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Matter AM 5414/97

Decision REFUSED

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This is an application in terms of Section 18 of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act 34 of 1995. The applicant is seeking amnesty for the following offences:

1. The murder of Wessels Cronje Odendaal at Katdoringfontein Farm, Reitz District, Orange Free State on the 25 February 1992; and

2. Robbery of money and arms with aggravating circumstances.

In his evidence-in-chief the applicant stated that he joined the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania ("PAC") in 1990 in Phuthaditjaba, Qwaqwa, having been recruited by one David Makara who resided at Mutsiabelo, Qwaqwa. The latter was a member of the PAC and the two (2) talked about the PAC whenever they met, which discussions frequently took place in Phuthaditjaba in the presence of other PAC supporters.

The applicant says at no stage of their discussions did they ever refer to the Azanian People's Liberation Army ("APLA") and its activities. It further did not appear that Makara was a member of APLA or that he had an association of some sort with the said military wing of the PAC. Makara told the applicant that the PAC required firearms and that he wanted him to raid a certain farm and retrieve arms and anything he could find there. It later transpired that the farm in question was the Odendaal's Farm and the applicant could choose any convenient time and method to launch the attack. He was not provided with any arms or weapons of any sort to carry out the attack. It was entirely up to him to decide when and how to attack Mr Odendaal. He also knew where the farm was as well as a certain Jabulani Shabalala who had previously worked there. He met Shabalala at the farm a day before he executed the attack. He was told by Shabalala that Mr Odendaal stayed alone there; that his sons only came to see him during weekends; that he was selling tobacco and that there were safes in the house wherein Odendaal kept the money. He spent the entire night on the farm where he slept in the maids' house, Anna Magwa. Surprisingly, he had not known Anna before and he was introduced to her by Shabalala.

There are many difficulties with his application but one thing is clear, viz. that the applicant is not telling the truth. Under cross-examination he amplified his evidence and it was very clear that he was fabricating the claim that he acted with a political motive. Just to cite a few examples:

Firstly, in his evidence-in-chief he had made no mention of military training but under cross-examination he added that Makora trained him in the use of firearms and how to reassemble them. He could not say precisely what kind of arms he was referring to and he also could not say how many components constituted each calibre of firearm. He stated that during the relevant time he never thought that one day he would be asked questions about the firearms. It became very clear that he was lying to say that he had been militarily trained. His claim was simply a recent fabrication to bolster the veracity of his lies that he acted with a political motive.

Secondly in his application form he claimed to have been a member of AZANYU but in his evidence-in-chief he made no mention of this fact at all and only referred tot he PAC. When he was asked to explain the position in this regard he added that Makara recruited him to be a member of the Special Task Force but it was very vague what exactly he was referring to and how he understood the so-called Task Force to relate to the PAC and its armed struggle. At some stage later he started referring to Makara as a member of APLA. In his application form he says he received orders from Sabelo Pama but in his evidence-in-chief he had made no reference whatsoever to the late Chief Commander of APLA.

Lastly, he could not remember a single name of at least on of the PAC supporters who attended the meetings where they were allegedly addressed by Makara.

The list is endless and we do not think it is necessary to detail all the applicant's contradictions and lies as the record very loudly speaks for itself. During the rendering of his testimony it became clear that he was quite prepared to give the members of the panel no credit at all for intelligence.

After considering the matter we are not satisfied that the actions committed by the applicant constitute "acts associated with a political objective" as it is required by the Act. There is no evidence that he was a bona fide member or supporter of a known political organisation or liberation movement. We are also not satisfied that the applicant has made a full disclosure of all the relevant facts. We are convinced that this was just a straight robbery for personal gain.

The application is accordingly REFUSED for all the offences.






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