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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 242
Paragraph Numbers 317 to 323
Vusumuzi Mtshali, Sibusiso Ndlovu and Mazwi Vilikazi
317 In the days following Nxiweni’s killing, the Security Branch made contact with other members of his network through informers. An attempt to arrest two members of the unit failed, as they had fled to the Transkei. However, informers were able to infiltrate a KwaMashu unit and reported that this unit was planning to sabotage the Phoenix railway station. Du Preez, Wasserman and Botha arrested three members believed to be Mr Vusumuzi Mtshali, Mr Sibusiso Ndlovu and Mr Mazwi Vilikazi. Botha told the Commission:
After their arrest, they were taken to the safe house where Colonel Andy Taylor was waiting for us, for questioning … We decided that in the light of the fact that the three terrorists were not cooperative there would be no point in trying to convince them to co-operate … A conviction would not have been successful without the statements of the informers and we could not compromise them … We could not release them because … they were responsible for the acts of terrorism … Accordingly we decided that the three must be eliminated by blowing them up on the railway line that they had identified as the target.
Colonel Taylor, Sam du Preez, and Laurie Wasserman rode with the three terrorists to the Phoenix Railway Station … I ordered them to kneel side by side next to each other ... We each stood behind the person and removed our weapons … I gave a nod of my head and we each shot the person in front of us with a single shot to the head. Sam put the limpet mines on the railway line and Laurie and I laid out the three corpses on the tracks … After Sam activated the explosives, we left the scene in a vehicle. We were about a kilometre from the scene when the explosions occurred.
318 General JA Steyn (then officer commanding, Port Natal Division), Colonel Andy Taylor [AM4077/96], Captain HP ‘Hentie’ Botha [AM4117/96], Lieutenant Sam du Preez [AM4130/96] and Sergeant LG Wasserman [AM4508/96] applied for amnesty for the killings.
319 Ms Gretina Ninela (KZN/NN/404/DN) made a statement to the Commission about the disappearance of her son Blessing Ninela from Pinetown on 13 June 1988. According to Ms Ninela, her son had been detained with several others in January 1987. On 11 June 1988, some time after his release, two unknown people came to the house and left a note making an appointment for Ninela to meet them at the Pinetown post office on 13 June. He left to meet them and was never seen again.
320 Askari Ben Mwelase [AM6436/97] said in his amnesty application that he was involved in the abduction of a man from Pinetown post office while serving under Taylor. At a section 29 investigative hearing, Security Branch member Vusi ‘Spyker’ Myeza revealed that Ninela had been abducted and killed in Bulwer, and that Lieutenant Sam du Preez [AM4130/97] and Sergeant LG Wasserman [AM4508/96] then blew his body up on a railway line by means of a limpet mine. Ninela’s body was discovered soon afterwards. His face was injured beyond recognition and one of his hands was missing. He could not be identified and was given a pauper’s burial at Ixopo near Richmond a few weeks later. The remains of Blessing Ninela were exhumed by the Commission in August 1997.
321 The Security Branch and later the SADF (who assumed responsibility for the security of South Africa’s borders from 1984) expended much effort in uncovering infiltration routes and attempting to thwart infiltration by trained MK operatives. Such routes appear to have been highly compromised and a number of ambushes were laid for operatives attempting to re-enter South Africa. Because of the large number of ambushes resulting in the death of insurgents, the Commission came to the conclusion that ambushes became part of the proactive policy of the security forces. It appears, moreover, that little attempt was made to arrest those caught in such ambushes. Indeed, in some instances, amnesty applicants make it quite clear that the intention was to kill them.
Jobe Ngwenya, Sihle Mbongwa and Henry Chiliza
322 In April 1977, a Swazi citizen, Mr Jobe Ngwenya, who worked closely with the ANC as a courier, was stopped at a roadblock just inside South Africa. He was travelling with two MK cadres, Mr Sihle Mbongwa (aka Sihle Ndlanzi) and Mr Henry Chiliza. All three attempted to run from the roadblock. Chiliza managed to escape and made it back to Swaziland. Mbongwa was caught, detained and severely tortured. He was eventually released and fled the country.
323 The fate of Ngwenya is unknown; he has not been seen or heard of since. Mbongwa said he had seen a bundle of Ngwenya’s bloodstained clothes at the Jozini police station.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT, ON THE BALANCE OF PROBABILITIES, NGWENYA WAS KILLED BY MEMBERS OF THE SECURITY FORCES INVOLVED IN THIS AMBUSH, AND THAT HIS DEATH WAS A GROSS VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS.