TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
SUBMISSIONS - QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
DATE: 18/20-06-96 NAME: BISHOP TIYA
CASE: EC0239/96 UMTATA
CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, Mr Sandi to lead the witness.
MR SANDI: Thank you Mr Chairperson. I just want to make sure that on the Tiya family side, we would like to know who is giving evidence - is it the mother or father who is going to give evidence, because during our lunch Mrs Tiya stated that although it is Bishop Tiya who has given the statement he preferred that she will take over and give evidence because she is trying to protect his husband who is ill, so Mrs Tiya.
MRS TIYA: Yes, it is so.
MR SANDI: Could you please take an oath. Please stand up.
MRS TIYA: (sworn states).
MR SANDI: Mrs Tiya, you said you are staying at Zandukwana at Libode. Aga is your son, was your son?
MRS TIYA: Yes, Aga was my son.
MR SANDI: When was he born?
MRS TIYA: He was born on the 30th January 1963.
MR SANDI: 30th January 1963.
MRS TIYA: Yes, 30th January 1963.
MR SANDI: According to the statement here, did you say Aga was attending school or was a student in 1980 here in the University of the Transkei?
MRS TIYA: Pardon me. Aga started to be a scholar at St. Patricks. He did his matric at Zingiza School. If I can remember very well about his political involvement the teacher from Zingiza came to report that he was arrested and detained. During that time there was a curfew but it was reported that he was with some of the people who who are not attending school and they were outside the school premises. What he said, he said, the child has reported that he will skip the country and then he said the teacher there he would not give this information to the police. So they said they didn't see anybody else except the fact that it was said the child should not mix with the other people who are politically minded and then he completed his matriculation here at Zingiza.
MR SANDI: You said Aga was a student here at UNITRA where we are holding these hearings. Did you say the other day the Police came to ask for him? Can you please take it from there and proceed with your statement.
MRS TIYA: Yes, the Police came and they said they are looking for Aga and they said they didn't find him at UNITRA and it is almost two weeks that they are looking for him. We knew when we last did see him and we knew that he came to request money for school fees and then he was given this money. He came to pay amount of money, so we were surprised to learn that he was not here for two weeks. So when we stated that, they left without any much to say. After two days they came again. It was in 1984 when they reported back to say that Aga is not at school. They gave us information that he is in Lesotho and they stated that they have received information that he was a very threatening person and he was a threat to the Government of the Transkei. They stated that, they were just giving me information that the Security Police were supposed to detain him when he left the country. But it was also stated that the Police wanted to kill him. It was also stated that he jumped over the fences and didn't go properly from school. It was also further mentioned that he communicated with the people across the borders who were also politically minded. They also said you must be able to assist us to get him. If you know that you have relatives in Lesotho please pass the message that we would like to see him because he has caused a lot of problems in the Transkei but they promised that they wouldn't do anything to him. After they left we just kept quiet because we didn't even know about the Lesotho. They were harassing for quite a long time after that a certain Mr Tengwa came in and we were at the funeral at Charlie's place in Ntlolo. Charlie had a wife who was from the family of the Matanzima and Matanzima family were also attending the funeral. The people watched me as I was being dragged along and being pushed to the car which was next to the crowds. They wanted me to go and this the statements and how was Aga transported or taken away to Lesotho. They wanted every information about Aga. Wanted to know about his friends and everybody who was related to him. They wanted me to write down everything. I did as they expected me. I also mentioned that he used to accommodate some of the people to be at our place. When he was still at a school in Ngiza he used to come and request accommodation for his friends. And we were not surprised about that because we liked his friends. Their father was injured when he was operated upon on the head, so they requested that I should assist because Mr Matanzima says he wants the child Aga - in other words he wants the child to be fetched from were he is. I then requested permission from my husband to go to Lesotho and then my father said he will never do that - he will never allow me to send my child to the Police. It was clear that they knew he was being in Lesotho to take along everything and the ideologies of the ANC. At the end we had to go to Lesotho. We mentioned this to our friends and then we stated how we felt about all this and what was happening and we were ordered that we should take him along and fetch him from Lesotho. We stayed for two days and then we came back we reported that we were unable to trace him. There were some Security who were at Nkombu who used to come fortnightly and check what was happening around us. They were harassing us in other ways. When we came back again they came along and visited us. We gave them the information that we just met some of the children who are able to speak Xhosa and the children tried to explain that we were looking for Aga. We were cross-questioned by these children at Lesotho and then we stated that we were informed and given orders by the King that we should be able to trace him back and take him back to the Transkei. So these girls that we met in Lesotho informed us about another spot where they used to see some of the youth who used to stay there. When we visited this place it looked deserted during the night - apparently it was not utilised at night. Somebody informed us that if we should go there we were informed that we could get into trouble because somebody has conveyed the message that we were dogs, because we came from Matanzima's place.
MR SANDI: Did you see Aga.
MRS TIYA: No. He had disappeared totally. Nobody knew anything about him.
MR SANDI: Did you get any information about where he did go or what happened to him.
MRS TIYA: We didn't get much about him, it was only the Reverend who was a Roman Catholic who was from Zimbabwe and she also used to visit Tanzania. In 1990 this Reverend, in 1987 he brought a letter stating that there was one child who was Tanzania attending school there. We were requested that we should accommodate this child from Tanzania so we suspected that this Reverend was the one who was organising all this. It was stated that these child who is in Tanzania was a child to Aga. There was nothing that could prove that and it was also clear that maybe the Priest could also assist to get this child. ...(indistinct) day, I couldn't see him because it was said that he was at the intensive care unit, but after that I wanted to see him when he was discharged from this unit.
MR SANDI: Do you say that he was discharged from hospital?
MRS TIYA: Yes, he was discharged from hospital and then at the end he was able to speak. He was arrested again and was taken to Wellington.
MR SANDI: How long did he stay in jail?
MRS TIYA: Since 1988 he was detained for - from 1988 to 1990 October he was released on bail and there was an order that he was to appear in court in February.
MR SANDI: How long did he stay in the hospital before he was charged for Terrorism Act?
MRS TIYA: I've forgotten a bit about that, but I think he was released in hospital and then a charge was laid against him in 1989. I cannot remember whether he spent eight months in the hospital.
MR SANDI: OK. Never mind if you can't remember, it is not a problem. Who was defending his case?
MRS TIYA: The Minister of Justice presently, who is Dullah Omar was the one who was his lawyer.
MR SANDI: Were you able to attend the Court proceedings?
MRS TIYA: We were unable to do so. Even if we weren't there we were never expected to come in, we were prohibited from getting inside - we were always outside the court room.
MR SANDI: What happened to the accusations that were lodged against him?
MRS TIYA: Someday, some people from the Goza family came in and saying he was wanted, he was then taken to Court and it was said that the case was withdrawn against him and it was just after the unbanning of the Organisations. All the Political Organisations.
MR SANDI: Did you say in 1990 and 1991 you learnt that he was shot dead and was brought along by some people?
MRS TIYA: Shot, no, I cannot remember that he was shot.
MR SANDI: No, what I mean is when he was shot dead what happened?
MRS TIYA: It was in 1992 in January. We didn't hear anything from anybody about his death, but there were rumours that Aga was found next to the Roman Catholic - he was alone in a car and he was shot dead.
MR SANDI: Did you find his body and where did you find it?
MRS TIYA: Yes, his body was found but I was so much affected and I don't know what happened.
MR SANDI: During the funeral can you remember what happened during the funeral - were there any police present. Were you able to proceed well without any problems with the funeral? OK. You can take your time - we will wait for you.
MRS TIYA: There was nobody to come to give us the bad tidings - all we had was that he was at the mortuary and then we went there.
MR SANDI: Mrs Tiya, I don't want you to get into too much details about all what happened that day. I don't want to evoke more pain from you as you are already experiencing now. I would just like to ask one question. I don't say you must mention names, but I would just like to know was there anybody who came to report that he has any knowledge about what happened to say that he was present when this happened, is that so?
MRS TIYA: Yes, there was somebody who stated that he wants to come to the Truth Commission because he was present when this happened. The person said he would like to come here to the Truth Commission and it was stated that we would visit him, but that person denied flatly and said he has never said anything about being there.
MR SANDI: In other words, you are saying this person is denying any knowledge about what happened?
MRS TIYA: Yes, this person is denying.
MR SANDI: OK. Let's proceed. Was there any inquest in connection with this. Maybe to have any suspects brought to Court?
MRS TIYA: There were not even investigations, nobody was ever charged for what happened.
MR SANDI: In other words, if I understand you very well, amongst the requests there at home, you would like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission should investigate and make a follow-up of who was there and who were the perpetrators who could cause this brutality.
MRS TIYA: Yes, if it has powers, I would like that to do that. We were very disappointed because not even the members of the ANC could come and find out if they can give us any assistance.
MR SANDI: Is there any other request that you would like to present to the Commission?
MRS TIYA: Yes, there is. We would like that if the child who is in Tanzania could be brought back again. We would be very grateful because if this child had already being with us and then the mother took the child away again. We regard the child as the heir to the family.
MR SANDI: Is that all that you could say to us before I can hand over to the Chairperson?
MRS TIYA: The explanation is that the people wanted to make us a tombstone, we as family we wanted to go to the office of the ANC so that they can assist us with these arrangements but because I always forget, I am a forgetful person, I forgot to make a follow-up about that.
MR SANDI: Did you go to any lawyer for what happened to your son?
MRS TIYA: Yes, we did go to the Sangoni lawyers to get assistance but even at the police, nobody could state how this took place. Nobody ever knew what happened to our son.
MR SANDI: Do you think maybe you have left out anything that you would have liked to be presented here at the Commission? If you have something, you can please state it now. If there is none, then I can hand over to the Chairperson.
MRS TIYA: As my husband is now ill, when he was arrested and the day when my son was also arrested, my husband was also assaulted and they made his condition worse - they aggravated the situation and he is now amnesiac. We have a doctor who is our family doctor as he is suffering from amnesia - when he is disturbed my husband is always under pressure and is unable to think properly. Dr Mtankulu is our family doctor.
MR SANDI: Thank you very much Mrs Tiya - if there are any things that you would like to present for what you can still do that when my colleagues will be asking questions. Thank you very much. I will hand over to the Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: I'd like to find out from Elias first. When he talks about the re-investment, what does he mean? Does he mean compensation or does he mean that he could get assistance, medical assistance?
MR NTSHINGA: I want to be compensated.
MR SANDI: OK. Thank you very much. I'd like you to give us information, what do you mean when you say you should be reimbursed, do you want medical assistance or do you want the cost to be paid?
MR NTSHINGA: My eardrum has been ruptured and my eye, my right eye, the nerves have been snapped so I would like assistance in that regard.
MR SANDI: OK. Thank you very much.