TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
SUBMISSIONS - QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
DATE: 12 MAY 1997
NAME: NOPEPENGI MARGARET MNYAPE
CASE: EC0603/96CCK - KING WILLIAM'S TOWN
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Reverend Xundu. We are starting our second-last hearing in this region, the region of the Eastern Cape. We welcome our witnesses this morning. I would like to let you know that our programme for today will use mostly the Xhosa language. Those people who have problems with understanding Xhosa, there are earphones available just behind us, behind these interpretation booths. For those who do not understand Xhosa we request to get those and turn to channel, what channel is it?
MS CRICHTON: Two.
CHAIRPERSON: The interpretation, channel two for the English translation of our proceedings. Most of our proceedings will be carried in Xhosa. Those who are going to be using the earphones we kindly request them, please, to return them at the end of the hearing. They have a tendency of exploding if they are taken out of this hall. We now are ready to begin.
We welcome those who are going to give evidence before the Commission today. There are members of the Human Rights Violations Committee. From my left there is Ntsiki Sandi, Advocate of the Supreme Court and then Tiny Maya, also an Attorney. June Crichton on my right who worked for the Black Sash and then we have, lastly, Reverend Xundu from Port Elizabeth, a Reverend in the Methodist Church. I am Reverend Finca from Alice. Would Ms Maya please read the programme for us so that we can start.
MS MAYA Thank you Mr Chairperson. Mr Chairperson, I am going to read to you the victims' names and the witnesses that are going to appear before the Commission today. This is the list. It might change here and there, but we will clarify everything. We have four regions, Alice, Seymour, Berlin and King William's Town. We have 27 witnesses. I am going to read as they are going to appear. I am going to read the witnesses name, the victim, the nature of the violation and then the area of where the violation took place and the year.
Nopepengi Margaret Mnyape is going to talk about herself. She was ill-treated in King William's Town. She is also going to talk on behalf of Nonkosi Mnyape, Ntsikelelo Mnyape who were killed in King William's Town in 1991. Buyisile Samuel Sangotsha who is going to talk on behalf of Mxolisi Sangotsha who was murdered in 1986 in King William's Town. Maki Zokoza, who will be talking about himself, was tortured and severely ill-treated in King William's Town in 1992. Mncedi Maguga, who will be talking about himself, tortured in King William's Town in 1992. Simon Ndindi Funda was tortured and his property was destroyed in King William's Town, 1992. Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe who will be talking about Robert Sobukwe who was ill-treated and eventually died on Robben Island. Mxolisi Desmond Kiviti, who will be talking about himself, tortured in King William's Town, 1963 to 1981. Pindile Albert Jekeqa talking about himself, tortured in King William's Town from 1963, 1975. Daniel Paulos Nongena, who will be talking about himself, tortured in King William's Town from 1963 to 1975. Makhi Boyi, who will be talking about himself, tortured, intimidated in King William's Town in 1963 to 1966. Mvuzo Johnson Nongena, who will be talking about himself, tortured in King William's Town from 1963 to 1975. Nontobeko Brenda Noto, who will be talking about Nomutile Gangqa, who was murdered in Alice in 1982. Beatrice Tandiswa Maseti, who will be talking about Ndodiphela Caswell Maseti and himself, was murdered in Alice, 1992. Beatrice's property was destroyed in 1992 as well. Nombuyiselo Ntsiba Ngece and Umtetu Ngece will be talking about Nombuyiselo, Elby and Beauty Ngece. Elby Ngayithini was murdered. Nombuyiselo, there was an attempted murder where she is concerned. This all happened in Alice in 1992. Elizabeth Nowakhe Badi, who will be talking about Ben Badi, Nowinile Badi, Vuyokazi Badi who were murdered in Alice in 1992. Nontsikelelo Badi, there was an attempted murder where she was concerned in 1992 in Alice. Nomakhosazana Gladys Papu, who will be talking about Benjamin Papu, who was murdered in Alice in 1994. Mkhululi Mvuzo, who will be talking about himself, tortured in Alice, 1992. Livingstone Ngenaphi Ngqutywa, who will be talking about himself, tortured in Alice in 1992. Cecilia Putunywa Ngete, who will be talking about Mafu Matiwane, who was tortured and eventually murdered in Alice, 1985. Shepherd Lulamile Jawe, who will be talking about himself, he was tortured in Alice in 1985. Eric Tembinkosi Maneli, who will be talking about himself, tortured in Seymour, 1991. Sanele Wellington Sinam, who will be talking about himself, of his severe ill-treatment in Seymour, 1992. Thembeka Cecilia Ntliziyombi, who will be talking Wellington Mzwabantu Ntliziyombi, who was murdered in Berlin in 1992. Matongisi Willie Bangeli, who will be talking about yourself, severely ill-treated in Berlin in 1985. Milile Iven Velakhe, who will be talking about himself, severe ill-treatment in Berlin, 1985. Nombasa Lydia Nini, who will be talking about herself and Lulama Nini, who was murdered in Berlin in 1993.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Ms Maya. Daniel Paulos Nongena and Makhi Boyi and Mvuzo Johnson Nongena, they have both mentioned Mr Donald Card as a perpetrator who violated their rights. The Attorney representing Donald Card requested that these people be heard on Wednesday, because he could not appear today and tomorrow. We, therefore, will hear of these cases on Wednesday morning. Secondly, okay, let me put this in English so that if there are any representatives of other people they are also aware. Daniel Paulos Nongena, number nine in our order or proceedings, Makhi Boyi, number ten in our order of proceedings, Mvuzo Johnson Nongena, number 11 in our order of proceedings will all be deferred to Wednesday, because they alleged that the perpetrator was Mr Card and he is not able to appear before us today.
Secondly, number 14 in our order of proceedings, Nombuyiselo Ntsiba Ngece will be represented, sorry, the perpetrator mentioned in that particular case will be represented by Advocate Redpa and we have agreed to arrange for him to appear before the Commission at 12 o' clock today or soon after 12 today depending on where we are in our schedule.
If there are any other legal representatives who are representing alleged perpetrators who have not announced themselves to the Committee, could they please do so and we will arrange for them to be heard as soon as we can agree on the time convenient to both parties.
Before we proceed we would like to give reverence to those who passed away. If we could all stand up, please, so that we can read their names. Nonkosi Mnyape, Ntsikelelo Mnyape, Mxolisi Sangotsha, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, Nomutile Gangqa, Ndodiphela Caswell Maseti, Elby Ngayithini Ngece, Nokuzola Yvonne Ngece, Ben Badi, Nowinile Badi, Vuyokazi Badi, Benjamin Papu, Mafu Matiwane, Wellington Mzwabantu Ntliziyombi, Zolani Dumile, Lulama Nini. We give reverence to these, a moment of silence. May they rest in peace, give them everlasting light, Lord, Amen.
We request that Nopepengi Margaret Mnyape come forward. Number six on the proceedings for Wednesday. Yes, number six. We are going to hand over to Reverend Xundu who is going to swear you in before you give your evidence.
REV XUNDU: Thank you Mr Chairperson. I will start with you Nopepengi Margaret Mnyape. Will you please get up.
NOPEPENGI MARGARET MNYAPE: (Duly sworn in, states).
REV XUNDU: Thank you.
MAKALAN MNYAPE: (Duly sworn in, states).
REV XUNDU: Thank you. Mr Chairperson they have been properly sworn in .
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Sandi.
ADV SANDI: Thank you Mr Chairperson. Mrs Mnyape and Mr Mnyape, as we were talking yesterday, we agreed that you will appear together today, because your evidence is related especially about the home incident. Is that so Mrs Mnyape?
MRS MNYAPE: Yes, Sir.
ADV SANDI: But before we do that we will hand over to Mr Mnyape to give us a background and tell us about your district Masele. If you could tell us exactly what was happening at the time in the village, especially in connection with the ADM and the headmen and soldiers. If Mnyape could give us a picture of what happened at the village such that we are also clear as to what happened and then Mrs Mnyape will give us evidence of what happened when soldiers came to her home and beat people up and her child got run over by a truck and passed away. Is that what you are going to do?
MRS MNYAPE: Yes.
ADV SANDI: I will hand over to you Mr Mnyape. If you could tell us at the time in your village, Masele, what was the problem at the time. I am going to hand over to you now. Thank you Mr Mnyape. If you could come closer to the mike so that we can hear you.
MR MNYAPE: The problem at Masele, a gentlemen called Zolele Puti came to Masele. He had bought a shop. That is when the trouble started at Masele. When he got there he was alright. We stayed with him. We would buy our groceries from his shop. After a while, we were already use to him at the time, he started selling alcohol in his shop. As residents we did not like this, because a store is for selling food and groceries and not liquor. Mr Puti sent a letter, first of all, to the residents saying that he would like to open a tavern. He was, he had already started selling alcohol. We said that we would not like him to sell alcohol, because alcohol is destructive especially to our children. He then refused to come to us to talk to us, because he was the Government, he said.
On a Saturday, on a Saturday night his shop got bombed. On the Sunday cars came to our village. Gqozo was amongst the people who came. He came with his people. According to the evidence it was a Russian bomb that had been used to destroy his store. Apparently there had been a meeting on the Saturday. The police were called and it was later found out that there was a church meeting.
ADV SANDI: Before I disturb you, Mr Mnyape, what Chairperson are you talking about?
MR MNYAPE: The Chairperson belonged to an organisation SANCO.
ADV SANDI: Thank you.
MR MNYAPE: The Chairman of ASASCO was then called. He went to answer to the police and they found that the meeting was at the school and it was a church meeting. He then went back to sleep. The Putisí were saying that we, as ANC members, had bombed down his shop. We then decided, as the ANC in the area, that if Puti could not work together with the residents of the area, then we must boycott his shop. It is his people from the Government, the then Ciskeian Government, that should go and buy from him alone. We then stopped buying from his store.
On the Tuesday, the following week, three children came into my house. It was just before I had my bath in the morning. These children got into the house, then my wife followed and my children. These children got in and they refused to sit down. I asked them to sit down. They said that the Government from Zone Six asked us to pick you up, Sir, they said. I said that I am going to have a bath first. They then left. I had my bath, my coffee. After that they came back with Maginga, the SANCOR Chairperson. I got into the car. There were seven people. Three were in a bakkie and the four in the car. We got to Zone Six. We were divided, Maginga and I were separated. I was then asked why it is that we are not buying from the store. I said that Puti was not in harmony with the villagers especially the ANC members. We then, I then said that it is the members of the Government that should buy from the shop, that he is in harmony with. We did not want alcohol to be sold in the village, because it is destructive.
We gave in our statements. We were then taken home. We were told that at seven am the next morning we are going to be fetched again. They fetched us at seven am as they said. There was a third person added, Mzwandile Mnyape, a brother of mine. We were asked to give statements yet again at the security police branch. We then reiterated that we did not make a mistake, we never thought that there would be someone who would come to disturb us in the village. We were adamant that no alcohol be sold in the store, but only food. It was the ANC that was the majority in the village. He was not going to change anything.
ADV SANDI: Mr Mnyape, were you taken to court at all? Was there a case against you?
MR MNYAPE: Yes, we were taken to court.
ADV SANDI: What happened?
MR MNYAPE: What happened is the case was postponed. Puti had not appeared. The eighth time the case was postponed we eventually said in court, Charles was representing us. The case took one day.
ADV SANDI: Were the ADM members at Masele?
MR MNYAPE: ADM started after Puti started selling alcohol. He would give cards to people who would buy the alcohol and also elderly ladies who would buy from the store. The elderly ladies refused to join ADM, because they were ANC members, but there were a few people in the village who were ADM members.
ADV SANDI: These cards that you are talking about, were they membership cards for the ADM?
MR MNYAPE: Yes.
ADV SANDI: Was the headman at Masele?
MR MNYAPE: We had a headman. There was a chief in the area, but there was no headman actually. What happened is Puti said that he had come to Masele to be a headman. We went and said that we did not want a headman at Masele.
ADV SANDI: According to your statement you say that there was conflict between the ANC and the ADM in the area. Were there incidents that reflected this?
MR MNYAPE: Puti would use the police, Ciskeian Police. The police would come with teargas in our members, they would beat us up so that we could disperse. Youth meetings, everything, even Puti's sons would come with the police to disrupt our meetings. The ADM people that were in the village were used by Puti. The one time I was sleeping at home, I think it was at about three am, I had diarrhoea, I could not sleep well. I heard my wife calling out. There was something happening at home. As I was trying to ascertain what was happening I heard a bullet sound, actually four bullet sounds. I heard that there were people in the yard and the dogs were barking. My wife then said that something happened in one of the flats at home. She heard a window breaking.
I then got up. I was on crutches, because I had just come out of the hospital. I went out, I could see that the flat was being stoned. Our windows had broken down.
ADV SANDI: Who attacked your home?
MR MNYAPE: As we were standing there a police van came with my cousin and my son. There was a police that was a guard at Puti's house, they came together. The police who was guarding Puti's house was drunk. He was then taken to the van with the gun. When they saw people coming towards them the one police said that he was going to Nklamo's house to take Nklamo with. Then that police by the name of Mjomo from Tamacha went to Nklamo to take him, because they were afraid that they were going to be attacked, because one police was drunk. They then cam back together with Nklamo, but I said that the gunshot at home was from the gun from this police. He was the one who was shooting at my home. The people then, they then went to take other police. I think it was about six they left.
During the day there was a meeting at school. I went to that meeting. There was one police attending the meeting. When we arrived there this police was together with my wife and my brother. They were telling him what happened. I could see that this police did not care. I then said to him, this is my home, I do not think that when you are called to check the damage you have the right to say what you are saying, because we saw the person who did this. I told them that you cannot just say whatever you want.
ADV SANDI: Was there any person who was arrested for this incident?
MR MNYAPE: Nobody was arrested, but we gave the statement to the police in Tamacha.
ADV SANDI: Let us now go to Ntsikelelo's case. Ntsikelelo was your son, is that so?
MR MNYAPE: Yes, that is so.
ADV SANDI: How old was he at the time?
MR MNYAPE: He was 19 years old.
ADV SANDI: Can you please tell us what happened to him.
MR MNYAPE: I was in East London, when I was in East London at Pulzana.
ADV SANDI: Or maybe we can ask Mam to tell us about Ntsikelelo's case. Let us give you a break Mr Mnyape. Mrs Mnyape, please tell us about Ntsikelelo's incident.
MRS MNYAPE: At the time we were in East London, the soldiers were after us, they were chasing us, because the lawyers took me as I was taken to Ginsburg. They then said that I must go and stay there. My boys were in the circumcision school. I then asked the lawyers to take me back home. They said that they are going to Masele and they will go and check the situation. They then came back. They told me that I cannot go back to
Masele, because the police were looking for me. I then went to East London. On the third day my son, my last born son, came to me. He said that the previous day, on Sunday, it was Themba, Themba Dumizwene and himself, when they were approaching Mashlole's shop, the hippo came with the soldiers. It came towards them. When they were trying to run away the hippo came. They then, the hippo then ran over Ntsikelelo's head. The soldiers then looked at him. They then left.
ADV SANDI: Before that, Ntsikelelo was pointed and someone was pointing him to the soldiers. Who was this person?
MRS MNYAPE: It was Mr Puti's son, but I do not remember his name.
ADV SANDI: You said Ntsikelelo was 19 years old. I assume that he was taking part in the organisations. Is that so?
MRS MNYAPE: Yes, that is so.
ADV SANDI: You buried him at home?
MRS MNYAPE: Yes, we buried him at home.
ADV SANDI: Were you disrupted in the funeral or what happened in the funeral?
MRS MNYAPE: The soldiers did not come, but they were in the village looking at the funeral.
ADV SANDI: You mentioned other people in your statement. You said that they were beaten by the soldiers. Is that the same day?
MRS MNYAPE: At the time when the soldiers came I went to the tap to fetch water. I left the bucket there to visit my uncle. I saw three men washing their faces in their tap. They had batons, but they were not wearing soldiers uniforms. I did not know that these men were going to my house, but when I went back to the tap I heard that there were people crying in my house. I went back to my uncle. I told him that I heard people crying from my house. They then assaulted everybody who was there. My mother came to this house. I asked her what was happening. She then said that the three men came asking for the residents of this house. My mother then showed them. At that time she was lying in the bed. They then assaulted her at that time. She was trying to take her shoes. They left with her, beating her all the time.
ADV SANDI: Are you talking about the grandmother?
MRS MNYAPE: I am talking about the mother, my mother-in-law.
ADV SANDI: How old was she at the time?
MRS MNYAPE: She was born in 1918.
ADV SANDI: This means that she was old at the time?
MRS MNYAPE: Yes.
ADV SANDI: Where is she now? Is she still alive?
MRS MNYAPE: No, she passed away.
ADV SANDI: How did she die?
MRS MNYAPE: She died due to the injuries sustained on that day, because she was coughing, she was vomiting blood due to internal injuries.
ADV SANDI: In other words, you say that she died due to the injuries?
MRS MNYAPE: Yes.
ADV SANDI: You were also assaulted on this day. Is that correct?
MRS MNYAPE: Yes, that is correct.
ADV SANDI: Were you assaulted by the soldiers?
MRS MNYAPE: Yes, I was beaten up by six soldiers. They were coming together with Puti. Puti then pointed me out saying that here is this bitch. One of them called me saying that he was going to ask something. I went to them. He then kicked me in the stomach. I fell down. At that time the soldiers came. They were kicking me and they were beating me.
ADV SANDI: They were also clapping you?
MRS MNYAPE: Yes, they clapped me and they were kicking me with their boots with, and they were beating me with electric pipes and ropes. I was then taken to the hippo.
ADV SANDI: They took you to the hippo. Where did they take you?
MRS MNYAPE: The six of them took me with their hippo. I fell down. They took me to the hippo again.
ADV SANDI: Where did they take you?
MRS MNYAPE: They were taking other people to the hippo. When we approach Xhanga the soldiers, the three soldiers came and they said that these women cannot be taken, because they know nothing. We were then taken out at that time.
ADV SANDI: Who is Xhanga? Was he a member of ADM?
MRS MNYAPE: Yes, he was a member of ADM.
ADV SANDI: Is that all you wanted to say, Mrs Mnyape?
MRS MNYAPE: Yes, that is all. I was not arrested.
ADV SANDI: The other people who were with you in the hippo, were they also assaulted?
MRS MNYAPE: Yes, they were assaulted. They would take us under the chairs.
ADV SANDI: Were they women?
MRS MNYAPE: There were women and others were men. They would take us under the chairs and they would beat us and assault us.
ADV SANDI: Inside the hippo?
MRS MNYAPE: Yes, inside the hippo. Others were under the chairs and they were beaten while they were under the chairs.
ADV SANDI: Do you have requests to the Commission, Mam, by coming here to the Commission, Mr Mnyape and Mrs Mnyape? In your statements, especially you Mrs Mnyape, you mentioned that you would like medical treatment.
MRS MNYAPE: Yes, I would like medical treatment, because after this incident I suffered a lot.
ADV SANDI: Do you have any other requests?
MRS MNYAPE: Yes, I do.
ADV SANDI: Can you please tell us your request.
MRS MNYAPE: I would like to be reimbursed, because I suffered a lot.
ADV SANDI: Do you have something to add Mr Mnyape.
MR MNYAPE: I have one pain and my request is that what happened in Masele is enigma, because you would give a statement to the police, but the case would not go any further. I suffered a lot. As a result I did not think that today I would still be alive, because in my life I was never arrested. I was a child and the boy, I was never arrested. We were Xhosa boys, we were fighting all the time, but I was never arrested. I then became a man and this was a very painful to me. My child was run over by the hippo, by the soldiers of the Government. The person who was driving the hippo was Henna Nagaai. He was the one who killed my son. ... we were put in a sack and buried. We could not bury him properly as a result of the Gqoza regime. He oppressed us. I suffer
from insomnia as a result of this. This is how I am. Okay, I will call a spade a spade. I cannot digress from this evidence. My child was murdered. I went from attorney to attorney. I had one question, does a person, a human being, murdered and there is no case. I gave up after a while. There was full evidence. I also had clear evidence as my house was also destroyed.
I went to East London. A white man, Thomas, as a legal representative he said I must bring another witness. I went to Port Elizabeth. I was trying to find a man who had run away from Puti. I found this man, Mr Mbambam. I asked him and he gave me as much evidence as he could. They were used by Puti to attack people, people who did not want to join the ADM. I then told him that he said that he was one of the people who were sent through by Puti to attack peoples' homes. They attacked my home, Mputu's home and another home. From the third home they stole alcohol and they drank it, they got drunk. They got to that house, they said that there were soldiers, four of them. They took the alcohol, went to Puti's and drank. I gave the Tamacha Police evidence, because there were bullets found in my home. They said that it was a R4 rifle that shot the bullets. It was then clear exactly who it was that had been shooting, but there was no case.
ADV SANDI: Thank you for your evidence, Sir, because it is clear that you yourself investigated as well. After you have finished, there are men, we have an Investigative Team. We request that you give all the evidence that you can about the man who was a member of the ADM from Port Elizabeth so that they can help. Thank you. I will hand over to the Chairperson. Maybe my colleagues have some questions.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Mnyape, you said that the hippo driver you actually knew. Do you have his name?
MR MNYAPE: Well, his name will be with the Tamacha Police, because he was involved in the whole case.
CHAIRPERSON: I did not get the reason why this case was not taken up by the police.
MR MNYAPE: There was a statement and a case, but, and as I went there trying to get the details so that I could get all the evidence for the Commission today they said that my case had been erased from their records.
CHAIRPERSON: Which police station is this?
MR MNYAPE: Tamacha Police Station.
CHAIRPERSON: Who did you talk to, who was the police that said your case had been erased?
MR MNYAPE: They just wrote, I have the paper with me, where they wrote the numbers of the dockets.
CHAIRPERSON: According to this document the case had been dropped on the fifth of October 1993. Do you know anything about the case being withdrawn?
MR MNYAPE: No, we did not withdraw the case.
CHAIRPERSON: Also the case of the 27th of September was withdrawn. Your house being attacked, that was withdrawn as well. Who do you think withdrew the cases?
MR MNYAPE: They did it themselves, because I did not withdraw the cases.
CHAIRPERSON: Who was representing you?
MR MNYAPE: Charles.
CHAIRPERSON: Who is Charles?
MR MNYAPE: Tabata, Smith Tabata.
CHAIRPERSON: Let us not take any more of your time, Mr and Mrs Mnyape. Thank you very much. We are very familiar with the Masele Village especially during the struggle. Also, the contribution that the villagers made to the struggle for liberation. Thank you for having come here to give evidence before the Commission. I know, especially Mr Mnyape, this is very close to your heart and it still hurts. We are not people, as men who cry in public like this. This reflects that you still hurt from the past wounds. We, as a Commission, promise that we are going to investigate the matter. We are coming to the end of the Commission. We would like to talk to the attorneys that were representing you, talk to the police station at Tamacha so that it is clear what happened, because a person dying is a serious matter. A person cannot just die like a dog. Thank you.