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Widow Of Slain Councilor Reportedly Died After Nervous Breakdown

May 7, 1988

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ The wife of the black official slain in the ″Sharpeville Six″ case died last month after her release from a mental hospital, said a government statement issued Friday.

The statement regarding the death of councilor Jacob Dhlamini’s wife, Alice, appeared aimed at countering a wave of criticism of South Africa that followed the conviction of the Sharpeville Six on charges of complicity in Dhlamini’s slaying. They were sentenced to hang.

There has been an international campaign appealing for clemency.

The statement, attributed to ″concerned residents,″ said Mrs. Dhlamini became unstable after the 1984 killing and was placed in a mental hospital in June 1987. She was released several weeks later and died in April, it said, leaving behind three children ″who once had a bright future in a happy and talented parental home.″

The Bureau for Information said the statement was written by local officials and based on remarks by elderly residents of Sharpeville, the black township where Dhlamini was killed by a mob during riots in 1984.

The executions of the Sharpeville Six - five men and a woman - have been stayed while defense lawyers apply to reopen the trial to consider claims that a state witness was coerced by police.

The six were not accused of contributing physically to Dhlamini’s death. They were convicted under the doctrine of ″common purpose,″ which holds them responsible because they were part of the mob.

The government has argued the Sharpeville Six are being misrepresented abroad as innocent victims of an unjust law. Authorities say evidence at the trial showed each contributed to the killing through such alleged actions as making firebombs to burn Dhlamini’s house and slapping a woman who pleaded for his life.

Dlhamini’s brother, Sello, has been threatened by people demanding that he sign a statement asking that the Sharpeville Six not be hanged, the statement said.

The statement also described Jacob Dhlamini as having an ″absolute sense of justice″ and said he had tried to resolve grievances over the rent increases that triggered the 1984 riots.

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