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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 170

Paragraph Numbers 50 to 55

Volume 3

Chapter 3

Subsection 8

Resistance and revolutionary groupings
Sabotage

50 In December 1961, MK began a campaign of sabotage directed at government installations, especially communications and power installations. The military high command of MK had established regional commands and appointed trade union official Mr Curnick Ndlovu [AM5952/97] to head the Natal command. Other members of the Natal region included Mr Billy Nair [AM5613/97], Mr Ronnie Kasrils [AM5509/97], Ms Eleanor Kasrils [AM7725/97], Mr Ismail Ebrahim, Mr Bruno Mtolo and Mr David Ndawonde. They reported to the Commander of MK, Mr Nelson Mandela, until his arrest in Howick in 1962, and thereafter to Mr Raymond Mhlaba.

51 The sabotage campaign began with an attempt on 15 December 1961 to bomb the Durban offices of the Department of Bantu Affairs [AM5509/97: R Kasrils]. Other acts included the November 1962 attempt to sabotage pylons in the Durban/ Pinetown area, the bombing of the Durban Post Office in December 1962 and the January 1963 attempt to sabotage telephone services in an industrial area of Durban. An African tax office, a beer hall and a section of railway line were also damaged by sabotage at this time.

52 In the 1964 ‘Spear of the Nation’ trial, Billy Nair, Curnick Ndlovu and seventeen others stood accused of twenty-seven acts of sabotage in Natal, the possession of explosives and the recruitment of military trainees. Bruno Mtolo gave evidence for the state, allegedly at the behest of Mr Jan Daniel Potgieter, an amnesty applicant from the Security Branch’s intelligence unit [AM5418/97]. Potgieter claims to have ‘turned’ many of the informers and/or askaris [‘turned’ guerrilla fighters] who assisted the Security Branch in Natal. Nair and Ndlovu were sentenced to twenty years, one was discharged and the rest were given sentences of five to fifteen years [AM5613/97: Billy Nair].

53 In response to the sabotage campaign, the General Laws Amendment Act (76 of 1962) created the offence of sabotage. Sabotage was loosely defined as “wrongful and wilful” acts designed to “obstruct, injure, tamper with or destroy” things such as the ‘health and safety of the public’ or the “supply of water, light, fuel or foodstuffs”. The penalties ranged from a minimum five-year sentence to the death penalty.

Attacks on ‘collaborators’

54 Information from victims’ statements and amnesty applications from former Security Branch members indicates that police torture aimed not only at extracting information from detainees but also at compelling individuals to ‘turn’ against the liberation movements and co-operate with the police instead. In many instances, the police were successful. Many individuals, formerly loyal members of the banned liberation organisations, became police informers under threat of torture or death, or turned state witness against their colleagues in an effort to avoid prosecution themselves.

55 Informers and ‘collaborators’ became targets of attack. The case of Leonard Nkosi illustrates how one-time heroes of the liberation struggle came to be hunted for betraying their own colleagues to the Security Branch.

The Case of Leonard Nkosi
Mr Leonard Nkosi left South Africa in 1963 to undergo military and political training with MK. He was a leader and allegedly a renowned sniper in the Wankie Campaign. He was captured by the Security Branch in 1967 and it is believed that he worked as an askari and later joined the Security Branch. In his application for amnesty, Mr Jan Daniel Potgieter [AM5418/97], a member of the Security Branch intelligence unit, revealed that Nkosi had been compelled to turn state witness against his former colleagues.
Daluxolo Luthuli [AM4057/96] claims that it was Nkosi who assisted in his December 1967 arrest in a sting operation in Messina. Nkosi subsequently testified against him and Luthuli was sent to Robben Island. Nkosi also testified for the state against other members of the Luthuli Detachment, including Mr James April who was tried in the Pietermaritzburg Supreme Court [CT00428/OUT].
On 9 September 1977, shortly after testifying against Harry Gwala and nine others in the 1976–77 treason trial in Pietermaritzburg, Nkosi was assassinated.
Security Branch amnesty applicants told the Commission that Nkosi was shot dead and his wife injured with a single shot from a Tokarev and that ANC member Reverend Stanley Msibi (now deceased) was implicated in Nkosi’s death [AM3686/96]. The ANC claimed responsibility for the assassination in its second submission to the Commission.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MEMBERS AND SUPPORTERS OF THE ANC WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS ARISING OUT OF THE SEVERE ILL TREATMENT AND KILLING OF SO-CALLED ‘COLLABORATORS’ – INDIVIDUALS PERCEIVED TO BE WORKING FOR THE SAP IN A WAY THAT WAS DETRIMENTAL TO THE RESISTANCE MOVEMENTS, AND THAT SUCH ACTS FORMED A PATTERN OF ABUSE FOR WHICH UNKNOWN MEMBERS AND SUPPORTERS OF THE ANC ARE HELD ACCOUNTABLE.
 
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