Tlhomedi Ephraim Mfalapitsa

By Mbangwa Xaba

Thirty-eight years later, while many apartheid murderers roam the streets freely, justice has finally caught up with one killer – Tlhomedi Ephraim Mfalapitsa (67).

Mfalapitsa, an Askari, is facing three counts of murder at the Joburg High Court.

He was a member of uMkhonto We Sizwe and defected to the Security Branch police and worked against his former comrades in the ANC. He, on the orders of the Security Branch of the apartheid police, on 15 February 1982 blew up four young students from Kagiso Eustice Madikela, Ntshingo Mataboge, Fanyana Nhlapo and Zandisile Musi.

The other three were killed and Musi was seriously injured.

The attack took place in an old pump house on a deserted mine property near Krugersdorp.

Mfalapitsa established contact with Musi, who wanted to leave the country and join uMkhonto We Sizwe. Mfalapitsa worked at the notorious Vlakplaas police station.

“He was then allegedly ordered by Jan Carel Coetzee, a commander at Vlakplaas to lure Musi and the deceased to an explosive infested pumphouse at a mine near Krugersdorp, under the guise of giving them training,” the NPA said.

Congress of the South African Students (Cosas) president at the time and now journalism lecturer at Rhodes University Sheperd Mati, who heads a Cosas heritage project – the Generation of Young Lions National Task Team (NTT), has joined the growing list of supporters of the families of the victims.

“At last, after almost 40 years of pain and hurt, the prospects and hope of justice are within grasp. Our particular words of solidarity and support go to the family of Comrade Zandisile Musi, the sole survivor of these cruel and cold-blooded deeds, who has recently passed on.
“He became a lone witness of this heinous act and was later jailed, notwithstanding his pain as a bombing victim.

“Throughout this ordeal, he displayed remarkable determination and courage, committed to finding justice not for himself but for his comrades who fell during this cowardly and cold-blooded atrocity carried out by the Vlakplaas murderous gang and their surrogates,” said Mati.
He said their generation of leaders and activists in the period between 1979 to late 1980s were in Cosas and youth formations coordinated and led by the South African Youth Congress (Sayco) were affected by the apartheid killings.

“We wrote a letter of support to the parents, families and friends of our fallen members and revolutionary patriots, Comrades Eustice “Bimbo” Madikela, Ntshingo Mataboge, Fanyana Nhlapo, and Zandisile Musi, to express our heartfelt sorrow and solidarity at this hour of hope for justice, which we expect will be served at last.

“In the same vein, we extend this message of hope and solidarity to countless others murdered by apartheid death squads, whose remains lie scattered in unmarked graves here at home and in exile.

“Your dear sons were inspired by a generation of death-defying freedom fighters, commonly known as the Young Lions, who joined the armed struggle against the brutal apartheid regime, and who in skirmishes and hand-to-hand battles, gave a good account of themselves and the generation they represented,” he said.

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