PROCEEDINGS HELD AT
[PAGES 1 - 134]
I N D E X
NO ITEM PAGE N°
1. Mr Tshabalala....................................................... 1 - 7
2. Betty Laliwe Lowape.............................................. 8 - 15
3. Morgan Sabatha Phehlani........................................ 16 - 34
4. Pumla Marina Mashoang......................................... 34 - 43
5. Bhaki George Morake............................................. 44 - 52
6. Mrs G S Daseko.................................................... 53 - 60
7. Modisi Elias Moyhilwa............................................ 61 - 68
8. Mamarama Tshale.................................................. 69 - 74
9. Mr Pistsol............................................................ 75 - 83
10. Shuping Josiah Motlale............................................ 84 - 91
11. Mr E Molatseli..................................................... 92 - 102
12. Shadrack Rataba and Jonas Molehe............................ 103 - 114
13. Mr B Bolane........................................................ 115 - 134
DR BORAINE: Good Morning, Mr Tshabalala. I gather that you can hear me all right? Can you just switch on the microphone please? Thank you. You can hear me all right?
MR TSHABALALA: I can hear you quite well.
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. Mr Tshabalala, you have brought somebody with you. Could you please tell me who that is?
MR TSHABALALA: This is my mother, Emily Charles.
DR BORAINE: I'd like to welcome you, Mrs Tshabalala, very much. We are glad that you have joined your son whilst he is talking to us. Mr Tshabalala, you're going to tell us about a cousin, Edward Viyu Charles, who was killed, and even though it's not a brother or a sister, a father or a mother, it's a part of you, a part of your family, and we know that you feel this deeply, and we are very glad that you've come to tell this story about your cousin. Now, I have to ask you please to stand to take the oath.
MR TSHABALALA (Sworn, States)
DR BORAINE: Please be seated Mr Tshabalala. Mr Tshabalala, you are first today. I am not sure if you were here yesterday, but we always ask a member of the panel, one of my colleagues, to assist whoever is giving their story, and on this occasion, to assist you wherever you may need it, is Mr Ilan Lax, and he is sitting on my far left, and he will take over from me now. Thank you.
MR LAX: Good morning, Mr Tshabalala, welcome. --- Thank you very much.
(Inaudible) ... we start this morning, and before you go into the story of the sad death of Edward Viyu
Charles, could you tell us a little bit about the Charles
family, how many children there were, and so on? --- The family of Charles is comprised of six children.
(Inaudible) ... them. --- The family of Charles is a cousin who grew up at my father's place.
Would you now tell us what you know of the death of Edward Viyu Charles please. --- My cousin was a student at that time. He looked very brilliant, he had a very bright future. My cousin could see the problems that we were going through at our home. He could also see the problems that the black nation had. Then he took a decision that amongst all other things he will work for his nation, especially strive for freedom. In other words he got involved in politics. At that time when the UDF started he was the chairperson of the UDF in Welkom. In 1983 Edward Viyu Charles was arrested for the very first time. His second arrest was in 1985, near Welkom and Odendaalsrus, on the way to Kroonstad. In 1985 it was a little bit difficult during those times. His life was a little bit more in shambles, and he spent most of his time in prison, and he related how difficult it was there. He even told us about the torture that went on in the prison. At that time he was in Mpohadi College, and his parents wished that he should finish is education. There were people who kept on harassing him. Those were the law people. They were using constant death threats, and they threatened that they would wipe the whole family out. And there came a time where he was told that he would go because he did not want to leave the cause for freedom. He used to talk with us to make us aware as to all that the previous regime was not protecting his nation. He
took an oath and he told himself that he will continue
with the struggle, he won't turn back. Amongst the tortures that he went through the most painful was when he was taken into a bath, put inside the water, and he was electrocuted. In 1985 he went to Lesotho. At that time we heard that they were threatening they would wipe the whole family if we kept him in the family. At that time he stayed in Lesotho until he crossed ... (incomplete)
When you're ready we can continue. (Pause) --- It was very difficult because the parents were expecting that he should finish his education, but he did explain to them and they did understand he had to leave the country. It was then that we actually resolved and told ourselves that it was the last time we saw him.
You can take your time. We don't mind waiting for you. (Pause) --- The last time we heard him talk was when he phoned us and he told us that he was on his way to Lusaka. That was the last time. He went to Lusaka. Throughout we were dreaming we were also expecting him, we were also - we also encouraged ourselves. We told ourselves that whatever decision he had taken we were in line with it. We were being supportive because he always explained to us the problems that he was going through. He went to Lusaka. We heard rumours that he was around, but we never saw him. In 1987, on the 16th if I am not mistaken, that is the 16th of December, we heard rumours that there was a terrorist who died in the vicinity of Brandfort and Bloemfontein in a farm. He was termed a terrorist. We never thought it could possibly he him. It took us a very long time to know that it was him. This was being hidden away from us. I think it was in 1990
when myself and his elder brother we made some
investigations. We heard rumours that amongst the people who died Edward Viyu Charles was amongst them. We made some investigations and we discovered that he is the person who was killed in 1987. We were not notified about his death, we only heard it from people. It looks as if there were some people who were with him, but one of them is in Bloemfontein according to rumour, the one who was with him at that time when he died. The other one survived and he surrendered, but my brother was killed by the boers. They killed him in a very painful manner. Amongst all other things when he was being buried he was buried by the police. I believe they just buried him like a dog or a puppy. They were just seeing a corpse, an unknown corpse. There were two policemen who couldn't - who had a problem burying him. This was a very painful experience. The most cruel of them all was that when we last saw him he was fine and alive in flesh, but now when we had to see him for the last time he was only bones. We buried his bones in 1991. We were not burying him in person. That's all I can say.
Thank you, Mr Charles. Just for the record could you confirm Edward Viyu Charles' date of birth as 20 October 1964? --- It is so.
So at the time he left the country he would have been 21. --- It is so.
Now, you spoke about some inquiries that you made. Could you briefly tell us what sort of inquiries you made to discover that the ... (inaudible) ... you subsequently reburied was in fact Edward Charles? --- His elder brother is a teacher at Ladybrand. He heard that there
was somebody who had died. He went to Bloemfontein to
come and see if there was anything he could find about his brother. He got information that he was the one who was killed in Brandfort. We went to Brandfort. We could not get any information as to what happened. Thereafter we discovered that according to rumours a certain person was being buried in a certain grave by the Comrades. It could be possible that it was him. Further investigations that were made in Bloemfontein confirmed that in reality the grave was his.
Thank you. Now, you spoke to us about a witness, one of the comrades of your cousin as someone who survived that incident, and you said that that person was somewhere in Bloemfontein. Do you know that person's name so we can maybe try and trace him? --- I think they talked about Mohapi. That is the name that I remember.
The elder brother who is a teacher from Ladybrand, what's his name please? --- It's Ezekiel Themba Charles.
Thank you. You spoke of arrests during 1983 and 1985. Were those arrests for specific charges, or specific activities that you're aware of? --- Those accusations we are not clear as to what they entailed, but at that time they were electing a councillor in Thabong. That was the second arrest.
Now, from the statement that we have it seems clear that there was no death certificate by the family as a result of this death. Can you confirm that? --- It's difficult that we don't agree with it, because we never saw him, we just accepted what we were being told. That's what made us agree and resolve it is so.
So, if I understand you correctly, you're saying
there's some doubt in your hearts that this is in fact the right person. --- We do agree according to the knowledge that we were given, or the information. Because they were bones we couldn't identify him, so there's nothing that really encourages us to agree that it was really him.
(Inaudible) ... must be some doubt in your hearts. Let me just check with you. According to the statement, and you can confirm this for me please, you were never called to any cases or inquests of any kind that you know of? --- We were never called to any inquests or any courts of law.
Okay. We will do our best to try and track down the official records if they're still around, and to see whether we can help you clear up this confusion for you. With that I hand back to the Chairperson.
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. Any other comments, questions? Can I just make absolutely sure that I understand you? You mentioned that your cousin was exhumed. Now, where was the burial site before you moved him for the second burial? Where was that? --- He was buried at Brandfort.
(Inaudible) ... that in the local cemetery, or where was that? --- It was there at the local cemetery.
We are grateful to you for coming and for telling us your story. We have made a number of notes so that we can follow this up, and Mr Lax has told you already that as much information that we can get as possible is important so that we can try to assist you to find out more details of what happened, who killed him, who buried him, and
whether it really was your cousin. We'll do our very best to help in every way, and we just want to thank you and we want to thank your mother for coming here today. Thank you very much.
DR BORAINE: Mrs Lowape, can you hear me through the headphones?
MRS LOWAPE: Yes, I can hear you perfectly well.
DR BORAINE: Mrs Lowape, we welcome you very warmly to this second day of the hearings. We are very grateful that you have taken the trouble to come and share with us, and share with the nation, your own pain and suffering. You are going to tell us about the shooting of your son, Papiki, and before you do that you have to be under oath, so I'll ask you to please stand.
BETTY LALIWE LOWAPE (Sworn, States)
DR BORAINE: Thank you, Mrs Lowape, will you please take your seat again, and my colleague Mrs Gcabashe is now going to take over from me.
MRS GCABASHE: Let me start by thanking you. Are you coming from Welkom? Thank you for coming here to give us evidence to help us, all of us, so that all the people can know the truth of what happened in the past. I sympathise with you as you have lost your son. We have your statement here. I would request you to start. You give us the details about your family background. Can you hear me? --- I have 10 children. He was the sixth one.
Are you working? --- No, I am not working at the moment.
Are you working? --- My husband is sick, he is not working.
Is Papiki your son? Can you tell me the date of birth and his age during this accident? Can you give me the birth details? --- He was only 16 years old when he died. He was only 16 years old.
In your statement here you said Papiki was shot by the police in 1984. Is it like that? --- Yes, it is so.
Can you briefly tell us what happened until - that led to his death? --- He was coming from the hospital. He was under medication. He was paralysed. He was under hospital medication. Can you tell us everything that happened on that particular day? I want to get all the details from you. --- On that particular day, 17th of August, he was coming from the hospital. On the way home he met the police. The police were spreading tear gas and they were shooting children. He was shot on the way home. Though he was walking with crutches he was shot, because he was paralysed. I think they shot him round about one, because I was fetched by my children when he was already shot. That was a boy and a girl. They told me that their brother had been shot by the police and he had fallen there, they can't wake him up. I was given permission from work to go back. I went to where he was shot. I found him sprawled on the floor.
You can take your time. --- I found him sprawled. The artificial limb had fallen out. I asked what had happened because he was just coming from the hospital, and now his medication had fallen also. I asked what sort of a policeman could do that. A white policeman came, as well as a black policeman. They told me that it's a long time, this is long overdue, that we should have collected our children, they must stop moving around the street. I told them that my child wasn't in the street but he was on his way back from the hospital. They had shot him in the stomach, as well as on the shoulder.
They also stabbed him on the tummy. He stayed there for the whole day. They took him round about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. At the time when they took him they said I will get my child at the police station mortuary. We went there the following day. When they had taken him from the ground I went to the funeral parlour, but I turned on my way there, I went to look as to whether there wasn't any blood there. I got a white man there who was looking there. I asked him what he was looking for there. I asked him whether he was looking for the bullets with which he had shot him. Then he was startled, then he stood up. At that time I left him and I went away. When I tried to get to where my son was they said to me I mustn't get in there. They told me that I'll get him at the police mortuary. The following day I went there. We took him and we buried him. Ever since then we have never heard anything about his case, but the police were harassing us. They were also harassing my husband at work. That's where it ended.
We thank you. There are certain questions that we would like to pose to you so that we can get some clarity. In your statement you talked about your two children who came to you and told you about what had happened after you had left. What were their names? --- It was Enette Rapi as well Ephraim Lowape.
In your statement you referred to your son who had only one leg. --- Yes, the other one had an artificial limb because he did not have a leg.
Can you please explain to us why he found himself without a leg? --- His foot was a little bit paralysed on the ankle, so when he went to be amputated he came back
like that. Each and every thing was just controlling itself. He had no control over himself.
Was he born with the foot like that? --- Yes, he was born with the foot like that. Then he went to the hospital to get this foot fixed. Then he came back condemned. Everything in him was condemned. They amputated his foot below his knee - his leg below his knee.
Which hospital was doing this? --- It was in Welkom Hospital.
Which year? Which year? Do you still remember? --- I don't remember quite well because he underwent the operation when he was still very young.
INTERPRETER: The speaker's mike is not on.
MRS GCABASHE: You said on that particular day the police were pouring tear gas over people. Can you please explain what was happening? Was there a boycott, a strike, or an uprising? --- It was when the students at Tito started fighting.
It was students? --- Yes, it was Tito students.
In your statement you said the police who shot your son you can actually identify them even if you don't know their names. --- I said I could not identify them because they were white policemen.
The one who went back, who survived, who came to look - who came to inspect the site of death, is it possible for you to identify him? --- No, I cannot identify him because he was actually looking down. I couldn't see him properly.
After your son's death did you get any letter that told you as to how he died? --- No, I never got
Were there any court appearances or inquiries or an inquest? --- There was nothing, absolutely nothing.
In your statement you said your son was getting R100,00 a month. What was that for? --- He wasn't getting anything. I wasn't getting anything.
In your statement that's where you speak about R100,00. You were not getting any money? --- No, I wasn't getting any.
As you are on pension how much are you getting for your pension? --- I get R410,00. R410,00.
What about your other children, are they still at school or are they working? --- The elder ones are working. Only two are attending school. I am educating them.
We know that we can't really help you besides tell you that we sympathise with you, because it is apparent that your son was quite an ordinary child, and he was very sickly. In your statement you said he was from the hospital to take his medication. Who was examining him or who was treating him? --- He used to fetch his medication from the hospital.
Do you have any documents or cards to indicate? --- I never went to the hospital to look for them.
Is it possible for you to get them? --- I don't know whether it's possible. The records should be there. Even though we don't have much that we can do, but we would like to know if in your mind what would you like us to help you with? --- I really don't know. I can't say what I want the Commission to do.
What happened to his clothes? Did you get them
thereafter? --- Yes, I got the clothes.
What did they look like? --- They had a lot of holes, but it seems he didn't bleed. There were holes on his shoulder as well as the tummy. He bled internally.
Were the other children involved in the student organisation? --- No, they weren't.
Thank you very much, Mrs Lowape. We sympathise with you very much. We shall try to hand over to our Chairman. Thank you for having the courage to come and tell us what happened to your son. If there's any help that we can offer we shall try by all means to find out who did this. The Commission will help you in that manner.
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. Any other questions or comments? Dr Magwaza.
DR MAGWAZA: We are aware that this is a very difficult time for you. I have one more question just to clarify. Was your son involved in any political movement? Did he go to any gatherings for any political party? --- He wasn't involved with any political organisations.
The second thing, I am concerned about you and your family. How did this affect you, how did it change your life and that of your family, the death of your son? --- It was a very painful thing because we all loved him. We had accepted what God had given us.
Okay, thank you.
MR LYSTER: Mrs Lowape, do you know whether anyone else was killed on that day along with your son? --- No, he was the only one who was killed on that particular day. It's only after a few months that other children started
In your statement it is written that there was an inquest that was held after your son's death. Now, do you recall that there was any court case? --- There's absolutely that happened. Nothing happened.
What address were you living at at that time, Mrs Lowape? --- I was staying at 251 in Thabong.
What is the nearest Magistrate's Court to Thabong? --- There is a police station in Thabong.
(Inaudible) ... big town to Thabong? Is it Welkom, Bloemfontein. --- It's Bloemfontein.
Okay. Well, we will make inquiries at the Magistrate's Court in Bloemfontein to see whether there are any documents relating to an inquest. Did the shooting take place in Thabong township? Is that where you were living at the time that your son was killed? --- Yes, I was staying in Thabong at that time.
MRS GCABASHE: Can I make a correction?
DR BORAINE: Yes, please, Mrs Gcabashe.
MRS GCABASHE: Thabong is a township of Welkom. It's just like Bloemfontein and Butsabelo.
DR BORAINE: Mrs Lowape, we have listened very carefully to your story. In the case of someone dying through shooting there's usually an inquiry made by the police, even though it was the police who shot him, and why we were asking exactly where were you living is because we want to try and find out if there are any court records or any details of what happened on that 17th of August in 1984. It sounds as though it may be that they were firing and your son was an innocent victim walking past, like so
many other people who have died in cross-fire in our country. But we don't know, so we have to try and find out. If we are able to find out we will then come and tell you, so that at least you know exactly what happened. Because if they were responsible then they should accept that responsibility publicly, and also there should be some proceedings. We will try and do our best.
But to have 16-year-old son who already not strong, with one leg, and to have him killed so brutally, is much pain, and we feel for you very deeply, and we are so grateful that you have come to tell us. We hope that even in the telling of the story, in the sharing, some of the burden will leave you, and at least you will know that the Commission appointed by the President and the nation knows what happened to your son. Thank you very much for coming.
DR BORAINE: (Inaudible) ... you can hear me clearly?
MR PHEHLANI: Yes, I can hear you very clear.
DR BORAINE: That's very good. I can hear you as well, so we're now ready to start. We want to welcome you very warmly on behalf of the Commission, and we are grateful to you for taking the trouble to come and sharing with us what sounds, from your statement, to be a very, very grim and horrifying experience with the death of your wife, severe assault against your son, destruction of property. This was a very, very, awful, awful experience, and we are going to listen to you very carefully. Before you start though would you please stand for the taking of the oath?
MR PHEHLANI: I don't need an interpreter.
DR BORAINE: Okay.
MORGAN SABATHA PHEHLANI (Sworn, States)
DR BORAINE: Would you prefer to give your evidence in English as well, or in Sotho, or which language? --- I will give my evidence in English, Mr Chairman.
Thank you very much indeed. Well, without any further ado I am going to ask Mr Lyster if he will take over from me, and put some questions to you and help you to tell this horrifying story. Thank you. --- Thank you, Mr Chairman.
MR LYSTER: Thank you, Mr Phehlani. Now, the incidents which you have highlighted in your statement took place in July 1991. --- That is correct.
But before you tell us about those incidents can you very briefly give us some background about yourself. I understand that you were involved in political activities much earlier than that. So, without going into too much
detail just give us some background as to your activities. --- Mr Chairman, I'll just give a short history. I joined the South African Communist Party in 1939 when I was still a scholar, and I stayed in Johannesburg in '39. I made about six months there in Johannesburg there. I was staying with Ruth First and Joe Slovo. I was staying with them in Johannesburg because I was a member of the Young Communist League by that time. And then ... (intervention)
Excuse me. I am sorry to interrupt you. Could you pull the microphone a little closer, because everybody wants to hear. --- Oh, I see.
Thank you very much. --- And then after that I decided to join the main party itself, the Communist Party, so I was briefed to be the organiser of the Communist Party in the Free State here. And then it's that time I joined with Bram Fischer, and then the others, all the leaders of the Communist Party, Moses Gutane and the others, Sam Khan and so forth and so forth. And then I came in the Free State then, organising the Communist Party, and after some years again I went to Johannesburg, came back again to the Free State as an organiser on the Communist Party in the Free State here. And then I decided to join the Advisory Board by that time, because I thought that they are getting these things right. Once you'll get into these organisations - our townships were so bad streets, no water, no houses, all such things. Well, I was a member of the Advisory Board for about a year, and then I again was chased out of Brandfort, you know, under the pass laws, that I was not working, just a loafer in the township here, and intimidating people to be
against the Council and so forth, and just like that. Then I was sent back again to Johannesburg, where I came from, because they said I was a loafer. So there's a word in Afrikaans that, "Ons gooi op jou oor die luin" - "You must get out of this area because you are a loafer." And then again I came back in the Free State, I started again organising trade unions and so forth and so forth. I started organising the Brandfort Workers Union. I found that people were just working there, you know, for nuts, and it was necessary to organise them into a trade union there. I started to form what they call the Brandfort Workers Union. Well, I went on just like that until comes right again. Just not - to be very short, in 1989 - no, let's say 1976, when these young kids started to be against the Afrikaans. In Brandfort we had what they called the Khosas, the students formed themselves into a group, and then it was called the Khosas. Then these Khosas were, you know, fighting each other in the black townships. The others did not like the Khosas, and then the police have to intervene just like that. And then they started to have what they called the anti-Comrades. They were fighting now, the schoolchildren, by that time. We had a group of about 15 children who were against the scholars, fighting the scholars. And then it's where again the clash started again with my wife. She was in there. I couldn't get too much in the whole thing because I was restricted and banned and house arrested, because I was being restricted and banned from 1946, when I was in Johannesburg. And 1950, when these organisations were banned I was also banned and house arrested and restricted not to go to the churches, and it was just like that. And
then it happened that Winnie Mandela encouraged us again that we should join with these Advisory Boards, the so-called town councillors. And then we started to join up with the Town Council. My wife went in there as a councillor. I couldn't get in there because I was on the banned list, I was restricted not to attend those things. And then she was there for about two, three years as a councillor, and then they, the people of Brandfort, they encouraged us that we should get in there because they know what kind of people we were. Well, we tried to get them houses, to put everything in order, so they were very much pleased with us. And then at a later stage again they said I should also join with my wife there, you know, to fight for our local rights in our black area there. So I got in there too. Well, we got fightings with the local authorities in Brandfort, fightings with the Provincial Councils, to get sites for us there. Well, I managed to get about three locations at Brandfort there through my efforts and my wife. So then in 1989 those small kids, or those young boys were fighting the scholars, the so-called Khosas. Then those anti-Comrades, they started to join with the ANC in Brandfort, and then they started to call me that I am a communist, I am a sell-out, all such things, because before they did not like me, because the white guys were telling these youngsters and Brandfort people that, "You must hate this Phehlani ... Afrikaans sentence ..." So some of these youngsters, you know, they were encouraged by whites that they should hate me because I'm a communist. And then in 1989 they started to be ANC members, and they too now they started to hate me that I'm a Communist, and then they started to say that, "This man
is a sell-out because he does not want to work with us." I said to them, these youngsters, "I can't work with children. I am only working with your parents, not you, you youths, because I am not a youth, I am a grown up man. I can't do youth work during this time when I am so grown up." And then they started to say that we should resign from the Council. Well, I said to them, "We can resign from the Council, but as soon as we resign everything's going to be at a standstill in your township here, because you can see what we have done for you, you people here, you youngsters." Well, that group who were the anti- Comrades, four, five, six of them, they were now the people really, you know, after us, howling, harassing us, swearing at us, doing anything to us, making petrol bombs and all such and such. And then I have to report the matter to the ANC out in Johannesburg, and then they said they knowing all about those children, or the so-called youth at Brandfort. Because I make a report to the ANC that, "These children or these youngsters they used to be just hooligans, dagga smokers, rapists. How can you call them youths of the ANC?" And then they sent some delegation to Brandfort there. They found they couldn't do a thing about it. In 1992 the squabble was just on - petrol bombing my place and harassing us, and fighting each other. And then they started to kill some other youths in our township there, the very same guys who were calling themselves ANC youths. Then it happened that in 1991 again they said we should resign from the Council. In July, on the 14th of July, I was at my place there, and I left during the evening. Because my son is a taxi driver I thought of going to the station to go and help him with some passengers who were coming into our area there. Well, I went to the station to help my son. It was around about half past eight. At 9 o'clock, when I was from the station, I find my place burning there. The whole cafe was in flames, and I went there shouting, looking for my wife, I couldn't find my wife there. I called the police, the police said, "No, we can't do a bloody thing, man, your place is burning." "So where is my wife?" No, the police couldn't do a - couldn't help me, so I have to get myself into that burning cafe, drag my wife out there, out of the cafe. The police were standing there just looking, because they themselves they did not like me in Brandfort of the previous cases I had with them. And then I asked them, "Is them no way of helping me put the flames away?" They said, "Ons kan nie jou help nie, Mnr Phehlani. Jy wiet ... Afrikaans ..." so my cafe have to burn to ashes. My wife was right inside there, she was stabbed with a knife, burnt in the cafe. That's what happened that night.
And, Mr Phehlani, was your son - your son was also attacked, I understand, is that correct? --- My son was busy delivering the passengers from the station.
You said in your statement that your young son, Patrick, was also ... (intervention) --- My young son, Patrick, they were all sitting in the cafe with my wife there, they were three in the cafe when I left there, and he was the only person I find there. We dragged him out of the cafe there, we find that he has got about eight stab holes on him. He couldn't speak, he was very weak that evening.
Now, according to your statement there was a court case after this incident. --- That's correct, Mr Chairman.
And certain people were convicted for this attack. --- There were actually eight of them were.
And who were they? Don't mention their names. Were they from - what grouping within the township were they from? --- Well, they said they were the youths of the ANC.
Now, just to correct a couple of things. You and your wife at that stage were member of the Municipal Council of - is the name of the council Majemasu. --- Majemasu, that's correct, Mr Chairman.
Which is a township of Brandfort. --- You are correct.
And you also said in your statement that the ANC Youth League in that area regarded you as a sell-out because you and your wife had joined the Council, is that correct? --- You are right, Mr Chairman.
Mr Phehlani, does the - what is the name of the group, the Eagles or the Three Million Gang, mean to you? --- We did not have that Three Million at Brandfort. We had the Eagles and those who were calling themselves the ANC Youths. The Three Millions were the guys from Kroonstad, not in Brandfort.
So the Eagles were a group within the township that you were living? --- The Eagles was another movement which was run by the Government, because it seems to me it was sponsored by the Government by that time, not the local people. And then we had some young youths, or youngsters, who were the members of the so-called Eagles, but actually it was the movement of the Government.
And what contact did you have with that movement, the Eagles? --- Well, I did not have any contact with it because it was something of the youths. I was not interested to join with youths.
So you know nothing about the Eagles in that township? --- The Eagles were there, but it's a movement which was run by the youngsters from the area, and then it was sponsored by the Government as I am saying.
And what did they used to do, the Eagles? --- Well, they used to have some functions, take these other guys, you know, for picnics and so forth.
As far as you know were they involved in any violent incidents? --- Yes, at times they were, because the anti- Comrades they were also fighting those eagles, and then the scholars, who they were also fighting these Eagles. Because in the long run they thought that just another body of the Government, you know, to ... (incomplete)
Now, after this incident, this tragic incident in which your wife was killed and your shop was burnt down, did you remain in that township or did you leave? --- Yes, I am still in the township, I am still living there.
And people who were convicted of that, are they still serving prison sentences? --- It's only one of them that is serving a prison sentence, because the others were sentenced for malicious damage to property, and then they were sent for two years in gaol, then with some suspended sentences, and then they are back again with me in the township. I do see them daily, and we are always having clashes with them.
And your son, Patrick, has he suffered as a result of that attack? --- Yes, he's suffering from brain troubles and so forth, you know.
How old is he presently? --- He is born in 1978.
So he was 11 years old at the time of the attack. --- You are correct, Mr Chairman.
So he's a teenager now. --- He's a teenager.
Did you resign from the Council after this attack on your house? --- No, I did not resign.
So did you continue to be a councillor until it was dissolved? --- Correct, Mr Chairman.
And are you still running a business in that township? Did you rebuild your business? --- Well, I am trying to run a business there, but it's very poor because now I am financially embarrassed. Everything is burned down, and no money. The money was also burnt out in the shop there.
Mr Phehlani, thank you very much for coming to us today to tell your story. It's a very sad story. I am going to ask the Chairman to take over to see whether there are any other questions other Commissioners would like to ask.
MR LAX: Thank you, Chairperson. Mr Phehlani, I wasn't clear on your wife's political activities. Perhaps you could just give us some indication of what her political allegiances were, or whether she was involved politically at all, or so on. --- Well, during that specific ... (intervention)
Besides being on the Council per se, but I am saying what ... (intervention) --- She was also a politician just like myself previously.
And in what persuasion, if you understand my question? Which party was she involved with? --- You mean politically or in the Council, or what?
No, politically. --- Politically?
Yes. --- Well, she was also interested within the rest of the township there, the running of the township and so forth and so forth, you know.
So she was just involved in local issues and not in broader ... (intervention) --- Local issues and politically.
She wasn't a member of any other political party or anything like that? --- Well, we were both members of the South African Communist Party.
DR MGOJO: Thank you, Sir. I just want to get clear - did I hear you saying that you were encouraged by Winnie Mandela to join - to be the member of the Council, and also encouraged by the community? Did you say that? --- It's correct, Mr Chairman.
By the time they encouraged you were you still a member of the Communist Party? --- By that time the parties were all banned. I was restricted and banned. All the political parties were banned during 1950s.
How much contact did you have with Mrs Winnie Mandela then when she encouraged you to join this movement, or the Council? --- We used to meet underground with her because we could not meet just openly.
Were there any other Comrades apart from the youth, the ANC Youth who were called the Comrades, in Brandfort during this time when these things were happening to you? --- Yes, we have the grown-ups who are actually members of the ANC. I worked very much with them, the grown-ups, the mothers and fathers and so forth, not youths.
When you were receiving this type of treatment from the young people, as the people who had encouraged you to become a councillor what did they do? --- By that time there were not so very much against what I was doing in the township there. It's only - the trouble started only when they started to fight with the scholars.
Would you say to me that you have the sympathies of the community of Brandfort? --- It's correct, Mr Chairman, because I had so many cases against the police there. I was taking my cases with Priscilla Jana. She was the one dealing with the cases against the police for those children who were tortured and assaulted, just like that.
The last question. Commissioner Richard Lyster has asked you about the Eagles. Among these people who were convicted, these people who are put here in your statement, are they not them, do you know maybe, who were once the members of this group called Eagles? --- No, they weren't members of the Eagles, they were all the anti - previously they were anti-Comrades. It's only recently, '89, that they joined with the ANC.
MR DLAMINI: Thank you, Mr Phehlani. Just one question or two. Are you still a member of the SACP or any other political organisation? --- I am still a member of the South African Communist Party.
Can I make a follow up. In the light of the relationship or the alliance between the SACP and the ANC has there been any effort to try and reconcile you with the Comrades who were disillusioned with your role in the Council at that time, now that things are normal? --- Well, with other members of the ANC we are all in good books. It's only about three to four of these youths, you know, who seems to me, you know, mainly as being hooligans. We just ... (inaudible) ... hooligans in there. It's very hard. They are uneducated, you know, and it's very difficult to get them right.
MRS GCABASHE: Dr Mgojo has asked some of the questions that I was going to ask about the Eagles, but I still want to go back to the Eagles. You said in your statement, Mr Phehlani, that the Eagles used to have functions. Now, I would like to know whether they were a working group or what kind? How did they have these functions? Who funded their functions? --- To me it seems to me that it was funded by the South African soldiers, because - the Defence Force, because they were sending trucks to Brandfort to go and fetch this group of children to picnics and so forth.
My other last question has reference to what you said about the youth, that they were rapists and they were taking drugs. Now, I would just like to know whether you as a councillor, or as the body that was looking after the affairs of the township at that time, what steps did you take to deal with ... (intervention) --- I tried to report these things to the police, because most of our residents bring such complaints to me, and then I report the matter to the police, and then we find that the police they themselves are doing nothing about these youths. That's the trouble we are having in the smaller towns, you know, that you find these youngsters - they call themselves that they are young leaders, they are leading on a section, but looking at them you find that they are so terrible, they are hooligans, they are undisciplined. That's what is happening with me there.
DR MAGWAZA: You have had a difficult time. I am concerned about you and your son. I would like you to tell me how is your son, Patrick. You said he has a mental problem. I would like to know more about that problem, what type of mental problems he's having, and for how long has he been seen by the doctor? --- Well, he's taking some treatment with the local doctor there, because the doctor said that it will take him about four to five years that his brains will function correctly. You know, he goes and forgets. He forgets - now and then he forgets. You must always remind him. That's the trouble we are having with him.
You also said you see the doctor because you have to take injections and tablets to stop you thinking. Are you also feeling -having some mental problems? --- Myself?
Yes. --- I don't have mental trouble but, you know, I have just got what I can call heart attack when I am thinking of these things.
You also said you were financially embarrassed. Who is working home now? --- At present I am not working, I am just trying some means with that - what I get from my son as a taxi driver and so forth.
Okay, thank you.
MR LAX: Thank you, Chairperson. Mr Phehlani, I just want to pick up on something that you were asked about earlier, and that was you - I couldn't hear you clearly unfortunately, so if I am repeating myself please excuse that - or repeating things that you've already said. You said that these accused people that were charged with the burning of your house and the murder of your wife, and then some of whom were convicted, were members of - and I think you said an anti-Comrade organisation. Is that correct? --- Previously. They were previously, and then '89 they started to join with the ANC Youths, then they called themselves the ANC Youths.
Okay. Now, clearly you would previously have been seen as possibly an ally of theirs in the sense that the Comrades prior to this incident, and prior to these people joining the Comrades, were against you, and these people were against them, so in a sense ... (intervention) --- They were against me ... (incomplete)
... they were your allies. --- That's correct. It seems to me they were - the so-called anti-Comrades, it seems to me they were used by the police, you know, to harass the students that they should forget about their Afrikaans and so forth.
Now, what I find difficult to understand, and maybe you can help me here, is how people who were previously your allies then turned against you, and maybe you can help us understand how that happened. --- After the '76 strikes and so forth, and then this movement of theirs, after they have killed one of the youngsters in our area there, then they dissolved themselves, those anti-Comrades, and then they started to make friends, saying that they were making peace with the students now. So those students they said, "No, you can join with us," and then they started joining the ANCs and so on and so on.
What I am interested in is why should they attack you personally? --- During that time, '76 and '89, they did not attack, but they started to attack me through 1990 up until 1991.
Yes, I am just interested because after 1990 President Mandela was released, things started changing, the tensions started easing somewhat, and then this incident happened in 1991. And so I am just curious as to how the alliances between you as an SACP person, here are the ANC Youth and other ANC Comrades in your township, and suddenly there's this quite serious attack on you. --- I am getting on all right with the grown-ups, but I am not interested to join with guys which I know that they have been used by the police to hunt me or, you know, to do things against me, and they were actually being paid by the police, you know, to do such things to me.
So you think this was a plot by the police to use these people against you? --- That was what was happening before.
MR LYSTER: Just one final question, Mr Phehlani, and it's a difficult thing to ask you, but I think I must just put it to you. Our investigators have made inquiries in this area, and there have been allegations made that you were involved with the Eagles Gang ... (intervention) --- No.
... and the Security Branch in Brandfort. How do you respond to that? --- No, it's very wrong, because the very Security guys they were the people hunting me.
Sorry? --- They were the people arresting me. How can I be in favour of them who were arresting me? My house has been broken so many times there by the Security Police. They are searching my house every now and then for guns, they said I've got guns from Mozambique, guns from Durban, just like that. My house still remains there with damaged doors by the Security Police. Making cases against the Security Police, there's nothing happening there.
Okay, thank you very much, Mr Phehlani.
Is there any organisation where you are of the ANC now? Is there any ANC organisation in the place where you are now? --- Yes, we are having ANC there at Brandfort now.
Does it have officials? --- Yes, they do have officials there.
Have they dealt with your case, especially now that everything is transparent, is open? --- They are so afraid of these youths. They are afraid.
You say the ANC is afraid of the youth? --- They are afraid of these youths.
Okay. --- Even in the police they themselves are afraid of these guys, these youngsters.
Mr Phehlani ... (intervention) --- There are cases which I reported to the police, but there's nothing happening there.
Mr Phehlani, you have been very patient, having many questions put to you, and I think it's partly because it's a very confusing picture, which of course was true of many, many areas in South Africa, of different loyalties, different groupings, different struggles. I have only just one last question. You mentioned the names of the people who were arrested. They were there when your shop was being burnt, they were there when your son was stabbed, they were there when your wife was killed, when your other son's car was set alight. A very big case, very serious, and many of them were charged, but some of them turned State's witness and three of them, I think, were convicted. Now, in an answer to a question earlier you said that two of them got light sentences for damage to property, but one I think was actually - was he found guilty of murdering your wife? Was that the charge? --- It's correct, Mr Chairman.
Can you remember what the sentence was? --- I've got the press cuttings here.
Can you just remember was it five years, 10 years? --- He was sentenced to 10 years, I suppose, Mr Chairman. He was sentenced for 10 years. It says here, "Afrikaans quotation" That's the press cuttings.
Thank you, that's very helpful, because the question I want to know is, these people, some who turned State witness, some charged with damage to property, one for the murder of your wife, did you know any of them? I mean were these people that you knew before? I mean had you met them, had you worked with them, or had they worked against you? Were these strangers or did you know them? --- Mr Chairman, they were not strangers. They were actually the people who were being helped by my wife, because every day they were going there asking for food. The very same day they killed her they were there in the morning session going to ask for some food.
Thank you. So they were part of the group that used to be the anti-Comrades and now had become Comrades. --- They had become Comrades.
Okay. Thank you very much. In all the questions we mustn't overlook the tragedy of violence which has gripped this country for so long, and has still gripped this country in many part of South Africa. There can be no excuse for murder, and for arson, and for killing, and you carry a very heavy load. Whatever your political allegiances were, to have a wife who was murdered, to have a son who is now not well as a result of severe stabbings, to have your entire property destroyed, is very serious, and we don't want you to think for a moment that we don't sympathise deeply with your loss. And we have heard you, we have heard also the requests that you have made, and we will certainly be passing that on.
As you know, and perhaps I should explain so that everybody can understand the procedure, we do not make a decision now. We have to think about all of these issues very, very carefully, and we make a recommendation to the President of our country, and he then has to look at this and, with the help of his advisers, he then makes a recommendation to Parliament, and Parliament then decides what should happen. Now, it's unfortunate that all of this always takes time. I wish I could tell you that tomorrow we will make a decision and all is well, but bureaucracy doesn't work like that. All I can tell you is that we will look into the situation very, very carefully, and we will bear in mind the requests you have made, and I think you very much for coming today. Thank you. --- Thank you, Mr Chairman. Thank you very much, Mr Chairman.
DR BORAINE: You are Pumla Marina Mashoang?
MS MASHOANG: Yes, Sir.
DR BORAINE: And you live at Opkomps in Bloemfontein?
MS MASHOANG: Yes, Sir.
DR BORAINE: A very warm welcome to you. You have been waiting quite a while already, but there are many others who are even waiting for the rest of the day. We want you to know that you are in a friendly environment. You are here to be heard, whatever your story is, and we look forward to that. But please tell me, you have brought somebody with you. Can you tell me who that is?
MS MASHOANG: It's my ex-husband.
DR BORAINE: Your ex-husband? Well, I think we should say to him that we are very grateful to you, Sir, for coming and for supporting your former wife in this tragedy. I assume that you were the parents of the son?
MS MASHOANG: Yes, Sir.
DR BORAINE: It was your son as well. Thank you. You're going to tell us about son and what happened to him, but, Mrs Mashoang, I must ask you please to stand to take the oath.
PUMLA MARINA MASHOANG (Sworn, States)
DR BORAINE: Thank you. Will you be seated please. Mrs Mashoang, my colleague, Dr Mgojo, is going to take over from me now, and he will assist you in the telling of your story. Thank you.
DR MGOJO: (Inaudible) ... we are sorry that this has happened to you and your family, as the Chairperson has already said. I really want you to give us your background, family background, even before you come to the narrative itself about this incident about the death of
your son. Can you capture for us your historical family background? --- Well, Mpho was my first-born son. I have two other kids who are both mentally retarded. So he was doing his third year at Vista University here in Bloemfontein.
When was he born? --- He was born on the 22nd of March 1964.
So he was your first-born? --- Yes.
Okay. And when this happened how old was he? --- He was 24.
Pardon? --- He was 24, going for 25.
24. Just tell us about his life, the political associations or such things. Just tell us the story. --- Okay. Before he came to Vista he had been at Mabopane Technikon, and there was quite a lot of violence then, but I didn't know that he was involved in any political organisation until he came to Vista. Then I noticed that he was somehow inclined politically. I sat down with him and asked him if he is involved in politics, and he said to me, "No, it's not a political organisation, it's just a students' organisation."
When he said that it was not a political organisation, it was a student organisation ... (intervention) --- I was asking him. In fact I was saying to him, "I can see that you are involved in politics, and I would rather you complete your studies before involving yourself too much in politics." So he said to me, "It is not a political organisation, it is just a students' organisation." And I believe he was holding a prominent position because ... (intervention)
Did he tell you what this student organisation was
called? --- Yes. He said it was SANSCO.
And did he tell you what its function was? --- No.
Okay. --- He said it was just a students' organisation, and I believe he was holding a prominent position because he had a van that he had been given, so I think he was organising for the Free State. In fact he said he has been given this van, they are using it to organise for this organisation in the whole of the Free State.
Yes. --- So on the - he left on the 6th of February 1989, saying to me he is getting to Johannesburg, because this organisation doesn't have enough funds in the Free State and they have promised to help them with their education. So he said in order to meet us halfway he is going to Johannesburg to get funds from the organisation in Johannesburg. And he had got a telegram that was signed Joe - signed by Joe, that he was coming. So when this Joe came they came in the morning. There were two of them in an Opel Kadett car. When this Joe came there were two of them, and I can't remember what he said this other one's name was. But normally he used to take me to work, so this other one, the one who died with him, accompanied him and they took me to work. But this other one remained home and said he was tired, so Mpho prepared his bedroom for him for him to sleep there whilst they were taking me to work. At 4 o'clock when I knocked off Mpho, together with this one ... (incomplete - end of Side A, Tape 6) ... all three of them were there. They had supper and they left. During the night - we hadn't locked the back door for them to come in, so that they don't
disturb us. During the night at about 9.00 pm I heard that there was somebody in the house, so I got up, switched on the light. This other one who had said he was tired when they came in the morning was sitting in the lounge on the couch in darkness. Then I switched on the light and asked him, "Why are you sitting in darkness?" He said, "No, I don't want to disturb you." But what I noticed was that he was hiding his face, he didn't want me to be able to see him. Then I asked him where the other two were. He said they were coming. All right, I left him and I got back to bed. At about 12 midnight I could hear that Mpho and the other were in too. Then I asked Mpho, "Are you here?" He said, "No, Mum, I didn't want to disturb you. We are leaving now." That was the last I saw of him. In fact I heard from him. The following day when I came back from work I asked if Mpho hadn't phoned, and they said he hadn't phoned. Then I suspected that there was something, because he never used to leave home and not phone for such a long time. Then I started asking his friends, "Where do you think Mpho is?" None of them knew, and then I said to them, "Okay, I am now going to the police for them to help me look for Mpho." And what they said was, "Please, Mama, don't go to the police, because the minute you go to the police Mpho will be harassed. Every time there's something he'll be taken to gaol." And from what people used to say, people who had been in gaol, then I felt I would rather not go to the police, because I didn't want him to go through what the people said they go through when they are in gaol. We started trying to look for Mpho until towards the end of February. Unfortunately I can't remember the date well.
In The Sunday Times there was an article that three schoolchildren, three students, were killed. The names were there, but fortunately Mpho's name was wrongly written, so I didn't recognise it. Then that Friday we got a telephone call from Nelspruit SACC offices to say we should please come to the SACC offices at Nelspruit. So that Friday night we drove over to Nelspruit. When we got to Nelspruit we got there Saturday at about 11.00 am, so when we got there those gentlemen who helped us said they think they have a clue as to where Mpho is, but now we would have to go over to Swaziland, and because it was a weekend we couldn't go, it had to be the Monday. We had driven over to Nelspruit being four. It was my husband, myself, and a friend of mine, a Mrs Ramagaga, and when we got to Virginia we picked up another gentleman who's my friend's husband. So we all drove over to Nelspruit. So on noticing that we had to stay over for the weekend my husband and this gentleman from Virginia came back, and I remained with Mrs Ramagaga. The Monday morning we left for Swaziland. When we got to the border I couldn't cross over, I didn't have a passport, so they said we could get emergency passports at the offices, which were about two kilometres away. We drove back to those offices. When we got there they said they didn't have forms for emergency passports. Then I remained at Nelspruit Hospital. I had a colleague there I knew. Mrs Ramagaga and these two gentlemen from the SACC offices of Nelspruit crossed over to Swaziland. I stayed in the hospital that whole Monday, until in the evening when they hadn't come back they prepared a bed for me and I slept in the nurses' home. Tuesday morning at about 9 o'clock Mrs Ramagaga came in.
They said they couldn't come to me the previous day because they came back very late from Swaziland. So I asked her if she had found Mpho, and she said ... (incomplete)
Okay, take time, Mama. --- (Pause) She said they found him at the bush, and the body was decomposed and she could only identify him by his haircut. So then we had to come back to Bloemfontein to prepare for the funeral. Then I phoned these people from the SACC at Nelspruit to find out if there couldn't be an inquest, and they said from the experience they have with the Swaziland Police there won't be any inquest, because they normally say they have a backlog with their inquests, so that - that was all.
Thank you, Mama. It is a really painful experience indeed. Did you have any chance maybe of knowing the contents of this telegram from Joe? --- No, it just said, "We are coming on the 6th."
Up until now you don't know who this Joe is? --- No, I don't.
You don't know him. When they left, Mpho and his other colleagues - can you name these other people who were his friends? --- The only one I remember is the one who died with him. It was Mohale. This other one I can't remember.
Did you know of any person called Portia Shabangu? --- Portia is the one that they picked up at Nelspruit, Mpho and Mohale and this Portia. They picked up at Nelspruit Training College from Johannesburg. I don't know what made them go to Swaziland from Johannesburg.
Do you know where Portia Shabangu is now? ---
She died together with Mpho and Mohale.
So when they left they left in a car, is that true? --- They left in a car, and the people who went to identify them, who went over to Swaziland, said the car was in a forest in Swaziland with the three bodies. But the bodies had already been taken to the mortuary, so these gentlemen from the SACC offices asked the policemen, "All these three children are not from Swaziland. If you say they were running away because they had a fight with another group in a hotel, how do you think they could run to such a place when they don't know Swaziland?"
You say that there was a report from The Sunday Times that three students have died? --- Yes, Sir. I still have the cuttings.
And they are not named? --- They were named, but Mpho's name was wrongly written.
Thank you. Did the report say what has caused the death of these students? --- No, the report - yes, the report said they were found dead in a forest in Swaziland, but the death certificate that we got was that the body was riddled with bullets.
Thank you. Did you say what part of Swaziland? Swaziland is so big. What part were the bodies found in Swaziland? --- They just said in a forest. I don't know whether it's in - I can't remember whether it was Mbabane or - I don't know.
The name Mbunya, does it say anything to you? --- Mbunya?
Mbunya Forest, does it say anything to you? --- I can't remember the name of the forest, Sir.
DR BORAINE: Thank you, Dr Mgojo. Are there any questions at all? Yes.
MRS GCABASHE: I do notice that you are in real pain, and what has touched me a lot in your statement is when you said, "My whole life changed since his death." Can you tell us exactly how did your life change after the death of your son? --- I took time before I went to church, because he was a church choir member. So the church choir sits in front. For about three months I couldn't go to church because I didn't want to see that empty space where he used to sit.
So that was the main change that happened to you? --- That was the main change.
Okay. The other thing which I wanted to clarify was that you were not aware that he was an ANC member until ... (intervention) --- Until I saw it in the newspaper.
... you saw it in the newspaper. --- Otherwise I knew that he was a SANSCO member.
Have you made any attempt to speak to the ANC organisation or members? --- About?
In case they would know about whatever happened to him, because having been an ANC member? --- No, I haven't made any attempt.
Okay. Ja, I think that's all I would have liked to clarify from you. Thank you.
MR DLAMINI: Thank you, Mr Chairman. May I know, Mrs Mashoang, whether you know the parents of the other two students who were with Mpho, whether there is any contact? --- Well, when we met at Nelspruit we were
with Mohale's father from Johannesburg, and Portia's uncle, because Portia happened to be an orphan who was being educated by her uncle. Otherwise I saw them there for the first time, and I have never seen them thereafter.
Do you perhaps have their contacts in case we want to find out from them whether they have any information that could assist in the investigation? --- Unfortunately no.
Thank you, Mr Chairman.
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. It's difficult to know what to say to you. To lose your only son is very heavy. --- Sorry, Sir, he was not my only son, he was my first-born.
He was your first son? Your first son. I am so sorry I made that mistake. It's still a very, very heavy burden to lose your first-born, or any member of a family, and not to know what happened and how he came to die is an added burden. We have found many times that sometimes when people know what happened it helps. It doesn't heal entirely, but it helps to carry the burden, and we will see what we can try and find out from the various reports that have been made. And we will have to inquire from the Swaziland Police to see if there was a record in their files as to any information which they might have.
You mentioned that you feel - in your statement that is, not today, but in your statement - that somewhere there should be a monument to remember, particularly perhaps, the young people who died during the struggle. --- Yes.
This is something which we have been thinking about
very deeply, and we will certainly try and consider and then make a recommendation to the President that somewhere, somehow, and some place, there should be a visible sign of the nation's gratitude and the nation's memory of people who died during the whole time of the great struggle and conflict in our country.
We thank you again very warmly for coming. You've been very brave and we trust that the experience of coming here today will in some way assist you. Thank you very much. Thank you.
MR LYSTER: Bhaki George Morake, okay. Thank you, Mr Morake. Before you give your evidence I am going to have to ask you to take the oath, and I'd like you to stand to do that please. Can you hear me sufficiently? Can you hear me well?
BHAKI GEORGE MORAKE (Sworn, States)
MR LYSTER: Mr Morake, you are here to tell us your story, which relates to the attack and burning of your house in August 1987 in Botshabelo township. Thank you for coming to Bloemfontein today to tell us that story. It's a sad story, and it speaks of political intolerance, which was the order of the day, which was very common in this country at that time, and of course is still very common in many parts of our country notwithstanding the political changes that we have seen. I am going to ask one of my colleagues, Mr Mdu Dlamini, to assist you in taking you through your statement today.
MR DLAMINI: Thank you. Good morning, Mr Morake. --- Good morning, Sir.
And again we are faced with a situation where, because of differences based on political and ideological affiliations, people had to suffer, and you are one of those cases. And we are grateful that you have offered to share your experiences with the people of South Africa so that we know what has been happening, and as one of the objectives of the Truth Commission we make sure that things of this nature should not take place again. It is a sad thing to experience loss of your property at an age of 50, when this happened, and with your wife who was 49 when she suffered the injuries and all the pains. Would
you like to tell us what happened on that particular day, and all the subsequent events? --- Before I start, there was a boy named Aron Mohutu. He was an ANC Youth League member. He used to come to me and recruit me to join them and stop being a member of a Dikwankwetla. I told him that I wouldn't be able to join them. It took time, and thereafter he came to me. He said they were talking about me at the Catholic Church, that if I don't join the ANC Youth League they were going to attack me after two weeks and they were going to kill me. I will never ever get any forgiveness. He said he talked to them not to do that, then he was giving me two weeks to decide. I refused and told them that I wouldn't join them. On that very same year that I had my supermarket I lost my supermarket. I tried to earn some living, so I went to Cape Town, to Johannesburg, as well as Durban. When I came back in August 1987 I saw Casspirs in my yard. It was on a morning. That is when I saw my property burning. That was my bedroom suite, as well as saxophones, trumpets, trombones and base tenor, together with property to the value of R4 000,00. By then I had already opened up a tuck shop which had stock that was worth R6 000,00. They told me that I was an informer. The Comrades kept on harassing me. My life was now in danger, and by then I was a member of - a parliamentarian during T K Mopede's reign. They kept on harassing me and attacking me until 1990. By then I bought a kombi, and they prevented the people from boarding my kombi, until 1990 they attacked my home for the second time. It was round about quarter to eight when I went to J Section. I met with my wife along the way. She was bleeding. She had hired a car and she
told me that our home was being attacked. When I got there I found the furniture burnt down. The windows were broken with stones. I don't know how big were these stones. There was absolutely nothing that was salvaged. All my property had been burnt down. I asked her about the children, then she said she had hidden them in the toilet. Then they were saying to me why can't I call Mopede to come and help me. I kept on being attacked until I took him to Qwa-Qwa. I still feel very painful about my property that got lost. My contract was stopped. I still remember it was Mr Tele Shuping. I had bought stock to the value of R33 000,00. They told me I must go to Qwa-Qwa because I am a Sotho. He threw me with my identity document and told me that, "It's been long that I have been telling you to go to Qwa-Qwa." I went to Botshabelo and I lost that R33 000,00-worth of stock. And at some stage I got my shop broken into and all the stock stolen. From 1987 my first wife had lost her mind - until the 1984 elections (sic), when we separated. I was helping the students at that time. State President P W Botha had a law that said the children shouldn't eat during break time. During that time I was hiding those students in my offices in the storeroom. When the police came they used to ask me why I didn't give them permission to come in and assault the children. I told them I was against the government of the day. Thereafter I felt very bad when the youth of Botshabelo turned against me, whereas I was fighting for their rights and I was fighting that they shouldn't be assaulted. I feel very bad. It's a wound that will never heal to me, because I left my house in Thaba Nchu that I had recently built, which could
/be to the
be to the value of R39 000,00. I had a double garage. I had to leave the house because I was a Sotho, and I had to go to Botshabelo or Qwa-Qwa because I was a Sotho. Throughout my life I have lost so much. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr Morake. Can I ask a few clarifying questions? Can you tell us more about your family and the children, and also in relation to this incident? Are they okay? Did they suffer any injury or whatever ill-treatment? --- They were treated very badly. Even the schools refused to admit them because they were children of a Dikwankwetla members. The teachers, as well as the schoolchildren - they were being chased away and they just didn't enjoy their school lives. Thereafter it happened that my other child was affected mentally, ended up smoking dagga.
You mentioned that your first wife became mentally disturbed. Was it as a result of the bombing or the burning of your house? --- Yes, I could say that, because immediately thereafter she changed so drastically. She might have suffered some anxiety, because she didn't really act like a normal person.
What is she doing now? --- She doesn't work at the moment.
And yourself, you mentioned that your business initiatives were destroyed. How are you earning a living? What is your occupation? As well as the children. What is everybody else in the family doing? --- At the moment I have started opening up a tuck shop. I am trying to earn a living by selling in the tuck shop. I've opened it in my yard.
From people who attacked your house you mentioned
Aron Mohutu, but I am not sure whether you mentioned him as somebody who came to recruit you, or whether he was part of the people who actually attacked your premises. Can you tell us more about the people you identified from the group who attacked you on those particular occasions? --- He used to come to me and ask me as a member of the ANC Youth League. He used to ask me to come and join them and leave the Dikwankwetla party. Thereafter the people who attacked my house, according to my wife's version, I don't know them, I have never seen them. But during the day I used to meet quite a group of people, and they used to go around my yard wanting to kill me. I don't see some of them any more, but there is a Tsyetsi amongst them. I know some of them right now, but I don't know their names. They are still there.
(Inaudible) ... to give us some identifying particulars if we were to make a follow up? --- Yes, I can point some of them even though I don't know their names. Some of them, when we were making the rallies, they used to come and wreak havoc in the rallies, and insult us in many occasions. I know them by seeing them.
You mentioned that the matter was reported to the police, but there was no - no progress was seen. Can you tell us more of the action that was taken by the police and the subsequent progress? --- As I had already said the police came. I thought they would take further steps. They came the second time, but there was absolutely nothing that they did until now. I have also mentioned that during our meetings I took the reports to the police, but there was nothing that was done.
Which police station did you report to? --- I
went to the Botshabelo Police Station.
Thank you, Mr Chairman, can I hand over back to you.
MR LYSTER: Thank you. Thank you, Mr Morake, I just want to ask my fellow Commissioners and Committee Members whether they have any questions which they want to put to you.
For our records, by the way the police at the Botshabelo Police Station, what type of police? You know our land was so fragmented that there are so many different types of police. What type of police were these? --- It was SAP Police.
You have said that you were a Member of Parliament. Was there any attempt to protect you from these acid experiences which had confronted you from your Government? --- Our Chairperson, Dr T K Mopede, spoke to the SAP to protect our homes, so they protected our homes as from that time.
So you did get bodyguards later. --- Yes, we did.
Mr Morake, in your statement you said when you were in Thaba Nchu you were being harassed because you were Sotho-speaking people. I want to know, when you say your children were being harassed at school, what school was that. Was it Thaba Nchu School, or what? --- I had hired or leased Mr Shuping's shop. We had a contract. Then when I was 10 months in the shop he told me to vacate his shop. I asked him what were the reasons. Then he said he wanted to open up a supermarket with another person called Mr Sihumed, who was in the Bophutatswana
Parliament. Then I said we had signed a contract. He
told me that as soon as the month ends I should vacate the property because he needed the shop. An attorney called Mr Tekula tried to take the case, but I told him not to do it.
Were your children in Thaba Nchu at that time? Did they attend school in Thaba Nchu? --- Before we went to Botshabelo they were in Thaba Nchu. That was in 1978/79.
DR MGOJO: Just one question I forgot. In your statement you have yourself, George Morake, and Hilda Mogapi, who I think is your second wife, isn't it? And you have just told us that your first wife has suffered mental disturbance. Didn't you consider her as a victim, your first wife? --- Yes, I think she is, because at that time when our house was petrol bombed the bomb fell on the bed on which she was sleeping. Then I noticed thereafter that she was quite depressed. I took her as a victim, or I am taking her as a victim too.
(Inaudible) ... ask us to add her here too as a victim, because in the statements here she does not appear as a victim. --- I would be very grateful if you would include her as a victim.
Is she getting any treatment? --- She isn't getting any treatment.
What is her name by the way? --- Her name is Constance Gile Bogile.
Mr Morake, thank you very much for coming to the
Commission today and telling your story, which we have heard is a sad story, and as I've said, it talks very loudly about political intolerance. The telling of the story can, I hope - the telling of the story by yourself in public, I hope it can be of some assistance to you in lifting the burden which you have carried, and I hope also that it can be of assistance to those who are listening in this hall, to those who are listening on radio and on television.
Our country has been nearly destroyed by political divisions, political intolerance, and you have been a direct victim of that political intolerance. And I hope that the telling of this story will send out a message to those listening of the tragedy and the misery that is the consequence of political intolerance. And it is ironic that those people who attacked you, destroyed your property, were in a general way themselves protesting against the political intolerance that was represented by the apartheid Government, and it's ironic that they too acted in a violent and undemocratic way.
You will have heard Dr Borain this morning talking about what the Commission could do for a person like yourself, and you will have heard him say that the Commission has no power to offer you immediate assistance. Our job is to make recommendations to the President, who will in turn discuss this matters with his Cabinet, and the Cabinet will then request Parliament to put into effect their policies and their recommendations. So we cannot here and now offer you any immediate assistance, but we hope, as I have said, that the telling of this
story has assisted you in some way, and I feel sure that
/it has been
it has been of assistance to those listening here and around the country. Thank you very much, and we wish you well. --- Thank you very much.
MR LYSTER: Can you hear me, Mrs Daseko?
MRS DASEKO: Yes, I can hear you.
MR LYSTER: Thank you. Thank you for being with us today. You have come to tell us a story about the death of your son, and you, like many, many other people who have appeared before this Commission, not only here in Bloemfontein, but in many other parts of the country, have suffered the loss of a family member, very often a son. And we - through the experiences of others, and through the public suffering that they have undergone, we know something of the suffering that you too are undergoing. And I am going to ask you to tell us about the death of your son, but before that I'll ask you to stand please, so that you can take the oath. Could you stand up please.
MRS G S DASEKO (Sworn, States)
MR LYSTER: Thank you, Mrs Daseko. I am going to ask one of my colleagues, Dr Magwaza, to assist you in the giving of your evidence. Dr Magwaza.
DR MAGWAZA: Mama Daseko, before I start I would like to say to you that the saddest thing this morning is to have to listen to the number of young people who lost their lives simply because they were fighting for their rights, and I want to say that the loss of sons is not for you as a mother, but is for all the women in South Africa, because we all are mothers and have sons. And to be humble enough to say that we can never fully understand the experience and the pain you have gone through, but we are here to support you. Mama, can you begin by telling me more about your family? I would like to get a good sense of who your son was. --- My son was Sam Daseko.
Your son was Sam Daseko. I would like to know how old was Sam, what he was doing at the time of his death, does he have brothers and sisters, does he have a father? --- Sam was a student. He was my son. He was the only one. I have got two children. The other one is older. I was staying with Sam. At that time he was in standard nine. Every Saturday when he was at home he used to get piece jobs, then he would further his own education with the remuneration that he got. It was on Saturday and I was in Bloemfontein when Sam got injured, and I heard from Brother Montsiwa. Sam was at Mr Groen's farm, at his grandmother's house, and grandmother's son came to me. It was on a Sunday. It was late in the afternoon when I came back from Bloemfontein, and he came to me and he said, "Can we please go to the police station. We have to go and look for Sam, because the police came, they took him, and they beat him up. He was already injured and we tried to stop them. The two policemen left and they came back. When they came back the kicked the door at Granny's house and they picked Sam up. One of them - they held him with both his hands and his feet, and they threw him into the van and they drove off." When we arrived at the police station on Sunday we didn't find them, but we did ask them. We did ask a few policemen who were there. We asked them, "Do you know anybody who is called Sam?" They looked into their files and they didn't find anybody by the name of Sam, and they said to us, "No, we don't have Sam on our files." It was Sunday afternoon and we had to come back home. On Monday we went back to the police station. We wanted to meet Mr Morakile and Shele. We only got hold of Morakile, and Brother Montsiwa asked him,
he said, "Morakile, where did you take Sam, because you picked him up yesterday?" Morakile's response was, "We took Sam and we dropped him off at number one. Brother Montsiwa asked him further. He said, "How could you drop him off at number one after having assaulted him in that way? You should have taken him home." Morakile said to him, "I promise you we dropped him off zone one." After a while that we've been there speaking to Morakile another gentleman came in. He was working at the municipality, because he used to drive these big lorries, these lorries with big tanks to sprinkle the water in our roads so that there is no dust. And he said, "We've seen a body in the bush," and he said, "I think it's a boy." I said to them, "I am sure that is the body of my son." The police said to me, "No, don't mind, you will go to the hospital so that you can identify whether is it your son or not." Truly we went with my brother, Mr Montsiwa, we went to Maroka Hospital, and when we arrived there my son was there at the mortuary. I think they have been kicking him around like a ball. He was full of soil. You couldn't look at him. (Pause)
Okay, Mama. Take your time. (Pause) --- We found him at the hospital. Because I had nothing with me I told my sister's children in Bloemfontein, and they came to take him from the hospital to the - from the mortuary hospital, and they took him to Bloemfontein and they helped me with the burial arrangements. I think we went to court two times, if not three times. When we were supposed to go for the fourth time we were told that the case is no longer there, the charges have been dropped. And Morakile is still working, he is still a policeman.
I stayed with him in the house. I don't have a husband. He was the father in the house. I don't know what will these people think today. They are still working and I am starving.
Mama Daseko, that's a very painful experience. I think you have been through a very, very difficult time. We would like to know more about what happened to Sam. I will ask you just a few questions. Could you tell us on what date was Sam arrested by the police? --- It was on a Saturday. He was from a temporary job that he was doing. I was in Bloemfontein, and I left him at home. I think he was from home, heading to his grandmother's house, and on his way the police picked him up. You know, the police wanted to know why did he have blood on his shirt.
(Inaudible) ... grandmother's place? --- The police picked him up and they took him to the grandmother's house, and the grandmother told them, "No, this boy was on his way to my home." The police left him there. And Granny gave him clean clothes, and after a few minutes after he had gone to bed the police came back and they kicked the door. They did not knock at the door, they just kicked the door, and they picked him up. The other one picked him up with his hand and a leg, and the other one the same, and they threw him into the van and they drove off.
Had they harassed him before, or were they known to you? --- When I saw them the first time I knew them.
(Inaudible) ... they done anything to him before? --- Nothing. It was their first time to see him on his way to his granny, and they just picked him up.
One other thing, Mama. What - he had some bloodstains on the shirt. Where did those bloodstains come from? --- These were the origins, the bloodstains. He was bleeding through his nose.
(Inaudible) ... by the police? --- The police saw him with the blood on his chest. He was bleeding - just bleeding from the nose, the original bleeding from the nose, and they accused him of the blood on his shirt and they assaulted him for that.
(Inaudible) ... political organisation at that time? --- Sam used to tell me that he was going to meetings, but I couldn't understand him what meetings was he - which meetings was he going to. I think it was fond of the ANC.
I would like also to know at that time when Sam was assaulted were there other people in the area that were being assaulted? What was happening at that time in Thaba Nchu? --- Sam was assaulted alone on the farm. He was on his own.
But was it a time when other kids were being assaulted at different times at different dates in Thaba Nchu? Was this thing that it was common for young kids to be assaulted in Thaba Nchu? --- I have never heard of any kids that have been assaulted around Thaba Nchu. Nothing of that kind happened.
I've heard you more than once refer to this policeman, Morakile, who assaulted and killed your son, and that he is still working. Where is Morakile now? Where is he working? --- He is working at the police station in Thaba Nchu. He is a policeman.
The last question I would like to ask from you is, now that your son, Sam, is dead, and you were saying that
Sam was your son who was also supporting you, who is also - who is supporting you now? Are you working, are you getting a pension? How do you make a livelihood? --- I am not working. I don't get pension. I am a vendor. I sell oranges and peanuts.
Tell me lastly, what has changed in you since the death of your son? Are you still the same person? What has changed in you? --- There is a lot of difference, because at times I would feel my heart shaking, and sometimes - so many things have changed in my life. I get terrible headaches at times.
(Inaudible) ... doctor? --- Yes. I normally go to the doctor after getting some income from selling the peanuts and oranges.
Your grandmother is the only witness now, according to what you have here, because your brother has died, who was also a witness. Is there anybody else you can think of who could be a witness to this case? Were these the only two people who saw what happened? --- Yes, I think those were the only to people, because it was in the evening and he was at their place.
Thank you very much. I would like it over to our Chairperson here.
MR LYSTER: Thank you, Mrs Daseko. Can you just confirm for me when this happened? You said it happened on a Saturday, but you didn't tell us the year in which it happened. It's important for the purposes of our records that we know which year it was. Can you remember? It doesn't appear in your statement either. Can you remember what year you buried your son? --- It was in 1990. It
was in July, on the 8th of July, if I still remember well.
And that happened in Zone One, Thaba Nchu, is that correct? --- Yes, in Thaba Nchu.
Mrs Daseko, thank you very much for sharing your story with us today. We've heard stories similar to yours from so many - particularly so many mothers about the deaths of their children, and previously when we heard about these things, particularly for those of us who did not experience suffering over the past years, we would read about it in the newspaper, or we would hear it on a radio that this person or that person had died, and it would come across to us as a number, as a statistic. And what is important about your story is that we realise that for every number, for every statistic, for every person who died, that there was a mother and a father, and perhaps a family who mourned those people, that for every person - the person who died was precious to somebody else who was left behind. And if we think of how many people like your son have died over the last 10, or 20, or 30 years, we get some idea of the amount or the extent of emotional loss and suffering that his weighing down on this country like a grey cloud.
And so we hope that just by telling your story, not only to us here, but to those people in the hall, and to the many, many people, the thousands of people who are listening to it on the radio now, we hope that it makes your burden a little bit lighter, and that it will make those who are listening to your story even more determined that this sort of thing should not happen again in our country.
The Commission will do its best to try and find out
further details about how your son died, and why he died, but that cannot be done immediately, these things take time, but details will be given to you when we are in possession of those details.
So thank you again very much for coming, and we wish you well and we wish you strength. Thank you.
MR LYSTER: Can you hear me, Mr Moyhilwa?
MR MOYHILWA: Yes.
MR LYSTER: Can you tell me how to pronounce your name correctly? Is it Moyhilwa?
MR MOYHILWA: It's Moyhilwa.
MR LYSTER: Thank you for coming to tell us your story today. You, like the person before you, will be telling us a story about the loss of a family member in December 1989. Before you tell us your story I'd ask you to please stand and take the oath.
MODISI ELIAS MOYHILWA (Sworn, States)
MR LYSTER: Thank you very much. I am going to ask my fellow Commissioner, Dr Mgojo, to assist you in the giving of your evidence. Dr Mgojo.
DR MGOJO: Thank you, Sir. Mr Moyhilwa, I am sure it must be very sad for you to have lost your brother. You know, when you grow as brothers you support each other, you fellowship together, you have jokes and everything in a family, and the life in the family becomes exciting. And you were deprived of the privilege. Can you please tell us about your family, your mother, brothers, sisters, etcetera? --- The first thing I would like to say is as from 1982 we went to Botshabelo.
(Inaudible) ... just tell us about your family. How many are you in your family? Do you have a mother, do you have a father, etcetera? Just the family, before telling us about the story of what happened. --- Yes, I have a mother and a father, and four sisters and three brothers.
(Inaudible) ... they live. --- They all live in
Thank you. Just now tell us about your brother and what happened to him. --- My brother started getting involved in politics in 1987 in Botshabelo. He joined the South African Youth Congress under the ANC. In 1989 on the 25th of December he went to the U Section, visiting for Christmas or for the festive season. On that very same night of the 25th of December - there was a political organisation called Dikwankwetla. They also call themselves Mopede's Reserves. On that very same night they attacked my aunt's home and my brother was there. When they were asked as to what was the problem they said they were looking for the Comrades. My aunt never wanted to open the door, she refused. Thereafter they kicked the door. They bore holes into the door. It was no longer a door. Then they went away and they promised that they were going to come back on the 26th of December. My aunt, as well as my elder brother, as well as my aunt's children, they just thought they were threatening, but the following day at 8 o'clock in the morning there came a group of people. They were more than 100. When my aunt went outside to ask them as to what they were looking for, they were still looking for the Comrades. They said she must take the Comrades out of the house because they were looking for them. My aunt flatly refused. They held her, they took her to another man's place where they made arms or weapons. I asked what the name was, they told me it was Mr Mokwena. When they took her to Mr Mokwena's place at U Section they harassed and assaulted her and said they wanted the Comrades. They left her, they went to try and attack my elder brother, as well as my aunt's children.
They wanted my brother mainly because they said they were burning houses. But when I look at the U Section there wasn't even a single house that was burnt down. When they got there they stabbed my elder brother, they shot him with arrows. My brother tried to run away, he ran to my other aunt, but they chased him, they followed him with spears. My aunt's children also ran away. When they got to my other aunt at the W Section my aunt closed the door and they remained outside. She said that she didn't want her house to be destroyed. There was a shack outside at my aunt's place. My brother went into this shack. My aunt's children were able to get into the house. When this mob came, this very same Dikwankwetla mob, they tore the shack apart because they were looking for my brother. When my brother came out they chopped his head with a panga. My brother tried to run away, but he fell on the street. Each and every one of them wanted to take his part or to make his share. Then they started stabbing him each one of them. When we went to report to the police the police asked us whether my brother was dead already. They came after three hours. When one of my aunt's children went to report to our other elder brother at home - he's also staying at the W Section - my elder brother went to my home. It was round about 10. When he went to my parents he told my parents, but they just couldn't believe it. He didn't die at that very same moment. He was taken after three hours. He was taken to the Universitas Hospital in Bloemfontein. That's where he died at 12 o'clock in the evening. Our father went to Universitas to look for him, as well as my other sister. They were told that only my father could see my brother
because his condition was not satisfactory, he was critical. That was the end of my brother.
(Inaudible) ... indeed, and very shocking. Now, because I want to help your record to be straight, so that when investigations are made we'll ask certain questions. Mosala Petros Moyhilwa is your eldest brother. --- No, he is the one - he actually comes after me.
(Inaudible) ... your younger brother. And you have named here in your narration about eldest brothers. What is their name? --- The eldest one is Jonas Moyhilwa, the second one is Chidi Moyhilwa.
(Inaudible) ... in now? --- They are working at a mine in Welkom.
Did they belong to any organisation when this was happening to your younger brother? --- No, they were not members of any political organisation.
And you, did you belong to any organisation? --- I was a member of SAICCOR under ANC.
And did your father belong to any organisation, or your mother? --- He was just an ordinary person. He didn't belong to any political organisation.
Thank you. You mentioned two aunts, one living in U Section and one living in W Section. Can you tell us their names? --- The one who stays at the U Section is Matseko Agnes Raputsi. The one who stays in W Section is Maria Raputsi.
Thank you. You said here there were two invasions. There was the first one, which happened at U Section. Was there any report then during the first one which was made to the police? --- In the first attack the police were told. My aunt's child went to report, but they said he
was just drunk and they won't respond to that.
(Inaudible) ... for the sake of the record, at Botshabelo what type of police were they, SAP or some other type of police? --- They were the South African Police.
South African Police. So they used, these people who killed your brother, knobkerries and also pangas, according to your later statement. Is that true? --- Yes, that's true.
Do you know these people who belong to this apartheid agents(?) or Mopede's Reserve? Do you know them? --- Yes, I can identify them, but I only know two of them by names.
Who are those? --- It's Mokwena and Mokala.
(Inaudible) --- Yes, one of them stays at U Section and the other one fled. He ran away from the township.
(Inaudible) --- No, I don't have an idea.
Here in this area what was happening between the Comrades and the Mopede's Reserve? What was happening? --- I want to start by relating what happened in 1988. Mopede had gone to Dewetsdorp. I don't remember which month it was. He said Botshabelo needs people who will help the Dikwankwetla and support them so that they could be reserves. They were busy threatening people at the U Section. People couldn't go out freely in the streets.
(Inaudible) ... you family. Were the other members of your family intimidated by the police? --- The police used to come regularly and they used to threaten us just before my brother was buried. They told us that he shouldn't be buried in the ordinary manner that Comrades
are buried, he should be buried just like an ordinary man in the street.
(Inaudible) ... was he buried? --- It was just an ordinary burial, a politician's burial as we are used to.
(Inaudible) --- On that day of the funeral, that was on the 6th of January, the police came when we were from the cemetery. They came and dispersed people using the tear gas. Other people didn't even go to our home, they just went to their respective homes.
(Inaudible) --- Yes.
What is the state of your mother and father at the present moment? --- My mother and father, after the death of my elder brother, both of them suffered from high blood. They are still very sick, but my father is working, as sick as he is.
(Inaudible) ... any treatment, medical treatment? --- No, because there's no money. They can't afford to get medical attention.
I just have one more question. You said that your brother was taken to hospital after three hours. Why did it take so long for him to be taken to hospital? Was it because of the police interference? --- At that time the police were working with the apartheid organisations, as well as the Kwankwetla, as well as the other parties. That is why it happened like it did.
(Inaudible) ... take him to hospital as soon as he was assaulted as a family? --- I stay at the J Section, and it's very far from the place at which this took place. It could be five kilometres or more.
You said your two other brothers were working at the mines. Which mines were they working at? --- The other one was working at Hardmon, the other one was working at Reetrix Mine. It's Harmony Gold Mine and Beatrix Mine.
MR LYSTER: Mr Moyhilwa, the fact that you have come here today to tell us your story indicates that you loved your brother. He has been taken away from you and the rest of your family. You have lost his support, his company, forever, and it was political intolerance engendered by the policy of apartheid that has caused that. In the Free State you are fortunate that those days have passed, and in most areas in this province people are free to express their political views.
As you know, in some areas of this country that is still not possible. In many parts of KwaZulu-Natal, for example, people are still murdering each other because they support different political parties, and we know about the terrible suffering that that causes, and we hope very much that the day will come very soon that the people of that area will also be able to experience the political freedom that you now experience, and that has been brought about in part by the sacrifices that were made by people like your brother.
So we thank you very much for coming here today and telling us your story, and we hope that having told us that story, not only to us, but to the nation, to those who are listening, that you are able to carry the burden of the loss of your brother a little easier. We will do what we can to find out more about your brother's death,
why he died, and that will be done over the course of the next months, and those details will be conveyed to you.
Thank you very much for coming.
MR LYSTER: Thank you for coming to be with us today, Mrs Tshale. Could you please fit the earphones onto Mrs Tshale. Can you hear me through the earphones, Mrs Tshale, can you hear my voice?
MRS TSHALE: Yes, I can hear you, Sir.
MR LYSTER: Could you please tell us who you have with you today?
MRS TSHALE: This is my daughter, Sir.
MR LYSTER: But as we understand it you will be giving evidence today, not your daughter, is that correct?
MRS TSHALE: Yes, that's correct.
MR LYSTER: Thank you. You, like many, many others, have come again to tell a tragic story about the loss of a loved one, this time your husband, and we express our deep sympathy to you, as his wife, and to you as his daughter. Before you give your evidence, Mr Tshale, please can you stand to take the oath.
MAMARAMA TSHALE (Sworn, States)
MR LYSTER: I am going to ask one of my colleagues, Mr Ilan Lax, to assist you in the giving of your evidence. Mr Lax.
MR LAX: Thank you, Chairperson. Good afternoon, Mrs Tshale, and welcome. --- Good afternoon, Sir.
Before we start would you just briefly tell us about your family, how it is made up? We know you are from Botshabelo, but just some details of your family and your children and so on please. --- I have seven children. It's four boys - it's eight children. I have four boys and four girls.
Now, your husband was born in 1943 on the 22nd of
January, is that correct? --- That is the correct date, Sir.
Thank you. Would you - the other thing about your husband which I would like you to confirm was he was a trade union member, is that also correct? --- Yes, that's correct, Sir.
Thank you very much. Would you now please tell us about the events and circumstances that led to his death. --- It was on a Thursday morning. He went to a meeting because he belonged to an organisation called Dikwankwetla. They had a strike for seven months and they weren't going to work. Then there were PAO lorries, as well as the lorries - GG lorries. Only a few tractors were working on that day when the seniors came from Bloemfontein to negotiation on their behalf to go to work. All the lorries from the PAO, as well as the tractors, were followed by the Hippos. And they went to the meeting, and that is where my husband was shot. They were sitting waiting for the members of their organisation to come and negotiate on their behalf. He was sitting down with other gentlemen. He was the fourth one. They shot him while he was still sitting and they were playing a certain game. They shot him five houses from where he was. It was on a Thursday, and the women from the Roman Catholic Church were in their large numbers because it was their day of prayer. If I am not mistaken it was at about 3 o'clock or two a certain lady came to me and she said to me, "Mrs Tshale, know that Mr Tshale has been shot dead and he had three wounds on his chest." That is the version I know. I will end up there.
Mrs Tshale, now just very briefly, you talk about
PAO vehicles. Is that Provincial Administration vehicles? --- Yes, those are the PAO, Provincial Administration cars.
And the GG vehicles, is that Government Garage? --- It was then called GG, but it's now called PAO. Yes, that's correct, Sir.
Now, this incident happened outside the Roman Catholic Church Hall in Botshabelo. In what section is that? --- It's at E Section - at C Section.
C Section? --- Yes, Sir, that's at C Section. It is at the St Charles Roman Catholic Church.
Thank you very much. Now, do you have any idea of which people witnessed the shooting of your husband directly? --- I know of people who saw the incident.
Would you kindly give us their names please? --- Maketa was their leader. The other one is Mr Richard, and there was a lady called Maysie. Well, I do not remember some of them because there were so many of them coming to my house.
Where would we be able to get hold of Mr Maketa, for example? --- He is working at the PAO offices in Botshabelo.
Now, I can just confirm that you have given us a copy of your husband's death certificate, is that correct? --- Yes, I gave you a copy.
Do you know whether any inquest was held in relation to your husband's death? --- Three times we've been to the court, but on the last I was taken because there were no witnesses, and I was then told - the Magistrate told me that he was informed by the police that he was defending himself and he decided to shoot. The church door was full
of bullet holes. Five police were giving evidence, were testifying. There were two black policemen and three white policemen. The policeman who shot my husband, and I did see him, and I was told that that will be the end of everything. And they consoled me, they said I should forget about that, and they didn't ask me what my plans were with my husband. Nothing was said to me. I wasn't asked anything. The next day there was another court case and I was told that everything will stop there. Even if I don't come it doesn't matter. The policeman who shot my husband got himself a lawyer ... (incomplete - end of Side B, Tape 7) ... yes, there is a Magistrate's Court in Botshabelo.
Thank you. Now, since this time that your husband has died how have you and your family made ends meet? How have you been able to look after yourselves and so on? --- I have been battling since, but my eldest son was working at the mines at Harmony, but he was one of those retrenched. And one son of mine was 19 years old, he was doing standard nine, but because of the problems in the family he had to leave schooling, and then he was employed in the army. He worked two years and then they were also retrenched. He was the person helping me. He is now sick, he is at SANTA Hospital because he is suffering from tuberculosis.
Do you receive any pension, or grant, or anything of that kind to help you? --- I came to Bloemfontein after receiving my husband's blue card money, and then I went to the Department of Manpower. They referred me to the Commissioner at Botshabelo. They said I should tell him to help me with the children. I have five children
who are still schooling, and the other one is here next to me. I went to the Commissioner and he wanted the children's reports from school, and then he wanted my marriage certificate, and then I gave everything to him. It took two years before I could get the money. I am presently getting money for two children, but the other three I do not get anything for them. I am working for a black person, and this person is helping me a lot.
(Inaudible) ... information. I think at this stage I will hand back to the Chairperson.
MR LYSTER: Are there any other questions from my ... (incomplete)
DR MGOJO: There's no time. I just want to know the name of the lawyer who was handling the case when it was said that you had no lawyers. I think that is important. --- I didn't even ask who the name of the attorney was. He was a white attorney, and there was also a black attorney, and I told them that I don't have any money, I don't have power, I cannot get myself an attorney.
MR LYSTER: Thank you very much, Mrs Tshale. It is a very, very difficult thing to lose a husband and a father, and again we express and extend our very deep sympathy to you both. Your husband was killed while he was participating in a strike, and the fact that at that time people could be killed while engaging on something like that tells us a lot about the lack of freedom, the lack of individual and organisational freedom which people were experiencing in the Free State in those days. Generally these things - things like that don't happen today, and if they do, if the police behave in that manner, they are far more likely to be punished than they were in the past.
The Commission will examine the documents from the court case, and we will investigate as to why the policemen that shot your husband were acquitted, and we will convey that information to you. You have heard me earlier on today, and you've heard Dr Borain speak about what the Commission can offer to witnesses and victims who come before this Commission, and you will know by now that we are not able to offer you immediate assistance. We will examine your case and we will make recommendations to the President and to the Cabinet, and they in turn will give effect to those recommendations.
In the meantime we thank you again for coming here today and sharing your story with us and the whole country, and we again hope that by the telling of that story we hope that it in some way eases the burden that you have had to carry. Thank you very much. Thank you very much, Sir.
MR LYSTER: We thank you for being with us today, Mr Pistol. If we could just arrange the equipment so that we can communicate properly. Are you able to hear me now? Can you hear me talking to you?
MR PISTOL: Yes, I can hear you, Sir.
MR LYSTER: Thank you very much. Thank you very much for being with us today. You have come from Thaba Nchu to tell your story. It relates to an assault, a brutal assault upon you which took place in February 1990. Before I ask you to give your evidence I would like you please to stand and to take the oath. Please stand up. Thank you.
MR PISTOL (Sworn, States)
MR LYSTER: Thank you, Mr Pistol. I am going to ask one of my colleagues, Mrs Virginia Gcabashe, to assist you in the giving of your evidence. --- I thank you, Sir.
MRS GCABASHE: I greet you, Mr Pistol. How are you this afternoon? --- We are still fine under the grace of God. I want to first thank you for appearing before us to give us exactly the kind of harassment you went through. We know that sometimes when we speak it's as if we are now bringing back the pains that actually went by, but because we want the real truth we are supposed to go back a bit and ask people to tell us their stories. Please indicate if you cannot hear me, because I will raise my voice, and I will ask you also to raise your voice up so that we can understand each other. It is indicated that you were born in January in 1920. --- Yes, that's correct.
Can you please tell us a bit about your family background. Do you have children, do you have a wife?
Tell us that kind of information. --- Yes, I have children. Five of them passed away. The ones that are left are married. They are staying in different places. I am now staying with the grandchildren.
Do you still have a wife? --- Yes, I have a wife. We got married in a church.
Are you referring to boys and girls? --- I have two boys.
Are they married? --- No, the two boys are not yet married. The other one is still at school.
What is the other one doing? --- He is at home. He is not feeling very well. He is now deaf, he cannot hear perfectly well, and this affected him because he is also mentally disturbed.
And how many daughters do you have? --- I have three daughters, and all of them are married. I am staying with a grandchild and another daughter.
In other words you have four daughters? --- Yes.
Can you briefly tell us about everything that you've put down on your statement? --- My story is this. It was on a Sunday when T K Mopede had come to Botshabelo. It was a Sunday. On that Sunday I didn't go to church, and I went to listen to T K Mopede's speech with regard to us being Dikwankwetla. When he had finished delivering his speech we went back home. We dispersed, we went to our respective places. On our way back apparently there were Comrades who were watching us. There were two of us. As we were on the way home they came and they grabbed me by the neck. I thought they were just joking, but when I looked I realised that it was quite a group. There were children, boys and girls. They picked up stones. They
were busy following us. We even went into another man's yard. The woman there chased us out of the yard. We didn't even know the people. They kept on harassing us. They even pelted us with stones. They pelted me with a stone on my right shoulder because I was trying to protect the gentleman with whom I was going. As I was doing that the stone hit me on the ribs. I felt a terrible pain on the ribs. I tried to go on as if I wasn't feeling any pain. I tried to fight back, but they were busy pelting us with stones. At that time police appeared. They were driving the big kombi. What surprised me was that they didn't come to where we were, but they just went around the street, which meant they gave the Comrades a chance to run away. They chased them and the Comrades ran away. I had fallen down at that stage, and the person I was with had also fallen down. I dusted myself off and I was taken by the people who know me. I was taken home. When I got home I found that I wasn't feeling well, I couldn't breathe properly. My grandson heard. He took me in his car to the hospital. When I got to the hospital I spent a long time without being attended to. By the time they came to me it was already in the afternoon on that Sunday. Then they took me to the x-rays. They just gave me tablets and said I must go home, they'll see what to do with me. I was taken home. I slept at home. The following day I could not bear the pain. I couldn't breathe properly. My shoulder was very painful. I came to Bloemfontein to see Dr Smith. He is the one who tried to help me. Because I did not have money I couldn't go back to be re-attended. Because of my ribs that were broken Dr Smith told me that had I delayed I could have
died, but he helped me tremendously. So I went to him twice and I got much help. I was supposed to have gone to him again but I could not afford to, because my health isn't quite well. Thereafter we were called to the offices in Botshabelo. When we got there we found that it was a group of people. There were attorneys from Bloemfontein. We couldn't discuss anything because the ANC members asked that this case be dropped, and that the Dikwankwetla group shouldn't be assaulted. This matter ended unresolved. Thereafter I got a letter that said I should go to Botshabelo office. Then I went there. Then they asked me about this whole thing that took place. I explained it to them. That's where I'll end.
Thank you, Mr Pistol. In order for us to clarify certain issues we'll ask a few questions. You said in February 1990 that is the day on which you were assaulted. You told us that we were next to Emmen, or you were close to Emmen. That is a place. Just explain what sort of a place is Emmen. --- That place where we were assaulted?
Yes, the place called Emmen. Just tell us more about it. --- They just told me it's Emmen, but I wasn't aware, I didn't know it was Emmen.
Is it the name of the area? --- No, it's the name of the street. It wasn't explained to me as to whether it was a place or what, because I didn't know the place, but it's not very far. It's in the M Section, from where Mopede was delivering his speech.
You said you were taken to the hospital at Universitas. Who took you to the hospital? --- Yes, the hospital in Bloemfontein, Universitas. It was another
boy that is my grandchild. He took me in his car and took me to the hospital.
What's his name? --- The name of the son? The name of the grandson is Thoko. It's Thoko. It's the son of my daughter.
You said when you were at the hospital they took you for x-ray tests. --- Yes, they did.
Did they ever explain to you as to what were the results of the x-rays? --- No, I was never told anything.
Were you given your records? --- They never gave me anything. They never gave me the papers. Dr Smith asked me where they were. I told him that I don't have any knowledge as to where they were. Dr Smith wanted to get the doctor who was treating me, but I didn't know, I had no details, but he was at the Botshabelo Hospital.
You said a Casspir arrived. Were there any people arrested amongst the group? Were there any arrests made on that particular day? --- No, they never arrested anyone. They didn't even make a follow-up, none whatsoever.
You said you went to Dr Smith. Do you have any report from Dr Smith that he attended to you? --- I do have a report from Dr Smith. I do have them at home. I even know where he stays.
If we would like you to give us those papers would you be able to do so? --- Dr Smith is next to - opposite to Listen, where there is SANTA. There is a house where he is having his surgery.
Do you have any letters or documentation? Do you have a report as to his examination? --- Even if they
were there probably the children had already thrown them away.
You said you were called to Botshabelo, you were called to where there were attorneys. Who called you to this meeting? --- You mean the attorneys meeting? I don't know who called us, because when we were called on that day we just went there as a group. The attorneys were from Bloemfontein. If there were not three, there were four or five. I don't know any one of them, but they addressed this matter. That's where it ended with these attorneys.
Were they talking about the assault by the youths? Were they addressing you with regard to the assaults? --- Yes, they had come to address that matter.
Thereafter what did they do for you? What did these attorneys do to help you? --- Absolutely nothing. It just ended there, because they were saying ANC had said that this matter must never ever happen again. That's where it ended. They said they were requesting us - they were requesting the ANC never ever to trouble people again, and that's where it must end.
In your statement you gave testimony about Nthako Vusi Johannes. You said he's your witness. You said he's the one you were with when you got assaulted. Is he still around if we would like to talk to him with regard to this matter? --- I can't understand your question.
If we would like to speak to Johannes is there any way we can get hold of him? --- Maybe you can get him. He is still around.
Mr Pistol, I thank you very much. I feel for you. You were a victim of circumstances, but we hope that these /days are
days are now gone by. They belong to the past. I thank you very much. I'll hand over to our Chairman.
MR DLAMINI: Thank you, Mr Chairman. Babu Pistol, can I ask one or two clarifying questions? What is the present relationship between Dikwankwetla Party and the ANC? Do you still have harassment from the ANC Comrades? --- Right now it seems as if they have actually subsided. They are no longer as wild as before. It seems as if they have gone down. They are not as violent as before, because at that time you couldn't even go outside without requesting permission from them.
(Inaudible) ... or not that a culture of tolerance is developing in your area, and we appreciate it, we hope it's going to continue on that note. My second question. You made a request here from the Commission to help you with - in order to be able to support your family. Can I check whether you do get any State pension or grant? --- Yes, I do get some pension money.
How much is it? --- It is R405,00. It's R405,00. I am not making a mistake, it's R405,00. I get that at the bank in Thaba Nchu.
Thank you, Babu Pistol. Thank you.
You said that you have got two sons, one is mentally disturbed. Is he getting any medical treatment? --- No, he is not under any medical treatment. I took him to the doctor for quite a long time, but they couldn't find anything wrong with him.
What is his name? --- He is Charlie Pistol.
Mr Pistol, thank you very much for coming to tell us your story today. It is a very sad thing that one of the
common themes that we have noticed during the course of listening to evidence around this country is the deep lack of respect shown to elderly people during the course of political conflict. One can explain this - or one can analyse it and explain it to some extent by saying that as this country moved towards political liberation many young people became angry and frustrated at the unwillingness or the failure of some older people to join in their struggle, but nevertheless it is very sad to hear about an old person like yourself being beaten with iron bars merely for attending a political rally.
We are fortunate now that we have a constitution and a police force to protect our right to express ourselves freely, and we must work hard and vigilantly at protecting the system that so many people have fought so hard for.
You have said that you were assaulted by Comrades who belonged to the ANC, and we've also heard evidence this morning from ANC members who were beaten and killed by members of the party that you belong to, the Dikwankwetla Party. Now, our job is not to lay blame, but our job is to record the evidence and to analyse the evidence, and to note that it was the political system that operated in this country at the time that allowed these sorts of violations to take place, and to make recommendations to the Government to ensure that these sorts of things can never happen again.
So thank you again for coming and giving us your evidence. I feel sorry for you, and I am sure there are many out here in the hall, and those people who have
listened to your evidence on the radio, who also feel sorry for you. Thank you very much? --- Thank you very much, Sir.
MR LYSTER: If you could just take a seat and put the earphones on, Mr Motlale, and please confirm whether you can hear me while I am speaking. Are you able to hear me well enough? Thank you very much for coming in today. You are from Thaba Nchu, and you will tell us a story about what happened to you in June 1984,. Before you tell your story please will you stand so that you can take the oath.
SHUPING JOSIAH MOTLALE (Sworn, States)
MR LYSTER: I will be assisting you today in the leading of your evidence. Your full name is Shuping Josiah Motlale, is that correct? --- Yes, that's correct.
And you live in Zone Three in Thaba Nchu, is that right? --- That's correct.
Now, this event that you will tell us about took place in Thaba Nchu in June 1984, is that right? --- Yes, that's correct.
Can you just tell us briefly, at that time were you married, were you living in Thaba Nchu? Tell us a little bit about your personal background. --- I am married, and I am staying in Thaba Nchu. I am working in Mafikeng.
(Inaudible) ... us about what happened to you in June 1984. I understand at the time that you were a member of the Bophutatswana Police, is that correct? --- Yes, that's correct.
Okay, thank you. Can you tell us what happened in June 1984? --- In June 1984 I was working in Mafikeng. I was in the Parliament. I received a telegram from home which reported that my father - my brother had died. I took this telegram and gave it to the sergeant with whom
I was working because it was late. He released me and told me that he'll report on my behalf that I had left, I must hurry home. I hurried home. We didn't actually talk as to how many days I would take off. (Pause)
Sorry, I know that these are painful memories for you to go through again, Mr Motlale, so just take your time in answering and just try and relax. We're here to listen to your story in a supportive way and to sympathise with you. --- Then I took 19 days so that I could be able to prepare for the burial, go to insurance companies. When I went back to Mafikeng I got there and I reported at the charge office that I was present. I was told to go back to the Parliament. I was working at six in the morning. When I got there at 6 o'clock in the morning to start my duties two sergeants came in. At that time when they came they were already insulting me, swearing at me, and they were telling me that I am an informer and I am poor. I could not answer them. Until one of them said they were going to arrest this dog. I didn't answer them. They took me to the cells, they took out my uniform. That is when they told me that they are going to search me for my cards, or ANC cards. I explained to them that I was not a member of the ANC, I didn't even belong to any political organisation, but they nevertheless arrested me. They kept me in custody. Maybe they thought that I was going to give a statement and explain to the Magistrate as to what was happening. On the very same day of the arrest, round about 12 midnight, two sergeants arrived. It was Mutsamayi and Marume. When they came they took me, they put me into the back of the van, where there was a dog, and there was also a sack. They made this sack wet
and they started assaulting me with it until they took me back to the charge office. When we got there they got out some electrocuting equipment. They told me that I should tell them about all the other organisations which were affiliated to the ANC. They told me I was an ANC informer. It was on the very same week that Mangope was arrested. That was when Metsing was going to sign a contract. I believe I stayed for two weeks. I couldn't appear in court, I couldn't do anything. One evening they came to me. Then during the day they would give me rice water. After that two weeks my mother heard news that I had been arrested. (Pause)
Mr Motlale, we know that this is upsetting for you. You said your mother had heard that you'd been arrested, and did she assist you in being released from prison? --- I must tell you I don't have parents. It's actually my sister who heard that I was arrested, and she went to Mafikeng to search for me. When she arrived in Mafikeng she stayed in Mafikeng searching for me for three consecutive days. (Pause) On the fourth day they took her at about 6 o'clock in the afternoon and they dropped her at Schweizer-Reineke River. They undressed her and they assaulted her.
(Inaudible) ... policemen were, Mr Motlale? Were they members of the Bophutatswana Police Force? --- These were my colleagues. I know them perfectly well.
(Inaudible) ... after you've given your evidence. --- They undressed my sister, they assaulted her, and they just left her there, they came back. After two weeks I appeared before the Court and I was given - I was sentenced to 15 days or R15,00. There was another chap
from the ANC who was arrested, and he said, "You don't have to pay this. When you receive a card on your release you must come to us, we'll assist you." Those 15 days were reduced to 12 days, and I managed to come home. But I went back to my work. I told them to give me money, to give me my salary, because I wasn't working for them now. They didn't give me anything. When I tried to talk to them they said I should go and get everything from Mandela because I was his informer in Bophutatswana. I didn't have any place to sleep, I didn't have food to eat, until one person felt sorry for me and he gave me money until I reached my home. Even when I was here they kept on promising me that they would arrest me. At one stage I went to Mafikeng to ask them whether can they give me anything. They said no up to this day.
Sorry, can you - are you indicating that your ear phones are not working? Can you hear me? --- I can hear you.
Is that the end of your - sorry, can you not hear me? --- I am requesting - because I didn't get anything from them. I am not working. I get lifts when I have to go to Mafikeng.
Mr Motlale, were you discharged from the defence force when you were sentenced? We you dismissed? Sorry, not the defence force, the police force. Were you dismissed from the police force? Did you get a letter informing you that you were dismissed? --- They took me to the head office in Mafikeng and I was then told that I am dismissed.
Did they give you reasons? --- No, they didn't give me any reason whatsoever.
But when they were beating you and assaulting you and torturing you did they say that you were an informer? I think that's what I understood you to say. --- Yes, that's what they said.
Do you have any idea why they said that, why they should have said that? --- This happened because I was at home when Mangope was arrested and taken to the stadium. I was at home. Now, they thought that I went home to inform the ANC people what was happening in Bophutatswana.
(Inaudible) ... at home assisting with the burial of your brother. --- That's correct, Sir.
Have you been employed since then? --- No, I have never been employed because I am now sick.
What sickness do you have? --- I think the electrocution has affected me, because I even had an operation.
(Inaudible) ... that they got some electrical equipment. You didn't tell us what they did with it. What did they do to you? You said that they tortured you by means of hitting you with a wet sack, but you didn't tell us what they did with the electrical equipment. Can you tell us? --- They broke my finger, two fingers on both hands. These fingers are not working. And here my private parts are not working perfectly well. I even have a hole on my thigh.
(Inaudible) ... electrical equipment, electrical torture equipment. --- Yes, that's where they applied the electric equipment.
And did you make a statement to any other police about this? Did you lay charges of assault? Did you do
anything about it at the time? --- I couldn't go to any policemen during those years because Bophutatswana was still oppressing the people.
At which hospital were you treated for your injuries? --- I went to Maroka Hospital.
Mr Motlale, at this stage I'll ask my colleagues if they wish to ask any questions.
In your statement you said that you were arrested because they felt that you went ... (incomplete - end of Side A, Tape 8) ... says that you did inform - get a permission from Sergeant Motsibe to go home for the burial of your brother. Did you go to the sergeant who had given you permission to ask him to rectify this suspicion, because he knew that you had gone to bury your brother? --- When these people were harassing me like this I couldn't meet him at all, and I didn't see him.
Did he know that you were expelled because it was said that you had gone home because you had gone to be an informer? --- I can say he knows, because I sent people to him but he never came.
He never came. Can you give us the date of your arrest? --- I can't remember the date very well. It was on a Saturday if I still remember.
(Inaudible) ... the month of June. --- Yes, it was still in the June month.
Mr Motlale, did your sister make any statement to the police? Did she lay any charges as far as you know? --- When she arrived at Wesselsbron she went to the
police station, trying to lay a charge against the policemen, and they asked her where will they get those policemen if she doesn't know them.
Where is your sister living at this time? --- She is married in Botswana at this present moment.
It would be very useful if you could request her to get in touch with us to also make a statement relating to what happened to her if that's possible. --- I don't know whether will she receive the post quickly, because they don't have any telephones in the area they are situated. I'll have to write her a letter, and then they take three weeks to reach them.
It doesn't matter. We're still going to - the Commission is still going to be working for many, many months to come, and it would be useful to supplement the evidence that you have given by her evidence as well. So if you feel that you can do that it would be useful for us if you could write to her and ask her to make a statement. --- I will do so, Sir.
Yes, one of my colleagues has mentioned that she can do it through the embassy in Gabarone if she wants to make a statement there, if you can inform her of that, in Botswana. Thank you very much for coming to see us today to tell us your story. We will follow up this story. If you are able to give names of the people who assaulted you and assaulted your sister to our staff, who are down below where you were sitting, so that we can add to the statement that you made to us some weeks ago in Bloemfontein. That will certainly be very useful for us. We will try and follow up to see why that took place, and to confront the people who were responsible for that.
And, as I've said, it will be useful to have the statement of your sister.
The role of the police in this country has - in our country's history has always been a very controversial role. Instead of protecting the rights of all citizens, and upholding those rights, in the past the police in reality served the interests of only one political group, and this of course was made more difficult by the fact that they created - the Government created lots more police forces in the various homelands which were created at that time, and you worked for one of those homeland governments, one of those homeland police forces. And what happened to you at that time should never ever have happened, and we now have a constitution and a police force which will ensure that those sorts of things do not happen ever again and, as I said earlier on, we must all work hard and vigilantly to uphold those rights, which so many people have fought for.
We express our deep sympathy for you at the terrible things that happened to you, and the injuries that you received. We will do our best to get to the bottom of what you have told us. As you have probably heard me and Dr Borain say today, we cannot offer you any immediate assistance. Our job is to make recommendations to the President and to the Cabinet, and they in turn will make recommendations to Parliament to put their policies and their recommendations into effect.
So we thank you again very much for coming today, and we wish you well. Thank you very much.
MR LYSTER: Thank you for coming in today, Mr Molatseli. Could you please put on the earphones which you see in front of you. Can you hear me? Are you able to hear me well enough?
MR MOLATSELI: I can hear you.
MR LYSTER: Thank you very much. You have come to us today from the Tweefontein area, where you live, which is near ... (intervention)
MR MOLATSELI: A little louder please.
MR LYSTER: Sorry, I'll speak a little louder. You've come to us today from Thaba Nchu, where you live, and you've come to tell us about harassment, torture and detention which you suffered in 1978. Before you give your evidence I'll ask you to stand to please take the oath. Could you stand up and take the oath. Is that better now? Can you hear me clearer now? Are you able to hear me? If the briefer can just indicate whether she can hear me. Okay. Could you please fit the earphones again, Mr Molatseli, and tell me whether you can now hear me.
MR MOLATSELI: Yes, I can hear you.
MR LYSTER: That's good. Can you stand up please.
MR E MOLATSELI (Sworn, States)
MR LYSTER: Thank you, Mr Molatseli, you can sit down, and I am going to ask my colleague, Mr Dlamini, to assist you with your evidence today. Thank you, Mr Dlamini.
MR DLAMINI: Good afternoon, Mr Molatseli. --- Good afternoon, Sir.
Can I confirm if I've got the right person? The person that we are supposed to hear was born on the 18th of August 1914, and you look very much younger than that.
--- Yes, you are talking to me.
Can I confirm that you are 82 years of age? --- Yes, I am 82, but they've made a mistake, they've added three more years.
Thank you. We really appreciate your presence here, and the time that have accorded us, and ... (intervention)
Can you repeat that, Sir? --- We really appreciate your presence this afternoon, and thank you very much for the time you have given us. Can I ask you to start by telling us about your family. Is Mrs Molatseli still there, and the children, what they are doing? --- Mrs Molatseli is still alive. My wife is still alive. I have two sons. Can I carry on?
Yes, tell us more. We are interested. --- I have two sons. The other one is in Transvaal. He is now married and he is a teacher at a school, in a high School at Sebokeng. And the other one was at Vista University, and he completed his degree this year. He is now working.
May I know again whether Mrs Molatseli is present here? --- She is not here, she is at home. She is at home, she is not here with us.
Can you please convey our regards to her. --- I will do so, Sir.
Thank you. Can I now get into the incident that took place in 1978, which is one of the sad and unfortunate parts of the past history of our country, where at your age you were harassed the manner you were. Would you please tell us what happened and what were the reasons for the experience that you incurred on that particular day? --- Please bear with me. I am a bit deaf. A policeman that I have indicated in my statement
injured my ears and I cannot hear perfectly well. Do you hear me, because I can't hear myself?
Yes, I can hear you. --- I think you heard me when I told you that my ears are a bit affected now. It was early in the morning in April in 1978 and I was on my way. Just before the sun could rise I was on my way to school, and I heard a knock at my door. When I opened the door I discovered that it was two policemen, and they pushed themselves into the room that I was staying in at Selosesha. I was a principal at a place called Kroondraai. The people that are at Botshabelo presently were first living in Kroondraai. I had a few teachers assisting me. Those were the people who sacrificed a lot. I was staying in Selosesha and I had a small room. My original home is far. It's about 40 miles from Tweefontein to that place. Now, every morning I would be preparing myself to go to school. On that particular morning the police came in and they wanted my identity document. I gave them and they started searching the house, and they found a book called, "Up from Slavery," that was written by T Washington, who was a principal at Etuski College(?). They took that book and they said, "Get out of this house because you are a terrorist. You are teaching at a Kroondraai school. What are you teaching those children? Are you teaching them terrorism?" And they were behind me, coming - you know, pushing me, and they pushed me into a big lorry that was parked there. I found many people in that truck, and they took me to Selosesha Charge Office. I was accompanied by one policeman to the charge office, and he said to the other policemen there, "This is a person who has been
teaching young pupils politics at Kroondraai." They showed me a place to sit, and then I sat there the whole day. I didn't know why did they pick me up. I didn't even realise that the book, "Up from Slavery," was such a bad thing to be arrested for. When the sun sets the police released me, they said, "Go, but tomorrow you have to be here at 8 o'clock." I left the charge office. They gave me my keys and my identity document, but they kept the book with them. The next morning before 8 o'clock I was at the charge office, and they said to me, "We are taking you, we are going to your place now," the place that I have referred to which is 40 kilometres from Selosesha. The police said, "You terrorist, we are taking you to your house, we are going to search." We drove until we reached my place. When we arrived there my wife was not at home, she went to the church meeting. Now, the person who was at home gave us the permission to get in. It was a police officer and two other policemen. They searched the house. Together with our officer we were sitting in the lounge, but there was another room in which my two sons slept. The other one was attending Fort Hare University, and the other one was at Jordan High in Sebokeng. And they came out with something from that room. They said, "Look at this." They had Steve Biko's portrait. His hands were handcuffed. His hands were handcuffed, and they showed me the picture, they said, "Look at this. It's from inside your house." I said to them, "I am from Thaba Nchu. My two sons sleep in that room. The other one is at Jordan High School, the other one is at Fort Hare. You picked me up at my small shack from Thaba Nchu and you pushed me with your rifles, and
you are here to tell me that I know this Steve Biko photo." It was even my first time to hear the name Steve Biko. They showed me that photo with his hands handcuffed. That photo was taken from the room where my two sons were sleeping, and I said to them, "That is my sons' room." They asked me, "Which son? Which son can we associate with this photo?" I said, "I don't know." And they took one of his photos, they asked me, "Who is this person the photo?" I said, "It's my son, and he is at Fort Hare University." They took that photo. Up to this day I have never received that photo. And they said, "This Steve Biko's photo, it's a very dirty photo that we got into your house." I was escorted. I want to thank God because my wife was not at home, and she doesn't want anything to do with such situations. You know, I was like a criminal. I was escorted into her house. I don't know what could have happened if she was there. I thank God she wasn't there. They took the photo, the Steve Biko photo with his hands handcuffed, and they took one of my son's photos. They said, "This photo must belong to one of your two sons," and I said to them, "I do not know whose photo is that." The third point that they indicated was very bad. The Secretary to the Bantu Education, that's where I complained. It was a letter because I was complaining. It was just a copy of the letter I wrote, and they had this copy with them. They said those were the three items that they found unacceptable in my house, Steve Biko's photo, the letter that I wrote to the Secretary of Bantu Education complaining. I was asking him to intervene. I was asking him to see how the parents were involved because they built a school, but I was
chased away because I was a Sotho person, and I was told
to go to the other Sotho-speaking people. Now, those three things led to the police thinking that I was a criminal. And that book, "Up from Slavery," because I was then painted a terrorist. Their senior asked me what I did want at Komdraai, because I was a member of Dikwankwetla. I said to them, "You can inquire from any political organisation. I have never been a member because I know the Sotho-speaking people do not involve themselves in politics." But I told them that, "When you took a different direction from the Sotho people they would kill you because they would disagree with you." They wanted to know about my presence at Komdraai. I told them, "You took the letter that I sent to Pretoria." I want to tell you that I taught - I taught children and I taught teachers. I don't know what to say, but some of them are very successful people. I was telling you that we came back to Thaba Nchu, and when we arrived at the charge office I was told that the three items that were found at my house were really bad. They told me that the next morning ... (inaudible - witness now speaking Sotho and English) ... not later than 8 o'clock in the morning, and not later than 6 o'clock in the afternoon, every day until further notice. That was the instruction I got from those people. If you fail to do that, I was told ... (inaudible) ... and banish you from Thaba Nchu. And they told me that my children will never see me again if I can't report ... (inaudible) ... o'clock in the afternoon every day, through all kinds of weather. It doesn't matter whether it's raining or what is happening, but you have to be there. And I did just that. I am now telling
you the most disturbing thing. The following day ...
(inaudible) ... not later than 8 o'clock. I still remember very well. 20 to eight I was standing in front of that office. And the man who was supposed to open came a little late, and when he opened he opened the door and he got into the room. I followed him ... (inaudible) ... time lock or some register to show that I was there. I said nothing. Then I waited there. I have been standing here not knowing what to do. The children at school were waiting for their teacher, because I had to give them lessons. While I was waiting there - I waited there for about 30 minutes, not knowing what to do. I didn't know what to do, because they told me that I should be here, and I was expecting them to give me a register to sign so that I can leave. I will tell you the name if you want, but this policeman was there on his own, and he said to me - and he asked me a question all of a sudden. He said, "Yesterday ... (inaudible) ... I was shocked. I said I am faced here with a difficult person ... (inaudible) ... insulting, humiliating questions. I ignored him totally. I had nothing to do with him. I found that this is not my class.
MR LYSTER: Can we have order please?
MR DLAMINI: Yes, Babu Molatseli, we know that those are memories that you wouldn't like to recall. Thank you. --- I can't remember where did I end. Now this person, when he realised that I was ignoring him he started hitting me with his fists, and he was a hefty person and I fell. My head was swollen. This table was full of my blood, and my clothes were full of blood. The jacket that I had on that day, and my shirt, everything was full of
blood as if a cow has been slaughtered. You know, the floor was full of blood ... (inaudible) ... a lot of soap or whatever they use to scrub the blood out. The whole office was simply full of my blood. I didn't provoke this man in any way, I just kept my peace. I just kept quiet. I said not a single word, but he just found it ... (inaudible) ... or whatever that people who keep quiet they teach them in that type of way. That's how they teach them. They will teach you how to talk here in ... (inaudible) ... now after all that, when the chief officer arrived, really I was - you know, I cried like a little boy, like a child, asking for help when I was reeling round on the ground, unable to stand up because of my knee. And I stood up and tried to support myself. I did at long last manage to steady my legs and to stand. And then the chief most fortunately arrived, and was shocked and said, "What is happening?" He asked him. He never answered. And then he asked me, and I pointed at home, I didn't talk. And I still remember what that man said. I respect him for that phrase. He said, "Man, you are not a Magistrate," and I turned and I said to the man, to the office, "Please let me go to my wife, because my children are not here, and I want to show them that what you are doing to me." He said, "The people of Komdraai have asked me to go and teach there, because the School Board of Thaba Nchu have sacked me, and my children - one is at Fort Hare, the other one is at Jordan High. I have no money to pay for the fees. Now, please go to Komdraai so that they can pay you something. Now I want to go and show him that you say - which this policeman of yours what he have done to me. That's what you do when people come
"and look for work." And he said no. And then at the same time my face was swelling up, you know. It was terrible.
Those who saw me really ran away at the hospital. Then I was bleeding from my noose, I mean through my nose, through my ears, all over. My whole face was bruised and bleeding, and I was not steady on my legs, I didn't know - I looked terrible. Then he simply ordered a police van to take me to the hospital. I was taken to the hospital, rushed there, because they were too frightened. I was bleeding. The bleeding had to stop. They couldn't do it, and I was taken there. When I got to the hospital many people thought I was dead because I was just punch drunk. I just didn't do anything. And you know what happened to me at the hospital? Nothing. I arrived there in the morning, and was fetched by the police at sundown. Not a single nurse saw me, not a single doctor attended to me, and I was taken back to the police station. At the police station just - it was just - the whole thing was just a mess. I was told to go home. Nobody had time for me there. "Just go home." I went to Selosesha. You know about Selosesha at that time, a tsotsi infested place, limping, punch drunk, hardly knowing what I am doing. And so far really I don't know if you have made any sense with my scattered remarks. I just don't know how far I've gone.
You have made a lot of sense, Babu Molatseli. I am now interested in the ... (intervention) --- Let me just make a correction there. My name is Molatseli, M-o-l-a-t-s-e-l-i.
Thank you for that, Babu Molatseli. --- I beg
your pardon, yes.
Babu Molatseli, the person who did this to you, is it the same Abraham Ohane who is reflected in your
statement? Can I confirm? --- Yes, that's the same person.
Secondly, which court did the case go through? --- We went to Thaba Nchu Magistrate's Court at Selosesha.
At the time when the police were interrogating you you denied belonging to any political party. It wasn't safe at that time. Can I confirm are you a member of any political party now? --- I will never have to do with anything with that.
Thank you. Can I also ... (intervention) --- I you mention politics to me I have nothing to do with you. Just go away.
Thank you very much, Dada. Can I also confirm, one of your requests to the Commission is to be helped with the hearing aids. The Commission has noted that. The Chairman will refer to it when he summarises. Secondly, you also made a request that you would wish to meet the perpetrator so that he can explain to you why he did what he did to you, and that has also been noted. The Chairman will refer to it when he summarises. Thank you very much Mr Molatseli for sharing with us. I know it's a painful and humiliating experience, but the manner you have shared with us we have all learned from it, and we are a lot wiser than we were before it. Thank you. Can I now hand over to the Chairman.
MR LYSTER: Thank you very much for coming in today and telling us your story. It was a very coherent story,
contrary to what you believe. They were not scattered remarks at all, it was a very coherent story, and a very sad one. And it's a story which tells us a lot about the
previous government in this country. You had in your house a very famous book by Booker T Washington ... (intervention) --- I am listening to you, Sir.
... "Up from Slavery," and you also had a picture of Steve Biko's hands in handcuffs, and these two items created such fear and insecurity in the police that they detained you, they subjected you to assaults, and they made you report daily to the police station for a period of months, and they accused you of propagating politics in your school. And that's very sad, and as I've said before hopefully we now have a police force where that sort of thing, that sort of interference with private citizens, can never ever happen again, and we have to work hard at protecting the system which we now have in place.
As my colleagues have mentioned to you we will try and assist you insofar as the impairment of your hearing is concerned. We have, since we have been in Bloemfontein, entered into an arrangement with the Ministry of Health in Bloemfontein, and they have undertaken to assist people who require urgent treatment arising out of injuries and assaults that they received arising out of incidents which took place under the scope of the Commission, so we can refer you to somebody in the Ministry of Health who may be able to assist you.
But we thank you very much for coming here and sharing your story with us, and we wish you and your wife well. --- I want to thank you, Sir.
MR LYSTER: Thank you both for coming in today. Please will you confirm that you can hear me through the earphones. Can you hear my voice? And are you both going to be giving evidence, or will just one of you be talking today? Both of you will be giving evidence, and you will be giving evidence together about an incident which took place in June 1990 in Botshabelo township, and it relates to an assault upon you both by the police. And you will be giving evidence together because you - this thing happened at the same time. Before we proceed could you stand and take the oath please.
SHADRACK RATABA and JONAS MOLEHE (Sworn, State)
MR LYSTER: I am going to ask one of my colleagues, Dr Magwaza, in the leading of your evidence. Have you decided which one of you will be talking first? You are Mr Rataba? --- I am Mr Molehe.
Mr Molehe. Okay, thank you very much. Dr Magwaza.
DR MAGWAZA: You are still very young. I can't help feeling that at a very tender age you were subject to gross abuse, and such violation will leave scars, or has left scars that will take a long time to heal. We are here today to listen to your story, to acknowledge your pain, and to give you support. You can begin to tell us your story. Probably, Jonas, you can begin by telling us more about yourself. --- I am Jonas Molehe. I am the son Mr Molehe, who was a teacher in Botshabelo. At this moment he is on pension.
At the time when this incident happened did you belong to any political party? What standard of education were you doing at school? --- In 1990 I was doing
standard nine. I was just a supporter of the ANC, but I had an organisation at my heart which is the South African Communist Party. Now what happened in that year, in 1990, we were a group of youths, and then we formed a gospel group. It happened that one evening while we were still at the practice - I think you must be aware that every group has a constitution. We were both girls and boys singing in this choir. And then every time we would meet our parents to brief them about the activities of this gospel group, and the parents would give us advices so that we cannot just be misled. While we were still at Retsamagile School(?) we saw police coming in. There were two guys who used to pester with girls every day. One day at 5 o'clock from the practice these two guys were waiting at the gate, and they had knives with them, and they had another sort of weapon in their hand. And they said, "We want a girl." We told them we are not going to allow any member from our group to go out with boys because we have to escort them until they are home, and then they can leave their homes on their own. They attacked us, these two gentlemen, but because we outnumbered them they tried to run away. We chased them and we managed to get one of them, and this one was involved in - he was supporting this other gentleman who wanted a girl. We didn't have any dangerous weapons, we were bare-handed. We grabbed him and then he - our aim was to take him to our parents, because he also stayed in our area, so we wanted the parents to ask him why did he support his friend. We caught him at a place between Section C and Section W. Now, while we were passing a place called Simpowani - it was past seven to six, and then we heard a Hippo coming
behind. And we did not run because we knew we were innocent because we only had this person in our company, we wanted to take him to the parents so that the parents can talk to him. The police arrived and they stopped. When they got out of their car they were pointing their guns at us. They asked what happened. We explained everything to them. They insulted us. They said, "You Comrades, you've decided to take our jobs now. We are going to show you," and they threw us into the Hippo. We were so many, but we could all fit into the Hippo. On our way we were trying to explain to them what happened, but they assaulted us. They let us put our hands on the chair, and they took an empty bottle of cool drink and they started hitting us on the fingers. They had bottles of beer in the Hippo and they were drinking. They took us to Section H. The policemen on duty would take turns hitting us. We drove with them until we went to the police station at Botshabelo C Section. The Hippo stopped. They couldn't let us out of the Hippo as normal people. They escorted us and they took their guns and they hit us with the back of their guns. They took us into the police station, and we thought that they would take us to the cells. No, they didn't take us to the cells, but they took us to a room called Room 13 ... (incomplete - end of Side B, Tape 8) ... to assault us. While standing against a wall they would pull us. They continually assaulted us, tramping on our bodies, and they were insulting us, telling us that our mothers are bitches and they will only feel where they are asleep that we are in trouble. They took something and they started assaulting us with that. When we tried to stop they would
use their heels to trample your hands, and I felt that it was so heavy on me. They would let us stand up, and took our penis from behind and they would hit us with something, and we couldn't identify. You can imagine yourself, you don't see this person assaulting you. I was clever enough to take a look at them, and at one stage they decided to take a look at us, and two of the policemen were assaulting us. It was a violent area, and they have been evicted from their houses, and I told them, I said, "Please, can you please take me home because I am not feeling well." It was to 12 in the evening, and I said to them, "Take me home so that I can take my medication." I continually asked them, but they refused. But one of their surgeons came and said, "Take this gentleman home so that he can take his medication." They first took rounds in the township, and while doing that they were continually beating me, and they didn't want to listen to anything I was trying to tell them. It was at night and I couldn't identify the section. We drove past Simpowani again until we reached our section. You know, I wanted to run away. I said to myself, "Should they make mistake I am going to run away," but one of them said, "If you can try to run away we are going to shoot you." We had a dog at home, and I fluted so that my dog could realise it was me, and I got into the house, I took my tablets. They escorted me, but I could manage to write down a note. And I said to them, "Gentlemen, there is a key that my sister puts here," and I knew that my sister wakes up very early in the morning, and I took the key that I had with me, I put it on top of the note and I left it there. When I arrived at the police station my friends
were so badly assaulted. I remember one old man who was in our company. He wasn't actually our group member, but they hit him until he urinated on himself. Some of our officials from the choir were not arrested, and they managed to go home to report to our parents that we had been arrested. They went to the school to fetch my father. He went together with them to the police station, and we were told that we would write statements. My hand was so swollen, and I said to them, "Look what you have done to me." They said, "We don't take care." We opened a case at the police station at Botshabelo, but we don't know what happened to those charges we laid.
(Inaudible) ... it's very, very sad. I have just a few other questions to ask. This group, the gospel group, it was purely a gospel group? Was it a group that had a specific political affiliation? Did you all feel the same about politics or about an organisation? --- No, we never had any intention of politics, we were just a singing group, because I remember well we even went to the studio to record some few cassettes.
At that time what was happening in the township? Why there were Casspirs moving around? What was happening? --- It was that violent area. It was a conflict between the ANC and the Dikwankwetla Party.
When you went to the police station you said you did have an opportunity to see the police. Can you identify them? Do you know who they were? --- I know their full names because the same night there was a person who was arrested with us, and one policeman said to the other policeman, "Come and see. Here is Chaka." I know Chaka and Mazibuko.
Do you know where they are now? Are they still police, are they still acting as policemen? --- Yes, they are still working. The other one is working at the police station at the industrial area, and the other one is at the Section C Police Station.
And what you also said, you said the charge was laid against these policemen. What happened? --- Yes, that's true, we laid a charge.
What happened? --- I couldn't write my exams. I have to start by saying I was taken to Botshabelo Hospital, and I was transferred to Philonomi Hospital, where I was operated. And when I was released I went back home and we laid a charge, and we were told that we will go to a parade to identify them, but that didn't take place. Because, you know, I would go to school because I was so fond of schooling. I couldn't write anything. My friend used to take notes for me. The CIDs would come and they would tell us, "Let's go because the people are now there. Let's go and identify them," but every time we would be at the police station we would be told to go back home because the people are not there. If I remember well it was in '91 when we were called, and then we tried to identify the policemen we thought assaulted us, but this other one, Mazibuko, we managed to identify. But we told them that Chaka was there and they said, "Okay, that's fine. We know of Chaka."
Which police station did you report your case? --- It was at Botshabelo Police Station.
(Inaudible) ... the name of the person who was dealing with the case? --- It was Mr Mathobisa. He was transferred to Bloemfontein.
You also mentioned something about the fact that you had a lawyer who was acting on your behalf, but you said he was a bit reluctant. What do you mean? --- My father came with a lawyer, I think it was Cooper & Son, and together with my father we went to that firm, and then they referred us to a Mr Venter. We gave him the statement and I gave them everything, the particulars, and he said to me - he said everything that the police say to me I should take it to them, but I couldn't because I didn't have money to be coming to Bloemfontein every time, and I wanted to continue with my studies.
Those lawyers, are they still around? --- I can't remember.
Well, regarding your treatment you mentioned that you had your hand operated, and that that interfered with your schooling. Did you stop schooling after the operation? --- In 1990 I was doing standard nine. The year after that Mr Sajake, who was the school principal and the school committee, decided that I should go to standard 10 because they knew my performance. And they decided that I should go to the next standard. I tried to keep up, but I couldn't, because even my methods of studies have changed, I couldn't concentrate any more, because I would feel terrible headaches and I would be attacked by the veins(?).
Do you still feel that way now? Do you still have those headaches? --- Yes. Every time when I get disturbed the headaches come back.
Do you have any hospital records about your operation? --- Yes. Philonomi Hospital have my records.
You also mentioned that when you were detained in the police station you had to go home to take your medication. What medication, what was it all about? --- The way we were being assaulted I wasn't in a position to bear the assault any more. Even animals are not punished that way. A friend of mine was also there. At this moment he's in Welkom. You know, we wanted a plan, you know, so that they can stop the assault for a time being.
Tell me, Jonas, what do you do now? --- I am not staying at home now, I have my own house, and I am an upholsterer. I have a person that I stay with, and we have a child, and I am not working. That is the kind of work that I am doing.
Okay, thank you very much, Jonas. That's quite a very difficult situation you are in.
DR MAGWAZA: Shadrack, if you could just tell me more about yourself. I have heard most of the story from Jonas, then I will just ask you a few questions. --- Shall I start from the beginning?
(Inaudible) ... you are, your age, your family, and also your political affiliation if there is any. --- I am the son to Mrs Disebo Rataba, Madisebo Rataba. My father passed away. We are 10 at home. I am the eighth child. I am one of the persons who also got injured, or who got involved with what happened to Mr Molehe. As he has already indicated I was belonging to the ANC, and I was a supporter thereof. I was in this gospel group when the two gentlemen came, and they wanted a girl, because she was going out with one of those two gentlemen. And we refused because we had - we had a rule. We didn't allow
anybody - we didn't allow a girl or a boy to attend to his private matters during the practice. Now, these two boys arrived and they were armed. They were in a fighting spirit. And then we chased them until we were between the W Section and J Section, and we caught them just in the middle. We actually caught the innocent guy, because he was invited by his friend to come and fight us. We left with this gentleman to the J Section. There's a place called Simporoneng. There's a factory called Rubex there, and a Hippo approached us. And the police didn't ask anything. They just picked us up, they said, "Comrades," and they pushed us into the Hippo. That's where we felt the pain. That's where we felt the pain, because they didn't want to listen to our story. I remember there was a cool drink bottle, and they used that to hit us on our backs. They continued assaulting us. That was a group doing a night shift. When we arrived at Section H there was a new shift coming in. This outgoing team told them, "A group of Comrades belonging to Satan is here." It was after eight, I remember well. We left. From H we went to Botshabelo Police Station, and they had already started assaulting us. They first got out of the Hippo and they formed sort of a guard of honour, and when we got out of the Hippo we had to pass through each one of them, and we didn't know where they were taking us to, we just saw ourselves in an office. When we were in that office they said we should raise our hands, we don't have to look them in the face. It was cold, it was in June. I remember very well they pulled us with our ankles and we could - then we fell. And every time you use your hands to protect yourself they would say, "Come on, start afresh."
And when they do this the second time, you know, the cement was so cold. They ran, they trampled on us with their boots, and they would - and they said we were clean, they wanted to make us dirty. They used broomsticks. The first one broke, the second one broke, and they were busy trampling on us. If you tried to turn your head to take a look at them they would use their boot so that you can face down. When the second broomstick broke they took a plank, because the policeman used his two hands to handle this, and they would give us a hiding.
(Inaudible) ... no, I think you went through a very horrendous. If you could just tell us exactly, with all this brutality what - did you have any physical injuries? What happened? --- This thing affected me and it still affects me, and my body is sore at all times. Especially in winter I could feel pains. When it's summer I get tired. When I wake up in the morning I am already tired and I cannot think, because my mother doesn't have money to take me for treatment, and I thought now I am disabled.
You have never had any treatment at all? --- No, not treatment, no treatment at all.
(Inaudible) ... identify these people who did this to you? --- I know two of them, Chaka and Mazibuko. These were the two gentlemen whom we identified.
You also - you also had a charge against them in the same way as Jonas? --- Yes, we laid charges against them.
You had the same lawyer? --- This one's father sought a lawyer for him, but we didn't find any lawyer.
(Inaudible) ... now? You are still very, very young. --- I went back to school, because I left
school earlier on and my parents said, "Please go back to school."
(Inaudible) ... to school? What standard of education? --- Standard 10.
Standard 10. Okay, thanks very much, Shadrack. Thanks very, very much for your story. I would like to hand it over to our Chairperson now.
MR LYSTER: Thank you, Dr Magwaza. Are there any questions that anyone else would like to ask? Thank you both very much for coming here today and telling us your story. I made some remarks earlier on today about the police force and the role that the police force played in our country over the last - over the past years. And the defence force has also played a very negative role in our country, and it was used to support the work of the police, and to harass and assault people who opposed the policies of the Government, and this should never have been allowed to happen, and we must guard against that sort of thing ever happening again.
And it's very ironic that in two short years the defence force has changed from being the sort of organisation that you have described, it has changed, transformed into the sort of organisation which by and large is playing a role in protecting and preserving our new democracy here. We from KwaZulu-Natal have recently had our local government elections, and it was stated in the paper after those elections went off successfully that the defence force played a very, very crucial role in ensuring that violence did not happen, so we are certainly very glad that the defence force has managed to start
transforming itself from the organisation it was when you were detained and assaulted, to the sort of organisation that it is now.
We will try and investigate what happened to the cases that you initiated against the people who assaulted you, and we will try and find out who was responsible and why those things happened. We will also make recommendations to the State President concerning assistance to people like yourselves who have suffered injuries as a result of human rights violations.
So again that you very much for coming in, thank you for being patient. You've waited a long time to give your evidence today, and we hope that by the telling of your story in public that you feel that you have lifted in some way some of the burden which you have been carrying for these years. Thank you very much.
MR LYSTER: Thank you very much for coming in today, Mr Bolane. Can you hear me through the earphones? Are you able to hear me? Thank you. Thank you for being patient. You are the last person who will give evidence today, and you've waited the entire day, and we thank you for that. You will be telling us a story relating to what occurred to you as an ANC member in exile, and it's a story which took place over a number of years, five or six years. We don't expect you to relate every incident in any detail. You have, as you are aware, given us a detailed statement. It is late in the day, and there are witnesses who have to travel a long time to get home. We certainly don't want to rush you through your evidence, but because yours took place over a long period of time we'd like you to try and highlight the most important incidents - highlight those incidents which you feel are the most important that you'd like to tell us. I am going to - before you give your evidence I am going to ask you to please stand and take the oath.
MR B BOLANE (Sworn, States)
MR LYSTER: Thank you very much. One of my colleagues, Mr Ilan Lax, is going to assist you in giving your evidence.
MR LAX: Good afternoon, Mr Bolane. --- Good afternoon.
Thank you for coming. Can you just tell us briefly your age please? --- I am 36 years old.
Thank you. You've told us in your statement that you left South Africa in 1985 to join the ANC in Lesotho, is that correct? --- Yes, that's correct.
Why did you do that? --- I went after a long period of oppression that I went through when I was still in South Africa. What made me take this decision was that I have suffered, and I couldn't get my identify document as from 1977 up to 1985. Where I was staying in Thaba Nchu each time I go to get a pass they would tell me that I am a Xhosa from Transkei. I asked them, "How can I get to Transkei and get an identity document, because I wasn't born in Transkei?" They told me I am a Xhosa, I should go back to Transkei. I was working in Mafikeng. I went to Mafikeng to get an identity document. They referred me to Bloemfontein so that I could get my identity document there. In Bloemfontein they made me a temporary document. My ID took a long time. I went - I took this temporary ID and went to look for work because I couldn't get any work. Luckily I got work. It had already expired. I went on trying to change the date so that it would be extended so that I could get some work. When I went to check if my ID had arrived they told me that I must go to the nearest South African town, which was Lichtenburg. I went to Lichtenburg. When I got to Lichtenburg, after standing in a long queue for my ID, when I got to the window I was balancing on the window as I am indicating. There was a black person at the counter. He asked me what I was looking for. I told him I am looking for an ID. He just closed the window without any care. He told me that I should see that it's lunch time. I told him I didn't know it was lunch time, but he nevertheless closed the window and left me standing on the counter. We waited until such time that he came back from lunch. He started attending to me. He told me that I
wasn't supposed to be there, I was supposed to be in Transkei. I told him, "I don't know anything about Transkei, I wasn't born in Transkei. I was born in South Africa, so don't keep on referring me to Transkei."
(Inaudible) ... a moment. Can you tell us when did you eventually get an ID document? --- I ultimately went outside of the country without getting my ID. I only got it when I came back from exile in 1992.
Would you now - there are a number of incidents that happened while you were in exile that you told us about, which start in Dakawa Transit Camp in July 1985, is that correct? --- Yes, that's correct.
Would you, as briefly as possible, try and tell us about what happened there? We will then thereafter move on to the other incidents that you've told us about. --- We were in transit in Dakawa. I had said that I was going to a university, so we were waiting for scholarships. The others were going for training. It so happened that one day when I got to Dakawa I had a problem with the ANC alliance as well as the South African Communist Party. When I encountered this problem I approached the authorities. I had made a decision that I wouldn't be able to be a member of ANC because of its alliance with the South African Communist Party. When I got to this authority, who was a Pioneer, he was a security. The security was dealing with everything that was happening there. I told him my problem, then he called all the others, as well as the co-ordinator of the transit camp. They sat down. They said I should explain my case. I went on to explain, and I told them that I had joined the African National Congress, but I learned later on that it
had an alliance with the South African Communist Party, and according to my beliefs I don't go along with that, so I felt I should resign from the South African National Congress. They told me that they would call me later on, but that I knew what was happening so I wasn't supposed to communicate it to anyone else. I told them that I knew it because that is why I had approached them. So I went back. A day thereafter somebody came to me. I was called to the office once more. I went. He introduced himself as Nthu. Nthu was a security from Mazimbo. He said to me I should relate that - I felt I should resign from the African National Congress. They persuaded me that I should not resign, because if I resign life is going to be tough for me in Tanzania as a refugee. So they didn't want to see people from South Africa suffering in Tanzania. I said I don't know about that, but it's going to be difficult for me to go on in something that I don't believe in. They said to me I should go and rethink the matter over, then they would call me once more. I should go and sleep over it. From that day on I observed something that wherever I was going there was always surveillance. Whether I was going to the bush or whether I was going to relieve myself there was always somebody watching me. I approached the security to find out what was going on. He told me there was nothing going on, and he asked me why should I ask such a question. Then I left him alone. Nthu came back. Then they asked me what was my decision. I told them that I had made the final decision. They left me alone, they never said anything, then they went. I stayed there without encountering any problem. Life was normal. Then it so happened - I think
it was - I am not sure about the times at which this happened. It was in August. We were taken in buses from Dakawa to Mazimbo. At that time the then President of the African National Congress, Oliver Thambo, was coming, so we were going to meet him. He was going to address us. Everybody was happy. I was also happy too, because it was going to be my first time to see a man who had been referred by the boers as a terrorist or somebody who was abominable. I was happy to go and see him. When we got to Mazimbo there were a lot of people. Mazimbo is just outside Morogoro. The place was full. We had come to see the President. Our bus arrived a little bit late when he was about to finish his speech, so we were standing at the far end. We couldn't see him properly. At the time that he was leaving, when he was getting into his car, everybody tried to rush and have a glimpse of the President. Where I was standing, when I moved on to get a glimpse of the President I felt somebody pulling me from the back. When I looked I saw a Pioneer. He asked me where I was going. I said I wanted to see the President. He said I mustn't do that. He said just like that. Then I said what did he mean. He said to me I shouldn't do it. I didn't understand what he meant. By that time people were getting into their cars. He got into his car. The convoy left. We got into our buses. I was very troubled by the Pioneer's behaviour. I was asking myself as to what was happening. We went back to Dakawa. Life just went on as normal. Nthu paid me regular visits, but he wasn't saying anything in particular. We stayed there until December, if I remember well. It happened that we went out with other Comrades to a village. So we went to
that village. We came back a little bit late. When we got there we found that the supper had already been eaten, but we couldn't get any supper. When we got back we were so hungry. I decided to go to the dining hall. When I got to the dining hall I went to the logistics and I spoke to one Comrade Kenny Rogers. I told him that I was hungry, please organise me something. We know that we are late. He started talking funny language, then he asked me who sent us out, we are not going to get any food. He further told us that there was food, but we weren't going to get it. I pleaded with him to give us some food. He told us that he wanted us to feel that he was the boss in the logistics. He was in charge and he could do anything, and there was absolutely nothing we do about that. We kept on begging him. Comrade kept on talking and we felt very disturbed by what he was saying. I started answering him. I told him, "This is not your food, this is the ANC food, so we want the food so you must give the food to us."
(Inaudible) ... interrupt you again. Can we just move on to when your troubles really started, because we're having these long stories before the actual incidents take place. If you could try and move ahead to - is it correct that after this argument with Comrade Rogers he reported you to some other Comrades, and then your troubles really started? Is that correct? --- Yes, it is correct.
Can you carry on from there please? --- He went to report me to the security. A Comrade by the name of Vusi came. He was also a security. Then when he got to me he held me by the hand and said we should go. He took
me to the admin block. When I got there he said I should sit down, he is coming back. He went away, then he came back with Nthu, as well as two others, or three. They closed the door behind them. They told me that, "You are going to tell us who you are." I asked them what they meant. They told me that I am going to tell them who I really am. They took out some rods, some very heavy rods. They told me to sit down flat. They started assaulting me, and they started hitting me with fists, and I fell down, and they told me to sit down. They started using these rods, hitting me on the whole body. They were telling me I should tell them who I am, what was happening? I was causing confusion, and why was I causing the confusion? I asked them what confusion I was causing because I was merely asking for food. They kept on kicking me, they kept on trampling on me. I started bleeding through the nose, as well as the ears. They kept on assaulting me, and they told me that I am going to tell them who I really am. I asked them why they were doing this to me. They couldn't understand, they kept on assaulting me. They assaulted me throughout, kicking me, using these rods. They were also trampling on me, and I was bleeding at that time, and I was lying flat on the floor and I kept on pleading with them. From there they told me that I am going to tell them who sent me to the ANC. They told me that I was going to tell them. They continued assaulting me. When I had fallen down and I couldn't stand they stopped assaulting me momentarily. They kept on repeating the very same thing, that I was going to tell them. One of them came back. They dragged me on the floor, dragged me through the door and out. I
don't know where my shoes ended, but they dragged me. There's an engine room. They put me inside the engine room. They put me in there, they shut the door behind them. It was late at night. The place was full of grease because there was an engine. I was dizzy at that time, I didn't know what was happening. Later on they switched the engine off. After some time I felt like - I was asking myself why should this happen to me, and I was beginning to suffocate. I was able to break the door and I went out. When I went out I proceeded to the tent where I was staying. When I got there I was asking myself why I was assaulted. Then I decided to go and report them. I went to Mazimbo to report them. When I got into my tent I was walking on foot, I didn't have any shoes, so there were boots in my tent that we were using to work there. I took my boots, I put them on, then I decided I was going to Mazimbo to report the police, because they said they are going to assault me. I went there to the village. When I got to the village I couldn't walk properly. I got another man at Mazimbo village. He gave me headache tablets, he told me to rest a little bit. I think I stayed there for about three days, sleeping there. The other thing that they did was they had assaulted me or hit me underneath my feet with these rods, so it was difficult for me to walk. But after about three days it was fine, then I was able to go to Mazimbo. When I got to the gate in Mazimbo I got some Tanzanians. They called them FF. They asked me where my permit was. I told them I didn't have it. They said I couldn't get in. I asked them to call a certain guy for me who was in there. I told them I didn't have permit but I wanted to see him. I tried to
speak to them but they just couldn't understand. When they speak to you and you don't respond they always take action, so I went away, I left them alone. I went back. On my way back to Dakawa I thought that the people were going to assault me so I turned back. I waited at the bus stop. I was waiting for a bus. As I was waiting there I saw a car. I stopped the car that belonged to the ANC. Fortunately it was Nthu. I climbed into the car. Then he told me that they said they didn't know where I had gone to. I told him what had happened. Nthu took me to Morogoro. When we got to Morogoro he left me in another house. I stayed and he left. Then there came two Comrades. One of them was P4, the other one I don't know, I don't know his name. They took me. We went to the office of the ANC. When we got in there they put me in another room. I sat there all by myself. Then they came back and took me out of that room. When I got into the room there were people, Comrades, sitting there, quite a number of them. I don't remember how many they were. When I got in there P4 indicated and said, "Here is this man. He is going to tell us today who he is, what he wants, why is he causing so much confusion." I was dumbfounded, I just didn't know how to respond. They took me to another room, where they said I must sit down on the floor. As I sat on the floor P4 came to me holding knobkerries as well as sjamboks. There came another five. They said I must put my hands inside my thighs. They kept on assaulting me then. I was kicked and assaulted. I kept on begging them, I kept on urging them to spare me, but they kept on telling me that I should disclose the identity of the person who sent me to the ANC. They kept
on assaulting me. I was already bleeding through the nose. They kept on kicking ... (incomplete - end of Side A, Tape 9) ... assaulting me on my whole body, kicking me all over. I told them that I will tell them who sent me. They said I must tell them. I told them that I didn't know what they were talking about. They started once more to assault me. They assaulted me and I told them that I would tell them. They said who sent me? I said Muleme had sent me. They said, "Fine, now you are prepared to talk, now we will leave you." They gave me some papers.
After this, all these assaults, you made what you say was a false confession to them. You made up a long story about how you'd been sent there as a spy, and what you'd done at school, and a whole lot of other stuff. --- Yes, I agreed to that.
And then after that it was decided that you would be taken to Dar es Salaam. --- Yes, that was taken there.
Will you tell us what happened in Dar es Salaam. In fact after that you were - you were placed in house arrest in Dar es Salaam, and then after that you went on to Zambia. --- Yes.
Can we then pick up the story at the place called Rest Two in Zambia? --- When we got to Rest Two it was myself, Comrades - and two other Comrades. When we got in there we were told to sit at separate places, we mustn't mix. We sat like that and they told us not to communicate with each other. The following day there came other people. One of them was Jomo, as well as Kwesh. I don't know where the other two ended. They took me into another room. They said I am going to give them full
details as to why I was causing confusion in Tanzania, and who sent me to create such confusion in the ANC. I pleaded with them. I kept on asking them. I told them that I didn't know anything about that. I told them that I had actually made a false statement due to being threatened. Then there came another hefty guy. His name was James. They called him Dada because he was the head of the security there. He told me that whatever they did to me wasn't the real thing, the real thing was coming to me. He said to me I must look behind me. I saw knobkerries, sjamboks. They indicated that I could see them. I also saw spears, and they told me if I didn't want to talk they would sort me out. They left me there and they told me that they were coming back, and when they came back I should be very prepared to make a statement. They went away and they left me inside the room. As I was sitting there I realised that these people may kill me. The person I was left with probably is the one who was keeping guard on me. I realised that he was a bit intoxicated. I realised that here I can escape. When we were coming I realised that the main road wasn't very far from where we were, and I had seen an office of UNH, so I told myself that when I leave there I am going to the UNHCR office to ask for assistance. I went out, I went down the street until I got to the office of UNHCR. They asked me what I wanted. I told them that I wanted the High Commissioner for Refugees. They told me to sit. Thereafter they took me and put me into another office, where another woman came in, a white woman. If I am not mistaken I think she introduced herself as Mrs Zulu or Mrs Phiri, one of the two, I don't remember quite well.
Then she told me she is the High Commissioner for Refugees, then she sat down. I explained to her the hardships that I gone through from Tanzania up to Zambia, and these people were threatening to kill me. I urged her to assist me because whatever they were alleging wasn't true, I knew nothing of it. So I urged her to speak to them because I knew nothing about the allegations. She told me about a certain brigadier that I should go to who was in Lusaka. Then I said these people were going to meet me along the way and they were going to assault me. Then she told me she was coming. She said I should wait. I went to the reception. I waited for quite a long time, then she called me in. She said to me she was going to attend to me, I should go out side and sign and she will say that they should call me. I stood outside the building, just next to the door. As I was standing there, it wasn't a long time, a car just came in speeding through the gate. It went straight - it came straight to me. At that time they opened the doors and I realised these were the people. They pulled me and put me inside the car. They said I thought I was clever, I am going to the United Nations and to all those places, and the people had told them that I was there. They took me, put me inside the car. They said they were going to teach me a lesson. They took me back to Rest Two. When we got to Rest Two they put me in a room. They started assaulting me, and they assaulted me up to such an extent that I couldn't stand. They left me. When they left me there there were other rooms just behind. They took me, they put me in one of the rooms. Those rooms looked like cells. I stayed there locked up in there until we went out of Zambia and
went to Angola.
(Inaudible) ... 1986, is that correct? --- Yes, that was in 1986.
(Inaudible) ... taken to a transit camp called Vienna, you tell us. --- When we arrived in Luanda we were taken to a transit camp called Vienna.
Thereafter you went to a camp - or you called it a prison camp called Kibashe. --- It was quite after a long time that we have been to Vienna. We were picked up at one stage and we were told to get into a Land Rover. We were two, and some of the commanders, and we were heading for Kibashe, but we didn't know that we were being taken to Kibashe.
But you got there eventually, and there they changed your code name to Ginger, is that correct? --- Yes, that's correct.
Now, tell us what happened at Kibashe to you. --- In Kibashe we were put into certain rooms, where we got other people who were also there locked up. They told us that there we are not supposed to say who we are, where we came from, and we were given new names. The following day I was taken to the administration block. I met a recording officer, who told me his name was Edison. Edison started speaking to me and told me that I had come to Camp 32, and I was going to tell him my complete story, and if I don't co-operate with them they were going to make me co-operate. They told me it was going to be up to me. He took out some papers, he said I should write. He said I should write my biography. Then he said these are not the things that I had written when I was from Tanzania. He took me to the camp commander. The name of
the camp commander is Pro. Pro told me that, "Here we can do anything that will make you talk. We can kill you, we can destroy you, nobody will know whatever happened to you,so you are going to act in accordance with your instructions." He called others. When the commanders came in they said I must stand in the centre of the room. They told me I should write on these papers. I pleaded and told them that I didn't know anything. They took out coffee. Coffee is what they were referring to was sticks when they said coffee. Then they started assaulting me on the back with what they called coffee, and they kept on kicking me with their reef boots. I was severely assaulted. I fell down. When I fall down they would pick me up and say, "Continue, talk." I would tell them I didn't know anything. They threatened me and told me that they were going to show me. They told me that whatever I was against they were going to make me to be along the lines. I told them that whatever I had written was true, that I wanted to resign because of certain reasons. They said they were going to teach me to do whatever they wanted to do. They made me frog jump. They call it number nine. They would make me stand as I am indicating. I had no sense of balance whatsoever, I was falling all over the place, and they would make me stand erect. They kept on assaulting me. When I fell down they ceased assaulting me. They went out and I was left with only one. That was the commander. The commander said to me I don't want to talk. He told me that these people hadn't done anything to me, they were going to do the real thing to me. He told me, "We are going to do something with you." He came to me. He took out his pistol. He came to
me, he pointed it on my forehead. He asked me if I was prepared to talk. I was very scared, I was shaking. I asked myself as to what am I supposed to say. He said I should open my mouth. He put his pistol inside my mouth. He told me he could do anything to me, am I prepared to talk. I was really shaking, and I said to him, "All right, I will talk," and then he removed the pistol, he took some papers. And he said to me, "Tell me, what brought you here? What were you doing inside the country? Who sent you to this mission outside the country so that you can infiltrate the ANC?" He wanted me to tell him the missions, all the missions that I undertook in the country. And I started creating stories. I told them all the things that I did, and I told them the people I reported to while I was still in the country.
(Inaudible) ... stop you again there. You've given us the full details of the story you told them, and in the interests of time I am going to ask us to carry on and speed up a little bit. The story you've told them is recorded here, and after that story was given to them they seemed to have accepted that story, and then you were sent to a prison. --- Yes, I stayed there. They didn't allow us to call it a prison. That was Camp 32.
Camp 32, thank you. --- It's a camp outside Kibashe. It's in the bush. They call it Camp 32. I was there at that time.
(Inaudible) ... were made to do hard labour, and you were beaten from time to time, is that correct? --- Yes, that is true.
Now, you've also told us that in 1988 you became unwell and you developed hypertension. --- Yes, it is
Just tell us a little bit about your treatment and so on. --- As we were still there we were given tablets, Diazapan. That was what they were giving us for hypertension. I continued being like that. My condition didn't improve. Even now I am still taking the treatment.
Now, in 1988 and 1990 you were taken to Gokalota town, is that correct? --- Yes, we were taken from Angola, the bases of ANC, then we were taken to Uganda. Just outside there there was a camp where we were taken to.
(Inaudible) ... when the ANC pulled out of Angola. --- Yes.
And you say that you were released in 1991, and then you resigned from the ANC and you returned home, is that correct? --- Yes, that's correct.
Now, somewhere in here you mentioned that you were tried at a tribunal. If you can just fit that in for us, because it's not clear exactly where it fits in in the time frame. --- Before we went out of Angola in 1988, if I remember quite well, we were taken. I think we were 21 or 22 from that camp. We were taken to Luanda. When we got to Luanda we were given charge sheets and they told us that there was going to be a tribunal. On that day of the tribunal they told us that we would get attorneys from the ANC who would represent us. We waited for the tribunal. On that particular we were taken to - initially we had cleaned a hall where they said the tribunal was going to be held, but later on we were taken to a house. We got in there one by one. They would tell us to stick to our stories. They said, "Whatever you said at the camp
you stick to it, and if you don't stick to that story you know what's going to happen to you. If you stick to your story we'll be lenient to you." When we got in there with all the counts that were listed on the charge sheet I had about six counts listed. I don't remember some of them. One of them was infiltration, then other one was trying to desert the organisation. I don't remember the other ones, but they were six in all. So we appeared in front of the tribunal. When I got in there they just read the record that I had written at the camp. They asked me what I expected from them. From there you went back outside. We were taken back to the camp thereafter, after the tribunal.
(Inaudible) ... outcome of the hearing or anything? --- No, we never go it.
Now, you said that you resigned from the ANC after you were released in 1991 and then you returned home, is that correct? --- I got out of the ANC in 1991 when I got to Tanzania, and I arrived home in 1992.
And then you applied to rejoin the ANC once you came back, is that correct? --- Yes, it's true, because when I got here I realised that I wanted this matter to be investigated further, so - I just want to explain that little part. I started in Uganda when they had just unbanned the liberation movements. I said to them, "I want this to be reinvestigated because it wasn't true." I realised that the ANC had been unbanned, though there was a difficulty to investigate the matters back home. So it was going to be easy now since the unbanning. They made me write my biographies, but nothing happened thereafter until we came out. When I arrived in South
Africa I said I felt that I had been treated unfairly by the African National Congress, so I reckoned that I wanted the matter to be reinvestigated. I wanted the truth to come out. I wanted my name to be cleared, because the allegations were not true. I realised that I should go back to the ANC, because if I was outside it would not be possible for me to clear the matter out, so I re-applied in 1992.
Okay. What would you like us to do for you about this terrible story that you've told us? --- What I would like the Truth Commission to do for me is that I would like the truth to be revealed. I want the ANC to come with the truth. I want further investigations to be done. I want them to dig out for the truth. I want to know whether it's true what they are alleging. I want my organisation to apologise for the appalling treatment that they gave me. I want them to apologise, because I wanted to go to school but I could not go because of the treatment that they gave me.
Thank you, Mr Bolane. What we will try and do from our side is try and investigate the matter to the extent that it's possible. We also understand that the ANC will be coming with their own submission, where they intend to deal with a lot of issues that happened in some of the camps, and with a bit of luck they might tell us something about your story, or we may be able to uncover something about your story as well. I hand over to the Chairperson.
I just want to clear one thing. There's no time, I know that. Mr Bolane, there are strange names here to me, the people who are mentioned here in your statements. Are
these people South Africans? Names like Jomo, James, Kwesh, Abba, Pro, P4. All those people, are they South Africans? --- They are all South Africans. These are pseudo names, because when we were outside we were using pseudo names. They are South Africans, all of them.
(Inaudible) ... people. --- I know some of them. They are here. I don't know their real names. I only know them according to their pseudo names. Some of them are in top positions here.
MR LYSTER: Thank you, Mr Bolane, for giving us that story. Thank you for being patient and having waited all day to give this story. It's clearly a story that you needed to tell very badly, and we are glad to hear it. It is a sad story, and it is sad that you, having left the country with such enthusiasm, should have returned a disillusioned and a sick person as a result of what happened to you, and it seems to me that your life has changed substantially as a result of that decision that you took to go into exile. Those things should never have happened to you, particularly at the hands of an organisation which has always had such strong views about that sort of arbitrary violence.
I note from what you said in your evidence that you have rejoined the ANC, and it does indicate that there is some reconciliation between you and that party, and we can certainly continue a mediation process between yourself and the ANC if you wish. We can arrange that for you. Furthermore, if you require treatment, further medical treatment - I note that you are getting treatment from the Botshabelo Health Clinic. If you are not satisfied with
that treatment you may be able to get treatment through the route that we have organised with the Ministry of Health here in Bloemfontein.
So thank you once again for coming in and for telling us your story, and we wish you well. Thank you very much.
MR LYSTER: That is the last witness that we will hear today. We will be meeting again tomorrow morning at 9.00 am, and tomorrow will be the final day of evidence. We will have slightly less people giving evidence tomorrow. Today we had 13 people, I think tomorrow we'll probably have 11 people. We will finish slightly earlier because we have to leave to return to the various places that we are going to. Thank you very much for being with us today. You are most welcome to join us tomorrow, and to hear the witnesses who will be giving evidence tomorrow. Could we please stand while the remaining witnesses leave the room.
PROCEEDINGS ADJOURNED TO 1996/11/04