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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 244

Paragraph Numbers 324 to 332

Volume 2

Chapter 3

Subsection 35

Bushy Swartbooi, Sikhiri Ramokgopa and Andries Moatshe

324 On 4 May 1983, two MK operatives, Mr Bushy Swartbooi (aka Solomon Mlonzi and Kruschev) and Mr Sikhiri Ramokgopa (aka Karl Marx) and a Botswana citizen and Security Branch informant, Mr Andries Moatshe, were shot and killed at Silver Valley near the Derdebos border post with Botswana. Moatshe was infiltrating the other two into South Africa and had informed Zeerust Security Branch member Colonel Philip Rudolph ‘Rudi’ Crause [AM4125/96], of this.

325 After deciding to ambush and arrest the two, the head of Zeerust Security Branch, Colonel (later Brigadier) Wickus Loots, decided that they should be killed. That night all three, including the informer Moatshe, were shot and killed, after which a quantity of weapons were planted on their bodies. Others who applied for amnesty for this killing are the then head of Western Transvaal division, Major General Johannes Bertus Steyn [AM4513/97] (later Port Natal divisional commander); then head of the Zeerust Security Branch and later Western Transvaal divisional commander, Colonel Loots, and Lieutenant CJ du Preez Smit [AM4386/96]. Other applicants include: Sergeant Isak Johannes Marais [AM4151/96], Gideon Jacobus van Zyl [AM4372/96], Daniel Johannes Nieuwenhuis [AM4395/96] and Rudolf J Venter [A2776/96].

Victor Mgadi and Oupa Funani:

326 In May 1997, the Commission’s Investigation Unit exhumed the bodies of two MK operatives who had been killed by security police near Piet Retief. Mr Victor Mgadi from Inanda in Durban and Mr Oupa Funani from Soweto were killed in separate incidents in 1982 after returning from Swaziland, and were buried in unmarked graves in Thandokukhanya cemetery at Piet Retief.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MGADI AND FUNANI WERE KILLED AS A RESULT OF DELIBERATE PLANNING ON THE PART OF MEMBERS OF THE SECURITY POLICE, AND THAT THEIR DEATHS WERE GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, FOR WHICH THE SECURITY BRANCH OF THE SAP IS ACCOUNTABLE.
Unnamed MK members

327 During 1986, information was received that MK members were planning to infiltrate South Africa via Ramotswa in Botswana. Lieutenant Christoffel Johannes du Preez Smit [AM4386/96] and a Warrant Officer Modise recruited an informant to infiltrate the group. Smit reported to his commander, Captain Frederick Crause [AM4124/96] and to Colonel Loots, divisional commander of the Western Transvaal, in Potchefstroom.

328 In June 1986, the informer was due to pick up armed MK members in the Ramotswa area and take them to Krugersdorp. Loots organised for the Reaction Unit in Potchefstroom to help with the arrests at a place chosen by Smit on the road between the Botswana border and Zeerust. Smit later learned from the informant that the MK members had jumped out of their vehicle with their weapons and run towards the Reaction Unit and that one of them had apparently thrown a hand grenade.

329 Four people were shot dead in the ambush and the informant and Constable Wessels of the Reaction Unit were injured. There were AK-47s and hand grenades with the bodies of the dead. The bodies were taken to the Zeerust mortuary, an inquest was held and the deceased were identified as MK members. Smit does not recall their names.

‘Tallmen’ Assen Jeremia Thimula, ‘Bernard’ Mbengeni Kone, Shadrack Sithole and others

330 The ‘Amsterdam’ operation, which took place on 14 August 1986, was conducted by members of Vlakplaas in association with the Security Branch in Piet Retief in the Eastern Transvaal division.

331 Colonel Eugene de Kock alleged that they received information indicating that two ANC members responsible for planting landmines were planning other attacks, including an attack on a primary school. They decided to kill the operatives as well as those on the other side of the border who assisted with the infiltration.

332 The security police succeeded in recruiting a source who was responsible for transporting the MK operatives. As pre-arranged, the driver pulled over to the side of the road, and Mr ‘Tallmen’ Assen Jeremia Thimula from Venda, Mr ‘Bernard’ Mbengeni Kone from Diepkloof, Soweto and Mr Shadrack Sithole, the driver and a Swazi citizen, were all killed. Sithole, who was the brother of one of the askaris, was killed allegedly on the grounds that he was only interested in being paid. One of those who had assisted with the infiltration was also killed, while another who had managed to escape was arrested by forest workers the following day.

 
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