Niemoller named in Lubowski inquest

Johan Niemoller, named in 1986 as being involved in a plot to kidnap four top ANC members in London, has emerged as a central figure in the planning of the assassination of Swapo leader Anton Lubowski.

A South African Special Forces member between 1976 and 1981, Niemoller’s name cropped up repeatedly at the Windhoek inquest into Lubowski’s assassination, which heard closing arguments last-week.

The inquest heard that Niemoller was given R600 000 by the Civil Co-operation Bureau (CCB) to “establish himself in the community” and set up a business front, referred to as a “blue plan”, which would disguise the real nature of his business, known as the “red plan”.
Evidence was that he was ordered by “Frik”, the regional CCB manager in Namibia, to gather information and make videos of “everything that was important for use by the CCB”.

In the course of executing this “red plan”, Niemoller visited Lubowski on more than one occasion under the pretext of seeking advice on matters related to mining operations. Council for the Lubowski family Wim Trengrove argued that he was in fact seeking to gather intelligence about Lubowski which could be used by the CCB.

Niemoller admitted in court that he had videoed Lubowski’s house and recruited a colleague, Charles Neelse, to assist him. Both Niemoller and Neelse were named by Trensgrove as members of region 8 of the CCB and therefore as having common purpose to murder Lubowski.

Currently a businessman in Windhoek, Niemoller has a classic dirty tricks background. After taking part in the South African raid on Cabinda in Angola in the mid-1970s, Niemoller was sent to London in 1986 where he was drawn into a British operation to take over the Seychelles.

In return he is alleged to have asked for assistance in kidnapping the ANC members, but this operation fell through. He allegedly received a large sum of money from the CCB after tipping them off about the planned Seychelles coup in the mid-l980s. When Niemoller returned to South Africa he was recruited by Joe Verster as a member of the CCB and assigned as an undercover agent in Namibia from 1989.

In final argument at the marathon inquest, Trengrove referred to affadavits and documents from both the recent inquest into the 1985 murder of Matthew Goniwe and the Harms Commission, which provided a more comprehensive insight into the methods of the military’s now disbanded CCB.

The Namibian Supreme Court heard last week that the CCB was responsible for the September 12 1989 assassination of Lubowski. Council for the Lubowski family argued that the shadowy organisation had common purpose to murder consciously operating as CCB members in Region 8, Namibia were therefore responsible for murder.

Trengrove accused former CCB chairman Joe Verster and former members Verdi Barnard, Calla Botha, Abram (Slang) van Zyl, Charles Wildschudt (formerly Neelse), Donald “The Cleaner” Acheson. Chappie Maree, Staal Burger, Wouter Basson and Niemoller of involvement in the assassination. He argued that Namibian police officers incriminated by some witnesses were not linked to the murder.

The conclusions were supported in principle by the Deputy Prosecutor-General John Walters. Trengrove argued that the CCB “planned a campaign of violent acts to disrupt Swapo’s election activities in the 1989 Namibian election” and Lubowski’s murder would have been in line with this.

Former Special Forces and CCB member Calla Botha explained in an affidavit the training programme of CCB recruits and named the CCB’s deputy director as Heiner Muller, not previously exposed as a CCB member. Botha also outlined the CCB’s chain of command, saying all CCB projects were approved by the CCB chairman General Joep Joubert and later General Webb in consultation with the state president, at that time PW Botha.