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Type AMNESTY DECISIONS
Names DIRK JOHANNES COETZEE,BUTANA ALMOND NOFOMELA,NATSHAVHENI DAVID TSHIKALANGA
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The Committee will deal with the applications of the above applicants in separate decisions because they were not always involved in the same incidents. Whenever they were involved in committing the same offence reference will be made to the relevant applications in the other decisions.
The applicant applied for amnesty in respect of 23 separate incidents. All the incidents did not involve gross violations of human rights where a public hearing had to be held as required by Section 19(3)(b) of Act 34 of 1995. It must also be noted that some of the incidents involved the commission of a number of offences. The Committee will deal with the different incidents in the following manner:
(a) Accessory after the fact to assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm committed ruing August or September 1981 at Lindley, Free State perpetrated on M.V. Motaung, Samuel Mokoena, Abraham Lephatswe and M. Radubu.
(a) The theft of motor vehicles, being a Peugeot 504, a Toyota 12 seater minibus, a BMW 5 series sedan and a Volkswagen Beetle belonging respectively to Stanley Mabitsela, unknown Embassy, Hassan Patel and an unknown person during the period January 1977 to December 1979 in Swaziland.
(b) Housebreaking with the intent to steal and theft in respect of Government offices and United Nations offices in Mbabane, Swaziland during the period January 1977 and December 1977 of files and other office equipment.
Before dealing with the different incidents, the Committee is of the opinion that it would be appropriate to deal with Coetzee's background. He matriculated in 1963 and started working in the Post Office in January 1964. He volunteered for military service during July 1966 and served in the navy from that date up to March 1967 whereafter he proceeded with his work in the Post Office. he joined the South African Police ("SAP") on 1 April 1970 and was nominated as the best police student of 1970. During November 1973 he received anti-insurgency training and served with the SAP in the then Rhodesia during the early part of 1974. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1975 and stationed at Sibasa. Here he became friends with David Tshikalanga, Alias Spyker, who later became a co-member at Vlakplaas. He lectured at the Police College from the beginning of 1976 to the middle of the year whereafter he was transferred to Volksrust. He then became Border Post Commander at Oshoek on the Swaziland border. From December 1979 to July 1980 he was a Branch Commander of the Security Police at Middleburg and became the Commanding Officer of Section C, at Vlakplaas, Pretoria on 1 August 1980 up to the end of 1981 whereafter he was transferred to the Narcotics Bureau in 1982 where he served up to 1984.
He testified that he grew up in the belief that young white South Africans and more particularly Afrikaners should be prepared to defend their heritage and, if needs be, to kill or to be killed in the process. The security police was regarded as the elite corps and he aspired to join it. In the Security Police it was generally accepted that the onslaught on the South African government could not be countered with the aid of the ordinary Criminal Procedure and Terrorism Acts of the time.
The Committee further refers to the decision AC/99/0031 in the Cronje application. This decision dealt with the background and the war situation which existed at the time. The evidence of General van der Merwe and Minister Vlok is summarised in that decision. Reference is also made to the perceptions which were created in the minds of the foot soldiers - see Decision AC99/0031 and more specifically pages 1 to 6 thereof.
The applicant testified that this operation was carried out in retaliation to a bomb attack on Sasol at Secunda. It was carried out 3 days after that attack. On instructions of Colonel J.J. Viktor he drove to Ermelo where he met Major Van Rensburg. Warrant Officer Paul Van Dyk and explosive experts Rorich and Hattingh. Their target was an ANC transit house in Swaziland as well as a wooden hut occupied by one Mawick Nkosi who built false panels into vehicles to smuggle arms and explosives into the RSA. They prepared two bombs and entered Swaziland illegally by laying the wire fence flat at a desolated place and driving across into the neighbouring country.
Van Rensburg remained at Ermelo and the applicant as the operation commander saw to it that the bombs were placed at their targets and the timing devices set to tick. They drove off, watched from a distance and saw both bombs exploding.
The applicant reported back to Van Rensburg. According to later reports Patrick Nkosi and Patrick Makau were killed in the incidents. The applicant further testified that it was their intention to kill the people staying in the safe house as well as one Mawick Nkosi. The offences were committed with the political objective to destroy the safe house where ANC cadres were accommodated and to kill the person who fitted vehicles with false panels in order to carry weapons and explosives into the RSA.
The applicant testified that according to information he received, Selby Mavuso was kidnapped during the attacks by the South African Defence Force ("SADF") at Matola in Mozambique. He was kept prisoner at Voortrekkerhoogte for a while and then handed to the Security Police. He was detained at Brits and attempts were made to persuade him to become an askari. This failed. The police then tried to obtain evidence in order to charge him. This also failed because he would not make any admissions. The applicant was then instructed by Brigadier Schoon to get rid of him. Applicant decided to get so-called "knock-out drops" from Brigadier Neethling who was in charge of the forensic laboratory of the South African Police. The knock-out drops essentially had the same effect as chloroform. According to the applicant Schoon also instructed him to use the same opportunity to get rid of Peter Dlamini who worked at Vlakplaas at the time. He was previously a student of the ANC in Bulgaria. He contacted the South African authority through an embassy and was assisted back to the RSA where he joined the Vlakplaas contingent. Nobody could get on with him, last of all the askaris who used to beat him up, locked him up in a cupboard or otherwise mistreated him. He started making complaints in circles outside the security ranks and was considered to be a security risk. According to the applicant that was the motivation for the decision to kill him.
Applicant testified that he drove with Selby Mavuso to a farm near the Kopfontein Border Post where he met Koos Vermeulen. He could not remember whether Peter Dlamini was with Vermeulen or whether he travelled with the applicant and Selby Mavuso to this outpost in the Western Transvaal. He and Vermeulen then proceeded with preparations for the killing of the two and the disposal of their corpses.
They collected old motor tyres which they intended to use to burn the bodies after they had been killed. That evening they gave them an overdose of knock-out drops which should have killed them. The victims, however, did not die. They reported to Neethling that the attempt was unsuccessful. According to Coetzee they returned the same afternoon with the dosages doubled. They repeated the attempt, again without the required result. The four of them then returned to Pretoria and thereafter left for Groblersdal where the police had certain training facilities. After their arrival there, the applicant and Vermeulen went back to Neethling in Pretoria who, according to the applicant, could not believe that "the poison" did not work. The applicant testified that the dosage was then tripled. They returned to Groblersdal and squirted the poison into drinks given to the two victims. This attempt was also unsuccessful and they decided that they would revert to shooting them.
Early the next morning the applicant, Paul van Dyk (also a security policeman), Vermeulen and the tow victims left for Komatipoort where a further attempt to kill them would be made. According to the applicant they met Major Flemington, the Commander of the Security Police at Komatipoort and he proceeded with them to a desolated spot on the Komati river bank where members of the security police had previously had braais. The victims were then doped and Vermeulen shot them with a Makarov pistol. The bodies were thereafter cremated and the ashes shovelled into the river.
The applicant further testified that he was later requested to make a statement to the effect that Selby Mavuso voluntarily became an askari, worked with the police for three months and thereafter disappeared. It was suggested that he in all probability rejoined the ANC.
The applicant qualifies in terms of Section 20(2)(c) and (f) to be an applicant for amnesty. The offences related to the conflicts of the past and were associated with the political objective of eliminating supporters of the liberation forces and keeping the then government in power. According to the applicant he acted on orders of his superiors and with their approval. The requirements for amnesty laid down in Act 34 of 1995 have been met and amnesty in GRANTED as set out at the end of this decision.
Isaac Ace Moema joined the Vlakplaas contingent as an askari in 1981. The applicant was the Commander of Vlakplaas at the time. He observed that Moema's heart was not in the work he had to do and his colleagues also became suspicious. He instructed Almond Nofomela to keep an eye on him. He also discussed the situation with Koos Vermeulen and they agreed that Moema was a potential defector. applicant and Vermeulen thereafter had a discussion with Brigadier Schoon. They informed him about their fears and he said that they should do what they considered best. According to Coetzee, Vermeulen thereafter obtained knock-out drops from Brigadier Neethling and took Moema with him while he was working in the Komatipoort area. He never saw Moema again but Vermeulen reported to him that he had taken care of Moema. He understood that to mean that he was doped, shot and that the body was disposed of by burning.
Although the applicant did not actively participate in the disappearance and probable killing of Moema, he could have prevented it. He testified that it was left in his and Vermeulen's discretion what to do with the victim. He clearly associated himself with whatever Vermeulen did and as Commander of Vlakplaas approved of Vermeulen's actions. Vermeulen, at the time, was serving under his command and reported back to him.
According to the applicant they considered Moema to be a threat to the security network. He had inside information about the security police and their operations and he feared that he could at any time defect to the ANC, to the detriment of the State Security.
The person targeted, at that stage known as Comrade "A", was in fact Khothatso Christopher Motoi, at present a General in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). Coetzee testified that while he and Nofomela were on duty on the South Africa/Lesotho border at the Van Rooyenshek border post near Wepener, he was informed by one Captain Louw that he had knowledge of an ANC cadre, known as Comrade "A", who was based in Lesotho near the border. According to applicant, Louw said that this person should be eliminated. Coetzee decided to use Nofomela in this operations and he planned that Nofomela should be accompanied by a local policeman who knew the victim and would be able to point him out to Nofomela. The latter would then knock on the door and when Comrade "A" opened the door, he would be shot and a handgrenade thrown into the house.
Nofomela testified that he received orders from Coetzee to accompany a certain Jantjies of the Ladybrand security branch into Lesotho. Coetzee gave him a 9mm pistol and instructed him to kill an ANC activist whom Jantjies would point out to him. He could not remember that he was also instructed to throw a handgrenade. They went by car, using the official border gates and Jantjies directed him to a certain house and pointed at a person sitting at a table in the house. According to Nofomela, Jantjies then started shooting. By the time Nofomela could pull the trigger the victim was not in sight. He, nevertheless, fired a number of shots into the house. They ran for their car and managed to return to the RSA before the border gates closed at 22h00. They thought the target was hit.
Both Coetzee and Louw were Captains at the time. There is no evidence that Louw had any authority to order Coetzee to eliminate Mr Motoi. According to Coetzee, Louw suggested to him that a person known as Comrade "A" should be eliminated. He thereupon decided to instruct Nofomela to carry out the operation and presumably arranged with Louw for the assistance of Jantjies.
It is clear that Coetzee as Commander of Vlakplaas in this instance acted on his own discretion. It is also accepted that this operation was similar to others which met with the approval of his superiors.
The Committee is satisfied that the operation fell within the ambit of the requirement laid down by the Act and amnesty is GRANTED to both Coetzee and Nofomela as set out later in their respective decisions.
The applicant testified that he started planning the murder after he had discussions with Brigadier van der Hoven and Captain Taylor of the Durban Security Police. According to his plan the victim who was a detainee at C.R. Swart Square in Durban would officially be released. The applicant would then re-arrest him and would attend to his elimination. An askari, Brian Ngulungwa, would then travel to Swaziland making use of the deceased's passport from which the deceased's photo had been removed and substituted with a photo of Ngulungwa. On his return he would use his own passport. The objective was to obtain "proof" that the detainee was released and in fact crossed the border back into Swaziland. The implementation of the plan was delayed and Coetzee later, when he was ready to execute the plan, was informed that his assistance was no longer needed. He assumed that Van der Hoven has dealt with the matter on his own.
There is no evidence that the plan had been implemented or that the detainee had been killed. Although Coetzee's planning did not reach the stage of an attempted murder, i t is clear that Mr Brian Ngulungwa would have been involved and discussions were held with Van der Hoven and Taylor. This seems to have reached the stage of a conspiracy. It is, however, not clear from Coetzee's evidence at the hearing or from his manuscript, which served as evidence before us, what the objective of the killing would be. The detainee was not a South African citizen.
The evidence in this matter was also dealt with during the hearing of Craig Williamson in his amnesty application concerning the death of Jeanette and Catherine Schoon. According to the applicant, Brigadier Schoon instructed him to get in touch with Krause and Coetzee at Zeerust. Before leaving he was informed that General Johan Coetzee prohibited the operation. At that stage he had already started to think how he would carry out the operation.
Coetzee testified that he went to Zeerust on instructions of Brigadier Schoon. From there he proceeded to a farm near Kopfontein Border Post. On the farm he met Captain Rudi Krause, Commander of the Zeerust security branch, Captain Jan Coetzee and Joe Mamasela from the West Rand Security Branch and other members of Vlakplaas under his own command. The Vlakplaas contingent consisted of the applicant himself as Commander, Captain Koos Vermeulen, Warrant Officer Paul van Dyk, Constables Almond Nofomela and David Spyker Tshikalanga. They were to target a house in Botswana, occupied by ANC members who had to be eliminated.
It transpired that Joe Mamasela was well-acquainted with the area and the particular target. He used to stay in the very same house at the stage when he was trained as an uMkhonto weSizwe ("MK") soldier in Botswana. He briefed them on the layout of the house, using a plan which he had prepared. Among the important features were the bedroom used by Roler and Joyce Dipale and the fact that Roler drove a 1400 Datsun bakkie. If this bakkie was parked outside the house (there was no garage) it would indicate that Roler was in the house.
The contingent crossed the border late on the evening of 26 November 1981 and the applicants, Coetzee, Nofomela and Tshikalanga proceeded to the targeted house accompanied by Vermeulen, Van Dyk and Mamasela. They were armed with Tokarev and Makarov pistols, HMK sub-machine guns and a handgrenade. They wore long sleeved shirts and balaclavas. Krause and Jan Coetzee stayed behind.
A thunderstorm broke and the heavy downpour roundabout midnight offered an opportune moment for the attack. They proceeded to the house and while standing on the stoep two women unexpectedly opened the door. Mamasela grabbed one and shot her. The other one ran back into the house and the applicant sprayed bullets down the passage where she was running. He expected Vermeulen to throw the handgrenade into the bedroom. He, however, failed to do so. According to Coetzee it was Vermeulen's first operation and he was so flabbergasted that he forgot to carry out his instructions.
It later turned out that the woman who was grabbed and shot by Mamasela was Shadi Mkwanyane and that she recovered and that the woman who ran down the passage was Joyce Dipale and she was slightly injured. Roler Dipale in fact had caught an aeroplane that very same afternoon and was not at home during the attack. Mrs Joyce Dipale Masina recognised Joe Mamasela during the attack.
The applicant testified that he was sent to Swaziland with a contingent of askaris to do surveillance on several ANC safe houses for the purpose of planning a simultaneous attack on them. It was argued that a simultaneous destruction of a large number of ANC houses would have a severe impact and psychological effect on the ongoing war situation.
Whilst he was still doing surveillance hew was called back to Pretoria. He reported to Brigadier Schoon. The askaris were left in Swaziland and Chris Deetlefs of the Ermelo security branch was asked to take command of them. The askaris were Amaru, a Portuguese citizen, Petrus Kgaodi, Thabu Magagi and Geoff Bosigu. Paul Hattingh returned with the applicant to Pretoria. Although an attack on Pillay's house was planned, no date had been fixed as it was anticipated that it should happen simultaneously with the other attacks.
Applicant stated that it came as a surprise when Brigadier Schoon informed him that he received a message from the Oshoek border post that Pillay had been abducted and was guarded by one of the askaris inside the RSA whilst the other askaris went back into Swaziland. Soon thereafter a second message came through that the askaris had been arrested by the Swaziland police and were detained in the Manzini jail.
The applicant arranged for Pillay to be brought to Pretoria where he could be interrogated. Captain Any Taylor from Durban and Lieutenant Fourie from Pietermaritzburg who were aware of the involvement of Pillay in ANC operations in Natal were summoned to Pretoria to take part in the interrogation.
Applicant testified that he saw Pillay at Vlakplaas after his arrival from Ermelo and noticed that he had been severely beaten up. He was then taken to the Observatory in the ridge south of Groenkloof where Taylor and Fourie interrogated him. According to Coetzee an army doctor inserted a drip with so-called "truth serum". This caused him to relax and to speak out in an uncontrolled manner. No information of any significance could be obtained from him. Coetzee further testified that Pillay was slapped during the interrogation.
In the meantime there was an international outcry abut the abduction and the arrest of the askaris. General Johan Coetzee and a person from Foreign Affairs went to meet the authorities in Swaziland and the release of Pillay was promised. He was taken back to Lothair where he was kept for a further few days so that his bruises could heal and was thereafter released.
Mr Pillay, who was at the time of the hearing staying in Canada filed an affidavit setting out what he experienced. He said that he was abducted by five persons, one who transpired to be Geoffrey Bosigo who lost his passport on the scene. This caused his arrest as well as that of his comrades. he confirmed that he was abducted on 19 February 1981 and transported in the boot of a car to presumably Pretoria. During the journey several stops were made and during those stops he was severely assaulted. He was later taken to a building (presumably Vlakplaas) where he was interrogated and severely assaulted, kicked and his genitals squeezed. Coetzee denied the latter assaults. After these assaults he was taken to another buildings where he was shackled to a canon. (This must have been at the Observatory). He stated that he was interrogated for several hours during which time he was often assaulted. According to him he was taken on 26 February 1981 to Lothair where he was kept until his release on 10 March 1981. This incident also cropped up at the hearing of Brigadier Schoon - amnesty hearing at Johannesburg on 7 May 1999.
Coetzee testified that he was instructed by Colonel Schoon to kidnap ANC member operating under the name "General". This person was a close friend of an informer known as Lockwood. Coetzee obtained "knock-out" drops from Brigadier Neethling and gave it to Lockwood to dope "General's" wine on his next visit to Lockwood. Coetzee was advised of the visit and he and Nofomela went to Lockwood's place. They took up position near the flat and awaited Lockwood's signal that "General" was in a coma and ready to be picked up. Later during that evening Coetzee saw that the knock-out drops did not work. Lockwood at that stage was almost knocked out by excessive use of alcohol in an attempt to get "General" intoxicated and "knocked-out". Coetzee and Nofomela thereupon entered a bedroom through the window to observe the state of "General". The latter might have heard something and started moving towards the bedroom. Coetzee and Nofomela thereupon decided to grab him and force him to the car. A Struggle ensued. "General" gained the upper hand and Coetzee and Nofomela rushed off in their car. Lockwood later told Coetzee that he emptied some of the bedroom drawers to create the impression that "General" stumbled on burglars and that they attacked him.
Coetzee made no mention of reporting back to Schoon about the success of the operation. It remains a mystery why he still trusted Neethling's knock-out drops after having experienced on several occasions that they did not work and according to Neethling did not exist.
The facts meet the requirements laid down for the granting of amnesty. It was an offence associated with a political objective and both Coetzee and Nofomela qualify to be applicants in terms of Section 20(2)(b) and (f) of Act 34 of 1995.
Coetzee stated that he was not involved in the incident. He learnt about the operation after a bomb had been set by Chris Deetlefs and Chris Rorich in a post box used by Duma for ANC purposes. The intention was to kill Duma. The explosion occurred when Duma opened the box and he lost his arm. Duma died later from natural causes.
Seeing that Coetzee was not involved in the incident itself but failed to take any steps to have the perpetrators prosecuted as he was obliged to do as a policeman in terms of the Police Act. Had he done so this would have exposed the activities of the security police. His failure to take any steps in this regard was associated with the political objective not to embarrass the government of the day or the security police who kept them in power.
According to the applicant he lent R5 000.00 to Nofomela, Mamasela, Tshikalanga and one Ramatlala - all members of his security fraternity - to buy diamonds in Lesotho for resale in the RSA at a profit. They came back with worthless diamonds and were obviously tricked by the diamond dealer. He sent them back to get their money back and return the diamonds. They went and later returned with a car which they informed him they took from the diamond dealer after killing him because he refused to return their money. He later assisted them to get rid of the corpse and in covering up the whole incident.
The applicant stated that while he was driving to Lindley followed by Nofomela and Mamasela in a bakkie, he came across a car whose driver and occupants were clearly intoxicated. He tried to stop them but they waved fists and refused to stop. The next moment Mamasela started shooting at them and when they stopped he and Nofomela assaulted them. Coetzee stopped the assault but was confronted with the dilemma that Mamasela who was an askari had no powers to arrest or to shoot at people. They collected Mamasela's Tokarev shells and fired a few shots from Nofomela's police pistol, leaving the shells on the scene.
One of the passengers was wounded and had to receive medical attention. Coetzee reported the incident at the Lindley police station and he and Nofomela made affidavits stating that Nofomela had to shoot in order to carry out an arrest. In doing so they covered up Mamasela's involvement. No prosecution followed.
Incidents 15 to 23 do not relate to gross human rights violations. Public hearings and oral evidence were not necessary and the Committee considered the statements by the applicant in dealing with them.
According to a statement by the applicant this involved the theft of a Peugeot 504 registration no. 17163, a 12 seater Toyota Minibus, a BMW Sedan and a Volkswagen Beetle belonging respectively to Mr Stanley Mabitsela, one of the Embassies who cannot now be identified, Mr Hassan Patel and the owner of the Volkswagen who also cannot now be identified.
The applicant arranged to obtain duplicate keys of the cars at the garage where they were serviced. The objective was to steal the cars in order to cause transport problems for the ANC and their supporters. They extended the operation to include so-called Embassies and the United Nations. An attempt to steal 7 Landrovers belonging to the United Nations however failed. The vehicles were not taken for personal gain but it was anticipated that they could be used by the security police at a different front.
The purpose was to obtain particulars about refugees from South Africa who fled the country and reported at the U.N. offices for refugees. The applicant was accompanied by Sergeant Andre Van der Berg and Warrant Officer Koos van der Lith. After gaining entrance to the house targeted they found that it housed a State Department. They again visited the premises on the following Saturday night and managed to get into the outbuildings on the premises. They opened the steel cabinets with a crowbar and removed all the files, telex tapes, envelopes, etc.
The applicant, Nick van Rensburg, Chris Deetlefs and Chris Rorich according to the applicant planted a bomb on the railway line at Mpaka. The intention was to blame the ANC for the whole operation. They would thereby discredit the ANC. The bomb did not explode. The Swaziland police asked the SAP for assistance of an expert to help to defuse the bomb. The ironic result was that Chris Rorich who had placed the bomb was sent to defuse it. He did so and no damage was caused.
This was a futile attempt as they could not find the targeted Land Cruiser and returned without accomplishing their task. Applicant stated that he was accompanied by Paul van Dyk, Chris Deetlefs and Chris Rorich.
Nofomela is a co-applicant in this incident. This policeman was suspected of harbouring sympathy with the ANC. The applicant, Paul van Dyk and Nofomela smashed a window of the policeman's vehicle and attempted to set it alight. It did not catch fire and they had to leave the scene. The objective was to intimidate the policeman and to make him aware that his sympathy with the liberation movements will not be tolerated and was known.
According to applicant, Colonel Schoon asked him to assist Nick van Rensburg in this operation. Van Rensburg's intention, according to applicant, was to prevent members of the National Automobile and Allied Workers Union to travel with the kombi to a congress in Harare. Paul van Dyk, Koos Vermeulen, Koos Schutte and Almond Nofomela assisted with the operation. The kombi was removed from a parking spot in front of a hotel in Johannesburg, taken to Vlakplaas and later sold in Swaziland for R7 000.00.
The money was handed over to Colonel Schoon for use for security purposes. The intention was not personal gain. The trade unions were considered to be allies of the liberation movements in the struggle against the State.
The applicant assisted by Nofomela, Tshikalanga and Van Dyk set alight two vehicles at Rhodes after receiving a request from the security police in Aliwal North to harass what they described as "Leftist Hippies". A Volkswagen and a small truck were targeted. The truck belonged to Robert Sacco. The owner of the Volkswagen is still unknown.
According to applicant activist students and liberals were regarded as enemies of the State and intimidation and harassment of these people would prevent them from actively supporting the liberation forces in the struggle against the State.
1. Amnesty is GRANTED to the applicant in respect of the murder of Patrick Nkosi and Patrick Makau on 4 June 1980 at Manzini, Swaziland and in respect of all offences and delicts directly linked therewith and covered by the evidence given.
2. Amnesty is GRANTED to the applicant in respect of the murder of Peter Dlamini and Selby Mavuso during 1981 near Komatipoort and in respect of all offences and delicts directly linked therewith and covered by the evidence given.
4. Amnesty is GRANTED to the applicant in respect of any offence or delict associating him with the murder of Ace Moema. The applicant denied that he was involved in the actual murder and it must be clearly understood that this amnesty is not for murder but relate only to lesser offences.
6. Amnesty is GRANTED to the applicant and Nofomela in respect of the attempted murder of Khothatso Christopher Motoi (Comrade "A") and any other offences or delicts directly linked therewith and covered by the evidence presented at the hearing.
8. The Committee is of the opinion that the envisaged attack on Marius Schoon did not yet reach the stage of a conspiracy to murder when the suggested operation was called off. No offence or delict had yet been committed and amnesty CANNOT BE GRANTED.
9. Amnesty is GRANTED to the applicant as well as Nofomela and Tshikalanga in respect of all offences and delicts directly linked to the attack on Joyce Dipale's house in Gaberone on 26 November 1981 including the attempted murder of Joyce Dipale and Shadi Nkwanyane.
10. Amnesty is GRANTED to the applicant and Tshikalanga in respect of the kidnapping of Joe Pillay and the assaults on him during February and March 1981 and in respect of all offences and delicts directly linked and related to these offences.
11. Amnesty is GRANTED to the applicant and Nofomela in respect of the attempted kidnapping of a person known as "General" at Matenga Falls, Swaziland during December 1981 and all offences and delicts directly linked to the attempt.
13. Amnesty is REFUSED to the applicant in respect of all offences or delicts directly linked to the diamond dealing, the murder of a so-called diamond dealer and the stealing of a motor car during October 1981.
The thefts took place during the period January 1977 to December 1979 in Swaziland. Amnesty is also GRANTED in respect of the attempted theft of seven Land Cruisers belonging to the United Nations during the mentioned period.
17. Amnesty is GRANTED to the applicant in respect of offences and delicts related to the burgling of the offices of the Housing Department and the United Nations Refugees Department during 1977 at Mbabane, Swaziland.
23. Amnesty is GRANTED to the applicant, Nofomela and Tshikalanga in respect of the offences and delicts related to the burning of a Volkswagen and a small truck belonging to Robert Sacco at Rhodes during 1981.
This applicant joined the Police in 1979, became a member of the Vlakplaas contingent in 1981 and served there up to 1987. He applied for amnesty in respect of the following 20 incidents (the last four did not involve gross human rights violations):
The applicant testified that he received instructions from Captain Jan Coetzee and Lieutenant Koos Vermeulen to kidnap Moabi Dipale from his house in Soweto for the purpose of interrogation. He was to be assisted by Joe Mamasela. They wanted to obtain information about his sister who figures in the next incident.
They proceeded to his house in Soweto and enquired whether he was present. A young girl said he was not but on entering the house they found him hiding behind a wardrobe. Mamasela accused him of not repaying money he owed to him. This served as an excuse to force him to accompany them. They took him to Roodepoort where they met Jan Coetzee and Vermeulen. Thereafter they proceeded to Zeerust and on to a farm in the vicinity where Moabi was interrogated about the whereabouts of his sister Joyce Dipale. During the interrogation he was assaulted by them to such and extent that he lost consciousness. The assaults were carried out by Nofomela, Mamasela and Vermeulen. Grobbelaar and Coetzee did not take part in the assaults. He could not say whether they obtained any information which assisted them in the later attack on Joyce Dipale in Botswana. They later returned to Vlakplaas and he cannot say what happened to Moabi Dipale thereafter. He does not know whether he was detained or released.
The Committee is satisfied that the requirements for amnesty have been met and amnesty is GRANTED to Nofomela in respect of all offences and delicts flowing directly from the kidnapping and assault on Moabi Dipale during or about October 1981.
The applicant confirmed the contents of his application. He stated that Colonel Cronje, Major de Kock, Lieutenant van Dyk and Joe Mamasela and himself ambushed a number of people near Mbabane. They waited near a certain house which was frequented by ANC members. A car approached and parked at the house. When they alighted some of the security force members started shooting. The applicant and Van Dyk were stationed too far from the scene to join in the initial shooting. They rushed towards the house and shot at people who were then running away from the house. Mamasela later informed him that one person was injured or killed.
The Committee is satisfied that the requirements for amnesty have been met. Amnesty is GRANTED to Nofomela in respect of the acts, omissions, offences and delicts falling within the jurisdiction of the South African Courts flowing from and directly related to the conspiracy to kill ANC members at or near Mbabane, Swaziland on or about November 1985.
The applicant stated that he and Geoff Bosigo were instructed not to participate in this operation although they were present in Durban at the time. According to him Samuel Magage and Simon Radebe and a number of new recruits were issued with AK-47 firearms by De Kock. They drove to Chesterville where they were to meet UDF members for a pre-arranged meeting. They drove into the township while the applicant and his colleagues waited at a nearby bridge for them to return. It is not clear from his application whether De Kock, Nortje, Bosigo and Kole were all present at the bridge where the applicant was waiting. At the later hearing dealing with the Chesterville incident the applicant gave evidence. His evidence has been dealt with in decision AC2001/109 wherein amnesty is REFUSED to Nofomela.
The MK soldier, known as MK September, real name is Glory Sedibe. He was abducted from Swaziland and later joined the security forces. He testified at De Kock's trial in the High Court in Pretoria but has since passed away.
The facts were dealt with fully in the Amnesty Committee's decision AC2001/094. As stated in that decision, Nofomela's version about the incident, was not disputed. Accepting the facts set out in that decision and the reasons stated therein this Committee came to the same conclusion and amnesty is also GRANTED to the applicant in respect of any offence or delict flowing from or directly associated with the abduction of Glory Sedibe and the consequent unlawful detention.
The applicant stated that whilst he was stationed at Ladybrand during or about 1986 he became aware of a mission to eliminate ANC members who were living in a house in Maseru. According to him, he remained in the R.S.A. while De Kock, Nortje, Letsatsi, Thabiso, Radebe and an unknown white policeman crossed the border to carry out the attack. According to Thabiso only a child survived.
The full facts about this attack were canvassed at a later hearing and appear in a decision AC2001/231. Amnesty is GRANTED to Nofomela in respect of conspiracy to commit murder as well as all offences and delicts arising directly from his participation in this incident.
The facts related to the killing of Pantsu Smith, Sipho Dlamini and Busi Majola on 13/14 December 1986. This attack was carried out to eliminate the leadership of the September machinery who carried out a number of attacks in the RSA. The applicant also referred to MK soldier who managed to escape. According to the evidence at the hearing referred to in decision AC0087/2000, MK Ben was expected to be present in the same house but left before the attack.
For the reasons set out in decision AC0087/2000 amnesty is also GRANTED to Nofomela in respect of the acts, omissions and offences flowing from and directly related to the conspiracy to kill the members of the ANC unit, known as the September Machinery and the killing of Pantsu Smith, Sipho Dlamini and Busi Majola on 13/14 December 1986.
According to the applicant, De Kock, Van Dyk, Mgadi, Kole and Mogape were involved in this incident with him. They went to Swaziland and were involved in this incident with him. They went to Swaziland and applicant went to the targeted house. Hew knocked at the door and requested the targeted man to accompany him. The man refused. The applicant thereupon assaulted him and was then joined by his colleagues who grabbed the man and took him to the car. They thereupon set the house alight and returned to a farm between Pongola and Piet Retief where they were joined by Pienaar, the commander of the security police at Piet Retief. The man was further interrogated and assaulted. Later De Kock mentioned that the man would have to be killed. He had no further details about it and the man dos not know what happened to him.
The applicant told the Committee that he arrested Mr Mkhize for entering the RSA on a false passport. He reported the arrest to Sergeant Van Heerden at Piet Retief. The two of them then took the detainee to a plantation where they severely assaulted him. Thereafter, according to the statement in his application, they took him to a panel beating business where he was burnt with a welding torch on his chest and in his face. The applicant stated that he does not know what happened thereafter but was later told that he should testify in a civil suit where damages were claimed by the victim. He eventually did not testify. It is not clear whether the claim was settled or what happened in the case.
On being asked what political objective does it serve to assault a man coming into the country with a false passport h replied: "I cannot say. I also do not know, but it happened that he was assaulted".
It was further put to him: "So when you started beating him up, at that stage you did not know anything about his father's supposed political affiliations. That is true, is it not?" Answer: "That is true."
The applicant was convicted of the murder of Johannes Lourens and sentenced to death. Lourens was murdered on 11 September 1986. On the evening before his execution an urgent application was brought for the stay of the execution. In this application the activities of the Vlakplaas contingent and some of the murders in which the applicant were involved, were revealed. This caused further investigation that contributed to the exposure of the activities of the security police. Ironically the Lourens murder itself had nothing to do with the activities of the security police or Vlakplaas as will be seen below.
The applicant testified that during the day of the 11th September 1986 he met a certain Johnny Mohani. At that stage the applicant had just bought a house and furniture and his car was at the garage "and I had a lot of expenses and I found that what Johnny Mohani was saying to me about this money that we were going to steal there (at Lourens) seemed like a good idea and I agreed because of my financial problems".
According to the applicant, Johnny Mohani informed him that there was lots of money on the farm. He himself knew the farm and knew that the brothers staying on the farm were elderly people. They approached the farm house from the rear and on coming around the house saw one of the brothers. It was still daylight although in the late afternoon. "By the time we got to the front of the house he had seen us and he had already got up and was coming towards us with his gun and that is why I stood until he came to me. Yes he was carrying it in his hand, he had just said "hey, kaffirs, what are you doing on my farm?" There was no chance for me to run away." "So you stabbed him to death?" "He came to me and grabbed me and that is when I grabbed his hand that had the firearm and we wrestled and I stabbed him."
The applicant stated in his application that the reason why he stabbed Lourens was because he lost control after Lourens called him a kaffir. In evidence he said that that was on of the reasons for stabbing him because it made him angry. "Secondly it was so that I could get the firearm from him."
He further conceded that he did not act on orders and that he did not regard the deceased as an enemy of the State. It, however, did annoy him when the deceased referred to him as a kaffir. He had often heard the word used by other people but the security police at Vlakplaas never used the word.
From the evidence, it is clear that the applicant did not meet the requirements laid down in both subsections 20(2) and 20(3) of Act 34 of 1995 and amnesty is therefore REFUSED in respect of the murder of Johannes Hendrik Lourens on 11 September 1986 at Skeerpoort in the district of Brits.
The Committee dealt with the facts under incident 11 of its decision dealing with the application of Dirk Coetzee. Nofomela's evidence broadly corroborated Coetzee's evidence and it is clear that he acted under instructions of Coetzee. For the reasons mentioned in that decision amnesty is GRANTED to the applicant in respect of any offence and/or delict directly linked to the attempt to kidnap the MK soldier known as "General".
After considering the application, which had been corroborated by statements of Dirk Coetzee and in some instances by Tshikalanga, the Committee is satisfied that these acts were associated with a political objective and that a full disclosure of the relevant facts have been made. Amnesty is accordingly GRANTED in respect of the following offences and/or delicts:
The applicant was a member of the Security Police. He was born at Sibasa in the Northern Province. While still at school he used to do some gardening for Dirk Coetzee to earn pocket money. He later joined the South African Police and when Dirk Coetzee became the Commandeer of Vlakplaas he was stationed there. He served under the command of Dirk Coetzee, Jan Coetzee and Eugene De Kock.
Amnesty is also GRANTED to this applicant in respect of all offences and/or delicts directly linked to and flowing from the attack on Joyce Dipale's house including the attempted murder on Shadi Nkwanyane and Joyce Dipale, committed on or about 26 November 1981 in or near Gaberone.
The Committee is satisfied that the requirements of Act 34 of 1995 have been met, that the act was associated with a political objective and that the applicant has made a full disclosure of the relevant facts.
Amnesty is GRANTED in respect of all offences and delicts directly linked to the kidnapping of and the assaults on Joe Pillay during February 1981 in Swaziland and in the districts of Ermelo and Pretoria.
Incidents 4 and 5 relate to the burning of a car and truck at Rhodes and the theft of an Audi at Port Elizabeth. These incidents were dealt with under incidents 23 and 20 respectively in Coetzee's application and incident 19(b) in Nofomela's application relates to the car and truck burnt at Rhodes.
(a) Any offence or delict directly linked to the burning of and damage caused to a car and a Volkswagen car and a small truck, the property of Robert Sacco at Rhodes University, Grahamstown during 1981;
(b) The theft of an Audi car, the property of Edward Maepi and any offence or delict directly linked to or flowing from the theft of the said car belonging to Edward Maepi or an unknown political activist at Port Elizabeth during 1981.
After the hearing of this application, the TRC received information that the person killed and robbed of his motor vehicle was not a Lesotho diamond dealer but an ordinary citizen of the RSA who had never been involved in diamonds. The theory is that the car was robbed to be sold in order to pay back the money borrowed from Dirk Coetzee and/or his mother-in-law. Seeing that the Committee is of the view that even on the version of all three applicants, this was a venture for personal gain and not associated with a political objective, they did not re-open the hearing. It has also been noted that Nofomela, although allegedly involved, did not apply for amnesty in this respect.
The applicant stated that he, Nofomela and Mamasela were sent to Swaziland to do reconnaissance about Jabu Nyaose and to kill him should the opportunity present itself. They were called back after two days before they had any success. He learnt later that Jabu Nyaose and his wife were killed in a car bomb explosion soon after their return. Other unknown people were also injured. He does not know who is responsible for the explosion. He played no part in it.
The Committee is satisfied that the reconnaissance he was doing and the instructions to eliminate Mr Nyaose constituted the offence of a conspiracy to murder and that it was associated with a political objective. The conspiracy did not develop to the stage of an attempt to murder on the evidence before the Committee.