The Info List - St James Church Massacre

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The Saint James Church massacre was a massacre perpetrated on St James Anglican Church in Kenilworth, Cape Town, South Africa, on 25 July 1993 by four terrorists of the Azanian People's Liberation Army (APLA). Eleven members of the congregation were killed and 58 wounded. In 1998 the attackers were granted amnesty for their acts by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.


1 Massacre 2 Similar attacks 3 Arrest and trial 4 Amnesty 5 Reconciliation 6 Later developments 7 See also 8 References 9 External links

Massacre[edit] The attack occurred during the Sunday evening service. Sichumiso Nonxuba, Bassie Mkhumbuzi, Gcinikhaya Makoma and Tobela Mlambisa approached the church, a congregation of the Church of England in South Africa, in a vehicle stolen by Mlambisa and Makoma beforehand. Nonxuba, who commanded the unit, and Makoma entered the church armed with M26 hand grenades and R4 assault rifles.[1] They threw the grenades and then opened fire on the congregation, killing 11 and wounding 58.[2] One member of the congregation, Charl van Wyk, who wrote a book about the event (Shooting Back), returned fire with a .38 special revolver, wounding one of the attackers. At this point they fled the church. Mkhumbuzi had been ordered to throw four petrol bombs into the church following the shooting, but abandoned this intention as all four fled in the vehicle.[2] Members of the congregation killed were Guy Cooper Javens, Richard Oliver O'Kill, Gerhard Dennis Harker, Wesley Alfonso Harker, Denise Gordon, Mirtle Joan Smith, Marita Ackermann, Andrey Katyl, Oleg Karamjin, Valentin Varaksa and Pavel Valuet.[2] The last four on this list were Russian seamen attending the service as part of a church outreach programme. Another Russian seaman, Dmitri Makogon, lost both legs and an arm in the attack. The attack was seen as particularly shocking as relatively few terrorist attacks happened in white suburbs and the Cape Town area was regarded as relatively peaceful. The attack was seen as harming prospects for future constitutional negotiation.[3] Similar attacks[edit]

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APLA cadres were held responsible for several similar attacks. Among these were the attack on King William's Town Golf Club on 28 November 1992 in which four people were killed, and the attack on the Heidelberg Tavern in Observatory, Cape Town on 31 December 1993, in which four people were killed. Ballistic tests showed that the same rifles were used in the St James and Heidelberg Tavern attacks. Arrest and trial[edit]

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Makoma was arrested ten days later and convicted for 11 murders. He was sentenced to 23 years in prison. Nonxuba, Mlambisa and Mkhumbuzi were subsequently arrested and charged in 1996. They had in the meantime joined the South African National Defence Force as part of the integration of APLA operatives into the new national defence force. In 1997, while on trial, Nonxuba, Mlambisa and Mkhumbuzi appealed to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for amnesty, together with Makoma. They were granted bail pending their appearance before the TRC. Nonxuba died in a car accident while on bail. Amnesty[edit] Makoma, Mkhumbuzi and Mlambisa were all granted amnesty for the St James Church attack by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).[2] As a result, Makoma was freed after serving only 5½ years of his sentence, and the trial of Mkhumbuzi and Mlambisa was never completed. In this and other APLA amnesty hearings, APLA operatives claimed that they were following their orders and that they regarded all whites as legitimate targets as they were complicit in the government's policy of apartheid.[citation needed] In statements made to the representatives of St James church they added they were unaware the selected target was a church until they arrived in Kenilworth. Dawie Ackerman, husband of one of the victims, noted that perhaps 35–40% of the congregation were people of colour, with the counsel for the APLA saying they had assumed all congregants would be white as the church was in a white area.[2] Letlapa Mphahlele, national director of operations for APLA, took responsibility for ordering the attacks as part of his application for amnesty. He claimed that he had authorised attacks on white civilians following the killing of five school children by the Transkei Defence Force in Umtata.[4] Amnesty in such cases was typically granted in terms of the TRC's mandate because the crimes were considered politically motivated, with the perpetrators following the orders of the APLA commanders, and full disclosure was made to the TRC. Although amnesty was granted to the individual perpetrators, the TRC found the act itself, and other APLA/PAC attacks specifically targeting civilians, were "a gross violation of human rights" and a "violation of internal [sic] humanitarian law".[5] Reconciliation[edit] Several of the church members who were injured or who lost family members in the attacks, as well as Charl van Wyk, who had returned fire on the attackers, later met and publicly reconciled with the APLA attackers.[6] Later developments[edit] On 27 August 2002, Gcinikhaya Makoma was arrested along with six others following a cash-in-transit heist of a Standard Bank cash van in Constantia, Cape Town, in which R1.8 million was stolen.[7][8] He and the others were later acquitted, with the magistrate finding that the prosecution case had been badly put together and that documents had been falsified by an investigating officer.[9] Makoma was eventually convicted on 16 February 2012 of murder and robbery and sentenced to life and 46 years in prison for his role in a December 2007 cash van heist in Parow, Cape Town.[10] In October 2004, Charl Van Wyk became a founding member of Gun Owners of South Africa (GOSA), an online civilian gun rights ownership group, which is involved in public demonstrations against the Firearms Control Act.[citation needed] See also[edit]

List of massacres in South Africa Navaly Church massacre, Sri Lanka


^ "Churches were used to oppress blacks, says amnesty applicant" (Press release). South African Press Association. 9 July 1997. Retrieved 1 September 2008.  ^ a b c d e "Decision AC/98/0018". Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa. Truth and Reconciliation Commission (South Africa). 11 June 1998.  Department of Justice and Constitutional Development website, doj.gov.za; accessed 3 December 2017. ^ John Carlin. "10 shot dead in Cape Town church: Black gunmen open fire on congregation in attack likely to undermine negotiations in South Africa". The Independent. Retrieved 21 December 2016.  ^ "Hands that unleashed Thunder", Forachange.co.uk; accessed 20 December 2016. ^ "The Liberation Movements from 1960 to 1990" (PDF). Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa Report. Truth and Reconciliation Commission (South Africa). 2: 692. Retrieved 3 December 2017. The commission finds that the targeting of civilians for killing was not only a gross violation of human rights of those affected but a violation of internal humanitarian law  ^ "Justice Home". Doj.gov.za. Retrieved 21 December 2016.  ^ IOL Gang fled R1,8m heist 'at speed of lightning', Iol.co.za; accessed 20 December 2016. ^ "St James killer gets life for heist death". News24.com. Retrieved 3 December 2017.  ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 February 2009. Retrieved 2008-06-03.  ^ IOL Ex-Apla man gets life in prison for cash van heist, Iol.co.za; accessed 20 December 2016.

External links[edit]

St James Church Website Churchgoer Charl van Wyk recounts meeting APLA attacker in 2002 Frontline Fellowship response to the attacks TRC Amnesty findings

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Political history of South Africa

Defunct polities

Kingdom of Mapungubwe (c. 1075–c. 1220) Dutch Cape Colony (1652–1806) Mthethwa Paramountcy (c. 1780–1817) Ndwandwe Kingdom (c. 1780–1819) Cape Colony (1795–1910) Zulu Kingdom (1816–97) Natalia Republic (1839–43) Natal Colony (1843–1910) Orange Free State (1854–1902) South African Republic (1856–1902) Griqualand East (1861–79) Griqualand West (1870–73) Goshen (1882–83) Stellaland (1882–85) Nieuwe Republiek (1884–88) Upingtonia (1885–87) Klein Vrystaat (1886–91) Orange River Colony (1902–10) Transvaal Colony (1902–10) Union of South Africa (1910–61) Transkei (1976–94) Bophuthatswana (1977–94) Venda (1979–94) Ciskei (1981–94)



Dutch settlement French Huguenot settlement Khoikhoi–Dutch Wars Xhosa Wars Battle of Muizenberg Battle of Blaauwberg Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814


Mfecane 1820 Settlers Great Trek Boer Republics Transvaal Civil War Mineral Revolution Witwatersrand Gold Rush South African Wars South Africa Act 1909


Maritz Rebellion Rand Rebellion Great Depression 1946 African Mine Workers' Union strike Bantustans

Apartheid era

1948 general election Apartheid legislation

Pass laws

Internal resistance Coloured-vote constitutional crisis Defiance Campaign Congress of the People

Freedom Charter

Women's March 1956 1957 Alexandra bus boycott Sharpeville massacre 1960 republic referendum International isolation

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Olympics Rugby union

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Israel–South Africa Agreement

Soweto Uprising Weapons of mass destruction Project Coast Constructive engagement Church Street bombing 1983 constitutional reform referendum Langa massacre Rubicon speech Dakar Conference Third Force CODESA 1992 apartheid referendum Saint James Church massacre Bophuthatswana crisis Shell House massacre


1994 general election Government of National Unity Reconstruction and Development Programme Truth and Reconciliation Commission Arms Deal Floor crossing Soweto bombings African Renaissance Xenophobia Marikana massacre 2012 Western Cape farm workers' strike Nkandlagate 2014 platinum strike #RhodesMustFall protests #FeesMustFall student protests Tshwane riots

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African nationalism Afrikaner Calvinism Afrikaner nationalism Azania Baasskap Boerehaat Black Consciousness Movement Day of the Vow Greater South Africa Honorary whites Rooi gevaar Slavery Swart gevaar Uitlander Volkstaat

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Afrikaner Bond Afrikaner Broederbond Afrikaner Party AITUP APO AVF BPC Black Sash CDA CTEG COD Congress Alliance COSG CP Dominion Party DP (1973–1977) DP (1989–2000) DPP ECC FA FD Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners GNP Het Volk HNP IDASA ID IP ISL Jeugkrag Johannesburg Reform Committee Labour Party (1910–1958) Labour Party (1969–1994) Liberal Party (1953–1968) NA NCP Natal Indian Congress NLP NNP NP NPP NRP NUSAS PFP Progressive Party (Cape Colony) Progressive Party PRP Radio Freedom Reform Party SABP SADECO SAIC SASO SAYCO SAYRCO South African Party (Cape Colony) South African Party (1911–1934) South African Party (1977–1980) TNIP Torch Commando UFP United Party Unionist Party Volksparty Workers Party WOSA

Trade unions and social movements


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APLA ARM BBB Boeremag Greyshirts MK Ossewabrandwag Orde van die Dood SANF

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Truth and Reconciliation Commission


Chairman: Desmond Tutu Deputy chairman: Alex Boraine testimony


Amy Biehl Foundation Trust Institute for Justice and Reconciliation


Azanian People's Liberation Army Civil Cooperation Bureau State Security Council


Umkhonto we Sizwe Third Force


Amanzimtoti bombing Battle of Ventersdorp Church Street bombing The Cradock Four Durban beach-front bombing Heidelberg Tavern massacre The Gugulethu Seven Mthatha Raid Pebco Three Saint James Church massacre Sharpeville massacre Shell House massacre Bombing of Khotso House Trojan Horse Incident Queenstown Massacre


Non-fiction books

Country of My Skull (1998) A Human Being Died That Night (2003)


Red Dust (2000)


Forgiveness (2004) In My Country (2004) Red Dust (2004) Zulu Love Letter (2004)

Coordinates: 33°59′33″S 18°28′37″E / 33.992387°S 18.47697°E / -3