CHAIRPERSON: Good morning and thanks to everybody for being on time. Could we start? I think we'll continue for now with the examination of the applicant and after that you'll may call other witnesses if you want to.



Thank you Chairperson.

Mr Dlamini, can you tell the Committee, at the time of this incident were you employed?

MR DLAMINI: Yes, I was.

MS MTANGA: Where were you working?

MR DLAMINI: I was a domestic employee at a white person's house, that white person was an electrician.

CHAIRPERSON: What was his name?

MR DLAMINI: I have forgotten his name.

CHAIRPERSON: How long had you been working there?

MR DLAMINI: I had been there for a month.

CHAIRPERSON: Before that?

MR DLAMINI: Before that I was a farm labourer at Strain Malies' farm.

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, whose farm?

MR DLAMINI: Strain Malies.

CHAIRPERSON: For how long?

MR DLAMINI: Three months.

CHAIRPERSON: Before that?

MR DLAMINI: I worked at Brenton near the Drakensberg mountains.

CHAIRPERSON: For how long?

MR DLAMINI: About a year and two months.


MS MTANGA: When did you work for Ronnie, in which year were you working for Ronnie?

MR DLAMINI: From 1984 to 1985.

MS MTANGA: Were you a full time employee at that time?

MR DLAMINI: My mother was employed there and because of her illness her employer asked me to come and help out so that when my mother is ill I can take over. That is how I became an employee.

MS MTANGA: When did you leave school?

MR DLAMINI: I left school in 1984, in the middle of the year.

ADV BOSMAN: Ms Mtanga may I just interpose here a minute?

Mr Dlamini and did you work for Mr Barnett at all?

MR DLAMINI: Yes I did, I used to help him when he was building a dam for about two, three weeks.

ADV BOSMAN: When was this?

MR DLAMINI: I can't really recall whether it was around 1982.

ADV BOSMAN: And it was prior to all these other works that you had done Mr Barnett? You worked for him before you worked for Ronnie at Brenton?

MR DLAMINI: I worked for Mr Ronnie before I worked for Barnett and we had altercation with Ronnie because he had been assaulted by him and that is how I left that employment. I was at home for about two weeks and went looking for work and found employment with Barnett.

ADV BOSMAN: And tell me, is it Mr Barnett who reduced your wages?

MR DLAMINI: Yes he did reduce my wage. When I arrived he was paying R25 a day. I was paid that amount for a week and on the second week he reduced that wage and our rations were also reduced.

ADV BOSMAN: What did he reduce it to?

MR DLAMINI: From R25 he reduced it to R5 and he would give us one head of cabbage per weekend which was something he never used to do before.

ADV BOSMAN: Thank you.

MS MTANGA: Thank you Chairperson.

My last question to you was when did you leave school?

MR DLAMINI: In the middle of 1984 around June.

MS MTANGA: What standard were you in at that time?

MR DLAMINI: I was in Standard 2.

MS MTANGA: In your evidence you indicated that Mr Nicolson knew Ronnie, am I correct?

MR DLAMINI: That is correct.

MS MTANGA: And he had worked for Ronnie for about a year, am I correct?

MR DLAMINI: That is correct.

MS MTANGA: Did Mr Nicolson know Mr Barnett that he worked for after Ronnie?

MR DLAMINI: Yes he knew him very well because when he arrived he already knew that Barnett's contractor was involved in the building of the hospital.

MS MTANGA: Can you remember in which year did you work for Mr Barnett?

MR DLAMINI: Mr Barnett employed me on a casual basis because prior to that I had been employed as a domestic worker and I only worked for him for about two weeks because my mother felt I was still young and also for the fact that the wages had been reduced I left.

MS MTANGA: In which year was this?

MR DLAMINI: Between 1991 and 1992.

CHAIRPERSON: I had a previous note 1982?


CHAIRPERSON: '82 or '92?

MR DLAMINI: I'm sorry, I made a mistake, it's 1982.

CHAIRPERSON: So you were still at school at that time?

MR DLAMINI: Yes, I was still with my grandmother at the time who passed away and my mother took me out of school. From that time I was out of school in 1980 for about a year, for about two years. I think that my mother that took me back to school in 1983, to a school which was at Drakensberg. At the time I was then employed casually by Mr Barnett but she took me out of that employment and I returned to school.

CHAIRPERSON: I just want some clarity here. You were still at school at that stage, you were about 14 years of age and he employed you at a salary of R25 a day? A fourteen year old child?

MR DLAMINI: That is correct.

MS MTANGA: The two other employers you have mentioned are the first one being Strain Malies, I'm not sure I'm pronouncing it properly? Strain Malies and the second employment that you got at Drakensberg, were these after you had worked for Mr Barnett and Ronnie?

MR DLAMINI: Yes that was after I had worked at Barnett's place.

MS MTANGA: And it was also you had worked for Ronnie as well?

MR DLAMINI: Yes that was after Ronnie's.

MS MTANGA: Did these two employers know Mr Nicolson?

MR DLAMINI: Yes they do know him because he was well known in the area.

MS MTANGA: In your affidavit on page 4 of the bundle you mainly refer to incidents where Mr Nicolson was involved when you were under the employment of Ronnie and Mr Barnett. Can I be correct to conclude that at the time you were working for the three other employers that is the first one being the one you worked for for a month in 1991 and the two other employers, Strain Malies and the employer at Drakensberg. Can I be correct to conclude that Mr Nicolson - you didn't suffer assault or abuse you indicated as a result of Mr Nicolson's influences? Is that the reason why you didn't mention this before?

MR DLAMINI: When they arrived in the Underberg area they would be informed what practices or how labour practices work because when we went to look for employment you would encounter different conditions from every employer.

MS MTANGA: So throughout your - for the experiences you went through throughout your employment life you blamed Mr Nicolson, am I correct to say that?

MR DLAMINI: Yes for the reason that he used to express words to the effect that we as black persons should be exploited and oppressed. He would also insult us and said that our brains are as black as our anuses and he was in the forefront of harassing black people in that area.

MS MTANGA: Why didn't you attack Ronnie, the person that you worked for and who had afflicted more direct or assault on you than Mr Nicolson? Why did you choose Mr Nicolson?

MR DLAMINI: Yes I did have thoughts on Mr Ronnie but that was before I became politically aware and was interested in politics. Moreover, Mr Ronnie would say he was just joking and being playful whereas when he did these things we would suffer. At that time I even thought of burning down his farm and flee but he also left the area immediately, he left for Howick.

MS MTANGA: I want to take you back to the question I raised to you yesterday about the money that you obtained from the Nicolson farmhouse. Your evidence was that according to the court evidence you obtained R550 from the Nicolson's house and according to the court evidence again, only R225 was returned and your explanation to that, you don't know how much you took and the money that you returned was all the money that you had obtained. This was led as evidence in court, why didn't you challenge the fact that you had not taken R550? Why did you leave it to the - admit it to the court that you had stolen R550 or robbed R550, why didn't you challenge it?

MR DLAMINI: In court I admitted to whatever was said because I had given up, I did not care what happened to me because Boers had done enough harm on me but there I did not use the money for anything. When I was arrested I was just having food.

MS MTANGA: Mr Dlamini, in court you didn't admit everything, you denied that you intended to kill Mr Nicolson? Your defence was put such that you wouldn't admit the murder, so why did you let it be put as evidence that you had taken R550 from the household when you had not taken R550?

MR DLAMINI: I did not deny anything in court, I was even asked why I killed Mr Nicolson and I explained, I did not deny anything. I admitted everything.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you explain to the court that you killed him because of your political persuasions and what you believed in politically, that you thought that you should take back the land? Was that the reason that you advanced in court?

MR DLAMINI: What I mentioned in court was that Mr Nicolson instructed other white employers to reduce our wages. I even mentioned that in 1981 he instructed Mr Barnett to reduce our wages, that is what I explained in court.

CHAIRPERSON: And did you tell the court that you had dagga before you went to steal or before you entered the house?

MR DLAMINI: I used that just as a defence because I thought they might think I was under the influence of that drug but it was something that I had not used.


MS MTANGA: Mr Dlamini, according to the evidence you gave in court you said the reason that you stabbed Mr Nicolson was to frighten him off, your intention was not to kill him. You were actually trying to run away when he approached and he grabbed you and then you used the rod to frighten him off so when you were trying to stab him you were not intending to kill him? That is on page 31 of the bundle, between lines 10 and 20. From line 14.

MR DLAMINI: Yes I did say so in court so that I will not receive a stiff sentence. He did try to grab hold of that instrument but it was my intention to kill him. I was even prepared to die if he did get that opportunity because by that time I realised that I no way out, I was employed by these people, that is how I earned my living but they continued to exploit and harass us.

MS MTANGA: Mr Dlamini, why did you not tell the court about the money because if you had told the court that the money that was recovered was all that you had taken, that would also have given you a lenient sentence on the robbery? Why didn't you tell the court that the money that was being alleged that you'd taken was not actually the amount that you had taken?

Why did you keep quiet?

MR DLAMINI: I was not questioned about the money in court, I myself did not ask them what the amount was that was found in my possession. It was not even seen in court, it was something that was taken by the Police and it was never shown to me.

MS MTANGA: I want to put it to you Mr Dlamini that I'm going to argue at the end of this - I'm going to argue that you did not challenge that evidence because it was true and it's still true that you did obtain an amount of R550 from the Nicolson's farmhouse and you used part of that money. What do you say to this?

MR DLAMINI: I do not know what to say to that because there's nothing that I use the money on and there is no one that I gave it to. I went into a bank and got some small change, I bought bread and a cold drink, ate and that is how the police found me and I was arrested then and there. I never went into any shop to buy anything.

MS MTANGA: But you bought bread and drink?

MR DLAMINI: I bought bread and six Hansa dumpies. Those are the only things that I had bought. I do not know what happened to that when I was arrested because when the police arrived we had a bit of a scuffle but that was the only thing that I bought.

MS MTANGA: One last question, Mr Dlamini, is it possible for you to explain to me, I find it very strange that in your affidavit the complaints that you have against Mr Nicolson focused on a period when you were still working with Ronnie or for Ronnie and Mr Barnett and that must have been from '82 to '85 and you don't mention any incidents after the period of 1985 which may have influenced you to kill Mr Nicolson in 1991. So how can you explain this?

MR DLAMINI: Around 1981 to 1985 I was not really politically aware or active and I had not met anybody from the liberation struggle, I only met the MK people from 1986 who informed me and we had discussions about the situation of black people in this country as well as discussions on different political organisations. Initially I had preferred to join MK but then at that time they were labelled terrorists.

MS MTANGA: Mr Dlamini, the point I want to make to you is that my understanding of your experiences with the farmers, it appears from your affidavit as if after you stopped working for Ronnie things were fine and there is no evidence or indication on your affidavit that you went through further experiences, hence I find it difficult for me to understand why would you after all those years, after 1985, stay for that long and then decide only in 1991 to go and attack Mr Nicolson? Can you explain why?

MR DLAMINI: In about 1988 I was at Strain Malies' farm and by that time I did feel that Mr Nicolson was responsible for whatever we suffered at the hands of white people because the employers would inform us that they could not offer us higher wages because the farmers in the area complained so when I decided that I am going to attack farmers I decided to start with Mr Nicolson before I proceed to others who were also had influence on that treatment we received.

MS MTANGA: Thank you Chairperson, I have no further questions.


CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Any re-examination?

RE-EXAMINATION BY MR PANDAY: Just briefly Mr Chairperson.

Mr Dlamini, in your affidavit you speak of Mr Nicolson as being a leader of the AWB. How were you able to get this perception that he was a leader of AWB?

CHAIRPERSON: Well, was it a perception or was it a fact?

Put it to him.

MR PANDAY: How did you believe him to be a leader of the AWB?

MR DLAMINI: Most white farmers at that time I regarded them as AWB because of their activities and the reason I considered Mr Nicolson as a leader of these farmers is because he had an authority, they used to listen to him and sometimes when they injure black person he will laugh and sometimes he will ask you "who injured you?" and you will tell him a white farmer has done this to me and he will laugh at your face and he will go.

CHAIRPERSON: Could you tell me, did you tell Mr Nicolson, you personally, that another white farmer had injured you at any stage, did you speak to him?

MR DLAMINI: Yes a white farmer injured me.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you tell Mr Nicolson about this?

MR DLAMINI: Yes I met him on my way to the clinic in town so I was hitchhiking, he gave me a ride to town to the clinic and I was injured above my knee and below my navel and I told him that Ronnie ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: So in fact he helped you go to the clinic? He gave you a lift?

MR DLAMINI: No, he didn't give me the ride, he stopped and I explained to him that I was on my way to the clinic. He just laughed at me, he then told me that he was not going to town he was going to another farm and this hurt me because he laughed at me and then left me there and I could tell he was happy about that and the bus came and I took a bus to town.

CHAIRPERSON: Well I don't know, I understood you to say he took you to the clinic? Did I understand wrongly?

ADV BOSMAN: My note says "he gave me a lift."

MR DLAMINI: My apologies, it may happen that the interpreter didn't understand, I said I was hitchhiking and he stopped but he didn't give me a lift, I did explain to him as to where I was going and he didn't give me that ride.

CHAIRPERSON: Didn't you change your evidence now because I confronted you that you've murdered in fact a man who gave you a lift and helped you?

MR DLAMINI: No, he didn't give me a lift, probably the interpreter misinterpreted. He said he was not going to town, I explained to him I was on my way to town to the clinic.

CHAIRPERSON: It's very rare for the interpreters to misinterpret, we've got great trust in our interpreters. Are you sure they misinterpreted you?

MR DLAMINI: Yes I am sure, I request that lift but he didn't give me.

CHAIRPERSON: But he stopped next to you?


CHAIRPERSON: Asked you where you were going?

MR DLAMINI: Yes he stopped next to me and asked me as to where I was going and I explained to him I was going to town to the clinic.

CHAIRPERSON: And then he drove away and laughed at you?

MR DLAMINI: He said he was not going to town, he was going to another farm and he laughed at me and said to me we do not listen that's why our bosses they hurt us. I was hurt about what he did when I was injured.

CHAIRPERSON: And when was that?

MR DLAMINI: I'm not certain whether it was in 1986, this happened just before Ronnie left, it might be 1987.

CHAIRPERSON: That was after you'd met the MK soldiers?

MR DLAMINI: My first encounter to the MK was in 1986 and I was lucky because they were operating underground and at first they didn't want to reveal that they were MKs but then they had a tape which they were playing and I heard that tape and I got closer to them and that's how we got to know each other. I listened to that tape which they had.

MR PANDAY: Now finally Mr Dlamini, you mentioned that when you had taken this money you had stopped and bought bread and beer and a few items. Do you have a rough idea of what these items cost? Okay, let me rephrase it, were these items more than R50?

MR DLAMINI: It was polony and half of bread and also six dumpies of beer. I don't remember exactly how much it was whether it was R10 or R15 for everything. This was in 1991, I don't remember quite well because on that day I was confused, it was after the incident, I wasn't thinking straight.

MR PANDAY: So the items, were they less than R50 effectively what you're saying?

CHAIRPERSON: Right, well we'll accept it's less than R50.

MR PANDAY: Thank you Mr Chairperson. Mr Chairperson, that's the applicant's case Mr Chairperson.


CHAIRPERSON: Any questions?

ADV SIGODI: Just one question.

You mentioned that shortly before you were arrested you were on your way to Pietermaritzburg to try and contact the AZAPO, that is when the money was confiscated, is that correct?

MR DLAMINI: Yes I was on my way to Pietermaritzburg to try and make contact with AZAPO people and also to look for a job because I didn't want to go back to Underberg. The only intention I had about going back to Underberg was to go back and attack the farmers not to go back and stay or work there. I had planned to make contacts whilst I'm in Pietermaritzburg, to make contact with AZAPO people and also to look for a job and I was going to go to see Harry Gwala so that he make contacts for me to meet AZAPO people.

ADV SIGODI: Do you know which political party Harry Gwala belongs to?

MR DLAMINI: Yes I knew him.

ADV SIGODI: Which political party?


ADV SIGODI: So why was it necessary for you to contact ANC people if you wanted to get in touch with the AZAPO people?

MR DLAMINI: It was easy for me to make contact with ANC because I knew some of them and we used to sit together and discuss and I told them about my ideas of attacking farmers and they were willing to assist me to get into contact with AZAPO people and also I wanted a place to stay because I didn't want to go back to where I was staying on the farms.

ADV SIGODI: Do you know where Harry Gwala stayed?

MR DLAMINI: Yes he was staying in Edendale but most of the time I would find at Makabisa where the ANC comrades used to gather.

ADV SIGODI: So you had been in contact with Harry Gwala before?

MR DLAMINI: Yes I had and we also had a conversation. Sometimes I will meet him in ANC meetings, sometimes I will meet him in the street and sometimes he will ask me about why I was interested in joining AZAPO and not the ANC and I explained to him that I didn't like the idea that ANC sometimes in conflict with other blacks and I was purely against white farmers not any black.

ADV SIGODI: So Harry Gwala knows you personally?

MR DLAMINI: Yes he knows me.

ADV SIGODI: So if we could call him then he would say he knows you?

MR DLAMINI: Yes he would say yes.

ADV SIGODI: Thank you Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: You remember you made two statements. One you made to a magistrate after your arrest, is that correct?


CHAIRPERSON: And in that statement you said that your salary was reduced by Barnett Construction and that the deceased asked them or ordered them to reduce your salary, is that correct?

MR DLAMINI: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: And now do you remember your evidence in court?

MR DLAMINI: Yes I do remember even though I do not remember everything but I think I do remember.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you tell the judge then that this statement was false, it wasn't the truth that Nicolson instructed Barnett to reduce your salary or was instrumental in the reduction of your salary?

MR DLAMINI: I don't remember, I may have said so or I may have not said so in front of the judge because I was scared that I was going to be sentenced to death.

CHAIRPERSON: Okay, I'll try and refresh your memory and you also told the judge that you lied or you told this lie because you were advised to do so and the effect would have been that you would receive a more lenient sentence, can you remember that?

MR DLAMINI: Yes I do remember.

CHAIRPERSON: So when did you lie now, did you lie in court when you said this statement was false or did you lie before the magistrate?

MR DLAMINI: I was telling the magistrate the truth and before the judge I was lying because I was trying to run away from the truth because I was scared I was going to be sentenced to death that's why I denied what I had written in front of the magistrate.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes but wouldn't it have been a factor that would influence the judge to give you a more lenient sentence if in fact the deceased caused your salary to be reduced?

Wouldn't that be a mitigating factor?

MR DLAMINI: Yes I did think about that, that is why some of the things which I've related to the magistrate I did agree before the judge but also I was scared that maybe if I tell the judge the whole truth he will think that I was a threat in farmers, I did deny some and not everything.

CHAIRPERSON: And what would your position be today, suppose we'll grant you amnesty would you still go out and murder farmers?

MR DLAMINI: I am prepared to work hand in hand with the farmers. In fact from my early life I've been working for farmers and I trusted them until I realised that they were ill-treating us, they were torturing us, it was difficult for me to stay under those circumstances. In fact sometimes even little boys will hit us ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: But you never worked for Mr Nicolson, he never ill-treated you. Why did you go and kill this old man? A man of 74 years - 76 years of age?

MR DLAMINI: I think it was because of his words, what he used to say to us blacks.

CHAIRPERSON: Not what he used to say, what did he used to say to you? Did he ever speak to you?

MR DLAMINI: Yes he did. One time we were in an auction sale. There was cattle there and we couldn't handle those cattle and he told me that, in fact he told all of us, that our brains are as black as our anus and he had a sjambok in his hand and he said he would - he threatened to sjambok us but he didn't and he told us that if we were looking for money we cannot find money there. He was together with his brother Desmond and Desmond as well was also swearing at us. If I was not arrested I think I would have killed Desmond too.

CHAIRPERSON: And only one further question, did you ask him for work the afternoon before you killed him?

MR DLAMINI: I did ask for work. I found him in town and I approached him. He was there to buy sacks of mealie meal and I approached him. I trusted that he was going to hire me because he knew me. It was in 1991, I think in March 1991, he told me he couldn't hire me, I should go and see Mandela and Buthelezi. He asked me if I do know Mandela, I told him no, I only know him by far but he said now that he's been released blacks are going to suffer more than what they're suffering because they are not going to hire blacks and they're going to kick them out of their farms because Mandela is now released but if Mandela was still in prison he was going to hire me and he was going to pay me what he wanted to pay me but now that Mandela is out then the blacks will start talking about salary increase and he can't hire me, at the moment he was thinking of retrenching his staff and he said they would not hire blacks any more.

CHAIRPERSON: I've asked you whether you'd asked him for work on the afternoon before you killed him?

MR DLAMINI: This happened on the same day I met him in town.

CHAIRPERSON: Oh the same day.


CHAIRPERSON: And the town is 18 miles from his house or 18 kilometres from his farmhouse?

MR DLAMINI: I am not sure.

CHAIRPERSON: How did you go back to the farm, did you have a lift or did you walk?

MR DLAMINI: Desmond gave me a ride. I requested for a lift from Desmond.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes and Desmond was so kind as to offer you a lift, is that right?

MR DLAMINI: Yes he did.

CHAIRPERSON: And yet you told us a minute ago you wanted to kill Desmond too? Or is this also a mistake that Desmond gave you a lift?

MR DLAMINI: Yes Desmond too, I was going to kill him. When he gave me a ride he was with his wife therefore even if I wanted to kill Desmond that day I couldn't have because he was with his wife. In fact I think I was going to kill Desmond the same day but then I didn't because he was with his wife.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Any further questions?

MR PANDAY: No Mr Chairperson.


CHAIRPERSON: Are you going to call a witness?

MS MTANGA: Yes Chairperson, I'll still call a witness. Mr Lapiya Mbanjwa.

CHAIRPERSON: Would he be giving evidence in Zulu?

MS MTANGA: Yes Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Could you assist him in putting on the earphones?

LAPIYA LUCAS MBANJWA: (sworn states)

CHAIRPERSON: Is he on the right channel? I thought he may be listening to the English one.

EXAMINATION BY MS MTANGA: Mr Mbanjwa, can you give your full names for the record?

MR MBANJWA: Lapiya Lucas Mbanjwa.

MS MTANGA: How old are you Mr Mbanjwa?

MR MBANJWA: I wouldn't be able to tell my age but I was born in 1963 in February the 2nd.

MS MTANGA: Do you know the applicant, Mr Dlamini?

MR MBANJWA: Yes I do know him.

MS MTANGA: Where do you know him from?

MR MBANJWA: In Ronnie's farm. We were working with his mother there, he was still in school by then. He left school and he joined us in that farm.

MS MTANGA: Is that the first time you met him?

MR MBANJWA: Yes but I knew his mother for quite a long time before I knew the applicant.

MS MTANGA: Can you remember in which year was the applicant working for Ronnie?

MR MBANJWA: Yes I think I do remember a little bit. I started working for Ronnie in 1983 until 1984. I left Ronnie's farm in 1985 and at that time he had joined the farm.

MS MTANGA: Do you know the person by the name of Mr Barnett?

MR MBANJWA: Yes I know Mr Barnett, D S.

MS MTANGA: Can you tell this Committee who is Mr Barnett?

MR MBANJWA: He was a contractor, he had a contracting company which was building roads.

MS MTANGA: Did you ever work for Barnett?

MR MBANJWA: No, I never worked for Barnett but I worked for Makatuni. After Makatuni left that contracting company we also left. Barnett bought Makatuni's company and I didn't work for Barnett, I left after Makatuni left the company.

MS MTANGA: Who is Makatuni?

MR MBANJWA: Ronnie Brey.

MS MTANGA: Do you know Mr Nicolson, the late Mr Nicolson, or did you know him?

MR MBANJWA: Yes I know him.

MS MTANGA: Can you tell the Committee how did you know Mr Nicolson?

MR MBANJWA: I know him because I approached him one time looking for a job. He told me can't employ me and he said I must go to the kitchen. I went to that kitchen and later I went to another farm in the neighbourhood and I asked for a job there. They gave me. This was in 1978.

MS MTANGA: Was that the first time you met Mr Nicolson?


MS MTANGA: Did you see him again after 1978?

MR MBANJWA: Yes I did. I was working in Ronnie's farm and when he died I was working for Underberg homestead.

MS MTANGA: Did Mr Nicolson, did he ever visit, did he ever visit Ronnie's place where you worked, the company that you worked for the time you were employed by Ronnie, did you ever see him at your employment place?

MR MBANJWA: Mr Nicolson?


MR MBANJWA: No, I've never seen him because I was not a resident in Ronnie's farm. We usually worked in tractors outside, not in his house or homestead.

MS MTANGA: You have heard the evidence of the applicant that he believed or he perceived Mr Nicolson as an AWB member. Do you know of the existence of the AWB in Underberg?

MR MBANJWA: Yes I would hear sometimes when people are talking. They said it was whites were AWB but I didn't know which ones among the whites who were AWB.

MS MTANGA: Did you hear anything about Mr Nicolson being a leader of AWB or being a member of the AWB?

MR MBANJWA: No I didn't hear but according to my understanding or what I thought since these were the talks I thought every white farmer was an AWB.

MS MTANGA: You have heard the evidence of the applicant that as an employee of Ronnie he went through ill-treatment and abuses by Ronnie and this was an experience that other employees as well went through. Did you go to the same experiences with this Ronnie?

MS MTANGA: Yes, Ronnie did injure me, he did assault me and this is one of the reasons why I left working at Ronnie. In fact the day he hit me it was because we were busy planting potatoes and the people who were driving the tractor, my responsibility was that I should stop and then they will jump in and then sometimes I will drive this tractor and then when I'm at the end of the field I will turn together with the people on top and he said I was breaking this tractor therefore he hit me for that, he said I mustn't do that.

MS MTANGA: Mr Mbanjwa, the applicant has given evidence here that because of the abuses and the ill-treatments that you went through as farm labourers, he sat with you, Mr Mtola and other employees where you discussed how to deal with these ill-treatments by your employers. Do you know of this discussion where you wanted to take action?

MS MTANGA: Yes we did discuss about the harassment and the torture we suffered under these white farmers but what I told them, I said since they were harassing us I was going to leave the job with Ronnie because he had just assaulted me.

MS MTANGA: I have no further questions, Chairperson.


MR PANDAY: No cross-examination, Chairperson.


CHAIRPERSON: Have you got any questions?

ADV BOSMAN: For whom are you working now Mr Mbanjwa?

MR MBANJWA: I am working for a certain company. The manager is Roger Pafelman, he is the owner of this company.

ADV BOSMAN: Do you know Mr Nicolson who was here yesterday?

MR MBANJWA: You mean the son?


MR MBANJWA: Yes I do know him.

ADV BOSMAN: Do you know him well?

MR MBANJWA: Yes I know him well because the company or the firm which I'm working for now he usually comes and buys maize meal and other stock from this company.

ADV BOSMAN: So do you know the Nicolson family fairly well?

MR MBANJWA: Yes I do know them.

ADV BOSMAN: Did you ever discuss that the Nicolsons as a family were ill-treating the farm labourers?

MR MBANJWA: Yes, we usually talked about this man even though I personally didn't see him but we usually talked about Desmond and that he was one person with authority in the farms and also that he usually threatened other whites for them not to pay us enough money. He wanted all other farmers to pay us less, he wanted to be the one to be paying a little bit more so that we will go to him and be exploited by him but then I cannot say I am certain because I didn't work under Desmond but this is what people were talking about in the farms.

ADV SIGODI: The deceased, Mr Nicolson, the deceased one, were there any rumours that he had also or did you know him to have ill-treated his workers?

MR MBANJWA: I didn't know, I know that he had farm workers and also that some had cattle and taking the fact that other farmers never allowed their employees to farm as well or to have cattle but his workers, some of them, had cattle therefore I wouldn't know.

ADV SIGODI: Where were you on the day that Mr Nicolson died?

MR MBANJWA: Underberg.

ADV SIGODI: Were you far away from Mr Nicolson's farm?

MR MBANJWA: Yes I was far because if I may estimate the kilometres one can say it's about 15 to 20 kilometres, that's how far I was.

ADV SIGODI: So you wouldn't know anything about the applicant having gone to leave a weapon for some of the workers, you wouldn't know anything about that?

MR MBANJWA: No, I wouldn't know.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes thank you. No re-examination?

MS MTANGA: None Chairperson, thank you.


CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you for coming and thank you for spending the time here to assist us with your evidence.


CHAIRPERSON: Is there any further evidence?

MR PANDAY: No Mr Chairperson, none from the applicant?

CHAIRPERSON: Would you address us then?

MR PANDAY IN ARGUMENT: Yes Mr Chairperson, I don't know if my learned friend is in a position to address? It's fine.

Mr Chairperson, the applicant appears before this Committee seeking application namely for the murder of Mr Nicolson as well as the robbery committed on the same day where Mrs Nicolson was forced into the handing over of cash. The applicant's application is relatively straightforward in that he maintains that:

(i) He was an AZAPO supporter,

(ii) That there was a history of ill-treatment of the black workers in the area that they had come from and this was - and this sort of ill-treatment was accompanied by either assaults, harassing, beating and so forth.

The applicant states clearly, Mr Chairperson, that in his earlier years he was relatively young in the knowledge of politics and as he grew he became more politically aware. His action taken for the murder of Mr Nicolson was based primarily on the ill-treatment that the blacks received as well as the oppression that they were placed under and as a result of this he saw that by killing Mr Nicolson who he had perceived to have been a leader in the white community, a leader amongst whites and the behaviour of the whites against the blacks, he perceived him to be AWB and it was his belief that he must now attack this leader who was Nicolson in the white community who he perceived to be an AWB member and he did just that, followed by the robbery which he intended to use the money to gain contact with the furtherance of his support and as he put it, to now seek the AZAPO leadership.

Now Mr Chairperson, it is my respectful submission that -

(i) The actions of the applicant were politically based,

(ii) He has disclosed to this Committee the sequence of events that had taken place and which lead to him killing Mr Nicolson as well as the robbery. He has strayed or maybe at times confused certain issues but in essence his evidence hasn't materially changed.

Now Mr Chairperson, the evidence leader has called upon two witnesses, one namely the son of the family and it is my respectful submission that the son's evidence doesn't take or destroy the evidence of the applicant. The son merely gives evidence as to what his father's leadership was but when put to him that there were farmers in the area that abused blacks he did not dispute that and if I may recall, he put it quite categorically, yes there are farmers that abuse blacks.

It was further put to him that white farmers associated a net for whatever reason, he couldn't dispute that and when put to him that in the mind of the applicant, if one had to see white farmers congregating, they would perceive that namely the applicant would perceive it to be a congregation of these white farmers who ill-treated blacks and that if I may recall the witness put it that obviously he cannot go into the mind of the applicant. Insofar as his evidence was, Chairperson, his evidence did not in any way destroy the merits of the applicant's application.

Now the evidence leader has further called a second witness. Chairperson, we take it that this witness is independent, this witness has nothing to gain from this application, he knows the applicant, he knows the parties that were victims as well as the deceased and interestingly his evidence verifies as to what was taking place in the area of the deceased or the Underberg area.

Chairperson, the witness Mr Mbanjwa further confirms the affidavit on page 4 which is the translation that we have, paragraph 5, he confirms that the applicant has or they had discussed these issues and he decided to leave because he himself was assaulted, he himself was a victim of this abuse that was being metered out by the white farmers.

CHAIRPERSON: By a white farmer.

MR PANDAY: Sorry Mr Chairperson?

CHAIRPERSON: By a white farmer, a certain white farmer.

MR PANDAY: By a white farmer, a certain white farmer, merely verifying the version of the applicant that white farmers or other farmers indulged in such acts of assault.

Chairperson, it is therefore my respectful submission that the applicant who claims to be a supporter of the AZAPO which I might add was not disproved Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: There's no evidence that he ever met a single AZAPO member?

MR PANDAY: Well Mr Chairperson, as the applicant puts it is that he was on his way to now to meet the organisation ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Try and trace them somewhere.

MR PANDAY: And his only route to this organisation was via the other liberation organisation namely the ANC who would hopefully put into contact and unfortunately by then he was arrested and thus far he has been in custody.

CHAIRPERSON: Or fortunately been arrested after a murder?

MR PANDAY: Well fortunately or unfortunately, that's the roll of the dice, Chairperson, in terms of his career or in the progress of his political awareness and struggle, it's unfortunate for that, Chairperson, insofar as a murder was committed that would be the ...(indistinct) why the person was merely arrested.

Now Mr Chairperson, at the end of the day there is no evidence to contradict his political support and in terms of full disclosure he has disclosed to the best of his recollection. I'm sure my learned friend may now ponder upon the point that there was R225 and R550. Chairperson, that doesn't take the matter neither here nor there, the applicant states that he took money and he left, right? The only thing he purchased was bread, polony and some beer and ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: How long after the event did the arrest take place?

MR PANDAY: I think it must have been a day later, I'm not too sure with that, if I understand it I think it was a day later.

CHAIRPERSON: Could you perhaps ...(intervention)

MR PANDAY: Pose that?

MR DLAMINI: 8 o'clock in the morning, the following day.

MR PANDAY: Chairperson he advises me it's roughly the next day round about 8 o'clock. Now Chairperson, getting back to the point of the discrepancy in the ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, I understand that - there's something worrying me now and I - where did he buy the liquor at that time of the night after the murder?

MR PANDAY: If I may just enquire from - would Mr Chairperson prefer that on record?

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, okay ask?

MR PANDAY: Mr Dlamini, you mentioned that you had bought bread, liquor and polony. Do you recall from where did you buy it?

MR DLAMINI: I bought this in the morning at 8 o'clock while I was waiting for the taxi to Pietermaritzburg, that's when I bought.


MR PANDAY: Now Mr Chairperson, as I have mentioned that he has explained that he's taken money, he's purchased a few items that couldn't have cost between R10 - R15. Now the discrepancy of R200 approximately, Chairperson, or R250, it's my respectful submission that that's neither here nor there. The applicant has confessed to a murder. He's explained why the murder took place. He has further confessed that he had robbed the place for the obtaining of money for the furtherance of purchasing a firearm and so forth. Now in respect of the discrepancy, Mr Chairperson, one cannot conclusively state whether in fact there was R540 or R550 or whatever the case may be and as such Chairperson I respectfully submit that the applicant is truthful and has disclosed that he has taken money to the extent that he can't recall the precise sum. Unfortunately we did not have Mrs Nicolson to testify exactly what money was - but he himself says it is possible that that amount could have been there but he cannot recollect how the X sum was disclosed.

Finally Chairperson, it is therefore my submission that the applicant has fulfilled the requirements for amnesty and should be accordingly granted amnesty in respect of the murder of Mr Nicolson on the 27th August 1991 as well as the robbery that took place on the Nicolson farm on the 27th August 1991. Thank you Mr Chairperson.

MS MTANGA IN ARGUMENT: Thank you Chairperson. It is my submission on behalf of the Nicolson family that it is a fact and it was a fact during the court trial which was put as evidence in the presence of the applicant that an amount of R550 was taken by the applicant from the Nicolson farmhouse. It was also put as evidence that the amount was not fully recovered. It is my submission today that the applicant has testified before this court that he used some of the money. It is my argument that the court must not believe that the applicant only used the money for the bread and the beer as he has explained here today. Even if he had used it on the beer and the bread the fact still remains that he used part of that money and it is part of my argument that the applicant carried out this offence solely for personal benefit and he indeed benefited from that money. The evidence by the applicant that the money was to be used to buy firearms for AZAPO, it is my submission to the Committee that this is totally untruthful.

The applicant's evidence that he was going to contact AZAPO in so farfetched especially if the Committee takes cognisance of how the applicant intended to do that, the fact that he was going to contact a certain Harry Gwala from Pietermaritzburg and despite various people that he had indicated here before this Committee who were AZAPO, whom he had had discussions with, he mentioned a certain Patrick Mkhize whom he said was an AZAPO person and he had contact with that person, he had had discussions with that person. He still pursued this approach that he would use the ANC instead of working with Patrick Mkhize who was an AZAPO person whom he could have contacted had he really wanted to contact AZAPO members.

It is my submission that this is very far fetched and the applicant is just fabricating evidence before this Committee to give cause or to give a political cause to his actions. On the day the applicant killed Mr Nicolson and stole from them, the reason for this was malice, it was personal malice and there was no political objective at all. If the Committee looks at the fact that Mr Dlamini carried out this offence without any knowledge of the policies of the AZAPO, that he could not give evidence to this Committee that this within the policy of AZAPO to kill farmers and steal from them. It is my argument therefore that the Committee should not grant amnesty to Mr Dlamini on the grounds that he personally benefited from this incident.

CHAIRPERSON: But as far as the personal benefit is concerned, he stole the money after 6 o'clock the previous night. It was about well say 7 o'clock the previous night. He's arrested round about 8 o'clock or just past 8 the following morning. Can one really say that he sought of appropriated money for personal use and that he used it personally except for buying what he told us he bought and maybe he made use of a taxi, I don't know, he didn't testify to that, but there was not a period of time in which he could sort of - say well, this is my money I'm going to spend it, there wasn't an opportunity to spend money on his own except for say the few things he bought.

MS MTANGA: Chairperson, if one looks at the evidence before us, the fact that the money was recorded as stolen from the Nicolson farmhouse was R550 and the money recovered from him was R225, it would be too difficult for any of us here to explain when he could have spent that money but it is a fact that only R225 of that money was recovered from him and it is also a fact that he never reached AZAPO to hand in the money and he has not given any evidence before this Committee that he did buy firearms with that money so the question remains, what happened to the rest of the money? That ends my submission, thank you Chairperson.

MR PANDAY IN REPLY: Just in reply Chairperson. Chairperson, firstly it was the applicant's evidence that he intended buying a firearm or firearms with that money. Secondly, the record on page 17, that was the police report concerning a prisoner, the property involved it was according record R550, that's on page 17, Chairperson, just the second last block, that reports R550, value recovered R225.

Chairperson, further on page 26 of the judgment, it's just above paragraph - line 10, three lines above line 10, page 26, that's on the judgment, beginning of the judgment.

Chairperson, if Mr Chairperson can take note that it's recorded that approximately R540 that was taken. Chairperson, it's quite obvious that this figure is not a conclusive figure that was reached, this figure has changed from R550 to R540 and the applicant was arrested and a sum of R225 was recovered.

Now Chairperson, the applicant has no reason to not disclose what he did with the monies. He knows that he has to put before this Commission before them. Now if he very well wanted, he could have merely have admitted yes, I took R550, I spent approximately R225 to satisfy the requirement insofar as the use of the money is. Now just to conclude, Chairperson, there is no conclusive proof that it was R550 and this is further confirmed by the judgment where the term approximately R540 was mentioned by Lordship ...(indistinct).

Thank you Mr Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Would that conclude the present application and the roll?

MS MTANGA: Yes Chairperson, that is so.

CHAIRPERSON: I thank everybody for assisting us and thank everybody to be on time so that we could finish early. Thanks to all the staff members and also the people who supplied refreshments and whatever they've done for us, thank you very much. We'll adjourn.