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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 453
Paragraph Numbers 228
Samuel Mzuga Baloi from Welkom
Mr Samuel Mzuga Baloi [KZN/ZJ/111/WE] was unarmed when he was executed by askaris acting under the command and control and with the approval of their commanders in the SAP.
The official version of Baloi’s death on 22 February 1990, as reported in the newspapers, stated that “Policemen … confronted the suspect in Guguletu about 11.45am yesterday. He was carrying a grenade of foreign origin. When he tried to flee, policemen fired, killing him.” 23
Constable Bambatha, a disaffected SAP member in the Eastern Cape who was in charge of a group of askaris in that region, described this incident quite differently in a statement to Minister Sidney Mufamadi in 1995.24 He stated that he was equipped by his senior commander with an attaché case containing grenades and pistols with the instructions to plant these on any MK persons who were killed:
“I recall an incident in Cape Town during late 1989 or early 1990 in Gugulethu Township, when a male person was pointed out by the askaris. After stopping the vehicle, I approached him and informed him that I was a police official whereupon he ran away. As a result of this, the askaris jumped from the vehicle and chased the man whilst firing at him. Myself and Constable Koopman … tried to stop them but they succeeded in fatally shooting the man. I then approached the body, discovering that he was dead as well as unarmed. I had the attaché case with me and sent the askaris back to the Kombi so that they could not see what I was doing. I then placed a F1 hand grenade in the dead man’s pocket under the guise of trying to help him as members of the community were watching. This fact made it impossible to place the Makharov pistol next to him.
“I later also made a statement that I had discovered the F1 hand grenade on his person. After the incident, the Captain complimented me on my actions and pertinently stated that it was better that the terrorists be killed to prevent their possible release.”
Bambatha identified askari ‘Louis’ and others as the killers. It is believed that this askari was subsequently killed in Welkom by members of the SAP.23 Cape Times, 23 February 1990. 24 Constable Bambatha was shot dead shortly after making this statement.
Zola Michael ‘Jabulani’ Dubeni
Mr Zola ‘Jabulani’ Dubeni [EC2653/97UTA] was shot dead by members of the Security Branch on 14 March 1987. Dubeni joined the ANC in exile in 1980 and worked as an MK operative in Transkei in 1985, transferring to the western Cape in 1986. He was arrested in Nyanga on 13 March 1987 by Security Branch and Vlakplaas personnel including Larry Hanton, and about an hour later pointed out an AK-47 and an F1 grenade at two sites in Nyanga.
Police statements in the inquest give the following version of his death. During questioning at the Security Branch offices the day after his arrest, Dubeni told them that he had an arms cache in the bushes at Faure outside Cape Town. It was decided that he should point this cache out. Warrant Officer JL Nel and Sergeant WR Bellingan contacted Warrant Officer PJ Theron, the explosives expert on standby, and took him along to Faure with Dubeni, who directed them to a site in the bushes. Nel gave Dubeni a spade and instructed him to dig until he reached the material, whereupon Theron would remove it. Dubeni, still in handcuffs and leg irons, started digging on a slope about five metres away, but then allegedly dropped the spade, pulled out a plastic packet and produced a grenade. Nel fired one shot in his direction. Bellingan also opened fire with an Uzi. Dubeni was shot in the stomach and head and died on the scene. The plastic packet, the entire ‘arms cache’, was found to have contained a total of four grenades. Lieutenant Liebenberg was called to the scene and, being unable to locate the duty officer for the Bellville District, asked Lieutenant Desmond Segal to take over investigation of the scene.
There are serious discrepancies in this version of events. The Commission has established from MK sources that Dubeni had recently been disarmed by vigilantes in Khayelitsha and had been re-armed with only an AK-47 and an F1 grenade by a fellow operative. This is consistent with the weaponry pointed out on his arrest. Secondly, MK sources in charge of weaponry in the region at the time denied the existence of any arms cache whatsoever in Faure. It is improbable that an arms cache consisting of only four grenades would have been established at such a remote site.
The police’s own version shows serious violations of the procedures set out in the 1980s Security Branch manual on investigations of terrorist cases:
no officer was called to be present at the pointing out;
no photographer was called. This serious violation of procedure suggests that there was no intention of bringing charges against Dubeni, since the pointing out of the arms cache would have been inadmissible in court.
No photographs were taken or reconstruction of the scene done even after the event.
The inquest itself did not include ballistics tests or reports of where shotgun wads or spent cartridges were found. The post mortem report was cursory and the general description of wounds did not match the photographs of Dubeni’s wounds. There was no photograph of the ‘entrance’ wound in the abdomen. The inquest magistrate, despite an application, refused to take oral evidence.
THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS THE REFERRAL OF THIS CASE TO THE PROSECUTING AUTHORITIES FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION.