Issued by: Truth and Reconciliation Commission
The Amnesty Committee of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has granted amnesty to three members of the African National Congress's military wing, uMkhonto weSizwe (MK), who murdered a defector and attempted to murder another in Umtata in June 1990.
Ian Ndibulele Ndzamela, Pumlani Kubukeli and Mfanelo Dan Matshaya were part of a group of four MK members who decided to kill Sipho Phungulwa and Luthando Dyasophu, former exiles who defected and became "askaris".
The Amnesty Committee said in its decision that upon their return to South Africa, the two defectors held a press conference, slating the ANC. The applicants decided to kill them, warned the local ANC political leadership in Umtata about their deployment in the area and put them under surveillance.
A shoot-out ensued when the two alighted from a taxi in Ngangelizwe location. Mr Phungulwa died and Mr Dyasophu escaped. The Committee, under the chairmanship of Judge Ronnie Pillay, stated:
"The applicants explained that there was nothing personal in the attack on these two defectors. They were acting for the country, as members of the MK stationed in Transkei. They gained nothing personally for their actions.
"Dyasophu gave evidence, which largely confirmed what the applicants had stated. Most importantly, he confirmed that once the leadership had labelled one an informer, that meant that this person must be killed. The press conference alluded to by the applicants, he stated, was held to clear this point. It was intended to indicate that they were not informers.
"We accept the versions of the applicants, especially as it is substantially supported by Dyasophu. Clearly the offences for which amnesty is applied for were committed for political reasons in the interest of an anti-apartheid stance. We are satisfied that they made a full disclosure in explaining how and why these offences were committed."
The hearing was held in April in Umtata. The Committee officially declared Mr Dyasophu and Mr Phungulwa's wife to be victims as defined in the law, and referred them to the Reparation and Rehabilitation Committee of the TRC.