Probe apartheid-era atrocities, says PAC

Full investigations into apartheid-era atrocities are needed, the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) urged President Thabo Mbeki on Tuesday.

”As the PAC we feel that we should have full investigations into unclosed chapters of the past … investigations were not thoroughly carried out,” PAC president Letlapa Mphahlele told reporters after meeting Mbeki at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

The two men and their delegations met as part of the meetings Mbeki has from time to time with opposition parties.

One of the cases the PAC wants investigated is the botched raid by the old-order South African Defence Force on a home in Umtata (now Mthatha) in the Transkei in 1993, in which five children were killed.

Mphahlele, who is a former director of operations of the Azanian People’s Liberation Army (Apla), the former military wing of the PAC, said in his case investigations were not needed.

”My case is unique because my failure to apply for amnesty did not amount to hiding any piece of information,” he said.

He said the PAC even disclosed information about acts in which it was not accused, such as the Eikenhof attack for which three African National Congress members were originally charged.

Apla took responsibility for the murder at Eikenhof of a woman and two children travelling from Vereeniging to Johannesburg in 1993.

Mphahlele said he also took up the issue of what the PAC regards as political prisoners still in jail.

Other issues the party discussed with the president were the honouring of heroes, and land restitution.

The PAC also asked Mbeki to declare an emergency to deal with HIV and Aids.

”It’s high time we stop making the HIV/Aids scourge a political ball and exercise,” Mphahlele said was the message the PAC had for the president.

According to him, Mbeki has agreed to a follow-up meeting between the PAC and Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, where she would inform the party about government’s work on tackling the pandemic.

”If the PAC feels that something needs to be added we are going to suggest [it at that meeting],” he said.

Papers filed

Last month it was reported that apartheid-era minister of law and order Adriaan Vlok and former police chief Johann van der Merwe will be charged with attempted murder.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Panyaza Lesufi said at the time that papers were filed with the Pretoria High Court and the matter will be heard on August 17.

The charges relate to an alleged plot to kill Frank Chikane, at present Director General in the Presidency. Chikane was secretary general of the South African Council of Churches when his underwear was lined with a poison that attacked his nervous system in 1989.

Vlok and Van der Merwe were meant to stand trial in the Pretoria High Court in 2004 after failing to apply for amnesty at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but the NPA reversed its decision to prosecute them.

The authority has since had discussions with lawyers for the two, which Lesufi described as meaningful. ”We, however, decided that due to the nature of this case it cannot be solved in a boardroom and it must be dealt with in the public domain in open court,” he said. — Sapa

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