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UA 122/93 - South Africa: fear of extrajudicial execution: Chris Khoza and other ANC members in the Mpophomeni community

, N° d'index: AFR 53/014/1993

AI is concerned for the safety of Chris Khoza, ANC branch chairperson in Mpophomeni, following killings of other ANC members and supporters in the township by attackers alleged to have acted with the support or acquiescence of the local police. Those already killed include Bheki Maseko, a neighbour of Chris Khoza and a former acting ANC Chairperson. Chris Khoza is a key community leader and active with the local Christian church in Mpophomeni. As a result of threats and this recent wave of killings, he and his family are in hiding outside the township.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 53/14/93
Distr: UA/SC
UA 122/93 Fear of extrajudicial execution 21 April 1993
SOUTH AFRICA: Chris KHOZA, African National Congress (ANC) branch
chairperson, Mpophomeni township, near Howick, Natal
Province
and other ANC members in the Mpophomeni community
Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of Chris Khoza, ANC branch
chairperson in Mpophomeni, following recent killings of other ANC members or
supporters in the township by attackers alleged to have acted with the support or
acquiescence of the local police. At least 11 members of the community were killed
in Mpophomeni between 8 and 14 April 1993 in attacks on their homes or in the street,
including seven killed on the night of 14 April. Most were prominent in the community,
and involved in peace efforts or religious activities.
One of those killed, Bheki Maseko, a neighbour of Chris Khoza, who was a carpenter
and a former acting ANC chairperson, was shot dead by armed men on the evening of
14 April. The same group of six armed men had been seen waiting near the gate of
Chris Khoza's house for some 30 minutes before they went to Bheki Maseko's house.
The gunmen shot Bheki Maseko inside his house at close range, killing him with a
deliberate final shot as he lay severely wounded. They also shot dead a young boy
and seriously wounded another man, both of whom were in the house with Bheki Maseko.
Bheki Maseko was attacked only a few minutes after returning from giving information
about previous murders to the police. After Bheki Maseko's murder two people, one
of whom was a police officer reportedly told Chris Khoza's wife that her husband's
life was in danger.
The local police have consistently shown a reluctance to protect Mpophomeni residents
from attack or to investigate properly attacks and killings after they have occurred.
The police took no action against men identified by eye-witnesses as the killers
of five Mpophomeni residents on 24 December 1992. The same men appear to have been
involved in the killings that occurred between 8 and 14 April 1993. It was only after
considerable pressure on the authorities by local members of parliament and others
that on 15 April the South African Police operating with the South African Defence
Force arrested 14 people in connection with the killings this April. The police did
not issue details on the individuals arrested or on possible charges against them.
On 17 April, the day of a mass funeral for 10 of the 11 victims, the police released
eight of the arrested suspects without laying charges against them. It is unclear
at present whether those arrested were in fact the men whom local residents believe
were involved in the killings. It is also unclear if the suspects who remain in custody
will face charges. However the releases on 17 April caused renewed fear and tension
in the community. Township residents heard more shooting on the night of 18 April.
Chris Khoza, aged about 40 and married with five children, is a long-standing ANC
official in Mpophomeni, a key community leader, and active with the local Christian
church. In recent years he has repeatedly been involved in peacemaking efforts at
times of violence or tension in the community, and is trying to promote community
development there by establishing a training centre for the unemployed. In July 1991,
while he was on an overseas training course, his home was petrol-bombed and ransacked
and looted. Since September 1992 he has regularly received anonymous telephone death
threats, the most recent ones occurring on 18 April. As a result of these threats
and the recent wave of killings, he and his family have been forced to seek refuge
outside the township out of fear for their lives. Other ANC members and supporters
are also in hiding or living in fear of further attacks.
Page 2 of UA 122/93
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters
either in English or in your own language:
- expressing concern for the safety of ANC official Chris Khoza, in view of the recent
killings of community leaders in Mpophomeni and the death threats against him, and
urging the authorities to take steps, in accordance with Chris Khoza's wishes, to
safeguard him and his family against harassment and attack;
- calling for a full and independent investigation into the murders of 11 people
in Mpophomeni township between 8 and 14 April 1993, and for the perpetrators to be
brought to justice promptly;
- expressing concern that the local police in Mpophomeni appear to have been unwilling
to carry out their duties in an impartial manner in investigating a number of murders
in the past or in extending protection to those threatened with violence;
- urging the authorities to exercise their responsibility to protect the lives of
all residents of Mpophomeni by ensuring that the local police force behaves impartially
and responds promptly to calls for assistance and is willing to investigate and arrest
the perpetrators of attacks, irrespective of political affiliation.
APPEALS TO
1) Mr F W de Klerk
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
Faxes: + 27 12 323 3982
Salutation: Dear President
2) Mr H J Kriel
Minister of Law and Order
Private Bag X463
Pretoria 0001
South Africa
Telegrams: Minister Law/Order,
Pretoria, South Africa
Telexes: 321353
Faxes: + 27 12 322 2559
Salutation: Dear Minister
3) Lt-Gen J Van Der Merwe
Commissioner of Police
Police Headquarters
Private Bag X94
Pretoria 0001
South Africa
Telegrams: Police Commissioner van Der
Merwe, Pretoria, South
Africa
Telxes: 3-20772 SAPQM SA
3-20838 SAPOB SA
Faxes: + 27 12 323 2033
+ 27 12 326 5162
Salutation: Dear Commissioner
4) Lieutenant-General W H Steyn
Regional Police Commissioner, Natal
P O Box 391
Durban 4000, South Africa
Telegrams: Natal Regional Police
Commissioner, Durban, South
Africa
Salutation: Dear Commissioner
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
Colonel Ungerer
Station Commander
Howick Police Station
Howick 3290
South Africa
and if possible to any of the following:
- Pietermaritzburg Agency for Christian Social Awareness (PACSA), PO Box 2338,
Pietermaritzburg 3200, South Africa;
- The Editor, Natal Witness, POB 362, Pietermaritzburg 3200, South Africa;
- The Editor, City Press, POB 3413, Johannesburg 2000, South Africa;
- The Editor, New Nation, P O Box 10674, Johannesburg 2000, South Africa
and to diplomatic representatives of South Africa accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your
section office, if sending appeals after 2 June 1993.

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