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Matter AM 7889/97

Decision REFUSED

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The applicant applies for amnesty in respect of the crimes of robbery, abduction and the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition. All these crimes were committed on 27 November 1993 at the premises of a shop known as Pick Fit and Take in Port Elizabeth.

The applicant states that he joined the Pan Africanist Congress (the PAC) during 1978 and that he became a member of the Azanian Peoples Liberation Army (APLA) after receiving training in Transkei during 1992.

He says that during November 1993 he was approached by his commander, one Wellington Sam, who informed him that they were to carry out a mission. The stated purpose of the mission was to rob money which would be used by the PAC in its efforts to contest the general elections. They reconnoitred the premises of Pick Fit and Take. Thereafter, on 27 November 1993, the said Sam came to him in the company of two other persons, namely, Bongani Mbekiswa and one Bomba. Sam gave them each a firearm and they proceeded to the premises of Pick Fit and Take. It was part of their plan that they would steal a get-away vehicle at the scene of the crime.

The applicant stated that it was his function to stand at the door of the premises and to allow persons to enter but to prevent anybody from leaving the shop. While so doing he saw a man alight from a vehicle and approach the shop. He was carrying a brown plastic bag. The applicant says he allowed him to enter the shop and when in, he pointed his gun at the man and took possession of the plastic bag. The applicant's three companions were all in the shop while the applicant was at the door. All the employees and customers who were in the shop were, after a while, taken to and locked up in a vault.

The motor vehicle keys of the man from whom the applicant took the plastic bag were taken by one of the applicant's companions. All of the applicant's companions fled the shop and went to the vehicle. Applicant says that Sam gave him an order to remain at the door until he gave him a signal to come to the vehicle. The police arrived on the scene and the vehicle in which the applicant's companions were drove off. The applicant was arrested by the police while he was still in possession of both his firearm and the plastic bag. The plastic bag was found to contain an amount of R6 858.81.

The applicant was not a satisfactory witness and we are not satisfied that he gave a truthful account of events. It is clear from the judgment that was delivered at his trial that the amount of R6 858.81 was not taken from Mr Burbidge, who was the man who applicant said he took the bag from. All that was stolen from Mr Burbidge was his wristwatch, wallet, car keys and motor vehicle. The amount of R6 858.81 was in the custody of a Mrs A Booysen an employee at Pick Fit and Take, and was removed from under the cash till.

We also do not accept the applicants evidence that he was an APLA cadre and that the robbery was an APLA operation. The applicant had scant knowledge of the then leadership of APLA and the PAC. He did not even know who the APLA Director of operations was.

After considering the evidence of the applicant and the documentation that has been placed before us we are not satisfied that the applicant committed the crimes with a political objective and we are also not satisfied that he has made a full disclosure of all relevant facts.

The application for amnesty is REFUSED.




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