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Who killed Thami Zulu? The evidence is clear, but the ANC has done nothing to prosecute murder in its ranks


Born in Johannesburg in 1941, Paul Trewhela worked in underground journalism with Ruth First and edited the underground journal of MK, ‘Freedom Fighter’, during the Rivonia Trial. He was a political prisoner in Pretoria and the Johannesburg Fort as a member of the Communist Party in 1964-1967, separating from the SACP while in prison. In exile in Britain, he was co-editor with the late Baruch Hirson of ‘Searchlight South Africa’, banned in South Africa.

No attempt has been made by the ANC under any of its presidents to uncover who murdered senior Umkhonto weSizwe commander Muziwakhe Ngwenya (MK name Thami Zulu) in Lusaka in November 1989 despite a clear evidence trail.

Suppose that a senior commandant of the South African Defence Force was murdered in the period between when FW de Klerk became president of South Africa on 14 August 1989, and the disbanding of Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) on 16 December 1993. Suppose too that De Klerk’s government and the National Party did nothing to uncover who ordered the murder, or carried it out, even after an official inquiry revealed that the SADF commandant was poisoned. 

Even to suggest such a non-response by the National Party government proves its absurdity.

Yet that absurdity is the reality of the ANC. No attempt was made by the ANC under any of its presidents from Nelson Mandela to Cyril Ramaphosa to uncover who murdered the senior MK commander Muziwakhe Ngwenya (MK name Thami Zulu) in Lusaka in November 1989.

This indicates that South Africa under Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma and Ramaphosa remains a murder state, where a murder can be carried out and covered up when it suits the ANC politically. It’s a joke to talk about justice, democracy and the Constitution when a top-ranking military commander can be murdered and nothing is done about it. 

Clearly, the murderer – or the one who ordered the murder – must be a very powerful person within the ANC, which covers up for this person because either (a) the ANC takes responsibility for the murder, but does not want the truth to come out; or (b) is too frightened to bring the alleged perpetratror to face trial.

And what could such a protected murderer go on to do, knowing that he or she is above the law? This killer remains the boss of a mafia state, not a constitutional democracy. My guess is that Joe Modise, Chris Hani, Joe Slovo, Andrew Masondo, Jack Simons and the whole ANC/MK leadership in exile knew who did it, but for political reasons they kept quiet.

This buried secret poisons the whole history of the ANC government.

It should be a matter of shame for every MK veteran and for every member of the SANDF over the past 27 years that a senior ANC army commander can be murdered while the government and the judiciary keep silent. 

As for the treatment of Muziwakhe Ngwenya’s parents, Mr and Mrs Philemon Ngwenya, who gave evidence to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in July 1996, Muzi’s widow Thabisile and his daughter Lindi and his brothers and sisters, it is a national disgrace.

To understand South Africa today, study the evidence of Mr and Mrs Ngwenya, available on the government website. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Errol Price says:

    The story is outlined by Mr Trewhela is appalling -almost beyond belief. Yet the ramifications, I believe are worse than even he suggests,
    There was a sustained cover-up of horrific and brutal practices in ANC -run camps. some of those actively involved in the cover-up were legally-trained and later participated in the drafing of the Constitution supposedly paying unqaulified homage to human rights.
    Some of them even may later have donned the dark green robes and pontificated on human dignity and protection of rights from a hallowed bulding in Johannesburg.
    These people should also be named and shamed.

  • Chris Green says:

    Paul, just a side comment. The website is ” unavailable” at present !! Strange…

  • John L says:

    This is no different than what the ANC is still doing today… protecting their own. Zuma is a point in case. His criminal record goes way back, is blatant and obvious to all the citizens of RSA, and yet he is obviously protected. During the time of his presidency he was protected by both the ANC and the cabinet, who are there to protect the constitution of the country and its citizens. His release from jail at the sole discretion of “one man”, with no further consequences demonstrates the mob mentality.
    Unfortunately, the story of Zuma is only one of many where the mafia are protecting their own.

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