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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 385

Paragraph Numbers 55 to 64

Volume 6

Section 3

Chapter 4

Subsection 6

Robbery at UNITRA

55. Mr Patrick Thapelo Maseko [AM5918/97] and eight others carried out a robbery at the University of Transkei (UNITRA) in Umtata on 18 February 1993. At the time of the robbery, the university was busy with the registration of students. University staff members were counting money when the operatives entered the auditorium.

56. The assault group opened fire on the people in the hall, killing a security guard, Mr Mason Mlindeli Mankumba, and injuring two police officers, Mr Wilberforce Sandla Mkhizwayo and Mr Elliot Michael Pama.

57. Maseko, who was standing outside the hall to prevent any interference with the operation, told the Amnesty Committee that, although he did not see what happened, the commanders of the other two groups told him that the police had started the shooting. He testified that APLA had a standing rule that, if a target d rew a firearm, operatives were to open fire immediately and not wait to be killed.

58. An amount of R500 000 was seized in the attack. Significantly, this huge amount – by far the largest acquired in Mr Maseko’s ‘repossession’ activities – was not delivered to Botswana. Instead, Mr Maseko alleged that he gave it to a Mr Mandla Lenin. However, he produced no evidence to support this assertion, nor were details given as to how the money was used.

59. Despite the fact that UNITRA was a historically-black institution, Mr Maseko explained that it was targeted as ‘an enemy institution because it was oppressing the African people’. He was granted amnesty for the operation [AC/2000/106].

APLA attacks on security forces

60. The Amnesty Committee received a total of twenty-eight amnesty applications from twenty-three individual applicants for attacks on security force members. The attacks resulted in twenty-seven deaths, while thirteen victims survived attempts on their lives.

61. The first APLA attacks on security force members were three actions undertaken by the Alexandra township-based ‘Scorpion Gang’ between December 1986 and February 1987. PAC/APLA members, Mr Themba Jack Phikwane [AM6032/97] and Mr Mandla Michael Yende [AM5648/97], were granted amnesty for the three attacks: the first on 16 December 1986, in which thre e SADF members died; the second on 1 January 1987, in which at least six SADF members died, and the third a month later, in which at least five SADF members died. At the hearing, precise figures of the number of SADF deaths in the latter two incidents could not be given. The Amnesty Committee was told that six or seven died in the first attack and five or six in the second. The names of the dead victims were not given.

The ‘Lichtenburg Battle’

62. In July 1988, Mr Louis Nkululeko Dlova [AM6596/97] injured a member of the SAP with a hand grenade in what became known as the ‘Lichtenburg Battle’ in the Western Transvaal.

63. Mr Dlova told the Committee that he and other APLA cadres had entered South Africa from Botswana under the command of the late Mr Sipho Mahlangu with a view to seeking, identifying and attacking ‘the enemy’. On their way to Johannesburg in a minibus taxi, they were confronted by the police. Dlova and Mahlangu threw hand grenades at the police. Dlova managed to escape in the ensuing confusion, but his commander and two other comrades died. The Committee was of the view that Dlova had acted with a political objective, and he was granted amnesty [AC/1999/0187].

64. All other applications for attacks on members of the security forces pertain to operations carried out in the early 1990s. They took the form of ambushes of police vehicles in Brakpan [AC/2001/067], Heilbron [AC/1999/002], Crossroads [AC/1998/0103], Khayelitsha [AC/1998/0103], Pimville [AC/1998/0053] and Diepkloof [AC/1998/0050]; assaults on police stations in Batho [AC/1997/0064], Dimbaza [AC/1999/0333], Lady Grey [AC/2001/057] and Yeoville [AC/1998/0050]), and an attack on what was assumed to be a police contingent at the Khayelitsha railway station [AC/1998/0103], which turned out to be a group of private security guards . The Committee granted amnesty to all applicants in each case.

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