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Decisions

Type AMNESTY DECISIONS

Starting Date 01 March 2001

Location CAPE TOWN

Names NAPO GABRIEL SEFUTHI FIRST

Matter AM5925/97

Decision REFUSED

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: DECISION

These are applications for amnesty in terms of Section 18 of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act 34 of 1995.

The Applicants who shall be referred to by their surnames viz. Sefuthi and Ramasuku, are seeking amnesty for the following offences:

1. House breaking;

2. Robbery and

3. Murder of Jacobus Hendrickse Janse van Rensburg at House No. 45 Formans Street in Christiana.

All the offences arise out of an incident of 8th May 1993 when the Applicants, Khoza Henry Mothebe and a person only referred to as "Machine" proceeded to the home of the deceased, assaulted him and robbed him of two (2) firearms, money, a TV set and some household items. They left him for dead. The next day or the day thereafter he was found dead in his bathroom. His hands were cuffed and he had been strangled with a tie. There is no doubt that the deceased died as the result of the assault and violence inflicted on him. The Applicants claim that at the time of the incident they acted as members of a "Task Force" of the Pan Africanist Congress ("the PAC"). The application is being opposed.

The evidence of the Applicants may be summarised as follows.

Ramasuku joined the PAC in 1990 after all political organisations were unbanned in South Africa. Sefuthi states that he became a card-carrying member of the PAC in 1988. When it was brought to his attention that the PAC was banned at that time he remained adamant and could not be persuaded that he could never have been a card-carrying member of the organisation then.

The two Applicants say that they operated under the command of one Ntantiso who told them that 1993 was the year of the "Great Storm" during which the PAC and the Azanian People's Liberation Army ("APLA") cadres had to intensify the struggle against the white minority regime. Farmers and white households inter alias were to be attacked and all available firearms and assets of value be taken and sold to raise funds for the PAC. They claim they had identified with this goal and wanted to make a contribution in the struggle for freedom in South Africa.

They state that they became aware from Mothebe who had a family in Christiana that the deceased was staying alone. The information was further that he had firearms which he kept in the safe and these could be taken and used in the PAC struggle. Mothebe was not a member of the APLA and was only a supporter of the PAC. Thus, like the Applicants he had no background of military training. It is pertinent to mention that on the day of the attack they were all unarmed despite the fact that they were aware that the deceased was possessed of firearms and ammunition at his house. This raises grave suspicions about their credibility. Mothebe's wife worked for the deceased and it is significant that Mothebe did not even know that the Applicants were members of the PAC. The Applicants say they did not want him to know their political affiliation.

We now continue with the sequence of events. When the Applicants learnt from Mothebe of the circumstances at the house of the deceased they decided to go there and attack him. They say they were only going to kill him if he posed a danger to their lives and yet, as appears from the evidence, when the deceased was killed he posed no such danger at all except that "he resisted" (as the Applicants put it). Yet, he was still killed.

At the hearing the Applicants denied that it was their intention to kill him but it is clear from the evidence that they must have foreseen, or at least have appreciated, that the deceased could die from the manner in which they manhandled him, to say the least. In response to questions by a Truth and Reconciliation Commission ("TRC") Evidence Analyst prior to the hearing, both the Applicants say they received orders from Mphahlele, a former member of APLA High Command. A the hearing, however, they admitted that this was not true. The Applicants never received any orders from Mphahlele and only met him in prison when the latter was going around visiting imprisoned supporters of his organisation who had applied for amnesty. It was only then that they first met him and the details of the operation were never discussed with him.

After considering the evidence we are not satisfied that the version of the Applicants can reasonably be true. The evidence speaks for itself and we do not think it is necessary to restate the ipse dixit of the Applicants' testimony. The contradictions, inconsistencies and improbabilities are numerous. It is our considered view that the Applicants acted solely for personal gain. Even if we could give them the benefit of the doubt and accept their evidence that they were members or supporters of the PAC, there is simply no credible evidence that they acted on its behalf.

In the result both applications are REFUSED.

SIGNED AT CAPE TOWN ON THIS THE 1ST DAY OF MARCH 2001

ACTING JUDGE D POTGIETER SC

ADV F BOSMAN ADV N SANDI

 
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