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Decisions

Type AMNESTY DECISIONS

Names GEORGE FRANCOIS HAMMOND

Matter AM5452/97

Decision GRANTED/REFUSED

DECISION

The Applicant, an explosives expert and former member of the Security Branch of the South African Police, applied for amnesty for a number of offences some of which were dealt with at hearings of the Committee.  The present applications which were dealt with at hearings of the Committee.  The present applications enumerated below, all concern offences which do not constitute gross violations of human rights in terms of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, No 34 of 1995 ("the Act").  These are accordingly dealt with in chambers.  The aforementioned applications relate to:

1.    The explosion of a limpet mine in the parking area of the JG Strydom Hospital, Johannesburg on 27 July 1980;

2.    The explosion of a limpet mine at Joubert Park, Johannesburg on 27 July 1980;

3.    The rigging of a Koran with an explosive device during or about 1987 and the transportation thereof to the Swaziland border;

4.    Participation in an attack on a home in Waterkloof at an unidentified address at or near Pretoria during the period 1988/1989.

The Applicant received his instructions in respect of the first two incidents from Gen Christoffel Smith (who has also applied for amnesty in respect of these two matters) with the specific proviso that the explosions should be managed in such a manner that no deaths or injuries would ensue.  There were in fact no injuries or deaths as a result of the explosions.

Although the Applicant states that he cannot furnish the exact reason for the explosions it is clear from his application that he knew that it had to be effected in such a way that it would appear to have been caused by the African National Congress ("ANC").  Gen Smith who gave the order, in his application states that the explosions were to assist in the infiltration of police informers into the ranks of the ANC.  It is generally known and mentioned in other hearings involving members of the Security Branch that this was a well-known strategy employed by them in given circumstances. 

The Committee accordingly accepts that the offences relating to these two incidents were offences associated with a political objective in the course of the political conflict of the past as envisaged by the Act.  The Committee is further satisfied that the Applicant has complied with all the formal requirements of the Act and that he has made a full disclosure of all material facts.

Insofar as the third and fourth incidents are concerned the Committee is not satisfied that the acts were acts associated with a political objective as required by the Act.  The Applicant is unable to link the said acts with any clear political objective as envisaged by the Act.  He merely states that in the third incident he had acted upon the request of a senior officer Col Johan Botha of the Bomb Disposal Unit in Mpumalanga.  He had no knowledge of for what or for whom the device was intended or what had eventually become of it.  His involvement in the fourth incident, the attack on a house in Waterkloof resulted from the fact that he "happened" (toevallig was) to be at Vlakplaas when he was requested by a colleague, Martiens Ras, to drive his car (Ras's car) and accompany him to the house where several shots were fired.  His participation in the incident also clearly fell outside his area of expertise as an explosives expert.

1.    In the premises amnesty is GRANTED to George Francois Hammond for:

      1.1   Any offences or delicts directly associated with or flowing from the explosion of a limpet mine in the parking area of the JG Strydom Hospital in Johannesburg on 27 July 1980; and

      1.2   Any offences of delicts directly associated or flowing from an explosion of a limpet mine at Joubert Park, Johannesburg on 27 July 1980.

2.    Amnesty is REFUSED in respect of the rigging of a Koran with an explosive device during or about 1987 and the attack on a home in Waterkloof, Pretoria during the period 1988/89.

DATED AT CAPE TOWN THIS 5TH DAY OF APRIL 2001

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