Mr Dumisani Mbatha aged 16,was among a group of students and youths detained under section 6(1) of the Terrorism Act in Johannesburg on 16 September 1976 during a demostration by Soweto students.He was held at Modderbee prison. After he was reported missing for several days his parents made inquiries at John Vorster Square ,at which stage they learnt of his death.

A prison spokesman said that Mr Mbatha was first called for questioning on the 25 September.As his name and others personal details were being taken down he complained of not feeling well.He was taken to the Far East Rand Hospital and died on the same day.According to the post-mortem report and a statement by state pathologist Professor T J Taljaard,Mr Mbatha died of natural causes which were described as 'extreme sympathetic system activity with auricular fibrillation of the heart'.

An inquest was not held into Mr Mbatha's death since it had resulted from natural causes.His funeral was held in Soweto on 17 October and was attended 15 000 mourners. On 23 February 1977 the minister of police released a report in which he said that Mr Mbatha was one of a group of youths who had proceeded to Johannesburg 'to commit acts of sabotage' and was arrested with 400 others.


Behind Closed Doors. By Shireen Motala .South African Institute Race Relations.1987.

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