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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 619

Paragraph Numbers 332 to 336

Volume 3

Chapter 6

Subsection 48

332 Mr Kokane Isaac Ditshego [JB03221/02GTTEM], secretary of the Moutse Civic Association, which was campaigning against the incorporation of the area into the KwaNdebele homeland, was arrested and tortured in police custody in 1986. While his initial arrest and assault was carried out by the KwaNdebele Police, they were clearly working in co-operation with the SAP, who subjected Mr Ditshego to suffocation by ‘tubing’ (placing a tyre tube over his face).

333 Like a number of other detainees, Ditshego reports that after his arrest he was not immediately taken to a police station. First he and his cousin were kept in a police van for approximately four hours:

It was about one o’clock at night. They put me in a cage, in a dog cage, as you know the police cars have this dog kennels at the back where they put two dogs. They had one dog in the other kennel and they put the two of us, me and my cousin in … They drove with us to Hillbrow and parked their car there … for the whole night and they went around on foot playing machines, drinking, doing whatever they want and they came back round about five o’clock.

334 Mr Ditshego and his cousin were not taken to a police station but were driven to an abandoned farmhouse where they were interrogated and lashed. He described the attempts of the police to suffocate him:

And all of a sudden I saw one of them with a car tube, a piece of a car tube about that size. These guys, bearing in mind that they were almost all of them heavily built, to me they looked quite a bit abnormal, they were too big and I didn’t even – I didn’t see such big policemen around here, I mean they were very fat people. They let me lie on my back, yet still handcuffed. One of them sat on my legs and one of them sat on my chest. On my stomach here and the other one comes in front of me and put that tube on my face to suffocate me. That was the worst thing they could do to me. I get suffocated only when windows are not open but what more then, when a tube of a car is pressed on my face and all what they are saying is that “Nou gaan jy waar praat”. They did that to me three times. I cannot count how many seconds or how long they kept pressing the tube on one’s face or how long did they do it on me but it was only when I felt I was about to die when they could remove the tube.

335 When Ditshego lost consciousness, the police poured water over him to revive him. He was left for two weeks before the torture started again. Ditshego told the Commission that he was brought to the brink of death by a blow to the head.

… one of the biggest of them all, when I just entered the door there, hit me with his fist under the ear and I fell and died a little bit.

336 When Ditshego regained consciousness, the police appeared to have been concerned that they had actually killed him, but had made no attempt to assist him or call for medical help. They forced him to stand for a day before taking him back to the cells.

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