AP NEWS
Related topics

Teen-ager Who Appeared in Foreign News Shows Killed

January 26, 1988

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ A black teen-ager interviewed in a CBS News documentary on apartheid was found shot and killed five days after police questioned him about the film, family and police said Tuesday.

Godfrey Sicelo Dlomo was shot in the head. His body was lying under a tree Monday near his grandmother’s house on the outskirts of the Emdeni section of Soweto, his mother, Sylvia Jele, said.

Dlomo, 18, was interviewed in the CBS documentary ″Children of Apartheid,″ which was broadcast in December in the United States. He also appeared in a news show on the Dutch television station Ikon in Hilversum, Netherlands in March, and friends said he also was interviewed by the BBC.

Asked if his life was in danger, Dlomo said in the CBS film, ″Yes. It is because I might be arrested or eliminated at any time.″

Dlomo was questioned Jan. 20 at Johannesburg police headquarters about statements he made in the documentaries, said Brig. Leon Mellet, a spokesman for the Law and Order Ministry.

Mellet said Dlomo ″was identified as the one who had made serious allegations″ against the police about being mistreated during detention.

In the CBS documentary, narrator Walter Cronkite quoted Dlomo as saying he had been detained four times, and had been tortured.

Mellet said police wanted to question Dlomo to investigate his charges, but during the three-hour interview, he had signed a statement saying he had been coached by an interviewer on what to say.

That interview, which Dlomo allegedly said was conducted by a ″news agency director,″ took place a year ago, Mellet said. Dlomo did not identify any particular news agency, Mellet said.

″We want to know why he was killed after giving a statement to us,″ said Mellet.

Mrs. Jele said her son ″was afraid of the police because they once caught him and told him they would kill him.″

She said her son had been in hiding and only visited his family in the township on weekends and holidays.

Police said they had received an anonymous telephone call that a youth was lying dead, and arrived 15 minutes later to find the body, which they identified by a book in his pocket bearing his name and address.

A spokeswoman at the Detainees Parents Support Committee said she witnessed Dlomo’s detention Jan. 20 during a police raid on the organization’s offices. She said Dlomo told her after he was freed that police had tried to force him to say he was coached during the news interviews.

A spokeswoman for the Detainees Parents Support Committee said when security police raided the offices last week, Dlomo ″was going down the stairs and a black security policeman said to the other, ‘Here’s the guy who appeared on TV talking about his detention.’ They took him but they wouldn’t tell us why.″

When he returned after the interrogation, ″He said the police were forcing him to admit (that) what he was saying in the interviews he was coached (to say) by DPSC or CBS. He said nobody coached him,″ added the spokeswoman, who declined to give her name.

Mellet said of the CBS documentary: ″This film was made in South Africa and sent into the world claiming this person had been arrested four times, been assaulted and beaten up, been tortured. If those allegations he had made in the movie had been true, obviously we would like to find out who those persons are who are responsible.″

Mellet said Dlomo made a sworn affidavit that ″he was told by a news agency director to tell into the cameras where and when he was detained and he must say he was beaten up and manhandled in detention. He said, ‘I then started to talk what he dictated to me.’ He was then afterwards released.″

Mellet said Dlomo did not identify the news agency and identified his interviewer only as a ″Mr. Norman.″

When asked if Dlomo would have been released if he had refused to make a statement, Mellet said he couldn’t answer, but said the teen-ager had not been under arrest or detention.

AP RADIO
Update hourly