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Decisions

Type AMNESTY DECISIONS

Names JAN ANTON NIEUWOUDT

Matter AM3813/96

Decision GRANTED

DECISION

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 had applied for amnesty in respect of a number of incidents, most whereof had already been finalised by the Committee.  The present matter is being dealt with n chambers.  Applicant's personal circumstances and his activities as a member of the Special Forces of the erstwhile South African Defence Force are fully canvassed in the matters already finalised and no useful purpose would be served to repeat it herein.

Applicant submitted his original amnesty application form on 12 December 1996, some 3 days before the first closing date for the submission of amnesty applications.  The amnesty application form was accompanied by a handwritten annexure which listed a number of incidents without any amplification at all.  Applicant subsequently duly amplified the original application with particulars relating to the incidents that formed the subject matter of the application.  Some of the incidents listed on the handwritten annexure was never subsequently amplified or referred to by the Applicant.  Those incidents had accordingly not been dealt with by the Committee.  The incident forming the subject matter of the present decision is the only one remaining of the amplified incidents that must still be dealt with.

The present decision deals with the poisoning of an African National Congress  ("ANC") members, one Knox Dlamini, in Swaziland during or about the period 1988 - 1989.  Applicant held the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel and he was the second-in-command of the terrorism section of the Directorate of Covert Collections of the South African Defence Force at the time.  Applicant was informed by one of his superiors that the Defence Force intended taking action against Knox Dlamini in retaliation for operations launched by him inside South Africa.  Dlamini was based in Swaziland and it was difficult to directly attack him due to the prevailing circumstances in Swaziland and it was difficult to directly attack him due to the prevailing circumstances in Swaziland.  Applicant was accordingly ordered to investigate the possibility of poisoning Dlamini.  In execution of this order, Applicant liaised with one of the Defence Force sources in Swaziland and made arrangements for poisoned beer to be given to Dlamini to drink.  Applicant obtained the beer, which was a Swazi brand and arranged for it to be poisoned by members of Special Forces.  Applicant subsequently handed the poisoned beer to the source with instructions for the beer to be given to Dlamini.  The source subsequently reported that Dlamini apparently drank the beer and that he was hospitalised two days later in connection with liver problems.  According to further reports of the source Dlamini allegedly died soon after being discharged from hospital.  There is no evidence aliunde or other objective circumstances corroborating the hearsay allegations of the source nor is there any conclusive indication (if Dlamini indeed died) what the cause of death was.  The source was remunerated, presumably on the basis that, on his allegations, he successfully completed the operation.  In these circumstances, it is impossible to draw any conclusions on the eventual outcome of the operation or the course of events in Swaziland.

Having considered the matter, we are satisfied that the Applicant was acting within the course and scope of his duties and on the orders of his superiors.  We are, moreover, satisfied that Applicant's conduct was directly associated with the then political conflict involving the South African government, as supported by its security forces, and the ANC.  In the circumstances, Applicant's conduct constitutes an act associated with a political objective as envisaged in the Act.  Amnesty is accordingly hereby GRANTED to the Applicant in respect of all offences directly resulting from his conduct as detailed above, in regard to the poisoning of beer intended for Knox Dlamini, during or about the period 1988 - 1989.

DATED AT CAPE TOWN THIS    DAY OF                2001.

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