Mr Ernest Mamashila, aged 35,was detained on 16 November 1976 under section 6(1) of the Terrorism Act.His wife was told that he was being held at the Brakpan police cells. A police statement said that on 19 November he hanged himself in the Balfour police cell. A post-mortem was held in Springs.
Mr Mamashila was a successful coal merchant and owned a fleet of taxis.On his return from a holiday with his family in Cape Town he was told that the police were waiting for him.He went to the police station to inquire about this and was subsequently detained.A police statement issued on 23 February 1977 said that on Monday 19 November 1976 Mr Mamashila was found hanged with strips torn from a cell blanket.He was already dead He had not been interrogated and had received no visits.At the inquest into his death in Balfour on 10 March 1977 the magistrate gave a verdict of suicide by hanging.
Behind Closed Doors. By Shireen Motala .South African Institute Race Relations.1987.