Issued by: Truth and Reconciliation Commission
The Amnesty Committee of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission today granted amnesty to two Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) members serving long prison sentences after they were convicted of the killing of 10 people in the KwaZulu/Natal Midlands in 1993.
The two men are Mabhungu Absolom Dladla, 30, and Nkanyiso Wilfred Ndlovu, 28. They opened fire on a minibus killing, 10 of the passengers and injuring six others in the Nkanyezi area near Table Mountain on March 5, 1993.
They said they believed the passengers were members of the African National Congress (ANC) and that the attack was in retaliation for an incident three days earlier in which unknown gunmen had opened fire on children on their way to school, killing six. The parents of the children killed were said to be members of the IFP.
Dladla and Ndlovu appeared before the Amnesty Committee in Durban earlier this year to apply for amnesty for, among others, the killing of Sipho Dlamini, Pretty Hlongwa, Joyce Khanyezi, Tembani Koza, Bongile Lembede, Bekizwe Mncwabe, Bongani Ndlovu, Sindisiwe Ndlovu, Bekayena Dlamini and Bonisiwe Ngcobo.
In their decision, the Amnesty Committee said : "There is no doubt in our minds that the applicants were caught up in the senseless violence in their area between members of the ANC.. and the IFP... We are satisfied that the offences for which the applicants were convicted were committed in the course of the struggles of the past and were associated with a political objective."
The full text of the Committee's decision follows:
"On 29th April 1993 the two applicants were convicted on ten counts of murder and six counts of attempted murder.
"The second applicant was also convicted on four further counts which related to the unlawful possession of an AK47 rifle, an R1 rifle, a shotgun and the unlawful possession of ammunition for the aforesaid firearms. They were both sentenced to death on each of the ten counts of murder. On each of the six counts of attempted murder they were sentenced to ten years imprisonment to run concurrently which was to be served if the death sentences were not carried out.
"In respect of the offences relating to the position of the firearms and ammunition, the secod applicant was sentenced to a total of eight years and six months. The sentences of death imposed on both applicants were subsequently commuted to a term of imprisonment. They now apply for amnesty in terms in section 18 of Act 34 1995.
"The offences were committed during an incident which occurred on 5th March 1993. On that day the two applicants and one other person, who's name was given as Siphiwe Zondi, ambushed a minibus and raked it and its occupants with automatic weapons. As a result of this attack the deceased and the other occupants of the minibus were killed or wounded. The applicants say that they carried out this attack with the intention of killing its occupants whom they believed to be members of the ANC. The reason they gave for this belief was that the minibus had been used to transport ANC members in the area by one Qeda Zulu who was a member of the ANC. The attack was triggered off by an event which had occurred three days earlier when unknown gun men shot and killed six children who were on their way to school. The parents of those children were all Inkatha members who lived at Mboyi which is an Inkatha controlled area.
They said that they and other residents of the Mboyi area were constantly attacked when they travelled through Nkanyezeni which is an ANC controlled area. One of the witnesses who gave evidence at the trial of the applicants was Bernard Mkhize who was the Chairman of the IFP in the Mboyi area of Table Mountain. He described the general unrest which had prevailed in the Table Mountain area for more than a year, and said that during December 1991, his kraal was attacked and a vehicle was burnt. In the course of that attack the first applicant who was his cousin was shot in the leg.
He described the attack on a bus in the course of which the first applicant's father was shot in the mouth. On another occasion sixteen houses in his area were burnt down and two girls were shot. He said that on 2nd March 1993 six children who were on their way to school in a Toyota bakkie were shot and killed by gunmen who ambushed the vehicle. Three of those were his children. He claimed that the persons responsible for these attacks were ANC people who were trying to get him and his people out of the area.
"Although the applicants were not instructed by their leaders to shoot and kill the occupants of the minibus, they had taken it upon themselves to do so. There is no doubt in our mind that they were caught up in the senseless violence in their area between members of the ANC on the one hand and the IFP on the other.
"We are satisfied that the offences for which the applicants were convicted were committed in the course of the struggles of the past and were associated with a political objective. They are accordingly granted amnesty for; the murder of;
"A. SIPHO MZOFANA DLAMINI PRETTY HLONGWA JOYCE BABAZILE KHANYEZI TEMBANI NTOMBINKULU KOZA BONGILE BERTINA LEMBEDE BEKIZWE MNCWABE BONGANI ZEPHANIAH NDLOVU SINDISIWE HLENGIWE NLDOVU BONISIWE ANATORIA NGCOBO BEKAYENA DLAMINI
"B. The attempted murder of WELCOME MTEMBINKOSI MKHIZE DUMISANI JOHANNES SITHOLE ZININGI LORRAINE MKHIZE ALBERTINA SHEZI BONANI DLAMINI PHINDILE ZIMU
"C. Second applicant is granted amnesty for the offences of having been in unlawful possession of an AK47 assault rifle and an R1 rifle, a 12 bore shotgun and the possession of ammunition for the aforesaid rifles and shotgun."
Committee Members: Judge Hassen Mall, Mr Wynand Malan, and Adv. John Motata