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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 382
Paragraph Numbers 183 to 187
The case of Isaac Mqayana and others
PAC member Isaac Madodana Mqayana was stabbed by an ANC member at his Botshabelo home in July 1992 after an argument. ANC members followed the victim to his home and attacked him. He retaliated, stabbing his attacker to death.
In his statement to the Commission, the victim’s father, Mr Mpitizeli Mqayana, said that his son turned himself over to the police and was released after due process. On the day of Isaac’s release, 17 July 1992, ANC ‘comrades’ set fire to the Mqayana home. Ms Martha Mannini Mqayana (56) sustained fatal burns in the fire and another son, Mr David Zolisele Mqayana (41) was killed by ANC ‘comrades’ while trying to put out the fire.
Isaac Mqayana was killed at his mother’s funeral a few days later [KZN/JRW/104/BL].
ANC self-defence units
183 ANC SDUs emerged in various townships around the Orange Free State in the early 1990s. The Commission heard that, while these units were created by higher commands in the ANC and MK at a national level, they enjoyed a fair degree of autonomy at local level. Their perceived role was to patrol and protect communities from the attacks of vigilante groups and other political foes. The Commission heard that many units came to operate like small private armies, controlled by prominent individuals and seeking to further their own political agendas.
184 The great majority of the reported incidents of aggression by SDUs relate to arson attacks on homes. Reports of assault and killing were also received. Consumer boycotts, rent boycotts, labour stay aways, campaigns for the resignation of councillors and school protests have all been cited as contexts in which SDU abuses occurred. The Commission heard that SDUs played a role in enforcing the decisions of community organisations, as happened in the campaign to force Councillors Morgan and Susan Phelane to resign from the Brandfort local council:
The case of the Phelane Family
Mr Jack Menera, who has applied for amnesty for the killing of Councillor Susan Phelane, told the Committee that in 1990, UDF/ANC activists in Brandfort summoned councillors to a meeting and asked them to resign their positions. Councillors Morgan and Susan Phelane did not attend the meeting. A decision was taken to vandalise Mr Phelane’s shop and to boycott all his business activities. In response, Phelane allegedly formed a gang to counter these attacks. The gang is claimed to have enjoyed the support both of Inkatha members and police.
Menera said that an underground structure of the SDU took a decision to kill the Phelanes and their ‘gangsters’. In 1990, Ms Phelane was hacked to death in the shop, their eleven-year-old son Patrick stabbed and the shop set alight. The couple’s other son, Mr Edward Phelane, was also brutally stabbed and his car was burnt.
185 SDUs in the Orange Free State appear to have been numerous, usually small in size and of informal constitution. Small groups within an ANC structure like the Youth League could therefore be confused with SDUs, as could certain ANC youth gangs known for their thuggery in the townships. A few cases presented to the Commission describe ANC aggression in the context of conflict between rival branches of the ANC and other UDF/ANC affiliate organisations.
The case of Leaooa Shuping
Mr Leaooa Paul Shuping (17) was shot on 28 March 1992 in Church Street, Bloemfontein by the ANC-aligned ‘21-Jump Street Gang’ [KZN/MOL/019/BL]. He is now disabled as a result of the shooting. His father Abram Bosaeletse Shuping and brother Abel Goitsimodimo Shuping were shot dead in the same incident, apparently for resisting the gang’s offensive against dissenting ANC/SANCO members [KZN/JRW/111/BL].
186 The Amnesty Committee heard details of the SDU-related killing of a Mr Plaatjies at Tumahole (Parys) in 1993. The case illustrates the complex interaction of events in which ill-judged and impulsive gang activity could lead loss of life.
The case of Mr Plaatjies
Mr WO Thoabala told the Amnesty Committee that he was drawn into a Tumahole SDU by Mr Benjamin Cholota on his return from exile in 1993. Cholota said, following a call by Mr Chris Hani for the enemy to be disarmed, the SDU would conduct searches and disarm police or gang members. On one occasion, Thoabala and Cholota entered a tavern at Tumahole with the objective of conducting such a search. Here they entered into a disagreement with one Mr Plaatjies (who had been identified as allegedly having killed ‘comrade’ Papi Qwaka).
Later Cholota and Thoabala accosted Mr Phule William Moalosi, whom they knew to be a prison warder and thought to be in possession of a firearm. Moalosi refused to be searched by the men and a fight allegedly broke out, also involving Plaatjies, who was allegedly bashed on the head with a brick.
Moalosi escaped from the scene. He later returned to the tavern, this time armed. A shooting incident ensued, in which Moalosi believed he had hit Thoabala. It transpired that he had shot and killed Plaatjies, a man with whom he had no quarrel.
Moalosi gave himself up to police and was later convicted of Plaatjies’ killing. Cholota was convicted of attempted murder of Plaatjies and sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment. The Amnesty Committee approved the three applications for amnesty in respect of the death of Plaatjies.
187 In the ANC’s submission to the Commission, Mr Thabo Mbeki said that the SDU groups were controlled by communities themselves, not by ANC headquarters. In some instances, the ANC admitted, things did go wrong.