Issued by: Truth and Reconciliation Commission
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Amnesty Committee has turned down amnesty applications from three Inkatha Freedom Party members.
In their decision on two of the applications, the Committee suggested that alcohol had been a motivating factor in attacks on two people. In the third, separate application, the amnesty applicant had denied being involved in an attack. The applications were heard in Durban in March.
Mshengu Ngobese and Nimrod Mthembu applied for amnesty for the killing of Mr Siza Cele and Ms Zondiwe Khumalo at KwaMaphumulo near Stanger in KwaZulu/Natal in 1991. According to evidence before the Amnesty Committee, Ngobese and Mthembu met Mr Cele as they were leaving a traditional ceremony and stabbed him to death, forcing his companion to flee. They then went to Ms Khumalo's home where they shot her with a home-made shotgun and stabbed her.
During their appearance before the Amnesty Committee earlier this year, the two men admitted that they had been drinking when they killed the two people after attending a traditional feast. They told the Committee they killed Ms Khumalo because they believed she was opposed to the IFP.
Rejecting the applications, the Amnesty Committee said : "Having regard to the motive for the killings..., it is difficult to accept that alcohol did not play a major role. No evidence exists that any of the victims was in fact a member of the ANC.... The acts of killing... were not directed at a clear political opponent, nor were they executed on behalf of or in furtherance of the objective of a political organisation."
In a separate application, Baba Langelihle Khomo applied for amnesty for opening fire on people attending a traditional ceremony, killing eight and injuring six others, at Ndlovu's Kraal in KwaNdeni Reserve, Mpumalanga Township near Pietermaritzburg on March 7, 1992.
He had been convicted and sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment for killing Kati Ndlovu, Zinhle Hlengwa, Noyazisa Gumede, Gijeni Ndlovu, Mandlakapheli Tinga, Michael Gwala, Mboshwa Mlaba, Jabulani Msibila and injuring six others.
In his amnesty application form, Khomo admitted that the attack objectives of the IFP, of which he was a member. However, giving evidence before the Committee, he denied involvement in the attack saying he was part of the people gathered at the kraal and that the attack was carried out by unknown gunmen.
When the Committee drew his attention to the fact he had admitted involvement in his application form, Khomo said he was innocent but had been advised that should he deny guilt, his application would be denied in chambers and he would not get the opportunity to appear before the Committee and tell his story.
In its decision, the Amnesty Committee said the court judgment indicated there might have been a political motive behind the attack at Ndlovu's Kraal. But it added: "Denying involvement in any way in the incident, the applicant cannot satisfy the Committee that he has made a full disclosure of his involvement in a politically motivated crime as required by the Act."