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Matter AM3919/96

Decision GRANTED


This is an application for amnesty in terms of the provisions of Section 18 of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, No. 34 of 1995 ("the Act").  The Applicant applied for amnesty in respect of a number of incidents, some whereof were finalised at public hearings of the Committee.  The present matter is being decided in chambers in view of the fact that it does not concern a gross violation of human rights as defined in the Act.

Applicant's personal circumstances and his activities as a member of the Security Branch of the former South African Police are fully set out and canvassed in the matters which had been finalised by the Committee.

The incident forming the subject matter of the present application occurred, to the best of Applicant's recollection, during the late 1970s.  Some of the co-perpetrators who had also applied for amnesty had indicated that the incident occurred during or about the period 1977 - December 1979.  We will deal with the matter on the basis that the latter date is a more accurate indication of when the incident occurred.  At the time of the incident, Applicant held the rank of Major in the then South African Police and occupied the position of branch commander of the Security Police stationed at Ermelo.  At the time there was a significant increase in the activities of African National Congress ("ANC") operatives who had infiltrated South Africa from Swaziland.  In response to this situation, Applicant approached his divisional commander and made representations for action to be taken against the ANC in Swaziland.  Pursuant to this approach, Applicant was ordered to launch a covert operation in Swaziland in an attempt to discredit the ANC there and to cause the authorities in Swaziland to expel ANC members from the country. 

The detail of the operation was that an explosive device would be placed on a railway line at Mpaka, Swaziland under circumstances which would implicate the ANC in the deed.  The idea was not to cause the device to detonate.  On the day in question Applicant and a number of his subordinates executed the operation in Swaziland by placing an explosive device on the railway line in question.  The device was subsequently discovered by the Swazi Police who enlisted the assistance of the South African Police in defusing it.  This request was communicated to Applicant who took the necessary steps to have one of his officers defuse the device.  No injuries or damage resulted from the incident.

Having considered the matter, we are satisfied that the incident was directly associated with the political conflict at the time involving the then government and the ANC.  The incident accordingly constitutes an act associated with a political objective as envisaged by the Act and amnesty is accordingly hereby GRANTED to the Applicant in respect of all offences directly resulting from the conspiracy entered into in South Africa during or about the period 1977 - December 1979 to place an explosive device on a railway line at Mpaka, Swaziland and all acts performed in execution of the conspiracy.






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