Issued by: Truth and Reconciliation Commission
A senior officer of the former South African Prison Services who leaked information which led to the spectacular escape from prison by the late Charles Sebe, the brother of the former Ciskei's president, Lennox Sebe, in 1986 has been granted amnesty by the Amnesty Committee of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Angelo Dudley Pete, who was seconded to Ciskei as the advisor to the former homeland's Commissioner of Prisons sought amnesty for leaking information to the former SAP Security Branch about the security detail around Sebe.
He is one of eight people, including two Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging members, two Azanian Youth Organisation members, two African National Congress members and a former South African Police member who have been granted amnesty this week.
Pete said in his amnesty application he was approached by a colonel of the former South African Security Branch to supply him with information regarding the cell in which Sebe was detained, security around him and the changing of shifts at Middledrift Prison where Sebe was serving a lengthy prison term for treason. As the result of the information, Sebe was sprung from the prison on September 26, 1986.
He also said the colonel (whose name cannot be revealed pending the outcome of his amnesty application) told him the former Security Branch wanted to spring Sebe from prison. "I was not given any further information but it was stressed to me by (the Colonel) that it would be in the interests of the (then) Government of South Africa," said Pete.
Pete said he consulted the then South African Commissioner of Prisons, who gave him the go-ahead. In his application, Pete mentioned that he later heard in 1997 from the colonel that the escape of Sebe was part of an operation dubbed "Katzen".
The AWB members granted amnesty are Johannes Jacobus de Beer and Johannes van der Westhuizen. De Beer was serving a lengthy prison term for illegal possession of firearms, a large quantity of ammunition and stealing explosives from the Randfontein Estates Goldmine before the 1994 elections.
Van der Westhuizen, also a former South African Defence Force member, was sentenced in the Durban Regional Court to three years of correctional supervision for stealing a large quantity of ammunition from an army base in KwaZulu/Natal and for illegal possession of ammunition in 1993.
The Azanyo members are Wandile Dyantyi and Wele Matomela, who were sentenced to seven years' imprisonment each for attacking the Easy Gas Plant in Port Elizabeth with explosives on December 28,1993.
Mpho Letele and Thabiso Montoeli, both ANC members, were granted amnesty for an explosion which occurred near municipal police offices in Wesselsbron. Abraham Maseko, a member of the former SAP in Sebokeng, Vaal Triangle, received amnesty after being sentenced to five years of correctional supervision for illegal possession of ammunition in 1993.
The amnesty applications were processed in chambers as the offences for which the applicants applied for amnesty do not constitute gross human rights violations as defined by the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act.