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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 688

Paragraph Numbers 479 to 496

Volume 2

Chapter 7

Subsection 37

479 The King William’s Town Golf Club was attacked with hand grenades and automatic rifles on the night of 28 November 1992, while a Christmas social function for a ‘wine club’ was in progress. Four people – Mr Ian MacDonald and Ms Rhoda MacDonald, Ms Gillian and Mr David Davies – were killed in the attack, and seventeen others injured. The Commission has received statements from Ms Beth Savage [EC0051/96ELN] and Mr Robert Stanford [EC0078/96KWT] were injured in the attack.

480 The people who applied for amnesty in this incident were Mr Thembelani Thandekile Xundu [AM3840/96], Mr Malusi Morrison [AM5953/97], Mr Thobela Mlambisa [AM7596/97] and Mr Lungisa Ntintili [AM6539/97].

481 The amnesty hearing was held in public between 7-10 April 1998 in East London. Xundu testified that: Letlapa was the director of operations and it is common sense and common knowledge that (he) should be the person who sanctions the operation if it is an APLA operation. In this case particularly he sanctioned the operation or he approved the operation, that is what I'm trying to say … So we had the full mandate that was given to us by the PAC, given to us by the APLA command structures.

482 According to evidence heard, there were two functions organised at the Golf Club on the day of the attack. Earlier in the day, there was a gathering which was attended by a Mr Radue who, according to the testimony of Xundu, was a member of the NP. This gathering was to be targeted because it was to be attended by security force personnel. In the early evening, there was a Wine Tasting Club which included “senior citizens”, the gathering that became the target for the APLA attack. Xundu, who gave the main evidence at the hearings, said they “took it as one occasion”. The Amnesty Committee had not made a finding at the time of reporting.

483 In an armed APLA attack at the Highgate Hotel in East London on 1 May 1993, five people were killed and a number of others injured. The Commission received statements regarding those who were killed: Mr Deric John Whitfield [EC0101/96ELN] and Mr Boyce Michael Wheeler [EC0729/96ELN], and from those who were injured: Mr Karl Weber [EC0035/96ELN], Ms Doreen Rousseau [EC0052/96ELN], Mr Neville Beling [EC0167/96ELN] and Mr Nkosinathi Alfred Gontshi [EC0196/96ELN].

484 Members of APLA who applied for amnesty were Mr Augustine Zukile Mbambo [AM2892/96] and Mr Dumisani Ncamazana [AM2891/96]. The applicants were also involved in other APLA attacks – the attack on the Baha’i Faith Mission and the Da Gama bus incident. The Commission initially rejected the applications on the grounds that they were not political, but the cases were reconsidered after the applicants made second submissions, forwarding new evidence to the effect that the Highgate incident was politically motivated.

485 In the main evidence, Mbambo testified that, on the day of the attack, they had intended to attack East London station bar. but when we passed the Highgate Hotel, we noted that the Highgate Hotel was full, there was something like a disco on. We then decided that it is not necessary for us to go to the station bar, East London, let us rather make a U-turn at the railway station at Cambridge, and come back, hit the Highgate Hotel.

486 He also said that the Highgate Hotel was given to them as a target. The Amnesty Committee had not made a finding at the time of reporting.

487 On 22 March 1993, APLA operatives attacked the Yellowwoods Hotel, Fort Beaufort, in which a student Mr Johan Jerling [EC2359/97ALB] was killed. For this incident, the Commission received amnesty applications from Mr Vuyisile Madasi [AM6077/97], who also applied for amnesty for the attack at the Heidelberg Tavern; Mr Lungisa Ntintili [AM6539/97] who also applied for the attack at the King William’s Town Golf Club and Mr Nkopane Diaho-Moneng [AM6427/97].

488 The public hearings were held on 14 April 1998 in East London. Amnesty applicant and commander of the unit for this operation, Madasi, testified that the hotel had been selected as a target because it was patronised by members of the security forces, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights. He testified that the:

people that chose the target are members of the high command of APLA. We were voluntary soldiers, we had to make sure that we carry out the operation, that was on our shoulders. We would go to a target place that had already been selected by the APLA High Command.

489 He claimed that he and other members of his unit had received orders from APLA commander Letlapa Mphahlele. After the attack, they returned to Umtata to report to Mphahlele. The Amnesty Committee had not made a finding at the time of reporting.

490 On the evening of 14 February 1994, APLA operatives attacked with firearms the Crazy Beat Disco at Newcastle. One person was killed and several others were injured.

491 The Commission received amnesty applications for the incident from Mr Bongani Malevu [AM 0293/96], Mr Andile Shiceka [AM5939/97] and Mr Falibango Tanda [AM5784/97]. The applicants revealed at the hearings that the targets were initially identified as a restaurant and the Crazy Beat Disco, but plans to attack the restaurant were abandoned because of the potential for casualties amongst African people who happened to be in the vicinity of the restaurant. The disco was selected because it was frequented by whites. However, Malevu contends that the decision was not based on racism. Amnesty was granted to the applicants on 3 June 1998.

492 On 30 November 1993, a limpet mine exploded in a bus in Durban resulting in the death of one person. Eleven people were injured. One of the injured was Adrie Coetzee [KZN/NN/055/DN]. The amnesty applicants for the incident are Mr Mfundo Peter Seyisi [AM6263/97] and Mr Ndoda Mgengo [AM6386/97]. The amnesty hearing had not yet been held at the time of reporting.

493 On 25 August 1993, American Fulbright scholar Amy Elizabeth Biehl (26) drove into Gugulethu to drop off some fellow students. Youths stoned the car, injuring Ms Biehl and bringing the car to a stop. She and the other occupants of the car fled, with a group in pursuit continuing to stone her. Several PASO members returning from a PASO meeting in Langa were also at the scene and played a leading role in the actual killing. A stab wound to the chest was fatal. In its submission to the Commission on 20 August 1996, the PAC expressed its regrets for the killing and sent condolences to the Biehl family. “They [PASO] wrongly targeted and killed Amy Biehl … But misguided as the deed was, we support the amnesty applications of all those convicted and sentenced for the offence.”

Attacks on white farmers (rural ‘soft targets’)

494 Part of the strategy behind the PAC’s ‘Year of the Great Storm’ of 1993 was to drive white farmers off the land so that it could be reclaimed by the African people. A number of attacks were carried out on farms in this period, claiming the lives of many civilians died; weapons and vehicles were stolen. Attacks centred on the Orange Free State, the Eastern Cape and in areas bordering on the Transkei.

495 The Commission heard at various hearings that civilians died and weapons and vehicles were stolen in a number of attacks carried out on farms as part of ‘Operation Great Storm’ during this period (see also Volume Three).

496 Mr Letlapa Mphahlele, APLA Director of Operations, explained at a media conference during the amnesty hearings in Bloemfontein on 28 August 1997 that “there was no regret and no apology offered” for the lives lost during ‘Operation Great Storm’ in 1993. He acknowledged his involvement in the planning and execution of the operation. He said that his “proudest moment was seeing whites dying in the killing fields” and alleged that the Commission’s amnesty committee was a “farce and a sham” which sought to “perpetuate white supremacy”.

WHILE THE PAC PROCLAIMED A MILITARY STRATEGY OF A PROTRACTED PEOPLE’S WAR WHICH INVOLVED THE INFILTRATION OF GUERRILLAS INTO THE COUNTRY TO CONDUCT RURAL GUERRILLA WARFARE AND ATTACKS IN THE TOWNSHIPS, THE PRIMARY TARGET OF ITS OPERATIONS WERE CIVILIANS. THIS WAS ESPECIALLY SO AFTER 1990 WHEN, IN TERMS OF THE ‘YEAR OF THE GREAT STORM’ CAMPAIGN, THE PAC/APLA TARGETED WHITES AT RANDOM AND WHITE FARMERS IN PARTICULAR.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE TARGETING OF CIVILIANS FOR KILLING WAS NOT ONLY A GROSS VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS OF THOSE AFFECTED BUT A VIOLATION OF INTERNAL HUMANITARIAN LAW. THE COMMISSION NOTES BUT REJECTS THE PAC’S EXPLANATION THAT ITS KILLING OF WHITE FARMERS CONSTITUTED ACTS OF WAR FOR WHICH IT HAS NO REGRETS AND APOLOGIES. TO THE CONTRARY, THE COMMISSION FINDS PAC ACTION DIRECTED TOWARDS BOTH CIVILIANS AND WHITES TO HAVE BEEN GROSS VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS FOR WHICH THE PAC AND APLA LEADERSHIP ARE HELD TO BE MORALLY AND POLITICALLY RESPONSIBLE AND ACCOUNTABLE.
 
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