Bahai News -- DA lambastes Mbeki pardons

DA lambastes Mbeki pardons

By Donwald Pressly

The official opposition Democratic Alliance stated that the judgment in the Dumisani Ncamazana murder case was an indication of how seriously flawed the presidential pardon of Eastern Cape prisoners had been.

The East London High Court found Ncamazana, 26, and his brother Simnikiwe, 22, guilty of two separate murders - that of local businessman Martin Whitaker and taxi owner Xolani Gongata respectively.

DA leader Tony Leon has maintained an interest in the case and hosted Whitaker's partner, Liesl de Villiers, at parliament to focus opposition against the presidential pardon of the older Ncamazana brother.

He was one of 33 prisoners pardoned by President Thabo Mbeki in May and released from prison - two weeks before the murder of Whitaker.

Ncamazana was jailed for 16 years for his part in Azanian People's Liberation Army attacks before the 1994 election. In one attack he killed three members of the Baha'i Faith Mission.

DA MP Dene Smuts said the ruling African National Congress would be advised to take the Whitaker case into account when it debated new amnesty mechanisms at its Stellenbosch national conference - which starts on Monday.

Smuts said there "may well be a place for the use of the power of presidential pardon in individual hard luck cases where amnesty was not granted" by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

But there must be transparency and accountability to prevent the arbitrary exercise of executive clemency, she said.

Smuts said the political question the ANC should ask itself was whether it was wise to make amnesty for politically motivated crimes a continuous feature of the South African landscape "when we are still plagued by political violence, and enter this Christmas period under threat of renewed activity by alleged right wing forces".

The court today found that Ncamazana gunned down Whitaker in his suburban Sugar Shack cafe on May 27.

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