Issued by: Truth and Reconciliation Commission
The Amnesty Committee of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has granted amnesty to two Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging supporters who murdered a motorist and attempted to murder his brother on election day in 1994 in an attempt to cause chaos and disrupt the elections.
The motorist, Mr Viyana Kenneth Papiyana, and Mr Godfrey Madoda Papiyana were travelling between Westonaria and Randfontein on April 27, 1994, when James Wheeler and Cornelius Rudoph Pyper pulled alongside their vehicle. Wheeler cocked a shotgun and passed it to Pyper, who fired a shot at Mr Viyana Papiyana, killing him. His brother was injured in the attack.
Wheeler and Pyper are serving 15 year jail sentences for the attack.
The Amnesty Committee stated in its decision:
"The applicants aver that their actions on 27th April 1994 were done in furtherance of a political objective associated with the conflicts of the past. They contend that statements made by the AWB leadership through the public media to the effect that when the ANC/SACP Alliance takes over the government, the AWB will regain power by the use of violence on that very night, and that the group discussions they participated in at AWB meetings led them to believe that they should prepare for war and that they should actively resist the transition..."
After evaluating the evidence and the provisions of the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, the Committee said:
"We are satisfied on the evidence that the applicants bona fide believed that they were acting in support of and in furtherance of the cause of the AWB when they committed the offence. We are further of the view that, on taking all the circumstances into account, the gaining of such belief by the applicants was not unreasonable. The applicants stated that at the time of the commission of the offence they were under the impression that other members of the AWB would, that day, commit acts of violence in order to cause chaos and so disrupt the elections.
"They gained this impression after having heard the report of the bombings on the East Rand and after their discussion with the said du Bruyn. They only learnt after the event that their actions, save for the bombings on the East Rand, turned out to be an isolated incident. They say that they decided to shoot a black man as they were of the opinion that the vast majority of black people were supporters of the ANC. Their intention was to commit an act of terror which, together with other such acts they believed would be committed by other members of the AWB, would instil fear and result in chaos and anarchy and so disrupt the elections. In this context, despite the tragic consequences and futility of their actions, it is concluded that the offence committed by the applicants was not disproportionate to the political objective they were pursuing.
"In the light of the aforegoing and after careful consideration of the evidence placed before us we are of the view that the offences of murder and attempted murder committed by the applicants were associated with a political objective committed in the course of the conflicts of the past..."
However, Wheeler was refused amnesty for the offences of being in unlawful possession of a rifle and ammunition.
The Committee officially declared that Mr Madoda Godfrey Papiyana and the parents of the deceased, Mr Nelson Zenam Papiyana and Mrs Glenrose Zoleka Papiyana, were victims as defined by law and referred them to the TRC's Committee on Reparation and Rehabilitation.