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Decisions

Type AMNESTY DECISIONS

Names SITHEMBISO VANANA

Matter AM 6540/97

Decision GRANTED/REFUSED

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DECISION

The applicant applies for amnesty in respect of the murder of Mrs Jane Sophia Rossouw, aged 72 years, the attempted murder of Mr Casper GabriŽl Rossouw, aged 81 years, robbery, housebreaking with the intent to steal and theft and theft of a motor vehicle, which offences were committed on 1 August 1993 on the farm known as Sarahsdale in the district of Dordrecht.

The applicant was born and grew up on the farm Sarahsdale. He states that he joined and became a card-carrying member of the Pan Africanist Congress (the PAC) during 1992 when he was fifteen years of age. Thereafter, during 1993, he says that he had a desire to join the Azanian Peoples Liberation Army (APLA), the armed wing of the PAC. He spoke to one Nelson Gebe, who he alleges was an APLA cadre, about joining APLA. Gebe informed him that he would have to undergo military training in Transkei and that he, Gebe, knew a person in Butterworth who would be able to make the necessary arrangements for applicant to be trained.

They had no money to get to Transkei and they, together with one Simphiwe Mantyi, decided to "raise funds" by robbing the Rossouws on Sarahsdale farm. The three of them proceeded to the farm in the early hours of the morning on 1 August 1993. Gebe was armed with a firearm and the applicant and Mantyi had knives. The applicant broke into a storeroom on the farm and stole a pair of pliers which were used to cut the telephone lines. At approximately 08h00 Mr Casper Rossouw came out of the farm house and walked towards his motor vehicle. The applicant and Mantyi accosted him and demanded money and firearms. Gebe entered the house. Mr Rossouw told them that he did not have any money or firearms and both the applicant and Mantyi stabbed him.

The applicant stated that he then heard the sound of a shot being fired by a firearm. On entering the house he saw that Mrs Rossouw had been shot by Gebe. They then unsuccessfully searched the house for money and firearms. They then took the keys of the Rossouws' motor vehicle, got into the vehicle and drove to Transkei.

They went to Butterworth but were unable to make contact with the person Gebe said would arrange for applicant's training. They then went to Idutywa where they stayed for approximately six weeks. During this period applicant states that they made various attempts to communicate with Gebe's contact in Butterworth and also left several messages for him to communicate with them. All their efforts in this regard were fruitless. No attempt was made by them to get in touch with any other member of the PAC or APLA in Transkei.

While in Idutywa they sold the Rossouws vehicle for R5 000.00. They used this amount derived from the sale for their own benefit. They also robbed a bottle store and hijacked a motor vehicle. Shortly after hijacking the motor vehicle they were chased by the police who shot at them. The applicant was hit and injured. He was arrested and detained in hospital where he received treatment.

The applicant escaped from hospital and went to Cape Town. When in the Cape Town area he, together with some other persons, committed another murder. He murdered a Mr van Niekerk on a smallholding. The applicant was eventually arrested in the Cape Town area while in the process of robbing a shop.

Section 20(1)(a) of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, No. 34 of 1995 (the Act) provides that the Committee must grant amnesty if it is satisfied inter alia, that the offences to which the application relates are acts associated with a political objective committed in the course of the conflicts of the past and that the applicant has made a full disclosure of all relevant facts.

The applicant was a most unsatisfactory witness. His testimony was riddled with contradictions, not only within itself but also with previous statements made by himself. We can place no reliance on his evidence, particularly in so far as it relates to him having a political objective in committing the crimes which are the subject of this matter.

There is no corroboration that applicant was ever a member of the PAC. He states that he lost his membership card when being chased by the police in Transkei and there is no evidence before us, other than his assertion, that he is or was a member of the PAC. We are also of the view that the applicant's evidence that Gebe was an APLA cadre is both untruthful and improbable. Gebe has a criminal record which reflects that he has, from June 1973 to March 1988, twenty nine previous convictions and that he has on four occasions been declared an habitual criminal. During late 1993 both the PAC and APLA were openly functioning in Transkei and it is therefore highly improbable that Gebe, if he was an APLA cadre, would have been unable to introduce applicant to those organisations in Transkei during the six weeks that they spent there - particularly so bearing in mind the fact that Gebe was from Transkei.

It is also apparent from applicant's own version, untrustworthy as it is, that the proceeds from the sale of the Rossouws' vehicle was used for the perpetrators own benefits and not for the benefit of any political organisation.

We are of the conclusion that the crimes committed by the applicant were committed for personal gain.

We are accordingly not satisfied that the offences were committed with a political objective as envisaged by the Act or that the applicant has made a full disclosure of all relevant facts.

In the result, the application for amnesty is REFUSED.

DATED AT

: THIS

: DAY OF

: 2000.

JUDGE A WILSON

JUDGE S MILLER

JUDGE N J MOTATA

 
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