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Type AMNESTY DECISIONS
Names ANDREW CHAUKE,REGINALD JABU SIMELANE,ALFRED SIMELANE,ROBBIE BONGANI MABUZA
The four Applicants have applied for the murder of one Benjamin Masinga which took place on 19 April 1986 in Atteridgeville near Pretoria. The Applicants have not yet been prosecuted for this offence pending the outcome of their amnesty applications.
The first Applicant submitted a comprehensive unsigned statement in which he laid out the circumstances of the murder and the other Applicants submitted unsigned statements confirming the contents of the 1st Applicant's statement.
The confirmed the correctness of these statements, under Oath. In his affidavit, 1st Applicant stated that in 1984 he was a student in Saulridge High School. He joined the Congress of South African Students (COSAS) and became a member of the Student Representative Council together with his co-applicants.
Since COSAS was an affiliate of the United Democratic Front (UDF), the Applicants were then introduced into the politics of ANC from the many meetings and conferences which they attended. They met with uMkhonto weSizwe cadres who taught and trained them. They were, however, not trained in the use of weapons. They were ordered to form an underground unit of the MK which was to operate in the Atteridgeville and Pretoria areas. Their main task was to popularise and execute the campaigns of the UDF/ANC to bring about the downfall of the apartheid regime.
The Police, soldiers, Councillors, Council Police were all regarded by this unit and the ANC as enemies since their main duty was to suppress all political activities and also to arrest and disillusion political activists.
The unit knew Benjamin Masinga as a policeman who was stationed in town and was well known as "Rambo" as he harassed people in the township. He stated that there had been a previous attack on Rambo by other political activists but they only succeeded in taking his firearm as he managed to escape.
Whilst preparing the petrol bombs and planning the attack, a certain lady (later known as Linkie) came to 1st Applicant's home. She called 1st Applicant outside and told that Rambo was at the house opposite his home. Rambo apparently had a girlfriend at that house. The first Applicant then realised that Rambo was a more significant target. He then went into the house and informed his comrades about the presence of this "target" in the area.
The comrades immediately and unanimously agreed to attack and kill him. They thought that it would send louder message if they could take him out of the house and kill him at a public place so that his death may be known.
The Applicants, together with other comrades, namely Joseph Moshepe and Clement Mdau who have not applied for amnesty, then went to Rambo's place. Joseph was ordered by the 1st Applicant not to enter the house but to keep guard and warn the others if there was any danger coming.
Of major concern to the Committee was the evidence of first Applicant. His evidence of what transpired between him and Linkie was crucial to determine whether or not the killing of Ben Masinga was political or was an ordinary murder. In so far as the other members, the Committee is prepared to accept that they had no knowledge of the details and circumstances of the conversation between 1st Applicant and Linkie.
When cross-examined, first Applicant's testimony was found wanting in certain crucial aspects. At page 31 of the transcript, he stated that he was seeing Ben Masinga for the first time on the day that they killed him. He also mentioned that Linkie knew him as a political activist. She knew that policemen were regarded as targets so that is why she came and told him that there was a target in the house. At page 33 he goes on further to say that when he got this information he said "no problem, we'll sort that out". Thereafter he does not know where Linkie went.
CHAIRPERSON: And so you went, it is recorded as you're saying - "She then went to the shebeen. After about 10 minutes I followed her. I went there to call her. She came and said there aren't any people there".
MR CHAUKE: Yes, Mr Chairman, if one can take a thorough trace and make a very thorough trace, most of these statements that time when we were tried, Mr Chairman, they were solemnly(?) written by the cops.
MR CHAUKE: Yes, Mr Chairman, as I've already indicated while I was asked by the attorney, Mr Nyawuza, that all this other incident that one confessed during that time, it was in terms of defending himself that one mustn't be prosecuted.
After the close of evidence of the Applicants, the brother of the deceased came to give evidence. His testimony was that his brother was a peace loving person who was well liked by the community and was not the terror which was described by the Applicants. He stated that although his brother had stayed with his wife at in-laws house, at the time of the death they were separated. He had only gone there to fetch some of his possessions. He was no longer staying there.
Linkie, although an implicated person, she came to give evidence. She had legal representation. Her evidence was that on this day her aunt, Ben Masinga's wife, was not at home. She had gone to Soshanguve in an attempt to run away. When the deceased came, he was drunk and wanted to sleep with her. She was scared of the deceased. She decided to go to Gilbert's place, a shebeen, in order to seek help. When she arrived at Gilbert's place, she spoke to Lawrence, who is Gilbert's grandson. She wanted Gilbert to help her or to accommodate her and/or accompany her first to her home to go and lock the deceased inside and then be accommodated at Gilbert's place.
She, however, did not communicate this request to them. She just told them that the deceased was pestering and insulting her. Whilst sitting at the shebeen, the first Applicant came to Linkie. She testified that she knew 1st Applicant very well. She had known him for a number of years because they all grew up in the same area. She, however, denied knowing that he was a political activist.
MS MOKGOKONG: "He called me, then I went to him. Then he said to me: "Who is at the house?" Then he said: "With whom is he?" Then I told him that he's alone. Then he told me that they were looking for that person for a long time. Then he asked me as to why am I there, then I said:" I ran away from him". Then he said "There's no problem, we'll help you".
Of significance of her evidence which differs from the testimony of the Applicants is the fact that she stated then after the murder the 1st Applicant, together with others, came back and asked for a bucket of water in order to clean the floor. he also asked for a spade so as to remove the blood on the street. She denies having gone to 1st Applicant's place to ask him to harm or injure the deceased. She also testified at page 245:
Under cross-examination, a certain statement submitted as Exhibit E was put to her. There were certain inconsistencies. For instance, she could not remember certain things that she had said to the police. It was pointed out to her that one of her statements she had mentioned that she knew that 1st Applicant was a comrade.
The Committee is not satisfied that the 1st Applicant himself was a good witness as he seemed to deny statements which he made and only gave unsatisfactory explanation when he realised that he had been caught out. In the circumstances the Committee is not satisfied that the 1st Applicant has made a full disclosure of all the facts relating to the murder of Benjamin Masinga.
Insofar as the other three applicants, the Committee is satisfied that they were acting on the instructions of their commander and that they were bona fides as to the political motive for the killing of the policeman.