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Amnesty Hearings

Type AMNESTY HEARING

Starting Date 10 December 1998

Location PIETERMARITZBURG

Day 4

Names BONGANI CYRIL THUSI - POSTPONEMENT

Case Number (?)

MR THUSI: ... today to hear the application of Bongani Cyril Thusi. The Committee is the same. Will the other legal advisors please put themselves on record.

MR MEEDING: Mr Chairman, I've been instructed by Captain Johan Meeding. I'm Petrus Coetzee from Maison Wynberg Attorneys in Pietermaritzburg. May it please you.

MR WILLS: Thank you, Mr Chairperson, I'm John for Pietermaritzburg, I'm representing the applicants.

Thank you, Your Worship, I'm Shireen Jelal from Shireen Jelal and Associates and I represent Lulu Thomas, a victim.

MS ARCHER: Jeanine Archer from Larson Brouton and Falconer Inc., instructed by Brigadier Mzimela, Robert Mzimela, Phillip Power and Toti Zulu.

MR MAPOMA: Thank you, Mr Chairman, I'm Zuko Mapoma, the Evidence Leader for the Committee.

CHAIRPERSON: I regret to say that it appears impossible to proceed with the application today for a number of reasons, which I will outline first, I will then ask legal advisors to advance their comments.

The first problem that arises as we see it, is that Mr Thusi is applying for amnesty in respect of an offence in which his co-conspirators, Messrs Gumbi and Zuma, have already applied for amnesty. No decision has been made in that matter pending the hearing of this application and it may be that the versions given are somewhat different.

What has happened is that a transcript of the evidence led at the hearing of the application has been made and is available. Despite this I understand that neither Mr Gubmi or Mr Zuma have been informed of today's hearing, although they are obviously extremely implicated parties and it may well be that they may have to subject themselves to cross-examination or that they wish to cross-examine Mr Thusi and I am of the opinion, as are the other members of the Committee, that they and their legal advisors should be given adequate notice of such a hearing but that is not an end to the matter.

As I understand it, Mr Wills who appears for the applicant was not aware until a few minutes ago, of the fact that there is a transcript of the evidence available. So he has not been able to read it, to compare it with his client's version or to take instruction on it. I don't if Mr Coetzee has been given a copy, I don't think so.

Mr Coetzee who appears for an implicated party who is mentioned by Mr Thusi, has as yet, as I understand it from a letter we have been handed, not been properly instructed by the South African Police Force, for whom is client was acting at the time and for whose client is still a serving officer. This is matter that obviously should be attended to before the hearing continues. His client has already also raised other problems in his letter, arising from the fact that he only received the documentation on the 7th of December and has not been able to obtain other documents or trace other documents which he makes a valid case out for requiring for the hearing.

The next problem is that the victims at the Gumbi and Zuma hearing were presented by Mr Rethman(?). He has apparently notified them now that he is not available to appear at this hearing and Ms Jelal has been given slightly less than 24 hours notice to appear for the victims, and has obviously also not been able to take proper instructions from them.

In all these circumstances it seems to us, subject of course to what you all may have to say, that it is impossible to conduct a proper and fair hearing today because it will be necessary to adjourn the matter to a date to be arranged so that the parties can receive the necessary documentation and consult fully with their clients before the matter proceeds.

Mr Coetzee?

MR COETZEE ADDRESSES: Mr Chairman, I have nothing further to add, I'm indebted to you. I have set out to try and save time, my client's concerns. I've got nothing further to add.

CHAIRPERSON: One matter I would comment on in your client's letter, is that it is not our responsibility to provide him with transcripts of previous hearings, he must make arrangements to obtain them. We think that you should be informed of the existence of such transcripts and that they are available, and then arrangements can be made to obtain them.

The same applies to you, Mr Wills. Do you wish to say anything?

MR WILLS ADDRESSES: No, thank you, Mr Chairman, only to say that I agree with your sentiments that we cannot proceed properly today, thank you.

MR JELAL: I have no submissions, Your Honour.

NO SUBMISSIONS BY MS JELAL

MS ARCHER: No submissions.

NO SUBMISSIONS BY MS ARCHER

CHAIRPERSON: ...(inaudible)

MR MAPOMA ADDRESSES: I'm indebted to the Chairperson's sentiments which you have outlined and I'm convinced myself, Chairperson, that we cannot be in a position to proceed today.

CHAIRPERSON: Well I would like to stress that during the adjournment of this matter we should, and by "we", I mean the Amnesty Committee and its office, should make every attempt to ensure that all the interested parties, implicated parties are given sufficient notice of the next hearing so that they can make proper arrangements to be represented there, that they should also be informed, they should be given, as I think they have been, copies of this application but they should also be informed of other documentation which is available and which they can obtain copies of if they consider it necessary or can at least have an opportunity to read through, and that as they are all now on record, consultation is held with them to ascertain a suitable day for the next hearing of this matter, a day that would be convenient, perhaps not all that convenient but a day that we can all manage to be here for.

It seems to me, and I would like to hear comment on this too, that it would be safest to say that we will require three days. I think it would probably finish in two, but I think it might be, rather to avoid any further adjournments, to have a day in reserve. Do you agree or do you think ...(inaudible).

MR COETZEE: Mr Chairman, at least three.

CHAIRPERSON: At least three?

MR COETZEE: Yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Perhaps four then?

MR COETZEE: Yes, if you look at each interested party.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but one doesn't know till one has heard the evidence. On paper there may be a great deal they may wish to deal with and lead evidence about but we won't know till we've heard the evidence. So perhaps four might be a safer thing to ask, that they make arrangements for four days.

One other matter. Mr Coetzee, I said to you when I was discussing the possible adjournment beforehand, that your client was not implicated in the transcript of the evidence but I think I should draw your attention to the fact that there are certain passages in the evidence that may well be of interest to your client, which you may wish to expand on or investigate further. So I don't want you to get the impression that there is nothing there.

MR COETZEE: I'm indebted to you, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Is there anything further anybody wishes to comment on? Right, this matter is ...(intervention)

MR MAPOMA: Except, Chairperson, just to notify the Committee that the transcript of the previous hearing has just been given to Mr Meeding, who is going to hand it over to his legal representative.

CHAIRPERSON: ...(inaudible). There are other matters involved in Mr Thusi's application, which do not involve the present parties and which I have not commented on, but I would urge that the papers are gone through carefully and if there are any other persons who should be notified or informed of the existence of documentation, that that is done before the matter is set down and to ensure that those people also get adequate notice.

They have not seen fit to appear here, they have not instructed anyone here but we should not I think on that basis, assume that they have no further interest and ignore them from now on.

The matter is adjourned to a date to be arranged. I hope that those of you that have come here today to hear the hearing have heard the reasons that I have given, that there have been numerous problems that arise that make it impossible for us to hear the matter today, to hear it fairly that is, and to get the complete picture of what happened, which is as I understand it, why you are here, you want to know what happened, why these things were done.

We trust that when we come to the next hearing, all of that will be laid before you and I do apologise to you all for having made the effort to come here today and have not heard anything, have not learnt anything. Please have patience with us and we trust that you will, we have your names now and arrangements will be made to have present at the next hearing. Thank you.

We are now waiting for the next matter, Mr Zondi, but that only interests Mr Wills as I understand it and Mr Mapoma. So can I thank the rest of you for having come here today and to apologise to you too, that you've had to come here for a fruitless errand but trust that you will now be able to use the time available to make sure that when we start next time we can go through without any delays and if necessary to inform your clients of the dates of the next hearing in case they are required to be here as witnesses.

We'll adjourn till later in the morning. I understand transport is available for them now.

COMMITTEE ADJOURNS

 
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