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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 249

Paragraph Numbers 239 to 255

Volume 3

Chapter 3

Subsection 37

Police misconduct
Riot Unit Activities

239 Mr William Basil Harrington [AM0173/96], a member of Riot Unit 8 from 1988–91, told the Seven Day War hearing that:

When the ANC was unbanned, I never went to a lecture or anything like that which would explain to me that they were no longer regarded as terrorists. I continued my war, because the ANC war against myself and us showed no signs of abating. For that reason I did not stop taking Inkatha members in small groups to areas at night, and for that reason I assured the safety of the Inkatha members and supporters by accompanying them to certain areas, and for that reason also I allowed the special constables to fire shots at ANC people from my vehicle whilst we were busy performing patrols, and for that reason I wanted to chase away the ANC when the ANC people and Inkatha wanted to attack each other.

240 Special constable Nhlanhla Philemon Madlala [AM3432/96], who was based with Riot Unit 8, told the Commission that the Riot Unit sold guns to the IFP/Inkatha in Greytown (around 1990).

SAP Murder and Robbery Unit
The Killing of Simon Msweli and Michael Mthethwa
Two well-known ANC members in KwaSokhulu were killed by a member of the Empangeni SAP Murder and Robbery unit in August 1992. Former Detective Warrant Officer Hendrik Jacobus Steyn [AM0069/96] was sentenced to eighteen years’ imprisonment for the killing of Mr Simon Bongani Msweli (24) and Mr Michael Mthethwa. He has applied for amnesty.45
During the early hours of the 14 August 1992, the SADF (SADF) surrounded the house where Msweli and Mthethwa had spent the night. A battle ensued, the details of which are not certain. Witnesses allege that the two men were dragged into a nearby SAPPI forest where they were viciously assaulted. It appears that the SADF then loaded the two men into their vehicle, allegedly to take them to hospital. The SADF vehicle was intercepted by Steyn who dragged the men out of the vehicle and shot them both dead.
In his amnesty application, Steyn, an IFP member, said that he felt it was necessary to ‘eliminate’ the two men in order to stabilise the area:
“Sedert die persone se dood is daar, na wat verneem word, geen onrus meer nie” [from what one hears there has been no more unrest since the person’s death].
At the Empangeni hearing, Simon Msweli’s mother, Ms Josephina Msweli [KZN/MR/205/EM], said:
“I think they were assaulted until they died because we couldn’t even identify him. His eyes had been gouged out. He was never shot. He was tortured. He was violated. He was also mutilated. We could not identify him. I only identified him through his thumb. There was a certain mark on his thumb.”
45 According to Steyn, Msweli was wanted by the police in connection with at least thirty-eight offences, including seventeen killings and other cases of attempted murder, arson, public violence, theft, etc.

241 After the ANC was unbanned in 1990, the KZP made efforts to frustrate the movement’s attempts to gain political ground in KwaZulu. Residents of some townships, notably KwaMashu, KwaMakhutha and Esikhawini, went so far as to describe the KZP as inflicting a reign of terror in their areas. A number of KZP members gained particular notoriety for killing people perceived as UDF/ANC sympathisers. They appeared to be immune from prosecution. Two examples are Detective Constable Siphiwe Mvuyane from Umlazi, who allegedly claimed to have killed “more than twenty but not more than fifty people”, and Constable Khethani Shange from KwaMashu.

242 Calls for the disbanding of the KZP gained momentum during 1990, with a national stay away and countrywide marches. In March 1990, 15 000 residents of KwaMakhutha protested against the presence of the KZP and handed over a memorandum of grievances against the local KZP. In April, over 50 000 Umlazi residents marched and handed over a memorandum calling for the immediate withdrawal of the KZP. In June, Madadeni residents marched to the KZP station and demanded the removal of the KZP from the township.

243 Many successful interdicts and restraining orders were brought against the KZP during the early 1990s.

244 During 1992, the KZP was investigated by the Wallis Subcommittee of the Goldstone Commission, recommending that certain KZP members should be suspended and/or investigated. This was not followed up.

245 In late 1993, three members of a KZP/IFP hit squad operating in the Esikhawini township near Richards Bay were arrested. In February 1994, the then Commissioner of the KZP, Major-General Roy During, admitted to the Transitional Executive Council (TEC) that he knew of the existence of hit squads within the KZP. He resigned a few months later.

246 The Wallis Subcommittee of the Goldstone Commission stated:

The fact that there is incompetence of this magnitude in a police force having a responsibility for policing one of the most sensitive areas of the country in the run-up to the elections due to take place on the 27 and 28 April 1994, is of itself a cause not only for grave concern but a cause for steps to be taken to remedy that situation.

247 The KZP took over policing of the KwaMakhutha township (in the Umbumbulu district, south of Durban) from the SAP in June 1986. Within the first three weeks, residents filed more than twenty affidavits of assault by KwaMakhutha KZP members, some of which led to successful prosecutions. In October 1989, a large group of women in KwaMakhutha met with the Umlazi station commander to complain about the KwaMakhutha KZP.

The Killing of Raphael and Winnie Mkhize
Two UDF activists, Mr Raphael and Ms Winnie Mkhize [KZN/NN/022/DN], were killed in an attack on their KwaMakhutha home in the early hours of 9 March 1990. Their son, Duduzi Mkhize, was wounded. In May 1990, eight people, including four KZP members, were arrested in connection with the killings, namely Constables Patrick Mbambo (25), Wellington Mncwango (26), Mohande Whu and Cyril Ngema (27). They were released on bail.

248 Constable Cyril Ngema, a ‘Caprivi trainee’, subsequently disappeared, failing to appear in court on 21 January 1991. A warrant for his arrest was issued two days later. The investigating officer, Jacobus Willem Bronkhorst of the SAP Detective Branch, said that the KZP told him that Ngema had left the KZP. For over two years Bronkhorst searched unsuccessfully for Ngema, making inquiries at the KZP Headquarters in Ulundi, the KwaMakhutha police station and the KZP Murder and Robbery Unit, as well as to Captain Hlengwa.

249 Eventually in late 1993, Bronkhorst traced Ngema to Pongola and arrested him. Ngema was on duty as a policeman at the time of his arrest.

The Case of Mkhanyiseni Mngadi
Two of the KZP police officers who had been arrested in connection with killing the Mkhizes – Mr Wellington Mncwango and Mr Mohande Whu – were convicted in January 1992 in connection with the attempted murder of KwaMakhutha community leader Mkhanyiseni Eden Mngadi [KZN/NNN/556/DN]. Mngadi, the secretary of the KwaMakhutha Peace Committee, was shot three times in a 02h00 attack on his home on 13 March 1990, just four days after the killing of Raphael and Winnie Mkhize.

250 Following the killing of the Mkhize couple and the attempt on Mr Eden Mngadi’s life, a general stay away was called for the 14 March to call for the withdrawal of the KZP from KwaMakhutha. More than 15 000 KwaMakhutha residents marched to the KZP station and handed over a memorandum to Colonel Cele of the KwaMakhutha KZP. The memorandum listed incidents that had taken place during the first two weeks of March 1990: not responding to emergency calls; insulting and assaulting residents and conniving with warlords who were accommodated at the police barracks; disrupting funeral vigils; failing to take action against vigilantes; constantly raiding the homes of UDF members.

251 In April 1990, two SAP members living in KwaMakhutha made a successful, urgent application to the Supreme Court for an order restraining the KZP from attacking any person in KwaMakhutha. One of these, an SAP member of thirty-two years’ service, Detective Sergeant Joseph Kabanyane [KZN/KM/508/DN], told the Supreme Court:

The KZP in KwaMakhutha have shown themselves to be a completely partial force who seem to be incapable of maintaining law and order in the area. Repeatedly they have been seen to be actively supporting one group in their actions against township residents. Through their conduct in attacking and shooting residents at random and for no apparent reason, they have shown themselves to be highly reckless and are a real danger to the livelihood and wellbeing of local residents.

252 Kabanyane himself had twice been assaulted by KZP members when he attempted to intervene in unprovoked attacks on ANC-supporting residents.

253 In 1990, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) released a report entitled ‘Signposts to Peace’ in which they said:

In areas like KwaMakhutha, where there is the clearest possible evidence of misconduct, the KZP must be suspended from duty and be replaced by the SAP.

254 Detective Constable Siphiwe Mvuyane joined the SAP in 1986 and transferred to the KZP in 1987-88. He was stationed at the Umlazi police station known as G Police Station (see above). In a report published in June 1992, the LRC listed nineteen killings in which Mvuyane was implicated in Umlazi between February and September 1992.46

255 Mvuyane was suspended from the KZP in mid-1992, pending the outcome of criminal investigations against him. He was shot dead in May 1993. At the time of his death, he was facing fifty criminal charges, including the killing of ANC activists. From statements made to the Commission, Mvuyane was found to be the perpetrator of at least twelve gross human rights violations, including nine killings. All the incidents occurred in the period 1990–92.

46 Legal Resources Centre (Durban) and Human Rights Commission (Durban), Obstacle to Peace: The Role of the KZP in the Natal Conflict. Joint report. June 1992, p. 209.
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