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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 508

Paragraph Numbers 412 to 420

Volume 3

Chapter 5

Subsection 60

Heidelberg Tavern

412 In the early minutes of 31 December 1993, three women were killed and six people injured when two APLA operatives walked into the Heidelberg Tavern in Observatory and fired at patrons, while other operatives waited in the car outside. The attackers also threw a hand grenade covered with nails into the room, though this failed to explode. Mr José ‘Joe’ Cerqueira was shot dead by the attackers when he ran out of a neighbouring tavern into the street. The three killed in the Tavern were Ms Rolande Palm (22) [CT00415], Ms Lindy-Anne Fourie (23) [CT02703] and Ms Bernadette Langford (22) [CT00415].

413 The attack at the Heidelberg Tavern was likened to that at St James’ Church five months earlier. Ballistics tests established that the same rifles had been used in both attacks. The internal commander of APLA, Mr Carl Zimbiri, later confirmed that the operation was carried out by an elite APLA unit called ‘The People’s Concern’. Six men were later arrested and charged, though charges against three of them were later dropped. The accused were sentenced to terms of imprisonment from twenty-four to twenty-seven years.

414 Mr Humphrey Luyanda Gqomfa [AM0949/96], Mr Vuyisile Brian Madasi [AM6077/97], Mr Zola Prince Mabala [AM5931/97], Mr Theo Thobile Mabusela [AM5731/97], Mr Nkosinathi Michael Siyolo [AM6139/97] and Mr Richard Madoda Dala [AM6138/97] applied for amnesty for the attack. (The latter three had been arrested but charges against them were dropped.) Gqomfa, Madasi, Mabala and Siyolo were granted amnesty.

415 At the amnesty hearing it was established that the order for the operation came from Mr Sichumiso Nonxuba and Mr Letlapa Mphahlele. Mr Bulelani Sipho Xuma also claimed to have been amongst those who gave the order. The group was deployed from the Transkei and arrived in Cape Town during November 1993. They linked up with Siphiwo Mkweso and other local PAC regional leadership which provided logistical support, arms and ammunition. The actual attack involved six individuals, namely Maxeba, Madasi, Gqomfa, Sibeko, Mabala and Monwabisi Jantjie, who drove to the Tavern. Gqomfa was one of those who went to the entrance of the tavern and opened fire on the patrons inside. He also shot and killed José Cerqueira.

416 During the course of the Commission investigation into this matter, an affidavit by a Mr Bennet Sibaya was found in earlier SAP investigation documentation. This affidavit, taken by Detective Sergeant J Etsebeth on 4 January 1994 under instruction from Superintendent Desmond Segal, alleged that Sibaya had seen a group of armed men in Gugulethu shortly after the attack, with a vehicle registered to Mr Dumisa Ntsebeza, a commissioner. He stated that he had picked up a piece of paper after they had left which was a rudimentary map to the Heidelberg Tavern. Commission investigators interviewed Sibaya, who confirmed his earlier affidavit. Sibaya testified to this affidavit at the October 1997 amnesty hearing, pointing out Commissioner Ntsebeza as one of the men on the scene at the car.

417 However, several days later Sibaya contacted the Commission and confessed to the Archbishop that both his affidavit and his testimony were false. He stated that at the time of the Heidelberg attack he had been arrested for illegal crayfish dealing and that he had been tortured and coerced by the commander of the Murder and Robbery Squad unit at Bellville South, Desmond Segal, into making the statement implicating Ntsebeza. At the time, Ntsebeza was the subject of a series of allegations by the SAP who believed he had APLA or PAC links.

418 Sibaya’s allegations resulted in a government-appointed enquiry headed by Justice Richard Goldstone, which found the allegations to be false. This gave rise to the strong inference that Mr Sibaya, or someone directing him, wished to implicate Mr Ntsebeza in serious criminal conduct. The enquiry cleared Mr Ntsebeza of all allegations, but criticised the Commission for not calling for an independent inquiry when the allegations first surfaced.63

Other PAC or APLA-linked attacks

419 The unit involved in the Heidelberg attack was also responsible for two attacks on security force targets on 17 December 1993, for which individuals have applied for amnesty. A group of five opened fire on the Nyanga Defence Force base, injuring two people. Later that night a similar attack was launched on the Lingelethu West police station in Khayelitsha. No one was injured.

420 PAC-linked individuals applied for amnesty for a series of other incidents. During the night of 27 August 1993, shots were fired at a Translux bus as it passed through Beaufort West. Eight people were injured. Mr Thembinkosi Henge [AM6137/97] applied for amnesty for this attack, allegedly ordered by the late Sichumiso Nonxuba. On 6 December 1992, a group of security guards at a Khayelitsha railway station were attacked by a group of armed men with R4 rifles and an AK-47. One guard was shot dead and another wounded. APLA operative Andile Shiceka [AM5939/97] applied for amnesty for the attack, stating that they believed the uniformed guards were policemen. He cites several others as having been involved.

63 Commission of Inquiry into Certain Allegations Against Mr Dumisa Ntsebeza and Related Matters, Final Report by Justice Richard J Goldstone, 1 December 1997.
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