Issued by: Truth and Reconciliation Commission
The Amnesty Committee of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has granted amnesty to two African National Congress activists who attempted to assassinate a Security Branch member in Middelburg, Cape, in August 1993.
In a decision dated yesterday (May 11), a panel of the Amnesty Committee granted amnesty to SIMPHIWE LINCOLN BLEKI, 31, and OSCAR THANDO NONGONGO, 27, who appeared at an amnesty hearing in Port Elizabeth on April 28.
The full text of the Committee's decision follows:
"On Sunday morning, at about 06h00 on 8th August 1993 the applicants took position next to Warrant Officer Leeman Maliti's house at Middleburg, Cape with the aim of attacking and killing him by shooting.
"They kept his house under surveillance to ensure that no person should be injured in crossfire during the attack, not even Mr Maliti's family.
"At about 11h00, believing that Mr Maliti was then alone in the house, the applicants approached the house. Second Applicant knocked at the door and Mr Maliti responded, asking them to enter. Upon entering, they found him sitting on the chair facing towards the door. They immediately shot him several times as he was trying to rise from the chair. Mr Maliti fell down and the applicants retreated, leaving him lying on the floor. He survived the attack but died two years later, of other causes.
"Both applicants were arrested within an hour of the attack while they were seeking a lift on the road. Apparently there was supposed to be a get-away car but the police acted promptly and arrived before the arrival of the said car. They were arraigned before Court and charged with attempted murder and unlawful possession of arms and ammunition.
"The Second Applicant absconded before trial. A separation of trials was ordered and the State proceeded with the charges against the First Applicant. He was found guilty as charged and sentenced to ten (10) years' imprisonment. The Second Applicant was re-arrested later. He was found guilty and sentenced to eleven (11) years' imprisonment.
"Applicants say that they are members of the ANC. The First Applicant was a member of the executive committee of the ANC Middleburg branch and was also in contact with the Self-Defence Unit (SDU).
"The victim, Mr Maliti, was a member of the Security Branch of the police force. He was viewed by the community and the applicants as very notorious and controversial. He was in the forefront of the conflict and confrontation between the community and the police. He terrorised, harassed and arrested activists. The applicants also state that Mr Maliti tortured people he arrested. The applicants believed that he had killed some members of the community.
"Attempts on his life were previously made by the members of the local community.
"First Applicant consulted with the Self-Defence Unit (SDU) and his colleagues and volunteered to assassinate Mr Maliti. He enlisted the assistance of Second Applicant and fetched him from Port Elizabeth for that purpose.
"Although First Applicant was also a victim of Mr Maliti's harassment and torturing, the evidence is that the actions taken by the First Applicant in attempting to kill Mr Maliti was for the benefit of the community as a whole. After applicants were arrested the community conducted protest marches for their release. The ANC responded positively to the applicants after Mr Maliti was attacked and they are supporting the application for amnesty as evidenced by their letter submitted with the application.
"The committee is satisfied that the offences committed by both applicants were done within political context and that the applicants have made a full disclosure of all relevant facts. Thus they have complied with the requirements of the Act.
"Amnesty is accordingly granted to the applicants in respect of the offences set out above."
JUDGE R. PILLAY; ADV. D. POTGIETER, S.C.; MR J B SIBANYONI.