JOHANNESBURG March 26 - SAPA

SIX CONVICTED AWB KILLERS APPEAR IN COURT FOR RE-SENTENCING

Six former Afrikaanse Weerstandsbeweging members who received the death sentence for murdering four black people in December 1993 appeared in the Johannesburg High Court on Thursday for re-sentencing.

Petrus Matthews, Martinus van der Schyff, Frederick Badenhorst, Marius Visser, Karel Meiring and Gerhardus Diedericks were sentenced to death on May 11, 1994 for murdering Tembani Nkompone, Teboho Makhuza, Theo More and 11-year-old Patrick Gasemane at a bogus roadblock.

Matthews, Van der Schyff, Meiring, Visser and Diedericks were also sentenced to an effective 18 years for attempted murder, assault and theft. Badenhorst was sentenced to an additional 15 years in jail.

The appeal court confirmed their convictions in November last year but referred the case back to Justice Dirk Marais for re-sentencing since the death sentence was scrapped in 1996. Marais will re-sentence the six next Friday.

The six have applied for amnesty. Their applications will be heard by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on April 20.

The convicts were part of a nine-man gang who set up a bogus roadblock on the Randfontein/Ventersdorp road in December 1993, unleashing terror on black travellers. Four people were mercilessly shot, hacked or burnt to death. The men hacked off the ear of one of their victims and blew half the face of another off.

In argument, advocate Jan Henning SC said the children's hysteria during the attack did not deter them. The gang was out for bloodletting, he said.

"I said in my judgment I was shocked - I am still shocked," Marais said.


South African Press Association, 1998
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