UDF activist’s killer says he was not a member of the Security Branch

Published Jun 21, 2024


Wesley “Matiri” Madonsela, 52, who was convicted of murder and is currently serving a 10-year sentence for the 1989 killing of 17-year-old United Democratic Front (UDF) activist Siphelele Nxumalo, claims that he was not part the notorious apartheid Special Branch police unit, as was claimed during his trial.

He was sentenced in November last year with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), immediately after the court matter, saying that the conviction was in connection to Nxumalo’s murder in Chesterville.

“Nxumalo died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds. At the time, Nxumalo was an activist with the UDF, affiliated with the ANC,” the NPA had said in a statement.

“Madonsela, who was allegedly part of an A-Team that worked with the Natal Security Branch, then disappeared after the murder, but was eventually arrested and brought to court.

“In representing the State, senior State Advocates Humphrey Ngcobo and Xolani Msimango led the eyewitness testimony of Nxumalo’s girlfriend, who was with him on the day of the murder. The State further led the evidence of the original investigating officer who testified about Madonsela’s initial arrest, his escape from custody and subsequent evasion of justice,” the NPA said.

The State told the court that Madonsela’s actions were not “remorseful”, as envisaged by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) hearings, intended to allow offenders to apologise and ask for forgiveness from the families of the victims of apartheid crimes.

“However, Madonsela evaded justice and did not come forward. In sentencing him, the presiding officer said that Madonsela took away Nxumalo’s right to life, which was the most basic human right. In addition to the sentence, the court deemed Madonsela unfit to possess a firearm.

The NPA in KwaZulu-Natal was contacted by “The Mercury” for a response to Madonsela’s claims that he was not a member of the Special Branch (SB), but declined to comment further.

Madonsela, who is serving his sentence at Durban’s Westville Prison, said that when he was arrested, the NPA said he was working for the apartheid government, but he denies this.

“They said I was a member of the SB and A-Team, but I was never an informant. Members of the SB had handlers and they would get paid.

I say the NPA should provide evidence that I was a member of the SB.”

Madonsela, claimed that instead he was being pursued by the SB.

“It is not true (being a member of the SB) and it is an insult to my name. I was and still am a member of the ANC, in good standing, even now under Ward 24.”

Madonsela also denied being on the run from the law for 34 years.

“What saddens me is that the ANC leadership never commented on this, my organisation abandoned me and no one came forward to defend me. But I am still a member of the ANC.”

Madonsela said he was recruited under the ANC military wing, uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK).

“I did underground operations together with Nxumalo. I was arrested numerous times by the apartheid police for MK operations,” he said.

The Mercury