BLOEMFONTEIN September 8 1997 - SAPA


The former security policeman who has confessed to bugging Winnie Mandela's Brandfort home has also admitted to setting it alight.

Sergeant Mohonaetse Motsamai (43) is applying for amnesty for murder, attacks on political activists, arson and the bombing of Mandela's house and clinic while she was banned in Brandfort during the 1980s.

Motsamai on Monday testified before the Bloemfontein Truth and Reconciliation Commission's amnesty committee that he and a Sergeant Nkululeko Mamome set the house and clinic of Winnie Mandela in Brandfort alight on two occasions during her exile.

He said a Colonel Abraham Coetzee gave the order for the attack on Mandela's residence. Petrol was poured over the furniture and set alight. Mandela was in Johannesburg at the time.

Her telephone was also tapped by the security branch to monitor her political activities, Motasamai said. Recordings of her conversations were taped at Brandfort police station.

Motsamai also said he murdered a man for helping African National Congress cadres escape from South Africa. During this period Coetzee gave himself and Mamome orders to kill the man. Motsamai still does not know who the victim was.

He told the commission Coetzee warned them to be "very careful" as they were "going to kill someone". Coetzee also inspected the gun to be used in the killing and gave them R10 to buy petrol to set the house of their victim alight.

Motsamai said they knocked on the victim's door and overpowered the old man who opened it. He shot the old man at close range on the left side of the head, poured petrol on the body, and set it and the house alight.

The next day Coetzee and a Lieutenant Terry Shaw wanted to know why they did not burn the whole house. An investigation into the murder and arson was started, but nothing came of it.

Motsamai admits that he was involved in the torture of at least 27 political activists. Among the names listed are Brian Nakedi and Moses Mogamise, both members of the Bloemfontein local transitional council, Moses Seheri, a local ANC leader, and Joe Jikila, a regional leader of the Pan Africanist Congress in Bloemfontein.

He also admits to involvement in an attack where the car of then leader of the Mangaung Youth Congress and currrent mayor of Bloemfontein, Jani Mohapi, was burnt.

Motsamai said Coetzee tried to recruit Mohapi as an informer, but Mohapi refused. Coetzee and Shaw then decided to burn Mohapi's car.

South African Press Association, 1996
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