To: All Media
ATT: News Editors, Human Rights Reporters
For Immediate Release
Monday, 22 January 2024
The Foundation for Human Rights welcomes the NPA’s decision to prosecute former security branch officers in the Mngomezulu matter
Issued by the Foundation for Human Rights
In a significant development, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has announced the indictment of four former Security Branch officers for the murder of Jameson Ngoloyi Mngomezulu, an uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) cadre, in June 1985. The accused, Gerhardus Stephanus Schoon, Paul Jacobus van Dyk, Frederick Johannes Louw, and Douw Gerbrandt Willemse are now set to stand trial for their alleged involvement in the abduction, torture, and murder of Mngomezulu.
The Foundation for Human Rights welcomes the decision by the NPA to prosecute former Security Branch officers implicated in the death of Mngomezulu. This is a significant step in ensuring accountability for heinous acts committed in the past and bringing closure to the families and the broader community.
Mngomezulu, a political activist and MK leader, became a target of the Jozini Security Branch due to his alleged participation in the political activities of the African National Congress (ANC). According to the information disclosed during the amnesty proceedings before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Gerhardus Stephanus Schoon, the Head of the Jozini Security Branch instructed Eugene De Kock, the head of Vlakplaas, to aid in Mngomezulu’s abduction. The TRC found that De Kock obtained clearance to proceed from Brigadier Willem Schoon, who at the time was in command of the Security Branch Group C, the unit responsible for dealing with political activists. Van Dyk, acting on De Kock’s instructions, led the operation to seize Mngomezulu in Swaziland. During the subsequent interrogation that spanned 2 to 3 days, Mngomezulu suffered severe assaults, yielding minimal valuable information.
Three accused, Gerhardus Stephanus Schoon, Paul Jacobus van Dyk, and Frederick Johannes Pienaar, were denied amnesty at the TRC due to inconsistencies and improbabilities in their testimonies. Willemse, the fourth accused, did not apply for amnesty.
NPA spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson-Kara has confirmed that the state alleges the involvement of the accused in a collective effort to commit these crimes. While Gerhardus Stephanus Schoon and Van Dyk were formally indicted at the recent court appearance in the Pongola magistrate’s court, Pienaar and Willemse did not make an appearance. Warrants of arrest were issued, with Pienaar’s being stayed but Willemse’s being issued forthwith.
The court proceedings are set to continue, with the matter being postponed until April 24, 2024. During this time, it is expected that the case will be transferred to the high court, and a trial date will be set, marking a crucial step towards accountability for the perpetrators and justice for Jameson Ngoloyi Mngomezulu.
The FHR will closely monitor the legal proceedings, advocating for a fair trial and an unwavering commitment to truth and justice.
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The Foundation for Human Rights is a non-profit human rights organisation that works to protect and promote human rights in South Africa. The FHR was established in 1996 to address the historical legacy of apartheid, and to promote and advance transformation and human rights based on the new Constitution. The FHR’s Unfinished Business of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Programme promotes the rights of victims of apartheid crimes through supporting the recommendations of the TRC, including seeking justice and criminal accountability for past crimes, reparations, and government transparency. The FHR currently supports over 20 families seeking justice for their loved ones.
For more information on the “Unfinished Business of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission” Programme that is run by the Foundation for Human Rights, consult our website at https://unfinishedtrc.co.za contact Katarzyna Zdunczyk at email@example.com or Gina Snyman at firstname.lastname@example.org