Missing MK militants to find final resting place

Friday, August 17, 2018

The exhumed remains of Mkhonto We Sizwe militants, Mandla Mjwara and Mfaniseni Mdlalose, will be handed over to relatives and reburied in Durban - 30 years after they disappeared.

The official handover ceremony will take place on Saturday.

Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Michael Masutha is expected to attend the event alongside Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Zweli Mkhize, who worked with the two during the struggle against apartheid in KwaZulu-Natal.

“The remains of the two former MK operatives who operated in KwaZulu-Natal have been positively identified, 30 years after their disappearance without trace in 1987. Both were MK members who operated in a cell under the command of Minister Mkhize and others,” the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs said in a statement.

Mjwara was born in 1967 in the Underberg area where his father worked and was the fourth of seven children. He attended high school in the Edendale area where he became politically conscientised. 

“His brother Sipho left the country to join MK for military training and Mandla followed in about 1984.

“Mandla left South Africa for Lesotho and later met up with his brother in Angola in 1985. He was seen in Pietermaritzburg in 1987 and the very last time anyone saw Mandla alive was in Umlazi in Durban the same year. 

“He operated under the command of [Minister] Mkhize, Muzi Thusi and Mr Kevin Qhobosheane,” the department said.  

Also among the group were Dumisane Phungula, Sifiso Kunene and the Ngobese brothers, Sabelo and Blessing.

Mdlalose, affectionately known as “Baps”, would have turned 33 when he disappeared in 1987.

He was born and bred in Chesterville, Durban, before fleeing the country to join the MK in about 1983.

He left behind his partner Busisiwe Nkomo and young daughter Xolile.

The department said not much was known of his life in exile as most of those who operated with him have since died.

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development is tasked with searching for missing persons and has organised the handover of the remains and the reburial of the heroes of the struggle.

Hundreds of burial sites of missing freedom fighters sites have been exhumed and reburied by their families after the efforts of the department’s TRC Unit and the National Prosecuting Authority’s Missing Persons Task Team. – SAnews.gov.za