JOHANNESBURG July 14 1998 - SAPA

TRC TO CONSIDER POLICE AMNESTY APPLICATIONS FOR 1980 BOMBINGS

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission will next week consider amnesty applications from more than 30 police officers for their role in a series of high-profile bombings in the 1980s, the TRC said on Tuesday.

The applications to be heard will include that of former Law and Order Minister Adriaan Vlok, jailed former Vlakplaas commander Eugene de Kock and former Police Commissioner Johan van der Merwe.

They are asking for amnesty for the bombing of the headquarters of the SA Council of Churches, the trade union federation Cosatu and a series of cinemas around South Africa which showed the film "Cry Freedom". The hearing, which begins in Pretoria on Monday and continues until July 31, will focus on:

- the bombing of Khotso House, Johannesburg in which people were injured and extensive damage was done to the building, on August 31, 1988;

- the bombing of Cosatu House, Johannesburg on May 7 1988, and

- the bombing of cinemas which showed "Cry Freedom", the film about newspaper editor Donald Woods and slain Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko.

Vlok has applied for amnesty in respect of all three sets of bombings.

Van der Merwe has previously told the TRC's amnesty committee he understood the orders to blow up Khotso House came from former state president PW Botha.

Former SAP members applying for amnesty for their role in the attack on Khotso House include: Van der Merwe; De Kock; Brigadier Willem Schoon; Warrant-Officer Paul Erasmus; former Vlakplaas members Larry Hanton, Jacob Kok and Andries van Heerden; Captain Charles Zeelie, an investigator in the SAP's bomb disposal unit; Izak Bosch; Superintendent George Hammond; Captain Hendrik van Niekerk Kotze; Warrant-Officer Nicholaas Vermeulen; Brigadier Wybrand du Toit; Major-General Gerrit Erasmus; Superintendent Johannes Meyer and Sergeant Douw Willemse.

Cosatu House amnesty applicants include: Eugene de Kock, Paul Erasmus, General Erasmus, Superintendent Hammond, Brigadier Schoon, Warrant-Officer Vermeulen, Captain Zeelie, Larry Hanton, Brigadier du Toit and Sergeant Willemse, as well as Major Pierre le Roux, Security Branch member Willie Nortje, Frank McCarter, also a member of the security branch, Deon Greyling, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Hattingh, Lieutenant Marthinus Ras (jnr), Adrian Baker, Vlakplaas-based Wilhelm Bellingan and an askari, Peter Mogoai.

Those seeking amnesty for the cinema bombings are: General Van der Merwe, Lieutenant-General Johan le Roux, Cornelius Heyneke, Johannes Louw, Johannes Albertus Steyn, Petrus du Toit, Andries van Heerden, Abraham Kendall, Charles Zeelie and Mathys Botha.

The hearing will be chaired by Justice Andrew Wilson and will take place at the Idasa Centre in Pretoria from July 20 to 31.


South African Press Association, 1998
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