TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
SUBMISSIONS - QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
DATE: 07 APRIL 1997
NAME: MCEBISI MANJATI
CASE: EC0225/96 GRAHAMSTOWN
MCEBISI MANJATI: (sworn states)
REV XUNDU: Chairperson I will lead him with questions. Mcebisi you are from Alicedale?
MR MANJATI: Yes.
REV XUNDU: Please tell us briefly about what happened to you as you gave us your statement.
MR MANJATI: Firstly in 1984 AYCO, COSAS organisations were formed. There was a situation - there was an incident that happened in 1985 on the 26th of April. The comrade the lady before me just mentioned was killed on that day. It was very difficult, especially for the youth.
REV XUNDU: What was COSAS?
MR MANJATI: COSAS was an organisation fighting for students' rights.
REV XUNDU: What about Alice Youth Congress?
MR MANJATI: It was AYCO, Alicedale Youth Congress, I was one of the members.
REV XUNDU: AYCO, was it a part of UDF?
MR MANJATI: Yes I can say so because UDF was an organisation where all youth congresses belonged.
REV XUNDU: Do you say that because of this you were harassed by the police until they detained you?
MR MANJATI: Yes that is so.
REV XUNDU: Please tell us what happened when you were
MR MANJATI: When I was detained on the 15th of September, it was about 11 at night. Constable Nzanze, the one who was mentioned before, together with Meyer and Enoch Kumayi came to my house to pick me up. I tried to escape. They did not even give me a chance to wear my clothes. They arrested me wearing my underwear. They did not ask me anything. They did not ask me in which organisation I belonged to. We were assaulted together with other comrades. There was one comrade by the name of Kilyeta Nyomakazi, they wanted to shoot him. After that they put us in prison.
REV XUNDU: Were you charged for anything?
MR MANJATI: They did not even asked us what organisations we belonged to, but because they knew that I was a member of COSAS and AYCO they arrested me.
REV XUNDU: Was it the usual thing, a normal thing that the police would come and pick up people and assault them?
MR MANJATI: Yes I can say so, because in Alicedale the police were not capable of handling people.
REV XUNDU: Was there any law protecting people?
MR MANJATI: No.
REV XUNDU: Your statement said that you were assaulted and you were not charged with anything. What are your requests, what can we do for you as the Commission?
MR MANJATI: Firstly what I want to request from the Commission is that at the time it was very difficult for us to go to school. One person who helped me, it was Miss Priscilla Hall working for the Black Sash. Today I have no future. I have my matric but I cannot continue with my education, I cannot further my education.
REV XUNDU: What would you like to do?
MR MANJATI: I want to help the community. I want to help everybody in the community.
REV XUNDU: Please tell us do you want to be a nurse or a teacher?
MR MANJATI: I don't want to be a teacher. I want to do a personnel management course.
REV XUNDU: What else would you like to add?
MR MANJATI: I would like Mr Nzanze and Meyer, together with the station commander of Alicedale, I would like them to come to the Commission to explain what happened.
REV XUNDU: Except for that what advice would you give the government so that such incidents will not happen again?
MR MANJATI: What I can advise the government is that all the policemen are to be removed from the government. The police have to be re-trained because the past police were not able to handle people properly. I would like the police to be trained again so that they can protect people.
REV XUNDU: Thank you. I will hand over to you Mr Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: Ntsiki Sandi.
MR SANDI: Thank you Chairperson. You mentioned that the police have to be re-trained so that they can behave well. Do I hear you clearly when you say that this is happening even today?
MR MANJATI: Yes because the police who were harassing us in the past are in top positions today.
MR SANDI: Won't it be wise to train the police who are already policeman to give them proper training?
MR MANJATI: Not all of them were involved in these cases, but what I am saying is I don't agree with the policemen who harassed people. I don't want them to be in the police
MR SANDI: Thank you Mr Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: Tiny Maya?
MS MAYA: Thank you Mr Chairperson. Mr Manjati, when the police arrested you how long did you stay there?
MR MANJATI: In Alicedale I stayed for three weeks and they transferred me to Weinick, I think I stayed for six months, two weeks.
MS MAYA: You said that you did not go to a doctor, how were you injured?
MR MANJATI: My head was injured because I was beaten by the batons. I had bruises all over. I had pellets in my body at that time when I arrived in Weinick. I couldn't even study clearly. I didn't have a clear memory. I went to one doctor, Dr Gough in Weinick. He said that the reasons for my dizziness is that what happened to me. It's because of the teargas and the teargas affected my eyes and I can't see clearly. He did not give me any medicine. One of the police gave me the first aid.
MS MAYA: Do you know this policeman?
MR MANJATI: I don't know his surname but I can identify him.
MS MAYA: Do you think that you still need medical treatment?
MR MANJATI: Yes, especially concerning my memory, I don't have a good memory, I can't study.
MS MAYA: Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Rev Xundu.
REV XUNDU: Lastly, I want to know that would you like us to help you with your medical treatment because you are not working, when you go to the doctors in Port Elizabeth you
use your own money, would you like us to help you in that?
MR MANJATI: Yes.
REV XUNDU: Did you apply for a pension?
MR MANJATI: No I did not, because at that time Miss Priscilla Hall tried to help us to take us to the doctor in Korsten.
REV XUNDU: Do you think that you need a pension?
MR MANJATI: No I don't need a pension. The reason for this is that I am still very young. The money that I would get from a pension would not satisfy me.
REV XUNDU: The pension maybe will help you to go to a doctor, if there is a need for you to go to Port Elizabeth you can do that.
MR MANJATI: What I can say is that getting a pension will be a last resort because I don't see my future being bright if I would get a pension.
MS CRICHTON: Mr Manjati just two questions. The one relating to your illness. In the statement in front of me I see that you say that you suffer from asthma and kidney failure, are you on treatment for the kidney failure?
MR MANJATI: Mr Chairperson I do suffer from asthma and kidney failure, even today. I am sick, I am not well. I went to one doctor because I was suffering from cold.
MS CRICHTON: Thank you. The second question is, to go back to when you were assaulted when you were arrested, am I to understand that you were not asked questions as such, you were simply assaulted? They were not trying to find out anything from you, you were a leader and they were simply assaulting because you were a leader.
MR MANJATI: What they said to me is that this boy, comrade Oliver Tambo who is influencing us will not be a leader us
in this country. That is the only thing they said to me when I was coming from Patterson.
MS CRICHTON: Thank you Mr Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: Mcebisi how old were you at the time of this incident?
MR MANJATI: I was 18 years old. I was born in 1967.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mcebisi. You have reminded us about the activities of COSAS and the struggle that was fought by the students. Most of them died and most of them got injured, as you have already mentioned. You've also reminded us about the state of emergency because you were arrested under the state of emergency. We hope that those who were responsible for declaring the state of emergency, we hope that they are listening as you are talking. One day they will come forward and ask for forgiveness.
You have also reminded us that those days were dark days to many people who were fighting for liberation. There were White people who were caring for us, there were very few, but today you have reminded us by mentioning Miss Priscilla Hall from Black Sash, you mentioned that she's the one who helped you. You are reminding us that there were people although there were few, that these people took care of you. It is very difficult today to find people who supported apartheid. All of the people are against apartheid today, but we thank that people like Priscilla Hall at the past time they showed solidarity to people like you. We thank you for mentioning her name in your testimony. We hope that she's listening. We want to pay our warmest tribute to her and to people like her that at that time they were amongst the privileged people but they identified themselves with the oppressed people.
We thank you for your requests. They show that you are an intelligent, bright young man. You didn't want to depend on the pension, you wanted to work for your future. Thank you, you may sit down.