Mr Samuel Malinga,aged 45,died in the intensive care unit of the Edendale Hospital in Pietermaritzberg on 22 February 1977.He had been detained at his home in Soweto on 31 January 1977 and taken to Pietermaritzberg where he was held in terms of section 6(1) of the Terrorism Act. Mr Malinga was detained in connection with an investigation which culminated in the Pan-Africanist Congress trial in Bethal in 1978.
Mrs Malinga was initially unable to locate her husband's whereabouts on 22 February.She telephoned the Pietermaritzburg security police and was told that she could not see her husband since he was not well.On hearing that her husband was in the intensive care unit of the Edendale Hostipal,she made arrangements to travel there,but was telephoned later the same day and informed that her husband had died.
Colonel J G Dreyer,divisional commander of the security police in Natal,said that Mr Malinga had complained of a heart condition when he was brought to Pietermarizburg,and had carried pills with him.A hospital source said that Mr Malinga had died of a pulmonary embolism.Mrs Malinga was reported to have denied that her husband suffered from any heart complaint and said he had no pills.'He was a healthy man and certainly did not suffer from any heart complaint',she said.
Professor I Gordon,chief government pathologist ,conducted the post-morten on 24 February.Dr Jerry Coovadia,a senior lecturer in paediatrics at the University of Natal's medical school,attend on condition that he did not disclose his findings. Professor Gordon said after the post mortem that Mr Malinga died of natural causes as a result of a disease process of the heart of fairly long standing,complemented by the development of changes in his lungs. Pneumonia was a final cause of death.Professor Gordon noted that he had seen a large number of such cases among Africans. 'His death would not have been hastened by detention.If anything,detention could have prolong life,'he said. Dr Coovadia agreed with Professor Gordon's findings,although he dissociated himself from his last remarks.A legal representative for the family said that while they did not doubt the post-mortem findings, Mrs Malinga was not at all satisfied about her husband having contracted pneumonia while in detention.'Her immediate reaction is that he suffered unnecessary exposure to the elements while in detention',he said.
Behind Closed Doors. By Shireen Motala .South African Institute Race Relations.1987.