DAY: 2


CHAIRPERSON: ...[inaudible] the Committee, the panel comprises myself, Sisi Khampepe, on my right hand side Mr Wynand Malan, on my left hand side Advocate Francis Bosman. Mr Prior?

ADV PRIOR ADDRESSES COMMITTEE: Madam Chair yes. Madam Chair, the position with the remaining amnesty applications which number approximately twenty, there is a difficulty. That difficulty as Madam Chair is aware as well as the Committee, we've been trying to solve this morning was that in respect of all the victims in these amnesty applications notice or proper notice has not been given as is required in terms of Section 19.4 of our Act and although there was press release on the 18th November I understand in The Star, apart from that and I understand there was a broadcast on the Sesotho radio station, unfortunately I haven't been informed when that was. I cannot give the Committee any assurance that victims have been properly notified. My investigation of these matters in the main where the applicants have been convicted, there are court records available. In fact some of the applicants mention victims by their names and some of them even give addresses. I have no indication before me that this information was followed up upon, that it was investigated properly and that at least reasonable steps were taken to contact the victims. I am in the unhappy position Madam Chair to inform the Committee that I have in the circumstances been instructed by head office Cape Town to ask that these amnesty applications be postponed sine die, that is until new dates can be arranged and that is in the New Year. Thank you unless there is any other matter the Committee wish to hear me on?

CHAIRPERSON: Was there not a simile application where a notice was served on any of the identified victims?

ADV PRIOR: On the information I have before me the file that was handed to me relating to Section 19.4 notices, Madam Chair there was not one return of service and in that regard I then cannot indicate to you that there was proper service in respect of any of the matters.

CHAIRPERSON: It is a serious cause for discontent Mr Prior, that we should be having a situation like this. I think the applicants, the majority of whom had to appear for the next three weeks are applicants who are in prison and in terms of Section 18 they should be given a priority when it comes to the scheduling of applications. One would have thought that much care and attention would have been taken to ensure that mistakes such as these do not happen. We are not happy with the situation as a panel and we hope that these will be communicated to our administrative staff in Cape Town. We cannot afford to run hearings in such a disjointed fashion. Mr Mahlaba, you have heard Mr Prior's reasons for requesting that the matters be postponed sine die. Do you have anything to say?

MR MAHLABA: Thank you Madam Chair I have nothing to add, the communication has already been communicated to me by Mr Prior previously. I've got no objection to that.

ADV PRIOR: Madam Chair, before Advocate Sekwana is asked to address the Committee may I also draw to the panel's attention that I received yesterday afternoon or during the course of the day rather a faxed letter from the Inkatha Freedom Party addressed by a Mr M.A. Msisi who in the letter requested a postponement due to the fact that amnesty applications in respect of SDU members were given to the IFP at a very late stage. They also indicated that they would be in a position to assist tracing victims and that they needed more time to do that so there is an added dimension to the matters that it would be dangerous to proceed with matters where victims have not been - especially victims of another political group, have not been given adequate notice in respect of these applications. May I have leave to possibly hand up the letter?

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr Prior, will that be Exhibit A then?

ADV PRIOR: Thank you, I'll mark it A.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Sekwana, I suppose the same would be applicable in respect of your matter. You are carrying the matter of Mr Sishaba and from what Mr Prior has said there does not seem to have been any notices served on any of the victims in respect of all the applications set down for the next three weeks before this panel. Do you have anything to say in response to what has been said by Mr Prior?

MR SEKWANA: Madam Chair, it's not specifically - I've got no problem with the postponement as such but I've got a request which I want to place on record that Mr Sishaba is currently waiting for sentence to be passed in the Johannesburg High Court and the judge has indicated that he will go ahead with the sentencing of Mr Sishaba irrespective of wether or not the application for amnesty has been finalised and the matter is coming on the 8th December 1998. I therefore on behalf of Mr Sishaba request the Committee to make a recommendation on his behalf that the question of sentence be suspended until the application for amnesty is finalised by the Committee.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Seswana, you say on the 8th December 1998 Mr Sishaba will be sentenced? Has he already been convicted? Has your client already been convicted?

MR SEKWANA: Yes he has been convicted madame.

CHAIRPERSON: I think we have been given powers in terms of Section 20 of the Act to support such a postponement and we'll do whatever it takes to support a postponement and Mr Prior will liaise with you.

MR SEKWANA: I'm grateful for that.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Prior, it would appear that the Committee is an unhappy state in having to reluctantly grant you a postponement, your application for a postponement of all these matters. We have taken into account the reasons that we have advanced even though we have expressed our unhappiness. We hope that we will be confronted with such requests in the near future. I would like to address the public and convey our sincere apologies for having kept you here the whole morning. It was indeed for reasons beyond the Committee's control. We hope that when the matter will be heard the next time there will be no cause for any delay in respect of the matters that would be heard by the Committee. We hope you understand. We would like to express our gratitude for having attended this hearing, thank you.

The matter is postponed sine die and the Committee will adjourn to a date to be arranged.