Saturday, September 10, 2011

May 14, 1996 — Sapa


The investigation into the bombing of Magoo's Bar in Durban in 1986 will be reopened to obtain information about those who authorised the bomb attack, KwaZulu-Natal Attorney-General Tim McNally said on Tuesday.

The man convicted of planting the bomb, African National Congress member and Department of Foreign Affairs deputy director Robert McBride, would be approached for the information, McNally told reporters outside the Durban Supreme Court.

McBride served a jail term following his conviction and can no longer be charged in connection with the bombing, but investigators are interested in McBride's recent comments implicating unidentified ANC leaders in planning the attack.

McBride said last week he had planted the Magoo's bomb under the instruction of his political superiors.

Three people were killed and dozens injured in the blast.

McBride was sentenced to death three times for his part in the attack. His death sentence was later commuted to one of imprisonment, and after serving a number of years behind bars McBride was given a remission of sentence in 1992.
He recently gave up his seat in the Gauteng legislature to take up a post as deputy director in the Department of Foreign Affairs' Far East and Asian directorate.

"McBride is going to be approached. He's got a duty like any other member of the community to give evidence to police," McNally said.

McNally's comments follow renewed focus on the Magoo's bombing at last week's Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearing in Durban.

The body heard graphic descriptions of the aftermath of the bomb. Witnesses also expressed outrage that McBride had never shown remorse for murdering innocent people.

Testifying on the second day of the hearing, bar manager Helen Kearney said "all hell broke let loose shortly after 10pm, June 14 1986, when a normal Saturday night for regulars at Magoo's Bar came to an abrupt end.

"I remember flashing red, blue and green lights. There was a horrendous noise. Everything happened so fast. It was a massive bloodbath".

She said McBride should be removed from his government post.

"We don't wish him any harm. We just feel this post is wrong. He feels no remorse and has no conscience. I don't think he has ever spoken to one of the survivors," Kearney said.

McBride last week denied that he had never shown remorse for planting the bomb.

© South African Press Association, 1996

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