Batandwa Ndondo, one of the 49 assassination victims on the list
compiled by the David Webster Trust, was a former student vice-president
at the University of Transkei. A cousin of the human rights lawyer,
Dumisa Ntsebeza, he was a staunch opponent of the Transkei regime
of the Mantazima brothers. In 1985 Ndondo, who had already been
dubbed an "enemy of the state" by Transkei's rulers, was working
in the outlying district of Cala as the co-ordinator of a rural
On 24 September four people, subsequently identified by eyewitnesses
as police, arrived at his house. They ordered him to accompany them.
He and his four visitors - three men and a woman - got into a white
panel van. Its windows were tinted and its back doors locked. According
to a Health Care Trust statement, the occupants of the van were
known to Cala villagers as the "death squad". Ndondo, conscious
of their reputation, asked a friend who was with him to follow the
van. The friend, a stranger to Cala, lost track of the van. Villagers,
however, witnessed what happened a little while later. Two later
described what they saw in sworn statements.
The van braked to a halt near the outskirts of Cala. Ndondo struggled
to climb out of the front window, wriggling frantically to freedom.
Leaving his shoe behind in the hands of one of his captors, he ran
around the nearest house, hoping to escape. Before he could enter
the house, he was felled by a bullet.
His captors got out of the van, walked up to Ndondo and, according
to the eyewitness accounts, fired several more bullets into him
as he lay on the ground. A post mortem showed he had been shot eight
times, at least six of the bullets entering his body after he had
fallen. Before he died Ndondo managed to identify himself as a member
of the Ntsebeza family.
A woman emerged from a house before Ndondo's captors left. "Whose
child is this that you have killed him like a dog?" she asked. "He's
a terrorist," the captors replied.
Later, Kaiser Mantanzima, then still Transkei's president, justifies
the killing in similar terms. In a major speech, he assumed the
role of prosecutor and judge: "Recently a young man called Ndondo
was killed in Cala. Many people are asking why Mr Ndondo was killed.
He is the one who came from Lesotho ... and exploded a bomb in Umtata."
Anyone who questioned the killing of Ndondo was a "communist", he
On the day that Ndondo was assassinated, another cousin, Lungisile
Ntsebeza, went to the Cala police station. There he heard the station
commander, Lieutenant Jilili, talking on the phone about the shooting.
The lieutenant mentioned the name of one of the men involved in
the shooting, referring to him as Mose, saying that Mose had fired
Mose was identified by the Ntsebeza brothers as Lieutenant Silumami
Gladstone Mose, an ANC defector or Askari. Described as a big and
unmistakable man, Mose was born in the Transkei, growing up in Ngcobo.
By 1985 his links with the South African police had brought him
notoriety. He was feared as well as loathed by radical youth in
After Lieutenant Jilili rang off on that September day, he told
Lungisile Ntsebeza that people "who identified themselves as security
police reported that the had shot somebody and that they were talking
the person to hospital". Transkei's CID chief subsequently admitted
that police were involved in the shooting. A murder docket was opened.
Shortly afterwards six of Ndondo's relatives and friends, including
his two cousins, Dumisa and Lungisile, were first detained and than
banished. A common theme linked their lives: they were all either
related to Ndondo or were potential witnesses in the pending murder
case. In September 1986, a year after Ndondo's death, two policemen
were charged with murdering him. They were Constable L G Dandala,
a member of the Transkei police, and Constable M E Shabalala, a
member of the SAP (South African Police).
On the first trial date Shabalala failed to turn up. The trial
was postponed. He turned up at the deferred hearing. The constables
pleaded not guilty on the grounds that Ndondo had been shot while
trying to escape from custody. A similar statement had been made
earlier to the investigating officer by Mose. His statement was
used in court by counsel for the two constables.
Mose himself was never charged, to the intense anger of Dumisa
Ntsebeza, who represented the Ntsebeza and Ndondo families. Nor
was the policewoman, whose identity was protected by the Transkei
authorities. Constable Shabalala again failed to turn up at the
third hearing, and, according to Dumisa Ntsebeza, the Transkei authorities
simply allowed the trial to peter out. ...