No reprieve for Gideon Nieuwoudt

Gideon Nieuwoudt, the former security policeman notorious for his involvement in the murder of Steve Biko, has for a second time been denied amnesty for the Motherwell bombing—this time by a specially convened amnesty panel.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) amnesty panel was convened in Port Elizabeth last year to review the application of Nieuwoudt and two others, Marthinus Ras and Wybrand du Toit, for the 1989 car-bomb killing of the Motherwell Four—three black police officers and an “askari” (police informer).

According to sources, Nieuwoudt was pardoned by one of the commissioners in the draft ruling, but the decision was overruled by the majority. Ras and Du Toit are expected to be granted amnesty after the panel found that they met the TRC’s criteria of providing an open and honest account of events, as well as a political motive.
The panel is expected to finalise its findings next week.

The three former security policemen, who have since been found guilty of the murder by a court of law, were first denied amnesty in 1997 for the killings of Warrant Officer Mbalala “Glen” Mgoduka, Sergeant Amos Temba Faku, Sergeant Desmond Daliwonga Mpipa and Xolile Shepard Sakati (alias Charles Jack), in Motherwell, Port Elizabeth, on December 14 1989. Then, in 2001 the Cape High Court ordered a new hearing.

The Motherwell Four died when the car they were travelling in was blown up. They were all members of the Port Elizabeth Security Branch, except for Jack, who was an “askari” and also on the security branch payroll.

Nieuwoudt testified before the panel that the four were eliminated because they were leaking information to the African National Congress. He testified that he detonated the car bomb and watched it explode. Then, as investigating bomb expert, he blamed the bombing on the African National Congress.

When advocate Kessie Naidu, who acted on behalf of families for the deceased, during cross-examination alleged that his evidence against the men had been “flimsy”, Nieuwoudt told the court that a listening device in a cafÃ

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