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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 284
Paragraph Numbers 79 to 92
ANC violations against its members outside South Africa
79. Although the Commission received significant information from the ANC through its submissions, its own commission reports and certain internal files, it received very few individual amnesty applications in respect of ANC violations against its own members outside South Africa. Twenty-one persons in all applied for incidents outside South Africa’s borders. These applications came primarily from members of the ANC’s Security Department (NAT) and camp commanders. Nine applications were later withdrawn. The remaining twelve applications covered nineteen incidents involving various offences against persons suspected of infiltration or defection in Angola (seven incidents); Zambia (nine); Mozambique (one); Botswana (one), and Swaziland (one). The incidents included four killings, three cases of negligence that contributed to deaths, one attempted killing, three abductions and twelve cases of assault of persons in the ANC’s custody. Amnesty was granted to all twelve applicants in respect of all nineteen incidents.
80. The four killings are: the assassination of suspected defector Mr Sipho Ngema136 in 1988 in Swaziland; the killing of suspected defector Mr Monde Mpatheni137 after he and Mr Joe Mamasela were abducted in Botswana in 1981; the execution of Mr Thabo Naphatli Mokudubete (MK Rufus)138 in Viana camp in 1984, and the killing of an unknown ANC member called ‘Shorty’139 in 1981 in Zambia.
81. Two members of the ANC’s Security Department applied for amnesty for the deaths of three prisoners in their custody. According to the applicants, their negligence may have contributed to the deaths, and the applications described some of the dire conditions under which prisoners were held. Mr Thabo John Sphambo [AM5097/97; AC/2000/149] was granted amnesty for negligence contributing to the death of Mr Eric Pharasi in 1981 at Quibaxe, also known as Camp 13.140
82. Similarly, Mr Mzwandile Alpheus Damoyi [AM6303/97; AC/2000/149], a camp commander at Camp 32, applied for and was granted amnesty for the deaths of Mr Zaba Madledza and Mr Edward Masuku in 1984 and 1985. Madledza and Masuku were both inmates at the camp.
83. Amnesty applications were also made for several cases of beating during interrogation.1 4 1
84. Mr Moruti Edmond Noosi (MK Stanley) [AM6307/97] was granted amnesty for an assault on Mr Don Sipho Mashele (MK Ben Maseko) in the early 1980s. Noosi was a senior member of the administration of Camp 32 where Mashele was being held. Noosi admitted that assault was not permitted in terms of ANC camp regulations.134 Three MK operatives were granted amnesty [AC / 2 0 0 1 / 0 9 3 ] . 135 When the applicant’s legal counsel argued that the applicant was not in a position to identify particular incidents in respect of which he would qualify for amnesty, his application was struck off the roll. 136 A M 6 4 0 3 / 9 7 . 137 A M 5 2 9 4 / 9 7 ,A M 5 2 9 7 / 9 7 . 138 A M 7 0 5 8 / 9 7 . 139 AM3592/96 TE Mfalapitsa. 140 The A N C ’s confidential submission lists a Motlalentoa Pharasi (MK Elick Mabuza) who ‘died as a result of excessively harsh treatment after committing breaches of discipline’ in 1981. 141 A M 5 0 9 5 / 9 7 ,A M 3 5 9 2 / 9 7 ,A M 5 1 0 0 / 9 7 ,A M 5 2 9 5 / 9 7 .
85. The Commission did not hear of any specific cases where operatives were censured or punished for improper action or unauthorised operations. However, some amnesty applicants made general reference to operatives being recalled to MHQ or to the frontal command and being asked to account for or explain their actions. The approach adopted when operatives strayed beyond their mandate appears to have been one of ‘re-education’. The ANC submission to the Commission asserts that:
maintaining discipline in guerrilla and conventional armed forces is also fundamentally different. In the case of a guerrilla force, discipline flows from a thorough understanding of the political objectives of the armed struggle, not from the threats of court martial or punishment.
86. At the Durban hearing on 27 September 1999, Mr Aboobaker Ismail explained the ANC’s approach:
Comrades were called in, they were talked to, people were asked to explain what they were doing, what their objectives were. In this case [Magoo’s Bar], had comrade Robert come back, we would have spoken about it, looked at the way he went about it, what were the failures … what was he trying to do, what was the outcome of it, how could we have improved it? Any suggestion that we would simply mete out punitive action against operatives who in good faith went to carry out an operation, is not so. I don’t think this was the style of the ANC, certainly that was not my approach to command.
87. Operatives responded indifferent ways when asked if they still considered that their targets had been ‘legitimate’. Some insisted they had not changed their minds. However, when Mr Raymond Lalla [AM2756/97], head of intelligence of the Natal machinery based in Swaziland, was asked whether the two car bombs that exploded in Durban in 1984 hit legitimate targets, he seemed less confident.
MR MAPOMA: Can it be fairly put that these targets which were ultimately hit w e re in fact wrong targets? MR LALLA: I think it’s a bit difficult for me to answer that question. I think the best person to answer the question was Rabbit himself and Rabbit perhaps could provide some explanation as to why and whether the legitimacy of it or not, but in my personal opinion, looking from afar, a lot of civilians lost their lives and personally I’m not sure whether I can call it a legitimate target. ( Pietermaritzburg hearing, 4 September 2000.)
88. Mr Lalla had been part of the structure commanding the operative (‘Rabbit’) authorised to launch car bomb attacks, but had not been involved in selecting the targets.
89. Another amnesty applicant, Mr Rodney Abram Moeketsi Toka [AM6034/97], testified that a mission in which a baby girl was killed when a grenade was thrown into the home of her father, a police officer, had been regarded as a failure by the unit:
The intelligence gathered was totally inappropriate … no man in his good senses can rather throw a grenade when he knows that there is only a baby and a mother in the house. (Pretoria hearing, 29 January 1999).
90. Early signs that the ANC was concerned about the nature of certain attacks made by operatives emerged in late 1987. Late that year ANC President Oliver Tambo called in all members of MHQ and expressed his concern at the number of unnecessary civilian casualties in certain attacks, particularly those involving the use of anti-tank landmines. The landmine campaign was then suspended. Tambo also tasked MHQ with ensuring that all operatives fully understood ANC policy in respect of legitimate targets. Failure to comply with these orders would be considered a violation of policy and action would be taken against offenders.
91. Senior commanders were then sent to all the forward areas to raise these concerns with MK structures and, where possible, to meet with units. The command structures in the forward areas were told to contact all command structures in their units, whether or not they had been involved in attacks of this nature, and to ensure that all units and operatives were entirely clear on ANC policy regarding legitimate targets.
92. In August 1988, the NEC issued a statement specifically dealing with the conduct of the armed struggle in the country. While the NEC reaffirmed the ‘centrality of the armed struggle in the national democratic revolution and the need to further escalate armed actions and transform our offensive into a generalised people’s war’, it also expressed concern at the recent spate of attacks on civilian targets and stated that some of the attacks were carried out by MK operatives motivated by anger in response to state repression.