Missing MK activist's remains to be exhumed

The missing remains of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) activist Patrick Mahlangu, who was killed by apartheid security police in 1986, will be exhumed on Wednesday June 15, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said.

“The NPA’s Missing Persons Task Team has finally succeeded in tracing the fragmented remains of missing MK activist Patrick Mahlangu from Mamelodi, after several earlier unsuccessful excavations,” the NPA said on Tuesday.

Umkhonto we Sizwe was the military wing of the African National Congress during the struggle against apartheid.

Twenty five years ago, Mahlangu was abducted, strangled to death and his body blown up by members of the then security police. Refuse bags containing human remains showing signs of massive trauma from an explosion, were located earlier this month by the task team in a grave allocated to a pauper in Soshanguve cemetery.

Mahlangu was organising underground structures in Mamelodi at the time of his disappearance from his home on the night of March 18 1986.

“Men pretending to be MK cadres [askaris] took him away. During the Truth and Reconciliation Commission amnesty hearing by members of the security police and askaris, it was revealed that he was taken to a private farm, Soutpan, near Warmbaths (now Bela-Bela) where he was interrogated about his MK activities and assaulted,” the NPA said.

A decision was taken that he should be killed as it was believed that the identity of certain informers or askaris had been exposed.
He was then taken in a minibus to a railway line near Northam, where he was strangled.

When they realised that he was still alive, one of them killed him by stepping on his throat. His body was then blown up next to the railway line to give the impression that he had accidentally blown himself up while trying to plant explosives on the railway line.”

His highly fragmented remains were then subsequently found and reported to local police by members of the public. They were sent to Medunsa for forensic examination.

“Investigations indicate that these fragmented remains were then buried in a pauper’s grave at Soshanguve Cemetery by Rambau’s Undertakers.”

The exhumation will take place at Soshanguve Cemetery from 10am.—Sapa

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