African National Congress spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa on Sunday confirmed a Sunday newspaper report that former Umkhonto we Sizwe cadres have made applications for amnesty to beat the December 14 deadline.

According to a report in the Sunda Times the cadres were still unsure of how the amnesty process worked and were worried about who would be paying for legal council in the event of an amnesty hearing.

But Mamoepa said the state's legal aid board was responsible for funding the defence costs of amnesty applicants.

He declined to name those who had applied for amnesty and said the names would only be available by the end of the week.

Defence Minister Joe Modise, his deputy, Ronnie Kasrils, and former MK special operations commander Aboobaker Ismail were reported to be among those who were applying.

Mamoepa said his office was considering applications from all nine provinces.

"All applications from various provinces are being sent to headquarters. We have received 30 from Gauteng so far but we will only be able to reveal names and numbers next week," he said.

So far the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's amnesty committee, headed by Judge Hassan Mall, has considered 1600 of about 3500 applications. The small number of decisions it has made - amnesty can only be granted if there is full discloure of the crimes committed and if a genuine political motive can be shown - has not eased the concerns of other applicants.

South African Press Association, 1996
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