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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 230

Paragraph Numbers 259 to 267

Volume 2

Chapter 3

Subsection 29

Toto Roy Dweba

259 The Commission received a statement from Ms Virginia Vuyiswa Dweba [KZN/NN/ 288/DN] concerning the killing of her son, Mr Toto Roy Dweba, in Mthunzini on the Natal north coast on 20 August 1985. Dweba, a UDF and Natal Freedom Charter Committee member, was the brother-in-law of MK member Mduduzi Guma, killed in the 1981 Matola raid. Evidence given in a section 29 enquiry by Security Branch member Vusi Ismael “Spyker” Myeza indicates that Dweba was supected of being a courier of guns for the ANC from Swaziland.

260 Dweba’s wife, Ms Daphne Dweba [KZN/MR/492/DN], said that her husband was abducted from his place of work on 19 August 1985. He was fatally stabbed and mutilated in Eshowe on 20 August 1985. She said that she had received strange phone calls, and suspected that the caller was responsible for the abduction and killing. On 22 August 1985, the police informed Mrs Dweba that her husband had been found dead. On 27 August, a petrol bomb was thrown at the Dweba house.

261 Toto Dweba was buried on 5 September 1985. Two weeks after the funeral, his hands were found in a plastic bag in a cane field. The hands were taken to Pretoria for forensic tests. Some weeks later, Dweba’s uncle, police officer Maxwell Dweba, was contacted by the Empangeni police station and told to fetch his nephew’s hands, which were then buried.

262 Three months after the burial, an unknown white man in civilian clothing sought out Maxwell Dweba and took him to a white Ford Escort in Gillespie Street, Durban. In the boot were his dead nephew’s clothes, which the unknown white man said were “from Pretoria”.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT TOTO DWEBA WAS KILLED BY, OR ON THE ORDERS OF, UNKNOWN SECURITY FORCE MEMBERS, AND THAT HIS DEATH WAS A GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION WHICH ENTAILED DELIBERATE PLANNING ON THE PART OF THE SAID SECURITY FORCES.
Florence Ribeiro and Fabian Ribeiro

263 On 1 December 1986, Dr Fabian Ribeiro and his wife Florence were assassinated outside their home in Mamelodi. Shortly thereafter, a vehicle identified by witnesses was traced to Mr Noel Robey [AM5470/97], an SADF Special Forces operative. No one was charged with the killing. Those who applied for amnesty in respect of the killing were Brigadier Jack Cronjé [AM2773/96], then divisional commander, Northern Transvaal, Captain Paul van Vuuren [AM6528/97], Captain Jacques Hechter [AM2776/96], Major General AJM ‘Joep’ Joubert [AM3799/96], then officer commanding SADF Special Forces, Commandant (Lieutenant-Colonel) Charl Naudé [AM5453/96] and Mr Noel Robey [AM5470/97], a Special Forces operative.

264 Evidence from amnesty applications suggests that the killing of the Ribeiros was a joint Northern Transvaal and SADF Special Forces operation. Joubert indicates that, in early 1986, he was instructed by the chief of the defence force, General JJ Geldenhuys, that Special Forces was to provide support for the Security Branch. In terms of this instruction he drew up a plan identifying three ‘hotspots’– the Northern Transvaal, the Witwatersrand and the eastern Cape – to be stabilised by joint Special Forces and Security Branch operations. According to Joubert, his plan was approved by General Geldenhuys at a social function. Geldenhuys denies this.

265 Believing that the plan had been authorised, Joubert assigned Charl Naudé to the Northern Transvaal and Colonel Joe Verster to the Witwatersrand. Because internal security was the responsibility of the SAP, Special Forces operatives were to act in support of the Security Branch. This meant that each operation needed to be authorised by the Security Branch before Special Forces operatives could participate. Their function was to meet with the Security Branch in the assigned areas and decide on joint operations. Such operations included killing. Amnesty applicants further indicate that such killings occurred after targets had been identified at joint meetings attended by other high-ranking SADF officials.

266 The assassination of the Ribeiros was conducted according to this plan. At the hearing on the armed forces, the Commission heard that Lieutenant General Ian Gleeson (then acting chief of the SADF) and General JJ Geldenhuys were informed of the involvement of Special Forces in the killing of the Ribeiros. General Geldenhuys conceded that he had not drawn this information to the attention of the Attorney-General or the investigating officers.

267 According to Security Branch amnesty applicants, the Ribeiros were targeted because Dr Ribeiro provided medical assistance to people injured in security force action and allegedly provided financial assistance to those wishing to leave the country. Despite extensive cross-examination, amnesty applicants were unable to provide one specific case of support and conceded that the Security Branch had no file on Ms Ribeiro. Mr Chris Ribeiro [JB3488/02PS] said that, following a period in detention in the early 1980s, his father had decided to limit his political role to providing professional medical assistance.

THE AMNESTY COMMITTEE HAD NOT MADE A FINDING ON THE RIBEIRO CASE AT THE TIME OF REPORTING. HOWEVER, THE COMMISSION DOES FIND THAT, BY WILFULLY WITHOLDING INFORMATION PERTINENT TO THE IDENTITIES OF THE PERPETRATORS FROM THE SAP INVESTIGATING TEAM, GENERAL JJ GELDENHUYS AND LIEUTENANT GENERAL I GLEESON ACTED IN AN OBSTRUCTIVE MANNER FOR WHICH THEY ARE LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE.
 
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