The Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Friday announced it had granted amnesty to 37 African National Congress members, including Deputy President Thabo Mbeki and five Cabinet ministers.

Son of TRC chair Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Trevor Tutu, who was serving a jail sentence for a bomb threat at East London airport, was also granted amnesty, as were five right-wingers.

The ministers given amnesty are Defence Minister Joe Modise, Foreign Affairs Minister Alfred Nzo, Transport Minister Mac Maharaj, Environment Minister Dr Pallo Jordan and Justice Minister Dullah Omar.

Other well-known names include:

- Deputy Environment Minister Peter Mokaba;

- Deputy Minister for Intelligence, Joe Nhlanhla;

- Chairman of the National Assembly's Constitutional Affairs portfolio committee, Pravin Gordhan;

- ANC national chairman and KwaZulu-Natal leader Jacob Zuma;

- Mpumalanga premier Mathews Phosa;

- Deputy Minister in Mbeki's office, Essop Pahad;

- SACP general secretary Charles Nqakula;

- chairman of the National Assembly's Arts and Culture portfolio committee, Dr Wally Serote;

- Deputy Speaker Baleka Mbete-Kgositsile;

- TRC chief executive Dr Biki Minyuku; and

- Lt-Gen Jackie Molefe, the first woman general in the SANDF and wife of Defence Minister Joe Modise.

- SABC TV journalist Snuki Zikalala.

The senior ANC politicians said they were applying for amnesty in terms of the doctrine of collective responsibility.

Many of the ANC applicants added that the political objective and justification for their actions had been outlined in their party's submission to the TRC.

Omar, who was a prominent United Democratic Front leader and never went into exile like many of the other ANC applicants, said in his application he was not applying for any specific act, omission or offences, but "as member of the ANC National Executive Committee I accept responsibility, including collective responsibility, for the decisions of the NEC".

The other ANC members who received amnesty are January Masilela, Dumisani Makhaye, Wilfred Matsane, Colin Coleman, Barry Gilder, Basil Mafu, Mosiviwe Mapisa, John Nkadimeng, Lambert Moloi, Billy Masetlha, Ruth Mompati, Jacob Selebi, Garth Strachan, Sipho Makana, Andrew Masondo, Lincoln Ngculu, Keith Mokoape, Mtikeni Sibande and Johannes Mudimu.

Five policemen were granted amnesty for offences committed at the ANC's Pietersburg offices and a Congress of South African Trade Unions building in Pretoria.

They are Dieter Stols, Fredrik Geyser, Pieter Bester, Theunis Gerber and Wilhelm Els.

The five men said their actions, as members of the security forces, had been motivated by a desire to protect law and order and to fight for the continuation of a "normal, Western, democratic lifetatement its amnesty committee had granted amnesty to the 43 after considering their applications in chambers.

The law governing the TRC gives it the discretion to grant amnesty without holding a hearing if the applicant does not constitute a gross violation of human rights.

ANC national spokesman Ronnie Momoepa said in reaction his party welcomed the announcement.

"The ANC has always respected the independence and integrity of the TRC to arrive at decisions in the best interests of reconciliation and nation-building.

"Obviously the granting the amnesty will go a long way in consolidating the confidence of the people in the TRC processes," Mamoepa said.

South African Press Association, 1997
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