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Decisions

Type AMNESTY DECISIONS

Names HENRI VAN DER WESTHUIZEN

Matter AM8079/97

Decision GRANTED

DECISION

The Applicant applies for amnesty in terms of Section 18 of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act 34 of 1995 ("the Act") for the following acts, omissions or offences:

1.    Accessory after the fact and defeating the ends of justice with regard to the attempted murder of Mr Justice Albert Louis Sachs and the malicious damage to property in respect of a Honda Civic motor vehicle being used by Sachs, on 7 April 1986, in Maputo, Mozambique.

2.    Accessory after the fact and defeating the ends of justice with regard to the shooting of two or three ANC operatives in Maseru Lesotho and the abduction of Simon Mokgetlha from Lesotho to Ladybrand during the period March to August 1986.

3.    Accessory after the fact and defeating the ends of justice with regard to the murder by poisoning of Gibson Ncube "Gibson Mondlane" on 5 April 1987, in Mozambique;

4.    During the period 1987 to 1989, various instances of contravening the terms of the Arms and Ammunition Act in respect of the unlawful supply of arms, explosives and ammunition to:

      (i)   the CCB for use in Mozambique; and

      (ii)  the security forces of the then Ciskei homeland.

5.    During the period 1987 to 1989, various instances of target file preparation referred to in annexure E to the application for amnesty at page 31 of the hearing bundle.  (Specific offences unclear.)

The Applicant testified that at all relevant times, he was a professional soldier and member of the Special Forces regiments of the then South African Defence Force ("SADF").  He fell under the command of Colonel C.J.C. "Mielie" Prinsloo who in turn was the staff officer reporting to General Joep Joubert.

Applicant's duties entailed the collection of information and the presentation of such information to the General Staff which consisted of the heads of the following structures:  SADF, Army, Operations, Air Force, the Navy, Intelligence and HSHB.  The general staff would take the information to higher authority, such as the Sate Security Council for the taking appropriate steps and making decisions.

The Applicant was not supposed to be involved directly in operations or get into physical contact with the targets.  He was working on the ANC related projects of Special Forces.  Special Forces also worked in collaboration with the Civil Cooperation Bureau ("CCB") and Eugene de Kock's unit at Vlakplaas, Pretoria.

Initially, the Applicant was stationed at Poyntons Building, Pretoria.  This was in Church Street, Pretoria and he experienced the Church Street bombing which was an ANC operation.  He testified that this experience had a marked effect on his attitude toward the ANC and its members.  He was later transferred to Ladybrand to assist the Security Branch ("SB").

He explained to the Committee that after General Metsing Lekhanya took over the reins of power in Lesotho, a technical committee was established consisting of representatives of the security forces of South Africa ("S.A.") and Lesotho and some Lesotho government officials.  While stationed at Ladybrand, the Applicant represented S.A. military intelligence on this structure.  The committee met either at Ladybrand or in Maseru, although most meetings were in Maseru.

The Security Forces established a good working relationship with the Lesotho and Swaziland Security Forces who agreed to arrest members of the Liberation movements and deport them to Tanzania and Zambia.  They also allowed S.A. Security Forces free access to operate in their respective countries and supplied them with intelligence on ANC personnel and structures.

The Applicant testified as follows concerning the role he played in the incidents for which he seeks amnesty:

1.    ATTEMPTED MURDER OF MR JUSTICE ALBIE SACHS BY CAR BOMB IN MOZAMBIQUE AND DAMAGE TO HIS MOTOR VEHICLE.

The Applicant testified that he had gathered information concerning one Indres Naidoo ("Naidoo") an ANC member based Maputo, in Mozambique, who was regarded as a priority project.  He provided this information to Botes.  According to the Applicant, a decision was subsequently taken that Naidoo would be eliminated by a car bomb.  The bomb was to be placed in Naidoo's motor vehicle by CCB operatives.  The Applicant's version is that a mistake occurred on the day in question in that instead of the car being used by Naidoo it was used by the then Professor Albert Louis Sachs ("Sachs").  Thus on 7 April 1986, in Maputo, Mozambique, whilst trying to open the car door of the Honda Civic motor vehicle being used by Sachs, the bomb exploded.  Sachs was severely injured in the blast.  His arm was amputated and he suffered other severe permanent injuries.  The vehicle was destroyed.  According to Jacques Pauw, who interviewed Peter Botes ("Botes") a former operative of the CCB, Botes told him that Sachs was the intended target and not Naidoo as understood by the Applicant.  The Applicant had no knowledge or expectation that Sachs was the target or that he would be harmed.  Although the Applicant had realised the incident was the work of the CCB he never disclosed or reported the matter to the relevant authorities.

2.    ABDUCTION OF SIMON MOKGETLHA.

The Applicant had accompanied some members of Colonel Eugene de Kock's team to Lesotho.  He was merely an observer of the operation and took no active part in the incidents.  There was an exchange of fire between other members of de Kock's team and some ANC members.  It transpired that three ANC members were killed during the exchange.  The group that included the Applicant withdrew.  The Applicant was dropped off at the hotel in Maseru where he was staying at that time.

On the next morning, the Applicant was told that the mission was a success because another team had abducted Mr Mokgetlha (alias Old Timer) ("Mokgetlha") and valuable documents were found in his possession  Mokgetlha, who was a Lesotho national was allowed to return to Lesotho after being held for approximately three weeks.  Although the Applicant was present and had knowledge of the incidents he never disclosed or reported these matters to the relevant authorities.

3.    MURDER OF GIBSON MONDLANE BY POISONING.

During early 1987, the Applicant identified one Gibson Mondlane (alias Ncube) ("Mondlane") an ANC exile based in Maputo, Mozambique, as a target.  He gave this information to Botes a regional coordinator of the CCB.  Some time later Botes requested the Applicant to monitor Mondlane, saying he would become ill.  Indeed Mondlane did become ill and died.  It transpired that Mondlane had been poisoned by CCB operatives.  The Applicant foresaw the possibility that Mondlane might die at the hands of the CCB.  Although the Applicant had knowledge of the incident, he never disclosed or reported the matter to the relevant authorities.

4.    UNLAWFUL SUPPLY OF ARMS, EXPLOSIVES AND AMMUNITION.

The Applicant testified that he was contacted by Botes during 1988 to obtain weapons of east-Bloc origin.  The weapons were intended to be used in pseudo operations in Mozambique and were needed so that they could not be traced back to the CCB.  The Applicant contacted de Kock who agreed to supply the arms.  The following kinds of weapons were supplied although the Applicant can no longer recall the quantity involved:  RPG 7 launchers, AK-47 automatic rifles, SPM limpet mines, mini-limpet mines, RGD 5 and F1 handgrenades and a few pistols and ammunition.  The Applicant was paid between R7 500,00 and R10 000,00 for the weapons by Botes.  He admitted that he kept part of the money to pave the driveway at his home and used the rest for operational purposes.  We are satisfied that the Applicant did not act purely for personal gain in respect of this incident.

The Applicant further testified that during 1988 he was also contacted by one Clive Brink ("Brink") who worked in the then Ciskei to obtain and supply 50 AK-47 automatic rifles to Brigadier Oupa Gqozo then head of the Ciskei, for use by pseudo/special force groups in the Ciskei.  De Kock had agreed to this and the Applicant and Brink delivered the weapons to members of the Ciskei security forces in Bloemfontein.

5.    TARGET FILE PREPARATION.

During the period 1987 to 1989, the Applicant prepared the various target files referred to in annexure E to the application for amnesty at page 31 of the hearing bundle.  The Applicant was aware that harm might come to the people or facilities that comprised targets for the various instances with which he worked including the CCB.  He was unsure as to what harm specifically resulted in relation to each instance and accordingly we are unable to grant him amnesty in respect of these matters.

Having considered the testimony of the Applicant and having perused the documentation submitted at the hearing, it is evident that there are some inconsistencies in the Applicant's testimony and between his testimony and the documentation filed in the matter.  However, these are not of such a nature as to be regarded as relevant non-disclosure of all relevant facts and complied with the formal requirements of the Act.

It remains to be decided whether the Applicant meets the requirements of Section 20(1) of Act 34 of 1995 as to whether "the act, omission or offence to which the application relates is an act associated with a political objective committed in the course of the conflicts of the past in accordance with the provisions of sub sections (2) and (3)."

The Committee is satisfied that the offences were committed in the course of the conflicts of the past and that all the Applicant falls within the provisions of Section 20(2).

The Committee, after considering the guidelines set out in Section 20(3) is further satisfied that the offences committed were associated with a political objective.

In the result, amnesty is GRANTED in respect of the acts, omissions or offences referred to in paragraphs 1 to 4 above.

With regard to paragraph 5, the Applicant has not disclosed any specific act or omission constituting an offence or delict for which amnesty can be considered as required by the Act and thus no amnesty is granted.

The Committee is of the opinion that the persons who were injured and the relatives and dependants of the deceased persons are victims and they are referred to the Reparation and Rehabilitation Committee in terms of Section 22 of the Act for its consideration that the persons who were personally affected in these incidents and the dependants of the deceased be declared victims in terms of the Act.

SIGNED AT TOWN THIS       DAY OF                2001.

JUDGE J MOTATA

MR J B SIBANYONI

MR I LAX

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