Victims of violence flay Motlanthe

TEARFUL: Angelina Matshoba. 05/05/09. © Unknown,
TEARFUL: Angelina Matshoba. 05/05/09. © Unknown,

Anna Majavu

Anna Majavu

Human rights lawyers, NGOs and the families of victims of a racist white bomber have slammed outgoing President Kgalema Motlanthe for trying to push through presidential pardons before his term expired.

Motlanthe was last week interdicted by North Gauteng high court judge Willie Seriti from granting pardons.

This was after the group, including Freedom of Expression Institute, Legal Resources Centre, Human Rights Media Centre and the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation argued successfully that it would be unconstitutional for Motlanthe to grant pardons without consulting the victims first.

LRC advocate Lwazi Kubukeli yesterday said the group was forced to interdict Motlanthe after being stonewalled by Justice Minister Enver Surty and the committee on pardons.

Kubukeli said he received a letter from Motlanthe stating "the president does not need to take into consideration the views of the victims".

Among those to be pardoned was one Jan "Voetbal" van der Westhuizen, currently serving 40 years for planting bombs that killed six people - five of them children - on December 24 1996.

Yesterday Van der Westhuizen's victims' mothers demanded that his application be rejected.

Angelina Matshoba said her nine-year-old son Xolani died of his injuries seven days after the blasts.