STATEMENT BY THE TRC: AMNESTY APPLICATIONS FOR CRADOCK FOUR KILLINGS, 16 February 1998
Seven former Security Branch policemen who have applied for amnesty in connection with the 1985 killing of four Cradock United Democratic Front activists will testify at a hearing scheduled to begin next week February 23 and continue until March 06 in Port Elizabeth.
The seven former policemen are Eric Alexander Taylor, Gerhardus Johannes Lotz, Nicholas Janse van Rensburg, Harold Snyman, Johan Martin van Zyl, Hermanus Barend du Plessis and Eugene de Kok - who is applying for amnesty for defeating the ends of justice in the case.
The Cradock Four - Matthew Goniwe, Sparrow Mkhonto, Fort Calata and Sicelo Mhlauli, were abducted while returning to Cradock from a meeting in Port Elizabeth. They were then allegedly taken to Olifantshoek Pass and later to Port Elizabeth where they were assaulted, killed and their bodies and the vehicle in which they were travelling burnt on June 27, 1985.
Three Security Branch policemen, a Sergeant Faku, Sgt Mgoduka and one Sakati who participated in the killing of the activists were later killed in a car bomb blast at Motherwell in 1989.
Two inquests were held following the killing of the Cradock activists. During the second inquest in 1994, evidence was led which pointed to the involvement of the then South African Defence Force in the killing of the activists. This evidence related to a signal which was allegedly sent by Colonel Lourens du Plessis, on behalf of Brigadier van der Westhuizen to Major General van Rensburg in which the `permanent removal' from society of the deceased was recommended.
However, the court held that it was unable, on the basis of evidence before it at the time, to establish who were responsible for the killing of the Cradock activists.
The Amnesty Panel will be chaired by Mr Justice Ronnie Pillay, Advocate George Bizos SC will appear for the victims next of kin while Advocate Cobus Booyens will represent the applicants.
The hearing is due to start at 10h00 at Centenary Hall, Ntshekisa Street in Port Elizabeth.
For more information the media can contact: Phila Ngqumba at 0824588463 or Vuyani Green at 0824595464.
Issued by: Truth and Reconciliation Commission