Permanent Removal


Nearly twenty years into South African Democracy we need to find answers to some hard questions. Did the negotiations that lead to the new South Africa include an agreement that some of the masterminds of murder would be immune from prosecution? Have these men refused to confess their deed and shame in the certain knowledge that they will not be punished for their crimes? Will the families of Matthew Goniwe, Fort Calata, Sparrow Mkonto and Sicelo Mhlauli – as well as many others – ever know for certain who authorised the murders of their loved ones?

This is the fascinating story of the search for the people ultimately responsible for the deaths of the Craddock Four. Based on factual documentation and court records, it recounts the investigations and political intrigue around the murders. And it demonstrates how this notorious case, more than any other, exposed the inner workings of the apartheid government’s State Security Council.



‘the fascinating story of the search for the people ultimately responsible for the deaths of the Cradock Four.’

Quimby Warehouse


‘Nicholson injects his story with a humanity and pace…’
One of the three best reads of the year.

Margaret von Klemperer The Natal Witness, 1 December 2004


‘Gripping narrative…particularly thrilling – and chilling – reading…’

Stephen Coan in The Natal Witness, 30 June 2004


‘A moving account of that fateful episode… This is an important and timely book written by a top legal investigator, now a judge, who has followed the case for 20 years.’

Patrick Leeman The Natal Mercury 2 September 2004.


‘I’ve never met a judge I resonated with. They all seemed cold and remote. So I was more than surprised by Nicholson’s intimate tone, richly-detailed texture and almost gumshoe novel style of this, his personal monument to four icons of struggle… Nicholson’s contribution… is not just a mere reworking of an old, and troublingly unfinished tale: it is a cry… for justice – and against forgetting.’

Michael Schmidt in This Day 5 August 2004.


‘…Nicholson … uses court records, contemporary reports, evidence from the TRC, private papers and interviews … to construct a gripping narrative. In some ways the book reads like a thriller, at other times as a well-balanced political analysis of the events and a passionate plea for eventual justice.’

Peter Limb of Michigan State University


‘It is a very accessible book and makes a worthwhile contribution to the growing literature on political violence during the final decade of apartheid.’

Sarah M. Mathis of the Department of Anthropology, Emory University, June 2006

Christopher Nicholson

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