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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 645
Paragraph Numbers 431 to 437
431 Mr Makompo Lucky Kutumela [JB00511/02NPPTB; JB04847/99OVE], a twenty-sixyear-old journalist and AZAPO member, was beaten to death at Makopane police station in March 1986. He had apparently been detained because of articles he allegedly wrote, which implicated the police in murder. His death precipitated a number of revenge attacks.
432 An inquest the following year concluded that Mr Kutumela had been murdered; a post mortem report revealed forty-one sjambok marks on his body. However, the Kutumela family were never notified of the subsequent court case against the policemen involved and only learned later that they had been found not guilty.
433 Union activist Yasser Phokela Rasethaba [JB00557/02NPPTB] narrowly escaped death after being detained by the Lebowa Police in 1986. Mr Rasethaba described to the Commission the repressive conditions in Lebowa at the time:
In Seshego specifically and other areas surrounding it, there were human rights abuses in those areas. I can give an example, we were not allowed to hold any meeting … every time we wanted to hold meetings whether for the workers or the people, we were attacked in different ways. We were attacked in churches, they threw tear gas canisters … The other things which were disturbing were, they used to kidnap people in Seshego, they used to assault and do bad things to them, some of them now are paralysed, some of them have been buried, we just buried them before this Commission started …
434 Mr Rasethaba was stopped at a roadblock on his way to church in the evening. He was put in a police van which drove from house to house detaining other people. After several hours in the van, he identified one of the policemen as his neighbour. Rasethaba said that this policeman told him:
Rasethaba, there is nothing that we can do, comrades in Seshego are burning our houses, us policemen, our houses are being burnt, there is nothing I can do, we want to protect our houses.
435 Instead of being taken to a police station, Rasethaba and the others who had been detained were driven to a deserted graveyard. He was briefly questioned about his political activities and was then severely beaten. He was then taken to the police station where he was beaten again. As a result of his severe beating, Rasethaba said, he was “raving unintelligibly”. Eventually he was hospitalised. A month later he was subpoenaed to appear in court along with thirty-nine others on charges of public violence. After three court appearances, the case was withdrawn.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE LEBOWA GOVERNMENT AND ITS SECURITY FORCES WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ARREST, TORTURE AND DEATH OF MR PETER NCHABALENG IN APRIL 1986 AND THE ARREST, TORTURE AND DEATH OF MR MAKOMPO LUCKY KUTUMELA IN MARCH 1986. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MR YASSER PHOKELA RASETHABA WAS DETAINED BY THE LEBOWA SECURITY FORCES IN 1986 AND WAS SEVERELY ASSAULTED BY THEM. THE COMMISSION FINDS THE LEBOWA GOVERNMENT AND ITS SECURITY FORCES RESPONSIBLE FOR THE GROSS VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS.
436 In October 1985, Mr Ngoako Ramalepe [JB02813/02NP], chairperson of the Student Representative Council (SRC) at Modjadji College of Education in the Gazankulu homeland, was beaten to death by members of the Lebowa Police after being arrested at a shopping centre. Mr Ramalepe had just returned from a march to celebrate the recent release from detention of another colleague. Mr Robert Makoga, also an office-bearer in the SRC, was arrested with Ramalepe and was severely beaten at the police station. He alleges that Station Commander Ramulta of the Lebowa Police gave the order for the two to be arrested. Makoga told the Commission:
When I woke up I realised that we were in the bush. They dumped us there and I realised that Ngoako was with me there. As Ngoako was my senior or he was older than me, I could not pick him up, I just ran away and went back to the township in Gabane location. When I got there I explained to the students what happened to us and they decided to go to the hospital to look for Ngoako and they found that Ngoako was there at the hospital mortuary and he was dead and Mr Ramusi came to us the next day. He fetched me and he took me to his offices to get a statement from me
437 Sixteen-year-old Wilson Tibane [JB03220/02NPTZA] was also part of the wave of conflict which swept across Gazankulu during 1986. He was among a group of youths who marched towards Dan Village near Tzaneen to demand an end to the homeland government. They were intercepted by Gazankulu police who opened fire. Wilson Tibane was shot and killed. At his funeral the police violently dispersed mourners who ignored government restrictions on the number of people who could attend the gathering.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MR NGOAKO RAMALEPE, THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE SRC AT THE MODJADJI COLLEGE OF EDUCATION, WAS ARRESTED AND DETAINED IN OCTOBER 1985 TOGETHER WITH A FELLOW ACTIVIST, MR ROBERT MAKOGA. THEY WERE BOTH SEVERELY ASSAULTED BY THE LEBOWA POLICE AND MR RAMALEPE WAS KILLED. THE COMMISSION FINDS THE LEBOWA GOVERNMENT AND ITS SECURITY FORCES RESPONSIBLE FOR THE GROSS VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN RESPECT OF MR RAMALEPE AND MR MAKOGA.