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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 378
Paragraph Numbers 17 to 28
PAC ranks at home
17. The Amnesty Committee received four applications for the killing of three individuals suspected of collaborating with the security police.
18. PAC/APLA member, Mr Mduduzi Cyril Ngema [AM3681/96], was granted amnesty for the killing of Mr Christopher Nhlanhla Myeza on 1 October 1992. Ngema was instructed by a man called Thompson to kill Myeza, a fellow PA C and APLA member. Myeza had been seen in the company of police officer and had allegedly also been overheard promising a police officer that he would report on a PAC meeting. He was therefore believed to be an informer. He was killed in a sugar cane plantation in Verulam outside Durban.
19. The Amnesty Committee accepted the evidence presented that the PAC, like other liberation movements, viewed individuals who worked as police informers as the enemy and thus as targets for elimination (killing). Mr Ngema was granted amnesty on the grounds that the act was committed with a political objective within a particular context and that he had made a full disclosure of all relevant facts [AC/1998/0116].
20. PAC/APLA member Shakespeare Buthelezi [AM1488/96], was granted amnesty for the robbery and attempted killing of Mr Basie Tladi at Twala Section, Katlehong, on 16 March 1993 [AC/1998/0051]. The incident occurred two weeks after an attack on the police in Katlehong in which a police officer, Mr Freddy Mashamaite, had been killed. Buthelezi was implicated in the attack.
21. When Buthelezi heard that the police and Basie Tladi were looking for him, he decided to kill Tladi, whom he believed to be a police informer. Buthelezi testified that his decision to kill Tladi had been based on the ‘fifteen points of attention’ that constituted the APLA Code of Conduct. He made two attempts to kill Tladi at his house, both of which failed. In the second attempt, he shot Tladi as the latter left his house. When Tladi returned with the police a short while later, there was a shootout. Buthelezi was injured, arrested and eventually convicted of a number of offences.
22. Here again, the Amnesty Committee accepted that the killing or attempted killing of an informer was an act associated with a political objective, taking into consideration the situation in the country at the time of the commission of the offence. The Committee also accepted that Buthelezi was a member of a pub-licly-known political organisation and that his actions were undertaken on behalf of that organisation. The Committee also accepted that Buthelezi had acted within the scope of his authority or that he had a reasonable belief that he was acting within the scope of his organisation’s express or implied authority. Finally, the Committee accepted that Buthelezi had made full disclosure of events and had not acted out of malice or for personal gain.
Armed robberies committed by APLA
23. The Amnesty Committee received applications from thirty-nine APLA members for fifty-nine armed robberies committed between 1990 and 1994. Most of these were committed in 1993. Amnesty was granted for thirty-five (59 %) of these robberies and refused for the remaining twenty-four (41 %).
24. Amnesty applicants claimed that armed robberies were committed on the instructions of the APLA High Command as part of the work of APLA ‘re possession units’ in order to raise funds and/or obtain weapons and vehicles to enable APLA to carry out its military strategy. These operatives killed twenty-seven civilians and injured sixteen, some seriously.
25. In some of these attacks, large amounts of money were seized, including, in one instance, cash amounting to R500 000.202 In some instances, personal goods were taken, including vehicles and firearms.
26. In reaching its decisions, the Amnesty Committee grappled to draw a distinction between acts that were genuinely ‘political’ and those that were purely ‘criminal’ in nature. Ultimately, it granted amnesty to those applicants who were able to show that the robbery had a political motive and a proven chain of command, and had not been undertaken on grounds of malice or personal gain.
27. On occasion, the Amnesty Committee heard evidence that APLA frequently conscripted criminals to the repossession units because they were ‘fearless’ and had the ‘practical skills’ necessary to carry out successful robberies. Such recruits would be given a basic grounding in the political objectives of APLA.
28. In general, the size of the repossession units varied from three to eight persons, though some robberies were carried out by individuals acting alone. Unit commanders would generally divide their men into groups of three. Each group would be allocated its own commander and each would be given a different function to perform. The ‘assault group’ would penetrate the target building and execute the action; the ‘support group’ would ensure the safe withdrawal of the first group and the ‘cut-out or security group’ would be positioned outside the target to prevent any interference with the operation.202 Armed robbery carried out by Patrick Thapelo Maseko [AM 5918/97] at the University of the Trans kei (UNIT R A ) ,U m t a t a , on 18 February 1993.