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Ex-South Africa Cops Get Amnesty

February 18, 1999

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) _ A human rights panel granted amnesty Thursday to two former policemen who bombed the house of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in 1985.

Madikizela-Mandela, ex-wife of President Nelson Mandela, was staying in Brandfort at the time, 250 miles southwest of Johannesburg, where the apartheid government had forced her to live.

Mphithizeli Ngo and Mohonaetsi Motsamai also were granted amnesty for bombing a clinic run by Madikizela-Mandela, but were denied amnesty for other crimes, including murders and robberies carried out in nearby townships.

To qualify for amnesty from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, applicants must fully confess their deeds and show a political motive. Although the commission wound up operations last year, its amnesty arm is continuing to process claims.

In other decisions announced Thursday, Wanda Mdletshea, a member of the Zulu nationalist Inkatha Freedom Party, and Lu Sima, a supporter of the then-rival African National Congress, were granted amnesty for killing political opponents. Six other ANC supporters who were part of a mob that killed an Inkatha member in 1991 also got amnesty.

The panel turned down amnesty for Solomon Khanyile, an Inkatha supporter serving 45 years in jail for three murders and 10 attempted killings. The commission ruled the attacks had not been political.

The commission was set up in 1995, a year after all-race elections ended apartheid, and investigated atrocities committed by all sides in the fight against white rule.

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