Issued by: Truth and Reconciliation Commission
The Amnesty Committee of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has turned down amnesty applications of thirteen members of the Self Defence Unit (SDU) who applied for amnesty relating to their role in the 1993 Kathlehong Massacre.
The applicants, some of whom are serving prison terms are, Michael Armoed, Michael Nkomo, Mohale Motlokwa, Petrus Mthembu, Zola Sonto, Paulos Shongwe, Tsekimyana Rodrick Singo, Norman Mashinini, Lefu Mokoena, Thobile Luphindo, Joseph August, Bennet Ndaba and Themba Mtshali.
The applicants, ANC members themselves, applied for amnesty for the killing of nine ANC Youth League members at Molekeli Section on December6, 1993 in what became known as the Kathlehong Massacre.
Those killed were Alfred Buthelezi, Thokozani Buthelezi, Itumeleng Mootsi, Lucas Hlatshwayo, Isaac Mogadi, Ditaba Mthembu, Peter Modishwa, Miles Simelane and Isaac Motloung.
The incident occurred at the hight of conflict between the Kathlehong community and Inkatha Freedom Party aligned hostel dwellers.
According to evidence before the Amnesty Committee, the deceased were abducted and taken to the veld where they were shot execution-style and hacked with knives, axes and spears. Testifying before the Committee, the applicants said they regarded Youth League members in the area as criminals who were harassing the Moleleki Section of the Kathlehong community.
They further claimed the killing of the Youth League members was in relation for the killing of Mr Malusi "Blanco" Kiyane who was an SDU chairman and Ms Bulelwa Zwane - an ANC activist in the area.
The Amnesty Committee said evidence before it showed that there was a dispute regarding what triggered the conflict between the SDUs and the Youth League in the area. "However, what emerged from the evidence is that these two groups accused one another of failing to protect the (Kathlehong) community and of engaging in criminal activities instead."
As the result, the Youth League broke away from the SDUs and conducted separate patrols.
Rejecting the applications, the Committee said: "Having regard to the motive for the massacre, the context in which it occurred, in particular, the fact that the attack was not directed at a political opponent, we are satisfied that the killing of the deceased was not an act associated with a political objective as contemplated in the Act."