PROCEEDINGS HELD AT
9 MAY 1996
[PAGES 1 - 98]
I N D E X
NO ITEM PAGE N°
1. Opening address.............................................. 1 - 2
2. Nombuso Majola............................................. 3 - 16
3. Roesemary Cele.............................................. 17 - 25
4. Dual Amos Hlatswayo...................................... 26 - 32
5. Florence Mbatha............................................. 33 - 37
6. Jerico Nzama................................................. 38 - 45
7. Sibongiseni Goodlord Linda Nzama..................... 46 - 53
8. Haroon Aziz.................................................. 54 - 62
9. Buyele Patience Zungu-Mthembu........................ 63 - 76
10. Krish Govender.............................................. 77 - 98
11A/0 PROCEEDINGS RESUMED ON 1996/05/09
DR BORAINE: Welcome to the third day of the KwaZulu/Natal, Free State hearings. The following people will be giving evidence today. Mrs Nombuso Majola, Mrs Rosemary Cele, Mr Amos Hlatswayo, Mrs Florence Mbatha, Mr Jerico Nzama, Mr Sibongiseni Linda, Mr Haroon Aziz, Mrs Buyele Zungu and Mr Krish Govender.
PROCEEDINGS OPENED WITH SINGING OF HYMN AND PRAYERS
CHAIRMAN: May I add my own words of welcome to all of you, but especially to those who will be testifying and to their families and friends, who have come to support them. We also want to say thank you to the people who are upholding the Trust and Reconciliation Commission in their prayers and those who are continuing to pray for this set of hearings in this province. I now declare this session open and hand over to Dr Boraine.
DR BORAINE: Thank you, Mr Chairperson. On behalf of the Commission I would like to welcome very warmly Archbishop Hurley. We are delighted to have him with us today and any other colleagues and friends who might be here, as well as Mr Bheki Cele, a member of Parliament, and Mr Chairperson of the Safety and Security Committee in KwaZulu/Natal. We are particularly glad to have anybody who is concerned about Safety and Security. Thank you for coming. The first witness that we are calling is Mrs Nombuso Majola and I will ask her to come to the witness stand, please. Whilst the witness is taking her place, I understand Mr Cele has only just walked in now, so we anticipated your arrival. We've got our eye on you and we are grateful to you for attending the session of the Commission today and any other dignitaries who may be
11A/2 here. Is Mr Cele here? I would be very grateful if you would stand just for a moment. Thank you very much. We are just waiting for the earphones to be put in place before we start. Mrs Majola, can you hear me on the earphones? You can hear the translation?
MRS MAJOLA: Yes.
DR BORAINE: It's very important that you can hear, so that we can also hear you and listen to your story. So let me just make absolutely sure, Mrs Majola, you can hear me all right.
MRS MAJOLA: Yes.
DR BORAINE: Okay, thank you very much. Mrs Majola, I'd like to welcome you very warmly to the third day of the sitting of the Commission. As I have to everyone who has come as the first witness at the start of the day, it's much more difficult for you, because it's new and you haven't watched other people, but you have really nothing to worry about. Please relax and we are very grateful to you for coming, telling about the killing of your brother, Austin Majola, in 1990 by people, in terms of your statement, who have claimed to be the police. Now, Mrs Majola, you have somebody with you. Perhaps you could tell me who that is. I can't hear the translation. I understand it's your grandmother. That's wonderful. It's very, very good to have her with you today. I'm sure you feel a lot better and I hope you will feel that we are part also of a family who are committed to trying to heal a country which has been so badly bruised and battered. As is our custom, we ask a Commissioner or Committee Member to lead you in your story and I am going to ask Dr Mgojo to do that, but before he does, would you please
/stand, in order
11/5 stand, in order to take the oath?
NOMBUSO MAJOLA (Sworn states) (Through Interpreter)
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. Please be seated. You are now under oath and I ask Dr Mgojo to take over, please.
DR MGOJO: We greet you, my daughter. We are happy that you have been able to come here to relate your story and reveal all what is inside you with regard to your brother. I would request you to give me your brief history about your family. Who are you, where do you stay, all those things. I am Nombuso Majola. Austin is from Zwane. It's Austin Zwane. Austin was my mother's child. We live at Zwane's in Lamont. We live with our grandmother. That's my grandmother's place. Austin was the boy who was born on the 10th June 1971. He died on the 7th 1990.
Would you remember the month? --- Yes, it's in August. We were living with our grandmother. We were brought up by my grandmother. This is my grandmother that I am with here.
If you like, you can tell us where are your parents. Where is your mother and father? --- Our father died. My mother got married to another place in Transkei.
Have you been staying in Lamontville for a long time? --- Yes, we were born there.
Are you still studying? --- No, I am no longer studying.
So you are no longer at school? --- Yes.
While you were still at school, who educated you? --- It's my grandmother.
We thank your grandmother for looking after you. Now, tell us what happened at the death of your brother.
11A/9 If you could just relate everything. --- It was on Tuesday, on the 7th in 1990. Austin used to go to school at Menzie High School in Umlazi. On that day he didn't go to school. He had a problem because on Monday at school at midday there was Siphiwe Mvuyane looking for him. He went out and ran away. He didn't go to this person, because this person was standing by the office and had requested him from the office. On Tuesday he decided not to go to school. It was the day my Granny was going to go to the doctor. She wasn't well.
Before you go on, whom did he ask him from? --- He asked him from the principal. Apparently he spoke to the principal and then they sent a boy to go and ask for him from the classroom. The boy told him that Siphiwe Mvuyane was looking for him. They had parked there at the parking area.
Is this principal still there at Menzie? --- I have got no knowledge of that.
But you do know him? --- No, I don't know him.
You can go ahead. --- When Austin ran away, on Tuesday he didn't go to school. In the morning, when Granny had already left, at about eight, after that we heard a lot of people that surrounded our house. They were knocking loudly at our house. At that time Austin was still asleep. They said they were police. The door was open but the burglar guards were closed and there was a padlock. I woke up and came to the kitchen and they said they were police - I must open up. They had guns. All of those who were in front of the door had huge guns. Before I left the bedroom there were others that I had already seen passing through the window by the bedroom and
/I heard a
11A/12 I heard a lot of noise and I realised there were a lot of them, so I did open the door, as they ordered me. They asked me if I know him. He said he was Siphiwe Mvuyane, he is looking for Austin. At that time Austin was already up. He didn't even give me a time to answer whether Austin was there. Just as I opened the door they immediately rushed into the bedroom and others went to the dining room.
Before you continue, where was Granny at this time? --- She had already left. She had gone to the doctor. While it was still like that, they grabbed at Austin. They emerged with him from the bedroom and took him through to the kitchen. They didn't even give him an opportunity - they said, "Yes, why did you run away yesterday? Why didn't you go to school today?" He said, "No, I didn't run away". They said, "We were there, looking for you". He said, "Well, I wasn't there by that time".
Did they say what they were looking for him for? --- No, they didn't initially say that. They beat him up and took him out of the door. They were assaulting him while they were taking him away. He kept on falling and getting up and up the drive-way and into the street. I went and peeped through the window in the dining room. I saw that there were three private cars in the street. There was no police van. They went to the car that was in the middle. I thought there was somebody inside, because they didn't get into the car. They just stood outside the car and talked to somebody, and then they brought him back inside our house. There were lots of them. They were swearing at people who were going past and everybody who
11A/14 was coming to pass through, they were swearing at them and saying they must go back, they must go away. They were swearing at the people a lot. They brought him back inside the house and said, "Produce the gun". Austin said, "I don't have a gun". They assaulted him and said he must tell the truth, where is the gun, and the other ones came inside and started searching in our house. They turned everything upside down, but they didn't find any gun they were looking for. They were busy beating him up. While things were still in that situation they took him outside and continued to beat him up, to the extent that the T-shirt he was wearing it was completely torn. He only had a nick (?) on him.
What was that they were beating him with? --- They were hitting him with their hands and also with a gun butt, the back of the gun. While things were still like that, they came in. They went to our grandmother's bedroom. They had looked for everything and they couldn't find anything. At my grandmother's bedroom I was with other people, who were with Siphiwe. They had been looking in the bedroom. Suddenly I heard Siphiwe said, "Are you shooting me, my boy?" Austin said, "With what can I shoot you?"
Please don't hurry. Take your time, my daughter. --- I then heard - I heard a gun fire. Austin said again, "Please don't shoot at me. But how could I have shot you, because I don't have a gun? You've been looking for the gun, but you can't find it". After that I heard a second gun fire. He said, "Please ...", Austin said, "Please, don't shoot at me. Why are you shooting at me?", and the third time I heard this gun fire again. I tried
/to get out
11A/16 to get out of our bedroom and tried to go to my grandmother's bedroom. The one who was in front of me stopped me. He was standing in the passage. He said I must sit down.
As a person who grew up in Lamontville, among these policemen, did you recognise anyone? --- No. No, there was no one I knew. Even this Siphiwe I didn't know. I didn't know him at that stage. After that I heard somebody saying, he said, "This dog is going to die". They got out. Those who were in the bedroom with Austin came out. Even the one who was in the passage got out. When I went to Austin, the other one said, "I sit down. You go and sit in the bedroom. What kind of help do you think you can give to him?" I cried, because I had seen Austin, that he was lying down on the side and he was bleeding. They came back again from outside. They said, "Where is the telephone? We want to phone". I allowed them to phone. I opened the telephone, because I thought they were going to phone for assistance for Austin. I didn't know what they wanted to phone about. Whilst things were still like that they phoned in the bedroom where I was and that's where the telephone was. I heard that they were phoning for some more police people. These were the Umlazi Police. They were from ZP. What I heard Siphiwe said, he said, "Because we will not be able to, we are going to move out of here. Please meet us at Easy Way, as you enter Lamont. We'll wait for you there." Indeed they left. At the time when they left, they all left with all their cars. I was there with Austin in the house.
Before you go ahead, there's something that must be
11A/20 cleared. You said the police from ZG. Could you explain, who are these police? Who are these ZG Police you are talking about? I will help you. The police we have here in Natal, there's SAPS and KZP. Which ones are these ZG? --- These are KZP.
Thank you. --- When they left, I went into the room where Austin was. There was no assistance I could give to him. They left him there because they could realise he was dying. The neighbours, when the police had left, the neighbours - there was a boy who came at the very minute just when they had left, with another man. They came to try and help. I told them they must please leave. They shouldn't stay there because these policemen said they were coming back again. If they come back in the house they could also harm them. I said, please, they mustn't touch Austin because the police also said I mustn't touch Austin, I must leave him lying down there. They left, as I said. After a while these people came back. These cops came back - the same policemen, with the police vans from Umlazi, with an SAP van. When they got inside the house they came in and they were with other boys who also come from Lamont. They said, "Pick up your friend. Pick up your friend and go and throw him inside the van". When I heard - apparently these boys had been picked up along the way just in the township, so that they must come and pick up their friend. They told them when they were already inside the car.
Do you know these boys? --- Yes, I do. These boys, they picked up Austin and they were told to put him inside the van from Umlazi - from Umlazi Police. Indeed, these boys did as they were instructed. I was very, very
11A/24 hurt when they took him to the ZP van, and the SAP were there. I didn't know where they were taking him. I wasn't sure if we would be able to get his corpse.
Where did they take him to? --- I didn't know then where they were taking him. They didn't say where they were taking him. Even the SAP didn't explain to me.
And how did you eventually get the corpse, the body? --- We found him at the Government Mortuary.
[Break in recording] --- They took me to the police at Wentworth, where I made a statement. They said this matter would be handled by the investigators from Wentworth. I made a statement there and they brought me back home. After that, as days went by, there were lots of telephone calls coming through. When I remember one of the people who phoned was a woman. She said she was phoning from Ulundi. She works at the offices there. I shouldn't try and go ahead with a case because I will be in trouble. Going ahead with the case will not bring Austin back.
Did she say the name, who she was? --- No, she didn't. I asked her what her name was. She didn't want to tell me who she was. There were lots of telephone calls we received. They were asking us what steps had been taken with regard to Austin's death.
INTERPRETER: Excuse the interpreters there is cutting off the sound system. --- At home, I was forced to stay at home because my Granny wasn't there at home some of the times, even after the burial of Austin. My granny is a person who survives on selling second-hands. I was also forced to go with my granny where she was selling.
Excuse the interpreters, there is a total cutting
/now - there
11A/29 now - there is a total cutting of the sound. Excuse the interpreters.
11B/0 Start from, "Granny where she was selling". The interpreters couldn't hear you. Excuse the interpreters. It's cut off again.
DR MGOJO: If you could start all over again and see if we will hear you. --- My Granny sells second-hands. I was forced to go with her to where she was selling these things, because they were worried about my safety, because they thought that Siphiwe would come back when I was alone at home. As things went on, after a while ... (intervention)
INTERPRETER: Excuse the interpreters. It's cutting again.
DR MGOJO: Please continue. --- There were newspaper people. There was a telephone call that there will be people from Johannesburg who would come to take photographs. Indeed, those people came in midday. They took photographs inside the house and outside and in the street. In my grandmother's bedroom before the day of the funeral, just a day after this had happened, there were bullets that were found, which had cracked. On the wall on my grandmother's bedroom there's a hole where the bullet had entered. While the investigation was continuing, there were lots of incidents that were happening, done by Siphiwe Mvuyane, because he had not been arrested. While the situation was still like that, after a while, after a long time we heard that there was going to be a court hearing, although I wouldn't be able to go and give evidence. They just told us when it was going to be the following week, that it was going to be on
11B/2 a Monday. On that week-end and the court hearing was going to be on a Monday, we heard that Mvuyane had died - that he had also been shot.
When you heard, who had shot him? --- I never knew. After that there was never any court case. I had expected that the court hearing would continue, because Mvuyane wasn't alone. Those who were with him had participated. Those he was with also harassed me.
How did they harass you? Could you explain that? --- They were nasty. They were swearing at me. Even if Mvuyane, I think even those other people also had guns. They were also guilty. Even those people - our neighbours were harassed by them, who were just innocently walking in the street.
Could I ask you some questions? I know this is very painful and I empathise with your pain, because your brother was killed in that way, in that manner. I'll just ask a few questions. Was there a death certificate? Was there a medical certificate? --- Yes, there was. Yes, it was done.
In your statement you were speaking about Dina. Could you tell us something about this Dina, Austin's colleague, Dina, who came with the police? --- Please excuse me, it is not Dina. I didn't want to talk about a name. He is one of the boys who they had taken along the street to come and pick up Austin.
INTERPRETER: Excuse the interpreters. We cannot hear.
DR BORAINE: I am sorry to interrupt you, Dr Mgojo. We are still having trouble with the interpreters. Could we please have some alternative arrangement. Whilst I'm making this announcement, could I make sure that all cell
11B/4 phones are switched off, please. They are very disturbing. I have been informed that the microphone is faulty. They are getting a new one. We apologise very much for this interruption and especially to the witness. I have also been informed that cell phones are interfering with the microphones, so please make absolutely sure that all cell phones are switched off. Thank you.
DR MGOJO: Was there any organization that he was involved with - any political organization? --- He didn't have a card, although most of the youth in Lamontville were followers of the ANC.
I think this is the last question. You said in your statement - you were asking, you were requesting the TRC to educate the son of the deceased. How old is this son? --- When Austin died there was a girl he was involved with. It was discovered that at the time when he died this girl was pregnant. She comes from Umlazi. This child at the moment is with us and my Granny at Lamontville and his name is Fuyele.
Has he already started schooling? --- He's at pre-school.
Where? --- At KwaGijima (?) Primary School. He was born in March 1991.
Is there any other thing you would like to request from the Commission to do for you besides this? Granny can't speak, because she didn't make an oath. --- I would request the Commission to help us whichever way it deems fit.
Like what, for instance, my daughter? If you could be free and just clarify, even if we cannot do it, but, please, do state it. Don't be afraid. --- With regard
11B/6 to Austin's son's life, because I would say we were brought up by my Granny. This child is also under Gran. My Granny is old. She can no longer work. She survives on pension.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. Dr Boraine.
DR BORAINE: Mrs Majola, let's get the earphones on. Can we just test that? Can you hear me all right? I want you to go back to 1990, on the day that Austin was killed. I want you to think what happened on that day. It's very painful, but just to help us. Some people came into the house at about 8 o'clock. Now, think back, what were they dressed in? How were they dressed? --- They were wearing private clothes. None of them was wearing any police uniform.
Thank you very much. The second question is, Siphiwe Mvuyane - you've mentioned his name several times - was he a private person? Was he a policeman? Was he a member of an organization? Who was this man who you say killed Austin? --- He works for the KwaZulu Organization.
Just to make absolutely sure, so he wasn't a policeman? --- He was a policeman.
With the SAP or the KwaZulu Police? --- It was KwaZulu Police.
And when he was killed on the week-end before the court case, there was no more court case? --- No.
Thank you very much for your help.
CHAIRMAN: When they are asking questions then you can switch off. Thank you.
DR MAGWAZA: I have got a question directed at you personally. During the time all this was happening you
11B/11 were very young. How old were you then? --- I'm 28 years old now. This happened in 1990.
You look very young. As you have been relating I will talk about what I felt inside me. It would see like you were alone throughout this situation. Was there some kind of support you got from your family, because you kept on saying, "I and my grandmother. I and my grandmother". It would see you were all on your own, facing this situation. --- It doesn't mean that the family members were not there. We do not live with them. There is my aunt, who lives in KwaZulu. There's also another one who also stays in Lamont, although we are not staying in the same house. I'm talking about my Granny, because she's the person I live with in the house. There is also another boy and my children, two children.
I will continue, because to me you are like people who are victims, because you were harassed, you suffered. If you look in your life, how were you affected by this situation as far as your health is concerned? Is there some that happened that affected your health? --- Yes, there is. After all these things that happened to Austin it took me a long time for it to pass in my mind - for me to come to terms with it. I used to wake up at night and feel very scared. I kept on seeing the picture of Austin lying down and I was helpless. I couldn't help him. I didn't want to be in a situation where I would have to talk about Austin. I only spoke because I was forced to speak about this thing, like for instance going to the police, giving the statements there. My Granny is a person who has got diabetes. This affected her greatly, because she is a person who has to get treatment all the
11B/14 time, and they said she had high blood pressure. I am tortured. I don't know how I could put this. The most painful thing is that I do not have peace. I don't have peace with Mvuyane and I'm not able to make peace now because Mvuyane is no longer there, because they said there is no peace beyond the grave. Mvuyane was an old person. He knew what he was doing. If Austin had done something, even if he had killed a person with a gun, I think the law - as a legal person, he was required to arrest him, not to kill him himself without fighting.
Nombuso, we respect the way you feel, but what can help you, as far as I'm concerned, is if you and your Granny need assistance with your health and psychologically and emotionally, maybe when you leave here you must contact people who can give you that kind of assistance. Thank you.
MRS GCABASHE: Nombuso, we have heard about these events. I've got a small question. Mvuyane came home. You said, "Mvuyane said, 'Are you shooting at me? Are you shooting at me?'". If you could tell us, had you already heard the gunfire at that time? --- I heard the gunfire and then he said, "Are you shooting at me?" Austin answered at that time. He said, "How can I shoot you, because I don't have a gun? You have searched for it. You didn't find it". He answered very clearly, because I could hear all his words. After that there was a second gunfire. Austin cried and the gunfire went for the third time. He said, "Please, don't shoot at me".
CHAIRMAN: Any other questions? We thank you very much, and Granny, very much for coming here. We are going to
/try and see
11B/17 try and see if there could be any assistance that you can get. We request that God give you peace. Thank you.
DR BORAINE: Mr Chairperson, I call the next witness - Mrs Rosemary Cele. Could we have the earphones on, please? Can you hear me all right? Thank you very much. If you could speak up a little bit. Let me say how pleased we are to see you and thank you very much for coming to the Commission. We want to hear your story and it will be a story about the killing of your son, Bongani Edwin Cele and we know that this is very painful, but we are glad that we are trying to get the whole picture of what has been happening in our country and hope it will help you by simply having a chance to talk with us, with this audience and, indeed, with the country. Before I hand over to one of my colleagues, could you please stand for the taking of the oath.
ROSEMARY CELE (Sworn states) (Through Interpreter)
DR BORAINE: Thank you. You may be seated. You are now under oath. I am going to ask my colleague, Mr Lyster, to take over from me. Thank you.
MR LYSTER: Thank you for coming in, Mrs Cele, today and you have heard the previous witness telling about the death of her beloved family member and we understand some of the pain too that you have experienced. Please will you start by telling us something about Bongani and the rest of your family. How old was he at the time? Was he schooling? Just that sort of thing, so that we have a picture of who he was. --- Bongani was my son. I gave birth to him in 1966, on the 18th July. In 1980 the police started harassing me. Every time when they came to harass me, they would say they were looking for ... (inaudible). I didn't know where they were. They wouldn't let three days pass by. They would be all in my /house
11b/22 house with huge guns, big ones and short ones. Some of them, they would put them on the floor. Round about 1981, 1982 - it started in 1983, they started chasing around Bongani. Bongani ran away to my home. When the police arrived at my home they would say, "This whole family is troubled", because they said my brother was an ANC trainer. We didn't know anything about that. We didn't even see him carrying a gun. Even if he came to fetch them, he wouldn't be carrying anything. They arrived at my place to search for the exiles. They wanted to see the exiles. They said to me, "If your children arrive here, don't keep them here, otherwise you would spend ten years in gaol". One day they arrived while I was dressing. I only had petticoat and my bra, because I was preparing myself to go to work, and they picked me up. They took me into their van. I was half naked. They said I should just go in that condition. They searched all over for Bongani and ultimately he went to stay at Izingolweni. He would come to my house and stay two days, and the police would come and Bongani would run away. He used to sleep outside. In 1987 they were searching for him for the last time now. I didn't know his whereabouts, because I heard news that he had died at home. He was accused - he was told every time that he is an ANC member.
Mrs Cele, can you just tell us, when you say he had died at home, do you mean your home at Izingolweni or in Lamontville? --- He used to go home at Izingolweni. That's where we have a farm, at Izingolweni. He would run away from my home at go to the other farm at Izingolweni. In 1987, it was early in the morning. It was in the month of July. They called my home, asking for Sikumbuzo.
11B/28 Sikumbuzo is Bongani's brother. He came into the house and he picked up the telephone and they asked Bongani. There was one friend of Bongani who is Malinga. He spoke to Bongani and he said he want to go to the other Bongani. He's afraid to go alone, can he please accompany him. That time Bongani was renting a house - was staying at Eqolweni (?). He was not even far and the police came in, where we thought they were calling from very close ... (pause)
12A/0 Please take your time to recover, Mrs Cele. Perhaps you could also just tell us where these police were from. Were they South African Police or KwaZulu Police? Do you know that? --- They were the SAP. They pushed him and they took him out. In those few minutes I tried to send a message with one boy who knew the place where he was. I said to him, "Go and tell them that they've arrested Sikumbuzo". He was trying to get to the place where Bongani was. There were two in hiding and the boy could find them. They were at Shabalala's place. When this boy arrived there to tell them the news that Sikumbuzo had been arrested the person who was with Bongani - who was hiding with Bongani - ran away, and Bongani said, "I am now tired of running away. If it is possible, I would leave tomorrow". Sikumbuzo never arrived on that day. Maybe if he could have run away, he could have survived. Sikumbuzo said the police harassed him, they tortured him and the next day he went together with them to pinpoint where his brother was. The police took Bongani. It was the following day at about 10 o'clock in the morning.
Mrs Cele, according to your statement, you said that on that day they took him to prison and you didn't see
12A/2 Bongani - you were not allowed to see Bongani in prison. Is that correct? --- The day they took me, they have not yet arrested Bongani, because they wanted me to take him out and they dropped me off the road and I went back home. Sikumbuzo arrived at home at 12 o'clock. He couldn't walk. When he was coughing, he would cough blood. I said to him, "Sikumbuzo, what happened?", and he said, "Mom, they've picked Bongani". I gave him money and he went to the hospital. When he returned from the hospital, he was so scared and he said, "Mom, I'm now going to Izingolweni. I want to go and stay there. I'm afraid the police might come back and harass me and torture me once more". We tried to find Bongani at the police and every time they would say no, they don't know his whereabouts. I went to Mr Mlaba. Mr Mlaba tried to search for Bongani. They took Bongani in May and it was June - towards the end of July the police arrived. He was handcuffed, heavily chained on both the hands and the feet. They said he should take out the weapons, because his uncle gave him those weapons. They searched, but no guns were found and he pointed at a furrow where the water pass. They left and they told me that Bongani will never be seen again. I was sleeping. It was Wednesday morning at 9 o'clock. I heard people knocking at my door. It was a harsh knock and I could realise that it was the police, because they used to come to my place. I woke up and I opened the door. A policeman gave me a card and he said Bongani had been shot by the police. "If you want to know everything, details, you'll go the police station". I wasn't alone in the house - I was alone in the house, because my children all ran away. They were scared. I
12A/5 sat quietly down, because I was also scared of the neighbours. One of my neighbours who used to help me was not present at that moment, he was at work. I dressed up and I thought of Mlaba on that day. I went to him. On my arrival at Mlaba I showed him this card that Bongani had been killed. Mlaba gave them a call. You would think that at that moment they were just behind the house, because in a few minutes they arrived. Mlaba asked them questions. He asked them, "Had he been shot?". They said, "Yes, we are only here to give you the message that he'd been shot. We don't know what really happened". Mlaba asked me whether will I be able to go and see him. I said, "Yes". They said they will take me with their car. I said, "No, I will walk". I walked on my own and I found them sitting there, waiting for me. They said I should sign. I said, "No, I don't want to sign". I went inside. I saw my son and I came out. They first pulled two shelves out and then the third one I could identify Bongani. When I arrived at home I sat down and I waited for any person who might come in. My next-door neighbour was not present. He was the person who used to help me a lot. In the afternoon my daughter arrived. They were crying and they found me sitting, waiting, reading my Bible.
Mrs Cele, can you tell us what explanation the police gave for Bongani's death? --- I didn't talk to the police myself. I went to Mr Mlaba, because he was an ANC lawyer. I was expecting that there would be a court case, because of the whole situation, because I thought my son would be arrested like anybody else and would be sentenced and would come back home, but they released him - according
12A/7 - according to the information that I got, I was told that the policeman left with Bongani and he shouted, he said, "The dogs are now leaving with me. It might happen that I don't come back", and it is true, he never went back to the cell he was in. This disturbed me a lot. I've been going to Mlaba for a few times, because I wanted to know the reason why had he been killed. Mlaba searched for evidence all over. Because the police would come to my home with heavy chains on Bongani's legs and hands, searching for guns and they couldn't find any gun. I never heard what was the reason for Bongani's death, why had he died. I so much wanted to hear the information that led to his death. After Bongani's funeral it was almost a year. We received a call that we were to appear in court. Two young men came in and they put a map on the table. I didn't know were they magistrates and prosecutors, because I'd never been to a court before. They were reading this map. After reading that map, Mlaba said can he please go out. We went out and when we arrived outside he said, "Bongani's charge has been dropped. You know that the ANC cases are not listened to". I asked Mlaba. I said, "Mlaba, what am I going to do with Bongani's son, because I am very poor? How is this child going to survive with the education?" Mlaba said, "The ANC doesn't have any help. It is only allowed to help people who are married". I went back home, because there wasn't anything I could do. Ultimately, when the truth came out I wanted to come here to speak about this thing, because I've been carrying this burden, not knowing who could help me, who could explain everything to me about the brutal killing of Bongani,
12A/10 because I even asked at home why did they attack my house only. I've been to Mlaba many times, but I never received any help and that's where I gave up. I was wondering what am I going to do with Bongani's son, because he has to go to school, because he would come to me and say, "Granny, could you please give me money. I want to go to school", and I wouldn't be having a penny in my wallet.
Mrs Cele, I was going to ask you what you felt that the Commission could do for you. Can you just tell us how old Bongani's son is? --- He is doing standard 5. He is 9 years old. He was born in 1984.
And is he living with you? Are you looking after him? --- But that doesn't mean anything because I don't have money.
Mrs Cele, I'm very sorry to have to interrupt you here. We have another five witnesses to hear before lunch. We've heard your very, very tragic story and we express deep sympathy for you. We've heard you tell us that you feel unable to look after Bongani's son and we have made a note of that and we will see whether we can make recommendations as to whether you can be assisted in his education. If there is anything else you would like to say before you leave the stage, as to what you think the Commission may be able to do for you, please do so, but if you feel that you have said enough then thank you very much. --- What's really very difficult and painful for me is the education of Bongani's child. This child is not alone, but the other one I don't know where is the mother, because it's not in the statement. I cannot find the mother of the other child. Apparently the mother was taken by her aunt, but it's not easy for us to /see the
12A/14 see the other child. What is very, very hurtful for me in my heart, I'm a suffering woman, I cannot fulfil the achievement the way I would like to. My child is lying there. I couldn't even put a tombstone on his grave as a memory to him. I couldn't do that. It was very difficult for me, because I do not have means, but I would really appreciate if they can just educate Bulelani, Bongani's child until he's an old man.
Thank you very much, Mrs Cele.
CHAIRMAN: Siyabonga, Mama. Any questions? Dr Mgojo.
DR MGOJO: Mama Cele, there's something I'm going to ask you about Bongani's grave. You had wanted to put a tombstone. Where is this grave? --- He was buried at Mgijima.
I think the Commission will also have a look at that request - the tombstone request.
CHAIRMAN: Dr Boraine.
DR BORAINE: Mrs Cele, Mr Mlaba was your attorney. Is that right? --- Yes, Mr Mlaba was an ANC lawyer.
Did he ever try and explain to you how your son was killed or shot when he was actually in gaol? --- He never explained everything to me. I only heard that he was taken from a cell and he had been shot at Charlesworth (?).
Did the police ever explain why they shot him? --- No, they never said anything, because even on the day of the hearing nobody said anything. They were only reading the map. I thought that there was something they would ask, because they said he tried to shoot at them and I asked them how could he shoot at them, because his hands and his feet were handcuffed.
12A/19 Thank you very much.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much, Mrs Cele. There isn't anything much that we can say, but seeing that you've appeared before the Commission that would help you and it will help us a lot, because we will investigate as to answer the questions that you ask. Your request with regard to Bongani's child we've already heard that, and about the tombstone also. We don't say we will be able to provide everything, but we are going to try and be of assistance. May God help and may God bless you.
DR BORAINE: Mr Chairperson, before I call the next witness, could I welcome Mr Roger Hulley, the leader of the Democratic Party in KwaZulu/Natal, and I would be grateful if you would stand just for a minute. Thank you very much for being here. Roger Burroughs. I should know, shouldn't I? Thank you. The next witness is Dual Amos Hlatswayo, and I invite him to come forward, please. Could I just make sure that the witness can hear my voice. Can you hear all right?
MR HLATSWAYO: Yes, I can hear you.
DR BORAINE: Wonderful. That gives me a chance to say to you a very warm welcome and to express the gratitude of the Commission for your willingness to come here today and to tell your story. It's never easy, especially in public, and you are maybe a little bit nervous, but I hope you will relax and feel that you are free to tell your story in your own way. Before I ask you to do that, which is your own story about your own harassment and arson which is taking place, would you please stand for the taking of the oath.
DUAL AMOS HLATSWAYO (Sworn states) (Through Interpreter)
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much for that assurance. You are now under oath and my colleague, Mr Ntsebeza, will take over from me.
MR NTSEBEZA: I greet you. You understand Xhosa? --- Just a little bit. There are other things I may not understand, but if you speak I can hear you as you're speaking. We will understand each other.
I will start by asking you to speak a bit louder so that people can hear you. Do you understand each other there? --- Yes, we do.
Yes, we must understand each other. I will try to speak a bit louder. I am asking you, Baba, before you tell us about the incident which brought you here, which happened in 1984, if you can just tell us about yourself. Tell us who is this Hlatswayo? Where were you born and grew up and where did you work up until you are here in Durban? When did you come to Durban and why did you come to Durban? Just before we go into the incident that brought you here. --- I was born at Gwamhlaba uya Lingana, but why I came this side, I was already a young man. I was a grown-up. I came and worked at Tongaat Sugar Company from 1947. I only retired now in 1992, when I went on pension. It was in 1992. I was married, I had a family at Tongaat Sugar Company. I had a wife and children. When I was staying there I had seven children. There are three boys and four girls. There is one who passed away. The others are still alive. What has brought me here, my younger boy, when he had grown up - he was already in form 5, that was during the UDF time. One day, as I was sitting - I was staying with them at home, there were some people who arrived and said my boy was guilty, he had written some things on the wall, and now that he's going to pay revenge. I didn't even know what was this revenge about, because I didn't know what was involved, and the Inkatha people spoke in the township. While I was still listening to that one day some boys arrived ... (end of tape)
12B/0 ... situation, many other people arrived. When I hear a little bit about this, apparently some buses came to the township to attack. They were looking for all the houses where there were UDF boys. My house was also burnt while I was still asleep at about eleven. I heard stones being /thrown
12b/1 thrown all over the windows. What helped us - saved us that day - we could have been severely injured, but there's something that saved us were the burglar guards - how the stones were hitting and bouncing back, they couldn't get through the windows, until at dawn. After they had been throwing stones, they kicked the door and came in. They damaged my hi-fi and broke it down. After that they hit the TV and broke it down and we were still paying for this. Even the hi-fi, we'd just finished paying it off. They also burnt some other property there. One of them came with a very sharp stick, looking for my boy that they said was guilty. He had joined the UDF, but according to what we heard is that if this boy is here he will not survive, the way they were speaking about, so we'd taken this boy away. He went to Johannesburg to his friends, so that he would stay there. When they came, looking for him the one who had a sharp instrument, we didn't know, but apparently he came from another area, so that even if they killed him we wouldn't be able to know who had killed him. They looked for him under the bed and all over and they didn't find him and they left. We slept with my wife on that day. Although they had burnt things, there was a smell of smoke, but the following I woke up and went to work. While I was still at work there was a boy who came that they were saying they are coming back to your house. If we cannot produce this boy, we parents are going to be killed. I became very, very disturbed and I left my work at that moment. I looked for a car so that I could go back and start moving my things. It wasn't only me. There were other people as well and the other people brought their cars. We found a small car and they /brought
12B/2 brought me another second van that we managed to go home and put all our belongings on that van and we left. We went to stay at Hertford (?) near Verulam. That's how we left the township. Even my house I was living in, I left it behind, up until today. I'm still living in a shack. I haven't found a house.
If I could ask you, the burning of your house, where did this happen? --- It happened at Tongaat Sugar Company. The name of that township is called Hambanathi.
You had built your house at Tongaat? --- No, these were the township houses, built by the company for us. We were paying some rates for these houses. Many people were staying there and some people took over those houses and they are selling those houses but because by the time we left they were not yet sold. I just left things as they are.
According to law, if such things happened, you should have reported this. --- There was no way we could report this thing at that time, because if you reported such matters nobody took them seriously. We did make a statement, but nothing came out of that.
When you said you made a statement, who did you make a statement to? --- There were some investigators, CID, we made our statements to them, but after that nothing happened. They didn't do anything. The whole case ended up.
These were investigators from which police? --- I think they were the investigators from Westville.
In other words, were these SAP or KwaZulu Police? --- These were SAP.
This son you are talking about was Thulani? --- /Yes, it
12B/4 Yes, it was Thulani. He is the one who was a member of UDF.
Yes, where is he now? --- He died. He died when I was at Umlazi. He was knocked down by the car. He had already started working. He'd been working for about a year when this happened.
Now, who is this person you are saying told you that he told the hostel people to come and attack you? --- The person who called the hostel people, it's a woman, together with another man called Mabuyela and Petros. He is a man. Those are the ones who went to fetch the Inkatha people from Inseleni to burn the township.
On the day when they attacked, if I've heard you well, they were attacking another UDF person? --- Yes, they were looking for this boy, Thulani, that I've been referring to. They were looking for him so that if they found him they would kill him, bare-hand. As I have said, there was one person with a sharp instrument, who came in. They had planned that this was the person who was going to stab him there and die, but because they didn't find this boy - they couldn't find him, we had already begun to realise that if he stayed here at home that was dangerous for him. He couldn't stay at home.
The last question. You say you are staying in the shacks? --- I'm at W, Umlazi.
If there was a way the Commission could assist you, how would you expect it to assist you? What would you request? --- I do not know. They can use their discretion, because if the Government was building houses, but even any house or other structure built for me I would be grateful to the Commission. If it also possible that
12B/6 all those property I lost I could get that, but I leave it on the Commission's discretion to see how they could assist me.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Is there anyone with a question.
MR LAX: Just one question, Baba Hlatswayo. You mentioned that these people who came to your township, to Hambanathi, came in buses from Inseleni. Do you know where those buses were from? Do you remember them? Do you remember the name on them by any chance? --- I don't know. These buses were outside the township. They offloaded these people and these people walked to the township and they would do what was their mission. From when they had finished they would go back to their buses and especially because it was at night, we were not able to see. We only heard that in the morning, that they had arrived on buses, because it was a huge crowd that came. The numbers indicated to us that they had come on buses.
But these were not people from your area, as far as you know? --- No. No, they were combined with some people from the township, together with those who were brought by buses.
CHAIRMAN: Any other? Baba Hlatswayo, thank you very much for coming to this Commission. We've listened. We are going to try and see if we can meet some of your wishes, but not us, because what we can only do is to tell the President of this country what we think, how people can be assisted. It is the President who is going to take a decision on the kind of help that will be available or
12B/7 not available, but we do thank you a lot for coming here and sharing your pain and exposing your pain here. Thank you.
DR BORAINE: Mr Chairperson, the final witness before the tea break is Mrs Florence Mbatha, and I'll ask her to come forward, please. We are waiting for the earphones to be put into position before we start. Mrs Mbatha, can you hear my voice in your ears now?
MRS MBATHA: Yes, I can hear now.
DR BORAINE: Thank you. I welcome you very warmly to the Commission. Thank you very much for waiting. It's always difficult to wait. One gets a little nervous, but are you all right? Are you comfortable?
MRS MBATHA: Yes, I am.
DR BORAINE: Good. Thank you again for being willing to come and tell the Commission and the nation about what happened in your own life, and you are going to tell us about the tragic death of your son, Stanley Mbatha, but before you do, as you know, I have to ask you to please stand to take the oath.
FLORENCE MBATHA (Sworn states) (Through Interpreter)
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. Please be seated. You are now under oath and my colleague, Mrs Gcabashe, will lead you as you tell us your story. Mrs Gcabashe.
MRS GCABASHE: Thank you. We greet you Mrs Mbatha. As the Vice-Chairman has already said that you are appearing before us with a certain matter. We really feel sorry for that great loss. Before telling us your story, tell us where you come from, tell us your family, tell us how many children you have, so that when we speak to you we would be in a clearer knowledge of who you are. --- I was born at Escourt and I came to Durban as a worker and from there I got married and we moved on to Umlazi. Mbatha passed away in 1981 - that's my husband. I stayed at M in /Umlazi
12B/12 Umlazi with three children and my boy got married. In 1990 he started his own family and he worked at a railway station.
Is that the boy whom you are representing today? --- Yes. My daughter-in-law said I should come, because she is working now. That is why I am here. In 1990 on the 9th they were in a Putco bus in the afternoon. They were going home to their homes and they were shot on their way. They said they were heading to Duff's Road and one person - a white man - shot at them and my son died on the 13th. Well, we buried him. This was a famous matter and I couldn't hear the whole information. People were telling me different stories. Some of them were telling me that they heard over the radio. I was working at that time. I'm not working at this moment. My daughter-in-law is the only one who is working. Even to this day we were never called to any case. They said that white man was arrested - the person who shot them.
Can I ask you a question? In your statement you said the people were driving in their car. Do you know who those people were? Were they the police? Were they people from an organization? --- No, they were white people.
Do you think they were representing any organization? --- This became a very big matter and people were talking and one person said they were the AWB members.
Can you tell us exactly? --- They said it was a white organization. They were arrested after the funeral, but I never heard anything, because people would ask me, "Have you heard? They've been arrested", and I would say /to them,
12B/13 to them, "No", because there was no court case. I only heard from the people that they've been arrested and that was the end of the story. I want to appear here so that I can tell the Commission that my son died tragically, but I want to know the truth, because I don't know the truth up to this day.
Were you requested to appear before Court? --- No.
Now, where did you hear that they are arrested? --- People told me that they had been reading in the papers the matter regarding our children.
Did you report this to the police? Did you go as a family to report? --- Yes, we went to Durban Station to explain, but nothing took place thereafter.
You said your son was working. Did you get any of his money - compensation of any kind? --- Yes, they did help a little, but I don't know are they still providing my daughter-in-law with compensation or not.
Did you get a death certificate explaining the cause of his death? What was on the death certificate, if you remember well? --- The certificate said he'd been shot.
Thank you, Mr Chairperson.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. Any more questions? Mdu Dlamini?
MR DLAMINI: Thank you, Mrs Mbatha. How many children does your daughter-in-law have? How old are they? Are they studying? --- The other one is doing standard 5 and the other one is doing standard 8.
Where is your daughter-in-law working? --- She is teaching.
Thank you, Mr Chairman.
12B/16 CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Dumisa Ntsebeza.
MR NTSEBEZA: I just want to be clarified here. Do you know who shot your son and why was he shot? --- No, I don't know anything.
Was he in any political organization? --- No.
CHAIRMAN: Dr Boraine.
DR BORAINE: Thank you. Thank you, Mama. Were any other people killed in the bus? --- (No audible reply)
How many were killed? --- I don't know how many there were.
You are right when you say this was a very famous case, because there was much publicity and there was a big court case and you were never called to that court case? --- No.
I think I should at least tell you because one of the tragedies that we have listened to over the last four weeks is that victims of killings, murders, assaults, deaths in detention are so seldom ever told what's happened and many don't or can't read newspapers and I want to tell you that the four men were arrested. They were found guilty and are now in gaol. You didn't know that? --- No.
Well, at least now you know something of what happened and perhaps one of our staff members can give you more details a little later on. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN: Richard Lyster? Virginia Gcabashe?
MRS GCABASHE: My last question that I have, because we have heard that these people were arrested and convicted, they have asked for amnesty for what they have done and what is your wish? What would you expect from the
12B/25 Commission - you and your daughter-in-law and the children? --- If they can just assist me educate these children. That's my request.
We have heard your request, even though we may not promise you, we are listening. Once we come together we are going to discuss among ourselves and we will see if there is anything that can be done to respond to people's requests.
CHAIRMAN: Mama, we thank you very much for coming here. As has already been said, we are going to try to help you, whichever way that will be accessible to us. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN: Let's take a tea break up till half past eleven.
JERICO NZAMA (Sworn states) (Through Interpreter)
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. Please be seated and try and be as relaxed as possible under the circumstances. It's not a dentist's chair, so you can relax. That's better. Dr Magwaza, a colleague, will now take over from me and she will help you to tell your own story. Thank you.
DR MAGWAZA: We greet you. We also thank you that you are able to be here today. Before we start ... [break in recording] ... situation, tell us about yourself and your family and your son. Tell us who your family is, who is your son, how old is your son, everything about you and your family that could assist us to give a clearer picture of who you are. --- I will explain that here in Durban I grew up in Durban, but I was born in Potchefstroom in 1936. From there I came here to stay with my father, who was working at King Edward. At that time he was a clerk there. I went to school here in Durban and my father took me to King Edward. I also became a clerk in King Edward. During that time I joined the ANC. That was the most famous organization in King Edward at that time. I worked there and in 1963 I was arrested. We were arrested with regard to ANC, but I did get released by this lawyer called Austin. After that I had left King Edward. I went to do the taxi job. I didn't like this taxi job and I went to the firms (?). I educated my children and they went to Ongoye. The elder daughter went to do a B Ed and the boy - the boy who was here, who was injured, was doing B Sc at that time. When I was working in the factories there I was working at the national key point. Those were /the very
12b/29 the very strategic areas the Government focused on. Those were oil tanks. When we wanted to have a union inside the factory, it was very difficult because the management didn't want the union. They said if the union is involved these petrol tanks would be burnt out, so I organized, then pressurised that the union be allowed to exist. I'm the one who organized the union. So I started being hated by the owners of this firm, because I'm putting the union which is aligned to ANC and the tanks could be burnt. At the time when I was working there used to be soldiers coming, patrolling there as a place that was a national key point. These were two places. One of them is in Fynnland. There's a checkpoint. If someone wanted to go you would have to pass through the Railway Police. I got so pressurised and harassed and the soldiers used to come at this national key point and the Railway Police also used to follow me up. I realised that I must leave this job, because I was in danger. I left this job in 1990. I went to stay at home. While I was still staying at home - I think it was about two months - I asked the union that if they could assist me to work as a trade union organizer, because I realised that the soldiers and Railway Police were following me and I wanted the union to help me to be an organizer of the union. While I was still at home ... (end of tape)
13A/0 ... They broke down the front doors, dining room doors, and I saw two Hippos that were waiting on the gate and they hit me with guns and pushed me down and they were pointing guns at all my children. My other son that I'm talking about, he came out from the bedroom. He had just arrived the previous day from Ongoye. They also pointed
13A/1 guns at him and they assaulted us. They said they had been sent by my former employer that I must produce all the weapons there at home, like AK-47. I must also show my car - they wanted to take out the weapons. I showed my car and opened my car. They said, "Where is this AK-47 in this car?" I said, "No, I don't have an AK-47". They assaulted me and kicked me and they got me up and took me back to the house. They pointed guns at all my children. My boy was also in the bedroom. He was also being assaulted and they took me outside to the door and beat me up and they took off all the dockets of the car and they took me back and they were assaulting me all that time. Once I was on the door the police kicked me and my spectacles fell and the soldiers trampled on them and I went back to the house. When I arrived in the house, all my children - they were pointing guns at all my children. The other boy was being assaulted. When I went back inside the house the second my boy had been so terribly assaulted I couldn't ... (inaudible) ... was already swollen. They assaulted us for hours. I think it was about an hour. When my neighbours tried to come out they pointed torches at him and he went inside. I was also swollen and was very injured. For about an hour we were being assaulted. From there these police they left and these soldiers left. We were all completely so injured. I can't even begin to explain that now. I heard from the children that they had taken my boy, they put plastic on his head and they took him away with them. So there was a visitor at home who took me with his car and put me in hiding in another house. I stayed there and I came back the following day. They said Sibongiseni was brought back /towards
13A/2 towards dawn. He had been taken by the soldiers but now he's at Mshiyeni Hospital. I've also rushed there and went to the police to report this. The police gave me a form and I took this to the hospital and I was treated by the doctor. They said no, they would not admit me, I would be treated as an out-patient. They took X-rays and I asked, "What happened to my boy?" They said he had been admitted. I went to the ward where he had been admitted. I found him that he was there. He was completely swollen. I couldn't even recognise him, he was so swollen. It was the nurse who had to show me, "This is your son", and eventually he was discharged from the hospital and I went to report this to the union. The union took me to the Legal Resource Centre and I reported this issue at the Legal Resource. This case stayed for a long time and there was no court case about this issue, the case I had reported, but just before there was a court hearing, Mr Lyster said he was going overseas, but he's going to hand this over to another lawyer. This lawyer will meet him in court, but if this lawyer required to meet us before that he was going to write to us. This lawyer didn't write to us, but just two days before the court hearing my son went there. He said the lawyer said he had telephoned us to say, "Come", but we didn't get this message and then the lawyer said he dismissed the case, "Because you didn't come to me after I had made a call for you to come". Another thing that I forgot to mention was that my property was damaged. The soldiers broke down everything, furniture, radio, television. They were just like breaking down everything. The police came and they took statements from us and asked me could I point out who /the soldiers
13A/4 the soldiers were. I said yes, I could point them out. They said there was going to be a parade on Thursday. I must come and identify these soldiers. There never was such a parade. That was the end of the whole thing.
Thank you, Baba Nzama. Are you finished? --- Yes, I am.
There are a few questions I would like to ask, so that you can clarify certain things. You said in 1963 you were arrested? --- Yes, I was arrested.
Could you explain to us why were you arrested? --- When we were arrested at that time it would seem that there was some kind of announcement that was made by Mr Leballo with regard to the whole South Africa and then they collected us and arrested us. I just saw in the morning the special branch came to arrest us. At that time the charge was three months without trial. I think at that stage it was through Mr Vorster, who was still ruling.
I didn't hear, it's Mr who? --- It's Mr Leballo. There was some rumours that Mr Leballo in Lesotho - Mr Leballo of PAC, he said there is something he'd said - Potlako Leballo. They said it was because of what he had said that they were arresting us. They were arresting everybody.
How long were you arrested then? --- I was arrested for two months and the third month my family involved lawyer, Mr Austin.
Another question I would like to say is that in your statement you said there were soldiers in your family and surrounded it and they were with one ZP. --- Yes.
How did you realise that the other one was a ZP?
/--- He had
13A/5 --- He had a camouflage, but the hat he was wearing, it looked like the ZP, but even the soldiers did say, "We are with a ZP guy here".
Another thing I would like to know is that from these people who came to harass you at home is there any one of them you can identify and recognise? --- These soldiers, at that time I could identify them, but I don't know now. A long time has elapsed.
You are not clear now? --- I don't know, because a long time has elapsed since then.
In your speech again you said they came to your house because they had been told by your former employers that you have got weapons in your car. Who were those people you were working for who told the soldiers that you had weapons? --- I think I would say those were my employers, because we were in conflict with them. We were fighting over Cosatu.
Your employers? --- Yes, where I was working.
You are not free to say them? Is there no such? --- No.
Those were your former employers? --- Yes, that's what I suspected, because the soldiers also told me that.
Another thing I would like to ask you, as your son was injured, they took him away and they had covered his face, during the time when they covered his face, does he explain what they did to him? --- Yes, he explained what they did to him. He said they discussed with him, interrogated. It was around June 16, they were asking him. They said would he go and report to the police that he and his father - they asked if he was going to report
13A/6 to the police that they had assaulted him and his father and my son said, "No, we are not going to report this thing". So he said they threw him on a cliff and he rolled over and got up on the other end and he started looking for his way back home.
The last thing, as we are a Commission here, the most important thing to ask is that from all those victims we should hear from them that since they were harassed how could we help them heal those wounds. As far as you are concerned, how can we help you and your family? --- I got harassed, as I said, that I lost my job, but I also got injured as well and my property was damaged by the soldiers. I was really very much harassed by that.
Job-wise, your property and your body. Is there something that happened in your body that maybe disabled you from being able to work? --- No, I got sick at that stage, but now I'm all right.
Thank you very much, Baba. I will pass on to the Chair.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. Is there somebody with questions. Dr Mgojo.
DR MGOJO: Baba Nzama, as your son was affected in his education while he was doing his second year at a university, where is he now? --- He is here.
Was he able to further his education? --- No, he only managed to finish now, because his sister started her working and is helping him. He is now at the Technikon.
So it's the sister who's educating your child? --- Yes.
Why I'm asking you is because we're trying to help you. We need to help you where we can manage. Didn't you /think that
13A/7 think that there was a need for him that since he was affected that he could have some kind of request? --- I think he has some request.
CHAIRMAN: Baba, we thank you very much that you were able to come here to come and give this testimony. We are listening. May God be with you. We are going to try to meet your request and see how we could help you. Thank you very much.
DR BORAINE: Mr Chairperson, the next witness that I call is Mr Sibongiseni Goodlord Linda, and I will ask him to please come to the witness stand. We are just waiting for the earphones to be put in place, so that the witness can hear and follow the questions. Can you hear my voice all right? Fine. Sibongiseni, is that the name you would like me to call you, or Goodlord?
MR NZAMA, JNR: Sibongiseni.
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. You are very welcome. Let me ask you immediately, are you related to Mr Jerico Nzama?
MR NZAMA, JNR: That is my father.
DR BORAINE: It just confused me a bit by all these different names, but now we know. And you are the same young man that we heard about from him? Is that correct?
MR NZAMA, JNR: In fact, Linda is one of my first names.
DR BORAINE: Okay, that helps a lot. So you are Mr Nzama, Junior?
MR NZAMA, JNR: Yes.
DR BORAINE: Thank you, now we know where we are. So I'm going to call you Mr Nzama and say to you how pleased we are that you are here. We have heard from your father, but we are very pleased that we can hear from you as well. You are a very young man and you must have been even younger when all these terrible things happened and we are going to listen to your story with great interest, but before we do so, would you please stand to take the oath.
SIBONGISENI GOODLORD LINDA NZAMA (Sworn states) (Through Interpreter)
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. Mr Nzama, my colleague, Mr Lax, is going to take over from me now and
13/11 he is going to help you help us to know exactly what happened, so that we can know what the truth is. Thank you.
MR LAX: I'll speak English, because I don't speak Zulu very well. We have heard your father telling us about the events of that night. What we would like to hear from you is, from your own perspective, what happened to you that night. We have the general outline of the story, as your father has described it, so we know more or less what happened, but we would like to hear from you what happened as far as you saw it and experienced it. --- As my father has already explained, the soldiers arrived and they way they came in. All the things that happened to him ... (inaudible). With me they put me in my father's bedroom. That's where they put me. That's where they started interrogating me, asking me where were my father's guns. I told them my father doesn't have any guns, and some of them lied me down and pressed me down. One of them hit me - slapped me with an open hand in my back. They asked me again, "Where are these guns?" I kept on saying, "My father doesn't have guns". During that time they were searching. There is a huge belt they found that my father had while he was still working at the security. They hit me with this belt and it was very painful. When they started hitting me with this belt I screamed aloud. They started hitting me and they were asking me, "Where are these guns?" I said I didn't know where the guns were. It continued. From there they got very angry. They threw me down on the floor. That's where all of them started attacking me. They were kicking me, hitting me with the gun butts and hitting me against the wall,
13A/15 banging me against the wall, hitting me with their fist. They assaulted me in every way they could. They were attacking me and then they would give me a chance to speak to say where the guns were and I kept on saying, "I don't know". This thing continued for a long time. They were beating me, asking me questions, they were beating me. There was a time I feared that I was going to die. I started telling them lies. I said, "There are guns". I said, "There is a gun here". I said it was on top of the wardrobe. They ran on top of the wardrobe and they didn't find any and when they came back they were very angry. They said I'm making them fools. They attacked me again. From there, they said, "These guns you are talking about, what kind of a gun?", so I said it was a small gun. They said no, they were looking for an AK-47. They showed me one of the long guns they had. They said, "We want a gun that looks like this one". I didn't know that gun. I said to them, "I don't know that kind of a gun". They called my father back while they still were dealing with me. They told him that I had already told them that there is a gun. When my father was inside I said I was in such pain I said that because I was in such pain, there is no such a gun I know of. They started beating me in front of my father. They also assaulted my father and kept on taking him outside. They were still asking me where these guns were. After about an hour, while they were assaulting me like this, they took me outside. It was very cold on that day and I wasn't wearing warm - I just had pyjamas and it was a short-sleeved pyjama and even the pants of this pyjama was short, but it was very cold and I was in pain. They went inside the house and started
13A/16 searching. They came out and told one another that they couldn't find anything. While they had put me down outside on the door, there were others who came there from a Hippo that had been parked outside in the street. There was a plastic that's usually used for garbage or rubbish. They put it over my head and they pushed me - took me to the Hippo. I couldn't even see where I was going, because they were holding my hand. They put me inside the Hippo. They drove for a short distance and it was very close from home, but it was an area where the grass had been burnt out. From there they said they are going to give me a lot of money if I showed them where the guns were. I kept on saying I didn't know of any guns. They kept on assaulting me. Near where we were there was a cottage of a shop. There were nearby shops and there was a cottage. They went inside that and got out two guys and they beat them a bit, but I don't know why they were beating these other guys, and then they came back to me and they were asking me the same questions. When they took me to the Hippo, they said they were going to kill me if I don't tell them where the guns were that they were looking for, so I was very scared at that stage that they were going to kill me. Things went on for a while where they had taken me and they didn't beat me for a long time after that. I heard them talking among themselves. They came back to me and they told me that should it happen that I report that I've been assaulted they were going to come back and kill us. They asked me, "Did we beat you? Did we assault you?" I said, "No, you didn't assault me". They asked me again, "Did we assault you?" I said, "No, you didn't assault me". I was very scared. I was scared for my life. From /there
13A/19 there they asked me what had been planned in the township, because it was going to be June 16th, the day now that we call Youth Day. They told me, "What are the plans in the town for June 16th?" I said, "I do not know", but after that they didn't do anything to me. They pulled me and put me on the edge. They put me on the edge of a high place. They put me on the edge. They kicked me. At that time I fell down and rolled over and I couldn't even stand up. They left me there. That's where I tried to wake up. I kept on falling and trying to get up and falling and I was falling and I was very cold and until I arrived home. When I arrived home, I found everything was upside down at home. Things were broken. The house was just completely upside down and in a disarray. My father wasn't there. My sisters told me that my father had gone somewhere because he was afraid they were going to come back and attack him. They organized transport for me to go to the hospital. At the hospital they made X-rays on me, all over my body and I was admitted and I slept there for two days. There were drips put on me. I was very, very swollen. My head was double its normal size. My back was full of bruises and green marks, because of this huge belt, buckle of the belt they were beating me with. They discharged me from the hospital after two days, but when they discharged me I was not yet all right. I wasn't feeling all right, because I also went to the clinic at Clermont for further treatment. It took me a long time to recuperate, because I was still in pain for a long time. Even my left ear I couldn't hear for a long time on my left ear because of the injuries I got in that assault. I will request to stop here now.
13A/21 Just to ask you a few follow-up questions, you said that these people were soldiers. How did you know they were soldiers? What made you to think that they were soldiers? --- It's an SADF uniform - brown, and also the Hippo's. They were on these Hippo's. These were SADF Hippo's.
How many of these Hippo's were there, if you can remember? --- The only one I saw was the one I was on, but the neighbours said that they saw other Hippo's.
Now, you've said that they took your father and pushed him out and they also questioned your sister. That's what you told us in your statement. What did they do to your sister? Did they do anything? --- In fact, they asked my sister what she was doing, before they started assaulting us. She told them that she was still at school. They also asked me what I was doing. When they heard that I was a student at the university they started talking nasty to me and they said, "You are also a member of the ANC". At that time the ANC had just been unbanned. It had just been unbanned.
Now, you've told us that your hearing wasn't very good after this incident. You had problems with your ear. Do you still have those problems or is your ear better now? --- No, I no longer have a problem.
The other thing is that you've said to us that they had turned your house upside down, damaged all sorts of things, and your father told us a few of the things that were damaged. Did they take anything from your house or did they steal anything from your house? --- I heard my father saying that they stole an amount of about R400,00. I may not remember the exact amount.
13A/26 Was that money that was kept somewhere in your house? --- Yes.
Now, you went to hospital and had X-rays done. Do you have details of those X-rays? Would we be able to obtain them, just to get confirmation of all your injuries? If we went to the hospital, would you have the numbers so that we could get those documents from the hospital? --- Yes, I could try looking for the card I just for being admitted at the hospital.
At that time were you involved in any political organization? Were you active in any political organization? --- No.
One of the questions being asked people who give evidence before us is how do they think the Commission would be able to help them - in what way do they think we would be able to assist them. How would you respond to that question? --- What I would like to say, I would like to be compensated for the injuries I suffered on that night. Also this incident disturbed my father a lot as far as income is concerned, but after that he couldn't get employment because he was too scared that we would be attacked again. He was too scared. He feared for his life. But I also was not able to finish my studies at the university. I would like to finish my studies.
Thank you. No further questions, Mr Chairperson.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. Dr Mgojo.
13B/0 DR MGOJO: If it could happen that you are able to go back to university, what year would you do? --- I would have to do the second year.
The second year? --- Yes, that's where I left off.
13B/1 Thank you.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Linda. We had already heard from your father. We have also heard from you. May God be with you, help you. Here now we've got a democracy. Maybe those things that happened we don't ever want to see them happening again. That's why there is this Commission, so that we can investigate the truth. We hope that you would get an opportunity to go back to finish your studies. We need educated people. We need people who are doing science, so that the new South Africa can succeed and be prosperous. Thank you.
13b/2 DR BORAINE: Mr Chairperson, the next witness is Mr Haroon Aziz and I will invite him to come to the witness stand, please. Mr Aziz, I'd like to welcome you this afternoon to the Commission and to thank you for giving up the time and being willing to come to us and to tell your own story. The year that you are going to go back to is 1974/1975 and, although it's over 20 years ago, I'm quite sure it's still very vivid in your mind, because of what happened then. Before I ask you to tell us a little bit more about that, would you please stand for the swearing of the oath.
HAROON AZIZ (Sworn states)
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much indeed. Mr Aziz, it's my task to ask you to tell your story and then perhaps to put some questions to you. From time to time I may interrupt you, but only in order to make sure that I understand but, as far as possible, I won't. Could you tell us just a little bit about yourself and then in your own words and your own time tell us what happened in 1974. Thank you. --- May I just go a little bit behind 1974? My first arrest took place in 1964. It was for a few hours at the Berea Police Station. In 1965 I joined Umkhonto we Sizwe and I led a major student demonstration in Stanger and also I ran the underground structure for the ANC in Stanger and I was also part of the sabotage unit, and during this student boycott I had painted some slogans, which at that time was considered sabotage. I was arrested and interrogated for almost a whole day in 1965 and thereafter the special branch were regular visitors to my home. In 1971 when Ahmed Timol was arrested and killed I was also subject to police special branch scrutiny. That was in 1971. In 1974, on the 28th 13B/4 September, I was arrested under the Terrorism Act, section 6, and I was taken to the Fisher Street headquarters of the special branch and there I was photographed, fingerprinted and verbally abused. Thereafter I was kept in a prison cell in Greenwood Park Police Station. That was on a Saturday, and on the Monday my interrogation started. It used to usually start at about half past eight in the morning and last till about four in the afternoon. At this time the interrogation - during this time of the interrogation there was no physical torture, just mental torture, and for two weeks I was interrogated and obviously the police were not happy with the answers that I gave to them and then they decided to torture me physically and there was a ritual to the torture the police used to do, and that was to force me on to the ground with my - both my hands and my feet and they used to tie my shoes around my neck and the interrogation used to begin and, in order to extract the information they were looking for, they used to quite often grab me by my head and bang it against the wall. Then the other form of torture that used to take place was they used to make me sit on what they used to call an invisible chair. An invisible chair is you pretend that you sit on a chair, but there's no chair there, and you hold your hands out and you flick your fingers. They interrogate you and you have to answer the questions and this invisible chair position was quite close to the wall, but not - I wasn't allowed to lean against the wall and in front of me one of the special branch policemen used to hold a knife at my navel, so as to prevent me from falling easily to the ground and if they were not satisfied with the answers I
3B/6 used to give, from time to time they used to hit me on my penis, sometimes squeeze it, and it used to be very difficult to fall down, because of the knife in front, but eventually, when I fell, I was kicked and this kicking used to go on and I used to scream and shout and they used to laugh at me like mad hyenas and once I had gone unconscious and after that I decided that I should lay a charge against the policemen, for whatever it was worth, and I complained to the station commander that I was assaulted and then he reported the matter to the head of the special branch and the head of the special branch scolded me. He said I was lying and he said I should disclose the information they wanted, and the information they wanted was admission that I was part of Umkhonto we Sizwe, I was a member of the ANC and the South African Communist Party, and at that time I was in charge of the library of the SACP and they wanted to know where I used to hide it, and they also wanted me to admit all the sabotages that I had committed over the years, and after laying the complaint they took me to the district surgeon and the district surgeon examined me while my interrogators were present in his surgery and the district surgeon took samples of my blood. Apparently he suspected that my kidneys were damaged, and up to now I don't know the result of that blood test, and when I was taken back to Fisher Street, in the lift I said to the policeman that one day when they'll become our prisoners we will treat them with compassion and they laughed at me. They took me upstairs and they beat me up for that and then they said there's a very high-ranking policeman in the next office. I should go to him and lay a formal charge with him. So
13B/8 I was taken into the next room and made a statement to the policeman and he asked whether I wanted the special branch to be charged. Obviously I said, "No, I don't want them charged", and then after that the interrogation, together with this torture, continued for about another week and, because I was trained in counter-interrogation technique I realised that they knew very little about me and then I decided to make a statement to them, which, to me, was just political fantasy, and after I had made my statement they were still not satisfied and they started interrogating me on the basis of the statement that I made and that interrogation lasted for something like four months. That was from September to round about January and after that I was transferred to Norwood Police Station for a while, in Johannesburg, and then to Pretoria Central Prison, where I was kept for nine months altogether. That's what I have to say.
Thank you very much for a very clear statement of what must have been a terrifyingly brutal time in your life. I have only got a few questions, because you've been so clear, but just to make sure that I understand. You spent a few weeks in the Greenwood Park Police Station, where you were not physically abused, but mentally tortured? --- That's right.
I'll come back to that, but just so that I'm clear, when they started the physical torture were you still at Greenwood Park or were you back at Fisher Street headquarters? --- No, no, the Fisher Street headquarters were - that's where the interrogation took place, but the police station is where I was detained.
Okay, so they took you there every day and then back /again.
13B/11 again. --- Every day.
Now, I think some of us are aware that the Government, in their determination to overcome resistance to their system, introduced a number of laws. There was first the three months and then six months and then, under section 6, of course, you could be held forever and, under the State of Emergency, they could lock you up and throw away the key. You were there for nine months. You mentioned the mental torture. Can you describe for us, if you would care to, any of the after-effects after that very long time in solitary confinement and how you feel today? --- Yes, after my release I never trusted any white man and I looked at every white man, especially in safari suit, as a special branch person. It took me a very long time to overcome that and I think I've overcome that now.
Thank you. The interrogation team consisted of several members of the special branch. Is that right? --- Yes, that's right. They used to work in rotation.
Would you be able to identify any of those who participated in the torture? --- Yes, I can.
In particular, can you remember the name of the person to whom you made a complaint, either the station commander, or later on to his superior? --- No, not.
Thank you very much. The district surgeon who examined you - you went to his surgery. Is that right? --- Yes, taken by the special branch.
Can you remember where that was? --- No.
Can you remember the name of the district surgeon? --- Yes, his name was Dr Buchanan.
Dr Buchanan. Thank you. And, according to your
13B/13 testimony, you were actually examined by the district surgeon in front of your interrogators? --- That's right.
And you never got any results of the examination that took place? --- No.
Thank you. If the Commission was able to be of any assistance to you, what would you like to see us do in relation to what you went through? --- Right now, we are carrying out a monologue. I would like the Commission to create a dialogue between the people who committed tortures and their victims.
You think that it would help if the people who were the interrogators or the perpetrators and their victims come face to face? --- I think so.
What would you hope to achieve by that? --- Reconciliation, ultimately.
As you know, these first hearings are focused on victims, survivors - you really are a survivor. I would see you as a victim. You are very much a strong survivor, but whatever term one uses - but you also know that the Commission - I hope you know that the Commission has the power and the authority to subpoena interrogators, perpetrators, to come and appear before the Commission. We have deliberately focused on the first four of four hearings on listening to the stories of those who have been so badly abused. Now, could I ask you quite specifically, the people whose names you recall who were part of your interrogation team, who forced you and hit you and tortured you, would you be prepared to meet with them? --- Yes.
Thank you. You've been very candid and very helpful /and we
13B/15 and we will certainly do everything we can to try and see if we can't arrange the exact thing that you've asked for. Thank you. I have no further questions, Mr Chairperson.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. Any questions? Ilan Lax.
MR LAX: Thank you Mr Chairperson. Mr Aziz, after this long and torturous bout of questioning and detention were you ever charged with any offence? --- No.
CHAIRMAN: Mdu Dlamini.
MR DLAMINI: Thank you. Mr Aziz, after hearing your story, one just cannot help but to think that possibly there were other people - the family - how were they affected and how are they now? Are you comfortable to tell us something about that? Then and now. --- Yes, at that time my family was antagonistic towards me and the special branch quite effectively used my parents to pressurise me to give up my activities, but after my release from prison we reconciled.
And the immediate family - wife and children - if they are there at all? Sorry if I am being ... (inaudible). --- Yes, there is a wife and two children and there's no problems.
CHAIRMAN: Dr Mgojo.
DR MGOJO: Thank you. Mr Aziz, according to your statement here, which you also have articulated, that is very unusual, when you were having the examination by Dr Buchanan to be done before those people who were torturing you and then you said you never knew the results. Are you still interested in knowing the results or not? --- No, it's only academic now.
Could you repeat your answer again? --- I said, /"No,
13B/17 "No, it's academic".
CHAIRMAN: Richard Lyster.
MR LYSTER: Thank you, Mr Chairman. During the nine months that you were in solitary confinement, did you have any access at all to your family? Did you see your family? --- Only twice. It was just for a few minutes.
And otherwise were you held on your own? --- Yes, that's right.
Alone in the cell? --- Yes.
If, on investigation, we find that the people or some of the people who tortured you are still holding high office in the police, how do you feel about them continuing to hold that high office? --- If they clearly repent for their past that shouldn't be a problem with me, but if they don't and if they are there and continue to abuse their positions, then I would have a problem with that.
CHAIRMAN: Dr Boraine.
DR BORAINE: Just two questions. First, do you know whether the people who were directly responsible for your torture, do you now if they are still around or still alive or have you any idea where they might be? --- Yes. The one person I noticed in the Government Gazette some time ago. He had applied for an indemnity, so I assume he is still in the Police Force.
And we can get that information from you? --- Yes.
Thank you. The last question that I have, the district surgeon, Dr Buchanan, have you any idea of his whereabouts? --- No.
13B/20 Thank you very much.
CHAIRMAN: Ilan Lax.
MR LAX: Sorry, Mr Aziz, to prolong this, but it was a practice during all these periods of detention for prisoners under detention to be visited either by district surgeons or magistrates or sometimes even judges. In the nine months that you were inside, were you ever visited by any of these people? --- A magistrate used to come once a while, but it was a big joke.
It was a futile exercise? --- Yes, that's right.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. We are grateful to you for coming and for sharing with us all of the anguish that you underwent and obviously we are humbled by how you are now - your own attitudes - and it is things of these kind that one hopes will contribute, as they must, to the healing of our nation. Thank you very, very much indeed.
CHAIRMAN: Mr Aziz was the last witness before lunch and I suggest that we take the break and come back at two.
13B/24 ON RESUMPTION:
DR BORAINE: Buyele Patience Zungu Mthembu. We will wait until the headphones are in place, so that the witness can hear and also have the translation. You have given your name as Zungu Mthembu. Would you like to be called Mrs Mthembu or Mrs Zungu?
MRS MTHEMBU: Mrs Mthembu.
DR BORAINE: Mrs Mthembu, thank you very much, and welcome. You've been here all day and now your time has come and we are very grateful for your willingness to appear before the Commission and we hope that you are going to find your time with us helpful, as you tell a story which needs to be told. It's a story in relation to the disappearance of your brother and we're going to hear that story in a moment but first will you please stand for the oath.
BUYELE PATIENCE ZUNGU-MTHEMBU (Sworn states) (Through Interpreter)
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. You may be seated. You are now under oath and we are looking forward to hearing the story that you have to tell and Mr Lyster will take over from me.
MR LYSTER: Thank you, Mr Chairman. Thank you for coming in, Mrs Mthembu. Like many others, you have come to tell the story of the loss of a loved one - in this case the disappearance of your brother Ndo Mthandoyethu. Can you just tell us briefly something about who he was and where he fitted in in your family, just to give us a background picture? --- Mthandoyethu Zungu is my brother. He is the last-born in the family of Aaron Zungu, who is our father, and our mother. We come from Eshowe Ridge at the /district
13B/28 district of Mpaphala. Mthandoyethu - we used to call him Ndo for short - he is the last-born among five boys. His two other brothers at the time he disappeared had also disappeared. Biyalin Zungu disappeared in 1961. The second one, he disappeared in 1972, and then after that our other sister and after that came Ndo and then in 1991 and the last one was our sister who disappeared in 1983. When Ndo left, we didn't know how he disappeared. We don't know how he left and how he eventually disappeared, but we eventually did hear from the family that he was in Tanzania. That we heard from our elder brother, who was in New York. He was involved with the ANC at some stage. He used to go from New York to Tanzania regarding the ANC activities and our father and the whole family knew that Ndo was in Tanzania. We were happy to know that he was still alive and that he was in Tanzania. In 1987 he was seen - Ndo was seen arriving at KwaMashu. That's where I am. I've got my own family in KwaMashu. He used to arrive at relatives near my place and then I would be told that he said I must come at that place where he was at certain times. He regularly did that at night. He would be there for a short while, greet us and ask all of us how we were - ask everybody how they were at home - and then he would disappear and usually there were two of them. He wouldn't tell us who he was with. We were just happy and then he would just be in a rush. He really used to be in a rush and then he would disappear again. He wouldn't tell us where he was going to. He didn't even tell us how he would get wherever he was going to, but we would be satisfied because we thought he knew what was pressurising him. He appeared ... (end of tape)
14A/0 ... Long time. For about two or three months. I cannot remember exactly. After that he appeared again. He was arriving at night. He was always in a rush. He came to my place and it was during the day and he would stay at my house. When I asked him where he had been, since we had not seen him for a long time, he would say he had been arrested by the boers. At that time he was no longer anxious. He would come to our place during the day. After a few days I saw him. He stayed at my place that time when he appeared in November and he didn't seem to be scared that time. He was driving a Golf. He used to change this Golf after two weeks. I would see him in another Golf. A few weeks he would be coming again in another Golf. Those were new Golf cars he was driving, but sometimes he would come and ask me to cook for him and he would give me some money. He would be giving me very new notes of rands. I thought they came from the bank, because they looked very new. I became very suspicious because when - we knew that if a person had been in exile was arrested inside the country they used to turn the boys to make them work for them. First of all, they would get information from them and then he would be called an, "Askari". I used to read those kind of things from newspapers and I did become suspicious but all the time when I tried to ask him he never explained anything to me. He stayed to me for about five to six months. At all those times he was driving Golfs. He would disappear for two or three days and then come back again. Sometimes, when he arrived, I would see the police van, SAP, passing by. I became very surprised why he was so free. He was no longer worried about anything. I suspected that he was /working
14A/1 working for the boers. I used to be very worried about that, because I knew how he was enthusiastic, working for the organization and working for the liberation of black people, but I felt sorry for him. I didn't know how to help him in this condition that he was in, because it seems he was torn in between two and that he has got new masters, but in his heart maybe it wasn't like that. I didn't know what to do, because he wasn't speaking to me, even when I asked him, "But Ndo, what has happened? Why are you no longer anxious?", he never said a thing. He just kept quiet. If he realised that I continued talking to him or asking him questions he would just say, "Good-bye" or just go and stay with his colleagues and friends. That was the usual thing in the township, is hanging around along the poles under the trees. Then they would just stay there and he would leave me along. So I also didn't want to pursue this matter, but I was worried about this. He really showed that he was no longer happy. There was a time when he would look at me and start - tears would roll down his cheeks, but I didn't want to ask what was happening. Those things continued for a while, until the end of 1988. From there he told me that he was going to disappear for a while. He was going to disappear for a few months and he will come back again, but he was still driving these new Golfs and changing them all the time, but I never took any numberplate of those Golf cars he was driving. The last time I saw him he came back even from our home. At that stage we didn't have mother. Our mother died in 1983 and all of us looked at our father as the only member of the family. From there he'd been coming from our home, from our father. It was between
14A/5 March and April. I cannot remember the dates, because I didn't record those things down. I didn't even know at that stage that there would be a day like this, when I would have to recall those things. I think between March and April in 1988, one day after he told me that he was going to disappear for a while, he came. He wasn't driving a car on that day. He asked for a bag - my bag, just among my own bags I had. He packed a few things. It was a very small bag. He put all those things in his bag. He sat down with me and he bade us good-bye, to me and my children, and he said he was going. He was going to disappear for a while. I've got his picture in my mind, when he was walking down, disappearing in the street, and crossing the street above. When I stood there, trying to check what he was using as a form of transport, I didn't see him and I didn't see how it ended up. I don't even know what picked him up. That was the last day I saw him. In 1990, when the people in exile came back from the organization, when they released President Mandela, my brother also - my elder brother came back - the one who had left in 1961. He came back. He told us that he was going to try to find out where Ndo was. He used to tell us that he had contacted Chris Hani. They are trying to investigate where he was, but after a while we didn't hear anything. I've got also something else, which I forgot to say. At home our father - there was a police of the special branch - the special branch used to come at home since when our elder brother disappeared. There were certain police from Eshowe. My father used to go and ask about Ndo to these policemen. I can't remember their name. They said, "He's alive. He's around". That was in /1991.
14/8 1991. They said, "He's there. He's alive. He's in Transvaal", but even this police didn't give us all the information and the verification of how we could find him. When Chris Hani died - after Chris Hani had died, one of our brothers of our family, Themba Zungu, and also our brother Yelef (?), they spoke to Mr Zuma - Jacob - and explained to him that we lost Mthandoyethu. I think that since we haven't heard anything from Jacob Zuma it hasn't been established where he is and where he ended up.
Mrs Mthembu, was your brother, Ndo, was he ever known by any other name that you are aware of? --- There's a name I know, he used to have his ID, it was written Elliott Khuzwayo. He was known by the name of Elliott Khuzwayo.
And do you know anything about that name? Is that a strange name to you? --- It's a strange name. I don't know that name.
And when your brother went away for those four periods, do you have any idea where he went? Did he go out of the country, or did he go to the Transvaal, or do you have any idea where he went? --- I don't have the information of how far he went or how near, where he was, because after he left - after having been arrested by police he never said a thing. He wouldn't talk. I begged him, but he wouldn't talk. He wouldn't say anything to us. He never told me anything when I asked him and I knew - I could see he didn't want to talk about anything.
You said, "When he was arrested by the police". Do you know when that was? Was that in 1986? --- It was in 1987. Around about July, August. I can't remember the exact dates. And then he disappeared for about two to
14A/11 three months.
So are you just assuming that he was arrested by the police or did he actually tell you that he had been with the police? --- I have got full information, because when he left here - because when he came and he stayed with me publicly he used to - he was oozing blood on his left ear. He always had cottonwool in his ears and I asked him what was happening with this oozing ear. He used to say he'd been beaten up by the boers. That's the only thing he ever said to me. He never said anything to me that during that time he was arrested he was injured by the boers.
If you can just try to throw your mind back and give us some clarity in the dates. In your statement here you said that in March 1987 he disappeared. That was the last time that you saw him, whereas just now you said that he was detained in July 1987. Is it possible that you were incorrect there? --- I think it is a mistake that the last time I saw him it was - the last time I saw him it was in 1988. I remembered that because at that time we were extending the fore (?) room where I was living. When he left he said his room, this room, he was going to buy furniture for himself - as he was leaving he was going to send me money. I knew it was in 1988. It was just a mistake in my statement when I said he left in 1987. In 1987 that's the time he reappeared, after he disappeared for a long time in 1980 or since he had left in 1981.
And you also said in your statement that your elder brother, Yelef, had attempted to trace him through the ANC after the unbanning of the ANC and that Yelef had told you that he thought that he was somewhere in the Transvaal.
14A/13 Is that right? --- Even now, we're still hoping that he's alive, but at the same time our minds tell us that he might not be alive. There's nothing that is heard about him, because all the exiles who had left this country during the organization's time, they all started coming back - all those who had disappeared. We wanted to believe that, but we're beginning to lose hope that maybe he is no longer alive, but even that we've got no evidence for until we have been able to establish as to what happened, we don't know what happened. We want to know what happened - what eventually happened to him. How did he disappear, where did he go to. If he's alive, we want to know what kind of life he's living, where he is, how he is living. We need him. We miss him. We also realise that if he's alive he must be having a terrible life, thinking and missing us. If he's dead we would want to know when did he die, who killed him, by who, when and how.
Thank you, Mr Chairman.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Are there people with questions? Dumisa Ntsebeza.
MR NTSEBEZA: Thank you, Mr Chairman. I was requesting from you, my sister, if I can follow you properly, your brother, you say there was a time when he came back and he had something oozing from his ears and there was cottonwool in his ears, but before that he used to come and disappear, he would come and disappear. He would come at night. If you could speak. --- Yes.
Now, you say after you had seen this cottonwool with pus oozing from it he said, "I had been beaten by boers", when you asked him? --- Yes.
14A/16 But what you recognised after that the whole thing of him coming at night ended and he stayed with you publicly, but after that he had lots of money? --- Yes, yes, there are times when he had money and he was driving a car, a Golf.
That's the thing that really made you concerned and think that this person had been turned around - he was an askari. So your wish is to know that whether if he was - even if he was an askari you would still want to know what happened to him? --- Yes.
Thank you, Mr Chairperson.
CHAIRMAN: Dr Boraine.
DR BORAINE: Mrs Mthembu, right at the very beginning of your statement, quite quickly, you talked about the disappearance of other members of your family. I didn't quite follow that. I wonder if you could help me. You mentioned, I think, that one or two brothers, as well as a sister, disappeared earlier. Could you please help me? --- Yes, our elder brother in the family - his name is Yelef Zungu - Cap is another name that he was called by in the organization - he disappeared in 1961. After that my other brother who follows the ones after me - he is the second brother to disappear in our family. It was in 1972. After that Ndo disappeared. That's the one I'm referring to. That was in 1981. Until my sister who disappeared in 1983. All these other brothers and my sister we knew where they were when they had left. Even now we know them. The only person we didn't know what happened to him is Ndo.
Thank you. That's very helpful. So they left and came back and it's only Ndo that is still missing? --- /Yes.
I'm also a little confused. You mentioned that when your brother, Yelef, tried to trace Ndo through the ANC after the exiles came back and Mr Mandela was released and so on, and that some information was given, but it wasn't very satisfactory. But you also then said that your father - or I thought you said that your father went to the police and they said, "Oh, no, he is alive", and that he was in the Transvaal. Did I get that wrong? --- It's because maybe I also heard from my father. From when our elder brother disappeared in 1961, there was a special branch from Empangeni used to come to my father at home. It would mean that there is someone among those special branch that my father got to know very well. They didn't come and harass us like other families used to be harassed. I would say my father - they would come to my father, sit down with him and discuss with him, until that police, when Ndo had disappeared in 1981, until he appeared again in 1987, my father saw these police at Eshowe. Unfortunately, I do not know his name, but my father does know the name of this police. My father told this police about Ndo and he said his young son had disappeared. These are the people who used to see each other and they would discuss about these people who had disappeared. My father told the policeman that the younger one didn't come back. We don't know where he is. This is the police who said, oh, he knows about Ndo. He is there somewhere in Transvaal.
Thank you. You say that you know the policeman, but you can't remember his name or where he is. Perhaps you can find that out from your father. Where is your father? /--- He is
14A/26 --- He is here with one of my sisters in Durban. We can find out the name of this policeman, because he knows this policeman.
Thank you. That will be helpful. We really want to help you to find Ndo, if he is alive, and we just wanted to make clear as to who we should ask. When was the last time that you talked with the ANC about Ndo? --- When my brother came for the last time, they went with my other brother, Themba. They went to Zuma. That's what we gathered. They reported this to Zuma that we haven't seen this boy, Ndo. We don't know how we could go about establishing his whereabouts.
Thank you very much.
CHAIRMAN: Dr Mgojo.
DR MGOJO: Thank you. Mama Zungu, there is something I would like to understand here. You said two things. The first thing you said that at the time that your brother arrived at home and then he was free, but you also began to be suspicious of him, he was able to meet other boys there who are neighbours. Is that the truth? --- Yes, it is the truth, because now he was no longer scared. He used to talk to them, the neighbour's boys. He would sit down with them outside our house.
Among these boys, was there somebody who had befriended him very well? --- There was one who is also still crying about him when we talk about Ndo. He really seems to sympathise with us, since we don't find Ndo, but in their friendship I don't know if there was anything they had organized. Ndo was a very open person. He was a very sociable person. That was his nature. But when he came back and he wasn't scared with them, he
14A/28 stayed with me and my family. He was showing his real nature, being sociable, discussing with people. That was one thing he didn't talk to me about. When I asked him about his disappearance and these cars he was driving he wouldn't say anything to me at all. He just kept so quiet. Even when I tried and tried just a little bit, he would say nothing to me. He never ever talked about what was happening.
The last question. Ndo of MK, as you've already said, in the township the boys in certain ages or stages those who were with him, what were they? Who are these boys? Those neighbours, what organization did they belong to? --- In the section where I live, most of those people, they are ANC people.
CHAIRMAN: Ilan Lax.
MR LAX: Thank you, Chairperson. Mama Zungu, just one question. I didn't catch your answer very well to the situation where Yelef and Themba went to speak to Mr Zuma to find out about your brother and I didn't catch clearly what Mr Zuma's answer was to you about where your brother was or whether there was any answer. Perhaps you could help us, please. --- I just heard that they had done that. They had gone to see Zuma. I didn't get what Zuma had promised them. I didn't get that he got any information from Zuma. I personally didn't get that, but I do know that they did do that. They went to Zuma, because I heard about it, but what Zuma said or promised or anything he said I didn't get myself. I really don't know.
I see. Just by way of following up the ... [break in recording] ... where in your statement it says that the /ANC
14A/30 ANC told you he was in the Transvaal, is that a mistake? Because you heard he was in the Transvaal, you've told us, from this security person that your father knew. So I'm just confused. In your statement it says that the ANC told you he was in the Transvaal. We just want to clarify that issue. --- I think that the problem here, it's the information that's also been related to me. The person who's got the full information about where he is it's my elder brother. When he arrived for the first time at the end of 1990 he tried to establish - I think that was the time with him and Chris Hani, they were trying to trace where he was. That's what gave us the picture and the information that he was somewhere in Transvaal.
One very final point. Where is your elder brother now - Yelef - and would he be willing to come and talk to us and give us whatever information he might have? --- I think if he was here he would have wished to be here to talk to you. At the moment he is overseas. He hasn't come back from overseas. He's still overseas. It is important that our elder brother stayed overseas for a long time. It was me who was looking after our parents. Now that our father is still alive, I am the one who is responsible, as the elder girl in the family and my other sisters, but what worries us a lot is that our father really wishes - he is worried about this, as he is old. He said he is not going to die until he has heard about his child. As Yelef is overseas he wants us to make means - make efforts to show that we are looking for Ndo, as he wants to know where is Ndo.
CHAIRMAN: We thank you, Sisi. Maybe your efforts,
14B/1 combined with our efforts, we might all find him where he is. We thank you very much for coming here to us. Please pass our regards to your father.
14B/1 DR BORAINE: Mr Chairperson, the final witness in today's session is Mr Krish Govender. Mr Govender, we'd like to welcome you to the hearings of the Commission. Your situation is somewhat different - indeed entirely different from any other witness that has appeared in the last four weeks. I understand that you come to us not as a victim or survivor in the strict sense of those words, but rather as someone who has been very involved in cases and something about the legal system which operated during the span of years under the purview of the Commission. You have submitted a statement. We have asked one of our colleagues to assist, in so far as it may be necessary and to ask the initial questions, but before I ask him, obviously I would like you to be upstanding and to take the oath.
KRISH GOVENDER (Sworn states)
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. You are very welcome and Mr Dlamini will take over from me. Thank you, Mr Dlamini.
MR DLAMINI: Thank you, Mr Chairman. Welcome, Mr Govender. --- Mr Dlamini, may I please intervene on a matter of clarification and correction, please, through the Chairperson. There was a document that I had submitted, which was circulated to everybody. After discussions this morning with the president of the organization that I belong to - that's the National Association of Democratic Lawyers - there were certain minor changes that were made to the document. I have prepared the corrected document and I have handed as many copies as I could make in the short time that I had, to members, I hope, of the Commission. Some may be amongst
14B/3 other members not directly seated in front. I would like to appeal, through the Chairperson, to everybody to please take the corrected version, in that the original version in one or two words here and there might have come across a bit harshly and I've tried to moderate it a little bit. Thank you.
Mr Chairman, can I confirm that we have received an amended copy. Unfortunately the copies were not enough for every member of the Commission, but we will make sure that everybody gets an amended copy for own records.
CHAIRMAN: Unless they get too upset. They don't look too awful. You will get your copies subsequently.
MR DLAMINI: Especially the two gentlemen next to you, Mr Chairman. Mr Govender, thank you very much. We went through the statement that you presented earlier on and we have taken note of your request that we should ignore that one and stick to the amended copy, and I just want to thank you, although the Chairperson will do that afterwards, and the effort that you took to put together the scenario, which situates the human rights violations that we have heard for the past three days, and I think that would be useful. Can I ask you to perhaps, rather than reading the statement, which is well-prepared and documented, but to just pull out the scenes from your statement and talk to the statement and also include your expectations from the Commission as a result of your presentation. Thank you. --- Thank you very much, Mr Dlamini. Mr Chairperson, I think we've heard and we will continue to hear so many serious violations and humiliations that people have suffered and their testimony has already spoken loudly and will continue to do so, but /I think
14B/6 I think what has disturbed me over the past few weeks is that our country may be a little unaware that, in my opinion I think that the perpetrators who have been named or even identified broadly have come across as mainly the foot soldiers, in my opinion, who have carried out orders of their superiors and masters and there are many others that have been unnamed and I would like to say that the whole purpose of this document is to try to contextualise, to place in a broader perspective the activities and the operations of those people who have committed these horrific crimes against the people of this country, and one needs to, in my view, question whether these people who were behind these soldiers and operatives, whether they should escape scrutiny and whether they should go unchallenged and unquestioned and whether, in the final analysis, they should examine their consciences and, if necessary, be called upon or even asked themselves to come forward and maybe absolve themselves or attempt to at least clear their consciences before this Commission, in whatever form it may take. And I want to say that I am aware that many of us have debated in many legal forums and elsewhere the options of Nuremburg and these things had to be dispelled - these ideas had to be dispelled, in view of the transformation that took place in this country, and the whole concept of truth and reconciliation had come across in our organization as well - that's the National Association of Democratic Lawyers. We were amongst the first, trying to work through the process of encouraging a reconciliation process, in view of the turn that our history had to take, in order to facilitate our democratic transformation. Now, in the South African
14B/8 context, I would submit that the so-called security forces were very broadly based and they were located within the whole machinery of the State under the command, ultimately, in the broader sense of the Broederbond and I say that this was the brains trust - or the brains trust belonging to this particular shadowy group who chose political leaders and determined in many ways the events that happened in this country, and I say that the Broederbond designed and controlled the Government policy and directed the strategies and tactics to maintain these policies. They exerted such a control that it was almost all-embracing, in that all aspects of our lives were touched or in some way controlled by them, in that they influenced aspects of politics, religion, education, information, media, law, sport, culture, economics, health, housing and everything. But for the purpose of this document, I want to focus on the role of the legal and judicial processes and how they would have exerted some of that control in some way. At the highest level of the Judiciary and the legal system were a relatively select group of judges, who were responsible for most of the judicial executions or murders of political activists, freedom fighters or terrorists, as they were called by the agents of apartheid and the ignorant. This same group of judges dealt with most of the political trials that led to the conviction and incarceration of many political activists. In many of these cases these judges allowed evidence that was extracted under conditions of extreme torture and routine torture to facilitate a conviction for the apartheid state. Their trust and support and loyalty for their cruelly-efficient security police in rounding up /the so-called
14B/11 the so-called terrorists was displayed when they refused to accept the evidence of victims of torture. These judges condoned the barbaric practices of the security police and they gave the savagery of the infamous section 6 of the Terrorism Act and the following section 29 of the Internal Security Act their blessing and the veneer of legitimacy. Now, whether the evidence was concocted, false or tailored to secure a conviction didn't matter much, but these judges - specific judges - played a very powerful role in legitimising an illegitimate and evil system of government. One may ask, "What were their motives?" I am sure I have many answers, but I would hope that they would or some of them would probably come to this Commission and say what their motives were themselves. I want to highlight one case which I think we have heard about already, and that's of Andrew Zondo - a very young person, who was found guilty of the bomb blast at Amanzimtoti and was sentenced to death. There were extenuating circumstances in his case and in many other cases, but the one extenuating circumstance that stands out was the factor of his youth. He was a very young man, and I think evidence has already been led before the Commission about his background. This factor of his youth alone would have spared him his life in any other civilised court of the world, but this did not happen. His particular case and the manner in which it was conducted was very distinct from - in the way it was, as I would put it - steamrolled. It went very fast from the time of his arrest, to trial, to conviction, to appeal, petition, and his very swift execution. Before even the normal progressive groupings in the country could gather
14B/12 themselves and try to campaign, he was sentenced and he was executed. There was obviously a lot of hostility and anger, and people were crying out for revenge, and I think I must mention that during even a short recess in court a member of the public went up to him and assaulted him and that was the kind of atmosphere that existed at that time. Many others before and after him were executed on the orders of judges, as it was, and a lot of political activists and detainees who were tried and were sentenced to death were saved because towards the latter part of the 1980s campaigns were conducted, largely at the international level, which highlighted the plight of these people who were sentenced to death by this regime and many, many of them were saved, and one can highlight the example of the Sharpeville six, which received a great deal of international attention. There were judges as well who did not impose the death penalty and they were a tiny minority, but what one found was that in the nature of the insidious set-up that operated in this legal system was that these judges who were known to be partial to the struggle of the people in a way, or slightly sympathetic or not happy with the erosion of the rule of law, these persons never or hardly ever handled a serious or contentious political case. And, amongst all the progressive lawyers in this country, I believe, it was a common fact that specific judges and magistrates were selected to deal with political cases and others were bypassed if they were seen to be neutral. One of the judges who come to mind is the late Mr Justice John Milne, who was a Judge of Appeal when he died. He had acquitted many activists in a long drawn-out case and it was the
14B/15 treason trial held in Pietermaritzburg and whilst being Judge President he encouraged a liberal approach, which was different from the other provincial divisions of this country during the mid-1980s, during the height of oppression. And one recalls in Pietermaritzburg, in particular, many interdicts were granted against the warlords of that region and liberal interpretations of the harsh, repressive legislation were given by certain judges in this province and this eroded a lot into the apartheid thinking and the apartheid jurisprudence. This was obviously unacceptable to those in power and Judge Milne, being the brilliant and the kind person that he came across as, was conveniently, in our opinion, promoted, as it were or called to higher office and was taken to the Appellate Division, where he was made an Appellate Division Judge and in the Appellate Division he was neutralised with about 11 to 15 judges with a Chief Justice that was unsympathetic to the cause of the people and, in effect, that was the end of Judge Milne in terms of the influence that he could have brought to bear on the judiciary of this country and he was not heard of again until his death. After Judge Milne had left - again this highlights how the judiciary were manipulated - another judge, who was next in line for appointment, was a person who was perceived to be of the similar liberal type. He was overlooked for appointment as Judge President, very deliberately, and a judge whose reputation as a person - as a system person - and this was an amendment I had made to my earlier document, please - whose reputation as a system person preceded him, was appointed Judge President and in this province the status quo was restored again.
14B/16 I want to touch on another case of how the judiciary worked and that was, again the case of the late Mr Joseph Mdluli. He was killed in detention. Different from all other examples of murders in detention, here the person or persons allegedly close to him while in detention were charged and were tried in the Supreme Court, and one may ask, "Why did this unusual event take place?" Well, what had happened was when this detainee - when he was killed, Mr Mdluli's body lay in a mortuary of an undertaker. This undertaker, who was also a sympathetic person to the struggle, had seen his body and had seen the wounds on his body, took photographs and brought this to the attention of people, lawyers and others, to say that this is what had happened to this person. Through the underground network these photographs reach London. They were published in newspapers in London and had gained international attention. In many ways that forced the Government of the day and maybe the authorities to show that, "Yes, we don't condone murders of political detainees, so we should charge someone", and that person -a senior security branch police officer, was charged with one or two other policemen who were his juniors. Of course, the security policeman was not found guilty and the persons were acquitted and in a broad sense the finding was the detainee had injured himself and died while falling off a chair. Now, we know many of our leaders today had escaped sentence of death as a result of maybe a change of heart by some judges, but many others were sentenced to death, but those leaders who escaped are very prominent in leading our country into a democratic future and one may well ask what role those who were
14B/19 sentenced to death could have played in the rebuilding of our nation. Now, that doesn't leave us at the point where we just need to focus on the judges. One must look at the whole apartheid legal system and I don't want to go into too much of detail here, just to highlight the different categories of people who played a role in making all the evil of apartheid go smoothly in those dark days, and I would highlight the role of the attorney-general and their staff and the many advocates who worked under them, who relished their task in prosecuting political trials, where they really tore into people who were put on trial and used every means possible to secure convictions. The second categories is the state attorneys and their staff, who defended and covered up for police brutality in thousands of civil claims over the years and who provided the legal defence for perpetrators of violence against people during those days. The many senior magistrates - this is the next category - in the regional courts, who did as much and more than the judges in the Supreme Court in terms of the volume and their enthusiasm. Justice in the lower courts was not meted out with the finesse of the Supreme Courts in those days. One does not have to remind ourselves of the post-mortem hearings and the mockery that they made of justice in this country, where all the detainees who were murdered were subjected to this sham of a post-mortem hearing. The cases of Steve Biko, Ahmed Timol, Dr Haffejee, Neil Aggett and many other detainees who were tortured to death. This reinforced the violence of apartheid and gave support, protection and gumption to the foot soldiers and policemen of apartheid. What about the Law Societies and the Bar Council, which were the
14B/21 legal profession's watchdogs of apartheid? These societies and councils, with senior lawyers, moved the Supreme Court and the judges to strike off political activists who were convicted of apartheid crimes. Many lawyers were barred from earning a living or were forced into exile. The late Braam Fischer, Ntobeka Maquabela, Kader Hassim, the late Mr M D Naidoo and Roley Aronstein, who died just about a week ago, are a few of the cases that come to mind. Mr Aronstein, in particular, after being struck off the roll, was even barred from working as an ordinary legal clerk in the offices, I recall, of Mr Ravi Bagwandeen, and this is how far the evils of apartheid extended. There were also minor people, like the registrars of the Supreme Court, who worked with these judges, but then I must touch on also another category, and these are defence lawyers, and in that field I would count myself amongst them, who in the name of justice and morality, subverted the truth wherever possible to minimise the consequences of the morally correct struggle of the Kaders and the liberation movements. There are other categories, but they are probably too many to mention and I won't go on any more. I think the question that arises out of all this is what legacy have we inherited? I see it as a rotten legal order with morally-crippled participants - a future legal order that is riddled with villains of apartheid, which is being allowed to go, save for a few exceptions, unchecked, unchallenged and with impunity into the future to uphold truth and justice and the sanctity of the State in this new democracy. Without a form of redemption - I would use this word not as a person with any theological training,
14B/24 but I hope it will be understood in the context that I use it - that without a form of redemption I believe that this leaves us with a recipe for the continued undermining of the moral fibre of our society - the entrenchment of judicial corruption and deceit from the highest to the lowest levels. Our society will find it difficult to develop a true human rights culture with those who have flagrantly violated it still in charge without them having accounted for their conduct, showing remorse and committing themselves to truth and justice for the future. The judicial legal system was a vehicle that delivered apartheid for its architects in the Legislature. The policemen, soldiers and killer operatives with their chiefs and generals drove this vehicle, until it went out of control. Why should only these drivers be the subject of attention before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission? One can mention the people in the Bantustans, the SAIC and the CRC as well, but if we want to build a future for this country without the necessity of Nuremburg trials then the full extent of apartheid wrong-doings must be contextualised correctly, honestly and courageously. I believe all these people have to account for themselves. I just want to touch briefly on other people, not just the lawyers and the legal, who I hope, through public pressure, will be made to account for themselves as well.
(1) The medical profession, with its district surgeons, nurses and doctors who covered up the apartheid torture and murder.
(2) The teachers who victimised and punished opponents of apartheid.
(3) The architects, builders, engineers who built for
(4) The prison service, which so cruelly incarcerated and abused the captive victims of apartheid.
(5) The churches and their powerful leaders, who defended and prayed in the pulpits for apartheid.
(6) The artists, academics, musicians, journalists and all cultural apologists, who caricatured and lied for apartheid.
(7) The scientists, bankers, captains of industry, stockbrokers, business persons, etcetera, who profited handsomely from apartheid. This particular category, I don't expect them to come before this Commission, but I hope that they would dip into their pockets and their profits and say here to this Commission, "Take a R1 million or take R100,00 or R1 000,00 and hand this to the victims of apartheid". I think that's the least that they should do.
If there are other role-players who played a role in apartheid I hope that they too would in some way come forward and redeem themselves in some way.
Finally, I want to touch on the last case in particular, and that is the case of Mr Dimitri Tsafendas. He was a person who was found to be insane after having plunged a knife into Dr Hendrik Verwoerd in Parliament in the 'fifties or in the early 'sixties. I can't recall the date. I hope that the TRC will visit this person, who I believe is a victim of apartheid. He is under State care - whatever that may mean. He's been there for many, many years - I would say probably more than 30 years. He was not placed on trial and one can only say that the answers for not placing him on trial are obvious. He was declared /mentally
14B/28 mentally unbalanced, I don't know by whom, but all the decisions, documents and material concerning his case must be reviewed, I believe, and investigated thoroughly. He should be visited by members of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, by the Commissioners and others, to reassure him that mechanisms for justice for him are taking shape. The public needs to be reassured about his safety, well-being and state of mind before something happens to him. In conclusion, I would say that every lawyer, every judge, every person in the legal field should come forward and commit themselves to upholding the truth in a future South Africa. The legacy of the past, of lies and deception, is a false culture that must be shed if the new foundations of democracy and justice are to be properly laid. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr Govender. I am sure, to a certain extent, some of your observations were borne by the evidence that we've heard here, that are perpetrators both by commission and omission, as you highlighted when you mentioned the categories which some of whom did not do what they were supposed to do. Mr Chairman, I would like to hand over to you.
CHAIRMAN: Are there any people who want to ask questions? Dumisa Ntsebeza.
MR NTSEBEZA: Thank you, Mr Chairman. Mr Govender, as the Deputy Chair indicated at the beginning of your testimony, yours is a testimony of a certain type. In fact, it's distinct from the rest and I'd just like to canvass your views on certain aspects which touch upon what you have just said, and invite your comments. Now, there is another lawyer who has sought to talk about the
14B/29 work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and that lawyer's name has been as an advocate - Kieron O'Malley of the IFP's research unit. He has given extensive use of the TRC in an article in the Daily News of the 8th May 1996. Now, he takes the view, for instance, that the TRC is going to sacrifice justice for reconciliation and that, in fact, the truth that will be heard here will be that which will be determined by what he called the political tribunal, overwhelmingly aligned with the ANC and it's so-called liberation struggle and without even one Commissioner remotely sympathetic to the IFP. Now, what are your views on that, seeing as you have taken a very anti-apartheid stance in your papers or in your delivery? Wouldn't your testimony - I'm saying nothing about whether it is appropriate or not - wouldn't it lend credence to this sort of allegation? --- I thank you. Through you, Mr Chairperson, I think even until this morning I had a great deal of doubt myself as to whether I should actually come and say what I said. I thought of even withdrawing, because I felt that why should I say it. There are hundreds of very prominent lawyers and organizations of various types that should have indicated that they would want to produce this kind of evidence or say something about this - what I thought needed to be said - but I couldn't be sure and one really didn't know whether this may pass through Durban and maybe elsewhere and it may not be said, but yesterday I read the same article that you referred to Mr Ntsebeza in the Daily News, and I brought it along with me in case I needed to refer to it, and I believe that we in this country, all of us, are not defending any wrong-doings of individuals and /I wholly
14B/30 I wholly believe that the Commission, for that matter, is not a commission that is taking sides. We will want history to judge the moral correctness and the justification of the people who embarked on this struggle, but the bottom line to what you have raised as a question is this, that this is the Commission that is hearing everybody and, I believe, anybody who has a serious story to tell or a point of view to make and I think this very same article is an important point of view for the interests of the IFP and these are lawyers as well, and I would believe that they have a moral obligation themselves to come to the Commission, and the last thing they should do is judge the Commission. The history will judge the Commission as well, and I think the people on the Commission will be judged as individuals as well but, certainly, they should present the same submissions that they make, their point of view, their political party - if it's a party - political perspective, but I believe I am not just putting an anti-apartheid view from a limited South African perspective. I would say that there have been jurists all over the world who have in many ways criticised this process that we are going through, because they believe that the Nuremburg trial process of bringing the perpetrators of violence to trial, to justice, from political leaders, judges and so on, to trial should have been the way to go, but I think we are showing the world and Africa, for example, the African experience - what has taken place in Zimbabwe and the ... (end of tape)
15/0 ... want this country to be plunged into death and destruction. So I would say everybody would appeal to anyone with a point of view to come forward and I hope
15/1 that Advocate Kieron O'Malley would be the first to say that they still have this opportunity to put this case before the Commission from their point of view.
Now, you must have read that when the Commission sat in Johannesburg one of the witnesses, Miss Friedman (?), actually named of the judges who she would like to come before the Commission and explain what she perceived as a conduct on his part that steered away from the perpetrators of violence that took the life of her partner. Do I understand the context of your talk this evening as, in fact, supportive of that view by Miss Friedman? That even judges like Louis Harms should, in fact, avail themselves of the opportunity to come to the TRC and explain their point of view, so that we have a sense of balance? --- I think that's absolutely imperative for anybody - any of the judges, who feel that they may have been misled or may feel that they had a belief and I think it is a duty that they owe to the victims, like Maggie Friedman and many others and I sincerely hope that what I have said is not seen to be an antagonistic point of view, but an appeal to people and, in my view, they owe it to this country and they owe it to a future judiciary and they owe it to the world that they cannot be seen to be immune from answering for deeds that they would have covered up for or condoned.
CHAIRMAN: Yes. Dr Boraine.
DR BORAINE: Mr Govender, thank you very much for your presentation. Just for the record, the Commission some months ago made a press statement in Cape Town, where it -the Commission, as a full Commission, invited political
15A/2 organizations and any other organization that wished to make presentations to the Commission to do so. So we are well in line with the situation that you have described and our consistent approach has been that the door is open for all. So I have no problem with the fact that you have presented a picture which some, as you well know, would describe as one-sided. I have no problem with that at all. I don't think the Commission will either. I think if there are other people who feel strongly that the views that you have represented, and any others who come before this Commission are incorrect or unbalanced, then they have every opportunity to come and say so. I think when we arrived the Chairperson made that very clear, particularly in terms of KwaZulu/Natal, where the conflict still rages. We welcome any and every contribution.
The second point I want to make is that the Commission is instructed and mandated by the Act to write a report, which it has to present to the President, who will lay it on the table of Parliament, which means it becomes a public document. In that report we are requested and, again, ordered to present as complete a picture as possible of the violations of human rights and any of the underpinnings which made violations possible. Once again, it is only when the Commission has received all representations it will then try and write a balanced picture of what actually took place in South Africa.
The last point I want to make - I just want to make that absolutely clear, so there would be no misunderstanding - I have only one question, and that is -you've been crystal clear in your presentation. There's one interesting paragraph which, I think, needs some
15A/5 expansion and that is on page 5, paragraph 7, of your amended statement. This is quite a tough statement, as are many others, but I wonder if you would perhaps read that paragraph and then enlarge upon it so that I really know and understand fully what you are saying. --- Just for my clarification, the first words of that particular paragraph read - so that I have the same paragraph you are referring to. Is it the one ... (intervention)
"What about the many defence ..." Is that the one? --- I see. The No 7?
No 7. --- I see, yes. Yes, I think - and I can't obviously say that this is what would have happened for all defence lawyers, but when one thinks about the days of Nazi rule in Germany, if somebody knocked on somebody's door and if they opened the door and there was an SS policeman standing outside and said, "I want so and so", I think the whole world would sympathise with those who believed in justice and were against the savagery of fascism, and apartheid for that matter, would sympathise with the person who said, "Look, I am sorry, this person is not here", even if that person was hiding under the bed or hiding in the roof. So, likewise, I believe that when a person who was arrested or charged and in custody needed a lawyer to defend him- or herself in court, many of our lawyers, who were political activists and opponents of apartheid would have been the first to stand up and many of them did stand up and actually suffered as well. I think Mr Ntsebeza here, who is amongst your Commissioners, felt that harsh whip of the apartheid justice, when he was carted out of his office, while working, and dumped in a
15A/7 little village far away with no light, water and put into a form of banishment. He acted for one of the people who were brutally killed in Umtata. And it's that background that I think all the lawyers came from who defended political activists and for us to say to the person - or a defence lawyer to say, "Look, I don't think this evidence is going to help you", or, "I don't think you should say this", or, "I think that we need to protect you by not calling you as a witness", strictly speaking, would be seen in an isolated manner in some remote island on earth that this is wrong as a lawyer. You should not be involved in your own client's case and you should just say what your client wants to say and present the case and defend the person. I think it does not work that way. When one is faced against a brutal, unjust regime one would do everything to assist victims to bring that regime down and if there was an apartheid legal system that was aiding and abetting that evil regime then the political opponents and the opposition lawyers, as one may call them, did their best to try to save many of these political prisoners or people who were detained - political trialists - from the gallows, from longer terms of imprisonment than they got and in those rare cases they may have even been able to get them acquitted and get them free, so it's like trying to take a bird out of a cage where the brutal regime put them in, and I think in that context I would say that the lawyers are coming into a future South Africa now, with having done that within the legal system as well, and I would hope that those lawyers now commit themselves to this new order and not say that, "Well, if we were able to do that then, that we should do /so now",
15A/8 so now", even if, for example, I would say an ANC activist today is charged for some violent activities in terms of this present regime, in terms of our new order, in terms of our new democracy, the duty of a lawyer today would be to say to that person, even if that lawyer is sympathetic to the ANC, "I'm sorry, we have a law, we have a Constitution. We have truth and justice to uphold. Now, if you are not going to obey the law of this land and if you're going to assault or even hurt somebody, I am sorry, you must speak the truth. You must put an end to this and if you have to go to Court, you will have to explain your conduct in court". The most a lawyer can do is plead in mitigation, and I would say that should be the kind of approach that I hope our new legal order would take and would take along with it all the lawyers - those who perpetrated and supported apartheid conduct and those who tried to resist it.
Thank you very much, Mr Govender.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you. In addition to what the Deputy Chair has said, one of the factors that we are asked to take into account is - would be recommendations about structures that would ensure that such violations will not recur and your submission is helpful in so far as it highlights one of the critical structures of a free and democratic society is the Judiciary and the judicial system and that we would be looking into things of that kind when we make our recommendations about the sorts of things that might, in fact, be considered in order to prevent a like occurrence of violations of human rights. We hope, of course, that we would get people giving another perspective, because the Act requires that we
15A/11 would look into patterns of human rights violations and to seek to understand the perspectives of the different role players and you have given one such. We would hope that we would get a representative submission. Thank you very much. --- Chairperson, may I just say something?
Yes. --- And I say this with great respect. I think we should not apologise for hearing a point of view, but I also don't wish to even feel intimidated by another point of view of another political party. There is only one approach to justice and morality. There cannot be two sides to justice and morality, with great respect, and I do appeal to the Commission not to feel intimidated - not to even think that you have compromised yourself by hearing me today or a point of view, because I think history has recorded this kind of conduct in many parts of the world and I would be most interested and I would wait with bated breath to hear whether there can be another point of view for the role of people who upheld an unjust regime. I understand the context in which you are placed in this particular province, but I say with great respect, we should never be afraid of the truth and I believe this is what this Truth and Reconciliation Commission is about and I do believe that, strongly - I just cannot believe that there could be some point of view that is on the other side. The best that one can hear is that, "Well, there were factors that caused me or other people on the other side to take a different perspective", but certainly there cannot be another morality and another justice. I am not saying that this is the one, but I do believe that the Commission will identify only one justice and one morality for this country, for Africa and for the world. /Thank you.
15A/13 Thank you.
Yes. Order, please. I didn't give you permission to clap. But I would need to say that as a commission that is a commission of the nation, we need to hear from all sides and that is what I am underscoring, that each set of people have the right to put forward their point of view. We have not yet indicated what our own point of view is. It would be utterly counter-productive if we were out of hand to reject other points of view and this is what we are saying. One of the problems about our country has been our - I mean, the intolerance - I mean even the intolerance of those who know that they are right. That if we are right then we cannot be scared about rivals coming into the arena. That was all I was saying. --- Thank you. I appreciate it.
Thank you for your submission. I've got to hear - I mean if the AWB wants to bring a submission we've got to accept that, because we are sitting to give or to have as broad and as accurate a picture of the history of this country's violations of human rights and your submission is a very, very useful contribution to that. Thank you very much. --- Thank you.
CHAIRMAN: We adjourn until 9 o'clock tomorrow. Please stand as the witnesses and family come.
PROCEEDINGS ADJOURNED TO 1996/05/10