The amnesty hearing of two former Vlakplaas operatives in relation to the Guguletu 7 incident in 1986 will continue tomorrow, Tuesday 3 February, in Cape Town. The hearing was postponed in November last year, when the Amnesty Committee decided to give one the witnesses, from former Vlakplaas operative, Mr Jimmy Mbane, an opportunity to obtain legal representation before he is questioned.
The two amnesty applicants are a former sergeant at Vlakplaas, Wilhelm Riaan Bellingan and Constable Thapelo Johannes Mbelo. Both were previously questioned by the Western Cape Investigative Unit in closed Section 29 Inquiries about the incident. The hearing is scheduled for three days in the Cape Town offices of the TRC at 106 Adderley Street, central Cape Town. Mr Mbane will be present to help clarify aspects of the applicants' testimony.
Seven young men died, allegedly in a shoot-out with the police, on 3 March, 1986 in Guguletu. Two consecutive inquests cleared the police. During the TRC's Special Event Hearings on their deaths - in November 1996 and February 1997 - evidence uncovered by the Investigative Unit revealed that C Section of the former security police, better known as Vlakplaas, might have been involved in the shootings.
The seven men, who became known as the Guguletu 7, were: Zandisile Zenith Mjobo, Zola Alfred Swelani, Mandla Simon Mxinwa, Godfrey Jabulani Miya, Themba Mlifi, Zabonke John Konile and Christopher Piet. The families of some of the victims first made human rights violations statements to the TRC in early 1996, urging the Commission to find out the circumstances surrounding their deaths.
The Investigative Unit of the Western Cape Region subpoenaed nine policemen to the Special human rights violations hearings to give evidence in public on the matter in terms of Section 29 of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act (1995). They were: Superintendent William Rudolf Liebenberg; Senior Superintendent John Johannes George Christoffel Kleyn; retired Colonel Cornelius Adolf Janse Odendal; Senior Superintendent John Martin Sterrenberg; Director Leonard Knipe; Detective Inspector Karel Bothma; Detective Inspector Andre Grobbelaar; Inspector Bertram Oswald Moggee and Detective Inspector Louis Ferdinand Coetzee.