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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 171
Paragraph Numbers 28 to 37
28 From 1976 onwards, a number of MK members were sentenced to death and executed. One of these was Mr Sibusiso Andrew Zondo [KZN/NG/010/DN]. Andrew Zondo (19), from KwaMashu, north of Durban, went into exile in Mozambique at the age of sixteen after a brief period of detention. He intended to study. In May 1983, a bomb detonated outside the South African Air Force (SAAF) headquarters in Church Street Pretoria, killing eleven people. The following week, the SAAF launched a retaliatory raid on a suburb in Maputo, killing six people, including a child in a creche. This changed Zondo’s plans and he decided to undergo military training as he saw “violence as the only option for changing the lives of black people in South Africa”.
29 In December 1985, the South African security forces launched a raid into Lesotho, killing nine people. Three days later, MK members in Durban, including Zondo, retaliated by placing a bomb in an Amanzimtoti shopping centre, killing three adults and two children. Zondo was arrested and charged. The main state witness in his trial was Mr X (Thembinkosi Mofokeng) who, as Zondo’s alleged accomplice, was granted immunity from prosecution. Mr X admitted to providing the limpet mine and to accompanying Zondo to the shopping centre. Zondo claimed that he intended to telephone a warning to the shopping centre but could not find a vacant telephone booth.
30 Zondo was sentenced to death by Justice Leon and was hanged on 9 September 1986, less than nine months after the bombing.
31 The spiral of killing continued. Two other persons suspected of being involved in the Amanzimtoti blast, Mr Phumezo Nxiweni [EC0246/96WTK] and Mr Stanley Sipho Bhila [KZN/NJ/004/DN], were executed by Security Branch members after they were acquitted in court (see below, under Abduction, interrogation and killing) At Andrew Zondo’s memorial service, his brother was so severely assaulted that he developed epilepsy, which subsequently killed him. Two mourners were shot dead leaving his parents’ home after the memorial service. Lembede, one of the security policemen involved in the killing of Zondo’s alleged accomplice, was himself later killed, allegedly by members of MK.
32 Mr Solomon Kalushe Mahlangu [JB00182/02PS] was executed on 6 April 1979 at the age of twenty. Recently returned from military training in Angola, Mahlangu and Mr Monty Motaung were confronted by police while carrying arms in central Johannesburg. In the ensuing chase (the Goch Street shooting), two civilians were killed. While evidence suggested that Motaung was responsible for the actual shooting, he had been so badly beaten by police that he was declared mentally unfit to stand trial.
33 Mr Thelle Simon Mogoerane [JB04857/01ERTEM], Mr Jerry Joseph Mosololi [JB04958/01GTSOW] and Mr Thabo Marcus Motaung were executed for high treason on 9 June 1982. The three left South Africa after the Soweto uprising and were arrested in December 1981 while on an MK mission near Hammanskraal. In their trial, both Mogoerane and Motaung gave evidence of torture at the Compol Security Branch offices. Mogoerane alleged that he had confessed to MK activities after a pistol had been put in his mouth, followed by a loud bang. Justice Curlewis ruled that their confessions had been freely given.
34 Mr Clarence Lucky Payi [KZN/NG/012/FS; EC0855/96STK] and Mr Sipho Brigitte Xulu [KZN/NG/012/FS] were executed for the killing of Mr Benjamin Langa on 9 September 1986. An amnesty application by co-perpetrator Mr Joel George Martins [AM6450/97] indicates that they were acting on the instructions of MK Fear (aka Ralph Mcinga, aka AG Lawrence, aka Cyril Raymonds), an MK commander in Swaziland. MK Fear was subsequently uncovered as a Security Branch agent.
35 Mr Michael Lukas [CT00535/GEO] was sentenced to death in August 1987 for killing a bus inspector, Mr William Blouw, on 15 April 1986 during unrest in Oudtshoorn. Lukas was executed seven months later (on 25 March 1988) after he was refused leave to appeal and a petition for clemency to the State President failed. A service held for him in Oudtshoorn on the day of his execution was attended by hundreds of people.
36 At the special hearing on prisons (see Volume Four), Ms Paula McBride, who visited condemned prisoners on death row from 1987 to 1990, told the Commission:
It is a place that was perfectly designed to kill people … I think that probably the seven-day period before execution is the time that anybody who supports the death penalty should be exposed to and particularly the judges who passed the sentences … There is a light flurry in the prison, maybe on Tuesdays when the Sheriff arrives with a bunch of notices in his hand and those notices would be for people who the State President had decided were worthy of his clemency.
The other bunch of notices would be for those that he decided weren’t fit any more to live. So the Sheriff would take both sets of notices up and prisoners would be called. The warder would then walk down the passages in between cells, while the prisoners waiting inside were wondering whether it was their turn today, whether they were going to get handed notices of release or of death. There was complete and utter silence, while the footsteps went down, everyone waiting to see where the footsteps would go.
All those told to pack would be taken out of their cells, and they would wait in a line outside the office where the Sheriff was waiting. Those who were given a sentence of death were moved into what was known as ‘ the pot’ because it was where you boiled because of levels of stress before your death.
37 A warder, Mr Steinberg, testified about his experience as an assistant in the execution of condemned prisoners:
I came on duty before six o’clock in the morning. All of us moved into the section … The prisoners were unlocked, we searched them. They were then identified in terms of photographs, they were placed in a row or in a queue so that the first person due for execution would be in front. We then took them one by one to a table ... where they again compared their thumb prints and looked at the photographs again ... After they took the finger prints … we accompanied the people to the church …
There would then have been a brief church service. Some of the people would receive Communion for the last time and at about half past six … the Ministers would then move out … Their [the condemned’s] hands were cuffed behind their backs and they had to remove their shoes. At about ten to seven or there about, we would then move with them down the passage and by then it was deadly quiet.
They still sang and prayed, they greeted their people, their friends, then we moved to the gallows room, through the various gates until we were in the first reception room before the gallows. They would then stand against a wall with their faces towards us.
They were then identified again against their photographs and then the executioner would come to them and ask them about their last wishes. They sometimes thanked us, they sometimes said to us, “God bless you”, and after the entire story, we would then put their caps on.
You accompany the person [to the gallows room]... Between the trap doors there would have been a pipe railing. The person who was due to be hanged, would go on the left of the railing and the person accompanying, would go on the right. Then on the trap door, there would be two foot prints painted, and you had to make sure that the person was standing on that mark.
[T]he man who was going to execute the people, came and he placed the rope around their necks and he would then pull the flap on the hood … and he pulls the lever … When I looked down, I noted as the people were swinging from the momentum and had their spastic movements, I noted how they moved … What went through my thoughts is that this person is now dying.3
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT ALL EXECUTIONS OF PERSONS CONVICTED OF POLITICAL OFFENCES AND/OR WHICH WERE POLITICALLY MOTIVATED IN THE MANDATE PERIOD CONSTITUTED GROSS VIOLATIONS OF THE RIGHTS OF THOSE SO KILLED, FOR WHICH THE FORMER GOVERNMENT IS HELD ACCOUNTABLE.3 Other cases of judicial executions for political offences known to the Commission are: Mtutu Apleni, 1963; Mangena Jeffrey Boesman, 1989; Serious Dodo, 1967; Kholisile Dyakala, 1989; Livingstone Fatyela,1967; Goduka Galeni, 1967; Dumisa Galeni; Nkwenkwe Gaqa; Benjamin Mlondolozi Gxothiwe, 1988; Fezile Jada; Mnyanda Moses Jantjies, 1987; Nto Kani; Joel Leballo; Tsepo Letsoare, 1988; Tobilo Richard Lloyd, 1988; Siphiwo Londe; Ceylon Mabaso; Victor Mahlangu; Solomon Mankopane Maqwasha, 1986; Nkosencinci Maseti, 1967; Isaac Mashigo; Fenele Matikinca; Richard Matsaphae; Alex Matshapa Matsepane, 1986; Mabhongo, May 1964; Mpenze, May 1964; Notimba Mbozwana, 1963; Makhezwene Menze, 1989; Sqwayi Mhlaba, 1962; Matokolo Mhlabeni; Bennet Mhlaleki; Poli Mili; Zwelindulmile Mjekula, 1989; Tembeni Mkoba; Siwana Mlaheki; Phineas Mlotywa; Abraham Mngomezulu, 1989; Sipho Mohala, 1988; Thomas Molathlhgi; Malasella Benjamin Moloise, 1985; Joe Motsumi; Luse Mtembekwana; Petros Mtshobe; Manina Mzanywa; Tusa Mzanywa; Jabavu Mzondi; Jim Ngantweni, 1967; Bonakele Ngcongolo, 1963; Weduwedu Nokulila; Twepe Nonyukela; Jonathan Notyawe; Gladstone Nqulwana; Tembekile Nyovu; Kathazekile Pilapi, 1962; Veyishile Qoba; Lungile Rewu, 1988; Johannes Segwagwa; Ndumiso Silo Sephenuka, 1989; Edward Sikundla; Thwayi Thwayi; Corry Tyini; Wellington Tyobeka, 1967; Maliza Vulindela; Shilegu Vulindela; Bonasi Vulindlele; Elile Webushe, 1987; Mlamili Wellington Mielies, 1987; Patselo Xhego, 1963; Mtalatala Xhego, 1963; Mbaco Xhego. (List drawn up according to names on PAC and ANC documents.)