Mr Mzukisi Nobhadula died in detention on 20 December 1977 at the North End Prison in Port Elizabeth.Mr Nobhadula was an awaiting-trial prisoner on a charge of perjury and had been held for 6 days at the time of his death.The perjury charge arose from evidence he gave in a public violence trial which resulted from the frequent violent clashes between police and students in PE during 1977. Subsequently a number of students were arrested and charged with inciting violence.
A lawyer in another trial told the court that he had seen Mr Nobhadula on the day before he died and that he had appeared to be in perfect health,although he was known to be asthmatic.A statement by the prisons department said that his death was 'presumably owing to natural causes'. A police statement released after a post-mortem examination in Port Elizabeth said that no signs of any criminal offence causing the death were revealed by the examinations.The deputy officer commanding prisons in PE said Mr Nobhadula had been given the necessary treatment for asthma and had been supplied with pills. No inquest is known to have been held.
In answer to a question put to him before parliament on 29 March 1983 regarding Mr Nobhadula's detention and death the minister of the law and order,Mr Louis Le Grange stated,'There is no record that such a person has been detained in terms of security legislation,and unless further information is made available it is impossible to ascertain from all the police stations and border posts in the Republic whether such a person and police,Mr Nobhadula has been included in this report.
Behind Closed Doors. By Shireen Motala .South African Institute Race Relations.1987.