Hunt for apartheid hitman

2010-08-02 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Police are searching for apartheid hitman Joe Mamasela, who has been missing since the owner of the house in which he stayed was shot dead in Soweto on Saturday night.

Mamasela, a former Vlakplaas operative and self-confessed murderer of the Pebco Three and Durban lawyer Griffiths Mxenge, rented a room at the murdered man’s house in Zola, and had reportedly been evicted shortly before.

The incident happened late on Saturday night.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Kay Makhubela told Sapa the 49-year-old home owner was shot four times and died at the scene.

The name of the dead man has not yet been released.

Gauteng police spokesperson Julia Claassen confirmed that Mamasela had been given notice to vacate his room.

Mamasela, who is in his early fifties, fled following the murder and was reportedly still missing last night.

He was part of the unit at Vlakplaas, led by former colonel Eugene de Kock in the 1980s.

In March 1998, Mamasela denied that he lied or exaggerated about anything regarding the kidnapping and murder of Sipho Hashe, Champion Galela and Qaqawuli Godolozi, members of the Port Elizabeth Black Civics Organisation.

He testified before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that the three were beaten to death.

The revelations came after eight former members of the security police — Gideon Nieuwoudt, Gerhardus Lotz, Herman du Plessis, Sakkie van Zyl, Harold Snyman, Gerhardus Beeslaar, Johannes Kode and Peter Mogoai — applied for amnesty.

The eight police officers admitted to murdering the Pebco Three, but said they were shot and were never questioned or tortured.

Mamasela was also involved in the death of 10 youth activists — known as the Mamelodi 10 — in 1986, as well as that of human rights lawyer Mxenge, who was stabbed to death in the early eighties.

He was offered immunity from prosecution because he helped snare the former security police officials who were guilty of human rights crimes.

Anyone with information about where Mamasela can be found should call their nearest police station or 10111.

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