MK General Siphiwe Nyanda denies knowing missing MK messenger

06 February 2017 - 18:11 By Naledi Shange

Former uMkhonto weSizwe General Siphiwe Nyanda‚ who was on Monday unexpectedly ambushed into giving answers on the disappearance of apartheid activist Nokuthula Simelane‚ denied even knowing her.

Siphiwe Nyanda
Siphiwe Nyanda
Image: Supplied

Nyanda was confronted by MK veteran Kid Sogovu during a media conference at Luthuli House about an MK meeting held last week.

Sogovu demanded that Nyanda account for Simelane’s 1983 abduction and murder.

  • MK veteran wants Nyanda to answer for Nokuthula Simelane's disappearanceAn uMkhonto WeSizwe veteran on Monday called on his former general‚ Siphiwe Nyanda‚ to divulge his part in the disappearance of Nokuthula Simelane. 

“No‚ no‚ no‚ sorry... This conference must answer a lot of questions... Nokuthula Simelane disappeared when you commanded us to come and fight inside the country‚” Sogovu said as he walked from the gallery to confront Nyanda at the podium.

“You never gave any press conference. You never told us about the disappearance of Nokuthula Simelane‚” Sogovu said.

A shocked Nyanda ordered that Sogovu be removed from the conference venue and the short‚ plump man was dragged out by security officials.

“It’s been written so many times that Nokuthula was captured by the enemy‚ tortured and most likely killed‚” Nyanda told the media after Sogovu was thrown out of the conference.

“I didn’t even know that she was participating in the struggle in our missionary. Some people were working with her so I had absolutely nothing to do with her‚” Nyanda said.

But this is not the version that Sogovu gave to reporters after being thrown out of the Luthuli House premises by security officials.

Clinging onto a placard with the words “Tell us about Nokuthula Simelane‚ Siphiwe Nyanda” scribbled on it‚ Sogovu said Simelane was working under Nyanda when she was captured by security force‚ tortured and killed.

Sogovu said he had also landed in jail during the apartheid era after following orders by Nyanda.

“I committed acts of sabotage in 1982 with other comrades and we went back and reported to [Nyanda] in Swaziland. From Swaziland we went to Mozambique.

“Then in 1983‚ he sent us back again to come and commit further acts of sabotage as members of MK and that is when I was arrested‚” he said.

Sogovu and other freedom fighters had been informed by Nyanda that they were to meet with a contact but they were instead met by security officers.

He has not received an explanation from Nyanda on how they were arrested.

“What I am demanding from Siphiwe Nyanda is to give a full report. Who sold out this lady? I suspect the person who sold out this lady is the same person who sold us out‚” Sogovu said.

Addressing the media‚ Nyanda agreed that answers were never given to the MKVA soldiers who were arrested but maintained that he had nothing to do with Sogovu’s arrest.

“Probably what we have never done is to debrief some of the comrades who were arrested and went to spend time on Robben Island and find out how they were arrested‚” Nyanda said.

He said he knew Sogovu “very well”.

“He worked under my missionary‚” Nyanda said.

“I have heard about his unhappiness a few weeks ago from people who said Kid is unhappy about stuff. I didn’t expect this‚” he added.

Simelane was a 23-year-old university graduate when she disappeared.

She was a courier for UMkhonto we Sizwe (MK)‚ the armed wing of the African National Congress‚ moving between Swaziland and South Africa.

Reports suggest that she fell into a trap set by one of her own and was allegedly abducted and brutally tortured by the Security Branch of the former South African Police. She was never seen again.

Willem Coetzee‚ Anton Pretorius‚ Frederick Mong and Msebenzi Radebe were prosecuted for her murder last year.

Meanwhile‚ Sogovu has vowed to attend every meeting at which Nyanda is present to press him for answers.