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Type AMNESTY DECISIONS
Starting Date 18 September 1998
Names SONNYBOY JOHANNES SIBIYA
Case Number AC/98/0052
Matter AM 3381/96
The Applicant, Sonnyboy Johannes Sibiya, was convicted on 25 February 1994 in the Eastern Circuit of the then Supreme Court of the murder of Vusumuzi Ephraim Dhludhlu on 17 October 1992 at eMzinoni, Bethel in the then Transvaal. He was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.
The Applicant joined the Pan African Congress ("PAC") in 1985 whilst still a scholar. In 1991 he joined the PAC task force whose duties he described as the protection of PAC members and their homes. Soon after this he was sent to the then Transkei for basic training under the auspices of the Azanian Peoples Liberation Army ("APLA"). After a short stay at eFolweni in KwaZulu Natal he was deployed in eMzinoni.
The Applicant described a situation of ongoing political conflict between members of the PAC and members of the African National Congress ("ANC"). He related a number of incidents in which people were killed, homes burnt and people forced to leave the township.
He says he took steps to report the problems caused by this conflict to APLA's director of operations but was unable to contact him. He then managed to speak to one Mandla who he says was APLA's regional commander for the Highveld area. He met with Mandla at Embalenhle and after explaining the situation to him, received orders to identify the ANC ringleaders and attack them as this would prevent further attacks on PAC people.
The Applicant said that he received this order in early 1992 and then set about identifying the culprits. He explained that he was unable to do this on a full time basis as he was engaged in other activities for APLA and the PAC.
The Applicant said that on the 17th October 1992 he eventually did locate the deceased and another person at a shop. He said that the deceased and this other person had been identified as some of these ANC culprits. He called the deceased over to him and after trying to negotiate and reason with the deceased about the conflict and shot him twice with a .38 special firearm. It is common cause that the deceased was killed as a result of these shots.
1. He explained certain differences between the various application forms and his evidence on the basis that the forms had been completed on his behalf by one Vendi a person who claimed to be more fluent in English than he. He attributed these differences to a breakdown of communication between them;
2. He denied any suggestion that he had been motivated by feelings of revenge against the deceased who had been a suspect in an attack some 2½ years before the murder, on his uncle's home which resulted in the death of three members of his family;
This was the only evidence before us initially. However, fortuitously a member of the PAC's NEC, Mr Jabulani Khumalo, who had testified in another matter agreed to assist the Committee in relation to this matter.
He testified that there had in fact been conflict between the PAC and ANC from 1990 until 1992/93. He said that this conflict affected a number of areas including eMzinoni and that it was finally resolved by negotiation. He was aware that APLA cadres were deployed in those areas where attempts at negotiation had failed to prevent further conflict. He said he had knowledge of these matters because at the time he had been a PAC leader in the East Rand.
Although there were a number of concerns raised by the evidence leader in respect of the Applicant's testimony he conceded that no evidence was led in relation to such matters. In the result the Committee is left to decide the matter on the evidence before it.
It is clear that the Applicant was a member of the PAC and had received training under APLA's auspices and thus was a member of a publicly known liberation movement. It is also clear that he acted on behalf of and in support of such movement, bona fide in the context of the conflict between it and the ANC.
Despite the concerns raised referred to above, we are satisfied that on the evidence before us the Applicant has made full disclosure of all material facts. He does not appear to have acted for personal gain, personal malice, ill-will or spite.