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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 633

Paragraph Numbers 382 to 388

Volume 3

Chapter 6

Subsection 54

382 On 23 August 1987, Mr Caiphus Nyoka [JB00285/01ERKWA], a student activist from Daveyton, was killed in an alleged shoot-out with police during a raid on his room in the backyard of his parents’ home. He sustained approximately ten gunshot wounds.

383 A number of policemen involved in the incident which led to the death of Mr Nyoka, and several of his relatives and friends made submissions to the Commission.

384 Nyoka was allegedly linked to eight hand grenades and six limpet mines found on two men on 23 August 1987. The men told the police that they had received the contents of the bag from him, and that they were supposed to return to his home that night. The two men, Mr Daniel Moseng and Mr Moses Mahlangu, were taken to Daveyton police station and the bag was given to Sergeant Engelbrecht of the Security Branch.

385 Arrangements were made to arrest Nyoka. Engelbrecht, who knew Nyoka, was to identify and arrest him with the help of Sergeants Stander and Marais. Any other people who might be in the room were to be removed, as the police did not know how Nyoka would react.

386 When the group of police officers including Marais, Engelbrecht, Stander and two others arrived at the house, they knocked and ordered the occupants to open the door. Getting no reaction, they kicked the door in. Inside, Engelbrecht used his flashlight to identify Nyoka. He saw three other men and took them outside immediately. He heard Marais ordering Nyoka to keep still. The next moment he heard shots and ordered the three men to lie down on the ground. Engelbrecht turned on the light in the room and found Nyoka, who was fatally wounded, holding a knife in his left hand. Marais said that Nyoka had reached under the bed and grabbed something which shone and looked like a weapon. Marais and Stander had then simultaneously shot at him.

387 The three men outside were arrested and taken to Benoni police station for questioning. They were Mr Excellent Mthemba, Mr Exodus Nyakane and Mr Elson Mnyakeni. According to these three young men, they had attended a funeral in Daveyton with Nyoka and had gone to a shebeen together afterwards. At the end of the evening Nyoka said they could all sleep in his room. They talked about the funeral and then went to sleep until the police kicked down the door.

388 At the police station, the young men were interrogated and tortured. Mr Nyakane heard someone screaming while he was left in an office in the Daveyton police station. Later, he was locked in a locker and smelled tear gas fumes. He was taken to another office and his face was covered with a cloth causing him breathing difficulties. He was given electric shocks on both hands. As the shocks continued, the cloth was tightened. He was hit in the face. An object was then put in his mouth and he was shocked again. He fell to the floor still handcuffed to the chair. During the torture, he was questioned about whether he knew two other men, which he denied. He was later taken back to the previous room and locked in a locker again. He peeped through the door and witnessed two other people being locked inside lockers. He also heard more screams. He was later taken back to Daveyton and released.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT ON 23 AUGUST 1987, MR CAIPHUS NYOKA, A YOUNG ACTIVIST FROM DAVEYTON, AND THREE OF HIS COMRADES WERE SLEEPING AT HIS HOME IN DAVEYTON. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MEMBERS OF THE BENONI SECURITY BRANCH ENTERED THE ROOM, TOOK THE THREE COMRADES OUT INTO THE YARD AND THEN EXECUTED MR NYOKA IN COLD BLOOD. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE THREE OTHER MEN, MR EXCELLENT MTHEMBA, MR EXODUS NYAKANE AND MR ELSON MNYAKENI, WERE TAKEN TO THE BENONI HEADQUARTERS OF THE SECURITY BRANCH AND TORTURED.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE KILLING OF MR CAIPHUS NYOKA BY MEMBERS OF THE BENONI SECURITY BRANCH CONSTITUTES A GROSS VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS, AND HOLDS THE MINISTER OF LAW AND ORDER, THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE AND THE HEAD OF THE FORMER STATE RESPONSIBLE. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE TORTURE OF THE THREE MEN NAMED ABOVE CONSTITUTES A GROSS VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS, AND HOLDS THE BENONI SECURITY BRANCH, THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE AND THE MINISTER OF LAW AND ORDER RESPONSIBLE.
 
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