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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 667

Paragraph Numbers 518 to 521

Volume 3

Chapter 6

Subsection 70

Necklacing

518 The necklace became a terrible symbol of the brutalisation of political conflict in South Africa during the mid-1980s and claimed at least 400 lives. Most of the victims were alleged informers, although councillors, police, and chiefs were also vulnerable to this sort of attack. Most of the perpetrators aligned themselves with the UDF. Although official policy of both the UDF and the ANC was to condemn necklacing, the public statements of the leadership of these organisations were sometimes ambiguous and appeared to give tacit and sometimes overt approval to the practice.

519 Ms Maki Skhosana [JB00289/01ERKWA] was necklaced in July 1985, on suspicion of complicity in the deaths of eight young COSAS activists on the East Rand. They had died while trying to use hand grenades which had been booby-trapped by security force agents (see under Covert Action above). Ms Skhosana, who was herself involved in student politics, had been the first person contacted by ‘Mike’ (Vlakplaas operative Joe Mamasela posing as an MK operative), and had put him in contact with the COSAS activists. It later emerged that Skhosana, unaware of Mamasela’s position within the police, was involved in a relationship with him. Survivors of the attack still seem divided as to whether Skhosana had in fact betrayed them. However, after her sister, Ms Evelina Puleng Moloko, testified at the Commission hearings, the family was formally accepted back into the East Rand community in a significant symbolic process of reconciliation.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MS MAKI SKHOSANA WAS WRONGLY ACCUSED OF BEING AN INFORMER AND RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATH OF THE ‘COMRADES’ IN THE BOOBY-TRAPPED HAND GRENADE INCIDENTS. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MS SKHOSANA WAS NOT AWARE OF THE FACT THAT ‘MIKE’ WAS JOE MAMASELA, AN ASKARI. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE NECKLACING WAS A GRUESOME ACT OF EXTRAORDINARY VIOLENCE THAT CAST A BLIGHT ON THE STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM. THE COMMISSION FINDS THE ‘COMRADES’ AND THE COMMUNITY AT DUDUZA RESPONSIBLE FOR THE NECKLACING OF MS SKHOSANA, AND THAT THE UDF AND THE ANC MUST ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR THIS GROSS VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE ROLE PLAYED BY THE STATE IN MANIPULATING COMMUNITY PARANOIA AND INFILTRATING INFORMERS INTO COMMUNITIES AND ACTIVIST STRUCTURES CREATED A CLIMATE WHICH GAVE RISE TO VIOLENCE AND GROSS VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS.

520 Mr Frank Mlotshwa, the son of Ms Bayeni Annie Silinda [JB01323/01MPNEL], was burnt as an informer in September 1986. The reasons for his murder are unclear, but appear to be related to the fact that he had previously worked for the Nelspruit municipal council and did not immediately comply when ordered by a group of sjambok-wielding ‘comrades’ to come to a meeting. Mr Mlotshwa spent four days in hospital before he died.

521 Nineteen-year-old Mr Lucky Mnisi [JB1099/01MPNEL] was burnt to death on 3 July 1986. Mr Mnisi was a student activist who was repeatedly detained by police. It appears that, as a result of the violence he experienced while in detention, he agreed to work for the police. He was murdered soon after his release from jail. Before his death he told his mother, Ms Jameya Mnisi, that he had agreed to work for the police. Ms Mnisi told the Commission:

He said, “Yes mother, the police ended up arresting me, they took me to the cells and they assaulted me and after assaulting us we spent a week in jail and at the end of that the police gave us uniforms and they gave us guns.” And I said, “Why did you take those?” And he said “Mother, I thought that they would leave me alone.”
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE ‘COMRADES’ WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FATAL BURNING OF MR FRANK MLOTSHWA. THE COMMISSION FINDS THE ‘COMRADES’, THE UDF AND THE ANC RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS DEATH AND THUS FOR THE GROSS VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MR LUCKY MNISI WAS BURNT TO DEATH BY ‘COMRADES’ BECAUSE HE WAS SUSPECTED OF BEING AN INFORMER. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE ROLE PLAYED BY THE STATE IN COMPROMISING MANY ACTIVISTS AND COERCING THEM INTO BECOMING INFORMERS AND ASKARIS RESULTED IN THE MURDERS OF MANY ACTIVISTS AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS. THE COMMISSION FINDS THE FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN GRESPONSIBLE FOR CREATING A CLIMATE WITHIN WHICH GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS WERE COMMITTED. THE COMMISSION FINDS THE ‘COMRADES’, THE COMMUNITY, THE UDF AND THE ANC RESPONSIBLE FOR THE GROSS VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS.
 
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