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Decisions

Type AMNESTY DECISIONS

Names PETRUS CASPARUS SNYDERS

Matter AM5286/97

Decision GRANTED

: DECISION

This is an application for amnesty in terms of Section 18 of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, No 34 of 1995 ("the Act"). The Applicant is seeking amnesty for the following offences:

1. The attempted murder of unknown ANC members in Swaziland in or about 1989;

2. The attempted murder of unknown ANC members in Mozambique in or about 1989.

The evidence of the Applicant is briefly as follows. During 1989 he and Sergeant Leon Floris, an operative under his command, were busy carrying out anti-insurgency work in the former Eastern Transvaal region where they were temporarily based near Nelspruit for a number of days. On a certain day when they returned to their base they found a note which had been left there by Colonel Eugene de Kock, the Applicant's superior and immediate commander. According to the note De Kock was requesting that the Applicant and Floris bring with them "stil vriende", a code name for firearms fitted with a silencer. He was going to meet them at the Royal Hotel in Swaziland.

The Applicant and Floris did as they had been instructed to do and left for Swaziland. On their arrival there they found De Kock with a number of members of the South African Security Police from Durban and Middelburg. He is unable to remember the names of all the members who were present there. The Applicant had arranged that the arms be brought into Swaziland by a courier who was unfortunately arrested by the Swazi Police near Pigs Peak. Although the weapons were hidden in the body of the vehicle the police did not find them. In the circumstances the operation had to be aborted. The arms were later retrieved by Floris and Lotz, other Vlakplaas Unit members. According to De Kock the arms were going to be used to attack ANC members in Swaziland. This is what the Applicant learnt after his operation was aborted.

The Applicant states that the incident was subsequently discussed at Vlakplaas by Brigadier Schoon, General van der Merwe and Colonel Eugene de Kock.

In the second incident which also occurred in 1989, the Applicant states that they were called one by one by De Kock and given orders. The orders were to the effect that they should go to Badplaas in Mpumalanga to assist Section "D" Unit members in the elimination of cadres of the ANC. The cadres were going to be lured out of Mozambique and via Swaziland. The Vlakplaas Security Police were going to provide the kombi to transport the cadres to South Africa and according to the plan, at some point near Oshoek the kombi would stop there. Then the elimination would take place.

Before the kombi was taken to Mozambique with the help of an informer it was loaded with explosives which were hidden in the body by the Security Police Vlakplaas Division. The Applicant says he recalls observing the kombi at Vlakplaas whilst members of the Technical Division were working on it. But when the vehicle was sent into Maputo it never came back and on a certain day the Applicant, Floris and Willie Nortje were instructed by De Kock to fly to Komatiepoort with a Security Police helicopter. They took a member of the Technical Division with them. On arrival at Komatiepoort they were received by Captain Flip de Beer of the Security Branch there. Nortje and Floris were instructed to alight from the aircraft and only the Applicant, the pilot, the engineer and the Technical Division member flew into Mozambique. The Technical Division member had a device in his hand which looked like a cell phone and it was clear that he was hoping to remote-control the bombs in the kombi and cause an explosion. They flew above some place in Mozambique but could not locate the kombi.

The Applicant says he did not see or hear any explosion and assumes that their plan had not worked. The bomb was never detonated and neither did he ever see the informer again. He does not know what happened to the kombi and the informer.

The Applicant states that he took part in those operations because he saw it as his duty to defend the previous Nationalist Party regime. As a Vlakplaas Unit member he had to bring the ANC infiltration of cadres into the country and its armed activities to an end.

After carefully considering the uncontested evidence of the Applicant we are satisfied that the acts committed are offences associated with a political objective in terms of the Act. He has complied with the formal requirements of the Act and, further, appears to have given full disclosure of the relevant facts.

Amnesty is therefore GRANTED for all the offences.

SIGNED AT CAPE TOWN THIS 12TH DAY OF FEBRUARY 2001

ACTING JUDGE D POTGIETER SC

ADV N SANDI

MR W MALAN

 
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