DAY : 1

____________________________________________________CHAIRPERSON: Morning everybody, I apologise for the late start in this matter, but there were discussions going on amongst the legal representatives, and also there were delays caused by setting up the venue.

Could the legal representatives - well let me start off by just introducing the panel. On my far right, is Advocate Sigodi, she's an advocate from Port Elizabeth, on my immediate right is Advocate Bosman, from the Cape, on my left is Advocate Motata, he's from Johannesburg, and I am Selwyn Miller, a judge from the Transkei.

Could the legal representatives please place themselves on record?

MR RAMPHELKE: My name is Tshepiso Ramphelke, I am from Lawyers for Human - representing the applicant.

MR HENDRICKS: My name is Advocate Ronnie Hendricks, I'm an advocate of the local bar, representing the applicant.

MR ENGELBRECHT: May it please you, Mr Chairman and the committee, I'm representing the AWB, and Mr Terreblanche, the name is Engelbrecht and I'm from the Pretoria Bar.

MR VAN DEN BERG: As the Court pleases, Chairman, I'm from the Pretoria Bar, my name is Gerhard van den Berg, and I appear on behalf of Mrs Uys.

MR MPSHE: J M Mpshe, Mr Chairman, members of the committee, representing the Truth Commission and more particularly the Amnesty Committee.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Engelbrecht, I believe that there are some problems existing with the commencement of this matter?

MR ENGELBRECHT: That is correct, Mr Chairman, the AWB, who is opposing the application for amnesty received the documents on the 31st of July 1998 at 17:45. I was briefed on Saturday, and due to insufficient time, we were unable to properly prepare, and amongst other things, we tried to get hold a reporter of the Sunday Times, a Peter de Ionno, whom we say is an essential witness in these proceedings. The offices of the Sunday Times was not prepared to supply us with his home telephone number, he was not on duty at the state, neither would they give us his address, so we were unable, over the weekend to make contact with this witness. We had a look at a video shown to us this morning by my colleague, Mr Mpshe, and having seen that video, I'm more convinced that it is absolutely necessary that I speak with the gentleman concerned. He was an eye witness and could supply vital information regarding the conduct of the applicant at the relevant period. There is also a Ray Hartley of the Sunday Times whom we'd like to speak with. So my application is for a postponement to enable me to properly prepare and consult with the necessary witnesses, which was not possible due to the late receiving of the documents concerned.

I submit it is in the interests of all parties concerned that the proper facts be laid before this committee. Subject to the chairman's approval, we have arranged a date, which would be the week of the 21st of September to the 25th of September. We appreciate that there is a public holiday in between, but it is our expectation that we should complete the matter in four days. If not, we might consider utilising the public holiday, but my application, on behalf of the AWB, is that the matter then be postponed to afford us the opportunity to consult with these witnesses.

CHAIRPERSON: And is it your view, Mr Engelbrecht, that should the applicants testify today, you wouldn't be in a position to properly cross-examine them until you've consulted with those witnesses you've mentioned?

MR ENGELBRECHT: Correct, Mr Chairman, I would not be in a position to effectively cross-examine the applicant until such time as I've had an opportunity to consult with the witness.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Hendricks, do you have any submissions?

MR HENDRICKS: Mr Chairman, I don't oppose the application for a postponement, but I would urge this committee not to do this hearing piecemeal, so if a postponement is considered, we can start on the 21st of September.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, you're saying that it would be not desirable for the evidence in chief to be led today and then there be that period of approximately six or seven weeks, whatever it is, before cross-examination?

MR HENDRICKS: That is indeed my submission, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Van den Berg?

MR VAN DEN BERG: Mr Chairman, we are ready to proceed, but we don't object the request for a postponement. So if this matter has to be postponed, we will accept it, but we are ready at the moment to proceed with this matter.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr Mpshe?

MR MPSHE: Thank you, Mr Chairman. Mr Chairman, I do not oppose the application for postponement, for one reason, inasfar as it pertains to Mr Engelbrecht's consultation with the journalist only, and not, I disagree inasfar as it goes to receiving of documents and other things.

I just want to put the record straight. Mr Chairman, the AW office was served with the notice on the 2nd of June 1998, section 19.4, it was served at the AW offices in Ventersdorp, I've got copies, by registered post. Mr Chairman, I heard nothing from them, absolutely nothing from them, up till the 29th of July, when Mr Visagie called the Cape Town office on the 29th of July inquiring about the hearing and documentation. Now, Mr Visagie alleged that he was, the AW was never served, which is not true. They apparently have two different offices and we only know Ventersdorp office as the AWB offices, and that's where service was. Now a letter came from Mr Visagie, who is in this hearing now, and this letter indicated that they never received any notice and the one documentation. Now on the strength of him not having been aware of the notice service at the AW offices, the documents were then sent to them last week Friday, couriered, because, Mr Chairman, we don't serve notice and forward documentation to people who don't know whether they will appear, whether they have interest or not, because the meaning of section 19.4 is very clear, it does not compel a person to be there, he makes his choice, and if they don't make timeous choice or choices, either on the 4th or the 10th or the 20th of June, we cannot just forward documents. They only contacted us after having made up their mind on the 29th of July, when we served them with a notice on the 2nd of June. I just wanted to put this one straight, but I'm not opposing the application.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr Mpshe. Mr Engelbrecht, I take it your instructions are to oppose the application?

MR ENGELBRECHT: That is correct, Mr Chairman, we oppose the application for amnesty.

CHAIRPERSON: And you've heard what Mr Mpshe says, is there any explanation as to why you were only briefed on Friday late, or Saturday morning when notice was (indistinct) 2nd of June?

MR ENGELBRECHT: Mr Chairman, my instructions are that a fax was sent for a copy of the documentation, a telephone call was made, and that is why the documents, apparently the documents were sent by courier, and somehow along at Kimberley, there was a delay at Kimberley by the courier, and that is why we received the documents so late.

May I also place on record that the findings of the Tebbutt Commission was only made public on Thursday, which also dealt with this matter as an inquest, and we only heard about that on Friday morning, and having seen and read a certain portion of the findings of the Tebbutt Commission and the finding as to the credibility of a certain witness which testified makes it imperative for me to consult with the two journalists, because it is quite possible that they might give a different version as to what happened, and that's why I'm asking to consult with them and prepare.

ADVOCATE MOTATA: Mr Engelbrecht, as regards what Advocate Mpshe has said, that section 19 notices were sent as early in July... (intervention).


ADV MOTATA: your clients, of June, I'm sorry, thank you, Mr Chairman, do your clients give any explanation why they were inactive until they made the telephone call on the 29th of July? In other words, when did that notice come to their attention, and secondly when they phoned the office, they wanted to know about the hearing, why were they inactive for that period, that is of a month?

MR ENGELBRECHT: Could I just take instructions on that?

I'm instructed that the notice was sent to Mr Eugene Terreblanche in his personal capacity, and not to the body, the AWB, the general staff. It was only at a later stage that the AWB decided to, as a body, to oppose the application for amnesty.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Hendricks, from the applicant's point of view, you were ready to proceed today?

MR HENDRICKS: Yes, Mr Chairman, we were.

CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Yes, thank you, Mr Hendricks, Mr Engelbrecht, Mr Van den Berg and Mr Mpshe, in view of the fact that the application for postponement is not opposed and also because of the reasons given for the application to enable the AWB, who intend opposing the application, to properly prepare themselves, and also because of the misunderstanding or whatever one may call it that resulted in the documentation only arriving so late last Friday, we are of the view that this matter, in order for it to be properly heard and properly presented by all sides, should be postponed, as has been applied for. It is unfortunate. Sure, we are all aware that we in the Amnesty Committee have a tight schedule and have many, many cases or matters to hear, and any delay of course complicates the whole process. The matter is then postponed until the 21st of September 1998.

Mr Mpshe, I take it it will be at the same venue?

MR MPSHE: It will be in the same venue, Mr Chairman, thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: At this venue, and Mr Engelbrecht, if I could please impress that we commence on that day, whatever happens, it is approximately six or seven weeks from now, that should give sufficient time to enable you to properly prepare yourself.

MR ENGELBRECHT: As it pleases you, Mr Chairman, may I make an application that the committee issues an instruction that the two witnesses, Peter de Ionno and Ray Hartley, be subpoenaed for the 23rd of September?

CHAIRPERSON: I think if you could just speak to Mr Mpshe about that, Mr Engelbrecht, and we can deal with it out of here, I don't know what the, if there are any complications in that regard, because the issuing of subpoenas does not come from the committee itself, if you read the Act, it comes from the commission and it's got to be signed by a commissioner, so I'm sure some arrangement can be made in that regard.

Mr Mpshe, there was another matter set down, the matter of Ambrose Armstrong Ross, I see in my documentation it was only set down for the 5th of August, that's Wednesday, would it be possible at all to make arrangements for that to be brought forward at least until tomorrow morning, and then allow us two days to hear that matter, rather than just the one?

MR MPSHE: Thank you, Mr Chairman, actually I've already started fast-tracking it to tomorrow. The committee will know before 12:00 midnight today whether we are going on tomorrow, but I have already started negotiations.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Yes, well then that is the situation, the matter is postponed and I apologise for any inconvenience caused to the people who have come, because of the postponement, but unfortunately I think in order that this matter be properly handled, that it be postponed.

We'll adjourn at this stage and then we'll reconvene as soon as possible, probably tomorrow, for the other matter that we're hearing, that is the application of Ambrose Armstrong Ross.

Thank you.