PROCEEDINGS HELD AT
D U R B A N
ON 28 AUGUST 1996
[PAGES 1 - 162]
Index (Page 1)
I N D E X
NO ITEM PAGE N°
1. Case No NN/016
Michael Madela....................................................... 1 - 11
2. Case No GM/026
Bonginkosi Aaron Mzobe........................................... 12 - 24
3. Case No NN/034
Theresa Khumalo..................................................... 25 - 30
4. Case No MR/034
Mfanafuthi Khumalo................................................. 31 - 37
Theresa Khumalo..................................................... 37 - 38
5. Case No MR/034
Mandlinkosi Khumalo................................................ 39 - 51
6. Case No ZJ/037
J Dlamini................................................................ 52 - 64
7. Case No FS/118
B V Mbambo........................................................... 65 - 75
8. Case No NNN/227
Sandile Thusi............................................................ 76 - 95
9. Case No NNN/229
David S Gasa............................................................ 96 - 121
10. Case No KM/517
T Mbotiwe.............................................................. 122 - 130
Index (Page 2)
I N D E X
11. Case No ZJ/024
N V Mabaso............................................................ 131 - 140
12. Case No KM/594
Busisiwe E Xaba...................................................... 141 - 153
13. Case No ZJ/041
Thamsanqa Templeton Ndimande.................................. 154 - 162
COMMISSIONER: Mr Madela, we greet you and we welcome you here today. You have come - you live in Ntuzuma township, near KwaMashu, and you have come to tell us about the torture that you experienced at the hands of the South African Defence Force in 1987. Before you tell us that story I'll ask you to stand up and take the oath.
MICHAEL MADELA (Sworn, States)
COMMISSIONER: Dr Magwaza will assist you.
DR MAGWAZA: Good afternoon, Mr Madela. We thank you very much for having come here before this Commission. We wish you to tell us about your family, your family background. --- I am Michael Madela and I am staying at Ntuzuma. I have four children. Actually my children were five, but my first-born died, so all of us were six initially.
How old are your children now? --- The eldest one is 22 years old, and the second one is 17 years old, the other one 15 years old, the other one 12.
Are they all schooling? --- There is only two who are still at school. The other one stopped going to school for certain reasons. I am not working.
When last did you work? --- I last worked in 1987, toward the end.
What happened that caused you to stop working? --- It started when I was tortured by the soldiers. I was working for the Corporation, for the Municipality, and I knocked off on the particular day. When I got off the Municipality bus, heading for KwaMashu location - when I got into the bus there was a certain car that was approaching, and as the bus stopped this car also stopped,
and there were certain soldiers, three, who got into the bus, and they pulled me out of the bus. I asked them as to what the matter was, but they did not explain to me. And I struggled for them to let me free, and I kept on asking them as to what was happening, and they assaulted me with the butts of their guns. And I tried to grip on the bus rails so that I couldn't go out. I tried kicking and screaming, but that did not help, because all the other ones who were in the Casspirs came out to assist the three. And the bus driver asked as to what was happening because he recognised me as a bus driver. They told him that he should keep quiet because he was also going to be assaulted. And they picked me up and they put me inside the Casspir. And I fell into a hole which had the spare wheel and I hit my legs as well as my other limbs. And they started assaulting me as well as kicking me. And they were doing this at intervals. Each one of them just wanted to assault me. There is another one who also got injured. Then he said they should take me because I was also a member of the UDF and I deserved to be killed. I heard that I was going to be killed, and there were two Casspirs. I could not see as to which direction we were heading to because it was dark at that time, it was round about half past six. And they drove off with me for quite some distance, and I don't know where we were heading to at that particular time. I heard some noise and I heard that it might probably be at the residential area. Then they came with two cases of beer as well as a bottle of brandy, and they put it next to me. And the Casspir drove, they continued. I saw one of them, and I suspected that he was the commander because they were
listening to whatever he was saying, and I tried to plead with him to leave me. And I realised at that time that they were all drunk, because they were drinking this beer that they had bought. I tried to plead with them in English, but now I realise that they were not sympathising with me. I tried to speak Afrikaans, and I kept on saying,. "My baas, my baas," to them. And I kept on denying that I was not a member of the UDF, and they told me that they had already heard - they got information that the NDC drivers were UDF members as well. I did not know anything about the UDF as well as politics. They started kicking me at that particular moment, and he was right at the top - the one who was kicking me was right at the top, and he kept on kicking me from the top, and I was right at the bottom. And I kept on pleading for my life, and I told them that I had six children that I had to take care of. I was assaulted for quite some time, and I kept on pleading for a number of times. And after some time the Hippo stopped and the other one who seemed to be in charge initiated that I be taken to the police station. I felt somehow relieved that I was going to be taken to the police station. Then the Casspir was driven towards the police station at KwaMashu. I did not even see that we were getting to the police station, I just saw the lights at the police station, because they were slightly brighter than the ones along the street. They told me that I should get out of the Casspir. As I got out there were certain policemen who were full. We used to call them "blom," and there were a number of them, and they knew me because I was a driver. And they did say that I was a driver for the Municipal buses, and at that time I was
very much swollen. My whole body was aching, and I was bleeding profusely. And they pulled me inside their police station.
Can you please explain to us as to what the "bloms" are, why do you call them the "bloms"? --- They used to wear green uniforms. I don't know whether they are blackjacks or policemen, but they used to wear green overalls or blue overalls. That's why we call them blom. I was taken into the charge office, and when I got there they made me stand right at the corner and they kept on talking to each other. Whenever I tried to intervene and tried to clarify the issues I was told to keep quiet. One of the soldiers and put me inside the charge officer, and I asked them as to why I was being arrested, and I had to be formally charged. I told them that if they wanted to arrest me or put me in custody I had to be formally charged. And I was worried because I did not have an attorney at that time. I said to them I wanted to get in touch with my attorney, but I wanted them to tell me as to why they were arresting me. And one of them said they will not be able to arrest me because I seemed to know too much, I was also talking about attorneys. Then I was chased - I was told that I should wait outside together with two policemen, and there were KwaZulu policemen inside the charge office. I stood there up until past 10 or quarter to 11, since they accosted me at about six. They told me that they could not charge me, and I told them that I wanted to go home. If they wanted to arrest me they might as well arrest me and detain me, but if they weren't doing that they were supposed to take me back to where I could transport to go back home. They said that
was none of their concern, they had absolutely nothing to do with that, they couldn't take me back. And I told them that I had been injured and I could not go all by myself. Then after some time came a certain station commander called Nthanjana(?). I think he had just come to take his rounds at the police station. Then he looked at me and asked me as to what had happened, because he recognised me as a Municipality bus driver. It told him that I was taken by the soldiers, and he asked me what had happened to me because I was bleeding and I was swollen. I told him I had been assaulted, but I didn't know what I was being assaulted for. And the other policemen said they should put me in custody and release me the following day. Then the station commander said to me I should go. I didn't know where I would get transport because it was very late at night at that time, and Ntuzuma is quite a distance from that place, and there was no longer transport at that time. He said I should try and ask the police to take me to wherever I was going, but he left me there also. I stood there waiting for somebody to take me home. I could not speak to the police because they were also hungry to assault me. They said I should wait for any van that was going out so that it could also give me a lift to Ntuzuma. They never dropped me off at Ntuzuma, but they dropped me off on the main road, and I had to see to finish as to where I was heading to. Then he dropped me off there and I went on my foot to my place. My brother said I should go and report the matter to the police. I woke up the following day and I went to the police station to open up a case with regard to what had happened the previous day. I submitted a statement and I
explained that the police were also there when this happened. And I went back to work. I was still swollen and I was still very injured. When I got to work I related what had happened to me. I told them that the soldiers had taken me and assaulted me. Let me just explain my work situation. Maybe it can clarify as to how I got to be assaulted. There was a certain union at work. It was FOSATU, before COSATU came into place. Then this union was a Municipality workers union. Now, as drivers we were discussing and saying we should not join this particular union. I was also assisting in mobilising people to join this particular union, and FOSATU at that time was falling apart, and it was falling under COSATU, and we ended up being members of COSATU. That is where the whole thing started, because I was also a leader of the COSATU union. And we were all painted with the same brush. I think the soldiers were told as to who I was because they came straight to me. It means they knew me. Then I went to relate this to Mr Ntenza, who was our shop steward. That was in Ntuzuma. I told him what had happened and he also told me that I should lay a charge. Then he advised me to go and see an attorney. Here are the documents that I got from my attorney, Martin & Kemp. We went to Martin & Kemp, and Martin & Kemp took my statement and said he was going to institute civil action against the then Minister of Defence. I gave him the go-ahead because I also wanted to know as to why I was being assaulted. My attorney said I should pay if I want to institute civil actions. I was prepared to pay. Then he told me to go and take photos as I was as part of the evidence that I was injured.
Now, was there any case that took place? --- I am still coming to that. Then I went to take these photos, and these photos were sent to Martin & Kemp, that is my attorney, and he said that he was going to take the statement himself at the police station, he was going to go and fetch it. And I waited. Each time I had to pay R100,00 a month. At times it was R40,00-R50,00, but I was paying him every month. I kept on paying, and I kept on asking as to the outcome of the case. At first he told me that the soldiers were not supposed to assault me. Even though I had sinned or I had transgressed, but I was not supposed to be treated in the manner that they did. He also told me that his son, Michael, is a soldier, and he was not in the country, he had gone to the border. Now he said he was going to find out from his son. He was just conversing with me, just telling me that his son was also a soldier. I came back the second time now and he told me that I should come with some testimony or evidence that I was assaulted. He said he wanted some witnesses. Then I went to get one of the girls who was there when I got assaulted. And each time I paid, and I kept on asking him as to how my case was. He kept on telling me that he had sent some letters to the Minister of Defence.
I want to disturb you just a minute. Just tell us the outcome of the case. What happened at the end of the day? --- No, I don't know what happened, because I paid but nothing came out of the case. I was never paid. The case was never finalised. He came to me and told me who am I to bring civil action against the State, but I told him that he has taken the case initially and he had advised me to institute civil action.
Let me just ask a few questions to try and clarify the matter, because this seems to go far beyond what we think it is. Are there any other drivers who were also harassed and tortured just like you? --- I wouldn't know, because thereafter I stopped working for the Municipality. I was taken by certain investigating officers from work, and they took me to another police station. They told me that I had killed a certain man by the name of Cy. They said I had shot him whilst he was watching TV in his house. And I was taken by the police. I told them that I did not know anything, and they told me that I was going to speak the truth. I told them that they should just kill me because I hadn't done any of the things that they were accusing me of. Mr S A Dlamini, who said I am the one who had killed that person, was called by the police. They made him sit behind the door, but I could see him through the space between the door on the wall that there was somebody behind the door. There was Mike Gcabashe. And I was released thereafter, but the police said that they were coming back to me because they knew that I was one of the gang members.
We can understand that you were tortured and you were harassed, and it's quite a circle of harassment. The people who harassed, did you ever see them? Can you identify them? Do you know their names? --- In my attorney's file - at the time that I submitted the statement I still remembered all the names, but now I don't remember the names. All the details are with my attorney, because at the time I remembered their names.
In other words if we get hold of your attorneys all the information that we need we will get? --- That is
Where are the attorneys now? --- They are at The Daily News. That is on the 14th floor, at Martin & Kemp firm of attorneys.
We shall try to get hold of the attorneys so that they can shed some light as to what happened, and as well as the essential information that we need with regard to your case. You were obviously tortured. How did your life change after you had been tortured? Let me just start from the time of the assault, when you were being assaulted in the Casspir. Did you get injured, and what happened? Did you get any treatment? --- As I have said you could not recognise me. My head as well as my face was swollen because I was being repeatedly hit by the butts of the guns. I did receive treatment from a private doctor, and I went for treatment at the clinic.
How was your life affected thereafter? --- Yes, somehow I have lost sight. I cannot read. I have to bring the paper closer to me. I am very short-sighted after this happened.
Did this happen after the assault? --- That is correct. And after that I was having fainting spells. I also do get dizzy at times, and I went to see a private doctor with regard to that, but he said I could not be cured, and early retirement was arranged for me. But he said to me I could only the pension for one year, and I got this money twice. Thereafter I did not get anything, and I don't know what has happened. I have got a family to maintain. My wife is not working. My child had to leave school and go and look for some work because we couldn't make ends meet.
For how many years did you work after you had beenharassed? --- I stopped that very same year that I was assaulted because I could no longer go on. And I did not trust anybody at that time because I did not know who had gone to the police, so I decided to stop working at that place.
What are you expectations from the TRC as you say your life has changed and you were harassed? What requests would you like? --- I would request the Commission to try and find who these soldiers were so that they can answer certain questions that I have. I want to know why they assaulted me, where did they get the information that I was a member of the UDF? I would also like the Commission to investigate the attorney who took my case, and who took my money, and at a later stage decided that I did not have a case at all, because I never appeared at court. Now my daughter, who comes after the one who went to work, she could have continued with her education, but now she cannot because I have got no means to send her to school. She had failed her matric exams. Now I wanted her to continue with her matric and complete it, but she could not because I did not have any more money for her to further her education.
Just two questions. Do you know the driver of the bus out of which you were taken by the soldiers? Was it not the Municipality bus? --- No, it was a Putco bus, and I do not know the name of the driver.
Is it possible for us to get your medical certificates as to where you are receiving treatment? --- I do have those certificates.
It is very obvious that you were traumatised, and we /do hear
do hear your request. We shall collect them and makethose recommendations to the State President. He is the one who takes a resolution. --- I have got one request. I shall ask you to investigate the attorney who took up my case.
I shall hand over to the Chairman.
COMMISSIONER: Thank you, Mr Madela, very much ... (inaudible) ... in January 1987. It seems from that day on your whole life was turned upside-down. You were sitting on a bus, on your way home, wearing the uniform of your employer, and that was sufficient for soldiers of the South African Defence Force to brutally assault you. These were people whose job it should have been to protect people and to uphold the law, but because of the system of apartheid it was their job to uphold that system, and they spent much of their time and their energy harassing and assaulting people, and it is little wonder that ordinary people have so little respect for the law and its institutions today. As Dr Magwaza has said, we are not in a position directly to assist you, but we will make recommendations to the police as to how people like you may be assisted, and we will be passing those recommendations on to the State President. And we certainly will look at the court documents, or the papers, affidavits that you filed with your attorney, to see why no action was taken in that case. And we will look at the documents from the Durban Corporation to find out why you were placed on early retirement, to see whether this was in fact linked with your assault. Again thank you very much for coming in and telling us your story. Thank you very much. --- Thank you.
COMMISSIONER: Mr Bonginkosi Aaron Mzobe. Thank you, Mr Mzobe, very for coming in. Can you hear me and understand me through the earphones?
MR MZOBE: Yes, I can hear you.
COMMISSIONER: You are here from Amawoti.
MR MZOBE: That is correct.
COMMISSIONER: And you have come to tell us about your experience, harassment at the hands of the Self-Defence Units in KwaMashu. Before you give your evidence can I ask you to stand up and take the oath.
BONGINKOSI AARON MZOBE (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Mrs Gcabashe will assist you with your evidence.
MRS GCABASHE: Good afternoon, Mr Mzobe. I thank you that you have remained in this hall up until this time so that you can appear before this Commission. Before we even go further into your story I want you to tell us about your family. --- My name is Bonginkosi Aaron Mzobe. I was born in 1953. I was born at Nkhumbane. That is where I grew up, and we relocated to Newlands with my parents. Presently my parents have since been deceased. I have got two children, Nthokozisi as well as Kohliswa Mzobe. It's a boy and a girl respectively. As well as their mother. I am from Mapumulo. That's where I originate from.
You said your wife is still alive. --- Yes, I do have a wife. It's only my - my mother is alive.
Are you working? --- No, I have stopped working. I think it's about nine years now since I've stopped
You told us that you've been harassed by the Self-Defence Unit. You can now start relating as to what happened, or what culminated to the harassment. --- I think at the time that I submitted my statement certain things were left out because I was harassed by the SDU as well as the SPU as I am here. I think if I can leave the SPUs out I would not be satisfied.
All right, let's start with the SDU, because you've submitted a statement about the SDU. --- I was working for Spoornet at that time at Congella. At that time I was working as a shop steward under union. I was staying at KwaMashu at that time. I was very much well vested with regard to human rights, as well as fighting for freedom, and I lost my job at the railway. I was hired by a certain company, Shunter's Arms. That is a restaurant, and I was also a shop steward there. And at that time when I was working for Shunter's Arms the people were now politically aware, and as a shop steward I was working twofold as a person who is fighting for human rights at work, as well as within the community itself.
Let us now go back to the KwaMashu incident. That's when you started being harassed. --- In KwaMashu we had a problem with the SDU, the Self-Defence Unit, because the Self-Defence Unit was disturbing us as we were working for the community because they had certain misgivings about us. They felt that we had been specifically trained for the struggle, and they had trained themselves to kill people. And now they did not have the support within the community, because they were having their own interests as opposed to the interests of the community, and whenever
there was anyone who was opposing them they wanted to remove you, that is by killing you.
You said they were deducting taxes from the community. --- Yes, that is what caused the clash, because they were collecting monies from each and every house, and they were killing children as well as residents. There is another gentleman by the name of Gaba who was also killed by the SDU during broad daylight, and they burnt him. That is also one of the reasons that caused a clash, because we felt that as the community we could not accept what they were doing. They were killing certain people and calling them targets, and they were burning them right before our children.
What was Gaba doing? Who was he? --- Gaba was one of the residents at the L Section, but his family was in Lindelani.
Why did they kill him? --- He had a clash with one of the members of the SDU. They were at a certain shebeen when this took place. And now the other thing was that he was very close to me, and he was supporting me in whatever I was doing, and they decided to kill him.
Let's now go back to where you said you were taken to a kangaroo court. --- At the L Section I was never taken to the kangaroo court, but I went to the kangaroo court in Ntuzuma. At L Section they had come with the intention to kill me. They surrounded the house and they were all armed.
Was it at the L Section? --- Yes, that is correct. When they got to the L Section they wanted to kill me, and they were at a certain house No 1056, where they were waiting so that it could be dark, and they were
having some sort of a party or celebration. The houses at the L Section are two rooms. There is A and B, and he came and said today was my day, they were going to take me. And at the time I had not yet fallen asleep, and I could hear them talking outside. I heard another woman talking outside. Her name was Xamisile. She asked as to who was going to be killed, and they pointed at me. They said I am the one who was going to die, and she asked them why was I going to be killed. That's when I got wind that I was going to be killed, but I just could not believe that I was going to be killed. As I heard that I was going to be killed I wanted to devise a plan. I did not know whether I wanted to escape or I wanted to remain, but at that particular point I saw people surrounding the whole house. And they started breaking the windows, but they were quite scared to get into the house because it was dark and they didn't know who was in there. That's when I got a chance to escape, to go out. I went out through the window, and at that time I had dared myself and I had told myself that come what may. As I went out I grabbed my wife and I helped her to go out through the window. And I was passing in their midst and I was leaving them behind. They kept on threatening to attack me at that time. I went to Sibisi's place, where I sat at the edge of the fence, and I told my wife to sit down there because I wanted to check whether there was any escape route, because whenever they attacked people they closed all escape routes. And when I looked around I realised that the whole of block eight was blocked, so that even if I was able to run away I could not be able to escape out of the block.
Where were your children at the time you took your wife out? --- At that time we were already scared, and we knew that we were going to be killed, so I had taken my children to my home, so that if we happened to die we may die alone, and the children may remain.
So you survived on that particular day, but there was a time when you were called to the kangaroo court. Just tell us about the kangaroo court. --- When I was called to the kangaroo court it was for the second time now, and there was also a clash between the Inkatha and myself, and they wanted to kill me. And I was able to escape at that time, and when I came back I sat beside the road and I thought that it was three months now that I haven't been having a place to sleep. I was sleeping next to the beach. I was not able to go to the L Section, because that's where they wanted to kill me. And on the fourth month I got a place to stay, and just as I was settling down I was attacked by the same type of gangsters who call themselves marshals.
Let's go back to the kangaroo court, because there are certain names that you have mentioned. That is Julius Mkhize, as well Mandla Ngidi. Are they still alive? --- Yes, they are still alive, but they were staying at L Section. Julius Mkhize is my brother-in-law in some sort of way. They are the people who had come to kill me.
You said you went to Leonard Mkhize's place. --- Yes, I want to Leonard Mkhize because I grew up with him. Then I wanted him to help me, because at that time I was in dire straits. He told me that I should go to KwaMashu Police Station, and they told me that they did not want to be involved with ANC matters because they knew the
L Section was an ANC stronghold. They talked about things which did not concern me, and it was very clear that I was not going to get any help from them. Now they asked me as to why they should help me. I told them that my house had been burnt and I had nothing to do with the ANC. He said to me I should go to the Magistrate to get an interdict, a directory interdict that they can accompany me to fetch whatever was left of my possessions. That was on a Sunday, and there is no court that works on a Sunday. And at that time I did not have any clothes. I had absolutely nothing with me, and they said they could not help me without the interdict. Then I went to Leonard Mkhize, and Leonard Mkhize phoned some riot police. The riot police came, and they accompanied me to the house to fetch some clothes so that I could be able to have some clothes to wear. That is how I went out of the L Section.
You told us that you ran to Nsuze. --- That is where I was born. I went back to my place of birth, and as soon as I arrived there the Inkatha was busy conducting meetings, planning how to kill people, as well as children, to such an extent that on the second month they were quite suspicious of me, and they said if they could leave me they would not be able to get the ANC. They knew that I was a member of the ANC. And at that time I was not sleeping at my place. I used to sleep at the mountains, or wherever I could get refuge. We went to about five meetings where they were planning their strategy for killing the residents, that if they were not killed what could they do with members of the community. At that time we had a clash with the Chairman of the Inkatha Freedom Party. His name was Nqupeni Zulu. That
is the Chairman of the Inkatha. Now I realised that I did not have a place to stay. I could not get any peace, because Inkatha was everywhere. Then I got in touch with the Resources Centre, and we tried to lessen the violence that was being fomented by the Inkatha members.
Just on the part of legal resources, you said you took a report to NADEL. --- Yes, I did take a report to NADEL.
Who did you speak to? --- I think at that time I spoke to Jeff Hadebe. He is the person I spoke to at the NADEL offices at that time, and I made an affidavit as to the attack that took place. And we wanted to try and lessen the level of violence that was taking place, because people had died in large numbers.
You further went on to say that you were also harassed by the SPU. Just tell us briefly what sort of harassment did you receive from the SPU? --- Now, it was at the time that I was going to the Legal Resources Centre. I was actually fighting with the SPU because these people had come from being trained, and they had come back to kill members of the community and whoever was opposing Inkatha. So these are the members that I was opposing and fighting against. They also wanted to kill me. They were also working hand in hand with Inkatha members. There were many people who were killed, and at times I witnessed those killings. I could see cars going to certain houses, where they would then attack and kill people. And you find the women gyrating and ululating that there were some members of the community who were killed.
You said the members of the SPU had leaders of
Inkatha. Do you remember who those leaders were? --- It was Dumisani Makala.
Is he still alive? --- Yes, he is alive.
Where does he stay? --- The last time he was staying next to my place.
At ... (incomplete) --- Yes, he was staying at Nsuze.
Is that something which you can help us with? --- Now this is a list of their names that I have written down. I think that this can assist you. I can leave the list. The first one was Nqupeni Zulu, but he has since been deceased. Sikoliwe Ngidi, Thandeyakhe Magwaza, Thulani Nxumalo, Mbekeni Vilakazi, Nkuzeni Ndlovu, Hlomuza Vilakazi.
Mr Mzobe, because you do have this list would you like to leave the list with us? --- Yes, I do have the list and I can leave it with you.
As you are so busy preparing the list is there anything that you wanted to say with regard to the SPU as well as their harassment? --- I think I have finished with regard to the SPU, because the violence that was conducted by the SPU was legal. They were not operating underground. Apparently they were acting lawfully according to the past laws.
Are your children still attending school? --- Yes, my 11-year-old is still attending school, but what happened to their mother really disturbed the child. I took the child to the mother, and the youngest one - I used to sleep with the youngest one in the forest. Then he was hit by a car. He was paralysed on the left-hand side. But he is able to wash himself, as well as do
things for himself. His left side is not functioning properly. If we had not been subjected to this harassment probably he would not have been knocked by a car.
You said he's attending school. --- He is doing standard four.
What about the youngest one you were sleeping with in the forest? --- Her name is Kohliswa. I am staying together with these children where I am. He is also attending school. One of them are attending an Indian school. They say he's in class two.
What is the name of the school? --- It's Mahatma School.
Whereabout is it? --- It's in Phoenix.
We hear this pathetic story, Bonginkosi. As you have already told us that you've been severely harassed and traumatised is there anything else that you would like to point out that changed your lives after this type of trauma, that is with you, as well as your children? --- Our lives were changed so drastically. We were all affected because the trauma that we went through. I used to run around with my child, sleep in the forests, to such an extent that the Council of Churches, as well as the ANC devised a plan, as well as my attorney who was working at the Legal Resources. He found a place for us at Belgica. That is a hotel in St Georges. We slept there for about two days, and thereafter we had to move out of the hotel because it was quite expensive to live there, and we went to a certain building. From the hotel we moved to a Catholic building which was converted into some place of refuge where they served meals, and we stayed there for about three days. And we had to pay also there, so I had
to move. We were taken to a certain Roman Catholic priest, and even there we had problems because we were an expense. I had to go back to the streets with my child.
How about your health now? How are you feeling, emotionally as well as physically? --- I have been emotionally traumatised. I have been harassed. I am very aggressive now. I am still angry, and I am very sensitive and very touchy. I just cannot stomach anything. I feel so angry inside because of the trauma that I went through.
Now, as you've already related your story to us what do you think the Commission can possibly do for you to compensate you for the trauma that you went through? --- If the Commission could help me. The first thing is my house was taken by these thugs and given to another person, and now when I want my house back I was told that I should do it legally. I should institute some action against the person who was occupying my house. I do not have money for a protracted legal action. I just want my house back, and I feel very bad. I think I could even kill the person who is occupying my house now.
Where was your house? --- It was at extension next to the training college.
Do you know the family who is staying in your house presently? --- I do not know them, but I was told that Mrs Ngcobo sold the house to them. I was told that the house was sold by Mrs Ngcobo.
Do you know Mrs Ngcobo? --- Yes, I do. She was together with Langa.
Where did they get the right to take the house and sell it? How did they do it? --- I think they got it from the thugs who evicted me. That is Langa.
What was Mrs Ngcobo in the whole equation? --- Mr Langa was a prominent member, one of the prominent thugs in that place, and they were members of certain structures governing the issuing of houses, so they are the ones who colluded with Mrs Ngcobo and they sold my house.
You've already pointed out that you wanted to get your house back. Is there anything else that you want the Commission to do for you? --- If the Commission would be able - I have never been to my grandfather's grave. I could not go there because they wanted to kill me there. And some of them are now in prominent positions, they are in Government positions, but they are the killers who were involved in eradicating some members of the community. And some of the people who were involved in those killings still have inherent powers even presently. So I would like this Commission to collect all those people to come forward and tell the Commission, as well as the whole world, as to why they wanted to kill me. And I want justice to be done, because at that time the law was on their side. Now I want the law to be on my side.
You have already told us your pathetic story. This story is very much similar to others that were brought before this Commission. We shall take your requests and file them in a report and pass them to the State President for his resolution or decision. I shall hand over to the Chairman.
We have a problem in that we are running out of time. There's a lot of things that we wanted to ask to clarify certain issues and to reveal the truth. Can you tell us about one of the people who are now occupying high
positions who was involved in the killings? --- Yes, I do know of one, especially the chief, Chief Nxumalo. He was one of the killers at that time. They were planning strategies at the chief's house as to how they were going to attack the members of the community. His name is Mhlabunzima Luthuli - Mhlabunzima Muthuli.
Now what about Ngcobo, where is she now? --- She is staying at Extension C, where I was evicted by the thugs.
What was your house number? --- I do have the title deed. The number is there. It was 192 at Ntuzuma. My house was at Ntuzuma. They called it Extension C.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... Self-Protection Units and Self-Defence Units, and there's no doubt that if we lived in a normal society these organisations would never have arisen, and you would not have found yourself in the position that you are today. As we heard earlier on, Self-Defence Units were set up because communities which were oriented towards the UDF and the ANC were under continuous attack from the police and members of the IFP, and they set up defensive structures in order to defend those communities. However, it was inevitable that these structures would soon become uncontrollable, and that the members would start committing serious crimes themselves, and that's exactly what happened, and they became little more than vigilante groups. And with regard to the Self-Protection Units, there doesn't seem to be much evidence that they were ever intended to be protective or defensive. In fact these people were sent on military training, which was paid for by the KwaZulu Government and
the South African Defence Force, and they were always intended to have a very offensive capacity. There is no place for these sorts of organisations in this country today, in our new democracy, and we have to ensure that we insist on the building up of a proper, professional police force that will defend every citizen of this country, otherwise the sort of situation that you have described will happen again. So, no matter whether it's SDUs or SPUs, or PAGAD from the Western Cape, we don't have a place for these sorts of institutions in our society. As Mrs Gcabashe has said, we are not in a position to assist you directly. We've heard how you have suffered, how you have lost your house, but we will be making recommendations to the Government as to how you, and other people like you, should be assisted. So we thank you for coming in today and telling us your story. Thank you very much.
COMMISSIONER: Good afternoon, Mrs Khumalo. We welcome you here today. You are from Umlazi township, and you will tell us today about the death of your son, Mfanafuthi Khumalo. Now, you are here today with someone on the stage. Who is that with you?
MRS KHUMALO: It's Mafuthi Khumalo.
COMMISSIONER: Is that a relative?
MRS KHUMALO: My son.
COMMISSIONER: That's your son. I see. Oh, sorry, it was - your son didn't die, Mfanafuthi, he was shot by the police. Now, before you tell us that story can you please stand and take the oath.
THERESA KHUMALO (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Just briefly some background about your family. Do you have more than one son? This is your son with you here, Mfanafuthi. How many children do you have? --- I have six.
What is the age of Mfanafuthi? What is his ... (incomplete) --- 21.
And the others, are they older or younger than him? Are they all younger? --- This is the second one. My first one was killed in 1990. This is the second-born.
Are you working at the moment, Mrs Khumalo? --- I am not working. I am self-employed.
Could you tell us about the shooting of your son, and just give us some background as to what happened prior to his shooting. You said that from 1991 to 1993 he was continuously harassed by the - victimised by the police. Could you just tell us what happened leading up to his shooting. --- The shooting of Mfanafuthi Khumalo by
Siphiwe Mvuyane was followed my first-born. The whole thing started from my first-born, who was killed by UDF. You see, this thing was confusing. We could not understand UDF because we belonged to ANC. We used to say, "You are comrades," and they said, "No, we just use necklace. We are not." That's what they will say. This started 1990 up to the time when they killed him, and they were 20 in number. They call themselves UDF, also with the ZP. When I went to report to the ZP they just ignored the whole thing up to this day. They threw him in the river at Umlazi. After some time - because then it was 1990. In 1991 the brother was now the victim. He was one of those who called. What this one did also - he wanted to revenge for what they did to the brother. He stabbed the other one, and they started now going to the ZP to report this thing, and the ZP took this matter so serious, and they were looking so furiously for Siphiwe Mvuyane. And they kept telling me that you must start right away to buy a casket, a coffin, because your son is going to die. And Siphiwe will come, changing cars and using the old cars, and he will just park his car outside. And he used to go with Mthambo, one of his colleagues he used to come to my place with. And we went to the same church, we belonged to the same denomination. When I asked him what was wrong, "What's happening?" they said, "We are looking for Thafu." I asked, "What happened? What's happening? Why are you looking for him, like you just told me that you should buy a casket, a coffin, because your son is going to die? As an investigator why would you do all these things?" He said to me, "I still say this. You must just buy a coffin because your son will die." I said
to my son. "You must run away, you know, escape, because things are bad." Until Thafu decided to flee, and he left. What Thafu did, went to this place at Section C, where he was hiding. He got himself a place of refuge. After some time I just heard - it was around four in 1992 - no, I am not sure. It was 1992. I just heard a knock. They said, "Theresa, open. Siphiwe did locate Thafu." They said, "You come. He is still alive. He is still breathing. He is not dead yet. Just come. Rush." He kept saying, "You rush, because he is still alive. He wants to talk to you." I said to myself, "No, let me just go and rush and see what's happening," until I got there. When I got to the scene of where the whole thing took place, the scene of crime, I found him lying down on the sofa in blood, a river of blood. I just heard him talking, whispering, saying, "Come in. Come in, I am still alive." Siphiwe was not there, but there were some other policemen there. Mthambo was there. He used to go around with Siphiwe a lot of times - often. And he said, "Come in. I am still alive." He showed me the bullet holes, and I told him that just - I am not going anywhere, and he started shooting me. He shot me all over on the chest. He was shooting me from very close, from a very close distance. He insisted that I shall go home. I refused. I asked, "Why are you keeping this child here?" He was shot at 4.00 am. and now it's around six, but you are still keeping this child here," up until Siphiwe arrived, and Siphiwe came with the station commander, who is still working at BB. I think he had gone to fetch him. I said to him, "Oh, we are so happy because you are not going to die. Why would you kill this child so brutally
like this?" He said, "Oh, this dog is not dead. I thought it is dead." I said to him, "Oh, you intended to kill him." I said to the station commander, "Please take this child to the hospital," and the station commander was just quiet and standing there. He was just standing there looking at me so timidly. I said, "Time is running out. Please rush my child to the hospital," until the station commander could see that I am getting out of control now. I was even shaking him. He said, "Mvuyane, take this person. You see his health is not in good condition. Take him into this car." It was himself, Mthambo. You see, my problem was that I was not properly dressed, I was in nightdresses. I said, "I will go and dress up, and I will join you." When I got home I felt so helpless. I said to the sister, "Go to Mshiyeni." When she got to Mshiyeni she could see and find out that Thafu was not there. I said - she told me that Thafu was not there. I said, "No, where is Thafu now?" I got so mad. I was so annoyed about the whole thing. I called Nthuchini(?) and I could not get any response until I sent Nhlanhla. I said to Nhlanhla, "I don't know what's happening to this, to my son." They saw a car and they said, "There is him, inside the car, and the car is locked up." And they went to ask inside, "We thought this person was Mshiyeni, and he is still here. Why don't you take him to the hospital." Until one other police said, "No, we'll see what we can do." They went back to the car, they tried to knock and tried to open the car. They could not, and the one other helped and opened the car, and they found out that he was there with his eyes opened, widely opened, and the heater was on. And I said, "Now I am going with you.
We are taking him to Mshiyeni." And Nhlanhla also insisted that I shall join and we go to Mshiyeni. I forced matters. They did not want, but I said, "I am going along with you to Mshiyeni." We went indeed. He was admitted, and I was like this, "Why is this happening to me?" You know, I said to myself, "I can die. Come what may." I went to Mlaba, one of the attorneys. I reported the matter to Mlaba. I told him the whole story. Mr Mlaba knew my background as well, and he asked, "Where is Thafu now?" I said, "He is in hospital." He said, "No, he should be discharged," and we tried all means to ensure that he was discharged from hospital. Truly that was done. You see, Mvuyane will patronise all the hospitals, trying to locate him so he can finish him up and just kill him, but he could not. We take him to Ulundi, we were taking him all over to try to get some place of refuge for him. I met him, Mvuyane, in town one day at West Street. He said, "Where have you been? Where have you been hiding? I haven't seen you?" I said, "No, you can kill me if you want to. You know, you have been doing all sorts of things, misbehaving. You can do whatever you want to do now." You see, I was the first one to go to Supreme Court to open case for him, and he died thereafter. But Mthambo is still there, and the station commander is still alive.
What is the condition of Mfanafuthi now? Is he able to - how have the injuries that he received, how have they affected him? --- His right arm is not functioning. Even now he tries to do some aerobics exercises. You see, when the bullets penetrated into him they went through - like you can see here. He was
operated about six times. When he tried to exercise the bullets will move upper. He has been operated many a times, and the other one has been extracted from the back. I think he has been operated about six or seven times. His right arm is not functioning.
How old was he? --- He was 16 years.
And you said in your statement that because he was continually harassed and victimised by Mvuyane he dropped out of school. Is that right? --- Ja.
Has he been able to go back to school? --- Yes.
(Inaudible) --- He cannot write. He went up to standard nine, but now he cannot write since his right arm has been injured.
MFANAFUTHI KHUMALO (Sworn, States)
COMMISSIONER: Now, Mfanafuthi, your mother has told us the background to what happened, and exactly what happened to you, so we don't want to go through that again, because we are running a little late, we have at least five more witnesses, but if there's something that you want to add which your mother hasn't said please say that. --- You see, my mum was not present at the time when all this happened. He took one other guy into his car. No one saw this when this happened. At the time I got injured, and I was told by my uncle that something had happened, and they said they wanted Thafu - that is my brother - and I was left by my brother. That is where I was sleeping. He told me that if I did not want to disclose Thafu's whereabouts he was going to show me. There were six men who were supposed to have come. He said he was going to show me as to where these people had parked. Then he got out and he assaulted this man. When I was shot I fell down, but I was able to look but I could not see anybody. Then I went back to the bed and I slept. And at that moment when I was still sleeping I heard somebody knocking at the door, who was one of the six men who had come earlier. He knocked and I opened the door, and I asked him as to where the gunshot was coming from. He told me that it was from section W. Then he told me that there were certain people in a car who went around shooting, and I asked him as to whether he had seen who these men were. He said he didn't see, and I invited him in to come in and sleep. We slept on the sofa. At that place it's a four-roomed house. That is my friend's place. I heard his mother scream, only to find that Siphiwe Mvuyane was there
and he was assaulting this lady. He wanted to see where Thafu was, and he took Sbu from the house and he said he should accompany him. He is the one who was going to open up the shack. They went to the shack. They knocked. And by that time I was already awake due to the gunshot, and I heard his voice. And when I looked through I saw that this was the boy I was with, and he was with police, and the police were now kicking the door. He was pushing this boy forward. He had told this boy to switch the lights on, and he switched the lights on. And I just kept on sleeping together with the other boy who had joined us. He opened the blanket and he recognised me. We were with Themba Khanyile. We were at Themba Khanyile's place, and Themba Khanyile woke up. He knew Siphiwe Mvuyane and he asked him as to what he had done. And at that time he was scared. He even asked, "What had I done, Siphiwe?" Then he just kicked him, and he said they should all go because he did not want any witnesses. When he tried to take his clothes with they hit him with the butts of the gun. He said to me I should wake up and go sit on the sofa, and I told him that I would not be able to go out, he would rather kill me, because I knew that if I gave him my back he would kill me. He said to me I should sit on the sofa, and I asked him what he wanted from me. He said I should not ask him many questions, I must just sit on the sofa. And I moved from the bed and I went to sit on the sofa. As I was sitting there he started insulting me. He abused me verbally and he started hitting me on the chest. When I asked him the reason why he was hitting me he did not answer me, he just asked me where I was shot before. I said on the knee. As I was still answering him he shot me
on my other knee. He said to me he knew that I didn't die due to gunshots. Then he gave me a knife and he said I should kill myself. And I have five wounds. I stabbed myself because he was pointing a gun at me, telling me to kill myself. And I threw the knife down and I told him that I was not able to kill myself. Then he continued to shoot me. He shot me on the right arm. I stayed there from 4 o'clock in the morning. He did not take me to the hospital. Then I realised that I should just pretend as if I was dead, because I realised that if he saw that I was not dead he was going to continue shooting me. I pretended that I was dead, and I was bleeding profusely. He left me there, believing that I was dead. He was talking to a certain station commander, and he told this guy to keep watch on me and he went away. As soon as he went away they also went away, so I was left all by myself, and I tried to scream for help. I saw two men passing by and I screamed at them to come and give me some help. I told them that I had been shot. And they tried to carry me. They wanted to go and find some help, and at the time that they were carrying me out of the house he was also coming back to check whether I was really dead. I pleaded with the people to throw me down so that I could pretend to be dead. I told them to leave me, and they left me there and ran away. I could feel him trampling on my body. He asked me who were these people who were carrying me out. I kept quiet, pretending to be dead, and at that time he had come back with the station commander. And I thought the station commander was there to help me, only to find the station commander was his friend and he did not want to help me. The station commander said,
"Where is the knife? I want to stab, Siphiwe. I want to finish him off." I did not answer because I realised that I was with them and they were not going to help me. Once I talked they would realise that I wasn't dead and they would kill me. And now it was in the morning and people kept on coming to investigate as to what had happened. That's when I regained my consciousness. I asked people to go and call my mother, and Siphiwe Mvuyane did not want anybody to come into the yard, but my mother forced issues to come into the yard to come and see as to that had happened to me. I was lying on the ground at that time. And my mother came and pleaded with some people to help me, take me to the hospital. When they were supposed to take me to the hospital they took me to the GG Police Station. They set the heater on they locked me inside the car. But because I was injured I could not open the doors. I was unable to open the doors, until such time as I had to relieve myself in the car. They took me to Prince Mshiyeni Hospital, but they delayed there also, but I was ultimately admitted.
(Inaudible) ... have a disability grant at the moment because of your arm? Are you getting a grant or a pension from the Government? Are you able to use your arm? --- No, it's not working. My arm is not functioning. There is no money I get, no compensation of some kind.
(Inaudible) ... should apply for. And are you not working? You didn't go back to school after this incident. --- I cannot use my arms. Even my mum has her saloon, but I can't - I can't work.
(Inaudible) ... other committee members and
commissioners if they want to ask any questions.
DR MGOJO: I just have one question. You see this thing is so difficult and so painful, and it also affects us and is making it difficult for us to ask questions. I would like to ask Theresa that your other son who was killed as a result of this violence, you didn't wish to say anything about him. Why? --- You see, I could not comprehend and I could not even understand. You know, I was in such a state I didn't know where to start, whether with this one or the late one when I was giving my statement, and that resulted in me forgetting about the other one.
What makes me to say this is that the Truth Commission's task is to get people to open up and ventilate and take it all out, all the pain out. Others also ask from the Truth Commission that the Truth Commission should investigate as to who were the perpetrators. You must think about this, because you didn't say anything about that. You must think about it, because that may impact on your health. Maybe you may want to come back again and give another statement. This Mthambo, where does he stay? --- He stays at G, Section G.
He is at G. What number? --- No, I don't know the number.
Do you still see him around? --- Yes, he has been seen around. I once also asked, "Who is this?" They said Mthambo. They said, "Why would you ask about Mthambo? Are you his friend?" I said no.
The station commander who was fetched, do you know his name? --- Yes, he is still around, but I don't know his name.
But he is around? --- Yes, he is around.
He is the station commander where? --- At BB, Umlazi.
One question I have for you, and directed to you. You know, as you have said you cannot use your arm so much now, is there any way that you think you can get some help, or probably get some light work to do that you can afford - that your arm can afford to do? Which kind of work can you think of? --- You see, at home we have a hair salon. I think that's something light that I could work, but still it is a problem because my right arm is not functioning completely.
Now, what about the other arm, the left arm, is it functioning, is it fine? --- Yes, although the muscle was affected. It's not properly functioning, like you see.
I ask this question because it also bothers us that young people, especially like you at this age don't have any qualifications or don't have any skills, or cannot survive. You see we always want to help people like you, young as they are, that something must be done in light of this problem. At least you must be able to use your arms, or be able to acquire some skill of some kind that you may make a living from. You want to think about this.
We have another question here. We didn't ask the name of your other son, your late son. --- He is Gadi Khumalo. I can be very happy, because when we went to fetch his corpse from the Umlazi River we got one of the perpetrators. He was in blood - his clothes were in
blood. We asked, "Where do you come from?" He said, "I come from Lindelani at F." We asked, "Do you know this
person you have killed?" He said, "No, we don't know this person." What I am trying to say here is that they did locate and they did find one of the perpetrators, but they never went further on to investigate. Even to this day I cannot even be brave enough to go and ask, because the police are still the very same.
Which police station was that? --- It's GG, Umlazi. Even to this day.
COMMISSIONER: Mrs Khumalo, I just wanted to try and confirm. From what you've said though it seems clear there was no inquest or court case. Sorry, I'll repeat that. From what you've just said it seems like there was no further investigation of Gadi's death. Is that correct? --- Yes.
There was no inquest or case of any kind. So you confirm that there was nothing? --- They did open the case, and they arrested one of the boys, and they told me they'll let me know what happens thereafter, but that was the end up to this day. They never got in touch with me.
(Inaudible) ... members of the KwaZulu Police during the 1980s. When he died he claimed to have killed about 30 or 31 people, and because he had become so notorious even the South African Police in those days had started to investigate charges against him, and he had something like seven murder charges pending against him. However, instead of being suspended from duty he was allowed to continue as a policeman even while he had murder charges pending against him, and he was regarded widely as a hero
by the police, and certainly by the IFP in the township. In fact when one cabinet minister, senior cabinet minister
in the KwaZulu Government was approached and asked about him, what they thought of him, they said, well, that they thought he was a good shot. Now, there are many people of this calibre in the police. We think of people like Eugene de Kock, who was recently - yesterday was convicted of six murders, various charges of attempted murder, 66 counts of fraud, and other charges, and really Mvuyane was not very different from a man like de Kock. And it is - as I said, he enjoyed great popularity amongst the police, amongst the KwaZulu Police, and it is disconcerting to think that those police who supported him and were loyal to him are still members of our police force today, many of them in senior positions.
Now, as my colleagues have said, we are not in a position to assist Mfanafuthi directly with assistance, but it is our job to make recommendations to the Government, to the State President, as to how people like him should be assisted. It's clear that he has been very badly affected by this, and we will be making recommendations as to how he can be assisted by the Government. So we thank you both very much for coming in today and giving us the evidence that you have given us. Thank you very much.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... an announcement. If there are people who want to make statements - earlier on I said that we could take their statements here. In fact there aren't sufficient tables and desks for us to take statements here in this building, and if people want to make statements please can they go to our offices at the Met Life Building, that's 391 Smith Street, just opposite the big Checkers in Smith Street, and there will be statement takers there who will take your statements if you want to make statements.
Thank you. The next witness is Mr Mandlinkosi ... (inaudible) ... Umlazi township, and you have come to tell us about the death of your son in 1985. Plus - who is that with you on the stage? That's your wife with you, right. Oh, sorry - sorry, I said Umlazi. In fact you're from Ntuzuma, but in fact your son was killed in Umlazi township. We greet you both today, Mrs Khumalo as well. Before you give your evidence can I please ask you to stand and take the oath.
COMMISSIONER: Dr Magwaza will assist you now with your evidence.
DR MAGWAZA: We greet you and welcome you, Mr and Mrs Khumalo. We appreciate your presence. We know that this is a very difficult time for both of you, but we want to stress that we are here to encourage and support you. Just before we start can you just tell us and give us a background of your family. --- My name is Mr Khumalo. We are from Nongoma. We grew up attending church. We were christians, and my father was a pastor there until he
was referred to Glencoe, transferred to Glencoe, and he went to 'Maritzburg thereafter. I used to work at the factories until I got a house at V Section, 244, in Umlazi. That's where I stayed for quite a long time, and I had two children at that time. I also got other two children. Presently I am working at a factory.
Even before we go on further can you just please explain to us about the family. You are with your wife only today. --- Yes, that is correct.
Is your present wife the deceased boy's mother? --- No, she is not. She is working and she hasn't come.
I just wanted to clarify that issue. Now, the deceased were two. They had a separate mother? --- That is correct.
Now you can tell us briefly as to where you are working? --- I am walking at Umgeni Water in New Germany.
Thank you very much, Mr Khumalo. Can you briefly tell us about your son, Mandlinkosi. --- No, it's Thubelihle, not Mandlinkosi. Thubelihle and Mandlinkosi are one and the same person.
At the time that Thubelihle got injured how old was he, and what was he doing at that time? --- Thubelihle was 15 years old at the time that the incident took place. As Mr Gasa had already said that at that time the situation was quite volatile politically, and the youth was politically active, and Thubelihle was the leader of the youth group which was under the UDF at that time. They were very politically active, fighting for freedom.
Was he attending school at that time? --- Yes, he was attending school, but at the time when he died he
was no longer attending school because Inkatha, as well as the Special Branch, were hunting him down and he could no longer go to school.
So can you please tell us about the incident that took place. Just give us a full history as to what happened. --- Thubelihle at that particular time was no longer staying at home. He was being hunted down by police as well as Inkatha members. Some of them I'll even mention their names because they threatened my son. On the 28th, if I am not mistaken, we were attending my father's funeral, who had died on the 23rd of June 1986. He had died at 'Maritzburg, where he was already pensioned. I took my family with to 'Maritzburg to my father's funeral, but we could not get hold of Thubelihle because we did not know where he stayed at that particular time. He was running away from the police, because the police used to come to our place every time looking for Thubelihle. He ultimately had to run away. My father died on the 23rd June 1986, so we went to 'Maritzburg to the funeral. Thubelihle was left because we could not get hold of him. In 'Maritzburg we waited for Thubelihle, but he did not come. We buried my father on the 28th June 1986, and Thubelihle was nowhere to be seen. It was on a Saturday, the 28th of June 1986. We finished burying my father, and we got a message immediately after the funeral that we had to rush back to Umlazi because Thubelihle had died. I went with my brother to Umlazi to go and investigate as to what had happened to Thubelihle, and we got to Umlazi. We asked my wife as to what had actually happened that culminated to his death. She related to me that at about 4.00 pm on the 27th Thubelihle had come back
home. We used to leave the key at my neighbour's place, Msani, and Thubelihle took the key from the neighbour's place and opened. He got into the house. Just a few minutes thereafter his friend came. That was his comrade. He said they should go to Section M, where there was a meeting. That was a UDF meeting. According to the story that we got is that the friend had been sent to go and entire Thubelihle. He was sent by the Special Branch, and he was no longer a member of the UDF.
Let me just disturb you. What was the name of the friend who came? --- We never got the name of the friend. They did tell us the name, but I have forgotten it already. The friend enticed him to a certain spot, where there were other members of Special Branch who were waiting for him. This friend of his went away with him with the intention that they were going to a UDF meeting at M Section in Umlazi. According to rumours they never went to the meeting, but they apparently went to a certain place where there was a group of people who were called Amabutho. When they saw Thubelihle together with his friend they chased Thubelihle. There is a place called GO, a taxi rank where there were taxis, and they chased him towards a certain place, and they were all armed when they were chasing Thubelihle. According to the rumour that we have they were having assegais as well as other traditional weapons. They chased him up until a place called Ebukweni. That is where he got tired. And they started stabbing him and assaulting him. When my neighbour tried to intervene they turned and they threatened him, and they told him that they were going to burn his house down, he must keep away from the whole
issue. They kept on stabbing Thubelihle with assegais and chopping him with all other sorts of weapons, and that's when he died on that spot. He had 52 holes. He had also been chopped with an axe on the head. His whole body was full of holes. His eyes, his body, his feet, his legs. Even animals are not killed in this manner. He was actually slaughtered. I got him at the mortuary at Gale Street. What was even more nauseating and unbelievable, if you could have seen his body you would not have believed that the people were normal, that they could kill a young person, a 15-year-old, in the manner that they did.
What actually provoked them? Was it because he was a member of the UDF? --- We even told Mr Gasa, the one who has just given evidence. We went to him where he was in hiding and we told him what had happened. There was also Mrs Nyembe. As Mr Gasa had already said that now children were burying other children we could not go to the funeral. Even my neighbours never went to the funeral because they were scared to go to the funeral. They were scared that they would be victimised. It was quite a scary situation. It was like something from a horror movie. We reported the matter to the police, but as it has already been said that the police were in collusion with Inkatha, as well as Amabutho, because according to what we are told was that Amabutho was comprised of about 200 members. They were the ones who were chasing my son. There were certain threats that we received later on. These were from well known people like Wellington Sabela, as he has already been mentioned. He even said to me that I must watch my dog, because I will
miss it. My dog should stop doing whatever it was doing. Even my neighbours at V Section knew that I had those threats, because he said Thubelihle was a big catch. Even a member of the Council at the A as well as the V Section he also told me that I should restrain my dog, because when his house was burnt down at A Section my dog was there, so he said that something was going to happen to my dog. I was very shattered. He is one of the people who threatened us. His name was Cele. He was a member of the Council. He's the one who threatened me at some stage, and I know that he is a member of Inkatha. And I was not surprised when Thubelihle died, and I was not surprised at the manner in which he died. He wasn't attending school any more because he was scared that they would get him at school. He would at some stage run, and decided that he would go to Tanzania. They couldn't study even at school, so they decided that it was better for them to run to Tanzania, but I dissuaded him from going to Tanzania, but I gathered that his friend went to Tanzania. Now I regret it today. I feel that had he gone to Tanzania probably he would have been alive. I was very harassed and tormented, because at the time when this happened I wasn't working any more, and when we buried my father I discovered that even my son had died. That is all I can say.
We do hear this very painful story. It's always very painful to lose a child, especially the manner in which he died is even more sorrowful. It is our wish to get a true and clear picture as the Truth Commission. I want to ask just a few questions so that we may clarify certain issues with regard to your son's death. Are there eye witnesses that you know of who witnessed this
incident? --- I only know of the friend who came to fetch him, but it later transpired that the very same friend was sent, and that particular boy who went to fetch him was also killed after about a week.
Do you have any idea as to who killed him? --- No, I don't.
You further talked about Mr Vanto. --- Vanto has got some knowledge with regard to what was happening to my son. He is the one who knows the story from start to finish. He is the one who can relate it even better than I.
Is Mr Vanto alive? --- I hear that he is staying at Isipingo, but I can get hold of him if he is needed.
You further went on to talk about a certain neighbour who tried to intervene when they were attacking your son. --- I know the house, the house is still there at Ebukweni, but I have forgotten the surname of the person who intervened. Because he is the one who tried to intervene when they were killing my son. These people were so many, and he asked them as to why they should be following a 15-year-old as many as they were, and they were quite old men. So he is the one who showed us where my son was killed.
Who told you about this whole incident? --- This is the person who intervened. He is the one who saw, and he is the eye witness.
Are there any other people who saw what was happening, or did he identify any of the attackers? --- It was dark at that time so he could not see properly, but they were all blacks.
Now, with regard to the case, you said you went to
report the matter to Umlazi Police Station. --- Yes, I did report the matter. I even have the inquest document. They even sent me a notice. Nobody was found guilty in that matter. These were the results of the inquest.
Do you remember who the investigating officer was? --- I don't remember him quite well. I am not sure whether his name is written in those documents.
It is quite clear that your son had also received threats, but there is somebody else that you didn't make mention of. That is Mr Dlamini. --- Mr Dlamini was a Special Branch. He is the one who used to come to my place looking for Thubelihle, and he never used to get him. Even all the other police force were always coming to my place looking for Thubelihle, and I was asking myself as to what he had done to deserve to be hunted down in the manner that he was. All sorts of police used to come. Even the soldiers in Casspirs used to come. Dlamini also threatened me, and he told me that he will ultimately get my dog.
And you moved from Umlazi, you went to stay at Ntuzuma. Does that have anything to do with the death of your son? --- I was also hunted down by the Special Branch. That was way back in 1972 or '73. When you are working in a factory if you don't see eye to eye with the people in the factory they call you a communist, and at the time I was referred to as a communist, and the Special Branch told me that they have been investigating me for quite some time, and now I realised that our lives were in danger because my son was also hunted, so I went to Ntuzuma. Even my son used to go to Ntuzuma to seek
There is another question that I want to ask you. Did your wife ever get a call that told her that the son was dead? Who was phoning your wife? --- The person who phoned my wife never identified him or herself, but immediately thereafter there came a car. I think it was a grey or white car. These people had come to tell my wife that her son had died. This person did not identify himself. He just drove his car and went away. She also did get a telephone call as well as a car that came. When she tried to find out more about the death of her son the person just drove off without explaining.
Is it the same person who told you that your son had died? --- Yes, it's the very same person.
How did you know that your son was at the mortuary? --- We never heard that he was there. This man just told us that he has died, and he was no longer there, we should go and look for him.
Now, coming back to your family's welfare. According to you or your own opinion how did this affect the whole family? --- In 1986 that year was a very difficult year for us as the Khumalo family because we had just buried my father on a Saturday, only to find that my son had died on a Friday. I was severely tormented. I was depressed. I got so disorientated I didn't know what was happening to me. Even my daughter, Nokhulunga, was affected, and I do suspect that she was severely harassed. At times, whenever we speak about Thubelihle, she would cry because they were the only two children with my other wife. She is now a teacher, she is teaching at Umlazi, but I can see that she has been psychologically affected.
She does have some traits of being psychologically affected, even though at times she tells herself that she can cope and she is coping with it. I think she was severely affected.
One other thing that I would like to find out from you is - Thubelihle had two mothers. Now, can you please tell us about the other one, because she never came to give testimony as to how she was affected. --- She was also affected because she believed that she would have a son who would take care of her, and she believed that her daughter would also have a brother, but whenever she thinks about this she is very - she had some growths in her stomach and she ended up being operated on.
We thank you, Mr Khumalo. My last request after hearing to story is according to your own opinion what do you think or what do you expect of the Commission? What do you expect the Commission should do for you, as well as Thubelihle's mother? --- I think if the Truth Commission can investigate properly and see as to who killed my son and why they did it, and that they should come forward to this Truth Commission to give their reasons as to why they did what they did. What had he done to deserve such death? Maybe I can be satisfied and reconciled. I have never seen them. I do not know them. It was alleged that they were so many, and it's not easy for me to know who they were. If this Truth Commission has the power it can bring them forward. I think I would appreciate that very much.
What about his mother? What do you think his mother expects from the Truth Commission since she has lost a son? --- I do see that my wife has been shattered.
She is suffering from depression. When you have a son you always have the hope that your son will maintain you when you grow old. Now with girls, girls get married and they move away from home. Now she had a hope that she had a son who would look after her after she has got her pension. Probably Thubelihle could be working by now and he would be maintaining his family. Maybe I could also lean on him, he could also help me in many ways. As you know that when we grow old we do put our trust, as well as our hope, in our sons. If the Truth Commission could help me. I still have other children who are still very young. He could have probably put them through schooling, or university.
We do hear your request. We take these requests and make the recommendations and pass them to the State President. He makes the final resolution as to what should be done in each particular case. We would like to thank you very much for the courage that you have shown by coming here and giving this testimony. We also thank your wife for having come to support you in such a difficult time. We also request you to bring Thubelihle's mother so that she could also get help.
I am sorry that I will be forced to ask you this question. We want to know as to where Thubelihle's mother is? Where is she staying? --- She is staying at V Section.
As well as the daughter? --- Yes.
COMMISSIONER: Mr Khumalo, we want to thank you very much for coming here and telling your story to us today. Like
the first witness, Mr Thusi, you have given us a very good description of what life was like for people who were opposed to the Government in the 1980s. In your case it was not you, it was your son who was an activist, a youth activist, and it was he who lived and worked and died in Umlazi township. You said in your evidence that he did not die, you said that he was slaughtered like an animal, that he had 52 stab wounds, and we have heard a lot of evidence like this before in other areas. We heard evidence, for example, in Port Shepstone, where somebody was attacked because he belonged to the UDF, or because his son belonged to the UDF, and the attackers killed a one-month-old child, or a one-year-old child and burnt the body and put it into a pit toilet, and we were left wondering what drives people to do such terrible things, and we, like you, are left wondering what made do what they did to your son. It is evidence of a deep contempt for human life, and also contempt for the dignity that a person should have after he or she has died, and it is also evidence of the deep divisions in our society. Like the last two witnesses you have also mentioned the name of Mr Wellington Sabela, and as I have said, although he is dead, the party of which he was a member, the IFP, must take responsibility for the things that he said and the things that he did. You also mentioned two other members, one who as an IFP councillor, Mr Cele, and a member of the Security Branch, Mr Dlamini, all of whom wanted to see your son dead.
So thank you for having the courage to share the memory of your son's ... (inaudible - end of side A) ... wife today, and that you get some comfort from being able
to appear here together. We will do our best to investigate your son's death, and hopefully we can - after we have investigated we can provide you with some answers as to why he died and who killed him. So finally again, thank you very much for coming in to talk to us today and sharing that story. --- Thank you.
COMMISSIONER: The next witness is Mr Dlamini, and his son. Are you able to hear me and understand me through the ... (incomplete)
MR DLAMINI: Yes, I can hear.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... township, and you have come to tell us about the death of your son, Jacob Dlamini, and your harassment by the IFP.
MR DLAMINI: That is correct. That's my other son.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... you here today as well. Thank you. Now, before you tell us this story can you please take the oath. I can see that you are having some difficulty. You don't have to stand up if you don't want to.
COMMISSIONER: Mrs Gcabashe will help you now with your evidence.
MRS GCABASHE: I do greet you, Mr Dlamini, as well as your son. Is your son going to testify, or he's just rendering support? --- No, he's just accompanied me. He's not going to give testimony.
As the Chairman had already said that you have come to relate to us about the death of your son. Even before you go on further to talk about your son, we know that you lost a son, and could you please just give us a brief background as to your family, whether you still have a wife, how many children do you have, all that has to do with your family. --- I was in Gauteng. I was staying in Krugersdorp. I had a cinema there.
Please just give us a brief background about your family. --- My family is my son. His name is Induna
Dlamini. I also have a daughter. Her name is Sana Dlamini. As well as Moses Dlamini, who was left after my son had been killed. That is at Lindelani.
You had three children. --- No, I had five children. The two were killed. There is not even a single one who got ill, but they were killed by certain people.
What about their mother? Do they still have a mother? --- Their mother has recently died. That is in 1995.
Do you have any grandchildren? --- Yes, I do have grandchildren, I have plenty, but they are not staying with me.
Even before we move on further you said your children, that is your sons, were killed. --- That is correct.
What about the other ones there too? How many are alive? Did this have anything to do with politics, or they were just killed? --- The other one was killed by Thomas Shabalala at Lindelani.
We are still going to get to that, but we are still trying to get the background as to the other children, because you said they were also killed. --- That is correct.
Now, my question is did it have anything to do with politics? --- It has something to do with politics, that is correct.
Now, amongst those who died what were their names and what were the circumstances surrounding their deaths? --- The youngest was Nthombolongwani Dlamini. His other name was Jacob Dlamini.
What happened to Jacob? --- Jacob was at Lindelani Station. He was about to take a taxi home. As he was still at the station he saw Inkatha Freedom Party. He was asked as to what he was waiting for, and they started assaulting him at that point. He tried to plead with them and he told them that his father was very well known. He mentioned my name. And at that time when he mentioned my name that's when they decided that they should kill him, because they said I had organised a vigil for Mrs Nxengi. He stayed for four days at the hospital, and thereafter he died. He had been assaulted and he had injuries all over his body.
I am listening. You can continue. --- After that had happened - he was killed because he had mentioned my name, and that I had allowed Mrs Nxengi's funeral to be conducted at the Umlazi Cinema, which belonged to me. That is why he was attacked.
So that we get a clearer picture, you were talking about the fact that you were in Krugersdorp. --- That is correct. When I was still in Krugersdorp Dr Verwoerd introduced a discriminatory law that the black people should not have any businesses in urban areas. Then I was told that I was supposed to go back to my place, and they told me that I should go back to Natal, Umlazi, where I could erect a cinema. When I got to Umlazi, and I was supposed to start operating on the cinema, I was told that there could be a certain Mr Swanepoel who could be posed as a front, and I was going to work under Mr Swanepoel. I had 15 years' experience as a cinema owner in Krugersdorp. Then I ended up being under Mr Swanepoel, and at that time I was hated by the community because I
was working under Mr Swanepoel. At that time the Special Branch came and they wanted to help me. They wanted to get me a house, and they were asking me as to where they could get me a house, but I totally refused to have dealings with them because I knew that they wanted to get where I was staying. They came to me and they asked me as to why I hadn't gone to Mr Luthuli's funeral, and I told them that at that time I was working. They had a certain apparatus, which is I think a tape recorder. I think they wanted to record me whilst i was talking to them. And when I was talking to them, and telling them as to why I was there they saw Gatsha Buthelezi's photo or portrait, as well as King Zwelithini. It is not because I liked Gatsha Buthelezi, but I liked King Zwelithini. That's why I kept the portrait. King Zwelithini was wearing red, he was in red. They said King Zwelithini was Gatsha's wife, that's why he was standing next to him, and I protested their comments. And I asked them as to why they had the tape recorder. Then I asked them to replay it and they said it is not functioning. Apparently there is a certain person who was hiding across the road. This apparatus that they had was merely a transmitter which sent the message through to the one who was on the other side of the street. Now, at that time the community regarded me as a traitor. There is also a certain organisation called Gaffer's Fools Conglomerators(?).
Let's just go back a little bit. As I am listening to you you were being followed by the Special Branch. Could you just explain as to why they kept on following you. What had you done? --- As from the time I was staying in Krugersdorp I was a member of the Advisory
Board, and I was also a politician, and I was quite outspoken about my ideologies.
Just hold a bit. You were a member of the Advisory Board. Where? Whereabouts? --- That was in Krugersdorp. That was in Manziville. Now, when I got there I was called by the Special Branch, and they told me that they had gathered that I was busy mobilising people against their Government, and they wanted to get my photo so that they may get me whenever and wherever I held meetings. I told them that I was not going to give them any photos. If they wanted to have my photos they might as well take a photo of me. I took these photos. That is why then when I got here they kept on following me. That was from Krugersdorp, Manziville, where they started following me. Now they pretended as if they wanted to get me a house. I could not hide where I stayed because I was a prominent member of the community, and I was very well known by the community, so I could not totally hide where I was staying. So I gave them my address as to where I was staying. After I had given them my address I never saw them coming back to do anything, because they only came to ask me as to why I hadn't gone to Mr Luthuli's funeral.
Let's go a little bit back. You talked about a certain Swanepoel. How did you meet Swanepoel? --- It was said that Swanepoel was going to manage the cinema and I was going to be his assistant manager.
When you came into Umlazi you wanted to operate a cinema. --- No, I started in Pretoria, and in Pretoria they told me that they were going to give me a cinema in Umlazi. When I went to Umlazi to take over the cinema I
was told that I was first going to work under Swanepoel.
What was Swanepoel? --- Swanepoel was apparently my manager. He was also coming to the cinema.
How was he chosen to come and operate? --- I think he was from the KFC. The KFC brought Swanepoel.
Did you ever ask to get any assistance from Swanepoel? --- No, I never asked to get any assistance. They told me that they were going to give me the cinema at a later stage, but they never did that. I also have documentation, as well as letters that I was writing to them, but they are with Mr Mlaba, an attorney. Because at that time their manager wrote me a letter, and he told me that if I wanted to own a cinema I could buy it, and they were not going to charge me anything because the money that I had been paying for rent would be contributing to the initial deposit, so they were not going to charge me anything. When he died they flatly refused to give me the cinema.
Who died? --- The manager who was in charge at that time at the KFC. That is Dr Olivier.
In your statement you mentioned that you met Chief Buthelezi in Mpumalanga. Can you just tell us briefly as to what the meeting was all about. --- What I meant was I had to go to Buthelezi because we kept on being attacked by the Inkatha Freedom Party. So I went to him to approach him and tell me how to broach the subject. When I got to Mr Buthelezi he came towards my car. Just as I was opening the door he told me that I should occupy the back seat. Maybe he feared that I was going to shoot him or attack him. I sat at the back seat and I related the whole incident to him. He never gave me an answer.
Can you just explain as to what you were telling him? --- I was telling him about what was happening at my cinema, which was done by his thugs. I wanted him to know that the members of his political party were conducting a reign of terror.
Now, when you tell us about what happened at the cinema, what had happened at the cinema? --- There is a lot of things that happened at the cinema. At times they would break into the cinema. At times they would want to gain entry without paying for the films. There is quite a lot of incidents that I cannot count one by one that took place at that time.
In your statement you further said you wanted to ask him about the death of your son. --- That is the one I was referring to.
The truth is you wanted to talk to Chief Buthelezi about your son. --- That is correct.
Let's - yes, you can go on as to what took place between you and the chief after you got into the car. --- I went on to relate the whole thing took place, but he didn't look very enthusiastic to listen to my story. Apparently he was not free. He thought maybe I was going to shoot him. At that point when we were still talking two men approached us, and they were Inkatha Freedom Party members. These members were thugs who were taken to terrorise people. These people did not want to work hand in hand with the community. He was just like Sabelo, because my life was saved from Sabelo, as Mr Gasa had already mentioned. I was there on that particular day when they attacked the cinema.
As you have pointed out, what happened at the
cinema? Were you already there at the cinema? Were you managing the cinema at the time this took place? --- That is correct. I had given them permission to hold a memorial service for Mrs Nxengi.
You can go on. Yes, when you were with Chief Buthelezi in the car. --- Yes, we had our conversation, and he just got out of the car without telling me anything or answering me, and two men approached us. The other one was from KwaMashu. He clapped me, and I was surprised as to why he had to clap me because I was so old. I am just an elderly, frail man. He knew me as a friend, but now that he had joined the Inkatha group he had now to impress Gatsha Buthelezi. He appeared in the World Trade Centre.
Let's talk about that particular incident now. You wanted to say Gatsha Buthelezi. --- No, I feel I am quite correct to refer to him in that name, because he has been into so many groups. He would get into a certain group and go out, so he has always been in and out of certain organisations.
You said two men approached you. Do you remember both of them? --- That is correct, but I don't remember their names. I know them facially. I know the other one because he is a member of the Council in KwaMashu. He also has a business in KwaMashu. I can't remember his name. Now they started assaulting you, and what happened thereafter? --- After I had been assaulted I decided to go back home. They never followed me. That is where it ended.
In your statement you further pointed out that after this assault you were harassed by the KFC. Just give us
a brief explanation as to how they harassed you. --- On this particular day I was heading for my cinema, and when I got there I found them tearing down the projection equipment. And when I got in there to ask as to what was taking place I was told that this was done by a court order, that I had to be ejected from the cinema, but I did not know what culminated to that because I knew that I was leasing the place, and now that people should come and tear the place down. I was not even called to be notified that I was going to be ejected. It was just an order purported to be made by a Judge that I should be ejected. They were taking the contents of the cinema, as well as certain machinery and projectors. They were being thrown outside of the cinema because they wanted to stay there because the order of the court, or the purported order, said I should be evicted. I think this led to this disagreement.
Now, what about the equipment? What was the cost of the equipment? --- It was in the region of R80 000,00. Mr Mlaba has the full details, as well as the cost of the equipment that was destroyed at that particular time. I don't know whether you would be interested for me to call Mr Mlaba to give those details.
No, we can contact Mr Mlaba. You also pointed out that they said if you paid the rent that would be sufficient for you to be given the place, or ownership of the cinema. --- But there's absolutely nothing I got from the whole deal. This is what I am fighting for, because I want to get back my money. Because I was also ejected from that place, because I was actually leasing the place out whenever they were stage plays, functions,
as well as memorial services. This cinema was a service to the community. I was helping the community. Now the community has got to go to Durban to watch films or to use the cinema, whereas I had a cinema in Umlazi.
In all that you have said I can gather that you were harassed, that is from Krugersdorp up to here. You have been continually harassed up until such that you lost your son. Now, if I may ask how was your family affected by the whole incident? --- I don't think I do have any sort of - my son is also confirming that h's quite well, there's absolutely nothing wrong with him, and there's also nothing wrong with me except for the ... (incomplete)
We thank you very much when you feel quite unharmed. Do you have any expectations as you have come before this Commission. What expectations do you have? If we have to report to the State President and give some recommendations what would you like us to say to him? --- Yes, I do have a request, because I was evicted unlawfully at that time because I was not given any notice that I was going to be evicted, and the reason that they put, that the roof was leaking and it was going to call on the people and injure them. I want this matter to be taken further, and I would like to make a claim that I want all the equipment that I lost, or the equivalent thereof to be paid.
Is that all that you want the Commission to do for you? Are these your only expectations? --- I think that's with regard to KFC. I am quite satisfied if they could pay me back all that I have lost. I would like to be reimbursed. Now it reminds me that KFC should rebuild the cinema. If he does not do that he should reimburse me
the money that I was paying, which they said was an instalment towards buying the building itself, as well as my losses.
Now, is this building still under KFC? --- That is correct, it's still under KFC's control.
Thank you very much, Mr Dlamini, as well as your son. We thank you very much for having taken your time to come and appear here. Are you getting any pension? --- Yes, I am getting pension money.
We thank you very much. We shall hand over to the Chairman.
Mr Dlamini, we are running out of time, but we want to set the record straight. In your statement you said two sons - you lost two sons, but what is not clear is that you are not talking about your other son. The only son you are talking about is Jacob Dlamini, who was killed, but you do not talk about the other son. --- That is correct. I did not mention him, but he was killed in Gauteng. The Special Branch heard that the son of Dlamini, that is my son, had gone to wherever - I don't know where he went to, but he was killed. When we went to bury my son in Gauteng the place was filled with police. They were milling around, and they told me that I must be only an hour at the cemetery. They actually restricted us as to time, and they accompanied us to the cemetery because they heard that it was my son who was being buried, because I was a freedom fighter.
Was he killed by the Security Police in Gauteng? --- That is correct. The Security Police were involved.
Now, don't you think that you should also talk about
your son in your statement? --- I think that is correct.
Or maybe you don't want the Security Police to be brought to book. --- I think that's quite a wonderful idea that he should also be mentioned.
So you must go back to the office to give a statement with regard to the other son ... (inaudible - end of side A) ... to that. --- That is correct. Which offices should I go back to?
Our offices, the TRC offices. If you could just give us his name. --- His name is Petros Bongani Dlamini.
My last question, Mr Dlamini. You said that the closure of your cinema robbed the Umlazi community of their right to have amenities. Now are you still prepared to continue with the cinema business as you said you wished the cinema to be rebuilt? If it could be rebuilt could you go back and operate it? --- Yes, that is correct, because even now I still do order occasional films that I show around the schools, for instance Julius Caesar, or the set book films. I do take them to play them in different schools so that they can be assisted in their end-of-the-year exams. I still do that, but I don't have a cinema any more.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... Mr Dlamini. You heard Mr Gasa this morning. He stated that the attack on the cinema where 15 people were killed was led by Mr Sabelo. Is that your recollection as well? --- Yes.
(Inaudible) --- ... memorial service, and then they were knocked by the Inkatha Freedom Party group that
was outside. They even went into the cinema. They were trying to burn the cinema. Unfortunately for them it's all concrete, cement. They could not burn the walls of the cinema. (Speaking English)
And you confirm that there were police and soldiers present at the time? --- Yes. (Speaking English)
Mr Dlamini, thank you very much for coming in an sharing your story with us. As a result of the political violence you have lost not only your business, your means of earning a living, but you have also lost your son Jacob, and your other son in the Transvaal, and we extend our deep sympathies to you because of that. --- Thank you very much. (Speaking English)
You have also confirmed what one of the other witnesses has said about the event at the Umlazi Cinema. As I said earlier this was a very, very important event in that period of history of Natal, and your evidence there is also very important. As you know, as Mrs Gcabashe has said, it's our job to make recommendations to the Government as to how you might be assisted. We are not in a position to assist you directly, but we will take those recommendations to the State President, and he will act on them as he sees fit. --- Thank you very much. (Speaking English)
Thank you very much for coming in today.
COMMISSIONER: We welcome you here today, Mr Mbambo. Can you hear me through the earphones? Can you hear me and understand me?
MR MBAMBO: Yes.
COMMISSIONER: You are also from Umlazi, Malugazi North near Umlazi, and you have come to tell us about the death, shooting, burning, killing of your friend Bongani Xebexulu in 1991. Before you tell us that story can you please stand and take the oath.
B V MBAMBO (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Mr Lax will help you with your evidence. MR LAX: Good morning, Mr Mbambo. Thanks for coming again. What Mr Lister also didn't mention was that you're coming to tell us about your own injury as well, is that correct? --- (No reply)
Can you hear me through these earphones? --- Yes.
Speak up so we can hear your voice please. Now, just for the record, you were born on 4 March 1972, is that right? --- (No audible reply)
Sorry, if you could just speak up a little bit so the people in the audience can hear you, because everything you say goes through the microphone in front of you. --- It was on the 28th of February in 1991. It was on Tuesday. The previous day there were fightings around in the neighbourhood. The shacks which were called Malaza were attacked before by Inkatha members at Malaza, and then the following day things were still not right, and the situation was still volatile. As we were still confused about the situation the soldiers approached.
They were running, going up the road. I am talking about the road that separates the two locations. They were using that road. Still we were standing on the hill sort of place called Masizini.
(Inaudible) ... a little bit closer to that mike. Maybe move your chair a little bit forward. That's much better, thank you. --- Right at that time the soldiers were coming running, approaching us. We were standing there and scared, wondering what was happening. You know we were preparing to go to school. I was attending school. I was schooling at Shumayela at section Q, Umlazi. At that time when the police approached those who were in front of us, we saw them running, coming back, and we also ran. We ran to section Z, because now they were shooting, they started shooting. When we got there we could not - they closed the door. They closed the gate. We could not get through the premises. And when we were looking around we could see the soldiers now. They were there. They told us that we should just climb up and come up to them. There was an open space there like a parking - like a park sort of place. That's where they told us to go to, and they told us to lie down on our stomachs and sleep, and just lie there. And there was a lining where you hang your laundry on, and they used that lining and they were hitting us, assaulting us, beating us. They took us into Malugazi, where we were, and there were police already who were in there. They were SAP using some vans. They were also driving one white Sentra. Those soldiers came and they handed us over to the station commander, and he is still a station commander at Umbilo Police Station. And they handed us over to two policemen
by the name of Naidoo and Reddy. We went with three other soldiers whom I could not see their names, because they did not have their name tags on. They took us home. On the way they were assaulting us still using the guns, the back of the guns, and still that wire that they were using, electric wire. When we got home there were no people there. There was no one at home. The house was just to let. They kicked the door and they could not find anyone at home. We went on to Bongani's place, who was mentally disturbed already at that time from the assault. You know, each time they asked him questions he could not answer, he could not even understand what they were saying. I had to answer on his behalf. When we got to his place the house was to let. There was on one at home. We went back to where the vehicles were parked, and they told Naidoo, who was the driver driving one of the vans, telling him to get into his van and he will follow us. He was driving in front of us with other police and other soldiers that he was with. And they went to the people that we were fighting, that is Inkatha, and the van that we were in followed. We found them so many, numerous in number, and that place was a playground before, and there was an Indian school just around that place. And it's still there even now. When we got there the Inkatha members were there packed. There were weapons like butcher's knives, and guns as well. The van drove in and parked there, and there were soldiers that just arrived, who were not there where we were coming from. You see we were with Mr Nxumalo, who was a constable, a black constable, and Mr Reddy, who was an Indian police, and also Naidoo, who was driving. We were in this van.
Mr Haripersad was talking to these Inkatha members who were there. After a few minutes he requested Mr Naidoo to get - to drive his van in and tell us to get out from the van, and we got out from the van and we stood outside. And they took the weapons which were there and they loaded them into the van. After a short while, when we were still standing there, even though I did not hear exactly what he said to them, he left. He went into the Sentra, the cream-white Sentra, and he left. In that minute, instantly, the soldiers - other left, also followed, and the soldiers were left. And I just asked one of the coloured soldiers. He could not speak Zulu, and I asked him now that the police have left us here, and the people who are here are enemies to us, how can he be of help, and how can he help us in this situation? He said, "No, Haripersad has already instructed, and we have to do as he has said." In that minute the soldiers also left. Now, when the soldiers were leaving the Inkatha people, Inkatha members, now started walking towards us, and when they got to us they got hold of the one whose mind was lost already, and I asked immediately, "What have we done?" In that minute, that very minute, I just managed to escape, I ran, because they were already shooting, but I was shot, I was wounded on my right-hand foot. And I was taken to Isipingo because I got a lift. And the driver who gave me a lift could see that I was trying to run as fast as my feet could carry me to escape from the situation. He was kind enough to help me. And the roads were not safe then because the people were scattered around, the Inkatha people scattered around, and there was this lady who knew us so well, and knowing my family as
well, and she went to my place and explained what happened from what she saw to my family. And the community gathered together to listen to what has happened. Immediately I came also, and they were still shocked, surprised. I had to explain to them what exactly took place. I could not go to the hospital because of the situation. Because of how the things were it was not even safe for me to go to the hospital. Upon Bongani's death comrade Mrs Ndebele came. She used to come to us and listen to our problems and try to enlist some help, and also tried to see if she could not get some police to come and at least give us security. She asked Haripersad to come on that very day. He came around four in the afternoon. When he came he was asked about the boys he took, two boys, and asked what were they accused - why were they accused and what was going on. And he said no, we had guns in our possession and we had to be taken and to be arrested because of that reason. And we opened a case in that regard, and for some time nothing was done, and we gave the statement, and two weeks later I was called at Merebank, where I was connected and I was introduced to one of the police from Amanzimtoti, by Mr Hunter, who took my statement. You know, it seemed like it was going to be handled and go on, but up until to this day nothing has been done. After two weeks Bongani disappeared. They tried to look for him, they could not see him, and finally they located his corpse. He was already dead, lying along the road, burnt.
Thank you, Mr Mbambo. If I can just put one or two questions just to clarify certain aspects of your story please. The area that you were living in was Malugazi, is
that right? --- Yes.
And this whole incident happened in that area? --- Yes.
Now your friend, Bongani Xebexulu - that was his surname, is that right? --- Yes.
And as far as you knew he was born in 1965. --- Yes.
Where are his family now? --- They are at Malugazi.
Do you think you could ask them and speak to them to come forward to see us about this incident? --- They work. They are working. You see the parents both of them have died, and the elder brother is the one who's the breadwinner taking care of them, and there is one other younger brother who is also present here.
(Inaudible) ... speak to him later on and make arrangements to take a statement from him. --- Yes.
About yourself, you said that you were shot in the leg or the foot. Could you just clarify that for us? --- Yes, I was wounded here on my leg, on my foot. But I did not go to the hospital for any treatment. I got better with time. I still walk, but I do experience pains and problems there and then.
You said the situation at the hospital wasn't safe. Perhaps you could explain that for us. --- You see, when one was taken to the hospital or King Edward they will tell the person that anyone who got injured should be taken to Mshiyeni. And when they were taken to Mshiyeni they will be harassed still at Mshiyeni. Being injured like that the enemies will get an opportunity to be harassed, or at times even get arrested from that place.
You see there was no - it wasn't safe even at that Mshiyeni.
(Inaudible) ... understand that. I mean places like hospitals. We've heard stories from other places where hospitals were not secure even for people who were injured and damaged. Somehow there was connivance between certain political organisations and people in hospitals and the police. Now, you've mentioned a number of policemen. The first one you spoke of is a person called Haripersad, and you've told us that he was the station commander at Isipingo Police Station. --- Even now he still is.
We will arrange to speak to him about this incident. --- Yes, I am prepared.
You've also said that there was two other policemen. You've mentioned a Reddy, somebody Reddy. What was his rank, do you know? Was he a sergeant, or are you not sure? --- He was constable, and Naidoo and Nxumalo.
In your statement the name Xulu is mentioned as opposed to Nxumalo ... (inaudible) --- Xulu/Nxumalo is just one thing. It's Xulu.
And do you know where those three policemen are, Naidoo, Reddy and Xulu? --- Yes.
Are they still at Isipingo? --- Yes.
And they were SAP policemen? --- Yes.
Now, you've mentioned a nickname for this group of IFP people in your statement. --- Yes, they called themselves - no, we used to call themselves disguisers, because they would disguise when they attack.
And you've told us that there were a lot of attacks in that area. You mentioned that they day before this happened there were lots of attacks. --- Yes.
You've also spoken about some soldiers. You said one of them that you spoke to was a coloured person. Do you know where these soldiers were from, where there bas was perhaps, or which area they came from? --- No, I did not know where they were coming from, but they were using cars written 121.
And you never got to know any of their names as far as you know? --- No.
Okay. Now, you mention - and this might have been an interpretation problem, but you spoke about an Ndebele, someone called Ndebele. --- Yes.
Which Ndebele was that? --- Sbu Ndebele. He is the one I told this thing, and he is the one who called the police, because we had no way of talking to the police. So he is the one who called the police and asked them about the incident. You see, he is the person who could come and talk to us each time we had a problem, or probably attacked, and also go around and call the police to give us security.
(Inaudible) ... man who is now Provincial Minister of Transport? --- Yes.
Thank you. Now, you people belonged to which political party at that time, or which political organisation at that time? --- I used to support ANC, and I was not yet an ANC member at the time.
Do you know whether there was any inquest into this case, an inquiry into Bongani's death? --- No, nothing was conducting, except Mr Hunter was called to take the statement, and that was the end.
(Inaudible) ... in your statement that Hunter was accompanied by another policeman called Mhlongo. ---
Yes, Mr Mhlongo. He was the translator, interpreter, telling me what Mr Hunter was saying, interpreting.
(Inaudible) ... they were from the Amanzimtoti Police Station? --- Yes, Mhlongo was a sergeant working at Merebank, and Mr Hunter was in charge of the police from Point to Amanzimtoti.
Thank you very much. Now, tell us a little bit about your family. Are your parents alive? Brothers and sisters? --- I still have my mum and my dad. They are still alive. My mum is a housewife. She is just working for RDP in the community. And my father is on pension. I have three brothers. One is still at school, and myself I am still at school, and the other two are home. And my eldest sister got married, and I have one other sister who is in Johannesburg with my uncle at Zolo township. And the other children, kids, are there still attending school, schooling. I am schooling at Gagazinya. I am in standard 10. We stay at Malugazi. We have a shack of about four rooms. You see I have my own room where I just read and study from.
(Inaudible) ... what would you like to do when you - if you finish studying? Would you like to study further, or ... (incomplete) --- I am so ambitious, and what I had planned is that after my standard 10 I would like to go and further my studies at the university. And I'd be something in the community and be of much help at home.
(Inaudible) --- I want to be an attorney, advocate, lawyer under the human rights.
COMMISSIONER: Thank you very much for coming in today. What you have told us sounds very familiar. We have heard /many other
many other stories like yours in other parts of the country, and these stories have never been told before. You never hear stories like yours on television or in the newspaper or on radio, and that's why it's very important that you have come to tell your story here in a public place like this. It's very important that we have a description of what life was like in those years of conflict, so that we never ever forget what life was like for people like you, who struggled against an unjust system. And of the co-operation that you've told us that existed between the police and political parties. In this case you have described very close co-operation between the police and the IFP. And that sort of thing has happened in many other places. We've heard stories like that, where the police have detained people and have taken them to areas where they know they will be very badly dealt with, assaulted or killed. In this case you and your friend, Bongani, were taken to an IFP area, and you were very lucky to escape with your life. And it seems that Bongani was no as lucky as you. He was brutally killed, and his body was burned. So again that's why it's important that you have come today to tell us here, the public, in front of television, to tell us what happened in those days so that when we write our report stories like that go into the report, and we - and the generations that come after us are all the more determined that those sorts of things should never ever happen again in this country.
We will try to investigate what happened to Bongani, and who was responsible for what happened to him. That will be very difficult, but we will make an effort to do
that, and we will also make contact with these police and ask them why they did what they did, and ask them to give an account of themselves.
So we thank you again very much for coming in. We wish you well in the future. We hope that you are able to succeed with your ambitions, one day become a lawyer, and spend your life protecting the rights and interests of other people. Thank you very much for coming in to see us.
COMMISSIONER: We welcome you here today, Mr Thusi. You have come from Umlazi township, and you will be telling a story about your detention, harassment by the Security Branch of the South African Police during 1986 and 1988, and the factors that caused you to embark on a hunger strike. Before you give that evidence can I ask you please to stand and take the oath.
SANDILE THUSI (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: You can give your evidence in obviously the language of your choice - in Zulu. Dr Khoza Mgojo will be assisting you in leading your evidence, so if you want to give your evidence in Zulu please do so. Thank you very much.
DR MGOJO: Good morning, Sandile. How are you? Are you feeling quite fine? Where do you stay, by the way? --- I stay in Umlazi at No 5. Now, I am staying in Durban because of discrimination.
Just give me a picture, the background of your family. Just give us a brief background about your parents, your sisters as well as your brothers. --- I have both parents. They used to stay at Swaaiman(?), but because of the situation that prevailed at that time they were being harassed, so I fetched them to come and stay at Umlazi, and presently they are staying there. And they are quite old, they are on pension now.
Did they go back to Swaaiman? --- No, they are staying in Umlazi. I have two sisters. The one is staying in Gauteng. That's where she is married. And the other one is staying in KwaZulu-Natal. She is also married at Avoca. And I also have two brothers. They are
still alive. The other one is staying at Umlazi and the other one is staying in Chesterville. My brother's children as well, I took them to their grandparents, and the other ones are with my sisters-in-law. We asked them to take the children because their husbands had died, so there are also other children who are in Clermont. That is my brother's children, my deceased brother's children. I am presently working at the NGO Centre for Community and Labour Studies. We are involved in progress and development of the community. That's about all I can say. No, I am satisfied. You have quite a big family. You have come to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to tell us and relate to us as to what happened to your place or to where you stayed which you thought the police were behind. You were also harassed at some stage. That is from 1985, is that correct? --- That is correct.
Now, I will ask you to tell us briefly as to what happened. Just start from scratch, that is from the morning September 1985. What happened to your family? --- The police used to come and visit my place, especially the Flying Squad, to such an extent that each time they came to my place whenever I was not at home my parents knew that these police were coming, and they used to come at different intervals.
What happened that led to the police frequenting your place? Were you involved in political organisations, or were you politically active? --- I was part of the Umlazi youth, and we belonged to the Umlazi Youth League. Because I was involved in politics it so happened that the police decided to frequent my place.
What sort of organisation was the Youth League?
--- We started this Youth League when we had finished school because we wanted to participate in the politics that were taking place in this country. Then in 1983, when the United Democratic Front started, we became part of the United Democratic Front.
You can continue. --- It was on a Saturday morning, that is in September 1985. There was a group of about 10 to 12 people who were armed to the teeth. They approached my place and they were running. They were divided into two groups. Some came into the house and the others ones surrounded the house in the yard.
Now, what do you mean that they were armed? What were they having? --- They were having guns, automatic rifles. Each and every one of them. This now was related to me by my sister-in-law. I thought she was going to come today, but she isn't in. I was not present at the time when this took place. I wasn't staying at my place any more, so all this was related to me by my sister-in-law. Each and every one of them had a hand gun as well as an automatic rifle.
When they came who did they say they were? --- They never introduced themselves. They never told anyone as to who they were. They asked for me. It was obvious that they did not know me facially. They went around looking into the house, and when they were asked by my deceased brother as to who they were looking for, and who they were, they said they were looking for me, and they asked as to where I was. At times white policemen would come, but these were youths. I think they were about 25 to 30 years old, and they were all black.
What language were they speaking? --- According
to my sister-in-law they were speaking a mixed language. It was obvious that some of them were not Zulus. They were speaking some tsotsi taal or township lingo.
Some were speaking Afrikaans? --- No, nobody spoke Afrikaans, but they were speaking township lingo, which is a mixture of quite a number of languages. They were mixing Xhosa, Sotho, Afrikaans, as well a broken English. This is the language that you use in the streets. It's not a pure langauge.
What did they say to you when they came to your place? --- When they got into the house they were asked as to what they were looking for, and we were not used to people coming in this manner, especially armed as they were. My deceased brother asked them as to what they wanted, and whether they could be helped in any way. They never answered him, they just went around the house and they took out a photo and showed it to my deceased brother. This photo was Mrs Nxenge's photo, which was taken during a funeral, and my face was showing on the photo as if I was looking at Mr Nxenge's coffin, so it is apparent that this little photo was actually an article which was cut from a newspaper.
What's your brother's name, the deceased one? --- His name was Bucks. That was his common name.
What about Manqoba? --- Manqoba is not my brother. He is my nephew.
Was Manqoba also involved in politics? --- Yes, we were with him in the Youth League, but he was still at high school at that time and he belonged to an organisation called Khozas.
Can you briefly tell us as to what they did to your
sister when they arrived? --- When they got into my place they asked as to where I was, but my family says when they looked at this critically they asked themselves as to why didn't they hear these people coming. It was possible that they had not parked before our yard, or in front of our yard. Then they realised that they had parked the cars at a far away place, and they came on foot to our place. And as they were going out they saw that there was a kombi which had NPS registration, and at that time it was a Port Shepstone numberplate. My brother asked them for their identification. If they were police they had to identify themselves. After that these people kept on searching the house. They turned the house upside-down. As they were still turning the house upside-down they saw my brother's child, who was about six months old. He was playing with City Press, a newspaper. Now, at that time you were not supposed to be seen reading or handling City Press because it was believed that the City Press was against Gatsha Buthelezi. They used to make negative remarks about Gatsha Buthelezi. They got angry.
Who did you say the paper? --- At that time they did not want to see City Press. They aligned you with the United Democratic Front if you read City Press. When they saw this infant playing with the City Press they said, "This place reeks of politics." Now, at that time they went into the bedroom and they came back with our family album. That's where they started paging through the family album, and they looked at the photos. They even saw Manqoba's photo together with me. These were the photos that they took out of the album. And they asked my sister-in-law as to who was helping her with the child
because she was a teacher, and they asked her as to who was helping her. She was surprised as to how they knew that she was being helped, because that person who was helping her had just come, had just started working for her. And that person was a young woman from Ingwavuma. On that first day they took the two photos which had me, as well as Manqoba, my nephew.
Is it true that they abused you verbally, they abused your sister verbally, who was two months pregnant? --- That is correct, but that happened on the second visit. Now they went away.
What happened on the 23rd of October? Is it correct that on the 23rd of October people unknown to you came to your place? --- Thereafter they came again on the 23rd of October, and at that time my sister-in-law had decided that she was going to sleep at her neighbour's place, she was scared to stay in the house. And when they came in they came in at about - I don't remember the time quite well, but it was in the evening. I can't remember what time it was.
Is it correct that when they came they shot at the door and they burned your house down? --- No. That was a different occasion. That was on the third occasion when they burnt the house down. On the second occasion they pulled my brother out of the house, and my sister-in-law saw them when they were doing that. She came into the yard from my neighbour's place, and when she came they swore at her. They swore at her. This is a phrase which is used in the bible which refers to a bitch. They said, "You are the one who phoned Manqoba during the day. We heard you speaking on the line." She said yes, it was
correct Manqoba had phoned, but how did these people know that Manqoba had phoned? That is where we realised that they had some connections with the Flying Squad, because at that time the Flying Squad used to bug the phones and listen. They were bugging the telephones and listening to the conversations that were going on in private homes. So we realised that they were having certain connections with the police because they knew so much. Now, one of the members of the gang hit my sister with the back of the gun and she fell onto the ground. Thereafter one of them threatened that he was going to shoot, but the other members apparently restrained him from shooting. Apparently the other one who was restraining him was their leader, and he said, "This is no time to shoot. I will tell you as to when you are supposed to shoot, because if you can start shooting now we would not be able to get Sandile." They were having these automatic rifles. And after quite some time - thereafter they never came back, because they wanted me and they could not get me at that time, and I had stopped living at my place because I knew that they wanted me. On the 23rd of October my sister-in-law was told by her helper that there were certain two boys who came into the house and they never spoke to anyone. They just looked around the house and they went outside and looked at the yard, then they went away. This was related now by the helper to my sister-in-law. It was at about 9 o'clock, if I am not mistaken. They heard gunshots from outside, and when they went to investigate as to what was happening they realised that the whole house was on fire. The gunfire went on and on, and they were trapped inside the house. They couldn't get out
because they were hearing gunshots. When they tried to open the door they could not, and they realised that it seemed as if the door was tied or locked from outside so that they couldn't open it from inside. There is another neighbour called Fanfani who was screaming outside and asking them to release the people who were inside because there were babies or infants inside. Then the neighbours started screaming, and as it was like that this group went into - the neighbours went into the yard and they broke a window, tried to pull the burglar guard in order to rescue the people who were inside. My sister-in-law threw the baby out of the window, and they left Fanfani so that he could take the child with, but they were trapped. The rest of the people were trapped inside, they could not go outside. And at that time when the house was burnt my brother was suffering from asthma, and at that time he was suffocating. My sister-in-law was trying to protect my brother, because at that time he was getting burnt and she was trying to undress him because he was on fire, and they had poured petrol underneath the door, as well as on top of the roof. So the house was burning from below as well as above.
How many people were left inside, trapped inside the burning house? --- My house had been extended. There was the main house as well as back rooms. My brother was inside, as well as our helper. At that time my brother was able to get hold of the helper and open the door, and they both escaped. According to him he says at the time that he went out he was accosted by a man who had an Uzi gun, and this person was sort of stunned to see people escaping from the house. Then he was able to run away.
What about the people inside? Who was inside? --- It was Bucks, as well as my sister-in-law.
When they came out were they burnt? --- No, I said my house had been extended. There were those who were in the main house, as well as my deceased brother, as well as my sister-in-law, who were in the outside building. When the others came out from the main house they couldn't, but the kitchen door wasn't locked or shut in any manner, so that's why he was stunned to see people escaping right in front of him.
Now, I want you to clarify us. What about those who were left inside the house. --- Yes, there were two people left inside the house who were still trapped.
What do you know about Makwane? --- When my brother had already escaped he crawled, and when he came back it was quiet, because he wanted to investigate as to what had happened to the rest of the people who were in the house. And when he came back he saw a certain policeman which we knew, and the name of the policeman was Makwane. We saw a police car, and Makwane was a CID. He was working at the GG Police Station, and we knew Makwane very well because he used to be friends with my elder brother, who stayed in Chesterville. So we knew him as a family. He ran to Makwane and asked him to take our family to the hospital. Makwane replied and said he was not prepared to help dogs who were members of the UDF.
Before you even go on, where is Makwane now? --- Makwane has since died. Apparently he died in a car accident. That is the information I got.
Now, your brother was taken to the hospital. --- My brother went out to the neighbours to try and enlist
some help. The neighbour came and took my brother. He took them all to the hospital, all those who had been inured. When they were taken out of the house they were naked, and they were taken to Makhulusi's place, and at the time that they were at Makhulusi's place soldiers came and saw them in pain, but they just looked at them. They were sort of surprised as to how did these people survive, because according to them they had planned to kill them. They were taken to the hospital. My other brother asked the neighbours to take these injured to the hospital. They were taken to Prince Mshiyeni Hospital, and when they got there they were referred to King Edward Hospital. The three of them - it was my sister-in-law, my brother, Bucks, as well as my other brother, Hlaganipani. When they got in there they were put in different wards. That's when, after some time, my sister-in-law got wind of the news that my brother was injured.
Now, amongst the people who went to the hospital Bucks died. Hlaganipa and your sister-in-law survived. --- No, Hlaganipani is dead now. No, he was injured. My sister-in-law is still around.
Now, let's move on further. Let's come to you now when you were working at Natal University. You have told us about your detention. --- After October the 23rd I did not stay at home any more. I could not go back there because I knew that we were wanted, and our family was divided because the picture that the community got was that it was my doing that resulted in our home being attacked and people dying. So I ended up being a vagabond, going around staying everywhere I could, because of the division that existed in the family. Now people
sort of ostracised me, because they were scared to be associated with me because I was highly active in politics, and I was not supposed to be seen with other people in the community because they were scared that they were going to be victimised. In 1986 there is a certain house at which we were staying, and at about 2.00 am in the morning we saw that the house was surrounded by the Flying Squad, and they knocked very loudly. We were taken and we were detained in terms of section 29 of the Internal Security Act. We were taken to the police station. Apparently the Flying Squad came out to search for us. We were taken to the charge office, and whilst we were there we were joined by a group, a very big group of people. I think we were about 15 or 20.
How long did you stay there? --- We stayed for about three hours, and we started being tortured by the police who were at the GG Police Station. They assaulted us and they were laughing at us. We were a laughing stock.
When you say you were tortured, what actually did they do to you? --- One would just come, walk across the room and clap you with the back of his hand. It's quite a long time and I don't remember any one of them, because at that time the police never used to put their identities.
Now, could you please tell us about your detention for three months. --- We were taken to C R Swart. After had photos had been taken we were taken to the Westville Prison for three months. Now it was not three months. It was the first time when I was detained for three months, but the second time ... (inaudible - end of
side A) ... yes, I think it was section 29 of the Internal Security Act.
Your statement is not very clear. Let me just tell you. Now I have to clarify certain issues, so I have to ask a lot of questions because the years don't go according to the sequence in which you relate them. Now we have to clarify certain issues. In your statement there is somewhere where you tell us that you were put in solitary confinement. Is that correct? --- Now, that is when - yes, that is true, but it's when I was detained for the second time now.
Is it correct that they used to put liquid paraffin in your meals? --- No, I was given liquid paraffin because I used to have a problem with constipation. So they used to give me liquid paraffin to ingest after I had taken the food.
How was the liquid paraffin? --- Well, it was difficult taking the liquid paraffin, but I think it did help me. But it was terrible because it made the food tasteless.
Is it correct that you embarked on a hunger strike at some stage? For how long did you embark on this hunger strike? --- It was for 38 days.
Where were you at that time? --- I was at a prison in Gingindlovu. After about 14 days whilst I was there I was taken to the Durban North Police Station. It was at night when they took me. I realised only in the morning that I was at Durban North Police Station.
At the time that you were suffering from this stomach problems were you taken in for medical attention? --- No, I was never taken to any doctor, but I remember
being taken to a medical officer. And there were so many of us who were actually sick. We were about 100, but it took the doctor 30 minutes to examine us all, and I realised that we were just being conned.
In your statement you said you were in a hunger strike for 38 days. After that you were released. --- Yes, they did release me, but I was not supposed to go out. I had to stay at home. Lister was also one of the attorneys who helped us. The other was Eunice Mohammed & Associates. There were so many of us, as well as the attorneys were many.
Now, when you went out of the prison you went home. Did the police come thereafter? --- No, they used to come because the restrictions that were given to us were that I should go to the police station and report twice a day. That is in the morning between eight and nine, as well as in the afternoon between three and five. And at the same time at 8 o'clock I should be inside the yard. From 5 o'clock in the afternoon up until eight in the following morning I was supposed to be at home and not move out of my yard. And between nine and five in the afternoon I had to go to the police station to report, come back home. At 3 o'clock again I was supposed to go to the police station. Then by 5 o'clock I should be back at home.
At night did they ever come to check on you? --- They used to come every time in the evening to check on me. At times I would just wake up in the middle of the night and go wait for them outside, because I used to - I wanted to avoid the manner in which they knocked when they wanted me. I took them as part of my family. I just woke
up and went to them.
Now we just want to finalise because we are running out of time. I just want to find out from you, those incidents which took place at your home that affected you as well as your family, did you ever report this to the police? --- At the time when I was detained I told one of the SB members, and he told me that I should report it to the police, but I told him that I could not report it to the police because they were the ones who were victimising us, and they were the ones who were hunting me. And I also pointed it out to him that Makwane was also there, and he was a policeman, so I could not go to that police station.
What about your attorneys, did they ever help you to report this matter to the police? Isn't there ever anything that they did? --- It was difficult because Mr Gumede at times would also get arrested, so they couldn't help us in any way at times.
The police as well as Inkatha were united against the community and against us, so we could not really go to the police to report, because it was a well known thing that police were colluding with Inkatha and terrorising the community, as well as UDF and ANC members.
Now, you have come to this Commission. What are your expectations? After relating your story what do you expect the Commission should do for you? --- I don't know where to start, but what I can say to this Commission is it was quite acceptable that we were fighting for freedom at that time, and the political situation was quite volatile at that time, but the violations as well as the tortures that used to go along with it was that not
you as a person or as a politically active person were victimised, but your family was also victimised.
We know that very well, Sandile. We are quite aware of that fact, but what I want to know is what are your personal expectations? After relating the circumstances to us what are your personal expectations? --- Well, the people who were involved in burning my house down, we want them to come forward so that they should talk this over. I want to look them in the eye so that they should tell us as to why they did this. Maybe we could be paving the say for reconciliation. My sister-in-law is still very young, and she had severe burns, and I would love her to be able to undergo plastic surgery.
What's her name? --- It's Thithi. It's Mrs P Thusi.
You say you want her to undergo plastic surgery. --- The second thing is that when my brother died I had to support my brother's children. Now I am asking the ... (intervention)
Are you asking the Commission to help the children? --- Yes, I am requesting this Commission to help them to further their education. That is Bucks' children.
Is there anything else that you would like to say? --- Also my house was burnt down. It's still in the very same state. If this Commission could help me to rebuild our house. I did rebuild the house, but it's not in the same condition that it was before it got burnt down. I also incurred a lot of costs, because the people now were asking as to where we were when our house looked like that.
Now, as a person who had been tortured, you had been
tortured physically, some mentally or psychologically, and who need to get the help of psychiatrists as well as psychologists. Now, according to you who was more affected, or were there any people who were affected psychologically by these tortures who needs to get some attention? --- I think I was the one who was tortured severely physically, as well as psychologically. After I had stopped the hunger strike I was grounded to my house.
Do you think you need psychological help? --- It's difficult for one to see himself or herself as to whether he or she needs psychological attention, so I don't know whether I do need psychological attention. I think I can appreciate it, because I have never talked about this. I have never talked to my sister-in-law. I have never asked her as to how she feels about what happened. We've never talked about the whole incident even with the children. I think she still feels that I am responsible for all that happened, so we might probably all be affected. It's the first time that I talked about this incident today.
Before I hand over to the Chairman, Sandile, we have heard your requests. There's five of them. You said, one, you want a proper investigation as to the perpetrators, so that if there's a need for reconciliation you can be reconciled. You also said your sister-in-law was burnt on the face and you would request that she gets plastic surgery. You also pointed out that your brother's children were left fatherless, and you wanted them to further their own education. How many are they? --- There were two from my sister-in-law, and there were others from outside the marriage. He has four children
outside his marriage.
In what standards are the children? --- My sister-in-law's children are still at primary level, and the other ones should be at tertiary level by now.
Where are the children's mothers? --- They are alive. They do work, but I do not think that they can be able to put the children through tertiary level because they are working at factories.
You said the other request is you would appreciate it if you could be helped to rebuild your house. With regard to yourself getting psychological attention you said you are not sure because you do not know as to whether you do need it or you do not need it. You also said that your sister-in-law is pointing a finger at you that you are the one who caused all this pain. Now, our main job is to pass these recommendations to the State President, as well as the Parliament. We do not offer any instant help, but we pass suggestions as well as recommendations of the requests made by the victims, as well as witnesses. We appreciate the fact that you had all the courage to come in front of us and relate this painful story. You are on the road to recovery, you are in the process of recovering, because now you can talk about this as you have said that it's the first time that you've spoken about this. That is where I will end.
I will just add on to what Dr Mgojo has said with regard to your health. Many a times when we have been harassed or tortured psychologically it is difficult for one to see or realise that he or she needs help. I do realise from your statement that you do have certain
symptoms of being psychologically tormented. Now, from that it can be seen that you do need help. Now, I have been looking at what happened to you when you were still very young. Your house was attacked, you were detained, you went into solitary confinement, you embarked on a hunger strike, as well as house arrest. This is too much to happen to one person and that the person should remain unaffected. I think you should get some attention.
Mr Thusi, just for the record, we don't have your date of birth. If you would kindly give that to us please. --- I was born on the 11th of the 11th month in 1961.
(Inaudible) ... detained a number of times under section 29. You've told us about at least two instances of having been detained under section 29. Were you ever charged? --- (No reply interpreted)
Just to add onto what happened. You said you were working at the Natal University when you were detained. Are you working at the present moment? --- Yes, I am working at the NGO, called CCLS, Centre for Community and Labour Studies.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... giving us your story today. You have painted a very clear and vivid picture of the life of a young activist in the township in the eighties, and you have also told - in telling us what life was like as a young activist you have also told us the tragic story of the death of your brother, who was attacked, shot at and burned in his own house. It really
makes one wonder how the people who called themselves policemen could have actually had the effrontery to call themselves policemen. You've mentioned one policeman, Makwane, who was present when your house was set on fire and bullets were fired into your house, with a young child inside. And, as I understand, you said he was from GG Police Station, which is the name given to the KwaZulu Police Station at Umlazi, is that correct? --- Ja.
These were very difficult times for you, and it must be of some satisfaction to you that it was because of young people, young activists like yourself, not only here in Durban, but all around the country, that, along with other factors, led to the collapse of apartheid. I recall the days when you were in detention, and anyone who lived here on the Berea, Glenwood, will remember that your friends and colleagues at the University of Natal launched a campaign to have you released, and there was writing on many of the walls in these areas saying, "Free Sandile." And if you go to the corner of Bulwer Road now you will still see a faded sign saying, "Free Sandile," so that's something to remember you by.
So again thank you very much for coming in, telling us that story. It helps us to get a picture of what life was like in those days, and to make recommendations to our new Government so that these things can be remembered and can never happen again. Thank you very much for coming in. --- I have a question. Mrs Magwaza said I should take care of myself. I did not understand that. What did she mean by it?
MRS MAGWAZA: What I meant was that if there's any help that you think you need with regard to your mental health, /as well
as well as your physical health, you should take the help
that will be rendered to you. If you do take that help it does not mean that you are a weak person, but that denotes that you are a very strong person who is actually trying to cope with the events or incidents of the past, and you should take the help. Let me just help you. You must come back to the offices so that you may get in touch with our people, who are going to show you and help you as to how to go about getting this help.
COMMISSIONER: We greet you and welcome you here today, Mr Gasa. You have - like the previous witness you are from Umlazi township, and you have come to tell us about the attack, burning of your house, and the tragic death of your wife in August 1985. Before you tell that story please can you stand and take the oath.
DAVID S GASA (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Mr Gasa, can you hear me and understand me through the earphones? --- Yes.
Sorry, I can't hear you, so could you just repeat that so I can hear you. Can you hear me? --- Yes, I do hear you.
Mr Gasa, can you just tell us briefly, are you still living in Umlazi? Are you living with your children? Do you have children? --- Yes.
And are you employed at the moment? --- Yes.
How old are your children? --- The eldest one is 38 years old. The youngest is 14 years.
Where are you working at the moment? --- No, I am not working. (Speaking English)
You're not working. (Inaudible) ... can understand you in English through these earphones. Thank you very much. Now, if you can just tell us basically what were you doing in 1985 before this attack on your house. What were you involved in? Were you involved in organisations? Just tell us some background to what occurred in August 1985. --- I have been active in politics and been an activist even at the time in August. Even before August I have been active under ANC.
Now, what was happening in Umlazi at the time which
led to this incident? --- My mind was not so much concerned about Umlazi, but I was concerned about the nation at large. But what I will say now is that before August I used to be - I was always in prison, always arrested. Before August I was on house arrest for about 10 years, being arrested and released just like that. I never fought things that concerned Umlazi township only, but I also fought things that concerned the nation at large.
And were you involved in a specific organisation, or was it Umlazi-based organisations, or was it national organisations? --- As I have already said I was not only fighting for Umlazi township only, but I was involved in the fighting of the whole nation, South Africa, and I was also fighting for whites, because also whites were oppressed. Even de Klerk himself was oppressed.
Now, you said in your statement that you had given a press statement about a massacre which took place. Can you tell us the background to that? What led to that particular shooting? I think it was - the reason for the gathering was related to Mrs Nxenge's death, is that right? So perhaps if you just sketch that background and give us the background of what happened to Mrs Nxenge, and then the Umlazi Cinema, and then how you became involved in that and how it affected you personally. --- First of all I was scared when I heard that Mr Nxenge was found dead in Umlazi. That's where this whole thing began. Things got out of - hell broke loose at that time, and that led to the burning of my house. At the time I was in house arrest. I was not even allowed to talk to any other person, any person more than one. I will only be allowed
to talk to one person at a time. I was harassed, and when all this took place that led me to feel so depressed, and I could not even associate with people I used to associate before. Well, this went on and it passed, and the time came when I felt that I was so heavily harassed, and also I heard immediately that my wife, or the wife of Mr Nxenge, Mrs Nxenge, the leader of the community, a very humble man - when I heard that that man was chopped and died by men who were not known I was disturbed. It was my first time to hear that blacks can attack other blacks, especially women. It was the first time in the history of the blacks to have this kind of incident. I therefore made an arrangement to meet the Umlazi township as a chairman of the organisation that was known as the Umlazi Association. I made these arrangements to call forth the residents of Umlazi township to meet so we can pray, and also criticise that act, that brutal act. It had never taken place before in the black community. That was the first time. We met, and we were so numerous in number where we were going together and praying. People who came to attend were so many that half of them were facing the soldiers, confronting the soldiers, because the soldiers were trying to - wanted to start shooting at the people who were gathered there to pray. As the chairman I took the responsibility upon my shoulder that the people were there, and I had to be responsible. I went to confront those soldiers, and I demanded that I should see their leader.
Just tell us where this took place, this prayer meeting. --- This took place at Umlazi Cinema. I said to the soldiers, "I am the leader of these people that you
"see in front of you. They respect me. To prove that they respect me I am the one who invited all of them to come and gather at this place. Also tell me who is the leader, who is responsible for you here? I want to talk to your leader, not to talk to the whole lot." They finally pointed the leader. I went to the leader, confronted the leader, and I spoke to him. I said, "I am leading this group and you are leading this group, so please talk to your soldiers not to come to us and disturb us, and I will also talk to my people not to disturb you." It looked like we agreed to this. After a while, as we were carrying on praying and worshipping, the pastor who was in the charge of the sermon, S A Khumalo, left, and as he was marching out of the hall hell broke loose. We just heard shootings. Tear-gas was sprayed. Cars were damaged outside. My car spent two days at that area because it was completely damaged. After that, as an MC one came to me to whisper, telling me that, "No, the Inkatha is around, has come now, but don't announce this to the people. Let's just say it's police, because people are so scared of Inkatha. Let's just say it's police." I could not lie, but I did not say who they were, who those people were standing at the door. What I am saying to you leads to the burning of my house. What was most painful, when the cinema was sprayed with tear-gas, and people could just smell tear-gas all over, one will just jump from up there down here. You know I watched this happening. Professor Fatima was seated next to me. We had no ways even ourselves to escape from the situation they way it was. This Indian lady who was next to me was shivering. I also felt I should die. She was our guest speaker at
our prayer meeting. After that I saw them coming, and they opened - the door burst open and they stomped inside. I feel I am obliged to give the names of the people, because we are here to ventilate and tell the truth. I don't know what will happen after I tell you the names, but I don't care. Let what happens happen. When they came in Wellington Sabela was leading. He had guns, two guns on the side - both sides, two on each side. There was one who held the gun in this position, pointing at people. They came in. I hugged this Indian lady seated next to me so she could not panic. "There's nothing that will happen to you. Please keep calm. Just tell yourself God is there and God is in control, He will help. Just tell yourself this, that God will make a plan." What was most painfully is that those people who were jumping from up there down here died, and people - and those people shoved assegais through the people and people died in that cinema. After a short while I decided to take Professor Fatima to just hide behind the curtains. I will go to these people, because you can see a person after he has been shoved with an assegai that she or he is so much in pains. Maybe I could help. I tried to rush to those people who have been shoved with assegais to try and give some help. And Professor Fatima did hide and I went down to try and enlist some help to these people. Bheka Shezi, who was an attorney, did help in a large extent as well to save the souls of those who were already stabbed. After a short while there were comments on the newspapers, and untrue. There were just false statements saying they were people who were unknown, what this and what this. That irritated me so much, that there should be some people who
will go to give statements to the newspapers that were not true, and lying about people. I explained this thing. I went to the newspaper and I explained to them exactly what happened and what took place. As I explained, even as I am explaining to you now, the results were telephones after telephones, which were threatening my health, my life, that I will die, I will be killed. Those telephones were so many, one after another, threatening me and even saying all sorts of things, vulgar languages, so that each time when the telephone ring I will be sceptical of going to answer the telephone. I will say, "Don't answer the telephone because I know those are threats." What was surprising, the police who were known as Security Branch were visiting my house all the time, more than three times a day, coming to harass people who were living with me. Medical students at Wentworth will come at my place to just look at what's happening at my place, and they were arrested at the end. Those was arrested, those medical students, asking them, "What do you want here? Is this your problem, or what?" They could come and search and take anything that they felt like taking. Even a stick they could take. When we went to bury Mrs Nxenge I was one of the prominent speakers, and when I was coming home after the funeral from Khoza I got home so tired. I could not even put on my pyjamas to sleep the way I was so tired after driving that long distance. I just slept in the clothes I was wearing. At about half past two I was so scared severely it just felt like the heaven was just falling up my roof, my house. You know, it was so bright at home. The house was burning. Kids were crying. The house was in flames. I woke up, I did not even know where
the door was. I did not know where I was and what was happening. It looked and it seemed to me like the house was moving. I could see flames all over. After that, now that my mind was collected, I said, "Okay." That's when the flames were just moving around. This is why I thought it was the house moving. I had so much difficulty that I had never experienced before. I tried to run around, because I could hear kids were screaming, crying in the house. Even myself I was burning, I was in fire. By the God Almighty we could manage to escape this excruciating experiences. I was there, remaining in the house. I had lost my conscious, my mind, I could not think right, but finally we managed to escape this. And my wife thought about a hose pipe, and they used the hose pipe to calm the flame. They connected the hose pipe to the kitchen tap, and that's how we managed to escape the situation. This was so painful, and it was such an excruciating experience. After this there was just that part of the house which was no so much burnt. One part of the house was severely burnt, and the other was not so much burnt. When we were approaching the door, running away, we saw the kombi just parked by. They did not shoot. When they saw us coming out they just drove off. Let me say this, Mr Chairman. I just left something that is so important. Just before the house got burnt, after those telephone calls, after I had already explained that what happened, I did get the response, which came from a person who was so respected, is such a prominent figure in the community, even internationally. That person that I will use his name here. There's a person who's being respected internationally by the name of OD Dhlomo, who was the
secretary-general of Inkatha at the time. OD was respected, but what I say today is that OD Dhlomo's hands are in blood. That's what we are saying, us as an ANC, because after my statement OD Dhlomo appeared on television, commenting on the television, responding and answering me from the television, national television. OD Dhlomo was saying, "We do hear and understand that David Sibonono Gasa, who says it was Inkatha which attacked the cinema. We do not know that David Gasa and what leads him to say that. He has a nerve to say that, coming from Umlazi and knowing very well that the Umlazi is predominantly Inkatha, and he speaks generally that it's Inkatha. Doesn't he know that Inkatha will get irritated and agitated from this? Doesn't he know that Inkatha will be devastated, and after that the Inkatha - lo and behold where will he run to, because Inkatha will take control?" Indeed Inkatha did get irritated and devastated as he said, and when Inkatha got irritated, lo and behold, it decided that Gasa should be killed, and the Qabane members should be killed. Our children died in numbers, thousands. My house was the very first one to burn. Yes indeed the Inkatha got devastated. You know it will be children ranging around 14 or 12 years going to attend the funerals, because older people will not go to any funeral because of fearing Inkatha. You know the kids will be so brave to attend the funerals because they knew they could run as fast as their feet could carry them, more than older people, so older people will be keeping to themselves now because of what OD Dhlomo said. Now I would like to make mention of this. Well, I went to hide, but I went back to Umlazi, and as I was still there at
Umlazi my wife - maybe I should say that I don't have my wife today because of what Inkatha did, because from that day - it was on the 12th when my house got burnt, in August in 1985. On the 23rd of August 1985 they came during the day. Now they were fuming. They came during the day, not even at night. They were so many in number. They were in a bus, Putco bus, and also in a truck. I had already escaped the previous day. They came on Saturday, and I had already escaped on Friday because I already heard from hearsay that something is going to happen here. They found my wife and my mother-in-law, who was old and ill at the time. They came and they sprinkled petrol around the premises and in the house. Also that very Sabela. People were watching. You know, this sounds like a myth, and this really happened. After they have done that they burnt my house. What a big house, what a beautiful house that they burnt, that took me so much to build. You know I will be arrested and be released, and go back and build my house. You know this is what it took for me to build my house. I could be arrested, and after being released I could go on and carry on with extending the house. Now my wife and my mother-in-law - my mother-in-law spent about two months after that incident and died. My wife was in pieces - was so ill up to the point when she died. This day my wife is late. You know I still think that my wife will be still alive had it not been of OD Dhlomo's comment on the national television. Oh, I am forgetting something here. This concerns me direct. I am someone who is peaceful, and that's my nature, that's just how I am, but since that time when you touch me I move. You know, I am that kind of a person who
will be just so irritated. Touches, move. You don't touch me because I blow out of proportion. I am completely changed from what I used to be before. I have even said to myself maybe it's because I spent so much time in prison, and the times I will be in solitary confinement, those probably resulted to what I am now. You know, I could not even laugh. I will just play around with ants. Those are my friends. I will take the towel and just beat up on the fly, and play around with the fly in the end. That was the game I was playing whilst I was in the solitary confinement. And then laugh out of this. Two full years going through that. Now I get to a point where I say probably as a result of that this is why I am what I am today. But this has created so much wounds. What I have gone and what I have been through, the atrocities that I have been through caused me to be what I am today.
I just want to ask you a couple of questions about the cinema. Do you know how many people died in that cinema massacre? Do you know how many people died? --- 15 people.
And how were most of them killed? --- They were shot and also they were stabbed.
And you said in your evidence that you recall seeing Mr Wellington Sabela leading that group into the cinema, is that correct? --- Yes, I saw him.
(Inaudible) ... Mr Sabela at the time? What position did he hold at the time? Was he a member of the ... (incomplete) --- He was a Member of Parliament of KwaZulu.
The Legislative Assembly? --- Yes. You know, he
had also many other positions.
Where did you go after your house was burnt down, and after your wife died? --- I went to hide. I went to lodge from the ... (inaudible - end of side A) ... place, Masinga. Even there I was told to leave. They told me I should just leave the family. Professor Fatima found me a place at Umbilo. That's where I was, at Umbilo. After some time I could not even stay longer there. I therefore decided, because I had an office at Dhanjee Centre, I decided to work during the day, and at night I could sleep. When other co-workers leave I will just remain and sleep there, and my wife will bring everything there. And my wife will come at night to bring me some food at Dhanjee Centre at night so that people could not see and locate them. Even there I was chased, I was told to leave, because those people came at night, coming to attack at 1.00 am. What helped me, I picked up my telephone and called a friend who has just been buried recently by the name of Gumbi, and my wife also, I told her that, "Here are these people. Please come and rescue me. They are here attacking me once again here in the office at 1.00 am." Gumbi did come, and I therefore thought it's dangerous still be there, maybe I should leave and go to Umlazi. I went back to Umlazi, as I am still alive today.
And have you bought another house, or have you rebuilt your house in Umlazi now? --- Yes, I was renting a neighbour's house. I occupied that house up until I got another house at Section C, which I was using it as my office, conducting my business from there. I spoke to the township manager. That's how they gave me
that house. But my house that was burnt it's just now that I am trying to renovate it, to build it once again, because I am not so free where I am. It's just - it's only a four-roomed, and, you know, coming from a bigger house now, occupying a four-roomed house it's something - it's a nightmare. I cannot even be free. I just need a bigger house now.
I just want to ask one or two questions about the Umlazi Cinema incident. You said that there were soldiers there, or policemen, before the ... (intervention) --- Both.
Both. Were they SADF soldiers and - what, SAP or KZP, the KwaZulu Police or the South African Police? --- It was just confusion.
So were they there before the people were killed? Were the police and the army there at the cinema before the attack took place? --- People died at the time when the attackers came. You know, they came to damage the cars outside, and the police were there present, in the presence of the police and soldiers, and helped them. And now they were using tear-gas. You know, when they came in we were already dying.
So did the police and the army attempt to disarm this group that you said was led by Mr Sabela? --- Oh, no. No, it was just one thing. They were just united and doing this act.
And, Mr Gasa, when your house was attacked you said people came in buses, or a bus, a large group of people came and attacked and burned your house. Do you know who they were? Do you know where they were from? Do you know whether there were any - were there any people there whose
names that you know? --- This is a hearsay because I wasn't there in person, but those people were Inkatha people. Mr Sibiya was there, the Inkatha cornerstone members, and the other one that I mentioned his name, and also the people from Lindelani. It was the day of the funeral of the people who were killed at the cinema, so they were being buried on that day. The aim - the intention was to disturb the funeral of those people who died at the cinema. They were just there to destruct and cause confusion. Because they knew that ANC will be there, so they wanted to destruct and cause commotion at the funeral, and after that they intended to go and attack Gasa's place.
Mr Gasa, these terrible events which you have told us, how have you managed to keep yourself going over the past eight to 10 years? Have you been living with your children? How have you coped? We see today here, although you have given us a very disturbing story, you still sound as though you are a positive man and you are in control of your life. How have you managed to cope with your life since then? --- Even when we are not in church here, we are not talking about church issues here, but I would like to say this. When there is something within you, you know, that is your hope, something that is your hope, you know, something that you are always counting on. What can I say? I don't know how to put this, but you know that hope you have, when you are holding firm on that hope, that hope makes you feel stronger. You know, even when things are tough, but when you keep hoping to that clasp, the clasp that I am holding here. But in my case my hope is with God. I keep hoping
in my God. You see when things happen, and when things transpire, I kneel and pray to my God. I have never said "God, put me in this wicked earth, but now that I am here in this earth, Lord, take control of me." You know, I believe in my God, and this is so much helpful to me, that when things happen left and right and centre I know my hope is with God. You know, I have this hope within me that here is - that's my God who brought me here. Or even when people can do things, events can transpire, one thing I know for sure is that my God is with me, and I worship him. And my God will see me through, because I always mean well. I never mean evil. I never want to do evil or intend evil. I always mean well, and I struggle. I struggle because I know very well that God cannot come to me and even provide me with food, so I have to struggle even for life.
Thank you, Mr Gasa. I will just ask my fellow commissioners and committee members if they want to ask any questions.
Mr Gasa, the power you have is so inexplicable. I don't know what I can say about this. As the pastor I feel so great and good about what you have just said. What I usually say is that you cannot be a politician not believing in God, not being a believer. You know, we used to walk around with Luthuli still boys way back then. You know this struggle was initiated by the believers. Even Jesus Christ himself did struggle in this earth, and he was the son of God. You have made mention of the people who attacked you, that Mr Sibiya was one of them. Is Mr Sibiya still around? --- No. What he was trying to
do, that evil he was trying to do, he was the one who was affected. He died.
Are you trying to say he was killed, or he died in this violence? --- Yes.
Amongst the people you've said who were others? --- It's Mr Shabalala. He is still alive.
You mean Shabalala of Lindelani? --- Yes, Shabalala of Lindelani is still alive. You know, if they were clever enough they should come back and ask for forgiveness. They still have an opportunity.
When things were going bad there, and you told them that you are the leader of this group, and you wanted to see the other leader of the soldiers, do you remember his name? --- It was Botha. He said he was Botha.
Do you know his whereabouts or where he stays? --- They told me he is Botha, but I don't know his whereabouts. And he also said he was Botha. Even though I did not write somewhere, but I still have it in my mind that he was Botha.
You have said that you had to fight tooth and nail because the newspapers had wrong information. Which newspapers were those? --- No, they were talking about the fact that unknown people attacked, and attacked people who were unknown. You see, The Mercury newspaper said there was just havoc. Suddenly there was conflict. They did not explain. They could not explain, yet that was not true.
In other words you say they were lying? --- Yes.
You say when your house was burned you saw a kombi. Did you see that kombi before? --- No.
Was it the first time you saw that kombi? ---
Yes, it was the first time, and it was the very first day we saw.
Did you see its registration? --- No, we did not see. We could not even take the registration numbers because of the situation we were in. We were in such a state we could not even take any registration, or even think of taking registration numbers.
Mr Gasa, from what you have said I find out that you have been severely harassed and tortured, and your wife and your mother-in-law also died as a result of this. I just want to follow shortly about your kids, your children. Talk about your children. Tell us about the children in this whole experience. --- The most unfortunate thing that transpired is that after that my first daughter left home. Usually this is done by youth saying, "I am going to hide." Yes, my daughter left home.
What was her name? --- Holiness. Holiness Gasa. She left home so that what she experienced and what she witnessed she may not witness it again. She went to Red Hill. It was not long. We just heard from radio that there was a girl who was killed and is with the police at Chatsworth who was stabbed to death. "We did not know - we could not identify this girl, and we cannot even tell where she came from. At times some said it's Holiness Gasa, but some said it's Thembi. Now we are pleading, we are announcing to the parents to come and identify this corpse." Three days went past whilst we were still talking and trying to get our heads together as a family discussing this, and we decided finally let's go to Chatsworth Police Station. And we found out she had seven holes, and we buried her. She was trying to escape the
situation. We don't know how far she escaped, how far she ran, how far she went with all this that she was trying to do, and where she was we had no relatives. And some of my children were not affected, this did not impact so much on them. By the way, two of them I took them to Zambia at the ANC headquarters, and they joined the soldiers, Umkhonto we Sizwe. My children were part of MK. I in person I took them to Zambia to join the MK. You know, even if I was young I was going to go myself and join the MK, and come back as a soldier. Yes, they are back now. They are MK members. They came back. They came back.
Finally I would like to say - I would like to ask you the question I asked the previous victim - witness. I know you've already said that you have anchor. You know you have this hope, and your hope is God, and I am so glad to hear that, but it seems to me that you have been so harassed, you know, and as I am looking at you you look so brave and you look so strong. I don't know whether you do think at times - you know, I am trying to quote you. You said you'll never forget what you've gone through, and the fact that you've lost your wife. You said you will even die you'll never - you will never forget this, so this tells me - this goes on to tell me that you have been so severely harassed. I wonder if you will appreciate any help, you know, like psychologists who can help you, because you have this trauma. Psychologists could help you through and deal with this trauma you've suffered. You know, your coming up here to share your story with us, you've ventilated, you've opened up, you've said everything that has been within you, and this - truly to tell you this is a healing in itself. You are never the
Gasa you used to be before you came here today. Now I wonder if you could appreciate if we could get you some psychologist to help you because you've suffered this ordeal. --- I can appreciate so much. Maybe I should say this. I don't trust Truth Commission that much. You know, I should say this. I am not shy to say this. But still I shall say this. What you have said, my pastor, maybe I should say yes, this is the very first step that I envisage that my coming to the Truth Commission has helped me, because I do believe that I have been so harassed and I have gone through this traumatic experience, so that I will appreciate to see the psychologist. You know, I want to concentrate on what has brought me here.
Finally this Truth Commission that you have come here - you have already said that you don't trust this Truth Commission, but what would you wish for this Truth Commission to do for you even though you don't trust this Truth Commission? What would you like to request from the Truth Commission? What should the Truth Commission do? --- First of all I have used a word that will give this Commission a question mark. Let me explain this first. You know when you talk about intention that we should reconcile, that is it's intention that we should reconcile, and after that they say no, let's share water now. Who are you going to share water with? Maybe let me just leave that alone. Things that happened to us, my pastor, you know things that took place, people who experienced those things, not people who watched this, not people who did not experience this, I am talking about people who experienced this what I am talking about, if
you could empathise - you have got to empathise to understand this. You know, at times you will intend to say "thee" and you will say "the." I am trying to say if this Truth Commission could get and pull OD Dhlomo and say - and get OD Dhlomo to come forward, and say to OD Dhlomo, "Someone is talking about you that many people have died from the things you have said on the national television about Inkatha. Inkatha was not going to get devastated, but you provoked Inkatha, and Inkatha got provoked and decided to do something, and people, many people died from what you've said, trying to prophesy. What are you saying to the people who have lost their beloved ones?" because we are not going to lose our beloved ones if Dhlomo did not appear on the national television trying to provoke Inkatha. My pastor, if you could stand before the church and say, "Church members, here we do not do these things. If you as a church member you do this, don't do it, because if you do it you will see and then live." You will see what will transpired after that in the church. Even myself, if I could call the people around together and say, "The Gasa, the Miyagi nation, the Miyagi people, the Miyagi tribe, the Gasa tribe, you will see them." Automatically you will see the people who belong to the family now trying to take action. What I am trying to say is that Dhlomo, if this Commission could call Dhlomo and say, "Out of many people one has pointed you by finger and said - he was Sibonono Gasa. You said this and this and that on the certain day, and this is what resulted from that, and what are you saying now in this regard?" You know, I will also ask Dhlomo and ask him in person, "What were you trying to say on that day?"
One other thing that I am trying to say here. You cannot bring back the dead, but my house can be renovated and built once again. There are things that are impossible to do and there are also things that are possible to do. Well, let me be happy once to just prove to you that Truth Commission is something. I would like for the Truth Commission to forward this to the President. I would like to hear the President saying that, "Oh, Gasa's house will be renovated and Gasa will see his nine-roomed big house." Then I will appreciate the Truth Commission after that.
Mr Gasa, I am not going to say too much, but what I would like to say is that, as you have related your story you have related it in such a way to talk about what the community of Umlazi went through. You know, you are a person who was fighting for the community, not only for your family, and you have given us a picture of what the community was going through. And we also know that all the things that happened transpired from that time, which brought many things at Umlazi to get out of proportion and to be damaged. This results to us as the Commission to look into these things precisely, and especially that you have already said that there are about 15 people who died, and we don't know the members of those people who died, their whereabouts as to where they were. Maybe you could help also if you could think that you should bring forward the request to the Truth Commission that for Umlazi township this should be done. Maybe something for the township should be done. --- You've said a mouthful, lady. What bothers me is that I don't have knowledge as to where - as to the parents of the children who died in
the cinema jumping from upstairs down to the floor, what the parents did after that. But now that we have this - you know, at the time when these things were happening many people did not believe that they were still alive and they were still people. The way this thing happened people lost hope and never thought there were still people who were worth living, because this picture was so hopeless that people were killed in front of the police. The police and the soldiers witnessed this. They were present and they collaborated with the killers, with the attackers. I want to tell you this, that some of them, some of the children were not buried by their parents. Most of the Umlazi children, as a chairman of Residents Association, even though I was not allowed - or as I say the children of Umlazi were buried by children around 12 to 14 years. Those who died, only the children will go and attend the funeral because the parents could not attend the funeral. Parents decided not to attend the funeral, and only children could go and attend the funeral. But I don't know - you know, the question you have asked - what can Umlazi do? What can be done for Umlazi to show that you are sympathising with what Umlazi went through? You know, people are saying people should feel good about themselves, and you as the Truth Commission, probably you can do something in the light of this problem. You should come and listen to people discussing when they are just chatting amongst themselves. They have lost hope. They don't trust Truth Commission, they don't trust Government, they don't trust any pastor. They just trust in beer, the liquor. That's all they trust.
I thank you, Mr Gasa. What you are saying is that the situation is so difficult now, and we have to look into this, especially Umlazi community.
I greet you, Mr Gasa. To clarify our record here, according to your statement the gentleman you are talking about is Oscar Dhlomo in the statement, but I just heard you saying Odi Dhlomo. Is that the same person? --- You must remember that you are talking to someone who is now a pensioner, you know, who cannot think right ... (incomplete - end of side B) --- (Incomplete) ... will clarify the whole thing, but we just have one OD.
No, I thought you were saying Odi, I didn't think you were saying OD. --- No, I am talking about capital O, full stop, D, full stop.
Secondly, you told us about your daughter who was found dead - stabbed to death. Was there any investigation that was conducted leading to the reasons why she was killed, what had happened to her? --- What I discovered and what I found out when I was conducting the investigation myself is that where she was staying at Red Hill there were some conflict and contradictions in the community, and they were trying to - others were trying to run and escape to go to some other place, but evidently what happened, my daughter did run away with a certain group, and met another group of women. You know that place is a farm like place, and they met and the other women said, "Oh, this one comes from this one," but then they started attacking her, they stabbed her. She did not die as a result of what happened at Gasa's place, but she died from that incident. You know, when the
inquest was conducted at the court of law I did go, and I saw those who were arrested who murdered her. On the other day, the next day when I was supposed to go again to attend the case, I found out that they had escaped. They ran away, escaped from prison. Well, that made me think that no, these are some of the things that happen in our lives. But I just said that - I mentioned that because of what my pastor asked me to say. You see, this was a result of what happened at my house. This is why my daughter ran away. She was not going to run away if the situation was just calm and right and perfect, but because there was also sorts of things going on at home she decided to leave the house. We were all over. I was also going anywhere I felt like going.
COMMISSIONER: Mr Gasa, just one question. Where did this inquest take place, your daughter's inquest? Which court was it at? --- It took place at Chatsworth Court of law.
Was there any - sorry, just to help us, what month was that of that year? You mentioned it was - your house was burnt during August. About how long after that was that inquest? Just so we can trace it. --- I will be fooling you really if I can tell you exactly when this took place, because I just wished that these things could pass, you know, not to entertain these things.
On last question. Was there ever an inquest or a court case arising out of the - firstly the actual cinema massacre itself? --- That's a myth you are talking about. I am finished. You are talking about myths. That's it.
And then secondly your own situation at your home, where your house was burnt and your stocks were destroyed and so on, was there ever any case involving that issue? --- In my story I had attorneys, Wenza Mlaba, Bheka Shezi. Also there were affidavits. But I did get an opportunity. After my hiding I went to Umlazi charge office. I did not mention my name, I did not tell them I am Gasa. I just went there as Msomi, because I knew that there could not be any charge, also any kind of forging, you know, because I am still Msomi and I am still Gasa still. You know that's our culture as black people. And I asked - I came at the right time when they were talking about those things. Police were saying, "We will finish this riot and everything that was taking place." And I came. After saying that I am Msomi I said, "I want to know about D1187. What happened about the whole thing? What happened, because the house got burnt and what happened?" As Msomi they were trying to look for my file. It automatically happened that I said, "I am Gasa and the owner of the house." They chased me away so rudely. They said, "We are not talking to ANC here. You are just coming in here to philosophize. You are this ANC, you are Khoza, coming here to philosophize." You know, it was a matter of must that I should leave the charge office because I had no chance at all. After leaving the office in my car I said, "No, I have just made a blunder. No, these are just boys who are chasing me now. Let me just go back to the station commander." And also they said the same thing. So they were saying one thing, saying, "We are sick and tired of ANC." I never went on.
(Inaudible) ... there at the time? Do you remember
his name at all? --- I don't remember quite well. You know, there were so many station commanders who have come in and gone.
Mr Gasa, we want to thank you very much for coming in and telling us your very long, sad story today. Your name was one of the household names in - not only in Umlazi, but also in Natal, as it used to be called in those days, and you have consistently fought for people's rights over the years. You told us about one of the most important events of the 1980s, that was the Umlazi Cinema massacre, and you left us with some very vivid and terrifying visions of what happened on that day, with police outside, soldiers outside, and hundreds of armed men, men armed with assegais, knobkerries, bursting into the cinema, killing people, stabbing people, people jumping off the higher level onto the lower level. It sounds like a scene from hell. And after the death of Mrs Nxenge, and after the Umlazi Cinema massacre, this province entered one of its darkest periods. A state of emergency was declared, thousands of people were detained, dozens of people died or disappeared, and townships like Umlazi, where you come from, were completely controlled by the police, the Security Branch, the KwaZulu Police, who, as you have described, and many other people have described, were working very closely with Inkatha. One of the leaders that you've mentioned, one of the Inkatha leaders that you have mentioned, who led this massacre, was Mr Wellington Sabela, who at the time was a member of the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly, and although he has died now the organisation of which he was a member must take political responsibility for events like this, tragic
events like this, where 15 people were murdered. We are very sad that you have lost your wife, that after having been in and out of gaol so much, having watched the house that you built being burnt down twice, we are very sad that she is not with you to share your old age with you. But we have seen that you have come to us in a positive spirit today, that you are still a strong and positive person, and we hope that with your children that you still have many years in front of you.
As Dr Mgojo has said, our job is to make recommendations to the Government as to how people like you should be assisted, and we will be make recommendations to the State President and to the Government as to how you should be assisted. So again, finally, we want to thank you again very much for coming in today. --- Thank you.
Thank you very much. --- Thank you.
COMMISSIONER: (Inaudible) ... we greet him today as well. Before you give your evidence please will you stand and take the oath.
T MBOTIWE (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Thank you very much. Mr Lax will assist you now with your evidence.
MR LAX: Good afternoon, Mrs Mbotiwe. --- Good afternoon.
Thank you for coming. Briefly before we start, is it correct that you were born on the 7th of October 1935? --- Yes.
And you live in Umlazi? --- Yes.
Now, the son you're going to tell us about, Sibusiso Jerome Mbotiwe, was born on 29 November 1971. --- That's correct.
Can you tell us briefly a little bit about your family please? How many children do you have, are you married, etcetera? --- I am married to Mbotiwe. I have Thulani, who is the first born, and Fanfani, the second born, and I have two boys, and all my girls are married now. We left Mtwalume for Umlazi, and that's where we bought a house from KFC, and we occupied that house with my family. I gave back(?) to Sibusiso here in Durban.
Now, this incident with Sibusiso, as Mr Lister has said, happened on the 28th of January 1990, and in the morning, at about 8 o'clock in the morning. --- Yes.
Please tell us what happened. --- In the morning Sibusiso woke up, and the sister was baking and frying koeksister, and we heard some noise outside and we saw a
group of people approaching and having weapons, different kind of weapons, assegais and other traditional weapons. Sibusiso went out and stood outside the house watching at the people approaching. --- One boy was shouting, saying, "Sibusiso, run away. Those people are going to harm you, are going to injure you." And Sibusiso said, "I am only a child. I am only a small boy. They cannot hurt me or do anything to me." When he tried to run away they ran after him. He went into one of the neighbours and he - one man screamed, shouted and said, "Don't close that door you woman," and the lady said, "I won't close the door." They got inside the house and they took him out. They pulled him out with an arm, and there were about 20 people present there. They went down the road to Kaliphas School, where he fell down after he had been assaulted, and he was beaten brutally on his head. And he fell down on his face and they started stabbing him using assegais. And they stabbed him all over at the back with the assegais. There was no place where he wasn't injured. He died instantly. One man said, "Let's cut his head off." Rasta Ndwandwe, the warrant of Umbilo, said, "Now that you have killed him why would you cut his head off. Just leave him alone." They left the place. They went to the other side where there were taxis, and the van was parked there. Two police vans were parked there, accompanying these men. They kept claiming that they were killing Amaquabane. My son was the first one to be killed by an assegai at that time. They left him there on the spot. At that time only the Zulu policemen would only pick up the corpse, not the SAP. One of the neighbours called the grandmother and said, "Come and fetch the corpse lying
"down there, because there's no one who's concerned about this." Sibusiso was taken to Shozi, Edward Shozi, and he was kept there for two hours. They took off his clothes. They took out his trousers that were soaked in blood, and he was taken to Gale Street naked, and he was left there. He was buried on February 4. When we came back from the graveside at the funeral day there were shootings. The buses went around dropping people. They could not take people to their places because there were shootings going on, because they kept saying they were killing - they were in a mission of killing the comrades. They came home. Edward Shozi was a believer, was a christian. He belonged to the Roman Catholic church. I got home, I gave him a telephone call, and I was in pain. Yes, he did receive the message. I asked him, "Why did you kill my child? Did we have any kind of altercations or so? Why would you do something like this?" He said, "No, this was not intentional. It just happened because people were divided there, the nation was just divided, the community." He kept saying no, he did not intend to kill my child otherwise there is nothing wrong. I said, "Listen now what God said after Cain had killed his brother." I said, "Things will go and pass, but I want to tell you also that the way you did what you did I am not impressed, and all what you have, your cattle and your family, will come to pass and you will suffer just like Cain did suffer." Exactly what I said it happened like that. He lost everything, all the possessions he had just disappeared, and I said, "It's because of what you did to my son."
This Mr Shozi, that you've told us about, Edward Shozi, what was his position? Did he occupy any ...
(incomplete) --- He was the leader of Inkatha at Section Z.
You said that there were two police vans accompanying these people when they were going round. --- Yes. After they killed my son the vans left. They went down to Shozi, where they had a braai. They were eating and drinking some traditional beer. Wellington Sabelo joined also, and that's where they were having fun and they were merry and rejoicing.
And these people in those van joined them in that process, is that what you're saying? --- Those police came from Umlazi, and I believe that they are still there at Umlazi Police Station, the very police who were there leading the whole thing.
(Inaudible) ... Ndwandwe, was he present? --- Rasta Ndwandwe was an SAP. He is the one who calmed the situation when they wanted to cut his head off. He said, "Why would you do that because you have already killed him," and then they could make sense from that, they left.
Do you know whether he witnessed your son's assault and murder? --- It was during the day around eight in the morning when they were killing my son. Everyone witnessed that. The neighbours also, and myself, although I could not come close.
Now, just for the record, you have given us a copy of your son's death certificate, and you can confirm that. --- Yes.
Do you know whether any inquest was ever held into your son's death? An inquest is an inquiry into somebody's death. It's not necessarily like a proper case, where someone is charged. --- Nothing took
place, but the person who was in charge of the case was Goge, a sergeant, the one who left his clothes at Shozi's place. He is the one who was in charge of his this case, and when he was coming to get the statement he took the statement with and he left everything like that. He never went on with the case, and one other SAP police went to BB Police Station and took Sibusiso's docket to CR, where it was kept, and nothing after that took place.
Do you know the name of the SAP person who took the docket to C R Swart? --- It was SAP. He went to Isipingo, although Warrant-Officer Mofokeng, he knows his whereabouts.
Just so I can get it straight, this Goge you said he was a sergeant, is that right, at that time? --- Yes, he belonged to BB. He is the one who took my child with. Just listening to it you refer to him as a CID not as a sergeant, but that's okay. Since that time have you had any further trouble at your house where you were staying? --- At that time nothing happened at home. I was just - I felt harassed and ill-treated, and also I lost my eyesight. You see this affected me so much psychologically because I could not rest, but always think about things that happened to my son, and that affected my eyesight. Even the way I walk, I just - even when I go to places I always take my husband with, the one who is seated next to me.
(Inaudible) ... you're under medication for hypertension. Do you get any help with that medication? --- Yes, I go to health clinic for treatment, and after that I was also - I was affected with cancer as well, and at King Edward Hospital that's where I go for treatment
and get assisted. I acquired many diseases as a result of this thing.
(Inaudible) ... questions. I hand you back to the chairperson.
DR MGOJO: We are running out of time and this is a pathetic story. You have been harassed and you went through difficult times. I want to know about Thulani and Fanfani, where are they? --- Thulani is now married. And Fanfani could have been married now, but he is not working.
But he went to school? --- Indeed, standard nine. I wonder if he is looking for any job and cannot find any job, but he is just not employed, he's at home. And I think he is drinking.
What you have gone through now, did you ever take time to go and see the psychologist, because you have gone through such a traumatic experience? Have you consulted any psychologist or what? --- No, I haven't been to any psychologist, but inasfar as the cancer I have I went to King Edward, where I was helped. But in these other things regarding these other sicknesses that I have I never took any steps. And Precious Mkhize helped me regarding my eyesight so I could be able to see.
Now can you see? --- Yes, just a little bit. You know, I always rely on my husband. I will never leave my husband because he is the one who helps me get things done.
Was it ever - did you ever get any treatment for your eyes that now they are healed? --- No, I don't have much, because we just earn money from pension.
We will write that one down and we'll see if you cannot see the optician.
DR MAGWAZA: Mrs Mbotiwe, I can see that you are deeply troubled, and the way you are relating this also one can gather the fact that you are not feeling well. And the way you relate this story one gets affected, you know. It does impact even us. It would be a wonderful thing that you consult some psychologist so that you may be healed, because you need some healing. Where was your husband when all this took place? How is his health faring? --- We were together. He can say also what he wants to say.
No, it's fine, because you've already explained. Is there anything that you want to say, because if there is anything that you want to say you'll have to take an oath? The reason why we keep talking to your wife is because she is the one who took the oath.
MR MBOTIWE: No, what she said ... (intervention)
DR MAGWAZA: Do you want to say something? We'll have to get you sworn in before you can say anything.
MR MBOTIWE: No, there is nothing I want to say. She has already related everything. She said a mouthful inasfar as this is concerned. You see often times I was not at home. I would be just home for a few days, and after that I will be gone. I was always away from home up to this time when I've got my pension. There's this thing we have in our tribe, it's a Zulu thing, that we do get consent about things that have to do regarding the deceased people, the deceased ones, like the clothes where they are now.
DR MAGWAZA: What happened to the clothes.
MR MBOTIWE: No, they did take the clothes. He didn't keep the clothes. I am just thinking that there are things are okay, and we call - we say these are ancestors and they wanted my son's blood. So also they can use it to fight against the enemies. I say this because one said this to me, and said, "Just keep quiet. They just wanted your son's blood so they can mix it with some tribal medicine so they can fight against the enemies." They said, "The first boy who died in 1990 we had his blood, and others cannot fight us because we have this strong medicine that we mix it with this blood to fight enemies."
DR MAGWAZA: Well, I thank you so much. I can see you are so much in pain, but through it all, what you have gone through also with your husband, you still thank the Lord that you are still alive and you are still fine and intact.
MR LAX: (Inaudible) ... forgot to ask you about, and that is your son's political involvement. Was he involved in any political organisations or youth organisations? --- I may say he was a UDF supporter, because he was still at school. I don't think he was a full member, he was only a supporter, just a follower of UDF.
COMMISSIONER: Mrs Mbotiwe and Mr Mbotiwe, we thank you both very much for coming here today. Like many other witnesses who have given evidence, not only today, but in other areas of this province, and indeed in other areas of the country, you have told us about the death of a child, and one thing that we in this Commission have learnt from people like you, and other people around the country, that
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it is a terrible thing for a parent to have to bury a child, and we extend our deep sympathies to you. And we are very glad that you could come here together, and sit here together and tell us that story, and we hope that is of some comfort to you.
Again, like other witnesses, you have told us about the close co-operation at the time between the KwaZulu Police in Umlazi and senior members of the IFP like Mr Sabelo and Mr Shozi, and those names have been mentioned by many other witnesses, and we've heard of this close co-operation between the police and the IFP not only in Umlazi, but in many other areas of Natal, such as KwaMashu, Port Shepstone, Imbali, Popomeni, Trust Feeds, and other areas. And, as I have said earlier today, that political party must accept a very large measure of responsibility for this, and for the terrible human misery and suffering that resulted from this alliance, and your son was a victim of that.
So we again extend our sympathies to you and thank you very much for coming in, telling us that story. It gives us a clear picture of what was happening in Umlazi at that time, and this is important when we write our report at the end of our period of office. So we thank you again and wish you well as you go. Thank you very much.
COMMISSIONER: Mrs Mabaso, can you hear me and understand me through the earphones?
MRS MABASO: Yes.
COMMISSIONER: We greet you and welcome you here today. Thank you very much for waiting the whole day. You're the last person, you've waited very patiently. You have someone with you on the stage. Who is that?
MRS MABASO: It's my son.
COMMISSIONER: What is your son's name please?
MRS MABASO: Jabulani Jerome Mabaso.
COMMISSIONER: We welcome Jabulani today. You have come to tell us about the killing of one of your other sons, Sifiso Mabaso, who was killed on Sharpeville day in 1992. After you've taken the oath Mrs Gcabashe will help you with your evidence. Can you stand up and take the oath.
N V MABASO (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Mrs Gcabashe will help you.
MRS GCABASHE: Good afternoon, Mrs Mabaso. Good afternoon to you, and your son as well, good afternoon. We know it's been a long day. We thank you for your patience. We know you are here to tell us a very sad story. You know at your age you shouldn't be going up and down about sad things like this, but unfortunately you find yourself in that position. You have come to the Truth Commission about the killing of your son, Xolani Mabaso. You had already said in your statement that he was injured during the Sharpeville day celebration. Can you concisely tell us what happened? --- It was in the morning on the 21st of March. They left, they went to the stadium. There was a celebration of Sharpeville day.
When they were coming back, from what I heard, I was going to the clinic, Umlazi Clinic, they met a kombi with NJ registration.
No, just tell us didn't they - did they see the number or they just saw NJ? --- No, it was just NJ, that's it. And that kombi stopped immediately, and Sifiso, with other boys - they were four in number - they were leading in front, and the rest were following behind them. And they said when they stood to see what was happening four boers(?) came out, and one black man, and they did not ask a word, they started shooting. They ran, trying to run as fast as their feet could carry them, and they went down the road, and that's where they tried to hide. Sifiso was the one lying on top of the rest, because they fell down, and he was shot at the back. And they stood up again, trying to run again, going across to the shacks, and one police came by the name of Justice, coming from Amanzimtoti. They say that police ran after him until he found him. He got hold of him, and they pulled him towards the forest, towards the bush. And the lady of that house where he was found, and where the police tried to pull him - was trying to pull him, the lady from Mrs Ngcobo said she witnessed this. The police took him into the forest and he cut his head off, and she witnessed this. One boy who was with my son came to my place to report this at No 750, and when he was telling us this, that his head was cut off, I could not run to that scene. But my son right next to me did run to see what was happening. He found out that truly the head was cut off from his body, separated from the body, and the police were just surrounding the scene, and police vehicles were
there parked. According to my son he said - when he asked he was told that he was killed by IFP Inkatha because he had Mrs Nxenge's T-shirt on. After that I went to consult my attorneys, and ... (intervention)
Just before we get there, I know this is painful, but I would like for you to tell us about Ma Ngcobo. Is Ma Ngcobo still around? --- No, I wouldn't know, but usually when I pass there I see there that house, but I don't know whether she is still living in that house because she had to escape at some point in time.
She was occupying a shack at D Section? --- Yes, just towards the clinic.
Can you point that shack? --- Yes, I can. I know it. I can identify it.
These police, and the police by the name of Justice, as you say they were in private clothes. --- Yes, they had dungarees on.
Where were they coming from if you may happen to know? --- I just heard that they were coming from Amanzimtoti, because I did get hold of one who told me that they were working and coming from Amanzimtoti.
All of them? --- Yes, all of them.
Now go on and tell us and relate this story. --- Some boys told me there that he was coming from Amanzimtoti, because the other black police they did know him. They knew that he was coming from A, but working at Amanzimtoti.
What was his name? --- Yes, they did say his name, you know, but I don't remember quite well.
The boys who were with your boy, are they still alive? --- Yes.
What are their names? --- The one I remember very well is Bongani, who was the one who came to report the matter?
What was Bongani's surname? What is Bongani's surname? --- It's Bongani Khuzwayo.
Others, who were others? --- Well, I don't remember others. I know the late - my son knew them very well. They were close.
Yes, is Bongani still around? --- Yes, Bongani is still around. I was with him last week as a matter of fact.
We would like to get it from him, you know, the horse's mouth. Can we have a way of talking to him? --- Yes, even though I don't know his place now, but I think son seated right next to me will know where to get him.
Was there any case that was conducted regarding the killing of your son? --- Yes, I did give so much evidence, and when I tried to ask other people to give evidence they said they were scared, they were afraid, they cannot risk this. That was detrimental to them. I think my son knows even the police, the detective.
Did you go to the police station to report this matter also, so was there any case that was officially opened besides your trying around to get evidence? --- No.
Did you say something about the doctor, or did you take - have any report from the doctors? --- When I was taking him from the hospital to the mortuary I was with another girl, and they took him out and they put him on top of the table, and this girl kept turning him around, and was writing what happened to him, writing
everything in detail. That was the girl doing that.
But you were never called after that? --- No, we were never called. This happened in 1992, but to date we haven't heard anything.
Well, you have said what you said, and we heard and understood. Things that we happening those days, we do trust and hope that they won't occur again. What I would like for you to do is for you to tell me about your family. Where are other children? --- God blessed me with 12 children. Three of them passed away. Sifiso is my grandchild. My daughter got married and left Sifiso at home. Usually I just take him as one of my sons, but he is my grandchild. He was the 13th one. Now he was the 10th one. I have nine children who are still alive.
Can you say how many girls, how many boys? --- I have five girls and four boys.
Do you have - are there any who still go to school, who are still schooling? --- No. They all completed last year. Sifiso was in standard six during the year he died on. There is another girl who was supposed to come here to give evidence to the Truth Commission, but she could not make it, because she is the one who was so traumatised.
Is she your child? --- Yes, she is my eighth child. She is Innocent Mabaso, her name. Since 1985 Innocent was one of the UDF supporters in UDF.
What are they? --- Supporters, UDF supporters. As Mr Khumalo had already said before they were together with his child, and my husband died around that time as well. I went through so much pain because of all the things that took place. The way things happened about
Innocent, in 1985 Innocent left in November 18th. She disappeared, we did not know her whereabouts. After her disappearance we were still wondering what had happened. In 1985 I got a telephone call from Shifa and they said Innocent was looking for me, wanted to speak to me. I went to there, going to the attorney to report this matter, and the attorney said, "Because you won't be welcomed ..." (intervention)
Please tell us about this attorney. What is his name? --- I have forgotten his name, but he was an elderly person. You know, I have forgotten most of the things here.
Was he black or white? --- He was a white man. I went to him. He took me to Shifa. When I got there I opened the door, I saw my child lying there crying, and the attorney said he was get inside, because I was refused entry. I tried to find out more information what happened to her. They said she was shocked electrically by the police and she was taken to Shifa Hospital for operation, and she was there admitted. And she told me that they were arrested in Botswana trying to escape, and they were taken back to South Africa. She said they got to CR and they were assaulted so severely, and she was the one who was brutally assaulted more than the rest, and was taken to another room, where she was shaved. They shaved her hair and fed her on her hair, they made her to eat her hair. And the doctors managed to get that hair out from the system, digestive system. One of the police by the name of Dlamini ... (intervention)
Who is Dlamini now? --- No, Dlamini coming from - he was from CR.
Was he a police? --- Yes, he was a police. They said - I got this message on the 23rd, and I left on the 24th. I was severely harassed, because when I got back the attorney asked me, and I did not know what was happening. I was lost. Fortunately my neighbour came and talked to me and asked me, "Why are you standing here?" I explained to her. She said, "Come along with me." People were so excited, in such a jubilant mood. She took me with and we went into the bus and we got back home. I was there at home. I used to go to Shifa to check on her until she was discharged, and she went to Westville and she was there for quite some time at Westville. She was there for the whole year under the state of emergency. One full year, 1986. 1987 she was released. When she got back home the police used to visit, coming to my place. Now I even got used to the police, and also the way they would knock I would know that, "Oh, there they come again, part of the family." It was most painful, you know, because we were just in the same neighbourhood with Inkatha. My house was so much hated by the natives, and my daughter said, "Mum, I want to go and I will disappear." That was in 1989, and she disappeared. She left home. For the whole year I did not know here whereabouts, but I heard after that that my daughter was in Tanzania, and she just got back after Mandela was released.
Is she at home now? --- Yes, she is with MK. She has joined MK. She is in Pretoria around.
You know, Mrs Mabaso, your story is complicated, and it is getting more complicated the more you are relating it. Was there a way that you could open a case about the
people of CR? --- I just could see that if I tried to do that they were going to kill the nation - they were going to kill us. But I could suspect that my Innocent will want to open a case for this, but when she did that she was going to run away, escape, and we were going to be left as victims here.
How do you feel? Let's just talk about you now before we get to the children. How do you feel, and the children as well? --- Well, I had high blood pressure, but after that I had renal failure. So that's just how much I was affected from this. And also I have this heart problem. Especially Sifiso. Sifiso's incident is the one that worsened my condition, my health condition.
You have already told us about blood pressure and the heart attack. Do you have another one? --- Yes. Psychologically I am affected. My children know there are those times when I just get so annoyed, so agitated, and they will not even handle me. I just do things, you know, the way I would not even do them if this did not happen.
Is there any help, medical help, even from the doctors, or probably psychologists, any kind of help that you have been through? --- No, I have never had any kind of help. I usually get pills, high blood pressure tablets, medication.
What about other children? How did this impact on them? --- Oh well, all of my children were affected, and severely harassed as a result of this thing. Xolani's incident had caused this. Each time we recall it you see the situation, the mood changes.
We've heard and we understand what you've been through. We will try to get the psychologist to get in
touch with you. Maybe you should come forward to our office and we'll advise you even further, and we will put up a report and forward it to the State President, and we will recommend things. Just rest in peace. I'll hand over to the chairperson.
COMMISSIONER: You said that a woman doctor looked at Sifiso's body. Which hospital was that at? I didn't catch the name of the hospital? --- No, they were not at hospital. He was in the mortuary. The doctor who was trying to look and taking care of the corpse was coming - came along with me to the mortuary at Isipingo. That's when she got to do this.
(Inaudible) ... the previous witness who gave evidence, Busisiwe Xaba, we find it difficult to find enough words to express how we feel. We can only imagine how difficult it must be for you to carry these memories with you about your grandson, who was only 18 years old when this happened, with his whole life in front of him. From what you have told us it seems clear that what happened to Sifiso was done by the police, people who were - should have been there to help us, to protect us, to uphold the law, and it is horrifying that such people could have shot a young boy and then cut his head off. It really is horrifying to have to believe that. And this story, and the story that you told us about your daughter, makes us, as citizens of this country - or should make us, all the more determined to ensure that by every means possible we must force our present Government to support -to establish and to support a police force which we can all be proud, and which we can all turn to with confidence
when we have to.
As Mrs Gcabashe has said, we will be making recommendations to the Government as to how people like you should be assisted, and in the meantime if you think that you need some counselling, some psychological support, we ask you to come to our office just down the road in Smith Street, and we will try and see that you are assisted. So we thank you very, very much for coming in and talking to us today, and we wish you well. And to Jabulani as well. Thank you very much.
COMMISSIONER: Thank you, Mrs Xaba, for waiting patiently all day to give your evidence. You are from KwaMashu and you have come to tell us about the death - the murder of your parents.
MRS XABA: That is correct.
COMMISSIONER: In April 1990.
MRS XABA: That is correct.
COMMISSIONER: Before you tell us that story please will you stand to take the oath.
BUSISIWE E XABA (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Dr Mgojo will now assist you.
DR MGOJO: We welcome you and also greet you. I am just going to lead you, and we just mention the most important facts because we are running out of time. Now, you can just briefly tell me about your family. From there we fire ahead. --- My name is Busisiwe Xaba. I was staying at D Section in KwaMashu. We were seven at home. My eldest brother is married, then there's Thembi, myself, Nombuso, Themba, Thandazile, as well Phindile and Bhekumuzi, who is my son, as well as Silindile, who is my sister's child. Mzwandile is also my sister's child, so that is the whole family.
They are all grown up now? --- No, some are grown up, but some are still very young.
How many of them are still attending school? --- Bhekumuzi is still attending school, as well as Mzwandile, Silindile, Phindile. The other one had to stop school because she had certain problems that led to her not going to school any more. There is another one who could not continue with her studies.
What standard did that one leave? --- She had done matric, and wanted to further her studies, but she could not continue.
Does she want to further her studies? --- Yes, she would like to further her studies.
At the time when this incident took place did your family belong to any political organisation? --- No, we did not belong to any political organisation. We were just ordinary citizens.
What about your parents? --- As well as our parents. They were not involved in any political activity.
When were your parents born? --- I don't remember their dates of birth, but it is in their death certificate.
I'll remind you wherever you have forgotten. In April 1990, that is on the 11th, at night, what happened? --- It was at about quarter to 10 in the evening. Myself and my younger sister we were sitting in the living-room. My parents had already gone into the bedroom, but they were not yet asleep. As we were just sitting we heard some movements outside, and we heard some movement on the roof. Then I stood up, because I was sitting next to the door. I stood up and I saw some shadows outside, and I heard - I could smell some petrol at that stage. When my sister tried to stand up she couldn't because she is paralysed. That is Nombuso Xaba. She is paralysed, so she could not stand up properly. She was knitting jerseys and I was doing dressmaking. The children were asleep at that moment. At the time I stood up I went to the dining-room door because I could hear
them hitting the back door. I peeped through the curtain. Outside it was dark, but inside the house there was some light. I switched off the lights inside the house and I switched on the lights outside the house, and I could see a group of people. They were full in the yard, and they were busy hitting the door, and I went into my parents' bedroom and I found that they were awake already. They asked me what was happening. I told them I did not know what was happening. Just at that moment the door was kicked open, and when the door got opened the group of people came inside the house and they met me. Just as I was waiting there they opened the other door. Now I was caught in the middle. They were getting in from the back as well as the front door.
Did you see them? Can you identify them? --- Yes, I knew them. I could see them.
Amongst the people who forced the door open is it true that there was Big Boy? --- Yes, it is correct. Big Boy's surname is Shezi. --- That is correct.
Is it correct that there was also Mapipi? Mapipi's surname was Shezi. As well as Qeqeza. Qeqeza's surname was Shezi. And Nana. Nana is a male. Is it correct that there was also Siphiwe Jiyane? --- That is correct.
As well as Lunga Zwane, as well as Peter Shangase? --- That is correct.
And Bhekizenzo Cele. --- That is correct.
All of those people were staying in the neighbourhood? --- Yes, they grew up in front of me, because most of them were younger than me. I could say that we grew up together, but I regarded them as children because they were younger than me.
Was there any clash that took place between your family and them? --- No, there was no clash that took place. They never liked us, but there was no clash in particular.
Is there any reason why they did not like you? --- I could say it was jealousy, because I don't have any reason that I could pinpoint for their behaviour.
What jealousy were they having? --- I think because my parents were hard workers, and they had actually refurbished the house and they had done some renovations, and we were trying to make life better for ourselves, and I think that's where their jealousy stemmed from.
Did they belong to any political organisation? --- Yes, they were ANC comrades.
Is it correct that one of them pointed a gun at your head? --- That is correct.
And the other ones had assegais, axes, as well as knives? --- That is correct.
What did they say to you? --- They said, "Bitch, we want your mother." They said they wanted my mother, and I asked them as to what they were going to do with my mother. They told me that I should not be asking them questions, and they were pointing guns at me, knives, as well as axes, and I reversed towards my mother's bedroom and I opened the door. As I was opening the door I discovered that my mother, as well as father, were now standing, they were on their feet, and my mother asked them as to what they wanted. They never asked any questions or answered. One of them, that is Big Boy, who was having a large axe, went and chopped my mother's head
right in front of me. He chopped my mother's head. At the time when he hit my mother with the axe I saw my mother lifting her hands up, and she came to my chest, she staggered and put her head on my chest.
You must take your time. We do understand that you were traumatised, and this is a very painful experience. You should take your time. (Pause) It's a very traumatic experience to see your parent being hacked to death right in front of you. It's very traumatising. She was hacked to death like an animal. Now you grabbed your mother. --- At that time they were pulling me as well as my mother, and I was also pulling her, because at that time she was powerless, and I was sort of dragging her out of the house. The other one was having a panga, and they hacked her with a panga. Whoever had a weapon was busy hacking my mother as I was holding her. I took her outside the house. As I was at the gate I turned my back towards the house. I do not know what happened at that time in the house. Then I went out, and as I got to the gate my mother was not screaming or crying. She was quiet all the time, and I thought she had died at that time, but when I got to the gate my mother jumped and she fell.
Is it correct that they still stabbed your mother whilst she was outside? --- Yes, they continued stabbing her. They only stopped stabbing her when she fell to the ground.
Is it true that at that time she had fallen down they started setting her alight? --- At that time Peter poured petrol over my mother, then Mapipi set my mother alight.
Peter? --- Peter Shamase, not Shangase. Peter
Shamase poured petrol over her, and Mapipi set her alight, and they were pointing firearms at me at that time. They forced me to watch my mother being set alight, and they wanted me to watch her burning until she burnt to ashes. I saw her burning until she crimped, she decreased in size. When I closed my eyes they said I should open them and watch my mother burning. They wanted my hands to be on my sides because they did not want me to close my eyes with my hands. Then she burnt down to ashes. Just as my mother had burnt they started running. Then the other one said, "Why aren't we killing this one, because she is an eye witness and she is going to see us and identify us and we should kill her?" The other one restrained them from killing me. At that time I turned back to check as to what was happening at the house. When I turned around I saw that the house was on fire. I went to the back yard to try and see as to whether I could not help my father. I heard my father screaming inside the house, and I tried to kick the door, but the door was shut from inside so I could not open the door. And there was a pot. I tried to pour water, but the flames just go worse. My brother said we should try to rescue my father. I tried the door handle because I wanted to help my father. They had actually locked the door from inside, and he was burning inside, he could not get out. I stood there very confused, and I went into the street. I was very confused, very disorientated. I didn't know what to do. I was just running, not knowing where I was heading to. I left my father burning inside the house and I left my mother burning at the gate. I did not know where the children were because at that time my mind was not
functioning. My sister told me at a later stage that they had pushed her and kicked her outside the door. Somebody screamed at me and said I was naked. It's only then that I realised that I was not wearing anything, and at that time somebody was having a Balaclava, and this person gave me a shirt to cover my mother. I asked his person who he or she was, but he said he would not tell me who he was. I went out, and when I came back they also came back to pour petrol on my mother for the second time, and they were burning her for the second time. I could not see my mother, it was just ashes, and I could only see her feet. I could not see the rest of the body, it was in ashes. I just saw the feet. And I went away. I don't know where I was heading to, and I was very scared at that time. I went to F Section. I was told later on what I had said, because I was not functioning properly. They said I came and I told them that my parents had died, and I went to F Section to report the matter to the police. They said we came back and we saw the ashes of my mother, and the house was still burning. Then we went into the bedroom. My father had stuck. I just saw the frame of his ribs, as well as pieces of burnt flesh, because I got a telephone call that I should come and fetch my fathers remains. They were taken.
Where was your mother? --- She was also ashes. Only the feet remained. My father only the skeleton was left, his frame. They were taken to the mortuary at Verulam.
Was there any case that was held with regard to your parents' death? Was there any inquest? --- Yes, there was an inquest, as well as a case. The matter was
investigated by different people, but at the end of the day certain perpetrators were arrested. They were sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment, but they were released within three months.
Were they released? --- I don't know how they got released because the matter was held at the Supreme Court. They appeared at the Supreme Court, and Attorney Bagwa was about to institute an appeal.
Was the attorney Mr Bagwa? --- Yes, it was Mr Bagwa, as well as an Indian attorney, but I've forgotten what his name is.
What about Detective Mthembu? --- He was the investigating officer in my case.
Now, what you are telling us is that all the people are outside now? --- Yes. The only person who died was Big Boy. He was shot by the police at Ntuzuma. He was shot whilst he was trying to steal a car.
What about the other ones? Are they still at their respective homes? Even if we want them could we possibly get them? --- Yes, the last time I knew they were staying at their places, because the other one went out and he ran away. I never saw him thereafter. He never even appeared at court.
It is obvious that you have been severely traumatised. When you hear other people relating their stories the gravity of the trauma seems to increase with each and every victim that testifies before this Commission. It should have been a very traumatic experience for you to have watched your parents being killed right before your own eyes. This is not supposed to happen in a healthy community. It doesn't matter who
does it, whether it's the IFP or the ANC, this is not humanity, this is just animalism. People have now turned into being animals. Now, as you have come to the Truth Commission to relate your story and tell us about your pain, what is it that you expect from the Commission? --- What troubles me even more is that the baby who was sleeping at the time, I think she was traumatised. She is 13 years old now, but she is still doing second year.
What is the child's name? --- It's Silindile. It's my sister's child. I think she was very traumatised, because when you talk to him he just doesn't answer what you are saying. He has changed totally. Also Nombuso is showing signs of emotional as well as psychological trauma. The other one got heart problems ever since this took place. He got very ill.
What about the other ones in the family? What happened to them? Were they affected? --- I think the ones that I've counted, especially the two, Thandazile as well as Phindile, their problem is that - even though they don't speak to me is that they did not know what was happening to their parents. They met me when they were coming towards home. This happened whilst they were at school, and they were heading towards home for the holidays, and when they got to the taxis they were told that they should go back. They were not told the truth about their parents.
How are you feeling? --- I don't know how I feel. I really don't know.
Are there some things that are troubling you emotionally, physically or ... (incomplete) --- I like staying alone. I am some sort of a social recluse now.
/I am very
I am very sensitive, and I am not sensitive to the children's needs. I am just short-tempered. I am supposed to be listening to the children, but I just don't know because I never ever have the patience. And the picture remains with me. As I've told you about this I will not sleep, because the picture comes back so vividly as if it happened yesterday.
What else would you like the Commission to do for you with regard to the investigation? --- The case went on, the perpetrators were arrested, but even though I may not go back to where I stayed I felt that my parents had worked hard for us to be what we are today, and we asked my brother to go and stay where we were staying, and he was also harassed because they used to steal his cars, they used to traumatise him also. Apparently they don't want anybody to stay where we used to stay. Now nobody can stay in that place. We do not have a place to stay. We are all scattered. I have put the children at different places, and they are having problems adjusting because they are separated, they are staying at different places. They are not staying as a family.
Is it true that you said that you want the Commission to conduct an investigation as to why the perpetrators were freed even before they served even half of the sentence? You want to know as to why they were freed so early? Is it correct that you want the Commission to investigate the reasons surrounding the release? --- Yes, that is correct, I would like the Commission to investigate. I will not get my parents back, but I would like to know the truth about the release of the perpetrators, and why they were released before
serving their sentences.
I think you need psychological help. It is apparent that you've gone through so much trauma, and you have been disturbed emotionally as well as mentally. But we take the recommendations and pass them to the State President. He is the one who makes a decision at the end of the day as to how people like you could be assisted. You may not understand that you have been traumatised, or you may not know it, but it is apparent from the way you talk that you really do need help. You need to talk to someone about what happened. You need some therapy. Maybe if you talk repeatedly about them they will tend to sink and you would be on your way to rehabilitation as well as acceptance of what has happened. We want to recommend that you see psychologists so that they can help you with therapy sessions, but the rest of the requests are passed to the State President so that he can take the final decisions.
DR MAGWAZA: I have got just one question to ask from you. I did not hear you talking about your parents' funeral. What happened to the frame and the bones as well as your mother's ashes, because it is our culture to see our loved ones burial places? --- The police came. They collected the ashes. They came with certain plastics, they collected my mother ashes as well as her feet, and we also went into the bedroom. We collected my father's bones as well as the ashes. They were put in separate plastics and they wrote outside that this is my mother and the other plastic was my father. These were taken to the mortuary. And they were buried at Umzimkulu. We buried the ashes.
The other thing that I would like to say to you is many are times when people are in your position, a position of responsibility. Because of the responsibilty that you have you don't realise how traumatised you were and traumatised you still are. We are very surprised that today you are sitting here. You look quite healthy, and you can still relate and talk about your parents' death. It means something within you gives you courage, you've got an anchor. You've got some inner strength that keeps you going and makes you able to talk about this, and we thank you very much.
COMMISSIONER: It is difficult to know what to say to you. Your story that you have told us is one of the most terrible stories that we have heard in the last four months that we've been hearing stories around Natal and the Free State, and it is a great tribute to your courage and your strength of character that you can come and tell us the story in the way that you have told us today. As Dr Magwaza says, you certainly do have an inner strength that enables you to survive the way you have. We don't understand what it is that makes people behave like these people behaved. Dr Mgojo said that they behaved like animals. I don't even think that's correct, because animals don't do that to each other. They behaved worse than that. They have descended to a level of barbarity that most of us do not understand at all.
Now, I won't add anything more to the advice that has been given to you by Dr Mgojo and Dr Magwaza, save to say that I think that in the long run you will need some psychological assistance to help you over this trauma and
to help you live your life, and we all wish you well as you go now. Thank you very much.
COMMISSIONER: Thamsanqa Ndimande - Templeton Ndimande, if you could please come onto the stage. We welcome you, Mr Ndimande. Thank you very much for being so patient, waiting all afternoon to give your evidence. You have come to tell us about the shooting of your son, Sibonelo, who was shot during the Shaka Day celebrations in 1992. before you give your evidence can you stand and take the oath?
THAMSANQA TEMPLETON NDIMANDE (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
COMMISSIONER: Is this Sibonelo who's with you on the stage now? --- Yes.
Thank you. Mr Lax will assist you now with your evidence.
MR LAX: Thank you, Chairperson. Good afternoon, Mr Ndimande, and good afternoon to you as well, Sibonelo. Thank you for coming to share this story with us. It can't be very easy for you. Now, before we proceed if you could just tell us a little bit about your family. How many children do you have, where does Sibonelo fit into the picture, and so on? --- Concisely I will say we were born at Umkumbane, and we left Umkumbane for KwaMashu. And my parents died and it's me and my children.
(Inaudible) --- Seven.
(Inaudible) ... how does he fit in amongst the seven? --- He is the second one from the last.
Now, you yourself were born on the 22nd of January 1949, is that correct? --- That's correct.
And we have Sibonelo's date of birth only as
September 1977. What date was that? --- Correct.
Do you know the date itself? --- I don't know it exactly, but I know for a fact he's a 1977 one, October.
Now, as Mr Lister says, this incident that you're going to tell us about happened on Shaka Day in 1992. Is that correct? --- That's correct.
And people had been to the KwaMashu Princess Magogo Stadium, and as the crowd were leaving the stadium this incident happened. Will you tell us what happened as far as you are aware? --- It was September 1992. I don't remember quite well the date, but I know for a fact that it was Shaka's Day celebrations. There were many people, thousands, and there were buses also. I was just arriving, you know, walking by, and suddenly I saw those people who were coming back from the stadium on that very day. When I was going home, approaching home, because my home is not so far away from that area, I heard people screaming, shouting. When I was trying to listen attentively I just heard, "Here's my son being shot. He's being shot." I tried to listen attentively to get the facts, and I just heard, "Yes, he's been shot," and I left. Suddenly I saw two buses which were passing, and the third one opened the windows and they started shooting, and that bus was not in motion, it was parked. I just heard gunshots. They were just shooting randomly. When I rushed to the scene I saw my nephew, Thulani, who was working for Daily News. When he appeared he said, "I hear they are screaming, shouting, and they are mentioning the name of Sibonelo." And he said, "How can this happen? Maybe I should follow them and lift up my hands." Maybe they thought - some people who thought we belong to the
other people, the attackers, they started hiding away from us who was around. When I was trying to approach the bus I saw one of the Zulu policemen having his gun. Just before we crossed one was standing by the gate of the relative's house. We went direct to the neighbour's house. We saw the tap, the water was running through the tap. When we tried to look around we saw some fountain, and we just saw one girl lying down in that fountain of water. And we tried to get hold of this little girl who was just lying there, and we tried to see if we can help in any way, and we say her closing her eyes and we could tell right then that she is dead. Well, we left that, we went on. When we were just walking by I saw a passage just towards my place. I saw my son. I saw him walking, staggering, and so frightened, and also bleeding profusely. I tried to hug him, and I took him to the tap, trying to wash h is wounds and the blood, and we saw the ambulance. And we approached, we went to the ambulance. When we got to the ambulance there were soldiers already there, and KwaZulu Policemen were there. It was just confusion. Many police people were there. There was one in the ambulance, and he was taken into the ambulance, and I also went into the ambulance with others who were also affected and injured from that incident. I just saw one white man, the policeman. He asked, "What are you doing inside?" I said, "No, I have one who has been injured here." He was bleeding so profusely, and this white man said, "Are you the one who got injured or this one? Then if not get out from the vehicle, from the ambulance." I said, "But this is my son. I cannot leave him alone." He said - he insisted, he said, "You get out." And one boy
that I did not know came and said, "Well, let's all die. If this is the procedure then we are all prepared to die," and they call came into the ambulance and we left. All the buses had disappeared then, and we went to King Edward Hospital. On the way I could see that he was complicating. Others were much better, but he was in a serious condition. Each time as he tried to breathe one could even think that he's gasping, he's just about to die, and they also put oxygen thing around his nose up to the time we got to the hospital. And the hospital said, "There's an other form here. When you have an opportunity please go to the nearest police station and you will get this J88 form." I am not too sure if that's the one. I think that's the one though. I thought about this at home when we were discussing it as a family. I said, "Well, let me go and look for this form, but how do I look for this form from the very police station of KwaMashu, and yet it was the closest, nearest to the station? These are the very people who caused the whole thing, and how can I go to the very same police station? How will they assist me? How will they give any help to me yet having caused this?" Well, I did go, and I told them about the form, and they asked me, "How do you know this form?" and I told them that the doctor said I should bring this form. And they kept coming in and out of the room, and I could see that now I am being a centre of attraction. You know, at the same time a laughing stock. They were just coming in and out, exchanging. They asked, and I explained also that this is what took place and this is what happened. I told them that the doctor said the bullets and the pellets are different, and apparently I need to get this
form and fill it. It looks like these were the policemen who shot, so I would like - we would like to know further. I could see that this was helpless, I wasn't getting anywhere. I decided no, let me just leave this whole thing. I went back home. Because they were also changing the attitude as well. So that was the end. I left and I went back home, and we were trying to talk about this once again with the family, and suddenly we've just heard about the Truth Commission. This is why I am here.
(Inaudible) ... questions for clarification and see whether we can just get a little bit more of the story. Firstly about Sibonelo. How long was he in hospital for? --- He wasn't there for long. It was just one day.
Do you have details of his hospital card, his numbers and so on? We can get all of that from you, can we? --- Not now, but I can furnish you with all that information.
(Inaudible) ... that, so we can get a copy of his records and so on. Did any case follow on this attack outside that stadium? From what you've told us a number of people died on that day and were shot on that day. --- I know about this one little girl I just told you about, and thereafter there were some others who also were affected, those who were so close to the whole scene. And we went together to the hospital.
As far as you're aware, roughly, do you know how many people might have been killed that day from what you've heard around? --- To my knowledge I just know of this one little girl. I have forgotten her name, but if this is important, so prime, I will make a way that I get her name.
(Inaudible) ... her family and see whether we can assist them at all. --- What I'll do, I'll get in touch with her family. Can I do that?
(Inaudible) ... that. So as far as you know there's been no cases about this thing? --- As far as I know nothing happened.
These buses that you've told us about, where were they from? Do you know what kind of buses they were? --- They were coming from the stadium. We don't know where they were coming from before then. You see these are farm buses.
(Inaudible) ... name Washesha. You said they were Washesha buses. --- That's true.
I just wanted to confirm that for the record. Now, how has all of this affected your son, Sibonelo, or has it affected your son? --- You know we have observed after some time this. You know at times you talk to him, you will tell that he cannot remember what you've just said. He loses memory, he forgets. It looks like he was disturbed, mentally traumatised. You know the bullet went through here and got out here. He almost got severely injured.
(Inaudible) ... psychological assistance to maybe have him counselled. Do you think that might help? --- No, I hadn't taken any steps, but what I just discovered now is that, you know, you talk to him about this, he tells you about something else. Now, that goes without saying that his memory gets lost at times. He cannot recall things you've said. He's disturbed mentally.
(Inaudible) ... of your family, have they been affected at all? Your wife perhaps? --- What I will
say is that yes, this did impact on them, especially the brother.
What is this brother? This brother you're talking about, is he a younger brother? --- He has brothers, you see, and there are many of them. They are five boys.
Sorry, if I could ... (intervention) --- Yes, they were affected, and ... (incomplete)
(Inaudible) --- What happened? No, I did not understand your question. No, no one was affected emotionally, psychologically affected. He is the only one.
I hand back to the chairperson.
DR MAGWAZA: Sibonelo's father, we usually appreciate to get what the victim would like to say. We will just like to hear one or two words from you, Sibonelo, because you are old enough, you can talk to us, even though you haven't taken the oath. Just briefly, concisely tell us something. What would you wish for the Truth Commission to do for you?
SIBONELO NDIMANDE: What I would like the Truth Commission to do for me ... (intervention)
DR MAGWAZA: Let's hold it right there.
SIBONELO NDIMANDE (Sworn, States) (Through Interpreter)
DR MAGWAZA: What are you saying, Sibonelo, now? --- I would like the Truth Commission first of all to arrest Gatsha, because he is the one - when all this was taking place his car was in front, leading. They started shooting from the stadium, shooting people outside, and he
was there addressing. And as his car was leading the buses they still shot, they were still shooting around.
Okay, we see, Sibonelo. What's your request, the second one that has to do with you as a person as you have got through all these traumatic experiences and so on? --- As my father has already explained I would like the Truth Commission - you know, as my father has explained I have this problem about my memory, and I forget, I keep forgetting. I was injured on my head so severely, and also on my feet, especially my right foot.
Where is your mum, Sibonelo? Where is your mother? Usually mothers do come forward. Where is your mother? --- My mum is at work.
Is she healthy and fine? --- Yes.
COMMISSIONER: Sibonelo, thank you for coming in today and telling us your story. Your son was standing - Sibonelo, you were standing in the yard of your house watching a bus go past and you were shot from the window of a bus. This sort of violence has been responsible for the death of thousands of people in this country. Whether it is train violence in the Johannesburg and the East Rand, where people were thrown of trains; whether it was a massacre in a shebeen, such as happened up in Donnybrook; whether it was an attack on innocent children, like happened in Shoboshobani or Trust Feeds, it all comes down to the same thing. These sort of things are very obviously politically inspired, and they are intended to scare and intimidate people, and we cannot allow this sort of thing to happen in our country, and we have to do everything possible to ensure that this sort of
thing stops, and that we have a proper police force that will arrest the perpetrators of these sorts of incidents. Because if it does carry on happening it really will destroy this province. It will destroy us, and it will destroy what remains of our economy.
So we thank you both for coming and giving us this very vivid description of what happened on that day in 1992. As Mr Lax has said, we cannot assist Sibonelo directly, but we can make recommendations to the Government as to how he should be assisted, and we will be making those recommendations. Thank you very much.