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Apartheid security branch cop to appear in court for 1982 murder of Cosas students

Illustration of a hammer used once a judge has reached a verdict in a case.

Illustration of a hammer used once a judge has reached a verdict in a case.

Published Oct 11, 2021


Johannesburg – A former security branch officer in the Apartheid government’s South African Police (SAP) will appear in the Kagiso Magistrate's Court on Tuesday, facing murder charges for the 1982 killing and injury of the “Cosas 4”. Three of the four students died in the ambush in a Krugersdorp bombing 39 years ago.

The accused, an expert in explosives whose identity cannot be revealed until he appears in court, will face murder charges for the deaths of Cosas students Eustice "Bimbo" Madikela, Ntshingo Mataboge (Matubane) and Fanyana Nhlapo.

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Another student, Zandisile Musi, survived the explosion.

The accused will be tried for the murder of the three students alongside Ephraim Mfalapitsa, a former askari who the Apartheid police used to lure them to the pumphouse where they were killed.

NPA Gauteng spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said the explosives were detonated once the students had entered the pumphouse and that Mfalapitsa had lured them to the area under the guise of providing military training.

“Once inside, the explosives would be detonated, but only after Mfalapitsa left the pumphouse under the pretext of fetching more training equipment or hand grenades from the taxi they boarded to the pumphouse.

“Their deaths were then portrayed as a military training that went wrong, resulting in the trainees blowing themselves up,” Mjonondwane said.

The NPA alleged that the accused had been working under the instruction of former Vlakplaas Commander Brigadier Jan Carel Coetzee.

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The NPA said the accused would stand trial together with Mfalapitsa, who appeared in the Johannesburg High Court in August this year.

His case has been set down for trial on October 25.

“The case against Mfalapitsa was postponed to 25 October 2021 for trial, which may now be delayed as the state intends to amend the indictment to have both Mfalapitsa and the officer tried in one trial,” Mjonondwane said.

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Crime and courts