The Spear of the Nation
ANC-Gauteng Province statement on the reburial service for two former Umkhonto We Sizwe Combatants

ANC-Gauteng Province statement on the reburial service for two former Umkhonto We Sizwe Combatants

16 November 2006

There will be a reburial service for two former MK combatants Skhwiri Schoeman Ramokgopa (MK name Solomon Jeremiah “Krushev”Mlonzi) from Moroka and Bushy Voltaire Swartbooi (MK name Calvin “Marx” Kakhasa) from Diepkloof in Soweto.

On the 4th May 1983, the two combatants and a Botswana national were shot dead in a preplanned ambush by members of the apartheid Western Transvaal Security Branch on the South African side of the Botswana border. The Botswana national was buried by his family but they were buried as paupers.

Their bodies were exhumed on the 28th November 2005 from the Tlhabane cemetery in Rustenburg, North West Province.

The perpetrators of this murder were granted amnesty by the TRC for the killing of the two combatants. However, one of the perpetrators Colonel Loots was refused amnesty for the killing of the Botswana citizen was reportedly an informer of the apartheid security police.

We pay tribute and dip our black, green and gold banner in honour of these two combatants who were cowardly murdered. Like other combatants of our former glorious army, they were committed to building a nonracial, nonsexist, united, democratic and prosperous South Africa. For this they were prepared to take up arms and if need be lay down their lives. They laid a foundation for the freedom we are all enjoying (see account of the incident).

The two combatants will be reburied on Saturday, 18th November 2006 in Soweto.

For more information, contact:
Hope Mankwana Papo (ANC Gauteng Provincial Spokesperson) on 083 276-3688

Account of the incident on the 4th May 1983

On the morning of the 4th May 1983, the Western Transvaal Security Police received information from a certain Andries Moatshe, a Botswana citizen that he will be infiltrating two MK combatants later that evening. Colonel AJ “Bertus” Steyn who was then the Divisional Commander of the Western Transvaal Security Police instructed his men to set up a roadblock in order to effect an arrest of the two combatants. Lieutenant CJ du Preez Smit identified an appropriate spot in Silent Valley in the Thabazimbi – Derdepoort area for this roadblock. Colonel Steyn deployed a team of security police under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Wickus Loots (who was Steyn Deputy and responsible for ANc & PAC directed investigations in the Western Transvaal) to wait for the vehicle in which the two combatants will be traveling. Colonel “Bertus” Steyn and Jan Truter positioned themselves closer to the border in order to provide Lieutenant Col Loots with advance warning.

The road block team decided that an arrest will be too risky as it would be dark and the combatants may be armed. They decided to fire on the vehicle as soon as it appears. They were later informed by Colonel Steyn by means of a police radio that the combatants were traveling in a red bakkie and were on the way. When the bakkie approached the road block, lights which were powered by a generator were flooded on the area and the roadblock team fired at the bakkie. All occupants were killed. Immediately after the ambush, Colonel Steyn and Jan Truter arrived at the scene of the killing. Although he had not authorized the ambush, Colonel Steyn approved Lieutenant Colonel Loots decision.