needs to ask is: "If they were able to walk freely, why was there a need for them to be released"?
MR MOTLANA: Are you asking me that question?
MS SOOKA: Yes.
MR MOTLANA: The question I heard from the clergy is that the young men were being held against their will and I was asked to try and secure their release.
MS SOOKA: Thank you. I have one more question, the Crisis Committee - when they did see these boys, noticed that they were not in a good physical condition, they had scars and the question
was asked of them what had happened to them and they mention that they’d fallen from trees. Now, I know that you didn’t examine them but is it possible for you to comment on the condition - the physical condition of the ones who went with you to Mr Naidoo’s office?
DR MOTLANA: I’m afraid I cannot, however I did - as evidence in the main submission by Peter Storey, I did comment on the mental condition of one of those young men and the words used in Peter Storey’s submission is that:
"I thought the guy was on drugs"
I cannot agree having such words but this third young man, I ...
MS SOOKA: Thank you. I have one more question, the Crisis Committee - when they did see these boys, noticed that they were not in a good physical condition, they had scars and the question was asked of them what had happened to them and they mention that they’d fallen from trees. Now, I know that you didn’t examine them but is it possible for you to comment on the condition - the physical condition of the ones who went with you to Mr Naidoo’s office?
DR MOTLANA: I’m afraid I cannot, however I did - as evidence in the main submission by Peter Storey, I did comment on the mental condition of one of those young men and the words used in Peter Storey’s submission is that:
"I thought the guy was on drugs"
I cannot agree having such words but this third young man, I ...
DR MOTLANA: It could have, Cebekhulu looked peculiar, but as far as a physical examination about their physical status I did not examine them and therefore I am in no position to comment on their physical condition.
MS SOOKA: Just one more question, why was it that you took them to the offices of Krish Naidoo?
DR MOTLANA: I think this was an arrangement that had been made between, among ourselves you know, that Krish would then pass them on to the Methodist Church. We were looking for a place of safety for them.
MS SOOKA: Thank you.
MR JOSEPH: Mr Chairman may I ask exactly one question and a short one.
MR CROSS: Thank you. Doctor the assertion must be put on record that the reason for them being unable to leave the household was that Mrs Mandela, through my client Mr Richardson was preventing them from leaving. Do you have anything to comment on that?
DR MOTLANA: I have no comment at all, I wouldn't know.
MR CROSS: But you don't dispute it. Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: I have a small little question. You went under the impression given by the clergy that you are going to negotiate or ask for the release, now did Mrs Mandela say to you, oh how can you come and try and ask for the release, they are free to go? Did she say anything of that sort?
DR MOTLANA: Let me confess I am not sure what she said to me. All I can say that she agreed that they would be released to my care and therefore subsequently to the Church.
CHAIRPERSON: Ja, released, why this word released?
DR MOTLANA: I am probably using the wrong word as Advocate Semenya has pointed out, maybe she said to me, and I can't recall, well if they want to go take them along or words to that effect. I am not sure what she said.
MR VALLY: I have been covered Arch, I have no questions.
CHAIRPERSON: You are free to stand down. Unfortunately the duet will have to remain.
MR : May I be excused Mr Chairperson, may I be excused also?
CHAIRPERSON: Oh yes! (General laughter) We'll come back at half past four.
CHAIRPERSON: Please settle down. Right you are, Piers.
MR PIGOU: Thank you Chair. I would like to ask some questions to Reverend Mbangula now please.
Reverend Mbangula did you attend a community meeting at Dobsonville on the 16th of January 1989?
REV MBANGULA: Yes Sir.
MR PIGOU: And could you tell us during that meeting did you witness Thabiso Mono and Pele Mekgwe withdraw their allegations against the Reverend Paul Verryn?
REV MBANGULA: Yes Sir.
MR PIGOU: Did you also in that meeting witness the arrival of Katiza Cebekhulu with Krish Naidoo and a member of the Mandela United Football Club?
REV MBANGULA: Correct.
MR PIGOU: Could you tell us what the reaction was from the people in the meeting when those people arrived during the testimony of Pele Mekgwe and Thabiso Mono?
REV MBANGULA: When - you mean when Katiza arrived or who?
MR PIGOU: Yes I'll put some context. If you weren't listening to Bishop Storey's testimony yesterday he indicated that there was a great deal of fear in the room when it became known that someone from the Mandela United Football Club was actually present, was that the case?
REV MBANGULA: I wouldn't describe that as fear, but I would describe that as some objection to - from the members of the community to Krish Naidoo who came in, earlier he had promised that he would come to the meeting like it has been said with Katiza who said he was not happy to go with the other group, but when he came with this other gentleman there were a lot of memories which were sort of objecting to the presence of that gentleman I didn't know why.
MR PIGOU: Could you tell us whether you remember whether the member of the Mandela United Football Club was armed at all?
REV MBANGULA: No I didn't see any arms at that time.
MR PIGOU: Were you present when Lerothodi Ikaneng came and spoke to people at that meeting and indicated the fresh wound on his neck?
REV MBANGULA: Yes I was present.
MR PIGOU: Could you perhaps just describe to us what the reaction was from the members gathered there when Mr Ikaneng described what had happened to him at the hands of Mr Jerry Richardson and members of the Mandela United Football Club?
REV MBANGULA: I think there was a feeling of some shock of some kind because as he showed us what had happened to his neck, you know there were ah's and oohs and so on.
MR PIGOU: Thank you. In the Crisis Committee submission that we received today there is a reflection of resolutions that the meeting took, I don't know if you have that with you.
REV MBANGULA: I do, yes, continue.
MR PIGOU: Yes, and the - I just want to read very briefly that the meeting took the following resolutions and I want you to either confirm or deny this:-
That Winnie be approached and instructed to produce Stompie - number one;
Number two, that all progressive organisations should no longer give her a platform;
Number three, that the Football Club be dismantled forthwith, that's the community dismantle the Club for her; Number four, that from now henceforth she must desist from creating an impression that she speaks on behalf of the people;
Number 5, that neither Krish Naidoo nor any other progressive lawyer in the country should act for her.
Were those the resolutions that were taken that day?
REV MBANGULA: My understanding is that those resolutions were of the Crisis Committee and the meeting I was in it was a Mass Democratic Movement meeting which involved a larger, I mean a broader spectrum of people, not the Crisis Committee. So my understanding is that those resolutions ought to have been taken in a Crisis Committee meeting, not in that one.
MR PIGOU: But what I am asking you is, because the report from the Crisis Committee document, Annexure C, is that reflecting on the meeting which starts on page 2 of their submission in Annexure C, after having spoken about Gabriel Pele Mekgwe and Thabiso Mono telling people what they said that, and having withdrawn those things, that the meeting took those following resolutions which I have just read out. Are you in a position to say whether or not those resolutions were taken?
REV MBANGULA: I am not.
MR PIGOU: Could you tell us at all what resolutions were taken by the meeting, or indeed were any resolutions taken by that meeting?
REV MBANGULA: I think I remember that that meeting decided somehow to do further investigations and tried to consult more with Mrs Mandela in trying to clarify the whole thing. I don't remember the specifics in terms of the resolution because really that was not my main concern ...(intervention)
MR PIGOU: Surely, sorry sorry, Reverend Mbangula surely you would remember whether such - and in the time, in the context of that time dramatic decisions being made at a community based meeting to distance themselves from the mother of the nation, surely you would remember whether such resolutions were made?
REV MBANGULA: Can you please give me the reference you are talking about so that I can know the context?
MR PIGOU: No certainly. In the Crisis Committee document, at the end of the Crisis Committee document there are a number of annexures.
REV MBANGULA: At the end, okay.
MR PIGOU: My colleague will just make that available to you. This is page 3 of Annexure C, at the top of the page there, the points 1 to 5.
REV MBANGULA: Can I just understand what date was the meeting?
MR PIGOU: The 16th of January.
REV MBANGULA: Okay, okay.
MR PIGOU: Ja, in Dobsonville.
REV MBANGULA: Right. Yes.
MR PIGOU: What I am trying to understand is that these are fairly dramatic resolutions and one would like to know from you whether you remember these resolutions being made?
REV MBANGULA: Yes, I think I was at that meeting, yes.
MR PIGOU: So you remember those resolutions being taken?
REV MBANGULA: Yes, ja quite.
MR PIGOU: Thank you. In your statement you indicate that having gone to a meeting of the community leaders that you went then to see Mrs Mandela and sort of three sections up you phoned Mrs Mandela and made an appointment to see her with other members of the clergy. She agreed and then you went to see her. Is this the same meeting which Father Mkhatswa in his statement refers to as being on Friday the 18th of January 1989, the same meeting where you went with Bishop Manas Buthelezi?
REV MBANGULA: Thank you Sir. I think right at the beginning I did try to correct the sequence of events as I understood them. The meeting I referred to is the meeting of the 12th of January. It was a meeting at Mr Aubrey's offices in Braamfontein, there were very few people, I think about eight or so. I think Sister Bernard was there, Mr Mufamadi was there, Dr Naude was there, whereby I raised the first concerns of our second in that meeting, and it was at that meeting where I could not find the kind of answers that we were looking for and therefore I felt that the only way was for me to try and actually go to Mrs Mandela and that's when I invited Father Simangiliso and Bishop Manas to go with me to Mrs Mandela.
The meeting with Mrs Mandela happened on the 13th, Friday 13th and I think my diary here of 1989 bears to that, that the Friday, the 13th was on a Friday, not on the 18th as Bishop Storey has said. And therefore the sequence of events, the incident of the meeting with Mrs Mandela happened at a point when all those young people were still in the custody of Mrs Mandela and that's what we had gone there for, to try and secure the release of those boys from Mrs Mandela.
MR PIGOU: Were you aware at this stage of the previous efforts by our previous speaker, Dr Motlana, to release the boys?
REV MBANGULA: No I was not aware.
MR PIGOU: The section which - thank you for pointing out the inaccuracy of where it said Friday the 18th, but the section under that on page 9 of Bishop Storey's memorandum.
REV MBANGULA: Right.
MR PIGOU: And I will read briefly:
"Three churchmen, Father Mkhatswa, Reverend Mbangula and Bishop Buthelezi visits Mrs Mandela. She insists on Naidoo being present and Zinzi is also there".
Is that correct? Were Zinzi Mandela and Krish Naidoo also present during your meeting?
REV MBANGULA: I don't remember Krish Naidoo being present at that meeting. Yes, Zinzi was there.
MR PIGOU: I go on:
"The question her concerning Stompie and she answers - `He's escaped I don't know where he is'."
Is that an accurate reflection of what Mrs Mandela said?
REV MBANGULA: It's not an accurate reflection of the context of that meeting. As I have already said that when we had gone to Mrs Mandela we had gone to ask her about the four young people who were taken from the Church. At that time there was a rumour but nothing was clear about specifically related to Stompie. And I think what happened after, in the meeting at Dobsonville, what I am trying to explain has been substantiated by what Pelo and Mekgwe actually said in that meeting.
MR PIGOU: But perhaps we could just put this in at this point. Surely as a Methodist minister you have been speaking with Bishop Storey, is that correct?
REV MBANGULA: Correct.
MR PIGOU: You were aware by this stage on the 13th of January that Kenny Kgase had already given a somewhat detailed description of what had happened at the Mandela household, that they had been taken against their will from Reverend Verryn's manse ...(intervention)
REV MBANGULA: Yes...
MR PIGOU: They had been taken to Mrs Mandela's house, that they had been assaulted...
REV MBANGULA: Yes.
MR PIGOU: And that there was considerable concern about the whereabouts of Stompie Seipei. Now I put it to you again, did Mrs Mandela, when questioned about Stompie Seipei say, "he's escaped, I don't know where he is"? These are the quotations ...(intervention)
REV MBANGULA: I don't remember that particular statement.
MR PIGOU: Would you have any reason to believe that Bishop Storey would inaccurately reflect your report-back? If you look on, it says Monday the 23rd, and maybe he's got his dates wrong here again, it says that you reported back to him about the visit to Winnie and that he subsequently set up a meeting with Fink Hayson.
REV MBANGULA: Yes I think Bishop Storey he did confuse some of the dates the way he has related the facts.
MR PIGOU: Do you think ...(intervention)
REV MBANGULA: My report-back was on the same day, the 13th, at 3p.m. If you look at Bishop Storey's report, I think it's on page 4, the last paragraph, Bishop Storey speaks about a meeting of the Reverend Verryn, the Crises Committee at 3p.m., and I was at that meeting. We had met with Mrs Mandela at about 11 earlier the same day and in that meeting I gave the report of what transpired at our meeting with Mrs Mandela whereby we were assured that of those young people who would be released to the custody of Bishop Storey. That was on the 13th, that's when I first reported. The following week Monday together with others we had gone to the Dobsonville meeting.
MP PIGOU: Okay now if you we're saying we that the meeting that you attended on the 13th is the one that was indicated on page 4, where you have a meeting with the Crisis Committee, and Crisis Committee members are present, I'd just like to pick up on one point which we raised with the Crisis Committee, that there was an attempt to get the Crisis Committee to cooperate, to get their support in legal action in relation to this and that the Crisis Committee refused to cooperate. Is that an accurate reflection of what happened in that meeting also?
REV MBANGULA: Yes I wouldn't say they refused as such in my understanding. I think there was a feeling that let not legal action be taken at that time in particular.
MP PIGOU: But I mean this is a situation where you received Kenny Kgase in a pretty bad physical condition, having been badly beaten and the medical evidence shows that he was very badly beaten, and yet it seems to be that from day to day people sort of have got this sort of manyana manyana attitude that we can wait until tomorrow. Now wasn't there a sense of urgency and wasn't that the reason why Bishop Verryn and Bishop Storey were saying that we need to move on this issue, we need to take legal action because our other efforts, by this stage we had gone through Dr Motlana, and maybe some other people had tried as well. Wasn't there a sense of urgency to do something about this. Perhaps you can explain to me why, did you not have this sense of urgency?
REV MBANGULA: I think there was a sense of urgency, it's true and the fact that immediately the report was brought to my notice I took action to try and consult with Bishop Storey on several occasions, Reverend Paul Verryn because we were concerned, but I only was the superintendent of the circuit, Bishop Storey is Bishop Storey, and I think a lot of other things he did on his own, therefore I cannot be in a position to account for every other meetings where he has been there or not.
MP PIGOU: You had been at that meeting that day with Mrs Madikizela-Mandela and I would like you to tell us a little bit about that meeting. Did you question or ask about the whereabouts of Stompie Seipei at all during the course of that meeting?
REV MBANGULA: We asked first about the reason why these young people were removed from the house and Mrs Mandela did agree that yes they were removed and I think whilst you were listening to that, Zinzi said I think it's important to explain why and the issue of them being sodomised by Rev Verryn was brought to light and then in that meeting again I think I remember Pas asking them where were they. Well I thought that these young people were alive, were safe and sound. Yes there was already a rumour that Stompie had been alive at that time and we had no particular way in which, for me in particular, I could ask where is Stompie, because that was the rumour at that time.
MP PIGOU: Did you ask to see the boys? The young men.
REV MBANGULA: No, no.
MP PIGOU: Could you tell us why not. You knew what the condition of Kenneth Kgase was, were you not concerned about the medical condition of the others?
REV MBANGULA: I think I did not see Kgase at that time. At that stage I didn't see, I did hear that he was somehow ...(indistinct) but I did not in particular ask to see them, no. I was happy when I was told that yes they were there, they were going to be released.
CHAIRPERSON: Excuse me Piers, how much more? Thank you.
MP PIGOU: On page 4 of the same Crisis Committee Annexure C, there is a reference to the Crisis Committee saying that Mrs Mandela was contemplating holding a press conference in which she will publicly announce that she is resigning from the ANC and that she had repeated this to yourself, Father Mkhatswa and Bishop Buthelezi. Is that a fair reflection of what happened also during that meeting?
REV MBANGULA: No I don't remember that.
MP PIGOU: No further questions.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr Semenya.
MR SEMENYA: I do not have questions for the witness.
CHAIRPERSON: Any along there? Will you please identify..
MR JORDI: Yes. My name is Peter Jordi, I appear for the Chili family. I'm going to describe to you certain events and I'd like you to tell me whether you can recollect whether they are properly described. Dudu Chili says that on day after the abduction which must have been on the 30th of December, although she is not certain about the date. Two youths approached here at home and informed here that youths had been taken from Reverend Verryn's home or the manse by compulsion to Winnie Mandela's house, and that they had not been brought back. She then reported this allegation to the Soweto Women's Committee which was meeting that day and steps then were then taken to inform other people of these allegations and I understand Mrs Ngaluza was informed of these allegations as was Mrs Sisulu and ultimately I understand you got the information as well through this channel. Is that correct?
REV MBANGULA: Just again to sketch the sequence. In my presentation, from the 7th of December, the 5th of January I was not in Johannesburg. Yes the information came to me through the Women’s' League because of the pre-school connection that we had but it was later than that time.
MR JORDI: When you say the Women’s' League. The Women’s' League as I understand was not really functioning at that time, you mean the Soweto Women’s' Committee or perhaps FEDRO, is that correct?
REV MBANGULA: FEDRO I mean FEDRO.
MR JORDI: Right thank you. No further questions.
MR RICHARD: Mr Chair, thank you, my surname is Richard and my client is Jerry Vusimuzi Richardson. Reverend my client's version is that it is correct that the young men and one youth to be precise were taken from the Methodist Mission house by force and held against their will and that is the subject matter of his amnesty application. In the circumstances I say that when you say that these youths and young men were held in the custody of Mrs Madikizela- Mandela, the word custody correctly and accurately describes the situation that you were dealing with. Is that correct?
REV MBANGULA: Okay.
MR RICHARD: Now it goes further. The reason that you were given was that were being held for their protection, do I understand you correctly?
REV MBANGULA: Yes.
MR RICHARD: In other words held by way of force or coercion or persuasion. Correct?
REV MBANGULA: Yes.
MR RICHARD: Thank you Chairperson, no further questions.
CHAIRPERSON: Alex Boraine.
DR BORAINE: Thank you Chairperson, I want to ask questions about your visit to Mrs Mandela's home and then also what took place at the subsequent meeting that you referred to at
3 o'clock that same afternoon when you made your report and where at least some of the Crisis Committee members were present, possibly not all. Now I must say I'm still very puzzled. You in response to a question said yes you didn't see Kenny, but that you had heard that he was badly assaulted and you asked Mrs Mandela where these young men are, according to your statement. Now you ask her, knowing that one who has escaped has been badly assaulted and she tells you that they were safe and sound to use your exact words. On what basis were you able to accept that assurance knowing as you say earlier that there were very deep concerns in the community about the abduction from the Methodist Mans that one of them has come back and has told dreadful stories about being assaulted. She tells you that they, to use your words were safe and sound. How was it possible for you to accept that assurance?
REV MBANGULA: Mr Chairperson, I think the nature of our visit at Mrs Mandela in particular, was a pastoral visit. We did not go to Mrs Mandela to interrogate her about what we heard as the rumour. We had gone there to try and solicit, if that's the right English word her understanding of the concern of the Church in particular about those young people who were in the custody of the Church and now have been taken and also to understand why the allegations about Rev Paul. At that particular moment I don't remember, I haven't seen Kenny myself, I have heard because Kenny was released on the 10th of January, I had that Kenny was badly injured and so forth but I haven't seen him myself. Therefore really there was no need for us to actually hope as far as that was concerned.
DR BORAINE: Let me put it a little differently then, Kenny was not released, he escaped and he tells the community that he has been very badly assaulted and he has scars and wounds to prove that but also he expresses very deep concern about Stompie's safety and health and possible death. Now you went on the 13th, I mean this was a very important, I mean you were very involved in this. You were very concerned about the safety and security of the children or the young people or the young men, but you go there and you are assured that they are safe and sound. So you must have, I put it to you that you must have asked her what about Stompie because we hear that he is very badly hurt and that he may be dead or he may be dying. Please tell us or can I see him?
REV MBANGULA: Yes it is true what you are saying Dr Boraine but in that particular context I really did not ask that question.
DR BORAINE: Why not?
REV MBANGULA: Well I don't know, but I didn't. That particular question, I don't remember me asking this and it was not only myself, it was a number of us.
DR BORAINE: Has it anything to do with I mean, you see what we - no let me speak for myself as a Commissioner, listening over these four days. We've just heard from Dr Motlana that he went there too and that he doesn't know why but he didn't ask to see the children because all he wanted to do was to get their release, you don't ask to see the children, you don't even ask if Stompie is okay, because you've just told me that you didn't ask that question, yet the major concern seems to be the safety and the security of the children. I mean was there, I mean was there a political reason, were you afraid to put these questions because of the status of the person to whom you were putting the questions, please help us? I mean you are a deeply-caring man and you clearly took action, you were concerned, you go to the house but you don't ask about the children except to be asked where are they, you don't ask to see them, you are told they are safe and sound but you've already heard that somebody has been badly assaulted and that he's terribly worried about this little boy of 14 years old called Stompie. Now please try and help us to understand why it is that you and others just didn't seem to be able to get to that point.
REV MBANGULA: It might have been an oversight on my part in particular, but I think you need to understand that there were two things that were running concurrently. I was concerned about what was said about Reverend Verryn to have been misusing the children, those young people, that was a real great concern. On the other hand there was also the concern that they have been removed and therefore we wanted to establish - so for me those were the two things, but then I would accept that it must have been an oversight, particularly to focus on Stompie because yes, it is true by then there was a rumour that Stompie might not be well.
DR BORAINE: I won't take that any further. Just let me Chairperson, with your leave, ask the question now about the follow-up and I am asking it because I wasn't sure when you were asked an earlier question by my colleague. The question was asked or stated that there was a degree of, a very large degree of urgency about this matter and you concurred, you said, yes of course that's why we are meeting, that's why we were going. Now you were at the meeting and according to Bishop Storey at that meeting he raised the possibility, so great was the sense of urgency that the Methodist Church, and he as a representative of that church were considering asking for an interdict, taking legal action. Now I thought I heard you say yes, you were there, yes you heard that, but the members of the Crisis Committee didn't really oppose it so much or refuse or reject it but tried to say well is this perhaps not the right way, perhaps there was another way of doing it, can you just tell us again what happened as far as you recall?
REV MBANGULA: I would not recall exactly what happened but I think what was said in that meeting was yes we understand the urgency, we have some structure in place that would like to get into this matter and we want to pursue the matter up to the point whereby we can feel that there is nothing more that we can do and therefore we are asking the church can you hold it a bit, for me that was the essence of it.
DR BORAINE: Last question. Just to make absolutely sure for the record, so according to your recollection however vague it may be the issue of taking legal action was raised but that in the ensuing discussion some people felt that was perhaps premature?
REV MBANGULA: Right.
DR BORAINE: Okay, thank you very much.
CHAIRPERSON: Khoza Mgojo.
MR MGOJO: Thank you Sir. You are the minister of the Methodist Church.
MR MGOJO: And during that time you were a superintendent minister?
REV MBANGULA: Correct.
MR MGOJO: And Paul Verryn was one of your ministers?
REV MBANGULA: Yes.
MR MGOJO: And Mama Mandela was a Methodist member of the church?
REV MBANGULA: Yes.
MR MGOJO: Why were the structures which are there in a church to deal with situations which are like this when they are involving two members of our church, not used? You see I hear the Crisis Committee did not and not, I don't hear anything about the structure of our church which is there which would have dealt with this situation, there's a vacuum here in the whole process, why was it not used?
REV MBANGULA: Well I am not sure how to answer that question, but I think that we had a situation whereby there was the Bishop on the one hand, there was myself in the circuit, there was the community on the other, and the nature of the issue had taken a total, I mean a clear community kind of aspect, it was more than just a church itself, and I think it's in that context that I felt or we felt that in order to be able to address it we cannot only do that as Methodists, we will have to work on that as the collective of the churches.
MR MGOJO: If some people, as they have said already, that our church used a double standard of morality, would you agree with that, that if the person who was concerned was not Mama Mandela you would not have taken this line? Do you agree with that?
REV MBANGULA: Yes and also if the people were concerned were clearly all of them were members of the church, we are talking about young people who were not necessarily members of the church, they were living in the Mission house but they did not belong to the Methodist Church, and therefore structurally there is no way in which I could call them into a leaders' meeting and say this and that and that, to them. And I haven't heard a case whereby one would take a person from you know the street and say I am calling you to account in the church's court.
MR MGOJO: Sorry I don't want to pursue this question but I could pursue it because I feel that the procedures of the church were not followed here. When those children were in the Methodist manse they were under the custodianship of our church, that was the Methodist property. That property did not belong to Bishop Paul Verryn, it belonged to the Methodist church and anybody who was an inmate there was under the custodian of our church, but I don't want to pursue that. Thank you.
MR NTSEBEZA: Thank you Chair. You see Reverend Mbangula I think - oh you were superintendent, sorry to demote you.
REV MBANGULA: No, no I am reverend that is okay.
MR NTSEBEZA: I think some of the concerns, certainly from the Commissioners emanate from perceptions then and perceptions now, the perceptions then were that all those people, including yourselves who were engaged in trying to resolve this issue felt compromised and one of the reasons was that it was because the personality with whom you were engaged was not only a powerful political leader in her own right, but also the wife of one of the most revered leaders of our country. Now that's the perception then.
The perception now, and it is one that also brushes and interrogates our ability to find is that even as we ask you questions we avoid to raise this issue as a perception that even as we ask questions from you we don't put it directly to you as I am putting it now, whether even if it is with the benefit of hindsight it was not for you personally also the reason that you were dealing at that stage with a powerful political leader in her own right as well as the wife of one of the most revered political leaders, did that not weigh heavily with you to a point where you were prepared to accept her say-so even in matters where you have the gravest concern, you felt you couldn't interrogate what by all accounts was a credible leader and the wife of a revered leader, is that not what is at the bottom of all this?
REV MBANGULA: I think it is true to a point that what you have described must have been particularly, I would say yes for me. I think Mrs Mandela is respected and I respect her, but at the same time I think to me I wanted to find a way in which I could answer to the people of my church, but the points you have raised I think they are correct.
DR RANDERA: Bishop I just want to ask you two questions actually and I don't know whether you have seen - sorry Reverend, okay, let's go back to - I don't know whether you have seen this document which is marked "Private and Confidential - prepared for the Crisis Committee", I understand it was also handed to us by Bishop Storey. It says, the "alleged abduction of youths from Orlando West premises of the Methodist Church".
REV MBANGULA: No Sir I can't recall that.
DR RANDERA: Okay, let me ask my questions anyway. In this document a young man, also 14 years old by the name of Maxwell Rabolo is mentioned, do you recall this young boy?
REV MBANGULA: No.
DR RANDERA: Again it was, he stayed at the manse and there was the whole question of whether him being an informer and also meeting and going to Mrs Mandela's house, coming back, bringing people in, you don't recall that?
REV MBANGULA: No.
DR RANDERA: The other point and maybe I should have asked Reverend Chikane this as well, but it says here, in late October 1988" and let me say yesterday of course this whole issue was cleared but I still think in the context of the time we need to understand this. It says- "...Verryn reported to Peter Storey and Frank Chikane that rumours were circulating in which he was alleged to be practising homosexual acts on you".
Now this is long before, two months before Katiza allegedly goes and says he was sodomised by the Reverend Verryn. Again I just want to understand from you, were you aware of these rumours that were circulating at that time?
REV MBANGULA: I can't remember that. The first time I became aware of this was at that point.
DR RANDERA: Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Piers.
MR PIGOU: I have no further questions for Reverend Mbangula, but I'd like to start with Father Mkhatswa if that's alright.
CHAIRPERSON: Well maybe, I don't know whether you want to not have him be a solo act and you want to sit here and hold his hand. Okay.
MR PIGOU: Thank you Archbishop. Just a few questions Father Mkhatswa. I was speaking with some people the other day about the events of this time and they were saying that the issues and concerns that you have said that you were working, or you were a member of the UDF Civic movement and I wonder whether you remember discussions at that time before or after you got drawn into this particular incident of your visit to Mrs Mandela whether you can give us some insight into what sort of issues you were discussing and you are hearing about at that time?
FATHER MKHATSWA: I am not so sure Mr Chairperson whether it would be true to say that this matter was discussed by UDF structures all over the country, but certainly because of media reports one must assume that MDM structures, including the UDF and so on certainly did, one would like to assume that this matter must have been discussed at some stages but that's just a very general statement.
MR PIGOU: So therefore in the structures that you were directly involved in this matter wasn't discussed at any great length?
FATHER MKHATSWA: No, except with the individuals, individual comrades.
MR PIGOU: Thank you. I now want to go to the meeting that we've been discussing with Reverend Mbangula about meeting with Mrs Madikizela-Mandela, I don't think we need to debate on what day it is, I think let's just talk about the meeting itself. Again I would refer to Bishop Storey's report and particularly on the issue about what questions were asked to Mrs Madikizela-Mandela about the whereabouts of the boys. Can you recall at all what happened in that meeting?
FATHER MKHATSWA: Well I think as my colleague has already pointed out the purpose of the visit was in no way confrontational at all. It was a pastoral visit at the request of my colleague Reverend Mbangula concerning the allegation that some young men had been removed from the Methodist Church into the custody of Mrs Mandela so that was really the purpose of the visit, and I don't really remember us asking too many questions.
MR PIGOU: Had you been made aware by the gentleman sitting next to you that one of the people that had been taken from the Methodist manse had been brutally assaulted or allegedly so at that stage?
FATHER MKHATSWA: Unfortunately the invitation to accompany Reverend Mbangula was made at very short notice. We did not even, among the three of us we didn't get an opportunity to discuss the matter and to get more facts.
MR PIGOU: Did you not find it strange and I know we've explored this avenue with other people but I think it's important to get your perspective on it, did you not find it strange that in the words, and I'll use your words here in your statement -
"... that children were being abused in the mission home and that she, being Mrs Madikizela-Mandela had decided to take them into her house as protection".
In Reverend Mbangula's statement he said she had sent some people to collect some young men so as to ensure their protection from what she perceived then as abuse. Didn't you find that strange in the context of the allegation of sexual abuse and then people from Mrs Mandela's household are sent to go and fetch them to her rather than to make perhaps more enquiries about what was going on herself more directly perhaps, perhaps even going to the Manse itself, I mean did you think that this was quite normal for Mrs Mandela to instruct people to go there, here there and everywhere to go and pick people up?
FATHER MKHATSWA: Mr Chairperson I really wouldn't like to engage in post facto speculation because we had gone there specifically as I said, not to interrogate Mrs Mandela but to draw her attention to the fact that there was deep concern in the community about the young men that were presumably in her house, in her custody and also as much as possible to discuss with her the possibility perhaps of lessening the tensions that obviously we were aware existed between herself and members of the Crisis Committee, but we didn't go there as almost the spiritual arm of the Crisis Committee, we went there as three clergymen in order to try and resolve a situation that obviously was beginning to be the talk of the country as it were.
MR PIGOU: And what was Mrs Mandela's response to you when you raised that there were growing community perceptions of problems particularly around this specific incident, what was her reaction to you and to the information that you were passing to her?
FATHER MKHATSWA: I can only describe her attitude.
MR PIGOU: Please do.
FATHER MKHATSWA: Her attitude was certainly a very understanding one and I think the discussion took place in a very amicable atmosphere. One of the reasons for that is simply because Mrs Mandela was no stranger to us. We had had dealings with her before and I want to believe that she really had respect, certainly speaking for myself, I say she had respect for me and therefore we were able to dialogue and to discuss and to genuinely and frankly express the concern of the structures in the community.
MR PIGOU: On a personal or on a collective level when you were going to see Mrs Mandela did you have any sort of pre-discussions as to, before you went into the meeting, that yes we should actually try and see these boys, you know this is really, we are going to get some answers if we are able to see them, did you not feel that you wanted to see them?
FATHER MKHATSWA: Well there again let me go back to what I said, namely that we did not really have enough time between the three of us to discuss our strategy or anything of the sort, save to say that Reverend Mbangula would take the lead because he had more information than Bishop Manas and myself, and that's exactly what happened. And our agreement before we went into the meeting was that the bottom line is that we should try and impress it upon Mrs Mandela that this matter is urgent and it needs to be resolved as speedily as possible and we then got the assurance that the young men were you know quite healthy and it was nothing really to worry about and we had no reason perhaps to speculate to the contrary so we left the matter at that. Had our mandate been to go there and secure the release of the young men I think our approach would have been quite different.
MR PIGOU: Did you not find it strange Father Mkhatswa that you were engaged in such an operation? I mean I personally find it very peculiar that to find out something what is essentially very simple and straightforward whether someone is being held against their will or whether they are being there for their own protection that we go on this sort-of route via the person that is protecting them to ascertain whether they are actually receiving protection, I am a little bit confused by the route that is being taken.
FATHER MKHATSWA: Well as I have already told in fact I don't find this strange at all in the sense that we had a structure called the Crisis Committee that was dealing with this matter, that was co-ordinating all efforts that were designed to try to normalise that situation and as you heard from Reverend Mbangula on the 16th of January community organisations and formations came together to discuss this issue and therefore we did not see it at that particular moment really as our brief to secure the release of the young men. And I must say also speaking for myself that quite frankly at that stage I did not have access to as concrete information as possible about the situation surrounding those young men.
MR PIGOU: Did you report back to the Crisis Committee, were you present when you reported back?
FATHER MKHATSWA: We were not sent by the Crisis Committee to go and do this and we were invited by Reverend Mbangula, and as we have heard from his testimony he did report back after the meeting to the people concerned. I was not there because I didn't see it as part of my brief.
MR PIGOU: Just one last point then. Bearing in mind that Reverend Mbangula has said that what is reported in the Crisis Committee memorandum about Mrs Mandela threatening to withdraw from the ANC what is your comment - well first of all did she say that during the course of your meeting?
FATHER MKHATSWA: Well that's news to me, I was most surprised when I read this in Bishop Storey's memorandum.
MR PIGOU: Well it's actually in the Mandela Crisis Committee memorandum. They say -
"She told us and she repeated this to a church delegation made up of Reverend Otto Mbangula, Father Simangaliso Mkhatswa and Bishop Manas Buthelezi that she was contemplating holding a press conference in which she will publicly announce that she has resigned from the ANC".
Did you ...(intervention)
FATHER MKHATSWA: Well the obvious person to answer that question is Mrs Mandela herself because they are merely reporting what presumably she told them and certainly during our visit there we didn't discuss this at all nor did we report back to the Crisis Committee which then might have given rise to this kind of statement.
MR PIGOU: So this would have been inaccurate ...(intervention)
FATHER MKHATSWA: From our point of view definitely I would say inaccurate.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Semenya.
MR SEMENYA: Father Mkhatswa let me attempt to solicit again an understanding and maybe let me preface what I am about to say with some illustration out of a personal experience. It would seem to me for instance when a child commits suicide that the parents and people would want to look back and make some reflections and see whether or not there wasn't a moment they could have identified to intervene before the catastrophe, now I find it humanly rational that it happens in that way, but did it occur to any of you at the time that there would be a time in the life of this country when there is a structure that makes an introspection about its soul that you would then give account about the details around the activities that were happening at the time?
FATHER MKHATSWA: We didn't really discuss that at the time nor did we even I would say think about it.
MR SEMENYA: I have no further questions.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Richard.
MR RICHARD: ..... to go ahead of me I have no problem.
CHAIRPERSON: Mr Richard.
MR RICHARD: No a few short questions, thank you Chairperson.
Father, one of the intimations made over the past few days during the cross-examination is that there will be a suggestion that it was not Mrs Mandela who was in control and responsible but in the sense of giving instructions, being a participator and a co-actor of the drama in your meeting with her as recounted in your statement did you feel that anyone else was in control besides her?
FATHER MKHATSWA: Absolutely not because as I pointed out earlier we had very clear and definite reason for going there so I don't really think that it even occurred to us that we should engage in all kinds of questions and so on. Had our mandate been different I am sure probably we would have then formed a definite opinion on this matter.
MR RICHARD: I am not quite clear as to what your answer is as I understand it and please correct me, the assertion that I am making is that there was no one else in control besides her is correct?
FATHER MKHATSWA: As far as I am concerned we were dealing with Mrs Mandela and I had no reason to believe that someone else was controlling her and that would be my response to that.
MR RICHARD: And when it came to the factuality of the situation did you have any doubts at all that she was ill-informed and didn't know everything about what was being discussed?
FATHER MKHATSWA: My impression was that she definitely understood our discussion, the purpose of our visit and we had what I thought was a very fruitful dialogue with her.
MR RICHARD: And as to the background of the tension taking into custody, kidnapping, abduction of the young men and youth, she was fully aware of all material facts and you had no reasons to doubt that there was nothing that she did not know?
FATHER MKHATSWA: Again we didn't enter into all those specific discussions well simply because that was not our mandate. Our mandate was - again let me repeat what I have said earlier was very simple, here are three clergymen, unfortunately they are men, there were no women, being asked by their colleague to go and say to Mrs Mandela we are aware that there are these allegations that have been you know that are flying around and so on and if the children are here we would urge you to ensure that those children are released, that's about all.
MR RICHARD: My last question which is really a recapping of what I have said. You were certain that Mrs Madikizela-Mandela was fully appraised of all facts relating to what she was speaking of?
FATHER MKHATSWA: In that meeting, yes.
MR RICHARD: Thank you, no further questions.
CHAIRPERSON: Yes Mr Kuny.
MR KUNY: Thank you Mr Chair. Just one question Father Mkhatswa and that relates to where the young men were at the time you visited, I note from your evidence and that of the Reverend that there is a discrepancy in the sense that you say in your statement at the time of the visit none of the children were at Mrs Mandela's home. Do you recall, was she asked directly about the whereabouts of the children?
FATHER MKHATSWA: I don't think we went, we asked that specific question. All what we were interested in was to find out if the children were well and we were assured that they actually were in good health.
MR KUNY: But was Mrs Mandela in fact asked where the children, where the young men were?
FATHER MKHATSWA: I don't think we really asked you know where, in fact physically where they were. As I said all what we were interested in was to find out if at all she knew their whereabouts and secondly if at all she was aware of the concern in the community about the condition of those young men. So after we had received that assurance we didn't really take the matter any further.
MR KUNY: How did you discover that they were not at the house during the course of your visit?
FATHER MKHATSWA: Well it's in the papers we didn't really ask to see them. I think that was just our understanding that - at least not at the house where we were at that particular time so I mean we didn't see any of them at that time. Perhaps the statement might be vague but that's what I meant.
MR KUNY: Well the question is asked because the Reverend said, "when we asked her about the whereabouts of the young men she told us that they were safe and sound". You in your evidence say, that at the time of the visit none of the children were at the house.
FATHER MKHATSWA: Well maybe I should have said we didn't see any, I would interpret it that way, we didn't see any of them at the time of our visit.
MR KUNY: Wouldn't it be reasonable to infer that she was asked about the whereabouts of the young men and that she didn't give an answer or, either that or - either deflected the question by simply saying they were safe and sound or informed you that they were not there?
FATHER MKHATSWA: Well this I can only again describe this post facto speculation or something that might have happened or should have happened but didn't happen.
MR KUNY: Well with respect it's not speculation, it's based on the evidence that has been given, and I am referring in this particular instance to the Reverend, he says they were asked, that you asked about the whereabouts of the young men. You don't have a recollection of that?
FATHER MKHATSWA: No well simply all what we are interested in was to get assurance from her that the children were in good health, that's all we wanted to establish.
MR KUNY: No further questions.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Your one question has spawned so many others. Hlengiwe.
MS MKHIZE: My first question is really wanting your reaction. Yesterday we had I should think it was Bishop Peter Storey who said they were involved in a hostage negotiation, and we heard also today and yesterday members of the defunct Mandela Crisis Committee who created an impression that they had to negotiate and there was a crisis. And from Dr Motlana, yourself it's a different tone altogether, how would you explain that? It's like really there were no major issues and how would you explain that? I mean it's going to be a dilemma for us.
FATHER MKHATSWA: Well thank you very much for that question. I think different individuals, different collectives, different organisations, different structures did different things in order to address this issue. As I have already pointed out the Crisis Committee was in fact almost solely responsible for co-ordinating all efforts that were designed to try to normalise this situation. So when we went to Mrs Mandela's house again our mandate was not to go there see the boys and get them released, that was not really the purpose of our visit. As Reverend Mbangula has pointed out, quite frankly it was really more a pastoral visit. Because from experience, and as the good Archbishop would know there comes a time when either politicians or certain groups may be in conflict and you probably need a person who can be regarded as rather neutral to act as a mediator or to act as a counsellor whatever the case may be. So I think that's how we saw our role and we've no reason to disagree with the way the Crisis Committee saw the situation. We cannot really be critical of that at all but that's how they saw it and that's how we saw our particular role on that day.
MS MKHIZE: Okay maybe we will need to get clarity on this, Reverend Mbangula the opening paragraph of your statement you indicate that you were on leave and on your return ...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: He's stepped down. You've got to ask, it's now Father Mkhatswa. He is not there.
MS MKHIZE: Ja, but you see it's about a pastoral visit and maybe I was saying to (...indistinct) are we talking about a pastoral attitude because it's like in terms of the mandate there is something which had to be dealt with which in my mind it doesn't really create an impression that it was a mere pastoral visit except if our understanding differs. Ja because I was reading this which is in Reverend Mbangula's statement that "I went into the -" first of all he didn't go there immediately, he had to get other people. Then he goes on to say -
"I went to that meeting with the following concerns, why were the young men removed from the mission house; where were they by then; what was the basis of the allegations levelled against the Reverend Verryn; what could one do in respect of Mrs Mandela who was also a member of my church".
So it's like it wasn't a mere pastoral - it wasn't a mere courtesy call.
FATHER MKHATSWA: Well perhaps if I may respond to that one. If I am called upon to provide pastoral counselling or ministry I don't just kneel down and start praying I also discuss the facts you know of the situation. If for instance husband and wife are fighting I can't just go there and say I am a pastor, you guys must behave yourself, let us pray. That's certainly not the idea. Well you try to find out what are the root causes perhaps of the problem you know, so it's a very scientific approach to the situation. So it seems to me that perhaps there is a differences of definition of what pastoral visit really means.
CHAIRPERSON: Dr Boraine.
DR BORAINE: Thank you. Father in your earlier responses to other questions you stated, and I wrote it down, that you went to talk with Mrs Mandela to tell her, and these are your words, "of the deep concern in the community concerning the four..." and you used these words, the ages are immaterial at the moment, "...of four young men". This coincides very much with what Mr Mbangula stated that he was deeply concerned about these young people, and he actually went further to say that in his view, I am not saying it's necessarily yours, but in his view that the best way to try and deal with this was to go and speak to Mrs Mandela because she, in his words, was the key person who could throw some light on these concerns. Now I am also puzzled at the fact that you state clearly that at the time of your visit none of the children were at Mrs Mandela's home. Now that's a very categorical statement, it's a scientific statement actually, it's a factual statement, none of the children were there, how did you know that?
FATHER MKHATSWA: Well I suppose like every statement needs to be interpreted the background to that statement is that when we discussed this issue with Mrs Mandela, and we got the assurance that these children were safe and sound and we as a group of three did not really request to see those children and in fact physically we did not see them, and we did not see them logically because we did not ask, not even request to see them. So maybe it could have been phrased differently but that's basically what it means.
DR BORAINE: So you could probably say that you didn't see the children when you visited them?
FATHER MKHATSWA: Correct.
DR BORAINE: Rather than none of the children were there, because you didn't know that, you didn't go to every room?
FATHER MKHATSWA: No, no.
DR BORAINE: Okay. I think that's a lot clearer. Then you go on to say that this was a very amicable meeting, and that you had a deep concern for the four young people but you were told that they were quite healthy and therefore you were not concerned and you had a word of prayer and you left. Now subsequent events suggest very differently, am I right?
FATHER MKHATSWA: Subsequent to that, okay.
DR BORAINE: In other words your accepting of Mrs Mandela's assurance that the children were safe and sound and quite healthy, to use your words, turned out to be very different.
FATHER MKHATSWA: Obviously in this world certain things happen that you cannot in any way humanly speaking foretell they are going to happen.
DR BORAINE: But you could have asked to see them because then you would have had greater knowledge about the condition of the children and you would have known at least that one was either missing or desperately ill or dead, right?
FATHER MKHATSWA: I certainly didn't as I say have information that the Reverend Mbangula had access to prior to the meeting so one could not really have been expected to ask those kinds of questions.
DR BORAINE: A final question. If you look back and you see the context of all these concerns and your attempt to get to, as you stated, the root causes, wouldn't it have been, you know looking back and thinking about this now, wouldn't it have been logical, sensible, compassionate to have gained some assurance for yourselves that these young guys were okay, just by at least greeting them, seeing them, getting some assurance so you could go back to your community and say look it's okay, those kids are okay, you don't have to be so concerned because that's why you went? The community were concerned about the children, about the young people, wouldn't it have been normal to say well I am so glad to hear that they are safe and sound could we just see them, perhaps pray with them?
FATHER MKHATSWA: Had they been in a prison, had they been in detention I certainly would have insisted upon seeing them, but this was a different situation as far as we were concerned. We certainly at that time we did not get the impression that the situation was as serious as it eventually turned out to be. As Mbangula pointed out for instance, the community organisations met on the 16th and that was after our visit to Mrs Mandela's house. And then after that one could then say the picture became much clearer as to the graveness of the situation and perhaps your question would then make sense if at all we would have visited Mrs Mandela after that meeting of the community structures.
DR BORAINE: The point I was trying to make is that if you had asked to see them in order to have an expression of your concern for them then you wouldn't have had to wait till the 16th to realise how serious the situation was.
FATHER MKHATSWA: Well at that time quite frankly as I say among ourselves we didn't really see any immediate need for that.
DR BORAINE: No further questions.
MS SOOKA: Father can I actually ask you, when you talked about this pastoral visit, was it pastoral in terms of these boys or pastoral in terms of Mrs Mandela?
FATHER MKHATSWA: It wasn't really either or, it was both, because Reverend Mbangula remember these boys had been kept in his church and members of the congregation I presume were quite concerned about the plight of the children, and therefore we had the responsibility to ensure that they were not harmed or they were eventually released and so on, but also for Mrs Mandela, because as I pointed out earlier in my testimony, from newspapers but also from talking to individual comrades in leadership we were aware that there were tensions, we cannot really hide that, there were tensions between some community structures or individual leadership and so on with Mrs Mandela, and therefore we thought that our visit would be - was timely and was a very good one. But as far as possible we had to try and create a climate again of ...(intervention)
MS SOOKA: You see it's always wiser I think with hindsight but there's a certain amount of anguish that we feel, that here we have church leaders, community leaders who have ostensibly gone to see about the plight of four boys who are reputed to be held against their will and I know that there were rumours - and I am beginning to want to ask the question, was perhaps the reason that your delegation were so willing to accept the story fed to you that these boys were okay because there was a certain amount of doubt still in your mind about whether the allegations about Reverend Paul Verryn were true?
FATHER MKHATSWA: Yes I am not so sure really the term "feeding us with the information" is a felicitous one because I don't really believe that we were fed because that implies somehow that we were there and we were almost taken for a ride, you know almost too ...(intervention)
MS SOOKA: But Father, sorry can I stop you Father, this fact of the matter is you went with the delegation to enquire about the position of these boys and their condition but you come away from the meeting without having asked to see the boys to establish for yourselves that they were well.
FATHER MKHATSWA: Yes I take the point, but what I am saying is that had we had more information, concrete information about the physical situation of those boys I take your point that we certainly then would have insisted, that's why I made the example, the analogy earlier, that had they been - for instance had I been sent to prison to go and see someone who was in detention the first thing I would want to do was actually to go and see if at all they are even still alive at all, but I am talking about the situation you know the struggle against apartheid where we actually knew that people were dying, people were disappearing, then that I would have done because the context of it was quite different, but this was a family, an individual family that was keeping some children, and according to some people against their will and so on. And quite frankly at that time, among the three of us, it did not occur to us that there was enough reason for us to demand to see them. In hindsight perhaps you might say well maybe we could have done, but in life there are so many things that you do and when you look back you say oh had I only done it differently this would have been - but I mean we can't really....
MS SOOKA: But would it be fair to say then that you actually failed in your pastoral duty towards these young boys because quite frankly even though you assured yourselves that they were well the reality is very much a different picture that has emerged?
FATHER MKHATSWA: Well we are all descendants of Adam and Eve and perhaps you might be right that in that particular instance we failed because in hindsight now perhaps you are quite right in saying that maybe we should have enquired more, so if you say we have failed in that instance well I would say yes, but that's your opinion really which I respect.
MS SOOKA: Thank you Father.
MR NTSEBEZA: Thank you Chairperson. Father Mkhatswa unless you would like me to put to you the question that I put to Reverend Mbangula I would really like to get your reaction and let me make it very clear, I am not asking you to resort to the wisdom of hindsight, I am asking you if you are able to, to tell me whether in fact the reason, and I accept that you didn't ask, didn't want to know whether the children can be produced or not, I accept that, but I want to know whether on reflection the reason for this was not in fact that you were prepared to accept the ipse dixit, the say so, the ordinary say so, of the person you were dealing with for two reasons - she was your comrade and you had been in the struggle together, so she came with struggle credentials even as you visit her, she was a powerful leader, she still is in her own right, but more and above she was the wife of the Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela and that is no ordinary person by all accounts?
FATHER MKHATSWA: Commissioner Ntsebeza let me say that yes, she was the wife of one of our greatest heroes in this country and there was that aura, obviously, around her, there is no doubt about that and we also held her in very high esteem and regard because of that relationship. But to say that we couldn't really answer her questions, I mean ask her questions simply because we thought she was such a powerful political leader I really wouldn't accept that. And you yourself actually have said that one of the reasons was that she was a comrade and therefore it seems to me that it actually should have made it even much easier for us to talk to a comrade because you don't describe someone as comrade if for instance you are just scared of a person, that's not really a comrade.
But also, let me finish up Mr Ntsebeza, earlier on I indicated to you, to this hearing, that it was not the first time that we had come face-to-face with Mrs Mandela and she was not really a stranger to us and we had never, certainly personally I have never had any fights with her or anything of the sort and so on, so what I am therefore saying is that I think the relationship when we went there was a good one, was a normal one from our point of view, which therefore would have made it easier for us to have actually made certain demands like wanting, like demanding to see the children.
MR NTSEBEZA: Let me put the same question differently. You see you go there with a specific mandate such as you have described to establish whether the children are "healthy", to use your words and let's leave it at that level, to establish and all manner of your doing that is simply to accept the word of the person who is in charge of the household where they are kept. Now I accept all the reasons that you have given and the fact that factually you never went ahead, all I am asking is it not so that while you were so ready to accept her word was because of who she was in relation to you? You felt there was no need to interrogate further, you felt there was no need to call her word and assurance in doubt because she was a comrade, because she had struggle credentials and because of the other things that I have said?
FATHER MKHATSWA: Commissioner Ntsebeza, again to put the record straight, yes we went there to enquire after the - first of all the fact that the kids were there and secondly after their well-being, but we also went there to advise that the children be released. So it wasn't really just a question of could interrogating and therefore after we were given that assurance quite frankly we felt that our reason for going there had been you know had been fulfilled. But had our mandate been slightly different or at least our reason for going ...(intervention)
MR NTSEBEZA: I don't want to cut you short, that's not what I am asking, I am asking whether your readiness to accept a mere assurance when you went there with a specific mandate to establish a certain reality, was not your readiness to accept that not informed by the fact that you were quite prepared to accept the word of a comrade without further interrogating her, was that not the reason?
FATHER MKHATSWA: There was no, as I say, any reason for us to doubt her word at that time, but as you say later on alright events turned otherwise, but otherwise from our point of view I don't think it would be really even logically be true to conclude that this was the reason why we did not pressurise her.
DR RANDERA: Father Mkhatswa just to remind you again, as I did with Dr Motlana, prior to your going to see Mrs Madikizela-Mandela the church leaders had been informed about Kenny's statement, he had talked about how he had been abducted, that violence had been used, that there was a concern about Stompie Seipei, not only at that time but even when Reverend Mbangula came back from his holiday, so it's not only subsequent to your visit that you find out that events were not as you saw them at the time of your meeting, you had some information prior to your going to this meeting and I think that is what we are trying to understand and what we are trying to grapple with.
FATHER MKHATSWA: Yes I thought I had answered this question by pointing out that, one, I was not part of the church leadership that met with Reverend Mbangula, Dr Motlana and others, I was not part of that meeting, so therefore as an individual I cannot really therefore be expected to have had that information. I only got that information much later when the situation you know got worse.
Chairperson could I also just - Chairperson I just want to go back to one particular question that was put to me by, I don't know the gentleman over there, the one about the Crisis Committee saying it was informed by Mrs Mandela that during our meeting with her that she had told us that she was going to hold a press conference in order to resign from the ANC, just to make sure that I have not been misunderstood, I am not saying that the Crisis Committee statement is wrong, I am not questioning the statement, but what I am saying is that there was no such discussion during our meeting, in other words she never said she was going to resign from the ANC or anything of the sort. I just wanted to put that straight. That's the statement of the Crisis Committee, I have no reason to doubt it or to question it.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. We are grateful to you. There are obviously concerns that we have that sometimes the answers are not as straight as we would have hoped they would be and that concerns us, but we take account of the fact that it is trying to describe events of a little while ago. We are grateful for your contribution in as seeking to assist us into forming a complete a picture as possible and the background and all the things that we are required to discover. Thank you very much. You may stand down.
Before I call Murphy Morobe and Ahzar Cachalia, let me just indicate, we do have this whole concern about our schedule and a part of the reason is, I do not want and we do not want as a Commission to give the impression that we are seeking to rush things. It is a very important hearing we are conducting and is perhaps far better for us to err on the side of maybe taking a great deal more time than we would otherwise do. I have tried a little bit to do this but it is quite clear that we are not able to accomplish our objective by tomorrow evening, and so we have, I have already indicated to you that we might have to work on Saturday. It is not only Saturday that we are going to work on Monday and possibly Tuesday. We have to finish in this one sitting, we cannot postpone, we do not as it happens have the physical time in our program. We have to finish work by the 14th of December. We are not allowed to take on work after that and I hope we can have finished today's intended programme by 7 o'clockish, it could be half past 7 but it depends. Yes.
MR SEMENYA: Chairperson can I just for the record request there may be an approach to the Commission outside official sittings about the appropriateness about the Saturday's hearing.
CHAIRPERSON: Maybe we should, because I had thought it might be better for us to have a break but I mean we have settling problems with other people. But can we talk about that because I think it is a very good suggestion. Will those two gentlemen Messrs Morobe and Cachalia come up?
Order please, we mustn't eat up even more time. If you are walking out it is possible to walk out without talking. Gentlemen,
MR SEMENYA: Chairperson may I, I have just been handed notes around the witnesses who are here. Can I just ask for a five minute adjournment to take instructions?
CHAIRPERSON: You didn't get the statements?
MR SEMENYA: We got the statements today and we keep reading them...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: Alright a five minute break.
Gentlemen thank you very much. We don't have control of things as we wish to and we are very grateful that you have put yourselves at our disposal in this manner. And we thank you for the part that you have played in the struggle which has enabled us to have things such as this one. Will you please - yes I don't suppose you're going to use any other language but English. Thank you will you stand then.
AHZAR CACHALIA: (affirmation)
MURPHY MOROBE: (sworn states)
MR VALLY: Thank you Archbishop. Both Mr Cachalia and Mr Morobe have made submissions to us, and I understand that they want to talk to their submissions before they ask questions. May we start?
CHAIRPERSON: Yes please.
MR VALLY: Chairperson...(intervention)
COUNSEL: Chairperson may we have copies of the statements please?
MR VALLY: These have in fact been handed out but I will arrange for you to get ...(indistinct) if you have not got yours. I think you should check with your colleagues, they were dished out. It will come to you shortly.
CHAIRPERSON: Mdu have you called Ahzar Cachalia - please just make sure that the lawyers have copies. Thank you very much.
MR SEMENYA: Chairperson, if I may, I do not want to anticipate what Mr Cachalia is going to say. I would before he testifies wish to address the Commission to make a ruling in terms of Rule 1.1.2 about the competence and relevance of his evidence. I don't know whether to mention my submissions now or immediately before he commences with his evidence.
CHAIRPERSON: ..for us to make a judgement, I mean you're saying we make a judgement. What is your objection?
MR SEMENYA: Maybe Chairperson let me then make the representations which I propose to make. I'd be calling on the Chairperson to make a ruling that the evidence of Mr Cachalia can 1 not be relevant and 2 that his evidence, if it is consistent with the document we have been furnished, constitutes totally completely hearsay evidence that nothing he purports, there is nothing he purports we're saying which emanates out of his direct knowledge of the events that the subpoena relates to other than the information which he as a member of the various structures would have understood from certain people. In terms of the issues which have been identified in the subpoena, he carries no personal knowledge about those things, he expresses opinions based on information that he would have had from various people and on that ground Chairperson admitting that the Commission has a discretion to admit hearsay evidence. I understand that ruling to be in the context of a witness who has something substantive of a personal knowledge, who in the deliverance of that testimony may relate to matters that are coincidental and that they may have had. But to bring a witness whose main aim evidence in the main is hearsay, particularly if the answer that is going to be offered is that he would have been part of the structure that made the broad call, the national call.
Chairperson we have Matthew Morobe who according to the information made to the statement, so the evidence of Mr Cachalia with respect, if it would not be redundant, will definitely be irrelevant.
CHAIRPERSON: Hanif will you..?
MR VALLY: Mr Chairperson of Mr Cachalia is particularly relevant. Mr Murphy Morobe did not make his statement in the air from the statement given to us by Mr Cachalia, he is jointly responsible as an official, a senior official of the then United Democratic Front. More important, for a lot of the relevant period Mr Morobe was not in the country or was in detention. Mr Cachalia is in a better position to do what we have to in terms of our function. I refer to Section 4 amongst others. If you look at Section 4 Subsection A, subsection Roman numeral 2, "The functions of the Commission shall be to achieve it's objectives and to that end the Commission shall facilitate and where necessary a co-ordinating inquiry into the nature, causes and extent of gross violations of human rights, including the antecedent's circumstances, factors, contexts and motives which led to such violations." The underlying theme of the hearings this week has been the activities of the Mandela United Football Club. The Mandela United Football Club is loosely regarded as having been part, and they can dispute this in the submission but part of the wider Mass Democratic Movement. Surely the leadership of that particular movement should explain and this is coming from investigators, it's not a finding yet but should explain the kinds of actions that took place under the auspices or within the ambit of the activities of the Football Club and the youths surrounding the Football Club within the broader framework of the Mass Democratic Movement which I would submit the Mandela Football Club members who regarded themselves as being part of.
So I think Mr Cachalia's evidence is particularly relevant. The section that Mr Semenya is referring to are the pervious four hearings that we have determined for this particular hearing. The Section reads as follows. "The panel conducting the hearing may in it's sole discretion", and I'll go straight to 1.2, "make a ruling on any relevant matter during the course of the hearing on the relevant matter". This matter is particularly relevant if you look at Mr Cachalia's submission, he talks about the background to the events. He talks about his role in the United Democratic Front. He talks about the possible causes as to why such, and I use this word guardedly but also consciously, such an anomaly, and the reason I use this word anomaly, and that's a euphemism, such as the United Football Club could have arisen. It's very important for us to determine why it's a euphemism is that we have a series of cases where people who belong to this football club have ether been charged of very serious crimes or have been convicted of very serious crimes.
CHAIRPERSON: I think that is enough. I see on page 3 of his, I hadn't looked at this, page 3 of his statement, that in fact personally consulted with and represented Paul Verryn, which means that he was very intimately involved, aside from his involvement with the UDF and therefore I rule that this is relevant.
MR SEMENYA: May I Chairperson, I respect the ruling.
MR SEMENYA: May I find out if the witness then when he's being led, would be directed to deal with matters, not his opinions but matters pertinent to the issues and about which he factually knows?
CHAIRPERSON: Yes, you will have the right to challenge whatever he puts across. Let him speak as we have heard everybody speak. People have given opinions and we haven't had objections. You will have the right of cross-examination, of calling in question whatever is being said. Thank you.
MR CACHALIA: May I proceed Chair? Thank you. I am an adult male residing in Johannesburg, I'm an attorney by profession and I'm currently employed by the government of South Africa as head for the Secretariat for Safety and Security within the Department of Safety and Security. In preparing this statement at the request the Commission, I haven't come here on my own accord, I have come here at the Commission's invitation. It is my hope that it will contribute to a better understanding of the tragedy really which is the subject matter of this inquiry. The statement deals with the events leading to the issuing of a statement by the Mass Democratic Movement on the 16th of February 1989. It was a statement which my colleague Murphy will deal with in greater detail but it essentially deals with the question of why the Mass Democratic Movement chose to distance itself from the conduct of Mrs Mandela and the Football Club. It is however necessary for me to try and explain the circumstances which prevailed at that time. A state of emergency was in force since June 1986. During 1988 government intensified it's repression of leaders and organisations of the Anti Apartheid Movement. In February of 1988 the United Democratic Front, COSATU as well as many of the UDF's key affiliates were effectively prohibited by government proclamation from engaging in any political activity. In addition a prohibition was imposed on the receipt of any foreign money. All our Soweto based affiliates were effectively restricted. Virtually the entire leadership of the UDF was either in detention or on trial and those who were not incarcerated were given severe restrictions. Comrade Albertina Sisulu and I were two such people. Effectively my restriction barred me from participating in any political activity including my duties as national treasurer of the UDF.
Now the number of detentions under both the emergency regulation and security laws was approximately five thousand that year. Many were released but a core of one thousand remained. In the Transvaal as it was known at that time the largest categories of detainees was students and community workers, as the State tried to contain the education crises and the rent boycott. In Soweto large numbers of members of the Soweto Student's congress, Soweto Youth Congress, the Soweto Civic Association remained in jail. The ban on all outdoor gatherings remained in force under the Internal Security Act. Other gatherings were banned or restricted under the emergency regulations. Areas like Soweto were effectively under a political curfew. Any political activity which escaped this net could not be reported. Newspapers such as South, the New Nation and the Weekly Mail were temporarily suspended.
To say that it was difficult to operate to operate politically under these conditions was therefore and understatement. It was just about impossible. Despite this, the risk of sounding too cliched, the struggle continued. Our instrument was the Mass Democratic Movement. The MDM was in essence a sort of underground or informal organisation of COSATU and the UDF. It was able to broaden it's scope of political influence over the country as it became apparent that the National Party really had no answer other than repression. While detainees embarked on hunger strikes to secure their release, groups of MDM activists continued to use every conceivable subterfuge to meet in defiance of their emergency restrictions. However as organisations were not able to meet formally the normal procedures used by democratic organisations namely mandates, proper recording of decisions and reporting back were often difficult to adhere to. Our structures had therefore been weakened and our linkages with youth groups in particular became tenuous. The youth and children of course bore the brunt of the State's brutality. One commentator describes its effects in the following way. "The Detainees' Parents Support Committee reported solders picking children off the streets at random and holding them for several hours in police vehicles or in remote areas of the veld. The children were beaten with fists and rifle butts, whipped with sjamboks and subjected to electric shock treatment. By mid 1985, thousands of unaffiliated youths lacking direction of cohesion, many of them badly affected by their experiences in detention, bore themselves as soldiers in the liberation struggle. They formed groups of street patrols hunting down other trouble makers, hooligans and vandals. Initially they confined themselves to situations they came across as they patrolled the streets. Then disputes were brought to them to "judge". The effect of these gangs on the community, particularly in Soweto was extraordinarily destabilising. As evidence began to emerge that the police both tacitly and actively showed support for some of these gangs, the fear they generated increased. All the township residents were horrified by the disorder and the challenge to their authority by some of these young thugs. In some cases gang control replaced people's courts which really in their non-violent form have long been a traditional form of dispensing justice in some of our communities. Previously street committees made up of respected residents, almost without exception, men who were elected by members of the few streets or blocks they represented settled domestic and minor disputes. At their best they gave a direct speedy and local participation in the pursuit of justice. Now they became personal fiefdoms and small power bases using extreme forms of punishment. This is the climate Sir in which Mrs Mandela created her own personal vigilante gang, the Mandela United Football Club.
I think my initial response when hearing about this Football Club was that it was inappropriate to use the revered Mandela name in this way. Surely there were other ways that Mrs Mandela could assist youths. I however had no contact with Mrs Mandela since the end of 1987 when I joined a new law firm. I had seen Mrs Mandela regularly before this when I practised in my previous law firm which also represented the Mandela family. After this the precious little time I had outside my practice was used to keep the UDF or MDM structures alive. I also had very little direct contact with the Soweto based structures. I did however begin to hear very disturbing reports of what could only be described as the criminal activities of the Football Club. There were many rumours that circulated. In the absence of any independent means of verification it was impossible to separate fact from fiction. There were however a few common themes which recurred. And there were three broad themes that I want to talk about.
The one is that the Football Club often dispensed their frightening brand of justice which included vicious assaults in cases ranging from domestic disputes to those who crossed their paths and were branded as informers. It was widely spoken about in the community that Mrs Mandela often directed these operations. Secondly there had bees stories that children had disappeared from the Mandela home. It was unclear however whether they had been killed by the Club, the police or had left the country, but there were parents who continued to ask questions about where their children were and this caused a great degree of anxiety in the community.
The third broad theme was that the Football Club was infiltrated by the police and that some of it's measures actually worked for the police. Some members of the community held the view that Mrs Mandela herself was working with the police. This was because just everyone seemed to be aware that there were guerrillas and arms in the Mandela home. Some of them had been involved in armed incidents in the township, some even ended up being arrested. In one case two guerrillas were killed after a shoot out with police for which Jerry Richardson was subsequently paid R10 OOO by the police. A person associated with Mrs Mandela was convicted and sentenced and the guerrilla was sentenced to death following an incident in a shebeen which resulted in a person being killed. There is Chairperson incidentally court records around all these cases. There appeared to be no political motive which resulted in that person being killed.
Perhaps the most sickening case to my memory involved the abduction of two youths by members of the Club who were then brought to the Mandela home where they were accused of being informers. On one of them the letter M was sliced into his chest with a pen knife and the words viva ANC was carved down his thigh. Battery acid was then poured over his open wounds. The second youth also had the words viva ANC carved on his back. At a subsequent trial involving some people of the Club, the victims were unable to identify the perpetrators of the crime. It was however common cause that this particular act took place in the home. The magistrate had incidentally said at the end that these two people had been so horrified, so scared at what had happened, that when they managed to run away it was understandable that they were not able to identify their assailants.
Now in none of these cases was Mrs Mandela charged or called as a witness and this of course fuelled some of the rumours around her.
Now when the conflict and pupils at Daliwonga High School erupted resulted in the Mandela house being set alight while members of the community apparently just looked on, something had to be done to avert a full-blown crisis and the Crisis Committee which was comprised of MDM members was set up to tackle the problem in August of 1988 and there has been full evidence from the Crisis Committee on the activities.
Now I must emphasise that I am unable to give any direct evidence relating to the events around the Mandela home during the period in question, but my information came from several sources. Firstly my capacity as national treasurer of the UDF, I had access to information from activists in Soweto. Secondly as a partner in the law firm, Cheadle, Thompson and Haysom which at the time acted form the Methodist Church, I became intimately involved in the matter. I had access to virtually all the material documents including key statements and affidavits. My partner Fink Haysom and I spent many hours debating the appropriate responses to the crises. I personally consulted with and represented Paul Verryn.
My third source of information is that I interacted with MDM leaders constantly at this period. One such person would have been Sydney Mufamadi. There were certain objective facts around this case and there has been a lot of evidence over the last four days but to our mind at the time, and I'm not talking about hindsight, at the time there were certain in our view objective facts.
Firstly that four males including Stompie were forcibly removed from the Mans to the Mandela home. Secondly they were viciously beaten at the Mandela home where they were kept against their will. Third, one young man Kenneth Kgase had escaped 7 January and reported his ordeal. Four, Stompie was not only tortured at the house, but then subsequently murdered in a savage fashion. At best for Mrs Mandela Chairperson, at best for Mrs Mandela, she was aware and encouraged this criminal activity. At worst she directed it and actively participated in the assaults. Six, Paul Verryn was framed and seven, all reasonable efforts by the Church community leaders, Mr Mandela, President Oliver Tambo to disband the gang of thugs by trying to secure Mrs Mandela's co-operation had failed.
By the 15th of February 1989 we were really at the end of our tether. The principal resolutions of the 16th of January had not been implemented a month later and let us just remind ourselves what those resolutions were. I was not part of the meeting. I did not participate in it and I did not engineer any of the resolutions, but this is what the meeting said. That when you be approached and be instructed to produce Stompie, that all progressive organisations should no longer give her a platform, that the Football Club be dismantled forthwith lest the community dismantle the Club for her. That from henceforth she must desist from creating the impression that she speaks on behalf of the people. That neither Krish Naidoo nor any other progressive lawyer in the country should act for her. I'm personally uncomfortable with that fifth resolution because I think all human beings, irrespective of what crimes they may have been suspected of should have the best possible legal representative, but that is the decision that that community took.
Now the Crisis Committee, and it is clear from the evidence as well that the Crisis Committee had become ineffective in the face of Mrs Mandela's obstinacy. Stompie's body had been positively identified and our worst fears had now materialised. The community anger was at boiling point. Chairperson let me just stop for a moment and explain this boiling point. The UDF had consistently over that period campaigned for the release of children. They consistently campaigned around the brutalisation around the children in the townships. We had gone, the DBSC had sent a delegation outside to Harare to tell the international community what was happening to the children. So it was an extremely sensitive thing, forget the around this thing. When I was released in detention in 1986, one of the first cases I was involved in was a case called State v Mahajane, where I tried unsuccessfully to secure the release of a 13 year old detainee. We lost the case. I was sickened by the judge, I was sickened by the courts. What possible threat could a 13 year old be to the state, but that was the climate and that was the sensitivity. And when I had approached, when I brought my own thinking to bear upon the decision we took, my professional life, my personal life and my political life came together. I couldn't separate that.
So as the national leadership of the UDF then we realised that we had to do something and we decided to publicly distance ourselves from Mrs Mandela's actions. And again I must emphasise we had very serious fears. We were not sure whether people were going to march in the community on the Mandela home. We were not sure whether the Daliwonga episode was going to repeat itself. The situation was hot. We weren't sitting calmly in some corner and playing political games and plotting, what do we do, who do we isolate, who do we integrate, that wasn't happening. It was hot. And that is the context that we are trying to explain here.
I must say that for me it was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made, but I think it was also one of the proudest moments that I can remember. As time went on I have often over the last years, nine years had cause to reflect on that decision. I hope that if I am ever confronted with having to make a similar decision that I will have the moral courage to do it again.
Unfortunately upon President Mandela's release from prison for Mrs Mandela the time had come to settle old scores. She telephoned me one evening at my law firm after I had presided over a press conference at which Mr Mandela was present. She warned me to stay away from Mandela. I wasn't able to pursue the conversation with here because the phone was put down on me.
Chairperson in concluding my statement, I would really want to make an earnest appeal to this Commission because this doesn't affect Mrs Mandela. This affects us and it affects our future in the democracy in this country and in finalising this Commission's, in finalising it's recommendations, I think it should very seriously consider making a recommendation to the effect that anyone who has been convicted of having committed a criminal offence which amounts to a gross violation of a person's human rights should not be regarded as fit to hold public office.
CHAIRPERSON: Order. Can you please desist, I give permission for applause and I think we should be quite serious about this. Thank you very much. Now Hanif do you propose to, what do you want to do.
MR VALLY: From my perspective Archbishop I see Mr Morobe and Mr Cachalia as making a joint submission for the Mass Democratic Movement. That's my position.
CHAIRPERSON: On to Mr Morobe?
MR VALLY: That's correct.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
MR MOROBE: Chairperson and honourable Commissioners, to the extent that I got to know about some of the issues that were raised in your invitation in respect of which I was asked to appear before this Commission, I should mention that our primary source from and MDM perspective at the time was the Crisis Committee that had been constituted by leading members of the community resident in Soweto to try and help in what was clearly being experienced as a major crises affecting not only the Mandela family but also the broader Soweto community. At the time when many of the events under consideration by the Commission and the sitting were taking place I was either in prison or overseas. In June of 1987 together with Mohammed Valli Moosa was I was then the acting general secretary of the UDF. We were detained by the security police in terms of the then prevailing general state of emergency. I was at the time the acting publicity secretary of the United Democratic Front because as you know that the key leadership of our organisation were at that time facing charges for high treason. It should however be recalled that that was a period characterised as my colleague Cachalia has mentioned earlier by heightened struggles against the then National Party government, which in response had also unleashed a ferocious counter campaign against the Mass Democratic Movement and many of our key activists were in detention at the time. Our organisations which were an important source of stability for our community was generally restricted in terms of the state of emergency and most of the community leaders who were not in jail had been slapped with restrictions on their political and other activities in terms of the state of emergencies and I might add here that those who were not restricted, like Reverend Chikane were either poisoned or almost killed out of detention. Thus making communication and effective involvement at all levels and at all times difficult and at times impossible.
After a brief detention spell at St Albans Prison in Port Elizabeth in 1987, myself and Mohammed Valli were then transferred to Diepkloof Prison in Johannesburg where we were incarcerated until our escape from prison in 1988. It was indeed while I was still in Diepkloof Prison that I first began to hear reports about the activities of the Mandela United Football Club. Here I'm talking about the adverse reports that are a subject of this inquiry.
Of course, having been involved myself in youth activities myself from the early '70's, this initiative of a Football Club appeared to me as an initiative to be welcomed. I come from Orlando East, the home of Orlando Pirates and football is just part and parcel of our existence. So it is understandable. However amongst some of us in prison at the time serious reservations were being expressed about whether the Mandela United Football Club will be able to maintain a direction. And here I'm talking about a direction which essentially is one which that would be seen to want to inculcate a particular demeanour among young people in our townships at the time. I'm raising this because at the time of the state of emergency Chairperson, in our prisons where I was in Diepkloof there were hundreds of us and many of them were 13 year olds, 14 year olds, 15 year olds. Many of them were just picked up in the streets and dumped into prisons with us. Now the key question for us, especially those who were senior comrades as we were called in prison was what do we do with those young people in prison with us because we knew that idleness in a prison situation is very dangerous. And then we actually went about creating an environment where we could have political classes where you could at least try to inculcate one kind of political perspective for them to appreciate their situation. At least that was the least we could do and contribute toward ensuring that our environment in prison does not continue to contribute to what was what we believed was precisely the intention of the state that demoralisation of our youth and eventually in fact the subjugation of our people according to the dictates of the regime. This anxiety was indeed heightened later on when about June or July, I think it was July but it doesn't matter, I think the Commission has a record of the actual date in 1988 when we received the disturbing reports in prison of the attack by pupils of Daliwonga High School on the Mandela residence in Soweto. After our escape from prison, that is in September of 1988, our preoccupation continued to be about what it was to pull our structure together giving the debilitating effect of the state of emergency. Even our escape if you are to think of it, was premised upon an approach that sought to execute actions that would begin to challenge the State of Emergency and eventually lead to its collapse.
As you'd know subsequent to that escape there were several hunger strikes that took place in prison where people demanded to be released and which eventually as you would recall, led in fact to the events in '89 and subsequent years. A few weeks after our escape myself and Vally went overseas to visit a number of the anti-apartheid groups and individuals who had supported us during the struggle. For 1989 our major concern as we were looking at then was about how to get the major campaigns of the Mass Democratic Movement, like the Defiance Campaign which we launched then and this trouble took us the most part of December '88 and January 1989. And while we're overseas, now the importance of what I'm telling Chairperson is that I am a living soul in this environment, I'm actually, I wasn't a politician. I was an activist, I wasn't being paid for doing the things that I was doing. It was a commitment of the struggle. Now even as we're going about doing what we're doing, we constantly tried to keep in touch with what was happening and the point here is that my interface with the events surrounding the Stompie Seipei case and others was not something that happened when I landed at Jan Smuts Airport towards the end of January. It was something that I was interfacing with that was impacting as well on my own thinking about these issues and we continued then to get reports about the goings on of the Mandela United Football Club and by that time the major story was about the abductions and brutal assaults on some youths in the Mandela homestead. Pardon the spelling error there, and when we returned to the country towards the end of January 1989 we found, and certainly I going to my home in Orlando East, found the air in Soweto thick with the tension arising from the recent events surrounding the death in fact of Stompie.
Now you might ask how do I get to know that the air is thick with this tension. I grew up in the township, I was born in Orlando East. In the 1970's as a secondary school student, Soweto was infested with gangsterism. Any township you knew there were gangsters there and it did not need to be a rocket scientist to know when there's tension where people live with fear, you could discern it, it becomes palpable, especially if you are part of that environment. And form the reports which we received from members of the Crisis Committee, we were left in no doubt that unless a quick and decisive political intervention was made the likelihood between a conflagration between at least the Soweto Youth Congress members and members of the Football Club was increasingly becoming a real possibility. The organised youth formations, labour and civic organisation, were in fact at a point where they actually were at the end of their tether regarding their reign of terror that residents were subjected to by what had increasingly become an undisciplined group of youngsters who were surrounding Mrs Madikizela-Mandela at the time.
Apart from the moral repugnance with which some of us recoiled at the activities of what people in the township tended to generally regard as Winnie's boys, one of our major concerns at a political level was the extent to which the activities of these boys were beginning to detract ... acting the regime and remember I said that one was and activist. It is important to understand how these things impact on us when we consider what our strategic objective as an organisation and as a movement actually is. Our agitation increased with each report from the Crisis Committee. We suggested growing recalcitrance on the part of Mrs Madikizela Mandela and disdainful treatment of the Crisis Committee who it must be mentioned had as one of the items on the agenda, apart from the rescue of the boys or the release of the boys that were kept there, the desire to rescue her from behaviour which was increasingly exposing not only her but the entire movement from the machination of what was clearly National Security Management System operations, but Chairperson as the Commission would also have heard from the members of the Crisis Committee, she refused to heed even advice from Oliver Tambo and Comrade Nelson Mandela.
It is not Chairperson my intention to repeat what members of that Crisis Committee would have submitted to you as it is now a matter of public record, which was essentially the feedback we were getting at the time. Suffice it to say that our attitude in the Mass Democratic movement had, apart from their reports, the increasingly belligerent sounds from the community of Soweto and the desperate calls for leadership to take it's stand on this matter. That was the basis for our subsequent action.
It was thus in that context that on the 16th of February 1989 we called for a press conference under the auspices of the Mass Democratic Movement whereat we issued a public statement on the matter of Mrs Madikizela Mandela and her Football Club. I think it's also important for one to pause, just to give the Commission a sense of what this Mass Democratic Movement was. At that time with all the bannings and detentions, our organisations were getting significantly affected by that and it was clear that operating in a normal situation was not possible and we than had to find various ways of operating to a point that most of the meetings, those that we managed to conduct, they had to be conducted in a secret manner as possible and I think from the evidence that has been led here, even in terms of the Dobsonville meeting of January that year, it was clear that there was a sense of uncertainty and fear in meetings whenever people that were not necessarily part of the original organisation appeared. There was a sense of fear, there was a sense of anticipation of possibly system involvement. Now for the Mass Democratic Movement then I acted as myself from my original position as the spokes person of the United Democratic Front, continued to play that role even for what we then called the Mass Democratic Movement.
In one of the statements and comments I made at the time, when we ask about what is the Mass Democratic Movement, what is going to happen with the UDF and the argument we put was that the UDF might be banned but what the UDF stands for will be continue and we're able to continue operating as a Mass Democratic Movement, we're a fairly loose conglomerate of groupings, essentially made up of United Democratic Front entities and the Trade Union Movement through COSATU, and where then at the leadership level to have significant interaction such that even as we are coming up with a statement on the 16th of February, which by the way was not very long after the confirmation of the body of a young person as being that of the body of Stompie Seipei and that is the tension that began to increase in the township. By the time we came up with a statement it was clear to us that if we do not make an act and act decisively at that point in time, we are going to be faced with a situation in the township that will be beyond our control because at that point in time, that issue of the meeting and the resolutions of the Dobsonville meeting came up. Have they been applied, have they been implemented? People continued what they perceived to be still the Mandela United Football Club around Mrs Winnie Mandela at the time and this confirmation of Stompie's death actually added fire to the fuel and the other way around.
It is then Chairperson with that in mind that you would actually see the pressure and the tension that was surrounding us at the time in terms of what do we do as a Mass Democratic Movement about this issue. Now when I listened to the testimonies of the Crisis Committee and that of the Reverend Peter Storey, you know you had the sense because I was not keeping a diary, one of the best things we had to do in case we got caught was to try to forget as much as what you are doing, so I wasn't keeping a diary but of course the Reverend Peter Storey's a priest, he wasn't on the run, he was leading a normal life and he had the benefit of keeping notes of what he was doing. They might not be accurate in a number of respects but certainly there's a certain sense of what you get of the atmosphere at the time when you go through the sequential recording of what was happening around these issues, that was really the way in which things impacted on you.
My Comrades from the Crisis Committee I can understand, I mean it is a situation from where you try to recollect as much as you can because information was not generally recorded because as it was indicated earlier on, in 1989 there was no concept of a Truth Commission in 1997. Perhaps if we thought of anything at all...(intervention)
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very very much, I think because we are going to go through this, if you would now go through, you want to now take us through the press statement. If you might be able to just do that crisply.
MR MOROBE: Yes, okay, no I just thought Chairperson ...(indistinct) what was going on my mind at the time.
We then went about dealing with this statement because this statement is the major intervention that the Mass Democratic Movement made on this issue. Now as you would sense from the statement, the statement had been actually cast in such a way that it was clear that there was a number things that we were uncertain. There were certain common threats even amongst the issues and the reports that we were getting. One of which was the element that we referred to in the statement relating to what we referred to as the obvious complicity of Mrs Mandela with respect to say the disappearance and even the subsequent death of Stompie Seipei. Now it's a statement that took us many hours to construct. In fact to be precise, over six hours it took us to actually get to a point where it became more or less a reasonable statement that would not even go to a point of levelling the accusation that the individual who is the subject of the statement is by definition guilty of what we actually say is the reason for us making this statement.
So the point about this statement Chairperson is that this was a statement that we hope with its being put into the system would help in stemming the tide of what we began to see as an explosive situation in Soweto and I'm sure that people that were observers at the time would actually take note of the fact that there was a degree to which it had a desired effect because certainly, here was a statement that said, irrespective of who you are in the organisation and in the liberation movement, it is important that we become uncompromising against issues relating to violations of human rights because it is precisely because we are fighting against that from the system that some of us went to jail, some of us were tortured in jail and it was therefore important that we shouldn't get to a situation where we condoned these activities and perhaps one might say, as you would know Bishop, that in some ways God works in mysterious ways. That certain things would then happen in order to present you with opportunities to make certain decisions that you cannot necessarily plan for in advance. It happened that this was the case involving Mrs Madikizela Mandela and at that time for us the question was not whether, who she was, it was a question of what lay behind the decision that we made.
Thank you Chairperson.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you I thought you were going to be - Hanif you..
MR VALLY: Thank you. What the Archbishop was going to say is we thought you were going to read your statement into the record but that's no problem, we have your statement.
CHAIRPERSON: You haven't actually finished because you have a 20 here which you didn't in your submission.
MR MOROBE: I happen to be a chairperson as well, Chairperson and I always respect chairpersons when they tell me to stop.
CHAIRPERSON: I think you should complete.
MR MOROBE: Okay. Just to complete then Chairperson, for me personally they issue here is that this process is important for me because this statement has had a profound effect for me as an individual on my relationship with Mrs Madikizela Mandela who I'd come to know from a very early age in the early '70's. In fact it could be said I actually grew up under her. And in fact it has an effect on me in terms of my relationship with here and with many others inside and outside of the movement, who, given the proximity or otherwise to the intensity of the events being investigated by the TRC, who would at the time and perhaps even now still have taken positions one way or the other. I'm saying this because if you stayed in Orlando West you would have one sense of these issues, and perhaps an even more intensive sense of what was happening around the Football Club. If you stayed in Zola or in Meadowlands perhaps you would experience events like Mr Sono experienced there, you know intermittent forays into your area. And if you stayed very in Bisho or you know in Pampierstad, these events should be very remote from you and I think those of us who were right in the situation had the level of intensity.
Now the point I'm making in conclusion is that what I got involved in as Murphy Morobe had nothing to do with a personal vendetta I have against Mrs Mandela, I think there were issues of principle here that for me it was important that my organisation, my movement begin to confront upfront. Thank you.
CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Hanif.
MR VALLY: Thank you Arch. Gentlemen what do you say to the proposition that your statement that you issued on the 16th of February 1989 is part of a Stratcom operation?
MR MOROBE: Well I'm glad that Paul Erasmus saw us on your list of witnesses. I'm sure he will be able to give you advice on that but all I can say for me, that's a ridiculous proposition. I've made the point here that arising out of the events in Soweto I was part of the drafting of the statement. We drafted the statement right until about 3 AM the 16th of February. There was no member from Stratcom in that situation unless you're telling me that perhaps somewhere there were machinations of Stratcom of which we had no power over, and I have indicated in the statement and what I've actually said, that in fact it was common cause, I think there are documents that have been put, the ANC Submission also I think has had indications of how Stratcom was operating those days and in this particular case, as you would see from the events in all of what people are saying, no one said that that there was a Stratcom involvement here. This was a Mass Democratic Statement, this statement is consistent with our feelings in the UDF in particular and the Mass Democratic Movement subsequent to this statement, actually endorsed it at a formal at a sitting.
MR VALLY: If Mrs Madikizela Mandela was involved in these activities as is set out in more detail in Mr Cachalia's submission, and if you Mr Morobe felt that it was important enough to release this press statement which has very strong allegations, very briefly we are outraged by the reign of terror that the Team has been associated with. We are of the view that Mrs Mandela has abused the trust and confidence which she has enjoyed over the years. We are outraged at Mrs Mandela's complicity in the recent abductions and assault of Stompie. Had Stompie and his three colleagues not been abducted by Mrs Mandela's Football Team, he would have been alive today. Very strong allegations, very strong statements. Did the UDF, being the structure that both of you belong to, not consider it correct to approach Mrs Madikizela Mandela directly on this issue?
MR MOROBE: Chairperson, through you, it is common cause that upon the occurrences beginning to happen in the way that can be described in various statements and even in the reports by the Crisis Committee, initiatives were taken. I have also indicated what the state and the situation was in respect of the organisations, people being banned etc. But an initiative was taken by local leaders of the Mass Democratic Movement in Soweto. Reverend Frank Chikane, Sidney Mufamadi etc, they were part of our structures, they were part of the MDM, and for us that was sufficient by way of an interest and a desire to intervene and try and resolve this. I don't that there was a necessity for any other additional steps because we took the cue from that.
MR VALLY: You heard us questioning members of the Crisis Committee and the one issue we took up with them was why didn't they act sooner, why weren't they more decisive. I notice statement in both of your submissions. With the Cachalia statement paragraph 12, "It was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made", Mr Morobe's statement paragraph 20, "This statement has had a profound effect on me as an individual..", and you go on. What was it, we try to understand this, what was it about Mrs Madikizela Mandela and her Football Club that made it so difficult for very important prominent people in positions people held from acting decisively before this whole series of events which you allege took place actually occurred?
MR CHAKALIA: Chairperson it was 1989. We were on the eve of our liberation. We were into our last push and our last push came later in '89. The ground in our view was ripe in the sense for our final move. We did not want anything to interfere with that, we did not want the regime to be side tracked ourselves. We didn't want the name of our movement, I'm not talking about the UDF, I'm talking about the ANC because that was the movement that we were fighting to unban, we didn't want to be tarnished, so yes it was extraordinary difficult, point 1.
And point 2, power. When you deal with people who are powerful in any society, whoever you are, you deal with them a bit more carefully than you deal with somebody you see in a squatter camp. Now what's so difficult to understand about that and I think we must put the cards on the table, Mrs Mandela is a powerful person, a powerful figure, so before you mess with a powerful person you must be clear of your facts and that was the situation.
MR MOROBE: Well for me one of the things - incidentally I spent time on Robben Island and one of the inmates on Robben Island was Comrade Nelson Mandela from whom many of us as young people learnt many things, and in a number of debates and discussions that we had on the island one of the issues that we actually spent a lot of time on related to the whole question of cults, the cult of the individual, the cult of personality, I think those who have read the histories of the world would know about those events in various countries where powerful figures where they design, and even in fact they desire and even in fact acquire reverence from in fact subjects become so powerful especially when they are not being questioned that in the end they begin to work against the interests of the very people who are giving them in fact their power. So the question here for me even when I was doing the statement it was a reflection of all those things that I learned and what do I do with the situation, I mean I am faced with someone as I say as a young student at Morris Isaacson on my way from school, one of my routes took me past her home in Orlando West, sometimes I will stop over, sometimes she will give me tea. In 1976 the Archbishop was in Soweto, Mrs Mandela's house was burnt and I was one of those that came to the house to actually offer that support at the time.
Now 1989 presents us with certain sets of circumstances and I am a grown up person, I have developed in terms of my mind, I understand a little better about these things and one of the things I have come to understand is the whole question of power relations in any environment where you as an individual have to relate to someone else. In the situation of the Football Club I think psychologists or social theoreticians will be very interested to make a thorough study of the dynamics that take place in that kind of environment where we have people that come from different places that do not have power, that do not have money, in fact that need some support and in their relationship to individuals that are powerful, have got all the means, and in that situation it becomes important to even understand the behaviour of those individuals when they have to relate in that situation. Now it might be said to be theoretical, of course I stand to be criticised and even perhaps crushed on the ground, but at least that's my view and that's how I understand these issues.
And for me I was faced in 1989 with the situation of saying, do I subject what I think at that point in time had reached a point where we need to take a principled position or do we say well you know somebody, it's one of us, it's wrong, and we might quote other instances and say why didn't you do something about the whole range of incidents all over the country, but I think that's another matter, but the point is that on this particular issue we took a particular view and I think that view, in my mind, you know is still reflected in the statement which I think is still valid.
MR VALLY: My last question. Mr Cachalia refers to the issue of settling old scores, Mr Morobe refers to the profound effect of the statement. You see to be creating the perception that by taking the stance you did it had an impact and an effect on you people, I am talking about possibly the underlying threat which is why people were scared of taking action, has the issuing of the statement had an effect on your political or professional lives?
MR CACHALIA: That's a more difficult one you know. After the tough years of the UDF, in some ways I had felt for myself that I wanted to pursue a professional career, and do my law properly and I started doing that until Sydney Mufamadi got hold of me, so I mean I had quite consciously decided, if you like, to disengage a bit, from the political structures. But having said that there were people who took sides on this thing and really it was a simple question, a very simple question. People make political calculations, not only in South Africa, they make political calculations all over the world and if you were on the right side of Comrade Winnie, or the wrong side of Comrade Winnie, depending on where Comrade Winnie is in the structure, you took particular choices, and so, ja, in some ways it was a bit lonely because we had felt that, I had felt that a year after we had issued the statement in a sense some of the people were out for us, that there was a coolness, but having said that you know, as they say cowboys don't cry, you take stands like this and you mustn't cry about it. And those things happen.
I think people must, you know when you are confronted with difficult issues you must take the stand and that is how society is improved. Nobody has harmed me. I mean Mrs Mandela may have phoned me but nobody has physically tried to beat me up. I mean nobody in the ANC has threatened me. In the old days, the moment I spoke you would end up in jail so I mean there hasn't been in a sense a hostility other than the normal sort of, if you like, political manoeuvring and I think we must have a bit of a balance around that, because much of the fear that I think that is generated around Mrs Mandela it's not Mrs Mandela's problem, it's the problem of people themselves who are actually not prepared to sort of say, Comrade Winnie we think you were wrong on that particular occasion and then they generate their own sense of fear.
MR MOROBE: On my part Chairperson this particular issue, when I talk about the effects clearly there is a definite way in which relationships have been affected here, you know, and it was bound to happen, it's by the very nature of the intervention. Now one either takes it personally or one takes it politically and I chose to take it politically. I have no individual or particular gripes against the person or any individual, I take the issue politically and for me I mean that's basically where I come from and up to thus far it hasn't affected me. Sure I mean I know, I don't want to talk even about rumours etc because as you will see from my statement where I talk about undercurrents that's basically what it is people just don't come up, you can sense it, you know when people take particular positions and think that you know you are either not one of them because you take a particular view, for me it doesn't matter. I think history called upon us to make a particular point and I think we made it.
Now I think history once again will become the judge of whether we were right or we were not right, and I think that's why for me this Commission is important. It must come up in those facts. And for me it's also important that if we are wrong in what we did or said it will be incumbent upon us to take that and come up and say we were wrong and make the appropriate apology. Now for me my eyes are on the Commission, that's why I am here to try to assist the Commission to get to the conclusion.
CHAIRPERSON: I think that it seems sensible to say it would probably be better to call a halt to the proceedings for today at this point. In an ideal world we would have wished to have completed the schedule that we had already set out for today but it isn't the case and I do want to apologise very deeply to people who have come and were ready to testify, Commissioner Fivaz, I think it would be, in fact irresponsible. We are tired. I am a sick old man and so I can use that, I can't go on forever, these younger people might, so I suggest that we break and start, Mr Semenya you would start tomorrow morning.
Thank you very much. We resume at half past eight.