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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 252

Paragraph Numbers 354 to 366

Volume 2

Chapter 3

Subsection 39

Norman ‘Billy Holiday’ Pietersen and Zola Michael ‘Jabulani’ Dubeni

354 MK operative Norman ‘Billy Holiday’ Pietersen [CT00440/WIN] and Mr Zola Michael ‘Jabulani’Dubeni [EC2653/97UTA] were shot dead in Cape Town following several armed attacks on members of the SAP. On 9 January 1987, Unrest Unit member GJ Labuschagne was killed and Warrant Officer Barnard seriously injured in a hand grenade attack on their vehicle. Constable WL Mthethwa was shot dead in a second incident three days later.

355 Members of the Unrest Unit arrested Pietersen in his bedroom in New Crossroads, Cape Town, on 14 March 1987. At the inquest, the police alleged that, while members of the Riot Unit were searching the contents of a bag of arms in his possession, Pietersen pulled away from the policeman holding him, tried to dive under the bed, grabbed an AK-47 and shot at the police. Two Riot Unit members attempted to pull Pietersen out from under the bed and a third member shot him dead.

356 Dubeni was arrested by Western Cape Security Branch members together with Vlakplaas operatives and askaris in Nyanga on 14 March 1987. Dubeni was believed by the police to have been responsible for armed actions in the Transkei in 1985, including a shoot-out with police in which one policeman was killed. The following day he was allegedly taken by Warrant Officer JH Nel, Sergeant WR Bellingan and Warrant Officer PJ Theron to a remote bushy area near Faure outside Cape Town to point out an arms cache.

357 Nel claimed at the inquest that Dubeni allegedly dropped the spade which which he was digging and picked up a plastic packet from which he produced a grenade. Dubeni was in handcuffs and leg irons at the time. He was then shot in the stomach and face by Nel and Bellingan, and died at the scene. The packet was found to have contained four hand grenades. Lieutenant Desmond Segal was called to investigate the death.

358 MK sources told the Commission that there was no arms cache in Faure and that Dubeni had recently been disarmed by vigilantes in Khayelitsha. Notably, no officer or photographer were present at the ‘pointing out’, nor were photographs taken of the scene at any stage, allegedly because it was raining. This serious violation of police procedure suggests that there was no intention of bringing charges against Dubeni, since the pointing out of the arms cache would have been inadmissible in court without photographic evidence.

Unnamed MK members

359 In April 1987, askari Xola Frank ‘Jimmy’ Mbane’s unit [AM8066/97] and Vusi ‘Spyker’ Myeza from Andy Taylor’s unit went to Jozini where they shot one MK member in the legs; another sought refuge in a dam and shot security policeman Captain Frank McCarter. The injured man was left to die. After McCarter had been taken to hospital, the man in the dam attempted to give himself up to the police, but was shot in the head.

Sandile ‘Zintlhe’ Mahlangu

360 Security Branch file DR53/87 reveals that MK member, Sandile ‘Zintlhe’ Mahlangu was shot by Lieutenant SJG du Preez and Sergeant LG Wasserman in N Section, Umlazi on 30 June 1987 while running away. The victim had previously applied for political asylum in Lesotho.

‘Thanduxolo’ and ‘Nombini’

361 Two ANC members – ‘Thanduxolo’ and another, said to be an armed woman and possibly his sister, ‘Nombini’ – were killed on 7 July 1987 in Motherwell, Port Elizabeth. They died after police used an armoured vehicle as a breaching device and flattened the house they were in. The police claimed to have seized a quantity of munitions including a grenade.14

Bongani Edwin Cele

362 ANC member Mr Bongani Edwin Cele [KZN/NG/031/DN] was shot dead by the police Murder and Robbery Unit in Mobeni Heights near Durban on 9 July 1987. The police claimed that Cele had tried to detonate a grenade while pointing out a site. The investigating officer, Hentie Botha, stated that Cele had been detained by the Security Branch for questioning about his involvement in attacks on a black councillor’s home in Lamontville and the Lamontville police station. He further claimed that Cele had undergone military training in the ANC. On 30 June 1988, a Durban inquest court found that the police had been justified in killing the arrested ANC member.

Ashley Kriel

363 Mr Ashley Kriel [CT00307/HEL], a young activist from Bonteheuwel, Cape Town, left the country in late December 1985, joined the ANC and underwent military training in Angola. He infiltrated the country in April 1987. On 9 July 1987, Warrant Officer Jeffrey Benzien of the Terrorism Detection Unit and Sergeant AD Abels went to the Athlone house in which Kriel was staying. The two allege that they were only intending to reconnoitre the place. Kriel allegedly opened the door holding a pistol concealed beneath a towel. A scuffle broke out during which Benzien shot Kriel in the back with his own weapon. Warrant Officer Nel of the Security Branch allegedly found a grenade under a pillow on the bed.

364 The Commission established that the incident had been planned in the Athlone police station. Further, other members of the Security Branch were concealed in the nearby vicinity.

365 Forensic evidence also contradicts the police version of events. Blood was found in the bathroom and on the floor between the bathroom and kitchen door. Further, the bullet entrance wound indicated direct contact with the skin as opposed to passing through his clothing.

Thozama Phoebe Mani

366 Ms Thozama Phoebe Mani [EC0170/96PLZ] was detained and tortured in 1987. It is not clear whether she herself was a trained MK guerilla or was assisting an MK cell. She was in hiding in December 1987 when the shack in which she was staying in Veeplaas, Port Elizabeth was surrounded by security forces. She was shot and killed and the shack was crushed by armoured vehicles.

14 M Morris, Update: SA Bomb Summary, 1 May–31 August 1987.
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