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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 380
Paragraph Numbers 29 to 42
29. Amongst the amnesty applications granted were the following:
Attack on Giovanni Francescato
30. Mr Giovanni Francescato, an elderly white male, was attacked at Fort Beaufort in the Eastern Cape on 6 September 1992 when three armed men burst into his home and assaulted him. Mr Francescato was forced to point out where he kept his firearms, his house was ransacked and he was then shot dead with a pistol.
31. PAC/APLA members Sipho Mabhuti Biko [AM 2916/96], Winile Veveza [AM 2918/96] and Mwamadoda Yengeni [AM 0334/96] applied for amnesty for the robbery. Because they had been acquitted by the court on the murder charge, they did not seek amnesty for the killing.
32. The applicants told the Committee that they were carrying out the orders of their local commander, Mr Tamsanqa Duma. The attack was in line with APLA’s policy of attacking white homesteads to secure arms for the defence of PA C members. The arms seized were to be used in other APLA operations. Duma was not in direct communication with all the applicants but dealt only with Biko, who issued orders to Yengeni and Veveza.
33. Biko had identified the target before he applied to Duma for clearance, which he then obtained. He knew of the house because his mother, by then deceased, had previously worked as a domestic for Mr Francescato. He had also reconnoitred the house before the attack. Yengeni and Veveza knew of no plans to attack this particular house but knew generally that, in line with APLA policy, white homes were to be attacked to secure weapons. It was only when they w e re in front of the gate of Francescato’s house that Biko instructed them to break into the house and look for weapons. Biko admitted that it was he who had shot Francescato dead.
34. As the group retreated from the scene, Biko searched his two accomplices to ensure that they had not removed anything else from the house against his instructions. He told the Committee:
As commander of that operation … I was supposed to search my sub-ordinates to ensure that they did not take anything like money. If the order was to take money and fire a rms, we are supposed to do exactly per order. We are not supposed to take anything. Therefore it was necessary to do that, to make sure that they did-n ’t take anything from the house. (Hearing at East London, 8 October 1998.)
35. After the attack, Biko handed the arms over to Duma. Duma confirmed to the Amnesty Committee that he received the arms that day and the money the following day. He also confirmed having given the order that Mr Francescato be robbed and killed to prevent him from identifying the applicants and testifying against them in court. Asked why it was necessary to kill Mr Francescato after he had shown them w here the firearms were, Duma replied that it was the policy of APLA to attack and kill whites, who were seen at that time as ‘enemies of the African people’.
36. The Amnesty Committee took cognisance of the fact that Biko and Veveza had many previous convictions, mainly for housebreaking, theft of motor vehicles and robbery and, even though they were not seeking amnesty for any of these acts, they were both questioned at length about these. The Committee found their explanations ‘most unsatisfactory’ and described them as ‘a mixture of unmitigated lies and self-exoneration’. However, Duma and Mr Bulelani Xuma, former Deputy Director of Operations and Director of Special Operations in APLA, confirmed the versions relevant to their application in this matter.
37. The Amnesty Committee granted amnesty to Mr Sipho Biko, Mr Winile Veveza and Mr Mwamadoda Yengeni [AC/1999/0251], based on its conclusion that the operation was undertaken for political reasons and that the applicants had made the necessary disclosure.
Attack on a vegetable shop in Randfontein
38. On 16 April 1994, a three-person APLA unit attacked a vegetable shop at Station Street, Randfontein near Johannesburg. The object of the operation was to obtain funds for APLA, and the unit stole an amount of R3 000. While they were robbing the shop, they shot and killed the owner, Mr Joao Manuel Jardim . Fleeing the scene afterwards, the attackers shot and injured a bystander, Mr David Oupa Motshaole, probably in an attempt to avoid identification.
39. Mr Jardim had been the victim of an earlier APLA armed robber y, at Elsburg Mine in Westonaria on 16 November 1990. In this earlier incident, three APLA operatives, led by Mr Thapelo Patrick Maseko [AM 5918/97], entered the store and removed a number of items, an unspecified sum of cash and a vehicle. When some of the people in the shop resisted, the unit opened fire, killing one person and injuring Mr Jardim. Mr Maseko was granted amnesty for this incident [AC/1998/0104].
40. The person who gave the order for the 1994 Randfontein attack and to whom the money was handed after the attack (described above) was the same Mr Maseko who had been involved in the earlier Westonaria attack.
41. Mr Maseko testified that he had given the instruction notwithstanding the fact that the first democratic elections were due to take place within a matter of days. He told the Amnesty Committee that the PAC had not yet suspended the armed struggle. On the contrary, he said, the President of the PAC had stated publicly that the PAC would not ‘abandon the bullet until the ballot is secured’. He added that certain right-wing movements were still actively pursuing a policy of violence with the intention of disrupting the elections. He also confirmed that it was policy to raise funds for APLA by ‘repossessing’ money and other valuables from white people, and that no distinction was made between hard and soft targets in this respect.
42. PAC/APLA members Nkopane Diaho-Monaheng [AM3828/96] and Mangalisekile Bhani [AM5708/97] were granted amnesty for the 1994 robbery and killing in Randfontein on the basis that they had made full disclosure of the relevant facts and had acted within the ambit of PAC and APLA policy at that time [AC/1998/0119; AC/2000/065].