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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 448

Paragraph Numbers 218 to 226

Volume 3

Chapter 5

Subsection 33

Northern Cape

218 The Repression Monitoring Group reported that at least 166 people were detained in the Northern Cape under the 1986 state of emergency. Some of these detainees were tortured. Mr David Mabeka [CT04407] was detained on 12 June in Barkly West and was taken to the Transvaal Road police station in Kimberley where he was assaulted by security policemen. He laid a charge against the police but fled to Johannesburg after being threatened by them. Mr Rodney Mtyobile [CT04503] was subjected to electric shocks by SAP member Mr Mochesane. Electric shock torture was also reported by Ms Gladys Keitumetse [CT06014], who was detained at Jan Kempdorp on 12 June for a period of about nine months. She also alleged that she was seriously beaten.

219 Excerpts from the submission by Mr Thembani Jacobs James [CT04007] of Kimberley provide a window into the torture of UDF members in the Northern Cape. He was detained six times between 1985 and 1989 with frequent assaults and torture.

220 On 29 January 1985, Jacobs was arrested after an illegal march during the student school boycott and held until 15 February. He was interrogated and assaulted by a Sergeant:

He was continuously assaulting me all over my body and my left ear. It started at 09h00 and ended at 15h00. I realised that I could not hear properly with my left ear. It was very painful. During the interrogation, the Sergeant said that if I complained about the fact that I was tortured, he will fetch me again.

221 A doctor later found that his eardrum had been perforated.

222 On 23 February 1985: “I was taken to the CID department. We were beaten … I was taken to the cells with all my colleagues. Tear gas was thrown into the cells.”

223 He was again detained when the state of emergency was declared on 12 June 1986. This time he was tortured by (inter alia) Mr Gavin Toynam to force him to make admissions. He spent several months in solitary confinement after that. In June 1986:

I was visited by a Sergeant who tried to bribe me to testify against my comrades. He came to me carrying a bottle of Klipdrift brandy. I told him I would not co-operate. He then told me I must forget about being released.

224 In detention again in 1988, he was handcuffed, given electric shocks and beaten with a bottle of Coca-Cola. This was done by (inter alia) Mr Hendrick Niewoudt and Captain van der Colff at the Kimberley police station. On release from his last period of detention, he was served with restriction orders.

225 He finally had an operation on his ear in August 1989. He told the Commission that these traumas affected him deeply, both psychologically and physically.

226 Mr Mxolisi Jacobs [CT04205], an active member of the youth organisation in Upington, was detained on 15 June 1986 during a wider pre-June 16 security crackdown under the state of emergency. The prison authorities stated that he was found hanged in his prison cell on 22 October 1986, after 129 days in detention. “Fellow detainees said that Jacobs had been strong and in good spirits when they last saw him seven hours before his death. His aunt said that she could not accept the circumstances of his death.”22 At the court case, prison warders apparently gave conflicting evidence. The official cause of death was found to be suicide by hanging.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THIS PERIOD SAW THE MOST WIDESPREAD PERPETRATION OF TORTURE IN THIS REGION DURING THE PERIOD OF THE COMMISSION’S MANDATE. THE TWO GROUPS TORTURED MOST CONSISTENTLY WERE INDIVIDUALS SUSPECTED OF PUBLIC VIOLENCE ACTIVITIES, AND INDIVIDUALS SUSPECTED OF BELONGING TO MK. SEPARATE ACCOUNTS OF SIMILAR MEANS EMPLOYED IN EITHER THE SAME PREMISES OR BY THE SAME NAMED PERPETRATORS LEND AUTHENTICITY TO THESE ACCOUNTS.
IN THE PENINSULA, THIS TORTURE WAS NOTABLY ASSOCIATED WITH CERTAIN UNITS OF THE SECURITY FORCES, NAMELY THE SECURITY BRANCH, PARTICULARLY THE TERRORISM TRACKING UNIT, AND THE UNREST INVESTIGATION UNITS. THE COMMISSION FINDS EVIDENCE OF WIDESPREAD TORTURE IN RURAL AREAS, PREDOMINANTLY AT POLICE STATIONS SUCH AS THE TRANSVAAL ROAD POLICE STATION IN KIMBERLEY, THE WORCESTER POLICE STATION AND SECURITY BRANCH HEADQUARTERS AT THE SANLAM BUILDING IN WORCESTER AND SEVERAL POLICE STATIONS IN THE SOUTHERN CAPE. THE COMMISSION NOTES A PATTERN OF SEXUAL TORTURE AT THE MOSSEL BAY POLICE STATION.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE MOTIVE FOR SUCH TORTURE WAS OFTEN INTIMIDATION OR THE FORCIBLE EXTRACTION OF CONFESSIONS. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT SUCH TORTURE WAS COMMITTED WITH THE COMPLICIT KNOWLEDGE OF THE SUPERIORS OF THE INDIVIDUALS ASSOCIATED WITH ACTS OF TORTURE.
THE COMMISSION FINDS A CONSISTENT PATTERN OF MEMBERS OF THE SECURITY FORCES LYING IN COURT BY DENYING INVOLVEMENT IN ACTS OF TORTURE. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MAGISTRATES AND JUDGES WERE SINGULARLY RELUCTANT TO ACCEPT OR BELIEVE ALLEGATIONS OF TORTURE.
21 For more about this and similar cases, see Special Hearing: Women in Volume Four. 22 Focus, No 68, Jan–Feb 1987, p. 5.
 
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