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Case against Vlakplaas cop accused of killing student activists 40 yrs ago postponed

Picture: African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Picture: African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Aug 23, 2021

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Johannesburg - The criminal pre-trial of former Vlakplaas police officer Thlomedi Ephraim Mfalapitsa, who is linked to the deaths of three student activists in Krugersdorp nearly 40 years ago, was postponed to Friday.

Mfalapitsa, 67, appeared in the Gauteng Division of the High Court on Monday, for his pre-trial matter.

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The case was adjourned until later in the week.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said the judge opted to postpone to allow for the State and defence to resolve some issues.

“The judge wants to verify and iron out some issues so she can be sure that the case is ready for trial.

“There are some outstanding items from both parties,” Mjonondwane said.

Mfalapitsa, who was a SA Police Security Branch officerin Vlakplaas at the time, is accused of luring Congress of SA Students (Cosas) supporters, Eustice “Bimbo” Madikela, Ntshingo Mataboge and Fanyana Nhlapo to an old pump house on a deserted mine property near Krugersdorp where he set off an explosion and killed them.

Zandisile Musi survived the explosion and was seriously injured. The four children became known as the Cosas 4.

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Cosas was an anti-apartheid student organisation established in 1979 following the June 1976 Soweto Uprising and the banning of its predecessor, the South African Students Movement in 1977.

The State believes that Mfalapitsi was an askari – a term used to describe former members of the liberation movements, who joined the Security Branch and were working against their former comrades.

In its indictment, the State said Musi and the three deceased wanted to leave the country to join the ANC in exile. They allegedly befriended Mfalapitsa, who was in the Umkhonto we Sizwe with Musi’s brothers, and asked him to give them military training.

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The State believes Mfalapitsa took the boys to the old pump house, under the guise of arming them with military gear and providing training for them.

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