Chapter Six – A Man on a Mission
Lieutenant Pieter Erasmus was a man on a mission. Now that he had calmed down, the doctors had removed the chains that had attached his wrists to the frame of his bed in his ward at the 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria.
This was the opportunity that Pieter needed. He removed the drop that had been attached to a vein on his right arm and moved his body so that his feet hit the floor.
He felt a bit lightheaded because of the medication that he had been given, but otherwise he was good to go. In grabbing a plastic bag with his clothes in it from a drawer next to his bed, he made his way to the bathroom and changed.
Pieter was basically discharging himself, irrespective of what the doctors said.
A black nurse tried to assist him back to his bed as he stepped out of the bathroom.
“Bly weg van my af, ons gee jou n geleentheid om te stem en dan vernietig julle die hele land (stay way from me, we give you the chance to vote and then you destroy the whole country)!” said Pieter in a stern tone.
The nurse backed off and went down the passage to tell her superiors that the patient was discharging himself.
There was suddenly a flurry of staff at the far end of the corridor, as Dr Kevin Naude and two other doctors headed towards Pieter to persuade him to stay in his ward.
“Lieutenant Erasmus, you took a nasty knock to the head and we are still waiting for the results of your tests,” said Kevin, in his early thirties, of medium build with short black hair.
“Toetse se more, ek is honderd present e nek vat die pad nou (the tests can go to hell, I am one hundred percent, and I am leaving now)!” said Pieter in an aggressive voice.
“By law I can’t stop you from leaving, but I would really advise against it,” said Kevin.
Pieter ignored the doctor and headed past the contingent and eventually out of the main door of the hospital. He had things to do.
He took a taxi back to the Vosloo Grill, where his Toyota Corolla was parked. His car had been there for quite sometime now and he found a traffic fine pasted on the window of the driver’s door.
He tore the ticket from the window and crumpled it before tossing it into the gutter.
Once behind the steering wheel of his vehicle, he headed back to his apartment.
He was about to become South Africa’s No 1 hitman. He wondered how Polish communist Janusz Walus had felt, minutes before pulling the trigger to assassinate South African Communist Party leader and UKkhonto we Sizwe chief of staff, Chris Hani?
Working in collaboration with Conservative Party member Clive Derby-Lewis, Walus shot Hani in the driveway of his home in Dawn Park, Boksburg on Easter Saturday, 10 April 1993.
Walus was arrested soon afterwards after an Afrikaans female neighbour of Hani, saw the assassination, and took down the registration number of the vehicle that the hitman fled in.
Later it would be learnt that the initial hit was due to eliminate Nelson Mandela, but because of Hani’s militant attitude, he was a greater opponent to the whites and was pushed to No 1 on the hitlist.
Walus, along with Derby-Lewis, who provided the gun for the hit, were both given lifetime jail terms for their actions.
The joke in white circles was that a major withdrawal of foreign investment then took place as South Africa was no longer the land of mile and honey (Hani).
The assassination of Hani put South Africa on the verge of civil war and only some pleading by Nelson Mandela on SABC television, allowed for calm to be restored.
Peter Erasmus had no problem in being the next Janusz Walus but had no intention of being apprehended.
The Lieutenant was one of the best shooters in the police with both pistol and shotgun. His weapons were safely in the boot of his car. Of course, this was against police rules to keep his service weapons in his private vehicle, but he was Pieter Erasmus. Many of his colleagues did the same so why shouldn’t he?
As he parked the vehicle outside his apartment building, he noticed a street poster of an ANC gathering on a pole about fifty metres away from him. His eyes caught sight of the face of the black councillor on the poster.
For the next ten minutes, Pieter was a picture of focus as he went through the routine of shooting with the shot gun. The weapon usually had a bit of a kick on it, so he needed to aim a bit lower than the target.
With the shotgun, he could shoot up to 80 or 90 metres. That was good enough, thought Pieter.
That evening laying in bed, all Pieter could think about was his mission. Tomorrow would be his day.
If Lindiwe Snr or Lindiwe Jnr had been around, things could have been different. Until the world returned Lindiwe Jnr to him, he would continue with his killing spree.
Black people beware, Pieter Erasmus was on the prowl!
By 3am the following morning, Pieter was shaved and ready to run some errands. He had packed his bag the night before as he usually did ahead of his police shifts, only this time his shift would be a different one.
He ate a breakfast of fried eggs on toast with coffee and headed for his car. First, he parked a street down from the apartment block near the Lilian Ngoyi Square. He noticed four security cameras in the area, but they would not be able to pick him up from the apartment where he would shoot from.
In March 1994 the right-wing Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) leant their support to Bophuthatswana President, Lucas Mangope, who was refusing for his homeland to be incorporated into the New South Africa. With the homeland’s civil service on the brink of collapse and high-level looting of shops taking place, the AWB moved in and opened fire on blacks as they made their presence felt.
One AWB member described his presence there as being a part of a ‘kafferskiet piekniek’ (kaffir shooting picnic). The local black military did not trust the AWB and refused to give them weapons. Upon their departure from Mmabatho, some AWB members opened fire on any black person walking on the pavement.
Members of the Bophuthatswana Defence Force returned fire and hit the driver of the last vehicle in the AWB convoy, bringing it to a halt.
While AWB General Nicolaas Fourie and Field Cornet Jacobus Uys lay wounded on the ground next to their vehicle, AWB Colonel Alwyn Wolfaardt pleaded for his life. He drew his pistol but was advised by locals to not start shooting.
A Bophuthatswana police constable, Ontlametse Bernstein Menyatsoe, executed the three AWB men at point blank range, using a R4 rifle. The constable later received amnesty for his politically motivated actions, following his appearance at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The assassinations of the AWB men were caught on camera and beamed around the world. It basically extinguished the idea that the white minority could take up arms and stop the New South Africa from happening.
Not for a moment, did Pieter believe that he would be wounded or killed. He believed that he could perform some evil deeds for the good of white South Africans and get away with it.
By 8:30am, Pieter was parked in Anne Wilson Street, Pretoria, outside the gun-shop, which was situated at the ground level of the medical centre building.
He made his way to the front security gate of the shop and noticed an Asian man behind the counter.
The man peered at Pieter and pushed the button to open the gate.
Pieter greeted the shop owner and placed his ammunition order.
“Wow are you planning on taking out the government today?” joked the owner, when looking at the size of the order.
Pieter did not reply. He was not in the mood for chit-chat or jokes.
The Lieutenant paid for his ammunition and left the shop, before climbing into his vehicle.
Once in the unused apartment overlooking the square, he set to work in preparing his shotgun for action. Pieter had also been a sprinter during his school days and was quite convinced that he could vacate the premises with his weapons if he got spotted or if things do not go according to plan.
Pieter aimed the shot gun towards the square. He noticed a black man walking with two young black kids. The Lieutenant’s finger tightened on the trigger.
Inside the apartment stood an old television set, which Pieter had turned on. He wanted to cover up any noise that he would make through the sound of the television.
The television set was switched on to the news channel and Pieter could not help hearing about major challenges in the mining sector. Miners in the North West were up in arms over wages and the mine owners were refusing to budge. Strikes were planned by the workers.
What is new, thought Pieter. Little did he know that he would be at the coalface of this in time to come.
Then a thought went through his mind. What he would not give to be a part of a security company that would defend the mines or other valuable sectors of South Africa. Firstly, he would be paid very well, and secondly, he could gun down as many blacks as he liked.
Pieter sat up from his crouched position with the shot gun in his right hand.
Maybe shooting a person or two at Lilian Ngoyi Square was small fry compared to what he really should be doing?
To enter the big bucks world of security, he needed the right contacts. These doors would open for him, he told himself. Hearing the news broadcast about the mines was a sign of things to come.
By now the black man and the two black kids walking on the pavement below had long since passed by. Little did they know that they had been just seconds away from instant death.
Pieter sat on a wooden chair in the apartment. This was all happening because the government were refusing to tell him of the whereabouts of Lindiwe Jnr, he thought. He was convinced that he was being played. A person could not simply disappear into thin air. He felt that his own colleagues were taking him for a fool because he was dating a black girl.
He went back to his car and carefully locked away the shotgun in the boot, with the pistol well hidden under his blue jersey.
While driving home, Pieter heard a story on the radio news of two policemen who were murdered while investigating a crime scene in Mamelodi, outside of Pretoria.
With one hand on the steering wheel, he took out his mobile phone and checked it for messages. He usually got a text message if any of his colleagues had been killed or injured. Yes, there it was. Lieutenant Andre Visser and Constable Bongani Xulu had been shot dead in an apparent ambush.
“The black bastards,” Pieter hissed under his breath.
He had known Andre Visser and believed highly in his abilities as a cop. He also knew Bongani Xulu, but found him to be quite obnoxious, as if the world owed him a favour. Bongani was not a fan of mixing with the white cops. He only did this when necessary because his superiors told him too.
Pieter had already decided that he would attend Andre’s funeral but not the one of Bongani.
How could he go and pay the last respects to a cop who had no motive to encourage the mix of the New South Africa? Hang on a moment, isn’t that exactly what Pieter was doing by going back to his own conservative roots?
What would happen if Lindiwe Jnr turned up at Pieter’s apartment today? Would he accept her and change his ways towards the New South Africa again, or would he also call her by the derogatory K-word and plod on with his plan of mass black murders?
The way that he felt now, Pieter was more open to the latter line of thought. He had given Lindiwe Snr and Lindiwe Jnr a chance and both had been taken from him. Whether the taker was God, the Apartheid regime or a third force, Pieter did not quite care. All he wanted was to make a name for himself by safeguarding his country. He wanted to make his ancestors proud.
He knew it was a large percentage of black people who believed that by praying to their ancestors, the world would change in their favour. There was no factual evidence to prove that this form of prayer coupled with visits to the witchdoctor, worked. Then again, what proof was there that God existed? Who was the wise guy who sat and wrote the Bible while Jesus Christ spoke and performed miracles?
Many blacks believed that the Bible was a white thing forced on them by the Europeans. No, man, many black people thought. The sangoma and traditional healers was the way to go!
Pieter needed to get away from the world. He needed that life-changing phone call where someone would say ‘leave the police and could head up my security’. It happened to other cops so surely lady luck could make a turn to shine on him too.
The Lieutenant had always considered Colonel Jaap Cornelius to be his friend, yet not even Jaap was shedding any light over the whereabouts of Lindiwe. Why was he being so quiet?
Perhaps his superiors had told him to shut his mouth over Lindiwe or face the prospect of losing his pension package when he stepped down from the police department.
Jaap was no spring chicken.
It was almost as if he had been mentoring Pieter to take his place in years to come, although with the ANC’s Black Economic Empowerment polices, the job would almost certainly go to a black cop, even if he did not have the experience or skills that Pieter had.
In a way, Pieter was sorry that he had not pulled the trigger earlier in the day. However, he had a gut feel that bigger things were ahead of him. He knew that he had been put on earth for a reason. It was now time to find out what that reason was and to implement the action plan accordingly.
General Constand Viljoen had delayed in ordering his military men to pull the trigger to topple the de Klerk government and to take control of South Africa. Now it was too late. Was it also too late for Pieter’s chance to express his views with ammunition for the cause of his black hatred?