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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 264

Paragraph Numbers 411 to 416

Volume 2

Chapter 3

Subsection 44

The KwaNdebele Nine

411 A group of nine young activists who had fled from Mamelodi to Kwandebele was infiltrated by the SAP. The activists were told to meet at a house in Vlaklaagte, KwaNdebele, on 15 July 1986, from where they would be taken for military training. The police surrounded the house, killed all the activists and set the house alight. Those killed include Mr Jeremiah Maqaqula, Mr Jimmy Mabena, Mr Samuel Ledwaba, Mr Zakias Skosana, Mr Obed Mokhonwana, Mr Mabuso Malobala, Mr Abram Makulane, Mr Ngemane Benjamin Mafidi and Mr Jeffrey Hlope.

The Nietverdiend Ten

412 In the ‘Nietverdiend Ten’ incident, a group of ten youths between the ages of fourteen and nineteen were recruited for military training by Sergeant Joe Mamasela and then killed on 26 June 1986. This operation was a joint Northern Transvaal and Special Forces operation. Brigadier J Cronjé [AM2773/96], Captain Jacques Hechter [AM2776/96], Colonel WJ Loots [AM4149/96], Colonel PR Crause [AM4125/96], Major General AJM Joubert [AM3799/96] and Commandant Charl Naudé [AM5453/97] applied for amnesty for the incident.

413 The Northern Transvaal had been designated as one of the ‘hotspots’ in Major General Joubert’s plan (see above). Charl Naudé was assigned to co-ordinate support for the Northern Transvaal Security Branch and worked in a covert Special Forces unit from 1984. Cronjé approached Naudé and discussed a plan to eliminate the group of activists. Naudé reported to his superior officer, Major General ‘Joep’ Joubert, who authorised the plan. The plan involved killing the activists en route to Botswana, where they were supposedly destined to receive training, and required the co-operation of the Western Transvaal Security Branch, under the command of Colonel Wickus Loots. Captain Crause from the Zeerust Security Branch drove around with Cronjé and Naudé in order to identify a suitable spot.

414 On the night of the 26 June 1986, the anniversary of Operation Zero Zero, Sergeant Joe Mamasela collected the group in a minibus and drove towards Botswana. He stopped at a Zeerust filling station as arranged and picked up another man who was to act as their escort. At this stage, Cronjé, Hechter, Loots, Crause and Naudé began to follow them. The escort later told him to turn left off the road and after approximately thirty to forty metres they entered a dense, bushy area. As he drew to a halt, soldiers wearing camouflage uniform and balaclavas surrounded the vehicle. The youths were instructed to climb out and lie face down. Their trousers were removed and Naudé injected with them with a sedative or other chemical substance. The victims were then returned to the vehicle and driven to a pre-selected spot in Bophuthatswana. The minibus with the activists still inside was left to roll down a steep hill, crashed into a wall and was blown up. Four AK-47s were placed in the destroyed vehicle and a number of AZAPO pamphlets were strewn around the area. It is not clear at what stage the victims died, nor whether their death was caused by the chemical substances, the impact or the explosion.

415 The bodies were charred and could not be identified. The elimination of nine more activists from Mamelodi – the Kwandebele Nine – dealt with above, created further confusion as to the identity of the victims. According to information received from the families, those who are assumed to have been killed in this operation were Mr Abraham Makolane [JB02700/02PS], Mr Samuel Masilela, Mr Sipho Philip Sibanyoni [JB01032/02PS], Mr Thomas Phiri [JB02663/02PS], Mr Jeremiah Magagula [JB02701/02PS], Mr Morris Nkabinde [JB01015/02PS], Mr Matthews Promapana Lerutla [JB00787/02PS], Mr Stephen Makena [JB01005/02PS]and Mr Elliot Sathege. Mamasela also names ‘Rooibaard’ Geldenhuys and Umzoki Sibanja as victims.

416 Cronjé says he was congratulated by a named general after the operation. Mamasela was given R1 000 ‘kopgeld’ (bounty money) and two weeks’ holiday.

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