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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 637
Paragraph Numbers 399 to 407
399 The medicine murders evoked widespread anger in the homeland. Government officials were accused of mishandling the investigation and alleged perpetrators were reportedly granted bail and had charges against them withdrawn. Protest activities brought the homeland to a standstill for a brief period.
400 Clashes between the security forces and students became inevitable. The Venda security forces patrolled villages and raided the homes of political activists. They detained student leaders and dispersed student meetings violently. Priests and pastors who supported the students were arrested, detained and tortured. The youth retaliated by assaulting people suspected of ritual murders, and attacking their homes. Homes of schoolchildren who attended classes during the school boycott were also burnt down.
401 Commission data which shows that 12 per cent of the violations reported to the Commission from the independent homelands during this period were killings, as opposed to torture (42 per cent) and severe ill treatment (44 per cent). It appears that Venda Police tended to beat (rather than shoot) students who engaged in political protests. However, assault could also lead to severe physical damage.
402 Mr Ndwamato Peter Rumani [JB01269/02NPVEN] was severely assaulted by Venda policemen during a student march to Makhado police station in June 1989. Rumani was sick at the time and did not participate in the march. However, the police found him in bed and sjambokked him until he lost consciousness. He was reportedly refused medical attention and claims that he still suffers from the effects of the assault.
403 Ms Tshinane Daphney Kwinda [JB01416/02NPVEN] was sixteen years old when she was seriously assaulted by several Venda policemen in August 1988, during a protest march against corporal punishment. Ms Kwinda lost her right eye in the assault and sustained injuries to her entire body. As a result of her injuries she was unable to continue with her education. Shortly afterwards, a group of policemen visited Kwinda at home and threatened “to take serious steps” if she intended taking the matter further.
404 President Ravele appointed a commission to investigate the causes of the unrest and ritual murders in Venda. Judge le Roux, the Chief Justice, was appointed the sole commissioner for this investigation. His findings were that the unrest emanated from the controversial death of Mr James Mavhina, a mentally unstable teacher who disappeared mysteriously before his mutilated body was discovered. When pupils at his school did not receive a explanation from the school and government authorities, they launched a school boycott and a stay away in 1988.
405 Judge le Roux concluded that Mr Mavhina had in fact committed suicide, and said that the community’s perception of his death as ritual murder had been promoted by ‘radical’ organisations such as the ANC and UDF in collaboration with the Venda Lutheran Church which, under the banner of Christianity, condoned and promoted violence against apartheid and the homeland governments.
406 Mr Lufuno Joshua Mulaudzi [JB01374/02NPVEN], a student at Venda University and a member of the UDF-affiliated NTAC and SAYCO, was arrested and interrogated as a result of his involvement in the launch of the 1986 anti-independence campaign. Mr Mulaudzi was allegedly tortured at Sibasa police station by officers he names as Nesemari and Mganga. He said he was forced to write a statement about his organisational activities. He was subsequently charged with public violence, but the charges were never pursued. During the following two years, the Venda Police allegedly continued to monitor his activities and on one occasion reportedly threatened him with death for continuing with his political activities.
407 Mr Motimedi Malaka [JB01270/02NPVEN], a long-term activist who had already been detained in 1976 and 1977 for his involvement in Black Consciousness organisations, was detained again and tortured in 1985 for his leadership role in NTAC. He was subsequently hospitalised for three months.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE VENDA POLICE AND THE VENDA DEFENCE FORCE USED UNDUE FORCE IN DEALING WITH STUDENT AND COMMUNITY PROTESTS TO INTIMIDATE PEOPLE AND PREVENT THEM FROM EXPRESSING OPPOSITION TO THE VENDA GOVERNMENT.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE VENDA POLICE AND THE VENDA DEFENCE FORCE WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TORTURE AND SEVERE ILL TREATMENT OF STUDENTS, CHURCH AND COMMUNITY LEADERS. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE TORTURE AND SEVERE ILL TREATMENT CONSTITUTES A GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION FOR WHICH THE VENDA GOVERNMENT IS HELD RESPONSIBLE.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE VENDA GOVERNMENT AND IN PARTICULAR THE VENDA POLICE AND THE VENDA DEFENCE FORCE COLLABORATED WITH EACH OTHER IN THE ARREST, DETENTION AND TORTURE OF MK CADRES OPERATING IN VENDA. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE SOUTH AFRICAN SECURITY FORCES CO-OPERATED WITH THE VENDA DEFENCE FORCE IN DEALING WITH OPPONENTS OF THE VENDA GOVERNMENT.