• Campaigns

UA 326/91 - South Africa: Extrajudicial execution / fear of extrajudicial execution: Sam Ntuli, general secretary, Civic Associations of the Southern Transvaal (CAST), member of National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA); Louis Sibeko, genera

, Index number: AFR 53/033/1991

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 53/33/91
Distr: UA/SC
4 October 1991
UA 326/91 Extrajudicial Execution/Fear of Extrajudicial Execution
SOUTH AFRICA: Sam NTULI, general secretary, Civic Associations of the Southern Transvaal
(CAST), member of National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA)
Louis SIBEKO, general secretary Thokoza Civic Association
Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of a community activist, Louis Sibeko, general
secretary of the Thokoza Civic Association, as well as for other civic association leaders,
following the murder of Sam Ntuli in Thokoza township on 29 September 1991. Thokoza is about
30 kilometres east of Johannesburg.
Sam Ntuli, a prominent local community leader, was ambushed in his car and shot dead
by a group of heavily armed men, four of whom had arrived at his house in two cars shortly
before the killing. Soon after this incident Louis Sibeko, a close colleague of Sam Ntuli's,
was warned to stay away from his home because it was apparently under surveillance. Neighbours
had seen strangers in a car driving in and out of his driveway. The same car has been seen
waiting outside the homes of other Thokoza Civic Association leaders during the past few days.
The car is reputedly used by members of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), who are known to
have carried out attacks, with active police assistance, against residents in the township
and the neighbouring squatter camp in late 1990.
Prior to his murder, Sam Ntuli was prominently involved in the activities of CAST, which
represents a range of civic organizations in the southern Transvaal, including the greater
Johannesburg area. The civic organizations have campaigned on predominantly local issues
such as the lack of adequate housing and services in the black townships. Many of the civic
associations' leaders, including Sam Ntuli, were detained without charge or trial under the
terms of the State of Emergency regulations during the 1980s. More recently they have been
involved in discussions with government departments and city councils over the restructuring
and desegregation of local government. In this respect, the civic organizations, such as
CAST, have come into conflict with the township councils established under the terms of the
1982 Black Local Authorities Act. During 1991 the councils, particularly in the southern
Transvaal area, have come increasingly under the control of the IFP. Although this conflict
has at times and in certain areas become violent, in the Thokoza area Sam Ntuli and Louis
Sibeko were, at the time of Sam Ntuli's murder, involved in arranging peace talks with the
IFP and other parties.
Despite major incidents of political violence in Thokoza township during 1990 and early
1991, the township had been relatively peaceful this year. However, on 8 September 1991 23
IFP supporters were killed when gunmen opened fire on some 300 people marching to an IFP rally.
The massacre led to further killings in Thokoza and precipitated a wave of apparent "reprisal"
attacks in Soweto and other townships around Johannesburg, as well apparently random attacks
on commuters in trains and taxis. The highly professional nature of the gunmen's attack on
8 September and the wave of violence it unleashed, just prior to the signing of the multilateral,
national Peace Accord on 14 September, suggests that
the attack was carried out by forces determined to undermine efforts at political reconciliation
in South Africa. Human rights monitors fear that the murder of Sam Ntuli on 29 September
is the first of a wave of planned assassinations of community leaders in Thokoza. They have
also expressed concern that the police have not provided protection for eyewitnesses to Sam
Ntuli's murder or taken other vigorous steps to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to
justice.
Amnesty International is urging the South African government to take prompt and
appropriate measures to guarantee the safety of Louis Sibeko and other Thokoza Civic Association
2
members who appear to be potential victims of assassination. It is also urging the government
to ensure that, in view of the frequent instances in which the police have acted in a biased
manner, failing to protect the lives of or investigate attacks against perceived opponents
of the IFP, they make every attempt to bring to justice those responsible for the murder of
Sam Ntuli and the threats against Louis Sibeko and other members of the Thokoza Civic
Association.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters:
- expressing concern for the safety of Louis Sibeko and other officials of the Thokoza
Civic Association in view of threats against them following the assassination of Sam
Ntuli on 29 September;
- expressing particular concern that Louis Sibeko appears to be under threat by a group
of men who are keeping him under surveillance and, although this has been reported to
the police, no action appears to have been taken to stop their activities;
- urging that the authorities fully investigate the murder of Sam Ntuli,
who was shot dead by gunmen on 29 September, and bring to justice those responsible for
the killing.
APPEALS TO:
Mr F W De Klerk Dear President
State President
State President's Office
Private Bag X83
Pretoria 0001, South Africa
Telegrams: President De Klerk, Pretoria, South Africa
Telexes: 321695 SPLIB SA, 321890 PRES SA or 322158 PRES SA
Faxes: +27 12 323 3982
Mr H J Kriel Dear Minister
Minister of Law and Order
Private Bag X463
Pretoria 0001
South Africa
Telegrams: Minister Law/Order, Pretoria, South Africa
Telexes: 321353/321358 HABS SA (via Ministry of Home Affairs)
Faxes: +27 12 322 2559
Lt-Gen Van Der Merwe Dear Commissioner
Commissioner of Police
Police Headquarters
Private Bag X94
Pretoria 0001, South Africa
Telegrams: Police Commissioner Van de Merwe, Pretoria, South Africa
Telexes: 3-20772 SAPQM SA; 3-20838 SAPOB SA
Faxes: + 27 12 323 2033
Major-Gen G N Erasmus Dear Regional Commissioner
Regional Commissioner, Witwatersrand
Private Bag 5
Johannesburg 2000
SOUTH AFRICA
Telegrams: Witwatersrand Regional Police Commissioner, Johannesburg,
South Africa
3
COPIES TO:
- The Star, POB 1014, Johannesburg 2000, South Africa
- The New Nation, PO Box 10674, Johannesburg 2000, South Africa
- The Weekly Mail, PO Box 260425, Excom 2023, South Africa
- The Independent Board of Inquiry into Informal Repression (IBIIR), PO Box 32293,
Braamfontein, Johannesburg 2017, South Africa
- Human Rights Commission, PO Box 32723, Braamfontein 2017, South Africa
- African National Congress, Legal and Constitutional Affairs Department, PO Box
61884, Marshalltown 2307, Johannesburg, South Africa
and to diplomatic representatives of South Africa in your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section
office, if sending appeals after 14 November 1991.

View report in English