• Short Summary

    In South Africa, an inquest into the death of black detainee, Mr. Lungile Tabalaza, may?

  • Description

    Kruger talking to reporter. (6 SHOTS)

    TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 1: KRUGER: "Well, this will, this we will bring out. I don't know what the position is. I must say on my first reports that that is not so. From the first reports that have been given to me, this doesn't appear to be the case at all. But we will have the inquest, that will be the first, and we will also have the police inquiry."

    SAUNDERS: "On face value, do you expect disciplinary action to be taken in this case?"

    KRUGER: "Well, in this particular instance, I am informed they were in the process of putting up bars, but this is exactly why I've got this inquiry going, because we would like to know exactly how it happened, in the light of our instructions, that it was possible for a man to go through a window,."

    SAUNDERS: "This type of incident is obviously doing tremendous damage to the image of the Security Police, both at home and also abroad, Now, why does it appear impossible for you to find ways and means of control?"

    KRUGER: "Well, suicides in general are very difficult to control - you can well imagine. There are as many reasons for a man committing suicide as what there are people in the first instance. And in the prisons themselves, its very, very difficult - you simply cannot watch a man for 24 hours a day."

    SAUNDERS: "You don't feel that our figure is out of proportion to that in other countries?"

    KRUGER: "Well let me put it you this way, its difficult to have proportions and to say ours is the same as theirs, or less or more than theirs, because in actual fact a suicide in prison is a very unfortunate affair. Whether there's one or there's a hundred, it's a bad figure. I mean, you just don't want suicides in a prison."

    Lungile Tabalaza is the 22nd man to die in the custody of South African Security Police in two years. The Security Police Headquarters in Port Elizabeth was where black activist Steve Biko was questioned after his arrest a year ago. Mr. Biko died of brain injuries after being transferred to Pretoria but an inquest decided it could find no evidence to apportion blame.

    Initials JS/0220

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: In South Africa, an inquest into the death of black detainee, Mr. Lungile Tabalaza, may begin with two weeks. Twenty year-old Mr. Tabalaza died after falling from Security Police headquarters in Port Elizabeth on Monday (10 July). He was being held for questioning on several alleged offences, including arson and the use of petrol bombs. The South African Minister of Justice and Police, James Kruger, said bars were in the process of being installed in the windows of the Security Police building when Mr. Tabalaza fell to his death. In an interview with Cliff Saunders of the SABC in Pretoria, Mr. Kruger denied that the detainee had been tortured.

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