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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 257
Paragraph Numbers 260
Security Branch activities
260 Evidence before the Commission shows a dramatic fall in the number of reported violations, overt and covert, on the part of the Security Branch during this period. This is believed to be due to the state’s counter-revolutionary strategy of using surrogate forces to deflect attention from the role of its own security forces in the civil conflict which, by now, had gained a momentum of its own. However, the Commission did hear of several extra-judicial killings of MK operatives, including the following:
The killing of Mbuso Shabalala and Charles Ndaba
MK members Charles Ndaba [KZN/NN/076/DN] and Mbuso Shabalala [KZN/NNN/138/PS] were both involved in Operation Vula.47 Both were abducted by Durban Security Branch members on 7 July 1990. The Security Branch claimed that Ndaba was one of their informers and was arrested by mistake by members who did not know this. He helped them to arrest Mbuso Shabalala.
After the Security Branch had taken Ndaba and Shabalala into custody, the government announced that any Operation Vula operatives that were under arrest would not be prosecuted.
Not wanting to release the two men, the Durban Security Branch members decided to kill them, which they did on 14 July 1990. The bodies were dumped into the Tugela River mouth.48
47 An ANC operation aimed at strengthening local underground structures and bringing exiled leaders into the country.
48 Amnesty applications of HJP Botha [AM453/97], Sam du Preez [AM4130/96], CA van der Westhuizen [AM4388/96] and L Wasserman [AM4508/96; KZN/NNN/138/PS].
The killing of Goodwill Sikhakhane
Mr Goodwill Mbuso aka Neville Sikhakhane (born 1961) [KZN/MR/011/DN] was a former ANC member who had undergone military training with MK in Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania and Swaziland. On his return in 1989, he apparently surrendered to the police. He began working as an askari with the Natal Security Branch, under Colonel Andy Taylor.
At some time during 1991, certain members of the Security Branch decided that Sikhakhane was a threat to the security of their operations. According to Taylor, Sikhakhane was “not a very efficient member … the information he supplied created the impression that he did not try too hard”. He was seen in Swaziland on a number of occasions while on leave, creating the suspicion that he might be working for the ANC as a double agent.
The order to kill Sikhakhane was issued from the highest ranks of the Security Branch in the region. Steyn instructed Andy Taylor to use ‘outside’ people to do the job. Taylor thereupon requested Eugene de Kock from Vlakplaas to carry out the killing.
A few days later Taylor met with Vlakplaas operatives Willie Nortje, ‘Duiwel’ Brits and ‘Blackie’ Swart and put them up at the Lion Park Hotel outside Pietermaritzburg. Local Security Branch member Larry Hanton was sent to assist the Vlakplaas members in getting hold of Sikhakhane. Vlakplaas operative Willie Nortje carried out the assassination in Greytown on 21 January 1991.
According to Nortje, the order to kill Sikhakhane came from Mr Engelbrecht, the commander of C Section. Colonel Eugene de Kock was convicted in 1996 for the killing of Sikhakhane.4949 Eugene de Kock [AM0066/96], Larry Hanton [AM4076/96], JA Steyn [AM453/97], Willie Nortje [AM3764/96], ARC Taylor [AM4077/96], David ‘Duiwel’ Brits [AM3745/96] and JJ ‘Blackie’ Swart [AM3750/96] all applied for amnesty in respect of their involvement in the killing of Sikhakhane [KZN/MR/011/DN].