DAY : 5


CHAIRPERSON: It is now the 21st of August. The Committee remains unchanged, as do the Leader of Evidence and the legal representative of the applicants. The matter set down for hearing today has been referred to, in the bundle of papers given to us, as: The Killing Of The Botshabelo Police. I understand however, from the applicants' counsel, that there is no application before us in respect of the killing of the police. That the application before us is an application for amnesty in respect of the Robbery At The Botshabelo Pep Stores.

I don't know how this mistake came about but obviously it was as a result of this that the widows of the three policemen who were subsequently killed were given notice that the application would heard by us and that they were victims.

We adjourned the matter yesterday because we were informed that they had been told the matter would be heard today and we felt it wrong to proceed in their absence. They are not here today. The representatives of the TRC have gone to Botshabelo to find them and have been able to make contact with one of them only, who was apparently at her place of work near the police station in Botshabelo. It has been explained to her that there is no application pending in respect of the shooting of the policemen and she is accordingly, as I understand it, going back to her work and the other two people will not be present. It therefore seems that we can proceed with the hearing.

I would like it to be placed on record that I am correct in what I have said about the fact that the applicants, two applicants, are only applying for amnesty in respect of the incident at the Botshabelo Pep Store.

MR MBANDAZAYO: Thank you Mr Chairman. Mr Chairman, I confirm on behalf of the applicants that the applicants are only applying for the Pep Stores incident: Armed Robbery at Pep Stores, thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: It should perhaps be placed on record, if anyone is going to glance at this record of this hearing, that they were charged before the Supreme Court with the robbery of the Botshabelo Pep Stores, a charge on which they were convicted and on the counts of murder were found NOT GUILTY.

Are you now calling the first applicant?

MR MBANDAZAYO: Thank you Mr Chairman. I'm calling the first applicant, Abel Oupa Lerato Khotle.


CHAIRPERSON: And we have been told you are Lerato Abel Khotle, is that correct?



Mr Khotle, the affidavit in front of you is also before the Committee, do you confirm that the affidavit was made by yourself and you abide by its contents?

MR KHOTLE: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: I think we should place on record as we did in the previous hearing, that the applicant has been concerned in other matters before us, in both of the other two matters I think I'm correct in saying, and we have had evidence led as to the policies of the party that he belonged to and in his objectives. We will have regard to that evidence.

It does appear however that the policies of the party were somewhat different when this incident took place at the beginning of 1992. I'm now referring to the Judgment delivered at his trial where evidence was apparently led by the applicant that, or in a statement made, that it was not the policy of the APLA at that stage to use violence and injure people during the course of such operations.

MR MBANDAZAYO: Thank you Mr Chairman. Mr Chairman, as the applicant has already confirmed and admitted that the affidavit is his, at this stage we are not intending to lead further evidence. We will leave it to the Committee to ask any questions and the applicant will be in a position to answer. Thank you Mr Chairman.


MR STEENKAMP: Mr Chairman, I've got two questions.

Sir, can you explain to the Committee what happened to the money that was taken at the supermarket after the robbery?

MR KHOTLE: After we left we went inside together with comrade Prof inside that Pep Store. We instructed those people who were inside to lie down. The person who had the key came and opened the safe. After that I took the brown case which contained money ...[intervention]

MR MALAN: Mr Khotle, sorry to interrupt you. The question only relates to the money that was taken. This is now after the incident, what happened to the money? In your affidavit you state that you handed the money bag, this is paragraph 9, containing the notes to comrade Prof. Do you know what happened to the money?

MR KHOTLE: I threw some money among those people who were trying to chase us. Another one is with the police.

MR MALAN: In your affidavit you state that you threw at them only the small safe, is that what you're referring to when you talk about some money?

MR KHOTLE: That is correct.

MR MALAN: The moneybag, I'm still referring to paragraph 9, did it at the time when you handed it to comrade Prof, did it contain all the money stolen except the coins?

MR KHOTLE: The moneybag which I gave to comrade Prof contained bank notes. That is the money which landed in the police's hands.

MR MALAN: Yes, this is the reason really for the question, if I understand it correctly, because it appears that some eight odd thousand rand was taken and that only four thousand something was returned. Now my question is, the notes in that bank bag, that moneybag, was that the only notes taken or was there another bag carried by someone else with some more notes?

MR KHOTLE: No, Sir, that is the only moneybag which is appears in my affidavit, That is the only money I know about which we took from the store, there was no other moneybag.

MR MALAN: Can you generally just inform us please, how would you have dealt with the money had you been able to get away with this robbery? What would you have done?

MR KHOTLE: That money would help our unit to continue with our work and other matters which we would be able to, like buying ammunition and guns. That money would be used on those things.

MR MALAN: Would you yourself have kept the money and bought the ammunition and guns or who would have kept the money?

MR KHOTLE: What usually happened is that comrade Prof was the one who was in charge within our unit or cell. At the end he would be the person who would come with the final decision about what to do with the money.

MR MALAN: Thank you.

CHAIRPERSON: You gave an explanation to the court didn't you?

MR KHOTLE: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: And you said you didn't hand the money over to your commander.

MR KHOTLE: I do not understand what you've just said. What is your question? May you please clarify the question?

CHAIRPERSON: At page 39 of the record, line 14, the Judgment says:

"The explanation which accused number 2 gave when he pleaded before the Magistrate, is that the money which was the subject of this robbery was not handed over to the commander"

MR KHOTLE: After this attack, after we left Pep Stores at the time we retreated, the police chased us. We were not successful to be free. I was the only one who was able to evade the police, the other one was shot, then Mosiuwa Khotle was arrested together with the moneybag which contained money. There was no money which I could have handed over to the commander.


MR STEENKAMP: Thank you Mr Chairman, you've covered my question, thank you Sir.


MR MALAN: This is now confusing because in paragraph 9 you expressly under oath state that you took the money and handed the bag over to comrade Prof. Do you see that?


MR MALAN: Have you not just said that you did not, that you never had the money?

MR KHOTLE: I gave comrade Prof the moneybag whilst we were in the store, because Prof was already dead by then.

MR MALAN: Thank you very much.


MR MBANDAZAYO: Thank you Mr Chairman, I have no re-examination.









DAY : 5


MR MBANDAZAYO: Thank you Mr Chairman. I will now call to the witness stand, Mosiuwa Isaia Khotle.

MOSIUWA ISAIA KHOTLE: (sworn states)

CHAIRPERSON: What are your full names?

MR KHOTLE: Mosiuwa Isaia Khotle.


Mr Khotle, the affidavit in front of you is before the Committee, do you confirm that this affidavit was made by yourself and you abide by its contents?

MR KHOTLE: That is correct.

MR MBANDAZAYO: Mr Chairman, in regard to this applicant I will not waste the time of the Committee, I will leave it to the Committee to ...[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: Where is this affidavit?

MR MBANDAZAYO: Mr Chairman, I'm surprised, I don't even know that the Committee does not have, I was given back the copy and the other one. They were all photostatted to be handed over, for the applicant and so for the purposes of this hearing. I don't know what would have happened. I'm sorry Mr Chairman, I didn't know that it's not before the Committee because they were done with the other one, the first applicant, together.

CHAIRPERSON: Well can you lead him on the relevant facts and can someone be making a copy of this in the meanwhile?


CHAIRPERSON: Has he got a copy in front of him?

MR MBANDAZAYO: He has a copy Mr Chairman. Mr Chairman, can I in the meantime lead?

CHAIRPERSON: ...[inaudible] similar to ...[intervention]

MR MBANDAZAYO: Mr Chairman, it's the same except that he further tells that he was arrested.

CHAIRPERSON: Quite clearly his participation would have been different. He didn't carry the safe out, for example.

MR MBANDAZAYO: Yes, Mr Chairman, it's only that he was handed money over to him and he was caught by the police with the money, that's the only aspect.

CHAIRPERSON: ...[inaudible]

MR MBANDAZAYO: Mr Khotle, can you tell the Committee just how did you manage, how did it happen that you were arrested with the money which was taken at Pep Stores?

MR KHOTLE: On that day of the incident I was together with comrade Prof. He gave me money. After he had given me that money the police were around that area and then because comrade Prof put on the balaclava there were able to see us.

He said to me I should move from that yard to the front opposite house. At the time when I was at the gate, that is the time when the police arrested me together with the money.

MR MBANDAZAYO: According to your knowledge, is there any amount of money which comrade Prof took before you were handed over the other money?

MR KHOTLE: No, I don't believe it that way. He died during the cross-fire. As to whether he took money I don't believe.

MR MBANDAZAYO: Is it also correct that in court you pleased not guilty to the offence?

MR KHOTLE: That is correct.

MR MBANDAZAYO: And you were subsequently found guilty?

MR KHOTLE: That is correct, I was found guilty.

MR MBANDAZAYO: That is all Mr Chairman.


CHAIRPERSON: What were you told about the operation?

MR KHOTLE: As I've already stated in my affidavit that I was told about the day of the operation. I was informed that we should go and take money from that particular place so that we could be able to enhance the political objectives or our organisations, so that we will be able to have money to continue with our struggle.

CHAIRPERSON: Was the money to be used for your organisation, APLA?

MR KHOTLE: That is correct Sir.

CHAIRPERSON: Who told you this?

MR KHOTLE: My unit commander which is comrade Prof.

CHAIRPERSON: Have you got any idea of how much money was found on you?

MR KHOTLE: I don't know because the police did not count that money in my presence so I do know how much was it.

MR STEENKAMP: No questions, thank you Mr Chairman.


MR MALAN: I have one question only to pursue this please.

You answered to the question by the Chair, that you were told on the day that you would take the money to enhance the political objectives, then you said:

"So that we would have money to continue for the struggle"

Now would that money be used by yourself and Prof and the first applicant, your brother or how would that have been used?

MR KHOTLE: We are people of flesh and blood, we should be able to have food and have guns so that we would be able to continue with the struggle.

MR MALAN: So would you have shared it so that you can buy guns when needed and buy food when you needed or how would you have done it?

MR KHOTLE: We were not supposed to share, the unit, it was supposed to be in the unit's coffers.

MR MALAN: Where was the money of the unit kept?

MR KHOTLE: It's the unit commander who is in charge of the money, because I'm just a mere soldier.

MR MALAN: Did you work at that time?


MR MALAN: How did you get your food?

MR KHOTLE: I was staying at home at that time.

MR MALAN: Who gave you food?

MR KHOTLE: My parents Sir.

MR MALAN: Thank you.

MR MBANDAZAYO: Mr Chairman, that is just the case of the applicants in this matter.

CHAIRPERSON: Do you know where Prof got his instructions from?

MR KHOTLE: According to the information he received his instructions from comrade Mpathlele.

CHAIRPERSON: Is that Raymond Leklapa Mpathlele?

MR KHOTLE: That is correct Sir.



MR MBANDAZAYO: Thank you Mr Chairman, that is the case of the applicants Sir. There is no other evidence ...[indistinct]

MR STEENKAMP: I've got no further comment, thank you Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Do you propose to lead any evidence?

MR STEENKAMP: I'm not going to lead any evidence, thank you Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: ...[inaudible]

MR MBANDAZAYO IN ARGUMENT: Thank you Mr Chairman. Mr Chairman, I wouldn't bother the Committee regarding the policies of PAC and APLA, I would just go to the ...[indistinct].

Mr Chairman, it is not in dispute that the applicants were members of APLA and that it also transpired that at the time of the operation they were commanded by the person called Prof. Although Mr Chairman, I must confess that we did not have evidence. I consulted with them regarding who Prof is themselves. Unfortunately I couldn't get from them but it was through my investigation as to who was Prof in this matter. I must confess it was difficult because I was not going to give evidence and I wouldn't adduce from them because they didn't know his real name. But they were messing up when it comes to that, although they heard that he is from Ngcobo in Transkei. He was Tolbut, the real surname was Tolbut and he died in that incident. He was from Transkei at Ngcobo.

So if one takes into account that Tolbut, if the Committee accepts that Tolbut was all the way from Ngcobo in Transkei and was here at Free State, one would wonder if he would come all the way from Transkei just only to rob at Botshabelo. So it is clear that is was something more than that. He was here on a specific mission and that that specific mission was to carry the struggle forward and for their survival because of the limited funds, if I can adduce from the evidence, is that if they have to operate they must have arms.

It is clear even in this operation, they only had one firearm which was an AK47 and grenade and knife. So it's clear Mr Chairman, that the actions of the applicants were indeed associated with certain political objectives and that of continuing the armed struggle on behalf of their organisation the PAC.

Mr Chairman, also that in terms of disclosure, Mr Chairman I think it's my submission that they have met the requirements of the Act and they have told the Committee actually what did take place there. And also in the application as to what actually took place there.

Also if I may, the first applicant here who was the 2nd accused if I'm not mistaken, in the case, Oupa Lerato Khotle did not even in court hesitate to admit that we indeed committed the crime. Though accused number 2 at that time wanted to take his chances that he may be acquitted.

Mr Chairman, having said that and also taking into account that the manner in which they did the operation it is clear that they only wanted money. They manner that they did not hurt anybody there ...[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: Well they gave specific information, there was specific information before the court that the policy was not to injure anyone.

MR MBANDAZAYO: Yes, Mr Chairman, definitely that was specific information that they must not injure anyone which also is a clear indication that it was not, the only purpose was to get money which they wanted to use for this political objective. It had nothing to do, they didn't want to hurt anybody there.

And as such Mr Chairman, I'm submitting to this Committee, without taking much time, that this Committee should grant the applicants the amnesty as they have met all the requirements which have been set down in the Act. Thank you Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Do you have anything to say?

MR STEENKAMP IN ARGUMENT: Mr Chairman, ...[inaudible] except maybe to say, I see in the court record that the court has also found that the applicants, this criminal deed was not done for personal gain, also on page 39 ..[intervention]


MR STEENKAMP: 38, sorry Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: There was also evidence given at the trial by one Dolo, I'm not quite sure how he came to give evidence, but it was apparently accepted, that this was APLA policy.

A further factor which I think we should consider is, not only did the Trial Court accept that it was done for a political purpose, having heard all the evidence, but the Trial Court made a finding - I'm afraid I can't, or commented on the fact that the investigating officer ...[intervention]

MR STEENKAMP: That is on page 39 at the bottom Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: ...[inaudible] that accused number 2 co-operated with them after his arrest, not only in connection with this incident but a number of other incidents and quite clearly, if there was this complete frankness, Major Hugo would have investigated the political implications and if the applicants had not been telling the truth that evidence would have been disclosed to the court and it wasn't. So as I understand the reading of this, the prosecution excepted the fact that this was political.

I may say one of the few cases that have come before us where the applicants had at their trial raised the political angle. Mostly because the trials took place some time ago there was a strong denial that it was political, but in this case the issue was raised and was apparently never contested. Do you agree with that?

MR STEENKAMP: Mr Chairman, that is correct. I spoke to the investigating officer who is present here today and he confirms that as well.

CHAIRPERSON: Well, thank you.

In the light of the attitude adopted, very correctly by the Evidence Leader, it appears to us that this is an application that should be granted.

The applicants seek amnesty in respect of the robbery of a shop, the Pep Store in Botshabelo on the 17th of February 1992. It is clear from the information placed before us that although one of the persons were armed, no violence was used against the people in the store and they requested money, the safe was opened and the money was handed over. Thereafter the alarm was raised, the robbers fled. There were three of them. One of them was arrested by the police, the other went off on his own and thereafter the third robber who happened to be the one with the weapon was involved in a shoot-out with the police.

Although both the present applicants were charged with that, they were found not guilty at the trial. Not surprisingly in the fact that one of them was already under arrest at the time and there is no evidence that they anticipated that the police would be present. The evidence appears to have indicated that it was quite by chance that a vehicle in which there were policemen happened to be passing the vicinity at the time.

It is regretted that the shooting took place and as a result two policemen I think it was, two policemen died and the robber involved also died. It was a proper shoot-out. However that does not affect the present application which relates only to the robbery.

The evidence that the robbery was committed for the purpose of obtaining funds for the unit and APLA to continue their struggle has not been challenged, and on the evidence led at the criminal trial it appears that it could not be challenged. This is one of the few cases where a political defence was raised at the trial and the Trial Judge accepted on the evidence before him, that they had been instructed to carry out this operation as members of APLA. It was also commented on by the Trial Judge, that the evidence of the investigating officer was that the second accused, the first applicant, had co-operated with the police and he very fairly confirmed that to us today, that there had been co-operation. And in those circumstances there appears to be no doubt whatsoever that the act was committed during the course of the political struggle of the past, that the objective was to assist the political organisation of which they were members, that there was no motive of private gain on their part. The money was to be used by the unit, it was to be held by the unit commander.

We are also satisfied, and it has not been challenged in any way, that they have made a full and frank disclosure to us. They have been truthful. And in those circumstances they have complied with all the relevant provisions of the Act and are entitled to amnesty. That is amnesty in respect of the: Robbery of the Pep Store in Botshabelo on the 17th of February 1992.



MR STEENKAMP: As you wish Mr Chairman. I will see to it that the proper authorities be informed about the decision.

CHAIRPERSON: We're much obliged to you.

We now turn to the matter that was adjourned to today. I take it you have not been able to obtain the assistance of any senior member of the PAC to come and confirm the instructions?

MR MBANDAZAYO: Thank you Mr Chairman, that is the position. I couldn't get a person for today Mr Chairman, to come and confirm Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: It appears to us that it would be proper to give you a further extension and that is to grant you leave to file an affidavit within two weeks.

MR MBANDAZAYO: Mr Chairman, I would request three weeks.

CHAIRPERSON: Three weeks then from today's date. Within three weeks of today's date from such a person, any person of stature and rank in the party who can confirm the necessary averments. Once we have received that affidavit and once the Leader of Evidence has received it, we can consider the weight to be attached to it.

If it is not challenged and if we are satisfied that proper weight can be attached to it, we will arrive at a decision on the basis of that. We will take that affidavit into consideration in arriving at a decision. If however there is any reason to doubt the validity of the averments in that affidavit, we will notify you and the person making the affidavit can then be called to testify.

This means that we will require written argument from you in this matter. It is a matter I think which does require written argument in the light of the complexity of some of the averments that emerged during the course of the evidence.

We will get the affidavit within three weeks, we will notify you as to whether the contents are acceptable to us or whether we're going to hear evidence and we would then require written argument within two weeks of you receiving notification from us.

MR MBANDAZAYO: Thank you Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: That means that you can of course start preparing your written argument at this stage, subject to that additional evidence.

There is one other point which I would like to raise with which I and my colleagues feel we should have inquired into more fully during the course of evidence and we did not, and that is as to what happened to the money that was taken and whether there was any, was any direct evidence as to what was done with the money and as to whether there is any confirmation if it was handed to a divisional commander or any other person, whether there can be confirmation from that person, that the money was handed to him for the benefits of the party.

MR MBANDAZAYO: Mr Chairman, I wouldn't like to go deeper. I think where we missed it was where Khotle was giving evidence but Bhani indicated that they handed the money to him during his evidence, that it was given ...[intervention]

CHAIRPERSON: What happened to it then is what we would like to know. And you could perhaps make further enquiries and perhaps also deal with that by way of affidavit.

Have you got any objection Mr Steenkamp?

MR STEENKAMP: No, Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: So that matter is now concluded and we will consider the other matter, that is the: Wesselsbron/Thaba'Nchu Police Attack, and give our reasons later.

MR STEENKAMP: Mr Chairman, Honourable Members, that will be the roll for the week.

I would just like to take this opportunity to thank you and the Honourable Members and my learned colleague here, on behalf of the victims for the manner this was conducted, thank you Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: We would like to thank both of you for the co-operation we've had and for being able to get through our work as we have been able to. We appreciate the difficulties that one or other of you may have had at different times.

MR MBANDAZAYO: Thank you for that Mr Chairman.

CHAIRPERSON: Right, thank you all for your patience here and for all those who have done so much to make these sittings ...[tape ends]