The Constitutional Court grappled with the role of amnesty and national reconciliation yesterday, as it heard an apartheid era policeman's bid to get his job back.
Former policeman Wybrand du Toit was convicted for his role in the Motherwell bombing, which left three policemen and an askari dead.
Du Toit's conviction for this was on appeal when he successfully applied for amnesty.
The difficulty the court faces is that although he was granted amnesty, it was after he had been discharged as a policeman.
In terms of the Police Act, policemen have to leave their job if they are convicted of a crime.
Du Toit's other difficulty is that he applied for amnesty before convictions. His lawyer, Jaap Cilliers, said he would be surprised if family members of those killed opposed Du Toit's reinstatement for his job.
Du Toit applied for, and was given amnesty in 2005, for the murders and then tried to get his job.
But after amnesty was granted, the police refused to reinstate him. He then applied to the Pretoria High Court for an order requiring police to reinstate him, but his application was dismissed.
The case went to the Supreme Court of Appeal, which held that the granting of amnesty does not extinguish the consequences of a conviction and sentence, and that amnesty cannot be applied retrospectively. -- Sapa