Family and wife relieved as husband exhumed
THE wife of Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association member Xolile "MK Valdez" Sam is relieved her husband will finally be laid to rest in a dignified place.
Thandi Shongwe said the exhumation of her husband's remains had brought closure to her family.
She said for the past 23 years she had been wondering where her husband had been buried.
"Today I am relived that I have finally found the place where my husband was buried. It is painful to many families that can't trace where their loved ones were buried," Shongwe said.
She said had it not been for Vlakplaas commander Eugène de Kock the family would still be in the dark about the whereabouts of Sam's grave.
"I met De Kock during the truth and reconciliation commission and asked him where my husband was buried. He told me that Sam was buried as a pauper in Vosloorus and gave me the grave number," Shongwe said.
Sam died after being tortured by De Kock for his involvement in the car bomb that killed three people in Witbank on October 24 1988.
On November 7 the same year members of Vlakplaas, a special police task force unit, Germiston and Witbank security police members raided a house in Vosloorus, looking for Sam.
He was spotted jumping over a wall. Vlakplaas member Leon Flores shot and wounded him in the leg.
De Kock tok him into a police vehicle and handcuffed him to the metal.
Sam was tortured and suffocated by De Kock, who was trying to get information from him. He died in the police vehicle.
Sam was subsequently buried as an identified pauper in a separate pauper section of Vosloorus Cemetery.
De Kock and his four colleagues, Flores, Willie Nortjé, Johan Tait and Sakkie Bosch were granted amnesty for their role in Sam's death.
Madeline Fullard of the NPA missing person task team said they were conducting DNA analysis on the exhumed remains before a reburial in Port Elizabeth.