PROCEEDINGS HELD AT
[PAGES 1 - 87]
Index (Page 1)
I N D E X
NO ITEM PAGE N°
1. Mrs Hadebe and Mrs Tswabisi................................ 1 - 7
2. Mr Molebalwa.................................................... 8 - 14
3. Mrs Sesele and Ransehu Sylvester Bernard Sesele......... 15 - 24
4. Martha Tipe....................................................... 25 - 33
5. Mrs Xhoso........................................................ 34 - 40
6. Nomvuyo Bosch.................................................. 41 - 49
7. Malefu Miriam Phole............................................ 50 - 54
8. Mrs Gyeswe....................................................... 55 - 62
9. Mr Mohlahle...................................................... 63 - 72
10. Maysie Matselane................................................ 73 - 79
11. William Thayisi.................................................. 80 - 87
(Incomplete - beginning of Side A, Tape 10) ... in court. Until today nothing has been done.
MR LAX: You actually saw the body of Mrs Tswabisi? --- I saw Mr Tswabisi's body, as well as my sister's body. They were sleeping next to each other.
Can you confirm what sort of injuries they had? --- I couldn't see properly, but Mr Tswabisi was bleeding through the nose as well as the ears. My sister was bleeding. There was a wound, an open wound in her neck.
Thank you. As far as you know has any case ever happened about your sister's death? --- We were never notified. I know absolutely nothing.
(Inaudible) ... death certificate? --- Yes, we did get the death certificate.
Would you be able to make that available to us please? --- I didn't bring it with.
(Inaudible) ... from you later. Now, you told us that there was no children in her house. Did she have children? --- She had three children.
And who's taking care of those children? --- I am the one who's taking care of the children.
Do you receive any assistance? Are you working? --- Yes, I am working.
And do you receive any assistance for those three children from anyone else, or from the Government? --- No, I am not getting any help from anywhere.
Thank you, Mrs Hadebe. Can I now ask Mrs Tswabisi please to tell us her story.
Good morning, Mrs Tswabisi. --- Good morning.
Can you please try and speak a bit closer to the microphone, otherwise we can't hear what you're saying. That's much better, thank you. Mrs Tswabisi, you were married to Steven Molefe Tswabisi, is that correct? --- Yes, that's correct, Sir.
And your husband was killed in a shooting on the same day as Anna Hadebe. --- Yes, that's correct, Sir.
Can you tell us a little bit about your family, how many of you there were or are? --- I have six children, two boys and four girls.
How old was your husband when this happened? --- He was born in 1924. I don't remember quite well how old he was when this took place.
(Inaudible) ... helpful for us to have the date. Now, please will you tell us what happened on that day that your husband got shot. --- There was a boy caught on that particular day. My husband got shot whilst he was outside. He was washing. He got into the house. He went into his bedroom. That's where he prepared himself. He was combing his hair. That's when I heard a gunshot. The gunshot went for the second time. Anna was also shot. When he got into the house I was in the kitchen. I had taken the child. He went out of his bedroom. He went out through the kitchen door. He told me that he was going to town. Just as he was going out of the kitchen door I heard a gunshot. He turned back and he was sort of staggering. When he got to the bedroom door that's where he knelt. I put the child down to try and attend to him. I held him. I asked him, "Have you been shot?" That's when he bled through the mouth. The blood was just seeping out. Then when he was kicking that's where his
strength started to wane. I was very confused at that time. I ran outside to enlist some help. I couldn't get anyone to help me. I got back into the house. I found that he was still bleeding through the mouth. (Pause)
(Inaudible) ... take your time just to recover. Nomusa, can you help her? (Pause) Are you feeling all right now, Mama, that you can continue? --- Yes, I can continue, Sir. When I went out for the second time I saw another man, but I have forgotten what his name was. I called him in. He got into the house. He found my husband sprawled on the floor. He asked whether my husband was shot. I said yes, he was shot. This man went out. He came back in a car. He took my husband. Then I saw quite a number of men in the house. My husband was put into the car. They were taking him to the hospital. Mr Lepaka is the gentleman who took my husband to the hospital. When they got to the bridge they came across the car that had the occupants who shot at my husband. They took him from there, they put him into an ambulance and took him to the hospital. I was left behind, I never went to the hospital, because I was very confused and I was all by myself in the house. I had a small child. Nobody went to the hospital to actually find out whether he was shot or he was just sleeping. When Mr Lepaka came back within a short while there came the police. They took me. They said I must go and make a statement. I went with them. I told them and related as to what had happened. Then we came back home.
What happened after that, Mama? Please take your time ... (inaudible) (Pause) Do you feel not able to continue? Would you like to stop there? --- I will
just end up there because I can't remember things very well. I can't remember what happened thereafter, after having written the statement at the police station, but I remember when I got home my two boys were back, they were at home, and they've been the ones who were going up and down going to the doctors and to the hospitals and to the mortuaries to find out exactly what happened. I just sat at home, and I was mentally disturbed and I was so confused.
Thank you for that. Are you able to confirm that there was a strike on on that day, and that there was quite a lot of shooting in the area? --- Yes, there was a lot of violence in the township. The youth took the barricades and they put everything on the roads, and they were singing. There was a lot of violence I must say.
Are you aware that there was an inquest into your husband's case? Do you remember that? (Pause) Do you not understand the question? (Pause) Sorry, can you just stop for a second? I can't hear a thing. --- The police came to my house and they picked me up. They said I should go and write a statement, and thereafter they came to my place now and then to tell me that I should go and appear in court. And every time they would tell me that the case has been postponed, and I was then told that my husband died in a conflict. He was caught in the middle of a conflict and he died like a soldier, and they just left me there.
Thank you. If I can tell you that we have been able to get the court papers from that inquest. We have only recently got them, so we haven't had a chance to look at them properly, but we will try and tell you what they say. /After your
After your husband died who looked after you, who was able to support you after that? --- Nobody helped me. I survived on the donations from the people, and I applied for pension and that was organised. It was in 1991 when I started getting pension and the money where my husband was working. He was working at National in Boksburg.
So did you get a pension from them as well? --- Yes, they used to send me a cheque. Every month they would send me a cheque. Since last year they haven't sent me anything.
Have you made any inquiries to find out why? --- Yes. My son went to Boksburg to inquire. He went to ask them what happened, and they said to him no, they thought that I was dead.
So have they started again? --- No, Sir, not now.
Perhaps someone from our office can help you follow that up. Okay, I have no further questions. I will return to the Chair.
DR MGOJO: Just one question. In your statement you say that you have suffered painful headaches ever since the incident. Do you get any medical treatment for these headaches? --- No, I don't get any medication. I only get a few tablets from the chemist. I told them about my headaches and they said I should come and buy some medicines if I have money.
Okay, we'll try and attend to that too. Thank you.
Mrs Hadebe and Mrs Tswabisi, thank you very much for coming in today to tell us your very, very sad story. You
have both lost your loved ones, your sister and your husband, and you have suffered pain and sorrow together, and we hope that it has been of some small comfort to you that you are able to sit together on this stage and give your evidence to the Truth Commission. Your sister, and your husband, Mrs Tswabisi, died in terrible circumstances during those times in our country, when the police were permitted by the Government to act in a violent and unrestrained way, and we are thankful that in most parts of the country those days are over.
We will try and make investigations to see why the people responsible for the death of your family members were not brought to justice, and if we discover any more details than the details that we already have we will contact you.
I see from your statements that you have requested compensation for the loss of your family members. Now, the Truth Commission does not have the power or order compensation to be paid to people. Our job, or part of our job, is to make recommendations to the President and to the Cabinet, and it is up to them to decide what assistance or compensation should be given. However, in the short term, if you feel that you need medical treatment, like my colleague, Dr Mgojo, has suggested, or if you need counselling, we are able - one of the committees within the Commission is able to arrange for you to see somebody, to see a counsellor in this region, someone that you can talk to about the loss of your family members, in the hope that it may make it a little easier for you to carry that burden. And if you would like to see a counsellor, a psychological counsellor, please will
you tell us before you go home today, and we will try and arrange that.
So we thank you again very much for coming here today. We feel deep sympathy for you, and we wish you strength. Thank you very much.
MR LYSTER: Mr Molebalwa, are you able to hear me through the earphones? Can you hear me clearly?
MR MOLEBALWA: Yes, I can hear you clearly.
MR LYSTER: Good, thank you very much. You have come from Selosesha township in Thaba Nchu today to tell us your story, and this story relates to your assault and shooting by members of the Bophutatswana Defence Force in November 1990. Before I ask you to tell us your story can you please stand and take the oath.
MR MOLEBALWA (Sworn, States)
MR LYSTER: Thank you. Please sit down. I will be assisting you today in giving your evidence. Very briefly can you just tell us where you live, something about your family background, are you married, are you employed, just a few sentences. --- I am married. I am also working. I have three children. I have a family as well as my own relatives. I am working at Thaba Nchu Sun. I am a chef there. Thank you.
Now, this incident took place in November 1990. What were you doing at that time? Were you in the same job as a chef at the Thaba Nchu Sun? --- I was from a course. When I was from the course I was with other people whom we were training with. We went to my place. We sat. As we were still sitting there we were having some drinks. Just as we opened the drinks there came a soldier. I do know this soldier who came into my house. He said that he wanted other people to go outside. There was a couple in the house, so he said he wanted the man to go out of the house. I thought there was going to be a search. Then we went outside. I was the last one to go
out. As I was going out they were making something like a guard of honour outside. It was just green with soldiers. I just waited to see what was happening. All of a sudden we were assaulted with sjamboks. We kept on asking as to what was happening. One of the soldiers, his name is Blackie, he shot. That's when we scattered and we tried to run to different directions. As we were running there was another Casspir that was coming. When I turned around I just heard gunshots. I fell down. There's a boy who came to me by the name Gufuthi. I asked him whether he realised that he had shot me, but he didn't speak to me. He took me out to the street. I wasn't even aware that there were barricades in the street. He took me there, he said I should remove the stones and the barricades. When they realised that they had shot me I also saw that they had shot me. That's when I started getting very angry. Then I wanted to fight back as a man. I became very stubborn. I asked them whether they realised that they had shot me. Then he started running away. (Pause)
I am sure these must be very painful memories for you to live through again, so just relax please and take your time, and carry on when you are ready. --- Then when I started to be stubborn I stood amongst them, and they kept on assaulting me with these sjamboks. I pushed one of them away. I told them that they had shot me, and they had shot me right inside my house. One of them got out of the way and I was able to get into the house. I got one inside the house who was insulting my wife, calling her a bitch. I got very angry. I asked him what he wanted. That was Blackie Mahoti. I was bleeding.
Then he ran away. As he was running away everybody went out. We also went out, and when we went out we discovered that they were no longer there. As we were sitting there came a police van. That was my brother-in-law. Then my brother-in-law took me to hospital. As I was at the hospital I arrived there at about eight. I went to the theatre the following day. Then came other guys who they said were leaders of the soldiers. I don't remember their names. They came to me to ask me what had happened. I told them that I was not in a position to tell them what had happened because of my condition. Then they left me and went. They came back later. They asked me what had happened. Then I related the story to them. They were writing. When they left it only dawned on me that I shouldn't have told them what had happened. I had a fear that my case would end without being sorted out. Thereafter there came others. They were CIDs. They also asked me what had happened. At that time I told them I wasn't going to say anything, I wasn't going to give them any information, I was prepared to talk in court. Then they told me they had come to take a statement from me. They went away and left me. I stayed in hospital for four months. I wasn't paid at work. I just stayed like that, and I was having children and a wife. I was discharged, I went back to work. When I went back to work I was told to go to Mr Mapatswane, who's an attorney. I was taken by the ANC members who had caused the strike. I took the photos. I was told that I could get some help. Thereafter I discovered that all the documents were no longer with him, but they were with Mr Mthembu. I have been waiting since then that Mr Mthembu was going to fill
me in. When I was supposed to get the results I got a
letter. I got a letter that said the case had been heard in 1995, May, and the case was finalised. I met a Captain Magapela. He told me that the case had been finalised. Then he gave me some phone numbers that if I wanted the case to go back to court again I should contact that person in that number. Ever since then nothing has happened.
Mr Molebalwa, do you know - in fact you do know the names of the soldiers that - or the names of some of the soldiers who assaulted you. You've given us the names of Blackie Mahoti. Was he one of the people who ... (incomplete) --- Yes, he's one of them who assaulted me.
(Inaudible) --- I know Gufuthi, Musi. Mashibene pulled me out of the house, and Blackie Mahoti.
And you've also given us full details of the medical treatment which you received. I have here a copy of the account from Philonomi Hospital in Bloemfontein after your operation, so we have all those details. We would also like to get from you the letter which you have just referred to. We don't have that in our files, and we would like to get a copy of that after you've given your evidence. Someone can make a photocopy of that for you, and we will follow it up. In fact I've just been reminded by one of my colleagues that we do have that letter, and we will use that letter to investigate the case which the captain said was finalised in 1995, and we will convey to you what we find there. Is there anything else that you would like to say about this incident? Perhaps you can
tell us what was happening in Selosesha township in Thaba Nchu at the time. Why were there armed policemen -
sorry, armed soldiers moving around in Casspirs? And let me just clarify one thing. Were those soldiers from the South African Defence Force or from the Bophutatswana Defence Force? --- Those were the Bophutatswana soldiers. It was a stay-away, but I didn't know because I was at work. I had gone to my course, to do my courses. I wasn't aware that there was something happening at the location. When I came back that's when the whole thing happened. That were there barricades I only realised when I was taken to the scene. I never saw what was happening outside.
The friends that you were with, the friends that you had been on the training course with, were they also assaulted, or were any of them shot? --- Yes, they were assaulted severely. I met them before I came to this Truth Commission. I told them that I was going to tell my story. They said I should go on. To them all this belongs in the past. I told them that I should go to the Truth Commission because I can't work as I used to. I can't discharge my duties properly because my foot is always aching, it's always giving me problems. I realised that I had been disabled or somehow crippled.
(Inaudible) ... they want to make a statement to the Truth Commission all they need to do is to go to our office in Bloemfontein, and in fact later today I will make an announcement as to the address of that office, and there will be statement-takers who will take their statements. They're not obliged to, but we would very much like to hear from them. And just to get clarity, you /were shot
were shot in your foot or your knee? Can you just confirm? --- I was shot at the knee.
You can show us if you like. And did the bullet go right through your leg? Thank you. I'll just ask my colleagues if there are any questions that they'd like to ask you.
DR MGOJO: Just one question. I hoped that I was going to hear more about your brother-in-law who was a police, who came with the police. I'd like to hear the reaction really apart from taking you to the hospital. Your brother-in-law is a police. What did he ... (incomplete) --- He didn't do anything.
MR LAX: Mr Molebalwa, just for the record, that letter you've got is actually a letter which confirms that the Attorney-General declined to prosecute anybody for the offence involving your shooting, is that correct? --- Yes, that's correct.
I just want to clarify one question regarding your health. You are saying here that you have to absent yourself from work from time to time, and that you need medical treatment. Is it just about your knee? --- Yes, it's because of the knee.
At the moment are you getting any treatment from the doctor or from the hospital, ongoing treatment? --- No, I normally go to special doctors, and they would give me medication and I would go back to work.
Well, what we would like to have is also to get the records of your treatment.
MR LYSTER: Thank you, Mr Molebalwa. You suffered a
terrible indignity, being shot in your own house while relaxing with your friends, and it's also terrible that you were shot not by thugs, but you were shot by Government employees paid for by your own tax money.
Yesterday I made some remarks about the Defence Force in this country, and how it was used by the previous Government to harass people and to suppress them, and we are very thankful now that by and large, and in most parts of the country, the Defence Force has transformed itself into a very different organisation that is here to protect all South Africans, and to protect the new institutions in our country.
We thank you very much for coming here today and for telling us this story. It helps us to put the picture together that we are obliged to put together when we report to the Government, and your story has painted a very vivid picture of what was happening in Thaba Nchu in 1990. We will be in touch with you once we have followed up the case, the details of which you have given us, and as soon as we have those details we will come back to you again. Thank you again very much for coming in.
MR LYSTER: Thank you very much for coming in today, Mrs Sesele. Please put the earphones on so that you can
- are you able to hear me? Can you hear the translator speaking to you?
MRS SESELE: Yes, I hear them.
MR LYSTER: Thank you very much for coming in. As I understand you live in Gauteng, is that right? Are you staying in the Free State?
MRS SESELE: I stay in Vereeniging.
MR LYSTER: And this story that you will tell us today relates to the death of your daughter, who was killed in 1987, is that correct?
MRS SESELE: Yes, that's correct.
MR LYSTER: Before you give your story can you please stand and take the oath.
MRS SESELE (Sworn, States)
MR LYSTER: Thank you very much. I am going to ask my colleague, Dr Magwaza, to assist you in giving your evidence. And it's clear that the memory of the death of your daughter is very, very upsetting to you. Please remember that you can take your time, and you can interrupt your evidence whenever you feel that you cannot go on. Dr Magwaza.
DR MAGWAZA: Mrs Sesele, I know that losing a child is one of the difficult things that any parent could face. It was so tragic that your child should have been caught in a conflict which it didn't even understand. We know your pain is very profound, and we are here to acknowledge it and support you. Could you tell us more about your family at that time? Do you still - to start with, do you
still live in the same address where this happened? --- No, not now.
Okay. Could you tell us about your family? --- (Incomplete ... end of Side A, Tape 10) ... at about past six I heard gunfire outside. The gunfire was so strong. I went outside to go and look for my children. When I went out I met two children with their friends. I asked them where Lani was. That's my daughter's nickname. They showed me a certain direction that they were chasing each other towards that direction, and she was driving a bicycle, she was cycling. It wasn't even a long distance from my gate. I saw her bicycle there. When I looked a little bit further I saw her lying face down on the ground. I took her, I turned her up. I thought I was going to resuscitate her. I lifted her chin up. I saw a big hole in her neck. (Pause)
We understand your pain. We really do. --- I lifted her up. At that time her father was still there. I took the child into the yard. As I was getting into the car I saw Joe Mamasela standing direct opposite my kitchen. He was standing at the fence that divides our houses. He had a revolver in his hand. I went into the car, I got into the car. I asked my husband to rush my child to the hospital. As we were driving away we left Joe there and went to the hospital. When I felt my child's pulse she was still breathing. We went to the hospital. At the casualty they resuscitated my daughter They took her to the theatre, because at that time there were no doctors at the casualty. She was having emphysema, she was getting swollen, so she was taken into the theatre. I went out to tell her father what was
happening. I went into the theatre, I got the doctors resuscitating my daughter. I saw them throwing their hands, indicating that they couldn't do anything to help my daughter. We went back home.
This is a very, very painful time for you. Just take your time. We'll give you the time. (Pause) I'd like you to tell us more about what was happening in this time. Why was your little girl caught up in this crossfire? And why was Joe Mamasela there that particular time? --- On that Saturday when my daughter died it was a funeral of a certain Comrade who was staying close to us, and apparently Joe Mamasela had killed that Comrade. I would like my ex-husband to help me wherever I don't have a clear recollection of the events.
MR LYSTER: Thank you. Are you the father of the young girl who died.
MR SESELE: Yes, I am the father.
MR LYSTER: I see. Okay. Are you just here to support your ex-wife? You're not going to give evidence yourself?
MR SESELE: Ja, I am here to support her.
MR LYSTER: Okay, then it's not necessary to swear you in. Thank you. You can just be there to support her. Thank you, can you please continue. --- Joe Mamasela had killed the Comrade on a previous week on a Saturday, and the following week there was a funeral. The aim of these Comrades was to burn Joe Mamasela's house after the funeral of that Comrade. At about 5 o'clock the Comrades were coming with petrol bombs, and there was absolutely no fighting, children were playing outside. This group of Comrades threw the petrol bombs into the yard of Joe Mamasela. These petrol bombs came from the direction of
the opposite houses. They threw the petrol bombs in Joe Mamasela's yard. Joe Mamasela went out and he shot at random. He shot at the opposite direction from where the Comrades had thrown the bomb. He just shot at random there.
DR MAGWAZA: The question also which I would like to pursue is it looks like it is a continuation of something, some conflict that was taking place. The day when the other boy was killed, what was happening at that time? You said the other boy had also been killed by Joe Mamasela? --- Ja, the previous week.
The previous week, yes. What was happening at that time when this boy was killed? --- I can't remember well.
(Inaudible) ... can't remember, but I just wanted to get a sense of what was all this tension, and why was Joe Mamasela reacting in this way. --- Can I ask Mr Sesele to help me?
MR LYSTER: Mr Sesele, is there something short that you wish to say? If you're going to say something I must ask you to stand and take the oath.
RANSEHU SYLVESTER BERNARD SESELE (Sworn, States)
MR LYSTER: Thank you very much. Could you just restrict your remarks to that which your wife is not able to remember? --- Okay. On this particular day of the killing of my kid I can't really say what happened with the previous incident that happened the previous week, but there was so much of a commotion by the SAP with the same Joe Mamasela in the same street. They were running around, and when we inquired from the neighbours it was
alleged that Mamasela had killed one boy somewhere down our street at a shebeen, and the cause thereof I really can't say. It was just what we heard that happened the previous week, on a Saturday too, before the killing of my kid the following week on the 3rd of January 1987.
DR MAGWAZA: Joe Mamasela was your neighbour. After the killing did you speak to him, or did he speak to you about the killing? --- I last saw Joe Mamasela on that Saturday when I was coming from the hospital. He never said a word to me. On Tuesday we left for Kroonstad to bury my daughter. I last saw him when I was coming from the hospital.
You have said that there was a court case in your statement. Can you tell us briefly what happened?
MR SESELE: On that particular day there were a lot of cases, and what really puzzled me is the manner in which the Magistrate was so - I am trying to look for the right word. He didn't actually care for any case, and all the cases that were put forward to him his statements or his remarks were all of them were dead because they were drunk, because there were cases of cars and so on. And every one of the deceased was drunk, and I was just waiting for him to tell me whether my kid, an eight-year kid, was also drunk when she was shot by Joe Mamasela. They way he was seated, you know, it was just a don't-car attitude from the Magistrate. I had on my own to call him to order, that he doesn't know what he's speaking about in this particular case, whether he really knows what he's actually talking about regarding my kid, and whether he knows what happened to my kid. I told him that my kid was
shot, and that's why we were there at court. He had now to wake up from his seat, with all respect to this Commission, and he said he was going to arrest me for contempt of Court. I stood up and I said to him, "Go on and do it immediately." The prosecutor had to intervene, and he had to correct the magistrate, telling the Magistrate exactly what my case was all about. And it was said that the killer or the killers were unknown up to this day.
Did you have a lawyer acting on your behalf? --- No.
Do you still have details on that case, the Magistrate and all the proceedings? --- Yes, the court case I have.
The details of the court case? --- Not the details, just the number of the case.
Okay, you have - has it been submitted to the Truth Commission? --- I am not sure. Yes, it has been submitted.
Okay, thank you very much.
This has been quite a very tragic, tragic story. What's more tragic to me is the way it affected you as a family. I can see that Mrs Sesele was profoundly affected, and I would like to know, when you are ready, Mrs Sesele, if you will just let us know what changed your life, how your life has changed? How as your life changed by this tragic incident? --- Since my daughter's death I am very confused, I am depressed. There's absolutely nothing that interests me. They are my children because I brought them up, but there seems to be nothing that
interests me in life. I am always forgetful. (Pause) There's nothing else.
(Inaudible) ... pick up one issue which you mentioned, that the death of your daughter did affect your relationship with your husband at that time. --- Yes, it did. It's true, because we used to share the children during the holidays. We were in joint custody. At times they would go to Soweto, at times they would visit Kroonstad. I am saying this because I was not aware that my husband was accusing me of being the killer of my daughter. He told me that he had asked me to take the children to Kroonstad during December holidays, but I refused, I said I wanted to stay with my children during the holidays. During the holidays they would go to his mother's place, as well as to my mother's place, alternatively. When my child died he blamed me for the death of my daughter because I had refused to allow my children to go to Kroonstad. I feel had I allowed them to go to Kroonstad probably my child wouldn't have died, so each time he used to accused me and say Joe Mamasela and myself have killed his child. I asked him how could I give birth to a child and then kill the very same child. There came a time when I felt these accusations were quite unfounded, and we argued a lot. We realised that the relationship was getting sour by the day. We decided that we should part ways. We divorced in 1991.
(Inaudible) ... a tragic story as I have said. I think when the family is affected by this type of tragedy then I think it becomes very, very serious. But what I would like to say here is that it's quite clear that both of you were deeply affected by the death of your daughter. /I understand.
I understand that your husband even got psychiatric
treatment. --- Yes, but not long.
Not long, but it indicates the extent of trauma you both experienced. And also up to this moment you're still very traumatised. I would suggest that you take this seriously and see the counsellor or the therapists. I think both of you are well educated, you'll understand the seriousness of this and how it's affecting your life, and how it might end up affecting the lives of your own children, the two remaining children. If you need any assistance we are there to help you in connection with your own health. Is there anything else which you would like to say? I would like to hand over to our Chairperson.
Just one question. This is a serious, painful thing. I don't think that it can just be left as it is. Joe Mamasela had shot a neighbour. Do you know the name of this neighbour? --- Unfortunately not.
You don't know? Thank you. And Ransehu Sylvester, you have just said that the Magistrate adopted a don't care attitude. --- Yes.
Do you know the name of this Magistrate? --- Today, no, Sir, I don't.
You don't know the Magistrate? --- No, but I think from the case number we can ... (incomplete)
You can what-do-you-call. --- Ja.
And the prosecutor, you don't know his name? --- No. No.
Thank you. I think that will need to be investigated by our team. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr Chairman. Just one question. On a few occasions Joe Mamasela has appeared through the media confessing to some of the stories that he was involved in. What I would like to establish with yourselves, whether he has said anything to either of you to the effect of confessing and perhaps asking for forgiveness. --- No. And just to end on the note that I think has been set here. To make matters worse he was actually gunning for me when I was busy making the arrangements for my kid. The following Monday I was right from seeing a doctor out in Vereeniging, I was on my way to Sebokeng. He was just driving in front of me, I was coming at the back, and when we were approaching the four-way stop, that's the one that's getting into Sebokeng, the other one's getting into Potchefstroom, the other one is getting into Vanderbijlpark, because I was from Vereeniging. He just all of a sudden - I didn't see him rush in front of me. He moved to my side and I almost bumped him, and I knew what his intention was, so that he could get even also possibly with me, because I couldn't see any other intention of him acting or behaving in that fashion.
MR LYSTER: Mr and Mrs Sesele, thank you very much for coming and telling us what you have told us today. You have lost your daughter, your beloved daughter, who was only seven years old at the time of this incident. You lost her in tragic circumstances, and perhaps it is a more difficult thing to accept the death of one so young and so innocent. From what you have told us it seems clear that she was killed by Mr Joe Mamasela, a man who, as you know, has admitted killing people, beating people to death at
the instructions of his employer, the Security Police, and that also must make it more difficult for you to accept, to know that she died at the hands of such a man.
It's clear that you have both been very traumatised by this incident, and we can arrange counselling. The Reparations and Rehabilitation Committee of the Truth Commission can arrange for you to see counsellors if you want to, so please, before you go, make sure that you have spoken to us if you would like to take up that opportunity.
We are very sorry to hear that this incident caused the break-up of your marriage, and it must be of some comfort to you to be able to sit here together, giving each other support, as you tell us about this very tragic story.
We will follow up the details about the court case that you have given us and try and find out why the case resulted in an acquittal, and we will convey those details to you.
Thank you very much for coming in.
MR LYSTER: Thank you for coming in today, Mrs Tipe. Can you please put on the earpieces and please tell me whether you can hear my voice? Are you able to hear me talking now? Are you able to hear me?
MRS TIPE: Yes, I hear you clearly, Sir.
MR LYSTER: Thank you very much. You have come to us from Kroonstad, and you have come to tell us about the death of your husband, Jacob Tipe, who was killed by the Three Million Gang. Before you give your story please could you stand up and take the oath.
MARTHA TIPE (Sworn, States)
MR LYSTER: Thank you very much, Mrs Tipe. I am going to ask one of my colleagues, Mrs Virginia Gcabashe, to help you with your evidence now.
MRS GCABASHE: Good morning, Mrs Tipe. Mrs Tipe, I know that you come from very far away in Mangaung. I know that the story that you're going to relate to us is very painful. That is the death of your partner, the partner that you've lived with for so many years. Then this partner leaves you when you need him most, when you were expecting a lot. I want to thank you for the courage to have come before this Commission to share your story with us, and to hear the truth of what took place. I'll ask you to take your time, but try to give us some details as to what happened. You came here to tell us about your husband. Before we hear about what happened just give us a brief background about your family - have you got children, where do you stay, are you working - so that we may have a picture as to how you live. (Pause) If you can't hear me well please do tell me that you can't hear
me. (Pause) As I have already said we feel very sorry for what happened to you, and we praise your courage for having come to this Commission so that the truth may be revealed. Before we can even go forth and talk about what happened to your husband just give us a brief history of your family - where do you stay, where do you come from, do you have any children - so that when we talk about your husband and what happened to him we have a clear picture as to what type of a family you had. I shall request you to start there, giving us a brief ... (incomplete) --- I do have a family. They are staying in Kroonstad. My in-laws are also there. I have five children with the deceased. It's three boys as well as two girls. The eldest of them had to leave school because of the lack of funds after his father had died. I wanted him to help me as far as finances were concerned, because my in-laws are not helping me in any way. When my husband died my in-laws turned against me, they chased me. He chased me together with my children. I never had a place to stay.
It is fine, Mrs Tipe. You can take your time. This is quite a painful experiences. We know how you feel, especially with the lack of support from your in-laws. (Pause) --- Until now I am with the children. The eldest one is trying to look for work. The others are attending school. The girl is doing standard seven and the boy is doing standard 10. I am still in hardships because I can't further their education.
I do understand, Mrs Tipe. When you are ready you can tell us more about what happened up until your husband met with his untimely death. --- My husband went on a Friday. He had knocked off at half past four from work.
He went to a shebeen. When he came back he got into my neighbour's house, Mr Ramahale. When he was still in there - I believe it was at about 12, I was already asleep with the children - we heard some noise outside. After that noise - we heard the noise, but I couldn't go outside to investigate what was happening. Just after some time we were awoken by Mr Tsatsi. He woke me up. I asked him what was happening. I woke the children up to accompany me to investigate as to what was happening. When we got there we got a Three Million Gang. I saw him. He had been attacked by the Three Million Gang. When I tried to turn him the blood spurted on my face. I asked him what was happening but he could not answer me. He was bleeding profusely. I tried to shake him to wake him up. There was nobody to help me there. I was all by myself. I called onto my children to come and help me. At that time he started kicking violently. Thereafter we decided to phone the police to come and take him. They took him to the hospital as he was kicking and gasping for breath. When we got to the hospital we were told that he had been stabbed several times and he had been fatally wounded.
I can hear, Mrs Tipe, this is a very traumatic experience. --- That was the end. I struggled to get funds to bury him. Now I am left with the children and we are destitute.
Are you through, Mrs Tipe? --- Yes, I am through.
Thank you very much, Mrs Tipe. Let's just go back a little bit to Mr Tipe. How old was he when he died? --- I am not sure how old he was, but I have got his birth certificate. It's in my handbag.
Can you please show us after some time. I heard you saying you were chased by the in-laws and you were evicted. Where are you staying now? --- I am staying at No 389. I am leasing the property.
I heard you talking about Three Million Gang. Can you please just tell us briefly what is Three Million, because I am familiar with the name? Can you just please tell us briefly what sort of people were the Three Million? What were they doing? --- It was a group of people who were violating the community. It was a group of hooligans who were attacking people, and they got my husband and stabbed him to death.
What did the police do to them? --- A that time the police were not present. They only came later on when the group had run away, when they were called to come and take Tipe where he had fallen. He was taken by a policeman by the name of Ndundu Nkire. He took him to hospital. The Three Million Gang wasn't there any more.
I do understand. According to your knowledge you said they were violating people, attacking them. What were the police doing about this? --- The police were not there. They never came. They stabbed my husband until they finished him off and left. The police only came to fetch my husband because we phoned them.
At the time of your husband's death do you know if he was affiliated to nay political organisation? --- No. No, he didn't belong to any political group.
On that particular night when this happened you told us that it was 12. Was it 12 midnight? --- Yes, it was 12 midnight.
Are there any events that took place in the location
that indicate that there was some sort of violence before this event took place? --- No. When these people came as a group they got into my neighbour's house. They went straight to my neighbour's house. That's where they started attacking my husband, and they left thereafter.
It seems as if you went to court. --- Yes, a few weeks after he had been buried I was called to room No 8 in court, but I did not understand as to whether it was attorneys who called me. They asked me whether I knew the people who had killed him. I told them that I didn't know anything because I was asleep. When I went there to the scene the people had already fled. They left me alone until today. There were no further investigation whatsoever.
Which court was this room No 8? Was it in Kroonstad? --- Yes, it was in Kroonstad.
Did you get the death certificate? --- No, I never got anything. They just called me and I came back.
You even buried him without having got the death certificate, or without knowing what had happened. --- No, we never got anything.
Do you know or are you aware of any inquest that was done after your husband's death? --- No, I never got any letter.
Are you working, Mrs Tipe? --- I am not working. I am a sickly person. I got violently ill after my husband's death. I am also very sick. I get these terrible headaches. I am sickly.
How old are you now? --- I am not getting any pension.
Do you qualify for pension? --- No, I don't. I
am still very young. I am 49.
You lost your husband at a very early age. Who is helping you financially to further your children's education? --- I am being helped by my parents, who are in Hennenman. At some stage I was helped by the welfare officers. I am only getting money for the seven-year-old because she's the youngest. The other one is 17, so I am no longer getting anything.
I do understand that you are going through so much pain. You told us that your life, as well as your health, have deteriorated. Are you able or can you afford to see a doctor? --- Yes, I went to see a doctor in Kroonstad twice. He told me that I was having a heart problem, as well as a problem with vessels.
Did he ever say you've got high blood? --- No, he never said anything about high blood.
I do understand. We'll try to help you in any which way we can if you are in need, or you need to see doctors and get medical attention. You said your eldest son left school after your husband's death, but you said he is not working. --- No, he is not working, but he went to Henny to work there.
When last did you see him? --- He left his job last year in February. That's when ... (incomplete - end of Side B, Tape 10)
We cannot promise that we would do that for you because we do not have the necessary authority, but we can pass our recommendations to the President, who in turn will see what to do.
MR LAX: Mrs Tipe, just one little aspect I'd like to try
and clear up if you can maybe help us. You mentioned the name of a Mr Tsatsi, who came and knocked on your door and told you about what had happened to your husband, and called you to come. Who is Mr Tsatsi? --- His surname is Lusiya. He is our neighbour.
(Inaudible) ... your neighbour. --- Yes, he is our neighbour.
(Inaudible) ... at his house that your husband was stabbed? --- No, it's not at his house. He was also a visitor in that house. Where my husband was killed is at Ramahale's place.
Ramahale? --- Yes, Ramahale.
Okay. You also mentioned to us that when you came out the Three Million were still there, the people from the gang were still present, and they were standing around. --- Yes.
How did you know they were the Three Million? --- I saw their knives and I saw their spears and I could realise they were the Three Million, because they didn't just pierce you with their spears, they would even chop you with their pangas.
So these were people that were known to operate in that way in the area? --- Yes, that's correct, Sir.
Thank you. We will try and follow up with these other people and see whether we can get any further information. Thank you, Chairperson.
This has raised another question now from the last speaker. Is there any reason why, when you were asked in the Magistrate's Court whether you knew the killers, and you said you did not know them, yet you realised that it
was the Three Million who had killed this person? --- I was scared. I didn't want to mention their name. I was very scared.
You felt that they will come back and murder you? --- Yes, that's what I thought.
MR LYSTER: Mrs Tipe, briefly. Do you know how long did that gang operate in Kroonstad for? --- It's difficult to determine, but they have been existing for quite a long time. But I think they were working underground.
And are they still existing? --- No, not at this moment, because if they were there we would never be free at all.
Thank you very much, Mrs Tipe. We have watched you suffering here today, and we feel very, very sorry for you, deeply sorry for you. It is a terrible thing to have lost your husband, and particularly to have had to watch him die in such awful circumstances. As my colleague, Mr Lax, has said, we will investigate the inquest or court case and see what became of this matter. We hope that just the process of telling your story here in front of everyone who is here today has made the burden that you have to carry a little bit lighter.
We note your request for compensation and, as Mrs Gcabashe has said, the Truth Commission doesn't have the power to give you compensation, but our job is to make recommendations to the President, and we will make those recommendations on your behalf.
If you feel that you want counselling or medical assistance we will try to arrange for somebody in the
Kroonstad area to assist you in that way, so if you want to do that please speak to one of the ladies who have been assisting you today and tell them that you would like to take that opportunity.
Thank you very, very much for coming in today.
(Incomplete) ... from time to time. They used to come and fetch him when there were going to be rallies and riots. They used to take Thabeng and arrest him. Then when he comes back he usually comes back very tired, very confused and very traumatised, because he said the police were always assaulting him. These things made me feel very bad. (Pause)
I do understand as a parent too the feeling you are having. --- (Pause) We always had a problem with his father. There was no understanding between us. He always accused me and asked me why was his child being taken by the police regularly. He used to accuse me at all times. In 1990 it was on a Friday when he died. He was at work. He was killed by the Three Million gang. It was on the 1st. As from that day we had problems in the house. We had arguments, continuous arguments. He was buried. After his funeral there was absolutely no life in the house. His father accused me of being the cause of the whole event.
(Inaudible) ... was on the 1st of June 1990. You don't remember the time when your son was killed? --- It was at 6 o'clock on a Friday.
(Inaudible) ... Million Gang killed your son? --- He used to tell me that the Three Million Gang used to accused him of being active in the ANC, he thought he was a better leader.
(Inaudible) ... he was killed you reported the matter to the police. --- When this happened at 6 o'clock the police came the following day on a Saturday. My brothers were there guarding the corpse, and when they got there they were busy kicking him on the head, asking
him where did he think he would end with the ANC.
What was to your knowledge the relationship between the Three Million and the police, because you have just said that your son used to be harassed by the police, but this time he was not killed by the police, he was killed by the Three Million? Do you think that there was any relationship between the Three Million and the police? --- At that time I hadn't yet noticed whether the Three Million Gang and the police had any relationship. We only noticed thereafter, because the corpse was taken by the police the following day. Then we thought they would come and investigate and tell us as to when we were supposed to appear in court, but they never came. We were the ones who took the initiative and went to the police station to tell them that it's the Three Million Gang than killed my son, and we wanted to find out as to when the case was going to be heard. Since then they have never come to us until today.
(Inaudible) ... that when the police came the following day, and were kicking the corpse, they were celebrating the death of your son which had come through? --- I believe so, because they were always harassing him at all times, and they hated him. In 1986 they arrested him, they kept him in custody for the whole year. They refused us permission to see him. They didn't even want us to bring things for him. That's the time when we realised.
(Inaudible) ... because a corpse is something which is very much respected. It means that the police themselves in the old South Africa had become really animals. It is the animals who could do such a thing to
a corpse. Now, let me ask you another question. In your statement somewhere you have mentioned the name of Madzela Georgie Ramasimongo. Can you say any more about that person? --- I didn't understand the question.
Is the name Madzela Georgie Ramasimongo familiar to you? --- Yes, I know this name. These were the leaders of the Three Million Gang.
So he was a leader? --- Yes, he was the leader.
Do you know where he is now? --- He was killed in Kroonstad.
He was killed in Kroonstad by who? --- We don't know, because we only heard that he was shot in town. We never came to understand who killed him.
(Inaudible) ... the matter was reported, and then up to now nothing has happened. --- There's absolutely nothing that was done. In 1992, if I am not mistaken, there came policemen from Sasolburg. They took us and they said they wanted to put back on roll the cases. They sat for about two weeks investigating and asking us questions. They even asked us where the dockets were. But that's where the whole investigation ended. Nothing ever came of it. We don't know what happened to them.
(Inaudible) ... death certificate about the death of your son? --- Yes, I did get the death certificate.
(Inaudible) ... did get it. What do they say was the cause of the death? --- They told us that they were still going to investigate as to what the cause of death was.
(Inaudible) ... you don't know. --- Yes, up to today I don't know anything. When we checked the statements we found that the death certificates were
identical, but they told us that they were still going to investigate. The details in the death certificates were similar in all the certificates.
(Inaudible) ... they didn't say that he was stabbed. --- No, they never said anything. We saw it from the corpse, as well as the clothes that my son was wearing. They indicated that he had been stabbed quite several times.
Where is your husband now? --- He is in Kroonstad.
Are you still living together? --- We are staying together, but we don't talk to each other. He has absolutely no peace with my two children because they always accuse him of being the cause of the whole fracas.
(Inaudible) ... as the Commissioners before have said that we know in your statement there are the things you have asked for that the Truth Commission could help you with. Our duty is to take these and pass them to the State President, and make some recommendations, and he is the one who makes the final decision, and his Cabinet. We are very sorry about your situation. Thank you. --- I am always sick. Even yesterday I went to the doctor. I was taken there by my brother. Even my husband doesn't care about my health. He is always depressing me even more.
MR LAX: Mrs Xhoso, I've just got one or two questions that you might be able to help us to take the matter further. Firstly, how old was your son when he died? What was his date of birth if you know that? You can't hear me? Can you hear me now? --- Yes, I hear you,
How old was your son when this happened to him, or what was his date of birth? --- He was born in 1966 in August.
Thank you. Now, do you have any idea of the witnesses who might have seen what happened to your son? --- Yes, there are people who saw this, especially the one who used to work with him. He saw everything that happened.
(Inaudible) --- Yes, we went to him to inquire. We asked him whether was he prepared to be a witness, and he gave us his addresses and his identity documents. He gave us all his particulars.
(Inaudible) --- Yes, I don't have them with me here. They are in Kroonstad.
That will help us to follow up the case and maybe have it re-opened again. Thank you, Chairperson.
Mrs Xhoso, I am very concerned about you and your family. You did say that you have to see the doctors and get some medication. What's wrong with you? --- My body is always aching. At times I feel like I am losing my mind. I am so forgetful. If I put something I never know where I put it. I always give things to my children to put away for me, because if I can put them I never ever remember where I had put them.
(Inaudible) ... you are getting is it helping you? --- I am taking treatment at the hospital, but it doesn't really help. There is another treatment that I get from a private doctor. I think that helps me a little bit.
I also want to express to you that we don't want to
forget about your sons, because they are part of the family and they did lose a brother. How are your sons? Have you noticed anything that shows that they were badly affected by this? --- They have been badly affected. The other one was doing standard nine, but he failed. He was also forgetful, he wasn't concentrating in class. He passed the following year. Even the last-born, he always used to talk about his brother and he would cry. When he was in gaol he got a baby boy who was Nkosinathi. The second-born was born after he had died. They are always talking about him. That's why I cannot bear it. It makes me not to forget him also, because whenever they see his photos they always remind me of him.
(Inaudible) ... two children? --- Yes, he has two children.
Who is taking care of those children? --- I am taking care of these children. My sisters as well as my father help me with his pension money.
We will give you our support as much as we can, but I would like you and your family to get some counselling, because I also think your husband was affected. --- Yes.
Thank you very much.
MR LAX: Sorry, Mrs Xhoso, just one other question just for the record. Implied in your story is the fact that your son was a member of the ANC. What was his actual political affiliation, just so that you can help us there please? --- It seems as if this other organisation was a youth organisation, but I am not sure as to the name of the organisation, but it was a youth organisation.
MR LYSTER: Thank you, Mrs Xhoso, for coming in today and speaking to us. Again we express our very deep sympathy to you. We have watched you suffering here as you relive the memory of your child's death. It must be particularly hard for you to relive the memories of how he died, particularly of how he was abused - his body was abused after he had died by police, who should have been there to give you support and sympathy.
As Dr Magwaza has said, we believe that you should take the opportunity to get counselling. It's clear that you have been very traumatised by the death of your child. And we will arrange for you to see somebody in the area in which you live if you want to spend time talking to somebody about how you feel.
And, as Mr Lax has said, we will follow up on the inquest or the court case to see what became of that, and why the people who were responsible for your son's death were not convicted.
Again thank you for coming in to talk to us, and we wish you courage and strength as you go. Thank you very much.
MR LYSTER: Thank you for coming in today, Mrs Bosch. You've come from Selosesha township in Thaba Nchu, and you have come to talk to us about the death - sorry, about the detention, assault and torture of your brother, Raymond Siboto, at the hands of the police.
MRS BOSCH: Yes, that's true, Sir.
MR LYSTER: Before you give your evidence could you please stand and take the oath.
NOMVUYO BOSCH (Sworn, States)
MR LYSTER: Thank you. Please take a seat. I am going to ask my colleague, Mr Mdu Dlamini, to help you in giving your evidence today.
MR DLAMINI: Thank you, Mr Chairman. I greet you, Mrs Bosch. How are you? --- I am fine, thanks, and how are you, Sir?
(Inaudible) ... opportunity that you have accorded the Commission to share the experiences that your brother, and yourself as the family, went through. First, before you can tell us what happened, and how it happened, would you firstly tell us about the family, the parents, as well as your brother, and also what we are interested in is that how is he now, and is he in hospital or at home? So the family background first. --- My name is Mrs Bosch. I am the elder sister to Raymond Siboto. There's only the three of us at home. I am the eldest. At the moment the one who is after me is in hospital. He has suffered a stroke. He was staying between Thaba Nchu Sun and Tafes(?). Where he was staying he was staying with a little boy. His name was Gufuthi.
The one who has suffered the stroke, are you
referring to Bafane? --- Yes, I am referring to Bafane.
And you also mentioned in your statement that Bafane has children. Can you tell us more about his own family now? Does he have a wife, and how old are the children, what are they doing, who is looking after them? --- Bafane was married, he had a wife before. He has two children. He has been divorced by his wife.
(Inaudible) ... the children now, and how old are they? Are they at school? --- The other one is staying with the mother. He is doing grade A. The other one is staying with my mother. That is Bafane's mother. She is doing standard four.
Thank you. You may now proceed and tell us what happened on this - in 1986 when your brother had to suffer the tortures and the injuries. --- He was arrested in 1986. I don't remember the month, whether it was April or May, because he wasn't staying with me. The person who was staying with him came to tell us that he had been arrested and taken by the police in Ladybrand, but even the Bophutatswana Police were involved. Then he said I should go and see where he stays. I went there. The ceilings were torn apart and put down because he was suspected that he had kept guns in the ceilings. When this boy came to tell us that he had been arrested I went there to see. I discovered that the ceilings were torn down. He told me that the manner in which they had assaulted him he doubted whether he was living or not. I went to look for him at the Bophutatswana Police quarters. They told me that they didn't know anything, they were not the ones who arrested him. We kept on searching for him
without any success. We went to different prisons without any success. One policeman told me, but he said we shouldn't tell anybody what he was about to tell us because he would lose his job. We went to Ladybrand with the policeman's wife. When we got to Ladybrand I asked as to whether there was any person. The policemen there denied and told us that he was not there. I don't remember the name of the policeman I spoke to. We waited there. They phoned a white policeman to come. When he got there he asked me what I was looking for there. I told him I was looking for my brother, the police in Bophutatswana had told us that he is in Ladybrand. But the policemen in Bophutatswana had not told us that, I just believed that if I said it he would actually help me. He told me that he had no knowledge of such a person. After a moment he said I should produce my identity document, and my brother's wife should take out her identity document. He asked us whether we were the ones who sent him to be a communist. We denied, and we said we were just looking for him because it was three months now since he disappeared. As he was still holding my identity document he told me that he knows me very well. He said it in Afrikaans, and he said, "I know you. I know where you are staying, you black." He said he could arrest me. I asked him why would he arrest me. He told me that I was harbouring communists in my house. I told him that, "You are accusing me, and yet my brother is not here. How can you accuse me if you say the person you - you didn't arrest the person?" I said to him he can arrest me if he wanted. We argued until he threw us with our identity documents and told us to leave the place. When we were
going out there was a policeman who was sitting at the security gate. He looked more like a coloured. He told me that my brother is there in Ladybrand, but he is not supposed to talk because he was going to lose his job. He told me that he had been severely assaulted and they won't show him to me. We went back home. I kept on pestering him and they kept on denying it. Six months lapsed without us knowing the whereabouts of my brother. I kept on pestering the Bophutatswana Police to tell me where my brother was, and they denied knowing his whereabouts. They told me they would not help me look for my brother, I must do it on my own, because they were not the ones who arrested him. One day we saw him coming. He had signs that indicated that he had been assaulted. He had scars. We asked him where he had been. He told me that he had always been there, and he had always been assaulted, and he further indicated that the policemen had told him that we were looking for him. He was always taken regularly at night to Kroonstad. They said he should reveal the whereabouts of other communists from the ANC. They took him to Lesotho. He said at times along these travels they would assault him along the way to Kroonstad. At times they would take pliers, a pair of pliers, and they would squeeze his private parts, his penis, that he should speak the truth. He should also say if we as a family are involved in this. On the first day that he arrived he started having fits. He was emitting some white substance from - through his mouth, and he collapsed. We thought maybe he was excited, he was relieved that he had arrived finally at home. We realised that he had been mentally affected. He kept on having these attacks. The doctor
said that there was a clot in his brain. He was taken for treatment for fits. He even had high blood pressure until he suffered a stroke. As I am speaking now he can't do anything, he's a human cabbage. He can't speak properly. I had asked the hospital if I could not take him so that you can see him, but due to his conditions I could not bring him with. His mother is 80 years old this year. She is staying with his children. She is a pensioner. She is going through a lot of hardships.
Does your brother get any disability grant? --- No.
Has the application been lodged with the Department of Welfare? --- I went to apply for pension on his behalf, but he is still in hospital. They had given him a date for the 24th to come, because they said they wanted to take his fingerprints. So he is still in hospital so we are not able to do anything.
(Inaudible) ... if they could assist by getting all the details from him in hospital, so that whilst he is in hospital the processing of the application is in place as well. --- No, we haven't been to the social workers.
I would recommend that you go to the offices of the social workers. If there are any problems please let us know so that we can see whether we could assist you in expediting the application for a disability grant. And another question that I would like to ask. When he was still able to recollect, to remember everything that happened, did he mention any names of the people who were torturing him? --- He only spoke now when he was very ill, when I was asking him as to who the policemen were. He only told us about one person. He said the name of the
person is Janki Thulwa. He said he was a policeman in Ladybrand.
And the police officer who was arguing with you when you were looking for your brother, can you remember his name? --- I don't remember his name, but I can identify him if I can see him.
How old is your brother now? --- He is 36 years old.
(Inaudible) ... you might not have the answer, but it strikes me that your brother is the third or fourth case of somebody who was working for Thaba Nchu Sun and was detained, tortured by the police. Is it a coincidence, or were Thaba Nchu Sun employees targeted as far as you know? --- I should think so, because at that time he was working at Thaba Nchu Sun.
(Inaudible) ... suspect that the Security Forces were targeting at Thaba Nchu employees? --- Yes, I suspect so, because I met that policeman in Thaba Nchu Sun. After I had gone there to look for my brother I saw the policeman I argued with at Thaba Nchu Sun.
Thank you very much, Mrs Bosch, for the concern you have shown towards your brother, and also helping us in the manner you have done, which is very clear about what happened, and also the action you took to try and help your brother from the time he was detained. We have also noted your request for assistance with medical expenses, as well as the support of the children. I am sure the Chairman will refer to that when he summarises the case. May I now hand over to the Chairman.
MR LAX: Mrs Bosch, there's just one or two aspects that
you might be able to help us clarify. In your statement you spoke about your brother, Bafane, being returned or dropped off some two weeks after you had been to Ladybrand Police Station, and in your evidence today you've told us that there were six months that elapsed after that time. Can you just clarify that for us please? --- I went on the same day that he was arrested. We went to check as to where he was. We went to many police stations then we didn't get him. We took three months searching for him without getting any clue as to where he was. I think we didn't understand each other, that is the person I gave the statement to, because he was speaking another language and I was speaking another language, so there was some misunderstanding.
(Inaudible) ... total he was detained for six months, is that what you're telling us? --- Yes, it was six months.
Thank you, Chairperson.
DR MAGWAZA: I have one more comment, Mrs Bosch, as I have said earlier that we don't want to forget the family and the children. You talked about the fact that your brother had two children. How old are they? --- The other one is eight years old, the other one is 14 years old.
From your observation were they in any way affected by what happened to their father, towards their father? --- They have been badly affected, because the boy is staying with his mother. My mother is 80 years old, and the little boy is the only one who can be helping my mother because he is 14 years old. He has even been
affected as far as his education is concerned. He was supposed to have been in standard six or seven by now, but he's only in standard four. I would have desired to take him to psychiatrists so that he can undergo some tests. I could see that he was badly affected. At his age there's some deficiency that we notice. Other children who are the same age as him are in higher standards, whereas he's still in a lower standard.
Thank you very much. We'll take that one into consideration. Thanks. --- Even the younger one is affected. She has got the same problem as her brother. She behaves basically in the same manner. She's also behind with her schooling. She has been mentally affected. Bafane was always having these epileptic fit attacks until such time that he got divorced from his wife. She felt that she couldn't take it any more.
I thank you.
MR LYSTER: Mrs Bosch, like many other people your family has suffered tragically at the hands of people who were there to - who should have been there to protect and support you, the police. Although with the change in our political situation in this country the police are now playing a constructive and positive role in most parts of our country, it will still take many years for some people to see them as our protectors, rather than our persecutors. There seems to be no doubt that they have destroyed your brother's life, and this in turn has placed a heavy burden on you and your family.
We have noted your requests for assistance and compensation. As you will know by now the Commission
cannot order compensation to be paid to people, but, having listened to the situation that your brother and his children are in, we will certainly take those recommendations to the State President on your behalf. I am sure your brother must be glad and proud that you are able to come here and speak on his behalf today.
Thank you very much for coming in, and we wish you well. Thank you.
MR LYSTER: Thank you for coming in today, Mrs Phole. Can you hear me? You've put the earphones on, and you can hear me well enough? Thank you very much. You have come today from Botshabelo township to tell us the story of how you were shot by the police in February 1990 in Bloemfontein. Before you give your evidence can you stand up please and take the oath?
MALEFU MIRIAM PHOLE (Sworn, States)
MR LYSTER: I will be assisting you today with your evidence. Can you just tell us briefly where do you live? --- I stay in Botshabelo in the F Section.
(Inaudible) ... something about your personal circumstances. Are you working, are you married, do you have children? --- I stay in Botshabelo in Section F5. I have got two brothers. I have one child and I am married. At home we are five. There are three boys and two girls. I have one child. I am married.
Thank you, Mrs Phole. Will you tell us now what happened to you on 15 February 1990. Tell us briefly what you were doing at the time and what happened to you on that day, what were you engaged in on that day. --- At that time I wasn't working, I was still attending school. We were coming from Bloemfontein Court. Botshabelo was still under Qwaqwa. It was the day that they were staging a coup against Mopeli. When we got to the cross between Botshabelo and Bloemfontein there were police. They were administering tear gas to disperse us, and we ran away. As we were still running away we saw a Casspir coming and we saw some shots coming from the Casspir. I ran into another house. As I was running into that house I was
shot. Thereafter they took us to the A Section at the hospital. The police were at the hospital and they were busy arresting people who had been shot. They left me there. I was shot at the K Section in Botshabelo, because when we came back they were already shooting. Then we tried to run for cover.
And where on your body were you shot? --- They shot me in the eye.
And we can see that you have lost your eye as a result of that shooting, is that right? --- Yes, it is true, I lost my eye.
Now, on that day were you - can you just explain was there a march? Were you taking part in a march? I think you said that in your statement. Is that right? --- Yes, I was present.
Who was marching? What organisation was that? --- It was the ANC organisation.
And had you planned a march from Botshabelo to - where were you going? --- We were heading for Bloemfontein.
And the purpose of the march, if you recall that? --- We were staging a coup against Mopeli and we were heading for the court.
Now, I think you have given us details of your medical documents. You were admitted at Philonomi Hospital, is that right? --- Yes.
Was there any court case of any sort which followed this shooting? --- No, we never went to the police, because whenever you tried to open up a case against the police you would be arrested.
(Inaudible) ... people, if you can remember, were
injured in the same incident, injured on that day? --- There were many people, but I was taken with another girl.
(Inaudible) ... recall the people who shot at you? Were they policemen, were they soldiers, were they from the Defence Force? Who were they? --- It was policemen.
Which police were those? --- I am not very sure of where the police came from.
(Inaudible) ... they were Bophutatswana Police or South African Police. --- It was South African Police.
You said in your evidence a few minutes ago that you were going to stage a coup. Were you in fact marching to Bloemfontein in protest? What was the real purpose of the march? --- Yes, we were against the incorporation of Botshabelo into Qwaqwa.
Was that the purpose of the march, that you were protesting against Botshabelo township being incorporated into the Qwaqwa homeland? --- Yes, that's true.
I am going to give my fellow Commissioners and Committee Members an opportunity to ask some questions if they'd like to.
In your statement you are asking the TRC to investigate this, and also to compensate you. What type of compensation are you thinking of? --- I am not able to work. I went to look for work, then they told me that I couldn't work because I couldn't see with both my eyes.
There are these days these things which are called artificial eyes. You never thought about that when you were thinking about the compensation? --- My father once took me and he showed the papers to his bosses to try
and get me some work, but they lost those papers.
I say most of the people who have lost the eyes they do get the artificial eyes put in them. You have never thought about that yourself? --- I would love to have that sort of eye, an artificial eye.
MR LAX: Mrs Phole, what is your age please, just for the record? --- I am 21 years old.
I just want to follow up on where your march was going. You say you were marching to the Bloemfontein Court. What was happening at the court? --- They were going to stage a coup against Mopeli.
MR LYSTER: Mrs Phole, thank you very much for coming in today. What's tragic about your case is that you are sitting here in front of us having been injured, lost an eye, for taking part in a protest that would have been perfectly legal today. And only six years ago it was regarded as so illegal, the State was so threatened by such an action, that they set armed soldiers against people making a legitimate protest. It seems that you were probably only 15 or 16 at the time of this incident, and it's a tragic thing that the Government should have seen fit to unleash armed soldiers against children like that.
You will have heard me say earlier on that the Commission does not have the power to award compensation to people like yourselves, but certainly it will be part of our recommendations to the State President to ensure that people like yourself are properly taken care of, the injuries are properly taken care of.
So thank you again for coming to us today and sharing your story with us, and we wish you strength. Thank you very much.
MR LYSTER: Thank you, Mrs Gyeswe, for coming in. Please put the earphones on and tell me whether you can hear me. Are you able to hear me talking now?
MRS GYESWE: Yes, I can hear you.
MR LYSTER: Thank you. Like so many other people you have come to tell about the death of a child, of your child, who died in 1992 in Bloemfontein in very, very sad and tragic circumstances. Before I ask you to tell that story please will you stand up and take the oath.
MRS GYESWE (Sworn, States)
MR LYSTER: Thank you. I am going to ask my colleague, Mr Ilan Lax, to help you in giving your evidence today. Mr Lax.
MR LAX: Good afternoon, Mrs Gyeswe. Welcome. --- Good afternoon, Sir.
Before I ask you to tell us about this terrible story that you have to tell us can you tell us a little bit about your family. How many children do you have, are you married? --- I am staying at Selosesha, Rapulani Street. I don't have a husband. I separated with my husband. I have four children. He was working at Smart Centre. He was 28 years old.
Was your - your son, was he married at all, did he have any children? --- He wasn't married, he didn't have any children.
Can you then tell us about the tragic events that happened on the 10th of July 1992? --- On the 10th in 1992 my son had gone to work. It was on a Friday. He was working at Smart Centre. It was on a Friday. I am not sure about the date. When he knocked off he didn't go
straight home until sunset. We slept without him arriving home. The following morning it was on a Saturday. In the morning his friend came to ask me whether I had seen Thoboko. I told him I hadn't seen Thoboko. I was shocked, because I thought he had been to his friends and he would come back, and then I told him that he told me that he would go away with work. His friend's surname is ... (incomplete) (Pause)
(Inaudible) ... time. We do understand. His friend surname is Thapedi, but I have forgotten his name, but the surname is Thapedi.
Thank you. --- Yes, that's Mogetsi Thapedi. Mogetsi left because he was schooling in Durban. He was just on holidays. He left me, he didn't say anything. It was now a Saturday just toward sunset. At about 5 o'clock I went to my next-door neighbour's. I said, "Can we please call the hospital and find out. He might be in the hospital." We called the hospital and they couldn't find him, and then we called the police station and we were told he is not there. It was a Saturday. On Sunday morning - on Monday, still puzzled about his whereabouts, I went to another boy called Spaceman Moroka. I asked him, "Spaceman, what happened to Thoboko? I haven't seen him." Spaceman was also puzzled. He said, "What have the whites done to Thoboko?" We searched for him for a few days. He disappeared on the 10th of July. We continually searched for him, and a friend of mine said, "Let us call Botshabelo Hospital." We called the police station at Botshabelo. They said, "We have a corpse here in our mortuary. We don't know the identity of this person, we just picked him up." We said to them, "Tell us his
clothes." We searched his belongings and we discovered that his shirt was not there, and then his pair of trousers was not there. We told the police at Botshabelo the clothes that were missing, and they said - they kept quiet for a minute, and I said to my brother's wife she should go to Botshabelo and find out what happened. They didn't want to tell me on the telephone. When she got to Botshabelo they discovered that it was Thoboko, he was in the mortuary. His head was disfigured, he didn't have an eye. They came back to me and they wanted to tell me the news. Even if they could tell me the story they were already crying, and they told me that Thoboko was dead and they found him at Botshabelo Mortuary. Immediately I was taken to the hospital to be admitted. We found him on the 27th of July. We buried him on the 27th of July. I wanted to find out will I be released to attend his funeral. The doctor said, "No, no problem, we'll give you a permission to go and bury him, and then after the funeral you come back to the hospital." On the 27th it was a Saturday. We went to bury him. It wasn't a smooth funeral. The Bophutatswana Police were shooting at the old people with tear gas, people were running, and they said the corpse should go back. We were on our way to the cemetery. We didn't go back, we forced out way through to the cemetery. Then we were told that the minister should conduct the ceremony very fast so that we can disperse. We buried him and we went back home. And I asked, "Who actually did this?" and then I was told, "Three white - three policeman, white of them, did this." Seemingly Thoboko and his friends were looking for a place where there was a party, and they couldn't find the place.
Unfortunately they knocked at the white man's house. It was Piet Buys, Hendrick Myburgh and Johnny Grant. They took him in to the truck, they took him to Botshabelo, and that's where they assaulted him and killed him. They even burnt his bank book.
(Inaudible) --- Yes, that's the part I remember. I can't remember the rest because I was at the hospital. After the funeral the police came and they said to me I should go to Botshabelo, there was going to be a court hearing. They didn't come to fetch me. Then when we arrived in Botshabelo there was no case and I went back to Thaba Nchu. I've forgotten the date, but other policemen came to me and they told me that I should go to the Thaba Nchu Police Station. I will find a kombi there, and then they will drive me to Bloemfontein, there was going to be a court hearing. They said it was going to be at the Supreme Court. We came to Bloemfontein. Nothing took place. We went back home. And they kept on picking me up for court cases for the hearings, but nothing would take place and I would be taken back home. I only read in the newspaper that the case was finalised, and I have been in that kind of a situation not knowing anything until today.
Mr Buys, Petrus Cornelius Buys, was sentenced to nine years for the murder of your son, and in 1995 he was given what is called correctional supervision. Part of his sentence was changed to correctional supervision, which means he was allowed to come out of gaol, but subject to certain very strong conditions. As far as we are aware the other two were acquitted. Was your son involved in any political activities of any kind? --- I didn't know becaue I wouldn't be with him every time,
but the Saturday his coffin was held high up, and then that's where I realised he must have been belonging to any party.
(Inaudible) ... or he must not have been? I am not quite clear. --- I have never seen him with my eyes, because every time I would be at home, but his coffin was held high above, and it was my first time to see that.
Did you think that that meant there was some political connection in the way he was being buried? --- Yes. They were singing, and the police started assaulting them and telling them they are not allowed to do that.
Thank you. I have no further questions, Chairperson.
Just one question or two. You say that during the time when you spoke to Spaceman Moroka his remark was, "What have the whites done to Thoboko?" What was happening? Was it very common that the whites were attacking black people? --- I would say yes, the whites were attacking the blacks, because Thoboko wanted to inquire about the whereabouts of the party, and they saw these white men following them. And then the other one managed to run away, and he went to the party and he told the others that Thoboko had been chased by the white people. They went to different police stations to find him, but they couldn't. Then Spaceman said, "What have the whites done to Thoboko?"
Were there any other incidents when the whites in your area had attacked some of these blacks? --- Yes, I would say it was the tendency, because things were not nice for us in Bophutatswana. The whites didn't want any
black people in town.
Is it correct that they ran over his body in a bakkie? --- I read in the newspaper. I only read in the newspaper that they drove over his body. I still have that article even today.
Thank you. The last question, you said that the minister who buried him was instructed to be very quick by the police. Do you remember the name of that minister? --- The police said he should quickly conduct the sermon. They were already facing their guns towards the people.
(Inaudible) ... name of the minister was doing the burial, who was conducting the funeral? --- I've forgot his name, but he is the minister from the Roman Catholic Church in Thaba Nchu.
(Inaudible) ... he lives? --- Yes, I know where he stays.
(Inaudible) ... for full particulars you could get us full particulars? --- I don't know whether shall I get the particulars from him, because I was confused. They were pushing us. They said, "Minister, come on, be fast."
I mean if you could get the particulars about where he is and what his name is. Do you think that you could assist us about that? Anyway, if you cannot we can make investigations about what his name was. Thank you. --- I won't be able to help you, Sir. Thank you.
Mama, I am quite concerned about your health. You mentioned that just before the funeral of your son you were in hospital. Can you tell us more? Why were you
admitted in hospital? What was wrong with you? What happened? --- It was high blood pressure and my chest. My whole body was sore, and they told me that I had a high blood pressure.
(Inaudible) ... had it before? --- Yes, but I was under the treatment.
How is your health now? --- I still suffer from high blood pressure. I am living on medication.
Who is paying for your medication? --- I have a girl called Elizabeth Gyeswe. She works at Cheapermans, and she is the only one working
Right. We would like you to provide us with your records, and we do hope that we can offer some help to you regarding your health. Thank you very much.
MR LYSTER: Mrs Gyeswe, we have all been shocked to hear about what happened to your son, and we can only imagine how sad it must be for you to live with this memory. It was the system of apartheid which killed your son. The people or the person that killed your son was raised in such a way, he was raised in an environment in which racism was an accepted part of our national life, and it was this way of life, this environment, which poisoned their minds, or poisoned his mind to such an extent that he could commit such a horrifying act - to take an innocent person and to assault him, and then to kill him in the way that he did, and we express our deep sympathy to you.
You have heard Dr Magwaza say that if you wish to get further assistance from the Commission for your health we will be able to do that, and we would like you to speak
/to one of
to one of the staff members before you go today.
We thank you again very much for coming in and sharing your sad story with us, and we wish you every strength. Thank you.
MR LYSTER: We apologise for the delay. The witness who is coming to the stage has an artificial limb and he is taking some time to get to his seat. While we are waiting I would like to announce that we have a small sub office her in Bloemfontein. It's situated in the Stabilitas Building, which is in Maitland Street, right opposite the OK Bazaars, and that office will be open from now onwards for the whole of this year, next year as well. If there are people in this area, Bloemfontein, Botshabelo, Thaba Nchu, who want to make statements, please go to that office and speak to Mr Pitso or the Reverend Bosman, and they will assist you. And if there are many more people from this area who wish to appear at public hearings like this one it is certainly possible that we would have a further hearing here in Bloemfontein. That is aside from the hearings that we intend to hold in other parts of the Free State, such as Harrismith and Welkom.
Thank you Mr Mohlahle. You have come here today from Qwaqwa, and you have come to tell us about a bomb blast in which you were involved in 1990. Before you tell your story I'd like you please to stand, or if it's difficult for you to stand please take the oath as you sit there.
MR MOHLAHLE (Sworn, States)
MR LYSTER: Thank you very much. I am going to ask one of my colleagues, Mrs Gcabashe, to assist you now in giving your evidence.
MR GCABASHE: Good afternoon, Mr Mohlahle. How are you? Let me start by thanking you that you've come from Qwaqwa to come to this Commission and explain to us what happened
to you. I want to sympathise with you for what happened with you and the injuries that you sustained. Will you please tell us about your family background? Tell me how old you are? --- I was born in 1961, July.
Thank you. I will request you to just give us a brief family background. Are you married, do you have any children, do you still have parents? --- We are eight at home. I am married. I have a mother. My father passed away.
Are these your sisters and brothers? --- Yes, they are my sisters and brothers.
Do you have any children? --- No, I don't.
Do you have a wife? --- Yes, I do.
Are you working? --- No, I am not working.
Mr Mohlahle, just tell us what happened to you that made you to be here today. --- It was in 1990 in July on the 14th. I was at the Roodepoort Hotel. After about 10 minutes I heard a loud bang. I heard a loud explosion. Thereafter I don't know what happened. I found myself lying flat on the ground. I crawled. There were no people there. I saw the fire extinguishers, and the firemen took me to the hospital. I was taken to General Hospital in Johannesburg. I stayed there for a week. After about three days it's only then that I regained consciousness and I was told what had happened. I was told that they would have to amputate my leg. Then I had to sign. I refused to sign the document because I said I didn't know who signed for the first leg to be amputated. Then they left me. I stayed two weeks. On the third week they gave me - they transferred me to Roodepoort Hospital. I stayed for three months. As I was still there the other
people with whom I was injured came. I asked if they had opened a case. They told me they hadn't yet started, but they will be notified later. Since then nothing has happened until I was discharged. I went to make a statement. They refused. They said I was limping so I couldn't come to them. I went there three times. Each time I was using my own money, and each time they were refusing to take a statement from me. Until I went to Johannesburg to seek some help. At Johannesburg they phoned them. They came and asked me who were phoning them. I said I didn't know, it's the people I went to for help. They said to me they were phoned by certain people who said I didn't want to make a statement. I ended up making the statement. I requested the case number. They asked me who told me that they would give me the case number. I said I wanted it on my own accord. They took the statement and went away, and nothing came out of it. They asked me whether I knew that I had to be paid for being injured. I said the hotel should be responsible for the payment, it's the law. They left me then. My boss at that time told me that I would have to leave my work. I asked him why would I do so. They said I wouldn't be able to discharge my duties. I told them to pay me for all the 12 years that I have worked there. They told me I wasn't going to get any money. They gave me an amount of R1 276,41. The evicted me out of the hostel. I realised that I wasn't going to get any help. Then I left until today.
Thank you, Mr Mohlahle, for relating this very painful story. Before I ask those questions, in your statement you have written that you are staying at a
certain police station. Can you please explain as to why you are staying at a police station? --- My explanation - I never said that I was staying at the police station. I said I was always going to the police station regularly, and they were refusing to take my statement.
Where do you stay now? --- I stay in Qwaqwa.
Is that not a police station? --- No. I gave the ... (incomplete - end of Side B, Tape 11)
You said there was an explosion where you were. Did you ever get any clue as to who planted the bomb? --- I never knew who had done that. I heard some rumours that the bomb was planted by white men, but they were never found.
You also said there are other people who came to you. Do you still remember who these people are, when you were in hospital? --- Yes, I do.
Please give us their names. --- It was Stefan.
What's his surname? --- Mohlahle.
What is he to you? --- He's my uncle.
With who was he? --- He was with Julius Mohlahle.
What relation is Julius to you? --- He is also my uncle.
You went on to say certain people refused to take a statement from you. Who are these people? --- It's the people who said they were handling my case, so I should go to them after being discharged. They were in Krugersdorp.
Were they policemen or ... (incomplete) --- Yes, it was policemen.
Do you remember any one of them? --- I think I remember one black person who came with them. I don't remember the other ones.
Do you know their names? --- No.
You were amputated after your injuries. When were you amputated? --- I was amputated in July. If I remember well it could have been the 15th or the 16th, even the 17th. I don't remember quite well.
In your statement there's where you allege that it was a hotel frequented by black people. Is that so? --- Yes, it is so.
Can you remember whether during the time of the bomb explosion is there any specific thing that you can remember that relates to this explosion? --- I don't understand your question.
Let me just rephrase it. In your statement there's where you say it was a time when the political parties were unbanned. Do you still remember that? You said it in your statement? --- No, I did not.
But do you remember? --- Yes, I do remember.
I will just remind you that there is something of that sort in your statement. At which hospital were you amputated? --- It was Hillbrow Hospital - Hillbrow Hospital in Johannesburg. They call it General Hospital.
Just tell me about your work now. What company were you working for? --- I was working for a mine.
What was the name of that mine? --- It was Durban Deep in Roodepoort.
You went to the Roodepoort Hospital? --- Yes.
What were you doing there? --- I was driving what they call a winch at the mines.
You said they told you that your services had been terminated. --- Yes.
According to your knowledge or ability could you have been able to continue doing that job? --- I wouldn't have been able.
What did the mine give you when you were told that your services were terminated? --- I was given an amount of R1 620,00.
In your statement you talked about an amount of R1 276,00. From who did you get this amount? --- No, I didn't get that amount. In my statement I said it was R1 620,00.
Did you report your case thereafter? --- I went to report the case.
Do you remember who the investigating officer was? --- Yes, I do remember.
What was his name? --- His name was Gaga.
You spoke about an investigating officer whose name is Chris Dodden. Do you still remember him? --- If I remember well I think Johannesburg was the one that was handling the case.
Were you ever given the case number, or were you told as to how the case was finalised? --- He phoned them to come. They asked me who was phoning them. I told them that it's the person who was taking my statement. I requested the case number.
After working for 12 years in a mine you only got R1 620,00 only? How are you able to make ends meet? --- I can't make ends meet because I can't work.
Besides being amputated are you suffering from any other illnesses or ailments that you think could be
attributed to being injured in a bomb explosion? --- Yes, there are.
Just tell us about those ailments. --- On my left hand, in the ankle. My ankle was broken and my whole side was burnt. The other foot with which I use to balance is the one that troubles me most because it carries so much weight.
Are you getting any treatment from anywhere? --- Yes, I am taking treatment from the hospital, at Manapo Hospital.
Where is that hospital? --- It's in Qwaqwa.
Who is paying for your medical expenses? --- It's the Government.
I understand you, Mr Mohlahle. I feel very bad that after having worked for a period of 12 years that you emerged out of the whole situation penniless. I hope that's where I will end. I still repeat that we really feel for you. We really sympathise with you for what happened to you.
MR LAX: Thank you, Chairperson. Good afternoon, Mr Mohlahle. --- Yes, good afternoon, Sir.
Do you know what happened to the other people who were in that hotel with you that day? --- Yes, I know what happened to them.
Can you tell us please. --- One died, according to the information that I got when they came to see me at the hospital. One of them had a broken leg, the other one sustained a broken hand or arm, the other one just got injured. That's how it happened.
So as far as you know there were five people
affected by this bomb to the extent that you're aware. --- Yes, according to my knowledge I know of only five who got injured.
You spoke about these policemen who came to see you who said you should come and make a statement, and then when you went to see them to try and give them a statement they simply refused to take that statement. Where were those policemen when you went to see them? --- Those police were all there.
Where's there? What place is that? --- They were at the Krugersdorp Police Station.
These policemen, were they white policemen or black policemen, or both? --- It was white policemen as well as one black.
How many did you speak to altogether? --- If I remember quite well I spoke to four policemen.
(Inaudible) ... three white people and one black person? --- Let me just correct myself. There were four white policemen and one black policemen.
Now, you said that you then went to see some other people who then made some phone calls for you. Who were those other people? Was that a lawyers' organisation, or some assistance centre or something like that? --- I think it was the attorneys, Legal Aid attorneys.
(Inaudible) ... we do have a letter from the Legal Resource Centre that was attached to your papers. Would that be the place? --- Yes, I do know about that letter.
And then in response to those telephone calls and those letters the police then did take your statement. --- They took my statement thereafter.
But to date you've heard nothing about a case? --- Absolutely nothing.
Thank you. We will try and see if we can follow that up for you.
Mr Mohlahle, you said that the hotel where you were injured was frequented mostly by blacks. Who is the owner of this hotel? --- I don't know who the owner is. I tried to ask who the owner was. They didn't want to give me his name. They said he said he didn't care whether we were injured, he was not involved.
So you don't know whether the owner is black or white. --- I think it was a white person.
How much damage was done to the hotel? --- There was great damage, windows were broken, but by the time i came out of the hospital it was already renovated. People who worked there said the insurance had funded the rebuilding.
Thank you, Mr Chairman. Mr Mohlahle, I am just interested in the condition of your two uncles who were together with you. I think you mentioned in your statement that you had Stefan and Julius who are both your uncles. How are they now? Where are they? --- Only Julius is there.
When you say only Julius is there, I think you mentioned two people, Stefan and Julius, and what happened to Stefan? --- Stefanus is at work.
MR LAX: Sorry, just one last question, Mr Mohlahle.
What was the name of the hotel if you can remember? --- It was Roodepoort Hotel.
MR LYSTER: Mr Mohlahle, thank you for coming in today to tell us your story. What happened to you on that day in Roodepoort has changed your life completely. You were sitting enjoying the company of your relatives and friends and a bomb was detonated, and, as I have said, it changed your life forever.
Like the people who took the life of Mrs Gyeswe's son, the people who planted that bomb were raised by and in a system, a political system, which made them so afraid of their fellow South Africans that they were driven to do what they did - placing a bomb in a hotel, killing and injuring innocent people.
As you have probably heard me say earlier today to other people who've come and given evidence, that we don't have the power to compensate you immediately, but we can make recommendations to the State President on your behalf concerning steps that should be taken to assist people like yourself, and I have very little doubt that people like yourself, who have been injured in the manner that you have described to us, will receive assistance from the President's Fund.
Before you go I'd like you to make absolutely sure that the contact address that you have given us is a proper and reliable address at which we can contact you, so that you can be assured that we will contact you and that you will receive correspondence from us.
Again thank you very much for coming in today, and we wish you everything of the best as you go home.
MR LYSTER: Thank you for coming in today, Mr Matselane. Please will you assist her with the earphones. Can you hear me, Mrs Matselane? Can you hear me well enough.
MRS MATSELANE: I hear you perfectly well, Sir.
MR LYSTER: Thank you. You have come from Bohlokong township in Bethlehem to tell us about the shooting of your daughter in 1990 by the South African Police.
MRS MATSELANE: Yes, that's correct, Sir.
MR LYSTER: Before you give your evidence can you please stand up and take the oath?
MAYSIE MATSELANE (Sworn, States)
MR LYSTER: Thank you. I am going to ask my fellow Commissioner, Dr Mgojo, to assist you in giving your evidence today.
DR MGOJO: I greet you, Mrs Matselane ... (inaudible) ... caused you much pain, this experience which you had about the death of your daughter. About the crippling of your daughter, I am sorry. Your daughter is Sithekile Hadebe. Can you explain, because your name is Matselane but the daughter is Hadebe? --- I was married to Hadebe. Matselane is where I was born. It's my maiden surname. I had sent my daughter to Loso. She went to Loso.
(Inaudible) ... Mama. Just give us more about the background of the family. You say that you were married to Hadebe and then you went back home. What really happened? --- I separated with my husband. I have six children, three boys and three girls. We separated with my husband a long time ago.
(Inaudible) --- Yes, he is still alive.
Thank you. So can you tell us about what happened
on the 29th of January 1990? --- On the 20th of January I sent my child to Loso. She went to Loso. Until sunset she didn't return. I woke up and went to work. When I returned from work I was told that there were certain children who were shot and they had died. I went to the police station to see if my child is one of the dead children. I was told three children had died, one had gone to Bloemfontein. The following morning I went to the hospital to investigate. They told me that the one who had been shot in the eye is in Bloemfontein. I devised some means to see what help I could offer my child. My boss phoned the hospital at which my child was admitted. We managed to trace her. At Bloemfontein they told me I should come to see my daughter because she was going to undergo an operation. We went to Bloemfontein. I signed some papers for her to undergo the operation, then I came back. When I got home she came back quite some time thereafter. They gave her a letter that she should go to Bloemfontein for treatment. My boss said she should not go to Bloemfontein any more, but she should receive her treatment at Bohlokong Hospital.
Where were you working? Are you working now? --- Yes, I am working.
Are you still working where you were working when your daughter was crippled? --- Yes, I am still working at the same place.
What is your work? --- I am a domestic worker.
Do you know the name of your boss? --- Yes, I do know the name of my boss.
Is it true that when your son was shot by the police - I mean your daughter was shot by the police she became
crippled and lost an eye? --- Yes. She has got only one eye.
(Inaudible) ... explain to us how she was crippled? --- As I have already said she had been shot. She underwent an operation. I don't know whether the bullet came through the eye or through the stomach, because apparently she had been shot in the stomach.
(Inaudible) ... when this happened where? --- She was 20 years old.
What was she doing? --- She was attending school.
Do you know what class? --- She was doing standard nine.
Was the matter reported to the police, or to any police station? --- When she came back from the hospital we were visited by a reverend as well as another lady. This lady works for an attorney. I don't know who the third person was. They said I should go to see a lawyer. I went where they had told me to go. The attorney told me that I should pay him an out front fee of R5 000,00.
(Inaudible) --- It was du Plessis.
So he wanted a sum of R5 000,00 before he could attend to this case? --- Yes. I said to him if he could handle my case I would pay him as soon as the matter was finalised.
(Inaudible) --- No, he never took the case.
This name of Morodi, do you know him? --- It's Reverend Mavundla.
Do you know the name of the ... (inaudible) ... church where he is a minister? --- It's Wessel
Methodist Church. Yes, that's Mavundla.
And do you know where he stays if he were to be contacted? --- He is not in Bethlehem at the present moment. He moved.
How many children do you have, Mama? --- I have six children, three girls and three boys.
Do they go to school? --- One is working. The two have gone to their father's place. The other one is not working. One is attending school. The one who was shot only finished school last year.
(Inaudible) ... responsible for their education, all of them? --- Yes, I am the one who is responsible.
Just one more question. Is there any person who saw the police when they were shooting your daughter? --- The one she was walking with died. I can't remember quite well the other one. The other one is Disebo, Disebo Besa.
(Inaudible) --- No, she was not injured.
Where is she now? --- She is not around.
You don't know where she might have gone to? --- She is in Bethlehem.
Well, thank you. Maybe she might be the one who could be investigated to give us the true story of what really happened if she was there. I think the Truth Commission will try to see if they cannot get hold of her to get the full story about this. So, Mama, if you were to ask the Commission to do something for you what would you expect the Commission to do for you? --- I would like the Commission to assist me in claiming for my child's injuries.
Do you mean ... (intervention) --- I arranged that she should have an artificial eye.
(Inaudible) ... artificial eye. Thank you. I hand you over to the Chairperson now.
MR LAX: Thank you, Chairperson. Mrs Matselane, this place Loso that you say you sent your daughter to. What is that place? Is it a town, is it ... (intervention) --- It's a township. It's the name of the township, Loso.
Is that place near Bohotlong township where you live? Bohlokong - sorry - township where you live. Did you not hear the question? --- Yes, I understood the question.
Sorry, we can't hear anything.
INTERPRETER: She said yes. She said yes.
MR LAX: Oh, you've said yes, okay. Do you have any idea about what the circumstances in Loso were so that there were police shooting on the streets that day? --- I don't know because I was at home. Whether the police were shooting at random, or whether there was some commotion going on, I don't know. It was quite far from my place.
You haven't been able to find out from anyone else? --- There were children singing in the streets. They were chanting.
(Inaudible) ... amongst those children that were singing in the streets? --- I really don't know, because that's where she got injured.
(Inaudible) ... what she was doing there. --- She told me that she was on her way back home. On her way back she got shot.
Now, was your daughter ever involved in political activities? Was she a member of a political party
perhaps, or a students' organisation? --- No.
And you've never heard anything further in terms of cases or investigations about the follow up to this incident, about what happened to the other children and so on? --- There was a case. There were certain Indians who were always going to this case who were from Johannesburg. Each time we would get in there and then they would just tell us that the case has been finalised.
(Inaudible) ... were they lawyers, or who were they? --- Yes, they were attorneys.
You don't remember any of the names by any chance, do you? --- No, I don't remember any of the names.
(Inaudible) ... question. This person who was walking with your daughter when she was shot, who has survived, Disebo Besa that you spoke of. Does her family live in the same township as you? --- Yes.
Would it be possible for you to give us their details so that we can try and follow up? --- Yes.
Thank you very much. No further questions, Chairperson.
What's your surname? --- It's Matselane. Matselane.
Thank you. Mama Matselane, we would like to help as much as possible. We would like to know the state of your daughter now, because you have said she is crippled and that's causing a bit of a concern to us. What does she do now? Can she work, can she help at home, can she take care of herself? --- Yes, she is able.
Does she go to school? --- She matriculated last year.
Is there anything at the moment which is causing some difficulties in her life? --- No.
Thank you very much, Mama.
MR LYSTER: Mrs Matselane, you have been very patient, waiting all day to give your evidence, and we thank you for that and for coming all the way in from Bohlokong in Bethlehem. As you know, probably better than a lot of us, the police in those days were - very often behaved in the reckless and violent way that you have described, where they could just shoot people in the street, and your daughter was a victim of the system that permitted that sort of behaviour to take place.
As you know, and as you have probably heard me say, we cannot assist you immediately with compensation, but we will take your story and convey that story to the State President, and we will recommend to him steps that he should put into place to assist people like your daughter, and we feel sure that steps will be put in place to assist people like her.
So thank you again for coming in to be with us today, and we wish you every strength as you go home. Thank you very much.
MR LYSTER: Thank you for coming in, Mr Thayisi. Can you please tell me whether you can hear me through the earphones, you can hear me well enough? Thank you very much. You've come to us today from Mokwena village in Thaba Nchu, and you've come to tell us a story about assault and torture by the police which took place in 1990, in August 1990. Before you give that evidence I am gioing to ask you to stand to take the oath.
WILLIAM THAYISI (Sworn, States)
MR LYSTER: Thank you. And now I am going to ask my colleague, Dr Magwaza, to assist you as you give your evidence.
DR MAGWAZA: Mokama, you are here today because you want to share with us your suffering, and you want some justice to be done. We are here to listen to you and support you throughout. Could you start by telling us more about yourself. How old were you at that time? Were you at school, were you involved in politics? --- I was 19 years old when this happened. I was attending school at Direko. In 1990 our schools were closed. I was not affiliated to any political organisation.
(Inaudible) --- I was in standard eight.
Tell us about what happened on that day. --- We were from Nalethi Sun(?). It was myself and my three friends. When we were in Nalethi Sun we met other people, our neighbours. When we left we left together with my friend, as well as the fourth one. We were with another gentleman who is staying opposite my place. We went when the disco closed during the night. When we got at the gate in Nalethi Sun we were accosted by two policemen in
a police van. They asked us where we were off to. They said we should get into the van. One of them opened up the van and they said we should get into the back of the van. The others were put at the front. We were going to Mokwena. We went to another police station in town. The van got into the yard. Two policemen got off the van. They left us in the van. They came back with some sjamboks. They opened the door of the van. They also opened for the three girls who were at the front of the van. They started assaulting us. We started running. We were scattered as we were running. There was a new road that was being erected that was under construction. They accosted me and they took me and put me inside the van. They took me for about 30 minutes. When they arrested me there was a gentleman who was knocking off from his duty. They took him together with me. They drove for quite some distance. We didn't see where we were going to. We went to the police station. They took us into the charge office. Only one got into the charge office with us, the other one was left in the van. They asked this gentleman whether he was with us. He said no, he was from work. They asked me where my friends were. I said I don't know, because I didn't see where they were headed to when we were running. There was another female ... (incomplete - end of Side B, Tape 12) ... me with an object on the head, and I fell. They started kicking me. As they were kicking me and assaulting me they were asking me questions as to whether I knew where my friends were staying. When I tried to answer them they kept on assaulting me. They even asked me where I attended school. They told me that I had come to teach the Thaba Nchu children about
politics. They kicked me even in the ribs. I couldn't breathe at that stage and I lost consciousness. I only regained my consciousness when they were taking me to the tap and they opened some water. It was very cold and the water was cold. They put my head under the tap. I sort of regained consciousness. They started kicking me once more, and they chased me, they said I must fuck off. The gates were locked, I couldn't get out. Two of them came to me. When the other one was trying to open the gate the other one was assaulting me, and I couldn't run. As I was on the way, I wasn't very far away from the police station, they drove towards me. There was this girl in the van, and I was walking very slowly. They got out and they further assaulted me. I fell on the new road that was under construction. They left me there. I struggled to stand up and walk. I couldn't even see because my eyes were swollen. I could only see through my left eye. I got to a certain house. It was round about past six in the morning. I told them at home that I had been assaulted by police. As I was still explaining and relating this story one of the girls came in and asked me how I got home. I was so swollen I couldn't speak. They took me - they took me to the hospital. As we were at the hospital my mother went to fetch some forms at the police station, because the doctor wanted to fill the forms in so that I could be able to open up a case. They refused to give my mother the forms. The following day on a Monday I went there. There was another girl who was also involved. When they asked where this other girl was nobody knew where she had gone to. I was ultimately able to get the forms. I took them to the doctor, the doctor
filled them in. I took them to the police station. They didn't want to take the forms, they said I must bring all the people who were involved. On Monday - that was only on Monday when they released that other girl, and she went on Tuesday. We all went to make some statements. They said they were going to let us know as to when the case will be heard. I was never notified. A month lapsed. After about a month there came another policeman. He said he wanted the statement from the witnesses. I took him to the witnesses. I was awaiting to be told as to when the matter was going to be heard. That policeman paid me regular visits and told me that he was handling the case. A year lapsed with a few months. One time they came and got my mother. They gave her a letter that said the person had been acquitted and the case had been finalised. The policeman said he didn't know how the case ended because the people had sought the help of an attorney. That's all.
Thank you very much. It's a sad story and you are still very young, still look very young. You have been through such a difficult time at your age. Which police station was this one, the name of the police station? --- It was Thaba Nchu Police Station.
I would like to ask a few other questions. You were accosted by the police at 2.00 am, which was the early hours in the morning, but you also say they released you in the early hours of the morning. At what time do you think you were releasd from the police station? --- They didn't arrest us. It was only one girl who was taken into custody. They only called us, but we managed to run and they assaulted us.
(Inaudible) ... in the police station? --- I didn't stay long. They kept on assaulting me until I left.
You also mentioned that there were these girls. Do you know their names? Where are these girls? --- The other one is Masisini, and Mpayi, as well as Sarah.
You've also given the names of the witnesses, people who actually witnesses this incident, as Jacob and Richard. Were they part of the group? Who is Richard and Jacob? --- They are my friends.
Were they with you when you were assaulted, or were they the people who ran away when you were being assaulted? --- They are the ones who escaped. When I was assaulted it was the second time that they had got to me.
You said there were two police who assaulted you and you mentioned one as Warrant-Officer Michael. Who is the second one? --- I don't know the second one.
Do you know where Warrant-Officer Michael is now? --- I heard that thereafter he got transferred, but it seems as if he has come back now.
You mean come back to Thaba Nchu, or come back to where? --- Yes, Thaba Nchu.
Okay. You also mentioned that you had some kidney failure and some headaches. Can you tell us more about that, and whether you did get treatment for that? --- Yes, I paid regular visits to the doctors. This year I suffered from kidneys as well as constant headaches.
We would like to have the records of your treatment as well. --- I believe they are in the hospitals at which I have been treated.
Can you tell us which hospitals? --- On the
first day I went to Moroka. Thereafter I went to Philonomi.
To which police station did you report it? --- Selosesha Police Station.
And do you know the name of the people who were involved there? The names of the people who were involved in this investigation. --- I don't remember their names.
Can you identify them? --- I think if I can see them I can point them out.
The last question which I would like to ask from you is, at the moment what's your state of health and what are you doing? --- I get constant headaches as well as kidney problems. I had to stay for the rest of 1991 not going to school. I couldn't write my final year exams. The following year I went back to school. That was in 1992 and 1993. In '94 and '95 I had these constant headaches again. This year my mother took me back to the school.
We understand the pain you have suffered, and we will try as much as possible to help, especially in relation to your health. I hand it over to the Chairperson.
MR LAX: Thank you, Chairperson. Mr Thayisi, you mentioned that this was the second time you were assaulted. Where was the first time? --- The first time we were at the police station, but in the yard, not in the charge office.
(Inaudible) ... same evening, but just in two different places? Thanks. Sorry, I misunderstood you.
DR MGOJO: Mr Thayisi, just a few questions. You said that there's a policeman who frequently visited you and said he was handling the case. Do you know the name of this policeman? --- Yes, I do.
When the case was dropped did he have to say anything to you to give the explanation why the case was dropped? --- He never came. I later on heard that he had already been transferred, but now he's around.
So you know where he is. What is his name? --- His name is Likalakhe.
You don't know his address? --- No, I don't know his address.
You also said that the case ended because the people had secured the assistance of an attorney. Who were those people? --- I said whent he case was finalised somebody came to my mother to give her a letter, and he was asked as to how the case was finalised without me going to court. Then the policeman said he didn't know how the case was finalised. Then he said if I wanted to take the matter on appeal I needed to get an attorney.
Thank you. I beg your pardon. Did this girl who was put into custody ever shared any experience which she had in the custody? She is ... (inaudible) ... the victims now. --- She told me that they just locked her in. They only brought her food on Sunday afternoon, then they only came back on Monday morning to let her out.
(Inaudible) --- No.
MR LAX: Sorry, this girl that was kept in custody, was she ever charged with anything? --- No, they just let
her out without charging her.
Did she make a case at all about being kept in custody? --- We were together with her when we went to open the case. Then they said I was the only one who was supposed to open up a case, they are going to be witnesses only.
MR LYSTER: Mr Thayisi, again the story that we have heard from you, like so many others, relates to unlawful activity by police, people who were put in place to assist and proctect us, but instead spent so much of their time persecuting, assaulting and harassing people.
We will try to follow up and see what happened to the case that you instituted against the police, and we will certainly ask the Attorney-General why he declined to prosecute.
I want to thank you very much for coming in today, and for being so patient. You were the last person to give evidence today, you've waited the whole day. And thank you for reliving those events of six years ago. It helps us in our job of painting a picture of what happened in the Free State over the past 30 years, and once we have looked at the statements which you made to the police five or six years ago to confirm your version, we feel sure that your story will form part of the final report which we will give to the State President.
So once again thank you for coming in, and we wish you well as you go home.