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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 147

Paragraph Numbers 408 to 418

Volume 3

Chapter 2

Subsection 35

408 When asked how she would feel if anyone applied for amnesty in connection with this matter, Savage said:

It really wouldn’t worry me one way or the other … It’s not important to me, but, I’ve said this to many people, what I would really, really like is, I would like to meet that man that threw that grenade in an attitude of forgiveness and hope that he could forgive me too for whatever reason. But I would very much like to meet them.

409 APLA member Tembelani Tandekile Xundu [AM3840/97], now an officer in the SANDF, applied for amnesty in connection with this incident. His trial was postponed pending the outcome of his application.

410 The Highgate Hotel in East London was attacked on 1 May 1993. The Commission did not receive any amnesty applications in connection with this matter although it has routinely been ascribed to APLA. Mr Nkosinathi Alfred Gontshi, who was the barman at the Highgate Hotel, told the Commission:

On entering the bar, the man in a mask started firing at all of us. I was hit on my right thigh by one of the bullets. Even today I do not know which political organisation did that, if ever it was one.

411 Mr Neville Beling [EC0167/96ELN], Mr Karl Andrew Weber [EC0035/96ELN] and Ms Doreen Rousseau [EC0052/96ELN] were permanently disabled as a result of the attack. Mr Deric John Whitfield [EC0101/96ELN] was one of five people killed. Ms Rousseau described her experience:

I said to the friend on my right, I’ve been shot and he said, lie still, pretend that you’re dead because they may come back. My friend on the left was lying face down. I shook him and called his name but he lay very still. Everyone was screaming and lying in pools of blood.

412 Mr Weber told the Commission his feelings about the attack:

My life was changed overnight … I’ve accepted it and I have to carry on with the daily routine of life. It’s not something that will be forgotten about and it’s something that I think justice should be done about.

413 A Spur restaurant in Queenstown was bombed on 3 December 1992, a few days after the King William’s Town attack. One man died. Mr Les Barnes [EC0780/96PLZ] was seated at the table where the bomb had been placed; his friend died and he was seriously injured. Mr Barnes asked the Commission:

Basically all I’d sort of want to know is are the people that planted the bomb, will they be coming forward? Will they be testifying? And what is really going to happen to get their side of the story and is anything being done about it?

414 The Commission did not receive any amnesty applications in connection with this attack, although APLA claimed responsibility at the time.

415 On 20 March 1993 the Yellowwoods Hotel at Fort Beaufort was attacked by armed men. A student, Mr Johan Jerling [EC2359/97ALB], was killed. Amnesty applications received by the Commission in connection with this attack acknowledged APLA involvement.

416 The Commission also received statements in connection with some of the APLA members. These included a statement regarding the death on 9 February 1994 of APLA chief Sabelo Gqweta, better known as Sabelo Phama [EC1956/97UTA], when his car was involved in a crash with a truck in Tanzania, on the road from Dares Salaam to Zimbabwe. His brother, Mr Bandile Besuthu ‘Boxer’ Gqweta, said he believed the crash was not an accident but had been staged. Gqweta told the Commission:

At the time of Sabelo’s death there was conflict within the PAC as to the suspension of armed struggle and participation in the general elections of 1994. The position of Sabelo was that of being against the suspension of armed struggle, but he was for the participation of the PAC at the general election. He even called 1994 ‘the year of the bullet and the ballot’. This view of Sabelo’s was a popular view among the organisation as a whole, but it was not so popular among the National Executive Council on which Sabelo served. The opposing view was that the armed struggle must be suspended so that the PAC could participate in the general elections of 1994. I do believe that Sabelo died for the view that he held.

417 The attacks ascribed to APLA became a matter of bitter dispute between the Transkei and South African governments, with South Africa accusing Transkei of harbouring APLA members and providing them with weapons and training. No statements or amnesty applications were received by the Commission in connection with such training or provision of weaponry. An investigation by the Goldstone Commission similarly resulted in conflict between the two governments as well as the PAC.

418 On 8 October 1993 the SADF carried out a raid on the home of an Umtata PAC member, Mr Sigqibo Mpendulo, in which five youths, including a twelve-year-old child, were shot dead. The SADF claimed at the time that it had attacked an APLA base. The Commission did not receive HRV submissions in connection with this matter.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MEMBERS OF APLA CARRIED OUT VARIOUS ARMED ATTACKS ON SOFT TARGETS INCLUDING POLICE AND WHITES DURING THE 1990S AS PART OF THAT ORGANISATION’S OPERATION GREAT STORM. VARIOUS KILLINGS AND INJURIES RESULTED FROM THESE ATTACKS, WHICH INCLUDED THE ATTACKS ON THE KING WILLIAM’S TOWN GOLF CLUB, THE HIGHGATE HOTEL AND A QUEENSTOWN SPUR RESTAURANT. THESE ATTACKS WERE CARRIED OUT AS PART OF APLA’S ARMED STRUGGLE. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THESE ACTS CONSTITUTED GROSS VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS, FOR WHICH THE PAC/APLA ARE HELD ACCOUNTABLE.
 
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