Magistrate L.A Coetzee rules that no one is to blame for the prison death of Lungile Tabalaza

Tuesday, 3 October 1978

The deputy chief magistrate of Port Elizabeth, L.A. Coetzee, ruled at the end of a ten day inquest into the death of Lungile Tabalaza that no one was to blame for his death, though the government pathologist acknowledged that several bruises and lacerations could have happened before the fall. Tabalaza died at 15h00 on 10 July 1978 after allegedly jumping from a fifth floor window of the Port Elizabeth Security Police in Sanlam Building. A magistrate, Mr Lubbe, who saw Tabalaza less than an hour before his 'suicide', expressed regret for having failed to investigate his fears that he would be beaten if he did not make a statement when he was taken back to the Security Branch offices. Though Tabalaza was not a detainee under the Terrorism Act, a high-level police inquiry had been ordered into his death.

References:
• stanford,'The state inside South Africa between 1960 and 1990' from Stanford University's Online Classroom [online], available at: www.stanford.edu [Accessed 30 September 2013]
•  Kalley, J.A.; Schoeman, E. & Andor, L.E. (eds)(1999). Southern African Political History: a chronology of key political events from independence to mid-1997, Westport: Greenwood

Last updated : 30-Sep-2013

This article was produced for South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011