PROCEEDINGS HELD AT
8 MAY 1996
[PAGES 1 - 133]
I N D E X
NO ITEM PAGE N°
1. Quinn Family................................................... 1 - 11
2. Joyce Mananki Siphe......................................... 12 - 22
3. H Kerney....................................................... 23 - 34
4. Johannes Raseko.............................................. 35 - 41
5. David Mhlapo................................................. 42 - 52
6. Dumisani Phungula and Mrs Phungula................... 53 - 62
7. Beatrice Nikiziwe Mshengu and
Musawenkosi Mshengu...................................... 63 - 71
8. Gary Govindsamy and
Kasavan Terence Arengasamy............................. 72 - 84
9. Yusuf Haffajee................................................ 85 - 100
10. Mamela Mayi................................................. 101 - 107
11. Silelane Nicholas Ndedelwa................................ 108 - 120
12. Trifina Jokweni............................................... 121 - 133
CHAIRMAN: (Incomplete) ... based in this region; Mdu Dlamini, a member of the Human Rights Violations Committee in this region; Dr Mapule Ramashala, Commissioner and member of the Reparations and Rehabilitation Committee based in the Western Cape; Dr Khoza Mgojo, Commissioner, member of the Reparations and Rehabilitation Committee based in this region; Richard Lyster, Commissioner, member of the Human Rights Violations Committee, and co-ordinator of our Durban office, and obviously based here; and then Dr Alex Boraine, Deputy-Chairperson of the Commission, and a member of the Human Rights Violations Committee. Now I do hand over to him.
DR BORAINE: Thank you, Chairperson. The first witnesses in today's session are Patricia and Philip Quinn, and we invite them to come to the witness stand. I understand that they will be joined by Jane Quinn as well. I would like to extend a very warm word of welcome to the Quinn family. Are you all able to hear?
MR QUINN: Thank you, yes.
DR BORAINE: You won't really need the headphones. I was going to start in Zulu, but I'll stick to English if it's all right with you. It's always more difficult for the first witnesses of a day to come forward. It's nervous-making. I hope you will feel as relaxed as is possible under the circumstances. We are very grateful to you that you are willing to share something of your own pain and memory with the Commission, with those who have gathered here today, and of course with people throughout the country and beyond. You are going to tell us about the death of Jacqueline Quinn, your daughter and sister, in
1985 in a cross-border raid into Lesotho. In a moment you will be able to tell your own story, and so that I can get clarity I'd be very grateful if I could know who will be speaking, so that we can have the swearing-in.
MISS QUINN: We're all going to be speaking, but my father's going to ... (inaudible)
DR BORAINE: Well then, to make matters easier why don't we swear you all in one by one, and then you can decide as you go along.
MRS QUINN: I wonder if I may ask my son to come up and sit with my daughter?
DR BORAINE: Of course. Mr Quinn, would you like to join your family?
MRS QUINN: Thank you very much.
DR BORAINE: All right. I think that we, as a Commission, have found it particularly helpful when members of families, friends, come along. It's very heartening and strengthening, and thank you for doing that. So, Mrs Quinn, if you would stand then for the taking of the oath. This does not mean that you are compelled to speak later, but it means that if you do you are under oath.
PATRICIA QUINN, PHILIP QUINN AND JANE QUINN (Sworn, State)
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. Please be seated. I think by now it is fairly well known that in every instance, whilst not trying to put words into people's mouths, and allowing people to tell their own stories, we have found it helpful if a Commissioner or committee member guides the witness, asks the relevant questions,
and then it is thrown open to the entire Commission. I say this now so that all of those who will be coming forward will have some idea of how we go about it. And I am going to ask my colleague, Richard Lyster, if he will take over from me now. Thank you.
MR LYSTER: Thank you all very much for coming in today. At least six of the people who came to give evidence yesterday lost members of their family, and I think most of them in fact lost children, so we have some understanding of the tragedy and sorrow that that means for parents, so we have some way of understanding what you have been through. Could you start off, whichever one of you chooses to do so - Mr Quinn - just to give us a little background on your family and on who Jacqueline was, just to enable us to have a picture before you tell us ... (incomplete) --- Well, Jacqueline was our second daughter, born in 1955, and she'd done extremely well. She'd been head girl of her school, and thereafter went to Cape Town University, where she took a BA in languages, I think majoring in Sotho. And then she worked as a teacher up in Lesotho, and then eventually got married to Joe, who we later found out was Leon Meyer(?). We didn't know at the time she did that, I think for security reasons. I think she realised that they were under threat. Anyway, we went to go for Phoenix's first birthday.
Sorry, Phoenix was their daughter? --- Phoenix was their daughter, yes.
And they lived in Maseru, did they? --- They lived in Maseru, yes. So we left Mooi River on that morning and went to Maseru, stayed at the local hotel. What was the hotel's name? I can't remember. Whatever,
a hotel in Maseru. And Jackie wasn't there to meet us, and we waited and waited, and eventually some friend came and told us that Jackie and Joe, or Leon, had been shot the previous evening. The first thing was that - we assumed it was the neighbours. They had told us that Joe had said "It's the Boere," or something. That's all that he managed to get out of them before he passed out or died, and that was - so we naturally assumed it was a hit squad from South Africa.
And was Joe a member of the ANC in Maseru? --- Joe, as we discovered afterwards, was a member of the ANC, and I presume Jackie, sort of ipso facto, the fact that she was married to him, Joe would have - she wasn't a paid up member of the ANC though.
And that's how you came to get the information of your daughter's death? --- Yes.
You were told by somebody who came to the hotel? --- A friend of the family's came to the hotel and told me. We had been waiting for hours and wondering where she was. Nobody had told us. They must have known at the border post, and I assume at the hotel, but nobody had given us any indication at that stage.
And were you then called on to go and identify the body, or to ... (incomplete) --- Yes.
Could you tell us something about ... (intervention) --- It was locked in the mortuary. We went along to the mortuary and then - oh yes, we met Debbie there and we had to wait. I can't remember now. It's about 10 years ago -trying to remember all the details in order. But our daughter, Debbie, came and we were eventually taken to the mortuary to go and identify her. I can't remember the
sequence of events. Would you like to carry on? Perhaps my wife could carry on. I can't remember the sequence of events exactly.
Could you speak into the microphone so that the audience can hear you? --- Debbie met us at the hotel. They had heard - the children had heard before we knew, and ... (incomplete)
Please take your time, Mrs Quinn. --- It's okay. Thank you. And she had already been to see Phoenix in the hospital. The headmaster of the local school looked after us, who was wonderful. Everybody was very good to us, and found us a place to live for the next few days. And the next morning, I think, we were taken to the mortuary to identify Jackie. And the hospital had been looking after Phoenix. They were very good, because we didn't know whether she was safe or not, and eventually they could see by Phoenix's reaction to Debbie that she knew us, and they gave us Phoenix.
How old was Phoenix at that time? --- She was a year and two days.
And she was present when both her parents were killed? --- Yes, and she was found in her cot. She had a bruise, but nobody knows how. And the next-door neighbours were frightened to go in, I think, for a while, but then everybody looked after her and after us.
And was she buried in Lesotho? Do you want to tell us something about that? --- The ANC sent a delegation to say - what they told us at that time was that - they said, "Jackie's not one of ours, but she has been sympathetic and we have loved her, and we would like to bury her with Joe." And we didn't want to take her away
so we allowed that. She was - they were buried 10 days later because they wanted to make a State thing of it, so we were advised not to stay in Maseru. We went back to our farm with our family, and friends took us to Maseru for the funeral. But at the border post people were incredibly obstructive and they wouldn't allow us through.
Was that going back into South Africa? --- No, I am sorry, this was when we went back for the funeral.
Oh, when you went back for the funeral. --- Ja, the South African side. They appeared to be wilfully obstructing us. We had to wait for well over an hour before we could get through, and we got to the funeral very late. We didn't really know what was happening, we just went wherever we were told.
And have you ever had any follow up in any way from any member of the Government, the then Government, or the army, or were you ever given an explanation as to what had happened, or why it had happened? --- No. No. There was a coup in Lesotho just after that, which meant everything went into chaos, I presume. But we felt we knew who'd done it, and we never wanted to see the people themselves, so there didn't seem any point in investigating it. We wouldn't have known how.
Do you want the Commission to take this further, to investigate why this happened, why those people were killed? --- We'd certainly like to hear who the higher-ups are who gave those orders, and I think they should be exposed. I mean we can - you know, they must be exposed and find out - not the people that did it, but there must have been somebody in the Government that knew the implications of the whole thing.
Is there anything else that you'd like to say to the Commission? Your granddaughter, Phoenix, now lives with your other daughter, Deborah, is that right? --- Yes, and she's been brought up to know the whole story and to accept it. And we really would like to thank the Commission for this from - I think from all the victims. Richard, I'd quite like a chance to read the statement.
Yes. Yes, certainly. What we normally do is we ask any of the other Commissioners or committee members if they would like to ask any questions, but perhaps we should reserve that until you've read your statement. --- Okay.
And then if there are any necessary questions just to elicit information we might ask a couple more. --- All right.
Thanks. --- I'd prefer to read it, I think.
Ja, that's fine. --- I feel clearer.
"In December 1985 I was 26 years old. My older sister, Jackie Quinn, was 30 years old, married to Leon Meyer, known as Joe. She was teaching high school in Maseru and the mother of a one-year-old baby, Phoenix. Two days after Phoenix's first baby the family were at home together, obviously preparing for Christmas in a week's time, because the present Jackie was making for Phoenix was at the sewing machine. In the middle of the night, under cover of darkness, disguised, camouflaged men with silencers on their guns burst into Jackie's home and murdered her, an unarmed, defenceless woman in the supposed
"sanctuary of her home. They murdered Joe too, who survived long enough to drag himself to the neighbours and tell them what had happened. They left 12-month-old Phoenix traumatised and alone with her dead mother in their home, splattered with blood all over the place. It was disgusting, brutal, deceitful, treacherous, cold-blooded murder. Jackie was where she was at that time of her life because of who she was. At school she was head girl in her matric year and a Rotary scholar the year after. She got a BA with African languages at UCT, teaching in the mountains in Lesotho between and after her studies. At the time of her death she was already a very clear thinker, with an innate sense of right. She was also supremely happy because she had her baby daughter, Phoenix. Jackie was a person who lived according to her conscience. She fully and determinedly, in a way that added good into the world, very clearly against all that was bad and negative and prejudiced. So now I am 36, Phoenix is an 11-year-old orphan. My parents are living the rest of their lives without their bright star of a daughter, and Jackie never got past 30. But the people who decided to extinguish her vital life, and that of Joe, and the seven others in Maseru, through ordering her death, or through firing their bullets into her, are still carrying on their lives. These people
"are presumably accepted by family, friends and work associates. Their diabolical and cowardly actions even earned them silver medals for bravery at a Vlakplaas ceremony, of all the hideously ironical things, and they might even be proud of them. Just how sick is our society that we accept among us murderers, takers of other human beings' lives? We need to know who these people are, from the top of the chain of command to the people at the bottom who carried out the murderous act. They must be branded for what they are, murderers. This is difficult to say, but in my heart of hearts I'd like to see them forever in a cage, where people could spew their disgust of such creatures on them. I want our society to redevelop the moral attitude that to kill another human being is a totally and absolutely unacceptable sin. I don't care what they've been through in their lives, what they'd been taught as children to believe, etcetera. They were adults who murdered my sister. They made their own choices, and like every other human being they had a duty to be awake, conscious people, striving to be something better than bestial animals. Why else do they have life? And I want our country to be a place that never again allows people to damage the lives of others, especially not because of their colour or because of their living belief in justice
"and goodness, which is ultimately the reason why Jackie herself was killed."
Thank you very much, Jane. Are there any questions which any of the other Commissioners would like to ask?
DR RAMASHALA: Miss Quinn, we are concerned about Phoenix. How is she doing? --- Phoenix has been brought up by my sister, Deborah, and her husband, Martin. She's here in the audience now. She's always known what amazing people her parents are, the circumstances under which they died, and she is luckily a very well-adjusted child, obviously though carrying the sadness of what her history is. But she is a happy girl.
DR MGOJO: Thank you, Miss Quinn. As a member of the Reparation and Rehabilitation Committee we always want to know what we can do. For instance you have just mentioned a young girl who was left as an orphan. What do you think we can do as the Reparation Committee? Any suggestion maybe from the family? --- I would just like some sort of memorial so that their story is not forgotten. I want people to remember why they died. --- I would very much like to have the people exposed. I think that's the main thing. There's nothing we can do about it now, but it would be nice to know who perpetrated these deeds.
CHAIRMAN: Dear friends, thank you very much for coming and exposing your anguish and your pain. Yesterday we heard from another family who the end result of their
request was much the same as yours, and especially the last statement that you read, and I greeted Phoenix, and she is beautiful. Would you like to stand? Thank you very much. There isn't a great deal often that you can say that doesn't seem facile. I mean in the face of anguish and pain. It's such a deeply personal and intimate thing, and when anyone outside of that circle of pain speaks then you sound almost like a Job's comforter, it being easy on a full stomach to praise fasting. But I would hope you have a sense of people being supportive. --- Oh, we do have that, yes.
And the community, our society which has gone through hell, somehow we are being borne up by the love and the prayers of so many whom you do not know. And of course you will be aware too that very many, certainly the majority of the people of this country would look on your daughter as one of the heroines of the struggle that has helped to bring about what we now see and experience. And you say you would like a memorial so that people would remember why she died. --- I just want to say that she died for love of people.
Thank you very, very much, and God bless you. --- Thank you. May I just say something? Sorry. When the ANC was elected to power it was a sort of very mixed thing for us. We were very excited and pleased that the changes were happening in the country, but it was terrible that Jackie and Joe weren't there, that they had lost their lives for it. So in a way it's amazing that today the new Constitution is being signed, the day that we're having a chance to tell this story. Ja, it's just very fitting. It's great. Thank you very much indeed.
DR BORAINE: First let me say to you how very grateful we are to you for coming here today. You've come from a long way. it's not an easy thing. You have gone through much pain. You are going to be telling us the story of the death of someone whose name became a household word in South Africa. His name was James Moeketse Siphe, but he was known by many as Stompie, and you must be carrying within your own heart and mind a great deal of distress. I am going to ask you please if you will stand so that you can take the oath.
JOYCE MANANKI SIPHE (Sworn, States)
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. Will you please be seated. Mrs Siphe, when you tell your story Mr Lax, who is sitting ... (incomplete - end of Side A, Tape 5)
MR LAX: (Incomplete) ... about this painful event in your life. Could you please, by way of starting, just tell us a little bit about your son, about your family, about the things that he did, so we can get a picture of him and of your family. --- I am Mananki Siphe. I live in Orange Free State, Thumahole. I am Stompie Siphe's mother. Stompie was my first-born, and we lived in a very poor family. Until standard two I have been struggling to raise him. He met his fate in standard two. In 1985 the police took him. They took him to Parys Police Station. It was suspected that they robbed the bottle store. Until in 1986 I saw the police coming to him in large numbers. On entering they said, "Where is stompie?" I said to them, "He is not here." They said, "Take him out. He is here. We don't know is he a child or is he a person. Why do you let him go into politics?"
On the 9th of July in 1986 it was very early in the morning. Stompie was from the shop to buy bread. They met him. It was the Special Branch Police. They said to me Stompie must get warm clothing, and they left with him. Stompie was detained in many prisons. He had been to Sasol, to Leeuhof, Heilbron, he went to Koppies, and he was in Potchefstroom. On the 26th of May in 1987 Stompie came back from Potchefstroom. In 1987 on the 25th of June that was the first time I see Stompie. He left Thumahole. He was being chased by the police and he decided to run away. He went to Johannesburg because he was running away from the police. He was in Johannesburg and he came back. There was a Comrade, Master Nakede who passed away. Stompie had to come for his funeral. And in 1988 he was arrested and he was sent to Koppies. When he went back to Koppies - he went back to Johannesburg. In 1988 on the 1st of December Stompie appeared in court in connection with the burning of municipal cars. We used to call them the green beans at that time. Stompie went to Johannesburg. I was searching for him. I wanted to see him on the 1st of December. I was asking his friends, "Have you seen Stompie?" I was so afraid to go to the police because he didn't like the police at all. On the 12th of January 1989 there was supposed to be the next hearing for Stompie, but he never pitched up. There was another lawyer at Parys who asked me am I Stompie's mother. I said yes, I am. While listening to him the lawyer told me that Stompie was dead. I was puzzled. Contrary to that Stompie's friends did not tell me that he was dead, they said he is alive. As time went on I met people and they said to me, "Are you freely moving here?
Don't you know your son is dead?" I wasn't sure whether Stompie was dead or not. I was a woman fighting for the human rights. I couldn't feel anything that Stompie might be dead. One woman told me that I should go to one of Stompie's friends and ask him where is Stompie. I went to see him and I only got his father. His father said to me, "They are all lying. Stompie is still alive." Stompie used to ride a BMX bicycle. He said to me, "He only has a small bruise on his leg." I stayed in 1989, expecting something to happen. Sometimes I would go to town, and that is where I received the news that Stompie is dead. I fell into the water, and that gave me an indication that he is dead. But nobody from the organisation who came to tell me the truth. In 1989 on the 30th of January two ministers from Johannesburg Methodist Church arrived. It was Bishop Peter Storey with Paul Verin. They told me that they are seeing me in connection with Stompie. They said it was on the 29th of December in 1988 when Stompie was taken from the Methodist Church together with his friends. They were taken to Mrs Winnie Mandela's house. They said to me they don't know, they are still searching for Stompie, they don't know whether is he alive or is he dead. And they told me that his friends told them that his brain was leaking. I stayed at home, expecting something to happen, but they said to me, "If the police arrive and they want to give you help about Stompie, you have to agree with them, because they are the only people who can help you." On the 13th of February the police came to me. On their arrival they asked me - they said,"Is he Moeketse?" I said, "No, he is Moeketse." They said to me, "We will come tomorrow and fetch you so
"that we can go to Johannesburg." On the 13th of February 1989 they took me and we went to Brixton. We went to Diepkloof Mortuary. That's where I identified Stompie. His body was decomposed, but your son is your son. I was fighting for my rights. There were signs that really indicated to me that it was Stompie. After having been killed he was thrown into the river between New Canada and Soweto. You couldn't even identify him. I looked at Stompie because I am his mother. I had a deep look at him. I saw the first sign. I said, "I know my son. He doesn't have hair at the back." His eyes were gouged, and I said, "This is Stompie." The time Gotso(?) House was bombed Stompie was involved during those times. He had a scar on his eye. I looked at him at the nose, and he had a birth mark. I looked at his chest and I could see a scar, because he fought with another boy in Thumahole. And I looked at his left hand. It was identical to mine. I looked at his thighs. Stompie was very fit, just like his mother. I looked at his private parts, and my sister just winked her eye. His left leg is similar to mine. Underneath the left leg there was a birth mark as well. And they asked me, "How much does Stompie weigh?" I said, "No, the police would know that." They asked me, "Was he short or was he tall?" I said, "He was very short." But because he had been thrown into the water like a dog that's why he's stretched. They brought his clothes. I said, "I can see these clothes." There are two things that I realised as well that indicated to me that proved to me that it was Stompie. His white hat was there. I looked at his shoes, a new pair of running shoes. I said, "Yes, they are Stompie's." I said, "He used to wear size
"four." We went back to Parys together with SB van der Merwe with Richard Malambo. We went back to Thumahole. On their way they were telling me that they don't believe it is Stompie. The next day they fetched me, they said Dr Koornhof and Joubert indicated that it is not Stompie. I had to go back to Johannesburg. I was supposed to fight for the rights of my son. I went back to Johannesburg. They asked me many questions. "Was Stompie suffering from anything?" I said, "Yes, he had tonsils. He had epilepsy, but when he was five years he was healed." They said, "Did he have any problem with his eyes?" I said, "No, when he was released from Koppies Prison he already had this problem with his eyes. He had the eye problem because he got it from the prison in Koppies." They said to me, "We don't believe it is Stompie." He was very young, he didn't have an identity document. He was 14 years. They said to me, "Do you think we should believe you that it is Stompie?" I said to them, "Yes, you have to." They came back and they gave me hands. They said, "He is your son. We could identify him through his fingerprints." They said they will help me to bury Stompie. I said to them, "No, I will first speak to my family. I won't take law into my hands," because Stompie was falling under a certain organisation. We went to Parys. I told them that my family doesn't agree with their help, because you wouldn't say anything in those days because of apartheid. Even the mother of the child you wouldn't speak anything in front of the police because you'd think that they would harass you. There was a mortuary called Bosman Mortuary. I went to that mortuary together with Sergeant Nel. I told the owner, Mr Msipidi,
that they should go and fetch Stompie from Johannesburg. They said no, they can't help me in any way because my family will help me. On the last day, it was a Friday, the reporters came to me. They said to me, "Stompie is alive. He is in Botswana." They said Mrs Mandela told them that Stompie is alive, he is in Botswana. I said to them, "I am not bearing a zombie, I am bearing my son. I know his birth marks. I raised him from childhood. Nobody will ever tell me anything about my child. We went to the mortuary to see him for the last time. He was decomposed, he had a bad smell. We couldn't bring him to the house. Together with my family and my father we went to see him and he was the real Stompie. But Mr Msipidi said to us, "This is not Stompie." He said he appointed one member of his staff to take a very good look at Stompie, and he said that day there were many people from Stompie's organisation. They were spreading the rumour that Stompie was an informer. I spent so many years raising Stompie. I have spent so many time talking to Stompie, and after that I was told that he was an informer. On Saturday - the very same night people from overseas came. They asked me, "Do you remember in 1987 when Stompie was released from prison we came to see you at 241?" I said to them, "Yes, I remember." They said, "Remember the police were just after us. They didn't want us to speak to Stompie?" I said, "Yes." They showed me a picture, a photo of Stompie, together with his friend Gili Nyatela, and they said to me, "The owner of the mortuary says the person who died is not Stompie." I said, "Those are news to me. The person that I am going to bury tomorrow is my son." We went to the church.
Something happened that really hurt me. The same person, the owner of the mortuary, said, "I took a look at this child and I discovered it was not Stompie. I called a member of my staff and he also said it is not Stompie." Reverend Mabuza stood up and he said, "I am here to bury Stompie Siphe. I don't care whether is he Stompie or not, but I am here to bury a 14-year-old child, Stompie." One reverend stood up and he said, "I don't know Stompie as much as he had been portrayed here. I know him. He was a very friendly person." Reverend Pulverain(?) said, "I lost a very deep friend. I lost a real friend." Saturday night I never slept. The same organisation - we know that Jesus Christ had been betrayed by one of his disciples There was a rumour Saturday night that I should be happy that Stompie is alive. They toyi-toyied outside my house. Isabella Siphe stopped me from going out. Sunday morning they arrived again. They were crying. They said, "Mrs Siphe, that is not Stompie. We were told that that person didn't have teeth." I just kept quiet. My grandmother tried to chase them, because she said to them, "Listen, if you keep on insisting that the person we buried is not Stompie we will call the police," and they kept quiet. Monday morning another woman came and she said to me, "You buried a very wrong person." And she said, "You will receive a call on Tuesday from Botswana. Stompie will tell you that he is going to send you money." I was so desperate, and I left the woman, I went home.
Mrs Siphe, this story is very painful for you, and we understand that. I need to ask you some questions just to clarify some aspects. Did you receive a death certificate of any kind for Stompie? --- Yes, I
received a death certificate.
Are you satisfied that you buried your own son? --- I am satisfied. I buried Stompie. I buried no one but Stompie.
Now this lawyer, Mr du Toit, was he from Parys? --- Yes, he was at Parys.
Did he tell you how he came to know that your son had died? --- He didn't say anything. He just said - he said Stompie was ill for a short time and he died.
You've also told us that some boys insisted that Stompie wasn't dead. Did you ever speak to them and find out why they thought that he wasn't dead, what basis they were making this observation on? --- They said they heard from the news, and Mrs Mandela also kept on saying, "Stompie is alive, Stompie is alive." That gave them strength.
Okay. So they were just hearing this from other people, they didn't have any personal knowledge of the thing? They didn't have any personal knowledge of this information, they just heard it on the news and so on. --- Yes.
You said that Stompie was a member of an organisation. What organisation was that? --- They had an organisation - during that time it was - they had a Khozas organisation. He was a leader of the so-called 14s, the young ones.
Was that organisation connected to any other organisations? --- During that time we used to call that organisation UDF, but they were connected.
Thank you. Since that time it would appear there was quite a lot of feeling against you and your family for
burying Stompie when people wanted to believe that he wasn't dead. Have those feelings in the community gone away, or have you still experienced any further problems? --- People still refuse. They say Stompie is in Botswana. They say I buried a wrong person.
You told us a little bit about Stompie being in prison, going to Leeuhof, Sasolburg, Heilbron, Koppies, Potchefstroom and so on, and in your statement you told us that he was inside for approximately 11 months. Did he ever speak about that time? Did he tell you what happened to him when he was inside? --- Yes, he told me. The first time I saw him at Potchefstroom he told me that they assaulted him, because his eyes were swollen. I asked him, "Stompie, what happened?" He said, "The SB fetched me from here and they shocked me on my private parts."
I want to just get a bit of a clearer picture about your family. How many children have you had, or do you have? --- I have two children now. It's Matabelo. She is doing standard three. I gave birth to this child during the state of emergency. The other one is Matsidiso. She is two years old.
How does Stompie's father feel about what has happened to him? It's all right, it's working. We can hear you. --- Stompie's father died in 1979. He died in Johannesburg. He didn't marry me. The one that I am living with now is the father of my two children. Stompie's father passed away while Stompie was five years old.
Thank you, Chairperson, I have no further questions.
DR MAGWAZA: Mrs Siphe, what you have told us is a very
heart-rending story. I would like to hear from you, after all this suffering and pain how would you like the Commission to help you? --- I would like the Commission to help me a lot. There is something that's really hurting me. I don't get deep information about Stompie. There are people whom I know, there are people whom I do not know. Stompie was very young. He would be working for me now. I wouldn't be suffering. Can the Commission do something to help me?
Ja, I understand that you want the Commission to help you financially. Is that what you are saying? --- Even if it doesn't help me financially, but something has to be done. I am staying in a shack, I am a very poor woman.
Thank you very much, Mrs Siphe. The Commission understands your situation and they'll help where they can. Thanks.
CHAIRMAN: Just to point out she was saying that she wants to get to the bottom of this whole story, to know the truth. That was her main concern. We've seen this story in the newspaper, and it's been on the media for quite a long time. Many people know about your son. Mr Boraine has already said we are together with you in this big problem, especially when others still say you are lying, you buried a wrong person. It seems as if these people are still opening up the wounds and pouring some salt. Now, as the Commission we bring our condolences, we say may God be with you. Let Him wipe away your tears. We thank you for your presence here. We thank you very much. --- Thank you very much, Sir. I want to thank the Commission because I could come and bravely open my chest to tell you the story.
DR BORAINE: Chairperson, before I call the next witness I want to say how delighted the Commission is to see some schoolboys and girls and their teachers in the audience. Part of the mandate of the Commission is to try and uncover the history and the truth of the last 30 years from whatever side it may come, and it is particularly important that young people know where they are coming from in order to build a new future, to make what has happened so often impossible to happen again. We are delighted that you are here.
Secondly, Chairperson, we have received a number of messages, many of them verbal and telephoned, of good wishes to the Commission since we've arrived in Durban. This morning we received one such message from the Manning Road Methodist Church, and inter alia they say, "May the Truth Commission be God's instrument of healing in our country." It is of tremendous support to the Commission to know that they are being borne up in this way.
Now, we're changing the programme slightly to accommodate someone who has to leave, and we are inviting Mrs Kerney to come to the witness stand please. Ms Kerney, may I welcome you on behalf of the Commission. We are very glad that you are here. We understand that you were going to be here yesterday, but were prevented from coming from other responsibilities, so we're particularly glad that you could find time to be with us today. You will know that two sisters of Marcel Gerrard, who died in the bomb blast at Magoo's bar, were here yesterday, and we heard about their own grief and pain. You were actually there. They weren't, so it's very important for us to have you as an eye witness, and I want
to welcome you very warmly, and thank you for taking the time. As is our custom we ask a member of our Commission to lead witnesses as they tell their story, and in a moment I am going to hand you over to my colleague, Mr Ntsebeza. But before I do that could I ask you to please stand to take the oath.
HELEN KERNEY (Sworn, States)
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. You are now under oath. Thank you very much for coming, and I hand you over to my colleague, Mr Ntsebeza.
MR NTSEBEZA: Thank you, Dr Boraine. Helen, I will add nothing to what Dr Boraine has said by way of introduction ... (inaudible - end of Side B, Tape 6) ... before we go into the events of the 14th of June 1985 I would like you to tell us about yourself shortly, very briefly. --- Well, I was born in Durban. I went to St Joseph's School up to standard five, and I had a very good friend who left and went to the Transkei, and went to the Holy Cross Convent in the Transkei. So I asked the family if I could go to school in the Transkei, and I grew up in the Transkei. I finished matric. I qualified as a qualified florist, but I joined a circus. I've always been a people's person, and I joined a circus, and I was the first South African trapeze artist ever, 35 years ago, and we travelled the country. And I love people, and when I got married I joined an ice-skating school in Johannesburg and I skated for seven years. I had three lovely children, which I have. Unfortunately 18 years ago I got divorced - and worked in hotels. I have been in hotels for 22 years, working with people, and that is basically
Thank you. Now, I would like you to throw your mind back to that fateful day, the 14th of June 1985. What time was it that you had begun to work on that day? --- Well, I was night shift, so the night shift starts at six.
I see. --- Six in the evening, until midnight - 1 o'clock if we were busy, whenever. But what I'd like to say first is the overall picture. I worked at Magoo's, Parade Hotel, for nine years. In the first five years, which led to that point of June - you've got to know when you work, even if it's in a pub, you get to know your clients. They become - it becomes like a second family. They come to drink there, and to relax. You're their psychologist, psychiatrist, you're their moneylender. They have tabs and they pay you at the end of the month, and tip you terrifically. But you get to know them each and every one. And with me being there five years I knew all these people in Magoo's and the Why Not Bar. It's a regular bar, and they went there to relax and enjoy themselves. This is the point that we're trying to make, and this is the reason why I am here. I knew each and every one of them intimately, with their problems, their personal problems.
Yesterday we were told that one of the persons who died was in fact going there to celebrate an occasion. --- That's correct.
She was meeting some of her friends, and I am sure you must have known that. --- That is correct.
Yes. --- We also had another table of 19-year-old schoolgirls who were celebrating one of the friend's 21st birthdays, and that they'd passed most of their
examinations. We had the usual Saturday night crowd, the usual crew in on Saturday, and we were quite busy actually. And at about 10 past 10, as my mind goes back, everybody - it was very full and very busy, and what I had to do was run from Magoo's, to the Why Not, to Garfunkels. There were three bars that I was in charge of, and if they needed help in any one of the bars I would be there. I was the go-between. And fortunately for me in the Why Not Bar we have two structures that are concrete, but they're panelled into wooden beams, and it looks like wooden beams. No one knew that these underneath were concrete, and as I passed one of the concrete beams this is when all hell let loose, and that was about quarter past 10 on Saturday night.
Now, it might be painful to do so, but are you able to ... (intervention) --- Yes, I am. It's still very painful even after 10 years, although I was there. I was injured slightly. My ears are not too good today, but I get by - and my legs, but I was one of the fortunate ones, I must admit, and the concrete pillar saved me. There was this enormous explosion. What I remember is seeing flashing lights of all colours - red, blue, green, and a horrendous noise that actually went right down into your body. But there was like a vacuum after that. There was silence, and then all of a sudden there was this swooshing sound and everything just went berserk. I don't know - when I spoke to the Bomb Squad afterwards they told me it's an impact. There's a fraction of a second, or two seconds, before it actually takes everything away in its stride. It happened so fast, and you actually - we didn't know what had happened. It was so tremendous that for the
moment you don't know what - what had happened. Then we saw it in its full colours. It was a massive blood bath, with flesh and blood dripping from the walls. I remember seeing half a head on an optic. I remember smelling burning flesh, and dragging people out. There were people walking round in circles. They had splinters of glass, enormous, through their heads, through their backs. They didn't know what had happened. One minute they were enjoying a beer and laughing to the music, and the next minute there was this chaos. We had no idea. Even I never knew it was a bomb. We had no idea what it was. But then Mr Davidson, who was the owner of the hotel, told everybody to please leave as fast as possible, and get the victims out in case there was another explosion. He was scared there was going to be a second one. We had help from the Holiday Inn, the next hotel. The police were there very soon. The ambulances came very soon. It was two minutes and they were there. It was incredible. But it was getting the injured out fast and quick before we thought there would be another explosion. And it was coming back inside, being hurt myself, but not badly, and looking at this devastation. I've seen movies, horror movies. I've experienced horrific things in Rhodesia. I have never seen this in my life. The inside of the Why Not Bar is - I cannot explain it to you. It has lived with me for about 10 years now. I still have nightmares, because you wake up and you see this in front of you again. I know how the victims must feel. I feel for them. And this all came together, I must admit - we'd forgotten about it, I must admit, and everybody went their own way, until the victims, well, some of them, opened a
newspaper reading and they phoned me. They tried to contact me, and then eventually they got to know where I was, and they said to me, "Helen, how can we allow this? Read such and such a paper and have a look inside it, please. We're not going to stand for this." I must have had 30 phone calls in one day. And I had gone to the newspaper and opened it, and I understand their feelings.
What was the news? --- The heading was, "McBride Chosen as Ambassador for South Africa." I understand their hurt and their feelings and how they felt, and I suppose because I worked there and I was part of this, I tried to help everybody. They said to me, "Please, we cannot accept this. Something has to be done. We will not accept him in this post." If we've listened to the Quinn family, as we did today, there is a woman who is actually a heroine. She was killed for the cause of peace and justice, and a man who is a murderer and a coward is nominated to represent South Africa. Very two different stories here. I cannot put them together.
Do you still have any links with the Magoo's Bar? Have you been able to go back there to work there, or ... (intervention) --- No, we went back once before, but I can't bring myself to go in there. It is horrific.
Yes. --- Even with the changes. It's not a place where we had good memories, you know. It used to be. It was the most incredible bar in Durban. It had a fabulous vibe. The people were happy. They used to come there to let their problems - to shy away from their problems. But every time I pass, even whether it be in a motor car or walk past, I can't bring myself to go back in. It's too horrific.
Now, lastly, in your statement, and in our interviews, you have felt that the least that should happen is for McBride to be withdrawn from the post that he holds. --- Oh, that is the foremost on the top of the list. This is for the 26 victims. May this be their victory for the 10 years that they still suffered, and are suffering for the rest of their lives.
Now, in your statement also you said, "We have tried approaching Robert McBride to no avail." Could you expand on that please? --- Well, I had a visit from the BBC, and he apparently did an interview and he said he contacted McBride. One of the victims contacted McBride as well. And he - there was no comment. He promised somebody that he would see them and talk to them, and we waited for this, but nothing has come of it. I don't think he's ever contacted one of them. And I feel - we don't wish him any harm - I've always said this, because it's not in our values - but we just feel that his post is wrong, and that he feels no remorse. He has no conscience about these people. Has he ever seen any of them, what he did to them? I don't think he's ever seen or spoken to one of them. And this is what the problem is. How can a man like this become who he says he is? You've got to have some Godliness somewhere.
You also stated that you would wish that he should apologise. --- I think that would be a very good thing, but I think the first thing is for him to step down. This post is not for him. It's for a man of standing, a man that stands for something in South Africa, and it's not a very good light for us to take and look upon if this is the kind of man in the position he's going /to be
to be in. I think he needs to apologise to a couple of the bomb victims, or an open apology, if he can bring himself to do so. And I feel that there are so many victims that are still badly off. They need some kind of help. They definitely need some kind of help. We have Rashid, the little Indian flower seller. I think he was 14 at the time. He's now 26 or 27. He can't get around. He was blown away from the stomach down. He has no compensation. He has no life and he has no future. What are they going to do for him? There are many like him that need support, whether it be medical support, financial support, or even counselling, just to get this away from them. They need it. And I think if McBride turned himself into a helper we might feel differently towards these people. We might just feel differently.
Is there anything else that you would like to ask the Commission to do were it in their power to do so? --- All I am concerned about are the victims that are left with suffering. They have suffered the last 10 years, and all I want them to do is perhaps, if they need medical assistance - I know Rashid needs transport, a form of a wheelchair that he can get around and have a bit of a life. There's a lot of the ladies who have enormous injuries. They need medical help. There's one Pretoria girl I know. Her breast and her arm was blown away. She was 19 at the time. She's gone into recluse. She is hiding. What kind of a life has she got ahead of her? Her parents cannot afford to put this correct. They don't have the facilities in South Africa, or don't have the money. So I think these victims need to be traced, sought after, and looked after - somewhere, somehow.
I notice that you don't say anything about yourself. Your concern seems to be about the others. --- No, that's correct. I'm old now. I've had my good times in my life. I'm fine. I just want to see - the deafness, well, I am going to be more deaf in 10 years time, but who cares? It doesn't really matter. And the legs don't matter any more. I don't wear bikinis and that sort of thing, so it's okay. I would like to see something done for these people. I have started a fund. I am going to do my own collection. We are going to do it through some bank, nominate who's ever got the highest bid to start, whatever bank it is, and I am going to do a fund-raising campaign. And that is it.
Well, Helen, you are a remarkable woman. But if you were Tina Turner I'm sure you would worry about those legs. --- Oh, I wouldn't worry. I would be able to give the first million.
Thank you, Mr Chairman.
DR MAGWAZA: I am raising my hand now because I want to follow up on what Mr Ntsebeza has just said, that when people are exposed to the type of trauma to which you were it's not only physical injuries that matter. There is a lot of mental suffering, mental pain and trauma as well. I've heard you talking about nightmares. I've heard you saying that you can't even get yourself to go back to the Magoo. I've seen you - I've seen the pain. I'm almost in touch with it. I've seen you cry. I am just wondering if you could just reflect a little bit in terms of how this thing has - how has it affected you mentally? --- Well, I'll tell you a little story. I'll tell you a quick
one. I know you've got a long day. The worst side of this for me was I have - at the time I have a daughter and two sons, and my daughter used to go across the road to Panda Inn, just across the road from the Parade Hotel, because Mommy was working 24 hours a day. And they used to have their little sessions across the road, 14, 15, 16 years old at Panda Inn. And I told them 10 o'clock on Saturdays was their night out. 10 o'clock to come across to the hotel, show their faces through the door, and I knew they were safe, put them in a taxi and send them home. Every Saturday was their night out. And this is the most horrific thing. They were late that Saturday night, thank God, because my daughter and six other girls whose mother's worked there would have walked through the door at 10 o'clock in the evening. So I might have lost her, plus the girlfriends. And, you know, although it didn't happen, when you close your eyes and you visualise this whole bomb effect, I visualise my child walking through the front door, and that scares me more. It's just a memory, but I can't lose it because it was so horrific. If they weren't held back for some reason I think we would have lost six teenage girls coming through the front door, and this to me is horrific. I used to sit up screaming at 3 o'clock in the morning, and my mother running through, bless her heart at 84 years old, and say, "I can't go on like this much longer. You're going to give me a heart attack. I can't keep running through and helping you. I can't." And this happened for months. I still close my eyes and I hear it and see it. And that's me. What about the other people? They're the ones who sustained all the injuries, so they have to live with
those. How do they do it? How do these people survive with the injuries and the mental - and mental sometimes is worse than physical, and they've got both. And this is the question I ask.
Thank you very much. What I would like to say is that I would like to see you take care of yourself. Thank you. --- I'm fine. Thank you.
DR MGOJO: Your story is very painful and touching, and now I am very much concerned about your children - even more than you. --- My children are big enough now.
Because as you are telling it it just frightens me. Has not it affected your children? --- It did affect the three children horrifically for about a year. They asked me to leave the job, but unfortunately being a single parent you can't just try and leave a job that you're so together with. And they hated every moment of me going back to the Parade Hotel. They were terrified. But they're good children, I brought them up the right way, and they understood.
DR RAMASHALA: Mrs Kerney, you have identified a list of people who were injured during that bomb blast. --- Yes.
Which suggests to me that you are in touch with them. --- Yes.
On an ongoing basis. --- yes.
Would it be possible for you to provide us with a list of all of them? --- No problem.
In case they don't come before the Commission. --- Yes.
And we might want to follow up. --- Yes, certainly.
Find out how they are doing. --- Certainly.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. We are enormously grateful to you, and, as my colleague Advocate Ntsebeza has said, you are remarkable. We have been meeting remarkable people. One of the privileges of sitting here, and you are one of those, and we are enormously grateful for the suggestions that you have put forward, and we hope you don't give your mother a heart attack. --- We hope not. Thank you.
DR BORAINE: Chairperson, the next witness is Ms Martha Raseko. (Pause) Mr Raseko, I understand that you are representing your mother. Your name is Johannes. You are very, very welcome, and I apologise for the mistake, which I must tell you was not of my doing. You're going to give your evidence in what language?
MR RASEKO: Okay, I prefer to speak Zulu.
DR BORAINE: Fine. Thank you very much. So if you would make sure that the headphones are working before we start. Can you hear me all right?
MR RASEKO: Yes.
DR BORAINE: And the translation?
MR RASEKO: Yes.
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. Then let me say again a very warm word of welcome to you. First of all tell us, your mother was unable to come, or she felt that you would be able to represent her?
MR RASEKO: On Friday when she came back from work she felt sick and she went to the doctor, and she decided that I should become because she wouldn't be able to come.
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. Would you please take the love and good wishes of the Commission to your mother, and hope that she will be feeling better soon. You're going to tell us about your brother then, Lefu. Is that right?
MR RASEKO: Yes, that's right.
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. This was a brother who was brutally murdered in terms of your statement, but before you tell that story I would like you to stand to take the oath please.
JOHANNES RASEKO (Sworn, States)
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. Please be seated. Mr Raseko, Dr Ramashala, a fellow Commissioner, is going to lead you as you give evidence about the murder of your brother, Lefu. Thank you.
DR RAMASHALA: Thank you, Mr Chairperson. Good morning, Sir. I am not saying sir because you are old, it's just a sign of respect. --- Yes, I agree with you. In Sotho I am "nthathe"(?).
We are just sorry that your mum couldn't come before the Commission to speak to us. Please tell her that we are together with her. I am going to mix languages, English and Sesotho. I hope we will understand each other. Can we go back and tell us a little bit about Lefu. How was he? What kind of a person was he? How old was he? Which organisation was he in? Just give us a picture so that we can understand until he was killed by the A Team. --- He was 21 at that time. He was still a student. He was a member of UDF in Parys. This was an organisation fighting against the police and the other organisation formed by the police called the A Team.
What kind of a person was he? --- He was very quiet. He wasn't an outspoken person.
What we want to know is what was the story in Parys during that time? --- One house belonging to one of the A Team members was burnt, but during that time Lefu was not present. He was in prison together with Lefu Nagedi. They were in prison called Kwaarboom. Now, when the house was burnt they were not present. Two days after that they were released and they came back to Parys. If I remember well it was a Friday, and he was supposed to
move to Welkom on that same day because the family decided that he should go and rest. He used to have nightmares because of the experience in the prison, and as family they said no, he should go to Welkom so that he can relax. It was a Friday. He was together with his friend, Lefu Nagedi, who has already passed away, and the other friend was Sizwe Mbalo ... (inaudible - end of Side A, Tape 6) Were there witnesses when the house was burnt, or even when he was killed? --- Yes, the close witness was Nagedi, who passed away. The other one was Sizwe Mbalo.
(Inaudible) --- Yes, Sizwe Mbalo is still in Parys.
If we want to speak to him can we get hold of him? --- Yes.
How old was Lefu when he was killed? --- If I remember well he was 21 years old.
Do you know the people who killed him? --- As I have already mentioned it was a group of the A Team. They were in large numbers. But when they were supposed to appear in court they were only four. They were four, and they were relatives.
Do you know their names? --- Yes, we know their names.
In the statement you refer to Mr Mbali who was an investigating officer for the SAP. Where is he? --- He is still available. He is in Parys, but he is not working because of unfitness.
If we want to speak to him can we get hold of him? --- Yes, you can.
Was there any inquest held with regard to Lefu's
death? --- The case went to court two times, and my family would attend, and it was postponed. But it was remanded the third time and we saw these people freely walking the streets. They never even went to prison.
Did you get a death certificate? --- I think yes, but I don't know what the contents of that death certificate were.
Before I give other Commissioners the chance to ask questions, how - I heard you saying your mum is not feeling well. Was she affected? --- Yes, she was very much affected. One thing that I can tell you, how I heard about Lefu's death and how I feel now. Two of the people who killed him joined the police force. I also derived some means to join the police, and I joined with an aim of killing them. But most unfortunately I never succeeded to join the police force. I had an aim, I wanted to revenge.
Your aim before was to revenge, but how do you feel now? --- Seeing that the Truth Commission is here I want the case to be re-opened. Justice has to be done. That's what we want. One other thing. As we are speaking the Commission and the Government say they are healing the nation, but something puzzles me. There were people in those days who were arrested just for selling liquor. A person would be arrested and would be sent to gaol. But something surprising, a person killing another person would be just left free. To make it a point that such things do not happen again those people have to be punished. One thing that I am requesting from the Commission when investigating, the Judge or the Magistrate who was in charge of the case, I don't know was he mad or was he drunk, because he couldn't find anybody to be
blamed. I think he was inefficient. If he is still working at present he has to come before the Commission, and he should be asked does he know the difference between a good and a bad thing.
The last question. We have heard that many times when people had been killed by the police while busy preparing for the funeral there would be harassment from the police. Did you get anything? --- No, I don't want to lie. The police never came to our house, but there was a little - one of the A Team wanted to pass by the house and the Comrades attacked him. He ran away. The police came, but they never did anything wrong, no harassment of any sort.
We understand that you want the case to be re-opened. I am now asking this. Is there anything that you would like the Commission to assist you with? --- No, I don't want - I don't choose anything, but it will depend on the Commission how to help my family. But what I want to happen is the Commission should help us to re-open the case, and if those people are found guilty they should be charged and sentenced. And that will give us an indication - or it will lead us to reconciling.
Was Lefu your brother or was he just younger than you? --- He was my brother.
We thank you very much. We would see if there are any Commissioners who have questions.
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much for your very clear description of what was very tragic. You must have been very young when your brother was killed. Can you tell us how old you were? --- Okay, I am 28 years old now, so
you can just take the ... (incomplete)
Ja, we will get a computer and work it out. I want you to tell me just a little bit more. Parys in the 1980s was, like many other parts of the country, very, very stormy, but you and others who have appeared before us, and who will appear before us later today, talk a great deal about the A Team. Please tell us was this a branch of the police, was it people outside of the police, was it a combination? Who was the A Team? --- Okay.
I am sorry, do you want me to repeat the question? --- No, I have hear the question. I will now speak in Sotho. This was an organisation supported by the police. Why am I saying this? It's because everything that they reported to the police would be taken into consideration. If they were attacked at their houses the police would go and protect them. This means they were part of the police. It was a gang supported by the police, because some of them are now policemen.
(Inaudible) ... just to help us get the fullest information so that we can try and help you. You say that when "they" were attacked, or "they" needed help, they would go to the police and the police would - now, who's "they"? I mean is it another organisation? Is it a group of young people? Who are these people who combined with the police? --- Most of them were elderly people. Even if there were youths, but it was mainly elderly people. The one who chopped my brother's neck was a very, very elderly person.
Thank you very much.
Thanks, Chairman. My question in fact related more
exactly to the question of the composition of the A Team. From what I hear you say you're saying they weren't police. Do you think - I mean were they quite specifically set up as a force for political ends? --- Yes, it was a group supported by the police, and it was a group formed by the police.
CHAIRMAN: We thank you very much and we understand your request. We are not saying we will do as you have requested, but we will try, because we have to do something about the stories that we hear from the witnesses here. Thank you very much. Pass our regards to your mother. We wish her good luck and we wish her well. Thank you very much.
CHAIRMAN: (Incomplete) ... and I'll ask him please to come to the witness stand. (Pause) Could I ask the witness please to put on the earphones so we can check and make sure that he can hear? Can I check that now? Can you hear my voice and the translation? Okay, well then you can relax. That's better. You're very welcome. Thank you very much for coming. You have been listening, so you know how we operate and how we do things. Your story is about yourself, but it's also about assault and murder committed, and we have just listened to the story of Lefu Raseko, and you knew him, or you knew of him. You knew about the A Team, you're from Parys. You have a grim story to tell. Before you do that would you please stand to take the oath?
DAVID MHLAPO (Sworn, States)
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. Please be seated. David, Mrs Gcabashe is going to lead you as you tell your story, so I am going to hand over to her now. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN: Can I just announce that I gather there's a technical problem. There is not going to be a Zulu translation until after Mr Mhlapo. So don't break the machines there because they don't produce Zulu, and you think - they can't produce the Zulu yet, but after Mr Mhlapo, who is going to be speaking in Sesotho - I am sorry about that. I do apologise.
MRS GCABASHE: Good day, Mr David. I know even if you are Mhlapo you are a Free Stater, you speak Sesotho. Now, we will communicate in Sesotho. We have already heard that you are representing yourself, and the Vice-Chairman has already indicated that your case is similar to the one who
have just give evidence. But before telling us your story just tell us about your family and about yourself, who you are and how are you? --- I am Selelo Mhlapo. My father is from the Mathuli family. He is Mathuli, but I was born in the Mhlapo family. I grew up in this Mhlapo family. Until I joined the UDF organisation I was in schooling in Mmabatho. That was from 1984. While in the UDF my other sister was in love with one of the attackers, one member from the A Team. I didn't want to join this organisation. We came from different families, but she was my sister.
You said you were schooling. When did you leave schooling and how old were you? --- You mean when I left school? I left school while I was 16 years. I was arrested under the state of emergency.
Okay, you can carry on. --- After being released I left schooling because of the positions that I held at school. I met Lefu Raseko.
In your statement you said the A Team tortured you. --- Yes, I am coming to the A Team issue. I met Lefu, and they were driving their Chevrolet car. I can't remember the registration. There was a street next to ours, Muthibedi Street, and I ran towards Ace Mahahle's area, and I got into his house. These boys were coming with different cars, Stanzas. They grabbed me, but I hid under the bed. I have to say the granny in that house couldn't see clearly. I didn't want to let loose to where I was handling under the bed. They assaulted me with spears and hammers. I escaped through the window. I was dizzy, but I kept on running. I was dizzy because of the beatings I got. I wasn't aware that I was running towards
their direction. I met a woman as old as this one, and she took a jungle and the stabbed me.
Who stabbed you? --- Yes, it's that woman. She was belonging to this A Team group. I could walk a distance from here to the candle, and I was now powerless. I was bleeding when I fell down. This knife was still in my body, and when I fell it went deeper. I don't know who rescued me, but when I woke up I saw pipes. While I was breathing the blood would come out of my body into a bottle. After two days I was taken out because I was in hiding. I never went to the hospital. The doctor who operated me, I don't know what place was that, but he operated on me. That was very close to Ace Mehahle's area. Because I didn't want to go home because I knew they would kill me, because they thought I was dead. My parents at that time only had an information that I am dead. I don't know who told the police where I was hiding, but they took me and they said I am a springbok. There were no doors in that place where they took me. They said I was getting married. I couldn't even walk, they made me crawl. The bottle was now out of my body. While breathing one could feel that I was breathing heavily. They took me to Parys Police Station. They removed me from the police station, they took me to Vredefort. In Vredefort while I was in detention I couldn't see anything. I was alone in a cell.
When they took you to Vredefort were you healed? --- No, I was not yet healed. I was still in that condition. After four days they released me. It was going to be Starfish' night vigil. I could see, but just a little. I am referring to Lefu Raseko. I didn't have
any information that Lefu was dead. I only ended with him
while they were chasing us. I am still bleeding at that time, but I could manage to go to the night vigil. I was full of stitches on my face. After two months the same group came back. They were now attacking me. I don't have to go into my house. If I want food I have to hide myself next door and start shouting, because they were threatening my parents, saying, "If you don't bring him to the police station we are going to kill him." They arrested me under the state of emergency again. I met Mr Mothaung. They took me from Parys to Sasolberg. That's where they put a tyre on me, poured with petrol, and they said I should be naked. I undressed myself and they said, "You are now going to feel the pain that the other policemen felt." There was a very small tape recorder on the table with a very small cassette. As I was talking it was taping. I was being assaulted for many things. The first one they were asking me, "Where is Ace Magashule, where is Tait Magoyi? When did they skip the country?" Because even if I told them everything I knew they kept on assaulting me. I remember one of them, it was Mr Mothaung, stationed at Welkom, you would never say he is a policeman. He used to wear a coat. He took me into a car, in the boot of the car, from Sasolberg to Heilbron. And he went back to find another car, a three-litre van without a tent. I was handcuffed at the back. They said to me I should take out Ace Magashule. And they put another one on my penis. They took the cords, electric cords, put them on my finger again. They took another bag, they put it over my head. They said to me, "You have to tell us where Ace Magashule is." I said to
them, "Gentlemen, I don't know his whereabouts. They took me to the high building. He put me again at the back of the van. You know, he was so dirty I thought he was taking care of the bandits, not knowing that he himself is a police. When interrogating me I saw a gun, and I said, "This is a policeman." He handcuffed me at the back of a van until we reached Heilbron. I was half-naked, and you know when handcuffed you feel pains, because he said to me, "You don't have to raise your head, you have to lie. If you raise up your head I am going to shoot you." He stopped at the road and he said to me, "This is now a pump station. Go and have a look at Mr Masipidi. He is lying somewhere there."
Who is Mr Masipidi? --- He is staying in Parys. He was the first to be detained under the state of emergency. And he said to me, "Go and see him because he is dead." You know, my face was already developed, it was swollen. He used his torch, he said, "Follow the light," and as I was following the light he took a gun and he shot. Mr Masipidi was a heavily built man. I thought he was sleeping there, because it was so dark I couldn't see clearly, but in actual fact it was a stone. He said to me, "I am going to shoot you. You are going to die next to Mr Masipidi." I said to him, "I want to see my parents." He shot, and I knew that nobody was around and I felt that I am going to be killed as well. He handcuffed me and we left. When we arrived at Heilbron I didn't even know where we were. He took me into the cells, half-naked as I was. My body was full of lice. After ordering some meal at the shop you normally get bread at the table. They gave me that kind of bread. My
parents didn't know where I was.
Are you finished? --- Yes.
Thank you very much. I think you have indicated to us the harassment that you got. In your statement you referred to the A Team. Can you please tell us briefly how come did you say they are the A Team? Where did they start? How did they function? Who were the members? --- I only heard that there was an organisation called A Team. They were people against us, I mean the UDFs. They used to drive in the township in their cars. They started this organisation working together with the police. I stayed one year, six months, two weeks in prison. It was detention without trial. On my release I realised that this was continuing. I think I have mentioned Malulu Mbele. That's the man I met. I met him the second time. It was round about past eight, the same A Team group, even a person who has been assaulting me. I think every year he was getting promotion.
Can you tell us were you together with Malulu Mbele? --- No, he wasn't belonging to the A Team. He was with us. The same person who assaulted me is getting promoted at work. I don't know is it the promotion that he killed many people. Every year he gets promoted. He is the only person who gets promoted.
Can we go back to the A Team? You said the A Team was working with the police. What really showed you that the A Team was working with the police? --- It's because they don't get arrested. They kill a person now. After killing a person there would be a case held, but you will never know the end of the case. Even now ... (inaudible - end of Side B, Tape 6) ... I think their
shocks have affected me a lot.
If the A Team was working hand in hand with the police do you have any idea how they chose them? --- I want to be transparent. We were murderers. We didn't take any bribery. If we said this is what we want we didn't want many organisations, we wanted only one organisation, because when the police were together with the A Team they would put them at the forefront so that they kill, and the police would never appear in court. They were not the police, the A Team. After murdering people they would never appear in court. There would be nothing - nothing would be done. Some of them are now lieutenants and adjutants. I laid a charge while I was injured and I was taken to Gotso House, but even to this day nothing has been done.
In your statement you said you don't see clearly, and you said you sometimes feel mentally ill. --- Yes, sometimes I would be talking to you and I would just reply in a very manner that is not appealing. When I was released from the state of emergency I went to Gotso House. On my arrival there - when we were released it was me, Stompie Magashule, Makoetsi Siyagude. They took us to Gotso House. They wanted to check whether we have been injected with slow poison or not. We waited for a long time because the doctor was not there. Within a few minutes the police were there. I said, "No, I am not going to wait here and be arrested. Can we go back to Parys? We have waited so much for the doctor but he doesn't pitch up. Let's now go."
In other words you are telling us that you have never received any treatment. --- Yes.
Can I ask this question? Seeing that you have appeared before us what do you think the Commission can do for you? Do you have any idea? --- I don't know what can be done, because I can say the Commission should find where they are and let them appear. But as I am talking to you now they is still full of hatred. One of them is so soft I can communicate with him perfectly well. But what do I say to them about the problems or the conflicts that we had?
Do you have any wish about your eyes? Do you want to be taken to the doctor or be treated? --- I think the doctor needs money.
So in other words you don't have any money to go to the doctor? --- No, I don't, because my mum is not working, my father has divorced with my mother. What can I do?
You said your sister was in love with the A Team. --- No, she left them, she is now all right.
Thank you very much. As the Commission we have heard your story, and about your friends who suffered. I will now take back to the bishop. --- Thank you very much.
MR LAX: Thank you, Chairperson. Mr Mhlapo, you said that when you were detained you had to leave school because of the positions you held in school. Could you explain to us what you mean by that? What positions were these? --- When I was released I went back to school. Mr Mkolosane, the headmaster - we only saw strange notice boards. They were written in Afrikaans. Those were funny rules of the state of emergency. There were police at the
gate. And I went to see him in his office and he told me that, "You are now back. Do you want to go back to gaol? You have to remove yourself from the premises of this school." I didn't object, I kept quiet and I left the school, because when I objected I would be detained because they knew me as being a poison around the school.
(Inaudible) ... question as well if I may. You've told us about this person you met who was killed, Malulu Mbele, but could you - do you know when this happened, and could you give us a little bit more detail perhaps of what happened to him, who his family were, whether there was an inquest, things of that nature? A little bit more detail if you know it. If you don't know it that's okay, we'll try and find that information somewhere else. --- Malulu Mbele originated from Parys, just four streets from where I stay. His parents are still in Parys, but they didn't appear before the Commission when Mr Piso(?) was in Parys. He was so fond of our organisation. Malulu Mbele was killed because he used to sing the slogan songs. He was a very friendly person. Musuge arrested him, and they slipped(?) him with their Chevrolet and they threw me behind a fence. As you understand I was assaulted before I was arrested, and after being released I was assaulted. Are you aware that I have been detained many a times here in South Africa?
(Inaudible) ... that. Could you just give us some idea of the date - the time when this happened? --- The one connected to Lefo Raseko happened in 1985. I can't remember very well about Malulu Mbele, but it was in 1987. Sikalego, after assaulting him, came home and he told my parents that if he can see me in court giving a
statement I should know that I am going to die. And I never went to court because I have been threatened. In early saw the death the first time, and I didn't want to see it the second time.
(Inaudible) ... last question from me, and that is do you know whether there was ever a case or an inquest around the death of Malulu Mbele? --- There was a court case two times, but I couldn't go because of the promises that I would be killed. It took place two times and it ended up nowhere. It was only at the A Court level, it didn't go to the regional.
DR MAGWAZA: Mr Mhlapo, I just want to ask one or two questions. Are you working? --- No, I am not working.
Are you able to hold a job, because from what I have heard is that you are not well physically and mentally? Are you not working because you are not well? --- I am not saying I am unemployed because of my state of health. I had a problem. Everywhere where you want to apply for a job you get checked. They check you. If I have a problem with my eyes - sometimes when I write I have to be very close to the writing material, I don't have to be far. I have strength, I can work for myself, but I don't get enough check-up.
Just to follow up on that one, you said, "Sometimes I feel mentally ill." If you could just clarify that. What did you mean? --- Sometimes I feel pain in my nerves. If a person comes running after me I would just fall, not knowing the reason why. I think these electric shocks affected me a lot.
Okay, with all the type of problems, your health problems, how would you like the Commission to help you to ease your situation? --- I want to go to the treatment. Maybe that's the help that the Commission can give me. I am not saying I can be taken to the treatment, but if there is anything that can be done I welcome that stand. But I want to know from the people who attacked me the reasons why they attacked me, why did they kill my friends?
Thank you very much.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Mr Mhlapo. We have listened to your requests, and as a Commission we will try and see where can we help you. Thank you.
DR BORAINE: Chairperson, I call Dumisani Phungula. (Pause) Could we make sure that the headphones are in place please? Mr Phungula, can you hear me all right?
MR PHUNGULA: Yes.
DR BORAINE: Oh fine. A very warm welcome to you. Thank you for coming and sharing your story with us. Can I just ask who the lady is that is sitting with you?
MR PHUNGULA: It's my mother. It's Mrs Phungula.
DR BORAINE: Mrs Phungula, if you can hear me on the headphones I want to welcome you very warmly. I am glad that you are here with your son. I understand that your son is going to tell the story, and it is the story of Leonard Phungula, Sibongiseni Phungula, and yourself, Dumisani - father who was killed, a brother who was killed, and yourself assaulted and beaten. It's a very grim story, but before you tell that story I'd be grateful if you'd please stand to take the oath.
MR PHUNGULA: (Inaudible) ... together with my mum.
DR BORAINE: I see. So both of you would like to speak.
MR PHUNGULA: All right. Well, while you are standing let me ask you.
DUMISANI PHUNGULA AND MRS PHUNGULA (Sworn, State)
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much indeed. Now, the Reverend Dr Mgojo is going to lead you, and I will hand over to him now.
DR MGOJO: Mrs Phungula, and your son, Dumisani, you have come to this Commission because you want to speak out about the terrible things that have happened to you. But before we go into that could you tell us about your family? Just relate a little bit about your family so
that we get a very good picture about your family. --- I am married. I had seven children. I live in KwaMashu.
You could go on, Mama. --- Three girls are married, and Dumisani is also married. Now I have got two boys, because one of them left.
Thank you. At KwaMashu - Kwamashu has got a big history here in our area, KwaZulu Natal. Which section? --- I was living at E Section.
You were living at E Section. So what happened? --- In 1986 it started on the 23rd in May. There were police who came to search. They said they were searching for weapons that Dumisani had because he was the leader of the youth of the UDF. They searched and didn't found anything, so they left and I thought that was the end of it because they didn't find anything. But at night on the 24th I heard some noise. It was about 12, at about 12 at night I think. I heard a lot of noise. I thought there was thunder or stones. I jumped and peeped over the window. There were the people, they were stoning windows and hitting at our doors. And I woke up my husband, I said, "Here there are people, they are killing us." And he woke up. He said, "What have we done?" and he went through to the kitchen. I didn't hear what happened thereafter, but when I peeped through the window I saw that they had gotten hold of Dumisani, and I told the one who died, Sibongiseni. He said, "Hau, they have taken Dumisani." And he said, "Hau, what are we going to do?" And one of the amabuthos, the warriors, said, "Let me see who's got an axe," and I heard they were chopping down our doors, and they got inside. I don't know when Khumbulani died because at that stage I was hiding. I didn't hide
under the bed, because I realised that if I hide under the bed they will kill be cruelly, so they better kill me standing, so I stood behind the door and I was hiding, and they got inside. They chopped him. They chopped him in his face with an axe or hew-like, and on his chest. They opened up his chest with an axe.
Take your time, Mama. Don't hurry yourself. (Pause) --- When these warriors, amabutho, came inside they took Sibongiseni. Sibongiseni said, "Why are you taking me away? What have I done?" They took him away. And others just looted any clothing or things inside the house. They took radio, they took the video, they also took a carton that had things in it, and they left. And the one who came after the deceased, who is also here, and they said, "Here is another one." And the other one said, "No, quickly let's get out before they get a photograph of us here." They took him away, roaming around with him. I don't know for how long did this one - we found him, I heard, on the opposite street from our home. He had been shot. I don't know if they were stabbing him with knives all over his body, because the T-shirt he was wearing had holes all over it, and the pair of pants he was wearing had been cut underneath. I don't know if they had cut off his private part for muthi purposes, because that used to be their tendency. And the soldiers arrived, and they told us here is another body they had found, and they brought him back. I don't know if they were trying to burn him, because there was some little grass that had been put on top of him, and maybe they realised that they were going to waste their time and then they left, and then we went to fetch him.
You are talking about Sibongiseni? Is it Sibongiseni you are talking about that his private parts were taken off? --- Yes. I just recognised through the pants, because they had already torn the pants in front.
When you found him did you find that there were some body parts that were missing? --- I didn't have the courage to have a look at that.
Dumisani, in your statement here you said you were taken. They wanted to put a tyre on you. What saved you that they didn't necklace you? --- Maybe I can start by saying that a number of times they didn't end up by chopping off my brother. They also took the rim of a car and broke his legs with it so that the left leg was completely broken with the rim. On my side maybe at that time - at home I was sleeping in the outbuilding which we called a shack, "umjondolo." When they opened the door of this shack they saw me, and there were two guys who came in, and they grabbed me and took me out. When they took me outside their leader said, "We mustn't touch this one. We will need to necklace him, put a tyre on him." I got very scared about that. I realised that things were getting very, very difficult. I think I thought very fast. I got very soft and agreed with what was happening, because they said I must go there. The one who was in front of me was standing almost at the edge, like at the edge of the stage like this. When I softened my body they agreed with me. I got such strength, because I completely grabbed myself loose, and it was a huge warrior, and I ran, passed through and in between the legs of the guy who was standing on the edge, and I ran outside. That's how
I escaped. They shot at me. There were lots of bullets passing through me, but I don't know how I survived. I jumped the neighbour's fence and I ran through in between houses until I was outside the following street, there where I met the kombis, which I suspected they were in one of the kombis. And then I hid a bit until those kombis had passed, and then I continued to run, and jumping the following fences. I was running in between houses. I was just avoiding the lights until I was by the shops, where there were four Hippos of the soldiers. But they also didn't see me, so I hid in between them and I ran up until I had reached my friend's place. That's where we hid a bit until my brother came, who had come to tell them that something wrong had happened. When I came back at home - I went back at home after that - I realised they didn't kill my father and my brother only, they had already found him as they had taken him. The continued and went ahead. They didn't only come to our house only, as we will also go to - we will hear the Mshengu family, they were also onto the Mshengu family. And another person was found dead in another street who is not known ... (inaudible - end of Side A, Tape 7)
When you're talking about amabutho in your statement what is this amabutho? I am not saying you should say their names. What is this amabutho? --- Amabutho are the people who are armed, armed to go to the battle. When people are armed they arm themselves with weapons. It could be spears, it could be axes, and also guns, because now people are fighting with guns as well. They usually are male, because women are never usually there, and even on that day there were no women, there were only men.
Dumisani, according to the Natal speak(?) do you think these amabutho are another political organisation? --- Yes, I do believe that, that they are part of a political organisation.
Could you say which organisation? --- This is IFP. At that time we were calling it amabutho - Inkatha, sorry.
Here I found that your brother who was hit - where is your brother now, and what is his condition, Sithembiso? --- He is here in this very house. He wasn't very much hurt, because on that day - it was in 1987. It was on a Sunday morning. On that day I was getting ready to go, and some boys came to me and said, "Hau, here is your brother. Here is your brother. The councillor wants to take him with." He was with other two - this councillor was with other two men. When this happened they had already started assaulting him. I ran towards them. They were not hitting him with weapons, they were just hitting him with their hands. And I asked them, "Guys, since you know Zulu the know the Phungula family. If there is something that this child has done why don't you come at home?" They seemed to be sort of doubtful, and the councillor came out. He said, "If this matter is - this guy is getting involved in this matter let us leave it. This issue is heavy." And then they started running away. I think their intention was to take him away with him. I don't know what were they going to do to him, but I don't think it was a good thing they were going to do to him.
And in your statement you said amabutho and SADF they disturbed the funeral. --- The funeral did go
ahead. Maybe if I can go a bit back. Since the time when
they attack our home generally there's usually a night vigil, which starts when there's been a death in the family. At home there were telephones that people were making us call, and these were threatening calls that there will never be a funeral there, and they are still going to come back to attack us. But on that day we had already told ourselves - we had told ourselves that if they were not satisfied with what they had already done let them go ahead, these boers. So it became difficult for them to come during that time. I think these threats continued throughout that week, and then on the day of this funeral I went to church. I couldn't go to the cemetery because I was told that the amabuthos are already at F, because we live in the E section, but the cemetery is at the F section - that it is not safe for me to go ahead to the cemetery, to the graveyard. So I wasn't able to proceed to the graveyard, but those who went to the graveyard, many people were hurt and injured on that day because they were assaulted, and the soldiers were also shooting at people who were from the funeral. And there was also tear gas as well. They threw tear gas at people.
What was the organisation that your family was involved in, or maybe you were not involved in it? --- I can't say now our family at that time, but I myself was a member of the KwaMashu Youth League. The KwaMashu Youth League was affiliated to the United Democratic Front.
Here in KwaMashu when did you leave and went to Newlands? --- At KwaMashu we haven't left. My mother is still living at KwaMashu. I am the one who is no longer living at home, because as my mother said I am
already married. I have got my own home.
Thank you. The last question, your wish, what would you want to see the Commission do for you? --- According to me, but maybe my mum will have something else to say. I would like to get clarity on who were these people who were doing these things, because according to me the soldiers were implicated, and the police in these matters. I am a bit confused there. Even the case, we reported it but it just evaporated. There was never any investigation that was pursued, even though things were very clear. I would really like to see something happening. These people who are the perpetrators must come forth and say where they are. I don't know if my mum would like to say something.
Mama, what would you like to say? --- I would also like to know who are these people who did this thing, because it didn't end in 1986. In 1987 they threatened my children to an extent that they couldn't walk freely. They took Sithembiso twice and arresting him, where he was assaulted by police until his ear drum burst. At the moment one of his ears is deaf, it can't hear. And Sipho also was arrested. They said there were lots of bombs at home. They came with one bomb and said there was another nine bombs at home. There were about 12 vans. There were also dogs, police dogs, who had come to sniff out these bombs. I said they must search around. They looked around and they said to me no, I must uncover these bombs. So I said, "No, you go ahead, look, because you are the ones who know where these bombs are." They went to fetch the dogs. The dogs ran around, but they didn't find anything, but they still took Sipho. They took him to
another Ticky's friend. They said he must show them where Ticky stays in Inanda. Where they lied them down and assaulted them while they were lying them down. From there they took them to Phoenix Police Station, and then they brought them back again and brought them to KwaMashu. That's where Sipho was saved, because my employer at that stage asked them - he asked the station commander, saying, "Could you tell me what is his charge?" If he doesn't tell them what Sipho's charge was he will go ahead. That's how Sipho was released that day. One of the guys who he was arrested with stayed in detention for 18 months.
Thank you, Mama. We have heard all those things. We were asking you what would you like to say? Maybe I must remind you of something else you have already forgotten, because we want to help you. In your statement you said Dumisani said he wants his mother and his brother's wife who was killed to be on pension. I would like to know does your brother's wife work, or how old is she? (Pause) Maybe, Mama, you didn't hear well. The statement says here, written by Dumisani, "My mother and the wife of my brother." Those are Dumisani's words. --- I think there's been a mistake then. My brother was not married at that stage when I was married, so it means there's a mistake here.
So you would like your mum to get a pension. I was just reminding you. --- Yes, I would greatly appreciate that, because it's very difficult for me to be a sole breadwinner, because these boys are not working. It's very difficult to find employment. And the other one is still trying to get - he's going to take you to try and /get
get employment. On these things that I am trying I am trying to educate the other ones.
Thank you, Mama. We will try and pass on your request. Thank you. I will hand over.
CHAIRMAN: Mama and your son, we thank you very much for your being here. We are saying may God console you in the difficulties you have been through. As already Dr Mgojo has said that the Commission hasn't got lots of powers, but there are things that we could plan, or maybe tell the President of this country that we are saying, "Perhaps here and there you could do this to help the victims." We will do that and pass on forward your wishes. Thank you very much.
DR BORAINE: Can you hear my voice?
MRS MSHENGU: Yes, I can hear.
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. Now, Mrs Mshengu, you have come to tell a story, but you have brought somebody with you. Who is that please?
MRS MSHENGU: My son.
DR BORAINE: And your son's name is? What is his name?
MRS MSHENGU: Musawenkosi.
DR BORAINE: Mrs Mshengu, are you going to tell the story, or is your son going to tell the story, or both?
MRS MSHENGU: I will relate this thing, but I wasn't there. He was the one who was present.
DR BORAINE: So we will hear from both of you then. But we will start with you. All right. Will you please stand. ---------------------
BEATRICE NIKIZIWE MSHENGU (Sworn, States)
DR BORAINE: Now, let's start with you, because you are going to tell the story, and then if necessary we'll come back to your son. And the story that you're going to tell is a story of horror, the death of your husband, of your son, and your grandson, and it happened very much in the same way as the people that we have been listening to, the Phungula family, a few moments ago. I am not going to ask you about that, I am going to ask Mr Dlamini if he will help you to tell your story. You are very welcome. Please feel very relaxed, you are amongst friends. Thank you.
MR DLAMINI: Mr Chairperson, can I confirm whether the Vice-Chairperson would like to ask Musawenkosi to take the oath before, so that if in case he has got to add something, and he does that under oath, or whether he
would like to do that later on?
DR BORAINE: Let's do it right away then. Will you stand please for the taking of the oath. In case you are going to add to your mother's story we have to do that under oath.
MUSAWENKOSI MSHENGU (Sworn, States)
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. Please be seated. Mr Dlaminni?
MR DLAMINI: Hello Mama Mshengu and your son. Before you start relating your story as far as you know it, after the neighbours had contacted you, could you tell us how many children do your have with your husband so that we get a full picture of the family? --- I have got six children, two girls and four boys.
Among these children that you have those who passed away, how do they follow one another? --- The one who died comes after the elder one, and then the one who left us is the elder one, and then comes another boy of my daughter. He's the second one.
Is this Thembinkosi who is your daughter's child? If you could relate to us when your husband left - because you have got two homes. one is in Mtwalume, one is in KwaMashu - and the report that you got. --- I have got a house in KwaMashu, and I got married at KwaMashu. And the time arrived when we wanted to go back to the countryside, and my husband went to the countryside, but he was going to come back so I remained at home waiting for him to come back. But then I got this telephone at night from KwaMashu, and my neighbour phoned me, said there's a terrible thing that has happened at home, I must
just come back immediately. It was at about two at night, and I was already asleep, so I got up and went to our neighbour and asked him if he couldn't take me to KwaMashu by car. My neighbour took me and put me KwaMashu. We arrived at KwaMashu at dawn, and they had already taken away the bodies. We just saw the blood and the remaining children. He related to me what had happened after they had taken the bodies, and he also told me that they said they were coming back. So we realised that we couldn't sleep, and they had damaged everything at home. They had broken the window, they had broken down the doors, they have also broken down my husband's car. And I was also scared, I couldn't sleep at home because I had been told that they were coming back. I went to my sister's place at F, and my sister allowed me to sleep at her place. That day was on a Saturday, the following day was Sunday. On Sunday we stayed there at my sister. We were waiting for Monday to go to the mortuary, and we went to see them at mortuary. We saw them. We found that they were completely injured, and my husband had been killed and my son had been chopped off all over his head. And my daughter's child had also been shot a lot, many times on his head, and there were lots of bullets. I then planned that I will bury them at Mtwalume, because I was afraid of burying them at KwaMashu, that they will attack us again. I planned to bury them at Mtwalume. Our priest really helped me with all the arrangements. The priest helped me to make all the funeral arrangements, and they helped me with everything because I didn't have anything. I really didn't have any financial resources. The priest helped me with that. From after the funeral I went to KwaMashu, and
I went to report what had happened at my home. And the councillor said to me, he said, "Your house something had happened." They said it was just unfortunate, that's not what they had aimed for. He said even if he showed me the list my house wouldn't be in that list of the houses which had been written. I didn't know what to do because those people were dead, because I was told that it was unfortunate. I don't know if he knew these people or not. I also went to report to - I didn't go to report to the police ... (inaudible)
INTERPRETER: We can't hear. --- We just went at home. I stayed a long time until I got very sick, so I went back to my children at KwaMashu. So that's how I have managed to get this opportunity to relate my story here. I have been suffering for a long time bringing up these children, because when my husband died all these children were still at school. Some of them passed and some of them couldn't go ahead because I couldn't afford. The older ones said - the other one said, "I am going to try some bursaries to help them," when he arrived at school, but then we couldn't have money for other things. On the second year he came back again, he said, "Mama, we've been dismissed from school because we can't pay for the school fees." Another one also is still at school, but he is saying he can't go any further because he doesn't even have books. He is going to look for an employment so that he can further his own studies. All these are difficult things in my heart. They really had wanted to continue their schooling, but others ended up stopping schooling and they are just at home. They are still not yet employed.
What do you survive on, Mama? Are you working? --- No, I am not working. I just survive on pension. I get some pension.
Is this the Government pension? --- Yes, it is the Government pension.
How much? --- It's R400,00.
At the time when you went to the councillor, Mama, and he apologised that they were not aiming for your house, was there somebody you were with when this councillor apologised? --- No, I was alone. I went alone to the councillor. But there were men who were with him. There were lots of men with him. Even when I reported this matter all these men were on top of me. They asked me what I am coming to do here because my house is in the rural areas, this KwaMashu home is not mine, it's the children's house. So I also failed there. I couldn't go any further. I went home.
Your husband and the children, was there an organisation that they belonged to, the political organisation that they belonged to? --- No, we were not under any organisation, but when I heard that my children - I heard that my children were killed because they were UDF.
Were the children UDF, you and your husband were not? --- No, my husband was a priest, he wasn't a member of any political organisation. But because my children were involved then now I have joined my children in ANC.
And now your children, you say they are no longer at school. What classes are they doing, even the one who is continuing? --- The elder one he was doing B Ped.
That was going to be his second year. The other one he's at the technical college. He was doing management at technical college, personnel management. But he is still trying, but now he is also going to stop because he doesn't even have books. He will try to look for an employment so that he can still further his own studies once he is working. But he is still at school now.
Mama, if there was any kind of assistance what kind of assistance would you request from the Commission? --- I would like to request - because I have got difficulty about these children. These are the real children I am worried about, because they are at home, because if I take my little pension and give it to them then we die from hunger. I am just at home. All those things are on my shoulders because I never know what to do. The house which was attacked when they attacked your home, have you rebuilt it? --- No. We are not able to rebuild it, we just put card boxes around, because I was also at home. That's how the home still is. We haven't managed to rebuild it. I thought once my children had finished schooling we can all start rebuilding our house together.
Thank you, Mama. Could I ask Musawenkosi to say something, if you would like to add anything, because you were there when there was this attack, so that the Commission can get a full picture. --- It was on the 24th in May in 1986. I was asleep at home at night. I was fast asleep. When I woke up I thought there was thunder and lightning, but when I got up - I was woken up by stones being thrown through the window, and then I got up. When I looked through the window I saw a huge crowd of people. The whole house was surrounded by people.
When I looked towards the door - I got out of the room where I was sleeping, I went towards the dining-room, and I was trying to escape and run away and see how I could escape there. At that stage I was very confused. I could also hear some other one chopping the door. The dining-room door was being chopped off. When I went to the kitchen I saw the door wide open, but there was just a small gap. They didn't manage to open wide open, but those who were outside didn't realise that the door was already open. I could hear them talking. Another one said - another one was saying, "No, let's go. There's nobody in this house." Another one said, "No, I heard people speaking inside the bedroom. I think there are people inside the bedroom." I realised when I looked through this gap inside the door, I realised that I couldn't manage to escape, I will not be able to escape through this crowd of people. I said, "Let them kill me inside the house." So I went back to the bedroom where I was sleeping, I hid myself ... (incomplete - end of Side B, Tape 7) ... the bed I kept quiet. I could hear this bed I was sleeping on, they picked it up. Another one said, "Ag, but there is nobody who can hide under such a small bed." The opposite bed in this room there was a small boy, my sister's boy, was sleeping there. They took this boy outside, and I thought he's going to say, "Ay, there's another one hiding on the other bed." He also kept quiet. They said, "Dress up, let us go." Another one said, "No, bring the gun here, let's finish him off right inside the house." The other one said, "No, let's take him away. We're going to burn him." And they said, "Dress up." He got dressed up and he was crying. They
took him, and I was also under the bed, but I could hear these people talking. I couldn't see at them. But I then - and the other one said, "But where is the man of this house?" During that time they had already killed - they had already killed my father. It seems like they didn't know it was my father that they had killed. They were asking, "Where is the man of this family?" and they took this other boy with them. And I kept on hiding there until it was quiet, and I got out. When I woke up, when I tried to come out of the dining-room, I saw our property was upside-down, and cushions of sofas and windows were broken. When I looked through the window I could see those people. They were coming through another road on the right-hand side front in the front of our house. They were wearing the Zion clothes, and others had their stick of the Zion Church. The other said, "Are you still here? Move away, because they are still there." That's how I managed to escape through the back door, and I went to hide at one of my friends. I only went back at home and it was dawn.
Thank you very much, Musawenkosi. I would like to ask two questions to clarify. Your sister's child, Thembinkosi, how was he? Are there any of those people you identified who attacked your home? --- Thembinkosi was only 14 years old. Those who had come to attack us I didn't know because I was under the bed. I could only hear their voices. It was only later on when I saw them, and I saw them far off in the street, what they were wearing. So I don't know who they were because it was at night, and I was also just trying to escape and save my life.
CHAIRMAN: Mama, I do not know what to say. This is a shocking situation. When you're listening to this you think - when you're listening to this you realise how terrible the situation in the past on all sides. There was evil. It's like we were embraced by this evil, all of us. We'll ask God to be with you. We ask God to soften your hearts that are painful, and help you to come through and give you strength. We hope through this Commission - perhaps God will make use of this Commission to heal all the evils that was all over in our country. May God through His grace be with you. Thank you very much.
DR BORAINE: May I welcome you both to the witness stand on behalf of the Commission. I thank you very much indeed for coming. I understand that, Gary, you will be talking about your brother and his wife, your sister-in-law, and -I am not sure if I should call you Kasavan or Terence. Which would you prefer?
MR ARENGASAMY: Terence.
DR BORAINE: Terence. You are the son of the couple who were killed. Fine, thank you very much indeed, and we are very grateful to both of you, and I am assuming that both of you will speak.
GARY GOVINDSAMY and KASAVAN TERENCE ARENGASAMY (Sworn, State)
DR BORAINE: Thank you, please be seated. Now, you have been here and you have listened to other witnesses telling their stories, and you will know that one of the Commissioners or committee members is appointed to help in the questioning and telling and the unfolding of the story. That's my job today, and I am very pleased to be able to work with you on this occasion. The story that you will tell is a story of a couple who were simply walking along the Esplanade and were killed in a bomb blast. It was the 3rd of April 1984. I wonder if you, Gary, would - or who wishes to speak first? --- I'll speak first.
Fine. Why don't you take up the story and tell us about it? --- I have prepared a - or I have written up something.
That's perfectly all right. --- And I'd like to read it if I may, and perhaps later the Commission can ask
a few questions.
Of course. Please go right ahead. ---
"On Tuesday, the 3rd of April 1984, at about 7.30 in the morning a powerful blast rocked Durban. Three people were killed and several injured. I was a student at the time and was a freelance reporter for several newspapers, and was also co-ordinating a newspaper in Durban. I took some time off from classes and went along to take photographs of the bomb for my newspaper. It was late in the afternoon and there were several bomb scares in the area. I left the blast scene and went to investigate or write on a bomb scare lower down the road, when somebody stopped me and asked me if I had heard what had happened. When I said no they told me that my sister-in-law was indeed injured in the blast, but they could not find my brother. He asked me to rush to Addington Hospital, where my sister-in-law was. Upon arrival there I asked a nurse where my sister-in-law was. She then broke the news to me that my sister-in-law had died in the blast, and that they could not find my brother. I then rushed to a telephone and tried to contact my family and other relatives. Every phone was engaged until I managed to get through to my office, where they confirmed that members of my family had died in the blast. When I got home I found hundreds of people there. Everyone was
"hysterical. We suspected that my brother was also killed, but we were unsure. A few hours later I went to the Gale Street Mortuary to identify them. The mortuary attendants told me that my family members' bodies were not there, but that they had two African victims in the morgue. I pleaded for about an hour for them to allow me to see the bodies. When the attendants eventually allowed me to see the bodies, to my horror I found two badly- burnt and disfigured bodies on a tray. I took a long time to identify my brother and sister-in-law. I identified my sister-in-law by her thali, a sacred string she wore around her neck. I had to look at my brother for a long time to ensure that it was indeed him. I later made certain statements to the media condemning the P W Botha Government, and placed the death of my brother and sister-in-law on the hands of the Nationalist regime. I called on them to unban the ANC and other banned political organisations, and to allow all exiles to return home. I also called for the release of Nelson Mandela and other political leaders. I called on the Nationalist Government to earnestly begin talks to stop the carnage which was at that time engulfing the country. I said we could not allow innocent people to be killed by these types of atrocities. I understood that the ANC was to have made a statement the day
"after the blast, and was waiting for the cadres to report back to the ANC headquarters in Lusaka so that a full statement could be made. I have no doubt that the ANC planted the bomb that killed my brother and sister-in-law. The ANC knows full well that they planted the bomb on the Esplanade, and that they refused to accept responsibility because of certain statements I made. The ANC has a duty to accept responsibility for the blast. They created an orphan in the name of Terence sitting here by me. The ANC also caused the death of my father, who worked for the railways at the time, and who had to pass this death spot several times a day. My father was a humble man who was an ordinary labourer, and was fit as a fiddle. His job forced him to cycle past the spot daily. He could not bear passing the spot, and six months later after my brother died he too died from a stroke. My mother, shattered by the death of her eldest son by the hands of another person, suffered a stroke and died 12 years later. She was a helpless woman. She cried for her children every day until the morning she died. I want to at this stage mention that we had one of the biggest funerals for my brother and sister-in-law. It was the biggest funeral in the Indian community. They were the first victims of a bomb blast in Durban. The ANC played no role in this funeral. They never
"offered us any money, no sympathy card, nothing. They knew full well that they had planted the bomb there, and knew that they were to take responsibility for this. The only organisation which sent us a telegram of sympathy was the Azanian Peoples Organisation, AZAPO. It is sad that even people who are now in Parliament, and people who knew us so well, failed to arrive at the funeral. They failed to even pass a word of condolence. To date nothing of this nature has happened. I understood later that two days after the blast Comrade Oliver Thambo went Radio Freedom and apologised. I don't know if that is true. I only heard about this. He was in London at the time, and a London newspaper carried a report that the victims of the blast were carrying a bomb in their car when it exploded. The ANC was in London, and did nothing to clear the names of my brother and sister-in-law, or the other person that was killed. I approached a few senior ANC members in the country regarding the bombing and possible monetary help. This was futile. None of them even came back to me. Many of those people, I may say, Mr Chairman, are sitting in Parliament who were activists at the time when I was an activist in Durban. The P W Botha Government at that time created a State President's Fund for victims of the blast, and I made an application for help, but they
"refused to help us. The refused only because of the statements I made against the system, and for calling for the release of Mandela and the unbanning of the ANC and other banned organisations. We want to know the person who planted this bomb. He must tell us why he did so. He must tell us why he did not warn bystanders to flee the area. He knew the bomb was lethal. He must apologise for what he had done. I want to say that my family had brought up my nephew totally without any support from the State or from the ANC. The ANC had a duty to support my family, or at least inquire as to my nephew's wellbeing. They did not. Had I not denigrated the Nationalist Government, and placed the death on the hands of the Botha Government, we would have benefitted from the State President's Fund. I made a statement. The statements I made were totally in conflict with the political beliefs of other members of my family and relatives. I was branded a traitor and a betrayer. How could I support the ANC which killed my brother and sister-in-law? I was called upon by many political bodies to support them in other racist elections to keep the blacks and the Africans out of the political arena. This I did not do. It was against my beliefs, and I could not betray the black struggle. I was completely ostracised from my family. I understood exactly how my
"relatives and family felt. I think differently about the struggle, and I know for a fact that people get killed in the struggle for liberation. It was unfortunate that my brother, who supported the struggle for liberation in a peaceful means, got killed. He believed in a free and just society for all South Africans, a society where everyone, black and white, could live in harmony. I want to plead through this forum, Mr Chairman, for an end to all the atrocities committed, whether in Sri Lanka, the Middle East, in Africa, or in KwaZulu Natal. I urge the leaders to get together and avoid the bloodshed. We cannot allow children to become the victims of the atrocities to the satisfaction of the politicians. There has to be an end to violence so that all of us can live in harmony, and let not the death of my brother be in vain. He wanted a free and just society, where everyone can live happily. I want to ask for President Nelson Mandela and Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi to stop the carnage in KwaZulu Natal so that other people, other children, are not left orphans and belittled, and live in squalor like some of us are doing in this province."
Thank you very much for a very moving statement. I want to return to some of the comments you have made, but perhaps Terence would like to complete the picture. And
Terence, I know it's very hard for you, you were only six years old when this happened, and you were made an orphan, but we would be glad to hear from you if you have anything to say. --- I was small at that time, I was six years old. I do not remember much. But I would like to say that I don't like to see other kids now, especially today, ending up an orphan like me. It's hard if you're alone and you do not have any brother or sister growing up, and you do not have parents. But I had my family which supported me throughout the years, and I am grateful for that. I'd like to know the person that planted this bomb. I would like him to come forward, and I would forgive him if he tells me why he did it.
Terence, you will obviously have a chance to say something more if you wish, but do you want to stop there for the moment? Thank you. That's very brave, thank you. You have told us a little bit about your brother and his wife, who were so tragically counted amongst the victims of random and calculated violence. What ages were they when they died? --- My brother was about 34, and my sister-in-law was about 10 years younger.
Thank you. You mentioned that your brother had a commitment to - the liberation of the country, I think is the words you used. Was he involved - he or his wife, in any particular way with any particular party or particular commitment? --- There are some doubts about that, but some of us who knew my brother at the time would recall some instances where he was involved with the then 1974 incidents when SASO or BPC was around, and he was not an -he was an activist at the time. My sister-in-law was apolitical. She never knew what was happening in terms of
politics. But at the time of his death my brother was a family man. He had a brilliant job. As a black man he went right up in his job, much to the hate of white people, and he prospered in his life. Coming from humble beginnings, a humble background, my brother had gone a long way. He was about to have bought a house. His wife was pregnant at the time she died, and he was to have taken an insurance policy of about R100 000,00 - I read in the newspaper - the day after the death, because he confirmed the day before the death that he was going to sign these papers.
It compounds the tragedy. You mentioned that in your own response, apart from your personal grief, which is very understandable, that you made a powerful political statement. Were you in any way involved in politics? I know that the ANC, for example, was a banned organisation in 1984, so clearly you couldn't have open membership of that party, but just tell us about why you made such a strong statement? Was it revulsion of violence, or political commitment, or what? --- It was a situation - when one looks at the political arena at the time you find there are bomb explosions. The perpetrators were not blowing up pylons, they were not blowing up bridges, they were not blowing up Government offices, they were not blowing up the army barracks. In this instance innocent people were being affected, innocent people were being killed. And I know for a fact that in a struggle like this innocent people get caught in the crossfire, but I couldn't allow the death of my brother to go in vain, and the Government of the day had a responsibility - not to put people in gaol and chase them overseas in exile, but
they had a responsibility to start talking to the leaders of the respective communities, the leaders of organisations which were rightly and justifiably - which justifiably belonged to this country. Any by banning the organisation and putting people in gaol they couldn't achieve what was the right thing to do, and these type of atrocities would have continued. And I thought it best that I make a statement like this, much to the detriment of myself in terms of my family. It was difficult to have made a decision to speak out in that fashion, more so when my own brother and sister-in-law were killed.
Can I just ask one last question about that? When you made that statement in support of negotiation politics, resolution of conflict, were you aware that the allegation would be that the ANC had planted that bomb? --- Of course. There was no doubt in my mind that the ANC had planted the bomb. Who else would have done it? The AWB?
What I am asking is you made that statement condemning the Government and its policies knowing that the ANC had planted the bomb, or did you only hear that afterwards? --- I knew full well the ANC had planted the bomb, and I knew full well that the ANC planted the bomb as a means to an end. But it was unfortunate that people were killed.
You illustrate the terrible dilemma of so many, many thousands of people in this country who wanted change so desperately, but were also appalled at the high cost, and you of course felt it personally, and we are sympathetic towards you and feel some of that pain, particularly as you had to bear a great deal of criticism. Now, did you
take Terence into your family almost as a son, or has he lived with some other members of the family, or have you brought him up? --- He was basically brought up at my - at our home. My problem is that he gave me a hard time from the time now he's bigger than me. I have to look after him in a fashion and make him into a big boy. So he was my responsibility from the time his parents died up until now.
Did you have any other children? --- I have two children of my own, but they are very young. But I didn't marry, only because I had a responsibility.
You mention that you would like to know who planted the bomb, and I think you're expressing something of your deep disappointment that nobody came forward to at least say, "Hey, I'm sorry about what happened." --- I feel disappointed that the perpetrators of this blast haven't come forward in these 12 years to apologise or take responsibility for it. And the ANC didn't take responsibility only because of the statements I had made, only because I had said that we were part of the struggle, and we were ironically affected by this.
I suppose that - I mean I don't know if the then president of the ANC actually made that apology on behalf of his party that you referred to, and I suppose that people inside the country were banned or weren't allowed to be members, but have you been in touch with any of the ANC leadership since they have returned, and since the banning has been lifted so they could act as a normal party? --- I did make - take up the issue with certain people and nothing had happened, and I feel more disgusted at that.
Ja, I am sure that we are sympathetic to the fact that not only has this tragedy visited you, but there seems to have been so little compassion. Terence, you have been brought up by your uncle. As he indicates you are almost bigger than he is now, and you are very lucky that you had someone to take the place of your parents, although no one can do that entirely. Do you want to say anything more about how you feel, or how the Commission may be of some help to you as an orphan? --- I'd like the Commission to like name a memorial service, or like a hall or something, after my parents.
Anything else? --- And probably the funds that you should give it to the needy people like - what's it, Stompie Siphe's mother, who needs it.
We certainly are going to try to do that, and in the Act under which we fall there is what we call the President's Fund, which, as the hearings develop, we will advise the President on a policy, and then money would have to be voted by Parliament to try and see in terms of memorials, or scholarships, or pensions, or any small way in which to try to relieve - and I am very grateful that you point to other people's needs rather than your own, because you could quite easily have done that. Can I ask you one last question, Terence? You're a young man of 18 now. You were six years old then. How do you feel now about the situation in the country as a young man with a future ahead of you? If you don't want to answer that, that's fine, it's not a problem. --- There is a lot of violence going on in this country at the moment, and I'd like it to stop. As you see in parts, on Saturday I think, in town, there was lots of bloodshed, guys getting
killed. We don't want that, we want to live in a peaceful world.
Thank you very much. Do you want to add anything at all? --- (Incomplete - end of Side A, Tape 8) ... he'll think about it and come back to me. He came back to me, he says, "Okay, we forgive them." And I felt proud that he thinks in that fashion, and not like a - like we were brought up in a system with revulsion and revenge and that.
Thank you, I find that very encouraging. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you very, very much. We are very deeply moved by your testimony, Terence, and especially your concern for other people, and your desire, which is one that is shared by many, that violence could end and that we should be able to live in a society that is peaceful and prosperous, and has a place under the sun for everybody. But thank you very much, and God bless you.
DR BORAINE: Mr Haffajee, welcome.
MR HAFFAJEE: Thank you.
DR BORAINE: We're very pleased to see you, and are grateful to you for coming to the Commission to share something of your own personal loss and pain. Now, you also have someone with you, and perhaps you could tell us who that is.
MR HAFFAJEE: That's my son, my youngest son, Bilala.
DR BORAINE: Well now, let me welcome him very warmly. Can I ask whether you are going to give testimony, or whether both of you are?
MR HAFFAJEE: I'll be doing it.
DR BORAINE: You will. Thank you very much. Well, let me say how marvellous it is to have somebody next to you, and it's not an easy time and, as we've said before, to have a family member is very, very important for all of the witnesses. In a moment I am going to ask my colleague to lead you as you give your evidence, and yours of course goes back a long way to 1977, and you are going to tell us about the death of your brother, Dr H M Haffajee.
MR HAFFAJEE: Yes.
DR BORAINE: Before you do that you know that I have to ask you to take the oath, so will you please stand.
YUSUF HAFFAJEE (Sworn, States)
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much indeed. Again thank you very much for coming. We look forward to hearing your story, despite its sadness and its tragedy, and in order to assist you I am going to call upon my colleague, Mr Lax.
MR LAX: Greetings, Yusuf, and greetings to your family
as well. --- Thank you.
And please pass on my regards to your parents, to your mum. --- I'll do that.
It's ironic that you and I are going through this process together, I on behalf of the Commission, as we are neighbours almost from the same city, and we do know one another quite well. --- Yes.
CHAIRMAN: Can you speak into the microphone? I think you are - you are too cultured.
MR LAX: I will try and project. It will be helpful for us, before we start to tell your brother's story, and the horrible facts of what happened to him, if you could, just by way of introduction, give us a brief outline of your family and how your brother fitted in, what sort of a person he was, and so on. --- Certainly. I am Yusuf Mohammed Haffajee, the eldest brother of Dr Hoosen Mia Haffajee, who was killed in Security Police detention on the 3rd of August 1977. I have a brother in Pietermaritzburg who is a teacher, and I have a sister living in Johannesburg, and at the moment my mother lives with my sister. My father passed away 10 years ago today. Hoosen was born on the 6th of November 1950. He attended the St Paul Primary School, Mariann School, and matriculated in 1965 at the Woodlands Secondary School. Thereafter he left for India and commenced his studies, and in 1975 he qualified as a dentist. While he was in India he represented his university for hockey, and I was told that he was the first foreigner to be elected the president of the Students Representative Council. Before returning home he hitch hiked to London to visit an aunt and friends there, flew back to India, packed his trunks
and came back home. After a little bit of effort he managed to get a job at the King George Hospital in Durban.
Now, I know you have prepared a statement, and it's a fairly lengthy one, and if I could ask if you could try and be reasonably brief if possible, rather than take a long time. We still have quite a number of witnesses to do. But I don't wish to curtail you in any way. --- Certainly. On the morning of the 3rd of August 1977 four white policemen came to our place and ... (intervention)
If I could just ask you to please just bring the microphone a little closer to you. They seem to be having a problem. --- Four white policemen came to our business and informed me that my brother was dead, and that he had committed suicide. When I asked them where this had happened they told me it was in a police cell. And I was surprised, and they asked me, "Didn't you know that your brother was in gaol?" Of course I didn't know that at that time. After breaking the news to my mother and my friends - by that time my neighbours had come - I phoned Professor Gordon, a Professor of Forensic Medicine and Dean of the Medical School in Durban, because he was going to perform the autopsy. I phoned a friend and asked him to get a private pathologist to observe on our behalf. After taking care of a few things I left for Durban, and at the Gale Street Mortuary I met my aunt from London, Ravia, and her friends, Gaza and Ramina Motala. Two Indian security police came up to me and asked me to accompany them to my brother's flat because they wanted to search it and others were waiting there, but as the post-mortem was going to be over soon I decided to wait. I
asked Professor Gordon, when he came out of the room, whether my brother had injuries on his body, and he said yes. And I asked him whether he knew how they were caused, and he said no, he had taken samples of tissue and he would make a report later. He had to satisfy himself that my brother didn't get those injuries while doing gardening over the weekend. He did tell me that there were multiple knots round his neck, and his exact words were, "The knots were so tight that I could not undo them. I had to use a razor blade to cut the trousers off." And when I asked him whether the injuries were in any way related to his manner of death he said, "I cannot tie them up with the manner of death." While at the police mortuary I phoned and spoke to Brigadier Hansen, the CID chief, and he told me very little. He quoted me the Criminal Procedure Act. And I told him I don't know what that means because he quoted the number and the year. Subsequently I got in touch with Colonel Francois Steenkamp and asked him what happened. And there was disparity in the two versions. One of them said that the trousers was tied to a bar of the grille door, and the other said that the trousers was tied to the door knob. When I asked Steenkamp about this, and asked which is the truth, he shouted at me, "I don't have to tell you anything," and he slammed the phone on me. I identified the body, and when we were putting it into the hearse on a bier I was terribly shocked to see that he had a lot of marks, which appeared to me to be burn marks, around both his knees. My father was not in 'Maritzburg on that day, but fortunately we had found him and he came back. He flew down and arrived home in time. At 9.30 that night we
buried my brother at the Mountain Rise Cemetery. Now, when we first arrived home I discussed with a friend, and because we did not get a pathologist in Durban - Dr Chetty had not been able to make it - I contacted my school mate, Attorney Morgan Naidoo, from the firm A K South, Morgan Naidoo & Company, and asked him to please come down. He came down with Advocate Harry Pitman and Dr Motala. We had a discussion, and as a result of that Advocate Pitman tried to get the services of a pathologist. He failed. Then he tried to get the services of any medical specialist, and didn't succeed there either. It became clear to us that most specialists, members of a very noble profession, had no intention of tangling with the Security Police. Morally reprehensible conduct comes in all colours. Eventually Dr David Biggs, an orthopaedic surgeon, fearlessly rallied to our assistance. Helped by Dr Motala he conducted an examination and he took down notes. Then he guided the photographer in taking of the colour photographs, which I subsequently tendered as evidence at the inquest. Some time after the burial I had a consultation with Advocate Pitman, and he asked me to get hold of the various reports, and it was quite an effort. We only managed to get the reports on the 13th of December 1977, and on checking I found that not one of them was dated beyond the 29th of August. Advocate Pitman had phoned Professor Gordon to request the microscope slides of the tissues, and a lengthy conversation took place between Advocate Pitman and Professor Gordon, at the end of which Advocate Pitman was very optimistic about the evidence that Gordon said he would give at the inquest. The inquest into my brother's death took place in Durban
in February/March 1978. The presiding Magistrate was one Trevor Blunden. Both Professor Gordon and Dr Biggs submitted a report to the inquest. Although in the inquest Professor Gordon said he had not counted the wounds, a quick count of his schedules in the report showed that there were closer to 60 than the 40/50 which he estimated. Dr Theo Lourens, a specialist surgeon from Johannesburg, drew a diagram, which I have given to you all. He had an artist draw that, and the injuries reflected on it are drawn to scale. The dark marks represent abraded bruises, and the lighter marks represent bruises. As you will notice that there is a large concentration around the knees, around the elbows, the back, the small of the back, and to a lesser extent on the shoulders and the ankles. Also in the report is mentioned that during the autopsy a large area of extravasation was found in the brain. This was the sort of thing that happens when a person gets a very heavy blow, and Dr Lourens told me that in most cases he would be very surprised if a person receiving such a blow did not become concussed. Also there was extravasation of the mesentery, which was consistent with a heavy blow to the midriff, possibly a kick, something which will cause a person to become winded. I won't read out to you the medical report, because I don't understand them very well myself, but I will tell you what Dr Biggs wrote at the end of his report.
"I left the examination with many questions I could not answer. Some of these were related to the post-mortem procedure and others about the marks I
"had observed. It seemed likely that death had been caused by a tight, constricting band around the neck. It further appeared to be death by suffocation, rather than by sudden arterial occlusion, yet it was stated that the band around the neck had to be cut to remove, the knot being too tight to loosen. How could this have been achieved? How the constricting bands around the neck came to be divided into two? How the multiple and very similar marks had been produced? For what purposes were the incisions on the inner aspects of the thighs made? What was the reason for the removal of pieces of skin?"
Some of these questions, of course, were answered at the inquest. Dr Biggs also conducted an investigation to try to determine how those marks that he saw on my brother's body were caused, and his report said,
"I attempted to produce similar marks on the skin by subjecting specimen to various forms of electrical current, and failed. Application of heat only damaged the local skin. Because the sites of most of the lesions were over joints I attempted compression of a joint between the jaws of a vice grip. This did produce some impressions on the skin, but no lesions comparable to those
"found on the body. Next, direct compression of a fold of skin was tried. It was found that considerable pressure had to be applied to produce an impression which persisted. By further experimentation of using various instruments I was able to produce impressions which corresponded to those I had observed. The implement used was of a type used to compress lead seals onto string or wire,"
very much a device like this one here. When Professor Gordon gave his testimony at the inquest Advocate Pitman was astounded at the hostility shown by Professor Gordon towards the legal representatives of the Haffajee family. This was in sharp contrast to his earlier attitude when he spoke to Advocate Pitman in December. To this day we have not been able to understand the hostility of Professor Gordon, nor the volte face in his attitude. A large contingent of security police were present at the inquest, including one from Pietermaritzburg, with his informer colleague in tow. Unlike the whites, who kept their distance during the breaks, the Indians would congregate near us and taunt us with remarks like, "Bloody terrorist. He was a coward." Considering the arrogance of their head, Colonel Francois Steenkamp, their conduct was not surprising, though vexing. Discipline filters downwards from above. Blunden's conclusion left no doubt that he was part of the country's repressive system, with its cowardly and spineless judiciary. He accepted what the Security Police said, no matter how flimsy the evidence,
and regarded the assertions by our counsel as either unsupported by evidence or mere speculation. He agreed with the senior counsel representing the Security Police, Advocate Willem Booysen, that Hoosen faced the prospect of a long term of imprisonment, and that this motivated him to take his life. Advocate Booysen was then a member of the Broederbond, and subsequently a Judge of the Natal Supreme Court and a resigned member of the Broederbond. Whenever there is a death in detention of a political detainee that death is attributed to the most ludicrous of reasons - slipping on a bar of soap or stumbling down a flight of stairs. Where a detainee appears to have taken his or her life the stock explanation is that the deceased preferred taking his or her life rather than go to prison for a long period. How amazing. There have been many thousands of persons sentenced to long terms of imprisonment for offences, both political and non-political, over the decades, yet we know of less than six deaths in detention which had the appearance of suicide. But Hoosen had not even been charged, let alone tried and convicted, yet that is what the inquest Court did. En route to finding a possible motive for the suicide he was, in effect, posthumously found guilty and sentenced. The Professional Provident Society of which my brother Hoosen was a member refused to honour an insurance policy payable on his death to my parents. They refused to make payment on the grounds that Hoosen had committed suicide, and that suicide within two years of the policy being taken constituted a ground for repudiating payment. The attitude of the Professional Provident Society was carefully discussed with the family attorney and Advocate
Pitman, and we came to the following conclusions. We did not rule out the real possibility that Hoosen was murdered. Even if Hoosen did take his life it was only done because he was compelled to do so by the unlawful action of others on him, and that is murder. We did not, and do not for one moment, believe that the 60 wounds found on his body were sustained by him during two scuffles due to his reluctance to enter motor vehicles, both of which could never have totalled more than two minutes. That explanation is a clumsy lie, but was given in the arrogant confidence that everything to the contrary would not be accepted by the inquest Magistrate. We believe that if Hoosen did take his own life then he did so because he was so sadistically tortured that he sought refuge in death, rather than undergo further torture. Based on this reasoning it was the unanimous opinion of our legal advisers that, in the claim against the Professional Provident Society, my father could claim that a "suicide" is not a suicide where a person is driven to taking his or her life because of unlawful conduct of others on that person. That is called murder. With a claim of this nature the onus would then fall on the Professional Provident Society to establish that Hoosen did commit suicide. To prove that the Professional Provident Society would have to call most, if not all, those persons who gave evidence at the inquest. It would have meant Hoosen's interrogators, one Taylor and one du Toit, would also have to enter the witness box and give their testimony all over again, and be cross-examined. But on this occasion we would have a number of advantages. The matter would be heard in the Supreme Court, hopefully
before a Judge of integrity. We would have before us the record of all the evidence given, and would therefore be in a position to spot inconsistencies and contradictions. Witnesses who had lied would not remember all that they had said at the inquest. The objectives of the action against the Professional Provident Society were twofold. Firstly to compel the Professional Provident Society to honour the insurance policy, and secondly to highlight once again the circumstances surrounding Hoosen's death, the system of detention and interrogation, and the vast powers of the Security Police under the Terrorism Act. Summons was issued in a hurry to avoid prescription, but we came up against an obstacle, a lack of funding to proceed with the matter. The matter was raised with the Reverend Bob Clark of the Pietermaritzburg Dependants Conference, on which I served. He considered the strategy of proceeding against the Professional Provident Society a good one, but try as we could no funding was available, not even from the Osingeni Trust, which was headed by our Chairman here. The action had to be abandoned because my father could not afford the Supreme Court action. The Haffajee family and friends have received no satisfaction of any nature regarding the circumstances which led to Hoosen's death. Previously we did not have an opportunity to publicly express our gratitude and appreciation for the moral support and assistance we received from many organisations and countless people, many of them unknown to us, who identified with us. We have wonderful friends and neighbours, and do not know what we would have done without them. Hoosen's friends and colleagues were no less wonderful. We remember the late Dr David Biggs, a
quiet and unassuming person, for his bravery in the face of fascism, and Dr Motala for coming immediately when we needed his help, our attorney, Morgan Naidoo, for his commitment to justice, and of course the late Advocate Harry Pitman. There is so much one can say about him. He was one of the most courageous lawyers in the pursuit of justice. It was his formidable reputation as a human rights lawyer which made us turn to him. Without a moment's hesitation he plunged into the investigation surrounding my brother's death. The efforts of Amnesty International in London were also very much appreciated. The world is a better place because of such people. Concerning the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, we were sorely tempted to join the families of Biko, Ribero and Mxenge. However, we chose to come to this Commission because we agree with two of its functions. We agree that there should be a record of all human rights violations and atrocities, and not just from 1960 only. We agree that wherever possible there ought to be reparation to victims or their families. Concerning the granting of amnesty to those who caused my brother's death, we are totally opposed to it. Murderers, torturers and human rights abusers must be given no amnesty. There can be no forgiveness for such people. Hoosen was our ... (incomplete - end of Side B, Tape 8) ... and torturers must be hunted down, arrested, tried, and punished. It is also of some concern to me that the Amnesty Committee of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission meets in private. This hearing here is open. A perpetrator is free to attend and listen to this testimony and allegations. There may be a few present here. Similarly victims should
be accorded the right to hear testimony of the perpetrators. On behalf of the Haffajee family and friends of Hoosen we thank the Commission for giving us this opportunity of recording the circumstances surrounding Hoosen's death. Thank you.
Thank you, Yusuf, for a very clear and precise account of what, even after so long, has been a horrifying experience for you and your family. We've certainly heard, as you know today, and as you've seen in the press, some horrifying stories of similar things that have happened to many, many other people in this country, and we will be hearing a similar story - I think it's the next one we'll be hearing from the same police station as your late brother. But before I hand over to the Chairperson I have a few short questions to ask. The first is, even though you have in your own hearts accepted that your brother was driven to suicide, was he the kind of person who, under normal circumstances, would have committed suicide? --- No, he was not that type. We know it, and all his friends and colleagues confirm it.
The second question relates to a follow up on what you think you would like the Commission to do, and how it should go about following up your evidence and your family's request. Would you like us to investigate this matter once again and look at it in much more detail? --- Yes, certainly I would like it to be investigated. I would also like the Commission to assist us in our quest for justice, and maybe thereby help us to achieve the peace and happiness that we need.
As you are aware one of the committees of the Commission is a Reparations and Rehabilitation Committee,
and its purpose is to recommend measures for reparation and rehabilitation. Is there anything that you or your family would request from that committee, and from the Commission in that form? --- Unfortunately that was not an aspect that I queried with my mother when I last spoke to her, but if there is anything I will certainly take the opportunity to let you know.
Thank you. --- And any advice and assistance which the Commission can give us in pursuing our matter with the PPS will be appreciated.
DR BORAINE: Mr Haffajee, I want to express what I am quite sure a lot of Commissioners would like to do, but because of time pressure one has to be quite brief, and that is that I am extremely grateful to you for your candid views. Apart from the story of your brother's death you have expressed your reservations about the Commission, and let me say that we are possibly the first to acknowledge that this is an imperfect instrument, that it has certain powers and objectives, but there are always limitations, determined in large measure by the nature of the political settlement which took place in this country, I appreciate your comments and sharing with us your reservations about coming here, and yet coming. Because I hope that this is going to be an encouragement to others who have similar reservations, but for the reasons you advanced decided to come. Now, you've asked us - or rather in response to a question you've said that you would like the Commission to investigate this one more time to try and see if one can't get to the truth. I want to ask you a question, and I have no expectation of an
answer one way or the other. I would value your comments. What we have found being experienced by many people who have come to the Commission is over and over again they have said to us, "We want to know the truth. We want to find out what happened." Earlier today, "Who planted the bomb? Who was responsible for my parents' death? Who killed my child?" etcetera. And I think that over and over again we've come to understand that there is a tremendous need to know. Now, one of the ways in which one can know is by investigation, by trying to find out, by having trained personnel, not hiding, but uncovering, and we will certainly do that. I want to ask you, if someone came to the Amnesty Committee, which incidentally is open - if they came to the Amnesty Committee and said, "I was there. I was there when Haffajee died," and explains the nature of what happens, and asks for amnesty for whatever role they played, how would you feel about that? --- In one sense I will be relieved, because I will now be learning something which I did not know before, but it's very much possible that my anger may come to the surface also, and my behaviour thereafter I hope will be gentlemanly.
Again I appreciate your candidness with the Commission. Thank you very much.
Mr Haffajee, just one brief question, which ties up your case in fact with a number of cases that we heard in Gauteng last week, where the phrase that arose out of similar instances of so-called suicide was in fact "induced suicide." I just want to ask, do you think there can be any doubt from the inquest in the minds of the
State pathologist, the doctors, the lawyers, the Special Branch who were involved in that inquest - do you think there can in fact have been any doubt in any of their minds about what had actually happened? --- No, there could have been no doubt in their minds. I think the evidence was very clear, and they chose to look at it from another angle.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. Just to add our own deep condolences, for what they are worth. We have been listening to very harrowing accounts, and hearing about the pain of so many people. We hope that just the fact of having people listen to you, without seeking to pass judgment on how you feel and how you react as a result of your pain, may to some extent help to assuage that pain. And I am glad that you have said that this is the first chance that you have had, as it were, of unburdening yourself and having an official body listen so that you could put, as it were, your side of the story, where you have carried this for all of these years since 1977. And we have heard the views that you have expressed, and we take those very seriously into account when we work out what the recommendations are that we want to bring to the President. Thank you very much. --- Thank you.
DR BORAINE: Mr Mayi, you have somebody with you. Could you tell us who that is please?
MR MAYI: He's the person who is accompanying me. I am on my own.
DR BORAINE: I am very grateful you have a friend and have somebody to come with you. That's very reassuring, and I hope that that's going to make you feel more relaxed, at ease. We are not as bad as we look. We are your friends. We want to only hear what is in your heart. And you have come to tell us about your cousin, Bhayampini Mzizi. Thank you very much. I am not going to ask you any more questions, except I have to ask you to please stand so that you can take the oath.
MAMELA MAYI (Sworn, States)
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. Please feel very, very relaxed now, and I am going to tell you who is going to help you, and I am going to call on my colleague and fellow Commissioner, Dr Mgojo, and I hand over to him now.
DR MGOJO: Thank you very much, Mayi, that you managed to come before this Commission, especially because we so wish to be at the place that you have been to. We are very happy to see you here. What I want to know, can we hear from you, give us a brief introduction who are you, how are you related to this person? --- How I am connected, Mampani is my cousin. I grew up with him. He is a person who was an inyanga, living on herbal things. He went to Richmond from his home. After that ... (intervention)
I am still going to ask how big was your family. I just wanted to know the relation. --- Yes, he was my
Now, tell us about his family. How big was his family? --- It was too big because he had two wives. His first-born is Musweni and Mfikilelo, and his daughter called Jengisile. I don't know the others because they are so many.
Because he had so big family, where is his family? --- The elder one said, "No, I don't want the children to come here." It was so difficult, because I went to see the children. They could have been here, but because of the large numbers they can't be here.
Mr Mayi, as you are here we are at a very delicate function here. Didn't you get any recognition, any permission from the family that you should come here and represent them? --- Yes. His wife said she is afraid of the children. She doesn't want to appear here, but I should come on her behalf. I said to her, "How can I come to see you because you have so many boys?"
We'll go ahead even though ... (inaudible) ... we usually prefer that the person get permission from the family before they come and speak on behalf of the family, because it might happen that your talk here would create problems for the family. Are you still free to speak on behalf of the family without having been authorised by the family to come and speak here on their behalf? --- Yes, I am prepared to come and speak here because I was very hurt by his death. His wife has got no problem with me. It's just that he needed to consult his elder son, because I have sent a word to her. She said to me, "That's all right. You should consult my elder son," but I was afraid to go to the elder son and get an
authorisation to relate this. (Pause)
Just tell what you know about our cousin. --- What I do know about my cousin, he left home, he had gone to do his work as an inyanga. And after he left, it was quite a while after he had left, there was a policeman who arrived who was looking for him. This police was called Grant. He used to work at Highflats Police Station. But this police arrived there and found that he had already gone. He asked from his senior wife, because there's something that is very difficult, because his cousin's wife wasn't well, and they wanted him to go and help. His senior wife said no, he has already left. They said he was in a rush to go to Richmond. He has gone to practice his inyanga medicine there. He said, "Maybe try and run. He might even catch up with him, because he was going to catch two buses." From there they left, they followed him, and they did found him at the bus stop where he was going to change buses. They took him. They said they are taking him back at home because there's an urgent thing that was very important, but the didn't tell him what was this important thing that they wanted him to go back home for. From there he came with them and they took him. When they came back they gave him over to other policemen, and these policemen took him to Brighton Beach. At this Brighton Beach that's where he ended, and his wife talked with these other people where he was originally going to. They said, "Bhayampini was coming to you, but he is not yet back home. What's happening to him? Now people say they don't know where he has gone to." And those people said, "No, he didn't arrive," whereas they took him along the way. And from there he looked for him, looking from
this policeman who originally came to home to look for him. They were looking for this Bhayampini, because they couldn't trace him from where he had said he was going to. These policemen said no, he had been arrested. They said, "Hau, why was he arrested?" "No, he is the criminal." And the woman wanted to know where he had been arrested to. This other policeman said, "No, they took him to Durban." So now we didn't exactly know what happened, and the wives started crying and jumping up and down at the police station. And one day they came with the soldiers. The soldiers were with him from Durban. They said he must take out all the bombs he had with him, and he said no, he doesn't know any bomb. And they brought him back again. And they brought him again and said, "Take out these bombs," and he said, "No, I don't have any bombs. I don't know of any bombs." From there he came back because he was going to be buried, and one of his eyes had protruded out. It's as if he had been hit with something that this eye got inside. We buried him at home. That's all I can say.
By the way, you live at Umlazi Hostel. Where is that hostel? --- At Te Huis. I live at Te Huis Hostel.
You said it was difficult for you to meet the son of the deceased at section 17. Can you explain a bit more? Why is it difficult for you to go to the elder son at section 17? --- It's because here and 17 we dare not go there. We get assaulted and beaten up when we go there.
Just continue. --- In section 17 we cannot go there. It usually happens you must tell everything where
do you come from. When you say you come from the hostel, or at Thuyhuis, you will never go back again.
What's the distinction between Thuyhuis and the other hostel, because they are all in one township? --- And in Glebelands there is Congress, that's ANC, and on the other side is Inkatha.
You say you live at Umlazi Hostel, but where is your home? --- It's in High Flats.
At High Flats. --- It's a black school at Nhlabatzana.
Where does Bhayampini come from, where was he born? --- He was born on the farms. From there he went to the homeland. That's where he died.
According to your statement you say that you've heard at the station when you were asked where is Mzizi you were told that he's no longer at High Flats, he's at Brighton Beach Station. Did the family know that he was no longer at High Flats but he was in Brighton Beach? --- It is his wife who went there and didn't find him at that police station. He had gone there to find out from Gilandi.
Is there any investigation that was done about his killing? --- No, it's just that all the people who died - I know they did investigate about other people who were killed except him. That's the reason why I am here, because it would seem there has been some threat that people were told, "Anybody who talks about Mzizi will be killed," so that nobody pursued the matter.
The gentleman was an inyanga, and he was working as an inyanga, and he had many wives. Was there an organisation he was involved in as far as you're
concerned? --- No, I didn't know about him being involved in any political organisation, because he was a traditionalist, he was an inyanga.
But the organisation around there was it UDF that was there, and this very Inkatha? --- I see the ANC, but I can't say he belonged to any organisation. I didn't know him belonging to any organisation.
Thank you. And his death certificate, was there a death certificate? Has his wife gotten a death certificate? --- What I remember in the death certificate, I don't know if it's there or whether it wasn't there, because we were threatened by the police.
Now, you don't know anything about it? --- No, I don't know anything.
At the time when you were talking to his wife, and when she asked you to go to the elder son, what did she say you must come and ask from this Commission? --- What I really request from this Commission is that maybe if the Commission can look after her children. Her children, if there is some assistance that they could give.
How many children are these, because ... (intervention) --- Oh, maybe there are 20 or more. I have got no idea. There's so many children, many, many.
Do you know how old are those ones that are not yet working? --- No, I don't know. I don't even know which ones are working and which ones are not working, but I do know some elder sons are working. But there are others who are just unemployed.
I think we, as the Commission, we will try and meet the family. --- I will be very grateful to that,
Because we haven't even been to Ixopo Springfield. We are planning to go there. At the moment for us to get full information we will need to get this from the family, but we are happy that we came here. And also give us courage and strength to go to this family. We are going to try and reach them and see what we can do for this family, and get all the information. --- Yes, I am very happy about that. But what made my heart sore was that I didn't hear anything about his death.
Is there anybody with a question?
DR BORAINE: Chairperson, I'd like to ask - well, I'll wait until the earphones are in place. I'd like to ask Mr Mayi - when your cousin was taken by the police, and you mentioned a name of a man by the name of Grant, did you ever hear whether your cousin was charged or arrested for any particular offence? Why did they take him? --- They said he is a terrorist. I don't even know what a terrorist is.
And when they told you that he was dead can you remember what was the cause of death? --- They used to say somebody has hung himself with his own shirt.
Can you tell me was there any doctor, or any court case that you can remember? --- (Incomplete - end of Side A, Tape 9) ... I'll be very, very happy if you could investigate what happened.
Thank you very much.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much, Baba.
DR BORAINE: Mr Ndedelwa, we'd like to welcome you very warmly to the Commission, and we want to thank you for coming. You have come to talk about what happened to you, not about a member of your family, and you want to tell the Commission of times when you were brutally attacked. Now, before we hear your story you have to take an oath that you will tell the truth, so could you please stand.
SILELANE NICHOLAS NDEDELWA (Sworn, States)
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much. Please be seated. Mr Ndedelwa, Dr Magwaza, who is on the Commission - she is sitting over there - is going to help you to tell the story of what happened in your own life, and I hand over to her now. Thank you very much.
DR MAGWAZA: I greet you, Mr Miya. We want to welcome you here, and we are grateful that you are one of the people who could come and give us evidence here. In your statement you said you are here representing yourself, together with another person called Mpanza, is that right? --- Yes.
I am going to ask you, Mr Miya, to start with yourself. Tell us who are you, where do you come from, so that we can know you. We don't want to hear anything about Mpanza now, we just want to hear something about you. Yes, you can start. --- I am Silulane Nicholas Ndedelwa. I come from Inanda.
Are you finished? --- Yes.
Before getting into your story I want to know, this Mpanza you want to talk about, is he related to you, or was he just a friend? --- No, we were not related at all, but I knew him because I knew all the youth. He was
still very young, he was 15 years old when he met his fate. I think on the 17th of September it was on a Sunday. It was round about 4 o'clock. We were returning from a meeting called by the organiser. He called everybody who was a leader of the street, because at that time I was also a leader in our community.
Can I interrupt you a little? Can you tell us what you were? Can you please tell us this thing? You said you were something. Can you clearly indicate? --- No, there is nothing I am afraid of. I am going to put everything clear, but if I make mistakes I'll request you to please forgive me. At about four, when we were coming from the meeting, I saw many people running, whereas they were - the one they were chasing was on the river. I didn't see this person. I saw those people who were chasing. As I just parked the car at home I saw this one running from below, and I parked the car and I went to peep. As I was peeping, before I arrived to him, I found that this one had already been grabbed by two men. These two men who had grabbed him it was Cele and Mthembu. I went to them. I said, "Oh, guys, what is happening? Why are you grabbing this man?" And also all this other crowd also running towards him. They said, "No, he was running away. We were trying to chase him so we can find out." This boy said, "No." He said, "These people came at home and they attacked us at home. When I tried to run away I ran towards the back of the window and ran away. They saw me running. That's why I was running away. So now why are you coming here?" At that time he said, "No, I was running towards this man because I saw he might save me, because I know he is a person who is always at home. So
"I came here because he's a person I trust who can really mediate and help me." He was pointing at me. At that time I had just arrived. I said, "But why are you catching this person?" This person said, "We want to hear from him. We found him running. Now we want to hear from him." I said, "Please leave him alone," and when these people are chasing him they will do whatever they want. Maybe they'll hurt him. I said, "Please leave him because I also don't know, you also don't know, because you can see people are running away, so may you please leave him, let him run." They grabbed him and the first person came, and I said, "Please don't do it." This person respected me. The second person came, and the third one. When the third person arrived he said, "What are you waiting for?" He said, "No, we're being disturbed by this man. We've got this kid now." While he was still holding the other one stabbed at him while the others were just standing there. They stabbed at him, and he jumped and fell towards the house. When he got up he was dizzy. They chased him towards the street and he fell, and they stabbed and stabbed and stabbed him, and lots of them came now at the place where he had fallen. I went there again. I also was confused, I was frightened. I was confused by this death, because the people who were doing these things were children. While I was still trying to reprimand them they said, "You are the one who will follow this person because you are reprimanding us doing our work. We don't need you. Could you just keep quiet and leave this whole thing, because if you try to reprimand us we are going to continue with you, but we are going to go away and we will come back." But I said, "What you are doing in front of
me I don't like it. I am not used to this kind of thing. I have never seen a person being killed this way." They didn't do anything to me, they respected me and they left. I stayed there. Later on, because this thing happened about four, and at around six I got worried about this person who was lying here. I left and I went to the one who had grabbed him first. I said, "But now the person you grabbed that person is still lying there. It's better for us to go and call the police car so that they can take this person to the mortuary. But now because he is lying there he needs our help. Now he is dead there is nothing we can do." The second thing, we had been called to the meeting that when we see such things we must try and hold together and work together, we shouldn't just leave these things. And he respected me and we went to the other person who had also grabbed at him, and when I arrived at that person I found lots of people there. And when I came in the other one said, "Hau, you men, are you crazy? Why are you here? Please get out of here. Please get out of here, this is a meeting. A meeting of ours like this one does not need a person like you." I was confused, but anyway I managed to escape. When he was still talking to me another child stood up and insulted me, and he grabbed at me and pulled me out of the door. And I had a knobkerrie. When he tried to hit at me I hit back with this knobkerrie. The other one said, "Be careful of him, he's a dangerous person when he's got his knobkerrie." They took my knobkerrie. That's where they stabbed at me, stabbed me all over. I didn't even see how I was stabbed and by who because there were lots of them. But later on they stabbed me, they stabbed me and pushed me towards the
door. That's where I fell and they finished off with me. I could hear that they had finished with me and I couldn't get up there, and I thought I was going to follow the other guy they had stabbed. While I was still lying there there were two people who tried to help me. They put me next to the street. That's where I got some kind of assistance, but I was unconscious ... (inaudible) .. my mind had escaped me and I was confused according to how I had been stabbed. I think I was just fortunate, I managed to get up again and walk towards home. When I arrived home they nursed me. I couldn't even go to the doctor on that day as it was on the 17th, and on the 18th, the following day, and on the 19th. There was no way I could go. On the 19th this Thembi arrived with Cele at night. They said to me, "Hau, you survived." I said, "Yes, I survived." They said, "You've very fortunate in what happened to you there." And the other one said, "No, it means you are a Xhosa indeed, you are not part of this group. But we had told you you were going to follow up this other person who died." That was about nine. And then they left. After they had left it was nine, it was 10, and 11. At 12 the petrol bomb came in. My whole house was surrounded. They hit my house. They petrol-bombed my house, and there were bullets all over. There were lots of bottles inside the house. But what I really saw, they were burning - they hit them. When they hit them they were burning, but when they fell inside the house they stopped, the fire was extinguished. I think because of this what happened as an inyanga my house was protected, because petrol bomb it's weaker than the muthi. That is why I didn't die. That is why the petrol bomb
didn't explode into my house. It's because my house was protected with the medicine. They disappeared into the darkness. They disappeared into the darkness, and I was worried because I thought my children would die because of the smoke. I tried to pull them outside. They came back. When they came back the second time they tried to burn my house. They kicked my door. The door opened and they pushed themselves in. They went into the house and they were thrown outside. They tried to push themselves in, but every time they would be thrown outside. They went outside to my four cars and they lit them up. As the cars were burning I managed to get out of the house as well.
CHAIRMAN: Order please. If we say order, please listen. Every person must be given the opportunity to tell us his story. Please don't interrupt. If you don't want to listen it would be better to go out, because we are here to listen to the stories, to listen to everybody. Please don't interrupt. When I ask for order please do respond properly. I wouldn't want to ask you to leave, because we have to be given the opportunity of hearing each person's story. Thank you.
DR MAGWAZA: You can continue, Sir. --- When they came for the second time they tried to carry on with their mission, but they just stopped. They went out to my cars and they lit the cars. All the cars were burning, and during that time I managed to get out of the house. I don't want to make any mistake here. One of them saw me and he said, "Is this person still alive?" One of them said, "Get aside. You didn't kill him inside his house, you will never kill him outside." I went out and I left the house. I left everything in that condition and they
removed themselves from my premises. I came back to have a look at the damage. The house was still all right, but the cars were burnt. And I went into the house. I said, "If I die I would die in my house." I stayed at my house until 6 o'clock in the morning. I was wide awake throughout the night. At about 6 o'clock a car arrived at my place. It was from KwaMashu, a person whom I cured. This person helped me a lot, because he took me to the police to report that my cars have been burnt. While busy giving the statement an investigator, Ntshangase, arrived, and I said to him, "Ntshangase, I was hurt, I was injured at home, as you see me here. I want to give my statement in. I was attacked last night, but before I was attacked I actually rescued a person who nearly got killed." The investigator was really surprised to hear that. And I said to him, "I don't know, because things are now bad." The investigator, Ntshangase, went direct to my place. He came back and he said to me, "There is nobody at home. You have just said to me that your children were at home, but they were not at home." And I went back home. It was true, my children were not at home. Well, I left the statement, I searched all over the place for my children. They were with my brother at Mbhambhayi. Every time there was harassment at my family they would run away to see their uncle. I came back to give my statement. I was there throughout the day until it was dark.
Can I please interrupt you? Can you please summarise? Can you summarise your story? Say everything you want to say, but summarise. --- On my way back from the police station to give them my statement I was going straight home. My house was now in flames. My
house was completely burnt down. That was the end of the 19th. I escaped because one of my friends helped me to escape. I went to section B. I only stayed one day at section B. There was also fighting. I don't know what the fighting was all about. I moved over to the place where I now stay. Since my arrival in December in 1990 I never left that place any more. That is where I am based now. As I have already explained to you that was my story. I never took any initiative to lay a charge. I didn't know what to say, because nobody was there to be charged. I thought it was unwise to lay a charge against a person whom I do not know, but I only pray to God to strengthen me, and I am grateful that I survived.
Thank you very much, Sir. This is a very sad story, and it touches all of us. I will ask a few questions just to clarify a few points here in your statement. Sir, in this whole story were organisations fighting? Do you agree they were the political parties, even if we don't mention their names, but everything that happened it was because of the fight between the two organisations? --- Yes, it's true.
I would like to ask you a question about the Mpanza family. Where is the Mpanza family now? What happened to them after their son was killed? Did you see them ever after? --- It was in September when all these things happened. It was on the 17th when this boy was killed. Since that time I have never seen the Mpanza family, and I never ever had any contact with them. They were living at the Mamba Store, very close to the Mamba Store. I don't know whether to contact them so that they can appear here, but I only saw them during that time.
One other thing that I would like you to clarify for us. It seems as if you know the people who did this thing, because some of them you even named them, but at the end you said you never laid any charge because you didn't know who to accuse. --- I think I have to explain there. Among the people who were chasing the deceased I didn't know anyone among them, but the ones I spoke to are the ones who grabbed the person who was running away. And then we saw those people were chasing. They were the ones who grabbed the person who was running away, so I can't say they were chasing him. They were grabbing this person who was running away to ask, "Why are you running away?" But I complained to them and said why were they grabbing this person who is running away. If I can just put it clearly there that I cannot hide who are these people, because I didn't even follow them up because they were also grabbing at a person who was running away. If it was a wild animal they wouldn't have eaten this animal, because they had not - they were chasing it, they had just got hold of it.
Do you know the people who attacked your house, and even the two who grabbed this person who was running away? Do you know them? --- I am very happy to receive that question. The people who burnt my house, I don't want to make fault. If there was one among them whom I know I wouldn't hide his name. Even the people who said I should be left alone because I defeated them, I cannot identify them because it was dark. Everything happened at night. The second point that I want to say, I was also scared. I was confused in my mind. That is why I want to clarify that. The people who chased that child on the 17th, I
couldn't say anything to them any more. Even the ones who were at my place on the 19th, I can't say anything about them because it was dark, I couldn't see them. Even the one who stabbed with his knife, he did that just in front of my eyes, but I couldn't recognise him.
We are very happy to have a person like you coming to the Commission, telling us the whole story. We know that there is so much violence in this area, and we are happy to have people such as you. We might be in a position to get a solution to the violence. What I am going to ask from you, you lost your house, you lost the cars, and maybe some of the things that we do not know. According to your vision what can the Commission do to help you? --- I have a request. What I would request, if things are possible I would like the Commission to help me rebuild my house. I know I couldn't lay charges against anybody because there was nobody to lay charges against. My cars were burnt and my house was burnt. I still have the documents. I would only request the Commission to help me rebuild my house, or help me with the cars.
The Commission has only limited powers. We will see where we can help. Thank you very much.
MR NTSEBEZA: (Inaudible - end of Side B, Tape 9) ... let me put it this way. The things you spoke about to the Commission people at that time when you gave your statement, you called things by their names and people by their names. Is it not so? The thing you call by its name, you said, "It was so-and-so of this - I was this thing, and at that time I was that." Now, what I want to
find out now, have you got a problem as we are here so that you can tell us the same story you told us before? If you have got a problem you must tell us so that we don't ask you things you're not prepared to talk about them here in public? --- In the things that I had written down I know them. I don't think I have dropped them. I just like want to be polite on certain things and not say certain things. I don't want to talk about this organisation or that organisation.
I will ask you again. Can I ask you about things that you said in your statement? I don't want to ask you things that you're not free and feeling uneasy about talking about them. For an example, I can say according to this statement you said at the time when this incident happened you were a member of Wesley - or church. For an example can I say that, that you used to say you are a churchgoer of Wesley Church, or Presbyterian Church? If you have got a problem with that tell us so that we don't ask you those things, because we do have this statement. I also want to explain to these people who are the press people that we're talking about this or talking about that, or not talking about that. --- I see what you are saying. You can say I was the leader. I was the councillor of an Inkatha. I was the chairperson of Inkatha. That you can put it. I am not hiding that.
Thank you very much. --- I was the chairperson of Inkatha. This child was running away. He said, "Because I was running towards this man, this man knows me, because he would be at home because this is the man who could say I am the criminal," but he was running to me because I am not a criminal. I am not making a mistake on
that. I am very happy, Sir, because I thought this whole thing was trailing off, we were not explaining it. But what I can put here, I want to explain it clearly. During that time there wasn't ANC that was fighting Inkatha, but it was UDF that was fighting Inkatha. UDF has been closed down now. Those people who were chasing this boy were the UDF people. This boy, this child, was in the organisation, was in Inkatha organisation, and running towards me because I was the chairperson of Inkatha.
CHAIRMAN: I am giving you the last warning. If this happens again I am afraid I will have to ask the hall to be cleared. --- Okay, there are words that were said by Mthembu and Cele. There were some words, very hot words they said, which I said, "If you say that Mthembu you've been telling me that I must depart from Inkatha, you should have told me that you've now joined UDF. I would have also joined UDF if you had told me." And they said to you, "You, as you are Inkatha now, and you are not in UDF, you will meet your death." They also were Inkatha, but then they crossed the floor and went to UDF. I used to lead them in Inkatha, but now they pulled off from Inkatha and went to UDF. I said, "If you had told me that you're crossing the floor to the UDF I would have also crossed the floor. I didn't go to that meeting because you didn't tell me." That's why that I was explaining it, so that I just don't write these things down.
Thank you very much, Sir. I didn't want you to say things you didn't feel like saying. --- No, I am not scared.
DR MGOJO: Mr Miya, as you have said I don't hear anything from you about your family being attacked. You talk about yourself surviving. Where was your family when all this was happening to you? --- I had explained that we were all attacked inside the house, but at the time when these people left, as I have already said that I took my family out because I realised there was a lot of smoke inside the house when they were throwing in the petrol bombs. So I took my family out and then I went to stay inside.
Nobody was injured in your family? --- No, nobody was injured on that day. Nobody was injured in my family. The person who was already injured it was me. I had gotten injured on the 17th, but when this other incident happened at my home it was on the 19th.
At that time when they were stabbing you and injuring you until you were unconscious did you see the doctor? --- I went to the doctor on the 21st at Verulam, because there was no way that I could go to the doctor at that time on the 17th. I was nearly killed in my house. It was because of my traditional medicine, because I drank some of my traditional medicine. On the 18th I couldn't see properly. My eyes were swollen and my whole body was sore. And on the 19th they came at night. They were coming to burn my house as they were stabbing me on the 17th.
CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Sir, for coming here, that you came to give your explanation here. We have listened. We have also listened to your wishes. We will try as a Commission to do what we can do. Thank you very much.
DR BORAINE: Mrs Jokweni, can you hear me?
MRS JOKWENI: Yes, I can hear you.
DR BORAINE: That's great, because I want to welcome you, and to thank you for waiting such a long, long time before we can hear your story. And you are the last today, and we are looking forward very much to hearing what you have to tell us because you have personally experienced torture and detention and arson, and it's not easy to talk about these things, but we are grateful that you have come because we want to have the widest possible picture of what has happened in South Africa. I would like you to please stand in order to take the oath.
TRIFINA JOKWENI (Sworn, States)
DR BORAINE: Thank you very much, you are now under oath, and I am going to ask my colleague, Mr Hugh Lewen, who is from Gauteng, and is working with the Commission as a committee member of the Human Rights Violations Committee, and he is going to take over from me now. Thank you.
MR LEWEN: Thanks very much, Dr Boraine. Mrs Jokweni, can you hear through your earphones? --- Yes, I can hear.
Again I'd like to thank you very much for your coming here. It has been a long day. We'd like to thank you for your patience. It's also - as the Archbishop mentioned at the beginning of the day it's quite an auspicious one in terms of our history. So much in fact is happening very quickly, and I think that it is both useful and apt that we should remember more slowly some of the things that happened in our history. And I would like just very briefly to put the context of your story as I
understand it. If we look back, particularly at the history of the 80s, where we're talking about the history of the struggle inside the country was very much a mixture of people inside and outside. Those outside in exile, many inside could be said to be in internal exile, those in prison. And then apparently, as in your case, an internal activist against the system. And I would like to say that your story in many ways brings together the outside and the inside part of our history. And I'd like to welcome you as one of the first, and I am not sure, possibly the first, person to come as a woman combatant to appear before the Commission. I'd like to thank you for that, and welcome you on that note, and then ask you please slowly, in your own words, to tell us your story. --- Thank you very much. Thank you very much for having this opportunity to come to this Commission, especially to come here and relate my story. Although I am getting old, I have forgotten other things, but I still remember others, although I might have forgotten some. But what I will emphasise on, I am going to relate a 1987 incident on March 23rd, when I was arrested on that day. But what I can't remember, it's when I was released. I have forgotten the date on which I was released. I was sent on the 22nd. It was in April. On 22nd of April I was sent to my children. My children are people who were outside. I was asked to go and fetch my children from outside at the station in Umkomaas. Somebody just made a telephone in the morning. It was my neighbour. My neighbour said I must go and fetch the boys because they were in danger. I stood up, and this person took me by car. I went to Umkomaas Station. This person said I will be able to
recognise him by what will be written on his face, which is a Mobil cap. It was written Mobil. That's how I will greet this person. It wasn't for the first time, I was very used to doing these things. As I was still waiting at Umkomaas Station the first train passed. I got out of the car. When I got out of the car there was a car that was waiting at Umkomaas Station. It was white, but I don't know the model of the car. I went to the station and I sat down. Just within a minute, it was a long minute, this boy he came with another boy, a young boy. When I grabbed this boy, greeting him warmly, I saw this other boy. That's only when I recognised, "Oh, are you with another boy?" The other one was saying, "Oh, I know you. But I know you, Mama." I said, "No, I don't see you." I said, "The secret - the rosary secret I am not going to talk about it because you are with somebody else," and I left. I went to phone the person who had asked me to come there. I said, "I didn't get the banana." But when this other boy went to notify the other people in the car - it was a coloured and Special Branch Mbatha and this boy, but I didn't know the fourth person. While I was on the phone telephoning, to say, "I didn't get the banana," I heard a lot of sirens, car sounds, and I am not going to get on at Umkomaas Station. I took the station at Mkabeni. I was going to catch a taxi at Umgababa. I went to Umgababa. When I arrived at Umgababa I got into the taxi. It was still early, it wasn't at night, and I arrived at home very early. When I arrived at home there was a boy who was also my child from on the other side. I said, "There's something I didn't like, my child, which I saw at Umkomaas," and I explained. "But I
don't know what happened. I can't explain this." He said, "If you are going to be called by God," he said there are so many of these things. While we were still staying there at home, it was at about eight, it was the story of Sigidi we were listening to on the radio, boys knocked. "I really don't like this thing, my children. I don't want you to sleep. I think you'd better be here with me. I am old. I don't want you to sleep here, the three of you, because we're going to be on fire right now. There's going to be trouble. You shouldn't sleep here." And they were free. I tried around to go and get a car so that they could go somewhere. I tried to phone other people. Mrs Mxenge wasn't there, because she used to help me. I could phone her any time of the night. She used to send children, and she would do what I needed. Now Mrs Mxenge was dead, so I tried to phone other people, but I couldn't get a car, and we slept. We slept very late. They were still singing for me, singing all those songs, the songs from outside. There were two guns, the workers iron, and the hand grenade. It was on me. It was under the bed. I was sitting on it so that when there was any sound I would kill myself. I said I was too old, "I am not going to play with the boers, I'll just kill myself." When the third boy arrived I said, "Here, my child, because these two are already having something, they are holding something, and you are not holding anything." They slept in the small room. At about half past one, if I am not mistaken, or quarter to two, I heard a loud sound noise, a calling. It was said, "Trifina Jokweni, open up with all the terrorists you've got inside." They were fast asleep. When I tried to get up I saw the door was
wide open. They kicked it and opened it. At the front there were burglar guards. There was a huge padlock. When I woke up I realised that we are already dead, we are gone. I saw there was one of my child who was not very well, he was sick. I said, "Raise up your hands" and he got up with the hands, and I was inside the house. This other police outside was like shouting at me, saying, "Why don't you put on the light?" I said, "I can't find the matches." I tried to find the key. I was trying to wake this up by delaying. So when I opened the door I got out. Before I got out I hit the door. These kids got up. I think they were already up, because the word that I heard is - Vusi said, "Mama, what are these dogs saying?" That was the last word he said. I managed to get out, and I tried to evade. Them took me and lied me down. They put their gun on me here, on my upper chest. There was shooting, there was fighting. The police are fighting and my boys were hitting, but my boys were hitting with a different metal. I could hear my own metal. I could hear also the South African gunfire. It was a long time while this fire was going on. I came out with a nightdress. I just had a petticoat, a very small petticoat underneath, because they were boys, and I put a thick nightdress on top. I didn't put anything, I just had slippers on me, and the hat for hiding my bald head. When the firing was going on the firing went on for a long time. When I heard the last fire I could feel it, it was the last fire from my children, my children had run out of their fire. These other ones started shouting, and the boers were shouting. But I could hear a little bit, but I don't understand English very well. I don't understand English very well.
One of them said, "One of ours has been hurt. One of ours has been hurt." The police were saying that. I could hear in English, although I don't know English very well. And then another boer he threw something inside the house. That's a thing that exploded. When the machine from our side was silent I realised that was their death. But one of the senior had a gun on top of me. I thought that was my death. I tried to rise up and jump. I wanted to ululate because I saw my soldiers were dead. That's when this other boy, this other boer, turned around and shoot me, and I hit amen, I wanted to die, but I couldn't die at that stage. God didn't want me to die at that stage. They took me there. My other child was sick. They took both of us in the car. They put us across the road. When we were across the road there was another old man who is a cop. They took out. My child said, "Mama, are they going to kill you?" I said, "That will be better if they kill me rather than going inside, because I know they will torture me, there will be a lot of problems. I would rather die now than have to go through the problems they'll put me through." They took me. They took me to a police station in GG. They found something on your - the sack that they put on your head and suffocate you. They drove with me for a long time. I was the only one, and two policemen. For a long time. They had handcuffed me. When they arrived at GG they took off the handcuffs and handcuffed me from behind tightly. They took me for a long time. They were from Umlazi. It's only the Sunday morning that I was in Amanzimtoti. I didn't know where I was. And we arrived there in the morning and they didn't even open anything. These police did all the cruel things
to me. They did everything to me. There was an African police who was Doyisa. He used to visit, and he would walk up and down. He said, "This old lady won't talk until there's a tokoloshe, a zombie." Tokoloshe is an electric shock. They put it all over my body. I used to call it the belt of Johan. If it was pressing two seconds I would have died. I fell, I collapsed. I was pissing myself. I stayed there for on Friday and Saturday and Sunday. They didn't even give me food, they didn't give me any water. The only thing I wanted was water. I was so thirsty for water, but at that stage I wasn't hungry. They came back to me and they took me again at night. I couldn't distinguish between night and day. I didn't even know it was Saturday. I didn't even know where they took me. It was the sea. I didn't see the sea, but I could feel it was by the sea. The other one was holding me and pushing me ahead as if I could fall, and I was praying that, "I wish I could fall over and die." They did that to me, they said, "Take out. Produce the weapons. We've heard that there are lots of weapons. You don't want to produce these weapons." They took me back and put me inside the house, and it was Sunday. On Sunday they took me. I was wet already. They took me to Pinetown. There was a new style. There were very nice cells there. It was a big area. You would sit here. There were wires all over. I stayed there in Pinetown, and there was a black gentleman there. Everyday I used to wake up, I used to go right upstairs for interrogation. I didn't wash this nightdress. I am pissing on this nightdress, and this nightdress is smelling. They said to me I am smelling. And there was also an African guy called Kleinboy. When
he was pulling - he would pull out the snot and throw it at me, and spit on me. For a long time they did that. They used to make statements, but I couldn't see without my glasses. Mbatha used to pressurise me that I must sign. I said, "What can I sign? You're the ones who have written. I cannot write," and my arms were stiff because they had been torturing me. They had handcuffed me behind. For three days they had handcuffed me. I said, "God, if you can let me die." They said, "You mustn't say, "Oh God help me," say, "Oh devil help me." You don't even go to church. Why call God?" I tolerated all of this, but on the day when I left there was an undertaker of Mpayisa. I knew that my children had died, all the three children. It was Vusi, Tutu and Thekani. They took them away. I stayed there, but I don't know how long I stayed there, and they said I must go back, I must go and identify them at the mortuary at Gale Street. I walked there in this nightdress. I took Mbatha and another special branch of girl. She used to stay at Ntuzuma. They took me to the mortuary. They phoned, they said, "Those people who died had number so-and-so. Take them outside and line them up," and I identified my children. There were two of them that you could identify. The third one you couldn't identify. They had burnt him completely. He was ashen white. His whole body was ashen white. There was no skin. I don't know what had happened to him. I said, "Go well my children, you are dying for the children, you are not robbing anyone." They took me back to Pinetown. Every morning we used to go for interrogation. They would ask me all sorts of questions. Eventually I agreed, I said, "There are weapons." They
beat me up. I think I was unconscious, I didn't see what happened. From there I became unconscious, and I said, "I will tell you." From there I said they were under the bananas. They weren't under the bananas, and of course there was no truth. They came, they said, "Where did you use them?" I said, "Who had taken them?" and then they hit me again. I thought they were going to kill me. I said I had put them at my friend at such and such a place. I was hoping that by delaying my friend will get time to take away those weapons. They went for her, and when they arrived in Pinetown van Ruys came and said, "You, old lady, you said they - you told your friends that they must take your guns to such and such a place." I said, "No, I didn't say." They said, "Open up." They opened the door, I saw my friend. I said, "My friend, you've got an operation, you can't see me. My legs and hands are hurt. I said, "Please, bring those weapons up ..." (Incomplete -end of Side A, Tape 10) ... I stayed there for many months without having clothes. I think somebody got - released in the paper that I was being tortured. One time a white man came. He said he was not a police, but he heard that I am being tortured, who was beating me up? I told him, "If you're staying in someone's house can you say this person is beating me, because you are going to leave me here now and they will continue to assault me?" I said, "They are not assaulting me. Why are you loving me so much." They are the ones who came to me and said there was a letter from a senior attorney that I shouldn't be assaulted. And at that time I was real relieved because they were no longer assaulting me. I realised that I could take the issue further if they continued to
/assault me. So
assault me. So after I had identified Mboyisa, and I had identified their bodies, it was very painful because those were my children. Those were really like my children. But that wasn't their intention. They didn't want to kill them. They wanted to kill other boys. This was just by mistake. I don't know who let the information out that I had gone to fetch the boys among those who had sent me, because when these were died they said, "No, we were looking for Mkolisa and Mkhize, who killed Sokena, the Special Branch at Z Section." I don't know if there's somebody who exposes information. That was the end of it for that time. I stayed in gaol for a long time. The lawyer brought clothes for me, but they wouldn't give me these clothes. They were still building this gaol. I saw a person from Clermont. I called out to this person, I said, "Please, tell Brother Archie that I have got no clothes and I am cold and it's May." It was around about May, about June. "Since I arrived with a nightdress I can't wash this nightdress. What am I going to dress?" because these other boers which I don't even know, when they brought my clothes from another girl from the lawyer the other one signed that I had gotten those clothes, whereas this other boer took it and gave it to another prisoner. And these other boers who had signed said, "Where are these clothes, because I have signed for them?" but I never found those clothes until the lawyer - until the church people met and they brought us track suits. It was the only time that I wear clothes and wear some warm clothes. They had kicked me at the back. I am old already. Mbatha took me to the doctor. He used to take me to the doctor regularly. When I heard that - I
complained that I have got a problem with my ear. He said, "This doctor said there's no problem with your ear." One day they throw a tear gas. They threw tear gas at me. The doctor said to me, "The tear gas is very good. It will relieve your chest if they throw tear gas at you." I stayed there. I was very sick, and they took me to Westville Hospital and gaol, when I was still in gaol at hospital. I stayed there for a long time, I don't know how long. I heard my name being called out and I went there. They asked me if you've got clothes. I had track suit. They took me to the doctor, and the doctor said what do I feel? I showed my back that had been kicked by van Riebeck, and my back is very sore. This doctor said, "Ag, it's just old age." He gave me a little piece of paper. I don't know what was that date, I can't remember. I have really forgotten all those details. So that's how I got out. I rest my case here, because I have forgotten about other issues, like since 1982. In Umlazi in 1980 there was an organisation called Esol Umlazi(?). There was GM there. GM, they killed him on the 19th. We were going to go to the court hearing on 20th of November. The township manager had complained. We were told that water and services should be included in the rent, but because the KwaZulu Government they took out the water, rent and rates, and we said, "Why are these things separated?" And GM took up that case, and they killed him. We couldn't go to the Court hearing on the 20th. These other guys opened their organisation called IFP. I did get involved in IFP when it was established. They said it was our brother outside that had given instructions that this one inside must organise, because people had forgotten about the
organisation in 1960. Now people had forgotten that they must struggle. That's when I went to IFP, but once I was inside I said, "I don't know." I said, "Uh-uh, they never talk like this in ANC." When I tried to make this comment there was a man who stood up, who's already passed away. He hit me with a - slapped me with a clap. And other people had also stand. They didn't start killing then, they would just beat you up. So I ran away. I could also run at that time. So I ran until I rested at 426 at Shande's section. But after killing Mxenge, "But now we say you must pay for water." "How can we pay for water when there hasn't been a court hearing? You seem to be agreeing with the boers now. I used to trust you, but now what's happening?" I have forgotten other things, but they also used to hit me in my head. They said, "We are going to hit you in such a way that the doctor won't be able to recognise that you have been beaten and you are a dirty old woman."
Mama Jokweni, I would like to say thank you very much for that testimony. You keep complaining about not being able to remember, but what you have remembered, and what you have given us, I think is probably one of the finest and most eloquent tributes to those people you call your children. And I feel that on my behalf it would be disrespectful for me, as one of the younger men, to ask any further questions. I would prefer to hand over to the Archbishop. Thank you.
Mama, we have listened to you. There are no people who would like to ask any questions, but they are very grateful that there are people like you who have tried,
through the pain that they have gone through, and being tortured, who have also helped us to reach the stage where we are today, that today we have got a government which is ours, which was chosen by us. Thank you very much. --- I've got a question to ask. I've got a question to ask. The question I would like to know I would like to ask from Baba P W Botha, because he is still alive, because in 1987 he was the one who was still ruling. If you could speak to him, you as the Commission, that as an old woman like that where will my coffin come from, because they have destroyed my house? I am living in a shack.
We thank you, Mama. As a Commission that has been established by the President of this country there are things we are going to pass on to him and tell him what are the people's wishes. Maybe he is going to go and speak to that old friend PWB, we don't know. We are going to pass on your wishes to Madiba. --- I really am requesting you. I am not satisfied. Even Samson got his eyes gouged out. These people's eyes must be gouged out.
Thank you, Mama.