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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 507

Paragraph Numbers 314 to 322

Volume 6

Section 3

Chapter 6

Subsection 27

27 April 1994

314. On election day, the 27th April 1994, two AWB members travelling in a vehicle on the R28 road between Westonaria and Randfontein on the West Rand, opened fire at a minibus taxi killing the taxi’s driver, Mr Viyani Papiyana, and injuring a passenger, Mr Godfrey Papiyana.

315. AWB members, Mr James Wheeler [AM 2084/96] and Mr Cornelius Rudolph Pyper [AM5179/97] were serving fifteen-year jail sentences for the attack when they were granted amnesty. The Amnesty Committee accepted that the applicants believed themselves to be under orders from the AWB and were under the impression that other members would be committing acts of violence in order to cause chaos and disrupt the elections.

316. The applicants testified before the Amnesty Committee that they had consumed alcohol and discussed politics and ways to disrupt the election. They decided on a course of action, allegedly based on the orders of a fellow AWB member, Mr de Bruyn, whom they believed to have some authority in the organisation.

317. Both applicants testified that their sole motivation in committing the crime was political and that their immediate aim was to cause chaos which would lead to the disruption of the elections. They believed that many other supporters of the AWB would be participating in the uprising and that the cumulative effect their of actions would have a significant impact on the political events of the day. They both denied that the consumption of alcohol was the driving force of their actions.

318. The surviving victim and those members of the victims’ family who opposed the application said they believed the applicants had committed the offences in their personal capacities out of ill-will, malice or spite while under the influence of intoxicating liquor. There was also insufficient evidence to find that the applicants were members or supporters of the AWB; that they acted on behalf of or under orders from the AWB or within their duties as members of that organisation. It was suggested that this was a spontaneous and poorly planned attack on a taxi that was not in the vicinity of a polling station.

319. The Committee was satisfied that the applicants could at least have been seen as supporters of the AWB and believed themselves to be members.

3 2 0 . The Committee accepted the uncontradicted evidence that the AWB propagated the use of violence to resist the ANC winning the election and that it called upon its members to prepare themselves for a state of war. The applicants had believed that the revolution had begun before consuming liquor on the day in question. Drunkenness could not therefore have been the root cause of their actions, though the consumption of liquor could have provided them with false courage and was the reason for the sloppy planning and preparation of the attack. Both the applicants stated that they knew what they were doing. The fact that the first applicant drove the vehicle without mishap and that the second applicant accurately aimed the shot he fired indicates that they were not so drunk as to eliminate their belief that they were acting in support of the AW B . The fact that the AWB never admitted its involvement in the applicants’ crimes did not obviate the applicants’ subjective belief that they were acting in support of AWB when they committed the act.

321. The Amnesty Committee accepted that the applicants were under the i m pression that other members of the AWB would, that day, commit acts of violence in order to cause chaos and so disrupt the elections. They gained this impression after having heard the report of the bombings on the East Rand and after their discussion with Du Bruyn. They only learnt after the event that, save for the bombings on the East Rand, they had acted in isolation. They testified that they decided to shoot a black man as they were of the opinion that the vast majority of black people were supporters of the ANC. Their intention was to commit an act of terror which, together with other such acts committed by other members of the AWB, would instil fear and result in chaos and anarchy and so disrupt the elections.

322. In this context, despite the tragic consequences and futility of their actions, the Committee concluded that the violation was not disproportionate to the political objective they were pursuing. The attack was found to be associated with a political objective committed in the course of the conflict of the past and amnesty was granted to the applicants [AC/1998/0032].

 
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