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Rightwing bombers on pardons list

A list of 149 people being considered for a presidential pardon includes two men convicted of 21 murders and rightwingers convicted of blowing up a Worcester supermarket and attacking striking municipal workers in Kuruman. Those on the list released on Monday were recommended for a presidential pardon in terms of the Special Dispensation created by former president Thabo Mbeki in 2007.

The dispensation allowed for those convicted of politically motivated offences before June 16, 1999 and who had not applied for amnesty to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), to apply for a pardon.

The applications for the special pardons would be handled by a reference group comprising only of political party representatives, who according to Khulumani Support Group would meet behind closed doors.

Mbeki had found himself on the same side as the rightwing Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) in opposing an application brought by a coalition of victim support groups and civil rights groups, who were demanding that the victims be consulted over the pardons.

The Constitutional Court ruled on February 23 this year that the victims had to be consulted.

On Monday the department released the list of names together with their crimes, which include treason, murder, attempted murder, sabotage and the illegal possession of weapons and explosives.

In a statement released late Monday, the Khulumani Support Group said: "We note with surprise that there are several individuals on the list of offenders recommended for pardon who are serial killers and who have engaged in crimes such as theft and robbery with aggravating circumstances."

People appearing on the list include Alexander Whitehead, Arend De Waal, Gerhardus Taljaard, Willem Jacobs, Hans Wessels, Ryno Rossouw and Ryan Albutt. They were part of a group of about 50 white men, armed with pick handles and sjamboks, who attacked a group of protesting black municipal workers in August 1995.

Later, a municipal worker, Gaoretelwe Adam Brown, was found unconscious with a wound to his head. He was taken to hospital where he died.

AWB members Johannes "Voetbal" van der Westhuizen, and his two accomplices, Nicolaas "Cliffy" Barnard and Abraham "Koper" Myburgh who planted a bomb at a supermarket in Worcester in the Western Cape on Christmas Eve in 1996, were on the list.

Four people were killed in the blast and 50 people were injured.

Barnard subsequently escaped police custody and went on to kill another person.

Also listed, were a number of people caught up in the battle for control of Richmond in KwaZulu-Natal in the 1990s between the African National Congress and the United Democratic Movement.

Emmanuel Simanga Dlamini and Mbongeni Mjwara were both convicted of 21 counts of murder and 15 counts of attempted murder. Vulindlela Blessing Nkabinde was convicted of 19 murders and Sipho Edward Mntungwa and Bongani Derick Nkabinde were convicted for the January 1999 Ndabezitha family massacre.

At the trial of the five, the court was told that the attack on the Ndabezitha household, in which 11 people were killed, was a revenge attack in response to the slaying of UDM secretary-general Sifiso Nkabinde on January 23, 1999.

Also on the list was former apartheid police minister Adriaan Vlok and his then police chief Johan van der Merwe, along with former police major general Chris Smit and former colonels Gert Otto and Manie van Staden, all of whom pleaded guilty in 2007 to the attempted murder of Reverend Frank Chikane in 1989. They had attempted to poison him.

The full list of those seeking pardon can be viewed online click here.

Those who want to make representations have to do so within the next 30 days.


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