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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 585
Paragraph Numbers 207 to 211
207 On 14 September 1983, Mr Humbelani Elvin Tshifhiwa Mulaudzi [JB1268/02NPVEN] and two other ‘terrorists’ were killed by Venda government security forces as they tried to cross back into South Africa via Beit Bridge. His body was later found so badly riddled with bullets that it was unrecognisable.
208 This incident precipitated a wave of retaliation against people suspected of assisting the insurgents.
209 In November 1983, the Venda police arrested and detained Mr Mufhungo Alfred Denga, Mr Samuel Radamba, Mr Tshikhudo Tshivase Samuel Mugivhela, Mr Robert Ratshitanga, Mr Peter Mudzielwana and Mr Wilson Sinyebwe, some of whom were subsistence farmers. Some of them were part of the underground operational network, with whom political activists negotiated clandestinely for assistance in transporting and harbouring guerrillas. Political activists also bought these farmers’ products to sell to farmers in the former Rhodesia and Botswana, creating a cover for communication with the liberation movement, informing them about political developments inside the country and bringing in banned literature. The detainees were accused of assisting ANC ‘terrorists’. Some were charged under section 3 of the Terrorism Act and others under the Internal Security Act of 1982. Some were found guilty of treason.
The case of Mufhungo Alfred Denga
Mr Mufhungo Alfred Denga [JB01414/02NPVEN] is now mentally handicapped as a result of having been tortured at Masisi police station in Venda. He was reportedly arrested because he helped transport three ANC cadres from Thohoyandou to Tshihwadza in the mountains of Venda where they were to be helped across to Zimbabwe.
Mr Denga was taken by police officers Managa and Nemakonde to Masisi police station in Mutale. He was kept alone in a dirty cell and was allegedly given food mixed with faeces. He did not eat for several weeks. When he was released in March 1984, he was suffering from severe mental disturbance. He is still receiving treatment.
The case of Samuel Radamba
Mr Samuel Radamba [JB01385/02NPVEN] was arrested by police officer Managa for harbouring ‘terrorists’ in his orchard and providing them with food. He was interrogated, severely beaten and verbally abused at Sibasa police station. Mr Radamba was later transferred to Mutale, where he spent 108 days in detention. He was released in February 1984, with the condition that he report to his headman three days a week.
210 Deaths in custody in the homeland of Venda were also reported for this period.
The case of Tshikhudo Tshivase Samuel Mugivhela
Mr Tshikhudo Tshivase Samuel Mugivhela [JB01369/02NPVEN] died in detention on 20 January 1984 after being arrested by the Venda police for harbouring and feeding ‘terrorists’. Like Radamba and Denga, Mugivhela owned an orchard where he planted mielies (corn) and sweet potatoes. Before arresting him, police searched his orchard for weapons, and his wives were interrogated to find out whether they were cooking for the ‘terrorists’.
The Venda National Force refused to take responsibility for Mugivhela’s death and claimed that he died from diabetes or typhoid. His brother believes that “he was beaten up as his neck seemed to have been strangled before he died”.
211 The Lutheran Church played an active political role in Venda. Politically-conscious Christians in Venda formed the Bold and Evangelical Christian Organisation (BECO) in 1976/1977, with the aim of furthering the struggle against apartheid. Members of the church were subjected to severe repression by the homeland government. Two key members of the Lutheran Church, Reverend Simon Farisani [JB1425/990VE] and Mr Tshifhiwa Isaac Muofhe, were both detained and tortured during 1977. Following a bomb explosion at Sibasa police station in October 1981, repression of Lutheran Church leaders became particularly severe. Most of those arrested after the bomb blast were Lutheran Church members including Mr Muofhe, Pastor Farisani and Pastor Ndanganeni Petrus Phaswana.