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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 184

Paragraph Numbers 78 to 87

Volume 2

Chapter 3

Subsection 9

Special constables in the western Cape

78 Special constables were deployed in the African townships of Cape Town from October 1986. Most were recruited from the pro-government ‘witdoeke’ camps of Crossroads and Khayelitsha. A group of about ninety special constables, based at the Nyanga police station, were sent out on foot patrols, armed with shotguns.

79 In December 1986, the Black City squatter camp was twice raided, after which numbers of residents were arrested and severely assaulted. In June 1987, the UDF-affiliated Cape Youth Congress (CAYCO) applied for and was granted an urgent Supreme Court interdict after affidavits alleged torture, harassment, intimidation, assault, theft and sexual abuse committed by special constables. Indoor CAYCO meetings in KTC had been violently broken up and those arrested were brutally assaulted and tortured at the Nyanga police station.

80 Special constables were co-opted into the political and physical defence of the leadership of the pro-government squatter camps run by witdoeke, Mr Johnson Ngxobongwana and Mr Mali Hoza in Crossroads and Khayelitsha respectively.

Hoza had two special constables deployed as ‘Hoza wagte’ (Hoza’s guards) for his personal use in 1989. 1987 JMC minutes record the deployment of several special constables as ‘guards’ for Ngxobongwana.

81 In rural areas, incidents of violence became common following the deployment of groups of between ten and twenty special constables or municipal police from early 1987.

82 In Beaufort West Mr Sidney Yabo [CT00358/BEA] was shot and blinded in June and Mr Jan Molowitz [CT00361/BEA] was shot and injured in July 1987. On 3 December 1988 Mr Thabo Abraham Metsing [CT00360/BEA] was shot and seriously injured by an allegedly drunk special constable who was then himself killed. On 1 January 1988 two residents, including thirteen-year-old Jerry Msindisi Ndishi [CT00565/BEA], were shot dead returning from a New Year’s church service.

83 In De Aar, Mr Andile Tantsi and Mr Sizakele Mbekhushe [CT00555/KAR] were shot dead by special constables in 1989. No charges followed these deaths. Instead, those present at the killing of Mbekhushe were themselves charged with public violence and attempted murder. In Noupoort Mr Thembekile Mgweba [CT01500/KAR] and one other were shot dead on 14 December 1986. Mr Zenzile Dyantyi [CT01523/KAR] was shot and then assaulted in September 1987.

84 At the Commission’s public hearings in Upington, municipal policeman Nicholas Makandile ‘Oupa’ Links voluntarily testified to killing Mr Elliot Mbulelo Jonga [CT01417/UPI] on 31 December 1985. He applied for amnesty for the killing [AM5923/97], expressing deep sorrow and regret and stating that his SAP colleagues had congratulated him on his first killing.

85 Several interdicts against special constables were applied for by and granted to individuals, organisations and whole communities, including CAYCO in KTC, Cape Town, six residents of Aberdeen, and the Midlands Council of Churches in Hofmeyr. Upington residents obtained an interdict against the municipal police.

86 After widespread violations by sixteen special constables in Oudtshoorn, the Bongolethu Civic Association (BHOCA) applied for a Supreme Court interdict in July 1987 preventing the special constables from assaulting residents. The application detailed assaults, harassment, abuse of power, drunken behaviour and personal vendettas on residents. Despite a police undertaking to desist from such abuses, violence continued and included the shooting of Ms Lindiwe Phillips [CT05701/GEO] and journalist Patrick Nyuka.

87 On 16 January 1988 a special constable, with other SAP members, killed Mr Soyisile Douse [CT00328/GEO], Mr Selwyn Botha [CT05601/GEO] and Mr Johnny Karelse [CT00351/GEO] in an alleged ‘shooting spree’ after a special constable had been stabbed to death in a shebeen. Their funerals were then restricted. An urgent second interdict restraining the special constables was granted thereafter.

6 ‘The Apparatus of State-Orchestrated Violence in Apartheid South Africa’ Report prepared by the Civilian Support Component, Investigation Task Unit, February 1997.
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