine and explain the roles of Dirk Coetzee, Eugene de Kock, the commanders of Vlakplaas, as well as others. Some of the killings are explained in detail. The Harmse Commission and the attempts to murder Dirk Coetzee are described. The rooms and areas where certain events took place are visited and shown. The Braai area and the recreational area of the farm are visited.

The three phases of the life of the "Badger unit" are outlined. The role of "turning" ANC operatives into Askaris, the role of "fighting organised crime in Hillbrow" and the role in crime and gun-running are examined. The Third Force activities culminating in the arrest of Eugene de Kock in 1994 and his subsequent sentencing to 212 years plus two life sentences in prison are also examined.

The Government's role in the activities at Vlakplaas, and the role of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission are discussed. Extracts from the testimony provided by Eugene de Kock and Dirk Coetzee are presented. The link between the attitudes of the operatives at Vlakplaas with the 16th December is made. Throughout, parallels are drawn with what was happening in the rest of the world at that time.

N.B. This visit is not suitable for children.