PRETORIA April 9 1999 - SAPA


Former commander of the SA Defence Force's special forces unit Abraham "Joep" Joubert on Friday said he authorised a car bomb to be made that killed former KwaNdebele cabinet minister Piet Ntuli in 1986.

"I authorised the bomb because I knew Ntuli was a key figure in the African National Congress struggle," he told the Truth and

Reconciliation Commission in Pretoria.

Joubert said the bomb was requested by a member of the security police, but he could not remember who it was.

He is seeking amnesty for his part in the murder of Ntuli, who was KwaNdebele's interior minister at the time.

Ntuli was eliminated outside the Siyabuswa police station in the former homeland when the bomb, which was placed under the driver's seat, exploded on July 29, 1986.

The police station was close to the government offices. Former special forces member Trevor Floyd, who applied for amnesty for the same incident, said he decided on the type of bomb and where it should be planted.

He told the commission that Joubert instructed him to meet with security police members Brigadier Jack Cronje and Captain Jacques Hechter, so that they could inform him about the operation.

"They told me about Ntuli and his activities and I was under the impression that he was an ANC member responsible for terrorism."

Floyd said Hechter took him to the police station where he did a reconnaissance of the area.

He said he told Joubert what type of bomb had to be made and asked for two arming devices which would detonate the bomb.

Once the bomb was made, Joubert told Floyd to take it to Cronje and Hechter and show them how it worked.

"There was no further involvement from the special forces side."

Former murder and robbery unit members Stephanus Oosthuizen and Deon Gouws both accepted responsibility for detonating the car bomb.

Each of them was supplied with a device to set off the car bomb.

Oosthuizen and Gouws were situated in Siyabuswa at the time of the killing because they were investigating about 300 murders that had taken place in the area.

Both men told the amnesty committee that they became involved in the police operation after being approached by Hechter.

Oosthuizen and Gouws are also seeking amnesty for the killing.

"I accepted that it was necessary (to kill Ntuli) because the police security branch would have done their homework and I knew what Ntuli was involved in," Oosthuizen said.

He said Ntuli was suspected of several murders and assault and was involved with stolen vehicles and firearms.

"We had witnesses against Ntuli, but they did not want to give evidence because they were intimidated."

Oosthuizen told the commission that Hechter planted the bomb. Abraham Kendall, the former security police commander of Bronkhorstspruit, said he drove Hechter to Ntuli's car.

He said he did not know that Hechter was going to plant the bomb, but said: "I suspected that Hechter was up to dirty tricks."

Kendall is also applying for amnesty for Ntuli's death.

"For 10 years I was suspected of killing Ntuli until the commission found out that other people were involved," he said. "I was affected to such an extent by the entire matter that I was discharged from the police force for medical reasons, had psychiatric treatment and had to undergo electro-shock therapy."

Kendall said that while he was driving to Bronkhorstspruit he was informed that the bomb had exploded.

He said he went back to the police station and identified Ntuli's body.

On Monday, the amnesty committee will hear more evidence on Ntuli's death. Former security police member Jaap van Jaarsveld still has to testify in his amnesty application for the killing.

South African Press Association, 1999
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