Issued by: Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Amnesty applications from 10 members of the Special Operations Unit of Umkhonto weSizwe, covering high-profile bombings in Gauteng and the Free State between 1980 and 1988, will be heard in Pretoria from May 4.
Different applicants have applied for amnesty for various of the attacks, including those on the Sasol oil refineries, the Voortrekkerhoogte Military Base, SA Air Force Headquarters in Church Street, Pretoria, Wits Command, the Krugersdorp Magistrate's Court and police station and other government offices and police stations.
More than 20 people were killed in the attacks, and more than 350 injured. In terms of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, victims are entitled to attend hearings, to testify and to adduce evidence at amnesty hearings.
The hearings are due to last three weeks. Other applications relating to MK Special Operations Unit attacks, particularly those in KwaZulu-Natal, will be heard later in the province.
Those to be heard from next week concern the following:
1. Attack on Sasol 1, 2 and Natref Oil Refineries
Three applicants have applied for amnesty for limpet mine attacks on the three oil refineries on June 1 and 2, 1980 in Sasolburg and Secunda. They are Mr. Aboobaker Ismail , Mr. David Moisi and Mr. Velaphi S.F. Msane.
The applicants claim they were members of the Special Operations Unit of Umkhonto weSizwe and members of the African National Congress (A.N.C.) at the relevant time. They state that one person sustained injuries in this incident - the security guard of the Natref Oil Refinery in Sasolburg. It was established, through the relevant documentation, that the injured person was a Mr Robert Nthembalazeni, who was shot in his left shoulder.
2. Attack on the Voortrekkerhoogte Military Base
Two people have applied for amnesty, namely Mr. Aboobaker Ismail and Mr. Johannes Molefe. Mr Ismail states that that he was the Commissar of Special Operations and Mr Molefe was a member of Special Operations, who participated in the attack on August 12, 1981.
One of the applicants was able to furnish the names of the victims, Ms Elsie Sekana and Mr. Zahed Patel.
During the attack, five 122 mm Russian rockets were fired from an open space situated between plot 240 Mooiplaas, Erasmia, and Laudium at or about 8.30 pm.
3. Bombing of the SAAF HQ, Church Street, Pretoria
Three people have applied for amnesty, namely Mr. Aboobaker Ismail, Ms Helena Pastoors and Mr Johannes Molefe.
Mr. Ismail was still the Commissar of Special Operations and the attack occurred under his command. Mr Johannes Molefe was involved in the unit which planned this attack. Ms. Pastoors was ordered to drive a vehicle containing explosives to a prearranged place in Pretoria, which was to be picked up by other operatives for the attack. It is alleged that this occurred a day before the bombing, on May 19, 1983. The two cadres who carried out the attack were blown up in the blast.
Nineteen other people were killed: Commandant I. J. Henning, Flight Sgt. J.J. Ras, Cpl. A. Nel, Amn. W.L. Kirtley, Lt. M. van Jaarsveld, Col. Stefanus S. Walters, Capt. Riaan Hendrick Liebenburg, Commandant Johan de Villiers, Mr Thomo Jonas Mohlahlo, Mr Lengoi Moses Maimela, Mr Sekgoetsi Jim Magatsela, Mr Mogale Judas Maimela, Ms Sharon Desiree Bos, Ms A Meiring, Mr Joseph Keane Sambo, Mr Pedros Ntemo Khohlwe, Ms Sharon de la Harpe, Mr Stephen John Page and Ms Adriana Meyer.
In addition, 217 people were injured.
4. Attack on the Ciskei Consulate, Carlton Centre, Johannesburg
Mr. Aboobaker Ismail, Mr. Mohammed Iqbal Shaik and Mr. Mohammed Abdullah Ismail have applied for amnesty.
Mr. Aboobaker Ismail states that this operation was carried out by members of MK under his command. The other two applicants were involved in the placing of the limpet mine at the Ciskei Consulate on August 26, 1983.
5. Attack on the Department of Co-operation and Development, Johannesburg
The applicants are Mr. A. Ismail and Mr. Mohammed I Shaik. Mr. Ismail states that the attack was carried out under his command. Mr Shaik used material supplied to him by his commander and states that he acted alone.
A security guard was injured in this incident but neither of the amnesty applicants have been able to provide the person's name. A limpet mine was placed on December 7, 1983, at the Department of Co-operation and Development offices in Marshalltown, in Johannesburg.
6. Explosion at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Market Street, Johannesburg
Mr. A. Ismail and Mr. M.I. Shaik have applied for amnesty, Mr Ismail as a commander and Mr Shaik for placing a limpet mine at the offices of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Rissik Street, Johannesburg, on December 15, 1983.
Seven people were injured in the attack, among them Mr. Piet Tlou of Diepkloof, Mr. George Lekwawathe of Molapo, Mrs. Gertrude Tshabalala of White City, Mr. Molefe Madonsela of Market Street and Mrs Tilda Mphangoma of Soweto. These names were provided by Mr. Ismail.
7. Attack on the SAP Soweto East Branch, Roodepoort City Centre
Mr. Aboobaker Ismail, the overall Commander of the Special Operations Group at the time, has applied for amnesty for placing a limpet mine on August 17, 1984, at the City Centre building in Roodepoort, which housed the offices of the SAP District Commandant for Soweto East and the Department of Community Development.
The explosion injured five policemen, including the SAP Commandant for Soweto East, and two civilians.
The applicant states that the following people were injured: Col. Ben van der Berg, Captain G. van Zyl Jonker, Warrant Officer J.J. Botha, Sergeant T. I. Mmethi, Constable Isaac Moroke, Miss Annah Folosi and Miss Iris Lombard.
8. Attack on the offices of the Railway police and Directorates of Coloured and Indian Affairs, Johannesburg
Mr. Aboobaker Ismail, states that this operation took place under his command, and Mr. Mohammed I. Shaik is claiming responsibility for having placed a limpet mine at the Railway Police Headquarters on the corner of Plein and Harrison Streets in Johannesburg, on August 24, 1984.
Five people were injured, including a number of railway policemen. According to Mr. Ismail, among the railway policemen injured were: Sergeant J.W. Swanepoel, Constable W.J. Strydom and Constable P.J. Kunneke.
9. Attack on the Department of Internal Affairs, Harrison Street, Johannesburg
This application also involves Mr. A. Ismail, as commander, and Mr. M. Shaik.
Mr Shaik placed a limpet mine at the Department of Home Affairs in Harrison Street in Johannesburg on the September 3, 1984. Four people were injured. Mr Ismail said one was Mr. Steven Schultz.
10. Attack on the Medical Command of the SADF, Nugget Hill, Hillbrow
This application also involves Mr Aboobaker Ismail, as commander, and Mr Mohammed Shaik, who states that he placed the limpet mine used in the attack.
Seventeen people were injured, including four military personnel. No names have been supplied.
On or about the May 28, 1985, a limpet mine was placed at the Transvaal Medical Command, which housed the Southern Transvaal Medical Command, in the Nedbank building in Nugget Hill, Hillbrow.
11. Attack on John Vorster Square, Johannesburg
Mr. A. Ismail is the only amnesty applicant for this attack. He states there were four victims in the attack: Captain P. van Heerden, Warrant Officer H. Vermeulen, Mr. George Papathanaspoules and Mr. A Theodopolos.
The attack involved the placing of a limpet mine at John Vorster Square police station on March 4, 1986.
12. Attack on Wits Command, Johannesburg
Amnesty applications have been received from Mr Johannes Molefe, who states that he was the Unit Commander of a small unit within Special Operations, Mr Johannes Heinreich Grosskopf, Mr Colin Mark De Souza, who states that he was instructed to do reconnaissance work, and Mr Aboobaker Ismail, the overall Commander of Special Operations.
One soldier was killed and 68 people injured when a bomb in a vehicle exploded the corner of Quartz and De Villiers Streets in Johannesburg on July 30, 1987.
13. Attack on the Krugersdorp Magistrates Court and adjacent police station
The amnesty applicants are Mr. Aboobaker Ismail, who states he was the Chief of Ordnance and member of the military headquarters of MK at the relevant time, and Mr Mohammed Shaik, who was responsible for placing a car bomb at the court on March 17, 1988.
Three people died, two security personnel and one civilian, and 20 people were injured.
Among those who died were Warrant Officer Simon Manyamalala and Frans Mdlalose. Those injured included Mrs. M.C. Goosen, Noelene Goosen, Mrs. A.J. Fouche, Mrs. J.M. van der Merwe, Mrs. A. Hartman, Mrs. Palm, Mr. Prinsloo, Mrs Garnet-Bennet, Mrs. E. du Toit, Mrs Odendal, Mrs. C.S. Kruger, Mrs. F. Swarts, Mrs. E.S. du Plessis, Mrs. M.C. Cloete, Mr. G.M.B. Swart, Mr. G.D. van Niekerk, Mrs Emil Mirage and Mr. Wilson Cinde.