The South African government admitted responsibility for the death of the African National Congress (ANC) member, Joseph Mdluli (50), on 19 March 1976 and agreed to pay damages to his family.
A claim for loss of support by Mdluli''s widow against the minister of justice and police was settled out of court.
She received the amount of R28 616. Joseph Mdluli died of an injury to his neck while being detained in Durban security headquarters. His death occurred just a day after his arrest in connection with the 1976 Gwala treason trial.
Four security policemen were charged with culpable homicide, namely Mr Frederick Van Zyl, Col. A.R.C. Taylor, Mr Mandlakayise Patrick Makhanya and Mr Zabulon Ngobese. During their trial they claimed that Mdluli had tried to escape and had fallen over a chair. A pathologist presented evidence disputing the police version. All four accused were acquitted on 25 October 1976, the fifth day of the trial. The presiding judge said there was insufficient evidence to connect them directly to the death.He called for further investigation.
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